Last summer, Charlie Whelan’s lawyers threatened to sue The Spectator for an article describing him as a bully. The article was entirely correct. So what was he so keen to cover up? Fraser Nelson and Ed Howker investigateThe Labour rebellettes fear the creeping takeover of the party by the Unite trade union via Charlie Whelan. He has been taken on by female officers in the union and formally charged with bullying.
Don’t listen to the hype about ‘Web 2.0’ politics, says Andrew Gilligan. Online campaigning is only of interest to a handful of Westminster nerds and journalistsEd Balls has ‘had to take the roast chicken out of the oven’. For Sarah Brown, ‘waking up in our house in Fife was today’s special treat’. William Hague is ‘enjoying a good Burger King at Wetherby services’, and the breaking news from Eric Pickles is that he is ‘out with the team in Brentwood’.
Harry Mount watches Nick Griffin try to win round the disgruntled former Labour voters of Dagenham and Barking — if he wasn’t so ridiculous, he might be dangerousAs always, P.G. Wodehouse got it right. Far-right groups are unlikely to take off in Britain because, for all their nastiness, they always come across as just a little too ridiculous. That’s certainly the impression I got after spending last Saturday in Barking, east London, at the BNP campaign launch.
Examine Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time last year, or the British National Party’s campaign for the European parliament, or even their work ‘on the ground’ in Barking today and you will find something very peculiar. The party is desperate to demonstrate to an electorate angered by expense abuses that it is a tightly run, principled organisation, unblighted by self-serving corruption and ready to ‘clean up’ mainstream politics.
Anne Applebaum says the catastrophic plane crash near Smolensk, which killed so many of Poland’s leading figures, may hasten a rapprochement between Warsaw and MoscowThe President, the First Lady, the chairman of the National Bank. Fifteen members of parliament. Ten generals. Anna Walentynowicz, 80-year-old heroine of the Solidarity strike of 1980. Ryszard Kaczorowski, the 91-year-old former president-in-exile.
Gordon Brown’s latest campaign slogan — ‘Vote Labour or Die of Cancer’ — has a certain apocalyptic vigour about it, don’t you think, even if it was implied rather than directly stated? The party sent out 250,000 ‘postcards’ to women, although they were not the sort of postcards you get when your Aunt Jemima’s been on holiday in Lyme Regis for the week. The gist was: if the Tories get in they’ll stop your chemo, you mug.
Last week’s Spectator debate — ‘Britain’s in decline again. Pity Cameron is a Heath not a Thatcher’ — looked at the nature of a future Tory government under David Cameron.Last week’s Spectator debate — ‘Britain’s in decline again. Pity Cameron is a Heath not a Thatcher’ — looked at the nature of a future Tory government under David Cameron. Proposing the motion, Simon Heffer surprised everyone by launching into a warm tribute to Ted Heath.
Benedict XVI’s handling of sex abuse cases is not above criticism, says John L. Allen Jr. But the campaign for him to be hauled before an international court is ill informedA Vatican spokesperson recently laughed off the campaign to issue an arrest warrant for Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the United Kingdom in September, describing it as an idea designed to make a splash in public opinion rather than something ‘serious’.