Sunday, December 09, 2007

Political Balls

If you could personify why people are put off politics, it would be Ed "the Spinmeister" Balls.

The Ed Balls 10 Point Interview Plan with Andrew Marr:
1) If asked about falling education standards, announce a 10-year plan so I'm not around when it fails - check
2) If hounded by that bloody Marr on the same subject, announce a new independent regulator - check
3) If he just won't give up, announce a review - check
4) If he brings up that we've dropped from 7th to 17th in world education, tell him that "our standards are rising....but we aren't rising fast enough. Other countries to be honest are going faster" - check
5) If he mentions Northern Rock, say that Darling "made the right calls and has delivered stability in our economy" - check
6) If he dares to ask about Gordy not being up to the job, tell him that he's got "leadership with great vision" - check
7) If he mentions the effing election, say that Gordy was right not to have gone to the polls country (don't mention the polls) - check
8) If he mentions that posh-boy Cameron's performance in PMQs over Gordy's, say that I'm not disappointed in his performance and remind him (patronisingly) that being PM is a very tough job - check
9) If he asks whether I've asked Gordy to raise his game, look incredulous and tell him in no uncertain terms "Of course I haven't" (especially if Marr asks whether I should have done) - check
10) And in the very unlikely event that an Archbishop should tell me to start teaching children and stop testing them, just say "Very interesting" and try not to have a confused, embarrased look on my face - check (but failed)

He's obviously living on another planet from the one I'm on.

Sentamu's Protest

The Andrew Marr show doesn't usually bring me to tears but this morning all that changed when his guest Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, during an empassioned plea for the world to rid Zimbabwe of Mugabe, tore off his dog collar, produced a pair of scissors and cut it up. The Archibishop has promised not to wear it again until Mugabe is deposed.

It was so surprising that it took a few seconds for the meaning of what he had done to sink in, but when it had all I felt was admiration for what must, for him, feel like a one man crusade. Something that hopefully is about to change.

In his own words: "You see as an Anglican, this is what I wear to identify myself that I'm a clergyman. Do you know what Mugabe has done? He's taken people's identity and literally if you don't mind, cut it to pieces. [The Archbishop starts cutting up his dog collar] This is what he's actually done, to a lot of - and in the end there's nothing. So as far as I'm concerned from now on I'm not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe's gone."

If you missed the programme, you can read the transcript or watch the entire programme for the next week here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Harriet Harman's Turn

Ms Harman will be facing MPs today over Donorgate and after yesterday's PMQs, she's probably trying to book a root canal instead.

But there is one question she needs to answer, without hiding behind Labour rhetoric.

Brown said in PMQs that there was not one "iota" of evidence that she knew about the 3rd party donations before the weekend (which I believe) but if Brown and Hilary Benn had refused donations from Janet Kidd, it's the fact that she didn't know that beggars belief.

We all live life under the caveat that ignorance of the law is no excuse: As Leader of the House, not knowing about it is as embarassing as accepting the donation in the first place.


At the reception on Tuesday evening, David Cameron gave us a preview of the next day's PMQs. But the evening was light-hearted and amongst friends, and although we knew that Brown was going to get yet another inevitable battering - the ferocity of the barrage was quite spectacular to watch.

"Does he really expect us to believe that someone who even his own side say is a control freak was preparing for an election, sorting out the finances and sitting round a table with everyone caught up in this scandal and yet didn’t have the first idea what was going on?"

"We have had 155 days of his government. We have had disaster after disaster: a run on a bank, half the country's details lost in the post and now this. His excuses go from incompetence to complacency."

"Aren't people rightly now asking: Is this man simply not cut out for the job?"

Brown looked visibly shaken (yet again) but the line that twisted the knife came from the extremely able Vincent Cable: "The house has noticed the Prime Minister's remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order and order out of chaos."

If I were Brown, I'd start taking the odd duvet day for the next few Wednesdays.

Here's the full PMQs if you missed it:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reception with David Cameron

Last night, the CWO hosted a reception with David Cameron at the beautiful Fleming Collection in Berkeley Street (well worth a visit).

The location was perfect, the food and drink were plentiful and the guest of honour was just as he should be.

He must do hundreds of these every year - probably one of the worse parts of the job - but it is so much appreciated by both the guests and especially the CWO, who added to its much needed fighting fund.

[ADVERT ALERT]We're always looking for more donations, so please consider becoming a Friend of the CWO, if you're not already![END ADVERT]

The auction was a huge success with prizes such as tea with Boris, holidays in Morocco and helicopter flights vigourously bidded on.

The evening was superbly organised by Sallie Hendry (pictured left), Fiona, Eve Burt, Elaine & Barbara at the office and so many other people. Also a special mention to all of the people who donated prizes to the auction.

A fantastic evening that I look forward to becoming an annual event.

Reception Photo Gallery

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cameron's CBI Speech

It is a shame that Cameron's speech at the CBI was largely overshadowed in the news by the extremely dodgy donorgate affair.

In contradiction to Brown, Cameron's speech just made sense.

A single CGT level of 18%, thereby removing taper relief, will stunt new investment into small businesses. Wht can't Brown see that?

Brown Darling may have thought it sounded like a good plan to get more dosh from the private equity firms but it was yet another ill-thought out idea, which doesn't take into account who else it affects.

I have slogged away with my small business for 6 years, with ever increasing red tape, tax bills and a distinct lack of incentive to expand in the UK over outsourcing abroad. Brown doesn't understand the backbone of the UK economy - the SMBs.

The Independent Poll

One thing that is a little disconcerting in the Independent poll below, is that although support among men is holding steady, Conservative support amongst women has fallen back from 41 to 37.

Saying that, this is after a 22% swing of women voters towards the Conservatives in early October.

Swings and roundabouts it maybe but it is vital that we gain and retain the women's vote if the Conservatives are to win the next election.

Things are getting better worse

According to The Independent this morning, the Conservatives have opened up a massive 13 point lead over Labour (Cons: 40, Lab: 27, LibDems: 18).

The Conservatives haven't had a lead of that proportion since 1988 but it only translates to a Conservative majority of 58.

Remember Sloane Rangers, huge mobile phones, city boys in striped suits, champagne lunches? These were the times of the late 80s when everyone aspired and many succeeded.

The only difference now is that the nation's aspirations are being drowned in a sea of incompetence, people are starting to seriously worry about their own future financial security and we all know that this is all going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better.

And we've got at least another 18 months of this.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

10-Year Apathy

If you think this is about Labour, you'd be half right - except it's about the Labor Party in Australia winning yesterday's general election.

NB: It's not a typo - they lost the 'u' from Labor about 20 years ago, even though labour [to toil] is still spelt with a 'u' - go figure.

Michael Howard, the ex-PM and leader of the Liberal i.e. Conservative Party (more confusion) lost in such a landslide that it looks like he won't even keep his own seat.

Australia must be in a real economic pickle for something like that to happen. Or maybe there's a Spring of Discontent going on. If not, then millions thousands must be out on the streets protesting against the war.

Or not it seems. Yes, there's a bit of inflation. Yes, house prices are rising rapidly. Yes, people don't like some new labour laws but Michael Howard made two mistakes in a country that's generally doing not too bad at all:

1) He announced that he wouldn't run again after the next election (didn't he learn anything from Tony?)
2) Nobody liked his Treasurer, Peter Costello, who would have succeeded him (see note above)

Apparently, Howard suffered a landslide defeat because the electorate was just bored of him.

We've had Brown for less than 6 months and we're already bored with him.

Fortress Britain

While I was away, I heard about the 53 questions that I may be asked if I wanted to repeat my trip in the future. Actually, I heard about it on CNN and the anchor actually questioned whether 53 was the correct number.

I like travelling, so I decided to look into this a bit more and found out that everything is not quite what it seems. Out of the 53 recommended "questions", most are data (e.g. booking reference number), not questions and the vast majority are already taken, or given to you, when you book now or anytime since you could book online.

Click here to open up the full list and try and spot any which aren't already kept on a database during your travels, whether it's your agents, the airlines, immigration or hotel.

The only additions I can see are 45) Any other biographical information 35) No show history and 22) & 28) yours and other passengers itineraries. The itineraries actually make sense if someone needed to contact you urgently or a local consulate needed to check who was in the area in the case of a disaster.

So the only one I can see to be worrying is the "any other biographical information": For which the only solution must be to carry a recent CV with you.

The French on Strike

"French strikes" are as commonplace as "M25 congestion" or "Labour mis-management" and if the current round of strikes surprises anyone who voted for Sarkozy, then I think his "work more, earn more" election policy would have given the game away.

It is good to hear, though, that the vast majority of the French don't want Sarkozy to back down, although you don't know how long that support will last.

I lived in Nice in the mid-90s, so am quite used to the weekly 24 hour strikes in the weeks that there isn't a saints day holiday. The strike that affected me the most, though, was the postal strike. Some international post got through from Monaco but most was stored in a hanger at Nice Airport.

When the strike finally ended 3 months later, management started discussions with the unions about the overtime needed to clear the hangar of the backlog. An agreement couldn't be reached, so they went on strike again. The management's solution? They burned all the mail in the hangar.

Fait accompli!

Throw-away Society

I am all for Rebecca Hosking's campaign to ban the plastic bag. Londoners alone apparently get through 1.6 billion a year, lasting an average of 20 minutes before being thrown away.

I will admit to recycling mine as small bin liners but at the same time have about 8 reusable bags from various supermarkets - none of which manage to end up in the supermarket with me when I go shopping. Banning plastic bags would indeed improve my memory.

However, alongside bags and the eternal fight against over-indulgent packaging, we also are guilty of throwing away too much food - about 7 million tonnes of it a year.

I was guilty of this. The night before the bins were emptied, I cleared out my 'fridge of out of date food and was surprised every week on how much there was.

This, though, was not entirely my fault. I would have loved to pop down my local greengrocer, butcher, baker, etc and buy only what I needed for a few days; eliminating any waste and ensuring a fresh, local supply of food. But I couldn't because they all went out of business after the out of town supermarkets appeared. And to fight through the supermarket crowds, out of control children and long checkout lines every few days would have driven me to madness - it's why it's called the 'weekly' shop.

The good news, though, is that I've recently moved to a largish village and what I love about it more than anything is that there is a greengrocer, a butcher, a baker and, wait for it, even a Post Office. I'm eating healthier, I get some exercise walking down the shops and pay less at the end of the day, as I'm not tempted by the million different products available on the shelves, which end up in the bin 7 days later.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brown Tuesday

We've had Black Wednesday (and a few other colourful days of the week) but I've never seen a government trying to fail as spectacularly as the current administration, since the late 70s.

I arrived back home on Wednesday after a week away and a long flight, switched on Sky News, to be greeted by blanket coverage of the HMRC CD-Rom debacle. By then, the story was 18 hours old and Alistair Darling was about to make his embarassed announcement to Parliament, followed by yet another pitiful performance by Brown at PMQs. I was hooked all day, giving me the best prescription for avoiding jet lag!

If I understand this right, every family with children, will have the details of their names, partner's name, address, bank account and NI details lost somewhere in the UK.

And they're blaming it on a junior official?! How is a junior official allowed access to all this information?

Apart from the obvious mis-management of highly sensitive data, the continual worry for nearly half the population and the refusal of any senior official to be accountable, hopefully this will see the end of ID Cards once and for all.

Brown now says that he'll review security procedures before ID cards are issued - but which one of the 25 million potential fraud victims are going to believe him? He was in charge of HMRC for 10 years after all.

The most surprising thing to me isn't that the goverment lost the data - their past incomptences confirm that - what I am surprised is that the data wasn't printed on paper and left in a supermarket. In this day and age why would government departments ever think of sharing information along secure data lines, removing the need to transfer data out of its control?

Wasn't there supposed to be a £5.4 billion computer system that might solve this? Oops - I forgot that it went way over budget and didn't work - preferring to protect our identities using 3 systems instead. Chalk up another joke.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Saudi Rape Victim is Punished

I could hardly believe my ears after hearing the news that a gang rape victim in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes.

If this had happened in Iraq, there would be international condemnation and probably a commando unit sent to save her.

But this happened in Saudi Arabia, a nation that can unite around our shared values, according to Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, before the Saudi King's visit last month.

Human rights weren't discussed when King Abdullah met with Gordon Brown and the continual protests during his visit fell on deaf ears in the Foreign Office, wanting to avoid the embarassment that might accompany a few contracts being torn up.

For any continued semblance of shared values, King Abdullah must intercede before anymore harm is done to this poor girl.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Full of Eastern Promise - or not

I'm off to Hong Kong this week and as I haven't visited it for 15 years, I'll be interested to see how it's changed - epsecially the attitude of women - since it's return to Chinese control.

Even under British control, Hong Kong was a Far Eastern territory trying to become Westernised, except it never really worked - especially when it came to the sexes.

Hong Kong was always a male dominated country and when a quarter of Hong Kong women believe that they should not be more successful than their husbands, it's not something that's going to change in the short term.

Women are still paid lower rates than their male counterparts and are more likely to be in a clerical position than any other; a fifth still believe that they will get more respect from their friends if they bear their husband a son and 9% of women aged between 18 and 27 wish to have a sex change (for economical reasons no doubt). Since 1997, the suicide rate for women in Hong Kong has also doubled.

I still can't forgive Maggie for giving it all back (even the bits we didn't need to) and hope we got a really good deal in return, because I doubt the women of Hong Kong have.


Parents and War
No parent
should have to bury a son
This reverses natural law
But it is common
for sons who go to war,
and often more so
for those
who are their victims

David Roberts - 21 April 2003

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McRae - May 1915

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Last Straw for Blair

Yet another Blair is being called on to resign by the Conservative front bench – this time it's Sir Ian Blair over the Stockwell tube shooting.

In July 2005, I was full of sympathy for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes but (like many others) was debating the “if” question – IF he had been a terrorist, then they’d be heroes now. The police are human and mistakes are made. The public couldn’t possibly ask for people to be brought to account for such an act, however horrific.

But now we’re hearing a different story. Commissioner Sir Ian Blair tried to prevent an IPC investigation; massive communication breakdowns; multiple inconsistencies; lack of contingency planning; misidentification; and unbelievably, that Blair went to sleep that night not knowing that they had shot the “wrong” man.

For once we have to look to the US to see accountability in action: The resignations of the CEOs of both Citigroup and Merrill Lynch show a respect for the people they serve.

Maybe Sir Ian Blair should think more about accountability before refusing point blank to take any responsibility for what happened: Sorry, sometimes, just isn't enough.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Time to Ban Personal Fireworks?

I have to admit up front that I’m a cat owner, so the 2 (or more usually 4-6) weeks around the 5th November means keeping the curtains drawn and the television volume up high, to reduce the stress that the annual round of bangs and whizzes produces.

This year though, it went further. I found an upright stick firmly embedded in my back garden with the remnants of a fireworks rocket – the spent rocket was lying by my back door. I had been out the previous evening and as my garden is entirely closed in and locked from the road, I am left to wonder what exactly happened.

Other than a total waste of money for the perpetrators (as I wasn’t in to see my own private display), it isn’t a comfortable feeling to know that someone has been clambering walls down the road and lighting rockets in people’s gardens.

I’m seriously starting to think that Firework Day should only be the weekend closest to the 5th November and all fireworks should only be sold to licensed displays.

OK, I’m not that mean – I don't mind a few sparklers...

Deaths and injuries would be reduced, stress on pets confined to one weekend and hopefully less people traipsing through my garden. Am I worryingly starting to sound old, or do I have a point?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Between the Festival of Sleep Day, Bubble Bath Day and even Global Orgasm Day (Peace through Global Ecstasy every 22nd December), every day, week and month of the year are swamped with ad agencies trying to make us aware of everything from the comic to the ridiculous.

All that happens is that vitally important issues are diluted somewhere between Left Hander’s Day and National Pet Day.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one that should stand out from the crowd, shouting as loud as it wants.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Honour Killings

I went to the Honour Killings Summit yesterday, arranged by the Conservative Women's Muslim Group: Shazia Ovasi and Fiona Hodgson had put together an outstanding panel of speakers.

I was particularly impressed by Jasvinder Sanghera (co-founder of Karma Nirvana) who is a dis-owned daughter, the author of the critically-acclaimed book Shame and a recent nominee of Woman of the Year 2007.

Jas spoke from the heart and her story of seeing her 15-year old sisters packed off to arranged marriages in Pakistan before returning to their schools in the UK, was heart wrenching - as was hearing about her disownment from her family after daring to say "no" to her own arranged marriage.

Heather Harvey from Amnesty International's Stop the Violence campaign, told us about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace & Security. We know of so many "last chance" UN resolutions that it was surprising to hear that a resolution exists that insists women's rights be part of any end of conflict negotiations. It's a shame then that the UK government (including apparently the Conservative Party) feel that leaving the new Iraqi administration to implement sharia law for women only (where there was none before), is acceptable.

Houzan Mahmoud (Click here for her blog), an Iraqi-Kurdish campaigner against the killing and stoning of women in Kurdistan, left us in no doubt that "honour" killings are a problem throughout the world and that it is not limited to Muslim communities. Houzan told us of a 17 year-old woman, stoned to death in front of 1,000 cheering men and of mothers who are killed with their daughter for refusing to be complicit in their death. She told of a 12 year-old girl killed by her Father for supposedly falling in love with a man and of the men that take their UK brides to Kurdistan for a holiday, kill them, then return quite legally to the UK to remarry.

Houzan described the situation as a "genocide of a generation of women in Kurdistan."

The over-riding message was that we must all pool resources to help each other to help real and potential victims, so please leave details of what your organisation is doing below, with a website or email address.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Past Reminders - Present Atrocities

Last night, Channel 4 repeated its stunning but shocking 2001 documentary by Saira Shah - Behind the Veil - highlighting the atrocities against the Afghan people at the hands of the Taliban.

It showed the work of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), who are struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.

If there was ever a just war and a moral reason for regime change - Afghanistan is it.

Bad News for Small Business

There are 4.5 million small businesses in the UK and every year more new businesses are started by women than men now.

The changes to capital gains tax, which the Chancellor announced in his Pre-Budget Report yesterday, will hit all of them in the pocket.

And this only months after they were left reeling from a 2 point rise in tax.

It might surprise you to learn that small business contributes half of this country's GDP.

The media are concentrating on magpies when they should be outraged over the treatment of the people who are the backbone of this country.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Honour Killings Summit

The Conservative Muslim Women's Group is having its next summit this Thursday 11th October at the House of Commons. Its subject will be Honour Killings and Violence Against Women.

Baroness Sayeedai Warsi will be leading a host of outstanding speakers and we hope you can join us for what will be an extraordinary morning.

As the summit is being held at Westminster, you will need to register your name in advance for security reasons.

Click here for details of the speakers and how to register.
Read more about the Conservative Women's Muslim Group.

Swinging Women

The weekend polls have confirmed (yet again) that women are the deciding vote in any election. The female swing towards Cameron over the last week has been a massive 22%.
Are we that fickle?

£665m payouts in birth errors

According to The Independent this morning:

The dangers of childbirth in the modern health service are highlighted today by figures showing that £665m has been paid out over the past three years to settle medical negligence claims where obstetric deliveries have gone catastrophically wrong.

The size of the payout – enough to hire 1,000 extra consultants – reflects the enormous and growing burden of medical negligence on the health service, which is diverting scarce resources from patient care.
If there was '24 hours to save the NHS' on 1 May 1997, then what have they been doing for the other 91,488 hours... and counting?

Ann Widdecombe to Retire

Last night, Ann Widdecombe announced that she will not be standing for Maidstone & The Weald again.

Whether you like her or not, she has always spoken from her heart, even if has got her into no end of trouble with the media or the party! A true conviction politician.

I hope she ends up causing as much trouble if she's (rightly) elevated to the Lords but I wish her well with her Audience with Ann Widdecombe in the meantime.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Is your size holding you back?"

You magazine with the Mail on Sunday has an article in it today called "Is your size holding you back?", which has been retitled on their website to: Are you too fat to get a good job? (Presumably their website readers wouldn't have understood the nuances of the original title). In it, it says:

Studies suggest that weight discrimination in the workplace is rife.
A recent survey for Personnel Today magazine revealed that 93 per cent of human resources (HR) professionals would give the job to the thinner person when choosing between two otherwise similar candidates, and the evidence suggests that weight discrimination counts more against women.

Overweight workers were routinely stereotyped as 'possessing negative personality traits', and dismissed as 'emotionally impaired'. Overweight people are typically seen as lazy, out of control, even dirty.
And apparently, very thin people don't get off well either:

"I would be wary of a candidate at an interview who was obviously smaller than size eight," agrees a (female) blue chip company HR director who did not want to be identified. "To my mind, a woman that thin has a problem, or at least an unhealthy attitude to food. In my experience, people like this don't make good team players and tend to be introverted and self-focused."
I would hope that I would always pick the best candidate, regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity and size...but how can I be absolutely sure that I'm not secretly sizist?

The Election Fall Out

30 hours after The Decision, I have to conclude that:
  1. Brown has brainwashed his front bench into actually believing that the polls were nothing to do with his decision
  2. The Lib Dems only want to talk about fixed term elections and not their disastrous polling figures
  3. Cameron won't ever admit that the initial Blackpool "Give us an election" was a bluff that came off spectacularly well
I know that CCHQ has been asking for an election since Brown got in - but I didn't realise that they actually meant it until Thursday's polls.

"Mulsim medical students get picky"

In a quite amazing piece in The Sunday Times, we are told that:

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs.

Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity.
Is this Religious Correctness gone mad - or why hasn't this been a problem in British Universities before?

Hamilton keeps us hanging

In two weeks time, there is a [albeit very slim] chance that a British rookie could win the F1 World Championship and England retain the Rugby World Cup within hours of each other - it may just be worth putting a fiver on the double.

Definition of Rhetoric

\Rhet"o*ric\, n. [F. rh['e]torique, L. rhetorica, Gr. See Gordon Brown's interview with Andrew Marr 07-Oct-2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cameron at the Conference

As a reminder to our blog readers, David Cameron, William Hague (amongst many others) will be speaking at the CWO Conference at the QEII Centre on Monday 12th November. The theme of this year's conference is Creating a Better World for Future Generations.

Members and non-members are welcome, whatever gender! Click here for tickets and information.

Adam Boulton is not a happy chappy

After a very impressive pool interview by David Cameron, in which I think he looked his most relaxed and statemanslike, since becoming leader, Andrew Wilson on Sky News went to Adam Boulton outside 10 Downing Street and asked him:

"Adam, one of the key points of that [interview] seemed to be the way [Cameron] started it, talking about Gordon Brown 'cancelling' the election. Presumably that's a message the Conservatives want to get through?"

[Adam Boulton] "They do and to be fair to them, it's a point they can make with some justification. In the coming days people will talk about media hysteria and the media ramping up this election.

"Let's be in no doubt about it: The reason why we were on election standby was because very senior officials close to Gordon Brown, and indeed Cabinet Ministers, told all of us that they were preparing for a general election and, if the polls were good enough, that general election would be called.

"Gordon Brown had the opportunity - I myself said to him 'If you want to stop this speculation, just say that there's not going to be an election this year' - he refused to do so at the time of his conference.

"This has nothing to do with the media. The reason why everyone has been so excited about a general election is the governing party - the Labour Party - and senior members and officials of it, have said that is what we are doing. Therefore, one can only say, now that Gordon Brown has finally said that he's calling off a general election, that the reason is, as they said to us, that the polling data is not there.

"All the talk about running the country, spelling out the future and all that, is so many words."

[Question to AB from the studio about Brown not having an election this year or next]

"Well, it's certainly what the Prime Minister said in his interview with Andrew Marr...he agreed with that. Again, it's an extraordinary situation, isn't it, that we don't know, even although we know what the Prime Minister's done, we don't know precisely how he said it.

"He's not like David Cameron, stepping out of his front door and talking to the cameras live. He's done some sort of interview that's apparently going to be held overnight. So, again, from that sort of style, people might draw their own inferences on who is on the defensive and who's on the front foot at the moment.

"And of course, it's an oppportunity David Cameron probably dreamed of, to come out of his front door, with some credibility and to accuse the Prime Minister of [Adam Boulton reads off his notes] 'indecision, weakness, humiliating retreat, opportunism and spin'.

"I mean, this is the disaster that Team Brown have brought on themselves by their hubris of thinking that they can go for a general election and winning it, and then bottling it when they see the polls are not so good. I mean, it is, whatever else, it will call into question the judgement of Team Brown and also their sincerity when they talk about the national interest because of the political caclulation which they have clearly now been caught by the headlights."

[Question from the studio about whether there is a crisis in Team Brown, given the advice he has received from his young advisers]

"It's all very well calling them young advisors. Let's remember that they are Cabinet Ministers - Ministers of the Crown - people like Ed Balls and Ed Milliband and of course, Douglas Alexander. All of them occupy lofty offices of state so their age doesn't really matter. They are very senior figures, apparently."
"At one level, this has been a political storm in a tea cup because at the end of it, Gordon Brown still has a healthy majority - he can still govern for 2 years or more - Britain is much the same today as it was 24 hours ago BUT if you're talking about trust in government, trust in the judgement of the people who are at the very top, there's no doubting it, they've shot themselves in the foot."

I can't wait for his show Sunday lunchtime...

Brown Bottles It

UPDATE 17:50: Andrew Marr has recorded an interview with GB and Adam Boulton on Sky News is steaming at Labour... Quotes as I type them...

The BBC and Sky News have just heard that Brown is not calling an election this year.

Sweet Chariot!

After a nightmare last 20 minutes of watching England v Australia (and missing Jonny Wilkinson's usually point perfect accuracy), I will admit to actually shedding a tear at the result. Now onto face France or New Zealand (OK, so New Zealand France then)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"We will fight - Britain will win"

David Cameron closed the 2007 Conference with a challenge to Gordon Brown:

"Call that election. We will fight - Britain will win."

In the keynote speech of the Conference, David outlined his vision for Britain.

He described the "old politics" of Labour as no longer relevant for a new world, and stressed that only the modern approach of the Conservatives could inspire the British people.

What did you think of Cameron's speech or the chance of an Autumn election now that the polls show a Conservative fightback?

The Women are Blogging!

The CWO Blog is up and running and waiting for your comments. We want to hear what you are talking about what you think about current events.

Monday, October 01, 2007

About the CWO

Welcome to the CWO Blog! The CWO is the Conservative Party's national network for women. We help the Conservative Party win elections at every level by:

  • Providing a focus for women of all ages, backgrounds and from across the United Kingdom within the Conservative Party
  • Encouraging and enabling women to participate and stand for office at all levels of the Conservative Party, Government and Public Office
  • Ensuring that Party policy takes women's views into account
  • Helping the Conservative Party regain the women's vote

If you are interesting in finding out more about the CWO, please visit our website at