It’s not just Claire Fox’s views on the IRA that makes her a questionable choice for the House of Lords, as STEVE ANGLESEY explains.
May 2015: Contrarian pundit Fox praises Lib Dems Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, David Laws and Simon Hughes as they turn down peerages because they do not believe in an unelected second chamber. She calls it a ‘rediscovery of democratic principles’.
July 2020: Fox rediscovers her democratic principles by accepting a peerage in Boris Johnson’s dissolution honours list despite having consistently called for the House of Lords to be abolished. She writes: ‘I stand by that… I’ll argue that in the House of Lords while it exists’. She goes on brag about ‘having more democrats in the unelected House of Lords’, apparently forgetting that she got there by patronage rather than the ballot box.
No word yet on what Claire’s principles say about keeping her £300-a-day allowance, but perhaps she’ll claim she’s aiming to bankrupt the Lords from within…
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THE BAD BOYS
With six weeks until election day in New Zealand, Brexit backers Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore’s campaign to unseat prime minister and Covid-19 hero Jacinda Ardern goes from strength to strength. Their favoured candidate Winston Peters is now trailing her by just 51% or 59%, depending on which of the latest polls you believe, and is set to lose his own seat in parliament as well.
Though Banks and Wigmore are targeting at least 12% on September 19, Peters’ NZ First party is currently stuck on 2% and needs to get to 5% if he is to return as an MP. Wigmore recently tweeted: ‘I wouldn’t believe the polls’, while Peters, unfortunately, told the Guardian, ‘I’m not going nowhere but up in this campaign’ – with that ‘not’ suggesting he might plunge even further towards obscurity.
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
The EU ‘want our money and they want to stop us being a competitor,’
moaned IDS on Twitter. ‘The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) we signed last year sadly helps them… buried in the fine print, unnoticed by many, is the fact we remain hooked into the EU’s loan book.’ He frets this might leave Britain liable for £160 billion of unpaid debts.
Presumably the many who did not notice this fine print include Iain Duncan Smith himself. Not only did he vote for the WA and write a Telegraph column praising it (‘The deal is oven-ready… let’s get Brexit done and take Britain forward’), he even voted in favour of compressing scrutiny of it into just three days, meaning that nasty surprises ‘buried in the fine print’ were overlooked!
The Wetherspoons CEO’s relationship with accuracy continues to be as cloudy as a pint of Owd Fuddleduck’s Unicorn Piddle. Posters in his pubs boast of them offering ‘Sunak’s Specials’, calling the chancellor a ‘legend’ for ‘instigating tax equality between supermarkets and pubs’.
One small problem, though – the posters feature the logos of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society for Independent Brewers (SIBA), despite both organisations declaring its claims are untrue. They said in a joint statement: ‘We’d hope consumers do not mistakenly believe CAMRA or SIBA have endorsed this marketing approach, which we believe is unhelpful for the pub industry as a whole and masks the truth that this VAT reduction will not directly result in cheaper beer prices.’ Another triumph for the tremendously tousled Tim!