Thursday, 20 August 2009

Be back soon...

Dear Lobbydoggies,

I'm taking a summer break for a week but will return after the August bank holiday.

I've promised Mrs Lobbydog that I wouldn't try and do anything related to politics while we're away so there will be a gap in service.

But I'll come back ready and fresh for the lead up to the conference season.


Getting to first base with Widdecombe

When asked if one should kiss on a first date Ann Widdecombe tells Ian Dale in tomorrow's Total Politics...

“It depends what sort of kiss one is talking about. I don’t wish to go into that any further!”

I don't suspect the person kissing the MP (pictured in an alluring pose) would either.

What's lurking down the back of Ainsworth's sofa?

I can just picture Bob Ainsworth one afternoon reaching down the back of his sofa looking for a jelly baby he dropped when a surprised look comes over his face.

“Hello, what’s this?” he says, pulling the end of an M16 assault rifle from underneath a silk cushion, “I’ve been looking for that everywhere – hold on there’s something else here…”

Low and behold 20 minutes later he has found billions of pounds worth of lost Ministry of Defence equipment.

Night goggles, machine guns, those jet engines needed an extra hard tug to get out – and one of them was ruined because it had a jelly baby lodged in its exhaust pipe.

Then later that day while clearing out the attic Bob gets surprised again when he lifts up an old box of Abba records only to find 50 armoured fighting vehicles behind it.

He says in his gurgling voice: “Oh there they the are…”

The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that in total the MoD could not account for £6.6 billion of kit – let’s just say that figure again, £6.6 billion.

But it’s ok because officials say the kit isn’t actually lost. It is in fact an “extrapolation” of the NAO’s audit. Did you hear that troops on the front line? It’s ok, it’s an extrapolation.

The Financial Times reports that the shortcomings have triggered an overhaul of procedures – now one person will be responsible for tracking front-line equipment and supplying the Afghan campaign.

Anyone up for the job?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Haw's carpet bomb approach

This morning's Independent features the highly irritating Brian Haw on its front cover, who has camped outside Parliament for 3,000 days in protest at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I say “highly irritating” not because I disagree with his views, but because every day he – or his even more irksome Australian friend – stands outside my office window shouting through a megaphone.

They don’t seem to realise that not everyone in the Palace of Westminster is in the Government, or even a politician. In fact the vast majority of people are not.

If you want to protest to politicians, good – it’s part of our system that you should be able to.

But it’s mainly caretakers, tour-guides, hairdressers, waiters, electricians, secretaries and window-cleaners that have to put up with hours of his amplified guff.

Especially in the summer recess – when no MPs are here – only normal working types who might otherwise support his cause are subjected to the racket.

A friend of mine was once attacked by the irksome Australian just for walking out of an exit from Parliament. She confronted him and shouted that he was “a f***ing piece of sh*t” while Haw filmed the incident.

My friend had no part in waging any war, is not an MP or connected to a politician. But was caught by Haw’s “carpet bomb” approach which could be defined as – ‘anyone who works in Westminster kills babies’.

If they want to make a difference they should investigate what the armed forces are doing in the Middle East, research the build up to the war, reveal where political interests superseded human rights and expose any wrongdoing.

Making an effort to alter people’s perception – and the course of a Government – requires hard work and indisputable evidence, not sitting in a tent for six years roaring abuse at mainly innocent people.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Camp Pickles

Is it me or does Eric Pickles come across like a camp game-show host/TV chef in this bizarre video?

It's as though he should be wearing some Timmy Mallet style sparkling glasses or something.

The countdown at the end is superb.

Lobbydog is 11th. Really.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to re-read the results of the ‘Total Politics top 40 media blogs’ at least twice.

Apparently Lobbydog came 11th. I have a base urge to name those from more renowned publications that came between 12th and 40th.

But I’ll refrain. Many thanks to everyone that voted for Lobbydog. I’ll keep blogging as long as you keep coming back.

The REAL power behind Mandy

This morning Lobbydog received a note from Lord Biro, of the Church of The Militant Elvis Party.

Attached was a copy of a letter the Lord had received from Peter Mandelson in 1997, in which Mandy thanked him for his advice and campaigning ideas.

Mandy wrote to Biro: "I will certainly bear them in mind when drawing up General Election campaigning plans.”

And what was this advice? – To wear a pair of suede shoes in order to appeal to the proletariat of course.

After Mandy was pictured last week wearing his smooth shoes Biro said: “At last he has taken my advice in order to regain their vote in 2010.”

I guess that really does mean they’re running out of ideas.