Thursday, 17 April 2014

Money for nothing

Whether it is at CCHQ instigation as some suggest or simply axe-grinding journalism, The Times doggedly continues it's investigation into how Ukip handles its finances.

Today the shit-coloured spotlight falls on the past activities of a now inactive fund-raising call centre. Like the broad-brush innuendo aimed yesterday at Nigel Farage, the articles contain lots of financial detail accompanied by critical comments from former workers.

Implying creativity in a party's accounts is hardly a novelty. For a Murdoch flagship paper to put so much effort into mud-slinging smacks of sweaty desperation somewhere along the food-chain.

That might explain why the obvious has been overlooked viz. anyone thinking of voting Ukip is hardly likely to be a Times reader. Even their own poll said as much.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Critical condition prevails

The airing of complaints about the NHS in Wales is hardly a new phenomenon and the media can't be expected to cover every little detail in a story. The same can be said about the lead item broadcast yesterday by BBC Wales Today on the poor out-of-hours GP service in the Cardiff area.

On second thoughts, maybe the fact that the couple with a grievance are both former BBC presenters was slightly relevant, don't you think?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

It's getting nasty out there

It's all starting to kick off as pre-election/recess recriminations fly among press and political parties.

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston is feeling the heat for backing the accusers of Nigel Evans. Former GP Wollaston has previously been described as 'the nation's super-nanny' by fellow tory backbenchers for her heightened sense of empathy with staff.

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg gets pilloried in the Daily Malice for being the man who know nothing about Cyril Smith. The Lib Dem leader told the Telegraph that he would not have made tribute to the Rochdale MP on his 80th birthday in 2008 had he been "aware of the allegations".

Ukip leader Nigel Farage makes the papers with the revelation that he faces investigation over his MEP expenses

Labour must be wondering when it will be their turn in the barrel. Patience, comrades.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The good news and the really bad news

A spot of good news for Lib Dems comes in the form of today's Guardian/ICM poll. This has them holding 12% support - one point above UKIP. Conservatives are down three points at 32% with Labour on 37%

Predicted European election results are something else.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Line of Death and other things in Llangollen

It won't take long for Welsh tories arriving back from their conference in Llangollen to unpick the hyperbole. By the time they're putting the kettle on, many will be wondering if Cameron's 'Line of Death' speech on Welsh NHS performance was a such a good idea.

It all sounded jolly good at the time, even though the rhetoric delivered from the podium by the likes of Jeremy Hunt was less about blue water as blue rinse.

A rallying call to depleted troops about to go over the top was essential of course.

The aspirational fluff from Andrew RT Davies about a coalition of ideas was an indulgence. Tory party managers in the conference clearly wished Beefy would encourage a similar consensus within his own group.

What a pity that the polls today predict that it was all for nought. A poll in the Independent on Sunday signals a stuffing for the party at the hand of Ukip at the Euro-elections and from everyone else a year later.

Pundits blame Maria Miller and the Sexminster revelations. The RCN in Wales have their own views.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Saying what we already knew

There is no longer any point to the Liberal Democrats, one of the party’s most senior MPs has claimed.
Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat minister until October, and one of Mr Clegg’s most prominent early supporters puts the blame at the feet of the Lib Dem leader for pandering to its left-wing.
“Every political party and every politician has to be able to answer the question: if you didn’t exist why would it be necessary to invent you?” he told the Times. “I’m not sure it would be necessary to invent an ill-defined moderating centrist party.”
Nothing more to add really, is there?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Different but not damning

Spin and counter spin today as political parties grab their favourite bits from a Nuffield Trust report which concludes there is little sign of the Welsh NHS lagging behind any other part of the UK.

That is not to say that differences in performance are therefore acceptable. The Labour Welsh government took a conscious decision to limit NHS spending compared with England. The effects are apparent in the form of longer waiting times and poor ambulance service performance.

ConDems have done their utmost to highlight these shortcomings and throw in a few other condemnations about poor care standards for good measure. That is after all their job. Whether they have gained any actual political advantage through their affected outrage is something that May's elections will reveal. The polls so far suggest not.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

It must be something catching

Carelessness with money matters seems to be catching among tory MPs. It looks like Charlotte Leslie, the honourable member for Bristol North West, and who recently criticised health spending in Wales, should have been paying closer attention to her own finances instead.

That way she could avoided the cringing embarrassment of having to apologise for failing to declare cash donations on the MPs register of interests - and fairly dodgy items they were too.

Wonder what party co-chairman Michael Fabricant has to say about that. Oh, too late.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Distraction has gone but not the problem

Whether it was the grey men wot done it or constituency pressures, the prevailing view is that Maria Miller's protracted departure will achieve little in drawing a line under matters.

Cameron's detractors insist that his continued support for a minister who had patently played fast and loose with the expenses system will dog him into the European elections and beyond.

Notwithstanding the political media pundits who think the government can now resume course, the questions about attempted press intimidation are unlikely to go away. Grub Street will see to that.