Friday 12 August 2011


I’m somewhat concerned about the amateur way that Cameron has gone about dealing with England’s riots.

(And yes, Tom Harris, I say England’s riots, because that is where they happened. There were riots in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Gloucester, etc... and according to my map, all of these places are in England. It’s about geography, Tom. You know, the subject at school with maps and countries and rivers and stuff.)

Anyway, back to the topic. Cameron has used the whole thing as some massive PR exercise. First of all he didn’t budge from the villa in Tuscany. Then when he saw that that was going down like a lead balloon in the Daily Mail, he flew back “in the middle of the night”, I remember hearing to save the nation...(‘struth, he was only in Italy, a couple of hours away max, so can the drama already).

Only HE didn’t really save it. He just talked big about retribution and said all the things the hurting people in London and Salford and Manchester, etc, wanted to hear; he appeased the right wing of his party, who think he's a bit soft lefty, by ditching all this “hug a hoodie” nonsense he spouted when he was vote hunting, and got to talking tough... and even the Daily Mail seemed less hostile.

Then someone must have told him that “the people”, that amorphous mass out there somewhere, were unhappy with the police, so he took advantage of that, fired broadsides at them and took the credit for ending the riots (when of course the real reasons were more police and more rain. Rioting is OK, but not if you’re going to get wet doing it, it seems).

The police, in the form of Hugh Ord, returned fire on the prime minister and, despite their seeming incompetence, and in the case of the Met dubious leadership, everyone I’ve talked to (or read) seems to come down on the side of the police.

So then, having seen that that was a mistake, he turned 180° and started telling us how the bobbies were brave on Saturday and on Sunday and...yawn... you get the picture. Another PR damage limitation exercise.

But if he’s been pretty crap so far (and he has), today’s announcements have filled the more sentient of us with a sense of wonderment.

Those people who have committed crimes that caused Cameron to come back from his holiday, and who live in social housing, regardless of whether they are the tenant or not, will, along with the rest of their family, be thrown out on to the street.

OK, fair enough, some might think. And in a pub argument it would probably win the day. But government has to think a bit more deeply than if it were in a bar room verbal brawl. Consequences, Dave!

Some questions that immediately sprang to my mind were: What if there’s a baby in the household, a cancer patient, a person of 97? What if they die? What if uninvolved household members lose jobs because they’re homeless? What if someone commits a crime that had nothing to do with David’s holiday being interrupted...rape, murder, child abuse, robbery, assault, carrying a knife, driving dangerously, speeding, parking on a double yellow line, dropping litter, forgetting to return library books?

Poor families in social housing, it seems, are to be punished twice for an offence, while millionaires’ families are punished once only?

Hmmmm, Dave, don’t you think that’s the sort of thing that at least some of the people were rioting over in the first place? You know where this is going, doncha? No? Oh dear.


  1. One family have been issued with an eviction order already for the involvement of their 18yr old son. So the family are guilty of a crime that they have not been charged or convicted of in a court meaning that English justice system has been changed to guilty by association without trial.

    Democracy out the window, time to bring in NATO to bomb Cameron into submission to give the people freedom.

  2. Democracy and the rule of law is something that England tells other people to do, CH. If the lad is 18, I'm not sure how his parents can be held responsible. He's an adult. Maybe they could tell him to leave. But an 18 year old made homeless is going downhill fast. And what if he dies of cold, or gets beaten to death or raped... How will that play.

    Another thought occurred to me. I don't know how old Cameron's offspring are, but, I'd not like to think what would happen if one of them got entangled with the law... like Ewan Blair did when his father was PM, and Cameron and his family were flung out of Downing Street. Well, OK, I would. No point in all this paralipsis!!

    Or, shock horror, what would happen if one of the junior royals got involved in some punch-up as they fell out of a smart club only barely aware of which way was up, at 4 am? I seem to remember Harry getting in a fight on one such occasion. (I blame the parents of course.) Would Rothsay and his "wife" get evicted from where ever it is they have their public housing?

    Good idea about NATO.

  3. BTW, CH, whatever happened to Cameron's belief in giving people a second chance?

    What would you say was the worse crime? Stealing something from a shop in a riot area, or bribing the police and breaking the telecommunications law which states that only with express permission form the Home Secretary can phones be tapped? Not one but thousands of times...

    There's a 12 year old lad in Manchester who apparently stole a bottle of cheap wine. His family is to be evicted. BUT HIS FATHER IS IN PRISON. Now, whatever his dad did was probably marginally worse than stealing a bottle of plonk, but no-one thought to evict them then...

    Come on Cameron, thinking cap on... This year 1 thinking!

  4. Shallow empty people work in a reactionary way and by getting the courts to fast track people through the courts is a nonsense in any democracy. If it was spread over a longer period then that could give some offenders time for reflection on their actions.

    Had a rant on Caron's but she isn't posting my reply to an anonymous poster pointing out that those at the top of our society are ridiculed with corruption but libs are too 'nice' for that sort of talk.

    I hear Starkey stiring up a bit of bigotry which will help no one and I can't understand why the BBC gives him a public platform so often. Labour'shame shutting threads as their lies are not resonating with posters.

  5. It's all shabby, half-baked and entirely PR-driven. I'm ashamed to be half-English, to be honest. Hold on tightly to what you've got.

  6. This eviction notice has been served on a woman who was not involved but whose son had been charged, but not convicted of involvement in the riot at the time the notice was served.

    This is the London Borough of Wandsworth an overwhelmingly Tory Borough whose leader Ravi Govindia was an Asian expelled by Idi Amin from Uganda. He worked as a bus conductor for Western National busses but joined the Tories after he went to Queen Mary College to study law. First elected to Wandsworth council in 1982 he finally became leader in May this year after Sir Edward Lister stood down to take up a post of Deputy Mayor for Planning under Boris Johnson. I heard him on the radio last night attempting to justify this! Very plumy voice with a hint of Asian, clearly done well for himself and Uganda worked out for him too seeing as he is a Director of a company that does Safaris to Uganda. So why the desperate scramble to implement loony Tory notions that the Peabody Trust (the largest social landlord in London) thinks have not a hope of being sanctioned by a judge?

    I think it’s what I call the “Eric Pickles syndrome” where working class or social minority Tories are more ridiculously Tory than the real Tories in their rabid desire to implement their right wing agenda. Mrs Thatcher the grocer’s daughter from Grantham was the best example gone mad, with her insane refusal to see any consequences at all in her actions. Eric Pickles is the same, you will note that he is the only one to have not done a U-turn despite being roundly despised for his anti-council agenda by councils of all colours in England. It’s not a pretty trait to my mind.

    But what has happened to the real Tories? David Cameron ought to be one, but he is certainly no Ted Heath. I don’t remember Ted very well or Harold MacMillan at all but could they have been as uselessly cack handed as Cameron and Osbourne. Or do the two types of Tory just not mix. Patrician Tories seem to have become infected by the on the make wannabes so that we end up with on-the-make would-be patrician Tories that don’t know if they are coming or going!

  7. Awful stuff. Probably what's happened to the real Tories, as you call them, is the same thing that happened to Labour: focus groups and massaging messages takes over as the prime way of combating the evils of 24-hour rolling news - as well as, now, 24-hour rolling social networks.

    On a slightly different subject, don't the current government attacks on the security and integrity of messaging networks sound a bit like taking advantage of the riots to attempt to muzzle the legitimate criticisms of social media on an incompetent and ineffectual leadership? We're back in bullying spin doctor land - only this time, it's not lawyer-protected mainstream media which is the object but go-it-alone bloggers and tweeters who are in their sights. Total cynicism on their part.

    This can only get worse.

  8. tris,

    The short and simple answer to your head-line question is "apparently not". "Headless chickens" and "policy on the hoof" seems to sum up the UK Government.

  9. Yes it's disappointing but entirely predictable that the plump old Etonian Dave would backtrack on his hug a hoodie stance as soon as there was a bit of trouble. He's talking about bringing in the 3rd Rifles from Glasgow for goodness sake. It shows fear rather than leadership.
    The people being evicted should have read the small print in their housing agreements. It sets out clearly that 'all members' of a household are to behave properly or will face sanctions. All members are mentioned by name in the agreement. Not sure why they're complaining. Unless they can't read ?
    It's not the councils' fault if they can't read. Blame the educashun system.

  10. Yes CH, I agree. There is the mark of shallowness and "what does this do for my legacy?" politics here.

    Cameron's notes for autobiography (to earn squillions) appears along the lines of:

    "While all this lawlessness (others might interpret it as unrest) happened in England, I was in a £10,000 a week villa in Tuscany. That was a PR blunder, but I had to keep in with Sam, who doesn't like all this austerity nonsense. I know I told people to holiday in the UK, but god, it's so dreary and Sam needs to get away, I mean it's weeks since we were abroad on holiday.

    "So dramatically and in a statesmanlike way I flew back to England (no more Easyjet) when the Daily Mail headlines started looking like the Queen's did when she was in that shooting estate to the north of us (* note to self, find out proper name of place....Salmondland or something) and Diana was lying dead back here at home in England.

    "Anyway , I came back and within days the whole thing was sorted. Had to talk tough for a couple of days to get the MPs on side and that fool Mili what'sit bloke couldn't do much because the Daily mail was watching for weakness.

    "Actually I felt quite statesmanlike. They've played into out hands. We can be tough on the working class now, stop benefit (save money) throw them into jails, take their housing away (deal with shortages of housing for oinks) and the people out there (Robert Robinson's pet hate phrase) will be behind us.

    "No more hug a hoodie for me. Cameron the Crusader your heart out Margaret."

  11. Mil: Hello, and welcome to the Republic. I enjoyed your own post on this subject last night:

    The trouble is that there's nothing in the least wrong with the English, and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

    The state of British democracy is such that most politicians aren't actually voted for by the majority of their constituents. FPTP is only fair when there are but 2 contestants. So you guys didn't really vote for the government we all got.

    But yes, we shall hold on to what we have. And we'll expand it.

  12. Munguin: That bloke you're talking about sounded utterly awful. I listened to Eddy Mair interview him on radio. Mair couldn't hide his disbelief at what the bloke was saying.

    He seemed to have no issue with the fact that totally innocent people would be punished for someone else's crime.

    It seems to me that it's a fundamental change in the whole system of English law. And from what I've heard and read today there is grave doubts that it will get through any English court.

    The clause in the tenancy agreement relates to behaviour which in some way is connected to the tenancy:,anti-social behaviour; dealing drugs from the house, destruction of property, etc. It seems unlikely that under current legislation it would stretch to behaviour unrelated to that agreement.

    I dunno what has happened to "one nation Conservatism"? I suspect that the Tory party donors, big business, the City and the banks, call the tune now.

  13. Mil: It's certainly a point that politicians have to live in a world where there is instant communication. it must have been easier for them when news was carried by horsemen and carrier pigeons.

    Within minutes the journalists want answers and this is interpreted by politicians as a demand for swift action. And when people like John Humphries, Sarah Montague and Eddie Mair get minietrs in the studio, gone are the days of:

    "I wondered Prime minister, if you would care to comment, Sir."


    "Thank you very much, Sir."

    They have to find answers. And becasue millions are watching, they do it on the hoof without thinking.

    Cameron is far too stupid to be able to do that. The only part of being prime minister that he is good at is shaking hands with foreign royals and knowing which post to drink with which cheeses.

    Eton, Oxford and the Bullingdon have their uses you know.

  14. Yes JB. It's quite frightening when you think about it.

    This particular crisis was an English one. If it had happened in Scotland the matter would have had to be dealt with by Alex Salmond.

    But if this were a UK-wide issue, we would be in the hands of this moron... as out friends living in England are at the moment.

    And if he manages to pass a law saying that benefit will be stopped for people who cause his holidays to be interrupted, then this will affect our people.

    Question: if you have a bloke, or a lass whose benefits are stopped because (s)he messed up SamCam's holiday plans for a little get together with some Italian notables on Saturday night, how is he, or she (the claimant) going to eat?

    Possible Answers: Beg? Borrow? Steal?

    Ill thought out nonsense by, as you say, headless chickens.

  15. Monty: Legal opinion (as expressed on the radio; I haven't gone to England and sought this out) seems to be that the Tenancy Agreements' requirements for people to be of good behaviour relate only to matters pertinent to the tenancy.

    I can see that as realistic, otherwise anyone who gets into a fight, deals drugs, shop lifts, gets drunk and disorderly, etc, etc, etc would have to lose their house, and all their family too.

    It would certainly solve the waiting list problem, but lordy their streets would be a pretty crowded.

    The same goes for benefits sanctions: the law as it stands says that you can be sanctioned if you fail to turn up and sign, if you won't take work, if you refuse to do courses to make you job ready, etc. (Of course if you are in prison then you are not entitled to benefits relating to jobs, as clearly you are not is a position to take up a job.) But you can't stop benefits from a person who got in a fight on Saturday after the match, etc.

    Of course in their desperate bid to save money from the working (or not working) classes, they may jump on this as a good idea. All benefits removed... so people will lose their housing benefits too.

    So England will have streets full of homeless beggars trying to feed their starving children in some sort of Dickensian parody. I thought it would take him longer than a year and a half to get to that stage.

    And wow Dave, these pictures will play well when the world's eyes are on England next year at the Olympics. Maybe like the Chinese did Cameron will simply ban them from the capital... bus them all down to ... no, up to, Bolton or Barnsley, or somewhere else up north he's only ever heard about, but knows they vote Labour.

    Maybe next time there is a bi-lateral meeting with the Chinese, they will be telling him about human rights. :¬)

    Anyways, nice to see you again. Where have you been?

  16. LOL, CH.

    That couple has been provided with accommodation at Kensington Palace. The cost to the taxpayer of the conversion of the apartments which are described as "modest" (so a bedsit?) has been kept secret after the storm cause by the revelation of a £5 million pound grant that Charles got to do up Clarence House because the last tenant left it in a deplorable state, and the £2 million reputed to have been spent on doing up apartments in St James's Palace for the Ugly Sisters.

    However, the cost has been someone reduced because Chic got this Spanish tile maker blokey to do up this, and a few other gaffes around the place for free in return for an invitation to THE wedding.

    (Note to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. If you want an invite to the next royal bash, offer them money. They are easily bribed. Put in a new kitchen for Charlie at Highgrove. It should come easy to you guys.Cash for....)

    Anyway, they will also have to have accommodation found for them in Edinburgh at Holyrood and at Windsor.

    Can we evict them for contributing to the continued recession?

  17. tris..
    I've just been here and there doing this and that ;)

    I see what you're saying about just shifting the problem somewhere else by eviciting those tenants but their property looked nice so their next property won't be as nice. I looked up the Wandsworth Council tenancy agreement and it's not looking good for the tenants. They can be evicted if any member of the household are convicted of a serious offence. And also..

    "if you or members of your household have behaved in an anti-social manner, such as harassing or causing serious nuisance to your neighbours"

    Helping to burn and loot the local shops probably comes under this point.


  18. Those multi-million pound grants from public funds for renovating royal residences seems to represent something of a turnaround in government thinking from that of the Tory government in the 1990’s. I’ve read that Philip did some public grumbling about the John Major government’s refusal to spend as little as £40 Million to repair Windsor Castle after the fire. (To help pay the cost, the royals have had to suffer the indignity of having the COMMON PEOPLE troop through their lodgings in public tours.)

    This apparently did seem bizarre to some in light of the relatively small sum involved (by government budget standards), and the unsurpassed importance of Windsor Castle as a national (and world) historical landmark. Anyway, with the public revenues now being spent on the royal residences and apartments, it makes you wonder if today’s politicians would consider a fire in a royal residence to simply be a problem for the royals to sort out financially - like the John Major government did in the 1990’s.

  19. Here is a comment I made on Iain Machwirter's blog regarding that "Riots always happen under the Tories"

    Feel free to go over there and give him some advice.

    Sorry Tris for my presumption upon your excellent piece. Forgive me but, Iain Machirter is one of the better Scottish based journalists, but he seems to be in denial about the fundamental reasons for the shenanigans have seen in England.

    I was just about to reach for my keyboard when, reading the comments, I found that the eponymous anon made the basic comment I was going to do.

    However, to reinforce it here is my tuppence worth.

    "Urban unrest has no party affiliation, and rather than scoring points, the politicians need to demonstrate that they are capable of rising above their own narrow interests. "

    This for me sums it all up.

    The politicians cannot rise above their own narrow interest because they are fundamentally part of the problem.

    What is the difference of the Westminster MPs looting the public purse, in the form of their fraudulent expenses claims. I don't mean the sacrificial sods thrown to the wolves, I mean the whole damn lot of them who "bent" every rule known to the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise, just because they were greedy bastards and could do so.

    If you or I tried their fiddles we would be
    a) Frogmarched out the building and job in double quick time.

    b) Turned over by the VAT man, no joke, prosecuted and fined heavily or even imprisoned. Remember you are defrauding Her Majesty and these guys carry their own warrant card with permission to enter where they wish, when they wish without a search warrant. Try swagging Capital Gains tax by changing your official tax residence as often as some of them have done and not ending up in the High Court.

    Still they did it, repaid a small proportion of their swag, say sorry and carry on regardless, after "reforming" their own system.

    The Bullingdon Club's bestial behaviour in and around Oxford tells us all a tale as does one David Cameron's predilection for Arson.

    As I said, they are the problem as much as the feral kids looting trainers flat screens and B & O HiFis(sounds familiar?).

    The fish rots from the head.

    Let's be done with Westminster.

  20. Soory above please read Nick Clegg for Cameron vis-a-vis arson.

    This for me is even better.

    all above is allegedly so

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Two faced LibDem, Clegg arsonist.

    I'm ashamed to be British

    Yep Westminster is the problem as corruption is embedded in its walls and running with the wrong crowd in that place will corrupt its members in a very short time.

  23. Monty: Well so it would seem. Well that should free up some council houses.

    Now can we evict Big Ears and the crocodile from Clarence House seeing as their little red haired terror got ratted and punched hell out of a photographer. After all you could probably get about 100 homeless families in there.

    Or does it not count because he's nothing to do with Mrs Parker Bowels and I'll be damned if Prince Charmless had anything to do with him either... red hair? lol yeah right.

    Here and there and this and that Monty, now there's a busy bee :)

  24. Danny: I think things were pretty tough at the time of the Windsor fire. The UK was having one of its many recessions. The Tories were clamping down on costs... plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

    I think that the queen talked about her annus horribilus that year: Andy’s wife Fergie was published topless all over the press sucking the toes of a boyfriend; Anne got a divorce, and then Chic and Diana split up. Finally the castle burnt down and she lost a pile of her art treasures.

    The government I think, was going to pay something towards it, but there was a public outcry at the waste of money on a house, when she had dozens of other places to stay... OK, that simplifies it, but it’s more or less how the story goes.

    The feeling seems to be that, if they couldn’t behave themselves with some dignity, a hard pressed public should not be expected to fork out for them to have one of their many homes restored, regardless of its historic connections. So, she had to fork out herself. Mind, she didn’t touch her vast fortune. Oh no, not our Liz. She got you rich Americans and the rich Japanese to pay to see her other houses...well, OUR houses actually. God bless America (and Japan) for saving Windsor Castle.


  25. Your Lordship:

    One of your best posts ever. Bang on, your grace.

    I think I did comment on Iain's piece, about which I too was perplexed. He is normally good and fair. I can't see why he's coming from where he is, although of course I respect his opinion, I think he's wrong this time.

  26. Aye CH. Cleggy trying to get out of answering that one. Two faced, double dealing git.

    The prof was probably persuaded to not prosecute because he was paid off. Clegg's father is even richer than Cameron's and Gideon's. If you have THAT kind of money you can buy your way out of most trouble.

    6 new greenhouses and an expedition to where-ever, fully paid, plus a donation to the university of x hundreds of thousands...

    Well, it's only money, boys will be boys and one's boy is rich enough to become deputy prime minister one day.

    And they want the public to have respect for authority?

    I have more respect for a gate post.


    Great blog CH. You posted a link to his profile!!

  28. When the state is threatened the police can arrest 2,000 people in 48hrs and charge 600 of them. Yet if I get burgled tonight I'll be lucky to see a copper in a weeks time and might get a crime number reference for insurance purposes if I'm lucky. And we wonder why the country is finished.

  29. When you get burgled, Monty old thing, Cambo doesn't come back from Italy "overnight" to take personal charge, thereby ruining Mrs Cam's plans for a soiree of those and such as those in Tuscan society.

    (Willie Hague fails again!)

    Anyway, Cameron wants to be seen to have acted decisively... and toughly against those who were really only doing what he used to do when he was in Oxford, what Boris did in Oxford and London , and what Nick did in Germany.

    You might have got away with it under Mrs Thatcher, but you won't get away with it under Rambo Cambo (well not if you're not upper class anyway.)

  30. Tris,

    It isn’t only Tom Harris who’s left us Scots confused with his steadfast refusal to use the ‘E’ word - it used to be the drug ecstasy that sheltered under this hinted taboo, now it’s an entire country! The English themselves are confused about how to refer to their riots though, whether it was the printed media, the bizarre u-turn by the BBC, or the stubborn refusal of Sky News to use the ‘E’ word.

    But surely the leading candidate for the media schizophrenic of the year award must go to the Economist? In this week’s issue (August 13th), the headline on the front page reads, ‘Anarchy in the UK’ and this is emblazoned on a background photograph that features a riot policeman standing in front of a burning car. The leader article (with the same headline) on p 9, in a 1,000 word article, uses the words “Britain” or “British cities” fifteen times, but not a single use of the ‘E’ word.

    Turn to pages 21-22 however and we encounter an article with the title, ‘Riots in England’ and the sub-title, ‘The worst rioting in decades will cause the country more than money’, though it’s not clear which ‘country’ is being referred to here. This article makes several references to “England” or “English cities” but, curiously, it saves its use of the word ‘Britain’ to the final two paragraphs:

    “A different sort of cost is that Britain’s standing abroad has taken an almighty knock”.

    And, in the final paragraph, we find this:

    “Above all, the riots of 2011 are bound to change the way England thinks about itself...This, to paraphrase the queen, is truly Britain’s annus horribilis”.

    The Economist prides itself on its large foreign readership. If, in the space of thirteen pages of their magazine, they’ve left me completely confused, what on earth will its large foreign readership think?

  31. @Anonymous - even more curious because, abroad, England and Britain are often casual synonyms, with the commoner term being the former. But we have seen this before, haven't we? When a Scottish tennis player wins a tournament, he or she transmogrifies suddenly into British. In any other circumstance, he or she will be simply Scottish.

  32. Mil,

    Spot on. It just gets curiouseer and curiouser.

    I see that Tom Harris over at Labour Shame is in the process of knotting his legs around the back of his neck again. The principle that seems to govern the ‘logic’ of argument at Labour Shame is that, no matter how deep a hole you are in, whatever you do, don’t throw away the shovel, for you never know when it might come in handy. Once again, mastermind Harris seems to be labouring under the delusion that he’s set a trap for the 'nats'. Here’s the latest ‘killer’ question on Labour Shame:

    “Should the largest party at Westminster/Holyrood always have the right to form a government”?

    It turns out that this was all a sophisticated ruse, a trap-door waiting for unwary 'nats' to fall through, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake that Tom could then tidy up with his cllnical and penetrating powers of argumentation.

    So, as the ‘nat’ baddies walk, unsuspectingly, towards Tom’s cunningly placed trap-door, Tom waits for enough of them to fall in, before unleashing his titanic logic.

    Some ‘nats’, not unreasonably you might think, answered yes to this question. And that’s just what our resident mastermind was waiting for (Torcuil Crichton has nothing on this guy). For hidden up his sleeve, Tom has a reference to STVs report, after the 2010 British general election, of Alex Salmond’s suggestion of a “progressive coalition”. Take that you dastardly ‘nats’, or in Tom’s own words:

    “This, of course, is the nationalist hypocrisy and dishonesty the post was intended to expose: the largest party has the right to form a government, unless the biggest party is the Tories, in which case it’s okay to cobble together a coalition to deprive the winners of the prize”.

    Now there’s something not quite right here (don’t worry Tris, I’ll keep it brief). Unfortunately, and not for the first time, mastermind Harris seems to be suffering from the same “selective amnesia” that his (ahem) comrade Tom Watson accused News Corporation of recently. Has Harris forgotten that, immediately after the 2010 British general election, that it wasn't the SNP but Labour that was locked in lengthy coalition talks with the Liberal Democrats?

    So, if anyone is going to be accused of “hypocrisy” and “dishonesty” here, shouldn’t Tom’s finger be pointed at Maggie Broon, Campbell and Mandelson et al? I take it that even mastermind Harris would distinguish between Alex Salmond, on behalf of the SNP (and other parties) touting the possibility of a progressive coalition and a party that is locked in lengthy negotiations to secure such an outcome?

    But maybe Alex Salmond would also have a bone to pick with Tom’s reference to “deprive the winners of the prize”. Maybe Alex Salmond, after the 2010 British general election, thought to himself something along the lines of: the Tories have won 1 out of 59 seats in Scotland, whereas Labour has won 41 seats, the Lib Dems 11 seats and the SNP 6 seats.

    Under these circumstances and, incidentally, to avoid completely discrediting Scottish Labour’s slogan before the 2010 British general election that the only way to keep the Tories out in Scotland was to vote Labour, Alex Salmond thought that it might be a good idea for democracy in Scotland if the possibility of a progressive coalition was at least considered.

    But for mastermind Harris, that’s the height of “hypocrisy” and “dishonesty”. For as we all know, the best thing for democracy in Scotland was to have a Tory government that hardly anyone voted for, impose policies on Scotland that the vast majority of Scotland’s voters don’t want and, while we drown ourselves in Buckie, we can all console ourselves with the comforting thought that, well, at least we haven’t had any riots up here, yet. To which the only answer can be, Grrrrr.

  33. Well exposed Anon, in another beautifully written and witty piece, but I'm not sure that the Economist will make any difference because, as Mil says, the terms "England" and "Britain" are used interchangeably in most places. The number of times I hear, relatively educated commentators on Radio 4 mix the two up is incredible.

    There seems to have been some edict from on high at the BBC. Everyone carefully, almost sarcastically I fancy, in some cases, ensures that we all know that the riots were in England.

    Even Ed Stourton on an obscure programme deffused at 6.30 this morning,analysis the riots from a religious point of view, was at pains to let us know that the riots had only affected England.

    As I understand it some Scottish hoteliers have reported cancellation levels well above normal.

    It's all the tourist trade needs after a wintry summer!

  34. Yes Mil, I'm glad you noticed too how many times Andy Murray have changed nationality..

    However, just for now the BBC are in seventh heaven. it appears the English cricket team has beaten the Indian cricket team and it's just like 1966, according to some dumbass on the radio this morning! Rejoice at that news!

  35. Anon: First off please feel free to use as many column centimetres as you will. I could read your stuff all day!

    Your account of Tom's latest venture into the realms of ridicule has had me in stitches. He's like a child with each new scheme he comes up with to embarrass the SNP.

    Rather like Iain Gray at FMQs, he never seems to learn that preparation in 9/10ths of the game.

    Just as poor old Iain No Mates was apt to go into battle with Alex by handing the FM a wet fish,the better with which to batter him (Iain) around the coupon, so Tommy approaches every new post on Havers' Shame similarly laden... and sure enough there is always someone with a bit more wit than he has, ready to slap him down.

    His response? ... Bin the comments, or close the post. Pathetic!

    Still what would we do without Tom to amuse us?

  36. Russian banker steals billions and runs for London

    London welcomes looters as long as they are rich and boost our house prices.

    Thanks for sorting earlier link error.

  37. A few more rich thieves won't make any difference, CH...