The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Mutiny
Posted Thursday, 31 January 2008 at 12:09

 

 

I was shocked to see the report on Newsnight that there are rumblings amongst my peers to remove Mr Speaker.

The words of my first chief whip, on my first day, always come back to me when I hear such things; his words were “this place is full of clever b*****s, they are two a  penny in this place, but there are very few nice people.”

 How right he was.

Speaker Martin is one of the nice people, a decent man.

 He is the 156th speaker and there is no mechanism by which he  can be removed.

 This is to protect the Speaker’s position from political interference, and that is how it should be.

I am sure of the 156 Speakers that Parliament has known, some have been good and some bad, some clever and some not. Some kindly and others fierce.

 Whatever they have been, they have each embraced the Speaker’s chair with their own personality and idiosyncratic behaviour,  making each reign of Speaker unique, unlike any other which in itself enhances the nature of the office.

There will be someone at the bottom of it all who has his eye on the Speaker’s chair. Someone who is fed up of waiting for his time to come.

I regard this rumour to pressurise the Speaker to resign as mutinous.
 Maybe it’s  a Labour MP who wants to get his backside  into the chair before the government becomes Conservative led, thereby ensuring a continued reign of a Labour Speaker.

No MP feels enough animosity towards Speaker Martin to instigate a mutiny; self interest will be at the root of this somewhere.

For myself, I find him the kindliest of men. He made me feel welcome when I arrived as a new MP and I have never once been aware of our political differences.

He does frustrate me sometimes when he allows the PM so much leeway at PMQs. He could be a bit harder on ministers and a bit more generous to backbenchers, but is this enough reason to oust him and a tradition which has stood for hundreds of years?

Whoever is at the bottom of the plot should be very careful.

The only hope they have is to pressurise the Speaker to go.

I hope he stands his ground and is loyal to the office which was bestowed upon him.

If they attempt to introduce any other mechanism and set a precedent, whoever is at the bottom of all of this may find it comes back to bite them one day.

 
 
Scholar Google
Posted Wednesday, 30 January 2008 at 14:01

A journalist has sent me an e mail informing me of the web site Google scholar

 

http://scholar.google.co.uk/. I was un-aware of its existence until now.

 

The person who sent me the email said “I was checking out Anands qualifications”. I checked it out myself.

 

The papers he has produced are staggering.

 

“How could the Science and Technology committee have overlooked such a man? The title ‘world authority’ is obviously correct but somehow doesn’t do him justice?” said the journo.

 

It does make you wonder. Especially as Evan Harris told me in the tea room the other day that he knew of Anand when he was at Oxford.

 

I remember well Evan Harris commenting in the committee when I suggested, on number of occasions, that Anand should give evidence.

 

He said, “If we ask every paediatrician from Little Rock to give evidence we will be here forever”.

 

Click on Google Scholar, type in KJS Anand and see for yourself.

 

Then type in the names of the members on the committee who felt that taking evidence from Anand in relation to foetal pain wasn’t necessary.

 
 
I Am Not A Democrat!
Posted Wednesday, 30 January 2008 at 09:52

John McCain with wife Cindy.

Melissa Kite, mistakenly gave the impression in the Sunday Telegraph, that I am a Democrat. I am not - I am most definitely a moderate Republican.

I'm sure Melissa's article had been subjected to word chopping, which allowed this error to occur; however, the interview was about which Democrat candidate I preferred, Clinton or Obama, not which party!

My new American intern Justin has arrived, which means I now have someone to chew the American elections cud with.

He's in the 'military', is a moderate Republican, and McCain's his man.

We were both excited about the Mansion House address Bush delivered this week; and both despair with Giuliani's position in the polls.

McCain's win last night was good news, however, I am so sad that Giuliani came third.

I can't believe Americans aren't crying out for the man who fixed New York and dealt with the aftermath of 9/11.

The rest of my staff look on with bemused wonderment, as American election morning conversation goes over their heads. Never mind you lot - only 11 more months to go!


The atmosphere around Westminster is not very nice, these are strange days.

Hain gone, Alexander hanging by her finger tips, Harman with a big cloud hovering, the media in a feeding frenzy over one of ours.

I can't help thinking it all detracts from the bigger picture, which is the government pushing through legislation, that will see the biggest transfer of powers to the EU, we have witnessed in a very long time.

Everyone in the Chamber was very tetchy last night, lots of shouting and generally a very uncomfortable atmosphere - I didn't like it one bit.

I find it very depressing. As I watched the government's hapless Minister read quickly through a speech prepared earlier by a civil servant, I couldn't help wondering whether democracy really can truly exist in an objective driven society, governed by a political ideology.

I so often see the will of the people ignored - the protocols and traditions of the House - there to guarantee fair representation - abused, as one piece of faulty legislation after another is pushed through.

My own select committee experience, and what I saw in the Chamber last night, would lead me to conclude, probably not.

It's no wonder the American elections provide a bit of light relief!

 
 
"Mystery Guest"
Posted Tuesday, 29 January 2008 at 12:29

Grand Committee Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

“Science is like a constantly rolling movie, whereas legislation is simply a snap shot in time. Legislation must take into account the evolving nature of science,” Professor Sunny Anand.

Last night's meeting was a huge success with lots of MPs and journalists present.

Professor Campbell and Professor Anand both made fascinating presentations.

Professor Anand was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and completed a seven year thesis on foetal pain in three, at which point he transferred to Harvard Medical School.He completed a further seven years research into the same subject, and then became Head of the Arkansas Neo-natal and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

In 20 years he has stood at the cot side of thousands of neo-nates and babies - whatever he learnt during his years of research has been more that supplemented by his years of practical experience.

You just knew you were in the presence of a very learned, great and humble man - the atmosphere in the Grand Committee Room when he spoke to a rapt audience endorsed this.

Professor Anand explained the quality of the research being produced across the world in respect of foetal pain and how the view of Dr Stuart Derbyshire - as espoused in the Science & Technology Select Committee report - has become a minority view amongst academics across the globe.

It might be worth mentioning here,  Derbyshire, who challenges men with the stature of Professor Anand, is a Psychologist. 

I am one of those people - in common with most - who understand their own limitations; it’s a lesson Derbyshire, certainly judging by last night, has yet to learn.

On yesterday's blog I mentioned that Derbyshire had refused to sit on the panel because he claimed it was 'biased.'

Some of us found this slightly amusing, as recently he has sat on three such panels which were entirely pro-abortion - you might say they were biased!

However, towards the end of the evening the last questioner from the audience announced that he was in fact, Dr Stuart Derbyshire; he had sat in the audience throughout.

He challenged Professor Anand with a question, in such a way, which frankly made him look and sound like very much the lesser man.

Whereas everyone else in the room inhaled sharply at the cowardice displayed at hiding at the back of the room, obviously evaluating if he dared be brave enough to ask a question, Professor Anand was delighted.

He immediately quoted Dr Benjamin Franklin - I paraphrase what he said, but in essence it meant that one of the benefits of disagreement, was the outcome of good reason. 

Professor Anand then provided an answer which was based on fact, research and personal experience.

The Professor is already back in the United States as I type this, probably at a cot-side; he was heading straight from the flight back to his Unit.

To sum up the Professor's presentation is difficult to do on a blog; however, both his evidence and arguments were compelling.

He said it is very likely, due to how different areas of the brain develop, mainly at the sub cortex area, that a foetus will feel pain at around 20 weeks and that babies aborted after that time would experience excruciating pain.

Some people left my meeting after hearing Professor Anand, to attend the Lords, where this issue was being debated and voted upon.

They walked into the Lords' gallery to hear Lord Darzi quote form the Science & Technology Committee report that babies don’t feel pain below 26 weeks.

Information which was provided by the psychologist Dr Derbyshire and included in the report, whilst Professor Anand's research, and that of the rest of the world was ignored.

The Today Programme This Morning - Nadine's Blog Monday 28th January 2008

Time To Reduce The Upper Limit For Abortion Meeting On Monday 28th January 2008

 
 
The Today Programme This Morning.
Posted Monday, 28 January 2008 at 10:31

This evening I have organised a meeting in Westminster Hall, to present to MPs the important evidence which was excluded from the Science and Technology Select Committee Report on abortion.

Professor Sunny Anand arrived in the UK at midnight on Friday night, to a collective sigh of relief from the staff in my office.

I won't even begin to tell the story of the effort and organisation required in having his bio-metrics recorded in Geneva en route from America in order to have his Visa processed, so that he could get into the UK to contribute on the panel this evening.

Nope I won't even begin - the blog's not big enough!

I also invited Dr Stuart Derbyshire to join the panel, who believes that a foetus can't feel pain.

He didn't actually send any written evidence to the Science and Technology Committee investigation, yet he was still called as a witness to give evidence. I wonder if that had anything to do with his well known pro-abortion views?

Professor Anand on the other hand, went to great lengths to make the Committee aware of his work and was not called.

Dr Stuart Campbell is also on the panel - Dr Campbell pioneered 4D scanning, giving women the window on the womb they always wished for.

Dr Campbell literally shows us how a foetus behaves in the womb; the pictures you see in newspapers of a foetus walking and thumb sucking, are courtesy of Dr Campbell's work.

Professor Anand is neither pro or anti abortion, but a scientist who simply deals with the facts.

The facts unfortunately didn't fit with the majority pro-abortion view on the Select Committee.

Professor Anand was, however, attacked by Dr Derbyshire in a letter subsequently published in The Times.

So I thought, OK then, face to face is far more preferable than letters in a newspaper - if Dr Derbyshire feels so strongly, let's put him up against Professor Anand on the panel,  two competing views.

Dr Derbyshire declined the invitation, claiming the panel would be biased; excuse me? I asked two foetal pain experts, Anand and himself - i.e. two competing views - how is that biased?

I was therefore very surprised to hear Dr Derbyshire on the Today programme this morning with Professor Anand. It was a clear win for Anand, with Derbyshire sounding brittle in the way many pro-abortionists do. I cannot believe for one moment that Derbyshire would ever attempt to debate against Professor Anand in a room full of his own peers.

Professor Anand explained on the Today programme, how likely it is that a foetus can feel pain below 20 weeks. His personal point of view - given that he has no interest in the issue of abortion - is that if an abortion does take place after this stage, it should be done as humanely as possible, as you are ending the life of a feeling sentient being, which is capable of life.

His balanced view when pushed by Naughtie, was that abortion should not take place beyond 20 weeks.

Interestingly, Derbyshire, would not mention the number of weeks, but prattled on about sovereignty of the body and rights - in code he was saying that it is a woman's body and she should be able to abort at any time.

He did concede, that due to the probability of a foetus feeling excruciating pain, the abortion proceedure should happen as fast as possible.

It is set to be a fascinating meeting and I hope as many MPs as possible will attend.

Time To Reduce The Upper Limit For Abortion Meeting On Monday 28th January 2008

 
 
A Fair Debate....
Posted Wednesday, 23 January 2008 at 14:27

It is no secret that I was extremely unhappy with the Science and Technology Committee report into reducing the upper time limit at which abortion can take place.

 

Not least because the overwhelming majority of people called to give evidence were from the pro-abortion lobby, and, pro-abortion MPs on the Committee heavily influenced the outcome of the report.

 

A minority report was produced in which I highlighted my concerns; however, MPs who wish to facilitate easier access to abortion will use the main report to influence the opinion of other MPs during the debate.

 

In an attempt to highlight the other side of the story, I will be chairing a discussion on Monday night (28 January ) in the House of Commons.

 

On the panel will be Professor Sunny Anand, the world’s leading authority on foetal pain; Professor Stewart Campbell, the pioneer of 4D screening which now shows us exactly how a foetus behaves in the womb; and another speaker to be confirmed.

 

The meeting will take place on Monday night in Westminster Hall between 6-8pm.The Hall will take a maximum of 100 people and entry is strictly controlled by invitation only.

 

The purpose of the discussion is to give people like Professor Anand, whose research was disregarded by the Committee, a platform from which they can present the other side of the argument to MPs, the press, and the rest of society;  including the 72 per cent of the general public who agree that 24 weeks is too late.

 

The reason that I, and all MPs, are in this place should be to represent the will of the people.

 

When it comes to the issue of abortion and what takes place in Parliament, it is very easy to see whose will is being carried out. You look to see where the money is, follow it, and guess which doors you find yourself outside?

 
 
Herriot With Attitude
Posted Monday, 21 January 2008 at 12:32

I attended the Beds & Hunts NFU Annual Ball on Friday evening and sat next to James, a farmer.

He was as stereotypical a farmer as you can get, both in accent and style.

He was a Herriot with attitude!

His directness and stories about his day to day life made me laugh all night.

All the farmers were great fun and dedicated lovers of the land.

The main course was Pork - James said this was a real treat for me as "they was never allowed it before on account of the previous Chairman sayin as 'ow it would get stuck in the ladies’ teeth!"

He gave me a verbal tour around his farm and house, including the room where "the trousers father was wearing the day he came 'ome from the war was still 'angin because there don't seem no point in movin 'em".

James told me about the big birthday party he was planning to have at the house shortly.

I asked him was he using caterers - "Caterers?" He threw back at me. No, we don't use caterers, "they wouldn't know where to start with the big beast we as 'angin."

Anyway James, I thoroughly enjoyed your company and I have made the enquiries you asked me to at DEFRA.

The answer is no - Viagra will do nothing to help with your bulls.

Not unless you give them 96 tablets each anyway.

As I left at 11pm I heard Charlie Porter, the Chairman, shout to the bar tender to ask him what time the bar closed.

"Sunday night" came back the reply. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were still there!

 
 
Surgeries
Posted Friday, 18 January 2008 at 09:58

About to spend the morning at Bedford High School speaking to Upper Four and then the Sixth Form about my minority report on lowering  the upper limit for abortion.
 
Apparently a feminist organisation calling themselves Feminist Fightback are targeting me.

At a secret meeting they decided that a good tactic would be to picket my surgeries and make life generally difficult for me. They are being joined by pro-choice/abortion organisations.

No one can make my life more difficult than it already is, they really are wasting their time!!

They are welcome to picket my sugeries, however, maybe they would like to reflect on the fact that although my surgeries are very busy, they are usually full of people with very serious problems, many of whom are upset and at their wits end by the time they get to my door.

If they are looking for people to sympathise with their position, making life that bit more difficult for someone who has waitied for an appointment to ask for my help isn't a very clever way to go about it.

Anyway, we are one step ahead and predicted this, so I'm seeing constituents at secret locations (how exciting does that sound) or in their own homes over the next six weeks.

And to those who ring up my constituency office pretending to be someone they aren't, trying to obtain details about my movements, Andrea in the constituency office has a nose like a hound dog, so don't waste your time.

 
 
Indiscreet Gossip
Posted Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 16:10

I have been rather touched by the number of Labour MPs who have commented after I posted my Members Tea Room blog in December.

 

When walking into the strangers’ dining room to meet a constituent the other evening, I was even hugged and praised by some. “You are an absolute hero in our eyes” said one. “Really?” said I. “Oh aye”, said he,” why do you think Hazel Blears did so badly in her deputy leadership bid? Who do you think was her campaign manager?”

 

Could that be the reason why when I asked to intervene, when she was speaking in the Chamber yesterday, she agreed and then following a whisper in her ear from the Minister Liam Byrne, changed her mind.

 

 Or, was that more to do with the fact that she had just been espousing what a wonderful job the government were doing with the speedy processing of asylum cases, and Liam Byrne may have known that the New Statesman was today featuring a case of mine, which has been dragging on for four years, and threatens to separate a mother and daughter.

 

Hard to tell really isn’t it?

 

We were at a dinner with David Cameron last night and Keith Simpson MP did the warm up act. He was superb, very dry and very funny. He read a series of spoof letters and in one described me as indiscreet.

 

I take it he was referring to my blog as I am never indiscreet when it matters; however, as Iain Dale will agree, that was a bit ironic coming from Keith!

 

Just returned from a press gallery lunch and listening to Andy Burnham. The newspaper hack who invited me said he thought that if the Conservatives won the next election, Andy was tipped to become the next Labour party leader.

 

The most interesting thing Andy said in his speech was that by the time he was finished, MPs would not be able to afford to buy a copy of the FT.

 

Good job we get a communal one in the office then that’s all I can say!

 

 
 
PMQs Human Hybrids and a Flat Share
Posted Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 13:05

 

The best bit about PMQs today was the look on Ruth Kelly’s face when Gordon Brown commented on the good work of the former Prime Minister, it was indeed a picture!

 

The Lords voted yesterday by a ratio of 3 -1 to allow the creation of animal human hybrids, despite the fact that professor Ian Wllmut who created Dolly the sheep, has now abandoned research into Human Embryos.

 

He believes we should be using adult cells rather than embryo cells on the basis of new research - published in both Japan and the US last November - showing you can produce embryonic like cells from adult cells without the need for Embryo research.

 

This is a route with no ethical problems whatsoever, yet the Lords have chosen to vote for a procedure which has yielded no treatments and with which there are serious ethical problems.

 

I was a co-sponsor of the excellent 10 minute Rule Bill put forward by David Burrowes MP this week, to encourage the collection of umbilical cord blood which contains cells that are both flexible and rich enough to provide a wealth of cures for serious ailments such as leukaemia.

 

As I said yesterday, don’t expect any common sense; what we saw yesterday was a triumph for the bio-technology industry.

 

Whenever there’s a bad decision in Parliament, you will often find money at the bottom of it.

 

 

There is a rumour circulating that I am about to flat share with three male MPs.

 

The minute I heard the word ironing, the rumour became un- true.

 
 
Who am I?
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2008 at 12:28
Well, if I were writing this blog in 2020 and aged 12, it might be impossible to answer that question.

I may have been born as a result of my mother’s dexterous use of a sperm kit, or via the result of gametes created by two women.

I would probably be entirely unable to source my genetic make-up, and would never be able to answer the question: who am I?

Unfortunately, the argument and debate around the creation of human hybrids, cybrids, and fatherless children, flies over the top of the head of just about every member of the public.

Far be it from me to suggest that the government are hoping that this is exactly the case. Heaven forbid that the people should understand the detail contained within the Human Tissue & Embryology Bill, being discussed in the Lords at the present, and about to appear in the Commons for MPs to debate and vote upon.

It would be very foolish indeed for the public to hope that common sense would prevail, and that MPs and Peers would see the dangers posed within the Bill.

Everyone I have spoken to who has heard, or read, of the case of the identical twins, who were both adopted at birth by different families, and unaware of each others existence, met and married before discovering that they were twins, has been appalled and shocked.

This may not be such an un-common occurrence in the future.

In the future, any husband who asks his wife ‘who are you?’ may find the reply is ‘your wife, the mother of your children and your sister.’

’Who am I?’ may become a question no-one dares ask.
 
 
Organ Donor Transplants
Posted Monday, 14 January 2008 at 10:58
One of the most fascinating people I ever worked for was Professor Robert Sells, from the Renal Transplant Unit, at the Royal Liverpool Teaching Hospital.

He doesn’t know it, but he introduced me to classical music; the very first track I heard was on his cassette which he played very loudly in the theatre whilst he was operating.

I was just a junior nurse assisting in a junior role, during a very long operation at the time; however, he still found the time to ask me on a couple of occasions during the seven hour stint, whether I was OK and referred to me as a member of the firm. When I subsequently worked in his clinic, I found him to be one of the most considerate professors I ever worked with.

No matter how late it was, before he went home, he would always come down to the unit or the ward, to check on the patient he had operated on that day, despite the fact that the remainder of ‘the firm’, in the form of doctors and registrars, had taken over. He would also - unknown to the rest of the firm - often ring up late at night to check again.

I often trust the opinion of genuinely dedicated kind people, and now, after a number of years, I find it difficult to remember the detail of his argument; however, he was passionate about the need for more donor organs for transplantation.

I believe there should be an automatic presumption for organ donation after death by trauma.

There should be a database for people who do NOT want their organs to be used for transplant - giving people the freedom to opt out.

The harvesting of certain organs, such as cornea, heart, liver, lung and kidney, should be automatic from people once they have died a traumatic death via an RTA or similar; especially the young.

Each region should have a team ready to operate when needed, to remove organs, and there should also be a national database prioritising organs urgently required, especially for children.

It’s tough. It sounds harsh, but so does the death of a thousand people a year, many of whom are children, due to the lack of organ donation.

After all, the government has spent billions on a new NHS computer system. A simple database with the ability for an individual to register their position for non-removal, and for hospitals to check, should be simple enough.

At birth, during the post delivery process before a baby leaves hospital, parents should be asked whether or not to have their child opted out until, say for arguments sake, age 18.

If someone felt strongly enough about not having their organs taken, I am certain they would make sure their name was on that database.

I am also quite sure of this: that if today, the strongest objector to this proposal, or their child or loved one, had the misfortune to be diagnosed as having six weeks to live unless a kidney is found, may suddenly feel a little differently.
 
 
It will All End in Tears
Posted Friday, 11 January 2008 at 14:01

So at long last, a timid Hutton spells out the case to go nuclear.

 

He was so ‘not going to go nuclear’ during his statement that if you hadn’t been fascinated by the issue, you could have been forgiven for dropping off!

 

I had an engagement in my constituency and by a stroke of luck managed to get in front of a monitor with Sky when he was about 10 minutes in.

 

If Hutton is going to face down the dissent on his side of the House, and silence the Labour rebels, he is going to need to sound a whole lot more convinced himself first. He needs to say it like he means it… doesn’t he?

 

I drove into John R Ford’s garage in my constituency this morning, which is very female friendly; however, even by their standards, I was pushing the limit.

 

“Hi”, breezed I, strolling into the pit, “there’s a red tear-drop light come up on the dash-board of my car.  Is that something to worry about, or is the car just at its wits end with my driving?”

 

“Tear drop”? said the lovely patient mechanic as a look of concern crossed his face. He tookk a stick out of the car engine and said something I can’t type.

 

It was the oil by all accounts. “Is it low?” said I. “Low” said the mechanic, “there isn’t any. I have no idea how you have driven it here. The engine is about to seize up any minute.”

 

See, my car does love me after all – proven by the fact it is no longer crying.

 

 
 
State Of The Nanny.
Posted Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 13:57

The most pitiful sight in Westminster at the moment must be that of Patricia Hewitt walking purposefully up and down the hallowed corridors.

It's a tough game politics - one minute you're at the top of your game, Secretary of State with enough offices to house the entire inward contingent of Polish dentists, and next you're just a backbencher; one day every member of the media craves five minutes of your time, and you have so many advisers and staff at your disposal, it's hard to remember everyone's name - and then the phone stops ringing.

A lobby journalist yesterday commented that nanny Hewitt cried when asking her questions at PMQs - I don't think so; she often had problems with her voice when speaking - she does however look desperately sad, as though she doesn't know what to do with herself.

Someone needs to look after her. Jack (Straw) maybe, he is kindly and caring - Jack are you reading this? Get it sorted!

The usual way of dealing with such a blow is to take self-imposed gardening leave for a few weeks, and then breeze back into Westminster, as though one had never been anything other than a backbencher.
Someone really needs to tell her this.

Watching her yesterday, I couldn't help thinking that although I love my job and think it's the best in the world, the level of cruelty it can impose on an individual, with no preparation whatsoever, is almost too harsh.

 
 
A few tears, a pink scarf...
Posted Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 11:35

Hillary Clinton

  

And New Hampshire fell. The machine became a woman in the nick of time.

 

Just in case anyone is wondering where my loyalties lie, I want to see the man who fixed New York, Rudi Giuliani, become the next President of the United States; however, I just can’t help admiring Hillary. I will remain fascinated by her road-show until Election Day.

 

I am having lunch with a journalist today. He wrote an article a couple of days ago which said that MPs earn £60k a year and then added, however, they also receive £130k in allowances. Full stop, no explanation.

 

He didn’t say this extra £130k pays for staff salaries, NI contributions, office running costs, printing, computers, postage etc. He misleadingly gave the impression that the £130k went into my pocket, I wish!

 

Good job he is taking me to a very posh Sushi restaurant….. I do hope he is bringing his expense claim form for December for me to have a look at !!

 
 
All substance but no style?
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 15:50

Hillary Clinton

Watching the video of Hillary Clinton close to tears last night on Conservativehome, I realised for the very first time, that I was watching a woman.

I thought back to a news report of her I saw years ago and another impression she left on me then. It was during the "I did not have sex with that woman" days; there was Hillary, stoic, standing by her man, unemotional, not a trace of despair or betrayal to be seen in her face.

Not for one second did the world see the gut wrenching pain that she - someone full of ambition and ability - must have felt, having stood in the shadows and supported a man who was unable to even repay her with the most basic loyalty.

Bill Clinton's words yesterday "I can’t make her male or younger" grated on me slightly.

Not being male is not the problem, if anything she needs to be more of a woman, because at the moment the androgeonous, sexless, too short hair, mens' besuited image, she is presenting to America portrays a person and a life, that no one can relate to.

What was she wearing yesterday? Nothing that said I am a woman.

Look at some of the other women who have made it on the world stage in politics - Segolene Royale used every female asset in the book; beautiful, poised, elegant, she presented every woman in France with an image that they either were themselves, or wished to aspire to.

Benazir Bhutto, despite her cultural dress code, always looked feminine and charmed in a very strong but feminine way.

People even said Margaret Thatcher was sexy!(?)

Is it all about image then? Is that how shallow it all is?

To a large degree yes - in a world of media driven politics, Hillary's biggest mistake has been her failure to employ a personal style consultant, not having grown her hair longer, dieted, worn feminine clothes and shown a little bit more of the raw emotion.

America knows her policies, it’s the woman they need to see.

And maybe a few years ago she should have shown every woman in America, that whilst she was experiencing what many other women have - and those who haven’t live in fear of - that when she cuts, she bleeds, just like the rest of us.

 
 
Health Warning!
Posted Monday, 7 January 2008 at 14:49

Gordon Brown’s promise that every adult in Britain will be given a ‘Health MOT’ is at best, a very opportunistic gimmick, and at worse, a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

Apparently, the details are still being worked out, however, initially screening is to be offered to the over 60s.

Many may remember the generous pay rise awarded to GPs not that long ago.

Contrary to popular opinion, GPs were not instantly given a pay rise overnight, there were certain conditions which had to be met, one of which was the establishment of protocols for the screening of patients for diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. It would be very difficult indeed to find a GP who didn't screen, as a matter of course, all patients over 60/65.

In addition to this, it’s almost impossible to register with any GP, as a result of the newly established protocols, without first having an appointment with the GP to assess your level of wellness and undergoing routine screening.

The problem is, and always has been, with the working well and busy population, who regardless of how many times they are called, rarely attend appointments for screening.

So surely the answer is to offer all employers incentives to run screening within the workplace and start the process much earlier than 60/65?

This could be done in a similar way to which the blood transfusion service operates - after all, it’s in the employer’s best interests to ensure a healthy workforce.

Today is the first day Parliament sits of the new year and the Prime Minister delivers a speech, the substance of which is spin and gimmicks, devoid of original thought or inspiration.

That’s promising then!

 
 
D:Ream Election
Posted Friday, 4 January 2008 at 22:15

 

This week gone may have been a quiet one in British politics; however, it was a very exciting one in Iowa USA.

 

I have lost count of the number of people who have said to me today, “Americans will never vote for a woman President” or “Americans will never vote for a Black President”.

 

Well, the only seriously considered Caucasian male is a Republican, and given that just about everyone thinks the Democrats are sailing towards their D:Ream election, I will personally hesitate from making such statements!

 

I am sorry I haven’t blogged earlier today; Friday is always difficult as I am on the road or on appointments almost all day.

 

Today involved meetings with the Chief Constable, constituents, Robert Bloomfield School (see main website) and Aragon Housing Association, amongst other things!

 

Regular blogging will take place in future on the five weekdays and I promise I will always try to get something up on the Friday, even if it’s only ‘have a nice weekend’, speaking of which….

 
 
All You Need To Know!
Posted Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 11:37

For anyone like me who is a bit of an American election virgin, then I strongly suggest you read All you need to know on Conservative Home each day. Check out (there I go slipping straight into American speak!) the ‘play political videos’. I will be following All you need to know every day because it’s bite sized and gives me maximum information with minimum demand on my time.

Iain Dale has taken exception to yesterday’s blog, and he is perfectly entitled to do so; however, as I said to Iain this morning, he can’t really think Catherine Tate is in the same ball park as Ricky Gervais, can he?

I know I sounded mean, but, I think we have to shore up the parameters of what makes a decent society; and although I am about to have my head blown off on Iain's site, on this occasion I pick up the baton.

Some of you may remember my Tosca and Digger blog from a while ago. Tosca died yesterday aged only 4. He was the kind of Jack Russell that would jump on your lap and then look at you with eyes that said “I didn’t hurt you there did I? A sad day.

(Tosca has the lighter face on the picture).

 
 
Happy New Year!
Posted Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 14:57

Happy New Year everyone!

I have just written my first official letter of the New Year, to OFCOM, and I feel like a complete dragon for having done so.

I am sure that those of us who enjoyed the traditional ‘at home family Christmas’ did much the same as me, and overdosed on Christmas TV.

Having watched endless episodes of The Vicar of Dibley, Father Ted, Blackadder, and Red Dwarf; timed my pud to coincide with the Christmas special of To the Manor Born; and been subjected to endless episodes of the forever perpetually screened teenage favourite Friends, I have reached a conclusion - that the funniest comedy is entirely void of bad language and overt sexual innuendo.

It is also obviously written by people with great intellect, who know how to knit the laughs through a script for maximum well-timed impact. Will and Grace apparently has a team of 12 such clever people.

After 15 minutes of Catherine Tate (recorded), I switched off. It was offensive and violated the expression 'family viewing'. I thought of 'The Office Christmas Special' and how Ricky Gervais mixed pathos and wit with spectacular success.

Catherine Tate didn't. On what is, whether you are religious or not, a day which is special to all, her own version of the Christmas special was astoundingly inappropriate.

And so, I have begun the New Year complaining. I know many will think I'm more like scrooge than even scrooge was, and that maybe the ghost of Christmas past should have paid me a visit; however I do believe that if we don't speak out about the little things which erode the margins of acceptable standards, then it becomes a free for all; and what little protection is given to families and children will disappear altogether.

I'm not saying no to Catherine Tate - I'm saying yes, at the right time in the right place, and that wasn't it.

Back to normal daily blogging now, and looking forward to it!

 
 
 
 
 

 
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