Daily archives: January 2, 2010

Fantasy Joinery

I should like to think that John Major’s attack is a sympton of the establishment washing its hands of Tony Blair, as the US extablishment once backed away from Joe McCarthy after worshipping him.


I hold the deeply unfashionable view that John Major was the best Prime Minister in my lifetime, out of a deeply depressing bunch. I was born in 1958.

Assuming you might find that thought surprising, I might surprise you further by my solution in a little fantasy game – compiling the best possible Cabinet from current parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Malcolm Rifkind

Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Mackinlay

Chancellor Kenneth Clarke

Foreign Secretary Charles Kennedy

Home Secretary Simon Hughes

Defence Secretary Jeremy Corbyn

Education Sarah Teather

Health Hilary Benn

DFID Baroness Chalker

Trade and Industry David Davis

Environment and Rural Affairs Alistair Carmichael

Lord Chancellor Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Transport and Communications Dai Davies

Chief Secretary John Redwood

Work and Pensions Vince Cable

Energy and Climate Change Alan Whitehead

That’s enough of a Cabinet to be going on with, and organised differently to the current and shadow ones. No, I’m not joking. Dai Davies’ key task would be to renationalise the mail and railways. You can guess my reasoning on the others, if you can stop spluttering.

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Attack on Cartoonist is Indefensible

It is not pleasant to be deliberately offensive to anybody’s religious views. But the radical Christian right in the USA, and the whole history of the abuse of religous authority in all religions, shows why it is essential to maintain freedom of speech on religious subjects. So the cartoons about Mohammed should not be censored; the same is true of the films “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “The Life of Brian”. Muslim friends of mine who are outraged at the Danish cartoons, do not hesitate to make fun of Hindus and their perceived veneration of cows.

The values of free speech are crucial. To those who say there is no freedom to offend, I would say that is why they persecuted Gallileo,Copernicus – and Ulugbek. The freedom to offend is essential to human progress.

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