Issue 129:2017 11 16:Diary of a Corbynista (Don Urquhart)

16 November 2017

Diary of a Corbynista

Cabinet Purge:Priti off a cliff, Boris running out of road

by Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart8 November

Priti Patel hasn’t resigned yet.  The bookies reckon before 11.00 this morning.  Apparently she had meetings with Israeli politicians in September as well as her well chewed over holiday in August.  The affair has introduced us to Lord Polak, the Chairman of the lobbying company TWC Associates.  He set up Priti Patel’s 12 meetings.  In the foothills of this issue people are rattling on about a cabinet code of conduct, while history will say that a cabinet minister went on a trip funded by a lobbying company and lied about it through her teeth.

9 November

Who knew what when?  Now Tom Watson weighs in with the suggestion that Priti Patel met with FCO officials in Jerusalem during her holiday.  This need not be at variance with her claim to have informed the FCO during her “holiday”.   Most likely some local embassy person turned up at her hotel to ask “Oi! What’s going on?”  It’s still hardly conceivable that she should behave so recklessly without consulting May or Johnson.  Or did she?  Lord Polak is a major donor to the Tory Party so could it have been official party policy to give him back something for his money?

10 November

Less than half of state secondary schools offer the opportunity to take Computer Science GCSE.  The most obvious reason for this is a shortage of qualified teachers but why should this be the case?  Is it so difficult to work out how many of each type of teacher we need, then put in place a programme to deliver them?  All that the Department of Education can offer is some feeble gestures and aspirations.  Almost certainly this is an area where the Treasury feels the government can get away with cuts.  Either that or successive education ministers have been asleep at the wheel.

11 November

We have short memories.  Trump and Putin met at the Asia-Pacific Summit in Vietnam.  They agreed something about Syria but we don’t know what precisely.  The body language of the photos has the two men at ease with each other and it could just be that they have agreed to work together to clear IS out and to bring peace to Syria.  With Trump you never know what the next tweet will bring but the sight of Russian and American leaders being friendly is surely not a bad thing.

12 November

Michel Barnier is demanding something within two weeks.  Is it a number or an agreement to a process arriving at a number?  Suddenly the Irish question appears intractable with the EU proposing absorption of Northern Ireland into the Single Market and Customs Union.   Michel must be wondering who he should be talking to with Boris and Gove apparently plotting May’s demise, 40 Tory MP’s keen for her to go, and her cabinet colleagues disappearing with the regularity of  X Factor or Strictly contestants missing the cut.  Were it House of Cards you would discard it as implausible.  It is surely just a matter of time before the PM jumps out of the shadows to push a nosy journalist under a tube train.

13 November

Today Theresa May and some of her ministers are meeting with British and European business leaders.  You have to wonder what they are going to discuss that shouldn’t have been put to bed months ago.  Is she going to tell them something new, assure them of Britain’s continuing something or other?  Why would they take any notice of the weakest British Prime Minister since Chamberlain?  How likely is it that she will be there to deliver on any commitments she makes?

14 November

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian housewife who has been sentenced to 5 years in prison in Iran for spying while on a visit to the country.  She has denied this, maintaining that she was in Iran for a holiday and to meet family.  At a Commons Select Committee, Boris Johnson said that she had been in Iran training journalists.  The Iranians took this as confirmation of her criminality and he tried the “I was misinterpreted” line then, when that cut no ice repeatedly, asserted that she had been in Iran on holiday.  Last week he said he would be going to Iran in a couple of weeks, yesterday he said he would go by the end of the year.  At the Guildhall Theresa May had him visiting Moscow to reinforce her new hard line with Russia.  Is it advisable to load him up with any other jobs when his career is defined by whether or not he can arrange the release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe?


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