Galvin Reardon

Updated: Did Police lie to Jasna Badzak’s lawyers?

Update Monday: I have added further evidence on the actions of a) the police officer who colluded with Gerard Batten MEP and threatened journalists, and on DC Galvin’s actions against Ms. Badzak and his statements to her lawyers in advance of her criminal trial. I can only suggest readers search for the word “Update”. It seems necessary to evidence at the point where it is referenced, rather than adding it separately.

This blog is a story of how two Met Police Officers conspired and colluded against a private citizen on behalf of a politician, Gerard Batten MEP,  falsely arresting her, falsely testifying against her, and framing her for a crime she did not commit.

It is a story of how they were assisted by another policeman who directly colluded with Mr. Batten to smear Jasna Badzak before her trial to journalists, and threaten them if they wrote negative stories on Batten; a fourth policeman corruptly claiming that they did not exist; and a fifth policeman who, I believe, falsely claimed that Officer 4 was uncontactable and could not be asked why he had lied about the existence of these first two officers.

Complaints of police corruption should, of course, normally be addressed through the proper police channels.

But I have hard evidence before me that complaints, repeatedly made through those proper channels, were corruptly dealt with (see the Met Officer in the Directorate of Professional Services lying about the policemen that were the subjects of so many complaints by saying they did not exist, so he would not take the complaint further). I have seen hard evidence that the IPCC referred the corruption case back to the same corrupt force that had lied to, forged evidence on, and threatened journalists over Ms. Badzak.

When the IPCC and the Met’s own DPS are refusing to investigate or actively lying (as I have proven the latter were), the only recourse to justice is the sunlight of public exposure. I put my faith in the public, and once I have blogged with redaction all the evidence I have, only then will I take it to the Met who conspired, and the IPCC who failed to investigate them – despite the clear evidence I put before you all, right now, in the open.

Jasna Badzak is a former member of UKIP.

She has a conviction for fraud (of a month’s salary and travel expenses) for the MEP for whom she used to work, Gerard Batten. She protests her innocence.  She had no prior criminal record, had a high-level security clearance and was of good character as determined in court.

So far, so clear.

Jasna Badzak is also, now, a cardiac patient.

She had her first cardiac arrest at the age of 39, due to stress from being pursued by corrupt officers of the Metropolitan Police force intervening improperly on behalf of an elected politician. She had no prior history of heart trouble of stress. She is now 41 years old and still a cardiac patient; the campaign by certain officers of the Met Police against her continues. I believe and hope that when charges of perverting the course of justice are eventually brought, that the CPS will add to them charges of Actual Bodily Harm – the police officers who did this to Jasna were well aware of her cardiac condition.

Mr. Lee Jasper has written a blog about Ms. Badzak’s various accusations against Batten and UKIP and how the police dealt with them. While I certainly cannot endorse all it contains (simply because I have no knowledge of various matters) Jasper is clear that he describes allegations, rather than facts. I read the blog carefully. It is more about alleged corruption in the Met than it is about Mr. Batten, whom it mentions in passing. Nowhere does the blog make threats towards Mr. Batten. Nowhere does it use racial or religious slurs against him. It is not in the league of actual online harassment against a politician such as that leveled against Stella Creasy MP or Luciana Berger MP.

I have obtained evidence of threats made by specific Metropolitan Police officers against other journalists – for clarity, not myself, Michael Crick, nor Lee Jasper (qua blogger), but two other separate journalists.

As I believe that a great abuse of power is being committed here, and that there is evidence of deeply troubling and improper collusion between some officers of the Metropolitan Police Force and politicians to act against a private citizen, I shall be submitting the evidence I hold to the following people and bodies:

The Home Affairs Select Committee

The IPCC

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

and the Electoral Commission.

However, as the emails I have obtained appear to involve improper actions by police officers, there must be transparency. Complaining to police officers about police officers does not always, alas, produce the results one would wish.

Here is the exact content of the email sent to a journalist, by a Met Police officer. I am leaving out everything that could identify the parties involved. The email was sent to a journalist at a national publication.

Dear Sirs

It has been brought to the attention of the Metropolitan Police, that in recent days journalist [sic] from [publication - redacted] and [publication - redacted] have been provided material by an unknown source about the political affairs of Mr. Gerard Batten MEP. An ex-employee of Mr. Batten’s  has recently been charged with numerous dishonesty offences [sic] and is currently awaiting trial at Southwark Crwon Court [sic]. Part of the bail conditions for this ex-employee is not to contact directly or indirectly Mr. Batten. This condition is in place to prevent any further publication of articles which the Courts have deemed to be untruthful and concerning to Mr. Batten.

Any articles published which are linked to the subject may result in further arrests being made. I request that while these ongoing Court proceedings are underway that you thoroughly check the sources of the information, prior to contacting either Mr. Batten or going to press.

regards

[signature of the officer. The officer lists themselves as being a "Financial Investigator"]

Police officer threatens journalist

The journalist replies:

I spoke to Gerard Batten about his alleged links to far-right groups such as the English Defence League.

I fail to see how this is relevant to a serving Met officer investigating financial crime. Why have you chosen to intervene in this matter on Batten’s behalf, copying him into our exchange on his private email address?

Most people would interpret it as an attempt to warn me off writing about Batten. This, I believe, is a potential abuse of office.

I’d be grateful if you could respond to the following questions by 7pm tonight:

Who asked you to contact me? Was it Batten or somebody else in your unit/team who knows Batten?

What is your relationship to Batten?

Are you a member or supporter of UKIP?

Are you a member or supporter of [redacted] or any other [redacted] organisation?

Many thanks for your time and attention.

Best wishes,

[name]

Journalist challenges police offier

The reporter also emailed Mr. Batten.

….but I wanted to know why you asked [name of officer] at the Met Police to get in touch with me about something to do with a fraud case when I spoke to you [redacted] about something completely different, i.e. your relationship with Alan Lake and the EDL?

You’ll be familiar with this exchange as [name of officer] copied you in and stated my recent contact with you had been “brought to the attention of the Metropolitan Police” – clearly by you or someone in your office – and then went on to allege that I had been “provided material by an unknown source” without any proof of this. [name of officer] – a financial investigator – said it was all to do with your “political affairs”. So what’s it got to do with him? He even suggested I could be arrested if I published an article about you.

I’d be grateful for your explanation as I have some concerns about such an intervention by the police on behalf of a politician.

Journalist challenges Batten

Now, not only did the police officer above copy in Gerard Batten MEP, on his private email address, to that officer’s threats to this journalist – but Gerard Batten MEP was also in direct contact with the same officer. This again is a typed out email from Mr. Batten to the officer threatening the journalist

Dear [Diminutive, familiar form of the first name of the officer, whose email to the journalist had used their formal first name],

Very sorry to bother you with this. Please see the exchange of messages below. I have only just been able to get into my office to email you, I didn’t have your email address to hand.

I got a text message from [name of journalist being threatened by the police officer] at about 9pm last night. I told him to email me any questions.

In my view he is just trying to draw me out, but we will find out tomorrow.

Regards,

Gerard.

Batten colludes with officer threats

Gerard Batten MEP then forwards on to the police officer the email of reply he sent to the journalist’s questions about his collusion with the police officer. As you will see, Mr. Batten refuses to answer the journalist’s questions about whether he, Batten, asked the officer to intervene with this journalist, threatening him on Batten’s behalf.

Dear [name of journalist],

I sent you an email last Friday with my comments. I have nothing further to add. If you have any questions regarding Mr.] [surname of officer]‘s email, I can only suggest that you address them to him.

Regards

Gerard

You will note that an officer unconnected to the appropriate department appears to be taking unwarranted actions against Ms. Badzak, and in favour of Mr. Batten. The first officer, the one whose emails I posted above, is a Financial Investigator writing about “the political affairs of Mr. Gerard Batten MEP”.

UPDATE:  I have now been able to establish that the evidence against Jasna Badzak was so wafer-thin that she was re-bailed THIRTEEN TIMES before being charged. I have further established that the charging officer was THE VERY SAME OFFICER who had smeared her to the press before her trial, when she enjoyed the presumption of innocence, and colluded directly with Gerard Batten MEP – both this officer to Batten, and Batten to this officer – in threatening journalists and smearing Ms. Badzak to those same journalists. Below is the charging sheet. I have cut it off before the name of the charging officer can be read. It is the same officer. The top of the charge sheet is also missing as it gives Badzak’s address

Charge sheet

Lee Jasper’s blog is an extraordinary read. It is important to say that I have no idea what in it is truthful or not truthful, but there is one thing in his blog I do want to verify from evidence that I have in my own possession. Here I am quoting sections of his blog on the existence or otherwise (!) of two Metropolitan Police Officers. (I cannot verify that what he reports they did or didn’t do is accurate; he is reporting what Ms. Jadzak told him.)

All of her complaints were being handled by a Metropolitan Police Officer, one Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon. Despite repeated requests for updates on what was happening to her complaints she had no response from Reardon.

…..She reported this intimidation [LM- referred to earlier in LJ blog] to the Met and was surprised to find out that yet again these complaints were being refereed to a Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon, the very same officer who had failed to investigate her initial complaints of UKIP racism and EU fraud.

Worried about escalating violent intimidation and seeking to cope with her own failing health, Jasna then seeks a restraining order court injunction against Batten in Feb 2012.

Met officer supports UKIP. 

Here’s where the begins to get interesting, MPS Detective James Galvin turns up at court, embraces Gerard Batten proceeds to tell the court that the MPS has no record of any allegations against Batten nor were there any current, active police investigation into him. That was a lie and, as the MPS has now admitted Galvin, had no authority to represent the Met or attend court. Her case was eventually dismissed as a result.

I interrupt Lee Jasper’s blog at this point to introduce readers to what appears to be DS James Galvin. Sources say that this is James Galvin’s public Facebook profile

Galvin FB jpeg

This James Galvin has locked his Facebook profile so that his previous online comments and activism re UKIP cannot be seen. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to completely change his settings. The following are taken from “Photos James Galvin Likes” and “Pages James Galvin Likes.” And I have taken screenshots of a great, great many more. Enjoy – although I’m sure Jasna Badzak didn’t

GU 1jGalvin UKip 12jGU 5jGU 6jG U P 1jG U P 2j 

By Sunday, 9th November, DS Galvin had removed all the UKIP photos he liked and UKIP pages he liked from his Facebook, after I tweeted several examples. He had left up his pro-UKIP activism on “Posts James Galvin likes” and “Posts James Galvin has commented on.” DS Shaun Reardon had also deleted his LinkedIn profile. If indeed this is the same James Galvin, the conflict of interest with Galvin’s political activism online is obviously huge.

I have been able to verify, in a court statement provided in the civil case by DS James Galvin, that he intervened in a private citizen’s civil case on behalf of Gerard Batten MEP of UKIP.  I have this evidence in my possession.

Galvin civil statement

Furthermore, having intervened in a civil case on behalf of Gerard Batten MEP without any authorization to do so, James Galvin should not have been investigating Jasna Badzak for any alleged offence. He had a giant conflict of interest. Ms. Badzak filed a complaint against him as soon as he intervened in her civil case.

Update: I have now been able to verify that police documents exist, appearing to show that DC Galvin told Ms. Badzak’s lawyers saying he had NOT been a witness in the civil case.

Galvin civil

“Whilst investigating another matter a man called Goran from Hodge Jones and Allen who claimed to represent Ms. Badazk asked me if we were going to charge Ms Badzak, he also asked if I had given evidence in a civil matter. This took place in the custody suite of Charing Cross Police Station. When answerd [sic] that the CPS would be handed the file and I had not given evidence he said “He had concerns”. I invited him to make a formal allegations [sic] if he had concerns and upon showing him out of the Police station asked him to make his complaint to a senior officer via the station office if he had “Concerns”

Yet despite all these many, huge, irregular, politically motivated actions DC James Galvin took against Jasna Badzak, he was one-half of the investigating team and one-half of the arresting team.

My quotation from Lee Jasper’s blog resumes below

Gerard Batten, then formally wrote to the MPS on October 5th 2012 reporting his fraud allegations against Jasna. He actually wrote his allegation on UKIP letterhead, which must constitute and attempt to politically influence the investigation.  The Met having failed to investigate any of Jasna serious previous allegations, then acted immediately upon receipt of Battens complaints. .

Jasna was subsequently arrested on 29th November 2011, when surprise, surprise, Detectives Constable James Galvin and Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon both, attended her home. They wanted to arrest her there and then, but she Jasna was so ill, it was decided to take her to hospital instead.

The Met formally denies the existence of two serving police officers misleading the Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Subsequent to her eventual arrest and charging, Jasna wrote to the Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe asking, why her many complaints to the MPS had not been investigated? This she pointed out, was in total contrast to the Mets swift and immediate response to Battens complaint.

This lead to another key question, why had DC Galvin had turned up at the injunction hearing, defending Batten?

The answer, when it came, was as shocking as it was unexpected. The Mets Department of Professional Standards informed her that the Metropolitan Police Service employed no such named police officers. Shocked and alarmed she persisted and again she was told again that no such officers were employed by the Met.

She then wrote to the Independent Police Compliant Commission who after some time, wrote back, confirming, that after discussions with the Met, they too  confirmed that no such officers existed.

Jasna at this stage was completely frustrated and wrote to Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron. Both men wrote to the Met and both were told, in writing, that no such officers worked for the Met.

The fact is the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the IPCC, were mislead and possibly willfully mislead, by the Met DPS about the existence of these two officers.

This begs they very important questions as to precise circumstances that led to two of the most senior Tory politicians in the land were provided with inaccurate and misleading information?

I can confirm in this blog that I have, in my possession, the following evidence:

1. A letter to Jasna Badzak from a third officer at the Met Police’s Directorate for Professional Standards saying that they could not investigate a complaint against officers Galvin and Reardon because they did not exist “the officers you have named as being officers of the MPS are not officers with the MPS. I have throughly interrogated all MPS systems and cannot find any trace of those officers.”

DPS lies on headed paper 2j

2. An email  to Jasna Badzak from the same officer dated 10 Jan, 2013, again repeating that these two officers, do not exist (following her astonished protests of disbelief, since these officers had actually shown up at her house and arrested her).

Jasna Galvin 2

3. Firm evidence that, in a phone call to Ms. Badzak, a fourth officer – this time of the rank of Inspector, I think it is important to state that – spoke to her about this matter and stated

Insp: “In 2012, I understand you attempted to make a complaint about officers Fleming, Galvin and Reardon… you made a complaint.” Ms. Badzak said she had made a complaint to the Mayor of London and the Prime Minister, who, she said, wrote to Bernard Hogan-Howe, who, she said, passed it further down. The Inspector replied “Yes”. “And I got the reply which I got which said that these police officers do not exist,” Ms. Badzak responded. “Yes,” the Inspector replied. “We made an error, and I apologize for that error.” Ms Badzak exclaimed “You made an error!” The Inspector replied “Yes. They do exist. It wasn’t correct what we told you.” Ms B: “So why did you tell me that, then?” Insp “The officer who made that decision, and told you, is on a career break, he’s not in the country, I can’t ask him why. But it may be that he misread our database. You know – sometimes people make human errors. But the bottom line is we made a mistake, I apologize, we made a mistake.

Again – Ms Badzak was arrested, November 4th, by a DS in the Major Crimes Unit, Westminster, for “harassment” of Gerard Batten, MEP, for RTing a blog in which these allegations are detailed.

UPDATE: THU Nov 6, 2 of 2: I have now seen evidence that Ms. Badzak’s conviction for fraud was based in large part on an “expert witness statement” provided by DS Shaun Reardon. This is the same DS Reardon to whom she had addressed all her initial complaints about UKIP racism and Mr. Batten, complaints which had not been acted upon. This is the same DS Reardon whom she complained about to the IPCC. When Ms. Badzak was reporting extensive physical harassment at her home by members of the EDL, as noted in Lee Jasper’s blog, she was amazed to find that her complaints about that were being directed to…. DS Shaun Reardon, whose inaction was the subject of her IPCC complaint. Again, nothing was done. 

It was Officer Galvin whom, it is alleged, showed up, unauthorized, to court to defend Mr. Batten in her attempt to secure a restraining order against Batten (I am trying to verify this part of the story).

But it was then DS Reardon and Officer Galvin together who showed up at Ms. Badzak’s house to arrest her for fraud. She complained about both of them – clearly there was at this point a colossal conflict of interest in having either officer, both with pre-existing complaints about them to the police, arrest or investigate Ms. Badzak for anything. And then she was told, the Mayor of London was told, and the Prime Minister was told, falsely, that neither officer existed, see above.

This morning I must update and report that I now have further evidence in my possession that Ms. Badzak’s conviction for fraud was based in large part on the “expert forensic witness” of DS Shaun Reardon who claimed that she forged a bank statement. I have a copy of DS Reardon’s “expert witness” statement to the court, testifying against Ms. Badzak This is the same Reardon who was the subject of her complaints and who was “disappeared” by the Directorate of Professional Standards at the Met in a letter, on headed official paper, in my possession. 

As far as I can tell the only evidence against Ms. Badzak for fraud was this “altered statement” alleged to exist by…. Detective Sgt. Shaun Reardon

More later. 

Personally, I believe in transparency. I am absolutely confident of my evidence and I present it here in order that there be as little cover-up going forwards as possible. I am prepared to make my evidence available to the IPCC and other sources.

One officer threatening a journalist

A second officer from the Directorate of Professional Standards denying the existence of Met Police Officers (twice, and in detail, and emphatically) that Ms. Badzak claims harassed her

A third officer of the rank of Inspector telling Ms Badzak that the officer who denied their existence was “on a career break” “out of the country” “I can’t ask him why” “It may be that he misread our database”

And a fourth and fifth officer, Detectives Galvin and Reardon, who had vast conflicts of interest that should have barred their testimony at any trial of Jasna Badzak.

Clearly, this matter goes beyond any kind of politics to the very deepest, darkest abuses of our capital’s major police force against a private citizen. I am not an investigative journalist (thankfully, Mr Crick does have those credentials) but I recognize shocking abuse when I see it, and I hope I have enough of a sense of duty not to remain silent when I am confronted with hard evidence of injustice being done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can Scotland Solve England’s EU Migrant Problem?

Picture this: the SNP sweeps Labour in the general election, leading to a hung parliament. Nicola Sturgeon offers David Cameron to vote through English votes for English laws in exchange for Devo-Max, or devolution max. In such an arrangement, the SNP would govern Scotland and Cameron, plus probably a reduced LibDem and other coalition partners, would govern the rest of the UK. No “coalition” between the SNP and the Tories would happen, or even be possible – because after that first legislation, Scots MPs couldn’t vote on English matters anyway.

In this scenario, the financial settlement for Scotland would be part of the initial haggling, and the SNP would set Scots income tax and spending policies.

Reserved UK matters would be defence and foreign affairs.

There is, however, still one fly in the ointment. Different Scottish and rUK attitudes to immigration.

Scotland still constitutes only (approx) 1/10 of the UK’s population. The nation needs bodies. They want immigrants. Also, the SNP fears Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU, the SNP could feel stymied in its ongoing wish for Scotland to break from the UK. They would wish to join the EU – and in the indyref, Spain and others made it clear that wasn’t happening.

But allow me to propose a unique solution – and suggest a shift of attitudes to my Conservative party’s opponents, the SNP. What if London listened to Edinburgh on EU immigration – and vice-versa? The English and Welsh want fewer immigrants, Scots want more. What if David Cameron, in agreement with Nicola Sturgeon, passed laws stating that until the EU referendum happened in 2017, all or most EU migrants – Sturgeon could specify the proportion she wanted – would be required to live in Scotland? That they could not access any government services, or benefits, including the NHS and schooling, unless they were living in Scotland. (I have edited the post to remove a suggestion to criminalize moving elsewhere – it wouldn’t be necessary. We could simply limit our benefits, which is in our control, to make it clear that EU migrants can access them only in Scotland).

That would drive a large section of population north to Scotland, would fulfill the SNP’s more population wish, would cease to overload housing waiting lists in England, and would satisfy English and Scottish voters without necessarily flouting the EU too much. Being able to decide where in the UK migrants live and work might be much more palatable to Angela Merkel etc than asking to decide how many EU migrants come to the country. Of course, in the post GE15 Devo-Max Scotland I envision, the type and amounts of benefits EU migrants settling in Scotland receive would be none of David Cameron’s business, but would be set by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Further, if Sturgeon wants the UK to stay in the EU, fixing the vexed question of EU migration in this way would be a huge boost to her cause. It would also help Scotland’s economy as Scotland is clearly under-populated, whereas SE England is overloaded. Conversely, assuming that even in my scenario, Sturgeon and the SNP would still be agitating for full and total independence, she should consider that Brexit now will help Scottish independence chances. While Spain and others with separatist regions don’t want Scotland leaving the UK as an EU member, and therefore will throw up barriers to Scottish entry, if the UK has already voted to come OUT, and snubbed Brussels, an independent Scotland is likely to be welcomed IN with garlands of flowers and blue-and-white balloons.

Cameron needs to have the SNP front and centre in his mind. If Johann Lamont tells us Labour puts Scotland last, the Tories can’t make the same mistake. Ruth Davidson will see a small Tory revival as the Unionist party in NO heartlands repped by SNP at Westminster. That revival will increase if Cameron is the anti-Miliband and treats Scotland and the Scots with “parity of esteem”, as sovereign partners in a devolved UK. NIMBYism usually plagues politics. But for once, “Not In My Back Yard” might not describe just the problem of excessive EU migration to the UK, but the solution to it.

Whiplash-5547.cr2

Whiplash: the Film of the Year is a Hymn to Men

Whiplash is not a complicated film. That is not to say it is not brilliant. It is brilliant. Written and directed by the biggest young talent in film-making today, 29 year old Damian Chazelle, everything about Whiplash says genius. But, like men, to whom the film is a profound ode, Whiplash is uncomplicated and unpretentious. It has a clear storyline, compelling characters, a climb, a nadir, a resolution. It follows the classic three-act screenplay structure immortalized by Syd Field in his how-to book Screenplay. It employs no complicated structures, flashbacks, or other rhetorical devices. Rather, it is a classic, even predictable, story, told superbly.

I didn’t want to see it. I hate “art films” and I hate Jazz. My husband saying ‘let’s go see this film about a jazz drummer’ is not a winning lead-in. But it really isn’t about Jazz drumming. It’s about drive, ambition, fire, rivalry, and masculine approval. It’s the same essential story as ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ with Richard Gere, yet without the side characters, and imagine if Sergeant Foley was about a thousand times the badass and you would lay down your very life to win his approval.

Miles Teller is excellent as the lead, and up for an Oscar. His character is always there, driven, ambitious, isolated. He has a gift that is incomprehensible to those around him, and the movie plays nicely with these conventions; his character’s ordinary side struggling for release by getting up the courage to ask out a girl, his bemusement when, so unlike himself, that girl is not laser-focused on what she wants to do with her life. Teller has a loving father who, because he does not understand Jazz drumming, is unable to understand his son’s bitterly hard-won achievements. The genius is more or less alone, as talent often is. Teller carries off all these nuances extremely well; the resentment, the shame, the rivalries, the determination, the risks great people take when they put all their eggs in one basket.

On one level, discussed by most critics, the film is a meditation on achievement and mediocrity and how much of a price is worth paying to get it. But on another, one mostly missed, the film is in fact about men. Masculine men. Dominant men. Type A males and how men will do anything – literally anything – to obtain the good opinion of a man whose good opinion is worth having; of a man who will not compromise, will not accept anything less than perfection, and doesn’t give a fuck about you or your excuses or your feelings. The film is shocking because it breaches the same forbidden territory breached by Fifty Shades of Grey. I do not compare the artistic achievement of Whiplash to the schlock of Fifty Shades; rather I compare the essential premises. Fifty Shades broached the forbidden idea that women enjoy being sexually dominated by men they love, formerly a common assumption but today held to be misogynist, and that some men want to dominate women they love. Whiplash similarly posits that a talented, ambitious young man will do anything to win the praise of a superior male who gives it out sparingly if ever; and that the truly driven man will put achievement (conquering, winning, final victory) above all other things.

It is not Miles Teller, then, good though he is, who is the point of this movie. It is J.K. Simmons, a dead cert for Best Supporting Actor in a world where there is any justice. Simmons is a conductor. He is ruthless. He is brutal. He will shout and bawl and keep his players up until four in the morning if they get it wrong. He throws chairs at heads and he screams in the face of his players until they weep, then mocks them and throws them out. He is utterly uninterested in anything other than perfection and therefore, for him, the men under his command (they may as well be soldiers) would follow him into battle and die for him – literally.

So effective was Simmons in the part that I could not get him out of my own head after the film, and indeed, desperately wanted to collate the actor and the character (a reaction to a performance that makes you wish that the character existed). It was a joy, therefore, to find out that Simmons has a degree in music from the University of Montana, that when he conducts with icy precision, he is reprising a genuine skill (he conducted), and that in asking for the music in the film, when sent MP3s, he said ‘No – the music – give me the score.’ Simmons said that the character on the page felt like destiny to him, that he responded viscerally to it. In interviews I have read, he defends the actions of his character. Me too. Reviews that call Simmons’ conductor “the villain” are missing the point. “There are no two words in the English language so destructive as ‘good job’,” he says to the young hero.

SPOILERS FOR THE PLOT BELOW THIS LINE

And that is exactly what the reviewers miss. Simmons’ character isn’t a villain. He is a hero. He is not abusive. If you don’t like it, you can drop out, or be assigned another teacher; his students want to be in his band. Desperately. He is uncompromising and he is there to find genius and push it to its limits. On a very basic level, that means the character puts others in front of himself. He is selfless. He is not seeking his own genius; he is attempting to draw it from Teller’s character. As Jane Austen had Mr. Darcy say to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice “But your good opinion is rarely bestowed, and therefore, more worth the earning.” He and Teller both recognize something others cannot see; Teller has genius.

There is a scene in which Teller dumps his friendly, nice girlfriend because she will get in the way of his drumming and not understand his drive to be great. It’s a beautifully acted scene, but the genius here is the writer’s, because he poses an uncomfortable situation well. The girl is nice, the lead character is nice. The audience superficially is meant to think it is a mistake to dump the girl. But it is not a mistake. Teller’s character is absolutely right. He’s right not to lead a nice girl on, and he is right to dump her because he’s right that she can’t reach into his drive, and she will get in the way. Later, he tries to make up with her and she’s moved on. Some in my movie theatre were sighing in sympathy. I shook my head because, so what. It just doesn’t matter. She was wrong for him and at that point in his life, almost any girl was wrong for him.

The only dramatic false step for me came when Teller’s character is expelled from the Schaffer Conservatory for having assaulted Simmons’ character. Simmons would simply not have expelled Teller. He would have beaten him up, or imposed some other back-breaking punishment (as in An Officer and a Gentleman incidentally). Just as Teller’s raison d’être is his genius, Simmons’ is training and developing genius. For his character, Teller would have had to walk out voluntarily (thus showing himself unworthy, and not the genius Simmons was hunting).

But there are no other complaints, apart from a slowing of the momentum in the final act. The last scene is what you imagine it would be. It ends, and the film ends, at a particularly precise, dramatic instance, which mimics – no doubt intentionally – Simmons’ precision conducting. It is a triumph. It was shot on a shoestring of $3.3m dollars, with no acting rehearsals, in nineteen days. Start to finish, it is a triumph.

END OF SPOILERS – NO FURTHER SPOILERS BELOW

Whiplash is correctly described by Miles Teller as a psychological thriller. It has that pace, that plotting, that drama. It uses its setting as a foil to underline its dramatic point; e.g.; Teller is alone because his family and friends don’t understand his world. No more do we (unless we are classical musicians, I watched it at Lincoln Centre and there were some knowing laughs). This is emphasized in one intense scene where Simmons is saying “Not quite my tempo” in a tone that means “Cut his head off” and as the attempts to get it right proceed, we cannot hear the slightest difference between A and B. There’s humor, too, mostly in in-jokes. My husband, a rock manager, was almost beside himself listening to Simmons whip the musicians into shape. He manages Metallica, whose drummer Lars Ulrich has seen the film about six times. Lars probably really enjoyed the poster on Teller’s bedroom wall that says “If You Have No Talent, You’ll Wind Up in a Rock Band”.

But I found the film intense, inspirational and life-affirming because I am a huge tomboy, and the desire to be more than mediocre, to achieve at the highest level, to beat all comers, has been with me my whole life. I would follow Simmons’ character to the ends of the earth, and in real life, when I found a man as uncompromising and driven as that, I married him. The more ambitious we are, the more manly we are (both men and women), the more we will relate to Whiplash. See it. It will make you want to do, and be, better.

Sturgeon

Britain’s New Political Force Isn’t UKIP – It’s the SNP

As I write this Douglas Carswell hasn’t yet been elected in Clacton but he will be. He will be UKIP’s second MP (Bob Spink was the first) but first elected MP. But Clacton is a special case; Carswell has a big personal following. I have no time for him whatever and I can only help he has the integrity his friends claim he does. If that is true, he will not remain silent in a party that is racist, sexist and allows the condoning of child abuse, blaming the victims. We’ll see.

The real UKIP test comes in Rochester and Strood, where my friend Mark Reckless defected without the same personal following. I will always like Mark, having known him since we were at the same Oxford college together at the same time (OK OK he’s younger) and ran together on the same slate in the Union (roofing materials cough). But I fear Mark has made the mistake of his life. He is an able barrister and he has been a leading light on the best Select Committee in Parliament at the moment, the Home Affairs Select Committee. But UKIP help Labour and prevent the chance of any EU Referendum at all. I am so sorry that Mark was deceived into going with Farage, and I both hope, fear and believe he will lose his seat. I hope it politically because Ed Miliband must not be helped into power by UKIP voters – there will be no EU referendum and it will be  total disaster. I believe it because I can read the polls and the mood, I think (it’ll be close for sure), and I fear it, because ukip are a party without loyalty or principles. When Mark loses they will blame him, cast aspersions on his work as an MP, toss him to the wind and move on without looking back like they do to any candidate who gets in Nigel’s way.

But enough of Labour’s little helpers. Let’s look north, where I think the unnoticed revolution is going on. And it’s not purple – it’s plaid. In fact, it’s tartan.

The Scottish Referendum seems like yesterday north of the border and for us in rUK too it was the election of the year. Few nights will ever be as emotional. And yet a London-centric media has taken its eye off the Glasweigan ball. That’s a mistake.

The SNP have packed on tens of thousands of new members – that’s actual paying members who have gone so far as to sign up – imagine the latent support behind these numbers. I read somewhere that it might be a hundred thousand. Labour is in trouble in its Scottish heartlands. Real trouble, not just Holyrood trouble where they are used to getting their arses kicked, but Westminster trouble. John Curtice said they might pick up as many as 26 seats. I think they may also lose one or two to the Tories and LibDems – yes, you heard me correctly. Passions for YES and NO raged immensely, and where the SNP hold Westminster seats in areas that were strongly NO they are vulnerable. Ruth Davidson took back some of her ‘Tartan Tory’ mantle from the so-called Tartan Tories. There’s a long way to go to detoxify the Conservatives in Scotland but she gained wide respect in the IndyRef.

But let’s develop the idea of the SNP storming the Westminster elections. Every seat they gain will be a one for one loss to Labour.  Labour down 26 and the SNP up 26, for a max gain of 32 seats. That would give the SNP parity with the LibDems.

Semi-jokingly I suggested future SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as Deputy PM under Cameron. There was a lot of kicking the football around on Twitter from SNP members, but let me develop the idea.

I am NOT suggesting that the SNP go into coalition with the Conservatives – it would be toxic for both parties north of the border. Ruth Davidson needs those Unionist votes to start rebuilding in SNP WM areas. And SNP are banned from propping up the Tories, their left-wing support wouldn’t like it.

But I AM suggesting a scenario where Sturgeon can demand a DEAL with an rUK Conservative majority – after all the Referendum itself happened because Alec Salmond and David Cameron made a binding deal. A deal isn’t a coalition and the SNP wouldn’t need to prop up the Tories in this scenario – because devo-max and English votes for English laws would have meant that the SNP was “mainly governing” Scotland via Holyrood, and in rUK, the Tories would no longer need any Scottish votes (or even be able to use them) – on devolved matters for Eng Wales and NI. Cameron would still need other parties like the DUP and probably even the LibDems for comfort, but Sturgeon’s SNP would not be involved.

Scenario goes like this – Tories largest party, no majority. SNP offer a deal whereby Sturgeon becomes Deputy PM as being able to command the second party of United Kingdom government, with or without a WM seat of her own. She need not have one, and she can always take a peerage if she likes, a nice Scottish peerage obviously :). Sturgeon and Cameron horse-trade over devo-max and the financial settlement for Scotland in exchange for immediate, first-order-of-business “English votes for English laws” legislation. EVEL has been long planned by the Tories and has been in the last three Tory manifestos. This constitutional deal done, Sturgeon repairs to Scotland to govern. Ruth Davidson opposes her now on tax, spend and policy as well as Unionism (because we assume the SNP will still aim for full independence).

South of the border Cameron governs with a coalition but one where the Tories can set more favorable terms.

In defence and foreign affairs, areas that all agree would remain United Kingdom competencies, Sturgeon would have the right to be consulted first, to have SNP seats in the ministries and the SNP would have a direct voice at the global table, as the LibDems do now. I cannot frankly imagine that the SNP view would be more left-wing than the LibDem view on either area of policy. In this area, Cameron would have to seek to have Scotland on board respecting the SNP’s primacy in the country.

That, then, is my vision of a revolutionary government – not a coalition, no propping up needed – a government that represented a deal between independent actors, even political opponents, to make constitutional changes that the SNP and Conservatives both believe in for Scotland and also for England.

Labour is the enemy of the SNP when it comes to devo-max or any version of devo-max. The more autonomy Labour allows in Scotland, the greater the demand in England for English votes, which deprives Mili of his Scottish block vote. It says much for Labour’s weakness in England that Ed Miliband thinks he can’t govern England, Wales and Northern Ireland without the votes of Scots MPs on matters that will never affect their constituents. Put another way, Miliband doesn’t want to introduce laws for England he knows English voters will approve of.

Fair play to the 45, they have no objection to English voters getting our own devolution. The SNP don’t vote on English only laws unless it will affect Scotland – that’s to be decided in the initial horse-trading before EVEL passes. Sturgeon would be a conquering heroine in Scotland with the prestige of deputy PM of the UK and the delivery of the best possible deal for Scotland. Rather than ‘propping up’ Cameron or any coalition, she’d follow SNP creed of leaving the sassenachs to sort themselves out. And Labour’s offer to Scotland of tiny changes while chopping England up into already-rejected-in-a-referendum “regional assemblies” would get the contempt it deserved – north and south of the border.

WhoKip? The SNP is the real story this year – and they didn’t quit and go home when they lost that vote. Trust me, the 45 are just warming up.

kiss Quran

ISIS and Grooming gangs: Don’t blame Islam

The UK is in the grip of an appalling scandal involving tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of vast-majority white girls – teen girls and child girls – abused by gangs of Pakistani Muslim men. The abuse is nationwide through the Midlands to the North, almost always in Labour controlled areas, and often involving criminal conspiracy to cover it up by corrupt and colluding police officers, council workers, care system workers, and elected councillors.

In rare cases parts of the establishment, rather than criminally conspiring – and here I name the Guardian newspaper – simply colluded in the abuse by refusing to comment on the race and religion of the perpetrators and victims. They would seize on the small, but significant number of P-M victims too or the occasional white male friend who joined the P-M gang and say “Look! See! It’s not about race or religious hate!’

But for these men it was, and by refusing to acknowledge that we turn away from a pattern of abuse and abusers that can help us catch more offenders. You might as well say that the Catholic priest scandal had nothing to do with the Catholic community because most child rapists are not Catholic priests. The latter is true but it is also irrelevant.

Equally, #ISIS is burying children alive, forcing other children to become soldier killers, raping and enslaving Yazidi women and children, and cutting the heads off journalists, including pro-Arab world journalists like Steven Sotloff. And all of this is done in the name of Islam.

It comes after many other horrors done in the same name. Our “ally” Saudi Arabia just beheaded 19 men and flogs women for driving, for example. 

Yet when I go on Twitter and both insist on addressing the crucial fact that the organized gang-rape gangs of Labour towns are Pakistani Muslim males, and at the same time defend Islam, the faith, and the vastly peaceable and law-abiding Muslim majority, people often accuse me of being inconsistent or not being plain-spoken enough. ‘The Religion of Peace’ said sarcastically is the contemptuous thing many tweeters say. Then they insist that #SCIS (So-Called Islamic State) are “ordinary Muslims” because the Quran says (cite controversial verse that read out of context looks hate-mongering). “Say what you like, Christianity doesn’t do that.” “Judaism doesn’t do that.” 

But the fact is, this is not true. Both our faiths DID do that. ALL major faiths have self-identifying adherents who justify torture and death in the name of their religion. I am a Catholic. In the 1400s-1600s, my church’s hierarchy was a morass of vile sin as well as housing saints and good people beyond telling. We tortured Jews in the Inquisition. We tied Protestants to the stake and burned them alive as they did to us. The tortures and deaths we meted out were as bad or worse as anything ISIS is doing now, in the name of Allah (SWT) the Compassionate, the Merciful – only we meted them out in the name of Christ Jesus, who told us “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

This Catholicism was not a different faith to the one practiced by Pope Francis or Pope St. John Paul II. It was the same faith, interpreted badly to the point of being totally the opposite to what God intended, to enable the work of the devil. It is #SCIS and rape gangs twisted view of Islam that has led them to see other faiths and races as less than themselves; to rape women and children, when the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said “Women and men are like the teeth of a comb” and orders that men be kind to women, and have sex only with their wives. All the negative traits ascribed to Islam can be found to exactly the same degree in the Holy Bible. 

And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. Surah 4:3

Now, you can say this allows polygamy if you like. But a liberal interpretation of the verse would be that it forbids polygamy since no man can do justice to two wives at once. Compare to Judeo-Xtn Deuteronomy, 21:15-16

If a man has two wives-one beloved and the other despised-and they bear him sons, the beloved one and the despised one, and the firstborn son is from the despised one. Then it will be, on the day he [the husband] bequeaths his property to his sons, that he will not be able to give the son of the beloved [wife] birthright precedence over the son of the despised [wife]-the [real] firstborn son.

Again, this shows only the protection, or advancement, of human rights from the status quo at the time. The Islamophobes like to quote Quran verses about beating wives, or stoning to death, or attacking Jews. But let us compare: as #SCIS buries children alive, let me quote the Holy Bible, 1 Samuel 15:3

“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

Indeed, read the whole of 1 Samuel 15 if you want to see why I could never be a born-again Christian, who takes each verse in the Bible literally. It is impossible to take the Bible literally as it contradicts itself, often. 1 Samuel 15 is not compatible with a loving God, who does not desire the slaughter of infants, and who punishes Saul because he did not destroy everything but left a few cattle alive. 

And as to the verses regularly trotted out as to the inferior status of women in Islam, there are just as many in my Catholic Bible. Yet although I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God it does not mean that I need regard it all as literally true. One has to do a lot of dancing around to make 1:Samuel 15 fit with the vision of a loving God. This blog does a nice job of that

(in sum, he argues that the human author mistakenly makes the point ‘man must obey God’ by using a wrong story where Amalek is not not real, historical people, but  symbol of whatever might stand in the way of the people of God.)

To take one small example of how interpretation of holy texts is needed to get to the truth: St. John Paul II revolutionized millennia of Catholic teaching on the role of wives in marriage “Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord” – like in the Quran, a verse than puts women beneath men – not by overturning Catholic teaching (which can never happen) but by adding to the context so that the meaning is completely reversed. This verse can only be understood, he said, in light of the preceding one “Be subject to another out of reverence for Christ.” And thus, taught the Holy Father to the whole Church from the Throne of Peter (technical language meaning this is binding) YES, a wife must submit to her husband but a husband must also submit to his wife. And so they are equal.

So – like the Saint, Pope John Paul II, I honour Islam, and the Quran, and the Hadiths. I see all the references to stoning to death, offering daughters for rape, and the like, within my own Bible. It is understanding and context, and interpretation, that takes us to a place where we can see more clearly what God intended for us. 

 

On marriage:

Be subject to one another, out of reverence for Christ – Ephesians 5:21

They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. – Quran 2:187

 

On the equal creation of men and women

 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

 

“O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you.” – Quran 4:1

 

And on the true teaching of Islam on women, against which all other verses must be interpreted:

And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. – Quran 2:228

 

Finally, if #SCIS and the rape gangs truly followed Islam – and if the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish killers of centuries past had truly followed our own faiths, we would have been bound by this one, overarching truth, repeated throughout every major faith’s scriptures:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; – Lamentations 3:22

In the name of Allah, the entirely merciful, the especially merciful. – Quran 1:1

 

Amen and Ameen, and so God have mercy on us all.  

 

 

 

Cars

Could Douglas Carswell Oust Nigel Farage?

Until the polls came out, I thought Carswell would lose in Clacton. Then I saw the lead; it was a seat Roger Lord would have taken anyway for their party. While I desperately hope the Conservative candidate wins in Clacton, it looks very unlikely.

Carswell is a man I heartily despise, and I told him so, to his face, in No. 10 Downing Street, when he was organizing the People’s Pledge Referendum Campaign away from his safe seat targeting Tories who had slaved to win their marginal seats. Douglas said “I stab people in the front, not the back.” That’s not true, of course; he immediately abandoned years of Open Primary lauding and central-party-imposed candidate fighting when he, Douglas Carswell, would benefit from being a Centrally Imposed candidate (sorry Roger Lord). But I would claim that it is true of me. I told him he was a wretched bully to target Jackie Doyle-Price in Thurrock – not only did he help Labour – as on the face of it he is doing in Clacton too – but he was, from his safe southern seat, an upper-class Conservative, destroying her years of campaigning as a working-class Tory in a wafer thin  marginal. It was cruel, it was anti-team, it was selfish and vainglorious and it was bullying. I take a grim satisfaction in seeing Douglas dishonour himself so publicly by becoming a centrally-imposed candidate over the will of the local party and give the lie to everything he has pretended to stand for.  The fact that he will win in Clacton and even the theory I am about to expound do not change my view of how he behaved to a real striver who actually fought FOR the Tory cause, not against it, like Carswell.

That said; Douglas Carswell has a first class brain. And for two people who have no regard for each other we share a close friend in Dan Hannan MEP. Dan co-wrote ‘The Plan’ with Carswell (the two argued elegantly against centrally-imposed candidates). The book contained some great ideas, and some that are far too right-wing for UK voters.

We also share a strong view that Britain would be better off out of the EU. I have resented EU interference all my political life, first becoming friends with Hannan when we were both part of the Campaign for an Independent Britain at Oxford. I do believe that with total reform (and it would need to be total) the UK might stay in the EU to share simple free trade. My version of “total reform” is as follows: No free movement to Britain, out of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, no financial rules other than free trade imposed on the UK, we could pool some international police resources for investigations, no extra-national sovereignty or judicial restraint of any kind. I do not believe in “international law”. I grate my teeth when anyone refers to an “illegal war” in Iraq, the premise being the UN needs to pass a resolution in order for the UK to go to war. That would be the UN that currently has Saudi Arabia sitting on its human rights committee.

I am for nation states and there is no doubt in my mind that we give to the EU immensely more than we get back from it.

That is why politics 101 resonates so strongly with me. You don’t split the vote of the right in a tight election and let Miliiband in. Nobody can fault Mil. He’s been honest. More immigration and no referendum. A UKIP fringe in Labour-Tory marginals equals one thing – Labour MPs. “So what, Cameron is so left they’re all the same” some UKIP supporters will tell you on Twitter. Well – and Douglas Carswell knows this – they aren’t at all the same. With Cameron as PM we get an EU referendum. With Miliband as PM we don’t. The end.

Even Nigel Farage, who is a true moron, knows that, too. But Farage hates the Tories, who kicked him out, and he doesn’t actually care in the least about an EU referendum or leaving the EU. He just wants to get on the telly, claim large expenses, etc. If he wanted an EU referendum as opposed to personal PR he would help Cameron win. UKIP, under Farage, have become a joke party. In the Newark by-election, where they were supposed to win, Farage sodded off to sunny Malta the day and night beforehand and stayed up drinking until 3 am, coming late to a count he lost handily. He’s allowed racists and sexists to stay in the party and every other week a UKIP councillor turns up saying something anti-semitic, racist or misogynist. Like a couple of weeks ago when Janice Atkinson MEP referred to a long-time UKIP activist (a Briton of Thai) origin as “some Ting-Tong or other”. Farage did nothing; Atkinson still has the whip.

This saddens me. Since UKIP voters exist – mostly but not exclusively Tories protesting that we are still in the EU – I would, like my several other Conservative MP friends – like to form a pact with them. They stay out of any tight marginal seats and we offer the party a share of peerages, or even stand back in seats like Clacton, which will have a much stronger Tory vote at the GE than a by-election and might let Labour in through the middle. We could work with their MEPs and form a block. Many things would be possible – if they weren’t a bunch of racist, sexist pigs under Farage.

Because wanting to leave the EU, lose foreign judges, control our own immigration policy, none of that is racist or barking. That’s sensible. That’s what I want and 75-80% of Tory activists want.

I would SO much rather have UKIP as a Coalition partner than the feckless “we love jihadis” LibDems.

What’s the barrier? Nigel Farage and his personally selected candidates. UKIP voters and activists are not the problem.

UKIPPers ask me why UKIP are seen as bigots. Here’s a random sample:

““no employer with a brain in the right place would employ a young, single, free woman” – Godfrey Bloom MEP

“Dear old Godders! Godfrey’s comment [as above] has been proved so right.” – Nigel Farage, asked to comment

“Why shouldn’t the Holcaust be questioned? Jewish race endemically racist.” – Grant French, UKIP PPC

“Hang em up first and ask questions later” – on Muslim women “repatriate six million immigrants” “Rothschilds controlled Hitler” “Let’s ally with Nick Griffin” (picture of Muslims burnt on a spit over a flaming Koran) – UKIP county councillor Eric Kitson

“Some Ting-Tong or other” – Janice Atkinson MEP on her Thai-British activist

““I just wish they would keep their ­homosexual nature and practices to ­themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.” Douglas Dennie, UKIP Bognor Regis, on gays

“Some gays prefer sex with animals” Head of Oxford UKIP Dr. Julia Gasper

“The evidence is quite clear that the percentage of homosexuals who molest children is very high and cannot be dismissed.” UKIP member Jan Zolniyac
“shop owners should be able to refuse services to gays, blacks and women” UKIP councillor Donna Edmunds

“pay your taxes to die of cancer if you want” UKIP ccllr and MEP candidate Donna Edmunds to a woman supporting the NHS

“God sent the floods for because the Tories agreed to gay marriage” – UKIP councillor

“Poofs.. dykes… perverts… Pakis…” UKIP cllr Dave Smalls, Redditch

In some cases the Kippers were sacked, in others they weren’t. In all cases, they hadn’t been vetted, and often had been saying these things publicly, for years, in their local papers, and on UKIP party member forums,  The “Hang em up first” Councillr was suspended right after  he had been elected to his County Council – meaning UKIP foisted a racist on those people for a full term.

Now no right-thinking Conservative can ally with these hate-mongers. Farage is also just a self-obsessed tosser, not interested in anything but Nigel. As well as his drunken stupor in Malta for the Newark election, Farage failed to field a UKIP candidate for the Mayor of London in 2012 because he couldn’t be arsed to put the party name on the nomination papers. In my own seat of Corby Farage promised to target me in 2010 saying “she’s definitely not our kind of people.” (Thank you Nigel, much appreciated). However in the end, his candidate, who had campaigned for years in the seat, didn’t stand, because he didn’t have the money for his deposit and the central party would not lend him the last £100.

Farage doesn’t care about getting out of the EU – or he’d help us get that referendum – or UKIP as a party – or he’d have helped out in Newark instead of getting shit-faced like a spotty teenager til 3am in a holiday resort. He cares about Nigel.

Finally then, there is – there must be – an opportunity for a UKIP-Tory alliance, if the racism and sexism are ditched. Farage is part and parcel of that racism and sexism by his inaction and slovenly “leadership” picking candidates. For UKIP to grow, Farage has to go. On the face of it, UKIP and the Tories share one giant common goal. An EU referendum. They should work together to achieve it.

As much as I don’t like Carswell, he is no racist and no sexist. He said ‘early days’ right next to Farage when asked if he’d be loyal. And today he has given an interview to Cathy Newman in which he repudiates Farage’s sexist crap:

Interesting that, because Farage has talked about not wanting to bequeath a country made “unrecognisable” by mass immigration to his children and grandchildren. Whoever you talk to in Ukip, there’s a strong sense of discomfort with 21st century Britain.

Carswell on the other hand waxed lyrical about the multi-cultural, equal-opportunity Britain displayed in the Olympics opening ceremony two years ago.

“I like the country the way it is: I like the greater equality and I feel very strongly about this. And I will have those arguments with people wherever I find it,” he promised.

Including with his leader, who’s said a woman in the City who takes time off to have children is “worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she went away”?

It seems so.

Because Carswell couldn’t disagree more with Farage, going out of his way to make clear he “would never characterise the argument about maternity leave in those ways…I think one of the great things about this country that is so much better and has got so much better is the fact that women and men have greater equality and it’s improved the life chances of men as well as women. If I come across attitudes that are out of date and that jar with my understanding of how modern Britain should be I will always tackle that.”

Farage should take note.

Newman thinks this means that Carswell will just leave UKIP and be independent. I hope that’s not so. I hope instead he will do what I once suggested Dan Hannan do – if and only if Tory HQ approved of it – and fight Farage for the leadership of UKIP. I believe that sensible UKIPPers like Patrick O’Flynn MEP despair of Farage. They would like a real Eurosceptic party without all the rants and hate that come with Farage’s version.

Carswell already ditched his principles by becoming a centrally-imposed candidate over the will of a local party. If, however, he is elected and then thrusts Farage aside, to make UKIP electable, to form a Tory-UKIP marginals pact in order to gain what Carswell has forever sworn is his great aim in politics – an EU referendum – then while I will never like the guy, it won’t matter; he would have realigned British politics for the good and helped achieve something I have wanted since those CIB days.

If he gets elected and helps Farage, he helps Miliband, and he destroys that referendum chance. Douglas fancies himself as a modern-day Leveller. I guess we are about to find out what he’s made of.

 

Margot

Dear Prime Minister, please promote Margot James

There was only one true mystery after David Cameron’s pitch-perfect reshuffle last week.

Where was Margot James?

I realise the risk in publishing a ‘please promote my mate’ blog about any MP, not least to the MP themselves, but that is not what I am doing here. Firstly, I know and like just about every Tory MP in the 2010 intake, and I understand there isn’t room in government for all of them, especially when LibDem obstructionists have a third of government seats (notice all those female and BME LibDem ministers by the way? Oh. Me neither). Secondly. Margot James had absolutely nothing to do with this blog and would never have approved of my writing it. And I know those that feed back to the PM will understand that.

Now that my interest has been properly declared, it is worth saying that the entire political lobby in the UK agrees with me on the merit of Stourbridge’s finest. “What, pray, has Margot James done wrong?” tweeted Tim Shipman of the Times, formerly the Mail, a grande dame of Fleet Street himself, being then retweeted by Jane Merrick, Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. Prior to the reshuffle, Margot James was being tipped everywhere from the Guardian to the Belfast Telegraph - her name was on nearly every list.

And this is because, inexplicably, Margot James has not been promoted before. Every Parliament-watcher was expecting her elevation long before now. She is a hard worker, above average in both speaking and voting. She is loyal: “Hardly ever rebels against their party”. She is extremely nice, and has no enemies that I know of on either side of the house. She is well-regarded locally, and her local paper were none too pleased to find their favorite daughter overlooked yet again. 

James is that rare breed, a person who has truly succeeded before entering politics. One of Britain’s most successful female entrepreneurs, she worked as a corporate leader in PR, winning “communicator of the year” in 1997 and selling the company she founded for millions not long after that. She resigned from the Tory party after Maggie was ousted, but rejoined, and fought the safe Labour seat of St. Pancras before taking Stourbridge from Labour in the last election.  Her service to the Conservative party is not four solid Parliamentary years, it is in fact a lifetime of work.

And James, who had a life and a business before getting elected, is not as young as she looks. She is 56 with a lifetime of achievement few MPs can ever hope to match. I say this with hesitation, but somebody has to, so it may as well be me; not promoting Margot James in this Parliament is more than a mistake, it is an insult.

The PM has made Nicky Morgan Education Secretary, but also Minister for Women. Because Nicky voted against equal marriage, he has given implementation of that law to the promoted Nick Boles MP, now an education minister. This is a mistake. I have long argued in public and in private that the women and equality brief should not be an afterthought shunted as a secondary responsibility to this ministry or that ministry, distracting a SecState from her more important job (previously Maria Miller, as SoS for Culture, was also Minister for Women). Margot James would be the perfect person to be Women and Equalities Minister. She is gay, and she is a feminist, previously Vice-Chairman of the Party for Women. But more than that, she brings a Conservative, libertarian, business-minded feminism to the brief. Women and Equalities should be a Minister of State position inside the Cabinet Office, and the holder should have the right to attend Cabinet.

Margot James would do things with this brief. She would end the scandal of OFSTED guidance on Muslim schools that breaches the Equality Act (forced wearing of the veil, even for non-Muslim girls, forced segregation). She would get rid of the anomalies that favor men throughout the system. She would stand up for equality of opportunity – that was at the heart of Thatcherism.

Failing this, the PM should correct his mistake. It would be a sign of his strength and flexibility. He should either make her a senior whip or make her co-Chairman of the Party (I don’t care if there are three) and a Cabinet Minister right away. She is able, loyal, experienced, hard-working, 56, charming, and has proven ability to run a whelk stall.

Come on David – make us all happy.

David Cameron has had a lot of work and loyalty from Margot James, who because she was an entrepreneur, gay, telegenic and full of substance, was asked by CCHQ to do much extra work in 2010 on the media to win our party the election. She took on those duties unstintingly, as well as ousting a Labour MP from her marginal seat. The Prime Minister owes Margot James a debt. He too is hardworking and loyal. It is time for him to pay his debt. Margot was chosen to represent the ‘new face’ of the modern Tory party and she surely does. It’s time to show that this was not just a PR stunt, and that we believe that impressive entrepreneurs like her are exactly what the Party offers the voters to run the nation.

To my knowledge, Margot, though undoubtedly disappointed at not having been promoted up until now, has always bitten her tongue. This time, though, it clearly bothered her. To Shipman’s tweet, she replied “I don’t know Tim, but if you ever find out, let me know!”

If Margot James is lost to the party it will be a massive embarrassment. It should not happen. She should be promoted now, to give her a year in place before the election. Cameron can make it happen. We need Women to Win, is a great Conservative slogan. We also need women WHO win. And that’s Margot James, Conservative MP for Stourbridge.