ME and Ophelia
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson dead
Photo: Michael Jackson is rushed into hospital in Los Angeles Photo: x17online.com
Shocking, very sad news just in (25 June 2009 c. 22:58 GMT UK) from Brisbane Times, Australia by Christine Kellett June 26, 2009 - 7:47AM:
Pop star Michael Jackson has died after suffering a heart attack, it has been reported.Just in from Los Angeles Times a few minutes ago, 23:27 GMT UK - excerpt:
Media reports have said the star, 50, was taken to hospital in Los Angeles after he was found not breathing in his Holmby Hills home earlier.
Celebrity website TMZ said 911 operators received an emergency call about 12.12pm local time (8.12pm AEST).
Jackson is believed to have gone into cardiac arrest and paramedics performed CPR on him en route to UCLA hospital.
The website quoted family members as saying the Thriller singer was in "really bad shape."
"We just got off the phone with Joe Jackson, Michael's dad, who says 'he is not doing well.'' the website reported.
Jackson was reportedly planning a comeback and was living in Los Angeles while rehearsing a series of 50 sold-out shows in London, the LATimes has reported.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics had rushed to the singer's $100,00-a-month rented home near Sunset Boulevard to find him not breathing, the newspaper reported.
Michael Jackson is dead [Updated]I feel very sad that Michael Jackson died broken hearted and am still sickened by how cruelly he was treated by many of his fans and the world's press. I blogged about it here (see copy below). There's another blog post I wrote at the time of his court case, saying how I believed him to be innocent. Sorry I can't find it. Rest In Peace, far away from this cruel world, dear sweet gentle Michael and thanks for all your sensational dancing and thrilling music. The world is a sadder place without you. + + + God bless you and your family. x x x
2:06 PM | June 25, 2009
[Updated at 3:15 p.m.: Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors this afternoon after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.]
[Updated at 2:46 p.m.: Jackson is in a coma and family have are arriving at his bedside, a law enforcement source told The Times.
Jackson was rushed to a hospital this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.
Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home around 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The parademics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told The Times.
[Updated at 2:12 p.m.: Paramedics were called to a home on the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard. Jackson rented the Bel Air home for $100,000 a month. It was described as a French chateau estate built in 2002 with seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a theater.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
SUPER STAR MICHAEL JACKSON
How much more hurt and public humiliation can he take?
Michael Jackson has been urged to give himself up to police. I am feeling fearful and sad for him. It is appalling that such hurtful and humiliating allegations can be made so publicly while, at the same time, the identity of the person, or their family, making the allegations are kept private. Identities of both parties should be kept private until one is found guilty of breaking the law.
This repetitive public hounding and humiliation must be incredibly stressful. What on earth can Michael Jackson be thinking and feeling right now? I hope his family, friends and lawyers are able to keep his spirits up and get him through this. Put yourself in his shoes right now. And ask yourself, if he is such a terrible danger to children, how come all of these families of all these children allow their children to spend so much time with Michael Jackson living out fantasies at his Neverland ranch without being accompanied by chaperones.
Unfounded wicked gossip and public humiliation had to be endured by Prince Charles, his sons and family lately. It was awful to see on the news and internet how someone can be so publicly ridiculed and dragged through the mire - around the world - without there being a shred of evidence. And, anyway - in Prince Charles' case - who should care what goes on behind closed doors. It's none of our business. Unless it is proven that a law has been broken. Then it becomes a matter for public concern.
Look at what happened to the quiet mannered British scientist and our Princess of Wales, her partner and chauffeur...they were hounded to death.
There's a lot of protest about hunting as a sport in this country. The law should protect both humans and animals - around the world.
# posted by Ingrid Jones @ 11/20/2003
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Update 25 June 2009: Is Michael Jackson dead? Would Twitter lie?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Here is a fascinating story from the Telegraph published 19 June 2009:
Flossie Lane, who died on June 13 aged 94, was reputedly the oldest publican in Britain, and ran one of the last genuine country inns.
Photo: Flossie Lane in 2007, with the pub dog Hobson
For 74 years she had kept the tiny Sun Inn, the pub where she was born in the pre-Roman village of Leintwardine on the Shropshire-Herefordshire border.
As the area's last remaining parlour pub, and one of only a handful left in Britain, the Sun is as resolutely old-fashioned and unreconstructed today as it was in the mid-1930s when she and her brother took it over.
According to beer connoisseurs, Flossie Lane's parlour pub is one of the last five remaining "Classic Pubs" in England, listed by English Heritage for its historical interest, and the only one with five stars, awarded by the Classic Basic Unspoilt Pubs of Great Britain.
She held a licence to sell only beer – there was no hard liquor – and was only recently persuaded to serve wine as a gesture towards modern drinking habits.
With its wooden trestle tables, pictures of whiskery past locals on the walls, alcoves and a roaring open fire, the Sun is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide as "a pub of outstanding national interest". Although acclaimed as "a proper pub", it is actually Flossie Lane's 18th-century vernacular stone cottage, tucked away in a side road opposite the village fire station.
There is no conventional bar, and no counter. Customers sit on hard wooden benches in her unadorned quarry-tiled front room. Beer – formerly Ansell's, latterly Hobson's Best at £2 a pint – is served from barrels on Flossie Lane's kitchen floor.
Since she began to ail after a fall in 2006, her customers have helped themselves. There is no till. People put the money in a row of jam jars, one for each denomination of note and coin; although she was never observed to be watching, from her command-post in her favourite armchair she could distinguish between the different clinking sounds they made.
The broadcaster Jeremy Paxman once described the pub as his discovery of the year. "Flossie, the landlady, sits in the middle of the room, wearing a pair of surgical stockings. The only food is a pot of eggs, which Flossie pickled several moons ago."
Her regulars have formed themselves into a Flossie Lane Society, run as a kind of guild, and are known as Aldermen of the Red-Brick Bar. Every year they appoint a mayor, nominated by the outgoing one, who wears a squirrel-skin cape made by a local butcher.
The mayoral handover involves the eating of squirrel pie and a parade through the village, led by the new mayor wearing the honorary mayoral chain, hat and staff which bears a symbolic sun in homage to the pub.
When Hobson, the Rhodesian ridgeback belonging to The Fiddler's Elbow fish-and-chip shop owner next door, was appointed mayor, the dog was quickly found to be not up to the job and in turn appointed a successor.
Although they are intended as harmless fun, the rituals at the parlour pub are seen by some villagers as strange and off-putting. "There are still some people in the village who think it's a secret society," one regular admitted, "but it's not a closed shop, even though it is a bit different and off the wall. We welcome people here."
Visiting the pub in 1996, The Guardian's food writer, Matthew Fort, noted: "There was no sound but for the ticking of the clock and the conversation between the landlady and the only other customer, which had five-minute pauses between sentences."
Like Paxman, Fort fudged the pub's exact location: "The landlady said that she didn't want a lot of folk coming along and disturbing the peace."
Florence Emily Lane was born at the Sun Inn, Leintwardine, on July 10 1914, the only girl in a family of five. Her father had been a policeman at Ross-on-Wye and her mother was the first member of the family to hold the licence. Educated at the village school, as a teenager Flossie waited on the customers and helped out in the kitchen by washing bottles and glasses.
After the death of her parents, her brother Charlie took over the licence in 1935 – the year of George V's silver jubilee – and held it jointly with her until his death half a century later. Flossie Lane had run the pub single-handedly since 1985.
Both she and her brother were particular about who drank there; sons of the tillage were preferred, although some approved non-rustics were tolerated. The pub is still the base and meeting point for the local cricket club, bellringers and fly fishermen drawn to the river Teme which runs through the village. Although popular, there are concerns for the pub's future; over recent years, Leintwardine has lost four of its pubs and inns.
During her infirmity Flossie Lane's regulars rallied round to keep the Sun going, manning it on a rota basis. The owner of the neighbouring chip shop ordered the beer from the brewery, served the customers, and delivered chip suppers which were washed down with pints of Flossie Lane's ale. Although her name remained above the door, latterly the pub was effectively run for her by its devotees, all of them locals. The accounts, the washing-up, the laying of the fire and even the sweeping-up were undertaken by the volunteers.
Flossie Lane was proud of not having kept up with the times, and did not hold with modernisation. In an age of lager louts and binge drinkers, no one at the Sun Inn can ever recall the slightest hint of trouble there.
"The pub hasn't changed in all the years, and they are all good people here – I won't have no rough," she insisted. Although she had been serving ale since the Twenties roared, Flossie Lane's secret recipe for a long life was simple. "I'm a teetotal," she said. "I like a nice cup of tea. I leave the drink to the others."
A chronic agoraphobic, Flossie Lane was never known, within living memory, to have ventured outside her pub (other than to take the air in the rear garden). She never learned to drive and took her holidays at home. She enjoyed a reputation as the best-informed person in the village, and every evening cheerfully dispensed local gossip to her customers.
In her advanced old age, Flossie Lane's regulars converted a downstairs room into a bedroom to spare her the stairs, but for the last 10 years at least she had slept every night in her customary armchair. The last person out tucked her up.
Flossie Lane, who never married, is survived by five nieces.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Today, I transferred all political news reports recently filed here to:
Blair Foundation Watch - A Blairite's blog
From now on, I shall post political news to that site whilst continuing to maintain Sudan Watch and Congo Watch etc.
Margaret Beckett refuses to back Gordon Brown
Margaret Beckett, a former senior minister sacked by Gordon Brown who is now standing to become the next Speaker of the House of Commons, has refused to express backing for the Prime Minister.
The Derby South MP, who was criticised during the expenses scandal for trying to claim £600 for hanging baskets, acknowledged that reform was needed to MPs allowances, but warned that it would be easy to get wrong.
Source: Daily Telegraph report by Melissa Kite, Deputy Political Editor, 9:00PM BST 13 Jun 2009.
WEALTHY: Lord and Lady Kinnock are said to have pocketed millions of pounds in perks
The research shows that Lady Kinnock earned £774,838 during her time as an MEP.
She was also entitled to a daily subsistence allowance worth £505,818 over that time, travel allowances worth almost £1.25million and general allowances worth £577,071.
In addition, she was entitled to secretarial allowances worth more than £2.3million, although these are to pay staff.
She also has a pension worth £67,836 a year, which would require a pot of £950,000 to buy in the private sector.
Lord Kinnock earned £1.85million in salary during his 10 years at the EU and qualified for a residence allowance for living in Brussels worth £276,962, an entertainment allowance worth £64,564, an installation allowance of £25,348 for taking the job, a resettlement allowance of £13,745 for leaving the job and a transition allowance, to help adjust to life outside Brussels, worth £355,143.
He also qualifies for a pension which pays out £83,089 a year and would cost £1.16million to buy in the private sector. The terms require him to remain supportive of the EU project.
In all, the Kinnocks qualified for pay, allowances and pensions worth £10.2million. The lack of receipts required for EU expenses makes it impossible to know if they claimed living allowances on the same home.
A spokeswoman for the Kinnocks last night insisted the payments to Lady Kinnock were the same as those received by other British MEPs and were irrelevant to her new role.
She said: “No payments could affect Glenys Kinnock’s judgment as a minister and she will properly fulfil all her duties as a UK minister.”
The spokeswoman added that Lady Kinnock forfeited a “golden goodbye” payment of £32,383 by accepting the job of Europe Minister and said that Lord Kinnock’s pay-off was lower than Open Europe suggest because he left early.
The Kinnocks have also been accused of hypocrisy over their willingness to accept peerages.
Lord Kinnock campaigned for years to have the House abolished, describing the Lords as “brigands, muggers, bribers and gangsters”.
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A reader's comment 14.06.09: Kinnock was the one who was absolutely determined to get rid of the House of Lords once and for all, and swore he would NEVER be a part of it .... until he snatched their hands off when he was offered the chance. Typical self-serving Socialist. No **** standards at all.
Gordon Brown deserted by big election donors
GORDON BROWN is being abandoned by the multi-millionaire businessmen who bankrolled Labour’s last election campaign, endangering the party’s efforts to fight off David Cameron at the next election.
Labour is already haemorrhaging financial support at a time when it should be amassing an election war chest. It is now clear that Brown has failed to retain the wealthy backers so successfully wooed by Tony Blair. Brown’s leadership is a key factor in the decision of other tycoons neither to lend nor give cash to the party.
Source: Report from The Sunday Times by Marie Woolf and Isabel Oakeshott, June 14, 2009 - Gordon Brown deserted by big election donors
The Prime Minister's biggest problem is that Alistair Darling is not willing to base his economic policy on a lie.
Read full story from Daily Mail, 14 June 2009.
Brown to announce Iraq War inquiry
From the Press Association, Sunday, 14 June 2009:
The announcement, designed to bolster Mr Brown's standing among MPs and activists who opposed the 2003 conflict, comes as the row over his leadership continues to rumble on. [...]Not anyone else in Parliament, eh? Tony Blair is not in Parliament. The timing of this article makes me think Mr Blair is back on the scene. Heh.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told the Sunday People he did not believe there was "anyone else in Parliament" as well-equipped to lead the country as Mr Brown, in comments the paper interpreted as a warning to potential rivals like Mr Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson not to challenge him.
Angry Falklands war veterans
From The Observer, Sunday 14 June 2009, by Mark Townsend
Royal snub to Falklands war veterans
Ministers and members of the royal family have angered Falklands war veterans by snubbing today's official memorial service for the 255 British servicemen killed in the conflict.Where's Princess Anne these days, I wonder. She used to be so supportive of our troops. And where's Prince Andrew, what's going on? Our troops and vets are being neglected.
Survivors are "appalled" that no minister or senior royal will attend the service at the Falklands Memorial Chapel in Pangbourne, Berkshire, which marks the 27th anniversary of the liberation of the islands from Argentinian troops. Their anger comes days after Prince Charles and Gordon Brown travelled to France for a high-profile anniversary service to remember those who died during the D-day landings in 1944.
Scots Guards officer Robert Lawrence, who was wounded at Mount Tumbledown during the Falklands campaign and whose experiences were made into a BBC film, said: "It's appalling that no senior figure from the government should attend, particularly at a time when appearing in public and acting humble would be in their interest." Derek "Smokey" Cole, chairman of the Falklands Veterans Foundation, said: "I really feel they should support it [the memorial service] and I think the government should be represented there."
The only government representative is an MoD official who helped organise the Falklands memorial service two years ago. Those who will attend include Suki Cameron, the Falkland Islands government representative in London; the Royal British Legion's national president, Lieutenant-General Sir John Kiszely; and Sara Jones, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel "H" Jones, VC, who died in the battle of Goose Green.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
From Financial Advice.co.uk Saturday, 13 June 2009:
When Gordon Brown brought Lord Mandelson back to the Cabinet many people suggested he was either crazy or touched by genius. Initially it seemed that the move went down very well but today we saw Lord Mandelson commenting upon the euro and the fact that, despite opposition from UK voters, inevitably the pound will disappear in favour of the single European currency. This has caused significant controversy across the UK with Gordon Brown now under pressure to clarify his position on Europe.
This further widens the divide between Labour and the Conservative party with David Cameron adamant that his party will not support a move to a single currency. Lord Mandelson has been suggesting that the collective power of the euro has seen many European economies perform better than they would have by themselves. However, he seems to be missing the fact that the UK economy is now far outperforming its European counterparts and seems set to do so for some time to come.
There is a real danger that Gordon Brown could be "bounced" into a pro-European policy which could, if the recent polls are correct, lose the Labour Party significant voter support in the forthcoming general election.
YouTube: Keep The Dead Flag Flying
On listening to the "Keep The Dead Flag Flying" YouTube (copied here below) I thought the song was quite catchy but would be more educational if the words "New Labour" were replaced by the words "Old Labour". In recent elections, as a Blairite, instead of abstaining, I voted tactically for the Green Party and Liberals in order to protest against unelected Marxist Gordon Brown and his Stalinist ways.
The way I see the Labour Party is this. It has been divided ever since Tony Blair arrived on the scene and made it electable. There are two Labour parties: Old Labour (aka Brownites) and New Labour (aka Blairites). The past 12 years have shown that without Tony Blair the two cannot be united.
Gordon Brown sounds mixed up and speaks with forked tongue because at heart he is really Old Labour and is beholden to the unions who backed him and not Tony Blair. They relished and stoked character assassinations against Tony Blair portraying him as a liar. Where are the likes of George Galloway these days compared to the days when Mr Blair was in office, I wonder.
Old Labour is for the unions and communists which, in this day and age of globalisation, makes it unelectable. New Labour is for those of us who are centre left, on the side of workers, wanting a fairer society. But Brown and his Brownites resent Tony Blair and the Blairites because he/they managed to moderate the die hard commies and make the Labour Party strong enough to be electable for three terms.
Without New Labourites, Old Labour is just a bunch of last century commies. If the Blairites started another party it could become electable but the same cannot be said of Old Labour who will always (happily, I think, it's in their genes) remain in opposition moaning with the BNP.
Alastair Campbell's latest blogpost [June 13, 2009 - A House Divided?] tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand and he quotes Jesus Christ: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
After 40 years, many of us in my age group (I am a few weeks older than Tony Blair) who suffered working through the three-day week and the Thatcher era will never vote Labour or Conservative again because we fear both, which is why I think UKIP is growing and the BNP is attracting people from the far left and right with slogans such as "British jobs for British workers".
Apart from serving his own ambitions, who is Gordon Brown catering to? Last week's TV programme Question Time featured a worker from LDV who spoke passionately about how the company had been left up a creek without a paddle for several months on end whilst trying to stay afloat and develop its new 'green' car. My heart went out to him when he said (sounding genuinely heartbroken) to QT Panelist Welsh Secretary Peter Hain (something along these lines): "You may have forgotten us but we will NEVER forget you when it comes to the next election." I'm glad he received a great round of applause.
What to do? Our prime minister is an unelected Lord and the other prime minister is an unelected prime minister who is not up to the job and has turned England into a Stasi State. Peter Mandelson has a reputation for being ruthless and Machiavellian (not a good role model for youngsters) and appears hellbent on seeing through the privatisation of our precious Royal Mail and the decimation of village Post Offices.
Scotsman Brown has a reputation for despising the English and their middle class and thinks it is OK to lie and destroy ones closest friends and colleagues. I'll never forget how Tony Blair ended up in hospital with a near heart attack and for how long he and his family had to endure the stresses and strains of Brown's incessant cruel bullying. At least Cherie Blair now knows that voters have seen for themselves what she meant about the type of man living next door in Number 11.
Having said all that, I doubt very much if Mr Blair would put himself and his family through the hellhole world of the Brownites again. So, it would appear that the song - Keep The Dead Flag Flying - is pretty accurate: Labour is dead. And, might I add, it is all Gordon Brown's doing. Tony Blair would still be in office if Gordon Brown had put New Labour first and not cheated voters by forcing him out of office before his term was up.
My hope for Mr Blair, if he cannot be persuaded to return to the snakepit of Westminster, is that he is presented with an opportunity to become a president of the EU and takes it. I for one will feel happy and proud to see him in such a well deserved position after the decade of hell he went through leading a thankless and unappreciative Labour Party.
Posted to YouTube by economicvoicedotcom 12 June 2009: Gordon Brown will not be singing this song. Lyrics By Dungeekin and Music performed by the Titanic Captain from The Economic Voice. Hat tip: Comments section at Guido Fawkes' blog, 13 June 2009.
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Update 9pm Saturday, 13 June 2009: I wrote the above in response to Alastair Campbell's blog post mentioned above. Earlier on today, i visited his website and posted a copy of the above, with a link to its page, in the comments section but it was not published. I guess comments posted to the site are moderated. On re-reading my original copy I noticed some errors so did a little editing and added the part re military hospitals. No doubt it needs a lot more editing but right now I am now overtired and finding it too difficult to concentrate.
Message to Dear Queen of England: Please take charge
Hurrah! At long last, news of our wonderful Queen of England stepping in to save our country. I've waited two years for this. Long live the Queen!
Yesterday, Peter Mandelson had an audience with the Queen. [Source: FT.com report by George Parker, Friday, 12 June 2009 - Yesterday, Man in the news: Lord Mandelson]
Today, (Saturday, 13 June 2009) Guido tells us:
Queen Has Audience with MandelsonMessage to dear darling Queen of England, please take charge and leak some news to Guido Fawkes' blog so we can feel assured that England is safe and in good hands. Thanks. We love you!
Lord Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, first secretary of state, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills and Lord President of the Council, yesterday granted the Queen an audience.
Guido was told this in advance, but sworn to secrecy, by a member of her majesty’s parliamentary Lobby. Why was it embargoed?
Image courtesy of Old Holborn who says "Mandelson is beyond ruthless, this is raw power politics, if he is not destroyed he will destroy everything worth having in this country."
The Queen tells Gordon Brown she is 'deeply troubled' over MPs' expenses
From Daily Mail by SIMON WALTERS, POLITICAL EDITOR
Last updated at 2:55 PM on 17th May 2009
The Queen has told Gordon Brown she is worried that the scandalous revelations about MPs' expenses could damage Parliament.
She discussed the explosion of public outrage over the scandal in what is understood to have been a candid exchange of views when she met the Prime Minister for their weekly audience at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
Details of their conversation - which covered the vital need to restore trust in Parliament - came to light as:
- The identities of the shadowy figures who leaked the MPs' expenses were revealed.
- Speaker Michael Martin told friends he is ready to quit.
- A shock new poll put the anti-EU UKIP on course to overtake Labour in next month's European elections.
- Public demands for criminal charges against at least five expenses-cheat MPs grew.
- Labour's overall poll rating fell to yet another all-time historic low - just 20 per cent.
- A Labour MP was discovered to have claimed £125,000 expenses for a run-down garage via his 'office' expenses.
- Another Labour MP was suspended for claiming £13,000 for a mortgage that had been paid off.
He also apologised, on behalf of all parties, to those ‘striving hard in these difficult times’ that the political system had let them and the public down.
The Prime Minister said he was brought up to believe ‘you did the right thing – and that trust, integrity and honesty are the most precious assets of all.’
He also said: ‘I want to assure every citizen of my commitment to a complete clean-up of the system. Wherever and whenever immediate disciplinary action is required I will take it.
‘The bottom line is that any MP who is found to have defied the rules will not be serving in my government.’
His comments come as Labour's most generous donors are to withdraw financial support worth millions and called for the arrest of some MPs at the centre of the expenses revelations, according to the Observer.
Gordon Brown said Westminster could not operate like a ‘gentleman’s club’ where MPs or parties alone decide whether tax payers money should be paid back.
Neither Buckingham Palace nor Downing Street would comment on the conversation between Mr Brown and the Queen, insisting that it remain confidential. However, well-placed sources say the Queen is 'deeply troubled' by the scandal and had made it clear that she feared it could inflict 'long-lasting damage' to the Commons.
'She won't discuss individual MPs but she feels this scandal has done a lot of long-lasting damage,' said the source.
'She is aware the public feel repulsed by this sort of thing. She is conscious there is a recession on.'
An entirely separate source told The Mail on Sunday that the Queen had expressed her 'disappointment' at the expenses disclosures.
Both insiders stressed that Her Majesty's comments were neither politically partisan nor aimed at any particular MPs, but came out of concern for the standing of Parliament.
Gordon Brown called for ‘transparency to the public’ in his News of the World column today sighting it as the ‘foundation of properly policing this system.’
Looking to the future the Prime minster wrote there was a need for ‘even more fundamental change.’
He said: ‘I have asked Parliament to ensure – and MPs have agreed – that outer London MPs cannot claim a second home allowance.’
He also admitted that the revelations of the past week would have a ‘lasting impact on our politics.’
Some observers have compared the backlash against MPs with the anger directed at the Queen in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. The future of the Monarchy as an institution appeared briefly in jeopardy after the Royal Family's initial low-key response prompted unprecedented hostility towards the Queen.
On that occasion, Mr Brown's predecessor Tony Blair played a key role in advising the Queen on how to react to public opinion. This week, amid a similar volatile and rebellious public mood, it appears to have been the Queen's turn to counsel the Government, advising Mr Brown on his own efforts to guide Parliament through the expenses crisis that threatens its entire future.
The Prime Minister's spokesman refused to comment on their meeting, saying: 'Their discussions are private and we have no comment.'
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman stuck to the same strict official line, saying: 'We never comment on what is said between the Queen and the Prime Minister during their private audiences. The Queen and the Prime Minister were alone. No one ever discusses what they discussed.'
Tory MP Nicholas Soames, a friend of Prince Charles, said: 'This business has done grave damage to the standing of Parliament and it will take a long time for it to recover trust and confidence. You can smell the stench of death about this Government.
'Parliament is paralysed, the whole place has effectively closed down when there are dangerous issues that this country must deal with, whether it is Afghanistan, Al Qaeda or the Middle East peace process.
'The expenses system must be reformed but we must not become obsessed with it, Parliament has important work to do.'
A BPIX poll for The Mail on Sunday emphasises the strength of public anger over MPs who abuse their expenses. If voters had their way, five politicians - ex-Minister Elliot Morley, Tory MP Andrew Mackay, Employment Minister Tony McNulty, Transport Minister Geoff Hoon and Communities Secretary Hazel Blears - would face criminal charges.
The Queen has had good relations with all 11 occupants of Downing Street since she came to the throne in 1952. Most came to value her vast experience of State affairs.
Apart from death of Diana, the closest to a constitutional clash between Buckingham Palace and No10 came during the Thatcher years, when it was reported that the Queen expressed sympathy for striking miners and fears that Mrs Thatcher's policies were fuelling social unrest.
Although the Queen's role in Parliament is now largely ceremonial, it is the Monarch who dissolves Parliament, and it is only convention that dictates that she should do so only on the advice of the Prime Minister.
She also retains a key role in the passage of legislation. The Crown is expected to act with 'the advice and consent' of the Commons and Lords, but again, it is only convention which states that she will give Royal assent to Bills passed by the two Houses.
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UPDATE Saturday 13 June 2009: Snippet from a comment at Guido Fawkes' blog today:
From the Court Circular, 13 June:
The Queen held a Council at 2.30 p.m..
There were present: the Lord Mandelson (Lord President), the Rt. Hon. Dawn Primarolo MP (Minister of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families), the Rt. Hon. Patrick McFadden MP (Minister of State, Business, Innovation and Skills) and the Rt. Hon. Christopher Geidt (Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen).
The Queen declared in Council the Lord Mandelson Lord President of the Council, who made affirmation as Lord President and as First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and as President of the Board of Trade, kissed hands on appointment and received the Seals of Office. [...]
Although it does go on to say “The Lord Mandelson had an audience of Her Majesty before the Council”, so maybe there is something in it after all. [...]
Friday, June 12, 2009
Teachers urged to join MI5
MI5 is attempting to recruit teachers as "spies" in a new recruitment drive.
Telegraph News, 12 June 2009
Postal workers in London to stage 24hour strike
Thousands of postal workers in London are to stage a 24hour strike in a dispute over jobs and services threatening disruption to mail deliveries across the capital.
Telegraph News, 12 June 2009
New US commander in Afghanistan 'wants more British troops'
The new US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has signalled that he would like more British troops for the country.
Report from The Daily Telegraph by James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Published: 3:52PM BST 12 Jun 2009
There's a NEW plot to get rid of Gordon Brown?
From CBS, June 12, 2009, by Ed Boyle, CBS Broadcasting Inc - excerpt:
Support For Gordon Brown Waning - Many Brits Dislike The Prime Minister
Psst. Don't tell them I told you, there's a new plot to get rid of him. It's totally hush hush. More than my life's worth to reveal the names. Actually only a few key Government Ministers know the details, and they'll swear blind they didn't have a clue.
Which is pretty well what happened last week to the great British political coup that never was.
A couple of years ago, many people realized that Gordon Brown was a bumbling electoral liability when he took over from Tony Blair as our Prime Minister. But nobody did anything about it.
So last Thursday, up come the first big elections - to the European Parliament. Gordon's ruling Labor Party gets trashed. Worst results EVER.
Labour 'can't win election with Brown as leader'
Danny Finkelstein, former Conservative policy chief and current columnist at The Times newspaper tells Jeremy Paxman he cannot think of anybody in the Cabinet who would produce a worse result in a general election than Gordon Brown. Mr Finkelstein said:
“The Labour Party now has a window of opportunity and they should push Gordon Brown out of it.”Heh. Brilliant.
(Hat tip: From BBC 03 June 2009 via Guido Fawkes' sidebar)
Bring back Tony Blair to complete a full third term
This is so depressing. Here below is a copy of today's blog post at Guido Fawkes' where an anonymously authored commentator writes:
June 12, 2009 at 10:11 amDemocratic Renewal M’Lords?
But isn’t it even worse than Guido says? At the last election Blair said he would stand for a full third term. Since then Gordon has defied the electorate and his party and deposed Blair without one vote cast….Democracy that ain’t.
Gordon has had a damascene conversion to democratic renewal since little over 5% of eligible voters supported him at the polls last week. The irony of a PM who avoided facing election to be leader of his own party and has no democratic public mandate wanting “democratic renewal” is striking. If he really wishes to reconnect with voters he could always call a general election.I say, bring back Tony Blair to complete the full third term he promised!
How democratic is his own government?
The Cabinet :
1. First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council – The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson etc.
2. Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – The Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
3. Secretary of State for Transport – Lord Adonis
Other Ministers :
4. Attorney General – The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC
5. Advocate General for Scotland – Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC
6. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (MoJ) – Lord Bach
7. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HO) – Admiral Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC
8. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (DCSF) – Baroness Morgan of Drefelin
9. Minister of State (DECC) – Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE; and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
10. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (DOH) – Professor Lord Darzi of Denham KBE
11. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (DWP) – Lord McKenzie of Luton
12. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* (DBIS) – Lord Young of Norwood Green (and Lord in Waiting – paid)
13. Financial Services Secretary (Treasury) – Lord Myners CBE
14. Minister of State (FCO) – The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG
15. Minister of State – The Rt Hon Lord Drayson & (DBIS) (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
Minister of State (MOD) – The Rt Hon Lord Drayson & (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
16. Minister of State – Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE (DBIS) (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Minister of State (FCO) – Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
17. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (DBIS) – Baroness Vadera (jointly with Cabinet Office)
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) – Baroness Vadera (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
18. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (FCO) – Baroness Taylor of Bolton (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (MOD) – Baroness Taylor of Bolton (jointly with Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
19. Sir Alan Sugar
20. Glennis Kinnock
Unelected and democratically unaccountable ministers who owe their positions and loyalty only to Gordon Brown…
Thursday, June 11, 2009
From BBC News at 11:58 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 12:58 UK:
Gordon Brown has denied he acted too quickly in bringing Shahid Malik back into government, following new allegations about the MP's expenses.See earlier report from The Telegraph, 10 June 2009: MPs' expenses: Shahid Malik admits charging taxpayer for two houses
Mr Brown said the communities minister was cleared by watchdog Sir Philip Mawer of breaching the ministerial code over the first set of allegations.
And he would be answerable to independent auditors - like all other MPs - over any further allegations.
Mr Malik denies a Daily Telegraph story about claiming for two offices.
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