Tories need to beware of running a dirty campaign
I suspect that when Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader, David Cameron assumed he would be a walkover. Admittedly, Miliband did have a shaky start, but he is now seriously beginning to rattle the Prime Minister.
For instance, whatever the merits or demerits are of Miliband's pledge to freeze energy prices in the first 20 months of a Labour Government, it is certainly an attractive proposition to the average voter. Cameron is only too well aware of this, which is why, no doubt, he has denounced the proposal as a con and why he has twice described Miliband as "a conman" – an insult he was lucky not to have been forced to withdraw.
The savage snarling that goes on between the two at Prime Minister's Questions demonstrates they are more than simply at political loggerheads – their contempt for one another has clearly assumed a personal aspect.
I suspect this will become more obvious as each day passes too.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
It also goes some way to explaining why Cameron has agreed to pay the political strategist Lynton Crosby, the so-called Wizard of Oz, a stupendous £500,000 to help the Tories win the election.
I can envisage the Tory headlines already: "Would you trust a man who shopped his own brother?" But Cameron – and Crosby too – should beware. History has shown that a dirty campaign does not impress the voters – it tends to have a reverse effect.
I trust that Britain will now cease lecturing other countries on the virtues of democracy in the wake of the royal charter which, shamefully, gives politicians control – if they choose to use it – over what until now was a free press.
It is unspeakable that our MPs, some of whom have scandalously shown they cannot conduct their own affairs with propriety, should be allowed responsibility for Britain's newspapers.
Some would say, probably with justification, that this is politicians' revenge for the disclosures about the expenses racket they'd been indulging in for years, at the expense of the poor British taxpayer.
When, a few days ago, the press appealed against the proposition, the judges refused it. They returned to the court within just minutes of the case being made out with a 3,000-word statement saying why they'd rejected it. It is quite obvious, to the meanest intelligence, the statement had been prepared before the Fleet Street case had even been put forward. Now we have a situation where if someone sues a newspaper for libel and loses the case, then the newspaper, outrageously, has to pay his costs.
The fact is, some newspapers are alleged to have broken the law and some journalists, too, are alleged to have broken the law. These cases should, therefore, be handled by the criminal law system.
The Tory MP Adam Afriyie is becoming a serious thorn in the side of the PM. Next Friday, Afriyie will mount a bid to hold an in-out EU referendum next October rather than in 2017, the date the Prime Minister has pledged if he wins the general election.
Afriyie has been subject to a certain amount of bad-mouthing from high-level Conservative Party sources. But the fact remains that, although Afriyie's prospects of winning that vote on Friday are negligible, vast swathes of the British population would welcome a referendum sooner rather than later.
The goings-on at Falkirk, with the alleged behaviour of the union Unite over the selection of a parliamentary candidate there, get ever murkier and murkier. It is time the Labour leader Ed Miliband got a grip and stopped allowing Unite to run him ragged.
The Prime Minister is not fond of reshuffles and believes – quite properly – that his ministers should stay in the job as long as possible rather than playing a constant game of Westminster musical chairs. You would have thought, therefore, that on the few occasions that he does shift ministers, he could remember what he has done.
The other day he introduced Tory MP Andrew Robathan to the Dutch premier Mark Rutte. "This is my Defence Minister," Cameron said proudly.
Robathan had already moved to the Northern Ireland Office.