Walk with kings but do not lose the common touch

MPs need to be confident communicators, willing to talk to anyone and to learn from anyone. As Kipling might have said they need to walk and talk with Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State , with Presidents and Ambassadors, with Chief Executives and executive Mayors just as they need to listen to anyone in a low paid job, the student and the unemployed to understand how it feels for them .

MPs need to be able to speak truth to power. They need to understand fair criticisms of a government they usually support and work away for its correction. They need to warn Ministers of criticisms and threats to what they are seeking to do, and to support them when they are in need of assistance for a course of action which is in the national interest. Opposition MPs need to remember that the government did get elected and is not always wrong, concentrating their fire on the areas where the government is weakest, making a mess or most out of line with public opinion. An intelligent opposition preparing itself for government also needs to present a cogent policy choice and to oppose based on a feasible alternative.

In the UK system every MP must have a good sense of place, being rooted in the community they represent. One of the important roles is to show how local circumstances will be affected by national decisions, and to bring local examples to bear on national debates. Working with people in the local community, the MP can offer access to government and advice on how to develop public services.

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81 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    “MPs need to be able to speak truth to power.”

    Conservative MPs are, by means of the Withdrawal Agreement (Art. 127), set to grant the EU legislative power over a country that voted to leave the EU. In a previous response to Martin Howe QC, Downing Street apparently commented that “It takes on average two years for significant new rules to pass through the EU” (emphasis added). This, however, would seem to imply that such rules can pass through in less time, if two years is the average. I believe that it took the ECJ a matter of a fortnight to decide that the UK could unilaterally revoke Article 50 – a conclusion that George Osborne (had earlier) described as “dramatic”. If the main judicial organ of the EU can have such an effect on the UK in so short a period, why should the Government be confident about the minimum time required for significant EU legislation to pass? In any case, as a matter of simple principle, why take such an approach to our laws – not just in the context of the People’s Vote, but at any time?

    • Peter Wood
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Kevin,

      Good Question for today’s debate; I have no doubt that the EU will dream up a whole lot of damaging, to the UK, legislation before we leave properly.

      Here’s another question for today: What extra help is the Dept. for International Trade providing to our exporters to the EU, to assist them in finding non EU markets?

    • DOMINIC
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      That comes as no surprise. It’s only when you dig deep into the body of a bill that you start to find evidence of betrayal and subterfuge that casts doubt on the veracity of public claims made by PM Johnson

      We yearn for a leader that tells it as it is. She died many years ago and took with her political values that today’s political class would never recognise

      • mac
        Posted January 17, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        With regard to the sainted Lady Thatcher, I have never been able to understand why so many Britons had such an antipathy for her. In the United States, she was considered the greatest 20th Century Prime Minister after Churchill, primarily because she saved Britain by defeating syndicalism. She was truly a great leader, and her accomplishments are more impressive because she had an uphill battle in many ways due to her sex.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      +1

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        +2

    • jerry
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      @Kevin; Some is getting awfully confused between the EC and the ECJ, you started talking about new EU legislation, moved on to talking about a ruling on an existing treaty, and then went back to talking about the creation of new EU legislation again…

      • BJC
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Jerry: The ECJ act as the self-appointed guardians of the EU treaties, which set the EU’s operational framework and their rulings are based on their legally binding content. The EU also insists on the ECJ being the final arbiter in any dispute; indeed, it’s the reason why CETA has never been fully ratified and something destined to give us the same problems from any proposed joint UK/EU tribunal panels. The ECJ is the thread that binds any new and old treaties together, which is not something that can or should be ignored.

        • jerry
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          @BJC; Any new threats do not come from how long a ECJ ruling takes, the threat comes from how quickly the EC can make law, no court can rule on a law that doesn’t yet exist!

          Of course the ECJ, like any court (even our Supreme Court, as did the Law Lords before it) may give their opinion about a proposed new law. If Kevin had cited a comment that shows how quickly the EC can make new Law I might be more likely to agree with the point he was trying to make, but he actually did the exact opposite…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Since a trade agreement will always be essential, and always involve that, your point is just one reason among many why leaving the European Union and losing the great influence that the UK once had there is “the stupidest thing a country has ever done”, as Bloomberg said.

      The UK will also be subject to rules – laws – made by the WTO and over which it has no real say too under proposals often made here. They will be set by countries with no ethical responsibility towards the UK though, unlike as was the case with the European Union.

      Reply We and the rest of the EU are already subject to WTO rules!

      • jerry
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        @MiC; As JR said in reply, plus what do you not understand about the reasons why the UK currently has “no real say” within the WTO, it is because we along with the other EU27 had to give up our seats to the EU who represents the entire EU28 but always puts the ECs (political) project wishes first.

        Once the UK has left the EU we will have our own seat, thus voice and influence, within the WTO.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Your naïvety is quite endearing, in its way.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 9, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            At the moment we have one twenty eighth of an opinion when the EU is at the WTO presenting its view.
            Our opinion is taken into account only as part of the views of the other twenty seven.
            Jerry is right.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Thank you John, but the European Union is a rather stronger voice in shaping those WTO rules than is the UK alone amongst the three-figure number of its member countries.

        And nearly half of your external commerce, with the twenty-seven nearest countries is paramount.

        • jerry
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          @MiC; Nonsense, the EU has one vote, just like the other WTO member nations.

          Now had the EC not demanded that the EU28 cede their own voting rights to the EC you might have had a point, if the EU28 had been able to vote in unison they would have had 28 votes between them not just one!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Great reply John. Oh Martin, where do you get your information from?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Silly old me – I thought that some things were so blindingly obvious as not to need saying. However, I overestimate my readership it seems.

          Like the fact that the UK alone, amongst a hundred and sixty-four countries, including Russia, China, the US, India, the European Union as a body, and so on would not be as influential as it once was as one of the Big Three in the world’s richest economy.

          • Fred H
            Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            ‘some things were so blindingly obvious as not to need saying.
            But you will say it, over and over. And Sir John humours you, being a fair, balanced gentleman – against my advice (yes I know who cares about my advice!).

  2. Charlie
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Losing the common touch is a useful metaphor for Labour’s collapse last month, and Corbyn’s appearances at PMQs so far this year seem, to me, to be lacking any understanding of how he is out of line with both public opinion and his own MPs.

    From the admittedly partisan posts by Conservative MPs on the ConHome site, it is they who are consistently showing an understanding of and empathy for local issues and needs which I am finding refreshing – often highlighting where Labour let them down during the last parliament and why their campaigning failed, often for quite cynical reasons. It is these new MPs where I find the most heart and hope in this new Government.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Pretending to pander to the dark-hearted beast that lurks inside every human, especially after it has been angered by relentless distortions in the popular media, is not quite what is meant to reasonable people by “the common touch”, but it has been very effective throughout history for people interested in gaining power at any price.

      It’s no discredit whatsoever to Labour that they did not do this, whatever other mistakes they may have made.

      The main task for Johnson now is to dampen down the vicious instincts which have been aroused, so that his Government can gradually let down those who voted for it in the hope of their gratification.

      He will need to get his media on board for that.

      • Posted January 9, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        “It’s no discredit whatsoever to Labour that they did not do this”

        Jeremy Corbyn was elected by a huge majority of “Labour” supporters who sang “O Jeremy Corbyn.” The dark side of demogoguery.
        He deliberately set out to work on people’s jealousy of the monarchy.
        He pandered to people’s love of peace through submission by talking to every single enemy available throughout his long career in politics.
        He set out a stall of financial promises which he knew would be impossible to keep.
        etc ed

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Never mind Mike.

          You can’t blame him or his voters for a single thing from now on.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 9, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Well not until he eventually stands down in April

          • Fred H
            Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            He is to blame for indecision causing years of vitriol in the H of C. Bit like you in this blog.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 10, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            All that Opposition votes do now is to express opinion.

            They have no material effect on decisions taken by the Government.

            So the Opposition cannot be blamed for any consequences of those decisions, and nor can their voters.

        • jerry
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          @Mike Stallard; “He deliberately set out to work on people’s jealousy of the monarchy.”

          Well if he did, it made a change from others who “deliberately set out to work on people’s jealousy” of working age immigrants, especially those from eastern and southern Europe…

          Some might not like it, my self included, but a debate about the UK&NI becoming a “Republic” is as legitimate as the Brexit debate was.

  3. No choice
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    He might have said
    “If you can speak with many and resist dilution,
    Or march alongside the Few—yet keep your resolve
    If neither rhymes nor fashionable times divert you
    You’ll never write a poem to save you life

    I take it he was writing for the middle class, and people who got pleasure from being able to understand writing ostensibly above their pay-rate. Na-nana-naa-nah!, and others of course.

    People want people to put on airs and graces so they can be envious justifiably.
    If in doubt an MP should feel arrogant, it’ll come across.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    They do need to be able to speak truth to power. But most MPs would not recognise the truth if it bit them on the bum. All but a handful voted for the insane climate change act, most voted for May’s moronic gender pay reporting lunacy, HS2 and even tried to prevent the UK leaving the EU after the referendum. Most understand little or no science, engineering, economics or business.

    The main truth they need to impart is that the government and taxes are far, far to big/high and it is hugely inefficient too. At least double the size it should be. Yet despite this it seems about 22 people a month are suffering severe or permanent sight loss as a result of NHS delay and incompetence. Free at the point of delay, non treatment and incompetence. The envy of no one sensible. Better than no health system at all, but some of the worst outcomes for a developed nation. The system can never work well as currently structured and funded. But no one dares to even say this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      It seems to me fairly certain from the background noise that Boris is indeed going to continue with HS2. It looks as though Boris/Javid are indeed going to be another tax borrow and piss down the drain socialists continuing in the disastrous Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May mode. I hope I am wrong.

      Tax cuts, red tape cuts, cheap energy, far less government waste and easy hire and fire are what the country needs desperately.

      • glen cullen
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        sad but I believe your prediction my become reality

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      L/L Agree with you over NHS waiting times. A friend of mine has just died from a treatable cancer because he had to wait so long for a follow up MRI scan. By the time he got it they told him the cancer was inoperable and he died just before Christmas. All this when they first told him it was an easy to treat cancer and they could cure him. Talk about a let down for his family. But then what can we expect when the population continues to rise at such a fast rate and hospital wards and beds are being taken away just as they are in Sussex.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Indeed he would perhaps have been better served if they had told him honestly of the NHS delays and to go privately if he possible could!

    • graham1946
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Someone did say this in 2010 and was given the job of reforming it. Unfortunately he was not competent to do the job. The NHS or any other organisation for that matter, can never cope with the unending demand and new treatments coming on stream daily, especially when it has been underfunded for donkey’s years and of course with political interference, (for instance in inventing a system no-one except the instigator understood and could never work basing it on a ‘market’ system with duplication of effort and practice in every parish in the land). It needs taking out of political control, as does education which suffers from the same thing – i.e politicians trying to make a name for themselves and experimenting with their ideas on the public and then walking away when it fails usually with a knighthood or elevation to the Lords.

      Secondly, tell me of any organisation that could cope with an extra 6.5 million patient registrations (according to the Lancet) in just ten years without extra funding for it. This and the number of NI numbers issued far exceed the recorded population growth and immigration figures and just hide the true picture and until governments face up to it will be perpetuated for ever.

      On funding, in 2010, Simon Stevens (NHS CEO) was asked what he needed to put matters to rights and asked the treasury for 30 billion pounds. Osborn gave 8 billion and so the 22 billion gap appeared which has never been addressed.

    • Ed M
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      @Lifelogic,

      You want Utopia but Utopia isn’t possible (it’s been tried before from both The Left and The Right).

      The closest we can get to Utopia is a country ruled with traditional Christian values, sense of work ethic, patriotism and public duty, to love one’s family. Look at the work ethic of the Quakers. Look at what Sir Christopher Wren bequeathed to us in St Paul’s Cathedral. Look at the religious music of Handel.

      If we returned to the traditional Christian values of Protestantism and Catholicism – then we would be a great country again. Instead of the poor relying on the state, they would rely on their own families. Taxes would be cut right down to – who-knows – 20%. We’d have an even stronger army (great as it is). More stable economy. A strong Arts Scene – who knows, more Shakespeares. And people would just be happier. More cheerful (for good cheer is one of the hall marks of traditional Christianity).

      I am doing what I can to sacrifice some important part of myself for this country. I may or may not succeed. But I know God wants me to sacrifice something of myself for this country (and of course for my family as well as for others, including the vulnerable – whether physically or spiritually vulnerable).

      God bless the Queen. God bless this country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        I am not expecting Utopia just a smaller, rather more efficient state sector and a tax and benefit system that rewards hard work and the people who are responsible and deters the feckless from choosing to live off the backs of others as the current system largely does. One that rewards people who do the right things rather than the opposite as now.

        • Ed M
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic,

          Fine, but how do you expect to achieve all this?!

          Government is really quite limited in its power. A cultural shift is needed. Don’t forget how hundreds of thousands of young men don’t have proper male role models.

          Personally, I’d like to see the government introduce 3 months obligatory national service to show millions of young men some tough love – get them up early in the morning, being disciplined etc (and having fun together in their free time). And a Bible thrown in as well to teach them the fundamentals of work ethic and responsibility towards others, including to one’s country (although I accept you can’t force religion on people).

          Best

          • Ed M
            Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            Just been reading that Sweden has reintroduced some form of national service – from 9 to 12 months. Good on the Swedes.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            You can indeed force religion on many people if you get them young enough. That is often the problem.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    That’s what MPs SHOULD be like but not all of them are – a lot of them are just confident public speakers rather than communicators; the communication is only one way.

    On the Labour side, leaving aside entirely his views on Brexit which are now fairly irrelevant, I’m starting to quite like Starmer – started from very humble beginnings – a typical old-style Labour background in fact – and worked his way to the top of his profession entirely through his own efforts. If chosen let’s hope he makes Labour a mainstream electable party again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      A lot of them have such daft and misguided ideas that is is perhaps best if they do not communicate them well, let alone actually implement them.

  6. Mark B
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I think these sage words have come somewhat a little late given the antics of Parliament this past 3 years. The behaviour of those past MP’s and Mr.Speaker can only serve as an example of how not to behave. The only good those persons can ever offer.

  7. Alec
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “Walk with kings” Don’t you mean skiing with kings on taxpayer funded jollies to Davos?

  8. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    This is a bit of an aside when we have seen so many MPs offer to follow the manifesto commitment to leave the EU pre-election, then try their damndest to thwart that commitment after the 2017 election.

    Equally we now seem to have their ‘Royal Flakiness’ who care only for themselves having nicely acquired a position in society and a bit of cash, so perhaps this feeling that “we can do whatever we want, regardless of public opinion” is endemic at all levels.

    • agricola
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I think you are being very unkind to both Harry and Megan. He has served his country at the sharp end, and had no control over to whom he was born. It would seem to me that he has decided that the Royal Family has enough members to launch ships and perform many of the other duties heaped upon them. I think he has judged himself surplus to requirements in that capacity. I suspect that he will still stay hands on for the Invictus Games and service veterans. If he is able to carve a real career for himself, unlike his uncle, then I wish him the very best in whatever he chooses.

      His wife Megan has already excelled in her chosen career. If she can use those talents to benefit society without the restrictions imposed by being a member of the Royal Family then good luck in whatever she chooses.

      Their choice should be symbolic in changing from dependency to self sufficiency. The only flakiness is in public opinion, witness the last three years.

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think he’s going to like being a red carpet accoutrement very much. Action Man turned Husband of Megan.

        Perhaps he will enjoy his new Hollywood ‘friends’ and taking a back seat. aged 35. His grandfather did the same I suppose.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          … I won’t miss the lecturing from him on the environment from his private jets.

          Nothing flaky about the last three years. We’ve seen enough.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            Indeed I do not mind him flying in private jets or first class, not that I ever have done myself, but this is simply not compatible with lecturing other about global warming in the “do as I say not as I do” Prince Charles, Emma Thompson mode.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Fine, but he’s either in or out, not in enough to take the cash but out enough to do nothing for it.

        Appalling behaviour towards the Queen who has worked so hard, also who must be wondering where she went wrong not to throw a hissy fit at 30.

        Had enough of this flaky climate lecturing from someone who flies more miles in a year than most in their whole lives, gender awareness, “wokeness” whatever that means, and all the other flaky stuff.

  9. glen cullen
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    But the privilege and patronage is enticing to those at the Palace of Westminster

    And we plebes can see that it is Westminster itself that continues the divide with the people

  10. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Given the statements and noise coming from the EU leadership after yesterday’s meeting with Boris, why on earth are we still agreeing to sign up to the putrid Withdrawal Agreement as it stands, If all we are going to get in the end are WTO rules, which we can get by giving away absolutely nothing, and just walking away.

    Will someone, anyone put forward an amendment to the WA that until all is agreed, nothing is agreed !

    Then we will have a sensible backstop !

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Never mind why. You voted for it.

      And with a majority of eighty, there’s not much that anyone now can do to stop the Government from doing whatever it wants.

      No amendment can be tabled unless the European Union also agree to that. The clue’s in the word “agreement”.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Martin

        Fully agree that the EU have to agree to it as well, but amendments are being attempted to be put forward as I type this, in todays debate.

        If the Eu does not agree to the modifications, then we can still simply leave on WTO terms without a WA agreement and without payment.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 10, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          Yes, the UK could do that, if it were willing to deal with what might amount to a blockade.

          And to have to answer for it in The Hague.

    • glen cullen
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      fully agree with your comments, only a fool would start negotiations under these conditions

      You negotiate with a builder for a repair stating you have 10k budget and it must be finished with 2 months

      The builder tells you its 30k and 4 months and I will sub-contract the work and tell you the method of build

      Do you walk away or say okay ?

      • Fred H
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        and the builder says ‘for every day you delay the decision the price goes up’.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 10, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        You stand the position on its head.

        You already have a contract with the builder – the Lisbon Treaty.

        But you say that you want the same work for a quarter the price and more besides.

        What does he do?

        • Fred H
          Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          the builder needs work, the home owner doesn’t have to do anything.
          Builder goes bust, the home owner looks elsewhere….

        • glen cullen
          Posted January 10, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          The Lisbon Treaty Art50 states that you leave and have a 2 year transition to make a deal…..we are clearly past that

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        glen

        As a Customer, You walk away and try elsewhere, because no deal has been done or agreed.

        If you then find your not going to get what you want for your money elsewhere, you either dump the project, or modify it to fit with your budget, or increase your budget.

        At all times the customer is in control, until the contract is signed !

        Its all very simple, I ran a design and build business for 30 years and was never owed a penny at the end of any contract as always got paid in full for all projects because we outlined what would be completed, what was included, and what was excluded.
        That’s what happens in real life !

        Cannot understand why negotiation is so complicated or difficult !

  11. agricola
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Well by now your fellow MPs should have worked out why they were elected. Lets see whether the system gets them or they retain their integrity. I have done my bit so I will sit back and see how it plays out. In a short time I will know whether we have a new dawn or just more fog.

  12. DOMINIC
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    When can we expect the Tory government to legislate to protect freedom of expression for all British citizens rather than those who just happen to be those who enjoy slander and baiting decent folk? People like Stormzy or Lammy or Corbyn or does social control of the majority in this nation take greater importance over fundamental freedoms of liberty

    We can now see what the political class mean when they refer to tolerance. What they actually mean is SILENCE will be imposed upon those who transgress the current progressive orthodoxy.

    We want our freedoms back and we want to see Labour and their Marxist allies diluted and then pushed back into their extremist box

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Stormzy is BBC approved therefore part of the establishment.

      Rebellious musicians in my time were banned by the BBC and generally had real song writing talent that is still played to this day.

      Ricky Gervais showed us what edgy satire really is last week. The BBC approved Last Leg ain’t it. I doubt we’ll see Gervais on the BBC again.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      You already have that.

      It’s one of the fourteen protected by the Human Rights Act.

      You ought to familiarise yourself with the other thirteen, and reflect on how you’d feel about losing them if it were repealed.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 10, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Please persuade Andy to accept the following right:

        The Right to Your Own Things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          That is one of the fourteen – the right to Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions.

          I’m not aware that Andy suggested that anyone should have them confiscated?

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Pensions.

  13. Newmania
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I was trying to remember if I had ever met anyone remotely like John Redwood in real life. I can only recall one who was famously “unusual” when I was at school . We bought , the Stranglers album, he bought Monteverdi …… that sort of thing
    Nice enough but what PG Woodehouse who have called a bit of a “gorblimey”.

    I suspect that normality is pretty rare

    • SM
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Well, that certainly wins Fatuous Comment of the Week, in my opinion, and it’s only Thursday.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I do rather like Monteverdi, William Byrd early choral music and the likes – never that keen on The Stranglers.

  14. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    The unfortunate thing is that with the large parliamentary majority the ‘power’ no longer needs to heed the words of ‘truth’. The opposition party as presently led and constituted cannot say anything worthy of being taken seriously and those on the government side may, especially the new intake, may think it best to keep quiet.

    Thus the leadership will have no difficulty in reneging on promises made.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      But I was quite good at pogoing!

  15. Andy
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I know quite a lot of MPs. They are mostly pompous and self-important. Interestingly on a personal level I tend to prefer Tories to Labour MPs. Tories tend have that fake charm they teach at prep-school. The Labour MPs I know are largely arrogant grammar school kids with massive chips on their shoulder. Though obviously I prefer sensible Labour policies to anything this ghastly mob of a government will come up with.

    Of course the main skills an MP needs are networking and manipulation. The majority have safe seats so their livelihood depends not on voters but on the support of handful of local party bigwigs. Securing the support of a handful of mostly elderly people in smoke filled room is the main skill you need.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hate crime.

      (Bashing the elderly again.)

    • formula57
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      @ Andy – bear in mind the “mostly elderly people in smoke filled room” will be baby-boomers so likely well-heeled, articulate and used to having the best of everything handed to us them on a plate and well able to obtain it if ever withheld, being formidable opponents if crossed, so being an MP is less than easy. Perhaps showing a bit if pomposity is a way of letting off necessary steam when they can do so without harm?

    • ukretired123
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Mixed messages as usual. Monty Python thinking.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Grammar school kids have to compete for their education – so it’s generally the ones that are a bit strong willed (arrogant ?) who win places.

      They haven’t had their education bought for them by a rich mum and dad (paid directly or via living in a rich catchment.)

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        I sense that a certain ex-Grammar Labour leadership hopeful senses an opportunity for better career progression amongst let’s say more “secondary school” academic talent in the present Labour Party than in the Tory Party.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 10, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Yes, grammar schools are an excellent idea. I went to one. They turn out generally pro-European Union people too, and they should be available to all. They are in principle nowadays, and they are called Comprehensives. The fact that the Tories ran them down is a disgrace. However, bringing back secondary-not-moderns for nine-out-of-ten of our young would be a far greater one.

    • Fred H
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      and there was me hoping you might have made a New Year resolution to be kinder to us dear old, frail, ill, possibly demented fools who paid for your growing up and wiping your bum……Oh well…..

  16. formula57
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Whilst no doubt a key skill that “MPs need to be confident communicators, willing to talk to anyone and to learn from anyone” how do they cope with the great bores of today types and the know-it-alls, such often possessing indefatigable energy to press their views? Beyond them and more dangerous what about the professional lobbyists, perhaps acting in stealth for dubious masters?

  17. Ken Moore
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Mps wish to listen unless your troubled by Halal slaughter, the mass immigtation experiment or the governments ponzi scheme economics. How long can the government claim to be capitalists when they offer savers no return on money?. JR seems to want more money printing and credit…thats what got us into thid high debt low growth low wage economic mess!

    Reply. There have been big returns for savers who took sone risks.Most savers have pension and insurance assets invested in shares and bonds directly or indirectly.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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