20 facts about Jean-Claude Juncker

David Cameron and Angela Merkel are in Sweden today talking about Jean-Claude Juncker. Merkel thinks that the  former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, who also has substantial support in the European Parliament, would be an ok EU President. David Cameron and some like-minded Scandinavians vehemently disagree, seeing him as one of the last believers [...]

By | McSmith | Monday, 9 June 2014 at 8:02 am

Nigel Farage’s friend in Brussels

One aspect of the Nigel Farage’s LBC interview today which will get less coverage than his comments about immigration and race concerns the company he keeps when he is the Brussels Parliament. This receives little scrutiny, because people in the UK are not much interested in what happens over there.
In order to qualify to use [...]

By | McSmith | Friday, 16 May 2014 at 5:11 pm

Why I don’t find this Kim Jong-un stuff amusing

The story of the London hair salon, the portrait of Kim Jong-un and the offended North Korean diplomats is causing a lot of merriment, though personally I don’t find it funny. It is a very dark tale. It reminds of reading the memoirs of the late broadcaster and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who described meeting the [...]

By | McSmith | Wednesday, 16 April 2014 at 8:41 am

Nine Inconsequential Facts About Mark Menzies

The blast of publicity received over the weekend by the Conservative MP for Fylde, Mark Menzies, had political journalists rummaging through the archives to try to find out anything they could about his political career. This morning, I have undertaken a new search through the database to uncover any interesting snippets. The pickings are thin, [...]

By | McSmith | Monday, 31 March 2014 at 11:29 am

Red Princes and the Blue Princes, McSmith

Red Princes and the Blue Princes

A day later than everybody else, The Sun pitches in with an attack on the ‘Red Princes’ in the light of Stephen Kinnock’s adoption in a safe Labour seat. This story was previously aired in the Daily Mail, the Guardian, and the Standard Diary. Three days ago the Guido Fawkes website lampooned the Kinnock family [...]

By | McSmith | Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 11:12 am

What people who know are saying about the Crimea.

I spent yesterday evening at an event in London organised by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, listening to people who know more than I do about the Crimean crisis. Its founder, Alexei Navalny, could not be there: he is under house arrest in Russia, but a statement from him was read out, and has been published in full [...]

By | McSmith | Thursday, 20 March 2014 at 10:56 am

Why Prince Charles can be relieved Tony Benn is no longer around.

Prince Charles can be mildly relieved that Tony Benn is no longer with us, though he may not know the reason. Benn was a privy councillor. The Privy Council as such has not met since 1952. What are called Privy Council meetings are actually just brief gatherings of a handful of ministers who are there [...]

By | McSmith | Monday, 17 March 2014 at 10:20 am

Tony Benn dead: Warm in his friendships, harsh in his judgements – and blessed with an obstinacy that was magnificent

It is a shock. Not an unexpected one, because though the mind was alive, the body had been declining for months. I shall miss him, because Tony Benn was a towering figure, one of the rare politicians, in his day, who was a household name, bigger than any post he held. It will not emerge [...]

By | McSmith | Friday, 14 March 2014 at 7:48 am

Don’t mess with Ukip’s Patrick O’Flynn

Patrick O’Flynn, the former Daily Express journalist who now runs UKIP’s media operation believes in going for the jugular. As he defended Nigel Farage against the disgruntled former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who has used parliamentary privilege to accuse the Ukip leader of a sexual peccadillo, the eagle-eyed O’Flynn spotted that one of BBC journalists [...]

By | McSmith | Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 11:19 am

The Myth of Bob Crow’s £145,000 salary, McSmith

The Myth of Bob Crow’s £145,000 salary

Bob Crow died not knowing how well off he was, to judge by today’s news. The Daily Telegraph opens its tribute to him with the words: “Bob Crow defended his £145,000 salary, insisting: ‘I am worth it.’ And so he was.” Yesterday’s Standard referred to his “£145,000 salary.” On the BBC website he is described as having “lived in a council house, despite earning £145,000 a year.” The same words are on page 13 of The Times. Even Reuters, normally so reliable, reported that he was on “an annual salary of 145,000 pounds ($241,200)”

By | McSmith | Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 10:09 am

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