Even more exciting than the decade-old details of a fairly obscure MP’s childcare arrangements (and anyone who wants to argue that, in the general scheme of things, the chairmanship of the Conservative Party is, per se, a major claim to public recognition really needs to shut down the web-browser now and start getting out just that little bit more) is the rift that’s developed on the right-of-centre end of the blogosphere, over the past 48 hours, regarding the matter of Caroline Spelman MP: her probity, her culpability, the embattled cul-de-sac that is her short-term political future.
On one side of the rift, exemplifying Mrs Spelman’s defenders, is Iain Dale, who, despite hardly knowing her, is confident enough of her merits to pronounce her a Decent and Honest Woman. The basic line he takes is Voltaire’s durable tout comprendre, c’est tout pardoner one: Mrs Spelman was under a lot of pressure, she meant no harm, and anyway she regularised her secretarial arrangements as soon as it was pointed out to her that it did rather look as if she was using public funds to subsidise her nanny’s salary. Continue reading
In London this morning, something’s definitely changed. One can feel it in the air. For the first time in weeks, the sky is bright blue beneath the softest veil of clouds and the sun is shining fearlessly, while the slightly damp air is warm enough, just, to presage the onset of our much-delayed spring.
The peaceful transfer of political power is, I suppose, so basically counterintuitive as to drive any susceptible observer, from time to time, into the arms of the pathetic fallacy. Why is it, though, that the weather on the day of any significant British election result is always beautiful? So incandescently bright and sunny, for instance, was the morning of New Labour’s apotheosis on 2 May 1997 — a sort of public holiday declared by Nature herself, apparently, to mark the long-awaited climacteric — that even Alastair Campbell, not given to gratuitous scene-setting, fought free of his own self-imposed rhetorical mode long enough to confess to his diary that this was ‘another lovely sunny day’, as indeed it was. For the losers, on the other hand, for the Tories as we wandered through that magnificent morning, bewildered and outraged and heartbroken, the sunshine only added to the air of disorientation. ‘It was not a thing done in a corner,’ the regicides said of the judicial murder of Charles I; in 1997, it was as if the consummation of New Labour’s various ambitions, more and less obvious, could only take place in very bright daylight indeed. Continue reading