Phi Wire Hand Picked Politics - Live

  • Sadiq Khan | Let’s meet London’s housing need

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  • Robert Fisk | So, why is there such an explosion of violence across the Middle East?

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    • 07:39
  • Rob Crilly | Corruption is not the problem with British aid

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    • 07:29
  • Dan Hodges | Ed Miliband's bungee jumpers will leave it late

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    • 07:15
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Ed footballsed journo in charity match

Ed Balls spilled blood, sweat, and tears on the football pitch this afternoon after he elbowed a journalist in the face during a charity football match.

The Shadow Chancellor engaged in a ferocious tackle with Rob Merrick, from the Northern Echo, and whacked him in the face, leaving the journalist needing ambulance treatment.

Playing in central midfield, Mr Merrick was pictured in a blood-soaked shirt, after being patched up by staff. He then shook the shadow chancellor’s hand, and both teams accepted the incident had been a bit of a balls-up.

“Ed is a very combative player, and there was no malice,” one lobby journalist said. 

The hacks then got their own back in the Manchester match, giving the Labour politicians the boot with a final score of 3-1. Maybe Ed could give Manchester United a boost while he's in the city after today's disastrous loss against Leicester...

Willie's Yes endorsement : Vote aye or die

It’s the celebrity endorsement the Yes campaign has been waiting weeks for.

Groundskeeper Willie has finally taken to the podium to voice his views on Scottish independence in a YouTube video.

Donned in his traditional kilt and a backdrop of a Saltire so blue it would make Ed Miliband weep with joy, Willie slams the current Scottish establishment as “those who enjoy crawling like worms beneath British boots”.

The Simpsons star notes the power of the country which is home to two-thirds of Europe’s oil reserves, says Scots make a “damn fine whisky, and we spell whisky right too!”

Stopping of short of weighing himself into the brawl over whether Scotland should keep the British pound, Willie praises the “grand tradition of William Wallace and Andy Murray”.

And, in a move likely to keep David Cameron awake for the week, he says Alex Salmond would be a “safe choice” and rips his shirt off to reveal a birthmark reading “Aye or Die!”, and encourages people to back “Scotland’s prodigal son, Groundskeeper Willie!”

He promises not to bow down to world leaders (as he doesn’t have a clue who they are), and is “not willing to learn”. The Scot’s years in America means he knows “how NOT to run a country”. The end of the US-UK relationship as we know it is upon us. Take that Obama.

Spice Up Your Life

Former Olympian athlete, one-time party leader, Companion of Honour: Sir Menzies Campbell is many things. But here's an exchange from yesterday's debate on the Middle East that threw up an unusual gem:

Stephen Barclay: Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggesting that we should perhaps take money from DFID’s budget, which is often justified in terms of soft power? Last year, for example, it spent £4 million on a Spice Girl-style band in Ethiopia. Should we not be spending that sort of funding on serious diplomatic and intelligence capability?

Sir Menzies Campbell: I am something of a fan of the Spice Girls myself.

Hon. Members: Sporty Spice!

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order.

In case Dot Commons readers were struggling to picture Sir Ming as one Mel C, we've helpfully provided a stunningly realistic artist's impression. You're welcome.

 


Calling a spade a spayed

Alec Shelbrooke has used the Commons debate on puppies and kittens as means of proving his ever-lasting loyalty to CCHQ.

“Our two dogs, Boris and Maggie, have a loyalty, a love, a calming nature through exercise and of course the comfort a dog can give you,” he said.

A certain Mayor of London might be flattered and encouraged by to know that he is so popular with a Tory MP. The joy was, however, likely short-lived as Shelbrooke went on to speak about behaviour issues:

“For the first and last time, Madame Deputy Speaker, I can stand in this House and say that Boris’ bad behaviour was improved immensely when I had him castrated.”

Now there's an idea...

Free School Truancy Officer

 

Having secured free school meals for all infant children, Nick Clegg opened up a new front in the battle for education credentials: who can be tougher on truancy. 

When a nine-year old boy named Rowan called into his LBC show to casually pick apart the Lib Dem flagship policy, Mr Clegg, one foot in his patrol car already, barked: “Why are you not at school Rowan?”

All fun and games? Oh no. Clegg went on: “No seriously, are you ringing from school?”

This was followed by a suspicious: “Where is your school?” Rowan, perhaps recalling those warnings about potentially dangerous strangers who should not be trusted, replied evasively: “Erm……. It’s in south London.”

“I quite understand you don’t want to tell me which school you are at,” Mr Clegg muttered through gritted teeth.  

Having failed to establish the child’s location his bat-like hearing kicked in and he broke off mid-sentence to declare triumphantly: “I have just heard your class bell go.”

As Rowan trotted off to class basking in the glow of going toe-to-toe with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Clegg reflected on the attributes – dodging a straightforward question, not really listening to replies, and the unshakeable belief that you know best at age nine – of his young opponent and spotted a potential recruit. “By the way you should really go into politics”... watch this space.