It’s a disgrace

You wouldn’t think I’d care about this:


But I do and here’s why: Going away during school holidays is, for me, a complete no-no due to the cost and the abundance of screaming little gits. Conversely, the school holidays are usually a period of profound joy on the roads, as all those addled, sleep-deprived, people-carrier driving fuckwits are away on holiday, instead of in my damned way as they usually are.

If these people’s holidays start to spill out into term time, it’s a lose-lose for me. The joy and cheapness of going away during term-time are eroded, and the drop in fuckwit co-efficient on the roads during school holidays becomes indistiguishable.

Oh and I’m paying thousands for your brats’ educations and you think I shouldn’t care that you’re squandering it?

Accordingly, I can but support schools who take the dimmest view of parents taking their kids out of school during term time.

Still – I suppose there may be one benefit – the profound work-fucking effect of half the workforce buggering off on holiday in the same 2 weeks may be somewhat attenuated.



What makes you think we want you back, splitters?

Does this country need four million extra residents, of whom the vast majority are retired?


Almost 4 million Brits living abroad are planning a mass return to home shores after seeing their savings and income stripped by the plunging values of the pound and their property.

The dramatic slump has slashed their income by a third and has turned Brits into the paupers of Europe.

Fears over job security and falling property prices are also giving expats second thoughts, according to research from foreign exchange specialist Moneycorp.

Some 845,000 Brits living in Spain and France have suffered an 8 per cent drop in house prices in the year to August 2009 alone. This wiped €30,000 off the average property on the Costa del Sol.

Look, Derek and Irene. You left the UK because it was full, and rainy, and dangerous and oppressive, and expensive and poor value. It still is, and you decaying old giffers coming back here to clog up our roads with your Volvos and Toyotas is not going to help.

So turn around and fuck off back where you came from.


Minister for Time Theft gets bitten

Littlejohn nails the Minister for Transport. Splendid.


Lord Adonis, one of Labour’s unelected ministers, found himself marooned in a five-hour traffic jam on the approach road to London’s Blackwall Tunnel.

Furious at the lack of warning, Adonis rang the Highways Agency in a state of high dudgeon.

While his children bickered on the backseat, he demanded to know why the fact that the road ahead was closed hadn’t been posted on overhead gantries.

Had drivers been made aware that the tunnel was shut, they could have made alternative arrangements, he railed.

‘I expressed very strong views about the absence of information to motorists,’ he said. ‘We need to do far better at providing information to motorists than we do at the moment.

‘If advice had been given to motorists, then the five hours that i spent in a car park by the Blackwall Tunnel would have been avoided and thousands of motorists would have got their weekend back.’

There’s a delicious irony in a Labour transport minister getting caught in the kind of chaos which afflicts millions of ordinary motorists every day of the week.

Maybe politicians are so cosseted in the back of their taxpayer-funded limousines they fail to notice the battlefield which passes for Britain’s road network.

The disruption Adonis experienced for himself is pretty much par for the course. the Blackwall Tunnel is a notorious trouble spot, bringing misery and long delays daily.

It’s not as if there’s any shortage of electronic noticeboards on our motorways. But mostly they seem to display those crass, nannying ‘safety’ messages: ‘Take a Break’; ‘Tiredness Kills’; ‘Check your Petrol’; ‘Stop Picking Your Nose’.

By the time they get round to telling you that there’s been a pile-up, it’s usually too late to take a detour. even if you are given advance warning, often there’s no escape route available. if you get stuck on the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, for instance, you’re there for the duration.

The last time i went to the O2 Arena at Greenwich, the police closed the tunnel at a moment’s notice and I was forced to take a tortuous detour through the badlands of South London to make it safely back over the river.

Part of the problem is that the Government has dragged its heels on the building of a new Thames crossing, which would ease congestion.

And here’s the Prescott effect:

Labour came to power promising a ‘world-class’ transport network and then put Two Jags in charge. His contribution was immediately to cancel vital road-widening and construction projects which had been in the pipeline for years.

Oh and introduce the M4 bus lane. The fat cunt.

You can still see the carnage on the North Circular road, which is lined with boarded-up houses compulsorily purchased 15 years ago in anticipation of a widening scheme which still hasn’t happened. Similar projects have been shelved all over Britain.

Indeed they have.

Not that there’s any lack of roadworks, mind you. My journey into central London on Friday night was like navigating the road to Basra.

Most of these seemed to be uncoordinated sewer, telephone or gas and electricity mains excavations. Either that or pointless fancy paving schemes, speed humps and road narrowing.

All these bomb sites were surrounded by miles of high-viz safety barriers, even though no one was working at any of them.

This just happens to be in North London, but I could be writing about any town or city in the country. If the roadworks don’t get you, elf’n’safety will.

Every time there is even a minor shunt, the whole stretch is considered a ‘crime scene’ and the police shut the road in both directions, while jobsworths with tape measures carry out a full-scale accident investigation.

That’s what appears to have happened when Adonis got stuck. the Old Bill no longer consider it any part of their job to keep the traffic moving, not when there are forms to be filled in and boxes to be ticked.

Perhaps matters might improve if ministers got out more and experienced the real world they have created first hand.

To be fair to Adonis, he has been travelling the length and breadth of Britain by train to investigate the state of our railways.

Typically, though, he has reached the wrong conclusion. He is proposing a £30billion high-speed link through the Chilterns, when what we actually and urgently need are improvements to existing services, particularly our hellishly overcrowded commuter routes.

But you can always depend on politicians to put grandiose ‘eye-catching’ projects before routine housekeeping.

I’d love to have been a fly on the windscreen when Adonis was tearing a strip off the Highways Agency. That’s always assuming he managed to get through.

Some years ago, with great ceremony, John Major set up the Cones Hotline to encourage motorists to report delays caused by unnecessary roadworks.

One Saturday, stuck in an endless jam on the A1, near Bedford, caused by deserted cones cordoning off miles of empty carriageway, I decided to give it a ring.

After a few minutes, someone answered.

‘Is that the Cones Hotline?’ ‘No, sir, you’ve come through to security at the Ministry of Transport.’

‘Can you put me through to the Cones Hotline?’

‘ Sorry, sir, he doesn’t work weekends.’



Oh hai, Tories. Can has piss-up in a brewery?

Tee hee. Sorry, nicked in full.


The constituency of Hyndburn, Lancashire has been left “without a functioning Conservative Association” after its entire leadership resigned in protest at a selection shortlist forced upon them by Tory high command. The list excluded the Conservative leader of Hyndburn Borough Council, Peter Britcliffe,* who had made no secret of his desire to contest the seat.

With Cameron-loving Karen Buckley barely two days into her role as PPC, Scrapbook can exclusively reveal that the contest has been effectively abandoned by CCHQ after Britcliffe’s supporters threatened to quit the party and fight the election under the banner of “Hyndburn Independent Conservatives”.

The council chief’s attempts to distance himself from the row are most entertaining:

“While I always believe that it is more democratic to allow local party members to have a free hand in the selection of candidates this is not something that I intend to spend time complaining about.”

Quite. Why bother to complain when acolytes are causing a stink on your behalf? Britcliffe’s council deputies Brian Roberts and Peter Clarke were among those to quit their officer positions in the local party along with his sidekick Marlene Haworth.

This is only the latest episode in a string of embarrassing flare-ups involving female Conservative candidates. Liz Truss survived a deselection attempt in South West Norfolk after the Google-hating “Turnip Taliban” finally discovered an affair widely publicised in 2006; Top brass intervened to save candidate Joanne Cash in Westminster North, with an election agent and chairwoman defenestrated in the process.

To the evident frustration of ConservativeHome, Tories in Hyndburn earned the dubious distinction of being the last constituency in England to pick their candidate despite its description in the latest edition of The Almanac of British Politics as a ”classic Labour-Conservative marginal”. It has now emerged that this was the result of convoluted brinkmanship between local members and CCHQ, who were “desperate” to stop Cllr Britcliffe being selected for the third time since 1997.

They’re simply falling over each other to cock things up.

*Those in need of a laugh should head straight to Peter Britcliffe’s personal website, which plays Barry Manilow’s I Write The Songs to all visitors.

They’re a party hungry for power and no mistake. Apparently, though, their sights seem to be set on the Waltham-on-Thames pariah parish* council.


*Ahem, typo.

Why would anyone go to Dubai?

Ever since a friend of a friend had a run-in with the authorities in Dubai, I’ve noticed some of the various stories of westerners treated (in our terms) harshly after minor or imagined transgressions there.

Time after time, I ponder the titular question and I cannot think of a single worthwhile reason. When will people understand that whatever the tourist board tell you, Dubai is an Islamic state, with all that entails?


A British man and woman facing jail in Dubai for kissing in public have vowed to fight the charges and clear their names.

Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Louise Adams have appealed against sentences of one month in jail and deportation from the Gulf state, after they were convicted last week of kissing and drinking alcohol at a beachside restaurant. They will hear the results of their appeal on April 4.

The pair insist they had just kissed on the cheek but their claim was dismissed by the court.

They were arrested in November after a Muslim woman complained that she had seen them flouting Dubai’s strict decency laws. Appearing in court last week, the two admitted drinking alcohol and were fined £180 each.

Their prison sentence and deportation were suspended when they appealed against the conviction for kissing. The pair were bailed but their passports were confiscated to prevent them leaving the country.

They appeared in court again today, where their appeal hearing was pushed back until April.

So, look. It’s their country – it’s up to them. But why go and even take the chance?


Strike: Alight

For a full set, we need some kind of automobiles. Taxi drivers, perhaps?



It’s as well I wasn’t planning on putting myself through the misery of travel by plane or train over the Easter period. It’s a shame I’ll be in even bigger piles of traffic mongs in the event I actually want to go anywhere at all over that period.

Fuck you all, commie wankers.

As for the BA strike – control over that seems to spend a lot of time sat on Gordon’s sofa.




MPs need to travel first class because. . .

Well – it’s obvious why, isn’t it?

After Nicholas Winterton got off to a faltering start in defending MPs right to travel seperately from the hoi polloi – a totally different sort of people – it was essential that some more balanced and reasonable arguments prevailed.


Tom Levitt, the Labour backbencher for High Peak, said: “I invariably work on the train, something I can only do in a first class carriage for three reasons: that I have a table, space and privacy to work there; that I have a seat (as the standard class carriages between Manchester and London are often standing room only); and that (as I am over six feet tall) I have the leg room for comfort.”

After all, only MPs are more than 6ft tall, or ever need a table to get some work done while trudging up and down the country on our creaking, shambolic, dogshit snandwich of a transport infrastructure.

Sandra Gidley, Lib Dem MP for Romsey, said: “I find I can usually do some useful work which is not always possible in standard class.

“Also, as a woman travelling alone late at night I feel safer in first, particularly on the later trains when there are often a number of people who have been drinking.”

Uh huh? Wouldn’t we all – especially if our HMRC expenses rules made such allowances possible.

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, remarked that IPSA members travel first class and MPs should be treated no differently.

Sir, sir! He get’s first class – it’s not faaaaaairr!! :sulk:

Happily though, one MP can justify her use of first class travel at our expense.

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, accused him of being guided by media “spite” rather than value to the taxpayer

You know, it’s possible. And I just can’t think why, Anne.

She said: “If I travel first class, I can plug in my computer, not a facility that is universally available in second class. I can therefore work throughout the journey.

Which is perfectly reasonable. After all.. blah blah blah.. cut to the chase, Widdie, you tedious old battleaxe.

[She] pointed out she had written two books while travelling first class.

And naturally, the proceeds of those books reimbursed the cost of your 1st class tickets that we’d paid for. Right ?

Fuck off, you bunch of total and utter thieves.


Enough is enough. I am forming a think tank.

How hard can it be? Now just need to think of a name.

Sherlock? Nah – been done. Ishityounot? Nah – sounds like a Micronesian beach hut.  I have it – ‘The Wellduh! Foundation’.


Oh, I think I need to sit down. You mean… the public sector is a hive of cosseted fuckwits, leeches and educationally sub-normal wasters?

This is all too much to take in.

Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain. But there is one place where nothing much changed after May 1979; a lost world where strikes are commonplace and powerful trade unions still rule the roost. It’s a slice of 1970s Britain preserved in aspic, where productivity falls, pay surges and nobody gets the sack. All that’s missing are the Austin Allegros and Donny Osmond.

That place is the public sector. Review the facts: public sector productivity fell almost 4% in the 10 years after 1997, whereas private sector productivity grew 28%. Public sector pay has grown by 15% more than private sector pay. But despite that, people in the public sector aren’t happy: in fact, compared with the private sector, twice as many managers say morale is low in their workplace. Sickness rates are 50% higher and the number of days lost to strikes is 15 times higher.

Strikes? Right – down in the unions like a ton of bricks for a start. And perhaps we should redeploy those 10,000 Tasers Jacqui Bigtits ordered for plod.

There are many reasons why the public sector is underperforming. Four-fifths of public sector workers have their pay set not on the basis of individual performance but by national pay bargaining agreements.

Quite – no incentive to perform better as an induhvidual.

In much of the public sector, promotion is automatic each year and doesn’t reflect effort or ability.

Errr. What? The? Fuck?

Public sector organisations are saddled with top-heavy management and expensive pension schemes.

Yes – a cull is indeed necessary and those pension schemes need to be chucked over the side of a transpacific freight liner, in a sack full of rocks.

Perhaps the most important reason is that it is very difficult to hire or fire anyone. Almost no one is ever sacked for underperforming in the civil service. And whole teams of people who are no longer really needed remain because it is difficult to make people redundant. According to the Cabinet Office: “There were fewer than 100 compulsory redundancies between 2005 and 2008.” That means just 25 people each year out of 525,000 civil servants.

There are 6,000 in my company in the UK and I know 25 personally who were made redundant last year. Boo hoo. So how come?

In 2008 the government and the trade unions agreed a “protocol for handling surplus staff situations” under which the government will almost never force through compulsory redundancies. So people have to be bribed to leave with generous pay-offs. For example, in 2005-8 almost 300 people agreed to take early retirement from the Foreign Office with an average payout of £162,000 — on top of their generous pensions.

Do read on, though it doesn’t get any better.


Bits & bobs

Just a few things I’ve happened upon today, that I can’t be bothered to construct full posts about.

Someone called Matt Flaherty has written a letter to the CPS expressing concern about the Paul Chambers #twitterarrest case. It  very nicely articulates the concerned raised by the choice of path the CPS has taken in this instance. Sadly, since Mr Chambers has already pleaded guilty, it’s too little too late. As an expression of all that’s wrong with this case, though, it’s a fine piece of writing & I commend it to you.

Many years ago, I used to frequent a web forum, where a chap once boasted how he’d secretly videoed himself shagging various women, by using a hidden camera. A free-for-all ensued and debate was split along the lines of “get in there, good lad – hope you caught the money shots” and “err – that’s certainly immoral and probably illegal – you’re a fucking sleezebag, mate”. This, would have been somewhere between 2002-2004, I guess (I couldn’t find the thread in 2 hours of searching last night), but I was reminded of it when I read this item, about a bloke who has just been jailed, having been rumbled for precisely this activity.

Mad Mel nails The Tories’ hopey-changey-wishy-washy bullshitfest with aplomb.

In spite of Tory optimism that their marginal seats strategy is mitigating the nationwide narrowing of the polls, YouGov have a poll of 60 key marginals, showing that the gap in the marginals is 2% too.

The Jon Venables thing continues to rumble. The beying of the general pubelick continues to grow in pitch and amplitude. #bbcqt last night was awash with it (Will Self here). It is, though, annoying to think that, if the papers are right, Venables has been habitually flouting various of the conditions of his licensed release. Robert Thompson is still at liberty. Do you have a dysfunctional Scouse loner with a sketchy background in your workplace? Renting a flat from you? In your bed? Have you checked under your bed for monsters and trolls? Meanwhile, Venable is getting another new identity after his ID was rumbled at the prison he’s in.

Bit of a contradiction here:


Which one is it? I think we all know. I’ve suffered these bi-weekly collections for a couple of years now and they are a fucking joke in half a dozen different ways.

Incidentally, they’re installing RFID chips in bins again. Look for a circular black plastic thing, recently inserted in the underside of the front lip of your wheelie bin. Remove. Microwave for 2 minutes. Reinsert.

Brown’s in front of the Chilcot inquiry today. Outcome likely to be, “meh – he got away with it again.”

I’ve added the Big Brother Watch site to my blogroll, because, if I’ve nothing to say on any particular day, it’s usually because they’ve already said it with aplomb.

The Met office are to stop issuing seasonal forecasts, because they’re shit at it. Presumably, this will give them more time to spend cooking their global warming datasets.

This took a while to float back to the surface.

[Airline Bomb Plotter] Ali’s wife has also been charged under anti-terror laws for allegedly failing to inform authorities of the plot. However, she strongly asserts her innocence.

She’s just been cleared after a 3 week trial. Good.

More crap anon.


To Protect (themselves) and Serve (themselves)

Just a few bad apples…


A police chief who allegedly set fire to a car to destroy evidence of his affair with a barrister’s wife has been arrested.

Chief Superintendent Jim Trotman had been using the police hire vehicle to visit his mistress and wanted to hide the fact he illegally clocked up mileage for personal use, sources said.

Wait.. what? You torched a police car? Okay – if you’d killed someone and you need to destroy DNA evidence, maybe you’d torch the car. To avoid explaining unauthorised mileage, though? Personally, though, I’d avoid getting xaught for that by catching a fucking taxi.

Why do these senior coppers end up doing such stupid shit? Dizaei fitting a bloke up over a £600 web-design bill? This bloke with his Swan Vestas? This one, with her light fingers?

After the car was destroyed by the flames, Mr Trotman claimed he was the victim of an arson attack and even named the barrister as a possible suspect, they added.

Another fit up? For fuck’s sake.

The married father-of-two has also been suspended from Thames Valley Police while detectives investigate allegations of arson, insurance fraud and perverting the course of justice.

Perhaps he’ll be joining Dizaei Rascal in clink – and even get a chamber-pot full of shit over his head. LOL.


UPDATE: Should probably mention that the allegedly light fingered one submitted Not Guilty at a plea hearing and will go to trial next month.

No sympathy week

Via Rod Liddle at the Coffeehouse, I see this:


A fireman has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a farmer was trampled to death by a herd of cows which were spooked by his siren.

Harold Lee, 75, was moving 100 dairy cows along a B-road with son Richard when a fire engine approached with full lights and sirens on.

Errr – perhaps there was an emergency, then.

Richard, 42, claims the driver turned off the sirens at his request but became impatient when the cows failed to move quickly and then blasted them back on.

The startled dairy cows turned and stampeded back over Harold, leaving him with serious head and chest injuries from which he died six days later.

Tragic. Fine. Let the cries of ‘something must be done’ ring out.

Andrew Lee, 47, Harold’s eldest son who also works at Robins Farm in Burtle, Somerset, today praised the arrest as a ‘step towards justice’.

He said: ‘Personally I think the siren was responsible for my father’s death and his death certainly could have been avoided.

‘We want to see justice done and to prevent accidents like this happening to other families. The last six months have been very tough and hard us.

Yes dear. I remember when my father died. That was hard. It was hard because he was killed in equal parts by an uninsured woman driver and the NHS. Shit happens. There is no justice in this world.

His son Richard claimed there was ‘no need’ for them to have their sirens on full.

He said: ‘We understand they were trying to get to an accident but there was no need for them to have their sirens going. Without that this wouldn’t have happened.’

A Devon and Somerset Fire spokesman have refused to comment about the arrest but said earlier that the crew was on its way to a road accident when they came across the cattle.

Hey – maybe those firemen were on the way to cut some innocent motorist like my father out of a car that had been hit be a fuckwit. Maybe the five minutes it was taking you to get your fucking moocows off the public road represented the difference between life and death for several individuals, whom the paramedics couldn’t treat until the firemen had freed them.

So, sad as it is when any family loses a member, I call tough shit on Harold Lee and his blame-storming family. Shoulda got out of the fucking way or managed your cow-moving properly so as not to cause a potentially lethal obstruction.

Support the arrested fireman.


Bonfire of the insanities

Rubs hands together with glee.


Predictably, they are looking at libraries, nurseries, arts and leisure services, as well as roads, refuse collection and everything else. The question I await the answer to is who is less important than a 5-a-day coordinator or a lesbian albino budgerigar outreach worker?


And so the bleating begins

I’ve already said my piece about these trivial and distracting cuts the BBC is to make. (The Times leader also has it nailed).

The riders of the gravy-train are non-plussed.


The BBC’s plans to shut two radio stations and close half its website were in chaos yesterday as musicians vowed to stop the closure of 6 Music and unions threatened to strike over job cuts.

I can sense the righteous likes of Radioshed and Blurb all over this shit.

Appropriately enough, this story is in the Entertainment section of the Times website. LOL.

Broadcasting unions leaked the contents of meetings with senior BBC staff yesterday that confirmed the Times report. They have threatened industrial action over 600 potential job losses.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for 6Music listeners, though, and a valuable indicator of BBC bloat:

There was interest, however, from the BBC’s commercial rivals. Clive Dickens, the head of Absolute Radio, said that the station would bid to buy 6 Music from the BBC. Absolute has double the listeners of 6 Music, but less than half the budget. *


Mr Dickens said: “We would buy 6 Music from the BBC, both the brand and the network, and we’d run it more efficiently than they’ve been doing.”

Can you imagine the cosseted BBC numpties’ panic at the idea of having to worry about stuff like budgets, sponsors, competition etc? One can but smirk.

We need to accept that this is precisely what should happen to the entire BBC.

Sadly, though, not all in the future garden is rosy. I’ve listened to Absolute. The sheer volume of government information adverts on there makes it even more of a Labour mouthpiece than even the fucking BBC. And don’t think the Tories wouldn’t use the same methods to ‘nudge’ their target demographics.

The BBC will admit that the average age of its listeners, 35, is valuable to advertisers on commercial stations.

Yeah – 6Music listeners – that’s 700,000 savvy, middle-class pissheads, smokers, drivers of big cars. How could they resist?



* I suppose it’s worth making the distinction that 6Music is a digital only station (DAB, Interweb, cable & satellite) whereas you can actually listen to Absolute on, you know, a radio. I reckon if 6 Music got an FM broadcast, the listenership would double or treble, just on in-car listeners.

This is indicative of the total fucking shambles that is DAB radio in the UK, in which the dead hand of the BBC is central. And there are already noises about supplementing (and probably replacing) DAB with DRM. So that’s four DAB equipped devices I have that’ll become deprecated or completely useless soon after 2012. Nice work, fuckers.

UPDATE 2: JuliaM displays her usual aplomb in slicing up the special pleadings for BBC Asian Network that are emerging.

Sting on Ethics

Since Sting annually goes head to head with Bono in the Superbowl of ‘most sanctimonious cunts’, this cannot go unremarked upon.I don’t see much need to add to the treatment he got in the Graun.


Nice of him…

"I played in Uzbekistan a few months ago," he begins. "The concert was organized by the president’s daughter and I believe sponsored by Unicef."

You can believe it all you like, Sting, but it’s absolute cobblers – Lost in Showbiz has checked it out with Unicef, who tactfully describe themselves as "quite surprised" by your claim.

But he’s only just got started digging.

"I seriously doubt whether the President of Uzbekistan cares in the slightest whether artists like myself come to play in his country," concludes Sting. "He is hermetically sealed in his own medieval, tyrannical mindset."

You will note that Sting conspicuously declines to deflect the heat by stating that he donated all or indeed any of his monstrous fee to charity. And I could go on – but at this point it feels right to hand over to former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray.

Always interesting…

"This really is transparent bollocks," observes Murray on his blog. "He did not take a guitar and jam around the parks of Tashkent. He got paid over a million pounds to play an event specifically designed to glorify a barbarous regime. Is the man completely mad?

"Why does he think it was worth over a million quid to the regime to hear him warble a few notes?

Why indeed.

Still, him accepting a wedge from despots, Trudie making films for Tesco – it must be said that the House of Sumner has moved into a most intriguing era of late, and we shall redouble the focus on its activities.

Splendid. Next week, Bono


A paragon of Labour virtue

Sounds like a nice chap…


Frank McGrath, 59, was convicted of nine counts of concealing criminal funds for Silvano Turchet, 55, who is currently serving 15 years for the importation of Class A drugs.

The ex-Labour councillor, of Belton Hill, Fulwood, laundered more than £300,000 for Turchet, Manchester Crown Court heard.



I do hope Guido has this right:


Guido understands that Andy Burnham is about to be in some deep trouble. Yesterday he said he “did not believe that a lengthy, adversarial inquiry would be in the best interests of health care in Staffordshire.” Today it has emerged that in 2007, as a Junior Health Minister, he signed off on one of four stages of the Mid-Stafford Hospital’s elevation to Labour’s coveted Foundation Trust status. This was despite four formal alerts about the hospital’s dangerous practises. The rest they say is history.

No wonder Dave was asking about this at PMQs yesterday. Guido just got off the phone with Julie Bailey of Cure the NHS, a local group campaigning for a full inquiry into the case, who said she had to go because “we’re just about to start filming” as Andrew Lansley was on the way.

After Burnham’s “tired and emotional” outburst at Lansley last week for the death tax posters, Guido senses he may be dodging Nokias by the end of the tea time news…

… because Andy Burnham is a puritanical authoritarian scouse tosser.