Daily View 2×2: 26 June 2009

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2009

Even to suggest today there are 2 Big Stories other than The One Big Story seems a trifle daft – the news that spread late yesterday evening of the death of Michael Jackson has dominated, and will continue to dominate, news coverage this weekend. RIP the ‘King of Pop’, of course, but spare a thought, too, for Farrah Fawcett, whose death was also announced yesterday, and has been rather overshadowed. If Michael’s death can be likened to that of Princess Diana’s in August ‘97, I guess that makes Farrah the Mother Teresa of June ’09. Anyway…

2 Big Stories

BBC reveals top executives’ expenses

Yep, another day, another chance to mock and scorn highly-paid public servants for squandering our cash on loadsamoney expenses – today it’s the turn of the Beeb:

The lifestyle and pay packets of top executives at the BBC were laid bare yesterday, revealing how the Corporation’s senior staff used public money to pay for everything from wrapping paper and iPods to flowers and champagne for its highest-earning stars. Luxury hotels, a private jet and even gifts for fellow BBC staff members also appeared.

I could feign shock and outrage, I guess, but frankly I’m bored now with all the moral indignation about taxpayers’ petty cash compared with the deafening silence which greets huge vanity government spending projects. Feel free to care more than me, though, about whether Jonathan Ross should get a £100 bouquet of flowers, or if Sir Bruce Forsyth is worth a celebratory knighthood party.

Tory MPs defy Cameron on expenses

Discontent in the Tory parliamentary party with David Cameron continues to grow. Following last week’s anonymous letter (apparently written by an MP) slating his leadership, and yesterday’s op-ed in the Telegraph by the influential Ben Brogan talking of Cameron’s ‘Great Purge’ of Tory MPs, comes news that three are refusing to accept the findings of the party’s own interim report asking Tory MPs to return a further £125,000 in dodgy expenses to the taxpayer.

A former aide to David Cameron and one of the highest-profile victims of the expenses scandal has won the right for his case to be decided by an independent House of Commons review. Andrew MacKay and two other Conservative MPs, Brian Binley and Anne Main, have withheld any repayments until after an official investigation, despite the party’s efforts to resolve the issues with an internal “scrutiny panel”.

The Tories must be kicking themselves for going public with this yesterday – today would have been a much better day to bury bad news.

2 must-read blog postings

An open letter to Diane Park (Anders Hanson)

Diane Park was the Liberal Democrat PPC for Halifax. She resigned yesterday and at the same time quit the party to sit as an Independent councillor on Calderdale Council. This is what I want to say to her.

Read on – terrific post from Anders.

Charlotte Gore MP? Let’s hope not. (Charlotte Gore)

Amongst the many reasons why I would make a terrible PPC my personal favourite is this blog. Oh, it’ll take a day or so, but any campaign run by me could be derailed very quickly by finding a few choice quotes. Charlotte Gore wants to axe the welfare state! Charlotte Gore wants to cut spending! Charlotte Gore is pro Business and anti Union! Charlotte Gore wants to legalise drugs! Charlotte Gore thinks the BNP should be allowed on television! That’s just the start of it. There’s enough in this blog to kill any political career one hundred times over.

Charlotte writes an open letter to Halifax Lib Dems.