Broadcaster and general nuisance Sean Dilley gives his take on the week in politics.
The Chris Rennard fiasco continues and it’s messier than a handkerchief at an influenza party.
Speaking on his weekly LBC Radio show, Nick Clegg brushed away threats by the former Lib Dem high flyer to start legal action if his membership was not reinstated.
So where are we now? Pretty much where it all was on day one, with an internal inquiry finding that under party rules, Lord Rennard did not bring the party into disrepute – however, that same report tainted it’s own legitimacy by saying the accounts of alleged victims were credible but could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Now we don’t only have a child-like battle between two longstanding politicians that frankly belongs in the playground with one refusing to hand back the metaphorical football unless the other apologises – but the questionable standing of Lib Dem party rules once again takes centre stage in the public eye, and it’s not going to go away any time soon if this really does end up in the Courts.
Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith has confirmed on twitter what was pretty common knowledge down Westminster way… he and the party, whose whip he holds, really don’t get on.
Commenting on revelations that the right to recall MPs pledge that was made in Tory and Lib Dem manifestos in 2010 is to be ditched due to "disagreements", the Boris Johnson ally said, "parties can stuff their manifestos full of clever promises, but if voters don’t believe them, they may as well present blank sheets."
And in a move that will gain him the support of his Constituents, if not his local Conservative Association Goldsmith asked, "How is it possible that our leaders still don’t understand that the single biggest cause of people's hatred of them is deceit?"
I have to say that as someone who in 2011 described the weak proposals on right to recall as smoke and mirrors, and likely delivery “disingenuous, restrictive and undemocratic, I can hardly disagree with what Mr Goldsmith says. Ironic isn’t it that a minority of MPs demand a higher form of accountability from others than they’re willing to accept themselves.
There’s much I could add on the duplicity of the original promise, but why not shortcut the process and take a read of what I wrote over two years ago?
It’s a sad state of affairs that a coalition of talent, working in the national interest could not even deliver on the weakest, most bent form of a right to recall imaginable.
Labour’s Michael Kane has been elected as Wythenshawe and Sale East’s MP following the sad death of Paul Goggins – but it is UKIP who are the real winners, pushing the Tories in to third place.
None of this is to take away from the overwhelming victory for Labour in this by-election, but somewhere in Conservative Campaign Headquarters is a Tory strategist no doubt curled up in the fetal position behind a coffee machine - comforted no doubt by Tory Chairman Grant Shapps who would surely point out that by-elections are normally an opportunity to kick the government of the day, but cognisant of the fact that UKIP are occupying much of the ground his party used to and aware that all three main parties are fishing in the same pool.
Yes, it’s fine to write this one off – it is after all traditionally a Labour seat, and UKIP didn’t exactly ride high in the polls – but the simple fact is that UKIP were the second party in what seems certain to highlight the hammering David Cameron’s austerity government will face at the European and Council elections in May… then of course we really are in the home straight to the General Election and no, UKIP won’t form the next government, but their occupancy of what some voters clearly see as a void may influence who walks in to Number 10 in fifteen months time.
The Scottish First Minister has hit back in a row over whether an independent Scotland could share the UK pound.
On Wednesday, George Osborne released a report by the most senior civil servant at the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson which "strongly" advised against the union as "currently proposed".
On Thursday, Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander also said that as a Scott, he could not recommend the move which he says simply could not happen. Views backed by Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls and of course former chancellor Alistair Darling who is spearheading the No campaign.
But Alex Salmond has hit out at the rejection of a currency union in the current proposed form, describing the comments of all three main UK parties, two main parties in the Hollyrood Parliament and the Treasury’s most senior civil servant as bluff, bluster and bullying”.
Mr Salmond has made clear that he would be willing to discuss and negotiate details if the “Westminster government” were prepared to do so.
The main point of contention appears to be the implication of Scotland adopting the pound for a temporary period of time, but wherever one stands on Independence, it is genuinely held that a country is not independent unless it has it’s own currency….
Nobody mention Europe. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.