20 Nov 2015 at 14:11
So Mark Clarke has been expelled from the Conservative Party. For life. Within minutes of that being announced by CCHQ I interviewed the father of Elliott Johnson, the young man who took his own life back in September, and who had made complaints (not acted on) by CCHQ. Ray Johnson firmly believes that a cover-up is underway and that the internal inquiry ordered by Andrew Feldman will be a whitewash. I’d like to think he will be proved wrong and that some sort of justice will prevail. Am I confident about the outcome? No I am not. Ray Johnson is right. This inquiry should have been carried out by someone independent of the Conservative Party, rather than an Old Etonian who is a Friend of Dave.
On Wednesday Newsnight did a film on the whole sorry saga and made a good fist of pretending that it was they who had uncovered all this rather than the Mail on Sunday. However, they did have one new thing and that was the MP for Bath, former Conservative Future chairman Ben Howlett, opining about Mark Clarke and the bullying culture which was endemic within parts of Conservative Future. He made the point that no one acted on it because they didn’t want to rock the boat in advance of a general election. But the question remains why nothing has been done since then and that all complaints were ignored, and it seems there were a lot of them. Strangely CCHQ say they can find no record of them. Well I hope this internal inquiry talks to all those who made complaints and ascertains how they made them. One imagines they were by email. If so, it must be easy to find out who they went to. What is less clear is why no one acted upon them.
Ray Johnson is understandably determined to get justice for his son. Any father would. If anybody reading this has information that will help him do so, they should come forward without delay. At the end of my interview with Ray I told him I had met Elliott a couple of times and offered him my condolences. I found my voice cracking. Even writing this I have moist eyes. The whole thing is such a tragedy. And it may well have happened because supposedly good people did nothing. If so, they should never be allowed to forget it.
This is the moment to put a motion to Parliament for it to ratify military action in Syria. Not next month. Not at Christmas. Now. When one of your closest allies asks you for support after a major attack, you at least owe it to them to react and react quickly. Britain is becoming a bit part player in these issues and it’s embarrassing. Either we withdraw into our isolationist shells or we do what we have always done and step up to the plate. Up until now I have had little time for President Hollande but his response to the terror attack last Friday has been exemplary, decisive and timely. It’s time for David Cameron to make clear that Britain will play its part in building an international coalition against Daesh and do what is necessary.
Yet again, another bad week for Jeremy Corbyn, and yet there are some who think we in the media should ignore his self-inflicted wounds. Some of my listeners genuinely think that we should stop being beastly to the poor man and that he’s doing his best, as if someone he should be beyond scrutiny. Some think no one should question his appointment of Ken Livingstone to co-chair the Labour defence review – something that was done without even consulting the Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle. Quite why she hasn’t told Corby to stuff his job, I do not know. The same goes for her deputy Kevan Jones, who was understandably furious with Ken Livingstone for the outrageous way Livingstone cast doubt on his mental health. If Kevan Jones was so outraged by Livingstone’s appointment, due to his lack of experience of defence issues, why didn’t he fall on his sword? Yet again Labour have been shown to be ferrets fighting in a sack. As Alastair Campbell pointed out, it’s all very well not to be elected because of people’s lack of trust in your economic policies, but if they also doubt you on defence, it’ll be a rout. Just as it was in 1983.
Tim Farron, bless him, made a speech laying out Liberal Democrat economic policy yesterday. As if it matters.
What to call, them… IS, ISIS, ISIL? No, we should call them Daesh, just as the French always have done. Some people think I’m being politically correct calling them that, because it doesn’t mention the word ‘Islamic’. No. Even though it’s literal meaning is exactly the same as ISIS, we should call them ‘Daesh’ because apparently they don’t like being called ‘Daesh’. And if it annoys them, that’s good enough for me. So ‘Daesh’ it is.
The left have clung onto the fact that the passport found by the side of one of the dead terrorists proved to be a fake. Ergo that proves he wasn’t necessarily a Syrian who had got to France via a Greek Island. Ergo none of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have come via that route are terrorists, as Nigel Farage warned they might be. There’s just one problem. The terrorist’s fingerprints prove he did indeed pass through the Greek Island of Leros on October 4th. No doubt they will come up with a reason why that doesn’t really matter.