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The Hatfield House Mystery

Nick Robinson | 11:33 UK time, Monday, 25 January 2010

What exactly happened at Hatfield House, the ancestral home of the Salisbury family, when Viscount Cranborne, a former prominent opponent of the Good Friday Agreement and a senior Tory, hosted a meeting between the Tory front bench, the Ulster Unionists and Peter Robinson's DUP?

David Cameron, Peter Robinson and Sir Reg EmpeyThat is a question that is causing tremors in Belfast at the moment; it also has consequences for the UK as a whole. When asked about it this morning, David Cameron did not deny that the issue of what unionists might do in a hung Parliament could have been discussed.

Instead, he said that his focus was on ensuring that devolution to Stormont continued successfully and on resolving differences between the two unionist parties.

Some have suspected that the Tories, who have gone into alliance with the Ulster Unionists for the forthcoming general election, were eyeing a deal whereby different unionist parties would stand down for each other in different Northern Irish constituencies.

The Tories deny this, insisting that if the Conservative name is used, they will fight every seat in Northern Ireland. Watch this space. This matters, even if you don't live in Northern Ireland.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    striaght away a blog to smear DC, yet you remaind slient until force to by events about broon going before hand.

    More skullduggery on the blog topics from NR

    Compare and contrast this to the deal between labour and the lib-Dems
    in 1997 etc , assuming the spin you have put on this story is anywhere near the truth.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ps what about the SNP in a hung parliament then ?

  • Comment number 3.

    This shows that Cameron is taking the issue of Northern Ireland seriously. His team's meeting with all sides, including SF must be an attempt to reassure the parties in NI that the UK government of whatever colour will continue to support the peace process. As an NI expat, I am glad that Cameron is trying to advance the normalisation of politics in NI, where every voter has the right to have their view expressed in parliament via their MP.

  • Comment number 4.

    Don't we all need a reality check? The main protestant parties in Ulster have been and are all still somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan and still generally a bastion of intolerance. Is it any wonder they will do deals with the Tories and most importantly, what does this tell us about the 'real' Tory party?

  • Comment number 5.

    No 4. Put away your great big tar brush before someone gets hurt!
    The DUP are as left leaning as you can get on economic and social policy as are SF. They are to the right on religious and security issues.
    In NI, the SDLP would be close to Labour, The UUP close to Conservative and the Alliance in the middle with the Lib Dems.
    There are a lot of moderate people in NI who long for a politics where the main questions are about jobs, schools and hospitals...

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    The School for atheists mystery as well. Or where Ministers children go to school.

    Much of a muchness.

    All a little melodramatic isnt it?

    So it is alleged that the conservatives are talking to the Unionists?

    Isnt the party name The Conservative and Unionist Party?

  • Comment number 8.

    You are such a tease, Nick.

    Here we are in a world where those good old Unionist slogans of `never an inch' and `No Surrender' have acquired totally new meanings and we end up talking about the activities of the Salisbury family.

    I suppose since metrication to shout `Never 2.53 centimetres' has lost a lot of its bite, but also since the Chuckle Brothers moved to Stormont even No Surrender has turned into just No Hand-Shake. Well, for me, I can live with all that as it is a whole lot better than what went on before.

    However, why is it that my level of anxiety has begun to crank up in recent days not because of Sinn Fein but because of the more fruity end of the Unionist camp. I use the word `fruity' as it would seem that not only are these righteous puritans full of flavour in their politics but also in other areas of their public involvement.

    It was in the north of Ireland that I first heard the expression that either you perform your bodily functions or you get off the pot - not quite those words but this is a respectable column. I fear the DUP have a problem with certain of their bodily functions not just because they are missing an `M' but because they have always been the uncomfortable rump of the Protestant community. Perhaps they should eat more citrus fruit to help to resolve their obvious congestion.

    Yes, policing is an issue but why do the Orangies always want to walk everywhere, or are they exercising a right to Rome? I do not want a return of The Troubles but there are those bitter-enders in both communities and they seem to have been allowed to pinch the political initiative.

    This is as much a failure of the UK government than it is of individuals at Stormont. Where are the leaders to decide and persuade? Dear God, this sort of weak leadership is just how we got into The Troubles in the first place! Perhaps Cameron can give some substance and backbone to the UUP just so that the political process can restart. The UUP has a leadership which is both decent and realistic. It needs to get a broader hearing as at the moment the most reasoned voices are coming from Sinn Fein. Ironic or what?

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    May I suggest that Great Britain unilaterally withdraws from the United Kingdom. Then Northern Ireland can sort themselves out without bothering the rest of us.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's not suprising, the unionist MPs have supported labour on a few occasions where backbench revolt meant they might otherwise lose the vote, presumably in return for concessions from the Labour government.

    Of course they'd want to carry on the same deal with a tory government, and Cameron would be daft to turn such an offer down.

    It says more about our skewed democratic process & our self-interested (rather than nationally interested) politicians than it does about Cameron's ethics.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Aha don't know about that (no I really don't!) but I have been to a couple of medieval banquets in the Old Palace. Elizabeth 1 was allegedly told she would be Queen whilst sitting beneath an ancient oak tree there. Love the place, but wait, there is a portrait of Lizzie One in there covered with eyes - surely this is not the secret meeting place of New World Order?! Surely not!?

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes, that's what it is - a secret meeting of the Illuminati!

    Here is the "eye" portrait which hangs there:

    http://www.marileecody.com/gloriana/elizabethrainbow1.jpg

  • Comment number 16.


    'The Conservative and Unionist party' ... give you a clue?

    Do you know any history at all?

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    #11 are you suggesting that the BBC and NR where MSM, I just though they were like PRAVDA and TASS, mouth pieces for Nu_liebour

  • Comment number 19.

    Yet more meaningless tittle tattle from Nick. When are you going to address the real issues? We have had 13 years of Brown, first as a failed Chancellor and more recently as a useless, self appointed PM.

    There is the small matter of public borrowing and public debt to discuss - major speeches from both Cameron and Brown on this topic today, yet ignored by yourself in favour of trivial chit-chat!

  • Comment number 20.

    I wonder if the potential clout of the unionists within parliament might make sinn fein MPs start turning up to monitor proceedings more closely.

    The idea of the Unionists cosy relationship with the goverment continuing into the next administration can't be that comforting.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am glad there is nothing serious going on in the World for Nick to blog about!

    Must be too soon to hail Gordon for leading us out of recession - finally!

  • Comment number 22.

    What are the Tories up to do? A deal with the Ulster Unionists and DUP?

    Maybe they have a cunning plan to try to get the Commons to agree to 42 days detention without charge?

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick

    Thank you for reporting another total non-event. I remember the party political broadcasts that were from the conservative and unionist party. This stopped I think in the early 1980's.

    As others have said you are missing out on some real issues of the day. Do you hold this blog in contempt?

    For instance the David Kelly revelation is alarming. Having worked for some time in central government some very secret information is de-classified after 30 years and released, so the 70 years minimum should ring alarm bells. If the poor Dr simply committed suicide, then why all the secrecy?

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    No 5. Put away your great big tar brush before someone really gets hurt!!!

    You write: "The DUP are as left leaning as you can get on economic and social policy..." I think the fact that they fudged the issue of the scrapping of the 11+, a test that fails the children of those who vote for them, proves your comment a fallacy.

    You write: "In NI, the SDLP would be close to Labour". The SDLP claim to be a republican party, are you sayimg that Labour want to rid us of a resource draining Monarchy?

    You write "The UUP close to Conservative". The local Conservatives had selected two Catholic candidates to show they want to end sectarian head counts. After the meeting with Patterson these candidates withdrew and one spoke of wanting to vomit at the very thought of partisan politics in the name of a majority in Westminster. So much for that then. Conservatives have chosen to damage the Peace Process in order to strengthen its position in case of a hung parliment.

    You write "There are a lot of moderate people in NI who long for a politics where the main questions are about jobs, schools and hospitals". Until unionism has the courage to accept that Catholic people and nationalist/republican people in N.Ireland are human beings and not animals, I'm afraid normal politics will be put to one side for political point scoring.

    Grow up unionism, that means English and Irish unionists.

    It's the 21st century not the 17th century!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    IR35_SURVIVOR #6

    TheBlameGame #11

    ....and the biggest mystery is why Nick deems this blog to be of major
    importance,when he has just been present at Gordons monthly press conference.

    Nothing to report from there Nick?

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dear Moderator,

    I sympathise with you. I really do.
    My last 2 comments have been referred for moderation. Most likely because I've mentioned that the BBC manipulated the news to fit a government agenda. More specifically, I've mentioned how you changed the context of your footage of the miners strike (Battle of Orgreave)
    I can imagine you're running about trying to find a line manager (or whatever they're called at the BBC), trying to ascertain whether I've broken house rules with this new found 'truth'.
    How about instead you simply 'google' it? Or if you'd prefer I can supply links?



  • Comment number 30.

    Disappointed to hear that, Nick. Sounds like the Tories are none too confident of securing a working majority on June 3rd. Bit surprising, that, given we "Can't go on like this" and that we need to "Cut the deficit not the NHS" and ... perhaps most importantly of all ... "Fix our Broken Britain". Is nobody listening?

  • Comment number 31.

    Woooo! I finally got through! Yeah!

    All it took was a little sympathy. I should start all my posts addressed to the mods!
    I wouldn't care, but my first message was just a general rant at Nicks choice of topics and the BBC.

  • Comment number 32.

    30#

    Not to you Saga, wind your neck in. Smugness does not become you.

    28#

    You can keep on censoring it, but one day, you'll have to answer that question to somebody. But fine, if you just want to take the money and run, its up to you how you sleep at night. A sad indictment.

  • Comment number 33.

    sagamix...

    I am presuming the newlabour campaign slogan is going to be ....

    "God, make me good, but not yet"...

    Cowards.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 34.

    @32 Gerry_Mandering
    Don't loose heart Gerry. Try changing the phrasing, begging, asking specifically which house rules you've broke, eventually the truth will out.

    Although if I'm honest, I think the moderation and party political broadcasting will only get worse as the inevitable GE approaches.

  • Comment number 35.

    24. At 2:13pm on 25 Jan 2010, uncivil-civilservant wrote:

    As others have said you are missing out on some real issues of the day. Do you hold this blog in contempt?

    For instance the David Kelly revelation is alarming. Having worked for some time in central government some very secret information is de-classified after 30 years and released, so the 70 years minimum should ring alarm bells. If the poor Dr simply committed suicide, then why all the secrecy?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Absolutely spot on! It is a complete and frightening outrage that Dr Kelly's post mortem will be kept secret for 70 years. Astonishing! Gives more credence to the conspiracy theories and further undermines the Hutton Whitewash, yet here it is being ignored by Nick and other commentators. Shame on you!

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree, as a member of the public whose government took us to war in our name, I am more interested in why the details of the death of Dr David Kelly have been made secret.

  • Comment number 37.

    Bring back Gilligan....

    Why 70 years and why 30 for anything that was not published.

    Perhaps Hutton should be called up by Chillcot may make better listening than Blairs excuse for the truth.

  • Comment number 38.

    Bill Mander Saunders

    "wind your neck in"

    Haven't heard that one for a while.

    Not being smug, just a touch sarcastic. But maybe that's no better.

    Certainly not smug ... I'm still calling it Clowns by 36.

  • Comment number 39.

    So the Conservative and Unionist party may be discussing election strategy with other broadly sympathetic political parties. So what? This isn't clandestine skulduggery, but pure politics. How is it different to the Lib-Lab pact or parties not putting any real effort into seats where they know they'll come a distant third? Nu-Lab's opening up of the UK electoral system to widespread and systemic fraud surrounding postal votes and then doing little to investigate the widespread abuses is far more worrying.

  • Comment number 40.

    Robin

    "God, make me good, but not yet"

    No, that will NOT be the slogan.

    The main one is going to be, "Don't let THEM back. Don't do it."

  • Comment number 41.

    Where is the big blog on the political bias of our voting system? Why no fire and brimstone on the fact that the Tories had more votes in England in the last GE but still ended up getting trounced in terms of seats? Of the travesty that it takes 15,000 voters to return the average Labour MP but 35,000 to return a Tory. Where's the condemnation of the disgraceful situation whereby Scottish MPs can vote in Westminster to impose laws on the English but that will have no effect on the people who actually gave them a mandate, making our some of our lawmakers entirely unaccountable... I'm sure the BBC has devoted hours to this scandalous corruption of our democratic processes, could someone tell me where I could find them?

  • Comment number 42.

    We know from their European alliances that the Tories will get into bed with anyone.

    I'm sure Cameron has some principles but they haven't yet come to the fore. His agenda is determined by opportunism and dogged by incompetence.

    He tries to make capital out of the funding of Islamic schools, but runs away when it turns out he got his facts wrong.

    He tries to make capital out of a single tragic case in Edlington but is undermined by the truth that crime is falling.

    Prime Ministers make mistakes because they have to face difficult realities and no-win situations. Cameron is clocking them up before he's even got the keys.

  • Comment number 43.

    @40 Sagamix

    "Don't let THEM back. Don't do it."

    I thought you were pro Labour?

  • Comment number 44.

    30. At 2:47pm on 25 Jan 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Disappointed to hear that, Nick. Sounds like the Tories are none too confident of securing a working majority on June 3rd....

    ===

    It's May 6th, Bob Aimless let the cat out of the bag.

  • Comment number 45.

    42. At 3:59pm on 25 Jan 2010, pdavies65 wrote:

    He tries to make capital out of a single tragic case in Edlington but is undermined by the truth that crime is falling.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lies, damnable lies and statistics!

    We all know your background Mr Davies and why you are a slavish apologist for NuLabour, but have you no conscience?

    The fact is that Labour have been in what passes for office these past 13 years and can thus be judged on their record - an unsustainable level of public debt, for which our grandchildren will be paying!

  • Comment number 46.

    Wow - Nick you've reported something which is essentially a non-event. Put a slightly sinister spin on it and the comments thread has gone wild. Never a dull moment in Northern Ireland is there? Even if you miss the real stories.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    yellow

    "It's May 6th, Bob Aimless let the cat out of the bag"

    No ... June 3rd.

  • Comment number 49.

    None of us were party to the discussions at Hatfield House with a prominent opponent of the Good Friday agreement, but it is not hard to see the direction of travel. The power sharing aspect of the agreement is close to collapse,the conservative party has renewed its political alliance with the Ulster Unionists including its harder edge, and may need their support to form a government.

    Their difficult will be to preserve neutrality between Unionists and Sin Fein at Stormont while maintaining a partisan alliance with the unionists at Westminster.The issue of security requires a negotiation of the utmost delicacy and impartiality.How hard is that if there is any suspicion of onesidedness? Or encouraging intransigence by one side.



    Through their formal alliance, the conservative party have made themselves a political factor within Ulster rather than a bridge between factions.The Good Friday agreement and the momentum following it was secured with Westminster and international involvement.They will not be forgiven if it is wrecked for party political advantage.

    The way this is developing calls Mr.Cameron`s judgement into question.

  • Comment number 50.

    #44 no sagamix is GB mini-me so he must be right


    #42 and my comment on the previous blog why Nu_Liebour were worried
    about the men in lycra ????

  • Comment number 51.

    Mr Davies BabyP, and 2 bites at it in Edlinton. The child kidnapped by her mother, there are others It is broken. What you don't say is how the way the numbers are collected has changed.

  • Comment number 52.

    pdavies65

    A Labour stooge and apologist if ever I saw one on this blog.

    Bleating out the old party attack lines. Just like Brown tries to do in his bumbling, hopeless, yet nasty way.

    Dreadful.

  • Comment number 53.

    43. At 4:01pm on 25 Jan 2010, Bobhead wrote:
    @40 Sagamix

    "Don't let THEM back. Don't do it."

    I thought you were pro Labour?

    ------------

    No no.

    He's a "floater".

  • Comment number 54.

    So that's settled then:

    'God, make me good, but not yet'

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 55.

    @47. At 4:08pm on 25 Jan 2010, Gerry_Mandering tried to write:

    Come on mods! We all pretend to be adults here, what's Gerry trying to say?
    Are you protecting us, or yourselves?

    "Have your say?" NO! "Have our say!"

    :-)

  • Comment number 56.

    Bobhead

    "I thought you were pro Labour?"

    I am, but I like the LibDems too. Especially their fiscal policies ... for example, the hiking of the personal allowance to take millions of low paid workers out of tax altogether.

    What's imperative is that the Tories don't get in. That would be awful.

  • Comment number 57.

    #41, the Tory's are actually a Unionist party... I'm guessing that you were not aware of that from your dig at Scotland!

    Possibly you should think about voting for the English Nationalists instead? It would give your position a little more credence.

  • Comment number 58.

    "42. pdavies65 wrote:
    We know from their European alliances that the Tories will get into bed with anyone."

    Except Gordon brown. I doubt anyone wants to get into bed with Gordon Brown. Sagamix?

  • Comment number 59.

    "sagamix wrote:

    The main one is going to be, "Don't let THEM back. Don't do it.""

    That could cause a problem as I understand that is the official slogan for the ABL parties.

  • Comment number 60.

    The boarding school environment of the Conservative leadership lends itself to plots and conspiracy at an early age.By 8 or 9,Lord Snooty and his (aristocratic) pals have divided into fags,bullies,tarts and sneaks and these form the junior ministers and the whips office.

    At prefectorial rank they are given a pep talk by the head and form the government,where they conspire against the opposition,(teachers),and each other. Under a mask of politeness, the art of assasination is perfected. A quick smile and in goes the dagger.

    The conservative party in parliament is an outpost where the skills perfected at Eton,Harrow,Rugby and Winchester are honed and polished, ready for the fratricidal strife which afflicts the party from time to time.

    Hatfield House was teatime.As darkness spreads, a huge grin illuminates the portraits in the state rooms.We`re back"

  • Comment number 61.

    @53 greatHayemaker
    Ah, I see. Is that different from a floating voter?
    I, personally would not vote for Labour or the Conservatives. Don't get me wrong, I'm no "floater", I may not know who I'm voting for yet, but I know damned well who I'm not voting for!

    P.S. Is that the same greatHayemaker from the BBC boxing 606 chat?

  • Comment number 62.

    45 Crowded Island wrote
    We all know your background Mr Davies and why you are a slavish apologist for NuLabour, but have you no conscience?


    >>

    What is my background then? And why am I a slavish apologist for New Labour? Do tell.

  • Comment number 63.

    Many of the above comments on Cameron, Brown, the Conseratives, Labour, the BBC etc make the most vitriolic and intolerant comments made by the participants in Northern Ireland's vitriolic and intolerant history seem really quite tame. You have a wonderful future to look forward to.

  • Comment number 64.

    56. At 4:20pm on 25 Jan 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Bobhead

    "I thought you were pro Labour?"

    I am, but I like the LibDems too. Especially their fiscal policies ... for example, the hiking of the personal allowance to take millions of low paid workers out of tax altogether.

    What's imperative is that the Tories don't get in. That would be awful.

    --------------

    mmmm.

    God forbid you actually found yourself needing to work for a living.

    That would be truly disastrous. Especially for your employer.

  • Comment number 65.

    Flame 14

    It was indeed here, that Elizabeth I was told she was Queen at the age of 25 under an old oak. She is my all time hero. I cannot say heroine because that means just amongst women.

    -------------------------------------------------

    As to the topic today, I understood this meeting was a discussion regarding the stability of power sharing and the devolution of policing and justice. If Cameron becomes PM, I suppose he would need to know what he would be dealing with. I would imagine the possible chance of a hung parliament would have come up, but that would only be a sensible thing for opposition to discuss.

    Sorry I do not really get this one, there are more important issues.

  • Comment number 66.

    51 Exciledscot

    Tragic cases sell newspapers but shouldn't be the basis of policy.

    I don't agree that our society is broken. I of course agree that some people are damaged, perhaps beyond repair.

    What they don't need is David Cameron standing on their backs just to raise his profile.

  • Comment number 67.

    61. At 4:34pm on 25 Jan 2010, Bobhead wrote:
    @53 greatHayemaker
    Ah, I see. Is that different from a floating voter?
    I, personally would not vote for Labour or the Conservatives. Don't get me wrong, I'm no "floater", I may not know who I'm voting for yet, but I know damned well who I'm not voting for!

    P.S. Is that the same greatHayemaker from the BBC boxing 606 chat?

    ----------------

    Semi retired, but yes it is.

    I'm only being sarcastic about Saga you know, and playing on the words a little so they suit better.

    There is as much chance as Saga voting anything other than Labour as there is of Brown answering a question at pmq's.

  • Comment number 68.

    So a bunch of politicians get together and do what they do best - let off a lot of hot air. Is that it?

    No wonder there is so much speculation about who the next BBC Political editor is going to be.

  • Comment number 69.

    c555 @ 58

    No, Andy, I don't. He looks like he might have bad breath. I'd opt for Cameron, funnily enough, if I HAD to choose between the two in that regard. Be easier to roll over and ignore him. For PM however ... different story.

  • Comment number 70.

    Saga various. Hi saga. Cameron is now playing the political long game (as opposed to the criminal long game). He is now more aware of how bad the finances are because of the briefings he is getting from the CS. He does not want to be elected in May/June.

    Regardless of what one may think - he is not stupid.

    He wants GB back in Downing St but dare not say so.

    He wants GB to have to screw the spending lid so tight that the public will never trust Labour again! He wants the GB pre-election spiel to come back and haunt Labour for ever.

    He expects that there will be another election in late 2011 or early 2012.

    That is the one he wants to win!

    Labour strategy should be to get him elected and for him to receive the approbrium of the electorate. Then Labour would be back in 2011/2012.

    And that is the end of the pantomime season!

  • Comment number 71.

    60 bryers

    Your pragmatic dispassionate mask is slipping. ;)

  • Comment number 72.

    There is nothing wrong with having a non-sectarian centre-right party standing in NI.

    What is wrong is supporting the sectarian based voting that Labour does with its alliance with the SDLP.

  • Comment number 73.

    At 11.33 Nick Robinson said:
    "Some have suspected that the Tories, who have gone into alliance with the Ulster Unionists for the forthcoming general election, were eyeing a deal whereby different unionist parties would stand down for each other in different Northern Irish constituencies."

    Who are these "some" of which you speak as you try to manufacture a Tory conspiracy, whilst ignoring the massive evidence in favour of a Hutton Enquiry conspiracy, in the secrecy surrounding the David Kelly autopsy report?

  • Comment number 74.

    This article represents typical left wing propaganda from a biased BBC.

    The BBC thought it quite acceptable when New Labour bribed (with cash projects) Northern Ireland politicians to support a tight vote in the UK parliament, and yet we have a "tremor" in NI political circles and "consequences" for the UK as a whole because DC talks to local politicians.

    I suppose we will get these artificial negative stories against the opposition parties in the run up to a possible tight election.

    The BBCs political editor should not be so obvious in his choice of so called news stories.

  • Comment number 75.

    Looks as though no one , with a few exceptions , really cares what happened at Hatfield House.
    It does'nt seem to exercising their interest at all.
    Mind you neither did the blogs on dear old Auntie.

    What seems to be of greater interest is the 70 year block on Dr Kellys inquest.
    Now that really is a conspiracy theory in the making.
    Not even a teensy ,weensy bit interested Nick??

    Gee ! Those internet vermin are such a pain to " real" churnalists are'nt they??

  • Comment number 76.

    What we could do without are figures manipulated by the government to prove a specific point, like crime is falling.

    Or the Dr Kelly committed suicide....but I will be long dead before that information is released. You know what i think his family will be too.

    Despicable comes to mind!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    @67 greatHayemaker

    One of the great unmentioned casualties of the recession, the boxing 606 board.
    It's still there, but no where near the standard it was.
    For those who did not witness it, for some reason the recession caused a flood of economic migrants from the football chat board towards 'contact' sports (boxing included).
    However, in football it's as much about insulting the opposition as supporting your own team (sounds like some peoples posts).
    There was no attempt, by the powers that be, to integrate them into the boxing board culture. As a result, it's changed irrecoverably.
    And now instead of reasoned debate about a boxers shortcomings and strengths, you have endless talking points about whether or not you're a racist if you don't rate Khan as a boxer.
    But on the upside, one blogs loss, is another blogs gain.

  • Comment number 78.

    GHM

    "God forbid you actually found yourself needing to work for a living"

    I have a job, Haye ... Exploder Of Reactionary Myths ... and I'm happy with it.

    Found a new one just the other day, actually ... a good one too ... "The Tories Are Better At Running The Economy Than Labour". Transpires that this is utter utter nonsense. It's garbage. Turns out to be disproved by (official) real terms GDP growth figures over the piece - the period, end of WW2 up until today.

    RM97

    Just three short of an exciting (!) landmark - which triggers a nice bonus payment for me. So keep them coming please, people.

  • Comment number 79.

    Jacko @ 52

    You could always click on "Complain about this comment" and then, when asked for the reason, select "He/She is not a Tory".

  • Comment number 80.

    Speaking of topics not covered or under-reported, one stark example for me was the evidence of Jonathan Powell at the Chilcot Inquiry which painted a very clear and quite remarkable picture.

    He said that the main driving force in behind the perceived need for action against Saddam was not the intelligence concerning the ongoing existence of weapons of mass destruction but his history of possession and use of such weapons and the high risk that he would do so again in future. He referred to the possible availability in future of nuclear weapons and material via rogue states and the greatly enhanced future risk should such weapons ever get into get into the hands of Saddam, whether developed by him, or acquired from other sources.

    He said also that extending the time for the UN weapons inspection team would have made no difference as failure to find weapons would not have altered the view of the future risk represented by Saddam based on his past behaviour.

    Based on all that, it is very obvious that the removal of Saddam (ie regime change) was the only way to remove that risk. It seems very plain that Tony Blair was working back from that intention but seeking to achieve support for the required action by building a case based on different reason ie the intelligence based existence of WMD and failure to comply with UN resolutions. (If it matters, this is consistent with his remarks in his interview with Fern Britton that, had he known of the non-existence of WMD, he would have still wished to remove Saddam but would have had to deploy different arguments.)

    It is very hard to reach any other conclusion than that the then Prime Minister deliberately misled HM Opposition, Parliament and possibly some or all of his own Cabinet. He may well have believed that regime change and the removal of Saddam was the necessary and right thing to do. He might even have been right in that belief. However, we don’t live in a system of government where the belief of one man is a sufficient basis for going to war.

    The crunch point is that he did not seek the approval of Parliament on that basis of that belief, knowing that he had no chance of achieving it. Instead, he constructed a contrived case on a completely different basis.

    I think it is extraordinary that the media showed such little interest in providing an analysis of Powell’s evidence given the huge significance of it. Of course, one allows for the possibility that evidence from Tony Blair and others might contradict Powell but that did not prevent the media crawling all over the evidence of Alastair Campbell. I should have thought also that it would have been a much more meaningful topic for Nick’s than this one or a number of other recent topics.

    .

  • Comment number 81.

    @78 Sagamix

    Nice work if you can get it!

    A quick question. How come when there's a queque of posts awaiting moderation yours comes through first?

    Who do I have to see at the BBC to get that kind of treatment? Or is it some kind of 'if you post 100 in a row without any need for mod' perk?

  • Comment number 82.

    78. sagamix wrote:

    RM97
    "Just three short of an exciting (!) landmark - which triggers a nice bonus payment for me. So keep them coming please, people."

    Thought you disapproved of the bonus culture??

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 bobhead

    Dash it! You took the words out of my mouth

  • Comment number 84.

    #62 baby P RIP was avoidable but Nu_liebour would not change

  • Comment number 85.

    #62 khyra Ishak was avoidable but Nu_liebour would not change

  • Comment number 86.

    Nick,

    I don't know what happened at Hatfield House as I wasn't there and your piece doesn't actually tell me.

    It does however suggest that the Tory front bench have stopped talking to you otherwise you would have known and then could have used the opportunity to inform me.

  • Comment number 87.

    60. At 4:33pm on 25 Jan 2010, bryhers wrote:

    The boarding school environment of the Conservative leadership lends itself to plots and conspiracy at an early age.By 8 or 9,Lord Snooty and his (aristocratic) pals have divided into fags,bullies,tarts and sneaks and these form the junior ministers and the whips office.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Boarding school? Ahem - Alastair Darling - Loretto, Ed Balls - Nottingham High School, Harriett Harman - St Pauls School for Girls, Lord Adonis - Kingham Hill School and others. Why only pick on the Conservatives for having Shadow Cabinet Ministers who attended fee paying and boarding school, when the Labour Cabinet is no different?

  • Comment number 88.

    78. At 5:13pm on 25 Jan 2010, sagamix wrote:
    GHM

    "God forbid you actually found yourself needing to work for a living"

    I have a job, Haye ... Exploder Of Reactionary Myths ... and I'm happy with it.

    -----------------

    Not a job Saga, for you or anyone.

    I could as well say the time I spend messing around with my playstation is a job. Only it probably achieves more, and annoys fewer people (just my long suffering better half).

  • Comment number 89.

    #62 for the UnKnown Death RIP was avoidable but Nu_liebour would not change, would not listen , they hid behind the secrecy of the family courts. For the Real parents that have been denied access to there own children just because they were male ,

    what is ironic in all of this is that you have contributed to his via your taxes, to the tune of billions and then you will have to pay the compensation via your taxes too, when the day of reconging comes.

  • Comment number 90.

    49. At 4:13pm on 25 Jan 2010, bryhers

    Would that be the Northern Ireland Peace Process started by John Major (Conservative & Unionist Party)?

  • Comment number 91.

    #74 there is apparently a huge bias in the monies being spent to rebuild the economy in labour heartlands to buy votes, no story there then .

    They have sovietised the UK another blair/brown legacy

  • Comment number 92.

    Bobhead

    "A quick question. How come when there's a queue of posts awaiting moderation, yours come through first?"

    They're the best!

    :-)

  • Comment number 93.

    Any news from Downing Street about an early election, apparently loads of ministers attending.
    Let us know what is happening Nick; if you have time.

  • Comment number 94.

    Only Jocking @ 80

    Yes, a key point. "Compliance" perhaps a) not possible, and b) not wanted. Who knows (?) but that's a strong & valid deduction.

  • Comment number 95.

    The Bee Gee

    "Thought you disapproved of the bonus culture??"

    Yes, well that all depends. It's okay if you've really earned it. And exploding a hundred Reactionary Myths must surely count as that. Need these next 3 though! ... otherwise I whistle for it.

  • Comment number 96.

    #90 yellowbelly

    No, it would be the peace process started by John Hume and Gerry Adams.

  • Comment number 97.

    66. pdavies65 wrote:

    I agree with you on the 'Broken Britain' sloganeering, but some of the councils and care services around the country are ****ed. No subtle way of putting it. The dysfunctional kids' behaviour in this latest tragedy is not unique, nor are their parents. These headline-making councils have a history of recurring problems. Putting pressure on the government and the local authorities is no bad thing. I realise that this is an embarrassment to your party but while aiming shots at Cameron perhaps you should aim a few at those who failed the victims as well. If the circumstances contributing towards such tragic cases was less prevalent then the headlines would disappear and so would Cameron. Two birds.

  • Comment number 98.

    96. At 5:57pm on 25 Jan 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:
    #90 yellowbelly

    No, it would be the peace process started by John Hume and Gerry Adams.

    ===

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    When were they joint Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom?

  • Comment number 99.

    97#

    Notice as well that he didnt take any kind of shot at Blair who did exactly the same thing and used exactly the same kind of emotive language against Major during the Bulger case back in 1993.

    Thats the thing about Labour. Pre-revolutionary history, apart from Thatcher The Milk Snatcher doesnt exist.... socialismo o muerte!

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

 

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