Time up for Blair?

This week's round-up of the political blogs includes commentary on Blair's attempts at diplomacy

Invitations are being handed out this week by Guido Fawkes for anyone wanting to pressure David Cameron to reveal to voters just who is “behind this mysterious anonymous offshore lender in Liechtenstein.” Shouldn’t we know who this substantial funder for the Tory party is?

And Guido isn’t the only one to have found it strange why the opposition party have remained silent on this after the debacle of Labour burying the BAE investigation last week.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson meanwhile used an entry on his blog to question whether the beeb was anti-politics. He was responding to a provocative editorial in the Independent by Steve Richards about the corporation's coverage of the cash for honours issue.

John Reid’s u-turn on the ID card database got the blogosphere flustered on Wednesday. It wasn’t just Dizzy who had trouble with the government’s logic of keeping the existing database system because it will be “lower risk, more efficient and faster”.

Aaron Heath of Tygerland.net wrapped up the criticism of Tony Blair’s visit to the Middle East, seen on many blogs over the last week, by saying “Blair should come home and stop playing the diplomatic messiah he never was. It’s over Tony; your time is up”.

Paul Anderson of Gauche is keeping a close eye on the story of the Suffolk murders. Although Stephen Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich has been charged with all five murders this story has prompted bloggers to discuss the question of the legalisation of prostitution. Gauche has news of a “Reclaim the Night” march taking place in Ipswich on Friday 29 December at 7pm. He hopes for a good turn out from the people of Ipswich to show they are not deterred by these terrible events over the past weeks.

We are still non the wiser as to whether there is any truth in the story about a man who fled the country wearing his sister’s niqab, whilst being hunted by police over his alleged involvement in the murder of a policewoman. Ellee Seymour is asking whether we really know who and what enters our country. Andrew Sullivan at Daily
Dish
stirs the pot because surely freedom means being able to wear a veil? Doesn’t it?

Guido Fawkes was not afraid to join the bandwagon of jokes against Lembit Opik this week. Check out the brilliantly tasteful graphic of the Lib Dems with the slogan: “The Sexy Alternative”.

Dizzy spotted a Wall Street Journal article that used a very fitting analogy of the relationship between the media and blogs. Many bloggers agree that blogs are indeed “like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps".

In the festive spirit, as mentioned here by my colleague Owen Walker last week, bloggers did meet in Parliament Square, London, for their carol singing and peaceful protest against the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005. Bloggerheads reckons “SOCPA makes unreasonable demands of the police and more often than not they come out of it looking as stupid as this stupid law”. By all accounts Mark Thomas et al led a rather eventful little sing song and the spirit of democracy was rife.

Enjoy the festive break and we hope to see you back in the new year for more of the best news from the political blogosphere.

Adam Haigh studies on the postgraduate journalism diploma at Cardiff University. Last year he lived in Honduras and worked freelance for the newspaper, Honduras This Week.
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PMQs review: Theresa May shows how her confidence has grown

After her Brexit speech, the PM declared of Jeremy Corbyn: "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue". 

The woman derided as “Theresa Maybe” believes she has neutralised that charge. Following her Brexit speech, Theresa May cut a far more confident figure at today's PMQs. Jeremy Corbyn inevitably devoted all six of his questions to Europe but failed to land a definitive blow.

He began by denouncing May for “sidelining parliament” at the very moment the UK was supposedly reclaiming sovereignty (though he yesterday praised her for guaranteeing MPs would get a vote). “It’s not so much the Iron Lady as the irony lady,” he quipped. But May, who has sometimes faltered against Corbyn, had a ready retort. The Labour leader, she noted, had denounced the government for planning to leave the single market while simultaneously seeking “access” to it. Yet “access”, she went on, was precisely what Corbyn had demanded (seemingly having confused it with full membership). "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue,” she declared.

When Corbyn recalled May’s economic warnings during the referendum (“Does she now disagree with herself?”), the PM was able to reply: “I said if we voted to leave the EU the sky would not fall in and look at what has happened to our economic situation since we voted to leave the EU”.

Corbyn’s subsequent question on whether May would pay for single market access was less wounding than it might have been because she has consistently refused to rule out budget contributions (though yesterday emphasised that the days of “vast” payments were over).

When the Labour leader ended by rightly hailing the contribution immigrants made to public services (“The real pressure on public services comes from a government that slashed billions”), May took full opportunity of the chance to have the last word, launching a full-frontal attack on his leadership and a defence of hers. “There is indeed a difference - when I look at the issue of Brexit or any other issues like the NHS or social care, I consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called leadership, he should try it some time.”

For May, life will soon get harder. Once Article 50 is triggered, it is the EU 27, not the UK, that will take back control (the withdrawal agreement must be approved by at least 72 per cent of member states). With MPs now guaranteed a vote on the final outcome, parliament will also reassert itself. But for now, May can reflect with satisfaction on her strengthened position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.