Back at last ....
Though no-one seemed to notice the absence, save only Jackie
, who dropped me from her 'Required Reading' list. No deluge of emails demanding a return of service. Perhaps I should put an address on the site. Or something.
Apologies. The builders are extending the house, I'm selling another (my late mother's), and above all the earning a living thing have used up all my time. But the house sold today (STC), the Project From Hell is at last getting into shape, and Susan is at Warren's Malthouse for the evening - or is it the PTA ?
What's strange is that nothing really seems to have happened in politics over the last few weeks.
The Lib Dem conference was just like last years. Then it was porn at 16 and let the burglars out, this year it's ban smacking, compulsory porn (sorry, sex education) at 7, and let the burglars out. And people are still voting for them, showing that if you have no prospect of power, policies aren't important as long as you present well. Which they do. The Brent by-election was just a gigantic 'Not In My Name' directed at Labour and the Tories.
The Labour conference was only noteworthy for the dog that didn't bark in the night - said dog being the anti-Blair revolt. Better men than I have commented on this, but the lesson is that today's Labour activists simply have too much to lose too quickly. The old working class, the steelmen, miners, metalbashers have mostly disappeared. Plaintive pleas to save what's left of UK manufacturing are ignored. In the olden days activists could be as left as they wished. British industry would still be there, under Tories or Labour. I doubt very much if anyone really thought that it would vanish - and in fact it took decades to kill it.
But let's say you're one of the social workers employed on an anti-truancy project as part of Labour's great crusade against social exclusion. They were still recruiting them last month in my local education authority. You may have read the figures - that 600 million pounds worth of expenditure later the level of truancy has hardly altered - that each extra day in school for one child has cost over £1,000. Do you think your job would survive a change of government ? There are huge numbers of polytechnocrats whose jobs depend on Labour continuing to spend. They may hate Blair but they know open warfare would be electorally disastrous.
And the Tories ? Presumably they'll be trying not to shoot themselves in the foot Theresa May-style, while Ken Clarke and Portillo snipe from the sidelines.
But what a great story this
is. Should get them all hot and bothered at the Guardian and Indie.
Rising Tory star Tim Metcalfe galvanised the Tory conference yesterday by asking for three cheers for Tony Martin, the farmer who shot a burglar dead, and demanding the return of hanging. The IT consultant, who hopes to become an MP, received a warmer ovation during the debate on crime than any other speaker, including Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin.
He won the biggest cheer of the conference so far when he said it was time to stop being soft on criminals.
"Make prison a genuine punishment, bring back solitary confinement, take away their TVs and snooker tables and let them earn privileges," he said. "Bring back birching for young tearaways that terrorise council estates and vandalise graveyards, castrate paedophiles and bring back hanging!"
And there was an equally enthusiastic response at the end of his speech when he shouted: "Let us show the country that we really do mean business on crime by showing our support for Tony Martin."
Mr Metcalfe three times said "hip, hip" and thousands of delegates responded with "hooray!"
I could do with an IT consultant like that on the Project from Hell.