Cameron on (or off) Europe?

I just watched Cameron on Andy Marr. It’s just the same old same old. First thing he said was that he (and the Tories) were going to be straight talking. (Bit of a cheek as that is one of our three top lines). But worse – he then proceeded to be anything but straight over the Tory position on Europe and the referendum.

If the Lisbon Treaty gets ratified by the remaining countries before the next General Election – what will the Conservatives then do? Perfectly fair question – but one that he doesn’t want to answer. Cameron simply failed – each time Marr asked him – to give a straight answer.

Straight talking? Didn’t come over that way – snake oil salesman as ever.

And yes – the LibDem position is still that we would offer the country a yes/no vote to being in or out of the EU. None of this messing around with the Lisbon Treaty – and go straight to the heart of the euro-sceptics arguments. Defeat them once and for all – and then perhaps they will understand that our future is tied up with Europe – like it or hate it.

Iain Dale's made me cross

Very cross with Iain Dale for not defending my virtue (again). When Andrew Marr opined this morning that there were virtually no Lib Dem or Labour blogs compared with numerous Tory ones – Iain failed to leap to my defence! (And once before he forgot about me too – when talking about how no Lib Dem female MPs blog. Tsk tsk Iain!).

However, he can be forgiven – just about! – as he was, at the time, dealing with Yasmin Alibi Brown who was making a pig’s ear of objecting to blogs. She was trying to make the case that we bloggers are not gifts to the communications industry (possibly true in my case – but never in Iain’s). Green-eyed monster I think! Iain – she’s just jealous of you!

Haringey Peace Week

Watched Gordon Brown being interviewed by Andrew Marr and trying to be nice and cuddly. Problem is, as William Hague put it, no one can possibly believe he has had nothing to do with the events of this last week. Most damning was his too long silence. But I guess when you have kept silent for a decade and let TB take all the knocks – you don’t really know how to step to the front. It was evident that he is so used to saying almost nothing when a controversial issue hits (remember his long silences over Iraq? tube privatisation? etc etc). So he reverted to tired phrases. But you can’t have tired phrases if you want to lead a Labour renewal.

Spent the later part of this afternoon at a church service to mark the start of Peace Week. Haringey is the cradle of Peace Week, courtesy of the charismatic Reverend, Nims Obunge. Now a London-wide movement, it is going from strength to strength. Much singing and praising – and I, David Lammy (MP for Tottenham), George Meehan (Leader Haringey Council) and others all addressed the congregation.

Part of the praying and the blessing was to bring strength and wisdom to the leaders of the community (including us the speakers). It is very nice to be prayed for. I am not religious – but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel the spiritual side of life in a way.

It was also very moving to hear prayers for community safety, for entrepreneurs to move into the area, for health and so on. It was very practical prayer. Peace and justice was the overall theme – and of course the point is you cannot have peace without justice.

Lib Dem leadership

Watch the rolling news as it turns into Sunday’s political programs. Anxiously watching as to the media handling of Mark Oaten’s fall from grace. My boy Chris is on Andrew Marr and does really well – and inevitably the Mark Oaten issue is first on the list of questions. What can you say? Except what Chris said – that the guy has apologised to his wife, apologised to his constituents and to the party.

I don’t know why he took such terrible risks. An affair – with a man or a woman – is no longer the end of the political road. But the three-in-a-bed with a rent boy combined with the shots of his leadership campaign launch showing him, his wife and their two children was a truly bad move. I just hope he gets the time and privacy he needs to put it back together for the sake of his family. The party will survive fine – but his home life is what matters now.

I phoned round some more key people in London for Chris Huhne’s leadership campaign. Everyone was wondering what next? Hopefully – policy ideas. Still finding a real hunger from people to know about Chris. My own view is that playing safe as a third party is a hiding to nothing and that with Chris we will have the best chance to move on to the next stage. Well – I would say that – wouldn’t I?