Is the return of the monocle a sign that the Old Etonian Tories are taking control or the preparations for a Labour anti-Toff campaign?

Tory fashion accessory or a cunning plan from Labour Agents across Britain - The Monocle!

Vision Express has announced that it is to start stocking monocles for the first time following a spate of young male customers requesting to buy them.

This apparently came as quite a shock to the major high street retailer who has never sold them before.

I couldn’t help but think that the boys from the Bullingdon Club and the Old Etonians (the Conservative front bench) might all be dashing out to buy them as part of the season’s must have fashion accessory.

But, then it occurred to me that with the increasingly anti-upper class tone of Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Question Time and of Labour campaigning it was probably a raft of Labour agents dashing around to buy a monocle for anti-Tory photos for their election literature to show a division between them and their quadruple barrelled opponents.

Only time will tell!

Does two U-turns in two days mean you have come full circle or are you going round in circles?

Does a second U-turn in two days mean that few other sacred cows might be slaughtered to appeal to middle England...?

I was unsurprised, as I am sure many were, when we suddenly heard that a million pounds no longer buys you a mansion and so the Lib Dems decided that only ‘mansions’ over £2 Million would be subject to the dreaded tax.

All those former Bullingdon members on the Tory front bench were no doubt off to the estate agents to see if they would be subject to Vince’s Toff Tax. 

But, why has there been a second U-turn in two days, on the issue of an ‘in-out’ referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU?

If there really is ‘no public appetite’ for it, according to Sir Menzies Campbell, then why was there an ‘appetite’ for it when the Lib Dems proposed a referendum on the European constitution originally. Why was there not ‘an appetite’ for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but why did the Lib Dem leadership believe there was ever ‘an appetite’ for an ‘in-out’ referendum?

The problem appears to be that in one case the Lib Dems think they would lose votes and in the second they would lose the vote.

On the issue of the ‘Mansion Tax’ I suspect that MPs in the South East and London are the ones pointing out this will cost them votes.  This is probably not true because I suspect anyone that can afford a £1 Million house is just as unlikely to vote Lib Dem as one in a £2 Million one.

But, I also suspect that Nick Clegg knows that the Tories will be forced through internal, and external, pressure to move to a position of accepting a referendum on whether the UK stays in the EU. When that day comes the Lib Dems will not want to have to support it, in the knowledge that the vote may well be lost.

It makes you wonder what else might end up on the bonfire of the manifestos before the election starts.

The Bullingdon Club: Boris, Dave and Gideon, yes, but an aspiring Liberal MP and a former Party President, surely not!?

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Bullingdon Boys - we know lots of them are Tories, surely none can be Liberal Democrats!

By now everyone knows of the antics of the Bullingdon Club, and whether it is trashing pubs or throwing other students ‘in the Mercury’ nothing comes as a shock any more. Even being members of the Tory front bench comes as no shock.

However, there are a number of surprise members that tell you a lot about it.  Whether it is Kings, Princes, Knights or Lords, two stood out for me as surprising.

Perhaps ‘pillars of the establishment’ like Darius Guppy, Nathaniel Rothschild and Gottfried von Bismarck from the modern era might not come as a much of a surprise.  Nor, for that matter might Cecil Rhodes, Edward VIII, Lord Randolph Churchill or Rasputin’s nemesis Prince Felix Yussupov from yesteryear. The description ‘colourful’ does not do these chaps justice. You might even be impressed to know that David Dimbleby, John Profumo and Alan Clark were members whilst at Oxford.

Two notable Liberals stand out from the list.

Tim Beaumont, President of the Liberal Party in the 1960s, who later joined the Green Party, sitting in the House of Lords, as The Rev. Lord Beaumont of Whitley, was a very engaging chap, funny and charming he surprised with his later politics as a member of the Bullingdon Club.

The other, the much lamented Sir Ludovic Kennedy, who died recently, contested Rochdale for the Liberal Party in the 1950s, and was also a Bullingdon member whilst at the University.

It makes you wonder if there are any more Liberal Democrats out there who were members of the Bullingdon Club, especially of the present crop of Liberal Democrat MPs and peers.

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Cameron could sack Osborne according to the Evening Standard…

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They may look like 'Bullingdon Buddies' here, but Cameron might sack Osborne!

One of the key things that we Liberal Democrats have been hanging on to is that Vince Cable is the most competent, and knowledgeable, of the Shadow Chancellors.

I had always assumed that the ties of The Bullingdon Club had prevented David Cameron considering getting rid of his friend George Osborne.

But, according to today’s Evening Standard he would:

He said: “Absolutely; I’ve done so before with other colleagues and I will do so again. One of the most difficult parts of the job is colleague management.

“And moving people in and out of the shadow cabinet is very difficult, but it absolutely has to be done. You must not dodge it, you must not duck it.”

He continued, citing Osborne’s surprising survival of the yachtgate scandal as, “not because he is a friend, not because we are godfathers to each other’s children, but because he is the right person to do the job”.

The Tory leader added: “I know he knows that, if that was not the case, he would not be there.”

Please Dave, don’t sack him, he may be a total liability but it would cause too much of a fuss and make your party more electable. Ken Clarke would be a terrible replacement.

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Why does David Cameron always look constipated? Is it because he is ‘weak and marginal’?

David Cameron
Why does David Cameron always look so constipated?

Eton, Oxford and the Bullingdon Club may have taught Mr Cameron a certain type of debating style, but it’s one that makes my skin crawl.

Whatever you say about Gordon Brown, even if you oppose his politics completely, he does actually work very hard, if at times ineffectually, for the country. I quite like Gordon really, and I can’t say the same for, the apparently permanently constipated looking, Mr Camero

So why is Mr Cameron taking on this apparently disapproving air.

I think his attacks on the Labour leader are calculated, like so many policies of the Tories at the moment. He, and his front bench, are of a type that thinks jeering and bullying are normal forms of dialogue that are expected of parliamentarians. Only their sort of parliamentarian still believes this.

Mr Cameron’s attempts to move his party to be more inclusive and open to the 21st Century are completely undermined by this hooray-henry attitude. He has, this week, been described as ‘weak and marginal’ with his little gang of Euro-thugs that make up his new grouping in the European Parliament, by the chairman of the EPP.

The EPP is made up of all the mainstream members of the European right and Mr Cameron’s party would once have placed itself squarely with this group. Mr Cameron is not a Conservative, in the way people remember the Tory party of Churchill, Macmillan, Heath and even Thatcher. It is  more extreme and anathema to British politics.

It may seem like a jolly wheeze to form their own group in the European Parliament but his playing fields of Eton antics make his party look increasingly politically constipated and objectionable.