What did Evan Harris actually say?

Jock’s blog has concluded, not without cause, that I am a spambot, so rather than waiting for release I thought I’d reproduce my comment here, because it has several wider implications.

Jock is wondering (as he does with increasing frequency, I think) whether or not to leave the party which, to him, is a travesty to the name of liberal. The incident that has sparked this is as follows:

On Tuesday I noticed that at least three “Liberal Democrat” MPs, for the moment at least, Evan Harris, Chris Huhne and Greg Mulholland, bobbed up off those green benches to kiss the arse that is Alan Johnson via his Home Office junior minister as he answered questions on drugs classification relating to the recent moral panic on Mephedrone and related substances.  Well, to be fair, it was not all love and congratulations.  All three also wanted to criticise the Home Secretary and his predecessor Jacqui Smith for their handling of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, with all three complaining that if the crisis of confidence in that body had not been stoked by the government this ban could have been implemented long before now!

Before I go on, let the record show that I have been known to talk Jock down off the ledge before, but that was when the sparking incident was a handful of hate-filled commenters on Lib Dem Voice telling him he “didn’t belong” in the Liberal Democrats. I thought that the unquantifiable hatred of a bunch of pixels, most of them writing anonymously and under Cthulhu knows what imperative, was a silly and sad reason for anyone to leave any political party. And indeed, Jock quickly agreed when he reflected that the people at his most recent pizza and politics evening were all perfectly happy with him in the party, and they alone outnumbered the pixels.

But ideological reasons are not silly at all, although they may be sad. Ideological reasons are perfectly valid, and sometimes I wonder if the only thing separating Jock and I are ten years of being let down. I’d not want to anyone think I was trying to sway anyone’s ideology, because I wouldn’t and anyway, you can’t, not really.

That caveat in place, let’s tear Jock a new one (comment begins, with minor edits):

You are misrepresenting Evan Harris here. This is what he said:

Dr. Harris: If the ACMD has advised that mephedrone and other cathinones be regulated as a class B drug, I support that recommendation, but does the Minister believe that he or his colleague the Home Secretary are compliant with the newly published principles for the treatment of independent scientific advice, which the Government published last week? They state that the Government must give adequate consideration time for published advice, but the ACMD report has not even been published and the Government have announced legislation. If the Home Secretary received a verbal report yesterday from the ACMD chair, why was it not available at the same time to the media, since the public have a right to know, and indeed to Members of this House? Further, why was there no statement or written ministerial statement today, and why did it take an urgent question to bring the Minister to the House to make this announcement?

May I ask whether, beyond classification, the report contains any other recommendations to which the Minister will respond, and when does he intend to respond to them? Given that it was the actions of the Home Secretary that led to the resignation of six of the scientific members of the council-undoubtedly delaying the work of the council and resulting in it not being legally constituted at the time that this advice was given-how can the Minister be certain that the regulations that he is now laying are in order, cannot be challenged and will deal with the problem that we both agree exists?


(1) He questions whether the recommendation of the ACMD is actually compliant with its own rules. His parliamentary tactic throughout has been to suggest that ACMD is not constituted such as to be able to legally pronounce. See here:

He added: “If it is necessary to act urgently to ban mephedrone then, in provoking this resignation by his refusal to respect the scientists who offer advice, the Home Secretary will now be forced to wait while the council is properly constituted.”

(2) He clearly does not complain that ” this ban could have been implemented long before now!” On the contrary, he queries how, given the state of the council (and leaving aside the legalities discussed at (1)), the Home Secretary can actually be sure the ban is the right decision at all and will “deal with the problem  that we both agree exists”.

I stress this last part because I reckon you’ve read the “agreement” bit as a sign of weakness – and if so, you’re just as prejudiced as the Daily Mail frothers. If you ask a medical doctor whether people ingesting plant fertiliser is a bad idea, he is going to say “yes”. The fact remains, he’s questioning how Johnson knows a ban is the best way to deal with it.

(3) He is on record elsewhere expressly pointing out the shortcomings of prohibition. I heard him doing so on the Jeremy Vine show a couple of weeks ago, and this is the Oxford Mail:

Dr Harris said: “Prohibition is a blunt instrument and can be counter-productive. It glamorises and gives exclusive trade rights to criminals.

“Therefore prohibition should only be used on scientific evidence, which the Government has previously rejected in respect of cannabis and ecstasy.

“Their history doesn’t fill me with much hope that this step will improve matters, since education about the dangers is the key thing.”

(4) If the only thing that will satisfy you is if he withdraws all support for the very idea of the ACMD and only ever stands up in parliament to lecture a Labour government with a 300+ majority on the dangers of prohibition and the essential wrongness of classification, you’re being very silly. He delivers the latter view in public quite happily. But he’s absolutely right not to bother trying to make that case to a government at parliamentary questions.

The only way declassification could ever succeed is if we establish the principle that government must act on impartial, scientific advice, which is why Harris spends so much time negotiating a code of conduct.  So when scientific advice is delivered to the government by an impartial body, he has to stand by it, while raising any legitimate questions about how competent (in the broadest sense) it actually is (which is what he’s done here). He can’t pick and choose what conclusions from the ACMD he supports, or he gives legitimacy to the government when they do it.

I mean, let’s just remind ourselves here that this government fucking ignores impartial advice based on conclusions reached by a scientific method. Some of these people he is dealing with are absolutely primitive, lawless, authoritarian morons. Getting them not to ignore science is currently the challenge. What I think you’re asking for is the equivalent of suggesting that two-year-olds would benefit from comparative philosophy training. In the long run, yes they might, but they’d derive more immediate benefit from being trained to stop shitting on the floor.

Throw what you like at Chris Huhne, and I’ve no idea what Greg Mulholland is like, but this is deeply unfair.

(comment ends)

I suppose I should have added that it’s deeply unfair not just because both content and context have been made free with, but because this is Evan Harris. He does have, you know, a bit of a good record in kind of this area. Argue with his parliamentary tactics if you like (and maybe we should), but you can’t argue with his record on science and evidence-based policy. Anyone who claims to be a rationalist but can contemplate with apparent equanimity the prospect of him losing his seat has gone badly awry in their priorities somewhere.

Anyway, all this has added impetus to an idea I had the other day, for a blog that simply pulls Liberal Democrat speeches from Hansard and either adds some commentary or at least puts them into a legislative context. How much of this could be automated, I’m not sure. I realise the speeches are there for us to read anyway, but I’m not always sure how much good that is if they can be misinterpreted and ellided as much as they sometimes are. What good is the principle of scrutiny if no-one actually does it?

This idea was partly prompted, as regular citizens may guess, by an affronted David Heath popping up here to point out that, in fact, he had asked the question in parliament that I was basically accusing him of not asking. The  internet’s response to the continuing trainwreck that is the Digital Economy Bill has been very instructive in this regard, underlining at a single stroke two hackneyed old sayings – that a lie will run round the world before the truth has got its boots on, and if you want something kept secret, announce it in the Houses of Parliament.


  1. If you do set up a blog like that, and need more people to be involved in the analysis side, I’d be willing to help out – it sounds like a genuinely necessary thing…

  2. Also, meant to say that one thing about the Lib Dems as opposed to all other parties I know of is that pretty much *EVERYONE* seems to want to leave for ideological reasons😉
    We really don’t tend to be people who cope well with compromise, do we?

  3. I don’t know why my blog thought you were spam – maybe the number of links. I thought I had taken off most of the filters.

    Anyway, you may yet talk me down! I know Evan’s general history as a sensible defender of social liberal values and personal freedoms. I had seen the bit in the Oxford Mail previously and it did not fill me with hope because that too was taking the line (to me at least) that prohibition was okayish on scientific evidence. So maybe even that was a mis-reading and what he was actually saying was that the whole system of prohibition/classification needed to be justified by scientific evidence (which is where’s Nutt’s report comes in).

    So, you think that what he has said here amounts to “if I thought that the ACMD had bee allowed to come to an evidence based conclusion that prohibition generally was the right way to manage drugs and then also that in this case mephedrone should be in class B within that structure, then I would support it”? Well all I can say if that is the case instead is “why can’t we have politicians who say what they mean?”

    The inference from Evan’s first sentence is that “given the current regime” if the ACMD supports class B then I support them and therefore the principle of prohibition.

    So, okay, I admit I am wrong to suggest that Evan was saying “it could’ve been done quicker” but that’s the effect certainly of what Chris said.

    But to return to your interesting points about how this moves forward, if it can. Whilst I accept that scientific advice has a part to play in the overall debate as to whether prohibition is the right strategy for managing drugs, it is only a part, an evidentiary part that could be used to support to fundamental liberal position that it is nobody else’s business in what way I choose to harm myself, and certainly not the law’s.

    That evidence can help, perhaps (though it has been notoriously difficult to get accurate numbers over years and decades) to *prove* that an order of magnitude *more harm* is done after prohibition than without prohibition, and though that might persuade non-liberal pragmatist waverers, it is all but irrelevant to that liberal argument itself.

    So yes, given that Evan is our Science speaker then he should support the evidentiary use of science to make his point, but not put all one’s hopes of achieving something better than prohibition merely via the science. And with all those caveats, and still wishing that parliamentarians could say what they mean (!) can accept that I am wrong on his part,

    As you say though, and this *is* where the Millite liberal principle comes in – the job of our Home Office speaker most definitely is to stand up for that principle and there is nothing in what Chris said that suggests he is in any way opposing the idea of prohibition, despite his previous statements about tabloid editors and government advisers.

    But all this frustration also stems from similar issues to the #debill fiasco. We *have* reasonably good drugs policy. But our spokesman at the time of the last election refused to defend it then – relegating it to one of those things decided on by a bunch of cranky activists in a draughty seaside hall but not included in the manifesto so not a commitment. Since then many of us have tried to get it looked at again, but it has long come across as “too hot to touch”.

    This particular moral panic event is the best opportunity that has come along for a while to break that silence, at a time when other parties’ spokes people have simply trotted out the usual line about how tough they will be on this sort of thing and yet all we have heard from the party in reality is ambiguous or even confusing (and not really meant to be heard outside parliament in the case of Tuesday’s comments).

    I have often defended Evan in the past. I think he takes far too much stick from the “Dr Death” squads at the Mail and Express and will happily do so again if I am wrong about what he was trying to say. But it still needed a multi-pronged attack both the rational evidentiary one and the liberal principled one, and it seems nobody has stuck up for the latter.

    But thanks for challenging my assumptions – I was angry. I still am if I believe that this party supports the fundamentally illiberal prohibitionary stance. But I accept that may not have been what Evan, t least, was trying to suggest, and it would and did surprise ma that that was my interpretation knowing his history.

      1. Oh yes – and I seem to be slightly contradicting what I said then – or maybe not.

        To clarify what I think I mean – the science is important and may be compelling for some who are mere utilitarian pragmatists. And Evan is quite right to point to it whenever possible with that in mind.

        But in effect, even if the science said that if a particular substance was 100% guaranteed to kill whoever took it on the first occasion it would not trump the basic premise of the harm principle for liberals.

    1. Hm, well, you’re talking me up now.

      Of course, I cannot prove and wasn’t trying to that Evan is carrying out a secret plan to break down prohibition in stages. And I also think your interpretation of the Ox Mail quote is reasonable enough. He certainly isn’t ruling out prohibition in it, and it’s hard to know whether that’s because he genuinely thinks prohibition has a role, or because he knows he can’t say otherwise.

      My point is more that, at this stage, the fine-tunings of his opinion are a bit academic. All we can say with certainty is that he’s concentrating on:
      (a) getting the government to operate by its own rules (and it was in this context that he implicitly accepted the principle of prohibition, in order to point out that the government weren’t even being consistent by their own lights), and
      (b) (re)introducing into those rules the principle of following scientific advice.

      Until he’s succeeded in those basic aims, we won’t really know where he wants to take things next. But nothing he’s said precludes tackling the P-word, and there’s some evidence at least that he knows what the shortcomings are. And, well, once you’re aware of the shortcomings of prohibition, and you have a brain, and you’re in favour of evidence-based policy-making, it’s kinda hard to close the lid again. So, yes, it would surprise me too if he was in favour of prohibition as an abstract principle.

      But, even if he is harbouring a secret plan to fight prohibition through the science back-door, that doesn’t answer your wider point, which is to say, well, why keep it secret and bow cravenly to the scaly inhabitants of middle England, when it stems from core liberal principles, dammit? And I’ve got no answer for you there, that’s where the appeal of ideology and my disinclination to meddle with it comes in.

      I guess a lack of noise on prohibition comes about halfway down my list of “Reasons why I am about to leave the party”, below the lack of an *even better* tax policy and way, way below pretty much every other thing Chris Huhne says. I try to tread a not-middle line between following the pure dictates of cold logic (which would involve going to the gym as well as not being in any political party) and the kind of obsequious loyalty and jam-tomorrow logic you see in members of the other two parties. Going back to what Andrew says, I think everyone should have such a list. The point at which you decide the game’s not worth the candle is going to be highly individual.

      1. I’m about to get cut off from the net till Saturday night, unless I can work out iPhone tethering…so just a quicky…

        The reason why this one is so high on my list of issues you describe is that whilst many other things a government can do are indeed criminal thuggery to my mind, this one in particular is done knowing full well that the likely effect is going to be increasing harm for the very people they claim to represent and protect.

        I suppose you could say that “reducing the winter fuel allowance” will cause foreseeable and predictable additional deaths. But they are not achieved by creating a wholly artificial “crime” out of some legal trade, the creation of which causes the additional suffering and death.

        Knowing this, I do not believe *anyone* has the right to legislate like that, and it is doubly galling when alternatives could be tried and aren’t.

        I hold all those who vote for a politician at least partly because they or their party are “tough on drugs” and prohibitionists partly liable, alongside those politicians for the extra crime, harm and death that results.

    2. And I meant to say that this…

      “The inference from Evan’s first sentence is that “given the current regime” if the ACMD supports class B then I support them and therefore the principle of prohibition.”

      …is a very good summary. That is pretty much all we can prove, at the moment. He clearly is working with what’s there. We can’t know how he’d build it from the ground up.

  4. Although in the Beast of Eastleigh’s defence I am forced to point out that, while he does “welcome” the classification, and say it would have been banned quicker if the council hadn’t been meddled with, he also says this:

    “Finally, can he draw any other lessons from this episode, such as, for example, the need to introduce a pending category, ahead of the full deliberation, of the sort that exists-I understand-in New Zealand and Sweden?”

    Which is a Nutt suggestion – again, within the current framework, but has the aim of making the current framework a bit less beholden to hysteria.

  5. I like Evan Harris, and he has a pretty good record on individual liberty (for all that we had a blazing row on the subject of freedom of speech*) but one has to admit that this doesn’t read like a proud defence of personal autonomy.

    The problem is that by pointing to the science, one does rather weaken the defence-of-liberty argument (in that you concede that some dangerous substances should be banned for everyone’s own good). Just as the prohibition lot have been forced to adopt public health as their alternative for the moral argument (partly because of the decline of ‘god says’ as a valid political point, and partly because of demonstrable hypocrisy) and so make wild claims about cannabis causing mental illness or ‘ecstacy poisoning'[sic], so the harm reduction people often fall into the elephant trap of comparing harm for harm (the famous horse-riding comparison) when they should be comparing freedom for freedom.

    But then the defence-of-freedom argument isn’t all that persuasive to legislators anyway. There are many reasons why it is valuable to classify drugs in terms of harm caused, but they are mostly medical and academic, rather than political. Arguments about prohibition would be better framed focussing on how crap it is as a utilitarian policy.

    *with an avowed Marxist-Leninist from Oxford and Paul Staines joining in. It was the sort of gathering you only get after four pints or so…

    1. “The problem is that by pointing to the science, one does rather weaken the defence-of-liberty argument (in that you concede that some dangerous substances should be banned for everyone’s own good).”

      I think this is a rather extreme argument. If you don’t think there are SOME substances that should be banned, then you might be interested in a nice little canister of mustard gas I’ve got that needs a new home. But I think there should be clear evidence that the substances concerned DO directly harm others – which is not the case with heroin or cocaine – and this is where the scientific argument comes in.

      1. I don’t think it’s extreme really Bernard. They are two different “problem domains”, surely. And the defence-of-liberty argument does not seek to defend anyone’s liberty to *harm others*. That’s the whole point – it is only legitimate to step in under the harm principle in the case you posit, not in the case of something that only harms (properly speaking) the user.

        And I think we also have to be quite strict about the definition of “harm”. You could certainly say that some users of some substances end up harming others – such as emotionally, their own family and friends when they eventually die of their addiction – even where they do not cause harm through the illegal trade, that is assuming it were all legal and above board.

        1. “I don’t think it’s extreme really Bernard. They are two different “problem domains”, surely. And the defence-of-liberty argument does not seek to defend anyone’s liberty to *harm others*.”

          For sockpuppet to say that no dangerous substance should be banned because it undermines the right-to -liberty argument certainly strikes me as a pretty extreme position (as well as being nonsense). And they’re not two different ‘problem domains’ – we’re talking about the harm that various chemical substances can do, so I don’t see what’s different about them.
          And we’re agreed that the ‘defence of liberty’ argument does not extend to the right to harm others – the question is where you draw the line. Like you, I take a fairly strict view about what constitutes harm, which is why I said that we need clear evidence of direct harm, which doesn’t really exist for most (if not all) proscribed drugs.

      2. For sockpuppet to say that no dangerous substance should be banned because it undermines the right-to -liberty argument certainly strikes me as a pretty extreme position (as well as being nonsense).

        ah, but sockpuppet didn’t say that, did he?

        What I said, which helpfully you even quoted, was

        “The problem is that by pointing to the science, one does rather weaken the defence-of-liberty argument (in that you concede that some dangerous substances should be banned for everyone’s own good).”

        Now, leaing aside for a second the fact that I was manifestly talking about recreational pharmaceuticals, and not semtex, sarin, ricin or enriched plutonium (and good luck trying to get hold of them, incidentally, which I’ll come on to in a second) this is not to say that nothing should be banned. It’s to say, and no more, that trying to frame the debate as a debate about harm and harm reduction takes the focus away from what the debate should – in my view – be about, namely the freedom (or not) to ingest something that has the potential to harm you and you alone. Which is true.

        But since you brought chemical weapons into it, ‘banned’ and ‘controlled’ are not the same thing at all, are they? I’m all in favour of there being pretty stringent controls of chemical weapons, for obvious reasons, and I’m equally in favour of there being some (less stringent) controls on recreational drugs – no one would want children being able to buy them, for example. And quality control would go a long way towards harm reduction. You don’t have a cannister of mustard gas because there are controls in place that make it very hard to obtain. I rather think that the law has this one right. There isn’t much demand for it, and the people that are demanding it want to use it to hurt others. However, there’s a lot of demand for methyldioxymethamphatamine by people who want to play with their serotonin levels and dance to repetitive electronic music. And prohibition is a stupid way to address that.

        1. Right, so you do accept that some substances should be banned because there is scientific evidence of the harm (potential or otherwise) they can do to others, which makes your original point nonsense, as I said. The question then becomes where you draw the line.

        2. Right, so you do accept that some substances should be banned because there is scientific evidence of the harm (potential or otherwise) they can do to others, which makes your original point nonsense, as I said.

          Nope. I don’t, it doesn’t, and you’re either being iritatingly imprecise or wilfully disingenuous.

          I accept that there is a case for more or less stringent controls on substances depending on what they do, why people want them, etc.

          I am perfectly willing to accept pretty stringent contols on sarin gas. I don’t see a similar case for MDMA or – since it’s topical – mephedrone.

          ‘Banned’ is a meaningless term in this debate. What substances are ‘banned’? Chemical weapons? Not if you happen to work at Porton Down. Diamorphine? Not if you work in a hospital. There’s a doctor called Charles GroB who has the distinction of being one of the few people in the world legally allowed to give people MDMA, and NIDA (look it up) has a US Govt approved licence to manufacture and – to an extent – distribute marijuana.

          No one sane would oppose controls on things, but that doesn’t for a second undermine a belief in individual freedom to place yourself at risk if no one else is to be harmed.

        3. OK, let’s take another example – peanuts. For the vast majority of people, these are a nutritious food, but a tiny minority are allergic to them. Now let’s say that over the next few decades the rate of peanut allergy increases so that three-quarters of the population of this country is at risk from peanuts. I think then there would be immense pressure for a ban on peanuts. But what if it was only 40%, 25% or 5%? At what point do we decide that peanuts constitute a sufficient risk to people’s health that they need to be subject to legislative control? For me, and I suspect for most people, the scientific arguments as to what the risks actually are, combined with a sound case for the moral question as to what constitutes an acceptable risk, are the only way that such questions can be answered. Ideological views about the right to liberty are always going to be secondary to that.
          It is only the (scientific) fact that peanut allergies are thankfully so rare that there is no pressure for banning peanuts.

  6. You could always just try being non-partisan, like me. I thought St Vincent of Cable edged a victory on Monday. But, having tried to square the circle, I cannot reconcile myself to your pro-EU stance among other things. At about the time my views solidified into a whole, towards the end of 2008, I realised that there isn’t truly a party for me.

    So I am involved in non-partisan issues campaigns, & will generally put my x next to someone or other. For a series of reasons, many of them tactical, I am looking most likely to vote for you next time even though I don’t even know yet who the candidate is! The old candidate got hung out to dry, I still say unfairly, & even though we don’t know of a replacement I oppose Labour, am sceptical about Tories & can find just about enough LD stances to go along with.

    But at any given time, I might decide that another candidate is better, that the country needs something else, that due to the electoral system ____ has got a real chance this time, or whatever. Why not be like me instead of one of these people we’ve seen over the last few months who feels obliged to support the Labour cunts out of misplaced loyalty?

    I am really intrigued by the thought of how this will pan out. I think some of the Tories have genuinely become liberal as a response to Labour’s authoritarianism, & even when they take the levers they’ll be less likely to support misusing the powers, but I don’t know if they’re all like that. But some minds at least have genuinely changed.

    I suppose I am more a product of an earlier time, before party loyalties ossified, when coalitions formed for or against something or other. Is this the future?

    PS- On about drugs. I appreciated David Nutt’s proposal for a Class D. You don’t even need to be liberal on the issue, although I am (I don’t even take them- it’s just the way the evidence goes) to see that.

    1. “Why not be like me instead of one of these people we’ve seen over the last few months who feels obliged to support the Labour cunts out of misplaced loyalty?”

      On the one hand, hollow laughter – “why not be like me?” indeed – and on the other hand, erm, fuck off? Ok, I’m not sure you meant to write that quite as offensively as you did, but whatever, it’s totally unfair, given that I’ve (a) never been one to regurgitate press releases and (b) expressly talked somewhere above about the need to avoid exactly that problem.

      I used to be nonpartisan, took the usual ooh-look-what-a-unique-snowflake-I-am-nowhere-is-pure-enough-for-me pride in it, and what happened? Shit got steadily worse, so I swallowed my pride and I’m trying this now. It’s a bloody membership, not a contract of marriage. I mean, I didn’t want to say any of this in the post, because it’s my reason why I stay a member, and it’s got fuck-all to do with Jock or anybody else. But you can’t foist your unique-snowflake shit on me either, especially since I’ve tried it. Maybe some day I’ll go back to being nonpartisan, or move parties. But there’s nowhere even within spitting distance of enough reasons to do that.

      Perhaps I’ve suggested that “the list” keeps me in some sort of self-engrossed agony. On the contrary it keeps me honest. I don’t particularly want to be part of a collective for its own sake – there have to be enough good reasons for me to be a member of it, and also not enough bad reasons not to be. The list resolves this. As long as I’m regularly reviewing the list of reasons, in both directions, and not finding anything that shrieks at me (like Jock is), I can remain part of a common enterprise. For example, the airbrushing bollocks is incredibly stupid and distasteful in every way, but there’s no way it outweighs a revenue neutral rebalancing tax package.

        1. Yes, very good and sums up the way I feel too. But I think you’re maybe being harsh on asquith Alix. I took him to mean for us not to worry so much and that there are other channels for our energies – which I certainly pursue with things like my Community Land Trust and social enterprise hat on – they can be a lot more rewarding (though often as frustrating) as, for example, having to have some of my regular nemeses on LDV threads bleat on at me!

          Though I have to say one of the biggest reasons for me remaining in the party and which has kept me onside more than anything, is the local party, who have seen my “journey” and, even if they don’t understand it all, understand that I’ve not turned into some rabid right-wing Thatcherite entryist and may have something useful to say still within the party. For them, which of course is also a real world social network, I am grateful. Though I do feel I am letting them down a bit now just when their need is greatest.

          Maybe I should go and deliver some leaflets tomorrow!

        2. I am almost certainly being way too harsh on Asquith. I’ve only eaten two fairycakes all day and am now on the wine. Hungry and cross about various shit and tired. Probably be back tomorrow to apologise. Till then (wails) *just go away and leeemee alooo-oo-ooone!*

      1. I suppose I did come across as a bit smug in that comment looking back. Also it was remiss of me to mention Labour loylists. Hopefully you can just take that comment as not being my finest hour. Through not talking politics in real life I have become a bit tone-deaf. But Jock has got the essence of what I was trying to say all right.

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