» Monday, August 22, 2005

Prime Minister’s Holiday

Asked about the Prime Minister’s whereabouts, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications had written to editors last night to explain that since the Prime Minister arrived at his holiday destination, the Barbados Legion had invited him to attend a commemoration service to mark the end of the Second World War and the contribution of Barbadians to the Second World War. The Prime Minister had accepted the invitation and as it was obviously a public event, we understood that journalists would want to report the event. The Director of Communications had continued his request to ask for restraint in publicising the exact location of the Prime Minister’s holiday.

Asked if there had been any response to the criticism over what had been seen as unnecessarily tight security being used as an excuse, the PMS said that a request had been made following a conversation with the Head of the Prime Minister’s Protection team.

Asked when the Prime Minister would return from his holiday, the PMS said we would let people know when he was back.

Asked why the Prime Minister had been invited to a public event if the location where he was staying was meant to be kept a secret, the PMS said that Barbados was a small place and people got to know who was around.

Asked if people therefore knew the Prime Minister was in Barbados, why could it not be reported, the PMS said again that a request had been made for people to refrain from reporting the location.

Put to the PMS that the Prime Minister had already been criticised for not attending the VJ Day Celebration yesterday, was his attendance at the Barbados Legion Celebration likely to upset our VJ veterans, the PMS said she would hope not. The Prime Minister had attended the national commemorations of both VE and VJ Day in July where there was a service to commemorate the end of the Second World War which had also been attended by The Queen. The Prime Minister was invited to yesterday’s event by local people, and as he was on the island, was able to attend.

Put to the PMS that the Prime Minister did not appear to be "terribly enthralled or interested" in the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the PMS said she did not agree. The Prime Minister had attended the national service in July.

Asked if she could give any further details about the Prime Minister’s holiday, the PMS said she could not.

Asked why the Prime never stayed in the UK for his holiday, the PMS replied that in previous years, the Prime Minister had visited Cumbria, and Cornwall.

Asked where the Prime Minister was staying, the PMS said she did not have details and that we were asking people not to report the specific location.

Asked what the payment arrangements were, the PMS said the Prime Minister and his family had travelled on a scheduled flights and that they had paid for the tickets.

Put to the PMS that since the Prime Minister was staying in Barbados for a while longer, and it was public knowledge that he was there, was he now more at risk; had his security risk changed, and would reporters from now on be able to report about future holidays, the PMS said we never commented on the Prime Minister’s security. The PMS said she was unable to comment on future holidays.

Asked if the Prime Minister still intended to visit The Queen in Balmoral, the PMS said yes, it was traditional that the Prime Minister spent a weekend at Balmoral.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Who gives a shit, anyway?! Is there nothing more important going on in the world?

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Aug 2005 on 11:40 pm | Link
  2. What I find really worrying is the prospect of the Blairs coming back here.

    Do they really have to? Why can’t they just bring forward the retirement date and stay where they are?

    If the Queen and the Royals have their engagements routinely published, why can’t we have a special section in the London Gazette on the Blair movements?

    (Oops, maybe ‘movements’ is not quite the word I meant – but then again, they’re constantly crapping all over us)

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 24 Aug 2005 on 5:10 pm | Link
  3. Holiday? How can somebody so vital to our nation, the EU and the World be spared for long enough to be away on holiday again? Ah! its probably a freebie one way or another. Maybe Cherie has had a word with the dear people and informed them that they are to be blessed with a visit?
    This government came into office with an anti sleaze policy – so Tone babes – please explain why your governments have been more sleazy than any in my (long) memory?

    Comment by roger — 25 Aug 2005 on 2:07 pm | Link
  4. I don’t like Blair any more than anyone else here, but I don’t agree with your statement that this government is more sleazy than the last. At least with this lot you don’t get the feeling that they are just out to make themselves as rich as possible. The last government had an MP sent to gaol , despite his ‘sword of truth’ and ‘trusty shield of British justice’.

    I think the current incumbents are a bunch of micro-managing idiots, but not naked greedsters like the other lot.

    Comment by Colin — 25 Aug 2005 on 5:04 pm | Link
  5. Aitken ended up in the clink as a result of his crass stupidity in dealing with the press. Maybe this lot have simply received better advice from Campbell than his predecessors.

    Wealth is a comparative term, of course, but let’s just recall ‘Two Jags’ Prescott and ‘Two Flats’ Blair. ‘Grace and Favour’ Blunkett, the ‘Jobs for the Boyos’ Kinnocks, etc etc.

    (Why don’t we just make a list of the whole damn lot of them? Anyone want to nominate any totally unblemished MP?)

    Setting aside the various other manipulations of the ‘allowances’ and freebies by various ‘New Labour’ MP’s, these guys do not strike me as entirely altruistic, either. But to be fair, greed is not a party political matter.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 25 Aug 2005 on 8:07 pm | Link
  6. "but I don’t agree with your statement that this government is more sleazy than the last"

    Colin – please read what I wrote again. The phrase was "than ANY in my long memory". Add to this the point that Tone did promise us a clean anti sleaze government when he started – not like those other people. These people are trying to kid us (I used to support them – and still do when they do something right)that they are the good guys – but they aren’t. No more taxes – 77 increases in 7 years – see what I mean? Then there are the "new" policies – most of which don’t work, the "new" ways of measuring statistics – to make them (Tone and his cronies) look better – and oh how about all the guys that have had to resign, worse than the others (and they were bad) I would say when you get down to it – just a thought.

    Comment by roger — 25 Aug 2005 on 8:17 pm | Link
  7. "77 increases in 7 years" you say that as if paying more tax was a bad thing. I know that it is an invented statistic by the right wing press (we are paying less in tax now than we did under Thatcher) but I don’t see the point you are trying to make.

    Labour never said no more taxes they said no rise in Income Tax. Its a stupid policy but they have stuck to it.

    New ways of measuring statistics – like the new way of measuring unemployment that acutually gives a higher (and more acurate) figure. Or the new way of reporting crime that gives a higher but more acurate reflection of crime committed rather than just crime the police can be bothered to investigate.

    Which new policies don’t you think are working? The New Deal is getting people into jobs, crime is falling, less people are living in poverty. Its not all rosey in the Garden by any means but a lot of things have started moving in the right direction.

    I despise Labour for many reasons (Iraq, civil liberties, tax breaks for the rich etc etc) but I know the difference between what is actually happening and what the Daily Mail thinks is happening.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 25 Aug 2005 on 10:09 pm | Link
  8. It’s unwise to regard the published crime statistics with anything except scepticism. Crime statistics are based upon reported crime, not committed crime.

    Much petty criminality is now unreported – largely because the police have retreated from our streets and the whole process involves visits to ‘local’ police stations to make the report. That in itself constitutes a deterrent to reporting.

    Equally, why would a government choose to publicise any statistics which might imply failure of its policies? If such statistics are produced or verified by truly independent bodies that is a different thing. Most press releases issued by Government Departments are based on their own assessments of their own performances.

    Given New Labour’s slavish devotion to semantics and obfuscation it’s hardly surprising that many people believe that they are liars and cheats. I’ve yet to hear a straight Yes or No to any question put to the PMS, PMOS, or anyone in office, let alone the various MPs.

    Time for some honesty and clarity, I think. But this is a long way from the original discussion……..

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 26 Aug 2005 on 10:04 am | Link
  9. "77 increases in 7 years" you say that as if paying more tax was a bad thing – Uncarved Block.

    If we are paying less tax now than under Thatcher (don’t know why you would bring her up – but there) then please explain just why the day in the year that we stop paying taxes and start keeping money for ourselves has moved so much further forward (way into June) under this government than ever before?
    Are you believing Govt propaganda – or just the Mail and other rags?

    Surely it depends what it is spent on? Another N thousand civil servants, wasting more and more on the "dome", pointless schemes started off and then stopped as "failures" – I could go on.

    You obviously read the Daily Mail – I don’t.

    Comment by roger — 26 Aug 2005 on 3:02 pm | Link
  10. "At least with this lot you don’t get the feeling that they are just out to make themselves as rich as possible"

    You might get that feeling, Colin, but I certainly don’t. Recent rumours suggest the Bliars are househunting in Barbados; can’t be cheap. Still, that lucrative contract with the Carlysle group will see him ok – it’s just a pity about the enormous conflict of interest in having ex-MPs working for one of the main beneficiaries of government policy. Still, no-one’ll notice – after all, it won’t be reported in the main stream media, and anyone who repeats anything which comes from alternative sources is dismissed as anti-Government or worse, a conspiracy theorist. C’est la guerre…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 27 Aug 2005 on 11:06 am | Link
  11. We expect looting British art treasures probably brings in a few bob!


    Comment by JK5 — 29 Aug 2005 on 7:06 am | Link
  12. I am 79 years of age and have always been brought up to be honourable.There are certainly not many honourable people about now and certainly not in Government.I wish they would stop patting themselves on the back as to how they perceive the NHS ia going-it is quite clear that they don’t use the same regulations as we have to. What is the use of prolonging life when you can’t give serious attention to those who need your help? And I’m sure the Royal Family don’t have to put up with the treatment or lack of it that we have to-anyway they are a disgrace to humanity and hardly worth saving.

    My husband was a regular and also served in the SAS and look what he suffered for. He could have made a fortune selling his life story but he signed not to do this and my husband was your honourable soldier-we don’t even have those any more. I’d love to leave it all behind but I’m told I have to wait for my time to come-no wonder my husband had no desire to go on when he could see what the world had degenerated to and no-one at the top to set an example. Where has the idea come from that these so called "STARS"
    of all types are worth all this money?

    Irene Hughes.

    Comment by IRENE HUGHES — 6 Oct 2005 on 3:30 pm | Link

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