The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:03 pm


Steve Bell takes a dim view of Bank of England chief Mervyn King and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:06 pm


Steve Bell on the UK's Economic and Foreign policies.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:51 pm


Steve Bell. Guardian Cartoon, 5 Dec 2011:
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy sparked relief in the markets after agreeing measures to take to the EU summit

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:47 am

Digested read: Round the Bend by Jeremy Clarkson

John Crace

guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 December 2011 21.29 GMT


Illustration: Neal Fox for the Guardian.

There are many ways to tell if someone is a bit thick. You can ask them if they believe in global warming. You can ask them if they live in Newcastle. But there's another, easier way of establishing whether someone is two spanners short of a tool box. You can ask them if they are a presenter of Top Gear. Which brings me nicely to the Subaru Impreza. Who but an idiot would pay £25,000 for a car that comes with fewer toys than an Ethiopian birthday boy?

The Scottish chief constable recently lambasted me for encouraging everyone to drive fast. My only crime? I like Lamborghinis. He would too if he could afford one. But as he can't, he wants to spoil my fun. It's killjoys like him that are turning Britain's roads into a haven for health and safety geriatrics. If there's one thing that would improve my life more than being able to burn up the M40 at 135 mph, it would be the freedom to take out a few cripples in wheelchairs along the way.

All Jaguar's problems stem from the days when the communists took over the shop floor at British Leyland. If the government had just had the nerve to have every striker executed in front of his family, then we wouldn't be depending on an Indian manufacturer to bail the brand out now. Just what we need: An It Ain't Half Hot Mum advertising campaign. I'd rather have a sedan chair carried by four greased Egyptians.

Who on earth do you know who actually washes their car? Other than the homosexuals of Gerrards Cross? The whole point of a car is that you should drive it aggressively off road, spilling dirt and gravel over the bunny huggers who are traipsing around National Trust properties while nibbling on their falafel and ciabatta sandwiches. Which brings me to the Renault Clio. If you're the sort of limp-wristed L'Oreal man who spends hours in the gym doing botty-clenching exercises, then you're going to love this. Me? I'd rather get my local village idiot, Dave, to clean my rims!

So cars are making all the polar bears drown, are they? Oh, diddums. If they spent less time posing for David Attenborough and more time learning to swim, they'd be fine. Which brings me to the eight-seater Mitsubishi Outlander. The ramblists say cars like this are destroying the planet, when it's their nasty little Priuses that are really doing the damage. Not that global warming is a reality for anyone but a few scaremongering communists who want us all to eat nettles and live in middens. How else am I going to get my kids to school than in a 4x4? You can't expect me to use a bus, as the drivers are always out on strike.

As a major celebrity I get photographed countless times a day – all too often with a woman who isn't my wife. All speed cameras should be burned, preferably using traffic wardens, council officials and gays as lighter fuel. Which brings me to the Porsche Cayenne, the car with the most pointless rear seat ever made. So small it can't even fit the 8-inch Hammond, a man who gives dwarves a bad name. Talking of which, how come the over coiffed homosexualist had his crash on the one day in the century when the entire NHS wasn't on strike?

What is the point of a bicyclist? Answer: to die. The only reason any beardy vegetarian or lesbian gets on a bike is because they secretly want to commit suicide. Which is fine by me. I want them all to die too. The world would be a much better place without them. But what I don't want them doing is holding me up and tempting me into doing their dirty work for them. If you haven't got the balls to phone Dignitas, then don't make me late for dinner at the Ivy by forcing me to crush you under my front wheels. So run along and get a gun and top yourselves in private, losers.

Thanks to the utterly useless Gordon Brown, we're apparently all going to be so broke we'll have to drive a Fiat 500. Frankly, I'd rather die. Who wants a car that can only kill its occupants? Which brings me on to Sarah Brown. Did she look at Gordon before marrying him? I mean, she's not much of a looker, but she didn't need to stoop that low. Why is every politician's wife – with the exception of the divine Samantha Cameron – such a munter? Talking of which, the reversing mirror in the Range Rover allowed me to look right up Sam's skirt.

Lots of people write in to me asking if Mays is "a bachelor". What I can say is that he is right at home in the Jean-Claude "Durz ma bum look beeg in zis" Citroen Diane. As for me I'm staying with my Mercedes XLR-BIGCOCK. Fritz may have made a few minor errors with the Poles in the war, but he was dead right about the communist workshy scum. Thank God for my mate Dave. Boxing Day as per usual?

Digested read, digested: Car crash of a career.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:22 pm





^^ Steve Bell.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:37 pm

After Cameron's isolation of the UK from Europe to protect the interests of his chums in the City, the Con-Dem alliance is looking fragile. Here's former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown:
***************************************************************************************************************
Paddy Ashdown: we have tipped 38 years of foreign policy down the drain

David Cameron has isolated us in Europe and diminished us in Washington's eyes

Paddy Ashdown

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 10 December 2011 21.00 GMT


"David Cameron’s 'asks' for the City were rejected, not because they were too great – but because it was he who made them." Photograph: Daniel Sorabji/AFP/Getty Images

When Hugh Gaitskell sat down after making his "end of a thousand years of history" speech against joining Europe at the Labour conference of 1962, he turned to his wife and said: "Look how many are clapping, dear!" She replied: "Yes, dear. But it's the wrong people who are clapping."

This weekend, it's the Eurosceptics who are clapping. Many British newspapers are clapping Mr Cameron for "standing up for Britain" – at last. French ones are clapping M Sarkozy for sticking it up "la perfide Albion" – at last. Those who see Britain as Norway without the oil or Switzerland with nuclear weapons are clapping. But those of us who believe our island's greatness has been about taking the risks of engagement rather than the false security of isolation, feel bereft, sad and depressed.

It wasn't because Mr Cameron's demands were immodest that we are here: they had been negotiated down within the coalition to very little indeed (and preceded by dozens of smoothing European calls from Nick Clegg). Almost nothing was unique for Britain except the right to have stronger regulation for the City.

Mr Cameron's "asks" were rejected, not because they were too great – but because it was he who made them. No other British prime minister of recent years would have had difficulty getting this package through. This was Gallic pay-back time for all that unwise Cameron lecturing – and sometimes worse – from the sidelines these last months. I suspect that if he had asked for a cup of tea, Sarkozy would not have lost the opportunity to refuse it. Not a statesmanlike reaction from Sarkozy to be sure; but a human one.

Beneath the tragedy of last Thursday night, lies a deeper and more disturbing fact than Sarkozy's pique. Long years of anti-European prejudice from the Tory Eurosceptics, laced with downright insults from their supporting press, have now generated a growing anti-British prejudice in many European capitals, not just Paris.

Some say, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll's "Lobster Quadrille", never mind – "the further off from Paris the nearer is to Washington". Not so. Washington was there last Thursday, in the margins, willing Europe to come together. Americans are now going to be much more interested in those inside than the one nation that is out.

So what happens next?

Perhaps it will all fail, we comfort ourselves, as we did when the whole European process began back in 1957. It may indeed not work. The views of the eurozone's democracies still have to be dealt with. And the markets still have to be reassured through some process of mutualising debt. But the Germans were never going to stump up for that, until they had proper financial controls. And that happened on Thursday.

But here's the rub. If the Franco-German plan doesn't work, things will not be better for Britain, they will be much, much worse as our main trading zone collapses. Yet we have rejected being in, helping prevent collapse, in favour of being out, hoping for the best.

Even if our European colleagues cannot make this work at the level of 17, they will make it work at a core level and then build back later. The difference between Britain as an "out" and all the other "outs" is that over time they want to get in – we want to get even further out. How does that increase our leverage?

There are domestic consequences. The Eurosceptics are now in control of the referendum agenda. And Mr Cameron has given them a much more powerful argument: if being in results in such isolation, then why not be out?

Alex Salmond, too, has been given an uncovenanted gift. If England is to be out of Europe, why should Scotland not be in?

Will the coalition survive? It must and we must find a way to make it so. But the coalition is as disliked among the Eurosceptics as Brussels. Having won one victory over a hated enemy, why not a second? Those who worry that it's now the 81 Eurosceptics who run the prime minister, not the other way round, are right to wonder: if he has given them this, what will he resist?

And so we have used the veto – but stopped nothing. In order to "protect the City" we have made it more vulnerable. At a time of economic crisis, we have made it more attractive for investors to go to northern Europe. We have tipped 38 years of British foreign policy down the drain in one night. We have handed the referendum agenda over to the Eurosceptics. We have strengthened the arguments of those who would break the union. We have isolated ourselves from Europe and diminished ourselves in Washington.

Not bad, for a policy aimed at "standing up for Britain"!

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:24 am

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's admiration for the despairing oeuvre of Samuel Beckett (see Theatre & Performance section thread on Beckett) looks like standing him in good stead.

As I understand it, the Lib Dems are a pro-European party and Cameron has bowed to the wishes of the hardline Eurosceptic Tory right. Very odd.

What does it all mean, Twoody?

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  Lee Van Queef on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:34 am

I have no idea what it means. For me personally, I am worried and disappointed in what has happened and I very much share Paddy Ashdown’s concerns.

It is my opinion Cameron came to the summit with reasonable and important demands, which were agreed upon via the LibDems. It is also my opinion that France and Germany were uncooperative because Cameron and his anti-EU rhetoric has pissed them off.

What is unclear, and what me might never know, is how much Cameron tried to negotiate until he simple said ‘no’. I think that he kept the Lib Dems in the dark on this final decision.

One thing is for sure though, Cameron has the British public behind him on this decision.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  Lee Van Queef on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:43 am

Lee Van Queef wrote:

One thing is for sure though, Cameron has the British public behind him on this decision.

He will also have the Trade Unions behind him.... But will they say it like that? I doubt it. Laughing

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:48 am

Doesn't the UK do 50% of its trade with Europe? (That's the figure I've seen bandied about- don't know how true that is.)

What are the implications of Cameron's veto for our Trade figures?

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  Lee Van Queef on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:15 am

eddie wrote:Doesn't the UK do 50% of its trade with Europe? (That's the figure I've seen bandied about- don't know how true that is.)

I don't know what the percentage is, I don't think it's quite 50%, but likely to be around there. I think I'm right in saying that our manufacturing trade with EU countries is definitly 50%+.

eddie wrote:What are the implications of Cameron's veto for our Trade figures?

I honestly don't know. The summit was not so much do with trade per se, but by isolating ourselves, it is potentially going to harm trade in the long term yes.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:34 am

Clegg 'fury over Cameron EU veto'
Press Association – Sat, Dec 10, 2011.. .


David Cameron's decision to veto treaty changes has put the UK's relationship with the EU under close scrutiny

Cabinet tensions over David Cameron's decision to veto a European Union treaty have burst into the open as it emerged that Nick Clegg was privately furious with the Prime Minister.

Despite publicly backing Mr Cameron, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister feels his actions were not in Britain's best interests and leaves the country isolated in Europe.

A source close to europhile Mr Clegg told The Independent on Sunday that the outcome of Thursday night's negotiations at the European Council in Brussels had been "a spectacular failure to deliver in the country's interest".

"Nick certainly doesn't think this is a good deal for Britain, for British jobs or British growth," the source said.

"It leaves us isolated in Europe and that is not in our national interest. Nick's fear is that we become the lonely man of Europe."

The source said Mr Clegg "couldn't believe it" when, on Friday morning, he was informed of the course of events and how Mr Cameron had sought to negotiate with fellow EU leaders.

The future of the coalition is already under scrutiny with Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg facing conflicting demands from their respective backbenchers in the wake of the dramatic veto.

Jubilant eurosceptic Tories have stepped up calls for a full renegotiation of Britain's position in the EU, only for Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes to insist the issue was "not on the table" and that Conservatives should "calm down".

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:42 am

Meanwhile...on the Tory Right...
**********************************************************************************************************
Tory MP Apology For Nazi Stag Party Antics
Sky News


Tory MP Apology For Nazi Stag Party Antics

A Conservative MP has apologised after he was pictured at a stag party in France where Nazi chanting and uniforms were used.

Aidan Burley made his apology on micro blogging site Twitter saying: "Deeply regret inappropriate behaviour by some guests at stag party I attended and I am extremely sorry for any offence that was caused."

The Cannock Chase MP attended the stag party last weekend at the in Val Thorens ski resort in France with 12 friends.

The offensive actions seem to have taken place at a restaurant at the resort, according to the Daily Mail.

Some of the group were reported to have chanted "Hitler, Hitler, Hitler" during the dinner.

One toasted the "Third Reich" and another allegedly taunted a waiter for being French, the paper said.

Mr Burley, a senior aide to Transport Secretary Justine Greening, was also filmed at the restaurant sitting next to another member of the group dressed in a black SS uniform and cap.

According to reports a French police spokesman said an investigation could be launched.

The spokesman added: "Anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi crimes are taken extremely
seriously in France. Anyone suspected of breaking the law in this respect can
and will be prosecuted."

In response to the story the Shadow transport minister John Woodcock called for Mr Burley to be sacked.

He said: "This sickening behaviour brings shame on the country and it is particularly appalling that an MP seems to have been standing by while it happened.

"David Cameron should stop dithering and sack him from his Government job immediately."

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:05 pm


Steve Bell. Guardian. 14 Dec. 2011.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:11 pm

Tit Tit meets Nik Nik


Steve Bell.


Steve Bell.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:42 pm


Steve Bell.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:15 am

Not, of course, that I'm particularly enthusiastic about the Labour opposition either:


JAS.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:18 pm


Murdoch slap 19 July: Appearing before the commons media select committee, Rupert Murdoch slaps the table and announces: “This is the humblest day of my life!” Photograph: Copyright Steve Bell 2011-All Rights Reserved.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:53 am


Ben Jennings on Cameron and National Health Service cuts.

Four out of five doctors say NHS cuts have affected patient care

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:23 am


Gary Barker.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:50 am

Happy New Year, Twoody.

Resolutions? Observations? Comments?

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:12 am


Gary Barker on the Con-Dem Coalition 2012.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:31 am

Labour – roll up your sleeves and demolish these disastrous howlers

This government is the most incompetent in living memory, yet the opposition is too busy navel-gazing to expose the facts

Polly Toynbee

guardian.co.uk, Friday 6 January 2012 20.32 GMT


The government's welfare reform bill risks creating 'a new homeless cadre' and putting half a million families into absolute poverty. Photograph: Mike Abrahams/Alamy

Yet another wasted week for Labour. Fractious whingers from the Back to the Future tendency call for Labour to mimic government policies, but out-nastying the Tories is an unlikely path to electoral success. Jim Murphy is the latest posturer, saying Labour should "avoid a populist approach" and earn economic credibility by conceding some cuts. Yes indeed, but he suggests only a modest £5bn defence cut in his own backyard. As Obama cuts $290bn from US defence, where is Murphy's challenge to Britain's excessive firepower, to Trident or empty aircraft carriers?

Labour misses one open goal after another against the most incompetent government in living memory. Lacking is both authentic indignation and forensic analysis to expose serial bungling. Instead, we get unhelpful navel-gazing in black, red and blue ideologies – or just plain shadow cabinet idleness.

Take this week's big miss by Liam Byrne, as the welfare reform bill is about to return to the Lords, causing long-term social harm. This week Byrne was gifted the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report, a hard-headed impact assessment of tax and benefit changes that found children hit hardest and non-working lone parents losing £2,000 a year. Half a million families with children under 5 will fall into absolute (not relative) poverty, despite all Cameron's mendacious "social mobility" cant.

Despite mistrust of benefit claimants, anyone ever likely to vote Labour would be shocked at this deliberate targeting of children – and even more shocked at most disabled children losing all their benefits. But what does Liam Byrne do? He witters about no return to the "something for something" culture, dog-whistling on scroungers, scoring another own goal. He didn't tell Paul Richards of Progress to brief the Mail on Sunday he was going to attack "the giant evil of benefits dependency" and "lifelong spongers" – but that briefing breathed the meaning of Byrne's more coded words.

Here's what he should be exposing: the Department for Work and Pensions is driving full-tilt towards two car crashes. If the new universal credit doesn't fall on its face it will defy all government experience – a huge computer system to weld HMRC to DWP systems, in real time, sensitive to any change in the entire population's family circumstance. Tax credits were simple by comparison. The government trusts Lord Freud's "agile technology", but he looks dangerously bedazzled by IT salesmen.

Universal credit is a reasonable idea, but modest in outcome compared with Iain Duncan Smith's extravagant claims: most claimants will lose 65p instead of 75p for every pound they earn – after losing £18bn in benefit cuts. It's wrongly paid to the main (male) earner, with no system for free school meals, prescriptions or childcare. So watch this space. IDS's other big idea, the Work Programme, is already in dire straits as contractors and charities can't get enough people into non-existent jobs – unless they cheat or demand lots more money. Watch this space too. Will Byrne be on the case – or away with the fairies devising unlikely ways for Labour to out-tough Tories?

Instead he should be exposing this bill with the facts, as the public hears none of the truth otherwise. If Labour isn't vocal and graphic in attack, how are voters to know? The bill risks putting 800,000 homes out of reach of people on housing benefit. Nor are they scroungers, as only one out of eight on housing benefit is unemployed. This is not just class-cleansing low earners out of high-rent Westminster, look at Wigan: its social housing organisation dreads this cut, expecting £4m rent arrears, causing evictions of cash-strapped tenants. "We'll have to cut repairs," says the chief executive, warning of a return to 1980s squalor, undoing Labour's "decent homes" improvements while creating a new homeless cadre.

The Lords rejected one clause: social tenants' housing benefit would be cut if they had a spare room, even if it was used by overnight carers or children on holiday from university. That was defeated by the admirable Lord Best, formerly of the Rowntree Foundation, but no thanks to Byrne, who didn't want Labour to support the amendment.

The bill caps benefits at the average income of £26,000, knocking out large families with high rents. An amendment from the bishops wants child benefit left out of the calculation, rescuing half those families.

How about this? The social fund for people in crisis is effectively abolished and so is council tax benefit: local authorities can choose not to provide these. Or this? "Won't pay" fathers will escape as penniless mothers must pay the state to chase up their maintenance. Or this? Driving the sick through medical checks run by non-medics is causing 40% wrong decisions and a long wait in the appeals backlog to have benefit restored. The IFS says the biggest cut is well hidden: as all benefits fall behind RPI inflation, they lose at least 10% a decade.

Labour is transfixed by dire polls showing voters see them as soft on welfare. Yet those softie Labour DWP secretaries, David Blunkett, John Hutton and James Purnell, kept tightening the screw. Labour cut unemployment benefit, cut fraud to its lowest ever at £1bn, and cut the number going on to incapacity. Labour left conditions for getting benefits among the EU's toughest, and benefits among the meanest. So if Labour plainly can't win a "who's nastiest" contest, it's time to change the terms of combat. On doorsteps, turn the subject to Labour's tax credits, popular with many of the families angry at others on benefits.

Attack is the best defence. Labour can win on these issues – if it has confidence in its own past success. Interesting but un-costed ideas for social insurance may help, but Labour will do best by revealing exactly what this government is doing. The benefits bill only soars because of unemployment, the price of the great Cameron/Osborne economic failure. Housing benefit soars because of a 30-year failure to build – confess to that. Be honest: large numbers of people's children will never afford housing, neither renting nor buying, without subsidy. As William Beveridge said, the state must pay either by building (good) or paying housing benefit to private landlords (wasteful).

All Byrne has done is to reinforce damaging welfare fallacies when the public needs facts. Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are among few in the shadow cabinet showing how to attack bad government policies. Instead of wasting time posturing about "whither Labour", shadow ministers should roll up their sleeves and demolish a plethora of similarly disastrous policies.

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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:31 pm

Steve Bell on Michael Gove's plans for the royal yacht

Michael Gove's plans for taxpayers to pay for a new royal yacht are holed below the waterline

The Guardian, Monday 16 January 2012


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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

Post  eddie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:37 pm

Steve Bell on David Cameron and Ed Miliband at prime minister's questions

The Guardian, Wednesday 18 January 2012




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Re: The UK Con-Dem Coalition government

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