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  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

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A holiday for hardworking people

Some (not us at PoliticsHome, of course) would say that a holiday with your boss looks less like a prize, more like workplace bullying.

Grant Shapps, however, thinks differently.

He of the “reshuffle for hardworking families” has thought of an even better way of rewarding loyal Tories for their support than seeing their favourite MPs shifted around the junior ministerial ranks.

In a Times interview about his “road trip” campaign to get youthful Conservatives (for, yes, they do exist) out on the doorstep, Shapps delivered an insight into what motivates a young person to vote Conservative.

“We have team captains, T-shirts, road trips, conference calls with ministers. I always tell the Prime Minister the top prize for our No 1 worker is going on holiday with Sam and Dave to Ibiza next summer. He thinks I’m joking... I am actually slightly joking but I do tell the Prime Minister with a straight face.”

While you're imagining some of the glorious gifts under the Shapps Christmas tree, Dot has come up with a few ideas to help out other politicians struggling with their next volunteer raffle:

  • Pints with William Hague (minimum of 14).
  • A night of pizza and legislating with Ed Miliband and Hacked Off.
  • A mathematics course with Nigel Farage.
  • Joining Caroline Flint as she wages war on under-heated buildings.
  • A trip badger culling with Owen Paterson.
  • A hike with Danny Alexander.
  • A night out clubbing with Chuka Umunna.

Blunt by name...

 

An open letter from a prominent musician to a prominent politician. What could possibly go wrong?

It all started off so civilly, as James Blunt opened his letter to the Labour frontbencher who had used him as an example of the prevalence of people from privileged backgrounds in the arts world: “Dear Chris Bryant MP”.

Alas, it was downhill from there.

“You classist gimp,” is the second clause, which gives a good steer on the content of the rest of the letter.  

He continues: “You come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it, and that we must redress the balance. But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.”

After labelling Bryant a “prejudiced wazzock” Blunt signs off:

“Up yours,

“James Cucking Funt”

Dermot vs Chuka

Chuka Umunna has just had a fairly bruising interview with Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News.

The Shadow Business Secretary was brought on to discuss David Cameron's push for full employment today, but things took a turn for the worse when Murnaghan switched to discuss Eric Pickles' controversial letter to Muslim leaders. Umunna began by saying he had yet to read the letter, which didn't exactly get things off to a good start...

"Well what are you doing in politics?" Murnaghan asked. "Come on, everyone's talking about it. It's the middle of the afternoon and you still haven't read this?" (To be fair, it wasn't even 1pm...)

"Well, with the greatest of respect Dermot, I wasn't told that you were going to ask me about this," Umunna replied.

There then followed a testy back-and-forth that ended with a classic outro that deserves to be shared in full.

Dermot: Do you want to come back on in half an hour's time? I mean it doesn't take long to read the letter and then we'll have this discussion: patronising or reasonable?

Chuka: Dermot, I think you're being a bit ridiculous right now and your viewers can form their own views. I was asked to come and speak about David Cameron's speech on the economy and what was happening around the labour market. Nobody told me that I was going to come onto this programme and be sked to agree whether I thought the Government was patronising Muslim people and Muslim leaders. I'm not just going to speak off-piste without actually having read a letter. I don't think you're being terribly fair. Your viewers can make their own mind up.

Dermot: So you're not going to speak until you get the party line right? Okay. Well we've have to end it there. Shadow Business Secretary thank you very much.

Here's a handy Vine to give you some idea of how everyone ended up feeling.


Vote for your favourite feline friend to be the next Purr Minister

If the Queen purred when David Cameron told her the result of the Scottish referendum, one only can imagine her meow when she finds out Westminster’s cat of the year.

There are no safe litterboxes in the battle to become Purr Minister in this year’s Battersea Dogs & Cats Home competition to find Westminster’s top cat.

Feline friends of Parliament can vote for their favourite Westminster cat from a shortlist of animals owned by MPs Stephen Hammond, Simon Kirby, Caroline Spelman, Mark Spencer, Graeme Morrice and Annette Brooke.

The top cats will be scratching their claws and smoothing their fur in preparation for the Leaders’ Furbates, which have been endorsed by felines of all political parties.

Judge them not on their actions but their Manifursto, which will spell out their purr-omises for the future.

The 2015 Purr Minister will be announced on the 28 January

A place in the country

William Hague must have a few quid stashed away somewhere - he's splashing out on a £2.5m mansion to retire to.

Cyfronydd Hall in Powys, mid-Wales, will be William and his wife Ffion's main home - but they're planning on keeping a place in native Yorkshire to be close to friends when they need to be.

The stately home has 10-bedrooms, 10-bathrooms and comes with a 13 acre country estate.

“We have had our eyes on Cyfronydd Hall for some time," the couple said.

No word on Mr Hague's views on Labour's plan for a mansion tax...