Is anyone sitting here?

Edward Case
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To appoint a Chancellor of the Exchequer in the full knowledge that your guy is under investigation by the taxman shows that how by last summer, with the life expectancy of the position only slightly longer than that of a mayfly, the Tories weren’t exactly spoilt for choice.

A chancellor on HMRC’s radar for his own tax affairs is not a good look. The words “careless” and “error” to explain a seven-figure settlement including penalty are also not what one wants to hear from someone who was keeper of the nation’s purse, even if it was only for five minutes

I can use those word in relation to my taxes but not the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If he can’t deal with his own finances, how can we expect him to be able to look after the country’s?

Maybe instead of resorting to legal threats against the press he should have forked out a small portion of his considerable fortune on an accountant. Mine’s quite reasonable. I would have been happy to point him in the right direction if he had asked.

Pending a review by fixed penalty collector Rishi Rich’s ethics adviser (great job title that), on the face of it Nadhim Zahawi seems to have been upfront with his party at least about the fact that he was engaged in a dispute over the shares allocation for his business YouGov. But even the thickest of Westminster dimwits can’t have expected this not to make it into the public domain sooner rather than later so I suspect it was always a case of throwing Zahawi to the dogs once the inevitable happened, hence his present position as chairman of the party, the least visible of the senior positions to replace.

But the PM’s promises of integrity, professionalism and accountability (the three most potentially career ending commitments any politician can make) has been taking taking a battering with a new controversy and embarrassment arising almost daily.

If it’s supposed to distract attention from the growing number of strikes and the government’s determination to make a Thatcher-like point, it’s not working. Any smear on a senior Tory rubs off on Sunak so I very much doubt Zahawi will even last to the next PMQs.

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Of all the countries in Europe one would have expected Germany to be most clued into the importance of standing up to a bullying dictator. Now finally Berlin has approved the exporting of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and will send about 14 of the 200 or so they have themselves in storage.

Fourteen is nothing compared to the unused stock they have sitting idle but with other countries also chipping in at least it’s something.

No one has contributed more to the Russian war chest than Germany through their reliance on Russian gas so it’s about time they stopped faffing about.

Of course, the closer Putin comes to defeat, the more likely he will try to take desperate measures. One can only hope that someone in the Kremlin will take matters in hand and deal with him before then.

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The way things are going in the US, maybe the FBI should start searching through whatever belongings still exist from the estates of former presidents from Franklin D Roosevelt to Reagan. There could be anything in there from classified documents about aliens crashing in New Mexico to who really killed John F Kennedy.

Stupid TV quiz answers of the week

Tipping Point:

Q: Which UK political party has the same name as the collective noun for moles?

A: Liberal Democrats

Q: During World War Two, HMS Salmon was which kind of underwater transport?

A: Bowl

The Chase:

Q: What was the destination of the rabbits in the Richard Adams novel?

A: Paris

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Edward Case

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