Westminster Times

So much for binning all the "green crap". Apparently David Cameron is amongst the greenest in the cabinet after all, as revealed during question time exchanges with Ed Miliband.

The Labour leader used his PMQs session to raise the issue of the floods and, specifically, man made climate change. He was on to a win-win when he asked the prime minister what he thought about climate change.

But the response took even Miliband by surprise: "Man made climate change is one of the most serious threats the country and the world faces," said the prime minister.

Exactly what this means for climate change sceptics (or deniers as Labour would have it) such as the environment secretary Owen Paterson, and energy minister Michael Fallon remains to be seen.

But it does appear strange, to say the least, that a government that believes man made climate change is not only real but also a major threat to the planet should have sceptics in two of the jobs most related to the climate and ways of dealing with carbon emissions.

Does this mean we will see Cameron hugging a husky again soon?

Poll tax riots helped bring down Thatcher
Community Charge - or 'poll tax' - riots in 1990 helped bring down Margaret Thatcher

All in the name

Remember the community charge introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1989?

Probably not, because everyone called it the poll tax. Thatcher hated the name because of its connotations and any minister who accidentally used it would be given a robust handbagging.

Now we have the "spare room subsidy" as the government insists on calling it, or the "bedroom tax" as everyone else calls it.

A compromise has apparently been found for official Westminster communications and it is now known as the "social sector size criteria". An exercise in clarity and brevity that could only happen in the mother of parliaments.


David Cameron recently made reference to his Scottish heritage when expressing his commitment to retaining the union and opposing independence.

He pointed out his clan name meant "crooked nose" and its motto was "let us unite".

What he didn't say was that he may also be distantly related to the MacDuffs, made famous by Shakespeare in Macbeth and who were in the lead of the brutal and bloody battle for Scottish independence in the 14th century.

Macbeth is one of the bard's darkest and most compelling tales and, as explained by GCSE notes is a: "bloodthirsty tale of ambition, and the evils we will go to in order to get what we want."

Remind you of anything?

House Of Lords Backs Same-Sex Marriage
House of Lords heard call for equality

Peers equality

Reform of the House of Lords has stalled and, it seems, attempts to bring in some sex equality are also doomed to failure.

Baroness Deech has suggested that the current rules that bestow the title of "lady" onto the wives of knights and lords is discriminatory and should be extended to the husbands of women made dames or peers.

"Equality has to start in this House," she said.

Yes, she really did say that – equality should start in the House of unelected peers and bishops.

National insurance

Much excitement from some sections of the Tory party over signs the government rather likes the idea of re-naming National Insurance as the Earnings Tax.

The Taxpayers' Alliance have also welcomed the suggestion, originating from Tory MP Ben Gummer, as a first step towards abolition of NI which was originally created to pay for things like the health service but has not served that specific purpose for decades.

Supporters think the whole out-of-date system should be scrapped and simply added into income tax to simplify to tax regime.

But one question goes unanswered – what happens to the employers' NI contribution? Would that also be abolished, saving bosses millions a year and depriving the Treasury of a source of income?