Monday, May 18, 2009

The 2nd ISC report is out - and here's the questions they're unlikely to answer

Back in 2007, you may remember, there was a major terrorist trial into several men who had been under surveillance as they planned to make a huge fertiliser bomb and kill civilians in the UK - probably 'slags dancing around' in the Ministry of Sound and shoppers in Bluewater. 'Operation Crevice', it was called. It was a major police and security service success and well done to them for it.

The plotters were a bunch of UK Al Qaeda-inspired operatives, born and bred in the UK. They were not 'clean skins', they were known to the security service. They were filmed, photographed, bugged and followed in 2003 and 2004 as they talked about jihad, their fraudulent schemes to fund the mujahadeen and jihadis on the 'front line' fighting allied troops in Afhganistan, Kashmir and Pakistan. They shared a takfiri hatred of the 'filthy kaffr' - they believed, (just like the U.S President at the time), that 'either you were with us or against us' - either you were right, on God's side - or you were wrong. Those who were wrong, they agreed, deserved to die.

Some of them had already travelled to Pakistan in the years before their planned attack, to deliver money and equipment donated by other true believers, and some of them desired nothing more than to offer themselves up in the fight to free the world's suffering Muslims by putting their own bodies in the firing line

Some of them had trained together in a camp in the mountains of Malakand, on the Pakistan/ Afghanistan border, where they had trained with weapons and mixed explosives to recipes they had been taught in specialist camps. Later, some of them had stayed together in a house in Lahore, 13 Ilyas Street, where the neighbours had complained to the police of young English men, playing with explosives in the garden, careless, heedless, dangerous.

Some of them had been sent to Pakistan by a man known as ''Q''.
Q was known to the security services as early as 2003. Q was a member of al-Muhajiroun, a radical organisation dedicated to creating an Islamic Sharia State all over the world, by fighting if necessary, to free Muslims and make right the world under God.MSK met Q, the original target, with the main target, Omar Khyam. M15 watched this.

Most of these men were caught, and charged in April 2004; many of their friends were also caught later and charged with offences covering planned murder, mayhem, bombing, inciting hatred and other terrorist acts .

But Mohammed Siddique Khan, who moved amongst them, who knew them and loved them, and had been part of the network since 2003 or earlier, was never caught - and on 7/7/2005,with three accomplices, he went on to murder 52 people, and maim and injure 800 more. Even though he was filmed and photographed by UK security services, taped and followed with his terrorist friends in 2004, even though he had attended the same specialist terror ops camps with them in 2003, knew the same people, went to the same meetings, went in for the same criminal fraudulent behaviour, met the specialist detonator maker Momin Khwaljah who only came to the UK for a few short days, even though he should have been flagging code red , because he was behaving just like his friend, the UK security services main target -

- he was not stopped.

Ordinary, boring police work could probably have stopped him. M15 watch and wait, and evaluate; they cannot stop everyone they are interested in. But the would-be murderer Khan - if an ordinary copper had been tipped off by the security services about his GBP20k fraud, back in spring 2005, that might well have been enough to get in his face and disrupt him, stop him mixing the chemicals in his bathtub that tore apart so many lives in the summer of 2005. We'll never know.

In November 2004 he went back to Pakistan, after saying goodbye to his baby daughter. A few days after arrival in Pakistan he had been given new orders; along with his friend Mutkar Said Ibrahim, who attacked on 21/7/2005 using the same M.O and same recipe, a fortnight after Khan detonated a hydrogen peroxide organic compound based IED on the tube. Again, he too was not stopped.

Ibrahim's bomb failed to detonate: perhaps he had not been paying as much attention as his friends to the lessons that were given the UK jihadi class of 2003-2004 that last winter before they set off back to the UK to die.

There is much more I could tell you. There is not space nor time today.

At 8.30am today I will be locked in, with some of the other survivors and families impacted by 7/7, looking at the second Intelligence and Security Committee Report, which was commissioned in May 2007 after public outcry after a trial revealed what had been hidden; the links between the 7/7 bombers and a wider terror network. The families and survivors 7/7 Inquiry Campaign group that I am part of did not ask for this second report: we asked for an inquiry independent of Government and security services and police with the power to compel witnesses and cross examine them and make recommendations; we have asked for this for almost 4 years. This we were not given. We told the Home Secretary we did not think the ISC were equivalent to an inquiry. The ISC meet in secret. They do not have an independent investigator any more. They did not find out much about the 7/7 bombers in their first report, published in May 2006. Why, how could we trust them to go over it again, now that public outcry after public trials had found their first findings false?

In October 2007 we had a meeting with them. We asked if we could ask them questions.

When they said yes, we said we'd submit them in writing.

On the eve of the report's publication, for the first time - here they are.

I really hope they try to answer them this time, I can't understand why they didn't do it first time around.Briefing, briefing...they spin, we fight back.
The ISC's is having a press conference at 11.30am.Our press conference is at 3pm, 54 Doughty St Chambers. I've taken the day off work; this is going to be a long day.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

Noted during my limited surfing this week...

1. 'The police wanted a riot'. A depressing and frightening post from Liberal Conspiracy guest blogger John Q Publican

2.' British victim of Mumbai terror tells of official neglect back in the UK.
I raised this issue of people being victims of terrorism in countries other than their own at the UN Symposium on Victims of Terrorism; so did several other delegates. Terrorism is global. Civilians are attacked as proxies in order to to attack a State. When UK civilians are attacked by terrorists who wish to make a point to the UK, then we owe them all our sympathy and care. Terrorism is not covered by holiday insurance policies either. For God's sake, the treatment of this man is shameful. Sort it out and come up with a policy and a compensation/assistance fund. That this should break during the week of the expenses nest-feathering scandal is particularly disgusting.

Not that parliament is about to utterly collapse into a heap of stinking ordure; much very good work is still done there, and despite general appalling levels of cynicism, I have been impressed and encouraged by the good work of many of the M.Ps that I have met. There needs to be a forensic routing out of the bordering-on-criminal behaviour of some, and a cultural step-change, but it is stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater and if we lose all confidence in and respect for our parliament forever, then we have colluded in the trashing of our own imperfect but still precious democracy - and we may find it only gets worse in the long and short term. To show that not all is lost, here's a cheering example of recent feisty debate.

3. Andrew Mackinlay, Labour, Hansard, during last week's debate on the 2008 Intelligence and Security Committee report

'I will tell you what happens, Madam Deputy Speaker. During a Cabinet reshuffle, Ministers are called in, and the Prime Minister—Mr. Blair or the current one—says, “I am awfully sorry, but I need your job.” The Minister’s face falls. Human nature being what it is, there is great disappointment. I do not mean this in any nasty way, but there is an immediate reduction in salary and the loss of all the privileges that go with ministerial office. The Prime Minister says, “Look, don’t be so depressed.” The Minister says, “Why not? I’m losing my job.” The Prime Minister says, “Well, Porton Down has come up with a thing called Cabinet cryonics.” The Minister says, “What does that mean?” The Prime Minister says, “Well, basically, you take a slug of this and for about 14 months you go into a freezer—the chairmanship of the Security and Intelligence Committee.” “Then what happens?” “Then we give you this, you take it, and you emerge as the Minister of State for defence procurement”—or the Secretary of State for Wales, or the Minister for housing and construction. That is what happens, and it is very reassuring.'
Ouch. Heh. Hmmm. We shall see. The second ISC report into 7/7 is out on Tuesday 19th May. I have high hopes of it but they have been dashed before. More of which anon.

Present depressing circumstances notwithstanding, I do not want public-spirited individuals to be put off joining the police or from going into political life, and I don't suppose anyone else does either. If good people lose hope and start to despair, then all is lost. How much of this thuggery and skulduggery has always gone on is debatable: the difference now is digital. Hundreds of cameras and camera-phones, the Freedom of Information Act and a passionate journalist-campaigner, Heather Brooke, the unstoppable internet and 24 hour news channels scrutinising, commenting, roaring away, and those caught with their sticky hands on the raised baton, or in the taxpayer's pockets are caught out, lurching, blinking and flinching, as they start to realise that the world has changed.

When things move so fast, some will stumble and fall, some will feel sick but cling on and some will be exhilarated. One thing's for sure, we live in interesting times.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The courage to talk to the other side

Last year, I met the amazing Robi Damelin. Robi is in London on Friday and appearing at Regent's Park Mosque. If you can make this, I strongly urge you to go along, it's free and all are welcome .

The City Circle is pleased to support the following event this week.
Women Without Borders and SAVE (Sisters Against Violent Extremism) invite you to:
Speakers: Robi Damelin (Israel), Ali Abu Awwad (Palestine) plus film showing: Encounter Point
Venue: Regent's Park Mosque, 146 Park Road, London NW8 7RG (nearest tube: Baker St.)
Time/Date: 6-8pm, Friday 8th May 2009 insha'Allah (God-willing)
Robi Damelin and Ali Abu Awwad from the Parents' Circle - Families Forum, Bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families for Reconciliation and Peace represent the voices of civil society, who seek to strengthen the sense of belonging instead of seeking revenge in the face of a climate of fear and paranoia.

In this highly-charged and heavily-armed climate, they challenge the legitimacy of violence on both sides. They are determined to confront the enemies with constructive dialogue: to listen, negotiate, understand the often-deadly anger and despair.

Together, and with many others, Robi and Ali advocate peace and reconciliation and stand for hope in this long-lasting conflict of their two peoples.

Robi Damelin's son was killed by a Palestinian sniper while serving as a military reservist in Palestinian territories.

Ali Abu Awwad's brother was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint at the entrance to their village.

There will also be the showing of "Encounter Point," a documentary film that tells the story of an Israeli settler, a convicted Palestinian fighter, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian ex-prisoner who sacrificed their safety, public standing, communities and homes in order to press for a grassroots movement for peace between their two peoples.

This event is organised by Women Without Borders and SAVE (Sisters Against Violent Extremism), and supported by the City Circle, the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, and Radical Middle Way.


For information and registration, please contact

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Jonathan Myerson says Jacqui Smith can keep his DNA for as long as he likes. Daft article, great comments. Which is why I've linked it here.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Adventures in Watercolour

Adventures in Watercolour, which offers water colour painting tuition courses abroad and in the UK - for both beginners and more advanced students - has some course places available in 2009. Please view the attached flyer or click here for further information Should you know anyone who would like an interesting birthday present or who might like to join us, please do forward them this email. For easy booking, there is a printable booking form on the website.

With thanks and best wishes

Phillip and Anna McFadyen


Saturday, May 02, 2009

7/7 Conspiracy Theories: the TRUTH at last

UPDATE NOTE: the collection of conspiracy theories below is SATIRE. It has been posted because after three years of seeing utter rubbish disseminated on the internet through blogs, forums, home-made 'truth documentaries' and 'truth research', which are nothing more than paranoid speculation, I believe it is time to show this stuff up for what it really is. The sane, clear-eyed calls for a 7/7 inquiry are nothing to do with conspiracy theories that are posted and repeated endlessly on the internet, and passed around by people who have apparently little grasp of Occam's razor or logic or evidence-based research.

I have noticed that it is a frequent conspiracy theorist tactic to focus obsessively on any small anomaly - normal in archived coverage of rolling, multi-sourced news coverage of a major event under massive investigation, and to relentlessly ask endless questions, which seek to raise doubt on the 'official account'. Very rarely will the practised conspiracy theorist attempt to come up with a counter-narrative of their own; instead, the onus is always on 'The Powers that be' to disprove negatives, and respond to every rumour and question, no matter how evidence-free its orgin. This account represents a round-up of the main 7/7 consipracy theories and attempts to refute them, using logic, evidence and satire. If you are likely to be offended by the lies that are circulated about the 7th July murders - and many are - please don't read on. To those who have expressed interest in the 7/7 conspiracy theories without considering carefully their provenance, origin, agenda and basis in fact, I hope this makes you think twice before passing them on.

You may also want to look at this: 10 characteristics of conspiracy theorists.

SATIRE ALERT: This is a guest post from
Connor Spiracy and Thea Wrist

''After three years of 7/7 research on the internet, I can reveal the TRUTH, and I would like to share it with you all now. Everything in the following is taken from a real internet 7/7 research source available only on the internet. Placed together, I'm sure you will see what a compelling case it all makes - much more convincing than the official version. Hold tight - this will change your world...

A few years ago, wicked people agreed upon an evil scheme. In order to bolster their nefarious plans for

(a) introducing ID cards (b) endless war for oil (c) endless war against Islam

a dreadful 'false flag' plot was hatched by

(a) the UK government (b) a shadowy Bilderberg hyper-capitalist neocon cabal (c) the CIA (d)M15/6 (e) Israel (f) Jews, somewhere, (g) possibly an elite part-reptilian super-race.

They decided to attack London on 7th July and blame it on Islamist terrorist suicide bombers. (There are no such things as Islamist terrorist suicide bombers, especially not UK ones, who have wives and children and look normal.) The terrible plot went like this:

M15 placed bombs under the trains, which had been timed to explode. They worked with Israel to do this, Mossad probably, and maybe the CIA as well. The Israeli PM, who was staying near Russell Square, knew in advance and was warned, even though what actually happened was that after the Russell Square bomb went off, he was warned to stay in his room with his security detail, so missing the fourth bomb in Tavistock Square round the corner less than an hour later. A huge world-leading Israeli-owned security and surveillance company won the contract to put in enhanced security systems on the London Underground in September 2004, ten months before the bombings, so that proves everything. Oh, and a passenger who was in the same carriage as the bomb at Edgware, who remained with a dying woman then staggered out in shock said he 'couldn't remember' seeing where a bomb or a bag was. Which also proves it. Kind of.

But if you want a final piece of proof, one survivor also mentioned to a journalist outside the station shortly after fleeing the train, that they had seen tiles on the floor of the carriage fly up. This was because of the bomb which had been placed in a rucksack on the floor of the carriage in front. Erm, but it could also indicate a bomb under the carriage, although photographs of the train interior indicate the bomb was inside. As does eye-witness evidence from survivors who were in the carriage with the bomber. Including a man who stood opposite him and survived with terrrible injuries.

The bombers were innocent; they were however standing in the carriages and killed by the bombs in their rucksacks that they were carrying. But that wasn't their fault, because they were innocent 'patsies' who thought they were smuggling drugs or taking part in a mysterious terror training exercise. That was why they'd bought return tickets, even though a cheap day return is cheaper than a single. They'd even made videos describing why they considered themselves soldiers in a war against the UK. And been to terror training camps abroad and everything. They took their acting role very seriously indeed. But they were completely innocent, remember.

The person co-ordinating the mysterious terror exercise was Peter Power, an ex-Scotland Yard officer, who like many other former cops had set up his own company. His company specialises in training management to be crisis-prepared. So on July 7th, in a shocking and unimaginable coincidence, he was sitting in an office teaching some managers, in a publishing company that employed about a thousand people, how to plan for disasters, like he did every day.

At 9am, the start of the working day, he was asking the managers to consider what would happen if major tube stations were attacked at rush hour. I know. Amazing and frankly not believable - even though there had been a rush hour Al Qaeda attack on Madrid commuters, and a London tube attack was widely considered to be a likely terror target. As part of his training material, he used recordings of a Panorama programme simulating a terror attack on London. He'd been on the programme - God knows why the BBC would ask a respected security and risk expert onto a programme about terrorism and the risk to security, but there you go.

When the real attacks happened in London, where he was working that day along with hundreds of thousands of other people, he was shocked - but used the opportunity to mention the prescience of his security firm. A most untypical reaction of a self-employed risk consultant with an opportunity to talk about his company on national news, I'm sure you'll agree.

The poor not-bombers were killed, along with passengers on the tube trains. But one bomber remained alive. When he realised he was a dupe, he fled to Canary Wharf, where he knew there were lots of journalists in media organisations who would help him. That's what anyone would do in such a situation - hurry across the city to Canary Wharf.

When the young non-bomber arrived at Canary Wharf, he was promptlyshot in broad daylight by black-clad gunmen, in the full view of lots of towering office blocks full of journalists and business people. A much smarter idea than taking him into a van and bumping him off, eh?

His remains were then chopped up, taken back to the exploded bus and carefully scattered about to fool everyone.

The bus wasn't really exploded at all, however. It was full of actors and stuntmen, and used clever pyrotechnics to look like it was exploded. It was all part of Peter Power's mysterious terror drill.

But Peter Power didn't know the real reason why he had been asked to run a complicated terror drill complete with fake exploding bus for the benefit of a few managers in a publishing company who never left their office and were doing a planning exercise on powerpoint with videos in a different part of London.

The wicked plotters behind it all were using Power as a dupe, to add weight to their plot to blow up three trains and blame it all on Muslims. They were so evil that they actually wanted to be found out and send a coded message of their mocking disdain by doing the high-risk strategy of the shooting and faked bus explosion as well; to add insult to this they then cynically arranged for a red London bus with a lift-off roof full of dancers to appear at the Olympic handover to London ceremony.

Thousands of passers-by, police, emergency services workers have all kept quiet about all this, aided by a complicit media. M15 and their masters ruthlessly suppress the truth by allowing bloggers and internet truth campaigners to write about this and distribute DVDs and hold meetings about it regularly.

I realise when I write all this down it looks very silly, and that there is not a single shred of credible evidence to support any of it - which is why it is always better not to explain this is what happened, and instead just ask lots of questions and look at isolated details out of context whilst ignoring anything that contradicts the theory. But now you know that the official account is all lies and the ultimate proof is of course, that 9/11 Was An Inside Job.''

Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Because otherwise, you'd cry. Enough of this insulting, illogical, lazy, deceitful paranoid conspiracy crap flying round the internet, let's have an inquiry - to put this trust-corroding, intelligence-damaging nonsense to bed as much as to get at the truth.

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'A hole in the road means M15'

The Telegraph's Neil Tweedie and Duncan Gardham in a fascinating article on paranoia and suspicion in Beeston, where the three men whose trial ended this week, and three of their friends, the 7/7 /2005 suicide bombers hailed from.

CIF:'To understand 7/7 we need an official account'

It's good to see the issue of an independent inquiry into 7/7 getting support from across the board. On Newsnight, Keith Vaz seemed to be suggesting a Home Affairs Select Committee might consider looking at the matter. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have both come out in support of an inquiry, with, for example, Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling is known to support a judicial inquiry. The subject was the subject of debate on TALKSPORT radio last night. Jonathan Githens-Mazer is a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter, and is conducting research on political mobilisation amongst British Muslims. In today's Guardian Comment is Free, he writes

'All of this raises the question: is the lack of a public enquiry into 7/7 about the power to control policy agendas, being uncomfortable about the domestic effects of foreign policy, or both? The lack of an enquiry means it is impossible to challenge any government position, because no interpretation of the attacks can be supported in the absence of a full official account, and there is no official account to derive adapted policy responses.

But holding a public enquiry into 7/7 is more than about good governance: in the absence of a rigorous evidence based examination of 7/7, public debate and commentary always breaks down into ad nauseam political sectarianism and point-scoring – take your pick from it's the fault of a) religion, b) ideology, c) foreign policy, d) the intelligence services, e) psychological vulnerability, f) social factors, g) ethnic background etc. This means that we have little ability beyond the anecdotal to support or dismiss arguments such as that put forward recently on Comment is free by Tahir Abbas, that social forces can contribute to terrorist attacks. And this is more than an academic debate: for Muslim communities themselves, the lack of a public enquiry has served to fuel conspiracy theories, often variations on the themes of false evidence (for example, the invalidity of CCTV evidence of the 7/7 bombers at Luton railway station) and a hidden State hand (for example, a covert US or Israeli action).

So the lack of an enquiry on 7/7 cuts many ways. It means that we are no closer to a meaningful and demonstrable understanding of how and why this terrible incident happened, it prevents a publicly-sanctioned and audited learning process for counter-terrorist best practice, and it fuels conspiracy theories and ideological (often sectarian) accounts of why it happened because fact and knowledge are being replaced with guesswork, speculation and emotion'

UPDATE: from a CIF commenter - a much fuller transcript than I've seen before of MSK and Tanweer in conversation with their terrorist friend Omar Khyam. Worth reading and asking yourself, if I saw this, would I think these men talking to Khyam were worthy of identification, listing as terrorists and investigation? Or does it seem reasonable to belive that they were petty fraudsters only?


Friday, May 01, 2009

'This is about the coming of spring'

Sing along (warning: SWEARING, sorry Dad)


7/7 CCTV has been released

After a three year Freedom of Information battle, the Press Association has got hold of the CCTV referred to in the 2006 Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005, which slim 38-page publication, authored by an anonymous civil servant, along with the 45 page utterly discredited ISC report released on the same day three years ago is all the government has so far produced to explain what happened and how it occurred.

The Information Commissioner wrote in his judgement

57. The 7 July 2005 attacks have been the subject of conspiracy theories and the official account of the attacks has also been questioned in other ways. Such questioning of what have been presented as the facts of the events of 7 July 2005 established through the investigation carried out by the public authority, is not in the public interest. Further this is more likely to occur in a situation where there is a perceived lack of transparency about how the official account was formed. That disclosure would presumably support the official account of the time line and basic facts of the attacks and reduce any perceived lack of transparency about how this account was formed, along with removing any suspicion of ‘spin’ or ‘cover up’, is a valid public interest factor in favour of disclosure.

You can read the full judgement here. The police finally got around to releasing it at going-home-time on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend, but at least it's out; whether it will stop the wild conspiracy theories I don't know, I think the horse has well and truly bolted on that one, with all the attendant damage done.

I keep thinking that I should get round to doing a post going through all the conspiracy theories
(such as 'there is no CCTV of the bombers in London - doh!) and explaining they are wrong, but it will only attract all the nutters to my blog, and what's the point?

Some of the footage and stills can be seen here, on the Mail website. The footage shows

0454 Shehzad Tanweer at Woodall Services on the M1, buying snacks, arguing over his change and looking straight at the camera;

0507 Jermaine Lindsay arriving at Luton railway station, waiting for 90 minutes and examining departure board;

0649 All four bombers putting on 'large and full' rucksacks outside Luton station;

0826 All four bombers at King's Cross, hugging on the concourse close to the Thameslink platform, heading towards the Underground;

0855 Hussain walking out of King's Cross on to Euston Road, demeanour appearing 'relaxed' and trying to make a call on mobile phone;

0900 Hussain back in King's Cross, walking through Boots into WH Smith on station concourse, and buying a 9-volt battery;

0906 Hussain going into McDonald's on Euston Road, leaving 10 minutes later.

You can see the links at

I don't know how long they will be up there. I wonder if any of the wack-jobs who have ranted on for three years about how 'there is no CCTV and 7/7 was an inside job' will apologise and admit they were wrong? I'm not holding my breath.

Sean O'Neill, Crime and Security Editor for the Times has a piece out today about the families wait for inquests and the continuing delay in publication of the ISC report which we are waiting for, and have paused our judicial review proceedings into the legality of the government's refusal to have an independent inquiry into the mass-murder of 52 people. It's also covered in the Guardian

He has also put up some thoughts on his excellent new crime blog. 'Time for the Whitehall foot-dragging to stop' Further stories will no doubt follow in due course.

It's been a hellishly busy week, juggling all the media stuff and my day job, and I have been helped magnificently by Oury Clark Solicitors, who have not only been acting for the 7/7 Inquiry campaign group pro bono, but have been also sending out press releases and spending hours on the phone helping, and thanks also to the wonderful Graham, Rob, Janine, Jacqui, and all the other members of the 7/7 Inquiry Campaign Group who have been talking to the media as well and putting across the message and lending support. To everyone who has emailed me and not had a reply yet, big apologies - I'll be catching up over the weekend.

Here is a selection of news coverage of the week's events where we got our message across
The Standard
The BBC ( whole section of website)
The Guardian ( front page). Whole section here
The Times (front page)
The Times - 7/7 could have been prevented
The Herald - Inquiry Needed. More here
The Scotsman
The Standard
The Mail
The Express
The Financial Times
The Independent and comment piece by Rob
The Telegraph
There's lots more if you go and look on Google news

Thank God I've got three days off - I've worked through the last 15 days straight on all the campaigning stuff. This weekend I WILL get out and look for wild bluebells and I WILL have an early night.

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