Run Obama Run
Over on the Caucas there is an article about Obama visiting New Hampsire for those of you new to US politics going to New Hampshire is like saying I want to be President because it's where they have the first primary election to decide who is the candidate. I just thought this was a good bit from the comments that I wanted to reproduce here
"Another fellow from Illinois once ran for president. He served for 8 years in the Illinois legislature. Obama served for 7. He served for 2 years in the Congress. By 2008, Obama will have served for 4. Like Obama, this other fellow had no other government experience; his name was Abraham Lincoln. "
Eagles and Geezers Yesterday I was one of the millions who was watching BBC Parliament. The bit I caught was the adjournment debate at the end of the day. This was called by Angela Eagle who wanted to make a contribution on incapacity benefit and barriers people on IB face getting into work again. I thought it was an excellent analysis free of the tabloid benefit scrounger label which at the very least is unhelpful. There was also a bit about cognitive behaviour therapy which I think should be more widely provided by the state not just for people on IB but also more widely as happiness is undervalued especially compared with economic progress. Cognitive behaviour therepy is also cost effective as while it is a relatively cheap it also enables people to be members of the labour market which saves a fortune.
Also there are pleanty of comparative academic studies to show that after we reach a certain level of income, around 13k I think, our happiness is not that linked to how much money we earn. This should be having a bigger impact on politics than it is at the moment and offers much inspiration for progressives that our values are the right ones rather than a narrow conservative economic determinism.
Anyway the debate was certainly one of the better one's so check it out at hansard here.
Also yesterday just up the road from BBC Broadcasting house I think I saw Sion Simon, he of the sleeping with Cameron's Mrs video. He was wearing a dodgy looking black trackie and rucksack. I was tempted to go up and say are you Sion Simon? But he past in a second and that is not really the kind of thing you want to get into the habit of asking dodgy looking geezers.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Sense on energy
At last a politician who talks sense on energy. We need to bring this debate over to the UK. Clearly Obama is a coming man in US politics though it's not for me to say what role he will play in '08. That is down to the great people of the US, its just that he gives me a feeling that can be summed up in one word Westwing. Personally I think the world would benefit from a USA that is a bit more Westwing and a bit less war mongering.
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Thank God for Richard Dawkins While I respect there has to be a space for academic debate I am alarmed at the spread of religious mumbo jumbo into childrens science lessons. Progress does tend to two steps forward one step back. So i'm rather glad this has been set up.
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Friday, November 24, 2006
We've converted the Tories!!!
I remember when the Conservatives were claiming that a minimum wage would cost 250,000 jobs and now it seems that the minimum wage is helping to create employment at conservative central office but the question is now can a real tory live on then minimim wage?
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Thursday, November 23, 2006
This is the best repeatable gossip that wont get me sued that I gleaned over a long lunch.
Friend "Do you want to see Margaret Hodge deselected?"
Lest we forget
The 22nd of November was also the day that Thatcher lost power. In the unlikely event that I ever get to run the country I think there would be a strong case for an extra public holiday: Thatcher Liberation day. Was also on 18 doughty street last night but that deserves a proper post of it's own though I would like as this is my second bit of telly in a week that I am not a media whore, I don't charge so media slut would be more appropiate ;-)
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Today is the 43rd anniversary of the assissination of President Kennedy. Newsnight did a piece on the murder of his brother earlier in the week you can catch it here
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Good news! The Mail on Sunday has been made to pay out for some bogus reporting and even better the payout has gone to fellow Labourite blogger Phil Dilks.
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Toynbee not Churchill my arseThis nearly had me choking on my cornflakes. Considering that Polly Toynbee is somewhat to the left of the more Blairite elements in the Labour Government and my own political views are not quite but nearly a wholly owned subsidiary of her Guardian columns I find it incredible that the Conservatives are trying to claim her as their own.
The best thing for the country would be if they actually signed up to what she was arguing for but I fear this is not a genuine conversion. Liked the lapsed religious discovering god in order to get there child into a decent school only never to return to the pews once the acceptance letter lands on the door mat. This is cynical political positioning of the lowest order and deserves to be exposed as the ridiculous claptrap it is.
The problem with compassionate conservativism is that it very quicklt loses the compassion and concentrates on the conservatism. It was a strategy that was followed by GWB in the states and they are trying to engineer a British version to regain power at any cost.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Lend me your ears
The West Wing has to be one very serious contender for best drama series ever and is certainly my top choice. Anyway Bradley Whitford who plays deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman in the show did great graduation speech to the University of Wisconsin. You can check the full text here but here is a top snippet.
The good news is that if you keep at it long enough and you actually get to make a living at this glorified high school extracurricular activity, you not only get a little better at it -- given enough chances, even a chimpanzee may type a dictionary -- but you begin to see that the process of acting has the potential to show us a little bit about how we might act a little better in our real lives. It comes down to about six basic principles. I call them "Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned on My Way to a Humiliating Audition," and they go like this:
Number One: Fall in love with the process and the results will follow. You've got to want to act more than you want to be an actor. You've got to want to do whatever you want to do more than you want to be whatever you want to be, want to write more than you want to be a writer, want to heal more than you want to be a doctor, want to teach more than you want to be a teacher, want to serve more than you want to be a politician. Life is too challenging for external rewards to sustain us. The joy is in the journey.
Number Two: Very obvious - do your work. When faced with the terror of an opening night on Broadway, you can either dissolve in a puddle of fear or you can get yourself ready. Drown out your inevitable self-doubt with the work that needs to be done. Find joy in the process of preparation.
Number Three: Once you're prepared, throw your preparation in the trash. The most interesting acting and the most interesting living in this world has the element of surprise and of genuine, honest discovery. Be open to that. You've all spent the majority of your lives in school, where your work is assigned to you and you're supposed to please your teachers.
The pressure to get into wonderful institutions like this is threatening to create a generation of what I call hiney-kissing requirement-fulfillers. You are all so much more than that. You've reached the wonderful and terrifying moment where you must be your own guide. Listen to the whispers inside you. We have a lot of problems in this world and we're going to need you to think outside the box.
Number Four: You are capable of more than you think. If you've ever smashed a mosquito on your arm, there is a murderous Richard III inside you. If you've ever caught your breath at the sight of someone dipping their toes into Lake Mendota in the late afternoon sun over at the Union, you, too, have Romeo's fluttering heart.
Now, I'm not advocating that you all go out and bleach your hair so that you can play the jerk in a really stupid Adam Sandler movie. I don't know what kind of an idiot would think that is a worthwhile way to spend their life. But don't limit yourselves. Take it from the professional extrovert - the most gregarious among us are far more insecure than we would ever admit. We all go through life bristling at our external limitations, but the most difficult chains to break are inside us.
One of the few graduation speakers who will never be forgotten, Nelson Mandela, put it this way:
"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world."
Let's just take a moment to hope that Nelson Mandela and Adam Sandler never again share a paragraph.
Number Five: Listen. It is the most difficult thing an actor can do and it is the most riveting. You can't afford to spend your life like a bad actor stumbling through a predetermined performance that is oblivious to the world around you. We can't afford it either. Listening isn't passive. It is an act of liberation that will connect you to the world with compassion and be your best guide as you navigate the choppy waters of love, work and citizenship.
And finally, Number Six: Take action. Every story you've ever connected with, every leader you've ever admired, every puny little thing that you've ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of your days, you will be judged by your gallop, not by your stumble.
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Monday, November 20, 2006
Going to be a TV Star !
Well that's exaggerating a bit but i'm going to be on TV tonight. What BBC 1? No. BBC 2? No. 18 Doughty St? No.
So what channel are you going be appearing on? Channel S Sky Number 814
On a programme called Neither Extreme. The topic of next programme is US Election : The Result of the war!! Which will be live on 20th of November’06 from 08:30
Apparently "We will try to discuss the recent result of the US Election and the message for the supporters of the war!!" Apparently it is being broadcast to 150 million people. Who needs Newsnight.
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Friday, November 17, 2006
**** Peter Wheeler Interview ****
Peter Wheeler is a constituency member of Labour's national executive committee and all round Labour party legend so I thought I would ask him for an interview and here it is.
1) I’m Labour because…?
I hate injustice and unfairness - I want to see a fairer better Britain and world. I want to see everyone given a fair chance to have a happy life. We all have a duty to work to achieve this. Its not easy - probably no-one agrees with EVERYTHING a Labour Government or Council does (or doesn’t). However, there's an awful lot our Government and local Council do that I'm extremely proud of - and I know it wouldn't have happened without the likes of us - the ordinary members of the party.
2) As a proud Salfordian please explain the virtues of the place to the readers of this blog some of whom hail from strange parts of the world like the south of England and how long do you think David Cameron would last going around Salford on a Saturday night hugging hoodies?
Whisper it quietly but I was actually born in the Salford suburb of Manchester (Miles Platting actually). I grew up around Salford Docks and in the area called "Hanky Park" in "Love On the Dole". The thing about Salford is - most people who come from here are proud of the fact and its like family - we can criticise it but we get very testy when people who don't know it do.It's a very democratic place - if you're genuine you're alright but Salford people have no time for bull**** or pompousness. Its got its problems - we know that - but the Government and Council are working hard to tackle them - crime, schools, jobs, housing - and have made a real difference.Joseph Holts beer at £1.58 a pint is a big plus as well. Cameron would last about 17 seconds in Salford on a Saturday night but it wouldn't be hoodies that would be his problem - it would be the ordinary Salfordians fed up with the likes of him commenting on our problems from the rolling acres of rural Oxfordshire.
3) What are the implications for the party of its debts?
It's going to force the party back into the arms of our traditional strengths - the ordinary members and the Trade Unions.Its' going to mean we have to campaign in different ways - more doorstep work - less billboard advertising. And it means its up to all of us to more actively recruit members, raise funds and attract support.
4) You’ve had more years of experience in the Labour Party than some people have had hot dinners. What have you learnt? What experience would you like to pass on to future generations?
Just being in the party a long time doesn't necessarily give you wisdom - you have to continually be prepared to learn and admit you can be wrong. For what its worth:
1) most people in the party are good people - even if we don't always agree on politics 2) you should always try to be helpful if you can - it costs nothing to be nice 3) never make an unnecessary enemy - but stick to your guns when you think you are right 4) if something's worth having - you usually have to work hard to get it 5) what goes round comes round 6) look after the young members 7) its meant to be enjoyable
5) I noticed that Rochdale is an open short list and I’m sure that Rochdale CLP would appreciate your unique Lib Dem bashing qualities. So is there any truth in the rumour that you’re going for selection in Rochdale? Go on say yes.
It would be an honour to be the Labour candidate for Rochdale. It’s a great place with a proud history and should be a safe Labour seat - the people of Rochdale deserve a Labour M.P. It's crucial however that we win the seat and in my opinion the candidate best placed to do that is Afzal Khan. He's got a great campaigning track record - particularly in beating the Liberal Democrats. Crucially, he'll be able to attract both the Muslim vote and support from the rest of the community. I'm proud of the fact that he's backed by my Union, Amicus and it will be a great day for the Labour movement in the North West when Afzal is elected as our first Muslim Labour M.P.
6) How do you want to improve the experience of membership for ordinary party members?
This is the big question. Labour is a volunteer party - the individual members and supporters are the rock on which everything else rests. I think members want to: 1) have their views listened to and treated with respect - to contribute to making policy 2) discuss politics- we're all interested that's why we join 3) do politics - campaigning, recruiting, arguing for Labour The structures we have need to encourage that - and its up to us as members to ensure that happens so:
- more meaningful discussion that politicians take into account - involve members in the campaigns that matter to the party - we can't complain that they're not getting involved if we don't tell them - engage the members at every level - socials that people actually enjoy, campaigns where people are made to feel welcome - keep reaching out to new members and then make sure that they survive their first year!
7) Who are you supporting in the deputy leadership election? Would it happen to be someone small, ginger and female whose surname begins with the same letter as the great Mr Tony’s? And does she have the good sense to have you as her campaign manager?
As they say "there's no vacancy yet" and I hope next year's internal elections don't dominate all party discussion for the next 10 months or so.That said - when there is a vacancy - there really will be a good field of candidates to choose from and an opportunity for the party to really discuss how to move forward. If Hazel does stand she'd be an excellent candidate and if elected would be a real asset to the party in electoral terms. We need to ensure we maintain the support of women we have built up over the past elections and re-invigorate our support in the traditional Labour areas. Hazel Blears knows how to do both.
8) My greatest ever election experience was….?
1997 aside it was probably the Council election of 1989 in Castle Hill ward Ipswich. A ward which had previously always been Tory and 99% white elected Dali Jabbar - a railwayman and Zaroastrian originally from East Africa. The Tories felt confident they'd hold this ward because "a black candidate couldn't win Castle Hill." Didn't we prove them wrong! In those days in Ipswich we were electing black and Asian candidates long before more "right-on" areas.Getting a 3.5% swing to Labour in Ipswich in 1979 was also an experience which takes some beating.
9) Which is the Labour MP I would most like to do karaoke with and what would be the song?
It would be an honour to do one with Dennis Skinner and it would have to be Frank Sinatra's "My Way! If Dennis was too busy, it would have to be Labour's best constituency MP - Siobhain McDonagh from Mitcham and Moreden. Knowing Siobhain it would be "I left my heart in Colliers Wood!"
10) What’s going on with the super merger of Amicus and the T&G?
Quite simply - the leadership of the two Unions have agreed an initial rule book. We anticipate a ballot of all members on the proposals early next year with the "Vesting day" being 1st May 2007. There'll be an awful lot of bedding down but by 2012 we should have one united Union of over 2 million members - and that will be a great step forward for the Trade Union movement - and bad news for bad employers throughout the country.
11) How do you view the rise of the career politician? Could it be leading to an increase in the separation of the lives of those who govern and the rest of us?
We need all types of people representing us - but they have to have a close relationship with the people they represent.
The nature of the job has certainly changed - the days of MPs visiting their constituency twice a year are definitely over - thank God! Society is increasingly diverse and MPs reflect that but the only requirement we need to put up is that they work hard on behalf of the people they represent and the party nationally works to ensure that they are representative of our people - by gender, race and class and then its about them delivering the policies that make the country a better place for all its citizens.
12) The way I see it the world would be much better if …?
1) Next week's lottery numbers were 2,14,15, 25, 48 and 49.2) There was a ban on men being taller than 5'5"3)There were less Tories in it4) Manchester City won the Premiership.The first three should be doable!
Tory TV in first broken promise....
18 Doughty Street when it was set up stressed that it wasn't going to be Tory TV. Yet when I am watching a bit of it at the mo covering the Mid Terms. There is Iain Dale Tory A lister, the guy who used to carry Jeffrey Archer's bags, 2 Tory MP's, the Editor of Conservative Home, and two other guys both of whom seem pretty Tory to me. So all men, all white, all tory fine if you like that kind of thing but don't give us the BS about balance unless they give me a show of course ;-)
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Britney's Split So Britney's getting a divorce. It turns out that Kevin wasn't Born To Make You Happy. Perhaps he thought I’m A Slave 4 U and wanted out. You said to him Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know what's going on in his head. You even tried to give it another go Baby One More Time. Still you found out that you Can’t Make You Love Me. So just think to yourself Britney Someday (I Will Understand)
Be there or be square
a couple of events that I think should be given a plug
Manchester University Labour Club is having a Labour Students in the Community day this Saturday the 11th alas I have got an essay deadline that I need to attend to as much as I would love to spend time with the fantastic bloggers of Manchester Labour Club. Don't want to get another 2:2 so better had do some work. Anyway it's good that there is also in Manchester the Burnage fundraiser on 9th December. I really want to get along to this so if there is any camaigning going on in Manchester or relative close bits that weekend I would be interested.
Also there is the Compass Youth launch event to debate exemptions in the Minimum Wage. On Monday 20 November at 6.30pm in the House of Commons Compass Youth will be launched with a major debate on the youth exemptions in the minimum wage. Speakers include NUS President Gemma Tumelty, the TUC's Raj Jethwa, Unison's Deborah Littman, The Work Foundation's David Coats and Brent South MP Dawn Butler. To come along to the launch event please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Compass go to www.compassonline.org.uk
There's a first time for everythingAntonia reckons "for the first time, I reckon this election will be one where it’s better to be sat in front of a computer than trying to stay up-to-date on telly."
Me to and I reckon this is a big change in how we view elections cartainly those from the US but I think it will be a while yet before the BBC swingometer loses it's centrality to the British General Election.
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Mid term bet
The one thing that can be certain is that it will be a long night. I don't think I'm going to stay up till 4am but will stretch past midnight at least.
I think that the Democrats will regain the House but I can't see the numbers for regaining the Senate as much as I would like that to be the case. If the Dems can't regain the House they might as well pack up and go home, given we are in the second term of an unpopular presidency, fighting an unpopular war.
But politics has a pretty strong track record of turning up unusual votes. I was one of the very few non welsh people to watch the Welsh referendum on devolution and I thought it was lost until the very last declaration. So the moral of the story is kids it aint over til it's over capische.
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Join Labour: change the future
The BBC is reporting a change in Labour party rules so that any Labour member including one's that have just signed up will have a chance to join in the forthcoming leadership contest. I think this is a really good idea as it will encourage membership, particularly from the Labour Supporter Network. So I hope the party grabs the opportunity to actually gain some members.
Over the period from when the party stepped back from the Bennite brink in the mid 80's the policy process has become more centralised. I think it is only fair that if the membership has relatively little say over policy then I think it is really important to retain the right to be able to select the leadership that decides the policy. This should be true for the 2 leadership elections and the various parliamentary, regional and local selections as well.
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Have I got news for you
I pains me to do it but I feel that I have to defend a Liberal Democrat and Charles Kennedy at that. HIGNFY did a gag last night it was along the lines of Charles Kennedy was at an AA meeting and his son was outside que picture of a small child drinking a class of beer. I thought that was a bit off. Fine attack Charles Kennedy but leave the kid out of it.
It would be wrong to think that HIGNFY has any right to be santimonious on addiction. Afterall they could have been but strangely weren't exactly lining up to mention Angus Deayton and then a pick of a kid snorting coke and shagging a prostitute
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Monday, November 06, 2006
Cameron's Bullingdon Benders?We all know that David Cameron is as posh as posh can be. Related to the Queen, Eton, conservative how much more posh can you get. This is despite his efforts to be in the words of Jarvis Cocker one of the "Common People" I was having a look on his Wikipedia entry and it turns out that he was a member of the Bullingdon Club, which is a dinning club for the super rich super posh oxford undergrads.
So what I hear you say. Well far being it from me to stop young aristos having dinner together but if you aspire to lead the country, if you want to protect the common people from crime what was the purpose of being a member of a society that according to the torygraph goes around trashing restrauants and then paying your way out of it. I suppose if they had been plebs his view would be that they should be locked up or at the very least been given an extra big hug but do it and your and aristo that's just student japery. And gives him something to talk about with all the other old etonians he has working for him.
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Half new Tory MP's defy Cameron and other gems
I have chanced upon an interesting website Revolts.co.uk. It is “The definitive source for academic analysis of backbench behaviour in Britain“ and as such has some seriously interesting nuggets of information that would benefit from a wider audience.
30 of the 53 Conservative MPs first elected in 2005 (57 per cent) have now defied the party line since the last election. Of these 30, all except one have rebelled against the frontbench line since David Cameron was first elected leader of the Conservative party on 6 December last year. Put another way, well over half of the new intake of Tory MPs – 55 per cent to be exact - have already defied David Cameron’s leadership.
Tommy McAvoy has been in the Government whips office since this government began in 1997. In July he broke the record as the longest serving post-war whip, and on 26 August he broke the record held by David Margesson – once described as ‘the total whip’ – as the longest continuously serving Government whip on record.
Last Tuesday (10 October) saw two large(ish) Tory backbench rebellions after the Second Reading debate on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill. Although the Second Reading vote passed without a division, 25 Conservatives opposed the Bill’s programme motion, as the Conservative frontbench chose to abstain. Then, immediately afterwards, 21 Tory backbenchers opposed the carry-over motion, again with the frontbench abstaining. Under the current law, corporate manslaughter prosecutions can only proceed if gross negligence can be proved against individual senior managers. The bill aims to broaden the offence of corporate manslaughter to cover collective failings or gross negligence in a company beyond merely senior managers.
MPs voted on a series of reforms to the legislative process and to members’ allowances including a new consituency mail out entitlement. Many of the changes were passed without any discussion (or even mention) at all outside the House, including the wider use of the Special Standing Committee procedure for the consideration of Government bills, a reform which could do more to improve the quality of parliamentary scrutiny of bills than any other reform in the last twenty years.
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Room for a pony
If houses like this are being built again have we gone to far down the road to social inequality?
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Media Bias on Terrorism
This is an excellent article by Jon Cruddas's campaign manager in the fine magazine Searchlight. It says a lot about the priorities of the media and the methods of the fascists.
White terrorism fails to make the news
The facts should speak for themselves. Two men were arrested last month with an array of bomb-making components and weapons. A rocket launcher was found, though some reports indicate more than one, as was a biological suit and chemicals that could be used to make bombs.
Surely this warranted front-page news?
Actually no. In fact, not a single national newspaper or TV station carried a report the following day despite Lancashire Police issuing a statement claiming that it was the largest bomb-making hoard ever discovered in a British home.
There have been a couple of short articles since then but even at a police press briefing only three national newspapers were represented.
Given the state of alert over the “war on terror” it seems inconceivable that this story was overlooked. Why? It is simple. The two arrested men were white not Asian. And most depressingly the newspapers were preoccupied with the debate over the veil.
The media blackout is more startling given that the two men were British National Party members and one had even stood for the fascist party in May’s local elections.
"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
The destiny of America is to provide moral leadership to the world. To enrich our common humanity with its culture and be a great bulwark against tyranny whatever its source.
Yet today in a gross abidication of moral leadership we see that America is seen as the cause of war rather than its cure. We can only hope in the words of President Clinton's inagural address "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America." So please take this advice from a pro american from your closest ally whatever you do on Polling day make sure that you vote Democrat.
New Nuclear Testing Site: The Middle East I think this is a great graphic from The Times It appears that the country we invaded to find WMD is the only major one along with Libya not to be in the process of wanting to gain nuclear technology in the middle east. I think in one sense it may make war harder in because the cost will be higher but we are not taking about western liberal peaceful democracies here so I fear that the probability of there use is somewhat higher than say between Britain and France. You've got to have pretty impressive logic to answer the question: What does the Middle East really need? More nuclear weapons.
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This Life is back ! ! ! ! ! !Great news, while I already knew that they were going to do a Christmas special 10 years on This Life is going to be back on our screens on Monday night. This Life was an inspiration to me as a teenager in the provincial hinterland in the mid 1990s. These fantastic sexy young people having a great time without the big bad I said no telling them when to go to bed. Instead of life as a kid it was the pleasures of adulthood, sure their were set backs but it was you who was the master of your own destiny. Something that appealed to a 16 year old from Bath living with their parents.
I would like to think that the inspiration was other young people making their independent way in the world and not the debauchery but then I was a teenage boy so I suspect the debauchery had somthing to do with it.The Daily Mail was appalled by the 'simulated sex between homosexuals' though i'm not sure whether it was the sex between homosexuals or the simulation of it that was getting their goat. Personally I thought the sex between the hetrosexuals was pretty good to.
Anyway it was a fantastic series, I even got into the close up camera angles, and I for one will be glued on Monday. The scary thing is that soon it will be a whole decade since I left school. Roll on summer 2008.
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You Are Most Like Bill Clinton
No doubt, your legacy may be a little seedier than you'd like. But even though you've done some questionable things, you're still loved by almost all.
Perhaps if I believed in god I could have been Jimmy Carter which would have made my Mum happy. I suspect in the unlikely event that I ever manage to get elected to something this might reduce the chances of someone wanting to serve as an intern in my office but on the plus side I won't needlessly go around invading foreign countries, destroying the environment and aiding and abetting a corporate kleptocracy of vast proportions.
Huq in poll position as race starts
The race to be Labour's parliamentary candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow has taken an interesting turn as the BBC politics website has profiled one of the leading contenders. It would be wrong to assume even if it's an open shortlist that the constituency will automatically select a man after all ability counts and this lady has it by the bucketful.
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Kick the BNP out of Blackpool
Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Trades Union Council has unanimously opposed the British National Party's plans to hold a conference in Blackpool.
The BNP are not a legitimate political party so they shouldn't be allowed to have political conferences in a venue that has a proud tradition of facilitating democratic debate. They are a bunch of criminal racist facists. Their dirty doings are well document in Searchlight Perhaps they might want to try Nuremburg instead.
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Your in the Army now!
Don't want to get shot? Be a lard arse and then the army wont have you .... until now! Yes the fine institution that is the British army is looking for the obese to fill its ranks. Don't worry they'll soon whip you into shape and unlike the private gym industry they pay you rather than the other way round. Cool.
This reminds me of my school boy histroy lessons when we learn about the Boar war where the British Army had to few troops as so many had malnutrition due the horrendous living conditions of most of the population. Today it's the same with the working class from which most soldiers are drawn still having the worse diet and lowest life expectancy, which probably won't be helped by serving in Iraq.
The other thing about the Boar war was the use of concentration camps by us Brits and we're not talking about places where you go for a bit of quiet contemplation either. Today it's Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib apparently this is progress for you.
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Wheeler on the way
Provided he isn't choking on his cornfakes at the questions there is an interview on the way with the Labour Party's very own Peter Wheeler, NEC member and general Labour legend. Don't say that I never get you anything.
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Thursday, November 02, 2006
Should he stay or should he go?
Personally I don't find it reverential enough towards Mr Tony but it's an interesting question and as it was requested by one of my regular readers how could I refuse.
Blog 1 Papers 0
It seems that I wasn't the only one covering Ball's Fabian lecture last night. It's just this blog was the first with the news! I put my post on about 11.20am yet you had to wait more than an hour for the Guardian's post from the lovely Ros Taylor. So to get the best political news you'd better boookmark this blog right now.
To be fair I think the quality of her writing was better than mine and you do get a rather nice photo of her. Generally I think Ros is fantastic not least because she has picked me as the winner of her Backbencher column competition and more than once as well.
¶ 3:17 pm0 comments
Makes you think
This guy Sol Davis was in the same year as me at Ralph Allen. He was by some way the best football player and actually turned pro. First for Swindon Town and later Luton . At the age of 27 he has had a stroke. Out of all the people at school who you would think might have a stroke I can't say that the professional athlete was the first to spring to mind. Hope he gets better soon.
¶ 2:43 pm0 comments
Mercenary wife beater? I know become a Lib Dem councillor
You really couldn't make it up. The M.E.N. is reporting that a Tameside Lib Dem councillor of 10 years standing has an extrordinary past. I would mention his name but the guy has 3 aliases so I wouldn't know which one to use. I could mention his criminal convictions but I haven't got all day. I think it is suffice to say here that this is the first case in the UK of a mercenary councillor but check out the full story with the link above.
¶ 12:49 pm2 comments
Ed Balls: Government Minister and Waiter
Last night I went to the first in the Fabian Society's lecture series "Britain's Next Decade" which was given by Ed Balls the deputy chancellor / Gordon Brown's presence on earth.
The Wednesday before Ed had been to a Dinner in the City. It was a black tie affair. he had obviously been a bit short changed at Moss Bross or where ever he got his penguin suit as he got one with an up turned collar.
But when he got there he noticed that all the men there had turned down collars. So during the dinner he asked the host whether it was ok to wear an up turned collar with his bow tie and of course the host reassured him that it was, it was just that the City tended to be a bit conservative in these things.
So between the dinner and the speech he was giving he decided to take advantage of the comfort break and on the way back some city gent grabbed him by the arm and said "You will thank Frank McCavity for me wont you" This left Ed a bit nonplussed. Who on earth was Frank McCavity? But being a politician and supposed to remember names he said he would and went off to the top table to make his speech. This of course stunned the guy who had grabbed Ed as Frank McCavity was the chef and he had thought that the Economic Secretary at the Treasury was one of his waiters
You can tell that he had been a political advisor before he became a MP as his speaking skills are those of a graduate student doing a presentation ie a bit crap for someone we expect to be sit around the cabinet table shortly. It works a bit like this. He will go off on one idea. Stop. The pause will last for what seems like an eternity and then he will take up a different but vaguely related idea and carry one with that. He was a bit like that when he came to Manchester and did a dinner for the City party. The thing that he can do well is answer questions which to me seemed a whole lot more fluent. So sort it out Ed get yourself along to a speech trainer.
I would write about the speech itself but I can do better than that as the full text is here
If this is not enough for you there is more! The lecture series continues with Charles Clarke, David Miliband, Ruth Kelly, Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper Ed’s better half.
¶ 11:26 am0 comments
Alan Johnson Spotted
Wednesday 1st Nov. 6.50 pm Parliament Square on the side next to Westminster Abbey walking towards the commons on his own and in a dodgy looking blue mack. Didn't look that happy or Prime Ministerial.
¶ 7:59 am0 comments
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Capitalist or Socialist?
You Are 12% Capitalist, 88% Socialist
You see a lot of injustice in the world, and you'd like to see it fixed. As far as you're concerned, all the wrong people have the power. You're strongly in favor of the redistribution of wealth - and more protection for the average person.
10 Reasons why Hilary Benn should run for leader
1) It would make life interesting in British politics. 2) He’s a non spin politician when we’re moving away from spin. 3) Brown could still do a Portillo and implode. 4) He’s English. 5) Good track record as a minister. 6) A proper election would be in the interests of Labour Party democracy. 7) Comes across on TV as thoroughly decent. 8) Even if he loses Brown would probably still give him a cabinet job. 9) Nobody hates him. 10) Less competition than in the deputy leadership election.
¶ 2:42 pm4 comments
Parburypolitica British Exclusive on President Bush!
According to my source close to the Bush administration. President George W Bush was at a secret conference in the ski resort of Aspen, Colarado. While other notable figures were discussing the future of the free world with their clothes on. See the authorised version from the local paper below. George W was busy having massages with high level visitors from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Afghanistan. The hot rub down action is reputed to have taken place in the super exclusive setting of the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 35 room and $135m dollar pad in Aspen.
Nice to know that the leader of the free world is taking his great responsibilities with such seriousness. Who would have thought that this is the President that holds the record for the longest ever vacation by a sitting President.
Aspen is looking even more rich and famous than usual.
Heads are turning and traffic is literally stopping for the Forstmann Little conference getting under way today in Aspen. Titans of industry, four-star generals, athletic superstars, the politically powerful and the Hollywood elite are all here for a weekend of networking and concentration on some of the planet's most pressing matters.
The annual affair is strictly hush-hush. All discussions are off the record and New York-based representatives for the prestigious leverage-buyout firm Forstmann Little & Co. refuse to comment about the conference, let alone acknowledge its existence.
But it's hard not to notice investment mogul Ted Forstmann and his friends.
Lavish jets are crammed into the general-aviation tarmac at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Men sporting dark suits and sunglasses, with microphones wedged in their ears, are swarming downtown sidewalks and hotel lobbies. A ResortQuest employee said 38 agents with the Secret Service are staying in 26 centrally located Aspen rental properties this weekend. Even the Colorado Department of Transportation's repaving of Main Street has stopped in midstream to oblige Forstmann Little attendees and the multifaceted concerns of their security detail.
This year's schedule commences with a discussion on new media, moderated by PBS host Charlie Rose, with Google Inc. Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, Yahoo Chairman and CEO Terry Semel, and Bharti Televentures Chairman and CEO Sunil Mittal, according to an agenda surreptitiously provided to the Aspen Daily News.
Next up is National Academy of Sciences President Dr. Ralph Cicerone, NASA's Dr. James Hansen, MIT professor Richard Lindzen and American Meteorological Society senior fellow Robert Correll who will discuss the threat of global warming.
On Saturday, Prince Turki al-Faisal (the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States), Christiane Amanpour (CNN chief international correspondent), Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa (crown prince and commander in chief of the Bahrain Defense Force), and Dr. Vali Nasr (a Navy professor), will analyze the Middle East.
Other conference plans include tennis at the Maroon Creek Club with Grand Slam champion Monica Seles and world-renowned coach Nick Bollettieri, golf clinics with professionals Jim Flick and Dave Pelz, a luncheon with General Colin Powell and former British Foreign Secretary and House of Commons Leader Jack Straw, a political talk with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and an "Update From The Frontline: The Long War" session with General John Abizaid (who is head of U.S. Central Command).
An evening of comedy with a surprise guest is also on tap. Two years ago, former "Saturday Night Live" stars Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon performed for the crowd, which Nealon described as "a little intimidating." Ditto for Carvey.
"In 25 years, I've never played for an audience like that," Carvey said after his 2004 performance.