Anyone fancy Ireland?
Irish Labour wants your help! Let’s start campaigning together. PES activists update special - 26 January 2007 It’s time for the first Europe-wide grassroots exchange for a national election. Activists from Irish Labour invite you to support their national election campaign in May.
Useless journos sink to new levels of ineptitude This post is for the politically illiterate people who produce the London Lite paper. The paper edition carried this story about Ed Miliband objecting to an off licence under his flat. Ummm must be a slow news day but the dim wit journos decided to put a picture of his brother David next to the story with the caption "Noise fears: Ed Miliband" I suspect the cabinet office minister, that is Ed btw, is more concerned about never actually being recognised as anyone other than is brother. For the record David is the one on the left and Ed is the one on the right.
¶ 4:46 pm7 comments
No I had never heard of this either. From the Japanese PM's weekly email...
Incidentally, do you know about the Deaflympics? The Deaflympics are an international sports event for hearing-impaired persons and, just as with the Olympics and Paralympics, both summer and winter sessions of the event are held once every four years. Yesterday I met with athletes who will represent Japan in the 16th Winter Deaflympics, which open in Salt Lake City in the United States on February 1.
This meeting took place because a person working for the organization that is sending our athletes to the event sent me an e-mail via the website of the Prime Minister's Office saying, "Although the Olympics and Paralympics are well-known, few people are aware of the Deaflympics, and so I am writing to ask for your support." I decided to meet with the athletes to encourage them in any way I could.
I tried my best to communicate in sign language. I was able to share my feelings with them, signing, "Hello everyone. I am Prime Minister Abe. Thank you for coming today," and "Please do your best to win a medal." I was very relieved when the athletes applauded me. I am sure these athletes have faced extra challenges because of their hearing impairment, and yet they were upbeat and did not give the slightest impression that their lives have been difficult.
To the contrary, I gained inspiration from their approach of taking the path they need to follow and working diligently toward their goals. The sight of people from all walks of life discovering their own special talents and abilities and then doing their best with them truly strengthens me.
¶ 4:39 pm2 comments
Do as your told
I have just got this email from Labour HQ. The Whips office will be well annoyed. Look at the first line of it. Are they going to say anything other than Yes? I don't think so. The very idea of Labour MP's getting on with their own lives! There would be chaos I tell you. Anyway good stuff.
Do you think the government should tell you how to behave? Should they be giving you rules and guidance or let you get on with your own life?
We're inviting you to get involved with a debate about it in February 2007. We'd love for you and your friends to come and listen to two teams argue for and against the question, ask some questions of your own and tell us your thoughts in the subject.
We can now announce some of our panel for the discussion, which will be chaired by David Lammy MP, the Minister for Culture, and will include TV historian and Observer columnist Tristram Hunt, journalist and Muslim Womens' activist Farah Khan and Director of The Foreign Policy Centre and Chair of the Young People Now foundation Stephen Twigg. There will also be representatives from the Terrence Higgins Trust and the National Union of Students, but the most important opinions will come from you!
And that's just the start of it. From about 7pm we've lined up a few emerging bands for you, as well as a bit of food and drink to take us through the rest of the evening until the music stops.
The Deadline Fever, who are described as the most hyped, notorious, upcoming yet unsigned rock band in the North, are confirmed to appear. Brandon Steep, a band likened to Coldplay, Turin Breaks and Snow Patrol are also playing.
The Big Talk will be taking place at the Journal Tyne Theatre, Westgate Road, Newcastle (2 minutes from central station) on Saturday 3 February 2007 from 1:30pm until late. You can buy tickets for just £10 and invite your friends.
If there are a few of you from one area coming along let us know and we can arrange transport. Contact the Labour North West office on 01925 574913.
If you want to come along, you can sign up at www.mylifemysay.co.uk/big.event.
¶ 10:27 am1 comments
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tough on toddlers if not the causes of toddlers This little trouble maker (centre) was caught heckling at a Labour women's mentoring event at the House of Commons. Former Home Office minister Fiona McTaggart(right) with the help of Rupa Huq Bethnal Green and Bow's top selection choice, were about to slap an ASBO on him but he pleaded rather convincingly that it was his first offence so he was let off. Clearly he has a way with the ladies, the only other bloke in the place was Gordon Brown.
¶ 11:04 pm4 comments
A Dale a day keeps the doctor in payTory Central Office on the web is a bit annoyed about government ministers having a blog. Especially that it might actually cost some money.
Jim Murphy, a minister of state at the department of work and pensions has a blog. So does another minister of state at DWP James Purnell here. Clearly they are into blogging in a big way at the DWP. I wonder if John Hutton is going to get one.
As well as great issues of state we also get to learn some fascinating bits of goss. For instance Jim Murphy lets slip that John McFall MP who is the Head of the Treasury Select Committee is his former deputy headteacher. I hope all his homework was up to date.
If the DWP is interested I could run all there blogs for them on a commission basis. £1 a hit. I think it would be safe to say that dealing with major national issues rather than taking the mick out of useless Lib Dem soon to be ex MP's like John Leech I could get a fair bit more traffic than they do at the moment. They save money on the £2 a hit they are paying at the moment. I make a tidy sum. Everyone's a winner.
¶ 9:47 pm1 comments
McCain CainedPolls are showing that John McCain is taking a hit over escalation in Iraq. He is losing ground to Barack Obama who is anti war. McCain has long been a proponant of escalation in Iraq. It is a policy that would have the support of this blog if it was done right but with a president who's ability to tie his own shoe laces is in doubt, the policy won't work for reasons that I have outlined below. It is also good to see that Obama is picking up support amongst the swing voters that it will be necessary for him to win the presidency.
¶ 7:35 pm0 comments
Strangely addictive ....
This is a bit of rather hypnotic music that I just can't get out of my head. So before you play the vids be warned they a bit addictive. The first one seems to be by some distant relatives of the Von Traps and the second one is an animaiton. Think Crazy frog.
Chinese death penalty update
What country is the most prolific user of the death penalty, the USA?. Saudi Arabia?, Russia? No it's China and by quite some way to. They dispence death penalties like confetti at a wedding. I wouldn't want to drop litter in China you never know what could be the consequences.
The system is being tighten up though from the start of this month all death penalty verdicts will have to be reviewed by the supreme court which should keep them more than a little busy. Improving the Chinese court system is vital to international confidence in the Chinese economy and would also benefit the Chinese people as well. This latest developement is to be welcomed but there is still a long, long, long way to go.
Below is a press release that i've nicked from the AI website
Amnesty International welcomed today's new legislation under which the Supreme Court would review all death penalty verdicts in China but urged the authorities to abolish the death penalty once and for all.
Under the new legislation which comes into effect on 1 January 2007, all death penalties handed down by provincial courts must be reviewed and ratified by the Supreme People's Court.
"This new legislation will possibly help improve the quality of trials for those facing the death penalty in China - and may also reduce the number of executions," said Purna Sen, Asia-Pacific Programme Director. "But there is a danger that it could also further entrench the death penalty system in China, unless it is accompanied by other measures, including full transparency on the use of the death penalty nationwide and a reduction in the number of crimes punishable by death."
Even with this reform, those facing the death penalty are unlikely to receive a fair trial in line with international human rights standards, Amnesty International fears. Trials in China are generally marked by a lack of prompt access to lawyers, lack of presumption of innocence, political interference in the judiciary and the failure to exclude evidence extracted under torture.
The authorities should also release full public statistics on death sentences and executions in China, which remain classified as a state secret. These statistics would help to assess whether or not this reform leads to a reduction in executions.
Amnesty International has been urging China to accelerate reforms aimed at abolishing the death penalty.
"We hope this is a step towards full abolition of the death penalty," said Purna Sen. "It is only by abolishing the death penalty that China can guarantee that the innocent will not be put to death."
Background: The death penalty remains applicable to around 68 crimes in China. They include non-violent offences, such as committing tax fraud, embezzling state property and accepting a bribe. Chinese legal academics opposed to the death penalty have recommended reducing the scope by, for example, eliminating the punishment for economic offences but these calls have so far gone unheeded.
China remains the world leader in its use of the death penalty. According to Amnesty International estimates, over 1770 people were executed and 3900 sentenced to death in 2005. The true figures are believed to be much higher. In March 2004, a senior member of the National People’s Congress announced that China executes around 10,000 people per year.
¶ 11:33 am0 comments
Hundred Million Dollar Hillary ?
You may have noticed that Hillary, needs no second name, has official blown the start whistle on her presidential campaign but have you noticed here that she is going to decline federal matching funds. In plain english if your running for president in the United States the government will give you money if you agree to stick within spending limits that from memory are a bit less than $100m. Bush has in his campaigns avoided the use of federal matching funding and been able to raise considerably more. Now Hillary is at it to. Is the only way to the Whitehouse to raise hundreds of millions of dollars?
In other news Monica Lewinsky has just graduated from the London School of Economics with a MSc in Social Psychology. I am reliably informed that her dissertation wasn't on the uses of the cigar in modern popular culture.
¶ 12:27 am0 comments
Sunday, January 21, 2007
In praise of Labour councillors
Councillor's are very often the people actually keeping the party going. MP's simply don't have the time to do the fantastic job that Labour councillor's can do. Many are full time politicians with electorates much smaller than parliamentary constituency's, they get to every community event going and you know when people say such and such knows everyone, sometimes this is an exageration, but councillors at there best really do know more about there local communities than anyone else.
Jon Cruddas has got some research out which shows that our councillor base is smaller than at any time since 1978 and you know that happend the year after. Now we are in a third term Labour government we are into our third round of mid term loses. That is the said reality of government they may vote you in in Westminster but no sooner have MP's got their bums on the green benches than the electorate turn and start to vote out the councillors of the same party that they had just voted into national office 18 months before.
It doesn't have to be this way though. For instance in Manchester at the last local election Labour actually picked up four seats from the Lib Dems when they had hoped to gain control of the council. Effective target wards, good candidates, well run campaigns based on a great Labour run council can win elections convincingly, even with the "help" of national government. That is not to say that nationally the party hasn't been a great benefit for the city because it has, it's just not all the voters seem to be so inclined. They must read the daily mail or something.
What would really help though would be Jon Cruddas running the party machine as he understands the importance of all of this. Now you can have the air war in the media but really if you want to hold the territory you have to engage in the ground war as well and this is all about communities. Most people are cynical about the media and especially about "politicans" that they have never met. But meeting politicians be they MP' or councillors breeds trust, well usually anyway, and earning the trust of people will be key to winning peoples votes. Having a strong Labour councillor base is not only vital for individual communities up and down the country but also for the direction of the nation because in the next election we are going to need all the help that we can get to win. There is hardly a better resource than thousend of politically engaged people passionate about their communities who understand the benefits that having a Labour government brings.
¶ 2:54 pm4 comments
No sex please we're asexuals
There was a story in a student newspaper I was reading about someone who complained that they had been asked to leave a meeting of a LGBT society (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual). Why because they were not any of the above sexual orientations. This person considered themselves to be asexual, that is to not have sexual attraction to other people. You can find out more about it here
I'm sure that it must be an embarrasing experience for the person concerned but I think it is a bit wrong headed to go to the media and complain. Why? Because why on earth would an asexual person want to join a society whose whole reason for being is sex? That I would have thought would be the last place that they would want to be. I also think that it is acceptable that societies can choose to be associations for like minded people. So Christian Unions don't have to admit Satanists, Labour Clubs don't have to admit Conservatives. Is there a case that such a right be limited? I think there is as I wouldn't want to see a civil society divided along racial lines for instance but in this case I have a better solution.
Don't be offended set up an asexual group instead. Why be fifth among equals when you can have a society just for the glorification of asexuals. There could be a small problem in that most student unions require societies to have 20 members before becoming a proper recognised society and finding 20 asexual students aint going to be easy.
¶ 11:28 am5 comments
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Space: China's final frontier
So China has successfully launched an anti satellite missile at an old weather satellite. What does this mean for peace and security? Today not a lot but it will change all our futures. It is the most serious Chinese challenge yet to American’s superpower status.
American hegemony is in large part based on the most powerful military machine humanity has ever known. Its power comes not through its sheer strength of numbers which given it global mission are relatively small but from the advanced nature of its military technology. Satellites are a vital part of the US military machine in several spheres. Intelligence, national missile defence, navigation and communications are key areas where the US has a significant military advantage from its use of space. China’ successful development of anti satellite technology is a challenge to American dominance to which it can only respond.
There is a debate in the US military establishment about what is the greater threat to US interests Al Qaeda or the Chinese? Bin laden may be more willing to attack America but he does not pose the more significant long term threat that China could. This missile launch will add to case of the Pentagon sinophobes. The Chinese military have been undergoing a period of extensive modernisation including expensive shopping trips for advanced military technology especially from Russia. China has again pressed for the lifting of the EU arms embargo on China imposed as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre it was rebuffed but if China seeks to improve its human rights record this could change.
The greatest objective of Chinese policy is the continuation of the present Chinese Communist Party regime. They don’t care what they do as long at they retain power. I argue that excessive military rivalry with the US increases the likelihood of a catastrophic failure, either war or economic collapse, that could threaten Communist rule. The international community should try to engage China in a web of mutually benefitial arangements, whether it is the proposed free trade zone with the ASEAN or increased the Sino US economic dialogue. The aim should be to increase the costs of war and decrease the costs of peace. I for one am an optimist that we can find workable solution that will prevent a new cold war.
The great powers have increasingly seen over the last 20 years that cooperation not confrontation is the only way forward in international relations. China’s emergence to centre stage in the international arena will test this resolve but it is a test that we must overcome.
¶ 2:50 pm1 comments
Black Adder Belgium Style
Ah Belgium, land of quality beer and chocolate. It doesn't matter that there are no famous Belgians not one bit when you have great variety acts like this. Luv it in a quirky kinda way.
Mindless paper pushers are the bain of modern life
Don't get me wrong I think studying at Birkbeck is great but mindless paper pushers are the bain of modern life and unfortunatly Birkbeck is not immune . The university has been trying to chase me up for a form that was apparently sent to me by the Examinations office. If I didn't send it back immediately I would not be able to sit my exams in the summer. So what did the form want me to tell them. Two things. Firstly, are these the courses you are meant to be taking? and secondly do you have any special needs?
Perfectly reasonable questions you might think. But think about it again. Why cannot the Examinations office not ask the department which students are taking which courses and subsequent exams. It doesn't take a genius to work it out. As for the special needs section we are about half way through the academic year surely this should have been assessed at the start of the academic year on admission and the rests made available to the Examinations office.
Anyway I had to get this thing posted. So I went to the royal mail sorting office thinking I could purchase a stamp there. "Oh no we don't sell stamps and more. Try Somerfield." Hang on a minute. This is a massive royal mail building. At that very moment there would have been tens of thousands of stamps in the building. Admittedly attached to other peoples envelopes but none the less it doesn't take a genius to work out that a customer offering good money for a stamp should be able to get one in the biggest Royal Mail building for 30 miles. It's not like they have never sold stamps there they used to. So some Grand Marshall of the Order of the Pillock (First Class) had to issue the order that forbade the Royal Mail from selling stamps to its customers. Anyway I trotted of to Somerfield and asked the guy "Can I have a single first class stamp?" The reply came back "Unfortunately not, we only sell them in packs of 12" so I forked out £3.84!
¶ 1:38 am0 comments
Friday, January 19, 2007
Ruth TurnerHaving met Ruth I simply will not believe that she would do anything wrong. Ok I could believe that on occasion she might leave the red light on the TV on thereby destorying what precious little ozone layer we have left but dodgy corruption, selling peerages, abusing the office she holds. I say NO that's not our Ruth. She would have made a great Labour candidate for Manchester Withington at the next election if she wanted to do it but I suppose that is not going to happen now.
¶ 11:15 pm12 comments
Great Manchester Run 2007!
I have decided to relive my greatest sporting achievement. Not that there is much competition in that department. It was either this or taking part in the World Championships for rapid fire TV channel changing.
Anyway come the 20th May I along with 27,000 other runners some thankfully slower than me, though it had to be said not many of those slower than me were under 140 last time, will be taking part in The Great Manchester Run which is a nice 10k amble through the magnificent city of Manchester. OK it does cross a few local government boundaries into Tory Trafford and Salford as well I suspect they get extra sponsorship that way.
This will be the second time I have taken part in this event so I hope to improve on last year. As for the time i'm always striving for excellence in this department so I very much hope that I will break the 2 week barrier although I expect it will be a close run thing.
¶ 8:53 am0 comments
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Selection Gossip Part TwoOver in Ealing Southall leader of the Labour opposition on the borough council Sonika Nirwal has been asking people to sign a petition to make the soon to be vacant seat an all women shortlist. Far be from me a humble blogger to suggest that it might look a tad self interested as it is the same CllrSonika Nirwal who is seeking the parliamentary seat.
I thought the basis of AWS's was to correct the historic underrepresentation of women in parliament not for wannabe MP's to fix contests for themselves. Even if they are Asian women when we the outrageous fact is that there are no Asian women in parliament. Anyway this blog, who knows a thing or two about parliamentary selections, thinks she stands a fair chance with or without an AWS but would offer a small piece of advice "Sonika get yourself a fixer" Afterall candidates are meant to go around being nice and enthusiatic while selflessly serving the cause, they shouldn't been seen trying to stitch things up.
¶ 7:52 pm20 comments
Selection Gossip Part One
Some people get in to politics to serve a cause or to stand up for their local area but one Labour councillor east of westminster who shall remain nameless said "The only reason i'm running is because every one else is and it stops the calls " Parburypolitica says it may help now but wait till you get knocked out and people want your transfers.
¶ 7:34 pm3 comments
Thanks very much Jane
"It also links to bloggers4labour, and most of the people posting on there are clinically insane as far as I can tell."
From her lastest post. What you were deselected? Really that comes as such a surprise given your impecable people skills. I may only be a young politico but even I have learnt that grossly insulting people isn't the way to go.
Update - Apparently she meant idiots4labour and not bloggers4labour. Genius.
¶ 11:36 am3 comments
Ways to solve the property crisis
I noticed in one of the free papers yesterday that in London two thirds of new build homes are sold to buy to let investors. This is reflected in these statistics which show that home ownership is the lowest in the country in London and it also has the highest amount of private sector rented accomodation.
My worry is that this trend could spill out to the rest of the country as house prices rise dramatically above the rise in wages. Effectively this means that it becomes increasingly hard for people to get on the housing ladder while the more wealthy sections of society who already have all the advantages of owning property see there wealth rise unchecked.
I think there are several things that we can do. Firstly we should increase the supply. Now i'm not keen on turning all the south east into a massive housing estate so the only solution would be to build up. We should change the rules so that in urban centres we can have massive apartment blocks. Also it is important to bear in mind that they shouldn't all be one and two bedroom flats because british families come in all sizes and some will want more bedrooms than two.
Secondly we should take first time buyers out of stamp duty at least on properties worth less than £300,000 which lets face it is going to cover the vast majoirty of first time buyers anyway. This would give first time buyers an edge in the market which they really need if they are not going to be renting forever.
Third i don't want to stop people getting a buy to let investment as I think it is a legitamate way to provide people with financial security but there comes a stage where people already on the housing ladder are crowding out those that are not already in the market. This I think provides a strong case for government internvention in order to address market failure. So I think people who want to own more than 5 homes should face higher stamp duty and the more homes that they buy the more that it would be.
The good thing about this is that you can have tens of millions in assets if all your five houses are large country estates and not pay a penny but if you have ten small homes that people would be looking to buy when starting out on the property ladder the state would be saying "hey hold on a moment, these people have a greater need for this property and we should be helping them rather than you"
Forth the money that this could generate could either be used to fund public services or I would suggest raise the income tax threashold which benefits everyone but benefits the poor proportionately more lessening inequality.
¶ 10:38 am7 comments
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Downing street responds to Parburypolitica
Ok not a hand written missive from Tony but do you remember the petitions thing on the Downing street website? Well I signed up to a few of them and I have just got my first response back.
This was the petition
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to create a new exception to copyright law that gives individuals the right to create a private copy of copyrighted materials for their own personal use, including back-ups, archiving and shifting format."
And this is the response
As you may be aware, in December 2005 the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced that there would be a review of the intellectual property framework in the UK, led by Andrew Gowers.
The findings of this review have now been published and recommend the introduction of a private copying exception for the purposes of format shifting. This would allow individuals to copy music which they have legally bought on compact disc onto an MP3 player without infringing copyright.
The Government welcomes this recommendation and is currently considering how such an exception should be created in UK law.
Ever wondered how google works?
If the answer to the question is yes then I have just the thing for you. My little brother Ben little genius that he is has written a paper entitled "Google Empire - Technology Behind the Giants" which you can download here
¶ 1:48 pm0 comments
Is there a butler in the house?
Now Downing street is advertising for a butler at 50K a year no less, it will no doubt become the in thing. The problem is that we have such exponential growth in the wealth of the rich that it is crowding out the wealth of the the rest of us. We risk returning to the social structure of the 1920's. Not a society of equals but upstairs downstairs. Opportunity will be the preserve of the rich when it should be the right of all. Anyone who has thought about buying a house will know that this is becoming a monstously expensive undertaking that increasingly few can afford.
I think society becomes less comfortable with itself if we decide to divide ourselves off into different life worlds. Private wealth is all well and good but if the cost of it is public squalor then we have to think again about the way society is going.
As you may know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.
I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.
So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need.
The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.
But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.
And that's what we have to change first.
We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.
This won't happen by itself. A change in our politics can only come from you; from people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it.
Years ago, as a community organizer in Chicago, I learned that meaningful change always begins at the grassroots, and that engaged citizens working together can accomplish extraordinary things.
So even in the midst of the enormous challenges we face today, I have great faith and hope about the future - because I believe in you.
And that's why I wanted to tell you first that I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.
In the meantime, I want to thank all of you for your time, your suggestions, your encouragement and your prayers. And I look forward to continuing our conversation in the weeks and months to come.
More Manchester Lib Dem Troubles
I made a comment on Chris Paul's Blog and went back to have a look to see if anyone else had left a comment. Clearly someone has gone to town here. I wonder whether it can all be true. It says something about the state of the Manchester Lib Dems which has always been pretty hopeless that they are leaking like a sieve like this.
I noticed that the blood sucking scumbag wastrel Leech was on the reselected list.
10:57 PM Bird of Liberty said...
Indeed Leech is. But Kassim Afzal (Gorton) and the suspended-on-full-pay alleged tax fiddler Marc Ramsbottom (Central) are not. On the latter another little bird of liberty whispered in my ear a couple of weeks ago that (allegedly in every case): 1. Marc was trying to stitch up his City Centre colleague the very useful Kenny Dobson and have him de-selected in favour of one of his coterie of maverick oddballs; 2. Marc's Gold Card tm has been rescinded; 3. Marc's household are desperately trying to off-load a spare house in Rusholme; 4. Marc owes print bills of some £6,000 at several suppliers which might well put him in default under the Election Laws and liable to fines of up to £5,000 too; 5. Posters have appeared in some city centre buildings saying he has been sacked by MMU; But 6. Marc is still driving around in his luxury MMU-owned Saab spreading peace and light; 7. Marc's pay is more than £60,000 and he also gets his £15,000 council whack. How come he is struggling financially?; 8. Despite being at leisure Marc has not blogged his website since August though he has had some Metro cover media whore non-stories; 9. Marc was mistakenly identified as being "very rudely pictured" on a famous dating site. he's on there but not rudely pictured; 10. Amazingly the wimp Chris Paul whose blog we're on and who was a candidate against the Lib Dems in Marc's ward refused point blank to use any dirt against Marc and his reward has been to be de-selected by means of an AWS; 11. Marc is still in charge of party funds as well as being the Lib Dem Finance spokesperson.
¶ 10:35 pm3 comments
Salma Vs Friedrich
Right at this very moment I should be doing a presentation on the relevance of conservative thinker Friedrich Hayek to international affairs but I just thought that I should share this The Salma Hayek versus Friedrich Hayek Scorecard.
¶ 7:39 pm0 comments
Real substance from Cruddas in a virtual world
Parburypolitica supported deputy leadership candidate Jon Cruddas has an article on comment is free and very good it is to. Here's a snippit that I like:
"One of the reasons I decided to stand for Labour's deputy leadership was a conversation with a cabinet minister, who told me that the era of political parties was over. Modern politics is a virtual politics, he said. This is a politics where parties have supporters whose role is just to pitch up a few quid each year and put up a poster at elections."
So Jon are you going to name and shame the virtual politics cabinet minister? I have my suspicions as to who it could be. Anyway this also misses the crucial point that one of the other reasons Jon Cruddas is standing for the deputy leadership is a meeting with Parburypolitica himself at Labour Party conference last year in Manchester. I was in the newsagents across from Central Library buying a pen when I saw this guy in front buying a paper. "Your Jon Cruddas aren't you" I said and we got chatting and he introduced me to some members of his campaign team. He told me that they were just off to make the decision whether he should run of not but he asked me what I thought, My tupence worth was that he should and the rest as they say is history.
¶ 4:53 pm1 comments
Lib Dems support the BNP
This is pretty low even for the Lib Dems. They have decided to support the Nazi Ballerina.
Why Mr Younger-Ross should public money be used to support racists and facists? Why should the taxes of hard working muslims that your party has tried to win the trust of go to pay the wages of people who want to see them deported or worse? Not that I know what the finances of ENB are like but I bet it doesn't run at a profit "subsidy junkie" is probably more like it. The bit at the end is also good as they well no doubt have a different policy in Scotland.
You can check the original here but in case it disappears from the Lib Dems site I have a copy for your purusal and enjoyment here.
BNP ballerina should not lose her job - Younger-Ross 15 January 2007
Mr Richard Younger-Ross
Responding to the protests against Simone Clarke, the English National Ballet’s (ENB) principle dancer, over her membership of the British National Party, Liberal Democrat DCMS Spokesperson, Richard Younger-Ross MP said:
"Very few people would deny that the views of the BNP are deeply racist and worthy of our condemnation, but we should also remember that supporting the BNP or their views is not illegal.
"It would set a deeply worrying precedent if employment with publicly funded organisations depends on whether or not a person’s political views are palatable to the political and media establishment.
"We need to remember that this witch-hunt has provided the BNP with much more publicity than they would have otherwise received.
"The Liberal Democrats, while vehemently opposing the political beliefs of Simone Clarke, will nonetheless defend her right to hold them."
Applicability: this item refers to England and Wales. Due to devolution, detailed policy may be different in other areas of the UK.
¶ 12:39 pm7 comments
One of these photos is of the the secretary of state for communities and local government Ruth Kelly. The one on the left in case you were wondering and the other is Euan Blair, photo right, off spring of our present Prime Minister. Dammed if I can tell the difference though.
¶ 5:31 pm5 comments
Rochdale selection death threatsThis is absolutely outrageous. Personally I take my politics reasonably seriously but someone has gone way over the top here. Heck it's not even as if the seat is actually Labour not that if it was it would make the death threats against Labour contender Simon Danczuk any less disturbing.
Parliamentary selections are pretty gruelling experiences at the best of times but this is above and beyond.The sooner they nail the culprit the better. There can't be that many florists who have done 4ft white crosses recently.Someone must know something. I think it is time for Greater Manchester Police to pull there finger out. This is not how we should be conducting politics in this country and the sooner we get to the bottom of this the better.
¶ 1:39 pm2 comments
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Bush plan for Iraq doesn't even convince his strongest supporters
The American Enterprise Institute is closely associated with the Bush Administration yet even they don't think that the President's plan to pacify Iraq will work. Bush wants to send just over 20,000 extra troops to Iraq to sort things out there but this will be nowhere near enough.
The AEI report available here looks at the numbers of troops based on experience the Americans will need.
"securing the Sunni and mixed Sunni-Shia neighborhoods around the Green Zone and between that area and Baghdad International Airport/Camp Victory. This approach establishes security among a population of perhaps 2 million people,(About a third of the city,never mind the rest of Iraq)would require, according to historical norms, between 40,000 and 50,000 counterinsurgent troops. Generating proper force ratios to secure the population in these neighborhoods is much more feasible than generating the force ratios to confront the Jaysh al Mahdi in Sadr City or to secure the entire population of Baghdad at once. " P16
Ok if you factor in some good Iraqi troops not that there are very many of those with the extra troops Bush is sending you could secure about a third of Baghdad. This is so not looking good. Put another way the Bush plan is doomed to failure. It may have some good points about increased reconstruction but with the numbers of troops that they have they will never be able to achieve the neccessary level of security that will be managable, post any Allied exit from Iraq, by the useless Iraqi government forces.
¶ 8:16 pm0 comments
The Madness of King George W
I was have a flick through The Guardian Guide, having shelved my Sun buying habits momentarily, to see if there was anything good on tele in the coming week. I was to be mightly dissapointed. I'm not surprised that overpaid TV execs worry about falling audiences for their programmes. The size of audience for BBC 1 and ITV has been falling for decades even before the multi channel revolution. I say the solution is to stop giving us mind numbing pap to watch and we'll think about watching more TV.
Anyway something caught my eye. Firstly just after 7 on Channel 4 they are showing The Madness of King George. This is a really fine film which I have seen a couple of times before. Really it should be The Madness of King George III but the American audience would think that they had missed the first two films and not go and see it. Seriously that's why they changed it. The thing is it was first produced in 1994 so why are they showing it now. Personally I cannot think of any modern parralell of a leader going by the name of George who gets A+ when taking the bonkers test. I just can't think what Channel 4 are up to.
¶ 4:15 pm0 comments
Camden Tories and Lib Dems: in power and dangerous
Camden council's new Tory and Lib dem administration is fast getting a reputation as one of the most useless, incompetant and malign councils to disfigure the face of local government across the land. Taking a look at the Ham & High website is reavealing if troubling.
First off there is the case of a disibility panel where they have decided to kick off for no good reason the only disabled member on it Andrew Lisicki. Now a accessible transport appeals panel that is meant to judge whether disabled people are entitled to extra help with transport with no disabled people on it!!! Disabled people do tend to get shut in a box in our society but where there is a clear case that they are more than qualified to do the job Camden council discriminates against them. More here.
Remember the Law Centre where they tried to close down. Now they want to shut down a charity that helps parents cope with their children. Home Start Camden is a charity that relies on volunteers. So instead of getting people to work for free in the interests of local people, who have the effect of helping hundreds of families, Camden council has decided to opt for family breakdown and the misery, depression, ruined life chances and crime that will bring. All for the sake of a poxy in camden council terms £60,000. The worst thing is that they are being given no time to find alternative sources of funding. More here
Possibly the most insane idea that they have come up with is photographing every home in the Borough complete with people's car number plates in drives and people coming out of their homes and putting it all on the internet.This is a charter of rights for Stalkers, Burglars, Crime Gangs, Nutcases and Weirdo's and is costing. For the privilge the council is charging tax payers £75,000 a go and they like to photo more than once a year. This is even more surprising from the Lib Dems who are supposed to be against all this big brother stuff but since when has consistency been their hallmark. More on this malign development here.
Here's an idea why don't they stop the photographing of people's homes and then use the money to fund the charity. With the £15,000 surplus they could even sponsor free keep fit classes in Regents Park. Privacy no longer invaded, families strengthend and Christmas belly banished.
This blog would also like to thank the journalist Katie Davies for uncovering the outrageous actions of a council bent on slash and burn funding, discrimination and abuse of power . It's not often that this blog heaps praise on a jorno so make the most of it.
¶ 10:48 am1 comments
Whitehouse leaves UK off the map
On the Whitehouse website there is a section called ask the Whitehouse where people get to question all sorts of people from the Whitehouse. The latest person to undergo this is National Security Council Director for Iraq Brett McGurk, presumably because the President has just relaunched his Iraq policy. The debate that he hosts shows that the new Whitehouse policy is more nuanced than is shown to be the case in the media with increase emphasis on reconstruction. I have to say I'm still not convinced as I don't think that they can guarantee the necessary level of security in order for the civil society to be reconstructed on the basis of such a small number of troops.
Then one thing struck me. Here is a very senior US government official with responsibilty for Iraq policy and he talks about all sorts of things but he does not mention Tony Blair, Great Britain, the UK or even at a stretch Margaret Beckett. Judging by this we might as well not be there. The problem is we also bear the responsibity for this disaster.
¶ 12:39 am0 comments
Friday, January 12, 2007
The numbers show the fallacy of US's "surge" policy
The Economist is the prince of publications for people interested in the state of the world. It's head and shoulders above the coverage of international affairs in the broadsheets. One of the bits I like about it is the small graphs. The latest edition has one entitled "Overstretched and over there". I would scan it for you but the software is playing up. Anyway it is actually two graphs one showing the size of the US army since 1950 and the other is the number of troops the US has in Iraq. Each is revealing in its own way.
Take the size of the US army. The fact is that at the height of the Korean War and also during Vietnam which Iraq is increasingly being compared to the strength of the US Army was nearly 1,600,000. Now it is only just over 400,000. This is nearly half the size it had been from the end of Vietnam to the end of the cold war. At arguably a time in international affairs when the world has been looking for the US to show leadership it has been scaling back it's ability to put troops on the ground.
Examination of the number of US troops in Iraq shows that around the end of both 2004 and 2005 the number of US troops in country was about 160,000 now it is just over 130,000. The fact is the "surge" of troops is more like a trickle. Adding another 20,000 troops will only take the Americans up to where they have been already twice before in the Iraq deployment.
Optimists in the US military establishment would point to sea change in the capabilities of the US armed forces called the Revolution in Military Affairs. It has involved spending hundreds of billions on advanced weaponary and command control and communications capabilities. I would argue that you can have all the technology you want but at the end of the day there has been no technological solution for armies to be able to hold ground that doesn't involve disciplined and well trained and supported troops. In short a fat lot of good it has done them in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the day if they haven't got the numbers they can't finish the job.
¶ 7:37 pm2 comments
Improving democracyThis is rather amusing. Perhaps we could also have constituencies with differential fees to that voters can choose the level of representation to suit their pocket. Voters wouldn't have to pay fees during an election but they would after although it has been suggested that this could be made income contingent.
¶ 8:39 am0 comments
India’s Dalits: between atrocity and protestThis is a really important article on the lives of India's untouchable's, who often face some atrocious discrimination. Social class is an issue that is alive and well in British society but the Indians have taken it a whole step further down the wrong path.
The empire was often seen as the white man civilising natives over which he ruled. I can't say that i'm massively convinced by that argument as if it was so we should have ended this absurd medieval practice ages ago.
¶ 6:27 pm0 comments
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
New disease discovered: ex-ministerialitis
I think there is a disease that is reaching epidemic proportions in some sections of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Ex-ministerialitis.
1) Inability to recognise that you were useless. In fact you believe that you were the best thing for British public administration since the advent of parliamentary sovereignty. It was all the media's fault that you got the sack.
2) Being under the impression that anyone gives monkey's what you say. As a minister the civil service and press couldn't get enough of what you had to say, sufferers fail to realise that on leaving office this stops. Some will act as if nothing has actually changed at all.
3) Entering cars by the rear doors and then threatening the imaginary driver with the sack when the car doesn't move.
4) Distain for the whips office. Before you became a minister you kissed their arses, when you were a minister you had the pleasure of seeing them excerising the black arts to get your laws through parliament and now they expect you to vote for stuff that the ****** who replaced you is putting before parliament. Get real you tell them before jetting off from Heathrow on a freebie "factfinding" trip.
5) Excessive media exposure. Often this will take the form of insulting your former colleages especially the ******* that sacked you. In tragic instances the victim will be under the impression that said exposure will be a route back to ministerial office.
6) Tarting yourself around the private sector in search of directorships. Having run a department of state going back to constituency work full time is unbearable. You need to give the country the benefit of your experience and why not rake it in at the same time.
7) Coming up with inane policy ideas that are clearly bonkers. In severe cases they will be for policy areas which as a minister you had nothing to do with and written in green ink.
If you think that you have been suffering from symptoms like that get help as soon as possible. The names of possible sufferers can be left in the comments section.
¶ 10:02 pm9 comments
Blunkett: the new socialist historian
I got a copy of The Sun today. David Blunkett has got his column in today the central part of which is a defence of Ruth Kelly. The key interesting fact is that he states Attlee and Wilson both sent there kids to private schools. Is this true?
I also thought I would have a look at his entry in the register of members interests. I hadn't realised what a busy boy he has been. Clearly he won't be having a problem paying the fees in the future, if only the vast majority of Labour voters could say the same.
BLUNKETT, Rt. Hon. David (Sheffield, Brightside)
1. Remunerated directorships
HADAW Productions and Investments Ltd, to which is payable income from: A contract with Bloomsbury for the rights to my forthcoming journals. Signature payment due (£95,001-£100,000). Further payment £60,001-£65,000) (Registered 12 October 2006) Making available to, and granting rights relating to, the Blunkett Tapes - Juniper Productions for Channel 4. (£10,001-£15,000) Advising and taking part in the Blunkett Tapes for Juniper Productions for Channel 4. (£10,001-£15,000) Guardian and Daily Mail joint serialisation of Blunkett Tapes. (£100,001-£105,000)October 2006, fee for BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week recording. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 2 November 2006) Further payment from Bloomsbury. (£80,001-£85,000) (Registered 30 November 2006) I have not yet drawn down any income from this directorship.
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc Weekly column for The Sun newspaper commencing 1 December 2005. (£75,000)Weekly column for The Sun newspaper commencing 1 June 2006 (renewal of contract). (£75,000) Total annual remuneration (£145,001-£150,000)16 February 2006, fee for speech to Law Society, Leeds. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 23 February 2006)March 2006, fee for "Legendary Dinner", interview with Sir David Frost. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 4 April 2006)March 2006, fee for after dinner speech for Portland PR. (£5,001-£10,000) (Registered 4 April 2006)26 June 2006, PR Week Forum after dinner seminar. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 28 June 2006)Interview for Finestripe Productions. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 30 November 2006)15 November 2006, fee for speaking engagement for Insolvency Lawyers Association. (£5,001-£10,000) (Registered 30 November 2006) 16 November 2006, fee for speaking engagement for Publicans Weekly (Annual Conference). (£5,001-£10,000) (Registered 30 November 2006)
8. Land and Property
Second home in London, from which I temporarily receive rental income.
Winning in Withington
The selection for the prize Labour nomination in Manchester Withington is getting underway. One Nargis Khan already has her selection website set up. She says that she will be a fulltime candidate, based locally. Good stuff but then it goes wrong. The address on her website is in Bolton. Oh dear. I would suggest a swift move to the constituency. Burnage is lovely.
¶ 2:46 pm28 comments
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Manchester Labour Delivers
What do Manchester Labour Party and Midwives have in common they both specialize in delivery. Also good to see that they aren't being sold off to some religious loon. This is not a great advert for publically funded faith based welfare.
¶ 2:31 pm0 comments
Guardian cocks up by missing out Cruddas
I'm sure Alex Hilton is a very charming man. Judging by the patter he must have fed Jemima Kiss to get a story about Hilary Benn's deputy leadership's campaign in the Guardian Media section that is so blantantly biased, fawning and just plain ill informed he might just be to charming.
There are several things the article missed out. I would put a link but it is in the media section and you need to register. I got the print edition this morning.
1) Not mentioning the existence of Benn's biggest rival for the post Jon Cruddas. What did Alex forget to mention him?
3) Not mentioning that Cruddas is the first candidate to do an interview on facebook
4) Not mentioning that Jon Cruddas has a great website that has more innovation in it than the shock news that Hilary Benn has updated his constituency site.
5) Alex Hilton's own site Labour Home has more than it's fair share of Cruddas supporters
Also i'm not sure how brilliant it was for Alex to describe Hilary Benn as "a bit square" but you promote him how you want Alex.
¶ 4:36 pm5 comments
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Licence with your TV viewing
I fully support the government in renewing the BBC charter. I believe it is the right thing to do. The BBC is an important part of our national life. Though it would be a wrong to grant everthing that the Corporation wants. The £18 million deal to get Jonathan Ross shows that the Beeb is not exactly strapped for cash. It is a compulsory tax lets remember for anyone wanting a TV which is most people.
There is an interesting graph in the Economist which is sourced from Ofcom it shows that support for the licence fee increases with age but is only supported by a majority amongst the over 55's and the 65+'s. Amongst the 16- 24's the level of support is around 35% hardly a ringing endorsement of public service broadcasting. Support is also divided on class lines. Majorites in favour of the Beeb in the AB's and the C1's but falls for the C2's to just over 40% and for the DE's a meagre 35%
It does rasie questions over what should happen in 10 years time when the charter is up for renewal again. Is it sustainable when BBC1 and to be fair ITV1 have been losing audience share for decades to have the licence fee continued indefinatley. I think so at the moment but it would be wrong to give the BBC carte blanche. Perhaps we could think of ways that the licence could be made less regressive. For instance exempting students like they are for council tax. More radically it could be based on the wealth of your neighbourhood with people who live in rich areas paying a bit more.
¶ 6:49 pm0 comments
Doing it better.
It may come to the suprise of some in the blogesphere that the yanks are actually quite good at some things that don't involve invading foreign countries and torture, one such thing is online political campaigning. I have found a blog that is dedicated to nothing else save the practice of "online advocacy". E.politics is packed with the kind of information that we should be taking note of here in the bloggers 4 Labour community.
Fortunately they have put it all in a handy guide that you can download for free on the site. It's called online politics 101 and is on the right of the page as you load up the site. Happy reading.
¶ 12:01 pm1 comments
Saturday, January 06, 2007
We could be crying in 2008
Polling site Rasmussen Reports has an interesting fact of the day. 48% of people trust Democrat leaders in Congress more than they trust the president on 38% and don't knows on 14%. You would have thought from this that the next Democrat candidate for president is going to be a shoe in.
Well it might just not be so. Firstly now that the democrats have some power in Washington they can start to get blamed when things go wrong. It may have been a great night but winning the mid terms may make it more difficult to win the presidency in 2008. Though having more state governors and Lt governors is going to help clamp down on the electoral shananigans of the Republicans.
Second that poll was putting the Democrats up against president bush who will not be running in 2008. Indeed the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination McCain and Giulani are on the opposite wing of the Republican party from George Bush and will certainly try to disassociate themselves from the worst parts of the Bush legacy. They also have slight leads over Clinton, Obama and Gore in polling. The gap is not insurmountable epecially this far out from polling day but we do need to get things into perspective, unless the democrats raise their game there could very easily be another republican in the whitehouse in '08.
Giuliani's key asset is his actions in 9/11 but it would be wrong to assume that these were not without flaw as extensively documented here. The Democrats should not be afraid to attack him remorselessly over his actions on that day because that is the sole reason that he is even viewed as a contender.
The president may well be about to increase US troops in Iraq though not in the numbers that could have a dramatic effect. This will put McCain under alot of pressure as he is an adovocate of increasing US troop numbers in Iraq.
There is also the very strong argument that it is time for a change. That the next president should not be a republican and that america is going in the wrong direction. I think that the best hope of a new america is Obama but we should hear what he has to say some more on policy as that is ultimately where it's at. He has the highest approval rating among the Democrats though not by much but unlike Hilary the numbers of people who disaprove of him are much smaller.It could well be time for America's first black president.
¶ 3:48 pm2 comments
Lib Dems fall over on race
There is a view prevelant in society that the Lib Dems are some bunch of cuddly, slightly to the left of Labour people. I have to say i'm not convinced. Omar has been uncovering some dodgy goings on by Lib dems in charge of Camden council where the consultation for a massive (Labour government funded btw) school builing programme is being undermined as there is no ethnic monitoring of the consultation.
It may be incompetance or indeed it may be something more malign but what is clear is that the Lib Dems in Camden don't give a stuff about the educational chances of the areas ethnic minorities. Incidentially Bangladeshi's make up the a large part of the area and as they have the lowest educational achievement of any ethnic group perhaps they should start to give a stuff.
It should also be remembered that the Lib Dems have an atrocious record in representation of the ethnic minorities. Black or Asian Lib Dem MP's er no.
¶ 2:15 pm0 comments
A travesty but it's not Dave Lee Travis
If there is a god how can he let this happen? The political virgin said "On a daily basis I get angry about the state of the country, the nanny state and the way things are going." So no policies then. Nope, just indignation.
¶ 10:29 am0 comments
Friday, January 05, 2007
WMD found at last
While Iraq is plunging headlong into oblivion and the searcn for weapons of mass destruction, yes remember that, is shunted off the scene faster than the bullets are flying around Iraq I have found somthing that may be of interest. If you want a tinpot regime, that is on its uppers, that has weapons of mass destruction. that threatens key economic interests and has unresolved boarder issues I give you North Korea.
Armscontrolwonk is reporting that the preparations have put in place for a second nuclear test. So while liberal interventionism has died for a generation in the sands of Iraq the North Koreans have been quietly going on enriching more plutonium for more bombs. So are the Americans going to go in and sort out North Korean like they did in Iraq? Oh no, they actually have WMD.
¶ 11:31 pm0 comments
Jon Cruddas Poll !If were honest there are more exciting ways to spend your weekend than to go canvassing for the Labour party unfortunately they tend not to be as effective at returning Labour candidates in elections.
A new poll released by Jon Cruddas today reveals that almost two thirds of voters have had no contact from the Labour Party since the last election and that only 1% of Scottish and 2% of Welsh voters have had personal contact prior to next year’s key elections.
61% of voters expressing an opinion agreed that: “We only hear from the political parties at election time – in between I don’t know what they do. I would be more likely to vote for a party who made the effort to contact me regularly.”
With public distrust of politics at a high and disengagement threatening turnouts at elections, the poll will serve as a wake up call to all major parties ahead of local, Scottish and Welsh elections later this year.
I say Jon Cruddas is a part of the solution not part of the problem. That is one of the many reason we should vote for him to be deputy leader.
¶ 8:06 pm0 comments
An image to shock and offend
The image that I am about to link to my shock and offend you but it's a free country and you have been warned. Here is the Liberal Democrat front bench team they seriously want to become the next government of this country but if any of them had joined the other parties I doubt they would even be in parliament let alone on the front bench.
The fact is that the idea of a liberal democrat government is a joke, they are a party of protest for political illiterates and nothing more. If they had joined one of the main parties then they would be nowhere near any sort of cabinet, real or shadow.Why do you think they ended up with a drunk chatshow guest as leader, why do you think think they promote newly elected MP's with virtually no experience to the "shadow cabinet". Rather than making Ming look young it makes him look more like grandpa. Ming, find some "just for men" on your next shopping expedition.
¶ 12:02 pm2 comments
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
A Rudy Awakening
If your serious about running for president and Rudy Giuliani is, you have a dossier prepared looking at your weaknesses because your opponants will mercylessly exploit these. The Guardian is reporting that Rudy has had his nicked by the opposition but it all seems a bit well timed to me.
It wouldn't incredibly surprise me to learn in a few years from the memoirs of a campaign aide that the dossier was deliberatly leaked by the Giuliani campaign. Why?
1) The stuff in the dossier and you can check the orginal story here has nothing in it that was not publicly known before. The stuff on fundraising is interesting but all the campaigns will be making such plans.
2) The timing is suspicious if you had this document and you wanted to damage Guiliani you would release the document at a more opportune time rather than in a political dead season.
3) By getting the baggage out the way now the campaign can move on
4) Guiliani gets to play the victim and make his opponants look bad.
Celebrity Big Brother - dole money for the Z list
I was hoping to watch Celebrity Big Brother but there seemed to be no real celebrities in the place at least not ones who were doing anything else.The only one that I could fathom was doing anything current was the indian film actress and she had only just got off the plane and had never seen the show. So we can only conclude she is the victim of bad advice. The others were complete small fry. Infact that is probably an insult to small fry many of whom are like Norman Wisdom, big in Albania.
Channel 4 must know that the BB franchise is already in the care home of TV programme life. I would suggest a name change to liven it up a bit - Celebrity Dole Money.We were definately robbed of some excellent tele by the non appearence of Robert "I want to be prime minister" Kilroy-Silk. After a leftwing nutter in George "meow" Galloway it was only right that there should also be a rightwing nutter for balance.
¶ 9:57 pm1 comments
Cruddas Campaign news
Happy New Year from Jon Cruddas MP
The last few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. At the start of the year, I was looking forward to being involved in the debates over the future of our party – but I wasn't expecting to be standing myself. I was persuaded to stand before Party Conference and decided to announce I'd be a candidate straight away, so I could get around the country talking to activists about my ideas and plans for the party.
Over the Christmas break, I raised the need to reverse the collapse in party membership since the start of the decade. We've been losing members at an alarming rate. The Party Chair called that “sensationalist”, but everyone knows that the time for complacency is over. Politics hasn't been “on the wane” in Britain or anywhere else. More and more people are joining campaigning groups. It’s just that this is passing Westminster by.
Our campaign can change the party, and help win the next election for Labour.
Over the next few months I will be travelling across the country talking to some of the people who can help us rebuild the Party: people who have left, to councillors in areas where we've had setbacks, and members where there are no Labour MPs but who work hard regardless. This campaign is a real chance to fundamentally debate what we stand for and how to achieve our goals together. Our party is not just important, its strength is vital to everything we can achieve. Without party activists campaigning on the doorstep, the Tories will win.
So in the next few months, please get involved. Sign your friends up to get email news updates. Speak to your local councillors and sign them up as supporters. Ask your shop steward to advertise our campaign events to local union members.
I'm a backbencher, without instant access to the media or any of the other advantages that come with being an insider. I can only win – and our ideas can only take hold – with your active support.
Please make it your New Year’s resolution to get involved in the campaign to change the party and win the next election for Labour.
All the best for the New Year.
PS if you want to support our campaign, one way is to sign up friends as supporters. Ask them to click here to join us:
Spread the good news
The inaugural meeting of the new Labour Humanist Group takes place in January. All are welcome to attend:
Why Labour Needs Humanism
January 31 2007 7pm Committee Room 2 House of Lords (enter at St Stephen's entrance - arrive early to avoid queues!)
Speakers include Polly Toynbee
Parburypolitica thinks that a few god fearing Tories might try to gatecrash the event just to admire their new social policy idol Polly Toynbee.
¶ 4:35 pm0 comments
Why do they want the job in the first place
The trouble with politicians is that they are never happy with the job they have got. They always want more power but the thing is when they get it they find out that it isn't all fun and games. You can hardly blame the Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki for wanting to step down, his country deep in civil war. He may be Prime Minister of his country but it can't be a life affirming experience when your country is tearing itself apart before your eyes and there is very little that you seem to be able to do about it.
This brings me on to Ming Campbell, who by common consent was one of the better Lib Dem front bencher. True it is not a field where competition is very fierce but none the less he was better regarded than Lemsip Opik amongst others. Personally I can't see why he wanted to be leader of the Liberal Democrats, it's more work, more scrutiny and your ability to change the world is still just about zip.
I don't want to damn him for being old, both Gladstone and Churchill have been PM, a position of responibility far greater than he is ever going to attain and at much greater age than he is now. It's just that he is useless as a leader and would be having a much better time of it if he had never run for the job in the first place. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that all political careers end in failure, not knowing the limits of your abilities.
¶ 2:20 pm0 comments
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Not just a Welsh enigma
The voting public seem to like independents and the smaller parties more than they did as the total vote share of the conservatives and Labour has been going down over recent decades. You have to ask why when they are as Luke Young points out so clearly useless.
¶ 6:36 pm0 comments
The sex issueStroppyblog is less than impressed by the religious bigots of northern ireland and their opposition to new equality laws for gays and lesbians. I think when I see them protesting on the TV that they look so antiquated. Perhaps they need a shag or perhaps a better shag. If they had a more tolerant and pluralist view of sexuality then they would have been more interesting in shagging each other than killing each other over recent decades.
She also has a go at Ruth Kelly who is the minister responisble for equalities. RK we are lead to believe is a strong roman catholic, nothing wrong in that. People should have the right to freedom of religion. The thing is she gives the impression of being more interested in the RC chuch than she does in her equalites brief. No doubt the line will be trotted out that ministers have a right to a private personal faith and indeed they do.
It's just when Winston Churchill was fighting WWII I bet he didn't have a private opinion that it wouldn't be to bad if Germany actually won the war. The thing this reminds me of is Alan Clarke as a junior Tory employment minister reading out in parliament what his civil servants have prepared for him on equality for women. I understand it was not the most convincing performance of his life. Ministers tend to be more effective if they actually believe in what they are doing. So we want to see some conviction from the secreatry of state.
My view is that the state or indeed religious groups are not the best people to say who and how we should shag as we are perfectly capable of deciding that for ourselves.
¶ 11:16 am3 comments
Monday, January 01, 2007
Government stops kids smoking themselves to deathAccording to the Beeb the government has raised the age that people can start to buy cigarettes from 16 to 18 effective from the autumn. About time too. When I was that age we never had any money for cigs.
The problem with the age at 16, apart from children taking up a very expensive way of killing themselves, is that there will always be a doubt over a kids age so you end up with people even younger getting access to the cancer sticks.
Minister of State for public health Caroline Flint is picutured bottom right counting how many cigs the little girl on the left has had in that very morning.
¶ 3:05 pm0 comments
Fun with the bonkers brigade
Every so often a member of the bonkers brigade like to have a go at using my comments section. Not that I mind i'm pretty liberal about what I allow on here. Free speech and all that, however I do reserve the right to ridicule the ridiculous.
I'm in bold, though frankly I hope you could tell the difference without needing such distinctions.
My second attempt at this. Google must have a hangover, they are making more mistakes than I am.
Whoever "parburypolitica" is,
My name is Will Parbury, you may have guessed that from my email address which gets an mention every now and again on this blog.
I believe they are badly off beam over Globalisation.
Er, no i'm not.
If you follow that advice, you will end up as Globalisation "Slaves".
Actually globalisation has raised the living standards of millions. If this is slavery bring it on.
Globalisation is Capital And Politics.
That is a pretty weak definition. Globalisation is the increasing amount of human activity that takes place on a global or at least international scale. This involves not only trade and diplomacy but also culture, movements of people, communications and information technology.
Without the crooked and corrupt Politician, Globalisation would not be possible.
Politicians are on the whole decent people committed to public service possibly with a touch of ego but not crooked or corrupt. Some aspects of globalisation are a politically driven project but much of it is driven by the reality of the remorseless march of technology for instance the invention of the internet.
And the Taxpayers money is being used to fund the Capital Dominance by some in the commercial World.
What like the NHS or social security?
And then the Commercial World is funding Political Parties.
Actually most of the Labour party's funding comes from the Unions and its members
How very Incestuous. It goes with the deviant and unacceptable behaviour of most of our MPs, Westminster, Whitehall and most of the rotten stinking mess that democracy has descended into.
Ah a Daily Mail reader. You wouldn't have thought reading that, that we live in a prosperous stable democracy where people's rights are given protection by the law and a welfare state but they are.
Globalisation is an extention of "warfare" by other means.
No that is football.
It is dominanation. But this time we are on the losing side.
Actually it is a process of exchange that benefits both sides in the main.
Already we have volunteered to destroy our Agriculture so that we are dependent on others for our Food. 80% of the food you are eating today is imported. What will you do if your supply comes to an end?
I shall grow vegtables in the back garden just like people did in the war. The fact is though the supply is not going to come to an end.
Then gas, oil, coal, steel. We are dependent on the rest of the world for our very existence. And that was not by accident but design. Political Design.
We seem to be doing OK on it and somewhat better than North Korea which is the state closest to your vision of autarky.
Removing the Power over Direct Taxation is about the only way you are going to put a stop to these would be Dictators.
Seems a pretty authoritarian response to me. What about indirect taxation does that stay
Ending Direct Taxation is a very simple manoeuvre and is Peoperly Legal.The Welfare State had a noble objective in the begining. But Political corruption has destroyed that.
No it hasn't.
My advice is, take the Politics out of the Funding of the Services,
Given that much of the British political debate has been about the size of the state taking the politics out of it going to in effect mean the end of democracy.
and construct a Welfare Society. In the control of the Taxpayers. Not an MP.in sight.
Your dad, did he have a small mustache and speak German alot by any chance as it seems you want to be a little Hitler. Society will be my way or the highway – to hell with democracy that it what you are saying it seems to me.
I do have a Blogspot, the URL:- http://endofdirecttaxation.blogspot.com
I thought you would have
Have a look at it, and the Organisations sympathetic to the idea of removing Taxation from the power of Government. The objective, is for you, the Taxpayers to take charge of Taxation. Setting the TaxRate, Collecting the revenue. Then the most important function of all, setting out and implementing a Spending Programme to Achieve a measure of Public Service deemed necessary.
So what you are saying is that people should become involved in the political process and hence become politicians? Which you earlier described as “crooked and corrupt”. Genius.
That's for starters.
What there's more fun to come. Clearly this is a late Christmas present.