Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Short Review of the Year 2007

As with the previous two years, it had to be done.



FAVOURITE EVENTS



Gordon Brown becoming PM was perhaps the best.



PEOPLE WHO LEFT US IN 2007, WHO I WILL PARTICULARLY MISS



Teddy Kollek

Magnus Magnusson

Ian Richardson

Ian Wooldridge

John Inman

Gareth Hunt

Bob Woolmer

Yolanda King

Ruth Bell Graham

George Melly

Lady Bird Johnson

Nigel Dempster

Mike Reid

Ingmar Bergman

John Gardner

Tony Wilson

Madeleine L'Engle

Luciano Pavarotti

Anita Roddick

Lois Maxwell

Ned Sherrin

Deborah Kerr

Alan Coren

Chad Varah

Verity Lambert

Evel Knievel

Arabella Spencer-Churchill

Oscar Peterson

Benazir Bhutto

And, if dead, as is likely, Steve Fossett



FAVOURITE FILMS OF THE YEAR



The Simpsons Movie

The Magic Flute


FAVOURITE PEOPLE

The Queen (well she's great isn't she)

Kylie Minogue (For beating back cancer and making a return to the spotlight)


MUSICAL INSPIRATION

Paul McCartney (for his Memory Almost Full album). Plus some of the bands who have made some sort of comeback. Let that be an inspiration for one or two bands I would like to see get back together.


POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR

Gordon Brown, but also Benazir Bhutto, for helping to make an effort to bring democracy back to Pakistan, knowing what the cost could be.


PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR

I supposed being a bit more relaxed and contented with life as well as my training to be a lay-minister. Although politically I did enjoy campaigning in Ealing Southall and actually helping the winning side in a Parliamentary election for once ;). As well as enjoying helping out in Hilary Benn's campaign office.


BLOGGERS OF THE YEAR

LABOUR: Rupa Huq's home on the web

CONSERVATIVE: Iain Dale's Diary

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT: A Liberal Goes a Long Way

OTHER: Paul Linford/Rachel from North London

NON POLITICAL: Cally's Kitchen


FAVOURITE QUOTES

“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.” - Jimmy Carter, former US President. I don't entirely agree with this assesment as I think it's a bit OTT. But I can see his point.


(FAVOURITE BLOGGING QUOTES OF THE YEAR)

I’ve heard of viewers overseas tuning into the BBC Parliament Channel as entertainment and I have to say Wednesday’s PMQs was a spectacle for sure but rather uncomfortable viewing. Bullingdon Eton bully boy Cameron showed himself to be a particularly nasty piece of work. To resort to insults (the word “phoney”) is poor. Name-calling is for people who aren’t intelligent enough to think of real arguments. There is going to be no imminent election. He should get over it.

Rupa Huq pointing out another example of David Cameron's commitment to ditch "Punch and Judy politics"

Interesting reading matter in the Sunday papers yesterday as Katie from The Apprentice announced that not only is Margaret Thatcher her hero, but also that she's like to be a Tory MP.As I said previously, she was the most appalling out of a bad bunch of greedy, self-centred, manipulative, Thatcherite, David Brent-alikes - Katie, not Thatcher, obviously. ;-)But she did not deserve to be harassed off the show in the way she was.

Kerron Cross on Katie Hopkins

Mellor spent the whole interview being his normal unctuous, arrogant self and slagging off "Dave" Cameron in the most self-satisfied way you can imagine. David Gold responded in a very measured and calm way. I am afraid I was rather more to the point. As far as I can recall my rant went something like this...
David Mellor has just illustrated why
the Tories have been out of power for ten years....

Iain Dale on David Mellor's arrogance. I felt like cheering him on.


Happy New Year to you all :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Farewell to Recess Monkey

Was surprised to read that the Recess Monkey site will be no more next month (well end of January to be exact).
Whilst I was never a great fan of the site (bit too sensationalist for my liking), it did have some style and have always found its founder, the unforgettable and redoubtable Alex Hilton, to be a helpful and warm person, even if he does sometimes let his political passions go unwatched.
Why it will soon die out I don't know. Perhaps this will mean more efforts on making Labourhome a formidable fighting machine, perhaps he knows he is on for bigger things, in any case I wish Alex and the Recess team well.

The End of Year Events

Two things happen in the news between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve which are predictable. One is the New Year's Honour's List, the other are the documents released under the Thirty Year Rule.
Like Iain Dale I am not too fussed about the gongs now, but am somewhat glad that Parkinson got something for his years as the "King of Chat". As for the declassified documents, three things stood out for me.
The first is about Tony Benn being an inch away from being sacked by Callaghan over his attempts to destabilise the Lib/Lab Pact before it even begun. Thing is it is not exactly news, Benn mentioned it in his diaries.
The second concerns Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. I don't really want to go over the contempt I once felt towards Ian Paisley. If he was once involved with Unionist Paramillitaries, as I suspected, then that confirms that he was a hypocrite. However he has shown great statesmanship in the past year by being prepared to work with Sinn Fein (and writing as someone who, four years ago, avoided one fringe meeting at a Labour Party Conference because I knew Sinn Fein people inc possibly McGuinness would be there, that is strong praise), and I would be failing as a Christian and therefore being a hypocrite myself if I did not draw a veil over his past.
The sad postscript over the second point is that it turns out that Lord Mountbatten was for a united Ireland. I always felt, like many decent people, that his brutal murder was one of many which showed the IRA up for what they were. How sad and ironic then, thathe wasn't exactly pro-Ulster in the political sense.
The final point concerns Arthur Scargill and that he may have been monitored by MI5. Again this isn't really a surprise and I will no doubt anger a no of people by saying that if I were PM at the time I would be inclined to approve of this (although note that I said inclined, not wholeheartedly agree). There were rumours going around concerning links to Soviet Russia, his politics were proto-communist and whilst that did not make him a danger himself, it meant that he may have had links to political malcontents. He also was an agitator, as his refusal to ballot NUM members over the 1984 miners' strike shows.
Ah well, here is to next years' Honours List and the Thirty Year Rule mentioning what happened in 1978 (which will probably include Swap Shop being seen as part of the BBC's supposed left-wing conspiracy, due to a lack of teaching children the full merits of capitalism ;) )

Friday, December 28, 2007

Eight Wishes for 2008

Having been tagged by Paul Linford :

1) That the 2008 Olympics won't denigrate into a political football

2) That the government reclaims the initative and its successes become apparent and that the Tories take a dive in the Polls

3) That chaos does not reign in Pakistan and democracy becomes a strong, viable alternative to extremism

4) That professionally and personally, life becomes more exciting for me for all the right reasons

5) That my friends overcome whatever upsets and obstacles they are facing

6) That Hope 08 is a great success

7) That Barak Obama is elected as 44th President of the USA

8) That Zimbabwe, Burma, and other such countries have a new, elected, fresh, democratic government, committed to respect and human rights and dignity.

I am tagging Cally's Kitchen , Kerron Cross-The Voice of the Delectable Left , Rupa Huq's home on the web , Tim Roll-Pickering , and ParburyPolitica

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 42: Christmas Holidays

Christmas Day went well, a Jim'll Fix It soap and a book entitled Gene Hunt's Guide to Modern Policing, plus 101 Things to Do During a Dull Sermon, being among my presents, but I never envisaged being at the Lister hospital in Stevenage on Boxing Day evening, with an oxygen mask, being given a nebulizer, awaiting the chance for some new inhailers, because my old ones ran out hours before (but then I didn't expect a mild, then vicious asthma attack), but these things do happen. It does concern me though, that this year, for the first time since I was a teenager, the attacks have been decidedly unpleasant.

So I now have two inhailers and a course of steroid tablets, which taste horrible, but then I do feel much better as a result. Apparently the two attacks I had were the side effects of a cold (plus I suspect, laughing too much at reading Gene Hunt's Guide to Modern Policing), in any case it is unnerving when you have concerned relatives trying to persuade you to go to the hospital on a Boxing Day afternoon, whilst coughing your guts out and struggling to breathe evenly. But once at A and E and seeing other paitents does give you a whole perspective about Christmas time.

Because, much as we like to avoid watching the depression of EastEnders, well some of us anyway, some people are going through a wretched time of it right now. The family of that girl on that quad bike who was killed on Boxing Day for one, or indeed the family of that policeman who died in the course of his duty. Then of course there are the lesser things, like families having rows because of the sheer stress of preparing and organising Christmas, whilst feeling that everyone else is having a better time of it. I actually think that the Queen had a point in her Christmas Day broadcast. We should be more aware and thoughtful towards those less fortunate than oursleves, particually during this festive season when there is the temptation to think only of the wants and concerns of oursleves and those closest to us.

Benazir Buttho Assassinated

I have to say that when I heard the news I was shocked, saddened (not least for her family, friends, and supporters), bewildered, but not entirely surprised. She had suffered an attempt on her life two months ago and it was known that she was a target amongst extremists such as Al Queda.
What is important now is to try and maintain and improve on stability in Pakistan and to work further towards making it a viable democratic state.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 41: Last Minute Things

Well mainly housework today, all cards and presents done. Yesterday went to my first Nine Lessons and Carols of the month and was curious to see it include readings from Genesis, as well as from Isaiah and the Gospels. All part of the narrative I suppose.
Plus there was rushing to London and back to see an old friend (which included no trains between Hitchin and Welwyn Garden City), and its all moving as it were. I suppose Christmas Day is when I relax ;)
Incidentally a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all x

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Back

Also published on the CPF Blog:

Well it's not as if I have been away, but what with having had a twenty-four hour flu bug and what with busying around helping prepare for Christmas it does feel like that.
Of course in the meantime we have seen Nick Clegg declare his agnosticism and Tony Blair become a Roman Catholic. Contentious subjects, but at the risk of taking an unusal stand for a Christian I have no problem with a political leader being an agnostic or athiest. Well I admit I would rather they were Christian, but equally I prefer to judge them first on their capabilities and ability to do their job, and would prefer them to any candidate who talked the talk but didn't walk the walk, so to speak.
As for Blair becoming a Roman Catholic! Well his record in the past seems to be contradictory, but still, one sinner who repenteth eh.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

December Blues

Am not in a blogging mood at all today, but that is simply because I am laid up at home with a tummy bug and feeling decidedly groggy.

So instead today, you will be getting some Vox Pops points of view instead.



The Queen Becomes the Longest Lived British Monarch



Great news, and long may she reign, although unfortunatley in terms of longest lived Head of State, the Queen has yet to surpass Richard Cromwell's record.

Tories and Donations.

To be fair, as soon as the Witney Conservatives realised they had a problem, they acted swiftly and correctly. That said, it just goes to show that the opposition cannot afford to be self-righteous over such issues.

Christmas Bling

I still subscribe to this view, and think that people like Vic Moszccynski should be a bit more considerate in their Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nick Clegg and the Tory Lurrve

So Nick Clegg is the new Conservative leader and the Tories are shifting uncomfortably in their chairs.

They say that they want to form some kind of alliance with the new leader, but they also know that Clegg, one of the authors of the Orange Book, could siphon away Conservative votes if he plays his game carefully. And that would be really, really awful :)

So they try and seduce him, and as Iain Dale has pointed out , Caroline Spelman is already chatting Clegg up, asking him to help them defeat the Labour government. You know, the one that brought in the minimum wage, low unemployment, helped bring peace to Northern Ireland amongst other things.

Iain himself has also joined in by pointing out that Nick Clegg has kept his beloved Gio fed in dog biscuits, so it's clear that the Lib Dem leader has made a few Conservatives happy in a short space of time ;)

But if they want some free advice, I would say be careful. Conservatives know as well as Labour activists how unpleasant the Liberal Democrats can be. I can understand the predicament the Tories are in. A Clegg led Party is like a date who you know is bad but is oh so good! Just be careful and don't cry when you end up being dumped on.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Parkinson - The Last Episode

It was definetly the end of an institution and one which I will miss. As a final it was on Top Form, and both Billy Connolly and Peter Kay had me in stiches, although that is not a good thing at the moment considering I have a bad cough :/
Plus I didn't the series to end, but all things must pass and one hopes that one day there will be a worthy successor to the best chat show British television has had.

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 39: A Christmas Carol (1910 edition)

Told in just ten minutes. A warning though, best have the sound down, the use of soundtrack is a good advert for silent movies.


(TVDays.com)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 38: The Downing Street Christmas Tree

Hat tip to Kerron. This piece of film is from the Downing Street website.


Sir Roger Moore Behind a Picket Line!

Yes you haven't misread the title. Sir Roger Moore, UNICEF Ambassador and former Saint and 007, who moved from Buckinghamshire to live in, erm, tax exile, was behind the Cadbury's picket line in Bristol a few days ago (in protest at the closure of two Cadbury's factories), joining in protest songs and declaring his love from childhood of Cadbury's chocolate bars.
Just warms your heart doesn't it, and I am sure many a Union official will be watching Moonraker over the Christmas holidays with a glowing feeling.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Darwins

A lot of people seem to find this case funny. I just find it sad that someone saw fit to try and run away from their problems that he behaved like this, dragged his wife into his escapades and got his sons and family and friends (inc his ninety year old Dad, although he never gave up hope he was alive) to think that he had died in a freah accident.
Thats not funny. Its pathetic, and, indirectly at least, unbelieveably cruel.

Things to do with Advent/Christmas Pt 37: Frost

Okay, its unsafe, adds to the cold and doom and gloom, but like snow it does give that Christmassy glowing feel doesn't it!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Led Zepellin Reunion

Whilst I am sure itwill be interesting enough I have never been enamoured with them beyond mild fascination (and yes, Jimmy Page's fascination with the Occult has something to do with it). That said I do like the intro to Immigrant Song.
No, the big excitement for me is the forthcoming album by these guys. For Queen this will be their first album in over a decade and, whilst the lack of presence from Freddie Mercury and John Deacon will be felt, it will also be good to see Queen return, albeit in another direction.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Political Addictions

One of the groups on Facebook which is becoming popular is called, You know you’ve been in Politics too long when: . I haven't joined it as, mercifully, I don't fall under every catergory they have listed. However I thought I would share the list with you (and yes, the bits in bold do apply to me)

You tell people where you live by MP, Council area and postcode… in that order

You can tell when there is 500 pieces of paper in a pile just by looking at it.

You think PMQ’s is more entertaining than George Galloway in a cat suit

You think George Galloway in a cat suit is funnier than Monty Python

You stay up all night when there is a government reshuffle

You stay up 3 days in a row on elections night

You owe about 200 people money, not all of it in pounds

You can win an argument on any of the following: Land value taxation, the effects on Chinese demand for copper on the housing industry, how the Americans lost the war of 1812 and welsh history. You won these arguments because you have pre written them on your computer.

You can name every Prime Minister since Pitt the Younger In order

You think that watching the queen’s speech with a mate and a bottle of wine is a date

You honestly consider skipping out on your family at Christmas to do some canvassing – anything to get away from nan

You actually care about University Politics

You use terms such as Tory! Dirty Liberal and Wet Socialist when having sex

Offered a million dollars, you would buy a peerage

Camera + night out with your mates = propaganda opportunity

You are on the BBC news politics page more than you are on Facebook

2/3rds of the reasons for drinking are political in nature

You know you aren’t arrogant, because you are never wrong.

You start charing the weekly debate/Sunday lunch

You scream "SHAME" every time you hear about scandal for an enemy party

When you can write a research paper on any topic, from memory

You sit in a politics lecture, and think that an hour of listening to the lecturer has made you dumber

You ask your friends to text message you for political updates.

You’ve used political compass to see what you are. Twice

You go out for a drink and end up debating the finer points of freedom of speech legislation

You have a collection of buttons full of random party rhetoric.

You have a "people I'd like to run over with a bus" list composed of political enemies

You seriously consider going to other party's campus club events, in your own partisan t-shirt, just to heckle their guest speakers.

You start referring to member's of your party's front bench by their first names and have shared a beer with half of them.

You seriously consider spending your weekends to go help out your party in elections across the country

When you've described your relationship with your significant other from another party as a model of "bi-partisan co-operation."

---------------------------
Clearly there are some strange people out there ;)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Canoe Story Gets More Curious

Proof once again, if any are needed, that truth is stranger than fiction.

Say It's Not True

Apologies for not mentioning World AIDS Day earlier this week. My take on it right now is that people are not aware enough about World AIDS Day, nor the fact that even though AIDS sufferers are living longer in the Western World, it is still an epidemic out there and that people need to be more careful and wise inusing protection during sex.
To commemorate World AIDS Day, Queen + Paul Rodgers have released a single from their forthcoming album which should be out next year. The song is called Say It's Not True and you can download it free from their website here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One Question Remains

In the relief and good news about the end of Gillian Gibbons ordeal, one question remains!
What happened to the Teddy Bear?

Bi Annual Bloggers Social: The Fourth Occasion

Meant to blog on this earlier but I didn't have the time.

The embarrassing thing is that this event (the fourth of it's kind) had only two attendees, namely Tim Roll-Pickering and myself. I had an awfrul feeling that it would pan out along those lines, you just know when you are planning an event if you have mistimed it and Dec 1st (although not the first date picked) is not a good time. Not only that but a misundersatnding over the booking did further dampen things.
On the positive side I had a good evening with one of my favourite political opponents in the blogosphere, esp as we both have a brain for political statistics, although I think Tim has the sharper brain.
Previous accounts of Blogger Socials can be read here, here, and here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Accountability

In a conversation I had with my Dad this morning he likened the ignorance some Labour Party members had with regards to the donor scandal as being akin to someone caught speeding and telling the Police that they didn't spot the speed limit signs.


I think for many of us in the Labour Party, this has to be one of the worst weeks we have faced in politics since joining the Party. For the first time I am looking at David Cameron and feel queasy at the very real possibility that he could be leading a Conservative government in the not too-distant future, there comes a time when our credit with the electorate is no longer good and their paitence is wafer thin and I believe that we are in those times and possibly facing the awful sceneario of a Conservative government at the next general election.


But all is not lost. Gordon Brown still has a clean slate and he can turn this around if he acts now. First of all he needs to have a Macmillan-style Night of the Long Knives, which will mean seeing the sacking of two cabinet ministers, Harriet Harman and Peter Hain. He must also persuade the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party (who are extremely unhappy with Harman), to open nominations for a new Deputy leader and thereby using every available pressure to get her to resign. I don't care if she is paying the donation back, the mistake should never have been made in the first place and having been elected with 50.4% of the vote, she is hardly in a position to expect Party support.


Then he will , regrettably, have to have Jack Dromey removed for his sheer carelessness as Treasurer and then he will need to get rid of Mendelsohn as Chief Fundraiser.

After which there will need to be a Multi-Party Committee that will need to look at how to reform Party funding, because one of the disturbing things about the Conservatives crowing is that their own stables aren't exactly clean, and nor are the Liberal Democrats. This is not just an issue that damages those of us in the Labour Party, it affects all political parties and if Labour is to survive in government, if the trust in politicians of all parties needs to continue, then those are the actions that I think need to be taken. I wouldn't normally be so vocal against a senior figure like Harriet Harman, but then these are unique times where we need to be somewhat ruthless in order to survive.

Mars Hill Blog Stats (Nov 2007)

Top Ten Cities listed (from where people visit Mars Hill)


London, Brussels, Seattle, Kingston Upon Hull, West Babylon, Valrico, Manchester, Galway, Dublin, Brisbane


Top Ten Countries listed (In order of most visits to my blog)


United Kingdom

United States

Belgium

Ireland

Australia

Czech Republic

France

Philippines

Indonesia

Germany

For those who have started reading my blog in the last month, or who have returned after an absence, a warm welcome to you all


Top Ten Blog/Web Visitors

1) Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left (+1)

2) Iain Dale (+11)

3) Tim Roll-Pickering (+8)

4) British Blogs (NEW-ish)

5) Cally's Kitchen (-1)

6) Rupa Huq (+6)

7) Freemania (NEW-ish)

8) Cassilis (NEW)

9) tygerland.net (NEW-ish)

10) UCL Conservative Society (NEW)

Out of the Top Ten are PJ's Politics (13th place), Paul Linford (12th place), Confessions of an athiest , My BlogLog.com, Fair Deal Phil, The Last Ditch , Daily Pundit , and Justice for Leyton Ward (14th place)


Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

rose tyler returns

evie mars hill church

sarkosy

youtube scandals

miranda grell

annesley abercorn

alex hilton labour

addenium

mars hill paul

did rose tyler return