Friday, May 30, 2008

Driving Lessons Part VI

Well it went well, I learnt how to park a car and feel slightly more confident driving on roads, however I still haven't totally mastered the clutch and was bothered that my steering wasn't so perfect as before. Although I have been reassured that a lot of people who have driving lessons have off days.
Ah well onwards and upwards, not forgetting to mirror, signal, manouver ;)

Valerie Singleton and the Queen

Have come across this comment by Stephen Fry from his blog:

I have been pondering this business of fame since I was young enough to know Valerie Singleton from the Queen (for Americans and other non-Britons I should explain: one is a remote, god-like, autocratic woman endowed with powerful charismatic charm and the other is a constitutional monarch recently played on screen by Helen Mirren).

Pure genius :-)

1983 General Election

The highlights of that election night are on BBC Parliament right now, blaring away on the television in the study as I am typing away. Interesting, although the graphics and use of synths in the opening credits were slightly excruciating. It's also faintly amusing to hear people like David Steel predicting the demise of the Labour Party.
Ah well, here's to 2010

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Mary Whitehouse Experience

I have to say I wanted to watch it last night, but didn't as I was at a Labour GC meeting. That said, nothing stopped this remarkable woman from passing judgement on television programmes she had not seen, or maybe I am being harsh, unfair, and perhaps wrong!
I have to say I am in two minds about her. On one hand she had a scattergun approach to attacking programmes, so whilst Whitehouse would lay into the latest Dennis Potter drama, she would also attack an episode of Pinky and Perky and seemingly ignore the darker side of Dixon of Dock Green.
But then, this is also the woman who apparently helped bring about the 1978 Children Protection Act and some even claim that she helped bring in the Watershed time for UK TV. I think it is fair to say though, that whilst Mary Whitehouse targeted programmes without much thought and without looking at the general context, she also had a fear of the decline of standards and was passionate, if sometimes misplaced, about protecting some of the vulnerable in society. And that in itself, if properly handled, is a noble aim.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Should Gordon Do Next?

Well it looks like Gordon isn't going anywhere yet. I can understand the panic in some circles following the Nanwich and Crewe by-election, but if we lose our nerve now and ditch the PM, then there will be a bloodbath that could cost Labour dear, not just at the next general election, but for a while to come. We have already seen it happen in the Conservative Party.
But moves have to be made and quickly. One of them being to try and make sure we keep a solid united front, which means that Gordon will have to make a decision that, not only himself, but others will find unpalatable.
Basically it will mean having to put one of the usual suspects back into the tent. Preferably Alan Milburn, as he is one of the main antagonists and didn't leave office under a cloud. Perhaps he can be offered, not necessarily a cabinet post, but one involving Labour's campaign team with the added incentive of reporting on a regular basis to cabinet. It's a queasy thought for some, including myself, but sometimes, to use a crude LBJ phrase, it is better to have people p****** out of the tent than p****** in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Last Nights Result

I went to bed before it was declared. I knew what it would be, but not by how much, and in any case I wanted to get up at a Godly hour.
Where do I start! The economy is in a wobbly situation, people feel hurt and let down by the government, and rightly so in some cases, and we didn't run the best of campaigns.
On a political level it's doubly hard for Tamsin Dunwoody, as she has not only lost her mother in recent weeks, but has also failed to keep Nanwich and Crewe for Labour. I do hope though, that she will be elected to Parliament.
And the Conservatives are right not to relax. They can enjoy themselves today, having won the seat fair and square, but they need to show that they are a credible alternative to Labour and they haven't yet fully revitalised themselves as an opposition party. And whilst we were totally wrong to run that silly and negative toffs campaign, George Osborne is not exactly qualified to give Labour lectures about the rights and wrongs of such actions, as he foolishly did this morning.
So okay, we lost, we've been kicked around again, but we shall try and learn and act accordingly, and above all, we are sorry.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chelsea Vs Man Utd.

I have to admit that I am not a fan of either team, partly due to their smugness about being in the upper echelons of the premiership. But last night partly reminded me why Chelsea fans irritate me when they lose as well as win*
I arrive in Letchworth shortly after midnight for a taxi home, and finding myself at the back of a queue when I see a drunken Chelsea fan, complete with strip, and with a young lad of about eight having a go at another commuter waiting for a taxi. The conversation, as far as I recall, went like this

CHELSEA FAN: Are you a Man Utd supporter?

MAN: Yes

CHELSEA FAN: Well f*** off then. Gloating over us.

MAN: Look I'm just minding my own business

CHELSEA FAN: Well f*** off!

At this point a no of commuters are staring at the fan in question with that kind of "Just grow up" look, coupled with the weariness of a long day and just wanting to go home. The fan continues to be rude and abusive to the man in question, before his eight year old manages to successfully get hold of a taxi. Such is the man's rudeness, I say in a neutral voice, but deliberately loud enough for the fan to hear "It's only a game! Be a bit more mature about this!" and the man in question says thankyou and it is only after the taxi leaves that he says. "I'm not really a Man Utd supporter!"
And I had only said my piece once the fan was safely inside the taxi. Cowardice I know, and perhaps uncalled for. But he was getting on our nerves and there is something unnerving at night-time about obnoxious people who don't use their brains!

*I hasten to add that not all Chelsea fans are like this

Driving Lessons Part V

Well it was a bit of a minor shock when my instructor arrived and got out of the driving seat and said "You can drive!". Uusally she drives us to an area in Letchworth and we swap seats then, but it was an experience.
So this time I learnt three point turns and changing into fourth gear, which meant driving to an area where I can go at 50mph. Bit unnerving but managed to keep things under control, although my main problem now is co'ordinating everything in that if I remember to do one thing I forget to do something else and vice versa, but with a bit of paitence and fortitude it will come.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Russell T. Davies steps down from Doctor Who

To paraphrase Christopher Eccleston's Doctor in describing Davies's tenure as Head Writer and Executive Producer, "Fantastic!"
When I heard he was charged by the BBC to bring the series back I groaned inwardly. I feared that the Queer As Folk writer would sexualise the series Andrew Davies-style, and in some ways he has, although to a small extent (am starting to wonder if it is stipulated in the contract of any actor who now plays the Doctor that they must have at least one snog per series ;) ).
But compared to the tired-feel it sometimes had from the mid-late eighties, it's fresh, dynamic, playful, imaginative, has a brilliant team of writers, and has recaptured people's imaginations in a way that hadn't happened with the series for a very long while. Am also pleased that Davies's replacement is Steven Moffat, who I remember as the writer of that brilliant sitcom Coupling (If you have never seen it do get the chance, it has the desires and neuroses of romantic and potential romantic partners down to a tee, well almost). Not only that but he has already penned some of the best stories of the series, such as The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, and Blink.
Good to know the series is in safe hands :)

Senator Edward Kennedy

Very saddened to find out about this and I hope and pray that this isn't the end and he recovers. He had his sins and his faults in the past, some of them dreadful, but he seems to be a changed man, has carved his own niche outside the shadow of his brothers, and he has been one of the best Senators the US has had in the past forty-six years

This Political Week

It's been slightly emotionally painful for me for a no of reasons. For a start I disagree with the move to back hybrid embryo research. I appreciate the motives behind it but I feel that in making moves and leaps in scientific and medical research we must keep to a strict code of ethics, or else we will end up in all sorts of dubious corners. Put basically, it boils down to human dignity.
For similar reasons I wanted to see the move to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. This is also for the simple reason that if a child can survive birth at around that time, then in my view it is wrong to terminate it whilst still in the mothers' womb. Likewise I hear what the pro-choice lobby are saying, but if there is any vestige of reasonable hope to save a life, then that option must be taken. I don't take these views lightly and I am keenly aware of the emotive feelings, arguments, and pain on both sides.
Then there is the by-election in Nanwich and Crewe on Thursday. I have to say that whilst I hope that Tamsin Dunwoody wins and wins well, we have not had a brilliant campaign. The toffs incident was not just a miscalculation, it was a squib and a very silly move. Times have changed and in any case Labour has had it's fair share of toffs. The way to attack Cameron and his ilk is on their delivery, their record, and their publicity stunts.
And as for Alan Milburn, he had better think carefully, Labour is in no mood for a civil war, not least from the usual suspects, and in any case I don't think a change of leader is welcomed!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Personal Blogging

Nearly a fortnight ago, during the Karaoke evening at St Stephen's, Alex Hilton of Recess Monkey told me what he thought of my blog's progress.
Apparently, two years ago, when I mentioned my brief relationship with Rose, amongst other things, it was going well. But recently I have been less personal.
I can see his point and it is difficult and this is for several reasons. First of all I got some trolls for the first time when I documented my relationship (which was with the view that Rose was okay with it and a fellow blogger), which left me with the view of being more careful. In fact, when I started going out with the delightful S, I already made the decision only to mention the relationship in context and with anonymity. I did mention this to S and that was exactly the situation she preferred. In fact when we went on a break (which obviously became permanent), I decided, partly through my own immediate gut-feeling, and partly through the advice of a prominent blogger, not to mention the situation. It wasn't relevant, most of all it would be unfair to S, and, quite frankly, esp as I only mentioned the relationship in context, none of your business.
Secondly I am sensitive to the privacy of family and friends, the more so as time goes by. Hence why you rarely see me mention my family, if at all, or my friends, and even then it's in context. Basically I asked to be noticed simply by having this blog using my own name, those close to me have not.
Thirdly, and this does tie in with 1 and 2, I know this seems strange, but I am actually rather a shy and private person. It's not immediately obvious, but I find meeting new people a bit unnerving, esp in groups (although it depends on the context), and whilst in some cases I may seem like an open book, I tend to be rather selective about which chapters and paragraphs people can read. It's basically down to a combination of being shy and generally liking people and also keeping my own personal space.
But at the same time I am keenly aware that part of the reason my blog has been successful, as Alex rightly points out, is where I have added the personal touch. So I appreciate that if the success is to continue, I need to be more free and open, so long as it's within the context of 1-3 as I mentioned earlier.
So why mention all this? Well it's because from the feedback I have been getting it is a concern and to let you know I am aware of it, but I also need to be consistently imaginative and hold something of myself back of the reasons I have given.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Writing on the Wall

Who is going to tell Hillary and if there is a right time, better now than facing humiliation later.

Tory Office Donations

This doesn't suggest that members of the Shadow Cabinet are being corrupt, or indeed showing lack of moral scruples, but it does suggest that they really ought to be more careful, as should we all. As for George Osborne, I think he got off lightly. It does say something about a future Chancellor of the Exchequer when he cannot properly question a £487.000 donation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Seven Songs

Once again I have been tagged. This time on the seven songs that are going round my head these days.

Love Song by Sara Bareilles

Simply because it's on the radio a lot and has a very catchy tune. I also like that line "I'm not going to write you a love song, cos you asked for it.." In other words, have a bit of self-respect

Dance With Reality by John Barry

It's on my iPod and from his album The Beyondness of Things. I am a major fan of his work and regard Barry as one of the finest film score composers we have had, to the point where I do feel sorry for people are are not moved by his lush use of strings and horns. Harsh I know, but true

Coming Up by Paul McCartney

Nifty little no from 1980 and his first post-Wings single. It's just brilliant. The use of synths, the guitar riff, the slight falsetto vocals, and the simplicity of the lyrics stating that good things are around the corner. It was also a favourite of John Lennon's, who raved about it in some of his last interviews.

Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

Triggered by the fact I butchered it at a Karaoke event about a week ago. It's just catchy, has a good riff, and has a touch of humour and menace in the lyrics, as used to good effect on a no of videos on YouTube.

London Calling by The Clash

My favourite punk-rock song, tend to play it on my iPod whenever I go into London. Esp like the intro


Don't Stop Me Now by Queen

Well why not!

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

Well given the weather, I doubt it will be today :(

Tagging: Whoever is interested in doing this

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Paul's blog posts of the week

Annie Porthouse on ethical shopping

Bloggers4Labour on vulgar libetarianism

Cally's Kitchen reports that the Vatican website now has a Latin section (you mean they have waited all this time!)

Kerron Cross on "The Shallow Chancellor"


Rupa Huq on Cyberstalking

Neil Harding on the Tories' attack on lesbian parents


Kerron Cross (this time on Labourhome), putting forward the case that the Conservatives are not the progressive party

Has Iain Dale joined the establishment? (It's the bit about the socks that intrigues me!)

Stephen Tall on life outside elected politics


Linda Jack wonders if David Cameron is out of touch with his Party?


Paul Linford praises Gordon Brown's draft of the Queen's Speech


Rachel from North London has reminded me why I would rather do all sorts of horrible things than get on a train in Tokyo

Giles and Sue go on more Super-Size adventures

One of the things that I wish I was good at and am not is the ability to cook a good meal. Pride tells me that is more down to lack of experience than technique, as it is too easy for me to open a fridge and get out a ready-made meal and bung it into the microwave, but then I was not brilliant at cookery classes at school (the best one being when I thought I was doing brilliantly at making quiche, only to find I put in too much milk. The humiliation of holding the tupperware box going home on the school bus with the contents slopping around inside).
I am also not one for watching cookery programmes much, except of course when Nigella is on and, don't ask me why, but for some unfathomable reason I can't work out, I don't watch it because I am fascinated by cookery and ingredients. I do respect these programmes though and if I ever achieve one of my life's ambitions and whip up a splendid meal for a future girlfriend, rest assured I will be using a Jamie Oliver cookbook.
But there is one programme about food which will grab my attention in the next few weeks and that is to do with the exploits of those new culinary partners-in-crime, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins
Yes, following on from their brilliant Edwardian Super Size Me, which I enjoyed, although with one or two misgivings, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins have pushed the boat out and decided to try out the culinary habits of people through the ages.
Definetly worth a watch, although it's not quite something I would do, well okay I would and with gusto, but not the ones where our ancestors had no idea of the proper concept of breakfast as we know it today.

Israel at Sixty

Something I have wanted to blog on for about a week, but not sure how to approach this, so will play it by ear.
I think it is fair to say that I am unashamedly pro-Israeli, in so far as I agree with their desire for a homeland and for that homeland to be in the Holy Land. A lot of the conflicts involving Israel should also be looked at with the questions; "Does Israel have a right to exist?" and "Does Israel have a right to defend itself". With those two questions I would personally answer yes, however there is a fine line sometimes between defence and persecution. The treatment of the Palestinian people is disgusting, not to put to fine a point, and the blindness of the Israeli government to the Biblical charge to look after ones neighbour is ignored (and I am not referring to the New Testament, it's mentioned in the Old Testament as well).
So I hope that, as a nation, Israel grows and prospers and I wish them well on their anniversary, but I also hope and pray that they will listen to the pain of the Palestinian people, that they would break down that wall around Bethlehem, that they respect the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, and that that peace, real peace comes to this troubled land.

Drving Lessons Part IV

And yesterday was the first time I did roundabouts.
Which actually was not quite as scary as I first thought, although the first time I went around one I was a bit too fast and asked if I was on a mission. After that my nerves were under control.
I also learned to change into third gear while driving and generally I seem to have managed okay.
Generally my main problem is coordinating everything, so if I do well with the clutch (a fairly consistent weak point), I fail somewhere else etc.. so it's just a question at the moment of learning to get into a rhythm and not worrying too much.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Disloyalty

I do hope that those who have been busy digging the knife into the PM this weekend bear in mind (when they are not feeling self-indulgent) that we not only have a general election in about two years time, we have a by-election later this month, and that right now we need to pull together and offer constructive criticism and work out how to bring forward a non-left, post-project, Labour government.
Unless of course they think a Conservative government is more preferable.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Doctor's Daughter (Warning Spoilers!)

Definetly one of the stories I wanted to see.
Well it was interesting, but almost predictable. I hoped against hope that Jenny would be a bona fide biological daughter, but no she was a clone, thus the debate between fans as to whether Time-Lords are loomed, or whether they sexually reproduce was avoided. And for some reason fans hate the idea of the Doctor being seen in the latter light (in spite of The Girl in the Fireplace), as if they have some horrible image in their heads of an empty TARDIS console room, an assortment of Edwardian clothing on the floor, the distant sounds of happy squeals of delight from a companion and the sounds of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It on reverberating around the place.
But it was a very, very good story on a no of levels. From just how much Jenny is a Time-Lord, or Time-Lady, to the battle between the Colonists and the Hath, to the Paradox as to why the TARDIS went to Messaline in the first place.
Plus the end was good in that, it would have been a shame if that was the last we saw of Jenny. I have a suspicion she will come back at the end of the series.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Karaoke at St Stephen's

Will have to be quick with this blog entry as I am v.busy. But Alex of Labourhome and Recess Monkey fame organised a Karaoke evening at St.Stephen's Tavern on Wednesday. Great fun and worth it if only to see David Rowntree successfully wiggle out of singing, one backbench-Labour MP give his, ahem, take on a Frank Sinatra song and one well-known Lib Dem MP dash off when the division bell rang, never to return.
And me! Well I cheerfully managed to butcher Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out (don't ask me how, it's a favourite song of mine and I thought it would suit my vocals, but apparently I sounded like David Byrne). Plus Alex did such a brilliant rendition of Me and Mrs Jones that I wonder if he is in the wrong profession ;)

Boris and the Tube

I agree with Kerron on this one. Boris is right on the Tube drinking issue, but please don't put it about that we agree with him ;)
It's not Puritanism, or nanny state thinking. In fact it's a view I have tended towards holding for a while. Put simply, there is a lot of aggression and anti-social behaviour around some drinkers and it is ill-liberal and unfair to subject other people to that kind of situation in an area which they cannot readily escape from.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Burmese Reluctance

Doesn't it say something about a regime that, as well as having no respect for human rights, the democratic wishes of it's people and a contempt for international opinion, it is reluctant to receive unconditional help and support when it's people are suffering from the result of a cyclone hitting the country.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sailing Ahead

I will be honest I was worried about Indiana, but last nights result was fantastic. I think the way things are going Hillary Clinton will be out of the race some while before the Democratic Convention and so she should if the Democrats are going to clinch the White House in Nov. Esp as Senator John McCain is making the running on the Republicans side.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Driving Lessons Part III

Well admittedly I was a bit nervous this morning before I embarked on my first driving lesson. I got up slightly earlier than usual and felt like one of my favourite fictional heroes in this scene (although I can see better than Harry Palmer, sans glasses, and I am not interested in horse racing)*

(Universal)


So 9am I am all ready and my instructor takes me to a small suburban area of Letchworth where I can drive safely around some streets without causing any harm and mayhem.
Now the good news is that apparently I am good with the steering wheel and keeping to the road and manovering the car (i.e. I don't shoot out of streets and parking areas), although I do have problems coordinating the clutch and and accelerator. That said, for a first timer behind a wheel I seem to have done rather well.
So heres to the next few lessons and some prepping up on the theory.

*Feeble I know, but have been itching for an excuse to put in a scene from this film

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mars Hill Blog Stats (April 2008)

Bit late, but never mind..

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

London, Palmerton, Swansea, Derby, Reddich, Chicago, Middletown, Hong Kong, Liverpoll, Vancouver

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


United Kingdom

United States

Korea

Cambodia

Hong Kong

Canada

Ireland

Germany

Spain

Brazil

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)
Cally's Kitchen (+3)

2) Bloggers4Labour (+ 1)

3) Facebook (NEW-ish)

4) Antonia Bance (NEW)

5) Lindyloosmuze (NEW)

6) British Blogs (-4)

7) Paul Linford (-6)

8) New Statesman (NEW) (Technically due to stats in first week of May)

9) Man in a Shed (NEW)

10) Rupa Huq (-3)

Out of the Top Ten are Tim Roll-Pickering (11th place), Iain Dale (13th place), Rullsenberg Rules, Wikipedia, and Cassilis (12th place)


Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

Mars Hill

Paul Burgin

Mars Hill, Paul Burgin

Mars Hill blog

Derek Conway

free online chav test

Youtube scandal

Chris Burgin

What is goosing

David Stirling sas

Paul's blog posts of the week

Bloggers4Labour puts forward ten new policies to consider in light of Thursday's election results

Labour receives some sympathy from Cally's Kitchen


Kerron Cross survives the BNP onslaught

Will Parbury on cycling and the left's round-up of the London result
(Incidentally right now I am listening to Life on Mars? by David Bowie)

Tim Roll-Pickering raves about Ashes to Ashes being on DVD
. (If you haven't seen it yet, please do!)

WongaBlog on an addition to Rock, Paper, Scissors


Sunderkatwala on Labourhome makes an analysis on what needs to change for Labour after Thursday's results

Luke Akehurst on where Labour did well on Thursday


Iain Dale reports that Boris Johnson's Dad is applying to stand for the Conservatives in Henley
(Prepare for some fireworks)

Linda Jack asks whether Hillary Clinton should admit defeat

Rachel North is shocked at how Londoners could vote for Boris!


Brian May is showing his academic side again

Gordon Years

Yesterday Kerron, Rupa, and myself among others, were slated by the Uber-Blogfather himself for not adding to his shadenfreuder, sorry I mean concern, over the lack of Labour bloggers response to Gordon's leadership.
To be fair to Iain though he has a point and I am glad he has brought it up. Because, aside from having had a busy domestic Bank Holiday weekend and a life outside blogging, I have avoided mentioning this issue out of a mixture of loyalty, frustration, and having missed some of the crucial interviews in question.
Lets put it this way, when Gordon became Prime Minister, many of us were hoping for a slight change in direction in Social Democratic politics. The hope was that there would be less spin, more policy, and a slight realignment of the political agenda that would satisfy the left, the general public, and bring forward the direct centrist/economic-right battle that would have taken place in the eighties had the Social Democratic element took firm control of the Labour Party and the SDP not existed. Not only that, but given the way the Tories have been in opposition, we would win and that would cause the Tories to radically rethink their political philosophy, let alone their agenda (because let's face it, they have not had the painful transition in opposition that Labour have had to face).
This has clearly not gone to plan, not least because of a failure to take initiative, to publicly and cynically wrong-foot the Tories in ways that have clearly rebounded, and by having ill-thought out but well meaning policies such as the 10p tax.
But all is not lost. David Cameron himself has stated that the Conservatives should not take victory as a given and we do have two years to try and turn things around, so long as, to take from Rudyard Kipling's poem If, we keep our heads while others lose theirs. That means sticking by our leader, but also encouraging him to take the initiative and have a rethink on several economic policies and to try and reconnect with the voters. We have two years in which to do that and we cannot just rely on Cameron's PR mask to slip, although that will happen provided we keep our nerve and show a degree of enterprise and freshness that we have been lacking of late. As for leadership challenges, well we know the damage that can cause, we have seen it already from the Tories' and Lib Dems. Initiative, openness, radical renewal whilst staying the course, and hopefully we shall pull through.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Painful Weekend

Obviously politically. Personally it's been good, last nights episode of Doctor Who was good and next weeks looks very promising. I seem to have succeeded well in taking a service at Stotfold Methodist Church this morning (although I relied too much on the microphone and less on projecting my voice), and this afternoon I shall be doing the therapeutic domestic chore of mowing the front lawn.
But politically it has been dreadful. It goes beyond rage and pain, it's that cold stench of defeat and that sense of "Go on lads, get it over and done with, give us another kicking!"
It was bad enough Boris Johnson winning (and I have had several friends, some of whom are not fans of Labour texting or ringing me to voice their disbelief), it's the fact that now the BNP have a seat on the London Assembly, so not only do we have the embarrassment of Tory cock-up's in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, we also have the humiliation of having one of the unacceptable faces of right-wing politics on London's elected assembly. I have to say that the way I feel now if I hear a Londoner complain in the next four years about this I would be tempted to say "Not my fault, but it's yours if you voted that way!"
Still, one cannot fault the Conservatives and their friends for fighting a well-organised campaign and I wish Boris well, for all our sakes, but it is worrying.
That said, all is not lost. If the government ditches the 10p tax rate and brings in some further incentives for low income earners, that might help a great deal. Plus it is two years until the next general election, but we need to move and fast.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Morning After

Okay so we got a kicking last night. Big time
But there are still the Mayoral results to come through and whilst this means we have a large hill to climb for the general election, we still have time to turn things around. What is more, the Conservatives still cannot be trusted to run the economy if this report is to be believed. Less so in fact than last year.
And if, if, Boris Johnson is Mayor this evening, it will be with the fact that any gaffe, any slip up, any mistake, will reflect badly on the Conservatives and what is more with David Cameron who has tied himself to the Boris campaign. The Conservatives may have won the battle, they have certainly not won the war

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Polling Day

If you are voting in elections in England and Wales today, esp the Mayorals, and haven't yet voted, and can, at this moment, spare time to pop down to your nearest polling station, then stop reading this and go down and vote.
Now at this point I was going to make a joke about people who plan to vote Tory or Lib Dem not to worry about the last bit and to just relax and put the kettle on. But reading about Zimbabwe and knowing how the BNP can make gains is a reminder of how precious Democracy and freedom of speech is. So if you haven't yet voted and are a resident of England and Wales, then please go out and vote today. Your vote matters.

Latest Developments in Zimbabwe

The fact that the Zimbabwe government has conceded that Mugabe has not won outright is encouraging. What isn't is the attempts to spark a run-off poll and to accuse (and it would by funny if it wasn't for the menace involved) the MDC of trying to rig the elections.
Last week The Independent stated that the International community should apply more pressure on Zimbabwe, after Church leaders there warned of possible genocide due to Mugabe's actions.
I totally agree and was heartened by the blockade of arms to Zimbabwe by one of South Africa's biggest trade unions. I have also been heartened by the Foreign Secretary's latest comments on the issue.
Now is the time to get tough, esp as now that Mugabe is at his most vulnerable he is at his most dangerous. The African solution to an African problem involves listening to the pleas of the Zimbabwean people who are suffering under Mugabe's regime. If the Zimbabwe government try and cling onto power, then we should make sure that they should be aware of the consequences of their actions. Most Zimbabwean people are devout and talk of prayer as an answer to their troubles. The people pray, they have spoken and the government is in trouble. Perhaps Mugabe, a supposedly devout Catholic although I know many Catholics are ashamed of his behaviour, should stop and pray, really pray, himself and listen to his conscience and ask what the Almighty requires of him!