Friday, October 30, 2009

Alex, Gary, and Jess for Islington Council!

I have added their website onto my blog links (which really needs a spring clean BTW, so apologies for that).
I have only got to meet Alex and Jess this year, although I heard of them individually for some while beforehand, and I think that these people will be an asset to Islington Council and, above all, to St George's Ward.
The three candidates are tenatious, open to ideas, thoughtful, have fought hard to help clean up Labour where needed following the Draper/McBride affair and the expenses scandal, and have lived in St George's Ward and it's enviorns long enough to know what is much needed for the area.
Next May might seem like a long while, but we all know how time can creep up on us, so if you want to help, then get in touch with them and I am sure they will be only too glad for your input.

Kidnapped Off Somalia

I have every sympathy for the couple, I hope the issue is dealt with quickly and they are returned safetly, and my thoughts are with them and their family and friends.
That said, am I one of the few who asks what an earth they were doing sailing in what are known to be dangerous waters in the first place? Did they not follow the news over the past year where the Indian Ocean was concerned?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Parliamentary Rules Following Expenses Scandal

I agree with most of this, although I am concerned about the issue of not employing relatives.
Notwithstanding the issue of employment contracts, many MP's find having spouses working for them very helpful to their marriage and well-being. MP's work long hours, in stressful environments and while some marriages work well with both couples spending long periods apart, some do not.
I am open to becoming an MP one day (I don't mind if it doesn't happen, but it's a career move I sometimes consider), and if I ever get married at some point in the future the prospect of going into politics in that direction would weigh heavily against me in making such a decision if I want a healthy marriage. That is assuming of course, that I'd be married to someone who would want to work for me ;-)
We have to be careful in what rules and recommendations we put forward for MP's to follow. Many of them are noble in intention, but we must consider what the social emotional cost would be and whether we can be too rigorous as to turn off aspiring new talent from across the political board.


Monday, October 26, 2009

New Labour Candidate for North East Herts

For more see here. I have to say though that we have picked a good candidate. David Kirkman is young, enthusiastic, and utterly determined. As Candidate, he will point out how much the Conservatives can damage our public services compared to Labour's record in office and why!

The BNP On Question Time

The following is an article I have written for the next edition of the CPF E-Zine, IMPACT:

Having an individual like Nick Griffin on BBC Question Time was always going to be a controversial move, not only because of who the man is and what he represents, but also because there is still a dispute about how to handle the BNP. Do we give them a platform with the idea being that if you question them rigorously whilst giving them enough rope they will hang themselves, or do we starve them of any publicity, thus refusing to give them any quarter and not allowing ignorant and naïve minds to be polluted?
I for one happen to go for the former view. To do the latter I think would be counter-productive and would give the BNP martyr status that they nowhere near deserve. The actions of anti-fascist groups outside the BBC that fateful Thursday, whilst well meaning, played right into the BNP's hands and if you doubt me, ask yourself if the BNP would have preferred Nick Griffin to make a quiet entrance? Many people who saw Nick Griffin on Question Time would have seen a man who was given the opportunity to clarify some of the BNP's more controversial allegations against them; Holocaust denial, friendship with the Ku Klux Klan, racism, what is an indigenous British person? Time and again, Griffin fumbled his answers and gave half baked ones which did no one justice and his declaration of supporting a “Christian” nation, whilst unsurprising, is one that not only offends many Christians, it shows that Griffin has not been reading the Bible properly and, at worst, has been deliberately selective which does not do wonders for his soul. It wouldn't take many to quickly find the parable of the Good Samaritan and see that if Jesus came to Earth today, instead of 2,000 years ago, and settled in the UK and voted, he certainly would not vote BNP.
But there is more to Christianity in politics than being anti-BNP, it is also a faith which links to the foundations of what makes good Democracy. Christ tells us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. President Kennedy (a Roman Catholic), stated in his inaugural address in 1961 “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!” We are all human and we live in a hard and uncertain world. This means that we must not only be unwavering and compromising in our beliefs, we must also (no matter how distasteful) show regard for others whose politics we detest, but with a hard, open, and uncompromising disagreement with those views and being prepared to use the weight of the law where needed, if those views directly attack the fabric of our society.
Battling the BNP involves a war over hearts, minds, and souls. The battle is becoming more open and those of us who stand for decency and democracy must up our game, but likewise we must not betray our values and likewise we must learn the balance between offering free speech and penalising those who refuse to offer that free speech to others.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Election Night Should Stay

A classic argument as to why it should be kept. Plus why any council staff don't share the fun is beyond me ;-)
That said there are good serious reasons to keep it, as Tom Harris points out in this piece.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nothing British About the BNP Video. The Veterans Speak Out

Hat tip to Iain Dale and LabourList



(Nothing British)

BNP and "War Crimes"

This is not just a disgusting accusation, it is also farcical. As if the activities of the German Army from 1939-1945 can be compared to the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan who have done their best to bring stability and order and respect to those regions!
That said, Nick Griffin being on racist marches in the 1970s and 1980s is more akin to the activities that emanated from Nazi Germany.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trailers To My Favourite Films. No 13: Network

It's been a while since I have done this, so I thought I'd share with you a trailer to one of my all-time favourites, Network, which rightly won four Oscars.
It was made in 1976, but it still seems to resonate today, creepily enough, with regards to paranoia and the way some chase after ratings above ethics.

(MGM/UA)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nothing British About the BNP. At All!

Whilst this year has seen the unfortunate incident of seeing two BNP activists elected to the European Parliament, there are times when one is heartened by evidence that people from all walks of life are not just disgusted by the BNP, they are revolted to the point of publicly declaring that they do not represent them or their way of life.
So it is that five Generals in the British Army have listed their concern about imagery of the UK armed forces being used as propaganda by extremist political parties. Whilst the BNP is not mentioned by name, the context being that it is part of a campaign against the BNP speaks volumes.
Hopefully, if nothing else, this will help send a message to those who have supported the BNP out of naivety, but likewise those of us within the more decent mainstream political parties must up their game in showing that they care about each and every one of the varied communities that make up the UK.
And you know what! I am actually looking forward to Question Time on Thursday! As it now seems inevitable they will be on I think if nothing else, the event could show Nick Griffin up for the bigot he is in front of a very large audience.

Anglican Society Within Catholic Church

As an ecumenist who hopes that one day there will be a united church worldwide, albeit with recognised cultural identities within, I find this development rather fascinating. Of course it is also a sad reflection of how the Anglican Church has suffered over the furore over the issue of Women's Ordination, but I hope that the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglicans who have joined them will come to see the great value the Anglican Community worldwide still has with regards to the Christian faith, and that one day they will be able to recognise some of the Biblical foundations for the rights of ordination for women, as well as the ethical foundations.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harriet "Not Standing for Leader"

Am somewhat relieved, but anyone who got elected Deputy Leader with only 50.4% of the vote would see a potential leadership campaign in the future as troubled at best. I hope this settles things for her and that she'll continue to do the fine job of aiming to take the views of Labour activists into account as she has ably tried to do over the past couple of years

Jan Moir's Article

Others have commented on this, but not only does it come across as bigoted, but also downright insensitive and appallingly ignorant (rather like, it unfortunately seems, a large no of the sort of people who enjoy reading the Daily Mail). Tragically many young, seemingly fit and healthy people die suddenly from an undiagnosed illness or disorder and sadly it seems that Stephen Gately is no exception.
Although obviously according to some people the fact he was gay and/or was famous makes him so

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nick Clegg on Expenses

Hardly ever that I am so ready to agree with a Lib Dem leader, but his argument here is not only right and moral, it is brave too. Many MP's should stop and consider just how angry the public are. I would have thought that it would have been obvious during the summer, but there you go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brighton -Twenty Five Years On

An event which not only tried to tear into our Democratic processes, but which made us aware of the vulnerability which affects all who are dedicated to involvement in politics in the UK. Let us never forget that dreadful night, but also remember how much times and events have changed and that there is a bright future ahead in Northern Irish politics.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cameron's Speech

Hit the right notes for the media and the grassroots. Trendy without seeming weird, but also a few incentives so as not to frighten the free-marketeers who despise regulation of any kind.
But where is the substance? Any political party that needs to get into power needs to atone for it's past misdeeds in office and do it wholesale! Has Cameron ever apologised for any major Tory policy committed between 1979-1997? Have the right and left of the Conservative Party really buried the hatchet? I doubt it, they are simply ignoring their rows so as to get into power, but rest assured that once they would be in power, the Right will want to have a large degree of influence and their marriage to the left, being of convenience minus respect, means that we would soon see a minor civil war within Tory ranks.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Gets Nobel Prize

Well it seems a bit early, but that said since the Bush Administration was not given a vote of thanks (so to speak) at the end of it's time and seeing there are positive moves in Iraq and better relations with the various European states, it is certainly worth a vote of thanks. Plus as the President has stated, the Prize also gives momentum in helping to work for peace in various arenas.
Am now trying not to feel smug about the fact it will annoy a lot of right-wingers, given the abuse they have heaped on Obama over the last two years. Having such an attitude only descends to their level!

My Brother's Blog

It seems I am no longer the only member of the Burgin family to have a straightforward blog. My brother Chris has started one up and you can find it here.
Am rather proud to say the least :-)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Doctor Who Logo for Next Year

(BBC)


Not sure about it, but equally am sure it will grow on me.
Am also a bit impatient to see The Waters of Mars

Drunks Vs Cage Fighters

I shouldn't really find this funny, but it did bring a smile to my face when I read it yesterday. It just goes to show that we all need to follow one of life's lessons; "Be careful what you wish for!"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kenneth Clarke Vs George Osborne

It looks like there is a bit of friction in the Tory camp brewing, but then many of us could have told you that Osborne is a complete lightweight whose idea of an economic policy is to trash Labour for votes and to parrot tired and ill-thought out Thatcherite economics, whilst finding himself in a less than perfect relationship with the Commons fees office.

Labour's Blogging Fightback

I have to say that I am intrigued by Rupa's post. I think Labour's blogging problems in terms of grabbing attention are due to a no of problems, plus the ebbs and flows of the way political opinion is influential. That said, I do notice more of a close knit community that is growing among Labour supporters, on Facebook, Twitter etc.. and given that soon the fight will go to the Tories I can see glory days for Labour's blogging community within the next two-three years :-), so I happily concur with Rupa's argument.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Monty Python

Long may there be dead Norwegian Blue's, the Spanish Inquisition turning up when least wanted, Mr Creosote arriving for a sickening dinner, Brian spotting naive followers, and several knights seeking the Holy Grail.
And long may the Liberty Bell continue to play :-)

One of life's Mea Culpa's

Am busy at the moment and hardly have time to blog, that should change before long however, all I ask is that during these few days you bear with me

Friday, October 02, 2009

Supporting Iain Dale

Nothing to do with Bracknell as such, although I do hope he gets the nomination, no what this is about is to do with his complaint against the Daily Mail. It seems Ephraim Hardcastle has been somewhat unpleasant in his comments about Iain's involvement in the Open Primary

Overtly gay Tory blogger Iain Dale has reached the final stage of parliamentary selection for Bracknell, telling PinkNews: 'I hope any PinkNews readers who live in Bracknell will come to the open primary on October 17 to select their new candidate.

You don't even have to be a Conservative to attend.'

Isn't it charming how homosexuals rally like-minded chaps to their cause?

Iain's response speaks volumes about the offence caused here

Overtly gay. Nice. Anyone who has ever met me will have a good laugh at that one. I wonder if Peter McKay, the editor of Ephraim Hardcastle ever describes himself as "overtly straight". Just imagine if I was Jewish and the same words had been used.

It's interesting isn't it how the Daily Mail gets very nasty, and indeed personal, towards people who don't share their worldview! Perhaps some Tories will now realise, and indeed empathise, why many on the Left detest the newspaper. This is an issue where Iain has my full and unstinting support and I urge others to do the same. If you want to complain to the PPC you can do so here. If you wish to email the Daily Mail (please be polite though), you can contact peter.mckay@dailymail.co.uk