Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XVIII: The Poster


No words needed, says it all :-). Hat tip to National Not Voting Conservative Day on Facebook.

Election 10 Bulletin Part XVII: Campaigning in Ealing


On Saturday I went over to Ealing Southall to help Labour get re-elected, having been invited by Rupa Huq. I have been there before, helping in the by election three years ago, so there was a sense of familiarity here.
Being Saturday morning it was quiet, but the feedback I saw first-hand was good, with some voters saying they were avidly following the leaders' debates. Clearly those have turned out to be the lynch pin in this election and may well help decide the outcome.
I have no doubt we will do well here, but with the Lib Dems in second place we have our work cut out in some areas and must work hard to keep to the position we have been in for a while.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XVI: Latest Poll Updates

They are not ideal, but they do point to the trend turning in Labour's direction. There may be some good reason for this! Lib Dem supporters rather working with a Labour government than a Tory one coupled with the strong rumour that Conservative HQ was behind the attacks on Nick Clegg perchance! Or the fact that the message that a Conservative government = Savage cuts in public services is one that resonates with the public.
One things for certain. After thirteen years the Tories have failed to convince people they have changed and one wonders indeed, whether they have entirely changed!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XV: Beware of the Tories

One of the things that irritates me about the Tories in opposition is that, unlike Labour, they have not learnt from their mistakes. They seem to have the unfortunate tendency to think that 1997 (where they experienced their heaviest defeat) was a blip, a protest vote. They seem to fail to realise that two aspects of their psyche, the dirty tricks and the desire to privatise every institution, is not shared by the electorate which seems to be essentially Social Democratic. To be fair though, many of them are not like that individually, but as a political party the story is sadly different.
So it is that this week we have seen this badly hidden Tory nature emerge. First of all there is the story, rather intriguing one at that, that it seems that Tory Central Office was behind some of the smears against Nick Clegg and Osborne may well have been involved in particular. If true, then it is a sad state of affairs and says (not for the first time) about Cameron's judgement in picking this individual as his Economic spokesman. Are the Tories really serious about him becoming Chancellor?
The 2nd story is about the constant fear many of us have that the Tories will privatise the BBC. They say they won't and some put it down to paranoia, but 45 respected individuals inc David Tennant have written to the Observer with a different point of view.
If there is going to be a hung Parliament, the Liberal Democrats must ask themselves whether it is the Conservatives or Labour who are worth supporting in terms of protecting value and quality in our services and, given the recent attacks on them, whether it is worth their self respect in supporting the Conservatives

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XIV: Our Journey

On this sunny morning in the midst of a difficult time for Labour, check out this wonderful Party Political Broadcast hosted by Peter Davison and voiced-over by David Tennant. It mentions what we have done right over the past thirteen years and were we plan to go

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XIII: Top Ten Favourite Tories and Lib Dems

It seems that Iain has taken some exception to Laurie Penny's post on her Top Ten Terrible Tories, and to be fair whilst I see where Laurie is coming from, it's the kind of politics that doesn't exactly encourage people to get involved.
That said, the posts have given me an idea. People tend to say often that there is too much "Ya Boo!" politics and that this kind of politics turns people away from the Polling Stations. I don't know how much of this is true, but it is certainly unhelpful at times.
So it is that I thought it would be good to show how much activists respect others from the other main parties by compiling a list of Top Ten Favourite Tories and Top Ten Favourite Lib Dems. I could do a list of my Top Ten Terribles, but I quite honestly can't be bothered and would feel a hypocrite if I did, so hence the two lists I propose.
One doesn't have to agree with them or even think they should be near power as such, but they are a list of those who I respect and admire as opponents. I have challenged Iain to do the same.
So here it is..

TOP TEN FAVOURITE TORIES

1. Tim Roll-Pickering (one of my best friends in politics, and a walking encyclopaedia of political history)

2. Iain Dale (all-round great guy and less tribal than some would think)

3. Iain Duncan Smith (I think he has sometimes been given an unnecessary hard time and even if some of his social justice ideas are wrong, at least he cares and tries to do something about the issue)

4. Michael Portillo (One of the first maj Tory figures who realised that the Conservatives needed to change. Pity his Party disagreed)

5. Ann Widdecombe (Stuff and nonsense. I like that. Plus she is anti fox hunting!)

6. John Major (Not a good Prime Minister but as a person I have always liked him, even though his affair with Edwina Currie and close friendship with Jeffrey Archer showed poor judgement, but then but for the Grace of God perhaps...)

7. Kenneth Clarke (How can you not like him! The Hush puppies and Jazz, the cigars. Like Churchill he can infuriate but can be easily forgiven for many things and that is a rare trait. )

8. Lord Howe of Aberveaon (13th Dec 1990)

9. Michael Heseltine (I think it's fair to say that if I were a Tory I'd have been a corporatist Tory in the Heseltine mould. Some of the things he did I strongly disagree with but his realisation of what unfettered monetarism was doing and his speech on intervention when he was at the DTI showed his mettle)

10. Would have put William Hague but he has gone down in my estimation over his conduct in the Ashcroft affair, so Tim Montgomerie for similar reasons I gave for mentioning Iain Dale.


TOP TEN FAVOURITE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

1. Ruth Skinner (How could I not! The sexiest and sophisticated Lib Dem I know ;-) )

2. Vince Cable (I don't always agree with him, sometimes I strongly disagree with him, but he thinks things through and when he is right he is spot on)

3. Lord Ashdown (If only we had such a guy in the Labour Party in terms of energy and popularity and experience. We have some who have those things sure, but Paddy Ashdown does have that Je Nais Ca Qui)

4. Charles Kennedy (before his illness took hold he was more charismatic and formidable than some realised)

5. Sir Menzies Campbell (formidable and statesmanlike. We have few of those in Westminster and how sad that his Party ditched him)

6. Jo Swinson (Thoughtful. Plus (ahem) rather attractive)

7. Lord Steel (Have always thought well of him)

8. Stephen Tall (great guy, and a nice one too!)

9. Linda Jack (Have met her several times. Decent to a fault)

10. Eric Lubbock (Kept the Tories out of Orpington for eight years. Much as I respected Norris McWhirter for his easy-going charm, where it came to World Records and the way he managed to deal with Ross's murder, I am glad he never got to be a Conservative MP. That would have happened but for Lubbock winning in 1964 and 1966)

Farewell Mr Bond?

Sad news, and horribly reminiscent of the problems EON had twenty years ago. I have no doubt Bond will return, but I am now concerned as to whether Daniel Craig will still be at the helm when he does.
Or Judi Dench for that matter!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XI :Tory Lobbyist Throws in the Towel

Oh dear! It looks like Bell Pottinger Chief, Peter Bingle has given up on his hopes of a Tory victory and already starting to point the blame *
This in itself is no big deal, but for the fact that the Bell Pottinger lobbyist is a "lifelong Tory and former councillor". Given the high reputation of the PR Firm this is a bit of a blow. He also states that he thinks John Major could be the last Tory PM.

* Hat tip to Jessica Asato on Twitter

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In the Midst of a Tory Town


Some of you will know of my several attempts to get elected as a Labour Councillor for Baldock, and that it has had three Conservative Councillors for eleven years with big majorities in spite of many attempts to rectify that.
So it is that I was heartened yesterday whilst showing Ruth around the town to see this shop window in one of the main streets. It was a totally unexpected sight and I have sent it to some of my fellow CLP Colleagues and it did give me an extra political spring in my step this weekend. Heartening in the midst of a difficult general election campaign to see this in a town which has been Conservative for so long.

The Long Volcanic Disruption

As the pundits are saying, in terms of how long planes are to be grounded, this is worse than 9/11. What adds to that woe is the realisation that this could last for days to come depending on the winds. I have already noticed some of the effects first-hand myself as a couple of friends of mine should have been flying to the US today and have had to cancel their visit. Where VIPs are concerned, it has meant being unable to attend the funeral today of Poland's President and his wife.
That said, does this show how dependent we are on air travel? And should we also be looking at other forms of transport for long journeys? Surely this would be good for the environment and for the Shipping and Rail industries! This isn't a criticism on air transport, which is valuable, but that maybe we depend too much on it!
Just a thought, not a set opinion as it were!

Election 10 Bulletin Part X: Cleggmania

It's interesting, but lets be honest, the success of just one debate does not always give an accurate indicator of an election result, and yes he did very well.
But how people feel now and how they feel in the Polling Booth are two different things. This is not the first time the Liberal Democrats have faced such widespread acclaim. Paddy Ashdown was always a popular leader and in the early 1980s if you wanted to be among those in a trendy and sexy political group, then the SDP/Liberal Alliance was the organisation to be with.
But popularity and charisma do not make good policy. There are some lessons to be learned, one vital one is that people are tired of the "same old, same old", but Labour has a message that can be delivered. We have made mistakes, we are sorry, but that one of the major things we have done is to help protect the Economy from depression during the past three years and that now is the vital time not to cut and run.
Let us put policy before glamour, charisma, and policies that just look good at face value

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part IX: The Leaders' Debate

I'll be tweeting this, so if you want a live response from me, you'll find it here.

Another Offensive Blog in Trouble

Check out this tale from Tory Landlord
Apparently it wasn't very pretty. It seems that Chris Mounsey was interviewed on the Daily Politics and was taken to task by Andrew Neil over his leadership of the Libetarian Party, an organisation which has less members than the amount of pupils in a Secondary Modern, as well as the content of his blog, inc his comments concerning a Union leader where he said he wanted her to "Bleed to death!" Mounsey was not his usual combative self for once and squirmed in his seat. Since then it appears that Devil's Kitchen was taken off-line and then came back in a more sanitised form.
This is not the first time that a blog with a nasty and unpleasant reputation has run into trouble. A few weeks ago Donal Blaney shut down his blog from public view following a Guardian report on the activities of his Young Britons Foundation, which only days before had Eric Pickles addressing one of their meetings. Blaney's blog was known for it's general unpleasant attitude and personal attacks on opponents.
Both men are talented individuals and could have gone far in politics. As it is both seem to let their emotions and anger cloud their judgement and seem to show a vicious disdain for those who they see as a threat. I think that's rather sad to be honest and a reminder to us all of how a blog can shoot to the stratosphere and yet crash down in flames. An infamous style may work in the short term, but in the long-run it alienates the majority who want to see a more gentlemanly return to political debates.

Election 10 Bulletin Part VIII: Eddie Izzard on the Train

Just had a call from my brother who was travelling back from work in Cambridge, to find he was in the same 2nd Class Rail Carriage as Eddie Izzard. Apparently he was wearing a Red Rosette and was clearly on his way to King's Cross and had been campaigning all day. What was also good was that a lot of people came up to chat with him and there was general friendliness all-round.
Clearly one of Labour's major assets then :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part VII: Hague on the Run

David Miliband makes an interesting point in his blog today. He has had the difficult task of trying to get a response from William Hague to some reasonable questions regarding Lord Ashcroft.
It seems that he has now written to him four times asking for answers to two questions. Namely:

1. Why did you say in my presence on March 4th that you learnt “a few months ago” that Lord Ashcroft was not paying tax on overseas earnings because of his non domiciled tax status, when in fact you admitted on Friday night (March 19th) on Any Questions that you knew this to be the case from 2000?

2. On the occasions when Lord Ashcroft has flown you, or others, around the world has he participated in meetings with foreign officials with you in countries where he has business interests?

It is perfectly fair to ask, and yet Hague seems fit to ignore this. The man took over 100 flights with Ashcroft and yet has never once asked him during those times about his Non Dom Status. He never really asked when he was leader either! It's sad but it looks like the Tories are working on a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!" basis and hope that the electorate don't notice that they have no plans to move well away from some of their sleazy past.

Not the kind of behaviour and attitude one expects from opponents

Election 10 Bulletin Part VI: George Osborne and Expenses

Whilst David Cameron has made an interesting point about legal aid, I imagine I am not the only one to wonder what he has to say about George Osborne, a man not exactly strapped for cash, claiming 77p for staples.
It's worrying isn't it! That the man the Tories want as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer not only claims expenses on staples, but has also tried to avoid paying capital gains tax, claimed £47 for a DVD of his speeches, and is being investigated by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
Of course that's not even looking at not being able to query a £487.000 office donation.
George Osborne, the man the Tories want as the next Chancellor! What does this say about their, and their leader's, judgement!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part V: The Long and Winding Road

I never thought I'd say this, but Hat Tip to Iain Dale for pointing out this well thought-out Labour PPB.
The voice-over is from David Tennant and the actor is Sean Pertwee, not that I am one for making cheap points you understand ;-)



Election 10 Bulletin Part IV: Guide to Cross-Party Friendships etc..

Having a Lib Dem activist for a girlfriend and having several friends who are activists in other political parties I thought this might come in useful for some in similar situations for the next month.

1) Teasing is always fine, but always be aware and discerning about what time and place when it comes to jokes

2) Always stand your ground, but make sure that you not only consider and respect other views, but that you are open about where you agree and where your Party might be wrong on one or two issues

3) Election Night. Be sensitive, too much gloating and rubbing it in can easily happen on these nights if you are winning, and too much bitter and vindictive comments if you are losing. I have seen activists do this on election nights and that's just the opposition ;-). That said, try not to out of dignity and self respect and with those you care about, do make a point of treating how you'd like to be treated, which in my case would mean warm comments, drinks brought for me, and some listening. Bear in mind also though, that everyone is different and some would like to be left alone, but you can't go far wrong by "do as you would be done by!"

4) Headspace - Make sure you spend some time afterwards not talking politics. That varies from person to person. For example I am inviting some friends to a social at the National Gallery some days after the election and some of them are activists from the main parties, so some hinterland is always useful

5) If you have friends, or in a relationship with someone from another political party, or in my case both, this should not need to be said, but just a reminder. Always separate the party politics from the person

Incidentally if any of you have any extra suggestions, feel free :-)


Election 10 Bulletin Part III: The Prime Ministers Debates

This should be interesting and how well/badly this goes will be the template for possible future debates. As it is I will be Tweeting live on each of the debates and you can find that here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part II: The National Insurance Con


Check out the blog post from Tom Harris (see link below) which points out the inaccuracy of the Tory claims on National Insurance and that the Tories said similar things about Labour's National Minimum Wage proposals in 1997

www.tomharris.org.uk/2010/04/07/the-ni-confidence-trick

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Pope Wants to Meet Abuse Victims

It's something, and it shows that the Vatican realises the seriousness of the allegations, but much more needs to be done such as a full unconditional apology and full co'operation with various authorities, as opposed to occasional sniping at the Media


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Not All Businessmen Back the Tories

Yes the Tories may have Michael Caine, but James Caan of Dragon's Den seems to be supporting us (see post at 22:55)
Not a lot of people know that! ;-)

Interviewed By Total Politics

Click here, to see Total Politics's Online Interview with me about Blogging and other interests, including (ahem) politics. Namely my favourite politician, humour, and how I think Labour should see this election.
I am happy with it, although the letter writing is mainly past tense.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

Late with this I know, but Easter weekend was partly why!
It was good, and although am still not used to Matt Smith and still in mourning over David Tennant, I think the Eleventh Doctor is good and will grow on me. That said the story was fantastic. How can you not like it when it has brilliant one-liners, a sexy companion, a sense of beating the clock, a snazzy new-look TARDIS (Yes I do prefer it to the previous one, although the McGann version is my fav), fish-fingers and custard, and a good sense of humour. There are reasons Steven Moffatt is one of my favourite writers. This was one of them!

Election 10 Bulletin Part I: So It Begins

The long awaited event has happened. Gordon Brown has gone to the Palace and the Queen has agreed to dissolve Parliament for a General Election on May 6th.
For many of us bloggers this will be the first time we have covered an election with a blog and we may well be a month away from seeing a different political landscape next month. Preferably with Labour starting a fourth term in office and the Conservatives suffering identity shock as a result.
But it will be a difficult and hard fought election and Labour has it's work cut out in persuading the electorate. Lets not forget that in the midst of mistakes and difficulties we brought forward New Deal, the National Minimum Wage, growth in International Development, paternity leave of two weeks, raising child benefit, and many more.
Lets not let the Tories even have the oppurtunity to take any of that away!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Grayling and B and B's

One minute he takes one view, the next he seems to change his mind (Hat tip to Tom Harris). It is concerning, but perhaps Chris Grayling ought to stop and think about how he would feel about this if he were Gay and would he hold the same views and vote the same way if this was to do with Black or Disabled people?

Who Would Jesus Vote For?

I can see Andy's point, and as a friend I can see exactly where he is coming from, although it seems to have riled one or two Tories. But note he said "might vote Labour" not "would vote Labour". That said, I think we ought to always be vigilant about linking Christ with our political beliefs to the point of linking one's Party with one's faith to the exclusion of others. We see a lot of that already in the States with some people thinking that if you are a Christian and are a proud Democrat or Republican (depending on your own views), then there is something diluted about your faith.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Campaign Posters

This was probably not a good idea. Gene Hunt is a popular guy (although perhaps that might change if you saw tonight's episode). However maybe the video below will bring back the poignant memories! ;-)
Lets not bring Britain back to the Thatcherite eighties!