Monday, May 31, 2010

"Regret" is not good enough Prime Minister Netanyahu

Is it just me or does the word "regret" stick in one's throat here. How about "disproportionate", "reckless", "ill-judged", and "tragic".
I appreciate the blockade situation is not clear cut, I also appreciate we may not know all the facts, but what Israel did here last night could be described as totally uncalled for and alarming at best. In any case the Israeli government are going to find themselves in a habit of explaining themselves and issuing "regrets" if their sledgehammer tactics continue

Sunday, May 30, 2010

David Laws Resigns

It had it's tragedy but it was inevitable, and as Tom Harris has said it is down to his financial situation more than anything else and it is that what has annoyed a no of people who have called for Laws to go.
I am sorry that he felt so trapped and, lets not forget that many of us (whatever our sexuality) would be tempted to do the same in his place rather than let our parents know something about us we would rather they didn't. But that does not justify what he has done, it has merely made a no of us empathise.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gary Coleman RIP

Sad, and was rather shocked when my brother rang to tell me. Different Strokes was a favourite programme of mine as a child and it was somewhat sad to hear of the troubling stories about it's lead actors in recent years. I hope now that he is at peace.

David Laws: The First Coalition Scandal

On first reading this I was shocked, even outraged that Laws did not make his claims open earlier, but then it's since become clear that he was understandably anxious not to let his sexuality out into the open and that has clearly helped cause him problems with the current situation. In terms of being "outed" in the process, my heart goes out to him and his partner.
That said he does seem to be playing fast and loose with the definition of "partner" and whilst he has not been crooked over the financial situation, he could have worked around it at least and should certainly been a bit more honest. At the least he should perhaps take a break from his job whilst there is an investigation as Stephen Tall suggests.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dunkirk - 70 Years On!

In 1987 I went on my first trip abroad without my family. It was a week-long school trip to Valkenberg in Holland, and along the way we drove past Dunkirk. I was struck by the sight of large memorial tablets by the side of the road, a reminder of the cost that was involved in the rescue of those many soldiers who were trapped in this Belgian town in May 1940.
And so it is that seventy years on that we recall the sacrifices involved, in particular the flotilla of boats being sailed by many ordinary British people, some of whom had never heard a shot fired in anger or had seen violence at close hand. They knew the risks and some of them died for their bravery and their belief in the duty in saving others. This indeed, was one of the first incidences during the Second World War where many British people had found themselves on the Front Line and they would do so again in the devastation of the Blitz later that year.
But they did not cower, they did not turn back and they refused to budge in the face of a vile and cowardly enemy that left the World reeling from the magnitude of it's evil before the War ended. Churchill said of the Battle of Britain that this was Our Finest Hour and with great respect to the memory of one of our greatest Prime Ministers I slightly disagree. We had a no of fine hours during this War and our attempts to rescue as many soldiers at Dunkirk as possible is one of them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The David Miliband Campaign Website

It's here, it's bold, it's imaginative, and I think we have an exciting journey ahead of us!
Unsure? Then take a look!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yes Prime Minister - Who Runs the Country!

One of my all-time fav comedy moments. Hat Tip to Tim Roll-Pickering

Gideon the Axeman

In the Old Testament, in the Book of Judges to be precise, there is a character named Gideon whom God calls to drive the Midanites out of Israel. He is nervous and uncertain and a man of great humility, and yet (as with many Biblical figures and great people throughout history) that humility is used to great advantage and through cunning and intelligence the Midanites are defeated.
Some 3,000 years later, a namesake who decides to eschew such a name which he sees as naff, has no sense of proper humility (indeed if this little incident is anything to go by) and yet in being bold and trying to look clever and wise he makes mistakes, and today he has been making mistakes which will rebound on the more vulnerable in our society.
For a start there is the axing of Child Trust Fund Payments, which is pure Thatcherism in terms of seeing a policy as indulgence rather than helping those who desperately need it, then of course he is being a bit coy regards to job losses. He hasn't mentioned any and this morning my Jaw dropped when I watched him being interviewed on BBC Breakfast stating that there would be no refilling of vacancies, but no redundancies either! What Planet does he think we are on, of course there will be job losses in that sort of environment, unless of course he wishes to give redundancies another name.
To be honest though, how many of us expected nothing less from the man. Make no mistake though, as this morning's Times cartoon showed. Osborne will do the dirty and when the mess hits the fan he will shift the blame onto his Lib Dem colleagues and try and look good, irrespective of the fact that he has an unfortunate knack of making enemies left, right, and centre.
You watch, that is exactly what will happen. The trick is to make sure that he doesn't get away from the blame when it does.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Doctor Who - Is the Dream Lord the Valeyard?

For Who fans out there.

Here is the episode

And here is the theory

I am slightly on the fence on this one, but am heavily inclined to believe that he is the Valeyard*

*Hat tip to Ruth

Ashes to Ashes - The Final Episode (Part 2)


Well now we know. Hunt is a dead adolescent copper from 1953, Keats is a demon, Ray, Shaz, and Chris are dead coppers, and Nelson (yes he from Life On Mars) is an angel.
It kind of tied up a lot of loose ends and it was sad that it turned out that Drake had died in the "Real World" at the start of Series Three, but again, I can't see at this stage how they could have got her back, it also begs the question as to whether Sam Tyler's suicide at the end of Life On Mars saved the lives of his colleagues? Plus how come what happened in that place had a knock on effect in the Real World, as if Tyler and Drake time-travelled!
Ah well, if all the ends were tied up that would be all the fun gone, still it was a wonderful four years and fiver series :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ashes to Ashes - The Final Episode

So now we know. I have to say I was not really surprised, will let you know more about what I think when there are less chances of causing spoilers :-)

The Sarkosy Test

Some of you will be familiar with the Tebbit Test, which was somewhat controversial but it seems there well may be a Sarkosy Test! This is where you find that you have no opinion on President Sarkosy of France or dislike him, but find you have much in common with him, or vice versa.
Let me explain, it seems that the French President once said the following to Gordon Brown when he was PM, as reported by Nick Robinson:

"I shouldn't like you. You're boring, you're Scottish, you don't like women and wine - but I love you, Gordon."
"Not, though," he hastily added, "in a sexual way."*

This somewhat bemused me as I have little or no opinion on the French President as a person and yet I am not Scottish (although admittedly a 16th of my blood is North of the Border and proud I am of it, although my ancestors were the Heitons who in turn were of French descent), and I like women and wine, esp French Red Wine.
So where do you stand where Sarkosy is concerned, do you think he's great but dislike women and wine and are definetly not Scottish, or vice versa? That said there is a caveat to this, he has been gushing over Cameron recently

*This should not be seen as an acurate reflection on the former PM

MP's Reform Proposals on Expenses Are Not On!

I appreciate the need for radical change following the Expenses fiasco last year, but the reforms should be well-thought out, not knee-jerk reactions. I have a horrible feeling these are knee-jerk reactions designed to punish, not to help. On that basis I can totally empathise with MP's anger, esp when you consider that nearly a third of them are newly elected.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I Want David Miliband to be the next Labour Leader!

It was always going to be one of the Miliband brothers' as far as I was concerned, but in the end I have opted for David Miliband. Why? Well for one thing he is young, energetic, potentially popular with voters, relaxed, has cabinet experience, realises the need to move on from New Labour, is open to new ideas, and is definitely not of the hard left. What's more he has described in a nutshell what I feel about this country in the past thirty years. That we need a market economy and not a market society.
You can see his campaign site here and will be linking to it within the next couple of days on my sidebar.

Get Your Coalition Souvenir

Well I like it ;-)
(Courtesy of Old Street Publishing)

Bercow Re-Elected as Speaker

This should have been a mere formality but of course some tried to turn it into a contest.
As Iain Dale has said, he isn't a perfect Speaker (but name me one who has been), but he makes the effort and I think he'll mature into the job. Equally however, I hope some MP's (and yes Nadine Dorries that includes you) will develop some maturity over their hostility towards the Speaker.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The 55% Majority

Forgive me here, but I always thought that to secure a decent majority you needed just 50.5% or 51%, so it is that I am somewhat disgusted to see that, barely days into power, the Con/Lib Dem Coalition are tightening their claws on power. As Tom Harris says, if it were a Labour/Lib Dem coalition there would be outrage from the Tories!
There are persuasive arguments but the bottom line is it feels wrong and smacks of being anti-Democratic and power obsessed. Thankfully Iain Dale seems to agree.
If we are to be a mature opposition then we need to show this up for what it is, to stand by and let it happen would be morally indefensible!

Stephen Timms Stabbed!

It goes without saying that I was shocked and appalled by today's news. Stephen is one of the most thoughtful and decent MP's at Westminster and it is no hyperbole to say he is one of the nicest people I, or anyone else who has dealt with him, has met.
It does of course call into question the issue of security for MP's as they go about their business but I would point out that, whilst it goes without saying that all MP's and their staff should always be careful in certain public situations and places it would be be foolish to go for knee-jerk reactions as a response to this appalling act. My prayers go out to Stephen and his family, and also to his attacker who may well be mentally disturbed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Labour's Next Leader

Check out this post I have written for LabourList, where I set out what Labour needs in it's next leader and what kind of opposition we must be

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Dilemma of the Disaffected Liberal Democrats

According to some sources, it seems that a large no of Lib Dem activists tore up their cards yesterday and joined Labour. I am not sure of the exact figure but it does show how hurtful the latest situation has been, no matter how much it is in the National Interest.
As Julian Ware-Lane has stated, it looks like the end of the Lib-Social Democratic coalition, and so it is that it is worth stating that for those Lib Dems who have left as of yesterday, there is always a home with Labour. We have just come into opposition, we are open to ideas and criticism and we aim to work hard as a constructive opposition that aims to be in government should the Lib Dem/Con alliance fail.
Lets work together and help bring to the reality the Alliance that was dreamed of many years ago

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The End of an Era

So the government is to resign, after the drama over the past few dayds one feels something of a relief. Relief too that the Lib Dems might temper the Tories worst excesses (although don't hold your breath too much), and relief that it seems that Osborne won't be Chancellor of the Exchequer (what does that say about him!)
What happens now is anybody's guess. We are in uncharted territory as we face the first peacetime coalition in seventy years, there are potential clouds on the horizon and how Cameron manages is crucial. For those of us in Labour, our job is to lick our wounds, learn from our mistakes, be wise in picking our new leader and be ready to be prepared for power for when the s**t hits the fan.
It's getting towards sunset and it was sunrise when Labour celebrated that glorious day thirteen years ago. Lets do our bit and make sure that the country is not plunged into darkness

Am Wondering

I want Labour to be in power, but not at any cost, not at short circuiting the electorate.

I want a Rainbow Coalition but fear it will collapse leaving Labour out of power for years.

I don't want the Conservatives to be in coalition with the Lib Dems because that means a strong Conservative-led government and I obviously don't want that (if it is to be a Tory government I want it to be a minority one made to heel before Parliament), neither given it's a Hung Parliament, do the electorate (in terms of strong Conservative govt), but I recognise that the Social Democratic elements in the Lib Dems might temper the Tories policies' (but don't hold much hope)

I want a strong new Labour leader who has the interests of the nation at heart but is good at attacking the Conservatives

I want another general election soon, and never, never have my tribal and ethical and patriotic and, yes, my Christian instincts been in such open conflict with each other

And I suspect, right across the political parties, I am not alone.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gordon Brown Resigns

Lets be honest, this was inevitable from Thursday evening/Friday morning, although it's sad that a potentially brilliant premiership never found it's wings and has ended like this. That said Brown has worked hard to keep this country going in the face of a Worldwide recession and has publicly dealt with his critics with grace and dignity and for that he should be commended, as well as having the courage to quit in what must be for him, humiliating circumstances.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Coalition Talks

Is it me or do you have the feeling this could cause internal damage to a certain degree in both parties if successful! I somehow get the impression the Tories feel they can govern alone thankyou very much (with 306 seats out of 650!?!) and indeed, if reading the Tweets of some of their activists they hardly seem to be approaching power with humility!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Election 10 Bulletin Part XXVI: The Result

Well they did say it would be a Hung Parliament and for all of us I think there were some results that were sad. That said the people have spoken and now we have to work with what we have.
I will give to comments though. The first is that this Parliament is clearly going to be short, which leaves little time for any of the main parties to work on people's trust, so expect it do be a fraught six-twelve months. The second is that I have a feeling that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat cosying won't last. The two parties are too different and in any case would be an easy target for Labour in opposition should the coalition take place.
But for now, congratulations to the three main party leaders for all their hard work and here is to a new era, however uncertain it may be.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

General Election Results Live Blog/Tweets

As mentioned earlier this week you can see my thoughts regarding this evening/tomorrow here, live! Active from about an hours time. After tomorrow morning, will paste all tweets onto here as a readily accessible archive
Here's to a final push for that fourth term. May it not be elusive

  1. Clearly Lab govt for next few days :-) #ge10
  2. Brown calls for referendum on voting system #ge10
  3. Suspect Brown may be about to quit #ge10
  4. BBC Election program in Cardiff, can see Torchwood Hub ;-)#ge10 #drwho
  5. David Butler on BBC. Given his analysis of election nights for around 50 yrs #ge10
  6. Owen and Steel interviewed together. Ah the memories!#ge10
  7. @andrew_allison sadly history is littered with "what if's!"
  8. RT @nextleft Peter Kellner: Tories marginally smaller swing than 1979, and increase in Tory share much smaller. So "not strictly true"
  9. AV yes PR no
  10. RT @davecoleDOTorg @TomHarris4MP Congratulations! >>seconded :-)
  11. It looks like Labour are out of governent. I trust Nick Clegg remembers which Tories are likely to have helped behind attacks on him earlier
  12. Just woken up to see Galloway out. Live! :-) #ge10
  13. Now curled up on sofa for light snooze, listening to John Barry on iPhone
  14. RT @mathewhulbert I hope Tories aren't too smug today...after all more people voted for left-wing parties than voted Conservative. #ge10
  15. Right have been awake, bar 1 hr, since 5:45AM yesterday, so shower and snooze approacheth #ge10
  16. Clare Ward in 3rd place :-( #ge10
  17. @Jessica_Asato it just goes to show it could have been worse :-/
  18. RT @KerronCross Glenda Jackson apparently wins Hampsted and Kilburn. #ge2010
  19. RT @nextleft Dear Tories, re yr talk point: you won more seats in 1992, 1987, 1983, 1979, 1970, 1959 and 1955. no of *gains* not same
  20. Tories must ask themselves why after four general elections they cannot command a maj and therefore public confidence #ge10
  21. Teather in trouble #ge10
  22. they should'nt have smeared Clegg 1st RT@paulstpancras RT@politicshomeuk: Gove: are ready to talk to other parties
  23. McNulty out #ge10
  24. Will look after and give plenty of attention to girlfriend this weekend. Do anyway but she is Lib Dem activist #ge10
  25. Goldsworthy is out #ge10
  26. Heathcote-Amory, the manure expenses Tory MP is out#ge10
  27. Appreciate Lib Dems are tempted, but they should leave Tories dangling if Labour cannot form govt #ge10
  28. Cruddas hangs on #ge10
  29. Glad Ed Balls hung on. Osborne will be annoyed :-) #ge10
  30. :-) RT @louisehector Brilliant - Griffin didn't even get second.
  31. Evan Harris lost his seat, can't say Im upset #ge10
  32. Goldsmith elected to Parliament #ge10
  33. Stevenage lost to Tories. Greens get an MP #ge10
  34. Just woke up. Fell asleep watching TV #generalelection10
  35. Well done Gavin :-) #ge10
  36. We've won back chesterfield :-) #ge10
  37. You forgot others RT @Daily_Ref Still saying were heading for a Tory majority - Tory 171 seats - Lab/lib 159
  38. RT @TimMontgomerie Mark Garnier has won Wyre Forest from the independent MP, Dr Richard Taylor
  39. RT @johnprescott BBC call Rochdale wrong. It's Lab GAIN from Lib Dems not Lab hold. Great result and BIG loss for Murdoch media #ukelection
  40. Result in NE Herts. Lab now in 3rd place, Heald has 15,000 maj :-( #ge10. Am now home
  41. RT @dizzykj Is Cameron really saying that they fought a clean campaign with no negativity?! Which election was he watching?
  42. Recount in Bmham Edgebaston #ge10
  43. Lib Dems gain Eastbourne #ge10
  44. Unpleasant Maria Hutchings fails to knock Hulne #ge10
  45. Result shortly from NE Herts #ge10
  46. RT @MalcH Con GAIN Montgomeryshire.... bye bye Lembit.
  47. We might take only Tory seat in Scotland :-) #ge10
  48. :-)RT @TimMontgomerie Failing to win Telford, Tooting and Gedling is worrying for the Tory chances of winning a majority #ge2010
  49. A good man and former boss of an old friend RT @gemmatumelty RT @yemimakinde: Loughborough gone from red to blue #boo <>
  50. Counting begins in Stevenage #ge10
  51. Results starting to flood in #ge10
  52. We've lost battersea but gained middlesborough #ge10
  53. Hear we lost Battersea? #ge10
  54. RT @louisehector Weird swings. Clearly the idea of a uniform national swing is dead #ge2010
  55. Full count now starts at NE Herts :-) #ge10
  56. Kingswood bodes Ill given it's Tory target 135 #ge10
  57. Con gain Kingswood #ge10
  58. Historic result. N Ireland First Min loses seat to Alliance who have never won Paliamentary seat before #ge10
  59. Midnight snack of beef flavoured hoola hoops

  60. Voters turned away is bad, but turnout unexpected #ge10Ugly rumours reg Edinburgh South going Lib Dem#ge10

  61. @Batty_Towers cheers, as for Osborne he comes across as an unpleasant 14 yr #ge10Joan Collins. Perhaps less said the better #ge10
  62. Coffee break in cafeteria with plasma screen showing BBC election results. Bliss # ge10
  63. Result at NE Herts now expected for around 3am #ge10
  64. RT @ThinkPolitics cannot believe that Andrew Neil and Ian Hislop managed to be civil to each other for more than 30 seconds. Amazing! #ge10
  65. Lab maj down 10% in H Sunderland S #ge10
  66. Sunderland about to declare #ge10
  67. Lib Dem sparring partner on my table is old friend William Armatage :-)
  68. I know, here is where I M right now
  69. @Batty_Towers I know. And Ben Kingsley
  70. Sunderland result in about fifteen minutes#generalelection10
  71. NE Herts count #generalelection10
  72. Scouts helping at NE Herts count #generalelection10
  73. If exit polls are correct Lib Dems must be persuaded to leave Tories dangling #generalelection2010
  74. RT @gabyhinsliff exit poll: Con 307 Lab 255 Lib 59 Others 29 seats hung parly now off to studio. listen to me LBC 97.3FM from midnight
  75. On way to count #generalelection10
  76. Got a direct line to Stevenage count so you may hear it from me first #generalelection10
  77. Btw Since when did News Corp support Obama?#generalelection2010