Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ginger Rodent Jibes and Nasty Tories!

First of all I was not impressed by Harriet Harman's comment. It was ill-thought out and silly and what is more she was right to apologise!
That said I do think it is a bit rich for Tories to shout "foul!" as a no on Twitter have done today. George Osborne did not apologise for his autism jibe, he merely sidestepped the issue and made a lame excuse for a comment that was clearly maliciously made when you take his attacks on Gordon Brown into context, and what about the male Conservative MP's who have made sexist and derogatory remarks about female Labour MP's over the years (and yes I am thinking of the likes of Nicholas Soames), since when have they said sorry!
What Harriet Harman said was wrong, but equally I find the Tories are once again very quick to jump on the hypocritical bandwagon and fail to apologise for some highly offensive comments made in the past in the hope they are forgotten. Trust me, they haven't been. Liberal Democrats should equally remember who they are sharing power with before pointing fingers

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sinn Fein Representative in the House of Commons!

I can see exactly where Iain Dale is coming from with this, but I have to say that I disagree with him.
I appreciate that this is difficult. I cannot forget easily either. When I tried interviewing Northern Ireland bloggers for this blog last year, I hesitated before asking Daithi McKay, but I did so because I wanted to interview political bloggers there from both sides of the Community and because I felt that it was time to move on. I remember the trepidation my family felt when my Dad worked in London during some of the IRA's bombing campaigns, I have met a couple of people who lived in Enfield in the 1970s and who remember well when Ross McWhirter was murdered, and one of those people knew his wife! I can also well remember the Brighton Bomb, Enniskillen, the murder of Ian Gow, and the Warrington and Omagh bombings. I do not look on the Provisional IRA as freedom fighters when I look at the history of the Troubles, but as terrorists, who inflicted untold misery and many of whose actions were unjustifiable.
But I am also aware that this is the past. We need to look to the future, we also need to draw distinction between those who are working for peace in Northern Ireland and those who do not.
There is also the issue of the Oath of Allegiance. I agree that if you refuse to take the Oath of Allegiance, then you should not sit as an MP in the House of Commons. I also agree with the Oath of Allegiance, or at least anything that is similar towards it. Put simply, if you re not loyal to the British government (in general non party political terms) you should not sit in it's executive chamber!
But this is the thing. The UK Youth Parliament are not MP's! They do not have a permanent chamber, they do not take the Oath of Allegiance, and they do not officially have political party representation among them. If anyone wishes to make a point about a Sinn Fein member sitting in the Commons Chamber, then they should really ask why the Youth Parliament should be allowed to sit in the House of Commons!
Iain also mentioned Lord Mountbatten in passing. One of the books that has had a profound effect on me in the past year was Timothy Knatchbull's From A Clear Blue Sky. Timothy is the youngest grandson of Lord Mountbatten and was on the boat with his grandfather when the IRA detonated the explosives hidden on board. He not only lost his grandfather that day, but a friend, his grandmother, and his identical twin brother. He and his parents were lucky to have survived. Timothy suffered much and lost much, and yet I could not help and make a comparison when I read his account of when Martin McGuinness visited the Kennedy Business School in Harvard when he was studying there and he went along to see if there was anything positive he had to say (he left feeling angry because it was crammed with McGuinness supporters who cheered and lionised him without anything of substance being mentioned), and I could not help but compare that with the fact that I refused to go to a fringe meeting at the 2004 Labour Party Conference because there would be some senior Sinn Fein representatives there.
We must not forget, we must never forget, and Iain is right to mention past IRA attacks, but we must also move on and hold out the hand of peace. If Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness can sit together, then I'd be a poor man for not doing the same, especially when I attacked both of them in the past for not doing so!

Come & Look at the North East Herts CLP WEbsite

Am very impressed at what we have done to it, when you consider we are in a safe Tory seat and that the site is regularly updated and am proud of my CLP comrades :-)

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CXLVIII: Guido Fawkes Aka Paul Staines





A Bio of Guido's blog can be found here.

What made you decide to start blogging?

A whim! Actually it was Perry De Havilland who suggested it to me after my drunken rantings for his Samizdata blog became too much.


What is your best blogging experience?

In terms of headings, my favourite of all time was about Michael Foot's three mistresses. We put in "Foot: Loose and Fancied Three!"

And your worst?
 

I resent being accused of being a "Baby Eating Nazi Mossad Stooge" stuff like that, hey it is the internet. People take things way too seriously and lose all sense of proportion.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

The ones that damage wrong 'uns like Damian McBride I cherish. There have been a lot of fun times, I particularly enjoyed the revelation in Deborah Mattinson's book that Gordon Brown harangued her in Downing Street brandishing a print out of a blog entry I had made. It showed that Gordon Brown read, and was driven madder by the blog. Mission accomplished.

Favourite blogs?

I read most of them. Some I've liked and then had enough of, it isn't their political take, it is the style. I don't like ranty polemic stuff that is comment on commentary, that is a big turn off. I am a closet tech blogs reader and a big fan of  FT Alphaville.

What helped develop your interest in politics?

When I read Karl Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies" as a teenager, but even when I was a child I tended to equate equality with conformity in an extremely negative way. Conformity is a form of brain death. The tyranny of human monotony is to be fought at all costs, this I knew from a young age. My interest ideologically is in anti-politics incidentally, I want to see an increase in the de-politicised space for human action.


You recently ran a story on William Hague sharing a hotel room with an aide. Given the furore it caused, do you ever fear a rebound on any of your stories?

I stand by the story. I think the cartoon that went with it was funny, but risky. I was worried Hague might come up with a second invoice that would prove me wrong. As it was I was right and the risk was worth taking.

You have mentioned Matt Drudge and The Sun newspaper, as edited by Kelvin Mackenzie in the 1980s as heroes and an inspiration to you. As you know Kelvin Mackenzie got into hot water several times concerning accuracy, Hillsborough being an example. Do you ever worry about your appreciation of sensationalism overtaking factual journalism?


No, never worry about that. Don't accept the premise of the question. Sensationalism doesn't require a departure from the facts.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?


South America. Have been to Central America a few times, but not South America. I'd like to see the Rio Carnival

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

I go back to India all the time. Loads of places I want to revisit, places I don't want other tourists to go to and ruin, like... oh, never mind.


Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Conservative Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?

I'll go for an up-and-coming newbie MP, Karl McCartney would make a good PM in the future, I'd give him the Chancellorship tomorrow.*

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?


You clearly haven't been doing your research. Guido Fawkes of course.

Favourite Bond movie?
I like the early Connery films.  The one with the rockets is good, You Only Live Twice

Favorite Doctor Who?

Jon Pertwee

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

I'm a vanilla person, meaning flavours.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?


The Beatles

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?

I like Oxfordshire.

Favourite national newspaper?

The Washington Times, for entertainment reasons.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Wine and young women.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Songs
Nicolette - No Government
Derrick May - Strings of Life
Donna Summer - I Feel Love - (the first single I brought, Disco never died, they just renamed it house)

Books
The Anatomist -  Federico Andahazi

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator  - Edwin Lefevere

The Open Society and its Enemies - Karl Popper



* EDITOR'S NOTE. I told Guido that this would probably be a kiss of death for him, to which he replied that there was the alternative view that he'd more likely raised his profile

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cameron's Plea To European Ministers

I hope he does manage to do this, but it would help if the cuts were not so drastic in some areas, and that there was some distinction made with regards to the cuts on benefits, otherwise the most poor and vulnerable in our society will suffer greatly and  then blaming it all on our European partners will not wash either

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gorbachev's Warnings About Afghanistan

Whilst I have a lot of time for Mikhail Gorbachev and see his points regarding Afghanistan, I do feel that we must not forget why we went in and the unique circumstances concerning that. If we do withdraw from Afghanistan, then we must have contingency measures in working at ways to effectively continue the war against Al Qaeda, because they certainly will not let up on their side of the War

Monday, October 25, 2010

Osborne. That Dangerous Chancellor!

A few days ago, a Nobel Prize winner, Christopher Pizzarides, attacked the Chancellor's massive cuts saying that the risks he highlighted were "minimal".
Some responded by saying that just because he is a Nobel Prize winner does not mean he is right, and that is a fair point. But equally it doesn't mean he is wrong and respected newspaper columnist Steve Richards has waded in and highlighted William Keegan's article in yesterday's Observer, where he compares Osborne's record as Chancellor to Philip Snowden's in 1931.
To pin the entire blame of the damage our economy has faced on Gordon Brown shows breathtaking arrogance at best. It also reinforces the very low opinion many of us outside the Conservative Party hold towards George Osborne. He has allowed his personal loathing towards one of his predecessors and his love of political skulduggery to colour whatever economic judgement he has. Simply leaving reputable departments alone and clinging on and hoping for the best does not bode well and I hope for the sake of this country that we don't enter a double-dip recession as a result. It would be very hard to try and blame Gordon Brown for that, and I for one am very concerned as to where Osborne's economic plans will leave us!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CXLVII: Walaa Idris

(Walaa Idris)
Walaa Idris: The oldest of three, I have one of each, was born in West Germany but raised in Khartoum, Sudan - educated in a Catholic Convent, by Italian nuns from kindergarten, until secondary school. Have two degrees Psychology and Sociology plus Economics. Moved permanently to London (UK) in 1990 and became a card carrying Tory in June of 2000. My blog can be found here

What made you decide to start blogging?
For the best part of 2 years I was thinking about blogging, just thinking, and mentally talking my self out of it every time I came close. Always backed it with excuses from not enough time to my not so perfect English, then last year around this time it dawned on me that I will not have the opportunity to fight a parliamentary seat in the 2010 May elections (I was on the list of approved candidates and was applying for seats at the time). So, if I wanted to contribute to the political debate and stay in the political arena I needed to do more than being a spectator, I had to give my words and my thoughts a voice. With the help of a friend the blog was born, and my words had a voice and a platform.

What is your best blogging experience?
My first post, it had everything a political post should have including an unintentional spelling mistake but most of all it was librating and freeing. Being able to write opened up a new world for me, a sphere I could not belief I denied myself and my loyal readers for all that time. 

And your worst?
I don’t have a specific one to point to, but there have been a couple of times when I had loads of ideas going around in my head yet still had nothing worth writing about – I guess that qualify as my worst experience!

What do you regard as your best blog entry?
Every blog that touches a person or makes a point clearer or helps in any small way is a good entry – I write truthfully and from the heart, I blog with the full intention to make a difference, a positive and empowering difference. But if I had to choice one, then my open letter to Darren Bridgman, because I know it had the desired effect.

Favorite blogs?
There are many that I enjoy reading; I read between10 – 15 a day mostly political blogs. 

What inspired you to go into politics?
I am one of those lucky people who were brought up in a politically charged household, my mother a die hard liberal socialist and my dad a capitalist conservative – the saying “no sex, politics or religion on the dinner table” was invented for my family, but still politics and sometimes religion found their way to our dinning room. I was destined to become involved in politics in one way or another from an early age.

I love life, living and partaking in it, everything around us is affected in one way or another by politics and the decisions made and taken by politicians on our behalf. My love of life and the people around me is what inspires me everyday.

How did you initially feel about the Conservatives going into government with the Liberal Democrats. Did you have any concerns about Party unity?
At first I did not like or warm to the idea, even though I understood the veracity of the situation and the need to put aside political dogma for what’s best for the country; before the collation I didn’t trust the Liberal Democrats and my opinion of them was not at all that good, and am sure the feeling was reciprocated. But I promised myself to keep an open mind and put my trust on our leader and the negotiating team, and I am glad that I did – our coalition partners has proved to be trustworthy to work with and some I can even call friends now.

Party unity was of little concern, because we, Tories, are a disciplined bunch and can be grown up about what needs to be done, and without sounding arrogant, it is very Conservative to put country before personal feelings, I knew, some might take longer than others but at the end we will all unite behind our leader the Coalition and what’s best for Britain.


You recently, and in my view, rightly so, attacked some of those on the Left who gloated over Margaret Thatcher's recent bout of ill-health. But could you honestly say that no one on the Right would do the same about Gordon Brown in similar circumstances, and that some of the attacks on him went beyond political criticism? 
The simple answer is no, and there have been occasions when some on the right had tweeted or said openly some nasty things about our opponents, specially Gordon Brown, but it is wrong, tasteless and displays poor character. Politics should never ever be about personal attacks, dogma is one thing, but people’s health and life or death matters should never ever come into it.
I don’t like the politics of many people, but I first see people as people with families and friends that love and wants what best for them and that always puts things into prospective. But also I don’t hate, there are many people who I don’t particularly like but I never really hate.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Mind you the furthest east I have been is Turkey, but I am very blessed in that I have seen and visited all the places I ever wanted to see. 

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Twenty years ago I camped and then walked up the Grand Canyon (it’s a big deal because I don’t do outdoors plus it was an exhilarating experience). I would like to do it again for the experience and to see if I am as fit as I was back then.

Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Conservative Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?
I think we are very lucky because we had fantastic leaders but no one has yet to top Thatcher.

Major, as a Prime Minster was the stately man who took over the party and the country when both were going through a turbulent time safely to shore. Hague at the time was the protégé who was entrusted with managing a broken brand at a point in time when the whole country wanted nothing Conservative – but look at him now the Ambassador to Britain and Conservatism a man of true substance. As for IDS, the quite man who is silently transforming our society, our country back to being the fair, just and balanced nation it ought to be in a 21st Century fashion

I have a soft spot for Cameron, the first time we met he was after my vote and took the time to convince me why I should cast it for him, and although slightly to the left of me I could see then he is the man who can move us to where we can become electable again. But I still struggled with giving him my vote because my heart and mind were in turmoil, however at the eleventh hour I gave in, and I am glad I did because I was right about him taking us to No 10. 

Which political figure (apart from Margaret Thatcher) has been your greatest inspiration?
Beside my father, Ronald Regan is my greatest inspiration, in politics and in life, his ability to persevere and overcome is a testament that giving up is never an option.


Favourite Bond movie?
Diamonds Are Forever - its enjoyable and because it gave us Sean Connery one more time


Favorite Doctor Who?
Sadly I never watched Doctor Who - So will not be able to answer that one


Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
If ice cream then Vanilla, if a cake then Chocolate, and of course every good meal should end with fresh mint tea – I am a woman who likes variety.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
Michael Jackson always and forever!

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
Definitely Oxford


Favourite national newspaper?
The Times


What would you say your hobbies were?
Dancing, blogging, Reading (but don’t tell my mum, to her reading is essential – she calls it brain food) hanging out with friends, people watching and doing nothing productive is my most favorite hobby which I try to indulge in once a week. 

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books 
(Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

I am a broad church when it comes to music and reading

Songs

  1. One Moment In Time”– by Whitney Huston is my own personal anthem
  2. The first thing my father did every Moring while shaving is play Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No 9 (Molto vivace), at first us kids hated it but in time we grow to love and appreciate it – it takes me back to a time that is peaceful full of love and worry free.
  3. There is always a new tune rattling around in my head – right now “I love the Way You Lie” by Rihanna and Eminem

Books
  1. The Magic of thinking Big – By David J. Schwartz – it uplifts me whenever I feel a negative or a downward spiral coming my way – I first picked it at a very dark time in my life and it helped my through it.
  2. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Is the first book (since Mario Puzo’s The Godfather) that kept me up - I literally devoured that book - picked up on a Friday and put it down early Monday morning.
  3. My third is a controversial book by a controversial man, but in my humble opinion it is essential reading for anyone who is remotely interested in politics, because it is a part of history our history. Mine Kampf, by Adolf Hitler – a very hard book to read and understand (translation is poor) but a classic historical must read document.