Via the Daily Irrelevant:
31 October 2007
30 October 2007
Apparently the main picture that appears on Nick Clegg's website rotates. Here are some of my favourite:
29 October 2007
The websites of the two Lib Dem leadership candidates have settled down to what looks to be their "final design" and I thought now might be the time to deconstruct them to see what they tell us about the pair... and possibly to lightly rip the piss out of them too.
Chris Huhne's Chris2Win.org
The first thing that strikes me: It's just so green.
See? And I get that he is trying to convey the message
"Hey, I care about the environment, hell, look, I've even invited the environment to set up home on my website"
But does he really have to push it quite so hard? I know this might come as a shock to Huhne and his team, but not everyone cares as deeply as they do about climate change and global warming. If they're like me, they know there's a problem and they're willing to do their bit to help, but they're not going to base their voting preferences solely on that one issue. I don't want to see our party become "greener", we're already seen as the mainstream "green party", and those within the party know he's the Environment spokesperson (and a very effective and articulate one at that), so I don't see what he's trying to achieve with this overwhelming colour palette. Maybe it went well with the curtains, because I can't see any other use for it.
This is in fact the Huhne website mark II and aside from a shift in colour (from liberal yellow to environmental green), the slogan has changed too, from
A fairer society. People in charge.
The experience to lead
The vision to succeed
Presumably he wasn't happy with fairness and empowerment and wanted to make sure his personal characteristics were put at the centre of the campaign.
Another casualty of the redesign has been a strong, sensible banner picture to this smarmy git, "everyday guy" travesty:
Nick Clegg's NickClegg.com
NickClegg.com redirects you straightaway to NickClegg.com/support - the virtual equivalent of "please be friends with me" - where you can sign up to support "Nick's" campaign:
And then you can click along to the main page, entitled, "Look at Nick being all inclusive with the ethnics":
Seriously, how patronising can you be? What, could they not find a picture of Nick speaking to some black children?
As James Graham notes, this site took a "geological age" to get up, being previously a holding page where you could sign up. So, was it worth it? No, no it was not. There's nothing special on the there that couldn't have been knocked up with a solid's days work. Still, at least it's not green.
Issue not being discussed today: Huhne's comments on the Trident nuclear debate. Don't understand it, don't want to.
Last Thursday's From Our Own Correspondent was dedicated to Alan Johnston's tale of his kidnapping in Gaza earlier this year. It's a riveting, moving and honest account of his 114 days in captivity and you can download and listen to it here (right click and select "save link as" if you want to download).
From the BBC:
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has accused Britain of not doing enough to fight international terrorism.
Anybody want to go ahead and tell the King what nationality the world's most wanted is?
And whilst we're on the subject:
Liberal Democrat acting leader Vince Cable is boycotting the state visit to Britain of Saudi King Abdullah. Mr Cable says he will not attend any of the planned ceremonial events - as would be normal for the leader of one of the main opposition parties.
Good on him, after all, we wouldn't want to be seen associating with a country that is an international exporter of terrorism.
27 October 2007
Prepared by the White House in the event that Armstrong and Aldrin couldn't return from the moon in 1969:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
26 October 2007
25 October 2007
The Lib Dem blogosphere is divided, will it be the Huhney monster or the Clegg... um... thingy, that gets your vote? Here's a summary of the different views:
Chris Huhne's supporters: 'Chris' [and it's always "Chris", never "Chris Huhne] is wonderful, he's just great, and you know that Nick Clegg likes to eat raw puppies for breakfast and he's really a Tory. Look at the eyes, it's all in the eyes."
Nick Clegg: 'Nick' [and it's always 'Nick', never 'Nick Clegg'] is wonderful, he's just great, and Chris Huhne, well, look at that grey hair, he's just as old as Ming is, and we all know where that went. Besides, Nick Clegg is just like David Cameron, but better - he can really speak to the people you know. And look at the number of MPs supporting him, Huhne will never be able to hold the parliamentary party together and we'll have open rebellion in months.
Or their views are something like that anyway.
Via the Guardian:
British forces are "ludicrously" overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan because politicians have clung for years to the imperial delusion that the UK is a world power, the historian Correlli Barnett said this afternoon.
Speaking at a seminar at Churchill College, Cambridge, on his 80th birthday, the distinguished historian said that after the first world war the British Empire and later the Commonwealth were only a façade of strength, but made the political establishment feel important on the world stage. ...
"Politicians, civil servants and military chiefs remained mental prisoners of Britain's past as a world and imperial power," said Mr Barnett ...
Discussing why the elite retain such nostalgic delusions, he said: "In my belief the elite remained prisoners of their indoctrination at public school and Oxbridge. There they had been programmed to be house prefects to the world. But given Britain's postwar problems, these Victorian or Edwardian reflexes were simply obsolete mental kit overdue for scrapping."
He argued in his address: "Such exaggeration has remained the besetting sin of British total strategy right up to the present day and also remained a sure recipe for a discordance between military commitments and financial resources. At the present time, the British army and its air support are just too small to fight simultaneous large-scale guerrilla wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan."
Having never been to public school I couldn't possibly comment. Any readers out there wish to confirm or deny these allegations?
I've been tagged by Jackart to give a list of people who need a good, honest potentially fatal hiding. I don't usually take up the meme challenge, but I willing to make an exception for this particular form of unnecessary violence.
10. Michael Gove: He's got one of those smug little faces that you just want to hit.
See what I mean?
9. Andrew Lloyd Webber: For the crime of Cats, and because it would probably improve his appearance.
8. John Reid: For thinking that 90 days might be an acceptable time to detain somebody without charge. The bricking should be daily, for 90 days, whilst he is detained on a prison ship and refused anti-seasickness tablets.
7. Charles Clarke: For thinking that 90 days might be an acceptable time to detain somebody without charge. Similar punishment as John Reid, but for being the first to champion this, he is also strung up by his over-sized ears during the detention period.
6. John Major: For privatising the railways, something even arch-privatiser Margaret Thatcher refused to do. Every time the First Group put up their fares and cancel or severely delay trains, whilst dishing out nice juicy dividends to their shareholders, I think of you.
4. Robert Mugabe: For not understanding that racism works both ways.
3. Russell T. Davies: The bricking should be light, but it is nonetheless necessary. He brought back Doctor Who, but he also wrote the episodes Gridlock, Last of the Time Lords and Love & Monsters, some of the worst of the series.
2. Steve Jobs: For locking the iPhone and then bricking the phones of those people which had found a workaround. Imagine what Apple would be like if it had Microsoft's market domination.
1. Tony Blair: Not content with launching a war against Iraq on a dubious legal basis, he's now beating the drum for intervention in Iran.
I haven't put Gordon Brown on this list, because today he is in my good books for this lovely constitutional nugget of ideas.
* Cue accusations of hypocrisy for my unintelligible writings.
23 October 2007
22 October 2007
The Society of Homeopaths* have been a bit naughty and forced the hosts of The Quackometer to take down an article disparaging the noble society. Sounds a lot like what happened to Craig Murray and Bloggerheads last month.
Thank god for the internet, therefore, as copies of the offending article have been springing up everywhere in a fantastic demonstration of how utterly archaic this country's libel laws are in the internet age.
Thanks to James Graham for spotting this.
* A homeopath is a person who practices alternative medicine which treats "like for like" - i.e. they give you substances which in higher doses would produce the symptoms of your illness. It's kind of like shooting someone to cure gunshot wounds. A homeopath is not a gay guy with homicidal tendencies.
21 October 2007
Former Spark editor and good friend of mine, Richard Holloway, has started blogging. He is, regrettably, a Tory, but I won't hold that against him as I add his RSS feed to Bloglines and start to enjoy his occasional ruminations as a "sceptical conservative".
19 October 2007
Rob Fenwick has started a series of "podcasts of a floating voter" over on his site. Irreverent, funny and intelligent, definitely worth a listen if, like me, you're undecided. Listen to the first one here.
PS. Have I heard Rob before on From Our Own Correspondent?
18 October 2007
Compare and contrast this petition calling for no general election until 2010 (set up by a LabourHome activist) which currently has 7 signatures with this petition calling for a general election in 2007 and currently has 15,100 signatures. To say that Gordon Brown failed to capture the public mood when he declined to hold an election this year might be an understatement.
Standing to be a candidate for the Lib Dems in the upcoming European elections, she made a brief appearance at last night's Liberal Drinks. Now what can I say, except, what a name. Just a shame I can't vote for her as she's not in my region.
17 October 2007
They're both up and running now. Here for Huhne and here for Clegg. I'm still undecided and will wait to see what policies/focus the contenders will bring to the party because I simply don't know enough about any of the candidates at the moment to make a truly informed decision. Gareth Epps and James Graham have been doing some more eloquent soul-searching on their "wait-and-see" approach.
A complete run-down of all those MPs that could stand for the Lib Dem leadership, with my notes on a few:
- Danny Alexander, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey: MP since 2005, he could throw his hat into the ring because he sounds a bit like "Douglas Alexander". The resulting confusion could garner votes on the left of the party.
- Norman Baker, Lewes: Well known for his Sunday paper like tendency to uncover scandals and formerly the party's environment spokesperson. However, his links to the butcher and candlestick maker could rule him out from the top job.
- John Barrett, Edinburgh West: His half-price sales may well tip the scales in his favour.
- Alan James Beith, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
- Tom Brake, Carshalton and Wallington.
- Colin Breed, South East Cornwall: Could run to stop jokes about in-Breed-ing in Cornwall.
- Annette Brooke, Mid Dorset and North Poole.
- Jeremy Browne, Taunton: Could the country take two "Brown/es"?
- Malcolm Bruce, Gordon.
- Paul Burstow, Sutton and Cheam.
- Lorely Burt, Solihull: A great name that deserves to be seen more in print.
- Vincent Cable, Twickenham: One of a few to rule himself out, is currently the Acting Leader.
- Menzies Campbell, North East Fife: Could run a shock campaign to regain the leadership from which he recently resigned, but this may well be stalled by questions about his age.
- Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland.
- Nick Clegg, Sheffield Hallam: One of the two "frontrunners" according to a number of papers and despairingly they are both privately educated (and Oxbridge educated) former MEPs - how they will come across as a "man of the people" is beyond me, but perhaps they won't need to. Is there something wrong with a party run by a well-educated man, despite his upbringing? Has launched his campaign website.
- Edward Davey, Kingston and Surbiton: Former Chief of Staff to Ming, he's got a catchy name going for him.
- Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale.
- Lynne Featherstone, Hornsey and Wood Green: Has regrettably ruled herself out, I would have liked to have seen her go for it as the "everything the other two are not" candidate. She's state educated, went to a polytechnic, rose through the ranks via a council and the GLA and what's even better, runs a blog. If the leadership comes up again, I hope she considers herself then.
- Don Foster, Bath: I like Bath, it's pretty.
- Andrew George, St Ives.
- Sandra Gidley, Romsey: Another blogger, but not someone I want to see in the running as her stance on violent pornography is hopelessly illiberal.
- Julia Goldsworthy, Falmouth and Camborne: May be prevented from running by questions over her age... and because most of the male adult population will knock one off when she comes on at PMQs. You don't want that interrupted by Gordon Brown in the next shot.
- Mike Hancock, Portsmouth South: Could bring some much needed swearing to the campaign.
- Evan Harris, Oxford West and Abingdon.
- Nick Harvey, North Devon.
- David Heath, Somerton and Frome.
- John Hemming, Birmingham Yardley: Another blogger, he has released a "position statement" and is actively seeking the requisite number of nominations.
- Paul Holmes, Chesterfield.
- Martin Horwood, Cheltenham: Another very pretty city.
- David Howarth, Cambridge.
- Simon Hughes, North Southwark and Bermondsey: Not running.
- Chris Huhne, Eastleigh: Came second last time, I've seen him speak in person and he's not too shabby. See "Nick Clegg" however on background.
- Mark Hunter, Cheadle.
- Paul Keetch, Hereford.
- Charles Kennedy, Ross, Skye and Lochaber: Probably won't run, could find it difficult to get out of the bar.
- Susan Kramer, Richmond Park: Ruled out.
- Norman Lamb, North Norfolk: I like him, I like him a lot and not just because he beat Iain Dale at the last election.
- David Laws, Yeovil: Not standing.
- John Leech, Manchester Withington.
- Michael Moore, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk: Won't run as too busy promoting his new film, Sicko.
- Greg Mulholland, Leeds North West.
- Mark Oaten, Winchester: Forced out of the last race after claims about his relationship with a rent-boy. He's also standing down at the next election.
- Lembit Öpik, Montgomeryshire: Too busy with cheeky girls and asteroids.
- John Pugh, Southport. Hugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub are advising him not to stand, for fear of splitting the group.
- Alan Reid, Argyll and Bute.
- Willie Rennie, Dunfermline and West Fife: Tee-hee, his first name is "Willie".
- Dan Rogerson, North Cornwall.
- Paul Rowen, Rochdale.
- Bob Russell, Colchester: "Bingo Bob".
- Adrian Sanders, Torbay.
- Robert Smith, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
- Andrew Stunell, Hazel Grove.
- Jo Swinson, East Dunbartonshire.
- Matthew Taylor, Truro and St Austell: Stepping down at the next election.
- Sarah Teather, Brent East: One-time media darling, now largely forgotten.
- John Thurso, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
- Steve Webb, Northavon: Another blogger, he's confident he has enough nominations to run.
- Mark Williams, Ceredigion.
- Roger Williams, Brecon and Radnorshire.
- Stephen Williams, Bristol West.
- Phil Willis, Harrogate and Knaresborough.
- Jenny Willott, Cardiff Central.
- Richard Younger-Ross, Teignbridge: Younger than Ross?
Well, that's "defaming the majority of the parliamentary party" ticked off the list, now what's next?
16 October 2007
Remembering a leadership life in gags:
- 15th October 2007: "Any similarities between "Menzies" and "Menezes" are entirely coincidental - one was killed by those he trusted most, the other was mistaken for a suicide bomber."
- 20th September 2007: "Is a supporter of Ming Campbell a "Minger"?" Apparently not, they're called Minglers.
- 18th September 2007: In an article on Nick Clegg's immigration plan, the Daily Mail quote "mystery sources" as revealing Clegg wouldn't stand for leader last time around: ""Mystery sources" eh? Would that be ouija boards or psychics?"
- 16th September 2007: Simon Hughes remarks that LibDems are united behind Ming - "Yep, we're all united behind Ming... with a knife in our hands."
- 14th September 2007: Ming looks like he is about to cry.
- 13th September 2007: What I said, not so funny. What Will created, inspired.
- 12th August 2006: Ming masturbates furiously into Vince Cable's lap.
15 October 2007
I'm posting this for posterity's sake - I was writing this as Ming resigned, apologies to those bloggers I missed, it was going to be longer.
Something rather odd has happened in the Liberal Democrats since Brown decided not to hold an election this year - we've realised that there's probably 18 months (at least) until the next election and now might be a good time to get rid of our leader, if we were so inclined. It's been fuelled today by Vince Cable's comments to the BBC that Ming's leadership is "under discussion". Here's how the Lib Dem bloggers are feeling about it:
- Paul Walter has come out and asked for Ming to depart the stage in an open letter to the dear leader on the grounds that "We are at the time, I believe, where there needs to be a handover to the next leader". He's made this request not because Ming has any shortcomings, but because he isn't the right leader for the moment and the party needs a change.
- James Graham's Comment is Free article notes that this has now become "a matter of life and death... Sir Menzies must now kill the debate quickly or be killed himself". He believes (and I agree) that, with the resurgence of the Tories and a Labour party under a new leader, the main problem for the LibDems at the moment is that we can no longer depend on tactical voting for seats (in other words, by standing on a platform of "we're not the other two parties"). We need to be winning the policy argument, setting the agenda - "Ming needs to be making a speech on a major policy area every week for at least a couple of months spelling out the Lib Dem alternative to the Lab-Con cosy consensus." I could write about this for an age, so let's move on.
- Nich Starling gives his idle chatter and compares the issue to a boil that must be lanced.
My view? It's crunch time for Ming and, on balance, there's a lot going for giving him a nudge out the door. A few Tory friends of mine have confessed that they're extremely worried by the prospect of a Clegg leadership because he's everything David Cameron wants to be and he's not afraid of a fight (or so they believe).
"The bullet flattens on impact and immediately incapacitates the target ... This is a more effective bullet in the context of dealing with a suicide bomber as there is more chance of incapacitating a subject with a single shot.
"A direct to brain stem shot is the only way to incapacitate a subject. You need a bullet that dumps all its energy into the subject."
Ok, gotcha, one bullet, kills instantly - alarming but understandable in context. So how do you explain shooting him seven times?Not being discussed today:
- Sir Menzies'* leadership: Apparently he is reflecting on it.
* Any similarities between "Menzies" and "Menezes" are entirely coincidental - one was killed by those he trusted most, the other was mistaken for a suicide bomber.
14 October 2007
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the weekly vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London protesting against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. Their website states that they will
I went there for the first time last week. Here's a hastily taken picture:
"continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe."
The Campaign for Fixed Term Parliaments has launched their brand spanking new sparkly site, following first reading of the Fixed Term Parliament Bill earlier this week. As the list of supporters shows, this is a cross party campaign, showing genuine commitment across the political spectrum for ending one of the most egregious, anachronistic* royal prerogative powers still around. In a democracy it should not be left to one man to decide when an election is called. Elections should be held at pre-fixed intervals or if the representative assembly has decided that it has lost confidence in the executive. By supporting this campaign, you are supporting the abolition of at least part of government by Prime Ministerial fiat.
PS. The petition on the PM's site calling for an election this year is now up to 13, 288 signatures.
* You can tell I've been busy with the thesaurus.
11 October 2007
According to the Daily Kos Al Gore has had to cancel an event scheduled for tonight because "he needs to travel abroad tomorrow for an exciting and urgent mission that could result in a major breakthrough in the fight against global warming". Any relation to the fact that the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is being announced tomorrow morning?
"Quite a few of the comments on the blog so far have attacked the UN for various failings. It's not a perfect institution - shock. It should be reformed - of course. But don't fall for the argument that because it's not perfect it is not valuable.
The UN deploys the second-largest number of troops and police (over 80 000) and in operating 15 peacekeeping and political missions around the world. It organises peace negotiations for the some of the most difficult places - Darfur coming up. Its development fund has sponsored projects in over 100 countries for women's health and safety. It raises more than $2 billion a year for devastating natural and humanitarian disasters. It oversees criminal tribunals on Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Lebanon. Immunisation rates for the six major vaccine-preventable diseases are up to over 75%. And it has unique authority to speak for decent opinion around the world."
09 October 2007
My mother, apathy personified, after I told her what Gordon Brown said to Andrew Marr over the weekend ("It would have been easier for me to call an election"):
"He really is in Tony Blair's mould isn't he?"
Yes, yes he is.
From the New Statesman:
"On Sept 27, Derek Pasquill, an official at the Foreign Office, was charged with six counts under the Official Secrets Act. He is due to appear in court on October 11. This case is said to follow the publication in the New Statesman, the Observer and in a pamphlet by the Policy Exchange think tank of a series of articles highlighting damaging and dangerous government policy. These included an expose of British acquiescence in the secret and illegal “rendition” (Rendition: the cover up) by the United States of terrorist suspects, and various revelations about government policy towards radical Islam."
So, a diligent Foreign Office official exposes government complicity in (probably) illegal actions, and instead of praise, honours and an investigation into the allegations, he gets charged for daring to stand up against torture. May I just say well done to the government for proving how hypocritical, spineless and fucking arrogant they can be. An extra special mention should probably go to whoever went out of their way to track down Derek Pasquill, because sir, you truly are the worst sort of bureaucratic scum. Never mind about the moral duty we have towards all our fellow citizens, as long as the proper course was taken, eh?
I've made some changes to the blog - added a banner (again), added a label cloud, got rid of all those little rss feed widgets thingys and replaced them with one BIG ORANGE BUTTON. The biggest change is a nice list of links down the side bar sorted by political affiliation/interests. Let me know if you link to me and I'll return the courtesy (or I might just add you because I read you anyway).
Couple of follow up things:
- I said that in 2005 the Lib Dems stood on a platform of legalising cannabis. They didn't, although the manifesto is slightly ambiguous in its wording, certainly leaving it open for a Lib Dem government to legalise (or at least decriminalising) the drug. In fairness, we did vote at conference to legalise it in 2002 and a couple of vaguely senior people in the party have voiced support for legalising the drug. Still, at least I'm in good company in my confusion.
- Andy Mayer and Lib Dem Voice have responded to Electoral Calculus's prediction that we would lose seats on the current opinion polls and shown what utter bollocks the site is.
- The Huffington Post article I mention can be found here.
- Yes I am hopelessly inarticulate. Thank you.
08 October 2007
The Guardian have published their student media awards shortlist (although unfortunately I can't find it on their website at the moment) and Sam Read of the University of Reading has been shortlisted for "Broadcaster of the Year". Thoroughly well-deserved if you ask me, as Sam worked on Junction11's news for three years non-stop, often when others wouldn't, and it's great to see hard work like that recognised. Best of luck to him with the final awards.
Turns out the Police and Stop the War came to a compromise, and today's protest calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq was able to go ahead past the Palace of Westminster... On the day the Prime Minister announced to the Commons that the number of troops serving in Iraq will be cut to half their current level by next spring.
The Stop the War coalition's protest which the police have banned (and I've blogged about before) is going ahead. I know this not because I read it in the news, but because I've just be accosted outside King's to come and join in. Several MPs, former MPs and "celebrity" political activists are taking part and it will be interesting to see what the police reaction will be to a peaceful protest that is in all likelihood illegal, despite the fact that on principle it should not be.
I'm not joining, not because of the likely illegality, but because I can't see the point of holding a protest which is calling for what is largely happening anyway - the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
07 October 2007
I've had an odd burst of activity since earlier this week and have been submitting The News Room left, right and centre. Here are some London-based theatres/agents that accept unsolicited scripts that might be handy for aspiring playwrights who wander past:
Anybody that knows any others, feel free to add them in the comments.
From the Watford Observer:
"The Liberal Democrats in Watford have apologised to Watford Observer for misleading information contained in its latest campaign leaflet.
The leaflet, being delivered to thousands of homes in the constituency this week, reproduces a quote from the Watford Observer stating: "The signs look good for the Lib Dems to topple Claire Ward the Labour MP" and attributes the words directly to the newspaper.
But in fact, when the comment was published in the Watford Observer almost five months ago, it was clearly attributed to the Lib Dem Mayor Dorothy Thornhill."
I've blogged before about our habit of campaigning on the platform "we're not Labour or Tory" and how it will eventually come to bite us on the arse, but to find out alongside this that some of my fellow party members are committing outright, calculated deception in order to get votes is surely beyond the pale. Is there a mechanism for ensuring that those who did this are, if not expelled from the party, at least banned from standing for the LibDems for a time as punishment?
You know what, I read this post back today (09/10) and I just feel it's a bit too harsh. No-one should be banned from standing (and especially not expelled) for what does appear to be a minor oversight. Let this be a lesson to you kids - don't blog in haste and think before you write.
06 October 2007
One lot of bad polling, in a week when HM Opposition dominated the political news agenda (despite his best efforts), and the Prime Minister has run scared from calling an election*. When an election is finally called, perhaps we should consider whether this bollockless wonder really is the person we want to be making decisions for us, especially over issues of national security. He seems to have revealed what a coward he truly is - willing to hold on to the mandate of his predecessor** lest the electorate reject him (thinking about it, that's sounds like a psychology thesis in the making).
The fact is that Gordon Brown, bar this week, has had a great first 101 days, with crisis after crisis handled reasonably competently and poll results that reflected this. There isn't much hope for him to come back from today's decision and reach the dizzy heights of 11 points ahead again. He has wasted an opportunity to get his own personal mandate for power and we have been denied the chance to decide whether we want a Brown premiership.
And so, in closing, let the great hunt for Gordon Brown's testicles begin!
* I'm choosing to avoid the alliteration of "Brown Bottles Big One", but it's tough, I'll admit.
** And before anyone starts, yes I am aware of how constitutionally he is allowed to do this... Doesn't make it right though.
I submitted this script (a later version is here) to the Windsor Fringe New Drama Writing competition this year and it turns out I was one of the six runners up, which is nice and a bit odd, as I've never really seen myself as a writer, although I enjoy the experience.
Anyway, I'm off to go and see a proper play tonight - The Hothouse by Harold Pinter.
05 October 2007
04 October 2007
No really, I have, it's over here and it's on the prospects of an Indian intervention in Burma.
Well, that's me done for the day.
03 October 2007
David Cameron's speech to his party's conference today would appear, watching it back on the BBC, to have been made without the aid of an autocue and bloody hell, doesn't it look better and sound better?
Just by taking away the lectern it makes him appear friendlier, less authoritarian and more inclusive. The whole thing doesn't feel like a lecture, it doesn't feel like he is talking down to his party and (to those watching at home) the country. Could Ming spend that long on his feet without a lectern to support him?
02 October 2007
01 October 2007
I will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. We don’t need another president of 9/11. We need a president for 9/12. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate.
What does that mean? This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again.
It is not that I thought we had new enemies that day and now I don’t. Yes, in the wake of 9/11, we need new precautions, new barriers. But we also need our old habits and sense of openness. For me, the candidate of 9/12 is the one who will not only understand who our enemies are, but who we are.
Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore. Our government has been exporting fear, not hope: “Give me your tired, your poor and your fingerprints.”
Probably the best line, though, comes before this, quoting an Onion piece:
"If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world’s conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions.”