"teh basement cat iz in ur screen, stealin' ur blogz..."

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Gosh... you can almost hear the tumbleweed rolling across the face of this blog. A desolate strip of packed earth and sand with not a single green shoot poking its head tentatively above the soil. No fresh loam, but coarse and barren land.

I have, for various reasons, been otherwise occupied. Ironically I've had all the time in the world, however for a rationale best understood only by myself, I have neglected my little corner of the world.

Given the past few weeks there is no shortage of ammunition for me to base a few posts on, but if I'm brutally honest, the current affairs of the UK have been somewhat depressing of late. The election of the new speaker, for example, has been a bit of a let-down. A red tory (forgiveable) whose expenses track record hardly screams reformist (unforgiveable) has replaced a grumpy old lefty whose expenses track record was 'take what you can, give nothing back'. Wow. Well, that is a breath of fresh air.

Terribly disappointed that Richard Shepherd didn't get the job - his speech was curt and damning, but then again, perhaps given that it is little wonder.

So, anyway, just a quick one (hello, yes, still alive thanks).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Ehmm... lolwut?



You what?

I mean... really?

Well you won't see me anywhere near Betty's Tea Rooms now.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Purnell turns on his master

I hope you all did your bit for democracy yesterday. I heard a few comments going around that abstention was the only way to register your protest with the system, with politicians, and while I understand their frustrations, I disagree entirely. Not voting, in my view, dishonours the sacrifices that went before you to allow you the ability to vote. Fair enough that you can argue those people fought and campaigned just as much for your right not to vote as your right to vote, but I think in those circumstances, with all the parties available to you, there must be at least one that represents your views enough for you to tick next to their name?

In most things I am somewhat libertarian in my views. Freedom is the highest and most sacred right of all, but sometimes, I think the Australians have got it right, making it a legal requirement to turn up to vote, even if you then choose to abstain. Of course, I disagree on general principle, but the idea holds a certain appeal!

Overshadowing the elections last night, however, was the resignation of James Purnell. I seem to recall a few favourable comments from some of the Labour crowd a few days ago, including some from LGBTLabour on twitter. I bet they're seething now... David Cameron carpe'd the diem with this:

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Some post-match analysis

Overall impression of PMQs was one of disbelief. Cameron had plenty ammunition but seemed on first viewing to lack the stomach to use it. Nick Clegg fired off some good shots, but got laughed down by Labour's backbenchers. I smell some Hubris coming their way. I think Cameron is playing a tactical game here, and from an electoral perspective I can understand why.

Spectator has a pretty good breakdown, which I think makes good sense. What I think they're missing is that Cameron doesn't want a mortally wounded Brown, just a grazed one. I suspect we just saw a calculated salvo aimed not to kill. If Brown has confidence he'll stay in No. 10, and that means a much surer chance of victory for the Conservatives at the next General Election. A new leader means facing Labour in a honeymoon period of sorts, and that might be enough to rescue a few seats.

The fact Brown won't be called on an election shows he still thinks he can turn things around and improve on the polls. He'll hold out as long as he can in the hope his political currency can rise. Cameron wants an election now because that would mean facing Brown, not a new Labour leader. For him, the longer Brown holds out, the greater risk someone in Labour will grow the cojones to challenge him.

Wordle Cloud

Wordle: May/June Blogging

A wordle cloud of the last couple of posts on this blog. Pretty clear what's been on my mind, then!

David Cameron: Why we need a referendum on Lisbon

All the more reason to vote Conservative in the European Elections. UKIP aren't the answer (or WE-KIP, as Jury Team have dubbed them), Libertas seem pretty lightweight, and Labour as we all know don't think you deserve a choice in the matter. Let's not even mention the crazy neo-fascist left wing nationalist party. The signals coming from Hague and Cameron at the moment are the best I've heard with regards to Europe for some time now. Finally, some sense.

Bleary eye'd, but bushy tailed?

So that's it, Hazel 'Chipmunk' Blears has announced her resignation after Gorgon described her claims as 'unacceptable'. Hardly a shocker that he should do so, the man has been looking for an excuse ever since her 'youtube if you want to' moment. Our (vain)Glorious Leader does not take criticism, implied or otherwise, well.

The BBC alludes to her timing as suspect, perhaps an attempt to further destabilise Brown in the wake of Jacqui Smith and Tom Watson's announcements yesterday. Her statement is absolutely loaded. On the face of it, she is simply saying that she feels that she should return to focus on her constituents and their needs, but her wording is nothing short of devastating.

"The role of a progressive Government should be to pass power to the people. I've never sought high office for the sake of it, or for what I can gain, but for what I can achieve for the people I represent and serve."

Her implication is clear. The Government has clearly failed in that role (although as I've indicated before, left wingers never really want to give power to the people, since they know better than the people), and her colleagues who shall remain nameless have sought power for the sake of power. Perhaps a reference to the Son of the Manse? Who can say?

Only hours before an already awkward PMQs, Hazel retreats to the backbenches. I'm sure Iain Dale will be pleased to see his favourite feisty little chipmunk still has some fire. This can only intensify the infighting, and when it comes, it will make it clearer than ever that it is time for a new Government. One with an elected Prime Minister, would be nice.

Belshazzar was SLAIN!

You'll have to excuse the Biblical reference, but it is the Son of the Manse, that great scion of Presbyterian conscience and moral authority, to whom I refer.

Gordon Brown's refusal to confirm whether or not Darling or Blears have a future in the Cabinet was telling. It was the closest he had yet come to announcing that a cabinet reshuffle was indeed on the cards, and while you might perhaps forgive him for letting Blears drift, Darling has been a loyal chancellor - so loyal that he has gained the unenviable caricature of being his sock-puppet. Yet even Darling has on occasion 'overstepped' his master's authority with comments that diverged from the Prime Minister's chosen tune. Perhaps it is not so surprising that past loyalty is no protection when your master is backed into a corner fearing for his political life.

Ultimately, though, the suspense was broken by Jacqui Smith when she announced she would be standing down at the next reshuffle. Admittedly, she failed to fall on her sword as thoroughly as we would have liked by resigning as an MP entirely. With her slender majority of just over two-thousand, however, my suspicion is that she hopes to save her seat by showing some penitence. Smith's resignation could not come too soon, in my eyes. In her two years in the job as Home Secretary she has seen the Government's plans for increased terrorist detention defeated and has presided over massively unpopular plans for authoritarian DNA databases and ID cards. The Liberal Democrat's Chris Huhne branded her a failure even on her own terms. Throw in her expenses, her attempts to make prostitution even more open to abuse (a total lack of appreciation for the law of unintended consequences) and husband's predilection for charging his porn films to the taxpayer, and her position really was untenable.

Her attempt at damage limitation is, as ever, too little too late. What it has served to do is put the writing on the wall for Gordon Brown. If more nails were required for the proverbial coffin, Tom Watson added another with his resignation, and now the SNP are teaming up with Plaid Cymru to use their time next week to force a debate on the dissolution of Parliament . Nick Clegg has thrown his support to the debate, and William Hague has called the SNP's bluff by announcing on Sky News that if dissolution were debated, the Conservatives would be in favour. Should it come to this, Dan Hannan and Iain Martin have both postulated that the Queen might need to exercise her unwritten constitutional right to dissolve parliament. This may yet come to pass.

For all Parties involved, this could be a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. The expenses debacle has battered Parliament, and the European Elections will be a litmus test for voter's intentions. While I doubt strongly that fringe parties would stand to gain much in a General Election, I have found it difficult to divine whether anger is directed equally at all MPs, or if the ire is concentrated on the Government. My suspcion is the latter, if only because the Conservative's reaction to the 'revelations' has been far more decisive, and with the greatest of respect, no one really cares too much about the Liberal Democrats anyway. They are, if anything, Labour-Lite.

From what I have gathered from those I have spoken to, people distrust Cameron simply for being a Tory. They fear he is just another Blair, but blue. Yet if you ask people to take Iraq out of the equation, you'll find a grudging admission that they really liked Tony, at least to begin with. Blair had energy, authority, and anger. He wanted to change things. Watching Cameron, you can see that same passion, and you can sense the barely contained fury as he watches a Labour majority do untold damage to Parliamentary democracy and worse, to the population of Great Britain. In that, at least, he captures the spirit of the nation.

My Labour-minded friends tend to be blinkered in their devotion, it is that classic tribalism which leads them to hold fast to their course even as their ship sails off the edge of the world. Slavish devotion to their party can only be tolerated so long as the party has the best interests of the nation, and of the individual, at heart. As soon as it begins to believe it knows better than its electorate, it deserves no longer to form a Government. That is a lesson Cameron would do well to remember. He speaks now of returning power to the people, a truly libertarian sentiment (ironically, Socialists often claim the same, however what they mean is power to the establishment, because they're smarter than you), and I sincerely hope he means it.

The European Elections will be the opinion polls to end all opinion polls for this Government. Even taking the anti-political contingent out of the equation, I suspect strongly that Labour are going to be pummelled.

As with Belshazzar, Gordon's days are numbered. The writing on the wall is the same now as then, and come election time, this unelected Prime Minister will be told as much: "Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting."