A CROSSWORD fan aged 89 used an internet search to solve a clue about a donkey - and was bombarded with hard-core porn. Jack Sedgewick got stuck on 14 across: "Wild asian ass." The great-grandad typed "asian ass" into Yahoo's search engine in the hope of finding the answer to the newspaper poser.Thank the Lord there wasn't a clue that said "hairy bear".
But he was stunned when it threw up dozens of porn sites displaying photos of naked Asian girls. One offered "the hottest spicy asian ass you'll ever see". Ex-engineer Jack said: "I was shaken. The images were horrendous. I didn't know this sort of stuff existed."
Friday, May 28, 2010
Question Time should have empty chaired them and just put a tub of foundation on the panel instead to represent them.
Yesterday, Labour were pushed into third with the Coalition getting 76% of the vote. Labour received 13.5% down just shy of 10%.
It's unlikely, but now the Lib Dems are actually in office, might we see their vote share continue to rise at the expense of Labour where people choose to vote for them now because it might not actually be wasted?
Only time will tell
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Shocking evidence of a police state init? Bastards!
Note: This post was brought to you by Sarcasm Inc.
Hmmm, blue seems to be most voluminous colour, followed closely by red, and then there's just a little bit of yellow - kind of like an electoral map of Britain really.
David Miliband - all things to all men but with added proportionality!
Note: Before some smartarse says "white" is there too, aesthetically speaking white is the absence of colour, but yes it is of course debatable.
Next thing we'll be told is that upon inspection of his flat they found the complete DVD boxsets for Dexter. Always odd when life kind of imitates art.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.
BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.
DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.
MILITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the President is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".
BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly - listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother - in - law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the fung shiu is bad.
ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.
FEMINISM: You have two cows. They get married and adopt a veal calf.
TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.
COUNTER CULTURE: Wow, dude, there's like... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.
SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. One has actually read the US constitution, believes in it, and has some really good ideas about government. The cow runs for office, and while most people agree that the cow is the best candidate, nobody except the other cow votes for her because they think it would be "throwing their vote away."
An academy in the education system in England is a school that is directly funded by central government and is independent of local government control. sourceLabour scrapped the latter and introduced the former. Isn't now the time for The Coalition to scrap the former and introduce the latter.
Grant-maintained schools were state schools in England and Wales between 1988 and 1998 that had opted out of local government control, being funded directly by a grant from central government. source
Square the circle. Plus ça change!
That this House is alarmed at the rate of pub closures around the country; applauds the former Beautiful South and Housemartins front man Paul Heaton in his efforts to highlight the plight of British pubs and to promote cycling; and wishes him luck on his Pedals and Beer Pumps tour which will see him visit 16 pubs around the country.Nothing like praising a self-confessed alcoholic for going on a pub crawl on his bike huh?
The thing is, the seat has a Labour majority of just 1,472 votes, so, if there was any fraud, with these 4000+ votes then it brings into question the result. As I understand it there is a 21 day limit to legally challenge a result, which means there is a matter of two days for it to happen.
Might we see a challenge to the vote and another constituency election within months?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The "he" in question is Tim Ireland, who, as a general rule doesn't get linked to from this blog, but is having a video highlighted today. You see, back on polling day, Tim made a video which was secret filming of his entry to a polling station where he was asked by a teller for his polling card number and then, in true Tim style, went apoplectic about what he perceives happened.
For those who don't know, what the tellers do is record the number on a bit of paper, give it to someone else who then crosses your name off a canvass sheet which is also a marked electoral register, then, late in the day, someone else runs around like a blue arse fly getting anyone who said they would vote for you to go out and vote if they've not been crossed off the list yet. Consider that explanation "Telling in a Nutshell".
Now, all the parties do this in some form or another if they're actually bothering to fight a seat or think they have a high level support in one polling district or another. Thus, you might sometimes find three tellers outside a polling station, or sometimes maybe just one - this was the case when I once ran for election and Labour bizarrely put tellers out in the ward I was never going to win and they were never going to lose. Meanwhile I ran a committee room in the ward next door which I wasn't standing in but there was a chance of winning.
Anyhow, tellers are not necessarily party activists, they're volunteers who agree to perhaps an hour stint taking down numbers. They may just be voters that support you, or, in some cases, may just be a friend or neighbour who has said "yeah OK I'll help you out", the same can be true in canvassing. I stress this point about friends because I've been canvassing with the Tories where we had declared Lib Dem voters writing the sheets, all because they were friends of a Tory activist on a personal level.
Remember kids, politics itself may be divisive, but friendship and general civility on a personal level tends to overrides such things.
The same stuff is true when it comes to tellers. It's highly likely that the person telling may not even be a member of the party they are telling for, and, in fact, may not really be "into politics" as such. They just had some time free and agreed to write some numbers down on a piece of paper for someone. Likewise, the tellers, if there is more than one party present, will chat to each others when there are no voters about, and, if you refuse to give your voting number to someone because, for example "you fucking hate tory scum" the chances are the Labour teller will give the Tory teller the number anyway after you've buggered off.
Its called being polite and cuts every way because sometimes there are too many people coming out or going in at the same time for one person to catch everyone's number.
So, what does a teller get told before they go off to a polling station? Do they receive a big briefing from upon high? Of course they don't, they get handed a pad of paper and pen and get told something along the lines of. "Stand outside the polling station you can't go in; ask people for their polling number but don't ask them how they voted or how they intend to vote; if they don't give you the number don't worry about it, oh yes, and wear this rosette, although if it makes you feel like a tit you don't legally have too". That's about it because that's pretty much what the Electoral Commission says.
There are some other things a teller is not allowed to do such as have discussion with voters as they enter about party affiliation, or intimidate a voter on their way in or out (unlikely to be honest, people involved in politics at a local level are for the most part personable nice people). They don't have to declare what party they're from (they might not actually be telling for a party, could be independent), although it is good form to wear a rosette or a ribbon but isn't, as I say, a legal requirement. For more on what the Electoral Commission says in detail have a look at Appendix C in this document.
So now that I've said all this, watch this little video that Tim filmed on polling day.
Now you might, had we not just gone through the information before the film, think that Tim had uncovered some tremendous scandal, but the reality of the video is simple. The little old lady is one of those people who said "yeah, I'll write some numbers down for you between 2 and 3". She is then presented by a pretty tall guy who aggressively questions her and then interrupts her whilst she's trying to answer him.
You might, if you pause the video at 23 seconds, notice too that the woman goes to say something beginning with the letter "c" when she says "who am I representing? I'm representing c..." but then Tim starts to get more aggressive by interrupting her and, as one of the comments beneath the video on YouTube says, acts as if he's somehow been personally "violated" by this blue rinse granny.
You'll also notice the rather odd semantic absolutism Tim places on the phrase "we have too". Anyone involved in practical politics will realise that the "we" would have meant "all the tellers", and the "have" refers to what they've been asked to do. For Tim though, this is evidence of some sort of impersonation of legal status rather than a old woman answering a question about what she and others are doing. Had he let her speak and then refused to give her his number, it's unlikely she would have said he had no choice but to give it to her.
Now, you may be wondering at this point why I've written such a long post about this. It's because, having discussed this over Twitter yesterday with Tim I said I would post about it, because I think Tim needs a reality check away from his blatant aggressiveness toward some little old dear who did nothing wrong and nothing illegal.
The fact is, Tim's implication that this woman - and local Tories in general - are posing as polling station staff and/or a member of the Electoral Commission is nonsense, when in fact, what the video actually show is him refusing to let someone speak by repeatedly interrupting with leading question designed to achieve the agenda he set out with. Throughout which of course, he basically treats the woman like a piece of turd on his shoe.
What do we think the word beginning with "c" might have been that Tim didn't let her finish saying?
Personally speaking the video is worth highlighting - and I apologise profusely for the use of vernacular Anglo-Saxon - because it shows what an absolute partial and aggressive cunt Tim can actually be. Not to mention that what Tim says she should be doing in declaring who she is telling for isn't actually correct - but as I say, she didn't really have a chance to answer, but then she's a Tory so she wouldn't, she's scum.
More amusingly, and this will make you wet your pants with laughter no doubt, Tim has been asking Eric Pickles via Twitter to respond to this shocking scandal of a little old lady in some tiny little voting district in SW Surrey. Tim you see, seems to be under the illusion that "tellers" are somehow briefed and organised from the centre. Anyone involved in real local party politics on all sides (rather than the direct action stuff Tim goes for), will know how hilariously naive and dimwitted such an idea is.
The fact is, at a local level, political parties are rarely more than organised chaos with dodgy IT systems they all moan about, and in some cases, dot matrix printers with spooled canvass/voting cards for their "Get Out the Vote" operation. As mass membership of political parties has been in constant decline, getting tellers is a scramble for most parties and where one party may be weak you'd be amazed who pitches in to help out friends. Thus, the idea there is some intensive briefing is risible because the rules that tellers need to know about can pretty much be counted on one hand.
None of this will alter Tim's view of what happened though. His video is "evidence" irrespective of his interrupting, aggressive leading questions and dodgy semantics. Even if he accepted it the goalposts would probably move to calls for intensive teller training for those who offer an hour of their time every four years. It does remain mildly amusing though that Tim's starting assumption that tellers have to declare who they are telling for isn't actually in the Electoral Commission guidance anyway.
Anyhow, I don't know if Tim did give his number to anyone, but I bet if he did, the little old lady he filmed got given it by one of the others, because, in the real world of party politics and elections, tellers are not arseholes to each other, but they may have to deal with arseholes during their stint.
Note: I fully expect Tim to leave a comment now saying that I am distorting what happened, smearing him as aggressive, and basically defending the woman because she's a Tory. We can all be guilty of partisanship, but that doesn't mean that we're always partisan. I would be saying the same thing if the teller was from any party because basically the video isn't evidence of impersonation, it's evidence of an idiot with an agenda reinforcing his already assumed conclusion based on a flawed starting assumption.
UPDATE @ 12:30pm: As predicted, Tim has, on Twitter, accused me of bias and presenting him falsely as aggressive. He also started banging on about Nadine Dorries for some reason; implied that there must be some ulterior motive for this post; and has lied by implying I said he "bullied" the woman. Sadly he's not likely to comment here as he says I am pretending to know the law, and refuses to acknowledge the link to the Electoral Commission documentation on the subject. No surprise, he doesn't like it up 'im, as they say.
Oh yes, just realised that the teller's form was printed long before 2004 as CCHQ ceased being CCO and residing at 32 Smith Square years ago. Clearly times are tough in the local association for up-to-date notepads!
Fair play I say, sod the rules, they're stupid anyway. Anarchy yay!
Note: The reason the picture is fuzzy is because it was taken on iPhone which have pooey cameras.
Hat Tip: Paul Waugh
I wonder, therefore, how long it will be before someone at the Guardian, or perhaps someone from the borish "right on" blogosphere, comments about the rise of England flag waving and says that it represent an inherent and latent racism amongst us all.
Let's be honest, it's bound to happen. Back in 2004, for the European Championships, the Guardian produces a banner on it's website which showed one of those cheap England flags flying from a car, under which it said, if I recall correctly,
"England flags for cars: making casual racists and simpletons easier to avoid."Two years later, prior to the last World Cup and just after the BNP won some Council seats, Joseph Harker, again at the Guardian who lamented,
Is it just me, or is anyone else slightly worried about the number of St George's flags flying from road vehicles right now?.... Could it be that many of the England flag-wavers are in fact supporters of [the BNP], glorying in their "victory" and celebrating their racial pride?So, four years on from there, the Tories in power (admittedly in coalition), "immigration" an key election issue and on the lips of the Labour leadership contenders, you just know that's it coming again.
Football might very well come home, as too will the chattering classes who get worried that flying the flag of your national team if it's England is probably a sign that we're all vicious racist thugs just itching to repatriate the non-white Anglo-Saxon protestants horde.
Anyhow, for the record, I'm supporting England and then Italy because Mrs Dizzy is Italian. As I noted last night, if England win she'll still see it as an Italian victory what with Capello being an Iti.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
I said it before the election and I'll say it again, can someone, anyone please explain to me why, at a time when every party agrees the deficit is insanely large and bordering on dangerous, is the Government planning to screw many of its own citizens whilst simultaneously pledging to not screw the budget of the department that gives our money away to other countries?
Why is no one talking about this bloody great elephant in the room? All we hear is how any employee involved in a company share scheme is going to lose a large chunk of money in capital gains, or how fuel prices will probably stay the same as the middle class share the larger burden of the pain to protect the low paid.
Why should a massive burden be placed upon those on say 30K whilst we protect the taxpayers money that we send abroad? Don't get me wrong, international development is not bad per se, but when times are tough at home it ought to be the first budget that starts being cut, no?
I understand why Cameron made his pledge on international development when he did. It was a sop to the soft Left, but times have changed. If he wanted to be bold he would make the case for suspending much of the DfID budget and the country would go with him.
Sadly, neither Cameron or Osborne have the balls to make the case for fear of being labelled xenophobic little englanders. Yet, if they did, it would only be the tree hugging guardianista types that would do so, the majority would nod their heads in agreement though that charity begins at home when you have debt and deficit like ours.
OK, that's my rant over, its Friday so should try to cheer up a bit really.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
About 7 hours ago he posted,
A very serious request: Does anyone have any contacts or friends in the Police here in Bangkok who might be able to help us? Son kidnappedHe later posted saying,
I went to the British embassy already, they said they cannot helpIt also seems he's been receiving threats of violence since the child was taken.
Funny old world.
Mrs Dizzy: Hi, is that the Refuse Department?
Mrs D: Look, you collect my recycling every other week and my ordinary black bin rubbish every other week, right?
Mrs D: Well the thing is, I fill the recycling wheelie bin up within a week and then have to take the rest to tip because you don't take extra bags. The tip guys just tell me, because it's mixed recycling, to chuck it in the "Cannot be recycled" bin. So I was wondering, can I get a larger wheelie bin for my recycling?
Council: You can but you need to prove you're recycling more than will fit in the bin.
Mrs D: Errrr OK.
Council: If I can take your number, I will get one of our recycling officers to call you and visit your house the day before your bins are collected to confirm you need a bigger bin.
Mrs D: But that means I will be keeping lots of bags loose for a week and they'll get ripped open by foxes.
Council: I'm afraid this is the process for getting a larger bin, we have to inspect you to check that you really need it.
Mrs D: So you mean I have to take a day off work and wait for your inspector to come round and check inside my bin and decide whether it is overflowing enough?
Council: Yes, or they might provide you with advice on how to get more inside the bin.
Mrs D: Can I claim the loss of earnings back from the Council?
Council: I'm afraid not, although they will give you a specific time so you can just pop out of work, go home, and then go back.
Mrs D: I work in London, I don't live in the town, so I’m going to be taking an entire day off work.
Council: I'm sorry about that, but this is the process and we cannot provide a larger bin without first inspecting how much recycling you're actually doing. You may not really need it.
Mrs D: I can assure you I do. It is the Council that wants me to recycle more, yet when I do, I can't get a larger bin without an inspection.
Council: If you wanted a smaller bin we would give you one right away.
Mrs D: Hang on, so if I rang up and asked for a smaller recycling bin you would just say "OK" and give me one with no inspection? I thought you wanted me to recycle?
Council: We do want you to recycle.
Mrs D: But you've just said that if I called you and said I wasn’t recycling very much and needed a smaller bin you would just give it to me. But if I call and say my bin is not big enough for my recycling I need to be inspected to make sure I really am recycling as much as I say I am. That sounds like you want to make it harder for people to recycle more and easier for them to recycle less.
Council: Sorry, but this is the process.
Mrs D: OK, thanks.
How I love this country! I wonder how much this recycling officer that inspects bins to check to see if you're lying gets paid?
As I have oft said on here before, he [Ed Balls] was a prize khunt at school and hasn't changed a bit...I did punch him once and, although satisfied at the time, despite getting into trouble when he ran crying to teacher, feel even more satisfied about it now..." MontaguehFor more on how Ed Balls has a face people want to punch see here.
Apologies, when I say 'hoovering and knitting needle services" what I actually mean is abortions - unfortunately it's early and the synaptic pathways in my head are having problems with being tasteful, such is life.
Anyhow, I digress. Yes, we're going to have an advert for abortions from some charity called Marie Stopes. According to the charity's Chief Executive, they received 350,000 calls last year to their 24 hour "how to fall down the stairs" helpline, thus an advert is required because "there are hundreds of thousands of women who want and need sexual health information and advice, and access to services."
I can understand this, after all, it's pretty clear isn't it that if you're non-geographic local fixed-rate helpline is only receiving just over one call every two minutes 24/7 then your brand and market penetration is in much need of a boost, especially when the number of abortions actually taking place in a year is only 57% of the calls you receive - the hit rate just needs to increase!
As the campaign coordinator for Abortion Rights told the Guardian, such an advert is an "important breakthrough" for women's services, and I'd have to say that they're right. It's pretty evident that women don't know about these services because the call rate is so low and the number of abortions has been falling whilst the the call rate has increased.
Of course, this advert has caused moral panic amongst the God-fearing nation, as you'd expect. Words such as "grotesque" have been uttered, and n doubt they will be pilloried by their zealot equivalents on the fanatically pro-choice side of the argument. Such is the wonderment of the abortion debate, it produces idiots on both sides screaming and shouting.
Oh sorry, what's my opinion on the advert? Oh I don't really care that much. It's rather clear, as my sarcasm above suggested, that there are less abortions each year by an order of magnitude compared to the number of woman already ringing this helpline. At the same time the helpline is clearly well known already, I expect the impact of the advert to be the square root of zero.
What does bother me though is this apparent loophole that allows a charity to advertise such services but not a private clinic which operates for profit. Business is business after all, so why shouldn't they be able to promote their own unique private hoovers? That is the truly outrageous aspect of this whole thing really.
Of course, what I'm really looking forward too is in the incendiary online arguments as the zealots on each side go at each other.
Now, anyone know where I can buy some ferrets? I have a business idea.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
You invaded an island full of sheep farmers who want to speak English and rule themselves as a British dependency. You then had your arses well and truly kicked by the British military. Get over it. Thanks.Shame diplomats can't put it in those terms.
What do I mean, well it's simple but I doubt it will happen. Basically, they should seek to not only repeal the Human Rights Act, but also remove the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights and introduce a genuine British replacement based upon classical liberal notions of negative liberty along the same lines as the John Locke inspired US Constitution.
Of course, it probably wouldn't happen. Neither of them have the balls to take Britain down a route of defining rights in terms of what the state is not allowed to do. The continental approach that sees the state as something that exist irrespective of its citizens is the Gramscian orthodoxy now.
Depressing isn't it?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So is Ming going to do it? That’s hard to say but there’s one strong point in his favour - his wife, Lady Elspeth, is never in a million years going to make an arse of herself on Twitter.Frankly, even a very shiny arse with neon lights on it saying "I'm a shiny arse" would find it hard to make more of an arse of itself on Twitter than Sally Bercow has in recent months.
Yesterday I posted about the newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education, Tim Loughton MP, and his outside business interests that essentially profits from the overall Education budget, and then last night, the Press Association reports he suddenly took the decision to quit the role, can't imagine why!
Oh the power! muwahahahahaha*
Tory MP Tim Loughton has quit his post at a schools' CCTV company amid concerns that it would conflict with his new job as Children's Minister. Mr Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, was chairman of Classwatch - a company specialising in providing camera systems to schools and colleges. He was made a Children's Minister in the newly-named Department for Education (DfE) at the end of last week.Errrr never been paid for the role? If he's never been paid for the role why has it been listed on the Register since 2007 under "Remunerated directorships", stating,
Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Tim Loughton could not plausibly hold on to a directorship of this company when appointed education minister in a Government which has pledged to roll back the surveillance state. "He had to give up one or the other. Just in time, he has made the right decision."
A DfE spokesman said: "Tim Loughton, following his appointment as Children's Minister, has undertaken to give up his position at Classwatch in line with Cabinet Office guidance." The spokesman said Mr Loughton had never been paid for his role at the company.
Chairman of Classwatch Limited (non-executive); an unquoted company providing camera systems to educational establishments. (£25,001-£30,000)Is that a SpAd's nose I can see growing, or does "£25,001-£30,000" per year for 3 years now actually mean "£0"?
* this is called sarcasm
Monday, May 17, 2010
After all, their building represents the continents as women with lots of boobies for us misogynists to look at don't you know!
"It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money."Perhaps there are a few other new ministers who now have positions in Government which might be seen to conflict with outside positions they've held before they got into Whitehall?
Tim Loughton MP, newly appointed at the Department of Education as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families is, according to the last published Register of Members Interests and current Companies House listing, the Chairman/Director of Classwatch - a company that sells "classroom CCTV" services to schools - that's schools spending money from the very same overall budget of the department within which he is now a junior minister.
Now, it's true to say that he's not directly in charge of schools, but, the department he works for as a minister is, so shouldn't he really be stepping down from such a position to avoid any accusations of potential conflicts of interest? Perhaps he already has and the records have not updated yet?
Personally, when you have a look at the "outside of Parliament" work that many Tory shadow Cabinet members and Tory shadow ministers were doing, I expect they will be many stories in the coming months about people who once had links with X suddenly working in Government areas that X may have an interest in.
"Scandal" thrives on such things after all!
See here for more on Classroom CCTV.
Yesterday, Leeds based PR company, Wolfstar (specialists in social media and "word of mouth" marketing campaigns) the founder and MD of which is Stuart Bruce, the Labour blogger who writes A PR's Guys Musing, registered andyburnham.org.uk.
Registered on: 16-May-2010
Renewal date: 16-May-2012
Last updated: 16-May-2010
Hmmmm whatever should we make of this? Press release and much flapping coming soon as the Evertonian cometh? Go Andy, GO!
Wednesday 12th MayI hope, if it's real, she's sufficiently masked people around her such that few will know who she is, although, I fear, that may be difficult so it may not last long if they get found out - a shame as she writes very well.
I'd quite like to have hung a few MPs, starting with The Boss. He's driving Greg and I nuts, moaning about being in opposition. We can't see what difference it'll make, given that he's been voting against the Government at every opportunity for the last 13 years anyway. That's probably why he didn't lose his seat.
Friday 14th May
Back to work and The Boss is still hanging around in the office. Wish he'd bugger off to Westminster and annoy the London staff for a change. Thanks to the election, he's been here constantly for the last month, using my computer and causing havoc. When I switch it on today, up comes a notification - 79 print jobs pending. He just can't seem to grasp that we connect to the Parliamentary system by remote access, stupid man. All you have to do is accept that there's often a delay between issuing a command and its implementation, but no - that's beyond his comprehension. He just keeps on clicking away - swearing furiously - until the system crashes, at which point he stomps off, leaving me to sort it out. And his is one of the brains we rely on to run the country!
Definitely worth bookmarking.
Note: Since doing this post, Molly has set up a Twitter profile and has given her MP a name - not his real one assuming it is real. Still funny to read though.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I just wanted to write a little note to you about the awful pickle you now find yourself in. Not only have you found yourself in Opposition (a position that for some will be a totally new experience), but you're now also embarking on a journey to redefine and renew yourself with an as yet to be determined leader.
Now, you may be thinking that I have a cheek to give you advice on which direction you should go in, but in the heat of your own internal debate about "progressive majorities" in Britain and the like, I fear that you may miss the point that is staring you in the face as a result of what I guess should now be known as The Coalition.
You see, you have a choice facing you, and it is only by understanding the past that you will have any hope of securing the future. So, when you have the arguments about the direction you should take remember this.
Tony Blair dominated for you because he was just to the Right enough whilst still being a Leftie to carry that slender apolitical centre that decides what happens. By being just to the Right enough, he triangulated the Tories into positions where they could either agree, or go further Right and be labelled as extreme.
Now look at today. We have The Coalition that is, for all intent and purpose, just to the Left enough whilst still largely being on the Right, that it, like Blair, can carry that very same slender apolitical centre that can make all the electoral difference.
What does this mean for Labour? Well it's simple, on your core value issues The Coalition is going to triangulate you. It's going to portray itself through the use of your language as the moderate and force you to either agree or to go even further Left and make you look nutty, extreme and unelectable.
Do not fool yourself into thinking that there is a "progressive majority" in Britain, there isn't. What there is, is a "classically liberal centre" in Britain and then those that are not headbangers who are willing to compromise rather than seek out ideological purity - on either Left or Right.
What it produces is a majority that does have a heart, but also has a head and seeks to balance the two when the need arises.
Until you acknowledge this, then the pickle you are in will only get worse. Do not be fooled into thinking that all you need to do is become more pure than the disgusting New Labour project that tainted you. New Labour understood the reality of the "classically liberal centre" but it failed because one half wasn't willing to take on the headbanger half that left Downing Street a few days ago.
Somewhat ironically you need to remember the words of Karl Marx who noted,
"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."You have a choice, repeat the farce and mistake of the Tories in 2001/2005 and follow the headbangers to unachievable ideological nirvana; or, realise that the country is actually fluid ideologically, and is only more tolerant of your ideas in the good times, but become more realistic and intolerant of them in the bad.
Learn that lesson and you'll be back sooner rather than later.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Thus, as some have said, it's not really that bad at all. However, if you take a closer look it might actually be worse than previously thought and, in fact, it may just be that the Lib Dems have totally conned the Tories with a ruse that boosts their power for years to come.
Basically, what we might in fact have with the 55% rule is not a means to lock the door of Downing Street for Cameron (as it first appears), but rather a very clever long-term strategy to make a third party be able to sway vast amount of power in parliament and forms Government without the need for election mid-terms if a confidence vote is lost.
Imagine for example, if unlike now, the share of the voting power was such that a third party could form a Government with either of the other two. A Parliament made up of Con 40%, Lab 35%, Lib Dems 20% for arguments sake. The potential for radical pendulum-style changes of Government without an election become a very real possibility - is that democratic?
The quick and easy analysis was that the rule was a stitch-up by the Tories, however, perhaps it's really a stitching-up of the Tories by the Lib Dems who are looking to future Parliaments, not this one?
As one person put it to me "this is what happens if an experienced Eurocrat negotiator sits down with a bunch of power-hungry poshboys who wrongly believe they have the upper hand."
However, given the amount of time the Tories in Opposition spent probing the sheer waste of re-branding exercises, isn't this just creating a rod for their own back?
Currently, if 50% +1 vote against the Government on a confidence issue, such as a Queens Speech, then the Government falls and off we all go to the polls. The new proposal is that you're going to need 55% or more to vote against in order to cause that to happen.
Now, in some circumstances I can sort of, and I stress "sort of" understand this. If you're going to take away the power of the Prime Minister to decide when an election is in order to create certainty by having fixed-term Parliaments, then what's the point of a "fixed term" if actually it can easily not be fixed term at all?
However, the real problem here is not the theory of it all but the numbers. Whichever way you look at it, the proposals looks like a total stitch-up by the Tories to ensure that they stay in power for a full term with or without the Liberal Democrats help - and it doesn't take a mathematical genius to work this out either.
The Tories, with their 306 seats out of 649, represent 47% of the total voting power of the Commons. So long as every single one of them decides to vote with their own side on a confidence issue it is impossible to secure 55% of the vote against them.
The proposal is not just an affront to democracy, it holds the power of Parliament in even greater contempt than the last lot did.
New Politics? I think "Politburo Politics" would be more appropriate. Why not go the whole hog and rename Parliament to the Supreme Soviet?
Visit Say No to 55%
Update:? It's been noted by some that this is super majority is for the dissolution of Parliament, not a confidence vote, which means the same point stands. A confidence vote can be lost and a Government with 47% of the votes in Parliament can refuse to budge to a 53% majority.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It might be "all-change" in Government, but the weirdo interweb nerds are having a pendulum moment too, so are we going to see the rise of the Left blogosphere and an onslaught of attacks?
Will it be Political Scrapbook? Will the throughly pious Sunny Hundal use the vehicle of Liberal Conspiracy (a site that misuses the word "Liberal" incidentally) to go on the attack against the baby-eating Tories and the traitorous Lib Dems? Or will the son of the former Justice Secretray in the form of Will Straw suddenly turn into a gossipy tabloid hack determined to kill the evil Right?
We need to know the answer and we need to know it soon, teh interwebs cannot be left hanging!
I'm not sure if it's because I was once a member of the Lib Dems, but I'm actually excited this morning at the prospect of a Tory-Lib coalition - Guido has called it the "Change Coalition" (he called it on the money weeks ago), I prefer to think of it as the "Liberal Majority" for that is what it actually represents.
I won't be so bold as to proclaim that the Left is dead, but this morning Britain has returned, I think, to a world of sanity that takes its inspiration from the likes of Locke and J.S Mill and rejects the 20th Century mistake that saw history through the prism of materialism and the mass oppressed.
Socialism has been replaced by Liberalism, and it is good.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On Friday I had much kudos for Clegg sticking to his promise that the party with the most votes and most seats should be the one that seeks to govern. If Clegg takes the Lib Dems down the route of jumping in with a Labour Party that promise is destroyed, and, crucially, we will have, yet again, a Prime Minister that has not received the support of the country in anyway.
The "Prime Ministerial Debates", as fun as they were, become utterly worthless if you can engage in them, lose at the ballot box, and then just step down, let someone else take over, and carry on in charge.
As for this line that seems to be being taken by Labour of "no one won", it may, in the strictest sense being correct that there was no absolute majority winner, but the fact is Labour are not the popular single party and got kicked in the arse. Yet the public are forced to see the likes of Ben Bradshaw smugly spitting in their faces.
Hilariously, the talk now from Brown and Labour is that there could be a six party coalition/pact and it's being touted as a "stable" solution. It's not yet clear if the supply of crack will last long enough whilst they continue pushing these lines of course.
The bottom line now is that ideology and policy has been ditched in the naked and desperate pursuit of clinging on to the power to control us. As Tom Harris MP says,
The word “progressive” has now been redefined as "willing to barter away everything you campaigned for in return for the chance to be in government, albeit at the beck and call of a party that has spent its entire existence trying to wipe you off the political map".The Kaiser Chiefs could not have said it better than when they said "I predict a riot". A coalition of two can work, a coalition of six is just not credible nor will it last long enough to sort out the mess before another election.
Here's another thing to consider, if, and it remains an if currently, the Lib Dems walk away from the Tory-Lib coalition, there will be an election within 12 months and the Lib Dems will be completely destroyed at the polls because of the way they've handled their position.
Welcome to 1974.
Monday, May 10, 2010
There are some currently who are saying that the country is on hold, others, such as Jonathan Isaby at ConservativeHome are saying that the talks going on at the moment between Team Cameron and Team Clegg are "the best advert against changing the electoral system" and that "proponents of proportional representation actually want to institutionalise the very confusion and chaos which we are currently witnessing."
The thing is, shouldn't we really have a situation where there is a proper period of "handover" anyway? You know, like a few months that is always set aside that says an incumbent provides support for an incoming Administration within a fixed time period so that when power is formally handed over you don't have a lot of people looking lost and confused?
If we institutionalised fixed-period "transition" between Administrations, then this so-called "confusion and chaos" wouldn't matter anymore. If we said we go into "transition" for 90 days, then there would be time for a "Government-elect" to do whatever negotiations might be necessary. Do people say that America is "on hold" between November and January after a Presidential election? No.
So long as you have rules in place that mean, for example, that the outgoing Administration cannot push through legislation and that the Government-elect has a notional veto over acts that may be necessary in the event of some sort of crisis or emergency, then it really wouldn't matter if you had a Hung Parliament or not, because the "uncertainty" would be mitigated.
Also, and I'm not being a proponent of proportional representation here, but, if you did have PR, then yes, coalitions and deals would be more common, but because they would become the "norm", politicians would not be fearful of talking about them prior to a poll anyway, and, in fact, wouldn't most deals be obvious and worked out to some extent prior to an election anyway? Throw in a constitutional transition period, and any extra negotiations wouldn't matter either.
Just a thought.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
If you've listened to the Left over the past few days you've probably heard talk about how the election result produced a progressive majority between Labour and the Lib Dems. Do not be fooled it. What it produced was a liberal majority of Tory and Lib Dems.
Clegg may have talked of the two old parties, but he, along with people like Cable, Huhne, Laws, Davey and Kennedy have shown their views and ideas for us all in The Orange Book, and they're not natural Labour bedfellows because they're Liberals. It is only the desperate to cling on to power like Ben Bradshaw who wish to create this idea that the Lib Dems are closer to Labour than the Tories, and it is bollocks.
The authors of The Orange Book no doubt have a fight on their hands internally, but take a look at their ideas, which include, reform of the NHS to a National Health Insurance model; transfer of powers back from the EU to nation states; a rebirth of local democracy and local accountability; a liberal agenda for the economy that brings down trade barriers; support for the family to reduce breakdown; and a new pension settlement based on personal responsibilty.
The Orange Bookers have, quite rightly, rejected the old statist approach of the 20th Century. Put bluntly, a coalition of the Cameroons and Orange Bookers may not be smooth because of the awkward squads on both sides, but it does represent the best chance for sorting the mess Labour have left us all with.
A coalition represent the moment to reclaim liberalism from the left. The idea that it can happen through a deal with an illiberal authoritarian Labour loser is, frankly, risible.
Friday, May 07, 2010
In a few hours, I think David Cameron is going to make some overtures to the Lib Dems after Clegg stuck to his word and said that the Tories have the most votes and most seats so have the right to seek to govern first.
Personally, I would put a referendum about electoral reform on the table with the caveat that sides campaign freely on the issue. Whether that happens is anyone's guess. My hope is that Gordon Brown will be gone before the end of the weekend.
As an aside, Jack Dromey has just been on the BBC saying that the election is clearly a rejection of the Tories by the country. I think there was some smoke rising behind him from the crack pipe as he pushed the line that even though 2 million more people voted for the Tories people really had actually rejected them.
So that's it then, as it stands it looks very likely to be the first Hung Parliament in over 30 years. The Tories have won seats they didn't expect too and lost ones they expected to win. Meanwhile Ed Balls must adore UKIP who saved him from defeat.
Of course it's not over yet. Nigel Farage is in hospital and his count hasn't started yet, and other counts will begin shortly, but it seems likely that the Tories will be the largest party with also the largest popular vote. This presents Clegg with a dilemma.
Clegg was very careful to not define whether a mandate for him was most votes or most seats, if the Tories have both he's either got to go with them or break his word and prove he's not 'something different' at all. Interesting times.
Cleggmania died a horrible death tonight too and it looks like the exit polls may have overstated the Lib Dem support as well.
This post however is a statement of intent as the title suggests. Basically it works like this. I don't care who wins, the Government will remain in charge and I will carry on as before. Time to go to bed shortly, blogging will also take a pause for a few days.
Apologies for any typos, am tired and using my phone for this post.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
So what should the rules be? At the end of the day, if you have a queue you're probably always going to have to turn someone away at some point, I mean they have to close at some point. Should the polls be open longer? Should it be over the weekend? Is it likely that there will be a challenge to a result if they're close?
Worse still, it seems there are reports of ballot papers running out. Why on earth did they not print enough for everyone? Are they worried about the trees or something? The result is important, but the aftermath of these cock-ups is going to be something that will need to be dealt with.
If it turns out to be right t's certainly a disaster for them, but I'm thinking right now that the three main broadcasters are going to look very silly if it turns out to be wrong. Will post some more in a while.
Were the wheels on Cleggmania not even screwed on?
You might also see me mooching around at the Messagespace Election Night Party which you can buy tickets for here.
Remember, that tonight is all about fun, and, if you're at a count, or you have any gossip about what might be going on, even if it's just that you've spotted your sitting MP looking very glum, then let me know over Twitter or email.
Note: LBC is available on 97.3 FM, DAB and Sky Channel 0124. You can also call the studio on 0845 6060973, email via firstname.lastname@example.org, send Tweets to @lbc973 or text on 84850. As I say, you can also contact me directly as well with gossip, I don't get upset by rude words either.
1: There are going to be some shock results for the Tories and Lib Dems tonight. What I mean here are gains from Labour where the candidate ends up in Westminster saying "but this wasn't meant to happen!"
Party political hacks will know the sort of people I am talking about here. The "paper candidates" who are expecting to come third or a long way off second but have not really planned for life in Parliament "coming through the middle". It's entirely possible that we will see slate voting of the anti-Labour variety that splits the traditional Labour vote leaving the way clear for the unexpected finish.
2: Following on from (1), I think we can expect some knife-edge recounts and in the end we're going to have a hell of a lot more marginal constituencies by Friday. This is a good thing if First-Past-The-Post remains as the electoral system - because everyone will have to fight to survive. Less safe seats is a big-plus.
3: Big name are going to fall tonight. Former Cabinet ministers definitely, sitting Cabinet ministers, probably. There will be more than one "Portillo Moment" but, and this is crucial, it will not necessarily be representative of a uniform national swing. If Ed Balls goes, it won't follow that all targets below that on the list will fall too.
4: The polls will once again be shown to overstate Labour support and understate Tory support at the popular vote level.
5: The Labour leadership campaign will start the moment someone big falls. Watch out for the first admission by a senior Labour person that they've lost and then watch it snowball.
What's that? You want to know who I think will win the whole thing? OK, I'll risk it.
I think that the Tories are going to edge it with a really slim majority that may well mean the rule that political opponents are in front of you but your political enemies are behind you is more prevalent than it has been for over a decade. Expect another election within 12 months.
Now that I've said that they'll probably be a landslide!
Whoever wins the election the Government will still be in chargeNow off you run and vote little ones. Hansard trawling is coming back soon, then I can get back to pointing out how crap the Government are/were/will be!
This post was brought to you my Cynic Plus - putting the cynicism back into politics
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
They came in offering hope and renewal. What they brought was financial sleaze and financial meltdown.
Hat Tip: Tory Bear
The veritable God amongst men, Simon Cowell has endorsed David Cameron saying he is "da man"* and I imagine that there will be quite a happy view of that little front page in CCHQ this morning. The question is, does or can it have influence?
I would imagine there will be many who would be aghast at the thought that it might have influence. That a man responsible for populist TV shows, who has made his living out of telling people they're crap when they really are crap might influence the democratic process is a shocking portrayal of the intellectual level of political discourse in Britain, right?
Wrong. Simon Cowell's on-screen success is because of his brutal honesty. At a time when trust in politics is such a major issue, someone like Cowell actually represents exactly that which so many would love to see in their politicians.
Cowell is, and I caveat this by stressing I'm talking about his "on-screen" persona only - a no-spin zone. If he thinks something is ridiculous, if he thinks something is rubbish, he says so and he doesn't worry too much about upsetting some people in the process. Now of course, you could say this is, in itself, a bit of spin, but perception-wise he does what people wish politicians would do and that is why it's pretty significant.
No doubt the hand-wringing anti-Murdoch pseudo-intellectuals will be suggesting it denigrates people's intelligence to have someone say what they think, all because of where they say it - if it's in the Murdich press they must be a Rupert-inspired conspiracy going on right? That's how it works don't you know! Pass the tinfoil!
More than once on this blog I've said that normal ordinary people really don't care that much about politics, they'd rather be watching the X Factor. So, when the X Factor supremo comes out and says something they will tend to listen. I'm not saying they'll agree, but I imagine if you did a poll asking who was more trusted in general between the leaders and Cowell, Cowell would win hands down.
The X Factor election just got an X Factor endorsement. Now pass the tea Alice, the white rabbit is getting thirsty. Arise Lord Cowell of Hove?
* Before anyone gets animated about me calling Cowell a "God", I offer this caveat. Yes, he has produced some gut-wrenchingly dire and genuinely sickening acts in his time, but the majority have been a success. Compare this with someone like Lord Alan Sugar, who's businesses have manufactured technology on the wrong side of the technology curve repeatedly.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
On the one hand, we've had Ed Balls speaking in a coded way suggesting that keeping the Tory out in a Lib-Con marginal is more important that voting Labour, a theme echoed by Peter Hain under which lies the essential Tory message on the Hung parliament of "Vote Clegg, Get Brown".
Then on the other hand, when questioned, Gordon Brown contradicts Ed Balls saying "a vote for the liberals may allow the conservatives to be elected" - in other words, like so many of Labour's leaflets across the country, "Vote Clegg, Get Cameron".
So what we have is talk of tactical voting that represents a complete tactical blunder by Labour, because they're now pushing two completely contradictory lines, one of which just happens to be the consistent Tory line about what a vote for Clegg.
Frankly, it's just getting silly, but more so, it suggests that there may actually be a split in the Labour's electoral strategy at the top now as they battle to try and figure out how they deal with the Lib Dems - much in the same way the Tories had trouble figuring out how to deal with Tony Blair.
It's ironic of course that the Labour message about the Lib Dems now appears to be in line with the general message that the Lib Dems push, i.e a different message for different places.
I will also, before the show kicks off, be popping along to the Messagespace Election Night Party which you can buy tickets for it here.
I may not make it through the whole night in the LBC studio but I will do my best - the stitches in my hand are coming out shortly and it is slowly returning to fall strength, but it does tend to start aching after a while, especially at night, so typing may have to stop somewhat at some point.
It's fair to say that this Thursday is going to be one of the most exciting and close run election in living memory - and it may, as yet, throw up some real surprises - I shan't lie and tell you that I've been dreaming of Labour and Brown not only humiliated by defeat but humiliated into third in vote share and seat share. Unlikely I know, but wouldn't it be funny?
The thing is, on election night, I need help from you too. Whatever shade of political colour you might, if you're lucky enough to be at a count, and seeing as there are local elections too you might even be a candidate then you can play a part.
Basically, ping me a mail and then we'll talk about lines and means of communication on the night - it could be text message, Twitter, email, voice, whatever. Some of you will be wandering around counts and getting a feel for what is happening on the ground, if you're in marginals, be they Lab-Con, Lib-Con or Lib-Lab, it's where the real action and overall result is going to lead from.
Also, as I mentioned in the last post, I'm looking for some people willing to moderate here, especially on election night too if they can. 48 hours to go until polling booths open. As the rather irritating and politically naive Labour party hack Ellie Gellard would say, game on!
Note: LBC is available on 97.3 FM, DAB and Sky Channel 0124. You can also call the studio on 0845 6060973, email via email@example.com, send Tweets to @lbc973 or text on 84850. As I say, you can also contact me directly as well with gossip, I don't get upset by rude words either.