The Seven Month MP

News reaches me that days before the Hartlepool poll tomorrow, civil war broke out in the local Labour Party. Rumours seem to be backed up by this Gruniad Story yesterday. Apparently, while they’ve been busy carping about the local credentials of Jody Dunn, they’ve also been plotting to deselect their man for the general election even if he wins! Apparently they are angry about being “railroaded” into their selection by the national party. Take it from me, under this administration, the national party stopped caring what the grass roots thinks years ago. My advice to the good people of Hartlepool is to stay at home or vote LibDem – maybe then they’ll listen (but I doubt it). Why waste your time voting for someone who can only do the job for 7 months?

Always Look on the Bright Side

It started with a comment from my wife: “don’t you think that Gordon Brown looks like Terry Jones?”. Well I don’t usually need much encouragement – I was off! I think the Python Team should make a movie about the Labour party’s current troubles. Tentatively entitled “Life of Tony” it would star the late lamented Graham Chapman as Tony Bliar, “I don’t want to be your Prime Minister – leave me alone”. Tony would inadvertently screw up Gordon’s budget with some chance encounter with an interviewer called “Frosty” (I’d quite like Alan Partridge here) which would lead to a hysterical outburst from Gordon of “He’s not the Prime Minister – he’s a very naughty boy”. For Michael Palin, I’ve reserved the part of Peter Mandelson with a speach impediment, “Do you find it wrisible with I say the name Wobin Cook?”. John Cleese of course would be John Prescot and have the chance to utter the immortal line (wait for it) “don’t mention the war – I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it”.(Groan)

Thank You Tony

One of the things that fascinates me about the United States is the state of it’s politics. In Bill Clinton they had a leader who appeared to care deeply about America’s foreign policy, and the role the US Presidency could play in promoting peace across the world. He worked tirelessly at promoting peace in many difficult places and won admiration across the world for doing so. But his own people wanted to impeach him for indiscretions in his private life.

On the other hand, George W Bush decided to enforce his brand of world peace at the point of a gun, and most of the world turned away in disgust at the obvious hypocrisy. And it seems that large tranches of the US Electorate fete him as a hero.

Well, I think some of our cousins need to know how we see things over here. Quite by chance, I came across a website called Thank You Tony. Believe it or not, this is not a wind up! We are invited to enter our messages of thanks to Tony Blair for supporting Bush in his crusade against Iraq.

Well, there are plenty of things I’d like to thank Tony for:

  • Thank you Tony for promising us “Ethical Foreign Policy” and then changing your Foreign Secretary when he was too ethical
  • Thank you Tony being the most right-wing Labour Prime Minister this country has ever had.
  • Thank you Tony for making us reviled around the world for our imperialism and hypocrisy.
  • Thank you Tony for taking us to war on the back a dubious case based on dubious intelligence.
  • Thank you Tony for thinking that you were bigger than the BBC – when they dared to run a story suggesting what most of us already suspected (that the case for war had been “sexed up”), you interfered with the greatest “editorially free” broadcaster in the world.
  • Thank you Tony for changing a party I was once proud to support into one that I don’t recognise any more.

Thank you Tony for being so far up George W Bush that I can no longer tell where he ends and you begin. What the good people of the USA need to know is that the vast majority of us in the UK wanted no part of Bush’s dirty war, and we are ashamed that our Prime Minister ever let us be sucked in to it!

Are we the Orange Tories

A couple of weeks ago I got myself a PVR. This is one of those gadgets you never thought you needed but then wonder how you did without. For the uninitiated, a PVR lets you look at the TV schedule a week in advance, pick out the programmes you might want to watch, and then it dutifully stores them all on a hard disk to watch/skim through at leisure. This means (at the moment) that I get home from work and have hours of the Party Conference which I can skim through and watch the highlights. I also accepted the task of updating the local party website so my laptop has several pages of html that I’m fiddling around with in spare moments. All of this has led me to neglect you my faithful readers, for which I humbly apologise!

Today, however, I have snapped out of it! Had a text message from my wife: “have you seen the terrible things The Mirror is saying about the LibDems?”. No I hadn’t. Under a screaming headline “Orange Tories” and a deeply disturbing image of an Orange Margaret Thatcher there is a piece by Ros Wynne-Jones. Now I never thought of Ros as a political journalist. A couple of campaigning peices on drugs or the Sudanese famine are the high points of a career that also involves such luminaries as Geri Haliwell telling all about her yoga in hard hitting interviews.

But this is in a different league! Never before have I read such a self-assured critique of a political party that contains absolutely no original thought whatsoever. Myths and half truths are shamelessly recycled in a swingeing attack on a party which according to less hysterical commentators are forming “mature policies”. The fact that the Liberal Democrats are both a broad church and a democratic party allows differences of opinion and healthy debate. But the reality is so far from the picture Ros paints. How can local income tax be a burden on the poor? 7 out of 10 would pay less under a scheme which is clearly so much fairer than what we have?

A recent piece in The Independent showed how six of the ten bullet points from the new Pre-Manifesto are, if anything, more “left” than Labour. Three are neutral and only one could be considered “right”.

Comparisons with Thatcherism implied by the layout and imagary could not be further from the truth. I am all for structured criticism. But this piece of scaremongering has no basis in fact.

On this showing. I think Ros should stick to the showbusiness interviews.