Stick to the day job

I hope Sion Simon is a half decent MP.

There have been several good spoofs of webcameron including those from Will Howells and Stephen Tall which are spot on.

Sion Simon has now tried to get in on the act, somewhat late. For some reason, this one has been picked up by the BBC whereas Will’s and Stephen’s did not. Can’t think why.

I do hope Sion gets his knuckles rapped by someone. Not for having a go at ‘Dave nice but vacuous’ (he’s fair game), but for the afront to comedy

It just wasn’t funny – stick to the day job.

Brown can’t duck this question forever

According to David Blunkett, Gordon Brown was not an enthusiastic supporter of Blair over Iraq. I was waiting for something like this. The biggest millstone around Blair’s neck is Iraq. He will never recover from it – they will be making documentaries twenty years from now entitled ‘Why did Blair back the invasion?’ because it was a monumental misjudgement. I am convinced that history will judge it worse than Suez. Such a documentary will, of course, focus on the cabinet of the day. Blair had to sell this to his cabinet and his cabinet came up wanting. Only one cabinet minister was prepared to put his own political ambition aside to do the right thing – and that was Robin Cook. Had Gordon Brown refused to back Blair, would Blair have still been able to go ahead? We will never know. But if Brown knew it was a mistake, then he put his own ambition ahead of his principles. I hope he can live with himself.

Missing the point

I’ve just read a fascinating article which shows just how out of touch Labour have become with themselves. You’ll find the whole article at ‘Could have been a contender‘. It starts promisingly with an frank admission of the problem:

A spectre is haunting Labour – the spectre of defeat and long exile from power. Too many MPs, councillors, ordinary members and even supporters feel the party and the government are exhausted and heading for opposition


Labour’s organisational crisis is deep. We have no money. We have too few experienced organisational staff. The real level of our membership is barely more than half that of the Tories

at some length we reach a conclusion about how Labour will reverse it’s fortunes

We need to move ahead of the Tories by deploying the full range of social networking tools – not just blogging, but also podcasting, videocasting, chat networks and social networking websites

So let’s get this straight – if Labour were only a bit better at using the internet, then their members and supporters would forget all that has happened over the last few years? I see no admission in this article at all that while most Labour supporters favour some kind of progressive social democracy, their leaders have been delivering right-wing, illiberal policies? Or perhaps that while most Labour supporters favour peace, with military action being an option of last resort, their leaders have been spending billions of pounds prosecuting an illegal war for which they could not get a UN mandate?

So Labour’s disillusioned supporters will put all of this behind them, if Gordon Brown starts writing a pithy blog and we can all download Tessa Jowell podcasts! Do me a favour.

The internet is a medium. A very powerful and flexible medium, I grant you. But it is the message, not the method of delivery that is broken.

Labour’s long suffering supporters are deserting in droves for one simple reason:

The Labour government they dreamed of is nothing like the one they got.

They were sold down the river.

Mutually Understood

What a furore this morning over Jack Straw’s comments on Muslim women who wear veils. Let’s try and make some sense of this. Islam teaches that women should dress modestly, although Islamic scholars are themselves divided on what constitutes the required level of modesty in a Muslim woman’s dress. For some scholars, and therefore some Muslims, this modesty extends to the face. I understand this. As a tolerant, liberal, christian man my earnest desire is to try to understand and respect the beliefs and views of my neighbour.

It is important, however, that the Muslim community also tries to understand the fact that in the non-Muslim communities of this country, covering the face has historically had a different meaning. That meaning is a more negative one – that the wearer has some desire to hide their face. With the exception of Muslim women, if anyone else walked down the local high street with their face hidden, the western instinct is to feel threatened.

Jack Straw also made another fair point, namely, a conversation between two people usually involves non-verbal cues including gestures and facial expressions. It is therefore uncomfortable, for those unused to it, to conduct a conversation with someone who has their face hidden.

It is therefore vital that we are able to have a dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims about this without anyone getting hysterical. A Muslim woman should consider carefully both viewpoints when deciding whether or not to wear a veil – but ultimately it must be her choice. But some of the more knee jerk reactions we have heard today, from both sides, will do nothing to promote harmony.

Mutual respect and understanding is the only path forward.


The Tories are not ‘Open-Source’ friendly. For the majority who are using Windows, I should explain that if you are using Linux (the FREE Open-Source operating system), you cannot see the videos on the latest crop of Tory websites. No great loss, you may think. I should point out the Linux is perfectly capable of playing streaming videos – and it plays the Lib Dem ones just fine. The problem lies with Flash Player 8, which webcameron, among others, has chosen as it’s video streaming platform. Macromedia, the people behind Flash, were taken over by Adobe. Since then, the Linux version of Flash has stood still at version 7, whereas Windows users now get version 9.

Rule 1 of good web development – make sure your content is accessible to as many users as possible! However, if your pining for your daily dose of Cameron, may I suggest, since this spoof site does work in Linux, and is much more entertaining than the real thing!