Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Blogger won't allow me to put pictures from my own computer!

Consequently, after abit of thought, I'm moving to 

See you there- with pictures!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

For You Cleggy, Ze Election Iz Over!

Front-page of today's Mail. Nick Clegg is in a traitorous plot with foreigners. Unlike some people. Seriously, if the Lib Dems were offering a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (not even saying whether people should vote yay or nay) I would really consider voting for them, just to see the front-pages of the Thatcherite newspapers on May 7th and the headline 'IT WAS THE SUN WOT LOST IT!'

Moreover, although it always like to wrap itself up in the Union Jack, I always think the Mail is skating on the proverbial thin ice when it goes on about World War Two (it is for it) and Nazis (it is against them). After all, its owner at the time Lord Rothermere can hardly be said to have covered himself in glory:

On 10 July 1933, Rothermere wrote an editorial titled ‘Youth Triumphant' in support of Adolf Hitler, this was subsequently used as propaganda by the Nazis. In early 1934, Rothermere and the Mail were editorially sympathetic to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists.Rothermere wrote an article entitled ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’, in January 1934, praising Mosley for his ‘sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine’....

Rothermere was a friend and supporter of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, which influenced the Mail's political stance towards them up to 1939. Rothermere visited and corresponded with Hitler. On 1 October 1938, Rothermere sent Hitler a telegram in support of Germany's invasion of the Sudetenland, and expressing the hope that 'Adolf the Great' would become a popular figure in Britain....

In 1937, the Mail's chief war correspondent, George Ward Price, to whom Mussolini once wrote in support of him and the newspaper, published a book, I Know These Dictators, in defence of Hitler and Mussolini....

In 1938, as persecution of the Jews in Europe escalated, the Mail objected to their seeking asylum in Britain. ‘The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. The number of aliens entering the country through the back door is­ a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed.’

Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly during the events leading up to the Munich Agreement. In 2005, the British Foreign Office disclosed previously secret letters from Rothermere addressed to Hitler from the summer of 1939, in which he congratulated the German leader on his annexation of Czechoslovakia, urged him to invade Romania, and called Hitler's work ‘great and superhuman’.

Lord R and Adolf The Great: 'Herr Hitler, before we move onto meatier questions- Marmite, Love It Or Hate It?'

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Apols for not posting once a day

Despite Gordon Brown's warm words, the chances of talks about a Lib Dem-Labour coalition reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion weren't looking good...

I blame work and needing to sleep for my slackness. Next week I hope to blast a lot more out, although I hope to get a few down for posterity's sake in the next few days. Bear with me!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Election Links and More Cameron Cobblers

Then I woke up...

According to a poll in The Sunday Times, Nick Clegg is almost as popular as Winston Churchill. This is probably not doing Rupert Murdoch's digestion much good at the moment, which is, overall, a pretty good thing. For those who are not totally into the 'Clegg= The British Obama' narrative you may want to check out Tim Pendry's thoughts. For those of you who like fishing around in Memory Holes you may be interested in this (only from last month, but that is an eternity in the 24/7 continuous media-news-entertainment loop we now live under).

One of the mitigating factors working against a Lib Dem breakthrough, apart from an electoral system where the third placed party in terms of votes could be first in terms of MPs (and vice-versa- how on Earth is that democratic?), is the tribalism which infects British politics. Frankly, it is damn hard to vote for something you were not brought up to support. I said something in a post not so long back that politics and elections should not be treated like a sporting event, one where you support your side whatever happens. However, even now I would no more think of voting Conservative than cheering on Birmingham City FC! The fear of letting your perceived main enemy win can often paralyse any effective poltical action that would really change things. Perhaps if we get electoral reform for General Elections (a big if...) people will feel freer to vote for political parties they actually agree with (as happens in European, London, Scottish and Welsh Elections, which have PR elements). Until then I think 'my party, right or wrong' will continue to shape many, if not most, people's political views, as Julian Glover discusses.

It might have been worth putting a question mark at the end there...

What makes Gordon Brown tick? An interesting interview with Colin Harvie, author of  Broonland and former acquaintance of the PM, sheds some light.

A critique of Phillip Blond's 'Red Toryism', which was half-adopted by David Cameron in the same way c.1996 Tony Blair half-adopted Will Hutton's 'Stakeholder Economy' concept, can be found here.

Finally, Dave Cameron is coming out with more cobblers, the sort Tony Blair would be proud of. After talking about ten year old members of the Royal Navy in last Thursday's TV debate (and nuking China), Call Me Dave was in fine form again yesterday:

'David Cameron clearly has trouble understanding childhood. In last week's debate he claimed to have met a man who joined the navy as a 10-year-old. Now the Tory leader seems convinced that he grew up in the 1990s. At the launch of his manifesto for older people yesterday he reminisced about his childhood, claiming the idea of the big society came from his parents. "My mother was a magistrate. She used to come home and tell us all stories about the Newbury bypass protesters and Swampy up his tree." At the height of the protests Cameron was 30 years old. And, apparently, still living with his parents.'

Black Wednesday, September 16th 1992: 'Mr. Lamont, can I go home now? Mother expects me home by 10 o'clock and my dinner will be burnt to cinders.' 'In a minute, son. Now watch and learn, watch and learn...'

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Battle of the Three Armies?

August 1578: Ksar El Kebir- Battle of the Three Kings

Nick Clegg did well in the first TV debate by all acounts. The polls suggest a surge towards the Lib Dems, which if repeated on May 6th, would liven things up no end.

Labour does not seem to be too bothered, even as polls suggest it has been pushed into third place. I do not think anybody, except maybe for Gordon Brown and Ed Balls, expects Labour to get an overall majority. However, for the Conservatives, who for a long time have expected an overall majority, the chances of  a hung parliament increasing is not good news at all, and they seem to be panicking. The general consensus is Call Me Dave did not do very well in the TV debate ('Ex-Carlton TV PR Flak Not Very Good On TV Shock!') and it must have galling to have been out-Obamafied by Clegg.

Nick Clegg: 'Bitter, Dave?'

Dave did himself no favours by telling an anecdote of a 40 year old black man from Plymouth who told Dave he supported tighter immigration controls. The problems being, all else being left aside, (i) Dave claimed he had been in the navy for 30 years, which defies basic mathematics (unless you can join the Navy at 10); (ii) the man was 51 and had been in the Navy just 6 years, which hardly inspires confidence in Dave getting to grips with the numbers involved in reducing Britain's deficit; and (iii) the subject of his ancedote did not say what Dave claimed he said. If you want to make up your own Dave-like anecdote, you may want to try this, which comes up with various plausible Dave bon mots.

Consternation about Dave's performance was reflected in the hardcore Thatcherite press coverage of  the TV debate. For instance, Simon 'Don't Hassle The Heff' Heffer, pompous priggish Thatcherite bore par excellence, was not impressed by Dave's performance.

Simon Heffer: 'Vote Labour and see Elevenses banned by the Politically Correct Brigade!'

Fellow Thatcher worshipper Charles Moore was not happy either. How dare those Liberal Democrats stop us Tories get an overall majority with less than 40% of the vote?

 Charles Moore: 'Brussels and BBC-backed Bolshevik Bounder Clegg deserves a damn good thrashing!'

Anyhow, the Tories have started their fightback against the Lib Dems. According to the BBC:
In the Sunday Times, [Shadow Foreign Secretary] Mr Hague argued a vote for Mr Clegg was a vote for the "European super-state" that would give away "more and more of the powers of this country".

It seems to me a bit late for the Conservatives to attack the Lib Dems for their supposed softness towards the European Union. As I said in a post a couple of days back, the Lib Dems should be ashamed of their behaviour in Parliament to scupper a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It's the main reason why I won't vote for them. However, I think it equally disgraceful that the Conservatives dropped their 'cast-iron' guarantee of a referendum on it as well. Attacking the Lib Dems for their alleged softness towards the European Union has the potential to open a proverbial can of worms for the Conservatives.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Commons People

Another busy non-political day, so I'll limit myself.

Passing West Hampstead Thameslink station around 8.30 this morning I was handed a bright orange and white leaflet. Two bright young things-one female, one male- were handing them out. I initally thought it might be a promotion for Easyjet. After all, it is an airline pretty well known for its orange and white livery, the Thameslink route goes to two airports Easyjet use (Gatwick and Luton) and with all the disruption to air travel at the moment caused by the Icelandic volcano, I thought it might be an offer to encourage people to fly with it once the dust in the sky all clears.

A few minutes later I was able to peruse the leaflet at my leisure and found it was literature for The Commons, the political party of leading anti-airport expansion campaigner Tamsin Omond. Why such an anti-airlines organisation should try to look like the marketing material of one of Europe's leading budget airlines is a bit of a puzzler to me.


Didn't write a post yesterday!

Sorry about that- not keeping a promise. Been a bit busy, but hope to post something later today! I'll blame the Icelandic volcano...