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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gov. Palin as McCain's running mate is a masterstroke

You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but John McCain - or at least his team - have proved that an old dog has many tricks up his sleeve already. The choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate is a masterstroke.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of her. In fact the two things that sprung to mind about Alaska was that is  cold and it has oil. Since then, everything I have read and seen on the TV about her makes me like her more. This is someone who took on corruption in her own party and run against the Republican Governor in a primary. She went on to win the primary and got herself elected Governor. She currently has an approval rating in her own state of around 80%. She is someone who is fearless and gets the job done.

When all the Democrats do is mention that the former mayor of a town of 9000 people hopes to become VP of the United States, I know they are clutching at straws. Let’s face it, she has more executive experience running a small town, than Barack Obama has, period; and Obama is running at the top of the ticket.

John McCain is going to go to Washington with a reforming mandate, with a fine reforming conservative as his Vice President. She will not only take on the Democrats, she will take on Republicans too; as her record as Governor of Alaska has shown.

Britain elected its first - and only - woman prime minister in 1979. Margaret Thatcher didn’t get the job because she was a woman; in many ways she got elected in spite of being a woman. As she proved, she was the ‘best man’ for the job. That is how you elect people in to positions power. If America elects its first black President on November 4, it will be historic, but you do not elect, or allow yourself to be badgered into electing someone, on the grounds of sex or race. Barack Obama likes to give fine speeches and grandstand his way around the world, but when it comes to substance and experience, he is sorely lacking. This is why he should not become the next president. Sarah Palin has experience - albeit limited - and her track record proves she has substance. Being Vice President will be a steep learning curve for her, but she relishes challenges and will not shy away at this one.

Today I have no doubt that the American people will elect a Republican President this November.

 

Crossposted at Media Lizzy and Friends

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hillary Clinton in Denver

Hillary Clinton is a woman scorned. She had to put up with the antics of Bill over the years, although she could have divorced him, but that was never really on the cards, as she always held political ambitions of her own and divorcing him would have hampered her more than it would have helped her.

She has been let down by friends whom she thought would give her support in her presidential bid, but favoured Barack Obama instead. And she ultimately feels rejected by the Democratic Party who didn't have enough faith in her. What now for Senator Clinton?

Well, she has said all the right things in Denver; the 'let's all rally around Obama and make him the next President of the United States' thing, but her body language betrays her true intentions. She lives in a state of delusion, as do many of her supporters. They think she will bounce back in a few years, get the Democratic nomination and defeat Pres. McCain. They do not want Pres. Obama. She has questioned his suitability for the job in such a way she cannot get behind him and serve in his administration. In fact just about the only thing I can agree with Clinton on is the suitability of Sen. Obama to become president.

The convention in Denver should have given Obama a poll bounce. It has not, and that has much to do with the infighting in the Democratic Party. They are not united and worse than that, there are not seen to be united. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to take the limelight away from Obama and they have largely succeeded.

After a McCain victory in November, the reprisals will start, and one of the first victims will be Hillary Clinton and her chances of ever getting the nomination in four years' time will be non-existent. Hopefully we will soon see an end to the Clinton era; that is unless Chelsea fancies throwing her hat into the political ring in a few years' time. I hope not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When words fail me

Since returning from holiday, I haven't been in the mood for writing. I still like to write every day to keep myself in the groove, but we all experience those times when the words do not flow very easily.

What I am enjoying is my time off work. Everyone of us needs a holiday. It may not have been great in Ireland last week, but it was a break away from the normal routine and that in itself has helped. This week I have found myself pottering around the house and going out only when I feel like it. I have been liberated from constantly looking at my wrist watch thinking if I don't get a move on I will be late for this, that and the other. From next Monday I will be starting work for another company. It's the same job, but more money. The extra cash will be a big bonus. I feel lucky, considering there are so many people facing a very uncertain future due to the current economic climate.

I am also reading more and spending less time on the computer. I have two books on the go at the moment. I am reading Made in America by Bill Bryson and The Appeal by John Grisham. The first is factual and the second is fiction and they seem to complement each other very well.

So, my life may not be as exciting as many others, but it is contented and happy. More serious topics can - for the time being - wait.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Margaret Thatcher

I am sure I am not the only one not surprised to hear that Margaret Thatcher is suffering from Alzheimer's. I have suspected it for some time now, however I felt it was a private matter for the family and not one to discuss here or anywhere else for that matter. Now that Carol Thatcher has revealed the truth I would like to say some words.

As we all know, life can be very cruel at times. We all have image heroes and Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan are two of mine. It upset me when President Reagan was struck down with this debilitating disease and I feel the same emotions now on hearing this latest news. I have known many people throughout my life who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. One of my grandmothers suffered with it and I remember a family friend who was a pediatrician and a damned good violinist, with a first rate brain, who deteriorated very quickly. To see this happening puts an enormous strain on a family. It puts you through hell to be perfectly honest and I know life is going to get much harder for Lady Thatcher's family.

Margaret Thatcher is an inspiration. She is one of the finest leaders that both this country and the world has seen. We as a nation are hugely indebted to her. After the mess of the 1970s, she put the great back into Great Britain, turned us around from being the sick man of Europe and allowed us to walk tall again. She is nothing short of a genius.

The one good thing that has come out of this, is that Alzheimer's research will be given a boost with the extra donations that will now flood in; just as it did in the US after Ronald Reagan revealed he was suffering from it. I hope this will give Lady Thatcher some comfort as she prepares for her battles ahead.

Off the rails

I very rarely travel by train. This is not a conscious decision, it is rather due to necessity. As a driving instructor I can hardly use public transport to get to work. It also takes vastly longer to use the train when we visit my mother in Co Durham, not to mention the cost.

When we paid a visit to London at the end of last year we used the train and purchased a family railcard in an attempt to drive down the costs. It still cost over £130 for the three of us to travel from Hull to London. The full cost would have been closer to £200. We have not used the railcard since then, until today when we travelled from Beverley to Scarborough. Okay, the tickets didn't cost much. £17.60 for the three of us was cheap, but it can't be said to the most pleasurable of travelling experiences.

For starters - just like the airline industry - the train operators cram as many seats into one carriage as is humanly possible. I'm not a giant at 5' 8'', but even I couldn't stretch my legs and kept banging my knees on the seat in front of me. The seats were also poor in their ergonomic design. I couldn't sit up straight and this resulted in back ache. Even though some passengers would have travelled for over two hours on the train, there wasn't any refreshment facilities on-board. Surely a chance to buy a cup of tea or coffee isn't too much to ask?

The net result was a journey of nearly one and a half hours that seemed as if it was twice as long. Does it make me want to travel by train soon? Of course not, although I think I will be forced to travel by train to the Conservative Party Conference in a month's time. If I travel on a low cost airline, I expect the comfort levels to be inferior than if I travelled using a more expensive carrier. For the best part, trains are not a low cost alternative to driving. They can be very expensive and for the price you pay, you expect to ride in comfort.

I am relieved I don't have  to travel by train every day. Those of you who do have my deepest sympathy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back from holiday

We have returned from our holiday in Ireland. We enjoyed ourselves as best we could, despite the weather. The flight to Ireland only takes 45 minutes, however we managed to get struck by lightning en-route. We were greeted by rain in Dublin and it rained throughout the holiday, apart from last Friday. The weather is better in the UK .Not only is it drier, but it is considerably warmer too.

I will post some photographs when I get the time. I did manage to take some pictures when the there was a break in the bad weather!

Friday, August 15, 2008

We are going on a Summer Holiday

I am having a blogging break for a week. We are off to Ireland tomorrow and I will not be taking my laptop with me. I will also do my best not to read a newspaper. The only reading I will be doing is ploughing my way through two books.

I will be back online again a week Sunday with plenty of holiday news and photographs. Until then...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Russia needs stopping now

Prime Minister Putin - the real organ grinder in Russia - may be ruing the day he decided to show off the mighimaget of the Russian Armed Forces. The disproportionate response from Moscow in Georgia has revealed their hand to the world. No-one is in any doubt as to Russia's intentions for its other neighbours. Empire Builder Putin has a Soviet mentality when it comes to foreign policy, but still wants to Russia to sit on the top table at G8 summits. He thinks he can do what he likes and still enjoy massive foreign investment. 

Poland is quite rightly worried about his intentions and have signed aimage deal with the US to base 10 missile interceptors as part of the US defence shield. My prediction is Poland has merely starting the ball rolling. There are many other countries who feel at risk from their former occupier and they will not be taking any chances. Thankfully - although many of my commentators will disagree - there has been a strong response for Western leaders against Russia. Now is the time to expel them from the G8. They should never have been granted membership in the first place. Now is also the time to strengthen NATO. Although hitting Russia in the place where it hurts most by stopping foreign investment will be the most effective strategy, isolating Russia militarily will have the effect of showing Putin those of us in the free world - especially those countries who have recently become democracies - will not tolerate any Russian aggression. The fledgling democracies of Eastern Europe are looking to us to support them in any way we can. It is in all our interests that Russia is contained, otherwise we risk a bloodbath as Putin tries to return us back to Soviet days.

Before anyone accuses me of missing the pimageoint and overreacting, I would like to remind them appeasement and isolationism has got us nowhere in the past and it will get us nowhere now. Firm action is needed and nothing less will do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tories who support Obama. Why?

There are many things in life that confuse me, and how Tories can support a Democrat for President of the United States is one of them.

Democrats stand for big government, more regulation and state interference. Republicans stand for the opposite, as do Conservatives in the UK. If you take a look at ToryTalk (a new Conservative forum), you will see quite a number of Tories who support Barack Obama's bid for the White House.

I am confused. Can anyone who proclaims to be a Tory and supports the Democrats tell me why, please?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boris the brilliant

Boris Johnson was absolutely brilliant in the Telegraph today.

When Boris and his family landed at Gatwick Airport after their summer holiday, they had to wait for hours for their luggage to arrive, due to a lack of baggage handlers. For God's sake they know it's the summer and they know how many people are scheduled to go through the airport. Rocket science it isn't, but the incompetent idiots at Gatwick who organise these things might disagree.

How the hell we are going to manage all the traffic arriving for the 2012 Olympics is anyone's guess. It is also worth noting that if Her Majesty is blessed with continuing good health, she will also be celebrating her diamond jubilee. I assume we will all be celebrating that too and this will increase the number of visitors coming through London airports. We need another airport for London and if the environmentalists whine and moan as they usually do, then sod them. Thankfully Boris - through his miserable experience - will now be pressing even harder to make this a reality. As he says, we need to sort out this problem now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

South Ossetia should assist McCain

South Ossetia, according to the BBC, has a population of around 70,000. This came as a shock to me. How an area with a population of around the average parliamentary constituency can think it can rule itself completely independently  is beyond me, however that argument is for another day.

What is going on there is good news for John McCain, or at least it should be good news for his chances of being elected President of the United States of America. The American people are seeing once again (as if they didn't need reminding) of the need to have a strong president in the White House. Russia (or more accurately Putin) is determined to go back to the glory days as sees it, of the Soviet Union. He has turned Russia into what is in effect a dictatorship. It must be clear to everyone now that Pres. Medvedev is just a puppet president, with Putin pulling the strings. Sen. McCain's campaign must now remind voters that it is only him who has the experience to lead America. Sen. Obama may enjoy grandstanding around the world, but he is not likely to stand up to Russia and Iran and support Israel in the same way as John McCain.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Three blogs for Sunday

Blogging will be light this week. We are preparing to go off on holiday next weekend and I have various jobs to do that will take my concentration away from this blog.

There have been three posts today that have caught my eye. They are:

Donal Blaney, who is rejoicing in Speaker Pelosi's misfortune. Hear, hear to that.

Guido, who has highlighted how the BBC has more people working on the Democratic and Republican Conventions than any American Network. It is - as he says - a complete waste of money.

Steve Green at Daily Referendum, who is thinking about ending his blogging career. Take a summer break and you will feel better, Steve.

South Ossetia

Just like Iain Dale, I have avoided blogging on this subject as until recently I had never heard of the place. I have looked to fellow bloggers to fill me in on the history and I have to come to the following conclusions.

Firstly, when areas under Russian control try and breakaway, they are the first to send in the tanks. Georgia is also trying to prevent separatists declaring independence and all Russia is doing is playing politics with thousands of lives. They do not want Georgia to join NATO and they are now flexing their military muscles in order to threaten the west.

Secondly, anyone with a passing interest in Russian politics knows that Vladimir Putin still has the real power. The current Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev in Putin's puppet. I never trusted Boris Yeltsin, but Putin is a former senior KGB officer. Once a KGB man, always a KGB man and he has a very loose grasp on the notion of democracy. In short, he is only interested in wielding power and is not interested in international law.

Thirdly, Britain, along with other leading western countries, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Britain relies on Russia for some of its energy needs. If we act strongly and Russia turns off the gas pipeline, we could be facing an uncertain winter. If we do nothing significant, we could could be storing up more trouble for the future.

The analogy I would like to use is that of the playground bully. If you do not stand up to him, he continues to grow in strength and starts threatening more. If you stand up to him immediately, there is every chance you may stop him before he creates too much damage. I know this is a crude analogy, however Russia is a bully and it is seeking to interfere and dominate in the internal affairs of its neighbours that once were part of the Soviet Union. Indeed it seems now that Russia is determined to rule South Ossetia itself and bring down the government of Georgia. It would be wrong to stand by and do nothing, however if we intervene in any way and get it wrong, that to could be disastrous.

What do we do and how do we do it? I haven't a clue, but as the situation unfolds we will have a better idea of the best course of action.

Read Cicero's Songs , for expert analysis.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Giles Coren's romp through Toynbee world

Via Cassilis, I read this article from 'The Times.' In it Giles Coren lambastes Polly Toynbee and David Walker's new book, 'Unjust Rewards.'

The prejudice and jealousy they show helps keep class warfare going in Britain; the sort of class warfare Conservatives had to endure in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. Coren's article is brilliant. A must read.

You can't always smoke outside

The last time I wrote about smoking, I received comments saying smokers can always go outside and have a cigarette. Although I think it is unreasonable to expect everyone to go into the great outdoors, especially when you could easily have the odd smoking bar and pub, I will put that argument to one side.  

This morning I had a pupil on their driving test. After the test - which he passed - my pupil light up a cigarette in the car park. Not long after he was asked by another examiner to go outside the car park gates, as the whole site is non-smoking, including the car park. It was windy and cold this morning in Hull and he apart from me, the nearest person to him was about 50 yards away. So much for smoking outside. Smokers also face the same draconian restrictions at hospitals and schools. When I attend a governors' meeting at school, I cannot smoke in the school grounds, even though it is in the evening and the children left school hours earlier.

I say all of this to remind everyone that smokers are regularly being victimised, but because the majority of people do not smoke, they go along with victimisation. The majority of Germans were not Jews in the 1930s and there were plenty of Germans who did not share the Nazis views on Judaism, but that did not stop them turning a blind eye to the wilful destruction of Jewish property and the rounding up of Jewish people.

When the majority starts to disregard the right of a minority to go about their lawful business, this is what happens. Smokers may not be at risk of attack, but there are many in society who regard them as pariahs. Where will it all end?

Lack of posts

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday. I am very busy at the moment, but normal service will resume at some point today.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rights and freedom - SNP style

We take for granted that rights and freedom are in very short supply in China. They also seem to be in short supply in the Scottish National Party too.

One of their councillors, Jahangir Hanif, committed the sin of firing a Kalashnikovimage rifle whilst on holiday in Pakistan, back in 2005. He did nothing illegal, so he was not trying to blow someone's head off at the time and he also wasn't a councillor when he committed this grave act. This conduct has infuriated Alex Salmond and Co so much, they have suspended the councillor until he can face a disciplinary hearing. The reason: the SNP are strongly against firearms.

So if you want to join the SNP - and I can't for the life of me think of one reason why you would want to - you must subject yourself to the thought police. You are not free to do something that is legal in another country and if it upsets the delicate constitution of Alex Salmond, you know you are in the firing line (pardon the pun).

The SNP want the freedom to hold a referendum in the hope of breaking up the union, but they don't give their members the freedom to think and act for themselves.

Olympic Games

Am I the only person who is not excited about the forthcoming Olympic Games? It takes me all my time to summon up the energy to switch on the television and watch any Olympic Games, but 2008 is going to go down in history when the Olympic 'spirit' had to be put on hold so we can placate the Chinese government.image

The corrupt body of individuals that call themselves the International Olympic Committee have warned all athletes competing in China that they must not protest against the Chinese authorities. So much for freedom and China being welcoming hosts. China  is of course allowing demonstrations in designated areas, but you must not go too far in your criticism, otherwise they will fine you or imprison you without charge for as long as they like.

Personally, I think the Olympic Games are a huge waste of time and money, but if they are going to be held, the IOC should have at the very least chosen a country that remotely embodies the spirit of the Olympics. I would have liked to have seen the games boycotted, rather than landing a propaganda coup to Beijing, and world leaders (including Pres. Bush who spoke against the human rights record of China today) turning up for the opening ceremony only serves to add legitimacy to an evil and barbaric regime who delight in suppressing the the rights and freedoms of the individual.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Miliband and Milburn

If the report in the Daily Telegraph this morning is true, David Miliband is seriously considering challenging Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership. If he is in talks with Alan Milburn, then I am not surprised. Milburn was a good minister. He is a man who has a vision of change in our public services, but Gordon Brown never shared the vision. As a result of weak leadership from Tony Blair, Brown got his way and the reforms that would have made the NHS better than it is today, were blocked.

Although I like Alan Milburn - and often wonder why he is not a Tory - most of the rank and file of the Labour Party do not. So why would Miliband want to use Milburn as a running mate? Firstly, although Milburn is not popular with the party and MPs, they can argue that the reforms he suggested over five years ago have been proved to be correct. They can argue that it was the prime minister when he was Chancellor who blocked so many needed reforms in the public sector. In short, he is not Brown and will have public support.

Both of them and the rest of Blairites, which may include Tony Blair himself, are deluded however. The halcyon days of the Court of King Tony are just as mythical as the Court of King Arthur. If those says were so good, why were the voters so keen to see the back of them? There is an unstoppable juggernaut called the Conservative Party. It may be slowed down in places and it may have to go off on the odd diversion or two. It may have to ditch some of its load along the way, however, it will reach Downing Street in a couple of years' time. How many MPs it will have picked up along the way is far too early to speculate, but there really is no hope for the government, even with Miliband in charge. If the reports are correct, he is willing to pick up the poisoned chalice because he and his friends believe they can do something to save the Labour Party from annihilation at the hands of the British people. Miliband may well be able cut the losses, but he will loose the battle.

Top Ten Political Blogs - Voting closes on Friday

Iain Dale has had to bring forward by one week the deadline for voting for your top ten political blogs. The deadline is now this Friday 8 August at midnight.

If you still haven't voted, time is definitely running out. So vote now without delay and if you can include me in your top ten, then all the better!

The e-mail address to send your list to is: toptenblogs@totalpolitics.com. You must vote for ten blogs, otherwise your vote will not count.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lack of posts

Sorry there hasn't been much on the blog today. I have been out all day and only got in around 10.30pm.

Lads Mags

After the storm in a teacup yesterday over Michael Gove's remarks about 'ladimages mags', I decided to do some research today. The soldiers I am teaching to drive at the moment went out  and bought a copy each of Nuts, Zoo, The Daily Sport and The Sun. Excellent reading matter I am sure you would agree. I have never looked at Nuts before, so in an act of complete selflessness, I perused a copy.

The main finding of my research was that there are lots of boobs, including readers who wish to bare all for the benefit of other readers. There was even a student from Hull who, in four pictures changed from wearing a dress to being topless, dressed only in her knickers.

Conservative Home's authoritarian streak will not win the day with me. All I saw in this magazine was harmless fun. The women photographed are offering their services without coercion and are no doubt well paid. Damaging the moral fibre of young men in Britain? Nonsense. We really have more important things to debate than lads mags.

 

Links: Daily Referendum and Blaney's Blarney

Monday, August 04, 2008

ToryTalk

Recently two Conservative Forums have started. The first one is called ToryTalk and as a result, a second one called ToryClub has come into existence. Why we need two is a mystery to me. Both are duplicating each others efforts, which is an unnecessary waste of time. Combining  resources and having one large forum where we all can meet is preferable.

Until - or indeed if - that happens, I am going to give a plug to ToryTalk. It has a good membership base and although it is still in its infancy, the scope for discussion and networking is exciting. This is another way we can recruit activists this side of the next general election. As we are witnessing from the US, the party that is most successful in harnessing the power if the Internet, is the one that is likely to come out on top. The Conservative Party has more activists than any other party in the UK and there is plenty of scope for recruiting more. This is another way of doing it.

Check out ToryTalk, get involved in the debates and set the agenda for future discussions.

Summer Reading - Cameron Style

It's not long until our summer holiday. We have rented a cottage in Ireland for a week and although we have plenty of things planned, I was thinking about what books to take with me. I am a fan of John Grisham. I have read all of his novels apart from his last two. I have them. I just haven't got around to reading them yet. I am currently re-reading a book by my blogger friend Lizzy Blackney, so I may finish that off whilst I am away. I have also been told, dare I say ordered, not to take my laptop away with me. I will also try and endure a week without reading a newspaper, although I have tried that before and it has never worked. Holidays are, after all, a time to get away from it all.

I feel very fortunate compared to Conservative MPs. They have been given a list of books to read during the summer recess. There are 38 books on the list and it has been compiled by Keith Simpson, the Tory Foreign Affairs Spokesman. Unfortunately, there isn't a thriller in sight. Titles include, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini; Cameron on Cameron by Dylan Jones; Decline to Fall: The Making of British Macro-Economic Policy and the 1976 IMF Crisis by Douglas Wass and Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond by David Runciman. Unsurprisingly, I had not thought about taking them on holiday with me.

When politicians get the chance to spend a few weeks away from the Westminster Village, they should use the break to spend time with their family, get away from it all, engage with their constituents and do things the rest of us do. And the rest of us don't read books like that. For my part, I'm sticking with Grisham.

Hat Tip: Telegraph

 

Brown and Labour's woes

Below is a post a wrote for Media Lizzy and Friends, a US political blog.

 

It has been quite some time since I last posted on this site. It has not been through choice however. Whilst the general election is hotting up in the US, politically, things are hotting up here in the UK. My fellow blogger, Dan O’Neill, commented about the amazing result for the Scottish National Party at the Glasgow East by-election. Since then the fall-out for Prime Minster, Gordon Brown, has been immense. Before I go into all that, I will give you some history.

The Conservative Party has never been frightened of getting rid of its leaders. Margaret Thatcher won three elections in a row, the last one being in 1987, but that didn’t stop a long time critic, Michael Heseltine, standing against her for the leadership in 1990. When she won the ballot, but not with enough votes to win outright, a deputation of senior colleagues marched in and out of 10 Downing Street telling her the game was up. She may have been a revolutionary force in politics, the first woman Prime Minister and the most successful Conservative leader in generations, but that did not mean the Conservative Party was going to be sentimental. Mrs Thatcher was gone within days and replaced by the newly elected leader, John Major.

Labour on the other hand are much more sentimental about their leaders. They put up with the disastrous leadership of Michael Foot from 1979-1983. Neil Kinnock led them from 1983-1992 and he was the one who decided it was time to go after losing two general elections as leader. He was lucky to survive after 1987, although he was popular with the mainstream of the party after expelling the far left ‘militant tendency’ in the mid-eighties. You would have thought though, after being trounced in the polls by Margaret Thatcher in 1987, he would have been replaced, but that was not to be. Even right up until last year, when Tony Blair resigned as leader and Prime Minister, the lack of a ruthless Labour edge was very visible. There was a whispering campaign against him and Gordon Brown - forever a thorn in Blair’s side - was forever briefing against him, however Blair still left, looking at least, as if he had chosen the time and date of his departure.

Therefore the latest machinations in the Labour Party do not necessarily mean that Brown will out of the door faster than you can say, ‘you’re fired.’ It is a much more complex procedure than that. A Labour leader can only be replaced at the annual party conference, which this year, as every year, takes place towards the end of September. The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who is an arch supporter of Tony Blair and quite frankly worships the ground he walks on, wrote an article for ‘The Guardian’, a left of centre national newspaper. In it he detailed what Labour needed to do to secure a mandate for a fourth term in office. This precipitated talk of a challenge to Gordon Brown. Miliband did nothing to stop the rumours, by not ruling out a challenge to Brown. Since then, other ministers have criticised Brown, three senior ministers have come out in support of Brown, and the rest - well - they have been deafening in their silence. They are keeping their options open, and who can blame them. Gordon Brown’s approval rating has hit just about rock bottom. Only one out of seven voters think he is up to the job, but the bad news doesn’t stop there for the government. None of Brown’s likely replacements are likely to fare any better at the polls. The only person who would come close to giving the Conservative Party a run for its money is Tony Blair, although I think the voters are looking at his premiership with the most expensive rose tinted spectacles money can buy. And talking of Blair, today a memo he sent to friends was leaked to the press. In it he savaged Brown’s premiership. This will certainly give heart to the Blairites remaining in the cabinet.

I have said many times that I do not believe Brown will be replaced in September. I still hold to that view. There still might be a challenge, although no serious contender in their right mind would want the job. Labour are far behind in the opinion polls. No party in the past has come back from this position and gone on to win a general election. It is far more preferable to let Brown lead the party into defeat and then pick up the pieces with a new leader. There is also the problem of a lack of a democratic mandate. Brown replaced Blair unopposed. The thought of another unelected prime minister is something the British public will not tolerate. They want to make these decisions at an election and would not like the Labour Party to make the decision for them, twice.

With the credit crunch, industrial unrest in the public services and open mutiny in the Labour Party, this summer is not going to be pleasant for Gordon Brown. He will have to show some leadership and steel, something he has singularly failed to do thus far, otherwise he will be forced out by Members of Parliament desperately worrying about their seats. As I said, it will be unwise to replace Brown sooner rather than later, however, rats deserting a sinking ship seldom think clearly before they jump.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Eric Cantor for Vice President?

Is this the man who will be John McCain's running mate? 

His name is Eric Cantor and he is the Chief Depuimagety Republican Whip. Read more about him HERE and I got the story from Lizzy Blackney who blogs HERE. You may also note that yours truly is a co-author.

Rep. Cantor has all the credentials to be VP. He will be a good choice and we won't have to wait long to find out if Sen. McCain agrees.

Role reversal

I am one of the most impractical men you could ever want to meet. When it comes to things like decorating and DIY projects, I am hopeless. Although Becky is amazed at my ability to coordinate my hands and feet whilst playing the organ, she knows she is the one who deals with many of the jobs a man would normally deal with. For my part, I cooked dinner this evening and then washed up, although Becky did prepare some garlic butter and chopped off the heads of the trout; a job that I find unpleasant and one that doesn't bother her at all.

So, what is she doing while I am writing this? She is laying 03082008128 floor tiles in our new conservatory!

Everything has not gone to plan with the conservatory though, and we have had to engage the services of a solicitor friend of mine to write a letter threatening legal action. They have basically not finished off the job and disappeared. It's not too bad, but not quite right either and unfortunately they have been paid as they fraudulently told the finance company they had finished off the work, when all we had signed off was the initial work on the foundations.

Despite all of this, once the tiling is done, we will be able to put some furniture in there and get some use from it before the weather really does turn nasty. Are there any more men out there as impractical as me?

Tony Blair attacks Brown

On Friday evening I said there would be further attacks on Brown, and sure enough we have another one, this time a leaked memo from Tony Blair criticising the prime minister.

Read it HERE. There is no doubt there is a concerted effort to destabilise Brown's premiership. David Miliband started the ball rolling and every couple of days others have chipped in to heap pressure on the beleaguered prime minister. The Labour Party is pressing the self-destruct button and it is looking that Brown's days are numbered. He certainly cannot recover from the events of the last few days untarnished and no doubt there is more to come.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Conservatives to put green taxes on hold

David Cameron is going to ditch the Conservatives proposed green taxes - for the time being at least.

Although it looks like nothing is going to stop the Conservatives winning the next general election, it would be a stupid move to propose new taxes when the majority of voters are struggling with high fuel prices and are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Personally, I would like to see them abandoned altogether. We already have the highest taxed fuel in Europe. Americans are complaining that the cost of gasoline is $4 a gallon. There would be civil war if they had to pay as much as we do.

Cameron and Osborne should quietly ditch most of the green policies. Like many things, it sounds appealing on paper - if you are into the green thing - but when it starts hitting you in the wallet, your enthusiasm wanes. They need to concentrate on traditional Tory policies like low taxation and a smaller state. They can still do this in a time of economic strife. All that is needed is the political will.

Ministers knew that Sats fiasco could easily happen

Ed Balls has been caught out once again. In the House of Commons last week he said:

"It is not possible for the Government to be accountable for the results of tests while at the same time being actively involved in the management of the marking of those tests. That would not command public confidence."

Yet in 2004, the government was warned that it did not have enough 'ownership and accountability' after another marking fiasco. Once again the government has not learned its lesson and now more than one hundred thousand pupils wait for the results for their Sats. How Balls has the balls make the statement he did amazes me

Michael Gove, the Shadow Schools Secretary said:

"This is the latest revelation to undermine Ed Balls's claims that he's not responsible for the Sats fiasco. Ministers were warned years ago that they had to take a more hands-on approach to national testing but the Secretary of State refused to pay any attention to this expert advice and parents, teachers and pupils are paying the price."

Instead of trying to blame others, Balls should take responsibility for his Department's failings. In days gone by, a minister would have fallen on his sword. Of course that requires a minister to have honour, something that is lacking in politicians in general, and New Labour in particular.

John Hutton's advise to Brown

image

John Hutton has now made  some suggestions for the future direction of the government. Read them HERE. I have a feeling this weekend may see more Blairites speaking their mind and getting things off their chest, without officially being disloyal to the prime minister.

Who said politicians were duplicitous?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Highlights of the Brown v Cameron battles - Part 4

In this clip, Cameron asks Brown why the Lisbon Treaty is not dead in the water after the Irish voted 'No.' Brown wriggles and goes on the offensive, but never answers the question.

Labour accuse the SNP of brainwashing

I bet that the majority of people in England don't know when St George's Day is. Just about everyone - thanks to football  - knows what the flag of England looks like, but if you mention the flag of St George, many will look back at you with a puzzled expression.

In Scotland, the Scots know when St Andrew's Day is, and they know the history behind their flag. It therefore doesn't come as any surprise that Scottish trains and railwayimage stations are to be re-branded with the blue and white Saltire livery. Fair enough? I think so, but not Labour. They have accused the SNP of 'brainwashing people into independence.' What utter hogwash!

Not only did the proposal come from the government agency, Transport Scotland, the agency made their recommendation before the SNP came to power. These are the colours of Scotland and they should use them with pride. If only the English were so patriotic.

 

Hat Tip: The Daily Telegraph

Ten noughts wiped off a Zimbabwean banknote

$10 billion dollars is now worth just $1 in Zimbabwe. This is an attempt to control the effects of hyperinflation ravaging the economy. This latest move will make it easier for Zimbabwean traders, but it will do nothing to image address the fundamental problem. How long will it take before more notes are needed with extra noughts on them? With inflation running at something like nine million percent, probably in about a couple of weeks. Mugabe has so much to answer for, but alas he never will.

 

Hat Tip: BBC News

More gloom from YouGov for Brown

The latest YouGov poll reveals that only 1 in 7 think Gordon Brown is fit to be prime minister and none of his likely replacements will fare any better either.

To make matters worse, Tony Blair would have better approval figures if he was still PM, although even he would lose out to David Cameron.

 

Hat Tip: Daily Referendum

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