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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lack of blogging

I've been very busy with Taxpayers' Alliance work this past week. Hopefully this week I will be able to return and give my attention to this blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

John Bercow

I always believe in giving someone a chance. It what defines me. I believe firmly in the human spirit. Before you sense a 'but', well there is one. Watch this and tell me John Bercow is not an arrogant, little shit. Unfortunately, he is the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speaker John Bercow

Although he is not my choice, I wish the new Speaker, John Bercow, well in his new role. For the sake of the House and the country, I hope he succeeds.

Young vs Bercow for Speaker

So, it's down to a two-horse race between Sir George Young and John Bercow. After Alan Williams' plea for other candidates to drop out, thankfully we will not have to wait until midnight before we know who the next Speaker will be.

I had hoped MPs would for once vote with their consciences and try and choose the best person for the job. Sir George Young will be a steadying influence and if he is true to his speech earlier this afternoon, he will reform our chamber.

John Bercow - quite frankly - is too cocky. He has not got the support of his honourable 'friends' and he will not unify the House. I hope and pray he is not elected Speaker.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taxpayers' Alliance, MPs Expenses and Mr (or Madam) Speaker

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I went back to work on Tuesday after being off ill with food poisoning. As usual, I failed to pace myself, and by Thursday I felt as ill as I had done the previous week. Since then I have been taking it easy.

I have been doing some work in my new capacity as Organiser of the Hull and East Riding Branch of the Taxpayers' Alliance. I have been quoted in the Hull Daily Mail twice and yesterday the newspaper printed a letter of mine. The new branch is getting off to a flying start, thanks to the redacted expenses claims of our MPs.

Those redacted documents have proven once again parliament is not willing to be honest with the public. If it was not for the Daily Telegraph, we would not have heard about duck houses, moat cleaning, flipping of second homes and alleged avoidance of capital gains tax. Those who said the Telegraph did not need to print the details of expenses claims must never have heard of the word 'redaction.'

The Speakership election is proving to be a about as exciting as a wet weekend in Blackpool. The one thing I think is certain is the Commons will not get a reforming Speaker. Bercow is not going to win, neither is Beckett, and neither is Beith. After that, it is down to Haselhurst, Young and Cormack. I can't see how any of them can be a reforming Speaker. Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iraq inquiry to be held behind closed doors.

Gordon Brown, the man who is going to shed light through the workings
for parliament, has decided to have an inquiry into the Iraq war
behind closed doors, and no-one will be compelled to give evidence.

It hasn't taken him long to revert to his old ways. This man doesn't
know the meaning of the words open and transparent. Does he really
think we trust him to be the architect of change? If he does, then he
is more deluded than I thought he was and I didn't think that was

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How much do your councillors cost you?

Thanks to the Taxpayers' Alliance, you can find out how much your councillors claim in allowances. Click here to get the details.

£185,000 a year for the Kinnocks

Do you remember a Labour politician in the 1980s who wanted Britain out of the Common Market and wanted the House of Lords abolished? I'm sure you remember the former Vice-President of the European Commission, Lord Kinnock

According to the think tank, 'Open Europe', Lord Kinnock and the his wife, the future Baroness Kinnock, have managed to acquire £185,000 a year in state funded pensions. The Kinnocks certainly know what a gravy train looks like.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taxpayers' Alliance Action Day

The sun is shining in East Yorkshire and temperature is around 23C. It has been great weather to have the first action day for the new Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Branch of the Taxpayers' Alliance. Half a dozen of us braved the heat (it's not often I can say that) and handed out leaflets in Beverley. We had a positive response and we will be having further action days. If you want to come and join us, please e-mail me. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hazel Blears has regrets

She may have done it her way, but now it seems Hazel Blears is regretting some of her actions. I am sure this has nothing to do with the mood of her local party in Salford who has the power to deselect her. 

Why not raise the voting age back to 21

The old chestnut of lowering the voting age to 16 is rearing its head once again, thanks to the government. You cannot marry without parental consent, join the armed forces without parental consent and still not go on active service, buy cigarettes or buy alcohol, until you are 18. If you are not deemed responsible to do any of those things, how can you be deemed responsible to cast a vote in an election? 

The debate that never takes place, is raising the voting age back to 21. I know it will never happen, but why not? The majority of those aged between 18-20 don't vote. They don't have an understanding of politics and the political process. They generally lack life experience. Why not let them make their way in the world, get off to university or training or the workplace and get opinions of their own, and then let them vote at 21? Just an idea. 

How do we deal with the threat from the BNP?

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Phil Andrews. He is a councillor representing the Independent Communities Group in Hounslow. I don't know much about this group, but I have found out reading his blog, that he was a leading light, along with Nick Griffin, in the National Front. Mr Andrews saw the error of his ways, for want of putting it another way, and in this post gives his views on how to deal with the BNP threat. I have published his full blog post for you to read. I have also been busy with my mobile phone and recorded my views on the voting system that gave us two BNP MEPs. I am not saying changing the PR voting system is the simple way of solving the problem, but it has given European Parliamentary representation to a party that only polled around 6% of the popular vote. 

As an aside, I know the picture quality is not great when I use my phone and I know there are times when my lips are out of sync with my voice, however, I find it an easy and convenient way to express my views straight to you. Give me your comments on what you think.

Old mucker of mine though he may be, I can understand why there are people who would want to throw eggs at British National Party Chairman Nick Griffin. Denounced for years as the leader of a party which can trace its genealogy directly back - via the National Front, John Tyndall's Greater Britain Movement and Colin Jordan's National Socialist Movement - to Arnold Leese, the man who first conceived of gas chambers as the solution to the "problem" of Jewish people living in the world and who rejected Sir Oswald Mosley for his moderation, Griffin is now one of two men representing the BNP at the European Parliament.

The problem with Tuesday's egg-throwing protest of course, quite apart from the public order problem it presented, was not only that it allowed Griffin to emerge as the poor innocent victim making a stand for free speech against an intolerant political establishment, but also that he was granted airtime to talk about the egg throwing which he would otherwise have spent having to explain his confused and contradictory policies.

Rather than allowing him the opportunity to explain to the world why his "non-racist" party refuses to admit non-white members, or how it defines "Britishness" according to skin pigmentation rather than place of birth or length of residence, Nick Griffin was able not only 
to present himself as the champion of democracy and free speech, but even to implicate the three major parties in the egg-throwing protest by virtue of the fact they have given in-principle support to the organisation he alleges to have been responsible for it.

As such there can be little doubt that this exhibition, provoked as it may have been by the powerful call of a justified indignation, came across to most as a display of petulance and an own-goal of not inconsiderable proportions.

But own-goals are what the thing once known as the "Labour movement" has become rather good at. Let us not forget that in both the North West and Yorkshire & Humber the number of votes received by the BNP actually 
decreased. In both cases the BNP was able to scrape home as a direct consequence of traditional Labour voters, embittered by the betrayal and arrogance of their elected representatives, staying away in protest.

As a result of Labour's failure the rest of us are compelled to share the humiliation of having sent two men to Europe to make common cause with all manner of madmen and lunatics, with all the taxpayer-funded financial benefits that will bring to themselves and their organisations.

But if the failure today is Labour's, then at other times and in other places it will be someone else's. The cyclical nature of British politics is such that the big parties take it for granted that they will have their years in the limelight and their periods in the wilderness. Who is to say that after a spell in governement it will not next time be Conservative voters who are sitting at home sulking, while the BNP sends its people to Brussels on the strength of the votes of three percent of those on the Register of Electors?

Allegiance to the big political parties, allegiances which once were handed down from father to son and which centred around whole communities, are breaking down. There is no longer any clear ideological water separating the main protagonists, and it is not today a contradiction in terms to speak of a working-class Conservative or a "socialist" millionaire. With the advance of internet technology which creates a more level playing field between those with the resources to print and distribute millions of leaflets and those without, smaller parties are becoming less small. At last Thursday's Euro elections nearly 43% of those who voted in the United Kingdom placed their cross next to the name of a party outside of the big three.

In consideration of all this, those who would have us believe that the big established parties are our only defence against the relentless onward march of fascism are short changing us. A few more votes for UKIP or the Green Party in the North West and Yorkshire & Humber would have kept both successful BNP candidates out of Europe. Big party politics didn't protect us, it failed us.

In the London Borough of Hounslow we have six political groups on the local authority where once there were two. Our own, the 
Independent Community Group (ICG), holds six seats and with it the balance of power on the council. In the community we talk about the issues that local people want to talk about. We get things done. With 1,500 members spread out largely over two wards signed up to a program of positive community action, radical but outspokenly anti-racist, imaginative, unconventional and people-centred there is no space in which the BNP or any other racist party could successfully operate.

And yet this is the Politics That Dare Not Speak Its Name. A popular anti-fascist blog on which I frequently post only ever blocks my contributions when I dare to suggest that it is the community itself, not the Labour Party, to which we should be looking in the fight against fascism.

The concept is not restricted to my own neighbourhood. There are residents' groups and action parties springing up all around the place which strike the same chord as we do with voters who are fed up the mainstream politicians and their parties. They are organic, supported and often joined by those whom conventional politics could never reach, and are fairly much insulated against the ebb and flow of political trends. There is not the slightest shadow of a doubt in my mind that they are, by some considerable margin, the most effective defence against organised fascism taking hold in our communities.

The problem for us for the moment is that, anti-fascism nothwithstanding, we still have more eggs thrown at us than the leader of the BNP does.

Lady Thatcher taken to hospital

The Telegraph is reporting Lady Thatcher has fallen in her home in London and has been taken to hospital. She has apparently injured her upper arm. Get well soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

NEW Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Branch of the Taxpayers' Alliance

Margaret Beckett as Speaker? No, No, No!

When you see her in her office, with a picture of herself on the wall, you can easily tell what sort of a person she is without knowing anything about her. 

Margaret Beckett is one of those people who can wind me up as soon as I see her. She has an attitude that states 'I know better than you do.' I cannot think of one reason why she could become Speaker. She was first elected to parliament in 1974, lost her seat in 1979 and then returned in 1983. She has undertaken many government roles. When Brown fired her as Foreign Secretary, I thought this would mean I wouldn't have to see her very often on my TV. But up she popped again, this time in the lowly role of Housing Minister. Brown then fired her again last week. She has finally gone, I thought. No, wrong again. Now she wants to become Speaker. Is there anything this woman will not do to get herself in the news? She will not become Speaker, and then hopefully she will decide the next general election is the time she is finally going to go, although I am not banking on it. 

Below is a clip with her explaining her reasons for wanting to become Speaker. Try not to hurl objects at your computer screen. Anything to do with Margaret Beckett should come with a government health warning. 

Ann Widdecombe for Speaker?

I have thought for some time Ann Widdecombe would make a good Speaker of the House of Commons. Although she is standing down at the next general election, I think the idea of someone with a no-nonsense attitude, who has not be tainted during the expenses scandal, becoming an interim Speaker is worth considering. I would have liked her to go to her constituency and tell them under the circumstances she would like to be re-adopted for her seat. I know this would have caused problems for the candidate who has already been selected, but in the current circumstances, it is justifiable. Also, Helen Grant could easily find herself a safe seat, with so many of them going begging at the moment, with the probability of more to come. 

As Ann's retirement plans are well advanced, this senario is not going to happen. Below is a clip from Sky News, where she explains her reasons for throwing her hat into the ring. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BNP Exposed- What Nick Griffin and his party are really like

On 15 July 2004 the BBC broadcast an undercover documentary about the BNP. Andy Sykes was once the Bradford organiser of the BNP, praised by Nick Griffin, but he couldn't tolerate what he saw. He then turned into a double agent. To remind you of what the BNP is really like, here is the programme for you to watch again. 

What Diane Abbott thinks of Keith Vaz's sucking up to Alan Johnson

Unite Against Fascism on Newsnight

I have just watched the spokesman for Unite Against Fascism, Martin Smith, argue his case with Lib Dem, Simon Hughes on Newsnight. If you want to watch it, use the link below and go 16 minutes into the programme.

Mr Smith proves he is just as much a fascist as the BNP. Denying a democratically elected MEP the right to hold a news conference is not the way forward. As I said yesterday, all this has done is play into the BNP's hands. The BNP got far more publicity as a result of eggs being thrown at them, than it would have done if it had been allowed to hold the press conference.

We have to engage in debate with the BNP. We have to expose its policies not only on race, but on defence and the economy. It has policies that would isolate Britain from the rest of the world and turn us into an economic basket case. Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons are intelligent, articulate men. The only way to beat the BNP is to argue back with intelligent, articulate arguments and expose the party for what it is.

Brown the Great Voting Reformer - I don't think so

Gordon Brown wants voting reform? No, he doesn't. Nor do I think introducing the Alternative Voting (AV) system for general elections would save his skin. It is a theoretical question anyway, as none of the proposed changes could be in place for the next general election. What we are seeing is Gordon Brown desperately trying to appear as if he is a reformer. We are probably also witnessing the price Brown had to pay for Alan Johnson's loyalty.  

Changing the voting system for general elections is a major constitutional change and therefore justifies a referendum being called, but what about the Lisbon Treaty? This also involves major constitutional change. The prime minister is at sixes and sevens. He doesn't know which way to turn. He would have lost a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. That's why he didn't give us a chance to air our views at the ballot box. As for voting reform, I don't think he has thought about winning or losing a referendum. I don't think he is bothered at the moment. All he is trying to do is prop-up his government in anyway he thinks will work. It won't work and the voters will see through this at the next general election. If you want to change something, you need a clear idea of what the change should be, and be able to muster strong arguments in its favour. Once again, Brown is found wanting. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Nick Griffin is pelted with eggs

Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons are seasoned hands in the fascist movement. Deciding to have an open air press conference was always likely to end in trouble. Although I cannot condone violence, I have a feeling the BNP has received more publicity this afternoon than they would have had if the press conference had taken place without incident. No doubt Griffin will still have his press conference and will get more publicity. It was a scuffle in the street, something which Griffin, Brons, et al, knew was going to happen. I am certain there were times when Griffin had a smile on his face as the trouble ensued. Although members of the BNP and other fascists tend to have the IQ of a squashed hedgehog, Griffin and Brons are intelligent, articulate men and they will use every opportunity they can get their hands on to promote themselves.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Brown about to address the Parliamentary Labour Party

Gordon Brown has just left Downing Street and is on his way to the House of Commons. He will now have to convince the Parliamentary Labour Party that he is the man to lead them forward. I am sure he will not convince them, but I am also sure he will not be stepping down soon. There isn't another candidate throwing their hat into the ring. None of the MPs present want to fight a general election soon, and despite the comments of some MPs who think Labour can weather a potential voter backlash if Brown was replaced and a general election was not immediately called, the majority there present will not force him to walk the plank.

It will be interesting to see which MPs head for the cameras straight after the meeting and how they report the meeting. 

UPDATE: Brown was cheered as he entered the committee room. The whips have been busy.

Labour is to blame for a BNP MEP

Voting reform is something I believe in. If we had adopted preferential voting (Single Transferable Vote), the BNP would not have gained a seat in the European Parliament. It is this ridiculous form of PR that has allowed a party with under 10% of the vote a seat in the European Parliament. This sets back the cause for voting reform. Please understand: Preferential Voting would not allow this to happen. Electoral Reform is needed, but not in this way. 

I am angry tonight and I am not alone. If you want to blame anyone, blame Labour. They adopted this ridiculous form of voting. 

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Live Blogging Continued

22:40 It looks like my region - Yorkshire and The Humber - is set to elect a BNP MEP. God help us!

22:43 A good night for centre-right parties across Europe. 

23:16 Why the hell does it take so long to count votes!

23:19 We've already been through verification on Friday. This is simply counting the votes for each party. It seems as if we cannot do that very well anymore. 

Computer Crash

My laptop has overheated and crashed. I'm now Blogging via e-mail
using my phone. I've just watch Mark Francois on Sky News tackling
Glenys Kinnock. She says she is the Europe Minister, not picking up a
salary. How can she be a minister and not be a member of the Commons
or the Lords? She can't, but the real reason she is stalling is
because the payout she gets from being an MEP will reduce if she stops
being an MEP now and not going in July when everything changes.
Another snout in the trough.

UPDATE: Blogging again!

Sent from my mobile device

European Election - Live Blog

20:40 Conservative Home is reporting the Lib Dems may lose their seat in the North East. 

20:42 The count in nearly over in the North West.

20:43 Labour may come third in Wales.

20:49 East of England vote will not be long.

20:52 The Lib Dems may lose out to UKIP inthe North East.

21:04 BNP Leader Nick Griffin can't get in to the count in Manchester due to anti-BNP protests. How sad!

21:11 Just a hunch, but perhaps Labour has not done as badly as I first thought. 

21:19 Lab 27502 LD 16424 Tory 11896 in Manchester

21:23 Conservative Home report Labour coming fifth in the South East. Wow!

21:25 Forget my hunch. Labour is facing its worst ever results tonight. Ladbrokes are offering odds of 4/1 for Brown to be gone my midnight tomorrow.

21:28 There are reports Nick Griffin will NOT win a seat in the North West. We can only hope. 

21:40 The Tories are likely to top the poll in Wales. This is going to be an amazing night.

21:46 There are reports of the Tories topping the poll in the North East. If this is true, Labour are finished.

21:52 North East Result: Labour 25% (-9) Tories 20% (+1) Lib Dems 18% (nc) UKIP 15% (+3). This is a disaster for Labour in their heartland, although the Tories would have wanted to have made more headway. 

Live Euro Blogging this evening

I will be doing some live blogging this evening, covering the UK vote. The Croydonian is going to keep up a Europe wide live blogging session. Quite a task. I will be going around all the blogs and watching the various media outlets closely and will get the key results and gossip when they arrive. 

My European Election Prediction

Are you looking forward to the evening's events? The final of The Apprentice (with one of Gordon's best buddies doing the hiring) and then more humiliation for Gordon when the European Election results come rolling in.

For what it's worth (and I am not always correct in my predictions of election results), the Conservatives are going to be the big winners. Then UKIP. Then the Lib Dems. Labour are going to be in fourth place. 

If this does happen, Brown will have lead his party to the worst election result in living memory. Truly uncharted waters. What will this mean for Brown? It all depends on how many Labour MPs have the balls to say to the prime minister the game is up. I am sure every Labour MP has been having conversations this weekend with their constituency chairmen and activists. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall whilst some of those conversations were taking place. Perhaps Brown's fate will ultimately be decided by the Labour grassroots. Traditionally loyal, a recent opinion poll reveals half of them want him to go. This will increase after tonight's results have been absorbed. 

Brown is not out of the woods yet. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. 

Norwich North By-Election

Ian Gibson announced his resignation as an MP on Friday with immediate effect. One imagines he will take the Chiltern Hundreds on Monday and this should immediately trigger a by-election. But when will Brown move the writ so the by-election can take place? Casting my mind back just over a year ago, Brown moved the writ for the Crewe and Nantwich by-election while Gwyneth Dunwoody was still warm. Brown's reason was that constituents needed an MP. Is he going to say the same for the good people of Norwich North or is he going to string this out until October? There is still plenty of time for the election to take place before the Commons recess. It could easily be held on July 2. I wouldn't like to bet that it will.  

UPDATE Monday June 8 18:25. No-one seems to know what is going on. UK Polling Report list the seat as vacant, as Ian Gibson said he was resigning with immediate effect. So it seems as if the people in Norwich North do not have an MP and because of the prime minister's woes, no-one in government seems to have either noticed or is bothered. 

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Remembering D-Day

I have visited the battlefields and memorials of the First and Second World Wars many times. I have looked down from the American War Cemetery at Omaha Beach and wondered how any of them survived. Today was Veterans Day. They are the VIPs. Sixty-five years ago the freedom of Europe was in balance. I salute them and thank them for fighting for our freedom and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we shall remember them."

The new Hull and East Riding branch of The Taxpayers' Alliance

Readers will know of my admiration for the work of The Taxpayers' Alliance. I am currently in the process of setting up a TPA branch covering Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Our first get together will be next Saturday June 13 in Beverley. We will be meeting at 11.00am in Saturday Market to hand out leaflets and hopefully recruit new members. If you can make it next week, please come and join us. If you want anymore information please e-mail me at

Friday, June 05, 2009

Caroline Flint is not mere window dressing

She may be regarded as female window dressing by Gordon Brown, however, as my better half has just pointed out to me, with legs like that, she is not as sexy as some would like to make out. I have been told she has a nice face and cleavage. I could not possibly comment!

How long can Gordon Brown survive?

I have been following politics closely since I was a child, and before I am accused of being a geek (which is probably true), there were many of us talking about politics when I went to school. During the 1983 general election we had a class poll. Coming from Co. Durham, Labour won pretty handsomely. In those days I supported the views of my father, and expressed my Labour supporting views accordingly.

During the miners strike that started in the following year my political views started changing. I realised Arthur Scargill's only intention was to bring down the Thatcher government. I started questioning the politics of my family and much to their dismay - including some family members who stopped talking to me - I became a Conservative.

I have been following politics closely for the past 25 years. I cannot recall a week of the like we have just experienced. Can anyone remember a week when five cabinet ministers resigned? Coupled with that, can anyone remember a week when a minister announced their resignation during a prime minister's press conference? 

We are living in truly amazing times. There is not one senior member of the government who is prepared to tell the prime minister the game is up. It is unbelievable there is not one person in a senior position who cannot see the writing on the wall. There has to be someone who realises if Gordon Brown remains prime minister the Labour Party is going to crash and burn in a way it has never done in the past, yet no senior member of the government has the guts to put an end to this nonsense.

The prime minister has lost all moral authority to govern Britain. He has never had a mandate and lest we forget, we are not in a mid-term scenario. We are more than four years into this parliament. Labour is desperately clinging on to power. It is not - as Brown would have us - a government with ideas sorting out the problems this country is facing. He says he has the right team in place. He said that about his last team and many of them have deserted. A general election must be called. It has been too long since we, the voters, had our say who governed our country. This farce cannot continue and after the European Election results, I have a feeling more in the Labour Party will come to the same conclusion.  

Thursday, June 04, 2009

David Miliband may resign

The Spectator Coffee House has heard rumours David Miliband is going to resign tomorrow.

UPDATE: He has said he supports Brown. Is he being truthful or is he waiting to see who else comes out against him?

James Purnell resigns from the Cabinet

This is certainly the beginning of the end. The government is imploding and as the clock ticks, more Labour MPs are calling for Brown to go. We know from history, Brown cannot survive this. He will announce his departure within a week. Labour will elect a new leader and a general election will be called, probably in October. 

Labour MP, Graham Allen, hopes Brown will announce his resignation tomorrow. I've never seen such a fast moving political story. 

We have cast our votes

We went out to vote tonight at around 7.45. As well as chuckling to myself at the length of the ballot paper, I asked the staff what the turnout had been like today. Out of a possible 1700 voters, only 300 had bothered to vote. I can't imagine many more people would bother in the remaining two hours available. I know this is a European Election, but I would have thought after recent events more would have taken the trouble to walk to the polling station. 

I was talking to someone about an hour ago and he told me the turnout in his polling station in Leeds was around 50%, so this is encouraging. Why the people of Hull regard voting unimportant is something that still puzzles me. 

Another one about to resign?

There is a rumour circulating Westminster another cabinet minister is about to resign at 10.00pm, just after the polls close. We'll have to wait and see...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gordon Brown is doomed

If you had asked me a month ago  if Gordon Brown would still be prime minister until the next general election in twelve months' time, I would have replied yes, without any hesitation. Today, I can tell you that he will not survive and also this parliament will not last until May or June next year. 

There are only two main options for Labour MPs to mull over tonight. Continue with Gordon Brown and watch the government collapse even further into chaos. More ministerial resignations and more disastrous ratings in the opinion polls. They have already written off tomorrow and the public anger against this government shows no sign of abating. They know keeping Brown in No. 10 is electoral suicide. There really is no other option. He has to go.

The next problem for Labour MPs is how the public is going to react to another unelected prime minister. Constitutionally, we can flip prime ministers as often as Alastair Darling flips his second home, but politically it is impossible. When the Labour Party does decide who its new leader is going to be, a general election will have to be called. The electorate will accept nothing less.

One constitutional reform I would like to see is the direct election of prime ministers. We should elect the executive and parliament separately. This argument is for another day, however, it is one I will be making vociferously over the coming months, along with other issues including voting reform. 

Hazel Blears resigns from the Cabinet

The news Hazel Blears has resigned from the cabinet does not come as a
shock. Although she should have gone last month over her second home
flipping, she has not done anything worse than many others including
Hoon and Darling.

Brown - the man with Presbyterian principles - has made sure the heat
has remained on Blears in a vain attempt to divert it away from
others. I'm pleased she has resigned. It was not only the right thing
to do, but it also looks better than being fired. What mischief can
the little chipmunk get up to now?

Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jacqui Smith resigns as Home Secretary

I have written many times about honour in politics. There was a time if you were caught committing some sort of impropriety, you did the honourable thing and resigned. 

Today, Jacqui Smith announced her resignation as Home Secretary. If she had done this a couple of months ago, I would have commended her. All I can say today is, it's about time. I am sure she is a perfectly amiable woman. Sky News was reporting earlier she has local support and many of her constituents regard her as a hard working MP. All of this may be true. The problem for Smith is that she is woefully out of her depth as Home Secretary. She was catapulted to one of the Great Offices of State without any experience of running a government department. John Reid described the Home Office as 'not fit for purpose.' Brown should have appointed an experienced cabinet minister, although an experienced minister would not have wanted Brown's constant interference. Smith owes everything to Brown and the prime minister knew she would never stand-up to him. 

After recent revelations of other cabinet ministers' expenses, her claim for two blue movies does not seem serious, however, although she is a busy woman, she should check what is being claimed in her name. She did not and this was the tipping point that signalled the demise of her brief cabinet career. 

Brown was going to reshuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic this week anyway. Smith's decision has now made some sort of reshuffle a neccessity.  

Monday, June 01, 2009

Brown is the roadblock to change. When he goes, change will have a chance

Gordon Brown is the only person who can drive through change. Not my words, nor the words of any sane man. They are the words of Gordon Brown. We have a prime minister who is a roadblock to change. He hates change. Change means losing his grip on power, although the paradox in all of this is he is losing his grip on power by refusing to change. Michael Foot was a great parliamentarian. He possessed great oratorical skills in the House of Commons and although he was a disastrous leader of the Labour Party, he was not a figure of hate. The public knew he would lead the country in the wrong direction and voted accordingly, but not even Michael Foot had opinion poll figures as low as 18%. He managed a low of 23.5% and it took Labour another 14 years to bounce back. The fear for Labour is they may never bounce back. Gordon Brown's legacy may be the only Labour leader who managed to place his party permanently into political oblivion.

This country does need constitutional change. The public need to decide on what that change is. It no longer acceptable to leave decisions on how we govern ourselves to our elected representatives who have let us down so badly. There needs to be a public consultation and this needs to like no other consultation we have ever had. Usually lip-service is paid to our views, the so-called experts then decide they know better and the government decides it knows better than everyone else. This will not do. There needs to be public meetings the length and breadth of the country. The commission's inbox should be barely able to cope with the influx of suggestions. Then we should be asked directly in a great referendum to make our choices in the way we are governed. 

If the Conservative Party makes this an election promise, it will be swept to victory with a huge mandate for change. If we seize this opportunity we have the chance to make this the largest constitutional change since the Reform Act of 1832

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