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Archive for June, 2011

 

As strike action starts today across the United Kingdom today, I thought that this poem by Martin Niemöller was appropriate. I have removed the 3rd verse because it is inappropriate. 

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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The group “LulzSec” has stolen the entire contents of the census, according to reports. The official response can be read here.

“The 2011 Census placed the highest priority on maintaining the security of personal data. At this stage we have no evidence to suggest that such a compromise has taken place,”

More to follow…….

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At some point in the next four years we are certain to see a referendum on Scottish Independence. Will that vote be the end of the United Kingdom?

No. The United Kingdom remains as strong an institution as it has ever been. Devolution, a process started and finished by the last Labour Government has ensured that the outcome in that referendum will be a “no” vote. Now that there is a Tory – Liberal Government in Westminster, which will inflict spending cuts which will disproportionally affect Scotland a vote for independence would seem to be inevitable.

That would be true, if it were not for the Scotland Act, Devolution and the Scottish Parliament. These institutions allow Scots to protect themselves from a relatively hostile Westminster Government. Alex Salmond is the man that Scots have supported in this difficult time for Scotland. The Scottish National Party, having won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament after an election in which they barely mentioned independence for Scotland. The SNP must be careful not to be overly hubristic after their success. They have one a victory. They will not win another in the fight for the future of the United Kingdom. As things stand, the Scottish public are overwhelmingly against independence. This will only potentially change for one reason.

The Conservative and Unionist Party.

If that Party now uses Scotland as a way of meeting their targets for spending cuts, they may be the force that causes the Union to collapse. Of course, the smart move politically would be for the Tories to support Scottish Independence. At the last General Election, Labour won 41 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats. Without those seats, Labour would have only just won a majority in the House of Commons in 2005. Scotland has been called the “Jewel in Labour’s Crown”. The Tories could never win in Scotland. They could however, stop Labour from winning. The Tories could easily find themselves in a position where they could rob Labour of that Jewel, and Crown forever. Labour as a governing Party could be consigned to the history books. Scottish independence would be significantly less advantageous for Scotland than having a national Labour Government. A Scottish Government would find it near impossible to maintain valuable Scottish services such as the NHS at their current levels. Devolution will protect Scotland in the years to come. Independence would destroy it.

For Labour to win the next General Election, and for Scotland to maintain it’s standing the Union must remain intact.

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The “People’s Platform” will be a collaborative effort between numerous politically interested individuals. It will include essays on areas of policy that Labour could improve on to be more in tune with its members and supporters, but is independent of the Labour Party, and does not necessarily represent the Party’s views. It will also include input from supporters of other political Parties, with ideas on how Labour could appeal to a broader base. These will also examine Labours past achievements, like the NHS, and attempt to present a vision for the future. The finished collection of work by Labour supporters will be submitted to the “Refounding Labour” initiative.

If you are interested in writing for this project, as a number of people have suggested they are, please email me a suggested title or theme to: Harry.Langford [at] btinternet.com.

Ideally, the proposals will be somewhere between 500-1500 words long, although both longer and shorter pieces will be warmly welcomed. They could be on Labours history, particularly the legacy of the last Labour Government, and how these achievements could be built on.

The idea of this collaboration is not to push one ideological view. It will incorporate many different ideological perspectives, from across the Labour family.

Some topics that have already been suggested include:

Constitutional Reform

The Economy

Business

Defence

The Link with the Unions.

Clause 4

The Middle East.

The NHS

Any and all other topics will be included in this work.

If you have a more specific idea of what you would like to write, please leave a comment below so that others can see it!

The deadline date for submissions is Wednesday the 29th of June, with publication set for the 1st of July.

If you are interested in this idea, I would appreciate if you would tweet the link to spread the word about our project!

Many Thanks,

Harry.

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Will Sarah Palin run for President?

Maybe. She has been on tour across America for the past week, without telling reporters of her intended destiantions along the way, keeping a 15 bus trail of reporters frantically trying to keep up with her tour bus as she travels America’s freeways. She has been focusing on the important early primary states under the guise of touring America’s “historic sites”. She has met Donald Trump, who has been suggested as a possible running mate for her in 2012, in New York City and she has gatecrashed Mitt Romney’s announcement speech in New Hampshire by arriving on the same day. She says that it is “a pure coincidence”.

I’m not so sure.

Whatever her intentions, her tour of America is smart. As Steve Duprey, New Hampshire RNC committeeman and former McCain campaign honcho said:

With Trump and other potential candidates dominating the media for the past four months, Governor Palin has not been in the news. Not being in the news is like denying her oxygen. If she decides not to run for office, this tour will have, at a minimum, put her back in the news and will have reminded the republican party and her television show viewers that she is a force in the party and will shape the debate whether in or out.

Palin has retained her position with Fox News, which could suggest that she is not ready to run. Yet. Even if she chooses not to run this time around, by bringing herself into the Republican frame, she can influence the result. It is unlikely that whoever wins the nomination will beat Obama next year; Palin’s credentials as a foreign policy hawk suddenly look less solid when you consider that President Obama will take the credit for the capture of public enemy number one – Osama bin Laden.

Despite the state of the economy, Obama is a skilled campaigner, a great orator, and, more importantly, an excellent fundraiser. His 2012 bid is set to be the first US campaign to raise more than $1bn.

That all makes Obama a very tough opponent. Even is she chooses not to run, the tour provides an ample opportunity for her to see what a Presidential campingn would be like first hand, and if the polls do not look favorably upon her, she will be able to step down, and return for the 2016 campaign.

Matt Littman writes for the Huffington Post that:

She’s certainly not someone whose brilliance we aspire to. She’s not well-traveled, not well-read, not well-versed on the issues. Just like President Bush. So we can sit here and say, no way, she has no chance to be the Republican nominee. But she does have a chance. And it makes me want to throw up on my computer.

One thing is for certain. If it looks like she can win the nomination and beat Obama, she will run. 

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Sepp Blatter has been re-elected by FIFA in an almost Stalinist show of unity. He received 186 of a possible 203 votes.

The other candidate ”           ” received an impressive 17 votes.

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