7 November 2012

The campaign's over. Let the campaign begin.

2016 starts now...

"Hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits"

Full video here.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.


OBAMA: It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.


Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.


OBAMA: I want to thank every American who participated in this election...


... whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.


By the way, we have to fix that.


Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone...


... whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.


We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.


In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.


I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.


OBAMA: And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago.


Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation's first lady.


Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you're growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom.


OBAMA: And I'm so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog's probably enough.


To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics...


The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.


But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.


You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you put in.


I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.

OBAMA: You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity.


You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.


You'll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.


That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.


But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers.


A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

OBAMA: We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.


We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this - this world has ever known.


But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.


To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner.


To the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president - that's the future we hope for. That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go - forward.


That's where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path.

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.


And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.


Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.


You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.


OBAMA: But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded on.


This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

OBAMA: The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great.


I am hopeful tonight because I've seen the spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

I've seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.


I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.


And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.


I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president.


OBAMA: And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future.


I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.


America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.


I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.


And together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.


6 November 2012

Today's the Day

After what seems like two years going on a small eternity we've finally reached election night.

It all comes down to President Obama v. Governor Romney. Only a handful of swing states - Ohio, Florida. North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado - will decided the outcome. The polls show President Obama with a small advantage but with so many unknowns - GOP enthusiasm, post storm impact, the ground game - the election could still turn on just a handful of districts. What are your predictions.

12 June 2012

Obamneycare on the stump

GOP candidate Mitt Romney has upgraded his pledge to repeal Obamacare by now committing to replace it too.

Likely rolled out on the campaign trail in anticipation of the imminent Supreme Court decision which could potentially either repeal health care reform in its entirety or gut its main provisions (the mandate requiring all US citizens to purchase healthcare) the new campaign slogan is a n early sign of the dilemma facing the GOP.

Activist anger, which drove the rise of the Tea Party movement, has centered on health care reform for over two years now. How will the GOP appease its base if Obamacare is repealed at the same time as seeking to replace some of the popular provisions of the law - i.e. coverage for those with pre-existing conditions?

Many House Republican Representatives have called for the law to be repealed and for heath care coverage to be left to the markets with only limited federal intervention. With the issue now toxic for the Democrats and hot button for the Republicans is there any route forward post Supreme Court verdict that repeals the law to restore crowd-pleasing aspects of the Bill?

Given the dilemma it's not unfeasible that both inhabitants of the White House and Capital Hill hope, for electoral calculations, that the Supreme Court leaves the Bill intact. Obama can campaign on one of the most signifiant domestic legislative achievements in decades and the Republicans can legitimately say that they, and only they, can be trusted to repeal the despised law.

23 January 2012

South Carolina and success

Following Newt Gingrich’s stunning victory in the South Carolina primary much has been made of the state’s penchant for picking primary winners. The Republican winner of the South Carolina primary has, after all, gone on to clinch the Presidential nomination in every election since 1980.

A startling fact and a worrying omen for Mitt Romney. But it overlooks the fact that no candidate in the Republican Party has gone on to become the party flag bearer without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire - Newt won neither - since those two states began kicking off the nominating process in 1976.

Of course Gingrich can take heart from his former adversary President Bill Clinton who failed to clinch either Iowa or New Hampshire but used a commanding South Carolina victory to launch his bid for the Democratic nomination and ultimately the Presidency.

10 November 2010

Why the US census is a loss for Obama and a gain for Rubio

In April this year the United States began its census count - something that has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. In December 2010, the Census Bureau will deliver it's findings on population information to the President for apportionment, and in March 2011 its redistricting data will be delivered to states.

The result will track and measure the demographic and population changes across the country and will be an insight in to which states are increasing in size and the migration patterns that are causing these shifts.

This all sounds rather dull, right?

Well in one sense it is somewhat mind numbing, but as attention turns to the 2012 Presidential election it is worth bearing in mind that the population changes in each state will determine how Electoral College Votes are proportioned.

In 2008, Barack Obama won a landslide in the Electoral College, securing 365 Electoral College Votes (ECV) to John McCain's 173. This was done, in part, by winning handsomely in key swing states such as Florida (27 ECV), Virginia (13 ECV) and Ohio (20 ECV).

But with the 2012 election expected to be much closer than 2008 (GOP nominee dependent), the final margin of victory could be much narrower for the winning in candidate (George W. Bush beat Al Gore in 2000 by 271 to 266 ECV).

Early projections suggest that safe Democratic seats will be the big losers in the electoral college redistribution, with safe Republican seats gaining.


By these calculations, the Democrats would start the 2012 Presidential election with six fewer ECV from their safest seats than when they won in 2008. The Republicans would see a net gain of six. Key swing states such as Florida will see their importance increase with a potential gain of two ECV.

I think these early projections will mean several things, but primarily that the Latino vote in the United States will continue to grow in importance. Much of the population growth and demographic changes in states such as Florida has been driven by growing Latino communities. Barack Obama went to great lengths to court their vote in 2008 and won it comprehensively, beating the Republican ticket 67% - 31%. This crucial swing block (generally 'liberal' on issues such as immigration but often conservative on social issues due to catholic beliefs) could potentially be a saving grace for the Democrats and President Obama in 2012 given the continuing anti-immigration rhetoric of the Republican party which alienates many Hispanic voters.

Secondly, we can expect Florida to continue to increase it's importance as the must win state for any presidential candidate (Bill Clinton, in 1992, is the only candidate to have been elected President since 1960 - when Florida only had 10 ECV compared to its 27 today - without winning Florida). Florida could potentially be worth 29 ECV - more than Virgina and North Carolina combined and greater than the prize of Ohio or Pennsylvania.

These two points bring me to the biggest winner from the 2010 US census - the soon to be Junior Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio. The Tea Party favourite won a resounding victory over independent candidate Gov. Charlie Christ last week and is seen as a rising star in the GOP. He is young (only 39 years old), charismatic, and his Cuban heritage means he appeals to the key Hispanic voters needed to win not just in Florida but in states such as Nevada and New Mexico.

It's a fairly safe bet to assume that any potential Republican Presidential candidate in 2012 will be closely watching his performance in the Senate with an eye to elevating him to the role of Vice Presidential pick. Indeed, Sarah Palin was an early endorser of his (and takes the credit for his eclipsing of Charlie Christ) and Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty have all invested considerable amounts of time raising money and campaigning for him in the run up to his election.

The new lay of the land...

24 November 2009

“Good afternoon, I'm Chris Smith, I'm the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I'm gay"

First posted on LabourList.

Today, a comment like this from an elected official would pass without mention. We now live in a society of relative tolerance and acceptance and firm legal protections for gay men and women.

But when Lord Chris Smith stood at a rally in Rugby in 1984, 25 years ago this week, and came out as the first openly gay parliamentarian he was taking a leap into the unknown. As the then opposition spokesman on National Heritage, he had accepted an invitation to speak at a protest rally in Rugby to denounce the Conservative local council for abandoning a policy outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. His remarks received a five minute standing ovation from the crowd.

His bravery is remarkable given that at the time, gay men and women had no legal protection from harassment or discrimination: the hated Section 28 was still to come, fear of the newly prevalent HIV was escalating and media enmity against the LGBT community was rampant.

Since 1984, Lord Smith has continued as a trailblazer for gay men and women by becoming the first openly gay cabinet minister in 1997 and then one half of the first gay couple to receive a formal invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace reception.

In 2005, following Nelson Mandela’s announcement that his son had died of HIV, he became the first prominent political figure to admit to being HIV-positive.

Lord Chris Smith will be joining LGBT Labour for a special evening of celebrations to mark this anniversary and to raise money for Dorothy's List - the LGBT Labour Campaign Fund for openly-LGBT candidates standing for Labour at the coming General Election.

This celebration will be held at Ev Restaurant on Tuesday 1st December 2009 and we hope as many of you as possible will be able to join us, and Lord Smith, at the event to show our support and gratitude.

For further details and to purchase tickets please visit http://www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/25years or email dorothyslist@lgbtlabour.org.uk.

14 October 2009

The logistics of primaries

There has been a lot of talk in the Labour Party lately about introducing some kind of primary election system to select parliamentary candidates. Althought I believe there are significant concerns around containing costs of selection procedures, I am generally supportive of the idea.

The Progress think tank has picked up on this issue with some zeal and is running an excellent campaign to push for their introduction in the Labour Party. Additionally, the Fabian Society outline some plans in its 'Change we Need' pamphlet, published early in 2009.

Although there is clearly much debate to be had around the details of primary elections, I believe the mood is shifting in the party to being overwhelmingly in favour of this new method of selection.

My question is simply this - if we decide we want them, how do we get them? The Conservatives seemed to test drive primaries relatively easily and with very little fuss; they should of course be commended for experimenting with new methods of empowering local voters. What I want to know is how would a Labour Party constituency go about introducing a primary selection procedure? Would there need to be substantial Labour Party rule changes? Could a local constituency just announce that they were planning to hold a selection in this manner?

If anyone knows, please tell me!

18 September 2009

Obama is shortsighted to scrap missile defence

President Obama yesterday announced that the United States would scrap its planned deployment of a sophisticated missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

The move had been predicted for some time but the clumsy timing of the announcement was not missed by many, coming on September 17th, the 70th anniversary of the Soviet attack on Poland in 1939.

The move had been anticipated following President Obama’s letter to Dmitry Medvedev in early 2009 implied that a United States missile defence may be rendered unnecessary if Russia were to drop its intransigent opposition to sanctions against Iran. This was therefore simply further tangible action in ‘pushing the reset button’ on relations with Russia.

Alongside the aim of securing Russian cooperation in tackling the Iranian regime, there are numerous additional short term benefits to abandoning the so called ‘son of Star Wars system’ - a project that has been around since the Reagan presidency. Its cost in the middle of the global recession are difficult to justify and questions over its use in Americas conflict against the Taliban and insurgents within Iraq are just a few of the immediate concerns about the project.

However, the move by the White House seems short sighted and naïve when viewed in terms of the potential threats developing in the coming decades and the ever increasing significance of Eastern European allies in the face of Russian hegemony in the region.
The missile defence system was to consist of two key military installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both nations have long sought to unshackle themselves from Russian influence and establish themselves as secure states. It was this rationale that led Poland and the Czech Republic to sign deals with the United States immediately following the war between Russia and Georgia over the renegade republic South Ossetia.

Many ‘transatlanticist’ politicians in both nations invested vast amounts of political capital to support the programme, which developed during the height of the Bush administrations international unpopularity. To facilitate the agreement, politicians from both nations weathered strong domestic criticism. According to Foreign Policy Magazine around 70 percent of Czechs opposed the idea of hosting the radar system for the missile shield and the final treaty faced strong opposition in parliament.

The Czech and Polish governments saw the presence of a U.S. facility on their soil as a bulwark against an assertive Russia and an extension of US protection as a reward for their loyalty in the war on terrorism. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski expressed his nations disappointment when, during a visit to Washington, he remarked that “we paid quite a political price for the agreement, both in terms of internal politics and in our relations with Russia” adding that he expected the United States to honour the commitment.

The change in policy will raise fresh doubts over American commitment to Eastern Europe; will the continent now feel able to resist pressure from the Kremlin, whether it is in military matters or in the supply of oil and gas? The jubilation felt in Moscow would certainly suggest that Russia may begin reasserting its authority in what President Dmitry Medvedev has described as a sphere of Russian “privileged interests”.

President Obama has claimed that the plans have been shelved due to the downgrading of the threat from Iran. However, an April report of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center noted that "with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015."

Others have claimed that technological limitations trump any grand international plans, arguing that the weaponry is ineffective and untested. However, recent tests have shown that 37 of 46 intercepts have been successfully completed in realistic conditions since 2001 by land-mobile, sea-based and silo-based interceptors. After such results, there is no reason to believe the European elements would not work as planned.

The United States maintains that it is committed to ensuring that no nation feels the need to develop nuclear weapons. But this stand must be made from a position of strength. It must be made clear that resources spent on nuclear weapons and missiles will be wasted because the U.S. possesses both the means and the will to block them.

But above all the plans should not be abandoned simply to adapt to current military challenges. In 1999 the United States biggest security challenge was instability in the Balkans. Just a decade later it finds itself embroiled in conflict on numerous fronts against a hidden Islamic terrorist network. To delay or dismantle plans for a sophisticated defence system on the premise that current security threats do not warrant the investment is short sighted. If America is to maintain its military supremacy it needs to be able to defend itself against hostile states in the future. The idea that the military of the U.S. will remain preoccupied with rag tag militant groups rather than state-to-state conflicts in the foreseeable future does not stand up to historical precedent.

At best the change in policy will warm relations with Russia and squeeze Iranian ambitions. But at worst President Obama has denied America a strategic trump card that could have secured its military supremacy for decades to come, making it better able to contain hostile states in the future. Of course, only time will tell.

US condemned for pre-emptive use of Hillary Clinton against Pakistan

15 September 2009

Reason number 1,376,981 to hate George W. Bush

He called Hillary fat!!
... that is according to a new 'tell all' book by former White House speech writer Matt Latimer, who claims the 43rd President was convinced the former First Lady would win the Democratic nomination, remarking 'Wait till her fat ass is sitting at this desk'.

Bush allegedly also slammed Barack Obama for being too inexperienced for the office and asked if Sarah Palin had served as 'Governor of Guam'

Full story here.

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Obama: He's a jackass

Mr. President throws his two cents in to the Kanyegate affair

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There now follows a party political broadcast...

I hate to admit it, but ConservativeHome have reeled out an excellent YouTube clip which (according to The Spectator) could form an extremely effective election theme for the Conservative party.

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Total Politics top blogs...

Total Politics magazine has today concluded its rather mammoth task of compiling the top political blogs in the United Kingdom.

As previously blogged, I was delighted to come in at a rather respectable 35th in the top 100 'left of centre' blogs. In addition, I was ranked 18th in the top 100 'Labour' blogs!

TP magazine today released its list of the top 100 blogs from every political leaning. I had been hoping to scrape in to the top 100, but just missed out - coming in at (a still excellent) 102nd place in the UK! Top 100 next year!!

I really was genuinely really pleased with this! So I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a vote for my blog!

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Why Gordon Brown's apology matters

First posted at NextLeft and LabourList

Gordon Brown last night offered a heartfelt apology to World War II hero Alan Turing, who was forced to undergo chemical castration by the courts after a conviction for ‘gross indecency’ in 1952.

Turing famously worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War to crack the German Enigma code machine, ultimately turning the tide of the conflict in favour of the Allies and potentially saving thousands of lives.

However, despite his invaluable work Turing was charged with gross indecency in 1952 after a relationship with another man became known to authorities. He was subsequently forced to be chemically castrated to avoid a prison sentence and suffered the indignity of having his government security clearance removed, thus barring him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for GCHQ.

Following his conviction and ensuing suffering, Turing took his own life on 8 June 1954 at the age of 41 – simply because he was gay.

This apology should remind us all that we must not forget the persecution and hatred faced by gay men and women just a generation ago. This apology is just a small way in which the Government can seek to atone for the suffering inflicted on so many by such barbaric laws.

It is also crucial that we refocus our attention on the international injustices still faced by so many simply due to their sexuality. With Panama decriminalising homosexuality in 2008 and Burundi for the first time in its history criminalising homosexuality in 2009, the world now counts 80 countries with State-sponsored homophobic laws: 72 countries and 3 entities (Turkish Cyprus, Gaza and Cook Islands) punish consenting adults with imprisonment, while 5 countries (Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia) punish them with the death penalty.

The apology has received a warm welcome not just in Britain, but across the world. It was particularly welcomed by Michael Cashman, MEP and Patron of LGBT Labour who has long been campaigning for the apology:

"The government's decision is a brilliant reminder of Labours commitment to equality and it's courage to put right the wrong decisions of the past. This news will be welcomed across the globe."

The Downing Street Petition had attracted some 30,805 people; the Prime Minister made the following statement in today’s Daily Telegraph:

“2009 has been a year of deep reflection - a chance for Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British experience.

"Earlier this year I stood with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama to honour the service and the sacrifice of the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy 65 years ago. And just last week, we marked the 70 years which have passed since the British government declared its willingness to take up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two. So I am both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT activists, we have this year a chance to mark and celebrate another contribution to Britain’s fight against the darkness of dictatorship; that of code-breaker Alan Turing.

"Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ - in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence - and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison - was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later.

"Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.

"I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.

"But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate - by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices - that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.

"So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better."

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Gordon and the 'C' word

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2 September 2009

Top 100 Left of Centre Blogs

Total Politics Magazine has today released its top 100 'left of centre' blogs. And Politicana came in at a very respectable 35th place! Thanks to everyone who voted!

Here is the complete list:

1 (1) Tom Harris MP

2 (2) Hopi Sen

3 (-) LabourList

4 (-) Alastair Campbell

5 (13) SNP Tactical Voting

6 (6) Luke Akehurst

7 (12) Harry's Place

8 (-) Next Left

9 (3) Stumbling & Mumbling

10 (27) The Daily (Maybe)

11 (59) Guerilla Welsh Fare

12 (17) A Very Public Sociologist

13 (10) Dave's Part

14 (15) Third Estate

15 (43) Two Doctors

16 (73) Blog Menai

17 (11) Sadie's Tavern

18 (-) Blackburn Labour

19 (74) Kerry McCarthy MP

20 (-) Malc in the Burgh

21 (-) Bickerstaffe Record

22 (14) Socialist Unity

23 (45) The F Word

24 (8) Tom Watson MP

25 (7) LabourHome

26 (-) Yapping Yousuf

27 (54) Penny Red

28 (-) Go Fourth!

29 (-) Duncan's Economic Blog

30 (39) Adam Price MP

31 (60) Welsh Ramblings

32 (93) Don Paskini

33 (-) Syniadau

34 (-) Subrosa

35 (-) Politicana

36 (-) Peter Cranie MEP

37 (72) Harpymarx

38 (-) Though Cowards Flinch

39 (47) Cynical Dragon

40 (23) Kezia Dugdale's Sopabox

41 (-) Plaid Wrecsam

42 (29) Lenin's Tomb

43 (-) Lallands Peat Worrior

44 (53) Tory Troll

45 (28) Stuart King

46 (71) Another Green World

47 (-) Bob from Brockley

48 (-) Pendroni

49 (25) Bob Piper

50 (36) Conor's Commentary

51 (-) Grumpy Spindoctor

52 (-) Splintered Sunrise

53 (84) Stroppy Blog

54 (-) Polemical Report

55 (-) Barkingside 21

56 (44) Rupa Huq

57 (20) Normblog

58 (-) John Rentoul

59 (-) Philobiblon

60 (18) Obsolete

61 (35) Bethan Jenkins AM

62 (-) Politics Cymru

63 (15) Paul Linford

64 (-) E8 Voice

65 (-) Left Outside

66 (-) Pickled Politics

67 (-) Borthlas

68 (-) Leanne Wood AM

69 (-) Sweet & Tender Hooligan

70 (80) Madam Miaow Says

71 (-) Dave Hill's London Blog

72 (85) Shiraz Socialist

73 (-) Green Ladywell

74 (38) Neil Clark

75 (41) Jane Is the One

76 (22) Theo Blackwell

77 (-) Rupert Read

78 (-) Gwilym Euros Roberts

79 (94) Oliver Kamm

80 (-) Touchstone Blog

81 (96) Macuaid

82 (90) Paul Flynn MP

83 (32) Chris Paul's Labour of Love

84 (-) Gaian Economics

85 (9) Ministry of Truth

86 (-) Cllr Tim's Blog

87 (19) Ordovicius

88 (-) Snowflake5

89 (-) Ruscombe Green

90 (-) Recess Monkey

91 (63) Labour and Capital

92 (-) This is My Truth

93 (-) Huw Lewis AM

94 (58) Grimmer up North

95 (75) The Exile

96 (-) Martin Bright

97 (-) Julian's Musings

98 (-) Lord Toby Harris

99 (-) Rebellion Sucks

100 (100) Jon Worth Euroblog

This list is the result of more than 1,500 people who voted in the Total Politics Annual Blog Poll during the second half of July.

All these lists, together with articles from leading blog commentators, will be published in the TOTAL POLITICS GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING, which will be published in mid September at £12.99.

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