2 May 2009

How to boost Labour morale

I have found a sure fire way to boost my morale during these politically challenging times. 

I stumbled across this post on Conservative Home, basically outlining how David Cameron will be doubling down on his efforts to promote the Tories as a reformed, modern party fit for 21st Century Britain. It happens to mention that David Cameron will be the first Conservative leader to participate in a gay pride event. All pretty straight forward (no pun intended) sensible stuff. 

Then you scroll down past the salesmanship of centrist Cameroonian rhetoric to take a look at what the online Conservative base says about these issues. 





And to think that these people will form a base of people who are the Conservatives bedrock of support. No political party gets everything right but they tend represent, in a very general sense, the base instincts of their members and supporters. After all, this is what they are elected to do. 

So take a read through the thread. And then tell me things won't change under a Conservative government. 

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Welsh Labour Party political broadcast


Watch here

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Cameron to join gay pride parade

The Daily Mail continued its typical reporting of gay themed issues by writing as if Cameron was appearing on a platform with fringe agenda nut jobs. 
"David Cameron is going back to his touchy-feely agenda by becoming the first Tory leader to appear on an openly gay platform."

"The move is bound to upset some figures in the party who have never felt comfortable with his approach to gay issues. For his fellow speakers will include figures who want the Tories to embrace gay adoptions and extend the equality programme to outlaw the discrimination of gays by hoteliers."
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1 May 2009

Oh cheer up!

And if you're still feeling blue, have a watch of these:











 Oh... and we won two more after this. 

Feel a bit better?

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Things can only get better...

Ah why not... 



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A new dawn has broken, has it not?

I don't think its unreasonable to say that it has been a pretty dire week for the government. Spirits in the Labour Party amongst activists are lower than those of Mexican pig farmers and senior members of the government are now openly musing about electoral annihilation.

There is a sense that one era is spluttering to an end as fatalism takes hold of the party. 

Today marks the twelfth anniversary of the historic 1997 rout of the Conservatives. So to try and raise my spirits, I thought I'd reminisce about the resounding victory and the spirit of optimism and renewal that swept the country at the time. 





I remember waking up on the morning of May 2nd and reading about the incredible result on ceefax and getting a real sense that something had fundamentally shifted in the country. I was 5 days short of turning twelve and I genuinely believe that it is that morning and that realisation that sparked a love of politics and a passion for the Labour Party that remains to this day. 

It cemented a belief that we as a party could represent the hopes and aspirations of the publicand that through the democratic process you could affect real change. 

Things do look bleak for the party at the moment and I would be lying if I said I was proud of everything we had done or that I looked forward to the next election with immense optimism. But we should never doubt that we did deliver remarkable change for the better. The fabric of society has been altered in the past twelve years to become more open, more tolerant and more encompassing. Education has improved and so has the National Health Service and public transport. Should we have been more radical? Of course. But, to borrow a phrase, if the next election were to mark the closing of our era, we would leave the country in a lot better shape than when we found it. 

And I've also realised that I am a few days short of having the majority of my life under a Labour Government. Hurrah! 

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Two anniversaries...

Today marks two very different anniversaries are marked today.  

1. 12 years since Labour landslide

Today marks the twelfth anniversary of the May 1st general election. The Labour Party won a formidable 419 seats (including the speaker) - the largest the party has ever taken. The Conservatives took just 165, their worst performance since 1906.

Oh, how time flies when you're having fun. 

2. One year of Boris Johnson. 

The less said the better...

Most of the first months of his administration have been occupied by the resignations of key senior aides. 

The rest have been spent branding himself as the defender of the City of London. 

He has, however, managed to find some time to dismantle his environmental team and neglect any proposals to curb emissions in the city. Score! 

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General Election, 6th May 2010

I've long thought that if Gordon Brown did not go to the polls in 2009 (which he now almost certainly will not), then the most likely time to call the election would be 6th May 2010. 

The Coffee House blog now agrees. 
We know the date of at least one election in 2010: the locals will be on May 6h. 

There also has to be a general election by Thursday the third of June.It is hard to see how the government could recover from a drubbing in May to win an election in June. It is almost certain that Brown won’t want to go after May 6th.One of the last hopes Labour people cling to is that the return of growth could save them. We can be confident that Brown will want the first quarter growth results out before election day.

 Given all this it seems most likely that Brown will choose to hold the general election on the same day as the locals. This could also be presented as a sensible economy measure in this age of austerity. So, we are just only a year away from an election and the voters' chance to render their verdict on this government.
That might not be a very happy 25th birthday for me on May 7th 2010 then...

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How to save LabourList

Good piece over at Next Left from Sunder Katwala about how to turn around LabourList in the aftermath of the smeargate scandal. 

He still thinks Draper should go... 

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Tonight's Have I Got News For You!

WaWatch here

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Justice Souter to retire from Supreme Court

President Barack Obama will shortly get to make his first appointment to the Superme Court bench.

Souter hails from the relatively liberal wing of the Supreme Court, so any new appointment is unlikely to upset the Conservative voting balance.

There has recently been speculation that Justice Ginsberg is also preparing to step down due to poor health.

Either way, this sets up an interesting confirmation battle. The President may be fast heading for a filibuster proof majority in the House, but many of the Senate democrats are noticeably moderate on a number of social issues.

Brown: Iraq mission a 'success'

Watch here

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"Brown hating being Prime Minister"

According to Iain Dale.
He certainly wouldn't be the first PM to get the job only to find out that he didn't really like it. Harold Macmillan would fall into that category.
Does this add fuel to the IMF rumours come June? 

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Time 100 Most Influential People 2009

Time Magazine has published their annual '100 most influential people' issue. 

Good news for Gordon! He gets a ringing endorsement from Harry Potter author J K Rowling. 

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'Henry VIII governed Britain better than Gordon Brown'

... according to Dr. David Starkey. 

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Very amusing...

Here.

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Remembering the Admiral Duncan bombing

Today (well, yesterday now) marks the tenth anniversary of the Admiral Duncan nail bombings in Soho, London.

The nail bomb exploded at the start of a bank holiday weekend so the Old Compton Street area had been heaving with people. It was a pre-mediated attack in which the aim was to hurt and kill as many gay people as possible.

The killer, David Copeland, a former BNP member and neo-Nazi, was so fuelled by hate that he did not consider integration in any of his attacks.

It's worth noting that then Home Secretary, Jack Straw visited both other sites targeted by Copeland during his 13-day bombing campaign  - Brick Lane and Brixton - but did not visit the Admiral Duncan.

RIP

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Gordon has lost his authority

Labour is heading for an election defeat as heavy as that suffered by John Major because Gordon Brown has lost control of the parliamentary party, two senior Cabinet ministers have privately warned.

More here

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29 April 2009

Senate passes $3.5 trillion budget resolution, 53-43 vot

Details here

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Brown first PM since Callaghan in '78 to lose Opposition debate

Gordon Brown has become the first Prime Minister since James Callaghan was in office back in 1978 to lose an opposition debate vote.
Having failed to build a consensus on MPs' expenses and having riled his own backbenchers in the process, he has suffered the humiliation of being the first premier to lose an opposition day debate in the Commons in 30 years.
James Callaghan was prime minister the last time it happened, in January 1978.
We all know what happened in 1979... 

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Obama and Kennedy fool around in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy spent some time today having a little bit of fun in the Oval Office.

The two were playfully recreating the famous pics of Caroline as a toddler playing with her father, President Kennedy, in the White House. 

What's happening with Caroline Kennedy, post New York Senate-gate? 

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We're not doomed after all! Hurrah!

The Spectator bears good news for the human race this evening, proclaiming that we're not doomed to extinction after all!
But when swine flu moves on from person to person, its severity falls dramatically. So while it is fatal for the few who have (for reasons yet unexplained) caught it from a primary source, it will not be so from people who catch it second or third hand. It's more dangerous for infants with ill-developed immune systems, as we saw with the death of the toddler in Texas.
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Cameron and Clegg together after Gurkha vote

Very interesting to see Nick Clegg and David Cameron together at the post-vote press conference. 

Watch here

They seem comfortable together... 

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Government defeated in Ghurka vote

Details here

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PMQs in full

Watch here.

The general consensus appears to be that Nick Clegg emerged victorious from the tussle, hammering hard about the plight of the Gurkas. Brown was clearly in 'father of the nation' crisis mode when speaking about the swine flu outbreak - almost makes you remember why the country loved him so in Summer 2007. I thought Cameron was remarkably forgettable; I wonder whether this is a new strategy from the Conservatives - statesman like rather than petty and punch & judy?

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Brown forgets his statement to the House

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Georgia Gould promised a safe seat?

There is an interesting story in todays Daily Mail (I know, I know...), claiming that Erith and Thamesmead candidate Georgia Gould has been lined up for safe Labour seat since the tender age of 14.

A source at the London School of Economics, where Miss Gould is studying for a post-graduate degree, told the Labour Home website: 'Georgia has been very blasé about the whole thing. She thinks, "Oh well, if I don't get this one, another one will be lined up for me."

'Apparently she has been told since she was 14 that she can be a MP if she wants after leaving university, and her family will organise it for her. It's pretty sickening nepotism.'
It seems strange to me that the Daily Mail would run a story based on an unsourced and unconfirmed comment on the Labour Home website. We all know that comments on political websites are at best ridiculous and at worst insulting and slanderous.

True or not, there is clearly a great deal of anger currently felt by Labour activists over the young relatives of the party heirarchy competing for safe Labour seats.

Her aggressive tactics have upset local Labour members who say she is just 'relying on daddy's friends'.
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PMQs: Watch live


Will Cameron do what Guido tells him?

Guido Fawkes is calling on David Cameron to shamelessly plug the No. 10 petititon currentl circulating calling on Gordon Brown to resign.

The petition is being relentlessly plugged by right wing bloggers such as Guido and Iain Dale, with the initial aim being for 1 million signatures. It is currently on about 30,000. Not particularly impressive really...

Let's see if Cameron will debate policy and issues of substance. Or the pet project of a cable of right wing bloggers.

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Obama 100 days in office!

Coverage here, here and here.

And here, here and here.

Here too...

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Obama: 100 days in 100 seconds


So happy!

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28 April 2009

Senate confirms Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Senate has confirmed Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of Health and Human Services on a 65-31 vote.

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What they're saying about Specter

“I have known Senator Specter for more than a quarter-century. He has always been a man of honor and integrity, and a fine public servant.

“Senator Specter and I have had a long dialogue about his place in an evolving Republican Party. We have not always agreed on every issue, but Senator Specter has shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner, put people over party, and do what is right for Pennsylvanians and all Americans.

“I welcome Senator Specter and his moderate voice to our diverse caucus, and to continuing our open and honest debate about the best way to make life better for the American people.”

- Senator Harry Reid.

"This is not a national story. It is a Pennsylvania story," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters in a news conference following Tuesday’s GOP policy luncheon. - Link

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that Specter — who spoke at the lunch — had been “very candid to acknowledge that this was nothing more, nothing less than political self-preservation. - Link

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe said that the GOP hasn't been offering "warm encouraging words" about moderates. - Link

South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham suggested that the Republican Party risked becoming little more than the Club for Growth. "I want to be a member of a vibrant national Republican Party that can attract people from all corners of the country — and we can govern the country from a center-right perspective," he said. - Link

“I welcome my old friend to the Democratic Party. Senator Arlen Specter is a man of remarkable courage and integrity. I know he will remain a powerful and independent voice for Pennsylvania and the country.” 
- Vice President Joe Biden

And Specter himself:

"I will not be an automatic 60th vote,” Specter said Tuesday afternoon. “I would illustrate that with my position on employee choice, also known as card check. I think it’s a bad deal and I’m opposed to it. I will not vote to impose cloture. … If the Democratic Party asks too much, I will not vote with them." - Politico

***Update***

What the pundits say:


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Arlen Specter defects to the Democrats; Senator 59 for Dems

Fantastic news from Pennsylvania! US Republican Senator Arlen Specter is to switch sides and become a Democrat.

Mr Specter, 79, had held secret talks with Mr Obama, along with other senior Democrats including Vice-President Joe Biden, ahead of his decision to leave the Republican Party, according to officials.
President Obama reached Specter to tell him, according to the aide, "You have my full support" and that we are "thrilled to have you."

The White House released a photo Tuesday of the president on the phone with Specter.
Ironically, Specter's decision to abandon the Republican Party can be traced to the bitter primary campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Despite the mounting odds, Clinton dragged the nomination battle out until the bitter end and embarked on an unprecedented voter registration in the State. Thousands of
"The party has shifted very far to the right. It was pretty far to the right in 2004, but to take away a couple hundred thousand Republicans who wanted to vote in the Democratic primary--they're dissatisfied with the Republican Party is the pretty obvious conclusion. So if you review the numbers and you add the math, the stimulus vote, that's why I ended up saying the prospects were bleak," he said. Republican primary voters have pilloried Specter for his yes vote on the stimulus.

"When you take a look at the Pennsylvania Republican electorate, several hundred thousand Republicans shifted last year and it has a bleak picture. We do not have a dominant voice there," Specter said.
Now all we need is for Al Franken to be seated in the Senate and the Democrats have a filibuster proof 60 seats in the Senate!

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David Cameron: It's good Boris wants to be Prime Minister

David Cameron was on BBC Radio London's Vanessa Feltz programme today talking about Boris's recent comments about taking his job one day.

"Why shouldn't he be ambitious? I think it's great and it does not worry me at all. I'm a Conservative, I think competition in all things is good including for the very highest jobs."
Link.

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Alan Duncan on Have I Got News For You

Just in case you missed it, here is the first episode of the new season of have I Got News for You where shadow Cabinet member, Alan Duncan, threatens to murder a Miss California contestant.

It's caused quite an international stir - here, here and here.

Oh... and here, here and here.

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