Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's Over

Hard to believe that the IRA really *has* decided to stand itself down... although the political advantages of doing so were pretty clear for Sinn Fein (ie: REAL political power) I'd always been pessimistic and assumed that the oldies on the Army Council would carry on with nostalgia for the "good" old days...
And now the possibilty of Sinn Fein ministers in a Paisley-led Government doesn't seem as much the stuff of surreal fantasy as it once did...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

1945-2005

60 years ago today in one of the biggest upsets in British political history*, Labour ousted the Tories (led by Churchill) to form it's first ever majority government.
The (mostly benificial) legacy of the Attlee Government is with us even today (notably the NHS) so this date is worth celebrating a bit methinks, especially if you (like me) benifit a lot from (say) the NHS.

*Although the pollsters had been predicting a Labour landslide throughout the election no one, not even Attlee, believed them (as far as I'm aware anyway. Someone probably predicted it right... I dimly recall reading that a Labour candidate in Northumberland did...) Needless to say, the attitudes of British Politicians to polls has been rather different ever since (eventually).

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Anyone remember...

... Leanne Wood? That truely "charming" individual who ran a blatently homophobic campaign against Chris Bryant in Rhondda in the 2001 election and got crushed like a bug?
Well since 2003 she's been a "list AM" (the more-or-less unaccountable and pretty much unelected top-up AM's that serve as a sort of Affirmative Action programme for non-Labour Welsh politicians) in the Welsh Assembly and has so far achieved the important milestone of being the first AM to be ordered out of the chamber during a debate (for behavior described as "childish and offensive" by Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews).
Now she's in a "little" bit of trouble because of a leaked memo which advisises Plaid list AM's to blatently abuse the system. Here's a little extract:

"On receipt of every invitation ask: 'How can my attendance at this event further the aims of Plaid Cymru'?
If the answer is very little or not at all, then a pro forma letter of decline should be in order."


Charming, eh? She also recommended cutting back on constituency work (as it doesn't follow the "golden rule" quoted above) and situating Plaid regional offices in Plaid target seats.

Happy to report that she is likely to be the subject of an expenses inquiry and that a big reform of the list AM system seems likely.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Terrorist attacks...

...although this time round they seem to have made a mess of things, thank God.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Apples and Oranges

Recently there's been some reports and stuff out saying that Iraq has increased the terrorist threat to the U.K; and suprise, suprise the media have been using this to imply that the Terrorist attacks on London are somehow linked to Iraq... something that is simply not true, no matter how you try to spin things. The bombers lived in the U.K. They seem to have been brainwashed for some time. Signifincantly they seem to have visited Madrassas in Pakistan. Nothing so far has emerged that could lead a reasonable person to assume that the murders of almost 60 innocent people had anything to do with Iraq. The fact that the only people to say so are either extremists or idiots (I was going to add "or speak with an "educated" accent, but I realised I'd only be repeating myself) says something doesn't it?
It is, however, possible to claim (and the one report apparently claims this) that a possible rise in the terrorist threat to the U.K as a result of Iraq and the Terrorist attacks on London were not linked.
Whether Iraq has increased the overall threat of terrorism to the U.K is not something I'm at all sure about; although it's a debate that would be worth having... were it not for the fact that the intellectual dishonest Canutes in the media would repeat the b*llocks about the London attacks being somehow caused by Iraq...

Friday, July 15, 2005

And the results are in...

Labour have crushed the BNP in that Barking council by-election, thank God. Majority of over 800, pretty impressive in a local by-election.
In other news, the LibDems held Cheadle (and much easier than everyone reckoned). The Labour candidate lost his deposit, not that that's very suprising in a by-election in a seat like Cheadle.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More on Cheadle

In case anyone is interested in the Cheadle by-election, here's some useful info on that slice of Cheshire suburbia:

*Main towns are Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall. Cheadle and Cheadle Hulme both vote LibDem, Bramhall votes Tory. All are very rich and very white.

*53.7% of the population are in the top three Soc2000 major groups; this is 13.2 pts higher than the national average and 15.7 pts higher than the Northwest average.

*The average earnings per week is £567.8 (£127.7 higher than the Northwest average and £92 higher than the national average)

*The unemployment rate is about 1.3% (something like 4pts lower than Northwest average)

*As far as the fairly abitary "class" groups used by market research and polling firms (in the latter case for no good reason whatsoever) the seat is in the top five for the Northwest in AB and C1 groups and the bottom five in C2 and DE groups.

*88% of the houses in the seat are owner occupied and it has the highest % of upper middle class people north of the Watford Gap.

By-election time

The Cheadle by-election is tomorrow; a close race is expected between the LibDems and the Tories and apparently the media is very excited, but to be honest I don't really care who wins.
A year ago I would have done (anyone but the Tory!) but what happend in the Birmingham Hodge Hill and Leicester South by-elections (namely the disgusting campaigning tactics used by the LibDem candidates and the equally disgusting heckling by their supporters at the counts) have changed my opinion of the LibDems a lot and in an entirely negative way.
So while I'd love to see the Tories dire by-election record (last gain was in '82) continue, I'd also love to see the repulsive Rennard and his fellow dog crappers (sorry: "followers of "community" politics") get a kicking... I suppose the only thing I'm looking for is the Labour vote (not that there's much of that in Cheadle) holding up...
I'm more worried about a council by-election in Barking though; the BNP *will* do very well in it and could pick the ward up, I only hope that there disgraceful use of the London Terror Attacks for political ends backfires badly on them. Fingers crossed...

Byers

Apparently refusing to pump taxpayer money into a failing, immoral and inefficient company that should never have been created in the first place is A Bad Thing.
I disagree. Byers should be knighted for refusing to prop up Railtrack and renationalising the railways on the cheap

Sunday, July 10, 2005

London Terrorist Attacks

As most of you know, the other day a group of sadistic serial killers set off a load of bombs along London’s public transport system. As things stand right now, it seems that over 50 people were killed and over 700 injured.
One of the bombs (Edgeware Road) went off in the centre of the U.K’s largest Arab community. One (Aldgate East) at the centre of the U.K’s largest Bangladeshi community.
The people who commited these atrocities would have known that they were going to kill plenty of Muslims. It didn’t stop them.
Remember that when people try to put the blame either on Islam as a religion or on the U.K’s foriegn policy. “Little details” like that make such arguements look… somewhat contrived don’t they?
Trying to justify these attacks is like trying to justify the crimes of any serial killer; it can’t be done and should not be attempted.
But above all remember those who died and pray for them and their families.

Beginning... again

Ah well... I knew I could never give this up for good. Time to turnover a new-ish leaf and rant publically once more...