Wednesday, 19 November 2008

BNP list least for a while

It often feels as though all news is bad news, and then this morning I read a story that kept smiling all the way to work: A former BNP member published the 2007 members list online , and now the BNP are upset that the world will know the members' dirty little secret.

According to the BBC article, Nick Griffin is concerned that it puts members at risk of violence. Violence is never the answer to dealing with fear and ignorance, but it is rather ironic that it is the BNP, who have a long tradition of bullying, that are worried about the risk of violence. Talking of ironic, how are the BNP going to get it taken down from the web? By claiming their human rights...that disgusting document that has previously been used to give rights to those bloody immigrants! You have to laugh.

The list is down for now, but I'm thinking that some enterprising soul will have copied it and it'll be back online in a couple of hours.

UPDATE: unsurprisingly the data is over at

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Wow....and I got to go to bed at 2.20am

Whilst I was prepared for a late night, thankfully the American people made a decisive choice for once and I could go to bed at 2.30am (after Ohio was predicted). The result was undoubtedly the right one, but the seeming ease of the victory made the whole thing a bit of a let down.

Now the world awaits to see if Obama really can live up to the hope. To a certain extent living up to the hope/hype is impossible, and certain sections will quickly become disillusioned at the natural limitations of any politician to bring about change.

But whilst the world is pleased at an Obama win, we can't but feel a sense of loss at missing out on the Sarah Palin show. I'm sure she would have been an awful vice president, and an even worse president (if she had need to take on the role), but you can't help be feel sorry at missing the show. A bit like Silvio Berlusconi, awful political opinions, but hilarious to watch if they are in charge of someone else's country.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

An Historic Evening

'Mania' has been far from an appropriate term to describe this blog over the last three months; it isn't that I haven't had political opinions that I wanted to share, or that nothing much was happening, merely that time has been in short supply. However, on what is likely to be an historic evening, it seems an appropriate time to start my political blogging once again.

In a world of spin where every other political event is seemingly portrayed as a moment of historic importance,tonight stands apart. After tonight the most powerful man will (probably) be black. Not because he is black, but because he is the best man for the job. With race being such a divisive issue in America's past, even a cynic like me won't be able to help but have a little more hope in mankind's ability to progress.

Like so many other people in the UK, and around the world, I will be staying up for the results; although I must admit that I haven't considered of the possibility of an Obama loss. But there again, I'm sure I won't feel half as bad as the average neo-nazi if Obama wins: It's hard to feel the superiority of your race when there is a black man in the White House and you are living in a bunker with your first cousin.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Oba-mania hits the UK!

What I really want to know about Obama's visit to the UK is whether Gordon Brown, or any of our other leading politicians, asked Barack to clarify his rather dismissive tone of the United Kingdom in chapter 8 of his "The Audacity of Hope". On the subject of the multilaterist approach to situations like Iraq, he points out that multilaterism means more than "we round up the likes of the United Kingdom and Togo and then do what we please" [p.309].

Maybe I'm just being a bit picky, and in other places Obama does speak more highly of 'Great Britain' (noticeably using different terminology), however, I did find the notion that the UK will follow the US wherever the US decides slightly offensive. We are far from being the 51st state,and Obama will quickly find that out when (hopefully) he becomes the US president.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Another Labour Defeat!

You have to feel as though Gordon Brown will never get a break when even safe seats like Glasgow East fall to the rather nasty Scottish nationalists. The question now is: Does Labour have the balls to weather the storm? Or will a bunch of backbenchers start to rip the party apart?

Whilst the press try to claim that Gordon Brown's holidaying in Suffolk is an attempt to distance himself from the lavish holidays of Tony Blair, could it actually be that he wants to keep within shouting distance of the Norwich South MP, Charles Clarke. Whilst I have always agreed with the proclamation as you enter Norwich - "A Fine City" - I am not overly impressed with Charles Clarke's noises since moving to the backbenches. How often is a point of principle really an opportunity to draw attention to one's own personal agenda?

Personally I believe that the Labour Party has done far better than I expected since its landslide victory in 97, but that is because I was a realist, refusing to get swept up in Tony's spin. The masses, however, believe the spin and have extremely short memories. State funeral for Margaret Thatcher? Surely that was some sort of bad joke?

The economy will probably start to improve by the next general election, and the public will forget that they were all tempted to swing from Brown to Cameron (what sort of idiot goes from Labour to the Conservatives anyway???), and hopefully Brown will win the next election.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Is it all over for David Davis?

Not much of a shock Result: Davis wins by-election, with a 15,355 majority. Although turnout down from 70.2% to 34%.

Does this provide the 'mandate' that he craves? A mandate to challenge Cameron for the leadership? A mandate to question the government over the 42-day detention law? No. To only get 72% of the vote when none of the other major parties are standing is pathetic (nb. even Mugabe managed to get 85%). Yes there were a lot of additional candidates out there, but they primarily consisted of the usual waifs, strays, and total nutters that turn up for elections; most clearly shown by the English Democrats (right-wing nationalists) coming third place and getting their deposit back!

Unfortunately this looks like the best possible result for Cameron. Davis returns to parliament, and Cameron will probably take the odd photo opportunity, but it is unlikely that Davis poses and real threat to the Tory leadership.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

MacKenzie v. Davis: Sorry to miss it

The Labour Party have finally confirmed that they will not be throwing their hat into the ring of the David Davis circus. Rather than seeing Gordon Brown as gutless (as Davis suggested), I am sure that the majority of the thinking public (which admittedly isn't many), will realise that there was little chance of Labour winning in Haltemprice and Howden, and that the best option was to give Davis the contempt his stunt deserves.

Personally I was hoping for the farce of MacKenzie v. Davis, but the last I saw, that was looking increasingly unlikely. MacKenzie v. Davis would have been great for the Labour Party, it would have highlighted all the divisions between old and new conservatism. The huggy-feely public face of Conservatism having to have a battle with the lock-em-up Thatcherism which really flows through the majority of the party.

It looks increasingly likely that Davis will return to parliament with his tail between his legs, missing the battle that he needed to make himself a potential leader of the Conservative Party. David Cameron will breath a sigh of relief, and Gordon will get on with the job of leading the country.

Is there any other potential candidate that could show the rifts in the Conservative Party? Will any other publicly recognisable Tory break ranks and take on New Tory?

I wonder what the Sun headline would have been if MacKenzie had won...

Thursday, 12 June 2008

David Davis...but re-election will prove nothing!

Following my previous post, the Conservative David Davis MP is resigning, forcing a by-election in Haltemprice and Howden, which he wants to be held on the single issue of the 42-day detention bill. Whilst he wants to be seen as a man of principle, the election will be a joke. His constituency seat is not a battle between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, but rather a battle between the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems...and the current rumblings are that the Lib-Dems will not be contesting the seat! If Davis wins, it means nothing.

The election seems to be more about internal Conservative Party politics than a Conservative-Labour fight. David Davis wants a meaningless mandate, whilst David Cameron will probably be hoping that the party suffers a little embarrassment with Davis losing, at the expensive of long-term embarrassment over internal party politics.

Whilst the odds look long, there is always an outside chance that Davis will lose. After all, if you were a Conservative Party member in the Haltemprice and Howden district would you really want to campaign on an anti-42-day-detention policy? Conservatives love a lock-em-up policy.

Only the Labour Party can win this election.

DUP Alliance Evokes Major Memories

Gordon is riding(fairly)high thanks to nine votes from the DUP (and one from Anne Widdecombe) on the 42-day bill. Unfortunately the reliance on the nine Democratic Unionist Party votes will evoke memories of John Major's weak government's reliance on the nine members of the Ulster Unionist Party votes. Has Brown got into bed with the devil? Or did the DUP vote according to their conscience?

It seems likely to be a little bit of both: the 42-day bill is in line with the DUP's political thinking, whilst they won't be disappointed to have a little influence with the government.

Whilst I can understand the Labour Party and Liberal Party members voting against the bill, the Conservative Party voting is nothing but partisan voting for the sake of it. Are the Conservatives really against the 42-day bill? Of course not. Most of them would lock up anyone they didn't like (e.g., gays, foriegners, and the working classes) indefinately, given half a chance. They have merely seen it as an opportunity to put the boot into the Brown government.

Personally I am not overly concerned by the new 'erosion of civil liberties', but that is probably because I am a middle-class WASP who is unlikely to be carted off to prison because I am looking at a certain class of web site...and anyway, I can always claim it is part of my webometric research.

Friday, 23 May 2008

The electorate have turned into a mob!

The Tories have achieved their first by-election gain in 26 years as great swathes of the population lose all sense of reality and act with a mob-like mentality relishing in the opportunity to devour the current government. One of the worst aspects of man is the more that they get, the more that they want. We are standing on relatively strong economic foundations, with the majority of those in economic trouble being the ones who have been living beyond their means. Is the whole of society really in the trouble the right-wing press would have us believe? No. If things seemed better ten years ago it was probably because you were ten years younger, had less aches and pains, and had less responsibility. Grow up. This doesn't mean that the government couldn't do better, or that where the electorate has just grievances they shouldn't inform the government, it just means that electorate should try to behave more rationally. The Conservative party is not a rational alternative to those sections of society that need our help, it is an alternative to the those who are doing perfectly well but would like a little bit more so that they can have one or two extra polluting holidays a year, whilst their 4 X 4 is looking terribly shabby despite never seeing a muddy field in its life, and they only have the one guest wing.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

House prices set to fall: About time!!

'Secret' cabinet briefing notes have shown that "at best" UK house prices could fall by 5-10%. As the market has been over-priced for years, but people have continued to buy into the myth that the prices will continue to rise at an exorbitant rate, I have little sympathy for those who have bought beyond their means. People have been over-stretching themselves for years trying to get a better house because, in the words of L'Oreal, they are worth it. But the houses weren't, and some people may get stuck with negative equity. Boo hoo.

Using historical data from the Nationwide you can see how out of hand things have been getting:

Personally my concern is not that the house prices will fall, but that they won't fall far enough. 5-10% is hardly worth getting excited about. Whilst there will be calls for panic in the right wing press, and the Conservatives will blame the government, it is nice to see that BBC research found more people want the prices to fall than rise.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Cannabis upgraded: Stop listening to the people!

As expected, the home office have announced that cannabis is to be reclassified as a Class B drug, rather than the class C it was reduced to in 2004. This is not a reflection of the government listening to the experts, who say keep it at grade C, but rather the democratic voice of the people. The voice of the people that gets hysterical when there is talk of their rubbish being collected fortnightly, the voice of the people that complains about the price of petrol for their oversized car, the voice of the people who complain about the slowing rise (and now finally falling) of house prices. Is this a voice worth listening to? Of course not. It is the ignorant voice of the right-wing press whipping the even more ignorant masses into a stupor. Unfortunately democracy rarely gives politicians the freedom to do what is right, instead they are too often forced to do what the public wants.

The subject of drug classification in the right-wing press is always interesting: those who demand strict punishments for the smokers of cannabis, complain of the nanny-state when the government tries to curtail tobacco and alcohol consumption. Whilst tobacco and alcohol are harmful, probably more harmful, they are too engrained (especially in the stocks and drinks cabinets of middle-england) to be subject to the sweeping laws that would greet them if they were introduced now.

Whislt I think certain drugs should be illegal, criminalising the drug-user does not work; users need help and rehabilitation not punishment. The most stupid part of the reclassification is that both class B and class C drugs have the same possible sentance for dealing, so is only the drug-user whose potential punishment is actually being increased.

Stop listening Gordon, and start leading. Better to be a great PM for one year, than a mediocre prime minister for 6 years.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Shame on London!

The disastrous Labour results were not particularly surprising, a combination of some understandably-unpopular decisions, world events, and the fact we are in the middle of Labour's third term. Despite these factors I voted for the Labour party for the first time in my life. Whilst I was never a fan of Blair (although in retrospect I must admit that he didn't do a bad job), Gordon Brown strikes me as a man of principle in an age of image. For all the caring sharing imagery of the Conservatives, I still believe their fundamental capitalist ethos to be wrong; the Coservative's Thatcherite rhetoric has gone, but there again, it has become so firmly embedded in our society it doesn't need to be stated. The worst results were, without a doubt, those of the London Assembly. Having Boris as mayor is bad, having a BNP candidate on the assembly is disgusting.

It is ironic that Johnson's father has complained about his bumbling image, as it is the bumbling image that makes Boris an affable character and encourages people to vote for him. I am sure the truth is that Boris is a rather intelligent chap, although it is that distinct blinkered-intelligence that comes from a privaledged background: undying belief in the market because it sees them alright.

Whilst I am disappointed with those that voted for Boris, I am disgusted with those who voted for the BNP. I have always believed London to be the greatest city in the world, proud of the diversity and inclusiveness. The election of Richard Barnbrook to the London Assembly projects a London that is filled with fear and hate, a side of London that is not so great. Maybe we will be lucky and one of those selfish 4x4 drivers that Boris loves so much will run Barnbrook over.

Friday, 2 May 2008

How many blogs does one person need?

Today sees the launch of this my third blog: Politico-mania. A place for me to comment (or rant) on all things political. A place for me to express those opinions that would not fit comfortably in a blog about my allotment or the world of the web. With not even my own girlfriend regularly reading my other blogs people will wonder why I am bothering with a third, whether the world really needs to hear the opinions of another political hack. I think they do.

I believe the majority of the UK population to be extremely politically naive, gullibly believing the trash spouted in the popular press. Whether this is getting swept along with the euphoria that swept Tony Blair to power in 1997, or the anti-immigration mantra that is currently on the pages of the right-wing press. There is always a need for more alternative opinions to be published, and not just those of the obnoxious far-right.

As for my political opinions, I am one of generation Thatcher (she resigned the day after my sixteenth birthday). She taught us that greed was good, capitalism was great, and the poor were just lazy. The woman talked crap and is the antithesis of everything I believe in.