31 May, 2007
29 May, 2007
Would this chaos be the debate about the best way to help children break out of poverty? Would this chaos be the debate about how to help the people in society who would benefit the most from that help and are most deserving of it?
Graham Brady believes deeply in Grammar Schools and wants to be able to say so, collective responsibility means that he cannot legitimately do that from within the Shadow Cabinet. Had Hazel Blears said nothing the focus would have remained on the resignation but by desperately grasping at this as a stick to beat the Conservatives with she has highlighted the real chaos that the Labour party is in.
27 May, 2007
I also managed to strip, clean, repain and rebuild my old bicycle. It is amazing what a really through clean and a coat of paint will do to a bike, it looks almost as good as my new bike.
The home information pack plan had fiasco written all over it. I couldn't find anyone who thought that it would work or that enough planning or resourcing had gone in. Yet the ministers ploughed on regardless.
By the way, has Ruth Kelly touched anything without fouling it up?
Labour has created an immigration and asylum system which is both unfair and ineffective. Penalising those in need of housing is not the answer, I am sure that Margret Hodge knows this but she is clearly trying to win back votes the she has lost to the BNP.
I don't imagine she will still be in post after the re-shuffle.
24 May, 2007
Seeing as they are so keen on hung parliaments and no overall control I am amazed that they are so unable to reach an agreement in Wales. This is the situation that they have been hoping for and demanding across the country yet they seem unable to make it work.
I would have thought that Ming would be telling the Welsh Lib Dems to sort this out if only to prove that PR can be made to work. At the moment all they are showing is that they cannot implement their own pet project.
23 May, 2007
Iain Dale is running a poll on who is the most incompetent Labour minister, the comment from Andrew Woodman on this comment thread had me laughing out loud.
"That's like asking who's the most pregnant in a maternity ward"
22 May, 2007
I particularly like the idea that they are allowed to watch the training videos but "would be "monitored closely" to ensure staff did not watch feature films or listen to music".
At the moment the Home Office doesn't have a great track record of monitoring much. If their limited monitoring resources are to be deployed anywhere I would prefer they monitored criminals or terrorists or almost anything else.
Please tell me this is a spoof!
If you want to help rebuild the Cutty Sark, either by donating time or money you can do so here. I would strongly advocate to give whatever you can, you even get your name in lights (well on a list).
While Bexley and Bromley eyes are turned to Greenwich it is worth thanking Bob Neill MP for bringing the Blackwall Tunnell situation to the attention of the House of Commons. He raised the issue in an adjournment debate on the 17th of May, you can read the hansard report here.
21 May, 2007
I was rather disappointed by the BBC news coverage of the incident; speculation reported as fact, factual inaccuracies going uncorrected, the ship regularly described as a boat!
Must try harder!
19 May, 2007
The old Ridgeback has served me well for over a decade, it started life as a mountain bike and has evolved into a hybrid commuter.
The big, chunky, knobbly tyres were swapped for smoother ones, but ultimately the gears that were designed to help me get up steep, muddy hillsides were too slow on the mean streets of south London. So, with a few months worth of saved up rail fair money I set off to the bike shop.
I felt more than a little disloyal buying a new bike, my old one has served me well despite a three year period sitting unused in the garden, in all weathers. After a quick clean and grease job it proved to be reliable and comfortable and the last five months of commuting have been pretty much trouble free.
But, I am now fitter and I want a faster bike. I have stayed with a British manufacture, even though the current exchange rate means that you can get some great deals on American bikes. Indeed I have stuck with Ridgeback's Genesis range because of the outstanding service that the old grey Ridgeback has provided me.
So what is the new bike like?
Things have moved on quite a bit since my old bike was built and for about the same money that I spent more than a dozen years ago I get a bike a quantum leap better. Much, much lighter and agile with tyres and gears more suited to the regular ride in to work that I do.
I will report back next week as to the effect that it has had on my commuting times.
17 May, 2007
16 May, 2007
My position on grammar schools hasn't changed, I think that they still provide the best way for bright but poor children to get on in life. Until a better way to aid social mobility comes along I will continue to support them.
Now, on to more important things........ the new England rugby shirt, what a load of rubbish!
14 May, 2007
McDonnell will probably advocate a return to the kind of policies that scared the hell out of the electorate in the mid/late 1980s and in doing so will remind everyone what a a great guy Gordon is. At least that is what Gordon hopes.
What might actually happen is John McDonnell puts forward a much less cynical sounding alternative and actually makes Gordon look a little too much like Tony for anyone's liking.
This leadership battle might just get interesting after all.
10 May, 2007
08 May, 2007
The Conservative Future Working Life Conference (Birmingham, 21st-22nd July) is designed to help the young working element of CF and two more of my friends have been involved in setting it up. Becky and Karen are ones to watch and I'm more than happy to give their event a plug, not least because it looks like a very useful and interesting event.
Autograph hunters take note; I will not be there as it clashes with a family holiday that I have planned. If you are not in France with your stunning wife and gorgeous children, like me, get there. And get a move on getting the tickets too if you miss it you'll be sorry.
07 May, 2007
According to the BBC, the Conservative Party, which picked up 898 seats on Thursday, didn’t increase its share of the national vote at all; and Labour,I wish someone had said that on air when the figures were being thrown around.
which lost 495 councillors, supposedly saw its percentage of the vote rise by
06 May, 2007
Neither of these is very surprising, everyone can see that the Labour party is in for a very tough couple of years. Whoever is in the hot seat will take much of the blame for their party's poor performance, despite the fact that much of the damage has already been done. As I said on 18 Doughty Street, who would want to take over as Captain of the Titanic just before it hits the iceberg?
Reid has now recognised what Miliband spotted months ago, that the Labour leadership is a poisoned chalice at the moment and only a fool would be desperate to take it on.
Step forward one G. Brown of 11 Downing Street.
Reid will want to distance himself from the leadership over the next few years and rise from the ashes after the next General Election. I think he will have missed the boat by then.
05 May, 2007
04 May, 2007
We wanted a Labour collapse, we wanted to make a big step forward in Scotland.
We didn't quite get everything we wanted but.......
We did put clear water between ourselves and Labour and we took seats off both Labour and the Lib Dems.
We are now a serious player in Welsh politics again.
We made good inroads into the North of England, controlling more councils in the North West and Yorkshire than Labour; including South Ribble, Chester and West Riding. We are also the only major party to make net gains in terms of council seats.
My unspun (as far as I can) round up.
Labour: A very bad result but not appalling.
Conservative: A very good result but not outstanding.
Lib Dems: A very poor result but not terminal (yet).
Nationalist Parties: A good result but not for the BNP.
1. John Reid setting an "impossible" target for us (just like in London last year) and then watching us beat it (just like in London last year).
2. Conservative leader of Birmingham council's bullish interview at about 2.30 in the morning.
3. Watching a string of Labour and Lib Dem MPs claim that no one had really made any great improvements as Conservative win after Conservative win came rolling across the screen.
We needed a good solid result, a good showing in the North, maintaining our position in the South and building a strong national campaigning base back up again.
We got what we need.
Not as bad for Labour as many thought but still bad. Not as good for us as some people had hoped but still a good move forward. Lib Dems not picking up much from Labour's decline.
There you go, epic analysis!
02 May, 2007
I'm just wondering whether Blair is setting himself up as Labour's ultimate scapegoat. Iraq is a big problem for Labour, so he says "it's all my fault", everyone else says "it's all Blair's fault", Blair then leaves and Labour's problem leaves with him.
The only problem with this plan is that there are many more problems than just Iraq. A failing education system, health service in despair, poor families getting poorer, billions of tax pounds squandered, social rifts widening, street crime on the rise, etc. etc. etc.
If Iraq was Labour's only problem, they wouldn't have too much of a problem. It isn't, they do.
It's just so him. Cannot give a straight answer even now.
So long and thanks for all the spin.