31 March, 2010
Many have questioned the legitimacy of having the Lib Dems represented at the debates with the same status as Labour and the Conservatives as there is no real chance that they will form a government. The defence is that there is a very real chance of a hung parliament and in such a case the Lib Dems would be king makers. Fair enough.
But if that is the bases for their inclusion why are they questioned as if they might form a government? Gordon Brown and David Cameron should be asked about their policies and plans in the event of their respective parties winning, but Nick Clegg should be quizzed on what he would do in the event of a hung parliament. People deserve to know what policies they might support, what price would their support command and whether they would form a formal coallition or decide on a vote by vote basis.
If they do not cover these points I really cannot see the justification of having the Lib Dems in the debates at all.
“The MPA’s Professional Standards Cases Sub-committee met today to consider the Tribunal’s report in Commander Dizaei’s case. The Tribunal hearing took place on Friday 26 March 2010.
“The Sub-committee has recorded the Tribunal’s finding that Commander Dizaei failed to meet the appropriate standard of conduct. He was in breach of Code 8 of the Code of Conduct because he was convicted of two serious criminal offences.
“The Tribunal recommended that the only appropriate sanction was dismissal from the service.
“The Sub-committee has accepted the Tribunal’s recommendation and has today dismissed Commander Dizaei from the Metropolitan Police Service with immediate effect.
“As far as the Authority is concerned this is the end of the matter.
“Commander Dizaei has the right to appeal against the MPA’s decision to a Police Appeals Tribunal.”
I found the dynamic interesting, Cable and Darling very much on one side and Osborne on the other. Could this be the strongest indication yet of where the Lib Dems would sit in a hung parliament?
The media still give Cable a comically easy time and this showed in the program blatantly. As someone who rates Osborne highly I wasn't surprised that he did well Darling was OK too but no one really stole the show.
A bit of a no score draw.
26 March, 2010
24 March, 2010
I may sound like some old duffer who just doesn't accept the the modern media is different and more demanding than in the past, but I think that these things are important.
Imagine you are about to exchange contracts on a home which is a little under the £250,000 threshold. On hearing this morning's news you might want to delay to save yourself the Stamp Duty, who would want to spend (soon to be unnecessary) tax? The whole chain could collapse and a number of people could be in reciept of a great deal of cost, inconvenience and stress.
How do you think those people would feel if the actual budget announcement said that the Stamp Duty changes would take place on the 1st of September or after the General Election? Imagine that some other element of the budget linked to house sales was also announced and our home buyers actually found themselves worse off by delaying.
The budget should be announced in one go so that all the elements can be viewed together. This selective and edited leaking of elements is wrong and should be ditched by a future Conservative government.
19 March, 2010
18 March, 2010
Hang on a minute!!! YouTube!?! Website?!?!
Why isn't the Labour party's "word of mouth" campaign being launched through word of mouth? Why is it I first heard about it on the internet and not during a chat about politics in the pub? The irony is just too much
It also strikes me that this uber-clever election strategy may have more to do with the Labour party being just as financially screwed as the country now is after a decade under Labour's financial mismanagement.
16 March, 2010
I'm not usually nervous about speaking events or public meetings but I was a bit worried last night. It wasn't just about my own performance, even though I was up against Vernon Coaker MP, Ben Whittaker (Vice President of the NUS) and Fiona Miller (Alistair Campbell's partner and passionate campaigner for comprehensive only education) but because there was a lot riding on the success of the night.
Schools all over the country take part and two students from each of the top three schools get to work on the production team of the BBC's flagship program. I thought that the evening went extremely well, the students were very professional and the audience asked some testing questions.
I with the team at Cator Park School the best of luck in the competition.
15 March, 2010
There are only three possible outcomes to the next General Election a Labour win, a Conservative win or a hung parliament. There is no one who carries any credibility who believes that the Lib Dems can form the next government, talking about what they would do as a stand alone government is futile.
There is a very real chance that they could be the king makers in a hung parliament and it is important to know what they would do if it was the case, if they won't be open about this then why would anyone vote for them?
They also can't maintain a position either, first they say that they'll support the party with the largest electoral mandate. Then Clegg says that they have a shopping list of policies that will be a prerequisite for a deal. Which is it?
I genuinely don't know where they stand or who they might prop up in the event in a hung parliament. It is for this reason that a hung parliament is such a dangerous possibility.
Remember a hung parliament is not a coalition government. Uncertainty, back-room deals and policy deadlocks are not something anyone should be voting for.
12 March, 2010
Only the Lib Dems could so blatantly pinch the slogans of the two main parties. Labour's slogan is "a future fair for all" and ours is "year for change".
Why not just be honest and have a slogan that says "We will say what Labour voters want to hear and then say what Tory voters want to hear"?
11 March, 2010
Brown knew that he would have to spin like a top to come out of the Chilcot enquiry with any dignity and he know the defence chiefs that he'd been screwing over for the last decade would kick off. The Afghan trip was a blatant attempt to divert attention and Brown was rumbled.
If you think I'm being harsh, please remember that Brown has form in this. Don't forget the surprise trip to Iraq in the middle of the Conservative party conference?
Brown's faux admiration for our troops is cynical and transparent and he shouldn't be surprised when he is ridiculed for it.
10 March, 2010
My advice to Danny is to be very careful about what you use as a metaphor. One of the reasons that the Coke bottle has those timeless characteristics is because it has remain virtually unchanged since its creation in 1915. Not a point which supports Danny's "change is good" message.
It is also worth noting that one of the most damaging periods in Coca-Cola's history was when it changed its flavour to conform more closely to the increasingly successful and sweeter Pepsi Cola. All of Coke's research told them that people wanted change and that they liked the sweeter taste but when the new recipe Coke was launched it bombed. Coca-Cola suffered huge loss of market share and reputational damage, which led the CEO of Pepsi to say "we had been in a staring competition for the last hundred years and suddenly the other guy blinked".
There is a need for political parties to change, to remain in tune with the world as it is and not how it was. It is,however, worth looking at all the lessons that history (even business history) teaches us, not just the ones that conform to our prejudices.
08 March, 2010
06 March, 2010
05 March, 2010
03 March, 2010
At the time my impression of him was dictated by a fairly cruel media portrayal and Labour's dismal result of the 1983 General Election. Over time I came to realise that Michael Foot was a deeply principled man, a great orator and overwhelmed by the radical change that Conservatives under Margret Thatcher embarked upon.
I feel moved to write a haiku for him to add to my occasional series.
02 March, 2010
(left to right): Graham Duncan, Bromley South Duty Station Manager, Colin Clifton, Southeastern Head of Safety and Environment, Cllr Colin Smith, Environment portfolio holder Bromley Council, Ross Thomson, Metro Newspapers, James Cleverly, Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, Vince Lucas, Southeastern Director of Service Delivery