[syndicated profile] uk_polling_report_feed

Posted by Anthony Wells

The YouGov/Sunday Times poll this morning showed a four point Labour lead, interpreted in some quarters of the commentariat as showing an advance for Labour after the Paxman interviews. As ever, it was only one poll. Now we have a second post-Paxman poll, a ComRes telephone poll for the Daily Mail & ITV, and this one shows the complete opposite – CON 36%(+1), LAB 32%(-3), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 12%(+2), GRN 5%(-2) (tabs).

If the four point Labour lead in this morning’s YouGov poll equalled their best this year, this poll is the biggest Conservative lead ComRes have delivered since 2010. Where YouGov showed Miliband’s ratings improving, ComRes show Cameron widening his lead as best Prime Minister.

There is no great mystery here, I expect we’re just seeing normal sample variation. I said this morning we needed to wait for some more polling to have any idea whether the Paxman interviews had really had any effect, whether there was a consistent trend. With two polls now showing movement in opposition directions there certainly isn’t yet. It could still be that the rest of the week’s polls show a similar movement to YouGov and the ComRes poll was just a blip… or that the rest of the week’s polls show a similar movement to ComRes and the YouGov poll was a blip. I’ve a sneaky suspicion though that we’ve just happened to see two outliers in opposite directions, and we’re going to see lots of polls showing no clear movement. Time will tell.

(no subject)

Mar. 29th, 2015 10:44 pm
[syndicated profile] andrew_rilstone_feed

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

a short collection of essays

Rilstone's first book for nearly a year

Planned since 2014, recent events have given these essays an unlooked for topicality

The Physical Impossibility of Debate in the Mind of Someone On Twitter
privilege, segregation, Russell Crowe
text previously published on this blog
commentary, deleted scenes, and soundbyte summary previously available as a subscriber-only PDF, now available only in this format.

Keep Calm and Talk Bollocks 
language, t-shirts, rape, the N-word
previously available as a subscriber-only PDF, now only available in this format

The madness of Tony Blair
previously published on this blog

Cross Purposes
secularism, race, Pickles
previously published on this blog

Hobbits and Daleks
Dawkins, language, God, logic, rape, pedophilia
now only available in this format

All-Licensed Fools
Carr, Boyle, Marx, jokes, rape, Israel 
new essay published here for the first time 

Why Wasn't C.S Lewis a Pacifist
war. peace, logic, morality, argument, God
new essay published here for the first time

Special Offers for Blog Readers Only

Signed and numbered edition -- £10

Signed and numbered edition, with custom photographic bookplate insulting the deity of your choice --£20

Now available as an Ebook


(no subject)

Mar. 29th, 2015 10:44 pm
[syndicated profile] andrew_rilstone_feed

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

"It has lots of big words, escorted by a regiment of footnotes."
Richard Worth

"It kicks arse."
Nicholas James Mazonowicz

"Possibly his most Rilstonian book. I know many people who like Rilstone’s writing — they should buy it immediately. But I also know a few people who get angered by Rilstone’s writing, and they would probably find this *far* more angering than, say, his book on Doctor Who."
Andrew Hickey

Andrew's Mum.

Special Offers for Blog Readers Only

Signed and numbered edition -- £10

Signed and numbered edition, with custom photographic bookplate insulting the deity of your choice --£20

Now available as an Ebook


[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

The People’s Flag? Mugs.

Mar. 29th, 2015 09:44 pm
[syndicated profile] love_and_liberty_feed

Posted by Alex Wilcock

The People’s Flag is purple now
It’s to Farage that they kowtow
Now Labour’s values are unknown
Except the mugs with ‘Send them home’

The People’s Flag has changed its spots
For fear of UKIP’s ballot box
Those mugs keep lowering the tone
Their banner reading ‘Send them home’

I like to think that I’d instinctively be a Liberal and not a racist opportunist even if I wasn’t the son of an immigrant. After all, Ed Miliband’s the son of an immigrant too, so there doesn’t seem to be any correlation.

Thanks to Nick Barlow for eternal vigilance and #whynotjointhelabourparty, and to Richard Flowers for everything, always, but this time in particular for kicking off the lyrics. And a damned good kicking is in order (even from Labour MPs).

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Caron Lindsay

The controversy over Labour’s “Controls on immigration” mugwhich I wrote about last night, continues. 108 units have been sold since I first looked this morning, netting the party over £500.The goodwill it will have lost Labour is priceless, though.  Seriously, how would you feel if you had gone through hell trying to get into this country, had finally got your visa and been reunited with your spouse whom you hadn’t seen for ages only to be assaulted with headlines demonising immigrants on a  daily basis. How would you feel if you saw someone drinking out of a mug like that?Not very welcome, I can imagine. Maybe a little fearful about what that person thought of you.

Senior MP Diane Abbott is far from impressed. Earlier she tweeted:

Over on LabourList, Maya Goodfellow shares Abbott’s sentiments:

…the public don’t believe Labour when they say they’re going to be tough on immigration. All they hear when the party say immigration needs to be “controlled” is that immigration is a problem, one that Labour are responsible for and incapable of coping with. The party’s pledge fans the flames of anti-immigration sentiment and convinces people to vote for someone else.

This is true when you get down to the details of the policy. So far for the Labour Party  “controlling immigration” comes down to stopping incoming migrants from claiming benefits until they’ve been in the country for two years. This is based on the incorrect assumption that a sizeable proportion of migrants come to the UK to live off the state, when in fact, the overwhelming majority come here to work and contribute to the economy. This policy sends a loud, clear anti-immigration signal, one we should all denounce.

There are more than enough people demonising immigrants in this country. A party that claims  to be progressive should not be adding to that increasingly poisonous atmosphere with its campaign tat.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

[personal profile] andrewducker
I joined Pinterest, so I could test RSS parsing from it, and make sure I was seeing the right results.

It asked me whether I was male or female, and my age.

And then suggested some possible interests:

I'm not sure whether I should be offended or amused...

This week

Mar. 29th, 2015 08:09 pm
[syndicated profile] anders_hanson_feed

Posted by Anders Hanson

My review of the week.  Here’s some of the things I’ve been in to (and this time it seems to be a bumper edition):

A TV series:  Storyville on BBC4 is a series of one-off documentaries from around the world.  The latest series has been running for some time but I caught up with it with the latest one about the British spy – now living in Russia – George Blake.  Well put together and researched and often about people or places you know little about they’re worth watching as an insight in to what else is happening out there.

A pub:  Last Sunday I went for a walk from my flat up through the Ponderosa and Weston Park and then back home again via the Red Deer pub on Pitt Street, a back street near to West Street.  Rather than a real ale pub, it has more of a feel of a traditional back street boozer with a varied clientele, although it does do a number of ever changing real ales alongside more mainstream offerings, as well as some nice looking pub food.

A song:  I’ve actually included this in a This Week before, but for some reason it came to mind again this week and it really is a excellent song.  It’s Anthem from the musical Chess and I am still convinced that the original version by Tommy Körberg is the best.  I think as the person who sang it originally rather than just being an singer doing a performance he perhaps gets the meaning and emotions behind the song more than others do.

A snack:  This is another thought that’s come from my walk last Sunday, and it’s a bit of praise for Yorkshire Crisps.  Crisps are perhaps one of the more unlikely foods to be given a bit of gentrifcation over recent years with all sorts of posh brands of crisps coming out.  Yorkshire Crisps are my favourites of these.  Not just because they’re made just outside Sheffield and so are quite common in pubs and shops round here (and although less generally available, you can get them in London) but they have some amazing flavours.  My personal favourites are Henderson’s Relish flavour and Sweet Chilli & Lime flavour.

A TV series: A slightly odd pick this one as it’s a ten year old series and I accept a very odd thing to be watching as a repeat, but it’s the first series of The Apprentice.  I stumbled on an episode on YouTube a while ago and occasionally watched them since when wanting some comfort viewing, but this tenth episode from the first series really shows to me how the series has changed with Nick and Margaret taking a more background role, more detail of the skills of the apprentices and planning of the task and more discussion in the boardroom (although on this one I thought the one who was fired was unfair).  It’s probably more about the editing rather than the actual way it’s done and the participants didn’t know in the first series that they’d become TV stars whilst it’s broadcast.  I also love the moment in this when Saira and Paul are cracking up over the design of the jacket.

An article (and a test):  When I found a test on the BBC website that was supposed to decide where you should live based on your personality, it got everyone I work with intrigued.  Although based on a study by Cambridge University I have serious doubts as to the validity of the test but it’s quite fun nonetheless.  For the record, I got Craven as the place I should live, Corby as the place I shouldn’t, and Derbyshire Dales as the place near me that I should live in, but I got below 50% on all of them anyway and so I suppose the message from that is that I’m difficult to please.

A song:  I’ve been listening to Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne quite a bit this week after being reminded of it thanks to the instrumental version being used in those Marks & Spencer adverts that make me want to rush out and buy lots of gorgeous looking (but expensive) luxury food from them.  Upbeat, dancey and the strings make it stand out from your run of the mill dance record.  There’s also another good live version from Dutch radio apart from the full one below in which Clean Bandit perform it without Jess Glynne which I think is as strong (or perhaps stronger?)

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Ministers have been accused by a cross-party group of peers of trying to “bury” the results of the biggest ever Whitehall examination of European Union powers, after it found no evidence that the EU was interfering excessively in any aspect of British life.

In a hugely damaging move for the government, the European Union Committee of the House of Lords, chaired by former Tory minister Lord Boswell, comes close to saying that ministers tried to cover up the findings, which do not support David Cameron’s claims that the EU is “becoming a state” and has already accrued excessive powers.

By contrast, the so-called “balance of competences” review – hailed by William Hague in 2012 as the “most extensive analysis of the impact of UK membership of the EU ever undertaken” – found no area with a case for transferring powers back from Brussels. (The Observer)

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Agreed that today’s helicopter parenting is a bit much. And that yes, of course 8 year olds can go to the park on their own. 5 year olds be left in the car for 5 minutes as Mom slips into the 7-11. And then there’s truly free range parenting:

A 4-year-old Pennsylvania girl surprised a driver and passengers when she boarded a public bus alone in the middle of the night on a quest for a sugary slushie, transportation officials said on Sunday.

Surveillance footage shows the pint-sized girl with blonde hair, bundled up in all purple, boarding a Philadelphia bus at 3 a.m. local time on Friday and sitting down by herself as a handful of passengers look curiously toward her.

The girl, who appeared cheerful as she stretched and dangled her boots off of her seat, told bus riders that she wanted to get a slushie, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Kristin Geiger said.

Police called, girl reunited, parents etc. And no, Mom had not said that this was OK.

But, umm, it was OK, wasn’t it? 4 year old girl, wandering around at 3 am, in search of a slushie….

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

We’ve at least one report that the proposals that the Greek Government has put forward over economic reforms to unlock more aid have been found, well, not quite enough. The way that this is going is simply confirming my long held opinion that the most likely way of Greece defaulting and leaving the euro is Grexident: that is, not by any sort of plan, but almost by accident as the various negotiators fail to reach agreement. At the heart of my view over this is the thought that the Greek negotiators, Tsipras, Varoufakis and others from Syriza, think they can get more from the troika (and, in reality, the Germans) than they actually can. Their offers thus fall short as they offer what they think they can get, rather than what is likely to be accepted.

From Friday we had the news that the Greeks were making new offers:

Greece has sent its creditors a long-awaited list of reforms with a pledge to produce a small budget surplus this year in the hope that it will unlock badly needed cash, Greek government officials said on Friday.

The European Union and IMF lenders, informally called the Brussels Group, will start discussing the list later on Friday, a euro zone official said, although a Greek official said the examination would begin on Saturday. Their approval, followed by the blessing of euro zone finance ministers, will be needed for Athens to unfreeze further aid and stave off bankruptcy.

Athens has not indicated whether the latest list will contain a more far-reaching reform program than a previous list of seven reforms on broad issues ranging from tax evasion to public sector reforms, which failed to impress lenders.

I’m getting two sources of gossip: or, rather, two stories coming in from those sources. The first is that the Greek side really doesn’t seem to have understood the other side. Yes, it’s true, Syriza won an election, democracy has its part to play. But that doesn’t mean that Greek democracy gets to play with the money of voters from other countries. This really isn’t about “austerity” any more. This is about whether the German (and other eurozone) taxpayers have to take a loss on the money that has been lent. Just to be clear, there are almost no bankers, no non-Greek bankers, who can be stung for this money. It’s either the Greek taxpayers pay back that debt or the taxpayers of other eurozone countries lose that money. And I’m hearing that the Greeks are simply not quite getting the political pressure the other side is under from the voters who will lose that money.

Sure, no one wants the pain and grief in Greece to go on for a moment longer than it has to. But the word on the street (most especially in Germany, the most important place) is that the Greeks have to buck up and both promise to, and demonstrate that they are, do the right things before there’s going to be any more money put at risk.

Note that this isn’t about what is economically correct (which we can all have a lovely argument about) it’s what is politically possible. No German politician would survive the statement “sure, Greece can have some more money before they promise to reform.”

That’s the first misunderstanding I’m hearing about.

The second is that the Greek proposals just aren’t detailed enough. They’re more aspirations to collect more tax instead of “we will collect more tax by doing a, b and c”. This is inevitable, of course, with a new government that doesn’t quite know how the detailed levers of power work. But it’s a bit too much. So, this evening (Europe time) we get this news:

Greek proposals for a revised bailout program don’t have enough detail to satisfy the government’s international creditors, eurozone officials said, making it more likely that Athens will need to go several more weeks without a new infusion of desperately-needed cash.

Or in more detail:

“The proposals were piecemeal, vague and the Greek colleagues could not explain technically what some of them actually implied,” a eurozone official said. “So, let’s hope that they present something more competent next week.”

I know people slightly involved with these negotiations who are not sure about this. They waver between thinking that the Greek negotiating stance is vague because they think they can gain further funding (which they need to make it through the next few months, while the real and major deal is worked out) by being vague and so this is deliberate. And the same people will then at a different time insist that they’re just not up to speed with how the details of governance works. What you actually have to do if you’re to curb spending and raise revenue collection.

When those involved, however peripherally, are not sure then of course the rest of us are left entirely in limbo.

My own position about the correct public policy hasn’t changed in some years. Exit from the euro, a debt haircut and a devaluation of the new drachma. What does change is how we might reach that desirable outcome: and a chaotic departure would not be the way to do it. But as time goes on the more I think that is possible even if I don’t as yet think it is likely.

[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Amy Roth

Mindy can’t come to the Sundaylies today because she is in the middle of a bare knuckle boxing fight with a chap who dared to say that the Files shouldn’t come back to FOX. The truth is out there.

What this means is… Mwah hahahaha! THIS HERE BLOG, er I mean this here blog POST IS ALLLLLLLLLL MINE NOW! MWAH HAHAHA!

Since I somehow got to sneak into the back channel and do Mindy’s post I’m gonna add in a bonus video of me on a live talk show yesterday.

It’s called, LA Talk Live and the segment was produced by the Blk Grrrl Show. I am the second guest. I talk about this blog, my art, why Patreon is great for less privileged people who want to produce creative content AND why I still love to learn about science!

My segment starts at around the 30 minute mark.

Hey now! Here are the Sunday Funnies: Check out our pal, Maki Naro’s comic, Sufficiently Remarkable. Because it certainly is.

Now on to your regularly scheduled Sunday Skepchick Network Recap!

Mad Art Lab

Belle Benchley and the Creation of the Modern Zoo (Women in Science 34)  Learn how Modern Zoos came into existence.

This is the Painting That Started My #Patreon Project I explain the painting that started my Science + Art Patreon project.

What A Saxophone Looks Like: A Lesson for Stock Photographers Mad Art Lab’s resident sax player gives us all a lesson on stock photography.


Dolce and Gabbana vs Elton John Laura writes about the recent controversy around comments by fashion design duo Dolce and Gabbana.

Why Queering Gender Onstage Still Matters Juliet writes about the importance of queering gender in stage performances.

Are Atheists The Most Hated Group in America? Well… Trav writes about Dave Silverman’s recent claim on CNN that atheists are the most hated group in America.

School of Doubt

Sophisticated Educators, Please Stand Up
When faced with new trends and theories in education that present themselves as dichotomies (e.g. student-centred vs. teacher-centred classrooms), J.D. Fisher thinks it’s important that we approach them critically rather than embrace them blindly.

Those who can teach, those who can’t teach in college Giliell finds it frustrating that most university-level teachers have no formal training in actually teaching.


Quack of the Month: Mars one
Silvia takes a look at the latest news from the project to make a reality show on Mars

Grounded Parents

Should a 13-Year-Old have to Dismiss Sexism to be “Classy?” Mo’ne Davis has been in the news recently for accepting the apology of a grown-ass man who called her a slut. Emily criticizes the notion that women are expected to accept apologies from misogynists in order to be “classy.”

Dear Future Partner Steph rewrites Meghan Trainor’s latest hit “Dear Future Husband” to make it less stereotypical and heteronormative.

Skepchick Network Assemble!!! Chi-Fi 2015 Check out Lou’s photo series of the Grounded Parents and Skepchicks at Chi-Fi!

*featured image by Lou.



[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Calabrese Pizza Express pizza

I’m the guest speaker on Tuesday evening at a pizza and politics for Liberal Democrat members and supporters in North London:

With the General Election just over a month away, the coming weeks promise to be both exciting and intense.

We are therefore delighted to have Mark Pack, co-author of 101 Ways to Win an Election, and campaign manager for Lynne Featherstone’s 2005 and 2010 election wins, to come and speak to us on Tuesday 31 March.

The details are:

Date: Tuesday 31 March
Time: 8pm
Venue: 18 Duke’s Avenue, N10 2PT
Cost: £10
Please RSVP via reply@haringeylibdems.org or 07950 926 154

For those who would like to door knock beforehand, we will be meeting outside Boots on Muswell Hill Broadway, which is just around, at 6.15pm.

Hope you can make it!

Dear Ernie Cline

Mar. 29th, 2015 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Dear Ernie:

As I was packing clothes for my trip to Australia, I came across an old t-shirt for VIP, your high school band. Man, I don’t remember how long I’ve had this shirt or how, in fact, I came in possession of it — I seem to remember a trip to Texas and fighting sixteen cowboys in a bar parking lot outside of Abilene for it, sometimes three or four at a time, but I may be misremembering — but it reminded me that, like you, before I was a writer, I was a high school rock and roll musician myself: I was in a band called Dead Rats Don’t Fly, and let me tell you, we rocked the greater Eastern San Gabriel Valley area back in the day. Good times, my friend, good times.

And, I don’t know, maybe it’s time to get the band back together. What do you think?

Or, we could form a band. Hey, it worked for the Rock Bottom Remainders. Why not us? As you can see, I still have the critical rock and roll moves:

(Any rumors that this stellar rock and roll leap ended with me on the lawn, clutching my knee in agony, is just that: rumor.)

Oh, and also, I hear it’s your birthday today. Happy birthday, man. May your day be filled with friends, fun, rock and roll and the occasional weird mystery.

Yer pal in the rock n’ roll lifestyle,


(P.S.: For anyone wondering what it is that I’ve got there in my hot little hands, it’s a Warren Ellis Signature MandoTenor — that’s Warren Ellis the musician, not Warren Ellis the author. I bought, slightly prematurely, as a “finished the new novel” gift for myself. Since the new novel is not yet finished (sigh), I still haven’t actually played it yet. And now I’ll have to wait until I get back from Australia to play it. But it’s fine motivation to finish writing.)

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Newspuppy

Twitter abuse is an occupational hazard for anyone who has an opinion, especially if they happen to be female. If you are a woman, it’s not only what you say but how you look that is fair game for the trolls.

Alliance MP Naomi Long had a bit of Friday fun this week as she read out some of the abuse she’d received over the years and get her own back with some witty retorts. I think my personal favourite was her response to the one about the size of her backside – a subject on which Alistair Carmichael waded in with support for Naomi.

Anyway, watch and enjoy:

You might also be interested in one of Jo Swinson’s favourite antidotes to the haters. Thank you, haters, by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay is very funny.

The atmosphere on Twitter will no doubt become much more febrile than usual as the election approaches. If it all gets too much, come and watch these to cheer you up.

* Newshound in training. I'm sweet and full of mischief, just like my stories.

[syndicated profile] millenniumelephant_feed

Posted by Millennium Dome

Thursday: Not-debate Night

The election campaign sort of kicked off with an interview-and-question-time session each for the Prime Monster and his opposite Wonk. I fell asleep towards the end of Mr Balloon and woke up a few minutes into Mr Milipede. And it took me a while to realise that they'd changed over!

Which says a lot about the sort of choice facing the voter!

I am, though, nursing a particular annoyance at Mr Milipede once again rewriting history to cast himself as "standing up to Obama, Cameron and Clegg" over military intervention in Syria.

That's simply not what happened.

Generally, Mr Milipede was dreadful in front of the audience, but better in the one-to-one interview with Paxo. Milipede has a number of verbal tics or tells: "and I'll tell you why" or "of course it was hard", which he uses repeatedly and after a while start to make him sound like a robot that doesn't really understand how real people talk. The question the audience really wanted an answer on was: "Why did you knife your brother". His reply was a total non-answer: "I think I am the right man for the job." Why, Ed, why are you the right man for the job? Why are you so right for the job that you stabbed Brother David in the back to get it?

(There is a way to answer to this: David was foreign secretary, deeply complicit in the Blair and Brown governments and too associated with New Labour to allow the clean break with the past that election defeat showed they needed. And – and this is the important bit – if Ed could say that he'd tried to talk David out of standing on these ground, and that David hadn't listened… the needs of the country came first…
But… it means saying that he put "ideology" ahead of "family". And that's deeply antithetical to "small c" conservative voters, or whom his Labour tribe contains a LOT, not to mention massively hypocritical after five years of calling the Coalition "ideologically driven".)

He managed to land a real wallop on Mr Paxman at the end, though, ticking him right off for prejudging the election result. And, since it's about time someone took Paxo down a peg, that no doubt won the Labour leader a few points with some viewers. And, of course, let Mr Milipede off the question of having to say how he would negotiate with the SNP in a hung Parliament.

("How dare you prejudge the electorate!" thus translates as a new variation on the traditional cliché: "we are campaigning for a majority". It's probably the most important question of the election and we get yet another politicians' non-answer.)

For Mr Balloon it was the other way around. As an assured – even arrogant – public speaker he was easily able to handle the audience, especially when the format did not allow the questioner to press him for an answer if he dodged or changed the question (the usual politicians' tricks). But the interview was more difficult for him for exactly the same reasons. Paxo derailed the PM with an opening question about food banks, and Mr Balloon looked very shifty for a minute, not answering. Once he got himself together he gave a better performance.

This happened several times, in fact. His eventual answer on zero hours contracts, for example: "No I couldn't live on one, and that's why the coalition outlawed exclusive zero hours contracts, because they're not meant for people to live on!" was good; but he'd waffled first in order properly to frame his answer and so when he delivered an actual direct response it was lost. Mr Paxman's not interested if they answer; it's showing up politicians by hunting down their evasions that he lives for.

Mind you, we thought that Paxman was a bit harder on Mr Balloon than on Mr Milipede: the questions to the Prime Monster went to substance – numbers on food banks, borrowing, immigration – all areas where there's a substantive answer and Mr Balloon has to hem and haw to explain why it's complicated; the questions to Milipede went to character – the apologies for New Labour, the guff on "the wrong brother", and then the nonsense on "toughness" – all soft serves for answers that are only going to be hand-wringing and the feelz.

The question of "toughness" was particularly egregious, even before we get to the gung-ho "Hell yeah" of Mr Milipede's answer.

Do we really want a leader who is "tough"? Haven't we just had five years of "tough"; isn't it time for a bit of compassion, and listening, and co-operation (especially if there's going to be – as seems very, very likely – another coalition)?

LOOKING "tough" is actually WEAKNESS.

Looking "tough" is what has gotten Labour politicians like Rachel the Reever cravenly following the right-wing agenda of punishing the young and the out of work for being on benefits. Looking "tough" is what has gotten both Labservative Parties boxed into inflexible positions on raising taxes. Looking "tough" has led to everyone ruling out coalitions with everyone else as though this is anything other than a complete derogation of duty. Maggie Thatcher was "tough". And also mad as a box of frogs. "Tough" in other words is the exact opposite of good government and frankly we could do with a good deal LESS of it.

But then there's Milipede's answer: I'm tough enough to stand up to Putin because I was tough enough to stand in a room with Mr Balloon and Cap'n Clegg and say no to Barry O.

That is a… creative recollection of events in 2013.

Milipede has cultivated this popular myth that it was Labour, indeed he personally, who brought a halt to the rush to Western intervention in the Syrian civil war. It stems from a vote in the House of Commons, when – unexpectedly – the government lost a motion that would have prepared the way for British military deployment.

The government proposed a motion, with a caveat that there would have to be another vote before any action was taken (on Cap'n Clegg's insistence, having very strongly made the case for United Nations involvement before any United Kingdom action); Labour proposed a VERY SLIGHTLY different amendment (basically tightening up the conditions before action could be taken, but nothing that wasn't implicit in the government motion).

The Labour amendment got voted down – exactly as the Labour front bench intended so that they could look justified in voting against the government motion. In other words, the usual way that these votes are treated as a "game", a typical example of the debate club way that Miliband "plays" politics: letting him oppose the government on a technicality while still being able to claim that substantively he is tough on murderous gas attacks, tough on the causes of murderous gas attacks (and check with David whether we sold gas weapons to Assad while Labour were in power, Ed). (See also the "we never voted against Lords Reform" blocking of the paving motion that prevented Lords Reform, and more recently the reward for rich bankers "cut" in tuition fees.)

Only they didn't count on a Tory and Lib Dem backbenchers rebelling and the government motion falling too (24 out of 57 Lib Dems not voting for the government).

It was absolutely NOT Labour's intention or policy to block intervention in Syria. It was however the mood of the country, and on the conscience of those Lib Dem and Tory rebels, and to be fair to him it was Mr Balloon who stood up and said that.

So I rather think is STINKS when Miliband goes around claiming credit and saying that he was "tough". He was playing silly political games, and a serendipitous cock-up enabled the doves to beat the hawks.

Here are the government motion and the Labour amendment.

In this diary:

Mr Balloon the Prime Monster is David Cameron, balloon-faced Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Mr Milipede the Wonk is Ed Miliband, creepy-crawly Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.
Mr Paxo (the Ego Booster) is Jeremy Paxman, veteran television interviewer famous for his aggressive interrogation and high opinion of himself.

Also appearing:
Cap'n Clegg is Nick Clegg, the not-appearing in this farce Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Other Party of Government, the Liberal Democrats.
Rachel the Reever is Rachel Reeves, soon to be contender for doomed Milipede's job.


Dan Hodges writes in the Telegraph. Dan is famously no friend of Mr Milipede, which I suspect will undercut the strength of his words here. His account of the history leading up to the Syria vote agrees with my recollection too.
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

She has the benefit of not being much known outside Wales

Just had a punt with Ladbrokes at 50/1 that Plaid leader, Leanne Wood, will top the quickie polls after Thursday night’s seven-sided debate.

She’ll be fresh to a full national audience, has a pleasant manner, and handles herself well on TV. She’ll also attract less of the hostility that some of the others on the platform are likely to attract.

The rules ensure that she should get equal time with the other six and might just make a good impression. I love 50/1 shots and this might just come up.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

August 2014

101112 13141516

Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

Here's the legal text:
Printed by Dreamwidth LLC, Maryland, USA. Published and promoted by Mat Bowles (Liberal Democrat) of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Page Contents

Popular Topics

Designed by

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Page generated Mar. 29th, 2015 10:18 pm