Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Mardell's written piece is on his blog here.
Soon to come - 7 steps to breathing unaided; putting one foot in front of the other and repeating - we call it walking; and an 8 page guidance note on sitting in plastic moulded chairs. All courtesy of the Health Protection Agency.
Desperate Labour figures are also trying to get him to stand down as an MP, suggesting that his son could take over the Glasgow seat he represents. Good to see Labour's strong commitment to inherited political power remains as strong as ever - their last foray into offspring elections was the disaster of Crewe and Nantwich, when they thought that the daughter of the late Labour MP was just the person to take it on. The People's Party strikes again!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
The office of Serjeant at Arms has hitherto been held by some high ranking former military man. The sort of person unlikely to allow himself to be intimidated by a mere police request. I wonder if the problem for Jill Pay is not that she has struck a blow for feminism in holding this office, but that she lacks the authority and sheer bloody mindedness that often comes with having held a high military position, and which would have served so well in this recent instance?
It is true that the head of the Met should be apolitical in terms of party or ideological adherence. But he cannot be apolitical in terms of appreciating the consequences of his actions, and those of the Met as a whole. The London police chief has to work with politicians of different stripes (just take the Home Secretary and Mayor of London as two of the most significant), to say nothing of a range of politically diverse community groups. He also has to be canny enough to appreciate the impact of media responses on public attitudes to police work. It seems that Stephenson and Quick both fall at these hurdles. It will, however, be fascinating to see if the Home Secretary summons up her courage to appoint one of them regardless - possibly Stephenson - thus bearing out the conspiratorial view that some have of the recent action which is to believe that the senior police officers cannot have been acting without tacit political approval, and may even have been hoping to curry favour. After all, it is not so long ago that John Scarlett was made head of MI6 as a reward for his supine subservience to the political requirements of Alistair Campbell and Tony Blair when they needed an excuse to invade Iraq. The fact that the intelligence services have still not recovered their credibility is an ominous sign of things to come for the Met unless they find a genuinely non-partisan chief.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Rabble Rousing George Galloway wanted to remind us that it was 50 years to the day that Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus - the bit where black people had to be in far off America. Would-be rabble rouser Nick Clegg also had a bit of history to tell us - did we know it was 50 years to the day since Rosa Parks........ Clegg also wanted us to know that the UN General Assembly had met here for the first time. Well, I guess if you are speaking in the afternoon session, and you can't think of any original lines for your sixth form audience, there's a chance you may end up repeating the morning speakers' bon mots. But at least in endorsing a reduction in the voting age to 16 Clegg was putting forward a unique and cutting edge idea to this receptive audience of, er, 16 and 17 year olds. If you don't count Tony Benn. Or George Galloway. Or Lembit Opik. Actually, let's not count Lembit Opik, but more on him later.
Then there was the hovering presence of an MP who we'd never heard of before the weekend, who was never booked to speak, but whose name was invoked by every speaker as if they were intoning the arrival of a new political martyr. Nothing has become Damian Green's career as much as the 9 hours spent under arrest at the behest of an over-zealous police force. Perhaps nothing will again. But he can at least be proud that he has united such diverse figures as George Galloway, William Hague, Tony Benn and Nick Clegg around the hallowed cause of parliamentary self-importance.
So perhaps today wasn't much of a forum for new ideas, but it gave us all a chance to hear some big names and reflect on what it is that gets people to the top in politics - or at any rate, fairly near the top; or at least, nearer the top than the bottom, where some of us languished before abandoning the whole idea.
I'll post some more detailed thoughts on some of the participants in due course, but a quick summary can suffice here for now. Tony Benn - the People's Tony - remains a winning speaker whose passionate idealism has never, over a long and rumbustuous political career, translated itself into effective practical action of any sort. He got lots of cheers from the assembled youths, many of whom would have had trouble picking him out in an identity parade, but he reminded us that idealism is still a powerful force. His message? "Have confidence in yourselves". Not a brilliantly original message, but it met a positive response.
Rhodri Morgan, Wales' First Minister, gave a thoughtful speech about the impact of devolution - probably the only speech of the day that actually dealt specifically with a key component of the AS level course. As such, most students lost concentration, and I was a bit worried he wasn't going to get any questions at all until some weird, uber confident student with glasses made a bit of an anti-Wales rant. Brought the house down, that one.[CORRECTION: The consensus from attendees is that this was not a student but a teacher, which might also explain the strange first comment in the Comments section!]
Then William Hague. He's good. He earns thousands for his after dinner routine. This gig was a walk in the park. He gave a few non-partisan thoughts before launching into a vigorous attack on the government as "the most incompetent government of modern times". Given the rush of students to the microphones to ask him questions, you might have thought one or two googlies would be bowled but not a bit of it. There was nothing Billy the Kid couldn't handle with his arms tied behind his back and his eyes shut. The nearest we came to anything remotely challenging was a sad looking individual who told Will that "I would never waste my vote on you". So that's clear then. Excellent.
As William cleared off to another, presumably more lucrative, engagement, onto the stage, relishing the mixed reception, came the much anticipated George Galloway. He's a monstrous figure; a charlatan of the first order; a man whose principles can be summed up as the furtherance of the ego of George Galloway. But he is entertaining. He brings political theatre to new levels and enlivens lacklustre proceedings. We didn't really care what he thought - he's against most things in this country and for quite a lot of things in other countries so long as they're not called Israel. He can rant against the war in Iraq as well as anyone - better than most, in fact, as we could judge today, since several speakers were keen to do it, and not just because it goes down well with a young audience. No, what we wanted was to hear how George woud use his legendary offensiveness to put down any student who dared mention the two blasphemous words - Big Brother. He didn't disappoint. He was casual, callous and ruthless. Even more so to the cerebrally challenged idiot who raised it a second time, immediately after the first. Galloway didn't always condemn repetitious and stupid questions though - he positively fawned over the nice but dim girl who asked what he thought about Barack Obama, just after he'd told us what he thought about Barack Obama. But then, she did at least say he was great on Big Brother after which he was mere putty. He's just a big pussy cat after all.
Nick Clegg did better than I thought, but since I thought he would be about as impressive as a leaking gas pipe that wasn't difficult. Some of the SGS contingent thought his political ideas were simplistic and superficial but honestly, what do they want, the moon on a stick? He was aksed, eventually, about the notorious plane conversation. Apparently he didn't say it. Not all of it anyway. And the bits he did say were distorted. And no-one believes the media these days do they? So there we are. Nick Clegg - a bit better than you thought, but not much.
Finally there was Lembit Opik. I had been hoping the organisers would give him a rest for a year or two. It's not that I mind that a university contemporary is much better known than me, and far more successful politically. It's just that I sort of despise him. I really don't want to. There's a sense of Bristol loyalty that wants me to like him, but he makes it so difficult. Yet again, we had the Lembit Opik Show, a fatuous combination of false, pally comments coupled with some heinous political incoherence and a lamentable level of crappy populism. Are you a student? Attending a political day conference? Then come and hear Lembit agree with you. He'd love to take on the BNP. He hates the war with Iraq. He wants to lower the voting age to 16. He wants to legalise cannabis. He's a libertarian. He hates the nanny state because it locks people up. He wants you to be his speech writer because you're brilliant, you really are. Hell, wait around afterwards and he'll go clubbing with you. He's a serious guy who knows how to have fun, even if he can't win Liberal presidential elections, and as if to emphasise what a fun guy he is, he'll end his performance with a quick rendition on the harmonica. My, what a card.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Also facing questions, and also someone under regular attack for the way he performs his duties, is Commons Speaker Michael Martin. Even Harriet Harman, on Sky this morning, was defending the right of MPs to pursue their jobs unmolested and expressing concern about the violation of Commons privilege. For Michael Martin, whose predecessors stood up to the power of the (then) monarchical government in the face of prison and execution, this is a sorry episode indeed. Rarely has the office of the Speaker been brought so low as to supinely allow police to raid an MPs offices in pursuit of low level leaks. From the heroic statement to armed royal guards that "I have neither eyes to see nor ears to hear except as this House directs", to "Yes, absolutely, go ahead and raid the office. Here's the key," is a fall indeed.
As for leaks, David Hencke in the Guardian puts it into context when he writes that they are part of the warp and weft of keeping a government to account. Governments will always try and hide what they can in the furtherance of their desire not to face legitimate criticism. Oppositions, and a free media, will always try and unearth such hidden gems to shed light on things the public should probably know. There was no greater recipient of leaks - and far more damaging than the ones Damian Green is accused of using - than Winston Churchill in the 1930s. Even the current guardian of public morality in government, Gordon Brown, was a persistent user of leaks to pursue his campaign against the then Tory government.
Governments in power for too long come to believe in their own omniscience, and to exude the signs of arrogance and incompetence that comes from giving mediocrities power which they ill suited to wield. It happened under the Major government, and the worry for Brown should be that his government is showing the same signs of political fatigue. Ken Clarke, in a typically vigorous intervention today, likened the situation to "President Nixon's America". Brown has more personal similarities to the disgraced former president than he might care to reflect on; in his case, however, he will be able to wait for the public to eject him than have to resign beforehand.
NB An interesting alternative view of this incident is held by Richard North on his blog, EU Referendum here. He essentially argues the case that Damian Green was certainly guilty of an offence, as was the civil servant who did the leaking, and the contrary hysteria completely misses the point.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Good stewardship of the economy of course means having the flexibility to know when a bail out is in order, and we all like to think that governments can take action to alleviate nearly any of our problems, but there might also be time for a reality check about how exactly the long-term position looks. Most people using credit are meant to have some idea about how they will pay it back. Perhaps modern governments don't have to be under the same pressure?
Obama certainly doesn't need Clinton. Her supporters voted for him on election day, he has a first class team of intelligent foreign policy experts, and she brings little actual foreign policy experience to the job. What makes the appointment more inexplicable is that Hillary Clinton will clearly want considerable independence in the Sec. State job, at a time when the real change would come from Obama imposing his agenda and controlling foreign policy tightly from the White House. Clinton voted for the war, remember. She has not offered a single opinion, or ventured a single vote, which suggests she has anything other than a Bush-lite view of foreign affairs.
Obama's presidential hero is, of course, Abraham Lincoln, who famously included his party rival, William Seward - also a New York politician - in his cabinet as Secretary of State. One hopes, if Obama is to make Clinton his principal diplomat, that it is for better reasons than simply the desire to emulate his revered Illinois predecessor.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Bill Jones, meanwhile, on his blog, carries a comment about the representativeness of parliament - specifically the House of Commons - which should be useful reading for AS students in particular, as they consider the representative nature of the Commons in all its aspects. Jones links to a longer article in the Guardian, also linked opposite.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Emanuel, the congressman and ex-Clinton staffer just appointed by Obama as his new Chief of Staff, was the inspiration for the Josh Lyman character in the series 'West Wing'. they certainly knew a thing or two, those writers.
And there has been much reaction about Emanuel's appointment, of the "he's too partisan and tough to be a nice chief of staff" variety, all of which rather misses the point. Obama, the great reconciler, will need a tough staffer to field the dirty work. Furthermore, the chief of staff wil spend much time liaising with Congress to get the presidential legislative agenda through, and it's the Democrats, not the Republicans, who he will need to get on side. Frankly, the Republicans are an irrelevance at the moment. So Emanuel, who knows the Democrat caucus better than anyone, is absolutely the right man for those disparate tasks. A great first appointment!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
First, Obama's acknowledgement of victory. His speech from Grant Park in Chicago was another rhetorical triumph. And such rhetoric should not be despised. The right-wing commentator Douglas Murray was scathing about the 'pretty words' used by politicians such as Obama and Cameron in an article for 'Standpoint' magazine; but is ire is misdirected. He dislikes their political stance, and thus loathes their ability to articulate it so effectively. The ability of political leaders and would-be leaders to inspire us, and articulate fine ideals, has always been a mark of some of the greatest figures in history, and should not be despised now. After eight years of a president who can barely articulate his own name, it was somehow refreshing to hear the soaring cadences and promises of Obama on his night of victory. For a while, the listening millions heard their own aspirations being vocalised, could empathise with the desire for new goals and could admire a leader who sought to achieve these whilst acknowledging the tough road ahead. Words do inspire - look at Churchill - and this is a time for a renewal of such inspiration. Obama has provided that. It is one reason why he has been rewarded with the high office he will soon hold. And if that's what he says on his victory night, I look forward to his inauguration speech in January.
But the hope that Obama inspires also carries within it the seeds of his failure. Many people, not just American electors, have invested considerable hope in the freshman senator from Illinois, in the belief that he can find a new way of doing business, can see them through an economic crisis, can identify a way to end a wretched war, can bring reconciliation to a divided society, can reach across the globe in a new American partnership. Such soaring ambitions too often fail, and Obama's road - as it would be for any president - will be a rocky one. We expect him to stumble, but should he fail on a greater scale it will not just be the failure of his politics that matters, it will be the dashing of hopes that may not again be resurrected. Obama carries a huge burden of expectation, a burden he has hoisted himself, and the consequent need to keep it in the air and diminish it properly is his to undertake; it is an enormous task. For now, though, it is worth relishing the excitement and fascination of history in the making - let us keep cynicism at bay, at least for a while.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Incidentally, the Evening Standard's Paul Waugh provides a first class, clinical analysis of the Galpin interview here.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
London not only offers crony capitalists Michelin-starred restaurants, security guards and discreet bankers. Our authoritarian libel laws also attract the rich. Editors think once, twice, 100 times before crossing them. They know they must contend with libel judges and Law Lords unfit to hold office in an open society because they won't stand up for freedom of speech.
Anyway, it's good to note that the old Harrovian driver of the car will only be charged for drunk driving, and not possession of the illegal substances which his mate managed to stash away before the police arrived!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The story of potential donations is not, whatever the Tories would like us to think, a non-story. It has murky depths and there were clearly discussions about getting donations from an extraordinarily inappropriate source. But this aspect remains vague at present, stuck in the realm of speculative conversations and rather dream-like 'what ifs'. What is much clearer is the remarkable lack of political judgement of a man who is sometimes seen as the Conservatives' co-leader, and the narrow, rarefied, world that our political elite sees fit to move in.
First, the judgement issue. George Osborne has made several mis-steps here. He took an ill-advised visit to the yacht of a dodgy Russian billionaire (and yes, ALL Russian billionaires are dodgy, given the creation of their wealth out of the rush for state assets following the fall of communism!). Also,at a time when the Conservatives should be trying to distance themselves from the perception of free-loading that was such a weakness of Tony Blair's, Osborne takes a free holiday from a multi-millionaire hedge-fund manager. Just reflect on last summer for a second - a summer when Gordon Brown was anxious to be seen as taking a modest British holiday in Suffolk, and David Cameron paraded the joys of west country beaches (before, less publically, jetting off to Turkey!). This need for modesty from political leaders clearly passed Osborne right by. Then there's Osborne's extraordinary action in leaking the comments made to him by Mandelson at a private dinner hosted by Rothschild. Here, Osborne was trying to enter Mandelson territory, and has been badly burned, just as the malicious Mandelson himself was burned as a consequence of using such tactics over many years. To call Osborne a fool and a charlatan in this respect hardly does him justice.
Second, the world of the political elite. Whatever the ins and outs of the donation question, the stench of unmerited wealth and privilege that emanates from this story almost overwhelms it. The whole thing is like one of the less savoury scenes from Brideshead Revisited. Osborne and Rothschild were fellow members of the Bullingdon Club - the ultimate haunt of spoilt, wealthy upper-class vandals with no respect for anyone who doesn't come into their rarefied circle. Andrew Feldman, the Tory fund raiser, and now chief exec., who was asked by Osborne to join him on the visit to the Russian billionaire, is another member of the narrowly based Oxford circle - a mate of David Cameron's, himself a member of the aforementioned Bullingdon Club. The unsavoury Russian billionaire, and the thoroughly tarnished EU Business Commissioner add to the sense of unreality, and this heads into overdrive when you realise that Rupert Murdoch, owner of the newspaper which has just published Rothschild's letters, parked his yacht near to the Rothschild estate and dropped in for a visit too. Was Osborne really wanting a nice holiday, or was he attracted by the presence of media and financial star power?
In Britain today, hundeds of thousands - potentially millions - of households face losing their jobs, or homes, or both; they face increasing hardship as the economy heads into slow mode; ordinary families wonder what they will have to leave out of the weekly food basket; people young and old seek shelter on our street; our cities house increasing levels of crime, much of it lethally violent; the downward social spiral occasioned by greater drug and alcohol abuse engulfs more and more people; and George Osborne and Peter Mandelson between them offer us a glimpse of a faraway political world that seems ever more spoilt, ever more insular, ever more incapable and ever more irrelevant. From such nonsense the seed of political revolution is often sown.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign can take a little comfort from the unravelling of the the Joe the Plumber story. Having cited the 'ordinary Joe' - a figure who challenged the Democrat candidate on the stump a few days ago - no less than 20 times in the last presidential debate, McCain may wish his people had done a bit more fact checking (not one of their strong points - look at Sarah Palin). Turns out that Joe the plumber isn't licensed and is a bit of a charlatan all round.
To her credit, Montague pushed this point and Osborne, lamely referring to some very ambiguous stands he may have taken in the last general election, was left reeling on the ropes. A classic case study of how to stuff up when in opposition at a time of crisis.
I've always thought Osborne was over-rated and in over his head - he continues to sound a bit like a smug public schoolboy who has absorbed one or two bits of political ideology but never really fought for anything substantial in his life. Oh, wait a minute, George Osborne IS a........
UPDATE: Jeff Randall, not exactly a cringing leftie, has this negative view of Osborne's recent performance in the Telegraph today.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The main party spokesmen, incidentally, steered well clear of direct responses.
The Telegraph is reporting that David Dimbleby is thinking of quitting Question Time if the BBC inists on moving its production to Glasgow. Iain Dale's blog had a poll for his putative successor - Andrew Neill just beat Paxman in the result.
Conservative Home's Centre-Right blog finds that you can blame Bill Clinton for the credit crunch.
In the new Standpoint magazine, American sociologist Charles Murray suggests that not every child really needs an academic education, and we are wasting our resources providing it.
"Fifty per cent of children are below average in linguistic and logical-mathematical ability. Being below average means that they are limited in the things they can do in reading and maths. It is no more remarkable than being limited in the things one can do in sport or music."
And Bill Jones reflects on Gordon Brown's astonishing resurrection...it's the stuff that makes politics exciting!
Monday, October 13, 2008
PoliticsConsidered: Explaining the Banking Crisis
He has a summary version on his blog here.
I suspect that such optimism is mislaid. The real impact of the financial crisis has yet to hit the homes of most ordinary voters, and when it does, in the form of family budget crises and rising unemployment (The Observer carried a prediction of 2 million by next month when the crisis squeezes the real economy) there is unlikely to be much electoral sympathy for Gordon Brown. The policy of nationalising the banks may or may not work - and not every country has had to go through this extraordinary rescue plan, notably Australia and Sweden - and the long-term consequences of nationalised banking have yet to be properly weighed up, but for the crisis proper, Gordon's rescue plan is still obscure. In these circumstances, the Tories merely have to sound credible - I agree, something they are still struggling with - but they can take some comfort from the fact that no-one rewards governments that preside over a general economic stagnation. Once the banking crisis has disappeared from the front pages, what will be left will be a huge expenditure of government money, and a lot of people wondering why their jobs can't be saved in the same way as the banks. Whatever rational explanation there may be for that conundrum, it does not add up to any good electoral figures for the incumbent government.
Further Links (UPDATED):
Guido Fawkes on Brown's delusionary beliefs
John Rentoul on why it's game over for Brown.
Paul Krugman's view - the Nobel prize-winning economist praises Brown's actions - see the comments on this.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Another example of economic silly season also seems to be hitting the web paper First Post, whose self-styled Westminster insider "The Mole" reported that Gordon Brown might consider inviting Vince Cable to be Chancellor if things don't improve!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
(courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog).
Incidentally, best line of the afternoon probably belonged to Nick Clegg - "When a ship is sinking you send out the lifeboats, you don't argue about who steered it into the iceberg."
The Huffington Post reports another instance of Obama's middle name being used as a crowd inciter at a rally with both McCain and Palin.
Alexander Cockburn in the First Post finds the most recent debate a clear case of 'imbecilic tedium', but has harsher words for Obama - as the self-proclaimed candidate of change, he has offered no new ideas says Cockburn.
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Sarah Palin's 'terrorism' accusations against Barack Obama - a gem, again!
Danny Finkelstein in the Times' Comment Central suggests that Obama will win, not least because he is massively outspending McCain on television spots.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
"In London the Cabinet meeting broke up after about an hour and a half. Foreign Secretary David Miliband, emerging from Number 10, said: "These are very serious times. We take them very seriously."
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon echoed his comments, saying: "It was a serious meeting."
Monday, October 06, 2008
And, while we're on it, Palin's debate performance against Joe Biden was execrable. She gloried in her ignorance, tried to suggest her utter lack of national preparedness was basically about being a 'maverick', and performed the whole debacle as if she were a star-struck loser who had just been allowed on a local talent show through a sympathy vote. Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey has achieved considerable fame by sending up Palin's ludicrous persona, and got it right again with her take-off of the debate performance. And to think some Republicans seriously thought Palin had quashed the doubters.
The Tina Fey debate spoof on SNL is here, while her take-off of Palin's Couric interview is here, given added spice by being placed alongside the actual interview. Gems both; if only it was Fey who was running!
Friday, October 03, 2008
“Today’s reshuffle demonstrates a stunning failure of judgement by Gordon Brown. In bringing back Peter Mandelson – the man who created Labour spin – he has broken his promise to govern in an honest and open way. You can only conclude that his appointment was designed to distract from the changes he should have made. By leaving in place a Chancellor who has failed and a Foreign Secretary who has undermined him at every opportunity Gordon Brown has also been exposed as weak. With this bizarre reshuffle the Prime Minister has achieved the impossible and made the Government even more dysfunctional.”
Thursday, October 02, 2008
That the Met Commissioner didn't have the confidence of the new Mayor speaks only favourably of the mayor. Blair has presided over some truly appalling errors - the killing of Jean Charles Menenez being merely the most tragic - and has, moreover, shown little sign that he really appreciates this. He may agonise about his public persona, but he has agonised precious little about where his wretched leadership has been taking the Met. To maintain the capital that this act has given him, Boris doesn't need to suggest a political appointment to succeed Blair - he merely needs to engage the services of a good copper who understands the job.
As for the Cameron speech, it evinced in many ways the problems that still beset the man himself. Much commentary has centred around its style - that it was delivered from a lectern, and with notes this time, that it was soberly given - rather than the distinctly absent content. Cameron is selling himself, rather cornily, as 'the man with a plan', but the plan is no clearer now than it's ever been. Indeed, while Cameron seeks to deflate hopes of tax decreases in his speech, his shadow chancellor made the only eye-catching announcement of the week in his determination to freeze council taxes. While there is such schizophrenia over the party's tortuous central message, what hope is there for all of the other bits?
David Cameron still looks like a man who can win, but this week has shown, if he didn't know it already, just how fragile that look is, and just how quickly political tides turn. He is a long way from the dominance that Tony Blair was achieving in the run-up to the 1997 election, and that must surely be continuing to give him cause for concern. Man with a plan? The Tories must be hoping that plan includes a winning strategy somewhere along the line.
Monday, September 29, 2008
The Tory Conference in Birmingham should look like a breeze this week, with Cameron enjoying good opinion poll ratings, but as several punters are pointing out, his ratings are not nearly as positive as they should be, the Tory lead was halved to just 12 points at the weekend, and people still await some concrete Tory ideas. Osborne's was one of them - what else is coming out from the party that would be next in government we wonder?
No such excuse can apply to the much worse answer given by Sarah Palin in her CBS interview the other night. Asked for the specifics about her claim that John McCain "will reform the way Wall Street does business", Palin floundered helplessly before saying "I'll try to find something and I'll bring it to ya." This was possibly the lowest moment in a pretty dire interview which exposed her complete lack of any sort of political grasp outside the politics of Alaska. Little wonder that there is talk of having Palin replaced on the Republican ticket (no chance of that though), or that she is being kept firmly away from the mikes as often as possible. After last week's presidential debates, while Joe Biden was pretty well everywhere giving the spin about Obama, Palin was kept well hidden. That Palin is a complete disaster as a vice-presidential choice is clear, although I wouldn't completely write her off for the Vice-Presidential debates this Thursday. Nevertheless, although the Republican grassroots continue to adore her for what she stands for, some of the right-wing commentators on this side of the Atlantic might begin to review their own hasty hagiographies of the woman who thinks Russia is going to attack America via Alaska.
Extracts from her truly embarrassing interview can be seen below.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
[And for those not sure of the significance of a 'Heseltine moment', here is the BBC's brief survey of the great man's political career.]
Whether you liked the speech or not, Gordon Brown at least seemed to satisfy his party faithful and generate some positive news headlines the following day. Job done, you might think. Not in Brownland. Knowing that the Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, would be resigning at the time of the cabinet reshuffle, it seems that Brown's bunker-like team of advisers started to convince themselves that she would use said resignation as a starting gun for other, disillusioned cabinet ministers to join her at the exit. This bizarre line of reasoning led someone to leak news of her impending resignation to some favoured journalists, and ultimately gave rise to the extraordinary spectacle of a 3am press conference by the Downing Street mob to run a story about a minister's resignation that the minister herself had had no intention of releasing. All in the name of squashing a hypothetical plot.
There have been numerous stories of the paranoid, bunker mentality currently prevailing on Team Brown (see this post by Iain Dale, and the article linked opposite by Nick Cohen as examples), and the Kelly affair, so utterly self-destructive, seems merely to pile more evidence on the 'Gordon Brown is mad, delusional and out of control' theory.