Showing posts from April, 2008

By their Speeches shall ye know them....

A colleague has passed me a recent article by Matthew Parris in the 'Spectator' which is worth reading (online here). Parris uses the texts of two speeches from presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to muse on the state of US and British politics - or, more accurately, politicians. Both McCain and Obama, in their different ways, provide depth, intelligence, elegance and an awareness of the complex ambiguity of politics to make their persuasive arguments and, says Parris, they come out at the end of the process as manifestly admirable men. When did you last hear a British politician, he asks, give a speech that suggested he was more than an interminable political cipher reading drivel set out for him by a spinmeister?

Obama, incidentally, has been defending his friendship with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but I must confess as I hear Wright's comments and his clarifications I find that they are informed by a passionate and perfectly credible worldvie…

London's Crazy Choice

Well at least the good old metropolis has thrown up a colourful election battle. We complain all the time about colourless politicans, and when we're not doing that we pretend that personality has no place in politics, which is, to use a Boris-ism, utter rot. So, in a sense, London is delivering! Ken, Boris, and Sutton Grammar's most prominent old boy, all adding colour to the capital's politics. And the winner of this election can boast the second biggest personal electoral mandate in western Europe, second only to the president of France.

But who would be best?

'Ken' has had two terms and, in fairness, some solid achievements. While he is damaged goods as a Labour candidate (didn't we really prefer the idea of an Independent?), he has introduced the congestion charge, and provided strong central leadership. He's also become too cosy in his sinecure, too inclined to believe his own not inexpensive propaganda, too dependent on a circle of cronies getting thei…

Harman's PMQ's Debut

A little bit of humble pie is in order I think. Having been very negative about Ms. Harman in an earlier post, and having perhaps given the impression that I thought she was a talentless, humourless apparatchik, I have to concede that she appears to have put in a pretty good performance at Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon, standing in for the absent Gordon Brown. Facing the Tories' most effective despatch box performer, William Hague, she managed to emerge with credit, showed good humour, and responded effectively to some of Hague's barbs, especially on fashion, where he sought to make merry out of her wearing a stab-proof vest when touring her constitutency. Parliamentary competence, having mde Vince Cable's reputation, may yet improve Ms. Harman's. The BBC report is here.