Saturday, March 22, 2008

L6 Admin - Parliament Visit

L6 students going to parliament on Tuesday should check their school email and please note that the meeting time has changed to 10.30am.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Blair to lecture on faith and reconciliation

Oh dear oh dear! Tony Blair has notched up another job that should help go a little further in paying his whopping Mayfair mortgage. But as if taking up the role of the world's least likely middle-east peacemaker wasn't enough, Yale University, once a university of good standing in America, has appointed him to a year-long fellowship to lead seminars on faith and globalisation. Yale's president commented:

"...it is essential that we explore how religious values can be channelled toward reconciliation rather than polarisation.
"Mr Blair has demonstrated outstanding leadership in these areas and is especially qualified to bring his perspective to bear."


It's been a long time since the launching of a disastrous and unnecessary war, that has polarised relations between the west and the middle-east, was considered outstanding leadership in the area of reconciliation.

Roundhead's 'Wet' Descendant Dies

Francis Pym, who has died at the age of 86, boasted a distinguished ancestry, including the civil war parliamentarian John Pym, who proved to be such a thorn in the side of King Charles I. Francis Pym himself was a thorn in the side of another English ruler who thought they were right about everything and that their political servants should basically just do their bidding - Margaret Thatcher. An old-fashioned 'one nation' conservative, Pym did little to disguise his distaste for Thatcherism. However, he was first and foremost a public servant and, having served as Defence Secretary in the past, he was brought in by Thatcher to replace Lord Carrington as Foreign Secretary at the time of the Falklands War. He did a perfectly decent job, but his continued dislike of Thatcher's politics, plus his comment on 'Question Time' that landslide majorities (such as the one Thatcher was heading for in 1983) did not necessarily lead to good government, eventually cost him his job. Having secured her landslide, Thatcher dropped Pym over the side himself. He was one of a succession of gentlemanly 'wets' who disliked Thatcher, but proved to be her inferior when it came to sheer political gutsiness. Not for nothing did she call them 'wets', but Pym's passing marks the gradual ending of a political era nonetheless - half the original Thatcher cabinet are now underground.

The Question Time comment, incidentally, can be seen at the beginning of the 'Question Time' special programme on their website here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Little Liberal Bother.

I'm not convinced that Alistair Carmichael, Tim Farron and David Heath will be household names any more tonight than they were last night, but these three men - who are all actually Liberal Democrat MP's - have managed to inflict a bit of damage on Nick Clegg, their shiny new party leader. They were members of his shadow cabinet, and therefore in line to be key members of government in the event of a Lib Dem victory at the next election. Today, however, they voted against their party leader's call (ignoring the advice given in Gilbert and Sullivan's peerless "When I Was a Lad" to "always vote at my party's call, and never think of thinking for myself at all"). Nick Clegg wanted his MPs to abstain on the Commons motion for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. They - and 13 others - didn't. 16 Lib Dems voting against the leader across 2 votes counts as a major rebellion in Liberal terms.
Nick Clegg's position is a little obscure, and he has had to vigorously defend his decision to essentially give the Brown government free passage to avoid consulting the British public in a referendum, especially since Clegg is in favour of a referendum on the issue of the (very similar to Lisbon) EU constitution. But that's Liberal politics for you. Even when they're in the limelight we're still asking 'who? who?' and trying to understand their tortuous middle ground.

Clinton's Comeback

She's done it again. Beaten the predictions of the pundits and forged back into the race just when everyone was saying that Barack Obama's momentum was unstoppable. Winning Ohio and Texas were significant victories for Hillary Clinton, although she remains behind - by about 100 - in the delegate count. This Democratic race looks as if it will go to the convention floor, and that is good news for the later voting states. There was a tendency for the Obama-ites to suggest that Clinton should withdraw from the race if she didn't win yesterday, but that would have deprived Pennsylvania and other states of having their say. Democracy is served by this two-person race continuing, and the Democratic party continues to garner more interest than the Republicans. Pity poor John McCain, incidentally, who has to go to the White House to receive George W's blessing. He must be hoping that one gets buried amidst other news items at any rate.

Clinton's campaign has also been broadcasting a Jack Nicholson ad on Youtube (see below). Featuring brief scenes from some of his films, there are two classic 'A Few Good Men' moments, particularly the one where, as the bonkers colonel, he talks about how sexy saluting a female senior officer is and says that, because he's a colonel, he'll 'just have to keep taking a cold shower in the mornings until they elect some gal president'.... Nice one Hill! Nicholson looks old and weatherbeaten, mind you, when he appears at the end to endorse the video! Clinton also did a good stint on the Daily Show too (second video below)! My, my, if the election doesn't go her way it looks as if light entertainment could be beckoning!