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Showing posts from February, 2012

Sunday Verdict

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I was going to grit my teeth and buy the Sun, if only to see how they coped with this new phase in their turbulent life. In the end I didn't, so can only refer everyone to what seem like intelligent and fair-minded reviews from the New Statesman's Steven Baxter and the Guardian's Roy Greenslade.

I wasn't completely devoid of tabloid enlightenment however, as I did pick up a copy of the Star on Sunday, mainly to see how the Guido Fawkes bloggers fared in their new incarnation as dead tree press columnists. And the truth is - poorly. Their blog fizzes with uncovered tales of political derring-do, points fingers all over the place, racks up a variety of evidence to keep politicos and others on their toes - even today, the day of their great columnar awakening, they've given a pretty comprehensive kicking to Ken Livingstone over his tax avoidance measures. But on paper? Bland, utterly bland. Confined to a narrow column (nothing like the spreading words of Sally Ber…

Sunday Media Wars

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I remember having a look at the last edition of the late and unlamented News of the World. Online. I couldn't quite bring myself to buy it. It was a lamentable read. I had evolved some vague notion that the demise of a newspaper was inherently a bad thing, but reading through the stories of that final NoTW and their survey of past triumphs was a depressing trawl through a litany of tawdriness and banality that had been raised to levels of shrill, trumpeted, hysterical would-be importance. It represented, it seemed to me (and I don't think I'm unduly judgmental) the apogee of humanity's lowest common denominator, and it was with a sense of relief that I reflected we would see it no more. It was, at least, one less collection of nasty, malicious pieces of paper folded into a malevolent single whole.

So forgive me for not joining in the general excitement at the Screws' resurrection tomorrow in the form of the Sun on Sunday, whose first front page exclusive concer…

The Republican Merry-Go-Round After Arizona

It must be difficult presenting yourself as a man of firm principles when your past political career has sadly had to see those principles compromised in the interests of 'teamwork'. That at least seemed to be Rick Santorum's problem in the latest primary debate, hosted by CNN. The current newest challenger to Mitt Romney's putative crown had a poor showing in the debate, unusually having to defend moderate actions to, of all people, the Great Inconstant himself, Romney. It's a mean debate when Mitt Romney, of all people, can have a go at you for being responsible for Obamacare (admittedly by association - Santorum once endorsed former Republican Senator Arlen Specter, who famously defected to the Democrats and helped Obamacare pass the Senate).

The website Politico has put together Santorum's "Five Fluffed Lines" in this video, and reports more broadly on the debate as a whole here. Their view that the night was Santorum's to lose - and he did…

Republicans' Right-Wing Repeating Fix

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With Newt busily self-destructing, its been time for alternative right-wing darling Rick Santorum to come to the aid of the party again. Current polls show him tie-ing, or even slightly leading, the Mittmeister, as Republican activists continue their desperate search for someone, anyone, other than the safe, flip-flopping establishment choice. Because America, you see, really wants a red-blooded right-wing president who will start rolling back the evil liberalism of anti-christ incumbent Barack Obama and deal with those pesky Iranians and ally unthinkingly with the innocent much put-upon Israeli government. And that, interestingly, is exactly what the average Republican activist thought back in 1964, when another great liberal, Lyndon Johnson, was facing election as heir to the martyred Kennedy.

To get into the mood for the politics and history group's forthcoming Washington Tour, I have just started reading Rick Perlstein's much praised "Nixonland", his analysis o…

What On Earth Does Murdoch Know?

He's one of the most powerful men in the western world with his Bond-villain like dominance of the media, and he hobnobs with the visible and invisible power brokers on several continents. So what is it that Rupert Murdoch knows which inspired this chilling tweet earlier today?

Rupert Murdoch Economic matters interesting, but shouldn't we be preparing for likely Israeli hit on Iran very soon and unknown consequences?

The Uselessness of David Miliband

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I have always been of the view that, hopeless though Ed Miliband may be, his older brother, David, certainly was not deserving of the Labour leadership himself. He twice bottled the chance to pursue the leadership when it meant challenging the collapsing Brown regime, and seemed to think it was his by divine right when he did finally manage to stand. In the Telegraph yesterday Matthew Norman deploys his journalistic skills to comprehensively demolish any thought that Miliband senior is some kind of eminence grise of the left. On the tactic of making would-be challenging noises and then running away, Norman writes:
"This week, Milibandroid the Elder has mostly been playing Knock Down Ginger, and the sense of déjà vu is overwhelming. It never varies. He charges up to the door and boldly rings the bell, but at the first sound of footsteps from within, he scuttles away and hides in the bushes sucking his thumb. The pattern was set in the summer of 2008, when David wrote …

Huhne's Fall

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At the Conservative Conference that was held following the formation of the Coalition government there were many, often negative, views from delegates about the need to be in government with the Liberal Democrats. By contrast, Tory ministers, enjoying government for the first time after a long spell in the political cold, were almost falling over themselves to commend their Lib Dem partners as effective and realistic ministers. Nowhere was the love-in more apparent than amongst Tory members of the Energy and Climate Change department. Charles Hendry couldn't say enough about how excellent a minister was his new Lib Dem cabinet boss - one Chris Huhne. Which was odd in a way, given that Huhne remained arguably the most tribal, and certainly most difficult, of the new Lib Dem ministers.

But then, Huhne was not intended by nature to be an easy man to get along with. He was relentlessly awkward with the Prime Minister and his top team; his relationship with his own leader, Nick Clegg, t…

Where's Alistair?

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Fred the Shred's had a shredding of his own, as his knighthood goes into the same bin as Mussolini and Mugabe's. But this is a rather unsatisfactory form of retribution for a man who failed big-time but didn't actually commit any felonies, as the Telegraph's Daniel Knowles argues today. Knowles highlights the Goodwin travesty effectively enough, and quotes a retired former Labour minister to make the case even more appositely. Knowles even suggests that said retiree may be the one possible putative Labour leader to put the shivers up Messrs. Cameron and Osborne. His name? Alistair Darling, the man charged by Gordon Brown with clearing up Gordon Brown's mess, and still a respected figure on the British political scene. The Conservative high command must be very thankful he is indeed retired. Isn't he?