Monday, June 25, 2007

The Man

Mad Martin Rowson is da man:

(From today's Guardian)

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Labour in Harmany

Well, it's Harman, I must have been one of those transfers from Cruddas to Harman that got her through past Johnson.

That she won by speaking left more or less only on individual members' votes doesn't bode well for Brown's plan to neuter the unions at conference.

It also shows why he was perhaps right - in his own terms, - not to put his premiership to the vote - it wiould have been unlikely that he could have even got the thumping win his mentor Smith got in '92.
Teh fight is clearly on - I am intrigued to find out what he has in mind when he talks of Citizen's Juries, and how far he'll take the concept.

To butcher a metaphor, we've lost thousands of hours of our lives fighting to move the front a millimetre to the left - but it is a millimetre and we've won it.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ramsay Brown?

It's the 1930's all over again - slim majorities, divided country, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And Gord Saveus has offered jobs to the Liberal-Satanists - cunnign ploy to divide and weaken them before an election? genuine sympathy for their politics and the grand progressive coalition? The long game preparing for a hung Parliament next time? All of the above?

Gordon Brown is an odd creature, his Wikipedia article seems to suggest he's never had a proper job outside politics, his entire existence seems to have been consumed by politics, and he clearly is a highly cunning political animal - Machiavelli was just the patsy for book Gordon wrote (it was a cunnign ploy involving a time machine, OK?). After all, Paddy "Driller-Killer" Ashdown (Former Dictator of Bosnia-Herzegovina) was approached by Brown after this story broke and offered a Cabinet post. Cabinet.

Maybe, just maybe, Brown's detachment from Labour is something to do with the servile and unchallenged way he got the job - he owes none of the PLP anything, and certainly doesn't have any rival staking a claim to his job and stalking him.

That's where to throw the blame. Tony Benn always used to highlight the power of patronage the Prime Minister has, and Julius Caius Brownsar has proven how effectvie this is in spades - ministerial colleagues can drag a PM down, but it's a grinding game, and at the minute he doesn't have a cabinet to resign from under him and is thus untouchable.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Darren was right

It's taken years for me to utter those words, but, there, I have - I've said it now.

I will be sporting this t-shirt
Combining the wisdom of CLR James with Cricket. Yes.

My purchase elicited this reply:
Bill thanks for your order. Any chance of a plug and a link on your most excellent blog? We're trying to build our profile in the blogosphere, all plugs most welcome and generously rewarded with T-shirts!
What can say? I'll plug anyone who butters me up.

That sounds wrong.

Anyway, I've scoped out their interesting looking range of t-shirts before (can't remember if they had an ad. in Viz or Fortean times, one or t'other).

Plug. Plug. Plug.

p.s. England appear to be losing - normal service has been resumed.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How I voted this morning

Well, the Labour Deputy Leadership election. So, it's run under the Alternative Vote so we get to rank all candidates in order of preference from 1st to 2nd, etc. with the option of giving no preference at all. I ranked four of the six candidates.

Realistically, there is no need to rank all candidates, certainly not the last (Candidates -1 rankings are the maximum that can take effect, if we got to a fifth round without a candidate getting the quota (50% +1 of the vote) then the last candidate would be elected by elimination). I think it's an outside chance that there will be many rounds of transfering, I think at most three.

Anyway, here's my list:


So, why these choices? Well, Cruddas has talked left, walked left and has the serious left recommending him, his focus on council housing, opposition to Trident and the Union Freedom Bill are welcome - of course, sicne he wants to remove the Deputy Leader from government it could all be a cunning ploy to disarm the post, but despite that I don't think he will win, I think its worth sending the message that his policies are popular with members - he should get a big first preference vote, but not many transfers in.

Harman, erm, well, I was impressed by her at the hustings, she admitted on the PM programme that ashe would describe herself as a Socialist, is committed to equality of outcome, and I agree that the prospect of a woman in the post would be welcome, in that sense I'm voting the balanced ticket, especially as I'm not going to give any preference to Blears.

Benn, well, he is certainly a competent speaker, deals with journalists very well, and could well be the candidate to pick up support from all wings of the party, so he's my tip for likely winner. Although his Hustings was very much big picture global poverty stuff, i think it would be hard for him not to bring some of that to a central government post that he would expect for the DL.

Johnson was a sort of surprise to myself, I was thinking of stopping at three preferences, butr I agree with Luke Akehurst that my Union's (UNISON) nomination means something, and in elections it's often who you are voting with ratehr than what you are voting for that counts - I don't trust him, but I prefer him to the last two, and so have given him my grudge vote.

i don't trust Hain and I mislike Blears, while I think she talks some sense and has a place in any sort of left progressive movement, I think pragmatism can only get you so far, and certainly isn't a campaigning platform - that comes afterwards.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Food insecurity

Inspired by a book in my hand that gives out a factoid. In the United States there are 13.5 million households that are food insecure, 4.4 million of which are fiood insecure and hungry (according to official definitions thereof). Put another way, 33.6 million people were food insecure in 2001, and by 2004 that rose to 38.2.

These are from this site, apparently.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The new Majority

According to Alan, over at Mailstrom the majority of the world now live in cities.

This has an obvious impact on the prosects for socalism - the majority of the world are also workers, and are now living in the highly interdependent circumstances of a city. It's easy for peasants and rural folk to latch onto structures of feeling connected with independence, rugged individualism, and the like. In a city, though, life revolves around communal infrastryucture, socialised dependencies (whether that is a privately owned, i.e. capitalised social space, or a state owned or a genuinely common one). The cheek by jowl nature of uran life teaches collectivity.

In Britain, the drive to humanise the slums was one of the big advances in socialisation, the pressure, the drive to do the same the world over can only grow with the urban population.

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