Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Last of the big spenders

Now, whilst some people like to put a punt on politicalbetting.com the really serious gamblers prefer to play the high stakes game of - donating to their preferred political party.

Almost invariably, the party that spends the most money wins the election, in the UK. This isn't just because they spend more, it is also because likely winners attract donors - people like to back a winner and maybe see a decent return on their investment (David Sainsbury got a peerage and a ministerial post not unconnected to his family business, the corrupt little fucker, for instance).

The BBC seems to be indicating the smart money is now on a Tory victory at the next election.

I agree, my current prediction still remains on a Con/Lib-Dem administration after the next election.

Then, then, we could sit back and wonder at how Three terms Tony managed to turn the most commanding position ever held by Labour, into so much fluff.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The blessed Martin Rowson in a recent copy of Tribune coined a useful neologism. Neo tankie as a splendid term for the so-called pro-war left, or at least, significant elements of it. The likes of Aaronovitch (former communist) and Hitchens( former Trotskyist - and current admirer of the old butcher of Krondstadt) - comparing the former far leftists with the tankies of yore who supported the export of their revolution by the tanks that went into Budapest.

They haven't, really, changed. Still authoritarian and still in worship of the powerful, justifying death in the name of their current messianic creed.
Neo-tankie, it rolls off the tongue and places the likes of Harry's Placers quite nicely.

Stop using pro-war left, break out the neo-tankie jibe.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Buy this book

In lieu of blogging, this week I shall be mainly Glorifying terrorism:
GLORIFYING TERRORISM (Rackstraw Press) is, technically, illegal - because every SF/F story in this anthology breaks the current UK law that bans the glorification of terrorism. Whatever that is, of course.

Glorifying Terrorism includes contributions by Kathryn Allen, Chaz Brenchley, Marie Brennan, Hal Duncan, Suzette Haden Elgin, Kira Franz, Van Aaron Hughes, Davin Ireland, Gwyneth Jones, Vylar Kaftan, Lucy Kemnitzer, H. H. Løyche, Ken MacLeod, Una McCormack, Adam Roberts, Elizabeth Sourbut, Katherine Sparrow, Kari Sperring, Charlie Stross, Rachel Swirsky, Lavie Tidhar, James Trimarco, Jo Walton, Ian Watson, and Ian Whates.
Go on, become a criminal. Learn to love the bombers.

Hat tip: As plugged by the Strossmeister himself.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lords reform

Well, the White Paper is out. A new upper house 50% elected, 30% political appointees, 20% non-political appointees (clever, all the changes in proportion come out of the political appointees section.

Point to note is the determination that no one party should be able to dominate the house.

Some lame arguments are wheeled out against unjicameralism - hat big countries are too complex to go unicameral. This is backed up by showing how single chamber parliaments tend to occur in small countries. What they, I suspect, miss, is that those Parliaments tend to be quite small themselves, and that a suitable sized single chamber could well handle the complexities of British legislation.

Essentially, then, the new upper house as designed will be a useful sinecure for hacks and remain a nice piece of choice patronage for party leaders.

The tone of the White paper is technocratic - how can a legislature be managed - the point of high principle, that no-one should have a right to pass a law over me without me being able to do something to rid myself of them, is missing. Slipped into technocratic speak about legitimacy and acceptance of the institutions.

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Comrade Blair speaks

Having cunningly arranged my annual leave so I can unilaterally declare a four day week, I caught Tony Blair's interview on the Today programme last Friday.

Blair is a stunning interview performer, easy enough to sound nice, pushy enough to control the discussion, fast enough to avoid a punch being landed.

Usually, that is. Humphries landed a punch. It doesn't really appear in the review I linked to above, but Humphries asked Blair about the lack of social mobility, and quoted Alan Milburn (the ultra Blairista) and Alan Johnson (current cabinet minister) both saying that mobility has declined since their days on the council estates.

Blair was flummuxed, he clearly had no get out, cornered by his own acolytes. He waffled, Humpries pressed. The pressing was a mistake - it gave Blair time and an opening to say "I don't believe in punishing the wealth creators" casting this as about some sort of politics of envy.

It is, though, what he said before that that struck me like an intercontinental ballistic missile. He said that the difference between now and when the two Alan's were bairns is that there was an organised labour movement to help move people like them up.



The Labour Prime Minister says there was an organised workers' movement. Think about it. The head of the Labour Party says there is declining social mobility and a hard to reach group of the socially excluded solely because there isn't an organised political force doing something about it - the implication being such an organised political force could do something about it.

A slip on an interview, unreported, unmentioned in the sound and light over cash for honours and "When will he go?" - that will be Blair's political epitaph: "There was an organised workers' movement..."

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