Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,182
Number of posts: 11,182
It's that time of year when I do the obligatory thread about the local elections, that are going on at the moment.
This year it's County Council elections in England & Wales. There are also mayoral elections in Doncaster & North Tyneside. Given the train wreck that is local politics in Doncaster that might be of some interest. Will Peter Davies (who has parted company with the English Democrats) keep the Mayor's job or will people in Doncaster find somebody sensible to do the job?
Please feel free to comment on the local elections, and local politics in your neck of the woods here.
I live in Derbyshire, and Labour really need to win back control of Derbyshire County Council from the Tories this year. However, I haven't seen any political campaigning round where I live for quite some time. Daft as it sounds I would actually appreciate some election literature as most of my interest is on what goes on over the border in South Yorkshire.
Posted by T_i_B | Fri Apr 12, 2013, 07:50 AM (43 replies)
Clegg has proved to be one of the most inept party leaders in British political history. However, if he goes could somebody else clean up the mess he's left behind? To be honest I don't see any senior Lib Dem who could make the party credible again.
The root of the many gripes that I have regarding the Lib Dems apply to much of UK politics, namely a tendency to see grabbing power for it's own sake as the main objective. It's certainly the main complaint I always had about New Labour.
The Lib Dems got themselves some power, but that in itself has not made them credible. In fact the concessions they made to get that power have caused them to lose credibility quite badly.
Posted by T_i_B | Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:12 PM (1 replies)
The Conservative Party have called for a fresh inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press after the one they’ve just spent £6m on didn’t reach the conclusion they wanted.
Speaking in the Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron opposed the recommendations of the Leveson inquiry on the grounds that they were different to what he had in mind.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a brilliant report,” he said. “It’s got loads of really good words in it and it’s impressively heavy. But what it fundamentally lacks are the recommendations that I want.”
Posted by T_i_B | Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:25 AM (1 replies)
Former Labour minister Denis MacShane is facing suspension from the Commons for 12-months.
A Parliamentary committee found he had submitted 19 false invoices which were "plainly intended to deceive" Parliament's expenses authority. The committee said it was the "gravest case" which has come to them for adjudication.
The committee's report described Mr MacShane's false claims as "far from what would be acceptable in any walk of life" and "fell far below the standards of integrity and probity expected of every member of the House".
The false invoices related to work Mr MacShane carried out in Europe and he was particularly criticised for his use of public money for European travel.
Posted by T_i_B | Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:39 AM (24 replies)
Every year I watch Conservative Conference and every year I find myself shouting at the telly in a vein attempt of educating rich people about how poverty actually works, and not because I ever lived in deep poverty but because I lived around it for a good amount of my life and I bothered to pay attention. I wish politicians would do the same.
Posted by T_i_B | Fri Oct 26, 2012, 07:28 AM (5 replies)
In just under a month from now we will be having elections for Police & Crime Commissioners (PCC's). Rhe below is a description of what this will involve
A police and crime commissioner (PCC) is independent and will be elected to oversee how crime will be tackled in your police force area. Their aim will be to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective. They will bring more of a public voice to policing and they will do this by:
•regularly engaging and meeting with the public to help set police and crime plans;
•ensuring the police force budget is spent where it matters most; and
•appointing the chief constable, and (if necessary) dismissing them if they have not performed well.
Please feel free to let us know who's standing in your area, and how the election is progressing.
Below is a very worrying article about what's going on in Lincolnshire
Mervyn Barrett has flooded Lincolnshire with expensive leaflets, free DVDs and full-page newspaper adverts in his bid to be elected as its policing supremo next month.
Unusually for a rural local election, he has employed professional campaign staff, commissioned weekly opinion polls, opened “field offices” and is driven in a chauffeured Mercedes. He has poured tens of thousands of pounds into the elections, far more than any other candidate anywhere else in Britain.
Mr Barrett describes himself as an “independent”, opposed to “party politics” in policing. He has refused to disclose who is funding him, despite widespread local suspicions generated by the intensity and professionalism of his campaign.
However, it can now be revealed that it has been run by a team from a US-based neo-conservative think tank, the Fund for the New American Century, funded in part by a variety of corporate donors with an interest in public-sector privatisation.
Posted by T_i_B | Mon Oct 22, 2012, 03:03 AM (25 replies)
I grew up in Sheffield Hallam, and as such Patnick was my MP during my formative years.
My (VERY right-wing) parents had dealings with him as a constituency MP and rated him highly. However, looking at his record as an MP it's difficult to concur.
Conservatism in Sheffield died in Patnick's time as an MP, he was one of the last Sheffield Tories to be booted out. He lost Hallam to the Lib Dems with an 18% swing against him. I think that might have been the biggest anti-tory swing of any constituency that election (and that took some doing even in 1997 when the Tories were decimated).
For some time now there have been no elected officials at any level from the Conservative Party in Sheffield. During Patnick's time they only ever seemed to campaign in the very poshest areas of the constituency, and these days the most you ever see of Sheffield Tories is anonymous bile on Sheffield Forum.
Patnick was not exactly sympathetic to people suffering due to Thatcher's economic polices. Given how badly a northern manufacturing town like Sheffield was affected that was an incredibly bad attitude to take. It should have served as a warning to the current Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg but sadly he's currently repeating many of the same mistakes made by Irvine Patnick.
Patnick was a government whip during John Major's government when the Tory Party was tearing itself apart over Europe. I remember him mainly as a loyal party man, although right now all anybody is noticing about him on Twitter is his support of Apartheid, the death penalty and opposition to gay rights. He was knighted in 1994 and a Labour MP (John Mann) has already written to the prime minister requesting that he be stripped of his knighthood over his porkies regarding the Hillsborough.
Apparently the press are outside his house right now waiting for an apology that may or may not be forthcoming. Even that scumbag Kelvin Mackenzie has offered an insincere apology, trying to pass the buck onto Patnick.
Posted by T_i_B | Wed Sep 12, 2012, 02:46 PM (2 replies)
It's being dominated by people who have not got the slightest clue about international trade, which is the biggest benefit we get from EU membership.
Contrary to what the likes of UKIP would have you believe, leaving the EU would greatly increase red tape and taxation in the form of import duties, which would make UK businesses much less competitive as it would be much less easy to export and would drive up the cost of imports (which would be very bad for our economy given how much we do import).
There is a lot about the EU that I dislike, but I do wish that debate on the subject of Europe could be just a little more nuanced. The "Europe right or wrong" mentality of some pro-EU types doesn't help either if I'm honest.
Posted by T_i_B | Mon Jul 2, 2012, 09:28 AM (0 replies)
You will struggle to find more devout supporters of Tony Blair than those at the top of the Conservative leadership. "I can't hold it back any more; I love Tony!" Michael Gove once exclaimed. David Cameron famously described himself as "the heir to Blair", and senior Tories refer to him as "The Master". "His influence is very firmly felt," a senior Tory told The Times. "He's like the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – gone but still greatly admired." Screaming teenagers at Take That concerts in the mid-1990s come to mind. Tories really love Blair not because of his undoubted political skills, but because they think he was "one of us", albeit trapped by the Labour Party. In his first joust with Blair after taking over as Conservative leader, Cameron offered to support him against his own party over his policy of marketising comprehensive education. "With our support, the Prime Minister knows there is no danger of losing these education reforms in a Parliamentary vote," Cameron crooned, mocking Labour backbenchers. "So he can afford to be as bold as he wants to be." And, in reality, Labour's current opposition to what the Coalition is doing is hobbled by the fact that Blair laid the foundation for so much of it.
Take the privatisation of the NHS. Under Blair, private sector involvement began to flourish and a commercial directorate was set up in the Department of Health. Gove is now expanding Blair's Academy schools programme, and free schools are a logical extension of them. The Coalition trebled the tuition fees that Blair introduced. Across public services, Blair expanded the role of the private sector – though not as fast as he would have liked, thanks to internal party opposition. But Cameron is taking this "reform" (the Blairite and Tory code word for "privatisation") ever further. "Public sector reform" has come up in the many conversations Blair has apparently had with Cameron, and I'm sure the ex-PM has had much advice to offer.
It was the murderous invasion of Iraq – described by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as "illegal" – that, for many, makes Blair unforgivable rather than a mere disappointment. It competes with the expenses scandal for the damage it did to faith in politicians. While in power, he courted despots like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, whom he described as "immensely courageous and a force for good" when the Egyptian people rose against him. Today, the man who partly justified the invasion of Iraq with Saddam's sickening human rights record is being paid $13 million to advise the brutal dictator of Kazakhstan.
His defenders argue that Labour could not have won without him. It is a myth. Black Wednesday in 1992 finished off the Tories, and Labour enjoyed subsequent massive poll leads under John Smith. Of the five million votes that Labour lost in its 13 years in power, four million went awol under Blair's leadership. It wasn't so-called "Middle England" that deserted the party. According to Ipsos MORI, while middle-class professional support for Labour declined by five percentage points between 1997 and 2010, support among skilled workers plummeted by 21 per cent.
Posted by T_i_B | Thu May 31, 2012, 04:17 PM (1 replies)
Hatred against those receiving benefits is out of control in Cameron's Britain. The Tories transformed a crisis of capitalism into a crisis of public spending, and determined that the most vulnerable would make the biggest sacrifices. But taking away support from the disabled, the unemployed and the working poor is not straightforward. It can only be achieved by a campaign of demonisation – to crush any potential sympathy. Benefit recipients must only appear as feckless, workshy scroungers, living in opulent quasi-mansions with wall-to-wall widescreen TVs, rampaging around the Canary Islands courtesy of handouts from the squeezed taxpayer. Benefit fraud does exist – according to Government estimates, it is worth less than 1 per cent of welfare spending – but the most extreme examples are passed off as representative, or as the "tip of the iceberg". The reality is all but airbrushed out of existence.
Six of the biggest disability charities have warned that the campaign of demonisation – by both journalists and politicians – has led to a surge in abuse towards people with disabilities. According to Scope, two-thirds reported abuse in September last year, up from 41 per cent just four months earlier.
But this campaign helps sustain public acquiescence in a massacre of the welfare state. George Osborne plans £10bn of further benefit cuts; Cameron's parting spinmeister Steve Hilton has proposed £25bn. Half a million people are to have their disability living allowance taken away, even though the estimated fraud rate is just 0.5 per cent. People with serious illnesses are being stripped of their employment and support allowance, after undergoing the horrendous (and often humiliating) ordeal of a points-based assessment by French corporation Atos. One man with a degenerative lung disease, Larry Newman, was awarded no points – just a few weeks before he died of his illness. Under New Labour (let's not forget who started this), one woman had her benefits cut after missing an assessment appointment – because she was in hospital having chemotherapy for stomach cancer.
But we rarely see this reality: it is intentionally hidden from us. The Government and much of the media divert anger from those who caused the crisis, to your "scrounging" neighbour down the street. And so we end with Carole Malone arguing that a family whose children died in a fire brought it on themselves. It is beyond shameful. And it must be challenged.
Posted by T_i_B | Fri May 18, 2012, 07:56 AM (8 replies)