Saturday, February 03, 2007

Manchester Withington Selection: Nine No-Nonsense Labour Women, Round One

On today's showing my personal abridged notes (in batting order):

Jenny Lennox: Most feisty, Most visibly socialist, Most authentic (joint), Special mention for her locality;
Jane Evans PhD: Best anecdotes, Most green credentials;
Councillor Nargis Khan: Only one already elected to public office, Lib Dem basher, Most authentic (joint), Most heart;
Yogesh Virmani PhD: Most persistently local, Best poncho, Best chair-defying duration;
Casra Khan: Most experienced PPC, Audibly socialist, Most excellent on the NHS;
Jane Lewis: Most casual speech, Strongest Trade Union service;
Sandra Moorcroft: Greatest surprise, Very confident and clear, Will make someone a good PPC;
Lucy Powell: Best prepared, Slickest delivery, Clearly popular with constituency officers, Best dad in the room;
Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE: Most decorated, Strongest on housing.

All in all this is a very impressive collection of Labour women every one of whom has more integrity and vocation to serve than the incumbent rascal John Leech. Though one or two were I think slightly disingenuous about the currency and strength of their local connections.

The format used for this preliminary was a short speech and three 'identical' questions. There was some variation in the latter which made small differences at the margins. Advice to CLPs: Recite such questions WORD PERFECTLY and possibly provide wording of each on paper as they are asked.

John Leech's people were urged by a party lay officer to de-select an Asian woman who had stood with very successful swings in 1997 and 2001 on the grounds that as a black, a muslim, and as a woman she had no chance. Withington will at last have a chance to prove at least one, if not all three slurs on the electorate of Withington completely and hopelessly inaccurate.

APOLOGIES: To Yogesh Virmani, labouring under the wrong family name here. Now corrected. And the Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE who has now been redecorated.

UPDATE: Considering the rules under which this selection is being conducted I have now removed four comments from among the 50 comments to date. These are the ones that included particularly disparaging remarks - against the letter and the spirit of the rules - if anyone thinks I've missed anything serious please drop me a line at idea at mcr1 dot poptel dot org dot uk. Thanks.

Guido Fawkes: 401 Years On, Revenge Served Cold

If you don't enjoy gallows candour look away now.

This was a rather better week for one Guido Fawkes than enjoyed by his illustrious forebear. The illustration shows the closing stages of his long, ahem, drawn out execution.

After months of torture Fawkes tried to speed his own end by throwing himself violently off the gibbet in the hope of some neck snapping relief before they started cutting him up.

Plot foiled. Rope snapped. So poor Fawkes was more not less alive when they started cutting bits off him, burning them before his very eyes, pulling his guts out, and so on and so forth. Eventually they chopped his head off.

Presumably they are searching for his dark heart, and find alas that it had already gone to the one true heaven.

Yates of the Yard: Watertight or Completely Donald?

Has Yates of the Yard got his ducks in a row? On Thursday LoL reported the second questioning of Mr Blair but unlike the Tory bloggers included the news that police sources were also saying they may not have much of a case.

Martha Kearney reported this nuance too on Newsnight. While it's pretty clear that all the parties are pushing the envelope of the rules it does look like all the horse-trading of loans, gifts, Ks and Big Ps may have been entirely within the current law.

Today's Guardian reports extensively: Blair can't go early; Blair deftly passes Humphreys grilling; yet Labour still fears charges. Towards the foot of this third piece which reckons CPS and learned counsel may be pushed very hard, despite what police sources have already briefed is a bit of a thin case, Tony Wright is quoted:

The police should not be worried if they are not going to charge anybody over this because they have already done an invaluable service in shaking up the body politic by investigating in this area.

Whatever happens there will be a full enquiry by the Commons public administration committee which this Labour MP chairs.

LoL still think this epic rivals Moby Dick and that Yates, Fawkes and Cameron may end up sleeping with the fishes on this one.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Peter Hain: So That's Alright Then

Unpopular though Mr Hain is with his loyal constituents, including one of my sisters-in-law in South Wales, with the fenians and orangemen alike in "the province", and with Tories who don't like the jaunty cut of his jib, he could easily have found himself even more unpopular with the paid officer classes in the Labour Party.

Guido leaked a list purportedly of Hain's supporters including a number who are expected to be neutral, and Dale's friends had Hain defending his possible use of (apparently inept) SpAds in his campaign, in answering a dark parliamentary question.

But thankfully at Labour's NEC on Tuesday Peter was able to assert that none of the paid officials on the leaked list were in fact in league with him in any way whatsoever.

So that's alright then. All sorted in 30 seconds. I'll drink to that! Obviously none of those paid officials would do such a thing. Or take sides in any internal party matter. Ever. Quite so.

UPDATE: At Withington selection pre-hustings gathering today I am assured that members of staff have been getting very humble apologies from the tanned one. He was very amusing at regional Conference last year with the eyebrow work of Whippy Woolas as Hain went from off-message to off-message, in a good kinda way, remarkable to behold.

Political Betting: Dunfermline, Withington

Very interesting thread HERE about the shock by-election win for arms profiteer Willie Rennie MP. The last 50 minutes of the on the night thread are reproduced. Even after a result was known people were betting on Labour in case of a recount.

This reminiscence about a betting market failure was prompted by Manchester's win on the casino front.

The comments on the retaking of Withington strand show signs of Lib Dem trolls. John Leech MP has stood up with Rennie for his ridiculous, given his history, tilting at cluster bomb windmills.

For my money BOTH these crooked characters will lose and lose badly next time. In Withington the swing in local elections has already been SIX TIMES that required to get rid of lightweight Leech. Even minor Tory recovery would see them dead and buried. Nothing to grin about.

Luke Akehurst: Trident Worshipper on Tour, Shock as CNDs Armoury Bigger Than His Pride and Joy

Luke Akehurst is being complimentary about grass roots Labour people and our ability to grasp and debate contentious policy areas in our constituencies. Hallelujah!

Once again Luke got the impression that most of those gathered to debate Trident supported CND's Kate Hudson rather than his good self.

Luke asks the National Executive Committee and National Policy Forum to take note of the fact that : "there are a lot of people out there in the party with intelligent contributions to make to policy debate and a lack of opportunities to contribute".

"It was one of those good debates where you come away with respect for the integrity and thoughtfulness of the position taken by your opponent".

The mystery for me then is why party managers - elected and salaried - make such an effort to keep these debates off the conference floor.

In Brighton 2005 delegates were urged to vote in the priorities ballot to include and then defeat nasty Trade Union resolutions on NHS Privatisation and Trade Union Rights (Gate Gourmet). The delegate (aw shucks) who stood up and suggested voting for four CLP resolutions got some hard stares I can tell you.

The same line was occurring in each of the regional briefings however and when followed by naive and/or loyal delegates kept Iraq and Trident Replacement off the agenda. At least this meant some of the loyal "resolutions" which had not been passed by CLPs but which were passed by CAC didn't need to be used to try for a pro-war resolution if worst came to worst. Probably for the best.

In Manchester 2006 the same line: "It's a tradition to vote for some of the Union motions, and they vote for some of ours" Anon Minister (BB), again kept Trident and Iraq and Civil Liberties and so on off the agenda.

Luke Akehurst believes I think that delaying or opting against Trident replacement could make Labour unelectable in the super marginals. I'm not so sure. And I don't believe that chasing the votes of some of the floaters in these places is a sustainable option for the party.

Once Upon A Time: Magna Carta

Great piece and graphic here from Dave Spart. But I do think that giving Lord Levy or New Labour credit for all the mutual masturbation that is fondly raising Labour's mighty big Ps these days is utterly wrong. Even giving credit to the Liberals who lined their own pockets rather than their party's.

Like Tony Blair himself Dave Osler should learn some history and credit the Robber Barons and Bashing Bishops of Runnymede 1215 with inventing the whole scam.

All those years ago. Bit of a double edged sword really. Monarch not above the law. Their Lordships however can keep whatever they can steal. Apart from what they have to give the King or Queen to join the crop circle.

How it all began.

Lib Dems: Things Manchester Libdemologists are Believe It Or Not Against

NOW LoL's original list of ten has been extended by well wishers to nineteen. Any more?

Glass Houses and Stone Throwing: The Smith Institute vs The Policy Exchange

Iain Dale suggests that anonymous but he alleges "New Labour" trolls take up sticks and stones rather than throwing their ugly words at him. But he is very clearly very upset.

The Manic Tim Ireland has spotted that while Guido and Iain have been throwing a lot of stones at The Smith Institute, which does seem to have been coasting a little close to the cold wind of Charity Law, Mr Dale is being inconsistent.

Living in a glass house. He shouldn't throw stones. Iain is Trustee of a Tory-orientated Trust similar to but worse than the allegedly Labour-oriented one he is heroically nicking Guido's stories on.

It is The Policy Exchange which Timbo "Manic" Ireland thinks we should be told about. Detail on the Good Ship TPE and her Trustees HERE.

TOP IMAGE: ever ready Theo Spark.

Blinking Blunkett: Plus Professor Rupa Huq and Baroness Karen Chouhan

Dr Rupa Huq has been blogging more which is great as this more than slightly raises the IQ and vastly raises the beauty, charm and etiquette (apart that is from her vile potty mouth swearing) of the whole damned political blogospere.

Here Roops is relating her taking-to-task of the Rt Hon David Blunkett, whose search (with The Sun) on google images still brings up this strange weed, a late panel addition to a general "Goody Goody Racists" debate at the University of East London.

Rubina, Roops' sometime undercover name, has it seems been promoted to Professor and returned to Manchester University, or else BLINK are sadly misinformed. No-one claimed Karen Chouhan was a Baroness. She doesn't have the readies to purchase a big P at today's prices.

Sadly the students will all have to retake Society 101 as they voted two-to-one that the happenings in the BBH really do reflect British Society rather than being some thick-and-rude-girls (TARGs?) on a Reality TV programme. The outcry - including in The Sun, Daily Mail and even The Sport with only The Daily Telegraph as LoL reported at the time bigging up the marvellous Jade (a funny way for an Arts Section Editor to resign) - and the various votes taken are EVIDENCE that post-Blair post-New Labour British Society is better than that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Terror Arrests: Some Are More Equal Than Others

The Guardian falls in with all the other media in once again providing - page one lead and double spread plus multi-linked web pages - a Media Storm to order over the arrest of some asian, muslim, brown terrorist suspects. This time the police may have got it right. But this has been the scene over and over again with such middle-of-the-night arrests of asian suspects whether they are eventually charged with anything or not.

Generally we get some hearsay suspect names, some addresses or at least streets. Sometimes we get pictures too.

What a contrast that is with the five column centimetres - in Jon Henley's diary which is the sum total of national daily newspaper coverage, neglecting the Morning Star, for the arrest of two middle-aged, white, right-wing, professional men found with 22 separate bomb making components as well as incendiary BNP literature.

In a remarkable twist the Police Superintendent on the scene told reporters all kinds of things about the arrest and his beliefs about the men's guilt or otherwise. I will not repeat these as they were facile. I cannot imagine the same mediation being spoken outside the home of a Mohammed rather than a David. But please do not assume that just because The Burnley Citizen tagged their picture of Robert Cottage's cottage "bomb" the ex-BNP boys were up to anything at all naughty with all those lovely chemicals.

Are the British Press institutionally racist? And were the local BNP having a laugh when they commented along the lines that they were glad the men had resigned as they would never want to be associated with such things. Shame there's a charge and conviction list as long as the arm of the law.

ParburyPolitica: Standards Board Excuse Another Racist Councillor

Will Parbury is dismayed that The Standards Board have let off Cllr Turner of the BNP for domestic violence, police assault, football hooliganism and racist chanting. It is not so long ago that the Lib Dem Mayor of Settle Cllr Heather was let off after assuring a conference of Black and Ethnic Minority RMT members that he wouldn't roll out his usual "coon jokes".

The Tories are of course legendary, and at times wax lyrical in this area of endeavour, up to and including the Dave/id Cameron inspired 2005 Manifesto and Campaign.

Labour of Love are still waiting to hear what words were spoken by that ever so nice Evening Standard reporter towards the end of the taped exchange with Ken Livingstone. No sign of the probably very nasty remarks on the tape or the transcript submitted to the court. The Judge laughed the Standard out of court when they claimed that Ken was lying over the content being grossly rude to himself and the lovely paper, now owned by former Mosley-backers, sadly failed to produce the missing link. Can anyone provide details?

Tony Blair: Helped Police Out Again Last Friday and Kept It Secret to Avoid Spooking Levy

This hair-raising news will no doubt have Guido Fawkes beside himself, not to mention very disappointed in his supposed insider sources. Mr Blair and Mr Yates can it seems both keep a secret from the Tory conspirators.

The BBC report LoL caught did also contain a Police-attributed opinion that they might well not have evidence to proceed to charges. Tory bloggers have not reported that bit.
GUIDO: actually controlling himself rather well HERE.
IAIN: Getting excited HERE.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lib Dems: Ripping Into Leech and Foster on Casino

LoL thought THIS was some good Lib Dem blogging on the attitude of many of their contrarians on the casino and certain other liberties issues.

Oxford Lib Dem libertarian Stephen Tall thinks casinos are fun. Or at least I suppose more or equal fun for most of the people most of the time than some of the other vices the Lib Dems tend to support when they are gathered together.

Fantastically useful comment (again) from "Tristan" who previously blew the whistle on Lib Dem Fair Trade pretensions as LoL blogged HERE. For the record Lib Dems are, or ought to be says Tristan, firmly, categorically and on principle AGAINST Fair Trade in all its manifestations.

Tristan said:

LoL replied:

But what would make your list of top ten Lib Dem "crutch of misery" moments? Mine for Manchester, quickly assembled and in no particular order, are:
- Lib Dems against Urbis, Manchester's Museum of City Life;
- Lib Dems against Manchester's Commonwealth Games 2002;
- Lib Dems against tackling Anti Social Behaviour;
- Lib Dems against tackling the BNP on cross-party basis;
- Lib Dems against police efforts, including on knife crime;
- Lib Dems against Cancer patients and the NHS at Christie and elsewhere;
- Lib Dems against 95% of risk taking and redevelopment;
- Lib Dems against BBC move to manchester and Salford;
- Lib Dems against Casino jackpot for East Manchester;
- Lib Dems against 2003 "Troops Out" approach to Iraq.

I will blog some or all of these when I get the chance. Other nominations are very welcome indeed. Please use comments or idea at mcr1 dot poptel dot org dot uk.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Casino: Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St Clements

While we're waiting for a transcript of his extraordinary outbursts on BBC Manchester Radio LOL would like to remind Cllr John Leech MP that contrary to his gormless assertions (a) there are jobs (b) there are regeneration benefits (c) the casino is not the whole story and (d) all research does NOT point to illiberal suppression of resort casinos.

Key Statistics:

- 70% of us gamble regularly
- 98% have no problem whatsoever
- internet gambling and TV phone gambling more of a problem than slots, wheel or tables
- £250M investment
- 2770 jobs
- £96M annual benefit to local economy
- floor area of casino 5,000 sq m (7%)
- total floor area 70,000 sq m
- other components commerce, sport, leisure, conference, hotels, residential
- major benefits from planning gain payments
- including training for jobs, communit animation, public domain improvements, perhaps social housing
- Manchester commended on plans for downside
- Manchester commended on local job plans
- Manchester commended on ducks in a row
- Manchester commended on deliverability and additionality
- Manchester believed to include one third the casino element of Blackpool (20%)

Cllr John Leech MP may wish to join with the unsuccessful bidders in taking legal action to prevent this terrible day for Manchester.

Really it's just sour grapes from sour lemons. Whether it's a monkey on his back or a chimp on his shoulder Mr Leech is a disgrace. Poor judgement, talking before thinking, boldly going against Manchester success.

More on Lib Dem obstruction and misery in the not too distant future.

Honours Scandal: Alleged Justice Perverter Lord Levy Arrested (Again)

Iain Dale is the Met Police's official spokesman it seems with a 17:46 pm story that LL (that's a man who already has his big P by the way and can now give freely without recriminations and innuendo) is again assisting that nice Mr Yates with his interminable enquiries.

Is it true that Yates is a born again Tory and that Fawkes and Dale are the big knobs at his Masonic Lodge?

How did Dale beat Fawkes to it? Guido was slacking at the supermarket and deftly uncorked some champagne before blogging (18:26). By the look of the graphic he'd already had a quart of JD, though there is a cheeky click through.

At least I (just) got my casino story up quicker. (And there's now breaking news on what a Lib Dem clot was saying before the announcement. More on LoL very soon.)

There really should be a law against all this wasting of police time. Stick the SNP in gaol!

IMAGE: Came from Dale who hasn't coughed on "Who Done It".
UPDATE: Iain relents. It was Theo Spark Wot Did It.

11:12 - Casino - Manchester - Jackpot - Discuss

HERE (select Projects, select Cultural, it's the first screen - a horizontal blobby glass tower) in Tony Lloyd's Manchester Central constituency. Not Greenwich, not Blackpool. Guarded cheers me dears.

Compass: Carts Before the Horses?

Compass have announced a ballot of members on their recommendation for the Deputy Leader. In a bit of an Animal Farm moment the animals who are more equal than others (aka The Management Committee), brainy enough to walk on their hind legs and rich enough through their exploitation of the great unwashed to wear human clothes, have recommended that the lowlier farmyard favourites recommend Jon Cruddas. That's right, a recommendation on a recommendation.

Not assisted by the way by the refusal of cabinet ministers to join in the hustings for this dangerous Trotskyite organisation until the hare and the dogs are running. (Not quite enough of those animal allusions yet, Buck up. Ed)

But this is not the only cart before the horse in topsy turvey Compass land. The question of the leadership recommendation has not been raised and to Brown's embarrassment these Trots are being described as his backers when they recommend Tabloid-unfriendly walloping tax rises. Truly excellent politics from Neal and Co.

Compass should have a debate about the Leadership ahead of the relatively unimportant Deputy contest. The latter cannot be a surrogate for the whole direction-of-travel question. Given their opposition to marketisation and the handling of and possibly very fact of the Iraq Invasion, Occupation and Civil War it is a mystery how they can back Brown without at least formulating a few woolly Think Pieces about letting him off on their main criteria.

STAGGERING TRIVIA: The pony in the above picture appears to be called "Blair". The driver less usefully is not called Lawson or Cruddas but happens to be called Tiffy.

Deputy Leadership: Cruddas/Compass Succeeding in "Articulating Idealism"?

Jon Cruddas speaking in Scotland
Be the ****** you wish to see in the world Not a caption competition is it?

Visiting Jon "the bloggers' friend" Cruddas' 49th blog since October 2006 (a month with nine posts and 55 comments in 13 days versus January 2007 with nine posts and 14 comments in 30 days) I read the objection of Anne McKeckin to managerialism and commented thus:

Hello Jon

I too am interested in Anne McKeckin MP's remark. "Articulating it's (sic) idealism" is certainly something Labour should do. This will be helped of course by improvements to party democracy as suggested in your pamphlet with John Harris. But in so far as that tract communicates your idealism it is a bit of a negative, actually a big negative, in reducing the Labour movement and affiliates input to conference.

Our parliamentarians already have enough input and are mostly cravenly under the rule of the calumnous whips. Together with the (also whipped, and by Labour employees) constituency delegates they will ALWAYS give the platform a majority - without their conceit of casually ignoring the LM vote anyway.

You have also presumably communicated your own idealism through your choices in the divisions? For the war, for foundation hospitals, against civil liberties. Hardly a left-wing firebrand.

Congratulations on persuading so many bloggers to back you. Despite the very low and politically bland output and low traffic here. And congratulations on most of the party democracy work with comrade John Harris who should incidentally get his NUJ membership renewed sharpish. And for fighting the BNP through the more considered route of dealing with their target voters issues instead of branding these troubled people 'scum'.

With Hain now struggling and Corbyn beyond the pale, for many in the centre left at least, the question will be "does Benn's DNA trump Cruddas' one significant rebellion - on top up fees - and his 'from the streets and hands on', or 'roundhead' as Akehurst might have it - positioning?"

All the best

Chris Paul

This comment is now in moderation. Is that really necessary Jon?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dale's Checks: Potential for a Rick Stein/Chalky Tribute Early Day Motion?

Comments from Newmania (yesterday) have led to a brilliant, shiny, golden idea. As they believe Iain Dale looks like Rick Stein, and he is of course a proud Jack Russell owner, could the Tories find a useful Tory MP to blog an EDM in the House pointing this out? Possibly a mention of the check shirt and how this will put back adoption of digital TV by five years?

Award above will be presented to the MP of any party who mentions Iain Dale, Jack Russells, Rick Stein and Uber Check in an EDM. Failing this - which is perhaps rather specific - to the Useless EDM of the year.

CORRECTION: Dale comments he is allegedly a sound-alikey and not a look-alikey (or a cook-alikey?) to the esteemed Rick Stein. Stein has a bit of a western burr in his voice though; and the whole thing, like the Stein/Chalky EDM, is surreally far-fetched like a good nonsense parliamentary motion should be.

Rt Hon Dr John Reid: Plainting and Decorating?

Dizzy latches on to a metaphor his hero John Reid adopts in today's Guardian by way of explanation for the events, dear boy, events which mark his challenging Home Office tenure.

Reid has bravely stopped the papering over the cracks action of predecessors and is stripping the walls bare. Hopefully clearing the decks of shirkers and dodgy cover up merchants..

Perhaps Mr Reid is now through the hurriedly applied Clarke veneer, the rather thick Blunkett artex, and the Straw man layers. Is he now through the extraordinarily thin Tory conceits and down to their out of the Ark dodgy Wattle and Daub technology?

Centre Right Commentator: End of the World is Nigh! Blair to Resign This Week?

Blair P45
Iain Dale last evening reported some alleged banter between a BBC researcher and someone-who-might-possibly-be-able-to-put-them-in-touch with the estimable Charlie Whelan. CW might just offer some happy punditry, even FoC perhaps, should Gordon's glad day arrive anytime soon.

If Iain makes the prediction every few days he will eventually be right.

But the villagers will have stopped climbing the hill to chase off the wolf on his say so. And he may get mauled.

On the other hand in the version I told my children when they were young the scaremongering shepherd boy ate the wolf.
"What did it taste like?" I would ask gravely. "Too Hairy!" came the delighted reply.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Iain Dale: Tories Don't Obey Electoral Law Shocker

Iain Dale is shocked that Times Online should expose a Tory campaigning manual which recommends that local parties raise several times the official but scarcely enforced election expenses limit.

Actually Iain's right on one level. It is not much of a shock as it is completely legitimate - under current rules - for candidates to spend thousand upon thousand before the clock starts ticking on the election period, all parliamentary candidates get one free postage paid to everyone on the electoral register, and parties national adverts also aren't in the tally.

Tory candidates have been known to complain pretty robustly about the supposed £40,000 personal cost of competing as a Blue - win or lose - in a parliamentary campaign. This is ongoing and Dave/id is said to be considering some "grants" for means-tested poorer candidates.

Iain's piece somethingly conflates the limits for Westminster and for Local Govt Elections. For Westminster the limits were in the range between about £7,000 and about £11,000 I believe. But they should be more uniform after the boundary review. National spend and a certain amount of targeting of that - hoardings and so on - is not included in the constituency total. As the Times says the local limit for a council ward is around £1000.

My own belief is that all the major parties defending and attacking known marginals sometimes do overspend. And sometimes that overspending reaches massive levels.

In Manchester Withington the comrades were over confident and got beaten by Lib Dems thanks to their ferocious fibbing and to a further Tory collapse. But also thanks to a huge discrepancy in the amount of print produced and the amount of phone calls and targeted letters etc etc.

The Lib Dem expenses return showed a variety of different printers and some incredible items and non-items. Nothing for web. Next to nothing for post. Only £17 for 'phones. When they had three landlines in their HQ and loads of mobiles and they did a hell of a lot of phone work. They were deeply dishonest. But they are grafters. They were reported (not by me) but there has been no sign of any investigation or consequences.

Several members of the electorate went on record saying they had voted Lib Dem because they appeared to want it more because of the volume of different leaflets they produced. Labour spent to within £500 of the limit but were castigated by voters. The electorate seems to identify lots of leaflets with good campaigning rather than persistent illegality.

At Labour's Brighton Conference 2005, as well as having a bit part in Waltergate, I talked with the Electoral Commission. Did they monitor returns for patterns and follow up those which spent markedly different from the norm? The PR people said they would check and email me. But nothing came through. My idea was rather like analysis of MPs exes now being proposed.

My impression is that party managers from all three parties go easy on complaints against opponents as they ALL have skeletons in closets. I'd even go so far as to say that if the Labour folks in Withington had known how quickly their 8,000 majority was disappearing they might have spent a few pounds more.

The returns from the Tories in several constituencies up this way showed only the print cost. Nothing else at all. No stickers, labels, rosettes, posters, fuel, telephone, committee rooms, stationery, incidentals, just print. But obviously they lost and lost so badly that no-one much cared.

Manchester Withington Selection: There are Now Nine No-Nonsense Labour Hats in the Ring

A Famous Five became a Super Six, a Secret Seven became an Eager Eight, and finally a No-Nonsense Nine. Our earlier post has also flushed out all of the names and sufficient information for a LoL googling effort.

Naheed Arshad-Mather OBE with a track record of public service. Based in West Yorkshire. Rellies in Chorlton (in the constituency).
Jane Evans (a correct link?) Not sure if this is a correct spot (Labour Animal Welfare Society). Please use comments to get in touch. Reputedly from Cheadle.
Nargis Khan Executive Member and Lib Dem basher from Hackney Council. Bolton and London.
Qaisra Khan (aka Casra) candidate in Aberdeenshire in 1997. Shortlisted for selection, West Ham by-election. Forest Gate.
Jenny Lennox NUJ Organiser. Two platform speeches in one day at Conference 2006. Manchester Withington (ex Chair of Manchester Central).
Jane Lewis Lay member of Amicus NEC. Bury/Rossendale.
Sandra Moorcroft Election agent 2005 in Aylesbury. Local Government candidate. Buckinghamshire.
Lucy Powell ex-Director Britain in Europe, now Head of Policy and Promotion for NESTA. Manchester Withington and London.
Dr Yogesh Virmani Former academic, community activist, Local government candidate. Manchester Withington.

ACTION SO FAR: Two candidates have nudged in front of the first five to declare all of whom have at least distributed CVs and letters. The four later candidates have quite some catching up to do.

Cllr John Leech MP: 21 Today

This is not a birthday announcement. At an unreasonably early hour Mr Leech's henchpersons shoved their "Manchester News" through doors in my area. 7:00 am and 8:00 am have been mentioned. As has "If I get my hands on that bugger, waking me up at 7:00 am ..."

Apart from the antisocial behaviour, which we all know Lib Dems support - whatever they may say their votes are on the public record - this disgraceful organ was riddled with errors.

Of around 22 items LoL have calculated that 21 contain all or some of: errors, omissions, distortions, exaggerations, scaremongering, extreme bad taste, lies and fibs, and naturally runaway hubris and self-aggrandisement. The above picture, reminiscent of a Benetton exercise but with added grins, was printed A4 size on the front.

More soon on this appalling rag. Mr Leech is yet to correct his website which continues to neglect the ward for which he is supposed to be councillor. That's both in the masthead and in the content.

Manchester Labour: Withington Selection

Adele's Labour Blog: Looking Groovy

Adele's fabbo new look blog has this concerning the political hard sell that would be street parking charges to midnight in Manchester's City Centre.

The forces of parking and transport and air quality management may eventually win the day but my prediction 13a would be:
These forces will be sent homeward - to think again. Possibly on their trusty bikes.

Part of my comment:

The MEN has got a bit pathetic and suggestible and manic. And the Lib Dem councillors have tried to mislead everyone. The partying Tory Rob is just ignorant or addled.

Most developments have parking.

There is a fantastic overnight garaging option at low cost for CC residents (£7-£10 per week).

And there is a new car club which is excellent.

Parking charges are part of the weaponry of congestion and pollution avoidance and passenger transport enhancement.

Some residents and workers and visitors will prefer this scheme to greater congestion charges.

OBVIOUSLY: I'm so excited about this that I've blogged it twice. Which do readers prefer?

Dale on BBC News 24

Let me see. John Reid. Prisons. Prison places. Crime. Judges. Iain gets in sly mention of Labour emails. Catholics and gay adoption. Iain's haircut (neither more nor less along UKIP lines). John Reid. Iain's accomplice states that most Home Secretaries get in trouble but that Reid is a man who is doing something i.e. proposing and hopefully enacting a split. If all this fuss is stopping him being a leadership contender then hallelujah. His speech in Manchester was scary. "Be afraid, be very afraid" said one NEC member to me shortly afterward. But the job is like that.

I shook Reid's hand once when we were both on Dimbleby. Me waving at David D frantically from the audience. JR batting back bouncers and wides on both the Madrid Bombing and the NHS with aplomb. In the Green Room we discussed a magazine article which happened to have a bulldog as a motif. Reid noticed and folded the ugly dog away carefully. Almost as if he thought I was trying to stitch him up. No way, I hadn't seen the opportunity! I have the only photos that exist of this mutual Mugabe moment. mMm.

My retired-before-he-started lucky-to-be-alive greyhound Jim (below) was not impressed. And rescued-as-pups lurchers Ottey and Hooch actually left the room at the sight of the big cheque, I mean check, that Dale was bearing with no obvious sign of shame.

Manchester City Centre Parking

Adele blogged about the raging controversy on extending paid parking hours in Manchester City Centre which is being conflated with possible congestion charging in a few years time. She quotes much of the letter from Cllr Pat Karney and my mate Kathy Crotty who is our candidate to try to oust one of the inadequate Lib Dems and hold off the Tory challenge.

The famous Tory Troll Cllr Iain Lindley (Salford) said...
Oh, come on Adele! This is a blatant u-turn based solely on the need to reduce the political fall-out. Are you seriously suggesting that Cllr Karney was not party to the original decision?

But obviously he, Iain Lindley, is well wrong, as usual. The idea that Karney or Crotty had any input into this plan is completely and utterly ridiculous you Tory Troll Mr Lindley. Any more than Karen Garrido tells you what she is about to do - to judge from your many silly contradictions to her policies.

If the MEN print my letter on Monday (submitted before the Karney/Crotty effort) you will see me call for more balance than the extraordinary rants from the paper itself, from the Lib Dem councillors, and from the Tory pretender - who is I believe a professional fiddler?

[Congrats btw to Jake the Fake on securing the PPC for Rossendale. I see he now "lives" in Cheshire rather than Manchester, though he has NOT moved (and he is actually by his own admission based in London where he can suck up best to CCHQ I suppose). ]

I don't say in my letter whether I'm for or against the proposal. Though I have chuckled about it in an earlier blogpost. It would certainly be a very hard sell. Which does not mean it is wrong, or right. But the MEN has recently got very pathetic and suggestible and manic. And the Lib Dem councillor who no longer has a day job, whoops, has as usual tried to mislead everyone. Tory Rob is it seems brighter than Mr Lindley but approximately as ignorant.

- Most developments have the required parking.
- Many residents knowingly go for a no-car lifestyle.
- There is a fantastic overnight garaging option at low cost for CC residents (£7-£10 per week).
- And there is a new car club which is excellent.
- Parking charges are part of the weaponry of congestion and pollution avoidance and passenger transport enhancement.
- Some residents and workers and visitors will prefer this scheme to greater congestion charges.

A Scientologist Asks For Help ...

The best we can do for now is to publish this appeal in full. If anyone can help please contact the website direct. Let's be clear:
1. Tom Cruise has no messianic thoughts and whether he is the one true Christ or not he has been renounced by Scientologist HQ.
2. There was no long-winded hiatus during which Scientologists pretended L Ron Hubbard was alive when he had already died of deep satisfaction and money bags achievement.
3. Libdemologists are yet to announce who they will put up as looky likey to Mr "Rusty" Cruise*.

* Father Rusty Cruz married my friends Barry and Marion in Manila. This was of course back in the day of Cardinal Sin.