Saturday, March 17, 2007

Scooch for Eurovision: The Song's a Dog, UK May Have a Chance

Marvellous. The Great British Public have chosen the dropped-by-BMG-from-a-great-height SCOOCH and their excreable song. It is such a dog of a song that it may just win. "I'm afraid you may be right" said Tel to Fearne as she made this point. They are like a send up of a bad seaside drag cabaret act (no offence). Just the ticket.

The other finalist Cyndi was no Shirley Bassey, but she was bad.

During Red Nose Day the Telethon the public were told by a Mr Kielty that they SHOULD NOT ring the Celebrity X Factor 'phone lines anymore. They would get through. Their money would be taken. But their votes wouldn't count. Business as usual then. Eurovision was not troubled by such confessions.

TRIVIA SPECIAL: A band I used to manage Distant Cousins entered the selection once with a fantastic song called Echo of an Emotion. We were signed to Dick Leahy Music (George Michael, Lightning Seeds and before that The Jam, Pink Floyd, Donna Summer etc etc) but A&R folk from SCOOCH's ex-company are still asking after the tune. It was much too good for EV.

It has been shortlisted but not in fact recorded by among others Tom Jones and er, Shirley Bassey. It was mostly written by Simon Milner whose dad Martin was leader of the Halle Orchestra. 10% however was reserved for Captain Mog our bass player and Brookside character actor - who may be one of the unluckiest musicians in the entire history of rock and pop. His contribution was a bass intro like Big Ben only better. More on Mog perhaps anon.

Linking neatly back to Mr Kielty I believe he was the interviewer on BBC Radio Northern Ireland when our drummer Snuff offered to do an 'impression' live on air. Fine said Kielty. So he 'did' it. Dead silence. Well sand is not noisy. Brilliant radio. Art even.

Tony Blair is an Absolutely Magnificent Fool: Signpost

See HERE for last night's belated Laugh out Loud Blair You Tube coverage.

Big Blogger Stats: A Public Service Announcement

The public sitemeter stats on here for the moment - the little rainbow button at the bottom of every page - which anyone can look at give only bare stats at the first click but actually show quite a lot more for knowing clickers.

Your blogger may well remove this meter at any time so if you want to have a root around, now is a good time. Because of when it was installed it only has a week or two of information.

These are supplemented by private tracksy stats. Thanks very much to Adele's Crazy World for advice on that.

Tracksy shows me every IP address of visitors and posters - you know Lib Dem office in Mcr, Lib Dem members' secretariat in the Town Hall, Lib Dem office in parliament, Lib Dems in Oldham (Hi David), some journo in Cheetham, some hack in Chorlton Park, some accountants' party arranger in M1 etc.

Thomas Graham at Leech-watch has a similar facility so he often knows that "used to be a Labour voter troll" in in fact a Leech parliamentary researcher in W1!

Presumably the SMR and MEN have similar facilities so that they will know that the pro-Frank comments on their Shameless story are all coming from Gawsworth Avenue, from Paul Abbot's office on Canal Street or off the Chatsworth. Which is speculation from me as I ain't really a hacker. Any offers?

Like a visitors book or a compulsory iD card system. Outrageous. I know. Also can discover what other blogs or search engines people are arriving from, their route through the site, and where they head off to. LoL is NOT offering "cookies" to visitors as many commercial sites do. No plans to introduce that.

But those living a split personality or a shredded multiple personality should know that your various comments, including under your own name in some cases, can be linked by your "Big Blogger" and while sitemeter is publically available also other candidates' teams.

By the way the number of "page impressions" per visit is now averaging about three which means that the average visitor is coming to the blog - where they can browse say the 20 or 30 most recent stories without clicking anything - and then clicking on one or two stories to comment or follow an internal link.

It had been at five for a while. Boosted by web-bots and other shady visitors looking at 100 and more pages.

Analysis of the "Shameless Distorter" Effect will follow when I get the time. Actually until it hits the News of the World tomorrow (joke!) there hasn't been a huge step change in traffic. This rather proves the point that the Lib Dems are in fact the ones slagging off Chorlton Park by their SMR expose. They could and should have let sleeping dogs lie.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Tony Blair Is Absolutely Magnificent

The above You Tube posts cut to the chase at around 2 minutes.

This one includes the build up. Around 4 minutes. All are busy.

Well. Who'd have thought I'd be writing a headline like that? In fact I have blogged before that I think that Mr Blair is a class act while disagreeing vehemently with some of his judgements. Many of his judgements. If only he had been batting for a centre left (in Labour terms) programme.

I believe there are some New Labour myths that need busting:

1. It had to be Blair. Rubbish. A number of talented Labour people could have bished sad Major as leader.
2. It had to be that Programme. Rubbish. People voted for a change and would have backed a more selfless direction for the country after years of Thatcherism. They thought they were backing that in fact.
3. It had to continue to be Blair and to continue with that Programme. Rubbish. No commentary needed.

Labour has achieved a great deal. Minimum wage. Much better deal for the poorest 40%. Fantastic economic stability. Record investment in the public services. And as Matthew Parris agreed a more relaxed and happy society too. There really ARE 100 positive and worthy achievements in the Labour Achievement Film (or LAF). Tony Blair can be proud.

But the Iraq War was folly. New Vanguard submarines when the existing ones are hardly used and good for decades are folly. Marketisation - especially in the Health Service - is folly. Tony Blair should recant.

This skit with Catherine Tate's Lauren is magnificent in many ways. Tony Blair shows his sense of humour and his magnificent performing abilities. It is a classic. The highlight of a night of some hits and many misses.

But - assuming they haven't already finished their edits in Notting Hill and Bethnal Green - this thing is a time bomb. 600,000 deaths in Iraq. Am I bovvered? Years of mayhem in Afghanistan. Am I bovvered? Buses don't run on time. Am I bovvered? This one is set to bite back.

Headline Revisted: Tony Blair is an Absolutely Magnificent FOOL.

If you enjoy the tapes or this analysis give Comic Relief a bell and give some money. 08457 910 910. If you are Respect or Uber Tories have a heart and don't stitch up our Mr Blair.

TIMELINE: Got to finish this blog post 12 hours after the fact. Have left it carrying its timeprint from last night.

Manchester Withington Selection: Anonymous "Your attempts to appear even handed are pretty poor"

Today at 12:35 "Anonymous" submitted a comment on my Comic Relief post which had included a bit of a grrrl power interlude:

If Lucy is 'careerist' why would she be trying to get selected for this seat? Surely she would be better off trying to get selected for a safe Labour held seat? As I see it, she has made a lot of sacrifices in terms of her career in order to try to represent the constituency where she was brought up and where her family still live. Your attempts on this blog to appear even-handed about the selection are pretty poor to say the least. I just hope that if the person who gets selected is not your choice you stop knocking them and give them your support.

My response (and I very much welcome comments from all sides) :

1. Manchester Withington is a great seat for Labour. We should be aiming to re-build the five-figure majority that Keith Bradley achieved over time. It could well be a safer bet than a number of "safe" seats that will come up for selection over the next six months. John Leech will fight for every vote. It will not be easy. But this is a great prospect.

2. All the candidates are making sacrifices of time, money and other opportunities. I would not attempt to weigh those up and say X is putting in or losing more money therefore let's vote for them. That's too old school.

3. Representing the place where you were born and brought up is a fine romance. Unless as for me it is Worksop, Notts/Doncaster, South Yorks/Derry/Wycombe/Bristol and for the last 30 years virtually Manchester. The other places I have not been tied to for a pretty long time. Much longer than either Nargis or Lucy have been away from Greater Manchester. I'm not sure how many born-in-the-constituency MPs there are nationally? Perhaps you have the statistics for this fairy tale ending? To me it's cute but not as important as beliefs and policies.

4. This blog is even-handed on various levels. Anyone can comment. Anyone's comments that appear to be from a candidate or immediate campaigners that breaks the code get knifed. We have successfully policed an intrinsically anarchic medium to be pretty even handed and fair.

5. Anyone can email the blogger with information and requests. None have been ignored or refused. See two things today requested by Naheed. YouTube requested by Nargis. Web link forwarded by Yogesh. No requests from Jenny or Lucy received.

6. On the endorsements I have been more than even-handed to ONE of the candidates. The only endorsement whose poster has defied the rules of not being anonymous is Leo backing Lucy. All the others are identified. This is where the contested word "socialist" appears as an attribute. I also went out on a limb and persuaded another blogger who doesn't like censorship anymore than I do to remove images of Lucy and Nargis that some sensitive soul found unhelpful and berated me about. I didn't have to do that. It's not like they were the Wicked Witch of the South and the North or anything. Just snaps.

7. That's pretty even handed. There is no element of unfairness in the system here. But this is not the BBC. The Constituency hasn't hired me to be the campaign blogger. I have opinions and I blog them a bit, without going overboard on this particular matter. I mostly save that for Tories and Lib Dems. But having a blog and going opinionless would be bonkers. Anyone can start a blog or a website or myspace or facebook or youtube. It's all virtually free. It is completely unreasonable to expect even-handedness meaning "no comment" when the means of production are widely and freely available.

8. Clearly I will swear an oath of allegiance to whoever is selected. Or if they prefer to do without the reputational risk of knowing that bollocks blogger bloke then I will graft away in secret following orders rather than be an embarrassment.

But on this last point I think I must say that where this campaign has got a bit clenchy jawed and where things have sometimes seemed a bit unfair or a bit odd that this could detract from people's commitment. Those responsible need to work out how they will mend any damage caused by any manic behaviour, twists, gamespersonship and briefings whoever may win the selection.

May the best woman win.

What do readers think? If you can bear to not be anonymous or skulking under pen names or identifying who you're backing perhaps that would be preferred. I know there are some endorsements in pipeline. Please don't be shy about using that facility. And as Naheed, Nargis and Yogesh can vouch if I am sent a link or some text or a picture I will likely publish it. None refused so far.

Letter from Naheed Arshad-Mather to Reporter

To the South Manchester Reporter

Should we replace Trident? The answer should be an emphatic no. At a time when there is real concern about other nations developing nuclear weapons it is an opportunity for Britain to show real leadership in the world by being the first of the post war powers to give up its nuclear weapons. In doing so we should be encouraging other countries, India and Pakistan in particular, to do likewise. Being prepared to give up our own weapons also gives us a greater right to tell the likes of Iran and North Korea that it is unacceptable for them to develop nuclear weapons.

We should also be considering the role that we wish to play in the world and in terms of our national defence whether money is best spent on conventional or nuclear forces. I believe that our armed forces should be properly equipped and for the roles that they are being asked to carry out. The cost of a Trident replacement would swallow much of the defence budget and the money would be better spent on the equipment that the armed forces actually need and on better terms and conditions for our servicemen and women.

Naheed Arshad-Mather

Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE: Apology


I would like to apologise to all members who received my latest leaflet with an excess payment charge on the envelope. I am deeply embarrassed by this, Thankfully the majority of members have not had to pay the charge and I would ask any one who has to contact me and I will refund the money straight away. Unfortunately I failed to realise the effects of the new envelope size rules and my error was not picked up at the post office when I dropped them off.

Once again sorry for any inconvenience and distress that may have been caused and please get in touch if you have had to pay the charge.

Naheed Arshad-Mather

PHOTO: Naheed at the House of Lords in her NATFHE-NEC role with Professor Chris Taylor, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford (left); and Paul Mackney, NATFHE (right) who has provided an endorsement.

Tory Rights Snatchers: Cameron Plans Vicious Attacks on Workers

Miles Barter has a very useful story on his Action Without Theory blog.

Rather than spilling the beans here I'd ask you to go there and check it out.

But if you're a worker Cameron is saying secretly to bosses that the Nasty Party has not gone away.

"Discrimination' is not a dirty word.
Rights removed.
Compensations halved.
Bosses run riot.
Gruesome Tories - same old same old.

South Manchester Distorter: So Far Comments Running 50:50

Around half the South Manchester Distorter comments so far say that Norman does look like Frank. I posted this comment this morning:

Well well well! Just to reiterate and slightly expand the comments which Nick Towle printed:
1. This is my personal, idiosyncratic, hopefully amusing blog. It has nothing to do with any organisation I belong to or support. Only "free speech" Lib Dems have tried to censor it.
2. The initials of Labour of Love are not accidentally LoL which is txt for Laugh Out Loud.
3. The point I was trying to make humourously is that with Lib Dems continually running down Manchester and some local people feeling that they sometimes side with troublemakers ... they'll have to pull their finger out or these estates WILL get worse.
4. Frank does look like Norman. In nearly 400 stories in 3 months I have also had look-alike stories on my blog matching for example:
- Labour's Jack Straw to the Demon Headmaster
- W Ming Campbell to scientologist L Ron Hubbard
- Some bloke off the internet to Labour's candidate, Simon Djanchuk in Oldham.
Frank's in good company. No others have complained. It is satire.

5. I am in Chorlton Park daily walking my dogs, running, visiting friends and I stand by my assertion ON THE BLOG from the word go that 95% of the residents are hard working and good people. I did not mean to cause offence and apologise unreservedly if anyone who looks at the story and the blog with an open mind is offended in any way. Apart from Norman who should get a GSOH.
6. Nick Towle and or Labour Party spokespeople have got very mixed up and confused on the details. The problem with the blog raised at that (private and confidential) EC was OTHER PEOPLE'S COMMENTS ABOUT SELECTION matters, not my stories. They have now been asked to behave and by and large they have done so.
7. The blog is at: and you will find me criticising members of all parties and none on there.
Finally readers should ask themselves why the Lib Dems did not ask for the story to be removed six weeks ago or understand that only a few dozen people would see it? THEY have blabbed it with a fierce spin to 80,000 Reporter Readers. THEY are pushing this old and silly story not me! Which is a funny way to behave if you have the best interests of the community at heart.
Best wishes
Chris Paul

Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE: 'Phone Call.

Naheed Arshad-Mather has rung me this morning and I have agreed to blog a statement from her about the under posting problem. Essentially I believe that a Crown Post Office in Huddersfield checked the size and weight and sold her the stamps. I think myself that it is reasonable for anyone to rely on Post Office Counters staff.

Naheed will gladly refund anyone who is out of pocket. So far this amounts to just four people. More anon.

Naheed also told me that she submitted a letter about Trident to the Reporter letters page to follow up her anti-war pledge. They have not printed it this week. But LoL will be happy to do so if it is forwarded. At the discretion of the blog editor this also goes for other letters which the Distorter refuse to print.

Lord Bradley: Voting More, Against the Party Line, But With His Peers

Lord B is voting more. 75.4% in the Lords so far versus 74% in his last Commons stint. Hurrah!

As far as I can understand he is voting against the government quite a bit (hurrah!) but he is not counted as a rebel on the Lords Reform stuff. Though he defied the government.

Because most of his Labour peers did the same turkeys NOT VOTING FOR CHRISTMAS thing. They were FOR a 100% Appointed House. Monarchy, Aristocracy, Fealty, Expenses, Spin offs. Marvellous.

Lord Bradley:
AGAINST: 20, 40, 50, 60, 80 and 100% elected.
FOR: 100% appointed.
Also Marvellous.

Where are the pictures of Lord Bradley in ermine? Keith has been and continues to be a great guy. But I could never support this last series of votes or the whole anti-democracy carve-up kind of thing.

UPDATE: Thanks to Baroness Thatcher for forwarding her picture.

Comic Relief: Sugar's Apprentice Was as Good as Curtis's Casualty Was Bad

In my opinion. Wasn't it good? The girls completely smashed the guys. Piers Morgan knew how to reload a stapler but Alastair Campbell had not the slightest idea. Truly. What a twonk. Though he did come across really well overall. Who else was there on the boys team? Don't know. P and A were stand outs.

When it came to blagging gifts the girls stuffed the men almost 3-1. And on the catering 7-1. Boys got more ticket money. But between them they raised a million from wealthy individuals for Comic Relief. The girls almost got more from a single donor than the boys donor total.

It was marvellous. If only the world was run by such women! Like Jenny Lennox and Nargis Khan - who I am probably going to support in some order or other, though I am still very much a floater. All to play for. Seriously!

Yogesh is lovely. To have as a mum or a gran perhaps. But she knows in her heart why I can't vote for her.

Naheed has put the time in and her CV is impressive. Every one of them is ten times better than dishonest John.

Naheed could be a good MP for somewhere or elected Lord - assuming Baron Bradley's pro appointment blocking doesn't stop that - but despite all Naheed's qualities she won't be Withington MP this time. This talented and successful woman has been very badly used by tactical voting which is not fair or reasonable. But Naheed and Yogesh will surely go out early.

I started with an idea that I'd back any of the eight who were NOT backed by the losing team last time, but to be honest even this wasn't certain because if the Good Lord's candidate had had policies I concurred with then even a Lucy vote was possible.

But I've not had any indication. "Leo" in endorsements says socialist. But everyone else says careerist. And if Lucy wants my vote (and who knows? I will reason with my partner also) she will have to hit home with an approach to Labour futures and smashing Leech that I like.

As a socialist it is hard to support anyone who votes against a democratic upper house. It is hard to support the candidate of the team that negligently lost the largest Labour majority to fall of the whole 2005 contest.

ANYWISE: Barring all the usual problems about sentimental charity TV this Comic Relief Apprentice was bloody marvellous. Sheesh. I even did a Sports Relief event myself in 06 (with my kids and Tarus) so we are all implicated.

Whereas, Comic Relief: Casualty was UTTER SHITE from the otherwise very respectable RICHARD CURTIS. My goodness Richard - and by the way thanks for not giving Baldrick a walk on - isn't that the ABSOLUTELY MOST PATHETIC AND PATRONISING (albeit exceedingly well meaning, and hats off for that) thing you've ever done?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Round Up: What A Glorious Day This Has Been

Leaving aside the small matter of wondering how the blogging bloke was going to fare with the SM Distorter this has been an excellent day.

Great breakfast and hard Guardian Sudoku in the Chorlton Cafe.

Popped in the Bank. Teller saw Great Manchester Run 06 tee-shirt and said he was running. Told him I'd done all of them. Asked me my best time. Said 35.49 (which is a good time and won me a great set of prizes from the Distorter) and from his expression could see I shouldn't ask his. Confessing last year was 42 minutes didn't seem to help either. So, must confess, left with quite a spring in my step.

This year I'll be doing well to get under 45 minutes given no training whatsoever and advancing age and weight. But an excellent charity getting the benefit. More on which anon.

This afternoon, having found that the Distorter piece on the poor blogging bloke wasn't too bad, I set off for a fantastic meeting at Salford Quays near T&G HQ. If only all business meetings could be like this.

A 100-word introduction of my pet project which started from a bad place but finished with even me feeling elated. Some detailed strategy on a matter that I need to sort out. A fantastic tutorial on the tax law around domicile and residency. An opportunity for my host. And in return an opportunity for me. Bloody marvellous.

Walking with my dogs was a real pleasure. Only the other day - in Chorlton Park ward as it goes - the biggest dog Hooch was propositioned in the woods by a marvellous long haired white lurcher who wanted his babies. Unfortunately Hooch and Jim (who is a full greyhound) left some of their bits at the Vets and are not available. And Ottey is a girl.

But I have tracked down a really good line of Saluki-Deerhound Lurchers rather like mine and if the owner of the dreamy white lurcher reads this then please use the new EMAIL ME link to drop me a line and I'll match make with pleasure. Your bitch had me cooing girl. Anything to help perpetuate that. And didn't you once work at The Green Room?

Food shopping was also strangely excellent. Both kids had triumphs from school to report. Progress on Tarus' appeal. What a day!

PICTURE: Bizarre Skillset banner for BBC at Salford Quays ...

South Manchester Distorter: From Five Men and Their Dog to 80,000 Readers

For anyone reading this South Manchester Distorter story about the Bollocks Blogging Bloke mentioned in the last story may wonder why the caring sharing Lib Dems didn't ask him to take it down six weeks ago rather than deliberately propagating it to 80,000 readers. That really does show what they are like. Complete tossers!

As for this poor bloke's local Labour Party ... what are they up to? Why didn't they just say: "It's some bloke's blog. We have no control over it. We believe XY and Z about Chorlton Park. The Lib Dems are letting residents down with lies and hoaxes."

There is an opportunity for comments at the SMR site.

SHAMELESS EXCLUSIVE: The First of the Bloggers to Die?

Some bloke in Manchester with a personal political blog, which might as well be written in green ink as it is that hilariously maverick and idiosyncratic, has we've heard been causing all sorts of ructions. In not one but three local Political Parties. Not to mention one or two Trade Unions.

We've also heard there is to be an exclusive news story about just one of these ructions in the highly respected South Manchester Reporter this week. If that is they don't bottle out. But we've scooped them anyway.

That "exclusive" should be arriving on mats this very afternoon. But will it be on page 10 where "Bloke Blogs Bollocks" belongs? Or on page 1 where it clearly doesn't. We'll soon find out.

Essentially, we're told, this bloke suggested six weeks ago that one of the local councillors for the Lib Dem party looked a bit like the handsome and talented David Threlfall when he is got up as Frank Gallagher in Channel 4's excellent, affectionate and multi-award-winning Shameless. But unlike poor David it seems this man doesn't need three hours in make up. He just happens to look like that. Which is a bonus.

Now there is a fine tradition in Private Eye, The Daily Mirror, News of the World not to mention Have I Got News For You of this "Separated at Birth" or what is technically known as "Looky Likey" journalism. We've even done it here on Labour of Love.

Most recently likening Labour's own Jack Straw to another TV character "The Demon Headmaster", not to mention comparing some random bloke-off-the-internet being rude to Labour's own Candidate in Oldham. And there was some Lib Dem bloke also I think, quite a few weeks ago. And another one being rude with a beer bottle and in a drunken coma that was apparently the dead spit of some Lib Dem bloke that works for an MP now and has a very rude and un-PC gob on him.

And we like this Luke Akehurst/Chris Evans Morph too and we're soon getting our hands on some nifty software to keep up with this new-fangled information super highway thingie. So I think you can tell where our sympathies are going to lie.

To make matters worse this Bollocks Blogging Bloke (BBB) pointed out that one of the area's councillors was actually on the missing list and suggested too that the one that looked like Frank and the one that looks pretty ordinary really might not be the most effective councillors in the Council Chamber. So that local people were let down.

As your blogger had a conversation with Shameless creator Paul Abbott a few months ago I can confirm that Paul is himself aware of this looky likey councillor from this South Manchester neighbourhood. But I tend to believe him when he says the inspiration comes from his own growing up elsewhere in the North and not from Nell Lane.

Labour of Love is told that on the estates in these Lib Dem councillors patch there ARE some real social and environmental problems, that a gangster called Desi Noonan was actually murdered there (which I blogged in my old blog in 2005), and that there are some very real problems with crime and anti-social behaviour. Clearly all can be tackled and lives improved with good old Manchester positivity and co-operation.

But our BBB had reported the word on the street that there were times when these councillors were rather more sympathetic to the 5% of ne'er-do-wells than to the 95% of decent and hard working residents who believe, like John McDonnell, that Another World Is Possible but for some reason have been taken in by these shameless wrong 'uns.

Sounds like pretty standard stuff in the strange world of personal blogging on this new fangled inter-web? But it seems the miserable Lib Dem three, who already spend their lifetimes running down Manchester, spreading misery, condoning anti-social mayhem and voting against measures to deal with it, have absolutely no sense of humour and a knack for making a mountain out of a molehill.

Not to mention a slow fuse taking six weeks to getting round to doing anything at all. They haven't even put a comment up or asked this BBB to change anything. At least the other parties have been proactive. We know who's really doing the work, all year round etc etc.

What the Lib Dems are of course trying to do is claim that The Labour Party condone this maverick sense of humour and childish name calling, whereas they wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. And if the Lib Dems do get round to making a complaint to Labour's Regional Office they may find themselves at the back of a queue of other luddite spoilsports.

Worst of all these Lib Dems are trying to persuade the South Manchester Reporter (circulation VFD 42,324 copies weekly) to carry a story about BBB, whereby a story hitherto seen by about fifty people and their dogs - and I'll be bound lots of other exposes of Lib Dem lies and hypocrisy - will be seen this tea time by around 80,000 people.

We'll keep you posted! We've even had the bloke's correspondence with the newspaper leaked to us! And we are talking to our marketing manager and literary agent about preparing an index of LoL's own stories against Lib Dems these last three months, in the hope that they drum up some much-needed business for this bloke's blog too.

One last point. LoL happen to know that Sir Alex Ferguson once took action against the owners of the South Manchester Reporter over a story in another of their titles saying he was allegedly bad tempered when he got a parking ticket outside his barber one time. He was paid £25,000! How much more for impugning a poor blogger or a respectable political party?

UPDATE: Turns out the complaint to Region this poor blogging bloke was faced with was from his OWN PARTY!

Manchester Withington Selection FACTUAL ERRORS: Sincere Apologies


The LoL story HERE about the venue for the Manchester Withington Labour Selection, Final Hustings is not entirely correct. The venue for that meeting has been changed by popular demand so that it is not one of the candidates' old schools. However the initial hustings ahead of the round of nominations meetings was not at that same candidate's primary school.

By a combination of mishearing part of a speech and mischief afoot I got that wrong. And I'm very sorry. I have managed to filter out some of the wildest tales of mischief but sorry to say this one slipped through.


I have also realised that the fulsome apology to an anonymous comrade from the CWU which was made in both the comments section and on the face of the blog may not have been seen by some of those who aren't getting email notices of updates or checking in daily. It was taken down in a general purge of what had become a very scurrilous set of comments and much-amended story about nominations from affiliates.

Clearly I have not been able to refer to the minutes to which I was referred by someone calling themselves "I Was There" but having talked again with various close-to-the-candidates briefers I must say the information from them is confused, contradictory and certainly does not support the remarks I made myself or those by others in the comments.

I am also in possession of a short and heartfelt written apology which I had hoped to pass to one of the CWU Three at last night's City Party but this person seemed to be deep in conversation with someone from Regional Office. They had very serious looks on their faces so I didn't want to disturb them. It will be passed over in due course.


There are plenty of actual shenanigans and actual questionable tactics and positions going on that there is absolutely no need for conspirators to make up any new ones. Please cease and desist. Gift horses story-wise will be scrupulously orally inspected in future by the LoL vetinarian.

Please don't think LoL are a soft touch for apologies. This is some bloke's blog it is not The Observer. But if you think you're owed an apology please do get in touch at idea at and at very least your views can be registered.

Oh, Left Footers of the World: Unite and Take Over

Fabulous lorenzo23 with his fabulous first eleven of fine blogs visited yesterday and said...
a) Walk the Plank are great.
b) Fireworks and ciabatta are the bread and circus of today.
c) If you go on about Guy Fawkes again I'm getting you a ticket to Lewes, Sussexshire for Nov 5th. Great fireworks but a bit dodgy for us left foot boys.
d) Is that cryptic enough?

Answers: Thanks, Perhaps, Thanks again (thought they now burn on a multi-faith ecumenical basis?), and Yes.

Lorenzo23 and other Manchester left footers will be heartened to hear that at last night's Manchester Local Government Committee GC (aka City Party, sorry Loz and other Reds) the subjects of left footery, popery and papist plots were raised as the Party voted by a landslide to build on the Green Flag reputation and spectacular scenic husbandry at Wythenshawe Park and further improve the facilities.

Up went the hand of the Hon Left Footer for Newton Heath who quoth:
"Yes, but only if the statue of Oliver Cromwell is immediately removed."
"Ya boo, jiggery popery"
quoth one of the Hon Right Footers for Wythenshawe.
"Replace Guido on the Bonnie with Oli for the Next Ten Years" quoth some blogger bloke.
"Ya boo, jiggery popery" quoth that same 'No Surrender' Hon Right Footer of M22.

Oliver has already been whisked away from environs of the Proddie Cathedral to save unpleasantness.

City Party also debated the new Manchester Labour manifesto.

The correct terminology to use for Greater Manchester Police Officers of all stripes was of particular interest.

More on which anon.

The meeting also proved the old adage that getting on the ballot paper is an important nay crucial step towards selection or election.

Who says local political business meetings have to be boring?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bethnal Green and Bow: The Emperor and the Tiger and Other Tales

Rupa Huq blogs a story of a possible political rivalry on her corridor at work as she and a colleague strive for Labour and Lib Dem nominations respectively. There are far less hats in the Labour ring than some locals expected. LoL were told 200-300 at one point. There are in fact 65 contenders.

Still, it is sure to be interesting. Whoever wins will get to NOT FACE the bullocking self publicist George Galloway who has promised not to compete. Will he keep his promise? We are certain he will. And we have to say that anyway as Mr Galloway is even more litigious than LoL. But even without him Bethnal Green and Bow will be interesting.

Walk the Plank have been doing the Tower Hamlets fireworks for a while now. Galloway and others, including I imagine the BNP and the leader writers of The Daily Telegraph, got all uppity about the lack of a Guy Fawkes immolation at last years bash. BBC scene setting. Instead there was a vastly entertaining extravaganza themed on a Bengali tale of The Emperor and the Tiger.

Of course George and his Respect cohorts, who called this sensible multicultural bonnie night decision UPSURD have also been out confusing their own wonderful morality with ridiculous moralising. Staking out strip and pole dancing clubs and terrorising workers who enjoy these bizarre but legal haunts is a strange way for revolutionaries to behave as Dave Osler reckons when there are things like Trident on the horizon.

Respect in Tower Hamlets also need to realise that grown up electoral politics is not quite like a Students Union. When you roll up with a minority motion the main party will generally speaking spike it and deal with their own business. Which may not mean they disagree with that motion. In a year or two Respect could perhaps form a Coalition with the Tories and be in the box seat themselves. I look forward to the revolutionary explanation for that if it happens.

The Mail and The Sun were as distressed as George but we Trustees were proud of WTP Producer Liz Pugh as she analysed the burning of a Catholic dissident as being not something we like to be associated with, any more than men in long macs visiting tawdry clubs near George's office.
Walk the Plank were very happy to simulate the fruition of Guido Fawke's dream of burning the HoP down for his 400th Anniversary in 2005. Some revolutionaries are never satisfied. The series of themed extravaganzas has built the number enjoying the Tower Hamlets celebrations from 3,000 to 23,000 and long may that sort of voting with feet continue.

Another triumph from Gweirdo: Mr Benn

Chris Paul: Labour of Love

In case there is any doubt whatsoever that this is my personal blog which answers to no woman, man or supreme being I will be wrestling with the Blogger drag and drop design tools later today and moving my personal blog statement to the top left hand corner (meanwhile find it in the bottom left hand corner). Withington selection news index will continue to be near the top left with significant posts - listed most recent first - beneath the YOUR ENDORSEMENTS link.

UPDATE: Having just been hit by a freak lightning strike I'd like to change my stance on answering to no supreme beings. The God Zeus is way cool. Advice welcome anytime my thunderous friend.

Strident on Trident: Luke Akehurst is Getting Rattled

Luke suggests I print a picture of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Des Browne with Trident missiles as he thinks I am obsessed with his own humble position on the matter. I'll think on. I'm not sure it's worth the Photoshopping. But in the meantime we know Luke is a surrogate for all that is great and good about New Labour war and attack policy. But to be fair he doesn't like the University and Hospital policies that pay for it all.

Manchester Withington Selection: How To Win Friends and Influence People

Oh dear. One of the candidates for Manchester Withington has sent out hundreds of letters to the selectorate with the wrong postage on. £1.05 fine per member. Ouch! It is a great shame at this is among the better pieces of print distributed during this selection contest. Far too many words on it. But mostly good words.

QUESTIONS: Does Usdaw really have five branches affiliated? And are candidates asked to provide the printed CVs for distribution to members? One of the five is colour printed.
UPDATE: According to papers received today Lucy Powell received nominations from FIVE Usdaw branches, and all three Amicus branches, including my own (in which the three members I know certainly would NOT have backed her). Extraordinary!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tory Racism: Dave/id Cameron and Some Old Etonian Army Chappie Respond

Good stuff from Gweirdo1.

Trident: Luke Akehurst AWE Rebuttal Attempt

Our good friend Luke Akehurst came on the blog today to rebut an amusing announcement from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) thus:

They are talking about the warheads which they make. Just because no decisions on those are required does not negate the government argument that a decision is required on the submarines (and hence the principle of the whole package).

I hope he now realises what it is like when the slings and arrows of propaganda are, er, not quite true. I confess. Luke's right of course. The AWE quote was about the warheads.

But he is absolutely wrong and still blagging like a good arms industry lobbiest when he says that "a decision is required on the submarines". This is absolutely and fabulously concise Akehurst guff. And just that bit weaselly to boot.

A decision is NOT required on the submarines. NOT for MANY years in fact. MPs should not be taken in by Mr Blair or by Luke Akehurst, Willie Rennie MP and the other industry lobbyists.

The Scotsman are among many papers carrying a balanced story on this in recent weeks. They referred to evidence to the Defense Select Committee from Dr Richard L Garwin. Someone I have rather more faith in when it comes to metallurgy and procurement than an arms industry paid lobbyist. Someone a bit like Luke, calling themselves Montie, and writing 24-carat crap about bits wearing out, commented adversely (available at the above link) and Dr Garwin responded persuasively:

Montie and other readers may read the written evidence I submitted to the Defense Committee, to be posted today HERE.
1. US Trident submarines spend 2/3 of their time at sea; UK Vanguards only 1/4. Vanguard hulls should last almost 3 times as many years as US Trident, the operating life of which has been extended to 44 years..
2. The 1978 correspondence attached to my testimony is a definitive US Navy statement that metal fatigue has not been a problem with the hulls of US missile-launching submarines, and if it should arise there are low-cost ways of dealing with it. Specifically, "... the flaws which propagate to a measurable size due to strain cycling are relatively few and repairable by well established hull maintenance methods."
3. The US Polaris submarines were created in short order from nuclear attack submarines by cutting the hull and introducing the compartment with missile tubes. Steam generators can be replaced by cutting the hull and rewelding after replacement of the steam generators.

Richard L. Garwin

I don't know about you Luke but I am rather assured at this information that £75 bn of public money can be saved and that these brilliant Vanguard Subs could have a life expectancy of around 120 years because they are hardly being used. That does negate the government's argument that the subs need replacing soon. One careful owner. Hurrah!

UPDATE: FAS link corrected.

Lucy Powell 'doing the Truffel Shuffel' YouTube

Very strange. Probably not THE Lucy Powell though.

Trident: It's Official AWE Announcement - "No Decisions on any Refurbishment or Replacement are Required Currently"

This is something MPs Should Read before voting for (or more likely against if they do read it) Trident renewal tomorrow.

It is from the beautifully acronymed Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) themselves:

The current nuclear warhead design is expected to last into the 2020s and no decisions on any refurbishment or replacement are required currently.

The three paragraphs around this tell us the other decisions the government has just "made", by issuing a white paper for consultation, in Dec 2006.

Picture shows Luke test driving a Trident Missile. He was given the inset "safety" red button (and the Junior DIY lathe that goes with it) for his tenth birthday and has been dying to use it. He is given fat cheques by arms dealers every month to keep him mean and keen.

Famous Five: But Who Will Be The Cat In the Hat?

Candidates sending digital versions of current literature to idea at may find pictures, endorsements and selectoral address included in commentary here. Please do send them. There are some interesting endorsements on Jenny's for example. And Nargis' is punchy. Yogesh's much, much improved on the first one. But my scanner is a bit poorly. So please help a poor blogger out ...

Trident: Nigel Griffiths Resignation, Luke Akehurst Fibs Like A Libdemologist

Luke Akehurst, the famous arms lobbyist, blogger and Labour right winger is tough on opponents of Trident renewal including resigning Deputy Leader of the House Nigel Griffiths. Luke ridiculously claims that a yes vote now - arguably five years early - is required to meet a weaselly dodgy manifesto insertion to maintain an "independent" nuclear deterrent.

Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. The timing, presumably to add to Tony Blair's arsenal of "success", is potty and could scupper Labour's navy in Scotland. The "Manifesto Commitment" is illusory and got there at the final proof stage with no debate in party, government or cabinet. The suppression of the debate on yes/no and indeed Cruise/Trident has been mighty and persistent, stretching back around 20 years. And Trident is not independent.

It is worth noting that Neil Kinnock - the architect of the current policy - has strongly urged that the vote be delayed while Glenys Kinnock MEP is among the Not In My Name signatories.

Dave Osler is cynically suspicious of Griffith's motives. Perhaps he has more time for Malcolm Chisholm MSP who resigned as an assembly minister in December 06 after supporting an SNP motion. Like Griffiths Chisholm has a tight Edinburgh constituency which is on balance against Trident.

If the vote proceeds and is won thanks to Tories this could be very unhelpful for Labour in Scotland's Parliamentary elections in May and create some friction to overcome for the eventual General Election. It will be the SNP which benefits most from this ridiculous timing as the Lib Dems are ALL OVER THE PLACE on this in Scotland as they are in Westminster.

Fib Dems have chronicled their sad manoeuvres HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. The first link is the most recent. Jo Swinson MP (right) is also a grab from Fib Dems. They also have some cluster bomb hypocrites on board of course.

UPDATE: Scottish Parliament, Sorry!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dodgy Dossier: Hans Blix Says Exclamation Marks Replaced Question Marks to Mislead

The Iraq Dossier Blog links to a new speech from Hans Blix which adds more detail to the criticism of the dodgy dossier. Labour Against The War's more respectable dossier is HERE. To my eyes the Blair/Campbell soup of a dossier was risible. I have no idea how Michael Meacher was taken in and while Iain Dale drew my attention to this story we should ask how his Tories were fool enough to fall for it. Michael Howard was honest enough to admit he didn't really buy it but wanted to whack Saddam anyway. But what about cuddly nu tory Dave/id Cameron?

Green Party: London Mayoral Candidate, Miss Android; Chorlton Candidate, Medieval Punishments

Guido Fawkes has a story about this Green Candidate for London mayor Sian being a back-to-the-stone-age anti human campaigner HERE.

We've not quite seen this articulated so clearly in Manchester but we did have a Green candidate for Chorlton in 2004 name of Jessica who surprised the liberal intelligensia normally taken in by Green no-paper campaigns by announcing that ASBOs were insufficient and that a set of stocks should be placed in Albert Square forthwith. Alas the web archive doesn't contain the historic pages. But I'm betting there will be a reader out there who saved a copy ...

Next it will be trial by earth, trial by fire, trial by water; and let's not forget chopping hands off and the like. The trouble with Greens is that they like recycling and furry animals but beyond they they may believe in anything.

Letters I've Written: Never Meaning To Send

Lords in White Ermine
Never Reaching their End
Letters I've Written
Never Meaning To Send

Real Lyric Words and Music by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues.

The latest twist in the tale is that the document drafted by Ruth Turner was a moody blue kind of letter. Never meant to be sent. But a "flipping" good head empty and mood enhancer.

John McDonnell: The YouTube Works

Campaign Launch: July 2006

< Why I'm Running * Poverty >

< Health * Trident >

< Education * Peace >

< Trade Unions * Climate Change >

Michael Meacher: Interview with Labour Home

Interesting comments over at El Tom's Newer Labour.

He's a class act. But essentially Meacher has the same platform as John McDonnell without quite the same degree of integrity and judgement, something which Meacher himself salutes before spinning yarns about parliamentary nomnations in the bag.

Backing Blair on Iraq, conspiricising on 9-11, owning millions of pounds of residential buy-to-let do not a wise leader or an exemplary socialist make. I look forward to Alex Hilton interviewing John McDonnell, and who knows another candidate who is from the centre left, yet distinctive from the left candidate, and unimpeachable.

Really there should have been some left and centre left primary system. Something like the Unanimous programme could have been the way.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some Inconvenient Untruths: Iain Dale Throws Complete Paddy at Dave/id Cameron Over Al Gore

Iain Dale thinks it is a disgrace that Al Gore has been invited to address the Shadow Cabinet.

I'm not quite sure why Iain has gone quite so entirely for the half-baked rhetoric of a Channel 4 programme over the half-baked ruling theory rhetoric it is trying to face down. It is all half-baked.

And as Mark Twain might have said:

"The wonderful thing about popular environmental science is the huge return of speculation one gets for such a very small investment of fact"

Neither top science nor top journalism from either side. Whoever is more right there are very good reasons to:

- use less fossil fuels and raw materials
- reduce, reuse and recycle
- strive for improved air quality
- bring forward viable emergent technologies
- rethink national/international grid meme

This last is now looking disastrous with up to 90% of energy lost in distribution over huge distances. Let's tell China and India and Africa about that rather than expecting them to settle for poverty.

For those of a more socialist persuasion than Iain Dale there is also the idea of resisting the domination of our world by huge corporations and by USA pollies who are brown-nosed and green-eyed rather than in the slightest bit green.

If you're looking out for armageddon in the middle east the month after next to bring forward the second coming then basically screw the planet and fuck the poor are corrollaries. What is that warm fuzzy term those Bushy churchies use for the end of the world scenario they are working towards? Thanks to a Doctor of Divinity (comments): the word is Rapture.

Meanwhile air transport may be in effect one of the least viable areas at the moment for real environmental improvements. Though New Labour are appearing to buy the overall received wisdom at the moment they don't buy knee jerk and unilateral attacks on air travel. But Cameron and Campbell seem to do so. For the moment.

Devils Kitchen discusses this. And BNP (or UKIP?) Verity's comment at Iain's site includes this:

I cannot believe all this hysteria. Remember "global cooling" 20 years ago? Remember Ehrlich's "population bomb"? Remember "we only have enough oil to last for 20 years - ooh, err!"? These scary scenarios (scary if you were 10 years old at the time) all come from the same source - the one-worlder, anti-progress, anti-democracy, command economy Marxists.

Unlikely. Anti-gore vid links also here. And here's another Gore-baiting Flash movie:

Mad Chad: On Tories Backing Google vs Microsoft

UKIP Chad may be mad. But THIS is interesting.