Saturday, October 13, 2007

Diary Date: On 29 October 2007 the National Post War War (etc etc) Memorial Has Open House

UNBIASED STORY: From the BBC. HAT TIP: Chicken Yogurt. It is worth noting that at the current rate of attrition this memorial at Alrewas in Staffordshire could last for 150 years, though it has been half filled in about 60. But at recent rates in Fallujah, Baghdad or Afghanistan local people could go through one of these once a year or more.

In Palestine/Israel/Lebanon I suppose one would last one or two decades. In the land of the free and the home of the brave they'd need one every two to three years for those killed on home turf by firearms. Everyone there can bear arms to defend themselves. But this is more than 20 times the rate in the UK where we cannot.

The main photograph above is not of this new memorial but rather of one designed by the artist Andrew DeComyn and unveiled in June 2001 to 307 Great War soldiers - men and boys - who were shot at dawn for "desertion".

The BBC site has this picture (right) of the splendid new memorial and indeed this link I'm told includes both QEII and a fly over film showing the site.

Alrewas in Staffs may be geographically the dead centre of England and Wales though as far as I know Scottish and Irish casualties are included. Not sure about Gurkhas and other Commonwealth Soldiers. And I'm going to check whether there is already an area at this rather comprehensive memorial arboretum for journalists.

ARITHMETIC: The memorial has 16,000 post war armed forces names on it. There is space for 15,000 more names.

BNP: Know Them by the Nazi Company They Keep

Above we have the convicted criminal Mr Nick Griffin (hate literature), leader of the BNP, the convicted criminal Mr Marc Abramsson (ABH and rioting), leader of the Swedish ND, and "Buff" Hoon's new friend and non-criminal Sadie Graham (Photo: Goteborg, April 2006).

This is an extract from the Nationaldemokraterna Wiki.


The party describes its ideology as nationalist ("national democratic") and ethnopluralist. A broad outline of the party program:

* Defend Sweden by creating an ethnically white people. Non-white immigration should be stopped so that coloreds don't assimilate into the Swedish population. Cultural assimilation is by ND considered highly problematic and one of the main reasons behind high crime rates, poverty and declining moral values.
* The culture should be traditionally Swedish; thus, the National Democrats advocates a ban on mosques and "unhealthy artworks and buildings".
* No foreign institutions or companies should be able to own media.

ND also says that they want to "strengthen democracy" by limiting the right to vote. They say the most important requirement to be able to vote is to have a general knowledge of politics.



The party holds that parents should maintain "healthy family ideals" and the nuclear family should be preserved. No "perverted" family forms should be allowed, for instance legalised homosexual relations. Homosexuality is generally accepted in Swedish society.

Prominent members of ND and its youth organization NDU were involved in a violent protest against participants of the Stockholm Pride parade in the summer of 2003 which resulted in a severe beating of one man and brief panic among parade participants. A number of NDU members, including the chairman of NDU, Marc Abrahamsson and ND's candidate for the EU parliament elections in 2004, John Andersson, were indicted for battery and rioting and were later convicted of it.


Campaigns and political ties

Campaigning before the 2004 European Parliament election, Nick Griffin of the British National Party visited Sweden and the National Democrats to give the party his endorsement.

A very popular and reoccurring part of ND campaigns target an alleged over-representation of immigrant groups in crime statistics with strong focus on sex crimes.

ND has also participated in several of the annual "Salem Marches" together with openly national socialist (NAZI) organizations such as the National Socialist Front, the Swedish Resistance Movement and Blood & Honour. ND has also participated with these organizations in annual marches honoring King Charles XII of Sweden on November 30 and a march in memory of the bombing of Dresden in World War II.

Their own English language description is all flat pack furniture and lingonberries. Happily they got only about 3,000 votes (0.06%) nationally in Sweden last time out.

But they march goosestep by goosestep with jack-booted Nazis. And Nick Griffin, Buff Hoon's new friend Sadie Graham and the BNP march with them.

Once again the answer to Mike Ion's question about Buff shaking this Sadie's hand is ... STILL NO.

Rugby World Cup Semi: Les Blancs, Nearly There

Encore un fois, encroyable! From 9-8 down to 14-9 up with two minutes to go. French line out. Final play of the game. Minute over already. Final whistle! Brrrrrrrrp!

Rugby World Cup Semi: Les Blancs, Nearly There

Encore un fois, encroyable! From 9-8 down to 14-9 up with two minutes to go. French line out. Final play of the game.

Rugby World Cup Semi: Josh Lewsey Try on One Minute

Encroyable! And Enjoyable.

Mike Ion: Was Buff Hoon Right to Go to BNP Meeting?

Labour Blogger Mike Ion asks whether Geoff "Buff" Hoon was right? Oh there's more. Right to attend a public meeting organised by a BNP councillor and organiser, name of Sadie Graham. Perhaps now resigned before she was thrown out. Though BNP elements were cock a hoop to have a member of the government at their meeting.

Even if it was only Buff.

Clearly the answer to Mike's question is an emphatic NO.

Friday, October 12, 2007

YouGov Britishness Poll: Plus PM Trust, Plus NHS

Speaking of polls, and national identity, and all that stuff there is quite a poll running at YouGov at the moment. Including loads and load and loads of funneling questions on Britishness.

Northern Ireland and Ireland incidentally are not mentioned at all whereas England, Scotland and Wales are. Interesting questions on trust etc re Brown
and Cameron.

And there's a corker (below) about moving house to a "good NHS catchment area" and how much would it be worth. Which good areas would probably have included Maidstone and Tonbridge for all I know before the debacle there.

Perhaps it still does when it comes to prescribing for some things? You'd have to know what treatments or drugs or services you were going to need to be able to judge which ones tick the right boxes. Which ones will get to trial the treatment you want.

Postcode lotteries we have known. If we decide to devolve choice to regional and local forces and local clinicians and local people they will make different decisions on priorities. Don't do it! I say. But if we do, and if unlike myself you support that principle, then you are picking up both ends of the stick.

The end that says freedom and choice and localism. And the end that says local rules, local choices and difference.

ANYWAY: YouGov pay an absolutely tiny amount for people to respond to questions great and small. From 50 pence to £2:50 a whirl. Mostly 50 pence for about five minutes. There are blogs from the likes of Mr Kellner hisself, and prize draws, and forums/fora. You can join here if you wish.

Green Day: Blog Action Day, We'll Smoke 'Em Out!

If nothing else I'm aiming to blog some comment on the Gore Nobelisation (Hitchens, C; Slate). What tosh that was! The Indie will have him down for President of the USA as his next trick, tomorrow (will change at midnight from misery about kids). LOL did a whole Green Day once. Ages ago.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Breaking News: ICM Poll for BBC Newsnight

Nick Sparrow's ICM has done an exclusive poll for BBC Newsnight. The questions that are being shown on the programme are leading ones one and all. And irony oh irony it's about spin this spun poll is. Brown has not had a good week. This is not a good poll.

SKIPtheatre: Gid's Glib and Dave's Not Forgetful

SKIPtheatre are looking for circus performers to perform at their club night \SKIP/ at The Amersham Arms on Tuesday 23rd October. "There is floor space or a stage to perform on. The night is about a collaboration between bands, dj’s and performance artists and is the first of an exciting monthly club night in New Cross." So says the blurb.

Please message Chloe at the first link if you’re interested. The act being promoted on the Amersham's site is Chas and Dave. They are due to perform ... six months ago in May 2007. Very retro and ironic I'm sure.

There is a rumour that I'm just starting that the unannounced special guests this time will be Gid and Dave.

Apparently Gid tells tax fibs 'til "he's glib in the face". While Dave memorises long and turgid texts. "The only good thing about what he says" confides a rather candid critic "is that he doesn't use notes". What? No notes at all? Wow!

Previous occurence of this night or SKIP or something is interviewed here. But Glib Gid and Memory Dave didn't do that one.

Scottish Parliament: Bye Bye SSP, Hello Snouts Nats

Mr Eugenides, the tartan Tory blogger points at MSP Expenses with the late lamented SSP's Frances Curran, Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie (above) topping the poll. Picture: Scotsman/Andrew Stuart

The Scotsman has more and some rollicking commentary. But Eugenides says it is one of the ruling snouts Nats causing most concern:

"The books put on expenses revealed an insight into the research of some of the MSPs. Jim Mather, the enterprise minister, right, spent money on Statistics for Dummies and Statistical Analysis and Excel for Dummies."

This could be to deal with his day job? Or perhaps to try and squirrel away the third of a million pounds worth of shares he has burning a hole in his credibility?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Trigger Ballots: Grimmer Up North Now Likes Them

Grimmer Up North seems to like the trigger* system when a Blairite may face time's up. Almost as much as Grimmer Up North seems to dislike the trigger system when a Campaign Grouper was up. The real question will come if Laura in Crawley does face a contest. Have there been any candidates of the left working their socks off to get the nomination as Stephen Twigg did? If not why not?

* Under the trigger ballot the ward parties and affiliates in a constituency all vote yeah or nay on a reselection without a contest. If they vote nay there can still be a shortlist of one, the sitting MP. But there may also be a contest. In which case chance favours the prepared.

Question Time: Mackenzie and Spelman, Yeuch

That's it. In the subject line. Hughes not much better.

Same Old Cons: Chris Grayling's Jodie Dunn Moment

So soon after Damian Green agreed with misguided idiots to idiotically scapegoat migrant workers for house price inflation Tom Watson catches Tory Chris Grayling doing a Jody Dunn. Not just on a blog mind. Live and direct on your TV.

Shame Ed Davey wasn't there to put here right when the Lib Dem chancer, a "clever" barrister I think, blogged about Council tenants herself. With disastrous results. Sadly South Manchester's own newest Lib Dem chancer Paul Ankers didn't blog his overheard-by-a-Green "they're all bastards" remark.

Cynical Tory Strays: Pissing on All the Policy Lamp Posts

Not just Macavity, not just a scaredy cat but a copy cat, too

Brown Deserves His Kicking says Stephen Newton. Perhaps. The Mirror's editorial agrees with me that the Tories just look like yah boo thugees over it.

And goodness me this banner's justa tad annoying and continuously untruthful. Tory Fibs. For example on Inheritance Tax. Tories propose raising to TWO MILLION for couples, not ONE. Labour leave it - as it already is - at £600,000 for couples. So that pair of comparators is deeply dishonest at both ends and deliberately sets up fear and loathing by dog whistle.

The opposition can come up with any damn obvious policy or initiative they like. Some things are just in the air. Ideas whose time has come. Priorities whose time has come. Reviews whose time has come.

Oppositions can come up with 100s of generic or zeitgeist ideas. Is the government then supposed to be barred from doing anything similar? Even if it's the right thing to do? It is of course easy enough when a government does do such a thing to say you pissed on that particular lamp post first.

The Lib Dems have after all permed most combinations of tax rates, local tax, national tax, supertax, flat rate tax, rising tax, slashed tax, frozen tax, parish council tax. They've been there and done all of these and a whole lot more.

Whatever the government decide to do someone may have already mentioned it. And the fact they've mentioned nine other things seems to be overlooked.

Stephen is I think being a bit too hard on the Brown government on this one.

Tony Benn at 82: Still Laying into Parliament

And look people - No Notes! It's a miracle. Will there be three generations of Benns in the HoP? Has this generation game even been attempted before?
Hat tip: Bob Piper.

Cross Town Traffic: Every Day is Coleman Fool's Day

Good to hear that Tory GLA nincompoop, inveterate taxi hirer, ligger and police informant Brian Coleman has become a strange bedfellow of George Galloway in slagging off Crossrail.

Coleman's regular everyday lunacy is demonstrated frequently. Another day, another dopey pronouncement.

A proposal to build a multi-story car park on Potters Fields a particularly good example. Park and ride in Southwark for city boys anyone? Ride in a GLA account taxi, naturally. Coleman ran the meter to £10,000 as GLA chair, claiming it was OK as he went to 169 ligs during the year. Just under £60 per shindig. Goodness knows how much carbon puffed into Londoners' lungs. The other 24 members of the GLA (real link) only just managed to match him ... between the lot of them.

Not a man to be advising New Statesman readers on strategic public transport matters I'd have thought?

PHOTO: Sadly couldn't find a picture of Coleman helping with a cycling launch. So that's in fact Konnie Huq (top).

Disclaimer: Photo taken without permission of the Biased BBC. BC is pictured far right. Amazingly sleek considering liggage and reliance on cab-age.

Hat tip re Crossrail: Luke "he's anti-voting" Akehurst.

Moot: Should Real Journalists Behave Like Boy Bloggers?

Suggesting that he has a mole at the highest levels in The Mail, one that he's like to see sacked given as so many clues have been scattered, Iain Dale questions editorial decisions made by proper journalists on where PMQs should be ranked on the news agenda as Wednesday progressed and Thursday came.

Presumably he thinks it should still be at the top even now? I disagree and I can see why proper journalists at even right wing papers are of the same mind.

The Mail and Telegraph do not want to over-state some horrendous Punch and Judy yahhing and booing from the man who said he'd consigned that to history.

They had already covered the goings on over the election decision for some four days of certainty. These following a further few days where it was more or less the expected outcome. A week of it all told.

Covering the PMQ reflection of those goings on at any length is not particularly proportionate. Shadows of shadows on the cave wall of disembodied unreality.

And Paul Dacre is right. If The Mail - already seen as hugely and risibly right wing - tries to out-Guido Mr GuF and out-Dale Mr Dale on Brown- bashing they might as well give up and go home. They're better than that. Just about!

By not going down the route of media on media and front page headlines for something that happened almost 18 hours before most readers' outraged daily choke over their cornflakes they are of course doing the right thing.

Also incidentally doing Cameron a favour. This was not actually his finest hour. This session of pantomime PMQs will I think come to be remembered as rather more like the odious Harry Paget Flashman giving young Tom Brown a roasting than as bravura heroism to treasure.

Dave-id Cameron and other Tory Boy Bloggers - particularly any who praised or re-published - should re-read Mr Blaney's thoughtful contribution and reconsider their approach. Rule 2: Don't Be Arsey; Rule 3: Don't Underestimate Brown.

Wearing Tories Clothes (NOT): Stay Left Shep Stay Left

Over at the same bloody brilliant Akehurst post the man's mortal enemies in sectarianaria are trotting in to the crease and hoping to shatter Luke's middle stump with their deadly late swing.

But whereas even the dopiest economists in the Tory blogosphere cottoned on to this - sadly for them - NOT being the Great Clothes Robbery, some on the left have yet to catch on.

With a little Economics and a smattering of Mathematics in my education it took me about ten minutes to figure that Darling had not changed the world or stolen Gideon Osborne's albeit dapper-toff-tailored clothes.

Oh! Delete-name-of-comrade, Darling HAS NOT repeat HAS NOT appropriated Tory policy on IHT.

He hasn't in fact changed much at all. Except the perception in the country (among as many as 75% of voters allegedly) that they were going to be killed twice. By death itself. And then by death duties.

Before Darling's speech: Couple with good tax planning £600,000 equity before IHT. Rising to £700,000 under existing plans.

After Darling's speech: Couple without the expense or culture of tax planning £600,000 equity before IHT. Still rising to £700,000 under existing plans.

Before Darling's speech: Widows and widowers and civil partnership survivors would not benefit as above from the allowance.

After Darling's speech: Widows and widowers and civil partnership survivors do in fact benefit from the full allowance.

IHT will now be at more or less the same levels - affecting just 3-4% of estates - as in 1997. Being supposedly indexed that is what is supposed to happen.

Darling has done very little to change anything. It has however become apparent that Gid the Fib Osborne and Memory Man Cam intended for estates with equity of TWO MILLION not just ONE MILLION to escape IHT.

Providing some useful blue water in the 20-month build up to the June 2009 election that one or two bloggers have predicted all along.

Now, socialists can I think mount an argument for more progressive IHT. Not sure it will ever be listened to or that it is electorally prudent. But what Darling and Brown have in fact done is not take the Tory Clothes, on this one at least, but instead taken the Tory Dog Whistle and changed it from "Go Right Shep, Go Right" to "Relax Shep, Stay Left".

If polling shows that instead of 75% of the electorate only say 10-20% now misconstrue the scope of this particularly misunderstood tax that will have been a great day's work for the Chancellor.

Luke Akehurst: He's Bloody Brilliant! He Really Is!

Luke Akehurst is bloody brilliant! Don't get me wrong, I'm not approving of his take on things. It's just that he is so reliable in twisting the knife, extracting and reinserting the knife, finding a new knife and sticking that in, and blah de blah.

Tagged on the end of a sensible enough post about a recent Populus poll for The Times here he opines gratuitously and not at all gingerly:

One side issue - the last two weeks show conferences really are important in determining people's perceptions of the parties - even more reason why it was right to dump the annual contemporary resolutions slanging match.

Now the contemporary resolutions thing has fallen into disrepute in some ways with all sorts of dodginess being perpetrated by right-wingers, the stacked CAC (Conference Arrangements Committee) with their shenanigans, the flexibility of the definitions, the party staff, the MPs whipping delegates with untruths, the session Chairs picking on message "house" speakers and so on and so forth.

That much is true. But the replacement - a strengthened National Policy Forum - must be seen to be believed. That process too have never really been out of disrepute.

Luke's lot - the dirigiste, centriste, staliniste, topdown-iste, right-wing moderate-iste - have somehow got rid of contemporary resolutions. Time to stop harping on about them? NO! Just another twist or two for this sectarian monster.

Mr Akehurst has, consider commenters, undermined himself by showing a poll improvement even though we did have contemporary resolutions. Apparently that did not matter as there was no voting.

It is the voting that Luke is against! Which brings us back to where we started. Luke Akehurst is bloody brilliant!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Park Life: Marie Louise Gardens Council Motion

Today the cynical, twisting Lib Dem opposition in Manchester will try to have the council illegally vote down, countermand or otherwise interfere with a quasi-judicial planning and legal process, with a rather tortuous history, affecting Marie Louise Gardens.

LOL have rehearsed some of the pertinent facts in the case which these Lib Dems have been deliberately concealing in a bid to whip up hysteria. Fifteen facts so far. At least fifteen more pieces of the jigsaw of truth where these came from!

In essence it is proposed that a piece of depot land which has never formed part of the public areas of a park is to be transferred to the owner of the Park Lodge, sold under Tory Right to Buy laws many years ago, in exchange for a substantial cash amount that could rescue the Park from decay.

The Lib Dems and their allies have been pretending that the whole of the Gardens, or as they now say "Parkland" is under threat, and some 6,000 people have signed a petition to stop that. LOL have yet to find anyone that signed it who knew that the land to be transferred was just 19 metres by 20 metres in size.

There has been an EDM with the Gardens under threat in the title; there have been countless posters, fliers and leaflets with the same misleading message; there have been two petitions one online the other on paper, again carried out with shocking misinformation; and the local paper The South Manchester Distorter have played a "blinder" in also covering up the facts and repeatedly running the over the top Lib Dem spin.

Some local residents would still object no doubt as is their right, though most would not in my estimation, but that is not the point. Whatever one feels about these Gardens and this gardeners' depot the Lib Dems have been trying to perpetrate ANOTHER HOAX for electoral advantage. That is the point.

And, for the record, both the local Residents' Association next to the Gardens and the Didsbury Civic Society SUPPORT THE PLANS.

Councillor Graham Shaw has been moved into the frontline on this as it turns out that Councillor Mark Clayton, who has been to the fore with asinine arguments and belligerent threats, made a submission to planning SUPPORTING the proposals, albeit mainly because of the cash receipts.

But Councillor Shaw may not be free of hypocrisy and double dealing either. LOL is told that he was allegedly well aware of the plans as they developed over two years, that he allegedly never objected, and that he even allegedly attended licensing hearings, working closely on the same objections as the successful planning applicant!

I've yet to check but I'm also told that Councillor Shaw did not attend the relevant Planning Hearing where the discussion and vote - to allow this and regenerate the park - took place. Why ever was that?

LOL have no idea whether the majority Labour Group will need to chuck the Lib Dem motion out themselves. Perhaps they will amend it beyond recognition.

But it may well be that the City Solicitor simply rules that this is not a matter for the Council to rule on.

MORE LATER: Need to go off and be there at that Full Council Meeting.

UPDATE: After two speeches for and one against this item was completely removed from the agenda ending the discussion with no vote taken. Report to follow.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tory Race Dog Whistle: Corrected by Estate Agent

On Sunday a chap called Damien Green who claims to be a Tory mimicster with the Immigration Portfolio chose to believe a barking mad finding in a report from say the Daily Mirror. But this said NOT that migrants were to blame for rising house prices BUT that 20% of homeowners wrongly believed that to be the case. And 100% of Tory immigration spokespeople it seems.

These intelligent and not at all racist homeowners apparently believed controlling migrant numbers was the best way to reduce demand and dampen down escalating valuations.

In a bad Omen for the Tory myth that they are a cuddly and new party will all bets off on previous excesses the boy Damian claimed the poll endorsed his party's immigration proposals.

The ridiculous fool said: "The finding shows the need for an annual limit on migrants from outside the EU."

LOL say: "Er, no. The finding shows that dog whistling by The Mail, The Sun, The Tories, The BNP and very sadly also some idiots from the Labour Party may be stoking up ignorance and prejudice."

In a successful bid for online Estate Agents to leap frog Politicians and Journalists in the good sense and popularity stakes boss Warren Bright said the research simply showed "a serious ignorance".

Low interest rates and planning laws - which should have been at or near the top - came bottom of the poll. Warren added that immigrants were "convenient scapegoats with little influence on the house market".

LOL also blame - in no particular order - buy to let, unregulated rents, lack of social house building, right to buy, huge but uneven excess wealth, and PBR driven stock transfer activities.

Dale the Economist: A Few Data Cells Short of a Theory

Iain Dale has been so keen to pounce on Labour's tax plans today that he has missed the smart money analysis.

He offers quotes from Gordon in 1995 and 1996 that are looking a bit minty and after a ten year silence (or a humngous gap in Iain's research?) some more recent quotes from Labour.

All are pretty much on the money. Unlike Mr Dale. Inheritance Tax on 6% of estates ought not to be much of an issue electorally. That is pretty much all the quotes have said. Spending on universal services was and is more important than helping the richest 6% of society escape tax. Fair enough.

But thanks to the one substantive policy announcement, that Tories used to stave off an election they feared worse than death, we now know that as many as 75% of the electorate have the impression that Ineritance Tax is an issue they need to worry about. So something would have to be done about the impression, the perception at least, by any listening government. Surely?

You will also find I think that the broad population will be relaxing about inheritance tax even as we tap our words into our blogs.

Even though the real world has hardly changed. Accountants and lawyers of a tax planning persuasion may however be cursing Mr Darling and his cleverness. Because a tax avoidance stunt they've been able to pull - for say £200 to £500 an hour - is now free and gratis as a right to all who may need it.

Stopping Two Billion short of the proposed (but unfunded) Tory Giveaway to all but the very richest in society is an excellent way of restoring just a little clear blue water. Spending that money on health screening for all and better Education for all is again a significant move that impresses political difference.

When Iain Dale and others have read the small print themselves and/or read the large print of others that have read it that will realise that the Capital Gains announcement might turn out to be far more important.

I've not read the small print on that yet myself. It could help all sorts of strange bedfellows but it will I think pain some small and medium long haul businesses.

UPDATE: Follow this link to Olly's Onions and onwards to the BBC and you'll find the BBC haven't really read the small print either. Or perhaps they've decided they prefer EconoDale's version.

I'll spit it out:

Uzbecki Oligarchiosi: Creosotemanov Still Bullocking

Obsolete has been keeping an eye on Alisher Usmanov (Parental Guidance, unless Schillings have perchance added a short word beginning in c to their name?). Apparently some disreputable publisher name of Murdoch is repeating some terrible allegations in one of his shoddy and obscure newspapers, in this case the drolly named The Sunday Times.

These involve Usmanov being involved in some crooked dealing.

Thankfully he has now signed up a spin doctor to supplement his lawyer C. Schillings who have already massively increased name recognition for the well-nourished crook, art lover and bully boy.

These indiscriminate PRs also do Northern Rock. Oh, and Mr Murdoch's B Sky B too.

Creosotemanov's thugs have recently been talking sternly to Indymedia.

Craig Murray: ex-Man in Tashkent is Back Blogging

Craig Murray is finally back online and has begun by publishing his Dundee University baiting speech on being elected Rector. He says he will start campaigning on the Creosotemanov matter when he gets his main domain back too.

Manchester Blogging Awards: That Political Category

If the Best Writing on a Manchester blog category was rather depressing I can only say that the best Politics Blog category is simply shocking. Was it the nomination process? Was it the shortlisting by a single (very brave) blogger? Have stuffed brown envelopes changed hands? Has there been some political skullduggery with the postals?

For whatever reason this category does not do the Craney City [(c) manchizzle] any favours. It may be time to review the format and perhaps hand the thing over with love, kisses and a sad farewell? Perhaps to MDDA?

Skipper must surely win this category hands down? Regular, intelligent and comment- and link-inspiring posts. Not too many of them about Manchester politics, but then that is not a criterion. And at least Manchester is clearly influential and name-checked.

Normblog I wouldn't have allowed in at all. Not about Manchester politics which is still not a criterion, but not based in Manchester as far as I know and clearly based in the area, though he could be anywhere in the world. No comments are allowed.

This is the ex-Cathedra blog of the far far right of the "Labour Left".

The Asparagus is a Foreign Affairs Blog by a working journalist. Well written and with the sort of mainstream left opinions to be found in many a MSM newsfeed. No reference to Manchester. No Mancunian influence on the analysis. But most problematic at all - almost no visitors. Two visitors per day on average. This is a secret blog. Should that count?

Finally there's Politaholic which is a blog I like and link to. But also neither particularly covers nor is evidently informed by Manchester. And also sadly a near secret blog with perhaps a dozen hits a day.

Both of these last two could do with the publicity and may rise to the occasion if and when they have more readers. But is that the point?

Reading the nominations in this category one might think Manchester-based and Manchester-influenced political bloggers must be very thin on the ground indeed.

That simply is not true. There are nationally recognised and connected Blogs across all the political parties, though naturally as a Labour city in a predominantly Labour region the people's party holds the overwhelming balance of blog power.

The Manchester Evening News too has a political blog. And at a stretch Manchester Confidential's Sleuth is a political blog. It certainly could be.

CEREMONY: The can't-stay-away Awards Ceremony is tomorrow Wednesday 10 November from 7pm at Matt and Phred's on Oldham Street.

See you there? It is completely FREE! There will be readings! Litter-rat-chewer.

Manchester Blogging Awards: Non Political Categories

As the overlord of political blogging in the United Kingdom if not the world - Iain Dale - has no doubt discovered, if you're going to run a Blogging Award or rankings you'd better have a tin hat handy. So hat's off to the Yankunian behind Manchizzle who has taken the strain for Manchester's burgeoning blog community.

Let's leave the best 'til last and rattle through the first of the non-political shortlists:

Best writing on a blog:
Untitled Supermarket Nightmare/Day of Moustaches
Blog Post Frequency (BPF): Most days, twice a week minimum
Comments Per Post (CPP) Allowed, low volume
LOL's Ten-word Review (LTR): Initial caps-less (ugh), writer's personal blog, includes novel on 'Supermarket Nightmare'
Blog Humour Quotient (BHQ): Quite good
Blog We Like? (BWL): Yes
Available Blog Stats (ABS): None

Airport Diaries
(BPF): Five posts since August
(CPP) Allowed, low volume
(LTR): Unravelling blogger, unemployed possibly unemployable, sharing stress, albeit very slowly
(BHQ): Pretty grim
(BWL): Too slow
(ABS): None

A Free Man in Preston
(BPF): Weekly until shortlisted four weeks ago, total blogger's block
(CPP) Allowed, low volume
(LTR): Used to blog airport paperback-ese ... shortlisting finally conquered this trait.
(BHQ): Modest
(BWL): Might be a grower
(ABS): Averaged 600 visitors a week over three years

Community Fair
(BPF): Has it moved? Nothing since March 2007, before that June 2006
(CPP) Allowed, almost unusued
(LTR): Unused blog? Ex Group Therapy Blog? A Sock Puppet's Playground?
(BHQ): Dry, as in bones
(BWL): No fun deceased
(ABS): None available

I was going to run through the lot. But this category has been depressing. Perhaps later. Here are the other nominations. Barring the political.

Best personal blog:
Single Mother on the Verge

Best arts and culture blog:
Fictionbitch (aka The Tart of Fiction)
The Ring Modulator
The Console (music and visual)

Best new blog:
The Shoe Project
Get Weird Turn Pro
Words Dept.
Renter Girl

Libdemologists: That Shock Electoral Calculus In Full

As per the
last post Ben Brogan
in the Daily Mail

had some very very
bad news indeed
for Libdemology MPs.

Here is a screen grab from Electoral Calculus:

This is also of course tremendous news for Gordon Brown and moderately terrible news for Dave-id Cameron. GB = Honest; DC = Fibber.
After almost 20 days of not posting Southwark's Leading Blogger managed two in a day by following up his own knifing of W Menzies Campbell with an attempt to rubbish these figures.

Libdemologists: Not Exactly in Opinion Poll Heaven

Andy Mayer is a full-of-himself Libdemologist from South London. "Best Blogger Since Sliced Bread" blare his Google adverts, well not quite , but "The stories behind the stories in South London" is his own claim and though we must surely have our doubts about the context or the tone of voice he quotes Southwark Labour leader Peter John calling him "The number one blogger in Southwark".

(Best suggested scenario for this quote in comments - bearing in mind Lib Dem previous for quoting out of context and misattributing - wins an accolade, but nothing else.)

But I digress. After an unfeasibly long break in publication this bragging blogger re-emerged yesterday with an essay on the future of Ming Campbell. Mayer gives W Menzies 100% credit for an achievement. That's heart warming. For his personal poll ratings. This is surely a serious case of deflection, scapegoating and scare monging?

Ming IS NOT solely responsible for his personal poll ratings. It is far more complex than that. What are the factors?

The Lib Dem party as a whole is perhaps a bigger factor.

(i) Lib Dems picked him after all. And he has has hardly put a foot wrong at any stage. Perhaps that's his mistake? All the other Lib and Lib Dem leaders made big mistakes. No mistakes, that is his biggest mistake?

(ii) As Lib Dems are not united behind him this will be reflected in media coverage. Even during Kennedy's last days the double speak was frightening. Cllr John "Hospital Hoaxer" Leech MP for instance said in one breath that Charles must stay and in the next that he was backing Clegg.

The Media are way too powerful and have a herd mentality. Such that for instance they did not rattle Cameron's speech but just accepted the silly Memory Man hype they were given. But ...

(i) The media affect the polls of people who consume that media. There is disunity, they report disunity.

(ii) There is a party dabbling left, right and centre with no distinctive edge and they either report that or ignore that party.

(iii) Foibles make news. Ming is too clean from a media POV.

Ming's Opposition are united and have what are perceived to be strong leaders.

(i) Brown has a tremendous record and will quickly recover from election-date-gate.

(ii) Cameron has unfeasibly high esteem just now, largely due to silly spin about his being a Memory Man. No notes and no policies doesn't seem to matter, the no notes bit has stuck. He is now making a positive of the "no policies".

(iii) Even Salmond could be a big factor with one of the Lib Dem nut clusters being in Scotland.

(iv) Even Galloway has a better or at least higher profile.

(v) In comparison other small party leaders will get lower ratings from the broad population.

These Polls have panels made up of the broad population (at least that's the idea) not hacks and commentators. Apart from panel design and composition faults, and the opportunity for a determined operator to manipulate some of them, they are mostly about what's blipping boldly not below the radar.

So even having had your federal conference two or three weeks ahead of them rather than last week makes a big difference.

As a non-Lib Dem and on the Left - near the far left of the mainstream I suppose - I find Ming much more acceptable and impressive than the alternatives.

Clegg and Huhne are brainy and sharp and rich ... but they are also deeply annoying and distinctly not of the left.

Clegg will struggle to shake off his off-his-head arson attack on two scientific greenhouses in Munich as a childish prank.

Huhne is another who has a history of excess - loads of cars and homes, hypocrisy on greening, EU-paid adverts in Focus and there is no doubt more there.

Ditch Ming at your Peril!

Hat tip: : Iain Dale who also links to Ben Brogan in the Daily Mail who has very bad news for Libdemologist MPs.

Save Ming at your Peril!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thunder Dragon: A Tory Without Fear or Favour

Hats off to Tory blogger The Thunder Dragon (story right) joining Labour of Love in condemning Tory bar-chartery, just as we both condemn the Lib Dems in Watford for the same chicanery. Candidates and parties must find ways to squeeze votes without lies. This bar chart and the description that goes with it, from Chris Philp the Tory PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn, are lies, damn lies and shoddy statistics.

Tories at Blackpool: Does Any of It Stand Up to Scrutiny?

Tory descriptions of the Labour record on tax got a 90% rating for mendacity from Channel 4 while their own unfathomably popular plans were only 60% stinking Tory fibs according to the same source.

There was the suitably stern tough love of the so-called National Citizen's Service for the youth, with at least one of Gove's accomplices actually not the Tory he was introduced as. Then there is the quality of the dog whistle anecdotes and Unity has also given Dave's family blather a good seeing to and provided a graphic.

With Cameron the Marrying Man he discovers that of "around £3 billion a year - that’s the equivalent of a penny on the basic rate of income tax - just under half will land in the pockets of couples who don’t have any child-rearing responsibilities whatsoever".

Which as Unity suggests is no big help to families as normally defined and understood.

With Cameron's Marriage Scam he notes that once again Dave's policies do not do what it says on the tin. A policy "that benefits only a quarter of married couples across the board and, of those, less than 40% actually have dependent children".

It seems to me that as all these swollen corpses of Tory policies pop to the surface of the swamp Gordon's reputation as a fair dealer will recover while Memory Man Dave is all but written off as an upper class spiv with some party tricks. Unity has done the hard graft so here's the last word:

The policy here is all smoke and mirrors ... all it actually amounts to is modest tax cut for the wealthy, and especially those with either no children or whose family has ... flown the nest.

Full Text of Memory Man Dave's End of the Pier Turn (BBC).

Stop the War: Rally Permitted, More Cuts in Troops

Stop the War Coalition co-convenor Lindsey German told the Mirror that permission to assemble for today's protest was received just an hour before the off. Rt Hon Tony Benn had provided a supply of postcards, signed in his role as a Privy Counsellor, asking for all agents of the Crown to assist their bearers.

All involved will no doubt be chuffed, if not entirely sated, that Gordon has made a further troop cutting announcement, bringing numbers down in stages from 5,000 to just 2,500 from next Spring.

BBC News 24 had a bewilderingly badly thrown together "Breaking News" segment with interviews with a Mr Al-Chalabi who was formerly something in the British Iraqi community, and also a former SAS soldier. They ignored each others' points - the former saying GB's move should be reversed as Iraqi forces would be handing Southern Iraq over to Iran, while the latter was of a more respectable Troops Out ilk but claimed troops were going to the Iran border.

There is too much 24/7 news media straining for too little content. These were some of the worst calibre studio pundits in the worst round table discussion I've seen for a long time.

Meanwhile this Announcement in Parliament, as promised by Gordon Brown, did I think make the lie of the Tory Desert Storm over his making so-called new announcements on the hoof. He didn't do that. In fact he kept his own secret very well last week. the Tories wanted it both ways saying it was not an announcement and should have been not announced in parliament!

IMAGE: Nicked from

Memory Man Dave: Outrageous Fib or No Fact Checking?

It's started. The election is off. Now the media are finally doing their job. Having simply aped the Tory spin: "Look No Notes" they've started to delve.

Memory Man's throughly rehearsed 67-minute "speech without notes" has already drawn national paper attention to one huge inaccuracy also reported with fury in Yorkshire where he says it happened.

Dave-id may have history by uttering "pissed" from the platform. But the "school kids terrorises teachers and trashes classroom" anecdote and/or its factual basis is now exposed as completely false.


- Did the boy ever say he'd been pissed, assaulted teacher and trashed a classroom?
- If yes, why did Dave-id not report this to or query this with the school?
- If no, why on earth did Dave-id pretend that the boy did say this?
- Is it a case of any dog whistle in a storm?

We can rule out a lapse in memory as, apart from knowing from Hilton, Coulson, Schapps and Spelman that Dave-id has a special power in the memory department, he is standing by his story.

Live blogging the speech we also noticed other instances of dog whistling. For example Memory Dave referred to the case of some PCSOs apparently arriving on the scene long after a boy had drowned with weasel words that made it seem he was agreeing with the hysteria in The Standard being irresponsible, and Dale's Diary and so on following suit with the idea that PCSOs had watched a child drown in front of their very eyes.

How many people tuned in to the tense of the verb on this anecdote? How many instead heard Dave-id slagging off decent, hard working PCSOs?

How many more inaccurate, completely made up, twisted beyond recognition elements will be found in the speech?

Hat Tips: Mirror Report, Tom Watson and Yorkshire Post, Ridiculous Politics.

Tory Cash for Honours: Yates of Yard Reopens Case? CPS Close Down Allegations Against Tories

In a comment here Anonymous pointed at Google News ...

Charging decision in Conservative Party Honours allegation
The Crown Prosecution Service, UK - 2 hours ago
Following the decision by the Metropolitan Police to commence an investigation into allegations of so-called 'Cash for Honours' a further complaint was made ...

And went on ...

The CPS appear to have withdrawn this item per Google News from their website - I wonder who is objecting to its contents??

UPDATE: Thanks to David Ottewell of the MEN for confirming the item is all present and correct at the CPS site. I guess my anonymous source is reporting it being pulled from Google News?

Bar Chart Gate: Hampstead Tories Trump Watford Fibs

While it has been lovely co-operating with Conservatives to nail Liberals it just could not last. LOL is truly shocked to find the two horse race of hypocrisy and cant also stalking the new improved down-to-earth cuddly Tory party.

The leading targeted Google Advert under the mast head of The Thunder Dragon is almost always for Central Casting Tory Boy Chris Philp who is standing in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Using some very prominent but numerically uncaptioned bar charts! Not to mention the line "Only the Conservatives can beat Labour here"!

The "Only Tories etc" line is developed here thusly:

Hampstead and Kilburn is a new Parliamentary seat, covering most of the old Hampstead & Highgate and one third of the old Brent East seats. It therefore straddles the London Boroughs of Camden and Brent. About 100,000 people live in the constituency in total, of whom about 75,000 are over 18.

The wards covered are: Hampstead Town, Belsize Park, Swiss Cottage, Frognal and Fitzjohns, Fortune Green, West Hampstead, Kilburn West, Kilburn East, Queens Park and Brondesbury.

Both Brent and Camden Councils are run by a coalition containing Conservatives. Both the Camden and Brent seats on the Greater London Assembly are held by Conservatives and the new Hampstead & Kilburn seat is a top target for the Conservatives. Only the Conservatives can beat Labour in this new seat.

So that's most of Labour Glenda Jackson's Hampstead & Highgate and a little bite of poor Lib Dem Sarah Teather's Brent East combining to boost the Tories to be the main challengers?

In fact in the first seat Tories were almost level pegging with Lib Dems on the march - rather like in Watford where this little exercise started with Lib Dems owning up to their heresies - and in the second the Tories were still tailed off badly as Labour maintained a close second - despite Lib Dem war-dancing. That Sarah Teather was so popular with Ham and High blue-rinsers, don't you see?

Hampstead and Highgate LABOUR HOLD - Glenda Jackson
The 2005 general election (votes first then percentage share) Glenda Jackson, Labour 14,628 38.3 Piers Wauchope, Conservative 10,886 28.5 Ed Fordham, Liberal Democrat 10,293 27.0 Sian Berry, Green Party 2,013 5.3 Magnus Nielsen, UK Independence Party 275 0.7 Rainbow George Weiss, Rainbow Dream Ticket 91 0.2 Labour majority: 3,742 Time of declaration: May 06 2005 02:00 Turnout: 55.5 %

Brent East LIB DEM HOLD - Sarah Teather

The 2005 general election (votes first then percentage share) Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat 14,764 47.5Yasmin Qureshi, Labour 12,052 38.8 Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative 3,193 10.3 Shahrar Ali, Green Party 905 2.9 Michelle Weininger, Independent 115 0.4 Rainbow George Weiss, Rainbow Dream Ticket 39 0.1 Liberal Democrat majority: 2,712 Time of declaration: May 06 2005 04:20 Turnout: 55.3 %

Rainbow George with a foot in both camps could spring a surprise. Clearly the Tories will claim they've added up some local government results to produce these totally honest bar charts. That won't wash sorry. Those results are not scalable. And besides Chris Philp has claimed the bar charts show 2005 results.

Libdemologists: More on those Watford Weasels

The Thunder Dragon have swiftly followed up the Lib Dem apology, pointing out that not only was the quote mis-attributed to an independent local newspaper, but also itself a big fib. In a shock revelation this appeared to be based on an unusual Lib Dem tactic: bar chart hocus pocus and general mendacity.

Wikipedia's brief profile of the Labour incumbent Claire Ward tells it like it is. This became, however briefly, a three way marginal where war-dancing Lib Dems took over from back-foot Tories as lead insurgent, by a wafer thin margin.

With both the main parties electorally recovered from their 2005 ennui and the Lib Dems all a tumble this one should be back to a two-way tussle with Labour probably getting back more of the tactical Lib Dem votes than the Tories.

But it is as we say "All To Play For".

If a week is a long time in politics then 18 months is an age. There is no reasonable justification for the Lib Dems to pretend that the Tories are not a threat. Though Labour can justify "Vote Lib Dem, Get a Tory!" and Tories "Vote Lib Dem, Get Labour!" the Lib Dems' "Only Lib Dems Can Beat Labour Here!" and "It's a Two Horse Race!" are clearly complete and utter poppycock.

And leaving the Tories off your bar chart? (Above graphic, hat tip Thunder dragon) Or even manipulating the three bars to impression manage (aka spin) the electorate? Tories would never do that. LATE BREAKING NEWS: Ahem, whoops, see next post.

The Tory candidate - in what was clearly a winnable for them in 2005 - was one Ali Miraj. He is alleged by the porky-fuelled weasel-tongues in the Lib Dems to have taken some of the credit for letting the Lib Dems through the muddle and was later suspended from the Eh? List by Memory Dave.

Yes this is THE Ali Miraj, the one-time putative Life Baronet who couldn't wait for twenty years for a(nother) winnable seat.

Obviously following Memory Dave's barn storming 67-minute oration no one would believe Miraj's charge that Dave is all gimmick and PR chicanery.

Miraj's own web site refused to comment.

The Winslow Lad: Sliding Down the Property Ladder

Perhaps it is time to trade down from an unmanageable tied cottage in Easington to a bijou retirement cottage in the south east?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Observations: Robinson Nailed, Dave-id Burlesque

Finally get a chance to read my Observer. And hurrah! Pendennis has picked up LOL's live blogged Ann Robinson Insults Manchester (Oliver's finale) story AND Armando Iannucci may have forgotten the Memory Man line but has done quite well with the song and dance allusion.

Libdemologists: We Fibbed, We're Ashamed, Never Again

Lib Dems have been caught at it. Attributing their own quote to the local paper.

They fibbed. They say sorry and are to provide a written assurance that they WILL NOT FIB AGAIN.

Sadly this is in Watford not Manchester. But Ming should make an immediate National announcement that misrepresentations in Lib Dem leaflets are a thing of the past.

Perhaps even Cllr John "Hospital Hoax" Leech MP will get with the programme and (a) shamefully confess his sins; (b) seek forgiveness; and (c) promise to be Honest John from now on. Somehow I doubt it. He can't help himself.

GRAPHIC: Reconstruction of actual headline. HAT TIP: Tom Watson.

Watson's Poll: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

The hawks and the doves were level pegging throughout the development of this poll over the last week or so.

Donal Blaney: A Mature Blueprint Before Swine

This, from Donal Blaney, published at Conservative Home is Champions' League material compared to the non-league dross appearing in both posts and comments at some of the more excitable Tory blogs.

The whole thing is well thought through, well written and entirely sensible. The second commandment is as follows:

2. Remain on the offensive against Gordon Brown.

Brown's position as omnipotent leader is now less secure. Labour MPs, the media and other natural Brown allies will be looking at Brown in a different way after the past week, no longer reverential or intimidated. The Conservative Party needs to keep up the pressure but in such a way as not to provoke Labour to unite against the Tories - it was Brown's intimation of an early election that, of course, successfully reunited the Tories to such dramatic effect this past week.

He might have added that the continuing cascade of juvenile ad hominem attacks is not what he has in mind. And it gets better:

3. Do not underestimate Gordon Brown again.

Too many people convinced themselves that once Brown became Prime Minister, voters would see he was dour and ineffective and the Tories could coast to victory. They were wrong. While Brown may have decided not to call an early election, he can hardly be discounted as a busted flush. His ruthless streak, honed from his time as Chancellor when all challengers to his eventual succession of Tony Blair fell by the wayside to the "clunking fist", will be back on display as early as Tuesday with some undoubted sweeteners being offered to his backbenchers and to the electorate in the Comprehensive Spending Review. Tories need to remain united and to hold their collective nerve.

To see this standard of analysis - even lifted verbatim and re-published in full by some other bloggers - would be more worrying if any of them were really paying any attention! Even Conservative Home kicked off this less than 90 minutes later.

GRAPHIC: Based on Project Gutenberg. Stall of Carved Wood (15th century), representing the proverb, "Margaritas ante Porcos" from Rouen Cathedral.

Giving Out Secret Sources: Dale as Bad as Fawkes?

Adam Boulton has hated Gordon Brown since G's tailor completely stitched up his A's avatar's shirt collar.

First we had Guido Fawkes blabbing his sources live on Newsnight. Now Iain Dale is at it too.

Don't you think Sky TV Political Editor Adam Boulton thought that that conversation would remain off the record Iain?

And if Brown is second rate - as Boulton opined to you in a private moment - where does that put Gid the Fib and Dave the Memory Man?

Now, there's shoddy for you.

Didn't think Brown would call an autumn election even when all the preparations were being leaked. I have always insisted that June 2009 is the time to go with May 2008 unsatisfactory but better than Autumn 2007.

I've lost count of how many times I've given that firm view here and in comments elsewhere. Meanwhile incidentally Dale has been persistently dead wrong.

I even wondered whether this was a sting operation to drive out some thin Tory policy and waste some Tory money too. But actually Gordon is too serious for that.

The story here though is that Tories have mounted a gargantuan effort to stop an election in which Gordon could have mortally wounded the blue cause.

Somehow or other Gid the Fib has been believed and Dave the burlesque Memory Man has impressed with 67 minutes of feelgood quackery.

Perhaps Iain Dale has checked with Adam Boulton before doing this but if not I suggest he goes and makes his peace right away.

Otherwise this delightful avatar provided by Norfolk Tories, after Iain turned a 500 vote marginal into a Lib Dem 5-figure landslide, will be doing the rounds of both constituency and media circles.

Mr Boulton is going to be struggling with doing his job professionally if his half arsed hotel bar rants get in the public domain like this.

Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf, by "Popular" Acclaim

Apart from Dave's party heading the polls here it is hard to think of a greater travesty than Pervez Musharraf getting himself re-elected President.

Only his own MP colleagues and a few stragglers actually voted. Nice.

Howard and Kellner: Extraordinary Times for Polls

Anthony Howard was very interesting on BBC 24 this evening. He was convinced that the Inheritance Tax announcement (Hoax. Ed) perpetrated by Gideon Osborne was of more importance to the change in the weather poll-wise than Dave-id Cameron's Memory Man act.

He thought Gordon hadn't done much wrong to end up in this pickle and that Ming had also been solid but was set to lose out on the extended General Election timetable. As a party reaching out to seniors dumps on their own.

Mr Kellner, founder of YouGov, said he had "not seen anything like this since the Falklands War". The methodology and panel scrutiny of the pollsters could and should be examined. Errors and manipulations here might be more of a factor than the underlying feeling in the country.

As a member of YouGov's pool myself and with some understanding of survey methods I can vouch for their using some unusual formulations, possibly depending on who's paying.

Grant 1234 Schapps (Tory ICT/manipulation expert) didn't come to the 'phone.

Rugby World Cup: France Beat Kiwis, Scots Beat Pumas?

To go with the brilliant England result earlier, France have played out of their skins to recover from 3-13 to win 20-18 against New Zealand. England vs France in Paris next Saturday. Brilliant.

If Scotland can take out Argentina - possible on their day - we could yet have three Northern Hemisphere sides in the last four. We already have two more than many pundits predicted - this one being Aussie "Rugby Heaven".

PICTURE: Sadly George Gregan, who will be a more than adequate scrum half for Toulon this season, was outclassed as England made it three from three in recent World Cup matches.