…is to find a candidate in the General Election with a website worse than this.

Of course, it could be argued that the site reflects the candidate – many people find Phil Woolas to be particularly offensive, so his having a website that feels like a calculated and co-ordinated offensive against your eyes is pretty appropriate. It’s nothing compared to what children detained in Yarl’s Wood have gone through thanks to his Government’s policies, though it’s nice for him to try and spread the suffering around.

And want a wonderful example of New Labour’s approach to criticism? At the bottom of the page there’s a line of text that reads “Problems with the web site? Click here to contact the webmaster” – which you can’t click on.

Oh, and contrary to Woolas’ claims (a Labour Immigration Minister being inaccurate with the facts? Surely not!) voting Lib Dem in his Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency doesn’t mean you get the Tories – it means you improve the chances of Elwyn Watkins getting the 5% swing he needs to unseat Woolas.

(Thanks to The Bureau of Sabotage for the link)

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Another thought struck me this morning: what if Gordon Brown already knows when he’s resigning?

We can safely assume that if he was to resign that the General Election countdown clock would start, with the dissolution of Parliament likely happening within a week of the announcement of the new Labour leader. So, what if Brown and his aides have worked backwards from a May 2010 election and pencilled in a date based on that?

Brown can then come back after the Christmas break and announce that he’s decided that ‘for the good of the party and the country’ he has realised that it would be best that he not lead the Labour Party into the next election. He will thus resign as Labour leader, but not as Prime Minister, to enable the Party to choose who should lead them into the election while he concentrates on saving the world, or whatever his speechwriters think will sound best there. The Labour Party NEC then agrees to hold a leadership election that will declare its result sometime around March 20th, and this time the party will ensure that they have a proper contested election, even if it’s going to end in the sort of result that makes John Smith vs Bryan Gould look like it was a close-run thing.

So, while Brown can get on with governing and lobbying Obama and Merkel for an international job of some description, Alan Johnson and whoever the agreed sacrificial lamb of the Left is get to tour the country, generating headlines and – perhaps more importantly – keeping David Cameron out of them. Around the end of March, the new Labour leader is announced/coronated and then Brown hotfoots it to the Palace, with the hope that they can get to the election before anyone notices how flaky the paint is over New New Labour (now with extra shiny Johnson Man Of The People Power).

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A few weeks ago, talking about BNP proposals for teenage mothers, I wrote:

given that it’s an insane plan based on a kneejerk reaction to create a non-solution to a perceived problem, there’s every chance it might already be being considered at some level of the Government.

God, I hate being right:

Mr Brown says he will create a network of supervised houses in which teenage girls who have children can be helped to bring them up.

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I suppose I should be glad that my gym gives out free copies of the Daily Mail, because if they hadn’t, I’d never have known that they were posing the question of ‘Should Britain invade Zimbabwe?

For those of you wondering what might happen if Britain was to invade Zimbabwe, you’ll be glad to hear that everything goes wonderfully well and the whole thing’s over within a couple of hours, as soon as the Paras have arrested Mugabe and Trevor Phillips has been brought in to run the country instead. No, that last bit is seriously in there, which perhaps indicates that Richard Littlejohn is trying to earn himself a few extra pennies by working as a sub-editor on Friday nights.

Of course, the Mail knows this invasion would be easy because it has an expert source advising it on the feasibility of an invasion of Zimbabwe. Yes, occupying a similar place in the rankings of global military experts as Trevor Phillips does in the list of ‘people likely to be placed in charge of an African country’, the Mail has found ‘Graham’, a former Rhodesian SAS officer who wins this week’s Ahmed Chalabi Flowers and Cheering Crowds Award for telling us that invading Zimbabwe would be ‘a piece of piss’.

Of course, the reason for this piece of bizarre Daily Mail war-gaming – and, perhaps, why they’re not as ridiculously gung-ho about the idea of sending Our Boys off to tackle Mugabe as you might have expected them to be – is Tony Blair telling the world that retirement hasn’t dulled his desire for invading small and seemingly easily-defeatable countries. (As long as it’s not him doing any of the actual invading, of course). Showing that his talent for encapsulating the banality of evil in a simple soundbite hasn’t left him either, he tells us:

My idea of foreign policy is that if you can do something, you should do it.

So let us hope that Kim Jong-Il never decides to take a crash course in the Blair Method of Foreign Relations, where it seems possessing an ability requires it use regardless of other considerations. But, I’m sure that when the historians of the future look back on the last decade or so, that will be yet another utterance from Tony that will generate year upon year of heated debate as they wonder just how a man who could utter such statements was ever taken seriously.

But, we can hope for one thing – if Blair truly believes that those who can should, then he surely can’t complain when a country that can arrest him and put him on trial does so. Indeed, given his words, he’ll likely be disappointed with them if they choose not to do so.

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I’ve been messing around with writing poetry recently, and my thoughts went back to those glorious days of yore when artists didn’t have to worry about pleasing the masses. All they sought to do was win the attention of a single wealthy patron, who would shower them with sufficient coin to ensure they could continue to produce their art with only the occasional diversion into hagiography of the patron or their family.

With that in mind, I decided it was time to demonstrate my hagiographical skills, but who should be the lucky recipient? Then, I caught sight of someone who had risen to a position of power with all the skill of a Renaissance Venetian and seemed to be be in possession of great wealth, such that writing cheques for five-figure sums was something she could do without a pause for thought.

So, beneath the cut, please find my tribute to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. I happily accept cheques or cash, and can probably arrange something through PayPal for credit cards.

Read the rest of this entry

I’m rather disappointed that Swiss Peter’s reason for resigning from the Cabinet wasn’t ‘to spend more time with my tan’.

Well, the BBC have given away the result of the Labour Deputy Leadership election, but it’s still fun to watch the results announced – there seemed to be an air of relief across the hall accompanied by a (larger than you’d expect if they were just being polite) round of applause when it was announced that Hazel Blears had been eliminated. I can’t think why…