I’m not sure there are words for this. Why had we not heard they were there?
Monthly Archives: January 2004
We probably should have known better than to rely on Nick Brown. It has been clear all along that there’s more than convictions driving his position, but I think we all believe he’d stand firm. His publicly stated reasons for voting with the government tonight are clearly nonsense (the measures he say swayed him were introduced last week) and the halls of westminster were filled with talk of what sort of Blair-Gordon-Nick deal had driven these changes.
Given his defection, and the number of MPs who went with him, the government scraping through by five votes is a pretty poor showing on their part. They’ve abandoned those few tatters of principles they clutched at, and surely British politics can never look at the manifesto in the same way again.
We met with the infamous Jane Griffiths this morning and she perpetuated the image she’s built amongst my acquaintances. It was no surprise when she didn’t listen to any of our points. However her response to Kris’ comment that he wouldn’t have taken the course he did if he’d had to pay top-up fees, because he couldn’t conscience that level of debt was taking it too far. She suggested he shouldn’t have bothered in the case. I don’t know quite how that attitude fits with the government’s desire for 50% participation in HE.
That British politics is devoid of honour, I was already aware. But it still never fails to astonish.
It’s always nice to know that your local parliamentary representative respects you. That they will take your serious questions seriously, and explain to you why they’re taking the stands they’re taking.
I guess that’s why I was somewhat taken aback to receive an email from Jane Griffiths MP (Reading East) this morning containing just two words (aside from quoted material):
She was responding to an email I had sent asking what I considered a perfectly legitimate question about manifestos. I had asked whether they were supposed to tell us what legislation a government would bring in during the parliamentary session to which they applied. I may have made a passing comment that if the line she and Blair are taking ["the manifesto only applies to things which take effect during this parliament" (I paraphrase)] is the case then they could write whatever they liked in their manifesto and introduce entirely contrary legislation with some sort of time-delay.
Maybe that struck a little too close to home? Maybe she was striving for consistency and wanted to treat me a bit like she treated Martin?
At least we can enjoy the fact that she’s already been deselected.
[update: apparently the deselection isn't as final as I thought, or so this article seems to suggest not.]
“Today started out just like any other day I can remember lately, I was thrown out the window”
I’ve been following the Kilroy-debacle fairly reluctantly. The debate on Question Time last night piqued my interest a little, but seemed entirely based on a belief that the BBC had some sort of obligation to give the man airtime.
I wonder if the same amount of fuss will be made in the US about CBS’ refusal to show MoveOn’s anti-Bush ad? Sadly, I fear not.
For those who haven’t been following, MoveOn ran a contest to produce a 30 second advertisement about the failings of the Bush junta regime. The intention was to show the winner during that climax of US corporate sporting excess, the Superbowl. Not so now, it would appear.
Freedom of speech issues take on an entirely different form when public service broadcasting is such a minority interest.
[Thanks to ed and his blog for the heads-up here]
In the absence of a viable opposition, and in the face of an incredibly unpopular policy, surely it’s no surprise that labour rebels would try and persuade other people to support their rebellion. Isn’t that what politicians do?
As my move to the US comes closer, Kari and I have been working through our CD collections to eliminate duplicates. As a result we have a few for sale. Let us know if you’re interested.
It’s good to know that the US administration is keeping close tabs on me. Two days before I headed stateside, the alert level was raised to Orange [the second-highest level, as we were repeatedly informed]. Today, as I arrived back in the UK, it returned to Yellow. Time to heave a sigh of relief for the threat of James has passed. Or something like that.
Given that the alert level was still at Orange at the time, I was a little puzzled to find that no photo ID was needed in order to board my flight from Chicago to Cincinnati. Perhaps Homeland Security need reminding that the most devastating terrorist attacks in US history occurred as a result of the hijacking of domestic flights?
Nice too to have the reassurance on the second leg that Delta airlines takes the threat level seriously. So much so, that they were at pains to stress that there is no right to free association on board planes. Their commitment to federal law goes only so far, naturally.
If Tom Ridge is watching, I’ll next be in the US in April. Keep that Orange light ready.