Saturday, 12 April 2008

A note to Calum Cashley

Kezia Dugdale is organising a rally in support of Obama, which so far has support from every political grouping.

The SNP's Calum Cashley seems to have lost the plot over this issue and after reading his irrational post, am beginning to think he has shares in Clinton Inc.

So I write to him here...

Oh Calum.

Where in Kezia's post does it say they are "telling" Americans who to vote for?

"Support" is the word they use regarding Obama and the elections, and all they are planning to do is "rally" in "support".

At no point do I see the words "demand", "tell", "insist", "order". So why has this caused you so much angst? Taking an interest in foreign politics is no bad thing, as you say, but showing support for a candidate in America isn't telling someone what to do, it's taking an interest in what is undeniably a world event.

You probably know this, but just incase you've forgotten...America is the most powerful country in the land. It has a whopping big arsenal. Loads of money - of which, a shed load ends up here in our economy. Yes, a rally in Edinburgh will probably have little or no impact on the election as a whole, but directly or not, the election affects us all.

Would you criticise me for organising a rally against Robert Mugabe's treatment of the people of Zimbabwe, where people are dying, starving and being jailed for actions and rights that you and I take take for granted?

Is it wrong of me, when people are dying, to take an interest in foreign issues?

From this day forth, I never again expect to hear you, ever, make comment on
China's human rights abuses
Iraq War
American elections or policy (Iran, credit crunch...)
Malawi (...I could go on)

because the moment you choose to "...interfere in the politics of another nation...", you will forever be labelled a hypocrite, wrong, and a "...shallow and insincere politician".

Kezia is doing something she believes in, for a cause which she thinks will have benefits the world over. So from now on, if you disagree, then fine, disagree. But there's nothing wrong with expressing an opinion.

And even though this one rally will have little impact, my vote in the next Scottish election will probably have little or no impact on the final result also, but we all still do it, we do what we can, all in the hope that our little contribution can make a difference.


Gaun yersel' Kezia. I think Clinton's gonna get it so it's a shame I can't be there to join you all in support of a better America, but best of luck with it.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

He'd better not win it, innit!

I am a big fan of Boris Johnson. Now, obviously, I don't think he's one of the great minds of our generation, not a chance, but he has his own, er, 'qualities'. Politics, parliament and especially the Tories benefit from having Boris Johnson in the world. He gets groups of people (students) who might not previously have taken an interest in politics and elections, involved.
Fair enough, getting involved or taking an interest in politics ideally shouldn't be because you find someone funny, or silly-looking or because you're waiting to see which stupid, offensive and ignorant comment he'll come out with next.
But in my opinion, anyone who, while trying to represent the people of this country (however badly he does it), can increase voter participation and give politics a different, albeit odd, perspective, is a character we want involved in politics.
I was talking to a (very posh, very tory) life-long conservative voter mum-of-three from London, who put the London Mayoral election/Boris' candidacy in a great way.
"He's a funny and likeable character, but put it this way, if you got a letter telling you he was going to be the Head Teacher of your kids' school, you'd look to change school." Now I don't think this woman was saying she's now going to move out of London if Big-Bad-Boris gets elected, but she knows he is not the right man to run such a large scale and important operation as that of the London Mayor's office.
In fact, think of any other situation where you would have to place someone in charge. If you owned a company and had to take leave for a year, you wouldn't feel comfortable putting Boris Johnson in charge, would you?
Like the example above, you would certainly worry if he was made Head Teacher, no matter how much training and advice he may receive.

On top of all this, it must be pointed out that Boris has...
NO experience of running a large operation (Ken obviously as Mayor and the GLA, and Paddick as high-flier at the Met).
NO experience of London and what it's like living in London (Govt funded crash pad doesn't count) and the general concersn of Londoners (Tory party 'report on poor people' doesn't count either).
NO experience of any significant political position of responsibility.
NO thought-process between brain and mouth.
I'm not saying Ken Livingstone or Brian Paddick would be a sensation of mayoral wonder, but they've got to be better (and less potentially explosive) than an elected BJ.
My other, most prevailing concern is that London is essentially a wee country of its own and therefore needs to have a massive degree of indepenence and separation from Parliament. Ken, let's face it, is never going to be given his orders from the Labour Party. Brian Paddick has been a card-carrying Lib Dem for about six months. Boris Johnson, being as clueless as he is and would continue to be, would be nothing but an extension of David Cameron's tory party, essentially 'Minister for London', taking all his direction from Central Office/DC, and anyone who's lived in London for any length of time knows that London is too big, too complicated, too diverase and too important to be treated in this way. It needs a Leader and a Boris mayorship would not provide what it needs.