Wednesday, 30 July 2008

fight, fight, fight, fight

Funny guy, that Miliband.

He may not be making a pitch for the leadership, "he's just a very naughty boy".

In every class, in every school, there was that one kid, the really geeky one, who was too intelligent to picked on, but too intelligent to be your friend. Think of that kid in your school.

Now imagine him saying to the teacher...

"Oi, you! Come and have a go if one thinks one's hard enough!"

Miliband, out of nowhere, has found big man's bollocks, strapped them on and decided what he wants. I feel sorry for Brown, I really do, but when you are this much of the problem, regardless of what you say, do, or in this case, don't say, then it's time to do the decent thing and give us a better headline than

"Embattled Brown faces union/cabinet/banks/by-election showdown talks."

All of Brown's policy ideas are focused on his survival. Cameron v Miliband would create new ideas, for the benefit of the country, and Labour know it, the Tories know it, the public know it, christ even the Lib Dems know it, and they know nothing. Labour, old or New, know Brown isn't the one for them, isn't going to win, and is going to cost a lot of them their jobs, so it's only a matter of time.

The future's bright, the future's Orange, Brown David.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The State of the Union(s)

Who is really in charge? Not wanting to start some paranoid conspiracy theory, but I'm starting to worry about the unions' power over Labour and our embattled PM.

Since the Grangemouth oil refinery strikes, staged courtesy of mega-militant, mega-memberous Unite, this particular union has seemingly not been out of the press, threatening strikes over anything that it can organise a strike for. And more recently, the GMB has noticed something going on over at Unite and decided they want a slice of militancy.

Let's face it, there is very little more politically crushing for a beleaguered Prime Minister, than strikes, never mind a series of strikes, across pretty much every sector.

So when the unions fund the Labour Party and the unions threaten strikes, and the unions are making demands on policy, and Gordon Brown can't risk pissing these folks off, in fear of these two factors, then it's got to worry you who's really making the decisions.

The general secretary of the GMB has said that Gordon Brown's leadership should be challenged, whereas the joint leader of Unite has said changing the leader was "not the solution". If they want to get what they want, then all these two men need to do, two of the most powerful trade unionists in the land, is get together, agree a strategy, bend Gordon Brown over a barrel and fist him til all their trade union fantasies come true. It'd be a fucking coup! It's not happened on the topic of GB's leadership, but on all policy matters, were they to get together, they genuinely could control our PM cos they can control an army of staff across the board.

Do we want someone who's main concern is not pissing off the unions because the party might lose money? A conflict of interest? The non-stop threatening of strike action from these large unions can only put the shits up Gordon Brown, and although they may have rejected unions' demands for less restrictive strike laws, my point is they know that they have that power.

It's cash for laws! It's a scandal! And these unions are making DEMANDS on the Labour Party, and remember The Labour Party = The Government. When Bernie Ecclestone gave Labour £1million and then the tobacco advertising laws revealed F1 got an exception, it was a massive, massive scandal.

So 'Private Interest A' gave Labour money, policy went in 'Private Interest A''s favour...BIG SCANDAL.

But 'Private Interest B' gave Labour money, policy went in 'Private Interest B''s favour... NO SCANDAL.

With GB bending over sideways and the unions rubbering up, we've got to be worried.
Quick, bring back Thatcher before she dies.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Barack Obama - Top of the Pops?

Like when push-pops first came into the world, I got very, very excited. The concept - a lollipop that wasn't on a stick? This new idea really took a hold of me, dreams were dreamt, tears were shed when mum said "no".

But then, when the dream became reality and I finally had one, the taste was nothing really that special. Ok, so it had sugar in it, lots, which meant I was never going to not like it, but it was a massive let down. But in spite of this, even though there were things I liked a lot more, I persevered for weeks, wasting my pocket money chasing a dream, a dream that never reached the hype. Eventually, I realised that I had to let go and go back to stuff I knew was what I wanted. The packaging, the hype, the talk... I had been bought over by an idea.

Barack Obama, is a bit like a push-pop (there's a sentence you won't have heard before!).

I've bought the hype, been taken in by the packaging, and liked how Mr Obama was presented as a package. But I'm now in that stage where I'm persevering, trying it over and over again, waiting for that magical flavour that sets him apart. But so far, I'm yet to be impressed.

Yes, he's a cracking orator, and if I had to change my voice, it'd be a toss-up between him and Alan Rickman. I like him, but is he any good, what are his big ideas and policies and how will he do things differently? Aside from talking to Iran, I'm yet to hear anything special from him, any new ideas which have been laid out in detail for me to understand. He's done a European tour, but what have we, and more importantly the American people, learned? Well, apart from the fact that he can draw a crowd, not much. And fair enough, maybe he's saving the big stuff (and even the medium and smallish stuff) for his American audience, but whether it's Europe, America or speaking to the world as "a citizen of the world", he's going to have to come up with some push for his pop stardom.

Those of you familiar with The West Wing will recognise the phrase 'it's the fortune cookie candidacy' and so far I'm seeing it as a bit like that.

"Mr Obama said co-operation with the UK was crucial over climate change, terrorism and the economy" (BBC), but you tell me any other US President or presidential wannabe or even just a basic official who has said anything to the contrary in the modern era? You tell me any other 'ally' country he's going to go to where he's not going to say exactly the same? And that was really it. Even back in America, or wherever he goes, I'm yet to hear much more than the basic bullet-point skeleton of a domestic policy, foreign policy or world-vision.

Hundreds and thousands may make an ice-cream look pretty, but it's the ice cream that must be good, and unfortunately, worryingly, the coolest candidate's gloss is beginning to melt.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Curran, Curran, Curran, Curran, Currans everywhere

Labour call a recount fearing a Curran mix-up.

People may have doubted me (and Mark McDonald at Granite City) when I said Labour had found a new excuse for losing but my smugness now knows no bounds. I called this as soon as I knew about it and pretty much everyone I spoke to said something along the lines of "don't be stupid".

Well, I ain't stupid, and not just cos my mum says so, but according to Labour, the voters of Glasgow East are obviously too stupid to read.

Me (and Mark McDonald) 1 (each)
Labour 0
Frances Curran + 254 accidental votes (or whatever Labour will undoubtedly claim)
Residents of Glasgow East -4

Ridiculous things to say...

On the BBC, Prof Curtis has just been saying the Conservative gaining 4% (projected) in Glasgow East is a "so what" matter.
He then went on to say that the SNP have been gaining votes at the expense of the Tories.

Que? Quoi? What?

To gain 4% in GLASGOW is massive for the tories. To gain anything in a two-monkey race is unbelievable. To do it with such a useless candidate? Beyond description. This is a big, big vote of confidence (all things being relative) in the Conservative Party, "the Cameron Effect" as John Sopel says, but most of all, of the wonderful force that is Annabel Goldie!

If the SNP are turning around a grand majority and the Conservatives are gaining 4% in hostile territory, then somehow, Curtis must be getting older than he looks at not realising that it's neither of them that took a beating tonight. Ridiculous thing to say.

Well done Conservatives, well done BoldGoldie, and er, "hi" to Davena.

Upon reflection...

Now that Margaret (JK Rowling's mum) Curran has lost, surely she must be under pressure to quit as an MSP? She has shown that given the choice, she wanted the Westminster job over the Scottish Parliament job. Surely, no matter what party, if any, you are from, in an ideal world you would agree that we only want people "working for the people" (quote - Curran) who will make that task their main priority.

Mags now must consider her position. The Leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament would be expected to 'have a chat' with her, but alas, not possible at the moment.

Which raises another point, presuming she doesn't step down, triggering another by-election for Labour to fail in, will she seriously think she has any chance of standing for the leadership? You know she'll be considering it!

If she stands for it, she has no credibility, or thought for her constituents. First, she says to her Scottish Parliamentary constituents, I don't want to focus on you guys, I've found something better (Westminster). Then she says to the same constituents that, I don't want to focus on you guys, I've found something better (Labour Leadership)? Come off it Mags, do the decent thing, resign.

Your career-credibility is in shreds, will get worse if you stand for leadership so quit and give us bloggers another, twice-the-fun by-election to focus on; we don't get much chum these days.
Glasgow East deserves more than a 5th choice loser doing their second or third choice job.
And don't go blaming Socialist Frances!

Bye Mags, off you pop.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Blogosphere Glasgow East Predictions

As the time ticks by, with many a blogger surely sitting at their computers, waiting to see if they're going to be smug, shocked, embarrassed, right or wrong, I thought I'd collect some interesting data for when the time comes...a mini competition you could say.

This is how just a few bloggers have predicted the majority will swing. Please feel free to add your own.

Political Dissuasion (Me) - Lab 2,433
SNP Tactical Voting - Lab 1,500 (or so)
Kezia Dugdale (if it's sunny, which it was) - Lab 3,000
Scottish Tory Boy - Lab 2,000-2,500
Random Thoughts From an Unarmed Accountant - Lab 10%
Bill Cameron - Lab 5,000-7,000
Birmingham University Conservative Future - SNP 500-700
Malc in the Burgh - SNP 500ish
My mate Beth really sticks her neck out - SCORE DRAW Lab/SNP

Disclaimer: there isn't a prize if you get it right,except for Beth, so don't phone, it's just for fun.

Not long to go now.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


To be honest, in a month's time, I won't care at all who won the Glasgow East by-election, but for now, I'm going to throw my hat into the ring, make a prediction and say some horrible things which make me shudder as I think them.

I'm going to go with, after a few revelations and useless campaign days...

Labour win - 2,433 majority. This is based on absolutely nothing but guesswork, so if I'm a long way off, go easy on me.

And here's the parts that will make me sleepless with intraverted rage...

If you look at it as a two horse race, then Margaret Curran is probably the right choice.
She may be the lesser of two evils, and as much as I truly despise Margaret Curran and everything that comes out of that shrill-toned mouth of hers, but scrape away the party politics she spews out, she'll no doubt give more of a toss about Glasgow East residents than John Mason.

As I've said before, Mason is a greasy, sneaky little shite and the SNP said as much when Salmond took over the campaign.

Against my strong Tory instincts, Davena has been a ridiculously poor choice of candidate. Fair enough they were never going to win, so they won't waste their starting pitcher, but she has been invisible and has failed throughout the campaign to generate a single headline, not one. Even the Lib Dems did that!

And on to the Lib Dems, and if you've read my blog, you'll understand why this is the most sickening bit for me... but Ian Robertson has been a truly impressive candidate. As a party, the Lib Dems are the epitomy of wasteful politics, I'm generally disgusted by everything they do...but Ian Robertson has done himself proud, and to compliment a Lib Dem is making me sweat with self-loathing. At 30 though, I'm sure we'll be seeing him in the future.

If voters made their decisions based on the individual and not the party, I'd have considered campaigning for him. He worked hard, knew what he was talking about the whole way through the campaign, was pro-active in his approach and his debates, and in my opinion, was the best candidate.

But as it was a two-monkey race, the reason for calling this blog Political Dissuasion is further strengthened. From the off, it was only ever going to be the SNP or Labour candidate that won, which meant that as soon as they chose shite candidates, there was no hope of a decent representation for Glasgow East.

So well done Mags, you're the bluebottle on top of all the crap, but against John Mason, you rightly earn your crown.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

When the boat comes in...

...there's not a lot to smile about if you're a UK fisherman.

Another reason why independence, or at least more powers, are essential to the progress of our little Scottish land.

May 12 - Fuel help pledged for fishermen

July 22 - Report rules out fishing fuel aid

One of these is a useful, helpful and realistically thought out policy (with funds) designed solely to help out an industry that is in greater peril than most at the moment.

One is the House of Lords, a society devoid of any understanding of the fishing industry or anything north of Birmingham, screwing over a predominantly Scottish industry.

With the majority of commercial fishing being in Scotland, I am not surprised how little consideration and assistance fishermen will receive through Westminster. Richard Lochhead, Scottish fisheries minister, has worked tirelessly in consulting and working with the industry to hear what the Government can reasonably do to help. Every week he is, amongst his other ministerial duties, talking to fishermen, industry leaders, campaigning, rallying at Westminster for more help and seeing what assistance can be afforded by the Scottish Government. With more than 75% of the UK fishing industry based in Scotland, you would think Scotland would have a similar representation when MEPs are discussing the topic in Europe, whether it be quotas, discards, Common Fisheries Policy or pushing the Seafish 'Responsible Fishing Scheme', which has itself already made agreements with foreign vessels? Nope, in yet another area, Scotland is under represented and there is near enough nothing we can do about it.

Westminster and the House of Lords in particular have just torpedoed the British fishing industry, another big hole in an already leaky ship. They're not asking for free fuel, just a slight decrease in the duty that Gordon 'the Iron Brew' (cos he's an embarrassment to Scotland) Brown siphens off. Fishermen are not behaving like French farmers with the CAP, they're asking for a signal, a tiny inflatable life raft that will give them a better chance of getting to shore.

The 'we should've let Northern Rock go down on it's own' brigade might ask 'Why should fishing get such special treatment, why not bus companies, taxis?' Because fishing is so much more stretched by fuel prices than almost any other industry in the world. This isn't like British Airways who have had years of gross profits flooding out through the years, this is an industry which as a country, we do not want to see disappear...and it will disappear if no help is offered. It would not be in such a precarious position if it weren't for GB's tax on fuel...and it is the whole industry that is at risk, not just a section of.

But thanks to the House of Lords, and in spite of the, impotent but best efforts of the Scottish Government and Richard Lochhead, the slippery slope just got a whole lot slippier.

The sooner we get more or full powers, the better off we'll all be, in many, many ways.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The element of success

And that element is wind.

Alex (he of the space hopper's face) Salmond has announced approval for Europe's biggest windfarm to be built in South Lanarkshire, creating 200 jobs and introducing 152 of these beautiful towers of hippy-hope. The previous biggest windfarm in Europe is already being built, in Glasgow.

I'm not being sarcastic, I love windfarms.

Biofuels? Pah! No more burning trees and crops.

Clean coal (A GB favourite)? That's like saying 'healthy cancer' or 'jolly rape'.

I've always believed we should carpet bomb as much free land as we can afford to do away with, to create this clean, renewable, politically correct (except to the RSPB), big fat money-spinner of moral smugness. Yup, we can become the OPEC of wind. Oil will run out, and with the world being as "live now, plan later" as ever, there is no better time to get ahead of the game, start creating a surplus, bringing on independence, and once the oil runs out, Scotland can sell it by the 'bucket-load' (though you can't put wind in a bucket, so hairdryer-load?).

Well done to the Scottish Ministers. Well done indeed to Scottish and Southern Energy who are creating the wealth/environmentally sensible project............. Well done to wind!

And one final well done (though it's ridiculous that politics has come to this)...well done to Labour and all the other opposition parties for not turning round and criticising for criticism's sake. It's easy on any topic to tooth-comb through and find one tiny negative, pick on that and run with it. Silence in cases such as this are as good as applause from opposition and, for now, there have been no negative jibes from anyone (YET). And if there are no objections from the other parties, why don't they all get together, agree that they all want to follow my carpet-bomb approach, and push on. Consensus on the issue would give me, a voter, an energy user and a future beneficiary, a gloriously, rich feeling.

"Money doesn't grow on trees, it's blowing in the wind" - Bob Dylan Political Dissuasion

The cost of success

Trevor Phillips is a Labourite. Discuss.

This is not a slant on the man, a personal attack, or a shallow attempt to call into question his inegrity as chairman of an independent body, it is a fact. He is a Labour man. So much so, that at one point he stood to be Labour's candidate for London Mayor. So there is the link, not hidden, not tenuous, BIG AND BOLD, right in front of you, Trevor Phillips = Labour.

So how on earth can he be appropriate to head up the Equality and Human Rights Commission (and formerly the Commission for Racial Equality)? How can he make statements such as those he made today on World at One, where he said that he/the organisation wants extra powers to help tackle inequality, when all he has used the statement for is to attack the "wealthy and educated middle class", in a deeply political way?

He claims that the economic slowdown is hitting everyone, but hitting those at the lower end of the financial spectrum harder...which I can't really disagree with, but when he says that
"Everyone is happy to take some of the pain as long as that pain is shared fairly..."

Happy to take the pain? Yes, Trev, I'm just giddy at the prospect. Quick, whip me with a bit of wood, I just love the fucking pain!

What a stupid way to put it. But then, it's what follows that really gets to me.

"People can see the economic slowdown coming. Everyone is happy to take some of the pain as long as that pain is shared fairly and what we want to do is to make sure that the burden doesn't fall unfairly on some groups rather than others.
(It would) mean taking on the wealthy and educated middle class who are adept at playing the system to the advantage of their families."

"Taking on"? That's fighting talk.

I am not rich, I don't have a big ol' house, a car, I earn less than the average annual wage, I went to state school and don't have a hyphenated, double-barrelled surname. I am not "wealthy" or "middle-class" but these measures are just another attack on the Tories politically, and the successful socially.

Or are you just helping out GB, saying something indirectly targetted at the Tories, but designed to pander to the poor/anyone who feels affected by the credit crunch?

This is another Labour motion towards, "Don't bother doing anything with your life, we'll just get the rich to pay for everything".

Yes, the economic climate right now is going to be a problem, to varying degrees, for everyone. But we aren't a socialist country. You aren't entitled to a comfortable living. You have to get out and sometimes scrap really hard to get by in life. You can't just say, if things get a bit worse we can just tax the rich more, windfall tax Tesco or Shell. GB has taken the Tories "work for your benefits" approach, which is grand but after such inverted snobbery being shat out the mouth of the Labour appointed equalities body, we all know it'll end up being a fudge, with GB wimping out at crunch time, and pandering to Labour's poor-man's chew-toy base.

No, if things are tough, then things are tough. Labour needs to tell it's base/Glasgow East to shut the fuck up, get off your arse, go out and work and stop thinking that you're owed a living and blaming your poverty on those better off.

For every pound the average 'poor man' earns, about 4% of it taken as tax.
For every pound the average 'rich man' earns, about 38% of it taken as tax.

Trevor, don't talk to me about equality. Some people more than cover their social burden, whereas some people are their own social burden (while also being mine as well).

Those better off (aka 'educated middle class'), have worked through school, university, jobs, promotions etc to get where they are. They've worked to achieve something, and when you puteffort in, rightly you should expect to reap rewards. Labour's base doesn't get that. These are people who believe that the rich should get taxed 50% of their wages because "it's more than they need".

Jealousy is not a policy. Fact.
Rich people are not bad. Fact.
Being educated is a good thing. Fact.
Trevor Phillips isn't a Labour mouthpiece. False.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


Read this last night and couldn't stop laughing. It's probably a well known story that most of you will have heard before, but for those of you who haven't...

From The Blair Years - The Alastair Campbell Diaries

"Madrid NATO summit...
...There was a bizarre scene during the break, in the Gents. Several leaders, including Clinton, TB, (Romano) Prodi (Prime Minister of Italy), Kok and Khol, were all having a pee in a row of stand-up urinals. Clinton turned around and said 'Isn't this the greatest picture that was never taken?' TB told him the story of the time Churchill moved away from Attlee while they were peeing together. Attlee looked hurt. Churchill explained: 'Every time you see something big you want to nationalise it.' "

Ah, even greats such as Churchill couldn't hold back on a good 'big nob' gag.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The knives are out 2

Oh Gordon Brown. Sending those convicted of committing knife crime to see victims in hospital and to meet families of victims is yet another, stupid, ill-thought-out, wafer-thin reactionary piece of PR desparation from Gordon Brown.

They call it "shock tactics".

Haven't Labour learned that shock tactics don't work? Putting health signs on cigarette packets saying "Smoking causes cancer" or "Fumar obstruye las arterias y provoca cardiopatias y accidentes cerebrovasculares" if you get duty-free fags off your step-gran, didn't have any real impact on smoking figures. Real, physically restricting, truly effective measures such as the smoking ban, which unequivocally altered the smoking habits of almost all smokers, has made a difference.

These knife-crime shock tactics are a fudging waste. How will this make any difference 'on the streets'? It won't. Knife Carrier A is in exactly the same position as before when he steps out the door, where he faces a choice WITHIN HIMSELF, "Should I take my blade?" He's seen pictures on tv, he's seen films which wil make it look much more gruesome than in real-life, so bandaged up and blood-free victims are not going to shock this man.

It kills me to agree with the Lib Dems but here it goes...

Chris Huhne described Ms Smith's plans as "half-baked", and said the government had been in denial about the scale of the knife crime problem...........YUP!

It's like a 4 yr old kid traipsing mud through all the carpeted rooms in the house, then when mum notices, she drags him room to room saying "Look at what you've done!" The kid doesn't understand the concept of cleaning or "nice carpets", he understands the concept of playing football in a mucky field. The kid won't be going to bed, riddled with guilt about how difficult it is to get muck out of cream fabric, cos he's a kid. So gang members won't give a hoot about the causes of what they do because they don't relate to it. You can show them what they've done, but at the end of the day, they're just thinking about their next game of football, not how football leads to messy carpets.

Jacqui Smith says that it was "tougher" than imprisonment to make people "face up to the sorts of implications of young people carrying knives on our streets".

Jacqui, you dizzy fucking cow, these are people who have chosen to plunge a knife into someone else's body, I think they know the implications of 'sharp blade into body - body don't work so good'. When they do that, do you really think they'll give a shit if they see someone recovering from such injuries? Hearing sob stories from victims and families won't affect them, not in the heat of the moment. Tories want to lock them up, no matter what, if they carry a knife...........YUP!

I've also been a long-time fan of the idea of curfews, cos if they aren't out, they ain't going to be stabbing people. A proactive policy which will physically influence the sort of situation activity that knife crime thrives in. Jail, as the Tories say, will also put a limit on their stabbing chances.

But taking them round hospitals? So would you take them on their stabby sightseeing tour before or after they go to prison? Or, with Labour being so weak on crime and puff candy on the causes of crime, would this be their "tougher" alternative. Hmmm, doing three to five years in a cell, or a day out to the hospital to see people I don't care about (cos it's me and people like me that put them there)? Er, I think I'll take the day trip please!

What a fucking non-existent solution to a very real problem. Welcome to New Britain, brought to you by New Labour.

Only when seven people are stabbed in three days do we get any sort of reaction from them, and it's an absolute fudge.

How high the numbers to start saving lives, Gordon?

The knives are out

I watched the Schools QuestionTime last week and there were two main topics discussed (I don't include the 15 minutes they dedicated to how many courses Gordon Brown had at the G8 meal).

Firstly, and quite obvious as it was in London, they looked at knife crime, especially regarding young people. The other focus was on Iran and nuclear proliferation. The main argument the grown-ups on the panel used on knife crime, which has been the Government's line for many a year, was, as the child-sized Douglas Alexander said...

"Not only is carrying a knife wrong, but you are more likely to make yourself more vulnerable to a crime of violence if you carry a knife"

But if you speak to someone who carries a knife for self-defence, who doesn't feel safe walking home at night, or knows that there is someone out there who is out to get them, they will carry a knife to feel safer.

I don't agree with it, but in this situation you can understand the thinking...

If someone attacks me with a knife, chances are that knife's going to be used to stab or slash me. In turn, if I get stabbed, I've a good chance of dying and little chance of defending myself, especially if that guy has already decided, no matter what, he is going to stab me. If I have a knife, even though I may have to stab him, which I don't want to, it does mean, in this situation (which is the only reason I'm carrying a knife and the only situation in which I'd use one), I have a better chance of seeing my next birthday.

You can see the logic behind that, right?

Well, it dawned on me, this is probably quite similar to how Iran is feeling:

"They've got the bomb, they've got it in for us, so we want the fucking bomb!"

So does the knives argument not also work, at least from Iran's perspective, on the Nuclear bomb issue? Couldn't Iran just say to Britain, India, America, ISRAEL etc, "Put your nuclear weapons away and I won't need one". This is what the politicians don't get when it comes to knife crime, is that it is a self-assurance thing, defintiely to Iran, and undoubtedly to a large number of knife carriers.

If I get into a fight with someone with a knife and don't have one myself, I will invariably lose the fight.

If Iran gets into a fight with Israel or the US, it has NO WAY TO DEFEND ITSELF, and after Iraq and Afghanistan, we can't expect Iran to bow to pressure from these hypocritical Governments.

I don't like knives, and I don't like nuclear bombs.

But in either of these situations, especially against someone who I know, 100% for sure, is out to get me, you can understand why I'd rather have equal weaponry with which to fight my fights.

The problem isn't that I might carry a knife, its that someone else has got one. I'd have no reason for one if it wasn't for 'the other guy'. Iran wouldn't feel like they needed the bomb if Israel, America didn't have one. So let's have a nuclear bomb amnesty, get rid of them all and the problem will disappear.

Somehow, I don't see the world following my idea.

The big debate - Glasgow East

Politics Scotland hosted the first live debate between the 'main four' candidates in the Glasgow East by-election. Now considering the Times and I are in agreement that Labour are rightly worried about losing a chunk of their votes to Granny Maggy's Socialist namesake, Frances Curran, I would have thought she could have got a place in the studio, but alas not.

Anyway, to the debate. Christ alive what a poor calibre of candidate, from all the parties.

Maragaret Curran (Lab)... just wouldn't shut the fuck up. My God, her voice goes through me at the best of times, but when she interupts everyone else, the whole way through the debate, making ridiculous 'the poverty is at the heart of my politics' speeches, she really is not a shining light candidate. As with the majority of senior Labour MSPs, she has that angry chip on her shoulder about not being in power anymore, and I think that Scotland, Glasgow in particular, doesn't need that sort of bitter Labour politics anymore. It certainly won't help the constituents in Glasgow East. And on the topic of standing down as an MSP should she win, or even now, she did nothing but waffle shite, which took me back to her days as a minister.

Davena Rankin (Con)... a more invisible candidate in a debate I never did see. First of all, when she was involved in the debate, she seemed clueless. It seemed like she had been given seven one-line cue-cards to memorise, and that is strictly what she has done and had nothing else to offer. Now the Tories were never going to do anything worth noting in this by-election, but she certainly failed the party spectacularly, a wee bit of homework might have helped her. But the fact that she was only willing to speak when prompted, made it more like there's a three-way debate and a side-show interview (with a side-show candidate).

Ian Robertson (Lib Dem)... first of all, he's a Lib Dem, so was never going to get a standing ovation from Political Dissuasion. But he rarely spoke on issues relating to Glasgow East. He spent the majority of the debate, bitching, condemning Labour and SNP (cos being invisible, he didn't notice the Tory candidate), and just whinging. He offered nothing to any prospective voters to entice them over. More than once he criticsied Labour's leadership in the Scottish Parliament over the last two terms. Firstly, the by-election is for Westminster, and it irks me when they cross the Parlimentary divide to help them try (and in Ian's case, always fail) to score some points. Secondly, the Lib Dems seem to keep on forgetting that they were Labour's partners in crime, they were in coalition...they were the poop, to Labours scoop, hand in hand.

John Mason (SNP)... is just a little weasel of a candidate. There's no secret that I've been pretty impressed with the SNP and building up to this by-election, would have loved it if Labour got spanked, or just narrowly beaten. But with Mason as the candidate, I can't get on board. When he repeatedly goes on and on about Curran being a part-time MP if she won, he is repeatedly asking us to question Alex Salmond's role, which from the party's perspective, is just plain stupid, and from a campaign perspective, is hypocritical which looks like what it is, cheap, News of the World style political sniping, which does nobody any good and just makes you look like a greasy little shite.

So all in all, if I was one of the twelve residents of Glasgow East who might have watched the Politics Scotland debate, and wasn't one of these masochists who, "live or die - I VOTE LABOUR", then I wouldn't know who to vote for. Nobody seems good enough. None of them seemed to want to represent Glasgow East, and while I'm not an idealist who thinks that the candidates' only desire is to benefit these constituents, even a bit of faking it, a bit of compassion towards them may have gone a long way to securing my non-existent vote.

This is a great advert for "I don't like any of them so I'm just not going to vote".

But seeing as I don't believe in such a mindset, I have to pick the winner is...

Frances Curran, Scottish Socialist Party. She's the only one who'd stand up for the area, kick up a fuss and truly represent the people. By god I hate Socialists, so it kills me to say she'd be best, but invariably, she would be.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tory sleaze

David Cameron has a bit of a fight on his hands convincing his party that his new, whiter-than-white, sleaze-free party policy of revealing expenses, is actually here to stay.

Cash for questions, Derek Conway, Neil Hamilton etc etc etc.

Now a leaked memo has cast a shadow over Cameron's vision, questioning whether he can get it through without being too bruised. The Tories are synonymous with sleaze. That, more than 'posh folks', is what they stand for. But this could be their one big chance to rid themselves of an unwanted tag - and Cameron must stay strong.

This is Cameron's equivalent of Tony Blair's Clause 4. It may not finish him off, but it will automatically put an immovable limit on his future influence and credibility. If chucking people out the Tories at the next election is what's needed, even if they are party big shots, then you have to do it...we believe in you.

If he can't get this through to his party, and accepted without splitting the party, then he might as well go home.

Go on Dave, do it. Everyone knows what a ridiculous junket most MEPs are on, doing very little good work (if any work at all) and they are so brazen in their exploits. The leaked memo from today contains the laughable argument that "The more we reveal, the more questions will be asked". And? That is DC's aim, to make politics cleaner, more open, more honest, more voter-friendly than now.

If he succeeds, this would push the ther parties to address the issue, then force Parliament as whole to follow suit, then, we could have an honest revolution of decency in the country.

Never been the biggest DC fan (because I'm a big DD fan), but cleaning up politics along with telling fatties to stop moaning about being fat means he's had a good few days by my reckoning.



Please can we get rid of such a shockingly bad phrase as "Deep clean" of expenses.

I'm not sure if the new Crap Holyrood Chat blog is exclusively for Scottish stuff, but if not can I add to the recycle bin...

"Deep clean" - trying a wee bit harder
"Not fit for purpose" - shite
"Gordon Brown's backyard" - Fife

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Hard Labour

Labour have used many different excuses for losing by-elections, mayoral races and doing badly in local council elections recently.

Whether it's the economy's fault, the media's fault, Red Ken or astrological gravtational pulls going against them, it doesn't matter for Glasgow East.

Now they have a cracker, and I'm confident it will, at least once, be raised by the Labour Party in this by-election.

"Well, the reason we lost is that voters got confused between Margaret Curran and Frances Curran. Their names are too similar."

Let's face it, call me snotty, say I don't give them enough credit, but most people in Glasgow East wouldn't recognise either of these candidates if they passed them on the street. They won't know the difference between the two. The only ones that might've watched the news in Glasgow East are those who've been interviewed by the Beeb and ran home, screaming down the mobile "Rab, switch the fuckin' nooz on, um gonna be on the telly". Not being funny, but voter apathy is some awesome force.

They won't know who's who, anything about what each candidate stands for, or whether to put a cross in the box, or just a big 'x'.

And then Labour can use the 'one surname, two candidates' defence. I can actually hear them saying "This is something we'll have to review for future elections", "It is the voters who I feel have been let down most".

Monday, 7 July 2008

A cowboy operation...

So the Church of England has voted to allow female bishops.

I'm not CofE, I'm not religious and to be honest, it will not affect me in any real way.

From an equality point of view, it's a cracking move and for women who want to follow that path it is undoubtedly good news. (After my post on Harriett Harman's equality nonsense, I'd like to point out she wasn't exactly burning her bra in an equality protest against the church, she certainly doesn't have the balls for that!)

But I have always had an issue with 'reform in the church' (and by 'the church', I mean all religions, though usually I make this argument regarding the Catholic church).

If the church believes in something, then fine, believe in it. Whether their views are popular, right or wrong, old fashioned or whatever, I don't care. They are the church's beliefs and I can't criticise them for their genuine beliefs (though I can certainly disagree).

For example,
The Catholic church, for centuries has said "This is how you should live your life, no ifs, no buts, this is the way as taught by the bible." If you divert from how we say you should live your lives, you shall go to hell, be exiled, killed. They ruled a vast swathe of the earth, scaring the shit out of people with their instructions of how to live their lives, warning of the consequences if they didn't obey.

What really gets to me about the Church is when they change these 'beliefs'/rules to suit the times. This is what makes me think the whole idea of organised (crime) religion is an absolute sham. If you compare what the Catholic Church was like five hundred years ago to how it is now, then you will see a massive, MASSIVE difference - they are essentially two totally separate organisations when it comes to their beliefs, what is allowed, and who can do what within the church. The new one and the old one, really only have one common denominator, admittedly quite a big one, the idea of GOD. But what we are supposed to do for/by him now and what it was five hundred years ago mean that they are not the same thing.

Think about some religious examples...

"No homosexuals" recently changed to adverts on TV saying 'Actually, you are welcome'

'No method of contraception whatsoever' was changed to 'Oh, ok, we've found one way that we'll let you 'do it', the rhythm method.'

And 'Women cannot be ministers, or representatives of the cloth in any way', and now they're becoming bishops.

Now I'm not saying I think that gay=wrong, contraception is good or bad or that women should/shouldn't be allowed. What I'm saying is that these have been some of religion's deep, strongly held beliefs, and yet, they changed. which means, why should we trust you this time?

It's like the Daz adverts you see, a new one every year, saying 'New Daz cleans everything perfectly'. Then they show you a comparison with old Daz, which still leaves stains but the new one doesn't, it gets your clothes whiter-than-white. But next year, even newer Daz is the one getting all the stains out and the previous Daz just doesn't cut it anymore.

To me, the only thing that is left of these religions, compared to the same institutions from hundreds of years ago is that 'There is a God and we should all worship Him (or, in the spirit if debate, Her)'.

And why does it get to me so much? Cos it's like a shitty shallow politician changing his beliefs and his policies just to stay in power. Some call it opportunism, populist. In fact, I could probably sift through the blogosphere and find thousands of comments slamming politicians for flip-flopping to either side of an issue, performing 'embarrassing u-turns' etc which leaves the party, PM, MP or MSP with less credibility than before. If he does it often, on his/her deepest beliefs, we couldn't take them seriously, in fact we don't. If the Tories suddenly announced that "We hate the idea of private education", Cameron would not be en route to a big win, because we know that's not what he belives, he just wants to win. Yet, when it comes to religion, because that tetchy thing called 'God' is involved, nobody in a position to make a difference is ballsy enough to point out what a big fucking waste of time it all is. They have now become one of these cheap political parties that will say whatever it takes to get bums on seats, which in turn, means money. The bottom line is...the Church is becoming less popular and they are now just whoring out their beliefs in exchange for money.

If you are a carpenter, and nobody needs carpentry, your business will inevitably close down. If you, as a carpenter, then start selling pizza, then people will still come into your shop. But because the sign says Capenter, this doesn't mean your shop is a successful carpentry business, it's just a place where as long as you sell something, anything that people want, you'll make money. But after ten years of selling pizzas, or computer games, please don't keep running round saying you're a carpenter. Also, not being a chef (or Italian) means that the pizzas will probably also taste like shit. And this, to me, is what the drivel that organised religion spouts out, shit.

However, the Church is onto a winner with this religion lark, because the whole system is based on faith. This is the same 'faith' that has convinced many people to kill themselves through cults because of their 'faith' in God, so it's no big surprise some people will continue to buy into it when you just change a few small rules at a time.

Some call it 'modernisation'.

Reform or die springs to mind.

What Gordon would do for such faith in him at this time.

So all in all, congrats to the future women bishops. Problem for me is not who works in the shop, but what you're selling.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The long kiss goodbye?

English votes for English laws.
The Conservative and Unionist Party, is proposing, arguably, the fairest reform to wipe its nose on Westminster's democratic hanky since women gained the right to vote.
To be honest, I've never really known exactly how I felt about the 'English votes' idea as I'm unsure where and what it will lead to in the fllowing 5-10 years. Negativity towards all things Scottish has long been on the increase south of the border, whether it be politically on the West Lothian Question, Brown's inadequate Scottish Cabinet, or Andy Murray.
In the past, any anti-Scottish sentiment from Westminster MPs would have been met with my defensive, "fuck the English, what a bunch of racists, I don't give a hoot what they think cos as long they're angry about something, then I support the 'something'" stance. But now, noting a sense of maturity/old fart-ism about my person, I've started to see what the English have been moaning about.
Foundation Hospitals won through because of 'undemocratic outside help'. Scottish MPs won the day for Labour's English policy.
Student tuition fees the same.
Imagine David Cameron suddenly announcing that his Southern English MPs should be allowed to join in the voting at the Scottish Parliament and we could very well have a war on our hands (and even though the UK Army is directed by Westminster, 90% of the SAS are 'Scotch', so I wouldn't be worrying). We just wouldn't have it. It's just not cricket.
But the 'English votes' idea could take a lot of the hostility away. The Barnett Formula will continue to harness most of the racism that's left and thunder on it shall until independence, a Tory government or Scotland gets its oil. But even regardless of constitutional concerns, it is culturally a good idea purely based on harmony. Scotland, like myself, appears to be growing up and having a less childish hatred of the English than it used to. For the first time in goodness knows how long, as a nation we are focusing on 'How do we feel' rather than trying to piss on the English.
Arguments that this would create two classes of MPs is one of the most stupid I'll ever hear, as under the current setup, we already have this problem. Scottish MPs can vote on some issues and not have to worry about how if will affect their constituents. Not so for the English.
Bottom line, the clincher for me, is that this 'English votes' idea WILL essentially create an English Parliament. And why the hell shouldn't they have one? The main reason though that I'm behind having it as a 'two-tier MP' system within the Westminster setup (as some would call it), is that if they had an actual, separate English Parliament, with it's own House, chambers, staff etc, then this would be a ridiculous, spectacular waste of, what is for now, all of our money.
Let's face it, the Dome, Wembley, the Scottish Parliament, the Olympics. Do we really want to entrust another £xxbn to folk who will, undoubtedly fuck it up and waste bucket loads of cash? We can have the same end product (English representatives voting on English matters) for practically no extra cost, no extra national embarrassment.
So I'm all for it.
And so are, I presume, all independence loving SNP people.
Yet again the SNP have impressed me by their not voting on English only issues. They chose to do it not through pressure, not through bargaining, but through integrity. They are there to serve their Scottish constituents and by spending no time in debates/votes/negoiations on English only issues, they devote more time to Scottish stuff. Well done to you.
But to me, this proposal will increase the prospect of Independence. It will further the distance between the MPs and their countries by having a constitutional dividing line labelling Scotland and England as separate, which will make the prospect of full independence closer to the status quo of the time, and in turn, less of a big shift, less daunting to the daunted and more achievable to those who desire it.
So why are the Conservative and UNIONIST party pushing a less unified style of governance? More and more I think that the Tories are in no way Unionist, they are just 'the unnofficial English Party'. This legislation, though I strongly agree is fair, is also divisive across national lines. The arguments against a Scottish or Welsh Prime Minister when he/she wouldn't be able to vote on their own policy proposals, are too compelling to be swept aside. And if it becomes realistically impossible to become Prime Minister solely because you're Scottish, then there will be more agreeable thoughts behind independence, across all parties. You know, that in the end, some of the more eccentric hardcore Scottish MPs will begin to describe us, in this case, as an oppressed colony of the English with no chance of meaningful power or control...unless we gain independence.
The Tories, without knowing it, may have begun to nibble the ear in the long kiss goodbye.
They may just wake up in the morning, regretting that kiss going too far, spawning a child they simply didn't want, or plan for - how unConservative of them!