The Thick of It


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Listening to Gordon Brown's leadership speech is getting me excited about the next couple of years in this country. The biggest issue facing the country is the lack of affordable housing. That Gordon prioritised this as the first policy area in his speech shows how important he sees it. I hope that involving the private sector, housing associations and local authorities can bring about the sea change we need. It is a matter of supply and the supply must increase for the price to drop and it remains to be seen who will be building these new eco towns. I'm not sure how building new towns will really help people like me though. I was born in London. I work in London and I don't want to live anywhere else. In London there has to be smart development, making the best use of land and it means increased density.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tony Benn and Lynne Featherstone

Normally one would be shocked to find a member of your own Party supporting the opposition, that is true of course except when it is Tony Benn. It just sickens me. I picked this up from Adrian McMenamin's blog. A high profile Labour member appearing on Lib Dem literature supporting them and not us.

I can't understand why someone should be allowed to be in the Party when they are campaigning against it. Surely that is why one joins a different party? This is even more shocking for those of us living in North East London, especially as a local friend and colleague, Catherine West (Leader of Islington Labour Group) could well be fighting a Parliamentary election against Lynne.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Labour and the media

Tony Blair's speech yesterday where ghe dubbed the media a "feral beast" has gained plenty of coverage. His point that the media no longer reports news, instead comments (and passes judgement on it) struck me because about five years ago I went to a Camden Labour Party meeting at which Alistair Campbell made the same point.

Isn't this because newspapers specifically are always behind the 24 news agenda, they are no longer in real time and are never informing their readers of events for the first time. Campbell gave this response to my question in Camden when I asked why Labour, a government meant to be obsessed with spin, is so poor at getting it's message across.

I do feel that Blair's analysis of the present situation of the media - politics relationship is correct. However, I feel it is much more a chicken and egg situation as to who is to blame. I do feel though that Labour's paranoia was inevitable after 18 years of opposition and unfavourable media coverage. The easy answer is that the media despite claiming to have been pro-Labour at least in the immedate post 1997 years, is naturally anti-Labour.

Many have commented that Blair is feeling sour grapes as the tide as turned against him and while there is truth in that, I think he has prompted a worthwhile debate about our political media. Michael White states that his analysis is "hard to dispute" and I was interested to note his comment that Blair downgraded Parliament, but so did newspapers in stoppoing Parliamentary reports in the early 1990s.

London Lidos

When it is the weekend and the sun shines I head for a lido. I am lucky that I grew up near Hampton Pool and now have both Parliament Hill Lido and the newly rebuilt London Fields Lido close by. On a warm afternoon a trip to a lido is a holiday at home, I can't recommend it enough. London Fields Lido has just been rebuilt and after opening rather late is probably the owner of the best facilities of London's lidos.

My South London friends are always going on about Brockwell Park Lido so I was pleased to read that this is going to get a facelift.

Friday, June 08, 2007

You should look like the people you represent

I've always believed that the people's representatives should look like the people they represent. That is one of the reasons I stood as a young man in last year's local elections and support measures to increase the numbers of BME and female representatives, like Labour's all women shortlists for winnable seats. It is a shame the Tories and LiB Dems are not so interested.

For Dave's Tories, his famed A-List of candidates has struggled to make the changes to how they look that were originally vaunted. The Lib Dems don't look like they've even tried if a look at their candidates for next year's GLA elections is anything to go by.

Indeed, this has caused quite some controversy within the party, including Islington Mildmay councillor Meral Ece and local blogger Suzanne Lamido. This also got a short piece in the Islington Gazette. For me this shows that while many political tourists see the Lib Dems as to the left of Labour, this is another example of what they really stand for - as Meral says, a "white" party. It certainly isn't the behaviour of a party committed to equality.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The leftist CLP in the country?

According to one scribe, my CLP is "arguably a contender for the leftist CLP in the UK." Of course, this blogger is part of the Socialist Youth Network, to which I have never been interested in being a member of. It was interesting to read the thoughts of other readers who were surprised that INCLP voted for Gordon Brown (when he was the only candidate) and Harriet Harman for deputy. Perhaps this shows that the Labour Party remains pluralist but perhaps not in the manner that some who might like INCLP to be the leftist in the country want it to be. My CLP has always been comprised of a number of different political affiliations, far beyond the McDonnell and Campaign Group supporters.

Hornsey and Wood Green

I came across an interesting discussion about Labour's chances in Hornsey today...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hornsey and Wood Green

Islington Labour Group Leader Catherine West has been shortlisted as a candidate for the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency and the next general election. Good luck to her.