The Thick of It


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conference notes

Having finally got myself back together after spending several days in Bournemouth for Labour Party Conference 2007, I feel able to write about it. Before going off again. In the morning I'm off to Cyprus for 11 days. They have lots of sun there.

The late accreditation office was better than last year in that it was actually possible to get a pass this time. I'm still a little stumped as to why it takes them so long to print a pass that is ready. One still gets different answers every time you ask a different member of staff. For a party that lectures the public sector so much in how to administer itself, the Labour Party clearly has a great deal yet to learn. But I got in.

The general feeling this year was very positive and united. All of the fringe meetings and discussions I took part in and attended were all focused on making sure Labour won and put forward progressive policies. I was impressed by David Blunkett's relaxed and comedic performances. I was impressed again by James Purnell.

The best party of the week was surely the New Statesman champagne reception. Highlights of this included John Spellar sweating profusely, people talking over Geoffrey Robinson and Jeremy Paxman refusing to allow me to have my picture taken with him after someone else just had. "I think one is quite enough. Don't you?" he questioned. I disagreed but he walked off with his blonde. To get my rudeness back for the weekend I saw Ian Paisley and called him something extremely rude, to glares from his bodyguards. However, I did get several supportive cheers and claps from some Geordie members for that. I definitely would do it again.

Congratulations to Alon Or Bach for his election to the NPF. Well done to him and I'm looking forward to more of his excellent reports back.

Let's get ready for an election...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bournemouth 2007

Off to BOurnemouth for conference this afternoon. My entrance assumes that there isn't a fiasco like last year with late accreditation at both Labour and Tory conferences.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Harman update

It appears that the police have tracked Harriet Harman down, after she admitted a speeding charge in Suffolk by post today. Hopefully now this is behind her she can set about filling whatever role the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party should be.

Laura Willoughby

Having a scout around for information on my local Highbury East councillor Laura Willoughby, I noted that her website still isn't working. Neither is her "PPC page" at the Lib Dem site. I wonder if she is working hard for me?

When things go wrong don't apologise, just look to the future

I've been slack since my trip to Holland. Naughty me. I'm off again in ten days time to Cyprus, so I promise to get a little more in between now and then.

I seldom manager to make it all the way through a newspaper, especially on Sundays, but last weekend I managed to get as far as Armando Ianucci's Observer column on the back page of the news section. I loved his description of a conversation with a former Bush aide:

I'm so glad you asked
Talking of doubt, last week I had a conversation with a genuine neo-con who didn't have any. He was one of George Bush's former speechwriters and I asked him how he responded to the never-answered complaint from most of us that invading Iraq was senseless, because all the terrorists were in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. His only response was: 'That was then. The question is, what do we do now?' I kept telling him that where we were now was a result of what he did then, but he kept saying: 'No, but what's important is what we do now.' Which is a bit like saying: 'I know I set fire to your house, but can we draw a line under that? What's important now is that I've got a charred hand, so where's the medical care?'

Drawing a line, redefining the issue, re-evaluating the situation in the light of a fresh context; these are all highly sophisticated reverbalisations of: 'I don't know; can we start again?' George W Bush declares progress, even though his definition of progress is to get unbearable violence back to the level it was a year-and-a-half ago. If he goes on redefining phrases to mean around 96 per cent of their opposite, it won't be long before he manages to persuade Americans to think that a 'debacle' is a good thing. Especially if it's an improvement on an outright disaster. Expect soon to have American families celebrate Debacle Day, host Fiasco Barbecues and organise Shambles Carnivals.

If only it were that easy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Where is Harriet Harman?

Fair enough, it has been the summer, BUT! When there was no contest for the Labour leadership, a great deal of media attention focused instead on the Deputy Leadership elections. When Harman was elected there seemed to be much speculation as to what she would actually do and whether Brown would pay any attention to the position. So far I have to say I've seen nothing. Does anyone know any better than I do?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ayre fish curry - Kanye West and me

I tried out a Bangladeshi fishmongers in Stoke Newington yesterday and brought home some Ayre. I made a curry, it was very good, however I was unable to find any specific recipes online. Searching for "Ayre fish curry" just brings up news hits for when Kanye West ordered that same dish to be taken out to him in New york from a
Welsh curry house for £2000. Mine took me about an hour and to serve four, the whole meal cost about £10.