The Thick of It


Friday, July 31, 2009


Brand Republic reports that Labour now has a Twibbon - a Labour logo to appear in the corner of one's Twitter profile photo. I'll be waiting with baited breath for the weekend's opionion polls, this really could be the catalyst for a startling recovery...I'll still be adding one to my own Twitter profile.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No second jobs

I have always felt that MPs should have only one job - the one they were elected to do. I'm pleased that second jobs won't be permitted by Labour and that the Tories are following suit. It might mean that Parliament actually begins to sit at reasonable hours, making it less necessary for some MPs to have second homes.

Howard Stoate may be a good local MP, but if the same rules apply to lawyers and bankers, they should apply across the board and it is only right that he should focus on one job.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is the government responsible for unemployment?

Last night I debated this on Richard Bacon's Five Live show with Tory blogger Shane Greer. Yesterday saw a record increase in the number of unemployed in the UK. The reasons for the increase in unemployment are manifold, not least that Britain is suffering together with the rest of the world. Also that not many people spotted this coming.

There is a clear differential between Labour offering business and individuals support, including the holiday on business rates for small businesses; and the Tories offering no alternative. There is also a huge difference between today's recession and those of the 1980s. Before mass privatisation the government was directly responsible for employing huge swathes of the population - and then making them unemployed - when this is no longer the case.

The government here is also ensuring that wide scale public sector construction projects, like Building Schools for the Future and Crossrail continue.

Globalisation also means that we're under ever increasing pressure from the rest of the world to be economically competitive. At the same time, this also offers our best escape route, giving UK business the chance to trade overseas. Protectionism isn't an option.

Listen again, I'm on in the first hour.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time for defections

After reports that a deselected Labour councillor in Waltham Forest has defected to the Lib Dems, I bring some heartening news from the North West. At a time when many are washing their hands of Labour, when the party really needs them, at least two former Lib Dems have seen fit to join Labour.

Denton Parliamentary Candidate Paul Moss and former Lib Dem leader on Tameside Council Karen Wright have switched to Labour according to the Manchester Evening News. Wright said: "Lib Dems in Tameside have become disorganised and are now showing little sign of understanding what local people need."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barking and Dagenham Labour Party de-selects 13 councillors

It looks like Barking and Dagenham Labour Party have wielded the axe over a number of sitting councillors in advance of next year's London local elections. Tribune has also touched on this recently.

I'm not close to the local party there, but the time of selections does pose questions for all party members about the type of representatives we seek to offer voters. I'd suggest that the Labour Party needs its representatives to look like the people they represent, should be both ethnically and gender balanced and should offer the voters the chance to elect people who will use their positions of responsiblity to work hard and stand up for them. It is always disappointing whenever some feel that the party no longer represents them. As Labour heads towards a general election, I hope all members can feel enthused to fight the threat of a Tory government and not their own comrades.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Phone tapping and smearing

David Cameron has backed Andy Coulson after the News of the World was alleged to have illegally phone tapped private citizens to subsequently smear their reputations. This could be dangerous, especially if Labour's planned attack is able to stick mud to Cameron's reputation.

However, I doubt whether Labour have the team to really mount a successful sleaze campaign, the moral high ground to do so or a receptive media to take on the campaign. Comparisons could be drawn with the Damien McBride and Derek Draper "Red Rag" affair a few months ago, where there Brown's aide was forced to quit. However, Coulson has not been accused of doing anything wrong whilst working for the Tories.

The phone tapping allegations are not all that surprising, distasteful though they are. It isn't that far removed from journalists rooting through rubbish bins to find information. It is potentially damaging to Cameron. While taking the political initiative over Brown in the expenses scandal, he hasn't come out of it with his nose clean. Cameron himself claimed some of the highest expenses possible. Coulson's role or otherwise in phone tapping just makes it that little bit harder for Cameron to claim he is the anti-sleaze champion, especially when he backs Coulson publicly.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


This blog has been on holiday in Egypt. I'm back, more soon. Every time I go on holiday it seems that Labour relaunch and that the British political scene changes, except it looks much the same as when I left. nobody has agreed how Parliament will be cleaned up, Labour still talks of reforming the House of Lords and neither Labour or the Tories will admit what public spending they would cut if they won the next election.