Peter Oborne on Israel

Peter Oborne Again

I have written before of my liking of Peter Oborne’s pieces in the Daily Telegraph. I have very little in common with the man, and probably even less with his politics, but what comes through in his writings is that they say what he really believes in, and that he holds both himself and others to a higher moral and ethical standard than what may be expected nowadays. In other words this isn’t someone who is writing to his boss’s orders. He doesn’t come across as a Kelvin McKenzie.

A couple of weeks ago he wrote about the relationship between Israel and the British Conservative Party here. He was brave to do this as the article was quiet critical of the unrestrained support given to Israel by the party. As others, including Alex Hilton, have pointed out it opens any writer making the criticism to attacks from a pro-Israeli lobby which brooks no such criticism. Basically what Oborne said about the Tories we could say something similar about Labour. The lobby’s attacks, including by many London Labour members, on Ken Livingstone before the London mayoral election could well have given the election to Johnson. Read more »

Cameron’s Gay Witch-Hunt

David Cameron

When David Cameron was ambushed by Phillip Schofield on daytime TV he must have been pretty annoyed. That didn’t follow the Tony Blair rule book that sitting on a sofa in these shows was a safe bet. No big questions need be answered and it’s so much easier than being in with the likes of Jeremy Paxman.

The ambush for those who didn’t see it was fairly amateurish. Schofield passed a piece paper to Cameron with the names of establishment child abusers he had found on the internet in just a few minutes. Cameron ignored the list and said that he feared it could turn into a ‘gay witch-hunt’.

Now why did he have that fear and use that term?

Read more »

More Than My Jobsworth

Damian Green - chief jobsworth

With the rightful criticism of Michael Gove influencing the exam boards and their unfair treatment of British students,what is happening to overseas students at London Metropolitan University (LMU) could easily be missed. That would be a shame as it involves equally unfair treatment, albeit of a much smaller number of students. Being from outside of Britain these students and their parents have very little pressure to bring to bear on the Tory ministers.

So although I could argue that the immigration department of the Home Office is wrong in its overall treatment of foreign students and wrong in expecting public universities to enforce immigration policy for them; for the sake of simplifying the argument let’s accept the charges that Damian Green’s people have made against the LMU. Read more »

Will they ever get it?

Nick Clegg's right hand

According to The Independent’s story, Nick Clegg’s right hand man, Richard Reeves, has just left the building. Family reasons seems to be the excuse. Now Mr. Reeves is an experienced political back-room boy, ex-Labour and ex-Demos. Not much you could tell this boy about politics is there?

So, according to The Independent, what is his great regret?

He is still kicking himself over the university fees debacle which undoubtedly damaged Mr Clegg, for a broken election pledge more than an unpopular policy. Indeed, in a candid farewell interview, Mr Reeves admits he once kicked himself in the shins because of his own role in the debacle. He regrets that the near-trebling of fees was not branded a “capped graduate tax” and that he did not fight harder against the Treasury to ensure it was. “It was stupid; I was a bloody idiot,” he now admits.

I hate to be the one to tell you this Richard, but capped graduate tax wouldn’t have done any better. I suspect neither the students nor the public are quite as stupid as our political class thinks they are, or would prefer them to be. You see Richard your guys made a pledge, and made a big thing about it in towns and constituencies with many students, and then they broke that pledge.

Now I’m not  one for putting dog crap through Nick Clegg’s letter box, but doesn’t that tell you something about how you, the Liberals, are perceived Richard?

Can Jon Cruddas save social democracy in Britain?

Jon Cruddas Superstar?

Ed Miliband’s promotion of Jon Cruddas to be the Labour Party’s policy guru may the cleverest decision he has made so far as party leader and/or it may be the last roll of the dice for a real social democrat party in Britain and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

The first problem with Jon being the answer is that messiahs do not come more reluctant than him. He gives out signals that he really doesn’t want responsibility and would much rather not upset anyone. He seems to be happy with his leisure pursuits and his holiday and future home in Ireland. Yet if Britain is to have a social democratic party major changes will have to made. This isn’t only about what post-election policies a Labour government would propose, but also where the Labour Party sees the long-term future of British society. Read more »

All’s not fair in the Tories

Jeremy Hunt - now part of cockney rhyming slang

I do seem to find some little gems in the opinion pages of the Telegraph. As I’ve stated before I’m a bit of an admirer of Peter Oborne. Today’s gem isn’t from him, but from the Telegraph’s Deputy Political Editor, James Kirkup. He comments about the unfairness of Cameron quickly referring Sayeeda Warsi for investigation by the ministerial standards guy, but not Jeremy Hunt. Now Kirkup has his own theories as to why this is so which you can read here.

Of course Cameron is wrong. We all know what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I don’t really want to go too deeply into the case of Jeremy Hunt because most readers will have had their fill of the story already. I will just add a correction to one line that Cameron has tried a few times. It’s that Hunt had to be doing his job fairly because just look at the decision he made in the end. Now even someone with a memory as bad as mine could see that Hunt was moving along a line of allowing the BSkyB takeover to happen right up until the Milly Downer phone hacking story broke. At that point even News international knew that the game was over, at least for now. Read more »

The Radical Alternative to Austerity

John McDonnell

This post is to help circulate John McDonnell’s recent article. John McDonnell can be found here.

The Radical Alternative to Austerity. 

The austerity programme of the Coalition government is not just failing; it is prolonging and deepening the recession. Cuts in investment in public services, in jobs, wages, pensions and benefits are creating mass unemployment and mounting hardship. Read more »

It’s not my joke.

Couldn't find a picture of Luke so we had better go with Cleese.

This is the first time I have linked to a Labourlist article. Usually I find their  contributors are drawn too much from the career apparatchiks who infest the Labour Party now-a-days. But here’s a post well worth publicizing written by Luke Sorba and called Don’t Mention the War.

To give you an idea of the content I’m going to paste a paragraph from the article here. It does show one of the problems the party still has.

…Recently, at a training day for future candidates, I was instructed “to learn from business, particularly customer service and sales” and told that winning elections was not about policies but “selling a brand”. This New Labour mind-set is exactly the sort of baggage the party needs to shed. It is the attitude that has lost us members since 1997 and cost us Bradford West. We are not some advertising agency trying to maximise sales whatever the product, we are a political party trying to build a better world. We must never again look at citizens and see consumers, look at society and see a market, look at services and prioritize choice over standards.

The link to the article is here.