Sunday, 17 December 2017

Nasty little shit

So, Adam Tomkins, a Conservative MSP in Holrood, has brought up the issue of Where Richard Leonard Was Born.  (For those who do not follow Scottish politics with the diligence it deserves, Leonard is the newly elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party.)

Michael White, former deputy political editor of the Guardian promptly bit his e-head off:


Tomkins is insinuating that you can't have an English born person leading the Scottish Labour Party. Of course you can.  We're not all racist arseholes in Scotland, though - alas - we try very hard to create the impression we are.

Obviously his goal is to drum up bit of festering resentment among the Scottish Labour Party members, who he thinks are to dim to have noticed Leonard's Yorkshire accent:



White responded fiercely to a bit of bigoted shit-stirring. As he should have. Ethnic cleansing doesn't always mean herding people into death camps. It can also mean bullying and intimidating those seen as 'tainted.'

Tomkins is the only taint here.

I wonder if Tomkins would have had the guts - evil, nasty guts, but guts none the same - to run the same smear if the winner had been a immigrant, maybe even of a different colour?  I doubt it.

His contempt for Scots, the people he is supposed to represent, is disgusting.

People will believe ... media ... blah blah blah ... Orwell et cetera

I encountered this on the interweb the other day, in an inconsequential discussion:




Now, I may be wrong (it happens) but I do not believe that is actually a quote from Orwell at all. He died before the term "the media" came into common use (and even if he did hear it being used in the modern sense, he would probably have regarded it was grave suspicion, being rather snooty where new-fangled language was concerned). I don't think I've ever encountered it in his essays or novels and running it through Google does not link it to any of his works.

It looks like one of those cases where someone has made up a phrase and - because no-one would listen to some clever phrase concocted by Billy Nobody - attribute it to some great source.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Hang out the stars in Alabama!

Well done, Albanians, or whatever you are.


Who ever thought The Great Fightback would start in Alabama?

Seriously, well done.

Nothing on the Orange One's twitter feed for five hours ... Looks like he's been given a sedative and well wrapped up in his favourite blankie.

Hopefully, they've taken his mobile away and buried it somewhere (alongside Roy Moore's political ambitions?!) because once he wakes up, he'll break Twitter with his bellyaching.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Theresa May: Going, Going ...

So, Theresa May is in a bit of trouble.  Tories are scheming and plotting - which they do on any day that ends in a 'Y' - and rumours are swirling that she is going to be 'persuaded' to 'do the right thing' for Boris Johnson's career the good of the country.  Now, I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to reconcile the terms 'Tory government' and 'the good of the country,' but I don't think what the mean is that all 316 MPs should take the Chiltern Hundreds.  It looks like there is a leadership spill coming over the ridge.  I'd better get me some popcorn.

For the plotters on all sides, there's a very complex calculation involved.

On the one hand, Boris is likely to bide his time and wait until Brexit is done. Too much like hard work for Boris. Also, he's sad things he might not be able to deliver on and he'd probably rather not have to do that. But those who don't want Boris sense a bit of an opportunity. Boris's stock is low at the moment - a lot of gaffes and disloyalty. He's part of the problem, not the solution. So if May goes quickly, yup, someone will have to Do Brexit, but it may be the only way to fend off Boris.

(Of course, that's pretty much what Theresa May thought and look where it has got her. Broken on the rocks and with the Great White Shark circling her.)

The crucial question for May is not whether Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps think she should quit.  Of course they do.  Goes without saying.  But if the sickness is spreading throughout the wider party and the donors, she's in real trouble.  From yesterday's guardian, a comment from Tory donor Charlie Mullins:
Charlie Mullins, the founder of London-based Pimlico Plumbers, said May must leave because she was being bullied and undermined by Johnson.

He said: “She has got to go for her own sake. It is getting embarrassing. If this was a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped. She has been put in a position where she is being bullied, she is being intimidated, they are making her life hell. These are Conservative people who are destroying this woman and it needs to stop.”
(Am I the only one struck by the profound oddness of the soultion - the victim has to go, rather than the bullies?)

So that must be worrying for her.  These people aren't likely to throw money at a party they regard as doomed.

Even if May survives in the short term - and I think she will, more due to the lack of spine in the Conservative party as a whole, rather than her own reserves of courage or obstinacy - she's in a pretty grim position.  The Tory papers are against her, and every misstep will be blown up as a fresh crisis which raises new questions about her leadership.  Believe me, on this topic if nothing else, we lefties know of what we speak. You think May is having a rough time of it? Look at Corbyn's leadership up until June 2017 ...

It's likely May's premiership will be remembered as a slightly surreal interlude between Cameron's blustering incompetence and ... well, whatever comes next.  It is unlikely she can expect historical rehabilitation as Gordon Brown can anticipate.  So all that's left is the halcyon days early on.  Cast your mind back to her first PMQs, and recall her imitation of Margaret Thatcher - "Remind him of anybody?"



Yes, Theresa, you DO remind us of Margaret Thatcher now.  The broken, post Poll Tax, post-Howe version, waiting for the unsmiling, bland little men in the background to tell her it was all up. Six months ago you were unassailable and riding towards a triumph; now you're just waiting to be put out of your misery.

"It's a funny old world," Thatcher said, after announcing her resignation to her Cabinet. I bet you agree.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

May's bracelet

It has been observed that Theresa May unaccountably took to the stage for her big speech to the Conservative conference wearing a bracelet featuring art work by Frida Kahlo, communist artist and (because women must always be defined by who they sleep with) occasional girlfriend of Leon Trotsky.



After being handed a P45 mid-speech by an audience member, a chronic coughing fit and then having the sign behind her fall to bits, it might seen a minor faux pas.

The Telegraph, heroically, tries to justify it:
After divorcing her husband Diego Rivera, Kahlo painted Self Portrait with Cropped Hair in 1940. The picture, showing her wearing a black suit and with a very short haircut, was widely interpreted to mean that Kahlo was sending a strong message to men: I am independent and I don't need you.

Might Mrs May have been willing the 'naughty boys' in her party to understand the very same?
I prefer a simpler explanation.

I imagine she wore it because she had little idea who the artist was and just thought it looked stylish and interesting. If she had a clue, I doubt she'd have been so silly as to wear it for the biggest speech of her life.

Just another fail in a day - a whole conference - of fails.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Hopey-changey stuff

First of all, people are talking about a 'vote for change' based on the combination of Labour, Greens and New Zealand First.

‘Change’ was not a candidate on the voting paper I saw.

People voted for parties. Those parties need to sort out a coalition / governing arrangement.

Realistically, National are in the stronger position. Winston dislikes the Greens and Labour would have to divide the baubles of office between themselves, NZ 1st and the Greens.

People trying to convince themselves that Lab-Green-NZ 1st is just around the corner are setting themselves up for disappointment. Another one. Gluttons for punishment.

Second, let's be honest about Labour's success.  The Labour-Green bloc is sitting at 41.5%.  This represents a very modest improvement on its performance on 2011 and 2008 (putting aside the disaster of 2014).  Jacindamania didn't really happen, unless something very odd is lurking in the special votes.

Where did Labour's support come from?  Mostly from the Greens and New Zealand 1st, and probably an increase in turnout amongst Labour voters, certainly compared to 2014 ... but it was hardly the tsunami that was needed.

Ardern has, however, done very well.  She deserves the chance to give it a proper go.  The muddled message on tax was damaging.  Her performance in the debates was not as good as her fans think - she resorted to shouting "Who agrees with you?" at Bill English when the tax issue came up, when English was clearly talking about the zero growth in key areas, not Joyce's mythical hole.  It played well with Labour supporters - sock it to him, Jacinda! - but to everyone else it made it look like she was trying to drown the debate on an issue she didn't want to talk about, which, in fairness, she probably was.

There has to be a bit of honest self-examination on the left.

Labour has to look at it why - after nine years of pretty rubbish National government - they are still struggling.  This is not a fundamentally leftwing country that occasionally loses its marbles and votes for National.  It's a right wing country with a bit of a social conscience.  I'm worried that the radicals will start the usual chant that Labour was not bold enough, and would have won if it had been more left wing.  Those are the sort of people who think 2014's disaster was down to 'the media.'  Like I said before, gluttons for punishment.

The Greens have to face up to a very long process of rebuilding.  The demise of the Maori Party and Mana might open up an interesting opportunity for them, particularly if Marama Davidson is confirmed as co-leader.  Will they remain on the left, as the radical wing of the Labour Party or (bearing in mind how Labour has treated them in the past, particularly in 2005) adopt a more centrist position?  The idea is poisonous to a lot of Green voters - but some of them are really Labour voters who want to push Labour left.

I think the Greens supporting National will be too much this time.  But James Shaw is on my radio right now, talking about how Bill English is welcome to call him - perhaps a hint of where Shaw see the Greens in the future.  Their job isn't to deliver disgruntled Labour voters to Labour; their job is to protect the environment.  They can't do that at all from the opposition benches.  They can do something in government.

Nasty little shit

So, Adam Tomkins, a Conservative MSP in Holrood, has brought up the issue of Where Richard Leonard Was Born.  (For those who do not follow S...