Sunday, April 30, 2006

Blairwatch say Vote Fascist Not Labour

Well, some blog sites advise people to vote tactically, and let's face it, if you're pissed off with Blair, why vote for candidates on the Labour left? ive said it before... if the anti Blair brigade vote for me, Blair will use it as a vote for him. But when a site like Blairwatch advises people that they should vote Fascist, rather than Labour... you've really got to question their political motives. Still, if the fascists make a political breakthrough... and it is more likely in Labour/BNP marginals than Tory/BNP marginals, these muppets will content themselves by the notion that the nation's liberal instincts, carefully protected by enlightened bloggers, will stem the tide of racist filth.

They make me want to vomit!

Hemming Own Goal

At last... a comment about the Lib Dem postal voting fraud in Birmingham from John Hemming saying he will not prejudge someone just because they have been arrested by the police. How very different from two years ago when he consistently did the opposite when it was Labour candidates fiddling the postal votes. In an attempt to deflect the situation away from the current Lib Dem situation, he highlights the postal voting fraud allegations in Tower Hamlets where he presumes Labour are 'at it' and Oxfordshire where he accuses the Tories. Unfortunately for Hemming, Political Hack points out that in Tower Hamlets the Respect National Secretary said.... ""The system is administered by Labour, the main culprits we have discovered so far are the Liberal Democrats."

Time to crawl back into the bunker John.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

S**t on the City

To get back from the final night of canvassing... every single home visited, knackered, and relieved the outcome doesn't seem as bad as everyone had said it would be... only to find out that our nearest local derby next year is Manchester City because of this! Gloat... you bet! The text messages have been flying all night.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I've just received this by text. The lad could have looked a bit more impressed I think. Still, his mother is a bit of a Lib Dem... so I guess he must have inherited his brains from his dad.

Could Steve Bruce manage Brazil?

"You have to ask would an Englishman get the Brazilian job," said Steve Bruce, the Birmingham City manager. This from a man who spent millions of pounds on that proven non-goalscorer, Emile Heskey, and seems destined to guide the bluenoses to their natural place in the food chain. Have not Bruce, Linekar and all the other whingers not asked themselves why Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have only had one English manager between them (Roy Evans for England anyone?) in the last decade. As for Martin O'Neill, championed now by Iain Dale amongs others, what has he achieved in his career? What are his qualifications? Two League Cup Final victories, over Middlesbrough and the mighty Tranmere Rovers as manager of Leicester (where he also championed Emile Ivanhoe (that's his name, honestly) Heskey and finishing first in a two horse race when the other horse pulled up lame in Scotland. Oh, and he lost a UEFA Cup Final. If Scolari doesn't get it, let's give Linekar and Brucie their way. Give it to big Sam from Bolton. I bet he'd pick Ivanhoe to charge about like a headless chicken from Robinson's kicks from goal. And hey, he's English (from Dudley, no less).
Michael White on the art of political heckling. "On one occasion, Wilson was talking about his public expenditure plans when a heckler cried, "What about Vietnam?" - the burning issue of the day. "The government has no plans to increase public expenditure in Vietnam," rejoined Wilson. Heckler: "Rubbish!" Wilson: "I'll come to your special interest in a minute, sir."

Steve Bell, spot on as ever.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wife of Lib Dem candidate arrested over postal vote fraud

No doubt we will shortly see Lib Dem MP and Birmingham City Councillor John Hemming rushing to condemn fraudulent postal voting in Birmingham with the same enthusiasm he condemned it when Labour people were involved two years ago. Of course, Hemming may wait, like his Party Leader on the City Council, for the charges to be proven this time (that would be a nice change) but I suspect a long and protracted silence is more likely.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

R.I.P.

Just a brief note to acknowledge the death of Peter Law. Peter refused to accept the dictats of the Blairites who attempted to parachute loyalist UNISON bureaucrat Maggie Jones into the safe Labour seat in Blaenau Gwent. He went it alone, stood as an Independent, and defeated Jones in Labour's safest seat in Wales, previously the political home of Bevan and Foot, by more than 9,000 votes. Just how much the having to split from a Party he had been a member of for more than 40 years, and had represented since the age of 22, that must have hurt Peter cannot be measured. The Party may try to bury his memory, but for many of us it will survive. He did more for Labour in Wales than that sun-tanned prima donna Hain could even dream of.

Only 4%?

Perhaps the amazing thing about the latest ICM Poll in the Guardian is not that Labour's support is falling, but how little it has fallen. Given the seemingly endless supply of own goals on peerages, the NHS and the ever present casualties in Iraq, Labour still records 32% support. The Tories, despite "Dave's" media blitz appear to be making no impact at all, and it will be interesting to see what happens there if they do not capitalise on 4th May.

I've only really got the canvass returns around here to go on, and as everyone knows canvassing can be pretty unreliable. We always work on the probability that about two-thirds of those who say they will support us will actually go out and vote. Well, our returns are down. People who have traditionally said they vote Labour, and have consistently actually voted, are saying they won't support us whilst Blair remains Leader. Not that many, I have to confess, but more than we usually expect to get. Reasons for not supporting us tend to be national issues: privatisation, attack on public sector pensions, the NHS financial issues, and sleaze. Interestingly, hardly any mention of Iraq, which was certainly an issue two years ago. Whilst I make the point that I have spent my working life opposing privatisation, I support the unions on the pension issue and I would abolish the whole system of patronage (as well as marched on several occasions against the illegal invasion of Iraq), I honestly cannot argue with the logic of those who say they will withhold their support because of these issues. If I, as the candidate, cannot defend the Party on these fairly fundamental issues, how can I expect the average voter to ignore them. The one thing that encourages me is that in general these people also have a deep-seated hatred of the Tories and as the Lib Dems are such an idle-arsed bunch (they don't put out a single leaflet or poster, and don't even turn up to their own count) it is unlikely that they will vote at all. All I can say is thank heavens there isn't a Green!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Over at YouTube a compilation of some of the greatest memories of my whole life. There was rarely a better sight in football than the vastly underrated Tony Morley in full flight. Enjoy



Thanks to Black Country Villan.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bad news for Iain Dale, eh? Not only couldn't he get a ticket to watch the best team in claret & blue to grace Villa Park this season (last Sunday excluded), but I see using Blogcode his website has been closely identified as being an 84% match with this muppet.

Happy 80th Birthday, Ma'am

... or should that be Mom. Yesterday we had a surprise birthday party for 'the old gal' who just so happened to have been born the day after that other woman who made such a fuss about her 'do'. We had a great time and met up with family we don't see so much of these days. Good on yer, gal.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mentioned in dispatches...

This blog gets a mention today in The Guardian's blog round-up. Unfortunately... the quote they use is not from me at all, but from lib dem supporter, MatGb at Not Little England in my comments box. The quote they used suggests that I would only vote Labour if it meant trying to stop the BNP... which is of course ludicrous, although it could easily be a lib dem's position. Now I'll be in trouble with the Millbank Tendency people again!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The danger of Chavez

"The [Venezuelan] government is making billions of dollars [from its state oil company] and spending them on houses, education, medical care," notes CNN. And – gasp -- people's lives are improving.

What if the rest of us noticed? No wonder Chávez has to go.

Mad Mel

Just when virtually every other apologist for the theory of Weapons of Mass destuction in Iraq prior to the invasion seems to have thrown their hand in... Mad Mel Phillips has found conclusive proof that they were actually there. According to her reliable witness, crafty old Sadamm... "gave orders that the scientists who had been working on these programmes were to keep their plans, diagrams, formulas, raw materials and everything else in highly secure underground vaults so that they could continue their work the minute they were no longer being observed..." But that wouldn't explain why they hadn't been found by the invasion forces, would it? We must all recall those excitable news reports where WMD had actually been found by troops in packing cases at the back of a farmhouse outside Bagdhad, which quietly dropped off the news a day or so later when analysts revealed fertiliser was used as... fertiliser. Fear not... if you read on you discover that.... he smuggled them out of the country in commercial airlines in the run up to the US invasion. The source for this information is unable to reveal the names of the people who could confirm his story, so, Mel sharply observes... "This obviously makes verifying his account very difficult." Yes, absobloodylutely. Phillips then floors her reliable witness with this killer of an observation: "But in Britain, I say, people now firmly believe that there were no WMD and that we were taken to war on a lie. Sada looks utterly flabbergasted. ‘How can they possibly think that?’ he asks in bewilderment and anger, and puts his head in his hands." Any chance I can get some of whatever it is she's on.


It wasn't the police that did for Capone... it was the tax man. In the same way, if the Labour Pary nor the electorate get Tony Blair first... maybe the world weary detectives will nail him?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It’s the left wot get’s the blame…

After the fall of the Callaghan administration in 1979, we got it in the neck. It was the trade unions, led by ‘firebrand’ left wing general secretaries (oh, if only) that created the chaos of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ and brought down the government. If only those on the left had encouraged trade union members to accept Healey’s pay cuts and IMF redundancy packages, everything would have been alright.

In 1983, it wasn’t the Falklands War that turned Thatcher from the most despised Prime Minister in history to the glorious war leader and gave the Tories a seciond term they hadn't expected. It was the left, of course. All that guff in the Manifesto about ‘a fundamental redistribution of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families’, that’s what turned the voters against us. I mean, why would working people and their families be interested in that sort of rubbish. It was described (by Hattersley, I think) as “the longest suicide note in history”. It was, of course the left that got the blame for splitting the Party and driving those prototype Blairites, Owen, Rogers, Poppins and Jenkins into the SDP.

When Kinnock lost hopelessly in 1987 and (to a lesser extent 1993) it was the infighting in the Party by the left, the Militiant in particular, that took the brunt of the blame. The left’s insistence that MPs should be reselected each electoral cycle instead of having a job for life was clearly divisive. The notion of giving members a say in policy, and who their leaders should be was clearly absurd and designed to split the Party and alienate the voters.

When Blair won the leadership, he carried on the theme. It was Clause 4 that turned off the voters, despite the fact that probably less than one in 10,000 could tell you what it was or what it said. It was Clause 4 that lost us those elections, and it had to go. It was the debate over Clause 4 that gave Blair the power he has exercised over the Party ever since. He continued his ‘modernisation’ New Labour pro-business right-wing agenda from that day onward with a renewed vigour. That was the moment the Party and the trade unions should have stood up to be counted and said, “you’re talking crap”.

But… they didn’t. The unions (oh yes, those left-wing barons, now re-invented as the Party’s saviours) battered and bruised by Thatcher, Tebbit and Heseltine for all those years, backed off from supporting the left, and Blair’s Clause 4 moment cemented his power over the Party.

However… it is still the left who are to blame. Despite not having a vaguely ‘left’ led Party since Attlee’s Government nationalised the major industries and created the NHS nearly 60 years ago (when they were rewarded by a record number of votes, despite a much smaller electorate than we have now) we are still to blame.

I’ve had e-mails in the last couple of weeks from various eccentrics who obviously don’t understand the interactivity of the ‘comments’ box, and a fair amount of abuse from people who usually hide behind ridiculous blog names such as ‘Dick Cheney’ … at least, I think it’s an invented name, but who knows. Their argument is that it’s the left’s fault (highly original, hey?). If only we resigned from the Party and left it to the Blairites… that would do it. You see, by staying in the Party we are legitimising Labour and Blair. If we left, and did nothing (Lordy, that would really upset him) we could sit by our computers, invent silly names for ourselves, and call Tony Blair names until we were blue in the mouth…. And hey presto, he would resign.

I’ll try, one last time to explain. It’s my position, not that of others on the left, so don’t blame ‘the left’ for it. My roots and background are in the trade union movement. The trade unions, as the only organised force of the working class, are intrinsically linked to the Labour Party. The day they go, I go too. I could take individual action, spout exactly the same views, and because I am well known locally, I might win as an independent and I could still represent people round here. All my instincts, however, are collective. Yes, I support the concept of individual liberties and freedoms, but I also believe in collective action. When my brothers and sisters in the labour movement finally judge they have had enough of fighting inside Labour, I’ll go with them.

Those that don’t like it, just lump it, because calling me names behind your computer screen ain’t gonna work. We’re used to taking the blame.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We ain't gonna work in Maggie's farm no more....

At virtually every meeting of our Constituency Party meeting, with almost monotonous regularity, whatever the subject under discussion, one Amicus shop steward raises the plight of British manufacturing industry. We have almost become anesthetised to it. However, when you see the extent to which some of the most famous brand names in the country have been bought up by overseas companies, you start to see the scale of the problem Malcolm is talking about. Of course, many of the companies listed still manufacture in Britain and the really big job losses only occur when the parent companies choose to shift the manufacturing base. Also, in reality, British capitalists have no more sense of patriotism when it comes to shifting their portfolios about than capitalists world wide, so foreign 'ownership' in a globalised economy, may not be so different in any event. If Britain is to become a post-industrial nation dealing in service industries, retail and the finance sector, Sally Muggeridge poses the question: "At present the clear message we are giving to our brightest and best is that if you want to make things, go somewhere else. The best jobs are in the City, trading in shares and providing financial services. But shares in what exactly, and financial services to whom?"

Monday, April 10, 2006

- Socialist where you can
- Green where they're left
- Labour where you must

A socialist guide to the local elections 2006.
Very liberal. Very, very Liberal. Very, Tory-Liberal.
Steve's back in the Occupied Country with a sad tale, and the story of "No Aids Bob". Catch him while you can and offer some words of encouragement. He posts all too little lately, despite many of us checking in every day.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hope versus Hate: Billy Bragg is back.
If the BNP get its target 12-15 councillors across the capital, it is a platform for London Assembly seats next time and the London MEP's seat it narrowly lost in 2004, not least because Ukip - which got 12 - siphoned off some support. The BNP polled 808,000 votes in the Euro-elections last time.
We crossed swords many time over his wish to turn a pub in my Ward into an all-night casino, but he was always pleasant, polite and listened to what we had to say (just not hard enough, unfortunately). Barry de Lacy's funeral was yesterday. Looking at his mates... I should have been more polite to him too!

I was there

There was only 98,000 of us in the world that were there on the day. I wonder how many are still alive to tell the tale?

Friday, April 07, 2006

So, Ian Paisley's sprog blames Sinn Fein/IRA. The BBC Today programme pushes out the standard propaganda which finds PIRA guilty of the Northern Bank Robbery, the McCartney killing, the Donaldson assasination and anything else you want to throw in for good measure. It doesn't matter a toss that the IRA deny it, that Sinn Fein disown it, nor that there's not a jot of evidence other than the totally unfounded assertion of another former IRA informer based in London (and who strangely hasn't been bumped off) that PIRA definitely killed the man. Within hours of the killing the BBC's intrepid presenters have wrapped the case up, dispensed with the evidence, charged the accused and thrown away the key. Interestingly, as the dust starts to settle, the Donaldson family state they have a different view of events. There's a good "grassy knoll" theory in here somewhere.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

If 2% of my constituents read Tim’s blog, (although that would be a ridiculously high figure, but hey guys, I’m generous, and it's a very good read, so I would recommend it highly), and 37% of them (the average turnout) bother to vote, and 56% of them are Labour voters (last time around) and half of them were sufficiently persuaded by Tim to take his advice and vote Tory or Lib Dem instead (no fascist here I’m pleased to say…) then I could lose 18 votes this year!!!

But if I don’t get the dogshit cleaned up on the Merrivale Estate, and our local streets continue to be a downright litter-strewn disgrace… I could lose the other 992 votes that also comprised the Labour majority in Bearwood at the last election. So excuse me if I take a few weeks off my strategic bid to persuade Labour members to ditch their leader in the midst of an election campaign. I know, you'll tell me that political parties who show themselves to be fundamentally divided are always on to a vote winner... but I'm not persuaded.

Still, I won’t knock Tim for what he’s doing… because at least he’s doing something! He organises demo’s, he oraganises campaigns for change and creates some brilliant satirical stunts. So if Tim advises people to vote fascist rather than Labour, OK, we’ll just have to live with it. I wouldn’t worry too much anyway, because the fascists are not likely to hang around too long at Bloggerheads to get the message.

On the same theme, I don't think that ‘Dave’ should just dismiss UKIP as loonies or fruitcakes. I barely agree with anything they say, but at least they’ve got the bottle to get on their dogs and DO something, and they are prepared to stand up and put their views to the test.

Must go, time to go canvassing again, and it's bleedin' freezing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The right wing draw their wagons into a circle as Cameron attacks UKIP for being "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists". Ohhh dear, trouble brewing, methinks he's looking for that clause 4 moment. You have to admire the response of the UKIP MEP though, when he says.... "I don't mind him calling us loonies..."

Monday, April 03, 2006

So, here's some good news for the 'Anyone but Labour' brigade. The fascist BNP are contesting 21 seats in Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall.
Iain Dale writes a witty Tory blog. OK, that's it for this year, I've said something nice about a Tory. He is so much of an insider to the Tory elite, he even attended this bash. A 'celebrity' occasion to commemorate the 60th birthday of one of the Conservative Party's biggest financiers (and given the current little local difficulties they will hope he lasts a bit longer yet). But who put together the list of 'stars' for the poor old bugger. Cliff Richard? Tom Jones? Lulu? Even Ashcroft must have struggled to remember when they ever did anything memorable. Hosted by the world's unfunniest comedian, Jasper bloody Carrot... what a night. Although the prospect of seeing Ian Duncan Smith and William Hague (who no doubt burped his way through another 16 pints) 'hitting the floor with gusto' must have been a true sight for sore eyes.

The real treat is not mentioned in The Times, but among the guests rocking the night away, were the 'cash for questions' couple, the Hamilton's. How appropriate then, that the charity in receipt of the proceeds was the excellent 'Crimestoppers'.
You have to either buy the paper or subscribe to read Johann Hari in The Indy (and if that was your only reason I'd keep your money in your pocket) but for today's article you can get the thread of his argument from the strapline. Writing about his love for 'Corrie', he says... "In America or France, you simply do not see the poor on TV except as mugshots on the news".

Well, just how real is 'Corrie' and who are these 'poor people'? Is Fred, who owns a butcher's shop and is also licensee at 'The Rovers' one of them? Or Audrey, who owns the hairdressing salon? Or Kevin, the Garage owner? Could it be Steve Macdonald with his taxi company? Maybe Mike, or his son Danny, who own the knicker factory? Roy & Hayley, the owners of Roy's Rolls? Or the university educated journalist and street intellectual, Tory Ken Barlow? Dev, the corner shop owner? Or the rascal who owns the builders yard? (There's always a rascal who owns the builders yard, just to show how rascally the manual classes can be). In one sense this small business owning elite in Coronation Street are like the poor... they are always with us. Fat Stan and Eddie had their window cleaning business before Jack got it, Leonard Swindley had his clothes shop way back when, and Len Fairclough was the rascally builder as long ago as the 1960's.

Even during the height of Thatcher & Co.'s assault on working class communities, someone signing on the dole was a rare sight indeed for Corrie and despite its fictional location as a sort of Moss Side terrace, it took the black population one hell of a long time to find their way into 'The Street'. In the last few years the writers seem to have righted this imbalance and recognised the fact that the sweat shop knicker factory just might have the isolated black person working there.

But to get back to Johann's point... does Coronation Street show the poor? Yes... there is always one family that is poor and 'common' and, of course, lazy and feckless. Step forward... Les Battersby... Coronation Street and the nation's 'poor' person, who has shown his total sense of inadequacy by failing (so far) to develop his own small business. Whilst the rest of the street are consulting with the VAT people, Les stands out like a beacon, he is the Street's representative of the non-working class.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dave comes clean...."make no mistake about it, the Conservative Party is changing and will no longer, as of today, deal in suitcases full of used fivers without going through the proper and above-board money laundering channels."