Labour to target Osborne – Cameron should be the target for Liberal Democrats

March 28, 2010 3 comments

According to the Observer Labour is targeting George Osborne as the weakest link in the Conservative team

Party sources told the Observer that a decision had been taken to focus on Osborne as the prime target throughout the campaign, because the future stewardship of the economy is the issue that most concerns voters.

They said there was “strong evidence” from their own focus groups that people regard Osborne as “shrill, immature and lightweight”, and that the Tories are already being harmed in the polls because of doubts about their economic policies.

This seems fine to me as far as it goes and I will be happy to see Vince take him on tomorrow night on Channel 4 and throughout the campaign.

However, I think the Liberal Democrats should be concentrating their fire power (at least as far as the Conservatives are concerned) on Cameron.  This is the man who claims to have made the Conservative Party electable again.  Supposedly they are no longer the nasty party of british politics but that statement hides a multitude of sins that Cameron needs to be brought to account for.

Two that come to mind are as follows:

1) The decision to withdraw the Conservative MEPs from the European Peoples Party and the even worse decision to join the new European Conservatives and Reformists grouping consisting of some far right characters who would not elicit much sympathy from the british public and headed by a Michal Kaminski who has made some seriously offensive remarks in the past.  Does Mr Cameron wonder why the former Tory leader in Brussels, Edward McMillan-Scott, has decided to join the Liberal Democrats?

2) David Cameron’s recent performance in an interview with Gay Times.  If you click here you can see the interview itself and Cameron’s bumbling, stumbling performance.


A six pointer?

March 22, 2010 4 comments


I am really looking forward to tonight’s game against Millwall as we will be there in person.  The Yorkshire Evening Post says that “Grayson will give his players licence to “express themselves” on a crucial evening at Elland Road”

Six pointers are traditionally thought of as for those that are battling it out at the other end of the table.  However, in terms of the race for automatic promotion this game looks like a six pointe just the same.  Leeds are four points clear of third with a game in hand (the game against Millwall tonight).  A win tonight and they are seven points clear, lose and Millwall themselves will be a mere three points behind.  Heres hoping that the players manage to express themselves in a positive way and I will happily settle for a repeat of the last time I saw these two teams meet live when Leeds won 4-2..

Categories: Football, Leeds

Thai government stance makes no sense

March 17, 2010 Comments off

According to the Bangkok Post the government have now agreed to meet with the red shirts if Thaksin Shinawatra (who has been just been granted citizenship by Montenegro) agrees that it is ok.  This seems slightly odd to say the least given the government’s stance on Thaksin up until now.  As far as they are concerned he is on the run and awaits a jail term if he returns to Thailand.  So why are they keen to talk?  Maybe this at last reflects some realism with regard to the political situation in Thailand.

It is interesting to see that the Pracharaj Party leader Sanoh Thienthong has suggested that a national government should be set up.  I have previously blogged to the effect that some form of national unity government may be the only practicable way forward and at least this option now seems to be on the table.  The government has said that such a national government could not include UDD core leaders but notably did not state that a national government could not happen and did not rule out other potential Thaksin supporters from forming part of such a government.  This may be a significant step forward if there is to be any hope of ending the current impasse.  There was also mention of such a government attempting to resolve the dispute over the constitution and that would be a significant step forward if all parties are engaged in that process and sign up to the final version.

Categories: Thai Politics

Trouble brewing in Thailand again

March 14, 2010 Comments off

According to the Bangkok Post and the BBC trouble has brewing in Thailand again with somewhere around 100,000 protestors taking to the streets of Bangkok demanding that the Prime Minister resign and dissolve the House of Representatives setting in train a new set of elections. 

This is all part of the long running battle between the pro and anti Thaksin forces which has bedeviled the country since Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006.  His party was subsequently banned, but further incarnations have arisen, received significant electoral backing and then also been ruled illegal. 

Frankly barring some form of government of National Unity which at least addresses some of the concerns of the rural poor it seems unlikely that this will be resolved in a peaceful way. 

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether the 1,000,000 protestors that have been threatened materialise and what the impact of the further protests which are planned for key sites across Bangkok tomorrow and in the coming days have on the ability of the government to govern.

Categories: Thai Politics

13 years too late

March 14, 2010 Comments off

According to the Sunday Telegraph and the BBC Labour might be about to announce that it would seek to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a 300 member fully elected chamber.  Apparently Jack Straw is consulting cabinet colleagues about plans that may be put forward before the election. 

This rather reminds me of Labours approach to voting reform….too late. 

 Having been in power for 13 years there have been plenty of opportunities to push forward the agenda of constitutional reform that this country so badly needs if we are to have a fully functioning and grown up political system.  Suddenly as we approach the fag end of a tired Labour government they are busy expressing an interest in voting reform (albeit still not STV) and an elected second chamber.  Cynics might wonder why they are suddenly having second thoughts.  The likelihood that they will not be able to form the next government might provide an answer.

Exploitation of interns

March 13, 2010 Comments off

BBC News had an interesting story on earlier about the use and abuse of interns.  There were two things that really struck me about the whole story

1) The obvious difficulties which this creates for young people who are desperate to get some real experience in a particular field and who do not have the funds to either pay for one or support themself during an unpaid internship.

2) The strange way in which the BBC have handled the story.  The minor footnote to the whole story is that a government website called Graduate Talent offers thousands of these sorts of opportunities and many of these are unpaid.  As the story makes clear if people are employed in these sort of work positions then the minimum wage rules apply.  So a government website under a Labour government is promoting positions that breach its own minimum wage legislation.  Now that is really something the BBC should be making the main plank of the story.

When will this sort of behaviour be taken seriously enough

March 13, 2010 Comments off

So another person has been driven to an early grave by the bullying behaviour of so called neighbours.  According to the Independent the gentleman concerned had been bullied for a decade

Ms Davies said her neighbour was targeted because of his learning difficulties, adding: “They would torment him all the time.  Sometimes it would be two of them, others it would be six kids or a big gang.

This case is so reminiscent of the Fiona Pilkington case where someone is driven to a desperate place by the callous and cruel behaviour of others.  People with a learning disability are amongst some of the most vulnerable in our society and so end up on the brunt of a disproportionate amount of what might be termed “hate crime”.  As someone who works in the field I know that as far as people with a learning disability are concerned these are not isolated cases.

As a civilised society we have to find better ways of tackling these problems so that people like this no longer have to tolerate a life of abuse and torment.  The Chief Inspector of Constabulary Denis O’Connor said “the failure to properly record and tackle incidents undermined confidence in the police, and called for urgent improvements”  I really hope for the sake of people affected by this sort of behaviour that individual police forces take note and act.