Tag Archives: neil kinnock

Paddy: So you want to be a politician? Get a life (first).

That’s Paddy’s view, as reported in the Independent’s diary here:

Paddy Ashdown, the first leader of the Liberal Democrat party, has remarked on how politics has been taken over by people who have never had a job anywhere else but in politics, giving the strong impression that he does not approve. “The difference with politics today, and politics when I was leader of the Liberal Democrats, is the people working in politics,” he said. “I worked in the military. I was involved in business. I have been unemployed twice, working as a voluntary youth worker. Today’s politicians have simply only

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Chris White writes: Policies or personalities?

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, described Pope Gregory IX as ‘a Pharisee seated on the chair of pestilence, anointed with the oil of wickedness’. The Pope replied that the Emperor was the forerunner of the Antichrist and the monster of the Apocalypse. (‘The Popes’, by John Julius Norwich, 2011).

Such was political debate in the 13th century, topped up by episodes of unspeakable violence.

At this distance it seems rather laughable that an Emperor and a Prelate (especially one considering himself the Vicar of Christ) should behave like that.

But while burning at the stake is now thankfully behind us, vitriol is not. …

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Lord McNally: General Election costs “broadly the same” under AV, no plans for counting machines

An exchange in the House of Lords this afternoon led Lord McNally, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice to exclaim, “Gosh, we are getting a lot of information today.” (contrast with David Cameron’s appearance this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme)

Phil Willis (Lord Willis of Knaresborough) asked Her Majesty’s Government “what they estimate will be the costs of a general election held under the alternative vote system”.

Lord McNally replied that the costs of a general election under AV would be broadly the same as under the existing system. Any extra costs incurred by the …

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How should the official opposition operate?

‘Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition’ is the full title for the largest non-government party in Parliament and has been around long enough for the oddity of its phrasing to be easily overlooked. But “Her Majesty’s”? And “Loyal”? They come from the idea that, however much those in power may wish the opposition to firmly stay out of power, there is a recognition that an effective Parliamentary democracy requires an effective opposition. “Loyal” too reflects the willingness of those who have lost an election to accept the result. Calmly leaving office, or accepting another period in opposition, may be a long established …

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At last…a Welsh Prime Minister

Congratulations to Julia Gillard, new leader of the Australian Labor Party and Australia’s first woman Prime Minister.

Welsh pride can also take a boost as Gillard was born in Barry Island, near Cardiff, where she lived until moving to Australia the ripe old age of four.

When it comes to furnishing the world with Prime Ministers, Wales has yet to fulfil its potential. In the UK we had David Lloyd-George (born in central Manchester but undoubtably Welsh) and so nearly had Neil Kinnock. We’ve had a Canadian born PM (Bonar Law) more recently than a Welshman.

Could this be a turning …

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Welcome to tax and spend politics, 1992 style

Unpopular government seeks fourth general election victory in a row in midst of a recession. Sound familiar? Welcome to 1992.

Back then it was the Conservatives in power facing a Labour opposition and David Cameron was working for the Conservative Party, as head of the political section of the Conservative Research Department.

I suspect it’s memories of 1992 that help explain the vagueness of Conservative tax and spend plans this time round. In 1992 the Labour opposition had spelt out its spending commitments in advance in some detail and so, when Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont sprung a surprise in the …

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Opinion: But is it really time for a change?

Party strategists have bet heavily on their assessment that voters think it is time for a change.

Perhaps simplistically, they hold to the notion that British political fortunes are governed by a pendulum. You often hear them criticise what they term the blue/red red/blue swings, but privately they accept it as a fundamental ‘law’ of political physics and have allowed themselves to be governed by this supposed law these last two years.

2010 will be one of those ‘Time for a Change’ elections, they have deduced.

From that deduction they moved on to suggest that the Conservatives (to whom in their estimate the pendulum has swung) have won the argument among the British public that they, the Conservatives, are the party of change.

The next step in the analysis was to presume that attacks on Conservatives or Conservative policies would thus position the Liberal Democrats as against change and therefore implicitly pro the status quo and, deep down in voter consciousness, pro-Labour.

Among leading Liberal Democrat MPs this conclusion may have been conveniently close to their political preferences, for others – and I think we may include Cable in this – it makes for an agonising and uncomfortable position.

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Does it matter if The Sun backs the Tories?

suncover.jpg The Sun is shining on the Tories this morning, with the announcement by Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid that it will back the party at the next general election for the first time since 1992. Indeed, so proud was the rag paper of its announcement that they took the trouble to email Lib Dem Voice (twice) to let us know all about it – you see how much we matter to them!

The Sun’s endorsement of the Tories in not full-throated.

Most of its leader article is devoted to setting …

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Helpful advice from the Tories about how to beat them at the next election

I was browsing ConservativeHome.com the other day (as one does), and came across an interesting piece from one of its two editors, Jonathan Isaby. He was warning Tory activists not to sound triumphalist about the prospect of winning a 100-seat majority at the next election, in case it turned off electors – particularly in Lib Dem-held target seats.

Mr Isaby states that, if they are to win a majority, the Tories must

try and win back most of the thirty-odd seats which the party has lost to the Liberal Democrats over the last decade or so.”

Warming to this …

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