Top of the Blogs: The Dirty Dozen #3

When I agreed to write this monthly round up of Labour and Tory blogging I said I would aim to “keep a balance between pointing to interesting postings that we Lib Dems may have missed and laughing at the folly of our opponents”.

So here goes.


March began with Margaret Hodge attacking the Proms for being elitist. But how does Hodge’s attendance at arts events display her own democratic tastes? Fortunately we have her own blog to tell us. Here she is writing in February of this year:

Since I last posted here, I’ve seen Othello, Swan Lake, Nutcracker (Matthew Bourne’s exuberant production at Sadlers Wells this time), La Traviata, Much Ado about Nothing and Madam Butterfly at the ENO. Despite my very best endeavours, I have only been able to get to one of Barenboim’s concerts playing all the Beethoven piano sonatas

So why is Hodge turning her fire on the most democratic high art events we have?

I have complained before of the overwhelming dullness of Labour blogs. Things have not been much improved by the appearance of the Redcar Labour Party blog.

Most of it is devoted to rather unpleasant attacks on the local Lib Dems, but the very first posting is a classic of unconscious humour:

We believe in a stronger more resolute Redcar. A Redcar ready for the future; a Redcar that can link first class leisure with first class opportunity: A vision of education, innovation and expertise.

Tom Watson
is interested in the news that Iain Dale’s new magazine Total Politics is being funded by Lord Ashcroft.

Writing on Labour Home, David Rowntree looks at the unwillingness of young people to join political parties:

In February 2003 up to 2 million people marched though London against the war. That’s more than 4 times as many people as all the political parties put together.

If all those people had joined their local party, they could have de-selected every MP who voted in favour of the war, and brought about a complete change in Government policy within a couple of years.

Bob Piper does not think that things are that simple. The Sandwell councillor says:

De-selecting a sitting MP now is almost as difficult as it was in the 1970’s, and don’t bother thinking about policy making. Even if you successfully moved a resolution through your constituency party meeting it would be highly unlikely to make it on to the Conference floor unless it gushed with buttock clenching praise of our glorious leaderships’ endeavors or had been neutered or butchered beyond recognition by a sub-committee of the conference arrangements committee.

And Brighton Regency Labour Supporter admits “It is a pretty miserable time to support Labour, at least it is if you judge Labour success by the recent polls.” He puts his hope in Ken Livingstone seeing off Boris.


My Nasty Tory Councillor of the Month was going to be John Ward from Medway, who resigned after calling for jobless people with more than one child to be sterilised. But first resigned and then he had his thunder stolen by Hugh Jackson from North Tyneside, who was suspended by his party after calling for the euthanasia of children in the council’s care to save money.

Apparently it was a joke.

But John Ward still makes the Dirty Dozen because he gave us the benefit of his wisdom on his blog. The posting which got him into such trouble was deleted from his blog soon after the story hit the national press, but now he is a free agent:

No doubt they think they’ve won a victory over me, but nothing could be further from the truth. Now I am unshackled from the various restrictions that are placed upon elected members (well, once my resignation has been accepted/confirmed) the gloves come off!

So no more Mister Nice Guy then.

Elsewhere on the Nasty Tory front we have Mad Nad — and she is not very funny either.

Writing of a plan to build a mosque in Oxford (scroll down past her expression of affection for Bob Spink) she says:

Apparently, the minaret … will stand taller than the dreamy spires.

Standing taller is all that matters, it’s the most important thing. Symbolic.

To the Islamist, America is a Johnny come lately, it’s England that matters.

Whereas anyone walking by may not even notice the towering height, casting a shadow over a dreamy spire, to the Islamist it represents a triumphant call to arms.

And the passer-by will think it’s just another innocent call to prayer.

Talking of unpleasant right-wingers, Iain Dale recently had a good story on the BNP’s attempt to recruit the English Democrats’ London Mayoral candidate.

At the start of the month Lee Jasper (Ken Livingstone’s “Senior Policy Adviser on Equalities“) was still in position. James Cleverly had some trenchant things to say on the subject.

Writing on Conservative Home, Graeme Archer offers a glimpse of school life in Hackney.

And finally, John “The Vulcan” Redwood shares his views on space travel.

Beam me up, Scotty.

* Jonathan Calder blogs at Liberal England and for the New Statesman.

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This entry was posted in Best of the blogs.


  • Alix Mortimer 30th Mar '08 - 5:24pm

    Wot is a dreamy spire? Is it rude?

  • Stuart Fairney 31st Mar '08 - 3:36pm

    “And finally, John “The Vulcan” Redwood shares his views on space travel.

    Beam me up, Scotty”

    Congratulations on your contribution to intelligent political debate.

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