Tag Archive for Labour

How not to be a transgender Labour candidate

Last month, Emily Broth­ers broke news for being the first openly trans per­son to be selected by Labour to fight a par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, for the (rel­a­tively) safe seat of Sut­ton and Cheam. The cov­er­age has been mixed to say the least, either being pos­i­tive but fac­tu­ally dodgy, or being incred­i­bly neg­a­tive. But what may have dam­aged her own cam­paign more than any­thing was an inter­view she par­tic­i­pated in for Rus­sia Today, which was rid­dled with inac­cu­ra­cies that can only really be explained by par­ti­san­ship where it’s inappropriate.

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Il n’est pas Charlie

Liberté Guidant le Peuple

We stand squarely for free speech and democ­racy”, said David Cameron last Wednes­day at Prime Minister’s Ques­tions, not more than an hour after the attacks on the French mag­a­zine Char­lie Hebdo. This is a rather strange propo­si­tion for the leader of a party who pro­posed to rein­state the ban on “extrem­ists” from appear­ing on tele­vi­sion and have been try­ing for the past few years to rein­tro­duce the “snooper’s char­ter”. Indeed, the Tories have gone rather native in the Home Office, in con­trast to five years ago when we were all crit­i­cis­ing Labour for restrict­ing our civil liberties.

Sev­eral hours later, the House of Com­mons then debated a somewhat–but not sufficiently–diluted Counter Ter­ror­ism and Secu­rity Bill, in which Tory and Labour front­benchers alike praised the bill for being an impor­tant tool in the fight against pae­dophiles and ter­ror­ists: the two words that friends of this blog have pre­vi­ously high­lighted as result­ing in uni­ver­sally awful legislation.

After this brief sojourn into hypocrisy, Cameron took a flight to Paris where he stood side-by-side with the world’s auto­crats and despots in the name of free speech. Whilst there, he lent his name to an agree­ment for more sur­veil­lance pow­ers. One would think that Charb and his seven col­leagues would not want that in their name. But Cameron went one step fur­ther, and pro­posed the worst idea to reg­u­late a spe­cial­ist field since Labour tried to ban cof­fee eigh­teen months ago: a ban on encryp­tion.

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Appropriating equality

There’s been a flurry of news sto­ries in the past week, most likely to coin­cide with the country’s first same-sex mar­riages start­ing next Sat­ur­day, regard­ing how the bill came to pass. Firstly, we had tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Paul O’Grady describe David Cameron as a “twat” and state the Lib Dems were “as much use as men’s tits”. Then, a few days later, Ben Sum­mer­skill tried (very uncon­vinc­ingly) to attack the Lib Dems for being “oppor­tunis­tic” on same-sex mar­riage. And finally, Tony Blair said that “in hind­sight”, he would’ve pushed for mar­riage equal­ity whilst Prime Min­is­ter. All this leads me to think one thing: both Labour and Stonewall seem to be very keen to take the credit on LGBT equal­ity, espe­cially with a gen­eral elec­tion round the cor­ner. But this credit is per­haps unde­served, espe­cially as they both seem to have done every­thing they could to stall it.

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Tom Harris is not a nice man

Peo­ple who know me know that I really don’t like Tom Har­ris, the cur­rent MP for Glas­gow South. Hell, my sec­ond blog post was basi­cally about him being totally awful on the issue of tuition fees (a lie he con­tin­ues to this day), and he rel­ishes in being the tribal kind of Labour MP, espe­cially on Twit­ter. So savvy he is on Twit­ter, that he became Labour’s inter­net adviser.

Until he posted a Down­fall par­ody of Alex Salmond, effec­tively com­par­ing the Scot­tish National Party leader to Adolf Hitler. Yep. After he lost the Scot­tish Labour lead­er­ship elec­tion, he might’ve been a bit angry. Who knows? But he did end up hav­ing to resign the post.

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The deficit and all that.

(Note, Jan­u­ary 2013: This post was writ­ten when I was more naive to eco­nomic cir­cum­stances. It is best read in a per­spec­tive from before the cuts start­ing. It is kept in the pur­poses of trans­parency and does not accu­rately reflect my cur­rent thoughts on the matter.)

Belt up, this is going to be a big one.

So yeah. That march a cou­ple of weeks ago. At a gen­er­ous esti­mate, 400,000 marched against the government’s spend­ing cuts. And while I sym­pa­thise with them, I also think that it was just a waste of time due to how it ended up. » Read more..

Boundary Review

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion has out­lined rough plans on where the reduc­tion of MPs from 650 to 600. As expected, tra­di­tional Labour strong­holds will lose seats. But is it “ger­ry­man­der­ing”, as Labour have alleged?

Not exactly. It’s an unde­ni­able fact that the cur­rent sys­tem, as is, is hor­ri­bly skewed towards Labour. The 2005 elec­tion, for exam­ple, gave Labour 90 more seats than the Tories in Eng­land, despite los­ing by 0.3%. Labour also enjoy their con­cen­trated sup­port in inner-city areas, which allows them to win a lot of urban seats (and the reverse for the Con­ser­v­a­tives, in busi­ness dis­tricts and rural areas). This cre­ates a squeeze on smaller par­ties with even sup­port, such as the Lib­eral Democ­rats, but also the Greens and UKIP.

Why does the skew exist? Well, there’s sev­eral rea­sons for this hap­pen­ing: » Read more..

Civil liberties, and the Labour and Conservative parties

The recent news about con­trol orders makes me a lit­tle wary. On the plus side, we’re rolling back one of the most egre­gious power grabs by the Labour gov­ern­ment, and the exec­u­tive has to relin­quish pow­ers to the judi­ciary on things such as con­trol orders, but on the other hand, the replaced regime has some mas­sive holes; most notably, the fact that the rub­ber­stamp­ing is gone and the pow­ers are permanent.

Still, I think it’s a good idea. Worst still, it pushes Labour into a cor­ner here: they can’t sup­port the new regime as it would be revers­ing on party pol­icy to do so (and as we know, only the Lib Dems ever do that) and it’d be tacit sup­port of the coali­tion they despise so much. They can’t oppose it either, as it ruins their image of hav­ing “changed” in the nine months they’ve been out of power. What’s a Miliband to do in this case? » Read more..

Johnson and Balls

What a day for news, eh? Even over­look­ing Jo Yeates’ (appar­ent) killer being arrested, we’ve had an onslaught of polit­i­cal news over the past 24 hours, includ­ing Andy Coul­son quit­ting Num­ber 10, Tony Blair being hauled in front of Chilcot again, an appar­ently leg­endary bat­tle between George Gal­loway and Alas­tair Camp­bell on News­night, and, finally, Alan John­son resign­ing as Shadow Chan­cel­lor and being replaced by Ed Balls.

His­tory may record this as the worst job move in some time.

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A customary Mark Twain reference.

Damn you, Mark Cole, for doing the title I wanted to do first. Even so, I was up tonight wait­ing for the by-election result with bated breath… and we lost by 3,000 votes. It’s actu­ally not bad, if you think about it. The Lib Dems are rid­ing on 8–10% in the daily YouGov polls, but we still make a decent show­ing at the first major poll, to the point our share in the vote rises just ever so slightly. Tim Far­ron was right to call this a “score draw”.

Because, really, Deb­bie Abra­hams didn’t win because she was a good can­di­date. She isn’t. Colne Val­ley, depend­ing on the time of the week, is the next con­stituency over from me, and she didn’t really have a sup­port base; indeed, I saw more sup­port for the Lib Dem can­di­date (which was dwarfed by the sup­port for the Con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­date and even­tual win­ner Jason McCart­ney). She also fan­tas­ti­cally crashed on polling day tak­ing a Labour seat into third (although, admit­tedly, Colne Val­ley is a three-way mar­ginal). » Read more..

Betrayal or pragmatism?

One crit­i­cism I often come across when talk­ing about pol­i­tics, and/or the Lib­eral Democ­rats, is that Nick Clegg sup­pos­edly “betrayed his prin­ci­ples for a shot at power”. I’ve come across that exact line sev­eral times. But was it really a betrayal? I don’t think so. Of course, the Lib­eral Democ­rats in the Conservative-led coali­tion are propos­ing poli­cies that they prob­a­bly wouldn’t do in a Labour-led coali­tion, and are hav­ing to alter their poli­cies on things like tuition fees. Even so, coali­tion with the Con­ser­v­a­tives was pretty much inevitable come 10:02pm on 6th May. » Read more..

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