Archive for March, 2010

Tories revert to union bashing

March 17, 2010

David Cameron used all his questions in PMQs today on the BA-Unite dispute. He wanted Brown to join him in calling on all British Airways workers to cross the picket lines and undermine the strike.

Tory blogger Iain Dale was unsurprisingly impressed by Cameron’s performance. He, along with the right-wing press, clearly enjoys attacking Labour’s links with trade unions.

Dale has a moronic post complaining about “Derek Simpson’s global ambitions“. Dale thought that the US Teamsters union wouldn’t want to support the striking BA workers, but a Teamsters’ statement expressed solidarity with “our brothers and sisters at Unite”.

He also thinks its “bonkers” for trade union leaders to want to integrate workers’ organisations across the world. Well, it’s the logic of globalisation and it makes perfect sense to me.  

The Tories truly are reverting to crass union bashing. Once upon a time, when Dave was trying to reinvent the Tories as a nice rather than nasty party, he made friendly gestures towards trade unions. That strategy has clearly been abandoned.

Whilst people like Iain Dale will get predictably excited by Cameron’s support for strike-breakers and the ‘reds under the bed’ gibberish written about the unions in papers like the Sun, I wonder how this will play out with ‘ordinary voters’.

I accept that Labour’s links with the unions were once seen as damaging. But I haven’t seen any recent polling that measures public attitudes towards trade unions. If anyone has got any please send it my way.


Labour Stupidity.

March 15, 2010

Maybe I sneered too soon at the Lib Dims.

Today I am annoyed by:

1) The PM condemning the BA workers’ strike. It looked like he was only doing it because the Tories told him to. The Government should have maintained its public neutrality on the matter. The fact that Unite provides Labour with much-needed funds cannot be dismissed as a consideration when deciding the Government’s approach on this.

2) Labour MP Laura Moffat announcing that she is standing down. This is a painfully unfunny joke – an MP saying that she’s quitting only eight weeks before the (probable) election. I hope that she pays for all the leaflets printed with her name and photo on them. Perhaps she can find someone else called Laura Moffat with a passing resemblance who can replace her? I’ve heard that her constituency party were treating her appallingly and she couldn’t stand it anymore. What a total mess; very dispiriting.

3) Labourites organising discussion meetings. With a general election just around the corner, I can’t believe that there are members of the Labour Party who still have time to organise chit chats rather than organise canvassing or leaflet deliveries. London Young Labour is holding an event in Portcullis House in the evening of Wednesday March 31st entitled ‘How do we win the General Election?’ Here’s a clue: CANCEL THE MEETING AND TAKE EVERYBODY TO THE NEAREST MARGINAL SEAT TO KNOCK ON SOME DOORS. I am similarly annoyed with the Fabian Society for doing similar things.

Clegg: Blah blah blah.

March 14, 2010

You know that when Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has been the main story all day on the BBC News website that nothing much has happened in the world.

For Lib Dem activists here in Islington, most of whom are on the left-leaning Social Democrat side of the Lib Dem spectrum, it must have been quite frustrating to hear their party leader’s recent praise for Thatcher.

Although he’s clever enough not to say so, I’d guess that Clegg would be more comfortable in a coalition with Cameron and the Conservatives than with Brown and the Labour Party. But beggars can’t be choosers, eh?

Anyway, I’d like to know how Islington Lib Dems have worked out that I’m not a potential yellow voter. Even though we have never been canvassed, both my flatmates are receiving personally addressed letters from the Lib Dem candidate and yet I receive nada.

Lib Dims – not as stupid as they look?

Humourless about the Holocaust.

March 11, 2010

I went to see some comedy recently. It was a benefit gig for War on Want. I had a great time: Stewart Lee and Ed Byrne were on good form.

However, Janey Godley, one of the featured comedians, remarked upon the large number of Jewish performers at the gig that night. She then said something about feeling the need to blend in and suggested to herself that she should go hide in the attic to feel more Jewish.

I took this to be a reference to Anne Frank. I did not see how this was funny. Reflecting upon it, if a BNP politician had said something like this then we would quite rightly be on them like a tonne of bricks.

Why is less fuss made about (presumably) non-fascist comedians cracking tasteless Holocaust-related jokes?

Shame on the IWM.

March 9, 2010

This is the last post on Ashcroft I’ll do for a while – I promise.

However, I’m frustrated that someone at the Imperial War Museum thought it would be a PR victory to do dealings with the Tory peer who loves this country so much that he detests the idea of paying tax here.

Ashcroft has amassed the world’s largest collection of Victoria Cross medals and these are to be displayed at the IWM from November. The medal gallery is to be called the ‘Lord Ashcroft Gallery’. Fair enough, it’s nice of him to help the museum, but does his ego really necessitate having the gallery named after him?

And considering how politically controversial he is I don’t think it helps the IWM to have a ‘Lord Ashcroft Gallery’.

In further controversy, PCS members at the IWM have been on strike for the last couple of days as the union called on members to protest for a better deal on redundancy pay.

The museum sent out an email to staff asking for people to work extra shifts and thus replace their striking colleagues. Trying to undermine a legitimate strike action = lame.

Lord Ashcroft is a dangerous leftist.

March 7, 2010

Apart from all the dodgy tax dealings and general unwillingness to tell the truth to the British public, perhaps another line we should be using against Lord Ashcroft and the Tories is that he has demonstrated his support for far-left governments on multiple occasions.

In Michael Gove’s article from April 2000 the current Shadow Education Secretary criticised the Conservative Party’s relations with Ashcroft but also noticed the artful tax dodger’s involvement with a leftist party in Belize:

One might have thought that any Conservative who emerged from the wreckage of the 1997 crash would pledge, above all, never to make those mistakes again. Surely they would steer clear of association with figures, such as Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, whose talent for fiction rendered all connected with him, literally, incredible.  Surely they would jib at relying on such a man once they were told he was the paymaster of a left-wing party in the country whose interests he represented at the United Nations?

The Guardian has also reported that the Tory peer has been sniffing out business opportunities in everybody’s favourite Communist regime: Cuba.

This is Red Toryism gone mad!

Tory troubles.

March 6, 2010

Well, it seems someone else noticed how the views of Donal Blaney of the Young Britons’ Foundation do not sit very well with the image of moderate compassionate conservatism David Cameron likes to project.

It was a very easy story for a Tory-bashing journalist to pick up. Perhaps more should have been made of Blaney’s freaky obsession with Barack Obama’s middle name (Hussein).

I’ve got to say, I will miss Blaney’s blog (which is no longer public). Reading his thoughts provided boosts of anti-Tory energy to Labour activists up and down the country!

Also spotted this: a lobbyist has written “The musings of a Tory in despair”.

His analysis seems pretty sound. Why did Cameron not sort out the Lord Cashcroft/Sleaze from Belize’  situation years ago rather than risk letting it blow up in the weeks before the official election campaign starts, as it has? 

As a man once said:

If we can’t take this lot apart in the next few years we shouldn’t be in the business of politics at all.

Tales from the Islington doorstep.

March 6, 2010

The door had garlic hanging above it, which is always a clue of mentalism. We were not disappointed.

“Yes?” says the resident opening his door, a man of Chinese extraction.

“Sorry to bother you. We are calling round on behalf of the local Labour Party. This is one your councillors.”

“Labour? I vote National Front! I’m fed up with the Muslims blowing things up! Hahahaha. But good luck!”

Akehurst on Foot.

March 5, 2010

Luke Akehurst’s thoughts on the passing of Michael Foot are worth reading.

I have read Foot’s much-praised biography of Aneurin Bevan. It’s a great work, though I can’t in all honesty say that I found it as life-changing as Ellie Gellard apparently did.

Foot’s death robs us of someone who was campaigning against fascism in the 1930s – and for that alone humanity is left poorer without him.

Some have remarked upon Foot’s principles. Others have reminded us of his failings as a political leader.

It shouldn’t be too much to want both socialism and the winning of elections.

Why does the Young Britons’ Foundation hate women?

March 5, 2010

I’ve posted before about the Young Britons’ Foundation organising events with sizeable lineups of Conservative speakers containing not a single woman.

Remember the great YBF sausage fest of October 2009?

Well, this being an organisation of change hating reactionaries it is perhaps unsurprising that things remain the same.

Tory Bear (no, apparently not that kind of bear) listed all the speakers at the YBF’s recent Parliamentary Rally. Here they are: 

Kindly hosted by Greg Hands MP

2.00pm Douglas Carswell MP (Harwich & Clacton)
2.15pm Alex Deane (Big Brother Watch)
2.30pm Gerald Howarth MP (Shadow Defence Minister)
2.45pm Jonathan Isaby (ConservativeHome)
3.00pm Andrew Rosindell MP (Shadow Home Office Minister)
3.15pm Raheem Kassam (Student Rights)
3.30pm Mark Wallace (The TaxPayers’ Alliance)
3.45pm James Delingpole (Author & Polemicist)
4.00pm Shane Greer (Total Politics)
4.15pm Simon Richards (The Freedom Association)
4.30pm Harry Cole (Sunlight Centre for Open Politics)
4.45pm Dr Liam Fox MP (Shadow Defence Secretary)
5.00pm Eric Pickles MP (Conservative Party Chairman)
5.15pm Paul Staines (Guido Fawkes)
5.30pm Iain Dale (Blogger & Publisher)
5.45pm Samuel Coates (CCHQ)
5.55pm Michael Rock (Conservative Future)

This must be deliberate! I mean, it’s not as if there aren’t any Tory headbangers of the female variety that the YBF could get along. Nadine Dorries would surely be game.

I find it bizarre that an organisation so enthusiastic about Thatcherism does not put more effort into promoting women right-wingers in the Conservative ranks.

But who am I to advise the YBF on how to conduct their own affairs? Long may they continue to demonstrate how weirdly old-fashioned they are!