Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spot The Difference

Iain Dale notes the BNP-flavoured nuLab leaflet being dished out in the North West, and asks :

When you first looked at this leaflet, which party did you think it was for? It's no surprise that this is Labour's Euro election leaflet for the North West of England - the region which is most likely to return a BNP MEP. Wonder who this leaflet is aimed at, then?

Well, it's not just the North West of England - I was up visiting family in Bromsgrove (West Midlands Euro-constituency) and they had the same one there. I imagine that's also a BNP target seat.

They also had this leaflet :

And this one :

It's the Battle of the Spitfires !

If the BNP change nothing else, they're changing Labour Party iconography. I told you it would be entertaining to watch El Gordo wrapping himself in the Union Jack.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Our rulers seem to have decided that the parliamentary expenses brouhaha is so bad that it can only be put to rest by implementing whatever policies they already wanted to implement.

The ideal solution would be an Irish-style single transferable vote system in which voters elect the person, not the party. But even alternative vote plus – as first advocated by Roy Jenkins in 1998 and now backed by Alan Johnson – would ensure most MPs have a personal constituency link with their voters, as already occurs in Germany and Scotland. Labour made a promise more than a decade ago to hold a referendum on the Jenkins proposals. If the government won't call a general election, let us have this referendum in early September, as the culmination of 100 days of reform.

Together, over the next 100 days, we could achieve nothing less than the total reinvention of British politics.

That Nick Clegg really is a chancer, isn't he ? If there's one thing that the expenses scandal DOESN'T show, it's the need for electoral reform - which might be needed for other reasons, but not for this one.

Indeed the strength of constituency feeling is one of the reasons why, for example, the lovely Julie Kirkbride is feeling the heat at present in Bromsgrove. Electorally, I think she may be able to hang on in there - although the Lib Dims might put up a battle, but every new story leaves Cameron looking less like Mr Decisive and more like Mr Wobbly.

She fights on though - she fights to win.

Like millions of women I am a mother who works. Like millions of other working mothers I have put in place networks to ensure that my child enjoys security and consistency while I work demanding hours and do the best job I can...

But a wider issue gives me great concern. What effect will stories like mine have on mothers who aspire to be MPs? We want Parliament to be more representative and that includes women with school-age children.

Just before this story broke, I spoke to a woman journalist thinking of entering Parliament. Her main concern was the effect it would have on her children. I assured her it was possible to combine an MP's life with being a good mother, as long as she organised her support structure well.

That must continue to be the case - or Parliament risks taking a step backwards.
So it's all about Jimmy being able to go to sleep in his own little room again, is it ? Worth a try I suppose. And Mr Cameron wants to maintain a bit of diversity in the ranks. If she was a bloke her feet would not have touched the ground. Her husband's didn't.

Elsewhere, as has been written on mass immigration:

... where would you like to go ? To Scotland or Wales, with their strong Nationalist parties ? To Ulster, where Sinn Fein/IRA are still killing people because their forebears were immigrants four hundred years ago ? Or to a country whose national flag should really be emblazoned with the word 'Sorry !'. No choice, really, is it ?

Sir Andrew Green was saying pretty much the same thing five years back.

Now it's finally filtering down to Parliament. Immigration is overwhelmingly - and disproportionately - to England :

Scotland's perception of itself as an increasingly multi-ethnic and diverse country will be challenged today by official figures that show almost all of the net international immigration to Britain since 1991 has gone to England.

Between 1991 and the 2007 a net 2.14million migrants came to England. But in Scotland for the same period net foreign migration was a paltry 105,000.

In effect, the statistics mean that England absorbed 20 times more international migrants than Scotland even though the population is only 10 times larger. England also took 11 times more migrants than Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland combined, even though its population is only 5 times larger than these three parts of the UK put together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apologies ...

For the light blogging - working my wee socks off at present. No energy left for blogging.

This is lovely, though - and I generally prefer the lady herself to any imitators. Dutch band Ygdrassil doing more than justice to Sandy Denny's 1971 'North Star Grassman and the Ravens'. Chief warbler and mike-waver Linde Nijland is playing the Barbican July 18 as part of Joe Boyd's Witchseason weekend. It's sold out, but she's also doing something on the Barbican freestage at 5pm that evening.