Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Prophetic Teddy

Much bloggy hot air on this...I'd have thought if the outlook was forty lashes and a year of porridge, you'd take 15 days in clink and run, wouldn't you?

Meanwhile, Peter Hain tries to get Harriet Harman off the hook by saying he had a dodgy 5k too. (No link yet, even on reuters - I heard it on BBC 5live.) So that's ok, then.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Something that made me laugh


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Every man is an island

The humerous defence against the loss of the personal data of 25,000,000 civvies 'Oh, it was a lone 23 year old lackey making a cock up...and anyway morale is low...and erm...' fails to disguise the fact that significant cracks in the consensus of MPs are becoming apparent. The commons select committee has been told this week that the 'der' should be taken out of the description 'undertrained' for an average minister of the state.

It hardly needs pointing out how extraordinary it is that this 'new' Labour mob maintain quite such a firm grip on power, given that they have spent six years taking away our civil liberties on the pretext that we will be more secure under their protection, while going to ever greater lengths to demonstrate their incompetance.

But given that context, a few clues as to how the past decade will settle into historical context seem to be emerging.

1) The population has become divorced from Westminister to a remarkable extent. This is not, and never has been, political disengagement (fuel strikes, anti-war protests, countryside alliance marches inter alia, and raises the prospect that, if the government goes to lengths to win the next election (more boundary changes, another low turnout...), that the final ousting of them will be through unconventional methods. It is not inconceivable that a single issue public protest could force an unscheduled election, given the vogue of recent years for taking to the streets.

2) Mandleson's ghost has come back to bite Brown. The 'spin' project was an extraordinary short term success. But its effects did not go unnoticed. That interviews on Newsnight and Today are utterly devoid of substance is not because Humphreys and Paxo have totally lost their journalistic bearings. The orthodoxy of spin is total. Journalists no longer waste their time questioning ministers to trap them into spilling the truth. These interviews are no more than a traditional charade. Instead, every utterance from a politician is assumed to be spun. The whole game has become unravelling the spin. Nick Robinson is the new Paxo. This is a dangerous place for journalism to be, but at this moment the analysts seem to be doing a fairly good job. This is not least because the routine of spin has sucked it of any ingenuity. The sort of commitment to PR that made September 11th 'a good day to bury bad news' has been replaced by a workaday evasion by politicians, most of whom are kept in the dark by the fiercely centralised Labour machine. The problem being...

3) Centralised government doesn't work. Time will tell what the alternative will be. It seems at this point inconceivable that an a depoliticised civil service and a strong independent House of Lords could be reconstituted. Without them, central government has failed as an executive, a position the public can afford to accept until the economic doo-doo hits the fan. The winds of change will rise sooner rather than later, and they don't smell too good.