Saturday, October 27, 2007

"RESPECT" - still shaking things up!

When it was founded the so-called "RESPECT - The Unity Coalition" pledged to shake up politics and change the nature of politics. This week they've continued to do that.

Over a third of the "RESPECT" group on Tower Hamlets Borough Council have resigned the whip, feeling that their leader has "systematically acted to appease only one section of the party and community". Unsurprisingly they are the four associated with the national Socialist Workers Party. See their statement at East London Advertiser: We quit because we have no respect for Respect group leader. It's also notable that the ring leader of the four is Oliur Rahman, who stood in the Poplar & Canning Town seat at the last election. With George Galloway having decided that the "RESPECT" nomination for that (renamed) seat is his by right, one has to wonder if Rahman has a personal issue in all this. On my one encounter with him I found him to be even more stubborn minded than George Galloway and watched with bewilderment as he went on about courtesy whilst interrupting someone speaking and claimed that a point about what had been seen on Iraqi television was invalid "because the BBC is inherently biased". One has to wonder where "RESPECT" found this idiot.

But as for "RESPECT" itself, it is just conforming to the standard pattern of a flash party that springs up from nowhere, gets a bit of support and then disintegrates when its internal contradictions are exposed. And for the rest of us it's all hilarious to watch as socialists demonstrate that their most hated enemies are other socialists!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Conservative Future elections

The Conservative Future elections are almost upon us and the various candidates are currently declaring. I am especially pleased to see that Daryl Williams is running for National Chairperson and he has my full support. In the time I've been involved with Conservative Future Daryl has always stood out as one of the best campaigners, bringing dedication, hard work and enthusiasm to the task and inspiring others, and he would take the organisation forward by huge leaps and bounds.

(See also ConservativeHome's CF Diary: Daryl Williams launches campaign for the chairmanship for many other endorsements of Daryl.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Does English need a spelling reform?

Recently two incidents have left me wondering about this one.

Earlier this week I received back a copy of a thesis chapter from my supervisor and amongst the howlers in it he pointed out that I'd used the spelling "practice" when it should be "practise" for the verb. Since the noun uses the latter form, and Americans use both (and Microsoft's "UK English" spellchecker doesn't flag it as an error), it's an easy mistake to make. But both spellings are pronounced the same, are derived from the same root and so forth. Why exactly they're spelt differently is a mystery.

Another point came in reading a few pieces about the current general election in Australia where I was reminded that the Australian Labor Party uses that spelling despite ~our spellings being standard in Australia (including for "labour") because nearly a century ago one of the leading Labor politicians was an advocate of spelling who opted to "modernise" the name, only for the great spelling reform to not happen. (See Wikipedia: Australian Labor Party#History and King O'Malley.)

Spelling reform seeks to make a language easier to spell, removing irregular spellings and making spelling phonetic (now why isn't that word spelt the way it's pronounced?). Is this a pointless goal or could it bring greater benefits? Could it really reduce levels of dyslexia (another difficult to spell word) as some of its advocates claim?

In one area spelling reform happens all the time. As foreign words get incorporated into English very often they lose accents (e.g. rôle becoming role or élite becoming elite) even when there already conventions for how to type them without accents (e.g. without an umlaut "Führer" should be rendered "Fuehrer" and strictly not "Fuhrer"). Another change, although one that frequently provokes howls of pedants and protests, is when the English rules of pluralisation are followed - so it's "forums" not "fora" and "referendums" nor "referenda" (and the Blogspot spellcheck has just flagged the latter as an unfamiliar word). I have never understood why the Latin rules of pluralisation should be adhered to for words used in English, unless it's because some people want to show off that they know the language.

But overall English is a very complicated language to understand, and the international variations compound the problem further. Now as time goes on it's possible that some of the spellings will start to regularise naturally, but it would take millenniums to occur. Would a concerted effort help? And would it be possible to implement? (Just look at how much resistance to metrication in the UK, and the US is even worse on that one.) The German spelling reform of 1996 has been particularly controversial, but it's not yet possible to see if it has helped literacy rates.

Still we can at least try to ensure that only English plurals are used.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

So what is this contest all about?!

One random Muppet......after anotherOne of the common complaints about the Liberal Democrats is that overall it's utterly unclear what they stand for, wit numerous ambiguities and a reluctance to engage in heavy philosophical debate. It's a reputation that both Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg seem determined to maintain, with the announcement that there are no policy disagreements between them and the election is all about presentation! (BBC News: Lib Dem race 'about presentation')

So do the Liberal Democrats want their policies to be presented by a Cameron clone public school Oxbridge educated politician or by erm a Cameron clone public school Oxbridge educated politician? I have nothing against anyone misfortunate enough to have been sent to a public school, but there are times when I do think it would help to have a broader mix of backgrounds in politics.

So for once we genuinely do have the Liberal Democrats involved in a two-horse race but with very little of note. What is this party for again?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A new species on the endangered list

Yesterday I had no internet access and consequently the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell largely passed me by, so I didn't see the hints and whispers about the men in grey sandals telling Campbell his time was up. His interview on BBC News 24 this afternoon suggests there's a lot of anger there. He can at least console himself that the knives went into his back, rather than the front as with Charles Kennedy. But given his role in that fiasco, Campbell cannot complain about his downfall. But it now seems that Liberal Democrat leaders are the most endangered species in British politics - by the end of this Parliament they'll have had four different leaders since the election!

As to his successor - well aside from the acting leadership of Vincent Cable - who should the Liberal Democrats go for? Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne are both being talked up a lot - but the party may remember that last time they plumped for the obvious choice and look where that got them!

Of course there is one MP who absolutely has to stand, if only to ensure he can't accidentally support someone else! So come on down Lembit Öpik, this is your chance! As leader, you would have the chance to tell the country why protecting us all from asteroids is the number one priority!

P.S. There's a group on Facebook: Lembit Öpik MP for Lib Dem leader! So join up and invite others to do so as well!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Liberal Democrat leader steps down

Going from this, soon to be gone from allYou were all expecting to hear that the Lib Dems have finally done what needs doing and deposed Sir Menzies Campbell, weren't you? Well that news hasn't come through yet. But what has come through is that Lembit Öpik is resigning as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. (BBC News: Öpik to step down from party post) He's jumped before being pushed - Lembit has been losing a lot of support lately. (See Liberal Democrat *leaders* in trouble)

So who will succeed Lembit in the battle for this incredibly coveted post?

A long awaited return

I've just come back from the supermarket where I saw something I hadn't seen for a long time.

Yes - Wispa bars are back! And have I missed them!

Here's hoping they stay this time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jeffrey Archer on fraud

Now this got me chuckling when I saw it in the Independent's Pandora column. The Experian Fraud Forum is taking place next month. One of the main speakers is to be Jeffrey Archer on "How to write a bestseller".

I wonder if he'll also talk about the life of Jeffrey Archer. Thanks to YouTube, here is a classic Spitting Image sketch on the subject:

And the answers he gave are precisely the ones he gives in real life.

Oh and here's the sequel:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When Labour was even more flappable

Courtesy of YouTube, here is one the first predecessors of the party political broadcast - Stanley Baldwin addressing voters in this newsreel from the 1931 general election. This was when the Labour Party backed away from making an important decision - some things never change!

Oh and the result was the biggest landslide in British history.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Liberal woes 2

Could it get any worse for the Liberal Democrats? They've just been joined by Michael Meadowcroft, who in 1989 left the Liberal Democrats and founded the "continuity" Liberal Party. (Nigel Ashton: Michael Meadowcroft joins Lib Dems)

Is this only the second time in British history when a rat has joined a sinking ship? (The first of course being the Lib-Lab pact of 1977.)

Liberal woes

Courtesey of Kerron Cross: Liberal Party Finished:

Just read this:

He is finished, as is the Liberal Party. Many Liberals are considering quitting the party because of the incompetent leader they have.

Time to face some facts:

+ He will never be prime minister
+ He is not a leader
+ He will never connect with local people
+ He will never connect with the rest of the country

Liberals will now have to force a new leadership contest if they want to have even the slightest chance of being the official opposition over the next years.

His supporters/apologists still have their blinkers on, and it's really quite sad having to witness their flailing and splashing around while they're drowning.
How very true.

Oh, he's referring to Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. (See The Spade: Bye-bye, Dion.)

But he's not the only Liberal leader in trouble is he?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

No election for now

The speculation is finally over. BBC News: Brown rules out autumn election.

So numerous party activists will be breathing a sigh of relief as they now don't have to get time off work, traipse around on cold dark evenings, bother voters for no good reason and endure hectic candidate selections with all the usual rows.

And voters can be relieved as well. There'll be no extended news specials every night to cover the election, no forest of paper coming through letter boxes, no megaphone cars bellowing at them in the high street, no constant ringing at the doorbell and on the telephone and so forth. And no mass disenfranchisement of voters who've recently come of age or moved - many, many students would have been denied their right to vote in an election in November.

There was never any need for an election this autumn. Now everyone's been spared the harsh negatives of it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Another broken Brown promise

When he became Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised that his premiership wouldn't see the return of Old Labour.

Today that promise was broken with the announcement that Tony Benn is looking to stand for Parliament again. (BBC News: I want to be an MP again - Benn)

Old Labour, New Danger.

September on this blog

Time again for the monthly look at who's been visiting this blog. For those who wish to see stats for earlier months you can now click on one of the labels at the end of this post. Comparisons are with the stats for August.

First off the sites most people come from:

  1. Google (-)
  2. Wikipedia (+1)
  3. (-1)
  4. Mars Hill (+3)
  5. Facebook (-)
  6. Iain Dale's Diary (RE-ENTRY)
  7. ConservativeHome (RE-ENTRY)
  8. AOL Search (NEW)
  9. Cllr Iain Lindley's Diary (RE-ENTRY)
  10. Vote 2007 (-6)
Dropping out of the top ten are Young Unionists (at 11, down 2), Caroline Hunt (at 13, down 5), Yahoo (at 25, down 17) and Outpost Gallifrey (dematerialising altogether).

Then we have the top ten search engine requests that brought people here:

  1. what does your birthday say about you (-)
  2. tim roll-pickering (-)
  3. oyster day travelcard prices (NEW)
  4. matthew taylor make money review (NEW)
  5. english democrats (+1)
  6. laura blomeley (-4)
  7. what were the old men in the muppets called? (RE-ENTRY - and the answer is Ming and Vince)
  8. elephunt sex (RE-ENTRY)
  9. "second chambers" (NEW)
  10. rotterdam loonies (RE-ENTRY)
Another mix of the regular and the new.

Finally as ever we have a list of all the cities detected that people are in:


Thank you all for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...