Monday, 15 October 2007

The Weekend Poliblogs 13th & 14th October 2007

Climate Change My Arse - Part 16 (Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize).

I cannot believe that Al Gore of all people has won the Nobel Peace Prize. This will come back to haunt the Nobel committee.

Daily Referendum

Is Gord still being given the benefit of the doubt?

Too often, I think, those with a passion for following the fortunes of our great parties seem to expect instant reactions from the polls to the events they see daily in the papers and on their TV screens.

Political Betting

Labour’s U-turn on marriage

So the Government now recognises that there is a ‘moral case’ for promoting the traditional family through the tax system? Never mind that the Conservative Party has been saying this for a long time, and being accused by Labour of being ‘nasty’ and judgmental.

Bel is Thinking

Brown gives go-ahead for a 'Maastricht' on EU constitution

Downing Street has confirmed tonight that the Government will allow MPs at least a month of unlimited debate on the floor of the Commons when the EU constitution Reform Treaty comes before Parliament this year. Given Labour's fondness for guillotines and timetabling debates, there had been a fear among some MPs that Gordon Brown would do the same here. He recognises that rejecting a referendum in favour of giving Parliament the job of vetting the treaty means he has to "do a Maastricht" - allow exhaustive line by line scrutiny, on the floor, similar in scope to the long battles over the Maastricht Bill nearly 15 years ago.

Ben Brogan

Labour minister admits taxes should recognise marriage

In further confirmation that the Conservative Party is in command of the agenda in British politics, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andy Burnham MP, has indicated that the Government might give tax incentives to married couples, in recognition of the importance of the institution to society.


Well, ain't that the truth

Citing an anonymous "senior figure" in the Brown government, Will Woodward, chief political correspondent of the Guardian writes today, "Ministers believe there is no real appetite for a referendum on the treaty. Despite a fierce press campaign, they say petitions demanding a referendum are attracting little support."

EU Referendum

When nationalism and sport collide

A German footballer of Iranian birth has asked to be excused from a match against Israel.

Sean Usher

The nation’s waistline and the government’s wasteline

Alan Johnson thinks obesity is as large problem as climate change. Prepare yourselves for a government media and advertising bombardment on what we should eat, what we can drink, how much exercise we should take and how we should change our lifestyles. Prepare to be told yet again that the government does not approve of how we live and is out to change it. These politicians just want to meddle in every detail of our lives, with their army of regulators, tax officials, monitors, prying forms and surveillance cameras.

John Redwood

I am sure there is no connection between these two events?

Tony Blair's best friend and "confidante" Lord Falconer has launched an attack on Gordon Brown's renewal of the Labour Party at exactly the same time as Gordon Brown has put on hold plans for Lord Falconer to receive a whopping pension from the government after he stood down/was sacked (delete as applicable) when Gordon Brown became PM.

Norfolk Blogger

Lembit resigns as Welsh Lib Dem Leader

It was always expected that the Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference in Aberystwyth would be about leadership. Most expected the discussion to be about Mike German’s leadership in the Welsh Assembly, but instead, Lembit Opik has today unexpectedly announced his own resignation as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Anders Hanson

Are the knives being sharpened?

So, with no General Election, and the nights drawing in, MPs return to work. Sure enough the anonymous anti-Ming briefings resume. It seems that there are some MPs who have learnt nothing from the unpleasant, damaging and brutal way that Charles Kennedy was dispatched. It began with the constant drip drip of briefings to journalists from 'senior frontbench spokespeople' So the same pattern seems to be emerging.

Meral’s Musings

Border skirmishes

England is subsidising Scotland, according to the media. But is it true, and would the Scots be better off with fiscal autonomy?

Iain Macwhirter

Idle chatter from an occasional dissident

Criticising Ming Campbell is, in his words "Idle chatter from an occasional dissident". If only it were true. I, like many others, tempered my criticism of Ming in the run up to the phoney election because we knew that speaking out loud on this issue would affect the party. Now, with the phoney election out of the way, we need to return to the issue at hand, and that is whether Ming Campbell is the best person to lead us in to the general election in 18 months time.

Norfolk Blogger

What next for Gordon?

What can Gordon Brown do to regain the political initiative following this week's catalogue of disasters? Here's a few suggestions from a candid friend.

Paul Linford

Conservatives open up a lead in new ICM poll

An ICM poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph puts the Conservatives back into a commanding position. Conducted on the 10th and 11th October it is the first standard poll with fieldwork carried out over several days since the announcement that there would not be an election this year. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s previous poll conducted straight after David Cameron’s speech, are CON 43%(+5), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 14%(-2).

Polling Report

Was last week the start of Brown’s long goodbye?

Or are Labour still on course for a fourth term? The last couple of weeks have been among the most eventful in recent British politics, with the election that never was, the “magpie” pre-budget report, Brown’s mauling at PMQs and the polls changing rapidly from an 11-point Labour lead to a 7-point Conservative one. The key question is whether we have reached a tipping point and it’s all downhill for Labour from now on, with Brown following Callaghan and Douglas-Home as another “fag-end” PM, or whether the government can reassert control over the political scene such that recent events are merely seen as a blip.

Political Betting

UK Drugs Policy

Drug statistics can make depressing reading. According to a recent report nearly 35% of the UK population have tried illegal drugs – that's nearly 19 million people. Of those, around 330,000 are addicts - that's about as many people the city of Leicester. The Government's response is outlined in its 'Drug Strategy', which is due to be replaced or renewed next year. But despite the UK having spent countless billions of pounds on education, policing, and enforcement, a recent UK Drug Policy Commission report says that there's no evidence it has had any effect on the amount of use. In fact, if the report is to be believed, there seems to be no evidence from any country, that its national drug policy has had any lasting effect on the number of recreational or dependant drug users at all. Ever.

Labour Home

No Blairite Revolt

Blair - the backseat driver. That was the prospect raised by the headlines in some of the Sundays (here, here and here). It is wrong, as the former prime minister's office were swift to point out, but that should not comfort Team Brown too much. The Blairites are not plotting at this, the first hint of trouble for Gordon but they are shaking their heads, muttering "I told you so" and musing about how they can shape "the vision thing" which all now agree Labour needs to find.

Nick Robinson

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