Monday, 26 November 2007

The Weekend Poliblogs 24th & 25th November 2007

What's Kennedy up to?

They're an odd lot, the Lib Dems. They have some good people, but tend not to give prominence to them. There is no doubt that the best leader available to the Lib Dems at Westminster is Vince Cable. He's impressed everyone since he was appointed their 'acting' leader. This blog has acknowledged the impressiveness of this man for many years. But he's not a candidate for the leadership. This is being fought out (with 'fought being an entirely suitable word) between two much lesser men.

A view from rural Wales


No more opt-outs. Either the United Kingdom should be in the European Union and within the eurozone, or it should not be in the European Union at all. Prime Minister of Denmark Rasmussen is to give Danes a say 'in joining the euro and ending Denmark’s opt-outs from Brussels', because staying outside the single currency and retaining opt-outs on defence, justice and home affairs are damaging Denmark's relationship with the European Union.

Angels in marble

In Praise of Vince

'Mind the cable' I said to the acting Lib Dem leader as I guided him into our Westminster studios. Doh! Vince Cable gave me a rueful smile, much like the one he's given to Gordon Brown across the floor of the House of Commons in the last few weeks. Vince is a velvet assassin you see. He organised the letter to Charles Kennedy from members of the Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet threatening mass resignations if Chatshow Charlie didn't do the decent thing after his alcoholism confession. He also delivered it in person to Mr Kennedy. This sexagenarian stabs in the front!

Boulton & Co.

How Much Will We Lose On Northern Crock?

Having glanced under the bonnet, none of the prospective buyers thinks the Crock is even worth a fiver. And they're only prepared to tow it away for scrap if we taxpayers provide them with fully comp insurance for free. So how much are we going to lose?

Burning Our Money

How bad is it for Brown?

Jackie Ashley is one of the columnists who is normally most sympathetic to Gordon Brown. So her take on the issue of how much trouble the Prime Minister is in is essential reading. Here’s how she starts, “

Coffee House

Ten reasons to scrap the plans for I.D Cards.

Following the incredible incompetence shown by the government in failing to protect our personal data, I have compiled a list of ten reasons to scrap the plans for I.D Cards:

Daily Referendum

Green dreams

Gordon Brown's new environmental aspirations are very welcome, but how exactly does he intend to achieve them?

Michael Meacher

Forging new bonds

The left can no longer rely on political parties. A new kind of alliance between producers and consumers could provide the answer

Gregor Gall

Uncomfortable truths

According to the aviation white paper the southeast needs two new runways. So what are the pros and cons of expansion at Heathrow?

David Learmount

If Brown picks a fight with the Army....

he will lose, and lose badly. The government have committed the British armed forces to an unprecedented number of conflicts, the Balkans, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iran and Afghanistan. Yet during Labour's time in office defence spending has fallen as a % of GDP every year, it now stands at the lowest level since Ramsey MacDonald was Prime Minister (he was Labour too). The military usually keep themselves publicly politically neutral, even into retirement. That five former defence chiefs so passionately criticised the government and the Prime Minister indicates a deep problem.

James Cleverly

What's the difference between the Oxford Union and the Stop the War Coalition?

Tomorrow, the Oxford Union is hosting a debate on free speech with Nick Griffin of the BNP and discredited historian David Irving as guest speakers. It has created a media circus, with people condemning them as neo-Nazis and anti-semites.On Saturday, the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) has invited Ibrahim Mousawi, a spokesperson of Hizbollah, to speak at its World Against War conference. In contrast with the Oxford Union, this visit has only received publicity in the Jewish media.

Earthquake Cove

Could Gordon really go BEFORE the election?

It’s Monday and that means it’s the day of the Guardian column of Jackie Ashley - who for a long time has been one of Brown’s most enthusiastic media cheer leaders. And this morning, as she tries to assess the political damage that Gordon has suffered in the past few weeks, she touches on what has not really been debated - could he go BEFORE the general election?

Political Betting

Why is Virgin Group fit to own Northern Rock? Remember the Virgin Atlantic Fraud

Less than 4 months ago another of Richard Branson’s companies - Virgin Atlantic - admitted to colluding with British Airways over a 1-2 year period to defraud it’s own customers of a sum (I think - I can’t find an exact figure) of £50-£100m by engaging in price-fixing of fuel surcharges. Virgin Atlantic was an active participant in the price-fxiing. Richard Branson’s airline avoided a fine because it told the authorities first.

The Wardman Wire

Labour at an all-time low - and quite rightly too

In the midst of this crisis of lost records, Northern Rock, and general Labour incompetence, the Labour Party is at an all-time low in the opinion polls. A YouGov poll for C4 News on Thursday puts Labour at 32% (a 9-point Tory lead) and an ICM poll in tomorrow’s Guardian on 31% (only a 6% Tory lead, due to a remarkable Lib Dem comeback). Hat tip: Conservative Home. With the LibDems on 21%, at the expense of both major parties although it is certainly a “LibDem Leadership Bounce”, it may be the return to three-party politics.

The Wilted Rose

Sunday polls

There are apparently new polls tomorrow in the News of the World and the Mail on Sunday. The News of the World poll is by MSL, a sister company of ICM - both are owned by Creston plc. I’ve never them do political media polls before, if I had to make a wild stab in the dark I’d guess that the News of World phoned up ICM for a poll and found that ICM were already contracted to do a poll on the same subject for the Guardian this weekend, and were hence given MSL as someone else who might be able to do it for them. No news of any voting intention questions in the MSL poll, but it found that 54% thought ministers had handled Northern Rock badly and 49% of respondents wanted Alistair Darling to resign.

Polling Report

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