Gordon Brown needs to embrace blogs


by Sunny
26th September, 2006 at 2:09 pm    

BrownGordon Brown’s speech yesterday at the Labour party conference has unsurprisingly got the media speculating over his impending take-over of the party, not least because of Cherie Blair’s terrible attempt at sabotage.

The party faithful have unsurprisingly been favourable. Although some are not happy he avoided Iraq, privatisation or nukes. And if you are really interested you can also look at the rapidly building Brown Manifesto too.

It is near certain Brown will be the Prime Minister by next year. (I do not have a problem with this). Almost immediately his eyes will be on the General Election in 2009/10 because, given he has waited a decade for the top prize, he will want it for longer.

It doesn’t really matter, except to those are obsessive about these things, how is speech went or what it contained. Brown had to play it a bit forceful yet conservative; that is his usual style. Even his manifesto is largely irrelevant for this remaining term.

The real problem for Brown will be if the electorate view that nothing changed with him in charge. They are screaming for change from Tony Blair and a Labour clone will quickly be dumped for David Cameron. He should know this so he has to be radical. Or to put it more crudely he will have to find his balls.

So what should be focus on then? These are my suggestions.

Foreign Policy. Following on from Cameron he will probably declare independence from US interests too. Too bad Cameron stole his thunder but Gordon Brown cannot ignore this. In practice this may mean reducing troops from Iraq and calling for a set timeline of withdrawal, while committing more troops to stabilise Afghanistan.

Either way Brown cannot afford to have the same FP as Blair. My feeling is he is not straying too far from the party line in order not to rock the boat. But once in charge he will need to make drastic announcements to give the impression he is not a Blair clone.

Britishness. He haphazardly started down this route in January. The problem is that while Brown knows he needs to take the ‘Britishness’ debate to the left, he seems to have said little on how to do this. But a proper focus on this debate will signal he is thinking more about home-grown issues rather than bungling up in FP as Tony Blair was constantly.

I will write more on this in due course but I have previously stated (a bit rubbishly) on why I see the need for Britishness.

Connecting with people. Not really a policy as such but the one thing Brown has to do in order to win 2009. How will he do this? Probably not with fatuous initiatives like ‘The Big Conversation‘.

More likely with opening up Labour blogging and encouraging all MPs to communicate directly with constituents this way. On this, Antony Mayfield makes a good point:

Labour is a party that won and held power by mastering mainstream media, and as Mr Dale puts it “Blogs are a spin doctor’s worst nightmare come true”. That’s bad news for the current ruling elite.

Labour in the nineties drew on inspiration and media “management” methods of American political spin doctors. Now they have stopped learning it seems, for now awareness of and positive engagement with bloggers in the US is a must for political campaigners.

Will it happen? Quite possibly but Brown has to be fast and more radical than he has ever been before. He may also like to take his cue from others.

In France, Ségolène Royal, who is likely to win the French Socialist party nomination to stand for the presidency next year, has been running a website and blog that has generated lots of interest and new support.

Ms Royal puts essays on topics such as unemployment or immigration on her site and invites readers to post responses. She claims that she will then incorporate the best ideas into her platform for the presidency. It may be a gimmick, but it has helped her appear modern and in touch with the people – qualities in short supply in French politics.

You could almost say Gordon Brown’s fortunes will depend more on his attitude to blogging than the speech he gave yesterday.

I don’t say this because I love this medium but because it should form as part of a broader strategy to re-connect with a voter base that has been thoroughly turned off by New Labour’s willingness to live by spin and tabloid headlines.


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  1. beware the political advisor who says “blogging will save your bacon” « Someday I Will Treat You Good

    [...] Pickled Politics – Gordon Brown needs to embrace blogs [...]


  2. Sunny’s diary » Cameron embraces blogs

    [...] Last week I said on Pickled Politics that Gordon Brown needed to embrace blogs to at least try and re-connect with the youth. Labour is quite rightly seen as a party obsessed with spin and out of touch with its electorate. [...]


  3. Stoke Newington

    @sunny_hundal you must have amnesia http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/796




  1. Leon — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    You could almost say Gordon Brown’s fortunes will depend more on his attitude to blogging than the speech he gave yesterday.

    You could also say it depends on his opponents in a leadership contest. If Newsnight is anything to go by as well as the current ABG campaign (Anyone But Gordon) he’s going to get trounced by a Reid/Johnson team. In that scenario he needs to think more about who is Deputy will be.

    As for Browns apparent love of Britishness I don’t buy it; it’s a simple calculation to throw off the West Lothian question. Read Gordon Brown by Tom Bower and you might almost wish Blair wasn’t going…

  2. bananabrain — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

    sheesh, sunny, aren’t you a teensy bit biased in favour of blogs to be making this point? it’s like my friend who is obsessed with breastfeeding and trying to lobby for a “national breastfeeding strategy”. like the prime minister hasn’t got enough to deal with and like getting the government involved is going to help.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    Gordon Brown won’t become Prime Minister in a hurry, I can assure you.

    You see, Tony Blair, like George Bush, has undergone 33 degrees of initiation by the Illuminati.

    Gordon has only had 23 degrees

    Have none of you seen the spinning tortoise above the pyramid on a jar of Branstons pickle?

    Fools

  4. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Have you noticed that gormless slackjaw thing Gordon Brown does after every sentence?

    It’s because of this that the 13 families of the illuminati won’t accept him. They don’t trust people who can’t keep their mouths shut…

  5. nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    anyone else watching the Blair ‘finale’ on TV right now? All I see is sheep trying to out-idiot other sheep in how long they can give the pm a standing ovation with their ‘heil fuhrer’ admiration…makes me sick, I should have stayed in Manchester and tried to find a way into the conference hall and swung down from my hiding place at the exact right time to slam a custard pie into Tony’s face and watch that famous grin dissolve…..

    The smugness of this man is limitless…
    I’m praying the police break in and arrest him for crimes against humanity…and hiacking the labour party and lying to the nation….why is Prescott even there? Ahhh, ok..gotta get back to work.

  6. nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    I cant work! Somebody make him stop!!!

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    (nyrone, I’m sorry about the other day. The illuminati made me do it. Forgive a lazy toad)

  8. nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    Actually, I just finished reading Time magazine which had Ségolène Royal on the front cover proclaiming “why must one be old, ugly and boring to enter into politics” I’m sure that went down real well with the time readers:)

    She has a touch of class and common sense, I read an article she wrote a while ago on the need for progressive socialism and I was rather impressed. She didn’t immiediately strike me as a power-hungry person and that’s a big compliment for a politician, especially one that’s running for the top job.

    I’ve been speaking with a couple of french girls who were tellng me that consider Sarkozy to be just right of Le Pen..I really should read up on him, has anyone read his bestseller? what’s it like?

  9. nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

    damn those illuminati! They get to everyone!
    Nah, just kidding…you’re forgiven.
    I hope you’re doing well and having a nice
    day.

  10. Sunny — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

    I have a bit of a soft spot for Sarkozy, I don’t even know why.

    Two points. By alluding to Gordon Brown embracing blogs, my point is rather that he needs to find a way to re-connect to voters and make a genuine attempt to listen, unlike Blair. Blogs would be part of that strategy.

    I think Reid/Johnson have more chance being editors of PP than they have running the country.

  11. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    Kismet, you read The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Bob Shea and Robert Anton Wilson?

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

    Anas, alas, I’ve only just finished reading Cosmic Trigger. I’ll never look at a five dollar bill the same way again. Or at all, considering I don’t have much call for handling American dollars. But I’m seeing the number 33 everywhere. Especially in Peckham where the number 33 bus goes up and down, up and down. What does it mean? I shall read the trilogy you recommend and hopefully find the answer, imagine if I found it on page 33. The mind boggles.

    I advise you do the same Gordon Brown. You have 33 chins

  13. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:19 pm  

    Another Robert Anton Wilson fan! Joy!

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

    Going back to the thread:

    This premise that Gordon Brown stands a better chance of winning if he took to blogging.

    Is that saying:
    • The majority of bloggers are voters?
    • The opinions of bloggers have more of an impact on voter opinion than those exchanged over a copy of The Sun between salt of the earth workers in greasy spoons?
    • That politicians/ voters pour over blogs before they make serious decisions?

    Do me a favour

  15. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Can you imagine Gordon Brown’s blog…

    Tuesday 26th September: Tony and Cherie were out so I popped into No10 to measure the curtains. Borrowed some sugar. He said I could have it, we made a deal, but he hasn’t offered it to me in bloody ages so I’m just going to take it. Must open my mouth now as if I’m gasping for air. The carpets here are too vibrant. Must replace with beige

  16. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

    Going off on another tangent. Why is the blogosphere so heavily right-wing/conservative? I notice this when I do online searches on various topics, especially if the topic’s something “contentious” like a story on the Middle East. The first few pages that come up are usually right-wing, or have a heavily right-wing agenda. WTF’s up with that? Why hasn’t the left begun to appropriate the technology the way the right so clearly has?

  17. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

    It’s easier for for the right side of your brain to be controlled, the left side tends to think for itself so doesn’t feel much desire to spread propaganda or preach. That’s why the right-wing are the wagging tailed psycho terriers of the illuminati

  18. Leon — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    I think Reid/Johnson have more chance being editors of PP than they have running the country.

    Heh, those sound like the type of words just itching to come back to haunt you.

  19. Leon — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    Why hasn’t the left begun to appropriate the technology the way the right so clearly has?

    Very good question. I’ve no answers, still pondering this one myself…

  20. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

    Leon, I answered it on Post 17. Must you be blind? :-)

  21. Sunny — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

    Probably because blogging is primarily a medium that favours ranters and ravers, as talk-show radio does. Ranters and ravers primarily happen to be right-wing, as the American example shows us. Broadcast and print in contrast is generally more liberal.

  22. Jagdeep — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

    Robert Anton Wilson

    That explains alot.

    Did you know that they are sending secret mind bending messages from computer screens, and that many of these messages are secretly embedded in certain images on pornographic websites, at tactical openings on the female anatomy? And zionists have developed a technology in which chemicals in toilet paper apply an invisible radioactive film to the anus (inspired by technology from Roswell, Area 51 – UFO shot down by an Israeli missile) from which you can be mind controlled and made to do things you dont want to.

    They are watching you, and conspiring against you personally, and not even using a lota to clean your arse can destroy the tracking devices cunningly planted up there.

    Tony Blair’s in on the scheme too.

  23. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

    That explains alot.

    Have you actually read anything by Robert Anton Wilson?

  24. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    From http://www.rawilson.com/papers.shtml (look out for the flashing genitalia)

    CD: How seriously are we to take your fascinating and entertaining trilogy, Illuminatus!, which you wrote in collaboration with Robert J. Shea?

    Wilson: I would hate to be taken seriously. Serious people are always so grim and uptight that they make me want to dance naked on the lawn playing a flute. Of course, as Mavis says in the first volume of the trilogy, nothing is true unless it makes you laugh, but you don’t really understand it until it makes you cry. The basic situation of humanity is both tragic and comic, since we are all domesticated apes with marvelous 30-billion-cell brains, which we seldom use efficiently because of domination by the older mammalian parts of the back brain. I mean, we’re living on the Planet of the Apes, man. Is that funny or serious? It depends on how broad your sense of humor is, I guess.

    CD: Specifically, are we really to believe that competing secret societies initiate and guide the various intellectual, religious, artistic, and mind-warping trends of the world? Or was the secret-society scenario just a parody of right-wing theories, a way of dramatizing authoritarian vs. libertarian trends, or simply your own brainwashing technique?

    Wilson: To quote Lichtenberg, “This book is a mirror. When a monkey looks in, no philosopher looks out.” Illuminatus!, like Linda Lovelace, is all things to all men. It’s the first novel deliberately written from the viewpoint of the multi-model agnosticism of modern quantum physics. The novelist sitting on a pedestal watching the world with the allegedly Objective Eye of God is as obsolete as the tinhorn preacher bawling, “Come to my church, I’ve got the true true religion.” The only philosophy one can honestly embrace at this stage of evolution is agnosticism, or ontological pluralism. The mosaic of competing conspiracies in Illuminatus! is a parody of popular demonology on both Right and Left. It’s also a serious proposal for a more Einsteinian, relativistic model than the monistic Newtonian theories most conspiracy buffs favor. One of the readers who really seems to have understood Illuminatus! is Dr. Timothy Leary, who told me last year that his experiences with the DEA, FBI, CIA, PLO, Weather Underground, Mansonoids, Aryan Brotherhood, Al Fattah, etc., were precisely like the most absurd parts of Illuminatus!. Tim says you meet the same 24 conspiracies wherever you go. Specifically, he mentioned that he identified the same 24 paleolithic gangs fighting over the turf in Folsom Prison that he had recognized at Harvard University. The ones at Harvard speak better English, of course….

    I see the power game resting on three levels of force and fraud. First, earliest and still most powerful is the government racket itself, the monopoly on force (military power, police power, etc.) which allows the governing group to take tribute (taxation) from the enslaved or deluded masses. Second, derivative from this primordial conquest, is the landlord racket, the mammalian monopoly on territory which allow’s the king’s relations (lords-of-the-land) or their successors, today’s “land-lords,” to take tribute (rent) from those who live within the territory. Rent is the daughter of taxation; the second degree of the same racket. Third, the latest in historical time, is the usury racket, the monopoly on the issue of currency which allows the money lords to take tribute (interest) on the creation of money or credit, and on the continuous circulation of the money or credit every step of the way. Interest is the son of rent, the rent of money. Since most people engaged in nefarious practices are, in my opinion, very loathe to acknowledge what they are doing, and are addicted to the same hypocrisies as the rest of humanity, I think all power groups quite sincerely believe that what they are doing is proper, and that anybody who attacks them is a revolutionary nut. Outside of the Klingons on Star Trek, I have never encountered a real predator who justifies himself on Stirnerite or Machiavellian grounds. I really think Saroyan was right, naïve as it sounds, in saying that “every man is a good man in his own eyes.”

    (Preceding was written in 1976; following was written in 1979)

    The difference between Conspiracy Digest and myself is that CD defines the Power Elite as somebody else. I always define the Power Elite as myself and my friends. CD and I are in basic agreement that certain kinds of power are vested in (a) those who monopolize weaponry, i.e. governments, (b) those who monopolize land, i.e. landlords, and (c) those who monopolize currency, i.e. banks of issue. We disagree in that CD regards these traditional monopolies as possessing the only kinds of power that matters on this planet; and I recognize another kind of power, Brain Power. Brain power (the work of all artists, scientists, and symbolizers since the dawn of humanity, but particularly those of the Nineteenth Century) created the “real world” over which monopolists fight each other in the Twentieth Century. Similiarly, Brain power right now, today, is creating the “real world” of the Twenty-First Century, over which the monopolies will then be struggling. The Brain people create the realities over which the Power people fight each other, and the Brain people even create the techniques of the fight…

  25. Anas — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

    The three greatest influences on my worldview so far have been Robert Anton Wilson, Noam Chomsky, and Fyodor Dostoevsky

  26. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    Jagdeep, at last! Someone who understands.

    Incidentally, if A is 1 and B is 2 and so on, then JAGDEEP is 10 1 7 3 5 5 16

    Add them together and you get 47

    There are 13 families in the illuminati. There is one you. That’s 14

    Take 14 away from 47 and you’re left with…

    33

    But you knew that

  27. Sunny — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

    Can we please try and stick to the topic?

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:31 pm  

    Back to Gordon Brown’s blog: Ordered curtains. Bought Arctic Monkeys and Tony Christie CD. Must brush up on cool. Show me the way to number 10. Made myself chuckle there. Oops jaws slacking again. Waiting for illuminati to call.

  29. Leon — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

    The pollester Newsnight used was Frank Luntz: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2373326,00.html

    Last Friday night The Times and BBC2’s Newsnight programme asked me to gather 30 voters selected to represent the audience that will determine Labour’s future. One third were loyal Labourites. One third were Labour-leaners. And one third were floating voters who cast ballots for the Tories or the Liberal Democrats but would consider switching to Labour if it choose the right leader.

    I presented them with biographies, speeches and interviews of five potential candidates for the leadership: the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, the obvious frontrunner; John Reid, Home Secretary; Alan Johnson, Education Secretary; Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary; and David Miliband, Environment Secretary. Some of these candidates won’t run, while others may yet declare their candidacy.

    So who did our participants choose? Not Gordon Brown. In fact, Mr Brown didn’t even finish second.

  30. Chairwoman — on 26th September, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    Jagdeep – Putting on lizard suit as I speak.

    BTW – Gordon Brown would be a disaster. Look at that sullen, sulky, lower lip and that Botoxed forehead. Did anyone else notice how smooth his forehead was, and how his eyebrows no longer moved, and how he’d cut a sassy fringe to cover where the wrinkles used to be. Obviously much more vain than we’d like us to believe.

  31. Nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

    Sunny, I just don’t understand how you seem to not have a problem with Gordon Brown being the next PM. GB in the UK and GB in the US?, I get panic attacks just thinking about it…

    When I think of Gordon, I think of someone painting a wall pristine boring white…with Bach playing from a vinyl player in the background and someone dramatically sighing. I just have no faith in him at all, he seems to be TB’s clone in almost all respects. I’m not sure how humanistic a PM he would make, how many truly compassionate economists do you know? They live on statistics for a living, and most have a habit of being painfully arrogant…

    TB, GB and DC are all the same, it’s a sad time for politics in general. I think I might throw my weight behind Respect or the Green party.

    The Lib Dems can just piss off! They were anti-war Feb 2003 and then again a few weeks ago in Sep 2006…where were they for the past 3 years??? I hate how they claim they are “the anti-war” party…I didn’t seem them protesting on the streets for the last few years? What a betrayal by the Lib Dems, really ugly and hypocritical. I can’t take them seriously anymore..

  32. Amir — on 26th September, 2006 at 9:09 pm  

    Nyrone,

    ‘I think I might throw my weight behind Respect’

    Mmmm. Well. I think that says it all, really? Doesn’t it? Members of the RESPECT party are renowned for their rancid Jew hatred and vile homophobia, its pro-immigration, open borders philosophy and currying of military dictators, petty theocrats, and religious commissars.

    To put it simply, the RESPECT Party encapsulates everything I hate about the contemporary Left.

    Sunny should be applauded for not associating himself with their dirty politics.

    Amir

  33. Amir — on 26th September, 2006 at 9:22 pm  

    If Gordon Brown gets rid of this GUY

    Then he’s secured my vote. :-)

  34. Nyrone — on 26th September, 2006 at 10:33 pm  

    Hey Amir…still buying shares in those arms companies? How’s BAE doing on your local stock exchange? Still living at home with your mum? how’s that arrangement going?

    Considering you’ve read 1 billion books and continue to stuff your vast knowledge of the universe down our gullets like some giant godzilla-type infomation beast master of the world, I would have thought you would have been aware of the simple theory in this modern world which states sometimes having 2 choose between the lesser of 2 evils. I am considering siding with Respect because reading their manifesto resonates more deeply and truthfully with me than anything those war-mongering liars like Cameron and Brown write in theirs.

    I don’t agree with everything Respect say, but when I look at what else is out there, I pretty much despair at what is on offer, who will you vote for?…and why must you connect the views you feel exemplify it’s members with the actual party itself? Can’t you separate the two? I hear pimps like to wear giant christian crosses, I don’t judge on that basis..I haven’t read anything about “hatred of jews, homophobia, theocrats or cosying up to dictators” in the Respect manifesto…would you care to point them out to me? I’ve searched long and hard, honest guv..

    below…
    http://www.respectcoalition.org/index.php?sec=39

    As far as being pro-immigration goes, what’s wrong with that? Are you aware of how hard the present goverment is working to strangle the policy of entry for asylum seekers into this country???

    I have been reading numerous accounts accounts of people from individuals who have left their homelands in a state of disarray, with their families burned to ash and clutching only a small bag of belongings only to find that they must provide 10 official certificates proving that they have been tortured, that they didn’t do it to themselves and that they would certainly be killed on point of return, on the first day…seriously, have you looked into this? It’s like a maze of anti-logic.

    A friend working at the charity migrantline has told me countless other stories of this present goverment’s policy and he is very close to what is going on, naturally having to work with asylum seekers each day. Now, having spoke to some Respect councillors over the last few years, I honestly feel like they would fight harder and more honestly to have a more decent and fair approach for these asylum-seekers who we should welcome into our country as victims of violence, terror and oppression.. not as just some more ‘useless brown slackers that want in’. That’s one of the reasons I am considering supporting them above Gordon Brown and his endless chins or David Cameron and his ‘I swear I’m not a neo-con mate! honest! I’m your best friend’

    As I said, it’s just something I’m considering.
    I would be interested in hearing your positive views on other leftist movements since you speak of the Respect party with such abhorrence and disdain. In fact, I’d be interested in you speaking about anything you agree with… I don’t think you’ve ever discussed things you actually agree with, it’s usually just a random-word generator-thesaurus-job type of outburst, come on Amir…stop gritting your teeth, let’s hear some constructive stuff!

  35. Kulvinder — on 26th September, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

    Hes a Scottish NewLabour politician.

  36. Sunny — on 27th September, 2006 at 12:57 am  

    Nyrone – I think we shall have to wait and see how Gordon Brown lays out his policies before judging. To be honest while he was chancellor he was hamstrung by the fact that if he attacked Blair’s policies then it turned into a ‘Brown makes leadership bid’ headlines. On most FP issues you will note he stayed quiet. Possibly to distance himself from them, possibly to avoid criticising.

    Either way, if he has any sense (and he does have plenty of sense so I’m hopeful), he will realise that being a Blair clone is definitely not election currency. If anything he has to try harder to push through some drastically different legislation to put his stamp on the party and differentiate himself from Cameron. He has nothing to lose so I’m actually relishing to see what comes next year.

    As for Respect – don’t be fooled by their manifesto. To me GG and his ilk are even more maliciously opportunistic than the big three. I was a supporter of GG back in the day, during the big 2003 march but quickly told cold after that. And given the nutters he has since allied himself with and the comments he has made, I’m definitely turned off by Respect.

    On the LibDems – I think they’ve lost their voice in general, not just on being anti-war. Though I don’t see what new opinions can be made on the anti-war front. Iraqis and Afghanis were first f*ucked by the Americans, now they’re getting screwed by their own bretheren. The same old proxy wars continue.

  37. Chairwoman — on 27th September, 2006 at 8:45 am  

    There’s a lot more to any politican than attention to foreign policy. The majority of people in any country are more concerned with Health Provision; Education; Taxation; Pensions, Benefits & Provision for the Elderly; reasonably priced utilities; Employment; Economy; and community relations than what goes on overseas. If politicians paid more attention to these matters, perhaps we would be more content with our lot, and get the FP issue in perspective.

  38. nyrone — on 27th September, 2006 at 10:13 am  

    Sunny

    That’a a good way of putting it, the Lib Dems really have lost their voice. However, if you ever have a panel of interviewees on Question Time, the Lib Dems reps still make a far better argument than either the cons or labour. I don’t have much faith in the leadership of Menzies Campbell, but their are a number of MP’s in the party that I feel honestly have their hearts in the right place.

    I’m always impressed at much of what the younger MP’s have to say in this party, and I guess it’s up to them to really rise up the ranks and take back direction of the party within the next few years and make them electable. I just hope they can find a clear voice sometime soon, because we really really need it right now.

    Respect: Would you consider forgetting everything this party has to offer just because you dislike GG? I have huge problems with GG too (watching him on the Islam channel a few days made me chuckle as he boasted “I have 2 listings in a new book about to be released containing the 100 greatest speeches in history, I’m the only person to appear twice whose still alive” He also implied that near-every Muslim in the world downloaded his recent ‘performance’ on Sky News!
    However, I can hardly call him a disgrace just because he pops up everywhere and does seem to be his own self-publicist. After all, he has been a tireless campaigner for human rights issues and peace activities for the last 25 years. Look at those pictures of him protesting against CND nuclear issue back in the 80′s in Scotland at the Faslane naval base, raising the Palestinian issue back when he was just out of his teenage years, the Mariam appeal and all the collective infomation he has spread about matters since touring venues up and down the country and debating against people he completely disagrees with (Like Christopher Hitchens)

    He may go on, but I don’t think I could fault much of what he says…He was the first one to call GB and TB “Wolves” and get thrown out of the labour party, he made the clear statement that “… the best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders.” His performance at the Senate was a masterstroke that was enormously important for the Anti-war movement to observe, because it allowed all of us to hear what we wanted to say to someone responsible for ordering the attack in the first place.
    I was proud of GG and this country that day.

    There are countless other things I could do to both compliment and ridicule GG, but It needs to be remembered that there are much worse people in the big 3 parties that seem to get less critcism simply because they consist of hundreds while GG consists of 1, and it’s always easier to rip into one person, because it simplifies things.

    Respect is a coalition, there are various views represented, but they stand firm on some significant singular issues. It also consists of thousands of people, not just GG. So is it right that we all turn our backs on the party and all it stands for because of the “nutters that he hangs with” (which ones do you mean) and the comments he has made? is it possible to find someone whose comments you always agree with? and why were you drawn to GG in the first place years ago? I’d take GG over TB/GB/DC anyday, although I’d prefer that there were more options available…

    On Brown…Don’t believe a word he says, actions speak louder than words and I feel he will be scarily similar on Foreign Policy to TB. I’ve heard what he had to say, and I don’t think there is going to be a radical shift as soon as he is in power, I reckon it’ll be more of the same…with extra comments about how “poverty in Africa is the biggest dilema of our time” all the while creating new victims everyday through his aburd arms-selling FP.

  39. Leon — on 27th September, 2006 at 10:33 am  

    I’m yet to be convinced that Brown will be anything other than a terrible PM (I hope to be corrected on that front!).

    He’s some interesting rhetoric but then so did Blair when he was first leader. They are both Neo Labour with all that entails. Brown is stuck in the legacy of Blairs triangluation; he can’t differ too much from Blair otherwise the Tories will take the centre and if he sticks with Blairs vision there’ll be no change.

    That said, it will be interesting to see him wiggle and squirm in that bind attempting to make the Premiership his own…

  40. sonia — on 27th September, 2006 at 10:59 am  

    good for brown – it’s about time he stood up to Tony. but of course, no one is going to vote for him – they’ll vote for Cameron instead. he’ll have to develop some charisma first – and in any case everyone’s fed up with Labour. Some people might even think that Labour are so right-wing nowadays one may as well vote Tory.

    and the Lib Dems have done themselves out by electing that old fool Ming. Whereas they could have really gone somewhere with Simon Hughes.

    Amazing how these parties don’t seem to understand personality politics much.

    this idea of britishness – who said there was no common british identity? in any case a common identity is not dependent on nationality. Localness is a pretty strong factor. Hence slogans such as ‘We live London’ and ‘We are Londoners’ or ‘One London’ are pretty powerful and probably do a good job of encouraging people to think about how they share the same environment. You can do that without resorting to focusing on nationality. It’s hardly as if in this global age people who share the same environment are going to share the same nationality is it? what an old-fashioned view that is – it won’t be very popular. Hardly progressive. it also hints at the global problem of generally only citizens are able to vote – so effectively local democracy isn’t particularly democratic – and ‘classes’ of people. Like Athens back in the day – slaves and women didn’t vote. but they weren’t considered ‘citizens’ so in many ways things haven’t changed much.

    so how this Britishness thing is going to deal with not seeming to exclude those residents of Britain who aren’t British? i’d like to see how that’s managed :-)

  41. sonia — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:01 am  

    i was going to say – it’s regressive rather than progressive.

  42. sonia — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    How amusing – in that link to what Brown said about ‘Britishness’ it says that he thinks “The English language, he will say, should be made an essential element of citizenship”

    But it is now thanks to the Citizenship Test – what are politicians not aware of this?!

  43. sonia — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    oh yes – and i think given the context that here in Britain it isn’t the case that only British citizens can vote in both local and general elections..this ‘Britishness’ thing will be interesting.

  44. Arif — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:35 am  

    Simon Jenkins sees his big idea (as he presents it) as returning power to local communities.

    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labourconference2006/comment/0,,1881895,00.html

    He seems to think that Ruth Kelly is into double devolution, but I think that she isn’t anything like as interested as Ed Miliband. But anyway it would only be towards a settlement for local government power like the early 1980s.

    Well, still not a bad thing. And a manifesto for strengthening local government power seems like the one thing that can unite Amir, me and Gordon Brown(!) But I doubt giving more power to town halls has much resonance in an election. Telling foreigners they aren’t wanted is a much bigger vote-winner, so I assume he’ll play that for the election.

  45. Chairwoman — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:35 am  

    Goodness Leon, I agree with you. How did that happen?

    Nyrone – Leaving aside GG’s politics, and the fact that he’s a self-serving publicist, he’s an appalling consituency MP. He hardly ever attends the House of Commons, his voting record is abysmal, and he’s too busy cosying up to foreign worthies to attend to the day-to-day problems of his constituents.

    Whether you like it or not, he is the public face of Respect, and it doesn’t matter in real terms what their policies are, because all anyone sees is ‘Gorgeous’ George.

    However, if you’ve read their manifesto, and find that their policies are in agreement with your personal philosophy, then of course you should support them. Perhaps you could become their second MP.

  46. Leon — on 27th September, 2006 at 11:52 am  

    Goodness Leon, I agree with you. How did that happen?

    Heh, stranger things have happened! In all seriousness I take it as a good sign.:)

  47. nyrone — on 27th September, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    “it doesn’t matter in real terms what their policies are, because all anyone sees is ‘Gorgeous’ George”

    I Disagree chairwoman. I see a lot more than just GG when I read the manifesto, and I’m sure others do too.

    and to the best of my knowledge this GG affair regarding him not coming to the meetings is grossly exagerrated. He has practically more open access than any other MP. He speaks in various places pretty much weekly, he hosts a radio show where he has long conversations with his constituents and he’s personally replied to 2 emails I have sent him. That’s 2 more than the ones I sent Cameron.

    I think that open-ended access is pretty unique in itself, I mean if I wanted to catch him and ask him a question, I could probably do it…. though I am not defending his lack of show at home, he should be obliged to attened the home meetings. They are very important, but didn’t the residents also vote him in to be a ‘global’ mp that raises the publicity for Human rights affairs too? isn’t he doing that by going to Lebanon etc? maybe he’s doing what a lot of his constituents want him to do.

  48. nyrone — on 27th September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    oops, only the first line should be italic!

  49. Chairwoman — on 27th September, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

    Nyrone – First of all I’m going to admit that I don’t know the figures that make up the racial demographics of his constituency, but something that has to be remebered, and he is not the only MP who needs reminding, is that he represents all his constituents, not just the ones who voted for him, and it is they who are being short changed when he addresses so much of his time to foreign affairs.

    I used to live in the old Hendon South constituency. I have never been a Tory supporter (these days to be honest, there isn’t a party I could legitimately suppport), but our MP for many years was John Marshall. My politics were not his by any means, but I was always impressed by how hard he worked for his constituents, and how hard he tried to improve their everyday lives.
    That is an MP’s first task, and I feel that GG fails dismally in that area. Were I a supporter of his foreign policies, which you know I am not, and a resident in his constituency, where no Newton has lived since 1940, I wouldn’t vote for him because he doesn’t do the boring bits.

    I’m glad he replied to your emails, although I bet the subject was close to his heart, and you are obviously both educated and articulate, but I wonder if he also peronally replies to Mrs Jones, with her long-running battle with Thames Water/British Gas/BT, who can barely string a sentence together.

    We will never know.

    BTW can someone tell me how to do the italic thing. I’m too embarrassed to ask Katy. Thank you.

  50. Courtney Hamilton — on 27th September, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

    I agree with Leon’s reservations about GB, the idea that this bean counter and political backstabber (witness the way GB orchestrated back-bench Labour pygmies to call for TB to resign only two weeks ago) could be some sort of inspirational political leader is risible.

    GB is a about as inspiring as…. well…. my bank manager. If anything, his recent backstabbing antics are a sure sign of things to come for the Labour party, and for Britain.

    I agree with Leon, but I’d go further by arguing, if you think TB was terrible, GB will be far, far worse. There’ll be more managerialism instead of visionary ideas, more privatisation, more intrusive interference from the state, and more wars of intervention – all that, and no inspiration whatsoever.

    As it stands, New Labour are bankrupt financially, and the problem just keeps getting bigger and bigger – state funding for such bankrupt parties offers no real solution to that, in fact, it will only make matters worse – and no amount of ‘blogging’ communication by Labour MP’s will solve that problem.

  51. Leon — on 27th September, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    Chairwoman: wrap the text in (but without the spaces). For red italic text replace i with blockquote.

  52. Leon — on 27th September, 2006 at 1:46 pm  

    Bollox, it didn’t show up…:( Sunny, can you switch on the html reminder code that used to be above every posting field?

  53. Leon — on 27th September, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    The ABG compaign goes on it seems:

    There are Downing Street people actively canvassing this conference for John Reid and Alan Johnson (I don’t think they can make their minds up). They are also able to tell you in intimate detail why Brown should not, in their opinion, be allowed anywhere near the top job. Three times, I kid you not, I was regaled with the facts and figures from Monday’s edition of Newsnight, where a rather wacky focus group went against the chancellor. Now, you would have thought Blair’s people would have had better things to do before his big speech but actually, they don’t.

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/derek_draper/2006/09/the_enemy_within.html

  54. Kulvinder — on 27th September, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

    <i> for italics </i>

    <blockquote> red blockquote thing </blockquote>

  55. Chairwoman — on 27th September, 2006 at 5:43 pm  

    Leon & Kulvindar – Thank you both.

  56. sonia — on 1st October, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    david miliband’s got a blog…

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