Archive for February, 2011

28
Feb
11

Something else for a longer than previously thought interim

In an attempt to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on what is, let’s face it, the finest bastion of free thinking political opinion on the internet, I am again defying the oppressive censoring of the People’s Republic of Yorkshire dictatorship, to bring you a message of hope and light- we are contrary to popular belief, still alive. As the university semester gets into full swing, and we finish readjusting our lives to handle an actual workload, full service is sure to be resumed soon.

Well, there’s only one thing that any sane person cares about in the political space at the moment, besides the ubiquitous domestic cuts of course, and that is, naturally, the still-developing crisis in Libya. With the inexcusable ongoing acts being perpetrated by the regime there, only someone devoid of passion for humanity would  not care about the situation enough to consider taking time off if they were in a position to help do something about it.

With what has been called by some the ‘Siege of Tripoli’ underway, and Gaddafi looking increasingly like a madman as he wages war on his own people, there is, bluntly, nothing much more anyone can say beyond predictions regarding the matter- that’s right, not even incredibly insightful international luminaries such as ourselves. We simply have to wait and watch events unfold. Which before you ask is totally not my justification for blog inactivity, no siree!

So, with the tentative promise that content will be pumped once more through the hallowed veins of RedPlog soon, I leave you with my attempt at trying to lighten the overwhelmingly, and quite rightfully, sombre political mood worldwide.

MH

22
Feb
11

Something for the interim

The folks at RedPlog are going through a period of being extremely busy and tired at the moment, however new extensive posts will materialise soon! Honestly!

So, amidst all the chaos of the Middle East being on fire, Libya has risen to the forefront of the violence and uncertainty.

In addition to all of the innocent, young, and brave protestors being brutishly cut down by establishmentarian animals, I saw this pic pop up on the news:

Yeah, that’s a monument of a US jet being crushed by a giant golden fist.

All of this considered, I think we can all reach the mutual conclusion that Gaddafi is pretty messed up.

MH

17
Feb
11

What ever happened to protest songs?

Their have been scenes of protests in Britain (indeed the world) in the last few months and its clear to see that in some ways at least there is a new age of protests against a government which is cutting everything it does not agree with.

This response to the government’s idealogical cuts is clearly impressive but one thing is missing. Where are the protest songs? In the past we’ve had “give peace a chance”, “part of the union” and everything written by Billy Braggor or Bob Dylan. Over the years there have been hundreds of songs bemoaning various governments’ action’s. Recently though, one song, but one cracking song has stuck out since it was played on Andrew Marr’s “sunday A.M.” programme. “Ignorance, arrogance and greed” by Show of Hands is a great folky ditty about how awful bankers are.

Beyond that. Nothing. But maybe soon with the Government becoming as bad if not worse than its Thatcherite ancestry it may be that we get more and more songs such as those in the eighties.

On a related note, does anyone else think that Billy Bragg’s “From Red to Blue” sounds like a song aimed at Vince Cable, despite being written years ago?

HB

12
Feb
11

Round Up of the Week #1

We had a chat this week between us bloggers and have decided to give you a round up of all the important politics stories at the end of each week.

So the big story of the week has been Egypt. This is a massive change in both Egypt and the world, ousting Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power, a huge feet of peaceful people-power over an undemocratic dictator. Watch this space for what happens next, lots of people have ideas, but truth is, no one has a clue.

It’s also been the week where the “project merlin” deal between the banks and the Treasury. Many believe that this deal is good for one group of people and one group only, the bankers. This belief is such that even a Lib-dem treasury spokesman was fired after saying the treasury had been “taken for a ride.” This whole deal was merely one reason why Gideon Osborne was chosen for our “tory twit of the week”. The tories’ false economy was shown to be becoming less and less popular this week as Francis Maude was booed on Questiontime for spouting the “its labour’s fault” line..AGAIN!

Another person who could have easily won that illustrious award (as with every week) is David Cameron, this week for his decision to make a speech in Munich of all places to talk about his negative feelings on Multiculturalism. Fine, he is very much aloud to air his opinions however ridiculous they may be, but please not on the day an anti-muslim, fascist group is having its “homecoming” march. Cameron also decided to thwack the last government over the issue of the Lockerbie bomber.

This was also the week where with cuts everywhere, the big society may have died; with many councils (yes most of them labour run) pulling out.

This has been a very busy week for politics and if there is something we’ve missed you that want included in this week’s round-up please comment or email Redplog@live.co.uk

HB

11
Feb
11

Tory Twit of the week #5

Ok so we’re trying to be a little less expletive this week and having a ‘twit’ and not a ‘tit’ of the week, if this has annoyed you and you would prefer to refer to the Tories in the worse way possible then you can, just don’t do a Paxman and add the letter ‘n’ to ‘cuts’. please feel free if you want ‘tit’ to be re-instated…

This week’s tory twit is someone many of us on the left (and indeed many in the centre and right) despise, and this week has shown us many of the reasons in a neat little bundle. To begin with, he showed his love of token gestures by raising the bank levy by £800 million on Tuesday.  Whilst this may seem like a large sum, to bankers this is spare change and it was described as the equivalent of “a rounding error” on tuesday’s edition of “the daily politics”. This was widely seen as a little nugget of popular thinking for this week’s twit to use when going up against Ed Balls for the first time later that day in the commons. This event, dear reader, is what has wound this blogger and many sensible people up so much that I christen him as this week’s twit.

During the usual fiery exchanges of commons debate this weeks tory twit ran out of useful things to say and decided to pick on Ed Balls in true public-school fashion, by mocking his disability. Mr Balls has managed recently to cope more and more with his speech impediment saying “There will be certain consonants that I just can’t say together. It would be impossible for me to start a sentence with an H. I often start sentences with ‘look’ or ‘well’ because the key thing is to get moving.” in the times recently. On Tuesday, Mr Balls was mocked, drawing attention to his disability in the worst possible way, which this week’s twit saying about one of Mr Balls’ questions “He clearly had a lot of time to prepare that but I’m not sure it all came out as he expected.” This disgusting rudeness has caused much consternation.

Yesterday, the much-hyped “Merlin” deal between the treasury and the banks was announced to a sea of the disappointed with a Libdem Treasury spokesmen being fired for telling the BBC that the treasury had be “taken for a ride” by the banks. On the upside, Mr Balls got his own back by with “we have gone from Project Merlin to the Wizard of Oz”. So this week’s Tory Twit award for outstanding services to rudeness as well as idiocy is

Gideon “George” Osborne

HB

10
Feb
11

Liberal Democrat naivety

Recently we’ve seen how fundamentally unfit Nick Clegg and his colleagues are for governmental positions due to a complete lack of overall party experience of power in relatively modern history.

Just yesterday we bore witness to Clegg’s insistence that Oxford and Cambridge, as well as other leading universities won’t be able to charge the maximum fee of £9000 because it’s ‘not up to them’ and that they must first ‘prove themselves’ worthy of it in a sense by displaying how they will increase the amount of offers extended to individuals from less privileged backgrounds.

The suggestion that Oxbridge will not achieve what they want in terms of fees in this new system borders on idiocy. Those institutions in particular, and to a lesser extent others possess an overwhelming amount of contacts and influence within both government and the civil service, especially within the conservative party, the group that is ultimately going to be making the decisions when allocating allowed fees. That Clegg cannot see college connections or similar relationships will dictate the true application of the new fees policy, nor pay heed to any examples that exist out there, both fictional and non-fictional, is frankly worrying. The strings the likes of Oxbridge have at their disposal to pull are extensive, and when they are particularly strong within the coalition’s dominant party, Clegg’s ‘pledge’ seems void. Actually, I don’t really know what precisely he’s pledged to do. He just ‘pledged’ away in front of some students, saying little more than that Oxbridge ‘might not’ be able to charge £9000. I guess he should be given the benefit of the doubt though, I hear the man has some sort of history with regard to making promises in front of students.

In addition, the ‘resignation’ of the lib dem finance spokesman in the House of Lords appears to be another example of that party not understanding just quite what it means to be in government. Matthew Oakeshott seems to have been under the impression he was able to retain his position after making such criticism. While we can all agree with his comments, the fact he thought he could speak for his party and the government while not agreeing with policy is concerning.

If Clegg and Cohorts™ can’t really navigate the nuances when it comes to being a party of government, we should worry when it comes to their competency in other areas of their administration that goes behind closed doors.

MH

08
Feb
11

Hypocrisy and the Lockerbie Bomber

Upon the revelation yesterday that (according to senior servant Sir Gus O’Donnell) there was always an ‘underlying desire’ among ministers to see Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released, we have seen a barrage of criticism launched at the previous Labour administration from all quarters, especially from David Cameron and the current coalition government.

To hear this from the Conservatives, for one thing, is odd; the party line has always been to support the previous government’s decisions regarding terror and foreign affairs- in these difficult times when the country is seemingly beset by those who would do it and its people harm, cross-party unity, and even unity between past and present governments on issues and settlements relating to security and the like is considered de facto, important solidarity in the interest of the nation, and the Tories have always adhered to this- Cameron has even made reference to it as a necessity in the past. However, the current attack by that party upon Gordon Brown’s administration for a decision made by the Scottish government forms a stark contrast to the aforementioned previous party behavior and Cameron’s comments on it.

That’s only where the hypocrisy starts though. When it is recalled that when in opposition Cameron and his party supported and reinforced the government’s stance that it was letting the Scottish government act independently, the recent denunciation of Labour’s conduct seems even less credible. The lack of any vocal criticism of the UK government’s relevant activities at the time by what now constitutes the coalition (read: a terrible opposition not doing its job) renders the lastest official comments implausible.

This missing of the point- total ignorance of the ‘compassionate’ terms of the release- this capitulation to American pressure, is not of course questionable solely as a result of prior conservative approach. Nick Clegg is not guiltless in the matter. At the time of the decision, Clegg lambasted Brown for ‘remaining silent’, for not voicing UK government views, and for not getting involved. Now he is part of a government that seems to be railing against Labour ministers for taking individual and often personal judgements, and scorning them for exercising any sort of power over the devolved administration, or indeed engaging in any form of interaction with it. This huge discrepancy in position and colossal U-turn is extraordinarily obvious, and when connected with the reality that Clegg and his party actually did very little to express concern and disagreement with, or voice advice to the Brown administration through the Commons or other official channels during the event, he and the Liberal Democrat’s support of this newest coalition offensive against the last executive is exposed as even less tenable.

The present government is not the only source of invalid and illegitimate disapproval. Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond has lashed out, placing blame on UK minsters of the day for US criticism of the judicial process, going so far as to say he and his colleagues are ‘vindicated’ by this newest announcement. Considering Salmond’s previous denials that the decision was anything less than independent, and that not only was there minimal to no pressure placed upon Holyrood, but any that there was had no effect, recent comments can be rightfully found contradictory and outrageous.

Upon closer examination, the disclosure that a simple ‘desire’ was present among ministers in the government of the day to see a release does in no way indicate that they actively harassed or influenced the Scots to achieve such an end. Denouncing the last government on such a basis is misguided, and this, in addition to the lack of authority of the coalition to lecture on the case thanks to policy and conduct at the time, makes the affair all the more sordid.

The rights and wrongs of the release are not what should be focused on here- rather the fact that the government’s contemporary assault is unfounded, unjustified and ultimately, immoral.

MH