Thursday, September 30, 2010

Milibands - Is Blood Thicker Than Political Water?

'I can best support Ed from the backbenches' says David Miliband about his younger brother, who beat him by a single percentage point to become leader of the Labour party.

Of course, what he really means is if he were to accept a senior position in the shadow cabinet , he will permanently be under the spotlight of a media looking for signs of a fallout caused by the known idealogical differences between the two brothers. He would effectively be gagged.

However, sitting in the shadows as a backbencher , he will be free to influence, choreograph and covertly direct other colleagues who might not be happy with Labour's 'new direction' thereby destabilising the new leadership. Eventually, he will be able to step back into the limelight when the hoped for call is made for a successor to brother Ed.

Seems like a cynical view? In the murky world of politics, water is nearly always thicker than blood!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Leading Labour Into The 'Brotherhood'

Tomorrow, we will finally learn who is to be the new leader of the Labour Party. One things seems certain: whoever it is will have the surname Miliband.

Yes folks, Labour’s Miliband family roadshow has finally parked up, after a leadership campaign lasting longer than the average series of the X Factor. Unlike in that series, however, the contestants in this competition have not been even slightly entertaining.

Who after all will remember there were other auditionees taking part? I know there was a man called Balls and a tokenistic woman called Abbott. There was also another man whose name I can’t remember, but who spoke even bigger balls than the man who had earned that name in the first place!

The only time I saw all of them together, on an edition of BBC’s Question Time......I fell asleep!

It is seeming very likely that younger brother Ed will pip his older and arguably more politically experienced sibling to the throne. I have no doubt that brother David will quickly recover from both his disappointment and bruised ego and quickly accept a senior position in the shadow cabinet, where he will spend his time plotting to destabilise the new regime - much as he did with his previous leaders.

It seems in our new modern age of politics, the only choice for the floating voter is no choice.

No wonder the, as yet, unformed Apathetic Party is likely to become the fastest growing political party of them all!!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vince Cable Is Doing The Right Business!

Yesterday’s speech, (full text here) by veteran politician Vince Cable, at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Liverpool, has been derided by many as being an attack on the very heart of British business, the banks and the basic freedoms of capitalism. ‘How dare he attack the very organisations he is supposed to be promoting in his role as business secretary in the coalition government?’ they have bleated loudly.

Well of course, journalists love nothing more than to cherry pick the juiciest words from a much broader message so they can get an easy headline, on this occasion, shocking readers with hints of Marxism etc. However, if you read the full transcript of the speech, the message could not have been further from the truth.

Mr Cable has never pulled his punches when giving his personal view of the state of the nation. Whether you like him, or not, he has become a refreshing change to the groomed and polished walking ‘soundbites’ that are our younger, over produced politicians.

What he has done in his speech, though, is outline the very things that have been going wrong in our society over the last couple of decades and spell out the harsh reality we are all going to be facing.

He has not attacked capitalism as a concept but has highlighted the abuse of the system by a growing number of greedy and arrogant individuals; free markets are a good thing but not when they are manipulated and abused to such an extent the chosen few dominate the majority.

He has not attacked the banks in any other way than they deserve to be attacked. No-one can deny their responsibility for the financial mess we are all experiencing and bankers should not be able to walk away and carry on as if nothing had ever happened. The rest of us have invested our hard earned tax billions saving their swaggering skins. It is plainly wrong when small businesses (the engine room of any recovery) should be starved of funding because of ridiculously high charges while the base rate is still at an all time low - there can be no acceptable excuses for the banks’ profiteering ways.

Students should not be leaving universities with the wrong degrees combined with an overwhelming student debt when our industry is crying out for the very best but cannot find them because our education system has been so dumbed down. We need the right kind of graduates for the growth and innovation that our industries require. We should not need to import that expertise from other countries.

After the public debates preceding May’s election, I had high hopes for the Lib Dems as a credible party of opposition. Once the coalition had been formed with the Tories, I found I had disappointment and doubts.

My belief in Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s arguments and motives started to fade, as like many others, I began to despair at what was increasingly looking like a sell out of sensible social policies just to gain a taste of power. That view didn’t change after Mr Clegg’s speech at the weekend attacking tax avoiders and benefits cheats - headline grabbing rhetoric with very little substance.

Just as I thought all had been lost, along comes good old Vince, looking more like an eccentric school teacher than a designer made politician.

The man spoke the truth, upset just about everyone, made me laugh and above all shared totally understandable, plain clear sense.

I think Nick Clegg must be envious of what was probably Vince’s best line of all:

“I must be doing something right”

Well, you certainly restored some hope in me!

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Sorry' Seems To Be The Hardest Word For A Pope

"I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers,
Above all I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives."

These words are part of the 'apology' from Pope Benedict XVI for the sexual abuse and cover ups, committed over decades, by his church and priests on young people.

It is difficult to imagine how 'Christ's grace' will bring 'deep healing and peace to their lives' when such suffering was caused by men who were purporting to be spreading his word

One demonstrator against the Pope's visit to the UK, who had herself been abused as a child responded by saying:

"An apology is what a schoolboy does when he kicks a football through a window. What we need is for the Pope to release all the files on predator priests,"

It is hard to disagree with such reasoning but I fear the real truth will always remain hidden within the walls of the Vatican.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Islam, World Peace and the Spark of Common Sense.

The state of world peace is maintained by a delicate balance. It is also maintained by a tolerance of the actions of others and an acceptance of beliefs that may not be your own. It is, often, as simple as respecting other people’s feelings.

Nothing seems to demonstrate this more than the recent publicity given to a small time US ‘preacher’ who threatened to burn copies of the Koran, outside of his church, in a demonstration against the 9/11 attacks and the Muslim faith. He is someone who has a tiny following but who has found headline status across the globe due to the reaction of the press, and public criticism of him made by the US president.

On the other side of this balance is the plan to build an Islamic Centre near the site of the fallen World Trade Center in New York. When so many died at the hands of people who claimed they were fighting in the name of Islam it is understandable some in the US are genuinely outraged.

The Imam responsible for the New York project claims it will supply facilities for all religions and support reconciliation of all faiths; critics claim it is an insult to the memory of those killed in the 2001 attacks.

There lies the balance.

If the preacher had carried out his threat, the repercussions would have been felt across the globe as Muslim radicals carried out reprisal attacks on Americans and American interests. The US would then be forced to respond in kind and the whole thing would escalate from such a small beginning to affecting a large part of the world.

Maybe, I missed out one of the most important ingredients in maintaining the balance of world peace - common sense!!

From a small spark comes conflagration!

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