Thursday, May 31, 2007

Respect and Big Brother

You would think they would learn, but no. It seems, according to Hakmao, that a Respect activist (member ?) is in the Big Brother house. I couldn't see anything on the Respect website, so whether they know is another matter.

I had a look at the BB website and it seems this is the person:

Carole is a self-confessed political protestor with a big heart. From Greenham Common to anti-war rallies, she's passionate about her beliefs and is extremely positive about life. She doesn't suffer fools and is always happy to say exactly what is on her mind "I'm gonna shake it something rotten!"

Status: Single.

First Words: "Woo, woo, milked it!"

Life Philosophy: "Chilled out music, lovely people, good weather."

Likes: Peace, harmony, tattoos and sign language.

Dislikes: Racism, fascism and slapstick humour.

Why BB?: Wants to bring important issues to the public.

Well the gorgeous one said he wanted to raise issues but he was not able to given the rules of BB, not sure how Carole thinks she will do that.
Germaine Greer also attempted it unsuccesfully, it doesn't seem to work. But hey, perhaps I'll be proved wrong. I have nothing in principle about using the mass media to promote leftie (and Respect) politics. In fact the left does need to look at how it gets its message across and try new ways.

Its important though to remember who is on control, and that's BB and their editing. Getting across a serious political message in an environment of exhibitionism and wannabee celebs is not going to be easy . The producers want sex, cat fights and bad behaviour, preferably in a bikini.

Still a talk show or Heat magazine may beckon...

Derek Wall - How to win friends and influence people ...

Noticed this comment , by Derek Wall, via a post on the new Labour Left Forum blog :

The ordinary Labour Party member, concerned, opposed to Blair, wanting peace...ultimately you have each taken a gun and shot a child in Iraq. Are you going to stop the killing? Love to see you all sat in the road with the rest of us opposing the arms trade...but I guess I will have to wait a long time to see you put your weapons away and stop the killing.

I must admit I was surprised to see such a cheap and sectarian shot from Derek. As John points out in his response, many Labour Party members are involved in anti war activities and have 'sat in the road' . Many have spent the last year trying to get the message across in the Party and campaigned for a leadership candidate with principle. Given the changes in the Party and the control at the top (evidenced by Brown silencing any chance of a contest), to be sneered at for not stopping the war is not exactly constructive.

Many of us would love to boot out Blair/Gordon and the pro war MPs, but the odds are against us. Given the Party is in power we need to do what we can to influence and put pressure on, being told we have blood on our hands is hardly helpful or comradely. Still i'm sure the Greens have clean hands and sleep well on the moral high ground. We are pretty angry and demoralised after the farce of the leadership campaign, but hey kicking someone when they are down is easy isn't it. We should be your allies, so why direct anger at us?

We all choose different strategies as to how to bring about change in this crappy capitalist society. I am not saying being on the Labour Party is the best or most effective and I am questioning it.I have considered the Greens as an option. Cheap comments that I have as good as shot a child are not going to make me rush towards them in a hurry.

Whatever group or Party we are in we do, and should, work together on campaigns. This sort of emotive holier than thou attitude can only do damage.Its disappointing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deputy Leadership debate

I don't have time to say much about this , but will later.

Initial impressions are none inspire me . Suppose Cruddas is the best of a bad lot, but is that a reason to vote for him? I am not convinced by him , though he does make some of the right noises. That's not just about him not backing McDonnell, though my view is he could have stayed neutral and not backed anyone at the very least.

Oh and listening to Blears made me want to bang my head against the wall, what a chipper little cheerleader .Arghhh. Now I know why I try to avoid listening to her, its not just her politics, its the way she avoids answering questions and comes up with slogans .

So what are the views of readers ? Who do they think should be Deputy Leader?
And why the hell didn't the left put up a candidate ?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jim Denham, mudwrestling and thongs...

No I am not drunk, just have an overactive imagination . Oh and according to Hakmao a 'predilection for weird leftie men'.Well someone has to .

Over at Shiraz there was a discussion about the Militant Blog. Its now about who people want to see mud wrestle in a thong to sort out their political differences. Nothing to do with me, honest ;-) I'm a serious political blogger.

Given all the arguments I expect a mud wrestle may be as good a way to deal with serious theoretical and strategic differences as any other.

Anyway, good readers, who would you like to see settle their arguments this way? Who would you really really not want to see covered in mud in a thong (unless someone was going to pay for the years of therapy afterwards)?


Its now naked weird leftie men cooking in aprons (Hakmao has taken it into a culinary direction). Some of us need to get out more...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blog roll update

Just come across this new blog, Labour Left Forum and thought I would give it a plug.

It states :

This new forum for people on the Labour Left has the potential to be an invaluable addition to the blogosphere! We have good comrade Mikael to thank for setting it up and designing it. It will undoubtedly be 'finding its feet' for a few days, but I'm hoping it will develop into an essential stopping place for lefties on the net! The idea is that it will be a collaborative effort with a variety of writers from the Labour Left offering their thoughts on various issues, raising awareness of campaigns and co-ordinating activities. It also offers every opportunity for comments/discussion/debate.

Many of us in the LP are feeling pissed off and fed up after Labour MPs decided we could not have a say in who the next leader would be, so its good to see this site. Hopefully it will be part of a bigger campaign and keep the momentum going for the Labour left.

I have also added grimmerupnorth, the blog of Susan Press. A stroppy leftie woman who does not mince her words!

So pop over to both sites and join in the debates .

Friday, May 25, 2007

A quiet Stroppy

Just a post to say I can't think of anything to post about.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sheridan, SSP, bloggers piss ups and drink related injuries...

Back from my travels .

I liked Edinburgh . We did lots of drinking, live music, more drinking and pootling about doing touristy stuff.

Oh and our own Scottish Bloggers piss ups.

Now I have cast doubt on whether Will is 'real' or a figment of the imagination .
I did though have it on good authority that Will was real . He was described to me as not only very disturbed and arsey but looking like a cross between Clooney and Mourinho.Who could resist such a combination.

Well I have to report he is actually a middle aged middle class lady (see pic of Wilma on the right, with her friends)with a blue rinse who runs a traditional Scottish tea room. Makes lovely jam as well, even gave us a jar to take back. Will is really Miss Wilma McDonald and when not in her tea room she is the backbone of the local WI.She also breed poodles, a hobby she shares with Denham. Thing is she is a bit lonely and so has a fantasy world on the blogs and has created this character called Will. Hakmao is her good friend, a staunch church goer , renowned for her flower arranging.

At times though Wilma slipped into Geordie and insults.I think her words were, 'yer doing ma heed in woman' as I polished off the bottle of JD. Hak called me a shameless hussy and minx. I was also told off for tormenting Jim Denham. I tried to explain we all need a hobby.

Still must be nice to Wilma, she has been in the wars a bit .Don't think she usually has more than a dry sherry of an evening. She now has a bit of a dodgy knee and badly bruised foot. Best say no more about how that happened .

We also met with some SSP comrades, Cat and Eddie. It was good to meet them and see their determination to rebuild after all the (ongoing) crap from the Sheridan fiasco.Its depressing how one man and his ego can destroy years of work to build the left in Scotland. I have stated my views on Sheridan and after meeting them I realise quite how much damage he has done.

Anyway, must catch up on all the soul searching, dissecting and told you so posts re McDonnell and the LP left.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Off for a few days

Im not going to be blogging now till Tuesday. Off up to sunny Scotland with the grumpy one.

Given all the sniping and dissection on the blogs post McDonnell its probably good to take a break. Except my long weekend is likely to involve further discussion of what now for the left with a bit of Scottish politics thrown in. Yep by the time we get back Osler will be even more despondent about the future of the left.
Some go away for romantic weekends, mine will involve drinks with some SSP comrades and a night out with the arsey geordie and his cat loving pal.

Still sad that I am I'm more a getting pissed with weird lefties than candle lit dinners and country walks . Well I think by now most people who read this have worked out I quite like weird leftie men. Of course I have had to come to terms with the fact that Denham is spoken for . Ah well, life's not fair.

So play nicely amongst yourselves. Treat this as an open thread. Perhaps discuss who you will (or would if you could ) vote for in the Deputy Leadership contest. Or perhaps discuss the state of the left and whether I should stay in the Labour Party. Suggestion's as to what I should do.

Anyway must get a move on, train to catch...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hitch on Falwell

Pop over to the arsey geordies site for a good you tube obit on Falwell by Christopher Hitchens.

Looks like his legacy of bigotry and superstitious nonsense will live on (Thats Falwell not Hitch btw) in his university:

"The jury is still out on global warming," said the Rev Falwell, in a sermon broadcast on the internet in February this year.

"Despite all the hype by liberal politicians, the media, Hollywood and so forth, it is not yet proven by any means that greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of global warming."

His word is taken as gospel by the university's students.

One, Sharon Langat, says she thinks the attention paid to climate change is out of proportion.

"We should pay more attention to other global issues apart from global warming. I know there's money put there, I just don't think we should put that much money in there."

Fellow student Bliss Spillar, agrees. "There are many evangelical leaders that have made the statement that there are other things we should be focusing on.

"As a Christian, we believe that God created the Earth, that all things are in his control."

A lesson taught by Dr Thomas Ice, Liberty University's senior theologian, focuses on headaches like Armageddon, salvation and the Second Coming.

Compared to these concerns, global warming is considered a mere sideshow at best, or a left-wing conspiracy at worst.

Asked his opinion on whether global warming is a reality or conspiracy, Dr Ice answers forcefully.

"It's a hoax, certainly," he says. "I think global warming is being used like many political issues to try to move the world from nationalism to internationalism or global governance."

And his class? Asked how many of them are worried about global warming, not one raises a hand.

See JBlog for some quotes from Falwell.

Public seminar in memory of Du'a Khalil Aswad

A little while back I posted on the stoning to death of a young woman, Doaa Aswad Dekhil, in Iraq.

The Stop Honour Killings campaign will be holding a seminar on the 18th May in London in the evening:

Public seminar in memory of Du'a Khalil Aswad , Kurdish teenager brutally stoned to death in front of hundreds of witnesses in Bashika, near Mosul.

Du'a’s only “crime” was to fall in love with an Arab man not from her own “faith”.

We invite you all to this public seminar to shed light on this barbaric crime and discuss the background to so called honour killings in Kurdistan. The campaign will outline its plan of mounting pressure on the Kurdish authorities to take responsible measures to protect women from killing and stoning!

Houzan Mahmoud: Representative Abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and initiator of Campaign Against Killing and Stoning of Women in Kurdistan.
Heather Harvey: Amnesty International’s Women Against Violence project manager.
Diana Nammi: Director of Kurdish and Iranian Women’s Rights Organisation, and chair of International Campaign Against Honour Killings and initiator of Campaign Against Killing and Stoning of Women in Kurdistan.
Rega Rauf: Representative of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq in Sweden, writer and researcher in honour killings in Kurdistan.
Diba Alikhani: President of Association in support of women in Iran.

to be chaired by Joanne Payton, manager of the International Campaign Against Honour killings website

Friday 18th May 2007, 18.30-10.00pm

The Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre [map ]
17-25 New Inn Yard
London, EC2A 3EA

for more information or to book a place, please contact:

Houzan Mahmoud: email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Tel: 0795 6883001
Diana Nammi: diana.nammi@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Tel: 0786 2733511

I can't make it, but Joanne has agreed to do a guest post.

I know this is short notice, but if any other bloggers can publicise this it would be great.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Ok, those who are saying the left should back Cruddas,can they explain why he nominated Brown? Genuine question.

Even if he did not nominate McDonnell he did not need to nominate Brown. He could have argued he wanted to be neutral or something.

I mean, isn't he supposed to want a more democratic Labour Party?
Instead its looking more stage managed and controlled than the Tory Party .One candidate for leader, hmmm , reminds me of something. Ah yes, the good old Soviet Union.

Ok, I'm going to stop blogging now and get back to finishing my bottle of wine...

John McDonnell - Thanks .

Well its a coronation for Brown.

Suppose I should attempt some words of wisdom, but for now I'll settle for a bottle of wine and a mope.

I notice the bickering and 'told you so's ' has started.Yes I know I should be used to it by now, blah blah blah.
The left at its best, in defeat, bickering amongst itself. Its now got the blogs of course, so 24/7 people can engage in sectarian sniping. .

Just want to say thanks to John McDonnell. He has worked tirelessly and focused on building a campaign based on policies rather than egos.
He has been principled throughout , he has enthused people and I hope something can be built on this.

Easy to snipe, but he has put himself forward and argued a socialist (reformist I know) programme.

He may be a reformist in the labour Party but I'd rather that than the posturing and ego of a Sheridan or Galloway.

Latest Deputy and Leadership nominations

From the Labour Party website :

MP Nominations update - 1pm 16 May

Candidates for the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party have received the following number of nominations as of 1pm 16 May.

Candidates for Leader

Gordon Brown 297 MP nominations
John McDonnell 29 MP nominations

Candidates for Deputy Leader

Hilary Benn 40 MP nominations
Hazel Blears 49 MP nominations
Jon Cruddas 46 MP nominations
Peter Hain 50 MP nominations
Harriet Harman 61 MP nominations
Alan Johnson 68 MP nominations

This is like some bloody awful cross between Pop Idol and The Apprentice ...

One year of Stroppyblog!!

Yep, Stroppyblog has reached its 1st birthday !!

I must admit this blogging malarkey is a bit addictive, but I love it.

It all started off by seeing Dave with his blog and then getting into commenting on lots of blogs. Dave said why don't you do one. So if you want to blame anyone, blame him:-)

Of course when I started it was a joint blog with Louise, now just me as she has moved on to other blogs. Even with Dave saying just do it I'm not sure I would have by myself, so thanks Louise. And do all check out her posts on her blogs,they mix politics (often areas missed by the left) and humour.
Thanks as well to Dave for the encouragement and for giving me honest feedback on what I have written. Aspies do very blunt honesty sometimes ;-), but its helped me to develop my writing.

I usually seem to manage a post a day, so not to bad. I wanted to do my favourite posts of the year . I know, a bit indulgent, but humour me. I'll probably do that next week as I am really busy finishing off work before I head off for a long weekend in sunny Scotland with the little ray of sunshine known as Dave.

Of course in this year I have met lots of weird leftie bloggie men and women.Its strange this way of getting to know people through the internet. Meeting them in person as been fun and I even seem to have 'adopted ' Kit and John A.

Here is to the next year of blogging !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

labour leadership : MPs who haven't nominated yet

Kate in the comments has said that Nick has come up with a list of who hasn't yet nominated . Glad there is someone sadder than me !

Here it is, courtesy of blog :

Anne Begg, Aberdeen South

Joe Benton, Bootle

Colin Burgon, Elmet

Stephen Byers, North Tyneside

Charles Clarke, Norwich South

David Clelland, Tyne Bridge

Vernon Coaker, Gedling

Michael Connarty, Linlithgow & East Falkirk

Jim Cousins, Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Jon Cruddas, Dagenham

Andrew Dismore, Hendon

Jim Dowd, Lewisham West

Gwyneth Dunwoody, Crewe & Nantwich

Frank Field, Birkenhead

Bruce George, Walsall South

Nia Griffiths, Llanelli

Mike Hall, Weaver Vale

David Hamilton, Midlothian

Dai Havard, Merhyr Tydfil & Rhymney

Sharon Hodgson, Gateshead East & Washington West

Kate Hoey, Vauxhall

Brian Jenkins, Tamworth

Piara Khabra, Ealing Southall

Peter Kilfoyle, Liverpool Walton

Chris McCafferty, Calder Valley

Siobhain McDonagh, Mitcham & Morden

Rosemary McKenna, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirklintilloch East

Andrew Mackinlay, Thurrock

Fiona Mactaggart, Slough

Alan Meale, Mansfield

Alan Milburn, Darlington

Austin Mitchell, Great Grimsby

Chris Mullin, Sunderland South

Terry Rooney, Bradford North

Graham Stringer, Manchester Blackley

Jon Trickett, Hemsworth

Paul Truswell, Pudsey

Alan Williams, Swansea West

Michael Wills, North Swindon

David Winnick, Walsall North

Anthony Wright, Great Yarmouth

Tony Wright, Cannock Chase

Thoughts anyone on who might back John ?

Latest on nominations for McDonnell

BBC report just announced :

Left-winger John McDonnell still needs the support of 18 more MPs if he is to challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership, the party has revealed.
So far, 27 MPs have nominated him, compared with 282 for the chancellor.

In the deputy leadership contest, Hilary Benn and Jon Cruddas have yet to gain the 45 nominations needed.

Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman, Peter Hain and Hazel Blears have all got through. Nominations are due to close at 1230 BST Thursday.

Labour Party site has the figures :

Candidates for Leader
Gordon Brown 282 MP nominations
John McDonnell 27 MP nominations

Candidates for Deputy Leader
Hilary Benn 34 MP nominations
Hazel Blears 48 MP nominations
Jon Cruddas 44 MP nominations
Peter Hain 49 MP nominations
Harriet Harman 60 MP nominations
Alan Johnson 64 MP nominations

The BBC site gives out some McDonnell names :

Among his supporters were backbenchers Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner and Mike Wood.

Anyone know the other MPs who have nominated John or who the 43 are who have yet to nominate ?

Update 1: Jon has links to those who have nominated John and Gordon. Be good to have the names of the ones not nominated . And no Im not going to sit down with a list of MPs and work it out!

Here are John's :

Abbott MP, Diane Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Campbell MP, Ronnie Blyth Valley
Caton MP, Martin Gower
Clapham MP, Michael Barnsley West and Penistone
Clark MP, Katy North Ayrshire and Arran
Cohen MP, Harry Leyton and Wanstead
Cook MP, Frank Stockton North
Corbyn MP, Jeremy Islington North
Cryer MP, Ann Keighley
Drew MP, David Stroud
Etherington MP, Bill Sunderland North
Fisher MP, Mark Stoke-on-Trent Central
Flynn MP, Paul Newport West
Gerrard MP, Neil Walthamstow
Gibson MP, Dr Ian Norwich North
Heyes MP, David Ashton-under-Lyne
Hopkins MP, Kelvin Luton North
Jones MP, Lynne Birmingham, Selly Oak
McDonnell MP, John Hayes and Harlington
Meacher MP, Rt Hon Michael Oldham West and Royton
Prentice MP, Gordon Pendle
Riordan MP, Linda Halifax
Simpson MP, Alan Nottingham South
Skinner MP, Dennis Bolsover
Taylor MP, David North West Leicestershire
Wareing MP, Robert N. Liverpool, West Derby
Wood MP, Mike Batley and Spen

Update 2:

All three of my local MPs ( Des Turner, David Lepper and Celia Barlow )nominated Brown, and two are retiring next election so what did they have to lose ! None great rebels though, so what did I expect.

John McDonnell campaign update

E-mail below from the John4Leader campaign.
So get doing and stop griping!!

Following yesterday's announcement that Michael Meacher will be backing John's leadership bid, the chances of John getting the necessary 45 nominations to ensure a contest are greater than ever. You can read more about Michael's decision on John's blog here: Of course, we'd like to encourage everyone to get in touch with their MP again urging them to nominate John now there's an excellent chance of getting him on the ballot paper and ensure we all get a democratic say in who our leader is and what direction our party takes.

1. Provisional schedule for the short campaign
2. Regional hustings

1. Provisional schedule for the short campaign

Last week we asked you to help us plan John's schedule during the short campaign. Below is a rough list of where John will be on what dates. The list is based around Party & Trade Union hustings events, and John's trade union conference commitments. We're looking for local supporters to seek out opportunities for John to do visits to large unionised workplaces, to meet hospital staff, visit schools, meet local campaigns etc. We also hope to be able to squeeze in as many CLP meetings as possible, so if your CLP would like to hear John speak – or an alternative speaker representing the campaign (eg Mike Wood MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP), now is the time to get in touch. Of course, all these dates are subject to change - but to maximise the chance of getting John to visit your CLP/workplace/local campaign, please use the following schedule as a guideline:


20th - Coventry
21st - London
22nd/23rd - Yorkshire
24th - Southport
25th/26th - Bristol
27th - Yorkshire
28th/29th - Liverpool/North West
30th - Leicester
31st - Birmingham


1st - Edinburgh
2nd - Glasgow
3rd/4th - Newcastle/North East
5th - Brighton
6th/7th - London
8th - Swansea
9th - Cardiff
10th/11th - Oxford/Reading
12th - Cambridge
13th - Norfolk
14th-17th - London
18th - Dover
19th - Brighton
20th - Southampton
21st - Exeter
22nd - Plymouth

Of course, if you would like a representative from John's campaign to come and speak to you, but your available dates don't fit within this schedule, we will try and find an alternative speaker for you - just get in touch. All CLPs should be having supporting nomination meetings, and it's important we try and get a speaker to each one.

2. Regional hustings

A list of official hustings can be found here: - but you need to register in advance and as soon as possible to be able to attend. Got to to register as soon as possible. The Party will ask for a donation of £10, but this is voluntary and please don't allow this to stop you registering if you can't afford it. If you can afford it, however, it will go towards ensuring a 4 th term Labour victory – hopefully under a McDonnell government!

If you can't make the hustings event in your area, you can still ask questions by texting HUST followed by your question to 60022, or checking regularly for opportunities. It would be great for as many people as possible to ask tough questions on the effects of privatization in the health service and in our schools, on rising levels of inequality in our society and its effects on health and crime, on pensioner poverty, the war in Iraq, etc.

Check out the website .
Contact them and offer to help.

More on the Leadership election and the left

Well it seems from the comments below that some feel that the fiasco of the last few days may be a positive, there may be a silver lining.Its given the campaign publicity and a platform. Hmm, well so would one left candidate declaring on Thursday. It may have flushed out Meacher supporters to nominate McDonnell. Well lets hope so. The worry of course is how many Meacher really had or how much his feverish ego imagined them. Of course some , and its been rumoured for the last few weeks on the blogs, may have been Brown supporters stirring. They may though still back him if they want a debate, or to quote the ever optimistic Osler, 'thrash him'.
Oh well speculation, speculation. Mean time lobby the Labour MPs .

I must admit I am somewhere between the 'Its a political earthquake' of Owen (see comments on Dave's blog) and the little ray of sunshine that is Osler :-0.

I really hope John makes the ballot, but if not its important to look beyond the leadership campaign and build on the momentum amongst the left in the Labour Party and the unions. It has kicked the corpse into life , but what happens next is crucial, as I have discussed elsewhere.

What is most depressing is the 'debates' on the whole issue on parts of the blogosphere. Check out the comments here and here. Lots of bickering and name calling on the sidelines. Its easy of course to sneer from the comfort of the Internet, but McDonnell had the guts to put his name forward and to stand on socialist (if reformist) principles. Instead of sniping away being oh so politically pure he has worked tirelessly to build a left grassroots campaign. He is standing there in front of the hostile media gaze defending left principles.
What do much of the group lets and so called revolutionaries do, well snipe and sneer as per usual . They will probably say I told you so if he does not make the ballot.

Who needs enemies when you have comrades like that.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Labour leadership- John McDonnell to challenge Brown

Well done John !!

Michael Meacher has finally made contact with reality and stood aside. This has lead to a bit of an outbreak of 'graciousness' . John on his blog :

As many of you may know, Michael Meacher and myself held a meeting today and have together decided that I will stand as the candidate of the Labour left.

I want to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the gracious and dignified speech Michael made at the joint press conference today. Michael and his whole team have already been doing all they can to ensure that our campaign is a success - by calling on his supporters to nominate me, and by offering to do all they can to help.

Other McDonnell supporters such as Susan, Mike , Jon and MarshaJane have also been 'gracious', to differing degrees.Words such as 'honourable', 'Statesmanlike' and 'magnanimous' have been used to describe Meacher.

Pah !! I'm going to be arsey about this . Yes I'm pleased he eventually saw sense . Yes its good he is backing John and I hope he is genuine and backs it up with active support. Yes we all need to work together now. But why didn't he now behave like this months back. John has built a grassroots campaign and has worked hard to do this. His campaign has resulted in some joining, some rejoining and some staying put in the Labour Party. He has kicked the corpse of the left in the labour Party into some sort of life .

So why didn't Meacher support this? Why didn't he and his ego work with John.

Last Thursday McDonnell should have hit the ground running as the only left candidate. Instead we had the farce of sorting out which one stands delayed until today. This allowed the media, and Brown, an open goal. Yep, the left arguing amongst itself again, the unspoken words of the political commentators in the media being piss up, brewery and left.
It made the left look weak, amateurish and unable to agree amongst ourselves . Of course thats true, but it could have done without this.

It is to John's credit how he has handled this. He has performed well in the debates and interviews. He has shown integrity and also managed good humour.

Ok, I'm griping but I am really pleased that John has a shot at getting the nominations. Its not home and dry yet on that score.

On a related note I had a strange start to the day. I was wandering through Waterloo Station a bit distracted, not really looking where I was going , when I almost walked slam bang into a man coming my way. I looked up at the man I just missed barging into to see Gordon Brown looking back at me. First thought was what is he doing wandering round here. I then saw some police and aides behind him. Second thought was how close I was to him and where is Punchie with his nicely polished AK47 when he is needed.

Shame I didn't have my John4Leader badge on.

Friday, May 11, 2007

BBC Labour Leadership poll

Vote for John McDonnell over on the BBC website.

If Meacher and his ego have their way it might be the only poll we have .

Thursday, May 10, 2007

McDonnell and Meacher, decision delayed.

Just seen McDonnell on Sky News.He is saying he has met with Meacher and the figures are too close to call. They have agreed to go away and come back on Monday.

He was pushed on figures but would only say they, repeatedly,that they were too close to call and that they had both agreed not to give out numbers. He did though say that combined it would be enough to get on the ballot.He would not give any clues as to who was further ahead.

He said it was a friendly and comradely meeting.

So the wait continues...

Meacher ? McDonnell ? All will be revealed .

Via Dave's site . A press release :




4.00 pm


Macmillan Room

Portcullis House


Thereafter the successful candidate will be available for interview from the Atrium, Portcullis House and elsewhere, as required

Well if Michael somehow manages to get more and John has to stand aside I think the left in the Party is pretty fucked, to be blunt.

Ok not the greatest piece of political analysis, but it will be a major setback. McDonnell is never gonna be leader, but a campaign could be built. Perhaps some McDonnellites can be more upbeat , but I think the task will be much harder and will make a united left campaign much more difficult.

I'm not one to abstain, but I think I will find it very hard to vote for Meacher. I'm not sure what I would do and whether I will remain in the party .

Irish teenager wins right to go to England for abortion

The Independent reports today :

An Irish court has ruled in favour of a teenage girl seeking legal permission to travel to England to abort her terminally ill foetus.

The 17-year-old, who is four months' pregnant, opted for an abortion after discovering that the foetus suffered from a brain condition which meant that it could live for at most three days after birth.

But health authorities where the girl is in care moved to prevent her travelling to England. Abortion is strictly curtailed in the Republic, though every year thousands of Irish women go to England for the procedure.

Following expedited hearings in which the authorities appointed a council to represent the unborn child, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie ruled in the Dublin High Court that there was no legal barrier to the girl, referred to as Miss D, travelling abroad for an abortion.

The judge said he "firmly and unequivocally" concluded there was no statutory or constitutional impediment preventing her from travelling for the purposes of terminating her pregnancy. He said that the case was not about abortion but was about the right to travel.

Mr Justice McKechnie complimented the teenager's "courage, integrity and maturity" in refusing to claim she was suicidal, a circumstance which in Ireland can provide grounds for an abortion.

In contrast, he criticised the health authorities who have tried to stop her going abroad, saying it was likely they had been motivated by trying to avoid having to make a public or controversial decision.

Welcoming the decision, the Alliance for Choice described the decision as the correct one. But it added that it deplored the additional anxiety and stress which it said the girl had been forced to endure during the legal hearings.

The anti-abortion group Pro-Life Campaign said that the case highlighted the need to put in place support "so that no woman feels abortion is the only option open to her".

For me this raises a number of issues.
First off making abortion extremely restricted has not stopped thousands of women travelling abroad every year, just as in the UK before 1967 many women still had abortions, albeit backstreet and dangerous .
So in a predominant Catholic country why aren't they convincing these women with the strength of their argument ? Seems many Catholic women still go ahead and have abortions.

Anti abortionists often use the tactic of chipping away at a woman's right to choose. So they start with a call for reducing time limits to try to seem reasonable. In fact they usually want all abortion to be illegal, in some extreme cases even if the mother's life is at risk. The trauma of being raped or incest seems not to elicit compassion . In this case they have been happy to see a young woman put through a court case and the end result is it has now delayed the abortion by four weeks. So much for being concerned at late abortion.So quite clear they do not want abortion, full stop.

The anti abortion response? Women need more choices . Well yes , perhaps stop being anti contraception for a start! That might help.
But in this case what does that mean. Adoption wasn't an option,the baby would be born and live a few days at most.Some woman may want to go through with the pregnancy and that is their choice and should be supported. This young woman felt her way of coping with a very sad situation was to have an abortion. She seems to know her own mind, why else put herself through this. The health services, whose care she was in, should have offered her support during this time, not made a tragic situation more stressful and lay guilt on her as well.

I'm just glad that the courts came to a sensible conclusion. She has every right to travel to obtain an abortion. I hope now she will be given real support by those whose care she is in.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Teenage girl stoned to death in Iraq

Another day and more deaths in Iraq.

This report , of the stoning of a teenage girl in Iraq, stood out for me as particuarly brutal and sickening:

The stoning to death of a teenage girl belonging to the Yazidi religious sect because she fell in love with a Muslim man has led to a spiral of violence in northern Iraq in which 23 elderly factory workers have been shot dead and 800 Yazidi students forced to flee their university in Mosul.

A 17-year-old girl called Doaa Aswad Dekhil from the town of Bashika in the northern province of Nineveh converted to Islam. She belonged to the Yazidi religion, a mixture of Islam, Judaism and Christianity as well as Zoroastrian and Gnostic beliefs. The 350,000-strong Kurdish- speaking Yazidi community is centred in the north and east of Mosul and has often faced persecution in the past, being denounced as "devil worshippers".

On 7 April, Doaa returned home after she had converted to Islam in order to marry a Sunni Muslim who was also a Kurd. She had been told by a Sunni Muslim cleric that her family had forgiven her for her elopement and conversion. Instead she was met in Bashika by a large mob of 2,000 people led by members of her family.

What happened next was captured in a mobile phone video. It shows a dark-haired girl dressed in a red track suit top and black underwear with blood streaming from her face. As she tries to rise to her feet she is kicked and hit on the head with a concrete block.

Armed and uniformed police stand by watching her being killed over several minutes. Many in the crowd hold up their phone cameras to record the scene. Nobody tries to help her as she is battered to death.

Retaliation when it came was savage. On 23 April a bus carrying back workers from a weaving factory in Mosul to Bashika, which has a Christian as well as a Yazidi population, was stopped by several cars filled with unidentified gunmen at about 2pm. They asked the Christians to get off the bus, according to the police account. They then took the bus to eastern Mosul city where they lined up the men, mostly elderly, against a wall and shot them to death.
The revenge killings led to two days of demonstrations in Bashika. Sunni Muslims, also Kurds, feared retaliation. Yazidis say that 204 members of their community have been killed since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Some 800 Yazidi students at Mosul university have since fled to Kurdish cities such as Dohuk where they are safe. They say they were told to convert or die.

Amnesty report it as an 'honour' killing:

The organisation is also calling on the Iraqi authorities to investigate whether law enforcement officials were present but failed to intervene to prevent Du'a Khalil Aswad's death by stoning, and to take urgent, concrete measures, including through legislative reforms, to protect those at risk of becoming victims of so-called 'honour crimes.'

There are frequent reports of "honour crimes" in Iraq - in particular in the predominantly Kurdish north of the country. Most victims of "honour crimes" are women and girls who are considered by their male relatives and others to have shamed the women's families by immoral behaviour. While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address 'honour killings' they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.

Seems the authorities are choosing to ignore this, perhaps as blatantly as standing by as it happened.
There also seems to be a video of it on the internet as well.

Not seen much on the left about this, but then its not about the 'resistance' is it and of course mustn't be seen to criticise religious groups.

There is nothing 'honourable' in this sickening murder of a young woman .

Update 1: Thanks to a comment from Galloise Blonde highlighting the blog Stop Honour Killings and drawing attention to a small rally .There is a petition on the site. Go and sign it.

Sadly the usual anti war leftie groups did not appear to be there. well its not 'sexy' like 'resistance' fighters is it. Just some young woman that fell in love with a man from the 'wrong' religion. Pic is from the rally.

Update 2 The Stop Honour Killings campaign will be holding a seminar on the 18th May in London in the evening. Unfortuanelty I can't go, in sunny Scotland for a weekend away. I'll put up more info soon.

Wingsuit flying

Id like to fly. Looks fun ,and scary...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Man complains that he is NOT dying of cancer

Don't know about you, but if I was told I did not have a terminal illness after all I would be really really happy .

I heard this guy on the radio and he was moaning.

Apparently :

When doctors broke the news to John Brandrick that he was dying of cancer, he resolved to live as if there were no tomorrow.
He quit his job, stopped paying the mortgage, enjoyed slap-up meals with his partner night after night and spent a fortune on hotels. He splashed out on his family, took impromptu day trips and gave his clothes away to charity. He even arranged his own funeral.
Then, after a year of the high life, Mr Brandrick’s symptoms began to disappear. The hospital informed him that, actually, he was not suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer but nonfatal pancreatitis.
The 62-year-old grandfather from Newquay, Cornwall, was ecstatic. Then reality dawned on him. Having blown his life savings on what were supposed to be his final months, he will now be forced to sell his £300,000 house.
Mr Brandrick first went to Treliske Hospital in Cornwall suffering from jaundice, but scans revealed a 7cm (3in) tumour. After a series of tests, he was told that he had cancer.
He said: “I was told certainly, by the doctor, that I had cancer and from that day I lived life in full. I was told I had limited time to live and go out and enjoy myself.”

Mr Brandrick is now seeking compensation for the misdiagnosis. He claims that it has left his life in ruins and he is having counselling for the ordeal.
The hospital denies negligence. A spokesman for Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was based on the outcome of a series of investigations and the symptoms that Mr Brandrick was experiencing early in 2005. While we do sympathise with Mr Brandrick’s position, clinical review of his case has not revealed that any different diagnosis would have been made at the time based on the same evidence"

Hospitals make mistakes, this does though look like a diagnosis made on the available evidence rather than neglect. I'm not sure its possible to always be 100% certain with any diagnosis .

Given he has a partner I would be surprised if he is totally penniless as presumably he would have left her some of his estate and not spent every single penny and left her with debts ? He does though say he is bankrupt .

Personally I think he should quit whinging and just be glad he is still alive .

No pleasing some people .

Sunday, May 06, 2007

John Reid leaving the Cabinet

Reid has said he will return to the backbenchers when Blair goes.
Seems he isn't going to stand against Brown, but is making it clear he can't work with him. Of course he may just have felt he has run out of Government positions to hold.
Blair may be backing Brown, Jowell has called for an end to 'tribalism'. between Brownites and Blairites, but somehow I can't see the likes of Mandelson and Reid going quietly.
Its not just the left that can bicker and fight amongst themselves destructively.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Jail for Paris Hilton

Well on a lighter note I notice Paris Hilton (pictured on her way to court)has been jailed for 45 days after being found guilty of violating her probation for a drink-driving conviction:

A Los Angeles judge ruled she must start her sentence on 5 June and has no prospect of an early release.
Ms Hilton told the judge she was very sorry and that she would "pay complete attention to everything" from now on.
The socialite said she did not know her licence had been suspended when caught driving without headlights in February.
According to papers filed in Los Angeles' Superior Court, Ms Hilton was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers on 15 January and informed she was driving on a suspended licence.
The 26-year-old then reportedly signed a document acknowledging she was not allowed to drive.

On 27 February, she was stopped by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for speeding on Sunset Boulevard with her car's headlights off and charged with violating her probation.
Although Ms Hilton maintained she was not aware her licence had been suspended, court papers said the document she signed in January was found in her car's glove compartment.
She was also accused of failing to enrol in an alcohol education programme by a court-ordered deadline.

She tried to say she did not realise she could not drive, playing dumb (that wasn't hard), stating she signs what 'her people' put in front of her. She obviously held the law in contempt, well its for the little people isn't it, turning up late for the hearing. Her mother laughed when the prosecutor asked for jail. Well I mean, don't they realise we are rich. We can drink drive and do what we damn well like .

There is an appeal, so lets see if she can wriggle out of this.

If not she could always turn the stint in jail into another 'reality show' like 'The simple life', where she was arrogant and mocked 'ordinary' people. Or perhaps more along the lines of 'One night in Paris ' remade in a women's prison. That should sell...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Elections - open thread

I will post later, or tomorrow, my thoughts on the local, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections as results still coming in.
But any initial thoughts from my argumentative select band of readers are welcome ?
Punchie, come on, give us a real revolutionary perspective .
Comrades in Scotland , I know some of you pop over here,what do you make of what seems like the loss of most or all of the SSP and Solidarity MSPs? How to take a successful left project and fuck it up!
And my Brummie comrades, what of Respect gaining a second councillor?
And of course what does all this say for New Labour, a Brown coronation and the McDonnell campaign?
Labour has lost seats in Brighton and Hove.It was NOC before ,

Labour - 24 seats
Conservatives - 20 seats
Greens - six seats
Liberal Democrats - three seats
Independent - one seat
The result is now :
Conservative 26
Labour 13
Green 12
Liberal Democrat 2
Independent 1
Still NOC but with the Tories the party with most seats. The leader lost his seat. He was pretty dead cert to be selected for Brighton Kemptown parliamentary candidate.
So will the Greens or Lib Dems make a pact with the Tories or Labour ?? Lib Dem's look pretty irrelevant, but could still have some influence as even with the Greens voting with Labour the Tories still have more councillors. Expect a lot of horse trading. Unlikely to be full blooded Tory given the lack of an overall majority, so lets see what real difference it makes. It will put the Greens on the spot, lets see what they do with their influence .
Whatever happens Cameron will be very pleased. He was down in Brighton yesterday spreading his smarm. Pre 97 all three constituencies returned Tory MPs. It was quite a shock when all three went Labour.
One good thing though, David bloody Van Day did not get elected. After his 'glittering' pop career he opened up a ice cream stall and now works in PR. He seems to get his face in the local rags quite a bit.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Livingstone confirmed as Labour candidate for Mayor

Well I don't have a vote, but I would vote for him as Mayor if I did.

I have lots of criticisms of Ken, and no illusions, but what's the alternative? Voting Respect?

The Tories may be scrabbling around trying to find a candidate, even considering 'sharing' one with the Lib Dem s(!!), but they could very well win if Respect stands .

On balance I would rather see Livingstone back than the Tories in charge of London, even with his many faults.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blair going...soonish

Blair (pictured with Mrs T) is still keeping us all waiting with when he will actually go. Look n the bright side, not much longer , I'll put the bollie on ice.The trouble is the reality will be Prime Minister Brown.

In 1997 ,with onslaught of the Tories and the defeats of Labour, many were glad to see a vote winner such as Blair was at that time. It had to be better and perhaps he would be a little more left wing once in power.
I would argue it was better than the Tories ,but it was a wasted opportunity. New labour had a landslide and an electorate that was glad to see the back of the Tories and all their sleaze (oh the irony ). It was fertile ground for a soft left Government, not a watered down Thatcherite one, which is how it ended up.

Now back to Brown. He was an architect of New Labour and has been at the centre of its Government for the last ten years. He will not be better than Blair. He will not be a bit more left wing once in charge. It will be business as usual, minus the superficial charm.

Check out his interview in The Sun (Hat tip Susan) if you have a strong stomach .As the Sun points out :

In today’s Sun the PM-in-waiting publicly pledges never to dismantle Mr Blair’s New Labour project.

His article will delight Mr Blair, who is expected to announce his resignation next Thursday and is preparing to endorse his Chancellor for the leadership. Mr Brown praises the PM for:
LEADING the world in the fight against al-Qaeda; HIS handling of the death of Princess Diana; THE Ulster peace process; DELIVERING the London Olympics; SPEARHEADING the world’s fight against global warming and Aids.
But he goes out of his way to claim partial credit for many of Labour’s domestic policies. Mr Brown says together the pair have delivered more police officers and nurses, and taken a million pensioners out of poverty.

He shares the glory for ten years of uninterrupted economic growth.

Brown is not distancing himself. He was there with Blair at the birth of New labour and he will carry it on as PM. He is positioning himself as a partner in the direction the Government has taken in the last ten years.

He may not be a smarmy as Blair, but it will pretty much be business as usual.

Oh well, I'll drown my sorrows with the bollie.