Iain has been taking the Tory waters and seems to think there is a mini reshuffle going on in the Tory front bench. I personally can think of two splendid additions to the shadow home office team.

Nigel Waterson – shadow minister for the police and domestic violence. Though this might cause dissapointment in Croydon central but if Dave wants to be PM he’s got to be tough

Derek Conway shadow minister for prisons with special responsibility for fraud

I feel sorry for Boris Johnson. If he loses then he will have failed. If he wins then he is stuck with the awesome responsibility of running a major world city and he knows and we know that he simply isn’t up to it. So what about housing Boris? Er well no umm Crikey. I think the best thing to do is reduce low cost housing.

Still he hasn’t been endorsed by Peter Stringfellow. Well actually it seems he has. Well at least he hasn’t been endorsed by Peter Stringfellow as a second preference to Jeffrey Archer. Well actually…. Bugger as Boris might say.

I just wondered where these no go areas are? Any ideas? Quite why the leaders of Islam and Christianity don’t get on like a house on fire is beyond me. After all there are things they agree on. Like the supposed evilness of sodomy. Dale Winton is of course the font of all evil. How dare he and his supermarket sweep corrupt the nation. Talking of the end the world is neigh brigade you’ll never guess which Tory blogger is jumping on to the bandwagon. I suspect he drives his car on the right just to show us lefties how it’s done.

Damilola Ajagbonna

8 January, 2008

Kevin Maguire had a good post about the situation of Damilola Ajagbonna which has also been covered in the Independent. Here is a guy that has played by the rules, done everything that has been expected of him and more.

The kid went to a hell pit of a school and got to offered a place at Cambridge when no one from his school had ever done that before but because of an administrative error he is such a threat to the country he is being threatened with deportation to Nigeria. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a day when I’ve thought this country would be so much better without that Damilola Ajagbonna. Jeremy Clarkson many times but not Damilola Ajagbonna.

This guy’s treatment is an offence to natural justice. Frankly there are plenty of people that could do with deportation, the whole Tory party would be pretty high on my list, but I can’t think of anyone less deserving of deportation. So Liam Byrne it’s time to pull your finger out.

There is also a facebook group

Remember that post I did on what Conservatives really think about equality legislation  Well it turns out that is not the end of Donal Blaney’s views on equality legislation. Last September on his blog he wrote:

“I am opposed to regulations on businesses that require them to adhere to race equality legislation. If businesses just want to recruit blacks, whites, Asians, women, men, gays, lesbians or the disabled that should be a matter for that company, its shareholders and its customers.”

And if they don’t Donal? I suppose that you think this is all hunky dory and “the market” will somehow mystically make discrimination all OK.

Personally I don’t get this Tory hard right mind set. Perhaps we could get another Tory to explain. Here is commentator and general sourpuss Simon Heffer on The Westminster Hour 6th January 2008

“Take for example the acts of parliament that have ruled out discrimination in the work place against women or members of the ethnic minorities. Again I do not question the good intentions of these laws but I do wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have them. Anyone who refused to hire someone good because she was a women or because he or she came from an ethnic minority or a culture against which the employer was bigoted would soon suffer. Either they would get no staff at all or they would end up hiring mainly second raters. Worse the capable people they had ignorantly refuse to hire would go to work for their more enlightened rivals and put the bigots out of business. Instead of common sense being allowed to prevail there is instead a state and private bureaucracy that monitors, compliance officers and others who are soaking the productive sectors of our economy in a cause that the productive sectors would if left alone have no choice but to espouse for themselves.”

So let’s get this right it’s ok for people to suffer discrimination because they can go somewhere else. Genius. I wonder what David Cameron makes of all of this?

Grade A plonker

7 January, 2008

And some people want this idiot to be Prime Minister.

I had a piece in the Christmas double issue of Tribune responding to former BBC journalist Nicholas Jones’s tirade against bloggers. Anyway here it is ….

Recently in these pages former BBC correspondent Nicholas Jones lamented what he saw as the end of impartial political reporting and the unleashing of “unregulated attack adverts” due to the rise of internet TV and bloggers.
In a sense proponents of internet politics should please guilty to Jones’ charges. Undeniably most political content on the net is partisan if not directly linked into the party machines and it would be astounding come the next general election if political videos don’t play at least some role in the campaign.
This should not detract from the woeful holes in Jones’ analysis. Yes Ofcom might be an out of touch regulator but it’s a technological absurdity that it can regulate internet TV the same way it does terrestrial. If SunTV or whoever don’t like what Ofcom rulings they can broadcast from outside its jurisdiction and this is nothing as compared to the difficulties of regulating content uploaded to Youtube or foreign internet TV.
There is also a cultural paradigm that Jones doesn’t understand. The internet is committed to freedom of speech, indeed it is the central tenant of online media. The idea that you can post whatever you like is deeply embedded so stopwatch political journalism on the net has as much chance of becoming the widely accepted norm as a Gloucester Old Spot has of gaining a pilots license.
Jones contends that “Established broadcasters will be at an immediate competitive disadvantage” if new entrants don’t face restrictions on impartiality that the present broadcasters do. I would dispute this. In news coverage, impartiality is a virtue not an encumbrance. While some people may want to go down the Fox News route, there are far more who don’t.
We should also avoid the trap of believing  the hype. Blogs and internet TV are a relatively small part of the media. Most don’t even touch on politics. Of those that do an even smaller proportion actually break stories, most comment on news from the mainstream media or activities in the bloggers own life. Rather than being viewed as competition new media is more a companion where stories that people pick up from the mainstream can be delved into.
There is a sense journalists are just a bit peeved that what was once their exclusive preserve is opening up. The system that many journalists grew up with is falling down at what is a worrying pace. It used to be that journalists report the news to a grateful citizenry and now the citizenry is trying to muscle in. What about the professional ethics of the journalistic trade? What about accuracy? OK some blogs do play fast and loose but others that often specialise such as Arms Control Wonk contain far more detail than what is available in the broadsheet press.
What of the old media? The general trend of newspaper readership is down, the only significant exception are free newspapers. Traditional press barons are powerful and will remain so even with the advent of a much more diverse online media but their power is not what it once was. As life moves increasingly online some of the power of the old media will be brought over to the new but new entrants will distribute power more widely than at present.
There may be trials along the way but moving to a media that is more diversified with lower thresholds for entry will mean more voices are heard. Being part of a movement that seeks to empower those without power the benefits should be clear.

P.S Anyone who is not a subscriber to Tribune gets whipped by Tom.

New Tech Hillary style

5 January, 2008

Below is most of a email from the Hillary campaign. The bit that caught my eye is that they are using some kind of new technology to help people phone canvass from home. Any ideas as to what the system actually is? It sounds a bit like a call centre autodialer with extra stuff added on but I think it could be useful over here as well.

You can help by making calls from home to New Hampshire voters in the next four days before Election Day. You’ll be inviting them to see Hillary in the next few days and helping identify Hillary voters to turnout on Tuesday.

To increase the impact of your time — we are implementing a new technology that will allow you to make even more calls from home. The new system will help you reach people with no need to dial, no voicemails, and no wrong numbers. It’s critical because you’ll be helping us contact thousands of New Hampshire voters.

Can you make calls?

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/action/nhcall/

To be part of the effort, we need you to be on a conference call tonight at 5:00 p.m. EST so that we can help you get started tonight.

If you want to help tonight or any night in the next three days sign up here:

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/action/nhcall/

Every hour you give in the next four days will help make a difference in New Hampshire.

Thanks,

Guy Cecil
National Political and Field Director
Hillary Clinton for President

There comes a time …

5 January, 2008

when every blogger need to get a feed reader and I have been putting it off for to long.  I’ve had a look around and i’ve decided to go for a combination of Netvibes and Bloglines beta. I thought about google reader but I wasn’t that taken by the interface and i’m wary of using google for everything otherwise they might get themselves a tropical island and start playing the baddies in Bond movies.

I like the netvibes as it means I can get facebook, hotmail and the weather all on one page thereby reducing the clutter that is my browsing experience. If Bloglines doesn’t work out then I think I will give firefox live bookmarks a go but if you have any recommendations then don’t hesitate to get in touch …

“I remain wholly opposed to illiberal equality legislation that more often than not results in reverse discrimination every bit as pernicious as the original discrimination those laws were supposed to end. It is time all such legislation were repealed. I remain of the view that our equality legislation is in large measure to blame for discrimination in British society.”

From former councillor and Young Britain Foundation chief executive Donal Blaney’s Blog