Back to reality

5 October, 2009

Well well well it’s been a while.

Ok it has been a while when blogging has been lighter than an anorexic snowflake but hey this is new meedja dharling. Blogs are born, blogs die and some are even resurrected.

Anyway what has sparked this return?


Mine? Well possibly, but I was thinking more about the honourable member of parliament for Mid Bedfordshire one Nadine Dorries. Some people on the left don’t like Nadine. Really I can’t think why? If you were a Democrat in the states wouldn’t you want to keep the gift that keeps on giving Sarah Palin? Still Palin has got something. Her new ghostwritten book is at the top of the best seller charts replacing even works written by actual authors. It’s called Going Rogue perhaps Nadine would like to try her hand at her own work of literature possibly she should call it Going Blonde judging by her latest blog post. She claims

Tim Montgomerie, Iain Dale and the legendary Guido Fawkes lead the field in news blogging. Each can boast equal daily readership comparable to some of the widest read paid for papers.

Perhaps she would like to check the figures

National newspaper circulation, August 2009 (source ABC)

Daily popular and mid market titles

Daily Mirror: 1,324,883, down 9 per cent

Daily Record: 347,302, down 11 per cent

Daily Star: 886,814, up 18 per cent

The Sun: 3,128,501, down 1 per cent

Daily Express: 730,234, down 2.5 per cent

Daily Mail: 2,171,686, down 3.9 per cent

Then check Guido’s latest figures:

1,526,279 page views from 882,794 visits from 206,965 visitors last month.

To which, via the feed, is to be added another 721,280 views from 63,856 visits by 7,365 subscribers

Or Iain Dale’s July set which is his latest statporn “There were 706,000 page views, off 516,296 unique visitors, and 98,879 absolute unique visitors.”

Now if I was the editor of the Speccie I would be worried by those figures but the editors of “the widest read paid for papers” not so much. They’ve got to have somewhere to nick their stories afterall.

Such facility with numbers would surely mean a promotion to the shadow treasury team for our Nadine. George needs a nanny to give a hand with Maths homework. Stardom for the Bedfordshire one surely beckons!

And now for something not entirely different

Personally I think it was fair to ask Gordon Brown about the use of anti depressants. If you were Gordon Brown with the poll ratings he’s got wouldn’t you want some happy pills? And what an excellent way to counter the stupid stigma about the use of drugs to treat a mental illness when treating a phyisical illness would illicit no such response. As we are in the question asking frame of mind and what’s more we have a right to know what David Cameron has been putting up his nose. “20 years ago” yadda yadda “politicians right to a private life” yadda yadda just doesn’t cut it. That’s not to judge. It wouldn’t make a hapenny’s difference to me what any of the party leaders had been putting up their noses twenty years ago but shouldn’t they at all times level with the British people that they hope to lead. We are perfectly capable of making rational decisions about such things. Didn’t Obama make an admission of misuse?

You hope the vetting of  the commander of the Trident submarine would include questions about the use of drugs. We don’t want some nutter with billions worth of UK government property and a sub load of nukes ranging across the oceans of the world trying to find their next fix. As for the man who may in the future have his finger on the button or at least access to the launch codes can we not have the same reassurance. What we can’t ask that question? Do we have a free media or a Cameroonian arse smoochers convention? Get to it Marr!


Below is the text of the Iain’s post on Thursday’s Bowthorpe ward council by-election in Norwich. I’m sure you’ll agree it paints quite a positive picture for the Tories.

Last night there was a council by election in Bowthorpe ward in Norwich. The Conservatives held it with an increased majority of 154. What’s remarkable in that, you might ask? Well, this is a ward which up until the last few years the Tories came third in. It’s near the university and has a very high level of council housing, including the massive Larkman and Earlham estates. But a few years ago, against all the odds, a young candidate called Antony Little won the seat by sheer hard work and indulging in clssic LibDem pavement politics. Last year the Tories won a third seat in the ward but sadly the councillor died recently.

Both Labour and the LibDems threw everything into this by election. They had dozens of people from outside bussed in and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb was even there last night knocking up. They came third.

Antony Little, who is fighting Charles Clarke at the next election, deserves huge credit. There are now 5 Tory councillor on Norwich City Council, the highest for forty years. His campaign strategy has been one which others would do well to emulate.

I am off up to Norwich today to speak at my old university with Steve Richards about the state of the media. I’m also going to be looking up a couple of old friends, so blogging will be rather lighter today than usual!

Now it’s always useful to make sure the facts match the spin. According to Luke Akehurst the Tory vote was down 10.2% on the one they got previously. For once Labour bloggers can agree with Mr Dale when he says “His campaign strategy has been one which others would do well to emulate.” Come on Iain that’s more spin than Mandy watching a whirling dervish performance on the London Eye.

Tory logo fun

13 March, 2009

Jacob Rees-Mogg we salute you and your innovative campaigns


No inequality is to much for this lot


The fate of the nation? ….wait why am I putting a question mark


Accurate, succinct.


The Alan Clark tribute post


and destined for the A-list

Thanks to Blackburn Labour for finding this Tory banner widget. Why not have a go yourself?

Spot the Money Pig

6 March, 2009


Clue: it’s not the adverts in the bottom right. Brian Coleman could swap his expenses income with a small african country’s debt repayments and be worse off.


In another place (ie Twitter rather than the House of Lords) there seems to be quite a bit of PMQ tweeting. I had a go at it on Wednesday and blow me down with a feather duster it turns out I was the top #pmq tweeter. Anyway I might have it a go again in the future. You can follow me @tweet4labour

Stuck in the middle with you

27 February, 2009

“we’re middle Englanders, that middle band of people who work really hard and make sure their Bupa’s paid and their school fees are paid and all those sorts of things. We have 102 acres of parkland to look after.” Anthea Turner

So “middle england” is the small subsection of the population that pay to have a fax machine in their hospital room as they queue jump. Who buy their kids the best universities and jobs like their predecessors brought commissions in the army and whose back garden was the subject of the recent publication Gloucestershire – a pictorial guide. That’s not any kind of middle that I recognise.

I think it’s important that people do have freedom of religion but it’s also important that those of us who want it can have freedom from religion. One of the absurdities of the poor subsitute of precedent and convention that we have for the British Constitution is that there is an “established” religion with representatives in Parliament as of right rather than merit or even election.

Those of us who argue personal morality should be a private matter and who’s shagging who isn’t of public importance tend to forget about Henry VIII. His desire to quench his desire as it were gave us the Church of England, perhaps a devine use of kingly power but surely not devine intervention.

But several centuries later with an established church challenged both by a plethora of althernative Christian denominations and a host of other religions. Each of course proclaiming their’s as the one true faith. The real question however is at what point should the established religion be ditched because its followers can be fitted in the back of a London cab? As this article in the Telegraph indicates even on the Church of England’s big Christmas festival it can only get les than 1 in 20 through its doors as for regular weekly attenders less than 1 in 60! Perhaps that point has already been reached.

Proud but not satisfied

9 February, 2009

If memory serves me correctly the above title is/was the slogan of the Swedish Social Democrats but I’m co-opting it after I (yes little’ol me) have got Boris into a bit of a tizzy. As you can see here and here. Thanks Dave and Adam.That’s the Proud bit.

As for the not satisfied: I got Boris to give a grovelling defence of his actions which was down to your friend and mine the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It’s a vital tool in holding government to account and is open for anyone to use. Yes this means YOU too. So after you’ve spent oooou I don’t know a good ten minutes reading up about freedom of information find this website and start asking awkward questions.

I don’t view this as a party political point. This is about the relationship between the Government and those that it governs. I may ask Boris awkward questions but if there are Tories out there who want to ask awkward questions of Labour politicians or people of no party who are interested in their local health service or library or whatever I would say get to it.

The more people with power are thinking those without it are looking over their shoulder the better they will excercise that power. That would be better for everyone. So start asking NOW!

Also on Twitter as Tweet4Labour

As Mayor of London your obliged by the law to conduct a People’s Question Time twice annually. Boris pledged to do more of them in his campaign but when in power changed the rules so the extras are now question time lite and he doesn’t have to invite opposition assembly members to them. After all they would just be a pesky nuisance to the Boris road show.

Anyway I thought I should question this when he held his latest meeting this time about the development of the third runway. Notice that instead of an open forum where you can question him about the more insane of his policies like an airport in the middle of bird strike central he gets to choose the parameters of debate.

So I sent a Freedom of Information request in using the ideal website for the purpose which you can see here along with the response. It turns out his roadshow is costing 17K a pop. I know this is about 3 Telegraph columns to Boris but it’s serious money to ordinary people. Now I don’t want to fall in the Taxpayer Alliance trap of all public expenditure bad but what’s so wrong about Boris getting on a box in speakers corner every Friday for an hour. Lets make him really accessible to the public and at a price that’s right. It’d be a national institution.

Furthermore having Zac Goldsmith on the platform as a Tory PPC at a meeting which is directly relevant to the Richmond Park constituency in which he is standing is bang out of order especially as they didn’t invite Susan Kramer his opponent who is also interested in this issue and is the Lib Dem lead on it. Still they all got a taxi home although it says all you need to know what Boris thinks of London transport when he spends £1000 on taxi’s for one meeting.

Also now on Twitter as Tweet4Labour

London Cancelled

2 February, 2009

Boris on the Bus

Boris on the Bus

Via this wonderful widget