2010: The year of the left blogosphere?

A spate of articles in recent days herald the growth of the left blogosphere. The next year and the general election will be make or break for many blogs.

Left Foot Forward has been quiet over the last week enjoying our Christmas break but we have come out of hibernation to highlight a few stories that relate directly to the left blogosphere.

We were very flattered by Tim Montgomerie’s piece on Sunday for Conservative Home about how the “British Left is developing better and better online products” in which he described this blog as “an intelligent blog that examines all Tory policy.” This morning, James Crabtree of Prospect has an article on Labour List trailing a longer piece in tomorrow’s New Statesman about the rise of the left blogosphere. Both pieces make several references to Left Foot Forward including describing this blog as “one of the most important nodes between the progressives and the media.”

Meanwhile, Labour List reported over Christmas that 305,000 people have visited its pages over 2009 making it the second most influential political blog of the left after Liberal Conspiracy. Both Crabtree and Montgomerie also highlight the creation of Tory Stories, a new blog from Jon Cruddas MP and Chuka Umunna (Labour PPC for Streatham), which aims to act as “as a depository for evidenced articles on Conservatives in local and regional government, showing that, once in office, the party’s actions consistently fail to match its rhetoric.” Alongside Next Left, Go Fourth, Alastair Campbell’s blog and the sites of Labour MPs Tom Harris and Tom Watson plus lesser known sites like Political Scrapbook, Hopi Sen, and Left Outside, the left blogosphere is looking a lot stronger at the start of 2010 than it did a year ago.

The next year and the “watershed election” in March or May will be make or break for many blogs. If a Labour defeat is followed by a leadership election it will provide a second opportunity for Left-wing sites to make their mark. How will each site compete for space with the mainstream media? What unique services will each blog offer to make them indispensible to activists, floating voters, and journalists? How will bloggers interact with one another to share interesting information while avoiding navel gazing (perhaps this article falls short on that front)? And, crucially, how will bloggers make a living if they aim, as Left Foot Forward does, to work full time?

In November, I made a speech to the Future-democracy 2009 conference in which I highlighted three areas where I felt there was potential for growth in the British blogosphere: the use of video, integration of twitter into blogging platforms, and coordination between online campaigning groups like 38 degrees and blogs. Guido Fawkes has already shown how witty/acerbic videos can reach a larger audience than 300-word blog posts while Tweetminster has innovative ideas about how to aggregate tweets.

These are exciting times to be involved in the interaction between technology and politics. The challenge is to make our blogs increasingly relevant and useful.

47 Responses to “2010: The year of the left blogosphere?”

  1. Agnieszka Tokarska

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC

  2. Nadia Saint

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC

  3. Tracey Cheetham

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC <-Yes! There are some excellent leftie blogs!

  4. T_i_B

    The Labour blogosphere is still well behind even independent left-wing blogs. The left’s had a good year on Twitter but still lags behind in the rest of the blogosphere.

    And don’t get me started on Labour’s non-appearances on message boards!

  5. gsdog7

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC

  6. Anton Vowl

    There are a lot of rather good blogs that are on the left, popular and nothing to do with Labour. You mention some here but I find the likes of Left Outside so much more interesting than listening to MPs waffle away with the same old guff in a different medium.

  7. Silent Hunter

    Perhaps the Left are quieter because they have so little to point to that is good in Britain today; and that’s after 12 years of a Labour Government being in power.

    One question:

    Tell me this Will; when was the last time a Labour Government left power with the country in a better state than when they inherited it?

    In my lifetime there have been 2 Labour Governments, Wilsons, (then Callaghans) and Blairs (now Browns) and in both events, the economy has been left in a parlous state.

    Do you really think that any amount of “left blogging” can hide those inconvenient truths?

    You and your Dad need to face facts – IT’S OVER !

    God knows what the Tories will be like but at least they won’t be the most disappointingly Corrupt & Sleazy Labour Party there has ever been. For their abject CORRUPTION in Government; Labour deserve to be annihilated at the General Election.

  8. willstraw

    Anton – I quite agree. Your site, The Enemies of Reason, is chief among them. But I think Harris and Watson both avoid the usual guff and offer something distinctive.

    Silent – Which indicators are you talking about? In 1997, GDP was £830bn and now stands a little under £1,448bn in 2008. The recession will bring it down in 2009 but that’s still a hell of an improvement. Public services are in a much better state across a whole series of measures than they were in 1997 while hundreds of thousands of people have been lifted out of poverty. Meanwhile, GDP rose across the course of the 1945-51, 1964-70 and 1974-79 governments. You’ll point, I’m sure to the depreciations and strikes of the past. But I could equally point to the double digit inflation of Heath’s 1970-74 government or the double recession and spiralling inequality of 1979-97. Hardly economic success stories.

    This is not to gloss over the current economic predicament (due in large part to the neoliberal consensus of the last 30 years which put market power and financial innovation on a pedestal with undue influence over economic decision making). But the impact of this recession on jobs has been much lower than it might have been because of the action taken by the government.

    The role of left (and right) blogging is to expose the received wisdom, challenge politicians to be more honest, and analyse policies and speeches as they happen. Surely this is to be encouraged.

  9. Silent Hunter

    Will:

    Yes very good – now stack that against the National Debt.

    Quote:

    Ten years ago today, on 23 August, the UK had generated enough GDP to cover its outstanding amount of consumer debt. This year the country will run out of time to do so and have to wait until January 5 next year, using proceeds from 2008 to cover this year’s debt. This is a further example of how, over recent years, the country has gorged on relatively cheap borrowing and fuelled its debt levels, according to new research issued today by Grant Thornton’s personal insolvency practice.

    And the numbers . . . !

    Grant Thornton research shows that the total amount of outstanding UK consumer debt, £1,345 billion, amassed through mortgages, loans and credit card balances, has now exceeded the amount generated by the UK economy which, according to the latest available data, is estimated to have stood at around £1,330 billion.

    The scale of individual debt has increased sharply over recent times. By the end of June 2007, total lending to individuals reached £1,345 billion, of which 84% or £1,131 billion was mortgage lending and the remainder £214 billion was consumer credit (of which £54 billion was secured on credit cards).

    Table: Total individual debts (£ billion)

    1997 (to May) 2007 (to June)
    Secured on dwellings 419 1,131
    Consumer credit 84 214
    Total 503 1,345

    Source: Bank of England

    So; not quite so rosy as you make out then!

    As for hundreds of thousands “lifted out of poverty” – I assume that you have conveniently forgotten the SIX MILLION low earners plunged back into poverty by the 10p tax debacle?
    That rather changes things eh? Will.

    I have no need to point out the Winter of Discontent – unlike you, I lived through it. I remember the mess the last Labour Government left to be cleared up by the next administration.

    As for Edward Heath, well forgive me, but I think you will have to admit that that particular ‘recession’ rather looks like a sunny, summers day by comparison to the £860 BILLION debt that this Labour Government has presided over.

    But as you seem more concerned with trotting out the same old Tractor Production Statistical crap that Labour are despised for – impact of the recession on jobs etc – well I could say that’s rather difficult to either prove or disprove – rather like me saying that “had we got a Green Government in 2005, we might be hitting our Kyoto targets” . . . it’s meaningless. But then again, so much of the Goebbels-esque pronouncements from the Downing Street Bunker are meaningless now.

    I do however, agree that challenging politicians to be more honest is to be encouraged – but as the son of a Cabinet Minister, I suspect that you are the last person to provide it.

  10. Tory Stories

    @LeftFootFwd on "Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere?" http://bit.ly/63A8GC

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  12. Mark

    It’s time the Left caught up but you are too closely associated with the government and Labour. The Right is perhaps more libertarian and individual and so doesn’t need to be as close to the Conservative Party.

    Make yourself more independent. I can’t take a blog seriously if it thinks Brown is the right leader for Labour, we all know his leadership is a mistake. Blogs could allow calls for reform. But sticking to the Party/Government line isn’t going to serve many bloggers.

  13. Guido Fawkes

    My quick take: LFF is, and most of the right-wing blogosphere gives you credit for this, the best new offering from the left. But what do you think you will achieve electorally? My estimate is slightly more than zero.

    LabourList is, like LabourHome before it, a bit directionless and seems more about cheering up the troops than scaring the enemy. That might be a valid role. It is of course way better than back in Draper’s day. Boy, do I miss him. To match up to ConHom’s influence and be taken as seriously by the host party as Monty is will take some doing.

    Liberal Conspiracy suffers from what Lenin would call an “infantilist disorder”, that is the kind of leftism I want to see dominate the Labour Party in the next decade. A modernised version of the loony left of the 80s would be ideal fodder for me.

    Hopi, Watson and Harris all write well but are they really willing or able to put in the hours Dale does?

    Twitter isn’t going to win any votes and is a tool, not a means. Forget it.

    As for moi, I plan to be in the same position performing the same role under the next government as this one.

    The left has to get the post-election civil war out of the way first before it re-groups. Given that the online left is way to the left of the electorate there is a good chance that the Labour blogosphere will help consign the Labour Party to irrelevance for a good while.

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Guido – I agree this is the best of the Left wing blogs (I like Julian Ware Lane and Luke Ackehurst as well – Ali Cambell’s musings are not worth reading) but that isn’t saying much.

    Labourlist is a joke and what else is there?

    This blog is WAY too partial towards this useless government.

    It does the government no favours when everyone can see things that are black get described as white by LFF just to support Brown. Why do you do that guys?

    Next this blog will be saying Spain is in the G20…

  15. Morus

    Some thoughts – given this blog has only been around about 6 months, it’s done very very well at earning the respect of right-wing rivals. If we think back to where the blogosphere was at the beginning of 2009, when Derek Draper seemed like a potential rising star, it is perhaps fair to give credit to Will, Alex Smith (and yes, Sunny Hundal) for building three popular new sites that are beginning to marshall a serious presence. Post Smeargate, the Left has had a good second six months of 2009.

    I agree with Guido’s post – although I think the role of giving beaten-up activists some confidence is hugely important. I agree too that this blog or any other won’t tip seats in 2010 in the same way that ConHome might, but that is an unfair comparison. Firstly, ConHome has a 4-year headstart, and also it is in Opposition.

    The blogosphere is a naturally oppositional place – it’s easier to tear things down than to build, and the scrutineering speed of the readership is what gives it energy. Thus the Left blogosphere will mature in 2010 simply because it can begin to be the Oppositional force to a new government. The next five years will be harder on Conservative blogs than on LFF.

    If there is one way in which the Left blogs can have a real impact, it is by forcing the inevitable post-election civil war to end as quickly and cleanly as possible, and finding a way to co-ordinate attacks on government policy. LFF is better placed to do this second part, and will have an easier job attacking policies being implemented than ideas yet to be published in the manifesto.

    If the online Left really is miles to the loony left of the Party, then Liberal Conspiracy will be on the winning side of that Civil War. However, I wonder if, as the Left blogosphere grows in readership, it will find many of the Centre Left joining in. If so, there is a chance that a good Centre-Lefty blog could be as central to the rebranding of the party as ConHome has been.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch.

  16. Rory

    Sorry, but I maintain the view that this website has more to do with partisan mudslinging and following the herd rather than any kind of principled examination of the issues. A quick scan through the ‘administrative incompetence’ section and, surprise surprise, the vast majority of stories are about Conservatives. On following the herd, see LFF’s coverage of Jan Moir, the Conservatives’ euro allies, etc, etc.

    One thing that puzzles me though, is LFF’s dislike of the SNP. Could anyone shed some light on this?

  17. Anon E Mouse

    Rory – LFF don’t like the SNP because they hold office in Scotland and they believe Labour should…

  18. Rory

    But why? Apart from on one obvious issue, they are ideologically more or less exactly the same.

  19. Roger

    I don’t have the figures to hand right now but I do seem to remember checking the time series data for national debt as a % of GDP not long ago and noting that up to 1997 Labour govts left office with a lower debt/GDP ratio than when it entered it while the Conservatives usually left office with a higher one.

  20. Technomist

    My, what an interesting echo chamber this all is. Who pays for all these words?

  21. Anon E Mouse

    Rory – The main problem is that without Scotland Labour is electorally in the doldrums. Look at Wales – Labour came third in the Euro elections – worst Labour result for 99 years – so they really have nowhere left but Scotland.

    A guy on Question Time told Peter Hain that the voters wouldn’t forget Labour at the election and they won’t. Couple the mass unemployment there with other traditional heartlands and they are in deep trouble and they know it.

    Since the SNP want independence from England (yes please) it would crucify the Labour vote. Forget ideology – that went out with Blair and is ironically why Labour was so successful for so long.

    I know I keep banging on about it – I’m right and all Gordon Brown supporters are wrong – why not just hurry up and dump this useless man? Why do Labour activists want to put his needs before the needs of the party? Will?

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Roger – Lies, damn lies and statistics. All Labour governments end in financial ruin…

  23. Richard Blogger

    Silent.

    I don’t understand why you are focussing on consumer debt. Let me give you a clue: that is debt that individuals chose to have. Are you seriously suggesting that the Government should prevent people from taking out loans for fear that they cannot pay the debt? If so you are suggesting the ultimate in nanny state. I am sure that most people would reject that idea since it would mean that the only people who would have the resources to start a business or buy a house are those already with money.

  24. Richard Blogger

    I am not sure why there are so many glowing reports about ConsHome. If you look at the centreRight blog you’ll find that most of the posts have a Eurosceptic tinge, and the comments would make a UKIP conference look tame!

    Yet in spite of Dave’s “cast iron guarantee” (which was merely about a referendum on an administrative treaty, more to do with how staplers are allocated than anything else) the Conservative party is a Europhile party. There is no Conservative policy for a referendum on EU membership, and any Tory MP who makes any Eurosceptic comment gets rapidly marginalised.

    But the vast majority of the contributors and ccomment posters on ConsHome would be happy if the country left the EU. That does not sound like a site that is in tune with the Conservative party. And since the Conservative party have not budged on its EU policy it shows that ConsHome has little influence on the party either.

    Can someone give an example of when the Tories changed policy because of the influence of ConsHome?

  25. Rory

    Perhaps Mr Straw or Mr Das could shed some light on why this website spends so much time attacking the SNP?

    Is Mr Mouse right in saying that you fear Scottish independence because it would make things difficult for Labour in England (which does not appear to me an unreasonable position for LFF to take)?

    I don’t think Scotland is the only place left for Labour. I think that Boris Johnson thinks he should be Prime Minister, which could soon leave an opening for Labour to creep back in in London, just to give one example.

  26. lord stansted

    what are you left off? – just a thought.

  27. willstraw

    Thanks again for the comments. A few responses.

    On the SNP: First, I don’t think it’s fair to say that we dislike the SNP but we have pointed out a number of administrative failings of the SNP including their plans for an independence referendum which were attacked as “half baked” by a former SNP member, and their u-turn on class sizes. But we have also highlighted their concerns about the leaders’ debates and their attempts to address cheap booze.

    The administrative incompetence section focuses on Tory councils for the simple reason that they now control most councils!

    In relation to the concerns that we are too close to the government: We actually have taken the Government to task for a number of issues including Trident, the third terminal at Heathrow, the FCO’s complicity with torture, and the Digital Economy Bill. These are non trivial issues. But whenever we do so, people accuse of us of being loony lefties. You can’t have it both ways!

    And just to be clear: had we been around when the 10p tax decision was made we would have hammered it. Ditto the nonsense investment vs cuts stuff in June. And the VAT tax cut, although broadly stimulative, was a waste of £12bn which could have been used more wisely on US-style rebate cheques and green investment measures. And we certainly would have had lots to say about John Hutton’s days at BERR and Defence but he had gone by the time we launched.

    But that’s not to say that we have had every call right. In retrospect we should have been more critical of Ed Balls’ lack of strategy in DCSF and also provided better coverage of the Chilcot Inquiry.

    But we are a centre left website so it is hardly surprising if lots of Labour policy (and that of the Lib Dems and Greens) finds favour with us. Unlike many in the media we were broadly supportive of the PBR (especially the tax on bankers’ bonuses) and have praised much of Ed Miliband’s work at Climate Change Secretary while also finding support for other parties’ policies such as Vince Cable’s Mansion tax policy.

    Anyway, it’s only been three months since our launch (a bit longer since we first started posting stories) and we’re very grateful to be in a position where people are debating our strengths and weaknesses.

    So thank you all for visiting our site, please keep coming back, and a happy new year to one and all.

    Will

  28. Anon E Mouse

    Richard Blogger – Two things. You’re right about it being a trivial point but I voted for Blair assuming Labour would have a referendum on Lisbon.

    If you’re not going to do it don’t say it. Same with Cameron, he is now no different.

    Secondly though, what’s wrong with Euroscepticism? The place is a disgrace regarding democracy – who the hell is Baroness Ashton and how can I vote her out?

    What about the financial accounts in Europe? Why the hell should we continue to be a net contributor to a system mired in fraud? Irrespective of the misinformation peddled on this site by one of the moderators, the place costs us a damn fortune and we should be able to vote on it.

    Interestingly I know several Tory voters who’d go with the YES vote but if you know that the majority of the British public would vote NO and you do it anyway you’re acting in your interests and not theirs.

    Cameron knows with the vote next year split with the UKIP he is not going to get the easy ride he could have. He’ll pull a stunt at the Leadership Debates I reckon and Clegg and Brown will spend three weeks being reactive and trying to criticise the Tory comments and oblivion will follow.

  29. Richard Blogger

    Anon E Mouse,

    “Secondly though, what’s wrong with Euroscepticism?”

    I was not makinmg a comment about euroscepticism per se. (And yes we do need a discussion about making the EU more democratic, I would start by throwing away the horrible d’hondt system that everyone – except the Irish, South and North – use to elect MEPs).

    My point was that ConsHome is very eurosceptic, but Conservative party policy is generally in favour of the EU (they bluster about “repatriating rights” but we all know that there is nothing they can do without withdrawing from the union). So I conclude that ConsHome is not in tune with the Conservative party, and the Conservative party is not influence by ConsHome. That was the only point I was trying to make in my comment.

  30. Derek Wall

    Lenin’s tomb gets something like 700,000 or 800,000 hits a year so you still have some way to go, you also need to decide if old labour is to be the new labour of 2010s or not.

  31. Anon E Mouse

    Richard Blogger – I think you make a good point – my misunderstanding as to what you meant.

    I would say though that I do think the Tories are far more Eurosceptic than they portray themselves and for Brits that’s OK I feel.

    The problem we have as a society is there seems to be no choice in the directions all the major parties are taking.

    For example I remain unconvinced that man made CO2 is the major contributor to the changing climate we have. The Tories with their daft “Vote Blue, Go Green” nonsense means my choice as a voter is shut down there. I vote Labour I get “green” taxes and the same from the Tories, Lib Dems etc.

    That’s my complaint on the Lisbon Treaty – give me a choice. And on immigration and so on.

    After the bloodbath the Labour Party is going to go through post election next year I just hope there is going to be a major difference between the parties because at the moment they are all the same and that’s not good.

  32. Richard Blogger

    Anon E Mouse

    Don’t assume that there will be a “Labour bloodbath”, both Labour and Tories agree that the current constituency boundaries mean that there is a natural bias towards Labour (why else is Cameron promising a 100 MP cull if he gets into power? it is to give the Tories a natural bias). Andrew Rawnsley talked about this last Sunday.

    To win a Commons majority of just one, the Tories must take 117 seats from other parties and not lose a single seat themselves. This is a feat they have not pulled off since before the Second World War. It will also require a swing to them in the election-deciding seats the like of which they have not managed since 1945, a swing greater even than Margaret Thatcher achieved in 1979 with the help of the winter of discontent.

    To get ba landslide Cameron needs to do far better than Thatcher did. I do not need to remind you that Cameron is no Thatcher.

    My guess is that there will be a hung parliament or a small majority one way or the other – my preference is left of centre, of course 🙂 Anyone who examines the policies of the parties cannot help avoid uttering the phrase “cigarette paper” (yeah, yeah, that dates my age, but surely people still understand what it it means…?) As you mention, if you want to curtail integration in the EU, if you want to stop green taxes (heck, if you want to stop cuts in public services!) you will not find a mainstream party on your side.

    If there is a hung parliament then there are two things that can be deduced 1) it won’t last long and 2) it will force a polarisation in politics. Polarisation will mean that the parties will move to their natural positions. So maybe the Tories will move to the more eurosceptic, more AWG-sceptic, more tax cutting party that we saw under Hague and Howard. I certainly hope so (given their electoral track record). As for Labour, well, I reckon their natural position (given their history over the last 15 years) is New Labour. As a centre-leftie I would be happy with that just as long as the troughers are removed.

    (Although I am not an AGW-sceptic I am against green taxes. I am against them because they are applied to me, an individual, when they should be against profligate, polluting industry. FWIW I have always conserved energy and resources, and green taxes feel to be punishing me for doing the right thing. Cameron can afford them, I cannot.)

  33. Colin Hall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC

  34. Rory

    Looking through the ‘Administrative Incompetence’ archive from September 18, I don’t think there is one piece highlighting the failings of a Labour council.

  35. Anon E Mouse

    Richard Blogger – Labour’s support will crash with the leadership debates – the party cannot seriously expect the public to vote for a man they never elected in the first place. The more people see Brown the more they dislike him. Party politics went out of the window last time with “Full third term” Blair. At least Brown should have had a leadership election in the party but he didn’t even have the guts to do that – he’s useless and is the best weapon the Tories have.

    Can’t stand Cameron – too patronising for me I’m afraid. The boundaries are clearly unfair – the Tories got the most votes last time but didn’t form the government – go on PR I say. I like Clegg but he’ll never get in.

    EU integration is too late for us and we were never asked which is clearly unfair as well. Who the hell do these people think they are ignoring their voters?

    Finally on green taxes, they stink. I travel a lot and wonder just where the tax on flights actually go – probably to give Gordon Brown £12500 for cleaning a two bedroomed flat no one lives in, paid to his brother without a receipt when we pay for both his homes in Chequers and Downing Street. Or Jacqui Smith’s husbands porno’s.

    Spend all the green taxes on chunks of the rainforest and I’d gladly pay just to stop palm oil plantations.

    The people in this country are rightly sick of politics – it doesn’t matter who you vote for the government always gets in. Yes it will be a struggle for the Tories, (especially if the UKIP split the vote) to win but they will.

    Labour will never get their supporters out with unemployment doing what it is. I asked a friend the other day if he’d vote Labour again at the election and for the first time in his life he’s not voting and he always votes. He said the next time he’ll vote Labour is when it is Labour and not “Tory Light”.

  36. Shamik Das

    Rory, we’re only as good as the intelligence we receive. If you or any other readers know of failings by Labour councils which haven’t been covered elsewhere or in national media, do email us. My email is shamik@leftfootforward.org

    Thanks for all your comments on this thread and Happy New Year to you all.

  37. Anon E Mouse

    Hi Shamik – Happy New Year to you.

    What format do you want us to use when emailing you directly on the failings of Labour Councils? Using Haringey as an example do we break it down into sections such as:

    1. General Labour Incompetence – The Audit Commission, the Government’s ‘watchdog’ for local councils, has criticised Haringey’s customer satisfaction, waiting times, and consultation methods. The move comes in the Commission’s latest report on Haringey’s e-government, customer care, complaints management and communications inspection.

    2. Financial Labour Incompetence – Labour’s financial catastrophe – Council in the dock as audit commission slams council over £10 million IT overspend.

    3. Inexcusable & Bordering On Criminal Labour Incompetence – Newly disclosed court documents suggest Ofsted inspectors who wrote a damning report on Haringey children’s services were ordered to delete emails relating to Baby Peter and the council, a high court judge disclosed today.

    The only problem I see with this is there is not a huge number of Labour Councillors left – the vote in June 09 saw votes for Labour of 23% – the lowest vote ever suffered by a government since records began so personally I think this topic is a non-runner…

  38. Blogging about blogging: Novelty is overrated « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] thoughts of my own as 2010 gets properly underway, heralded as the year the Left blogosphere might make itself felt, the year of a General Election, and the year the Tory blogosphere might actually have to indulge […]

  39. Bry Lipscombe

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will 2010 be the year of the left blogosphere? http://bit.ly/63A8GC

  40. Richard Blogger

    @Anon E Mouse

    I do not understand the constant repetition of the phrase “vote for a man they never elected in the first place”. The fact is that we do not vote for a Prime Minister. Brown was elected, he was elected as an MP. Throughout our history we have had people who became PM mid term. We have even had people who were not even MPs who became PM (OK, one example, The Earl of Home became PM in Oct 1963 and on his appointment he disclaimed his peerage, so he was still PM and yet in neither house. Then two weeks later he won the by-election in the safe seat of Kinross & West Perthshire). We do not have a presidential system (thank goodness) so really people should drop these silly ideas about Brown “not being elected PM”.

    As you say, the message on “green taxes” is all wrong. As I said, above, it is wrong to blame me (or indeed you) for the rise in CO2, but that is what green taxes do.

    We are told that green taxes are supposed to educate us into doing the right thing, but I think they will be counter productive. Parking fines in London often fail because the rich just treat the fine as the cost of parking. Here’s an idea. Why can’t we have labelling, showing how much CO2 was generated when making the product you are about to consume (including any transportation for imported goods)? If manufactures baulk at more label regulation then why not a government-sponsored web site with the information? Treat consumers as adults and give consumers the choice. rather than forcing people to generate less CO2 allow them to choose to produce less. I think the policy makers will be pleasantly surprised how successful such a scheme could be.

  41. Richard Blogger

    Re: Council cuts

    The local Conservative county council are planning to close the fire station in my town, all in the name of making savings. That will definitely put lives and properties at risk. The town council is almost completely Conservative and have voted their displeasure about the planned closure (to their credit), but their views have been ignored. So much for Tory localism.

    I wonder if my house will still be here at the end of 2010? Come to think of it, if there is a fire in my hosue and I am forced to fight it myself, will I be here at the end of the year?

  42. Anon E Mouse

    Richard – I watched Blair and Brown together on TV with Blair stating “I will serve a full third term”. The promise was made.

    I also remember Blair stating “I’m a pretty straight kind of guy”.

    First time ever I remember that the public were given a specific “guarantee” that the Party they elected to govern the country would keep it’s leader for a “Full third term”.

    That term may have been any length from the election until June this year but at the point Blair went Brown should have called an election – the promise made should have been kept.

    I have no complaints about anything this government has done honestly but I resent being lied to by people I have voted for. If you say you’ll hold a referendum on Lisbon then do it. Or don’t say it.

    People reading this blog may believe it is OK to support a man (Brown) who thinks it’s OK to lie but I don’t. What kind of an example does this set?

    The Labour activists should be incandescent with rage that Brown lied on Andrew Marr yesterday over investment and cuts but they’re not and that is unacceptable in a society that should value honesty.

    Leaving aside the fact Brown is a truly unpleasant character, if he was honest at least a case could be put forward by people for his re-election on the basis he could be trusted but he can’t.

    That means Will Straw, Shamik Das and co are attempting to force an unelected dishonest man on the country for another five years and I do not think that is right – the party should be put first Richard.

    Honesty should be put first – hell perhaps the electors in Britain, their paymasters, should be put first. Won’t happen with that bullying thug at the top though….

  43. Anon E Mouse

    Richard – The only reason I mentioned Labour Councils is because Shamik asked to be emailed regarding Labour failings is all…

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