Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward

The Week in Politics

• The “Dumb and Dumber” of British politics, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, got their 15 minutes of fame this week with their attempt to topple the Prime Minister, at long last uniting the Labour party – in loathing and contempt at their inexplicable displays of disloyalty. Not one single Minister joined them in their putsch, with only a handful of the usual suspects, Charles Clarke, Frank Field et al chiming in from the back benches and several members of the PLP emailing the plotters to let them know exactly what they thought of them.

The Labour blogosphere was particularly damning – LabourList calling on supporters “to unite and focus on the real challenges ahead” – and the public was most unimpressed. As Left Foot Forward reported today, the first polls since the failed coup have shown that 60 per cent of the electorate think Labour is the most divided party, compared to only 17 per cent for the Tories and 10 per cent for the Lib Dems, with 62 per cent of the opinion a contest would be a “distraction from the serious issues that the country currently faces”.

• On Monday, the election campaign looked to be well and truly underway with David Cameron and Alistair Darling trading blows over Labour’s publication of a dossier which detailed a £34 billion black hole in Tory spending plans. The result has been a steady drip of dropped policies, flip-flops and u-turns from Team Cameron.

As Left Foot Forward has reported, the Conservatives this week u-turned on Educational Maintenance Allowances, marriage tax and scrapping NHS targets, with the Independent today revealing further volte-faces on extra prison places and tax breaks for savers, the Tory leader telling the paper he had “messed up”.

The Arctic weather conditions saw the country almost grind to a halt this week as temperatures dropped as low as -21°C in the Highlands of Scotland. All forms of transport have been affected, supplies of grit are at critical levels, gas supplies are running low and the weekend’s sporting events are in danger of being completely wiped out. Left Foot Forward reported that in Scotland, as in the rest of the country, the failure of local, central and devolved governments to work more effectively together and learn the lessons of previous cold snaps hadn’t helped.

In yesterday’s Times, Melanie Reid published a quite ridiculous article that said snow “brings out the inner Tory in all of us”. Interesting. Left Foot Forward wonders whether those would be the values of looking after number one, “no such thing as society” and freezing people’s pay if they’re unable to come into work? If anything, snow brings out the inner Labour in people, the ideals of solidarity and self-help – looking out for neighbours, helping the elderly and sharing school runs. (Hat-tip: Paul Waugh)


Progressives of the week

Oxford scientist Dr Patrick McSharry and the Met Office’s Keith Groves, who rebutted the claims of climate deniers and climate sceptics that carbon dioxide doesn’t cause global warming and climate models are inaccurate. Speaking on last night’s Newsnight, they also brushed off claims that a few weeks’ snow is evidence global warming doesn’t exist.


Regressive of the week

Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green, whose dog-whistle denunciation of the legal aid bill for asylum seekers was gobbled up with glee by Right-wing newspapers – none of which bothered to check that the £28 million figure quoted by the Tories was similar to that of previous years or indeed that the number of asylum applications in the third-quarter of 2009 was 24 per cent lower than the same period a year before. Politics at its worst from David Cameron’s “nice” new Tory party.


Evidence of the week

Britain has less than ten days’ gas reserves at current usage. Data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, broadcast on last night’s Newsnight, shows that Britain has 4.3 billion cubic centimetres of gas in storage – a fraction of that of our European allies. France has 12.2bn cm³, Italy 14.3bn cm³ and Germany 19.6bn cm³.


What’s trending on Twitter

The coup that never was

It’s the story that dominated Westminster on Wednesday, gripping politicians, hacks and Sky News viewers. Here are five of the best from tweetland’s finest on the event:

@alexsmith1982: I think it’s probably time for a secret ballot we can all take part in.

@Jessica_Asato: I am at a loss for words. The time for complaining was June. Not now.

@anthonypainter: Even if there were to be a ballot, it would only have one outcome. So what’s the point in this? Futile and damaging.

@TomBage: Miliband, Mandelson, Darling or Straw. If you have the bloodlust, now’s your chance.

@BevaniteEllie: Makes a change that Hoon and Hewitt aren’t both former ministers who are bitter Blairites. Oh wait…

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18 Responses to “Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward”

  1. TVI Pay It Forward

    Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/5jrtDE

  2. Complete Sham

    Thats a good little apparatchik Shamik, keep pumping the regime, ignore all the other stories on the wires about the backroom deals done.

    Any more pic’s?

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Within 6 months the electorate will have their own secret ballot.

    Because of the gutless behaviour of the PLP in not holding the ballot we will reap what we sow.

    Your biased stories do not help Shamik – grow a spine man and show some free thinking to help the party instead of waiting for oblivion…

  4. Complete Sham


    You have Bob Hope and No Hope of that. Shamik is an expert at looking at half the story to prove his own apparatchik agenda. The PLP is the most disgusting representation of Human beings. A greed for power at the expense of the general public.

    What is most revolting are those who hang off their coat tails looking for scraps waiting to get promoted. Vile.
    “For months now the kamikaze economics advocated by Balls and Brown has been terrifying, they seemed set on destroying the economy to advance their factional interest over the national interest.”

  5. Complete Sham

    Forgot to say that was a quote from Guido.

  6. Complete Sham

    Oh and whilst Shamik you feel it appropriate to Label people how would you like it in return.

    Will – Dumb, Shamik even Dumber.

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Complete Sham – I don’t know why they do it. Will certainly has worked in the treasury so he must know how people there feel about Gordon Brown. He’s in denial.

    Later in the year these two are going to get a pretty rude awakening when the election results are in and it will serve them right.

    Whoever leads Labour after the election would do well to get copies of all blogs and posts from various bloggers on the web before the party candidates are selected.

    We need leaders in the future not robots. I despair at this…

  8. Complete Sham


    The reason is that people develop paradigms and then lose all semblance of reality in justifying that paradigm. Will and Shamik are two examples of that. This site is CV fodder in their ultimate desire to get into the house as Labour.

    I have read much of the drivel that Shamik has written on LL and it really is appallingly bad in every regard.

    The other thing I find annoying is this new group who call themselves progressive, it’s just a stupid term used by a small pseudo political elite. They seem to think that they are better than everybody else because they are progressive. I wish these people would eat some impartiality and a bit of humility.

    Shamik, the people who read these blogs have an intellect, the sooner your ramblings reflect that you are talking to people who may be brighter than you are the better.

  9. Complete Sham

    Narcissistic, is the word that we are looking at.

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Complete Sham – The problem I see on this site is the dogmatic tribal approach to politics which is just not attractive.

    What Shamik doesn’t seem to realise (Will is more balanced) is that when he states things that are just childish and wrong, such as “Spain is part of the G20” he just looks stupid.

    The planet knows Spain is not in the G20 – Shamik was wrong to say it was but instead of saying “Hey my mistake guys” he says:


    “Evidence of the week…

    …As for definitive evidence of whether or not Spain is in the G20, G20+ or G∞, your guess, mes amigos, is as good as ours…”

    So even armed with the truth Shamik still will not admit he is wrong on Spain and the G20 – it’s the same with this site trying to argue black is white when readers must just look on with amusement. I personally enjoy people trying to wriggle and justify the bulls**t they spout on this site.

    In fairness to Shamik this is obviously a short term gig until the site runs out of steam after the Labour loss at the election (he’s one of two people getting paid for his articles) and by posting the things he does it’s pretty clear he isn’t looking for a future in any type of public office which I suppose is his choice.

    Will Straw is more canny in his postings and I imagine he has designs on being an MP at some point but even he needs to think of how his postings may be trawled over in the future – nothing on the internet ever goes away.

    Mind you if you think Will and Shamik are bad, do a search on this blog for a guy called Rupert Read – I have not had so much fun on the internet ever than since I discovered his musings online. He is absolutely bonkers and more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

    Personally I hope Will and Shamik continue with their articles just the way they are – I love them!

  11. Complete Sham


    you are right, we need this dross. It’s sport on a cold winters night after the pub!

    Wonder how Will and dumber are going to feel having read about Peter Watt’s revalations. Perhaps a little unclean?

    Have a good night.

  12. Complete Sham


    How much money has this site got and where is it coming from?

  13. Complete Sham

    Have a read Sham. The Times is written by journo’s with insight and an intellect!!

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Complete Sham – I think it’s funded by the CWU – not sure. If you ask Will he will tell you.

    Once again the Times editorial today tells Brown to go for an immediate election – not that he will, he’s as gutless as ever…

  15. Shamik Das

    “Have a read Sham. The Times is written by journo’s with insight and an intellect!!”

    They can also spell. It’s “journos” not “journo’s”. Shocking. Positively shocking.

  16. Complete Sham

    Apostrophies were never my thing, they always bested me. Its a bit like intelligence and you.

  17. Shamik Das

    “Its a bit like intelligence and you.”

    You’ve done it again. That statement is laughable in every respect.

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