30 June 2006

Ind Hold Blaenau Gwent, Con Hold Bromley and Chislehurst

By-elections are ultimately that- by-elections. They have their own special circumstances and their own issues. People have a tendency to vote differently than they would if the Government is at stake.

So, I'm not drawing too many conclusions from the narrow Conservative victory in Bromley and the Labour defeat in Blaenau Gwent (apologies for the mispelling earlier, BTW).

Labour got the majority down, but lost votes. It's more a case of people deserting the Indie candidate.

As for Bromley, Cameron can't call this a victory, but the Lib Dems can't either. It's at the end of the day, a by-election.

Labour's majority stays at 64/70 (if you count the SDLP).

29 June 2006

Jack Straw gets it

This didn't really get the coverage it deserved, so in case anyone missed it, Straw has recently argued that the best way to solve the whole political funding crisis is to impose a strict cap on the amount of money parties can spend, which would (as in practice the parties would have little choice but to do this) result in the parties having to, in his words;

"...recruit, retain and involve more members and supporters..."

To say that that would be a great thing for democracy is something of an understatement. Better still it would, finally, give Labour the incentive that it needs to build up a strong organisation across the country, rather than just in our ancient strongholds and the old recent hotspot.

Straw also claims (correctly IMO) that;

"...the more local and personal our politics becomes, the more that trust and confidence in the system will be built up..."

All of this would be a simple change. A very simple one indeed. It would also be one of the most radical shake-up's of British political culture for a very long time. And it's something that the Labour Party as a whole should come out strongly in favour of; unless we want politics to become a vapid wasteland populated by vicious negative advertising and extremists, then what choice to do we really have?

26 June 2006

Futurama is coming back

http://www.thefutoncritic.com/newswire.aspx?id=7177

Well, that was a surprise.

Blaneau Gwent and Bromley and Chislehurst

Two by-elections are coming up this Thursday.

Blaneau Gwent- sensationally won by Independent Peter Law in 2005 off Labour, this will probably be a close race. My prediction- Lab GAIN.

Bromley and Chislehurst- Conservative held seat until Eric Forth's recent death. Important test for the Tories. My prediction- Con HOLD.

25 June 2006

England 1-0 Ecuador

Well, we won, due to a brilliant Beckham free kick and Ashley Cole's sprinting ability.

I'm no expert on football- I can't explain the offside rule for a start, but I do know when things are going right (i.e. we've got the ball and it's in their half).

By the way, have you noticed the stars on some of the countries' shirts? England has one, Germany three, Argentina two. Since Brazil seem to have five, I'm guessing its the number of times they've won.

I'm back

For personal reasons, I haven't posted here for a while. Now I'm back and should carry on as normal (whatever that is), if God wills it.

I watched the latest Doctor Who episode last night and have to say it was the best of the second series. I won't spoil it for you.

England are playing Ecuador in half an hour's time. I hope we don't get beaten (we haven't been playing too well).

24 is nearing the end of Season 5, which has been an all round better one than Season 4. Still can't make one plot last for 24 hours though...

Al, you will always remain welcome to post here.

(Edit- Fear Her is my favourite of Series Two, not the whole new series, so I've changed the post to reflect that)