This morning's nonsense from the Guardian
Two great examples of the kind of guff the Guardian spews out this morning:
- Compass are calling for tax to go up - not just the highest rate, but the overall burden, and to 50% from 42% of GDP. The Guardian describes them as "Brown supporters". Translation for people that actually understand Labour Party politics: Compass are in fact "a strange amalgam of disappointed ultra-Blairite modernisers miffed at not getting safe parliamentary seats in South Wales beginning with the letter "B" and rather silly recent ex-student leftists who want to talk left but are too squeamish/careerist to join anything connected to the Grassroots Alliance. And they may be voting for Brown (who isn't?) but all the Brownites I know wouldn't touch them with a bargepole." Their whizzy new plan is described as " the first serious effort by the left to develop a distinctive economic programme since the alternative economic strategy in the mid-70s" - translation for anyone who actually ever talks to real voters: "the first serious effort by the left to develop a distinctive new way to lose general elections for the Labour Party since the alternative economic strategy in the mid-70s." A comrade in the same CLP as a certain very high profile member of Compass tells me that for all his talk of local grassroots activism this leading figure has valiantly resisted reacting to repeated emails from the CLP inviting him to partake in canvassing and leafleting. Perhaps if he did, he could ask ordinary voters what they thought about his ideas on tax, but then again that might not be such a pleasant experience.
- Meanwhile Jackie Ashley blames Blair for Big Brother: "Is the Jade Goody episode symbolic of a new rottenness, a failure of New Labour?" she says. No Jackie, you are just remarkably silly.
My other rant for the day concerns Mr Len Duvall LAM, Chair of the Greater London Labour Party and of the Met Police Authority, whose helpful contribution to the reaction to the Ruth Turner arrest was to use the Sunday Times to say to David Blunkett and Tessa Jowell " “shut up” and “stop “whingeing and whining” about the police investigation. “No one in this country is above the law" ... "I think they are going to look f****** stupid."
Now I started with an ambivalent opinion of Len anyway, him having a) been appointed to the MPA by Livingstone (I'd rather slit my own wrists than take any job in that man's gift) and b) ousted the excellent and hard-working Chris Robbins of UNISON from Chair of the GLLP in a gratuitous Livingstone-inspired coup.
My reaction to these particular remarks is:
a) don't use the "f" word in interviews with national newspapers, the public don't like swearing politicians
b) show some respect - whilst I can't condemn you for slagging off a former Home Secretary and a current Cabinet Minister (a perusal of recent posts will show I have quite a habit of criticising former Home Secretaries and current Cabinet Ministers) the tone you've used is impertinent to say the least
c) you are right that no one is above the law, but nor in a democracy are the police above political scrutiny and criticism
d) yes you as MPA Chair can't question the way the police conduct enquiries but MPs who are not connected with the political oversight of the police have every right to - Parliament is sovereign in this country
e) has it occurred to you that Blunkett and Jowell were commenting because they are Ruth's friends and comrades and trying to be supportive of a friend in their capacity as fully-signed up members of the human race?
Footnote: Len's biog on the MPA website says he was "a founder member of the New Local Government Network". Wasn't Ruth Turner also a founder board member of the NLGN? Interesting.
Footnote 2: She was not a founder. She was doing something more useful i.e. helping homeless people in Manchester at this time.
Footnote 3: To his great credit, Len has issued a clarification that makes it clear that he doesn't think Tessa Jowell was commenting on the conduct of the Police: