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Showing posts from October, 2015

A mythical creature returns for Halloween

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Today is Halloween, and a mythical creature was resurrected in a humorous tweet which was repeated by a certain Cumbrian journalist. The mythical creature I am writing about is the person who believes in the "trickle down economics" straw man. This is the idea that if you give more money to the rich some of it will "trickle down" to the poor. I have never met anyone who believes this, but I have come across many people who are under the false impression that other people believe it. In the words of the distinguished US economist Thomas Sowell, in his book "Basic Economics" "Whether in the United States or in India, and whether in the past or in the present, ‘trickle down’ has been a characterisation and rejection of what somebody else supposedly believed. Moreover, it has been considered unnecessary to cite any given person who had actually advocated any such thing." "The phrase ‘trickle down’ often comes up in discussions of tax p

Taxpayers' money.

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Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was voted out by the electors of Bury North in May this year, caused rather a lot of discussion when he posted on Twitter this morning that "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilised society. So tax due isn't 'taxpayers' money' it's the govt's" Chris Williamson's tweet was quoting and referred to a blog post  here on Richard Murphy's "Tax Research UK" blog which makes essentially the same argument in much more detail. This is basically saying three things, one of which I and most of the people who challenged Mr Williamson have no problem with, one which is legally true but I would have worded differently, and one which people are really objecting to. 1) Taxes are the price we pay for a civilised society. I don't challenge that and I've not seen anyone else do so either, since taxes pay for things like courts, schools, hospitals which a civilised society needs. 2) Mr Williams

Quote of the day 31st October 2015

"It’s clear George Osborne is going to look at ways of mitigating the impact of his tax credit changes. “I said I would listen to the concerns being raised and that is precisely what I will do” was his response to the Lords defeat . But mitigation is what is on the table. Not reversal. Osborne is going to push ahead with his tax credit policy for two reasons. One is that he believes it’s right in principle. Or more specifically, he thinks its wrong for taxpayers to be assisting employers by effectively subsidising low wages, a view that actually brings him into alignment with many on the Left. In 2013 John McDonnell described tax credits as “just another way of subsidising bad employers”. The second is that when he says he plans to eradicate the deficit during the lifetime of this parliament, he does actually mean it. There’s been a lot of talk about what was and wasn’t promised by the Conservative party in the run up to the election. But one pledge was issued with unambig

Alex Massie eviscerates Jeremy Corbyn in the Speccie

Alex Massie - who wrote a few weeks ago that he still has a Labour party membership card though "Momentum" will probably try to take it off him if he keeps writing columns like today's - has a piece commenting on Jeremy Corbyn's speech to Labour's Scottish conference. At least Labour got to hold theirs, but the extremist thugs and bullies who forced the Conservative West of Scotland conference to go underground were probably ignoring the Scottish Labour gathering because they don't think they have any reason to be afraid that Labour might win any elections in the next nine and a half years or so. Alex's article is called Jeremy Corbyn comes to Scotland and discovers he has nothing to say. Here are a few extracts .. "One thing was made clear in Perth today: Jeremy Corbyn is not the answer. But then you knew that already. His speech was, er, remarkable. It was a speech aimed at – and let’s be generous here – 15 percent of voters. Those voters w

Humour as an essential survival mechanism

I believe that it is almost impossible for an intelligent and reasonably sensitive person to retain their sanity in today's world without a functioning sense of humour. A sense of humour was probably equally essential in all earlier ages as well. And yet different people's senses of humour are sufficiently individual that different people can and do wrongly perceive each other as not possessing one. Many years ago the student electorate at Bristol University, in what may have been several hundred people's idea of a joke or reflect the fact that they didn't want their preferred candidate for President of the Union to have things all her own way, elected people from two diametrically opposed slates, (one of those elected being myself), to positions which forced us to work closely together for a year. Early in that sometimes challenging relationship, one colleague warned me to be careful because a person who I shall call X had, quote, "No sense of Humour."

Progress towards devolution of powers to local authorities in Cumbria

The BBC's report Cooper has tweeted a short clip of  Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton MP   @jameswhartonuk talking about a possible Cumbria devolution package which I know they have been talking to council leaders in Cumbria about. Apparently there will be more about this on the Sunday Politics show on BBC One at 11am on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/iA4lUwmYcy  

If only it were true ...

According to Owen Jones, Guardianista journalist and high priest of Corbynism, we live in a world dominated by "neoliberalism." Jones wrote in his recent book The Establishment  that a commitment to "neoliberalism" is the ideology that dominates our elites and politics. According to him, the last three decades have seen an unprecedented experiment in a radical slashing of state spending, an erosion of the welfare state, privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation. My reaction is to wish that if only this were true - not, incidentally because I would want the Welfare state to cease to be there as a safety net for those who need it, but because it should not be a lifestyle choice for those who would be far better off looking after themselves. As Ryan Bourne points out on CAPX here , the idea that we live in a world dominated by neoliberalism or any other form of liberalism is, unfortunately, laughable. On the positive side, since the 1980s global trade has b

Conservative Conference in Scotland has to be moved to a secret venue on police advice.

What does it say about Britain's commitment to democracy when this is allowed to happen? The Scottish Conservatives sought police advice after finding the websites which the hard left were using to orchestrate protests against the annual West of Scotland Conservative Conference next month, designed to replicate the scenes in Manchester when just about everyone attending CPC15 - including minimum wage cleaners, caterers, and stage assemblers, and journalists covering the conference - had obscenities screamed at them, and some people were also spat at, jostled, or pelted with eggs or plastic balls. If the report in the Scottish Daily Mail which I have linked to above is correct, the Police Scotland response was that that unless the party could supply its' own security force they would recommend cancellation of the event. I will not post here the highly critical comments I would make about Police Scotland if I were absolutely certain that this is true, because I don't h

Quote of the day 30th October 2015

"Several shadow ministers told me that Corbyn’s support would shrink as members realised that he was hopeless at opposing the government. In the long run, his own incompetence would do for him, they said. "Whether Labour has the luxury of waiting years for its members to realise that Corbyn is not the fighter they thought him to be was not a question they either posed or answered. In the long run we are all dead, said Lord Keynes. For Labour, it may be sooner than that." ( Nick Cohen , in a Spectator article apparently arguing for a palace coup within the Labour party )

Chilcot finally to report - in June or July 2016.

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Apparently the long awaited report of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war may finally be published in Summer next year and run to two million words or so. Daily Telegraph report on the story here . Twitter today is full of comparison of the length of time it will have taken to prepare the report with various major events like the second world war (it will have lasted longer) and comparing the length of the report with various substantial documents (for example it is apparently three times the length of "War and Peace.") It was also noted that the prediction of publication on that timetable was heavily qualified: a published letter from Sir John Chilcot to the PM said that it "should be possible" to put forward a date within that timescale for agreement. I will hold fire until we see the report next year but I am not surprised that this is causing comment! Some of those comments have come from the PM himself who provided the reply given below underneath the

Quote of the Day 29th October 2015

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Supporting Cumbria's Police

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The new formula proposed by the Home Office to fund police forces does not take enough account of the needs of Cumbria. The present Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes opposes it as do all Cumbria's MPs of all three parties. At the selection of the new Conservative candidate for PCC all the candidates made clear that they would work with the present PCC for a better deal for Cumbria and I know Richard Rhodes and Peter McCall will fight this battle vigorously. Here is John Stevenson MP at number ten with the petition signed by 12,000 residents of Cumbria for a fairer funding deal for Cumbria's police

Labour admits that they don't know how to fund NHS spending

Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has appeared to admit that Labour does not know how it would fund the extra money they want to spend on the NHS . She said in an interview in the Guardian that the NHS would need more than the £8 billion extra the government has committed to spending by 2020.  However when pushed about how Labour would fund the increased spending, she said: “I don’t know the answer to that”.   So six months after Labour was defeated at the election and six weeks after Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership the party does still not have a plan for funding the NHS. This does not surprise me in the slightest. What astonishes me is that they've admitted it.

A constructive way forward on Tax Credits

First of all, the tax credits system inherited from Gordon Brown is a bureaucratic and expensive nightmare which takes people who are doing the right thing and should be independent of the government, and turns them into clients of the state. It was absolutely right to try to find a way to get away from that situation, but offset the losses to working people on low incomes caused by tax credit cuts with tax cuts aimed at the same people e.g. an increase in tax thresholds. However, it was always important to listen to what people are saying about this and to try to implement the policy in a compassionate way. Following the House of Lords defeat we need to find a positive way forward. And however much the government may have a case in constitutional terms to argue that it was a misuse of the unelected chamber's powers to vote the way they did, it would be a serious political mistake to appear to be ignoring the concerns raised. Although I disagree with some of what Tim Montgome

Gerald Kaufman condemned by Board of Deputies of British Jews

Former Labour minister Sir Gerald Kaufman has been condemned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other bodies campaigning against anti-semitism for some extraordinary comments  which included accusing the victims of stabbing attacks in Israel of having "fabricated" these attacks. President Jonathan Arkush, President of the BDBJ, said “We condemn Sir Gerald’s outrageous comments. We challenge him to travel to Israel immediately to ride around with the emergency services and to see for himself whether it is possible to fabricate knife attacks when victims are lying on the ground with blood pouring from their wounds. We also invite the Labour Party to initiate disciplinary proceedings to investigate his disgraceful words.” What on earth was Kaufman thinking?

Quote of the day 28th November 2015

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Funny how some people have changed their minds ..

Hat tip to Guido Fawkes for pointing out how last night's vote in the House of Lords has caused several people to make a 180 degree turn about the validity of the unelected chamber ... Tim Farron said after last night's vote that he was very proud of Lib/Dem lords, adding that “We have sent a clear signal…  Tonight’s vote gives people hope” . Yet a few months ago Farron's   view on the second chamber was that it is “a system which is rotten to the core and allows unelected, unaccountable people to think they are above the law… Nothing will be achieved until Parliamentarians vote in favour of abolition” As Guido asks, what was it about the LibDem wipeout in democratic elections that caused Farron to change his mind about the “rotten, unelected, unaccountable” second chamber? Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is no different. Last night he praised the "huge blow in the House of Lords" , claiming the vote showed “people are waking up to what Labour ha

Picture Quiz

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Is this picture 1) The Leader of the Labour party preparing his next major appointment 2) The Shadow Chancellor preparing his next announcement of a Labour U-turn on economic policy, 3) Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation trust writing an options paper on how to deliver hospital services in Cumbria after taking over North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, 4) Lib/Dem peers challenging the government to reform the House of Lords, or 5) All of the above?

Take on the Lords if they keep ignoring constitutional conventions - but not over Tax Credits

Attempts to reform the House of Lords have a long history of being voted down by unholy alliances,  most often between those who want far more radical reforms and those who don't want any. When a similar fate destroyed the coalition government's attempt to replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber, David Cameron would have undoubtedly preferred to leave the issue alone for the rest of his premiership. Unfortunately the House of Lords was not prepared to stay within the conventions which would enable it to be left alone. One of the interesting aspects of tonight's House of Lords vote to delay cuts to Tax Credits is that some people who I normally agree with were inclined to sympathise with the Lords because they saw it as being about tax credits while some who I normally don't agree with recognised that, as one of them put it after making clear that he doesn't like the government's tax credits proposal, "constitutionally the House of Lo

Quote of the day 27th October 2015

"If the House of Lords decides to take up the slack caused by an entirely ineffective opposition we really will have a constitutional crisis." (Jamie Foster @1jamiefoster on twitter last night.)

Statement from the Conservative candidate to be Cumbria's Next Police and Crime Commissioner

Peter McCall, who was selected last week as the Conservative candidate to be Cumbria's next Police and Crime Commissioner and will stand in the election for that post in May 2016, issued the following message to Conservative members on his selection. "I am excited, thrilled and humbled to have been selected tonight as your candidate for the next PCC election in May next year. I mentioned at the hustings the motto of the army officer cadre of "Serve to lead" and after a career in military service I hope to serve the county as PCC." I would like to publicly thank both John Mallinson and Oliver Henley for being formidable but most generous and magnanimous competitors, and I hope to call on their vast experience as we enter the election campaign. I will be doing all I can to meet as many members as possible over the next months and look forward to serving the party and working with you all to keep Cumbria safe from crime and a county where Crime Will Not Pay.

Quote of the day 26th October 2015

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Who would have been the best leader at Agincourt?

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Today is of course, the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, when Henry V rescued himself from a campaign which was strategically a total mess by means of an extraordinary display of tactical skill and extreme ruthlessness, and by making use of the devastating power of skilled longbowmen. Earlier this year, a couple of months before the General Election, a Survation poll on behalf of the Mail on Sunday asked which of Britain's then political leaders voters throught would have been best qualified to lead England's Army (I do mean England) against the French at Agincourt. The result was interesting ...     Nearly half of respondents ticked the "Don't know" option but of those who did express a preference the plurality opted for Nigel Farage. There was, of course, a time when a record of defeating the French in battle was a great asset when standing for political office in Britain, witness that the Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister. How

Told you so!

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My review of the Economist's Special report last week, " The Reluctant European " about the arguments for and against British exit from the EU, (available  here  as a sequence of articles and here as a PDF) predicted that both sides would quote extensively but selectively from it. I've already been proved right about one side. My Labour MP and various others have tweeted quoting the statistics in the article contrasting the proportion of British exports of goods which go to the EU (51.4%) with the proportion of exports of other EU countries which come to Britain (6.6%) and suggesting that this demolishes the economic case for Brexit. This fact certainly does seriously damage some of the "Leave" side's economic arguments - particularly the argument that trade with Britain is so important to the rest of the EU that we will be able to negotiate a particularly good deal if we don't want to go for the Norwegian solution - and it is true that

Sunday Music slot: Gloria in Excelsis Deo by Vivaldi

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This is the first movement of Vivaldi's Gloria played on period instruments. A fantastic piece of music.

Sunday reflection spot

There is a memorial stone on the wall of St James' church Whitehaven, in a position which makes it almost impossible for me not to see it on my way back to the pew after taking communion when I worship there. It was erected in his memory by the grieving parents of Alexander Hammond, a young man from Whitehaven who was aged twenty when he was on board a barque called Swallow which sailed on 15th July 1840 and was never heard from again. The ship was assumed to have been lost with the loss of everyone on board, but nobody in Whitehaven ever found out exactly what happened. This week my family are mourning the death of a much loved relative, but she died rich in years and peacefully in her sleep. I cannot imagine how much worse it must have been for the families of Alexander Hammond and everyone else on the Swallow and other ships which were lost without trace. But I know it must have been truly terrible for them. We are fortunate enough to live in an age when such mysterious di

Quote of the Day 25th October 2015 (600th anniversary of Agincourt)

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"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day." ( William Shakespeare , the "St Crispin's day speech" from Act IV of his play "Henry V" as supposedly given to his troops before the battle of Agincourt. Below is the speech as performed by Kenneth Branagh in the film version of the play.)

A year of anniversaries

There have been an extraordinary number of significant anniversaries this year. We have had The 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta The 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo The 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign Within WWII we have had the 75th anniversaries of the Dunkirk evacuation and Battle of Britain, and the 70th anniversaries of VE day, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks, and VJ day. The year also sees the 300th anniversary of the first Jacobite rising, culminating in the Jacobite defeat at the battle of Preston which we will commemorate on 14th November And tomorrow is of course the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. According to this morning's Times the French, having previously attempted to claim that Waterloo should not really be considered a French defeat (see " How the French won Waterloo (or think they did) by Stephen Clarke " for an amusing take on this,) are now trying to make a cel

Don't forget the clocks go back tonight!

We get an extra hour's sleep tonight as the clocks go back an bour.

Manners, Trolls, and Free Speech

It's a tough balancing act at the moment if you both believe in free speech and believe in common courtesy and respect. I've tried to resist schadenfreude this week as two people active in Copeland politics who have in the past put their names to or otherwise been involved in some quite nasty personal attacks against me have complained about being on the receiving end themselves. One of the ironies of the recent Demonstrations at Conservative Conference was that until last year those protestors whose behaviour was insulting but non violent - those who hurled insults but not eggs for instance - would have been breaking Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 which both I and many of the other people on the receiving end of such conduct campaigned successfully to reform . Similarly there is a danger that the word "Troll" may be defined in practice as "anyone posting material on the internet which I disagree with and is critical of someone I like." I

Quote of the day 24th October 2015

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Link to the Amazon page for The Elements of Style by William Strunk and EB White . Do you remember a few years ago when we used to get several chain email hoax warnings a week forwarded by na├»ve but well meaning friends, telling us to beware of frightening but non-existent computer viruses and asking us to forward the warning to everyone we know? One of the two funniest was the Strunkenwhite virus hoax warning of a fictional virus named after this book which supposedly would not let you send out any emails containing grammatical errors. The strunkenwhite virus had supposedly made thousands of people who had lost the ability to wrote good grammatical English unable to communicate by email. Much funnier than "this will destroy your hard drive" and I almost could not help wishing it actually did exist. The other one that had me rolling about laughing, though I managed to resist the temptation to forward it, was the spoof Trojan Horse warning, complete with spoof put

Dan Hannan on an idiot's guide to overcoming BBC Bias

Good piece by Dan Hannan MEP here on how broadcasters should avoid bias while covering the forthcoming EU Referendum: 1. If you pigeonhole your guests, be even-handed 2. Match opponents evenly 3. Show the full spectrum of opinion 4. Ask the right questions 5. Follow the money 6. Remember your non-news departments

Lake District National Park to be extended

DEFRA has today announced an extension will be made to the boundary of the Lake District National Park, following a recommendation from Natural England. This will include an area in the east from Birkbeck Fells Common to Whinfell Common, and an area in the south from Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, and part of the Lyth Valley. The total extension will account for an increase of approximately 3% in the area covered by the park and will come into effect in 2016. The aim of the extension to the Lake District National Park is to create a boundary line that is most appropriate for the landscape and to maintain and improve the environment in these areas, particularly rights of ways, for the benefit of everyone who enjoys the Lake District and surrounding areas. The boundaries of the LDNP were initially set in 1951, when the Lake District National Park was created. At that time, they were set to follow local political administrative boundaries, rather than the more natural geography

English Votes for English Laws

MPs last night approved a very modest measure moving Britain closer slightly closer towards a fair Federal system. All laws will still need support from a majority of all MPs to pass , but a new stage will be added to the process for those laws which only affect England and which will now also need to win a  majority among MPs representing English constituencies. Similarly laws which affect England and Wales but not Scotland will now need to win a majority among MPs representing England and Wales as well as one among all MPs. This is in line with the recommendations of the Mckay Commission . It will reduce the anomaly where Scottish MPs in Westminster can vote on matters such as health or education in England, but English MPs cannot do likewise on issues devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This is known as the West Lothian question at the suggestion of Enoch Powell because the MP who first asked it, Tam Dalyell, was member for West Lothian in Scotland and framed it in terms of

Bury Labour? Hell, Yes!

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Bury CLP apparently did not think through how this banner could be taken ... (Hat tip to Robert Barnes for sharing on Facebook) And " Bury Labour " is exactly what the voters of Tottington Ward of Bury council did yesterday. This is a marginal ward in one of the most marginal constituencies in the country - David Nuttall MP held Bury North for the Conservatives by just 378 votes in May this year. Hence the Conservative gain from Labour in Tottington ward was the best of several excellent results for the Conservatives in local by-elections this week. I've seen it suggested that this must be a record swing to a governing party in a marginal council ward in a marginal constituency at this stage of the electoral cycle ...

Quote of the day 23rd October 2015

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Police and Crime Commissioner candidate chosen:

Congratulations to Colonel Peter McCall who was selected by the votes of Conservative members in Cumbria attending two meetings last night and this evening to be the Conservative candidate to succeed Richard Rhodes as Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner. The next commissioner will be elected in May 2016. Richard Rhodes is not seeking re-election. Peter McCall was selected from a strong field of three excellent candidates who addressed well-attended meetings at the Greenhill Hotel, Wigton on Wednesday night and the Low Wood Hotel, Windermere this evening. Colonel McCall is currently is currently the human resources director of the Royal Logistic Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. His 34-years of service in the Army come to a close in a few months’ time, freeing him to work full-time as Police and Crime Commissioner if elected. I believe he will be a very strong candidate for the position of Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria and if elected

"Dad's Army" to return

I don't know what to make of the fact that Universal Pictures is doing a very star-studded remake of "Dad's Army." It could be brilliant: it could be terrible. My problem when watching the trailer was that although Toby Jones and Bill Nighy are superb actors they do not bear much resemblance to the late Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier, and the rest of the cast don't look much like their predecessors either. Having said that it would be unfair to judge how well they recreate the characters on a few seconds and if anyone can bring off the job of creating the Walmington-on Sea platoon again it is the cast they have doing it. We will have to await the film with interest!

Dan Hannan's Ici Londres: The miracle of the market

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A brilliant presentation from Dan Hannan MEP on how the combination of the free market, and property rights backed up by independent courts, were an integral part of lifting mankind out of a situation which had existed for most of history in which most people were serfs or slaves.

Jeremy Corbyn's latest interesting appointment

Jeremy Corbyn's appointment of Seumas Milne as the Labour party's new Head of Communications has caused quite a few raised eyebrows. Mr Milne's views are far enough from the mainstream as to make Corbyn's appointment of John McDonnell as shadow chancellor look tame by comparison. Here is a column by Michael Moynihan on the subject of Labour's new PR chief .

Quote of the day 22nd October 2015

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Do divided parties lose? Continued

This is a follow-on post to my comments this afternoon about whether parties which are seen to contain a multiplicity of views can win elections. My previous post contained links to three people who challenged the prevailing wisdom that electors do not vote for parties which are seen as divided. I think that John Rentoul and Janan Ganesh  are on to something and I suspect the prize offered by Professor Tim Bale ‏to anyone who can produce evidence which supports the prevailing wisdom may go unclaimed. However, the prevailing wisdom is not so much completely wrong as grossly oversimplified. It is time to discard the habit of thinking that assumes the slightest sign of open disagreement within a party is evidence of bad management and electorally damaging. This model leads to control freakery and stifles imagination and debate. In the early days of the Blair government there was a joke about the difference between a supermarket trolley in need of oiling and a New Labour MP - tha

A spoof post for "Back to the Future Day"

News thump has two spoof posts for today, one of which suggests we're living in a messed-up timeline actually created by Marty McFly, and this one, which I am not going to spoil by describing it but strongly recommend you read.

Can parties which contain a mix of views win elections?

It is received wisdom that people do not vote for divided parties. Indeed, it is also received wisdom that there is a disconnect between what people say they want and how they actually vote on this subject. People certainly say they want political leaders with minds of their own, not robots who, in the words Gilbert put into the mouth of Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore, "Always voted at my party's call and I never thought of thinking for myself at all." And yet there is a perception that if a party's MPs don't act like robots it means that the party is in trouble and more likely to lose an election. Certainly the opposition will shout about it. Had it not been for the total disarray in the Labour party, it is fairly likely that both they and the press would have made a lot more fuss about the fact that the Conservative party has had to delay several key votes since the election because of disagreements on the Conservative side, one or two on quite impo

Second Quote of the day 21st October 2015 - the 210th anniversary of Trafalgar

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Quote of the day 21st October 2015 ("Back to the Future day")

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"AGE IS JUST A NUMBER" (from the film "Back to the Future") Marty McFly : Where are we? When are we? Doc : We're descending toward Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015. Marty McFly : 2015? You mean we're in the future? Jennifer : Future? Marty, what do you mean? How can we be in the future? Marty McFly : Uh, Jennifer, um, I don't know how to tell you this, but I... you're in a time machine. Jennifer : And this is the year '2015'? Doc : October 21st, 2015. (From "Back to the Future II)

Slow traffic on A595 this morning

The A595 southbound is more congested than usual this morning in the Whitehaven area, particularly around the hospital roundabout area, with traffic backing up across the roundabout. Allow extra time for your journey this morning if possible if you have to take the A595 south through Whitehaven during rush hour.

Quote of the day 20th October 2015

“Over the last month I’ve seen opponents, supporters and political commentators reduced to laughter over the antics at the top of the Labour Party." “We’re not talking about a bemused chuckle either. I’m talking tear-streaming, side-splitting, deep, uncontrollable belly laughter. After another week of chaos, the sound of mocking laughter is fast becoming the soundtrack to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership." “Amidst much hilarity in Westminster, each shambolic announcement, every piece of confused choreography has been treated as though it were vintage slapstick comedy, not serious opposition politics." "In the last week alone we’ve had chaotic interviews, U-turns, rebellions and a disastrous Parliamentary Labour Party meeting, described by one former minister as a ‘total ******* shambles’." “Farce doesn’t begin to describe our position any more. It’s the political equivalent of all the slapstick staples rolled into one. The Three Stooges pie fight. Stan Laurel