Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Somebody Tell Teacher!

I've always like Twitter. I feel it's a brilliant means for discussion across a range of topics and the public element to it makes it better than either MySpace or Facebook. In particular political discussion can not only be edifying but also a great source of entertainment.

Not last night though as the whole political twitterverse seemed to descend into a splurge of name-calling and tattle-telling with the main culprits, embarrassingly, being on my own side of the debate.

One of the Conservative's most prolific bloggers, Tory Bear, has chosen to lambast Labour supporter and active campaigner Bevanite Ellie over a joke which was not even her own. Rather the joke was originally 'tweeted' by a Labour councillor but TB has gone after the messenger instead.

To be honest the joke wasn't particularly controversial and typical of Labour's black humour towards Margaret Thatcher. However, TB jumped on this opportunity like a rapist and started demanding an apology like the whining kid who sits at the front of the class.

This then seemed to start a whole war over twitter of general poor quality barraging. If you're going to insult the other side at least try and be witty, yeah?

Much as I dislike Labour this seems to me like another Sun episode where the demand for an apology for the soldier's mispelt name actually engendered sympathy for the party. I sense jealousy over Ellie's success emanating from Mr. Bear and he will do well in future to keep this in check.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Polly Toynbee may have a point?!?!

It's not just Conservatives this week who disagree with Polly Toynbee's column as die-hard Labour supporters were forced to back Gordon Brown as party leader after her latest column suggested that Labour has no hope of winning the next election with Brown at the helm.

Now most Torys, myself included, would agree that Brown is doing the Labour government more damage than good (though none would want him to quit!) but this is not the part of the article I wish to highlight. Rather, as part of her same-old polemic on the Conservatives she states that "Cameron has collected no extra brand loyalty" and I can't help but reluctantly agree.

The evidence she cites suggests that despite the polls, 2% more identify themselves as 'Labour' whilst the Conservative Party this year has lost 40,000 members. For a party hoping to establish itself after the next election for a number of years to come this is not a good sign.

The problem lies in the failure of the Conservative Party to be able to establish any real sort of brand identity in the same way that Labour did in the run up to the 1997 election or, more recently, the Democrats successful campaign for the presidency last year. Both Tony Blair and Barack Obama engendered a real enthusiasm amongst the public in a way that David Cameron hasn't thus far been able to do.

Of course it is still early days in terms of the 2010 election but supporters and members have reason to be concerned. Many think that there isn't a lot behind either Cameron or Osborne so it is perhaps time to start coming out with some real policies for government. Not doing so is making Cameron appear weak at PMQs and at other times when there is policy debate as we provide no alternative.

I'm sorry to say that at the moment people are voting Tory out of dissatisfaction with Labour rather than enthusiasm for a Conservative government and this has to be changed in order to achieve a sustainable period in power.

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Good Week for Labour After a Bad 12 years

Gordon Brown must have something of a smile on his face this week after things have started to look up a bit for the Labour party, we can only hope for the sake of those of a nervous disposition that this smile isn't photographed.

First, what looked like it might be a stinging attack by the Sun newspaper has backfired and ended up with many showing sympathy for Brown, this was followed on Wednesday afternoon by a powerful performance by the PM on PMQs and in the early hours of this morning it was confirmed that Labour candidate, Willie Bain, won the Glasgow North East by-election.

This good week cannot be overplayed though. The Sun has ended up with egg on it's face but nothing more than that, many would agree that PMQs was a bit dull and Labour was always going to win Glasgow North East, the most telling fact probably being that turnout was so low.

Nevertheless Labour will feel the need to get carried away by all this but I somehow doubt that one week of minor political victories at a time when we are remembering our war dead is going to detract from the failings that this Labour government has ladled upon the country for the last 12 years.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Pressure mounts on Cameron over Lisbon

It's finally happened then. President Klaus of the Czech Republic has signed the Lisbon Reform Treaty bringing it into law. Once the Czech Supreme Court looked like it was going to declare this effectively constitutional treaty, well....constitutional there was always going to be a huge amount of pressure on Klaus from the other 26 countries to sign and this has happened in the last hour or so.

This brings bad news for two sorts of people euro-sceptics and EU Law students and unfortunately I fall into both categories. However, as David Cameron will now be realising at Conservative HQ there is little me or him can do about it and we've just got to deal with the Treaty as it comes.

Cameron is probably under a lot more pressure than my good self though. I have to learn a few new names and Article numbers but Cameron faces something of a no-win situation. On the one hand he has promised the British public a referendum on the Treaty but now Lisbon is in force, to reject the Treaty now would lose Britian a lot of face on the world stage. The flipside of this is to accept the Treaty though this would undoubtedly upset the strongly Euro-sceptic wing of his party; especially considering their new Euro grouping.

A policy announcement is due tomorrow and many will wonder which way Cameron will go with the definite possibility that either way will cost votes at next years general election.

Both Labour and the Lib Dems are enjoying this Tory discomfort but there may still be a way out. In my opinion Cameron is in a strong position in relation to Europe with the threat of a referendum. This can be used to ensure various opt-outs and concessions for Britain and it is at this stage that Cameron can either choose to campaign for a 'Yes' vote in a referendum (as happened in Ireland) or to promise the British public that no referendum is now needed that important opt-oputs have been negotiated whilst getting even the likes of Bill Cash MP to support this position.

In any circumstance, Cameron will be under great pressure over the forthcoming weeks and months. The best thing Conservatives can truly hope for is damage limitation.