Last Thursday (3rd September) was the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, a conflict that killed 60 million men, women and children, ravaged the face of much of the world, precipitated the downfall of Europe as the centre of world gravity, and which was, to a large extent, caused by the explosion of competing nationalist fervour throughout the world. To commemorate, I bought myself a jumper in Union Jack colours. (more…)
September 7, 2009
July 21, 2009
My mother tells a funny story about a linguistic mix-up.
A couple she knows were going skiing with some friends and taking their daughter along with her boyfriend. The day before they left, the daughter broke up with the unfortunate chap, but since the holiday had been paid for in its entirety, he came along anyway. Having never skied before, and being on holiday with his now-ex-girlfriend and her parents, he was understandably looking glum while nursing a pint in the bar one evening when one of the family friends came over and commiserated, saying how miserable it must be for him. “Oh well,” he replied, “déjà vu…” (more…)
June 2, 2009
… and he will not stop until you are dead. People say that the double hit of local and European elections this weekend will finish off his ill-starred premiership. But expectations are already so low it’s likely that even Labour can attain them. Wise people tell me that Labour can lose up to 200 local councillors without it being disastrously bad and they only need a 20% share of the vote to match the 2004 European election results.
Plus the spin cycle for these elections is extensive. The local results will come in through Friday. They’ll be bad but, given the calibre of Gordon’s rivals (Alan Johnson, it seems, heads the succession for doing little more than not holding a banana in an incriminating fashion), not bad enough. The Sunday newspapers are invariably grisly for Brown but then on Sunday night the European election results are announced. Brown might even do better than Blair did in ’04, one of Labour’s worst ever election results. Then we’ll have to endure the triumphalism of low self esteem as we’re told the economy and humanity have been saved, the pound is strengthening, stock market is rising, hope springs eternal.
In fact the pressure is all on Cameron. The expenses saga, which I have not been following (it was all downhill for me after duck-house-gate), has hurt Labour. But then so has, and I list this in no particular order, everything that’s happened since September 2007. But the never ending sequence of bizarre expense claims has somehow morphed into a boon for Brown. Because now any election results that go awry can be blamed on petty-crime-gate rather than being, say, some kind of judgment on the government’s governance. Labour may take a greater hit as the incumbent but it turns out that Tory politicians are more amusing than their opponents. Taxpayers may not appreciate paying for their political masters property empires or for their Chancellor to game his own tax system (shouldn’t he already know how to do this?) but cleaning this guy’s moat is taking the piss.
The pressure is all on Cameron, and hence the more ruthless purge of his own benches, because he needs to style himself as a government in waiting. And after what will probably be underwhelming results for all major parties at the European election, you won’t need to be Alastair Campbell to point out that Cameron’s Tories aren’t doing as well as Blair’s Labour were at a comparable stage in opposition.
The never-ending story will go on and on. Everyone will say Brown is rubbish, Brown will say wait till the Cabinet reshuffle/the election of a new Speaker/insert next event coming up on the horizon and no one will dare replace him and on and on this weird cycle will go, repeating itself without apparent end. In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.