- All Contents of Site – Index
- Go to “stand up for Jesus & me”
- About David Cameron’s Speech to Conference, 3rd Oct, 2007
- Watch David Cameron’s Speech here
- Opinion Poll Watch – updated
Comment at end of page
PARTY NIL – THE PRESS WON
Yes, the meeja was the clear victor in Labour’s ‘conference’ at Bournemouth. You wouldn’t know it, because THEY haven’t really noticed. They are so far up their own business that the collective printed media haven’t quite realised that they have at a stroke got Labour to change its foreign policy in at least one and probably more important areas.
Whether it’s just to upstage the Unutterable One (Blair) in case he gets too big for his statesman’s boots and actually DOES something useful in the Middle Easy – (causing the rest of us to wonder if perhaps he was doing something useful here too) – I haven’t yet worked out. It could be that, or the election, or something else entirely. Goodness … they might even MEAN it.
But Labour’s weak-kneed apology for their (Blair’s) mistakes over foreign policy are to my mind, a disgrace. Suddenly, now the boss has retired, they can say what they REALLY thought of him all along. Him and his ideas! Dreadful! UnSPEAKable!
And this policy apology is clearly for the benefit of the press, the voters and the party conference goers. I’m yet to be convinced it is thought through. Is it really for the benefit of the country?
DEFENCE SECRETARY HOISTS THE WHITE FLAG
The Defence Secretary Des Browne, seems to be repositioning Labour to the left of the trade unions. It’s clear the white flag went up at his speech at conference, when he said that we will need to speak to the Taleban, because they ‘are not going away’. The white flag went up to the media – victors all!
I don’t throw up my hands in horror (well, not both hands anyway) at the thought of negotiating with terrorists. We’ve had that experience here in Northern Ireland, and it took Blair 10 years to sort it out where refuseniks had failed for decades.
But SAYING that we need to negotiate with the Taleban because they are ‘not going away’ is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
It is opening the door to other terrorists to keep on killing us – as Bin Laden promised in his recent video. They have seen the colour of our blood, and without Blair, it’s not red any more.
So, unless agreed with all parties involved, it is not an announcement for the UK to make, unless it is trying to upset an apple cart along the way.
Having said that, the Afghan leader President Hamid Karzai says that he is prepared to go and talk to Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and other rebel leaders, and to even invite them into his government. Yes – invite them into government!
So you might say that Browne is on the ball.
Or off his head.
And what do the Americans say about this? Who knows? Who cares? Brown, Miliband and Browne – tough guys all? Or ‘see no evil, etc …’
The Conservatives could be jumping all over them next week for such blatant backtracking. But somehow, I don’t think they will. They know which side their newspaper is greased on.
27th September, 2007
LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE OVER
“Who’d have thought it?” said a cabinet member to Nick Robinson at the end of the “most boring conference in years”. Well, Labour presumably, or they wouldn’t have crowned their man so determinedly.
And the reason that Brown has done so well? Probably many and complex, including Blair’s demise, and general contentment with Blair’s policies. Confused? Well, there we are then. But it must have something to do with the Tories’ perceived weakness at present.
Mr Cameron has the job of his life next week.
And as for ‘airbrushing Blair out of Labour’s history’ – just let them try.
TONY’S FRIEND TONY STICKS IT IN TOO
In the last few weeks of Blair’s premiership I used to quite admire Tony McNulty. He seemed to have some empathy with the position of the then PM. But now he’s turned out to be as unprincipled as the rest of the cronies. The criticism of Blair & Reid’s “civil liberties” clampdown – [where? - when? - nobody's clamped me down] – is typical of the pre-electioneering going on amongst the erstwhile.
ANOTHER ‘BLAME BLAIRER’ ON THE MAKE
On another note – Melanie Phillips – who often talks good British sense – stamps heavily on at least one of those taken in and just maybe, cashing in, on the ‘blame Blair’ hysteria over Lebanon last summer. Robert Harris, writer of ‘The Ghost’, another erstwhile, who fell out with Blair over Iraq and Mandelson – (though interestingly Mandelson didn’t fall out with Blair) – has ‘ghosted’ Blair right through his new book. The fictional ex-PM was up to all sorts of tricks, it seems.
Blair, (what do you mean it WASN’T a nod to Blair?), if this is a sideways
swipe look, becomes more and more interesting as time passes.
The political point Harris makes about Lebanon is what upsets Melanie Phillips, as it should. But it just might be that those who buy Harris’s book are wondering, hoping that there might be a tale of marital infidelity to transfer to real life.
Melanie Phillips says:
‘Groan. Here we go again. Leave aside the issue of Iraq — Harris appears to have swallowed wholesale the Big Lie of last year’s Lebanon war. Let’s recap, briefly.
What prompted Israel’s military action in Lebanon was not comparable to terrorism in Northern Ireland.
Next, there was no ‘massive loss of civilian life’ — quite the contrary. [...] But the British media nevertheless viciously misrepresented the whole thing, inducing a national hysteria and madness — which was what drove Tony Blair from office earlier than he had intended. It was one of the most disgraceful episodes in contemporary British history. Patently false Hezbollah propaganda claims were uncritically regurgitated by the British media as fact, which I commented upon here. ‘
And Harris is depending on Blair’s indifference, and seeing “the joke”!
‘And I think that if he read it he would both see the joke, in a way, and I think he would be quite indifferent to it. It’s that quality of indifference that makes him such a formidable politician. I don’t think he holds any kind of grudge – I think he can completely absorb things, and that’s one of his most impressive qualities.” A niggle of worry raises its head again. “I may be totally wrong. The day this appears a writ might come through the door. But I would doubt it, knowing him.” ‘
Good joke, eh? Wonder if Mrs Blair is quite so water-off-a-duck’s-back about it?
And Lebanon – when will these grudge-mongers get it? We didn’t matter as far as saying/criticising/moaning in that conflict. Saying is not doing. Thank the powers that
be were, that Blair would not be held hostage to the Guardianistos and the like.
Btw, got a good lawyer Mr Harris?
The Daily Mail, which, in its search for balance and freedom, have NEVER printed a comment of mine, including this short one today “Yeah, me”, have their take on the book. Surprise, surprise!
‘Meanwhile, he is alternating between laughter and horror at the attempts of the media cavalcade to turn his thriller into a literal roman a clef. “Peter Mandelson has phoned to say: ‘Would it help if I denounced it?'” he giggles. Not if Cherie gets there first.’
26th September, 2007
MILIBAND DISOWNS IRAQ
“Sorry, Tony. Nothing personal.”
When the boy David, Miliband not Cameron, meets Blair today at the U.N. I don’t expect there will be much said about Miliband’s comments over the “mistakes over Iraq” and the alienation of “millions of muslims”. After all, they agree on both those points.
It is also the case that millions of non-muslims have been alienated over islamist terrorism (‘muslims’) attacking the west before and after Iraq.
But of course Brown has already worked his ‘son of the manse’ stuff on the British clan of non-muslims, especially the marginal seat voters in the south of England. And now Miliband is having a go at bringing back into the fold the distanced muslims in the inner cities. [The Tories will never win them over - but watch those Lib Dems!]
MEANWHILE – WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?
Of course David & Gordon HAVE TO do this. It’s election time – and Labour needs all of them onside – until after November, anyway. Hopefully then New, New Labour can clamp down with a heavy hand on the mosques up and down the country that are still encouraging fundamentalist radicalism and action against the rest of us ‘unbelievers’.
Sorry to sound cynical, but there we are.
And Mr Blair will understand this Foreign Secretary and PM/GB tactic, from these, his erstwhile closest lieutenants. The scars on his back are toughened now, if not completely healed.
24th September, 2007
BROWN’S NON-JAW-DROPPING SPEECH
Have you noticed that Brown has stopped doing the fish gawp? Only now have I realised this. But then, as I may have mentioned before, I can’t warm to GB/PM, so don’t watch him a lot. I must be one of those British people (Scottish too) whose values, rights and responsibilities preclude me, oddly, from jumping on the Brown bandwagon. [Wonder what Alastair Campbell & Peter Mandelson, seated in the hall, REALLY thought!]
Just a thought – ‘GB/PM’ – stands for Great Britain/British/Briton! That’s why he kept mentioning it.
One thing I noticed GB/PM had in common with Menzies Campbell last week was the heavy hint to his audience that it was time they got to their feet for him! Ming Campbell did it last week by waving his arms upwards to the assembled faithful at the end. GB/PM did it by saying he “would always stand up for you“! After he’d told us Jesus stood up for ALL the children.
Don’t think Tony Blair EVER had to encourage a standing ovation. That decision he left to others.
And I’m still standing (after all this time).
The Scotsman’s angle on the Great
Scot – Brit’s speech to conference.
2009 for Election
So after Brown’s speech it seems the bookies still say that 2009 is the favourite for the next election. I still think he may go at the beginning of November if Cameron does badly in the polls after his conference next week.
ANALYSIS – NICK’S & MINE [IN A SOUNDBITE OR TWO]
- The BBC’s Nick Robinson’s quick analysis of the speech was pretty much in tune with mine.
- Doing ‘God’ was unheard of by any previous prime minister or leader. Even the deeply religious Mr Blair never did it! How risky in this secular country. Did Alastair Campbell squirm?
- Saying ‘Britain’ and/or ‘British’ 71 times (some say over 80 – I can’t be bothered counting) is interesting. Appealing to the right.
- ‘Rights and responsiblities’ – noteworthy, I think. Hardly novel.
- Values. Blair’s BIG word.
- Standing up for the country and its people (what ELSE would he do?)
- And a lot of other Blairite stuff.
- Something about ‘parliament deciding on going to war’ – which presumably is meant to refer to dropping the royal prerogative, (by recent tradition in the hands of the PM.) But, Blair DID NOT USE this prerogative. He ALWAYS went to parliament and won parliamentary consent. Don’t try to mislead the gullible by half-truths and innuendo, Mr GB/PM! God would not approve!
- So, very little about Iraq or international policies. Just … wait for it … mention of our “responsibilities” a few dozen times. [In parentheses this is meant to infer, 'I am a responsible person, as are all of you great Britons and so I will be obligated to maintain our forces in Iraq. But you understand I would prefer it if the other guy hadn't gone in in the first place, although at the time I went along with him and voted for it as did all the other members of the cabinet, bar one who resigned. And if you wanted rid of Blair and to have me because of Iraq, SORRY to disappoint you- but that's life and international politics in this day of rights and responsibilities. You have the right to complain, but I have the responsibility.'] And if it’s a question of caring about YOUR rights. Well, I don’t care, and you’re not right!
- And of course there was the rather confused business about a meritocracy for ALL the people! What? A contradiction in terms? I thought a meritocracy meant you got to the top through merit, and not as part of a great plan (social engineering?)
- And … and …
WHERE WAS BLAIR?
I don’t mean ‘literally’. He was never going to be present as he is attending the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in his role as international Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet. But, after winning three elections for Labour – UNHEARD OF previously, moving Labour to the centre of British politics, and making the Tories now resemble a fringe party, surely courtesy itself should have produced more than a word of thanks in reference to Northern Ireland and the new Envoy post?
Nick Robinson also noticed this, not just we arch-Blairites. Tony Blair, the prime minister responsible for implementing the ‘great progress’ already made in the country and within Labour, had but a quick mention. A sentence or two, after 40 minutes or so into the GB/PM speech, and only with reference to his Middle East quest and his Northern Ireland success.
Maybe he didn’t want to remind us of what we were missing.
I know the British public are supposed to be now asking, “Tony Who”, though I don’t accept that, but c’mon, Labour party! Disgraceful omission! HE put you lot where you are now. No ifs, no buts, no alsos.
‘Courtesy’ might have been a useful word to include in Brown’s lexicon of ‘good’ words today.
And, by the way, Mr GB/PM, how exactly do we deport people who supply guns and drugs when it is clear that EU obligations forbid it? Like the wool you tried to pull over our eyes over Blair’s ‘abuse’ of the Royal Prerogative, you should be thoroughly ashamed of this attempt at deceit or diversion. Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness tonight as you say your prayers.
So, in the end, a lot of populist stuff but nothing inspirational. But did we ever really expect to be inspired after Blair?
The days of inspiration are long gone. Workmanlike is the best that could be said for GB/PM. Though I AM glad he’s stopped resembling a fish gasping for oxygen.
Wonder if Mr Cameron feels a bit like that today?
23rd September, 2007
HAPPINESS – HAPPINESS, THE GREATEST GIFT THAT I POSSESS
Well, isn’t Brown a happy bunny today?
No, really! I have never seen him smile so much and look so relaxed as today at his party conference. Perhaps something to do with not having another guy on your shoulder trying to subtly kill you off (figuratively, of course).
Anyway – my advice to GB/PM – sorry I admit to being in complete denial – the words “Prime Minister” attached to GB/PM haven’t soaked into my skin yet – my advice is to go for an election when and if you get a lead of around 10% – 12% after an opinion poll following the Tories’ conference next week. This is what I suggested before GB got the job, and nothing has changed, as far as I can see.
The Tories need to have poll leads of at least 10% to win even a tiny majority, such are the constituency boundary layout at present. But we should remember that GB/PM only has to keep his eye on a handful of constituencies, notably in the south of England. If Labour is still holding up in Kent and other such regions, well, he has a win in the bag.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LEADER
I really don’t think GB/PM is going to remain as popular as he seems to be at the moment. It’s been a busy and testing summer already, although blame for most the issues have not attached to the government. But, if it is the economy, sweetheart, there may be more bad news in the pipeline.
Although, having said that, how on earth would Cameron and his teenage chancellor cope with that!?
At least the present prime minister and chancellor look like mature adults.
And on the back-burner – the unions! Still dreaming that GB/PM will take them back pre-1997.
13th September, 2007
BROWN AT TUC – “MOST BORING SPEECH IN YEARS”
Last year it was heart-breaking to watch Blair being lampooned by the TUC, as RMT members walked out on him, over … er… something or other, Iraq, I expect. And all that after he had just been deposed, more or less, by his own party. All I remember is an ungrateful crowd of wasters attacking the man who brought their party (I expect they were mostly Labour) three historic election victories.
Now, I just can’t bring myself to watch GB/PM. He bores and irritates me. And if I wanted another dose of Shakespearian tragedy, I’d go to Stratford. So I don’t really know what he was like, but it seems it was the most boring speech for years! This might tell you something. OK, so the ‘enemy of my enemy’ thing again!
It comes to something when the TUC is missing Blair. Can’t wait for the Labour Party conference.
“NOT FLASH, JUST GORDON” !?
UnFlash Gordon! And they pay good money for this? Saatchi & Saatchi (yes, they of the Thatcher “Labour’s not Working” fame) won Labour’s advertising contract for the above catchy phrase. If they use it, I think it may end up catching THEM!
I KID YOU NOT
I could have done better. I mean – doesn’t Labour’s election machine get it? They may be attempting a double whammy here, in that we are supposed to dismiss two opponents in one go – Cameron & Blair – but they also fix in our minds that we are stuck with Brown and remind us TOO much perhaps, of Blair!
Apart from that Flash Gordon is a comic strip character more associated with Brown’s childhood than today’s young voters. That’s a reminder of his age – older than the youthful Blair.
And the original Flash Gordon was tasked with fighting the Red Sword invaders. Now, if UnFlash is NOT up to that, WHO the hell is, now that we have our very own Red Sword invaders to fight?
What about “Not Colourful, just Brown” OR “Not Interesting, just Boring” OR “Not New, just Old”.
I don’t know; perhaps I’m missing something. Or perhaps I’m in the wrong business. I’m sure I could have done better than S & S, playing with words on the battles of the Brothers B. Make no mistake, that comparison – BvB – as much as with contrasting Brown with ‘flashy’ Cameron, is what it’s all about.
The first comparison that leapt straight into MY mind, on reading the “Not Flash, Just Gordon” phrase, was that of Brown v Blair and not Brown v Cameron. And perhaps that’s to be expected since in my opinion Blair’s enemies stood next to him; while his opponents sat opposite.
- So in a ‘flash’ Brown has reminded us that we used to have Blair in Number 10, a winner if ever Labour had one.
- He has re-opened Labour’s wounds, reminding them of betrayal and making some of them wonder if they have done the right thing with their patricide.
- And he has sent middle ground voters on whom they depend back to the Lib Dems and the Tories, cos there’s little of any real value or difference attaching to GB/PM.
- And anyway, argue the floaters, we quite liked ‘flash’ Blair, whatever they try to tell us, after the event!
- Might as well go for Flash Cameron then.
Go for that election, GB/PM – but better go for it soon, before the electorate starts to get wise.
11th September, 2007
So, Brown has been holding a video conference with Bush after Petraeus’s evidence to Congress. Good.
It’s good to talk, Gordon.
4th September, 2007
BROWN OUT – BUSH IN
Fancy President Bush turning up in Iraq yesterday! The last time he was there was over a year ago, but somehow yesterday was just the right day.
Nothing to do with the British symbolic departure of the 550 from Basra by any chance?
All these agenda’d politicians …
The thought crosses my mind that Mr Bush might not have felt the need to issue the obviously Brown-aimed shot across the bows, if Gordon had just picked up the telephone, and mentioned yesterday’s exit from Basra to George. The president will have been expecting an early withdrawal of sorts, as Blair had said as much months ago. But the difference is that for good or ill, Blair knew whose side he was on. Brown seems to think he is on the side of the British ‘liberatti’ press and those who cry, “OUT NOW”, as though THEY were the decision-makers.
Nothing to do with an upcoming general election?
Now I may be wrong here, and perhaps Brown did ring Bush, but one of the reasons Blair did so well in international relationships is that he communicates. I’m not sure if GB/PM has yet recognised the value of this.
Whatever, much as we all, and I mean ALL, would like to see our troops home before we lose any more, why do I have this nasty taste in my mouth?
PETRAEUS REPORT AWAITED WITH BATED BREATH
Bush is awaiting the report to Congress on 10th & 11th September from General David Petraeus, the head of US forces in Iraq, and the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker. Added to that there are varying opinions as to whether or not the ‘surge’ is actually working.
Bush’s words were meant for British ears, as well as American. To paraphrase, sort of:
To the British:
“Tony had the guts to keep your guys there to see the job through. Where’s your backbone, Mr Brown?”
And, to the Americans:
“We Americans don’t cut and run on our responsibilities, even if others do.”
Some of the president’s actual words:
But I want to tell you this about the decision – about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground – not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media.
In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home.
If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq, we will more likely face them in America. If we don’t want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here. And that’s exactly what you’re doing, and America is safer for it.
Go here to read all of President Bush’s speech. Note how Basra, Britain or the British troops were NOT mentioned.
SO MUCH TO WIN SO MUCH TO LOSE – WARS & ELECTIONS
Given that the withdrawal was already lined up while Tony Blair was PM, it’s hardly unexpected. But, Mr Bush has a ‘war’ still to win, and despite the warnings that “we are in for the long haul”, American and British electorate are not entirely convinced. And of course, Mr Brown has an election to win and a mandate to secure.
Perhaps Mr Bush would like nothing better than that Brown fails to do so, as his pay-back for Tony’s demise.
So, is it “defeat”?
Well, like so many things in politics, it depends. I’ll try and list a few options here, that come to mind, then just see how they balance up.
- If you think we lost it years ago – right at the start, say, by going in in the first place – then the exit is a defeat.
- Or victory for those of us who “knew right at the start”.
- If you think the British government took fright at public concerns over troop deaths, then it’s defeat.
- Or victory for expediency over political reality.
- If you think that one soldier’s death (or several hundred) are too many, then it’s defeat.
- Or victory for pacifism and non-interventionism.
- If you didn’t believe the reasons for going in in the first place, then it’s defeat.
- Or victory for your own superior political knowledge and judgement.
- If you think our troops were ‘causing’ the insurgent murders by their very presence, then it’s defeat.
- Or victory for those who kill their own to defeat the enemy.
- If you think the Sunni & Shi’ite’s meeting in Finland today portends some kind of ceasefire, then it’s victory.
- Or defeat, since we didn’t persuade them to have the meeting.
- If you reckon Iran might stop supplying weapons and training to the insurgents now that we are going, then it’s victory.
- Or defeat, since they have beaten us into submission.
- If you don’t believe there is such a thing as fundamentalist terrorism, then it’s victory.
- Or defeat by Mr Nobody.
- If you think the “war on terror” can’t be won anyway, then it’s victory.
- Or maybe defeat.
- If you think our troops have taught the Iraqis sufficiently well for them to sort themselves out, then it’s victory.
- If you think we could have done better if we had stayed longer, then it’s defeat.
I make that 1 clear defeat and 1 clear victory. Apart from that … well, it’s complicated.
It depends. Anyway, GB/PM says that it ‘s not defeat, so he must be right since he’s been helping to run the show in Iraq for the last 4 years. Oh, as well as fund it, in case you’d forgotten.
The withdrawal of British troops from the southern Iraqi city of Basra is not a defeat, Gordon Brown has insisted.
The Ministry of Defence said the handover of Basra province was now due in the autumn.
The prime minister said the withdrawal was “pre-planned and organised” and UK forces would take an “overwatch” role.
Since we originally had 40,000 plus troops in Iraq at the beginning, and now they have been reduced to a fraction of that, you can hardly say we’ve suddenly decided to get out with the arrival of Brown.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION – NORTHERN IRELAND AS THE EXAMPLE
This weekend, in Finland, Northern Ireland’s Martin McGuinness has chaired talks between Iraqi Sunnis & Shi’ites on what the Northern Ireland politicians learned about “conflict resolution” following the settlement of the decades long conflict a few months ago, under the guidance of Tony Blair (remember him?)
It seems the Iraqi groups have been looking at the “Twelve Principles” idea, echoing George Mitchell’s principles. Both Sunnis and Shi’ites are considering a disarmament commission, as in Northern Ireland.
I wonder if anyone mentioned the name of that other guy, largely instrumental in the peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland – a certain Mr Blair, of whom George Mitchell said in 1998:
“Blair understands the extent to which both communities see themselves as victims, and he has a remarkable ability to identify with and calm their fears. From what I saw I will say this: if I had an important interest, public or private, that was subject to negotiation, I’d be happy to have Tony Blair representing me.”
If the Sunnis & Shi’ites left Finland with praise for Mr Blair ringing in their ears, they might be confused somewhat, but nonetheless, wiser.