We need more ordinary people in Parliament and less career politicians

Walker's Rambles

I’ve just read today’s Guardian editorial “Byers for sale” taking former cabinet minister Stephen Byers to task for allegedly offering, on camera, to use his access and influence to lobby for private clients for up to £5,000 a day.

While condemning Byers for his greed and stupidity, interestingly, the Guardian also feels let down by the sight of a leading “centrist” being so eager to enrich himself. The paper also sees a potential conspiracy in Byers being exposed by The Sunday Times and Channel Four’s Dispatches, all the more so given that other MPs similarly identified as ready to make a fast buck included Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, ‘architects’ of the botched coup to remove Gordon Brown earlier this year.

The Guardian suggests that the last thing one should expect from “progressive centrists” is a willingness to dip their noses in the parliamentary trough like all the rest…

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The real Spanish veto threat

Wee Ginger Dug

I wasn’t going to blog today because I’ve got a bad case of manflu, which is like a regular cold only with additional histrionics, drama, and attention seeking. So very much like the Labour leadership contest then. But there’s news from Spain which I thought worth sharing, mostly because it’s deeply discomfiting to those Unionists who keep claiming that Spain would veto the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU. And when you’ve got a severe dose of manflu, the one thing that cheers you up more than anything else is making people who annoy you really miserable.

Regular readers of this blog will know that the myth that Spain would veto an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU is just that, a myth without foundation. At no point has the Spanish government ever made a statement to that effect, and on those occasions when he has been asked…

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flotation device

First, an intro to the introduction.

Rather than bang out another version of Tap’s origin story, I thought I’d just use the introduction I wrote for Karl French’s book about the band and its place in the universe.

Some pictures I know you haven’t seen. I have more lurking somewhere in this house. When I find them, you’ll be the first to know.



(From Spinal Tap: The Official Companion)

When I am called upon to write about the mostly fictional entity called Spinal Tap, I usually do so in the mostly fictional character of David St Hubbins, long-time guitarist/clothes-horse for said group. David can knock the piece off at one sitting, email it to his manager, and be back in bed by 10am.

But the one thing David St. Hubbins can’t do for us is talk about a movie called This is Spinal Tap. None of the band can…

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Trust ‘Britain’ with our Human Rights?

Butterfly Rebellion

After World War II and the horrors of the holocaust a brief window of opportunity opened for the international community to discuss and concretise by declaration the fundamental rights and freedoms of human beings, not the rights of mere citizens but the rights afforded to all people by virtue of our common and shared humanity. Eleanor Roosevelt, who represented the United States on the drafting committee of the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, rightly foresaw that the Declaration would have the same effect on the whole world that the US Declaration of Independence had on American society. No other written document in the history of human civilisation has so profoundly shaped how we see ourselves as people with inherent and inalienable rights, freedoms, and dignity.

Sadly, it is fair to suggest, that with the normalisation of international governmentality through the Cold War and the post-Cold War…

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I have drafted a section on housing and homelessness for this week’s Queen’s Speech

Andy Winter's Blog

queens-speech-ncrjThis week the Queen will read Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech, sometimes referred to as the Gracious Address, or, less formally, the Queen’s Speech. It has, of course, nothing to do with the Queen herself.  She is merely the messenger.  The speech is written by the government of the day, and sets out its legislative programme for the next session of parliament.

Rather than reading the Prime Minister’s speech this year, I have drafted a section on housing and homelessness which I humbly beseech Her Majesty substitutes for the message prepared by the Prime Minister. This is what I hope to hear on 18th May:

“My Government believes that homelessness is an abomination in this day and age, particularly in the sixth richest economy in the world. Councils will be resourced to build the homes needed to house current and future generations.

“My Government will bring forward legislation abolishing the…

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