Friday, December 30, 2005

Fings ain't what they used ter be

Good news – there’s some optimism in the British newspapers. Polly Toynbee in the Guardian finds much to be cheerful about in Britain. But she can’t resist a swipe at Tony Blair and gets off to a bad start by declaring that “miserablism is in the air”. On the contrary I think it’s going out of fashion and that Polly is, as often, a little behind the times. Even the Daily Mail comment piece is relatively upbeat having a justified pop at the Americans for their treatment of prisoners of war (their treatment of everyday prisoners, which is also grim, isn’t mentioned), writing off Charles Kennedy (and why not?) and praising Gordon Brown’s economic stewardship. A nice contrast to their gloomy piece yesterday about the size of the public sector which seemed designed to appeal to those who can’t cope with complexity and to carry on the tradition of giving their readership something to be angry about.

Odd thing complexity. Often those who can’t understand it are attracted to conspiracy. If they’re lefties all the evil in the world is the result of a few wicked capitalists. For right leaners it’s all a conspiracy of a few trade-unionists to blame.

In the Times the Mick Hume again lambastes Miserabilists but his fire is rather misdirected today mainly at politicians. He should turn his guns instead on the majority of his fellow scribblers who seem determined to see their glasses almost empty. Gerard Baker has an amusing list of irritating new words most of which have surfaced this year and Dean Godson provides a useful analysis of what’s wrong with American foreign policy especially in the middle East while Janet Daley gets in a lather about the difficulties she’s had contacting the people who run eBay.

The Guardian leader writer is justifiably cross about salaries in the City rightly branding them as unfair but offering no solution. Complexity rears again. My left-leaning pals are furious that the government hasn’t ‘done something’ but are stumped when asked what that something might be. Stumped apart from those dear old souls who still haven’t woken up to the negative impact* on an economy of high taxation.

More bad news for the Liberal Democrats over in the Independent. Apparently their MEPs are jolly cross with Mr Kennedy over the party’s plans for reform of the CAP. Perhaps the shock of their party having plans about anything has impacted* the MEPs. Elsewhere the Indy is concerned about the fate of the victims of the Pakistani earthquake as winter sets in; they do seem to have been doubly unlucky as their disaster hasn’t rung bells with the compassion fashion industry.

* can’t remember whether it should be ‘effect’ or ‘affect’ – hence the rather unsatisfactory ‘impact’, sorry.

5 Comments:

At 16:29, Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

Hi Brian! Nice blog! Welcome to the bloghosphere, it´s always nice to welcome a fellow blogspoter! I was wondering about the Lib dems MEP-mutiny over thge CAP. Unfortunately i can´t read the full article in Indy, Does the partyleadership prepare a now policy on the CAP, if so what´s new about it? And is this part of the unfolding leadership crisis?
Thanks!

 
At 15:09, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks for your friendly comment and greeting! Unfortunately the article has gone into the Independent's portfolio service which I don't subscribe to. I think our newspaper version of it must have been taken away in the recycling lorry that call this morning or perhaps I used it to light the fire....

I'm sure the story wouldn't have surfaced if it wasn't for the pressure on Charles Kennedy to quit. It was about the party's MEPs being dismayed that they hadn't been consulted before a report recommending radical reform of the CAP was produced. The report is due to be published next week I think. The piece caught my eye partly because it's so rare to have anything reported about MEPs or the European Parliament in the UK press. No wonder people get such strange ideas about it.....

 
At 17:30, Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

Thanks for your in depth answer Brian! What has the Lib dem policy on CAP been until now? It´s preety much the same in Sweden with our MEP´s. It´s sad that the European Parliament is so hard to sell to the people. What is this Charles Kennedy stuff all about. He delivered the best result in parliament ever, are they really prepared to throw it all away? Such a waste with political talent. Looking forward to the report on the new CAP policy!

 
At 10:29, Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

Brian,
The causes of the Charles Kennedy leadership crisis became very vivid to me this morning, when reading the Independent. We had a paralel case here in Sweden a few years ago. Gudrun Schyman, the then leader of the Left Party(the transformed former Communist party), had a Alchohol problem, and admitted her problem, in much the same way as Kennedy. Schyman who at that time had transformed the party, imagevise and in terms of electoral strength to unprecedented levels. The party rallied around her, she took a time out from politics and was admitted to an alcholic clinic. Later returning more popular than ever. After leaving the leadership of the party, unfortunately it has relapsed into the old die hard habits and are currently in a state of ideological warfare between the old school communists light and the new school , aiming for a strong and inclusive left party, free from the dogmatic rhetoric and history of the party. A question that one thought was resolved at least a decade ago.Gudrun Schyman has moved on, creating a new political platform called Feministic Initiative, aiming for parliament in September 2006.

But is it also an ideological crisis in the party? When looking at the posible candidates, they are presented as wanting to move closer to the Tories or staying on the current political path, which a suppose could be labeled by some as leftish, taking a clear stand on the Iraq war and so on.

 
At 15:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was "affect", btw

 

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