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Blair: Talk about the future, not about the future

Mr Blair’s getting quite good a slapping the Chancellor round the chops, it would seem. On today’s Sunday AM, he’s announced that

the most important thing is that this week we set out an agenda for the future

He wants to talk about the future, whilst avoiding the question of who might be the future leader. He wants to pave his own path, so that he’s telling Gordon what to do from beyond the political grave. Spinner reckons watching Tone’s interview is ‘perfect media training in action’. I call it ‘How to annoy the chancellor without even mentioning his name’.

Is this a brilliant final political play from the man whose career is defined by media-friendly political strategy? That’s up to Gordon. If he’s stupid enough to take the bait and directly challenge Mr Blair, he’ll not succeed. If he remembers that revenge is a dish best served cold (with a side order of cliché), then he can wait until he gets into Number Ten, and undo Mr Blair’s ‘reforms’ stitch by stitch, with the former PM unable to do anything to stop him. How satisfying.

And, when even the uber-loyal (if mad) Health Secretary agrees that your reforms have failed, maybe it would even be good for the country, too. Maybe.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Jute bags, green taxes, and Liberal Democrats

Menzies CampbellAt this year’s Liberal Democrat conference, delegates have been provided with environmentally friendly jute conference bags. They will be expected to use them again next year, rather than being issued with new ones. But reflecting a theme at this year’s conference, the bag scheme has something of a hole. If the Lib Dems are serious about increasing their popularity, surely lots of new people will be at conference next year – without this year’s jute bag. It’s an idea that looks good in principle, but flaws are found with barely five seconds of armchair thought.

In this way, it’s quite similar to “green taxes”, which the Liberal Democrats have voted in favour of today. The first big test of Sir Campbell’s leadership may have been passed with flying colours, but the first big test of logic is failed. Green taxes place the tax burden on polluting activities to discourage them. Yet the moment Green Taxes work, they fail: That is, the moment people are discouraged from polluting activities, there is no tax revenue for public services.

So, effectively, the Green Taxes either have to be stupidly low, so they don’t discourage people, or stupidly high, so that a few pay a lot for a little pollution – which hardly fairly distributes the tax burden, since those who can’t switch to expensive renewable energy sources (the lower socioeconomic classes) pay more. It’s easy for CEO to buy a new non-polluting car, it’s harder for Unemployed Joe who’s driven the same old polluting banger for the last twenty-five years. If anything, it’s the reverse of a LibDem policy.

I was going to write about Charles Kennedy at this point, but I’ve just fallen off my chair with shock. Tony Blair acutally features on the Labour homepage. Admittedly, he’s tiny (much smaller than “Dave the Chameleon”), but it’s a step forward. I think this might be the first time since before the last election. Sadly, nothing to rival the LibDems’ MingCast, but I can dream.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Better than Jeffrey Archer

The bookIain Dale has just finished his latest book, Guide to Political Blogging in the UK (buy here, or download here). It’s a good read, with contributions from Francis Maude (Tory Chairman), Adam Boulton (Sky’s political editor), David Milliband (uber-loyal Blairite minister), and the political editor of the Daily Mail to name but a few. As well as being released to the general public, it’s also going to be distributed at the party conferences to raise awareness of blogs amongst politicians.

In one section of the guide, Iain rates the Top 100 Non-Aligned Political Blogs. As you’d expect, Guido quite rightly claims the number one spot. More surprisingly, I’ve somehow parked up at number 29.

Just to put that in context, ex-politician and author Jeffrey Archer is at 68, the Daily Mail’s star columnist Melanie Phillips is at 69, and The Times’ David Aaronovitch is at 80. I’m at 29. That’s five places down from the BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson. How the heck did that happen?

As if that wasn’t enough, I feature at number 69 in the overall list of political blogs. The 69th best political blog in the country. I think that’s pretty impressive for a medical student with zero political experience writing on a blog where a high proportion of the posts are not remotely related to politics.

So thank you, Iain, for your support. 🙂

This post was filed under: Blogging, Book Club, Site Updates.




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