This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Obama and I

Here's how I could have lost the election for Obama.....

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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Mandy is back!

George Osborne is on very dodgy ground.

The revelations yesterday and today that the Shadow Chancellor supped champagne on a Russian oligarch's yacht and, it is suggested, solicited a donation from him have created a bit of a media frenzy.

The accusations have been vigorously denied.

Whatever the truth, the whole sorry saga has the fingerprints of Peter Mandelson all over it.

Basically enraged that Osborne went public a couple of weeks ago with the claim that Mandelson had "dripped pure poison" into his ear about the Prime Minister, the new Secretary of State for Business has bided his time and told his mate, Nat Rothschild, to go public.

What does this tell us?

One simple thing: Don't cross Peter Mandelson.

Ever since the announcement he was to return to the cabinet, there has been a conservative witch-hunt, fuelled by their friends in the media, to get Mandy.

This attack on Osborne is a warning shot: if you try, I will come after you too.

It is classic politics.

It says, "I'm back" and now that the Tories are on the run for a change, the Labour Party should be very grateful.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Shares in Gordon Brown are up

It was Harold Wilson who famously posited “a week is a long time in politics”.

Only a few weeks ago, at the Labour Party conference, all talk was of leadership change.

Since then, there seems to have been a miraculous reversal in the Prime Minister’s fortunes.

An Independent on Sunday poll today sees Labour narrow the Tory lead. It is possible we might even win the Glenrothes by-election – unthinkable only a few weeks ago.

The Prime Minister’s handling of the financial crisis has been assured and decisive.

The £500 billion bail out of Britain’s banks is a big gamble, but it had the support of the opposition and no one, least of all George Osborne, is offering a credible alternative.

Mr. Brown has put all his cards on the table and now we must wait and see.

But surely no one can accuse him now of dither, delay and indecision?

If anything, this financial mess has galvanised him and Labour backbenchers. There is nothing quite like an international crisis to improve a government’s prospects.

Of course, this is no comfort to all for us who will end up paying for the mistakes of others. The next couple of years are going to be hard, very hard.

But politically, it has given Brown an opportunity to revitalise his government.

Take a look at Paul Krugman’s
article in the New York Times. Even Americans think Mr. Brown has saved the world financial system.

He seems to be the only leader who is genuinely interested in solving the current financial crisis on an international level, rather than retreating to nationalist solutions.

He has also been calling for reforms of the world’s banking and financial structures for years. Now, would seem a perfect opportunity to put that into practice.

And no longer does he have to pretend to be happy or flash. Serious times call for serious men. The ‘novice line’ he used in his conference speech the other week is beginning to work.

So for now, Brown is safe. There is not going to be any leadership challenge. There is not going to be any plotting.

Labour’s fortunes are tied to the economy.

The Prime Minister has had a good few weeks, we will wait and see what the next few bring.

Monday, 6 October 2008

How Sarah Palin works

My blogging on the US elections has been intermittant lately - the perils of moving house, starting a new job and going to the Labour conference.

But I did watch the Vice-Presidential debate the other night. For those of you who did as well, you might like this flow diagram about Sarah Palin (straight off the Huffington Post). It made me laugh

Back to the Future

The return of Peter Mandelson to the Cabinet has generated widespread criticism.

Some MPs have rightly pointed out he is a divisive figure. Other have called it a classic case of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

But, I think it is a political masterstroke.

Peter Mandelson has formidable political talents. He is probably the best political strategist of his time.

He can provide focus and direction to a government which sorely lacks it.
He has impeccable media firefighting skills - a quality, incidentally, which Margaret Beckett also has.

He does not underestimate the Tories - he understands them - which few in Brown's inner circle do.

His political renaissance has improved the quality of the Cabinet by about 100 per cent.

He will be a strong voice in the government for the New Labour project which has won this Party three General Election victories.

It is a political gamble, but when you are twenty points behind in the polls, what do you have to lose? On this occasion, Brown is right to take a risk.

It could of course go horribly wrong. But as the Tories might discover, it could go horribly right.