Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Prescott, the Bloggers, the "Hoodies" and Bicycles

Polititaholic will be on holiday for the next few weeks (on a bicycle in Norway). Parting thoughts: the survival of Prescott thus far is astonishing (and is not what I predicted weeks ago: I thought he would be gone by now). However the end cannot be far away: the latest allegations about the Dome-Casino shred what's left of his reputation (even New Labour's portly proletarian could not resist the allure of the mega-rich). It looks as if he will stay on as Deputy Leader but resign as Deputy PM. That, of course, would mean a Deputy Leadership election in the autumn; which could, in turn, trigger a Leadership election. There is, of course, no constitutional mechanism for removing Prescott: if Blair doesn't sack him he could sit tight and Blair has every reason to keep him where he is. The role of bloggers in bringing down Prescott has attracted a lot of attention: Guido Fawkes had a piece in yesterday's Guardian. Let's face it, Guido and Iain Dale are both excellent bogs, but they both have a right-wing Conservative political agenda. They are willing to mock "Dave" (because they are further to the right than he is) but reserve their fire mostly for attacks on Labour. In this respect they are unlike Private Eye which, although stuffed full of the same public-school types and conservative with a small "C", genuinely has no political agenda: it will go after anyone in power of whatever party with equal relish. I don't think this is true of Guido and Iain Dale. On the other hand, both do seem to be well-informed about what goes on "inside the beltway" and, especially in the case of Guido, one does sometimes wonder if his blog is entirely an independent effort (he seems to have nothing else to do). Finally, Cameron seems to have misjudged things so far as "Hoodies" are concerned. What he seems to be saying is, in fact, sensible: wearing a hood doesn't make a teenager a thug; if thugs wear hoods it is the thuggishness that is objectionable, not the hood. Teenagers wear these things to be like other teenagers. There is obviously a problem with out-of-control teenagers in inner-cities, but their sartorial choices are not the main problem. But Cameron got the "mood music" wrong: "Hug a Hoodie" is a gift to critics of Cameron's shallowness and spin (his Blairish qualities) and it won't endear him to younger voters (who regard it as risible): it's not quite a Hague "baseball cap" moment, but its close. Anyway, I'm off on my bicycle (and no, I won't be followed by a chauffeur-driven car carrying my luggage, I'll be carrying the damn stuff myself).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bits and Bobs

Iain Dale reports on his blog (see Links) that according to an article in the Spectator (which is not on Politaholic's subscription list) the permatan Peter Hain may be ready to "betray" Blair. It seems the BBC have picked up the story; probably from Dale (without acknowledgement). Apparently Hain exected to be promoted at the last reshuffle. Blair promised he would get his chance "next time". Hain replied: "There won't be a next time under you".
It looks as if Blair is under pressure to "name a day" at the autumn conference. If he doesn't there will be a challenge. On Thursday's Daily Politics Michael Meacher said that "when the time comes" there should be an election, and there should be a "candidate of the centre-left". He fell just short of announcing his own candidature.
The vile born-again Jonahan Aitken and the fruitcake Freddy Forsyth are on Any Questions on Radio 4. They actually make a good point: both Labour and the Conservatives are having trouble imposing candidates appproved by the London leadership on local constituences (and if, instead of "Three-Jobs-Bob", a "mincing metrosexual" had been imposed on Bromley and Chislehurst, then the Tories would have lost the seat).