Friday, July 20, 2007

Guest Authors

I have some decidely smart and knowledgeable, but sadly blogless, friends. I'm going to start offering them a place to post their observations on this blog. The first is Nick Spurrell who has posted his thoughts on the Ealing Southall by election below.

Ealing Southall's third-place failure

So the Conservatives came third in Ealing Southall. This is being interpreted as a failure. It is a failure, true, but not as big a one as it feels.

I blame the bloggers. They hyped our chances to an absurdly optimistic level. (If the BBC did too it's only because they were following the bloggers.)

It was obvious from the start we weren't going to win: Sikhs only made up 20ish percent of the electorate. All the defectors were Sikhs. Even if we got 80% of the Sikh vote, which was unlikely, we'd be no-where near winning (or coming second!). And becoming the "Sikh party" is a stupid idea where the Sikhs are a clear minority in a constituency where, after blind Labour loyalty, religion is the next biggest cleavage.

All of the defecting councillors were effectively saying: "Labour didn't favour me so I'm going to go off to the opposition". That was also seemingly Tony Lit's thinking. They didn't care a bit about policy or ideology. And nor do the electorate. To David Cameron's credit, he probably recognised this and thought he'd play to it with focus on personality (not just his, but Mr Lit's).

CCHQ was second-rate in its due diligence. It should have known about the Labour donations, and if it decided they still wanted Mr Lit, wooing him should have been played as a major defection from Labour. That could even have worked to our advantage.

In sum: a disaster all round: for CCHQ, for Mr Lit, Mr Cameron, the councillors, bloggers, the Conservatives' reputation. This was more like a student election than one to Parliament.

We on the right often say that Labour believe their own spin. In this case, we believed our own spin.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're all going to get sent to Climate Camp...

...if we don't sign up to big new taxes on hard-up manufacturing industry and good old family holidays.

I saw this flyer at the Prince Charles cinema off London's Leicester Square; at first I thought it was a macabre joke:


Looking at the reverse it appears it is a protest against Heathrow expansion:


All these moralistic attacks on flying can't be justified even under the analysis of a 'green' like Stern. As Fraser Nelson noted on the Spectator's CoffeeHouse blog yesterday:

"If anyone is thinking of cancelling a trip to a developing country where livelihoods depend on tourism, can I put into perspective the impact of air travel with some other polluters identified on page 199 of the Stern Review.

World Greenhouse Gas Emissions (from World Resources Institute)

Road transport 9.9%.
Agriculture soils 6.0%
Livestock (ie, bovine flatulence or farting and burping cows) & manure 5.1%
Cement 3.8%
Rail and ship and “other” transport 2.3%
Landfills 2.0%
Air transport 1.6%
Rice cultivation 1.5%
Food & tobacco 1.0%"

Cross-posted from the TaxPayers' Alliance blog.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Badger Warfare

Apologies if everyone saw this last Tuesday but I missed it first time round:

"UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.""

Bloody brilliant. It is, indeed, a crazy world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


A report I wrote on green jobs in local councils was featured by the Telegraph on Sunday and is the subject of the Littlejohn column today:

"In Tower Hamlets, the poorest borough in London and arguably the most deprived in Britain, 58 employees have job titles which contain the words 'climate change' or 'global warming'. Tower Hamlets still has the worst recycling record in the country, as well as some of the Nottingham has 22 staff dedicated to dealing with 'issues around global warming'. The city also boasts 70 'green champions'. We're not talking Robin Hood and his Merry Men here."

I finally got around to watching Littlejohn's anti-semitism documentary that myself and Mr. Eugenides were defending against Greenstein's lame attacks the other day. It's actually very good. A calm and dignified look at a serious problem.

Also, I do know what Littlejohn means about being asked "are you Jewish" when something anti-semitic angers you. I was asked that question when I sounded off about the UCU boycott proposal. I'm not Jewish but find the idea that I must be to find prejudice like the UCU boycott alarming genuinely disconcerting.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pakistan slides further towards anarchy

Today the Telegraph reports a growing number of attacks in Pakistan's border regions. This is very worrying. It suggests a growing loss of government control. If this goes too far the attacks will start to spread across the country. It is at that stage, when the government is no longer able to guarantee people's security in the heartland as well as the chaotic border regions, that the threat of an Islamist revolution, promising stability, proving successful becomes very real.

If that happens all hell breaks loose. Pakistanis face the dismal future of a people under Islamist rule. The Christian minority face the prospect of truly horrific abuse. The security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons becomes far less certain. Relations with India take a serious hit. The British-Pakistani community becomes even more radicalised. In short: all hell breaks loose.

The army isn't done yet and things still could turn out alright but there is no doubting that things are currently going very wrong.