Saturday, April 26, 2008

If I were a Londoner........

It will come as no surprise to anybody that I would be putting Brian Paddick first if I had a vote in the London mayoral election. It just seems that if you want a competent mayor who makes solving London's problems rather than ridiculous self promotion a priority, then he's your guy. Who could be better placed to make the strategic decisions necessary to tackle crime than someone with so much experience in the field.

But what would I do with my second preference? Would I decide "a plague on both your houses" and leave it blank?

I actually think I'd have to click my heels together 3 times, cross my fingers and hold my nose as I put Ken second. This is only because Boris is just so much of a joke. His record on everything I care about stinks and the thought of him as mayor makes my flesh creep. I reckon Ken is the least worst option if Brian doesn't win.

Monday, April 21, 2008

10p Tax Meltdown

Like many others, I await my pay slip for this month with some trepidation, having heard scary things from friends and family who have already had their's. I come into the bracket who will be worst off as a result of Gordon Brown's abolition of the 10p tax rate.

This is no laughing matter for people who are already struggling with rising food and fuel costs.

It seems incredible that Labour simply have completely underestimated the effect of their actions. Even now they don't seem to have a clue how to handle it. Yvette Cooper's talk of a "process" today will not help those people who are struggling to make ends meet now.

Panic at the Pumps

Well, I've just wasted half an hour of my life buying petrol. It's always a bit of a panicky process for me - I usually wait until I'm running on the whiff of an oily rag before I even think of going to a petrol station and I'm sure I've come close to not making it on occasion.

However, tonight was different. The queue was horrific, people were bad tempered, and to cap it all, our lovely profiteering petrol station had put its prices up.

Minister for Everything John Swinney has helpfully brought in an independent expert to try to avert the strike - although it might have been a bit more helpful if he'd done it a couple of weeks ago.

Ineos, the owners of Grangemouth have done themselves no favours with all their scaremongering about the weeks' long effect of any industrial action - they have just succeeded in creating a self fulfilling prophecy out of the media frenzy. They would have done better to concentrate their efforts on the negotiating table rather than the media war. Mind you, why should they walk away from an excuse to make money.

I'm no great fan of trade unions - yes, in principle, they're great, but I often think that they're macho monoliths who don't really do much for their members. However, the actions of Ineos are making me quite sympathetic towards them.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

THAT Clegg interview

You can always rely on Piers Morgan to lower the tone of anything he takes part in, so it's no surprise that he subjected Nick Clegg to what I can imagine was for Nick a quite uncomfortable personal grilling. In an interview for GQ magazine, reported by the BBC, he answered some pretty intimate personal questions in his usual straightforward and honest manner.

I see that I was not alone in wondering if the reports of this interview were not an April fool. Christine suggests that some things are better left unsaid, but I think he did the best he could with such a cheeky line of questioning. He had 2 options - refusing to answer, which would have come across as prudish and po faced or making the best job he could of it. I think that he comes across as a likeable human being and escaped with his dignity intact. He wasn't crude or disrespectful to anyone.

I can't help wondering, though, what would people be saying if a female politican made the same comments. I suspect that the Fleet Street columnists would have a field day, calling her all sorts of names. There's still an expectation, even now, that women should have a relatively small number of sexual partners and should never, ever talk about them.


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