Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thatcherite Air Rage.

Thatcher's Solicitor General has been arrested (or cautioned, or summat) for air rage.

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CRE Christmas Card

Well, I found it an amusing break from work yesterday (see earlier posts).

The Observer, has done an analysis, which I've stolen to put below.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Come all ye PC rebels

A card from Britain's race watchdog contains a hidden Christmas message for traditionalists

Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday December 10, 2006
The Observer

At first glance the Christmas card, depicting the nativity scene, appears to have been subjected to anguished doodlings by a someone who clearly fears its traditional message has no place in 21st-century multicultural Britain.
'Three wise men can't be all men' suggests one scribble. 'The snow looks hideously white' notes another. 'Sheep should look more diverse' reads another doodle. Even the Santa trailing across the sky in his sledge is not immune to a bit of politically correct revisionism. His 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' 'could be taken as offensive to women', worries one scrawl, referring to how the two-letter word is 'gangsta' speak for 'whore'.

Article continues



But it transpires that the sender of the card, a pastiche of PC culture, is Britain's race relations watchdog, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). Poking fun at the PC lobby is an unusual move for an equality watchdog, especially now that its chairman, Trevor Phillips, is to become head of the super-quango that will campaign for better rights for women, the disabled, homosexuals and ethnic and religious minorities.
But it is not the first time the watchdog has taken a robust line in ignoring liberal sensibilities. Last year Phillips declared that multiculturalism was in danger of sending Britain sleepwalking to segregation.

The CRE declined to explain its reasons for deciding to send the card to contacts and supporters. 'It speaks for itself, happy Christmas,' a spokeswoman said. But it is believed that senior members of the commission feel the card is timely with the current debates raging about multiculturalism and the true meaning of Christmas.

Yesterday a Daily Mail survey found the traditional nativity now appears in only three out of every 100 cards sold in high-street stores. The news prompted accusations of 'politically correct madness' from Tory MP Philip Davies and calls from the Christian Voice group for non-religious cards to be boycotted. But Davies should not be too vociferous. This year's anodyne Christmas card from Conservative Central Office depicts snow-laden branches against a blue sky.

Meanwhile at the Daily Telegraph, an article by business commentator Jeff Randall, discussing how he throws non-traditional Christmas cards in the bin, has brought approving letters.

Even senior religious leaders are expressing concern. Last week the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, attacked people for using 'flawed' arguments about multiculturalism with the result that the crib is in danger of being 'thrown out of Christmas'.

'The aggressive secularists pervert and abuse any notion of diversity for the sake of promoting a narrow agenda,' he said. 'Meanwhile those faith communities, who have stated categorically they are not offended by Christmas, know that if Christmas falls, they will be next.'

On Friday Tony Blair entered the debate, calling for all groups in society to integrate to promote social cohesion.

Some will view the CRE's card as a humorous attempt by Phillips to goad the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, with whom he has had many well-publicised spats over multiculturalism. Earlier this year Livingstone accused Phillips of 'pandering to the right' so much that 'soon he'll be joining the BNP'.

Given the enmity between both sides, whether the mayor will actually receive a Christmas card from the CRE this year remains opaque.

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First Post From A New Job.

So I'm keeping it ultra-short. Going for drinks tomorrow evening near/in Westminster with a Good Egg, colleague in fabianism, and friend, which I'm looking forward to.

it was a horribly cold day today - I was out at 6.30am too! I saw soemthing which looked suspiciously like snow outisde Euston station but did not investigate further. I bloody hope its not snow, anyway.

Will return to political posting later night - gonna fire off some devil's advocacy on the British identities and, specifically, something positive about Englishness (see BBC news on comments from the Welsh Ass. if you want to guess my thoughts).

Update: And its a great and joyous job to do! (note the happy bunnyness lacing this post) :-)

But my blackberry is still playing up. :-(

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Blackberry help needed!

Okay, I've just spent the last hour or so trying to make my blackberry work again. Last time, all I had to was visit the kind university computing people who set it up for me. Now, I'm struggling. I'm trying to make it receive mail. And I'm on a mac. I've done the whole officially registering my email with the blackberry people thign, and I have apparently been sent some service books and should (I thin) be able to make it work. But I can't. And the service books have not arrived.

Don't suppose there's anyone reading this with a blackberry and a mac who fancies giving me a hand, is there?

The damn cd-rom wont work on my computer, since mac's can't read .inf files.

(Where's when you need him/her?)

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Scrybe's Job-Related Happy Bunnyness Cont....

The reason I haven't posted today is that it was my first day on my new job. Cue lots of work and commuting oop nawf (well, cventry is north from LDN, lol). In my two trips, I have sussed that the Hammersmith and City line does not function properly until at least 8am - cue frantic phone calls to new boss apologising profusely for enforced lateness as I'd missed my train from LDN). Fortunately, my bosses are delightful and didn't bollock me. :-)

Loving my job. Very pleased to be working with a great and very affable team, and there is sufficient structure to the projects I've been given to start on to make sure I am not left to do an impossible job unsupervised (unlike previous unpaid job). Also loving the bit during work when we were arranging the printing of my business cards. Yay! I get business cards! (Please bear in mind that this is my first foray into the world of business card-possessing).

I'm commuting again tomorrow, so probably wont be posting again until late, but bear with me as I'll get into a rythym and then the regular posts shall return.

I am also, of course, not going to be posting as much over the Christmas period (though I'm not going to do a Hamer Shawcross and give a "temporary farewell" post when there's a chance I may sneak in a post or two more before the new year.

Finally, I'm very much loving having been linked to by Jon Cruddas - take it he's sussed out how to do that now. ;-)

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Scrybe Doing a Time Magazine Article.

I'm just using this post to give a shout out to my readers. Having checked my stats for today, I realised this blog got a lot of traffic, especially given that I hadn't posted anything. Its always good to now you're interested, guys.

Also noting I got a lot of world wide reads, so Ima give a big shout out to the folks who read this from........

* Tha UK (always big up my place)

* Ireland (Also a major shout out to Ireland generally for the legendary beverage of Guinness)

* Sweden (I'd attempt to recall some nordic phrases to impress, but I'm likely to fail. Loving the place though - visited once and it was highly enjoyable)

* Ohio, US (gotta love Ohio - v Kerouac-esque)

* Minneapolis, US (Dylan's adolescent home, no? After Hibbing?)

* Washington DC, US (Hi George! lol)

* Redmond, Washington, US (Few old friends from Washington - must visit the place sometime, so feel free to leave sightseeing suggestions on my blog)

* Sunnyvale, Cali, US (Gotta love Cali, especially if you're a hip hop and rock head like me)

* Germany (Again, I've visited and enjoyed immensely - German Uncle, and I love the Autobahn's if you got a fast car!)

* the three readers from New York New York, US (incl. those reading from Chase Manhattan Bank) (ah, NY, the place I wanna live someday - Yankees, Shea Stadium, the hip hop haunts, just everything)

Though I'm a little concerned that someone from the Institute of Psychiatry, LDN, felt this a necessary read.

And I should apologise to the guy who googled "interested in deer hunting" and ended up here.

Please feel free to leave comment, yall.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blogroll Update!

I must give myself several lashings for utterly failing to link to Tygerland earlier as the blog is one of my daily reads, and well worth my readers taking a look at.

I am also considering removing the link to John Denham's blog since it never seems to get updated and I think his aims would be better served by posting his thoughts on policy issues on his website as articles. That's what his neighbour across the constituency boundary, Alan Whitehead MP, does and it works quite well. Which brings me to promoting his site and the articles therein as being well worth a read - my particular fave is the stuff on communitarianism, which are pitched slightly higher than your average magazine article but slightly lower than an academic journal entry - a good balance, IMO.

I also want to link to Freemania another worthy blog. I particularly like his recent fisking of D-Cam's comments on calling a snap election if Brown becomes Prime Minister.

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Cameron gets a Good Fisking.

Over at Freemania. Good job, mate.

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Unite and lead? I'd bet on Jon. (Cruddas Conference Call)

Last night saw Jon Cruddas’ inaugural telephone conference as deputy leadership candidate. 6pm rolled around and Labour bloggers began calling in and logging on, stating their names to the accompaniment of classical music. It was all pretty civil, with people introducing themselves and giving fellow bloggers the chance to speak and ask questions in the debating session which followed Jon outlining how he thought the campaign had been going thus far.

I’ll kick off my discussion of the conference with the caveat that all “quotes” are not word for word what Jon said but, rather, taken from my rough notes. I do feel a little wrong about publishing this, because of that, without having it checked first. But Jon is a member of the blogging community so I’m sure either he or one of his team can drop by and correct me/develop their arguments more/request that I remove said quotes, should they feel them to be inaccurate. (Scrybe nervously awaits an angry bellowing from Jon).

Jon was, as usual*, very down-to-earth and relaxed, as well as being pretty frank in discussing the issues which came up – unusual for a politician. There is, I think, something about him which allows you to take what he says at face value and trust him. He began by talking about the campaign, and about blogging in particular, saying that he is “interested in the whole phenomena [of blogging] but wary of the language used,” recounting a tale (published) about Tony Blair allegedly trying to sound cool and it failing (circa 1997). He also thought that there is “really effective, lateral, quick communication available here,” describing the blogging world as being “vibrant,” and stating that he was very interested in using it not only for his current campaign, but also as part of renewing a general debate within and about the party, and for future elections. He said, “I’m really interested in blogging as a key component of the party, and its campaigns and debates, un the future.”

He informed us that he did at one stage wonder whether we could rebuild the grassroots of the party when all the indices show us in freefall, and whether the deputy campaign could engender this – a solid reason for not abandoning the election, as some politicians have suggested.

One of his staff mentioned visiting the Democrats and how they had found blogging to be very useful, but that they also found it difficult to link that in with the grassroots campaigning, something which is currently being addressed by several Labour bloggers I could name. Cruddas outlined two different conceptions of the role of blogging, one being to view it as an end in itself, supplanting traditional campaigning methods, the other being to view as one component of a much wider campaign, taking the latter view.

When asked about whether he thought politicians’ could allow the public to appropriate their message, to have a sense of ‘ownership’ of that message by being involved in the creative process, something which blogging, facebook, and similar phenomena tends to do, Jon was very honest, saying “its quite exposed, quite a vulnerable position to be in, when you do it right…that goes against the gain of the standard psychology of politicians.” That said, Jon is no standard politician, and he does seem willing to embrace and adapt to the new forms of campaigning which are now becoming more and more prevalent in British politics.

Others have noted his comments regarding his decision not to accept the deputy prime ministership, should he be successful, so I would be a knave not to mention it. He was pretty clear that he could (constitutionally) and would want to be in the Cabinet, in order to be a spokesperson there for the party, and he would accept the principle of collective responsibility in so doing. He also intimated that we should abolish the post of Chair of the party, since the line of agency did not stretch so far as having an influence on Cabinet sessions (perhaps that point is my own and not Jons? Hopefully he’ll see this, so we can find out) and the post is not democratically decided, hardly in keeping with the idea of having a democratic party. He also said of having the deputy leader fulfilling the role he has outlined, “it signals a much more deliberative method of policy formulation with the party included at an earlier stage,” thus hopefully preventing the party feeling policies are simply dropped on it, like top-up fees.

Throughout he was polite, and generally calmly spoken, except for the occasional betrayal of what seemed a genuine excitement on his part to be discussing these issues with his fellow Labour members and supporters. Having had the opportunity to have met him, I can attest to this affability being an integral part of who he is, a good sign for one who aims to be the link between the party at large and the PLP. It shouldn't worry readers that these traits might make him a weak link, since he can also be quite outspoken and, as I've said previously, formidable in debates. When called upon to describe him, I am reminded of the latter part of a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which I have mutated to form the title of this post, "Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one." The only question which remains to eb answered, is whether the party give him the chance to demonstrate this in practise, as our Deputy Leader.

Okay, that’s it. My report of the conference, in all its glory. Well, almost. There are a couply of other things I could say, but I am just working from my notes and would feel more comfortable about posting the remaining titbits of information after having checked that doing so would be okay. There’s nothing controversial, I just want to check the accuracy of my notes. Enjoy!

Oh, and do head over to his site and read his posts. But go easy on him, he's only just got into this blogging experience, so I'm sure he'd appreciate the occasional kind word of encouragement. He was also very interested to hear our suggestions for how to develop his campaign, so feel free to post any ideas you might have.

* Based on the accounts those who have had the chance to speak to him, or hear him debate/give a speech.

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Ow. My Head.

I would have used exclamation marks, but that would have hurt my head too much*. Yes folks, I am officially hungover. Despite getting up at 7am not feeling too bad beyond a lightly throbbing headache and having liberally quaffed the requisite ibuprofen over my breakfast of tea and toast, I now feel as if I have an IV attached to me, specifically designed to remove every fluid ounce of energy from my body.

To be fair, I did not consume a great deal – just half a bottle of champagne I had been given and had chilling ain a conveniently located fridge, followed by a couple of pints in Bellamy’s Bar. Yet I made the godawful and schoolboy error of not having eaten since breakfast; odd when you consider that I am neither godawful nor am I a schoolboy.

Suffice it to say that the champagne (possibly the worst beverage to have sloshing around an empty stomach) and lager (2nd worst) left me a little worse for wear. Strangely for one who usually manages to recollect the finer points of even the most debauched of evenings, I have no idea how I got on the tube or the ride itself. The night only picks up again as I am walking the streets of Bow towards my cosy abode.

And it was here that I came across the most devious alcohol demons: a late night MacDonalds. And I had money on me. Fortunately, I resisted the drunken temptation to order everything on the menu. Unfortunately, I ordered a milkshake. A milkshake! Of all the post alcohol drinks one can devour, this one is probably the most suicidal (drinks do have feelings, y’know, lol), with its thick texture and frozen taste combining to make it a pleasant enough drink with horrible consequences the following morning. But devour it it I did. No prizes for guessing why I feel so iffy now.

And therein lies my explanation of why you shall have to wait until this afternoon to read my account of last nights conference with Jon Cruddas which, fortunately, occurred prior to my drinkage, and which, fortunately, I took notes on.

I hereby apologise to anyone I offended/bored/your description of my drunkenness here.

Now, I wonder if that cork ever turned up?

• Let the records show that I wrote this this morning. Yet in post-alcoholic melancholy managed not to “publish.”

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Books I Do Own (1)

Given my recent post.... here are some books I do own. I live with a first year politics student who asked if I knew anything about the "postwar consesnus" to which I responded, not only with these boks but including these books. and here they are. in all their glory (i received them back tonight andyes, as the title suggests, I amt he owner of them).

Howard Glennerster Socil Policy Since 1945 (2nd Edition) - this I would highly recommend. I defy anyone to speak with authority on social policy since 1945 without having first read it.

Anthony Giddens Beyond Left and Right (garbage book, IMO)

Steven Fielding The Labour Party (slightly better, if not brilliant)

cruddas interview update forthcoming.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Cruddas Conference Call.

Okay, the conference call has just ended, Jon was in fine form. I'm going to blog about it later tonight, so watch this space.

(And if anyone who was present wouldn't mind posting a comment so I cann add you, as I only managed to take notes for about half the attendees, that would be utterly fantastic).


UPDATE: will fill out interview details tomorrow am since I'm a little drunk on champamgne and Jon did a stellar job and I don't want to do him a disservice by posting badly in this state

Cruddas Conference Call.

Okay, the conference call has just ended, Jon was in fine form. I'm going to blog about it later tonight, so watch this space.

(And if anyone who was present wouldn't mind posting a comment so I cann add you, as I only managed to take notes for about half the attendees, that would be utterly fantastic).


What Do You Want To Ask Jon Cruddas? Urgent.

Okay, from 6pm tonight, I'll be able to ask Jon your questions, so post them here and I shall do. Provded they're not too lewd, that is.

I'll check this at 5.30pm today, so make sure you post by then!

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Phallically Shaped Objects - Just For El Tom.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Labour Deputy Election Facebook Update (5)

Okay, here's the week's roundup of how the respective deputy candidates are doing on facebook. To make it a little more useful, I've cross-referenced the groups sizes from my last update, so the first numbers in brackets indicate what the sizre of the group was at the last count, and the second set of bracketed number very handily give you the size change over time. Over christmas, I'm hoping to do an update which looks at how the groups have done since I started blogging about them. Note the operative word in that sentence, hoping.

As we can see (below), two candidates have lost support since the last update, while the rest of the groups continue to display growth. The largest growth is evident in the Cruddas group, up 6 on the last update. It will be itneresting to see how the growth rates change over the coming months - I wonder if the Cruddas group can maintain its title as the biggest growing group?

Facebook Deputy Leader Support Group Update in Numercial Terms:

Johnson - 229 (233) (-4)
Cruddas - 51 (45) (+6)
Harman - 15 (11) (+4)
Blears - 14 (15) (-1)
Hain - 13 (11) (+2)

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Clever Housing.

I live in a large block of flats. I say 'large' its about 20 floors (I think). Its a fairly new development, by Barratt homes I think...I'm making an inference from their having offices on the ground level and Barratt flags flying in our car park. The fact that we have a "concierge" is what sold me on it - three years at Oxford and you have to like the idea of telling friends "oh yah, daaahhhling, just ask the concierge for me," even just a little bit.

But there is a really clever aspect to the design of the whole building, besides the concierge. The ground floor also boast, for residents only, a small gym, steam room and sauna. I have just spent the past half hour in the gym - I wouldhave spent longer, but one of the running machines istemporarily broken and there was a huge queue for the only operating one. Still, that needn't be too much of a problem, since having a gym in my building has encouraged me to build in 45mins-1 hour per morning down there keeping fit, as well the occasional longer weekend sesh.

Now, I don't know about my readers, but I used to be very active, playing football well enough to go pro (til I realised us lowly women don't get paid, and thus explaining my distate for the overhyping of a certain ex-England "star" who is really not that talented), playing tennis for the women's section of my club at the age of 14 and at city level, and swimming (again in a club). But then something happened. Two things, really. Playing guitar and going to university. Both induced a lifestyle which consisted of alcohol, not exercising (unless you count arm movement along certain phallically shaped objects) and smoking.

Suffice it to say that, while not overweight, I am certainly now out of shpe. And all previous motivation, nay, delight for all things sporting has drained away. Or at least, it had. But then I moved to this wonderful new complex.

In fact, the "workout willingness" has reached the extent that when, recently, two friends mentioned that they were planning to do a 10K run in March, instead of responding with disdain or pointing out that there was no way in which they could ever obtain my involvement in such a hideous jaunt, I said "oh, 10K doesn't sound too bad.....I'm already doing several K each morning in the gym, so I'm sure with some work I could manage it." And so it was that I became complicit in this March-scheduled running endeavour.

But living in such a well-planned building does force me to feel (even more strongly than I did before) that people's lives could be dramatically improved if more thought went into the simple things (!) like house/flat design. Going back to the Atlee and following Tory governments, yes the Tories did outbuild Labour in the 1940's-1950's, but they also built smaller homes, and you can quite easily tell the difference in the quality of housing built under each party nowadays. I don't want this to turn into a partisan rant too much, because either party can fail to consider quality as much as they prize quantity, but I do think it important to socialism/social democracy/whichever lefty creed most suits you, that we ensure that ideas like the one impleented in my block of flats are integral to all possible projects.

Forget putting "obese warnings" on clothes, or trying to introduce a "fat tax" (just search the Number 10 petitions site, if you don't believe the latter) - just make sure new developments have exercise opportunities built into them. Part of my rent is due to there being a gym downstairs, and knowing its just a 5 mins walk away and that I'm paying for it enttices me into using it. It also means that I can use it during quiet times, should I not want to be embarrassed (believe me, I made sure my first gym trip was when I was the only one in there, just in case I had to give up after 5 minutes, lol).

In other, yet related news, having claimed to eat moderately healthily, a friend tipped me off to this which informs you about how healthy your diet actually is. I'm going to try it for one week, just to find out. I may be persuaded to let you know the outcome.

And that's my Toynbee-esque post of the day done. Now, lets see her take the healthy food test. ;-)

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Alan Rickman Supports Labour.

Given my recent post about my new boss, I thought I'd find out what movies Alan Rickman was doing these days, aside from the obvious Harry Potter series, and I came across this in an interview....

Are you still a staunch Labour supporter?
Well, I certainly think, 'Who else are you going to vote for?'

Daym right! His Good Eggyness suddenly increases.

(Whole interview can be accessed here -

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Saturday, December 16, 2006


I was checking my stats for the day, and this came up

(ISP) Oxford (City) Swindon England United Kingdom

Now, I didn't do a geography degree when I was at their univeristy, so I may be mistaken, but I have reason to believe that Oxford is not in Swindon.

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Books I Wish I Owned (1)

During my time reading politics at university, there were several books I kept promising myself I would purchase, but I never quite got around to doing so. They're either really great books, or the kind of thing that any self-respecting leftie should have on their bookshelf, or both. Aside from the one in honour of G.A. Cohen, which I've not read, but which just sounds interesting. Hopefully my new situation (see post below) means I can acquire some of them in the new year, but I thought I'd post about them here, in case anybody reading wanted something longer to thumb through over the Christmas break.

English Question by Robert Hazell (2006)

Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (Issues of Our Time) by Amartya Sen,

Kinnock, The Biography. Martin Westlake, London: Little, Brown and Company 2001. pp. 768.

A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-2001 by Chris Cook

Critical Elections: British Parties and Voters in Long-term Perspective (Paperback) by Geoffrey Evans (Author), Pippa Norris (Author)

Electoral Systems and Party Systems_A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-1990 by Arend Lijphart

Selections from the Prison Notebooks (Paperback) by Antonio Gramsci

The Future of Socialism (Paperback) by Anthony Crosland (Author), Gordon Brown (Introduction)
History, Labour, and Freedom (1988) by G.A. Cohen

Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (1995) by G.A. Cohen

The Egalitarian Conscience: Essays in Honour of G. A. Cohen (2006); edited by Christine Sypnowich

The Rise Of The Meritocracy in 1958, by Michael Young

There were others, but I can't recall their full titles and authors off the top of my head.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Happy Bunnyness of a Certain Scrybe Revealed. Fully.

I’ve only just got in*. I’ve been traversing the country today, and my return journey has been spent with a little smile on my little face. Scrybe is a happy bunny. A very happy bunny indeed, and about to tell you why….

Scrybe got “headhunted” – twice**! Both for serious research work!! Hence today’s trip (and the past week or so’s happy bunnyness), which was for an interview for the post I can now say I have accepted. It was, rather, a day spent getting familiar with the team I am working with and the projects I am working on, preceded by a brief “project-placement” and salary negotiation session. The latter was more a case of me sitting there in astonishment as my ideal starting salary was met and then some.

The team all seem to be fairly kewl, and my boss is an absolute legend…you might just recognise him……

Actually, that’s not him at all***, but a representation of him produced by a conveniently present sketch artist. My ‘line manager’ is also a particularly affable chap with whom I chatted prior to the “project placement” sesh.

The other “serious research post” I got “headhunted” for was a project based here…

Alas, I now have to decline that one. This is really a shame, since it was a fantastic research project and, more importantly, would have resulted in me having my own desk in the politics dept. of the university of which I am a recent alumnus (and anyone preparing to shout “Toff!” should recall this) and thus an interesting simple twist of fate (as a Mr. Dylan might sing) which would have seen me working alongside those who not so long ago tutored me. But I have to admit that I love my new job even more than I would love to have seized that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I also become an occasional “commuter” (see picture below – bonus points for being able to discern the title of the book), which will be fun (for the first week or so, before the novelty wears off), but it does mean me exercising a modicum of responsibility vis avis not getting rat-arsed the night before a commute. A miniscule price to pay for what is, officially, The World’s Greatest Job.

Thus it is that a certain Scrybe’s happy bunnyness (and its social basis) has been revealed. But, for those of you who did not comprehend the nature of my current euphoria, please find it depicted for you in t-shirt form below…..

But!!! There are further reasons for Scrybe’s happy bunnyness. And they are, in no particular order…..

(a) Scrybe’s pseudonym shortly being in print….for researchy type stuff. Sort of.
(b) Scrybe’s general fancying of persons unnamed
(c) Scrybe’s financial security (as guaranteed by TWGJ – see, it does everything!)
(d) Scrybe’s New Series! To be innovatively entitled, “constituency Focus,” it shall, quite surprisingly, consist of a short series of “focus posts” exploring the issues pertinent to, and dynamics of, specific constituencies in and around LDN.

Oh, and soon….I shall know more about Bob Piper’s local area than Bob Piper himself! (This is partially true, but included purely to verify if he is reading…I await some interesting comments).

Now, who's coming to my celebration drinks? :-)

• Admittedly I got in a while a go, but blogger was playing up, so I typed this up in word.

** To be fair, “headhunted” is somewhat misleading, since I am not the only nor the best person in the country to do my job. Suffice it to say that neither post had been advertised and I got first refusal, so to speak, and those recruiting were rather receptive (eager?) about the idea of recruiting me. Update: that is being headhunted, according to Andrew Brown.

*** The pictures are, of course, of legendary supakewl actor Alan Rickman. My boss just resembles him, mannerism wise. Minus the surliness, thankfully. My boss may or may not have a page on the frankly shitty CiF - but even if he does, he still gets the kewl-vote (the kewl-vote is, of course, recognised by all leading psephologists).

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Scrybe's Happy Bunnynes Explained (1)

Yippee!!!!!!!!!!! Chek this out I'm ranked joint first!!!!!!!!! And, according to my little device for blog-visit monitoring, I'm averaging 200ish visits per day!! Success!!!!!

Full explanation of happy bunnynes to follow.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pick of the Petitions. (1)

I had to trawl through a search of the e-petitions at Number 10 to see what had been suggested regarding "parliament" (just for fun, you understand) and came across these....

Petitions like this one make me consider that the e-petitions function may serve one glorious purpose - discouraging people from sending petitions which it is, quite frankly, a social embarrasment to publicly support. But then, I see it happens anyway.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to To acknowledge fetishism and sadomasochism as sane sexual practices (23 signatures)

A petition to keep Galloway off the top spot in the charts?
For the past few years the lucrative music market at Christmas has been dominated by manufactured TV tie-in 'acts'. We know that the Prime Minister can play the guitar, so how about releasing a song this Christmas to give us a change at the top of the singles charts? This would be great for the British recording industry and would also, I am sure, increase younger voters' interest in politics. (25 signatures)

This one is for the Hamers....
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Move Parliament to Bradford. (59 signatures)

This is what I was actually looking for, I knew that someone had to have created it......
We cannot afford both parliament and royalty anymore! Politicians are too expensive. They are untrained in what they do and yet they want parity with doctors and head teachers. Cromwell must be turning in his grave, he knew about this sort of corruption and self-interest. Taxation is getting so bad now that there is nothing out there that isn't taxed to the hilt and it can only get worse. Brown has turned into Dick Turpin rather than actually deal with anything,throwing money at the problem. Big egos create ever increasing entourages, and this is what the infrastructures have become. my solution is(as the infrastructures are now there),make the royal family work for a change), anne in charge of Defra(we won't get any £200 million fines for not paying up on time). Getting rid of hundreds of mp's would save millions before even tallying their expense accounts and perks.They are just 'hogs in the trough'and removed from any 'real' reality. (1 signature, thgouh I'm somewhat tempted to add to it, just for fun)

And finally....
The Cornish have long maintained that they are a nation seperate from Scotland, Wales and England. They have their own language, and once had their own currency, and in the past the Cornish Stannary Parliament could veto Westminster. A large percentage have preveously petitioned for a Cornish National Assembly. They once produced 1/4 of the worlds tin to fuel the industrial revolution, and still produce 1/4 of the china clay. 4th? whatever happened to Northern Ireland? (35 signatures)

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Must Be The Winter Weather...

But it seems like several unpleasant (to say the least) old sods have been popping their clogs lately*. The blogging world united over the passing of Pinochet, with bloggers outdoing each other in wishing him a speedy trip to Hades. I refrained (mainly because I had other things to do at the time), but I will bring your attention to this. That's right folks, the Ex-Militant Tendency leader of Liverpool Council, John Hamilton, has snuffed it. He was 84. Funny that, since '84 was the year that I was born, under that Militant Council in Liverpool. And I can't say I'll be sad to see this bugger go. In fact, I might just pop to the local supermarket and acquire some wine to celebrate.

The snivelling roach of a specimen that is Derek Hatton, his Deputy, is perhaps a little better known. He was last spotted working as a crooner in dodgy nigthclubs (see picture).

Personally, and I seldom say this, I would have liked to have given the both of them a good kicking.

As for an obituary, you might recall Militant Tendency ignoring the then Conservative Government's budgets, thus bankrupting Liverpool Council in 1984-85, leading to Kinnock's now infamous 1985 party conference speech. When they realised they had bankrupted the council, they attempted to comply with relevant rules by sacking all council staff. Suffice it to say that the delivery services refused point blank to delver the redundancy notices. Thus it was that those cuddly, lovable, caring so-called socialists of Militant Tendency thought a Really Good Idea would be o send the notices to staff by hiring a fleet of 25 taxis to do the job. Right fucking clever guys. Right fucking socialist of you. You might also recall Militant Tendency refusing to appoint a race relations officer to the Council, only to eventually cave in to this 'suggestion' when they realised that, in doing so, they could fix the interview process and give another job to a Militant Tendency stooge from London who knew jack shit about race relations, despite several well qualified individuals also applying for the post. This was in 1985 (I think, bear with me I was only 1 year old at the time). The Toxteth Riots had happened in 1981. Sense? Any sense? I doubt it. And don't even get me started on Blunkett and his pacts with this lot, the fucking twat.

* I apologise for the strong language contained in this post. If you knew Militant Tendency, you'll understand why I am using it.

Update: Forthcoming posts shall include "Why I Am A Marxist" (and an explanation of the happy bunnyness of a certain Scrybe, but I thought the Marxist post interesting to mention here)

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Required Reading (1).

I'm going to make an effort to promote posts on other blogs that I think are particularly well written, give our mainly British and mainly Labour readership a perspective they may not be regularly exposed to, or are generally worth a read and unlikely to be spotted by my readership (for various reasons). Sometimes this series shall drift away from blog posts onto articles in other sources, and maybe even the odd book review.

Today, however, the inaugral post shall be in keeping with the rules laid out above. The reading suggestion comes from Tom Watson's blog. No, not the MP! The other one, the one who happens to reside on the other side of the Antlatic, and who has been a jounralist there for over 20 years. Hell, the guy even has a taste for Warren Zevon, so he clearly gets the kewl vote. His post is on the American critic Maureen Dowd and a particularly lame effort she has recently produced. And it fulfills every one of the three criteria stipulated by me for this series. Suggestions for future additions to the series are most welcome.

Rather than copy the whole thing into my post, I urge you to click the linnk and read on. But here are some select literary excerpts to whet your appetite for this laudable post by an esteemed journo*.

"Leaving aside the clueless racism in today's column - her apparent understanding of black American "perplexity" is less nuanced than a comic book - Dowd's continued attacks on Hillary Clinton deserve further commentary"

"Dowd conveniently ignores that fact that once declared, Hillary Clinton wore those pumps out working every back-road and strip mall in New York State - that she didn't do the fainting couch routine against the younger, handsome Republican Rick Lazio, but outworked his Long Island machine ass in every facet of that campaign. Watching her roll up John Spencer this year like a piece of used chewing gum, while spending lavish sums and her own time to help fellow Democrats, I never sensed that she was struggling with her sexual planets."

* I sincerely hope that TW doesn't mind me posting excerpts (Ive not checked) and that I haven't breached copyright or anything (again, I havent checked). In my defence, may I just say that I hope this posts leads to my readership peeping his page, thus it falls under the banner of a charitable donation, and you can't sue me for that, surely! Not at Christmas! ;-)

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Trevor Phillips U-Turn.

This one's for Will, who commented on my ealier post about the 2006 Racial Equality Awards.

We all recall Trevor's speech in September 2005 where he advanced the argument that we were sleepwalking into segregation, don't we? Well, on 7 March 2005, the BBC reported that Trevor had made a slightly different speech. This one suggested that it was in the interest of black pupils, particularly black male pupils, to be taught separately from their contemporaries in school.

Yet, six months later, Trevor made the now infamous "sleepwalking into segregation" speech and, "Mr Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that schools should be leading the way in terms of integration but research had shown they were in fact slightly more segregated than their wider neighbourhoods." Quote taken from, yes you guessed it, the BBC.

And, as an early Christmas present to my readers, I have saved you the trouble of having to click on the links, by reprinting the two pieces, both from the BBC, below.

Black boys 'segregation' rejected

Black boys' exam results are below average
Teaching underachieving black boys in separate classes for some subjects has been rejected by the government.
Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, suggested they might benefit from such a move, which had been tested in the United States.

But the Department for Education and Skills said such separation would have "negative effects" and risked "stigmatising" black pupils.

Head teachers had questioned the legality of racially-divided lessons.

In England, only 27% of Black Caribbean boys got five or more good GCSEs last year, considerably below the national average for boys of 46.8%.

Among girls, 44% of Black Caribbean girls achieved five or more good GCSEs, against a national average for girls of 57%. Black Caribbean pupils are also three times more likely than white pupils to be excluded.

'Wall of attitude'

After visiting a scheme in the US, Mr Phillips suggested some black boys were hampered by a lack of self-esteem and positive role models, as well as an attitude that being clever was not cool.

Saying, 'I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you're black', potentially could create a great deal of difficulty
Martin Ward

School separation 'no solution'
Black school's traditional values

"If the only way to break through the wall of attitude that surrounds black boys is to teach them separately in some classes, then we should be ready for that," he said.

But the Department for Education and Skills said research showed segregation was not the best way forward and could "have negative effects in terms of teacher and pupil expectations".

"There are schools where black boys are achieving at the highest level. These schools don't segregate pupils in the way suggested," said a spokesperson.

'Extra help'

The Secondary Heads Association warned any segregation based on skin colour could create "great difficulty" and may be illegal.

If it's a scheme to help their education then how can it be racist?
James Bucknall, Scotland

Have Your Say

SHA deputy general secretary Martin Ward told BBC News: "Saying to a pupil 'right, I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you need extra help', that's one thing.

"Saying 'I want you to go to room five instead of room one because you're black' potentially could create a great deal of difficulty."

But Shahid Malik, chairman of the Labour Party's ethnic minority forum and a former CRE commissioner, said "many African-Caribbean people would feel it was a debate whose time had come".

Black teachers

Speaking on BBC's Inside Out programme Mr Phillips had also suggested black fathers not living with their sons should be denied access to them if they refused to attend parents' evenings.

If they can't be bothered to turn up for parents' evening, should they expect automatic access to their sons?
Trevor Phillips

Raising black performance
Teachers' Jamaican lessons

And he called for more male black teachers, tempting them with extra cash if necessary.

His comments were not aimed at black girls - GCSE results in England show that "black African" girls are scoring higher grades than "white British" boys.

The CRE said that Mr Phillips had not called for all black boys to be segregated in schools.

It said he was "not sure" how the US measures would work in the UK, but that he felt "we should look at the scheme to see if we can learn anything from it".

Inside Out will be broadcast at 1930 GMT on Monday on BBC One in the London area.

Britons warned over 'segregation'

The young are 'more exclusive' than older people, Mr Phillips said
The UK must enforce "equality, participation and interaction" to avoid US-style segregation, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality says.
Failing to do so could lead to people living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing communities, Trevor Phillips warned.

It was a worrying fact that "younger Britons appear to be integrating less well than their parents", he said.

The comments were "very pessimistic" said his predecessor, Lord Ouseley.

Mr Phillips was speaking at a Manchester Council for Community Relations lecture.

If we allow this to continue, we could end up... living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing ethnic and religious communities
Trevor Phillips

Schools 'must fight segregation'

He cited economic and racial divisions in the US which, he said, were highlighted by Hurricane Katrina.

"Residentially, some [UK] districts are on their way to becoming fully fledged ghettos - black holes into which no-one goes without fear and trepidation, and from which no-one ever escapes undamaged," he said.

"If we allow this to continue, we could end up in 2048, a hundred years on from the Windrush, living in a New Orleans-style Britain of passively co-existing ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other uneasily over the fences of our differences."

'American nightmare'

Mr Phillips said America's "segregated society" had been caused by a "failure to act until they were in too deep to get out of the state they are now in.

To be so sweeping to suggest that in Britain we're not talking to each other, we're not aware of differences, we're not getting on in many parts of the country, I think is totally wrong
Lord Herman Ouseley

"That is why, for all of us who care about racial equality and integration, America is not our dream but out nightmare."

Mr Phillips also warned that communities were being left "marooned outside the mainstream".

These would "steadily drift away from the rest of us evolving their own lifestyles, playing by their own rules and increasingly regarding the codes of behaviour, loyalty and respect that the rest of us take for granted as outdated behaviour that no longer applies to them".

And he warned that levels of racial segregation in Britain could create a "fertile breeding ground for extremists".

"It also remains true that younger Britons are more exclusive than older Britons," he said.

Community relations

Lord Herman Ouseley, a previous head of the CRE, said: "I think he's right not to warn us to be complacent because there are difficulties and problems in some parts of the country.

"But to be so sweeping to suggest that in Britain we're not talking to each other, we're not aware of differences, we're not getting on in many parts of the country, I think is totally wrong."

Home Office Minister Paul Goggins welcomed the issue of integration being raised.

"We have very good community relations in this country and its something to be proud of and to build on," he told BBC News.

"But he's right to say we need to do yet more to make sure our communities are fully integrated."

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that schools should be leading the way in terms of integration but research had shown they were in fact slightly more segregated than their wider neighbourhoods.

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Blogroll Update!

I am inept at flagposting such things. I would hope that it is unnecessary. But I have updated it several times recently, so here's the lowdon.

There is Ministry of Truth a daily must read by a seriously Good Egg, in my opinion. I can honestly say I hope I never get a good fisking or expose by this person. And yes, some posts are long - whaddya expect? A two line daily mail op-ed? Lazy buggers.....

Also, NewerLabour who I exposed as being the Regions Officer for the Young Fabians recently. Another certified Good Egg.

Then there is Skipper who is a politics academic and always provides concise yet incisive discourse on matters of political relevance. I can't praise the quality of this site highly enough, for essentially doing what the BBC proffesses to do, only better.

And there is Parburypolitca who has appeared several times on Doughty St, and is well worth a check.

Finally, I have visited this site quite a few times, and always intend to add it to my bookmarks so I can peep it daily and add a link here for your consumption, but I always fail to do so. Please consider that situation rectified, as I present Political Penguin.

The reason for this post is that I've noticed a few problems with some of my links, which I am now trying to resolve. Please post comments regarding the problem if any of the links in the links bar fail to work for you. "I'm right on top of it," as they say.

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2006 Racial Equality Awards.

It has been announced today* that this year, the Award for Excellence in the Field of Promoting Racial Equality is to be shared by two individuals who have together strived to create an understanding among the public at large that all races are equal. The award goes to Ken Livingstone and Trevor Phillips, for collectively and conclusively demonstrating that both white and black people can be equally idiotic at times. We salute you.

The results were due to be announced a while ago, but were delayed due to my being extremely busy/lazy (delete where you think appropriate).

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jon Cruddas on the Phone... Web Exclusive.

Jon Cruddas MP for Barking and Dagenham, and also one of the candidates for the deputy leadership, has announced that he will be holding a conference early next week for bloggers and members of the facebook group.

Participants will be able to speak to Jon about his campaign plans, and there will be a Q&A session as part of the event. From what I hear, it will take place by phone, although I am yet to receive the full details.

This is a fantastic opportunity for bloggers to probe the mind of one of the most interesting deputy leadership candidates standing so far. It is also a web-exclusive, since there will be no mainstream media people involved (to the best of my knowledge).

I'm definitely going to particiate, and shall be blogging about it afterwards. It is a shame none of the other candidates have considered this a worthy way of interacting with the grassroots supporters, as it would have been brilliant to be able to do a blogging-interview series, of sorts. But Jon has made the decision to get involved, so I'll be supporting that, and hoping that the other candidates start to realise how useful such endeavours could be.

If you have any questions that you would like me to ask him, don't hesitate to post them here, and I'll do my best to get them asked. If you are a fellow blogger or facebooker, perhaps you would prefer to join the event yourself. Anyone can sign up to faceboook, and the Cruddas group is called "Cruddas for Deputy" - you can search for it once you have joined. The details of how to become involved were released there first, so its really worth joining if you want to stay ahead of the rest when it comes to knwoing what's going on, Marvin Gaye would say.

I may update this post over the weekend a I get more information about it.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blogging and Campaigning: Notice Board. MUST READ!!

Okay, I posted about an event recently and some of us thought that it would be useful if there was some level of Labour organisation when it came to publicising events. I went away and did plenty of thinking (okay, about ten minutes while at work today), and I cam up with this:

A New Blog (No, this one isn't closing down, it will be another blog), inventively titled "The Notice Board."

I'll set up an email account to which anyone can send their events. It will be checked at certain points during the day, and events listed. This way, in addition to being advertised on individual blogs, there will be a blog-format one stop shop for all events. They can be campaigning events, CLP events, think tank events, anything Labour related (even in the most tenuous of ways - all charities, etc., also welcome).

Posts will be tagged with their topic, and region, and the region name will follow the format given by B4L for ease of use.

It would, of course, be useful if other bloggers volunteered some time to sustain this project - the more we have, the less time will be taken up for each of us. Since you would have access to the email address people send events to, I would have to require that you are first listed on B4L as 'proof' of your legitimacy.

I'm hereby calling upon NewerLabour and Parburypolitica to do their fair bit. Mainly because the latter suggested the idea, and the former is a student. Being a student entails (a) having a lot of time, and (b) thinking ideas like this are worth doing. Taken together, (a) and (b) entail (c) signing up to help. Any other volunteers are more than welcome.

I suggest people email and include links by simply posting the url before the word(s) they want used as the link. If it is more than one word, please indicate using quotation marks (or something similar. We can then perfrom the requisite actions vis a vis inserting code.

Please post your comments regarding this idea. If it is supported, I shall personally set up the new blog, an email account for it, and pledge to email all Labour MPs and thinktanks (over the next month or two, given that its Christmas), informing them of this new and wonderful service. But please post, even if its only a "yes, I agree" post, so I have some idea of the level of support for it. Any suggestions for how to develop it (bear in mind my lack of IT skills beyond simple blogging), would be welcomed, too.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

One of Those Days...

Today was one of those days were I thought I had achieved a lot until I assessed what tangible things had happened, and then I realised that I hadn't actually achieved all that much. I bloody hate those days.

I woke up with a horrible back spasm and after quaffing plenty ibuprofen, applying heat patches and contacting work, I went to sleep in the hope of waking up later feeling better. I did, mildly. Until I checked my emails and found 50 of the suckers waiting for me. Cue two hours spent answering emails of importance, then realising the buggers had replied, then spending another half hour replying to those. I wouldn't mind this at all, except that most were of the contact-introducing and arranging-future-events variety, so it was mostly admin. I hate admin. With a passion.

Then I visited the sites of Bob Piper and Ministry of Truth to catch up with the so-called "storm" they have been in over the weekend. I posted a few sensible things.

Then I phoned a bunch of people on,ly to find out that they were no longer the people I had to speak to. Cue failed attempts to get contacts for people I should be speaking to. Cue lots of cursing every time I hung up.

Then I sent a few emails which did actually progress some of the projects I am working on.

All in all, a pretty pointless day, then. And all of this pointlessness precluded me posting anything of worth on here.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006


Okay, you heard it here first folks! I can, exclusively, reveal that NewerLabour has, as of earlier today, been co-opted to the Young Fabians as Regions Officer. Congratulations mate, well deserved, and I'm gonna be in touch about stuff, fo' sho. Hope your coach home wasn't too uncomfortable.

And sorry for stealing your thunder regarding announcing this. ;P

Anyone who is not a member of the Young Fabians or, if you are over the age of 31, the Fabian Society, should immediately rectify that situation.

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Petition to End Women's Suffrage.

I kid you not, and I genuinely can't believe that people actually signed this. LMAO at the group of girls getting really vocal.

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I'm More Democrat Than Republican.

Your Vote Score: 14% Republican, 86% Democrat

You fit well with the Democrat party, and you should almost definitely vote Democrat this election.
In fact, you're so strongly Democrat, a political career (or at least some activism )may be in your future.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Labour Organising The Internet (Pls Read This!!!).

This was actually the idea of parburypolitica in a comment on my recent post about fighting the BNP (see below, or recent posts in the side bar). Us Labour bloggers often post about campaigns, yet there is no way of ensuring maximium publicity. Bloggers (and others in the intended audience) from the area may not read that paricular blog, or may simply not have checked that blog recently.

It would be good if we could organise in some way to ensure maximum exposure for campaigns of any sort (be they anti-BNP, pro-Labour, or anything else). Does anyone have any ideas about how we might do this? It could maximise turnout at events significantly, so I welcome suggestions.

If we can come up with a decent idea for doing this, I will commit some time to making it happen, and I'm sure there are others who would willingly help with the project.

Okay, post away!

(I'm a little stuck for ideas, beyond either having an email account people could send info to, to be forwarded to others, or a specific "campaigns" blog people could check)

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Fight the BNP

This is copied and pasted from Parburypolitica (shotrly getting a link in my links bar), who himself got it form LabourHome:

I have just been shocked to discover that the BNP have six seats on Epping Foresst District Council and they have a candidate in an upcoming by election. If your around on Sunday check this out.

Grange Hill ward by-election

Epping Forest and Redbridge Together Group invites all anti-fascists to join us to defeat the British National Party in the Grange Hill ward by-election on 14 December.

Meet at 10.30am on Sunday 10 December outside Grange Hill station, Manor Road, Chigwell. Grange Hill station is on the Woodford-Hainault section of the Central Line loop. We shall give out a specially written leaflet to all homes on the Limes Farm Estate, which is where the BNP hope to gain votes.

The BNP hold six seats on Epping Forest District Council. We are determined to turn the tide against them at this by-election. Please pass on details of this activity to everyone you know, in your trade union, workplace, faith group and any other organisation you are a member of. It takes just a few minutes to phone or email a friend or colleague to get them to come over and spend a couple of hours with us.

Numbers are important to get the job done and to ensure the security of those taking part. Please check regularly for any updates and for future anti-BNP activities.
Remember we stand for Hope not Hate. See you there. Epping and Redbridge Together group PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 0NG.

I hope to be there, but I'm doing something else later in the day, so I've got to see whether I can get to that in time and how long I can give. Hope to see some of you there.

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Shortest Political Test.

According to this test, I am a Liberal.

LIBERALS usually embrace freedom of choice in personal
matters, but tend to support significant government control of the
economy. They generally support a government-funded "safety net"
to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation
of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations,
defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action
to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.

Which are you?

Labour Deputy Election Facebook Update (4)

This post includes some comments posted by members of each of the groups, to give you a feel for their nature as well as their size. If you support one of the deputy candidates, please join facebook and join oneof the groups (you no longer need to be a university or shool student to join and there is a wide range of people on there, but none of the weirdos who stalk myspac, thankg god!) - the groups can be found by a simple search once you are a member, the title for each groups is given below when I post some comments from each of them. There has been some change since my last post, so without further ado.........

(numbers in brackets indicate membership size from labour facebook update (3) which dates from 02/12/2006). I've also just added tags for all my posts on this topic, for easy reference. I'm a hard-working,happy bunny of a Scrybe. ;P

Alan Johnson - 233 members (218)
Jon Cruddas - 45 members (39)
Hazel Blears - 15 members (15)
Peter Hain - 11 members (7)
Harriet Harman - 11 members (6)
Hilary Benn - 9 members (0)

I'll update (as an edit) this post shortly, giving details of how the groups have changed in size since update (3).

Jon Cruddas has very kindly agreed to do an interview with the members of his group - if you join, you too can submit questions to him.

Now, for some posts from each group (in the order given in the membership list above).

Johnson for Deputy:

M****** A******* (York UK) wrote
at 1:24am on December 6th, 2006
Despite the fact that his secretary told me he was "too busy to visit" out uni the man is a Legend and proper Labour! Vote Johnson for deputy!

K*** M****** (no network) wrote
at 1:09pm on December 1st, 2006
If he becomes deputy won't this be the first time in history that neither the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister went to an oxbridge university. Good thing, or not?

Cruddas for Deputy:

S*** T***** wrote
at 12:43am on November 29th, 2006
I don't know [in reference to when Cruddas might himself join the group], but he was speaking at a Young Fabian event tonight and was really impressive. We hit the pub for a post-event drink (sans JC, of course) and he was all anyone would talk good...leadership could really believe in him...etc. Even those whom I did not think would have been supporters of him beforehand.

someone asked him which leadership candidate he supported. fortunately, Conor did a wonderful job of chairing and cut the question down as being utterly irrelevant to the debate topic (how labour reconnects with the working class).

J*** G***** wrote on Nov 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM
I think that it is important for the Labour Party to conduct the elections for Deputy Leadership in an open and friendly manner. This is a desperately needed opportunity for the Party to "renew" itself in office; to take an honest and genuine look at its strengths and weaknesses and to act accordingly to improve its fortunes. If we do this successfully we have every chance of beating the Tories at the next general election and thus securing a fourth term of Labour government. However, if the election for Deputy Leader is seen as a divisive event the chances of Labour success will be severely jeapordised. A Labour Party full of incoherence and bitterness is obviously not going to look good next to Cameron's smoothly rebranded Conservatives.

The vast majority of Labour Party members acknowledge this. I'm sure that everyone is aware of how Labour infighting in the 1980s contributed significantly to 18 years of Tory misrule. It seems that - so far at least - everything is being conducted in a friendly manner, and this is certainly to be welcomed. Candidates and their supporters should concentrate their energies on trying to convince members of their individual merits and on articulating their vision for the future of the Labour movement. This is much more constructive than engaging in any sort of negative campaigning.

The Alan Johnson facebook group slightly worries me by making comments such as "If you want a Deputy Leader that listens and doesn't just say what he/she thinks grassroots members want to hear (Hain, Cruddas, Harman) Vote Johnson for Deputy". Of course I accept that it will be required to sometimes criticise the other candidates to an extent, but this claim is just so disingenuous and unnecessary that I think it reflects badly on the Johnson group. Cruddas is the only candidate for Deputy Leader who has outlined a clear policy platform that he would pursue if elected. Much of this concentrates on reinvigorating internal Labour Party democracy - such as allowing party members to elect the party Chair, rejuvenating the National Policy Forum, making sure local parties will be provided with more funding, and increasing the power of Conference over policy - which will undeniably empower the grassroots. It is therefore clearly false to accuse Cruddas of deceitfully only saying what he thinks the grassroots want to hear. I am yet to hear the other candidates (including Johnson) explain how they will give a greater voice to ordinary party members. I think Alan Johnson is a fine politician with admirable qualities and I would definitely want him to retain a high-profile position in any future cabinet. However, as someone who is convinced that drastic change is needed in the Labour Party structure and policy direction if we are to remain in government, it is obvious to me that the only candidate who seems to genuinely want to address those concerns is Jon Cruddas.

p.s I would also like to state that the badtempered post made on our group's profile by the founder of the Alan Johnson group is a very very bad example of conducting this competition in a comradely manner!

Blears for Deputy:

D*** T***** (Texas) wrote
at 2:26pm on November 20th, 2006
You must be joking. All politicians are masters of spin but you'd need a whole new term to describe the rubbish this woman comes out with. Haven't you ever seen her interviews? She never gives a straight answer. The public hates that sort of thing. "When did you decide not to renew the existing legislation?" "Well we've decided to bring forward this new legislation because..." Just answer the damn question!
Message - Report

L**** W**** (London) wrote
at 6:23pm on November 13th, 2006
Sista Blears is just amazing!!
I wonder if she would be the smallest deputy leader ever??? For that reason alone, she should get our vote!!!!

Hain for Deputy:

D** C****** (Kingston) wrote
at 7:50pm on December 3rd, 2006
Anything that will improve politics in this country has my backing. Even if I am not a Labour supporter per se.
Message - Report

Z** P************ (Surrey) wrote
at 1:23pm on December 1st, 2006
hey i love hain! go hain! x

Harman for Deputy:

C** S**** (Lancaster) wrote
at 10:08pm on December 6th, 2006
9 members now... one more, and we'll be in double figures!

T** F***** (Edinburgh) wrote
at 2:58pm on November 23rd, 2006
4 members, wow we are going strong!

Benn for Deputy

A*** H***** (no network) wrote
at 8:25am on December 6th, 2006
Check out
s it's a leadership/deputy leadership predictor and you have to guess which mps will support which other mps for the positions
Message - Report

A***** K**** M***** (Kent Uni.) wrote
at 5:05pm on December 5th, 2006
yeah I wish hils was running for leader, and i am really torn on who to vote for but I think it will be either hilary or harman. I am surprised that hils is so low on the membership, seeing as he is front runner for the race! i thought he would have a lot of appeal amongst the students, but (possibly because of HULC) it is johnson who leads the pack, strange considering he is the education secretary.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

John McDonnell Speaks On Scrybe.....

no kidding, I merited a "just in response to scrybe" post by the leadership candidate on his blog. howzat for a newcomer??? (I'm still smarting from having realised I wont win best newcomer in the Bloggers4Labour poll, j/p).

and here it is, in all its finery:

John McDonnell said...
Just in response to Scrybe

No there was no coach service offered but I tried elsewhere just in case and the time of arrival would have been about 10pm after the planned meeting. As for the first class jibe, I met Bill Cash on the platform. I haven't travelled First Class in my life and don't intend to start now.

By the way when they asked Harry Perkins in "A Very British Coup" whether he was going to abolish First Class he replied "No, I am going to abolish Second Class."

5:33 PM

link to original post by him on his site and the following comments:

Stupid Questions (1)

This will be a bi-weekly series of stupid questions asked in classes/lecture halls/debates/etc around the world. Largely brought to you via the wonderful world of facebook (update of Labour deputy groups coming later today!), but I'm also accepting emailed nominations (you may remain anonymous but please specify) to

This issue's wonderfully dumb question was posted by Natalie Thomson (Fanshawe) on Dec 5, 2006 at 11:14 AM:
I am in a fashion program, one class we were learning how they were developing soy to be used in fabrics, one blond put her hand up and asked "so, if I eat the soy fabric can I taste soy?" ... I was tempted to reply, "well, if you lick your leather shoe can you taste steak?!?"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On the Happy Bunniness of a Certain Scrybe.

You may recall a reent post declaring my happy bunnyness. Well, I can no update it slightly. I am a very very happy bunny for reasons that I may be able to disclose by the end of next week. There are, in fact, several causes of my happy bunnyness which, combined, make me think this Christmas might just be a good one. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Pre-Review of Tonight's Progress Event and The New Beta Blogger

Okay, I just wrote this quickly in an email to a friend, but felt it worthy of posting here. Its my pre-review of tonight's Progress meeting inventively entitled "one year On: Is Cameron Shaping A New Tory Party?"

"I'm supposed to be going to a progress debate on whether cameron is
forging a new conservative party, but I'm not at all impressed with the title.
its got giddens, deborah mattinson and stephen twigg, and some others I

twigg's chairing, and he's a pretty good egg. mattinson will talk about
women voters returning to the conservatives and how cameron has caused
this(despite the fact that she and harriet harman actually had a meeting
with alan milburn during the 2005 election campaign to tell him women were
deserting labour to return to the tories, and this was prior to cameron
even being known or touted as a future leader, but hey).

giddens will do his messiah-complex stuff(as my british politics tutor
would say, she had the displeasure of studying under him for a while) and
will talk about the third way a lot without mentoining it by name.

some clever sod (possibly twigg) might actually deign to point out that
cameron isn't making a new party at all, since what he's doing (not
explicitly at the moment, but it will become so soon) is returning to
the one nation conservatism of the 1960s which was itself an echo of
Baldwinian new conservatism. however, he is arguably making a "new" tory party, in
the sense of trying to create the ahistorical impression that this venture
is completely new and unrelated to the pragmatism which has been the
hallmark of the conservatives since their inception.

so I pretty much know what will be said."

It actually also involves Ed Miliband MP. He's a good egg. As is Stephen Twigg. So I should go for those reasons. But two and a half hours (since I'll have to kick around the parliamentary estate between 5pm and 6pm if I go) is a long time to spend on seeing a couple of good eggs briefly. Mattinson gives the impression of also being a good egg, but two and a half good eggs is still too little to warrant that much time. In this weather.

Also, am I the only one loathing beta blogger? I have to log in twice since the main page doesn't recognise my google account and I have to use my old one to be told that it has been merged with the google account and will I please log in with that. Buggers. But its a free and otherwise decent blogging site.

Prime Minister to Speak.

Shock ing story! (I bet most of you thought he'd been lip-synching all these years, eh?)

This friday, Tony Blar will be giving a speech (at No. 10, I think, but I'm not sure) entitled "Integration and Segregation."

Seems everyone is getting in on the identity politics debate these days. Still, at least he didn't go with a snappier, and possibly alarmist, title for his talk, unlike Trevor Phillips

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Scrybe is a Happy Bunny.

A very very happy buny. For reasons that cannot, for various reasons, presently be discussed. But watch this space. ;P

Deputy Candidate Faces Inquiry.

According to the BBC, a senior QC, Peter Scott, has been appointed to investigate whether Peter Hain misled the High Court over the interim victims commissioner appointment.

It doesn't say how long it will take for the inquiry to present its findings, but this surely cannot be conducive to any campaign Hain might be making for the deputy leadership of the party. But I think he should be given the chance to answer the claims being made against him. I just wonder what he'll have to say about it all.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Tentative Support for MP's Pay Rise Claims.

Recent news has included MPs demanding a 66% pay rise something this blog feels would be fair. Considering how much they currently get paid (about £55-60 k per annum) and the hours they put in, they are severely underpaid. Compared to headteachers, one wonders why anyone wold become an MP.

However, I emphasise the "tentative." I just got off the phone with my dear folks, oop nawf (see picture, right*). We had the usual conversation, I was mainly calling to see how my pops was, having just been released from hosdpital, so I did the requisite "wish I was still around, feel bad not being there" line (which is genuine). Then my mother got onto this pay rise business and, specifically, my abysmal financial treatment since working in Westminster. I defended the pay rise as being fair, but the fact is (as she insisted on pointing out to me, and as everyone else feels necessary to point out to me, like living on boiled rice for two months hadn't escaped my attention) they could have prioritised their demands. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can see the legitimacy of their case yet also feels that they would have appeared more justified in raising said case had they also included (and perhaps empahsised) the need for a pay increase for staff and an intern's fund of some description.

* I wish I was exaggerating, but this really is where I was born and raised. Okay, I am exaggerating slightly - the fire has since gone out. But that is where I was born and raised. I just couldn't find an "after" shot.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wine, and other tippling overs....

Okay, I MUST warn you - Tesco's Canti Merlot Sangiovese (from Italy as it repeatedly tells you) is, without doubt, the worst wine I have ever tasted. Admittedly it only costs 4-5 quid. but I've tasted cheaper priced wines which taste better. Well, I figured I should mark my entry into the class of champagne socialists in the appopraite way....I apologies for the wine not being champagen, I'll get around to that once I am ggainfully employed.

Seriously,dont buy this wine - it tastes like cats pee. Not that I've ever actually tasted cats pee , you understand.

Tonight I learned why Patrick Diamond did not do a geography degree. Pub just around the corner?

I also met plentiful interesting people. But none with a story quite as amusing as this one which I shall not even deign to name check - the post about the boy says it all. It acted as a light hearted and parochially amusing counterpoint to the forced mingling with randoms I had to undergo tonight in the name of imminent unemployment. I much prefer mingling when I'm not desperate for a job. Speaking of jobs, have you managed to find me one yet? That may have been particularly directed towards certain particulars, but it applies to all, since my ability to post here is affected by my job hunt.

So much for those generally on-point and intylektural posts I mentioned earlier. I'll try to get back to them. But for now, I am despairing in the midsts of desperation.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Problem with Trying to buy Essential in December...

Oxford St is manic. Like, more so than usual. And what is it with people forgetting how to walk when out shopping? I eventually got what I needed, after much sholder-barging (usually people doing that to me) and fruitless shop searches.

On the up side, Scrybe is off to a party tonight in Waterloo - so I doubt I'll be posting again all weekend. ;P

Forthcoming Posts.

I would like to blame my lack of recent posting activity on being incredibly busy. However, my lack of recent posting activity is actually due to a mysterious loss of all energy over the past few days and my spending most of my time asleep good thing dont work thursday afternoons or friday day) and now being incredibly busy since I didn't do the things I was supposed to do while instead sleeping.

Thus it is that, while I have a few posts planned, getting them up here may well take me a day or two. So please find a list of forthcoming posts as a taster to keep you visiting this page. They will, of course, be interspersed with the usual inanities.

In no particular order:
(1) Review/summary of the Charles Clarke lecture to the Fabian Society this week on "The World After Bush"
(2) Statement of political principles (referred to in my Absoluted Idiots (1) post)
(3) Why I am a Marxist
(4) Something on party reform (but not too much, since it is one of my research projects for the new year)
(5) The first post in my Great Figures series. This may or may not be on Michael Young. Or Henry David Thoreau.
(6) A copy of my c.v. should anyone know of any parliament Labour jobs going. (this post may or may not happen, depending upon how desperate I get. anyone with information concerning possible vacancies should email

In the meantime, I urge everyone to rent/buy a copy of the movie version of Stephen King's novella, Apt Pupil, since it is a bloody good film. Starring Brad Renfro and Ian McKellan no less.

Labour Deputy Election Facebook Update (3) and My Support for Cruddas

Okay, I have been messaged by el tom to remind me that I am currently neglecting my duties in this regard. So here's an update of this week's standings.

Johnson - 218 members
Cruddas - 39 members
Blears - 15 members
Hain - 7 members
Harman - 6 members

This blog is, of course, supporting Jon Cruddas for Deputy. Having seen him speak, I would argue that he is capable of appealing to a wide range of voters/Labour Party members as he is a formidable personality and is capable of very accurately pitching his speeches/comments to their intended audience (i.e. he doesn't speak over the heads of those who are not experts, yet doesn't patronise those who are). He is the kind of politician who has the potential to be great; he engenders a sense of belief and trust in his audience towards him.

Furthermore, it is wholly evident that something must be done to stem the decline of party membership and political activism more generally. While some point to the rise of single issue grous, as someone I was recently reading astutely ointed out, there is a problem that the idea of direct democracy is being replaced by direct debit. Jon Cruddas is the only deputy leadership candidate who has given a clear outline of how he intends to reform the party stucture so as to empower the grassroots and create genuine incentives for support. He is also (to the best of my knowledge, do correct me if I'm wrong) rightly critical of the idea of supporter's clubs for political parties and how an increase in their scope could act as a disincentive to join the party proper (something I was critical of in an Anticipations article last year).

His plans to separate the party deputyship from the governmental post serves as an indication of his lack of personal gain as a motive for running for this office, and his long standing anti-facism work on the ground is further evidence that he is not merely uttering platitudes designed to curry favour with the currently favoured (i.e. the electorate in this race), but is committed to his plans and lives up to them hmself - a refreshing level of integrity which is as forceful as a slap to the face of cynics of the political process.

Regarding the anti-facism work he has done/is doing, as much as I hate to bring anecdotal arguments to the fray, I have to say that, as someone who spent four years being attacked on the grounds of race (quite seriously attacked), I have the utmost respect for the assiduous work he has undertaken.

My only concern regarding his stance thus far is the possibility that empowering the grassroots could lead to a similar situation as that created by the rise of the Militant Tendency faction within the Labour Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the damaging effect it had in places like Liverpool where it bankrupted the council. However, this is not a necessary concomitant of party reform; it would infact be detrimental to the party since the effect of MT in Liverpool was a dampening of party support and grassroots involvement which persists to this day (they bankrupted the council in 1985, not last month or anything). In this regard, I am happy to work with him to ensure that such an event is unlikely to reoccur, and I am confident that he is also concerned about this aspect of party reform. I would rather work with him to ensure that it is prevented than to use it as the sole, and hardly justifiable basis, upon which to withdraw my support for his campaign.

In short, Cruddas rocks!

Cue music.

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