Plan B

Milne also in his article, articulates the democratic legitimacy of the Scottish MPs, they will be elected representatives of the Scottish citizens of the United Kingdom. I agree with the Open Democracy piece that argues the press are preparing for a parliamentary coup, Cameron will lose the election and refuse to resign, because he has more votes, or more English votes or Ed Miliband is an oik that went to a state school. They have already delayed the re-convening of Parliament. The next Prime Minister must be based on the ability to maintain confidence and supply, it’s got nothing to do with number of seats nor number of votes by party.

Yacht Racing

Inspired by #LauriePenny’s attack on Labour, I wonder if we have a yacht race start analogy, where the racers plot for space and position as much to disadvantage their opponents as to be in the right position for the course they want to steer,

And the video commentator describes the German helmsman as “ruthlessly efficient”, a bit too much Harry Enfield at a formative age

Country Sports

Had a quick look at the British Association for Shooting & Conservation’s election bulletin, highlights being that the Greens want to give rodents human rights, David Cameron supports country sports and despite Labour greenwashing its manifesto and its significant commitments on low pay and labour market reform, they have a secret agenda to make the pursuit of country sports harder to perform legally. Think I know where they’re coming from.


In interesting exploration of views on the EU, by Natalie Nougayrede. Her cosmopolitan friend brings up prison policy as her exemplar of an issue that might be best taken by member states. The challenge to campaigners and parties is that during a General Election, the pro-EU case is not being made, but it provoked me on prison policy. The CJEU rarely rules against the British State, but has ruled that life imprisonment without review is contrary to prisoner’s human rights, and that taking the vote away from all prisoners is also contrary to their human rights. Prison is meant to do three things, protect the public, punish the guilty and offer a chance for rehabilitation. It’s exceptionally difficult to do all three, which is why prison systems vary from Thailand & the USA to Sweden and Norway; different people and nations place different priorities on the three goals. The punishment is the loss of liberty, not the brutality of the custody, nor the loss of civic rights. Refusal to review is a denial of any efforts to rehabilitate. I believe we should be happy to take advice from other European cultures and polities even through a shared court system; it’ll make Britain a better fairer place. Finally if it stops some of the stupid pro-business and anti-citizen policies of the Tory party then good!


It’s looking bleak for Labour in Scotland; I don’t think we’re helping ourselves. It needs the repetition and belief of the points made by Gordon Brown about pooled sovereignty and optimism for the future together. Banging on about Sturgeon’s proposed deficit, while it’s a mistake, stays in the same place that it would seem that many “No” voters resent, the allegation that Scotland can’t be independent, while preying on economic insecurity. It’s the insecurity that Ed Miliband is looking to lead people to rescue themselves from.


I have just seen the Channel 4 TV play, Coalition, about the circumstances and events that led to the formation of the Con-Dem coalition in 2010. It is written by James Graham who also wrote “This House” about the Labour Government, from 1974-79. Not bad! Others have spoken of the magical portrayal by Mark Gatciss of Peter Mandelson. My highlights are the complex illustration of Gus O’Donnell, who starts the play trying to control the negotiations and the outgoing government but whose last words are to admonish Jeremy Heyward (his eventual successor) for suggesting that electoral reform wouldn’t answer the problem of the vacuity of political choice. (It’d be interesting to know how accurate these and other speeches are.)

I was also impressed with the words used from Brown’s resignation speech, to make Britain, “fairer, more tolerant, greener, more democratic, more prosperous and more just”.

There’s a speech from Clegg about winning and losing the election, on votes and seats. If true, and provided he remains Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Democrats, these words may come to haunt him. He asked how could a defeated leader continue as Prime Minister and how could a coalition of the second and third placed parties have a legitimacy. While Labour have not spoken in public about their plans should they need to talk to the LibDems, I certainly don’t feel that it would be respectful to the electorate for Clegg to just make a new coalition with himself as DPM. One of the arguments against proportional voting systems is that it would embed the centre in parliament, possibly irrespective of their popularity. The centre party would need to be much more sensitive to the politics of the nation then any of today’s parties would seem to be. Coalitions in the UK have been acts of change, an incumbent government has never lost an election and sustained themselves through power sharing, at least not since universal suffrage. The play also alleges that the LibDem demand for Brown’s resignation was a ploy, but the extent to which it had democratic legitimacy, makes a Labour Party with parliamentary plurality, refusing to work with Clegg both a quid pro quo and an important democratic precedent.

The play also shows that it was Labour and Gordon Brown that pulled the plug on the negotiations, I have always felt that the LibDems got a bad deal. This may be one of the reasons why.

Safe skys

RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian warplanes in UK airspace. Just as well the UK collaborated with the French and Italians since it was they who wanted an air defence variant; mind you we lack a ground attack ‘plane.