A victory for mendacity over democracy?
Following Gordon Brown's botched cabinet reshuffle Lord Peter Mandelson now has, by way of reward for 'services rendered', one of the longest titles in contemporary UK politics to play with and so satisfy his ego. He is the unelected deputy Prime Minister in fact, though not in name. This may horrify some of you who believe in democracy, but what's the problem? For McEyebags as PM is also unelected to his post. As the present Chancellor, Alistair Darling, was appointed by McEyebags this takes the shine off what ever skills Darling has, giving three duds in a row for the three primary roles of state; that should help the UK recovery!
Ken Livingstone, the ex-Mayor of London, has over time given us a great deal to think about. His opponents would counter this saying, over time, his supporters have taken a great deal and seemed to have got away with it and we should think about that instead! Well yes, but I was thinking of just two things, but not those things.
First we had, prior to the 2008 London Mayor Elections, the wishful thinking from Livingstone of the 'hovering pencil'. This was so silly it was breathtaking, all the signs pointed to a Livingstone/Nulabour defeat. But neither Livingstone or Nulabour could see them. So out came this daft notion that the voters in the polling both would waver, that they would be gripped with doubt. So the pencil would hover for only a brief moment before thudding down to make the sign of the cross next to Livingstone's name and party.
In the last few days there has been so much going on it has been hard to keep track and a sense of humour. But the resignation of Caroline Flint Minister of State for Europe gives us a chance for both.
I've no idea if there has been friction between her and our dear Prime Minister, Mr McEyebags, but on the one hand she makes me laugh, and on the other I can see why the PM dumped her. In her resignation statement, which is one mighty whinge, Flint complains that she has not been involved with the Cabinet for months. Funny then she could not find the time to read the Lisbon Treaty; an omission of her own admission for you would have thought reading such a document was part of her job!
On the day before the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings and on a day when the forces' death toll in Afghanistan exceeded that of Iraq (137:136), we have a new Secretary of State for Defence.
This makes him the fourth Defence minister in 4 years. This rapid changeover is no different to other ministers who play musical chairs regularly. Yet it does make one think. This minister has responsibility for the lives and wellbeing of our forces and the inhabitants of other countries. To run a ministry effectively takes time and, preferably, experience.
Labour Ministers seem to be parachuted into jobs without knowledge or experience and, they've no sooner sorted out the office than they're clearing the desk and onto the next ministry. Let us all hope that the next move is to the Chiltern Hundreds.
John Reid: May 2005 - May 2006
Des Brown: May 2006 - Oct 2008
John Hutton: Oct 2008 - June 2009
Bob Ainsworth: June 2009 - ?
If you are a Liberal Democrat or even one of the surprising people who intends to vote Labour on Thursday in the European elections, you might want to think about the future power of the EU regarding your civil liberties.
I have had many conversations with people who are aghast at the surveillance that we are subject to in the UK. I have pointed out that, although Tony Blair may have given the Commission a few ideas, many of the objections that civil libertarians have regarding: ID cards, the National Identity Register, transformational government, health cards, data sharing and so on have long been in gestation. See here.
These same people have been quite dismissive saying that the EU is our saviour because it is keen on data protection and civil rights. I now feel vindicated because the Guardian agrees with me! See [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/may/28/eu-view-surveillance-society] here.