Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eurovision - The Finals, Oslo 2010

Last night’s Eurovision Final in Oslo was a great success and huge fun. I was thrilled that Germany won - a really encouraging result, showing the big four are still capable of winning if they have a good song (and also encouraging because it was a good song - we’re not being overwhelmed by shlock).

Here is my digest of best bits and tweets.

diamondgeezer Eurovision only takes up 0.09% of a year. It feels so much longer.

edwardclarkeWoo hoo! We're live in Oslo! #esc #eurovision

charltonbrooker Is it me or does the slight echo on Norton's voice make it sound like he's narrating from beyond the grave? #eurovision

efan78 Did Graham just say "Euro-Camp", is there any other type? #eurovision


1         Azerbaijan
        Drip Drop

wolfstar_de Azerbaijan's entry is a cheapo Beyonce/Alicia Keys/Leona power-ballad clone in 3/4, except without the charisma. It's dull as ditchwater.

edwardclarke ForeVAAAAH #Azerbaijan #esc #eurovision

thoroughlygood@edwardclarke Stop that. Stop that now.

2         Spain
        Daniel Diges
        Algo Pequeñito (Something Tiny)

Popjustice Something tiny in the number two slot reminds me of (NO THANKS - ED)

LeeBinding It's the Nutcracker... on crack. #eurovision

roryjmaxwell Leo Sayer, a Soprano and a toy soldier on acid. Spain at #eurovision

3         Norway
        Didrik Solli-Tangen
        My Heart Is Yours

LeeBinding He's flatter than Kate Moss's tits. #norway #eurovision

4         Moldova
        Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira
        Run Away

indiaknight Hoo, saxophonist sexytime.

edwardclarke This saxophonist is obscene on all sorts of levels. Just wrong

5         Cyprus
        Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders
        Life Looks Better In Spring

NickArchuleta Cyprus is way too English sounding :( #ESC

6         Bosnia & Herzegovina
        Vukašin Brajić
        Thunder And Lightning

travelling_wolf Bosnia and Herzegovina, I'd snog you drunkenly on the stairs at a party and regret it in the morning. #eurovision

7         Belgium
        Tom Dice
        Me And My Guitar

indiaknight Allez les Belges! #eurovision

SamStreet69 Belgium’s answer to James Blunt ... As if one Blunt wasn't enough! #eurovision

efan78 Will someone please turn the wind machine on and get this whiny bloke off the stage please? #eurovision

8         Serbia
        Milan Stanković
        Ovo Je Balkan

owenblacker RT @spaceboy: OMG years of authoriarian nationalism has produced the uber gay in Serbia! The gay to end all gays, indeed the end of gays.

LeeBinding Dance! Dance like your passport depends upon it! #eurovision

9         Belarus

charltonbrooker "We're like butterflies, flying to the sun". What, putting in a lot of effort to no avail?

10         Ireland
        Niamh Kavanagh
        It's For You

thoroughlygood NDN: "She's got Bridget Jones knickers on under that, I'm telling you." #eurovision #ireland. We're asking the neighbour to leave now.

11         Greece
        Giorgos Alkaios & Friends

Soeno RT @ScoobyDoofus: Does the term "Greek entry" make anyone else giggle? #eurovision

LeeBinding Typical Greek man, bragging. 'Whopper!' #eurovision

12         United Kingdom
        Josh Dubovie
        That Sounds Good To Me

gabexmosh I love how the UK's stage choreography has the dude ignoring the girls, while the male dancers ogle him. #wyldhomo #ESC

ScoobyDoofus Cheesier than a cheese sandwich with cheese flavoured bread. #UK #eurovision

Killdozer For you UK, ze Eurovision iz over #eurovision #esc

delrico to quote my mate Chris: "It costs us millions and we have no hope of winning. It's like a musical Afghanistan." #eurovision

projblogsphere "DO NOT CALL FOR THE UK" ... No, seriously... do not vote for #UK. #Bad #ESC

acabelt RT @McRoell: You have been Rick-Rolled #ESC #UK

nminers Aaaargh my ears!!! #uk #eurovision

charltonbrooker This from the nation that brought you The Kinks

thoroughlygood Next year, the #uk should just have someone stand on stage in silence for 3 minutes. #eurovision

dutchtea slecht UK 0 POINTS #ESC

13         Georgia
        Sofia Nizharadze

edwardclarke Norton: "No one got hurt - that's the main thing " #Georgia #esc #eurovision

14         Turkey
        We Could Be The Same

efan78 Ah, Bondage Cyberwomen and Linkin' Park's bastard love children, what more could you want? #eurovision

15         Albania
        Juliana Pasha
        It's All About You

arlloyd Albania 9/10 #eurovision (although it could also be BBC Newsreader does Goldfrapp for Children in Need)

16         Iceland
        Hera Björk
        Je Ne Sais Quoi

zatytom Oh Iceland, frumpy valkyrie awesomeness. #esc

LandersIE Is she wearing the after show party marquee? #Eurovision

17         Ukraine
        Sweet People

benlocker Ukraine does Noir Desir crossed with Joanna Lumley. Well odd. #eurovision

Queen_UK Oh dear. Ukraine clearly has deepset social problems.

nok32uk #eurovision Sweet people? Sweet Jesus!! #esc #ukraine

18         France
        Jessy Matador
        Allez Olla Olé

travelling_wolf French have, quite sensibly, moved away from the vote losing Edith Piaf model this time. #eurovision

owenblacker Damn them! RT @Ewan: They've had to "family riendly" the French dance and outfits #eurovision

indiaknight Jessy Matador is a brilliant name.

19         Romania
        Paula Seling & Ovi
        Playing With Fire

thoroughlygood: Significant Other on #romania's female singer: 'Don't flirt with him. He's disgusting.' #eurovision #romania #esc

20         Russia
        Peter Nalitch & Friends
        Lost And Forgotten

benlocker Russia changes gears, not keys. #eurovision

21         Armenia
        Eva Rivas
        Apricot Stone

owenblacker Armenia: Bloody wacky song, and a disappointing lack of hot Armenian boys on stage, but Im' quite liking this #eurovision

squawkbox That top is a bit tight, isn't it? #armenia #eurovision

roryjmaxwell "Apricot stone hidden in my hand"? She assumes that her tits have rendered you senseless - the lyrics are just random shit. #eurovision

charlotteyoung: ... I can quite confidently say that this is the best song about Apricot stones I've ever heard. Seriously. #eurovision

zatytom I'm properly loving this apricot madness. #esc

22         Germany

benlocker German girl dances like she's desperate for the loo. Wish they'd fielded Max Raabe. #eurovision

travelling_wolf: What accent is she singing with? Is she a German cockney? #eurovision

MayorWatch Am impressed, German act well into her song and no-one on Twitter seems to have mentioned the war. Must be a record.

23         Portugal
        Filipa Azevedo
        Há Dias Assim

GuyAitchison The Portugese entry seems to be singing in Portugese. What's that about? #eurovision

pembdave Portugal... Take a hint... #eurovision

24         Israel
        Harel Skaat

ajscroxton Theoretically, and given Ireland sent the 1993 winner, could Israel send Dana International again? This needs to happen. #eurovision

25         Denmark
        Chanée & N'evergreen
        In A Moment Like This

jenblower aaaw, The Police + ABBA + Key change = Denmark! #eurovision

26         Spain (again)

thoroughlygood OH WOW. #spain gets to perform again because of that stage invasion. Good show. Nice. Great for us anoraks. #eurovision.

edwardclarke What? Why punish all of us when only one person ran on stage? #esc

guy_interruptd ROFL! I do love you, Mike! RT @LondonVoiceover: Sing twice if you like. But the phrase "snowball's chance in hell" comes to mind

leebinding I'm marking Spain down because the stage invaded actually added to it. #eurovision

Interval Act

jackwallington Eurovision Flashmob!! YES!!

Leanne_Cee #Eurovision Dancing scenes in private houses all over Europe. Amazing how they bring it together

bbceurovision Best interval act since Riverdance, in my humble opinion!

RedMummy Am loving live webcams on #eurovision. Not sure whether to call RSPCA or NSPCC first.

jackwallington Everyone else amazing. UK just lifts up some drunk people. We are SHIT.

Voting & Winner

Cardiff_Blogger We're in the top half! Finish now! #Eurovision

jonemo Congrats to the UK who did much better than expected (and well better than their 10year average) in the #esc!

wolfstar_de Germany winning Eurovision? That's about as likely as a Conservative-LibDem coalition. Oh fuck.

Eurobin Lena wins for Germany with a Lily Allen / Kate Nash type of song that the UK should have been doing - UK missed the boat #eurovision #esc

pauljchambers We finished last??? It's all the coalition's fault #eurovision

Queen_UK Be thankful society frowns on capital punishment, Mr Waterman. Be very thankful.

ajscroxton Listening to Katrina and the Waves. Happy days of 1997. No Eurovision wins under the Tories.

leebinding There. I'm done. Thank you kindly for listening, darlings. I'm off to crawl further into a bottle of gin for the rest of the night.

My favourites for tonight

Tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest final will be interesting, I think. Somehow I doubt there will be a clear cut winner in the manner of last year; there are too many good songs in too many styles. All of the bookie’s favourites will divide the voters, I think, and the voters and juries will be all at odds too.

I think the one dead certainty is that neither the voters nor the juries will vote for the UK’s entry! Will we score nul points once again or will we get a pity vote from Ireland?

My friend Ethan says it tempts fate to publish your favourites but here goes. I don’t have a firm definite favourite but I would be very happy if the overall winner emerged from this group:

Jessy Matador - Allez olla olé

Tom Dice - Me and My Guitar

Giorgos Alkaios & Friends - OPA

Hera Björk - Je ne sais quoi

Juliana Pasha - It’s All About You

Niamh Kavanagh - It’s For You

Lena - Satellite

I hope I haven’t jinxed their chances! We shall see tonight.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Big Five

Five countries qualify automatically for the finals: the Big Four consisting of France, Germany, Spain and the UK; and the host country and last year's winner, Norway. The reason is these are the countries that bear a disproportionate share of the costs of mounting the competition, and if they weren't in the finals they would have major problems with their home audiences.

However, because the Eurovision Contest is democratically decided by voting I think this arrangement disadvantages these five countries: firstly because they are automatic qualifiers they tend to miss out on most of the build-up buzz and speculation; and secondly because voters in the competing countries must resent this easy ride for songs they may feel are inferior (and sometimes are!)

So how do the big four (and Noway!) shape up this year? Here's what I think.


Lena has scored a huge hit in Germany with her song Satellite and is one of the favourites to win. I think it's definitely a strong contender, but the somewhat sophisticated song and performance may leave some European voters cold. It has grown on me, I quite like it now and wouldn't be sorry if it does win, but feel it unlikely.


Daniel Diges' song Algo Pequeñito has also grown on me a little but I don't think it's a winner. It's definitely better than the UK's, however.


I'm pretty hot on Jessy Matador's Allez Olla Olé - a fantastic stomping dance tune for the summer; makes me happy every time I hear it.


Didrik Solli-Tangen's My Heart Is Yours is the quintessential Eurovision package - a slow crescendo in structure, featuring a pretty melody and prettier singer. It could do well.


Words cannot express the sadness. Poor Josh Dubovie - the BBC's sacrificial victim. I hope his career survives this disaster. This definitely does not sound good to me.

Eurovision Shock: Sweden out as ten go through in second semi-final

Bloody Hell! I didn’t see that coming! Anna Berghendahl’s This is my Life was my favourite to win the whole competition! Clearly it’s a mistake to overestimate the taste of the European public.

jonwillchambers: The last time Sweden were absent from a #Eurovision final? 1976.

jonwillchambers: How much are those fated Swedish #Eurovision glow-sticks worth on eBay? Hope they're recyclable.

edwardclarke@efan78 How can SWEDEN go out??! Abba must be spinning in their graves! #esc #eurovision

edwardclarke: Message to Sweden: I *do* know Abba is still alive. I was being *ironic*. I share your pain in falling out of Eurovision. #esc

Seriously, this does make me fear for the future creative direction of the competition. For Pete’s sake, Azerbaijan went through - I suppose it is one of the bookie’s favourites - a dreary dull song in my opinion. The Azerbaijanese have gone all out to win this year, hiring Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies choreographer. Pity they didn’t watch the recent Channel 4 programme on the best 100 pop videos of all time: they would have learnt that Beyonce’s dance routine was copied step-for-step, shimmy-for-shimmy from Gwen Verdon's Mexican Breakfast from The Ed Sullivan Show (1969). Here is Azerbaijan's Drip Drop, sung with joyless intensity by Safura:

While Sweden may have had the most musically sophisticated song of the evening, The Netherlands were very brave with a retro-tastic little diity by the creator of the Smurfs, sung by Sieneke. Again, creative daring divided the audience:

justgarance: Oh. No. We're up. #eurovision. Get your earplugs.

AngryBritain: The Netherlands: Your song roughly translates as 'There are some fucking excellent drugs available in Amsterdam' #eurovision

thoroughlygood: OK .. Look I'm really sorry about this .. but I actually quite like this. Is that bad ? #netherlands #eurovision #esc

edwardclarke: Me too! :-) RT @efan78: Yay! Shakin' Stevens' Dutch cousin! I like this one, it's very retro-#Eurovision

_irissa_: Dear other people in Europe. We’re sorry for sending Sieneke. We didn’t want to send her, but Papa Smurf made us. #songfestival #eurovision

thoroughlygood: VOTE #NETHERLANDS ... she's gorgeous #eurovision

Well, The Netherlands never made it either :-(

Through to the finals are:


For me, Ireland (Niamh Kavanagh: It's for you) is the clear best out of the above. Most surprisingly improved in performance was Georgia - Shine sung by Sofia Nizharadze was heartfelt and charming. Cyprus appears to be a stealth UK entry (sung by a boy from Wales - Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders: Life Looks Better in Spring) - it actually stands a better chance than our official entry!


orbyn: These tweets almost make me wish I were watching Eurovision. Almost.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The First Eurovision Semi-Final: 10 Acts Qualify

Clapham Omnibus will be providing a digest of the most outstanding moments of the Eurovision festival and Eurovision tweets too, as we head towards the big final this Saturday.

Oslo put on a great show last night for the first semi-final, and excitement levels ran high as the contestants took to the stage.

bbceurovision: WAKEY WAKEY! Guess what day it is? YES! Eurovision Semi-final #1 day! Excitement levels building!!!

bbceurovision: Breaking news: Eurovision stadium hit by freak tornado, merchandise tent blown down

Greece, Portugal, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Albania, Moldova, Belarus, Russia and Belgium were the lucky countries voted through to the finals last night. The last 10 finalists will be picked from Thursday’s second semi-final in Norway (in which the UK will be able to vote). The UK, Germany, France, Spain and Norway automatically qualify for the finals.

Tom Dice's Me and My Guitar is Belgium's first entrant to reach the final since 2004, a very lovely song and performance and surely one to put an outside bet on winning Eurovision 2010.

Malta, FYR Macedonia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Finland and Slovakia missed out on a spot in the final.

stigblog: FYROM is my favourite name for a country in the whole world. #Eurovision

Latvia (Aisha: What For? ) was the clear disaster of the night (the BBC announcer Paddy O’Connell compared her singing quite accurately to root canal work) - a case of the song being considerably better than the singer (perhaps she’s related to the Latvian TV bosses, one wonders?)

neonbubble: You can always compensate for a bad song with a great outfit. So... Latvia won't be going through then. #esc #eurovision

Dinzla: I had no idea Latvia was so flat.. #ESC Eurovision

krdr: They even f*ckd up her ala Britney Spears make-up. Latvia on #ESC

Otherwise, I’m sad Malta and Slovakia never made it - Malta’s act (Thea Garrett: My Dream) featured a spectacular glittery bird-man who emerged from the singer’s dress.

misterebby: Malta has wings coming out of her ass! #eurovision

Squibby_: Jesus, her sanitary towel's wings have a mind of their own. #eurovision

Squibby_: Is it a bird? Is it a geeza? No, it's superfaggot. #eurovision

efan78: Gah! That Bird man's even scarier close up! #Eurovision

I was previously dubious about Greece’s blatant attempt to sex up their (quite good) modern faux-folk ditty OPA, but have to admit they pulled it off and Giorgos Alkaios & (his new, sexier) Friends put in one of the most outstanding performances of the evening.

spyros: Opa Opa Opa!!! #eurovision on my 3rd pint of Murphy's. Everything sounds so much better now

MacPsych: Greece: why do I feel like I've just wandered into the Admiral Duncan? #eurovision

justgarance If Greece work "whoppa!" in at least two more times, they've got a fan. #eurovision

The most surprisingly improved performance of the evening was Portugal’s. The song (Há Dias Assim) is still a bit of stretch for me, but was given a superb production and heartfelt singing from the very lovely Filipa Azevedo.

toomuchroom: Ooh Portugal has a pair of lungs on her! #esc

Karmapriya: Miss Portugal is pretty like a princess & sings well. But another booooring song! #eurovision #esc

efan78: Dear Jim, please could you fix it for me to be a fake Mariah Carey? Love & Kisses Portugal xxx #Eurovision

I was thrilled that my favourite Albania (Juliana Pasha: It’s All About You) went through.

stigblog: Check out the violinist's hair!! Albanian fashion FTW! #Eurovision

But the undoubted hit of the night was Iceland’s Hera Björk and her soaring dance anthem Je Ne Sais Quoi : absolutely storming, and given a well-deserved standing ovation by the crowd.

Soeno: I wonder if the #ashcloud will affect Iceland's #eurovision chances.

AngryBritain: Iceland: Your song roughly translates as 'Mess with us and we'll fuck you with a Volcano' #eurovision

Soeno: Liking Iceland's diva at #eurovision... She's very... voluptuous. And she can SING. LOUD.

i_is_sam: Everyone who can vote for Iceland. Look at her rack! It's pure europop and her tits are fabulous! What more could you want?

AttitudeMag: We're not sure but Iceland might be going for the gay vote here. #eurovision

misterebby: Dana International's successor is this Icelandic entry. It's 100% awesome homo-dance-pop. Definitely should be top 5. #eurovision.

Squibby_: All the gays love a fat diva #eurovision

Monday, May 24, 2010

dizzy daisies


Glorious sunshine across the capital all weekend! Woo hoo! Hotter than the Mediterranean, etc etc etc. I always love the festive crowds enjoying watching life go by on the Common; it makes the area round here feel like Clapham-by-Sea. Well, we have our ponds, I suppose.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A new government

Yes, I’m still shaking my head in wonderment at the developments here in the UK. I really love how our Government changes instantly - literally, the old PM leaves Downing Street just before the new one arrives - leaving very little time to pack! Great theatre.

It’s no secret that the new Government is not entirely to my liking but Cameron’s initial moves are certainly interesting - almost as if he’s been a closet Lib Dem all this time - and no doubt we are in for some interesting times ahead. As the world is still reeling in the developing financial crisis I hope the new government can hold it all together. Today’s news is that Angela Merkel has gone rogue in Europe; thank goodness at least Brown kept us out of the Euro! Otherwise that would have been another fine mess that Tony got us into.

Here are my collection of new government tweets, from last week:

Jason_Cobb This is without a doubt, the worst evening of my life #ukelection #nffc

Jason_Cobb #blamedavecameron #blamenickclegg #blamethatcher #nffc

diamondgeezer "The Official flickr channel for the Prime Minister has moved" - old ; new

EvilGayTwin just got back from swimming to find David Cameron is our new Prime Minister. I should of just drowned myself whilst I had the chance!

BishopWeston@SarahBrown10 Thank you - So Rupert Murdoch won the election after all? Really is #nickcleggsfault now - he's so gonna be Haggis in a tin

LeeBinding Anyone else see the Ood singing behind Brown?

campbellclaret New slogan for Lib-dem supporters "I DISAGREE WITH NICK" !!

krishgm "the press looked from Tory to Lib Dem and from Lib Dem to Tory......but already it was impossible to say which was which"

campbellclaret what a week - trending on twitter re Boulton explosion, most popular twitterer in UK - oui, moi - and new Eton-Westminster-St Pauls govt

beano_monty @campbellclaret Will John Prescott be interviewed by Sky? I need something to look forward to.

LukePollard Has Nick Clegg gone from kingmaker to tea maker? - love that question #bbcqt

indiaknight David Cameron says "big" too much. Should vary, eg "humongous," "jumbo," "mahoosive".

It’s fascinating how dated some of these tweets are already. David Cameron is making it clear he’s not going to take any nonsense from his right-wing MPs. Will he also stand up to Rupert Murdoch? Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



From time to time I do like this blog to live up to it's name. Therefore, it behooves me to report on Mayor Boris Johnson's announcement of the new Routemaster bus.

This was perhaps the most notable of his election promises - the revival of London's beloved Routemaster with the hop-on hop-off rear platform. The new bus will have this platform, but it will also have doors which will close it, so we shall have to wait and see how hoppable it really turns out to be.

In the meantime, Boris and London's Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy are very proud of the new bus's green credentials:

"Entering service in 2012, the futuristic design will use the latest green technology, will be 15 per cent more fuel efficient than existing hybrid buses, 40 per cent more efficient than conventional diesel double decks and much quieter on the streets."

The new buses will be on the streets in 2012, hopefully in time for the London Olympics.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gent with flower


Strictly speaking I wasn't supposed to take this pic so am keeping mum about where this is from ;-)

This is a portrait of the author of an 18th-century florilegium, or plant encyclopedia. He was German and the book was published in Amsterdam beginning around 1730 (it took 12 years to complete). It's in 8 volumes; each around 500 pages long and contains 1,000 etched and hand-coloured illustrations. Each illustration was waxed to preserve the colour (and presumably to prevent it rubbing off on the facing page).

Imagine the logistics of organising that in that time period. No phones, no email, no typewriters or computers - no reliable postal service even. If the print run was just 1,000 that would mean they had to have 1,000,000 illustrations hand-painted to a consistent quality and correctly interleaved in the books. The text refers to illustrations by numbers (and there is an index at the end of the last volume)

I was really charmed that he had his portrait done in his baroque frock coat and wig holding a flower - his life's work.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

election tweets

Britain’s recent election was historic in more than one sense - it was the first twitter election too. And of course we all know the most incisive political analysis happens on twitter :-)

So here is my digest of tweets of election night:

zefrog: It's National Lock A Tory in the Toilet At Work Day!

dontgetfooled Apparently 100K people just got text-spammed by the Tories. Guess Andy Coulson knows a thing or 2 about getting hold of private numbers...

edwardclarke Loads of names crossed off list already - voting must be pretty brisk in Vauxhall!

guy_interruptd RT @Craig_Brawn: Looking forward to the election results, its like Eurovision without the singing!

johannhari101 Now's a good time to text and call any friends/relatives who might have forgotten/not bothered to vote. Unless they're Tories, obviously

jonreed polls closing in 10 seconds. can't bear the suspense. #electionparty

edwardclarke@jonreed Yikes! BBC news saying LIb DEms on 59 seats in exit polls . . . rough night ahead!!

jackwallington It's about to start. It's exactly like the X Factor finale. The same length too, 12 hours.

edwardclarke@jackwallington But the winner gets to stay on top for 5 years!

edwardclarke Yay! BBC mutes Gove and we have the lovely Harperson instead!

edwardclarke Fight! Fight! Peter and Theresa going for it! Handbags at midnight!

edwardclarke Absolutely loving all the cock ups on the BBC broadcast - more please! And more Mandelson/Gorman punch ups!

technicalfault Absolutely outrageous to hear people have been turned away from polling stations after queueing!

zefrog RT @ianvisits @charlesarthur: That offer by Robert Mugabe to come and monitor our elections doesn't look so funny now, eh?

zefrog In France, elections always take place on Sundays. That way people have time to vote


edwardclarke@ncabani Hiding behind the sofa. Can't believe I laughed my head off when Cameron became Tory chief. Not laughing now

davidchild Looking forward to this party several hours into the free booze. Collins will get her tits out and Starkey will snog Schama.

edwardclarke RT @seemaface BEST COMMENT OF THE NIGHT - "The Queen is only activated in certain circumstances"- David Dimbleby #ukvote

jackwallington@edwardclarke It's all about activating the Queen!

Jason_Cobb Overall Tory majority prediction? Pondering early night and washing away sins in lido, or bugger it and get more bolly from wine cellar.

edwardclarke@@Jason_Cobb Hope the Bolly can last 4 years

ncabani Dimbelby: looks like Tories may be heading for a majority in parliament...

indiaknight: I feel extreme love for Scotland and Wales.

GuyAitchison The Scots are lucky, they can just declare independence if the Tories win. Could Kentish Town do the same? #ge2010

AdamBienkov RT @TimMontgomerie ConservativeHome no longer believes a Tory majority is possible

CulturalSnow RT @Timmy_Lee: People diss First Past the Post, but any system where you can give all three parties a kicking can't be all bad.

adamfishpoet Zac Goldsmith says he put less cash into his campaign than his rival. Mais oui, Zac, the truly rich rely on favours, don't they?

RedMummy Actually think that the Dimbleboy & Paxo should take a bow for conducting entire programme on professionally asking unanswerable questions.

CulturalSnow Why is Gove so obsessed with Mandelson? Luuurrrve? #ge2010

krishgm Brace yourselves for another election within a year? (Sighs)

edwardclarke To be honest I'm totally shocked at the Tories' anti-constitutional stance.

AdamBienkov Telegraph: "David Cameron's achievement eclipses Margaret Thatcher." No, she won.

AlextheFly: They say never buy The Mirror, but it is, on occasion, hilarious: #ukelection #ge10

JonReed RT johannhari101: Gay vote for Cameron collapsed from 39% to 6%, according 2 @pinknews. It's the gays wot lost it for Cameron.

johannhari101: More than 50% voted against Cameron for parties to his left. In any other European country, that would be a landslide defeat for the right

RT @MODERN1ST: RT @jules_lewis Whoever came up with CON-DEM-NATION is a damn genius! #ge2010

Sheamus: Nick Clegg is for sale on eBay.

ianvisits: The last time a Liberal leader considered a coalition with the Tories, he was charged with conspiracy to murder. Just saying

pureartifice: Have got day off tomorrow so am happy to help form a government but I will need to pop to Waitrose at some point.

CherylKerl: Hei this hung Polamint thing. Can the nut just aall tek torns? Yerz kna, one week at a teim faw each poaty? Wudden tha woak?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

the point of liberals

"In the realm of practical politics, two things must happen - both of which are likely. There must be one more General Election to disillusion Labour optimists as to the measure of their political strength, standing by themselves. But equally on our side there must be a certain change.

The Liberal Party is divided between those who, if the choice be forced upon them, would vote Conservative, and those who, in the same circumstances, would vote Labour. Historically, and on grounds of past service, each section has an equal claim to call itself Liberal. Nevertheless, I think that it would be for the health of the party if all those who believe, with Mr. Winston Churchill and Sir Alfred Mond, that the coming political struggle is best described as Capitalism versus Socialism, and, thinking in these terms, mean to die in the last ditch for Capitalism, were to leave us.

The brains and character of the Conservative Party have always been recruited from the Liberals, and we must not grudge them the excellent material with which, in accordance with our historic mission, we are now preserving them from intellectual starvation. It is much better that the Conservative Party should be run by honest and intelligent ex-Liberals, who have grown too old and tough for us, than by Die-Hards. Possibly the Liberal Party cannot serve the State in any better way than by supplying Conservative Governments with Cabinets, and Labour Governments with ideas," - J.M. Keynes, in a speech given to the Manchester Reform Club in February 1926.

- from Andrew Sullivan

Monday, May 03, 2010

Kate Hoey for Vauxhall

Nick Clegg’s superb performances in the leaders’ debates on tv gave the electorate a credible ‘change’ candidate, and I hope the Liberal Democrats do well enough to make reform of the UK governing system unstoppable.

Whatever happens, this is I think the most crucial election for ages - a real watershed for the United Kingdom. The collapse of the Western world’s banking system has demonstrated just how voodoo were the voodoo economics introduced by Thatcher and Reagan in the 1980s (and enthusiastically bought into and developed by New Labour).

There was always tension in Labour regards this and Gordon Brown’s response to the crisis showed that Labour’s uneasy relationship with the economic consensus allowed ultimately for a greater flexibility in approach to massive systemic problems. It is clear Brown and Alistair Darling have actually achieved some success here, and I have no doubt that their approach is the correct one as the crisis continues to develop.

By contrast, the Conservatives under David Cameron and George Osborne do not appear to have grasped that the financial crisis has fatally cracked open the whole Thatcherite ideology and show every sign of wanting to repeat the same very damaging policies of Thatcher’s first years in power. Again, I think Brown’s claim that the Conservatives would lead the country back into recession is all too credible.

Labour has come to the end of its term and it is very clear the country does not want Brown as leader. Whatever Labour’s successes in domestic policy, allowing our foreign policy to be set by the Americans has been a disaster, leading us into an illegal war in Iraq and a seemingly unending quagmire in Afghanistan. Both Blair and Brown have introduced, have tried to introduce or are planning to introduce draconian legislation that severely restricts our civil liberties. But I think despite promising to scrap ID cards the Conservatives are likely in time to match New Labour’s disgraceful authoritarian tendency.

The extent of MPs’ greed and corruption was made clear by the revelations in the Telegraph last year. No one came out well, and the worst offenders will be no more after this election. But even in opposition, the Conservatives scored some massive clangers with expenses for moat cleaning, duck houses, etc - with one chap blithely wittering on tv about how his house looked like Balmoral, completely unaware of how the tax-paying electorate viewed this. Other Tory multi-millionaire offspring of inherited wealth seem to think it is perfectly acceptable trying to stand for election to Parliament while maintaining non-dom (non tax-paying) status.

So, together with very many in the country I am hoping for a hung, or balanced, Parliament, which I hope will force the politicians to work together to address the serious issues we as a nation face. I also tend to think that a hung Parliament will arrest our slide into authoritarianism. And I’m not entirely convinced by the economic horror stories the banksters are advancing: rather, a hung Parliament will reinforce the current Labour policy while also bringing forward the necessary banking reforms that only the Lib Dems are proposing now. And even if true, I think the economic issues are not the most important things at stake anyway - our survival as a liberal democracy is.

So, I have decided to vote for our sitting MP Kate Hoey. I like the way despite holding a massive majority she has not taken my vote for granted and has campaigned vigorously. She’s been a great constituency MP, always answering all my letters. Her record in voting against the government on civil liberties issues (and the Iraq War) is utterly exemplary and very brave. Her expenses claims are completely transparent and honest. If we are heading for a hung Parliament, we need as many clear-thinking, independent and forthright individuals as we can get. I am therefore voting for Kate.