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Hardcore porn director stands as Lib Dem PPC

By Julian Harris
March 11th, 2010 at 2:05 pm | 7 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats, Personal Freedom

annaI couldn’t see this story elsewhere on LD blogs*, so thought it was worth a posting.

Reports local meeeja Kent Online:

“Britain’s first female director of hardcore porn films is aiming to become Gravesham’s MP. Anna Arrowsmith, 38, has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate … at the looming general election.”

Quoted by The Sun, Anna says:

“In this day and age people who live in a democratic society should be able to choose what they want to watch.”

“Personally the reason I have gone into politics is I was rather disgusted at the expense issues.

“I am not a professional politician. I have worked all my life to set up a successful business and I want to fight for the rights of people in Gravesend.”

Crikey – it gets better with every line.  The new PPC says she went into porn to make it more female friendly, and has always vehemently supported equal opportunities for women.

Gravesend Lib Dems, I approve of your selection.

* Sorry, update:  just seen that Jennie covered it first – CLICK for Jennie’s post.

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ITV’s inevitable cave-in to Tory pressure

By Angela Harbutt
March 11th, 2010 at 12:16 am | 1 Comment | Posted in UK Politics

aka “When Trev Met Dave”

Following on from the lucicrous Piers Morgan “interview” with Gordon Brown, Andy Coulson’s badgering of ITV (pre and post interview) has paid off.

This Sunday we get to see “ITV Fuck Up – Part II”, as Sir Trevor McDonald does his ITV duty and provides the Tories with a reciprocal “soft touch” mockumentary about Tory leader David Cameron.Word has it, its all Samantha telling us why Dave’s her man, and various lovies concurring that “Dave’s the man”….with lots of “exclusive access” words all over it. Er yeah right.

Hmm….You see what happens when the Light Entertainment boys are let off their leash ? The rest of ITV are left picking up the pieces.Still, I bet Mr Coulson’s laughing. Gordon gets sleazy Morgan, Dave gets SIR Trev no less. Nice one.

So the only question remaining…… How effective were the media guys and gals at the Lib Dems at extracting their pound of media flesh? Who is the man at Cowley street beating down the door of Peter Fincham demanding their hour loved-upness  from ITV? Nick Clegg – multi-tasking, parent extraordinaire (in 5 languages no less) must be on its way, surely….

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He’s not the Messiah, he’s the Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary

By Julian Harris
March 9th, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Comments Off on He’s not the Messiah, he’s the Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary | Posted in UK Politics

huhne

(Update – for those emailers who did not get it – look at the name on screen…CHRIST Huhne…really?)

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Bad Economics Fortnight

By Sara Scarlett
March 4th, 2010 at 7:51 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in Economics

It’s “Fairtrade Fortnight” – apparently… Don’t get me wrong. The people behind the “Fairtrade” brand (which is a brand just like Coca Cola. It is a brand. Full stop.) have good intentions. But what they believe in is bad economics. They are ultimately out-of-touch and misinformed and rely on woolly rhetoric and guilt-inducing marketing.
I think this facebook group says it best:

Fairtrade is a cartel that favours farmers in relatively wealthy countries (eg Mexico), who can afford to sign on to the Fairtrade brand, at the expense of those in the poorest countries, who cannot. Fairtrade incentivises the growing of cash crops, like coffee, which encourages the overproduction of these crops and locks poor farmers into a dependence on Fairtrade for their income. According to Oxford University economist Paul Collier, Fairtrade ensures that poor farmers “get charity as long as they stay producing the crops that have locked them into poverty”, perpetuating the poverty trap that Fairtrade claims to work against. We also object to the bullying tactics used by the Fairtrade cartel to get exclusive access to universities, etc, by having their rivals banned. This is a coercive measure that limits freedom to choose between different products.The only way to help lift the poorest farmers out of poverty is by boycotting Fairtrade and buying goods from the poorest, non-Fairtrade countries. Our alternative: Buy products from poor countries and spend the amount you save on real charity that helps the neediest, not a privileged elite of Fairtrade-sponsored farmers.

A good video:

Quote: “we don’t have a view on mechanisation…”

Oh dear…

Some more articles here:

Not So Fair Trade

The Poverty Of Fairtrade Coffee

Unfair Trade

Coalition or chaos – it’s your call, Nick

By Angela Harbutt
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:56 pm | 8 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

gordon-brown-0011So now its a real fight. Who do we choose? On my left I give you the bullying, bullshitting, bad tempered – bad man of politics – GORDON BROWN. He who wants to be judged on his moral compass yet surrounds himself with unpleasant characters who intimidate and smear his political opponents, from whatever party, at every turn. He who talked up “Prudence” whilst on the biggest spending binge ever, who raided pension funds, sold our gold at its lowest level for years and who invested more of his time and effort undermining the then Prime Minister, than he did keeping watch on the finances of this country. Hmmm.

On my right I give you the smiling snake oil salesman -the suave, the slick – DAVID CAMERON.david-cameron1Yes the one with the airbrushed photos and dyed hair who beams benignly and promises his party has changed but who cannot be pinned down on anything of any substance. Who talks about being liberal and wanting government with ” a lighter touch” but then brings the full force of his party heavyweights down on his own party regional offices if they dare defy him. The man who has talked such a lot – delivered polished speeches to perfection…and yet said so very little. A man who surrounds himself with friends in Notting Hill kitchens (Coulson, Ashcroft, Osborne and co) no matter how dubious their actions, history or levels of competence best that can be said of him is that he is not Brown – the worst that he is another Tony Blair. Been there done that.

Added to this we have seen what happens when one party wields total power – with a huge majority. The party whips rule; minsters all powerful; bright intelligent MPs sidelined because they challenge the leadership; loyal and dimwitted MPs more likely to end up in the cabinet; debate stifled; decisions taken behind closed doors with little or no scrutiny; laws rammed through.

Why would you want either of those leaders in power? Why would you want either party to win a landslide election when we have felt the pain that they bring, one too many times ? No wonder people are confused. No wonder the polls are erractic.  No wonder, people are talking …correction.. welcoming… the prospect of a hung parliament. None of the other checks and balances have worked. Maybe this one will.

BUT!  The prospect of a hung parliament – without a clear view about what that will mean for the finances of the country – is going to send the markets into tail spin. Why? Because they assume that we will end up with a fudged government with no power to make the cuts necessary, fighting day to day to get each tiny bit of legislation through, and almost certainly resulting in another election within twelve months. What the markets want is certainty and that is not what it looks like.

Of course at the moment we don’t have a single party willing to be honest with us about the economy – the severity of cuts necessary. We all know we are being lied to. And every day our debt gets bigger. So it could be argued that it is not clear that any party will do what is needed.

So we are standing on the brink of disaster. Nick, its time to bring some honesty and forthrightness to the debate. Specifically on (1) the economy and (2) what you will actually do if there is a hung parliament.

1. THE ECONOMY : Be honest about the level of the cuts necessary. Vince Cable is the most trusted politician there is on financial matters. He was the lone voice of caution in the boom years. Yes he was derided by both Tories and Labour (and the media) when he told us bust was waiting round the corner. But he was also proven right. So where is he now? We seem to be arguing about the small stuff . Is it green enough, are we too reliant on banks. Maybe, maybe. But can talk about that when we have an economy worth squabbling about? Where is that beacon of light – that honesty now when we need it ? Show us the real Vince. Show us the real plan – not the sanitised one.  

2. HUNG PARLIAMENT: If we were in “the boom years” Nick, you could fudge what the Liberals would do in the event of a hung parliament. If Britain had cash sloshing around in our coffers, if we had a strong £, if we had shrinking unemployment, if we had financial institutions that were lining up to invest in Britain, if our AAA rating was not hanging in the balance yes then Nick, you could get away with it. And it would probably be the right strategy. The dangers of speaking out are immense and caution might be wise.

But country is not in that position. This country is in dire financial straits. The £ is stuttering at the news of the possibility of a hung parliament. Don’t play politics with our lives and livelihoods.

This country needs a strong Lib Dem party to tell us where it stands. Not a sit on the fence – play it safe – we haven’t planned for hypothetical situations – Lib Dem party. (What ? you only make your plans AFTER the event?). We need a bold and brave – forget the past – lets start a new period of politics- tell it how it is – get the country out of this mess  Lib Dem party. 

At the moment no one is at all clear what “working with” the party with a “mandate from the voters” means. Not me. Not the voters. Not the markets. Stop talking Westminster speak and tell us what you mean. Coalition or not?  The Guardian says you are planning to rule out coalition “because aides and senior MPs argue it would be highly dangerous for the Liberal Democrats to become minority partners in a coalition government”.

That would seem to suggest that , in the event that no party gets an outright majority, you allow either party to pass a Queen’s speech if it makes some concessions to your four prioirities (fair tax, investment in education, a rebalanced economy, political reform).

But whispering tit bits to the Guardian is not the same as telling it straight. OK you’ve let the Queen’s speech go through… Will you abstain or vote through the budget ? Shove in loads of amendments to make it more to your liking? How will you vote the next week or the week after that? Will a weak minority Government lurch from one deal to another as you stand by mildly and meekly watching sterling plummet, and the stock market nosedive? Is Vince Cable destined to spend the next 12 months commentating on the news or making the news?

The country goes to the wall because some of your aides and MPs care more about their political careers than the state of the nation? Maybe they just dont like the idea of actually being in power.

Or perhaps it’s that you can’t go into coalition. With all the will in the world you dont have the power to make that decision? The BBC reports that you “would have to get a formal coalition deal past (your) members” . If true then change the rules at next week’s conference. Tell them you can’t run a party on that basis right now. 

Cowardly or castrated. Which is it ?

The madness is, from what I have seen, you are neither. You started slowly (not a bad thing) but it looks for all the world that you are just hitting your stride. Perfect timing. You have the honesty, integrity and personal belief to make a difference. To change politics. So what’s stoppping you?

You will be dogged by these questions and many others of a similar vein over the coming weeks. Constant reference to a 4 point plan is not going to cut it with the voters, with the media or with the markets. Come on Nick. Step up to plate. The Liberals have to piss or get off the pot. If we are not prepared to take up coalition – to take up the reins of power when the country needs it most (now) then we don’t deserve to be the third party. 

I think I am right in saying that both you and Vince have said publicly that the country’s plight is more important than petty party politics. Prove that you mean that. Give us some honesty. Show us your mettle. I think if you will do that, you will win the hearts and minds of this country. Hell, maybe even save it.

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