The Labour leadership contest, whose result is announced today, is of far more importance than many Labour supporters and MPs may realise. Not only is it a huge opportunity for Labour to demonstrate that it is relevant to the UK electorate and has a clear message of what it stands for but it is also the last chance Labour may have of proving itself capable and/or deserving of remaining a major political presence.
Recent events involving the party and contest suggest that it doesn’t have a Scooby Doo about the importance of the contest for the future of the party.
David Cameron has proven himself to be as useless and pathetic a Prime Minister as Gordon Brown was. Politicians govern in ignorance; it is their duty to make sure they get the best advice from the best advisors. So one could possibly understand (if not forgive) Cameron’s ignorance. But to choose the technically illiterate Claire Perry as his internet advisor is beyond ignorant, beyond stupid and almost beyond non-offensive pejoratives.
Cameron and Perry are using the emotive phrase “think of the children” and the guise of blocking child pornography to rail through the kind of censorship that would not be out of place in China. It was typical politician soundbite without thinking through what was said: “One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe”. An impossible claim. One which, if he didn’t already know it, his advisors should have told him it was impossible.
This isn’t about porn. It’s about control freakery and censorship. Porn is merely the paint job on this wagon of control freakery and censorship.
The Commons Education Committee has today released a report in which it says that poorly performing school governors should be sacked. This is a real belter of a recommendation, given the events involving failing banks where nothing was done (except maybe to odd payoff), failures in police leadership where nothing was done (except maybe leaving a full pension entitlement), failures in hospital leadership where nothing was done (Andy Burnham has yet to resign), and failing MPs who aren’t yet subject to a constituents’ led power of recall.
It’s been coming for a while. The instant coverage that the internet affords many things – rocket launches, concerts, sports and more besides – has often been touted as a threat to the mainstream media.
Last night in Texas, State Senator Wendy Davis did as she promised and spoke at remarkable length in an effort to prevent a law restricting womens’ access to abortion services being passed onto the state statute books. There wasn’t much mention of Senator Davis’ intention or efforts in the mainstream media, especially the tv news channels. But word soon got around Twitter of the live streaming of proceedings. 150,000 people were said to have watched events unfold.
Today’s admission by NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson that there is a culture of denial in the NHS does not come as a surprise. In my experience it has been this way since at least 1997. Nicholson’s evidence to the Commons Public Administration Committee confirmed what I believed then, still believe now and also provided a withering condemnation of his own conduct and leadership.