Monday, June 25, 2007

So this is it.

Brown & Harman at the top of Labour.

Against all the odds (literally) Harriet Harman will now be at Gordon Browns side as deputy leader of Labour.

What is so interesting is that, like her leader, she has spent her entire career - 25 years - in the bubble that is Westminster politics. Harman, just like Gordon Brown, (and Jack Straw and Alistair Darling) is a lawyer elected to Parliament as a young activist in the 'old Labour' doldrum years has been a senior Labour politician ever since.

So we are set to have a Government dominated by a small clique of life-serving parliamentarians who, just like Gordon himself, lost what little touch they ever had with the real world more than twenty years ago.

Because make no mistake, as soon as you enter the palace of Westminster 'normal' becomes a thing of the past; MP's are instant VIP's everywhere they go outside the Palace and inside the Palace the 'real world' is a million miles away.

That is not a problem to begin with; but over time MP's memories of being 'ordinary citizens' begins to fade. Just like the famous or the super-rich they quickly take for granted that they get invited to every party, show opening or product launch, sit at the head of every table, always get upgraded on airlines and always travel first-class on the train.

But think about it. When they were still among us as ordinary citizens Human League were in the charts; Pacman was the latest thing in computer games, you could still buy a brand-new Ford Cortina, Brezhnev was in the Kremlin, Spain still had no border with Gibralter, Breakfast TV and Channel 4 were yet to arrive and EastEnders was still three years away.

I wonder how a group of people who have not lived like you and I since before the Falklands war 25 years ago are going to make decisions today?


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about it Marcus. You've got an example much closer to home in Barrie Wood.

If ever there was an example of somebody not living in the real world it has to be him. The only people who list the Bible as their favourite reading matter are scary Middle Americans whose fanaticism is legendary. Intriguingly they are ultara conservative (Small C) and I wonder whether they'd approve of the other Mr Woods Libby-Labby views.

Tie him to the stake and burn the political heretic I say!

Anonymous said...

That's not very grown up Martin. It's not helpful to malign another persons religion. But Marcus makes an interesting point. Is he intending to buck the trend I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Oh give over you boring old fossil - IT'S A JOKE!

That's what's wrong with this Labour run country - Political correctness taken so seriously everything is an insult to be counselled about. I'm sure Barrie Wood is big enough and ugly enough to fight his own battles and is equally strong in his beliefs not to worry about being teased over them.

What are we in a police state? How long before dissent/disagreement is officially illegal under Controller Brown?

Anonymous said...

Ho Ho Ho

1 down only another 190 to go!

Barrie Wood said...


Dissent and challenge is fine - a lack of civility, lazy stereotyping and being unpleasant is not so.

As a theologically liberal questioning Christian I am as far removed from your ridiculous quoted stereotype as could be.

Many Christians from Wilberfore to local Christians working with the homeless in the bay are similarly far removed from how you imagine Christians to be.

Still if the Tories want to write off Christian voters that is fine by me !

Lastly, you clearly have not read my contributions here and / or on my own blog - nowhere do I advocate any Lib-Labbery.

Whilst I shared with the left a commitment to social justice and a bias to the poor in terms of policy priorities, I did not and do not adhere to top-down centralism. I never will be told what to think or act politically !

Other issues where I depart from 'New Labour' othodoxy can be summed up as such :

commitment to green issues and inclusive grassroots co-operative practice with power devolved to the lowest practicable level (eg credit unions, time banks, mutuals, town/parish councils, community associations)

firm believer in electoral reform (STV)

opposed to the state 'policing' of families (asbo/parental orders)

believe in free university tuition (as experienced by most of the Labour cabinet)

entirely believe in upholding individuals' civil liberties (anti-terror legislation, trial by jury, 'house arrest',equality before the law). I distrust the potential power of private monopolies and the state equally.

internationalist in outlook (pro reformed and more democratic EU and UN)

Accept that open and COMPETITIVE markets usually provide well the consumer goods and services we expect, but am less convinced about private engagement in public service provision such as schools, hospitals, probation service et al. New Labour [like the Tories] has a dogmatic private good, public bad philosophy.

These are my own personal views and hopefully give an outline why I am a contrary Lib Dem and not a Labour member. And 'Conservative' - never !

Anonymous said...

I think Barry Wood is a good advert for the Liberal Democrats, probably very at home there.

Totally lacking a sense of humour!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder as to how unpleasant your party can be ! Beyond the PR man at the top you remain the same as before.

Barrie Wood said...


After your splendidly humourous, knowledgeable and insightful comments on my Christian beliefs I do look forward to your searing critique of Islam next ;-)

If only the Lib Dems could match the level of witty sophistication Tories on here display.

Anonymous said...

Just an observation from an atheist Labour voter,

1) I enjoy the blogs on offer from both versions of Mr Wood - Barry and Marcus.

2) I have met the Lib Dem Mr Wood on a number of occasions and he is an all round decent bloke who says it as he sees it - without spin. I voted for him in May, despite the Lib Dem party label

3) Basically get off his case. Can you not stomach even a token Liberal presence on this blog ?

4) Richard Y-R : what a buffoon he made of himself at PMQs !

Windsor Tripehound said...

“Dissent and challenge is fine - a lack of civility, lazy stereotyping and being unpleasant is not so.”

“And 'Conservative' - never ! “

No lazy stereotyping there then, Barry?

Anonymous said...


I don't "...imagine how Christians to be" for the simple reason I am one. Unlike you however I am proud to add a denomination - RC!

I shall turn to the good book for inspiration and solace. I shall "turn the other cheek". I suggest you do the same.

PS. Don't you think your post was long winded and a rather good impression of a pompous Tory of the old school?

PPS. To Red Flag - You really ought to be ashamed of that non-de-plume. The Red Flag flew over Hungary and Czechoslavakia, courtesy of the Russians and their export of communist suppression! Or perhaps your knowledge of world history is limited.

Anonymous said...


You are right my long post was not my finest contribution on this blog - self-righteous and a touch pompous perhaps !

As for biblical inspiration - what about an eye for an eye, rather than turn the other cheek !!!
Still glad you read the good book and don't leave the interpretation of it to your priests !!!

Denomination - none - it's about personal belief and a relationship with God - not traditions or practice. From charismatic to RC and most points in-between I've experience of - some never to be repeated.

'Windsor' you comment makes no sense. I'm not a Tory, never will be - no big deal.

As for the Red Flag it has surely connotations with democratic Labour and social democratic parties too, although the Rose symbol has superseded it in use from the latter period of the 20th century onwards in Western Europe.

Back to discussing local and national politics anyone ? Methinks the Tories might have under-estimated the 'clunking fist' of Gordon Brown. Maybe he will be seen as change enough ala Major in 1992 ? A test of nerve at least for Cameron and the Tories following a year of few hiccups. Certainly Dave should ignore the likes of Edward Leigh's 'Cornerstone Group' if the Tories are to have any chance of breaking beyond their 30pc core vote. Any Tory views ?