Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thaaaat's all folks!

This blog's old function as the official SLP blog has been taken by another!
Visit the new blog and SLP Online HQ HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ID Insanity

We're not the first blog to mention this and we won't be the last, but how on Earth can the government not see their folly?

Firstly, the economic argument. £5 billion is a vast amount and at £60 per card per person, the Home Secretary expects us to fund the scheme ourselves!

Frankly, there is little that could possibly be less popular. Spending £60 on a piece of plastic which contains my iris scans and fingerprints (which I usually carry on me anyway) is not going to be popular when we're up to our eyeballs in debt, both as a country and individually, and basic costs of living are hard to cover.

Secondly, the libertarian argument. Quite frankly, when the Opposition is against this, a party which is seen as being stricter in social policy than the current government, you know you're becoming too severe. Whatever happened to the government not holding our data without good reason? Are we not private citizens?

Most of us are not criminals, most of us are hard-working, tax-paying citizens with a right to privacy and a right to not have our data held on a supercomputer somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

As for the argument that it will help prevent identity theft, well that is easily countered by pointing out the government's loss of several laptops, brief cases and flash drives containing none other than our personal data. With even more of it floating around, basic maths tells us that more of our data will be lost.

Also just pointed out to me is the problem of hackers. If they can break into the Pentagon's security, this should be a piece of cake in comparison. I'm no computer wizard, but it seems to me that any large amount of public data that is sitting in one place is just begging to be broken into and played around with.

[Hat-tip to Mock The Week for the humour]

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Knives are out for Brown

Well, first it was David Blunkett with a call for a return to Pre-Brown Britain
No surprise there really - he'd always been a critic.

Then there was Clarke with "ashamed to be a Labour MP"
Again, no surprise - but Clarke has been rumoured to be a possible leadership challenger, so he's worth watching.

Then there was "exodus talk" which was quickly dismissed, rapidly followed by Lord Ashdown claiming that Labour MPs were considering jumping ship.

Hazel Blears then came out with an article in the Guardian calling for a change in communication and "Youtube if you want to". Not so much a criticism of Brown, and she rightly says so, but it suggests that she's gearing up for something.
She must have known that the article would prompt speculation and rumours, but the actual content says otherwise - a clever piece of work, simultaneously putting her on both sides of the emerging pro-Brown vs. anti-Brown divide.

Prescott came out with a similar message to Blears', but with an altogether more supportive tone, also indicating that Labour was gearing up for the election campaign. He told Blunkett to stop complaining and get on the campaign trail.

Today, Alan Johnson has come out in full support of Brown, dismissing calls for him to replace him (he's by far the most popular Labour figure and the only one even remotely feared by the Conservatives). On the same programme, Ken Livingstone had called for Johnson to replace Brown.

Margaret Beckett and a number of other MPs also criticised Charles Clarke heavily, adding some criticism of Blears' article.

Interesting stuff's a'happening!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The End of Labour. Bye.

It is the end of Labour.
They'll still exist, but in much the same form as the Liberals did after 1914. A shadow of their former selves. 
I can't think of what could possibly replace them as the opposition party. I suspect that the LibDems will veer to the left in order to replace them as the party of the left (Ironic really, seeing as Labour once upon a time replaced them as the party of the working class).
The LibDems have already started, with calls for nationalisation of the banks, an unwillingness by the likes of Chris Huhne to defend Free Speech properly, and a simmering social democrat constituency just waiting to rear its head.
We'll see what happens.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Facebook group over 200 members!

Although overall membership numbers of the SLP surpassed 250 a few weeks ago, it's only recently that our facebook group topped 200.
Very good stuff.
To give you some idea of how far we have to go in 6 years, when you break it down, it sounds pretty good.
Overall, 13 million votes to win a General Election (slightly less now, but hey - overestimated one factor, and about to underestimate another...)
Normal membership to vote ratio is about 60-ish, though the LibDems manage about 100, so let's assume that it's 100 (also because we have free membership and a decent set of appealing policies... if I do say so myself... if anything otherwise, we wouldn't have got this far already!)
So, that's 130,000 members needed in 6 years to actually WIN an election. Let me just repeat that - to form a government, we'd need about 130,000 members.
So, we're not even a year in, and we've got 250. Let's say that we'll have 300 by the end of the first year (likely to be much more seeing as growth accelerates, we haven't yet had a huge amount of publicity (which also increases proportional to membership), and membership is free).
So, we need roughly 22,000 members a year, for the next 6 years.
Seeing as membership accelerates, I'd say that this is really very achievable (ever the optimist!).
Oh, and the other big question? Are there really that many people out there ready to join a party? Errm DEFINITELY: current party membership of all the other parties put together comes to 0.2% of the population. 
We also know for a fact (through facebook advertising) that there are 500,000 self-describing liberals in the UK... and that's just on facebook. We can reach them. Easily. We've already started.

So, here's the start of Project 13 Million - to achieve 130,000 members in 6 years. 
...oh, and repost this please

...btw, these are very rough estimates. But it's a great aim to have, and a very achievable one at that!

A bit of Republicanism

Check out this article HERE.
The best quotation has to be:
"They even ignored the Please Keep Off the Grass signs"
On the broader theme of republicanism, many of my more monarchist friends don't appear to have a personal allegiance to the Queen as a person - it's usually more a devotion to the idea of the monarch, as Head of State. Fighting for an ideal is certainly better than fighting for someone you've never met... 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A challenger to Brown?

Rumour over on Labourhome has it that a former Cabinet minister is considering challenging Brown to a leadership contest if they lose the Expenses Vote later today.
He'll need to raise the support of 20% of MPs in order to do so.
I've compiled a list of who it could be (fitting the description of former Cabinet Minister):
  • Charles Clarke (possible, a staunch critic of Brown)
  • Ruth Kelly (resigned not long ago - somehow I doubt it)
  • John Reid (possible, but said he was resigning at the next GE, so unlikely)
  • Patricia Hewitt (seems unlikely)
  • Peter Hain (possible, but disgraced over donations fiasco in Deputy Leadership race)
  • David Blunkett (possible, a staunch Blairite)
  • Hilary Armstrong (seems to be a Blairite, possible)
  • Frank Dobson (anti-Blair, possible)
  • John Prescott (seems unlikely having resigned due to an affair - now busy with the election campaign called Go Fourth)
  • Michael Meacher (challenged Brown during first contest - seems unlikely to do so again)
  • Alan Milburn (was suggested by Clarke as a contender the first time - very possible)
  • Andrew Smith (could be - only one to have voted against the Government over Gurkhas)
  • Stephen Byers (criticises Brown - very possible, but very New Labour)
  • Alun Michael (possible)
From that list, the most likely appear to be Charles Clarke, David Blunkett, Hilary Armstrong, Frank Dobson, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers, Andrew Smith.
Well, we'll see, and it depends on the government losing the Expenses vote. 
[UPDATE]: well, stuff all that - the government won the expenses votes, BUT the possible contender will still be out there, waiting for their chance!