Thursday, November 27, 2003

Another Spin exclusive leaked memo....

To: Prime Minister
From: P Mephistopheles MP

Prime Minister,

Congratulations on the Queen’s speech and on the relative success of the Bush visit.

As you are no doubt aware, this is merely the quiet before the storm.

Over the coming months, you will face angry attacks from middle class parents and middle of the road Labour MP’s over top-up fees, from the left over asylum seekers, from the right on public services, from the unions over foundation hospitals, pay and anything else they can think of.

At the same time right-wing newspaper columnists will bemoan our budget deficits in one column, and salute Bush economic growth (built on huge deficits) in the next.

On top of all that, you’re going to have the nagging headache of the European constitution. Then there’s the press making a fuss every time Gordon grimaces.

I won’t even start on Iraq.

Well, forgive me for saying it, but no national consultation exercise is going to help you out. You might be on the right road, but it’s a hard and rocky one.

But I have a solution. It is simple, devastating, will unite the party behind you, will make you a greater world figure than ever and secure your place in history. Best of all, it will only take one speech, delivered sometime next year.

All you need to do is dump Bush in 04.

Hold on. I know what you’re thinking. It’d be wrong. It would mean rejecting a policy you believe in. But it wouldn’t. All you need to do is unload everything over Bush, not on the policies, not on Iraq, but on the man.

This is the man who won’t drop the Steel tarriffs, the man who won’t budge on Kyoto, the man who is recklessly endangering the global economy ( no return to boom and bust? How hollow will he make that sound?), the man who is already toying with cutting and running in Iraq.

Even though he was right on Iraq, it’s a stopped clock. Right twice a day. The world would be better off without him.

You can do it too. You’re his indispensable ally. Your approval ratings in America are sky high. He’s called you his closest friend. You are the one defence he has against the charge he has alienated the world. Slide the knife in and he is gone.

And what have you got for your trouble? Not a single favour has flowed from Bush to Blair. It’s all been the other way round. Well, Surely it’s time for a change. At last, Bush can do you a favour.

Imagine the speech. Perhaps to a special gathering of world leaders and diplomats. Even at the UN.

Start with a history of the great role the US has played in promoting freedom, a statement of your passionate pro-Americanism, move to a passionate defence of the dethroning of Saddam, and then the climax......

“America has long been the last best hope for humanity. I supported America in Iraq. I supported America in Afghanistan. It was right to do so because the freedom we fought for was a freedom all peoples should enjoy.

The rest of the world needs America’s military protection and protection from fear. We should be prepared to pay more of the cost of that burden, but we also need an American commitment to the globe.

Thanks to America, Iraq has freedom. Now it needs long term stability, not policies dictated by the US electoral calender. I am increasingly worried that US proposals for troop withdrawals are driven by domestic political concerns, not the good of Iraq.

We need action on Global warming, not warm words and concessions to big oil.

We need a commitment to free trade and fair trade, not special protection for swing states.

We need a real push for a viable two state solution in the Middle east.

We need an American economy run for stable growth, run responsibly and not for a deficit binge which will give us all a hangover.

Despite my every effort, this administration has shown no interest in dealing with these issues at a serious and comprehensive level. It has shown no interest in global questions that do not win it political support at home.

So I must withdraw my support for this administration.

Until it makes real changes on issues of global concern, Great Britain cannot go further with America. I hope America sees sense. It is a great country. It is a great people, but it is being misled. I have done all I can. I wish to do more. But not like this. Not with these policies. Not with this President.”

After that, You’d be European President in an instant. Especially if Bush won the November Election.

It’s tempting. I know. Iraq’s over. Bush is a millstone round your neck. Dump him and with one bound you’ll be free. Popular with the party again, embraced across Europe. I can give you glad confident morning again. For just one speech.

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Monday, November 24, 2003

Sometimes it's hard to get excited about politics

I know, from me, it's heresy. I write about politics, bore my friends with politics, wash my clothes with politics (mmm... it's the just washed scent of Hoon I adore) and frankly know far too much about politics for my own damn good.

Politics and bad puns are my obsessions. Indeed, this blog was started as a way of purging myself of these strange urges while escaping from the judgment of my fellow man. Why do I need to hide my unnatural desires? Well, to take an example, I have waited for two decades for an American president to suffer from cancer. This is so I can start an article with the pun laden words "This is not the first time there has been a cancer at the heart of the presidency.. " truly, I need help.

If politics were a train, I'd be that strange man at the end of Leicester train station on the coldest day of the year, huddled over a flask of liquid brownness while waiting for the rare 1981 light electric train to arrive from Hull for it's first visit to the midlands since the revised winter timetable was amended. If you have not grasped the brilliance of this metaphor, it implies that I am obsessive about politics. Belabour a point? Never.

So politics is everything to me. Just not today. For reasons that don't concern you, you damned nosey parkers, (the benefit of anonymity is mystery, right? Imagine how gutted you'd be to discover I am actually a receptionist in a tanning salon in Blyth) I can't think about politics with any great intensity.

As a result, posting will be light to non-existent over the next few days. Don't worry though. I will be taking notes, and as soon as the old steely gaze returns and I find it impossible to pick up a newspaper without a harrumph and a coruscating avalanche of criticism directed at the darling companion of my mornings, I shall be back.

Still, for those of you who are not being /swept up in the rapture/being worked like a dog/feeling Ill and sick and tired/just plain lazy/ as I am, here is one tiny morsel of political commentary to keep you going.

Treasure it wisely. You'll need to ration it out.

The guardian today runs an article by Paul Carr. The subject is how blogging proves the young love politics mmm'kay?

As a political blogger of at least Rymans league standing, let me say this.

No it doesn't. It just gives those of us who read Hansard under the bedclothes the comfortable feeling that we are not alone. It's the same feeling that the internet has given to people who believe they are vampires or that "The Bonsai monthly journal" has long given to fetishists for tiny trees.

That said, those of us on the left who prattle on incessently about community should notice when one is building up before our eyes. The proof is that hardcore conservatives like Iain Murray and Andrew Sullivan and liberal scribblers like Atrios or Josh Marshall can get total strangers to help them fund their work- without a single pricetag being placed on their output. especially at time of need or crisis. This sense of fellow feeling really matters, after all, by chipping in for them, I am behaving economically irrationally.

So while Bogging itself doesn't really matter or signify much (yet), the sense of community really matters. After all, if William Hague had known his love of politics was normal and natural, who knows how his life might have turned out. He might have waited until his voice broke before speaking at Tory conference.

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