Archive for the ‘UK General Election 2005’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

The Age – Blair unbeatable, says Tory campaign chief: The struggling Conservative opposition in Britain struck new difficulties yesterday when it was reported that even its new campaign director, Australian Liberal mastermind Lynton Crosby, believes Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair to be unbeatable.

Scotsman – ‘Tories can’t Win’ Claim Denied by Howard: Conservative leader Michael Howard today denied reports that his campaign director had told him he cannot win the general election. There was “not one iota of truth” in suggestions that Australian Lynton Crosby advised him to concentrate on a face-saving effort to increase the Conservatives’ strength in the House of Commons by 25 to 30 seats, said Mr Howard.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 18, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

Election Watch launched a few days ago, and today warns that: If we’re not careful, this election campaign could turn very boring, very quickly.

I’ve heard this a few times from most political commentators and said so to this nice chap when we met the other night.

But Rupa Huq – the elder sister of that Konnie girl out of Blue Peter that recently ran in the European elections – will this time be running against Cheryl Gillan in Chesham & Amersham.

And she’s a DJ. I’m sure they’ll all be avin’ it large up north.

Note: Rupa was a good girl during the European elections, and closely followed Labour’s strategy of getting all tough on crime, like.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 17, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

BBC NEWS | In Depth | Party policies at a glance

BBC – Tories set to unveil tax cut plan

Guardian – Defection of MP derails Howard’s election plan: Michael Howard was last night struggling to get the Conservatives’ £35bn election message back on track after it was knocked sideways yesterday by an MP’s high-profile defection to Labour and a morale-sagging opinion poll.

BBC – Tory tax cut proposals: Your views

BBC – Kennedy launches Lib Dem poll bid

Guardian – Kennedy names election battlegrounds (includes link to full speech): Charles Kennedy today accused the government of campaigning on “the politics of fear”, as he launched the Liberal Democrats’ campaign for the next general election. Declaring his own party “united, principled and ambitious”, he made it clear the Lib Dems would fight the expected May 5 poll on a platform of opposition to the Iraq war, council tax, student top-up fees and identity cards. In the wake of the weekend defection of former Conservative minister Robert Jackson to Labour, Mr Kennedy accused the Tories of now “fading away as a national party”.

Scotsman – Libdem Warning to Labour over Hung Parliament: Liberal Democrats will not “bail out” Tony Blair if there is a hung Parliament, leader Charles Kennedy warned today. Labour is set for another landslide victory, according to the polls. But Mr Kennedy said his party had its best chance for two or three decades and would benefit from a “mixed pattern of voting” across the country.

Ironically, any landslide will result – at least in part – from fear of a return to Tory rule. Which doesn’t really seem to be on the cards, now does it? Why, it’s almost as if someone has been misrepresenting the level of the threat… one can only wonder why.

Perhaps – just perhaps – it’s to reign in the protest vote…

Washington Post – Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy (transcript here): President Bush said the public’s decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath. “We had an accountability moment, and that’s called the 2004 elections,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me.”

Boy, that worked out well, didn’t it?

Blair has said more than once that the people would get a chance to decide if he acted correctly in Iraq at the polls… but during the recent EU and local elections, a lot of effort went into keeping Blair (and therefore Iraq) out of the picture and – when this didn’t work – Blair actually urged voters to put aside their feelings about Iraq when they cast their ballots.

For many people, this election will be their only chance to call Tony Blair to account for Iraq.

But how many people do you think will hover over their form and hesitate if there appears (emphasis on appears) to be a danger of a Conservative victory?

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, UK General Election 2005

This is a heads-up for all proxy-bloggers, some information about how well you’re doing and some ideas about what you can do during the upcoming election.

A star (*) denotes a blog that is in need of love (i.e. there hasn’t been a fresh post for a while).

Paddy Tipping is my MP – 3rd in Yahoo and 1st in MSN for ‘paddy tipping’

Keetchwatch* – 2nd in Google and MSN for ‘paul keetch’

Glenda Jackson MP* – Voidstar feed is 2nd in Google for ‘glenda jackson mp’, blog is 1st in Yahoo for ‘glenda jackson’

Steve Pound Proxy Weblog – 2nd (feed) and 5th (blog) in Google, 2nd in Yahoo

Michael Clapham MP* – 8th (feed) in Google, 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘michael clapham’

Jeff Ennis MP* – 5th (feed) and 10th (blog) in Google, 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘jeff ennis’

Eric Illsley MP* – 3rd in Google, 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘eric-illsley’

Stalking David Blunkett* and Big Blunkett* have both ceased activity since his ministerial resignation, but the authors should prepare for action. They’ve got excellent coverage in Google, Yahoo and MSN… and Blunkett is still a Labour MP and an important ‘face’ that is likely to be used during the election.

Keith Vaz, MP – 1st in Google, Yahoo and MSN for ‘keith vaz’! Cracking effort! This has a lot to do with it being a comprehensive blog with regular posts. In fact, this blog deserves your special attention.

Almost David Lepper, MP* – The Blogger Profile for this site is 5th in Google for ‘david lepper’, the Voidstar feed is 10th. The blog itself is 1st in Yahoo and MSN for the same query.

Frank Dobson MP* – The Voidstar feed is 6th in Google for ‘frank dobson mp’, the weblog itself is 2nd in Yahoo and 4th in MSN for ‘frank dobson’

Nick Raynsford MP* – 3rd in Google and 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘nick raynsford’

Lewis Moonie MP* – 2nd (feed) and 7th in Google for ‘lewis moonie mp’, 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘lewis moonie’

(Not) Alan Milburn – This proxy-blog is 2nd in Yahoo and 3rd in MSN for ‘alan milburn’, but best we can do in Google is 8th (and that’s the Voidstar feed) for ‘alan milburn mp’ – so this weblog needs some serious Google-juice. This blog needs the most love. Please link to it.

GidleyWatch – A shining star in our collection, in that it resulted in Sandra Gidley starting a weblog of her own. The proxy-blog is 6th in Google, 2nd in Yahoo and 3rd in MSN for ‘sandra gidley’

sarah teather is my mp – 2nd in Google, 1st in Yahoo and MSN for ‘sarah teather’

Not the real Jim Cousins Blog – The Voidstar feed is 6th in Google for ‘jim cousins’, the weblog is 1st in Yahoo and MSN

NEW: Pugh Watch – 5th in Google for ‘john pugh’ (not sure how I missed this one, but it’s there)

So – if you’re up for it – I’d like all proxy bloggers to stand by for full-on Election Mode.

If you get campaign material, scan it and display it.

If a local candidate does something interesting, report it.

If a local candidate says something questionable, refute it.

If a local candidate says something that’s total bullshit, reveal it.

This blog and others (I’m guessing Honourable Fiend will be among them) will be very interested in what you have to say and display.

We’re going to blog this election live. We’re going to kick arse and take names. And that’s just for starters.

PS – You. Yes, you. Do you live in or near the constituencies of the blogs listed above? You are? Well, that’s just lovely. Perhaps you’d care to help out.

And even if you’re not, perhaps you’d care to lend some scanning or scan-hosting support. So much of what gets said, promised or suggested during an election gets lost. It’s important that it be preserved.

PPS – I’m working on Blair Video II and need 8-12 questions that you would ask of Tony Blair. No more than 4-8 words. Leave them under Comments if you like or email me directly.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tony 'King Blair, UK General Election 2005

I think we can look forward to the announcement of an election date shortly. We’re at the stage of last-minute manoeuvres.

Speaking of which, you may recall that Labour sent two last-minute text-messages before the 2001 election; one mocking the hard-drinking cap-wearing then Tory leader William Hague and one promising longer licensing hours. Years later, and on the eve of an election announcement, we finally see some action on “flexible closing times”.

But let’s get down to yesterday’s meat and two veg…

BBC – In full: Blair speech

BBC – Blair stresses prosperity goals: Tony Blair says his party’s next manifesto will be “unremittingly New Labour” and aimed at producing “personal prosperity for all”. The prime minister is trying to draw a line under speculation over the state of his relationship with Gordon Brown with the speech in Chatham, Kent. He said that prosperity meant both individual wealth and ensuring “radically improved” public services. He also claimed Labour was more ideologically united than ever.

Telegraph – Blair postures where Thatcher revolutionised: The central purpose of New Labour is to increase personal prosperity and wellbeing, not just for a few, but for all. Thus the Prime Minister yesterday, in his first practice run for the hustings. As a philosophy, it’s only marginally more controversial than admitting being in favour of motherhood and apple pie, yet, like so much else in his long speech yesterday, it bears only a nodding acquaintance with what his Government has really done in its first seven years.

Guardian – Blair sets out campaign stall: Tony Blair yesterday set the stage for a “pocket book” election in which he hopes to fend off New Labour’s opponents by harnessing Britain’s thriving economy to promote “personal prosperity and well-being” for all classes in society.

Guardian – Blair’s reality gap: Yesterday the prime minister’s first political speech of the election fired the opening salvo. It was a standard Blair speech, electioneering by numbers, as he laid out the fundamentals of Labour’s claim to govern again next time. Number one – colour it white – the sound economy, without which nothing else. Then follows a long list of all Labour has done, mostly impressive and true. But not always the only truth.

Independent – Blair pays tribute to ‘the most successful Chancellor since war’: Tony Blair took steps to heal his rift with Gordon Brown yesterday by accepting the Chancellor’s criticism that the Labour government had not fulfilled the hopes the nation had when it came to power in 1997. In a speech launching Labour’s “long campaign” for a 5 May general election, the Prime Minister lavished praise on Mr Brown, who he called “the most successful British post-war Chancellor”. He vowed to fight the election on an “unremittingly New Labour” ticket and put the economy at the heart of the campaign. “Everything we do must be for this one central purpose: increased personal prosperity and well-being for all,” he said.


Here’s an extract from a comment I made on Boris Johnson’s site the other day: So the rift is healed (or not a rift at all) and the economy is central to election strategy. Fair enough. It worked in the US and in Australia. Everyone’s making money, and the other guys will make you poor. Or quite possibly dead.

And here’s an interesting rumour that popped up on Usenet, posted to the same comments thread: Essentially, the Brown Camp within Labour do not want a huge majority at the next election; a result that would strengthen Tony Blair in the immediate aftermath. They believe that there are real ideological issues between the two men that would translate into different government agendas under either of the two leaders. That being the case, they would expect a third Labour landslide to be followed by a purge of their man and themselves, unless there wasn’t a landslide.

Caveat: This is supposed to come from a “highly placed and well-informed” Tory… but I’ve also heard it refuted privately by more than one person in the Labour Party.

But if Blair does come through with a strong victory based on values that are “unremittingly New Labour” (here we make a petty remark about Bush’s – *snigger* – mandate), I think we can expect to see – at the very least – a lot of Brownies left out in the cold.

For those who are wondering about my role in the upcoming election… yes, I was teasing you when I posted this. Kind of.

In 2001, only 59% of the population voted. This was the lowest turnout since 1918 (and that was probably due to a lot of the electorate being underground at the time).

I’m going to be targeting those who see Blair’s win to be inevitable and the alternatives to be less-than-ideal. I want to show these people that there is a point to voting and (hopefully) encourage them to vote pragmatically and/or strategically.

I also want others to see through the barrage of bullshit that’s bound to come our way via mainstream media. To do this, I need to position myself in a way that allows me to subvert not only Blair’s campaign message, but also Howard’s and Kennedy’s where necessary.

The primary purpose of this activity will be to combat bullshit in general and reduce Blair’s majority in order to ensure that there is a strong and effective opposition – that knows that they too are answerable to the public.

The posters have been designed and a test-run of t-shirts is due early next week. The site is 75% ready, banners and buttons are completed. Ground-work has already begin to ensure that we take control of major search terms relating to the election and possibly key issues/candidates. Proxy-bloggers, you especially need to prepare yourselves for battle on this front.

A nifty Flash show (of the fun variety) has been waiting in the wings for weeks and last night I fell upon the ideal soundtrack for a follow-up (of the awesome variety).

If you think you’re going to just sit out this election and make up your mind on the day… think again. I want you on our side and I want you active in the coming weeks and months.

This will mean – at the very least – some time and real estate on your weblog, but I will also be asking you to reach into your pockets and get off your arse and do stuff.

The major parties have cash and mainstream media on their side, and armies of people that collectively will have a greater impact than you if they’re willing to do what you’re not and simply get out on the streets.

So… is it going to be big? Well, that’s up to you.

Is it going to be clever? Well, I certainly hope so.

The one thing I can guarantee is this: it’s going to be fun.

Democracy is choice. You heard it here first.

UPDATE – Blair and Brown: Fiend explains it all!

Oh, and Gina Snowdoll reports that Alastair Campbell has been smiling at strange women on Victoria Road. Of course, this is nowhere *near* as intersting as Margot Wallstrom starting a weblog, but I’m sure you’ll get over it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 12, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

BBC – Labour tries to dig up Tory past: Labour is trying to use new openness laws to dig up electioneering material about Conservative leader Michael Howard’s time in government. Requests for the documents have been put in by a range of Labour politicians and party members, a party spokesman told the BBC News website. They include queries about Mr Howard’s role in the poll tax and claims he fast-tracked a passport application. Ministers are normally barred access to the private files of past governments.

Oh, this is so begging to be flipped on its head. Where shall we begin digging?

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 11, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

Balders has a few thoughts on the Blair/Brown rift – and a bunch of links.

Me, I’m holding my water. But…

You always know when there’s a Big Lie to be sold, because Honest John Prescott appears on Radio 4.

I am keen to see the official ‘pre-election’ posters. Will they be green and blue like they were in my dream?

Oh, and I’m dying to show you my posters… but they must remain under wraps until the entire machine is ready.

UPDATE – The Labour posters are here and they ooooooooze Soho cleveryness. And they’re not green and blue!

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 11, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005 – Vote For Me

Damn it all, I missed my chance to make a total arse of myself on television. And I was busy blogging and missed the programme’s debut last night. Oh well. I’ll catch up.

Independent – Vote For Me, ITV1: The programme’s gimmick is to put them through a selection process, and the winner will stand for parliament. (i.e. to produce a single candidate)

The Working Title Party was geared to create a fresh crop of candidates: The winning participants can be awarded prize money on a sliding scale. With this funding, the outright winner will have the freedom to begin his own party based on their views and/or the views of their competitors. Recruiting less-successful participants to form a cabinet after the series will be the true test of this individual’s leadership. In fact, the outright winner may not be the person who brings this together – there could very well be a political Darius waiting in the wings (‘I will be the leader of a political party and win an election by the age of 35!’). So they may as a group choose to form an actual party, or they may not. That party may be led by the outright winner of the series, or it may now. Some participants may actually choose to use their funding and fame to begin a political career in existing parties. In short, no political party will be promoted during the series, as it will not – or even may not – exist until well after the series has concluded.

Did anybody watch it? How many parallels are there to my original proposal?

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 7, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

I may go along… but only to ask where I pick up my cheque.


Posted by Tim Ireland at December 21, 2004

Category: UK General Election 2005

Myself, I’ve been in pre-election mode for weeks now… but today it’s official. The Telegraph is predicting a snap poll, but the most likely date still appears to be May 5.

Ooh, here’s an interesting quote…

Independent – Blair to ditch election campaign battle bus
: Mr Milburn said the campaign will be “anchored” in the economy, and will promote optimism over cynicism.

And that nice Mr Campbell will be on hand to help.

FYI, the project I’m working on will most likely go live in early January. I’m sure it will be of enormous help to Mr Milburn.

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