Monday, May 28, 2007

Polish Government Goes La La

Oh dear!
Comment really is superfluous.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blair to cross the Tiber (once safely out of office) apparently

Tony's planning to convert to Roman Catholicism when he leaves Downing Street, according to The Times. This is all sourced back to party-loving cleric, Father Michael Seed. If true - and as The Times story says, these rumours have been doing the rounds for years - one suspects that the reasons for Blair delaying the conversion until he's left Number 10 aren't just constitutional ones; ugly anti-Catholicism is reaching quite a hysterical pitch in certain sections of The Labour Party.
This has not gone unnoticed by us left-footers, by the way. A few months ago, the well-regarded journalist Paul Donovan (who happens to be a man of impeccably left-wing credentials) wrote a good piece on this very subject in The Tablet in which he noted that Labour Catholics are increasingly asking whether there is any place for them in the party. At least one high-ranking Catholic Labour peer is reported to have said that Donovan's peice was bang on the money.
Tim Hames bluntly made similar points in his Tablet column in January.

'The Labour Party once had a problem with the Militant Tendency. Sections of it now think that it has a difficulty with a "Catholic tendency".
'Ms Kelly has been something of a target for some time," he said, adding "It is not necessary to be an intimate of Ms Kelly's brand of Catholicism to recognise that a threat to one is a threat to all.' Quite so.

That such sentiments are being aired with regularity in The Tablet, the traditionally Labour-friendly organ of left-liberal Catholic opinion, is indicative of the level of discontent among Labour Catholics.

Deputy Leadership politicking

All six deputy leadership contenders have made the 45 nominations benchmark, with a last minute surge of support ensuring Hilary Benn has stayed in the race. It was looking rather dicey for him a few days ago, particularly with the Sunday Telegraph story about his shareholdings. On reading it, my own thoughts were Cui Bono? As were those of well-connected Tory blogger, Iain Dale, who suspects Alan Johnson's team were behind it. Naturally the Johnson camp have denied any involvement. The problem, however, is that the education secretary has acquired something of a reputation for dirty politics. Put simply, there are quite a few people wouldn't put it past him. Not long ago, a certain Labour high-flyer described one of Johnson's machinations to me as 'brutal politics'.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What Brown's Cabinet might look like

It's going to be all change at the top, with a number of key cabinet posts up for grabs. These include Chancellor of the Exchequer as Gord takes on the prime ministerial mantle, Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister with the departure of John Reid and John Prescott, respectively. It's also thought likely that Patricia Hewitt will face the chop, so that adds the Health portfolio to the list.
Alistair Darling is tipped for Number 11, Jack 'the lad' Straw to return to the Home Office and Hilary Benn for the FCO, as Margaret Beckett is eased into something ceremonial and befitting her dignity.
One big question is which position Gord will slot Ed 'post neo-classical endogenous growth theory' into. Thought to be just a little too inexperienced to be made Chancellor but too heavyweight for an easy department like International Development, there's speculation that Balls will get Trade and Industry.
Other MPs to watch out for include Brown's former SpAd, Ian Austin, Ed Balls' wife, Yvette Cooper and the quintessential New Labour man Liam Byrne, whose interest in the habits and desires of Middle Britain were described by a less-than-impressed high flying Labour MP in conversation with this aquatic creature as 'an unhealthy idée fixe'.

Meanwhile back in the world of serious power politics ...

The McDonnell/Meacher saga rumbles on. As revealed on Dolphinarium last week, the two reached an agreement to compare supporters and then unite behind whoever had the most. They were due to announce the results of these deliberations to the world's press on Thursday but it seems there were some 'complications'. The appointed hour came, breathless reporters waiting for the momentous news but ... no show.
Brit Left mega-legend, Neprimerimye is underwhelmed by it all, cruelly dubbing the duo McNonentity and Moocher.

Bye Bye Blair (sob)

Yes well, the end of an era, began with such promise, sunlit halcyon days, the peoples' premier, hopes dashed, Girolamo Strozzi, Cliff Richard (he did have such funny friends, didn't he?) Iraq, Dr Kelly, cash for honours, the morning after the night before etc etc.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Stop Press: Meacher and McDonnell reach agreement

Hold the front page!
Firm agreement between Meacher and McDonnell that whoever has the most nominations will challenge for leadership and each will support the other.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dolphinarium comment on fall of Lord Browne

BP chief Lord Browne, reputedly Tony Blair's favourite businessman, has been forced to resign after having been caught out lying to the courts about his relationship with former lover, Jeff Chevalier. This is obviously a personal tragedy for Browne, not least because it's cost him £15m, which he would have trousered had he resigned just two months later.
Dolphinarium wants to focus on the real scandal of this case, which, contrary to media comments is not that he lied but why he lied and what he lied about.
Browne claimed that he met Chevalier at Battersea Park (perfectly respectable) whereas in fact he met him through an internet dating site (unutterably vulgar).
Dolphinarium is not impressed.
Public figures like Lord Browne should realise that they have a responsibility to maintain standards. One simply doesn't meet one's significant other, lover or mistress online. It shows a distinct lack of style and is simply not done.
Suitable places for leading businessmen to meet their lovers are corporate cocktail parties, gala nights at the opera, charity functions, receptions at No 10 and such like.
This blog strongly advises Lord Browne to make up for this by reading the last 12 back issues of Tatler magazine and adds the following sternly-worded warning:
Dolphinarium won't be joining in the media feeding frenzy - yet. But any further revelations of a similarly NQOCD nature (ownership of an avocado bathroom suite, Three Tenors CD box set or - God help us - an original Jack Vettriano) and it will lead calls for him to be stripped of his peerage.

Quick May Day roundup

No Show Castro
Fidel failed to turn up for the annual May Day festivities in Havana. The crowds were instead treated to a speech by a mid-ranking party official who spoke for a mere 7 minutes. Last year, Fidel spoke for three hours.

Chavez's May Day raid on oil companies
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez stripped international oil companies' of their control of four big oil projects AND ordered Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas to withdraw Venezuela from the IMF and Worldbank. Should keep the comrades happy.

Names DO make a difference

Vaguely interesting Obs story on first names and how they influence lives. It includes this quotation from Professor Albert Mehrabian (whose surname indicates Armenian ancestry).

'A name is part of an impression package,' said Mehrabian. 'Parents who make up bizarre names for their children are ignorant, arrogant or just foolish.'

He has a point.