Daily Archives: 17 January 2007

Matthew Taylor (the Lib Dem one) is off

This is a bit of a shock, although perhaps a bit understandable given his recent fatherhood. Matthew’s career showed a lot of early promise but he somehow never fulfilled it. Being stripped of his position as Chair of the Parliamentary Party in 2005 must have been a bit of a blow and Mark Oaten’s experiece may have made him think twice about continuing a Parliamentary career.

But the fact remains that a whole political generation is either leaving Parliament or has been otherwise compromised in the past twelve months. Of course there is Oaten and Charles Kennedy, but Paul Keetch announced his resignation a couple of months ago and Richard Allen left before the last election. Oh, and then there is whatever the hell is going on with Lembit. That leaves quite a few MPs aged between 40 and 50, but only Nick Clegg (who turned 40 last week) and David Laws are generally regarded as “rising stars”.

It may well be that the “rising star” label itself is a poisoned chalice, if you will permit me to mix my metaphors for a minute. Anyone found with one about their person seems doomed to failure.

Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!

The Complete Nemesis the Warlock: Bk. 1I was delighted to get my copy of the Complete Nemesis the Warlock Volume 1 in the post today.

It’s a truly gorgeous book, with somewhat higher standards of reproduction throughout compared to some of the recent 2000AD reprints. The Complete Judge Dredd Volumes contain some horrible bits, with the last part of Block Mania (and also Brian Bolland’s swan song as artist on the strip), smudged to near unreadability in Volume 5.

But enough griping. The best 4 books of the Warlock himself in a single volume! Kevin O’Neill, Jesus Redondo and Brian Talbot! And all on nice, crappy paper that feels (and smells!) distinctly old school.

Buy it before they ban it.

Plugins

I was trawling for WordPress Plugins at work last week, and came up with some goodies:

  • Ultimate Tag Warrior is something I’ve had on this blog for a while now, but it’s taken me until this week to discover its potential. It isn’t just good for generating things like tagclouds, which is nice but not desperately exciting – it can also be used for generating “related posts” lists, such as the ones that now adorn the bottom of all my posts.
  • Social Bookmarks allows you to add links to a variety of social bookmarking websites such as Technorati and del.icio.us. Simple but effective.
  • WP-Amazon allows you to generate “associates” links to Amazon extremely simply. Great for making the political party of your choice a bit of pocket change.

A wee bit of pedantry

It’s always very annoying when you read an article which you agree with the overall thrust of, but the author includes in it some complete howlers that undermine their case.

Iain MacWhirter’s piece about an English Parliament in the Herald today is a case in point. Less importantly, but still annoying because it is in the first paragraph:

So what would an English parliament actually look like, if those 61% of English voters, in last night’s Newsnight poll, who say they want one, get their way. Well, I’m tempted to say that an English parliament would be a bit like day one of a Liberal Democrat party conference. The LibDems already have a federal structure and delegates from England sit, in splendid isolation, at their annual conference to talk about English affairs.

Er, no we don’t. In fact, the first day of conference is normally reserved for business motions and receiving reports, all of which are federal, as anyone who glanced at the agenda would know.

More significantly though is this:

Scots MPs voted, famously, on the 2004 Higher Education Bill, which introduced top-up fees in England, but that didn’t stop it becoming law.

The point, Mr MacWhirter, is that Labour Scots MPs voted FOR the Higher Education Bill, thus imposing top up fees in England that would otherwise have fallen, despite the fact that Labour supported the abolition of tuition fees in Scotland. Now, I would happily accept the argument put forward by many constitutionalists that they should not necessarily have been prevented from voting in that debate, as it is undeniable that the Higher Education Bill had implications for Scotland, but that is a different point to the one that Iain MacWhirter is making here.

Generally however, this is quite a good article which nails some of the sillier aspects of the English Parliament campaigners’ arguments.

On a related note, this ranks as my favourite Act of Union story.