Archive for the ‘Labour’ Tag

Peter Mandelson: worse than my parents’ dinner party conversation

When I think of Second Life it makes me feel awkward – and not just because a parallel universe existing only on computer screens and in the minds of weird people is weird. But also because the people who talk about Second Life tend to be people like my parents, who have read about it in some Telegraph supplement and think it’s cool dinner party conversation.

I have never met a person with a Second Life avatar (and surely I’m in their catchment demographic?) but i know what an avatar is because of the broadsheet features that one cannot escape no matter how hard one tries. The divorce didn’t help much, but then they rarely do. And the fact that I have never met a person who plays (and I doubt this verb is the correct one) the game (ditto) yet my grandparents know about Second Life is the primary reason it makes me so uncomfortable.

Unsurprisingly, then, it was with trepidation that I read of Peter Mandelson’s new avatar. Apparently, repeatedly coming back from the dead (sorry, Brussels) isn’t enough. This Frankensteinian move comes as one of the many publicity stunts surrounding the launch of Labour’s blog,, on February 12th.

When  I was working as a parliamentary intern for the Labour party last summer all bar talk was of Obama’s great use of “that internet thing) (ok, so maybe not quite that bad. But close) and the party seemed desperate for a bit of that Facebookin’ action. But the reason Obama’s online campaign worked so well – and what those propping up the much loved House of Commons bar didn’t seem to grasp – was that he was young enough to actually know what Facebook was. Without having to turn to his grandchildren. may be a success – I hope it is, and don’t see why it shouldn’t be with some chuffing big names to its name. But the avatar is an infinite amount of steps too far. Mandelson has been reading too many broadsheet supplements, and although this leads to horrifying, but innocent, dinner party conversation in my parents, in Mandelson it leads to something much worse: a very worrying skin tone, and no respect from anyone under the age of 26.

Our Secretary of State for Business, apparently:

Try humming the intro to the Jaws theme as an amusing soundtrack to the image.

Try humming the Jaws theme as an amusing soundtrack to accompany your viewing.


Bishops ununited: thank God their incest attempts will fail

Today I read that “Bishops attacks ‘scandal’ of debt”. And I assumed for about a second that the BBC was referring to me, my student loan, and my dreams of galloping into Natwest on my high horse armed with a machete.

But after that rather exciting second had passed, I realised the BBC was actually reporting on the number of Bishops (the Church of England variety, not my extended family) who have launched a damning attack on Labour’s record on debt and spending – and hell yes, papers loved the damning pun too.

Rowan without his guesstimated size nines.

Rowan without his guesstimated size nines.

The Bishops of Durham, Winchester, Hulme, Carlisle and Manchester followed in the (size nine, I reckon) footsteps of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and his attack on Brown and the government last week.

Could Labour care less? Seemingly not, if one MP’s comments are anything to go by.

Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell, who apparently “represents the Church in the Commons” (although heaven – literally – knows what that means) described the Bishops’ comments as “nonsense”.

This is exciting because not only is Sir Bell clearly going to hell (which makes for a great limerick on the gravestone), but it also shows how little strength the church has when it comes up against politics.

And this makes me a little bit happier than I was before my second of egotistical daydreaming (see above). Because I think of religion and politics as very old, distant cousins in the extended family that is our society: I can see the long-gone genetic link, but any hint of them getting too close now throws up uncomfortable notions of incest and makes me feel a little bit sick.

I will award the Bishops a B+ for effort (an A would have required recruiting more than four for their attack on Labour – there are 350 Labour MPs; you do the math (singular for rhetoric effect of course)). But I will revel in their failure to affect our country’s politics that I expect, and determinedly swallow back down my little bit of uncomfortable-sick.

Thank God for immoral MPs!

And I can only apologise for the copious amount of parentheses in this post (seven pairs including these), which I concede are distracting at best, post-destroying at worst.

Brown’s the king of the castle: or he will be on Christmas Day.

David Cameron’s position as King of the Castle, or at least the polls, looks to be in jeopardy. And as the Conservative’s lead becomes smaller, and smaller, and smaller – I feel that I am in a position to make a prediction of when it might cease to exist at all: Christmas day.

My exciting prediction comes from playing with the Guardian’s ‘interactive poll data’, which documents the Guardian/ICM poll results since June 05. If you hold a ruler up to your computer screen, the pretty blue and red lines look set to collide on Christmas day. Or at least the end of December. How very scientific.

Or Christmas Day roundabout...

Or Christmas Day roundabout...

Anyway, there has been much internet-based debate as to why Brown is suddenly much more popular than he was (more fiddling with the Guardian’s grid-thingy) in June this summer, and most of it centres around heroic efforts at saving the world. Er, banks. I mean world banks…

I have a different opinion. Brown’s Government is flipping popular right now because they’re so bad they’re good. Accidentally giving 5% of the civil service over £200 (each, a year) in pension overpayments must have guaranteed them a few votes. And as I’m in the mood for predicting, I reckon Labour have just secured themselves 95,000.

This is what the BBC reckon people who are £200 a year better off look like.

This is what the BBC reckon people who are £200 a year better off look like.

Tories haven’t got a chance as long as Labour keep cocking up this well.