Archives for February 2011

Mandy, oh Mandy!

‘Wafer thin Miliband’ is it? Mandy’s mutterings…just a cry from the wilderness where the spotlight no longer shines. I think the poor chap’s suffering from withdrawl symptoms.

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Speak up!

Does the conspiracy amongst senior Tories  to oust John Bercow as Speaker have legs? Ooops! Freudian slip – I must have been thinking about Sally!

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Politicos by Roz

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Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead after all…

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“Take me to your leader…oh, you don’t have one, I see”

One of the sad realities of politics, and British politics in particular, is that our so-called leaders have virtually no leadership experience whatsoever. Despite that, we expect them to lead us through thick and thin, take the right decisions, have sound judgement, to know when to step in when things are going pear-shaped and sort things out. So when things do go wrong we shouldn’t be surprised when they mess up. If we put chumps in charge we must expect a chump’s response. That’s exactly what we got over the Libyan evacuation. A Lance Corporal in The Rifles would have reacted in a more decisive and prompt manner than our Foreign Secretary – and our Prime Minister, who should have intervened and sorted the matter out, but didn’t.

Clearly David Cameron is having to learn leadership on the hoof. There’s not much any of us can do about that, but what is alarming is that he appears either to have nobody close to him who is experienced enough to give him the right advice or he has, but is too pig-headed to take their advice.

Cameron’s decision to employ Andy Coulson was a bad call. The fact that he didn’t sack him as soon as it became clear that Coulson’s involvement in the phone hacking scandal might not be quite as he had admitted, was a serious error of judgement. To take an arms manufacturers on his Middle East tour in the current circumstances was not only insensitive, but crass stupidity – and again an error of judgement. The farce over the Libyan evacuation I think demonstrates that we have a Prime Minister who is floundering. He either can’t make decisions or doesn’t know what decisions to take.

In the light of Mr Cameron’s performance, I think we have good reason to be concerned. If he can’t crack the easy things, what hope has he got of getting the big decisions right? Today he said that there were lessons that had to be learnt. I hope he has the humility to understand that he is the one who has most to learn. There is one leadership maxim he would do well to remember – ‘you are only as good as those that support you’. A good leader surrounds himself with the best, an inspired leader surrounds himself with those that are better than himself. Egocentric politicians may find this difficult to accept, Mr Cameron needs to prove that he is the exception.

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Desperation in Shroudia Arabia?

Oh wow! That’s generous of you King Abdullah!  A $10.7 billion give away to offset high inflation and to aid young unemployed people – now what could have prompted  this  magnanimous gesture I wonder?  Oh, and there’s more…state employees are going to get a 15% pay increase, and you’re going to make more funds available for housing loans. This is truly amazing, but what about political reforms? Not yet, I see… you’re going to pardon some prisoners, but only the ones indicted for financial crimes…good one!  Do you think this will do the trick? You’re not sure, but you’ve ordered a consignment of underpants from Harrods just in case. Great!

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By Gove, I think he’s got it!

Michael Gove is certainly not my favourite Secretary of State, but today he excelled himself. He’s issued local authorities with new guidelines that warn that race should not delay placing a child with a suitable family of a different ethnicity.

The new guidance will state that as long as prospective adopters show that they are able to care for the child then race should not be a factor. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! This guidance is long overdue. There have been literally thousands of children who have been denied the chance of adoption because they are not from the same ethnic background as the prospective parents.

Michael Gove was adopted and I’m sure he is anxious to see that more children get opportunity of being brought up in a caring, loving home, as he was.

However, he needs to do more. Adoption is still a long, drawn out process. This needs to change. It is absolutely vital that adoption takes place as early as possible in a child’s life and that the system delivers this. The later children are put up for adoption the less likely they are to find parents who will adopt them. All too soon children in care become institutionalised and develop behavioural problems because they don’t get the care and nurture they need. 25% of adoptions fail primarily because the adoption takes place too late on in the child’s life.

There appears to be far too little transparency about how the local authority adoption agencies operate, and how efficient they are.  Apparently they are judged on how adoption cases proceed after a child has been placed, not on how many children they fail to place. This needs to be rectified promptly. There are also far too many rumours of ridiculous bureaucracy and ‘politically correct attitudes’ to be ignored.

The fact remains that there are 80,000 children in care in the UK. The number of children who are adopted each year is approximately 3,750. This is a derisory figure. There must be a concerted effort to increase the number of children who are adopted each year and reduce the number of children in care. 25% of our current prison population have been in care. 30% of children in custody are in care. This says it all doesn’t it? If we are ever going to do something about our unequal society, this is a very good place to start.

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Here’s what others have to say

Today’s picks…

Why it’s time to stop hand-wringing over immigration…Politics Blog

Interesting facts about Saif al-Islam Gaddafi…Westminster Blog

Open letter to Alan Rusbridger…Guido Fawkes

A good day for Osborne (and the 50p rate) …New Statesman

Tehran’s latest provocation…Coffee House

Protest and the moral challenge for you and me…Snowblog

Cruel, steeped in blood, but surely now on his way…Robert Fisk

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Dictator’s Dilemma

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The high price of freedom

Libya has again erupted into violence. The death toll continues to rise as Gaddafi tries to hang onto power, and his army, aided by foreign mercenaries, massacres scores of Libyans. This is a regime that is well past its sell by date. A regime welcomed back into the community of nations despite the mad machinations of its flatulent, crazed leader.
The people of Libya have clearly had enough. Their bravery, and the sacrifice they are prepared to make to rid their country of its mad leader and his equally crazy sons, is astounding.
At last western governments are starting to condemn Gaddafi’s atrocious behaviour towards his people. Despite having the largest oil reserves in Africa we need to forget about our own self-interests and be honest – for a change. The people of Libya deserve our support and they should get it – in full measure.

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