This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leas'd out,—I die pronouncing it,—
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah! would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death.
We won't have a war with Iran - the Yanks don't have any spare troops. And the Tories gained seats but no significant quantity of votes, which can only be a good thing.
Also, while I'm looking on the bright side: backbench rebellions are now much easier. If you've got a Labour MP then it might be worth encouraging them not to follow the New Labour line too closely.
...and then Blair has to go and spoil it.
We must count our blessings however. I now, against all expectations,have a Lib Dem MP (in Solihull) who not only appears to be only fractionally to the left of the Tory incumbent but who has campaigned relentlessly and singlemindedly on a local issue which has been blown up out of all proportion. I'm not sure whether to be pleased or not- my hope is that she was merely playing to the rather obnoxious Solihull audience and will now develop a hint of social conscience- there must be some reason why she stood for the LDs.
That's the sort of evening it was. I found myself shamefacedly cheering on the Tory gains from Labour, undecided about whether the independent who won on the basis of opposition to all women shortlists (which I'm mildly in favour of) was a Good or Bad thing, and completely bemused about George Galloway who is obviously totally mad but does represent the anti-war sentiment. And is a Lib Dem gain from Plaid Cymru a plus or minus for the evening?
Very odd all round. Howard going is obviously a Good Thing, Blair staying a Bad One. Jeremy Paxman was Wrong to be quite so rude to Galloway. Other than that I'm in a state of moral confusion about the whole affair.
The question about George Galloway isn't "Is he mad?" The question is "Is he right?" In both cases, the answer is probably "probably."
I dunno, Andrew. Mad people who are also right about something can be especially dangerous. (They don't get their madness challenged enough.)
One doesn't have to approve of The War to think that Sadam Hussein was a Very Bad Thing and a Very Bad Man - but Galloway does sometimes come across as, well, a Sadam Hussein fan.
There's been some discussion of Galloway over on Crooked Timber. As far as I can see, his critics and his defenders are all so far over the Self-Righteousness Event Horizon that there's just no point in trying form an opinion.
Re Louise H...
A Lib Dem gain from Plaid is good. Real bigtime good :)
I lived in North Wales for about 18 years as an English guy who'd gone to Uni there and then got a job in the area afterwards.
During that time Plaid Cymru, along with the Welsh Language Society gave me a real insight into what it feels like to be a member of a hated ethnic minority.
Looking at most of their rhetoric "Don't sell your homes to the English" , "Don't let the English have our jobs", "The English are destroying our culture" etc reminded me of the National Front in the seventies. All you have do do is replace the word "English" with "Black" or "Asian" and it's the same xenophobic rubbish.
What always bothers me is why they don't get treated the way the BNP does, but get seen as part of mainstream politics.
I think it's partly as they hide their bigotry behind the window dressing that it's about language & culture instead of race. Defending a beautiful, poetic, ancient language & culture sounds more respectable. However the grafitti says "English go home" not "English go to night classes in Welsh".
Any setback for Plaid is a cause for celebration.
My constituency seems to have done all right, in my view:
How Sandra Gidley (LDem) voted on key issues in the 2001-2005 parliament (From Public Whip) :
Very strongly against introducing foundation hospitals. votes, speeches
Very strongly against introducing student top-up fees. votes, speeches
Very strongly against Labour's anti-terrorism laws. votes, speeches
Very strongly against the Iraq war. votes, speeches
Moderately against introducing ID cards. votes, speeches
Very strongly for the fox hunting ban. votes, speeches
Very strongly for equal gay rights. votes, speeches.
Taken from here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/c4/sandra_gidley/romsey
Damn close though:
Sandra Gidley, LDem 22,465
Caroline Nokes, Con 22,340
Matthew Stevens, Labour 4,430 8.8
Michael Wigley, UKIP 1,076
Turnout: 69.7 %
Compared with 2001
Sandra Gidley, LDem 22,756
Paul Raynes, Con 20,386
Stephen Roberts, Lab 3,986
Anthony McCabe, UKIP 730
Derrick Large, LCA* 601
*LCA = Legalise Cannabis Party
Turnout: 68.7 %
So more people voted this time. 2000 swung to the conservatives, the Libs lost a few hundred and labour gained almost 450(?!!) UKIP got an extra 300 and LCA had dropped out. Exactly what this means I have no idea, except that I have something to thank UKIP for.
"And it's all our fault."
It really is. Last night I met a genuine Veritas voter who voted for them because, and I swear I'm not making this up, "they were at the top of the ballot paper".
Personally I find that, living in a Yorkshire (ex) mining town, I can either vote Labour or waste my time as 60% of the population would still vote Labour if the candidate was an Iceberg lettuce in a hat, just because their parents, grandparents etc. voted Labour, so anything bearing the name will be supported.
All of the writers here, particularly Andrew himself, seem to be highly intelligent, well educated people who think about things before making a decision, but the sad fact of life is that most of the people with whom we share a country get their opinion directly from their newspaper or their television. Until we start educating our children to be better than we are we will all continue to get the government that we deserve, which is somewhat of a vicious circle.
Re Plaid Cymry- Anonymous said:
"Looking at most of their rhetoric "Don't sell your homes to the English" , "Don't let the English have our jobs", "The English are destroying our culture" etc reminded me of the National Front in the seventies. All you have do do is replace the word "English" with "Black" or "Asian" and it's the same xenophobic rubbish."
Which is fair comment. Until you recall that the reason so few Welsh speak their language is because in the not so distant past the English actually did try to destroy it along with Welsh culture.
I very much like your sonnet for both its composition and its content....however "wont to" and "hath" don't really cut it in the 21st Century, nor for that matter in the 19th or the 20th.
However....you're a fine poet, and I look forward to seeing more. Please check my own blog, and favor me with some harsh criticism of your own. I could use it. :-)
"I very much like your sonnet for both its composition and its content....however "wont to" and "hath" don't really cut it in the 21st Century, nor for that matter in the 19th or the 20th."
Okay, I guess it happens to the best of us. Just go over to Google and...yeah.
...living in a Yorkshire (ex) mining town, I can either vote Labour or waste my time...
As an occasional Green voter, I don't think that quite works if you take it to its logical conclusion.
Look, your election is not really my business over here--though I'd be glad if you Green & Pleasant Landers (Sceptred Isliacs? Sorry, the old back trouble is acting up today) would show your superiority to us Yanks by getting a leader who is not a lying warmonger, rather than settling for the lesser goal of a smart lying warmonger. But still--
"...living in a Yorkshire (ex) mining town, I can either vote Labour or waste my time as 60% of the population would still vote Labour if the candidate was an Iceberg lettuce in a hat..."
I'm missing something here. Under those conditions, in what sense is voting for Labour not a waste of time?
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