• Category Archives political blogs
  • The shallow end of the meme pool

    During the election I subscribed to a load of political blogs’ RSS feeds. After it I unsubscribed from most of them. Foolishly, I revisited the two most obnoxious of them again recently.

    Richard Carvath stood as an independent candidate in Salford and Eccles, the seat retained by Hazel Blears and polled 384 votes. He claims, loudly and repeatedly, that he would have done better if the media, the big parties and homosexual-perverts hadn’t conspired against him. Homosexual-perverts is a favourite phrase of Carvath’s. He can’t just say homosexual, it has to be homosexual-pervert. He may have read somewhere that you can reinforce your message by using your preferred phrases regularly until the reader starts thinking in them as well. But he’s gone overboard- the Carvath blog is overloaded with them, every sentence employs a piece of similar wordplay, all of it of a level which should embarrass anyone over the age of ten. Homosexual-perverts abound, homophobic registrars who refuse to perform Civil Pervertships are conscientious objectors honoured with the title of Decents. I’ve seen him use the phrase Guardian-perverts as well, and it should be obvious who Barack Obortion is. I’m sure he thinks it’s all very clever, witty even, but it just looks like the ever less coherent ramblings of someone with serious mental problems.

    Carvath is on a mission from God, the voice in his head. He recently had a nasty accident whilst climbing, breaking several bones and damaging his back. If it had happened to any of his growing list of homosexual-pervert enemies (which is anyone who points out how nasty his beliefs are) he would no doubt be crowing about how God had punished them for their sins. Because it happened to him it’s somehow a form of blessing and all part of his invisible friend’s holy plan. I can only hope he gets better mentally at some point as well as physically.

    Real Street is the blog of Stewart Cowan, a Scottish evangelical christian who has yet to meet a conspiracy theory he doesn’t like. Recent favourites include a bus advert which is going to turn us all into Muslims and how trying to cut down homophobic bullying in schools is secretly a plan to legalise gay paedophilia. Cowan doesn’t mangle language as much as Carvath, but he does like to grasp at anything which he feels supports his prejudices whilst dismissing all evidence against them. The Daily Mail and conspiracy loving tabloids are right and anyone answering him with facts and basing their replies upon reality is obviously deluded.

    Cowan has a couple of tame commenters who’ll up the frothing at the mouth quotient when necessary. English Viking hates foreigners who come over here to work and improve their, and our, lot. Ancient Danes and Norwegians who popped over for a little recreational raping and stealing are obviously okay, though. Len wants you to know the Truth and accept God, because science, reality and not hating people just because they’re different is obviously the work of Satan.

    The natural response to the likes of Carvath and Cowan is this-

    XKCD- someone on the internet is wrong

    But in the long run that’s just a waste of time. They enjoy being wrong, and feel that having all the flaws of their arguments pointed out somehow proves their case. It’s far better to ignore them or point out elsewhere just how stupid they’re being today.

    Which is what I know I should do, and what I shall try to do, but I’m not making any promises that I won’t pop over there occasionally and slap them on their own blogs.


  • Has Iain Dale gone Godwin?

    There’s a fair amount of anger about this post on Iain Dale’s Diary, where he reprints a couple of political images by artist Louis Sidoli. One of the pictures in Dale’s post features Gordon Brown as Hitler with a description, from the artist, which is pure Godwin-

    The first piece is called ‘Reign of Error’ . It is a play on words from the recent book which described Gordon Brown’s leadership at No10 as a ‘Reign Of Terror’. In this piece, he is ‘morphed’ into an image of Hitler! Of course it is provocative, but if you think about it, there are strong similarities: Both started out as chancellors, both bullied their way to the top and seized power without being democratically elected, both tried to rig the electoral process, both prone to flying into uncontrollable rages and both caused huge economic damage to our country etc…

    Dale is only really reporting on the artist’s work, but he does throw in a justification by comparing it to anti-Thatcher works which appeared during her time. Still, I do think the reaction’s a bit over the top. Sidoli’s art, in these pictures at least, is weak and naive. He suggests that he wants to create something as iconic as Shepard Fairey’s Hope image of Obama, but he’s a long, long way away from that.

    I’m not going to jump on the anti-Dale bandwagon on this one, but I do wonder what his reaction would have been to an equaly offensive image of David Cameron.


  • Political blogs- let’s get local

    John Ottewell writes for the Manchester Evening News and also posts on their political blog. His is an informed and relatively neutral (the paper ran a campaign against the BNP during the European elections, which he has defended) voice on the politics of Greater Manchester.

    But what of the many candidates for Manchester seats?

    There are 28 constituencies in Greater Manchester, to become 27 in this year’s election.

    Let’s start where I live-

    Manchester Withington’s MP is John Leech, the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat to win a Manchester seat since 1929. His blog is johnleechmp.wordpress.com.

    The Conservative candidate is Chris Green. I can’t find a blog from him.

    Lucy Powell, the Labour candidate, has a website with a news feed. Which is almost a blog.

    James Alden is the Green candidate. No blog though.

    Bob Gutfreund-Walmsley is standing for UKIP.

    Yasmin Zalzala is a former Lib-Dem now standing as an independent who has claimed that she was run out of the party by racists.

    There may be other candidates, from parties even more minor than UKIP, but these are the ones I found listed.

    Manchester Gorton, where I used to live.

    The incumbent is Gerald Kaufman. No blog, or even website as far as I can tell.

    Caroline Healy is the Conservative candidate.

    Qassim Afzal is the Lib Dem candidate. He has an official site, but it’s a bit sparse.

    Justine Hall is standing for the Greens.

    Oddly enough, the BNP don’t seem to have a candidate in the constituency that includes Longsight. I guess even people who are that stupid aren’t that stupid.

    This is, unsurprisingly, taking a while to compile. Let’s round out this post with the constituency of another high profile MP. I work in Hazel Blears’ constituency, and end up reading the Salford Advertiser more often then my own local paper, so it’s probable I know more about what’s going on there than here. As part of the boundary changes, Salford becomes Salford and Eccles this year.

    Hazel Blears is an odd looking little woman best known for causing trouble for Gordon Brown. Nothing that looks like a blog on her official site, but there’s an RSS feed so maybe the news items will get pulled in by my reader as they update.

    Matthew Sephton is the Conservative candidate.

    Norman Owen is a Lib Dem councillor standing for MP.

    Robert Wakefield is the UKIP candidate. The Salford UKIP blog‘s one and only post dates from 2007 AND IS ALL CAPS AND TOO PAINFUL TO READ. It’s possible that Mr. Wakefield is the author of a novel about the crusades. He should talk to my UKIP candidate, who’s a bookseler.

    Tina Wingfield is the BNP candidate. No site or blog that I could find, but I did subscribe to the BNP blog, because the ulcer doesn’t make me feel queasy enough.

    Steve Morris is standing for the English Democrats. I don’t think the Steve Morris I’ve found results for is the same person.

    David Henry has been chosen to stand on the Hazel Must Go platform. His site’s minimalist at the moment.

    Joe O’Neill is standing as an Independent, though he’s a Lib Dem councilor. He hasn’t even bothered to write over the placeholders on his official Salford Council page, so I’m not expecting any web presence.

    Last, and certainly least, is Richard Carvath. He’s standing as an Independent, on the More Self Righteous and Homophobic Than Anyone Else platform judging by his blog. Everything’s a conspiracy, it would seem, intended to turn our children into French speaking Muslim homosexual perverts or something.

    I’ve subscribed to the feeds I’ve found, but I’m using Bloglines, which can be temperamental, so I don’t know how many of them I’ll be able to follow reliably. I’m not a wonky political blogger, I won’t be loading Spinneyhead down with policy discussion. It’s more likely to be anything outrageous that candidates say that’ll make it here.

    Further constituencies may be added, these are the three that mean the most to me. If you’d like me to look at yours please tell me. Likewise if you know of any candidates I’ve missed out.


  • Some more political blogs

    Jamie Reed is the MP for Copeland, which is where my parents live. His blog is relatively new, so I’ll give it a bit of time to grow. Wikipedia tells me he declared himself a Jedi in his maiden speech, so he can’t be all bad. I may have fallen out of love with Labour, but I’d support him for the Copeland seat in the coming election. Tory polling puts them a close second and the BNP a distant third but with enough support to be disturbing. Copeland may be 99.3% white, according to this list (nearby Allerdale and Eden are even whiter) but that’s no excuse for supporting the racist moron party.

    The Tory candidate for Copeland is Chris Whiteside. He’s a Conservative, so I took an immediate dislike to him. But we’ll see how he fares over time.

    John Redwood used to be referred to as the Vulcan. It wasn’t just because of his elongated and Spock like face, but because he was supposedly a man of great intelligence. Sadly that vast intellect isn’t in evidence when he posts nonsense like this about climate change. Rather than finding out about the subject he’s latched onto the talking points which conform to his ideologogy and prejudices. His specialist area is economics, I believe. Let’s hope he actually investigates and thinks about that before opining. Hope, but, on the evidence, don’t expect.

    Stewart Cowan is a Creationist and homophobe (and possibly a few other things, I’ve only been reading since yesterday). I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about. It may be borderline classing this one as a political blog, but I found it through a comment on Jamie Reed’s blog and decided it should be included here.


  • A quick look at the political blogosphere

    With an election due soon I thought I should start looking for good British political blogs. I had some fun, found out a lot and worked out some of the background to Sounds of Soldiers through reading US political blogs in the run up to the 2008 election. Perhaps I can do something similar for the UK. A while ago I started adding poliblogs to my Bloglines account and following their updates. Some I’ve been reading since before Christmas, others I haven’t even looked at yet. Here are my impressions of a few of them-

    Worst first, I think. I’ve been reading Guy Fawkes’ blog since before Christmas, though it quickly descended into waiting for something worthwhile to read. It hasn’t arrived yet. GFB is a very popular blog, as ‘Guido’ won’t fail to tell you as often as he can. It may have done something to get into that position in the past, but nowadays it’s all about throwing out red meat for his ravenous commenters to rant about. He also has a habit of referring to himself in the third person, which is about right for an obnoxious, self important blowhard. And a dumb one at that, he jumped right on the ‘Climategate’ non-story before Christmas, pretending that the hacked emails somehow negated all the evidence about climate change. I’ll carry on following Guido, but I’m not expecting anything interesting.

    And another thing…. is the blog of Tom Harris MP. Unlike Guido, Tom puts some thought into the point of his posts rather than how to score cheap points with them, even if they do occasionally read as if he’s gone through them with an eye for spin. Whilst I don’t agree with many of his points it is nice to see an attempt at communication.

    Harry’s Place is full of long, dense posts that probably reward careful reading. It’s just a shame my attention span’s so

    Iain Dale is what Guido might be if he wasn’t so desperately trying to impress people. He’s very obviously of the right, and has the occasional point scoring jibe at Labour or the LibDems, but does it with a much lighter touch. You get the feeling that if you were dining with him at Le Caprice the conversation would about something more interesting than how wonderful he thinks he is.

    Enough for now. I shall return to this subject again soon. And probably even more until the election.


  • Where can I get Sarah Palin and John McCain masks?

    US elections are on November the 4th. Bonfire night is November the 5th (or the nearest Saturday as the tradition has become). Whichever way the election goes I think the burning of McCain/Palin effigies will be appropriate.

    Also, as Trick or Treat has become so popular, where can I get a Ghostbusters costume so I can chase away annoying children at the end of this month?