Friday round up

Here are few bits and bobs for Friday afternoon.

  • The YouGov/Sun daily poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. As we suspected yesterday, the Conservative boost from the referendum pledge has indeed faded away.
  • While we’re on that topic, Lord Ashcroft had some polling this morning on the same subject. It was taken over last weekend, so when the poll boost was at its height, and had voting intention figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7% (the polling appears to have been done by Populus, whose voting intention polls for the Times are becoming increasingly infrequent), but Ashcroft concludes, probably correctly, that it has not done much to change perceptions of the Conservative party.
  • Ipsos-MORI have put together a rather nice interactive graphic of their main polling between 2010-2012, which is worth a play with here.
  • And finally, some polling for Phil Cowley on the Nottingham Politics site, asking people what sort of MPs they wanted to see more or less of. The type of MP that the largest proportion of people say they want to see more is MPs who are local to the area they are representing, followed by more working class MPs. This does not, of course, mean that people will necessarily vote in a way to achieve that aim…

171 Responses to “Friday round up”

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  1. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”Not only ordinary people, what percentage of people in (a) this thread, (b) the HOC, and (c) the Cabinet would you say understand the reasons for and likely outcome of the intervention in Mali?”

    No one can say what the likely outcome is-even Mr Hollande.

    But I would have thought a very large proportion of the people in your categories a) & b) ( The Cabinet will have received detailed briefings of course) will readily understand :-

    1) There is a group or groups of people , who have declared a war on certain western countries and/or other religions / sects, for reasons of religious difference , secular imperialism & perceived victimhood .
    2) These people have killed on a massive scale & continue to do so around the world.
    3) These people target “ungoverned space” from which to operate-Yemen, Afghanistan & the Horn of Africa have been/ are examples.
    4) These people have been moving into the countries of the Magreb for some time now. Weak administrations in poor countries-like Mali-are targeted for invasion.

    So far I am sure anyone who reads a newspaper or watches tv news will be au fait.

    The step from there to the degree in which those activities represent a direct threat to the citizens of the UK is more nuanced & controversial.

    And the step from there to the appropriate nature of UK intervention clearly more so.

    So -understanding the problem doesn’t seem to me to be the issue at all.

    The issue is-what should our country do about it?

    I often feel that politicians & so-called academics completely fail to understand the capacity of the average person to assimilate the key features of issues like this.
    And I think they sometimes do so deliberately- complicating & patronising in order to head off what they fear most -a logical & sensible opinion which does not accord with the one they prefer.

  2. Let’s be honest, the opposition of most “conservative” types to foreign entanglements is based on barely concealed racism.

    “Why should we spend British money and see British blood spilled to protect black and brown people?” is what they really mean.

    I think it is significant, and a significant shield to Cameron, that the intervention was initiated by the French Socialist President, who was until recently the New Messiah of the left in Europe.

    I actually think that we are at a huge pivot point in modern history, with the fate of the Islamic world of a knife edge. The consequences of it going “the wrong way” are horrendous, and quite possibly very expensive in terms of blood and treasure. Thinking it is nothing to do with us is, in my opinion, very shortsighted.

  3. @Ian Pennell

    Again I agree with everything you say on the economy. I have been banging on here for ages about making real cuts in the welfare state and tax cuts to encourage growth and yes UKIP have the right policies. How do we get them elected and with quality candidates who could push the policies through? That’s the problem I see and why i will vote Tory. I suspect we will not get a Government with the right policies until the economy collapses totally under a Labour Government.

  4. Neil

    Just a slight problem, in that while al-qaida is one of th’s groups opposed to the govt in Mali, there are others that are staunchly secular. And while we may be talking about Mali at the moment, considering that there are similar problems in neighboring countries it’s likely than the mission will become expanded after a while. On the other hand if are fail to act and these countries get the wrong govt’s, western banks stand to lose a lot of money but with right govts others is a fantastic profit opportunity. As you policemen say “follow the money”

  5. John – under the old rules the next boundary review would have been due before 2019, under the new rules the next review will now be due to report in 2018, so it’s still actually marginally sooner than it would have been (though in practice either would come into practice in 2020, assuming a precedent has not been set for blocking boundary reviews you don’t like!)

  6. Crossbat

    Social mobility includes down, as well as up and that perpetuates the division of society even though the old words no longer serve as well as they used to.

    What class are the Beckhams?

    SLAB speak of free university education as a “Universal Benefit” and their class envy persuades them that the middle class should pay for anything “the workers” don’t benefit from.

    In Scotland there is no such thing as a benefit. I have complained to my MSP (the education secretary as it happens) about his acceptance of the language of his opponents.

    As the FM keeps telling us, soverignty in Scotland comes from the people. A benefit (cognate with benefice) is something granted by the grace and favour of a ruler, landowner, factor or bishop.

    If your boss takes the staff out for a drink to mark some success, that’s a benefit. If a group of colleagues go to the pub and put money in a kitty, that’s a collective purchasing agreement.

    Respect for education comes from the different course of the reformation in Scotland, and a misreading of the parable of the talents. [Correctly, it’s Thatcherite!].

    Education is deeply embedded in our history, culture and values to the point where it is of the essence of what it means to be Scottish.

    Why is secondary education not spoken of as a “Universal Benefit”? Because even the plebs need it to service the middle class.

    In the 21st century the level of education of the population needs to be higher than it was when there was a “working class”. Scotland, which had for 300 years twice as many universities as England serving a tenth of the population, is, thanks to Martin Luther, pointing in the right direction.

  7. Thanks Anthony – informed & succinct as ever. john

  8. @JBD,

    The Beckhams? That’s easy.

    David is working class, from a decent but modest family in Waltham Forest where I used to live.

    Victoria is lower-middle class, from a comfortable but ordinary family in Goff’s Oak, near where I grew up.

    The real question is;

    What class will their children be? Fabulously rich, (presumably) privately educated and with world famous parents. I am guessing upper middle class.

    But – if one of their children (and I truly don’t expect or wish for this) falls prey to the celebrity diseases of drink, drugs and mental illness and ends up living in a bedsit in Dagenham, what class would that make them? I’d say – still upper middle class. But their children, born into social problems, welfare dependency and want? Working class.

    Such is the nature of social mobility. It all hinges on how successful your parents’ lives were.

  9. NEILA

    @”Let’s be honest, the opposition of most “conservative” types to foreign entanglements is based on barely concealed racism.
    “Why should we spend British money and see British blood spilled to protect black and brown people?” is what they really mean.”

    Disagree entirely-substitute “some” for “most” and you are on firmer & less prejudicial ground.

    @”Thinking it is nothing to do with us is, in my opinion, very shortsighted.”

    Agree entirely.

  10. Unusually for ComRes there’s no tables for this ‘new’ poll on SSM on their website, so we can’t see just what is being claimed. Anthony always warns against these sorts of hypothetical questions in any case – most people either won’t make good on their threatened vote change or were going to make it anyway.

    Assuming this was one of their polls for the Coalition 4 Marriage (sic) there is a history of misleading wording there as well as well as not actually asking the relevant question (whether people support SSM) because they don’t like the answer they will get.

    What bemuses me about the latest developments is that opponents of SSM are now claiming that “a commitment to tax breaks for married couple would have helped ‘soften the blow’ of homosexual unions”, to quote the Telegraph article. In other words this goes against all their deepest moral convictions – but bung them a bribe and they’ll forget about it. (It also ignores the fact that the tax break would go to gay couples as well).

  11. As a sociological category class doesn’t tell us much.

    But its relevance is in politcal economy, as it used to be known, as a description of ‘where you stand in relation to the means of production’ i.e. are you the owner of the factory and the machines or do you operate them as an employee.

    If you have to work to survive, then regardless of sociological category you are working class (yes! even if you drink the right wines and know how to use apostrophe’s!). If, on the other hand, you live from other incomes – some sort of profit or rent – then you are not.

    You can choose your word here, but in traditional political economy, that would be capitalist or bourgeois.

    There is another intermediary layer – the middle class – that adminsters and governs society, some of them powerful and part of the ruling class by birth and family, others more humble but able and willing. They may have their employee income supplemented by rents and profits too to a degree.

    That’s the basic class setup as far as Marxists – and all other political economist up to Mill – are concerned.

    Sociology has dreamt up all sorts of nonsense about class, made possible because the basic thing that does divide us into classes in our society, and the proper subject for sociological examination, was ignored.

  12. Neil A

    I think it is significant, and a significant shield to Cameron, that the intervention was initiated by the French Socialist President, who was until recently the New Messiah of the left in Europe.

    I don’t think it makes that much difference. The polling on intervention is pretty similar to that we saw on Libya which was carried out under Hollande’s non-Socialist predecessor. The Labour front bench seem to have been doing the same sort of positioning about it too.

    It’s also noticeable that, as then, the support/opposition is fairly evenly spread across the Parties – it’s not really a Party matter especially if questions aren’t asked in that way (eg including Cameron’s name in them).

  13. I think the ST YG poll tomorrow morning is going to show a dip in Tory polling. There is talk in the media about problems in the Tory parliamentary party with stalking horses looking to take over from Cameron and many wanting Osbourne to be sacked. These may feed into the VI given by those polled.

    So my prediciton is.

    Labour 43%
    Tory 30%
    UKIP 10%
    LD 9%

  14. Roger,

    My understanding is that the question was one of the agree/disagree statements that I love so much, “I would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the Coalition Government legalises same-sex marriage” – 16% agreed, 64% disagreed.

    All the usual problems I normally rail about with more/less likely to vote questions apply – it gives false prominence to a single issue, people use it to indicate support or opposition to a policy regardless of whether it would actually change their vote, people who would never actually vote Conservative anyway say it would make them less likely to vote for them, people not being very judges of what drives their own voting intention anyway, etc, etc

    There are ways of minimising these problems – giving negative no change options, like the YouGov “No difference – I wouldn’t vote for that party anyway” or Ashcroft’s “I oppose that policy, but it would not change my vote” – but of course these haven’t been taken here.

    Anyway, I’ll write more about it, and what impact, if any, gay marriage has on voting intentions tomorrow.

  15. Class is all down to what you call the lavatory, loo, toilet, bog. In the US, everybody calls it the restroom. ;-)

  16. Amber

    Haha. I call it all three depending on whom I am with at the time & how sober I am.

    Perhaps it is more, when hot, do you sweat, perspire or glow?

  17. Has anyone noticed that the last date on the right of the Voting Intention poll graph for “All” is 2008? From left to right, it reads 2011-2012-2008. This is confusing. At first I thought I was reading the graph in the wrong direction.

  18. Amber Star, as far as I know, “loo”, “bog”, and “WC” are unknown in the United States, except as foreign expressions. “Restroom” is what the facility is called at a service station, “lavatory” in a restaurant, and “bathroom” in a private dwelling. There are probably a lot of individual and local variants as well.

  19. Lord Ashcroft polled last August on what impact, if any, legislating on same sex marriage might have on Conservative VI:

    h
    ttp://lordashcroftpolls.com/2012/08/the-politics-of-same-sex-marriage/

    He concluded “…those who argue that gay marriage is a clear-cut net vote loser – and that abandoning the idea would help the Conservatives towards a majority – should examine the evidence more carefully.”

    The findings are couched in his own idiosyncratic terminolgy as you might expect, but for the majority (79%) whether they are in favour, against, or have no opinion on the subject, it will make no difference to which party they vote for.

    Of those who say it will make a difference (more likely/less likely to vote for a party that changed the law):
    Loyalists (+6%, -9%) -3%, Defectors (+4%, -26%) -22%
    Joiners (+15%, -11%) + 4%, Considerers (+12%, -9%) +3%
    All (+10%,-12%).

    On balance, it makes little or no difference. But from this polling, if Conservatives aren’t attracting new voters there is the possibility of a modest detrimental effect, perhaps from older voters who already show signs of defecting to UKIP.

  20. 2) These people have killed on a massive scale & continue to do so around the world.


    While this is undeniably true.

    Just as a matter of fact more people are killed in the USA each Year by other Americans shooting them than are killed in Terrorist incidents World Wide.

    While undoubtedly Terrorism is a tangible threat (I have nearly been blown up by the IRA Twice as a Met Police Officer ) it kills less than 2% the number of people motor vehicles do world wide each year.

    There is no need to undermine our whole society based on a threat which to a large extent will only be seen by members of the public in news reports from a country thousands of miles away and will have marginal impact on their own lives.

    It does however, provide easy picking for politicians trying to divert attention away from more pressing issues.

  21. @Steve – I would agree. I think an error made in the west was to overreact to terror events, whose impact, measured in any reasonable sense, was small.

    We need to encourage democracy, justice, tolerance etc, and these are the weapons, if used correctly, that will give us our strongest defence.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t ever a justified military intervention, but I really don’t see these as having had a very positive effect on our safety, or of mitigating the perceived threats, so far. Indeed, by investing so much authority in certain terror groups, we have effectively elevated them to world class status.

  22. COLIN
    Good statement of the factors at play. But your “I often think…” position, is not only unworthy of the rationality you exhibit here, but rather clashes with your own previous post:
    “” these ordinary , pleasant people just didn’t understand the relative priority of “Africa” given the economic situation in UK”

    I had, I thought, taken care to cite a source which made a more detailed analysis of the post-Libya situation in Mali, notably in the role of disaffected Tuareg militias and the Turareg people, who are not, as a distinguishing characteristic, Islamists or with any reason to be aligned with Al Qaeda, but who are transhument pastoralists, living in conditions of a stressed environment, and over decades disaffected from the governing non-Islamic urban and agriculturalist southerners.

    My interest in the point I was making – that well-informed groups would also be likely to not to be familiar with the origins and to have little concept of the likely outcome of the intervention – was in what this says about David Cameron’s behaviour as Prime Minister. Also in what the consequences are likely to be for this country and for the Government and for him in VI.

    An alternative strategy – which was available in Afghanistan – would be to tackle the problem basic to the country and recent history of abused or neglected sections of the population, in Mali the Tuareg and other northern Sahelian peoples disaffected from the confrolling south – basically a problem of resource management and representation in government. TDo remove the drug element by detaching it from US opposition to legalisation, which would allow us to take the producers away from exploitation. And to deal with Al Qaeda as criminals, to be dealt with by international police (as they should have been at 9/11 and in opposing the Taleban in Afghanistan and Pakistan; not as a power to be conferred with political recognition by opposing them with armies, escalating the conflict, and putting the lives of concerned European or American armed services at risk by doing so.

  23. Isn’t Timbuktu often used as a metaphor for a far-away place? I’m tempted to add that it is situated in a country where a quarrel is taking place between people of whom we know nothing, but I don’t want to dredge up memories of Neville Chamberlain and the Sudetenland here. That would be most unfortunate.

  24. @John Pilgrim,

    Just so you know, there are no “international police”.

    Proposed police investigation into 9/11.

    FBI: Could you please arrest and interview Bin Laden and then extradite him to America please?

    Taleban Constabulary: No. Allahu Akbar.

    End of investigation.

  25. @NEIL A

    lol

  26. @ Neil A

    You mock John Pilgrim without justification. There was no declaration of war on Pakistan when the military went to ‘get’ Osama Bin Laden. Therefore they were not acting within the military rules of engagement. Thus your comparison of police acting within the rules to the military acting outside the rules is flawed; perhaps amusing, but flawed nonetheless.

  27. Three points for this evening.

    firstly,

    I probably made this point before but it is worth noting with regards to the issue of detoxifying the Tory brand.

    I reconcile the apparent contradiction between people supporting the phrase”marriage should be between a man and a women” and support for gay marriage as people generally not wanting to impose their wishes on others.

    Thus they would prefer that there wasn’t gay marriage but they don’t believe that they should impose a restriction on others, especially when it is denying them a right they themselves have.

    Generally that for me is the sign of a healthy society.

    The difficulty and potential danger for the Tories is that they might seem to be at odds with that tolerance and like the republicans on the same issue or as with UKIP be drawn to addressing a faction within their own support rather than the wider population.

    Number two.

    The pound had one of it’s biggest drops since 2010 and we may see the Euro hit 90p this week. good for exporters but I wonder what it’s impact will be on the Europe debate as the markets seem to be looking more favourably on the Euros prospects.

    I think it will be fun to see both sides try to prove how it backs there case.

    Lastly (you’ll be glad to here),

    The Herald has a lead story of the “Yes” campaign and the SNP trying to stamp down on “Cybernats”.. nationalists who abuse opponents on line. Apparently unionists doing the same are called “Unitrolls”!

    Personally I think it’s not before time as both sides are as bad as each other and probably do there cause more harm than good.

    I would say I think there are marginally more Cybernats, but I put that down to the fact that you tend to get more comments from people who object to a particular line than support it.

    A similar thing happens with wind farms where their seems to be more letters objecting than supporting even though polls show a majority in favour.

    That’s not to excuse peoples behaviour but to put it in context. With pretty much every paper in Scotland pro the union people seem to want to challenge what they perceive as bias and probably make the mistake of being overly emotional.

    I have had no end of discussions with people about what they call “the Unionist press” because they simply attack whatever it says even when it is valid.

    It is never a good idea to dismiss your opponents out of hand because they are your opponents.

    I don’t hold out much hope of it being a great success because for me the key is good moderation.

    Anthony does a great job here, I think I’ve only been told off once in almost a decade and that as part of a group in a heated debate, although I am not counting talking about Scotland in the wrong place.

    The two other political sites I used where PB and Guido Fawkes. The level of discussion on PB is way below this and I just stopped going to GF because the discussions were about as juvenile as the editor.

    In the media the BBC is well moderated but even they just had to stop allowing comments on Brian Taylor’s excellent
    Scottish politics blog because four out of five comments needed moderating.

    Comments in the Herald are better than in the Scotsman but that is because the scotsman lets to much rubbish through.

    Peter.

  28. I agree with Crossbat that Timbucktoo is seen as a rather mythical place.Hence it’s not relevant to where we are now.As far as I can see we would be a lot better putting our own house in order rather than worrying about
    everyone else.

  29. Amber
    I swear nobody knew what loo meant 60 years ago (whatever the class, perhaps a few university lecturers) but then we would not have known what gay marriage was either, unless we were referring to the posies that the bridesmaids were carrying..

  30. @Amber,

    “Mock” is a little strong a word.

    I didn’t really understand the rest of your comment. Surely the fact that Navy Seals entered Pakistan illegally as a military operation to capture or kill an “enemy combatant” where police officers would have to rely on asking the Pakistani authorities to do it for them (not having any jurisdiction in foreign countries) rather highlights why treating something like 9/11 as purely a police matter is not the solution.

  31. @Amber Star

    “Class is all down to what you call the lavatory, loo, toilet, bog. In the US, everybody calls it the restroom. ;-)”

    Four tests for me: –

    – If you wear a string vest underneath a shirt then you’re working class.

    – If, while drinking tea from a cup, you cock your little finger, you’re definitely middle class.

    – If, even if you are eating peas at the time, you always use your fork with the curve upwards, then you’re middle class. I was taught to do this from an early age and my wife is still amazed that I can keep up to four peas at a time balanced on the convex curve of the fork. I do tend to drop a few on the floor though and I have an uncanny knack of always stepping on them too.

    – If, whilst eating with a knife and fork, you hold the knife in a pen-like grip, then you’re definitely working class. As the civilised amongst us know, the knife should always be held with the the handle sticking into the palm of the hand and the forefinger along the top edge. The only exception to this rule is if the meal has descended into a family row, in which case the knife needs to be held firmly, rather like a dagger, and brandished threateningly at all comers. This usually does the trick, although when my eldest son recently held the sharp edge of his fish knife to my throat I wasn’t paying too much attention to his grip etiquette at the time.

    I hope these tell-tale tips help some of you navigate through the labyrinthine waters that are the English class system.

  32. My take on the “marriage is between a man and a woman” debate is that the concept of marriage was sliced away from its religious roots when the Marriage Act was passed in the 19th Century.

    A marriage between two men / two women may not be valid in the eyes of (“insert deity here”) but then neither is a civil marriage between a man and a woman. To a strict Christian/Jew/Muslim, a couple in non-religious marriage are adulterers.

    It seems to me that if it were right to restrict “marriage” to only those circumstances which were permissable in the eyes of God then civil unions should have been called something else from the beginning. They weren’t. They were called marriages. Everyone has accepted that for 175 years and it has become the norm. So for me, the logical step is taken and including homosexual couples is just a straightforward application of modern equality principles.

  33. Howard ,please forgive me but in fact loo was quite a well known phrase in
    Regarding disposal of the contents of the chamber pot,hence the shout ‘gardez
    Loo’ as you flung your pot out of the window in former times.The toilet has had
    Many interesting names in history,but my own personal favourite has got to be,
    The house of Easement!

  34. Crossbat,regarding your class tests.Firstly the divine Roger Federer wears a
    Vest,but not a string one,beneath his shirt for tennis matches.
    Nobody except my mother drinks from a cup and saucer today.
    As for peas,who knows,how many people even know what a fresh pea tastes
    Like?
    Hence your class test is a compete failure.Perhaps!

  35. Anne in Wales:

    Hampton Court was the first palace with a proper collective latrine – one of HVIII’s obsessions together with kitchens – covering both ends as it were – and named the Great House of Easement – double-decked premises as I recall.

    Best wishes John

  36. @ Neil A

    “Mock” is a little strong a word.
    ———–
    I’m glad about that & apologise for the mischaracterization.
    ———–
    I didn’t really understand the rest of your comment.
    ———–
    Your point was that the FBI would’ve had to go through official channels. I was saying that your point was moot, given the military are also supposed to go through official channels but didn’t. The FBI, or a SWAT team, could’ve done the same as the military did, had they been provided with the necessary equipment.

    The potential legal consequences would probably have been less had the police decided to ‘arrest’ Bin Laden without a warrant. The military action was actually an act of war but Pakistan chose not to rise to the implied declaration of war which was inherent in the actions of the US military.

  37. @ Crossbat11

    LOL! But isn’t it a fish slice rather than a fish knife? Or were you testing me?

  38. @SoCalLiberal – “50 is the new 30.”

    That’s good because I was definitely acting like a teenager well into my 30s. Being 50 (or 51… a few weeks on brother Barak, and a few months on our friend Mary Bono Mack) is fine, it’s fun not worrying any more about the things you can’t change, but perhaps Adlai Stevenson put it best:

    “What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is for the most part incommunicable.”

    Btw pictures of the two presidential candidates mentioned above, both with holes in their shoes can be found here:

    h
    ttp://micheleroohani.com/blog/2008/06/09/may-means-purple-rain-in-los-angeles/

  39. The reason there’s not much Mali impact on the polls is that the public are too stunned to find out that Timbuktu is a real place to consider any political impacts from it.

  40. I was tempted by Borgen, decided to finally watch it, didn’t know it was all in Danish still, thought they could have at least dubbed it.

  41. @ John B Dick

    “Catholic spokesmen are opposed. Militant gays are for it. Most of the rest don’t care. They have other concerns.”

    Maybe that’s the next t-shirt I should have made. It’ll be multi-colored (pink and lavender colored) that reads “Militant Queer” on it.

    I fInd it interesting that the Catholic Church seems out of step with their own membership on this. I’m reminded of that great SNL Debate line from Joe Biden. “Look Martha, I’m a Catholic. I’m a real world Catholic. Now when it comes to church, I may not go every Sunday but on Christmas Eve, I am front row center singing “Joy to the World” as loudly and as off-key as I can! I accept the teachings of the Catholic Church. But then, like most Catholics, I ignore them and do what I want. Now I feel kinda guilty about that but yeah…whatever.”

  42. @ Billy Bob

    “That’s good because I was definitely acting like a teenager well into my 30s. Being 50 (or 51… a few weeks on brother Barak, and a few months on our friend Mary Bono Mack) is fine, it’s fun not worrying any more about the things you can’t change, but perhaps Adlai Stevenson put it best:

    “What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is for the most part incommunicable.””

    Hmmm, I think Adlai Stevenson made the best case for electing young people to office. I’m excited about the four new Dem Millenials in Congress. It feels great to finally have some representation. Though I understand that things take time and won’t change overnight just because they’re there.

    Those twenty years might not mean that much anymore. Just look at Lois Frankel (D-FL). She ran for Congress in 1992 at the age of 42 and lost in a bitter battle against disgraced and impeached former federal judge Alcee Hastings. But in 2012, she ran again and won and will be a freshman at 62. What’s 20 years really? Now she can focus on important things like being a yenta for her younger colleague/ally/former rival who was an 8 year old boy when she first ran for Congress.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/countys-congressional-delegation-on-hand-for-cerem/nT8qh/

    Of course, I am of the opinion that her young Millenial colleague is the Democratic Party’s version of David Laws. (Because you’re British, I don’t think I need to explain anything further as to what I mean by that). And I think that any yenta efforts from her are bound to be as successful (and entertaining) as Sandra Day O’Connor’s decade long quest to find a woman to get David Souter hitched to.

    I didn’t realize Mary Bono’s age. I wonder what she’s going to do now. I would only feel sorry for her if she moved to Florida to spend more time with Connie. Cause’ Florida is just an awful place that should be avoided at all costs.

  43. @Amber,

    My point is that a police investigation would have had no chance of success. So the options were to violate the territorial integrity of other countries, or to do nothing.

    If you are carrying out what is technically an act of war, you do it with soldiers and not policemen.

    The actions of the Pakistani government since Bin Laden’s death have made it crystal clear that they would never have cooperated in his apprehension and that Obama faced a simple choice of Plan A vs Nothing.

    If it were open to us to seal off the Western world from the countries where terrorism prospers then perhaps we could “stay out of it”. But there is no appetite for that, particularly given that hundreds of thousands of people from those countries reside in the UK already.

    So we either react or we don’t. Perhaps there is a case for simply not reacting, on the basis that car accidents kill far more people than terrorism. But then, terrorism kills far more children than pae.dophiles, and we don’t take that as a reason to be relaxed about sexual predators.

    Underneath it all I just don’t accept the “them and us” premise. The majority of people in Afghanistan and Mali, and probably in Somalia and Iraq too, share our views about Islamist extremism and do their best to face down the Islamists despite the risk to themselves. I personally am glad that our government wants us to stand at their shoulder, even if our efforts are frequently mischaracterised and misunderstood.

  44. @ Neil A

    “I think it is significant, and a significant shield to Cameron, that the intervention was initiated by the French Socialist President, who was until recently the New Messiah of the left in Europe.”

    Really? I hadn’t heard very many positive things about him. By anyone.

    “It seems to me that if it were right to restrict “marriage” to only those circumstances which were permissable in the eyes of God then civil unions should have been called something else from the beginning. They weren’t. They were called marriages. Everyone has accepted that for 175 years and it has become the norm. So for me, the logical step is taken and including homosexual couples is just a straightforward application of modern equality principles.”

    :) I pretty much agree. I’m disinterested in using flawed historic analysis as a justification to further discrimination. I appreciate it when people point out the flaws in the historical analysis.

    @ Howard

    “I swear nobody knew what loo meant 60 years ago (whatever the class, perhaps a few university lecturers) but then we would not have known what gay marriage was either, unless we were referring to the posies that the bridesmaids were carrying..”

    Huh. That’s probably true. I think everyone was opposed to marriage equality at some point.

  45. Equality within marriage was required before marriage equality was possible. It’s a fairly recently development that married women have equal status with their husband in e.g. the UK tax system!

  46. It’s no wonder that many Tory MPs are dead against the gay marriage bill. Many of them went to boys boarding schools where they were taught that homosexuality was the work of the devil.

  47. I wouldn’t consider Joe Biden a catholic if he’s like that. I’m not religious myself, but I think to count as a member of religion you should have to do more than turn up once a year and sing out of tune.

    That’s why I have a problem when people poll religion, it’s largely what the person themself claims to be, so if I write on a census that I’m Jewish I’d be counted as a Jew, even though I have 0 Jewish heritage and 0 understanding of the jewish religion other than they dont have bacon or xmas and no one would consider me jewish but the poll/census would.

  48. Now that it is becoming clearer that Gay Marriage is causing DC at least as many headaches over party cohesion as the EU, perhaps he will make a speech about that too? Perhaps offering a referendum?

    Maybe this explains why the EU speech fell a bit flatter than some expected. I know we should be used to things getting a bit muddy and uncertain for the Conservatives during mid-term, with support wobbling off and on, but now there’s another party of the right to listen to and possibly vote for, and it does not seem to be going away very soon.

  49. While I disagree in principle with the idea of holding referendums on whether to give people the rights they deserve or not, I think a referendum would be good for Cameron as it would finally shut up all the bigots when its wins at the ballot box by a huge mile.

  50. @ Neil A

    Underneath it all I just don’t accept the “them and us” premise. The majority of people in Afghanistan and Mali, and probably in Somalia and Iraq too, share our views about Islamist extremism…
    ——————
    I doubt they “share our views”; I will allow that they do not, necessarily, support the ‘terrorists’ but I’d think that the majority of people in Afghanistan and Mali, and probably in Somalia and Iraq too have their own views rather than sharing ours.

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