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26 January 2011

Balls Up?

When Ed Milliband became Leader of the British Labour Party (in Opposition) not so long ago, he avoided giving the post of Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer to the man thought most likely to be in the running for it, namely Ed Balls. It was rumoured that there was no love lost between them.

Instead he appointed Alan Johnson, a man with no particular financial credentials, and yet was someone who represented what is increasingly a rarity in British politics, i.e., a politician with the common touch who had once had a real job (he started out as a postal worker) before he entered politics. He was likeable and had a good sense of humour. Interviewed soon after his appointment as Shadow Chancellor, he told reporters that he would be busy reading his Economics Primer.

Now, sadly Alan Johnson is the victim of a failed marriage brought to a head by an affair between his wife and his police bodyguard, of all people! He felt the need to tender his resignation as Shadow Chancellor because of his domestic difficulties.

Now Ed Milliband has fallen back on Ed Balls to take this post. He is not a particularly likeable character, hugely ambitious, has a reputation for bullying (I wouldn't be surprised if he was a victim of bullying at school with a name like that), and more significantly was closely associated with Gordon Brown's failed economic management in the final two years of the last Labour Government.

It remains to be seen whether two Eds are better than one.

02 January 2011

Tea Party - Does America deserve these people?

It was reported in the New York Times today that, in their final days controlling the House, Democrats succeeded in passing legislation that Tea Party leaders opposed, including a bill to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers at the site of the World Trade Center attacks, an arms-control treaty with Russia, a food safety bill and a repeal of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

Tea Party rank and file are reportedly very angry that Republicans have done nothing to stop this outrageous activity.

That would be a terrible thing, wouldn't it? - Helping with medical care for those brave rescue workers at the "Twin Towers" tragedy?

And we don't want an arms control treaty with Russia do we? Let's keep on ramping up the tension.

As for food, we only depend upon it to stay alive, don't we, so what does it matter if it contains poisons?

And the Military (anywhere) has included homosexuals since time immemorial, so what's the point of pretending they don't exist? Why are they a problem to the Tea Party nuts?

Surveys suggest that about 1.5% of the American population is homosexual, and in World War II sixteen million American service men and women were involved. Some of those must have been homosexual - perhaps 240,000 of them? As I recall, they were on the winning side.