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Showing posts from April, 2010

E-Day minus six

Probably the greatest speech I ever heard was delivered by Tony Blair just after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. The party conference was taking place in Brighton that September and we met in a frenzied and anxious climate. Police with sub-machine guns checked delegates in and out of the secure areas and an air exclusion zone was in place over head. Amid the turmoil and shadow of indiscriminate terrorist violence, Blair was lucid, inspirational and visionary. His eloquence stood in stark contrast to the bumbling incoherence of his counterpart across the Atlantic, George W Bush.

A lady sitting alongside me in the conference hall was clearly moved by Blair’s oratory. She confided that she wasn’t a fan of the Labour leader and often disagreed with him politically. But when he spoke, she always found herself pulled at an emotional level. Against her better judgement, she ended up applauding.

This ability to inspire and galvanise others has nothing whatever to do with the spe…

Who'd want to be a bookie?

My prediction for the forthcoming general election in the UK is that pretty much anything can happen at this stage. It’s probably worth taking a punt at Ladbrokes on some particularly far-fetched scenario. Having been involved at some level in all the campaigns between 1983 and 2001 – twice as a parliamentary candidate – I can honestly say this one has all the predictability of that ash-blowing volcano in the south of Iceland.

Although I personally hope for the return of a majority Labour government, I think we can safely say this is the one thing that’s not going to happen. Labour had a couple of clear opportunities to dump Gordon Brown, but failed to take them. This will prove to be a historic error of judgement. I fear the very best Labour can hope for at this stage is to end up as the largest party in a hung parliament. Even then, it may be that this status will be bestowed upon them through a bankrupt electoral system which theoretically allows a party which comes third in the…