Snow on polling

Buried at the back of Andrew Rawnsley’s excellent Sunday evening Westminster Hour is a consistently fascinating 15-minute segment called The Sunday Supplement. In this slot they’re currently running a short series from Peter “Swing-o-meter” Snow about the turmoil in opinion polling. This week’s is about the new kid on the block – Internet polling (click… Continue reading Snow on polling

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Disposable legislation

Like a lot of those harried urban Labour MPs we’ve been hearing from lately, I feel a sort of vague discomfort with the idea of people on horses rushing through the countryside in pursuit of small, quite fluffy mammals – it’s just not very nice is it? Unlike most of those Labour MPs, though, I… Continue reading Disposable legislation

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Animal testing crackdown

The animal rights people aren’t terrorists, not even the ugly ones wearing balaclavas and harassing researchers and their families – that’s just big pharma spin. They are stupid, though. Their story-book anthropomorphism is simple-minded, reductive and partial. Animal testing may offend you (it offends me – I’m as sentimental as the next man) and there… Continue reading Animal testing crackdown

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Go Walter!

Listen. I know I can’t vote there (what with being British and living in Hertfordshire and all that) and I know I should probably worry more about the British political scene (which is coming along nicely isn’t it?) but I can’t help it. American electoral politics is going to be so entertaining between now and… Continue reading Go Walter!

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Fantasies of control

Does anyone know how much David Blunkett’s ID cards are going to cost? No. Doesn’t look like it. There are no costs in the draft bill (PDF) and only some misleading estimates of how much you’ll have to pay for a biometric passport and driving license on the otherwise excellent Home Office ID cards page.… Continue reading Fantasies of control

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Abu Ghraib Reading

Susan Sontag on the Abu Ghraib torture pictures: “The torture of prisoners is not an aberration. It is a direct consequence of the with-us-or-against-us ideology of world struggle with which the Bush administration has sought to change, change radically, the international stance of the United States and to recast many domestic institutions and prerogatives.”. Mark… Continue reading Abu Ghraib Reading

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Staff development

The thing about those Mirror photos, I think, is not that they always looked like fakes (which they did) but that they really looked more like pages from a training manual: fig. 12a: (humiliation) correct technique for urinating on detainees, fig. 22b: (coercion) use of rifle in producing confession, fig. 31f: (disorientation) use of hemp/hessian… Continue reading Staff development

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Management lessons from Ramsay and Blair

I always had Gordon Ramsay down as a superannuated Sunday Supplement wanker. Tonight I saw the first of his Kitchen Nightmares on Channel 4, in which he was parachuted into Silsdon in Yorkshire to fix the unfixable – a diabolical restaurant/bar called Bonaparte’s. Inevitably, he failed, and Bonaparte’s was shuttered by the end of the… Continue reading Management lessons from Ramsay and Blair

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The New Localism

Alan Milburn, proper Blairite (retired), has got the faith (you’ll need to have a FT.com subscription). He thinks Labour’s third term goal should be ‘subsidiarity‘. He wants Labour to embrace decentralisation, devolution, community-level decision making and law enforcement and all things modishly grass-roots – ‘the new localism’ he calls it. Of course, I think he’s… Continue reading The New Localism

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Yuck

Politics is an ugly business and there’s nothing uglier than Messrs Howard and Davies scoring the easiest points of their miserable careers from the Romanian visa scam. They’re so in tune with the Daily Mail’s second-rate racial hygiene fantasies that it makes me nauseous. The apparent chaos in the immigration service is hardly encouraging (another… Continue reading Yuck

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