Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Morning Smile

Many in the Strictly audience will still be mourning the inexplicable departure of the wonderful Phil Tufnell (and the even more wonderful Katya Virshilas) at the weekend. Still, the highlight of Saturday night was clearly Chris Hollins' essay at the Paso Doble, which had our family in fits of laughter, when we could watch through our fingers.

Earlier in the series, Chris and Ola were described by Len as being like a couple of hobbits. Well, Chris was one mean, grumpy hobbit on Saturday night...


Anonymous said...

From The Times today.

Cash-strapped Labour ‘gives up’ on 60 vulnerable seats

Labour’s cash-strapped party machine is quietly abandoning up to 60 vulnerable seats to divert resources to defend constituencies in its heartlands, according to MPs.

It is the first sign that some senior Labour figures accept that defeat is inevitable and are switching resources to defend seats with larger majorities to prevent a rout next year.

Plans for targeted mailshots in marginal seats have been scaled back dramatically because of a lack of resources. Some MPs say Labour’s HQ is refusing to help seats with majorities of less than 3,000 — about 60 — as it retrenches in the face of the Tory advance.

A member of the National Executive Committee denied that it had set a bar but acknowledged that the party was being forced to make “difficult decisions” about which seats to defend.

The retreat has left MPs furiously demanding extra cash. Even loyal allies of Gordon Brown, such as Ian Austin, who has a notional majority of more than 4,000 in Dudley North, are having to argue for money to defend themselves, The Times has learnt.

Although it has fended off bankruptcy Labour’s national party remains in a precarious financial position.

In the past year the party has “raised” £18 million compared with the Conservatives’ £25 million. However, £2 million was a loan converted to a donation and £15 million is in borrowing and credit facilities.

Party strategists acknowledge that unless the Tory poll lead — currently at 14 percentage points — can be narrowed to single figures before Christmas, there is little prospect of the party filling an election war chest.

Many Labour MPs complain they have been outspent for years as a result of the Tory target-seats operation overseen by Lord Ashcroft. Labour, unable to match his resources, nevertheless has copied the Conservatives in demanding that candidates provide evidence of active campaigning in return for support.

But with a flood of MPs expected to quit as a result of the expenses controversy, many have simply given up, according to senior Labour figures. “Requests for information on what campaigning is being done from regional offices are just going in the bin,” said one.

New data from the credit reference agency Experian, which is used by political parties to identify different groups of voters, suggests there are large numbers of disaffected former Labour voters in key seats.
Four groups have been identified as most likely to desert the party at the next election:

• Thirtysomething homemakers who voted Labour in 1997 but are burdened with debt as they start a family — they may turn to the Conservatives;

• low-skilled, largely unemployed households who will either not vote or turn to far-right parties;

• those in former manufacturing communities who no longer have strong union and Labour Party ties — they are also vulnerable to extremist lobbying;

• people approaching retirement in some of the nicer council estates who exercised the right to buy — they may also turn to the Conservatives.

Such groups are found in many seats with majorities between 5,000 and 10,000, which Labour would need to retain to win the general election.

All three main political parties employ the Mosaic marketing system, which uses commercial and other data to target different types of voter. The system divides Britain into 155 types of individual, 67 different households and 15 groups.

Research by the company behind the system suggests that Mr Cameron is making deepest inroads into Labour’s vote in the young homemakers group, which accounts for just under 6 per cent of the population. They are reported to be “extremely financially distressed”.

Malcolm Clarke said...

Chris has won over Ola thanks to his efforts. I thought they were great.

If Ricky Whittle had done the same routine he would have got 36 maybe more.

Paul Cain said...


You really need to have an open thread available to allow us to post on breaking news not covered by your posts.

As cabinet member of (so-called) climate change, surely you have something to say about the leak of emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University.

The mails are simply astonishing and contain example after example of some of the world's leading pro-warming admitting that they have altered data to suit their cause.

One writes: "Where the heck is global warming? We cannot demonstrate warming and it is a travesty that we cannot."

Another says he has copied the 'trick' of leading warmist Michael Mann (of hockey stick infamy) of deleting data that shows an awkward cooling period.

A few months ago in an exchange of views here,you said the science on man made global warming was settled.

If you still think that, I fear for your wellbeing.

You can find the mails yourself, but some of them are reproduced here:

and others are summarised here:

Oh dear,oh dear.

What do you think, Councillor? You're going to have to think of other ways to tax us to death now, hmm?

Anonymous said...

We are all doomed says....

Since Darlington Council have allowed me to put my drinks cans and plastic bottles in the black bin bag I now have a Council green box which is sitting outside my door surplus to requirements. Should I:

(a) ask the Council to come and collect it?

(b) plant some flowers or spuds in it?

(c) sell it on Ebay?

Any other suggestions would be welcome. I really do not know what to do with it.

Anonymous said...

There is a farmer in Crook who rents out field space for just this type of thing...any councils lack of foresight...a warning though, he allegedly is quite pricey ;)

Paul Cain said...

Come on, Mr Cabinet Member for 'Climate Change": you going to respond, or not?

Just seen this on the Guardian website:

It's written by George Monbiot, the High Priest of so-called man-made climate change.

It's almost sad to read as he accepts he has been misled by some of the leading pro-warmist scientists at the CRU.

This is serious. You personally, Councillor, take home a fair chunk of change to be responsible for 'climate change' in the cabinet of Darlington Council, so come on, man-up and tell us what you think.

Do you really still think the science is settled?

Are you prepared to admit you've been taken for an absolute lemon?

ianw said...

What no smile today??

ianw said...

or last week now I have seen the date!