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« The 50 to 1 project | Main | A bodyguard of woo »
Monday
Sep022013

Climate talking head to PPC

Will Straw, the Director of Climate Change, Energy and Transport at the IPPR thinktank, has been selected to be Labour's parliamentary candidate for Rossendale and Darwen. Will and I had a friendly exchange of emails a few months ago and he seems very nice, although obviously our views on AGW (and no doubt quite a lot of other things) are somewhat different.

I was interested to see his literary outlet, Left Foot Forward, described in this piece as a popular blog. It's not one I follow nor even one that I come across that often, so I checked out its Alexa ranking. This turns out to be 33,000-ish or some 27,000 places below BH, a fact that makes me feel very important. Maybe I should apply to be an MP too.

Or have I been too rude about any party that would consider me?

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Reader Comments (27)

Reminds me of Ron Paul's bid for presidency. The mainstream media ignored him, yet everywhere he went, thousands of people showed up. Meanwhile, the erstwhile frontrunner Mitt Romney's campaign had to bring fake "grassroots" signs to hand out to the hundred or so zombie-esque dullards that showed up for his events.

I hope that your excellent blog gets the recognition it deserves so that fellows such as Mr. Straw quake with excitement at the mention of your name, and the parties clamor and fight for your approval. By the way, I see you're also spanking realclimate. Ha.

Sep 2, 2013 at 3:40 AM | Unregistered Commentertomdesabla

Bish, have you ever been rude about the UKIP?

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:05 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I distinctly remember the Bish referring to UKIP luminary Neil Hamilton in less than reverential terms in very recent history.

Such comments make the blog far more fun to read. And that's the rub I guess.

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:09 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Doesn't young Will have a rather well-connected father in the politics business?

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

Will Straw, just another person who's never had a real job, wanting to become an MP. That's just what the country needs,.

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:46 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Like all bloggers, I think you should go for it. It would give you the attention and recognition you crave!

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDai

Or have I been too rude about any party that would consider me?

The answer is probably "yes." That is not a bad thing as far as the public is concerned. Independently minded MPs are generally well respected. It is, however, a bad thing as far as the committees that select MPs are concerned - and an even worse thing as far as the sort of people at the centre of party machines who draw up an "A List" of candidates from which the plebs in the constituency associations have to make their choices.

Sep 2, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Saw him at an IPPR event. Utterly unimpressed, lives in an insular political bubble

Sep 2, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Another Labour "Prince" being parachuted into a safe taxpayer funded life...

...and another reason to distrust politicians of all colours.

Sep 2, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

@Richard Drake
"I distinctly remember the Bish referring to UKIP luminary Neil Hamilton in less than reverential terms in very recent history."

Neil Hamilton somewhat illustrates another less than stellar political judgement of UKIP's dear leader. Booker's colleague, Dr Richard North, covers UKIP's serial foot and mouth well at his EU Referendum blog.

Sep 2, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

Jabba: Thanks for that. I was wondering where Richard's ended up on UKIP. His praise for Owen Paterson this weekend went down well with me - including his lone voice challenging Cameron in Cabinet over Syria. We need to recognise independence of mind and courage whenever we see it, in any party. These are too rare and too important for our future to be frittered away through party blinkers.

Sep 2, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Another confirmation of David Starkey's thesis on the nepotism of the left.

Sep 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Being Jack Straw's son helps!!

Sep 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

Sep 2, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Jabba the Cat

Dr North is a very clever man who criticises anybody and everything on the basis of facts. That speaks well for a blogger. But he goes too far when he wants to transform an ancient constitutional monarchy, evolved over many centuries, overnight into a republican mini-USA with a directly elected president, etc. He has every right to his opinion, but in politics he is a dangerous lefty, IMHO, and not to be trusted. No wonder he doesn’t seem to get on with any of the prominent UKIPers.

Sep 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

How could you join any of the current parties? Had you not noticed that anyone of intelligence is barred from participation, even a modicum of common sense is a no no these days. MPs hate to be shown up you know!

Sep 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

@Mark Well
"but in politics [Richard North] is a dangerous lefty"

Lol...I would definitely not put Richard North on the left of the political spectrum...

Sep 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

Mark, Jabba: The BBC also do not classify North as a lefty. And from many years experience I know this will settle the argument on Bishop Hill once and for all :)

There was a programme recently that wanted to look at what right-wingers really believe and they chose to interview Richard. Does anyone remember which programme? I know I don't. The main things I remember from Dr North were

1. Right-wingers swing wildly between libertarian to authoritarian instincts, depending on circumstances

2. Some will say Hitler and other fascists were not of the right but we have to admit they were. They were the bad kind.

Memorable for certain. He said a lot more than this of course. I liked point 1 more than 2. :)

Sep 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

@ Mark Well: you are very kind to allow me the right to my own opinion, but, without wishing to deny you yours, I would very much deny you any "right" so egregiously to misrepresent my position. I have absolutely no ambitions "to transform an ancient constitutional monarchy, evolved over many centuries, overnight into a republican mini-USA with a directly elected president, etc". I defy you to find anything, anywhere, attached to my name, that has me say that.

For sure, I am keen on having a directly elected prime minister, separating the executive from the Commons, thus remedying a huge defect in our system of government - the lack of separation of powers. But electing prime ministers does not make them into presidents. I would still retain the monarch as head of state.

That notwithstanding, you may or may not be aware that our "ancient constitutional monarchy" is part of the EU, and thus EU treaties are part of our constitution. They would have our monarch as an "EU citizen", with all the rights and responsibilities thereto. Instead of inventing fictional views to attach to myself, therefore, you might concern yourself with that.

And as to being a "lefty", I really would hope that anyone seeking to criticise me would at least take the trouble to acquaint themselves with my views. For a long time I have been writing about the transformation of politics, where the "line" has rotated through 90 degrees. There is, in my view, no left and right - rather, we see the political class "above the line", with the rest of us below it.

Thus, not only am I not a "lefty", I do not even recognise a distinction which owes its origin to the ancien regime and has little relevance to contemporary politics.

Sep 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard North

I think the way the Commons just put the brakes on our "presidential" prime minister's intentions re ANOTHER war in the Middle East shows the commons still has an important constitutional part to play and we should strive to see that role enhanced, not diminished by turning it into a mere talking shop.

Sep 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Richard North (Sep 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM)

…no left and right…

Entirely agree with you, there; it is all about control, and control is what the political “elite” (/sarc off) desperately seek – which is why they have leapt upon this bandwagon of “global warming”. The levels of control it is offering are truly staggering!

I would go even further, though – there is no such thing as “class”. It is merely a comfy nomenclature to pigeon-hole the proles and extend control over them, while fooling them into thinking that you care.

Sep 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

"Maybe I should apply to be an MP too."

You should apply for President of the RUSB, The Republic of the United States of Britain.

Sep 2, 2013 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

marchesarosa (Sep 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM): Ha! None more “presidential” than Phoney Bliar, who soon replaced John Major’s walk to work with a fully armed motorcade for his good [sic] self.

One of the principle advantages of a constitutional monarchy is that it places ultimate power out of the reach of those who would happily abuse it.

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

"Maybe I should apply to be an MP too." - No Andrew, you just need a dad who's an MP.

Sep 2, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Re: Sep 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I am grateful to Dr North for putting the record straight. I believe I have seen references to a meeting held in Harrogate which concluded with a wish list, recalling the demands of the Chartists. Some would say that the Chartist movement led eventually to the Labour party, which is often considered to be a left wing organisation, although the left/right spectrum is not very informative, as pointed out by others. If politics is restricted to one dimension the line from Totalitarianism to Anarchy is probably more useful. This line may well be parallel to Dr North's rotated compass, at least for the purposes of plotting the positions of the establishment parties, which must be placed well into the T side of the neutral centre. In that case we should locate UKIP on the opposite side of neutral, surely a party of the people and surely the only hope we have at present for escaping from the EU, pragmatically speaking.

Sep 2, 2013 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarl Well

While I accept that for modern political parties the right/left distinction often fails, there is an important philosophical distinction between those on the right and those on the left.

The left believe that in essence people are good. With the right laws and institutions they will become better. They are believers in co-operation of shared interests, so almost always internationalists, and believers in the common equality of all people, so feminists and pro-gay marriage etc. The Green left believe people want to save the planet, and it is only the evilness of deniers like us that prevent them.

The right believe that people are, in essence, untrustworthy. They require rules and institutions to keep them in line. They tend towards national rather than international solutions, because they distrust the motives and reliability of others. They tend to believe in absolute good and bad, so are more prone to opposing gay marriage on religious grounds, for example. The Green right believe the left have a ridiculously rosy view of the ability of people to co-operate, especially with no short term gain in sight, and that immediate suspension of individual liberty to ensure the "correct" goals are met is required.

There other main division is authoritarian and liberalism, which runs across the right/left split, but that doesn't mean that all other divisions have suddenly disappeared.

There's also divisions along the lines of progressive and conservative.

Sep 3, 2013 at 5:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

You have completely the wrong views to be selected as a candidate, your grace.

The shadow "industry" of corporate welfare knows only too well how to install a legion of friendly eco-advocacy shills and carpetbaggers, as evidenced by the state of affairs which stands before us.

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterchippy

Let them marry and we'll see if they still want to be called gay.
I'll stand for a seat in the Jaded Party.

Sep 3, 2013 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

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