Confessions of a Political Animal

November 27, 2008

A Western Democracy?

cc-signIt probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Boris Johnson has today announced that he will be scrapping the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge. We noted before that there had been straws in the wind in the opposite direction and that Johnson had been modifying his language and moving towards the ‘third option’ of the modification of the charge – and indeed even as late as yesterday the Evening Standard, normally a good barometer of the mayoral climate, was bigging up the compromise option. But despite this, and blue Boris trying to present himself as green Boris as recently as Tuesday, the candidate’s hyperbole over the western extension had simply been too great for any kind of credible u-turn to be executed with any kind of credibility.

The Animal’s previous posts on this subject have pointed out that Johnson had been trying to play the great democrat on this issue, whilst sticking to a very limited definition of democracy. We quoted Johnson previously as having said

“The previous Mayor made the decision to introduce the western extension in the face of overwhelming opposition. Unlike my predecessor, I am going into this with an open mind and this will be a genuine consultation. It is high time that politicians listened to the people whom they represent and I am proud to keep the pledge made during my election (more…)


October 1, 2008

Tories and LGBT rights: a duty to deceive?

Margot James, Tory Vice-Chair for Women

Margot James, Tory Vice-Chair for Women

I have come across Tory Margot James before when she was the Conservative candidate for the seat I lived in at the time of the 2005 general election. As the first openly lesbian Conservative candidate, her selection caused a certain amount of media comment.

Since then, Ms James has been on an upward trajectory, having been appointed as party vice-chair with responsibility for women’s issues by David Cameron and being selected as the Tory candidate for Stourbridge. Whilst in every respect apart from her gender and sexuality Ms James is the archetypal Conservative candidate (privately educated, self-made advertising millionaire), it is still commendable that the Conservative party has reached the position where an openly homosexual woman can move on from a candidacy in an unwinnable inner London seat to a highly competitive marginal (Labour majority 407). Splendid stuff, but my eye was caught this morning by an article on the BBC News website, illustrated with a picture of Ms James, headlined ‘Gays ‘have a duty to vote Tory”. A duty? Really? Surely you mean ‘opportunity’, or ‘right’? The only people I can think of who have a duty to vote for any party in a democracy are those who owe that party their living. This article deserved reading. (more…)

August 27, 2008


Filed under: Conservatives,Health — Political Animal @ 11:07 am
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I thought about a montage of Ken Clarke, Eric Pickles and Anne Widdecombe here, but my nice side prevailed

I thought about a montage of Ken Clarke, Eric Pickles and Anne Widdecombe here, but my nice side prevailed

Maybe its the heady whiff of fast approaching ministerial Jaguar seat leather gone to their heads, but the Tories seem to have decided to spend the summer reminding the serfs just how unpleasant, yet faintly ridiculous, their rhetoric can be.

Cameron started it all off earlier this summer with a catchy ‘no excuses for being poor, no excuses for being fat’ refrain – <cynic> which seemed to be largely timed to minimise the Tory vote in Glasgow East to help the SNP</cynic>. Then the Witney Wonder headed off for Cornwall Georgia Turkey, leaving Andrew Lansley to fill in the detail in a wonderfully titled speech No Excuses, No Nannyingwhich he will deliver to the Reform think tank today. The Animal does feel that at least when medical man Dr Liam Fox held Lansley’s position, he might not have allowed a headline (‘No excuses for being fat’) that flies so clearly in the face of accepted medical opinion to be put out by the central office wonks. (more…)

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