All entries for Tuesday 27 June 2006

June 27, 2006

Tony Blair's open debate

Writing about web page,,1806669,00.html

No more coded critiques – let's have an open debate on where we go next.

Tony Blair wants an open debate about the future of the Labour party. But he doesn't really want any such thing, for he knows the debate will centre on him and his own personal record.

If Blair wanted a full and open debate, then he wouldn't be responding to Charles Clarke's criticisms of him with a vague restatement of his values. That wasn't a 'coded critique', it was a clear challenge to Blair's authority. Blair should be saying "bring it on". Enthusiasm for campaigning amongst Labour activists is at just about zero. Come the next election, who will be heading for the doorsteps when they know exactly what sort of reaction they are going to get?

The only hope for a Labour majority in 2008/9 is if Tony Blair can erase the collective memory of the British public, so the word 'Iraq' is forgotten when it comes to selecting which box to tick. That means getting rid of the man most closely associated with the disaster. And that's him.

Blair might be pretending to foster an 'open debate', but in reality he must know by now that such a thing would bring about his speedy resignation.

Putting Lads' Mags on the Top Shelf?

A few points:

Aren't the people campaigning for so-called lads mags to be moved to the top shelf the same people who would be the first to protest that supermarket shelves were too high for short people to reach? Slightly oxymoronic.

Shouldn't some sympathy be given to short men whose only exposure to naked women is in such magazines or on the internet?

Aren't we used to seeing the nudity common on the front of Nuts and Loaded in television programmes across the schedule (Charlie Dimmock, anyone?)

I think this top–shelf argument is only being knocked about because campaigners dislike the fact that publishers make money from the magazines. You don't hear them complain so loudly about less blatantly capitalist forms of mild nudity.

Fantasy Football: A Dilemma

Are fantasy football games ruining the World Cup?

You're desperate for Ronaldinho and Kaka to score a hat–trick so you get silly points in your fantasy football team. But at the same time you really want to see Ghana bring about the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup.

You end up not being able to enjoy watching the World Cup. And when you don't do very well (I'm currently 6th in the RaW league), it makes it even more pointless.

But to abandon the fantasy football would leave you lumbering at the bottom of the league, gaining the sort of derision that only Westbrook really deserves.

It's an unwinnable puzzle, unless I just pick the entire England team for the Portugal team, where I can cheer even more vigourously… as they go out 3–1 in extra time. Damn…

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