Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Sunday, 5 December 2010
"I'm stuck between the rock of never having the political career I dream of, and the hard place of actually having opinion..."
Friday, 26 November 2010
It's that time of year again when the Young Britons' Foundation hold their annual conference, this year it's going international with a delegation from the States coming too.
Get your tickets and find out who else is speaking etc
Friday, 12 November 2010
Aaron Porter has rambled on once again about the
Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer
Sean Rillo Raczka, NUS NEC Mature Students’ Rep
Alan Bailey, NUS LGBT Officer
Kanjay Sesay, NUS Black Students' Officer
Matt Bond, NUS Disabled Ctte
One question Aaron. Does this look like tiny?
Just do the right thing Aaron and man up.
Thursday, 11 November 2010
A pretty pathetic statement from CF concerning yesterday's riot at CCHQ. Ben Howlett who has boasted before of his closeness to Aaron Porter refused to call from him to go despite the pleas of his executive. The official wet line is:
"As representatives of the Conservative Party's student organisation weHowever
welcome the NUS' comdenation of those individuals who hijacked yesterdays
protest and committed serious acts of violence and mindless vandalism
during yesterday's protests. We now look forward to them taking swift
action against those NUS officers who played their part.
"And we call on the leaders of the NUS to recognise the fact that the vast
majority of students, who did not attend yesterdays’ protest, do believe
that those looking to enter university should share in paying for the cost
of their tuition."
"Hollow sound bites and pathetic excuses from the organisation’s President Aaron Porter speak volumes about just how out of touch the NUS is with it’s members. The only way to draw a line under this tragic state of events is for its current President to do the right thing and step down."Those officials look set to be named and shamed....
Update: Ben says he want Porter to go, he just didn't seem to have put that bit in the statement.
Aaron Porter's appalling planning of yesterday's protest has left the already bruised reputation of the NUS in tatters and to suggest that Mr Porter could be allowed to oversee another such demonstration is laughable.
He was in charge, and as soon as it went wrong he did a runner, sending a mere tweet, spinning that it was just a
It was immediately clear that he could not, and had not, properly briefed the police with exactly who he had invited, and in many cases bussed in, to his big day.
TB feels it could be a tricky day for Mr President, he spoke to him briefly yesterday in the Sky News studios and Mr Porter was adamant he was not going to blame the police. If that is the case then who else could possibly be responsible for such a spectacular cock-up? The police say they were not warned. Why not Aaron?Aaron PorterPresident of the National Union of Students4th Floor 184-192Drummond StreetLondon NW1 3HP
████ █, ██ ████████ ██████
10th November 2010
Dear Mr Porter,
I want to bitterly complain about the behaviour of yourself and your staff. I attended today’s protest as a civil servant and a Birkbeck College student. My efforts to join you were met with abuse and threats of violence. I think the level of violence and intimidation is well known to you so I will not elaborate further.
In my view, you should resign as you failed to properly control your event. I am appalled by the fact that you left the scene and spent time conducting media interviews while you should have been taking responsibility for the violence and hatred you unleashed. It was also sad to see that your cowardice in this matter was followed by your stewards, all of whom had retreated when the risk to the public was greatest.
I think that in this difficult period real leadership is best displayed by having the decency to admit you were wrong and accept the consequences. Can you imagine the NUS limping on with you in charge?
Should you wish to discuss this with me personally my number is 07███ ███ ███.
Yours in sadness,
Birkbeck College Student
Can Aaron Porter be sure that no NUS hacks were involved in the destruction of Millbank Tower and 30 Millbank?
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Saturday, 23 October 2010
TB swung by BBC Breakfast this morning to discuss the fact that despite being cleared by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Nadine Dorries is still being subjected to a vitriolic and partisan hounding online, especially from the more scummy, stalkerish elements of the otherwise maturing left-wing blogsphere. Nadine claimed that she changed the names and locations of constituents she discussed in order to protect their privacy and her own. Funnily enough the BBC though this worthy of their airtime.
The quality is appalling, but someone managed to grab a recording of the discussion with lefty, but a nice one, Zoe Margolis:
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
There are few things more likely to get TB out of his awful blogging lull than a chance to take the piss out of his old student union. Once again Edinburgh University Student Association, or EUSA to their friends, have excelled themselves in their fightback against the machine.
Those evil ConDems are threatening to raise tuition fees. The comrades are being called to arms to fight these evil education cuts. Put perhaps the hacks should spend more time in the library than stabbing each other in the back for their quest up the greasy poll and attempts to find a safe Labour seat or Green Party candidacy:
Monday, 18 October 2010
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
TB is looking forward to hitting up Birmingham especially after missing out on Manchester. His accommodation will make you laugh.
for a full range events or
for what TB will going to. Sign in with Twitter to do your own calender...
Drop him a line if you fancy a beer. TB will be speaking at the Freedom Zone one morning (details to follow) and don't forget to book your ticket for the TB/YBF conference kick off party on Saturday night
See you in Brum.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
The Labour Party website
Monday, 27 September 2010
Shocking that only 200 votes were cast. 18k members. Nice. So with an overwhelming mandate the winners are:
Chairman: Ben Howlett (Howlett 113, Cox 60)
Deputy (membership): Clare Hilley (Hilley 73, Cooper 47)
Deputy (political): Alexandra Swann (Swann 139, Khan 33)
Appointed Officer - James Deighton (Deighton 72, Sullivan 70)
Two women and a gay guy at the top. Without quotas. Without enforcement, without special patronising identity officers. Eat your heart out Labour. Gutted about Patrick Sullivan missing out by two votes. Good luck to the new team.
Though the massive drop in turn out needs investigation - someone has cocked up here.
"The International Monetary Fund has said Britain's economy is "on the mend" as it backed budget tightening measures taken by the coalition Government." Wonder what Labour will have to say about this
Thursday, 23 September 2010
“Don’t go breaking my heart”
“Lets stick together”
“Things can only get better”
“The look of love” Dusty Springfield
“Same old brand new you” A1
“Knowing me, Knowing you” ABBA
“Take a chance on me” ABBA (Iain Dale?)
“Nothing is gonna stop us now” Starship
Get your tickets
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
You may have noticed this advert on various political blogs:
Well look out for it if you havent. It's an advert for Craig Cox, a very sound, very ambitious and motivated Conservative. TB is backing Craig to be the next chairman of Conservative Future.
The Tories are in power now, no longer does CF have to be mere leaflet fodder for associations. No longer does it have to be about traipsing up steps and knocking on doors. Now CF has a chance to be a genuine political, ideological and motivational force and it needs a ideologically sound leader.
Ben Howlett is a great guy and TB thinks he will probably win this election. Ben has shown organisational skills that would have been brilliant leading CF in opposition. But now is the time for CF to make some noise, a loyal Cameroon councillor is the last thing the Tory youth wing needs.
They need a leader who is willing to speak out against the government, not a cheerleader. A leader who has learnt the tough lessons of how hard the left will go to smear and lie and distort, a leader who has cut their teeth and isn't afraid to learn from mistakes. For too long CF has been scared of fighting, too scared of breaking party line and too scared to really make a difference. But with the right figurehead all that can change.
Though TB is no longer a member and does not have a vote he would urge you all to take a look at Craig's
What was that about no electoral pact at the next election?
Monday, 20 September 2010
With just seven days to go, the only contest to be less exciting than the Labour leadership battle will finally draw to a close. Though it turns out TB is no longer a member of the Tories and thus illegible to vote (news to him but hey) he thought he would endorse a couple of candidates in the Conservative Future election. A bit like Sarah Palin without the money or the Jesus lovin'.
Firstly for Appointed Officer
Secondly CF Wales isn't the most exciting of organisations but it is under threat of being taken over by a Tory Reform Group loon who
And as for Chairman.. well you'll have to wait and see about that one.
A full list of candidates standing can be found
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Undercover at David Miliband’s eve of voting rally.
I never like answering my phone in my sleep and especially not to a shrill and excited voice, unfathomable for the early hour of a bank holiday Monday. Yes I was definitely coming, yes I knew where it was, and no I didn’t need any help getting there.
This was the third time someone from David Miliband’s hyperbolic Movement for Change had been in touch that weekend. Despite answering with my real name, they would ask to speak to “Alex” every time, but I’d long given up putting the phone on the desk for thirty seconds while I went to “find him”.
The event was meant to be a culmination of training “future leaders”, a “wonk school” if you will. Out of mere curiosity at what the enemy were up to, I signed up on the website with my legal name Alexander for more information back in July. I was now being pestered at alarming rate. The sense of desperation at getting as many people as possible to Miliband’s rally was starting to show. The event was meant to be a congregation of all the activists the campaign have trained over the summer - allegedly over a thousand, but I for one had certainly not achieved my level one community organiser’s badge.
Most normal people wouldn’t choose to give up hours of their bank-holiday weekend to go mingle with Milband’s new model army, but with ten days of stubble and a Che Guevara t-shirt to mask me, what was the worst that could happen?
My mind was made up by a final reminder text, to which I replied “do I need to bring anything?” The reply of “just enthusiasm” made me cringe and yet somehow feel hopeful at the same time. “Enthusiasm” and the Labour leadership race have rarely been seen in a sentence together. I printed out my ticket and was asked to write my own unique ticket number, 505, on it, but a frantic follow up email asked me to change that to 1005. What a masterful piece of spin, curiously first used by another movement for change, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (the German Workers' Party who would soon become the Nazis).
Despite being an obvious right-winger, hanging around Westminster enough, you end up meeting hacks and pole-climbers of all parties, so with a last check of my new side-parting, I put my flatmate’s glasses and entered Westminster’s grand Emmanuel Centre and approached the desk. Of course there was no record of ticket 1005. Given I knew the coordinator at one of the desks further down, having to spell out my surname wasn’t particularly helpful. Eventually I was found and ticked and given a little green sticker. No one would give me an answer to what the orange ones were for, but the micro-managing had begun.
I was quickly sent upstairs, guided past a silent brass band, and as a proud member of Lambeth Constituency Labour Party herded into the South London section of the audience. Strangely my constituency comrades hadn’t seen me around before, but that wasn’t to stop a friendly chit-chat ensuing. I was new to the constituency of course, but my neighbour on the left didn’t seem particularly involved either. He hadn’t had any Community Organiser training either, nor had the person next to him, or his mum, or in fact anyone sitting around me.
Scanning around the room there was undoubtedly an impressive turn out, but as even Miliband supporters noted there was a distinct lack of young people. The room was full of “Future Leaders” most of whom were much older than their hopeful messiah. The surroundings could not be more appropriate. For someone trying to escape the title of being heir to “St Tony”, the home to the Emmanuel Evangelical Church, was a interesting choice of venue. Everywhere the eye looked was a combination of Miliband’s elongated slogans and overt new-age Christianity. Bringing Labour together, Leading Labour to... redemption?
The atmosphere had the feel of a church congregation full of anticipation. Jim Murphy gave a panto style warm up, the audience fully embracing the “Are you ready... I can’t hear you” banter while stylish female spinners and handlers looked on from the corner of the stage with awkward, embarrassed smiles.
As the pre-game warm up continued the brass band played, the rainbow flags were waved and various handpicked Miliband supporters were paraded across the stage to cheers. A dire duet by MPs Willie Bain and Stella Creasy who narrated the story of the Labour Party like teachers at a school play was not enough to dampen spirits. The fervour amongst the audience was growing, with a rapturous response every time the word “ConDem” was mentioned. I was beginning to think this could turn into a Mid-West evangelical roof raiser, with people having visions and speaking in tongues, running up and down the aisles at any moment. And then it did.
One man stood up singing, shouting, screaming and began to run toward the stage, suddenly whole rows of black women were singing and clapping and screaming “we want David”. It was a practiced routine and a whole block of the audience knew the words to their song. Suddenly I realised what the orange stickers meant. It seems the Movement for Change has been working rather closely with London Citizens, a grassroots community group that have come under attack from being left-wing extremists but also have had praise heaped upon them by no less than David Cameron and Steve Hilton.
Suddenly the “grassroots” effect began to tarnish, clearly Miliband was taking a leaf out of the Obama book, this was a “movement” not a rally, this was about ordinary people not him, yet he needed the help of a well-funded and well organised group to flood his “movement” with room-meat. The facade had slipped and given the speed at which a glamorous blonde staffer was running around, the team knew this. She ran so fast to the back of the room to work out what to do, that her DM4Leader badges were peeling off her silk dress.
Order was restored and suddenly there was piano playing a ConDem ballard. Sob stories by Assistant Regional Inclusion Managers for unions were told over what sounded uncannily like the “Lonely Man” theme from the end of The Incredible Hulk. One man actually said the ConDem cuts were going to kill him.
And then suddenly there he was, David, the golden child. He actually kissed a baby as he walked in less than three feet from where I was standing. He had the pointing-at-people-you-pretend-to-know-in-the-audience trick down to a tee and I even got to touch the chosen one’s hand. No religious experience for me, though I did feel a little breathless from the unending standing ovations and cheering and wooing during the speech. When in Rome.
We were treated to Miliband’s vision, a vision of the “Good Society” where people, not politicians were in control. Communities were going to be empowered, localism rules the day, but this was not the Big Society. Don’t you dare even think this could possibly be an overlap with the evil ConDems. No this was different, this was Miliband’s Jerry Maguire “help me help you” moment. It was as if Cameron had talked about the Big Society in 2005 when he was standing for leader rather than deploying it as a last minute election grenade that he forgot to pull the pin on.
It was a competent speech, polished, no notes and even attempted a little self-deprecation about the justified mocking he had received for his “how to organise a drinks party” briefing. The joke was on David though, through his desperation to not be seen as a micro-manager and instead an empowerer, he managed to show just what a micro-manager he is.
Impressive at first, the whole Movement for Change is a fraud, a room full of community organisers who weren’t just there because Miliband had empowered them; they were Community Organisers and charity workers while he was still carrying bags for Tony Blair. Where were these thousands personally trained by the Movement for Change? It was telling that he ended his speech begging the audience to join Labour.
It was clear he wanted it to be an Obama style event, swaths of the audience were waiting for an Obama style event but, cometh the hour, the man was nowhere to be seen. In the end it was nothing more than a tacit endorsement for David Cameron’s Big Society which his speechwriters have clearly had a selective browse. The Good Society, the Big Society, whatever you want to call it, if Miliband wins, there is hope that common ground can be found on the reining in of the state. This all could have been said without the charade though.
A hack I knew, had started to make intrigued eye contact, I began to think my game was up, and besides the show was drawing to a close. I made a dash for the exit. As I stood outside reading the confirmation I had been rumbled on Twitter, a man clocked my Che t-shirt. “You don’t see many of those anymore, we’ve all got them though.” A Chinese man next to him, with a green sticker on, said “the best thing my father ever did was sign me up to the Labour Party and the Chinese Communist Party on my 16th Birthday.”
It was no surprise that these old-timers felt more comfortable outside smoking than with the stage-managed intensity inside and conversation quickly turned to great left-wing leaders. It was a deeply surreal experience for me to hear Chairman Mao praised in such lavish term, Castro had to be expected though. Thankfully there wasn’t much expectation that David Miliband would join these greats, a mere shrug when I asked. He could give the Chinese Communist party a run for their money on the organisational front though.