Saturday, June 13, 2009 

Weekend links.

May as well start with easily the biggest story of the weekend, which is either the amazingly decisive victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian presidential election, or the quite obvious rigging of the poll in his favour. Some are pointing to polls which suggested that Ahmadinejad could score such a crushing win, but they were taken a month ago, long before the debates which so energised the election and also before Mir Hossein Mousavi's supporters had taken to the streets in such numbers. Juan Cole makes 6 separate points which suggest the election was stolen, while Ten Percent notes that Israel has already pretty much welcomed the result. The authorities already seem to be taking steps to make certain that there will be no popular revolt against the results, and you can't somehow imagine in any case there being a second revolution in 30 years, especially when the country is also undoubtedly split, even if Mousavi really did win and with so many obstacles in the protesters' path. There are two reactions on CiF as well which are worth a look.

Back here, the papers and blogs are still mainly fixated on Gordon Brown, with a side-order of continued why-oh-whying concerning the BNP. Lenin has two posts on the BNP, the first lengthy and excellent concerning their origins, the second on giving them the air of publicity, Paul Linford writes why Alan Johnson will take over in the end, Jamie thinks of the BNP and the state, Justin has the definitive take on Hazel Blears's completely bizarre apology for everything she's ever done except for everything she's done that's actually had an impact, Bleeding Heart Show considers a Joseph Rowntree report on "Social Evils", and finally Matt Wardman skewers the BNP's claims not to be any more racist than the Black Police Association.

In the papers, Polly Toynbee has a god-awful response to a god-awful hatchet job on her and the Graun in the Mail, Emine Saner meets Mahmoud Abu Rideh, a victim of the control order legislation who is amazingly still alive despite numerous attempts to kill himself, which seems to be the only way out of the Kafkaesque nightmare he's been plunged into, Matthew Parris wonders why political parties are terrified of wielding the knife, Deborah Orr has an excellent piece on immigration and how it is not and should not be a left-right issue, Howard Jacobson can't forgive Brown for bringing Alan Sugar into government and Peter Oborne notes that the race to become speaker of the House of Commons suggests that politicians haven't learned anything at all.

Finally, in a change to our usual policy of giving the worst tabloid article of the weekend prize to either Amanda Platell or Lorraine Kelly, this week John Major and Douglas Hurd have triumphed, with their call for outside talent to be brought to the dispatch box. This from the people who brought you the Cones Hotline. And yes, I'll attempt to get back into the swing of things proper on Monday.

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Friday, June 12, 2009 

Blears today, gone tomorrow.

You have to hand it to Hazel Blears, if there's one thing she has in abundance, it's pure chutzpah. She wasn't plotting, she regrets "insulting" Gordon Brown, she wishes she hadn't worn a brooch with "rocking the boat" on it, and it was careless to resign only a day before the local elections. If you wanted to extend the rather tired Stalinist analogy, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was Blears having to confess to her crimes before she takes the bullet in the back of the head.

Except it later turns out that she's now facing a motion of no confidence, albeit one she seems likely to survive, rather like how she herself failed to displace Gordon Brown despite of course now denying that she ever wished for that to happen. Could Blears denouncing herself and that motion possibly be connected?

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