Time up for Blair?

This week's round-up of the political blogs includes commentary on Blair's attempts at diplomacy

Invitations are being handed out this week by Guido Fawkes for anyone wanting to pressure David Cameron to reveal to voters just who is “behind this mysterious anonymous offshore lender in Liechtenstein.” Shouldn’t we know who this substantial funder for the Tory party is?

And Guido isn’t the only one to have found it strange why the opposition party have remained silent on this after the debacle of Labour burying the BAE investigation last week.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson meanwhile used an entry on his blog to question whether the beeb was anti-politics. He was responding to a provocative editorial in the Independent by Steve Richards about the corporation's coverage of the cash for honours issue.

John Reid’s u-turn on the ID card database got the blogosphere flustered on Wednesday. It wasn’t just Dizzy who had trouble with the government’s logic of keeping the existing database system because it will be “lower risk, more efficient and faster”.

Aaron Heath of Tygerland.net wrapped up the criticism of Tony Blair’s visit to the Middle East, seen on many blogs over the last week, by saying “Blair should come home and stop playing the diplomatic messiah he never was. It’s over Tony; your time is up”.

Paul Anderson of Gauche is keeping a close eye on the story of the Suffolk murders. Although Stephen Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich has been charged with all five murders this story has prompted bloggers to discuss the question of the legalisation of prostitution. Gauche has news of a “Reclaim the Night” march taking place in Ipswich on Friday 29 December at 7pm. He hopes for a good turn out from the people of Ipswich to show they are not deterred by these terrible events over the past weeks.

We are still non the wiser as to whether there is any truth in the story about a man who fled the country wearing his sister’s niqab, whilst being hunted by police over his alleged involvement in the murder of a policewoman. Ellee Seymour is asking whether we really know who and what enters our country. Andrew Sullivan at Daily
Dish
stirs the pot because surely freedom means being able to wear a veil? Doesn’t it?

Guido Fawkes was not afraid to join the bandwagon of jokes against Lembit Opik this week. Check out the brilliantly tasteful graphic of the Lib Dems with the slogan: “The Sexy Alternative”.

Dizzy spotted a Wall Street Journal article that used a very fitting analogy of the relationship between the media and blogs. Many bloggers agree that blogs are indeed “like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps".

In the festive spirit, as mentioned here by my colleague Owen Walker last week, bloggers did meet in Parliament Square, London, for their carol singing and peaceful protest against the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005. Bloggerheads reckons “SOCPA makes unreasonable demands of the police and more often than not they come out of it looking as stupid as this stupid law”. By all accounts Mark Thomas et al led a rather eventful little sing song and the spirit of democracy was rife.

Enjoy the festive break and we hope to see you back in the new year for more of the best news from the political blogosphere.

Adam Haigh studies on the postgraduate journalism diploma at Cardiff University. Last year he lived in Honduras and worked freelance for the newspaper, Honduras This Week.
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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.