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31 October 2008

Er, there’s an election on…

Yes, yes we've heard all about the US presidential election but what about the pitched battle that's

By Paul Evans

Glenrothes Calling

It almost escaped our collective attention, what with the world economy collapsing around us, but there’s a mighty by-election battle going on in the Kingdom of Fife. And while Labour and the SNP tussle in Glenrothes, Politics Home was roughing it out with Mike Smithson’s Political Betting. Who can best indicate the result of the coming by-election: PH’s panel of experts or PB’s wisdom of the masses?

Back on the ground, Scottish Lib Dem blog Caron’s Musings was rankled by the arrogance of an electoral address from Sir Alex Ferguson, demanding fealty to the Labour government in these tough times:

“Despite all they have gone through, that old arrogance is still there. It’s almost as though they think that the electorate has a duty to support them.”

Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting brought out his own experience of the area, and the failure of a local manufacturing company. Blaming Westminster policies on energy costs and pension liabilities, he was quick to scotch once-popular comparisons between Scotland and Iceland:

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“There’s been a lot of talk about care charges in the area and whether an independent Scotland would go the way of Iceland but Glenrothes is a working-class town and the fundamentals of low pensions and rising energy costs are the issues that reverberate the strongest from what I have seen,” he argued.

Labour’s Luke Akehurst was impressed with his party’s candidate, Lindsay Roy, but warned that “…having spoken to people with a strategic overview of the campaign I am sorry to say that I have to chuck a bucket of cold water over the flames of optimism”.

He went on to explain that while Labour fortunes have picked up in the current economic climate – the SNP’s continuing popularity means that the chance of Labour holding the seat is “minimal”.

Finally, Iain Dale points us towards the Daily Politico tests taken by the four main candidates.

What have we learned this Week?

The BNP this week plumbed new depths of comedy stupidity, having launched a website called “British Pride,” intended to document white history. It claims that it will act as a historical bulwark against “ethnic minority agitation”.

Confusingly though, the website’s glossy celebration of “Britain’s white indigenous population” carries a picture of Benjamin Disraeli – a Sephardic Italian Jew who once responded to a racist barb with the rejoinder: “Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.”

Who will warn Nick Griffin that his own party is celebrating an ethnic agitator?

Across the Pond

The airwaves were full of Barack Obama’s half hour infomercial this week. Our cousins in the States have hardier guts, designed for easily digesting trough-fulls of schmaltz – though in fairness there is some substance to the film. Spout’s movie blog found that it had a hypnotic effect, and observed that: “Each of Obama’s Normal American Friends seemed so weary from their lower middle-class miseries that they almost presented as if in a daze”.

Videos of the Week

There is so much rudeness in the world these days. The tedious Ross/Brand affair is just one example of the death of civility in public life. And while politicians have been swift to inform us of their pointless views on the farrago – they are not immune from using wounding and obscene language themselves. Here, in parliamentary footage from this January, Bob Ainsworth MP informs John Baron that he is talking ”absolute bollocks”. The viewers of BBC Parliament swooned.

Quote of the Week

“The Boy George with a winning grin, knee high socks, and the sort of bouffant last seen on Paddy from Phoenix Nights when he had the incident with the spray on hair replacement. In the words of Brian Potter, “who the hell’s that? The Fonz?”

An image of the young George Osborne is examined by Sadie Smith.

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