Thursday, March 31, 2005

Launch of the Black Manifesto

Launched today in Westminster the Black Manifesto aims to change much in relation to equality within the Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Britain. In addition to this Operation Black Vote has unveiled a report detailing 70 constituencies where if mobilised the BME population could determine the outcome of the election.

Some initial news reports (I’ll post more as they come in, very tired right now from the launch!):

Radical Black Manifesto unveiled

“The 30-page document will call on politicians to stop turning a blind eye to shocking levels of racism in Britain and start taking real action. The coalition of Black-led groups will also unveil four 'key demands' printed on cards which will be handed out to Black voters across the country.” Link

Ethnic vote's key constituencies

“Ethnic minority voters could be "critical" in 71 seats at the next General Election, according to campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV). Its research has pinpointed constituencies in England and Wales where it says the votes of ethnic minorities could be decisive in determining the outcome at the next General Election.” Link

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Last moments before the Black Manifesto…

The office is straining under a deluge of phone calls and emails all regarding tomorrows launch of the Black Manifesto. I finally got a proper look at it yesterday (mainly to look for any last minute mistakes in spelling etc) and look forward to its impact. If I get time tomorrow afternoon I’ll post up how the press conference/launch went. If all goes well I should have some news reports to post on Friday.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

UK Polling Report

With the election focusing the minds of us politically interested types it is always good to have round ups of on going events, stats or thoughts. The UK Polling Report is a blog dedicated to pulling together and recording the political polling in the UK.

Written by Anthony Wells and described as “UK Polling Report is an independent archive of British political opinion polls, bringing together polls from all the major polling companies in the run up to the 2005 general election and offering commentary and analysis of the latest figures. It is maintained by Anthony Wells.”

Well worth checking out if you want a portal for all your polling needs! Link

Missing voters blow for Labour

Given how many people have become disillusioned with politics because of Blair and his Neo Labour project it is of no surprise that the latest figures on voter registration appears to be down more in Labour held seats.

“Tens of thousands of potential voters have failed to register their right to vote in time for an expected May 5 general election. The vanishing voters, who appear to have gone missing disproportionately in Labour-held seats, are revealed in government figures and a report by MPs today.” Link

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

General election "to be called on Thursday"

According to Blink the starting gun for the coming election is about to be fired. If true this means my prediction of a couple of weeks back was spot on.

“TONY BLAIR will name the general election date this Thursday ending months of speculation, according to a source close to Downing Street. The source reported "high levels of activity to get things out of the way this week" in expectation of an announcement by the Prime Minister.

The election date, believed to be 5th May, will come as no surprise to the Westminster village. Contrary to some speculation there will be no morale-boosting by-election in Brent South or elsewhere. The source said: "There is a strong feeling here that something is about to happen now."” Link

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jesse Jackson, voter registration and the usual party politics

As you can imagine I’ve been busy, very busy with the Jesse Jackson event, it went well thankfully, and I’ll be off for the next few days for a lovely four day weekend! Before I go here are a couple of things that have caught my eye today:

The preacher comes to town

“"Your vote matters," he tells the audience.”If you don't vote, you are missing out on the opportunity to make your issues a priority. If you vote and vote in numbers you will determine the outcome of this election."” Link

Deadline for voter registration approaches

“Voters need to register now or risk being unable to vote in the upcoming general election. If pundits are right and the general election is called for May 5, would-be-voters have only until March 11 to register their vote under electoral registration laws. In Northern Ireland the cut off date is March 10.

In England, Wales and Scotland if you or the head of your household, filled in the registration form delivered last autumn you should be on the voting register. UK citizens living abroad, or in Northern Ireland, are required to register individually. If you have moved home it is particularly important that you check whether you are on the register - just because you are paying council tax does not mean you are registered to vote.” Link

Brown ally calls for moral revival

“Labour needs to learn from President Bush's re-election campaign and fight with a stronger sense of moral purpose, Douglas Alexander, the party's former election coordinator, has argued. The analysis comes amid growing Labour jitters about the party's response to an unexpectedly energetic Conservative campaign.” Link

Kennedy promises pensioners 'respect'

“The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, today promised to treat Britain's pensioners with the "respect they deserve" at the launch of the party's mini-manifesto to win over the grey vote.” Link

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mini-health manifesto to be unveiled

I keep thinking; if you want to sort out the NHS why spend billions invading other countries? It’s funny how common sense escapes those in the House of “Commons”…

“The Prime Minister will pledge today that patients will wait no longer than 18 weeks for an operation on the NHS in a third term of Labour government. The guarantee will form a central plank in Labour's so-called "mini" health manifesto launched jointly by Tony Blair and Health Secretary John Reid at a press conference in London this morning.” Link

Monday, March 07, 2005

Jackson urges black voters to 'use your voice'

Very busy with doing last minute organising for the JJ event but this is something from yesterday for you to mull over:

"The Reverend Jesse Jackson will launch a US-style crusade to stamp out apathy among black Britons and mobilise thousands to make their mark at the ballot box, when he comes to Britain this week. In an impassioned speech, the black civil rights activist will tell a 1,000-strong crowd that the very presence of black Britons 'is under threat'. 'There are those who seek to shackle your talent, and keep you at the bottom of society,' he will declare. 'You must seize the opportunity while you have it. You must use your vote and your voice.'"

Friday, March 04, 2005

Headteachers jeer Kelly over reforms

This may be stretching my election blog remit here but this article caught my attention:

"The education secretary, Ruth Kelly, was jeered and accused of "patronising" headteachers today during angry exchanges on her plans for school reforms. She told the Secondary Heads Association annual conference in Brighton that the government's reforms to teachers' working conditions had given heads the resources and freedom they needed. But the audience of 450 heads and deputy heads disagreed, interrupting her during a question and answer session and shouting: "No it hasn't."

David Peck, of Mosely school in Birmingham, also criticised what he called Ms Kelly's lack of experience, and accused her of being "patronising". He said: "Members of the Tomlinson committee had an enormous amount of experience in education - with respect, far more than you." "

Brilliant stuff, Labour have just launched their "mini manifesto" (everything's mini these days; Mini Mac, Mini iPod, Mini Manifesto...) and are sliding in the polls. Instead of trying to make some friends their strategy appears to be to try and piss of all the wrong people...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Greens pushing for first Westminster seats

It would nice wouldn’t it? Parliament actually having a few MP’s who are genuine progressives/anti-war/etc. Its been a dream for a long time for the Green Party but through thorough grass roots building, constant local campaigning and some success at local council level the Green’s are hoping (with some justification it seems) to gain the first few MP’s in the coming election:

“The Green Party's spring conference is getting underway, with members urged to push for an electoral breakthrough in Westminster. Although it has no MPs, the party is pointing to its representation in the UK's other elected bodies as proof that voters want to "vote Green". As grassroots members gather in Chesterfield, they will point to two MEPs, two London assembly members and seven MSPs as proof of their continued popularity.”

Source: Greens pushing for first Westminster seats

Labour overall majority of 50 to 70?

Some think we’ll see a hung parliament others think a Labour majority of around 50-70 seats will be the outcome:

“Populus has shown that the monthly average of all published polls in February puts Labour on 40 per cent, up from 37 per cent the previous month, against 33 per cent for the Tories, up from 32 per cent. So Labour hardly needs to panic. Some of its campaign efforts have been clumsy, but they have made little impact. The Tories should not celebrate too soon. They have had a good two weeks and firmed up their support, but no more.

This year’s election looks tighter than the last two. Labour is four points below its 2001 general election share of the vote, but it has remained in the lead in virtually every poll. My cautious hunch remains a Labour overall majority of 50 to 70.”

Source: Labour isn’t wobbling, but its nerves are jangling

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sandra Howard to star in Tory campaign

Looks like the Tories really do mean business; they’re pulling out all the stops by getting Michael Howard’s wife out on the campaign trail. I’m sure it will go down well with the sacred Daily Mail readers but more to the point how will Labour respond (Lib Dems can’t, Charles Kennedy’s wife will be in labour around the time of the election)? Will we see Cherie flown in to seats that Sandra has just left, or vice versa? Isn’t this just a little too much distraction? After all it’s their husbands we’re electing or not electing why should we care about them?

“The Conservatives today unveiled Sandra Howard as their secret election campaign weapon, disclosing that the leader's wife will be making solo visits to key swing seats during the election. The party's co-chairman, Liam Fox, has revealed that Ms Howard will make political appearances unaccompanied by her husband in key target seats.

Unveiling the party's campaigning strategy, Dr Fox told reporters: "Sandra has already been campaigning with Michael on a number of visits and has been undertaking short visits herself. That pattern will continue.”

Tories get serious and Labour means nothing

Two report for you today; one on how the Tories are trying to look professional and contrast themselves with Labour in the coming fight. The other is about a well known topic; Labour having no ideology.

“Michael Howard intends to abandon the traditional "battle bus" in favour of a helicopter during the forthcoming election campaign. The Conservative leader is also set to spend every weekend in his constituency - a sign he is concerned about the Liberal Democrat "decapitation strategy".”

Source: Howard ditches campaign bus for helicopter

“One of the best inside analyses of this era so far has come from Peter Hyman, Tony Blair's speech writer and strategist for 10 years. His book 1 Out of 10: From Downing Street Vision to Classroom Reality has drawn most attention for his jump from the Downing Street heights to working in the depths of a tough inner-London comprehensive.

But his critique of where "the project" is marooned now is rapier-sharp. It is the more poignant because he is himself New Labour Man to the core. He is not disaffected, rejected or resigned-in-disgust. But he sees exactly where it is all losing its edge, failing to renew itself.”

Source: New Labour gives you no chance to vote for a vision