political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Friday, January 23, 2009
Total Politics: New Issue Out Now
The new issue of Total Politics is out this week, with some fabulous features, interviews and reporting. Here are a few of them...
Tim Shipman: Is Obama great or a surfer on the wave of history?
Amber Elliott on how Parliament treats disabled people
Ben Duckworth on the pros & cons of unitary authorities
5 leading figures make predictions on the Obama presidency
John Shosky's speechwriting tips
Iain Dale interviews Tony Benn
The Campaign Doctor plays agony aunt
Jonathan Sheppard on the art of networking
Robert Waller analyses marginal seats in the South East
The Debate: Is lobbying transparent enough? David Hencke debates Robbie MacDuff
If I Were PM: Michael Sheen
Paul Evans on political rehabilitations
The Diary: Derek Draper
Charles Clarke reviews the Hugo Young papers
You can read the whole magazine on our online eZine or if you'd like to take out a subscription for £35 for 12 issues (27% off newsstand price) click HERE.
Join the Total Politics Facebook Group HERE or Twitter feed HERE.
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Don't you make a loss by printing it online for free?
Tell us, is that Dolly Diary for real, or some one clever taking the proverbial?
5 Leading Figures on Obama
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
What should be his first foreign policy goal?
Given the close relationship that has built up between the incoming President and the Prime Minister; we know he shares our desire to make progress on a series of key issues. ...
Close relationship ? Since when ? Brown's like some besotted groupie.
Is Rammel trying to imply that the current UK financial mess is due to "outside" events and not to Brown's recklessness ?
I enjoyed the Tony Benn interview! Very interesting! The Enoch powell bit was a bit of an eye opener! Strange view!
It is interesting though! THis country does not seem to have Characters like Benn or Powell in Parliament anymore. I suppose the nearest character is John Redwood on the right. On the left other than Dennis Skinner - they are identikit's.
Why is Ian Hislop being hawked out on your blog, Iain? Is this proof of a recession?
Mr Draper's diary is awful.
I would love to have a radio version manned by bloggers only!
I meant to add how good it is to see Draper's trolls attempts to stifle your blog have failed.
There is a God!
Great article about political rehab. Perhaps Mr Draper should be a future subject? Or would that be premature?
BTW, I've tried to visit one of the professional websites mentioned in his email signature
and it is permanently off-line. Is it just me or is that odd?
I don't buy anything with Obama on the cover - OK I bought the latest Private Eye. How bout dat?
Very readable article about Obama.
I think the comparison with Blair is overdone. Despairing Liberal completely failed to understand that context of my comments about the oath taking. I said Blair would not have retaken the oath if he had fluffed it but would have got his Attorney General to give an opinion that the new version of the oath was the correct one and the old one, despite being used for all oaths taken before, was wrong. This was an attack on Blair not Obama.
Obama strikes me as a typical American academic except in one particular, which is that he is a great orator. Blair is no academic.
Academics form opinions and ideas much more easily than blatant careerists, such a Blair. Nor do they tend to the sort of constitutional nihilism which was the hallmark of the Blair years. Blair seemed intent upon tearing down or, at the very least, enfeebling all alternative sources of power.
The last American academic President was not FDR or JFK but was Woodrow Wilson. He formed a set of lofty ideals called the fourteen points. This was essentially a nationalist anti-imperialist tract which he sought to foist on a vengeful France and Imperial Britain after the Great War. Needless to say, he failed and he also failed to get ratification of his League of Nations idea through congress. Let us hope Obama is more successful. Wilson ended his days an invalid with his wife, Edith Wilson, acting as de facto President.
The really great Presidents have either been ruthless manipulators of Congress and /or the Law (FDR and LBJ) or extraordinary war leaders (Washington and Lincoln). One or two have been astoundingly lucky (Reagan and Truman), in that they have been in the Presidency where a great war was won. JFK was essentially a sort of American Dodi Al Fayed. The son of a very rich ambitious man.
Obama is an open book but his reliance on Clinton personnel is not terribly encouraging. The aggressive war option, which started in Serbia and the ridiculous abolition of age old financial constraints (The Glass- Steagall Act) led to many of our current problems.
I hope that Obama applies real imagination to our problems. At least he is more likely to be empathetic than the provincial red necks who have cluttered up- the White House recently.
One of the worst aspects of the modern world is the conformity drilled into people from an early age. You must have the “in” toys and wear the “in” clothes. You must find “Wossy” funny. At school you must dress and act like the majority and this continues into work.
Control freak politicians love this. It allows them to stifle dissent.
The media and newspapers rigidly enforce such conformity by endlessly stereotyping people
They make heroes and villains and they subject people to ridicule. They relentlessly peddle a monochromic view of the world.
People are ground down by endless form filling at work and constructive new ideas are stifled by managers, in favour of endless reorganisations which look good on paper but are rotten in practise.
Eccentricity and originality is driven out, in favour of so called efficiency.
Most of the heroes of history wouldn’t have lasted a day under modern media scrutiny. Think of Nelson and Lady Hamilton, for example.
I admit that I used to be thoroughly eccentric. I would go to bed at 4 am and get up at 1 pm. I studied obscure historical texts and gloried in the past. I was invariably late for work. I once put all the clothes in my suitcase on at Ben Gurion Airport, to avoid paying excess baggage and provoked what should have been a terrifying confrontation with Israeli security. I used to drive 100 miles for a haircut.
Now, I get to work on time, I follow instructions to the letter and I no longer have the time to read much history. Foreign adventures are limited to Eastern Europe (Yes this is still a bit eccentric but look at my name, I am conforming). It is so sad but the alternative, these days, is permanent unemployment.
There are one or two licensed eccentrics left and Tony Benn is one of them. Licensed eccentrics tend to be harmless because they are no longer in work or have been sidelined. (e.g. D. Skinner or J Redwood). They definitely do not become Prime Minister. Yet, in the past they did. The late Earl Russell (Conrad Russell) had wonderful family tales of his forebear the eccentric Prime Minister, Lord John Russell.
Tony Benn obviously relishes his role as the nation’s favourite eccentric. I’ve seen him outside his Holland Park home, in his braces, a living mass of contradictions. His views, which once seemed dangerous, now seem quaint.
Iain’s interview reveals an extraordinary sentimentality about Lady Thatcher, on the part of Mr Benn, which rises above cynical manipulation. It also reveals a man still fighting the wars of the past. The Cold War and the Trade Union confrontations. Those are safe wars, as they have been won and so his views can be accommodated within the modern body politic. Mr Benn also likes to shock, hence the Enoch Powell point. Perhaps we have grown to love him because he remains so untainted by the modern world. The world of Tony Blair where everyone must agree (with Mr Blair). He is back in the age of bolshy and lazy British Trade Unions and post -Stalin ignorant working class Soviet leaders. He reminds us of those paper tigers and reassures us that our current fears may seem equally ephemeral in ten or twenty years time.
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