Monthly Archives: June 2012

Reforming the House of Lords

So it seems that the next big Parliamentary drama is going to be House of Lords reform.  … » Read more …

It’s a funny old game

The BBC showed the Greece vs. Russia game, on the final day of Group A Euro 2012, which Greece, against the odds won. Our taxi driver of  earlier in the day seemed prescient, his advice had been taken, except about Samaras who played, in my opinion a good match.  … » Read more …

Greece, Football, the Euro and tomorrow’s Election

On the journey to the airport this a.m., there was much more political posters and graffiti; most of it from the KKE, I saw one PASOK graffito and two New Democracy posters in Corfu town.

We were still on a high from having seen England’s best football performance since 2001, and the first one I’ve watched since 2004. Our taxi driver, Dimitrios, gave us a detailed preview of the Greek team and management. He started with the phrase, “If I knew, I’d tell the manager”, He did say, that at least it remained in their hands and all that Greece had to do was win. He identified the problems of age, too old and too young, weakness in at the left back position, wrong goal keeper selection,  he’s not a fan of Georgios Samaras, and starting the game 10 minutes after the opposition and the kick off whistle. He characterised the Greek team as fighters not exponents of the beautiful game, “We are not Brazil”.

We spoke about the election, what he said suggested that he saw it as a referendum on the Euro, but that he had seen a Greek language article in Germany’s equivalent of the Financial Times translating an appeal from Angela Merkel for the Greek people to vote for the Euro and the bailout agreements. He suggested that appeals from foreign politicians were unlikely to succeed in changing anyone’s mind in favour of their views and you’d think she’d have learnt from her so-successful support of Sarkozy. (Interestingly, the English language, Greek Reporter attribute the article’s editorial to the FT De alone, and elsewhere Merkel is quoted as declining to give advice to the Greek people.)

On arrival at the airport, the taxi rank full of taxis waiting for arriving passengers acts as a potent symbol to Europe’s and the Euro-zone’s economic policy makers, that they’re all in this together! It’s full of Mercedes, and to a lesser extent Peugeots. A Deutsch Mark would be more valuable then the Euro, they’d find it harder to sell their cars, the Greeks won’t be able to afford their Mercedes if they are expelled from the Euro and the new Drachma devalues. (I wanted to take a picture, but we entered the hell that is the Easyjet checkin queue at Corfu airport, and all thoughts of tourism exited my mind. It’s not a good way to end such a relaxing holiday; I wonder if we can do better.)  … » Read more …

The state of Greece

We return to London tomorrow. The Greek’s vote for the second time in a month on Sunday. It’s very quiet here, I have been in Greece during elections before, in the islands and on the mainland. I had expected flags and bunting and mug sales and graffiti, but apart from a few KKE posters in Corfu town, I have seen nothing. I have spoken to two Greek citizens and one non-voting resident. The seem determined to retain some control over their destiny, unsure what way out there is, they blame the political elite, interestingly not the Germans, although I suggest that the pan european right wing “Coalition of the Austere”, of which Angela Merkel is the most outspoken should shoulder much of the blame. While some of the jokes being told, and some of the more serious comments, are  based on the view that the Greeks don’t work hard enough; it’s not what I saw.  I wish the Greeks well.

(Amended  on the 17th June, to include the comment about hard work)   … » Read more …

Romance is not dead, well maybe

After a flight and a taxi journey, we arrive at the Delfin Blu, a hotel we discover at the top of trip advisor’s hotel list in NW Corfu. After a check in, we explore Aghios Stephanos, discover the Super Market, and four bars all showing the football. I hadn’t thought to realise that it’s the first week of Euro 2012. Mrs. L is a big football fan, and has honed her supporter skills and stamina by following Portsmouth and Tottenham. More recently, we have tried to follow England but like most who do, it’s been a painful process. I am reminded that on our honeymoon, we watched several games of the ’86 World Cup including England vs. Argentina, the famous “Hand of God” game.  We sit down at a bar, order two beers and begin to watch Holland vs Denmark. Denmark are in their white away strip; Red and Orange it would seem are too similar. Just as Denmark score, Mrs. L. says, “This takes me back”, “What seeing someone in a white shirt score a goal?” I reply. It seems I should have been more romantic.  … » Read more …

Things to worry about

Do have any electronic devices, Sir? Yes! Two phones, an ipod touch, a camera and a laptop. Is that enough, do you think? How do they choose people for these checks?  … » Read more …

Early start

God, it’s early. That would have been the advantage of taking a charter flight, but I only want two seats. I and Mrs. L. are travelling to Corfu this morning; our first trip to the Greek Island’s by ourselves since our honeymoon in 1986. There’s only one direct flight, and it leaves at stupid o’clock.  … » Read more …

That time of Year again, Labour’s Elections

I have just cast my votes in the Labour Party’s internal elections. I am eligable to vote in the Member’s section of the NEC, and for the National Policy Forum. I resolved when I rebooted my Labour Party membership not to vote either of the slates that run for the NEC. In voting for the new Leader, we voted to move on from the factions that existed and ran riot throughout the Labour Governments. I feel that Progress and the CLPD and its interregnum brand the Grass Roots Alliance shared the leadership on the NEC and let the Party down. So I don’t vote for them.

For the NEC, I voted for Joanna Baxter and Ellie Reeves, Joanna because of this and this, and Ellie because she, until recently, was a CLP comrade [See what Ellie has to say here…]. The election statements in the booklet are pretty much reduced to, I’ll work hard, represent the members and report back. Hard to choose on the back of that; it’s not that I want lazy elitists, but I want to know more about their views, what they stand for and what sort of party they want. There was one brave exception to this rule.

In fact looking at Joanna’s reports, I wonder what the NEC does; New Labour gutted it, I wonder if it could have met my expectations and acted as a brake on some of the more egregious right wing excesses.

I voted for Gavron, Heather, Ogilvy and Ryan for the  National Policy Forum, non of them said they’d vote for its abolition, but Gary Heather actually talked about rebuilding the authority of Conference. I don’t know if he’d seen the CLPD proposed rule changes, publicised here at Left Futures, I shall certainly be giving them a good read and seeing if my local comrades want to support them.  … » Read more …