Is the return of the monocle a sign that the Old Etonian Tories are taking control or the preparations for a Labour anti-Toff campaign?

Tory fashion accessory or a cunning plan from Labour Agents across Britain - The Monocle!

Vision Express has announced that it is to start stocking monocles for the first time following a spate of young male customers requesting to buy them.

This apparently came as quite a shock to the major high street retailer who has never sold them before.

I couldn’t help but think that the boys from the Bullingdon Club and the Old Etonians (the Conservative front bench) might all be dashing out to buy them as part of the season’s must have fashion accessory.

But, then it occurred to me that with the increasingly anti-upper class tone of Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Question Time and of Labour campaigning it was probably a raft of Labour agents dashing around to buy a monocle for anti-Tory photos for their election literature to show a division between them and their quadruple barrelled opponents.

Only time will tell!

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Are the Tories creating clear Green water for the other parties to target?

Has the Tories increasing climate change scepticism made clear Green water for the other parties to occupy?

According to The Independent the Labour Party campaign managers have identified 31 seats where the increasingly sceptical Conservative tone over climate change might benefit them and the Liberal Democrats. 

In these seats, of which 7 are Lib Dem held seats, the Labour Party believes that it might be possible for incumbents to benefit from an above average Green Party level of support and squeeze it to support the non-Tory incumbent. 

This follows Gordon Brown’s comments about Nigel Lawson and David Davies and their “flat-earth” environmental comments.

According to The Independent, ‘in the 31 seats, the Green Party or Scottish Green Party had a 2 per cent or higher share of the vote – which could make the difference between the Tories winning or losing on a marginal swing.

‘The Tories need to win Tooting – target seat number 112 – with a notional Labour majority of 5,190, to win an outright majority. In this south London seat, the Greens won a 4.1 per cent share of the vote in 2005.’

Certainly the Tories apparently paper-thin interest in the environment might well now damage them, but I find it fascinating that Labour high command at Number 10 identify seven Lib Dem seats as being ones where this strategy should be adopted.

The full List of seats according to The Independent is:

Finchley & Golders Green (L); Croydon Central (L); Battersea (L); Milton Keynes South (L); Hove (L); Cheltenham (LD); Stroud (L); Carshalton & Wallington (LD); Hastings & Rye (L); Calder Valley (L); Hereford & North Herefordshire (LD); Colne Valley (L); Brighton Kemptown (L); Swindon South (L); Milton Keynes North (C, notional L due to boundary changes); Watford (L); Birmingham Edgbaston (L); Worcester (L); Bradford West (L); Richmond Park (LD); Brentford & Isleworth (L); Edinburgh South (L); Leeds North West (LD); Ochil & South Perthshire (L); Stirling (L); Devon North (LD); Oxford West & Abingdon (LD); Poplar & Limehouse (L); Reading West (L); Waveney (L); Tooting (L)
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Is the Compass pointing Gordon Brown to the exit?

Gordon Brown may face yet more discussion about his leadership in the next few weeks...

The political thinktank Compass may be about to deal Gordon Brown a knock out blow to try and unseat him as Labour Leader.

Generally the rule would appear to be that if there is an ‘r’ in the month then there is talk of a coup against the Prime Minister, but this time The Guardian would have us believe that this is a prospect not to be ignored.

David Miliband’s decision not to decamp to Europe might also be a factor in the thought process that perhaps things are not as bad as they might be and perhaps, with a quick game of musical chairs in Downing Street, Labour might be able to stand a chance at the election.

The Guardian argues that; ‘A dialogue has begun within Compass and some central figures argue that other candidates such as home secretary Alan Johnson and foreign secretary David Miliband may support centre-left policies that the group wants Labour to back.’

A spokesman for Compass confirmed that a majority of the management committee of the thinktank thought Gordon Brown should go before the election, to give the party a better chance of success when the election comes.

The timetable, being discussed, is that a leadership contest would follow the pre-budget report with a new leader being in place by early January.

Like all the other putative leadership contests it seems clear that it will probably fizzle out, but the fact that the moderately loyal Compass is moving against the Prime Minister, when it resisted moves in the summer, may be significant.

Australian apology was sincere and moving, but they, and Britain, need to remember to act on their other apologies…

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Kevin Rudd's apology was heartfelt and meaningful, but it's important to follow through on previous apologies too...

The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has made a moving and heartfelt apology to all those children who had been effectively deported, against their will, to Australia, and then brutalised whilst in the protection of the state.

His speech was gracious, caring and intelligent, as he spoke to the victims of this practice that only ended in the late 1960s.

What I found strange, and I hope others did, was the reminder this gave me of the other recent apology to the indigenous peoples of Australia for their victimisation, forced deportation and almost genocide during the creation of Australia.

I am a great fan of Australia, it is in many ways a much fairer and progressive society than our own, but the ‘whites only’ immigration policy that the country adopted until very recently entrenched a rather negative view of non-white settlers and aboriginal people.

When I went to Canberra, not that long ago, I went to the National Museum of Australia, which is the equivalent of the British Museum here.

There are lots of beautiful examples of aboriginal art and workmanship, but no reference to the massacres and civil upheaval that took place for the indigenous peoples in Australia.  In many ways it was still a patrician view of aborigine culture in a white Australia. This, and other, history is an important aspect of Australia’s birth as a nation, one that I have a personal interest in!

Australia’s national anthem is a moving tribute to an aspirant nation, but it is important in all nations that ‘Advance Australia Fair!’ should have fairness for all.

I think Gordon Brown’s apology should be equally thoughtful, but aware that we have an awful lot more to apologise for, beyond the two issues mentioned here.

Sarah Palin’s victory speech would have inaugurated the first ever ‘Second Dude’!

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Sarah Palin's Victory and Concession speeches make interesting reading!

During all the shenanigans that went on the night of election, where John McCain’s team ‘literally turned the lights out’ on Sarah Palin, to prevent from making an off message speech in Arizona, Sarah was all geared up to make a concession speech that might have actually made her look a little more coherent in the eyes of the voters.

When she was selected, for at least a day or two, Palin as a running mate seemed to be a master stroke on the part of the Republicans, stealing all the credibility that the Democrats had earned through the candidature of Hillary Clinton.

But, within days Palin was apparently subjected to learning from flash cards about such fundamental information, as “The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Gordon Brown”!

Here are Sarah’s concession and victory speeches to give you an idea that actually she might have come out better, or not, if she had been able to get to the podium without McCain officials tripping her up on the way. More can be found in the Telegraph here.

Concession speech:

“And when a black citizen prepares to fill the office of Washington and Lincoln, that is a shining moment in our history that can be lost on no one. Barack Obama has achieved a great thing, for himself and for our country, and I congratulate him.

“It would be a happier night if elections were a test of valour and merit alone, but that is not for us to question now.

“Now it is time for us go our way, neither bitter nor vanquished, but instead confident in the knowledge that there will be another day.”

Victory Speech

“And I said to my husband Todd that it’s not a step down when he’s no longer Alaska’s ‘First Dude’. He will now be the first guy ever to become the ‘Second Dude’.

“Had it gone the other way tonight, we would not have returned in sorrow to the great State of Alaska. We would have carried with us memories that are forever, and joyful experiences that do not depend on victory.

“This is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line.”