01 January 2008


The blog is going to become more like a journal - mainly political commentary with a soupcon of the personal. Unless someone takes me up on the offer in my previous post I am just going to produce 12 posts this year - one a month updated as and when. Daily blogging is bad for the soul.

Jan 29th

Derek Conway should go and now that the subject is in the public domain, let's rifle a few more drawers and turn a few tables over - I want this 'can of worms' to be opened. Cameron still needs to convince me that he's the man who can deliver a massive improvement in standards in public life.

Check out this incredible speech. Full text here.

Jan 27th

Prague has an unfortunate reputation for cheap beer and cheap women - personally I would favour red-light tolerance zones well away from the city centre. I don't want to be too hard on this fat, ugly Scottish Socialist - after all we need users of prostitutes like him to come forward if we're going to tackle the menace of international sex trafficking.

Jan 24th

Labour's line of argument re donor sleaze is that we're all as bad as each other or more specifically the Tories are as bad as us. I am sure it can look like that if you squint your eyes...

Jan 23rd

The death of Bobby Fischer raises the canard that very few chess players are successful in other fields. The PayPal founder and facebook investor Peter Thiel is one. He says "Taken too far, chess can become an alternate reality in which one loses sight of the real world, my chess ability was roughly at the limit. Had I become any stronger, there would have been some massive tradeoffs with success in other domains in life." Same goes for blogging methinks. Anyway I like this site and have added it to my links.

Jan 22nd

The Labour party line on red Ken - Ken may be an unaccountable, fraudulent, dictatorial, ineffective, wheeler-dealing, uncontrollable, criminal, PR-obsessed, Trotskyite, conspiratorial, pro-fanatical, anti-Israeli, revolutionary, anti-semitic, profligate, imperial alcoholic... but he's our unaccountable, fraudulent, dictatorial, ineffective, wheeler-dealing, uncontrollable, criminal, PR-obsessed, Trotskyite, conspiratorial, pro-fanatical, anti-Israeli, revolutionary, anti-semitic, profligate, imperial alcoholic. Hat tip - Luke Akehursts.

Jan 21st

Police pay march planned for Wednesday. How did it come to this?

Jan 19th

Rhetorical question. How long can a story about a plane not crashing stay in the news? They've done it again.

Jan 18th

Off to Nostress restaurant tonight, I'll spend tomorrow demolishing a monastery and then on to a Rubik's cube party, so no updates for a bit.

Jan 17th

I think that 2008 has been a boring year for politics so far. Dragging donation declarations out of PHain is not my idea of fun and am I alone in being bored with hearing Labour MPs using the term 'global economic problems'?

Jan 16th

Hero of the day is Helen Newlove.

Jan 14th

More speculation today over at the Royal Court of Justice on how serious Diana's relationship with Dodi was and other irrelevancies. Why the **** is this garbage clogging up our courts and media?

I rarely have much nice to say about Alex Hilton, so let me seize on this post. Considering he is not a compliance professional he has some good ideas. Speaking of which I'd quite like the job of Labour Treasurer - the last thing they need is a barrister.

Jan 13th

Asking fellow Tories what the point of the Lib Dems always raises a laugh, but Nick Clegg takes things to extremes. He appears to excel in making no impact.

Jan 12th

Most Labour bloggers aren't bothering to defend Hain, but my understanding is that the Labour party line is that he's a nice bloke. Not the strongest of defences.

Jan 11th

Hain's oversight in full.

Jan 10th

Apparently Mike Rouse's poligeek meet up is happening. Judging by the latest status updates on my facebook, my life has become a bit skewed towards politics and blogging.

January 9th

Yesterday's PM press conference was a yawn. I think I did, but I'm not sure whether I watched it all. What I'm finding fascinating mildly interesting is Brown and Darling's attitude to inflation. Although controlling inflation and setting interest rates is in the remit of the Bank Of England, Darling seems inappropriately disposed to opining on what they could or should do next. On public pay, controller Brown wants to make long-term pay agreements (you can see the potential benefit to the government) but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that Brown is mooting this idea just as the inflationary outlook looks especially uncertain. And re household bill price hikes, Darling seems determined to put a lid on them by any means. Of course he can't hold back economics, but I wouldn't want to be holding utility shares whilst he's holding the Chancellorship,

Jan 8th

I have to take my hat off to Obama's presentational skills. Charisma is the ability to influence people without logic and is political gold. For a politician to convince people to support him/her even if they don't agree with them on policy needs charisma. The reactions in the comments at Iain Dale's testifies to Obama's charisma.

Barack's performances are well-rehearsed, but not many commentators seem to be mentioning how cliched his techniques are. Here's five.

1. Producing appeasing signals

I love the way that Obama uses his hands when he speaks. Even when he is making strong verbal attacks his body language is assertive but never aggressive. Here's an example. Even if you don't remember a word you'll see a calm, collaborative and precise person.

2. Associating with babies

This is a no-brainer. It's not just about looking like a nice guy, but also cutting off attacks.

Don't attack me you might hurt the baby. ;-)

3. The politician's smile.

Hillary v Obama? I'll let you make your minds up on which is the most convincing.

4. Whispering to create an illusion of physical and psychological intimacy.

Barack cleverly related an anecdote that involved whispering in a New Hampshire speech.

5. Make themselves appear popular.

Public adulation is the best and Barack's road to change video succeeds in conveying that message.


A fair amount of Obama's support depends on how he makes me people feel about supporting him. His message of hope, change and healing will get him the Democratic nomination - whether his feel-good message is enough to take him to the White House is less clear.

Jan 7th

The Labour Party line is that if a recession comes right-wing commentators will have talked us into it. Regardless of whether economic growth turns negative, a combination of low pay settlements against a background of spiralling energy prices and spiking council taxes persuades me that there will continue to be widespread falls in disposable income in 2008.

Jan 6th

Good weekend so far - a few episodes that touched on 'Brand Britain'. The continued reporting of stabbings and shootings is very damaging, but I'll probably do a guest post elsewhere on this theme. My web poll reveals that 'Bottler Brown' is your favourite Gordon nickname, but 'Incapability Brown' isn't far behind. I wish I'd given you the choice of Macavity too, but oh well. New poll to start soon.

Jan 4th

I'm not the only Tory in Prague. Tonight I'm celebrating the engagement of my friends Emily and Jim (who was a member when he was in the UK). Later on, I might meet up with 'staunch Tory' Justin for his wife's birthday and tomorrow we're going out on the town with James and his wife. When I first met James and I said I was interested in politics his horrified reaction was 'You're not Labour are you?'. Probably won't be updating the site again until Sunday.

Jan 3rd

Of course I agree with my favourite police bloggers, PC South West, PC Bloggs and Inspector Gadget on the police pay negotiations.

The main issue is that the agreed rise has not been back-dated - a travesty. The government's position is indefensible. I note the Scots implemented the deal in full and I can't be the only person comparing the police award with MPs' impending pay rise.

What should the Tories do? Pledge to make a one-off bonus payment to plug the missing pay if elected. It would signal our commitment to fair dealing and is not inflationary or even expensive. One question if I join the planned police rallies in Jacqui Smith's constituency and Westminster can I be arrested for impersonating a police officer?

Fancy a game of chess on facebook? - my ID is Dominic Fisher from the West Midlands.

If you're not sure whether you're good enough check through the above game (I was white)

Jan 2nd

Can we be surprised that Africa's elected leaders morph into military dictators when we sit on our hands in response to Mugabe? Some people don't seem to realise that inaction is a decision and I think the consequences will continue - don't just watch Kenya - keep an eye on Uganda, too. Desperate stuff. I recommend Kenyan Pundit and Joseph Karoki's picture blog.

Jan 1st

I'm not very good at predictions, but I did enjoy one in the Telegraph forecasting that Labour would go bankrupt in 2008. Careful reading of the financial statements and Labour's fundraising prospects suggests that the position is indeed precarious.


Beaman said...

Crikey, how the hell did black let themselves get into that position. Were you playing a beginner? ;)

Praguetory said...

My opponent needs to learn that the opening is about fighting for control of the centre. ;-)

Beaman said...

True, the centre is ideal. However I know of an opening side-based move which can be very bloody.
I was taught this move when I was on a train when around 7 years of age by a complete stranger (must have been a student of around 19-20 looking back). I had my little Kasporov computer chess set beeping away and he helped me get past the then impossible level 3. It throws people off balance anyway.

Praguetory said...

Michael Basman is the master of unusual openings and wing attacks including this one against my old mate Simon Bibby.

Beaman said...

Thanks for the links. I'll take a look.

Anonymous said...

I see Matt's set up a bloggregator for Tories, and you're on it.


Joe Gibson said...

Both the Lib Dem's and Nick Clegg seem somewhat pointless at the moment, and I read on the BBC that Clegg has declared he's ready to break the two party system in the UK, that was worth a laugh.

Praguetory said...

"Clegg has declared he's ready to break the two party system in the UK" - not exactly stute is he. The last thing he needs to do is remind voters of his party's deficiencies.

CityUnslicker said...

your daily blogging return is most welcome; whatever state of denial you seem to be in about it!

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