Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Interesting Times

Well there is certainly plenty going on at the moment politically in Southampton. In no particular order;
Firstly, the Conservative Party have today contacted the first 100 applicants that have been successful in applying for the so called 'A-list' and also told the rest of the candidates who have gone through the selection process 'not yet' or apparently even 'not ever'. A number of my friends and acquaintances have applied- it will be interesting to see how they get on but I do hope we embrace people from all political wings of the party and recognize individuals local contributions too- the Party is certainly guilty of not having done so in the past but I think I type this more in hope than expectation...

Secondly, the fall out from the local elections continues. The new composition of Southampton City Council is 16-16-16 between the three parties. If convention is followed the outgoing sheriff John Slade will become Mayor and he may yet have a role to play if one of the parties abstain as he has the casting vote. One thing is for sure and I have spoken to Councillors from every political party- no one party is united internally with probably Labour being the most split in coming to terms with the reality that they would have to work out some accommodation with one of the other two parties if they wish to govern or be part of a governing coalition. However it would be fair to say there is a range of views in all three groups...Decision day Wed before full council...Talking of Slade, I was surprised to see one of his daughters, Mel, is reported as going out with young England super-hopeful Theo Walcot. She is pictured in The Times today going into Slade's house. My own memory when I stood in the ward where he lives is what a mess his garden was- I wonder with the paparazzi descending if he will find time to cut the grass?
Thirdly, John Denham has been making some fairly outspoken comments over the last 24 hours. On last night's Newsnight programme he claimed Blair was losing his touch and called on Blair and Brown to sort out the handover of power. Further he said ne would have liked to have seen an early change in leadership and that there had been real problems with the leadership over the last year or so.
Much less reported were his attacks on Ruth Kelly the new Communities and Local Government Minister who also looks after equality issues. She is under pressure as she is a member of the Opus Dei sect that apparently considers homosexuality a sin. Denham was reported by The Times as saying that 'the introduction of civil partnerships was one of the most significant things this government has done' and 'that it is essential that any minister with responsibility for these issues feels comfortable'. Its probably open season for Labour MPs to talk about the leadership issue but the Whips might drag him in for a friendly fireside chat over attacking his Ministerial collegues...There certainly seems to be some repositioning ready for the coronation of Gordon...


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