Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lib Dem Conference Review

Tuesday, September 20th:

Two days in and Liberal Democrat activists continue to bite back at a leadership which seems determined to embrace elements of commonsense within party policy.

- First the activists rejected the leadership's desire to cap the EU budget at 1% of national budgets, potentially allowing the European Union to consume even more of our funds should the Lib Dems ever get in to power.

- Secondly the activists tell Lib Dem DTI Spokesman Norman Lamb (the man who presumely would not have a job in a Lib Dem government as they want to scrap the Department) that his flagship policy of partially privatising the Royal Mail is not really their cup of tea.

The conference so far has been actually been quite exciting for an outsider looking in and it is not often you can say that about the Liberal Democrats.

For me I am happily enjoying the Lib Dems struggle with who they are, what they want to be and where they should go next. Charles Kennedy is as good as finished as an effective party leader in my eyes as he aimlessly floats along hoping his party's policy debates will somehow tell him what to believe.

The party does not know whether it should be left or right and has got itself in to a right old mess. Of course this is nothing unique - the Conservatives risk messing up themselves at their leaderless conference in two weeks time, but it is at least refreshing to see the Lib Dems squirm a little.

Of course we should not overplay the situation - we are still years from a General Election and the Lib Dems may well find their direction in time (I hope it remains left wing for the sake of the Conservatives) and what is more Kennedy does still have his admirers.

But what this situation does show is that the Liberal Democrats are not some sort of miracle political party which is constantly on the rise and where everyone gets on together. For the other political parties I think this is incredibly reassuring.

A party without an identity and without a direction comes unstuck sooner or later (see Conservative Party 1990 - present) and the Liberal Democrats are now beginning to realise I feel that being all things to all men cannot wash for ever.

Furthermore this situation offers the perfect background in which to finally start to undermine the Liberal Democrats, challenge their arguably superb local infrastructure and hopefully win back some lost voters at the next set of elections.

At the last general election the Conservatives were a lot better at dealing with the Lib Dem challenge than before, but there is still a long way to go. For me the approach has to be multi-latered, well planned and part of a long term effort.

We need to analyse and understand the strengths of Lib Dem political operations and copy those bits we like and undermine the rest. Most importantly we have to accept that in some cases the Lib Dems actually have some interesting policies we should take, shape and sell as our own - taking any political credit we can earn from them. Winning in politics is often about pragmatism remember and we should not be ashamed to treat the Lib Dems as a kind of pseudo think tank.

In such a vein I think the Conservatives should look at the Lib Dem Royal Mail proposals closely and look at any potential and most importantly I think they should seriously consider the School House system the Lib Dem activists actually did support today.

This could be the first stage in countering the Lib Dem Challenge...

Another job for the state...

Pointless job alert:

Fresh from the English victory in the Ashes, the government is unsurprisingly trying to cash in on the feel good factor around. Every government does it - always have done and always will do, so I have no desire to blame them for this.

What is more concerning however is one of the ideas the government is currently pursuing in relation to sport in schools.

The same government which declared that competition was bad for our children as they should not have to face the prospect of losing too young and that School Sports Days are tantamount to meeting with the Devil has admitted (quietly of course) that it might well have got things wrong.

Competition is good after all and the egg and spoon race no longer needs to go the way of an entertaining Premiership football match and become extinct.

What is concering about this you might well ask?

Well it is not the fact that the government have now accepted that they got it wrong which annoys me most - although it rankles a little. But it is the fact that they want to create another seemingly useless job to control this new found love for all things competitive.

Yes according to my copy of the Guardian last week - the government has welcomed the first batch of Competition Officers to work and I cannot for the life of me see the point in such a job.

What are these Competition Officers going to tell experience teachers what they don't already know regarding competition? Are they go to describe what it means to come first and last? Are they going to explain the inner workings of the sack race or explain in 10 easy steps the emotions of a child who gets picked last during a playground match of football?

I doubt it.

So, if you know what the job entails please get in touch.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Welcome back!

Welcome back to the original version of U.K Future!

Over the next couple of months the current website is going to witness a number of changes and some re-development.

I did not want to risk it keep going offline and annoying you all, thus I have decided it is sensible to return to this 'Blogger' software until it is ready.

We will continue to add new content here throughout our renovations!

Many thanks for your patience,


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

U.K Future Mark II

Well this is the last time I am planning to update this blogger version of U.K Future.

Blogger has been very useful for me as I have developed the ideas behind U.K Future and its ease of use has been great for a website novice like myself.

However I decided that six months in to the project, it was time to move onwards (and hopefully upwards) and purchase my own webspace for U.K Future and gain the extra design and editorial freedoms that come with that.

As such the new look U.K Future, while not fully completed, is beginning to be updated and content is being added.

It can be found at: http://www.ukfuture.net

However because I do not know how to transfer my archives over and because I want to keep this account open should the new website shut down at any point, this website will not be deleted.


James A. Malcolm


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Phase Two

Phase Two of the UK Future project is currently being prepared.

I am hoping in the next couple of weeks to have the new look website completed. I have bought the web hosting, downloaded various software and the design is ongoing.

Thus I ask for your patience with the lack of posts.

Finally the only working address will be: http://ukfuture.blogspot.com


Thursday, January 20, 2005

America the great.

Yes we all know that the United States of America and its recently returned President are not perfect, but who or what is?

It was good to see the inauguration ceremony today on television - a real celebration of what the American people feel is good about their character and beliefs, beliefs I generally share.

What ever anyone says about the United States it is a true democracy. Two examples speak volumes:

1: During the ceremony today, peaceful protests against the President went on and could be occasionally heard during the ceremony. There was no suppression of free speech there. Would your average dictator allow that?

2: The hilarious Team America: World Police film. The satire it encapsulated made me realise just why I like the United States. What non-democracy would allow such a film, that openly jokes about the country itself? Very few I would suggest.

The United States may be a frustrating ally, but I am more than happy to call it friend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Congratulations Burnley FC!

My apologies for taking up the website with a football story.

But I just had to offer my sincere praise and thanks to my beloved Burnley FC for beating Liverpool in the F.A Cup tonight.

I could not get to the match because of an examination, but the performance seen on T.V did me proud.

Up the clarets!