Life: Left of Centre



Thursday May 3rd. A big day for Londoners. The chance to bloody the nose of this dreadful government, bent on ideological austerity at the expense of growth and jobs, and the chance to get rid of our useless London Mayor: Boris Johnson. Now it’s been a tough campaign, and not everyone is thrilled by the alternative on the Left: Ken Livingstone. I hear you, but it’s time to do the right thing and use your 1st and 2nd preference votes to give London a brighter future. A fairer, more equal capital where anyone and everyone can get on in life. That’s why I’m voting Ken for London.

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So what can the Left read into last weekend’s 1st round French Presidential poll results? Well quite a bit actually. Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate, won with 28.6% of the vote, out-doing even the positive exit polls that flashed across our screens early Sunday evening. Current President Nicolas Sarkozy came a close second, with 27.2%, but second at this stage of the contest is nowhere. The biggest surprise was perhaps the performance of Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, with 17.9% of the vote. But was it really a shock? Has French politics shifted to the right? How will the run-off between Hollande and Sarkozy play-out on 6th May? Read on for more!

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This is important. It’s important not just because two people of the same sex who love each other should be able to have that love recognised in law; nor because this same battle (and make no mistakes in many countries this is just that) is taking place in countries across the Western world, and we are increasingly an example – a test case – to them; but because in Britain today gay (or LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people should have the same rights and recognition as their heterosexual counterparts. Full stop.

In the tolerant and accepting society we live in today, that is increasingly progressive on important social issues like women’s rights, health and social care and the rights of the young, the British government should take action to equalise the right to marry. As an out and proud gay man I know I deserve that same right as the next person – that discrimination, either blatant or wrapped up in the form of some other culture or belief system, religion or creed, should no longer be a barrier or even a stumbling block to positive social change on this, and other issues.

That’s why I’m adding my voice to this debate, as you should too. It’s time for gay marriage. We’ve waited long enough.

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Welcome to Part 3 of my ‘Travels through Argentina’ series, that takes the reader back to January 2011, when I spent a hugely enjoyable 3 weeks travelling solo across Argentina, meeting a selection of fascinating people, experiencing the wonderful culture (that is oh so different to the typical Western European or even the North American way of life) and seeing the sights.

Part 3 provides a taste of modern Argentinian life – introducing Matilde, the kind old lady who put me up in Cordoba, her wonderful family and more on the famous 2nd city itself.

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Part 2 of ‘Why I’m Labour’ takes my final 3 reasons and develops on them.

Using the context of the recent Budget and the increasingly apparent disconnect between the Conservative / Lib Dem government and real people around this country, the message is clear:

We’re definitely not all in this together…

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So the dust has settled and George’s Osborne’s 2nd Budget has been universally panned – particularly by the Press. No surprise there. Indeed in recent years this has become the norm. He himself said that Britain should expect a long period of economic pain, in order to gain somewhere down the line – post-2017. A long way off.

But the most interesting facts of the budget are these: 8.7% unemployment is to be the expected peek this year. Yet economic growth is to reach only 0.8%. This looks like a ‘No Pain, No Gain’ economic policy to me. Where everyone suffers and only those best equipped to survive – the richest 1% – will.

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I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences and my thoughts on a range of issues: travel, the arts and sport, on occasions. But most of all I wanted to talk politics: my politics, left-of-centre politics, and (simply put) why I think the world would be a better place for everyone if more politicians, and aspiring politicians, eschewed selfish and sectarian motivations to pursue the ‘Good Society’. For all.

Here I give 3 of my reasons why I’m Labour: why I believe the UK Labour Party is the best vehicle in British society and politics to achieve the positive social change for the future that we all need today: the home of Britain’s social and economic progressives.

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What I’ve been saying…

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