Crowley set to join ECR

European_Conservatives_and_Reformists_logoIreland South MEP Brian Crowley, Fianna Fails sole MEP, is set to announce that he will be leaving the liberal ALDE Group in the European Parliament and instead will join the European Conservatives and Reformists according to Press Reports today.

If this does happen it will put in doubt Fianna Fails membership of the pan-European ALDE Party to which the party leader, Michael Martin is firmly in favour of.

Crowley’s decision to join ECR will mean that Irish MEPs are now spread across 5 European Parliament Groups.

  • EPP: 4 MEPs (Fine Gael)
  • GUE/NGL: 4 MEPs (3 Sinn Fein, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan)
  • ALDE: 1 MEP (Marian Harkin)
  • ECR: 1 MEP (Brian Crowley)
  • S&D: 1 MEP (Nessa Childers)

With Crowley joining the ECR they are now represented in 15 countries. The UK (Conservatives) and Poland (Law and Justice) make up the largest delegations with 20 and 19 respectively and the rest of the group made of MEPs from Belgium (4), Bulgaria (1), Czech Republic (2), Denmark (4), Germany (8), Greece (1), Croatia (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (1), Netherlands (2), Slovakia (2) and Finland (2).

Crowleys transfer also solidifies ECR as the 3rd largest group in the parliament with 69 seats and pushing ALDE back to 66.

It will be interesting to see now what happens to Fianna Fails membership of the ALDE Party and how often Crowley will be voting with his colleagues.

 

Baroness Thatcher 1925-2013

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week we lost a Political heavyweight. Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom died of a stroke on Monday morning. While I certainly did not agree with everything she did, she was a passionate, sharp and ruthless politician.

No matter what I say about her, others have probable said it better, so I have decided just to link to a few articles I have found that cover Baroness Thatcher.

One that did surprise me was Russel Brand’s take on the former Prime Minister.

When I was a kid, Thatcher was the headmistress of our country. Her voice, a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring – I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in. She became leader of the Conservatives the year I was born and prime minister when I was four. She remained in power till I was 15. I am, it’s safe to say, one of Thatcher’s children. How then do I feel on the day of this matriarchal mourning?

Comment is free: Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher: ‘I always felt sorry for her children’

Ireland’s Europe Minister Lucinda Creighton had a piece in the Irish Independent on Thatcher that is also interesting to read!

So, how did this grocer’s daughter of modest means and no political patronage break through the Tory club of middle-aged and middle-class men? It certainly wasn’t by way of roll-over compromise, conformity or gender quotas.

Lucinda Creighton: Margaret Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter who made her country stand tall again

Conservative MP Conor Burns spoke yesterday in the House of Commons on his relationship with the former Prime Minister. It is very interesting to read of this as he is an out gay MP! The Pinknews have the story:

Mr Burns, who voted in favour of same-sex marriage, after public deliberation, said that he visited former prime minister Lady Thatcher almost every Sunday.

He said that on one visit, a cab driver refused to take his fare when he was dropped off at Lady Thatcher’s former Chelsea home saying that he recognised it as “Maggie Thatcher’s gaff” and that he should “tell her from me, we ain’t had a good’un since”.

Mr Burns told MPs: “I imparted this message to Margaret and she intoned: ‘Well he was quite right

Gay MP Conor Burns amuses Commons with tales of his ‘friend and mentor’ Margaret Thatcher

Public Service Europe have a great article by Giles Goodall on Thatcher contributions to Europe which are often overlooked.

Perhaps Thatcher’s biggest legacy to Europe, apart from securing the legendary British rebate and simultaneously condemning future budget negotiations to be a zero-sum game, was to drive forward the single market and enlargement; first to the south but subsequently also north and eastwards. These dual achievements, originally pursued as means to thwart what she considered to be the twin European threats of socialism and further integration – or ‘deepening’ – have arguably become two of the EU’s greatest success stories.

Margaret Thatcher helped drive forward EU’s biggest successes

The Guardian have coverage of more of the stories shared in the Commons and Lords yesterday.

They also have some great Anecdotes!

The Economist have a good article on her legacy.

SEVERAL prime ministers have occupied 10 Downing Street for as long as, or even longer than, Margaret Thatcher. Some have won as many elections—Tony Blair, for one. But Mrs Thatcher (later Lady Thatcher), Britain’s sole woman prime minister, remains the only occupant of Number 10 to have become an “-ism” in her lifetime. She left behind a brand of politics and a set of convictions which still resonate, from Warsaw to Santiago to Washington, DC.

Margaret Thatcher: A cut above the rest

I finish with this excerpt from her last speech as Prime Minister in the House of Commons, it is one of my favourite speeches.

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The End of the ECR Grouping?

European Conservatives and Reformists
Image via Wikipedia

Michael Heaver is reporting that 11 members of the European Conservatives and Reformists, those MEPs of the Polish Law and Justice, are set to leave the ECR and join the Europe of Freedom and Democracy grouping in the Parliament.

This casts the survival of the the grouping into doubt as for a group to exist it must have 25 MEPs from across seven member states to be a grouping. If the Polish MEPs leave that would leave only six member states represented in the Grouping (The UK, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Hungary). While the group will still have 39 members, they will no longer be considered a group by the Parliament.

This is on top of the turmoil by the ECR leader Kaminski resigning from the Law and Justice Party. He was joined by two other MEPs Marek Migalski MEP and Adam Bielan MEP vice chair of the ECR.

If of course those MEPs stay with the ECR, then it will survive.

Interesting times ahead for the ECR.

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Some points from the Conservative and Liberal Agreement: Political Reform

no original description
Image via Wikipedia

The Liberal Democrats have posted the agreement online. Here are some of things that jump out at me on Political Reform.

  • We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation.
  • The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments
  • The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies.
  • The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall,
  • We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’
  • The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.

Some big things there! What jumps out at you?

Also David Cameron has just announced that Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for Political Reform. So this will be an important part of the agreement.

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5 things UK Conservatives need to learn about European Parliament

This is inspired by yet another post on ConHome where they get things wrong. Not sure if this would qualify as one off Joe‘s Five Things?! would it Joe?

Number 1: They are not members of the EPP.

Number 2: They are members of the ED – European Democrats, who are seperate to the the EPP.

Number 3: Because of this distinction they do not take the EPP whip.

Number 4: They sit as part of the EPP-ED Group in the Parliament which is completely seperate to the EPP apartus as a political party.

Number 5: They can leave quite easily and the EPP wont miss them that much, I would say.

This as also been posted on thinkaboutit.eu. Please rate it over there! Thanks

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Boris is Mayor!

I am delighted! This tops off an excellent Local Election cycle for the Conservatives. Boris won with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes, compared with Mr Livingstone’s 1,028,966 on a record turnout of 45%.

Also all the council results are in now. The Conservtaives have gained 12 councils and 256 councillors. Labour lost 9 councils and 331 councillors. The Liberal Demorcrats held there own and gained 1 council and 31 councillors. Plaid Cymru lost control of its only council but gained 33 councillors.

On the London Assemby, the Conservatives lost 1 Constituency AM to Labour but gained 3 on the List Vote. Giving them 11 seats, Labour are on 8, LD 3, Greens 2 and BNP 1.

The BNP made a few gains this election. They surpassed the 5% threshold in London to get 1 list seat, they also gained 10 councillors to give them 37 in total. The BNP are an issue not just for Labour and the Conservatives but all mainstream parties. They need to be watched closely. I dont see them winning seats at the Next General Election but thay could come 2nd or 3rd in a few seats.

So YouGov got it right, as did ConservativeHome and the London Standard who all called it for Boris.

So my predictions:

* Boris will win the London Mayoralty
Wooo! Yup

* Conservatives will win the highest vote share nationally but will lose Coventry and gain Reading.
Yes, Yes, No. Reading did go to NOC from Labour control

* Labour will come second nationally but do better in Northern England.
Nope, they came third, did slightly better in the North but gained control of Slough in south. They were decimated in Wales which I did not see happening.

* LibDems will lose Loverpool but stay in third with a net loss of seats.
Lib Dems cam 2nd and had a net gain of seats. They technically lost Liverpool for all of 10 mins, stupid defections

On to the BBC coverage, while the David Dimbleby and the Bloggers bit was great, Jeremy Vine was useless. It was the wee early hours of the morning, only people interested in elections would stay up that late. No need for dumbing down. Its a pity they felt the need to do that.

I also discovered a a lovely bit of software during the elction that was used by ConservativeHome, Guido and Slugger O’Toole. Its called Cover it live. Its free and I will be using it during the Eurovison Semi’s and Final so stay tuned

Sould Brown have called an Election and the Future of the Lib Dems

Wow, two days of blog posts, I’m back as a serious blogger!!! 😀

But anyway back to the title. Gordon Brown, has said ‘no’ to an election. Was that a good decision?

Due to the comments of the ‘young turks’, Balls et al, saying Labour where on a election footing and that. This draw back from the brink could have long term damage for Brown and Labour in general as it did for O’Callaghan. The Tories will definitely gain from this as they said ‘Bring it on’. David Cameron is on the up and up.

Now if an election had been called, it would not have benefited the Lib Dems, as they are being squeezed by the two major parties and to top it off, they have gotten rid of their leader after 18 months!!! Sir Ming was an excellent leader for the Lib Dems, and its internal bickering like this that turn people off the Lib Dems. I myself am thinking of switching to the Tories. Then again I’m not an dedicated Lib Dem supporter, but I thought they were fresh and interesting compared to Labour and the Tories. But DC has changed the Conservative Party, it is now fresh and interesting, and is certainly winning people over no matter what the polls say.

At the end of the Day the ‘honeymoon’ is over for Brown, he needs to set out a good set of proposals in the Queens Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on the 6th of November. Its a Tuesday so hopefully I will be watching it and will blog about it.

Bush Confused?

So we all know George W (dubya) Bush is anti-Gay Marriage and has said in the past that children should ideall raised by a mother and father. Then he goes and confuses us all.

When talking recently to a magazine he was commenting on the fact that Dick Cheney’s Lesbian Daughter is pregnant.

“I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I’m happy for her,” Bush said in an interview with People magazine

“Mary Cheney is going to make a fine mom, and she’s going to love this child a lot,” he said, according to an excerpt from the interview

Bush has tried to get a Constitutional Ban on gay marriage into the US constitution but congress is refusing to pass it.

The Group Focus on the Family have said the following

“We should not enter into yet another untested and far-reaching social experiment, this one driven by the desires of same-sex couples to bear and raise children,” Dobson said in a recent commentary published on the organization’s Web site.

Dobson is chair of the group.

Will this split the conservatives in the US