Daily archives: June 9, 2009

In Memory of Ed Teague, Postman Patel

One of the best and most original voices on this British blogosphere has fallen silent with the death this morning of my friend Ed Teague, better known to many as the blogger “Lord Patel”.


I will be forever in Ed’s debt. When I pitched up in Blackburn, cold and friendless, to make a stand against Jack Straw, he read about me in the local paper, turned up and became my campaign manager. He had enormous dynamism and fantastic managerial skills. If we managed as independents to prise out 2,000 votes from this most corrupt of NuLab rotten boroughs, which has officially the third lowest educational achievement in England, it was entirely due to Ed’s ingenuity.

We were both stunned by the obstacles put in our way. I was not aloowed to take part in candidates’ hustings hosted by the Churches. I was banned from a Radio 4 Blackburn candidates’ debate. I was not given the legally obliged access to public owned meeting rooms. The local Post Office didn’t start delivering my electoral addresses until the day before polling. I could go on. Ed fought and fought with relentless energy, and never let it depress him.

The full name of his blog – Postman Patel and His Dog Jack – was a reference to Lord Patel, Jack Straw’s other corrupt Blackburn peer besides Lord Taylor of Blackburn. Lord Patel was dubbed “Postman Patel” by Ed because of his tight gripped control over Blackburn’s Muslim Community, used to farm postal ballots for New Labour. Blackburn had the highest incidence of postal voting in the UK – three times the UK average. That is why Lord Patel is a Lord.


The reward system for corrupt cronies is of course why Gordon Brown is so adamantly against a democratic House of Lords. The suspension of Lord Taylor for corruption was not an aberration. Corruption is the purpose of the unelected chamber, as far as New Labour are concerned.

So that is why Ed was Postman Patel – and his dog Jack should be obvious to you now too (though he seems to have dropped off the blog heading latterly).

So please, go to Ed’s blog and just savour for a while a unique and courageous voice. Much missed, I hope by all the blogosphere, of whatever political view.

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Guardian on Norwich North

Excellent article in the Guardian on my candidacy for Norwich North.

Murray is currently the rector of the University of Dundee and a prolific blogger. The Foreign Office forced him out of his job as ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2003 for failing to toe the British line on intelligence obtained under torture.

Asked if he was standing out of revenge, Murray said: “I wouldn’t put it that way. I want to show the government that it cannot use its power against individuals with impunity, and that honest people can fight back.”

He added: “The point is to encourage more independents to stand. We need more people who genuinely want to serve the interests of their constituents. I’ve always believed that parties are part of the problem and the expenses scandal is symptom of the problem.”

Read the whole thing:


For students of irony, I just received an email from a friend who works in Portcullis House. Apparently some Blairites are hoping I win in order to put more pressure on Brown while slowing the Tory bandwagon!

Given it was the Blairites who had me sacked as Ambassador for disagreeing with their collusion with dictatorship, that is just weird. Some people’s support I can do without.

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How Our Money Vanished

I have just finished reading an absolutely brilliant exposition of the banking crisis by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books (hat-tip George Monbiot).

Lanchester’s explanation of how the disaster happened is clear and brilliant, though it need concentration and a nice cup of tea. These are his conclusions, with which I generally agree:

It’s for this reason that the thing the governments least want to do ?” take over the banks ?” is something that needs to happen, not just for economic reasons, but for ethical ones too. There needs to be a general acceptance that the current model has failed. The brakes-off, deregulate or die, privatise or stagnate, lunch is for wimps, greed is good, what’s good for the financial sector is good for the economy model; the sack the bottom 10 per cent, bonus-driven, if you can’t measure it, it isn’t real model; the model that spread from the City to government and from there through the whole culture, in which the idea of value has gradually faded to be replaced by the idea of price. Thatcher began, and Labour continued, the switch towards an economy which was reliant on financial services at the expense of other areas of society. What was equally damaging for Britain was the hegemony of economic, or quasi-economic, thinking. The economic metaphor came to be applied to every aspect of modern life, especially the areas where it simply didn’t belong. In fields such as education, equality of opportunity, health, employees’ rights, the social contract and culture, the first conversation to happen should be about values; then you have the conversation about costs. In Britain in the last 20 to 30 years that has all been the wrong way round. There was a reverse takeover, in which City values came to dominate the whole of British life.

It’s becoming traditional at this point to argue that perhaps the financial crisis will be good for us, because it will cause people to rediscover other sources of value. I suspect this is wishful thinking, or thinking about something which is quite a long way away, because it doesn’t consider just how angry people are going to get when they realise the extent of the costs we are going to carry for the next few decades. I think we will end up nationalising at least some of our big banks because the electorate will be too angry to do anything that looks in the smallest degree like letting them get away with it. Banks can’t change their behaviour, so we have to do it for them, and the only way to do it is to take them over. We can’t afford any more TBTF.

I get the strong impression, talking to people, that the penny hasn’t fully dropped. As the ultra-bleak condition of our finances becomes more and more apparent people are going to ask increasingly angry questions about how we got into this predicament. The drop in sterling, for instance, means that prices for all sorts of goods will go up just as oil and gas prices have spiked downwards. Combined with job losses ?” a million people are forecast to lose their jobs this year, taking unemployment back to Thatcherite levels ?” and tax rises, and inflation, and the increasing realisation that the cost of the financial crisis is going to be paid not over a few years but over a generation, we have a perfect formula for a deep and growing anger. Expectations have risen a lot, over the last three decades; that’s going to have a big impact on how furious people feel about the hard years ahead. The level of future public spending cuts implied in Darling’s recent budget ?” which included the laughably optimistic idea that the economy will grow by 1.25 per cent next year ?” is greater than the level of cuts implemented by Thatcher. Remember, that’s the optimistic version. If we’re lucky, it won’t be any worse than Thatcherism.

But it is the forensic examination of RBS before this which is most enlightening. I understood most of the principles, but to have the detail set out so clearly is very useful.


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Comments Policy

I am in a quandary what to do about comments policy. This blog has become quite a popular internet forum. It has a very liberal attitude to free speech. But yesterday we had a car crash. It started with someone making some highly personal comments about me, to which I replied but which I was content to leave. It then got much worse as somebody started posting foolish threats of violence, allegedly in my support. I know the thtreats were not meant literally, but that was extremely stupid and hardly contributed to debate.. We then had a racist epithet thrown.

I know because I am standing for election there are bound to be efforts to insult me or discredit me through posting or quoting other people’s comments on my blog. But I can live with that.

I closed comments, appealed for calm, and deleted the worst. But then overnight somebody has started to propound complete nonsense about zionist and illuminati plans, drawing on a long tradition of Eastern European hate forgery.

No comments on this blog represent my own views except my original articles and comments over my own name.

But from now on, comments off topic from the original link will be deleted. And off topic includes “ah, but this is all caused by such and such a dark force which is behind every development in the economy/foreign affairs/religion.”

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