Wednesday 30 January 2008

Edwards withdraws from Democrat race

Following yesterday’s (nominal) victory for Hillary Clinton in the Florida caucus, John Edwards has announced that he is pulling out of the race of for Democratic Presidential nomination. According to BBC News, this “leaves the Democratic contest a two-horse race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama”.

As opposed to what exactly? Edwards has finished a distant third in all five caucuses so far, even admitting that he got "butt kicked" in both Nevada and his home state of South Carolina where he was expected to do well. On this evidence, the decision by the former North Carolina Senator to retire gracefully prior to the cash-fight of Super Tuesday, where 21 States will cast their vote for their nominations, appears a wise one.

Nevertheless, this author must admit to being surprised at Edwards’ relative lack of success, considering his strong showing during the previous Presidential election where he ran as Vice-Presidential nominee to eventual loser John Kerry – a ticket which several commentators suggested would have been more successful with Edwards headlining.

While Edwards has not yet endorsed either candidate, it would not be surprising to see him link up with either candidate in a second Vice Presidential bid – placing him in a good position to launch a final bid for the Presidency in two elections time (should the Democrats be successful in November).

In the Republicans corner, I expect Rudy Giuliani to withdraw from the race within days following a disastrous showing in the Florida caucus (which unlike the Democrat vote DID count). Florida victor John McCain paid a gracious tribute to the man dubbed "America's Mayor" following his handling of the 9/11 Terrorist attacks, and could yet make further approaches, possibly in return for Giuliani's public endorsement of his candidacy.

What price a potential Republican dream team of McCain-Giuliani?

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Goodbye Rudy Tuesday?

Things are looking pretty hairy for Rudy Giuliani. After a high-risk campaign strategy of ignoring the supposedly “smaller” states to focus on the Florida ballot, the associated lack of publicity and rusty campaigning may prove his undoing. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Giuliani is well behind both of the two frontrunners, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who are currently running neck-and-neck:

John McCain: 31
Mitt Romney: 31
Rudy Giuliani: 16
Mike Huckabee: 11
Ron Paul: 4

If the former Mayor of New York fails to win the backing of Floridans, this could effectively take him out of contention altogether, given the electoral college votes of Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina already banked by his rivals. Rumours are also abound that Giuliani is suffering from a lack of funding – a critical handicap in such a high-spend arena as a US Primary – and that senior members of his campaign staff have not been paid for weeks.

Giuliani has even appeared to hint that he could drop out of the race altogether if he doesn’t succeed in winning Florida. "When it's Wednesday morning we'll make the decision," he said yesterday.

This author will be waiting in anticipation…

You REALLY couldn't make it up...

Another one for the “You couldn’t make it up” brigade to masticate on – a children’s story based on the Three Little Pigs has been refused nomination and funding by a Government education agency, on the grounds that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".

BECTA, the Government’s Educational Technology Agency, claimed that the digital book “Three Little Cowboy Builders” also offended those in the construction industry – a slight which the book’s creative director Anne Curtis described as being "like a slap in the face".

Like most individuals who basis of opinions is not the front page of the Daily Express, I have never once heard of Muslim, Jew or member of any other faith claim that the recitation of a fairy tale is offensive to their beliefs. Indeed, many have expressed disquiet at the antics of such interfering busybodies in patronisingly declaring what is offensive to religious and/or ethnic minorities for stirring up resentments at what has been manipulated into apparent hectoring on the part of British Muslims (apparently a favourite tactic of the National Secular Society).

Such accusations however are as erroneous as the usual responses are misguided. Take for example the Muslim Council of Great Britain’s speed in condemning the petulance of a Marks and Spencer (Muslim) employee who refused to handle the sale of a copy of a Children’s Bible, claiming this was “unclean”, as being both “very offensive and unacceptable. Many Biblical stories complement the teachings of the Koran. We hope that M&S will investigate this incident."

Swift, accurate, and to the point.

Perhaps if Conservatives spent more time listening to UK Muslims instead of hearing what so many of them seem to want to hear, we would find that they are actually our most natural allies on a whole host of issues which Nu-Labour would be only too happy to brush under the carpet.

Thursday 24 January 2008

NEWSFLASH: Peter Hain resigns

Peter Hain has bowed to the inevitable pressure and resigned from his dual position as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and as Welsh Secretary.

More to follow.