Posts Tagged ‘Conrad Landin’

London’s lesson from Jamaica: don’t write off your candidate

08/01/2012, 12:01:04 PM

by Conrad Landin

While Britain slept off its Christmas excess, Jamaica went to the polls on 29 December. Overnight, result after progressive result rolled in as the votes were counted.

The scale of victory for the People’s National Party (PNP), the main left-wing grouping, was a surprise. Poll after poll in the last weeks had shown the election on a knife-edge, with most showing the governing right-wingers slightly ahead.

In the event, it was a contest of policies and records. Poverty had skyrocketed under the incumbents, who also faced negative publicity from their connections with Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the drug dealer who made global headlines last year when the island’s government refused to extradite him to the US.

But behind all this lies a remarkable woman: Portia Simpson-Miller. Despite her youthful appearance and manner, she has been on the country’s political scene for the best part of three and a half decades, entering parliament seven years before Tony Blair first graced the green benches.


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Sunday review: Ancient Greek by Oliver Emanuel

11/12/2011, 11:17:14 AM

by Conrad Landin

What if, in spite of what we’re constantly told about violence and vandalism on demonstrations, such action usually does have a political basis?

Is there such a thing, as David Cameron described the events of August, as “criminality, pure and simple”? As Suzanne Moore argued on Wednesday, if the PM was right about the riots, why then, and not before or after?

I would never defend the rioters and the destruction faced by predominantly-working-class communities. But can we look each other in the eyes and truly say that such events are apolitical?

In last week’s Radio 4 play Ancient Greek, this is the charge levelled at sixth-form student Alex King by his geography teacher Mr Ibrahim. Illegible graffiti have appeared; painted in corridors and etched into the deputy head’s car. And the culprit is the studious Alex, about to take up a place to study classics at Cambridge. (more…)

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The No to AV campaign is too unpleasant to support, even if you wanted to

25/04/2011, 07:30:52 PM

by Conrad Landin

In the forthcoming referendum, voters will consider contrasting factors when deciding where to place their crosses.

Some will vote on the merits of the alternative vote system, others on the basis of a long-term quest for proportional representation, for a third group, perhaps “basest of the three”, outlook on the current government will doubtless play a role.

Though there remains the under-discussed likelihood that Nick Clegg would use any Yes outcome to serenade a vindication of the coalition deal between his party and the Conservatives. And vindication it would be – this was, after all, the deal which saw every promise bar electoral reform sacrificed.

But despite my strong feelings on the issue, I can’t bring myself to join the campaign against the reform.

Figures in the Yes camp have suggested that their opponents come from a political spectrum narrower even than the Conservative party. With Labour heavyweights such as Ronnie Campbell and John Prescott weighing in with their endorsements of the campaign, we can see that this is far from the case. Yet there is something about the campaign’s tactics which makes one question whether the critics have it right. (more…)

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Don’t disparage direct action: it works

03/04/2011, 10:43:09 AM

by Conrad Landin

It’s always a shame to see people on the left talking down our achievements just so they can prove their point. But this was exactly how I felt reading Dan Hodges’ argument that the rally last Saturday was “ruined” by the direct action taken against businesses in the West End.

Seeing smashed windows and paint-splattered police helmets weren’t my only memories of Saturday. And nor were these the only aspects picked up on by the media. The night before, for instance, saw the BBC talking to rather unorthodox protesters in the home counties, while live coverage during the day included the memorable aerial footage of the sheer scale of the crowds. Sky News’s subtitles – at least for some time – bore the simple words “250,000 on protest march”, or something to that effect.

In an age of sensationalised media, where it seems that, in the rather unfortunate words of Ken Livingstone’s reference to knife crime, “if it bleeds, it leads”, such attention for a peaceful protest isn’t bad going. (more…)

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Report from last night’s Foot tribute, by the 18 year old who last interviewed him

09/11/2010, 05:00:54 PM

by Conrad Landin

LAST NIGHT, family, friends and admirers gathered in the West End to pay tribute to the former Labour leader, Michael Foot. I fit into the latter category. As do many.

But I am probably quite rare in that Foot had already left Parliament by the time I was born. I don’t remember his powerful oratory, which would fill up the Commons on both sides with MPs drinking in the Cicero of their age. Let alone the master journalist speaking out for freedom of the press in the second world war and publishing gripping pamphlets on the perils of appeasement.

In fact, I only heard of Michael Foot by accident, when looking up the Labour party’s history four or five years ago. Researching him, I found it amazing that there was a man who seemed to be a politician of a different age still among us. And after reading of the 1983 “suicide note” manifesto and crushing electoral defeat, my reaction – perhaps to be expected from a twelve-year-old – was that 28 per cent of voters giving the thumbs-up to such an idealistic programme was a triumph. (more…)

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Conrad Landin blames Labour for the Browne report

18/10/2010, 11:30:20 AM

Reaction to the Browne report on higher education has focused on the broken promises of Liberal Democrats who pledged to vote against rises in tuition fees. For any opposition party, it is easy to fall into the trap of concentrating exclusively on the Lib Dems’ betrayal of their election pledges. Yes, this betrayal is the one, among many, that I still can’t get over – even more than their U-turn on the fundamental issue of the economy immediately after the election.

But the photos of Nick Clegg holding up his card pledging to vote against fee rises speak for themselves. While the media has devoted so much space to the betrayal that the morality of the rise in fees itself is put to one side. Which is exactly what David Cameron wants. (more…)

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