Monday, May 01, 2006

Rachel's Political blog choice

It's a British Bank Holiday. It's chucking it down. There's the Sunday papers still to plough through, the D.I.Y to avoid, and as for the plans for a barbie, forget it. Come, make yourself a cup of coffee, hide away with your computer and let's swap interesting links.

May 1st, 9 years later. I remember how excited and happy I was when New Labour came in. I don't think there will be many cakes and balloons today. It's been quite a week in British politics, hasn't it? Bloggers have been running at the front of the New Labour perfect storm with pertinent questions, observations, rumours, passion and bile. Why not stroll round these links below? And please do pop your own recommendations in the comments...

1. Blairwatch has been right on top of everything all week, go bookmark.
2. Tim Worstall has the usual juicy Britblog round-up goodies and is required reading this week
3. Parlicoot on Tabloid Government and various unsavoury Contrasts
4. Coffee and PC on When [Safety] Elephants Forget
5. Curious Hamster on Bully Boys
6. Ex Parrot on Look Out! There's a Safety Elephant on the Rampage!
7. Bryan Gould on the state of the Labour party on Austin Mitchell's blog
8. Backing Blair on why you should not vote Labour in the locals whilst Blair is still in the hot seat. Is that, as Bob Piper thinks, a vote for facism? No. That's a Labour scare tactic, see comments thread for discussion... Personally though, I wouldn't vote for the BNP under any circumstances, ever.
9. Bloggerheads on Tits out for Tony
10. Strategic Voter is dead handy if you live in London
11. No2I.D and 12. Save Parliament for those who have not already popped in to register their support.
13. Davide on the circling vultures

Have a lovely do-nothing Monday. I'm off to buy fruit, criossants and the papers.
( By the way, if anyone can tell me how to make links work in comments that woudl be fab, because I have never got the hang of it.) x


Blogger Bob Piper said...

Rachel, I don't suppose the BNP are contesting seats in your Ward, they certainly aren't in mine... so I don't have any diffulty with the message. But in a lot of the wards up and down the country the BNP may be the main challengers to Labour. They are in 4 Wards in my borough. A vote for the Lib Dems or Tories under those circumstances, where neither have a chance of winning, increases the fascist chances of winning, and in effect becomes a vote for the fascists. It is only a 'scare tactic' if I was pleading with people to vote Labour to keep the BNP out in every seat. Well, I'm not. I don't think the BNP will sweep to power, or that 20% of people support them as some people are claiming, but if those who advocate tactical voting don't also advise people that we should oppose the fascist where they are in with a chance of winning... well, I give up.

May 01, 2006 10:51 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Fair play Bob, and I'm against negative tactical voting normally. I've also said that it is a damn shame that lots of solid Labour local seats are under threat because of the present Cabinet firestorm. But we have no other way to make the point than with our protesting voices and our votes. I would urge anyone with the chiioce between Labour and the BNP to use their common sense and heed their conscience. But who cares what I think and how I vote?


May 01, 2006 11:04 am  
Blogger Gary said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 01, 2006 12:42 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

Aw, thanks for the link Rachel.

I think (and I'm sure somebody will be on hand to correct me) the way to get links to appear in the comments is (and I'll do this step by step, because otherwise I have a horrible feeling it'll just post the link and you'll be none the wiser).


< a href = (without the space between < and a, and no space between href and = but WITH a space between a and href)

then open " and type the web address, closing with ". So for the BBC's news front page you'd type ""

Then close brackets with a > and type the name of the link as you want it to appear on screen.

Then close with < / a >

So the whole thing should look like (minus spaces, bar the one between a and href

< a href = "" > BBC News < / a >

With a bit of luck it should work below. If not, I'll look about as competent as Charles Clarke.

BBC News

May 01, 2006 12:45 pm  
Anonymous contrition said...


You take my breath away, as always. A file on Rachel?

Who else is there a file on? All of KCU? Me?


May 01, 2006 9:10 pm  
Anonymous Stephen G said...

Rachel, thanks for a great set of links. The syntax for a link is:

< a href=""> sweaty baboon</a>

Hope this helps.

May 01, 2006 9:30 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

Ahh you must live on the wrong side of London Rachel as we had rain during the night but it ended up being sunny and cloudy same as yesterday :).

May 01, 2006 10:14 pm  
Anonymous contrition said...

fjl wrote:

No more questions please. x

A single x. My hopes soar.

May 01, 2006 10:33 pm  
Anonymous Tim Neale said...

If you need access to classified info as part of your work you need to have a security clearance. If you apply for such a security check there will then be a file on you.

So what?

Maybe I am considered a trouble maker, so what?

Maybe there is a file on me, maybe THEY are bugging my phone calls.

So what? Fuck 'em.

If any one credibly suggests that access to information regarding 7/7 is dependant on your willingness to behave as they dictate, then shout it from the highest rooftop. Now that will be a story.

Which begs the question of fjl - why are you telling Rachel
"If you really want to get to the heart of the matter, you'll approach the security services and make necessary arrangements for discreet research and stop this 'ranting on' which will only close the door against you forever."

Did any one suggest this to you?

May 01, 2006 11:19 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I am very confused by all this. FJL, I repeat what I said before. I know you are doing some academic research into a security matter from the the 1880's and have some contact with the current security servioces - or so I gather - but I don't know what you think I can do or say to security services about 7/7 that they do not already know. And why they should tell me anything that they are not telling anyone else. This about truth, not secrets, not 'research'. And I am not censoring my blog for anyone. I think what I have said is fair. I am opinionated, yes, but that is all. FFS, it's just a blog. Like many other blogs, I am a friend of democracy, not an enemy of the state!

My original reply , repeated, with additions, for clarity.

I don't want a private investigation: I want a PUBLIC enquiry. This is not my 'research', this is something that affects all of us, the public, and as I just happened to be on the train, I bang on about it not for me, but for many. Not just any bereaved or suyrvivors who may share my views, but anyone who wants to learn more about stopping terrorism and to get something positive from 7/7.

As to prurience, I am not interested in Prescott's affairs. But I am interested in Government being fair and transparent and accessible, about about substance not spin, for the many not the few. Not everything in my life is about July 7th, and I was political before July 7th, I still am, and I for me, Blair, Clarke, the anti-terror strategy, the foreign policy, the DCMS, the culture of new Labour and July 7th are all intra-connected. I'm not interested in private meetings with M15, or Special Branch police, if I cannot eventually share the truth with all the other passengers and those at risk of future terror attacks. Which is all of us, via the media. Or via blogging.

This blog is personal and political, about July 7 and about life before and after July 7, because that is what, and who, I am.

I am not you, and I do not wish to be told what I can and cannot say on my personal website. I appreciate your interest and good wishes, but please stop it with the unsubstantiated threats about me being of interest to Special Branch. Those I do not appeciate, and you have my email if you think you have something to pass on that concerns my safety or my future.

If I'm not being accused of being a team of M15 agents, I'm then told that Special Branch are after me! Both suggestions strike me as daft.

May 01, 2006 11:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I tremble at your words. But I want to hear more.

I want to recruit you as a double agent using the honeytrap ploy. Are you up for it?

May 02, 2006 12:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


They have a file on everyone. How quickly the file escalates to special branches of Military Intelligence all depends.


May 02, 2006 2:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon anonymous stephen g and contrition you are the stupid conspiracy loons who Rachel chucked out two weeks ago.

Rachel FJL is probably right about monitoring taking place.
So a bomb goes off and no surveillance or follow through takes place?

Give us a break!

May 02, 2006 7:49 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I am saying nothing that dozens of journalists are not saying in newspapers, on TV, on the news, on the radio. I am saying nothing that hundreds of bloggers are not saying on their blogs. I am saying nothing that hundreds of theousands of voters are not saying to councillors and canvassers before the local elections. I am saying nothing that millions of people are not saying as they eat their breakfast today or chat in pubs or over coffee with their colleagues. I am reading the papers and watching the news and I am commenting and giving my personal reaction. Why the bloody hell shouldn't I?

I am an ordinary person who was blown up on a train full of ordinary people. I do not seek special treatment or secret access - what is the point of that, if I cannot share it with others?

Are you seriously telling me that Special Branch have told you that July 7 bloggers should not post their personal opinions on their personal websites?

Are you seriously telign me that the Security services are poised to either tell me official Secrets in return for my support and silence, or that alternatively they have a file on me and are looking to shut me up?

I'm sorry, but that sounds ridiculously unlikely.

How about they go and badger the political department of the BBC? Or the news desk of the Sun? Or the commetators at the Independent? Or Jon Snow, or Jeremy Paxman?

How about the go close down the website at Harry's Palce, or Iain Dale, or anyone who voices an opinion about whether the current adminstration is losing trust and votes?

What am I, a mouthpiece of the Government? The press? Hardly.

I do not expect the Officials secret act or national security to be compromised on my account, nor do I like to be accused of beign someone who is the plaything of shadowy forces.

This is a personal blog, containing personal opinions. I have a vote and a voice. If having a vote and a voice is a problem these days, someone had better tell the rest of the U.K population, quick. I was under the impression that this was a democracy, not a totalitarian state. And last time I read the paper, so was Charles Clarke.

I repeat. It's a PUBLIC enquiry I want, as I am a member of the public. Not someone to take me into a room and show me classified documents, on pain of death if I ever speak of what I have seen.

People can survey me all they want. I have yet to pick up so much as a parking ticket! But it is exactly this * we're onto you, we're watching you, keep quiet if you know what is good for you* bollocks that makes me and hundreds of thousands of other people make a fuss about ID cards, civil liberties and so on.

If anyone wishes to tell me to shut up in the interests of national security I suggest tey make contact, and pronto, because I don't beleive it, frankly.

FJL you have my private email if yo can shed any light on the matter.

And I know who all the anon people, contrition etc are, I have their IP addresses. As long as they behave then they can post. Just no more conspiracies about 9/11 please, because I have made it clear about my thoughts on that.

Thanks for the hints on how to manage coding links in comments everyone and have a nice Tuesday.

May 02, 2006 9:03 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

If you want another link, I did a piece about how Brown is behind it all (obvious, really) and how this may benefit no one but the Tories. It's here.

I'll be bloody disappointed if there isn't a file on me somewhere. What do I have to do to earn one?

May 02, 2006 10:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim said

"If any one credibly suggests that access to information regarding 7/7 is dependant on your willingness to behave as they dictate, then shout it from the highest rooftop. Now that will be a story".

Exactly how stupid is he though. Why don't we all go and get alot of security documents and disobey everything they said to obey? Then go to the highest rooftop and shout about 7/7?

Oscar Wildebeest said

"If you want another link, I did a piece about how Brown is behind it all (obvious, really) and how this may benefit no one but the Tories. It's here.

I'll be bloody disappointed if there isn't a file on me somewhere. What do I have to do to earn one?"

Then theres a man who wants to talk about baboons.

Why are there so many fools and attention seekers on the planet. I nearly wish Special Branch would do us all a favour and get rid of them!

May 02, 2006 12:10 pm  
Anonymous M said...

Rachel, it's always interesting to hear about your own experience.

There's nothing to be gained by launching a political offensive.
You only subject yourself to publicity seekers, hangers on and crazies.
fjl has acted like a friend.

When I link in it's to read your diary. I can get the news anywhere.

May 02, 2006 1:28 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Oh for heaven's sake. I am getting fed up with this.

If I had cancer I might blog about my treatment and the NHS, I might write politically about the Department of Health, or compare care here with care in Sweden, for example.

As it is, I blog about my life, what I think, what I read, the recovery, politics and other things that interest me.

I have NEVER EVER EVER shown any interest in having special secret meetings with Special Branch.

I have said publicly that I want a public enquiry since the public were attacked, the public run the risks of further attacks and all I am is a member of the public, writing my personal thoughts on my personal blog, which nobody has to take any notice of if they don't want to. It's simply my opinion, and when I have interviewed others about it, or when they have signed the petition, their opinion.

If Special branch and M15 can't cope with my blog without panicking and deeming me a trouble maker then I am sorry for them. I don't actually recall asking them to read it, asking them for any special favours, or even criticising them over much. In fact there is far more stringent criticism of M15 and M16 to be found in the reports of Frank gardner the BBC Security correspondent, or John Loftus, an ex US federal prosecutor. There is far more fearsome criticism of the Home Office in any newspaper or news programme you care to name. Never mind the columnists!

I have also said that if there are certain documents that relate to Crevice or other trials and investiagtions, or matters of national security, then fine, they should remain classified since the reason I want an independent enquiry is to save lives and improve the chances of staying safe by learning from July 7th.

This is just a blog. I am just a woman who takes the Picadilly line. After 7/7 I am now a writer of sorts. I like to write. Papers commission me to write things. TV and radio people sometimes ask me to comment on things or be on panels discussing citizen journalism or what have you. Fair enough, I agree to do some of the requests, I turn down about 80% of them.

To be honest , if I were to discover secret classified documents about 7/7 I'd a) shit myself b) call a lawyer c) take them straight to the Panorama team at the BBC since they're the investigative journalists, not me.

And I am not going to 'be discreet' about what I wrotre here. How ridiculous. It's my personal blog, I'll wrote what I want, without fear or favour.

I am actually quite angry with all this, it is as bad as the conspiracy theorists and their threats. If you have anything to say, or any actual evidence of surveillance or special brandch being disturbed about me that you think will help can you say it privately in an email, and I am happy to give you my mobile to discuss it, because I don't see the point of this carrying on in the comments thread.

Through the Looking Glass indeed.

May 02, 2006 1:30 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...


The political comments are what I have spent the weekend thinking about and talking about, so that is what goes into my diary.

I just cannot understand what people are driving at: do any other political bloggers get this?

If I am feeling emotional I'll wrote about that. If I am feeling political, I'l write about that. This blog is representative of who I am and nobody has to read it if they don't want to, but I'm not going to bang on and on about July 7 and being a victim every day because I am trying to move on and go back to a more normal life. Which includes being fascinated by the news. Sorry.

This is really odd, has anyone else had these sorts of comments? Suggesting they calm it down?

May 02, 2006 1:41 pm  
Anonymous Stephen G said...

anon anonymous stephen g and contrition you are the stupid conspiracy loons who Rachel chucked out two weeks ago.

Leave me out of it, chum. All I did was respond to Rachel's request for an explanation of how to put links in comments by posting an example of the HTML syntax that does this.

I realise that HTML code may appear to you to contain secret messages from spies, and thus have something to do with conspiracies, but I assure you that all my example does is create a hyperlink.

May 02, 2006 2:15 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hiya rachel,

i agree with u 100% this is your blog and u should write about anything and everything u want. like the slogan on the nytimes says,"all the news thats fit to print".

btw my sister went to a fashion show last nite that had british fashions and designers.she said it was great.

hope alls well in merre olde london.

seth :)

May 02, 2006 10:29 pm  
Blogger RW said...

Thanks for linking to London Strategic Voter!

One of the reasons I find this blog interesting is exactly because of the political/campaigning angle. Please keep it up! I'm not convinced that the "softly softly" behind-closed-doors approach ever works with the government - unless you've got a few million quid to "lend" them. Does FJL really think we'll get a public inquiry by staying quiet? Surely the only way to convince a recalcitrant political clique to do the decent thing is by progressively increasing the cost of them not doing it? As this government seems to measure "cost" primarily in terms of bad media coverage, Rachel's strategy seems to make perfect sense.

May 02, 2006 11:03 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

If you don't mind Rach I'd rather not call tomorrow as I feel I can't support you in your campaign and in the way you are being aggressive with the press. You know what my advice was and I wish you the best of futures.

May 03, 2006 2:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


A number of bloggers in UK have come across variations on the theme of "This government is wonderful, stop knocking them" commentators. Whether A. Campbell is running a sock puppet factory or not is a question - the answer depends on how far you think this govenment spins.

Your blog is rather mild really, not much invective. My suggestion would be to keep stearing the current steady course, and not try and chase the comments (as it were). Write what you want.

A public inquiry will take years and a change of government. It will also require years of quiet, sensible, reasoned and persistent requests. Keep it up.

The Anon

May 03, 2006 10:30 am  
Anonymous Kate said...

Hi Rachel,

As a Kings X survivor who is not in KCU, I often read your blog with interest and have found many of your entries really helpful and informative.

I'm not quite sure what is going on re all these Security Service comments as, as far as I can tell, you are only commenting on information which is already in the public domain.

My only comment is, however, that, by inviting Charles Clarke to a KCU meeting you created a real chance for yourself and others to convey your valid opinions to a person who is in a position to act upon them. I hope that by so publically voicing your critisisms about Charles Clarke you do not inadvertedly take away this opportunity for yourself and others as it would seem to me that this would be a real pity.

All the best with the blog.

May 03, 2006 1:41 pm  
Blogger the void said...

am gonna be brazen and add a link to the void

anarchist bloggers being largely unrepresented in my view :)

May 04, 2006 1:48 am  
Blogger quarsan said...

Hi Rachel,

we've had some bizarre comments by fjl. Someone who has decided to become a secret service squirrel. It's the one sniff of the barmaid's apron theory.

They've lost their grip and think they have knowledge that they do not possess.

Sad really. We've always understood that you don't want a private meeting for yourself, but a wider public enquiry that would benefit us all.

You don't need to defend yourself against them or anyone else. Keep writing, you're an inspiration.

May 05, 2006 10:20 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

As with the other post, the actionable libel appears to come from quarsan. Please remove it to avoid appropriate action, thankyou.
It is malicious libel I object to rather than opinions.

May 07, 2006 4:00 pm  

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