France’s Socialist Prime Minister and entire government quit following electoral meltdown

France’s Socialist Prime Minister resigned along with his entire government today following meltdown in municipal elections across the country.

Jean-Marc Ayrault conceded that a vast swing to the right, including the fall of serveral lage cities and regional administrative centres to the Front Nationale was down to him.

‘There is no getting away from it – this vote is a defeat for the government,’ said Mr Ayrault. ‘I take my part of the blame.’

He handed his resignation to President Francois Hollande, whose two years in power so far have seen him become the most unpopular head of state in recent French history.’ … Reuters

If this trend is repeated across europe the European Parliament elections are going to be fun. Meanwhile it looks as if the French are not willing to wait for the rest of us:

Riot police called in as violent clashes break out across France after far-right National Front win dramatic gains in local elections

‘Fights started outside French town halls tonight as they came under the control of the far-right National Front for the first time following dramatic gains in local elections.

Exit polls suggested that the anti-immigration and anti-Europe party had roundly beaten the governing Socialists in a number of key constituencies.

‘Demonstrators are trying to get at the Front representatives and starting fights,’ said a police spokesman in Frejus, the picturesque Mediterranean town which is hugely popular with British tourists.’

Continue reading:

Egypt, Islam and Democracy

The military are still the power behind the throne in Egypt despite the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in the Presidential election.They appear to have learned a lesson from events in a Algeria over two decades ago. In December 1991, an Islamist party calling itself the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won an outright majority in the first round of Algeria’s parliamentary election. The army immediately responded by cancelling the second round of the contest, which would have taken place in January 1992. Algeria’s ruling military council then mounted a thinly disguised coup that sealed their dominance of Algerian politics.

Since, the “Algeria option” has become shorthand for preventing Islamist parties from actually taking power even if they happen to win elections. It has also become shorthand for bloodshed, folly and failure. The Algerian army’s catastrophic decision forced the country’s Islamist movement underground, rendered it far more extreme and compelled its leaders to take up arms. The result was a terrible civil war which, by the turn of the millennium, had claimed 100,000 lives. Although much abated, this conflict continues to this day. Meanwhile, some of Algeria’s Islamists allied with al-Qaeda and helped to form a terrorist organisation that has now spread across a swathe of Africa.

So the Egyptian generals did not go so far as to rob Mohammed Morsi, a pillar of the Muslim Brotherhood, of his victory in the presidential election. They will allow him to take office, while seeking to constrain his power and solidify their own role, to the extend of overturning the results of parliamentary elections and appointing members to the assembly.

But thery have not ignited the highly volatile situation by simply installing their man as President. Such comtempt for the electorate could have triggered civil conflict. It is worth noting that the President elect, who has not taken office yet, has already said he wants closer ties with the Shi’ite regime in Iran. We cand only wait to see how the Sunni dominated Egyptian military will react to that.

All this again demonstrates why Little #Nicky has always been right to oppose intervention in the internal political affairs of middle eastern nations. They have their own ways of doing things which we do not understand. Intervention, no matter how well intentioned, in national conflicts, no matter how bloody, is far more likely to make things worse rather than better.

Austria marches to the right. Don’t Panic!Is free speech to blame?

A bit of a hyperbolic headline there but that is how we must play the game now to get keywords into the title and links and thus earn brownie points from the Googlebot that indexes our blogs.

To business. In last week’s election in Austria the far right political party did well, far better than anybody expected a party broadly sympathetic to holocaust deniers to ever fare in a democratic nation.

Predictably and unfortunately this has led to calls for new international laws limiting free speech. In this article, The Limits of Free Speech it is hard to know what the writer’s point is exactly other than that he thinks neo-nazis are very nasty people and should not be allowed to argue their case or contest elections.

Little Nicky Machiavelli has said before, when commenting on calls to ban the BNP, the best way to raise the profile of far right politics and racist movements is to ban them. Such organisations are highly skilled at exploiting victimhood.

The best way to incite violence against Muslims is to support those extermists who demand that criticism of their religion by non-Muslims be declared an offence. The best way to strengthen the case of Fundamentalist Christians is to try to silence them. Look how they have profited in America from the myth of their being driven out of England by official persecution for trying to practice their own religion.

There is a sliver of truth in that but it grossly misrepresents the reality. Nobody stopped them worshipping as they wished, what got them in trouble was their trying to opt out of the Church of England which was then as much an agency of government as a Christian Church. In effect they were trying to opt out of paying the Church’s tithe and that was like refusing to pay income tax and national insurance.

So trying to gag the far right might turn out to be very counter productive. Better to let them enjoy their handful of victories in local elections. “Free speech” has always been a pipe dream, even in the USA where it is iconised there are plenty of laws available to deal with those who step over certain lines.

A Quiet Day In The Blog Office

No big news stories today as we all all election watching. Will it be Boris or Ken, will the Labour core vote crumble in the old indistrial areas, will the Greens get their well deserved breakthrough in traditional Con /Lib-Dem Nimbyland consituencies.

Who will come up with the most ridiculous excuse for a mediocre performance?

We will be back on the case tomorrow. Meanwhile you might like to check out these stories:

Defining Insanity Hufington Post examines the apparent determination of The Democrats to lose the Presidential election in November. Could it be they have worked out just how screwed the US economy really is?

The cunning Realist on Fuel Price Protests Fuel prices are squezing the “cojones” of those redneck SUV drivers in the USA resulting in protests by drivers going round in circles slowly, thus wasting expensive fuel. But with the pump price still below $4 per gallon we can only wonder WTF they are complaining about.

Live Blog – The Apprentice Last night the stubbly one said “you’re fired” to obnoxious shortarse Kev but are this years crew of desperate wannabes the most repulsively egocentric yet? Would you employ any of them.

Tory Boy is alive and well and living in…

Do you remember Tory Boy, the spotty, sneering, triumphalist young conservative created by Harry Enfield?
Tory Boy was a fictional character, a comic caricature like Loadsamoney or the grotesques created by Little Britain or The League of Gentlemen. Or was he?
I always believed Tory Boy was real, you see I was setting up computer and telephone networks in the City of London during that tsunami of unrestrained greed known as The Thatcher Years. I met Tory Boy every day. He was easily identified by his inability to differentiate between style and ostentation. His witless sneering was always aimed at easy targets and was generally so off target it was just off.
When the political mood changed Tory Boy disappeared but he did not die. All through the bleak years of John Major and the three stooges who succeeded him Tory Boy was lurking sceadugengan – like in the shadows of Conservative Central Office, unable to comprehend why he was no longer in the ascendant.
Before he could re-emerge into the light the political pendulum has to swing. In the event it was not the pendulum that swung but the Labour Party, so far to the Thatcherite right Conservatism became acceptable again.
Yesterday I logged the first sighting of Tory Boy in fifteen years at Iain Dale’s blog.
Dalie, normally an intelligent and witty blogger, worth reading even for those of us who will never agree with his politics, posted a bizarre blog about the Liberal Democrats. He asked why the Lib Dems are ducking a head on fight with the BNP.
It seems BNP candidates around the country will be opposed by Conservatives in all but 9 wards and by Labour in all but 10. The Lib Dems however will not fight around 120 wards where there is a BNP candidate.
What is the point of this question exactly other than a typically inept Tory attempt to smear the Liberal Democrats by trying to imply there is some covert arrangement with the BNP?
The Liberal Democrats are a small party, who can blame them for concentrating their resources in areas where they expect to do well, i.e. rural districts in the West and prosperous middle class suburbs.
The BNP are a small party, who can blame them for concentrating their resources in areas where they expect to do well, i.e. rundown inner city districts and industrial areas.
A head to head between these two parties was never likely any time soon.
So why is Iain Dale, whom we expect to be a Conservative Candidate at the next election trying to suggest the Lib Dems are ducking a fight with the BNP.
Could it be that next week the Conservatives anticipate the edge will be taken off their annihilation of Labour by successes at their expense by both Lib Dems and BNP?

If that is the case, a return to Tory Boy tactics is not going to help the cause.

Americas tradition of self loathing liberals

Today Little Nicky Machiavelli has…

A new chapter in Little Nicky’s blog as across the pond commitments continue to take up much time.

Today Little Nicky has commented on…

Gordon Brown, a man of hidden shallows
The Prime Minister keeps telling us he will deal with the stampede of problems “after the May elections. But will he have other things on his mind by then?

Smell the coffee
Chummy breakfasts with CEOs of leading banks is hardly likely to solve the crisis, after all it was the banks and their CEOs who caused it and now they are looking for Government money to bail them out.

Biofuels Madness
How can we hope to save the planet when the alternative to fossil fuels are even more damaging to the climate?

Recently Little Nicky’s alter ego has been hosting a discussion on what happened before Big Bang. Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 at Gather.com

Vote For None Of the Above

Anyone remember that brilliant Richard Pryor film Brewster’s Millions where on inheriting a fortune he ran a political campaign asking people to vote for None Of The Above. In America of course people can write in any candidate they like. Were we to vote for, say, Andy Pipkin (of Little Britain) it would just be counted as a spoiled ballot paper.

That being the case I must ask you to vote for fringe parties wherever possible. Greens are my fave, but one issue Independents, minority socialist and Old Labour factions, Liberals without the dems, nationalists anyone. Even Lib Dems (brink back Charlie) and UKIP at a pinch.

Let’s give the two main parties the kicking they deserve us for having taken us for granted these past three decades.

Let’s Think About Labours Successes

In a last desperate bid to preserve some credibility Tony Blair asked voters to think about Labour’s successes before casting their vote. Little Nicky Machiavelli asks the same of you. Since coming to power Labour, the people’s party have:

Successfully sold of most of the nations (our) remaining public assets for knock down prices not to us but to American owned multi national corporations;

Lied about Weapons of mass destruction to drag us into an unwinnable war;

Contracted out work in the public sector to contractors who are far better equipped to raise invoices than to deliver services;

Given the Scots and Welsh their own national assemblies at enormous cost but without any benefit to either the whole nation or its component parts;

Introduced Private Finance Initiatives in health and education that allow contractors to charge exhorbitant management fees for managing new hospitals and schools they have not actually built;

Reduced road safety measures to a form of taxation;

Abandoned investment in public transport because forcing people to have their own cars brings in more revenue;

Screwed up the pension system;

Screwed up education;

Screwed up tax credits;

Screwed up the National Health service;

Screwed up everything else.

So please before you vote, think about Labour’s successes. And then vote for somebody else. ANYBODY ELSE.

Vote for anyone but Labour

Latest sleazy scam to pop out of the orifice Tonlt Blkair usually talks though is a suggestion that voting should be compulsory. The reasoning behind this is that people conditioned to think of only two viable parties of government will naturally go for the lesser of two bags of shite which, Labour assume, will in most peoples’ minds be be Labour.

The arrogance of this is gobsmacking. It assumes we do not vote because we are too apathetic. More often than not, non voting is an active choice. I vote Green whenever I have a green candidate to vote for (usually only European elections) but I will vote for any other fringe candidate except the BNP. In the past I have voted Monster Raving Loony Independant Accrington Party and Natural Law Party. Not voting is a carefully considered choice.

We have it in our power to nip this sleazy self – interested scam in the bud. If you are voting on Thursday, vote anyone but Labour. I cannot even argue against a BNP vote as I am certain that a surge in support for an extremeist party would focus minds in the major parties as efficiently as a gun held to the head. Vote for the nutter, the guy who paints himself orange and sits in a bath of beans (for charity he claims, but really because he gets a buzz out of it) vote for the local single issue group, vote for the guy who looks like Gandalf. You who are voting have an opportunity to give the liar, war – criminal and career hypocrite Tony Blair a good shove towards the exit door.
Do It, PLEASE!

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