Daily catch-up: Tony Blair, still the point of reference for British politics and foreign policy

The best of the websphere and the latest news on wearable tech

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1. Early wearable computer: Qing Dynasty abacus ring. Via Eli Dourado.

2. The best thing on the internet yesterday was this post, “A Broken Man”, by Chris Deerin, on life and things. Similarly worth reading is this post by Kevin Hague on why he cares – about Scotland, successful businesses and poverty … Not what I expected. And a third recommendation in the confessional genre is this account of her life story by Naz Shah, the Labour candidate who is taking on George Galloway in Bradford West. It was so good even the Conservative candidate paid tribute to her.

3. I was on BBC Daily Politics yesterday wondering what it was about Tony Blair’s donations that Labour candidates Lesley Brennan, Sophy Gardner and Sally Keeble, who had rejected them, objected to. Was it that he won three elections, introduced the national minimum wage, saved the NHS and the education system or that he brought peace to Northern Ireland?

It turned out that it was none of these in Keeble’s case. Her problem was that it was foreign money. This is, incidentally, the Sally Keeble who was elected in 1997 in a seat that Labour won only because Blair was leader.

As for Brennan, standing in a safe SNP seat, her pitch to undecided voters seemed to be: “The SNP is absolutely right that Blair is a dreadful man and Labour is a dreadful party. Vote for me.”

4. I didn’t expect this from my former colleague Ian Birrell on Independent Voices: “Libya’s collapse is not the West’s fault; toppling Gaddafi was right thing to do.” Birrell used to write speeches for David Cameron, and I am sure that this reflects the Prime Minister’s view, which is very like Blair’s on the subject of Saddam Hussein: neither regrets helping to get rid of a dictator. Cameron’s view is that we gave the Libyan people the chance of a different future but they have not taken it.

5. Quotations of the Day:

Oliver Moody:

“The Italian for ‘retweeted’ turns out to be ritwittato. I don't know why this is so pleasing, but it is.”

Downing Street news release:

“Prime Minister announces landmark wave of free schools.”

That is a wave you can use as a landmark.

Kevin Maguire:

“No new leads in the Crufts dog poisoning on tonight’s TV news.”

6. Yes, I know it is childish and silly but I like this by Moose Allain: