Saturday, 31 October 2009

Labour's Poll Dancing Just Goes On And On

CON 42%(-2) LAB 25%(-2) LD 21%(+3)

With the release of the latest ICM poll showing no recovery for Labour, Mike Smithson has repeated the question that most right of centre bloggers - and others - have been asking for the past six months at least: how much evidence does Labour need that Brown is a liability who will demolish any hope they have of rescuing the party from certain annihilation at the next election?
Another month goes by and Labour’s polling position remains dire with no respite in sight. For a new ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph just being reported suggests that there’s been little change between the main parties since the last survey from the firm in the Guardian a week and a half ago.

Both Labour and the Tories are down two with the Lib Dems up three.

You now have to go back to December 2008 before you find an ICM poll where the Tories did not have a double digit lead. The current 17 point gap equals the second highest on record.

What will be very disappointing to Labour is that their ongoing attacks on the Tories for their alleged links with “far right parties” in the EU don’t seem to be having any impact. This has been just about their only line in the past fortnight and so far, at least, it has not benefited them in the polls.

To many in the Labour party ICM is seen as the gold standard because it has been round for so long using the same methodology and has a good track record. That will add to the worries.

The Lib Dems will be pleased that they are back over 20% and not too far behind Brown’s Labour.

We’ve said it before, I know, but you just wonder how bad it has to get for Labour before there is any thought of a leadership change?

With Brown now openly defying his own Chancellor, having comprehesively lost the argument on the state of the public finances this autumn, and opting for the nuclear option of further gargantuan chunks of "stimulus" spending next year, the feeling that he has taken complete leave of whatever senses he ever possessed in his increasing desperation is practically tangible. Tomorrow's Sunday Times will not make pleasant reading for Alistair Darling.

GORDON BROWN is planning a final public spending spree to help pull the economy out of recession and put pressure on the Conservatives over their plans for deep cuts.

The prime minister is keen to use the autumn pre-budget statement to announce a new “fiscal stimulus”, with billions of pounds of extra money for housing, infrastructure projects and training.

Recent figures showing that Britain is still in recession have convinced Brown that more spending will be required next year to support any faltering recovery.

Brown also hopes the stimulus package will open a new dividing line between Labour and Conservative plans over the public finances.

“At the next election we need a clear story to tell about how Labour will support the economy through investment while the Tories would choke off the recovery with draconian cuts,” said a cabinet source.

However, the proposals have caused alarm among Treasury officials who fear any increased spending could upset the financial markets, making it harder to service the growing national debt.

At last week’s cabinet meeting, a discussion over the latest economic data hinted at the tension between No 10 and the Treasury. Alistair Darling, the chancellor, warned ministers of tough times ahead and stated that any new projects would need to be “paid for by savings elsewhere”.

By contrast, Brown spoke of the importance of not withdrawing “support for the economy”.

It is also understood that there have been a series of disagreements in the National Economic Council, Brown’s “war cabinet” for the recession, where Darling has called into question new schemes to “support” the economy.

The pre-budget report, expected early next month, is likely to retain the pledge made in the spring to halve the public spending deficit, currently £175 billion, by 2014.

Ministers are now debating the budget for the 12 months beginning in April 2010.

Under current Treasury forecasts, expenditure will rise next year by £30 billion to £700 billion.

However, most of the increase is accounted for by debt interest and social security payments, while capital investment in housing and public services would fall in real terms.

The comments already appearing beneath the article demonstrate pretty clearly - at least to me - the mood of the public generally, and who it blames for Britain's parlous economic position: Gordon Brown. An example:
The only reason we are still in recession is because of Brown's reckless spending. All other countries took a measured 'stimulus' approach and have recovered. Brown is delusioned and no one voted for him to spend our money like this and put our children's children in debt.
The feeling must now be that Labour won't listen to public opinion any more than they have before about who the electorate wants to see gone because of this and so many other debacles: they want Brown gone - immediately. But no matter what Labour's fuhrer does to destroy their mythical Third Reich Way, for want of backbone they still stubbornly refuse to assassinate him.

The Tories are no-doubt counting on Labour's utter political cowardice - but the country will be paying for it. For decades.

Burnham's NHS Bluster

Having been bed-ridden with some kind of stinking cold for the past few days, I thought it appropriate to do something on health tonight. That's not the only reason, of course, nor even the main one. The main one is Labour's latest attempt to steal Tory policy thunder with an announcement by their child of a health minister, Andy Burnham, that filled this morning's front pages, to rig NHS waiting list figures by making taxpayers pay for other people to go private.

Aside from the fact that this is an admission of abject failure, and that this sudden pledge, designed as it obviously and dishonestly is somehow to "Tory-proof the NHS" (as one Labour apologist put it) in an area where they are making significant headway with some excellent policy commitments of their own, some might be tempted to argue that making use of surplus capacity in the private sector in this way is a good idea. They would be entirely wrong.

Three of the central reasons why they would be wrong are that, first, private health care is preferable to NHS care, and many millions of people choose to pay the extra cost, because the spare capacity, deliberately made, creates a better service and zero waiting times. The spare capacity itself is made possible by high levels of properly managed investment and best management practice. The NHS - and government - has a lot to learn from private health care. The effect of the government intervening and paying private hospitals effectively to solve the problem of over-demand and inefficiency in the NHS will be to spread the disease: it will kill spare capacity in the private system leading, inevitably and quickly, to price hikes. In the end, private patients will actually be squeezed out of the market by government subcontracting. Perhaps this is the Labour party's real aim.

The second of the central reasons why this is such a bad idea is partly a moral one. It's not just private patients who will end up being clobbered by a government that once again seems willing to rig the market to mask its own total incompetence. It's the taxpayers as well. Who does this government think it is? It must think people are astonishingly stupid if it thinks they will not notice that they will be paying for the same health service (already the most expensive and inefficient in the world) twice if, God forbid, this government actually won the next election and brought these measures in. It is not only an insult to the electorate's intellegence, however, it is morally wrong for a government to use legislation to fleece the population for political and dishonest motives. Those motives? 1. To massage waiting list figures; 2. To further the notion that "entitlement", in the socialist sense, is some sort of moral absolute and is something that only the state, not the market, can fulfil; 3. To embarrass the Tories (though I'm not sure how they expect this policy announcement will achieve that); 4. Possibly to gain some control of the private healthcare system by, effectively, buying it off. Some might have their doubts about this last one, but people should never forget that it has always been a long term aim of the Left to kill off all competition to the state provision of services, particularly in the areas of education and health.

The third central reason why this is such a bad idea is, of course, the most simple to grasp and straightforward to explain - and it's the most powerful: it's Labour's idea and it would be a Labour ministry trying to enforce it. The past 12 years tell us very clearly, especially when it comes to PPP or PFI or subcontracting arrangements with and within the NHS (and everywhere else), that it would be a full-scale, monumentally costly catastrophe.

Health care is never free, but at least with the Tories there's a chance we might get a bit more value for money. If this Labour government is re-elected all we will have is less and less for more and more - and Burnham's blustering policy announcement proves that point perfectly.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Banking Queen

Hat Tip to John Ward (again :)



Brilliant!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Farewell, David Shepherd


David Shepherd
1940-2009

As a cricket fanatic since childhood, I was very sad to learn today that David Shepherd has died from lung cancer at the age of 68. He will always be associated in my mind with many of the high and low points of English test cricket, particularly in the 1980s. He was standing when Viv Richards kicked off the famous 1984 "Blackwash" tour with a breathtaking 189 not out in the first ODI (next highest score: Eldine Baptiste's 26!); he was standing in 1985 when David Gower's England retained the Ashes in the 5th test at Edgbaston (Gower, 215); and he was standing when the inevitable Aussie backlash began in 1989 with the humiliating defeat of England, once again led by David Gower, at Leeds (Steve Waugh's tour average: 126.50!).

These are just a few memories I will cherish of a wonderful, colourful era for a sport I will always love. With David Shepherd's passing, to me in some ways with him finally pass those happy days. He was comfortably my favourite umpire, not least because he seemed to be such a jolly man, but mainly because he was absolutely outstanding at his work, though always unobtrusive in the execution. Of course his superstitions about "Nelson", with the wonderful little jig it always prompted, were great for the crowd, but the real reason why people loved him is that he was trusted and respected by absolutely everyone - players and spectators alike.

There can be no higher praise for an umpire, or, come to that, for any man. And few deserve it more than he.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Moo Labour

Mad cows


Stephen "Eyebrows" Pound: definitely a mad cow candidate.

He must know that what he's saying on Sky News' paper review thing right now about anything - but especially everything - is totally, insanely dishonest.

If he doesn't, then his considerable brain must be diseased.

If so, then he almost has my sympathy.


It must have been the hamburgers. Especially the Quarter Pounders!

Boom boom.

Labourless Wales? Inconceivable - Once

The Red Zone: about to disappear?

Apologies for my hen's teeth posting but managing the workload of a full time MA and trying to earn a crust with a bit of teaching can occasionally be somewhat time-consuming - and knackering to boot. It's been particularly hectic this week for some reason - and I have a tricky little test coming up too so there's no respite for a while.

Enough of that. I want to talk about the latest tasty morsal of polling news that indicates Wales could actually be about to cast off the Labour yoke - or near as damn it.

CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 12%, PC 15%, says Yougov's latest Wales poll commissioned by the University of Aberystwyth. Full results in PDF form can be found here.

There's little to add to the Half Blood Welshman's excellent post on this devasting news for Welsh Labour. It's certainly worth a read. Here's an extract.
The Conservatives should be thrilled that they are doing so well in Wales - surprised, it has to be said, but thrilled. It doesn't make up for their continuing woes in Scotland, but it does something to counter to myth that they have become exclusively the party of the South of England. 50% more votes and four times as many seats - if they can pull it off - would be a major coup for Nick Bourne, Cheryl Gillan and David Cameron. From that point of view, this poll probably finally explodes the idea of Bourne standing aside before 2011, when he can perform an orderly handover on his terms.

Plaid Cymru will probably be disappointed (although Che tries to put a brave face on it). Their vote is up, but not by a lot. Ultimately, the aim of Plaid Cymru must surely have been to become the alternative to Labour as the leading party in Wales, and yet they are just barely in third place. Although they would pick up a gratifying clutch of seats, including the greatest prize in Ynys Mon, on these numbers, there will probably be whisperings that were they not tied to a tired and increasingly divided Labour government that they would be doing much, much better. They will also be dissatisfied that the avowedly Unionist message of the Conservatives - many of whose candidates and all of whose current MPs remain fiercely unitary in outlook, never mind Unionist - seems not to be a problem for a large number of voters, something that may be an issue given the upcoming report on the future of the Assembly (due on November 18th, but also foreshadowed according to rumour in the notorious Dr. Hain's speech on Thursday). You have to wonder where that will go in the present atmosphere.

The Liberal Democrats will be devastated. There is simply no way to dress up losing a third of your voters as anything other than a major blow. How that plays out in terms of seats remains a bit of a guess, but even so Kirsty Williams will not be happy. Hopefully this will be the spark they need to really galvanise a better campaign - such work as is going on looks to be poorly focussed to this outsider - to try and get some more publicity. The Liberal Democrats in the last 15 years have become big political players - they should not really just sit back and wait for the "oxygen of publicity" with an election campaign (I'm sure they don't intend to, but that's how it looks from here).

That leaves Labour. They lose a fifth of their votes - a third of their seats. The difference may be explained by the fact that they would be driven back on their Valleys heartlands, with a handful of outliers in Clwyd. This means that the last figure should also be of deep concern to the incoming leader, whoever that may be (my money is still on Hart). That is the others - on 7%, a near doubling of their previous attainment of 4%. If that is concentrated in a small handful of seats - say Caerphilly or Wrexham - there is the potential, to put it no more strongly than that, of another Blaenau Gwent style upset. Of course, we don't know exactly how it breaks down. It may be boosts for the BNP and UKIP, in which case it will likely prove irrelevant. Then again, it may not. The challenge facing the new leader remains huge, particularly if the (let's face it) badly-run contest, the divisions it has opened and the loss of Rhodri Morgan's personal presence cause the vote to sag further. Moreover, the idea that Wales is finally deserting Labour will be a crushing blow to morale - possibly on a national level as well as a local one.
That really is an excellent analysis. All I can say with certain knowledge is that in the towns of Carmarthenshire, particularly among my mother's generation, the notion of a world without Labour was once (and for many no-doubt still is) inconceivable. It is a political outcome that was - as I know from a conversation I had not so long ago with a pretty famous Welsh writer, for instance - to put it bluntly, completely off the mental radar of people here, many of whose parents were, so I am told, slightly to the political left of John Roose Williams.

The times they definitely are a-changin', however, as the poll unequivocably demonstrates. To cut a long story short, what they feel about this Labour government is what we all feel, for one reason or another: absolute betrayal.

The results of what is clearly the deep soul searching currently underway in Wales among, it seems, all sections of society are entirely unpredictable insofar as who, if Labour is about to be defeated, will fill their boots.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Millipede or Anvil Shooting? No Contest

It's got to be anvil shooting every time. Yes, it's the wonderful new sport from the good ol' US of A. Life doesn't get much funner than this.



Well, it was either that or blog about Millipede's breathtakingly hypocritical, opportunistic and massively nauseating endorsement of "President Blair" on this morning's Marr show - and I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I hope you understand.

Back to the anvil shooting...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Shortlists Are Vital...

...if you want the nation's government - and therefore the nation - finally to operate at its full potential.

Rene Kinzet, the excellent, vigilant guardian of the Tory flame in Swansea (where I work), explains so well why in this particular case, the ends do not necessarily justify the means, but they truly define them. All woman shortlists present no scary moral hazard once it is accepted that there's a far bigger picture here, especially when it comes to that tired conservative (not Tory) standard: meritocracy. That bigger picture is the real picture. And it's question of scale, especially when it comes to the long-abused meritocratic imperative. The notion of 'meritocracy' without the assumption of equality in terms of cultural, social and/or vocational expectations is an insult to the intelligence of every modern British subject.

As Mr Kinzet revealed to me in his response to one of my little comments:
Astonishing fact: 291 women and 4559 men elected to Commons since 1918.
David Cameron gets it. Suffering the understandable gripes of the establishment, with their familiar habits and attitudes, is a price worth paying to correct the ridiculous gender imbalance that defines and shames our system of political representation. Cameron has my full support if he is genuinely planning to suffer those unenlightened gripes. I think he is.

That's progressive Conservatism. That's what it means to be real Tory.

Our generation of Conservatives, in a Nixon and China sense, has the opportunity finally - and literally - to fix the sociopolitical problem which is the systematic ostracisation of women from politics. I say 'sociopolitical' because that's exactly what it is: received societal expectations and "norms" constantly impacting on the political ambitions of that half of our population who happen to be women and generating devastating indifference among what would otherwise be thousands of potential Margaret Thatchers and, dare I say it, Shirley Williamses. (It works both ways!)

The short term gripes of anyone, especially male MPs and people who haven't thought things through properly, are insufficient. The gripists, like Iain Dale for example, must ask themselves why they are really griping. And, shortly after they've worked out how wrong they are, accede to David Cameron's visionary, just solution.

Speaking of that 'just solution', do you know what? I would go further, much further to fix this risible, archaic inequality currently being defended by powerful idiots everywhere. So my children won't have to fix it, I propose an even deeper quick-fix than shortlists.

I propose that all three main parties get together and co-ordinate their all women shortlists so that at least 200 constituencies in the next election are guaranteed to return MPs who happen to be female. It can be done.

It should be. Bring on the gripes...

While I'm waiting, however, I think we should all watch this:



Satire, eh? QED.

Brown The "Useless Weirdo"

Sometimes Guido can be refreshingly pithy. His latest piece of pith is a fine example:
On his blog Bad Al Campbell argues that Dave hasn’t sealed the deal with the electorate thus; “December 5, 1996, Gallup poll. Labour 59. Tories 22. Now that’s what I call a lead. And they’re nowhere near it, because they have not sealed the deal, because they’re not serious on policy, because they haven’t changed much, and because a lot of people don’t really like them.”

Bad Al is really grasping with this line of spin. Labour are 19% behind in the polls; suggesting that if people don’t really like the Tories, they must despise Labour. The voters have come to a settled view of Gordon – that he is a useless weirdo. You can’t spin your way out of that…

"Useless weirdo," lol. A fine pith-making effort. I love it.

There is one other thing this particular blogpost throws up, however: the polls from those days, as psephological guru Mike Smithson has pointed out on politicalbetting.com until he's blue in the face, were unreliable, heavily weighted as they were in favour of Labour because of poor practices. Polling methodologies have changed beyond all recognition and for the better since then with the result that they are now, by and large, completely reliable sources that quite accurately reveal voting intentions. Campbell either knows this and is being dishonest or he doesn't and he's being stupid. Either way, he's a damn fool for making the comparison at all.

If you want to know more about why you should be careful with historical polls, Mike Smithson explains here.

Fact is, a 19% Tory lead according to modern polling techniques means a sub-200 seat wipeout for Labour if that was repeated at the general election. And it's a reliable poll. Campbell can't spin his way out of that reality, either.

Labour Caused The BNP...

...to happen. Don't believe that? Well, this damning evidence speaks for itself:

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".

Critics said the revelations showed a "conspiracy" within Government to impose mass immigration for "cynical" political reasons.

Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he revealed the "major shift" in immigration policy came after the publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office, in 2001.

He wrote a major speech for Barbara Roche, the then immigration minister, in 2000, which was largely based on drafts of the report.

He said the final published version of the report promoted the labour market case for immigration but unpublished versions contained additional reasons, he said.

He wrote: "Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

"I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn't its main purpose – to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date."

The "deliberate policy", from late 2000 until "at least February last year", when the new points based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said.

Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since then, according to Whitehall estimates quietly slipped out last month.

On Question Time on Thursday, Mr Straw was repeatedly quizzed about whether Labour's immigration policies had left the door open for the BNP.

In his column, Mr Neather said that as well as bringing in hundreds of thousands more migrants to plug labour market gaps, there was also a "driving political purpose" behind immigration policy.

He defended the policy, saying mass immigration has "enriched" Britain, and made London a more attractive and cosmopolitan place.

But he acknowledged that "nervous" ministers made no mention of the policy at the time for fear of alienating Labour voters.

"Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom.

"But ministers wouldn't talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn't necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men's clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland."

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think tank, said: "Now at least the truth is out, and it's dynamite.

"Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not just a cock up but also a conspiracy. They were right.

"This Government has admitted three million immigrants for cynical political reasons concealed by dodgy economic camouflage."

The chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, said: "We welcome this statement by an ex-adviser, which the whole country knows to be true.

"It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain."

Frankly, I'm nearly speechless. That level and scale of cynicism is simply astonishing.

I'd better fall back on a cliche: the evil that men do lives after them. This was evil.

Upshot? It's up to the honest, decent people - like you, me and David Cameron - to ignore the stench and clear up after another corpse Labour government.

'Twas ever thus, of course - or so I'm told.

Tip of the Top Hat: John Ward.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Griffin's Last Word



Or should that be David Dimbleby's, who seems to love the sound of his own voice more than everyone else's?

What a pathetic bloody spectacle that was.

That's it for the gargoyles on this blog - unless the Labourists try any more anti-Tory false association smears, of course.

Hat tip: DT blogs.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

"I Thought He Would Grow Out Of It"

Young gargoyle in training: who's his hero, do you reckon?

According to Telegraph comment editor Ceri Radford, citing the Mail, chief gargoyle of the BNP Nick Griffin's own wife thinks he is bonkers and had hoped that he would "grow out of" playing at "stupid politics". I thought this was jolly funny.
Never mind that David Aaronovitch column pointing out exactly howthe BBC should
hold Nick Griffin to account for his holocaust-denying, racist,homophobic views;
my favourite piece of criticism on the BNP leader this week comes from no other
than his wife.

“I worked my a*** off trying to keep us going,” Mrs Griffin has moaned, according to the
Mail
. “I’ve been … working to keep us going financially and bring up four children while he’s spent his time playing at stupid politics.” She added that she “though he would grow out of it”.
Not quite her hero, then.

I have my doubts that Griffin will be anything more than a side show on Question Time tonight, thankfully. There are many other things to talk about of far greater import than the sweaty racial fantasies of schoolboy bully who thinks Adolf Hitler was a really cool guy. The Mail says he is "dangerous and deluded". I'm not so sure. Deluded, certainly, but dangerous? Possibly, if his goonery spreads. But the one thing that the Euro elections clearly demonstrated was that pricisely that had not happened to anywhere near the degree expected.

I'm not suggesting for one moment that there should be any complacency, but that on the part, at least, of the Tories there should be no hand-wringing and no shame; they did not create this problem, Labour did. So let Labour wail and gnash their teeth and wonder where it all went wrong. Dismiss their slurs and smears and false associations between the BNP and the Tories for what it is: dishonest propaganda designed to deflect reponsibility for the emergence of a "party" which is as much a product of socialism as Labour itself. As I said in a previous post, the Tories should just ignore Labour's lies and get on with the rough, tough job of clearing up their mess, in this case a serious sociopolitical one.

Do tell me how the programme goes if you're watching it. I don't think I'll bother.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Millipede, Take Note

Tory Councillor Harry Phibbs has come out fighting with an excellent rebuttal in the Grauniad of the fool Millipede's well-documented smear assault on the Conservative party's new EU grouping, complete with a thinly veiled, extraordinary accusation that Tories support the murder of Jews, as Iain Dale highlighted so well this morning.

This quote from the Phibbs article struck me as particularly apposite, however, given Labour's current domestic problems with the bigots and racists it has helped to create:
[Labout continues] to sit alongside the Slovak Social Democrats (SMER), who share power with the neo-Nazi Slovak National party, which is open in its admiration for Jozef Tiso, the wartime ruler of fascist Slovakia. It is as if Labour councillors had entered a coalition with the BNP.
Just so. Perhaps the penny has finally dropped: extremists and weirdos of every stripe are to be found snuggling-up together under the socialist, rather than the conservative, umbrella.

Mind you, I imagine Miliband, the son of a committed communist intellectual, himself follows the old teaching of Lenin when launching one of his offensive political assaults on reality. "A lie told often enough becomes the truth," said the bald architect of both Bolshevism and the Soviet Empire.

Newsflash, banana boy, Lenin was wrong.

The BNP Is Labour's Fault

Labour's anti-semitism: inspiration for the BNP

Iain Martin has blogged today that the "rise" of the BNP represents a failure of "all the mainstream parties". While I am a fan of Mr Martin, I'm afraid on this occasion I'm forced to disagree. It is not the fault of the Conservative party. Nothing could be further from the truth and, if you read his article, that is exactly what he demonstrates. His conclusion that the emergence of the BNP is somehow every party's fault just does not follow-on from his argument and cited examples.

In the process of answering his own question of just why the BNP managed to gain 6% of the Euro election vote in the first place (in core Labour regions), he simply reveals the craven hypocrisy and disastrous hate politics of the Labour party and its leader, Brown - and nothing else. And yet Martin seeks, illogically, to apportion blame for the emergence of extremism in Britain equally. See for yourself:
The answer is that Britain’s three major parties, the wider political class and the media have all, to varying degress, badly let down their fellow Britons. They have done this by setting narrow terms for the national debate which exclude the concerns of millions of voters and force them out on to the fringes. Some decide there’s no point voting but a portion of them have ended up in the arms of the racist BNP.

Take immigration. Britain has had a dramatic increase in its population in recent years. In 2007 alone more than 500,000 immigrants arrived. There are many good economic arguments in favour of being a magnet for those who want to be in Britain to get on in life. But there should be sensible limits because of the pressure it puts on public services, housing and the stretched social fabric.

But it is not just that these concerns were ignored, anybody trying to raise them was shouted down and quite often smeared. In the 2005 general election, Michael Howard advocated limits and was branded an extremist by Labour, which simply wanted to make the Tories look old-fashioned and weird. Much of the media happily played along with the game, questioning Howard’s motives. Thus mentioning the I word condemned the speaker as obviously not as sophisticated as the metropolitan types who live in London and run politics and the media.

But what message did this send to those struggling to cope with the fall-out of this experiment on the ground? It said quite clearly: Your views are unpleasant, you don’t matter, we’re not listening, shut up. Thus a great many people felt they had been abandoned for a simple reason. They had been.

So it's the Tories' fault for being smeared by Labour for trying to respond to people's concerns over high levels of immigration, aided and abetted by a tame mainstream media, during a general election campaign, is it? I don't think so. And now the chickens are coming home to roost. Nick Griffin, possibly the most ghastly man in Britain (Gordon Brown only manages a close second), like some overweight cuckoo has found his way into the Question Time nest in yet another example of media exploitation of a potentially explosive confrontation.

What makes it worse is that it's the BBC that's arranged the spectacle in what is in my mind an example of abject ratings-chasing. This, of course, being the same BBC that, as Martin puts it, "happily played along with the game" of Labour wickedly smearing Michael Howard in 2005 by branding him an "extremist" simply for seeking to manage immigration, something which Labour had, and still have had, notably - and in many ways spectacularly - failed to do.

Whatever the ins and outs of the debacle, to me it all boils down to one word: honesty. If Iain Martin and the rest of the mainstream media can't be honest about who has really caused the rise of extremism in Britain (England, actually) then there can be no way to begin to repair the social and political damage that's being done. It merely further compounds the ugly, dangerous dishonesty of Labour.

In their goal to demonise the Conservative party across swathes of Britain to ensure that large sections of the population share their blind, mindless hatred of all things Tory, they have used every propaganda tactic in the book, even to the point, if you recall, of turning Michael Howard into a Nazi-style anti-semitic caricature. By the end of the campaign, therefore, according to Labour propaganda, Howard was both a right wing extremist and a money-lending Jewish hate figure. As far as I am concerned, this was truly evil stuff and it had a terrible side-effect. Labour's lies, smears and Third Reich style approach to political propaganda gave permission to a section of society, mainly in its own heartlands, to hate. It made the rise of the BNP all-but inevitable.

So the origins of the rise of the BNP can be traced back to that general election campaign, the dirtiest and most dishonest on record. But all the dirt and dishonesty was coming from one direction: the Left. It's their core vote, whom they have subsequently thoroughly alienated by being so utterly useless in office, who are drifting into the arms of extremism and racial bigotry. Yet this is a key point that appears to escape all but the bloggers. The MSM seems to be happy to continue to peddle the Labour party's increasingly desperate message that the BNP, as a party of the 'far right' (it's not, it's a typically muddled, socialist/nationalist organisation), can somehow be associated with the Tory party. This is the ultimate smear and one where the deepest contradiction can be found. If this were the case, then why are the vast majority of misguided BNP supporters former Labour party voters? No adequate answer to this question has been forthcoming from the Left media as yet - it doesn't fit in with their dishonest narrative, you see.

The point, therefore, is that the blame for the rise of the BNP has nothing to do with the Tories, and Iain Martin and other independently minded, professional journalists should have the guts, or the sense, or the honesty - preferably all three - finally to acknowledge this.

What is certain, however, is that should they win the next general election, it will fall to a Conservative government to fix the problem, caused by Labour, of what is really the political dislocation and disaffection of fairly significant sections of Labour's core vote. How they go about that is beyond me, but they are going to have to try.

So there you have it, yet another dimension to the universal catastrophe that will be "Labour's legacy". And people still wonder why I am convinced that this is comfortably the worst government this country has ever had inflicted upon it.

Spending Our Children's Money


My current, and I hope brief, 1992 fixation continues with this interesting presidential election debate from the day. How, on the strength of this performance, Clinton won that election is beyond me. Having said that, I recall watching it all on TV with an American friend of mine from Boston when I was at uni. and that I was as elated as she was when it became clear that Bill Clinton had triumphed. Political naiveté is the indulged privilege of callow youth, I guess.

The best part of this thing, though, is the Ross Perot explanation of the necessity for a gas tax to help to pay down the deficit. It was a great idea - for Americans - but it was ignored. A decade or so before this debate, when I was an American, gas was 48 cents a gallon. So Perot was right: there was room for relatively painless tax levies on gasolene and had been for years. Unlike in Britain. Petrol has always been expensive here, especially during Labour years, so hiking taxes on petrol even further to deal with a debt crisis has never really been a serious option for us - (until Brown!).

The real point is, though, that Ross Perot was a decent, patriotic old man who was rightly worried about debt levels in the US economy in 1992. No one listened to him then and his predictions have all come true now - in America and in Britain. For him it was morally wrong to "spend our children's money" to service our own or our government's economic incompetence and excesses. And he was dead right.

But we in Britain, thanks to Brown, have mortgaged our children's futures. Lunatics like him have made absolutely sure of that, for whatever ideologically, politically perverse reason.

The upshot is that in 2010 we now have a clear choice: either we try to limit the damage to our children's futures that Brown has caused and choose a period of conservatism (and Conservatism), or we risk burdening our children to the point of their despair by choosing Labour.

I made my mind up a long time ago. I went with the rational choice.

To eject this catastrophic Labour government, I pray that enough other people make the right choice too when the time comes - and choose Cameron.

The Perfect Protest

This is how to make a point in public!

Hat tip to Guthrum and, as he says, watch and applaud.





Good fun. But with sinister undertones - everywhere.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Poll Boost For Cameron

CON 43 (+7) LAB 26 (+2) LD 19 (-6)

More poll gloom for Gormless Brown, then, as this latest Ipsos Mori poll places Labour 17 points behind Cameron's Conservatives. Mike Smithson seems to think that this is evidence that the conference season no longer has as dramatic an effect on the polling system as it used to. At least that's what I believe he means because he cites evidence from the last two (YouGov and ComRes) polls, which suggested a narrowing of the Tory lead post-conference, that seem to show the kind of pulsating percentages we have become used to and which happens every day anyway, with or without conferences.

The psephological guru also points to the fact that the only party that received a palpable conference bounce was the Liberal Democrats and that that has unwound at breakneck speed as their public exposure has crashed. Labour and Conservative politicians remain exposed, as it were.

I fully agree with Mr Smithson. He convinced me long ago that contemporary polling is far more reliable than it used to be, and provides a more trustworthy and fairer reflection of the electorate's real voting intentions than its equivalent a dozen or so years ago did. It's worth adding that the annoying YouGov daily tracker results should, in my humble, be dismissed as a gimmick because the methodology that makes modern polls so reliable was not applied to them. They are misleading so any 'bounce' they implied for any party should be discounted.

If all this is true, and these are extremely reliable polls, then they do indeed make gloomy reading for a Labour Party that surely must need very little further persuasion that it's time for a change at the top - as a matter of some considerable urgency now.

I do hope they remain spineless and chaotic, rather than miraculously discover some bottle and take the necessary steps to remove their biggest polling, and electoral, liability.

I think you - and they - know who I mean.

++Update++

Two more reliable polls this evening paint the same grim picture for Labour - and for Brown - with both pointing to a solid 17% lead for the Tories. I'll leave it to Professor Smithson to explain the implications - and deliver the interesting news that there's a new pollster in town.

ICM:
CON 44 (-1) LAB 27 (+1) LD 18 (nc)

A second pollster adds to Labour’s gloom

The second of tonight’s three polls, ICM’s for the Guardian, is out and shows very little change on the last survey from the firm taken in the immediate aftermath of the Tory conference and David Cameron’s speech.

A lot of people assumed that the last figures were down to the conference effect and that once we “got back to normal” then the scale of the blue lead would reduce substantially.

This view was accentuated by the Populus, Comres and YouGov surveys which all seemed to be pointing to a narrowing of the margin.

Well today’s two polls haven’t and this and now we await the third - the first regular monthly survey by the leading Canadian firm, Angus Reid Strategies exclusively for Politicalbetting, which is working with us as part of its effort to introduce a second substantial online pollster to the UK market. This is due out later tonight.

The ICM numbers coming on top of the MORI will be a severe disappointment to Labour which much have been hoping that things had started to turn. Seventeen point deficits only a few months before the election point to a rout

YouGov:
40% 23% 20%

A third pollster reports a 17 point Labour deficit

Tonight sees the launch of the exclusive new monthly poll by the leading Canadian firm, Angus Reid Strategies for Politicalbetting.com - and the timing could nor be more apt.

The main party figures are above.

The “others” are UKIP 5%: GRN 3%: BNP 3%: SNP 3%: PC 1%.

Extraordinarily the findings, like the ones from Ipsos-MORI and ICM earlier tonight show exactly the same Labour deficit - seventeen points.

Like YouGov polling is carried out online from a polling panel but unlike YouGov the sample is past voted weighted to what those questioned said they they did at the last election. YouGov weights by party ID.

The voting intention question has been designed to get respondents to focus more on what they will actually be doing in their particular seats in the hope of picking up any tactical intent. It reads “If a General Election were held tomorrow, which one of the following parties would you be most likely to support in your constituency?”

Angus Reid Strategies is applying for membership of the British Polling Council and is following its transparency requirements immediately. I am hoping to get a link up tonight so that the detailed tables can be down-loaded.

The sample size was 2.077 which is in line with most YouGov polls but is about double that which we see from the telephone pollsters.

  • Finally can I thank Andy Morris and his team at the firm. It’s been great working with them and I’m looking forward to our regular monthly poll as well as surveys of the key marginals.
  • Never has it been possible to say with more confidence that the polls don't lie. So the question, with three in a row now predicting catastrophe for Labour under Brown, still stands: what are they going to do about it.

    The most likely answer is, of course, nothing.

    Hat tip to Uncle Bob.

    Brown (And Cameron's) Major Problem



    Whatever you might say (and they have said) about Major, he was nice, bright and won his premiership the hard way. He won fair and square and then proceeded to leave behind a golden legacy in '97.

    Compare and contrast Brown. Nasty, not as bright as Major, the embodiment of economic catastrophe - and terrified of elections to boot.

    If Cameron can finally get his political kit together and squash Brown, what, I and millions of other people are asking, will his legacy be? At the very least it must equal Major's. That's the new Tory - and our - benchmark.

    But that's one issue. The other is that it's important people everywhere these days know that any comparison the moronic, bullyboy, obsessive Brownite Ballses of this world make between '92 and '10 - between Major and Brown - are patently absurd. But that's what Balls et al are desperately hoping - that Brown can "do a Major".

    Er, no chance. Reason? Brown is no Sir John Major. Brown's not fit to shine Major's shoes. And everyone apart from Ed Balls and the manse man himself knows that.

    That's how bad Brown is - far worse than Major! And the Barry Sheermans of the PLP absolutely know that, which is why Brown's support, apart from fanatical henchmen like Balls, continues quietly to ebb away.

    Whatever you might think about John Major, he was, unlike Brown, always hungry for democracy in victory or defeat. In those terms alone, he was an honest politician and a respected statesman. He'll have his place.

    Who will ever dare say that, long after his ejection from public life, of Gordon Brown?

    Not I.

    Sunday, 18 October 2009

    Well Done, Jenson!


    F1 Champion 2009, Jenson Button

    A Peer Too Far

    I've just got back from a nice trip to Tenby (lovely little town) only to be confronted by a vague rumour in the Spectator that Michael Heseltine might be about to make some sort of a comeback with a possible role offered to him in a Cameron cabinet. I've got two sets of opinions about this, one positive and one most definitely negative.

    First, the positive. Tarzan is still a powerful, even commanding figure, untainted in the eyes of neutral and possibly left of centre voters by his years as a cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher's government (his Westland tantrum cleansed him) and as Deputy to John Major (his side was never held responsible for the great Tory Euro split - that honour belonged, wrongly, to the "sceptics"). His experience and bullet proof, heavyweight 'elder statesman' image would cause severe problems for both Labour and the Liberal Democrats and could even attract a significant number of their voters, looking for an excuse to vote Conservative, to the party.

    He's also a Welshman, but not a lot of people know that.

    However, there are also negative points to make about the impact of his appointment on the balance of any future Conservative cabinet. The Spectator makes this point better than I ever could:
    ...if Heseltine returns to the Cabinet, there will be a problem of balance. As Tim Montgomerie notes, the presence of Clarke and Heseltine in the Cabinet will make a robust approach to Europe almost impossible. Plus, the right would be irritated if the left is over-represented in Cameron’s cabinet which it would be if Clarke, Heseltine, Andrew Lansley and Sir George Young were all in it. A Heseltine return would make it more likely that Peter Lilley, as a greybeard from the right of the party, would be offered a significant job by Cameron.
    The only things I would add to this are that, in the first place, questions must be asked about the signals to referendum campaigners that this appointment would send. They are hardly encouraging. Also, by creating what would be a powerful clique of Europhile, big beast cabinet ministers around whom pro-federalists on the left of the party would rally, there is a risk that if they didn't get their own way, or felt that Cameron was being too sympathetic to the (reasonable) demands of the pro-sovereignty wing of the party - and 70% of the population - they might cause a lot of trouble. They've done it before.

    For these reasons, and on balance, I feel quite strongly that the reactivation of this septuagenarian campaigner would be a bad idea. His best role would be as leader of the Lords or as an adviser of some description. His being offered a cabinet role would be a retrograde step.

    What is more, given the number of unelected, appointed peer-ministers in the current government (including, of course, the most powerful politician in Britain, Lord Mandelson), we need more ministers from the Commons in a future Cameron cabinet, not fewer. Cameron must seek to rebalance British democracy in favour of the electorate.

    Lord Heseltine would be a peer too far.

    Brown's "Cack-Handed Incompetence" : So It Begins...

    Stalking donkey horse - outspoken Brown critic, Barry Sheerman

    The countdown to Brown's exit, that is. Barely has the dust settled from the Czech cave-in over Lisbon and the torrent of Labour-sourced, anti-Brown briefings has begun. Already, for instance, this morning's Times has a front page village report that our useless and unwanted Prime Minister has acquired a stalking horse (stalking donkey more like, but I digress) in the form of Barry Sheerman. The report reveals just how deep the discontent within the Labour government now runs, just how desperately fragile Brown's authority has become and just how appalling his leadership of the PLP has been, particularly over the expenses issue.

    It's worth a gander:

    GORDON BROWN last night suffered fresh challenges to his authority amid growing turmoil over the expenses scandal.

    Barry Sheerman, the veteran MP and critic of the prime minister, was on the verge of standing for the position of chairman of Labour’s parliamentary party on what will be seen as a “Gordon must go” manifesto.

    The chairman is regarded as the “shop steward” for backbench MPs. The incumbent is Tony Lloyd, a Brown loyalist.

    MPs from all wings of the party offered Sheerman their support for his “stalking horse” bid, which could be formally announced this week. Alan Simpson, of the left-wing Campaign Group of MPs, said: “Gordon has found himself floating adrift from his colleagues. I think if Barry Sheerman stood, he might find a surprisingly high level of support.”

    Another MP said: “If Barry wins, it would mean Gordon has lost his party. It would be hard to see how he could carry on.”

    The fresh plotting came as it emerged that dozens of Labour MPs will openly defy the prime minister by refusing repayment demands from Sir Thomas Legg, the Commons expenses auditor.

    Frank Field, the former welfare minister, became the most high-profile “refusenik” by announcing he would not pay back the £7,000 — mainly in “excess” cleaning costs — that Legg demanded. He is among 50 MPs querying demands from Legg.

    Field, who when the expenses scandal broke had been described as a “saint” because of his low claims, spoke of his anger at being put in the “rogues’ gallery”. He was particularly angered by the way Legg introduced retrospective caps on claims for expenses such as gardening and cleaning which had previously been cleared by the Commons fees office.

    Instead of the £7,000, Field sent a cheque for £117 to Legg with a letter querying his logic.

    “It’s like driving along at 25mph in a 30mph zone only to receive lots of tickets which say you should not have been driving over 20mph,” he said.

    Amid signs of cabinet despair over Brown’s poor handling of the scandal, Harriet Harman, the deputy party leader, has let it be known that MPs found guilty of “technical” expenses breaches are unlikely to be forced to repay cash.

    She is expected to be a candidate in any future leadership contest and Brownite loyalists privately believe she is undermining the prime minister by currying favour with disillusioned backbenchers.

    The Legg audit has led to about half of all MPs being asked to pay back sums claimed for cleaning, gardening, furniture and second home mortgages. Many Labour MPs blame Brown personally for allowing the scandal to flare up again.

    If Sheerman, respected chairman of the Commons education committee and who is on the moderate wing of the party, were to back away other rebels are ready to fill his place.

    Jane Kennedy, the former farming minister, is understood to be considering standing on an anti-Brown ticket. The Liverpool Wavertree MP warned in June that Brown’s refusal to resign could seriously damage Labour.

    Malcolm Wicks, a former minister who is now Brown’s energy envoy, delivered a thinly veiled attack on the prime minister’s leadership, saying the party needed to rediscover its “backbone”.

    Nick Raynsford, the former local government minister, said Brown had displayed "cack-handed incompetence" over the expenses issue. He said: “It is not, in my view, certain that Gordon will lead us into the next election."

    Many Labour MPs are braced for the publication next month of the official report by Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, which will recommend radical reform of the expenses system. He is expected to say MPs should be forced to sell their second homes and to stop employing family members on the Commons payroll.

    Brown’s handling of the expenses crisis will face further criticism tomorrow when Harman is expected to raise her concerns at a meeting of the Commons commission — the House’s governing body chaired by the Speaker.

    By any standards, this is about as damning as things can get for Brown without an actual, direct challenge to his leadership. Now that Lisbon is done and dusted, itself an appalling crime against British democracy, there is nothing left to halt that direct challenge. It could come any day and I, for one, will welcome it with open arms no matter who we end up with in Brown's place (even the hated Harperson or the scheming Lord Peter Mandelson). That's how much I want Brown gone.

    One thing is now certain, at least to me, my wish might well come true sooner than even I had predicted. The fraud, usurper and great ruiner of Britain could be gone before the end of this month!

    Saturday, 17 October 2009

    The Czechs Cave In; Brown's Days Numbered


    Unlike Donal Blaney (although I feel as frustrated as he clearly does), I have some sympathy for the Czech Republic's besieged President and can appreciate why he has finally caved in to the extreme, intense and sustained pressure from their giant, frightening neighbour, Germany and from the bullies in Brussels. Vaclav Klaus has made a spirited last-man stand but it was only a matter of time before the unforgivable, scurrilous personal attacks on him and the threats of economic and political sanctions against the nation he was elected to serve took their toll - and had their desired effect.

    The Spectator's take on this latest bombshell for referendum campaigners like yours truly is pretty decent:
    Czech President Vaclav Klaus has developed cult status among Eurosceptics in Britain, but it would have been nothing short of miraculous if he had been able to derail the Lisbon Treaty. The Telegraph reports that Klaus can delay signing the treaty no longer. He said:
    "The train carrying the treaty is going so fast and it's so far that it can't be stopped or returned, no matter how much some of us would want that. I cannot and will not wait for British elections, unless they hold them in the next few days or weeks."

    The Czech Courts will rule on compatibility on the 27th October, after which the treaty will become law. Mr Klaus' train metaphor compounds the argument that Brussels, not Europeans, has driven this process - indeed that Brussels has simply disregarded the wishes of sovereign nations. From the British perspective, the Lisbon horse has bolted; Cameron and Hague must remind voters that Brown and Blair are culpable for that. A referendum post-ratification represents the most facile of political gestures. Rumours abound that the Conservatives will seek accomodation with European leaders over recovering sovereignty, surrendered by successive governments without the agreement of the British people.

    On the bright side, however, betting will surely be closed on how long Brown has left as Prime Minister. In aiding and abetting the authoritarian Brussels power grab by railroading Britain into adopting what remains an EU constitution, he has now served his purpose. His days are definitely numbered. Mandelson, that viper in the British bosom, will seize control of the PLP and the government at his earliest convenience, having served up the UK to the EU centralist-federalists on a silver platter (the gold's all gone), and make a new king - or queen - that he can bend more easily to his will.

    In the meantime, the Conservative party better wake up and realise that Lisbon ratification is no longer a "hypothetical scenario". It's time for a post-Lisbon policy - and that policy must include a referendum of one kind or another. They must think of the right question and not be cowed by threats from the bullies of Brussels like the Czechs have. Otherwise, this country, quite simply, will have been sold-out by its own, democratically elected rulers (as is always the case with fascism). It's time for Cameron to get a grip on this.

    As for Labour and Brown, they will never be forgiven for their broken promises and ultimate betrayal. And they will be punished for it.

    They'd better believe it.

    The PFI Scandal

    Source: BOM

    Just a quick post to point out a scandal that has yet to break properly. Future Private Finance Initiative liabilities, according to the latest edition of Private Eye (I'll scan the article when I have a moment), are now estimated to stand at a truly terrifying £246 Billion. This is expensive (privately) borrowed money, not the cheap government kind, so the interest alone on this vast, hidden debt will be monstrous.

    Any attempt to tackle the debt crisis by any future government is likely to be scuppered by these numbers, unless they are taken into account too and the pay-down rates recalculated accordingly. As the Eye says:
    "As with any dodgy pyramid scheme, the day of reckoning of course eventually arrives. And now it has done, with cuts demanded from public service budgets already crippled under the weight of 640 PFI deals signed since the mid-1990s - most of them under the "Enron Chancellor", Gordon Brown." (Eye 1247, p.5)
    Clearing up Brown's cataclysmic shambles will be no mean feat for any future government. But two things have to happen before the rebuilding can begin: 1) Brown and this criminally awful Labour regime must be eliminated - quickly, and 2) The next government must be absolutely honest about the scale of the problem.

    My own view is that nothing short of a thorough, no-holds-barred "national audit" is required after number one has been achieved, in order that number two can be possible. Interesting times.

    We Don't Need Led Zeppelin

    Led Zeppelin:



    Yes we do. Wonderful.

    Friday, 16 October 2009

    Anti-Smoking Fanatics Will Lose

    Warning: this is a bit of a boast post.

    A few days ago, the truly horrible Duncan Bannatyne published a truly horrible set of thoughts (it hardly qualifies as an article) on the Grauniad website about why he would "only be happy when smoking was banned" and calling for children to report parents who smoke in their presence to the police. Their own parents! I was so incensed by his fascistic attitude to what is certainly an unhealthy habit, but nowhere near at the apocalyptic, genocidal levels anti-smoking fanatics like him would have us believe, that I posted a few innocuous remarks of my own in response.


    The piccy is hard to read unless you click on it. This is what I said:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Another proselytising ex-smoker banging on about his Damascene conversion and the need to treat evil smokers like second class filth. It's not the anti-smoking thing that gets me, it's the sheer hatred masquerading as concern and justified by a dangerous sense of moral superiority.

    Stick to making money by exploiting the hard work and creativity of others, mate. That's what you're "good" at.

    Next!

    Not quite an exocet, I know. Yet a few days later, when glancing at it again, I was pleasantly surprised by the response my gripe had stimulated, complete with 800-odd "recommends", which is pretty high for Cif.

    But I was far more impressed by the deluge of other (far better) comments that together nailed Bannatyne comprehensively and deservedly. Old Labour, Brownite brown-nose that he is, too, the ubiquitous condemnation couldn't have happened to a nicer man.

    Suffice to say, a far more libertarian, anti-authoritarian mood is definitely emerging in this country, and that is a cause for optimism. There is hope for Britain after all.

    London 2012 Pictograms: Huh?

    Well, here they are in all their, erm, glory. I support the Olympics wholeheartedly - don't get me wrong - but what are the designers who come up with this nonsense on? After the seriously hideous main logo, launched a few years ago, you'd think they'd have opted for something a little more - well - useful? No, that's not quite the right word. Practical, then? Nope. I know what it is: intelligent. Yes, that definitely is it. Something intelligent. But no - we got this instead:
    Have a closer look at, for instance, the one that I presume is supposed mean "water polo" (top right). It looks more like a sign for swimming pool discus - or something. But there is worse. The swimming and canoeing stuff looks like it's going to take place in tar pits and there are a few that are simply incomprehensible. Just what, exactly, is 8 down 1 across? Chase your own bicycle? Unicycling? Nine down and two in looks like something criminal, frankly (Olympic Handbag Snatching?). Oh dear. The more I look at them, the worse they get.

    The prize has to go to 7 down 2 across which looks pretty sexual to me. I had no idea the Kamasutra had become an Olympic sport. I've already booked my ticket. It's a five night knockout tournament and they're holding it in Soho.

    Hopeless.

    Wake-Up Call: "The Pound Never Stops Where You Want It To"

    It's marginally gratifying to hear the odd expert voice in the forlorn darkness of Labour's Keynesian nightmare warning the people of Britain to wake-up and get real about the true, truly terrifying cost of Brown's bust and consequent economic crisis, or risk going down without a fight.

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who is, I still believe, one of the many MSM fans of hairbrained Brownomics, filed this report for today's Telegraph on a timely speech made by former FSA boss Sir Howard Davis to the clients of one of Britain's two remaining solvent banks.

    ...Britain faces a dangerous rise in the levels of public debt – even taking into account tax increases planned for coming years [according to Sir Howard].

    "The next six months are going to be extremely delicate in the UK", he told a gathering of HSBC clients in London. "It is very clear that something dramatic has to happen to control spending: but is the economy robust enough to survive fiscal tightening?"

    The Government is already running out of weapons to fight the crisis. While the fall in the pound has helped boost exports and proved benign so far, Sir Howard said that past experience handling sterling crises had taught him that the matters can turn ugly fast once confidence is lost. "The pound never stops where you want it to," he said.

    What is disturbing is that the British people seem unwilling to face minimal belt-tightening. Even professors in higher education are balloting to strike, demanding a continuation of boom-time pay raises. "You have the best minds in the country planning to go on strike for 8pc. People are miles away from understanding what is needed."

    Polling data shows that 48pc of the public are against any spending cuts and only 20pc see the need for retrenchment. Britons appear to assume that the "fantastic growth in public spending" over the last decade has become an entitlement.

    Sir Howard said the reality is that the Government has so far come clean on just half of the fiscal consolidation necessary over the next five years merely in order to stabilize debt. By 2014 we will be among the Big Four of global profligates. "It is not a great club to be in," he said.

    Oh, I don't know. Brown doesn't seem to mind what club he belongs to, so long as he's in it. Trouble is right now, he joins and we all join.

    It's the currency, stupid, which is in slowmotion freefall because of the levels of borrowing and spending, stupider, which itself will lead to years of stagnation and economic and social decay, stupidest.

    Stick that in your Brownite pipe and smoke it, Blanchflower.

    Anyhoo, while he gets on with that, the rest of us should just ignore the moronic Labourist politicians, ultra-useless leftwing economists and their tame, pet journalists and bloody well wake up!

    Thursday, 15 October 2009

    Cameron Shows Brown How To Lead

    To the Daily Telegraph's credit, it has once again forced the broadcast media into doing its job and report on the biggest political scandal in this country probably ever. To David Cameron's credit, he has demonstrated the kind of leadership that the country is demanding, and shown Gordon Brown up for what he really is: a weak-willed ditherer whose authority has ebbed away in inverse proportion to his increasingly foul moods.

    In firing David Wilshire, Cameron has been brave: Wilshire technically broke no rules and could have refused to go. Cameron was having none of it: Wilshire clearly failed the test of honour, that the old expenses system presupposed, by syphoning off public money into his bank account through his own company. (He failed a hell of a lot more "tests" than that! The test of morality and the law, for instance - but that's another matter.) His being forced out - and into making the announcement himself - reveals Cameron's authority in all its rude health. It also shows that Cameron has a very clear idea about what he expects from his MPs, now and in future. Everyone in the parliamentary Conservative party knows precisely where he stands, in spite of what Ann Widdecombe or sections of the media would have us believe. He might not benefit from his principled, iron stand in short-term polls, but come the election he will be bullet proof.

    By contrast, Labour is shot-through with discontent, riddled with rebels and utterly rudderless. Brown's lack of authority, caused chiefly by his utter inability to lead (just how much more proof do people need!), is becoming clearer even to Labour supporters every day, regardless of the impression given, by the BBC in particular, to the contrary. On bank bonuses Brown blusters about global regulation, but nothing is done (and nothing should be); on expenses his own MPs petulantly challenge his high-pitched, unconvincing calls for them to pay the piper, and all he can do is give weird, vague interviews about "consigning the auld system to the pages of history."

    Many millions of people, and many now of his own backbenchers, share precisely the same feeling about him.

    "We've been scoring a lot of goals," says one Labour MP, "but putting the ball in the back of our own net!"

    Well, you know why, Labour MP: Brown is weak, weak, weak!

    Meanwhile, Cameron just gets stronger the longer Brown limps on.

    Brookes Toon

    Another great cartoon from Peter Brookes of The Times.

    Exactly.

    Wednesday, 14 October 2009

    Expenses Blackout "A Collective Act of Denial Beyond Pathetic"

    It's pretty extraordinary to me that there is what seems to be a virtual television news blackout on the latest, extraordinary twist in the expenses scandal. After a PMQs where no mention of the subject was made by MPs and their leaders, in what looks for all the world like a cowardly cross-party consensus, the main TV news outlets, the Beeb and SKY (ITN has no rolling news service so it's difficult to include it these days), appear to have dutifully forgotten all about it.

    Preferring to concentrate on the lame 500-troop extra deployment (re)announcement from Brown - the poor bloody Royal Anglians are off to Helmand again - star of the show on both channels was
    the new CGS Sir Jock Stirrup in a bizarre interview during which he appeared to call his predecessor, Richard Dannatt, a liar over the request during the summer for 2000 extra troops. "It's a myth," he said. Oh, really?

    It's obviously one of those weird 'protect Brown' days in the broadcast media that crops up from time to time. While there have been some, small references to Clegg's pretty mendacious call for an extention to the Legg review that includes house flipping (mendacious because he knows a deal's already been struck to exclude this), there has been nothing about the rebellion Brown faces or more on David Cameron's uniquely hardline stance. Well, whatever the motive and the agenda of the 'village', as James Kirkup has said in his DT blog, they can do what they like but the expenses debacle is not going to go away. I would add that it won't go away until this parliament goes away, complete with the majority of its corrupt, whingeing, not-fit-for-purpose MPs. For good.
    PMQs: pathetic MPs won't mention their expenses

    Afghanistan. Europe. General Sir Richard Dannatt. Girl Guides. Mortgages. Royal Mail. Emergency services. Freedom of the Press. Scotland. Poverty.

    All important subjects, all worthy of parliamentary debate and all rightly discussed at Prime Minister’s Questions.

    Yet there was not a single mention of MPs’ expenses, Sir Thomas Legg, public money or public trust. Not one MP, backbencher or party leader, dared to mention the issue that has fixated them for days and made them the objects of public scorn.

    It’s not as if politicians aren’t talking about this. MPs are happy enough to talk about their expenses in the tearooms and corridors at length. But they won’t do it in the House of Commons, which is at least supposed to be the proper forum for national debate. As a collective act of denial, this is beyond pathetic. As a public spectacle, it verges on the surreal.

    "A collective act of denial beyond pathetic." I like that a lot. But I would extend it to include the pathetic broadcast media, if not the entire, pathetic MSM (minus, perhaps, in this case at least, the Telegraph).

    Bloggers of the net, unite! You have nothing to lose but your piggy MPs.

    Tuesday, 13 October 2009

    Bell Toon


    (c) Guardian/Steve Bell.

    Slippery Harman

    On Sky News just now Harriet Harman has just been doing a creditable impression of an eel so slippery, it's got a PhD from the University of Eels in Slippery Studies. Cameron has stated categorically that his MPs must pay back their trough money or they aren't MPs any more. Harperson has just said that it's "not a party political matter...blah....blah....Cameron is just trying to look tough...blah". See? Slippery.

    And, no. Cameron's leading his party and doing the right thing (although I do not think even he's going far enough). What's Harriet doing? Well, she clearly doesn't know because when asked by the anchor for the umpteenth time whether Labour MPs, a number of whom are actually challenging the findings of the Legg review, (unbelievably and suicidally), face the same sanction, slippery Harmon was finally caught.

    "But what happens to Labour MPs if they don't pay the money back?" posed the newsreader.

    "Er, well, they will...," blustered Harman.

    No, Harriet, they won't. That's the bloody point. One of them was actually saying it on another channel as she was speaking!

    Watch the polls, folks. Just when you thought Labour might have a chance of recovering a little bit (a horrible thought), along comes dithering Gordon, who couldn't lead the proverbial piss up in a brewery (I could ;) and sinks them.

    Suits me.

    ++Update++
    I've just heard on the six o'clock bulletin that Brown has followed Cameron's lead and threatened to fire truculant troughers, or so the reporter said. But listening to his interview from this morning, I'm not so sure that's what he said. It was equivocal to say the least.

    Business as usual for Brown, then.