Sunday, 30 May 2010

Alexander Avoided Capital Gains Tax

Next!
You really couldn't make it up if you tried. Now Danny Alexander, bad (very bad) choice of replacement for trougher David Laws at the Treasury, has been caught avoiding Capital Gains Tax - you know, the tax he'll be responsible for ramping up as part of his new job. Sorry, but Cameron has set a precedent, has a principle he must (and I think will) follow, and so has to fire Alexander too. There'll be fewer tears over his loss I imagine than there were for 'rising star' and 'genius', David Laws.

Some will be asking why this is happening. It's very simple really and it has nothing to do with homophobic witch-hunts, Labour sting operations (lol) or right wing, anti-coaltion smear conspiracies. That's loony stuff. The reason is that while they were the no-hoper, hotchpotch third party that generally behaved like weasels in a sack behind the scenes (still do), during the expenses scandal they were basically ignored by the Telegraph in what was a target rich environment. There were only so many pages in the paper each day, and the editors rightly preferred to focus on the major players and the yellows got away with it, even to point where Clegg actually thought he could boast about it in the Commons! This is the hubris. Now that senior Lib Dems, to their huge surprise and thanks to a rare general election outcome, have found themselves doing real government jobs, they are subject to that delayed scrutiny. Moreover, it is all the more intense because they are being picked off one by one instead of en masse, as the Tories and Labour MPs and ministers were. So much the better.

It goes without saying - for me at least - that the Lib Dems fully deserve everything they get, and so the sight of senior MPs and some well known mainstream political bloggers defending one of them, often on the most ridiculous of grounds, is damn well nauseating. One good thing will come out of this new wave of expenses revelations, however: pretty soon, the Conservative government will run out of Lib Dems to put in the vital Treasury Chief Sec. role (they'll be on the Sarah Teather human mouse pretty soon).

Then maybe the country will get the person it really needs in that job - John Redwood - and, I predict, with the coalition still more or less in tact.

Every "cloud" as they say...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Danny Alexander's Challenge

This is the global lending merry go-round as explained for the general public by two leading Australian economists, wisely employing a variation of the Socratic method.



There is an answer to all this, you know, and it's called 'cuts'. I wonder if young Danny Alexander is up to the challenge. Ha! Fat chance.

Remember John Redwood? We might have had a chance with him.

Hat tip: Tangled Web

Laws Gone

Iain Dale and others are reporting that David Laws has gone. One thing: if true, it is important to establish the precise reason for his 'resignation' (sacking by Cameron). Having said that, it is also important to establish what were not the reasons too. For instance, certainly not the reason would be the one David Blackburn has just supposed in a uncharacteristically shoddy and pretty wrongheaded piece for him:
According to Con Home and several other sources, Laws has resigned. This is hugely regrettable as Laws is a star performer and I feel he has been the victim of a media gay-hunt that belongs to a bygone era. The sums of money involved are slight in comparison to some, and there are arguments that other ministers should resign for having committed similar or worse offences and for having shown markedly less contrition. But it is refreshing that a minister would resign over a personal transgression with haste and dignity.
This is wrong on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. First, Laws has had little or no chance to demonstrate he was a 'star performer'. He was starting to look promising and seemed to be grasping the wisdom of the Tory policy on the debt and structural deficit. Well done for that, but stardom it hardly warrants. Second, to 'feel' that he was the 'victim' of some mythical 'media gay hunt' is arrant nonsense. His sexuality had nothing to do with it, aside from the fact that he was clearly embarrassed about it and this provided him with a motive for being so incautious with his expenses and then concealing this potentially damaging fact from his new boss. There was and is no 'media gay hunt'. Outrage about his public/private hypocrisy, yes - bigotry and prejudice, no. That is in Blackburn's imagination and, I think, was uttered because of some kind of personal disappointment rather than any genuine understanding of the sequence and significance of events [like I have, lol]. Again, I've got to say that I find that surprising from this writer.

Third, and most significantly, Blackburn makes some sort of point about the relative scale of previous incidences of irregular expenses arrangements with a frankly childish 'they didn't so why does he?' argument. Well, if he thinks that that false equivalence will wash with anyone then he hasn't understood idea-one of what's been going on here. Cameron stood on a ticket of cleaning up parliament and being tough with his ministers if they step out of line in principle. The amounts involved (and 40k seems like a lot to me) are not important. The way the money was channeled is. Laws bent the rules in a deeply suspicious way, far more even, if we are to entertain Blackburn's relativist argument for a moment, than your average trougher who simply took advantage of those rules but did so by the book, i.e. without adding their own, personal interpretation that advantaged them, or, indeed, a loved one, even more.

As to his mention of 'other ministers', who, I wonder, does he mean? Cameron? Labour ministers? Cameron can hardly fire Labour ministers who've already lost their jobs, for heaven's sake, so what on earth does he mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Suffice to say, it's the most muddled-up post of his I think I've ever read.

So much for the Blackburn gay witch-hunt theory. The real reason why Laws had to go is because Cameron is keeping his word. He has always understood the scale of anger at the expenses scandal. He also realised that Laws could not be talking about painful cuts in public spending one second and defending his own venality another. That's called an 'untenable position'.

In other words, the only thing Laws' sacking has demonstrated to me is not that he is dignified - I'm sure he is - but that David Cameron really does mean what he has says and that, dear readers, is the really 'refreshing' thing about this new government and about this incident.

But what follows is crucial. A sound, imaginative replacement must be found. Blackburn says, alarmingly, that it might be the lunatic Huhne. That would be a disaster not just for this government but for the entire country and Cameron must intervene to stop it instantly.

The only man with the gravity and intellect for a job like CST in a time of economic trauma and dislocation is John Redwood. Whether the Prime Minister likes it or not, Redwood is the right man for the needs of this country at this parlous point in its history.

What the Libdems want simply doesn't matter.

Update:

Well, they've got it badly wrong and given Danny Alexander the job according to ConHome. That is a disastrous decision and it will come back to haunt this coalition. You cannot compromise on the economy for the sake of the coalition and certainly not with someone as wet behind the ears, untested and lightweight as 37 year-old Alexander (yes, I know, he's been bigged up over the past few weeks because of the negotiations. Big deal).

Too many Tories are going to be too pissed off too quickly with any more appointments like this one. This may even be the one that tips them over. I think this is the first real sign that this coaltion cannot and will not last long. For one thing, unlike the corrupt Labourists, as amply demonstrated by Brown, Conservatives do not believe in the idea of clinging on to power at any price. The coalition could soon be toast.

Quite frankly, after the promotion of another Libdem lightweight to a cabinet role for which he is most certainly not qualified, especially at such a crucial moment for the British economy, I'm not sure how I feel about that prospect yet. Maybe, after all, it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Friedman Wisdom



You can find the rest of this dazzlingly wise, vitally significant interview by clicking on the video.

I truly hope it provides you with as much optimism as it's inspired in me. We haven't lost yet.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Who Will Fire David Laws?

Shaping up as a half-decent, expensively-educated, millionaire Chief Treasury Secretary though he might have been, I'm awfully sorry, but David Laws' political arse is grass. He can't argue the case for public spending cuts when he, apparently, has been pretty happy to sponge off the state on behalf of his partner for the longest time.

So the only question to me is: who will fire him? His party leader, Clegg, or his boss, the Prime Minister?

My view? Cameron must pull the trigger immediately because what Laws did particularly is just the sort of troughing, fiddling, pocket-lining, venal rule-bending Cameron has been condemning in principle and often for over a year. He fought the election on that platform, for heaven's sake!

Frankly, Laws fired himself the moment he chose not to reveal any of this as being a potential problem to his boss before he was appointed (I do not for one moment believe he didn't realise or didn't understand the rules - in fact it's surely hard to believe that of a double first Cambridge economist - and it won't wash regardless, even if he sticks to that lame line).

But who to replace him? Well, how about John Redwood? I think it's high time Cameron picked someone like him for the cabinet anyway. Besides, he's much smarter and more experienced even than Laws in many ways, and genuinely believes and can explain the Friedmanite solution to Labour's debt crisis that we now so desperately need. He'd also be a handy bulwark against the economic mixed brew that is Saint Vince and his presence would vastly help to shore up the Tory back benches. A win-win scenario potentially, then, both for the party and, in my humble, for the country.

Oh, and sucks to the bloody Lib Dums. They can either suck it up and stay in government, or they can destroy this blessed coalition in a fit of indefensible pique.

I just can't wait to see how Deputy Nick decides to handle this one.

New BBC Weather Plans Cause Uproar In Newsagents

I was informed by a reliable source today (my dad) that the BBC's new plans for recruiting weather presenters could well be in breach of every employment and equality law ever made. He told me that he heard from a friend he bumped into while he was getting his newspapers this morning that the BBC is planning to employ only Muslims from now on to present the weather - and no one else. When he asked the bloke what prompted this hairbrained decision, he was told:

"Because sometimes the weather is Sunni, but more often than not it's Shiite."

Naturally, I was outraged. Jokes really don't come much worse than that.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Question Time: So Here We Are Again

Hey guys, unsurprising news: the BBC decide to defy with self-righteous Dimbledonian indignance the reasonable request of the government for a Labour front bencher to be on the QT panel and not, repeat not, the hideous denialist, contaminated, corrosive, bloodstained liar Alistair Campbell. So the BBC, with infantile predictability, nails its colours to the Labour mast once more, and drags the burnt out Campbell monster in anyway.

Not sure I actually need to watch the programme now. The BBC's agenda is pretty clear, with Campbell and Piers Morgan (would you believe) pathetically shoehorned onto on the panel for cheap, student-activist political reasons. Both men are basically worthless in themselves, seeking to justify their failed public existences through some sort of loudmouth hyperidentification with causes about which they have, and never have had, any comprehension. Ignore their lies and ruthless, utterly corrupt, insatiable vanity.

My absolute, incandescent fury at the ongoing hypocrisy of Labour and its nabobs, even in opposition (after they've been brought to democratic book!) and of its corrupt, lightweight mouthpiece that is the BBC, is really the only thing that's keeping this blog going these days.

You know, I think I'm finally starting to get my mojo back, after the deep - and deeply felt - disappointment of no overall majority, a hung parliament and the coalition.

Well, I'm glad about that even if noone else is likely to be :)

Monday, 24 May 2010

RIP Ray Allen - And Lord Charles



Widely regarded as the best ever ventriloquist - and the funniest - Ray Allen passed away yesterday at the age of 79. Part of my childhood sadly gone, but not forgotten. Gottle o' geer!

Guardian Journalist Praises The Guardian - And The BBC

Nick Davies, a quick bit of Wiki-ing reveals, is a 57 year-old Oxford-educated, Mirror-trained, former Guardian and now a freelance journalist who contributes to the Observer. He wrote a book a few years ago much loved by some of his peers in the professional media called Flat Earth News that basically rubbished 76% of journalism in the United Kingdom and beyond (he was that precise) . I'm not going to plug it. I thought its basic premise was weak (pretending that the underlying purpose of journalism, particularly newspaper journalism, is some sort of crusade for originality and not merely to sell news, recycled or otherwise, is ridiculous and naive). I also thought it was boring and did not finish it.

Anyway, the upshot of his interview this morning on Radio 4 was, simply, that having gratefully been given the chance to plug once more his dated tome, he merely repeated his feeble assertion (now equally dated) that only the Guardian and the BBC do real news. There was no alternative view in the interview, just some American fembot from the Washington Post giving almost exactly the same views, but in 'Murcan. I nearly blew my horn in disgust (see how mad I was?). Aside from the fact that the BBC hasn't broken an original story in, I would say, oh 26 years ( that would have been the Ethiopian famine in 1984), its journalist standards are non-existent. It does not so much report news, vastly over-resourced and over-staffed thanks to its generous taxpayer-funded budget though it is, as filter it through a BBC lens, which itself can be broadly deconstructed into three primary layers: obsessive Political Correctness, social statism and left wing political orthodoxy. There are other layers, such as climate change orthodoxy, but while they are just as significant in how they form the BBC's editorial stance and its recruitment policy, they are secondary ones. And woe betide anyone who does not toe the BBC line, and who has slipped through the recruitment sieve. They will not be working there for long (pack your bags Andrew Gilligan and Jeff Randall. You're fired!). The Guardian is sort of the newsprint arm of the BBC. The less said about it, the better. I'm surprised it doesn't think it's entitled to state funding, just like its TV sister, the Beeb. Perhaps it does!

There are one or two other things to say about the Graun, actually. Compare and contrast, for instance: in 2009, with the expenses scandal, the Daily Telegraph broke the biggest story of the decade bar none. All its many stories - and there were dozens - were sourced from completely original material - the most original you can get as a matter of fact: raw data. The Telegraph's expert, highly professional coverage then rocked parliament to its very foundations, and rightly so, and very nearly brought down a government. It has led to six prosecutions so far, and rising, and the retirement of scores of MPs. This story, which drove the entire news cycle for nearly two months - and still is to a certain degree over a year later - has to all intents and purposes changed the political face and historical direction of the United Kingdom, perhaps forever. It could well have saved parliament from permanent and long-term decline and forced a new government to ring the changes and call time on the last rotten government's (whom the BBC and the Guardian supported) institutional corruption, venality and dishonesty. What the Telegraph achieved there was not just a spectacular piece of classic scoop journalism a la Watergate, complete with their own Deep Throat, they did this country a service on a scale that will not be repeated for a long, long time. I wonder what kind of a dent that put in Nick Davies' bravely unverifiable "statistics".

And now, by comparison, let's ask what the Guardian did in 2009 to further the cause of investigative journalism which, one assumes, is not driven by any political agenda. Ah yes, it tried to get Andy Coulson fired from his new job because of something he wasn't responsible for (a court said) in his old one, glossed over the Damian Green arrest, virtually ignored the other big scandal of last year (Climategate) - or tried to spin it away - and spun around like a headless chicken editorially as it tried to work which loser to back. The BBC did much the same thing, though in its case it's unnecessary to come out and actually back someone or misreport stories it doesn't like. Oh no. It can be far more cunning than that with its spin. Its editors can simply cover what they feel like covering, invite whatever guests they like on talk shows to gloss over distasteful 'badthink' news, ignore political stories that might place the Tories in a favourable light and emphasise ones that might not, and do the reverse for their buddies in the Labour party. They can manipulate public opinion by generating it (do you know how easy it is to splice together four punters in the street saying they agree with something and leave out the four dozen who said they didn't?) and they can be openly hostile or dismissive of anything or any one they don't like (like the Israelis). Simply put, they test the limits of what they think can get away with all the time, everywhere. And believe me, they can get away with a hell of a lot.

I've hardly scratched the surface. But now, I hope, you can at least see why I thought Nick Davies' nonsensical comment on the BBC, about the BBC and the Guardian and journalism generally, was worth a mention. Whatever his journalistic credentials - and he is well-regarded by his colleagues from across the spectrum of the MSM apparently - he is not very honest and he's not at all right.

Still, though, I suppose we can let him off. He was only trying to sell his book, after all.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

News Flash: This Coalition Is A Joke

I'm absorbing Question Time reluctantly and all it's (predictably, these days) generating in me is an intensifying mood of futility, especially after the pathetic Clegg/Cameron long grass double act earlier today. This 'strong and stable government' nonsense is a dangerous misunderstanding on the part, particularly, of the Tories of what the general election result really meant.

People have had a bellyful of 'strong and stable governments' that are basically all mendacious mouth and no trousers, having had 13 years of a catastrophic version of 'strong and stable' Labour government. We're through with elected dictatorships when they're actually elected. But this increasingly disconnected, disingenuous, dysfunctional Libdum/Tory stitch-up version of a 'strong and stable government' certainly wasn't voted for - by anyone! It's the wittiest form of 'strong and stable government' I think I've ever seen. And the joke's on us.

People, if anything can be read into the outcome of the general election (and not a lot can), did not vote for a 'strong and stable government' that would carry on for five years as if Cameron's and Clegg's convenient interpretation was the only one that mattered. What people actually 'voted for' (if a mass ballot really can have a mind and character of its own, which itself borders on insulting inanity) is a weak and unstable government that would have to make policy according to principle, be answerable to the people every day of its existence, and would have to rely on pure guts and political nous just to get through one parliament.

A minority Tory government would have delivered that, and would have shown the country that the party still had a soul and some real courage. It would have earned them a proper victory down the line, too, possibly with a new leader who genuinely represented those erstwhile traits of the Conservative institution.

As it is, forget what I've said before, (although I've been pretty consistent in the post-election propaganda landscape), the middle class Richmond/Notting Hill shits are in charge again (this time with a bluish-yellow hue rather than a red one). They've welded Parliament's doors shut to the likes of me and you, and are now talking to themselves while really, honestly imagining, laughably, that they are running the country.

It did not take long, but the consequences, as the world economy tanks - this time for real - will be awe-inspiring and devastating. We could have had a weak but principled and determined government. Instead, we don't even have a 'strong and stable government'. All we really have is weakness, fudge, paralysis and hot air.

Not impressed. Plus ca change, right?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ming The Merciless Strikes Again

The taste for the blood of human prey must be pretty overwhelming for a grizzled political werewolf like Menzies Campbell. He can't get enough of it. Certainly Charles Kennedy's 80 proof claret clearly wasn't enough to slake a thirst like Ming's, even though it did poison his leadership. Now he's stalking little Bercow, too, and seeking to replace him, just like he did with Kennedy, as Iain Dale reports.

I'm suggesting there must be some sort of political bloodlust at work here, because he certainly can't be doing it consciously. He who wields the knife seldom wears the crown and all that. At least, not for very long. You would have thought he of all people would have learnt that lesson pretty comprehensively. It seems not. So no, Ming must be driven by some kind of supernatural desire to decapitate colleagues, even those that pose no threat to him - though perhaps do represent an obstacle to his ambition. Target and destroy.

Even so, I would not be sorry to see that duplicitous little git Bercow ousted, even by a fresh-brains-addicted political LibDum zombie like Menzies Campbell. But it's just worth remembering now and then that the ends seldom justify the means. Whatever the outcome, however joyful, the "means" have a habit of coming back and biting you in the ass.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Letters From A Tory, RIP

A few days ago, discreet - and now defunct - blogger "Letters from A. Tory" posted what I think is one his finest bits of commentary, among many fine bits of commentary from that individual over the years. We'd come to expect it, value it, even.

It's worth noting, at least on my diary of political angst - for personal posterity, in other words, you understand - that I'd been reading the Letters blog for a couple of years or so already, long before I'd thought about the idea of an online diary of my own. But it was his efforts that finally convinced me to have a crack at it myself - at the start of last year. I have to be grateful for that, not least because it's more or less kept me sane.

Well, now he's gone, sadly. But his last post doesn't just resonate as much as all his others, it's a perfect warning to David Cameron, a man who, so far, has done pretty well as coaltionist Prime Minister, but he's also ignored, alarmingly, his people.

Anyway, here's the quitter's last post:
Dear David Cameron,
This is the final letter that I will ever write, as this blog will sadly be closing down tomorrow (along with a final goodbye from me). I appreciate that this salient fact may have escaped your attention due to some rather important events in your own life and career over the past few days. Even so, regardless of the election result, you were always going to be the last person that I wrote to, as there is so much that I’d like to say.
When you became leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, I had barely heard of you. Along you came, with a superb leadership campaign and a genuine belief that the Conservative Party had to change in order to win an election – which was, of course, entirely correct. Over the following months and years, we saw the environment take centre-stage, euroscepticism get quietly tucked away and centre-ground political thinking forced onto a somewhat reluctant group of MPs. It was necessary, but it was a bitter pill to swallow. Nevertheless, the Conservative MPs on the benches behind you in the House of Commons soon realised that you could deliver a Conservative government, and for that reason alone they kept their mouths shut (most of the time). However, your inner cabal of strategists, image gurus and modernisers did not have it all their own way. On several occasions, including the election campaign itself and the election that never was in 2007, your closed circle came under huge pressure from the electorate and your own party. Yes, they survived, as did you, but only just. As we approached the recent general election, voters were still unsure about who you were and what you believed in, which is staggering after five years of leading the opposition. Your desire to keep your cards close to your chest and deal purely in intangibles and soundbytes almost cost you a place in 10 Downing Street. The public don’t like feeling uneasy about potential Prime Ministers, yet they were fed uneasiness in spades. Despite all the funding you could have asked for and a crippled government, it so nearly went horribly wrong.
Here we are, just a few days later, witnessing a truly historic coalition between you – a liberal conservative – and the Liberal Democrats. Ironically enough, everything is completely different yet little has changed. You still have a group of MPs who will be sitting behind you, watching, waiting, holding their nerve for as long as possible in the hope that you can deliver a truly successful and admired Conservative government. Common sense tells them to keep quiet rather than voice their anger and irritation. You will have your inner cabal with you in government as they were in opposition, making decisions that affect everyone and everything despite having shown their incompetence on more than one occasion. Moreover, the coalition deal has put many of your favoured issues – social justice, a green economy, civil liberties – at the heart of your plans for government. You didn’t hide your disappointment at not getting a majority in the House of Commons, yet you have gracefully and seamlessly organised a historic coalition with another party. The question on everyone’s lips now is, naturally, will it last? I have no idea what the answer is to that question, but then again neither do you. What I find interesting, though, is not that things could go well or go badly – that is just stating the obvious. The most incredible element of this coalition is the breathtaking gulf between the best case scenario and worst case scenario for you and the Conservative Party.
The best case scenario for 2015 is simple enough. The economy will be growing at a healthy rate and both unemployment and economic inactivity will be reduced. The welfare state will have been transformed by supporting people into work and punishing those who chose not to get a job. Our broken society will have begun its long healing process through stronger families, good schools, lower crime and genuine localism taking hold. Government waste will have been largely eliminated and the state will be much leaner and fitter than it is now. British people will be put first, civil liberties will be untouchable and immigration will be severely curtailed. People’s faith in politics and politicians will have been mostly restored. The Lib Dems will have kept their end of the deal, leaving themselves with absolutely no electoral appeal relative to the Conservative Party and facing annihilation. The Labour Party will be rife with infighting and weak leadership, making them virtually unelectable given your strong performance as Prime Minister and with the memory of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown fresh in many people’s minds.
The worst scenario, however, is nothing short of disaster. The coalition falls apart within months as the Lib Dems walk away, accusing you of ignoring them and not delivering on promises. You look weak and indecisive, with your own party demanding tougher action on any number of issues. The Conservative grassroots refuse to campaign because you and your inner cabal leave them disillusioned with pointless platitudes and non-traditional policies. The economy staggers along, still badly wounded, and public sector cuts push unemployment in the wrong direction. The voters ignore your pleas over the necessity of cutting government spending while every policy announcement is met with scorn and cries of ’spin’. Your school reforms and localist agenda stumble and fall. Your welfare reforms leave you branded as abandoning the poor and needy. Uncontrolled immigration continues unabated and the anger spills over onto the streets. Your pro-EU stance forces some backbench MPs to break ranks and speak out against the party line. Labour regroups and, as the only strong opposition party, lap up your failures and convince the floating Lib Dems and disgruntled Conservative voters to join them. Electoral defeat is little more than an inevitability.
My political crystal ball is of no use. For the life of me, I just cannot see where this will all end up. Neither the best case scenario nor the worst case scenario are implausible, outlandish or inconceivable, yet the two scenarios are a staggering distance apart. The only thing that I can say with any certainty is that the future is very uncertain. The history books will remember the next five years of British politics as one of the most incredible periods in living memory. I just can’t decide whether that will be for better or for worse.
Good luck, Mr Cameron. You’re going to need it.
Yours sincerely,
A.Tory
Wise words, wouldn't you think?

I'm not going to link through to the source site of this article because it's now officially (so I've been told) dead.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Strange Days



We must avoid conflict in the name of stability (rather than unity). Right?

Hmm.

PS: I guess if we're doing a bit of 90s East London mellow vibe peace rap, we might as well have this one too:


I agree, but the new routine is starting to look just as bad as the old one. Go figure.

And have a nice weekend.

Day 3: WithThe Best Will In The World

Yesterday was too irritating to blog about. Besides, I was busy with real, crust-earning life.

But it was an excruciating day politically. The vain Huhne's inability to be ministerial in any sense of the term, preferring his own agenda regarding what he seems to think is the minor issue of nuclear power over policy, thus undermining on Day 2 his own party leader's sworn coalition commitments, was just too much for me to take without crashing my car.

So I let it go, calmed down, made it home and stayed silent. That was healthy. And hey, I've been ecouraged to be a quiet supporter of this stupid marriage anyway, not least by the Conservative Party's central spin machine. "Give it a chance, Den, it's the new politics," they've said. Well, sure. I'm game.

Bullshit. Day 3 and while we have the hangoever of Simon Hughes' Tory-hating performance on Question Time to mull over, a new revolt - from Tory backbenchers, no less, not LibDums - over the 55% Cameron "stability" proposal (which smacks of Day 2 desperation to me), dominated the political news.

But that's been trumped now. Coalition Day 4 will be all about Saint Vinny Cable's (he's now Britain's Business Minister, laughably) desperate calls to Gordon Brown (remember him?) to discuss ways of keeping the "Tories out".

Sorry, fellow moderate Conservatives, but you should understand now why I am measuring this hopeless coalition's lifespan in terms of days rather than months or - and this bit of political confection amused me the most when I heard it from the two leaders involved - in years!

The best will in the world, which is what David Cameron has delivered - and he demonstrated that again, impressively, today in Scotland as his defining, wonderful feature as a genuine leader - cannot alter the potentially perverse motives and vile appetites of the partner you choose to bed.

The Liberal Democrats are appalling bedfellows, not because of the Tories, or even because of their natural woolliness, but because they have no idea of unity in the name of higher purpose, and absolutely no genuine party unity anyway.

Cameron has had a wonderful, heavyweight start, and so has the Tory part of his team. That bodes well.

In contrast, the LibDems look like total lightweights - and totally divided lightweights at that (where's the leadership from Clegg? Why hasn't he slapped Huhne down? Because he can't).

They are, in short, complete jokes - and Cameron, as his stock price rises as he pops up on the world's radar and is recognised as a sound man with a view who seems to be listening, has no need to take any shit from any of these idiots at home.

I feel an ultimatum is actually pretty imminent. It should be. "Hey, Clegg, Mr Deputy Prime Minister. Shape up or sod off."

Well, someone has to say it.

Things fall apart/The Centrists cannot hold...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Day 1: The Freedom Bill

Philip Johnson has just perfectly framed one of the major priorities for this new Conservative/coalition (CC for short) government. It's a Great Repeal or, the alternative, which I prefer, Freedom Bill which will, when enacted, move us forward in the titanic task of repairing the damage that thirteen years of Labour has inflicted on Britain's tradtional rights and liberties. He is, in fact, a champion of the cause:

As someone who has written countless articles, and a recently published book, Bad Laws, about Labour’s excessive legislation and the erosion of our civil liberties, the new government’s programme for tackling this through a Great Repeal Bill is greatly encouraging.

For this who have not seen the list of laws and databases set either for the axe or for review here it is. I can think of many more to add, and any suggestions are gratefully received. But it is a start.

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.

The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.

Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.

The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

Further regulation of CCTV.

Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.

A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences

Excellent stuff, and in Ken Clarke there is a true heavyweight who can get the job done. But this should be just the beginning. After Labour's wicked assault on our freedoms is tackled, more repeal bills will be required to heal the deep wounds of every other area of British public life Labour mauled with their nightmarish authoritarian statism and hyper-interventionism - most of all but certainly not exclusively in education.

This is a positive initiative that stops dead the previous government's sinister ideological legal and social manipulation and simultaneously will help to bring them firmly to book for their actions while in office.

Forget all the photo opportunities, it is this that says to me loud and clear: the CC government has made a good start on Day 1. It bodes well for the future.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A Happy Queen

No, not him, you fool. Her Maj. Seems we are amused. The Prime Minister will be relieved.

Well, him and the two sensible thirds of the country both.

HE'S GONE!

Three years - or thirteen years. You pick. It amounts to the same thing: this is the end of the worst government this country has ever had inflicted upon it. It is the moment this blog was mainly started for: to bring that moment a little bit closer. If it did (which I doubt) then at least it has served some sort of a purpose aside from channeling my anger. I suppose I'll have to turn it into a 'defend' blog now - or something.

But, my god, the most poisonous advisors finally did for him didn't they? Mandelson, Adonis, Campbell, Balls - they were all there. A sad collection of Wormtongues who finally killed the corrupt old leader off. And never was such an ignominious end more richly deserved.

But, in the end, who cares. HE'S GONE!!

The Past


A FUTURE

He's Almost Gone...

Brown has almost gone and the deal with the Libdems is almost complete, according to Bareknuckle Boulton on Sky.

Me, I have grave misgivings about this whole shoddy arrangement. But at least Cameron will be where he should be, in Number 10 - elected - and at least the cuckoo Brown will finally be out. For good. That'll do for now.

==Update==
Sky has just reported Brown is going to resign tonight. I am very glad I kept that bottle of vintage bubbly on ice. Toasting his exit will be one, sweet moment of gladness.

==Update 2==
Oh dear, the lecturn's out again.

Good grief, do the dignified thing, Brown: just get in the Jag and go to the palace. We really do not want yet another self-justifying, self-pitying speech. We've had thirteen long years of those, all equally as bad, or worse, than the last one.

He shall not be missed.

Con-Lib Back On

According to Sky News sources, the talks between Labour and the Liberals have "failed". After all that, who'd have thought it would be a few Labour MPs - a mixture of Scottish veterans, bitterly opposed to the SNP, and some promising young thrusters, who would inject some reality into Labour's mad ambitions, themselves driven on by the likes of Mandelson (unelected), Alistair Campbell (unelected) and Gordon Brown (unelected - as PM - and now comprehensively defeated - as PM)?

Mind you, after the way the Liberal Left and its old guard have behaved over the past two days, David Cameron would be well within his rights to conclude that a party like Nick Clegg's outfit is unfit for office and declare that for the long term, political good of the country, he's going it alone - and then dare the Lib Dems to side with Labour in bringing down his government. Cameron would be thinking "bring that on" - and the mauling Labour and, especially, the Liberals would receive at the general election that was triggered. The Lib Dems have been that bad over the past few days; they've been that shabby.

Others have already posted this idea for an outcome in the comments on this blog and on their own blogs at one time or another. At first, my own naive good will must have clouded my judgment. However, the veil has been lifted, but not just from my eyes: if the Lib Dems are that treacherous when they're engaging in coalition/cooperation talks, just what would they be like with a bit of power? It doesn't bear thinking about, not least because maybe, after all, such a coalition would be worse than treacherous, it would be futile. It could hardly be the 'stable coalition with a working majority governing in the national interest' now, would it? It would be toxic, and the Tories might actually be mad to contaminate themselves with it just for the sake of a few months of ineffective governing.

Still, having said all that, I certainly don't blame Cameron for any of this, unlike some on the Tory right and a few heavyweights of yesteryear, like Norman Tebbit. Cameron had to try, and he's conducted himself with magnificent integrity all the way through. And people will notice that. They have noticed it. Whatever happens, he is the winner from here on in. And besides, you don't blame the victim for being stabbed in the back, unless you prefer a particularly bloody brand of Machiavellian politics. The perp always takes the wrap (ask Menzies Campbell).

The British people will not be forgiving. They're the real 'victims' of the Liberals' two faced, self-interested double-dealing, and the Labour delusionals who just can't accept that they lost the argument and just can't take 'no thank you' (or words to that effect) for an answer.

So perhaps we will have to ask the question again after all. Well, if so, the sooner the better. So be it.

Moore's Crusade

The treatment of its captive audience by the BBC has long been a total scandal, especially in the area of funding, where its behaviour, especially over the past ten to fifteen years, has become beyond sinister and threatening to the point where it could well be - and probably is - illegal according to international law.

But I had no idea just how big an impact the BBC's licence fee collection army has on the entire legal system until, that is, I started following Charles Moore's protest of disobedience at the handling of the Ross-Brand outrage in 2008. Today, he's written what I imagine will be his last piece on the now-resolved case (which he lost, naturally) in which he reveals some truly chilling facts, especially towards the end, about just how massive a drain on the nation's resources the BBC has become, in every sense:
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing I have discovered over the past 20 months is the vast tide of small-scale human misery which the licence fee causes. In 2008-09, there were 168,800 prosecutions for licence-fee evasion. That is nearly 15 per cent of all prosecutions. Almost all the people charged are poor. The telly is one of their few pleasures, and they tend not to watch the BBC on it. And yet, for want of £142.50, tens of thousands clog up the courts every year.

Yesterday in Hastings, a young single mother was tried for the same offence as mine. She had a baby in a pushchair, and I agreed with the clerk to let her case go first, so that she could get out in time to fetch her other children out of school. I can see no justice and no humour in a situation where people like her are punished, so that people like Ross can get his £6 million.
The BBC is a parasitical organism, draining life out of our culture, our society, our politics and our economy with its PC anti-intellectualism, its decadence, its political bias and its greed.

It's time this particular disease of the body politic was cured.

The Liberal Left Take Over

Having seen Simon Hughes, with all his suspiciously Bennite vocal characteristics (you're telling me they're not related!) on BBC News this morning, talking up the Lib-Lab pact, and then hearing Paddy Ashdown on Radio 4, he of the 'progressive coalition' obsession, talking about 'his' party entering a minority arrangement with Labour - (he had the temerity to say the Tories wouldn't 'dare' vote it down. They wouldn't have to, Paddy. They could leave that to the nationalists - or even the unionists) - having seen and heard all that, one thing is now surely very clear. Nick Clegg has lost control of 'his' party's agenda - if he ever had control over it in the first place, which I doubt.

Whatever the outcomes of this little Lib Dem mini-coup, that party is now in grave danger. It is important to remember that the history of the SDP-Liberal Alliance is a jolly turbulent one. It seems to me to be a party, being, as it is, really two merged though still fairly discrete political identities, that is quite capable of tearing itself apart over this. One of its own supporters seems to think so too. Mike Smithson, of Political Betting, writes:
Could this end up splitting the Lib Dems?
This is my 64th birthday and I’m fearful that it could go down as the day that parts of my own party took decisions that could have a lasting and possibly even destructive effect.
The election arithmetic and the harsh economic reality for the nation leaves the party with one choice - but one that large parts of it appear to be unable to accept.
To be seen to be propping up a government that secured just 29.6% of the vote just five days ago and to reject what appears to be a reasonable deal from the seat and vote winners is taking it into very dangerous territory.
I don’t know where this will end up but passions are running very high and all players have to detach themselves and look at how it appears from the outside.
The events of these few days will define the Lib Dems for generations if it survives that long.
I think it's becoming obvious now that a war is going on inside the Liberal Democrats for what some clearly see as the identity of that party. At the moment, it would appear that the Euro-left of PR-obsessed, Labour-sympathisers are almost certainly winning.

The Tories should walk away from this lot now. It's no good waiting for some sort of childish propaganda victory. The Lib Dems look toxic to me. Better out of it while the election performance, so close to a majority, is still uncontaminated by non-manifesto commitments, never required but made public nonetheless. I could live with AV, burdensome though it would be. But for many Conservatives that was a step too far already. It should really be the dealbreaker, if there is any deal to be broken (which I now doubt).

As for the Lib-Lab coup: huh, let it happen. Let Ashdown's dare be tested. I can guarantee that a Lib-Lab minority pact is truly the lemming option. Never mind that it destroys the idea that the Lib Dems (or Labour - but we already knew about them) are remotely interested in 'stable government in the national interest', it would be extraordinarily bad for the reputation of parliament, too. But hey ho. If Labour really doesn't understand what losing an election, or, at the very least, the authority to govern, means, then they must learn the hard way. And they will, as others have said, at another election - which will happen a lot sooner than even I'd thought - in August of September.

As for the Lib Dems. Well, unless Clegg does something remarkable today and proves that he is in charge of a unified party - 'his' party, not Paddy Ashdown's - then I firmly believe that they are finished. Every hour of secret talks and double dealing that passes, they come off looking worse in the eyes of an impatient nation. What's more, every hour of secret talks and double dealing that passes, the case for proportional representation in a nation with a tradition of and an appetite for strong government looks weaker and weaker.

Why, I wonder, do the Lib Dems think they only ever win 18-24% of the popular vote? Well, if they don't know then I'll happily spell it out: because 60-80% of the electorate doesn't like their policies and never has. The Tories should remember that.

One other thing: so much for Guido's "Change Coalition". Good. One thing I could never have stomached was that slimy toad Chris Huhne in a cabinet post. He sounded far too much like another Hoon to me.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Lib Dems In Process Of Signing Their Own Death Warrant

The Lib Dems have always been a pushmepullyou party with a 'progressive' wing (leftwing, that is), and what I would call a woolly wing of failed Tories like its current leader. Well, while the Clegg end has been talking to David Cameron, we now find that the Simon Hughes end of this most unnatural of animals has been quietly talking to Labour at the same time. And now they've secured a vague promise from the man who lost the general election, Gordon Brown, to stand down - when it suits him, though, naturally not the electorate who just told him to piss off - and in the process, judging by the sudden outpouring of new soundbites from Labour ministers, - who are, incredibly, and thanks to what increasingly looks like a stitch-up - still 'ministers' making policy and spending money but without a mandate to do so - given Labour a sniff of a chance to seize back power.

Well, they're jeopardising any chance of a deal with the Tories, the only legitimate outcome possible save a Conservative minority government. They're also jeopardising economic stability and the legitimacy of this parliament before it's even begun. I'll tell you something else, if they keep on down this path, the Tories will (rightly) just walk away. It's grubby stuff, this. Judging by the comments of Alistair Campbell (yes, old potty mouth is still there, plotting and scheming) which nearly led to a fight on live television between him and Adam Boulton, what we could be seeing here is effectively a slow motion coup and it is impossible to see how it can be stopped.

I feel I'll be getting bloody angry very soon. You should be planning for that possibility too. This can only get worse. For instance, should the defeated Labourists get the backing of the Libdums, by bribing them with whatever they want, they could deliver PR in a shotgun bill, without consulting the electorate. The next election would lead to a permanent Lib-Lab coalition. It would be as though this election had never happened, which is exactly what Brown would love. You can imagine the left salivating away right now with him at the prospect. But not all of them. Tom Harris spoke a lot of sense on Radio 4 this evening, saying that on the Labour side, there are truly 'honourable' members who do not support PR and would not vote for it. He also said a deal with the Yellows would not work. Let's hope he's right on both counts.

For the Liberal Democrats, if they do carry on down this path, they will be signing their own political death warrant. Already, it is crystal clear that there are forces in Clegg's party he can't bring over, and who care far more about their own party than they do for the national interest. But Clegg cannot have his cake and eat it, or he will choke. He has to get tough with the Simon Hugheses and Don Fosters of his party and tell them to shut up - in the national interest. You know what? I don't think he's strong enough after his rubbish general election. So he might not have a choice in the end. But if the left of his party ends up victorious, and installs Brown/Labour in power, and keep the winners of the general election out, they will never be forgiven. There'll be another general election eventually and they will be obliterated.

Last thing, does Gordon Brown actually understand what an election is? All evidence thus indicates a negative answer to that question. Don't trust a word that comes out of his gawping gob. Go in September? You are having a laugh. I told you, he would have to be removed at gunpoint.

We took a step closer to that unthinkable scenario today.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Take Me To Your Leader

Not sure how Matt manages to be so damn funny - and spot on - every day, but he's done it again.

The Change We Need

While the cuckoo Brown parasitically remains in the Number 10 nest, and the country's real Prime Minister, David Cameron, gallantly waits and, with refreshing integrity, allows the defeated demagogue a window of opportunity through which he can choose to leave with some semblance of dignity intact, on the near horizon the storm clouds gather.

The country, and the economy, cannot wait on Gordon Brown's - and Labour's - wake-up call. He and they are now so divorced from reality that, so the left press seems to be reflecting, they imagine there is some way they can remain in power without a democratic mandate by doing some sort of deal with the Lib Dems. They are deluded if they think that will work, even if Cameron rejects the Yellow party's demands. They are even more deluded if they think, as the equally unelected Mandelson does, that a change of leader will sweeten the pill. It won't. If Labour wants to commit final suicide, that would be one of methods.

But this is all equally devastating for the hard core Tory right. They can't enter into a deal with anyone, on principle. They think Cameron has failed, so he must be punished. No, Heffer-types, you irrational, Thatcher-fetishists, Cameron triumphed. Not by quite enough, but he triumphed.

So I'm one of those people who believes that, yes, with hindsight, Cameron might have stuck to the tax-cutting guns a bit more. But I also believe that what was more important is exactly what Cameron has delivered: weaning the country off the lies, spin, bribes and decadence of New Labour, a horrible cocktail of expensive deceit to which it had become addicted. He's achieved that, so he's done what we needed and what he promised.

So now I will bow to his judgment on the final strategy for removing the cuckoo incumbent, including, if necessary, a deal with the Liberal Democrats and, if necessary, a well-equipped army detachment to get the job done on our behalf at gunpoint. It might yet come to that with a lunatic like Brown.

But that deal with the Lib Dems. What, precisely, is worrying about it? If you are an honest Tory, then the answer is "nothing", including a voting reform referendum (as Iain Dale explains) and cabinet posts for the likes of Cable. If you think the Conservative Party belongs, somehow, to you, then you are hyper-identifying (like Heffer) and need to move out and along. Join the Heffer Party for all I care. Just don't pretend you're a Tory, or that you're a grown-up.

As Michael Portillo says (he who seems to be a bit of a last-minute convert to Cameron, amazingly):
If the result is that the party gains power, the internal argument is over before it starts.
True Conservatives need to get real if they want Brown gone once and for all time. Otherwise, that Scottish criminal will exploit the self-indulgence of the leading, Tory party, ignore the fact that he has just devastated his own party in Westminster, and continue to "lead" - squat - by some miracle (also known as "constitutional loophole"), from/in Number 10. Cameron understands the change we need, and he's about to deliver it (he's going to eject Brown once and for all, one way or another. First principles!)

In other words, priority one is to kill this Brown zombie. And what Cameron is doing now with Clegg will achieve that core, common aim. Criticise this, and you are either a world-class numbskull (like Heffer) or a political fetishist who thrives on discord.

Only, while you're deciding, do remember your country. Cameron seems to have.

But if you can't do that, then next time just vote Kipper and be done with it. Only don't expect anyone to take you seriously - being the over-starched, self-important Hefferite that you clearly are - ever again.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Satisfactory, Not Spectacular

Well, putting to one side all the nonsense for once, I'd say I'd pretty much got what I wanted, or very nearly: if not the end of Labour, then the end of Brown. A satisfactory outcome - just about. And a relief.

You have to ask the question, though: why wasn't this a spectacular victory for the Tories? There are tons of possible answers to that. Here are a few of them:

1. The weather.
Coupled with the general feeling of disillusionment with Westminster politics, and the steady decline of turnouts under Labour, was the rain. It was a miserable day where I am and I gather it wasn't much better anywhere else. All that's a recipe for a lowish turnout, and for a tighter race.

2. The swing.
Lots has been said about 'the swing' so there's no need to add much more beyond a reminder: thanks to the way Labour's rigged it, the Tories needed to break records to gain that overall majority they were after. I honestly thought they would. I was wrong! But they did bloody well, nonetheless.

3. The Lib Dem effect.
Even though they've done dreadfully in terms of seats, in terms of splitting votes in key constituencies, they've done precisely what I had hoped they wouldn't do and narrowed the margin of Labour's defeat. I hope they're very proud of themselves.

4. The media.
The media, especially Sky and the BBC, decided early in the game that the hung parliament theme was the one they liked, and they pushed it absolutely relentlessly from day one. They deliberately generated uncertainty in the country, and kept on blurring the dividing lines between the parties. The thing that was most unforgivable, however, was their massive and utterly disproportionate coverage of Nick Clegg and his Lib Dems. I think that has had a massive impact if not in directly splitting the vote, then in causing people actually not to vote. I am guilty, too, therefore - of underestimating the power television still has in swaying public opinion. But never again must TV be permitted to have such liberty during an election fight that it can pretty much do what it likes.

5. Labour
What damage these evil parasites have done to our democracy is, at the moment, difficult to quantify. But damaged it they have, massively and, possibly, irreparably. They have been trying to rig the system using any and all means at their disposal, including benefit dependency and even electoral fraud since the first day they conned their way into office. As far as I am concerned, they're a bunch of criminals. One thing looks certain, if we are to have our country back, Brown will need to be forcibly removed from Number 10, at gunpoint if necessary.

6. The economy
This is the real killer. Neither Labour nor the Tories have really been honest about the scale of the threat facing us by the sovereign debt crisis and the future of the nation's prosperity. People are not stupid, and they are seriously spooked. I was explaining the situation as objectively as I could to a foreign student the other day. I was surprised by what I heard myself saying, broadly that on the one hand, you had a fairly honest party that was hinting at immediate cuts (which would not go far enough) and on the other you had a completely dishonest party hinting at delayed cuts, (which would not go far enough). The people in general seem to be sort of trusting the party that's kind of hinting at more immediate action - sort of - rather than the party that put us in this shit in the first place (I didn't use the word 'shit' at the time).

In other words, an awful lot of floating voters are still out there, still floating, because no one gave them clear enough signals, or any real leadership. Cameron needs to grow a pair, show some steel and start leading. Now that he has won some sort of a mandate, and the moral right to govern, he can get tough with whoever wants to stand in his (and our) way, and at the very least try to avoid the meltdown that is coming.

Look on the bright side, though: Brown is finished.

Oh, and that bottle of vintage champagne is still in the fridge, unopened. Well, I don't think we're done with elections this year quite yet so I'm saving it for the outright Tory win.

There's gonna be a lot of fun before that moment, though. Don't stray too far from your radios!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Tory Win

Just bet my brother a brownie that the Sky News exit poll is a joke and this'll be a Tory majority. Mind you, looking at the third world-style fiasco in Sheffield, I'm beginning to doubt whether this election is clean, (unless the Tories win it, naturally ;).

Anyway, Tory win - I firmly believe it. If it's a simple win, I get a tenner off my fickle lefty younger sibling.

If they win by 60, I get 200 sovs off Paddypower (a very old bet).

Wish the country (and me) luck.

Meanwhile, In Other News...

Dow crashes 1000 points in 15 minutes on Greek/EU debt crisis. Wall Street thought it was a computer malfunction. It wasn't.

Um...

Source: CNBC

Election Quote



"One day the 'don't knows' will get in and where will we be then?"
Spike Milligan






Hat tip: Inside Out: a jaxxland perspective

The Hopefuls - And One Other

Lol. Peter Brookes is a top 'toonist.

Doctor's Mandate Is Not The Medicine We Need

Brian Reading (perhaps he should be called 'Brain' Reading), the economist who coined the term "stagflation" and popularised the Laffer Curve, has written a terrific piece for the Speccy on the history of the 1970 election, which turned for Heath at the last moment possibly because of a Reading speech. If you haven't already read it, then give it a look.

It's quite nice that no campaigning is allowed on election day and no political coverage is permitted in the media. It feels like I'm living next to an airport but all the planes have been grounded because of a phantom ash cloud: you hear noises you'd forgotten existed and the pace of life is altogether more sedate. I wish it could be election day every day. You also read and hear stuff that wouldn't ordinarily make it into the programme, but does because there's an awful lot of dead air and virtual column inches to fill while uz ordinary folk get their democratic duty over and done with. There were examples of these on the radio this morning, and now there's this wonderful article by Reading.

For instance, in it he says:
Like Gordon Brown, Harold Wilson wanted a doctor’s mandate. He claimed to have the best poop-scoop to clear up the mess the dog had made – the international dog, not his. I started the speech by blaming him for the mess – he had devalued before and would devalue again.
Among the many other magnificently, almost exquisitely efficient statements ("He asked whether his shadow chancellor, Iain Macleod, had approved it. He had not but did that day.") this one caught my eye. The main reason for that, I suppose, is the mention of the name "Gordon Brown", but there were others. Probably because I'm really a novice I'd never heard the term "doctor's mandate" before, and it, and the "poop scoop" for the "international dog" perfectly describes what Brown's game is and it's put more succinctly than anywhere else I've read. And I've been reading a lot lately.

Let's hope he hasn't been allowed to get away with it. His kind of medicine we don't need. We've already had 13 years of the Dr Brown treatment. I'm praying that we're not going to be killed off for good with five years more!

Polling Day

Blimey, I was just going to post something about the weather, which is miserable and wet here, possibly suggesting a lower turnout. But Guido is reporting that chief Kipper Nigel Farage has been involved in a plane crash in Buckingham.

I do hope he's OK. Kind of puts things in perspective somewhat, that sort of thing.

==Update==
Guido is now saying that Farage walked away from the crash but the pilot was being cut from the wreckage. Good news, on the whole.

DECISION DAY



Whatever you do, avoid Brown's economic armageddon and

VOTE CONSERVATIVE

(Too much? Hey, you know, just do the right thing!)

Hat tip: London Spin

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

May 6th: Do The Right Thing

If you live in England or anywhere else where they exist as a serious force, then:

If you live in a brainwashed Welsh Labour "stronghold", as I do, then give them the shock of the century, and vote:You might call me cynical for what might seem like "tactical" voting. Don't. This is the best way to deliver the thing that Labour generally, for their lies, their arrogance, their deceit and, above all, for their disastrous, ruinous incompetence - and Brown, for his lies, his arrogance, his deceit and above all for his disastrous, ruinous incompetence - deserve.

Nothing more and nothing less than obliteration at the hands of an electorate that has had a royal bellyful of them will do.

Do the right thing tomorrow, and not only return a Tory government for Westminster so that the rebuilding can begin, but send Brown-Labour into political Hades for a generation or more so they can't menace the work of reconstruction.

Under the Tories, we have a chance. In Wales, the same applies but with a slightly different technique for escaping the Labour disaster. But the upshot for the entire Union is exactly the same: five more years of Brown-Labour, (if Greece hasn't escaped your notice), and we're finished. Done. Over. Dead.

So whatever your reasons, this May 6th, just do the right thing!

Will Heaven On Freedland

I never thought I'd say this because I haven't really 'got' Will Heaven so far in my relatively short blogging journey (maybe I'm jealous of his relative youthfulness and palpable cleverness - I certainly apologise if those are the reasons!), but he's just posted a piece answering that desperate Freedland thing that caused a bit of a stir in the leftwing media today of such dazzling brilliance that I'm afraid I've caved-in to the temptation to cut and paste it here so that you don't have to venture into its natural habitat to read it:

Emails from my Lefty friends have been pinging into my inbox this afternoon.Their subject lines have all been similar: “What do you think about Jonathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian on life under the Tories?” Hardly surprising, since it has been trending on Twitter all day. But I thought I’d take a closer look at what’s really worrying the brilliant Left-wing columnist.

Freedland writes, à la Kinnock: “I warn you that a chance some have waited for all their adult lives will slip away, perhaps taking another generation to come around again: the chance to reform our rotten, broken electoral system.”

But do the voters really want Labour sharing power after 13 years in government? Surely not, judging by recent polls which suggest a Labour collapse worse than one overseen by Michael Foot in 1983. They’ve had enough. And if you won’t listen to the electorate, at least read Boris Johnson on the problems with PR:

With PR, you end up with two types of MP and two types of democratic mandate; you promote the rise of extremist and fringe parties, such as the BNP, which has exploited PR to capture a seat on the London Assembly; and you end up with a system that is not remotely proportional. As Clegg knows full well, the effect of PR is greatly to magnify the influence of the third or fourth or fifth party – at the expense of the first or second. Look at Germany, where the FDP was able to hold the balance of power, and retain the foreign ministry for decades, in spite of winning only 5 per cent of the vote. Look at Israel, and the disproportionate influence of the minority religious parties.

All these are grave defects, but there is one final and overwhelming reason why Britain should not and will not adopt PR – that it always tends to erode the sovereign right of the people to kick the b––––––s out. Look at Belgium or Italy and see the disaster of coalition governments, endlessly forced to appease their constituent parts, chronically unable to take the decisions necessary for the country.

Freedland knows this first-hand. The only time I have met him was on a trip to Israel during the last Israeli election, when he explained to me and other students – in crystal clear terms – why Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian Right-wing nut (and former nightclub bouncer), was about to be made the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs despite his extreme party, Yisrael Beiteinu, only receiving about 11 per cent of the popular vote. PR – and a weak coalition government – was to blame.

Freedland continues: “If Cameron wins, he will not only thwart any move to fairer voting, he will act fast to rig the system in his favour. Even neutrals agree that his plan to cut the number of MPs by 10% – presented as a mere cost-cutting measure – will be one of the grossest acts of gerrymandering in British political history.”

The above link – to an Independent story – was a curious one to include. The so-called “neutrals” are David Blunkett, some unnamed “Labour officials”, and – finally – there is some research from the University of Plymouth which concludes: “The geography of each party’s support base is much more important, so changes in the redistribution procedure are unlikely to have a substantial impact and remove the significant disadvantage currently suffered by the Conservative Party.” Right, so that supports Freedland’s argument, does it?

Thirdly, he calls for “reform of our absurd, unelected second chamber” which, he writes, “will be postponed indefinitely, enabling Cameron to pack the Lords with his mates and sugar daddies, including perhaps a few more of those businessmen who so obligingly sided with the Conservatives in condemning Labour’s plans for national insurance.”

Why not acknowledge the fact that the Conservatives have themselves pledged to reform the House of Lords? Here’s the key quote from their manifesto:

We will work to build a consensus for a mainly-elected second chamber to replace the current House of Lords, recognising that an efficient and effective second chamber should play an important role in our democracy and requires both legitimacy and public confidence.

Freedland laments the Tory plans for the economy, saying, “I warn you that the economy could slide back into despair… A sudden shut-off of the public spending tap could well send a frail recovery staggering back into recession: the dreaded double-dip. It’s happened elsewhere and could happen here.”

But, as I blogged earlier, the argument that swift debt reduction could endanger the British economy is wearing thin, as Greece’s debt crisis shows worrying signs of impacting Europe as a whole. As one influential financial journlist (who until 48 hours ago was planning to vote Lib Dem) put it to me: “There is only one way for the UK to avoid a Greek-style crisis, and that is to reduce the country’s deficit as quickly as possible. The Tories’ economic plans have been vindicated.” The Economist and the Financial Times – both of which have backed a Conservative government – seem to agree.

Freedland is suspicious of Cameron’s wicked, wicked plan to ringfence NHS spending and of the Tories proposed inheritance tax cut, which is unlikely to happen soon. He is also anxious that single mothers and widows will receive £3 a week less than married women, because the Conservatives believe that the tax system should promote the family.

And he is sceptical about fusty old Tory backbenchers, while failing to note that half of them are about to be elbowed aside by a new intake of younger, more progressive, Conservative MPs. He is worried by David Cameron’s friends in the EU – but I think Daniel Hannan has answered that claim effectively on his blog, pointing out that “the ECR is more respectable than either of the two big blocs, the EPP or the Socialists.”

Finally, Freedland wishes he had time “to make a positive case for Labour, echoing its promises on a living wage and a cap on predatory chargecard interest rates or its plans for green jobs.”

But the truth is that – after 13 years in power – there really is no positive case for Labour. Tomorrow, the electorate will show they know it.

Superb. And here here!

Telegraph's Gaga Swingometer

Someone please tell me I'm wrong, stupid or crazy (or all of the above, if it makes you feel better), but isn't this swingometer belonging to the Daily Telegraph broken? It says a 20% swing from Labour to the Tories, with the Tories gaining 52% of the vote, would result in a 69-seat majority for Nick Clegg! And he'd only have to win 18% of the vote to do it, according to the hatstand Telegraph software. So hang on just a second, let me get this straight...

...that would mean that the Tories can't win whatever happens and under any circumstances, doesn't it? Does the DT know something we don't? Call me paranoid, but rather than trust the Telegraph's gaga swingometer, I think I'd demand a recount. Clegg gets 356 seats with 18% of the vote. I know the system's constituency centred and therefore can appear imbalanced, but please. Someone's algorithm's gone off the reservation.

Don't take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. Have I gone wrong somewhere with this highly sophisticated flash gimmick for kids? Or is it just broken?

++Update++
They fixed it (as in mended it). How dull. But what if they're all as buggy as this one? Can we really trust any of them? They've had years to develop this stuff so it's not exactly on the hoof. Anyway, we'll see in about 48 hours or so I suppose.

Brown Implodes Mandelson's Campaign

Been reading a few hand-wringing blogposts around and about reinforcing the idea that after that truly appalling rant at the weird, "Citizen UK" rally, Brown had somehow found his voice at the eleventh hour. Of course, it's in the nature of the media that these things become self-reinforcing narratives leading, usually at breakneck speed, to some sort of settled view or consensus, however totally detached from the truth - or reality - it might be. In fact, you could argue that the general election battle is a battle not just for a vote, but to influence that mercurial, flowing media narrative and try to alter, if you like, the course of the discourse - so to speak.

So in one sense - this sense - one could say that Brown sort of succeeded. He has shifted the narrative slightly - maybe - with the BBC on this morning's Today programme being willing accomplices, typically, or even the initiators of this latest little change of tack. But we know that the whole narrative, whichever way it is leaning, is generally nonsense anyway; that the reality is rather different, regardless of whether it influences people's minds or not.

The reality is that Brown, with his back against the wall and his campaign leaders pulling in three different directions, telling their own voters to vote for other parties (David Blackburn was pretty amusing on this in the morning), has decided unsurprisingly to get all atavistic on our butts; to go back to the old irrational, deceitful, Tory-hating, prehistoric Balls-Brown fake dividing line that Mandelson and Darling worked so hard to move away from and onto less toxic, less risky ground. They tried to decontaminate brand Brown. It seems they failed.

But they at least could see the bigger picture that concerns the whole future of Labour. I figure they calculated that if they allowed Brown to lie about phantom Tory cuts/ equally phantom Labour spending, won the election and then proceeded to cut everything in sight having been ordered to by the IMF, they would lose the next election (which would probably come soon afterwards anyway) by a country mile, be truly obliterated this time by a livid electorate, and secure 25 years of Tory government into the bargain without David Cameron even having to break sweat.

So, the upshot is that, despite the direction in which the media narrative is currently veering, apparently and irrelevantly, the fact is that Brown has got it disastrously wrong. He's not only reverted to type (who could have doubted that he wouldn't - that's all he is, after all), but he's actually going to lose the election on the back of it too, so we can skip the brief period of the total turmoil of a Labour government winning on a lie and collapsing within months as the economy tears itself apart and move straight onto the Tories.

All in all, the couple of more rational members of the former Labour cabinet must be tearing their collective hair out (that doesn't include Liam Byrne, naturally) gnashing their teeth and generally wailing a lot. Thanks to Gordon Brown, the whole, elegantly triangulated (and exquisitely dishonest rather than brutally deceitful) Mandelsonian election campaign strategy has now totally imploded and will suck the party down with it.

As I've said before, they only have themselves to blame. They could have removed Brown a long time ago. Hell, they never should have taken the piss out of the electorate by giving the auld wrecker a coronation in the first place. But that's all history now, and so is Labour. The one silver lining is that if there is any justice left in this world, or, indeed, sense left in this country, then even if Labour aren't kicked into third place and kicked into touch for a generation - even if they manage by some miracle to keep Cameron down to a minority government - Brown will be gone.

Even I, ever the optimist who still firmly believes in the clear Tory triumph - if by some horrible, perverted twist of fate I'm wrong, even I would happily settle just for the end of Brown if I can't have anything else. That outcome would be by no means satisfying, or even satisfactory, but it'd be one hell of a relief.

Thirteen Years Was All It Took...

...for New Labour under first Blair, then Brown, to ruin Britain. It's worth watching this again just to remind yourself why you're not voting for Labour - and why you shouldn't risk voting for the Liberal Democrats.


The only party that can be trusted to make a start on rescuing the British economy, and securing genuine recovery, is the Conservative party.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Clegg: Unpatriotic And Unfit For Office

Whatever Nick Clegg's chancer's instincts are telling him about whether he can go in for what, for him, would be the 'big win' of a ministerial role in either a Tory or (God forbid) a Labour government after this general election, all evidence thus far, in terms of his infantile campaign conduct and his hideously ignorant, arrogant attitude towards the country he thinks really desires his leadership in some form or another, points to the absolute certainty that this individual (just like the party that installed him as its leader) is totally unfit for any form of office.

Don't believe me? Nile Gardener, on his Telegraph blog, explains why:

Nick Clegg’s sickening disdain for both the military and intelligence communities was openly on display yet again earlier today in an interview on GMTV. In reply to a critique of his foreign and defence policy in The Times by three former senior national security officials, Clegg responded in typically condescending tones:

“I am not going to take lectures from a bunch of retired establishment figures about the security of this country.”

“Some of them actually made the biggest mistakes in the run-up to the Iraq War. I am not going to apologise for calling, for example, for a proper inquiry into the allegations that somehow the British security services made us complicit in torture.”

There is something breathtakingly arrogant about a party leader who feels he can sneer with impunity at highly distinguished figures that have served their country and dedicated much of their lives to keeping Britain safe, including a former chief of defence staff, Lord Guthrie, who fought as a squadron commander in the SAS. He can disagree with their views all he likes, but to mock them in derisive terms is highly insulting. At the same time Clegg seems obsessed with dredging up the spectre of the Iraq War, which has barely featured in this election despite his best efforts, and accusing Britain’s intelligence services of complicity in torture, which only serves the interests of Britain’s enemies.

As I wrote in my op-ed piece earlier today, Nick Clegg is the first major party leader to run for Prime Minister on an anti-British ticket. He is filled with a self-loathing for his nation and its institutions, which came across in spades in his response to The Times letter. I cannot think of a candidate for Prime Minister in recent memory who has accused his own country of involvement in torture. That is a damning indictment of both Nick Clegg’s leadership and his vision for the future of Britain.

Forget tactical voting. If you vote Lib Dem, maybe you'll get Lib Dem! That's strong enough reason on its own for any wavering voters tempted to turn to the Yellows to think again and do the right thing. If you want Brown out, you have to vote Cameron.

But if, for some peculiar reason, you honestly want five more years of Brown, then vote Brown - if you really have to. So be it - you are who you are and it's a free election.

But to vote for any years of the unutterable faker and Labour-lite cypher, Nick Clegg, is to betray your ideals and beliefs and to betray, if the evidence of Clegg's own spiteful, anti-democratic, anti-British words are anything to go by, your own country too. Who the hell does this idiot think he is?

So do not vote for a man like Clegg just because you still doubt David Cameron or because you've been told it's somehow a smart tactic. It isn't.

Whatever your political inclinations either way, you'd never forgive yourself if your actions resulted in any form of a Clegg-tainted government.

I wouldn't.