What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “coalition”

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!

Well fiddle-de-dee! There has been a huge amount of bollocks written and talked about Sarah Teather discovering her moral compass. Two thousand pounds every month would indeed be a very generous wage to be unemployed on, unfortunately the truth is somewhat different. The vast majority of the money spent on the unemployed goes directly into the hands of complete bastards. Sorry, lets call a spade a spade. Landlords.

Sarah Teather, a Lib Dem MP, had absolutely nothing to do until 2010. I believe that she spent her days watching “Homes Under The Hammer” or some such property porn, where the middle classes indulge their fantasies of unearned income. As someone who thinks unfettered markets are good, she still thinks that we should all pick up the tab for these latter day Rachmans. I look forward to the government that brings back proper public housing, and rent controls, regardless of what bankers think.

I’m Proud of The BBC – Are Labour???

Back in 2010, Mitch Benn – a comedian and songwriter of nearly godlike genius if you ask me, had his biggest hit so far with “I’m Proud of the BBC”, extolling the very real benefits that we all gain from auntie.  Newsround, Newsnight, iPlayer website – the list went on and on. And it hit a chord with listeners and viewers across the nation.

Well, we’ll know what we had if we lose it. The recent reshuffle was nothing more than another stacking of the deck against public service broadcasting as we know it. True, Mr C has moved on, but the tune remains the same – beggar the Beeb, and give a helping hand to Fox – sorry, Sky News.

Does it matter? Well yes it does. Every Government since Harold Wilson has accused the BBC of bias against them, and many have threatened to emasculate the corporation. As part of the fall out of the Hutton Inquiry, the last Labour government may just have started the process. However it was not irreversible, and we are now in a much more dangerous situation.

After all of ten minutes thought, The Coalition decided to cut funding via a freezing of the Licence Fee, then to stop funding The World Service via the Foreign Office. Yes, our Government took one ;look at our greatest soft power asset and said ” fuck it”. And fuck it they have.

As jobs are lost across the corporation, Unions are leading a campaign to stop the cuts – UNITE, BECTU, EQUITY and others, posing an alternative to the cuts – savings on top salaries, and a proper, forward looking policy.

 So where are the Labour MPs? Who is standing up for one of our great national institutions? One that unites us all much more than lousy weather, class snobbery and football? They, shamefully, seem as quiet as the grave, and I call that an outrage of the first order.

 Maybe it is simply an unwillingness to talk about shared culture, or to sound anti- big business. Maybe this is some kind of twisted revenge for Paxman, The Today Programme and trying to be unbiased in its foreign coverage. I don’ honestly know, and if these are the reasons, it must stop now.

Just look at the people throwing mud at the BBC – The Daily Mail, Express, Murdoch, the Tory right and any weirdo who read Ayn Rand and never grew up…

Carlton TV gave us David Cameron, whereas the BBC has given us:

Round The Horne, Miranda, Who Do You Think You Are? The day To Day, Nigella, Panorama and Bagpuss, I Claudius, Absolutely Fabulous!

Sherlock, Fireman Sam, Bruce Forsyth and The League of Gentlemen, The Thick of It, Jeremy Hardy Final Score, everything on BBC Four…

And something that can never be replaced – Sarah Jane Smith – did I mention Doctor Who? 

 

 

apologies to Mitch Benn, hope he doesn’t mind…

 

 

Lib Dem Conference Latest…

… just in…

In Brighton this week, Danny Alexander was publicly thanked by failed minister Sarah Teather for making her look good…

… Breaking News…

…The Lib Dem Glee Club has replaced “F*** off Tony Blair and die” with a more appropriate song that fits their standing in the polls – Tom Lehrers’ “We Will All Go Together When We Go”…

(For the original offensive Lib Dem song, see this – http:www.labourlist.org/2012/09/lib-dem-conference-goers-sing-tony-blair-can-fk-off-and-die/  )

…And in what may yet be seen as his best speech ever, Little Nicky shows his grasp of History, the laws of Physics, and primary colours:

“The past is the past…”  “…we can’t return to the past…”  ” Blue + Yellow = Green…”

So, altogether now – “Red and yellow and pink and blue…”

MUSICAL CHAIRS (YAWN)

Well, the reshuffle went well didn’t it? After all, the purpose of most team changes in modern politics is to get political nerds and journalists to concentrate on personalities, not policy. Mr Cameron has certainly managed that, after a fashion.

Sadly for the Coalition, there seems to be a paucity of talent and personality on the Treasury benches, and this is after only two years – hardly enough time for the attrition of government to wear the LibCons down…

Like the Budget, the 2012 reshuffle may very well be a gift that keeps on giving to the Coalitions’ opponents, internal as well as external.

Every decision made by every Prime Minister will have its supporters and detractors, yet it is astounding that on a day when the right wing strengthened its grip on power in Whitehall, David Cameron was attacked by the most popular Tory in Britain (& part time Mayor of London), Boris Johnson. Oh, and Iain Dale. The day before, David Davis put the boot into George Osborne over the economy. As it happens, many Lib Dems are also increasingly upset with “The Greenest Government Ever”, and its new fracking-friendly Ministers. It would seem that “The Ship of State” is not a happy one.

Little wonder that Tory supporters have gleefully jumped on the non-story that Wallace and Gromit do not always agree (gee, thanks SPADS).

Policy wise this is a huge disaster for the majority of us outside Westminster;

  • A Health Minister who believes the NHS is an “irrelevance”, yet puts his faith in Homeopathy.
  • Iain Duncan Smith secure at DWP with Esther McVeigh.
  • Expenses cheat David Laws rehabilitated and given Education.
  • “Woodentop” Gove still in place.
  • Kenneth Clarke shifted into number ten as a “wise head” – or Official Government Bagpuss impersonator.
  • Vince Cable further isolated at DTI, with only memories and a packet of Humbugs for comfort.

This game of musical chairs signals several things. Firstly, the “liberal” wing of the Tory party, to which our Prime Minister allegedly belongs, is pretty dead in the water. Secondly, even when Cameron panders to the right wing, they are not placated. They won’t be satisfied until there is a majority Tory Government, and until that time, Cameron will be under increasing pressure.The Liberal Democrats have in no way been placated by bringing David Laws back into the Cabinet, if anything quite the reverse.

After two years in power, many LDs are increasingly dissatisfied with this particular civil partnership, although there are a few Orange Bookers who may very well be considering a full-blown marriage. It means that between them, Ham Face and Little Nicky dare not, indeed cannot move either Duncan Smith or Cable, for fear of backbench rebellion.

Personnel changes in Government are supposed to revitalise policy and presentation. Unfortunately for HMG, in this Olympic and Jubilee year, dithering Cameron and Clegg have failed to do so. 

POLITICAL REALITIES – Part One

Now that things have calmed down a bit since the local elections and Ed’s reshuffle, I thought I would write a couple of pieces on where we as a party are, and how we got here. I think that all too often those of us interested in politics can get sucked into the short term news cycle, and I plead guilty to this as much as anyone else. However it is important for me to take a look at the recent past, if only to help me redefine where I think we stand…

1: NUMBER CRUNCHING

So, lets go back to the start: In 1997 Labour won a landslide with over 42% of the votes cast, some 13,518,167 votes in all. This was our biggest share of the vote since 1966, and with high hopes, Labour went into Majority government for the first time since 1974.

Victory was repeated in 2001 on a similar scale, although we lost the votes of a staggering 2,793,214 people in four years under Tony Blair. Low turnout ensured that our share was still around 40%, and New Labour continued, seemingly unassailable.

At his third attempt in 2005, after the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq , the party under Tony Blair saw its vote reduced by a further 1,172,517 to 9,552,436 votes. The war in Iraq also contributed to a rise in popularity for the Liberal Democrats under Charles Kennedy and Alex Salmond’s SNP.

Finally, back in May 2010, Labour under Gordon Brown polled 8,606,517 votes, and just 29% of all votes cast. That was a further 945,915 down from the previous general election, although this was a considerably lower fall than in either 2001 or 2005.

The May 2010 result ensured a Hung Parliament, although it was clear almost from the first declarations that Labour had lost, even if the Tories had not won. It also meant that a stable Coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems, possibly also with Plaid Cymru and the SNP was simply not possible. Simple arithmetic dictated that if a Coalition could be formed, it would be between the Tories and Lib Dems.

To me, one of the salient facts would be that under Tony Blair, over two elections we lost the support of almost four million voters – 3,965,731 to be exact.

Arguably, Gordon Brown had not so far to fall, but from 2005 to 2010 our vote dropped by just under one million. It lost us the General Election, but I cannot help thinking that had we lost fewer votes between 1997 and 2005, then maybe we could have still been in government today.

Had we lost, say half of those votes lost in that period, then in 2010 we would have polled somewhere in the region of  10,589,382 votes – more than in 2010 and close to our 2005 result. So the questions we must ask ourselves must include why did we lose so much trust between 1997 and 2005?

Could it be that Tony Blair, as much as Gordon Brown was a vote loser after 1997? On the face of it the answer may be yes…

So what lost us those votes?

  BEST WHEN WE’RE LABOUR…”

…to be continued…

JUST A QUESTION…

Does Sarah Teather always look like that? Or does someone always fart just before she goes on camera?

MESSAGE TO GIDEON – ITS YOUR ECONOMICS, STUPID!

So today Britain is officially back in recession. This is no time for shallow politicking, people have no confidence that things will get better any time soon, and millions of us are frantically chasing work. Somehow we manage to have the Olympics, a housing crisis, a major infrastructure deficit and STILL the construction sector leads the way for economic downturn.

It is time for Gideon and Dave to admit what many of us have known for some time, that Plan A is not working, that the cuts have been too far and too fast, whilst tax reductions for the super rich were simply not appropriate at this time. This Coalition is making the ordinary people of the UK pay for an economic crisis caused by unregulated finance and thirty three years of monetarist dogma. The very rich men who agreed to come together in May 2010 to restore the nation’s finances have now proved not to be the economic geniuses that they claimed to be. They pretty much look like a bunch of shysters on the make.

In Scotland, News Internationals First Minister plays fast and loose with the essential economic truth, namely that Scotland’s economy is too tied to that of Wales and England to have any chance of independent recovery. His fictional “Arc of prosperity” disappeared when Iceland and Ireland went bust, yet he is content to take the odd pot shot at the rest of us, whilst the public works north of the border are still largely funded from Whitehall. For all his bumptiousness, at least it gives us a ready made argument against the Growth Deniers – publicly funded projects can save jobs and keep mopey flowing into an economy, austerity has now been proved to do the opposite.

By contrast Ed M and Ed B (or Wallace and Gromit) are looking more credible each day. At PMQs today Ed pretty much wiped the floor with Cameron, and Balls has been slowly destroying Whyborns economic credibility for months now. It seems that Gordon Brown was right back in 2010 – it really wasn’t time for a bunch of novices.

 

A LETTER TO LONDON CONSERVATIVES…

Dear London Tories,

 I realise that now is not a good time for you, what with the Budget fiasco, Labour’s poll lead, and having to be nice to Little Nicky and his ilk. You have my sympathy, you really do. It must be galling to look at the London-wide polls and see Labour with a nineteen point lead, and now it looks like Livingstone may even beat Johnson for Mayor. You certainly didn’t need that prat Alexander reminding everyone that these austerity measures will carry on until at least 2016  yesterday, making George “Gandalf” Osborne look more like Saruman with every passing day…

 To an increasing number of you, it must feel like you chose the wrong chap in David Cameron, after all, it cannot sit easily with you when an hereditary Liberal like Helena Bonham Carter pops up and tells the world that David is “not right wing at all, really” after spending weekends with the Camerons at Chequers. I mean, where was Julian Fellowes, or Michael Caine, come to that? Or at least someone with a smarter looking husband…

…and that “tennis” comment did not go down well with voters, not at all. Nor did David’s failure to name a pasty outlet that is actually open in Leeds. For the record, I recently went up there and counted at least two Greggs, and one West of Cornwal shop not five minutes from Leeds station – does no-one do their research at number ten?

 It maybe that he really is “the heir to Blair”, in that he holds your party in contempt, just as Tony did with us. In this you have my sincere condolences, as it will not end well for you, just remember what happened to us…

 Leaving aside “Mad Frankie” Maude making a hash of Union bashing, something we all thought any one of your MPs could do in their sleep, what really must rankle is that faced with an enormously unpopular Labour government, in 2010, you could not defeat Gordon Brown without needing the Coalition. Dave really did not connect with that many swing voters, even when given the electoral gift of “Bigotgate”, economic crisis, the expenses scandal etc. And he seemingly hasn’t got any better – why, for someone who claims to have the countryside in his blood, he fails to remember which horse he rode, and when. He couldn’t even win an election against Gordon Brown.

 However, I think I may have found a solution to your Leadership problem, in fact, it is staring you in the face. You need someone who portrays unambiguous Conservative instincts, yet can appeal to floating voters and socially liberal types across the land.You need a ruthless man. Someone with a high media profile, yet who can take gaffes and bad publicity in his stride, a man that can amuse and delight both the party faithful and those all-important floating voters.Sadly, David Davis won’t do it, & I think you know who I mean, but just to be clear, you need Boris Johnson.

The only problem is that he currently resides in City Hall, not Westminster, but you have it in your hands to change this between now and May 3rd. Just remember, a defeat for Boris can easily be blamed on David Cameron – after all, look at the polls – its the Budget, stupid! And those pesky LibDems! Finding Johnson a safe seat should present you with no problem at all, particularly with the seat cull going ahead, and I doubt that any local association would refuse him, be mad to.

Once safely ensconced in the chamber, it is merely time to revisit the glory days of the 1922 Committee and hey presto! No more Coalition, just a straightforward Tory government, at least until election time. The great Communicator, teamed with someone in contrast, maybe someone northern and blunt, would be a difficult team to beat.

So, for the sake of your party, and all you hold dear, I appeal to your better natures, do the right thing, and make this dream a reality. You know what to do – stop canvassing, stop leafletting, make like you don’t care. It will be hard I know, but in the end, it will be worth it.

 

Yours,

 

Clem.

 

What can you expect from a one year old?

PMQs this afternoon – marking the first Birthday of our Coalition, and its “new Politics” (deceased 5th May).

Mr David Cameron (Con) spent much of his time avoiding the truth whilst making merry at the expense of Labours Scottish woes.

This is of prime importance to the nature of how we are governed in the future – ignoring the total collapse of the Conservative vote, and the losses suffered by his junior partners in Scotland, it seems that as far as he is concerned, the Union between England and Scotland is of minimal importance at best, unless he can use it to embarrass Labour.

Is it not time for The Conservative and Unionist Party to change its name to something snappier? How about UK-RIP???

Boris Pleases His Paymasters

Fans of Boris “bollocks”* Johnson must have been very pleased with his nonsense for The Sunday Telegraph decrying the TUC March and Ed Miliband.

Britains Berlusconi, the only Englishman currently involved in a love rectangle± (according to the Daily Mail), wrote a lengthy if predictable rant against opponents of The Coalition, bizarrely claiming that Ed would be “satisfied” with the results of the sit-ins and vandalism in the west end.

One of the victims of this, A famous Hotel, which is also owned by  tax-avoiders who officially live on a small Island off the coast of Sark. Who funnily enough, pay a certain Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson £250,000 a year to write this sort of trash. Johnson’s Mayoral salary is £144,000 – more than enough for a mortal, yet Boris describes his quarter of a million from the Telegraph Group as “Chickenfeed”.

One is reminded of Bill Hicks describing a pop star – “if money had a dick, this guy would be a flaming faggot…”, yet one blanches to use such homophobic language oneself, after all, thats what Boris is for…

No doubt his legions of fan will be happy to see him Jew-bashing in print, after all, we can’t leave this sort of thing to Ken can we?

Recently, our Ruling Joke has been involved in silencing peaceful (if scruffy) protests on College Green, backed Westminsters Tories in their attempts to close down Soup kitchens for the homeless, and has been castigated by the National Statistics Watchdog for his “misleading” (possibly “lying”?) use of  figures for his own ends.

So, how does the Boris fan feel? Over the moon and head over heels presumably…

* Bollocks – meaning “unworthy priest”

±What next? A Love Rhomboid?

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