What would Clement do?

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

Archive for the tag “LibDems”

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.

 

Advertisements

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???

WHY I AM VOTING YES TO AV

In two weeks time, we get the first chance to fundamentally change our political system since universal adult suffrage was achieved in the 1940s – when domestic servants were enfranchised, and Oxbridge types lost their two votes.

I have already said that given the two choices on offer, I back AV over no change, and as the campaigns draw to a close, it is time to re-state my reasons…

Firstly, as some opponents of AV have already commented elsewhere, First Past The Post is manifestly undemocratic. Most governments do not represent will of the people by votes cast, let alone the total electorate. In the 1980s, taking the whole electorate, The Tories won no more than 36% of possible votes at any election. The same applies to New Labour, and to this Coalition. Only 217 out of 650 MPs returned in 2010 had over 50% of the vote.

Secondly, the great, and largely ignored seat theft that this Government is perpetrating against you and I. Regardless of how we vote in the Referendum, 50 seats will be axed, at a stroke making our established political class stronger, and also more distant from us. The only measure within our power right now to even slightly ameliorate this would be to make sure that every MP needed at least 50% of the votes cast in their constituency. That would be AV.

Thirdly, if passed, AV would give impetus to Lords Reform – lets kick the unelected into touch.

AV is just a start, and we could further modify the system to create a more proportional one after the barriers to reform come down.

AV is no block to radical reform – it is radical reform.

Look at those who back the current system – Press Barons, The Tax Payers Alliance (led by a non-dom), and Tories, with conservative New Labourites and a smattering of Blairites.

I would like to see a system where every MP has to reach out beyond the usual middle class middle ground of voters – with AV, not only second preferences but voter registration and participation become key.

I urge you all to think hard about this – we need a better way, and a better Government.

PROTEST, POLITICS & OOH, VIOLENCE I GUESS…

LAST SATURDAY AROUND A QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE MARCHED PEACEFULLY THROUGH THE STREETS OF LONDON AGAINST THE COALITIONS CUTS PROGRAMME. Many more stayed at home, worried (if the twitter and facebook feeds are accurate) about Police “kettling” tactics seen over the previous few years.

Yet as far as the mainstream media is concerned, the story is one of “violent disorder”, of wanton destruction of property and mindless violence. Whilst I am more than happy to defend direct action by groups such as UK Uncut, who have kept tax-dodging companies in the public eye, it is impossible to defend groups such as the “Black Bloc”, the SWP and others who promote violence for their own ends, regardless of wider consequences.

However, slogging through the morass of rightwing coverage in the last few days, I have to say that it is in the main fraudulent in the extreme. We have the Boris standard beareres, Daily Mail readers, Cameroons and little Nickys brave souls all united in one assertion – that violence and politics do not mix. Ed Miliband made much the same point on Saturday as well. Yet we seem to be pursuing political goals in Libya by bombing airfields and targeting tanks in the desert. In case anyone is wondering, the RAF is indeed a violent organisation, well trained, and equipped to wreak havoc upon the Queens enemies.

“But” you say “thats different – the Forces are the legitimate source of violence within Britain, and are under control of our elected Government.” That, as far as it goes is true, but not the whole picture when it comes to political violence in British history.

There is no political party in British politics today that does not have its roots in violent conflict. Leaving aside the obvious candidates of the BNP and SWP, lets look at the mainstream parties;

The Scottish Nationalists trace their legitimacy back to Flodden, Culloden and are the first to raise the banners of ancient martial prowess when it suits them. Plaid Cymru hark back to Owain Glendwr – hardly a saint when it came to battle.

The Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement have a history that goes back at least to The Peasants Revolt, and traditions that encompass the Agitators , Levellers and Diggers of the English Civil Wars. The first shots of the modern class war were fired on Marston Moor. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we look to figures such as Thomas Paine, Feargus O’Connor, internationally, we admire Abraham Lincoln, Danton, Herbert, Clouseret and the men of The Eureka Stockade. Is it too much to note that all of these figures countenanced violence? Even the Suffragettes had a militant campaign.

The Liberal wing of the Liberal Democrats may only look back as far as John Stuart Mill, yet historically they are the heirs of The Whigs – themselves the heirs of the more conservative wing of the Parliamentary side during our Civil Wars. And the cheerleaders for Culloden and the Highland Clearances.

And The Tories. Historically born from the Royalist Rump a bunch of Cavaliers who were more than ready to do the Kings bidding. In the early eighteenth century, when out of favour, they had no scruple in giving military plans to the French Monarchy. They were happy to wage war on the American Colonies, invade revolutionary France, set off a bloodbath in Ireland. In the nineteenth, they were the party of both reaction at home, overseeing the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, and Imperialism abroad. In the early twentieth century, they were willing to bring the country to the verge of civil war over Ireland in 1914 “Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right!” they cried. In the twenties and thirties, they flirted with Fascism, and in the nineteen seventies and eighties, they backed and supported the Juntas of Chile and Argentina in their anti-communist crusade. One Government minister gave a speech in Buenos Aires in 1981, stating that Britain and the  Argentina of  torture and the disappeared were united against the same enemies. In 1982, the good people of Port Stanley found this to be not quite the case…

…four miners died during the great strike of 1984/5. Shoot to kill. The Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972 all these happened under Tory rule.

The Police are a (supposedly) accountable source of legitimate violence in our society, governed by its laws and customs.

For twenty-five years, middle England has been filling the seats of “Les Miserables” – a musical that makes heroes of the ABC Society – students who were willing to overthrow the state in 1830s France – do you hear the people sing..?

To deny that violence is part of politics is historically dishonest, and morally suspect – especially in the light of the events of the past few months. Whilst opposing those self-appointed guardians of “the revolutionary flame”, who have no interest in anything but furthering their agendas, regardless of real needs. I do not support the vandalism and barricades of last Saturday – yet I would like to see the whole picture. we already know that The Met like breaking heads and often arrest the wrong person. I also have no problem in general with non-violent direct action. I certainly question the wisdom of using such tactics on Saturday – it would have been better not to take the limelight away from mass protest.

Gandhi once said that “Poverty is the worst form of violence” and he had a point. Yet those who smashed windows on Saturday fundamentally missed the point, leaving all of us open to attacks from the hypocrites of the right.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: