What would Clement do?

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

Archive for the tag “Tories”

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.

Labour Uncut Post – In Defence Of The BBC…

The previous post, about working conditions, was pretty well received, however my next effort gained me my first ever  cyber insult. Yes readers, if you defend the BBC, you must want sex with young girls (sigh)…

 

labour-uncut.co.uk/2012/10/26/governments-of-every-stripe-want-to-tear-down-the-bbc-don’t-let-them/

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…

 

 

DEAR ANDREW MITCHELL,

I understand that I, like most other people in “Team GB” am just a f****** pleb. That I no more have the right to question or obstruct your glowing, sleek, patrician self.

I further understand that you and your mates run the f****** country, and that our f****** pleb concerns matter not a jot to you. That I should get out of your f****** way, and shut the f*** up.

May I make just one suggestion? Would you please take your Rugby School educated a*** and f*** yourself,  preferably with something large and painful, you patrician t*****?

Yours,

Clem

ONLY ONE JOHNSON…

Yes, sad but true, there is only ONE Boris Johnson.

To read the recent press coverage, some Tories, and possibly all Westminster hacks wish there were at least two, possibly three, with at least one in the House of Commons. One for City Hall, one to annoy Cameron, and one for “the ladies”. (Maybe another to make sure that the press is suitably gagged when any mention of his extra marital affairs and resulting possible offspring come up…)

Johnson has clearly been putting it about since the Olympics, parking his tanks on Davids lawn, getting the cheers whilst Hamface gets the boos, ignoring the debt he owes to previous incumbents and Governments for his good fortune, fudging figures and avoiding a scandal over provision for the London Fire Service. And it is working…

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (OE, Oxon) is the most popular politician in the country. 

There are some signs that this may be a cause for alarm for his own dear leader, yet before we rub our hands with glee, let us stop to think for a moment. Johnson is popular with the public for a number of reasons, and a skilful media operation is one of them. Not being in Parliament, and therefore not being really in the Coalition helps. So far in his career, Mr Johnson has had no significant national responsibility, save being in the Shadow Cabinet, which means he spent his time, at best, say “well would never do that…”. He even managed to get sacked from the front bench then.

So far in his career, Johnson has presented himself as something he isn’t. For example, although he has an Eton/Oxbridge background, and drops a classics reference at the drop of a microphone, he simply is not as posh as he would like us all to believe. Like many from the old “upper-lower middle class” (copyright Mr E.A. Blair), he spent much of his school and Varsity days aping the supposed manners of Waughs’ “Brideshead” set. His anachronistic language, his cultivated scruffiness, his shambling gait are all very much part of his mid-eighties “young fogey” image.

The BoJo & HamCam rivalry continues…

In his job as Mayor of London, he has been the cynics very epitome of a politician, in that he has so far been able to distance himself from both Central Government policies, and his own policies when they are unpopular, yet claim credit for anything and everything perceived as good that happens within his jurisdiction. He has, since being elected in 2008, been notably ruthless in his disposal of deputy Mayors, as long as he can evade any blame.

As of this week, fourteen letters have been received by the Tory 1922 committee to open nominations for a leadership election. Though hugely short of the forty-six letters needed, this comes less than three years into Camerons’ premiership, and within weeks of Tory part conference. Clearly there are concerns throughout the true blue mob that possibly they need someone less chillaxed in charge, someone other than The Hamfaced Crimson Tide…

I hate to agree with John Major, but last Sunday he did say one thing that fans of the Johnson forget – he is not an MP, and therefore cannot become Leader. True enough, a safe seat may be found, someone convinced to stand down, a by-election could be won, yet the history of Tory Leadership elections shows that it is never the original favourite who wins, as Heath, Heseltine, and David Davis know to their chagrin.

Personally, I think that he may prefer the job of Mayor, where you can ultimately cash-in with your Telegraph column, then blame central Government for any mess. Should ever stand for/become Leader of the Tories, I relish the challenge, because I doubt that his image would withstand the full force of public and media scrutiny that he would inevitably attract. He simply would not be able to keep his past indiscretions from becoming front page news.I also do not think that Johnsons’ right wing instincts actually chime with the general public. True enough, they finds him amusing, much in the same way that Jeremy Clarkson once was, but for a rightwing humorist, he is certainly no PJ O’Rourke, and as Clarkson knows to his cost, it only takes one slip to taint your brand…

So for me, the current shenanigans say more about Cameron and his weakness than they do about the popularity of Johnson.

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…

DEAR MR JOHNSON…

With the London Mayoral Elections less than two weeks away, I have a few questions to ask Boris Johnson, our current Tory Mayor…

…dear Mr Johnson, I am struggling to find answers to these questions, I think you can help me on these;

  1. You are paid around £140,000 every year to be the Mayor of London. That is a huge amount of money compared to the London average of £25,000. You are also paid £250,000 a year by The Telegraph Group to write occasional articles. Which one of these is your main job?
  2. Until 2008, you were the Member of Parliament for Henley, which is outside London, although perfectly nice in its own way. You had never previously shown any interest in running this great city, and you were seemingly on-track to be a minister under your Eton schoolmate David Cameron. So why did you suddenly become so enthusiastic about the Mayoralty?
  3. Last year, as the News International scandal broke, you described it as “Labour nonsense”, and you & your political allies have consistently bemoaned money spent on the investigation. Do you have something to hide?
  4. Again, last year during the riots you were on holiday, and took your own sweet time to come back during the crisis. How can we trust you to directly run The Met???
  5. How is Darius Guppy getting on?
  6. At a recent meeting between Ken Livingstone and some of his online supporters, Paul Staines, a conservative blogger, interrupted, shouting “C*nt! You are a f***ing c*nt!” and then demanded someones’  name in a threatening manner. This has been seen by thousands on Youtube. Will you apologise for your supporters’ behaviour???
  7. Why should we pay £1.5 million for a Bus, no matter how nice it looks, when we already have a fleet of larger Buses in operation?
  8. Why are you wasting our money on proposing an airport we arguably do not need, and which will be outside your jurisdiction???
  9. Your supporters have spent the past few years smearing the Labour candidate as being anti-Semitic by virtue of association. As Ken Livingstone has Nicky Gavron (Jewish) as his running mate, and is in a party led by Ed Miliband (Jewish), will you repudiate these attacks, which have heightened racial and religious tension in the Capital.
  10. Why, as your chums in Government seek to make ordinary people pay for the financial crisis, did you decry “Banker Bashing”?
  11.  Which Mayor campaigned effectively, and brought the Olympic Games to London?
  12. Do you still believe that Gay marriage is equivalent to marriage between, say, a man and a dog?
  13. You have attacked Ken Livingstone for his (legal) tax arrangements, yet you gain £250,000 per annum from the Telegraph Group, owned by the tax-exile Barclay brothers, through Ellerman Investments, who also own The Ritz. You have yet to say anything about offshore tax avoidance – is this hypocrisy???
  14. Why have you had more meetings in the past four years with City financiers than with the heads of The Metropolitan Police?
  15. In which way are you to be admired for your many extramarital affairs, which you sought to hide?
  16. Should David Cameron watch his back if you lose, and find a safe Tory seat?
  17. Is £250,000 really “Chickenfeed”, as you said in 2009 during a BBC interview?

The Ken and Boris show….

Ok, hands up all those who are now enthused over the London Mayoral elections? Anybody? Anybody except Brian Paddick? No?… Oh well…

Could it be that since supporters of both the current and preceding Mayor have been running vindictive and negative campaigns for over a year now that voters, stupendously faced with the exact same faces as in 2008 are just a little pissed off? I mean, we all know that the two frontrunners hate each other, hell plenty of their respective parties hate them too. (Although in Johnsons case, most of the haters seem to be in the Cabinet.)

The former member for Henley-upon-UKIP has not been much of a success in his four years – a bike gimmick, some good PR, and that is about it. Oh, and costing Londoners dearly to see his pet Double Deckers replace the Bendy Buses. He has raised fares, rambled on about  Wiff-Waff, and generally been on the wrong side of every issue to affect us in half a decade;  Bankers – excellent chaps, not their fault, no need for regulation. The riots? Don’t expect him to be around if a brick hits your window, he’s on holiday. Policing? Lets just say that mathematics is not his strong point, so don’t expect the numbers to add up.  The Levenson Inquiry? Not needed, this is all a Labour ruse, apparently (maybe he asked his bosses, who own The Telegraph Group?).

But my, he is a card, eh?

After all, who else would announce yesterday in Purley that he is in favour of some kind of economic devolution for London? Now think about this, most Londoners who come from the UK have family living outside this great smoke of ours. We know that outside the mostly affluent Southeast, inequality is high, and money needs to be spent in the regions. Not only is this superficially attractive, but it is pie in the sky – he is only saying that he will ask Gideon Whyborn for a rebate – with no guarantee that he will get it. Still, it sounded good, and well, Purley squire, famous place, nudge nudge…

Since his employment of Linton Crosby, the Australian right wing attack dog starting in 2008, bluff old Johnson and his supporters have developed a smooth and effective online campaigning team, and Livingstone has given them every opportunity to succeed. Now I do not believe that “Red Ken” is actually an anti-Semite, but he has been pally with some who are. Not, you understand, the likes of the Saudi Royal Family, they only deal with top people, like Margaret Thatcher and her son, but with extremist clerics.Oh, and taking money from Iranian Tv companies, as did Andrew Gilligan and a host of other unscrupulous coves. Ever since, there has been a sustained effort by “Bloggers for Boris” types to link Livingstone with Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitism, and much else. Rather than debate the pros and cons of policy, these people have been resorting to the type of politics that leads to division in our capital, not unity. However, never let it be said that this is an organised campaign, or one of them will take you to task, and possibly threaten you with legal action.

Livingstone has been their best asset again and again, and his tax arrangements, although completely legal, have been a terrible blow. You see, Johnson and his Tory enemies in The Treasury have been happy to make London a tax haven, forgoing at least £1 billion in revenue to keep the super rich happy – yet it is the Labour candidate who looks like a tax cheat!

As a Labour member, I am committed to our candidate, knowing full well his weaknesses, and the quality of Labours policies as a whole. But the whole tone that these two retreads have fostered is one that gives me no cause for pride. With the Conservative candidate happy to run the same “doughnut” campaign as last time, pretty much ignoring inner London (well, he has done that for four years) because out won’t vote his way, and fostering a kind of communalist politics in North London by proxy, and the Labour candidate pretty much doing the same in reverse, I am not filled with hope for the future.

Last week Lady P told me that in the wake of the Budget, and fed up with Johnson, she was considering voting for anyone other than the Tories. Livingstone has put paid to her voting Labour.

Government by “Come Dine With Me”…

So, as Dave Lamb prepares for his almost inevitable Shadow Cabinet post, what can we say about Cameron and Maudes’ attempts to make the cash for access scandal simply go away?

Well, getting a Tory peer to “look into it” is certainly not the best way to defuse a scandal involving the Tory party. The attempt to focus on Labours’ Union links might just work, if it wasn’t that Union donations were so legal and above board. After all, I doubt that Tesco, Barclays, BAe Systems etc would ever ballot their workforce to ask just how much of their profits they would like to donate to the Tory party.

In the interests of fairness and equal opportunities, I am giving David and Sam Cameron a chance to make amends. Take me and Lady P out to Byron in Islington Thursday night and we will say no more about it…

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