C’mon Ed, fight!

August 5, 2013

In case the reader needs reassurance that Osborne is a failed Chancellor, you only have to look at what the financial services people are saying. A couple of weeks ago, Citywire ran with this headline, “Hooray for the (debt-fuelled) UK recovery!”

How about this funny analysis from the stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdowne: “Former US president Abraham Lincoln has been credited with saying the problem with politics is you can never please all of the people all of the time. In a more contemporary setting and with the UK yet to regain ground lost during the 2008-09 recession chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne has struggled to please anyone at any time since stepping into 11 Downing Street three years ago.”

However, the one thing that the Tories do massively better than Labour is this: When they are down, they come out fighting. Even when the world took note that Keynes had won and austerity lost, they carried on fighting. The question is, what does Labour do? Has Ed Miliband and Ed balls given up? Do we only have an opposition on a Wednesday lunchtime?
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After the cuts agenda

July 18, 2013

You can tell what the Tory focus groups are saying by watching the way the Tories behave. Right now, they are trying to close down the perception that the government has no ideas or purpose, other than the cuts. They know they have no agenda, once the cuts agenda is done.

This explains the flurry of rather pointless ideas announced in the last couple of weeks. Each one of them is half-baked and each one is accompanied with same the line, “Labour did nothing about this in 13 years”.

An example is Theresa May’s call for a consultation of Stop and Search, arguing that the policy tends to target young black males. This got widely reported and became a talking point on the media, even though it was completely shallow. This is not serious policy, just a suggestion that people have a chat about something. Yet every Tory politician took to the air to attack Labour for doing nothing for 13 years.

On health they talk of a £200 deposit for foreigners entering the country. Again, MPs took to the airwaves to claim that Labour did nothing for 13 years of government. There has been little response from Labour to this proposal, but Andy Burnham tells me that he can’t respond as he still doesn’t know the details. He doesn’t object to stopping abuse, but he does object to the idea that Labour had done nothing about the issue previously.
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Let the bastards be bastards and the builders be builders

February 23, 2013

What character from the history of film and literature most reminds you of an ordinary member of the Labour party? My answer is the Michael Palin character in The Life of Brian, whose job is to direct prisoners to their crucifixion. “Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.”

This is a man who has a horrible job to do, but he’s still diligent and treats each prisoner with respect. He’s a nice guy. He cares. He’s the kind of bloke you or I might hang out with. You can easily imagine him as secretary of your local branch. If we brought a motion calling for crucifixion to be banned, the idea would be so radical that he’d initially be shocked, but once he realised that such a thing is possible he would become a passionate advocate.
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Cameron’s Watergate (LabourList 25th July 2009)

February 23, 2013

This post that went out on Labour List in 2009. I never archived to this website, mostly because it caused such a ferocious reaction that the Labour List editor, Alex Smith, said he regretted posting it. However, it later proved to be influential because it breached the taboo that said that the press couldn’t be touched. Following this, Journalists from The Washington Post were sent to London to assist The Guardian in researching hacking and this eventually led to the Leveson enquiry. I’ve uploaded it today in order that it doesn’t get lost.

I’m never short of admiration for David Cameron as a campaigner. He has no policies, but he is a brilliant man for the way he has pulled his party around and made them so electable. But it just seems strange the way this rash of thefts and bugging has been happening since he’s been around.

First we had the Damian Green business where a civil servant stole information that was embarrassing to the Labour government and then chanelled it to the press through this MP. Although the Tories point out that Gordon Brown once leaked a document, Gordon went on the record. Next we had Derek Draper’s email being hacked and then published by those ironically accusing him of wishing to smear, when all he did was consider it, before thinking better of it. Then the expenses file; a member of the Conservative Party selling revelations to The Telegraph when The Sunday Times was the obvious buyer, but wouldn’t have led on the Duck House story. It’s all a bit weird.

So why would David Cameron hire a man that Fleet Street considered to be unemployable? Coulson’s News of the World scoops were all explained by the original prosecution, so that’s not his attraction. Nor is he a party animal; he voted for Blair.

So why, why, why would David Cameron hire a man who had recently been involved in a scandal where people had been sent to jail for stealing information from public figures? Everyone knew that the hacking was massively more widespread on the basis that the News of the World had broken so many stories in the previous couple of years and this was the explanation. So why would a future prime minister want to have anything to do with him? Why?

Cameron says “Everyone is entitled to make a mistake”. But surely this must be because there is a deep bond of friendship that can overcome this stain on Coulson’s character? What other explanation would David Cameron have for employing and sticking by a man with an apparent expertise in hacking people’s phones? He could have any press officer in the world, why Andy Coulson?
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Born To Rule

December 3, 2012

Their economic policy is from the 30s,

Their health policy is from the 40s,

Their education policy is from the 50s.

The electorate may be in the present, but the Tories are not.

They’re all old money, and no new blood,

More horse riding, than commuting,

More tractor, than hatchback,

More bone china, than chip wrapper,

The strange thing is that they could have been quite good. The most brilliantly targeted message to have emerged from politics in recent times, was George Osborne’s, “we’re all in this together”
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Boris Island will not work

October 29, 2012

When Boris Johnson speaks about building a £50b three-runway airport to the east of London, he assumes that the airlines currently operating through Heathrow will happily divert to his shiny new one in Kent. The question is why would they? Read the rest of this entry »

How Cameron can beat Miliband in 2015

June 26, 2012

According to YouGov, David Cameron’s approval rating has shifted from -25 to -18 over the period of the recent tax avoidance story. This improvement flies in the face of the media view that Cameron would suffer the charge of hypocrisy for condemning Jimmy Carr, when so many Tory donors are guilty of the same.

It now seems that Cameron was in touch with the public mood. The media taunts on Cameron’s hypocrisy have served little other than to highlight the Prime Minister’s intervention, while swatting Ed Miliband into the shadows and out of public glare. The crackdown on tax avoidance is now a Tory issue to be grabbed, while Miliband has so far been uninspired on a territory that the public would expect to be owned by Labour.
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