Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Bullying of Little Ed

Just saw this on the excellent Awkward Ed Miliband Moments website. Thought I'd add my own caption...

Hatty Harperson: "Oof! Breath that in, sinusitis boy! Actually, I may have
followed through. Follow me to the toilet, now! And bring a sponge"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ed's Spin Is Taking Off But In The Wrong Direction

Back on 19th December, The Observer reported that Ed Miliband had instructed his shady, sorry, shadow cabinet not to refer to the government as a coalition but as "Conservative-led". The idea is that left leaning LibDems would hear this description and immediately believe their party had no influence on government policy and that they were merely being used by the evil Tories to cling unto power while they implement terrible right wing policies that would make Maggie Thatcher vomit.

The enormous din caused by the whining and gnashing of teeth by a growing number of actual right wing Tory backbench MPs wouldn't be enough to jolt these gullible liberals back to reality, Labour's spin Meisters calculated, and the poor deluded souls would rush into Little Ed's arms gratefully; forgetting how he had absolutely no interest in them during the LD/Labour talks following the General Election hung result, just a few months ago. Recent polls a the Old & Sad by-election suggest this may well have worked, for now anyway.

It seems Ed's little sound bite is catching on. I'm see "Conservative-led" popping up all over the place. And not just in/on the slavish followers of Labour's communication machine that you'd normally expect, like The Guardian, Mirror or BBC; but also in the Telegraph, Mail and Times recently. I suspect each journalist has his or her own reason for adopting the term - Labour supporters wanting to turn LibDems, right wingers wanting to bring down the coalition or reduce the influence of the LibDems, etc... But whoever uses it is likely to have the objective of weakening the coalition in one way or another. So, watch out for who's using the term as it's a useful (if not quite 100% accurate) method of spotting an underlying political motive behind a reporters/experts view that may be presented as independent or unbiased.

To be honest, I'm not convinced left leaning LibDems needed this kind of sub-concious Derren Brownesque trick to be convinced that they'd be happier with Labour. Many were disaffected Labour supporters or even old SDP (i.e. like David Owen - disaffected Foot-era Labour) supporters. They believe that there is a left wing majority out there in the electorate and this deal with the Tories is an anathema to them. They really have nowhere else to go other than to Labour. Sadly, for them, their left wing majority theory is proving hard to prove, if the polls are to be believed. Labour still can't achieve anywhere near 50%, despite being the only choice for the left now. And this despite the incredibly unpopular decisions this government has had to take.Things will get worse for the government in the next couple of years, but Labour really should be doing better now if the majority of Britain's are natural leftists. The coalition partners will hope that support will return in the final year or so of the parliament. If things are brighter economically then than now, that's not a bad bet.

We are seeing a realignment of party politics in this country. This is something the media is missing, in its keenness to report the demise (as they see it) of Clegg's leadership. And it's a realignment that is alienating as many right wing Tories and left wing LibDems. The realignment will only be successful if the coalition is successful. That is why there is such an unholy alliance forming around Ed's little "Conservative-led" sound bite.

Miliband's Labour and right wing Conservatives want to go back to the certainties of party politics before the General Election. Cameron and Clegg want to forge a new right of centre consensus. They calculate that, in fact, that is where the majority of votes are - not on the left but the right. I think Tony Blair and Peter Mandleson understood that too, even if they didn't fully understand right of centre politics and how to implement it effectively, they knew that was where the action is and they emulated it, to great electoral success.

So, for all Ed Miliband's sound bites and mind games, he is following a losing long term strategy by positioning Labour as the only home for the left. But in the short term, it could win out, but only if the coalition fails to survive until better economic times. If they falter, Labour would benefit by accident and the whole experiment would be lost, probably never to be attempted again. I, for one, think that would be a shame.

Rod Liddle On The "Omnipresent Debbie Abrahams"

May Robert Murdoch forgive me for providing a peek into the wondrous world behind The Times' Firewall but here the section of Rod Liddle's column on the "Omnipresnet" Debbie Abrahams...
Well done to omnipresent Debbie

Congratulations to Labour’s Debbie Abrahams for her fine victory in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. But let’s keep an eye on her second homes allowance. This is the third time she has stood in a constituency and she has claimed to live in two of them. When she stood for Rochdale council, she said she lived there, and when she stood in Colne Valley she said she lived there. This is despite the fact that records show she has lived in one house for the past 25 years. Perhaps, like Jesus Christ, she is capable of being in all places at one time, and in all of our hearts.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Dragons Could Have Stopped The Banking Crisis

Some say it was Gordon Brown's reform of the financial regulatory system that led to the excesses in the financial sector that contributed to the banking crisis.

However, here is proof that Gordon's multi-agency system (FSA/BoE/The Dragons' Den) would have worked had the Dragons done their duty.

Peter "Nick Clegg" Jones, Theo Thefoetus, Duncan Genocide, James Yes We Caan and The Grumpy Woman quiz two city gents on their "Piece of Paper" proposal...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Old & Sad, Good News For The Tories

One of the funniest things about by-elections is the sight of the defeated parties' members and supporters attempting to spin the result positively.

So, given the Tories finished in 3rd place with their share of the vote plummeting to just 12.8%, it is beholden on me to pronounce the result a success for Cameron & Co.

Of course, it wasn't a success for the Tories, although, arguably, you can put their poor result down to tactical voting (in this case Tories positively voting for the LibDem coalition candidate). However, there is one silver lining in Labour's victory for their opponents.

When analysing whether a result is good or bad for your "team" in any game, business or election, you have to consider what the alternative result would have meant. In the case of Oldham East and Saddleworth, Ed Miliband absolutely had to win it. His leadership is being questioned by many in his own party who have been very uncomfortable with having the Unions' candidate foisted upon them. If Miliband had been the first opposition party leader in 30 years to lose an MP in a by-election then his position would have been very shaky. He could well have faced a rebellion and been replaced.

So, as desperate an attempt to see a positive in this result for the Coalition as this post may be, the truth is that, it is now looking increasingly likely that Ed Miliband will survive until the next election.

Now that really is good news for Labour's opponents.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beastly Spies

It's good to hear that reason hasn't reared it's sensible head in the continuing mistrustful relationship between Israel and the Arab states. This week's story of the Saudi Arabian authorities arresting a vulture on suspicion of it being a Mossad agent sums the extent to which reason has been banished from that region, but we have a similar example of hysterical mistrust involving one of our near neighbours, in our own history.

The vulture story reminds me of the story of the monkey hung in Hartlepool for being a French spy during the Napoleonic wars. According to local folklore, a monkey was washed ashore, alive, following a French ship sinking in bad weather. The story continues that the locals, not knowing what a Frenchman looked like, and what with the monkey being dressed in a French uniform (presumably for laughs by the luckless crew of the ship) feared the monkey was a French Spy and decided to put it on trial there and then. Of course, the monkey couldn't understand a word they spoke and failed to speak a word of English - proof positive that this was a filthy Frenchie up to no good.

So they hung it as a spy.

Perhaps in another couple of hundred years the Jews and Arabs can enjoy as close and trusting a relationship as we have now with our neighbouring garlic eating surrender monkeys.

In former times, when war and strife

The French invasion threaten'd life

An' all was armed to the knife

The Fisherman hung the monkey O !

The Fishermen with courage high,

Siezed on the monkey for a French spy;

"Hang him !" says one; "he's to die"

They did and they hung the monkey Oh!

They tried every means to make him speak

And tortured the monkey till loud he did speak;

Says yen "thats french" says another "its Greek"

For the fishermen had got druncky oh!

Hammer his ribs, the thunnerin thief

Pummel his pyet wi yor neef!

He's landed here for nobbut grief

He's aud Napoleon's uncky O!

Thus to the Monkey all hands behaved

"Cut off his whiskers!" yen chap raved

Another bawled out "He's never been shaved",

So commenced to scrape the Monkey, O!

They put him on a gridiron hot,

The Monkey then quite lively got,

He rowl'd his eyes tiv a' the lot,

For the Monkey agyen turned funky O!.

Then a Fisherman up te Monkey goes,

Saying "Hang him at yence, an' end his woes,"

But the Monkey flew at him and bit off his nose,

An' that raised the poor man's Monkey O!

In former times, mid war an' strife,

The French invasion threatened life,

An' all was armed to the knife,

The Fishermen hung the Monkey O!

The Fishermen wi' courage high,

Seized on the Monkey for a spy,

"Hang him" says yen, says another,"He'll die!"

They did, and they hung the Monkey O!. They tortor'd the Monkey till loud he did squeak

Says yen, "That's French," says another "it's Greek"

For the Fishermen had got drunky, O!

"He's all ower hair!" sum chap did cry,

E'en up te summic cute an' sly

Wiv a cod's head then they closed an eye,

Afore they hung the Monkey O!.

(Lifted from

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kenneth Tong's Thin Brother

The ugly truth of Kenneth Tong

Controversial nut job Kenneth Tong has announced plans for a new reality TV show called Thin Brother, to show case his theory of "managed anorexia".

"It'll be much better than Big Brother (the show I would have bothered to win had it not been utterly below me) because there'll be no arguing over the food budget or cooking.", said the bespectacled twat.

The show will last six months and the winner will be the lightest contestant still alive at the end.

Responding to criticism that the idea for the show was offensive and exploitative of vulnerable people, Tong wittered,

"Who said that? Give me their name and I'll pay someone to deal with them".

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ed Miliband's Credibility Deficit

"Watch my nose grow out to here when I talk about the deficit"

Ed Miliband writes in Thursday's Times newspaper that the deficit that the Government (or Conservative-led government as he insists on spinning it, in a pathetic and transparent attempt to alienate Lib Dems) is grappling with, is not the fault of the last Labour mis-led government.

In continuing his attempts to convince voters, who he clearly thinks are as gullible as 4 year olds, that this is the case, he is demonstrating what a poor leader he is and how he hasn't a clue about creating a credible narrative for his party that could return the credibility required to make them electable again.

In attempting to sell the lie that the deficit was caused by a "global economic crisis" he merely invites Coalition supporters to remind everyone, as if they needed reminding (sorry), that it is the structural deficit that is being addressed. In other words, the difference between what is spent from and earned in taxes after the economic cycle is taken into account.

The deficit wasn't created by the evil bankers, as some would have us believe. The bail outs of the banks, something Labour and Gordon Brown are quick to claim were part of their "save the world" strategy, certainly have added to the overall debt levels but not to the yearly structural overspend (a better word for deficit in my opinion). Eventually, those banks will be sold off (presumably just before the next election) and the taxpayers money spent on buying them out will be returned with interest. So, even the bank bail outs are only temporarily inflating the debt level that is being added to by the tune of £150bn a year, currently.

It is the £150bn overspend that needs eliminating if we are to start to tackle to frightening level of debt already racked up. The overspend has been caused by reckless and politically motivated structural spending increases that were unaffordable and now have to be brought back under control.

If you cast your minds back just a few years, you will remember a time when the word "cuts" was political poison. Labour's electoral strategy (something Ed Miliband was heavily involved in) was to keep spending more and more and then dare their opponents to suggest spending was too high. If they did, as the Tories had done in previous elections, the cry of "cuts in hospitals, nurses, doctors, police, schools, teachers, etc etc" would go out and voters were duly repelled. It was a successful strategy until the growing recession hit the banks and sparked the banking crisis. After that, people looked to government to spend more on supporting the economy and on social welfare for those cast into economic difficulty. But they saw a Government that had spent all the money during the good times and now had to rack up enormous debts to act to support an economy during, what was an inevitable downturn. We, the electorate, have to take some of the blame for being taken in by Labour's strategy and
the Tories learnt they had to avoid talking about cuts if they were to "detoxify" their brand.

So, the one thing Little Miliband gets right in his Times article was this lack of political clarity from Labour's opponents back then. That is regrettable but not an excuse to ignore the crisis now, as he proposes. His approach would leave us continuing to add to the £4.8 trillion debt mountain that is already a millstone around our childrens' necks.

2011 will be a testing year for the Coalition. It's on the right economic path but it starts getting rocky and is uphill for most of the rest of the Parliament. Let's hope it can keep itself together during the coming dark days of unpopularity and political tests, like the forthcoming AV referendum. The only way a clown like Ed Miliband will get elected is if the Coalition drops the ball in the middle of the game. The inbuilt electoral bias will return a Labour government with them just a few points ahead (or even possibly one or two points behind) the Tories. So, it's time for Tory and Lib Dem politicians and supporters to gird their loins and battle through the next couple of years while doing everything they can to counter the deceits put out by Labour such as "the deficit wasn't our fault"