Archive for the 'Tories' Category

12
May
12

Just don’t spill your gin yet…..

I was very kindly asked by Harry to pen a few thoughts on the whole political field we find ourselves in at this moment in time. I was naturally delighted, and have done my best…

So then, the Queen’s Speech was lacklustre in a legislative manner and has been decried from all corners of the political sphere… This is nothing new. Don’t spill your gin just yet!

Despite this Coalition’s first Queen’s Speech just over 2 years ago to the day – having paved the way for the most vicious Thatcherite parliamentary session this country has had to put up for nearly a hundred years: this one was remarkably unambitious, even by their particularly low standards. It is thus no surprise to see that it had been widely panned across the entire media sphere: irrespective of ideology.

Perennial brown-noser Louise Mensch apart, the criticism of it was universal from left to right. The Daily Mail screamed in anger as to the missing plan for jobs and growth: ‘the I’ were rather polite in noting how it was just “lacklustre”, but its fine columnist Steve Richards then lambasted it as a “ragbag worthy of Blair”. Unlike Redblog’s otherwise fine guest poster Alex Hylan’s take on Blair, I am no New Labour apologist. Personally, they owe the nation, and our party, an apology, for by and large wasting 13 years of possibilities on transforming Britain.

Even as an avid republican, you almost felt sorry for ol’ Liz sat there in her big golden chair as she read out this most incredibly vacuous, hollow and pompous plan – as if she was somehow about to take the blame for it.

The critique of the whole sorry farce that I laughed at most came from all places – of the Economist’s front cover, (courtesy of avid Tory, Sunday Politics regular and George Osborne biographer Janan Ganesh). Dave is stood in hunting gear on the left side – blissfully unaware of the fire behind him. It was poetically captioned “Crisis? What crisis!?”  

Do not mistake this Queen’s speech as a veiled intent of moderation from the coalition’s powers that be; we’ve got more chance of finding Lord Lucan on Shergar than this. Frankly, I’d rather have the latter running the country!

With Labour comfortably clear in the polls, Jeremy Hunt’s head being demanded on a plate, the Leveson inquiry in full pelt, double-dip recession returning for the first time since the 1970s, unemployment being abhorrently high – you’d almost think that the Coalition would be desperate to recapture some of the initiative. After all, as incumbents they have the ultimate advantage of the system, and quasi-authority to boot. It’s yours to lose. Indeed, Britain hasn’t removed a first term government since Ted Heath picked a fight with the miners and lost!

Yet – seemingly: Nero & co are rather too comfortable fiddling whilst Rome burns, and no pathetic Kim Jong-il-esque, stunt in an Essex tractor factory will change that.  With Dave’s texts to Rebecca, (lol!), revealing that he’d long since recognised that the horse had bolted – you’d think that they would try to usher the wee creature back home. Rather: the door has been slammed shut, so should the horse ever wish to return – it wouldn’t get in!

Sympathisers with this current, intolerable mob may point to such fond, cuddly measures as more flexible post-natal parental leave. Indeed, this is admirable: but on its own – fundamentally spineless and pathetic.

Not only is it increasingly unlikely that either, (let alone both!), will have jobs thanks to austerity and ideological neo-liberal libertarian fantasies, but if this is the best a government can do in a year – then it is not worth the urine I wouldn’t release if they were on fire…

As members of the British public, we all ought to mourn this scandal. For our government are indifferent to our plight, and actively worsen it with outrageous fabricated links to the likes of Greece and Ireland. No wonder a rather large slab of Scotland would like to go its own way. Frankly – with Labour up to 43, (Yes – 43!), points clear of the rest of the rabble in the North: it seems a fair few of us would rather join them!

But if I were a Labour strategist – I’d be quietly smirking to myself. Incompetence always trumps whether or not a government is seen as fair or otherwise: but lazy incompetence – which is increasingly becoming the by-word for this Coalition government. Quite right too. The Tories’s own backbenchers increasingly despair, and the civil war at the 1922 Committee is beyond hilarious. A change of government is easier to sell to the public if they believe that the government have been sat on their hands for a large part of the 5 years.

Also, the less damage there is for any future Labour government to reverse – the better. We will have our hands rather full from removing all profit motives and vested interests from the NHS, and returning our public services to anything like acceptable in a civilised society. A jolly full plate you might say.

This all follows an absolutely excellent night for Labour at the local elections – with comfortably north of 800 council seat gains defying all daft targets and demands set on us by the unsympathetic outsiders in hopes that we would fall at the first hurdle. Quite rightly, when Ed M was busy touring the newly-gained councils of Exeter, Southampton & Harlow et al – he was pleased but not complacent. Need I mention William Hague and his baseball cap?

But there is extremely good reason to be optimistic, and nothing that this current coalition of the damned is set on doing, looks like coming close to reversing that. 2015 is a long way away to say the very least, but all lights in the distance look green.

I hate to mimic Neil Kinnock, but onwards to government comrades… Just make sure you don’t mess it up now Ed.

06
Apr
12

Round up of the week!

This has been a more sedate and less insane week (partly due to the parliamentary recess) with the only real interest being in the London election campaigns, with a rather one-sided grilling on Newsnight and a radio interview which led to Boris Johnson screaming  at Ken Livingstone in a lift; calling him “a Fucking Liar”.

With the election stress escalating, how long is it before one of these candidates blows his top?

Thanks to the very talented @DocHackenbush for another great ‘photohack’!

HB

(hopefully we’ll actually write some posts on here in the coming week, uni-work permitting)

30
Mar
12

Round up of the Week 30/3/2012 with 2 Photohacks*!

It has been a week which has swung from the sublimely ridiculous to the abhorrently ridiculous.

We began the week with some fall out from the frustrating but unsurprising “Cash for Cameron” tory donation scandal.. This means we can have our first amazing “photohack*” from the venerable @DocHackenbush!

…after that, there isn’t much more we really need to say on that subject.

 

The fallout from the Budget got a really silly this week when this became the week twitter went #pastytax mad! It turns out there is a change in the budget that means heated snack items are now subject to a tax, which means both leading Tories were asked when they last ate a pasty.. the answer seems to be “errr do caviar aperitifs count?”

This meant Labour wasted no time in running to a pasty and tweeting pictures of them eating the cornish delicacies.. oh dear oh dear. With this and the Tory donors story, Cameron is panicking…

 

More bad news for the government involved Francis Maude pissing off firemen (fire officers?), worrying the public and entertaining the rest of us by suggesting we each keep a Jerry Can of petrol in our garage in case of a tanker-driver’s strike…

 

All in all pretty bad for the Government this week with labour being able to capitalise..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, however, this man became an MP again rather than an incredibly well qualified labour candidate..

 

 

 

A very strange week in politics, we’ll blog about the last piece of news more next week…

Have a more settled weekend, and thanks to @DocHackenbush for his Photohacks*!

 

 

HB

;

*photohack is our new name for the Doc’s creations as cartoons don’t do them justice!

13
Feb
12

3 Policies for a better Britain…

We’re all quite depressed right now aren’t we? The Coalition are ruining our country. Cheer yourself up! what policies would you put in if you were in government? These are just three of mine…

Nationalised railways

It has become abundantly clear over the last decade that the privatisation of the railways and more crucially the way in which this was done, has resulted in the UK having a overly complex, overly wasteful and completely unaccountable rail system where the public purse  pays for the vast majority of the investment and the private companies reap the rewards.

Whilst I welcome the Government increasing the lengths of franchises in order that private companies will hopefully invest more, I do not believe that this companies can truly be relied on to do so as the increasing overcrowding, increasing ticket prices and increasing overall dissatisfaction in the railways shows that profit is clearly the only aim of these companies and they know people will still use the railways so long a they do eventually get them from A to B.

Clearly the simplest solution is to nationalise the railways (at least initially) in order to secure the accountability that is lacking so much currently. it is obvious that a situation where the track, rolling stoke and stations are owned by different companies is incredibly problematic and only solution seems to be to nationalise. when my train is late I currently have three entities who may be to blame; the train company? is it transpenine’s fault for not building a correct timetable around passengers (or customers which we are now referred to), is it the track maintenance? is Network Rail to blame? Or is it the company that runs a station for a particular bottleneck at a particular time?.

With a nationalised system the blame game, which now costs the railways an extortionate amount, is ended. British Rail would also not have to negotiate with different companies to run an improvement program or create a timetable or fix problems in the system. British Rail should be re- created as a unified body with the sole aim of improving the passengers experience. No longer should the taxpayer be pitted against the rail passenger as they are all to often one and the same, increase the standard of transport and you perform a vital service for both.

Robin hood tax

I can’t explain this better than Bill…

for more information click here.

National living wage

For some time in the uk there has been an argument about benefits. There is agreement (not always a universal agreement) that often the benefits system does not result in an adequate incentive to go back into employment as often wages can be worth less than the benefits one can derive from not working. It seems to this humble observer that the left and right both pose plausible resolutions to this situation, but that the left’s solution is superior by virtue of its moral worth.

The Conservatives (as well as many of their lib-dem) lapdogs seem intent on what is essentially a race to the bottom with benefits being lowered and given to less people in order to effectively force them to work for whatever wage they can get with the only alternative being destitution.

Labour’s introduction of a minimum wage reversed this and set in play a race to the top. The problem now is people are again arguing that benefits are too high and don’t act as an incentive to work. The next and only logical step is to introduce a Living Wage. The Living wage is currently calculated at £7.20 per hour outside london and £8.30 per hour in London and is aimed to let “every worker in the country…earn enough to provide their family with the essentials of life.” (more information can be found here).

One very important caveat, however, is that, small businesses must be given as much help as possible to be able to afford such wage.

HB
06
Feb
12

Guest Post: RIP NHS 1948 – 2012

Tome Pride has an excellent blog which you can view here. His mostly satirical posts tend to give much solace to many when we are at our wits end with the actions of this government. Here’s his most recent post, which is, frankly, pretty brilliant. 

What the f*** is going on?

Is everyone half-asleep?

There’s less than 3 months left to save the NHS and it’s hardly even news.

Once the government’s Health & Social Care Bill receives royal assent, it will be the end of the NHS.

What does that mean?

The Bill will create an independent NHS Board, promote patient choice by increasing competition, and reduce NHS administration costs.

IT MEANS THE NHS WILL BE PRIVATISED – RUN BY PRIVATE COMPANIES ENTIRELY FOR PROFIT.

IT MEANS YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY PRIVATE COMPANIES FOR YOUR HEALTH CARE.

IT MEANS THE NHS WILL NO LONGER EXIST.

The bill is nearly completed – it’s already been through the House of Commons and is nearly through the House of Lords – who have little power to stop it becoming law anyway.

Once it receives royal assent it will be law. This is where we are now:

That means we’re in the final days of universal health care free at the point of need in the UK.

How did we get to this point? This government has no mandate to privatise the NHS. It was in neither the Conservative Party or the Liberal Democrat’s election manifestos.

In fact, the Tories said the NHS was safe in their hands and there would be no top down reorganisation of the National Health Service.

Both parties lied.

And now, after just over 60 years in existence the NHS is about to be killed off. And that will be that.

Is there anything we can do?

Not much. Except this. Find out your MP’s next surgery. It doesn’t matter what party he or she is from, make an appointment as soon as possible and ask them one question.

Do you believe in democracy?

Presuming they say yes, then ask them what they are doing to oppose this bill when no-one in Britain voted for it.

Don’t let them dodge the question by getting into a discussion about private vs public / Labour vs Conservative or whatever. Stick to the question – nobody voted for these reforms, they were not in any party manifesto so what are you doing to oppose this undemocratic bill being passed?

Remember, there is only one thing MPs really care about. Winning their own seat at the next election. This is even more important to them than their own party winning the next election.

If they think they will be losing constituency votes, they will do whatever it takes to save their precious little asses.

In fact that’s a good definition of democracy.

Elected officials being forced to do the right thing in order to save their precious little asses.

Let’s hope it helps save our precious NHS.

17
Jan
12

David Cameron: the humanitarian?

Last week our Prime Minister visited Saudi Arabia on a trip, as we were told, to ‘boost relations’ and ‘strengthen ties’. This poses many significances which have gone unreported in the media; instead the focus has been upon how this trip and others like it provide a basis to extend ties with other nations in order to increase our trade and better our economy. There are however much deeper significances in relation to this trip which highlight the true nature of the UK’s double standard towards the Middle East.

The first key significance in relation to this trip is the fact that new arms deals will have been negotiated during this trip. Shamefully, Britain has a history in supplying arms to Middle Eastern dictatorships because, when the protests began in Egypt, it was revealed that Britain had been selling arms for years to Egypt which means British weaponry was used to oppress the people during those protests. Despite this David Cameron still went to negotiate arms deals with Saudi Arabia; this is a disgrace because not only have they been quashing protesters fighting for democracy in their own country, they have also been doing this in Bahrain as they sought the help of the Saudi Arabian army to oppress protesters in that country too. The significance here then is that it appears British made weapons will yet again be used to quash those who are still fighting for democracy today.

From this a further significance can be found in that it demonstrates the hypocrisy of David Cameron’s foreign policy. David Cameron lobbied the UN for intervention in Libya to support the proresters fighting for freedom, but now he’s selling arms to Saudi Arabi without any consideration to the human rights abuses taking place in that country. This is a double standard due to fact that he supported the uprising in Libya and rallied to their cause but is now selling arms to a dictatorship which is oppressing it’s people in just the same way as Gaddafi did.

Similarly this is happening alongside our governments lack of interest in the growingly desperate situation in Syria. Many protesters in their heroic fight for freedom have been shot down, tortured and killed by the government forces here and despite this there has been a clear lack of enthusiasm for the Syrian protesters from this government as there was for the Libyans. This absence of compassion demonstrates the true intentions behind the Libyan intervention which was to protect the supply of oil Britain receives from Libya; oil contracts in Libya were secured by Tony Blair through his complicity to Gaddafi’s brutal dictatorship and such complicity to other dictators appears to be now encapsulated by David Cameron.

Tony Blair (stood to the left) with BP securing oil contract in Libya.

David Cameron’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia poses many significances which cannot be justified by arguments of improving trade or boosting the economy; a lack of media scrutiny about this trip has allowed for these significances to go mostly unnoticed by the public. This trip highlights the hypocrisy of this government’s attitude towards the Middle East alongside our continued and shameful support of Israel and their aggression against Palestine and the Palestinian people. Our Prime Minister’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia brings to light the true shameful nature of Britain’s foreign policy and highlights the extent to which this country exports arms and weapons around the world.

JW

16
Jan
12

On the current drive for Scottish Independence


I’m not going to make the case in favour of the union here. Those arguments should be apparent enough, and have been reiterated ad nauseam recently by men much more qualified than I, as well as by more unsavoury, less qualified ones. If Scotland is to be led to an independence referendum by a nationalist leader, then this individual must truly believe in not just the cause, but also his/her own people’s ability to be decisive, and definitive on the matter. The incumbent First Minister appears to, unfortunately, place faith in neither.

Alex Salmond has, of late, demonstrated that he is willing to manipulate, and ultimately dismiss the will of the Scottish people, merely for his own ends.

This is most evident in the SNP’s newest proposal for the form the referendum should take. Aware that if he were to lose a vote on independence, the consequences would be calamitous for both his party and himself, Salmond is essentially advocating a three-option ballot including, along with the necessary yes and no choices, an additional one for the thus far ill-defined ‘devolution max’. Now, this isn’t just indicative of the fact Mr Salmond is completely unconfident in his ability to win, but of something far more repugnant.

A three-way referendum of this nature may allow the SNP to achieve independence without an outright majority, which is in itself reprehensible. Moreover though, the presence of the ‘devo max’ option would minimise the chance of the nationalists facing a fierce, party-destroying no vote. Perhaps it’d even ensure that result would definitely not occur; the concept of devolution has already proven immensely popular in Scotland. This means that Salmond will effectively be able to walk away with his legacy, party and reputation intact, irrespective of the public’s disposition at the time of the referendum. The issue of independence will have been at best clouded, and at worst belittled, by Salmond’s determination to guarantee his escape from any outcome of the polling with his political survival.

Again and again, we hear the same justification for this referendum format from SNP stalwarts: because a sizeable chunk of the public have expressed a wish for devolution to the fullest extent, falling short of independence, it should be present in any plebiscite. As almost anyone could inform you, however, independence is clearly an altogether isolated and, well, independent issue. Devolution is something that takes place domestically within the United Kingdom as a sovereign state, and cannot be debated directly alongside an alternative to leave it. Such a referendum would appear opportunistic, almost a demand of the UK government – a ‘give us this or we’re off’ – without any real kind of detailed internal UK debate on such further devolution. This does not do people north of the border justice; Scots have never been fair-weather friends.

The SNP are marketing the three-choice referendum as ‘better for Scotland’ – but in reality, they’re promoting it because they fundamentally do not trust the country they claim to be the ‘nationalists’ of, with a truly conclusive question. The only politician I know to have properly pointed this out via mainstream media is Labour’s Douglas Alexander on the Daily Politics, when he referred to it as ‘Salmond’s get out of jail clause’ – so kudos to him. His articulations of the primary unionist arguments on The Telegraph site earlier this week are also worth a read; you can find them here.

The way in which Alex Salmond and his SNP are being deliberately divisive is another reason why these people do not give the impression of being worthy to steer Scotland to, and through, its most important vote ever. They are in essence toying with Westminster over the referendum date and constitutional matters, pretending to dismiss its obvious, unavoidable legal role as a poking of its nose into Scotland’s business, drawing it out into an inevitable conflict. The best case scenario here for Salmond is to succeed in creating such a dichotomy between himself and Cameron so that each become, in the mind of the electorate, Scotland and England incarnate respectively, as they argue. In this way, the SNP could utilise national pride, and ride the wave of animosity it would generate towards the UK, amongst the people of Scotland, to a victory. A very unscrupulous, exploitive way to achieve their favoured result – it doesn’t primarily aim to let Scots consider and focus on the pros and cons at the core of the issue.

The date dispute currently being thrown into the spotlight is twofold in its advantages for Salmond and his party. Not only does it draw Westminster into a debate about Holyrood’s mandate to set it, exacerbating tensions, but if the SNP wins the argument, and the referendum is called later rather than sooner, said tensions will be at their maximum when it finally occurs. Salmond’s thinly veiled justification – that a delay until the Autumn of 2014 will allow Scots more time to decide and evaluate the matter in question – is visibly weak.

The way forward should be clear: the SNP either grant the Scottish people the straightforward, two-option referendum that they deserve as soon as it is possible for them to deliver it, or they stand aside from the matter, letting Scotland face this aspect of its future with a different leader, who is affirmed in purpose, with enough integrity and honesty to let Scots decide directly whether they want independence, or not.

MH