Monday, August 12, 2013
Sorry About This
So thianks very much for reading my blog in the past, if that is your reason for logging on, but things move on and in my case I've decided to do so by ceasing to post on Skipper. Bye.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
UKIP Surge Drops Back but Neitherr Labour or Tories Benefit
Labour's lead at 7% is consistent but not what it should be if victory in 2015 is to appear even a strong possibility. It also illustrates that the big push by Balls and Miliband to appear tough on the deficit has not really been noticed yet by voters. Any elation at the Tories slumping from 45 to 29% approval on the economy is also negated by Labour's own fall from 29 to 19%. A twinge of elatioon might be justified however, on perceptions of party unity. Last month 65% felt Cameron had the backing of his party- this month, it's down to 29%. Labour meanwhile is seen as pretty united behind Ed Miliband.
On the 'empathy' axis- 'does he understand people like me'- Cameron sees a slide downhill with only 29% saying yes and 65% saying no. Ed usually scores well on this but also ends up with a 5% negative score: 41-46%. :Much too early to get much of a handle on 2015 but it seems neither big party is currently trusted by voters: Cameron seems to be floundering and his much vaunted leadership skills cast into doubt. Ed's position is even more desperate. As for Clegg, he might just end up holding the balance of power again, courtesy of UKIP and the nationalist parties.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Sir Max Spouts Nonsense on Kenyan Victims
Monday, June 03, 2013
Coalition Promises on Lobbying Shamefully Delayed
The revelation that Sir Patrick Mercer, plus three peers were willing to take money in exchange for lobbying on behalf of an autocratic government, is disappointing and an indictment of promises made but unfulfilled. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, suggested it was the fault of Nick Clegg who is in charge of constitutional reform, and in theory the lead minister.
But my suspicion is that the Tories are not too unfriendly to the knock on the door from their friendly lobbyist and that this measure, so anticipated by the PM himself, has been nudged onto the back burner. Now suddenly, when it's too late, the government are galvanised into promising something they should have done ages ago This is yet further evidence that this government has long ago lost its way and is desperately flailing to regain credibility.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Coalition Spooked by Fears of 2015 Election
Well, yes, but the Tory right have never quite accepted the need for those extra votes. Maybe they think that governing via a heroic minority will win extra support; most importantly it would enable Conservatives to be properly Conservaive instead of the milk and water version inflicted on them by the coalition agreement. Here we see possibly the real reason why those rightwingers want to to end the deal: scared for their seats, they want to win back the votes leeching away to that awful man with the broad grin, a pint in one hand and a fag in the other.
Sounds a daft plan doesn't it? It is daft but ideologically committed politicians are often led up cul de sacs because they are so sure they are right. Look at how Labour's leftwing behaved during the early 1980s? They were so sure that swinging to the left would presage a landlside as 'voters got what they wanted'. Except that they didn't, the left had miscalculated disastrously and the result was a huge landlside for Thatcher. Obsessed with the evils of the EU and convinced public expenditure should be slahed and not just trimmed as Osborne has so far done, they are drwn to the well springs of their Conservative beliefs.
Will the colaition break up? Of course, it must some time before the election, but both Nick and Dave are convinced they have to stick togerther as long as possible: Dave because he wants to pass new measures; nick because he hopes his share in government will win the respect and support of voters. I very much dsoubt now if Dave can win and overall majority in 2015 and Nick has work to do to stop his support disappreaing before polling day comes around. Two years is a olong time in politics and the Lib Dems could go down the plughole of popuklar support or, as I think will happen, they could restore some of their old support and win enough seats to be king makers once again
Monday, May 20, 2013
Dave's Attempt to Recast his Party has Clearly Failed
We saw the cultural distance bridged by extravagant photo shoots and stunts involving trips to the Arctic- strong on the environment; calls for us interpreted as encouragement to hug hoodies- strong on compassion; and an attempt to detoxify the Tory brand as homophobic and uncool. Of course the economic Thatcherism, small statism, low tax and euro-sceptisism were retained. The idea was to keep the core vote onside while extanding the party's appeal to wider expanses of the electorate. The problem was that the Coalition, while ending the party's 13 year power-drought, has also placed the party under immense pressure. The failure of the economy to recover and the cuts in public spending, have done much to alienate voters across the board, while the Tory brand has been retoxified to a worrying degree. Like many parties in a crisis, the Conservatives have fallen back onto their core beliefs and call for more economic austerity and more hostility to the EU. Inevitably party activists are more likiely to do this than MPs who have to be acutely sensitive to how people will vote in reality rather than in theory.
Having seen his modernisation attempt compromised by what he feels are the imperatrives of his austerity startegy, he has tried to maintain his claim to be a compassionate Conservive with his totemic gay marriage bill. The trrouble is Dave's stock has plummeted within his own party, who are beginning to tire of his leadership and are looking to alternatives with names like May or Gove or even Hague. With the additional threat of UKIP washing around the prospects of Tory MPs in marginal seats, Dave has essayed a major push to make his party eurosceptic friendly. The trouble is, making so many concessions to them has made him look weak and no longer in chasrge of his party, as Lord Howe, the slayer of the Leaderene in 1990, said at the weekend. I fear Cameron's great plan to recast his party in a form conguent with the changed society we now live in has foundered upon Osborne's failure to revive the economy and the evidence that, unlike Labour, which began its jounrey into the centre ground with Neil Kinnock after 1987, Cameron has tried to do things too quickly. His party is still locked into thinking that is decades out of date and his chnacesw of winning the next electioon have virtually disappeared.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Tories Lie to Sustain 'Truth' of Scrounger-Striver Distinction
In the same way Iain Duncan Smith-IDS- claimed that his cap on benefits was working its magic even before it came into force:
"Already we have seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the cap move into jobs."
In other words, joy unconfined for Conservative MPs whose reason for living would receive such a crippling blow if the 'benefit scrounger' were to be undermined. IDS, the Thatcherite former leader -well, failed leader actually- who had undergone an emotional conversion to fight against povedrty while visiting the run down Easterhouse area of Glasgow, has based his strategy upon the assumption of the fecklessness of benefit claimants.
In a withering article in yesterday's Observer, Nick Cohen destroyed the basis for this assumption. Cohen asserts that IDS's staff brief the press with 'unpublished figures' which are eagerly disseminated by the Mail, Telegraph and the like.
. "By the time the true figures appear on the DWP website , and informed commentators can see the falsity, the spin, the old saying applies: "A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on."
Cohen reports how the UK Statistics Authority,whose job it is to oversees all official statistics, has shown there is no basis whatsoever in the figures to support the contention in relation to the benefits cap. Morever, Jonathan Portes, former chief economist at the Cabinet Office has shown that the claim about incapacity benefits is. according to Cohen, 'False and demonstarbly false'.
Far from being a 'good Tory' as Michael Foot said of Disraeli, IDS seems to be just like all the other Tories, eagerly accepting falsehoods about the lower orders because such people have always had a vested interest in denigrating the poor and disadvantaged. And the public, always receptive to such knocking copy, just lap it up. Well said, Nick Cohen.