THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain

Posts categorized "2010 General Election" Feed

For you, Mr Brown, the war is over...

This resignation is the real thing. Ding dong. Brown has been a low plotter and a vicious bully since his days in university politics. He is a man with a deluded sense of entitlement to power. The only open question is whether he has a warped moral sense or is a total hypocrite. I suspect the latter. Despite his infuriating (and ultimately self-destructive) claim to a superior moral compass, I believe he is not (like most of us occasionally, despite our best efforts) merely immoral, but actively amoral.


Now watch the left/liberal spin machine rehabilitate his reputation. John Major was a political failure, but is now a "statesman"; wheeled out on important occasions to lend "gravitas". If it can be done for him - a man who should be remembered only for abolishing the right to silence and launching the assault on liberty continued with such vigour by Labour  - it can be done for Brown. That would be hard to stomach.

There is still an outside chance (and here readers will say I am a foolish optimist) that he may do his country some good. If he can't let go of his sense of entitlement, despite having no hope of playing any active part, he may fall into the destructive role played by Edward Heath in the Thatcher years. John Major and Neil Kinnock, losers both, have at least had the sense to avoid that. Brown, however, will probably be well up for it. He could serve the nation immensely by undermining his left/liberal successors at every turn. Particularly if he continues to use smears as he did - through henchmen - throughout his career.

The problem with this happy thought is that, whereas the media were happy to facilitate Heath's sabotage, they will be less willing to help Brown. While some immediate practical action against the left/liberal bias of the media is possible (e.g. bankrupting the Guardian by cutting the government advertising on which it survives) the problem needs to be addressed at its roots - in the universities. The new government has fierce economic fires to fight. It may fall (as Margaret Thatcher did) into the classic leadership error of prioritising the urgent over the important. In all the cuts that must be made however, there will be ample opportunity to close the madrassas of the Left, entirely dependent as they are on state funding.

Who would notice amidst all the pain to come if funding for all but genuine academic disciplines at universities was slashed? Would the howls of the sociologists, political scientists etc. even be heard above those of front line public sector workers? Would any parents protest if the school curriculum was thoroughly de-politicised as part of spending cuts, refocusing resources on academic subjects? Please note, I am not advocating replacing left-wing propaganda with any other variety. I am advocating political neutrality in state education, which used to be taken for granted.

The poisonous priests of the Left in education have a fatal weakness. They are constitutionally incapable of making an honest living in pursuit of their "craft." Most couldn't even find a publisher without the status conferred by their academic titles. Denied a parasitical existence, some might even be redeemed by honest labour. Cut their subsidies and they are history. Continue to fund them however and they will rewrite history.

Blair famously (and dishonestly) promised to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime." Cameron should be tough on the consequences of leftism; tough on the causes of leftists.

Resigned to what?

Gordon Brown to resign: full text of his statement - Telegraph

I read the reports of Gordon Brown's "resignation" this morning with some amusement. In business when we resign, we hand over our responsibilities and walk away. More often than not, the "resignation" is a polite fiction to conceal that we have been fired. That is not quite what has happened here is it? The only sign that Brown has any real understanding of the election outcome is in this passage;

The reason that we have a hung Parliament is that no single party and no single leader was able to win the full support of the country. As leader of my party, I must accept that that is a judgement on me. I therefore intend to ask the Labour Party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election. I would hope that it would be completed in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labour Party conference.

There is intent there, certainly, but intentions can change. If the deal with the Liberal Democrats (and the assorted fellow travellers they would need) can't be made, what then? The conference is not until the Autumn. Until then, Brown is not handing over to his deputy and going to Scotland on "gardening leave," "to spend more time with his family," or even "to pursue other interests." He is going to lead the country as Prime Minister and lead the Labour Party.

He goes on to say that the British People;

...want us to continue to pursue the economic recovery, and I will do so with my usual vigour and determination...

Vigour and determination are wonderful qualities, but only if applied to good ends. The Kray Twins, for example, were much noted for their vigour and determination. The Labour Party has vigorously and determinedly driven the nation into beggary. I loved the fact that The Guardian reported markets fell on news of his "resignation," as if even the wicked capitalists thought it a bad thing. At no other time in Brown's career, even when people and press were fooled by his Humpty Dumpty like redefinition of profligacy as "prudence," would the markets have trembled at his demise. They fell on fear of more Labour, not less Brown.

So Mr Brown is going months from now, perhaps. Between now and then, anything can happen. For all the grave-dancing in the excitable blogosphere, it's far too soon to celebrate. Not that celebration is at all appropriate neck-deep in the mess of debt in which Labour, true to historic form, has mired us. While the supreme proof of the mediocrity of Labour's apparatus is that Brown could rise as he did, the Labour Party is an evil in itself, not because it's led by him.

There was no hope of a positive result from this election. The only good outcome would have been the destruction of Labour. It didn't happen. It bred its client vote parasites on the body politic to such numbers, that it was simply not possible. Those blood-suckers are not even dimly aware that their future depends on the health of their host animal. So, while the politicians bicker over titles and ministerial Jaguars, the fight for our nation's survival is still on.

What have we learned?

Have we learned much from this election? We already knew that, for most people, voting is about fear of worse not hope for better. We already knew that - for all the election time flattery about the wisdom of the people - most voters are political and economic imbeciles. We knew that, even though our government is borrowing 20 pence of every pound it spends, there is no national appetite for prudence. No candidates were ready to look us in the eye and say this can't go on. No candidates were ready (for fear of being thought "negative") to point to the markets jittering at every opinion poll and tell the truth that there is a limit to national credit. No-one was even putting forward a plan to reduce debt. The arguments were about when to start slowing the rate at which it increases. The economic debate stank to high heaven of irresponsibility, as the politicians peddled their old, powerful lie of "something for nothing".

We already knew that so few people care about habeas corpus, jury trial, the presumption of innocence, policing by consent or even respect for privacy or freedom of choice that these were not election issues. The parties banged on about what they could do for us if elected. What they could spend on us. They talked about tax credits, benefits, "investment" in education and health - all without any word about the cost or who would bear it. Except, of course, for the evil "rich". All three main parties despise those guys, yet all also seem convinced of their loyalty, patriotism and generosity. If you based your opinion on what politicians expect of the rich, rather on how they speak of them, you might think them wonderful.

Nor was there talk of reforming a "democracy" in which the Conservatives' electoral failure would, for Labour, have been a triumph. No-one mentioned the iniquities of a system that allows a Scottish led Labour Party to bribe Scots with English gold into imposing a socialist system for which the English did not vote.

No-one was promising to end the sickening waste of human potential involved in a state education system more Marxist than any ever implemented in the Soviet Union. No-one even hinted at a plausible plan for weaning corrupted millions from state dependence.

The outcome could scarcely have been worse. While the politicians squabble over their dunghills, the decisive economic action we need will never be taken and the cost, when it is finally forced upon us, mounts. This unstable situation will not last. We are stuck in a permanent election where no question is too dangerous to be ignored. The electorate has voted for denial.

The political mould was not broken. The number of Liberal Democrat MPs fell. They are now reduced to political whoredom, pimped by their lightweight leader. The Labour core vote - incredibly - held. I cannot imagine what Labour would have to do to a Glaswegian, Geordie or Liverpudlian before he would stop voting for them, but I am pretty sure - if filmed - it would get an "18" certificate. The Tories sold their souls, but the Devil cheated them of their price. If a two constituency sample is anything to go by, it seems that Britain has about 65,000 Libertarians. Even if all well-armed and fighting fit (and most of us are neither) it's barely enough for a coup d'etat, let alone an electoral breakthrough.

It seems the British people will sleep until external forces wake them from the childish dreams which comprise their political thought. They will believe in "something for nothing" until economic realities take that something away, a la Grecque. So much for the voice of the people then. We will hear the voice of money now. Don't expect it to sing lullabies.

An Election decided in the courts?

Mrs Paine woke me by telephone with news of frustrated people clamouring to vote as the polls were due to close. She was watching people being allowed in to vote even as the first results were being declared. Those votes are invalid but will be impossible to distinguish (unless the officials were at least smart enough to use a new ballot box) from valid ones.

It will therefore be open to losing candidates to challenge those results. It's a telling (forgive the pun) story in a few respects. We have conducted elections in this simple way with pieces of paper thrust into boxes for centuries without problems. The turnout may be high, but postal votes were made generally available, reducing the pressure of the "live" vote. None of my family actually went to polling stations this time. There is therefore no good reason for queues if polling stations were properly organised and adequately staffed.

Yet as is typical in Britain, what was once easy is now difficult. An education system in which not only is bad behaviour tolerated (or actively rewarded) but poor performance is never critiqued has resulted in a population that can't distinguish sloppiness from competence. The "self-esteem" of modern Britons is such that piss-poor performance simply doesn't shake it.

It's also interesting that voters would insist (aggressively according to Mrs P.) on being allowed to vote contrary to law. There is so much law in Britain now (and people are so used to being constantly in breach of it) that the emotional significance of Law itself has been diminished. Peelite "policing by consent" is only possible if most people self-enforce, which only happens if the Law itself is generally respected. The alternative, as we have seen, is policing by ever-increasing force. From Mrs P's description of the scenes, it would certainly have taken more force than was to hand to hold the would-be voters back. There was a time when they would have tutted at their misfortune and walked away.

Challenges to results, leading to re-runs of the relevant elections, would be morally justified if results were close but they might be legally justified regardless. Perfectly good results could be overturned on a technicality and the elections re-run because of this incompetence.

Results from affected constituencies are likely to be skewed by more than the direct impact of the votes that should not have been cast. I have always thought it ridiculous that elections are conducted on a working day in Britain (unlike everywhere else I have lived). The unemployed, pensioners and under worked government employees have all the time in the world to vote, but the private sector voters who will fund the government have to fit it in with earning a living. Postal ballots (not least because of the corruption that their introduction seems almost to have been designed to facilitate) will tend to favour Labour. The voters turned away at 10pm however, probably included more Conservatives. Those who work hard to pay the piper tend to be more critical of his playing, after all.

Happy though I always am for my fellow lawyers to make an honest living, I hope the result is clear enough that the courts don't have to decide who won. I can't predict what mischief minor parties might attempt, but the main parties will be embarrassed to resort to law, unless individual results are close. It would certainly be a disaster if we had the equivalent of embittered Democrats in America arguing that the election was stolen in the courts. The next government has dreadful duties to perform and will need all the popular support it can get.

Depression, or forgiveness?

Depression – Counting Cats in Zanzibar.

I started to write a brief comment over at Counting Cats, where blogger NickM is depressed about today's election. One of his commenters, IainB, said that Labour would not be destroyed as it deserves because of its "client vote". I am sure that hardly alleviated Nick's depression and I tried to weigh in gently. My comment grew and grew however, consuming my blogging time budget for the day, so I am recycling it here.

Many bitter words have been said in the past few weeks. I defer to no-one in my contempt for the Labour Party, but today - as we try to influence our collective future - we should be one nation. We must try to hate the sin and not the sinners, at least as far as Labour voters are concerned

...even those on the client payroll must know in their hearts that this can’t go on. I feel sorry for some who will vote Labour today out of fear for their non-jobs or the future of the lame “services” on which they depend. Apart from the underclass (probably less than a million individuals) they are not willing parasites. They simply have no experience of providing for themselves. More to the point, given the economic destruction wrought by Labour and the lack of any clear, honest solution from the Tories, they understandably have no confidence that any likely government will ever leave them enough of their own earnings to do so.

Of course I am disappointed in anyone who votes for fairyland politics today, but I accept they are not deliberately destroying our country. They are clinging to its wreckage, with no idea what else to do. Most (if they are honest) know in their hearts that they are stealing from their children and grandchildren. They are familiar with the concept because it’s just what their parents and their grandparents did to them with their unfunded Welfare State. It was only during Blair’s time in number 10, after all, that we finished paying America back the money our grandparents borrowed to fund their great “vision” in 1946. Their “stamps” didn’t pay it all. We did.

None of this is Gordon Brown’s fault. Blair concealed his motives well, but Brown has been openly, honestly intent on reducing us to the living standards and civic culture of the former East Germany. He sincerely believes in “equality” and seriously thinks that we will be poorer but happier in social solidarity under firm government. Under his leadership, Labour has once again been an honest party of losers, for losers. It has openly promoted loserdom as a lifestyle. No, the fault for today’s impending fiasco lies entirely with HM Opposition for failing to sell reality to the deluded and/or terrified voters.

My wife says Cameron had no choice. The voters are hypocrites; complaining that no-one tells them the truth, but punishing anyone who tries to do so. She thinks Cameron will imitate Blair in substance as well as style; pretending to be ideologically close to the outgoing government but then introducing by stealth every aspect of his true agenda. I am not convinced, which in a way is a compliment to Cameron. I don’t think he is that warped.

It has come to something, has it not, when our only hope is that David Cameron is a despicable liar? Just like Blair.

The ordinary people of Britain have never had a greater enemy than the Labour Party and, like Nick, I long to see it fatally crushed today. But too many of my friends and family are Labour voters for me to hate them for their political errors. They are my fellow citizens too and today I simply hope against hope that their folly does us all less harm than that of their predecessors in our parents' and grandparents' generations.

Whatever you do today, vote. I am disenfranchised as a long-time expatriate, so if you weren't planning to do it for yourself, please go vote for me. Good luck.

It ends here

For every promise broken, for every lie told, for every soldier sent to war ill-equipped, for every child's future blighted by Marxist educational dogma, for every pound seized and squandered and - most of all - for every freedom lost, Labour must pay tomorrow with its political life.

If we have self-respect as a nation, we must not dodge this choice. Voting for someone who will decide for us later whether David Cameron or Gordon Brown should be Head of Government is cowardice.

If you have a Libertarian candidate to vote for, go ahead with pride. Start us on the long path to a real change that can restore the nation. For the rest of you alas only the Conservatives - flawed as they are - can end this.

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion

General election 2010: How the eyes of the world see a very British contest | From the Observer | The Observer.

I approach The Guardian daily in the spirit of Don Vito Corleone; keeping my friends close, but my enemies closer. The linked article, however, struck a chord. A regular commenter named Chuckles recently asked me (speaking of my perspective on Britain);

Do you think long spells spent in foreign climes under different jurisdictions and compulsions contribute to this?

Yes, I do. Since I left to work abroad in 1992 I have learned that our national self-image differs greatly from the perceptions of others. We see ourselves as the nation of fair play, but we are widely perceived as dishonest, for example. That's a perception worsened by our political correctness. That nasty curdled version of our once-famous politeness causes Brits to approach issues crabwise for fear of causing offence. It comes over as fake and - frankly - it is. When I discuss issues with foreign friends in a direct way, I wince at the inevitable "compliment" of being told that I am "...not at all like an Englishman..."

The foreign correspondents reporting our election are, delightfully, not as mealy-mouthed as their PC British counterparts. Here's the correspondent of El Mundo speaking of some of the campaign's main characters;

We all miss him [Tony Blair]. All the foreign correspondents ... He's such a greedy guy! And a liar. You know he was just a real politician, an actor, a multimillionaire. He was just such fun ... Whereas Gordon Brown is dour and boring, nobody cares about him...He gets on well with the Spanish prime minister but this is because they are both in a terrible position ... they are like two drunks who are holding on to each other in the street to stop themselves falling over ... my favourite is Mr Mandelson. He's the most grotesque character. I absolutely adore him. He's so funny. And he's such a drama queen. He exaggerates everything. But he's very intelligent – he's the first one to come up with a new catchphrase. And he's always in tune with the mood. He smells the mood around him. Yesterday he said: 'Flirt with Nick Clegg and you'll end up married to Cameron.' Which is brilliant, isn't it? He's just so funny. Funnier even than Lembit Öpik.

He has those guys nailed. The France 24 correspondent, however, seems determined to live up to her national stereotype;

The Conservatives have been giving the best press conference breakfasts; good croissants, excellent pains au chocolat…

As a long-time resident in Russia, I smiled at the perspective of the Moskovsky Komsomolets correspondent:

What is hard to explain is how a couple of phrases from Nick Clegg, about the two other 'old parties', seems to have changed the mind of so many of the electorate. The Russians would find it intriguing that the British public could be so persuadable.

But what of the Germans? Though our ethnic brothers, they are after all the most foreign of foreigners to the English, perpetually in opposition to our barbaric culture and Anglo-Saxon values and with no decent food to compensate for their disdain. Yet the London correspondent of ZDF makes some perceptive observations. She is genuinely puzzled by;

...the fact that Nick Clegg has the same type of background as Cameron and yet he manages to be the Robin Hood of the poor. How did he do that? I think he must have very good PR...

She gets into her stride however when giving our democracy a well-deserved Teutonic kicking: one can understand in Germany why Clegg's party is gaining around 30% of the polls but will only gain 15% of the seats in parliament. I have to say that I think our system is more democratic. Which, considering it was Britain that gave the system of democracy to the world, is quite unbelievable...

The main truth of this election however, is also the main truth about us. Like the British people themselves the campaign is self-absorbed, inward-looking and has an air of unjustified superiority. The campaigners preen and strut as if they were taking part in the world's only democracy. Even the pro-EU LibDems don't dare to mention that there is more to the world than our islands. Our Spanish friend Eduardo Suárez of El Mundo (whom I would love to buy a pint someday) nails both that and the world's response to it: are only interested in yourself. You don't care about anyone else, any other country, you just spend all your time looking at yourself, this is very funny...

Funny, yes. And also sad. No-one is impressed guys. They are laughing because this childish self-absorption is just another sign of a great civilisation dwindling.

The quote (and the smear) of the campaign

Secret Christian donors bankroll Tories | World news | The Observer.

The Labour Party was once a movement of muscular Christians. Now it's a smear to report that Christians have donated to their opponents. Since all the major donations are public (no real journalism was therefore required to research the linked article) the word "secret" is certainly nothing but a smearing innuendo.

Since religions prosper under persecution and poverty - Labour and its fellow travellers seem intent on creating the conditions for a great Christian revival in Britain. Though I am an atheist myself, it would not particularly bother me. I share most of the Christian values in which our civilisation was marinated for centuries. At least, unlike the Liberals, Christians would return with the same values as when they were last influential.

I had to smile, rather sadly, at the observational comedy of one Conservative donor, Christian businessman Michael Farmer:

Labour's idea of a family is three people who share a fridge.

Amen, brother.

The Dog That Didn't Bark

The Magistrate's Blog: The Dog That Didn't Bark In The Night.

I rarely agree with Bystander at The Magistrate's Blog. He has those moral calluses that policemen, magistrates and judges acquire from long labour at the coal face of justice. He tends to see everyone as a potential offender and is particularly unfond of motorists. Yesterday, however, he made a good point; one also made by Henry Porter in his foxhole behind enemy lines at The Guardian;

What is worrying is the chill that has descended on civil liberties, as though freedom was some minority issue for eccentrics, rather than the oxygen of democracy. The failure of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to raise the attack on liberties by the Labour party and so signal its vital importance to the electorate is one of the more depressing aspects of the last few weeks.

Poor dear Henry underestimates the issue. Freedom is not subordinate to democracy. Democracy is of no value unless it serves to protect freedom. It can sometimes be better to be a subject of a tyrannical but limited monarchy than a citizen of a big State kleptocratic democracy.

Labour's worst crime has been its onslaught on Liberty. Five long years and thousands of words ago, that onslaught inspired me to start this blog. This election is a disappointment to me in so many ways, but the key one is this. For all that Labour has done, Liberty is not an election issue.

Our infantilised electorate has been under the clumsy care of Mother State for so long that the bars of its play pen have become its horizon. As Bystander says, echoing Porter;

As the General Election campaign enters its last week there has been little or no mention of one of the most significant legacies of the New Labour years; the erosion of liberty and the increasingly authoritarian way in which we are governed.

He goes on to make the interesting point, of which I was only vaguely aware, that thousands of new crimes are largely enforced not by the courts but by legions of public servants;

Only about half of the so-called 'Offences Brought to Justice' ever get to court, as a succession of hardline Home Secretaries have preferred to allow the police the CPS and other bodies to impose sanctions out of the public gaze, behind closed doors. Now, incredibly, even night club doormen are being allowed to hand out fixed penalties. Civil Enforcement of parking regulations means that your only appeal against a decision is to an adjudicator, and if he is not on your side, that's it - no further avenues are open. Proportionality has gone out of the window. Jumping a red traffic light, an offence that can in some circumstances kill people, carries a fixed penalty of £60. Overfilling your dustbin will attract a fine of £100 or more from some councils; where's the logic in that?

The logic is simple, Bystander. It's not about the command given, but the response. These offences are not about restraining wrongs at all. They are about training citizens to instant obedience, and state servants to command. The more illogical, for that purpose, the better. When you call your dog to heel, do you want him to consider why? Labour only knows that the state, when guided by it, knows best. In its view, that's all we need to know. To question is to be insubordinate.

I began to blog as a disillusioned Conservative. I could not understand why my then party was no longer making the case for freedom. Blogging introduced me to a band of others who believe the state should be subordinate to the citizen, but we are few, far apart and often more inclined to bicker than to unite against tyranny. I fear we may have achieved nothing but to give some future Stasi a convenient list of doors upon which to knock in the night.

Consider the language of election coverage. According to our press (and Bystander) we are choosing who will "govern" or even "rule" us. Consider the key issues; they are all to do with the performance of the State, not its size or scope. The children want a newer, stronger playpen and more and brighter toys. They don't care how mummy affords them and they certainly have no desire or inclination to grow up and buy their own. I may yet have the satisfaction of outliving the Labour Party, but I despair of outliving its evils.