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

Posts categorized "2010 General Election" Feed

The blame shifters

Gordon Brown 'penitent' after bigot gaffe torpedoes election campaign | Politics | The Guardian.

Gordon Brown is the right man to lead the Labour Party. He personifies its spirit of malicious irresponsibility. A true Labour person is someone for whom every problem is another's fault. Labour's scapegoats march in massed ranks and the party's creativity mainly expresses itself in devising new terms of political abuse.

Mrs Duffy, as some relieved Brown aides noted to the press, got off quite lightly. The remarks were not so much about her as about ascribing blame for exposing Brown to an awkward situation. He didn't say (and would never say, unless forced to apologise for political gain) that he messed up. Rather, he blamed the people who worked for him. Though leader of the supposed workers' party, he is in truth the worst kind of boss. According to the Guardian;

Morale in the Labour campaign slumped as even some of Brown's closest aides vented their fury at him, with one describing him as "a pathetic blame shifter"

Confronted about it on air, head self-pityingly in hands, his unguarded first response was to say he would never have allowed himself to be put in a situation where he would say something like that about someone. What does that even mean? Only that, in true Labour fashion, it was someone else's fault; the fault of some loyal employee whose reward was to be blamed.

A "bigot", to Brown, is anyone who does not mindlessly agree with the Labour Party. If Mrs Duffy was to be subject to public denunciation or private smear, she would be far more carefully categorised. Even now, as his campaign team search for dirt about this bemused old lady, they are aching to call her a racist; to negate her whole life with a single word. And why not? the technique has worked so well for so long that even Labour opponents like Iain Dale have adopted it. Why reason with someone you can cast into the political darkness with a word?

The pathetic shifting of blame is what the Labour Party is for. After a lifetime of malicious smears of anyone who blocked his path, Gordon Brown no longer knows right from wrong. If, indeed, he ever did. In that too, he personifies his party. Built on envy, fuelled by malice and endlessly contemptuous of its own supporters it has now reached its nadir. Deliciously, it got here by choosing a leader with more of its ideological DNA than any before him. Surely its time is now over?

Earth to UK. Earth to UK. Come in UK, are you receiving us?

General Election 2010: Nick Clegg's demand for NHS to be broken up | Mail Online.

Has everyone in Britain been taken over by politically naieve aliens? Here we have an article in a "right wing" newspaper "smearing" a "centre left" politician for (unlike the leader of the allegedly "right wing" "Conservatives) making a sensible suggestion (five years ago) about breaking up the Soviet-style NHS. He suggested replacing it with an insurance-based system (horrors!) just like in Social Democrat Germany, France or Sweden (or pretty much anywhere civilised you would like to name, including some countries still nominally "Communist"). Cuba is one of few places these days to have anything resembling the system that Britain likes to delude itself is "the envy of the world." Such is the scale of that delusion, that the BBC has been known to glorify Cuban healthcare, which isn't even the envy of Cuba.

I don't get it. Nick Clegg has made perhaps the first sensible observation by a Liberal since Gladstone died and he's being attacked from the right? He's still a blithering whatsit and a vote for the LibDems still a bad idea, but credit where it's due. He was right on this one. 100% right.

The Same Difference?

BBC News - Election 2010: Gloves off in second leaders' debate.

It's odd to watch an election from this distance. It seems a little like a magic trick. The performers are focussing our attention on one thing, while the real action goes unnoticed. As voters peer and struggle to discern the differences between the parties now in contention, the truth is that - in key respects - they are the same. They are all Party X.

Vote for Party X and this will happen:
  1. You will work (if you work) for half the year for the government
  2. The government will take the fruits of your labour and give them to the least deserving people of the world, whether they be African dictators (to buy weapons to use against their people), domestic criminals (to buy weapons to use against you when they burgle your house) or busybodies (to equip them to interfere in your life).
  3. The government will believe that it knows what is best for you, despite being staffed by people every bit as prone to error as you are yourself.
  4. The government will continue to make you hated or ridiculed in the rest of the world (and expose your warriors to danger) by conducting itself as if a small island nation of no particular current consequence was morally superior to all others.
  5. Political games will be played at Westminster, while the laws are made by unelected men and women in Brussels.
  6. Most of our children will be tragically denied a decent education while one side of the House of Commons rails but does nothing and the other side stokes envy of the few who do what all decent parents would if they could only afford it
  7. Serious criminals will be glamourised, coddled and protected, while decent people will be criminalised to make them docile (and give the police some cheap wins).
  8. The government will get larger.
  9. The economy will rise and fall periodically, while the underlying trend in terms of the lifestyle an ordinary person's wage can buy continues downwards.
  10. Our leaders will try to bask in the reflected glory of our daughter civilisation in America, while the worst (and I fear the most) of us continue secretly to envy it and wish it ill. 
I started this list imagining I could find 3 or 4 key things that were the same. The truth is the list could probably continue at 10 items a day for the rest of my life. There is simply no vote you can cast (unless lucky enough to have a Libertarian candidate) that will reduce the power of the British state.

There is no vote that will allow you to keep more of your earnings to spend on your family. No vote that will allow you to greet your local policeman cheerily, rather than (unless you are someone who should fear him) averting your eyes in fear. No vote will decriminalise you. No vote will make you freer. No vote will stop your sweat being converted into guns for African dictators or samurai swords for your local thugs.

I believe in democracy, but as a means to elect not bosses, but trustees. Men and woman to hold our tax money in trust on our behalf. Men and women to protect our ancient liberties (and restore them when they have been lost). Men and women who understand that, while there is such a thing as society, the state should play only a small part in it. Men and women who understand that the larger the state becomes, the sicker our society will be, until it most closely resembles North Korea.

I wish I could care about the outcome. I worry so much about my children's future and even (when I have a spare moment) about your children's future. Yes, I want change. Yes, I want the election to make a difference. But voting for Tweedledum, Tweedledee or Tweedled'oh is simply not going to do that. The question now is, what will?

No need to blog today...

underdogs bite upwards: When God flicked his cigarette....

Why bother when Leg-iron is on such form over at underdogs bite upwards? Here he is on the cowardice of the past few days. Observing that planes flew when scare-mongers (yes, we had them then but we laughed at them) told us the world was ending during the 1980 Mount Saint Helens eruption, he writes:

Under the dreadful yoke of the current herd mentality, the South and North poles would still be marked as 'here there be dragons' because nobody would be permitted to go there. Yuri Gagarin would have been sectioned for instability - you want to do what? Sit on top of a huge firework in a little tin box and be shot into space? Madness!

The Wright Brothers would have been arrested for endangering themselves. Edison would have been imprisoned for trying to get people to buy a thin glass bulb with a vacuum inside, and then run a high voltage through it. Tesla would have been shot for the safety of the herd because he did some wonderfully wild stuff. Henry Ford would have been ordered to take the engine out of that Model T and tie a horse to it instead.

People traveling on rails behind something that runs on high pressure steam? Insanity! Gas running through pipes right into people's homes? Oh, the risk! A coal fire - indoors? A bridge over the river? What if it falls down? Safer to go around. Better yet, safer to stay here. It might be dangerous over there.

What if, what if, what if. Once that little phrase led to great things. What if lightning could be harnessed? What if we refined that black oil and made an engine that ran on it? What if we were to build a rocket that could take men to the Moon and back again? What if we ignore that 'edge of the world' stuff and just keep on sailing? Let's try it and see what happens.

Now it is completely reversed. What if someone electrocuted themselves? What if that engine caught fire? What if the rocket couldn't get back? What if the edge of the world is real?

Vintage stuff - and how very true. Every time I read the news today, I hear my grandfather's rich snort of contempt in my mind's ear. The West is dwindling. A small sign of that is that thinkers like Leg-iron languish in obscurity, while cowardly moral defectives compete for the stealing/wasting your money concession for the next five years.

Turkey/Christmas interface

Labour has politicised the management of the police and subverted the charitable sector to its political ends. Want evidence? You can find it here and here (both in Labour's Pravda of course).

Public servants should stay out of politics. Elections are for them just like a board meeting where directors with a personal financial interest in the outcome are not permitted to vote. The senior police commanders who "are said to be" against the Conservatives' plan to introduce elected police chiefs have no right to tell their true employers (the taxpayers) how they should go about appointing them. Their opposition to the proposed change suggests only that they know perfectly well that the people they are supposed to serve despise them. Fair enough. The feeling seems perfectly mutual. Sir Paul Stephenson arrogantly remarks:

I could not work in a system where I could be told how to deliver policing

Well, not by the people at any rate. He and his colleagues seem to have taken their orders from Labour well enough - even to the extent of allowing their officers to quiz people who make Freedom of Information requests about their political affiliations and any heretical views they might hold on Anthropogenic Global Warming. The President of the Police Superintendents' Association feels that public confidence in the police;

should not be jeopardised for political ideology

I agree with him, but that horse has bolted. Britain's senior policeman have positioned themselves as the paramilitary wing of New Labour and have lost the public's confidence by their embrace of "political ideology." The only way to restore the confidence of the public may well be to disintermediate police command and control; to cut out the party politicians by direct election of chief constables. Who knows? We may even get some guys like this one! I would worry about that until all but the crimes that existed in some form under Common Law were abolished, but I'd prefer him as my local police chief to any sociology graduate.

The "former charity leaders" whose opinion, it is said (by the Grauniad at least), "reflects the views of many now working in the field" should be silent too. If they are mouthpieces, as suggested, for their former colleagues then they are conspiring to circumvent the law which restricts charity workers from making party political points during election campaigns. Given Labour's entryism in the charitable sector, it would not be at all surprising if they were doing so on party political orders.

Those who have risen under New Labour are as keen to see it fall as were the apparatchiks of the Smith regime in Rhodesia or Erich Honecker's DDR. Their support for the hand that has fed them (and turned them against the people they should serve) tells us nothing new.

Cameron automated. Isn't tech marvelous?

Who has David Cameron been talking to?.

What a useful public service. Just refresh the linked page to get anecdote after Cameron anecdote and all about as accurate as the original. (h/t Crazy Elmont) Now you don't need to watch the next debate.

Too negative a view? Well it is the weekend and I have been listening to my favourite modern country band. Here's one of their songs to cheer you up

All the parties have campaign songs these days. Why shouldn't the voters have one too?

A businessman writes... / Columnists / Luke Johnson - Why I have signed up to political change.

Business in Britain has played along with Labour. It has had little choice as more and more of the economy came under state control. Many businesses developed a strategy of "liberating" as much money as they could from the Treasury by selling the Simple Shopper (© Wat Tyler) goods and services. But the love affair (if such an abusive relationship can be characterised as such) is over.

Luke Johnson's piece in the FT yesterday is damning:

Britain has suffered 13 years of Labour rule, and the country is in a desperate state. It is like a company slithering towards bankruptcy. And, like any business that has to be turned round, there is one absolute rule to fix the mess: change the management. If there is no transformation at the top, then I fear we could become a bigger version of Argentina in 2001.

It is hard to comprehend how much damage Labour has done to our economic prospects ... The most damning statistic is the following: the state’s percentage of gross domestic product in Britain has risen from about 38 per cent in 1997 to perhaps 52 per cent today. Funding this vast amount of public largesse means the UK borrows 25 per cent of all its state spending. Clearly the country is living beyond its means.

We bloggers have been saying so for a while, Luke. We have also been saying this;

This expenditure is significantly funded by foreign buyers of UK government bonds. They can see that this deficit is unsustainable. Sterling’s weakness on foreign exchanges in the past 24 months testifies to international concerns about our economic prospects. If investors are not convinced that serious austerity measures are in train, then they will demand a higher coupon on any British debt they buy. And the one thing Britain cannot afford is higher interest rates.

The UK has huge amounts of debt: household, corporate and government – much of it floating. Only ultra-low interest rates are keeping the economy alive. If base rates were to rise from the current 0.5 per cent to still modest levels of 4 per cent, then consumer spending would plummet and thousands more companies go bust. Unemployment would soar and tax receipts would drop sharply. We would enter a severe, second recession, and living standards as a whole would fall.

Finally, we have also been saying this (and have been called wingnuts for our trouble):

Labour is an entirely fraudulent organisation that pretends to believe in business, then buries it in bureaucracy and tax. Five more years of Gordon Brown would leave Britain an economic wasteland.

If it hasn't already, dear chap. So business has caught up with the blogosphere. About time too.

I was wrong?

I recently blogged that "In the General Election campaign, no mainstream party is talking about debt reduction." Today I read the new Conservative manifesto and there, on the first page, are these words:

Today the challenges facing Britain are immense. Our economy is overwhelmed by debt, our social fabric is frayed and our political system has betrayed the people.

On the face of it, I was wrong. Or was I? Let me begin by saying that I want to be wrong. Nothing would please me more (apart from a massive swing to the Libertarians) than for a party with some chance of winning to address the crippling national debt incurred by Labour.

I like the style of the manifesto. It's clean. It's business like. It's in plain English without being too condescending. It pushes many of my political buttons, peppered as it is with references to what the State cannot do, and to the importance of action by individuals and communities. The illustrations are well done, stylish and even occasionally informative. It's a good piece of work and contrasts well (as it needed to) with the Soviet style of Labour's desperate effort. If an election were a manifesto contest, the Tories would deserve a landslide.

I cannot now accuse Cameron of dodging an unpopular issue. But what do the Conservatives propose to do about it? Well to begin with, a much-needed change in the philosophical approach to government in Britain:

...the change we offer is from big government to Big Society...

They could hardly go further in refuting the idea attributed by leftists to Thatcher that "there is no such thing as society." There is, apparently, and the Tories want it to be bigger. But that's going to take two terms to achieve. In the meantime, there is little choice but to swallow Labour's political poison pill by radically scaling down the state bodies that employ so many voters.

As things stand, the costs of life's necessities (food, clothing and shelter) are so high in Britain that in most households it takes two wages to pay for them; especially given the high proportion of income which now goes in tax (and of net income that is absorbed by VAT etc.). So who is going to do the volunteering? Not young people with families, that's for sure. If the Conservatives can drive down taxes and other elements of the cost of living, then the Big Society becomes plausible. Until then, it's fol-de-rol.

Labour has done structural damage to the economy. The State's employees and other dependants may be the only people with the leisure to man Cameron's "Big Society" and - by definition - they are pretty unlikely to be Conservatives.

The manifesto's objectives (e.g. the benchmarks for change in the "Economy" section are great, but there's little explanation of how to meet them. It says the Tories;

...will cut wasteful government spending to bring the deficit down and restore stability

It also says;

We will provide an emergency Budget within 50 days of taking office to set out a credible plan for eliminating the bulk of the structural current budget deficit over a Parliament. 

I am prepared to believe there were billions of pounds wasted under Labour, but I doubt the necessary savings can be achieved by doing what Labour did more efficiently. Even if they could, "..eliminating the bulk"..." of the budget deficit, still leaves us sliding further into debt.

If the cuts are drawn out too long, there will be little or no "feelgood" in the Conservatives' first term. With the constant whining that can be expected about "Tory cuts" a second term is not going to be easy. The best chance of re-election after painful measures is if people can already see good results. Pain, after all, is not the objective!

Worryingly, there are even pledges to create new government agencies (e.g. to give free advice on debt management). If Cameron is just going to wear a different uniform while steering the same ship of state, nothing good will come of it - especially if he's adding even more superstructure to a vessel that's already unseaworthy.

Only together can we can get rid of this government and, eventually, its debt.

...says Cameron in his introduction. He's not wrong. But are the Conservatives really able to get the government out of our way to make that happen? Or will the first sad story of life being "unfair" have the enemies of freedom (never much inclined to act themselves nor organise their communities to do so) demanding that the government "do something"? And, if the story is sad enough, will David Cameron and his colleagues have the strength to refuse?