Thursday, 29 April 2010

Politial Campaigning 101

  1. Do not insult respectable 66 year old women, who've voted for you all their lives. Especially nice ones who volunteer with disabled kids, and who remind every other voter of their Nan, who give their priorities as "Education, The NHS and Helping vulnerable people". Such a person cannot, under ANY circumstances WHATSOEVER be described as "bigoted".
  2. Because every other voter subliminally thinks you're insulting their Nan. Insulting people's Nan's is a BAD THING. And because she, quite reasonably raised the national debt and immigration, two issues which are uppermost in voters' minds, you've managed to insult anyone else who thinks these issues are important too. Insulting voters is a BAD THING.
  3. Do not get caught saying one thing to someone's face, and another behind their back, especially if you're using "what you see is what you get" as your political unique selling point.
  4. Do not get caught BEING the person the opposition SAY you are.
  5. If Sky News give you a radio Mic, they will not stop recording until you switch the thing off. You cannot blame Sue Nye for that one, you worm.
  6. Do not get caught blaming your underlings for your own incompetence and misanthropy.
  7. Do not get caught being a responsibility-shifting, evasive bully with a hatred of his own voters and a pathological victim complex. Do not get caught being this man, even if you transparently ARE this man.
  8. Turn the mic OFF, before you let off steam.

Thankfully Gordon Brown didn't attend Politics 101 and as a result, the spreads have moved in my favour. Keep going Gordon, you'll make me rich yet and I get to watch Labour collapse to a historic defeat which is looking like the greatest swing against a party IN HISTORY. From Government with a majority of 60 or so to fewer than 200 seats. YOU did that Gordon.

How does it feel to be so completely useless at the job you've ached for your entire life, that you not only bankrupt the country, but destroy the party you've served your entire life?

I leave you with a thought...



Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Boobquake

In response to rug-butter-nutter Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi's assertion that provocatively dressed women were responsible for earthquakes, Blogger Jennifer McCreight suggested that on one day women world wide should show a bit of cleavage, thigh or, in Iran, face in order to test the hypothesis that cleavage causes the ground to shake.


Ms Mcreight, Causing earthquakes.

I think her methodology was flawed, and that many further day's study would be necessary. But nevertheless, the results are in. The evidence clearly supports the nul Hypothesis that Boobs do not cause earthquakes. They are of course, like all geological phenomena, Nick Clegg's fault.



How Brown made a Horlicks of the FCO

Over at Charles Crawfords Blogoir*: apparently the FCO is no longer organised by country. Let me repeat that. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office no longer has a 'Congo desk' or a department covering Obscuristans in central Asia, manned by people who knew the country, have been there and speak the lingo. That, apparently was old-hat and smacked of colonialism or something. Instead there was a new organisation based around Gordon Brown's targets so that inputs could be measured (emphasis mine).

Of course, annoyingly, countries and their footling problems and visitors would not go away. But they would be dealt with by 'Units'. Or something.

This at a stroke devalued if not destroyed the UK's classical diplomacy.

The FCO's accumulated wisdom was scattered. Control and continuity were lost in a maze of organisational uncertainty and incessant physical relocations, as different Units and Sections moved listlessly round the main building trying to find a sensible place to be parked.

So what do we see now? Instead of a group of diplomats building up an expertise about a country and (yes) maybe some sympathy with its problems, we have ad hoc arrangements set up to deal with ad hoc realities. No-one knows anything:
A complete demonstration of the failure of the intellectual and philosophical dogmatism allied to extreme incompetence, and a kind of marxist distrust of expertise and excellence which sits behind everything this disastrous government does. This approach has, of course been repeated everywhere with hyperactive vandalism. Is there anything New Labour has touched that they haven't utterly ruined?

*a portmanteau of 'blog' & 'memoir'. I am surprised this hasn't caught on.



Sunday, 25 April 2010

Church services in Tonga

Pretty much like anywhere else in the world. You have the kids playing top trumps, the kid with the matchbox helicopter Napalming Vietnamese villages in his head. The two asleep ladies, the guy whose feelings for Christ against his feelings for Bernard are the subject of today's sermon. The two old dears towards the end of their allotted fourscore and ten who are praying with the vigor that only hope can bring. The baby that would need elephant tranquilliser to shut them up held by a rather embarrassed mother wishing she had some Ritalin in her purse, and the sixteen year old girl looking longingly at the 25 year old bloke who wouldn't notice until she sat on his face.

Both there are three differences to church services in England or the States. The first rather obvious one is that the Tongans are not ones for the namby pamby CofE sermon about sensible hats or something. The vicar in these Tropical parts breathes fire and brimstone. Now I don't speak Tongan but it sounds and looks like the enemies of Jesus in these parts are for the cooking pot. I suspect that his ancestors sounded pretty much the same when they were wearing a necklace of shrunken heads, wielding a 3 foot wooden club and pointing excitedly at a very large cauldron with Carrots, Onions and space for a Missionary in it.

The second difference is due to the individual Vicar who I swear was The Rev Jesse Jackson's "Pod Person". Instead of banging on about White Folk and Black Republicans all being Uncle Toms this guy actually talked about Jesus.

The third and most noticeable difference was the singing. The Church had about thirty people in it - Tops. But my God they could sing, they lifted the roof off. Non of the dreary Anglo Saxons in Church singing "Praise him" with all the vigour and enthusiasm of them praising Inland Revenue inspectors; the people of the South Pacific sing like they've already joined the Choir Invisible. The sound is like silk being gently pulled through your ears. In comparison it makes the Welsh sound like a bunch of 6 year olds playing the recorder.



Friday, 23 April 2010

Anthony Kershaw

Al Jahom has stirred a hornet's nest with his comments on the Sun Report of a death of a young man, father of one and, according to some in the comments all round lovely guy, Anthony Kershaw. Longrider derides the commenters as "the Rise of the Intermong".

Kershaw was killed after apparently urinating through 52-year old Michael William's letterbox the culmination of a prolonged period of abuse and anti-social behaviour. This is the currant bun we're talking about, so I like to see if there are any more facts to add to the case. The BBC report is here, Wales online here and the Telegraph here; none shed any more light on the subject.

Kershaw was described as a 'Jack the lad' by his mum. And his profession is not mentioned in any report, so I can assume a life-time of welfare and heavy drinking. Mind you, neither is Williams' profession listed. Which means he's a never-been-employed 52 year old. Why is Williams assumed to be 'respectable'? Because he's 52, rather than 25?

Many people have lost sympathy with the people they're paying to get drunk and Urinate all over people's front doors. However, stabbing someone is not justifiable, however bad the nuisance. The problem with condemning someone like Kershaw is that we've all got drunk and acted up. When you're a public school man and a graduate, it IS more likely to be seen as 'High-spirits'. Whilst I've never urinated on someone's door, I have urinated inappropriately in drawers, cupboards and nearly got arrested for doing so at Junction 4 of the M4, Central reservation. I didn't get arrested, or get an ASBO and I have a decent suit and received pronunciation and just enough social grace to know when to wind my fucking neck in to thank for that. Not because I am a model citizen. Let him that is without sin and all that...

In this instance, I am with the 'Intermong' commentators. A young man, no angel certainly, but who at least appeared to be sticking around with the mother of his child, is dead. His killer may have been provoked; but the allegations that Williams was a short-tempered wierdo also seem believable. And if one of my friends was stabbed - for whatever the reason: well... Stand by. So I have some sympathy with Kershaw's friends trying to get into Williams' house. Taking the piss out of less educated people who are just trying to defend the memory of their dead friend is pretty low.

I normally agree with Longrider. I like Al Jahom, and Julia M of Ambush Predator too, their blogs in particular focus on the 'Broken Britain' meme by adding their acerbic commentary and reading between the lines of the identikit press reports from the underbelly of society. In this instance I fear they're leaping to judgement on the basis of prejudice rather than on the Blogger's usual USP of trying to add a little extra information than the writing by numbers churnalism of the tabloid press release, and showing a rather unpleasant snobbery in doing so.

'Never speak ill of the dead' seems a pretty good line to take for people who see themselves as decent and educated.



New Zealand air in the South Pacific

Sorry about the lack of blogging from Travelgall. In the South Pacific. I'd like to say that its horrible but with the exception of the Mosquitoes the size of fucking cats in Samoa its great. Sea water the temperature of your bath, perfect golden sands and everybody watches Rugby over here rather than girlie Football. One crowning turd in the water pipe though - Air New Zealand. Or to be exact the 11 hour delay caused by "Engine trouble". For those of you not familiar with airline industry bullshit, everything from the Polish PM stacking it into Russian soil to the Pilot refusing to budge until he's had hand relief from the stewardess is covered by "Engine trouble". Basically they assume passengers won't compain if they say something is wrong with the aircraft. But the Ford Trimotor I caught from a little wooden hut to a grass strip with a palm tree here in Tonga wasn't delayed more than an hour - and they have to get spare parts mail order from IWM Duxford. Nor was the bloody plane to American Samoa. And American Samoan planes require VTOL Rockets that they fix to Special Forces Hercules to get the aircraft to defy Gravity. This is because of the 12 - 800lb tribute to Colonel Sanders Samoans that anchor the plane firmly to Terra Firma. So what every other nationb in the South Pacific area can do - Air New Zealand cannot do. And what is it with Airline Stewardesses on Air New Zealand. Which one did you date honey? Wilbur or Orville?



Thursday, 22 April 2010

Clegg's Monstering

Poor Nick Clegg's getting a monstering in the press. Iain Dale has a post up intimating that this is "disgraceful" and "will backfire". And I agree up to a point. Because Clegg is a basically decent sort, and because such a concerted attack looks like an establishment and media pile-on rather than responsible journalism, it may even generate sympathy. However, it is this sort of monstering that Cameron and Brown endure daily, and Clegg is a politician so the public's capacity for sympathy is limited.

Furthermore, Clegg has long complained that the press don't pay him attention, but he should be careful what he wishes for; for he's now playing with the big boys, by big boy's rules. Prisoners are not taken, especially with 14 days to go before an election.

If Clegg can step up to the crease* and come up with a convincing rebuttal to the accusations of Nazism, Fraud and Paedophilia then his momentum will be sustained, delivering the Liberal Democrat dream of a Hung parliament. If not, then the Cleggmania will be a flash in the pan, killing Labour and delivering Cameron a decent Majority.

The stakes for tonight's debate could not be higher. My guess (hope?) is that lib-dem dodgy policies on Trident and Europe; and Gordon Brown being completely hopeless on Afghanistan having blocked adequate equipment for the forces in action will allow Cameron to give one of his now famous backs-to-the-wall, last-ditch, rabbit-out-of-the-hat, barnstorming performances.

*we're British, we play Cricket not Baseball, we do not step up to the "plate". Not, of course that there's anything wrong with Baseball - 'tis an admirable game. But let's be culturally and idiomatically correct.



This week's Britblog roundup

About the Monstering of Nick Clegg. Iain Dale sums it up nicely.

Oh... and while I'm pointing you at Blogs here's this week's Britblog roundup over at Trixy's place. If there's anything you think should be included in next week's roundup send them to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.



Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Proportional Representation would be a disaster.

List Proportional Representation is the Liberal Democrat's raison d'etre. That and selling the country out to the European Union. These are the red lines that mean that I cannot vote for this otherwise admirable civil libertarian party. At the moment, given the polls, there is an outside chance on the fabled Uniform National Swing (UNS) that would see Labour beaten into third place yet become the largest party in a Hung parliament.
Clearly that would be a disastrous result. But such a result is always a mathematical possibility in a First Past The Post electoral system. The fact that it is in danger of happening, doesn't mean we have to abandon a system which has given the country plenty of good Governments who have radically changed this country. If the result is clearly unsatisfactory, then we can always have another election - the usual result of an Hung Parliament.

In some ways, PR would not change anything. Coalitions would still be necessary, it's just that at present the coalitions are within parties rather than between them. The Tories for example range from Libertarians like Dan Hannan to authoritarians like Anne Widdicombe and Chris Grayling. Labour ranges from Hard Leftists like Dennis Skinner and Gordon Brown, to managerialist spivs like James Purnell. The Liberal Democrats are united only in footwear.
What unites the Liberal Democrats.

Under PR, the Tories would probably splinter into a UKIP faction, a High Tory patrician faction (let's call them Christian Democrats), and a Libertarian faction. The Labour party would splinter into the Facists, Fabians, Greens and the socialists, who would then sub-splinter into all manner of Socialist lunacies (People's front of Judea?... SPITTERS!). Would the Orange-Bookers manage to stay with the Ex Social Democratic Party within the Liberal Democrats?

As things stand, these coalitions publish manifestos on which the people (in theory) vote. It is clear what shape the governing coalition will take. But that is not the only benefit of the system we've got.

It gets rid of unpopular Governments: 1979, 1997 are the two best recent examples. And that is the point of democracy. It is not a tribal head-count. Nor can a quintennial poll accurately gauge opinion on any specific issue. As the talking heads are so keen to point out, people are not interested in politics. What they want is to be governed reasonably, efficiently and for that government to tax us as little as possible for the services we contract out to them. When that government fails to live up to our expectations, or gets "arrogant and out of touch", we give them their marching orders so that team can spend a decade in opposition working out how to please the electorate again. As I've said again and again democracy is not about tribal head counts but in getting rid of unpopular governments

It delivers a clear mandate for a government to implement a manifesto. Obviously that assumes a basic level of decency. Labour's 1997 manifesto for example committed them to voting reform. But they quietly ignored that with the landslide they got, because New Labour are dishonest spivs to whom old labour sold their soul for a sniff of power. Manifestos may not have legal force, but thanks to the parliament act they are constitutional documents. Clearly PR would assume that much of a party's manifesto would be ditched in the post election horse-trading, especially if it was radical.

Under First Past the Post, a party must be strong across the country. It cannot pile up votes in heartlands, like Labour in the 80's or the Tories in the Noughties and expect to win. It requires a governing party win in cities and the country, in the north and south. Under pure list PR a populous region can bully the rest of the country.

The importance of the constituency link. If you allow the recall of MPs as the Tories propose, then this could become the most powerful democratising force again. For the objection of many to the "safe seat" phenomenon at least there is a specific electorate who must be happy to re-elect an individual. Highgate for example, Thatcher's safe seat is now a Labour constituency. Under PR, those at the top of lists will NEVER lose their seats unless the party is wiped out. No chance of a Portillo moment or castration as Labour loses Balls. Who's at the top of the list? The PARTY decides. Under PR, you will NEVER get to remove the political elite.

This leads us onto the main objections to PR. It enshrines parties in the constitution. Instead of supposedly principled individuals being elected, it is parties which get the vote. There is no chance therefore of the Martin Bells, the Kidderminster Hospital gang or the Independent Labour candidates getting elected to poke a finger in the eye of the Party machines. And because of this, PR entrenches the political class that everyone so hates.

The people don't want PR though they will be all too easily persuaded that this is the answer. They want leadership. And they may want the kind of change - more localism, less tax, less debt, less interference, and more control over services that the Conservatives are offering. But they've bought the Labour lie that the Tories offer no change.

PR requires absolutely massive swings to change the direction of Government. Because the deals to create a government are done behind closed doors, in the aftermath of an election, one or more of the smaller parties can be persuaded to abandon a principle or two in order to get its leader into the Cabinet. Whilst the people may like the idea of compromise, in practice it looks very similar to corruption.

Thatcher and Churchill are the most popular politicians of the 20th century because they offered LEADERSHIP, not compromise. Leadership is almost impossible under PR which enshrines management of coalitions.

It's up to parties to have the guts give the people what they want, not what they think they want - and that means having principles. If the past few days have shown anything it is that policies are of no interest to the population or the media. The Tories, for example unveiled the most radical decentralising manifesto I could have wished for, yet people in the media are still saying they're 'just the same as Labour'. I don't care if you think the Tories are Mad, Bad or Wrong. There are a lot of people who don't want reform in education (they're called teachers). There are a lot of people who don't want directly elected police chiefs (they're called chief constables). There are lots of people who want to keep spending on tick (they're called idiots). These people want to keep public services in thrall to the producer interest. But please, don't buy Labours pernicious lie that the Tories represent 'more of the same'.

But if you want 'Change' please try the Tories before you further rape the constitution which has evolved organically for a thousand years and served pretty well until the savage, incompetent spivs of new Labour arrived to ruin it. We're about to throw the worst Government in history out on its arse - Brown is the first sitting PM ever to be third in the polls. We do not need to throw the constitution out too.



Sunday, 18 April 2010

CleggMania

So... Long after I predicted that "all that was needed was one poll with the Liberal Democrats ahead of Labour" they've not only done that, but managed to lead in two polls - a position the Liberals have not been in for 104 years.

This is great news.

There is no doubt at all in my mind that the polls, being all over the place, with unprecedented volatility (the debate WAS a game-changer, wasn't it?) are now likely to be wrong. I suspect that in the privacy of the Polling-Booth, the Tories will out-perform, but with the polls where they are, I am no longer convinced that an outright majority is on the cards. We are now in Hung Parliament territory.

Because although I want the Conservatives to win the election, I want Labour to be in third place more. I have always wanted a Conservative Government with a Liberal opposition and we can finally see the death of the Labour movement. All it requires is that Nick Clegg do his part.

I think the Tory collapse will be short-lived. I hope the Labour one won't be.

Incidentally, anyone thinking that Cameron losing and his being replaced by a "real Tory" would be a good thing, can kindly remove his head from his fundiment, and fuck off. I'm not interested. ANYTHING which results in Gordon Brown continuing as PM would be a disaster.



Friday, 16 April 2010

John Prescott's point

For those of you expecting a Debate wash up from me, it is here.

Instead I'm going to write a post that's been rollin' around the noggin for a long time. John Prescott. The point of John Prescott to be precise, if an object as rounded and squidgy can accurately be described as having a 'point'. For here is a bear of very little brain, who has managed to play the party patronage and tribal loyalty card so well that he rose to the station of Deputy prime-minister, where he articulated the Concerns of Labour's grass roots in all their chippy, spiteful and ignorant glory. And of course serving Nicholas Soames his G 'n T.


In office he was vile. "If you set up a... good school" he once said "the danger is that everyone wants to go there". Once out however, he started to take on a dignity he never managed when (heaven forbid) he had his sausage-like fingers on Britain's nuclear button. The Labour party crippled by its incompetent leader, plummeted in the polls, and our John maintained a dignified silence, appearing in public only to ruminate from his ghastly mock Tudor home briefly on Britain's class system. He seems to think it's about whether you say Loo or Toilet - it isn't. It's about whether 'dinner' is at noon or not.

However with the sniff of election in the wind, John Prescott, fat troughing ignoramus, whose moral compass is located 6 inches south of his belt buckle, becomes impresario of GoFourth! and learns to read to use twitter. He jumps on board a battle bus, and gets campaigning. And he's got the same earthy, honest charm that John Major had. He's a campaigner, a pugilist, a tribal attack-dog. He loves elections and he wants to go out and biff Tories. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I am developing a sneaking respect for him. I wouldn't vote for him myself, nor would I let him run anything more complicated than a bath. But I can see why Labour loves the man. I'm even thinking I'd quite like to have a beer with him. Which is more than can be said for many Labour politicians.



Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Devil on Daily Politics

For those of you who didn't see it, Chris Mounsey, the blogger behind the Devils Kitchen and leader of the UK Libertarian Party was on the Daily Politics yesterday. Now for those of you who don't read the Devil, he has an idiosyncratic line in violent invective. And as a result, Andrew Neil ambushed him with one post, where he suggested that a female Trades Unionist should be allowed to bleed to death. As a result, the Kitchen is no more, and Chris had deleted the original swear-blog.



I understand. I've had my run-ins with people too, who've tried to use what I've written on the blog to cause problems at work. The Kitchen was pretty graphic. He and I once had a google war for a while about who came top using the search term "Gordon Brown is a Cunt", a search which incidentally now turns up some 309,000 pages, twice as many as the equivalent for David Cameron.

However there was an opportunity for the Author of the Kitchen to spring a defence of his (and, occasionally our) style of writing. The "Reasonable Man". Does anyone think Chris, Old Etonian and decent chap would actually feed someone to a bath full of fire ants? Or make them suffer "Candiru fish craziness"? Any more than I would Skull-fuck the entire Labour cabinet to death or fire them into the North Sea using trebuchets? No. It is just saloon-bar invective, in Chris' case well written and, in context, highly entertaining. I think the apology and retraction were a mistake.

What Chris should have said is

"I make no apologies for my invective. I have Thousands of readers who enjoy the silliness and escapism of the language in which I express my political opinions. The joke is that anger felt is proportional to the gruesomeness of the end I imagine for the subject of my ire. For I know that if I am granted free speech with what I say, I know that freedom is flourishing"
Then there's the "political blogger" defence.
"As the Internet becomes more important, politicians are going to grow up with every asinine thought they've ever had posted on the Internet for all to see. The Kitchen has changed to reflect my new political seriousness, but the archives remain as a testament to my political journey. If my 6-years of rambling can stay on the Internet, then perhaps other politicians will have the guts to debate their beliefs before entering politics, and have the confidence to leave their archives up. Otherwise you will get the kind of party-hack politician who is unable and unwilling to challenge the thought police of his party whips - precisely the problem that we have now. If my journey can stay up in the ether, so can anyone's"
He would have also been able to point out that as his political opinions have matured, so has the tone of the Blog. There's a journey from violent, inchoate anger into democratic political action: the forming of the UK Libertarian Party. Chris should have seen it coming - he was always going to have to address the bloodthirsty rhetoric he's left behind, and should have prepared his defences.

However that is his decision. The Kitchen is dead. Long live the knife.



Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Tory Manifesto

I am naturally Skeptical of Politicians. I didn't buy into the hopey changey bullshit of Obama. He's not the messiah, he's just less of a git than Bush. I certainly didn't buy the "thiii iii iiings can only get bettah..." of 1997. My expectations of any politician are therefore low.

The problem therefore with the Tory manifesto as far as this blog is concerned is that I like it. A lot. If even a half of it gets delivered, then it will make the country substantially better. I will thus be accused of being a tribal Tory. A Shrill shill. An alien voter. And there is nothing more boring than a partisan party-political blog which bangs on about CCHQ/Bunker issues du jour, dutifully regurgitating press releases. But I've argued for many of the Tory policies for a long time, especially in Education and Policing. The Tory party's moved to me, not me to them. I am a member, and I like the way the party is going. I would rather this lot than any lot of Tories I've seen for a while, and so much more than Brown's Labour party that I am in danger of becoming enthusiastic FOR a political party rather than AGAINST the one I hate. And I HATE Gordon Brown's Labour with a passion bordering on the deranged.

I saw Cameron on the Leadership hustings, and I like what I saw then, and despite a gale of opprobrium from the right, I have seen nothing to shake my belief that he could be a really good, radical reforming LIBERAL conservative, for shot through this manifesto is the idea that people are the best guardians of the services they use, and of the money to pay for it, and of the data needed to deliver.

Education policy: Except that in not allowing 'for profit' schools, doesn't go far enough, this is exactly the medicine British state education needs. I suspect once the concept of free schools has been proved to a sceptical public, that restriction will be relaxed. The teaching unions hate it. But that's inevitable. If there's one policy that should make you vote Tory, this is it.

The left-wing critics of Tory proposals are going to struggle to find a narrative that says "the state is the ONLY vehicle for running services". I suspect people will like the opportunity to get involved, instead of taking what they're given by nanny.

Europe: Sceptical, but aware it is not important enough to warrant a fight. I have always vacillated on EU, wobbling on the line between 'in, but...' and 'withdraw, now.' People who claim that Europe runs the UK and passes 80% of our laws are monomaniac loons, and can be ignored. The Tory position of "boot the fucking issue into the long grass and hope it goes away" is actually pretty close to my own. Were there a referendum tomorrow I would vote "out". But I do not pretend that to withdraw would be without cost. I care about this issue, I just haven't fully decided, and neither road is without pain. If you have decided, good for you. Keep it to yourself, there's a good chap.

Localism: Cameron is firmly within the Tory tradition of supporting the Little platoons, unlike Thatcher who continued the centralising trend. Tory proposals may look like labour's quango state, and in using Taxpayers' money to support charity, and using charity to deliver public services, it feels very 'third way'. However this CAN be done well - it depends upon how much control Whitehall has over its pets in the fake charities, and we will have to wait and see whether it WILL be done well. As for the devolution of power, perhaps the most meaningful will be the direct election of Police chiefs and the right of public service employees to buy out the services they run. The incredulity with which this policy is met in the ranks of the Police and local government means it's probably along the right lines. Many people have talked the talk of localism from opposition, and again we will see whether this lot deliver.

Civil Liberties: Scrap ID cards and their associated databases. DNA will only be kept for people convicted of serious crimes. Minor criminals will have their DNA deleted. Powers of entry into people's homes will be scaled back to organisations which actually need it. A British bill of rights will replace the Human Rights Act, hopefully replacing positive rights to (in reality expensive obligations for someone else to fulfil) with 'rights from' protecting you from an over mighty state.

Naturally, because the Tories are a national party, there are some turds in there: National citizens service for example, but this is a non-compulsory dog-whistle which will probably be quietly dropped. There's ever more draconian and pointless restrictions on immigration. Nonsense about drugs, knives and other Daily-Mail issues will form part of any manifesto. We libertarians cannot have everything. I have sympathy for the drafters of this document, for I suspect most senior Tories know that it won't be the Border police Tory idea, introduced by Labour) who limit immigration, but Iain Duncan Smith's proposals for the welfare state, which are as yet an initially expensive aspiration. If you're left with a deficit, you need savings now, and cannot make the short-term expensive long term money-saving (the actual meaning of "investment") policies without being accused of having sums that don't add up.

Which brings us neatly onto The Economy. For a party which has overspent consistently and catastrophically for a decade to accuse anyone of imprudence over £6bn when the current deficit is 20 times that, is the very definition of chutzpah. Though the Labour party is lying through its teeth in a desperate bid for survival, the Tories are not yet being clear with the electorate: £6 or 12 bn of efficiency savings is a rounding error in the £170 billion annual shortfall in tax-receipts, and deep cuts are necessary. Little of this reaches the manifesto. All I can say in their defence is that just like Gordon Brown stuck to Tory spending plans for 2 years after 1997 for political reasons, so must the Tories promise to pay Labour's danegeld to the NHS and overseas aid as a price of government. The Tories have successfully rescued the economy before, and if policies like the cut in Corporation tax, and the non-rise in NI are anything to go by, they are correctly looking at the private sector to rescue the economy again. The best way for Government to help the private sector is to get the hell out of the way.

Make no bones about it, the Tory government on May 7 will face an enormous battle, with entrenched positions accross Whitehall and the Quango state manned by stay-behind guerrillas of New Labour partisans. Cameron will have to choose his battles carefully and will not be able to win all of them. He could do without blue on blue sniping from people who should be allies.

There is a difference between the parties. If you want to live in the Democratic People's republic of Brownistan with the state taking 50% of GDP and expecting you to take what you're given and like it, vote Labour. If I meet you, I will repeatedly punch you in the face. For the Labour message is profoundly depressing and dehumanising: "The state will provide for you, and if you are a client of the state you cannot survive except as a client of the Labour state". If, on the other hand, you want to give an opportunity to someone who might surprise you by being the most liberal PM for a century, (and if he isn't, won't be the abortion that Brown has been in the job) vote Conservative, for an opportunity to shape your own destiny, whether that involves public services, or not.



Gaoled... For

Swearing at Politicians on the Tellybox.

I'm fucked.



Monday, 12 April 2010

Lech Kaczynski

Charles Crawford, who has met many of the victims of the plane crash has a good post on the Late Polish President's legacy

Yesterday on BBC and CNN I was asked whether Poland would slump into political instability, so many top people being lost in this disaster. I replied, “of course not”.

Poland is in deep sorrow, yet coping firmly and democratically with this calamity. Lech Kaczynski helped make that happen – a towering moral and political achievement, for Poland and for Europe.



Friday, 9 April 2010

Grayling and the Gays.

I know I'm late on this one. I've been having an interesting discussion with Claude C at Hagley Road to Ladywood about Chris Grayling's remarks about B&B owners being allowed to exclude homosexuals.



Via Councillor Bob, I found mygayvote.com. All well and good, and for the record, I would have been on the side of Angels on all the issues on this table, except the Equality act. But, and it is a crucial 'but', I can see the other side.

To present the equalisation of the Age of Consent as a moral absolute about 'gay Couples', when it, in fact means allowing middle aged men to bugger 16 year old boys, is dishonest. No-one under current law is going to prosecute a couple of teenagers getting to grips with each other. Does anyone think their teacher should be allowed to join in?

Now I'm against discrimination and I would vote for equality in the age of consent mainly because I think sexuality is not amenable to law, and I do not think the law should differentiate between gay and straight sex. But the whole concept of the age of consent needs to be reformed. I think a much younger age of consent - equivalent to the age of criminal responsibility would make more sense, with no difference between gay and straight sex. The law should deal only with abusive relationships involving great age difference - This is the approach taken in the Spain. Two 16 year-olds: fine. A 16 year old and a 32 year old... not fine (though it is legal now). At 18, you should finally be able to do what you like with whomsoever you like. But such sanity is not on the table, because anyone proposing it would be branded a paedophile.

I think the whole bullshit hysteria about Section 28 is massively overblown. Anyone who thinks "promoting homosexuality" is even possible should just get a grip. Law should not, ever be used to 'Send a message' to anyone, and the law needed to be scrapped. But the Gay lobby must realise that the majority of Parents just don't want their little dears to be exposed to sex at all, and in the eyes of the majority, the Gay lifestyle just isn't "normal" or "equally valid", especially when children are involved. Gay rights, in this view are not an issue which needs to be taught to Toddlers. Anyone who supports Section 28 is an idiot, but does not always imply rampant homophobia.

Which brings us neatly to Gay adoption rights. The Gay lobby seems to have forgotten who adoption is supposed to benefit, and the concept that ANYONE has a 'right' to adopt is absurd. The only person who can concievably have a 'right' to an adoptive family, is the child being adopted. A majority of people regard a heterosexual couple as the best possible environment to bring up children, and are uncomfortable with adoption by Gay couples. I disagree, because there are a shortage of suitable people willing to adopt, almost any family is better than what is laughably called the 'care' of the state, and I see no reason why a couple in a stable gay relationship should be banned from adopting. I suspect a plurality disagree. The Tories are in line with the population on this one.

I can see no reason to deny civil partnerships to Gay people because who you spend your life with is not properly the business of the state, but there are religious people who disagree. Again, the Tories are probably in line with the people on this one, and the issue here is of religious freedom of conscience against anti-discrimination legislation. Who wins in a contest of supposedly fundamental human rights?

Finally we come to the equality act. There are many reasons to oppose such legislation, not all of them homophobic. The "equality" act allows positive discrimination as people are hired and fired to fill diversity tick-boxes, essentially allowing discrimination against the majority. That doesn't look like equality to me, nor does it to 74% of Conservative MPs. In fact, I think it's a vile act.

So. The Tories are supposed to be "representative" by having 10% Black and other ethnic minority candidates, 8% Homosexual (which they will be close to after the election, by the way) but UNREPRESENTATIVE when it comes to issues where you're in a minority opinion, is mildly hypocritical. The Gay lobby should be focussed on winning the argument in the country, rather than bullying parliamentarians by unfairly accusing them of "homophobia" and expecting them to go against their constituents' wishes.

Finally, do Gay people vote on these issues alone? Homosexuals already enjoy freedoms not enjoyed elsewhere in the world and have higher disposable incomes on average than Straight people. I don't see a lot of discrimination and We do not live in the 1950's any more: most people regard discrimination as abhorrent. Most of the issues addressed on mygayvote are largely symbolic, affecting very few people, and seem to me to be far less important than the appalling raping of the economy by the Labour Party, or their disgusting assault on civil liberties over the last 13 years.

These are the 'Rights' which bother me: Habeas Corpus, The right to trial by jury, the presumption of innocence, the freedom to go about one's business unmolested by agents of the state and the excessive surveillance as demonstrated by the fact the UK has half the world's CCTV cameras. Perhaps the right to not have one's home invaded by council pecksniffs on bureaucratic whim is important too? And finally the freedom to spend the fruit of one's labours without being forced to hand over nearly half to the state in rapacious taxation - economic freedom is freedom too.

I, like most Tories, don't much care WHAT you are. It is the Labour party which is obsessed by your identity tick box. The 'Freedoms' we're interested in affect everyone, Gay and Straight alike. That's real equality.



What Political Blogging is For

Here, and again Here.



Thursday, 8 April 2010

Number 1 Cut - Special Brew

Every now and then something happens which reminds you of your childhood. In this case It is my friend Eddie who took the trouble to contact the Ska Band, Special Brew in order to track down the exact version of the track 'Number one Cut' which kicked off our little gang's ska phase, and was played more or less endlessly in loops while we were sitting around drinking home-brew elderberry wine and (ahem...) giggling and eating crisps.

Much confusion ensued between Special Brew (Coventry), and Special Brew (Perth). We were fans of the latter, though the former are good too. There are several versions of this song out there. We wanted a particular recording which was on a taped Ska/TwoTone compilation which was recorded from an LP, and which was destroyed by a rogue tape-deck in about 1995. Now, thanks to Pezmo, the lead singer we now have it.

video

Put a smile on my face today, anyway.



Anti-abortion and Slavery? VOTE TORY.

There are policies in the Tory manifesto with which I disagree. The National Citizen's service will either be an underfunded gimmick, quietly dropped after the election and achieve little, with the main purpose to act as a dog-whistle to the 'hang-em and flog-em' brigade; or it will be expensive, divisive, unpopular and reeks of Jacobin attitudes of Citizen's duty to the state.

It also relies on charities and other do-gooders to control Britain's feral youths, who will inevitably spend their 2-week camp drinking cider and getting to grips with each other, instead of wiping old ladies bottoms or whatever they are supposed to be doing. This is not a conservative policy: Tories should believe that states have duties to Citizens not vice-versa.

Secondly, Cameron is an idiot to raise abortion as a campaign issue, giving Hysterical people an opportunity to paint him as some kind of extremist, in league with Opus Dei, to send women back to the home to breed. It is certainly arguable that the term needs to drop and the limit of viability seems to me reasonable - which makes 20-22 weeks, about what Cameron's proposing a reasonable limit. Late term abortions are thankfully rare, so whilst emotive, it is an issue of little import - except to those it affects, who are most often in desperate circumstances. I laid my thoughts out on the issue here. However party politics is not the vehicle to have this debate, nor is an election the time because it attracts vast hordes of monomaniac loons. Cameron should shut up about this, Pronto.

Two black marks, Mr Cameron. You've still got my vote, Mainly because you're less of a prick than the other guy, but steady on.



Tuesday, 6 April 2010

At Last. The Phoney War is Over.

So that's it then. The Brown stain on our body politic has called the election. The polls may be pointing to a hung parliament (or not) but the election will be won and lost in Medium Sized English Towns and their Hinterlands, and here the Prime Minister is as popular as plague.

The Black death however, unlike Brown, caused the real-terms wages of the (surviving) working man to be very much better than they were before.

This country is crying out for change, and you may think there are precious few reasons to vote FOR the conservatives (you'd be wrong), but it is better to take a gamble on a new set of ideas than give another five years to a man we KNOW to be useless, incompetent, malign and spendthrift. Whatever the polls say, I am sure the electorate will use its right to throw the rotter out.

For that is the important thing about democracy. It is not, as Liberal Democrats fondly imagine, an exercise in ever more accurate tribal head-counts, but an opportunity to sack the head of the executive when we've had enough of him. That decisive marching order is the crux, apex, point and summit of working democracy. PR, unlike our current system, does not allow for a decisive result and is therefore anti-democratic, which is why it is so popular in Europe, and little known in the English speaking world (only the Kiwis have fucked about with it).

However, In our cycnical politics, only negative messages matter. And that is as a result of 20 years of Labour smearing and endlessly repeated lies.

I suspect the cynicism towards the Conservatives is a result of the general hatred of politicians, and they have finally noticed that they could spell their policies out in some detail in speech after speech, leaving the bullet points up on the website for anyone interested to do some research, and still they will be accused of "being dishonest" and "having no policies", because no-one is in the slightest bit interested in anything any politician says. This does give me the option of ignoring the political opinions of anyone who says "Where are the policies, Dave?" because the answer is, and has been for some months "ON THE FUCKING WEBSITE, YOU LAZY, IGNORANT CUNT".

So, because no-one is interested in policy the Tories have finally decided on the election message which will put David Cameron in Downing street.

Brown: fewer economic positives than the Black Death

Do you really want 5 more years of him? No? Vote Tory.



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