04 June 2009

A Very New Labour Coup

The email doing the rounds of Labour MPs asking for support to oust Brown is typical of the gutless attitude of New Labour.   It is an anonymous email, pledging anonymity to anyone that pledges support until they have 50 signatories.  No-one is willing to stand up and be counted, not having the strength of character to stand up and say enough is enough.

It was the same at the end of the Blair era and it is the same now.   Gutless representation from a gutless party.  The sooner they go the better.


18 April 2009

Control Freaks and Civil War - The Story of the New Labour Project

There were so many events this week that made significant statements about the mess the Labour Party are in.

Firstly, there was the sacking of McBride after being exposed for wanting to spread malicious rumours about Conservative MPs and their families. The poor reaction to this story by Brown's cronies means the story is likely to just get worse.

Secondly, there was the decision not to prosecute Damien Green, largely because the claims for the reason for the arrest and investigation were exposed for being totally exaggerated, by both a commons select committee who said:

"growing frustration in the Home Office and Cabinet Office about the leaks may have led officials to give an exaggerated impression of the damage done by them, and that it was "unhelpful to give the police the impression that the Home Office leaker(s) had already caused considerable damage to national security"

and by the Crown Prosecution Service who said:
"I have concluded that the information leaked was not secret information or information affecting national security."

My own view is that this was misguided politics, someone thought an arrest would put others off from leaking (actually delivering a decent Home Office might be a good start). It was a political arrest, carried out by a politicised police force that should have had the guts to stand up and say no, a police force that is still too focused on serving the Home Office and insufficiently focused on serving the people of Britain.

That view is further supported because it now transpires that the police searched for links with the Head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. I often disagree with what Liberty say, but there is no way they could ever be considered a security threat, in fact they have proved important in holding Governments to account (of all colours). Not only does this issue cast the Labour Party in a poor light (and especially Jacqui Smith) it also provides yet more evidence that we need locally elected Sheriffs to oversee our police and to loosen the ties between the police and Central Government. The controversial but serious question that needs to be asked is how big a step is it between a politically encouraged arrest and planting evidence?

Yesterday we saw the resignation of Alice Mahon a former MP and a member of the Labour Party for 50 years, all this because of the state of Brown’s leadership and the party Nationally. Coupled with this is unrest about the discovery that a ballot box located at Labour HQ and containing postal votes for the election of the Labour Candidate for Erith and Thamesmead had been interfered with. In fact there are stories that the ballots within it were actually torn up.

These events on their own are significant enough, but if you pull them together they paint a horrific picture about the state of the Labour Party. They expose huge divides and control freakery that has been at the heart of everything they have done for the last 7 or 8 years. One of the things that has been exposed as a result of the McBride affair is that this sort of briefing has been happening at the expense of out of favour MPs and Cabinet Members for years. Damien Green’s arrest was all about the Labour Party losing control of the media agenda on Home affairs (which they haven't had for years). The problems with the elections of party candidates is all about the spat between the Brownites and the Blairites (The leading candidates are the daughter of a once leading Blairite, and someone sponsored by Unite, who are now, of course, fronted by arch-Brown Supporter, Charlie Whelan).

More importantly, absolutely none of this has anything to do with delivering for the people of Britain, absolutely none of it has anything to do with getting our economy out of a mess that Gordon Brown created by being wasteful during his time as Chancellor. In fact all of it shows that delivering is the last thing that is on their minds. Control is at the heart of everything New Labour do, it has been that way since 1997.


08 June 2008

Let Down by Labour

This article on the Daily Mail website about how Labour has let down a particular vulnerable child is really powerful.

"With little hope of a job, and therefore a home of her own, her mum had to pretend to disown her so that she would qualify for a room in a hostel and not follow in the footsteps of her older sister who, aged 26, was still living at home, meaning their mum was forced to sleep on the sofa.

And so, aged 16, and still very much a child despite the Girls Aloud outfits (the only thing in 11 years of Labour that has helped Paris out is that a pair of jeans in Asda has dropped from £17.99 to £3), she moved into a room in Kingsland High Street."

The fact that, as ever, the Labour Party has totally failed to protect and improve the live of those that need it most is the reason why the Conservatives and David Cameron are absolutely right to pursue the social justice agenda with a passion.


24 May 2008

Beckett wades in

Margaret Beckett has waded in to the post Crewe and Nantwich sniping. I'm sure everyone will sit up and take notice (not).

She has said that Gordon Brown needs to change direction if New Labour are to win the next election. Isn't a big part of the problem that New Labour no longer have any direction?

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23 May 2008

Blears, Crewe et al.

Absolutely devastating result for both New Labour and the Lib Dems last night. New Labour because the Conservative win was massive, far bigger than anyone predicted and the Lib Dems because, once again, despite the unpopularity of Gordon Brown, their share of the vote dropped.

I was very interested in this quote from Hazel Blears where she said voters had "decided to send us a pretty powerful message but the last thing they want is the Labour Party to turn on itself and be obsessed with our own affairs and not what the public want".

What people want is a new Prime Minister, if that means the Labour Party has to turn in on itself for a while, then so be it. If, once again, no-one in the Labour Party has the strength of character to do what needs to be done, the Country will be left with a PM that lacks morality, judgement and vision.

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05 May 2008

Brown's Recovery Plan

Reading the papers and listening to the news this morning it seems like Brown's recovery plan is about preventing things getting worse rather than fixing all the broken stuff that is making him and his party massively unpopular. Not raising fuel duty, scrapping bin taxes and controlling food prices are all about the future and nothing about the past.

What measures are there to make Government more efficient and reducing the huge number of bureaucrats who spend there time meddling and enforcing change as a means of avoiding the focus on constant failure? What about simplifying the tax regime so that money goes into public services rather than on unnecessary administration? These are the sorts of things that will help endear the Government to the people.

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02 May 2008

More of the same from New Labour

Obviously from a New Labour perspective last night was as bad as it could get. I understand that the Conservative successes take the Party to a position that is better than we were in 1997 - in fact the best since the local government review in 1974.

So the disillusioned Labour voter will be further disillusioned by seeing more of the bluster and hype that has got them to where they are. The truth is that the 10p tax issue was only part of the story, New Labour, under Gordon Brown are incompetent, they will not and cannot become competent without a change in Leadership.

I was interested to hear Ian Gipson, MP for Norwich North on 5 Live earlier and, whilst he was supportive of Gordon Brown, seemed to drop a big hint that the dour one has until Party Conference season to sort himself out.

As for the Lib Dems. Well it hurts me to say that things were better for them than many, including me, had expected but they certainly haven't capitalised on the unpopularity of New Labour anywhere near as much as they could and they are looking forward to losing MPs come the next General Election. Nick Clegg is trying to be another David Cameron, my own view is that people will not wash that - if they want a David Cameron they will vote for the original and turn away from 2nd best.

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22 March 2008

Arrogance of Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw's attitude over the embryo bill is a perfect statement about the arrogance of the Labour Government. It is pretty much "we're right, you're wrong do what you are told", this attitude is bad enough anyway, but over a contentious issue of conscience like this it is shocking.

One of things that needs to change to bring National politics back in touch with people is less three line whips not more, less of a formal tie to party and more of a tie to personal conscience and opinion. Of course I wouldn't expect Gordon Brown's New Labour t0 understand that.

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16 December 2007

New Labour: Sleazy from the get-go

I wish I had the chance to see the John Major interview in full this morning, but I was out training after finding out I have a London Marathon place :-). I will try to take a look at it over the next few days.

I think Major has a point about sleaze - the sleaze under his Government was down to individuals rather than the Government as an institution. Unfortunately that has not been the case with New Labour.

I think it goes a little beyond what seems to have been said this morning. The sleaze under the Conservatives largely happened towards the end of their 18 years in Government. New Labour have been sleazy from the moment we had the misfortune of having them come into Government.

What seems to have changed over the last year or so (probably thanks to David Cameron) is that when Blair and Co were found to be sleazy the blame from the voters was directed towards politicians as a whole so every political party suffered. Now people are recognising that it is New Labour that have the problem not everyone else.

I just hope that the exposure of New Labour is followed by similar recognition that the Lib Dems continue with their highly disreputable campaigning methods.

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13 December 2007

Failing to learn the lessons of history

I do get really disappointed sometimes when politicians fail to learn the lessons of history. The difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan are both cases in point. A withdrawal from Basra could have remarkable similarities to the withdrawal from Aden when Harold Wilson left behind a slaughter of those who had been loyal to the British.

Another issue New Labour might need to think about from the Wilson era was the story about the apparent plot to stage a coup and put Lord Mountbatten in charge because of the Army's (and the police's) disgust at the then Labour Party. One of the versions I have heard about that supposed plot was that the Police would have taken over in the short term whilst a significant element of the British Army on the Rhine returned from Germany to assume full control under the leadership of Mountbatten whilst an election was organised.

New Labour have recently managed to break the concordat with the Army and totally disillusion the Police at a time when they are possibly leading us into recession. Now I absolutely would not support any thing of this sort and I am not making a case for it (much as I dislike the deceitful New Labour project), but you do have to wonder whether there is a danger of the past repeating itself? Certainly I can see stories of a plot emerging in future years in the same way that speculation about the mid 70s have emerged.


15 November 2007

Labour Party are compromising our democracy

Some of the things the Labour Party are up to are a bit scarey. MPs in marginal seats seem quite happy to use their own parliamentary allowances for politicial purposes, but want to stop Tory donors from levelling the playing field.

They have consistently made it easier for people to vote at the expense of the integrity of our voting system - all because they know that it is Labour voters who are the most fickle and most likely not to turn up at a polling station.

They also want to stop large donations to political parties, but keep their huge donations from Unions.

Should we be getting concerned?


04 November 2007

John Pienaar gets it right

I quite like John Pienaar, he doesn't always succeed, but he always tries to give an absolutely balanced view of the political scene - certainly he is far better at this than the majority of his BBC colleagues.

This article is a perfect case in point, having a go at both of the Lib Dem leadership candidates for their stance on ID cards and the Labour Government for being in a total state of chaos; twisting and turning on an almost daily basis without any coherent vision or methodology, except to be at least a step behind the Conservatives at every turn. He is probably not as hard-hitting as he could be, but the case is definitely made.

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20 August 2007

It's official - the Government don't understand efficiency

In response to David Cameron's comments today that he will fight Labour over the NHS and for the need to make tax cuts sustainable, Dawn Primarolo the Shadow Health Minister has accused David Cameron of being "simply dishonest" for pledging tax cuts whilst saying they will not cut services.

Actually, the truth is that tax cuts can be made through making the Public Sector more efficient, and it has got massively less efficient over the last 10 years. In fact local Government is the only sector that has responded to the Government's own failed efficiency agenda. This remark probably explains why.

Delivering better service at less cost is an option. So either Dawn Primarolo doesn't understand efficiency or she herself is being "simply dishonest". It would be nice to know which.

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12 August 2007

John Redwood Report and Labour Spin

John Redwood's report which proposes cutting business costs by deregulation has been spun by the Labour Party as evidence of a Cameron lurch to the right. To be fair to the media they are selling it for what it is - a report to be considered by David Cameron alongside the many other policy reports. So the Labour claim is, in fact, a deliberate deceit. The Conservatives should label it as that and so should the media.

In fact the report makes sense - we all know how New Labour have grown to love bureaucracy and that it costs everyone, so this is a step in the right direction. It is my view that we should do this everywhere - local Government could save billions too, billions that could be spent on local people.

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11 June 2007

New Book Coming Soon

No this is not a blatant plug for the 'Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze', but a prediction from me that we will see:

'Why Gordon Brown is such a great bloke and will never interfere with the intelligence services' published by MI5 Publications Inc.

I am sick of the deceit that is going on at the moment. It is like Gordon Brown, as the 2nd most senior Minister in the Country, had absolutely no influence on the manipulation that led to a decision to go to War and send troops to their death based on a lie.

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15 May 2007

McDonnell - Part of the Labour Spin

Well it looks like my prediction is coming to nothing and David Moribund won't run. In fact today it looks like it will be a straight fight between McDonnell and Brown. Gordon Brown will absolutely relish this. A reminder of exactly what Socialism did for Britain can do nothing but help the New Labour cause.

I suspect that any "bounce" will prove to be be shortlived because in a Brown/Cameron debate Brown's character will be the issue rather than a philosophical argument about "right vs. left"

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08 May 2007

Blair to Stand Down Tomorrow?

The Herald is claiming that Blair is to announce he is standing down tomorrow. About time too.

The Labour Party should hang its head in shame over the fact that, despite his unpopularity around the Country and amongst Party members, it has totally failed to have the strength to do what needed to be done.

Will New Labour now continue to show a complete lack of bottle, fall foul of the Gordon Brown bully-boys and fail to find a meaningful candidate to oppose the heir apparent? I still think that Miliband will stand, with his supporters manipulating the nomination process so that he "responds to demand". I wait to be proven wrong.

From a Conservative perspective both Brown and Moribund will be disastrous Prime Ministers - so I don't care which.


06 May 2007

Reid looks ahead 2 years

John Reid's decision to stand down at the same time as Tony Blair is probably partly out of frustration with his own brief and the realisation that he is headed for demotion, but I suspect it is also because he wants to distance himself from the Brown Premiership so he can become a returning hero after the next General election.

Dr Reid can see what many others can; Gordon Brown is already tainted. His term at Prime Minister will be a disaster and when the Conservatives form an administration in two years time, he can return as someone totally unharmed by the failures of Brown and assume the Leadership.

I still believe however, that Milliband will run against Brown.

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02 May 2007

Why no public enquiry?

There is no longer a logical argument for denying a public enquiry over the July 7th bombings.

There is significant concern as to whether the intelligence services missed following up some key lines of enquiry. There is a justifiable perception that the Whips will lean on any Labour MPs involved in a select committee enquiry, thus ensuring that nothing too serious comes out of it, so it cannot be seen as impartial and, more importantly, it will mean that the opportunity to learn lessons will be missed.

Dr Reid needs to see sense and put the needs of the people of this country above party politics.

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01 May 2007

Mandelson - Spinning Out of Control

This article in the Mail is just ludicrous.

Mandy is basically saying that New Labour was spinning too much pre-2001, but after that things got much, much better. Arguably, Blair's two main acts of deception both occurred after 2001.

The 45 minute claim was made on 24th September 2003 - and whilst Mandy seems to think that was OK, it enabled Blair to send troops to their death on the basis of a lie.

In the 2005 General Election Campaign, Blair and Brown deceived Britain into thinking they were buddies again. They still didn't like each other, but they knew that a divided Labour Party would harm their chances of a return to power. Normal service was resumed almost immediately afterwards.

Mandy's comments are, quite simply, another piece of spin and deception. It is no wonder that New Labour get less and less believable with every yarn that they spin.

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16 April 2007

61% of Labour seats uncontested - no surprise

I, for one, am not surprised by this figure. I have mentioned before in Fenland the Labour Party have only put up 6 candidates out of 40 - the Lib Dems fared little better. It is not good for democracy that the Conservatives are in a position of having guaranteed control of Fenland Hall even before a vote is cast.

Some of the reasons for this situation are quite apparent, the Government are massively unpopular, politics in itself is going through a rough time and many of the grass roots Labour activists that are around will not stand because their own left-leaning instincts are too much of a clash with the direction New Labour has taken.

But I think the situation has other causes. In Fenland the only political activity, outside of elections has come from the Conservatives. As well as having active Councillors, as a party, we have done our bit to let people know we have been around through engaging with the media and through initiatives like the NHS action days. How can you find candidates if you do nothing to invigorate and find support?

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07 April 2007

The Blame Game

This is an interesting article in the Independent. The final paragraph shows how deluded Blair is:

"Mr Blair is convinced that Labour's slide in the polls is due to self-inflicted wounds rather than a Tory advance. Aides said that Labour had slipped because of infighting over how long Mr Blair should remain on Downing Street, and after an attempted coup against him last autumn."

It is true that a large part of the change in the polls is self-inflicted, but not because of the farce that is Tony Blair's succession, but because they have failed to deliver and have taken the issue of sleaze to a whole new level, despite promising to be "whiter than white."

However, the Conservatives would not be where they are in the polls without the changes and improvements made by David Cameron. I hope Blair and Brown continue to blame themselves and keep ignoring how much the Conservatives have improved.


03 April 2007

Brown Takes The Blame, Then Tries To Spin Out Of It

Gordon Brown has accepted the blame for the decision to change pension tax rules in 1997, claiming that it was taken on "the best advice that I had". So far the only advice anyone has seen highlights the risks or predicts disaster. Of course, they tried to claim that CBI wanted it, but seem to have climbed down on this after the CBI said it was a load of old tosh.

Gordon Brown's latest way of spinning out of it is to suggest that it was offset in reductions in Corporation Tax. A nice bit of convenient thinking when you consider the considerable number of additional taxes and burdens that he has placed on business, which already more than offset any tax reductions.

The truth is Gordon did it, it is Gordon's fault, everybody blame Gordon.

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31 March 2007

Brown knew all along. No surprise there then

So it seems that Gordon Brown was warned but chose to ignore the impact of his disastrous tax raid on pensions. I am sure nobody has fallen off their chair in shock at hearing that news.

Perhaps more importantly is the latest unravelling of Browns most recent Budget disaster. The Conservatives have put out a press release which provides evidence which contradicts Brown's only justification for his decision to raise taxes for those on low incomes - that those affected will be able to claim more Tax Credits. Apparently the Treasury have admitted that they do not expect to see a rise in the amount of Tax Credit claimed, which the Conservatives put down to having an application system that is over-complicated. Once again, nobody will be particularly surprised at that. David Moribund however will be absolutely delighted.

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30 March 2007

Milliband will stand, let's stop pretending otherwise

I have seen quite a lot of stuff around over the last few days suggesting that David Milliband could/might stand against Brown etc., etc., etc.

It is blatantly obvious that he *is* going to stand, let's all stop pretending; lets start talking about "when" not "if". Don't give in to spin.

It is my growing belief that Gordon Brown put the final nail in his coffin when he chose to tax the poor in the budget and pretend it was a good thing. I am more and more inclined to think that David Moribund is going to be the next PM.

From a Conservative perspective that will be a great thing, because he has no practical nouse whatsoever. From Britain's perespective, it's better than Brown but still a poor deal.

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09 March 2007

Margaret Hodge on Question Time Every Week Please

I hope there were masses of floating voters watching Question Time last night.

The pompous, rude and smug attitude of Margaret Hodge and the dignified and measured responses of Alan Duncan are surely a perfect simile for the difference in stature between New Labour and the Conservatives and the moment?

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06 March 2007

The Best Political Joke in The World Ever......

A man dies and goes to heaven.

At the Pearly Gates he is met by St.Peter who solemnly ushers him in to an endless room filled with clocks. Staring around in amazement at the vast variety of clocks the man asks St.Peter,

"What are all of these clocks for?"

St.Peter lovingly touches one of the clocks and says,

"Everyone who was ever born has a clock, but the hands only move when you tell a lie."

He taps the clock which he is touching and says,

"This one is St.Theresa's.As you can see, the hands have never moved."

He touches another and says,

"This one is Abe Lincoln's and as you can see,the hands have moved twice indicating that he told only two lies throughout his life,"

"Wow." says the man "The one I'd really like to see is Tony Blair's"

"I'm sorry." says St.Peter. "Tony's is in God's office. He uses it as a ceiling fan."

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Are they typical mid-term polls?

According to Conservative Home's Poll of Polls, David Cameron is regularly getting the sort of figures that suggest the Conservatives could win an outright majority at the next General Election.

Watching the newspaper reviews last night, the usual "mid-term polls" guff was being spouted by New Labour apologists. I think it is a very unwise position to take, it ignores exactly how damaged the reputation of New Labour (and politics in General) has become under Blair.

Whilst I accept that people know what they will be getting under Gordon Brown, and that Labour's vote would therefore definitely drop even further with him as PM, I am suspicious about giving the same sort of credibility to the polling figures for the lesser known potential candidates such as Milliband (although I personally think that, likable though David Milliband is, he lacks the oomph that is needed of a leader).

I believe New Labour's best option is for one of these lesser known candidates to come forward and create a case for fundamentally changing the way British politics operates. This is the sort of line that is going to have to come from someone eventually (because from the view of the voter, National politics is broken at the moment).

I have to say that I don't think Labour can deliver the change people are after, they are too tied to Union cash and centralisation to deliver it, but it is the only hope they have got.

Obviously, my personal preference is for New Labour to crown Gordon Brown as the next PM, then they will definitely get what they deserve at the next election.

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28 February 2007

The Big 20/20 Conversation revisited again

I have just been watching the launch of the 20/20 Vision website by Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn. This is the worst example of Spin that we have seen for months.

This is an attempt to hijack the grassroots of the Labour Party; it is the beginning of a leadership bid by Alan Milburn.

What disturbed me most about the tone of the press launch is that it seemed to be focused on what is best for the Labour Party, it had very little about what is right for the Country. It seems to be an unofficial relaunch of the over-hyped and underachieving "Big Conversation."

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27 February 2007

We need more statues of Maggie not less

This story annoys me. It is a real piece of selfish blinkered thinking.

I would love a Conservative MP to put another EDM forward that says:

"That this house recalls the mess that Britain was in at the end of the previous period of Labour Government in 1979 and recognises the considerable achievement of Margaret Thatcher in turning our Country around and the significant role she played in ending the major international issue of the time.

As a permanent reminder to a Government committed to both repeating the mistakes of the 70s and to worsening the biggest major international issue of our time, and calls for more statues of Margaret Thatcher to be erected."

Yep, I know it won't happen.

UPDATE: Hammersmith and Fulham Councillor Paul Bristow (a good Whittlesey boy by the way) has pointed me to this amendment from Greg Hands MP.


22 February 2007

Michael Meacher to challenge Brown for Leadership

This bit of breaking news is pretty interesting, although not totally surprising. It has been apparent for the last few weeks that Gordon Brown had to be challenged and last week's ICM poll was probably the final proof.

Michael Meacher would be an interesting leader, he has real Green credentials and is not significantly tainted by the Blair legacy.

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05 February 2007

Is this the week that is?

With senior Labour figures questioning Blair's position, the media talking openly about a leaderless Government in paralysis and with the story in yesterday's News of the World about an insider squealing and dropping Blair in it over Cash for Peerages, I have a sneaking suspicion that the PM may actually go this week.

My only concern about this is that the Brown camp may just put the dampers on it -it depends on how they view it. There are questions being increasingly asked about the economy, so Brown might be better to force the leadership election now on the basis that the longer he leaves it, the more likely the economic chickens will come home to roost. But on the other hand the investigation by the Charity Commission into the Smith Institute may report during a leadership campaign and put the dampers on his bid.

The flip side of this is the latter issue may give Blair the additional incentive to jump now, on the basis that Brown will be stuffed half-way through his campaign.

Interesting times. But, once again, the interests of New Labour will be put ahead of those of the Country.

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04 February 2007

What about the 44%?

According to the latest Poll, 56% want Tony Blair to go now.

The first thought that came to my mind was what planet are the other 44% on. What possible reason can their be for thinking Blair should stay on? The only sensible reason I can think of is that they think Gordon Brown would be worse.

It would be interesting if, next time, the pollsters did some analysis of that 44% (although it won't be 44% then).

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02 February 2007

Prime Minister First Priority, Britain Last

Our Public Services seem to be in a state of crisis and yet are in stasis.

NHS Trusts are cutting services and cannot get close to predicting how much they are going to overspend, the Home Office is being the Home Office etc. etc. etc., yet Parliament is at a standstill while we wait for the Prime Minister to resign at his personal convenience. PM first, Britain second.

Even without the Cash for Peerages debacle the situation is unacceptable and it is about time that Labour MPs' stood up to be counted and forced him out. It is also time the Labour whips office started to earn their money in a productive way and told Blair what he needs to hear.

Will any of this happen? Of course not. Very few people in the Labour Party have enough bottle. That is the difference between where we are now compared to when Maggie left office all those years ago - the Conservative Party had the guts to do what was right for the Country.


31 January 2007

The Labour PArty still lack bottle

Watching the media this morning, the commentary is increasingly suggesting that the Labour Party are getting increasingly twitchy about the status of Tony Blair, but they are choosing to do nothing because the Cash for Honours investigation is now looking like it will reach its conclusion after Blair has left office.

Nothing to do with right and wrong then, just about what they can get away with.


29 January 2007

Labour Party in deep, deep doo-doo shock!!

I find it intriguing that the media are treating all of the current problems within the Labour Party in total isolation and seem to be ignoring the totality of the mess that they are in.

Firstly, their leader is getting deeper and deeper into difficulty over cash for peerages. He seems to have come up with a totally unsupportable defence and it now looks more and more likely that he will, at the very least, be questioned under caution. There is also now talk of prosecutions for with-holding evidence and for electoral irregularities surrounding the terms of the loans the Labour Party received.

Next, the two people who were supposedly the hot contenders to replace the ailing PM are getting deeper and deeper in the mire. Dr Reid is increasingly being seen as a headline grabbing incompetent Home Secretary, thus blowing his chances of becoming leader; whilst Gordon Brown is being slowly dragged deeper and deeper into trouble over the role of the Smith Institute. There are also growing concerns over the levels of taxation and the overall state of the economy which could mean he is a liability even before he takes over as PM. So, arguably, the top 3 figures in the Labour Party are now an electoral liability.

Finally, the Labour Party finances are looking increasingly desperate. The Daily Mail is suggesting that they have a shortfall of £42m (yes, I know it's the Daily Mail and I know that some of this is based on what they need to fight an election). Whatever the actual figure, they are in deep trouble. There is also growing pressure to plug the Labour Party's biggest source of funding; justice dictates that if there are to be caps on maximum donations, this must include Unions - any other solution will be seen as a fiddle.

So why aren't the media putting all these issues together and highlighting exactly how big a problem there is? I suspect it is still in their interests to keep running with three separate headlines.


04 January 2007

Taking the Armed Forces for Granted

One of my biggest disappointments about modern politics is the continued failure to learn the lessons of history.

Back in the 1970s Wilson and Callaghan took the Armed Forces for granted, underpaying them substantially and then using them to literally do their dirty work when the Nations infrastructure started to collapse because of the chaos caused by strikes.

So here we are again inthe year 2007 and the Labour Government is doing the same thing, overstretching our armed forces, using them to correct the mess they have created in Iraq and under equipping them for their job. Now we read about the shocking state of some of the accommodation we are expecting our servicemen to live in.

This is yet another reason for Blair to hang his head in shame.

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07 December 2006

Is the MoD a reflection of Government as a whole?

Anyone with an interest in the British Military will welcome General Sir Mike Jackson's comments yesterday. I am sure the naysayers will be asking why he wasn't making the same case whilst he was CDS, but he answered that point admirably when he said:

"It's not a question of whether I say things or not, it's a question of whether you say things publicly or not".

If he had spoken out publicly, he would have lost his job and British troops would have lost a champion at the top echelons - and he was a champion.

He quite rightly questions whether the MoD at the centre truly understands the ethos of Armed Forces and the importance of the team. He is right to make that point, because the constant rejigs and re-organisations that the MoD has suffered from top to bottom since 1997 (and to a lesser extent before) harm that fundamental ethos. As soon as a team is established and starting to knit after one reorganisation, they teams are ripped apart and reshuffled once again.

This also creates an empire building culture (the single biggest failing of Civil Servants), where people build and develop power bases through organisational structures in order to better position themselves for the next reorganisation.

But this is a reflection of what Government does as a whole. Govenment bodies are never given the opportunity to bed down, to make the corrections that a command structure in its infancy needs to allow itself to bed down, because of the dreadful belief that re-organisation is the only route to improvement.

The shame is that it is what more and more of our money is being spent on. Less and less getting to the people that need it on the ground and more and more on heirarchies. The culture is made worse as Ministers increasingly justify re-organisation as progress.

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30 November 2006

School Visits

The Government's response to the decline in the number of organised school visits is to throw a very small bucket of money at it. It is a typical New Labour response. It allows them to claim to have done something without actually dealing with the real complexities of the problem.

As a School Governor I have been on quite a few residential trips, in fact I have been on a 5 day trip to York for the last 3 years and it is always one of the highlights of my year. There is no doubt that children get immense amounts out of them and it is always rewarding to see difficult children really start to blossom at the end of the week when they have learned to enjoy themselves working within boundaries.

One of the other things I see is the immense amount of work that goes into them and the obsession with risk assessment -and it is that area than needs to be examined to give teachers confidence to engage in these useful activities.

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17 November 2006

I'm Glad Matthew Taylor is leaving...

....because he is talking rubbish.

In this interview the current Downing Street Policy Guru claims that the Internet is fuelling a crisis in politics. Absolute crud. The internet is doing a great job of exposing the failures within our political system, highlighting Spin, exposing duplicity and, with sites like ConservativeHome, making sure that the voice of ordinary people are heard within the establishment as well as ensuring that those voices are given weight.

Yes the internet is challenging politics in a way that it has never been challenged before, but that is a good thing. If our politicians are unable to respond to that challenge then they are fuelling their own crisis.

The danger of Matthew Taylor's comments is that because there is discomfort with the challenge that the Internet is creating New Labour's instinctive reaction will be to regulate instead of face the challenge.

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