Sunday, 25 April 2010

Nick Clegg's great betrayal

Nick Clegg has vowed to end the "two party system" which he believes has crippled politics and government.

That's all good and well Nick, but you've blasted Labour out the water so hard and so far that you've created a new two party system!

Promises, promises...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Does Alex Salmond hate Scotland? Or is he just an idiot?

I honestly can't decide.

Salmond has announced that a hung Parliament will be the most beneficial result for the Scottish people. He believes that without one party dictating it's will upon the political process and country at large, "Scotland's greatest opportunity exists".

Salmond's SNP manifesto launch has received serious news coverage and column inches down south in England, and publicity-eyed Salmond will no doubt be as chuffed as an Irish alter boy that he has received so much press in the 'big boy papers'. But the papers aren't talking about the manifesto, they are focussed on what he has said about a hung parliament being great news for Scotland.

This is why he is either an idiot or doesn't love his country.


If he genuinely believes that a hung parliament is best for Scotland, then shouting about it is about the worst thing he can do.

Whether we like it or not, Scotland is not a popular place down in England - to them, all we do is take, whinge and rain. The Barnett formula, although often reported wrongly in the press, has created a buiding tension among many English men and women. We get more money per head than them and they know this and ain't happy about it. Our MPs get to vote on England only issues and they know this and ain't happy about it. Seriously, more than we recognise, sheltered above the border, resentment towards the Scots is a growing, growing force.

And whether we Scots like it or not, the more the English think about the imbalances, the more likely they are to vote Conservative. And the more likely England is to vote Conservative, the less likely the chances of a hung parliament. And if a hung parliament is the best thing for Scotland, Salmond shouldn't be doing the one thing that will guarantee more Tory votes south of the border. If he can't see this, or is choosing to be blind to the reality...he's an idiot.


Is the same as the above but with different intentions.

Salmond's no political novice. It has long been believed that a Tory Government in Westminster is preferred by the SNP camp because they can then stoke up the anti-Tory, "remember Thatcher?", poll-tax reminiscent politics that seems to strike at the tribalism in Scots blood to 'inspire' independence. If the best thing for Scotland is a hung parliament, as he says, then why say so? Whether the SNP gets 7 or 20 seats, the possibility of a hung parliament or a majority is not going to be decided by the SNP's benches. The more he talks about what Scotland will gain from a hung parliament, the more likely English voters are to vote against ending up with a hung parliament.

Salmond denounces the three main parties' "cuts agenda". This comment should qualify Salmond for the "IDIOT" section above becuase he seems to be the only one left in the UK who doesn't realise WE NEED A CUTS AGENDA, WE HAVE A F***ING BIG HOLE IN OUR ACCOUNTS. With Salmond saying that Scotland should not be affected by the (necessary) cuts, people in England will hear nothing but Scottish people not willing to do their bit to cut the deficit, Scottish people saying "give us even more money". This will not endear Scots, or anything that will benefit us Scots, to the majority of those in England.

So if Salmond's plan is to provoke English voters to go for a Tory Government, just so he can pick his independence fight, then he is not doing what is best for Scotland, which in his own words, is a hung parliament. This means he ain't doing what he's doing out of love for Scotland. It's his love for the fight.

I've often wondered if Salmond, given the option, would like Scottish independence or whether he just likes the 'struggle' and would prefer to sling punches rather than walk away successful.

Now I'm wondering... is he just an idiot?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What is a REAL Tory?

Want to know what the Tories are really like? Think Cameron's representing the Conservative Party members when he tries to be a friendly face, Dave-from-next-door type? Nope.

Every now and again, the press hint at rumblings of discontent within the blue ranks of British politics. Many outside (and inside) the party believe Cameron is leading his people down a road they would rather not travel, that what he says doesn't represent what they feel and that a bit of a mutiny has only been staved off by a guaranteed success in the election and the promised land of Government.

Well, if Norman Stone's article in the London Evening Standard is representative of real Tory views, then Cameron has a problem in the basement and the British public are close to electing a Jeckyll and Hyde outfit, with no guarantee of which one'll be in charge. Talking about the Cameron campaign so far, Stone says of the Tories "This is not our world". So, DavCam's not representing his people.

So what do real Tories, if Cam ain't one, believe in...?

- The real Tories want us out of the EU as soon as possible.

- Reversing the smoking ban "would at once collect votes in millions". Really?

- In comparison with Istanbul, he explains..."If an able-bodied young man started begging, he would be honour-killed and quite right too". Does that sound like the friendlier, more compassionate Conservatives we've been hearing about?

- "old fashioned pubs" shouldn't be closing down when "gruesome, noisy clubs" flourish, staying open late.

Most of all, what sums up the Conservative mentality? Stone highlights how losing this election would be great news for the party, because the Tories could take over later, looking like even shinier knights in shining armour. Ah, there's nothing more endearing about those Tories than the their commitment to what's the best for...the country? No... the party.

If you're not sure about voting Tory, read this article. It is this outdated mentality which scares the crap out of the public and what the Tories are trying to hide away, their dirty secret, their true selves. I would love to hear Norman Stone's views on education, poor people, homosexuality...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

And the winner is... Cameron?

Yes, Clegg won the debate. But Cameron is, by far, the big winner tonight. As much as the Lib Dems may have made big moves, whether it's right or not (it's not, btw) the fight is between Labour and Tory, and David Cameron won that particular fight by a long way.

Brown appeared to have a tactic of attack Cameron, try to appear cosy with Clegg and hope the piggy-in-the-middle offensive worked. It didn't. Every time he said "I think Nick and I are in agreement" or "Nick agrees with me" or "Nick supports our policy", Clegg slapped him down and left him looking stranded, desparate and out of his depth. Cameron appeared calm, assured and comfortable.

It depends on how you would categorise a win, but without a shadow of a doubt, for me, Cameron got the most out of it, and what he'll have got is votes at the expense of Labour.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

LibDem Tactical Voting?

I have just watched the Paxman interview with Nick Clegg.

(First off, Paxman is atrocious. Why can't we have Dimbleby as the pointman at the BBC?)

Nick Clegg, starting from a weak Lib Dem position and up against a system and media that seems committed to maintaining a Labour/Conservative grip on our political system, is a man doing a tough job and is fighting against a strong current.

Will many people who aren't politically-minded have watched this? Probably not.
Should they have? Yes.

Nick Clegg has impressed me over the last year. I have a hstory of slating the LibDems, often with good reason (sometimes not) but he is slowly edging his party to the front of my swing-voter mind. If you haven't seen the interview, I would recommend doing so...with one warning. No matter if you are a LibDem fan, or a staunch die-hard of another party and just want to see Clegg f*ck will hate Paxman at the end of this, he's truly a waste of BBC pay.

I posted last week on how it is worrying that there is no "policy" (remember that word?) being discussed. This election, so far has been about cuts, cutting techniques and the tools used to make the cuts. No one has spoken about, regardless of the cuts, what they'll do with education, health, policing... until now.

The Nick Clegg interview

Here's why I think Clegg is as good, if not a damn sight more worthy, as any other potential PM we have... (these are things that are important to me, so you may not agree or care about some of these)

Nick Clegg, and the LibDems in general, acknowledges flaws in electoral method and that number of votes, rather than seats is also important. As one of the few bloggers (and like the majority of the country) who isn't entrenched in the die-hard psyche of what their party tells them to religously think, defend and preach, I am not in love with the power of parties on the political process. Seeing it outside the box of parties and being consistently focussed on this as an issue is one head turner for me.

Against spending silly money replcing Trident

No income tax for the first £10,000 for those on less than £100,000. Ok, so it's not PDs dream scenario of the flat rate of tax, but at least the LibDems agree that the poorest (and yes, some others will benefit) should be given a lot more help. I am a massive fan of no tax on the first £10-12,000 and is a policy which will have a huge impact on people's lives. I thought that his comment to Paxman "If you don't think that £300 to someone on £8,000 a year is a big step forward..." was perfectly put and Clegg, not just in this interview, is the one leader who seems to appreciate what life is like in the real world.

I was also impressed by Clegg's acknowledgement of the circumstances of the £20-30k bracket. This is the majority of people throughout the UK and yet, the focus in politics is always on the super-rich (attacking them) or the super-poor (playing Robin Hood, trying to be their hero).

By not "ring-fencing" NHS funding, Nick Clegg has hit the nail on the head with what has gone wrong in Britain. Spending on health has ballooned over the last 13 years with no direct link in increased service. When he spoke about the new management positions throughout the NHS, this is what Britain has become, a society by beaurocracy.
Abolishing this mentality (along with some of the jobs) is a much better pledge than ring-fencing for political cover.

His schools premium policy - at this stage I know too little about it to have an informed opinion on this specific policy, but I was hugely impressed that finally a leading politician sees 'poor schools' as something that also exists outside the London headline boroughs.

On schools Clegg claims..."Under Labour if you're poor, it matters where you're poor" I work in the public sector with schools throughout the UK and what Clegg says IS 100% TRUE. What Clegg talks about here is a perfect example of Govt focussing on one area, throwing time and money at it and issuing a massive press release. This is not education policy and Clegg has nailed this one.

I like Nick Clegg because he looks like he wants to punch Paxo. PD wants someone to punch Paxo.

I'm a fan of a local income tax

He has admitted a change of heart to now be anti-Euro - another big thing for me.

Bad point - he said "by golly"

All in all, I think Clegg has done himslef and his party no harm at all in this interview. I'm not yet on the road to voting LibDem but he has certainly turned my head and impressed me enormously. The LibDems won't get the press they deserve or the respect, but come polling day, I can see them getting far more than the 20% the pools are indicating.

Well done Nick Clegg.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The issues that should be (but aren't) election priorities

So, politics is a wide field covering more than just schools, hospitals and bloggers.

Here are some of the big issues that aren't being discussed (so far) at the election, that could (and should) have a massive part to play...

How we can be talking about budget cuts without a serious discussion going on about cutting Trident just highlights how wasteful our political parties are. The Government has conceded that
Trident will cost the British taxpayer £20bn. Now, not only is that a lot of nurses, it's also a lot of money. Opposition to Trident isn't just within the fringes of society, it is a widespread and morally powerful issue that some politicians are sitting quietly on, knowing that if this becomes a hot topic, their consciences will not allow them to tow the party line.

The Olympics
We, the UK, are hosting the Olympics in 847 days. Usually, in any other country, this would be something to celebrate, to draw on during an election and to inspire positivity during such a gloomy time. Yet, even now it's election time, one of the biggest events during the next parliament and I've not heard it mentioned once in the pre-election build up.

The silence surrounding this £9bn event is typically worrying.

Are we going to produce the sporting equivalent of the Millenium Dome? This is an event which has cost us £billions and will (hopefully) bring in many more £billions, but also has the potential to embarrass or galvanise our country. Yet no real noise (other than repeating an updating press release) at all from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Press.

This has f*ck up written all over it and whoever wins the election is going to look like a t*t.

No, not the funding of our armed forces, I mean the actual conflict. It's not going well. This is never going to be a vote winner for the Government which is why it is not being dicussed.

I believe the total number of British soldiers lost now stands at 279.

I'm sick of hearing politicians spinning the line, 'if you attack us on the war you do not support our troops' and when asked a question on the conflict replying with no detail in the answer but highlighting the courage and bravery of our armed forces. If you respect our brave, courageous heroes, you will discuss the issue properly.
Subrosa highlighted an article in the Telegraph which questions why the Prime Minister is so quiet on the Afghanistan issue and increases the claim that his "antipathy" is worrying. I do now worry and believe that the Prime Minister does not regard the armed forces or the conflicts we are engaged in as anything other than "something that just comes with the job". What is equally terrifying is that I genuinely believe David Cameron is of exactly the same mindset.

Some have said Cameron just doesn't want to look like he's using the armed forces as a political tool because he'd get hounded out. I just don't buy it. Cameron wants to win voters round, in his own words on a "local" level and doesn't register the war in his head.

The war is a horrible result of misjudgement. The public don't support the war (but, politicians, we do still support the troops) and there is no obvious definition of what a win, success of endgame is. This is a major issue for the majority of the country and it is being sidelined during this election.

These are just some issues which I think should be getting more 'Prime Ministerial' attention from the Prime Minister, Cameron and Clegg. The Lib Dems are better on these issues, but the important thing is that Nick Clegg is not. His party 'gets it' but he doesn't use this when being leader. He is playing the 'Prime Ministerial' game which he cannot win and will look like nothing other than a desparate wannabe throughout if he tries to go toe-to-toe on "the so-called big issues" against "the so-called big boys".

I've not blogged for a while so might come back to this throughout the election to see what else isn't but should be discussed. The recession, the credit crunch, all that is being overdone and we are starting to lose focus on who we want to govern the rest of what we do. The majority of people's lives will only be impacted in a small way by the recession and the majority of Britain is not the credit crunch. We need to remember that one way or another, cuts or no cuts, everything else is still there and someone needs to organise it.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Thank you Tony Blair

I will start off this post by saying that Tony Blair got it right. He got it right in deciding to go to war and he got it right yesterday at the Chillcot Inquiry.

Did everything go 100% to plan in Iraq? No. Does anything? No.

So thank you Tony Blair. Many people expected (and demanded) that you show up, explain what you did, say sorry and piss off. Had you done that, it would have set a precedent that if there is a great swathe of (mostly) irrational feeling/anger and ill-informed-oppposition, then the mob must have its way. The number of journalists, protestors, grieving family members and all-round rabble-rousers who were salivating at the prospect of Tony Blair, tail between his legs saying "You know what, you're right. I signed a deal in blood with Bush, I made up the 45 minute claim all on my own and by the way, we did it for oil". Some people need an outlet for their grief and some people just need someone to hate. Blair fits the bill for a lot of people in this, but wrongly so.

Every war, and I do mean EVERY WAR, has had some people who believe it is illegal, or unjust, or not morally sound and Iraq was/is no different. As Blair said yesterday, it was a "divisive" issue and being in his job, he had to make a decision to pull the trigger or walk away. Had he walked away, and left Saddam to it, there would also have been protests from Human Rights organisations saying "you must do something for the Iraqi people" as there had been for years before.

His job was looking at the evidence that was presented to him and judging the situation based on that. Tony Blair wasn't on the front line looking for WMDs and providing intelligence reports. He was presented with reports that said "He's got them". The British Prime Minister's job is to protect the people of the UK but also, as a big player on the world stage, our country has a morale obligation to help out elsewhere where we see injustice, both through diplomatic routes, trade embargoes and, where necessary, military intervention and the day we don't see that as our role, then we are less of a country and less as people than we think.

Tony Blair took the decision to invade and topple Saddam. Why?

Because if he hadn't;
- more people would have been killed, tortured and massively oppressed
- Saddam would still be trying to obtain biological weapons and WMDs
- the terrorist threat, both in the short and long terms, would be higher
- We, as a country, would have stood by and averted our eyes to people who needed our help and whom we could help.

Families who have lost loved-ones in the conflict will no doubt be grieving but that is the risk of signing up to the military. The men and women that take on this role are brave commendable people who understand the risks. A good friend has recently joined the Marines and will be posted to Afghanistan shortly. Am I happy about it? No. But this is what he wants to do and he understands that he might never come back. Most members of the miltary I speak to understand why they signed up, why they are in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think that the most important of Tony Blair's submission yesterday, which has been printed completely out of context by the Times to help spin it's atrocious article, is

"And that in time to come, if Iraq becomes, as I hope and believe that it will, the country that it's people want to it to be, then we can look back - in particular our armed forces can look back - with an immense sense of pride and achievement in what they did."

Thank you Tony Blair, for being as clear, honest and strong in your beliefs now as you were as Prime Minister.