Monday, 24 April 2017

The Left are wrong - Britain is becoming more Left Wing, not less so

John Redwood, long since a marginalised backbencher, actually
proposes Right Wing policies
Much is made that over 55% of the population at the last election voted for 'Right-Wing' parties such as UKIP and the Conservatives rather than the remaining left-wing parties.

Apparently, according to all lazy political journalism, this makes it hard for a Left-Wing Government ever to gain power again, as the popular consensus is not in their favour.

Currently too, the world (well, twitter!) is full of lefties decrying May as the new Thatcher and some sort of hard-right dictator like President Erdogan of Turkey (see Chuka Umunna etc.).

However, none of this is actually true. The Conservatives have been happy winning elections with Labour policies for years, just as in the early 2000's Tony Blair won elections with Tory policies. After all, smart politicians recognise that it is power that matters, not promises or ideology (which is why Corbyn and co are so utterly abject, having decided that truism is no such thing).

Indeed, we are yet to see the Tory manifesto but I suspect it will be very light on detail given the short-notice and supposed room needed for manoeuvre with Brexit due.

What we have seen is the ludicrous and poorly thought out appropriation of Ed Milliband's price cap on retail energy. A commitment to the triple lock ended, a commitment to reducing immigration neutered, the retaining of the very left-wing policy of foreign aid commitment retained and a hole where tax policy might be.

Where are the Thatcher privatisations? Where is the expansion of the market economy? Where is the reform of public services so desperately needed? Where are the tax cuts for anybody instead of endless tax rises?

In fact, where are the Right Wing policies? Any at all, from any of the parties? UKIP, Brexit apart, are full of Left-wing economic nationalist policies like Le Pen in France - who is also mis-leadingly referred to as a right-wing nationalist.

This move by the Tories to the 'centre' is no such thing, it is part of the steady move to the Left begun by Cameron in 2005 - look how happily George Osborne sits as a member of the metropolitan elite, he was the architect of the Tory strategy for over a decade.

Someone please help me out, who would I vote for if I wanted Market based, capitalist ideas to vote for in the forthcoming General Election?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

From The Front: On The Streets

Rightly or wrongly I get the impression not so many C@W commenters are Party activists.  So here's a first-hand report for you

Quite by coincidence my local party was holding its annual 1-day local government conference this Saturday, so timing rather good for expanding the scope a bit.  There was a big, big turnout - and you had to book your place long before the Announcement of St Teresa - including lots of youngsters, reversing a longstanding trend.  (As mentioned before, recruiting has been way up since the Referendum, including heartening numbers of youth and "BAME".) 

I have to report that morale was exceptionally high.  Everyone said "no complacency: maybe the punters are hacked off, etc etc", but it was all very up-beat.  When you read the anti-leadership bile in Labour Uncut, it is hard to imagine anything comparable in a Labour gathering right now.  We fixed a second, ad hoc meeting for 10:00 am this morning (Sunday) to distribute leaflets for a 100%, whole-constituency delivery in a single day to get the show on the road.  Around 150 folks showed up (for those of you not engaged in local stuff, that is Quite Big: I may post the photos later) and we duly delivered 100% today, it works out at about 200-240 leaflets each: piece of piss on a fine day.

Speaking for Mrs D & meself, out delivering we found several campaign posters already in people's windows (vs virtually none in 2015, when everyone was hull-down for anticipated nastiness), and the folk we encountered in their front gardens were very cheery.  Nothing like Brenda from Bristol or any of that negativist BBC crap.

I realise there will be loads of you for whom the dusty details of doorstep politics are of little interest: but let me tell you, this has the best street-feel for the Tories in our London marginal seat since Boris first took on Ken (and, before that, since the GE of 1983).  Given that everyone is on the alert for complacency - and I'd say Big Lynton Crosby probably has an eye on that, too - this might indeed be an utter rout.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Abject: Inside Corbyn's Pathetic Decision-Loop

Team Corbyn is not fit to take the battlefield.  I'm not sure Team May would prevail against a worthwhile foe, but clearly they've no need to.

A basic military tenet is this:  there is rarely any strategic surprise; but there can always be tactical surprise.  I could give a thousand examples. 

So - was the Snap Election a strategic surprise?  Absolutely not: any Team Corby chappies wargaming the political future after he was re-elected in September would have had it on their list, and - fatally - indeed they obviously did.  We'll come to that in a moment. 

Was it a tactical surprise?  Oh, yes.  And conforming nicely to British military doctrine:  a deception plan in advance, totally secrecy and radio silence beforehand (fascinating to speculate exactly who knew - the true Teresa Trustees); then strike like lightning.

With tremendous success, because the announcement clearly got right inside Team Corbyn's decision-loop.  So all they could do was react with tremendous predictability and trot out their rehearsed line:  "bring it on; we're not afraid", hotly followed by putting on a 3-line whip for the Parliamentary vote required to crystalise May's intent.  So now everything that follows is on May's chosen battlefield, and - even if she didn't consider it prudent to fire up CCHQ ahead of time [see 'secrecy' above] - at least Core-Team-May is a hundred times better prepared than, well, anyone else on the field.

This reveals the stupidity of the opposing forces, who have forgotten Drew's 4th law of politics:  the lines of logistics in politics are short.  Very short, assuming everyone (except Gordon Brown of course) has a mobile 'phone.  This means, inter alia: no-one in politics needs to be bounced into an instant reaction because (a) any politico worth their salt can play for time (being measured here only in hours, or a day at most);  and (b) in a matter of hours you can convene your best brains, thrash out a serious response, and hurl it back into the fray.  

In this instance, they should at very least have blown up the narrow bridge across which May was forced to march, namely the requirement for a two-thirds majority.  Even if she had a Plan B (and we may guess she did) you've already won yourself even more time: and if you can't come up with a workable slogan to counter the inevitable chorus of "frit frit frit" you've no place in Team Corby HQ. 

Instead, they remembered that the last time they discussed a snap election - several months ago, in the abstract, with nothing concrete in front of them - they concluded we'd better say OK.  And that was what they had in the locker.  "OK."  And not enough coolness under fire to sit down quietly and come up with their own plan in time for the 6 O'clock news.  Something really unexpected, from out of left field(!)  And we know May looks utterly out of her depth when that happens: so, an opportunity to score heavily.  Instead, yet another in the line of prostrate Parliamentary performances, kowtowing to the Empress.  "The real fight starts now" -?

Abject.  Pathetic.  Deserving of utter oblivion.


A return to two-party politics

Will the June 2017 election be the one in which Britain (in the strictest sense, in which we can pretend there is no Nicola Sturgeon) returns to two-party politics? The Great Trend of the post-war era has been a fragmentation of viewpoints, an ever-increasing diversity of political offers and tribes. This seems to have been a long-term change, rather than being prompted by any particular party's stance on any single issue or short-term electoral strategy. Similar diversification has been seen in other mature democracies: in the Netherlands the two main parties use to get the lion's share of the vote, now they struggle to form grand coalitions; France used to have the Gaullists and the Socialists, but this time around nobody knows who will reach the second round of the presidential elections.

But could this be about to change? If so, it could be the political earthquake which people have been anticipating for many years. It could herald a brief but long-lasting shifting of the kaleidoscope (Copyright T. Blair) in Westminster politics.

In the General Election of 2017 we have a very simple choice to make, as voters. Do we support Theresa May's Tories, or do we Not?

In case we were under any illusion of a range of choices at the election, the smaller parties have been scrabbling around seeking electoral pacts with each other. The Greens and the LibDems are doing a deal in Devon. Caroline Lucas has called on Labour to co-operate with the Greens in some constituencies (presumably the gloriously mad bits of SE London, in particular). Gina Miller is raising money to campaign for particular candidates who might vote to stop Brexit. There are already tactical-vote sheets floating about on the internet.

So when we reach the ballot box on 8th June we can expect to be asked to choose, straightforwardly between the Tories and the Not Tories.

Even if we ignore the current polls for a moment, it might be difficult to muster much enthusiasm for a Not party. What does a Not party stand for? Not Eating Babies? Not Crushing The Poor? Not Slashing Public Services? Not Leaving the EU?

Opposing the Nasty Tories might seem like a grand crusade to some people, but it isn't a platform to form a majority in Parliament and a government for the next few years. 

To his credit, Jeremy Corbyn has immediately stated that he is not interested in pacts and coalitions. Ed Miliband, of course, dithered and came a cropper. Corbyn has also hit the ground running with a policy platform. Whether or not Capitalists agree with that platform is a separate matter, but at least it is Something rather than Not.

So in the end, voting in the June 2017 election will come down to a binary choice. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Goodbye fixed term parliaments

The fixed term parliament act, foundation stone of the 2010 coalition government, has been swept away as easily as a small sandcastle encountering a large wave.

During the negotiations for the agreement of the  Liberal-Tory coalition the insistence on ensuring that the government be stable was paramount. Neither side much trusted the other. 
The dripping wet, high tax-higher spend, liberals, were not natural bedfellows of the evil, NHS privatising, poor bashing Tories. {Though in reality on both sides the senior people were quite happy moving even closer to the centre than their respective parties were.}

It was a very strong political card that David Cameron had given up to become Prime Minister.
It was accepted the leader of the nation be able to call an election at a time that suited their own agenda. Either at the judged peak of the wave of their popularity, Thatcher style. Or by hanging on to the last possible second before an election had to be called in the hope something might turn up to reverse their dismal fortunes.Brown style. Either way the decision was the Prime Minister's to make.
A mild gerrymandering of the political system to favour the incumbent government.

The financial crisis of 2008 was so serious that stability was deemed essential. The huge polling leads that the Cameron Tories had enjoyed pre-2008 evapourated when the Clunking Fist managed to convince people that only his masterful stewardship of the economy could save us from an economic tsunami.  The public voted on traditional lines. With the liberals mostly keeping their high numbers of MPs. Labour supporters voted Labour. Except in Scotland where the SNP made significant gains.
Tories voted Tory. Kippers voted for UKIP. And the result was a hung parliament. The Tories narrowly falling short. Brown's promises to spend our way out of debt resonated better than Osborne's spending will need to be curbed.

So, the coalition came into being and the Fixed Term Parliament act was devised to ensure neither side could back out when the going got tough. 

It proved a masterstroke. The Liberals, the Italians in this axis coalition, would have bailed out if they could. Their polling figures slumped ever lower. Partly caused by the shock of a lefty party getting in a righties bed. But mostly by their own penchant for telling enourmous whoppers at every election opportunity in the knowledge they would never have to deliver on their false promises.

Stability was achieved. The act seemed to be a permanent part of politics. Worded so carefully that only in the case of extreme political turmoil could it even be discussed whether it might be amended.

So it was quite surprising that it was overturned by a government with a tiny, semi-rebellious majority. For no good reason other than it absolubtely suited the Prime Minister to call an election at this time for purely opportunist reasons entirely favourable to herself. 
Overturned{it wasn't overturned - just now ignored, but essentially its a dead duck.} by 522 to 13.

Labour,desperately wanting to be put out of their own misery.Liberals sensing a closing window of opportunity to gain from Brexit. And the SNP, having managed to over rhetoric themselves into a feisty 'bring it on' position they didn't want at this time, has meant all sides prepared to reset the board, no matter how unfavorably that might turn out for them.

And we used to think Cameron was a lucky leader facing second rate opposition in Brown and Miliband.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Woe to the SNP: Sturgeon Wilts, Orchid Dies!

Yes, it's been an unhappy turn of events for Nicola Sturgeon.  Remember those happy evenings spent curled up on the sofa, flashing her knees and writing to Teresa May in big loopy handwriting?  Well, no more pen-pals.

We can tell she's a Bad Person, because she's let the orchid die!