Thursday 26 February 2015

Devo-Manc: Another Serious Power-Play

One of my perennial themes here has been: 
  • governments have their hands on the biggest levers 
  • a government strategist with a bit of creativity can always drive the agenda
Regrettably it is usually people like Mandelson who actually understand this.  Brown sort-of understood it, except he deployed it negatively in his 2009-2010 scorched-earth campaign, analysed by C@W at the time.  Anyhow, Osborne understands it too (and of course Crosby).

So now we see another serious power play, and it's well up in the creativity stakes (relative to the usual nonsense) - Devo-Manc and, in particular, the NHS-devo aspect dropped onto the unsuspecting Labour Party yesterday by Osborne.  Yes, he couldn't resist dropping this bombshell himself.

And yes, Labour has been comprehensively wrong-footed.  Oh how they hate devolution!  So now they must spend a week (out of the ten weeks remaining) cobbling together a response, which won't be easy because the Mancs (almost entirely Labour) are in favour.  (Hell, Andy Burnham - panicky and instinctively against it - is a north-west MP.)  And Tessa Jowell likes the sound of it for London.  And every regional newspaper will be majoring on it for weeks to come - even if the Gruaniad relegated what the New Statesman called the biggest story of the day to a sub-page on its labyrinthine website (oh how the lefties hate devolution).

We may confidently assume this initiative is part of a rolling barrage.  It wouldn't be difficult to bundle Mili off the field with the devo-bombardment alone, for which there is plenty more ammunition still to be fired: but I'm guessing that another flank will be opened up soon, to reinforce his lethal disequilibrium.

This is gearing up to be one of the great election campaigns.  It's not before time and I'm loving every minute.  There's no such thing as an election to lose.



Bill Quango MP said...

An interesting comment on that 2010 piece.

"Anyone care to imagine what the first 100 days of a Lib-Lab coalition would have looked like ?"

What indeed?

SumoKing said...

The biggest problem we have in UK politics is trying to cling to this left right division which just does not exist anymore. It's a football match with Red team and Blue team playing for the cup and a handful of minnows trying to get a fair play award to go dick about in europe.

Right down to the talk of the game winning plays by the star striker "Crosby"

"Oh the lefties hate Devolution" - singing the blue team from the terraces to the scowling red team

rewind 15 years ago when the red team was devolving things and the blue team were campaigning against it

By all means support your team, ridicule the other team, buy the scarf, read the tea leaves and pretend that it was the sun what won it but don't pretend there is some serious theory or ideology behind it all because those days have long gone.

Electro-Kevin said...

It it were a game I might be enjoying it too.

Record levels of immigration - reports that the people leaving the country are more intelligent than those coming into it. (Stands to reason as the outside world demands standards whereas we don't.)

This is what the Tories want, therefore they are shit and I'm not voting for them whatever blinders they play.

(This is not and never has been about race)

Anonymous said...

Sumoking; possibly, maybe because the red team were not devolving, but stacking the deck and pretending any constitutional issue generated just didn't exist....?

Anonymous said...

Here is a scenario.

The NHS is asset rich and cash poor. Like a doddery old spinster, they are sitting in large draughty buildings in prime spots. However the family have all moved out to estates on the periphery.

What she would ideally like to do is to sell the site and build a new purpose built home closer to the periphery.

So she does a deal with the people who actually control the planning and it gets done.

So the answer is always to put the asset rich together with those that can release the value in those assets without others getting in the way.

That's how you solve the NHS problem

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ... er.. voted for this radical NHS reorg and a mayor for Manchester ? I seem to recall the North were very lukewarm on elected mayors.

Mr Drew, have you any views on the new Festung Energaia Europa (Wir Fahren Gegen Putin) ?

Anonymous said...

"don't pretend there is some serious theory or ideology behind it all"

No, there's some serious money behind it all. Remember Mandelson and Osborne on the oligarch's yacht ?

MyMancName said...

I'm in Manchester and I can tell you that this has taken everyone (that I've talked to) by complete surprise. There was no hint of this and nobody is really sure if its a good idea or not.

As an aside - I'm throwing this in for conversation, I dont have an opionion yet - I came across this thought the other day. (If it was here, colour my face red)...

We can either choose between immigration or the welfare state; we cannot have both.

We have a system where people are free to move around to look for work, or we support those who cannot find work in situ.
Allowing people to travel for benefits cannot work.

This is not about benefit tourism, its about what UK citizens want; immigration or welfare statism.

Any takers?
(genuinely interested in peoples opinions here, not baiting.)

Electro-Kevin said...

My Manc Name

The problem is with the ordinary people. They will not see the benefits of economic boom (however good the Tory press, IMF, OECD says it is) while poor people are moving into their neighbourhoods to compete with them for work and resources.

They will continue to get poorer.

Unless the Tories are prepared to do a Brown and claim to have cured boom and bust then they know too that there will be a downturn at some point.

When that happens there will be a lot more welfare claimants - especially seeing as the levels of numeracy of the outgoing population is better than the incoming according to reports.

Well. It stands to reason. Emigrants are generally going to places where there are points systems. For immigrants there is no such thing.

Now matter how much those in favour of mass immigration say that we are benefitting from the influx of skills and expertise we simply don't know. We don't keep a check on these things.

Ukippers are being told "You must vote Tory to keep Labour out."

Well, we were grown up and did that last time and it was very frustrating.

I imagine that the people will be scared into voting Tory but I think they should hold fast otherwise they will NEVER be respected.

Nick Drew said...

well, MMN, we had a go at some aspects of it on this recent thread - care to take a look-back at that & then pose the qn again? it's obviously ultra topical and germane: will be happy to facilitate via a new post @ the w/end

Laban Tall said...


"We can either choose between immigration or the welfare state; we cannot have both."

Some clever (if malevolent) people are hoping that mass immigration will bring an end to welfare :

"Diversity undermines solidarity. People don't mind paying high taxes to support people "like them." But free money for "the other" leads to resentment and political pushback."

That's exactly what we're seeing in the UK, and why Osborne and Shapps have got away politically with a real-terms benefits cut. They noted the outrage among working people in 2011 when benefits rose by 5% at a time of static wages.

"If you're a social democrat, this implies a tragic trade-off between social justice for natives and social justice for potential immigrants. But if you're a libertarian, the opposite is true. The welfare state doesn't make open borders impossible. It's open borders that makes the eventual abolition of the welfare state imaginable."

Nick Drew said...

Anon@7:53 - Energy Union views ? yes indeed, more to follow.

Love 'Energaia', by the way