Thursday, 5 October 2017

Waiting for something

The shower in Manchester was both in and outside the conference hall.
As was the general depression. 
Eisenhower also supposedly said  
 “I’d rather have a lucky general than a smart general. They win battles.”
 I don't think he ever did say that. Eisenhower was a very optimistic, straight talking, rational and purposeful military leader/president.  However, if he'd been at this conference, he might have thought it.

Unlucky Field Marshall May had a stinker. And not just in her cotton wool head and sore, itchy throat. 

This was her moment to put aside the failures of the last election. The failure to achieve anything much on Brexit after a year and a half. And to set out her vision for what the future could and what it should be like. A vision of a positive future where the country can set its own path in the world. Make its own deals and cope with its own challenges. 

She could have said she was going to scrap HS2 and Hinkley point and use the money earmarked for those projects for new, affordable housing. That she was going to guarantee got built by using the land the government already owns to build new villages and new towns. Connected by new roads. To new hospitals and new {grammar?} schools. She was going to begin building tomorrow. And her new 'minister for the creation new towns' was starting right away.

She might even have realised that it was a Conservative conference so could put her hand into the foreign aid cookie jar for the rebuilding of hurricane flattened Commonwealth countries and for yet more house building in the UK. 

That would have been a start. with some more about reforms of university fees. and pricing of university courses. 

Some talk on taxation. More talk on jobs. Especially about the numbers already created and how the government wanted to tackle the loss of fair conditions at work for so many. 

A big bit on the divisive and troublesome Brexit. Not something any PM wold want to tackle head on in a hall split between leave and stay. But she did need to say over and over, we are leaving. the clock IS ticking. But she's made her offer and awaits a proper EU response. And that sadly, we cannot wait forever. And if no significant movement had occurred by Christmas, then the following year would see a rapid expansion of the government in order to put in place the customs and border controls necessary for the first stage of our leaving without a deal. And leave the ball in the EU's court.

Then the usual platitudes about the NHS. Working together. Fairer, stronger, faster, fatter, funkier or whatever focus grouped buzzword fit on the slogan.

Instead though. ..well...just ..more of May.  An edge tinker here. A worry about the cost of doing something there. A half promise, for sometime in the future, to do far less of something that Corbyn has already promised for all.

The problem for her wasn't the unfunny heckler. The revamped 'strong and stable' sign falling off the wall. Or even her losing voice. It was that her voice didn't have much to say. 

So here's something Eisenhower did say.
 “Pessimism never won any battle.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Video highlights of the Tory conference.
Quango exclusive. Pass the Strepsils edition.


Swiss Bob said...

Agreed, the hiccups were the talking point and these calamaties masked the lack of content. The FT says it's partly because the public finances / OBR forecasts are tanking so there's even less money to spare on headline grabbers.

PS Lucky generals quote was Napoleon Bonaparte.

Anonymous said...

In your titles at the end, in your excitemnt to get your message over, you've lost an "E". Have you been using the same people as the conference people?

Anonymous said...

Given the video still, I wonder what Mr May thinks of all of this.

Bill Quango MP said...

Lost in a 'E' in the excitement.
Should have been handing 'E's out to try and improve the mood.

It was like a Swiss Glastonbury.

miker22 said...

Whilst I wouldn't agree with everything you put forward, this is definitely a time to be bold and imaginative, and Mrs May comes across as timid and almost a timeserver.

Steven_L said...

Should have been handing 'E's out to try and improve the mood.

Don't give Jezza any ideas.

CityUnslicker said...

I wonder, as has come to pass so much of late, if the remainers get rid of her over the weekend if they will again meet hubris when Gove or Fox get elected as PM as the stop Boris candidate!

Kinda hope she does not go, whilst useless, I would like a deal with the EU - much as I think they are not very serious - a new leader election is more time wasted. Also that time wasting will prove to be critical like 1992 ERM crisis, something from which the party cannot recover from until lots of people who remember it are dead.

Bill Quango MP said...

On that same theme CU, would the Tories not have done better in1997 if the had dropped Major in1995.
Not winning, obviously. But ensuring they were not so far behind that it would take ten years to make up the ground just so they could see labour in the distance.
The loss in '97 was catastrophic.

Major, like May, was a competent, if uninspiring leader. With a mild vision of a better Britain that wasn't so horribly Tory all the time.
He had no mandate and no power. And he limped on from crisis to crisis, keeping the rusty, wheezing mini metro on the road, until the sleek new Labour Renault Clio "papa?'d" its way past with ease.

Major wasn't a lucky General either.
Better he had not fought and lost so very badly.

andrew said...

BQ for PM!

Sebastian Weetabix said...

“Major, like May, was a competent if uninspiring leader”

Where is the evidence that May is competent?

Electro-Kevin said...

Corbyn could get in by the pure fact that so many of us can't face turning out and voting for Calamity May.

As soon as she was elected I felt swindled and that Brexit was doomed. A Leave country led by a Remain government.

EU = liberalism

It's not the EU that they can't let go of but the the liberalism that it carried and that it could be blamed for.

May's "A voice to the voiceless" is her saying the majority who voted for her that she's too busy and they can go fuck themselves. Going after the youth vote is the same too (like R2 playing rap music, as they have been lately.)

OK. We've got the message.

Bill Quango MP said...

Andrew - Plotting is afoot!

Swiss Bob - There's no money left. But that won't stop Corbyn spending it.
May needs to be much bolder.

Miker22 - She needs to have better and bigger ideas. Time is running as short as cash.

SW -“Major, like May, was a competent if uninspiring leader”
Hmm...Well..she didn't get sacked from the Home Office. And she did manage to become PM. One of only a handful of people in British history ?
{best I can do.}

Anonymous said...

She was teflon in the Home Office because she wasn't attacked by the Guardian/BBC, who recognised one of their own.

I see Shapps has broken cover. Methinks an leadership campaign now is the last thing the Tories need. But how many more lousy choices will May make?

Electro-Kevin said...

She might not have been attacked by the BBC but the smile of the usually sour Kuenssberg face at May's misfortune is poison.

The 'comedian' who disrupted the speech was allowed a full airing of his little sketch - the letter, the chat to Boris, the police escort... repeated on BBC.

A comedy classic - to be shown on Comedy Gold in the future.

The Kuenssberg News Channel has been making the news, not reporting it.

Fine when May was pro immigration, liberal home office minister - not fine now that she's 'no deal' May.

Same with Boris, R4 Housewives' favourite until he defected to Leave and helped win the vote for us.

The BBC is setting the agenda and I wouldn't mind betting they were in on the intrusion. Tin hat stuff but that footage could not have been better if it had been on the set of In the Thick of It.

Thud said...

I know all the arguments against Boris but if by chance he could lead the party with the likes of Mogg etc adding some weight and authority I'd at least be happy going down fighting.

Steven_L said...

The BBC is setting the agenda and I wouldn't mind betting they were in on the intrusion. Tin hat stuff but that footage could not have been better if it had been on the set of In the Thick of It.

Maybe the dastardly EU / remainiac plan is to see off May, agree some kind of last minute extension to Art50 negotiations so that 'brexit' happens after the GE, and to get Labour elected so we stay in the 'customs union' 'common market' and pay a massive 100bn euro 'bil for brexit' which labour can blame on the tories and cite for our economic woes / lack of public sector investment for the next decade?

Bill Quango MP said...

Winston Churchill's political career is one of a rise and fall.
With the falls continually being longer and deeper than the rises.
A joke figure who's own party would not applaud his speeches even in 1940. On account of the years of treachery that had gone on before.

There was probably no other politician in the empire who could have done what he did during the war years.
He was a poor politician before and after WW2. But was brilliant for the darkest hour.

I am of the opinion that if the choice was between Lord Halifax Hammond or Boris Churchill, choose the one who knows how to make the nation feel optimistic.

Bill Quango MP said...

EK. I can't ever do tinfoil. It unravels too quickly.
Laura K had to have a bodyguard at labour's conference. She might be a lefty. But she's not a corbynite.
It all looked like bad luck to me. If you think back you will recall numerous similar misfortunes hounding Gordon Brown.

Shit happens.

My problem with May is that she seems to have been so damaged. Y the terrible election, she can only carry on by doing so very little.
What's the point of that?
Better to give Johnson his chance. If he muffs it up, it will be very quick. And he'll be gone in 2022 at the latest. At the same time as Theresa would have gone.

miker22 said...

Major brought us Maastricht and lost an enormous number of votes, including mine.

Anonymous said...

Caught May on the news tonight. Always wondered what happened to Colin Baker's Dr Who outfit, now I know.

Electro-Kevin said...

I don't recall Brown having anything so unlucky. I have never seen something unravel in such spectacular fashion as May's speech - then there are the leaks from party whips today.

And yes, Anon. Who is dressing Mrs May like an emissary from the planet Zarg ? It doesn't help that her head is positioned halfway down her chest, that she has a hunchback and that someone has told her she has great legs when in fact she has two pieces of string hanging down from a bright coloured slip that has not been properly tucked into her skirt.

The kitten heels don't look sexy. They look like the geriatric next door's comfy slippers.

Electro-Kevin said...

Kuenssberg took a bodyguard to the Tory conference for balance, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

@EK - I find Kuessenberg to be pretty balanced, she'll tear into anyone. The Corbynistas have been horrible towards her for not bowing before their apparent glory - the left are every bit as intolerant as the far right.

The only BBC bod, other than Brillo, to have actual teeth.

As for May's speech, it was crap. I'm all for preaching equality, but as a society we need to balance rights with responsibilities, and the Tories, who I'd expect to do that, haven't. Just weak sauce.

The housing announcement was so little. Town centres are filled with empty shops, shouldn't that cause a little 20w bulb to fizzle and pop over someone's head? Lack of money should inspire innovative ideas, not drudgery.

As for Major, iirc statistically he's our most successful PM economically speaking... May won't even benefit from even a quirk like that.

Charlie said...

EK: "I don't recall Brown having anything so unlucky. I have never seen something unravel in such spectacular fashion as May's speech"

You don't remember Brown's "bigoted woman" day? Covertly recorded insulting his own voter, then the indignity of having it played back to him on the radio, also filmed so we could all see him do the world's biggest double face-palm?

Charlie said...

Re: the Tories, I think they're f*cked in the medium term. They only won the last GE because people wanted to keep Corbyn out. I'm not sure what the party is for anymore, other than being in power for the sake of it. No vision, no ideas, no clue about what even their own voting base wants. I don't buy the "it'll be fine, Labour couldn't even beat May after the worst Tory campaign in living memory!" line. The reason they couldn't is Corbyn, and he won't be Labour leader forever. As soon as the Blairites sort their shit out, which admittedly seems to get more unlikely with each passing week, the Tory party is in for a long spell on the wrong benches.

Bill Quango MP said...

Charlie is correct.
It's a grim looking future. Only more grim because after 18 months we are no neare to having any clearer answers than we were on say one.

And the GORDON face palm is the miss December of any political failure calendar.

He want just on air. He was live in radio 2. On the most listened to station in the uk. And being filmed live.
Poor old fool.

And he was forever walking into the wrong room. Sitting awkwardly by himself. Not shaking the cops hand with Obama.
Neil Kinnock fell into the sea.
John Prescott punched a voter who had thrown an egg on him.
Ed Miliband ate a sandwich.
Hattie Harman drove a pink van
The Ed stone.
Cameron had hundreds of billboards that made him look like data from Star Trek.
His autocue was changed so he read out a different football team from the one he supports. And when he tried to correct it it just made it seem worse.
Alistair Campbell.. the godfather of media manipulation, had a near breakdown live on newsnight.

It's how you know that there is no all controlling entity. No lizard..MI5..CIA..bildebergers.

If they controlled everything this petty embarrassment would never be allowed. Nor would trump. Nor would Brexit. Nor would Catalan.

Electro-Kevin said...

Points taken.

But this moment was vital - at one of the most important moments in our history.

Electro-Kevin said...

I'd be astounded if Laura Kuenssberg voted Leave or ever voted Conservative.

It's that obvious.

Anonymous said...

@EK - yup. So you'd have expected them not to screw it up.

The Tories are currently horribly incompetent. Most of the centre-ground Tory voters never voted Tory because they found them cuddly, they did so, sometimes through gritted teeth, because they were the competent ones.

The exit of Team Cameron seems to have denuded them of any competence, and May has failed to replace it.

A weak leader, a failure to defend capitalism by ensuring it operated properly, the Brexit infighting and 40 years of fading memories of the last time Lefty Labour held the reigns has set the stage.

Sometimes events just conspire, no intent, just shit happening.

Even if they binned May, who would they replace her with? Boris is the only one with a bit of populist appeal, but even if the barrel of crabs that represent the Tory party failed to stop him, he'd doubtlessly screw it up.

Ruth Davidson has potential, but Boris would spike her out of self-interest, Amber Rudd is too thick.

The rest look like a collection of used car salesmen you'd rather smack in the face than vote for.

And any change would have Labour in the Commons and Momentum on the streets trying to force an election.

Sometimes you just have to accept the direction of the wind and hope for the best.

Bill Quango MP said...

LK is married to an ex Harvard businessman.
And according to the bbc earns between £200-£250,000 a year in DIRECT salary.

So she might have hovered her pen over the David Cameron box.
Though to admit as much in her media world would risk banishment from the cult.

Electro-Kevin said...

Siralan Sugar (a billionaire) votes Labour unhesitatingly. Kuenssberg is beyond the squeezed middle and I'd be astonished if she ever voted Tory.

She went along with the narrative (wrongly) that Tory back benchers and Ukippers are ultras - without bodyguards.

She went along with the narrative (correctly) that Corbynistas and Momentum are ultras - now needs bodyguards.

Spot the difference ?

She is actually biased against Leavers with a permanent "WTF?" expression on her face when rounding off her reports.

That her organisation sees any equivalence "they're as bad as each other" between hard left and moderate right (calling them extreme right unfairly) is bias as far as I'm concerned.

Electro-Kevin said...

"Even if they binned May, who would they replace her with? Boris is the only one with a bit of populist appeal, but even if the barrel of crabs that represent the Tory party failed to stop him, he'd doubtlessly screw it up."

Boris with Rees-Mogg, Redwood and the like in top positions. Until then we're stuck in the set of the Walking Dead on a particularly grey and overcast day.

andrew said...

We used to vote for the lot that appeared to be more economically competent.

When you are reduced to voting for the least economically incompetant
other factors are going to intrude and so the british political system is open to disruption.

It is not beyond belief that the cons are doomed to irrelevance.

Someone else said it better than me - at the end

"Problem number one for the Conservatives is that they no longer have any idea how to administer capitalism. No viable long-term growth strategy avails. They can't address the financial sector without hurting their allies in the City. They can't address the crisis of productivity and investment without more state intervention than they're willing to accept. They can't address the housing crisis or the precarious debt-driven economy without harming the interests of home owners. They can't build new support in the rustbelts on an anti-immigrant basis, without sacrificing affluent swing voters and particularly ethnic minority voters in big cities and marginals."

What he does not mention is that a parallel set of comments can be aimed at Labour.


we are finally - finally becoming well educated enough at a mass level to start to understand that in the sequence

'choose leadership'

the '???' stage depends more on us individually - and structures and processes than some manwaring who stands up and decides where to go.

If I am right big changes will be afoot.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

What is May for???

She does nothing, clings like a limpet and gives every impression of having a similar IQ. As Home Secretary she was thick and incompetent. Passports fiasco? Her fault. Rape gangs? Nothing to see here. Mass third world immigration? Do nothing and blame Shenzhen, FFS.

What the fuck is wrong with the Tory party? Do they have a death wish? Is she really the best they can do? Have they become so useless they can’t even defenstrate an obvious duffer?

If she had wit whatsoever she would blame her diabetes and retire gracefully. But she won’t, so they need to put her out of our misery.

Steven_L said...

What he does not mention is that a parallel set of comments can be aimed at Labour.

Well exactly, any party that wants a majority has the same set of problems (plus the SNP denying them seats north of the border). I can't see anyone getting a majority for a long time, 2015 was a freak result where labour and the lib dems simultaneously imploded.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a bit more like 'waiting for something.'
To my mind it is the 'Uniparty' that is now being exposed for what it is. Bar the fringes-if you can include the Corbyintes- a small percentage MP's across the parties and even fewer of the establishment genuinely want a true and full Brexit. Their reasoning is largely based on political rather than economic grounds(which few MP's understand in any event), for, with a restoration of Parliament as the focus of a more genuine public national decision-making their ability and that of the 'establishment' to hide behind the EU will vanish. More scrutiny. More direct responsibility. More exposure. More work. Less consensus. Less 'third -way' and perhaps a little less 'common purpose.' Perhaps more truth about our situation even if that may be a little uncomfortable for all of us.
Various interests must are working to frustrate this. Obviously the BBC, some business/ financial interests, Blairite Labour MP's ,Osborne etc etc and fronted by our learned friends:
So I ask myself 'can the LibLab Con' continue? Perhaps not and a major realignment of political parties - bar dictatorship, the system will have to keep that going - is in it's early stages. Isn't that what Bliar's been about this last few months.
A new 'centrist' Globalist/EU party. Not dissimilar to what the Frogs did with Marcron/En Marche.
Traditional patriotic Conservative Party and Corbynite leftists on the outside.
But when?
Pre Brexit? Post Brexit?

Electro-Kevin said...


The country is in the shit because the ruling elite has refused to accept the Brexit result.

The EU is just sitting back and watching us strangle each other.

Anonymous said...

Do nothing and blame Shenzhen, FFS.

What is an obscure place in China got to do with mass immigration?

Anonymous said...

Someone else said it better than me - at the end

And does no-one check their sources? Seymour has an excellent eye for observation and a great turn of phrase

"Her party reviles her, and lards her with pity -- which is just the ambassador of contempt."

But what about the source. Do you need a Marxist to point out the obvious?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Ah, Shengen. Bloody autocorrect.

andrew said...


Being british english I hold all idealists - marxists / libertarians - hard core remainers / leavers - fill in your favourite

in something between suspicion and cynicism

but will still listen and steal a good turn of phrase or a good idea from anywhere.

he also left out the bit about trying to prevent the long term decline of the north and the vaccuuming of talent into london

... probably because he lives in london.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:48am, four posts up:

Shenzhen is hardly obscure, it is where most goods in your house are made, unless you Buy British Only (which means you don't own the device on which you posted that comment)

Charlie said...

"Alistair Campbell.. the godfather of media manipulation, had a near breakdown live on newsnight."

Indeed. And he gave a speech in my office this afternoon, on mental health, where he said that he feared for democracy in this country, loathed how the public were brainwashed by the press and derided Corbyn for promising public spending commitments that the country can't afford. I would have walked out, but I was trapped in the middle of my row. The bloke is deluded; he genuinely looked like he believed the crap that spewed forth from his mouth.