Friday, 16 February 2018

Friday funny; Tories rising in the polls

It is hard to reflect on a worse period of Government than currently. Of course we have the disastrous Brown years as a recent measure of ineptitude. That will hopefully never be topped.

The Major years were bad too at the end, but only politically, economically they were very successful indeed after 1992.

The May years, notably after a period of good Government by Cameron, feel quite bad. The Brexit mess, and what a mess it is, at least is not of her own making and she is trying to straighten spaghetti long after the pot has boiled.

What is so notable is that when Brown was at his worst, he trailed the Tories in the polls by 20 points plus, Major was even 30 points down on Blair.

Mrs May, it seems, is there or thereabout against Corbyn, with a hair's breadth between them. For all the huffing of momentum there is a big lack of buyers for radical socialism in the shires of England.

On any historical view, this must simply be hilarious that Labour - who with this historical view be in teens ahead at least and should have easily won the snap election, are instead meandering around.

Perhaps in due course the momentum ground game will catch-up and the Tories be thwarted, but I have my doubts this socialist game will play too far beyond the ancient borders of Islington, Manchester and Liverpool. Huge majorities beckon in a large number of seats, but well under 200.

So perhaps we will yet be spared Corbyn as Prime Minister?


Anonymous said...

No, the Blair administration was the worst in possibly the last millennium. It was efficient at what it did, but what it did was disastrous for the British people.

It was during the Blair years, to give one example, that a net number of 500,000 Brits left London - given that some were also moving in, you must be talking Rohingya-like numbers.

Someone elsewhere summed up what the Blair years left us, a UK where non-violent Brit political groups are banned or harassed by the State while our media tells us about "the Russian threat".

"The state, whose core role is to protect the nation from invasion has been subverted to use its police power to prevent people from organizing to prevent invasion. Pretty amazing."

andrew said...

...after a period of good Government by Cameron...

Looks like you work for miniTruth now.

Suez, Iraq, the Referendum - all things that did not have to happen.

why do politicians insist on _doing_ things?

Bill Quango MP said...

How could the referendum not happen?

UKIP were 15% and rising. AND Tory MPs were defecting.

How could a Tory Party Leader stop his voters defecting to the single issue party, except by giving them that single issue?

So he agreed a referendum.
Firstly, as he thought he probably wouldn’t be in power and wouldn’t have to do it.
Secondly, if he called for it, he thought Remain would win it.

It was a shock to everyone that Leave one. Scan any poll you like before the referendum and try and find one where leave us ahead.
It was a shock to the political establishment
Ish,don’t that it wasn’t really 15% who wanted out, but nearer 50%.

If Cameron had known that in advance, then he would have been foolish in calling for a referendum.
But he didn’t. No one did.

miker22 said...

Yes, Blair was just disastrous, to an extent not fully appreciated yet. Just some of his measures: the culture of spin and dishonesty in politics and the media, the politicising of charities, the constitutional vandalism, the corruption of the civil service, the rise of political correctness, the list goes on and on. These things will have a long lasting pernicious effect.

dearieme said...

Blair is the only one of our PMs who really ought to be arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced, and hanged. Opinions may legitimately differ as to whether his head should be placed on a spike.

Anonymous said...

The culture of spin started with Harold Wilson. Blair certainly took it further.

Lloyd George was not very honest. But again, Blair took it further.

Electro-Kevin said...

To be fair Major blew it for the Conservatives (AKA Heseltine.) and for the country.

Maastricht was signed under major, the floodgates opened then. The reputation for Conservative competence with the economy was lost in that term. The technique of extracting money from pensions began under the Tories.

May bound the party to the centre left with her nasty party speech.

Blair was a Conservative in disguise and proper conservatism is what people yearned for - especially after the Tories became unclean through scandal (not that I minded and nothing by today.)

The RW press has its work cut out getting Tory voters to bother. The unions are on order to be quiet.

Don't rule out Corbyn yet. The polls may be just as wrong about this as they were about Brexit.

Electro-Kevin said...

The BBC are also quiet about the refugee crisis which has not abated.

Steven_L said...

In that case are water and gas & ele companies looking very cheap?

Mister Ess said...

Don't underestimate how people will vote when they think they have nothing to lose. Corby-McDonnelism will remain a threat until the Tories do something about home ownership rates amongst the under-40s.

The Mrs and I recently started a family and joined up for NCT in order to meet other soon-to-be parents in the local area. These are successful, professional people; a teacher, a policeman, accountants working for big firms, people with careers at investment banks. They have money. More than half have expressed either "love" or "quite like" for Corbyn. They don't know what he stands for. They just see a video clip from Glasto of people chanting his name. They look at the state of the houses they can afford to bring their kids up in, despite having successful careers and working hard. Marxism? They don't know what it is. Corbynite hypocrisy? It's not reported on the BBC News, so they remain ignorant of it.

The Tories need to set out some new priorities for office, if they wish to hold onto it. Those priorities should be housing, housing, housing. Not rubbish like LISAs and Help To Buy, but proper planning reform. Punitive taxation of foreign-owned residential housing and measures to deter land banking. Further cuts to housing benefit. Some proper joined-up thinking.

I'll generalise - renters vote Labour, homeowners vote Tory. Just 27 per cent of middle-income adults aged between 25 and 34 owned a home in 2016. That number is vastly in Corbyn's favour.

Anonymous said...

Harold was if you wish a sort of dimly shining proto-Blair, in the same way that a new-formed star relates to the finished article. But he didn't hate the British the way Blair did - imagine TB not sending troops to fight with Americans in Vietnam? I can't.

Anonymous said...

"Punitive taxation of foreign-owned residential housing and measures to deter land banking."

Amen to that. Add also residential property owned by offshore companies.

andrew said...

How could the referendum not happen?

... like sneezing - grit your teeth - just don't.

Representative democracy acts as a brake on mob rule.
Having a referendum is a failure of representative democracy.

Next we'll have a referendum on the NHS then planning laws then prosecuting Blair then stoning the person who dropped that cat in the bin.

Tony Harrison said...

Andrew - interested to learn that as a "Leave" voter" I am, it seems, part of a mob. Alas, representative democracy, in its Brit incarnation,is somewhat tarnished: Mr Blair, lately of this parish, was re-elected in 2001 with 40% of a sub-60% turnout - in other words, he regained power with the votes of a quarter of the electorate.
Seems to me the referendum result pointed up a significant divide between the Westminster mouthpieces of that "representative democracy" (plus bien-pensant opinion generally) and the demos...
At least you didn't go in for the usual depiction of "Leave" voters as knuckle-dragging uneducated xenophobes. Thanks for that.
Oh, and the NHS? it really, really can't go on idefinitely: it's an outmoded, unaffordable behwmoth. One day we might have someone in our otherwise impotent, 3rd rate political class who'll put it to sleep, to be replaced by something rational, affordable - and democratic.

Anonymous said...

"Having a referendum is a failure of representative democracy."

I think when the proposal is as momentous as to move power from the British Parliament to a foreign institution the people should either have a say, or a simple parliamentary majority should be replaced by say 75% or 2/3rds.

Heath lied to us when he took us into a European Union disguised as a Common Market. I have no problem with a free trade zone in goods and services.

Electro-Kevin said...

Well said, Anonymous.


Somehow a referendum to take us in the Common Market* was not a failure of representative democracy.

(* OK - the vote was take after we were already in.)

Nick Drew said...

Mister Ess - great input. (i) What people do "when they think they have nothing to lose" is of course squarely in the centre of Marx's analysis, and why the McDonnell's of this world interpret the Brexit vote as proof their Revolutionary hour has come (conveniently ignoring less propitious aspects of the theory)

(ii) "successful, professional people ... They have money. More than half have expressed either "love" or "quite like" for Corbyn. They don't know what he stands for ... Marxism? They don't know what it is" - yup, massive strategic problem for the Tories: the Mail + Murdoch press pretty much threw the whole IRA/Hamas/RT/Iran package at Corbyn before the GE (and the Sun is trying again, see Guido). Water off a duck's back.

Given the total lack of Tory leadership at any level, the only plausible hope right now is Corbyn-Labour implosion. I wouldn't put it past them. The Momentum rabble will take over quite a few Local Councils this year and next: let's see what they do with them

As I say, no credit to the Tories (of which, yes, I am one)

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - Hardly surprising bearing in mind the left's blind spots

The contrast between their outrage over The Presidents' Club and Oxfam.

But yes. Take away home ownership and a person bears left.

The whole point of mass immigration was to turn voters leftist and by golly it's worked.

If you dislike the way people vote change the electorate. (The push for voting at 16 too.)

Tony Harrison said...

I'm still wondering how "successful professional people" might be so ill-read, so historically illiterate, so lacking in political awareness, in short so stupefyingly dim, as to give the Marx Brothers outfit the time of day.

Steven_L said...

The Momentum rabble will take over quite a few Local Councils this year and next: let's see what they do with them

They'll be the refuse to implement 'the cuts' gang. In other words pass a budget that doesn't balance forcing the civil service to take over. And hope for a propaganda victory whilst the finer details are lost on the electorate.

Thud said...

My fellow scousers dogged tenacity in embracing the most crazed strains of socialism is a constant source of shame to me....luckily since being outed as a righty years ago I'm an outcast, lucky me!

Mister Ess. said...

Tom, I used to think the same thing myself, but the reason is staring us in the face. It’s the left’s grip on institutions like the BBC. The way that espousing even moderately right-of-centre views in the media ends the careers of people in the public eye. Did any of my NCT group declare that they voted Tory, or Leave? Of course not - it’s not worth the ensuing arguments. You have to venture quite a long way from mainstream news media and into fairly niche websites before you see reportage making the obvious link between Corbyn and Marxism. You have to read some political theory to understand what Marxism really is. Boring, eh? And - history! The only history lesson most of my peers seem to have had is that the British did many evil things, which we should be ashamed of. Plus. history is boring innit? Pass me my iPad so that I can read all about how evil capitalism is on my Twitter feed, which is composed entirely of people who hold the same views as me.

But I digress and run the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man. The main point, as I stated previously, is that many people think they have nothing to lose. Obviously, they have plenty to lose when Corbyn’s holding the levers, but their main priority is to own a reasonable house in which to raise their family, and they’re not able to do that at the moment even though they earn good money - and that, broadly, is a result of policies implemented by governments of various flavours during the last two or more decades. So, while it’s easy (and accurate) to accuse Corbyn fans of political and historical ignorance, it’s also quite easy to see where they’re coming from.

Electro-Kevin said...

Mister Ess

I hear ya. I hear ya.

(Sorry to hijack threads again.)

Electro-Kevin said...

There is no greater sin in the modern world than being a grumpy old (white) man.

Anonymous said...

@Andrew - representative democracy failed when politicians became so fearful of the press they either froze or tried to co-opt them.

Referenda are the only way to tackle truly contentious issues by making the public responsible. Prisons and the NHS are the next logical ones - ask the electorate directly if they want to pay more. If no, then shut up when bits get privatised, or your local A+E closes due to affordability, if yes, then shut up about high taxation funding it.

Referenda may be mob rule, but they're also mob responsibility.

Y Ddraig Goch said...

RE: Anonymous @ 8:49

"Prisons and the NHS are the next logical ones - ask the electorate directly if they want to pay more "

There is a fundamental problem at the heart of the NHS that is unique to it and ensures that no amount of money could ever be enough.

Compare it with the Army. The people in charge - the officers - are chosen from the best applicants, then trained at length and held to high standards - higher than the men they command. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are just that - exceptions from the norm.

In the NHS on the other hand, who is in charge? In theory it's the senior managers in the Trust - but in the NHS they are chosen from the least capable and receive minimal training while being held to no standards whatsoever. They aren't even any good by comparison with other professional managers - who are all working in better paid jobs where they can accomplish something. By contrast, the people on the front line, doing the actual work - doctors, nurses etc - are, like army officers, selected from the best the country has to offer and then put through lengthy, rigorous training, demanding not just brains, but determination and hard-work. Inevitably the notional "leadership" of the NHS is viewed as a joke. So who is in charge? The medics aren't trained for it and the bureaucrats aren't capable of it.

No referendum can fix that.

K said...

@Y Ddraig Goch

From what I understand it's similar at universities. The teaching staff are supposed to run things on some kind of rotational leadership but they don't have the time or skill so sign off everything and anything. The inevitable money problems get blamed on the government so they never improve.

On the other hand it's not like the US system is any better where the colleges are run by specialised management as for profit businesses.

Anonymous said...

@Y Ddraig Goch - nothing will fix the NHS. A referendum on chucking more cash at it may get a debate started though.

Long before we get to management of Trusts and the like, we've got the primary conceit that insurance and assurance are the same. Build the finest palace you like, it's end won't be dissimilar from a hovel if both share such weak foundations.

Y Ddraig Goch said...

RE: K @ 7:17

I see the comparison but I don't think it's quite the same thing. You are
describing a failure by the academics - they could take charge, but for
whatever reason, they don't. If they ever asserted their control then they
could make things better - and, frankly, they have the brains required to do so.

In the NHS the "senior managers" are the decision makers - as defined by the
government - but the organisation is structured to ensure that they are the
least intelligent, least educated, least motivated people in the
workforce. Their failure is guaranteed. They are a self-sustaining
kakistocracy, untroubled by any form of external accountability
(of the sort that Ofsted provides in schools, for example.)

RE: Anonymous

Fair enough, if a referendum is intended to start a debate then it could be a
means to an end.

"Long before we get to management of Trusts ..."

I disagree with this. The management of trusts is fundamental. The existing
population of managers squanders vast sums of money, while delivering a generally
poor service - and it has been that way for decades. If you give them more
money they will just squander that too. I accept there may be other things
that have to fixed at the same time, but the current NHS management
demonstrably can't run a bath, never mind a health care system.

K said...

@Y Ddraig Goch

I see them as more similar. With the military you become less useful on the front line as you get older so it's the natural progression to take a desk job and move up the command. That's not the case with teachers or doctors where they become better on the front line as they get older.

The disinterest of teachers at university leads to HR etc taking over which is similar to your kakistocracy in the NHS.

My friend works at a uni and all the technicians, teaching assistants, etc, see the problem. But nothing changes because the students are brainwashed to blame the government and the teachers are too wimpy to take any heat and try to improve things.