Wednesday 21 October 2020

Burnham in "Blazing Saddles" Covid Revolt: What's Going On?

With a government as bad as Boris Johnson's, piecemeal stuff going badly wrong in random places is pretty inevitable.  But the whole Manchester fiasco is pretty strange.

What are we to make of Andy Burnham?  Compare and contrast with Sadiq Khan (always a 'transactional' politician) who has quite graciously praised the collaboration he's been getting from central government and is evidently in daily, and broadly constructive, dealings with HMG.  Burnham, though, is threatening the equivalent of a hunger strike and inviting the authorities to force-feed him.  Which they are doing.  He's an unlikely leftwing firebrand-hero, and comes across as just a sad, angry, frustrated individual which - given his responsibilities - he can be forgiven for on every count, at the purely human level, even if Not Very Statesmanlike.  But even some of his neighbouring council leaders seem to think he's gone too far in playing hostage games with his constituents' (short-term) well-being. 

And we're not hearing quite so much from Sturgeon just lately.  Maybe the rigours of winter will make everyone just retreat into a huddle of confusion, aimless resentment and slow economic disintegration.  

Of course, it all feeds into one of our current themes, namely, what next for bankrupt local authorities?  I can report another developent in my local Croydon saga: the (Labour) leader of the Council has gone the way of the Chief Exec and others.  The incomer is Sturgeon to his Salmond, as Sturgeon would have been viewed when she first took over, i.e. just an acolyte.  Is she any good?  We may find out quite rapidly.  The council has requested permission from the government to use capital resources to plug the gaping hole in the revenue account - the 'Northampton' solution - and there's an enquiry being held into the really outrageous conduct of the council's wholly-owned housebuilding company, a blatantly political and thoroughly incompetent project the details of which I won't bore you with.  Unhappily, the council's other vast "investments" are mostly in commercial property ...

Finally, what are we to make of Kier Starmer?  His '100% Sniper' strategy of never engaging with the enemy on the field of battle is strikingly clear and ruthlessly disciplined.  He is obviously betting everything on it.  Where is his support for Burnham and a general anti-government upsurge?  Will his sullen and increasingly rebellious troops stay in line?   Is Transactional Khan mapping out a clever central course of constructive engagement with reality that will serve his own long-term plans?  Is Angry Andy Burnham exactly the "everyman" leader Labour needs?  Questions, questions.



Elby the Beserk said...

Burnham of course the man ultimately responsible for the Mid-Staffs Morgue shambles - it was he who signed off Foundation status for the hospital, with no reference to its already poor clinical record, indeed, signed it off solely on its financial competence. Many deaths later, and huge payoffs to the shysters shifted sideways to another agency to go **** up there as well (That's you, Cynthia Bowers....), why is Burnham not disbarred from public office? Why is reward for failure perhaps the cornerstone of public service work now.


13 grainy captchas later...

Anonymous said...

Are you allowed to say "Blazing Saddles"??

david morris said...

What EtB said

After Mid Staffs, Burnham should have been publicly executed "pour encourager les autres"

Outside of the Labour Party "Family" he has no credibility whatsoever

Northern Rock said...

If Andt Burnham is the answer then someone asked the wrong question.

Don Cox said...

He seems to be using the tactics of Violet Elizabeth Bott.

Don Cox

DJK said...

By contrast, Sturgeon has actually been fairly constructive lately, saying that all parts of the UK should have broadly similar Covid-19 rules.

Anonymous said...

I have no fondness for Burnham, but he is highlighting the inanity of this government's handling of things.

Why are we having negotiations? Why are we cherry picking what can and cannot be open in different tier 3 areas? Why are those on minimum wage, forced not to work by government edict, not getting a 100% coverage?

You give region A x amount, region B y amount, then region A is entirely justified in feeling a little salty, and region C may feel they've got some leeway to get more sweeties.

Even though there may be rational reasons to have nuances, it opens a can of worms, so you pick a lowest common setting for each Tier and stick to it.

Then there was the "oh, you won't take the 60 million? Here's 22 and fuck off" which is a needless self inflicted wound by both sides, only Burnham gets to play the wounded Plucky Hero, and the Tories the villainous and petty tyrant.

I don't know what's going on in central government, but clearly it isn't competence or capability.

E-K said...

Xi didn't have to put up with this shit.

Anomalous Cowshed said...

Ah, the boy Burnham. He's had two pops at party leader already. He's basically gunning for a hat trick.

I suspect that he's a bottom-up Labour politician - broadly allied to the grassroots union movement, and definitely not a Fabian-style top-down one. Not a Blair acolyte, but a Brownite.

As a result, he was probably ok with McDonnell, but not Corbynite Momentum. As such, he's probably agin Starmer and the southern metropolitan elements within the party.

He's following the Khan and UKIP route to prominence - setting himself up as the "real" Labour leader as opposed to Starmer's faffing about.

Starmer basically had three problems - dealing with pro-Remain Labour (or what was left of it after the election), and the Momentum / McDonnell axis - but the third is how to win the next GE.

And the biggie there is Scotland. Starmer's first real opportunity to demonstrate that he's on the right track towards a GE victory, is the elections up there next year.

SARS-CoV2 has been something of a boon and bane for Starmer. It's effectively extended his honeymoon period by creating lots of opportunity for the Conservatives and the SNP to shoot themselves in the foot. Masterly inactivity. It's also completely dominated the media cycle, which means any internal party wranglings are going unnoticed right now.

On the other hand, masterly inactivity, aka doing nothing, aka faffing about, plus Osbourne's creation of the mayoral position in the first place, gives us Burnham.

Bit of a problem for Starmer that.

Thud said...

DJK, Sturgeon, constructive? similar rules perhaps but you forget to add she wants to be the one that sets them.

DJK said...

Thud: All things are relative. Boris and Nippie clearly hate each other, but in comparison to Andy Burnham, she's being fairly statesmanlike. Perhaps the coming election on 6th May is keeping the bad feeling to a manageable level.