Monthly Archives: September 2012

watching conference through my fingers from behind the couch.

Just over a year ago, I blogged about why I am a Labour supporter (and now a Local Councillor).

The Labour party conference always creates a buzz and a great deal of headlines many of which (in the past) have had me wanting to bang my head on a desk.  A few ‘Oh FFS!’ and much stronger are uttered at the inept miss steps that can occur.  Sometimes I wish a news blackout could prevent my party from shooting itself in the foot.  Will this year be any different?

A lack of Clarity on the NHS bill repeal was the beginning of my anxiety until Andy Burnham came out categorically and said it would be repealed by an incoming labour government.  I began to breathe a little easier but since then I have begun to have (obviously disloyal) doubts that Ed Miliband will drop a well-intentioned but catastrophic clanger between now and conference end (bad capitalism anyone?).

He is getting better (but will it ever be enough? going by the polling data it seems unlikely) but I am just unsure that his articulation of what labour stands for and why he is Labour will be closely related to mine.

When he says he is not for any sectional / special interest group (that might be great triangulation) it makes me wonder where the leadership of the party thinks it is heading.  We were founded by a sectional interest group.  The Unions.  Times have moved on and this isn’t the only group we should be representing – what about representing the weakest and poorest in our society?  Those failed by decades of poor economic policy?  What about representing those disabled and currently being treated abyssmally by an uncaring system run by a profit motive?  What about young people struggling to make their way in a harsh employment landscape?

It is all sectional interest groups.  Many of which we really need to show solidarity with. AND be vocal about it.

Many of these sectional interest groups are paying massively for the failure of another group (I won’t indulge in Banker bashing today) and we are too silent about their plight.

So while I understand that without an offering to the marginals that won’t scare them off, Ed needs to think closely about what rank and file members of the Labour party understand as ‘being Labour’.

For what it’s worth he can sneak a peek at mine and add to it if he wants (arrogant or what  😉  obviously Ed will be reading my blog.)

(extract from previous post)


I am Labour because in the society I want, the weakest are treated with dignity and respect and not left behind.

I am Labour because no-one in my society should go to bed cold for want of fuel, hungry for a lack of food and scared for a want of security.

I am Labour because everyone’s talent deserves a chance to shine and the barriers of birth and privilege should be removed.

I am Labour because the efforts of the many should reward the many.

I am Labour because a good education should be for all our children and not just for those who can afford it.

I am Labour because injustice and inequality need to be opposed and overturned.

I am Labour because I want to change my party to be the Labour Party it should be.

There are thousands of I am Labour because statements for me.

I am Labour and I don’t always agree with the party.  Sometimes we just have to disagree.


Europe in flames, a direct response to Austerity.

Violent clashes in Spain, Greece and Portugal are crashing across our news channels and yet the responses from commentators (and the rest of Europe) are incoherent at best.

The lack of application to a historical context is hampering the analysis.

The frightening similarities with the depression of the 30’s and the wrong economic responses by governments has set us on the path to a disastrous outcome.  The Euro (designed to build peace and cooperation into the foundations of Europe) is exacerbating the problem.

Like the treaty of Versailles the imposition of pain (in economic terms) is the driver of discontent among those being forced to endure.

In Greece the pain is excruciating, in Spain and Portugal the rebelling is beginning and the screams for extreme responses are being answered by the extremist parties.  Independence in Catalonia (Spain’s wealthiest area) is a symptom of not wanting to all be in this together.

The political crises of repeated elections in Greece are beginning to see the wilder parties get a foothold on the democratic ladder.

All of this occurred in Germany through the Weimar mess and the rise of National Socialism.  An echo that the EU should not ignore.  When times are very hard (and seemingly unfair) with no hope of improvement the electorate begin to respond to the hopelessness by moving to the political extremes.  Good people pushed past breaking point.  Already this is being seen on the streets of Athens, Madrid and Lisbon.

Grexit and some contraction of the eurozone is vital if all of southern europe isn’t to descend into a disaffected mess.  The appointment of unelected bureaucrats in Italy and market-forced government changes, in other states,  put a huge pressure on democracy in southern Europe.  These enforced changes give grist to the mill of extremists, a visible object to blame.  How far the descent towards the far right (or left) goes is anyone’s guess.  An alarming prospect nonetheless.

The ineffective bailout programme is the wrong response and is  just prolonging the agony.  The increasing debt levels will need to be written down (or off) and Greece allowed to get out of the Euro.  Greece will never be able to repay the debts that are compounding.  Of course were this to occur a few others would begin the escape process too.  An ordered restructure would become a rout.  Not a pleasant thought for the markets who wouldn’t so much be getting a haircut, more like a number 1 all over.

The austerity agenda is killing the patient and the patients are about to tell the doctor where to stick his medicine.


BOJO is on the march

A tory tweeter once told me that Boris will be part of the political landscape for years to come.  I was ridiculing the man as a buffoon and utterly out of his depth.  Apparently I was wrong.

The mood music surrounding Boris and Dave has shifted over recent weeks.

Boris came out of the Olympics with a real boost in his popularity (not just with voters but with the media) especially after he got stuck on the zip wire.  His denials are becoming less and less credible as he starts to comment on areas that Dave would prefer he left well alone.

This weekend has seen the print media following the online twittersphere and blogosphere mood music and starting to consider seriously the rise of BOJO.

The story of Zach Goldsmith offering to stand aside over 3rd runway at Heathrow is just grist to the mill.

His comments over Greening and the reshuffle impact on Heathrow (and the review to follow) suggest a positioning strategy that is beginning his long trek to replace Dave.

Boris isn’t likely to worry about being seen as populist (after all it is his stock in trade) and it is this ‘he’s just like us’  myth that he cultivates effectively with Londoners.  Dave will be hoping that Boris stays out of the commons for a while yet.  He has enough problems with his failed policies and weak leadership.  The differences between them are stark in presentation.

BOJO shoots from the lip while Dave tries to be politically on message.  Dave is coiffed and smooth while Boris is untidy and rough.  Boris is the perfect anti-blair mode of politician.

Boris is on his own ‘long march to Finchley’  and I suspect he will be leader of the Blue Brigade in the (near-ish) future.  However, the tory machine will stick with Dave for the next Election (too close to change nags now) and hope for the best.  If Ed Miliband pulls off an incredible victory Boris will be in quick as a flash, if Dave manages to cling on Boris will have to wait.

The Dave and Nick show will have the curtain called on it in 2015 (if not sooner) and depending how damaged Dave is will determine how readily Tory HQ will turn to Boris.  Self-interest means that they will stick with a winner until he stops winning.

The dearth of alternatives to Dave (from the current feckless mob) leaves BOJO as the next great Blue hope.

The mood music and westminster two-step has begun and for me there will be only one winner, the (very) heavyweight that is Boris.  Dave’s jacket is on a shooglie peg  just when it drops off is another question.

One thing is for certain another Bullingdon bull is crashing around in the Westminster firmament and there aren’t many ‘big beasts’ left to control him.