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Archive for the ‘coalition’ Category

Iain Martin has provided, presumably from his sources inside the civil service, a fascinating and chilling insight into Brown’s autocratic, paranoid and hopeless (mis)management of day-to-day Prime Ministerial business. If you haven’t already read it, click through here.

It will take a lot of effort to work out just how much damage three years (or 13 years if you include his time as a diabolical, serially disloyal Chancellor) of Brown’s weirdness and chaos in Downing Street has done to this nation. The litany of disasters that can be traced directly back to Brown’s bunker door are emerging daily, of course, so the process could take less time than we think.

Quite frankly, I think how such a man was elevated to the level of the highest office in the land in the first place, without even the pretence of any form of democratic election, should also be a source of deep and urgent study. Why? Because it must never, ever be permitted to happen again and if that means radical alterations to the rules governing the way Prime Ministers are chosen, then so be it.

In the meantime we can be happy about a couple of things, and Martin alludes to these in his excellent piece: stable, reasonable, elected people are back in charge, cabinet government appears to have returned and the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility look like being rigorously reinstated.

We shall see, but after the cocksure, cowboy, sofa government years of Blair and the mentally disturbed, incoherent, mafiosi years of Brown, it certainly feels like accountability, professionalism and, crucially, normality have returned to Downing Street, Whitehall and, perhaps (just perhaps), even Westminster.

Well, you might disagree. But God help us all if I’m wrong!

Just remember, Brown’s chief hit man, Balls, is still around, waiting in the wings, shamelessly spewing his poisonous politics of propaganda, division, dishonesty and fear. He’s on This Week right now lying through his teeth about, in this case, his many crimes against Tony Blair on behalf of his boss, Brown, to whom he remains fanatically loyal. The chances of the evil Balls becoming leader even of his own party are pretty slim, I admit, (oh I do hope he wins!) but there’s still that chance, however slight, and the frailties of our system, exposed by the Brown 2007 coup d’├ętat, mean that at that point, he would be a hell of a lot closer to Number 10 than is sanely conceivable.

If Iain Martin’s revelations reveal just how very, very, incredibly bad Brown was, just imagine what life would be like under Prime Minister Balls.

That would be a nightmare from which we might never wake up.

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Mission accomplished? Hardly

I must say, I’m afraid I found Liam Fox’s explanations and justifications for the combat drawdown timetable in Afghanistan on Radio 4 this morning rather unconvincing. At one point he started to remind me of various Labour defence ministers (you can pick one) in his attempts to service the argument that the Afghan National Army will somehow be ready to take over from American and British troops in five years’ time, despite mounting evidence to the contrary (not least yesterday’s tragic rocket attack on British soldiers by an insurgent who had infiltrated the Afghan army) and continuing military reversals (I define losing territory you have just gained from the enemy because you don’t have enough men to hold it a ‘reversal’, don’t you?).

It’s not that I don’t buy what he says – in most ways, he is far more believable than his Labour predecessors, who spent most of their time lying through their teeth about helicopter numbers, among many other things – it’s that things just don’t add up given the time frame proposed and troop levels involved.

It’s been said by a lot of commentators and experts alike that the mission, the war aims, the ‘liberation not occupation’ philosophy, the ‘protecting us at home by fighting terror abroad’ ideology, even the timetable that’s been announced, are all theoretically sound apart from one, vitally important factor: for all these goals to be accomplished, our troop levels in the short term need to rise substantially; our level of engagement intensify dramatically.

Under-manning has and, it seems, always will be the British problem in Afghanistan. In order to fulfil the mission we set for ourselves, two or even three divisions of soldiers (around 30,000+ combat troops plus support) should have been committed, and now should be committed, to augment the USA’s 10. “But that would cost the country a fortune!” I hear you gasp. Well, war does cost a fortune and if you are not prepared to pay it, then you should pull the hell out immediately because there is no point in staying.

It was a fortune of our treasure that Gordon Brown was not willing to spend on our behalf to protect our armed forces, so I place the blame squarely at his door for subsequent losses, both the ones caused by a lack of equipment – strength in the air – and the ones caused by insufficient strength on the ground.

I’m now wondering, though, will the Coalition government try to fight this war on the cheap as well? If they do, then we will lose.

Dr Fox had better wake up to that reality – fast. And so had David Cameron and the Coalition he purports to lead.

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Shaping up as a half-decent, expensively-educated, millionaire Chief Treasury Secretary though he might have been, I’m awfully sorry, but David Laws’ political arse is grass. He can’t argue the case for public spending cuts when he, apparently, has been pretty happy to sponge off the state on behalf of his partner for the longest time.

So the only question to me is: who will fire him? His party leader, Clegg, or his boss, the Prime Minister?

My view? Cameron must pull the trigger immediately because what Laws did particularly is just the sort of troughing, fiddling, pocket-lining, venal rule-bending Cameron has been condemning in principle and often for over a year. He fought the election on that platform, for heaven’s sake!

Frankly, Laws fired himself the moment he chose not to reveal any of this as being a potential problem to his boss before he was appointed (I do not for one moment believe he didn’t realise or didn’t understand the rules – in fact it’s surely hard to believe that of a double first Cambridge economist – and it won’t wash regardless, even if he sticks to that lame line).

But who to replace him? Well, how about John Redwood? I think it’s high time Cameron picked someone like him for the cabinet anyway. Besides, he’s much smarter and more experienced even than Laws in many ways, and genuinely believes and can explain the Friedmanite solution to Labour’s debt crisis that we now so desperately need. He’d also be a handy bulwark against the economic mixed brew that is Saint Vince and his presence would vastly help to shore up the Tory back benches. A win-win scenario potentially, then, both for the party and, in my humble, for the country.

Oh, and sucks to the bloody Lib Dums. They can either suck it up and stay in government, or they can destroy this blessed coalition in a fit of indefensible pique.

I just can’t wait to see how Deputy Nick decides to handle this one.

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I’m absorbing Question Time reluctantly and all it’s (predictably, these days) generating in me is an intensifying mood of futility, especially after the pathetic Clegg/Cameron long grass double act earlier today. This ‘strong and stable government’ nonsense is a dangerous misunderstanding on the part, particularly, of the Tories of what the general election result really meant.

People have had a bellyful of ‘strong and stable governments’ that are basically all mendacious mouth and no trousers, having had 13 years of a catastrophic version of ‘strong and stable’ Labour government. We’re through with elected dictatorships when they’re actually elected. But this increasingly disconnected, disingenuous, dysfunctional Libdum/Tory stitch-up version of a ‘strong and stable government’ certainly wasn’t voted for – by anyone! It’s the wittiest form of ‘strong and stable government’ I think I’ve ever seen. And the joke’s on us.

People, if anything can be read into the outcome of the general election (and not a lot can), did not vote for a ‘strong and stable government’ that would carry on for five years as if Cameron’s and Clegg’s convenient interpretation was the only one that mattered. What people actually ‘voted for’ (if a mass ballot really can have a mind and character of its own, which itself borders on insulting inanity) is a weak and unstable government that would have to make policy according to principle, be answerable to the people every day of its existence, and would have to rely on pure guts and political nous just to get through one parliament.

A minority Tory government would have delivered that, and would have shown the country that the party still had a soul and some real courage. It would have earned them a proper victory down the line, too, possibly with a new leader who genuinely represented those erstwhile traits of the Conservative institution.

As it is, forget what I’ve said before, (although I’ve been pretty consistent in the post-election propaganda landscape), the middle class Richmond/Notting Hill shits are in charge again (this time with a bluish-yellow hue rather than a red one). They’ve welded Parliament’s doors shut to the likes of me and you, and are now talking to themselves while really, honestly imagining, laughably, that they are running the country.

It did not take long, but the consequences, as the world economy tanks – this time for real – will be awe-inspiring and devastating. We could have had a weak but principled and determined government. Instead, we don’t even have a ‘strong and stable government’. All we really have is weakness, fudge, paralysis and hot air.

Not impressed. Plus ca change, right?

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Yesterday was too irritating to blog about. Besides, I was busy with real, crust-earning life.

But it was an excruciating day politically. The vain Huhne’s inability to be ministerial in any sense of the term, preferring his own agenda regarding what he seems to think is the minor issue of nuclear power over policy, thus undermining on Day 2 his own party leader’s sworn coalition commitments, was just too much for me to take without crashing my car.

So I let it go, calmed down, made it home and stayed silent. That was healthy. And hey, I’ve been ecouraged to be a quiet supporter of this stupid marriage anyway, not least by the Conservative Party’s central spin machine. “Give it a chance, Den, it’s the new politics,” they’ve said. Well, sure. I’m game.

Bullshit. Day 3 and while we have the hangoever of Simon Hughes’ Tory-hating performance on Question Time to mull over, a new revolt – from Tory backbenchers, no less, not LibDums – over the 55% Cameron “stability” proposal (which smacks of Day 2 desperation to me), dominated the political news.

But that’s been trumped now. Coalition Day 4 will be all about Saint Vinny Cable’s (he’s now Britain’s Business Minister, laughably) desperate calls to Gordon Brown (remember him?) to discuss ways of keeping the “Tories out”.

Sorry, fellow moderate Conservatives, but you should understand now why I am measuring this hopeless coalition’s lifespan in terms of days rather than months or – and this bit of political confection amused me the most when I heard it from the two leaders involved – in years!

The best will in the world, which is what David Cameron has delivered – and he demonstrated that again, impressively, today in Scotland as his defining, wonderful feature as a genuine leader – cannot alter the potentially perverse motives and vile appetites of the partner you choose to bed.

The Liberal Democrats are appalling bedfellows, not because of the Tories, or even because of their natural woolliness, but because they have no idea of unity in the name of higher purpose, and absolutely no genuine party unity anyway.

Cameron has had a wonderful, heavyweight start, and so has the Tory part of his team. That bodes well.

In contrast, the LibDems look like total lightweights – and totally divided lightweights at that (where’s the leadership from Clegg? Why hasn’t he slapped Huhne down? Because he can’t).

They are, in short, complete jokes – and Cameron, as his stock price rises as he pops up on the world’s radar and is recognised as a sound man with a view who seems to be listening, has no need to take any shit from any of these idiots at home.

I feel an ultimatum is actually pretty imminent. It should be. “Hey, Clegg, Mr Deputy Prime Minister. Shape up or sod off.”

Well, someone has to say it.

Things fall apart/The Centrists cannot hold…

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