Archive for the ‘general election’ Category

Jackie Ashley, in her piece in the Graun this morning that’s basically a 1500-word moan about why-oh-why the Labour party is imploding and so many people are ‘abusing’ the party’s record in government, describes Mandelson’s new memoirs as “bank-swelling”. I’m not sure I agree with her about that. Beyond all the MSM political hacks who must buy it (assuming they’re not given free copies), the professional bloggers (one of whom probably helped to publish it), MPs and former ministers, (who’ll all be desperate to see if they get a mention from the oily old pocket-liner) I have a sneaking suspicion that very few people will be remotely interested enough to shell out their hard-earned on such an artefact of conceit.

You see, the thing Labour people like Ashley don’t seem to grasp is that contempt for the Labour party and all its works has gone well beyond mere abuse now. Try as she and her BBC husband might to talk it up, the fact is that people have moved well on from the Labour narrative and are comfortable with the new, Tory/coalition one. So comments like this from her, let’s face it, pretty desperate piece…

Somebody needs to fight back against the hysterical torrent of abuse being poured on Labour’s economic record, which after all included a decade of good times, the rebuilding of public services, and successful action to stave off a full-scale collapse in the banking system. It may be too early: the self-righteousness of the Labour-haters now matches the self-righteousness of New Labour in its pomp. But the time will come.

…sort of pretty spectacularly miss the point. The “hysterical torrent of abuse” would not be the relevant thing even if it actually existed (it doesn’t), the outcome of the general election is, with millions of people deciding, not as “self-righteous Labour-haters” (a rather feeble example of the sneering hyperbole I’ve often heard from self-righteous Tory-haters like her), but as ordinary voters, to reject Labour and its pisspoor record. You know, in their self-righteous Tory-hating, which shields them from all conceivable criticism, I think Labour-losers still really haven’t understood the fact that they have lost the argument – comprehensively and conclusively – and that they are, consequently and with increasing shrillness, talking to themselves.

The sales of Mandelson’s new novel, the serialisation of which is safely hidden behind a Murdoch paywall, should provide a fair measurement of just how irrelevant Labour have quickly become, and just how far the country has moved on from them and their sorry tale of failure in government.

Me? I expect to see it in the bargain bins within weeks, along with Mandelson’s memoirs.

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According to Sky News sources, the talks between Labour and the Liberals have “failed”. After all that, who’d have thought it would be a few Labour MPs – a mixture of Scottish veterans, bitterly opposed to the SNP, and some promising young thrusters, who would inject some reality into Labour’s mad ambitions, themselves driven on by the likes of Mandelson (unelected), Alistair Campbell (unelected) and Gordon Brown (unelected – as PM – and now comprehensively defeated – as PM)?

Mind you, after the way the Liberal Left and its old guard have behaved over the past two days, David Cameron would be well within his rights to conclude that a party like Nick Clegg’s outfit is unfit for office and declare that for the long term, political good of the country, he’s going it alone – and then dare the Lib Dems to side with Labour in bringing down his government. Cameron would be thinking “bring that on” – and the mauling Labour and, especially, the Liberals would receive at the general election that was triggered. The Lib Dems have been that bad over the past few days; they’ve been that shabby.
Others have already posted this idea for an outcome in the comments on this blog and on their own blogs at one time or another. At first, my own naive good will must have clouded my judgment. However, the veil has been lifted, but not just from my eyes: if the Lib Dems are that treacherous when they’re engaging in coalition/cooperation talks, just what would they be like with a bit of power? It doesn’t bear thinking about, not least because maybe, after all, such a coalition would be worse than treacherous, it would be futile. It could hardly be the ‘stable coalition with a working majority governing in the national interest’ now, would it? It would be toxic, and the Tories might actually be mad to contaminate themselves with it just for the sake of a few months of ineffective governing.
Still, having said all that, I certainly don’t blame Cameron for any of this, unlike some on the Tory right and a few heavyweights of yesteryear, like Norman Tebbit. Cameron had to try, and he’s conducted himself with magnificent integrity all the way through. And people will notice that. They have noticed it. Whatever happens, he is the winner from here on in. And besides, you don’t blame the victim for being stabbed in the back, unless you prefer a particularly bloody brand of Machiavellian politics. The perp always takes the wrap (ask Menzies Campbell).
The British people will not be forgiving. They’re the real ‘victims’ of the Liberals’ two faced, self-interested double-dealing, and the Labour delusionals who just can’t accept that they lost the argument and just can’t take ‘no thank you’ (or words to that effect) for an answer.
So perhaps we will have to ask the question again after all. Well, if so, the sooner the better. So be it.

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Having seen Simon Hughes, with all his suspiciously Bennite vocal characteristics (you’re telling me they’re not related!) on BBC News this morning, talking up the Lib-Lab pact, and then hearing Paddy Ashdown on Radio 4, he of the ‘progressive coalition’ obsession, talking about ‘his’ party entering a minority arrangement with Labour – (he had the temerity to say the Tories wouldn’t ‘dare’ vote it down. They wouldn’t have to, Paddy. They could leave that to the nationalists – or even the unionists) – having seen and heard all that, one thing is now surely very clear. Nick Clegg has lost control of ‘his’ party’s agenda – if he ever had control over it in the first place, which I doubt.

Whatever the outcomes of this little Lib Dem mini-coup, that party is now in grave danger. It is important to remember that the history of the SDP-Liberal Alliance is a jolly turbulent one. It seems to me to be a party, being, as it is, really two merged though still fairly discrete political identities, that is quite capable of tearing itself apart over this. One of its own supporters seems to think so too. Mike Smithson, of Political Betting, writes:

Could this end up splitting the Lib Dems?

This is my 64th birthday and I’m fearful that it could go down as the day that parts of my own party took decisions that could have a lasting and possibly even destructive effect.

The election arithmetic and the harsh economic reality for the nation leaves the party with one choice – but one that large parts of it appear to be unable to accept.

To be seen to be propping up a government that secured just 29.6% of the vote just five days ago and to reject what appears to be a reasonable deal from the seat and vote winners is taking it into very dangerous territory.

I don’t know where this will end up but passions are running very high and all players have to detach themselves and look at how it appears from the outside.

The events of these few days will define the Lib Dems for generations if it survives that long.

I think it’s becoming obvious now that a war is going on inside the Liberal Democrats for what some clearly see as the identity of that party. At the moment, it would appear that the Euro-left of PR-obsessed, Labour-sympathisers are almost certainly winning.

The Tories should walk away from this lot now. It’s no good waiting for some sort of childish propaganda victory. The Lib Dems look toxic to me. Better out of it while the election performance, so close to a majority, is still uncontaminated by non-manifesto commitments, never required but made public nonetheless. I could live with AV, burdensome though it would be. But for many Conservatives that was a step too far already. It should really be the dealbreaker, if there is any deal to be broken (which I now doubt).

As for the Lib-Lab coup: huh, let it happen. Let Ashdown’s dare be tested. I can guarantee that a Lib-Lab minority pact is truly the lemming option. Never mind that it destroys the idea that the Lib Dems (or Labour – but we already knew about them) are remotely interested in ‘stable government in the national interest’, it would be extraordinarily bad for the reputation of parliament, too. But hey ho. If Labour really doesn’t understand what losing an election, or, at the very least, the authority to govern, means, then they must learn the hard way. And they will, as others have said, at another election – which will happen a lot sooner than even I’d thought – in August of September.

As for the Lib Dems. Well, unless Clegg does something remarkable today and proves that he is in charge of a unified party – ‘his’ party, not Paddy Ashdown’s – then I firmly believe that they are finished. Every hour of secret talks and double dealing that passes, they come off looking worse in the eyes of an impatient nation. What’s more, every hour of secret talks and double dealing that passes, the case for proportional representation in a nation with a tradition of and an appetite for strong government looks weaker and weaker.

Why, I wonder, do the Lib Dems think they only ever win 18-24% of the popular vote? Well, if they don’t know then I’ll happily spell it out: because 60-80% of the electorate doesn’t like their policies and never has. The Tories should remember that.

One other thing: so much for Guido’s “Change Coalition”. Good. One thing I could never have stomached was that slimy toad Chris Huhne in a cabinet post. He sounded far too much like another Hoon to me.

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The Lib Dems have always been a pushmepullyou party with a ‘progressive’ wing (leftwing, that is), and what I would call a woolly wing of failed Tories like its current leader. Well, while the Clegg end has been talking to David Cameron, we now find that the Simon Hughes end of this most unnatural of animals has been quietly talking to Labour at the same time. And now they’ve secured a vague promise from the man who lost the general election, Gordon Brown, to stand down – when it suits him, though, naturally not the electorate who just told him to piss off – and in the process, judging by the sudden outpouring of new soundbites from Labour ministers, – who are, incredibly, and thanks to what increasingly looks like a stitch-up – still ‘ministers’ making policy and spending money but without a mandate to do so – given Labour a sniff of a chance to seize back power.

Well, they’re jeopardising any chance of a deal with the Tories, the only legitimate outcome possible save a Conservative minority government. They’re also jeopardising economic stability and the legitimacy of this parliament before it’s even begun. I’ll tell you something else, if they keep on down this path, the Tories will (rightly) just walk away. It’s grubby stuff, this. Judging by the comments of Alistair Campbell (yes, old potty mouth is still there, plotting and scheming) which nearly led to a fight on live television between him and Adam Boulton, what we could be seeing here is effectively a slow motion coup and it is impossible to see how it can be stopped.

I feel I’ll be getting bloody angry very soon. You should be planning for that possibility too. This can only get worse. For instance, should the defeated Labourists get the backing of the Libdums, by bribing them with whatever they want, they could deliver PR in a shotgun bill, without consulting the electorate. The next election would lead to a permanent Lib-Lab coalition. It would be as though this election had never happened, which is exactly what Brown would love. You can imagine the left salivating away right now with him at the prospect. But not all of them. Tom Harris spoke a lot of sense on Radio 4 this evening, saying that on the Labour side, there are truly ‘honourable’ members who do not support PR and would not vote for it. He also said a deal with the Yellows would not work. Let’s hope he’s right on both counts.

For the Liberal Democrats, if they do carry on down this path, they will be signing their own political death warrant. Already, it is crystal clear that there are forces in Clegg’s party he can’t bring over, and who care far more about their own party than they do for the national interest. But Clegg cannot have his cake and eat it, or he will choke. He has to get tough with the Simon Hugheses and Don Fosters of his party and tell them to shut up – in the national interest. You know what? I don’t think he’s strong enough after his rubbish general election. So he might not have a choice in the end. But if the left of his party ends up victorious, and installs Brown/Labour in power, and keep the winners of the general election out, they will never be forgiven. There’ll be another general election eventually and they will be obliterated.

Last thing, does Gordon Brown actually understand what an election is? All evidence thus indicates a negative answer to that question. Don’t trust a word that comes out of his gawping gob. Go in September? You are having a laugh. I told you, he would have to be removed at gunpoint.

We took a step closer to that unthinkable scenario today.

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Not sure how Matt manages to be so damn funny – and spot on – every day, but he’s done it again.

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While the cuckoo Brown parasitically remains in the Number 10 nest, and the country’s real Prime Minister, David Cameron, gallantly waits and, with refreshing integrity, allows the defeated demagogue a window of opportunity through which he can choose to leave with some semblance of dignity intact, on the near horizon the storm clouds gather.

The country, and the economy, cannot wait on Gordon Brown’s – and Labour’s – wake-up call. He and they are now so divorced from reality that, so the left press seems to be reflecting, they imagine there is some way they can remain in power without a democratic mandate by doing some sort of deal with the Lib Dems. They are deluded if they think that will work, even if Cameron rejects the Yellow party’s demands. They are even more deluded if they think, as the equally unelected Mandelson does, that a change of leader will sweeten the pill. It won’t. If Labour wants to commit final suicide, that would be one of methods.

But this is all equally devastating for the hard core Tory right. They can’t enter into a deal with anyone, on principle. They think Cameron has failed, so he must be punished. No, Heffer-types, you irrational, Thatcher-fetishists, Cameron triumphed. Not by quite enough, but he triumphed.

So I’m one of those people who believes that, yes, with hindsight, Cameron might have stuck to the tax-cutting guns a bit more. But I also believe that what was more important is exactly what Cameron has delivered: weaning the country off the lies, spin, bribes and decadence of New Labour, a horrible cocktail of expensive deceit to which it had become addicted. He’s achieved that, so he’s done what we needed and what he promised.

So now I will bow to his judgment on the final strategy for removing the cuckoo incumbent, including, if necessary, a deal with the Liberal Democrats and, if necessary, a well-equipped army detachment to get the job done on our behalf at gunpoint. It might yet come to that with a lunatic like Brown.

But that deal with the Lib Dems. What, precisely, is worrying about it? If you are an honest Tory, then the answer is “nothing”, including a voting reform referendum (as Iain Dale explains) and cabinet posts for the likes of Cable. If you think the Conservative Party belongs, somehow, to you, then you are hyper-identifying (like Heffer) and need to move out and along. Join the Heffer Party for all I care. Just don’t pretend you’re a Tory, or that you’re a grown-up.

As Michael Portillo says (he who seems to be a bit of a last-minute convert to Cameron, amazingly):

If the result is that the party gains power, the internal argument is over before it starts.

True Conservatives need to get real if they want Brown gone once and for all time. Otherwise, that Scottish criminal will exploit the self-indulgence of the leading, Tory party, ignore the fact that he has just devastated his own party in Westminster, and continue to “lead” – squat – by some miracle (also known as “constitutional loophole”), from/in Number 10. Cameron understands the change we need, and he’s about to deliver it (he’s going to eject Brown once and for all, one way or another. First principles!)

In other words, priority one is to kill this Brown zombie. And what Cameron is doing now with Clegg will achieve that core, common aim. Criticise this, and you are either a world-class numbskull (like Heffer) or a political fetishist who thrives on discord.

Only, while you’re deciding, do remember your country. Cameron seems to have.

But if you can’t do that, then next time just vote Kipper and be done with it. Only don’t expect anyone to take you seriously – being the over-starched, self-important Hefferite that you clearly are – ever again.

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Well, putting to one side all the nonsense for once, I’d say I’d pretty much got what I wanted, or very nearly: if not the end of Labour, then the end of Brown. A satisfactory outcome – just about. And a relief.

You have to ask the question, though: why wasn’t this a spectacular victory for the Tories? There are tons of possible answers to that. Here are a few of them:

1. The weather.
Coupled with the general feeling of disillusionment with Westminster politics, and the steady decline of turnouts under Labour, was the rain. It was a miserable day where I am and I gather it wasn’t much better anywhere else. All that’s a recipe for a lowish turnout, and for a tighter race.

2. The swing.
Lots has been said about ‘the swing’ so there’s no need to add much more beyond a reminder: thanks to the way Labour’s rigged it, the Tories needed to break records to gain that overall majority they were after. I honestly thought they would. I was wrong! But they did bloody well, nonetheless.

3. The Lib Dem effect.
Even though they’ve done dreadfully in terms of seats, in terms of splitting votes in key constituencies, they’ve done precisely what I had hoped they wouldn’t do and narrowed the margin of Labour’s defeat. I hope they’re very proud of themselves.

4. The media.
The media, especially Sky and the BBC, decided early in the game that the hung parliament theme was the one they liked, and they pushed it absolutely relentlessly from day one. They deliberately generated uncertainty in the country, and kept on blurring the dividing lines between the parties. The thing that was most unforgivable, however, was their massive and utterly disproportionate coverage of Nick Clegg and his Lib Dems. I think that has had a massive impact if not in directly splitting the vote, then in causing people actually not to vote. I am guilty, too, therefore – of underestimating the power television still has in swaying public opinion. But never again must TV be permitted to have such liberty during an election fight that it can pretty much do what it likes.

5. Labour
What damage these evil parasites have done to our democracy is, at the moment, difficult to quantify. But damaged it they have, massively and, possibly, irreparably. They have been trying to rig the system using any and all means at their disposal, including benefit dependency and even electoral fraud since the first day they conned their way into office. As far as I am concerned, they’re a bunch of criminals. One thing looks certain, if we are to have our country back, Brown will need to be forcibly removed from Number 10, at gunpoint if necessary.

6. The economy
This is the real killer. Neither Labour nor the Tories have really been honest about the scale of the threat facing us by the sovereign debt crisis and the future of the nation’s prosperity. People are not stupid, and they are seriously spooked. I was explaining the situation as objectively as I could to a foreign student the other day. I was surprised by what I heard myself saying, broadly that on the one hand, you had a fairly honest party that was hinting at immediate cuts (which would not go far enough) and on the other you had a completely dishonest party hinting at delayed cuts, (which would not go far enough). The people in general seem to be sort of trusting the party that’s kind of hinting at more immediate action – sort of – rather than the party that put us in this shit in the first place (I didn’t use the word ‘shit’ at the time).
In other words, an awful lot of floating voters are still out there, still floating, because no one gave them clear enough signals, or any real leadership. Cameron needs to grow a pair, show some steel and start leading. Now that he has won some sort of a mandate, and the moral right to govern, he can get tough with whoever wants to stand in his (and our) way, and at the very least try to avoid the meltdown that is coming.
Look on the bright side, though: Brown is finished.
Oh, and that bottle of vintage champagne is still in the fridge, unopened. Well, I don’t think we’re done with elections this year quite yet so I’m saving it for the outright Tory win.
There’s gonna be a lot of fun before that moment, though. Don’t stray too far from your radios!

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