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Archive for the ‘Labour’ Category

Quite aside from all his other disastrous decisions, mainly on foreign policy, it seems perfectly fair to me that Blair be blamed for not seeing while he was Prime Minister that Britain wasn’t saddled with a successor he himself thought was unfit to govern. This is, according to Andrew Rawnsley in his extraordinarily excoriating assault on virtually the entire Labour administration, the thing for which Blair, ultimately, is most guilty. It’s a heck of a read and should be disastrous for all Labour’s leadership candidates, tainted as they are with the charge of cowardice, arch and chronic dishonesty and, simply put, self-interested misgovernance. Anyway, here’s a taste of something which, if you haven’t already read it, is well worth a look:

If Blair thought that Brown was unfit to be prime minister – and there’s now lots of evidence that this is precisely what Blair thought – he had an obligation to his party and his country to do something about it. At the very least, he should have, as he could have, ensured that there was a contest for the succession in 2007 rather than allow Brown to be crowned without proper scrutiny. It was one of Blair’s most selfish acts and a gross dereliction of duty to swan off to make his millions while leaving his party and country to cope with the consequences of a Brown premiership.

The implication from this is that by the time he had finally given in to the forces of hell unleashed by Brown in the form of Balls, Wheelan et al in 2006, Blair simply didn’t give a toss about what happened next. A more damning indictment of the man as Prime Minister is simply inconceivable, even one involving his misleading the House of Commons, the country and the world over WMDs in Iraq. It’s actually quite difficult accurately to describe a person like that, whose self-interest and vanity is only trumped by his greed and dishonesty. In some ways if one views it in the light of this unforgivable dereliction of duty, as Rawnsley rightly calls it, Blair ends up as an even worse national leader than Brown, difficult though that might be for some (like me) to swallow.

If you do accept Rawnsley’s characterisation of Blair, it is, however, perfectly possible to argue that he was worse than Brown as a man and as a leader. The only difference between the two frauds being, therefore, that Blair was a far better con man than Brown ever could be, which meant that Blair was able to trick the country into believing him and then voting for him. By contrast, Brown was just Brown: paranoid, delusional, vicious, incompetent even in disguising his many falsehoods and, ultimately, a total electoral liability and a catastrophe for the nation.

The impact of these realisations on the Labour leadership campaign as I said should be massive. All the candidates are as discredited as each other for failing to make the decision Blair couldn’t be ar*ed to make and stopping Brown once it was crystal clear he was utterly hopeless. As Rawnsley says, quite fairly and quite mildly in truth:

Andy Burnham was one of the nodding dogs who would declare to TV cameras that the cabinet had every confidence in Gordon Brown when the reverse was the case. Ed Balls ran the thuggish Brownite machine and the decade-long insurgency against Tony Blair to put his master in Number 10. Ed Miliband makes pious noises denouncing “factionalism” as if he is a saintly figure who never had anything to do with it. “The emissary from Planet Fuck” – as he was known among Blair’s aides during the civil war – was at the heart of the Brown faction.It is a bit tricky for David Miliband. He was one of the senior members of the cabinet who knew Brown was taking them to defeat and failed to act before it was too late.

So they all should be screwed – and rightly so. For all his hypocrisy, Mandelson doesn’t really matter because he’s not a leadership candidate. So, assuming (and this is a big assumption) the MSM ends its own version of Labourist dishonesty and begins to treat the rest with the contempt they should have coming to them for their pathetic behaviour in propping up Brown, the only untainted candidate in the Labour leadership race is, hilariously, Diane Abbott!

Either way, and this is essentially Rawnsley’s conclusion, Labour is truly, deservedly and royally buggered. And in the end, of course, they themselves are the ones who are to blame for it. After all, Blair only gave us Brown because he’d given up, and that’s how history will judge him. But the Milibands, Burnham and Balls (and Mandelson) are the ones who propped the disastrous loser up. That was unforgivable – and the country isn’t going to forgive them, ever.

Now, thankfully, their past seems finally to be catching up with them. Soon there’ll be nowhere left for them to hide any more and no amount of continued lying will save their collective political bacon. If the PLP is stupid enough to elect one of them, (and it’s almost certain that it is that stupid) then they should prepare to be out of power for decades, if not forever. Mind you, exactly the same thing will happen if they choose bonkers Abbott.

Catch 22 for the Labourist wreckers – and music to my ears!

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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’état, 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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New Labour Spin Twins: currently out-lying each other

Hardly surprising, I know, but since they have not been entirely well-received by his own party it was necessary for Mandelson to spin his memoirs for all he was worth upon their publication today in the face of what I predict will be pretty poor sales – and some reasonably tough questioning from Evan Davies this morning.

Even so, to hear Mandelson actually trying to spin his own, printed words from his own, conceited book – to hear him attempt the epistemologically impossible and wriggle and squirm as he did so – was a source of some pleasure for me as I battled my way into work through sheets and sheets of West Wales rain.

Doesn’t he realise we stopped believing anything he says long ago? Davies made the point quite well: something like, don’t you think the public will find it quite annoying that only three months ago you were telling them to vote for what you now call a ‘dysfunctional’ prime minister and party. Mandelson had no convincing answer to that, at least, not convincing enough for any potential readership, I would say.

But is this a case of one spin operation too far for the Prince of Spain (sic)? I suppose it’s inevitable, actually, that spinners end up spectacularly but stubbornly contradicting themselves. After all, ‘spin’ is merely a euphemism for ‘lie’. And Mandelson, after Alistair Campbell, is the biggest spinner of them all.

The only important thing about this book of Mandy’s is that it represents the first shot in Labour’s latest civil war, a war which, with enough luck, should keep them away from office – and us – for a generation.

So well done he. Sort of.

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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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200K London Superhead? Yer ‘avin a larf in’t ya?

I know, I know – if you wanted to read about how bad the BBC is, you’d make your way to the first rate “Biased BBC” blog. But I just can’t help it, mainly because every day with relentless regularity, the BBC – particularly its online news incarnation – confirms all my suspicions about it. The chief suspicion, of course – that the BBC is institutionally left wing, pro-Labour and viscerally Tory-hating – can hardly be called a ‘suspicion’ any more since so much evidence to prove this is right beyond any reasonable doubt has been forthcoming over the years. Lame BBC managerial and editorial statements to the contrary have become a joke.

You, as I often do, might be wondering to what lengths the BBC will go in pursuit of its propaganda goals. Well, today we have yet more data to show that “any” is the answer. Consider the farce of Ed Balls’ entire education strategy for the past three years, given plummeting literacy and numeracy levels and ever-dumber standards in exams. Consider, for instance, the £10Bn+ that has been frittered away over and above the £30Bn school building and refurbishment programme, now being gallantly corrected by Michael Gove.

Consider also today’s extraordinary news that a primary school head teacher has been raking in 200 large a year on the back of, we assume, some half-decent administration of a small school, the consequence of another Balls brainchild, “City Challenge”. Jackpot! At least for Mark Elms, that is, who, it seems, is some kind of hyper-teacher, a true saviour capable of healing the educationally sick and giving the word-blind sight. At least I assume that’s how good he is otherwise why is he troughing eight times more for running a primary school than a close relative of mine retired on after 35 years of highly distinguished teaching and administration in the secondary sector? No one, but no one, in the education industry is that good.

It seems the BBC’s reporter, one Hannah Richardson, disagrees. I’ll quote a bit of it, but you will need to read to whole thing to get a taste of just how extraordinarily one-sided it is – and I mean in favour, by implication, not of the teacher in question, but of the brains behind the ridiculously expensive but “prestigious” (according to Richardson – you betcha, girly! Anyone who can syphon off 200k from the government for running a primary school deserves some kind of admiration) “National Leader of Education” programme, Edward BALLS.

For this work, at his 400-pupil school, Mr Elms receives a basic salary of £82,417.This is well within the maximum head teacher pay rate of £109,000 for large inner London state schools.

The bulk of the £200,000 pay package he received last year was for the work he did on the London Challenge and City Challenge project over two years.

These schemes support schools in challenging circumstances and have been very successful in improving education in deprived areas of the country.

Well now, pardon me for complaining, but does this or any of the other half-baked comments she makes in her little piece remotely justify giving one man two hundred grand for running one school, no matter how bad it had become in a Labour-run inner city area. As I said, however, it’s important to recognise that that’s not the real purpose of this dizzyingly-spun article. The real purpose for this editorially on-message young BBC hackette is to speak out for a very expensive, and highly divisive, Labour schools policy, and therefore, by implication, up for Balls.

Gladly, if the rider at the top of the old Department for Children, Schools and Families, website dedicated to this policy from the incumbents is anything to go by, the “City Challenge” policy Ms Richardson seems to like so much, and Mark Elms obviously loves, is now as defunct and kaput as the failed government that spawned it. It goes:

A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.
To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk

I like it! Seems Hannah Richardson was reporting on a dead policy walking, regardless of her motives for doing so.

Time she and the BBC woke up to the fact that Labour is out of office, and that their cosy world of protected political bias is no longer as safe as they might like to believe. Just as Mark Elms can expect no more ridiculous bonuses (or perhaps “bribes” would be a better word) for doing his job in a less than salubrious area of the Smoke, left wing BBC hacks, editors and managers can expect no more sanctuary in a public institution that urgently needs to be given back to the public, or go the way of the “Department for Children, Families, Schools, Pets and Wasting Money”, Ed Balls and the entire, trainwreck New Labour Government.

Do you think they get that yet? I don’t.

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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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Education is an area that interests me intensely so it might not be surprising that I’m spending the early evening watching the education funding statement on the parliament channel at this very moment (exciting, eh?).

Suffice to say, and in the spirit of his refreshing brevity and precision, Michael Gove is giving one of the more polished parliamentary performances I’ve seen in defending his policy of suspending Ed Balls’ pie-in-the-sky, dishonest pre-election plans for building and refurbishing 700 schools. A number of facts are emerging thanks to Gove’s extraordinary mastery of the detail, not least among them the bureaucratic waste, vast inefficiency and dreadful mismanagement of PFI contracts by Ed Balls and the department he apparently headed (even though he seemed far more busy most of the time trying in his role as Gordon Brown’s barely house trained thug, propping up the auld fraud and protecting him almost 24/7 from his own cabinet, a full time job in itself).

Gove’s handling of the various whining Labour opposition MPs, moaning about things that their own pathetic leadership brought down on them, is just breathtakingly good. The more insulting and detached from reality they become, the more witty and precise his answers become and, in a spiral that can only ever tarnish the grim image of the socialists further, causes the Labour MPs to become even more insulting and detached from reality.

The reason for this is simple: the principles underpinning Gove’s policy initiatives, even ones that amount to large but necessary cuts in the education budget at a time, thanks to the disastrous failures of the previous government, of great insecurity in the public finances, are bullet proof. Better value for money, less bureaucracy and higher standards through greater choice are on offer. And you would bet your house that Gove is the sort of man who will deliver.

All poor old Balls, the biggest villain of this piece, can do meanwhile is moan about the list of affected schools not being available in the Commons library for a handful of minutes. That really is the best he can do – and it’s not very good, is it? I think I can predict Gove’s response: “Ball, E: must do better, but on the strength of past performances probably won’t. D-“.

Gove is a truly impressive figure – everyone knows that. But when he’s up against the likes of feeble Balls and his ilk on the opposition benches, he looks like a world beater. Cameron beware!

Oh dear. And Balls is still moaning away – this time about his money fiddling of that dodgy Islamic faith school some aeons ago. Labourists – you’ve gotta love ’em (sort of). They are totally clueless. It’s a wonder to me they remember to breathe.

For them to be whinging about pre-announced policies is just priceless!

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