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Archive for the ‘misgovernance’ Category

This pretty strange report in tomorrow’s Telegraph, about an interview with Alistair Darling in which he claims that “Brown unleashed the forces of hell” on him for predicting the recession, suggests that at the very least, as Iain Dale says, he’s just signed his own “political death warrant”.

In an frank interview, the Chancellor said that people working for Mr Brown tried to damage him because he told the truth about the economy.

His remarks follow reports in a new book by Andrew Rawnsley that Mr Brown’s aides tried to undermine Mr Darling after the Chancellor forecast the worse economic downturn for 60 years.

In a Sky News interview, Mr Darling confirmed that No 10 worked against him. Mr Darling made his 60-year prediction in an interview in Scotland in the summer of 2008. Afterwards, No 10 aides briefed journalists that he had harmed the economy and should be sacked.

“Nobody likes the sort of briefing that goes on,” Mr Darling said, “the forces of hell were unleashed”.

It might sound like Darling is getting his own back for Brown’s desperate disloyalty when the bust came, which he knew was all his fault and not Darling’s, but I’m not so sure. If past experience is anything to go on, Darling, if challenged, will simply issue another humiliating “clarification” tomorrow and say that Brown has his “full support” and always has, clearly total rubbish though that now certainly is. But there was more in the report about Brown’s henchmen, one of whom is still in business, bankrolling the Labour Party with the membership funds of the union he’s been given to play with (Charlie Whelan):

Asked if he believed Mr McBride and Mr Whelan had briefed against him, Mr Darling said: “Of course you have people saying things.”

In a reference to Mr McBride’s resignation last year, the Chancellor added: “My best answer for them was: I’m still here and at least one of them is not.”

During the summer of 2009, Mr Brown planned to remove Mr Darling from the Treasury and replace him with Ed Balls, a long-standing ally.

The plan to oust the Chancellor brought a new confrontation between the two men.

But, as I said, I think Iain Dale is right, this could well be a step out of line too far given the current coverage Brown is (quite deservedly) receiving, clarifications or no clarifications. However, for the time being, I suspect it will be business as usual in the bunker, at least superficially, mainly because Darling, for all his genuine niceness, is as much of a politically self-interested jellyfish as any other Labour MP or minister.

But, in putting the boot in to Brown, Darling was not trying to perform some sort of a public service (perish the thought!). He was indulging a minor act of political revenge that merely provides us with further proof of the factionalism and mutual loathing that’s always existed at the rotten heart of this Labour government, but especially so under the utterly disloyal political thug that is Gordon Brown. Darling offers conclusive proof – as if we needed it – of two things. One, that the facade of government unity under Brown, peddled by the likes of the slimeball Mandelson (et al), for reasons of personal aggrandisement and vanity, has always been just that, a complete myth. Brown’s government is one of the most factional and dysfunctional of all time. Second, that working under Brown is hell.

Given that the future of the country is (or “was” – it might well be too late) at stake, this calamitous state of affairs at the top of the government is a lot more serious than a mere case of bullying. This is a major case of a man promoted way beyond his abilities (Brown or Darling – you pick). What’s crystal clear is that when Brown is finally ousted, the kind of revelations that come out about his behaviour while in politics, let alone while in charge, will ensure that his historical reputation will lie in total ruins. Couldn’t happen to nicer man.

No wonder he’s so desperate to cling on – preferably, no doubt, without the inconvenience of the democratic process.

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Tony, whose Cogito Dexter blog won my sincere admiration many months ago, has asked us all to join him in his campaign to Make Labour History.

He has my full support to that end. If you really do want to secure a prosperous, free, pluralist and debt-free future for your children, in the finest traditions of our great country, Tony should also be able to count on yours.

I promise that I will do as much as I can to bring about that desirable, and, for everyone in Britain, and for the nation itself, that desperately vital outcome in this Year of Change, 2010.

Bottom line: if you want to save yourselves, your economy and your nation from total socialist destruction, then Vote Conservative – and make Labour history. After thirteen years of hurt, it’s very much more than Labour deserves, and it’s what we and our country so desperately need.

(Tony: sterling work, compadre. Outstanding.)

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This article, in today’s Telegraph, explains why this country has five million plus more people, born and brought up overseas, living in Britain now than in the year 2000.

And this statement from the report tells us all we need to know about why Labour opened the national floodgates:

Voting trends indicate that migrants and their descendants are much more likely to vote Labour.

No Ellis Island, birth of a nation altruism here. Vote rigging? Social engineering? Well, yes, and much worse than those two evil practices – this is just another example of the straightforward corruption perpetrated by the most utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt government ever inflicited on this country.

Vote them in again, and watch your country – and your democracy – vanish. We only have one chance of ridding ourselves of them. Don’t blow it, tempted as you might be, by voting for someone other than the Conservative Party. For all the Tory Party’s frailties, do not lose the focus (ridding ourselves of Brown Labour). All sane folk must vote for Cameron. Not to do that is to invite catastrophe out of mere self-indulgence.

Do that – vote for someone other than the Conservative Party at the next GE – and we might just end up with more of the same, which would, quite literally, be an absolute catastrophe for what’s left of the United Kingdom. Get it?

So get a grip (especially Kippers)!!

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Comres verdict: Anyone but Gordon.

CON 38%(-2)LAB 23%(-1)LD 23%(+2)

Tomorrow will be painful for Gordon Brown at the make-or-break Labour conference, ahead of his make-or-break speech on Tuesday. A deluge of Sunday bad press, including rumours of his failing health (physical and mental) being stoked-up again by Andrew Marr, has been topped off by two bits of news that will turn the background speculation about how long he can cling on to the job he stole into outright rebellion. One is the latest Comres poll for the Independent, which Mike Smithson has analysed in some detail for us. The second is something from this morning that I think could turn out to be a massive own goal for Brown – he lied to Marr during that God-awful interview, according to Andrew Sparrow of the Graun.

First, the poll: it shows that not only have the Liberals caught up with Labour but that half the population, in theory, believes anyone would do a better job of leading Labour than Brown. But completely catastrophic poll ratings are one thing. Brown is used to them by now and they seem to have little effect on his delusional belief that he can somehow turn things around once he ‘gets his message across’. But this lying about that stupid policy-on-the-hoof legislation for controlling bank bonuses – that’s quite another matter. He said that Britain’s proposals are the ‘toughest in the world’. Patently unsustainable, says Robert Peston right away – the Dutch have strict caps on banker bonuses already, to name but one country. The Dutch rules are therefore tougher than anything Brown is (disingenuously) suggesting. This is just hit the hated bankers/Tories stuff (in the mind of the Left, the two are interchangable) not reasonable reform. Besides, those evil bankers were simply doing what Brown encouraged them to do for a decade, as I said earlier today. See? Dishonesty. It’s the big theme with Brown.

You might well be thinking, “Brown told a big lie and he’s been caught out (again). So what?” Well, it is actually pretty serious not just on its own terms – there was a time when ministers, even Prime Ministers, had to do the honourable thing and resign if they were caught lying about policy, for instance – but because it simply adds more grist to the mill (or further weight to Brown’s millstone, perhaps) that Brown is not being straight with the people, that he is fundamentally a very dishonest man and that whenever he opens his mouth, a question pops straight into people’s minds: what’s he lying to me about this time? That is checkmate for any politician, but especially a so-called leader. It’s time to bow out graciously and head off into the sunset of the American speech-making tour.

If anyone in Labour actually wants to know why they are nosediving in the polls and are about to become the third party in British politics, they need look no further than this morning’s interview. People hate Brown because he keeps on lying to them. They never had the chance to choose him in the first place and they simply don’t want him any more. Unfortunately for Labour, that means people in their eagerness to kick Brown hard and often will kick that party too. They are not learning though, it appears – probably because the parliamentary Labour party itself is populated by dishonourable, equally dishonest jellyfish, perfectly illustrated by the grim Scotland affair. (She still hasn’t resigned, extraordinarily, despite firm evidence now emerging, thanks to Guido, that she’s been lying, too).

So maybe Brown and Labour deserve each other, and the fate that awaits them. Judging by their God-awful, Tory-hating, drab, directionless, unattended conference so far, that’s exactly what what the outcome of all their bluster and all their lies will eventually be.

Good.

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Watching (reluctantly) Marr’s interview with the one-eyed depressive this morning, one thought occurred to me that might be worth sharing: this dead Labour government can still do an awful lot more damage to this country in their desperation to keep up with the hated Tories and curry favour with the many disparate lobby groups that exist on that party’s powerful lunatic fringe (it’s a big fringe). The latest piece of policy on the hoof is an assault on the hated Tories bankers who have, or so the Labour narrative now runs, brought the country to the brink of ruin, er, by doing exactly what Gordon Brown encouraged them to do for a decade: making money out of debt.

They’ve also stolen a Tory policy (the super-quango which will be known as the Office of Budget Responsibility – or something, a good idea) and turned it into another piece of proposed legislative madness (the Fiscal Responsiblity Act) that apparently, somehow, will “stop” future governments from spending too much of our money (a bad idea because not only will it not work, it runs the risk of creating the situation of a government potentially having to prosecute itself. A truly Brownite solution, then). But hang on: just when, exactly, did Gordon Brown realise that he’d been spending too much of our money? Or is this Darling’s handywork? It feels like Balls to me.

Just when, precisely, did the Labourists decide that they could turn legislation into commandments? Just who the hell, please tell us, do they think they are? I suspect this latest bit of bonkers Brownite bluster will never actually see the light of day and is merely intended to deflect attention, as usual, from who is really responsible for the catastrophic deterioration in the public finances – nutter Brown. It’s also another bit of typical, ultra-cynical, Labourist triangulation designed to outsmart the hated Tories. Epic fail there. But there’s a little more to it than even that.

Policy on the hoof, of which this is merely one example, made by this dead administration, is the most corrosive and dangerous emergent Brownite behaviour yet. The Tories need to squash it all with a clear agenda of their own. Rubbish non-policies need to be rubbished. Forget the smears – that’s just Brown-Labour being Brown-Labour – focus on their knee-jerk, dishonest reactions to a disaster of their own making because when they are finally gone, we will have to live with the consequences of their making a bad situation far worse.

Personally, I think it really is time for Labour to wise up to the fact that Brown is not just a loser, he’s a dangerous loser who will destroy the Labour party itself rather than give up the office he stole. He’s already practically destroyed the economy so what, a man like that always thinks, has he got to lose?

Dangerous times.

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This is what I call top-class political journalism. Clear, cogent, cohesive and devastating. Another journalist seems to have finally understood the true scale of the damage set to be inflicted upon Brown and Labour by a country that has, quite simply, had a bellyful of them. It’s worth the read…

They have no idea what is in store for them. Not really. When Labour convenes in Manchester for its annual gathering next September, its members will look back on this week’s conference in Brighton as another era, another country, another world. Gordon Brown will be gone, David Cameron will be in No 10, and a new Opposition leader will be telling his or her flock not to despair – or, more accurately, to stop despairing. Factionalism, introspection, recrimination: these will be the hallmarks of the wrecked movement that once carried all before it as New Labour.

But that moment lies ahead. For now, the governing party is too busy ensuring that it will lose the general election to think of what life will actually be like once defeat is in the bag. Charles Clarke pops up to perform his constitutional role as the man who urges Gordon to go, for health reasons or something similar. Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, is fined £5,000 for employing a Tongan housekeeper illegally – with the magnificent twist that she is in breach of a law she herself steered through Parliament. Baroness Vadera, one of Gordon’s closest advisers, quits as a minister. Gordon himself, apparently shunned repeatedly by the President, is initially reduced to meeting Barack Obama in a New York kitchen, thus bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “kitchen cabinet”. The polls strike hammer blow after hammer blow to Labour’s morale. David Cameron may not have “sealed the deal” with the public, but Gordon Brown most certainly has.

The entirely predictable corollary of these pre-conference fiascos is epically unsubtle positioning by the principal leadership contenders. Alan Johnson, whose false modesty is now starting to grate, admits that he’s “not willing to rule myself out for all eventualities in the future”. I’ll bet he isn’t. In a Guardian profile yesterday, Ed Balls was reported to have mumbled to a seven-year-old who asked “if he wants to be prime minister… that he would, if asked, adding that someone has to do the job”. Again: you don’t say, Ed.

Meanwhile, in New York, the other Ed (Miliband) told Mary Riddell in The Daily Telegraph yesterday that “I just think for me to start speculating about [the leadership] is a distraction and a bit presumptuous.” Another big fat “yes”! Pressed on rumours that the PM might stand down before the election, the best Miliband could muster was: “I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think it would be right. Honestly.” Not exactly a passionate oath of loyalty, is it? If I were Gordon reading that, I would mutter “Et tu, Ed?” into my porridge. Or perhaps just hurl the porridge against the wall, as seems to be the Prime Minister’s preferred method of expressing mild irritation these days.

Mr Miliband’s pre-conference mantra is that “there’s no future for Labour in not being a party of the middle classes”. This is true – indeed, it is obvious to the point of banality – but it is odd to hear Mr Miliband of all people say it, given that, for the past decade, he has been one of the most outspoken advocates of what he calls “fair taxes”. And what Mr Miliband calls “fair taxes” is what the rest of us call “being fleeced” and “having less of our income left to us by the rapacious state to spend on our families”. In his interview with The Sunday Telegraph today, Mr Brown claims that Middle Britain is top of his list: “These are the people who I identify with.” Again, could have fooled us, Gordon. If the Brownites think that they will win over the electorate by reinventing the Blairite wheel at this late stage, they are in for a shock.

As, indeed, is the whole Labour movement. The shock of defeat lies not only in the loss of power, terrible as that undoubtedly is. A party driven from office must expect a whole array of traumas, great and small. For a start, the political landscape on the morning after the election is utterly transformed, and makes all pre-electoral prophecies instantly redundant.

The sheer scale of Labour’s victory in 1997, the consequent tininess of the Conservative parliamentary party, and the absence of Michael Portillo from the Tory leadership race: none of this could have been foreseen at John Major’s final conference as leader in Bournemouth in 1996. Most Conservatives knew they were heading for defeat. But it was 22 years since the Tory party had lost an election. It had forgotten the rank smell of failure, the ashen taste in the mouth, the sudden experience of irrelevance.

Irrelevance is at the heart of it all, and it is this that should most frighten Labour as it gathers by the sea. A party in power, no matter how divided, no matter how exhausted, no matter how useless, is still interesting: its exhaustion, its infirmity, its lack of trajectory are important because they affect all of us as citizens. If John Prescott is rude about Harriet Harman, it is a story. If Tony Blair is reported by Adam Boulton to think that Gordon Brown is a “quitter”, that’s a story, too.

Labour has grown used to the limelight, and has forgotten that nobody has a right to the public’s attention. It is a paradox that the longer a Government lasts, even as it suffers cellular damage and approaches invalidity, the more convinced it becomes that its beliefs are obvious, that its arguments are plain common sense, that it does not have to win the battle daily. Philip Gould, Blair’s chief pollster, used to quote approvingly the belief of the US strategist Dick Morris that, in modern politics, a government needs a “daily mandate”. Plainly, Mr Brown believes no such thing. He exudes only contempt for his opponents and their policies, even though the polls suggest that Mr Cameron’s personality and proposals have achieved considerable traction with the public.

The election of a Government does not represent a collective swoon before an ideological blueprint, but something much messier and more numinous: boredom with or suspicion of the other lot, intuitive enthusiasm for what the victorious party represents. That enthusiasm is provisional, probationary, and must be renewed constantly. Labour has completely forgotten this. It believes that Britain is a Labour country suffering a temporary bout of false consciousness. In fact, the opposite is true: after three general election victories, the scales have fallen from the public’s eyes.

It will all look so different in Manchester a year hence. But let me predict this much about the week ahead at Brighton: Brown will give a decent speech, better than expected, which will include at least one killer punch (remember “no time for a novice” last year?). He will face down his internal assassins once more. The Labour Party will feel a little buoyed by its leader’s determination. Then, it will disperse, go back to its constituencies – and prepare for Opposition.

All I would add is that contained within this piece is an implicit and powerful warning – for Cameron in particular and the Conservative party at large. If you unpack that warning, it might go something like this:
1. Do not take the power you will be lent for granted (again).
2. Do not lie to the people who gave you the job. Respect them by being straight with them.
3. Treat the offices of state which you will once more occupy – and the mother of parliaments – with respectful humility.
4. Seek that “daily mandate” and put it at the centre of your political philosophy.

Democracy is a continuum. Elections are merely the legal and essential expression of the need for a healthy democracy to change direction from time to time. The coming General Election, and the democratic change of direction we all so desperately crave that it will bring, is long overdue.

If Cameron follows these principles honestly and not as some sort of publicity gimmick or disingenuous ‘triangulation’ (stifling a debate by lying about your intentions, thus elbowing out any genuine antithesis), then there might be room for a glimmer of hope to emerge that British parliamentary democracy can become healthy once more, after the severe damage that has been done to it by years and years of Labour misgovernance and dishonesty and the daily abuses by MPs of every stripe of a system of remuneration that relied on their personal integrity to function.

If Cameron does this, he will have my vote until the day one of us dies. If he doesn’t, he’ll have one term and then, well, we’ll need another “change of direction”. We’ll kick him out and continue our long, long search for a decent prime minister. (We might even give Boris a try!)

That’s the challenge for Cameron. I think he’s up to it. I hope I’m right.

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One positive thing that can be said about the Left media, I suppose, is that you do get a better quality of inside info., especially on the epic, Tolstoy-esque Brown [lack of] leadership saga. Just flipped through the web-pages of the Observer, (which is actually the same as the Guardian online but we are supposed to pretend it’s the Observer when it’s Sunday, which I happily do – I like the quaintness of this challenge), and stumbled upon an article penned earlier today by Toby Helm. It concerns the latest plot (allegedly) brewing against our poor, deeply depressed PM. He writes (rather well, actually – although in typical, Graun/Observer style, there seems to be some side-debate going on about how to spell the word “install”):

There are new and potentially fascinating developments on the Labour leadership front, I hear. Serious plans are being formed by some Labour MPs to install an “anti-Brown” candidate as the next chairman of the parliamentary party. It is all part of a fresh attempt to oust the prime minister before the general election.

The MPs – including several former ministers – are urging senior figures including the education select committee chairman, Barry Sheerman, to put themselves forward to replace the current PLP chairman Tony Lloyd, who is seen by rebels as too much of a Brown loyalist.

Sheerman, a very senior figure in the PLP, has turned against Brown recently and would be seen by the whips as a de facto stalking horse, no less. Crucially, the PLP election, which will take place when parliament returns next month, will be conducted by secret ballot, meaning MPs do not have to own up to their choice.

Last night, Sheerman refused to comment but friends made absolutely clear he could and would be persuaded to stand if they could provide him with evidence that he would get sufficient support. Soundings will be taken among MPs at Labour’s conference in Brighton later this month.

One backbencher said a challenge to Lloyd from Sheerman would throw the party into another period of “prolonged and vicious” leadership infighting.

The rebels are clearly trying to gain a foothold in positions of authority to try to persuade people from within that the game us is up for GB.

“An anti-Brown candidate like Sheerman would be supported by the 60 to 70 or so hardliners who are known to want Brown out, that is for sure,” said one Labour MP.

“The question would be, how many more would join? That would depend on how things go over the conference season. The whips will pull out all the stops to prevent this. If it happens it will be ugly.”

During the last coup attempt against Brown in June, Sheerman, who described himself as a “serialist loyalist” by nature, suprised colleagues with vehement criticisms of the prime minister.

He said he believed the parliamentary party was no longer listened to and he was not sure Brown was the right man to lead the party into the next election.

Sheerman complained to Lloyd about the way MPs such as Ian Gibson, who was forced out of Norwich North seat because of the expenses scandal, had been treated by the party machine.

The rebels are also planning to field their own candidate for one of the seats on the influential parliamentary committee, which conveys the views of the parliamentary party to the prime minister in regular meetings held in deep secrecy.

Some senior Labour figures who want Brown out, believe that if they keep up the pressure, and instal their people in positions of influence at the top of the party, then they might be able to persuade Brown to leave No 10 of his own accord. One theory is that Brown might cite his declining eyesight as a reason for leaving before the election.

The difficulty for the rebels is that they still have no candidate with whom to replace Brown. Alan Johnson, the home secretary, is still regarded as the best choice by most MPs but he has insisted he will not move against Brown and does not want the job.

Another backbencher said that despite Johnson’s comments, the intention was to leave him with no option. “If things go according to plan, Johnson will come under intense pressure in the next few weeks.”

Ed Miliband, who was tipped as a successor to Brown by Unite’s joint general secretary Derek Simpson on the eve of this week’s TUC Congress, is also being talked up as a possibility although he, also, remains loyal to the prime minister.

Combine this with thrusting new Speccy editor, Fraser Nelson’s, devastating article this fair morn, citing an earlier, even more devastating article by Trevor Kavanagh from the same publication, about the personal responsibility Brown bears for the decline in just about every area of British existence, and you have to say that James Forsyth’s question yesterday, “Can Brown make it through December?” is looking a tad optimistic. I’m beginning to wonder whether he’s going to “make it” much past the Labour Party conference.

It simply can’t go on like this – not in terms of Labour (who cares what happens to them?) – but in terms of the country. Someone has to say it out loud: we have no functioning government in the UK right now. It’s leading to corrosion and decline at home and humiliation abroad. And for what? So a clinically depressed, medicated incompetent without a shred of decency in him can keep the job for which he is so patently unfit right up to the bitter end.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again until that wicked, unelected fool is gone: even if they don’t give a toss about the damage Brown has done/is doing to the country, someone in the Labour party better wake-up to the damage Brown is doing to their party and get rid of him with all convenient speed or the electorate will never, never forgive them for putting some wrong-headed, short-term form of self-interest before the needs of the nation they are supposed to serve.

But if Helm and the others are right, then we won’t have much longer to wait until Brown is finally, finally, gone.

Hallelujah!

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