David Cameron

Should the Labour party be put down?

There are questions over the validity of continuing on with the Labour party in the UK.

While it’s always bad manners to intrude on private grief, I think I have a useful suggestion for the Labour Party; one that could save it a great deal of bitterness and heartache over the next weeks and months, as it struggles to find a new leader and image. For there is an alternative to the coming painful internecine struggle between Peter Mandelson, Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary, Jim Murphy, the former Scottish Labour leader, and the various contenders for the Labour leadership: why not just wind up the party altogether?

In the 115 years since it was founded as the political wing of the trade union movement at the Memorial Hall in Farringdon Street in February 1900, Labour has rendered the British people a few signal services. It supported Winston Churchill’s premiership during the Second World War, playing a key role in forcing Neville Chamberlain’s resignation in May 1940. It created the National Health Service eight years later (though quite what Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan would think about the taxpayer forking out for breast enlargements and sex-change operations doesn’t bear contemplation). It also produced many fine, patriotic Cabinet ministers such as Ernie Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Jim Callaghan, George Robertson and John Reid, and many sound defence ministers such as Roy Mason, John Gilbert, Bill Rodgers and David Owen. But the Labour Party’s time as a useful force in British politics has now passed.

Quite possibly its time has passed here, too. Josie Pagani has frequently stated that Labour has lost its branding. Here is why.

All the key societal indicators are moving away from Labour – even its brand name is wildly outdated. Fewer people regard themselves as working class today than at any other period in history, with 71 per cent self-identifying as middle class. Class-consciousness is considered passé by the new generation attaining voting age; first-timers this time around apparently didn’t give a hoot where David Cameron went to school, for example. The percentage of people identifying themselves as Socialist is the lowest it has ever been, hovering around the early teens.

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I bet Tony Abbott is pissed off he didn’t think of this

Tony Abbott is going to be seriously annoyed with David Cameron.

Cameron has come up with a really good idea for dealing with illegal immigrants.

Foreign workers will have their wages seized by police and face deportation without appeal if they are in the UK illegally, David Cameron will announce today as part of a “radical” crackdown on immigration.

The Prime Minister will vow to make the UK a “less attractive place to come and work” by using next week’s Queen’s Speech to announce a series of laws to “root out illegal immigrants and bolster deportations”.

Mr Cameron will also unveil plans to make it a criminal offence for businesses to recruit abroad without advertising in the UK first.

He will give councils powers to evict migrants and force all banks to check bank accounts against databases of people who could be in the country illegally.

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As Bill English borrows and spends George Osborne wields the axe

Bill English is still droning through his budget, which by all accounts won’t deliver a surplus and while he is doing that the Chancellor on the UK, George Osborne is taking an axe to government spending.

George Osborne has told the Ministry of Defence and other Whitehall departments that they still need to find billions of pounds worth of cuts this year to help Britain go into “that extra gear” and secure the economic recovery.

Mr Osborne said that “the more you can do early, the smoother the ride”, as he said that unprotected departments will be expected to find £13 billion worth of departmental savings.

The chancellor disclosed that Greg Hands, the new chief secretary, has written to every government department except health, education and international development ordering them to find cuts.

It comes as the government faces a potential back-bench rebellion unless it commits to spending 2 per cent of Britain’s national income on defence.

In a speech that underlined his credentials as a potential future leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Osborne said he wanted Britain secure “higher living standards for the next generation to come”.

He said: “We are two weeks into a five year Parliament. The team around the Cabinet table is strong and experienced. Confidence in the British economy is at its highest level in 12 years. If we don’t, together, fix our country’s long term weaknesses now – when will we?”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that unprotected departments could be forced to make the equivalent of 18 per cent of additional cuts in real terms, about the same amount as over the past four weeks.

It has been suggested that the Ministry of Defence, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice could bear the brunt of the austerity measures.

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We’ve dissected Labour, now what about the Tories?

Labour’s troubles have been dissected after the UK election disaster.

But what about the Tories?

Political parties that win often do not have a critical review done to improve. That is certainly the case with National here. No review is currently underway for Northland, and Steve Joyce and John Key have decided that none is really warranted because they are still riding high in the polls.

There is a reticence to change the board. They keep winning, as does the president – and so the board gets older, and more stale. Worse some practices have developed that are now seeing talent driven from the party because they don’t subscribe to the infallibility of the board. Excuses are made for refreshing the board…”it’s election year, don’t rock the boat”, or “we just won no need for change”, leaving a window of only one year to make those changes.

The Conservatives have the same problems cropping up now.

Breitbart looks at this, and it is funny how similar it is to the National party.:

I am as happy as the next conservative that the Party confounded all predictions and achieved the majority that has returned David Cameron for the next 5 years. Business and the stock market understandably breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But it is also clear that something sinister and fundamentally un-conservative has infected the way the Party conducts itself. More than ever before, it is consumed with a nasty, controlling and centralized culture that demands unquestioning conformity. And woe betide those with the temerity not to genuflect in fealty.

The recent attacks on the Bow Group and its chairman Ben Harris-Quinney and the commentator Tim Montgomerie offer an unpleasant example of a much wider malaise. The two men are not cut from the same ideological cloth, but both offer an approach to conservatism that at times differs from the current Conservative Party house view. This appears to make them fair game for ad hominem attack.

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Labour’s contempt for ordinary people

The election result in the UK mirrored that of New Zealand’s general election.

Commentators and media alike are out of step with the voters, and more importantly, Labour is a political party that is tone deaf to voters as well.

They were so sure that they were right they ignored the voters. They showed them contempt and then afterwards proved it.

In Westminster, David Cameron’s new all-Conservative government has settled down to business, while a succession of ambitious contenders have set out their stall for the Labour leadership, most of them insisting, not entirely plausibly, that they never agreed with a word Ed Miliband said anyway.

In the real world, most people have simply got on with their lives.

Yet in one strange corner of Britain, the campaign is far from over. This is a world in which we are forever poised on the brink of Socialist conversion, the only obstacles are the Right-wing press and the brainwashed masses, and Ed Miliband was the greatest prime minister we never had.

This is the world of old-fashioned union leaders, liberal Twitterati and Left-wing academics, who have spent the past week in a laughably self-pitying sulk.

For while most commentators, whatever their political allegiances, saw the election as proof that Britain remains at heart a deeply pragmatic, even conservative country, the self-righteous moralists of the bien-pensant Left have drawn a very different conclusion.

Like Mr Miliband, they can’t accept they lost the argument and burn with pious indignation at the supposed stupidity of the ordinary voters who let them down.

Disappointment is, of course, part and parcel of political life. Even so, the reaction in some quarters to the General Election result strikes me as not merely disproportionate, but deluded — if not deranged.

Take, for example, the Anglican canon Giles Fraser, darling of the metropolitan chattering classes.

Four years ago, he resigned as chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in protest at plans to remove forcibly the anti-capitalist protesters who had set up a ‘shanty town’ camp outside, saying he could not support the possibility of ‘violence in the name of the Church’.

‘Right now I feel ashamed to be English,’ began his column for The Guardian last weekend. ‘Ashamed to belong to a country that has clearly identified itself as insular, self-absorbed and apparently caring so little for the most vulnerable people among us.’

From this you might think that Mr Cameron and his colleagues were committed to abolishing the NHS, scrapping foreign aid and slashing welfare to the bone.

In fact, the Tories are committed to spending £11 billion a year on foreign aid, £111 billion a year on welfare and an extra £8 billion on the NHS.

You might disagree with some of the Government’s choices. Fair enough. But given the facts, Rev Fraser’s analysis had all the rigour and proportion of a toddler’s tantrum.

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Tories take on teachers’ unions with crackdown on useless schools

The Tories aren’t wasting any time after winning the UK general election and gaining an outright majority.

First order of business is whacking the teacher unions and their protection of dead head teachers and principals.

The Conservatives have opened a new front in their war with teachers’ unions and Labour politicians who are trying to block radical education reforms, promising to change the law to force through hundreds of new academy schools.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, announced plans to intervene immediately in failing state schools, warning that it is “unacceptable” for children to be given inadequate teaching for even one day after failings have been identified.

Writing for The Telegraph, she said an Education Bill in the Queen’s Speech next week would give her new powers to send in hit squads to replace failing school leaders “from day one”.

In a further move, she declared she would accelerate plans to turn hundreds of struggling primaries and comprehensives into semi-independent academies, and open 500 more “free schools”, despite militant opposition from teachers’ unions and Left-wing councils.

The proposals represent a major escalation of the Conservative Party’s battle with the education establishment, after Michael Gove’s free school and academy reforms infuriated union bosses throughout the last parliament.

At Westminster, the plan will be seen as a clear signal of David Cameron’s intent to use his new Tory majority to pursue “true blue” policies, unhindered by being in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.   Read more »

Two ears, one mouth; use them in that ratio

I was taught in sales training that you have two ears and one mouth and you should use them in that ratio.

It applies as much to politics as it does to sales. Unfortunately most politicians have two mouths and cloth ears.

Janet Daley explains the problems the left-wing faces that directly relates to this.

Labour looks like being out of the game for some considerable time. Who would have thought – even on the grimmest prognostications of the past week – that their glamorous front-running contender would feel obliged to pull out of the leadership election roughly 72 hours after entering it, or that they would now be short of a leader in Scotland. This is bad. (And the Liberal Democrats are in a similarly hapless condition – maybe forever.)

But the Left-wing activist noise machine carries on pretty much undaunted by events in the real world. Indeed, it seems to grow more strident in direct proportion to the hopelessness of its electoral wing. Labour commentators are doing funny riffs on the progressive stages of grief that are quite apt, but somehow still miss the scale of the phenomenon: this is not just denial. What we are seeing here is delusion in the strict technical sense of the word.

The professional politicians are bad enough – with their confused scramble to enter (and then withdraw) from the leadership race, and their bizarre refusal to accept economic reality – but it is the amateurs who worry me more. Those ranting, vindictive, tyrannical infants who rushed to all the vox pop outlets that modern technology provides to start shouting at the tops of their voices as soon as they realised that they had failed to intimidate the country into voting their way: they are a greater threat to rational political debate than the shambolic official parties that they supposedly represent. The people who made all those Tory voters hide their intentions in the first place, thus leading their own party into a black hole of shock and mutual recrimination, are now attempting to browbeat those who refused to be cowed.

Young people I know who are addicted to social media say that even when most of their Facebook friends and Twitter contacts were Tory supporters, it did not diminish the effect of the few Labour diehards who were spewing a torrent of abuse and condemnation into their smart phones immediately after the election. (There seems to have been no equivalent campaign of triumphalism from the Conservative side.)

But the mismatch between what happened in the real election and what went down on social media sites is not just to do with their being “youth-oriented” platforms.

It is important to recognise that there is nothing new in this. Making intimidating levels of noise, especially when you are outnumbered, has been an established part of activist strategy since I was a young Left-wing agitator many years ago. As has the tactic of hijacking the public space that is being occupied by groups of whom you disapprove.    Read more »

Lynton Crosby explains how British voters were betrayed by the political classes

Lynton Crosby in an interview with The Telegraph tells it how it is…and when you are the guy who designed the strategy that won I guess you do get to tell your story.

After all who wants to hear from Ed Miliband’s strategist other than Andrew Little?

The architect of David Cameron’s election victory has savaged Britain’s political class for badly misjudging the result, saying it was their “judgment day and they lost”.

In his first interview with the Telegraph, Lynton Crosby, Mr Cameron’s Australian election strategist, suggests that public opinion polls be banned during the final three weeks of future campaigns.

He also takes aim at the political commentators who accused him of running a “negative” campaign saying that the incorrect “wall of noise” produced by experts and public pollsters had threatened to derail the ultimately successful campaign.

Mr Crosby accused political commentators of just wanting “entertainment” from politics and said that the “last time they met a punter was when they picked up their dry cleaning”.

“They were tested and found wanting,” Mr Crosby said.

Reminds me of this clip:

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Oh look, the missing voters excuse

I constantly shake my head in disbelief at the similarities between Labour in the UK and Labour in NZ.

Both parties had a stupid leader selection process that handed power to the unions, both parties have or had dead seat useless leaders who look like the political spastics that they are and they both have idiot policies that address special interest groups at the expense of the hard working taxpayer.

Little wonder they are failing.

One other thing they have in common is blaming their own supporters for being “missing” as the reason why they lose and keep on losing.

Ed Miliband failed in his bid to become Prime Minister because ‘lazy’ Labour supporters did not bother to turnout to vote, a pollster has claimed.

Opinion polls ahead of the election suggested that Labour and the Tories were neck-and-neck, before David Cameron secured a surprise Commons majority.

It comes as a senior Labour frontbencher claimed Mr Miliband was surrounded by ‘too many pointy-heads and too few street fighters’.

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Told you…political spastic

Andrew Little can’t hold the same line of reasoning for more than a week.

Just a week ago he was telling Q+A that he learned a great deal from his 10 minutes with Ed Miliband, and also that Labour had a great digital strategy.

Now this morning he is opining that there isn’t much to learn from Labour in the uK after their humiliating loss.

The drubbing Labour took in the United Kingdom elections holds few lessons for the party here, Andrew Little says.

[…]

Mr Little told the Herald that he thought the circumstances in last week’s election were specific to the UK.

“At a personal level I think the result was disappointing for UK Labour, it didn’t totally surprise me because I didn’t think we were getting the full picture [through the polls].”

Asked about Mr Blair’s comments on needing to appeal to centrist voters, Mr Little said talk about left, right or the centre was irrelevant to most people.

“What they want to know is that the political parties putting themselves up to run the country have an idea about the issues…and have some solutions that are credible. And that’s what we are focussed on.”

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