Tony Blair

There are many reasons to dislike Tony Blair but this is one of the best

Tony Blair was a shameless politician with a legacy that many people on the left don’t like and an equal number on the right.

But one of his legacy decisions was the amnesty for crimes committed by the IRA.

Now the Irish Police have revealed that they know who killed Moutbatten but they can’t do anything about it because of Blair’s amnesty.

The Irish police have been accused of failing to fully investigate IRA terror suspects responsible for the Mountbatten killings in 1979, along with other terror attacks.

A Westminster source has made clear his suspicion that the Irish authorities were fully aware of who caused the death of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the Queen’s cousin.

But the source continued that the motivation to investigate past terrorist attacks had dissipated following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The agreement gave those suspected of attacks an amnesty, the source told the Sunday Telegraph, in a secret deal for peace.

The source added that ‘of course’ the Irish knew who had committed the murders, as they were ‘very good at gathering intelligence’ but were not successful when it came to taking the cases to court.   Read more »

A sensible lefty finally understands the game

Danyl at DimPost is sometimes one of the more clearer thinking lefty bloggers out there.

He has provided a sensible analysis of the problems the left faces in combatting centre right parties. Without the mouth-breathing, or foaming anger that the rest of the left generally has.

There’s loads of analysis about on the outcome of the election in the UK; most of it is focused on Labour. What went wrong? Did they choose the wrong Miliband brother? Should they return to Blairism? And so on.

Seems to me that one of Labour’s biggest problems – both here and in the UK – is that they’re faced with an opponent that is (a) better resourced than them and (b) uses those resources to make themselves far, far better at politics than their left-wing opponents.

Just after his election victory David Cameron announced that the UK was ‘on the brink of something special’. Key has been promising New Zealand we’re on ‘The cusp of something special’. The messaging is consistently similar. The Conservative Party’s strategy in the UK election was pretty much the same as National’s strategy last year. It’s because they have the same strategic advisers of course – the infamous Crosby/Textor, who are also very active in Australian Federal and state elections.

Which gives their clients a huge advantage. Not only can they deliver data and market-research driven advice, they can trial-run lines and strategies across multiple separate-but-similar electorates, hone the techniques and sell successful ideas on to their other clients – who are all right-wing parties that want to see each other succeed.   Read more »

At least one Labour muppet gets it, which is probably why he won’t win the leadership

The UK Labour party is now faced with some soul searching and a leadership selection process.

The one good legacy that Ed Miliband left was the removal of union control in the selection process.

The contenders are now lining up and are said to include Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall, Dan Jarvis and Tristram Hunt. Tristram Hunt can be discounted immediately because you should never trust some called tristram.

Chuka Umunna has some sensible things to say…which will probably count him out.

Umunna, who stopped short of announcing his candidacy but said on Sunday morning he intended to “play the fullest part I can in rebuilding our party”, drew similar lessons to Blair.

“We talked about the bottom and top of society, about the minimum wage and zero-hour contracts, about mansions and non-doms. But we had little to say to the majority of people in the middle,” he said, referring to several of the party’s policies.

Read more »

Suicide by Socialism, the stupidity of the left

The left wing are beside themselves wondering what went wrong in the UK. They think yet again that the voters were duped, that they were stupid and they get what they deserve…such is their disconnect with how democracy works.

There are cries of a need for Proportional Representation but as David Farrar points out that wouldn’t have really helped them either.

The real problem is their underlying socialist and swingeing attitude to controlling the masses.

Tony Blair, of all people, saw it coming. As long ago as January, he told The Economist magazine that the 2015 election campaign would be one ‘in which a traditional Left-wing party competes with a traditional Right-wing party, with the traditional result’.

‘A Tory win?’ asked his interviewer.

‘Yes,’ Mr Blair replied. ‘That is what happens.’

Whatever you might think of Mr Blair, he proved a much better soothsayer than the vast majority of pollsters and pundits.

For Thursday’s election was not merely a disappointment for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party. It was a disaster, a catastrophe, an utter debacle to rank with the very worst defeats of the Eighties.

The seeds of Labour’s defeat were, I think, sown at the very moment when, on September 25, 2010, Ed Miliband was announced as the party’s new leader. As I wrote at the time, the problem was not so much his goofy manner and geeky personality, but the fact he had so comprehensively refused to learn from those previous defeats.

Mr Miliband’s appeal to Labour activists, and especially to his patrons and paymasters in the giant trades unions, can be put very simply.

He stood for the leadership on the basis that he was not Tony Blair, that New Labour was dead and that he would rekindle the Left-wing spirit of the Seventies and Eighties.

Read more »

A life-long Labour luvvie won’t be voting for Red Ed

You know you are stuffed when life long card carrying pinkos won’t vote for you.

Tom Conti, a life-long Labour luvvie explains why he won’t be voting for Red Ed.

For 40 years I supported Labour. Left was ‘the thing to be’ for the majority in my acting business – as it was for the BBC. However, some time in the last 15 years I began to find that ‘Socialism’ was a religion – and we all know that the inflexible adherents to religion often cause great suffering.

It was the unpleasantness that alerted me. Labour, I realised, was built on hatred; quite understandable in the days of uncaring coal-mine and mill-owners. But those days – apart from the odd rotten boss – have gone. Yet the hatred remains.

Nye Bevan, the socialist darling of the Labour movement, famously said that he regarded the Tories as ‘lower than vermin’. It was a vile remark that is still quoted with approval by many Left-wingers.

We see that same hostile, vicious spirit today in all the fashionable portrayals of the Tories as ‘Bullingdon Boys’ and ‘privileged toffs’.

The word ‘toff’ is used by the Left with the same pejorative intent as, for example, the word ‘pleb’ – yet if ‘pleb’ was used in the Commons to describe anyone, it would bring a political career abruptly to an end.

A frequent visitor to my house in London regularly used the expression ‘Tory sh*tes’ – often in front of my in-laws who were Tory but far from sh*tes. Educated, civilised people, they bore it in silence. Conversely, I have never heard Tory friends express hatred for anyone. Labour claims to espouse compassion, yet Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson declared that he was going to extradite computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the US, a fate from which the Asperger’s sufferer was spared only by the compassion of Johnson’s Tory successor, Theresa May.

Mr Johnson justified his action by saying: ‘The Home Secretary is there to uphold the law; to put justice before popularity.’ Personally, I prefer May’s human decency.

Read more »

Noel Gallagher says Ed Miliband is a “****ing communist”, very hard to argue with that

Noel Gallagher has entered the UK election debate in a rather forceful manner.

Noel Gallagher has branded Ed Miliband a “****ing communist” and descibed Nicola Sturgeon as an “unpleasant little woman” with “cheap shoes”.

Appearing on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man, which will air tonight, the musician said “the nineties were great and that first period of New Labour, as they called it, was great.”

But in a significant turnaround from his days as a fan of the New Labour movement, the former Oasis guitarist said he was not interested in politics “this time around”.

High Flying Birds frontman Gallagher famously visited Tony Blair in Downing Street in 1997 after Labour’s landslide election. He was among the numerous stars at the former Prime Minister’s “Cool Britannia” party in July of that year.

How Tony Blair’s ‘Cool Britannia’ ruined it for David Cameron

Asked by host Alan Carr if he has “fallen out of love” with Blair, he replied, “Not really. Happy days. Happy days for us all.”

He added: “The nineties were great and that first period of New Labour, as they called it, was great. They kind of lucked out a bit because when they got in the internet exploded, so the economy exploded.

“When politicians get in nothing really changes. If no one voted, and I’m not saying that no one should vote, but if nobody voted and you wake up the next day and no one gets voted in, we’re still going to go to work in the morning. Life’s not going to end.”

Read more »

Claims that Islam is a “religion of peace” is a shameful lie

Douglas Murray at  The Spectator explains why it is a shameful lie to describe any religion, but in particular Islam as a “religion of peace”.

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.

If politicians are so worried about this secondary ‘backlash’ problem then they would do well to remind us not to blame the jihadists’ actions on our peaceful compatriots and then deal with the primary problem — radical Islam — in order that no secondary, reactionary problem will ever grow.

We must confront radical Islam, otherwise it will grow.

Yet today our political class fuels both cause and nascent effect. Because the truth is there for all to see. To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting ‘Allah is greatest’ has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.

Last week, a chink was broken in this wall of disinformation when Sajid Javid, the only Muslim-born member of the British cabinet, and one of its brightest hopes, dipped a toe into this water. After the Paris attacks, he told the BBC: ‘The lazy answer would be to say that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with Islam or Muslims and that should be the end of that. That would be lazy and wrong.’ Sadly, he proceeded to utter the second most lazy thing one can say: ‘These people are using Islam, taking a peaceful religion and using it as a tool to carry out their activities.’

How many times have we heard this? …from Obama, to Cameron, to many other politicians.

It is a lie.   Read more »

Socialism is still rooted and the voters know it

David Cunliffe stood on a platform of return Labour to its socialist roots, and got pasted in the election.

Ed Miliband is facing the same issues.

It seems that these dinosaurs and the wider Labour movement simply don;t understand that socialism is rooted and the voters know it.

It takes Boris Johnson to cut through the nonsense in his Telegraph column.

According to some despairing Labour MPs, Alan has only to signal the tiniest flicker of interest, and there will be a putsch. All he has to do is almost imperceptibly incline his brow, and they will storm Ed Miliband’s office, hurl the fool from the window, and crown Johnson the leader without even the formality of an election. Such is the gloom, apparently, that now envelops the Labour rank and file.

As for us in the Conservative Party, we look on in bemusement – and we wonder whose side we are on: Miliband? Or the plotters? Some of us may be tempted to shrug, like Henry Kissinger when asked about the Iran-Iraq war, and say that it is a shame they can’t both lose. Others will be worried that the rumours are true, and that we may indeed be about to lose Ed Miliband – who is proving to be such a wonderful advertisement for the merits of voting Tory.

What an awesome sledge.

According to yesterday’s polls, he attracts the approval of less than half the Labour voters. He is less popular than Nick Clegg. People look at him eating a bacon sandwich; they listen to his sociology lecturer claptrap about “predistribution”; they mentally compare him to David Cameron as a prime minister – and they say: “Nah, sorry.” That is what Labour MPs are now getting on doorsteps across the country; that is why Labour has now fallen to 29 per cent in a recent poll.

It has reached the point where they may actually do something about it. They may summon the nerve to switch leaders with six months to go, in the hope that a new Labour leader would be swept in on a wave of ignorance and over-optimism and honeymoon-style enthusiasm.

If that were so, then the logical thing would be for the Tories to start a campaign to save the Panda. It would be in our interests to protect the poor beleaguered Lefty, leave him there masticating his bamboo shoots – in case he is replaced by someone more threatening. If all this stuff about an anti-Miliband plot is true, then it is time for Tories to save Miliband for the nation. We should all chip in to fund his much-ballyhooed American strategists, who seem to be giving the Labour leader such excellent – from the Tory point of view – advice.

I am offering myself as the founding president of the save the Panda campaign; or at least I would, if I thought he was really at risk. As it happens, I don’t think for one minute that Labour is going to junk its leader, inadequate though he is. They know that their rules don’t make it easy, and in their hearts they must know that Miliband is by no means their only problem.   Read more »

Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

Read more »

Phil Quin talks about Labour’s dilemma – unelectable leaders

Tim Watkin  Phil Quin writes better than he speaks, and today he has written a post about Labour’s dilemma, the fact that almost all of their choices for leader are actually unelectable to the wider electorate.

Labour has done a fine job of selling the democratic virtues of their new way electing a leader; it rolls off the tongue to say that 40 percent of the outcome is determined by rank and file members. But whose democratic interests does it really serve?

In 1980, the Labour Party in Britain similarly gave party members a say in the leadership; but, as Tony Blair points out, the reforms lacked “any appreciation of the vital necessity of ensuring that, as well as MPs or leaders being accountable to the Party, the Party was accountable to the electorate”.

Given its paltry membership, Blair goes on, UK Labour “became prey to sectarian groups from the Ultra-Left”, a decent explanation for why the party remained in opposition for seventeen years after “empowering” members.

I’ve always said that if you are a keen observer of UK politics it stands you in good stead to predict what will happen here. Labour’s system is just one part of the problem.

If there is a case to be made that Labour’s current membership is representative of the party’s broader constituency – which I take to include supporters and would be supporters  – I’m yet to hear it. For a start, members are heavily concentrated in urban pockets; in most suburban and provincial electorates, they number in the dozens at best. Activists also tend to be older and, inevitably, sit way to the left of the political spectrum. To most people, especially post-Boomers, joining a political party is so out of kilter with modern sensibilities it almost qualifies as oddball behaviour.

Read more »