United Kingdom

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All the key societal indicators are moving away from Labour – even its brand name is wildly outdated.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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One vision…and koalas

That was the song that won the election for the Tories….as well as koalas and a fair bit of elbow grease.

A five minute walk from the Commons lies the Conservatives’ headquarters, arranged over the basement and ground floor of Number 4 Matthew Parker Street.

Inside was the “war room” from which the election was fought – an open plan office at street level, which natural daylight was not permitted to penetrate (the blinds were permanently drawn to protect the inner sanctum from prying eyes).

At what Tory staff came to call “the power pod” in the middle of the office sat Mr Crosby, along with the heads of the Tory campaigning, communications, digital, and research departments.

There was never any question about who was in charge. With Mr Cameron often away touring the country, Mr Crosby’s reign was absolute. But his genial style engendered immense loyalty among his troops. He was serious but never grand, informal in his manner, but always focused.

“He could have had his own office but he sat in the middle, and it was open plan,” one insider says. “He’ll talk to anyone, from the intern to the Prime Minister, and he’ll call everyone ‘mate’, like a normal Aussie bloke. That actually makes a difference to the atmosphere because he’s very approachable.”

As polling day drew nearer, Mr Crosby would treat his colleagues to bursts of what became the unofficial campaign song: One Vision by Queen. He would turn up the volume on the speakers on his computer and blast out the music to the room.

Another innovation – to raise morale – was the “koala of the day”. A senior colleague explained: “Lynton would give a furry koala to someone who had done something particularly brilliant that day.”

In the war room, work began before dawn, and the office was manned until late at night. Mr Crosby chaired his first meeting every day during the campaign at 5.45am, with a handful of senior strategists.

Another meeting would follow at 6.30am to draw up firmer plans for the day, before the third meeting at 7.30 each morning, at which Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne would be present, often via conference calls from far flung parts of the country where they would be campaigning.

The PM and Chancellor would listen to the plans, make observations of their own and then approve the strategy as recommended by Mr Crosby, who chaired every meeting, even when Mr Cameron was present.

A few hundred yards away, at Labour headquarters in Brewer’s Green, Mr Miliband’s team had not yet turned up for work. The Labour campaign’s first meeting did not start until 7.45am, two hours after Mr Crosby had begun setting priorities for the day.

For staffers working late at Tory HQ, food would be provided each night, usually a curry or other take-away delivered to the door, to keep them fuelled and ready to respond to breaking news and enquiries from candidates.

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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 »

The path to victory for Labour

The lessons coming out of the UK for Labour are showing just how hard it will be for them to grab the Treasury benches.

The Lessons apply as much to them as they do for Labour in New Zealand.

Every party needs a path to victory, as does every leader. So what is Labour’s path to victory in the UK?

Well, it’s difficult it turns out.

How badly did Labour lose? Worse than you think.

To secure a majority of one, Labour now needs a swing of 8.75 percent across the United Kingdom, analysis passed to the New Statesman has revealed.

The analysis – which brings together the vote shares, turnout figures and majorities for the seats that would be easiest for Labour to take, highlights the challenge to Labour if it is to return to office in 2020.  The document is not a target seat list but would form the beginnings of one.

In, Cleethorpes, the seat that on a uniform swing would deliver a Labour majority of one, Labour trails by 7893 votes.  In the equivalent seat in 2010, Norwich North, Labour was just 3901 votes behind, and would have required a mere 4.6 per cent national swing to deliver the seat into the party’s hands. An equivalent swing now would see Labour win just 39 seats.

To be the largest party, Labour would have to take 51 seats directly from the Conservatives, up from 27 in 2010, with a uniform swing of 5.3 percent. Nuneaton, the staging post on this metric, has a Tory majority of 4,882, up from 2,069 in 2010.

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I know girls, let’s go be ISIS brides, what could go wrong? …oh wait

It appears that the three girls who had a rush of shit to the brains and thought it would be a good idea to abscond to Syria to become jihadist brides for ISIS soldiers have discovered that life under the burqa servicing animals that wear uniforms of sorts isn’t the life for them.

Problem is they will now probably be killed.

Three British teenage girls were reported to be on the run from Isis (Islamic State) raising fears it might be the London schoolgirls who fled there earlier this year.

An unofficial monitor in Iraq claimed the terror group was hunting for three British jihadi brides who had fled after being married off to Isis militants.

They were said to be aged around 16 and that Isis was “thoroughly searching for them” in Mosul.

The report, from the Mosul Eye Facebook page, said the identity of the girls was not known, raising fears the girls could be Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, who left Bethnal Green in February to follow a friend to Syria.   Read more »

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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