Gordon Brown

Labour’s big donors abandoning them in UK

Labour’s big donors are abandoning them in the UK after the debacle of the general election.

I’d suspect the same is happening here, but the exit is very public in the UK.

Alan Sugar is quitting Labour, denouncing the party’s perceived shift to the left in the runup to last week’s general election, as two potential leadership candidates criticised the party and its campaign’s lack of business appeal.

The star of the BBC’s business reality show The Apprentice, who was the government’s official “enterprise champion” during Gordon Brown’s premiership, said party chiefs had accepted his resignation “as they had been aware of my disillusionment for some time”.

Labour was widely seen by business leaders as charting an anti-business course ahead of the election, in which the Conservative party defied opinion poll predictions to win an outright majority. Two potential contenders for the Labour leadership have already called for the party to be more pro-business. Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall, both seen as Blairites, have also called for the party to reach out to middle England.

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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.

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Nanny statism infects Miliband’s Labour

Just like Labour in this country the Labour party in the UK under the leadership Ed Miliband, is focussing on important things that matter to voters.

Like high levels of fat, sugar and salt in food, plus price fixing power when the market is delivering lower prices anyway, and plain packs for cigarettes.

Nigel Farage gives them a good hard spanking.

So utterly devoid of real policy solutions, and so helplessly out of touch with what the British public are concerned about, the Labour Party are now turning their hands to banning what they call “high levels of fat, sugar, and salt” in food. Apparently, they launched the policy at an event where they served sugary fruit juice, chocolate brioche, and buttery croissants. You couldn’t make it up.

But beyond Labour’s rank hypocrisy and lack of focus on the key issues of the day, we have to acknowledge that before one vote has been cast in the General Election, Mr Miliband is already planning on a major resurgence of the nanny-state ideals that we saw flourish under Mr Blair and Mr Brown.

“Children will need better protection from the pressures of modern living,” the Labour Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has said. I agree, we shouldn’t shovel sweets and fizzy drinks into the mouths of kids – but here I was thinking this was a matter for parents, rather than one for government.

Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m sure I’ll be lectured on this by some interventionist “do-gooder” – but it’s not really for government to decide what is available to adults on supermarket shelves.   Read more »

Andrew Little’s New Plymouth problem

Given the lack of talent for Labour’s leadership spill, Andrew Little looks like a good safe bet.

But there is a problem, and that is his less than stellar performances in New Plymouth.

Phil Quin explains;

There’s a lot of smart money going on Andrew Little’s bid to lead the Labour Party, but the numbers in New Plymouth don’t lie. So what are they saying?

There’s a lot of talk about “listening” in Labour circles these days. Announcing his bid for the party leadership, list MP Andrew Little named as his top priority “getting the process underway to listen to the voters who have abandoned us”. Grant Robertson agrees, telling reporters last week “as we emerge from our heavy election defeat, we must now take the opportunity to listen”.

I suspect Little and Robertson have in mind some version of a “Labour Listens” tour (as Neil Kinnock did in Britain in 1997 and Gordon Brown did in 2010), a series of carefully staged outreach events involving a great deal of ostentatious nodding and taking of things on board. This is all well and good, and may even help in the long run, but there’s no reason to wait for a bus trip to start the process.

New Zealanders have said a great deal already, and in the most unequivocal terms imaginable: they have voted.

As it turns out, electors in New Plymouth haven’t left much to the imagination when it comes to Little. Labour’s performance in the seat since he became the party’s local standard bearer has been disastrous. It seems worth analysing Little’s record in light of David Cunliffe’s endorsement, not to mention his own acknowledgement that the next party leader will need to arrest the party’s decline by rebuilding the party and reconnecting with voters. “We don’t have a choice,” Little told Lisa Owen on The Nation last weekend, “We’ve lost three elections in a row. Our vote has been going down. We’re down to 32 MPs. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel”.

He should know. In the two elections since Little became Labour’s candidate in New Plymouth, National’s party vote margin in the electorate has more than doubled from 6,600 to 13,000 votes. After a 5.8 percent two-party swing from Labour to National in 2011, there was a further 6.3 percent swing in New Plymouth this year – roughly three times worse than the nationwide average. As the electorate candidate, Little also attracted 6,500 fewer electorate votes than in 2008 when the previous Labour member, Harry Duynhoven, lost the seat. After three years of resources and profile as a list MP based partly in New Plymouth, Little managed a 7.8 percent swing against him on the electorate vote this year, to compound the 6.7 percent he suffered in 2011.  Read more »

Labour’s problem is that incompetence is infectious

Dan Hodges is a Labour and a union man, he writes in the Telegraph about Labour’s troubles in the UK, which eerily echo the same issues Labour in New Zealand face.

Labour's lame photoshop job

Labour’s lame photoshop job

“They don’t have anything positive to offer the country and so they will resort to a dirty and negative campaign.” The words of Ed Miliband in a Daily Mirror interview last December.

This morning Labour has unveiled its latest attempt at raising the tone of the Euro election campaign. It’s a poster that portrays David Cameron and Nick Clegg as peas. They actually look like green peppers, but they’re not. We know they’re not because Labour has helpfully added the caption: “Cameron and Clegg, two peas in a pod”. Arrayed behind them are a range of assorted supermarket goods. “They put £450 extra VAT on your shopping bill”, the poster informs us. They may well have done. But not on those items, because most of the ones selected to feature on Labour’s poster are actually zero rated.

This is precisely the sort of shambolic announcement we see from Labour here, the latest being David Parker’s complete cock-up over budget figures.

Before the Euro elections, Labour insiders said the campaign would be the final test run for Labour’s election machine before the general election. And over the past week we’ve had a couple of clues about how that machine will perform. It will be smashed into a thousand tiny pieces and ground into the dirt, and a new block of flats will be built over the remnants.

Uh huh. And now the warning for the idiots, including Matt McCarten, in the so called war room, which given Labour’s own internal polling is fast resembling a bunker.

And now we have the poster. Again, it’s not the infantile depiction of Cameron and Clegg. Or the fact there isn’t even any internal consistency in Labour’s depiction of the relationship between the two men (in the PPB Clegg is Cameron’s fag, in the poster they’re twins). How does a party that is struggling to present itself as economically competent launch a national poster campaign that shows it doesn’t even understand the basics of how the VAT system works?    Read more »

Boris smacks Red Ed

Boris Johnson doesn’t spare anything on his spanking of Ed Miliband and his Cunliffe-like lurch to the left.

So now we know what he wants to do with the country. It’s “socialism”, folks! For years now, Ed Miliband has been studiously blank about his intentions. To a degree that has maddened supporters and opponents alike, he has refused to say much about how Labour would govern the country. He has curled himself into an ideological foetal position – so as to present as small a target as possible – and hoped that Coalition unpopularity would allow him to stand up at the last minute and slither unobtrusively into power.

And now, in an incautious admission, he has reminded us of his core beliefs – as the proud son of a Marxist academic. He wants to restore socialism to Britain. In spite of everything, the mission of Labour under Ed Miliband is to revive a political belief system that brought Britain to its knees, that blighted the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, that was responsible for untold murders and abuses of human rights, and that in the past 30 years has been decisively rejected across the planet in favour of liberty, free enterprise and market economics – a rival system that has lifted and is lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and servitude. Someone needs to tell Ed Miliband that socialism failed, and I have just the man to do it.  Read more »

Politics is not tiddlywinks

Gordon Brown is refusing to condemn Damian McBride and his robust activities while working for Brown, and nor should he.

Politics is not tiddlywinks.

Gordon Brown declined to condemn the actions of Damian McBride, his former aide who has confessed to smearing Labour colleagues to advance his boss’s career.

The former prime minister, who had not been seen in public since the disclosure of explosive allegations in Mr McBride’s book, repeatedly declined to comment at an event in New York.

Asked by The Daily Telegraph if he condemned Mr McBride he said nothing. Mr Brown was given four opportunities to remark on the memoir, which reveals how his aide leaked details of the personal lives of his rivals in order to smooth Mr Brown’s path to No 10. Read more »

A good keen man

It is no secret that I love hunting, whether in the traditional sense or the political sense.

The thrill of the chase, understanding your quarry, finding their habits, tracking them down, manipulating their behaviour, bending them to your will and finally the kill.

It takes a good keen man to do that in the traditional sense, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be applied too in the political world. Damian McBride appears to be one such good keen man.

A key aide to Gordon Brown has admitted destroying the careers of New Labour Cabinet ministers by using dark arts to smear political opponents.

Damian McBride, Mr Brown’s former communications chief, said he discredited the former prime minister’s enemies by tipping off the media about drug use, spousal abuse, alcoholism and extramarital affairs.

In an autobiography that will cast a shadow over Labour’s party conference in Brighton next week, Mr McBride admits attempting to ruin the careers of the former home secretaries Charles Clarke and John Reid.  Read more »

Why the Left hate Thatcher

The left wing hate Margaret Thatcher. Here is just a small insight into why:

Given the venom with which Labour supporters attack the former PM, you’d think that when their party finally came to power in 1997, it reversed every one of her hateful policies. In fact, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown guarded the Thatcher legacy as lovingly as if she’d been a grocer’s daughter born and bred in Islington. Her successors kept the privatisation and kept at bay the trade unions.

This makes me suspicious. If Labour can live with Margaret Thatcher’s policies, what is it about her that they find so unacceptable?

When I say the left hate Margaret Thatcher I really do mean hate… it is deep seated, here are the two reasons they hate her the most.  Read more »

Has the same situation developed in NZ?

Helen Clark and her legion of mongs left behind a toxic legacy of placemen and women throughout the civil service, NGO’s quasi-charities and public bodies whose sole aim seems to be to poo-finger our John Key led government at every turn.

From leaks to obstruction and distorted complaining we seem to be suffering from the effects of  the Fabian playbook about what socialists should do to slow things down when the public tire of them and elect adults to fix the wreckage. National meanwhile are too afraid to risk public ire for appointing their own people to boards, instead knee-capping them at every opportunity. Thankfully some of that attitude has declined with the political demise of Simon Power.

Britain’s charities and quangos are now stuffed to the gunwales with Labour placemen

Only now, long after the election, do we begin to realise how clever Gordon Brown really was. After the crash, in his last two years in office, he started preparing for a new kind of Opposition. Labour might be turfed out of government, but it could carry on the fight through charities, quangos and think tanks. At one stage, Brown had a team in Downing Street devoted to appointments in public bodies, carefully building what would become a kind of government-in-exile. And if the Tories tried anything radical – like welfare reform – then Labour’s new fifth columnists would strike.

We saw this yesterday, when Iain Duncan Smith trailed a speech about welfare and poverty. A now familiar welcoming committee rose up early to greet him. The Child Poverty Action Group declared that there are no jobs to be had, so why punish those on welfare? A revered charity, Save the Children, has identified government cuts as a major threat to British children. Even the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children warns that the “most vulnerable” children are “bearing the brunt” of Cameron’s cuts. And hearing them all, who would your average listener believe: a politician, or a charity worker?

But these charities are not the kindly tin-rattlers they were. In 2008, Brown changed the rules so charities could join political campaigns. In theory, they could support any party – but as Brown knew, not many would use these powers to demand smaller taxes. It was a masterstroke. The charities sharpened their claws by hiring former Labour apparatchiks. Save the Children is now run by Justin Forsyth, Brown’s ex-strategy chief. The NSPCC has hired Peter Watt, a former Labour general secretary. Damian McBride is working for Cafod. Britain’s charities are nurturing a colourful, talented and efficient anti-Tory alliance.