John Major

Dirty Politics UK style

There is a lot of talk about ‘Dirty Politics’.

As a long term left wing agtator told me last week over a beer…it wasn’t dirty politics…I was just politics.

Right now in the UK a similar story is unfolding, where the media are hunting after Guido Fawkes aka Paul Staines and his links with PM David Cameron.

Guido operates in many respects just like I do…and just like me he kicks his own team in the slats.

The Prime Minister is the last person you would expect to find honouring rogue political blogger Guido Fawkes, who has just brought down one of his ministers.

But David Cameron appeared as guest of honour via a video link at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the controversial website.

Just three weeks ago, Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society, causing the PM immense embarrassment as it was on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference.

This followed the Tory MP being enticed into sending explicit pictures of himself to a male reporter, posing as an attractive young woman, who was working for Guido Fawkes.

Fawkes then hawked the story around Fleet Street before it was eventually published by the Sunday Mirror.

The dubious journalistic methods employed were so contentious that two newspapers refused to publish the story and the Sunday Mirror, which did, is being investigated by the new press watchdog IPSO.

Yet, in his message broadcast at the dinner, the Prime Minister saw fit to condone such behaviour, praising Fawkes (real name Paul Staines) and his website as ?required reading?.

?Congratulations on ten years of Guido Fawkes,? said Cameron, ?and what better way to celebrate a decade of rejecting the cosy political establishment than by hosting a cocktail reception and a dinner in the heart of Westminster with half the Cabinet and the lobby invited.

Read more »

Betting against China

George Soros has made a massive call…he is betting against China.

George Soros probably shouldn’t expect any warm invitations to Beijing – not with the much-reviled short seller warning of a giant Chinese crash.

The billionaire first shook a major government in September 1992, when he led an attack on the British pound. For his role in humiliating London and forcing John Major’s government to exit the European exchange-rate mechanism – essentially the euro – Soros reportedly netted $US2 billion.

Soros made a bundle off America’s subprime debt crisis as well. Here in Asia, his legend has loomed large since 1997, when then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused him, bizarrely, of heading a Jewish conspiracy to spark an Asian crisis.

Now Soros has his eye on China. In a January 2 op-ed for Project Syndicate, Soros didn’t say whether he’s shorting China. But he did connect the dots in a way that can’t make President Xi Jinping happy. To Soros, the main risk facing the world isn’t the euro, the US Congress or a Japanese asset bubble, but a Chinese debt disaster that’s unfolding in plain sight.

Green energy Tory gets the arse card

De-selection is a brilliant idea…perhaps we could look it here for useless MPs. Labour could use it to e=rinse Trevor Mallard and National to get rid of Lindsay Tisch, Colin King, plus a few others.

In the UK they are giving a green Tory the arse card.

Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP and chairman of the influential Commons Energy Committee, has been dropped as a candidate at the next election

His local constituency voted at a meeting on Friday night not to re-select Mr Yeo as its candidate in the 2015 general election.

Mr Yeo, 68, who has represented South Suffolk as its MP for 30 years, is said to be ?considering his options?. He has the right to appeal the decision or put himself forward as a candidate when the selection process for a new MP gets underway.? Read more »

Female MPs are useless not victims of sexism

The Daily Mail reports that female MPs are useless not victims of sexism according to Ann?Widdecombe a former Tory minister.

I’d love to see Ann Widdecombe go head to head with Fran O’Sullivan on the issue. This?woman makes Crusher look like your soft cuddly grandma.

Female MPs who complain about how macho politics are not the victims of sexism but simply ?useless?, Ann Widdecombe has claimed.

The outspoken former Tory minister dismissed the idea that Westminster was biased against women, and insisted both sexes were ?roughed up? during debates.

In remarks likely divide opinion in Parliament, Miss Widdecombe said women must not go into politics with a ?sense of grievance?. ? Read more »

Power is no longer the aphrodisiac it once was. Popularity is

I’m not sure of the premise of this article about power vs popularity being an aphrodisiac. But it is interesting nonetheless. I might even have a go at writing a New Zealand version…the only issue would be choosing the politicians to include. 😉

Power is an aphrodisiac. People say that all the time, don?t they, to explain why some hot young piece of lady flesh is stepping out with a luke-warm old slab of man flab who also happens to be the chief executive of a mid-sized multinational company, or something exciting in the treasury.

People often use the power/aphrodisiac conundrum to explain the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair, but I think this is wrong. Yes Bill Clinton was the most powerful man in the world, but he was (is) also said to be charismatic, charming and in my humble opinion, not too shabby to look at. He Has Something About Him, and this is down to his innate charm ? the sort of charm you find in most womanizers, whether they?re a brickie or a barrister.

A much better example of power being an aphrodisiac is the sorry tale of Edwina Currie and John Major. Whatever you think of his politics, John Major is universally acknowledged to have all the sexual charisma of a whelk. A whelk with a cold sore and a large collection of cagoules. Yet, somehow, he managed to bed Edwina Currie, who, although not everyone?s cup of tea, is definitely a rung above our former Prime Minister on the ladder of sexual allure.*

Despite this affair taking place several years before the Maastricht Treaty, I like to think John Major shouted ?you b******s? at the point of orgasm. ? Read more »

Knifing the Tory way

David Cameron is having to restore some confidence after word leaked out about some of his inner circle bad mouthing activists…not unlike some of the bad mouthing that goes on inside National of activists.

David Cameron?moved to repair relations with a bruised Conservative party by emailing a “personal note” to all members in which he said he would never work with anyone who “sneered” at activists.

Amid anger in the party at the allegations that a senior member of his inner circle had referred to activists as “mad swivel-eyed loons”, the prime minister said the party was held together by “a deep and lasting friendship”.

Cameron reached out after senior Tories, who were enraged by allegations that the Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman had made disparaging remarks about Tory activists, warned of a sea change in the parliamentary party as growing numbers of MPs decide that the prime minister is becoming a liability. Feldman strenuously denied the allegations which he described as “completely untrue”.? Read more »

Strategy and Narrative vs. Principle and Conviction

Something that fascinates me is that politicians always talk about their political heroes being people of principle, like Reagan and Thatcher, yet most of them seem to have no principles that I can discern. They don?t stand for anything much, and that is very disappointing.

Ever since the “third way” infected politics world wide we have seen a focus on strategy and narrative rather than principles and conviction.

?As political parties became ?brands?, their principles were reduced to ?attributes?. Just as Heinz may change the level of salt, the label or the price of a can of baked beans, political parties began to ditch or adopt policies to suit the public taste, day by day, week by week.

How we laughed in No 10 when Tony Blair agreed with Bill Clinton that ?the most important person in the world is the member of a focus group?. I even inserted a joke about it into a speech John Major gave before the red hordes massacred us in 1997. But after the deluge, the Blairite approach to politics became accepted wisdom. Strategy and narrative were in, principle and conviction were out.

The rise of the pollster and focus group junkies…upon us and still upon us.

Opinion research is critical in politics, but only if it is used to tell a politician how to communicate, not what to believe ? a point Lynton Crosby, the election guru who will advise the Tories? 2015 campaign, repeats ad infinitum. It provides a map and a compass, but the leader must set the direction. Before 1997, we certainly did too little of it. But politicians who are guided by polls are chasing will-o?-the-wisp in a forlorn search for popularity. They are not selling baked beans, but something more complex: vision, belief and leadership. And the more politicians change to reflect every passing fad, the less the public believes what they say, and will-o?-the-wisp flits away.

We lack conviction politicians.

Nor am I saying that politicians should worship at the shrine of a holy grail of principles. Such blind devotion is at the top of the slippery slope of fanaticism. There is a world of difference between that and the sheet anchor of belief, the integrity of politicians who sticks to their guns, and of whom even their enemies begrudgingly admit, ?They?ve got guts ? they?ll speak their mind, whatever the consequences.?

There are precious few politicians in New Zealand prepared to speak their minds. I blame MMP.

?Whatever the consequences?: that?s what it boils down to. Yes, speaking one?s mind can mean exposing uncomfortable truths. Yet what is the point of being a politician if you don?t speak your mind? What hope do we have as a country if our politicians stay silent on issues, for fear of losing votes?

Such refreshing words and yet so disappointing.

The mindset of political strategy is now poisoning the well of politics. Those politicians who do have the guts to highlight unpalatable truths, and what they would do about them, are criticised. On Europe, politicians are told that voters don?t care about it ? so shut up. Meanwhile, politicians talk of taxing ?wealth? more because of what that would ?say? about their party, not whether it is the right or wrong thing to do.

All this puts presentation before principle. Remember what used to be Conservative principle? ?Cutting taxes has been shown to be the greatest stimulus to economic growth and personal freedom there has ever been. Every pound we cut in tax is a pound more for people?s choice, a pound more to create work for others, a pound more to buy things for their family. Apologise for that? Never.? That was John Major in 1992, just before he won more votes than any Prime Minister at any election. He was the last Conservative to win a general election outright. Mea culpa.

Food for thought for John Key, food for thought.

Sledge of the Day

Ed Milliband gets right up David Cameron:

Mr Miliband said the prime minister “can’t convince anyone on Europe”, adding: “He has thrown in the towel even before these negotiations have begun. “He can’t convince European leaders, he can’t even convince his own backbenchers. He is weak abroad, he is weak at home: It’s John Major all over again.”

Can Shearer do this?

David Shearer’s biggest problem is just stringing coherent sentences together. Should he master that, and Brian Edwards doesn’t think he can, then the next thing he has to do is work out how to connect with Waitakere Man:

Politicians must have the knack of speaking for people, not just to them. Sometimes this means talking, or dog-whistling, to your natural constituency. Mrs Thatcher pulled off this trick. Having spent the first 50 years of her life aspiring to poshness, she realised that it was the lower middle class that would keep her in office, so a Grantham growl reappeared in her voice. Also, she had Poujadist policies to match.

Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan aren?t fondly remembered, but there were moments when they discovered their voters??G-spots and even, at times, how to speak to the nation. Ditto John Major before disaster overtook him.

Losing the Argument, Ctd

Continuing on from my earlier post discussing the hijacking of society by liberal elites in the UK:

So rampant and all-pervasive was the influence of this liberal-Left elite that by the end almost every meaningful action taken by the democratically elected?John Major?government could be sabotaged or blocked outright by a progressive alliance, which stretched through the Civil Service, the BBC, and the universities.

These progressives believed that the institutions of the British state were corrupt, that state spending was automatically virtuous, that traditions should be destroyed, that the European federal idea was benign, that the British monarchy was outdated and wrong, that mass immigration was an unmitigated boon, and that any criticism of the welfare state should be dismissed.

They had a powerful sense of their own moral virtue. Anyone who challenged them was automatically assumed to be venal. We Conservative supporters were, by definition, vermin: immoral, arrogant, self-interested. Own up to being a Conservative and you were made to feel like a criminal, not fit for polite society, an object of contempt.

We can see this in New Zealand with the rise of the nasty party.

The liberal Left was in charge of the government for 13 years and by the end had come close to destroying Britain. There was only one comfort: the scale of the disaster was so great that even members of its elite now admit the scale of their errors.

It was nine years here, but the saving grace for National is that Labour is yet to realise the scale of their errors. They still think that the electorate just made a horrible mistake and one day soon we will all wake up to it.

Next the economy and other key policy areas ?and the differing views on that.