The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Charity Begins at Home

I find this insulting. The UK is one of the top givers in the world to charities and this current shower of shit parading as our government are responsible for at least a half a million people losing their jobs with no realistic similar replacement available and yet they want us to give more money, use more technology to do it, because they don't feel we do enough...

There is a feel of sense about this, but with threats to NHS budgets and cuts in staff, isn't the timing just wrong?

Presumably Phil Woolas's statements about his LibDem opponent were personal rather than about her policies, because if he can be stripped of his seat by an electoral court over lying about his opponent's politics in his election literature, then every single Lib Dem should lose their seats because they lied through their teeth. Presumably he made personal attacks, because if he suggested that she would change her entire political ethic for a whiff of power, then he didn't lie at all, did he?

The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election should have one result, a resounding protest vote against the coalition. I don't care who gets elected (The Green Party would be preferable if Labour don't walk it) as long as the voters avoid voting for the coalition in droves. I would like a message sent to Cameron and his bitch that people do not like the policies or the way they are doing things.


Let us all hope that 2011 isn't going to be as bleak, unforgiving and horrendous as many of us believe it is going to be...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cut me and I shall bleed...

We all have to remember; we all need to pull together to get us out of this horrendous budget deficit that the Labour party deliberately put there to stymie the Tories from being able to instigate their master plan to make every one rich and happy.

I'm going to lose my job. I suppose I'm doing a little bit more than Dave is then? Does that qualify me and the 600+ others for some special kind of award? Perhaps the Cameron Cross? A medal given to people who are going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the budget deficit is slashed?

I have to be careful. I don't really want to be seen saying anything that's critical of my employer. I don't want to be seen suggesting that if they raised council tax by 3% - that's less than £3 a week - it could save a lot of misery. I suppose its better that me and 600+ other people becoming unemployed and trying to find a job in a non-existent job market, than raise council taxes. Council taxes that are still the lowest in the country. Its much better to continue to slash services, just so we don't have to pay out more...

The sad truth is that the 600+ NCC employees who are going to be facing a very bleak 2011 are not the only ones. rumour has it that NBC is going to be cutting at least 250 jobs. Then you have all of those organisations like the YMCA, English Churches Housing and the Mayday Trust who are going to have their budgets slashed and subsequently won't just be making people unemployed, but also will be turfing the formerly homeless back out onto the streets. All the while, people who live in Weston Favell, Boughton, and richer parts of the town will be horrified that there's so many wastrels and unemployed spongers on the streets. It's enough to make you want to start a revolution.

In reality, we're going to see over 1000 people enter the job market between January and April 2011. There isn't going to be 1000 jobs for these people to take and less than 1% of them are going to be earning the same as they are now. The spending power of these 1000 people is going to be decimated and this is going to hit other areas of the local economy; which, in turn will raise prices or cut back on services. If you'll excuse my French, but I think a lot of us are going to be well and truly fucked.

I try to do the figures that the government are throwing at us and all that I come up with is misery. Actually, what I come up with is Misery, with a capital M. I don't think there is enough confidence in the private sector to start new businesses. I can't see where money is going to come from to start anything related to social care or youth work. The council don't have any spare money to throw at projects and neither does the government, so unless we start charging kids for their education or their rehabilitation, then nothing is going to fill the void. Yet again, a Tory led government is sticking two fingers up at the future of the country.

I spoke with someone who is having to deliver all the bad news; he said, quite honestly that things will never return to how they are now. There will never be enough money to invest in people again. there will never be youth services; there will not be assistant social workers, there will be no jobs created in a few years, even if we get out of this current malaise. Once councils - all councils - manage to run with bugger all people working for them, they will stay that way. Maybe, at some point in the future, there might be government money to start up projects for the youth of that day; but nothing will ever be the same again.

Welcome to the Scared New World. You have to be afraid because optimism will not be tolerated.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

29 versus 28

While no one can condone the violence that has come out of the student protests in London, it is true to say (as I have several times) that you don't get this kind of emotive gestures when there's a Labour government.

The sad truth is that Conservatives don't give a fig about the future generations, because their kids are okay. Thatcher dismantled the future of that generation's children and now Blackadder and Baldrick, along with Lord Snooty are doing the same now. I believe that our students have to pay for their education eventually, but I also want to see a fair system which we are patently not getting.

29 LibDem MPs either voted against this proposal or abstained. Nick 'Baldrick' Clegg cannot call his party united, by any stretch of his imagination. Especially as they only have 57 MPs.

Clegg is effectively a Dead Man Walking in political terms. He will struggle to get re-elected at the next election and will watch his party get systematically targeted at the next local government elections to the point where they will become as effective as the BNP - and about as well liked. We witnessed a monumental turning point in British politics today. But now the LibDems have been effectively destroyed, it really is time to turn on the Tories; to kick the Liberals while they're down is a waste of time and energy.

Monday, 22 November 2010

With Friends like These

I understand that Eire is up shit creek with a Guinness paddle; and that it's sort of in our country's interests that Irish banks don't go the way of the pear, but...

£7billion in a time of severe austerity for this country? If Eire are our friends, what are the public sector workers facing massive jobs losses? Our enemies? I wonder if our idiot government has any words of encouragement for those who have already lost their jobs and face an uphill battle to get some benefits, in the month before the festive season?

I sometimes think that all this government are doing is making sure that the next people in government will have such a mess on their hands that everyone will want Cameron back.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


There are three things about cars that have got me rattled this week:
School Runs
Parking Fines
Imbecilic Ignorant Drivers...

So not much there, then?

I do not profess to understand the education system in this country any longer. It's been over 30 years since I left school and everything has changed; even the location and name of my alma mater. Everything seems slightly Americanised (or should that be Americanized?). Nothing is measured in forms any more, it's all Year this or that and obviously there are more kids getting brilliant A level results, not because it's easier, but because kids today are considerably more cleverer than wot we was...

Arguably, the education system is better now; it has more opportunities, more diversity and, um, I'm struggling to come up with a third example, but I'm sure there are loads. What amazes me is young people can still manage to attend school. I mean, they're such fragile little creatures now with especially vulnerable legs. If the poor dears use their legs too much they're apt to have them wear out or fall off. This, to me, has to be the reason why kids don't walk to school any more. I can understand, in this age of going to the best possible school, rather than the one just down the road, the need for the youngsters to be taken, especially if they live five or six miles from their educational institution of choice (which to me is a complete anathema); but if a kid lives less than a couple of miles from their school, why the hell can't they walk? Or, you know, catch a bus?

Rush hour is bad enough in any town without it being added to by parents taking their precious little angels to school in their 4x4s or, as is the main reason, in their cars that they have almost zero understanding how to drive and leaves you feeling that they had to have paid the test examiner money to get their licences to kill.

I'm thinking anyone that takes their kids to school and parks within a mile of the school should be fined, rather than focusing traffic wardens' attentions on nabbing as many people as they can in places that really need help - like town centres.

The news that parking charges and parking fines are likely to go up, by more than 10% nationally, just smacks of a country that no longer wants its people to do anything. Just going out now poses a logistical nightmare. Even shopping centres, like the Weston Favell Centre, are imposing time limits and employing parking stewards. This is blamed on the people abusing the system, which, as we all know, normally works out to be less than 1% of the users, so everybody gets punished. The WFC is pretty fare in many respects (apart from needing a degree in maths to work out exactly how its road layout is supposed to work), you get, I believe, about 4 hours before your car is pounced on and if 4 hours isn't enough to get all your shopping, have a cuppa and do some browsing, them you're either stupid or possibly disabled - maybe not disabled enough to warrant a Blue Badge, or maybe you're just a wee bit older than the average users and getting around is a bit slower?

I appreciate that we need to make money; money makes the world go round, it pays for things (mainly council workers salaries) and we need to be punished if we abuse the system. Why else does the council only employ certified deaf sociopaths as traffic wardens. In the USA, the cops treat everyone like they're an axe or machine gun wielding homicidal maniac; we're getting that way with everyone in this country. No one has a genuine reason for being 2 minutes over their allotted time; they are just abusing the system and taking the piss out of everyone else. You are a liar and you can't argue with this accusation. Try taking the council to court over an unjust parking ticket and see how far you get.

Incidentally, I have not been the victim of an irrational parking fine for a couple of years. I avoid anywhere that is likely to have a hidden, covert warden hiding behind a wall ready to pounce on me whenever I have a centimetre of wheel infringing upon a double yellow line - when in reality they should be allowed to penalise idiots who don't know how to park their cars properly and who leave about 3 feet either side of their bumpers. It doesn't matter if you park like a chimpanzee on crack as long as you're within the lines!

And what about imbeciles that have been given the right to drive cars? Over the last couple of years I've noticed that traffic lights have a new unwritten meaning: green means go, amber means go and red also means go for the first ten seconds after it gets there! This is especially prevalent to drivers of white vans of whatever shape or size. In fact, as a friend of mine suggested, anyone driving a vehicle that obviously doesn't belong to them will abuse the system as far as they can, as long as there isn't a speed camera or a police car in sight.

I've stopped being courteous to other drivers as much as I was. The reason is two fold - I rarely get acknowledgement for my kindness and I'm never the recipient of courtesy. I still see no end of people cutting others up, barging in, ignoring traffic instructions, just to gain that extra car's length and as I get older, the more I want to buy a clapped out old banger and plough straight into these arseholes cars and then just say, 'Oops, sorry bloke and guess what I don't have any insurance' then run away. It might make these idiots realise that one day they're going to cause a god awful accident, especially involving some stupid woman badly driving her children to school in a very crowded street...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Stop the Revolution, I Want to Get Off

Obviously, the 50,000 protesters peacefully marching on Westminster yesterday will have been forgotten when the Tories (you can't really call it a coalition, can you?) make sure that we see a repeat of the scenes that graced our TV screens during the 1980s - and I'm not talking about the riots, I'm talking about heavy handed policing. But will it be like that? Really?

I was talking to a policeman friend of mine today and he reckons the reason that most of the coppers were as laid back as the peaceful protesters was because they're all fearing for their own safety as well as ours. The police are not exempt from the ConDem cuts; in fact, considering the Tories have built themselves up for years as the party of law and order, there doesn't seem to be a lot of sense in their axing of police budgets. Surely our police deserve more protection than our troops; who really shouldn't be doing anything but defending our own shores - not that they'd need defending if we didn't go following the USA around as their world police sidekicks.

My policeman mate has essentially been a bit right wing for most of his life, not just his 28 years as a copper; but even he thinks the current government are being a wee bit Draconian with their proposed cuts. He thinks, and rightly in my opinion, that doing too much too quickly is just going to piss a lot of people off, a lot of whom voted Tory.

There's not a lot of point talking about people like me, who unwisely voted Liberal. The reason for that is simple - after this parliament, the Liberal party will be as significant as the BNP and just as hated. You can't escape the Tories, they get everywhere and it doesn't matter what a miserable bunch of bastards they are, there will always be some poor misguided fool (or rich wanker) who will vote for them. The Liberals on the other hand have slowly inveigled their way back into British politics and mostly because disgruntled Labour voters saw them as more centre left than their own party. Mr Clegg put paid to that and it's going to take another 80 years before they can class themselves as worthy of the floating voters' cross.

At first I thought that some of the Liberal MPs who had consciences might rebel against these essentially Tory policies, but I'm coming to the conclusion that they realise that their collected gooses are cooked, so they're just holding out as long as they can hoping for a peerage or a nice paid job on the board of some corporation. I have to say, even if he looks uncomfortable, I expected more of Vince Cable; but he's getting on a bit so I suppose the previous sentence applies to him all the more.

Going back to yesterday; it was a shame that a handful of idiots and wannabe anarchists ruined a good day out for the students, at least it got them out of bed, prevented them from giving pot noodle manufacturers more profit and made sure the viewing figures of Neighbours was halved. I do think our students are a wee bit misguided; they should pay for their education - all of them. That means that Jacosta and Quentin also need to pay for their educations rather than get Daddy to pay for it for them. I quite liked the idea of a percentage of their wages being deducted from their salaries (when they eventually get one), it sort of made it sound fair; and that way if you came out of Bog Standard Uni with a 2:2 and end up as a shelf stacker on £15k a year, your 1% will be nothing compared to Quentin's £200k a year job working for Daddy's Porsche dealership.

The chilling thing is that even The Guardian went with the headline that this is just the beginning; obviously there is a large school of thought out there who believe that the students revolting is just the tip of an iceberg. No one is denying that changes need to be made to drag back some of the money we're in debt, but at the expense of our future? Or the futures of our kids? The Tories have never seemed to give a damn about those who will inherit the mess, but they wouldn't, because their children are all going to be well off.

The government claim that people don't understand how their new fairer education system is going to work and that worries me; if our brightest and best students don't understand it, it can't be that easy to follow, can it? I mean, they wouldn't have been marching on Westminster if it was a fair system, would they?

Monday, 1 November 2010


I know quite a few Americans. Unfortunately, the other 800 million appear to have one brain cell and they share it. Now, I can't say for sure what the politics of the Americans I do know is, but I do know that they're all pretty intelligent people and have gone a long way to preventing me from just having a complete and irrational dislike of inhabitants of their country.

American politics has always fascinated me. In many ways, I find it far more interesting than British politics. I also find it ironic that the two homes of democracy - the USA and the UK are both tied to an electoral system that stretches the literal definition of democracy very thin.

On Tuesday, the USA goes to the polls for the midterms - they're a bit like our council elections, except in the USA they have far more impact on the central government. A massive swing away from the politics of the President and his work becomes increasingly more difficult, if not almost impossible, because the senate and congress have to ratify any idea he has and if he's democrat and they're republican, they simply won't endorse any of his ideas, even if they're good ones. US politics is so disparate, the other side invariably votes against the side in power even if they have a good idea. It makes you wonder how anything ever happens in the world's most powerful country (and I am aware that I am over simplifying it, but this is a punchy, pithy blog and not a politics lesson).

Listening to the coverage from the forthcoming midterms has reminded me that so many citizens of the US of A are basically morons. Barrack Obama inherited a country that had been royally butt-f*cked by George W. Bush Jr was a president who had so little idea of how to run a country that it almost fell apart. Obama has spent best part of his 20 months in office trying to sort the mess left by the previous administration; he has been stymied by Republicans (who themselves are in their own form of turmoil) and the world recession and on Tuesday is likely to be stymied even more as supposedly loyal democrats switch sides because they think the republicans can do better. Well, the republicans had 8 years before Obama and they didn't do anything for the people of America, unless they owned oil wells or munitions factories.

What annoys me most about these flip-flop Yanks is that they are quite happy to have a warmonger in charge who employs people that know as much about the economy as I do about the inside of a famous film star's anus, yet aren't prepared to give the man currently in charge a few years to try and sort the mess out. I recall Jimmy Carter saving the USA's bacon - economically - only for Ronald Reagan to be elected and take all the credit for it. An astute businessman was given 4 years in power and ousted and a man who played sidekick to a chimpanzee got 8 years (and he couldn't even remember the name of one of the members of the British royal family and famously joked about bombing Russia off the face of the planet) but that's the kind of thing a nation more preoccupied with their stomachs seem to like!

And now we have this almost offensive Tea Party movement, led by ultra right wing republicans. Which is a bit like our Conservatives being run by the BNP. The thing is, because the US press is run by ultra right wing fascists, this movement is gaining support and the chances are that come 2012, there will be an uber-fascist US president (please God not that Palin woman) and then we'll really see what a mess this world will be in.

I love melodrama - as anyone who reads this blog will no doubt agree with - but if the ultra right get in power in the USA, then there really will be a 3rd world war. We'll see Muslims treated like the Japanese were in 1940; we'll see more and more money directed towards war as the USA returns to its position of world's policeman and as a result, the UK, always keen to be seen as the USA's lapdog will face an even greater security threat - no, let me quantify that statement - the UK will become a legitimate terrorist target, rather than a fictional one. Because most of the world is not at risk from the largely made up (as in fictional) Al-Qaeda at the moment, but give Palin or any of the Tea Party madmen the reigns of that country and Al-Qaeda will be the least of our worries.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Power of Paranoia

Accuse me of being a terrorism denier if you want; but is it just possible that the explosives found on planes headed for the UK and USA might be the figments of the imagination of the people who run the countries?

Currently the ConDems are facing a massive backlash from the huge portions of the general public; the cuts they're bringing in have been met with considerably more defiance than agreement. Over the pond, Barrack Obama is facing meltdown less than 2 years since winning the most powerful man in them world contest. What better way of detracting from the issues at hand than by bringing terrorism back to the forefront?

Of course, these incidents may well have happened; there are, after all, a lot of fundamentalists out there. However, the timing of this is so Falklands War its unreal. I just can't help thinking that there is considerably less threat out there than our governments let on. After all, terrorism is such an insidious way of not achieving anything, it is feasible that government spin doctors suddenly hit on this great idea to turn peoples' fears into a weapon of mass hysteria.

There is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that the Falklands War was constructed by Thatcher and Galtieri because both of them were on the verge of being ousted from office. Just 4 months before the 'war' started, representatives from both countries met and the very amicable meetings could easily have led to the 'need' to do something to stop socialists from regaining power. Four months before the 'war' Thatcher was the most unpopular UK prime minister ever. She was so far behind in opinion polls, it was possible she might be responsible for the complete destruction of the Conservative party. Then this war comes along and she wins the subsequent election by a landslide. All it cost was the lives of some easily expendable lives - after all, that's what you join the army for.

The problem with having theories like this is you're branded a conspiracy theorist, nutter or somewhere in between...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Reality Bites

Apparently, I'm a 'Deficit Denier'.

This is the term used by Tory boys for anyone who either doesn't feel the cuts are fair or doesn't believe that Lord Snooty's plans aren't the best thing since torturing fags at Eton.

I don't think there are many people who are actively denying that cuts were needed. Britain, like most of the rest of the world, is in debt and something needed to be done about it. It's just an even more massive insult to intelligent people to be told by pompous 'I'm all right Jack' Tories that we actually know nothing.

On Nick Clegg's Facebook page there was, at first, a stampede of insults aimed at the political equivalent of a Transformer (he's a Tory in disguise!) and then, quite remarkably, a backlash against the backlash. Ironically, very few of the people defending Cleggatron were actually Liberals, most of them were Tories. One in particular, a guy called Andrew, was a self-employed financial advisor from Oxford who like Neil O'Brien, the Director of the Tory supporting Policy Exchange, was calling for more money to be taken away from the poor; because giving them less will encourage them to get jobs. An idea which would possibly work if there were jobs to apply for. Andrew also spouted on about people having to make difficult decisions and these cuts not being about fairness but about being in the national interest. Like most politicians, when casual readers of the Facebook page asked him for specifics or to explain himself, he suddenly was no where to be seen.

I've been slightly bemused by the way the press seems to have drawn a line under the affair. On Thursday there was 11 pages devoted to Lord Snooty; by Saturday, The Guardian's coverage had dropped to less than 2 pages. But, I realised that the editors probably felt having page after page of commentators forecasting the end of civilisation as we know it would probably not be good for sales. Obviously the Daily Mail thrives on such stories, yet amazingly they seemed to be in full support of Blackadder's sanctioned cuts. After all, of the 1.8million unemployed in the UK, probably 1.7999million are scroungers, fraudsters and are purposefully screwing the rest of us while laughing into their Pinot Grigios, watching their flat screen TVs and driving their Lamborghinis (without tax or insurance) around the filth laden streets of Britain's council estates...

The main thing we all need to understand is that a lot of these massive cuts will not happen for a few weeks or months. This allows us (and Dave Blackadder & Nick Baldrick) to prepare for the changes. It makes me wonder how this entertaining double act is going to deal with the mass unemployment that will undoubtedly kick in once Georgie's cuts kick in. I mean, even if the Private sector has faith in the future of this country, it's going to take a while for that to actually happen. It'll also be interesting to see how the ConDems deal with the fact that the so-called Export-led Recovery will only work if other countries decide to buy anything from us. It seems the ConDems are the only people in the country that haven't noticed that every other country in the world are having the same economic problems that we are.

On a moral standpoint; how long is it going to be before the conscientious Liberals (because there must be a few of the left) realise that the unfairness of making the poor pay for the mistakes of the bonus greedy bankers has placed them in an untenable position; one which is likely to see them all out of work and joining the swelling ranks of unemployed and hopeless people?

Of course, there could be a school of thought in Westminster that is actively waiting and hoping that there is some form of civil unrest; because governments love the peasants revolting, as it suddenly gives them the moral high ground regardless of how wrong their policies are. Violence solves nothing and neither does industrial action. If there were mass strikes once the cuts start to bite you might get a high percentage of the populace actually supporting them; but once the rubbish starts to pile up, or the buses stop running, or X Factor isn't on the screens, the support will waiver and crash. Just look at France: 79% of the population supported the industrial action; but once the petrol started to run out and the bins started overflowing with effluence, that support has dropped to 59% and it will continue to drop; because, essentially, the majority of people will only support something as long as it doesn't impact on their own lives for long.

So, the long and the short of it is, the ConDems know that however much a percentage of the country will moan about it; the support and sympathy of the rest of the country will not stick for long. The reason for this is because about 25 years ago, a very evil woman destroyed community spirit, made the unions out to be the spawn of Satan and turned a large percentage of the country into greedy bastards.


When this woman finally dies there is going to be some crazy things happen. There will be a goodly percentage of people who will demand that she is given a state funeral and that she is honoured in some way - maybe a statue in Trafalgar Square or even Parliament Square. These people will campaign tirelessly for the woman to be given the send off she deserves.

On the other hand there will be a goodly percentage of people who will spontaneously break out in celebration; these people will organise street parties and the streets will be over run by people for whom that day has been a long time coming. It might be viewed by people as a horrendous display of disrespect to the dead; especially one who achieved so much for this country. The people celebrating her death will undoubtedly campaign tirelessly for the woman to be given the burial she deserves - either dropping down an abandoned colliery or left in a dustbin on a council estate in Toxteth. Perhaps they could just cut her body up into pieces and give parts to any one who can prove that she was responsible for the downfall of whatever part of the country they live in.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Straight Answers, Please

The cuts have been made. There's no changing them now. The poorest 10% and the richest 2% will pay the highest percentage of the debt. There's no changing that.

The question that is being asked more than any other question is whether or not this deficit strategy is fair to the poor. I have heard this question posed to numerous ConDem MPs and do you know, not one of them has answered it with anything other than rhetorical 'we're all in this together' styled answers. Therefore, NOT ONE OF THEM HAS ANSWERED THE QUESTION!

We had David Blackadder and Nick Baldrick in Nottingham today avoiding answering the question. We had the Transport Secretary on Question Time not answering the question. we've had Tory sympathisers all over the country claiming that people don't realise the mess we're in. But NO ONE IS ANSWERING THE QUESTION!

The poor are, over the next couple of years, going to be royally shafted, while the rich will have to limit Jacosta and Tarquin's allowances by a couple of hundred quid a year; they might not be able to afford a new pony. Daddy might not be able to buy a new Porsche.

Neil O'Brien, the new Director of Policy Exchange, on BBC News today claimed that taking money away from the poorest people in the country was a good thing. He claimed there was no point in throwing money at the poor because it doesn't help them. All credit to BBC newsreaders Ben Brown and Ellie Crisell for managing to stay professional in light of unbelievable pompousness from a man who undoubtedly earns more in a year than a minimum wage cleaner in Middlesbrough earns in 5 years. At least he didn't try and hide behind rhetoric, he just came straight out and made people realise he was a fascist.

It still doesn't answer the question of why no one in government is answering the question of how this is fair on the poorest. Is it their fault that the world economy is such a mess? It certainly isn't the former Labour party's fault, despite every Tory and their suck arse Lib Dem fags blaming them. Yes, Labour might have handled it differently; it might have taken twice, possibly three times longer to cut the deficit; but they wouldn't have ignored it and the poorest wouldn't have to take the most burden.

There are some good things that will come out of this.
  • Nick Clegg will never serve as an MP ever again. His goose is well and truly cooked!
  • The Liberal Democrats will never be given the opportunity to govern anything again.
  • The Tories will never taste power again until we're all long dead and buried.
If only two of these three things happen, it will be a good result.

I intend to write Mr Clegg a letter in the next few days. The letter will be as restrained as I can muster, but the upshot of it will be that I voted for him because I thought he'd make a difference. I never expected the difference he would make would make me feel as though I've robbed this country and its children of their futures. I shall point out to him that the coalition does not have a mandate to instigate the kind of damning changes it intends and I shall ask him if he would like to explain to me in simple terms why the poorest 10% of people in this country are being expected to burden the brunt of these cuts and whether or not it is fair.

I urge everyone to do the same. You can contact him at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

It might interest you to know that once upon a time you could email Clegg directly from his web page; this facility has been disabled. It might also be of interest that you could leave remarks on the Liberal Democrat Facebook page; anything disparaging is being removed. It might also interest you that if a general election were to be held tomorrow, Clegg would finish 3rd in his Sheffield seat and the LibDems would lose 48 of their 51 seats. He must be proud of the work he has done. Frankly, I'm surprised at him, I'm anything but surprised at Cameron; he is just a pompous arse who doesn't give a toss about any one.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

If it's broke, don't fix it

We all know something has to be done about the budget deficit. We're all aware that Labour had a large hand in putting us into a lot of debt; but arguably, had they not borrowed loads of money a lot of the remaining infrastructure of this country would have crumbled into nothing and our children would have been educated in Portacabins and our sick would have been treated in crumbling ruins. Only a Labour government would have ensured that there was something of a legacy for the future.

Admittedly, they took us into a war that we should have avoided and Tony Blair proved to be as dislikeable as Margaret Thatcher; but arguably every government does things that the majority of voters will not agree with. Just take the current proposed austerity measures; there are few people who don't agree that something needs to happen; it's just that very few people seem to realise that what is about to happen is going to have repercussions that screw up your grandchildren's children.

George Osborne doesn't live on an estate run by a housing association, nor does he need to top up his money with child or housing benefit. regardless of what happens to the rest of the country, he'll be alright Jack...

Except... the current Tory section of the coalition are not stupid. I think many of them realise that this is it. This is the last 5 years any of them are ever going to see in power again.

I blame Labour for this. The party knew they had little or no chance of winning the general election, especially with Gordon Brown leading them. Regardless of how brilliant the man was with our economy, there was no way to fix it. And before any of you suggest that Brown was a brilliant chancellor, just dig out the copy of The Economist that suggested he was responsible for preventing a massive financial crash throughout most of Europe. He stopped Britain from being washed away in a flurry of debt and greed; well, he didn't actually stop it, he just put off the inevitable. So, when it became obvious they weren't going to hold power, or even the balance of power, they screwed it up for the new team. It's a shitty thing to do, but it's also what successive governments have constantly done; they make the incumbents' job impossible for the first few years and with a bit of luck the new government will be ousted before they make any significant changes.

Osborne inherited not just a poisoned chalice, he inherited one that was rotten to the core and probably unfixable. So what better way of dealing with it than screwing up the country to the point where whoever gets in power after the ConDems, won't be able to do a thing about it? There will be nothing left to try and fix or even try and rebuild. There won't be any money to reinstate any vital public services, without plunging the country back into the same mess its in at the moment. Once Osborne wields his axe that'll be it. It'll be goodbye to anything that resembles a public service.

He is going to systematically destroy anything that needs government money and with the private sector having zero faith in their ability to fill the void, we'll see 5million plus unemployed with no hope and no future. But that won't be the end of it: you see Cameron and co can truly believe that the private sector will fill some of the void, but whatever happens, even in the most optimistic worlds, they won't be able to fill it all. So we're going to have a lot more people trying to claim benefits and there won't be any money to pay them. How do you pay an extra 2 or 3 million people JSA or Income Support when you haven't got any money? Come to think of it, how are they going to get all those people off of DLA and Invalidity Benefits when there won't be any jobs for them to do. It's well and good saying that you want to get all those malingerers off of benefits, but they have to actually have something to do. Or are we going to see the new government reinvent things like The Youth Training Scheme or The Community Programme? You remember them (and if you don't); they didn't work. All they did was artificially take a million people off the dole so that the Tories could say how good they were.

George Osborne knows that he has an impossible task and he is acutely aware that aware that this is his once in a lifetime chance to have some power. He is also aware that this being his only chance and that he has no real way of solving the problem, so he's going to make sure whoever inherits his job won't be able to change anything. He won't even have a guilty conscience, because he's going to be okay regardless of what happens.

Now, I don't have a miracle cure. There's no point in saying, "So what would you do, Phil, if you're so bloody clever", because my cures would rankle as many people as they'd please. I would however not renew Trident; I would pull our troops out of anywhere they shouldn't be; I would employ intelligent people at the tax office to claw back all the billions of pounds that the richest people avoid paying, through one scam or another. But after that I'd be hard pressed to think of anything to cut; you see the problem is that this country needs £150billion spending on it to rebuild its infrastructure and make it a better place. I just have to accept that we're going to be the first generation for almost 70 years that will be worse off than our parents. I have to accept that the kids who are currently going to school are going to be devoid of anything by the time they leave school; devoid of jobs, money, a future and hope. I have to realise that one day very soon there won't be anything left that is supported by a government.

I have to accept that this country, whoever's in charge is so deep in the shit it might possibly never get fixed.

I have to accept that the current government are going to be the people who make this nightmare scenario a reality.

I have to accept that even though it isn't mine or your fault, that me, you, your children and your children's children are going to have to pay for it.

I have to accept the fact that many people will think I'm scaremongering and won't believe it, even when reality bites them on the arse and I'll have to accept the fact that a lot of people will also be alright Jack.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bin There Done That

You do realise that at some point in the next few years the most obviously seen of your council services - refuse collection - will no longer be part of your council tax - the council will subsidise it but you will have to pay whatever private company collects rubbish to take away anything that isn't recyclable or can't be composted.

Many people might think this is a good thing; a way of encouraging people to be more conscientious about their waste disposal. But the reality is that in many places, there are occupants who don't understand, will not be educated or simply don't give a shit.

The entire business of waste disposal is ludicrous; it should be something the council should always supply; it should attempt to educate people, but it should also be about providing the most direct service that council tax payers see for their money. To charge people, like they do in the USA, is actually a very good way of causing massive unnecessary conflict.

Take this scenario: your black bin - the one that contains all the stuff that can't be recycled or composted - is weighed every time it is collected; at the end of a 3, 6 or 12 month period, you receive a bill. It will have averaged out your waste across a period of time and this will be the tariff you pay for the following year - although black bins will still be weighed. The poor, the devious, the scoundrels, the ignorant will be faced with huge bills and many of them will know this and they will resort to a number of ways of 'cutting their bills'. They will surreptitiously put their own rubbish in the bins of others; they will fly tip; they will cram rubbish into the bottoms of brown or green bins, in the hope they can fake the bin men; but if you contaminate recycling bins with non-recycling goods, the entire bin becomes rubbish.
Short of issuing everyone with padlocks for their bins, which have to be opened the day or collection; or getting each bin men to empty the contents of each bin into the back of the wagon before it's crushed, so they can sift through it - which won't happen because of HSE rules; them logistics of doing this is ridiculous. It will cause fights between neighbours, breakdown communities, lead to witch hunts and ostracism and causing more money to be directed to stem the flow of antisocial problems as a result.

I see enough ignorance and thoughtless retaliation to know that rubbish is a contentious issue and even the most slovenly and unhygienic of people still want some of their rubbish to be taken away. Remember the human conditions people on those Life of Grime programs lived in? That will grow; people won't throw things away because they won't be able to afford to or because they're scared to open their bins because every one else will use them too.

I've also noticed in some places; not Northampton as such, that public bins are not being replaced and in some cases not being put in to new parks and community areas. Dog bins, yes, but litter bins - no. We can take our rubbish home with us. we can move it all around rather than actually dispose of it. Out in the far reaches of the region there is a plan to build a big incinerator which will dispose of 60% of the rubbish and generate not only 15% of the electricity, but about 300 new jobs. The locals are opposed to it; not because it is a pollution threat, but because it will be an eyesore... Nimby-ism strikes again, but do you see the point? Most people are nimbys and rubbish is a real nimby issue.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Only on a Blue Watch

The RMT are calling for civil disobedience. UNISON want a series of crippling strikes. The entire Trades Union movement appears to be gearing itself up for a year of hell.

But something is different. This isn't the Poll tax riots or the civil unrest of Thatcher's era. This has more of the middle class march against the Iraq war, back in the early part of this century. You remember the one where the majority of the marchers were not mohicaned punks or covert BNP activists, but the well-to-do families from the better neighbourhoods, who were appalled that Tony Blair could lead us into a war with Iraq. A war, no more justified than the Falklands War (but none of middle England went to the streets for that one).

How many threats of civil disobedience did we have when Labour were in power? How many riots were there? Strikes, yes, but most were over fairness rather than survival. Whenever Westminster gets the whiff of something blue, the part of the country with a moral backbone grows indignant and does a Peter Finch from the film Network and they stand up and say, "we're not going to take this any more."

Only with a Tory led government would we have leaders of unions advocating action against our elected leaders.

The government and its group of advisers are the only people who believe that the impending cuts will not affect the poor. Every other fiscal think tank and organisation are wringing their hands and forecasting mass starvation for the poor. One of them is bound to be closer than the other. I said six months ago that if the Tory's got a whiff of power there would be civil unrest and now it seems I'm not the only one. I haven't done anything to incite it; I've been strangely reticent in my off-white ivory tower; preferring to sit and watch the ConDems flounder and fail. So if isolated little me can have a prophecy about the future...

One of the union leaders made a very good analogy on the TV this morning. Why is the benefits fraud department spending vast amounts of money assigning 'agents' to watch the houses of people who may or may not be perpetrating some kind of benefits fraud, when the tax office could be looking at ways of stopping the top 2% of the richest people in the country from housing their money in Cayman Island bank accounts and avoiding paying any tax whatsoever? Just one of these rich Tory benefactors, the ones who have as say in the running of the country, but don't contribute anything to it, would accrue more money than a thousand fraud inspectors tracking a thousand benefit fraudsters. I'd never advocate benefits fraud, but surely people like Lord Ashcroft are far worse?

What amazes me more than anything else are the Liberals. I cannot believe a centre left party would have sold itself down the river for a hint of power. If I was a prophet regarding the looming of civil unrest, let me don my wizard's hat and cape again and look into the crystal ball again...

In the summer of 2011, with public transport at a halt thanks to strikes; nurses threatening to go on strike as hospital waiting lists increase, the police federation challenging the 'no strike' clause in their contracts, with firemen reduced to putting out fires only, with a reduced staff in front line positions constantly under threat and in need of justifying their existence, a number of Liberal MPs will walk to the other side of the house. There will be a massive upsurge in internal dissension amongst the Liberals ranks and the coalition will fall apart. The Tories will attempt to run the country via a minority government, but by the end of the summer another general election will be called and while this one will also have no overall winner, it will be Labour with the balance of power. The Liberals will be reduced to a handful of seats in the south west and Scotland. The divides inside the Tory party will become all too clear, once they realise they may never hold majority power again and they tear themselves apart. Labour will raise taxes on the rich, find the cuts in other ways; the right wing papers will forecast that all of our rich and clever people will leave for other countries, but few will, because everywhere else is just as bad!

I don't know if its my age or if it really is this sense of doom pervading my life and those around me; but I've never known people to have such a gloomy outlook. There's this resignation amongst a lot of people that there's nothing we can do and even if there was we wouldn't stop it. I try to be positive about the future; but look at the jobs section of your local paper - you'll be lucky to see more than half a dozen pages of jobs and all of them are on or about the minimum wage. Look at the number of empty shops and half built sites that are sitting dormant, because no one has any faith in them succeeding and no one has any money to spend in them. If your kid is in a shiny brand new school, then praise the Lord, because the ones who are still sitting in drafts and watching the rain come in through holes in the ceilings are going to stay that way. But, there is a bright side, someone will make a mint out of our forthcoming misery, someone always does.

At the end of October, the country is steeling itself for measures that most believe will affect us all. Because many councils and organisations are already shedding jobs in anticipation of this, by November I expect the largest unions will have mobilised with the intention of disrupting as much of Christmas as is possible. It will be horrible for people; no post, no trains, no buses, maybe no refuse collection, high prices and this time, there won't be that many dissenting voices, because everyone earning under £50k a year is going to feel it and that means most of us are going to feel it.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Hell and Hand-baskets

It's funny. We had a recession and I didn't really notice it much. I only really started to notice it when we were, allegedly, coming out of it.

Since June, I've been broke. Incidentals did it and as a result a time of the year when I normally don't spend much money, I've had to spend even less. The prognosis doesn't look all that rosy either...

Compatriot and Everton supporter, Roger Trenwith highlights the plight of some of the town's heritage in his Brouhaha blog over at Museums, like libraries and stuff of that ilk, are going to change beyond our recognition over the next few years. It seems highly likely, because regional museums cost money and we're being reminded almost hourly at the moment that there isn't any (and this is before October when we really find out who isn't getting what), there is a good chance that the whole dynamic of museums will change.

Listening to an interesting radio phone in the other day, which was outlining the aim of the government, through its Big Society, to get more people doing stuff for nothing - or volunteering if you want to use the correct word. Now, I've been working closely with the Voluntary Sector for the last ten years and I suppose for the unenlightened I should point out that the Voluntary Sector is run by paid people. It isn't a misnomer, because there are many people who do volunteer for things; it's just that it's run by people employed and therefore paid from monies that come from all manner of places; places that are likely not to have money any more, or for a long time.

The aim of the phone in was to show how the government would get more people taking control of amenities they feel are being inadequately maintained or run. If you didn't like the way your local service was being run you can take it over and put in the people who would deliver it better and at no cost whatsoever to any one, because you'd be volunteering to run it or help run it. Yes, the logistics would mean that councils would still own museums and would have a token member of staff to do all the necessary things such as ordering, banking and the like; but that person would be assisted by an 'army' of able bodied and willing volunteers...

Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.

Don't get me wrong. It's a valiant idea, but one that really, truly, shows how politicians are completely out of touch with life outside of their big eff-off mansions or their London homes. There is also some truth in it as well, the smart people at ConDem HQ have figured that with so many people losing their jobs over the next couple of years, then we can make this deal with the long term unemployed - go and do 30 hours of voluntary work a week, at your library or museum or even cleaning out bins and you'll get your dole cheque at the end of the week (now, of course, paid directly into a claimant's bank account!).

Last week, someone in the Guardian pointed out that if all the museums in the country charged £1 entrance fee and all under 14s go free, it would generate over £1,000,000 a day or getting on for £500m a year. Half a billion quid raised through sensible pricing of our heritage. Yes, there will be a drop off in attendees, but even if that figure dropped by a quarter, it's still 3/4s of a million quid a day, which is a lot more than they get at the moment. Yes, it's an extra tax in many ways, but its one you choose to pay rather than having it forced onto you.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has ascertained that it will be the poor who get royally buggered by the austerity measures being put into place. The government were quick to disagree with the IFS. Funny how they hold the right to disagree with them when they don't like what they say, but are quick to get behind them when they say something positive?

In truth, I think any household that has a combined income of under £50k a year is going to struggle to make ends meet. I expect that 1 in 5 of those households will see a sudden drop in money thanks to redundancies or lay offs and no replacement jobs. Many experts are saying these austerity measures could have to last 10 years, which seems like a prison sentence to anyone, especially if you're one of the people who ain't going to come out of it smelling of roses. The problem is, a lot of people are looking at the bigger picture and none of them appears to be the government. We're having it rammed down out throats that we have to make cuts and tighten out belts, but what happens when all these measures destroy the lives of people? If the private sector doesn't pick up all the public sector cast offs then there will be an influx of people all looking for work and having effectively been removed from society, they suddenly can no longer use the things they once did and this will have its own knock on effect. The flood of people onto the jobs market will be so keen that it could have a totally detrimental effect on the private sector; especially peripherally.

You and the wife are quite comfortable, the two kids are at a reasonable school, the dog is healthy, you have two cars and a small mortgage. You in your private sector job and the wife in her public sector one. She becomes a statistic and your income is down by up to 50%. If she gets a severance package you're all right for a while, but when that runs out and she still hasn't got a job things start to change. You might have a small mortgage, which is always going to be manageable, but the second car has suddenly become a luxury and even though you need it; in case the wife gets a new job or for running the kids to school, it's an expense that you could really do without.

Then there's the fortnightly meal at your favourite restaurant or pub; that's going to have to be cut back to once a month or even completely - and while you're just one couple not using your favourite restaurant, you might be one of several customers who can no longer afford this particular social luxury. Hubby can't afford to go to the pub with his mates once a week and that's a tenner the publican isn't going to make and his beer prices are going up and his food customers are dwindling - hubby and the wife aren't going any more and neither are others. Suddenly the landlord is also struggling and of course the knock on from his struggles hits other companies.

Hubby also can't afford to play golf on a Saturday morning and his wife can't go to the gym, because she can't afford the once very affordable £50-£100 a month membership fees. The kids, both still at school, need feeding, clothing and entertaining and the 17-year-old one wants driving lessons. While he or she is learning with dad rather than with Red or BSM, the dog is run over, costing over £500 to fix, because they couldn't afford the insurance payments after the wife lost her job.

Dominoes. The economy is a precarious game of dominoes. And when the stakes are as high as the ones being talked about, one person can have a direct effect on a local business, which in turn has an affect on local trade, which impacts on regional trade, which in turn does the same for national. So, when you think you don't make a difference, you possibly do.

The shop I once owned almost beat the last big recession; but I became dependent on regular trade. I knew John Q was going to come into the shop every week and spend £50, you start to budget for it. Then John Q lost his job and suddenly he was spending £5 and not £50. You can argue that its bad practice, but it isn't; it's human nature. Newsagents know that all the people who get papers delivered will pay at some point - its guaranteed money; it's how they work. It's how a milkman works; it's how supermarkets work, obviously on a grander scale, but it all boils down to the expectation of people coming in because previous trends dictate.

The pessimist in me feels that we're all staring down the barrel of a gun and we're a different kind of society to the ones that saw mass unemployment in the 70s and 80s or the ridiculous boom bust survivors of the 90s. I don't think people are adverse to peaceful rebellion and longer and the unemployed become desperate, especially when their poverty starts impacting on the lives of their children.

If you think I'm scaremongering, you might be right, things never fall apart that badly, do they? I was chatting to mate of mine the other day, he's a policeman, has been for a long time. In fact, he's coming up for retirement soon and he'd take it tomorrow if it was offered. The reason is simple, he said to me. He doesn't want to be a copper any longer because he doesn't think it will be a safe job soon and he feels he may have to do things that he now feels he can't. He doesn't think he's alone. I spoke with a woman who holds a very high position in the Borough. She has been doing what she does for a long time and knows the inner workings of this kind of thing; she thinks that the world is going to change so drastically over the next couple of years that its going to leave some people shell shocked. She doesn't believe anyone is safe, not even front line jobs and services. She envisages councils being stripped back to the barest of bones, all services farmed out to either the private sector or centralised like the probation service. This is a woman who grew up in an unemployment hot spot and thinks she's seeing history repeat itself.

I was too young to fully appreciate the mess the country was in during the 70s; I was too preoccupied with sex and drugs and rock and roll in the 1980s to really let my years of unemployment and desolation concern me (until it was too late); I suffered the 16% interest rates, almost losing my house and being made bankrupt in the 1990s and yet I never lost my optimism. I always thought that the change was just round the corner, that there was hope. I look ahead to 2011 and beyond and I feel empty, worried and a wee bit afraid. It wasn't our fault we're in this mess, but we're the only schmucks that receive the bill.

It's a pretty bleak outlook when the one bright side you can see is that millions of others will be in the same boat.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Has the dust settled?

I've had much to comment on, but figured it was best to wait and see what happens before pitching in with the doom or yeah sayers. After all, what we are experiencing is something unique in British politics - a peace time coalition; and one between two diametrically opposites. Except it is now very clear that the LibDems 50 odd seats are nothing more than a poor bargaining chip for the trappings of power. No wonder there are thousands of LibDem supporters feeling disillusioned and are now watching the Labour leadership race with more interest than could have been expected - many of them will be joining Labour if the right man (or woman) is in charge.

While I've been even handed about the ConDem pact, I've had this feeling of dread for a number of weeks now, because I really do believe that we're not just heading for a double-dip recession.
A double-dip recession is an extended decline in economic activity following an aborted recovery from a previous recession. A relatively weak economic recovery sometimes causes investors to worry about the economy entering another recession. So they are reluctant to invest or lose faith in the markets, stocks plummet and to put it bluntly, we start to wish we had Norman Lamont in charge of the economy, because it'll be far worse than that.

For all the possible good intentions of the ConDem pact, I can't help but think by the time they feel we have paid off the National Debt there won't be much left in this country but poor people with worthless possessions - apart, of course, those that have always had and will continue to have even as the rest of us enter a new Dark Ages.

We're seeing it with this Big Society idea; the vaguest of vague election promises that seems to be edging towards getting everyone to volunteer. Getting 16 year old kids to 'volunteer' to work on community schemes. [just the words community and Conservative in the same area leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth].One thing is clear, the government have all these big ideas, yet while they spout their rhetoric about a better country, they're busy slashing every budget imaginable. Just how are they going to achieve all these goals when they reckon there's no money and we all have to pay, again, for the fact that we don't seem to be able to elect anyone that is capable of balancing the books?

I have been reliably informed that by April 2011 we'll start to see what the 'new world' is going to start to look like. The future isn't orange, it's more of a slate grey with slashes of crimson...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

In the cold harsh light of day...

I somehow think that politicians don't employ something called 'reflective practice' - the ability to sit down and take stock, reassess and redirect.

I'm afraid that as a result of the general election that my socialist values have not only resurfaced, they have bombarded me with scenarios that have made me question everything I've been thinking about over the last couple of years.

I advocated this current political arrangement. The way I saw it, the two parties would temper each other to the point where fairness would be the key word. I'm not so sure now; let me explain.

I think Clegg sold out the 28% of the population that voted for him. Many of these people voted Lib Dem in Labour seats to ensure the Tories didn't get into office. Lib Dems are essentially not Conservatives. The call of some power has clouded the Lib Dems and compromised their values and while MPs and members of the party might be jumping around like idiots; at what cost?

Everyone seems to be crowing about new politics and new opportunities it might bring, but it won't happen. What will happen is that droves of Lib Dems will defect (back) to Labour, even if the marriage works, because it will sit wrongly with their principals. Can you imagine floating Lib Dem voters looking back on this 'partnership' and thinking about the grinning, posh boys of the Bullingdon Club and the sneering, self-serving and morally corrupt Tory MPs, members and supporters? They will have realised that they sold their principals down the river for 12 pieces of silver (or 5 if you count it as ministerial positions).

I want to be positive about this coalition; but it sits wrongly with me. I feel as though I voted Conservative at the last General Election and that effectively means that my brief flirtation with the Lib Dems is over. I think I would now vote Labour even if Blair came back.

I am fed up with ignorant buffoons crawling out of the woodwork condemning Labour for 13 years of Hell on Earth and I'm thinking 'where have you people been hiding for 13 years? Can you remember what 18 years of Tory government did for this country? The fact we have no infrastructure; everything was sold off and the lesser classes were treated like shit covered trainers. The fact that the last Tory administration destroyed community, effectively causing all of the problems we have today with antisocial behaviour. People blame Blair and Brown for Iraq and Afghanistan, but people seem to forget that Thatcher started a war with Argentina just to ensure she won an election she looked destined to be destroyed at. Because of the Tory party we're having to use more and more cars, because while we still have a rail network, the idea of forking out ridiculous amounts of money to stand on a packed train to London is far less preferable than driving.

We were all going to suffer from austerity measures; but I really believe that if you earn under £50k a year, then you're going to be desperately trying to make ends meet by the time this government is forced back into an election. We're going to see indirect tax rises everywhere - the spending cuts will mean that if councils don't increase council tax then you'll see the Draconian measures of charging us for our waste - which could lead to as many demonstrations as the Poll Tax - despite the fact that waste disposal is part of the council tax and about the only front line service that you see on a regular basis. VAT will go up; yeah they might scrap the rise in NI, but they'll get it back from us rather than from employers - because, lets face it, our employers are far far more important than us - aren't they? It's important that senior management get bonuses and the ground staff get pay cuts.

The sad thing about the election is that it was a smack in the face for people like me who felt that the people were changing and were more likely to vote for something different. Looking at the results, its clear that independents don't really have a chance and even if they get into local politics, one person alone can't stop anything. Therefore, I've decided that I'm not going to run for local elections next year. The straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, happened yesterday when I was talking to a colleague who works in senior management for a service that is likely to one of the first hit by any public spending cuts. "I'm glad that the Tory's will be involved in the new government," she said.
"What about the fact that your entire department might end up being axed and you might be out of a job?"
"I never really considered that."
This is someone who earns twice as much money as I do and has masses of responsibility, but obviously very little common sense.

During the election campaign, I saw this disabled girl saying on television that she wanted Cameron to win because the Tory's might do more for the disabled people. Ha! The blind ignorance of the world is remarkable. Since the result has been announced there have been some positively heinous twats appearing on TV and radio saying every single reason why I've never voted Conservative, never will vote Conservative and have finally lost my faith in people to do the sensible thing. Thatcher made most of us self-centred selfish bastards - on May 11, 2010 her legacy was exonerated.

I will continue to fight for what is right in Northampton and the shire, but maybe with a little less enthusiasm and a lot more cynicism.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Maybe Politics

After listening to every side of the political debate; from journalists with left leanings, right leanings and central positions, this is what I think is going to happen.

A Conservative minority government with concessions given to them by the Lib Dems, to the point where the third largest party will abstain from contentious bills and be given a free whip on workable bills. The reason for this is multiple. The Tories and the Lib Dems are close on some issues, but very few, ideologically - most lib Dems today are centre left, ex Labour voters who are neither that far left or right to agree with the politics of the two main parties. The Lib Dems wants electoral reform, the Tories would concede to Parliamentary Reform. The Lib Dems are pro Europe, the Tories have become increasingly Euro-sceptic and support a lesser role in the EEC. Many Lib Dem MPs and members would find the idea of a coalition between the two parties abhorrent and it would struggle to get past them.
However, while the Lib Dems can be seen as king makers, getting into bed with Labour and propping up a coalition of defeated parties wouldn't sit well with a lot of voters, even those who voted for both parties; but, the two parties and the others they would have to embrace did poll over 50% of the popular vote - so, technically, with voting reform an issue, is any one a loser?
The Lib Dems could possible form an alliance with Labour, but that would require a new leader - therefore a new PM - and would the country accept another PM who wasn't elected as PM? For that to work there would have to be an agreement that the parties' would work together for a period of time until a referendum on electoral reform is held and then once that is decided, go back to the country again. Possibly an 18 month to two year government.
The problem with every scenario is that the Lib Dems could lose badly if it goes wrong. They could be seen as supporting a party diametrically opposed to them - unpopular amongst voters and potential voters. They would be seen as supporting the losing party if they went in that direction. However, they stand to be shafted by Tory or Labour if they go into a fully-fledged partnership. The situation for Nick Clegg isn't simple - step one way oblivion, step the other and more oblivion. He walks a thin line and his best policy would be to let someone else screw up and capitalise on that. Issue a message when it all starts to go horribly wrong for the party in power that the country had its chance for change and it chose not to, they've been given another chance and this could be the last time they will.

Personally? I grew to like the idea of a hung parliament. I felt it represented a turning point in British politics; the opportunity for more debate on why the country didn't elect a clear winner. However, it has been overshadowed by the impossible deals circulating everywhere. I think the Lib Dems ought to sit back and allow the Tory's to form a minority government. I refer my loyal readers to it is the entry I made at the end of February and refers to Marina Hyde's Guardian column advocating weak government. I'm believe that the Conservatives won the most seats and should be given a chance to govern. They are now in the position where they have to be very careful about every decision they take; they have to think about every reaction from the MPs they will rely on to abstain. They will have to do something the Tory's need to learn about - compromise. We need a fairer country, with less cuts and more investment. We need others to take responsibility for the debt - it wasn't the people of the country who caused it, therefore we shouldn't be made to pay for it. Perhaps it might work and if it doesn't we'll can all go back and try again.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

They're Off...

We're on the brink of a potentially historic election; don't think that your vote won't count. Every person has the right to vote and even if you don't like any of the candidates, just scrawl NONE OF THE ABOVE on your ballot. Be counted!

It is essential that the Conservatives do not get in. If you value everything you hold close, make sure you discourage people from voting for a party that will line its own pockets, sell of the rest of Britain, will not stimulate growth and will strip mine what's left and leave it to the rest to sort out the mess, yet again.

I could bore you all to death with things that they would change or overturn. This country needs you to vote tactically - make sure the Lib Dems at least have a chance of getting voting reform in this country. A vote for Conservative is a guarantee your children and parents will have to be looked after by you and you alone; while fox hunters trample your garden, your mortgage rate will go up massively, to ensure the savings of the rich are replenished and you'll be paying extra to have your bins emptied.

Remember, only a third of the country want Cameron; the rest of us have to live with the consequences.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The End is Nigh... (Part 2)

The previously mentioned Tory District Councillor got his premonition of doom and gloom from comments made by Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, in Paris earlier this year. King is also said to have commented that whoever gets in power this time around will never get in power again for a generation. Even some Tories have enough common sense to realise that government this time around could well be a highly poisonous chalice.

So why all the doom and gloom? Or maybe to rephrase that question; are you all aware what kind of crap we're all in whatever happens on Thursday?

If you work for the police and the NHS, then you can vote whoever you want to without a guilty bone in your body, your job is safe. The rest of us? By January 2012, unless there's a real miracle, 1 in 5 of us could be out of work. We'll be paying 20% VAT; there will be a hike in council tax next year because council funding will be slashed; we'll have less firemen - it isn't an essential service according to any of the parties - ask your candidate, he will not give you an answer. There will be no money for projects, no money for the youth or the elderly; we'll start getting into debt to live; we'll be expected to bring our children up and care for our parents; there will be no increases in salaries, but there will be indirect tax increases every single budget - your cigarettes, booze, petrol will all go up higher and higher and eventually, we won't have enough money to spend on luxuries and there will be a depression, one that will cripple not just this country, it will sweep throughout Europe; but the party in power will get the blame. Austerity will be the key word; bitterness will sweep the nation, because this will affect almost everyone; even the most guarded and withdrawn super rich Conservatives, behind their electric gates or stone walls.

The first things you'll see are park lawns going uncut; roads never being repaired; broken things remaining unfixed; then increases in parking costs, more opportunities for people to become parking wardens; punitive measures that will be short term only.

If you don't do anything else this week, think about this: if there has to be at least £60billion worth of cuts to be made by 2014 and this is going to mainly come from public spending; how are the parties going to find money to use to stimulate industry and commerce in the worst hit areas to ensure we don't have 4 million people unemployed by next Christmas?

No wonder the District Councillor thinks a hung parliament is the best thing that can happen to British politics, because that way none of them can take the blame. I'm not trying to be a doom and gloom merchant; I just think we all need to know that we're about to face - it isn't going to be nice.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The End is Nigh...

Today, I did something I can't say I've done ever before. I had a long and very interesting conversation with a Conservative District Councillor. He said, for me, what might be the defining statement of this entire election. He said that "This might be a good election to lose!"

He also told me, quite matter of factly, that he had no intention of voting for his own party next Thursday and his reasons weren't because he felt Camerwrong and Snooty will drive the country into the ground; far from it. He doesn't want the Tories to get in because he firmly believes, like some economists, that we're heading for 4 years of hell. "Whoever gets in is likely never to govern ever again, because they will be blamed. People have short memories." Blamed? For what?

This District Councillor believes that we're heading for another recession; that we're not going to get out of the current one before we're hit with an even harder one, that affects considerably more people than the last one. "£60billion is the cost of two British armies and that's what whoever gets in has to cut from budgets to pay off our debts. There's bugger all left to cut." Surprising words from a Tory and I said as much. "Ah, but we can't ignore the big picture; if we do that then we'll all go to hell in a hand basket."

Tories don't think that way. Especially not mid 50s Tories living in rural Northamptonshire. He felt the only thing that could work was if we had a hung parliament, then no one would get the blame for the coming storm.

He wasn't the most positive of people I've met recently and that is surprising as he supports and represents a party that are looking more and more likely to win a small majority on the 6th. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing after all; if Armageddon is on its way like this councillor seemed to think it was...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Brown Trousers Time for Election

Let's be honest. How many times have we met people with ignorant and ill informed opinions? How often have we left the company of others feeling that one or more of them are either grossly under-educated or moronically fascist?

I'm not for a second going to even contemplate defending Gordon Brown. Listening to the story break on 5Live, I got that horrible feeling that we've just hit a watershed in the election campaign. Labour are buggered.

David Cameron must be rubbing his Eton-educated hands together and waiting for the keys to #10 - because, in an election that had Hung Parliament writ LARGE all over it; Cameron (a Tory, therefore more likely to be a bigot than a little old lady from Rochdale) will benefit from this enormously and all the support for the Lib Dems will probably count for nought. The election that could change everything has been scuppered by a prime minister who probably needed a hung parliament to have any chance of staying on.

Golly... I'd hate to be at Labour HQ at the moment. There isn't really any way out of this one and coming so late in the day, there's absolutely nothing Labour can do. They have effectively lost 1 million votes, possibly more. There isn't a Labour candidate in the country who can possibly defend Brown without coming across as a complete and utter tit.

The need to vote tactically is even more imperative. It is important for the future of this country; the remaining services, the old and the young that Cameron and his Bullingdon club cronies do not get their hands on power - they can do a serious amount of damage in 5 years.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Election Observations

If Nick Clegg does nothing else in this general election, he is almost single-handedly responsible for actually making this election interesting. At the start of the campaign, as far as I was concerned, it was a bit of a one horse race and I wasn't even contemplating doing my usual of sitting up until the small hours of results night. The election was dull and so were politics.

Now, Nick Clegg isn't the real reason for this; he's just suddenly put the concept of an alternative, a real live alternative, in an eternal two horse race. This is the catalyst for what could be the biggest change in British politics and you can almost feel it in the air. Two weeks ago the subject of politics in the pubs around my way was non-existent, last night, while supping a reasonably local beer, there was nothing but politics on display and while it might be taboo to talk politics at the pub, this wasn't your stereotypical left versus right slanging match; this was reasoned discussion about what having a third party to choose from means.

One thing is sure, if Clegg really has given the youth of the country someone to vote for, then all parties have to realise that over the next 20 years or so, the under 18s on May 6 are going to be the future voters and if they remain as apathetic as they are now then we'll see governments elected with turn outs below 50%, even with PR. Politicians really desperately need to put youth back on their agendas, even if the thought of the cost of it alone is staggering, especially in light of cutbacks that need to be made.

I was rather perplexed by the boundary changes that have made Northampton North and South quite bizarre. I live right on the border of Northampton South, yet Duston, which lies to the north, slightly of me, is also in Northampton South, as is Castle - Councillor Tony Clarke's ward, which is about level geographically. It also seems to me, and I'm probably very wrong, but the areas that have been moved to South have mainly all got Tory votes stamped all over them...

With the growing prospect of a hung parliament, I do hope the parties can all agree that Vince Cable is the best man to have in charge of the Exchequer. Alistair Darling has had a crack and needs to move on, preferably to Scotland. While George 'Lord Snooty' Osborne hasn't even got a degree in anything remotely to do with figures - dates, yes, but figures with £ and $s in front of them - nada. I wouldn't trust that man with my monthly allowance, let alone billions of our tax poonds!