Friday, 26 March 2010

An Ideal Scenario

Smug opportunist in pursuit of ill-defined 'change' comes unstuck!

In 2010 so far, we have seen the slow slide of the Conservatives; the prospect of a strong or even outright majority fading, as the British people take a look at them and understandably have second thoughts. Before Darling's absurd 'we're going to be harder than Thatcher' rhetoric, Labour had managed to appear the more realistic option, not exactly supporting, but seeming to represent the sort of public sector terrain that the Tories would gleefully cut. Making swingeing public sector cuts will not be painless, and if we are talking job cuts, the state will only gain a minimal amount per sacked employee, when factoring in future loss of income tax/NI contributions and benefits to be paid out. The Liberal Democrats have a more consistent policy platform, spot on regarding trident, tax policy and much else. But Labour deserves a little credit for putting voting reform on the agenda. Left-of-centre people must accept it is crucial to avert Tory control; full PR would see a Thatcherite Conservatism made practically impossible again.
Within the realms of possibility, we could have:

LAB 30% (290 seats)
CON 34% (258 seats)
LIB-D 23% (70 seats)
OTH 12% (32 seats)

- with Labour gaining a small majority of seats and having to stage a referendum on full PR, to obtain loose issue-by-issue arrangement with the Liberal Democrats. It is over 80 years since we have had any kind of overhaul of our electoral system - ludicrous, but unsurprising, as the vested interests have dug in. The main two parties have long ceased to represent anything like the mass of the British people. They represent (or attempt to represent) a non-existent constituency of floating voters in the mythical land of Middle England, ending up pleasing nobody. If people are voting Green, Respect, TUSC, SNP, PC and UKIP - even BNP - these voices should be properly represented in Parliament.

If this happens, British democracy might, it just might, begin to grow up.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Cuts Are Not a Necessity, Nor Are They Inevitable
Compelling case made there.

Should public sector workers, the listeners of BBC6, students in FE/HE be penalised for the recession? A recession caused by a corrupt financial system - unchecked capitalism - aided and abetted by our politicians.

The nerve is extraordinary for Conservatives - and to a large extent, Labour - to be claiming public sector cuts would in effect be victim-less. Try lopping 20% off the budget of any area which provides frontline services to the public... The excess auditing and the culture of yearly mock-OFSTED inspections would be savings that could be made.

Redundancies in the civil service or education sectors may only amount to miniscule savings, considering the redundancy payments and future welfare benefits that the state will have to pay out.

Across-the-board pay freezes and reductions in managerial salaries might be part of the answer.

No cuts are wholly victimless - e.g. not renewing trident would mean cuts in Cumbria, getting rid of ID cards would affect the Durham passport offices. But these would at least be principled decisions - unlike the main parties' application of warped 'realism' to HE / FE / Local Authorities / Civil Services.

The BBC comes into this too. The strategic review talked about 'Quality' but not Public Service Broadcasting. I urge all to read the Strategic Review here and then respond to it...:, sign this petition for good measure; ensure it exceeds 100,000 signatories:

Preserve and support what is good public service: libraries, health care, BBC, NHS. The battle is only beginning and the General Election outcome will play a significant role in this. The debate must be joined now by all who care about retaining the vestiges of enlightenment to be found in Blighty. One cannot sit back resigned and watch the things you care about disintegrating; the forces of ignorance will win otherwise.

A corrective to Littlejohn

Have recently watched In the Loop (dir. Armando Iannucci, 2009), brilliantly scathing about what our politics has become.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Beneath Contempt

Interesting to consider this in the light of the Daily Heil's position in the 1930s under Rothermere.

Littlejohn - a bootboy enlisted for service in the war against civilisation. Impugning the integrity of a man who has just died is par for the course.

Foot was a member of the Local Defence Volunteers during WW2; what has Littlejohn ever offered to his 'treasured' blighty?

How does the column continue?

Meanwhile back in the real world


Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole has started to grow a beard since he split from his wife Cheryl