Archives for March 2011

Politicos by Roz

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Inequitable and wrong

Lloyds new boss  ‘Antonio Horta-Osorio’ – it’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it?  And – to continue the oral metaphor – his ‘golden hello’ is difficult to swallow, a cool £13.5 million – and he hasn’t done anything yet! Meanwhile on some industrial estate, a Lloyds business customer is struggling to stay afloat. Battered by banksters’ folly and squeezed by the effect Cameron’s cuts, he pleads in vain for his bank charges to be returned to their pre-banking crisis levels and for his previous overdraft facility to be restored: at stake 150 jobs, his home and his dreams and aspirations. His requests will probably fall on deaf ears and his business may fail. Banks deliver pain whist we deliver banks – and Antonio Horta-Osorio puts his snout in the trough.

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Was lost and is found…?

Ed, along with Peter Hain who is heading the project, are going to ‘refound Labour’! This is a new initiative to make the party more outward looking…okay, so what’s on offer?

“It is imperative we use this period of Opposition to leapfrog the other parties by refounding our own, so that Labour emerges refreshed and reinvigorated”. …says Peter Hain.

Thing is, I’m not sure what is meant by ‘refounding’. Does it mean starting with a clean sheet of paper (another one!) and ditching some of Labour’s sacred cows? There’s even talk about ‘rule changes’ in September. Is this bye, bye Trade Unions? Got a feeling it’s not going to be quite as drastic as that.

Peter Hain went on to say: “Fewer voters are wedded to one particular party these days”. He’s absolutely right. We’re entering an era of what might be called ‘secular politics’. People are less inclined to sign up to inflexible doctrines and nail their colours to the mast of ‘the party’. Also, political parties can no longer afford to be identified with a particular section of society. Maybe we shouldn’t get too excited, ‘refounding’ could just be about image and rebranding.

Whatever ‘refounding’ turns out to be, the Labour leadership should be under no illusion that a great many of their loyal followers are less than impressed with the party’s performance since the General Election.

Ed is being willed on to be better than he is or is ever likely to be: the absence of any statement on policies and the lack of any ‘big ideas’ is disappointing. It’s time to step up to the mark and deliver. Unfortunately, I have a sneaking feeling that desperation is starting to set in and that ‘refounding’ has been designed to distract people’s attention away from the fact that there are no new policies and no ‘big ideas’. I hope I’m wrong.

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Such a costly carelessness

While the Education Secretary, Michael Gove has been pondering his next cock-up, the think-tank Demos has just produced a report, ‘The Forgotten Half’, which says that secondary schools are focusing on brighter children and are neglecting pupils with ‘vocational aspirations’. It claims this affects half young people in secondary education.

“The education system needs to be less focused on pushing young people through the hoops of assessment that lead on to higher education, and more on equipping them with the skills to enter and progress through the labour market”

Isn’t the truth of the matter that our education system is not fit for purpose? Doesn’t it say that our ‘one size fits all’ approach is wrong? Why are we still wedded to an education formula which was designed to meet the needs of the industrial revolution? Isn’t it true that we are failing children because those in the educational establishment are stuck in an elitist mind set?

Why does it take a report from a think-tank to point out what has been so blindingly obvious for decades? Why do we continue to fail our children by not providing them with an education system that allows them to recognise and develop their talents? Why do we tolerate a system that thoughtlessly disregards their dreams and aspirations?  How can we be so stupid as to squander the nation’s priceless human capital with such carelessness?

That we are failing half the children in secondary education is a national disgrace. This lack of proper attention is perpetuating  our unequal society. It is costly carelessness. We need a radical overhaul of our education system. We must demand a system that meets the needs of our time and gives every child an education that best suits their individual talents – whatever it costs.

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A prat with nine lives

Today the Education Secretary, pouting  Michael Gove will perform a partial ‘U’ turn on EMA. He won’t admit that withdrawing it was a mistake, he’ll restore it with what he calls a much more ‘targeted approach’ – the same thing, but with less money available – and almost certainly more costly to administer. How does Gove get away with it? He’s been responsible for more cock-ups and more ‘U’ turns than any other coalition minister. Apparently he and Dave are great muckers, but surely Dave can’t go on protecting this incompetent? What’s that, Dave… “will no one rid me of this petulant prat?”  Sorry old son, you’re the boss, you’re the one that has to wield the knife. Bet you don’t

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I had a dream…?

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And your offer is…?

What so many politicians fail to understand is that if you want to sell something, you have to spell out your offer in a clear and unambiguous manner. You have to create excitement and enthusiasm. People need to be able to identify with your passion and your goals. I don’t think these simple home truths have got through to our Ed. I am not excited or enthused by ‘an alternative’ nor do I fully understand what exactly the alternative is. What the country is desperate for is new ideas, something people can get behind. Opening your trap when all you have to offer is a blank sheet of paper and a ‘mass listening programme’,  just won’t cut the mustard.

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Silly boy George!

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A correction Mr Osborne…

‘Politicians do not create jobs. Politicians create the conditions in which jobs can be created’.

Well Mr O, the effect of front ending the spending cuts is starting to bite and consumer confidence plummeting. Do you honestly think these are the right conditions for jobs to be created? Absolutely not. Enterprise Zones I hear you say – come on, look at the record Mr O. Enterprise Zones don’t create many new jobs, they recycle existing ones in new premises. Last time £1.8 billion was spent to create 50,000 jobs.

I’m afraid you’re creating conditions in which jobs are not created. I think you might have underestimated your borrowing requirement.

 

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Lord Sorrell of…Blarney?

Oh Martin, how supportive you are! Your announcement yesterday that you’re going to uproot WPP’s world headquarters from the bogs of Ireland and come back to dear old Blighty was so timely! But why the change of mind? Because your mate George is going to reduce Corporation Tax by a couple of percentage points.* I see.

So was it really worth leaving in the first place, surely the costs of all this constant flitting about must be horrendous?  What are you trying to prove Martin? It’s not a power thing…or a little man thing either. Your just demonstrating what a loyal chappie you are…just trying to help out. That’ll be Dave, George and the gang?  I thought so.

*(and CFC’s, so I am advised)

 

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