Archives for November 2014

Luvs, Labour’s Lost!

Is the mistake is ours? Maybe we assume that our so-called ‘leaders’ are exceptional people, that their ordinariness is just a mask, and that buried deep inside their unimpressive forms  there’s a Churchillian spirit waiting to be unleashed. I wish it were so!

The reality is that our leaders are clever, but they are also really very ordinary and very unimpressive. Leaders? Mmmm…they have the responsibility of leadership, they understand what it is, but have very little idea of its practice. The reality is that our leaders are political technocrats. They work to predetermined party formulas that are meant to give us the impression that they are in control and have the measure of things – and that they are working for the common good, which they are not. Their prime motivation is personal and political survival. They work harder at this than anything else…until….well, until circumstances lay bare their inadequacy and they have to deliver something big to survive.  That’s where we are now.

Today, Miliband cuts a rather pathetic figure. Everything is catching up with him. His technocratic instincts tell him that he must fight his political opponents point by point. (Blind to the fact that his agenda is being set for him!) Viewed from inside his Westminster cocoon that might seem the right thing to do, but from the outside it’s a very boring, uninspiring spectacle. And the worrying thing is that he doesn’t seem to understand why we find it so unutterably boring and uninspiring.  Even more worrying is that it appears he doesn’t know what the answer is…and it’s really not all that difficult!

Swingeing austerity should have been a gift to a Labour opposition. They should be fifteen points ahead in the opinion polls. Loyal Labour supporters have been waiting in anticipation for big new ideas, but they have failed to materialise. As the election draws closer it’s becoming more apparent that there are no big ideas, no radical new policies. All that Labour supporters are going to get are technical ‘tweaks’ to existing coalition policies. To be blunt, Labour has been more than useless, they have been utterly, utterly wet, and they are about to pay a heavy price…actually, we are about to pay a very heavy price, which hurts – a lot!

Is there still time? Just, but the dead weight of the party machine and the ‘cleverer than thou’ Hampstead Labour elite will probably sink any new initiative or any new big idea. Look what happened last weekend when Ed announced that he was planning to scrap the House of Lords and introduce some better form of regional representation. A big idea if ever there was one! The announcement happened on a Saturday and hardly anybody noticed. Reason? Because it was a hastily dredged up ‘big idea’ that Ed had been frightened to voice.

We are witnessing a race to the bottom of the political mini-talents. What the country needs is a new political order, new political parties and new big ideas. Too much to ask? Just wait and see!

 

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Scotland could hold the balance of power at Westminster – the ultimate irony!

Mirror, mirror“This castle has a pleasant seat; Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses”

Words that Alex Salmond, leader of the 40+ victorious SNP MPs could be uttering as they enter Westminster next year having demolished Scottish Labour in the general election –  and it could be that they hold the balance of power in their hands. Possible? Not only is it possible, it is becoming increasingly likely as support for Scottish Labour tanks.

For more than half a century most of Scotland has been tribal Labour, but now all that is changing. Labour supporters in Scotland feel they’ve been taken for granted by the Labour leadership and many are beginning to realise that years of blind, unquestioning support for Labour has done them little good. Housing in the east end of Glasgow is terrible; there is still real poverty in the city and the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high. Scottish Labour councils are as bureaucratic, corrupt and self-serving as they ever were. Lazy, knucklehead Labour councillors reign supreme, but have delivered little. Labour has been sussed. It is about to pay a very heavy price.

But is the catalyst for this mass desertion just about a general dissatisfaction with Labour? Not totally. It’s about a betrayal of trust, but it’s even more about people believing that their vote can make a difference. The referendum proved that to them. The ‘Yes’ vote might not have triumphed, but it mobilised support for its cause in a spectacular manner, particularly in Glasgow, and somehow it was a like a liberation, people felt free to trash their traditional voting habits. Having done it once, they will be quite prepared to do it again. The referendum ‘Yes’ vote was a vote in favour of Scottish independence, but it was also a vote against the established political order and against Westminster.

The Westminster political establishment threw everything in its armoury to secure a ‘No’ vote. It succeeded. It may have won the battle, but it is losing the peace. Within hours of the ‘No’ victory, ‘perfidious Dave’ was busy reneging on his promises. This may have been a tactic to precipitate a problem for Labour, but the outcome of his perfidy may not be quite what he is expecting. Why? Because it’s the ‘No’ voters who feel the sense of betrayal the deepest. At the general election it will be their votes that send 40+ SNP MPs to Westminster.

The outcome of the general election is going to be fascinating. Without its Scottish Labour seats it’s unlikely Labour will have a majority. The Tories may be overwhelmed by UKIP, the English political Ebola. The Libdems? They will probably disappear into oblivion. And the ultimate irony is that we could end up with a Labour / SNP coalition. Wow! That’s an outcome no Scottish Nationalist would ever have thought possible – except the clever wee bastard, Alex!

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Ed is proud to announce the arrival of a ‘Big Idea’!

Big IdeaWe’ve waited a long time for a ‘big idea’ from Labour and then out of the blue comes the announcement that it’s going to abolish the House of Lords…no  fanfare for this momentous news, it dribbled out over the airwaves on Saturday morning almost apologetically. Why be so coy Ed? This is something that needs to be shouted from the hilltops. Be bold, for heaven’s sake!

We need radical new thinking about the way the Union is governed and we need bold new ideas. Abolishing the House of Lords is long overdue. It is anachronistic, unelected and well past its sell by date. It should be replaced by a House of Representatives – Senate if you like, but it’s not the best description. The new House needs to be filled with representatives from Regional Assemblies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Yes, we do need regional assemblies in England. The regionalisation of England is long overdue. The current system of local government is cumbersome complicated and inefficient. England must have a means to devolve power to the regions effectively, and regionalisation is the best way to do this.

A House of Representatives means that there would be regional representation at the heart of government. Having it outside London is a nonsense. Look at the Bundesrat example and copy it!  It works well, it should do because we helped to set it up after the last war.  Let’s not have some appalling British compromise where we try and take everybody’s opinion into account and produce a dogs dinner. Let’s not shovel money to cities. Cities belong in a region, they are a regional focus point, they don’t need to be some separate entity.

Abolishing the House of Lords and establishing a House of Representatives will really resonate with the electorate. They really hate the House of Lords. It stands for everything that is wrong with Britain today. Regionalisation is so badly needed, not some mealy-mouthed compromise, the real thing. It needs courage and determination to drive through this reform. Does Labour have the bottle?

 

 

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