Jun 20

People will argue that the demonstrably incompetent Gordon Brown a man who made anti intellectualism a goal of government was thrown out because he was not likeable. This is clearly not true. People take the least risk or when they feel there is no perceived risk then maybe it’s a beauty contest that the despicable Blair beat Major in. At the time Blair was not the broken gibbering clown he is now flouncing a massive income off the world’s mass murderers but a vibrant bouncey character for a Britain seemingly reviving culturally and economically. Blair also promised economically to be the Tories without the nasty rhetoric at single mothers, ethnic minorities and the Europeans – all of which Labour under Brown became when their bubble economics burst. The Tories now use PFI, Bailouts and funny money bubbles as much as Labour.

The point is that whilst people distrust Govt most will vote for the most competent sounding in this time of crisis. Thus  Blair when it was his duty became unpopular propagating others wars. I do believe that it was his weak conformist nature and lack of character rather than a conscious decision to do something stupid. Similarly Obama who has gone from joyous crowds to the sad pathetic pariah in Germany in 5 years when it was time to back the wars and control freakery he caved and within days of taking over.

However popularity counts for nought. Paint your opposition as incompetent and you’re in. At present Cameron faces a grim opposition of chancers called Ed and has even seen the Tories double support in the Under 30s – those not prejudiced by the hateful bigotry of the Thatcher years.

Ironically for John Major the perceived comfort of Britons such that Tories fought over Europe and to satisfy their own venality were the reasons he lost. Hard times may actually be good for business especially as the poor and intelligent switch off from the rhetorical crap of the main parties leaving the nasty, selfish and stupid middle to vote.

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Apr 08

John Major followed her and was the last pragmatist. Since then we’ve had a grim trio of greedy venal narcissists in Blair, Brown and Cameron. By comparison she looks a paragon of doing what she actually thought was right not just right for her and her family’s future wealth although clearly Mark Thatcher was well rewarded. I’ve clearly removed any doubt her premiership was anything but poor in results here but am ambivalent at the hate figure of my teens.

Whilst the current precipitous state of the economy could be traced from the Thatcher years they did not have to become disastrous but for Brown’s chancellorship with its fellatio of the Banks. This nailed Britain to becoming a declining power with an Italian 1970’s currency. Whilst themes from her era and mistakes still haunt us it has been the hubris and extension of them which has hurt us so much. It is the belief she did much right that is wrong.

You can hardly blame Thatcher anymore than Keynes for the stupidity of Gordon Brown and Ed Balls. She died today long after anyone should care either way she just was not that good or bad 20 years on.

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Jan 30

It has to be said that whilst they will have critics from the other brand of salt party, the ‘licans, no one else can doubt that these two ivy league prigs have shown that they will kill as many people as their predecessors and lock up as many poor black people. In the same way that the maligned, and unlike most users of the word I actually mean maligned, John Major broke the mould of British Politics as a game between those born with gold or silver spoons in their mouths. Although British politics has regressed since then to the affable buffoon and clown ‘Call me Dave’.

Hilly and Bazza showed that they could impose poverty, war and depravity on parts of the world in the narrow interests of the US Oil industry as well as White Guys with their background. Michael Moore’s ‘Kill Whitey’ reduced to a load of recyclable paper. Both showed they could be head spokesman for an Administration regardless of Ethnicity or Gender.

Hip Hip Hooray.

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Feb 25

George Monbiot did it the other and said ‘The Tories’. A lot of people do it. Most of them well aware that Labour is not an alternative but a continuation with nicer rhetoric, less incompetence (although so incompetent I would not call it a strength) but a worse toy throwing that led to bank bailouts and QE that will blight our economy for at least 1 decade.

The left by use the term “The Tories” when everything from Schools, student fees to Health-care policy is a continuation of the anti intellectual meme Govt from 1997. It owes far more to Blair than Major. The anti Intellectual meme is deep into its 15th year. Arguably rather than the stealth bill year after year to meet the needs of rhetoric at least The Tories, oops, put on the table where they want to go. The Labour Govt wanted the same things but would not dare tell its supporters.

One can understand why people use language to unite the left many of whom labour under misapprehensions about Labour. However from the Poll Tax to Forestry it is not Labour who achieves anything in opposition – it’s not their aim. the Students who marched and got to hear a speech from the miserable Ed Miliband only for him to shaft them weeks later. Indeed with Labour volte-facing its economic policies their support can turn to opposition over night. It is better to make it clear in any demo or organisation to fight Govt to tell Labour fans they are welcome but they park their support for Labour at the door.

The correct nomenclature is “Parliament”, the Tories are not the issue.

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Jul 17

What is the best Govt we’ve had in my 46 year lifetime? Best 4 years of Chancellor and Prime Minister? The time when the economy was put on a path of stable growth for years after? The Govt the bequeath good finances to an incoming Govt? Continue reading »

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Sep 02

John Rentoul in The Independent does not try to rationalise why Blair is hated. Instead he gives a great insight into why Liberal people dislike Blair and those who act like him. A series of smears of your opponents and then a crude summary of what he thinks is what they think and why. The classic anti intellectualism that reached its nadir under Brown. I assume like Blair playing with Prescott Rentoul’s just trying to get a rise as it’s all he has left (there you see I did it myself spoke for him with a nasty explanation of why he does things).

Rentoul basically accuses people of not listening to reason whilst seemingly smearing and trying to infuriate readers. However I thought I’d answer why I have a low view of Blair.

Truth be told in the devalued world of the internet I guess I am a hater although my distaste for Blair is nothing compared to the genuine visceral hatred I have for Gordon Brown. Brown a man, but not in the John Wayne sense, whose every utterance and action is aimed at self aggrandisment and whose lack of intellect and morality are so stunning it’s beyond my credulity that he was ever allowed to ascend to the leadership. I would not even try to rationalise my distaste for Brown save to say I am grateful we are not in the Euro and now go away and not be heard of again.

However there is a point here deep in our subconscious a dislike so great that you will not listen to a word someone says needs to be addressed. It amounts to prejudice or bigotry at that point. On Blair I think I can justify my view but maybe there is something that defies argument and explanation (Another flaw in Rentoul’s argument if people’s dislike defies argument then it defies explanation! The content that spews forth is a rationalisation not an explanation but then expecting nuance from a Blairite is silly of course).

So to Blair. Why do people like me who consider themselves Liberal (even if we are not in cliques as Rentoul  smears) have such odium for the man who brought us 13 years of non Tory Govt.

  • Liar! Never really phased me. The Foreign Secretary said that the Weapons of Mass Destruction were a myth so anyone fooled was probably wanting to be lied to – after all Robin Cook would know better than anyone else as Foreign Secretary. I pretty much accept the Jack Straw view that it was baloney but we did not see much downside in the war.

    Anyone who had read the news on Iraq over the years would have known the country would have struggled to organise a Barbecue after the Gulf War and sanctions bit. If Parliament wanted the WMD fig leaf don’t blame Blair blame yourselves.The problem is that people dislike liars and politicians have opted instead for the incompetence defence – see MI5 and MI6 claiming they did not know the US tortured even though it was clear when they junked the Geneva Convention in the same bin as the post invasion plan of Iraq and was announced in the media and on Channel 4 news. More on this later.Sadly Blair does seem to want to rationalise it and after 58 excuses and rationalisations settled on how proud he was to get rid of a dictator like Saddam, said the main who kissed the souls of Gadaffi’s shoes.

  • Corruption. It’s become accepted and a part of every day Govt under Labour – I am not talking about financial graft here. Like roping in the nasty little spook Scarlett to the so called Dodgy Dossier and then promoting him it showed a preference for fawning subservience and broken men who would do their bidding over anyone else.This was repeated with Sir Ian Blair who made a victim of himself in someone else’s murder. He was then wheeled out as required to support even more ludicrous draconian nut case policies.
    It was this aspect of the wars that needled me.The military also were paid off. Their incompetence and waste in procurement brushed under the carpet. Indeed the Govt took the hit over Helicopters for Afghanistan from the clowns who’d wasted more than enough money to provide them. The laughable scenario where we bought helicopters and tried to penny pinch on the software rendering them unusable.
  • Incompetence. This became the New Labour ethos. No one lied they just knew nothing. MI5 even this year as it’s revealed Blair and Straw actively had a hand in determining the rendition and “interrogation” of British subjects denies it knew anything about it. MI5 denies it read newspapers or watched Channel 4 news. No one turned marginal intelligence into the 45 minute claim it was a lack of responsibility and ignorance. Every failure was greeted with a I do not know.Blair and Campbell preferred to waste resources on an inquiry which no one believed to prove he had produced a load of crap without lying just by being foolish!
    PFI ruinously expensive and we are paying for 30 years, thanks.
    How hard was it to ensure under no circumstances that we did not torture and beat people to death in Iraq? Especially given the preferred explanation of why we were there, to free them from torture and murder. Indeed all we do is spend masses of money buying people off, denying and pretending it did not happen.
    Most successes were stroke of the pen and delivered by legislation never by management. Minimum wage.
  • Death Toll. If I had a critique of the under rated Major Govt who laid the platform for Brown’s moronic economic management in this decade it was this why did they not clean the hospitals? Yet we had Milburn’s red alert, foundation status etc etc legislation and more legislation, PFI, NHS Direct,  etc, Yet why did C-Diff and MRSA stay a slaughter of thousands of people up to when in 2007 Alan Johnson the new Health Secretary said it was unacceptable – not sure he did much about it either! The seemingly pointless shift to Foundation Hospitals in some regions alone is said to have killed 100s. Talk to doctors and it’s the dirty secret.
  • Rhetoric Led. They understood the media hence you have one Baby ‘P’ or Bulger and everone is sacrificed to be seen to be doing something. However as noted you kill 100s in the health service and it’s not an ongoing story just a day of embarrassment.One came to wonder at the nadir under Brown if policy was someone would come up with a line of rhetoric then develop policy from that without an inkling of goals, problems to be solved or strategy (Tough on Crime being so obvious I will use it anyway!). Just pass rafts of legislation and bore interviewers you have acted.
  • Achievement Not Important. The aim of policy as the grim Asylum policies of the last few years was the generation of facts to show ‘that policy was working’. Anyone who has ever worked corporately can tell you what happens when there is a focus on numbers they move in the right direction – in the US all crime reduction miracles happen except murder as you cannot re-classify murder albeit Blair and Brown probably could.To reduce Asylum numbers and increase deportations the Home Office decided to go after and lock up families – rather ignoring the demographic reasons for immigrants! Thus the Coalition had a nice open goal of no longer detaining children.
  • Internment. Possible the most fascist and illiberal policy I can think of any Western Govt contemplating was 90 day internment. It smears the entire Labour party who seriously contemplated it. As Ministers and advisors it taints for me all the serious leadership candidates. The sad fact is no one has been held for 28 days even.There are only three reasons for wanting this on the statute books. One some sinister scenario none of us can comprehend or want to and they do not want to explain to us why they want to hold people in limbo for 90 days. Two that it was manifest incompetence and they had no idea what they wanted. Three rhetoric led they assumed a frightened population who are not strong on individual liberty would want it and decided to play the tough on crime Joker. None of these reflect on more than the fascistic bent of those coming up with the Policy.
  • Other Illiberality. Up and beyond a mere fault. CCTV does not solve or crucially prevent much crime but we can say we are doing something – people do not have number plates visible at all times sadly. ID Cards, where are your papers mein herr.

I could go on but the theme is this an obsession with perception not achievement. Of nothing being beyond the Pale if they thought they could sell it. So one could argue in a roundabout way Rentoul is right to say people resent winning elections. However that is not true. I think it was with the Tories still so unpopular they could barely scrape power in 2010 after 13 years of expensive incompetence that Labour had an amazing opportunity. The finances of the Clarke/Major years had begun to pay off the manifest incompetence and economic mismanagement of the Thatcher years. Yet what did they achieve that is lasting? That they achieved little but did it in an insulting stupid and illiberal manner I cannot see as anything to praise. The wars just add to their reputation of incompetence and led by tomorrow’s headlines.

I actually owe a great debt to Blair and Brown. Whilst I will never match the complex sophistry of self serving rationalisation nor the social intelligence of Blair I certainly have lost an inferiority I once felt of people with better grammar and Oxbridge education. That they should have bent their intelligence to polarising anti intellectualism shows what you cannot learn in education and the cloistered confines of The Law and The Labour Party.

In the end it’s the base Sun reader anti intellectualism that did peak under Brown when Alan Johnson 19 years a Postman had nothing to say on the Postal dispute and decided to mock science in the Commons. However the dye was cast.

Blair is a great Prime Minister in the way these things are measured but like Thatcher longevity is not the same as good or even competent. I’d take Major over them tomorrow and the next day.

Sadly their best policy may have been treating addicts with drugs to help the natural fall in crime. For some reason they never trumpeted this as its not one that makes for good rhetoric and would require nuance and explanation.

Contrary to Rentoul’s analysis for this liberal Iraq actually stands out in a positive sense. I believe the Straw position it was done in the national interest and that was to stay allied to the US. It was not done to sell Labour. It is a measure of the missed opportunity that a war conducted with such poverty of thought for Post Invasion Iraq did not cost them an election win in 2005.

They would have won 3 elections doing more good.

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Aug 17

The former Chancellor Alistair Darling today said that Labour’s lack of a credible plan to tackle the deficit cost them the election.

This undercuts two themes of Labour now who pretend that they have not ever been in Govt and have no 13 year track record of what they actually do. It removes the nonsense that cuts would not have been severe under Labour (Brown had guaranteed Darling would be Chancellor as the markets, Bank of England and populace would not stand for Balls or him in charge of what matters). It undermines the current view that our public and private debt is manageable.

The Labour supporting left need new clothes. My view is to come up with economics of how we can grow our economy and pay our way. For all the rhetoric no one seems able to answer a simple question “How can we grow our economy and close the Balance of Payments deficit that means we add £7Bn of external debt every month?”. Only George Osborne has raised this question, admittedly rhetorically, but as he said it makes no sense to borrow from China to pay China for goods.

The UK being outside the Euro does not have Germany to fund it and sell it goods as the Eurozone has – even then at some point does Germany own everyone else? China is doing this for the US for the foreseeable future. The UK has to pay its way at some point and whilst short term more growth may be preferable to a double dip of Osborne’s creation nonetheless long term we need more and will maybe not have the opportunity Brown had 10 years ago bequeathed by the maligned Major Clarke years to build public services and the UK economy.

Indeed aside from the Tories the only party who has a ‘positive’ view of the future is the Green’s. Whether their plans will work relies on whether we really can reduce Tax Evasion fundamentally. Certainly using credit checking agencies on the middle and upper classes might work better than on Dole frauds! Catch one generate millions. Catch a dole cheat and it costs as much as saved to do so.

Darling will of course get the full force of the one liners and Labour rhetoric but he’s probably one of the few whose opinions I accept as straight from the horses brain to mouth to me.

Something’s clearly wrong when we have 0.5% base rate and 3% plus inflation after a rapid deflation and the easy solutions of people standing for Labour leadership clearly make no sense.

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Jul 06

It’s tempting to refer to Osbornism as Thatcherism revisited. Indeed so divisive is someone who won popularity and hated contests at the same time that both sides claim this as a positive for their position. The sad truth is that Thatcherism was 12 years of total incompetence. If re-structuring was achieved it was caused by North Sea Oil and latterly the lower pound, EU membership and the resultant inwards investment not to mention a world growth spurt.

Did selling off BA, BP and BT etc make them world class companies? No but commercial pressures certainly made them leaner and in BP’s case meaner and lower down. Still at least with the Gulf of Mexico fresh in our memories no could associate the now mostly US company with US corporate ethics with being British? No one would be that stupid and ill informed? Advertisers made a lot of money out of BT and BA certainly. In the end privatising has saved future generations from pensions and redundancy and forced difficult decisions on workers. You can quibble at the price the Govt got and whether the individual share owning boom it encouraged has done more for con-men than people’s wealth but really at worst it is no harm no foul.

Council Housing sell off. Selling off council housing is a disaster. It has created debt and a lending bubble. One of the real dangers of a house price crash is that the British have built huge personal debts  on assets in a bubble. That house prices are only sustained on for many near zero interest rates should be a warning to the current Govt about cutting too hard too soon. Many of the houses have been sold to people without the wealth to maintain them as well. Whilst some can take a paper profit and leave renovation to someone else many got left with negative equity and a crumbling house. Much of the reasoning against immigration when it is spelt out by barrack room boors like Warren Mitchell’s alter ego Ed Balls is around the lack of housing which has become a cover for an overall lack of housing – immigrants tend to have a very small foot print living in areas and with personal space few of us indigenous folk will do. Councils were forbidden to use the money to rebuild new council houses and created the housing shortage and asset bubble we have now. When Liverpool council alone defied this lunacy they were stripped of office. Far from liberating people it has led to debt and a plowing of whatever wealth people accrue into an asset bubble. Arguably it has contributed to problems in education and child delinquency as more and more couples both work to pay for even a small house.

Falklands. You can take it or leave but a competent Govt would have seen the Argies coming and scared them off. After all one sub sunk their battleship and could have taken out half their fleet. We are still involved in a turf war over resources and now have a stack of dogma and no go areas to prevent a sensible resolution. Certainly we can thank someone their bombs did not go off or the loss of life would have been more. One could argue relative to Iraq and Afghanistan this was a credible operation well run at minimal cost of lives and equipment. Indeed the conversion to Foundation Trust status by 1 health authority killed more Britains so by New Labour standards a roaring success.

The Economy. I’ll accept the economic landscape changed and had to change. Since we were not going to become a Socialist society a sort of Soviet plus state was unsustainable. However the economics of the 1980s were cretinous. What coherent policy has the £ go between $1.06 and $2.47 in the space of a few years? If Britain was able to survive it was because we had oil to sell. We were self sufficient in energy. We grew our own food. However it did not create the dynamic export industries that Osborne thinks will happen now.

To cope with the unemployment that her Govt created they decided to buy off some sections of the poor by putting them on incapacity benefit. Now Osborne and the Thatcher loving media try to present those people as spongers and shirkers. Again a short term answer of such staggering stupidity that New Labour must be gutted it was not their idea.

The Lawson Boom, The Poll Tax, Tracking the German Mark and other manifestly insane and poorly thought out policies I’ll leave you to think about.

Thatcher’s biggest successes dependent on your point of view were

  • Union Legislation achieved by branding the working classes of Britain as an enemy to be squashed and allowing us to be openly beaten up by Police – the legacy is a distaste of the Police that goes beyond just the working classes.
  • The most unequivocal success and one the Tory Party will not mention is the creation of the single European Market and the negotiation of the UK’s rebate. Things that Thatcher’s rhetoric imply she respectively opposed and won. The rebate the British failed to bite the arm off of what was actually on offer with Thatcher using harsh rhetoric to angrily demand what was already on offer!  On the Single European market she gave away 90% of what Right Tories complain about. In addition for all their anti Euro nonsense she tied us to the German Mark! Which resulted in Black Wednesday and the genuine event Tories can trumpet the stewardship of the Clarke Major Govt, truly the only competent one of my lifetime.

The point is not about Thatcherism but that Osborne must know that what Thatcher did has not made Britain dynamic. If anything we are in a worse position than then with Oil no longer significant, importing food, importing energy with massive personal debt. You can trace every thing except the Public Sector deficit to Thatcher and that is only because of the Clarke Major years. If people want to celebrate that as a success or repeat it than they are in denial.

In conclusion one hopes that George Osborne is serious about his economics and not a Thatcherite. She must be the most over rated Premier of my life time. The damage she did took from 1992 to 1999ish to sort out only for Brown Blair to squander that legacy in hubris and put us in a worse position with Public debt and the scars of Thatcherism still with us.

Make no mistake as backward and rigid as the UK economy 1980 was it had slack and scope all of which has been used up by the Thatcher and Blair/Brown Govts to no good end.

The Thatcherism party is over and the problems are still here to greater degrees.

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Feb 16

There was a reason I did not watch Brown’s program was not Brown himself but the puerile Morgan. The “King of Trash” well if Simon Cowell was not alive or the creator of Big Brother. Had it been with Michael Parkinson, Paxman or someone with a scintilla of integrity I would have watched it.

I would argue it is pointless anyway. Did Kinnock’s all too obvious humanity cost him next to Mr Grey John Major? Did Mrs Thatcher win by showing humanity or weakness? Did Blair lose when most people considered him a liar and a war monger?

If you want character and where it gets you. Take the example of John Major and Ken Clarke. In their last few years in government with their party screaming tax cuts and with personal friends the victims of the IRA they stuck to the economic policies that were to serve Brown so well in Labour’s first term and started the IRA peace process. Major was voted out with an “And Good Riddance” kicker but he’s multiples the character Brown is.

The other aspect is that if he wants to put character on the line then how has he sat there de facto supporting the US ripping up the Geneva Convention in 2002? Maybe we really do have leaders who missed the press but their de facto errors of omission are worse – better informed people making a decision that the ignorant claiming ignorance? Put simply sitting back and denying you knew anything about stuff that was on TV News and in Newspapers does not cut it. Is it moral or a sign of character to live in a hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil bubble? When you are the Prime Minister? Is obfuscation, denial and ignorance a defence? It is not in a court of law.

In the end the only defence he and others come up with over US Torture, WMD, Iraq Post War and our involvement is incompetence. What kind of man values incompetence over making a decision and defending it? So leave out your faux and specious humanity it does not stack up.

If Brown wants to make his character an issue he’s lost my vote.

If Labour wants to offer: Darling v Osbourne: Keynesian Economics v Voodoo Economics. Then my vote is up for grabs. If it’s offering a personality cult of a weak petulant self serving child whose financial incompetence Darling is covering up then no.

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Nov 11

It made my flesh crawl yesterday to watch our country’s Prime Minister confess to shyness and grovel before a grieving mother. Brown did not so much walk into The Sun’s trap as build it for them and shut the door himself.

Peter Mandelson is probably the only thing between a bad position and a melt down of Brown’s Govt. Nonetheless his attack on The Sun as ‘crude’ is hypocritical from a man quoted as calling Murdoch acolyte Rebekah Wade a ‘Cunt’ – although she is in both US and UK vernacular.

Also from the govt that used polarising as not just a rhetoric but analysis, policy and reason. Seriously this is the Govt that said if you were not in favour of creating loads of highly paid and pensioned managers in the NHS and spending money with out real reform you were a dinosaur. If you were not in agreement with handing over lorry loads of money to PPP/PFI spivs you were in favour of letting children die for lack of ventilators. If you were not in favour of war for its own sake you were a lickspittle supporter of Saddam just as Carter, Reagan, Galloway and Rumsfeld had been and Galloway still was. If you were not in favour of fighting over desert against an enemy who had disappeared there was not a Rizla between you and al Queda.

What goes around comes around, eh.

What Mandy might like to mention to Brown is Murdoch does not piss in the wind. He is against Brown because he is finished. The British have stood by complete incompetence as Mrs Thatcher and her chancellors showed as they lurched from one silly economic policy to the next before Ken Clarke and Major built the late 90s and noughties good times (only for Brown to squander in a fit of hubris and stupidity). However they can spot a buffoon like Brown who waited 11 years to be Prime Minister without ethos or goals, merely for his own ego.

If Labour had any balls (not Ed Balls whose name is ironic) they’d make Mandy leader as he is the only one left with any fight. However laughable his attack he can still make one.

It’s not The Sun’s crudity but our leader’s craven weakness that is the problem.

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