Dave’s Legacy Pitch

It’s long been known that David Cameron isn’t entirely comfortable with some of the elements of his party.
He’s pretty liberal socially in his beliefs, and I’m saying that fully aware that the full range of policies under his regime haven’t been particularly liberal but then policy is generally a collective event and involves many trade offs.

From his speech today I did detect a series of messages Dave wanted to get across that might have been missed.

The first one is that he clearly tried to make the folk who voted Conservative glad they did so. The jingoistic bollocks about weapons, leaving none behind etc was always going to be there, but it was at the heart of his speech, and many a casual political follower will get the impression that they picked the right guy. Mocking Labour will help confirm that. This is stage one of the Dave legacy pitch – reinforce the messages of the last 8 years about what a great leader you are, and with obedient press and vacuous tv/ radio coverage it might stick. Dave wants to be remembered – he still thinks he’s good at this.

Message two was a bit more subtle and I think a little bit of the other Dave. If he leaves before this parliament is out, his party could pick from several obvious candidates, all of whom pitched to a different audience this conference. In all the liberal messaging from Dave, he’s trying to set the field of play for that battle. Emphasis on multi-culturalism is I think an honest thing for Dave, and it emphasises the bits of his party he’s never liked. With Theresa May playing the right-wing cards, this was Dave’s attempt to establish a different tone, and basically persuade the party that this is how they ought to be, even if it’s not their first instinct. Dave’s other legacy is intended to be a more socially liberal Conservative party.


Time to quit the debating society and get some proper work done

In recent years, the folk at the Houses of Parliament have gone some way to civilising the process.

They changed the hours of working, and substantially cut down on the night shifts and so on.

This period has also resulted in an electorate which feels increasingly unrepresented and let down, both by the government/s and the effectiveness of the oppositions.

During this period, whilst PMQs has retained an albeit stage-managed confrontation, much of the day-to-day politics has been pretty civilised, culminating in Labour’s front bench abstaining on the recent Welfare bill, using some procedural excuse.

This may well be a valid, practical approach to politics – the governing party have a majority, which normally would enable bills and legislation to pass into law no matter what the tactics employed by the opposition. This leaves the battles to be fought in the media, where each party can jostle for their position to be heard, and where the knock-out blow comes from zingy one-liners that play well with the public.

And this suits the politicians on both sides – these folk were always the ones to be in the debating society, to take an argument and try and outwit their opponent. That’s their culture.

This also has added benefits; – media exposure & sensible working hours, and ultimately for most folk in the public eye, these are VERY GOOD THINGS.

I get that.

But the public outcry over the oppositions apparent capitulation suggest this isn’t a good long term move. Over a period of growth and reducing poverty, with all main parties idealogically close to each other you can get away with it. But when the public feel persecuted, excluded, trampled and ignored, it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t win support.

A recent piece by former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes struck me.


The new leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition will have the choice – how far to appease, be the sensible politician, but risk losing the momentum of their election result, the Labour party support that is currently so passionate; or to embrace that feeling, to decide that now is the time to let rip – after the summer recess the MPs should be rested and ready, so enforce the party whip and put the government under the most indecent pressure.

Imagine the impact on those part-time MPs with lucrative second and third jobs, they’re gonna get pretty narked pretty quickly, imagine the view of the electorate suddenly turning to the inability of Cameron to get things done. The lobby reporters would have to change tone, it would be “will Boris be here to vote, this MP is out of the country, that one is poorly …” –  Suddenly a tiny majority looks fragile, the opposition is heaping the pressure on, the usually calm will start to fray.

Time to do the hard graft, Labour, this is the pre-season training phase – get fit and lean now, and hit the new season like a team of world-beaters, set the scene.

Jerry Hayes piece: http://jerryhayes.co.uk/posts/2015/08/13/a-corbyn-victory-will-herald-a-dramatic-change-of-tory-tactics

Labour Leadership – how does it feel?

A bloody lifetime.

All those tedious meetings with wetsock councillors, local activists, and associated crackpots.

All those blancmange judgings.

All those requests for help cheerfully passed onto the relative who works in your office to send a pat response, with occasionally, getting some that need some attention, a hidden gem of an EXAMPLE to fight for, a Cause to Back.

And the press releases, the puppy-SpAds, the casual chats with ministers and shadow-ministers.

The hours on the train, the juggling of 2 homes and 2 lives – yes it’s a good earner, but actually a pain in the ass when you don’t remember the sandwich toaster only exists in your constituency house.

20 years or more, going through it all – the quarrels and pointed-elbows, the petty insults, the time spent avoiding this one or that one, or circling another.

But Ed quit (about time), and here comes your chance.

Maybe I’ll get some fight from one of the others – Andy, or Stella, it doesn’t matter. I sense my time is here. I’ve bloody earned it. I’ve fought the causes, built the profile, said the RIGHT BLOODY THINGS.

And this fucking Jerry fella chips his fucking stupid hat into the ring.

Jeesus. We used to chat once in a while – he seemed alright. Didn’t behave properly (what was he thinking), all worthy and all that. But never the bastard party leader, no way.


It’s MY time, I’m smarter than Osborne, I’ve even had talks with Rupert. Polly Toynbee has my mobile. Who are these people and where is their right?

I know I had some worries when Ed B lost – I think we all felt that was a bit weird, a freak storm, he was popular, and so smart (usually, altho’ he did always get flu on budget day); I don’t know why people didn’t see it.

What do these people want – we are their party, I have worked for them all this time – I know what’s possible, I know the BBC Director General.

What do I do now?

Andy says it’s like being a football manager who has a run of bad games, and this new bloke comes in and suddenly you can’t stop winning. I don’t know.

Is there a way back, are the polls wrong? What do these people want FFS? just because they don’t understand how parliament works, I get the blame. Harriet had that vote worked out. Is it that vote? Or the other one? We did that for YOU, you silly people. You think they’ll let some cardigan wearing worthy into the hot-seat? Boris will have ’em flogged.


And you think it’s good when he challenges the govt on everything – how would you like the graveyard shift at the house listening to some over-promoted wonk drivel on. That’s not how it works anymore.

I will keep trying. I will.

Booked on WATO next week.

Expectations of Youth

Aaargh, go on then.

The wonderful @julijuxtaposed told me to write a blog piece (about something else); but it got me thinking. You may have gathered from previous blogs that my pieces tend to be quickly drafted comment pieces rather than being particularly detailed and carefully written.

That’s because someone else does those, and I have a demanding full time job, a family life, and blogging is kind of a release valve.

Anyway, since I was provoked, a few unrelated tweets / articles crossed my path recently and I thought I’d briefly like to link them together.

The latest TNS-BMRB poll shows 18-24yr olds give Labour a lead of 23%, with Greens at 14%.


I’d hope that a small number of the people in that age bracket are reading the work of Charles Hugh Smith, here…


It’s a US story, but the same thing applies over here.

Then you have the situations in Sweden & Turkey. And the increasingly warm weather. Traditionally, young people tend to be more politically noticeable in the summer, when school’s out. So what’s the situation for young people in the UK, and why might that make them more politicized?

Well, they’ve been schooled to pass tests, and they know how important this is to make them more employable. They’ve been conditioned to expect to have to go to University, in order to learn stuff they’ll never use and to further demonstrate their employability. They’re prepared to fight (against each other) to be recognised by their elders and get the jobs.

That’s their part of the bargain – they’re wholly indoctrinated into the idea of personal responsibility for their employment.

And in return they get:

Massive debts for accepting the bargain and going to university, (on the basis that the older generations don’t want to pay for it anymore). These debts are only likely to increase as our academic institutions follow the US model of charging more for less.

A load of qualifications that make them no more useful in a workplace than anyone else.

A “career” of occasional steady work, mixed with spells of unemployment, temping, contract working and freelancing, which pays for their time, but expects them to commit 60 hours for every 40 contracted. All this in a climate where public investment is deliberately limited, and there’s a permanantly high level of unemployment.

Zero chance of purchasing any property of their own until they’re in their 30’s and they’ve paired up with a similarly hard working partner. (On the basis that the older generations refused to support any policies that would stem the growth in house prices).

And they can’t start a family of their own because they’re paying high rents (to the older generations, natch) and working 60 hours a week in order not to endure another spell on the temp register.

And they can’t afford to invest in a pension like they feel they should, and when they do try, their job inevitably gets rationalised, in order to please the “markets”, even though they don’t know anyone who has anything invested in the markets, and the very senior management keep getting massive pay awards.

And they can’t even think of how they’ll cope when they’re older, other than to keep doing the same things, and hoping they win the lottery, or maybe they can just afford a house, or maybe granny leaves them something in her will. And they feel bad for even thinking that.

So maybe, they realise this is a path to unhappiness. Yes they can enjoy themselves, and try and do great things, but they start to see the false bargain they were forced to make, and realise that re-negotiating that is the great thing they can do.

Or maybe, they haven’t worked out that great sweep of events, but they feel the flow and the pull of tides, and see what they’ll never have, and bond together.

I hope they find the way out. I hope we can help them to do so.

The fundamental flaw of the conservative ethos

What ever did happen to Mrs Thatcher’s dream of home ownership for all?

The dream stretches back to the 1920’s, but became core Conservative policy in the 80’s.

Ok, maybe a part of that was to weaken the power of local councils, but when many people got the opportunity to buy their own council home, it seemed possible then that the dream would come true. Everyone could be a home owner, and have the security and status that went with it. It matched the conservative concepts of individual responsibility; getting on in life and providing the best you can for the next generation.

But home ownership is falling again, and as quickly as these things can, with only the wealthy or parental-backed young getting on the ladder.

The cause of this is the other conservative philosophy of “free-markets”; neo-liberal capitalism. Where worker power is subsumed to the power of the corporation; where jobs are flexible, vulnerable and under-paid; where the tax regime works in favour of corporate profits vs incomes; these policies work to promote corporate home ownership and a short term letting system, all the time eroding the freedoms espoused in the individualism philosophy.

It comes in other ways too, with the corporatist side of the modern Conservative party looking to take away human rights, in order to remove the voices of those who may protest about corporatist conflicts in foreign lands.

The same conflict is at the heart of the ridiculous strivers and skivers conflict – it’s the liberal employment rights and worship at the doormat of the massive oligopolistic companies, desperate to kick their own workforce, that means last weeks strivers are next weeks skivers.

And so you can’t have it all ways.

So whilst David Cameron tries to plough the furrow up the middle, keeping the individualistic voters and the corporatist donors happy, he’d do well to remember that the policies each side want are mutually incompatible, and he ought to decide which side he’s on.


(Inspired by this http://www.guerillapolicy.org/housing/2013/03/12/the-rise-of-the-property-owning-plutocracy/ )