The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'UK Politics' Category

02 August
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LibLabCon Getting Nervous Because UKIP Hasn’t Gone Away…..

As the country closes down for August there is one little factoid that our fearless media have somehow “missed” (I wonder why?…lol..)

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Yup, despite all the efforts of those bright young things (and the bright not so young things) at the Telegraph and Times and the cut and paste hacks at the Mail The YouGov monthly average over the 18 months since January 2013 shows support for UKIP steady and firm at around 12/14%. Remember the Labour bean counters who reckoned even without winning a seat a 9% UKIP vote could siphon off enough numbers from the Tories to lose them several key marginals? Remember the recent Ashcroft poll that suggested the possibility of UKIP slipping out in front in some seats where Lab and Con are neck and neck on 30% each?

BTW – don’t just take my word for it….read what this leading electoral academic has to say…

All of them, the political class and the media class are very very nervous about all this. It just doesn’t fit into their cosy world view….there’s a whiff of Wat Tyler in the air – and a bloody good job, say I….

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28 July
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The Telegraph’s UKIP Problem – Chapter 376….

Wow….it didn’t take long. That Ashcroft poll marking Thurrock and Thanet South a possible UKIP gain (and Great Yarmouth almost as close) obviously made the folks at Cameron’s PR HQ (aka The Telegraph) nervous because it undermined their carefully cultivated narrative. Ever since the Euro/local elections last May the message has been clearly defined. May was “peak UKIP”, Cameron was “relaxed”, Labour was imploding  Miliband, Clegg was drowning, the economy was now in upturn. Throw in “tough” talk about Juncker, glam up the cabinet with a few skirts and – hey presto!!! – the polls would turn around. Only they didn’t….the Tory “bounce” failed to appear, even under the disastrous Ed Labour  stayed ahead and, above all, UKIP did not melt away.

Then Nigel Farage announced UKIP’s “cabinet”, a collective which would act as the public face of the party. Shockingly the new team confounded those racist, misogynistic stereotyped images so lovingly projected by a largely hostile media.

Klaxons were now blaring at Telegraph House. Team Cameron wanted something done and done pretty damned quickly so an editorial conference was obviously convened to implement some  damage control.

The results, unfortunately, merely helped to demonstrate the general perception of a once great newspaper unable to escape from a cycle of decline.

First James Kirkup was tasked to write something “witty and amusing”….he could only come up with some meaningless survey which appeared to show that UKIP supporting men were shorter than anyone else……even Kirkup probably realised it wasn’t his finest hour.

Then Iain Martin penned a thousand words saying how Farage’s “reshuffle” wasn’t worth writing about (never mind, Iain, you survived the purge so you obviously got paid for that pointless exercise)

But the crowning glory came from Political Correspondent Georgia Graham who was obviously told to write a hit piece on Diane James and the other women in the UKIP team. It was a shallow, poorly researched collection of sneers. Ms Graham, in common with every other Telegraph hack, made no effort to find out more about them. She just cut and pasted stuff via Google and filled the column to order

Many of us had hoped that after May the new regime at the Telegraph would actually have started to use some serious journalism in their approach to UKIP rather than recycling Tory Party agitprop. It is clear, however, that we were naive in the extreme. They have no intention of exhibiting anything but blatant bias which is why Dan Hannan’s peculiar little salvo against UKIP quite enlightening.

I have great deal of respect for Dan. His euroscepticism springs, like mine, from a feeling that our long established mistrust of rulers who are unelected and see themselves as above our laws makes us a poor fit for a bureaucratic one size fits all regime like the EU. Yet he remains a loyal Tory and puts all his trust in David Cameron.

For that reason he gets some negative comments on his Telegraph blog and on Twitter from UKIP supporters or those who claim to be UKIP supporters. He claims these are hurtful (lol…join the club, Dan) and then comes up with an astonishing suggestion

A fair number of online haters are happy to identify themselves as Ukip members. That party would do itself a huge favour by expelling, with much fanfare, the next cyberkipper whose words bring it into disrepute.

Several other Telegraph “pundits” have made the same complaint. They write something critical about UKIP and then are shocked by the “venomous” response…..UKIP people are so ….aggressive…..

In actual fact, Dan and all you other Telegraph pundits, it’s not the criticism of UKIP that is the issue……it’s the sneering, dismissive and contemptuous manner in which you do it. None of you has made any serious attempt to use up some real journalistic shoeleather and talk with party members at branch meetings or conferences. Instead, like Georgia Graham, you rehash old stories (sluts, anyone?) to pad out your googling.

It’s clear that the upper echelons at the Telegraph (owners? editors?) have no interest any serious analysis of what makes UKIP tick. Perhaps, as a party of political outsiders, its members, unlike LIBLabCon (sorry…couldn’t resist it) simply do not inhabit the upper middle class North London milieu of our media elite. The idea that the concerns of Thurrock and Great Yarmouth should be treated with as much respect as those of Islington and Notting Hill is probably simply incomprehensible to the likes of Kirkup, Graham and Hannan.

Or perhaps it is simpler than that

“The most insignificant people are the most apt to sneer at others. They are safe from reprisals. And have no hope of rising in their own self esteem but by lowering their neighbors.”

Yes, William Hazlitt often did hit the nail on the head…..

 

 

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22 July
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Obama Gives Ed Miliband Tips On What To Do If He Becomes Prime Minister

Labour leader Ed Miliband spent 25 minutes with President Obama at the White House. At the end Ed asked him for some advice on how to ruin run a nation…….

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18 July
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Tories Go For PR, UKIP Prefer Principles

We hear from James Kirkup, a resident hack at David Cameron’s fan club newsletter (aka the Telegraph) that the Tory Party machine is now big into “Data Electioneering”. Apparently this is the equivalent of the supermarket loyalty card where you use information gathered at the checkout to decide how you will stock your shelves

 

 It would amass information about voters and seats, information that could be used to ensure that the party knows where the electorate is, what it thinks, what it wants.The result is an extraordinarily extensive – and expensive – programme of opinion polls and focus groups generating huge volumes of data about voters’ views and preferences

 

 In other words the quaintly old fashioned idea of a political party being the coming together of a group of individuals with a common view of political principles and ideas which then seeks to persuade the voters to elect them into government is now so yesterday. Instead you fashion your policies around consumer research, social media reaction and, eventually, product testing. Presumably, after all that, you come up with a to do list which will aim to please mumsnet, greenpeace and the Daily Mail…

Good luck with that.

Of course, it’s all very expensive for the Tories – but when you have the bosses of the big global corporations who do well out of the EU trough and cheap labour via uncontrolled immigration in your pocket then why worry? OK your party membership at local level is collapsing but, like the banks, who needs branches when you can centralise?

Hence the reshuffle, aimed, we are told at

 

women, especially those with young families. Such women, alongside Ukip supporters who used to vote Tory, were a key audience for the reshuffle, both precisely identified by that polling operation for a data-driven reshuffle that is without precedent in British politics.

 

Odd, though, that “UKIP supporters” should be furrowing brows amidst all those data drivers at Tory HQ…..UKIP, a party led by political outsiders, permanently cash strapped with only the bare bones of a professional cadre and with no support from any national media outlet yet which consistently  polls well ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Enough, if it continues, to possibly win a seat or two, certainly enough to undermine the chances of the Tories getting a working majority in 2015.

 

There is little evidence yet of a fall in Ukip support now the European Parliament elections have passed, confounding the expectations of pundits who believed the European election victory was the “peak Ukip moment”. Our estimates have Farage’s party at 14.8 per cent, down just 0.1 per cent on last month. The Liberal Democrats, however, continue to slide to new record lows. This month they register just 8.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on last month, and an all-time low under our new methodology.

 

Much ink has been spilt, of course, over a lack of clarity over UKIP’s policies on tax, the NHS etc and, to be fair, some of this criticism has been justified. But then to what extent can people be clear about the policies of the three establishment parties on these issues. However most voters are aware that UKIP wants to withdraw from the EU (not negotiate) and impose stricter controls on immigration – and they say you cannot have one without the other. The three establishment parties claim to be concerned about uncontrolled immigration but don’t really want to leave the EU. They also have hang ups about upsetting the high priests of political correctness in the media. UKIP couldn’t care less about the media, focus groups or pontificating pundits – what you see is what you get and that message has resonated, pitching through all the spin and PR noise of modern politics.

One comment on the Kirkup piece (from Telegraf) encapsulated the vacuity and shallowness of the Tory data obsession “It’s good to know that politics is now simply a marketing campaign involving a brand on an empty box that once used to contain principles.”  But then what can you really expect from a party led by “a onetime PR man for ruthlessly profitable trash TV”

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13 July
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Cameron’s Female Tokens…

From David Cameron’s Official House Magazine

David Cameron is putting the finishing touches to a reshuffle that could involve a number of high-profile ministers being moved or demoted in order to promote women to the Cabinet.

Why women? Is it because the individuals concerned are really good? No….it is suggested that Cameron is “expected to address concerns about the lack of women in senior positions by giving jobs to a series of rising female stars.”

Now he has had over four years to “address those concerns” (code phrase for his ear being bent by the fragrant Samantha and/or harrumphing from BBC/Guardian harpies) yet only now, ten months to the election, will the clatter of high heels be magnified across the Cabinet Room floor. Does he really think that such a ploy in the dying season of his premiership will suddenly persuade women to vote for him and his Old Etonian chums?

Apart from ticking a box on Lynton Crosby’s to-do list it is the emptiest of empty gestures – yet par for the course for a slick ex PR man with zilch moral compass….

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09 July
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Bad News For Cameron’s Groupies At The Telegraph – UKIP Not Dipping In Polls…

Well that is a surprise. Just a few days after the Telegraph’s student intern Stephen Best scribbled a piece headed “Where’s Nigel” on the back of his copy of the latest Tory Party HQ press release….(Sample: “Then the wheels fell off in Newark”)

Unfortunately for young Stephen we found out today exactly where Nigel and UKIP can be found….still doing as well in the polls as they did during the May elections. Dashing some ice cold water on those over hyped claims of a “Juncker Bounce” for Cameron the highly respected Polling Report still sees little sign of the Tories overtaking Labour or, alternatively, a massive endorsement of Miliband’s Labour Party. What does seem clear, however, is that UKIP is no flash in the pan…

There is little evidence yet of a fall in Ukip support now the European Parliament elections have passed, confounding the expectations of pundits who believed the European election victory was the “peak Ukip moment”. Our estimates have Farage’s party at 14.8 per cent, down just 0.1 per cent on last month.

Not such good news for Nick Clegg and his party, however..

The Liberal Democrats, however, continue to slide to new record lows. This month they register just 8.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on last month, and an all-time low under our new methodology.

Never mind, Stephen…..just keep listening to Grant Shapps and cutting and pasting those Tory HQ memos and you too can end up like Benedict Brogan…….

 

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03 July
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Good Men Shed Blood For Our Freedoms In 1644…In 1973 We Spat On Their Sacrifice…

A brave attempt once more by Daniel Hannan to remind us that, at a time when the monarchies of Europe were successfully suffocating their own nascent representative institutions, the attempts by Charles I and his cohorts to do the same to the English Parliament by invoking the divine right of kings was finally broken in Yorkshire in the summer of 1644. The Battle of Marston Moor did not end the English Civil War between King and Parliament but it fatally weakened the Royalist forces.

As Hannan points out, although there were bumps along the way, the sovereignty of Parliament as the source of authority remained unchallenged for well over three hundred years until 1973.

Parliament remained sovereign until 1 January 1973, when Sections 2 and 3 of the 1972 European Communities Act came into effect, giving EU law primacy over British law

For centuries the idea that our freedom was deeply embedded in our past was part of the warp and weft of the upbringing of each English generation

Some of the men who won the day at Marston Moor would have pointed at Henry VIII’s break with Rome, others at Magna Carta. Yet others would have gone back still further, to the folkright of Anglo-Saxon common law that had constrained kings before 1066.

Today that key aspect of our history is largely ignored. To his credit Hannan has vividly brought it back to life with his book “How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters”

The pity is, however, that he still feels that the shame of 1973 can be resolved by negotiation within the confines of the EU – which is why he stays within the Tory party and remains a loyal follower of David Cameron. Until he realises that the permanent surrender of national sovereignty is the very keystone of the EU edifice and its removal would render the whole enterprise worthless Hannan must be regarded as an interesting but essentially unreliable observer.

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24 June
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The Telegraph Hates UKIP So Much They Decided To Recruit Stephen Bush As Dan Hodges Mk 2….

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out where the zombified Daily Telegraph might well be heading as it lurches towards the horizon ….just look at Stephen Bush,  “Editor-in-Chief” Jason Seiken’s replacement for Benedict Brogan, one of the most highly respected political journalists in the game today and the brains behind the Telegraph’s widely read weekday political e mail

During the weekend Labour’s so called rising star Chuka Umunna, a privately educated lawyer and grandson of a High Court judge, made a rather bizarre claim about UKIP voters

On the Marr Show this morning Chuka Umunna claimed voters feel disconnected from mainstream politics because they don’t know how to send emails or browse the internet and that “a lot of those voting for Ukip” in the European elections were not computer literate and can’t do things like use email or browse the internet.

UKIP’s Donna Rachel Edmunds demolished this nonsense

Umunna’s suggestion has provoked mirth because it is, quite literally, laughable. Kippers have been well known for their keyboard activism for years now. Visit almost any page on the MSM news sites and political blogs and there will be comment after comment, often thoroughly evidenced, culminating in the two words “Vote Ukip”.

But Stephen Bush  supported Umunna 100%

Why are the Cyberkippers so angry with Chuka Umunna? Because he’s right

Mr B then proceeds to scribble a piece so weird and so dismissive and ill researched that one might initially suspect it could be a parody of Dan Hodges

Such a party might yet emerge, but it won’t be Ukip, because Mr Farage’s alliance of convenience with the enraged elderly has left an unpleasant taint around the party that will not be easily expunged. To make matters worse for Ukip, it appears that Labour may, at last, be beginning to work out how to win its share of the angry octogenerian vote back.

It’s not a parody, unfortunately – Mr B, in a previous incarnation,has form

No – it’s clickbait. The new DT regime is betting the family silver on Cameron. Over the last few months the resident pundits of the supposedly conservative organ (with the honourable exception of Janet Daley and Peter Oborne) have been religiously pimping Dave and sneering at UKIP. But that was not enough so they decided to recruit Dan Hodges Mk 2

So, who is Stephen Bush?

Stephen Bush is an assistant comment editor at the Telegraph, who mainly works on Morning Briefing, the Telegraph’s must-read morning e-mail.

He , appeared out of the blue a few weeks ago “helping” Brogan – always a portent of assassination at the DT.

Where did he come from?

Guardian Bush

Guardian Bush

Telegraph Bush

Telegraph Bush

The Guardian……

Stephen Bush writes a weekly blog for Progress and works in a bookshop

And left wing websites Progress Online and LabourList…….

Stephen Bush is a writer from London. He studied history at the University of Oxford, and has written on everything from party funding to underwater hockey. He writes a weekly column, the Tuesday Review, for ProgressOnline on politics and current events, and for LabourList on European affairs.

If Mr Bush is a sign of things to come then it looks like the DT zombie might be lurching towards the metropolitan chattering class hilltop currently occupied by the Guardian and BBC where, of course, UKIP is simply not acceptable. Trouble is if you check on the majority of the responses to his Chuka Umunna/UKIP post you get the feeling that the zombie might not be taking a substantial chunk of its  readership with it.

What’s that sound?  Bill Deedes turning in his grave…..

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19 June
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Ashcroft Poll Numbers Suggest UKIP MPs In Parliament After 2015 Is A Distinct Possibility

Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll of Tory/Labour “Battleground Marginals” has actually thrown up some interesting figures for UKIP. If you look at Page 4 (Voting Intentions) there are four seats where UKIP are within eight percentage points of the leading party

  Currently held by CON LAB LIB DEM UKIP OTHER Change for UKIP since 2010
GREAT YARMOUTH CON 32 34 5 28 1 +13%
THANET SOUTH CON 32 31 7 27 3 +21%
THURROCK CON 27 37 4 29 3 +22%
WALSALL NORTH LAB 21 37 8 30 3 +25%

The figures show that UKIP has certainly got everything to play for in these constituencies – and they give the lie to the current message of “piling up the protest votes and coming second”

Moreover, looking at the rest of the marginals in most of them an increase in support for UKIP will lose those currently held by the Tories to Labour and also deny them the chance of gaining Labour held marginals. So the possibility of UKIP MPs in the next parliament can no longer be derided as a “swivel-eyed” fantasy by the political class and their symbiotic partners in the media.

Looks like the “UKIP peaking and now on the way out” narrative being assiduously peddled by Tory HQ and their cheerleaders at the Telegraph needs to be filed under “False Rumours”…

 

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12 June
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Labour – The Party Of The Urban Middle Class…..

The chaps at The New Statesman, the parish magazine of the chattering class left, have clearly not been paying too much attention to Planet Telegraph and the musings of Benedict Brogan and Dan Hodges who have used the Newark by election result to prove, beyond doubt that UKIP has shot its bolt and is now in terminal decline

Yet Ukip’s results in the 2014 local and European elections demonstrate the importance of blue-collar voters for Labour. These are the voters it has been haemorrhaging for over a decade; those who once sat at home on election day and are now coming out to vote Ukip………….This is a logical consequence of abandoning blue-collar Britons and becoming a party of the urban middle class alone.

Wow…..you mean winning Hackney with a coalition of young white middle class professionals and ethnic minorities won’t make much of an impression on those working class people in Rotherham and Thurrock? You know, the ones who never appear in colour supplements?

As John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, has observed, we need to recognise the pressures immigration has put on some working-class communities

But…but…but…I thought uncontrolled immigration was A Good Thing….

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