The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

03 December
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Libertarianism – Nice Idea But For UKIP A Bit Ivory Tower…

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A confession.

My first political action was helping my dad, a working class Tory, put a poster in our window for the 1950 election. Since then, until 2013 I was often an active party member but always a loyal Tory voter…sometimes while holding my nose (Heath) other times almost ecstatic with enthusiasm (Thatcher)

Admittedly from 2006 I had my doubts about Cameron and developed an interest in UKIP but I only actually joined UKIP in 2013 because of Diane James and Eastleigh. Until then, outside of Farage, many other UKIP figures did appear to me to be oddballs. Diane James was no oddball and, more importantly, she almost won – and that was why I joined. UKIP was obviously appealing to a considerable number of ordinary voters.

But I have never been a libertarian.

After all, who in terms of practical politics could honestly see a “libertarian” government being elected and then proceeding to dismantle the apparatus of the state? Ron Paul won the devotion of a handful of bright young Ayn Rand groupies. He managed to win straw polls yet remained electorally irrelevant. The Tea Party was a genuine grassroots movement with a laser like focus on fiscal probity that fired the 2010 election and began the undermining of the Democrats and their hold on political power that had been handed to them on a plate by the beltway GOP in 2006 and 2008. After 2008 the GOP leadership and their media pundits were all for going with the flow and working with the Democrats. The Tea Party and their biggest fan, Sarah Palin, went for Obama, Pelosi & Co with knives and baseball bats. The beltway pundits rolled their eyes but the voters liked what they heard. Meanwhile Ron Paul stood aloof from the Tea Party and watched as politics passed him by.

Similarly while UKIP was a tiny fringe cult where libertarians could play all day it attracted few votes outside the meaningless Euros. Once it began to be perceived as a populist party resonating with a shift in public mood in 1913 it began winning local council seats and making an impact in parliamentary elections. This was accompanied by a dramatic increase in membership and the expansion of the branch structure which in some areas generated a lively and energetic core of local activists. The result? More local election gains in 2014 and UKIP’s first MPs’

Not all of the pre 2013 kippers have been impressed, particularly the libertarians. Policy shifts on the NHS, taxation and welfare have led to mutterings about “red UKIP” and perhaps one can understand their concerns. But I also feel that some of them are maybe subconsciously uncomfortable with the influx of new members and the prospects of electoral success. They were happier being perceived as the followers of a fringe cult baying helplessly at the moon because it helped to reinforce their own conviction that they were prophets crying in the wilderness, ignored by an ignorant majority who would suffer on the Day of Judgement.

I would guess that the vast majority of the post 2013 UKIP intake are, like me, inclined towards small government. But we also recognise that a modern nation state is a highly complex structure that needs a modicum of direction if only to guard its citizens from the designs of those who wish us harm through criminal activity within or without the realm.

Of course any political movement needs to be grounded with principles – yet it must also seek to gain power to put those principles into practice. There are only three ways of doing this – by taking over an existing party, by creating a separate party and start to win elections or by some sort of coup or insurrection .Either way means getting your hands dirty with political action….and I really can’t see any of our libertarian dream weavers leaving their ivory towers to do that….

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02 December
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Hey – We Called UKIP Guy A Turk To Celebrate Diversity Says Tory MP

 

Whoops - sorry....

Whoops – sorry….

Hey, that leaflet calling UKIP’s Tim Aker “Timur” issued by the Tories in Thurrock is not a negative snide reference to his Turkish ancestry says Tory MP Jackie Doyle Price – it’s really a celebration of his diversity…and that’s A OK ‘cos we all know diversity is good…geddit? (nudge nudge wink wink – anyone for a kebab…lol)

Ms Doyle-Price will be running for re-election against Mr Aker next May, defending a majority of less than 100 votes – one of the smallest in the UK at the 2010 election.

Yup – stay classy, Tories…

 

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20 November
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The Aged P….Blitz Baby….

Morning after...

Morning after…

I was born at Lockington Hall, an 18th century country house 20 miles NW of Leicester in the early hours of Wednesday November 20th 1940. Alas this was not my family’s ancestral estate – it had been requisitioned by the Govt as a maternity home for expectant mothers from areas being bombed by the German Luftwaffe at the start of WW2……altogether 2000 of us young Brits were born there during those war years.

Starting on 7 September 1940, London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights. More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, almost half of them in London. My South London mum was six months pregnant when the London Blitz began. My dad had been called up into the army and was away “somewhere in England” manning anti-aircraft artillery. Imagine what it must have been like having to spend every night during the last months of your pregnancy down in a cellar hearing the crash of guns and bombs up above, never knowing if the next one was coming down on your house to blast you into kingdom come. Being evacuated to a peaceful rural mansion a fortnight before your due date must have seemed like a minor miracle.

In actual fact in November 1940 the area was not too peaceful. Just a few hours before I was born the Germans launched a devastating raid on nearby Leicester.

Before November was out mum and I were despatched back to South London and further air raids. Dad was granted some leave at times but in early 1942 he was sent off to North Africa and Italy and the next time I saw him was in 1945 when he was demobbed….

Mum, Dad & me...1941

Mum, Dad & me…1941

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14 November
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Two Big Myths Parroted About UKIP Nailed – By Left Wing Writers!!!!!

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Listen to most of the political class and media pundits talking about UKIP and there are two dominant narratives

UKIP HAS PEAKED AND WILL FADE AWAY AT GE 2015

UKIP IS JUST A PROTEST VOTE

Hmmmmm…..

UKIP HAS PEAKED AND WILL FADE AWAY AT GE 2015

John Harris at The Guardian

supporting Ukip is essentially an act of defiance and a hostile media is one of the forces Ukip’s most enthusiastic fans think they are resisting. Indeed, the place of the media in this story shows the rise of Ukip to be as much a cultural phenomenon as a political one.  Tellingly, a lot of Ukip supporters defiantly describe themselves as “English”, a deep, complex identity that transcends the dry stuff of elections and voting behaviour. At its core is a latent anger about snobbery and the supposed sidelining of the white working class, and antipathy towards most things considered “politically correct”, which can explode in response to stories and events that are said to fit that basic narrative. Ukip will not win all of the Westminster seats it is targeting, ……But make no mistake, Ukip’s support now runs deep and wide, the public’s faith in mainstream politics shows no signs of any revival and through 2015 and beyond, what Nigel Farage calls his “people’s army” is hardly likely to go away.

UKIP IS JUST A PROTEST VOTE Tim Black at Spiked

And this is why UKIP’s emergence is so potentially significant. The withdrawal of the party-political establishment from the public, its separation from the people it is meant to represent, has finally been seized upon. The emperor is wearing deeply unpopular clothes. Or to put it another way, UKIP is effectively confronting the political class with its own estrangement from vast swathes of British society. To those who have long been condescended to, whose views and lifestyles have been dismissed as backward or unhealthy, UKIP offers a voice. To those whose sense of dislocation amid so much politically championed social change have been ignored, UKIP offers a bulwark. And to those who have found little to vote for from the mainstream political melange, UKIP offers an opportunity. (It’s no surprise that a survey of UKIP voters at last year’s Eastleigh by-election revealed that over 20 per cent had not voted at previous General Elections.)

Fascinating….and what is strange is that both Harris and Black are left wing commentators. Strange that they can be a little more perceptive than the “experts” at supposedly right wing organs like the Telegraph, the Mail and Spectator…..but then they don’t have to keep in with Tory HQ

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10 November
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Suddenly “English Votes For English Issues” Becomes Devolution To “Regions”….I Wonder Why?

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For just a few days after the No victory in the Scottish referendum last September there was much talk of the need to “do something” about England.

The prime minister promised a devolution revolution across Great Britain, including votes on English issues by English MPs at Westminster, as he hailed Scotland’s decision to remain inside the UK.

Polling data appears to indicate that “English votes on English issues” has the support of a clear majority of the people of England. How that could be done is obviously a matter of opinion. My own view would be relatively cheap and cheerful…no separate English Parliament providing yet another gravy train for politician and civil servants. Instead, when debating and voting on matters pertaining to England only (e g education, health) the Commons sits as a committee of English MPs only, excluding Scottish and, maybe, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs.

Simples…

Except that, suddenly, the Labour Party began to get nervous. Tapping their calculators brought forward the unappealing prospect of taking out 59 Scottish MPs from those “English votes”…hardly any of them conservative.

So the rhetoric began to change and devolving powers to “the regions” became the mantra – and you can see why. Not only could the boundaries of some of these “regions” be gerrymandered to fit the core Labour tribal vote but there would be plenty of new troughs for political and bureaucratic snouts to gorge themselves on taxpayer funded goodies.

Naturally they roped in their left wing allies at the BBC who sent Mark Easton to do a series of vox pops. He wrote an interesting post on the history of local government in England but but he framed the discussion with a subtle  piece of subliminal propaganda

Calls for English devolution raise a thorny but age-old question – how might England be broken up into regions?

Notice how with one of the findings of the BBC poll

Some 80% of people in England support having more powers devolved to local areas, a poll on devolution commissioned by the BBC has suggested.

“local areas” has suddenly morphed into “regions”

Now nobody would deny that there are some issues which justify some form of regional strategy (transport comes straight to mind) but there is no reason why existing local authorities cannot be involved alongside Westminster and other interested parties. To set up a completely new  layer of administration providing outwork for even more politicians and bureaucrats smells of only one thing..

Another Gravy Train – paid for by us….

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08 November
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Media Hacks Know Frack All About UKIP – So They Make It Up….

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Rod Liddle at the Speccie has gone all Dan Brown and reckons he’s cracked the UKIP code….it’s a London thing…

 I suspect that the real pull of Ukip in England is that the party, and Mr Farage particularly, are seen as a corrective to the vapid, flaccid, spineless, politically correct and wholly London-centric mitherings of what, until May next year, we must call the main three parties.

I do love it when media hacks and TV pundits who know frack all about UKIP and its 40,000+ members pontificate about the motives of its supporters and why it is rising in the polls. Fact is these scribblers and prattlers have long lists of contacts in the lobby and among the bright young things at party HQ (whose parents they know from their own Oxbridge days)…they are all constantly networking, sharing gossip and swapping nannies.

UKIP leadership cadres simply do not move in these circles and, until a couple of years ago, were, at best, politely ignored or, more often, treated with contempt by these hacks. Even today, like their political contacts in the three main parties they cannot bring themselves to contemplate the possibility that the tectonic plates have shifted. Come “real politics” next May they are convinced that UKIP will fade away and once again North London dinner parties will be where it’s all happening. – so why bother to cultivate any UKIP contacts?

Hence the tendency to treat the party in a similar way to those newly discovered tribes from the depths of the Amazonian forest. There are a few photos published in the Daily Mail alongside a report big on hype and short on facts, a brief flurry of media interest that peters out after six days – and then the whole story just..evaporates.

I suppose it was a bit like that in St Petersburg in the last few months of 1916….

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07 November
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Tim Stanley – Telegraph “Expert” On US Politics – Is Always The Last One On The Bus…..

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The Telegraph’s resident guru on US politics, Dr Tim Stanley, puts the boot into Obama

The midterm elections were the reckoning. After six years of Obama, America finally passed judgement. And the Republicans won in Florida, Maryland, Colorado, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas and the President’s home state of Illinois. This much is certain: no matter how disappointed the American people are in Barack Obama, the feeling will be mutual. One senses that he’s never been a huge fan of the voters.

You are a bit late catching this bus, Tim….some people pointed out in 2008 that electing an empty suit backed by the corrupt Daley machine who had zilch experience at running anything and was minded by a seedy collection of Chicago chic lefties and expecting him to guide the US through choppy waters just because he was “black” was a recipe for disaster. They were shouted down with cries of racist, not just by the usual Guardian/BBC leftists but also by pundits at the Telegraph who swallowed all the hopenchange bilge. Buyer’s remorse from the same stable is all a bit too late

But you can’t keep a pontificating pundit down. He also saw the midterms as a useful tip for No !0

The Republicans are breaking new ground with voters – and that won’t be lost on David Cameron………

In the midterms, America elected its first ever black female Republican congressman – Mia Love from Utah….. The future of the party is probably best represented by Susana Martinez, a Hispanic woman who comfortably won re-election as governor of New Mexico.

Isn’t it odd how “experts” like Tim always manage to post articles like this after the results are in. I’ve followed Mia Love’s political story in Utah for several years…never seen her mentioned by Tim before. Similarly with Susana Martinez (endorsed by Palin in 2010 BTW)…and he still leaves out Nikki Haley (a woman of Hindu heritage, Tim) who was successfully re-elected as Gov of S Carolina

He could have spent the last few weeks spotlighting many of these people with some in depth analysis but he stuck to vapid generalisations usually cut and pasted from the tame “conservative” pundits out of New York and Washington – then he falls into the default position of the commentariat by constructing a false alignment of two entirely different electoral systems

Remember when after 2008 Cameron was told to emulate Obama and go Guardian/BBC via hopeandchange? Remember when 2010 he won a huge majority when facing the open goal of the Blair/Brown inheritance?

Funny, I don’t remember that second one either…..

 

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23 October
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Were Our Soldiers In Afghanistan Betrayed By Politicians & Generals?

Poor leadership from the top brass?

Military leaders failed to calculate the magnitude of the conflict in Afghanistan, the former head of the British army has told the BBC. Gen Sir Peter Wall said they thought they had a “reasonable force” for their limited objectives, but he now admits they got it wrong. The commander in Helmand in 2006, Brig Ed Butler, said troops were “underprepared and under-resourced”.

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph dots the i’s and crosses the t’s in a savage indictment of the UK’s political and military leadership.

British forces were ill-equipped, underprepared and, at the most senior strategic level, atrociously led. The men themselves were nevertheless brave as lions. The conflict in Helmand will be remembered for centuries as a shining example of astonishing heroism combined with pointless sacrifice

Reading Oborne’s article will make you angry – and frustrated. In essence good men and women were killed and maimed so that politicians and senior officers could grandstand at meetings in Westminster and Washington. The politicians (are you listening Mr Blair?) are now either waxing fat with lucrative speaking engagements around the world or are still in Parliament trying to sell themselves as the next government. I guess that also many of the senior officers slipped seamlessly into cosy and well paid consultancy positions in the UK armaments industry…perish the thought that better kit might  be available off the shelf elsewhere.

Metaphorically thoughts of Admiral Byng might well come to mind – and not just for senior officers….

download

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21 October
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The UKIP Calypso – Annoying All The Right People……

 

You really have to smile….Tories, Labour and Lib Dems get millions from wealthy donors, have hundreds of salaried staff, use PR firms, advertising agencies, focus groups and pollsters to finetune carefully crafted propaganda campaigns all backed up by their palace guards in the media and the impact is….zilch…

UKIP (no big donors, minimal staff) get a former BBC dj, well past his sell by date to write, sing and record a calypso, a musical genre briefly popular circa 1955 and the whole thing goes VIRAL!!!!!!!

What’s more the lyrics spell out the main threads of UKIP policy while the chorus plops Nigel Farage directly outside No. 10 Downing Street….

The lefty smellysocks on Twitter go mental and the Telegraph and Guardian sneer at full throttle and the usual suspects cry RACIST…

Media elite annoyed – TICK

Lefty Race Card operatives head’s exploding – TICK

Massive publicity for UKIP – TICK

Boost for UKIP funds via downloads – TICK

Yup…all the right boxes ticked – Farage does it again….they’re playing Snap, he’s playing three dimensional chess.

BTW…don’t tell anyone but it’s reached number seven in the download charts…..lol…

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10 October
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LibDem Minister for Women Sneers At “Call The Midwife”

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Jo Swinson, the Minister for Women, who became a LibDem MP five years after leaving university (she worked in Marketing and PR) made a sneer at “Call The Midwife” and old fashioned views of mothering at the recent LibDem Conference

‘The very idea of men caring for small children or mothers forging successful careers is anathema to many Tories, who’d apparently rather have a Call the Midwife version of parenting. At least we recognise that women might want both a fulfilling job and family life.

It’s odd that Ms Swinson should have used CTM as a term of disparagement. The BBC series is one of the most popular programmes of the last twenty years, regularly gathering 10 million viewers per episode. It is gritty and does focus on serious social issues but part of the appeal is also in the characters of the midwives themselves and their relationships. By today’s standards they are very prim and proper and,astonishingly, there is no sex….a bit of kissing and cuddling and that’s all.

You wonder if part of the appeal of the programme is embedded in the absence of sex as an obsessive topic. There was, of course, plenty of sex going on in the 1950s but it was generally considered a very private matter..a quaint old fashioned view for many of our media elite but possibly those values still appear attractive to many

The respect and love shown for the Queen in her Jubilee year, the popularity of the Great British Bake Off….could it be that the Jo Swinsons of our world are missing the point a little?

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