The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

14 May
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Tory Pundits Ecstatic As Conservatives Flatline Yet Ignore UKIP Surge

The pundits at the Telegraph and Spectator went into overdrive with the latest Guardian/ICM poll and the changes since last month. Reading between the lines (and remember that Brogan and Hardman especially have a hot line to Tory HQ) the Tories are quietly confident that it’s all in the bag, all part of the master plan that will see them coasting to victory in 2015

Support for Labour drops six points as Tories take lead in latest ICM poll. Labour support falls to 31%, Conservatives rise one point to 33%, Lib Dems are up one on 13% and Ukip rises four to 15%

Only one problem – Tory support has virtually stayed the same, as has the Lib Dems. One party. Labour, shows a decline greater than the margin of error.  One party shows an improvement greater than the margin of error – UKIP.

Wonder where those UKIP votes are coming from?

24 June
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Westminster Village Partying Like It’s 1788 or 1916?

Benedict Brogan, one of the best informed political commentators in the Westminster village, penned a piece in The Daily Telegraph on Cameron’s forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. One respondent , peter63, though admiring Brogan, wondered just how detached he and his colleagues across the media from the world outside the village…


for a certain kind of Titanic-watcher, I suppose there is some interest in seeing which way the deckchairs are rearranged before ship up-ends and goes down.

Nobody at the Telegraph seems to have an inkling of the watershed change in the public mood (at least, as that mood is outside London).

There is a new mindset in so much of the nation.   What IS fascinating is to observe how little this is perceived among the DT journalists – all of them highly talented and well educated persons.

It explains to me how the courts of France or Russia could in the last months of their ancien régimes have really no proper idea of what was to overtake them.



Worth a thought….

02 May
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Cameron’s Last Minute EU Referendum Hint…Is It Really “My lips make promises but I have the heart of a whore”?

“My lips make promises but I have the heart of a whore”

Meet David Cameron


There are indications that UKIP, whose supporters were once characterised by David Cameron as “fruitcakes and loonies” might do well in today’s local elections at the expense of Cameron’s Conservative Party.

On the day before these elections Cameron has hinted that there might be a possibility that in certain circumstances there could be a chance that the promise of an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU would be enshrined by legislation

In an interview, Mr Cameron said the Conservatives needed to “demonstrate absolutely that we are serious about this referendum”.

Is this the action of a man you can trust?

25 April
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“Let’s Face It, Chaps, This UKIP Business Is All A Bit Of A Fantasy…..I Say, Could You Pass Me An Olive?”

One of those clever young chaps at The UK Spectator has poured some cold water over speculation that UKIP could do well, even win, should a by election be held at in the Portsmouth South constituency of beleaguered Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock.
Young Mr Jones points out that the Portsmouth South demographics indicate a younger population and, as we all know, only old people, hankering over a Britain that never really existed, support UKIP.

But we can expect the average Portsmouth South voter to be at least slightly younger — and therefore less likely to vote Ukip — than the average Eastleigh voter.

Moreover the Lib Dems are deeply entrenched locally, as they were in Eastleigh

And, like in Eastleigh, the Liberal Democrats dominate at a local government level — they hold 17 of the 18 City Council seats in the constituency (the Tories have one).

Therefore, he implies, let’s stop fantasising over UKIP and get down to good old fashioned traditional three way party politics…’s all a bit of a fairy story.

What he conveniently ignores, of course, is that the Lib Dems only won Eastleigh through the rather dubious organising of postal votes. On the day real time voters went massively UKIP because, during the actual campaign, voters were impressed by the party’s actual messaging (as distinct from the usual media inspired caricature) and the quality of the UKIP candidate.

Eastleigh has given the party a tremendous boost by proving that voting purple no longer a Raving Monster Loony Party moment. The media has begun to take the party a little more seriously, Nigel Farage’s Common Sense tour has played to packed halls and the national polls has shown UKIP pushing ahead of the Lib Dems.

This is not to say that the party would win in Portsmouth but the fact that a high tory outlet like the Spectator is engaging in a little agitprop shows that Cameron & Co are worried..

And so they should be…..membership is growing fast and a lot of these are from the younger demographic. Moreover they are not all disillusioned former Conservative voters. Some are from other parties and a number are people who were previously apolitical and who see the party as giving a voice to ordinary folk outside the metropolitan cultural elite.

Instead of pontificating from his media perch why doesn’t Jonathan Jones get down to some real journalism and get out and about to find out why so many people are joining UKIP – and what they are doing to bring it closer to the corridors of power…

But then that would take expenditure of shoeleather and chatting with the great unwashed – and that would never do…..might miss a few cocktail parties….

15 March
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How About That Sarah Wollaston MP For Tory Leader?

Yes, that Sarah Wollaston…Cathy Newman jolted my memory about how she became Tory candidate for Totnes. She leapfrogged over the usual suspects of stodgy councillors and party suits by winning an open primary.

Yes, in those heady days of opposition that was going to be the way forward – by sending a bolt of electric energy into the well spread bottoms of the Tory faithful. No more plump merchant bankers, teenage political “consultants” or well heeled Eton/Oxbridge toffs with a few years work experience as a PR man for Carlton Television

At the public hustings before the vote, she was asked if her political inexperience would stop her throwing a punch in Parliament, and she retorted that this wasn’t what politics was about. She got a spontaneous round of applause.

She’s ruffling Cameron’s feathers by sticking to her principles – and I like the cut of her jib…

1. Anti EU
2. She turned down a low level government job because she didn’t want to be handcuffed
3. She wants NHS supremo Nicholson sacked for his handling of the Mid Staffs tragedy
4. She criticises Cameron for his retreat over minimum alcohol pricing
5. Cameron and his team, she says, are out of touch with ordinary people

(Now personally I never agreed with minimum pricing but I admire her for sticking to her guns)

Above all she has substantial life and work experience outside politics/media – 24 years in fact which is more than you can say for those spotty sixth formers Cameron, Milliband and Clegg combined….and she also annoys quite a few of the grumpy old saloon bar farts who roam the celars of the Telegraph (just read some of the comments at the end of Newman’s piece…lol..

I live in South Devon with my husband Adrian and we have 3 children, all at university.
I was previously a GP, but also spent time as a police forensic examiner for Devon and Cornwall Police helping victims of sexual violence. I was also involved with teaching and training junior doctors and medical students as well as examining for the Royal College of GPs. I was spurred into Politics after David Cameron’s invitation to those with backgrounds outside politics to bring their practical experience to Westminster

Read her blog and her tweets. The lady has more cojones than two hundred Tory suits sweating in a Turkish bath.

Sarah Wollaston for next Tory leader? You know – I quite like the sound of that though I doubt David Cameron would agree..

23 January
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Never Expected To Say This But Cameron’s EU Speech Was Absolutely Spot On….

There is a time in politics as well as in all things when one must eat one’s words (or some of them) and give credit where it is due. David Cameron’s speech was a good one, carefully crafted to bring out some home truths without sneering at our European partners as a bunch of Johnny Foreigners smelling of garlic and trying to seduce our women and steal our silver. By offering a straightforward in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2017 on the basis of a negotiated repatriation of certain powers he made a bold, and honest, commitment. There are none of the familiar weasel word which politicians conventionally use when making public promises – “almost certainly”, “certain circumstances”, subject to these conditions”.

There are always voices saying “don’t ask the difficult questions.”
But it’s essential for Europe – and for Britain – that we do because there are three major challenges confronting us today.
First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe.
Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.

For once it was Cameron as Thatcher, not Cameron as Blair.

It‘s a canny move. It might well have for the moment shot the UKIP fox, which had been threatening to bite at Tory heels – though I suspect that puttting a bet on predicting Nigel Farage’s political demise would not be the wisest of moves.Indeed one could argue that Cameron’s offer has been forced on him by the impact of Farage And UKIP. However Dave has left Labour in complete disarray. As for the Liberal Democrats, who in 2007 were supporting a referendum, they are busily backpedalling, calling the idea unhelpful.

This must be sweet music to Tory ears – those champions of the “people” Clegg and Milliband boxing themselves into a corner and saying actually we, the great and the good, not the public, should decide these matters.

The fact that political has beens like Mandelson, Clarke and Heseltine are against a referendum is clearly a badge of honour considering that all three were once fervent advocates of joining the Euro. Add the French and President Obama to the mix and it must be drinks all round.

The only voice that matters in all this is the one that emanates from Berlin and Cameron must be pleased that Angela Merkel is not going negative on the idea of having a second look at the power relationship between the EU and member states.

Maybe, just maybe, Dave might have a bit of backbone after all……

20 December
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Obama Tells UK To Stay In The Inefficient, Corrupt EU….Maybe It Reminds Him Of Chicago…

Hey, folks – President Obama and his team do not like all this stuff happening in Britain about the rise of UKIP and growing support for the UK getting the hell out of the EU.

They don’t like the Eurosceptic signals being given out by a David Cameron who is very worried that many conservative voters outside the Notting Hill metro elite bubble are abandoning his party and shifting to UKIP.

“It is important to state very clearly that a strong UK in a strong Europe is in America’s national interest,” said a senior US administration official. “We recognise national states but see the EU as a force multiplier.”

Well, Mr President, surprisingly enough we feel that serving America’s interests is not the primary function of any UK government. We would dearly love to have a government whose lodestar was always putting the interests of the British people at the top of it’s agenda

Funny isn’t it that an American administration which has consistently failed to pay due regard to our shared political and cultural traditions should be putting pressure on us to stay in the EU for the sake of the USA.

The EU is a bloated bureaucratic monstrosity, inefficient and corrupt

Maybe that’s why Obama loves it so much….after all he did cut his political teeth in Chicago….

16 April
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Tory Minister Told To Play The Old “Swivel Eyed” Ploy Against UKIP……

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Barker insisted that the Conservatives should not be tempted to adopt a more Eurosceptic stance to win an outright majority at the next election…….we don’t need to follow UKIP into swivel-eyed rhetoric. People expect grown up statesman-like leadership on Europe, and with David Cameron, that is what they get.”

A very smooth (and rich) chap the Energy Minister is said to be a close chum of David Cameron and George Osborne and one of the key figures planning the Tory strategy for the next election. His view is that the Conservatives need to capture the “fertile ground” where 21st century elections will be won.

Mr Barker said the Tories had to attract more voters from ethnic minorities as well as homosexual and lesbians. He said: “Absolutely – it is policy for the whole country.”

Ah yes – that’s “Greg” Barker, who in the past has faced questions about his links to Russian oligarchs and who also had his own starring role in the MP’s expenses scandal.

In December 2006, Mr Barker briefly moved the second home allowance back to Cheyne Row, where he claimed a further £3,492 for his mortgage interest. He also claimed £4,400 in food allowances – 11 months-worth in one go.
He moved house after leaving his wife Celeste in October 2006 following an affair with William Banks-Blaney, an interior designer, but he still claims the house he shares with her and their three children in Peasmarsh, East Sussex, as his main home.

Nice to know that Barker and his friends are still addicted to the myth of the centre ground and pimping the electoral genius of team Cameron/Osborne. Problem is that team Cameron/Osborne were unable to deliver a crushing victory over what was possibly one of the most unpopular and discredited governments of all time even though they were aiming for Barker’s “fertile ground”

As for “Greg” I suspect his “swivel eyed” rhetoric jibe had a slightly personal edge to it for it must be so irritating to see a man he and his pals in the Tory establishment had believed to be consigned to the “dustbin of history” in East Sussex in 2001 leading what was once seen as a “fringe”party (UKIP) which is now gaining considerable momentum in current opinion polls.

Keep on digging that hole you are already in, Greg, just don’t blame anyone else when you find you are stuck in it…..

05 April
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Having Successfully Destroyed John Major In The Years Leading Up To 1997 Is The Daily Telegraph Beginning To Have Regrets?

A belated and timely reassessment of John Major’s premiership from Peter Oborne at the Daily Telegraph.

His administration has enjoyed a terrible reputation and remains associated with sleaze, incompetence, drift and weakness. But as time has passed this verdict has started to look unfair. History may yet be much kinder to John Major than many would have thought.

Yet a closer look at the facts (those oh so inconvenient nuggets of truth that undermine the seductive charm of wishful thinking) Major’s government had a good record of solid achievement in Northern Ireland, public service reform, education and pensions. The benefits of the Maastricht monetary union opt out, though widely derided at the time by the great and the good from the left have kept us out of the current Euro quicksand. Above all, after the (admittedly self inflicted) trauma of Black Wednesday in 1992, within five years the economy had been turned around.

By 1997 employment was rising, growth stable, and the deficit was well under control, meaning that Gordon Brown as chancellor inherited the most benign economic scenario for any British government of the last century. The situation was so fundamentally strong that it took three successive Labour administrations to wreck it.

But at the time, as Oborne guiltily admits, he and his fellow journalists waged an unrelenting campaign of contemptuous denigration against Major.

Yet during the later stages of his premiership, Major was treated with almost universal, vicious derision. Calumny after calumny was heaped upon him, and though this campaign of laceration was led in Parliament by Blair’s brilliant New Labour opposition, the newspapers were all too happy to join in.

His humble origins were viciously mocked. His ordinary, untheatrical bank manager demeanour was constantly compared unfavourably with the flashy showmanship of Tony Blair’s car salesman – and the charge was orchestrated, not so much from the natural enemies of the right at the BBC and Guardian but from that so called bastion of conservatism at the Daily Telegraph. Day in, day out vicious barbs were penned by the likes of Simon Heffer and Boris Johnson (yes, that Boris) deliberately aimed at undermining Major and preparing the way for their chosen messiah….Michael Portillo….

Don’t laugh – the saviour of the Tories was going to be a shallow, etch-a-sketch glamour boy, a trimmer who played to whichever gallery was making the most noise. Somehow (only the gods know why) the Telegraph fell madly in love with Portillo and so successfully tarnished Major’s reputation that in 1997 Labour swept back to power with a massive majority of parliamentary seats. Hundreds of Tories failed to win their constituencies – including (to the laughter of the gods) Portillo, the Telegraph’s “man of destiny”

By the way, this month, twenty years ago, saw the last Tory victory in a General Election. Against the prophesies of the pundits and the prognostications of the pollsters John Major was returned to Downing Street.

Right up to the BBC exit polls, it was assumed that Neil Kinnock’s Labour would win. But John Major, always underestimated by a sneering metropolitan media class, triumphed against the odds.
He won more votes – 14 million – than any other British prime minister has ever done. In popular terms, the margin of victory was immense. No less than 42 per cent of the voters came out for Major, 34 per cent for Kinnock. But the bias of the British electoral system hit the Conservatives hard.
Had Labour enjoyed that 8 per cent lead in the popular vote, it would have secured a parliamentary majority of more than 100. Unlucky Major ended up with a majority of just 21, which was whittled away over the coming years until his government ended in ignominy and defeat

That’s right – the disdained John Major managed to achieve something that has eluded David Cameron (AKA Michael Portillo Mk II)….a decisive Tory victory in terms of popular voter support…

…and, partially thanks to the Daily Telegraph it might possibly be the last…..

16 February
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Enoch Powell – The Greatest Prime Minister The UK Never Had…

The sad news about the death of Ray Honeyford, a brilliant head teacher whose career was broken in 1985 by the zealots of multiculturalism is made more poignant by the fact that subsequent events have proved him right. As head of a school with a largely Asian intake he warned against the dangers of multiculturalism which, during the 70s and 80s was the official policy of the educational establishment, aided and abetted by the great and the good of the media, the political elite and the lords of academe.

According to this policy, ethnic minority children were encouraged to cling on to their cultures, customs, even languages, while the concept of a shared British identity was treated with contempt. Honeyford thought this approach was deeply damaging.
He feared that it promoted division, hindered integration and undermined pupils’ opportunities to succeed in wider British society.

He was subjected to a campaign of unrelenting vilification from the liberal left and the race relations industry and was given up as a sacrificial lamb by his terrified employers with little, if any, support from the Thatcher government.

….and it made me think of Enoch Powell….

Enoch Powell was a brilliant academic (Professor of Ancient Greek at age 25) and also a combative conservative politician who possessed the remarkable gift (extremely rare amonst UK conservatives) of being able to connect with the man or woman in the street.

His views on immigration and the EU struck a chord that resonated with the majority of British people at a time when those same opinions were deemed unacceptable by the cultural elite that dominated – and continues to dominate – politics, the media and academe. As a result he was ostracised and ignored by the establishment and remained a political outsider from the late 60s onward.

Though popular with everyday folk he never deliberately courted popularity. Indeed some of his views (he was opposed to capital punishment) went against the grain of public opinion. But this independence of mind merely served to endear him even further with the public. There was always the feeling that with Powell you had a politician who was totally honest, never self serving and always ready to tell you the truth however unwilling were your ears to receive it.

Naturally he was given the cold shoulder, not just by the left but also by many of his Conservative Party colleagues who wanted a quiet life free from the strictures of the BBC and the UK Guardian.

Naturally all his warnings about the impact of uncontrolled immigration, European integration and lax fiscal policy have come to pass….

For a taster one clip and two quotes

Powell on the race card

Powell on “Western guilt”

We are told that the economic achievement of the Western countries has been at the expense of the rest of the world and has impoverished them, so that what are called the ‘developed’ countries owe a duty to hand over tax-produced ‘aid’ to the governments of the undeveloped countries. It is nonsense—manifest, arrant nonsense; but it is nonsense with which the people of the Western countries, clergy and laity, but clergy especially—have been so deluged and saturated that in the end they feel ashamed of what the brains and energy of Western mankind have done, and sink on their knees to apologise for being civilised and ask to be insulted and humiliated.

Powell on “Europe”

We are taunted—by the French, by the Italians, by the Spaniards—for refusing to worship at the shrine of a common government superimposed upon them all… where were the European unity merchants in 1940? I will tell you. They were either writhing under a hideous oppression or they were aiding and abetting that oppression. Lucky for Europe that Britain was alone in 1940.

Finally a must-read….Simon Heffer’s magisterial biography of Powell….

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