The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

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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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?

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24 September
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Dodgy Deal: “Ukip Supporters Should Vote For The Tory Liars, Otherwise The Labour Liars Will Get In”

A vote for ukip will let Labour in says Alex Wickham.

It’s a mantra that we shall be hearing more and more over the months leading up to the next general election.  It usually begins with a statement that the author is sympathetic to much of what ukip stands for and, yes, for a long time Cameron and Co were badmouthing its members but Dave has seen the error of his ways and is now firmly committed to a referendum and immigration reform and will be “watching like a hawk…etc..etc…blah blah”

So now is not the time to be rocking the boat by putting ukip candidates in every seat (especially the marginals) and thus decanting a measure of the Tory vote and letting Labour in.

However, leaving aside the obvious issues (not all the ukip vote comes from former Tory voters / on many issues the views of Cameron and Miliband are interchangeable) there is one major flaw in the Wickham argument.

If it is assumed by many conservative politicians and pundits that a substantial proportion of Tory voters are willing to “desert” to ukip at the ballot box isn’t it a sign that Cameron’s party has alienated a significant element of their core support?  Shouldn’t Wickham and his friends be asking themselves why this has happened AND WHAT THE TORY PARTY SHOULD DO ABOUT IT?

In other words it is a problem for the Tories, not for ukip

While Cameron and his clique are in charge the Tory Party will be exactly like those abusive husbands who regularly beat their wives black and blue then sob uncontrollably and promise to reform when the wife threatens to leave.

For a few days they appear to be thoughtful and caring – then their fists come into action again.

Wickham’s cri de coeur is pure, unadulterated moral blackmail. It’s the eternal siren song of the dodgy salesman. Only a fool would buy into it and, this time, many Tory voters will say they have been fooled once too often….

salesman

 

Pic h/t

 

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04 September
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The Sons Of Labour’s Guilty Men & Women Should Look For Atonement, Not Political Power…

Both Dan Hodges and Guido report that a slither of “Red Princes” are following in their fathers footsteps and offering themselves as Labour candidates for 2015

Dave Prescott is a member of quite an exclusive club, the so called “red princes and princesses”, whose parents are MPs or former MPs, and who will be contesting seats in 2015. Others include Will Straw, recently selected for Rossendale and Darwin; Euan Blair, who is said to be interested in one of the Coventry seats; and Joe Dromey, who was showing an interest in Lewisham.

Joe Dromey’s  mummy, of course, is Harriet Harman.

Have these young men no shame? Each of them has a parent who was at the very centre of the Labour regime that did everything in it’s power to destroy the very fabric of our country.

It burdened us with a mountain of debt and brought us into the longest lasting recession of modern times.

It allowed a foreign court made up of a motley collection of European academics to overrule the very fabric of our ancient common law

It willingly saddled us with an inefficient and expensive energy policy without any serious attempt to question the voodoo “science” upon which it was based

It deliberately allowed a massive influx of immigrants from every corner of the globe by reducing our border controls to a mere token

It led us into wars for the flimsiest of reasons without any notion of strategic overview and with an underfunded army leading to the killing and maiming of hundreds, maybe thousands, of our brave servicemen and women.

Rather than seek to place themselves in power over us once again perhaps these young men should atone for their parents’ shame by devoting themselves to the humility of good works by working as minimum wage care assistants or cleaners in homes for the elderly.

Then, in the evening of their lives, they might be able to regain a small measure of family dignity by going Profumo rather than Kim Jong Un

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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……

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10 December
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Labour Hopes That In 2015 UK Will Follow USA In Electing Lunatics To Run Asylum

A few weeks ago a majority of Americans voted to put the lunatics in charge of the asylum. That is essentially what Matt Welch was saying in a rather sombre piece at Reason – an article so depressing it ought to have had a health warning attached.

If elections are up-or-down assessments of politicians’ job performance, then this was a vote in favor of trillion-dollar annual deficits, bailout economics, and failing the minimum competence test of passing an annual budget. Federal policy for four years has produced lousy short-term results for the price of long-term insolvency, and now the characters responsible for this misgovernance have been given a pat on the head.

That’s right, despite Sarah Palin’s uncannily perceptive prediction in 2008, the USA wants more Styrofoam columns…..

So, just because Milliband and Balls are being constantly mocked in many of the public prints for their infantile money grows on trees rhetoric against public spending cuts, don’t imagine that our own band of lunatics cannot possibly party their way to power here in the UK in 2015….

Time to take to the hills?

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29 November
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Phone Hacking And The Police Under The Labour Government – A Question Still Unanswered?

As Alistair Thompson points out the biggest mystery behind the phone hacking scandal that spawned the Leveson Inquiry is why the police and the Blair/Brown Labour government turned a blind eye to this illegal activity. Yet this is a question still largely unanswered by the Leveson Report – and, of course, ignored by Ed Milliband, Ed Balls and Tom Watson who were very close to the levers of power in those Blair/Brown years.

Could it be that from 1996 to 2010 Rupert Murdoch supported the Labour party?

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05 October
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06 September
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Charities Need New Angles To Maintain Their Staff’s Comfortable Lifestyle As Donations Fall…

Whoops…..a tear jerking, guilt inducing campaign about child poverty in the UK that recently blasted forth from the hallowed temples of the charity Save The Children (STC) has backfired in spectacular fashion.

Breathlessly trumpeted by the BBC the STC core message was brazenly blatant – there are all these children living in poverty in the UK and the government needs to pay more to their families in benefits. Therefore the cuts in government spending introduced by the coalition not only need to be abandoned but reversed – otherwise lots of children will starve….

Oh dear – grab a tissue, reach for that credit card and send a generous donation to STC…..then contact the media and your MP demanding an immediate increase in the welfare budget.

Except – all is not as it seems in the world of charity campaigns.

The statistics are a tad dodgy

The gut wrenching video used actors

Justin Forsyth, the boss of STC, was a Labour spin doctor for Gordon Brown whose policy of throwing money at low income families did nothing to resolve the problem – and before then he was Tony Blair’s Special Adviser on poverty, climate change and trade. So hardly a political neutral…..

Forsyth, who earns £162,000 per annum as Save The Children’s CEO, is very much one of those people identified by UKIP’s Nigel Farage as our new ruling class. Before his job with the Blair/Brown Labour government he spent thirteen years working for Oxfam. He is therefore a classic product of the charity/campaign industry with little or no experience of wealth creation.

Make no mistake about it, there are a lot of people who now earn their living by working for charities and the salaries, especially at the upper levels, are the gateway to an extremely comfortable lifestyle. But the recession has forced these charities into an unseemly competition for a shrinking market so, like toothpaste manufacturers or lager brewers they need to indulge in a little re-branding to attract attention, something which can catch the eye on a slow news day…

Hence STC came up with the idea of starving UK children – it’s a new angle on an old idea. Of course some could say they have their heart in the right place and this old cynic might grant them that. But I can’t help thinking that it also has a lot to do with keeping Mr Forsyth and his STC colleagues in the style to which they have been accustomed…

After all, the CEO’s £162,000 has to come from somewhere…..

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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…..

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