The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

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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18 September
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Those Free School Meals For Middle Class Kids…..

Millionaire Nick Clegg is going to use taxpayers money to pay for free school meals for all under sevens in state schools, all 1.5 million of them. Of course nearly 500,000 of them already get free meals as a benefit for low income families so this means that higher income parents will be getting a share of the gravy as well.

I bet those middle class mums at mumsnet will be delighted – an extra £400 to spend per child, all courtesy of £600m from  the hard pressed taxpayer

Naturally the teachers unions are delighted

The National Union of Teachers said pupils of all ages should qualify, adding: ‘Children do not stop being hungry at seven.’

Here’s an idea. Finance this boondoggle from money set aside for teachers salary increases. I’m sure they would be delighted to take one for the kids……

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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…..it’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….

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28 February
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Don’t Lib Dem “Wimmin” Slap Faces Any More?

Was Liberal Democrat big cheese Lord Rennard a serial groper? Several Lib Dem ladies say he was. Rennard denies it all. He could be telling the truth – not all Lib Dem politicians are liars, drunks or expenses fiddlers. But party leader Nick Clegg is spinning like a weathercock in a gale over his role in the affair and, surprisingly, as Guido Fawkes has pointed out, motor mouth right on feminists MPs like Lynne Featherstone and Sarah Teather been conspicuous by their silence.

For me the most intriguing aspect of this grubby little whirlwind of accusation and counter accusation is that if it is true that there was a casting couch culture in the Lib Dem organisation why was there no sign of any carefully choreographed outrage from Lib Dem “wimmin” themselves – after all these are supposedly the shock troops of female emancipation…
…or don’t women slap men across the face anymore in response to an unwelcome and unpleasant touch?

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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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05 March
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Gay Marriage In The UK – Why Not Ask “Should We Do It?” Before Asking “How We Do It”…

Mr Cameron told last year’s Tory conference in Manchester: “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.” Last week his spokesman said he was “passionate” about the issue.

So passionate that this proposal was never mentioned in the 2010 conservative Manifesto – nor, indeed, in the manifestos of the Labour Party or Cameron’s Coalition colleagues the Liberal Democrats.

Yet suddenly we have been told by no less a government figure than Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone (an obscure liberal/left chattering class busybody who is now something called “Equalities Minister”) that she will soon be asking for a public debate about how gay marriage can be introduced.

Excuse me? I must have missed the previous debate about whether gay marriage should be introduced.

No I didn’t – because there never has been a debate about whether….instead Ms Featherstone trills rather meaninglessly about “the people”

Mrs Featherstone, however, has argued that marriage is “owned by the people” and that governments have a duty to change laws to bolster the “underlying principles of family, society and personal freedoms”.

Total drivel.

I have no issue with the current situation. Same sex couples already now have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples via the civil partnerships introduced by Labour in 2004. They can even have their partnerships blessed by a priest to give their relationship a religious dimension.
However I can detect no massive groundswell of opinion throughout the land demanding a such a fundamental change to the concept of marriage that has been established in these islands for well over a thousand years. But what does exist is a well orchestrated campaign by a tiny group of activists with a hotline into our media/political elite and Cameron the former PR man is deeply embedded into that elite.

Over the last half century changes of direction in several key social and ethical policy areas such as abortion, penal policy and immigration policy have been driven by the liberal/left against the wishes of the majority. Yet, partly through fear of being branded as ignorant and intolerant and partly by sheer inertia these deep seated changes to the social fabric have been absorbed by the public with little overt resistance. The result? The emergence of a dysfunctional society and an accompanying breakdown in social cohesion.

But perhaps at last the silent majority will no longer remain so acquiescent. Voices are being heard in opposition to the Cameron/Featherstone diktat and some of those voices are being raised in anger.

The government has sown a wind – they might find themselves facing a whirlwind…..

On the other hand the whirlwind might prove yet another storm in a teacup and the silent majority will just once again give way to the relentless march of those who wish to transform our society into something more malleable – and easier to manage and control…

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