It's entirely justified.
I (yes "I", Me... the Dude, Jackart) will say it again. The electorate are right to have given Brown a boost in the polls. This is not to say I agree with his policies. I most certainly don't. On that, more later, but his tone and the tone of the Government he leads is a step in the right direction. He is firm, appears in control of events. There's no wobbling lip of emotion every time something goes wrong. In short he appears like a leader should. He is a much more solid presence than the slippery, dishonest fish he replaced, and the voters like the appearance of being led rather than managed.
His spin doctors have worked out that this presentation is the best way to both play to his strengths, eliminate his weaknesses and present his administration as a "change" - eliminating the electorally powerful "time for a change" argument. This may in part go on to bringing back grown-up politics, which has been so sorely lacking since 1994. This is also up to David Cameron*. With Conservative policy reviews coming in, there will be meat of genuine debate on the issues as the policy battle lines are drawn for the next election.
Of course, I still think the Labour government is Nasty, Illiberal, Nannying, thieving, capricious and a thoroughgoing disaster for this country. I still loathe everything the ex-chancellor has put his stamp on, from stealth-taxing of pension funds into penury to the bureaucratic abortion that is the Tax-credits fiasco. Under him, there will be no reform of the public sector (not that I care, I don't use them. I just want them to cost less) and taxes will go up to finance his profligacy with other people's money.
But I prefer his style. Hell, even wearing a tie to meet the President of the United States is an improvement. I didn't realise how much I loathed Blair - I actually thought I (almost) liked him, but for the one-eyed Presbyterian incompetent to be an improvement, demonstrates how skillfully the Charlatan-in-chief and his grotesque hag of a wife pulled the wool over our eyes. It is as if we have emerged from a decade long nightmare of unprincipled politics by opinion poll with a dash of messianic over-confidence in a pastiche of Gladstonian foreign policy, to emerge blinking in the sunlight realising that politics doesn't have to be a shallow, big-brother popularity contest. Hopefully David Cameron and the press will realise this too and we can get on with having principled debate about the rightful role of the state in our lives (i.e Somewhere between "as little as possible" and "none whatsoever"). Is that a flight of Old Tamworths I see flying past my window?
Welcome as this change in style is, it is just that. The electorate will realise soon enough that this Prime Minister is the man who has been responsible for the biggest rise in taxation in peacetime history. The man responsible for ensuring that those on the minimum wage are taxed to penury and see almost no benefit from increases in the minimum wage, almost all of which goes back to the exchequer. The man responsible for ensuring that the already generously pensioned public sector are now paid more than the private sector and have grown shockingly in useless, parasitic number. The man responsible for an explosion in the state's size and reach, sucking the oxygen out of the economy. The man who has strangled innovation in red-tape (the tax book is now three times the volume it was in 1997). The man responsible for giving very poor people money, and then demanding it back, with menaces, once they had spent it.
They will realise that the much vaunted "stability" the UK has enjoyed under his watch is a remarkable piece of economic luck - the world has boomed due to former commies opening their markets and we have benefited. Brown's grotesque, criminal overspend during this globalisation boom means that when the downturn comes, UK PLC has much less in reserve to ride out the storm. In short in the good times, when we should have been laying down surpluses, Gordon has been spending extravagantly. And spending in an inflationary and profligate way, to the Joy of Fuck-wits in the public sector unions and to the mute, dumbstruck horror of anyone who knows anything about economics and the business cycle.
Eventually the inevitable Taxes and stagflation will be what drives the electorate away from the Labour party, who remain a bunch of spiteful, spivvy wankers. The nanny state, the thought police and the interfering, nosy offiacialdom which has grown up in the last decade as a result of Browns policies will become the remaining epitaph of this regime. People will realise what they disliked about the Blair government was not the Liar at its helm, but the socialist first mate. It is only now he is steering the ship, that we will be able to see that it has been him doing so all along.
*(I'm bored of the constant carping on this subject - comments on DC on this post will be deleted, please post them on this one instead)
Monday, 30 July 2007
It's entirely justified.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
I wish I could offer a constructive solution to this blight on modern Britain - the petty officious tyranny of people whose job it is to say politely "Fuck off" to people who want something reasonable, but not entirely routine done. But short of boiling down for soap anyone who works for the government or its agencies and isn't actually involved in the front-line delivery of services (we are talking of around one in ten of the working population here), I can't.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
By far the easiest way to get called a twat by all and sundry usually by UKIPers, assorted Monday club types and other ex-Tories, is to say anything positive about David Cameron. Sure he's not rushing around saying "Withdraw from the EU, Abolish the welfare state, scrap the NHS and all tax is theft". He would not have a hope of being elected if he did.
UKIP have a bee in the Bonnet about the EU. I think the whole thing is about as damaging to the UK as, say the NHS or the Welfare state. That is to say "very damaging", but it's not the only issue. It is not as if, as UKIP claim, the UK is about to become embroiled in an unescapable political superstate against its will.
We can just pull out. Constitutional treaties notwithstanding. If there was a political will in the UK, then withdrawal would happen. After all, in limp-wristed Europe, who's going to stop us? They need our markets, so even a reasonable negotiator would be able to deliver a pretty decent trading position - at least as good as Norway's. So UKIP scaremongering is a bit excessive. There's no lines in the sand that we cannot quietly pick up our ball and return to, should we not want to play any more. We are after all net contributors. What we need to do is create that political will.
That's a long-term aim. My view is that the whole pointless, costly edifice will fall over soon enough.
The voters in the UK will consistently reject any position on Europe they regard as strident. For the Tories in particular there's a very good reason to brush this issue under the carpet. The EPP fiasco booted the Europe issue into the long grass, and good riddance. A small number of highly recognisable Tories, some of whom are well liked and respected by the electorate are federasts. Having them on board means the electorate is satisfied that the Tories are not Swivel-eyed loons. Something they suspect UKIP, with good reason, to be.
Almost all Tory activists and an overwhelming majority of MPs are Eurosceptic. by the measure of signing "better off out" perhaps not, but there's certainly a deep and heartfelt resistance to further integration and desire to repatriate powers. Something which, when refused, could trigger a more openly withdrawalist position.
So even someone like me who loathes the EU and all its works can comfortably vote Tory. To my mind keeping the sceptics on board means a cabal of fererasts is less likely to hijack the Tory party, and the ultimate end of EU can be hastened from within a party likely to get power one day. Sure, I could get together with some chums, pay £300 and call ourselves a party. It would be an idealogically pure expression of my favoured policies. All that would do is cost me £300, and the only party with a significant Eurosceptic libertarian wing, votes. UKIP is no more than a pressure group.
On domestic policy, the choice is even more stark. You either have a Conservative government committed to cutting taxes when it can, abolishing ID cards, repealing 90-day detention if introduced and scrapping the hunting ban and being in general less interfering and nannyish. Or you can have a Labour party whose incompetence, hectoring illiberality and unsuitability for office have been demonstrated repeatedly over the last decade; a party whose soul aches for higher taxes and punitive redistribution and whose activists rejoice when our allies' and sometimes even our own troops are killed in action. Or you can have a Liberal democrat third party forcing Federasty and the abortion of Proportional Representation on anyone who wishes to share power with them. Heaven forbid they ever win.
For a libertarian, the choice is clear.
What David Cameron is doing is obvious to me. He's repositioning the party's rhetoric, without mentioning policy (especially European policy), because the policy ain't changing much, if at all. The more some Conservative activists squeal, the better this looks - after all the electorate think that Tory activists are loons too. If Cameron can make the Tory party look like a Normal bunch of people, with whom they feel safe, Like Labour appeared in 1997, then he's in with a shout.
He can then use that position of trust so engendered to persuade the electorate that they do, in fact want lower Taxes - "Sharing the proceeds" is just a start. Osbourne's instincts are sound. They do want a slimmer, less obscenely unfair welfare state - IDS favouring marriage and an end to the 92% marginal tax rate for people on the minimum wage for example. Perhaps sense may be finally dawning on the British people that the structure of the NHS is outdated. That LEAs are populated by left-wing morons and that's why people's children are uneducated. These are debates for a later date.
For heavens sake, whatever the Boy Dave is doing, it's got to be better than five uninterupted years of grasping one-eyed socialism.
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Monday, 23 July 2007
Hugo Chavez is busy bacon-slicing freedom. This time it's "Foreign critics" who are to be deported. I guess I won't be visiting Caracas for my holidays this year.
No doubt this will be spun as a victory for the people against "yankee subversion" or some such nonsense. But the fact is Venezuela is going down the toilet at a fair lick. It seems doubtful whether it can be called a "Democracy" any more. This is the BBC on the subject:
He is due to present the proposal to Venezuela's National Assembly next month. The assembly consists solely of politicians who back the president. Mr Chavez was re-elected to a third term last year with support from the millions of impoverished Venezuelans who back his social development policies.No mention of the enabling law. Nothing on his closing down of opposition media, or the widespread protests that ensued. Still for the international left, anyone who is against Bush is alright. No matter that they're taking their country down a path that leads straight to mass murder.
When the petro-dollar party ends, how's he going to pay for profligate social programmes, as he has been busy laying waste formerly productive parts of the economy? What will the poor do when they realise they've been conned? To what lengths will the pendajo in chief go to hang onto power when the street turns on him?
The Waendel Journal has it right. The recent poor showing in the by-elections is bad, but no disaster for the Tories.
That some pathologically stupid back benchers want to effectively abandon any hope of winning the next election by defenestrating the current leader is why the Tories have struggled for so long. They (and the broader right) have lost their most potent weapon. Unity and the Discipline to maintain it.
Idealogical factional politics used to be the preserve of ludicrous pinkos who argued endlessly on the right way to bring about a socialist society. "Revolution. Yes, but in one country first or International proletaritan.... etc... dialectic... etc... Marx... Trotsky... Committee... fourth international".
The people who have taken the most delight in the failure of the Tories to create what would be a stunning by-election coup are our fellow travellers on the right, UKIP. These can be regarded in the same light as the Militant tendency in Labour. Most Tory activists agree with their analysis, but can't stand the people Whilst I rather like the Fragrant Trixy, and the less fragrant, but still cool DK, I cannot stand their hostility to a party whose instincts are the same as theirs. Their gloating at every Tory setback and monomaniacal obsession with Europe and their endless repetition of the Labour spin-doctors line that Cameron is "all spin". He isn't. They make far too much noise for a party which garners so few votes.
The Conservative policy reviews are coming in and Cameron would be foolish to have settled on firm policies ahead of them. He has had to wait for Brown to show his hand, and the timing is simply one of Cameron's honeymoon ending and Grawp's beginning. This Brown bounce in the polls was widely predicted. If the Tories panic now - that's it. Over. The oldest and most successful political party in the Democratic world will be no more. The centre right will lose its only voice in British politics, abandoning the country to a leftist consensus of more interference and higher tax.
To which you might say "Cameron espouses the same policies...blu labour... foam... rant". Indeed many of you swivel-eyed fuckers probably will. You can't have it both ways. Either he's all spin and has no policies or he's got lots of policies and you disagree with them. Most people agree with most Tory Policies at all recent elections, but still cannot put their "X" in the Tory box. This is a branding, not a product problem. This is the problem Cameron must solve before he books the removal van for No. 10.
The reality is that he's been indulging in mood music - annoying the faithful certainly, but trying to reach out beyond the activists to the people who may vote Conservative, but haven't in a long time. These people are called middle-England, floating voters or The man on the Clapham Omnibus. Now that Brown is making his agenda clear, the Tories can and will present policies that will generate positive press, and appeal to these people. Iain Duncan Smith's review (I can't bring myself to use the phrase "social justice") recommended support for marriage within the tax and benefits system was given positive press, and demonstrates that the Conservatives still stand for their traditional values. It was just overshadowed by other events. The Grammar school row was strange, because no change of policy was being announced. That's why every pronouncement on the subject wasn't micro-managed. The storm took the leadership entirely by surprise.
The Brown bounce will end. Conservative policy reviews will report and advocate sensible, moderate policies which won't rock the boat too much. The Tax-take of the government will go down a bit under a future Tory administration (yes, by sharing the proceeds of growth between tax-cuts and public services). The Tory party is disengaging itself (slowly) from the EPP, to reflect the electorates view that they want a Europe of Nation states (not on the menu, I know), but don't want to pull out entirely.
The Conservatives can speak for Britain again, but only if reactionary pillocks on the back-benches don't screw it up by treating every setback as a defeat, every liberal noise from Cameron as a betrayal and every policy which isn't a return to the 1982 manifesto as "spin". In return Cameron needs to stop annoying his grass roots so consistently. He needs to include the parliamentary party more in policy and never, ever speak of Polly Toynbee as anything other than the hated enemy ever again.
Friday, 20 July 2007
Thursday, 19 July 2007
These "Politician tried drugs" (horror!) stories really piss me off. Why? Because reading the comments on Iain Dale, the Torygraph and others one has one's nose rubbed in just what a hypocritical bunch of priggish fuck-wads the some of electorate really are. I daren't even look at the Mail.
Here's some of the choicest morcels from the Telegraph
Taking drugs is no small thing as of course its illegal activity. Drug-taking however small still makes one a participant in the world of drug smugglers, pushers and money launderers.Here's some from the Mail
How can we trust politicians, or anyone, who at some point brazenly broke the law.
Posted by Grant on July 19, 2007 3:51 PM
Paragraph 8: "there are a lot of young people who take cannabis at university and go on to great things" .... EX-CUUUUSE ME ?
There is a huge majority of tax-paying, law-abiding, hard-working, intelligent, toe-the-line people who do not have/get the luxury of indulging in University, OR of p***ing in the face of such an advantageous benefit by risking the moral turpitude and physiological breakdown that 'trying' drugs can yield.
This majority go on to keep the fabric of society together, raise their children well, provide lifetimes of valuable, inspiring, important and significant human contribution. THESE, are "great things" - NOT self-serving jobsworth poiticians who, generally speaking, are not fit to shine the shoes of the worthy.
Some balance, Mr. Johnston - or is this scrawl a self-deluding supportive reflection of your own past?
Posted by Jon Gooch on July 19, 2007 2:30 PM
A quick question. If, as seems increasingly evident, cannabis affects the brain, how can we be sure that MP's and ministers, many of whom admit to cannabis use, are mentally fit to govern us? If athletes, et al can be tested for drugs, surely we can have the same test for politicians.And my personal favourite:
- Peter, London, England
And isn't that just part of the problem? We've been run for the past decade by a bunch of half-baked hippies of the '60s generation with their New Age pot-smoking fantasies. None of them are in touch with reality so can't even begin to deal with it - hence all the bluff, the spin.
- Rupert, Durham
Can we trust a Home Secretary that has smoked mind altering drugs, is it time to drug screen MPs, before they are appointed?
- Nigel Wright, Wakefield
It's funny that when something like this happens all the druggies jump out of the woodwork to try and justify their pathetic lifestyles and preach to the rest of us that it's really okay and that alcohol is far worse.I'm sure there are some people out there who have never taken drugs at some point, who aren't utterly smug, self-righteous cunts. But not many.
What about the millions of ordinary, law abiding citizens that have never touched these poisons, don't they deserve better than a bunch of useless politicians that smoked their way through university.
- Andy, UK
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
I was going to fisk the frankly appalling verbal assault on Boris Johnson by La Toynbee in yesterdays Guardian, but there's a carnival of Polly kicking over at the Kitchen so it would be redundant. Go and enjoy.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Let's start with St. Tony of Blair's earliest target: that 50% of our young people should go to University. To which I say "Why?"
China, once the mightiest, most advanced and richest civilisation in the world was out competed by a younger and more vigorous society that did not place total reliance for social and economic advancement on the passing of competitive civil service exams. In short the learning by rote the sayings of Confucius led to the great Empire's ossification and eventual humiliation by barbarians like us.
So why do we want to make the same mistake?
In my profession, a 2:1 from a Russell group university is considered the minimum for acceptance on City Graduate schemes . I had to bypass graduate schemes and only got a job because I talk well and managed to persuade them that Sandhurst would do in place of a 2:1 - I got a desmond* from Edinburgh. There is no way I would slip through the net now. In the rest of the white collar world "graduates" are recruited, with no way for people who have decided to do something else, on to company training courses or into the civil service.
For most large employers, equal opportunities legislation means they take the best qualified candidates, regardless of ability or suitability which could leave them accused of discrimination. Thus the maverick, the brilliant, the unlucky and the generalists are penalised in favour of people who got their heads down at University instead of developing a broader education. Paper qualifications are all that count. Apart from a knowledge and understanding of statistics from a 6-month spell studying population genetics, I learned nothing useful at university.
Socially, I did not really enjoy competitive drinking such as could be found at the Rugby club (at my level anyway - I'm nowhere near good enough to play with actual athletes) and the OTC. Hell is a provincial nightclub. University politics was dominated by communists and assorted wierdos. All I wanted was to get the three year waste of time over so I could get on with life. I'm still paying off the debts.
Do we really need to send people off for 3 years to get a qualification which for all but a few is entirely worthless? One which will cost them dear in debt? One which removes 7% or so of someone's useful working life? The cost of this to the state is vast and top-up fees do not go close to covering it.
But worse than this, it costs those for whom university is necessary and useful: Engineers, Research Scientists, Academics, Doctors. None of these people are receiving the education they deserve. This is worse in post-graduate courses: the despoliation of once great research-led institutions means that bright academics go to the USA rather than fight for funding with the B.A. Course in tourism management from the university of [insert something other than the town or city's name] former polytechnic.
It is this research which justifies the whole damn shooting match of higher education.
We need proper Training for people, run by professions in place of meaningless degrees. We need fewer, better genuinely academic universities offering courses delivering world-class excellence. We need society to take school leavers onto training schemes without a degree, even in professional jobs. Degrees should be something that could be considered in the mid to late 20's after a decade of work, rather than a necessity to get anything like sensibly paid straight after school.
Free the non-academic from 3 years of enforced state-funded alcohol abuse. Free the academic from the distractions of the non-academic. Free the economy for risk-takers and entrepreneurs by ending the reliance on paper qualifications.
Embrace elitism. All the current mania for ever more university education has done has entrenched the privilege of the Elite Universities, who are quietly taking who they want whilst Oxbridge, who have actually done a good job at getting the Working class into the dreaming spires take all the flack. Working class children are either being saddled with debt and being lumbered with courses of questionable value at institutions of little prestige, whilst the middle class hog the places at the Russell group, which are the only ones properly regarded by many employers. Many of the former polytechnics have very high drop-out rates - the economic incentive is clear. The institution is paid upfront for the student, who has little stake in the success of his degree which will not alter his earning potential one iota. Much of this "Education" is an expensive tax-payer funded smokescreen to get the unemployment rate down.
Would I be better off with three years work experience, travel or military service instead of a degree. In my case. Yes, but only if a degree was not seen as a necessity by anyone pretending to be a professional.
Incidentally, the two richest contemporaries of mine at school both are non-graduates. I wish I had done the same.
Monday, 16 July 2007
The great blonde mop has decided to run for London Mayor.
Lee Rotherham, hitherto my favoured candidate for Tory Mayor stunningly good bloke though he is, cannot compete with Boris' star quality.
I suppose I will be pilloried for being a “toff”, for representing a small section of society, and all I can say is, be my guest. I have in my 16 great-grandparents Muslims, Jews, and all manner of Christians, and speaking as a one-man melting-pot, I am convinced that in 100 years we will look back at the racism of our age and wonder, “what the hell was that all about?” just as we find it hard to understand the mindset of those who used to put “No Irish” on boarding-house doors.The man's a Legend. And he has small government instincts, though less Radical than Lee.
Surely what Londoners want is a Mayor who not only gives a lead - and champions the arts and culture of the city in every way - but who also keeps his government simple, doesn't trample needlessly over the councils, and directs his intellectual energy at the core problems: transport, housing, crime.Improve those, get the city moving, and we will help to put the smile back on people's faces.Go Boris! I'm sticking a tenner on him now!
The Torygraph suggests that Tony Lit is a "Former Labour Donor". As this is by Melissa "Research?" Kite, you can be forgiven for being sceptical. Indeed you would be right as the Waendel Journal points out - Tony Lit is hardly a hard line Labour person. Melissa Kite is a silly, chippy bitch and an embarrassment to the august journal for which she works.
The Tory Party is about winning power. You do not do this by being idealogical, but by selling as much of your ideology to a sceptical electorate as they can stomach. The Tory press and right-wing blogosphere are behaving in their "Blu Labour" Frothing like the Labour party in 1982, for whom Michael Foot was "moderate".
Whatever he may have done in the past, Tony Lit may secure a by-election upset to unsettle Gordon in his post coronation honeymoon. (The fact that a Tory is a credible candidate in Ealing is itself a mark of success) You need momentum - 40% in recent local elections is a start, and a good by-election in Ealing Southall has the possibility of ending Labour's ethnic block vote by holding a welcoming hand out to Britain's Asians. A plausible, successful, high profile, local(ish) man who has decided to back Cameron is now the candidate. Under these circumstances, in the grand scheme of things who cares about overrulling a moribund local party which has never returned an MP?
Listen to Labour activists circa 1996, you'd think that Blair was Thatcher. He has pretended to be a Tory, but actually presided over the biggest rise in peace-time taxation in Britain's history and an absurdly redistributive (and staggeringly incompetent) government. He is true Labour in all its spiteful, chaotic anti-British glory.
Dave Cameron may not be your cup of tea, but he is a Tory. You may not like the vacuous, media driven politics that he performs. I don't. But that's the world. There's no third shock army about to crash over the North German plain to inspire the electorate to desire strong, idealogical, divisive leadership. They want consensus and managerialism because, more or less, they're OK. Jobs. OK! House Prices. OK! no need to panic and vote for someone who's going to rock the boat. Cameron is the man for the age. Will he cut spending. A bit, over time. Will he cut taxes. Yes, when he can afford it by sharing the proceeds of etc... will he support the family? Enterprise? The armed services? Will he be better than Brown. YES! so stop fucking carping and get him and Tony Lit elected.
Ayn Rand ain't on the menu.
I am less angry about the climate hysteria gripping the western world than DK for whose authors it is a genuine Bee in the Bonnet. In Today's post, the Nameless One gives Lewis Gordon Pugh, an admirable man, a bit of a fisking. Mr. Pugh is an adventurer with a cold swim fetish, who would do anything that is difficult and pointless, simply because "it is there". He was apparently was wandering round in flip-flops and shorts, sweating. At the north pole. So he decided to go for a dip. During his 18 minutes in water that would kill even a strong man in 4, he contemplated giving up, but the presence of a Norwegian (and descendant of Amundsen, no less)- the only nation with more polar laurels than our own, prevented him and he completed his 1000m despite the pain, which he described as "Excruciating". I have completed a short Ice swim, and he's right. It really knocks the breath out of you.
Now such a feat has to be justified, and like almost everyone, Mr Pugh latches onto the environment. I too am an environmentalist, I believe that deforestation, chemical pollution, particulates in the atmosphere and habitat loss are far, far more serious problems than global warming. MCACC hysteria prevents genuine problems being addressed as everyone's busy throwing brick-bats at SUV drivers rather than slash and burn farmers, drift net fishermen or dirty, unsophisticated industry. You cannot, however blame the congregation. But you must blame those who create the sense of Heresy that greets anyone with divergent views. The DK line is that man is at most only responsible for climate change on the margins and the whole MCACC hysteria is cooked up as a crypto-socialist conspiracy. Thus they berate any who mouth the orthodox line. They should be aiming their ire at the George Monbiots, the Polly Toynbees and the other socialists stretching the science to create an anti-capitalist hysteria.. Those with orthodox views should be tolerated and politely given a different angle - in short persuaded*. By screaming at the congregation, they are not likely to be persuaded and we sceptics of Massive Catastophic Antropogenic Climate Change are more easily branded loonies.
My Null Hypothesis is that the Sun is the generator of our climate and any explanation of changes in global temperature which has no reference to the huge, H-Bomb in the sky needs to work bloody hard to persuade me. I therefore lean to solar activity as the principle driver of climate, with human activity also having a significant effect. My view is similar to that of Bjorn Lomborg's that the consequences of trying to prevent emissions are much worse for people and the environment than the consequences of those emissions in terms of global warming. Global warming has positives as well as negatives. Adaptation to the climate rather than trying to piss into the wind is the order of the day. That said, efficiency in material use and energy is an a-priori good thing.
I think calling a man who has just extended the reach of what it is possible for a human to endure, a "Wanker" is a bit harsh, even though the Arctic ocean is a silly place for a swim and he's wrong that open water never used to appear there. It always has. I doubt there will be many who make the same use of it however, as Mr Pugh.
*Any charges of hypocrisy at this point are entirely justified.
Friday, 13 July 2007
As I have just joined the Witanagemot Club, bloggers for an English Parliament, I thought I had better set out my views on the subject. I am not an Englishman, I am British. I am only concerned for the lack of representation in England insofar as it affects the Unity of the Great Britain. (On the UK, and Northern Ireland, my views are complicated - that is a subject for another post). I am in favour of an English Parliament. We have one. We just need to make it work.
There are two constituent nations, one principality and one province in the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Devolution has led to two devolved parliaments in Holyrood and a chamber Cardiff. There is also solution to the Irish tribal punch-up in Belfast. The English parliament, Westminster, has members from Scotland and Wales and (some of) Northern Ireland, who vote on matters affecting England and England only, whereas English members cannot vote on matters affecting only Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. This allows the Scots to vote for expensive measures (free tuition, elderly care etc...), and then rely on a party reliant for its majority on Scots MPs to tax the English to come up with the cash. This manifest unfairness is at the heart of Tam Dayell's West Lothian Question.
If you think the solution to this is "regional government" for England, you're a cunt and if I ever meet you and such a view is expressed, I will kick you in the guts 'till you bleed out your arse, then cut your testicles off and use them to block your breathing orifices, forcing you to stab your own throat to be able to breathe, before hanging you from the nearest lamp-post by your own entrails. It is nothing more than treacherous federast fifth-column propaganda.
Thankfully this idea has been killed off by the good people of the ancient Kingdom of Northumbria.
Now, various sensible solutions present themselves. A Committee or sitting of the House of Commons comprising of all English members could constitute the "English Parliament" and debate issues affecting only England, but where would this leave this Government? Senior ministers are Scots. Such a policy would destroy the Government of the UK from Westminster, and effectively prevent a Scotsman from ever becoming British Prime Minister again. Some English nationalists want this end - let the Celtic welfare-junkies float off and create their socialist hell and fuck-'em when they want back in. I do not support this proposal.
Yet another proposal is to aggressively devolve, have the Commons as the English Parliament, and the Lords or some reformed variant as Britain's Federal government with responsibility for international relations and defence. Possibly, but it's a bit radical. I can't really see it working.
The only solution is a bit of a British Fudge. A convention needs to be in place that Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh MPs abstain from voting on issues affecting only England, yet leave the constitution otherwise unchanged. Unfortunately, Labour need Scottish votes to force through their dishonest brand of crypto-socialism, and lack the fundamental decency necessary to act in such a way. Tories have so few Scottish MPs that such a proposal could be argued as partisan. Yes, but it is fair, and this solution is what I want.
This is where party politics comes in. The rich English are subsidising the work-shy celts whose extra layer of Government is rubbing the English nose in this cash drain. The English, now aware of how much of their taxes go North and West, and how little thanks they get for it, are fed up. Such a fudge requires the Labour Party to act against their party interests (and probably prevent their taking power again for a generation) and the Tories to avoid stoking English nationalism, however well it plays in middle England. A Tory Government enacting such a convention would be accused of gross electoral manipulation, triggering a constitutional crisis and the break-up of the Union. The Tories are the "Conservative and Unionist* Party" and will not risk it. Never underestimate the unionism in Tory thought. It is a shibboleth.
What we need is a return to the situation of the 1950's and solid Tory support in Scotland. Then, and only then will the West Lothian Question be answered, possibly along lines I have laid out. The Unionists are rebuilding support in Scotland, slowly. The Tories' Westminster representation North of the Border will recover eventually.
So the most likely outcome is the West Lothian question remain unanswered for the time being as even the half-arsed fudge I favour is impractical. The Status Quo suits everyone's interests, you see. For Now.
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Just as Quentin Davis crossed the floor to cheers from Labour and weary sighs from Tories, before the party machine set about rubbishing him, the Labour party in Ealing Southall, and pinko bloggers are busy suggesting that the 5 councillors who defected to the Tories are terrorist apologists. Ministry of Truth goes into great detail about Councillor Gurcharan Singh's associates, without ever laying a glove on the man himself. I smell sour grapes.
This begs the question, If Councillor Singh is unsuitable as a Tory councillor, why was he acceptable as a Labour one?
Tony (Surinderpal Singh) Lit, the Tory candidate in Ealing Southall is a successful businessman. I hope he wins and I hope that Unity's claim that the recent defections are an electoral disaster for him in Ealing are a Labourite's wailing following a very good by-election coup. I just don't believe that there are enough people who are that interested in North-West Indian politics, even in Southhall to tip the balance.
It's a solid Labour seat, with a Majority of 11,000, which has always returned a pinko. If Tony Lit runs the Labour Party close, I hope he's rewarded with a safe seat for the next election. That gives the shady councillor Gurcharan Singh a run at Ealing Southall - is that the Deal? Does he have votes in the bag, as is suggested enough to swing the seat? Or will the Labour party benefit from the Voters' rejection of communitarian politics?
Who Cares? Labour, and the egregious Tom Watson have received a sharp kick in the balls in revenge for Quentin Davis, and I'm delighted.
Monday, 9 July 2007
When I was in Northern Ireland, I got to see the News once. The lead story was that the Northern Ireland Commissioner for children and Young people, NICCY (ffs) was underspending when compared to Scotland and England & Wales.
This was described as the young people of the Province being "short changed". The fact that the highly religious Northern Ireland has lower levels of marital breakdown, and easier access to free childcare (in the form and person of nearby grandparents) which would perhaps suggest that NICCYs services were less needed and therefore the underspend could be applauded, was not mentioned, at all.
This is why the state creeps into ever more areas of our lives - the MSM just doesn't question the need for the state to "Do" something. The fact that services were being measured by inputs rather than effects was also deeply disturbing.
It pissed me off more than is reasonable.
I was talking to the Landlady of my Local last night, and she told me that one of the unforeseen consequences of the smoking ban is that there is nothing to cover the smell of refreshed gentlemen's flatulence (she runs a pub catering for a largely male cliantele). On July the first, chaps, hitherto able to parp away, safe in the knowlege that the evidence would be concealed by the smoke wafting from the end of licorice roll-ups are now forced to endure the aroma. As is everyone else.
Next time you smell a fart in a pub, blame the former health secretary, not the one who dealt it.
Wednesday, 4 July 2007
If you're up in the mournes, it's pissing it down, has been for days, and shows no sign of relenting, do not forget a lighter. You may have a whisperlite MSR primus stove, capable of boiling tea in a force 10 gale. Without a lighter, it's dead weight.
They don't seen to have seasons in ireland, merely a period when the rain is a bit warmer.
Blogged from base camp.
Ranted by Jackart at 7/04/2007 02:55:00 pm
Monday, 2 July 2007
Blogging is going to be a little light. I'm on holiday. But i night treat you to some views of northern ireland, which is like england but better looking, there are union jacks on every lamp post, (marching season) the police are polite (i guess they've had to be) there's no speed cameras, and there's no over arching sense of being financially buggered every time you leave your car. The beaches are clean and not infested with oiks. In short, were it not for the lingering fear of people who still use 'knee-cap' as a verb, t'would be paradise! (The people are actually lovely). Here's hoping for some surf.
Ranted by Jackart at 7/02/2007 08:21:00 pm