Sunday, 16 February 2014

UKIP protest vote? You're Not Even Close

The Wythenshaw and Sale East by election has come and gone with the predictable result of an emphatic Labour win. All eyes were on UKIP and how well they would do. The answer is that they did dreadfully. With the Lib Dems in Government they are only convenient protest party for voters to turn to and should have done a whole lot better. The by election was held with a little more than 400 days until the next General Election. A close parallel would be the 1991 Ribble Valley by election where Nigel Evans was selection to defend David Waddington's thumping majority of almost 20,000. The result was predicted to be a shoe in for Nigel Evans but, as is now well known, the Liberal Democrats chalked up one of the biggest electoral upsets in modern times, making Michael Carr the, albeit short lived, MP for Ribble Valley with a majority of over 4,500. These days a majority like that would barely make it to the Conservative's 40:40 list. This was extreme but very not a one off, Newburgh, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Eastbourne; all were the spoils of the Lib Dem protest vote machine and some have even remained Lib Dem since. Fast forward 23 years from Ribble Valley and we find ourselves, again, 400 or so days from the next General Election. It was clear from the result in Wythenshaw that with the Lib Dems in Goverment they are no longer the protest vote but the Conservative vote held with well as the party of Government in a reasonably strong Labour area. The real news is that the usual mid term protest vote didn't materialise to any great extent with UKIP falling massively short of anything remotely noteworthy. When it comes to protest votes UKIP aren't a patch on the Lib Dems who were able to overturn massive majorities time and time again.  With their position of protest vote usurped by UKIP it would not be a huge leap of faith to believe that they could come close to taking a seat, or even take one. The fact is UKIP's pretences of being a political force are not being realised enough to win seats, far from it. The real threat of UKIP is as it ever was, they will never win any seats in 2015 but will make sure that Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister. The mystery is why are UKIP working so hard to ensure a Labour majority?

See also ...
Nigel Farage, Prime Minister ,  
UKIP Government, The First 100 Days  
UKIP Government, The Cracks Begin to Show , 
UKIP, Back to Obscurity

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Labour's Best Kept Secret? Food Banks

Seven for a Secret Never to be told
As if to temper the good news that the economy is improving, unemployment falling and business confidence is higher than ever, the left are trotting out the line, again, that more people then ever are using food banks. The obvious answer is that this is because they are there. Not wanting to be a hard luck story but there was a time when I would have dearly loved to have had access to a food bank but they simply didn't exist until the the early 2000's. But even though they existed throughout Labour's economic crisis from 2007 the benefits agencies were not allowed to refer people to them. This policy of the Labour government merely denied vulnerable people access to very much needed essentials. This is how Labour claim that food banks were little used during their time. To be able to make this claim meant that many families were denied the generosity of those who give to food banks and kept them reliant on state handouts. But haven't we heard this over and over again? The fixation on achieving NHS targets resulted in 'Targets First' policies in our hospitals rather than patients first. The Labour policy of 'Don't look for problems and you won't find any' strikes again and we get the scandals of Mid Staffs, Morecambe Bay and many others. Labour's reckless behaviour in the Ministry of Defence led to a 38 billion black hole and troops not equipped to fight a hugely difficult campaign. All in all Labours 13 years of Govern by Denial has been brought to an end by a government not afraid to make those difficult decisions. The result is that we will start to live within our means. Food banks can actually feed those in need, troops are properly equipped and protected and patients come out of our hospitals better then when they went in. Lesson to Labour, do you see what a bit of honesty can do.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy BIrthday, Mrs T

Today is the Birthday of Margaret Thatcher. She is sadly no longer with us to celebrate but her legacy is here, and here to stay. Even Ed Miliband, socialism personified, shies away from using the 'S' word in speeches. Without Margaret Thatcher's assault on the destructive forces of socialism, Red Ed would be politically free and unshackled to resurrect the power of the union barons, eye watering taxation and tax payers subsidising loss making nationalised industry. The reason he can't do this is because Margaret Thatcher made such a complete job of exposing socialism for what it was. It's the duty of all Conservatives to make sure that Margaret Thatcher's legacy never dies and vote for a Conservative Majority in 2015. This would be a perfect birthday present.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Andy Burnham - Resign Now for the Good of Your Health

Despite our spats (Link: None so Blind) I like Andy Burnham, he's my local MP, he's probably even a friend, but boy is he in real trouble. Although a scared rabbit in the headlights he's come out fighting but it will be futile and only serve to prolong the agony for him and, more to the point, for those who suffered so badly under Labour's administration of the NHS. The health portfolio can be the best and worst brief in cabinet in equal measure. Get it right and you'll get the admiration of all those around you. Get it wrong and your friends, while loyal at first, will back away leaving you to flounder, crash and burn and you'll be very, very lonely. Andy Burnham would be as well to remember one of his predecessors, John Moore. He was a rising star within the Conservative Party in the 1980's. He'd caught the eye of senior cabinet figures and even the Prime Minister herself. He was rewarded with promotion to Secretary of State for what was then the combined Department of Health and Social Security. A massive budget and a responsibility to match. A year into the job, and maybe one or two rash spending promises to the Star Chamber, he was in real trouble. Hospitals were struggling in the very cold winter of 1987/88. What some saw as mismanagement caused headline grabbing scenes of patients in corridors and on trolleys waiting for treatment. His cabinet colleagues deserted him and he was left to flounder on his own. He was stripped of the health portfolio leaving his as Secretary of State for Social Security before being completely sacked a year later. His ministerial career was over and talks of him being a future party leader had long evaporated. He didn't fight the 1992 election and, despite being given a peerage, is yet to give his maiden speech, politically the job broke him. History has a habit of repeating itself and Andy Burnham is just confirming that he is no exception. My message to Andy Burnham is to recognise that things went horribly wrong on his watch and be sorry for the fact that so many have suffered. After this, as yet uncharacteristic, contrition he may, just may be able to rebuild a political career. 
 Unless you come clean, you'll become a broken man.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Labour's 2015 Manifesto - A Living Fossil

Coelocanth - a Living Fossil
This is a picture of a coelocanth, a species of fish thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago but found alive and well in the 1930's; a living fossil. Discovery of a once extinct species should herald excitement but at the Labour Party Conference the once extinct socialism reappeared as a living fossil. Much comparison was made to the 1983 Labour Manifesto or 'the longest suicide note in history'. However when I read the 1987 Manifesto, cheesily titled 'Britain will win' it was clear that this less notorious Labour manifesto was more in tune with Ed Miliband's vision of Britain with him at the helm. Here the thrust is not so blatant as the 1983 manifesto. There is no loud and proud socialism but a quiet and careful use of language which suggests a back door conversion back to socialism without uttering the s word. But it meant the same thing, Tax and Spend (Link to - Revealed: Labours Economic Policy).

In 2013 Ed Miliband declared that continuously taxing Bankers' Bonuses and that amorphous cohort 'The Rich' would be the route to socialist salvation. In 1987 the tools were different but the job was the same. How familiar does this sound .....

  • Putting directly into generating 300,000 jobs the money that would be used up by the Thatcher government on its 2p income tax bribe.
  • Adopting the same practice as most successful industrial countries and companies, by prudently borrowing £3 billion for useful wealth generating national investment. 
 (Labour Party Manifesto, 1987)
In three word summary Tax and Spend. Looking at future manifestos in1992 onwards the language has become less socialist. In his speech, Red Ed Miliband heralded a reversal of this trend, reviving the living fossil of socialism from extinction. The speech was not as socialist as the 1983 manifesto but was every bit as socialist as 1987. If the reversal continues perhaps in 2015 we'll see the words written in the 1945 manifesto. 
"The Labour Party is a Socialist Party, and proud of it"

Friday, 13 September 2013

Rooms to Spare for Raquel Rolnik

Raquel Rolnik, the doyenne of all things housing has condemned a non-existent tax without speaking to the cabinet minister responsible for housing benefit. Not once did she attempt to investigate or comment on a very real problem which has real impacts on public health and quality of life, overcrowding.  As a young newly qualified Environmental Health Officer one of my first jobs was to visit a house where there was a report of a notifiable disease. The young boy had Hepatitis A and was quite poorly. The following day I had to go back to the same house, not because of him but because there was another report of another person at the same address and the following day another. The reason for the repeated visits and the family's ongoing suffering was clear. There were three generations and nine people in a two bedroom council house. The infectious disease was spreading rapidly through the overcrowded house with living rooms used as bedrooms and even one sleeping on a camp bed on the landing. They desperately needed help but, despite the council being aware of their plight, were unable to offer anything as there were more deserving cases ahead of them. This is not a blog about benefit scroungers demanding mansions. This was a working family looking after each other in need of help.Unfortunately I met too many families in a similar plight all for the want of extra room which they would have been quite happy to pay rent for. Did Ms. Rolnik visit any such families, if she did then she certainly didn't give them the voice they need. Instead she chose to comment on her own political agenda it was up to Grant Shapps to point out the indignity of overcrowding something which is lost on those intent on pursuing a political agenda to satisfy their own insatiable ego.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sticks and Stones

So Russia think we are a small Island that nobody listens to. The press, especially the BBC, had a field day suggesting this was a sign that Britain's influence in the world was on the wane. Even the briefest research shows that this is not the first time. Let us remind ourselves what the French General's report to their Government before they surrendered to the Nazi Tyranny. 

"In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken". Churchill responded "Some chicken, Some neck"

Another famous Frenchman in another century said that we were;

"a nation of shopkeepers."

Napolean was paraphrasing Adam Smith who wrote about a nation governed by shopkeepers. This is ironic as we were once governed by a shopkeeper and she said;

"I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally it means they haven't a single political argument left"

Nuff Said