Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Happy Birthday Mrs T

Just like the best Tories my story started in Grantham living in a flat above a shop”. 
This is at the top of all my blog posts and I have a sense of pride in my humble, VERY humble, beginnings. Today we celebrate the 85th Birthday of that other Grantham Townie whose story started in a flat above a shop. Humble beginnings in Grantham for me included the regular trips to the outside privy and the walk to Huntingtower Road Primary School, at least one of these experiences I’m strangely proud to have shared with Mrs Thatcher. Enough of the nostalgia … the real Tory Story here is the often overlooked message that Mrs Thatcher can give to us all. The Conservative Party is a broad church, inclusive of all and exclusive of none. The misconception that we are a party of the rich is comprehensively rejected when you stop and see our supporters. True, we have rich and powerful benefactors but for every “Tory Toff” there is a “Champagne Socialist”. The Left Wing obsession with anti-capitalism and socialism clouds the reality that the country needs equality of opportunity and not just equality. Margaret Thatcher worked so hard to gain recognition and success and can teach us all that it’s not where you’ve come from that’s important, it’s where you’re heading.

Happy Birthday Mrs T!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I Believe that I do not Believe in the Spirit Level

On the Radio 4 Program, Analysis, there was well presented and balanced report on that unlikely bestseller the "Spirit Level". This book is being read, digested and regurgitated by all quarters of the political classes. The book is a scientific study which claims to have found increasing evidence that societies which are inherently unequal are the ones which fail quality of life indicators such as levels of youth crime, teenage pregnancy and child will being. I've only had the most fleeting of looks at this book so I'm not have any place to judge but what I do know is that it has been pulled apart by statisticians and even my basic A-level knowledge of statistics can see that some of the figures stretch linear regression beyond breaking point to establish the "facts". I don't get particularly vexed about political commentators imposing their own views, although the spirit level is supposed to be a scientific analysis and not political. But where I think true blue Tories will not be able to accept the book's findings lies in some simple heartfelt beliefs which we all have and where the centrepiece of Michael Howard's 2005 general election campaign. Although this seems like 1000 years ago it would not take too much of a memory jolt to remember his "I believe" speech. The part of Michael Howard's speech which I find most at odds with the spirit level is one of his "I do not believes". - "I do not believe that one person's poverty is caused by another's wealth". In fact most of the "I do not believe" parts of his election address are at 90° to the political theory contained in the spirit level such as "I do not believe that one person's sickness is made worse by another's health". I know what I choose to believe, I believe in the "I believe" of Michael Howard ( I do not believe in the Spirit Level.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Shadow Shadow Cabinet - What a Balls up

Many political anoraks (including me) were surprised to see the choices made by Ed Miliband for his frontbench team. I've nothing against Alan Johnson per se, the fact that he's a former postman is not something I'd use to political advantage, after all for better or worse he has held cabinet positions over the past few years. In fact Alan Johnson is my kind of politician in that he actually had a career before politics and is one of these career politicians that know nothing of real life (check out my blog back in March, lobbyists and lobby gobblers, Despite this nonpartisan respect for him it didn't sound good when he announced his first step would be to read an equivalent of economics for dummies. I suspect the real reason for Alan Johnson’s meteoric rise is his strong union background. We all know that Ed Miliband is in the hands of the unions without whose vote he would have lost the leadership election hands down. It’s now crystal clear that the unions have the Labour leader right where they want him and it's clear that the top jobs in the shadow cabinet are union appointments not Ed’s appointments. To the seasoned loyal Labour supporter the appointment of Ed balls to Shadow Chancellor is a no-brainer. Failing that his wife was the out and out winger by a huge margin and would also be the strongest of contenders for the top job. But Red Ed’s strings are being pulled by the Shadow Shadow Cabinet, the union bosses. To make a decision based on "I'd better not do that because it will upset the unions" or even worse "I better not do that because it will upset his wife" is, at best, flawed. Thankfully this is just a shadow cabinet  and these clowns are no longer in a position to make decisions that affect our lives. If we as an electorate turn the Shadow Shadow Cabinet in to a Government, be prepared for decisions to be made based on union power and pillow talk.

Shadow Shadow Cabinet -- what a balls up!