Thursday, July 2, 2015

Greece must say Oxhi (No)

On Sunday, Greek voters go to the poll to decide on the referendum about so-called new bail-out terms.

The question on which they are voting is quite convoluted however, the response needs to be No!  The more resounding,the better.

Why No?  Well the answer, in part,  would be why would anyone vote yes?  A Yes vote would mean more austerity being piled upon the Greek people.  Regular readers will know that I am a strong proponent of so called austerity programmes in the UK and US and my views haven't changed but what is proposed for Greece isn't really about that country 'living within its means'.

The whole Greek bail-out situation is about keeping the Euro intact and avoiding European governments and banks from having to write-down the value of loans they have made to Greece.  What has been offered to Greece are loans which are then used, not for the benefit of the Greek people or Greece's economy but to repay interest and falling-due loans to the people that have just made the loan.  This does meethen, zero, nada, zip, for the Greeks but means that those European institutions and banks can claim that the loans are still 'performing' and so no write-off is required.

These banks and such, simply cannot afford to cover the cost of their reckless lending  - and yes, I accept that the Greeks borrowed recklessly - but it is the banks and their shareholders that must now pay the price.

Greece has enacted some reforms, maybe not enough, however the creditors know that further and deeper reforms are becoming counter-productive.

The creditors have focused on Greece's (previously) generous pension arrangements.  People used to be able to retire as early as 50 years of age.  This is now being increased to 67-  the European standard of mid to late 60 years of age,   The propaganda/spin from the creditors is that Greek pensions are so generous and they represent a higher than normal percentage of the Greek GDP.  That was true.  That will become even more true as the rest of Greek economy contracts.   Sometimes I wonder if that is the 'plan' - to have Greece only populated by pensioners and then the creditors can point to the over-generous Greek pensions which then occupy +50% of GDP or whatever!

Greece unemployment is around 25%, and among young people is over 50%.  The austerity proposed does nothing, meethen, zero, nada, zip to stimulate the economy, so this condition will continue.

The proposals, upon which the Greeks will vote are all about paying the creditors.  Don't be deluded by the talk of European solidarity.  There isn't any!  It is every banker for himself!

The Germans have a word - schadenfreude - which kind of captures how the rich Northern Europeans view the situation.  These people look at Greece and Greeks and say 'You are getting what you deserve!  You have had it so easy on the backs of us hard-working Germans, Dutch, etc., with all that early retirement, etc. and now you, the Greeks must pay the price.'  Definitely not communitaire as the European federalists always talk about.

Truth is though, that the German economy has benefited from Greece's participation in the Euro (and that of the other weaker economies of Italy and Spain).   The participation of these countries has depressed the global value of the Euro and this has served to make the exports of a strong economy, like Germany, artificially cheaper on World markets.

The creditors are impoverishing a whole nation rather than face up to their responsibilities.  This is to their shame but also to the shame of their regulators who, for the sake of their own national economies, which would be affected by loan write-offs, have closed their eyes and rule books to these banks.

These creditor nations and organizations are clearly seeking to blackmail and threaten the Greek people.  They are aided by the media who keep pushing the line that many Greeks are going to vote Yes - yes to more unemployment, yes to more poverty, yes to hunger.  It is time for the Greek people to get up off of their knees and say Oxhi, the Greek word for No!  If a Greek person is wondering about voting yes, ask them these questions.  How does a Yes vote help Greece?  How does a Yes vote re-start the Greek economy? How does a yes vote put bread on the tables of Greek's starving people? How does a yes vote stop the mass immigration of Greek youth who are forced to emigrate in order to survive?

A yes vote is a vote to kick the can down the road.  Greeks should say Arketa - Enough!

I should declare an interest in all this.  As a Brit, a No vote would have less of an impact on my country than it would for Germany, for example.  Greek debt to Germany is 93 Billion Euros, while to Britain the amount is just 9.2 Billion Euro.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Offensive Republicans!

I haven't gone over to the dark side!

I believe that it is time for the Republicans to go on the offensive.  I have said here before that it is not possible to treat with Obama.  He has the MSM in his pocket and now seemingly the Supreme Court, so now it is the leaders in the third branch of the US government - the legislature - that needs to come to the aid of the USA and the US Constitution.

First step must be to remove John Boehner and Mitch McConnel from their leadership roles.  Clearly either Obama has the dirt on them (and what dirt it must be for such traitorous actions) or they are being bought-off by Soros and his ilk.  They have to go and go now.and then Republicans rally round a common platform that is designed to use all Constitutional levers to thwart Obama.

This has to start with the initiation of impeachment proceedings against Obama and Kerry.  Also using the strongest Congressional powers against Hillary Clinton, for her crimes in Benghazi and with her e-mail criminality.  Then also, action against Holder for Fast and Furious and whatever else can be thrown at him.  Then the IRS.

America, and Republicans in particular, you can no longer sit back and think 'well they got that but they wouldn't go any further' because they will.  Make no mistake these people do not serve the interests of America.  The Iran deal alone, puts America at a very grave risk.

Don't be distracted by the literally 'false flag' issues such as the Confederate flag or the  SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage or on Obamacare.  These can be addressed once the people re-take control.

For now, focus on stopping Obama but first get the leadership to do so.

EU immigration

Back in April, I posted here regarding the problem that the European Union was facing with migrants and boat people.

I can accept that political leaders haven't had time to read my blog, which carries the only realistic solution to the problem but surely some of them have the wit and wisdom to come-up with the answers?

No, instead, they are now proposing to deal with the result of the problem and not the cause.

The 'result of the problem' is illegal immigrants landing in Italy and Greece, ether via rickety unseaworthy boats or by being rescued and delivered by EU government rescue vessels.  The solution now put forward is to relocate these people throughout the EU.  There will, we are told, be no quotas.  So, given the largely self-inflicted economic malaise that is afflicting much of the EU, why would any country accept these people?

More importantly, how does that stop the flood of migrants, continuing?

Most of these people are economic migrants - certainly, I would suggest, most of those coming via Libya, so why would they stop?  The drivers that push them to risk their lives and life-savings on a gamble of a better life in the EU, are not going away and these people can see that if they can just get onto a boat and get into the vicinity of an Italian, Greek or other EU vessel, then they will achieve their goal.

The only real solution remains the same.  These migrants must be sent back to their 'jump-off' point in Libya or Turkey and deposited there.  To do anything other than this is completely imbecilic. Someone (Einstein? Churchill?) once said that madness is to do the same thing time after time after time and expect different results.  We really need to close Europe's borders.  And to do so now.  We need to push these people and the problem they are causing, back to where they come from.  Europe, and that really means the UK, Germany and France, simply cannot absorb the levels of immigration that are currently being seen.  That isn't racism, that is economic reality.  British politicians were pilloried, in the past, for talking of being 'swamped' by immigrants.  This though is the truth in certain areas.  taking the UK as an example, there are areas which simply cannot cope with the overwhelming numbers that are now arriving.  Health services, schools, etc., are buckling under the strain, housing too.  And this will lead to racial strife as these immigrants, who have never contributed to the state coffers, make all sorts of claims on their new 'home country'.

Staying with the UK, we are allowing the natural defence that an island nation enjoys, being surrounded by water, to be overcome because we  are pussy-footing around with illegal immigrants and allow them to be aided and abetted by the UK legal system and so called Human Rights legislation and EU policies.  If, as said, David Cameron, wants a Yes vote for continued membership of the EU, in the referendum, then the border needs to be secured and secured now.

  • Deploy troops at the ferry terminals and send these people back on the next ferry or train.  
  • Deny them, all of them, any right of appeal - they are illegal, they should have no rights since they have forfeited those rights by virtue of their illegal act - entering the UK, illegally! 
  • For those currently within the UK, who are awaiting deportation, speed-up the process - appeals heard in days not months or years - have the immigration tribunals work around the clock.  
  • Remove from all illegal immigrants, including those awaiting deportation, any access to benefits.  That's welfare benefits, housing, schooling - all benefits.  Simply imprison/inter them and then expedite the deportation process.
  • Put pressure on France to remove the immigrant camps, which are used as staging posts.  What pressure?  Well how about pulling over all French registered trucks that enter the UK and conducting a full search of these vehicles.  Full as in unloading all pallets and goods, at the port, and inspecting these.  Right now, France doesn't feel any pain from these illegal immigrant camps - let their exporters feel some and they can talk to their government.
  • For all of these, simply ignore any whingeing and whining from our EU partners or the fools in the European courts of 'justice'.  

Right now, this immigration issue, which is not incorrectly called an invasion, must be tackled both for the EU and for the UK.  This can simply cannot be kicked down the road.

Some will see this post as racist.  They are wrong.  It is racist to allow people to come to the EU and think that they will have a better life, at the expense of the indigenous population.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Home grown terrorists

There is growing concern in Britain and the rest of Europe and Australia and the USA about the problem of so called home grown terrorists.  In Britain we have just had one of these young men becoming a suicide bomber, in Iraq.

These are most often the children of immigrants to the host country.  The problem of what to do about this is, as I understand it, that the host country cannot remove the passports or revoke the nationality of these young, mostly, men since they were born in the host country.  However,  certainly in the UK, that largely doesn't apply to the parents of these people.

I was absolutely shocked to see and hear, earlier this year, when three young girls left London and traveled to Daesh-held Syria, via Turkey, the family blaming London's Metropolitan Police for not doing more to stop their own children from leaving!  So much for their idea of parental responsibility!

So my solution is to revoke the right to stay for these parents and then deport them to their home country.  Yes, that's right - visit the sins of the children upon the father.  These families need to take responsibility for their children.  We are constantly being told that these Muslim families are close-knit families so let's see some family responsibility.  Indeed, I would not just restrict this to those that travel to join-up with Daesh.  If their children children participate in marches or protests where they carry the black flags of Daesh or protest against British troops, then the same punishment to be visited upon the parents.  Yes we live in a democracy but we will not provide Daesh with the means with which to destroy us!

It is high time that the peaceful majority in the Muslim community, stood up and showed how peaceful they really are and that they exercise control over those elements within their community, who would see our country become like the caliphate that Daesh is imposing in Iraq and Syria.  Women sold into sexual slavery, homosexuals thrown from the tops of buildings, people beheaded almost randomly.  Muslims in Britain, and other host countries, need to decide if they want to pay the price for such residency - that price is to stand-up for the things that make the host country what it is.  In Britain that means tolerance of followers other religions and of no religions.  It means acceptance of lifestyle choices made by people.  It means ceasing the barbaric practise of female genital mutilation (FGM) and above all it means treating all fellow citizens as equals and the laws of the land, as passed by Parliament as paramount and not supplantable by alien concepts such as Sharia

A recent poll, showed that more than 80% of Muslims support, to some degree or another the aims of Daesh.  Personally, I am always suspicious of such polls and how representative they truly are but the silence from the mosques of Britain might be considered telling.

Of course, the immediate effect of putting the above proposal into practice would be to get the Human Rights lawyers up in arms but the response to this has to be two fold.  Firstly, rush emergency legislation through Parliament, abrogating the relevant portions of existing Human Rights legislation and immigration laws.  Secondly, deport immediately with no right of appeal.

Of course it's harsh but take a surf on the Internet and see what playing 'nice' has done to Christians or even Muslims in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria.  Take a look at those people having their throat cut by 'peace loving' members of the religion of peace or watch people being burned alive, then tell me putting people on a plane is cruel and unusual punishment or that water-boarding is somehow evil and equal!   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

EU mess

Don't worry, this isn't a recipe for a meringue, cream and summer fruit dessert.  The mess I refer to is the way things are going with the Conservatives re-negotiation of the terms of membership of Britain's participation in the European Union.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, has started the process of re-negotiation.  It is barely a month, since the Conservatives were elected, with a small majority, to the Westminster Parliament.  A referendum is promised by the end of 2017 and yet to hear some people, you would think that the vote is around the corner.

On this issue, many people, myself included have some kind of an axe or other, to grind.

  • The media, particularly the BBC, who receive lavish funding from the EU, are strongly pro-EU and so push an agenda that seeks to promote talk of a Tory split and faction fighting among Tories,  David Cameron is accused of issuing ultimatums to Cabinet colleagues about toeing an as yet undefined line!  And so on.  We also hear that Rupert Murdoch has had a Damascene conversion and now wants Britain to stay in the EU!  
  • UKIP and noisy people that want out and really want no renegotiation, just out now (or yesterday, if we can 'fix' the records).
  • Big business mostly declaring a doom and gloom future if Britain leaves the EU.
  • Myself, my axe to grind is that I have my own 'red lines' - more on these shortly - and I don't want these issues to be lost in peripheral matters.  

How are people better informed about the renegotiation of say free movement of labour and the effect on immigration, if they are distracted by stories of a Tory split or Deutsche Bank's latest view on the precarious economic future for Britain.  The distraction from UKIP will, over time become a dull pain.  They need to freshen-up their message rather than just saying the same thing over and over and over again.  'UKIP wants Britain out of the EU' - we know, we get it!  Change the record!

I know that I have to be patient and await the outcome of these negotiations.  Cameron and the other leaders need come to a resolution to very complex matters and I don't expect that these will happen over-night.  Even the UKIP, 'Out now' solution, is a bit more nuanced than the phrase suggests.

I would suggest that all British people need to be patient and don't allow ourselves to be swayed by these people who want to bounce our opinion and thus our vote, in one direction or another.  I would request that organizations like the BBC, big business and UKIP, just pipe down.  We are not fools, we know where you stand, and we want to hear the deal that Cameron eventually gets for us and then we will make-up our minds.

My expectation is that once negotiations are concluded, there would be a period of, say, three months, during which the Yes and No campaign can put out their stalls and seek to persuade one way or another but until we know the deal, any comment seeking to persuade, one way or another is just noise - it might help to inform the debate (as do my 'red lines', I hope) but stirring up trouble and rifts and divisions doesn't help. I wouldn't though suggest that debate is stifled more that it is focused on the real issues rather than just posturing and saying nothing new.  I would also say that Opinion Polls, yes the same organisations that got the GE2015 results, so wrong, have a part to play.  These could strengthen the hand of Cameron and the negotiating team as they send a message to our EU partners about how seriously the UK wants change.

Talking of the No campaign.  There has been mention made that this should be led by Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP.  This would be completely wrong.  Farage has done a great job of pushing the need for a referendum but he is very divisive and would likely cause many potential No voters to turn away in disgust and vote Yes, simply because he is there.  A far better No campaign leader would be Boris Johnson or Daniel Hannan.  The latter has consistency and, as a Euro MP, a long history of opposing and exposing the anti-democratic nature of the EU as it is currently constituted.  Johnson has great voter appeal.  Cameron is said to expect to work for a Yes vote and so, were Johnson to lead the No campaign then this would suggest an easy transition and change of power, should the Nos prevail.  As another possible leader, Sir James Dyson, a dynamic business leader, who is much admired for his entrepreneurial flair and business success.  Being a non-politician, he may also be more trusted by the 'man in the street'.

Now my 'red lines'.  As with any negotiation, we won't get all that we want but here's the framework.

Free movement of Labour - I must declare an interest as I have benefited from this, during my working life.  Therefore, along with other experiences of the benefits, I see this as beneficial to our economy and our country.  Yes it potentially means an influx of cheap labour but this is good for the country.  There are very definite challenges to be faced - schooling, health systems etc., but these will resolve themselves, over time.  A growing and healthy economy can afford such 'problems'.
I find the people that argue against this as somewhat hypocritical.  We don't want cheap labour doing jobs that need doing, and we oppose reform of a welfare system which makes it 'uneconomic' for people to come off of welfare and take low paying jobs, seems to be the crux of their argument.

Bureaucracy and Reciprocity - Big words.  More simply put, there are areas where the EU isn't needed.  Working hours in Britain - that's a matter for the UK parliament, not un-elected officials in Brussels.  HSE, Britain not EU, there is a whole raft of EU legislation - or more accurately, legislation that starts out as a Brussels 'directive' and becomes UK legislation because we have no choice but to implement it, under current rules - and this needs wholesale review and likely abolition for the greater parts of it.  Foreign relations?  Britain doesn't need, except perhaps on areas limited to certain trade discussions, an un-elected commissioner representing her.  History has shown that we are quite capable of doing so, ourselves.

Funding - The original benefits of the EU or the Common Market, as it was then called, effectively related to free trade - the sale of goods from one country to another without the imposition of tariffs or other barriers.  That is the place to where we should return.  Therefore the need for much of the funding for the monolithic bureaucracy and EU organisations would disappear.  Why should any country in the EU subsidize another?  If I join a club of some sort, I can expect to pay an annual subscription fee for the running and administration of the club.  I don't expect to pay based on my income, nor do I expect to pay fees for people that can't afford to be in the club, in the first place.  I certainly don't expect to pay their bar tab every single day that they are living beyond their means!
Democracy - Becomes somewhat moot if funding and reciprocity are addressed but this swings two ways.  Firstly, the EU Commission, if it is still needed (but I can't think why it would), must be democratically elected - that would suggest it must be appointed by either the people, through direct elections, or through the European Parliament.  My own view is that both the Commission and the Parliament should be abolished and much money saved.  I can't believe that all that hot air and cant is good for the environment!  Neither is the to-ing and fro-ing between Brussels and Strasbourg every month, nor the EU-citizen funded traveling between home country and Brussels/Strasbourg and back, on a weekly/daily basis.  Every time I think of that, I think of all those climatologists that attend these conferences in exotic places, traveling by jet - private or commercial - to do so, or Al Gore's house that uses so much hydrocarbon-provided power that it is said to be like the Great Wall of China - visible from space!  But I digress.  So less democracy in terms of a talking shop in Europe but then democracy in terms of consensus forming decisions and then acceptance by all.  So long as the 'club rules' and the 'club charter' aren't being infringed then all governments must accept the will of the majority of voters, with voting rights.

Free Trade - this should form the basis of 'club' membership.  Goods and services (see also  free movement of labour) can be traded between club members without the imposition of tariffs.  That would apply to import tariffs - so no customs duties on equipment manufactured in Germany and sold into Slovenia or Britain, etc.  Also though, no hidden tariffs, such as higher rates of local value added taxes on such goods.  This wouldn't preclude a state subsidizing its own industry, where that might 'harm' the industry of another 'club' member.  So if France wanted to subsidize French sugar beet growers and processors and this allowed these companies to then compete unfairly against German or British growers, then let them.  It's France's money to do with as it pleases.  It is not for Britain or Germany to say how France supports or doesn't support its rural communities.  Equally, it is not for Britain or Germany to pay for France's support for its rural communities. Free Trade also means that 'club' members should be free to trade with non-club members, as they wish.  So, if Britain or Germany decided that French sugar beet was too high-priced and they could get it cheaper from say, Turkey, then they would be free to negotiate purchases and set import tariffs as they see fit.  If Turkish farmers are able to produce and sell sugar beet cheaper than French farmers, then why should British or German consumers miss out on Turkish efficiency.

In terms of imports from non-club members, these should not be subject to restrictions - individual sovereign states can enter into bi-lateral agreements - except that any onward sale of such imports need to meet certain criteria.  This criteria would relate to the value added in the club member state.  So if Britain and China concluded a bi-lateral trade agreement with very low import tariffs (or better yet, none) this could not be used as a 'back door' for China to then sell these on to other 'club' members with which it doesn't have a bi-lateral agreement unless a certain value was added in Britain.  Let's say 60%.  If a UK-based company imported parts from China, assembled these in the UK and then sold them within a 'club' member country, then the UK value added to those parts must be greater than 60% or whatever number is decided upon.  We don't want dumping but neither do we want restrictive practices that protect inefficient local industries.

Non-EU wide and other  agreements - These would be agreements that are established between sovereign nations - be they 'club' members or not which cover restricted topics.  So, if Britain, Germany, Iceland, Australia, Brazil and Norway wanted to establish an agreement that allowed for a fast track extradition process between themselves, then this would be allowed and wouldn't require any input or permission from other 'club' members.  It's called reciprocity - 'club' members only need to be involved on matters relating the the raison d'etre of the 'club' - free trade etc., and to not interfere in matters that are decided by other nations and which don't impinge upon these.  Such an extradition treaty would be outwith the 'club' charter and so no business of other 'club' members.  Similarly, if certain 'club' members wanted to establish a political and fiscal union and even a common currency, then they should be free to do so, so long as they do not seek to impose that union or its effects on other 'club' members.  So by all means have a Euro currency but don't expect non-Euro countries, to bail out Euro members!  If I join the Royal Automobile Club, I don't expect to be tapped-up by members of the rival Automobile Association, when that organisation runs into difficulties.  It's a different 'club', I have chosen to not be a member and so shouldn't be required to pay anything for its failings.

Dear reader, be patient in the coming months.  Listen to all of the views, look to the motive of the speaker and then form your own opinion, as I am sure you would anyway.  Above all though, let's be patient and simply demand clarity on what the renegotiated deal means for us and our country.  Then vote for what is best for Britain.  I currently lean towards voting for  BREXIT but, in the words of the great Joan Armatrading, I am 'open to persuassion'

Friday, May 29, 2015

SNP - Wind your neck in!

The SNP aided by the BBC seem to have got above themselves.  They both seem to forget that in September 2014, in a turnout significantly in excess of the 2015 General Election turnout (85% versus 71%) Scottish Independence was soundly rejected by Scottish voters.  The  55% No campaign  beating the the 45% for Yes.

Both also seem to have lost sight of the fact that, while the SNP captured a total of 56 of the 59 seats available within Scotland, they actually gained less than 50% of the votes cast.

Now we have the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who is not even a member of the UK Parliament, thinking that she can rule the Westminster roost.  Truth is, she is most likely to have trouble controlling her own newly elected Westminster MPs who are acting like an uncouth rabble and are being egged on by Ms Sturgeon's, predecessor Alex Salmond and one will soon have to question if the dual role - Scottish First Minister and SNP Leader are compatible.

Time for some perspective.

Scotland represents less than 10% of the population of the UK, less than 10% of the UK economy and less than 10% of the seats at Westminster.  The SNP popular vote of 1.454 million was dwarfed by UKIP's 3.88 million and even by the Lib Dems 2.41 million - so when it comes to 'speaking for the people' a sense of proportion wouldn't be out of place.  Yes, the SNP gained 56 seats while UKIP only gained 1 and the Lib Dems just 8 and yes that is a reflection of the 'first past the post' system but that is the system that the UK chose to retain, when given a choice. However, as said, the SNP are always a minority party.

Out of courtesy, and, I hope,  only for that reason, David Cameron trooped up to Edinburgh, post election and held talks with Ms Sturgeon about fulfilling the Conservative plans on implementing the Smith Commission.  This is something which, while it represents even greater power for the Holyrood parliament, is actually opposed by Sturgeon - supposedly on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough.  Leave aside that the policy, called Full Fiscal Autonomy, was developed by Scottish politicians, Sturgeon fears FFA.  She fears this (and that is why Cameron must rigorously pursue it), because Sturgeon and the SNP will then be found wanting.  The Scottish economy simply cannot fund the lavish policies that the SNP push, based on its own economy.  It absolutely needs funding from the UK Exchequer.  The loonies that thuggishly follow the SNP  will spout on about Scotland's oil and so on, though they have been (mercifully) quite since the significant post IndyRef  decline in oil prices, but the simple fact is that Scotland needs funding from the UK, indeed, let's not be coy, they need funding from England.

She is also fearful because the SNP are being found out, in their own back-yard.   The SNP controlled parliament at Holyrood has presided over a frightening decline in educational attainment and standards, coupled with a significant reduction in the number of students from poor families, attending university.  We might expect a re-branded and hopefully suitably chastened Scottish Labour Party, along with the Conservatives and Lib Dems, will focus on these and other failings on the already existing devolved powers, when the next Holyrood elections are held, in 2016.

To hear the newly elected SNP Westminster MPs you would think that they have a mandate for governing the UK.  Simple truth is that they don't.  They don't even have a Scottish mandate!  They need to wind in their necks and get down to the real business of representing all of their constituents - those that voted for them and those that, in equal proportion, didn't vote for them.

And while we are on the subject of people losing their sense of proportion, let's be clear.  Scotland had its Independence Referendum and everyone agreed, including Salmond, Sturgeon and the SNP, that this was a once in a generation event.  Now the UK Government is planning to hold a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.  This will be a countrywide referendum and will apply to the whole country and the results will be for the whole country.  If a majority of people in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire or even 35 Acacia Avenue, Solihull vote to remain in the EU while the majority vote to exit, then we all exit.  Ms Sturgeon has put forward a warped sense of democracy, as discussed here.

I am sure that the SNP and Yes voters retain a sour taste in their mouth after the IndyRef vote loss but now the SNP need to shut-up and get on with the job that they were elected to do!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Labour's defeat

I don't wish to take anything away from the, frankly stunning, victory of David Cameron's Conservatives but the UK GE2015 election results are almost as much about the defeat of Labour as about the Conservatives.

The opinion pollsters will now conduct a post mortem into their abject failure to predict the outcome of the election.  Whatever, they now say, the polls that they published understated support for Conservatives and overstated that for Labour.  I like to think that they got it so wrong because the people that they asked consistently chose to fool the pollsters - otherwise known as lie to them, rather than give them straight, honest answers.   I am no psephologist but I always wonder how polling around a 1,000 people can give any kind of reasonable view or cross-section of the polling intentions of 46 million voters.

Anyway, no doubt the pollsters will enquire and conclude that it was the voters that were wrong and not them.  I can't see many people having much faith in their polls until they have re-built credibility.

So to Labour.

Ed Miliband resigned the leadership of Labour, once it became clear that they had soundly lost the election.  There are some, me included, that think his resignation was about four years too late but......

Now Labour does what it does best.  It will have a leadership election that will solve nothing.  Much as I didn't like Ed Miliband - he just didn't come across as sincere or honest - the biggest problem with Labour was their policies and over-riding that fatal flaw was their absolute unwillingness to accept any responsibility for the financial crisis that the UK faced, at the time of the 2010 General Election.  If I was a Conservative strategist, I would replay to the British public, time and time again, the part of the so called 'Leaders Question Time' where Miliband is asked if Labour overspent and he says no.  The audience reaction of utter disbelief, was surely reflective of the country at large.

Unless and until Labour say sorry for the financial mess, they will always lose on the economy, always.  They spoke, time and again, as did the odious SNP, about cuts and austerity and, did I mention savage cuts?  Yet people understand that while some of these did impact heavily upon some people, overall, these were essential and were handled sensitively.   Labour bang on about the NHS in some sort of proprietorial way but for me, people don't distrust the Conservatives anywhere near as much as Labour think they do or should.  I think that on the NHS, the discussion is moving more towards the Conservative side than Labour understand.  

The reason I mention some of the Labour election platform is that the current candidates for Ed Miliband's position seem destined to repeat the errors of his leadership,

The candidates are

Andy Burnham - I can state categorically that it isn't the whiny voice and his sense of  only he being able to 'really, really' understand and 'really, really' feel the pain of people, that bothers me about the 'emote at the drop of a hat' Burnham.  It his failure to take any responsibility for the 1,300+ unnecessary deaths which occurred in his beloved NHS, at Mid Staffs and elsewhere, when he was in-charge of the NHS.  Read the horror of Mid Staffs here  Simply put, Burnham has displayed very serious character flaws.  That and his allegiance to old-style Labour re-distributionist policies show him to be out of touch with the aspirations of people. Some other posts on the NHS are here  and here

Yvette Cooper - Can sound a little shrill at times but her most serious flaw, aside from being tied to out-dated policies, is that she is the wife of Ed Balls.  I can't speak to what attracted her to Balls nor what keeps her there but surely, at some recent point in their relationship she should have been able to convince Balls that he and Miliband needed to apologise for the financial mess and to take responsibility for it.  If she cannot persuade the man who shares a bed with her, of the massive errors of the party platform, then what faith can anyone have in her ability to negotiate on behalf of the UK or firmly deal with her union paymasters?  Every time I see Yvette Cooper, I think Ed Balls and I immediately think financial mess.  Maybe that's not fair, but that is my reality, and I would suspect that of many others.

Chuka Umana - Should narcissism be a qualifying condition for the leadership?  Every time I see Chuka, I see someone that seems more interested in how he looks and if his tie matches his suit and shirt etc.  Editor in Chief of GQ magazine  - maybe but far too lightweight to lead the Labour Party.  Imagine if you will, horror that it might be, that Labour is in power and Chuka has to face down Len McCluskey  of Unite regarding a series of public sector strikes and also to contend with aggressive moves from Putin's Russia and, at the same time, Daesh attacks in the UK.  Can you see that and see Chuka with any kind of the required knowledge and experience or gravitas?  Umana has been described (by himself?) as the UK's Obama.  Seeing how the former Community Organiser, Obama, has created great divisions within the US and promoted failed policy after failed policy, and destroyed America's standing in the world.  Should Labour elect someone with such aspirations?

The other declared candidates.  
Liz Kendall  I know little about, which maybe is a good thing because she maybe isn't painted into that 'we didn't overspend' corner and without such baggage may be able to provide Labour with a policy platform that focuses on the needs and aspirations of real people rather than a metropolitan elite.
Tristram Hunt - His opposition to Michael Gove's education reforms should automatically disqualify him - again, his adherence to party and union dogma seeks to override the aspirations of people.

Like many people, I find that Labour has nothing to offer me or my children.  Fundamentally, that is their problem.  The leadership is much less relevant.  Miliband's ineptitude with a bacon sandwich didn't help.  His inability to say sorry was a key factor - a clear character flaw. At the end of the day though, it always come down to policy and Labour had nothing to offer today's voters.  Until they get that right, it doesn't matter who they chose as leader!