and the aftermath
APRIL 11th 2010
I have successfully predicted the results of the past two elections,
and this one I predicted nearly two years ago as a 'hung parliament'.
At the time, I did not think that would be too bad a result, as a hung
parliament is an experience that is due for a re-test by MPs, the
public and the Civil Service. However, all things considered, this is
not a time to muck about and it would be better if we could clear the
air and get to the real issues and somehow energize enough people who
see what is at stake to vote, even if they have some reservations, for
a competent government with the power to govern drawn from a clear
We all know that
some mistakes have been made over the past 10 years. We know that Vince
Cable is a sharp witted financial commentator but also that to take his
advice is often impractical or quite impossible in a democratic
capitalist society with free a market economy and competitive free
global trade in goods and services - impossible also for the same
reasons his party has not been in power, or he it's leader. Some
lessons have to be learned the hard way. We know
that David Cameron is good speaker and there are some good ideas
swimming around in his head, but there is no indication that he
understands anything very much despite his good will and enthusiasm and
sometimes good judgment. There is no indication that many of his party
colleagues have a clue or any motives other than hangin on to their own
careers. Kenneth Clarke, the first Chancellor of the Exchequer who had
any idea of what he was up against, because he had important
experience before becoming Chancellor, is past his sell by date now
and, more importantly, not representative of his party
what we require and the competence of the Labour government has been
mixed because for starters they have not had a knowledge of rural
affairs, and also lacked experience in management at certain levels.
This has caused huge problems in some areas like major new IT projects,
though I have to say the Tories would have made just as big a mess,
though different, usually through not even attempting what was a
necessity. At least we can learn from Labour's mistakes because they
tried. The one thing they did do was fix the roof while the sun shone -
the one thing Cameron accused them of not doing, which shows how little
he knows or admits his party let the roof rot for its entire tenure.
We have some
very competent EU partners these days including
Merkel in Germany and a sound economics minister in France, though Mr
Sarkozy is losing popularity. Unpopularity is usually an indication
that a politician is doing a great job, but Sarkozy does not go down
too well with those of his compatriots who have 'Une certaine
La France', which is a pity as he is quite a switched on man.
unfortunate that as we start the campaign for this election the main
party machines are concentrating on appealing to the self-interest of
voters. It is our country that is at stake. The Tories are trying to
appeal to big business on whom they will depend for finance. This is
why they are opposing the increase in National Insurance. This increase
is absolutely correct policy for reasons that are clear. It is a
non-discretionary tax (as opposed to VAT which can be avoided on all
non-essential purchases by simply buying less and buying cheaper) and
it is widely spread in all sectors. It is not an anti-business tax at
all, except it will discourage employers from taking on unnecessary
employees and since efficiency is the only hope we have of surviving in
the global economy, this can only be good. It is sad that the admirable
Stuart Rose should be selling his good name for a possible peerage
after such a brilliant, thoughtful and respected career - but maybe I
him an injustice and he just does not understand the difference between
running a business and governing (as opposed to 'running') a country
a parliamentary democracy. I would expect the N.I. increase to cost
every individual and business a certain amount, certainly not to help
them in the short term, to be unpopular, and to be good for the nation.
The tax take required over the next decade must be balanced in many
different ways. This N.I. increase is part of that balance.
I was amused to hear a typical 'Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells'
complain that it was 'disgraceful'
the National Insurance contribution would be used to help pay off
the nation's debt, instead of providing the payouts for which it was
designed. "It's an insurance!" the apoplectic caller expostulated, "and
its being stiolen". Dear 'Disgusted', the government borrows just now
to pay the benefits the N.I. system provides, and the contributions
help to pay back the borrowings. The sooner we can, the less the
interest and the future rate of interest, and the latter is the great
day I expect all this to be explained fully to the electorate, with the
result that those who did not vote last time will get off their bums
return Gordon Brown and his team (some of which may well drive you mad
but never mind) back to government with a solid majority. It is more a
question of brains than policies, I hope they make no promises at all.
It makes as much sense to quibble about details and broken promises as
it would to make someone driving you from London to Scotland promise to
take an exact fixed route before setting out. Roads can be switched
depending on traffic and abuse by other users, or accidents. What
counts is the destination.
APRIL 12th 2010
Starting to day, and irregularly because I am very busy, I will deal
one by one with some major issues on which the public have exercised
their right to criticise the UK Government, that is to say the
Party/Civil-Service/Institutional combination that is responsible for
the legal/political background on and in which our activities take
1. The gap between rich and poor has
grown over the past decade.
This is true. It is also inevitable if a policy of economic growth, and
increasing wealth amongst those with jobs in the market-driven sector,
is fostered in a country where there is all of the following at once:
The last two
problems have been corrected by importing people from other countries,
making the wealth gap amongst UK nationals and some of the exploited
immigrants even worse, while the non-exploited or expoiting immigrants
join the wealthy. The collapse of growth caused a public balancing of
books to be made, exposing personal debt which was posing as apparent
- less than
- less than
adequate education of the new generations in the national language and
the languages of trading-partner countries
- less than
adequate education in the skills required to service the systems
demanded and paid for by the increasingly wealthy.
In summary, it is a mathematical certainty in the UK model,
multilingual and multicultural as it is in addition to the above, that
as wealth increases and is spread wider there will be an increasing
wealth gap between those employed in jobs where consumer
demand is backed by the ability and
willingness (of individuals or the state) to pay,
and those who are not in such a job, or any job. Those in jobs in the
public sector will also rely on guaranteed pensions, which eventually
the nation will be unable to afford in their lengthening retirement
years unless all tax avoidance is curtailed.
Anyone who thinks that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling did not
understand all this before, during and after the current global
financial crisis should disabuse themselves of such thoughts. The
question was always what to do about it. They were aiming for sustained
growth on the global rules that the other major economies were
apparently working on, hoping to repair and build new infrastructure in
the neglected UK, to land on a financial 'ledge' that was globally
competitive, at which point inevitable global financial reforms could
have been coordinated internationally.
What they did NOT know was the extent of the lie on which the US had
built its domestic economy, where Greenspan was playing the same game
but huge players behind the scenes were given a free hand by the
politicians in order to prove by fair means or foul the simplistic
theory that a propert-owning democracy could be wealthy, sustainable
and globally competitive and at the same time a model to be adopted
world-wide. Freed from Glass-Steagall, every bank could play every
game. Lost in cyberspace, they went for bricks and mortar - or wood and
wattle, what the hell it's home (apol. Tom Lehrer).
Just make sure everyone has some
property. If they can't afford it, lend them the money and since the
value will rise the debt can be wrapped up and sold on. Worst comes to
worst, repossess and re-mortgage to a new owner or let it.
The flaw? If more than a certain percentage of the debts are initially
dodgy, and this becomes public knowledge, they become progressively
callable. This can halt and collapse a rising housing value bubble. The
system implodes. If it has been used as part of a global system of
securites, the global economy implodes.
So could Gordon and Alistair have taken Vince Cable's advice? Could
they have suggested to the bankers and others that regulations could be
agreed, corrections made, risks reduced? Not a chance, any more than
George Bush and Tony Bair, or their staff, could have suggested to
Donald Rumsfeld there were things he didn't know he didn't know. That
is until Rumsfeld discovered that very thing - and was so amazed he had
to tell the
world of his great discovery. He was much derided, but his epiphany
was real and his convoluted sentence was, actually, quite correct.
Brown admits he was wrong not to have acted, but in the absence of
any support at home or internationally, how could he?
14th APRIL 2010
Tories and Labour claim they could and would have regulated the banks.
Oh yes, laughing all the way!
admits mistake over banks
Gordon Brown has admitted he made a mistake in not introducing
tougher bank regulation when he was chancellor.
The PM, chancellor from 1997 to 2007, said that in the 1990s the
banks had all been calling for less regulation.
"And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should
have been regulating them more," he said in an interview on ITV1's
The Conservatives said Mr Brown had "failed", while the Liberal
Democrats said his admission was "not enough".
The prime minister said he should have put the "whole public
interest" before the banks but had "learnt" from the experience.
Mr Brown said: "In the 1990s, the banks, they all came to us and
said, 'Look, we don't want to be regulated, we want to be free of
"All the complaints I was getting from people was, 'Look you're
regulating them too much'. And actually the truth is that globally and
nationally we should have been regulating them more," he added.
"So I've learnt from that. So you don't listen to the industry when
they say, 'This is good for us'. You've got to talk about the whole
“ Every time you make a decision about troop
deployments with generals, you've got to bear in mind that these are
decisions about people's lives ”
Schools Secretary Ed Balls, who worked with Gordon Brown when he
was chancellor, said both had previously admitted they should have done
more to control the financial sector.
At Labour's morning press conference he said: "In retrospect we
should have been tougher with some of the investment banks which did
not know the risks they were running. This was a problem for
governments around the world."
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson added: "Regulation should have
been more intrusive and the regulatory practice of the FSA [Financial
Services Authority] should have kept pace with the fast-changing
developments in the financial services sector."
Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "So finally Gordon Brown
admits he failed to regulate the bankers and increased taxes on the
poor. We've had 13 years of his economic mistakes. Britain can't afford
five years more."
Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "It's not enough just
to hold your hands up and say sorry without having a plan for making
sure that the same thing doesn't happen again."
. . . .
APRIL 14 2010
plan for Britain
The points he makes and the ideas he puts forward have elements
truth and important
Any government dealing
with the UK in the 21st century has got to engage the public better in
all aspects of managing our institutions if we are to use the energy
and talent of individuals in a positive way. However, experience and
professionalism are a vital requirement. Cameron wants fewer focus
groups and quangos, he says, but isn't it the case that he will have to
set up new groups and quangos, just with different people in them, to
carry out his plan to replace Big Government with The Big Society? Or
will he auction off aspects of local government to the highest bidder?
In a country as illiterate and divided as is the UK just now, is it not
a recipe for chaos? We complain of Post-Code Lottery when standards and
methods vary from place to place, but to improving facilities according
to local priority choices will cause bigger differences on the
way to maybe overall improvement but maybe gettoisation. My point?
Having these good ideas does not mean Cameron has a team or a party
with the ability to lead the country in a coherent way to build a
globally competitive economy and society. We have to do this.
The only way the UK can recover is in the context of a financially and
socially coherent Western Europe in a global economy, facing Climate
Change and a new financial model for survival. It WILL require a sound
domestic agricultural element, manufacturing industries, top level
banking and a transport system covering all the bases. But just as the
concept of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) led on to the end of
military threats between the US, Russia, China and Europe, so MAB
(Mutually Assured Bankruptcy), which was the outcome of the global
finance escalation, must lead to cooperation to avoid that happening
for real - that is assuming we have pulled back onto the cliff top and
are not all falling together in a drop towards the rocks.
We know from experience that without competition, those who have
positions of authority and privilege, even if well earned, can pursue
their own comfort, security and wealth with more enthusiasm than that
of their clients, customers or dependents. That is the reason why
competition has had the effect of maintaining and somtimes raising
performance in all activities, not just sport. However, competition
can, if taken as the golden rule, also lead to results that are bad for
the general or global economy. Sums spent on competitive advertising,
marketing and selling campaigns, the rush for subscribers, borrowers,
investors, on buying champions of management, marketing, dealing or
scoring goals etc can twist whole industries into bubbles of economic
activity whose only way to stay in the air is a forward rush or a
growth that ignores any notion of real human needs, some of which are
trully basic. These basic needs of a home (owned, rented or allowed),
food, clothing and security, are said to be rights. They are nothing of the
kind unless our society agrees to make them so in return for acceptable
behaviour and paticipation in civil life. This is what we call the
Social Contract, and it depends for its existence in a democracy (as
opposed to a state or personal tyranny), on most people being educated
and trained sufficiently to play a part and abide by some rules.
There is a reason why Cameron's vision should be taken seriously,
however. Alienation is behind the problems we in the UK face more than
most countries. I wrote a whole chapter on this in "The State Of The
Art" in the 1980s as being the greatest problem facing some democratic
nations in the future. Gangs of youths that are NOT alienated from
society, far from being a threat or a nuisance, are key to its present
and future health. In a more rural past, the Scouts and Guides were
more representative of the genre. The growth of urbanisation has not
given birth to a benign equivalent. Vigilantes and Neighbourhood Watch
are reactive, based on opposing a threat more than getting-to-know-you
or providing a service not linked to trouble, crime or violence. As for
the gangs, they are the source of those ills.
Cameron's policy to 'scrap ID cards is ridiculous. To govern Britain in
the future without an ID system
is to repeat the disasters of the past. The cards will be taken up, used and
paid for only by those who need them, nobody else. Anyone who can prove
their identity by other means will be welcome to do so, as has always
been the case. A British national who can prove his identity and
nationality by any means has never needed a passport to be in, or
arrive at, this country. Not a lot of people know that. It may take a
little longer than just passing through a card-scanner, but it's a
fact. Some people without passports, or who have lost them or are
renewing them, or do not wish to carry their passport with them at all
times and who do not possess other means, witnesses or drivers license,
or have difficult-to-distinguish names, will be pleased to pay for an
ID card. Asylum seekers and temporary residents may well be given one.
To think of saving money by abandoning the scheme is a measure of
either gross stupidity or contempt for the electorate. The speed with
which it is rolled out will, however, be subject to cost/benefit
analysis - the cost being the human resources (or people, as we used to
call them) involved in the setup and implementation. The benefit is the
huge savings in human resources where it will be running and the
reduced cost of better, though always imperfect, security, plus the
reduction in individuals suffering Identity Theft.
Cameron 'to make Britain better'
Conservative leader David Cameron has launched his party's
election manifesto, which he says is a "plan to change Britain for the
He said the "optimistic" plan would bring a "new kind of
government" with less state and more "people power".
Pledges include allowing people to set up their own schools and
veto high council tax rises.
Labour said it meant people would be left "on their own". The Lib
Dems said it was "style over substance".
In other election developments on Tuesday:
- Plaid Cymru launched
their manifesto and promised to fight for more
resources for the Welsh Assembly
- The UK Independence Party also launched - pledging UK withdrawal
from the European Union
- The Scottish Socialist Party unveiled their manifesto,
offering an alternative to the "doom and gloom of mainstream parties"
- Nick Clegg says the Lib Dems would crack down on "obscene" bankers' bonuses
and allow "no reward for failure"
In a speech launching the manifesto at Battersea Power Station in
south London, Mr Cameron said it was the "the biggest call to arms this
country has seen in a generation".
He said no government could solve all problems on its own and he
wanted "everyone to get involved", adding government should be the
"partner of the big society, not its boss".
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said there was a "difference in
philosophy" between the Conservatives and Labour, with the Tories
saying "government needs to be pushed along" by the general public,
while Labour was pledging that "government can be on your side".
MANIFESTO PLEDGES Community 'right to bid' to run post offices
Eliminate bulk of structural deficit over a
Cut £6bn 'wasteful' spending in 2010/11
Cut number of MPs by 10%
Annual limit on non-EU economic migrants
Give parents power to save local schools due to close
Give voters power to sack MPs for "serious
Scrap ID cards
MPs to get vote on repealing hunting ban
Raise stamp duty threshold to £250k for
Mr Cameron said he had taken the Tories back to the "centre ground"
of politics, away from the "narrow focus" it had in the past: "We stand
for society, that's the right idea for a better future."
The Tories' plan to block the bulk of Labour's planned 1% rise in
National Insurance is in the manifesto. Mr Cameron said it would save
more than 50,000 jobs and would make "seven out of 10 working people
better off than under Labour".
Labour say Tory plans to cut "wasteful" government spending by
£12bn this year to fund the policy are based on "fantasy"
calculations and are reckless.
Mr Cameron said: "Labour say the economy will collapse unless they
keep on wasting your money."
He accused the government of trying to "frighten" people while he
presented an "optimistic" programme and would "trust" people.
The Conservatives could "make things better without spending more
money", he said, and had radical plans to "help the poorest, protect
the NHS, help people find work and support families".
"This is a manifesto for a new kind of politics," he said.
"People power, not state power."
Among pledges in the manifesto are a community "right to buy
scheme" - to allow people to protect post offices and pubs threatened
People would be able to get local referendums on any issue if 5% of
residents backed it - and would be able to use them to veto high
council tax rises.
The number of MPs would be cut by 10%, and ministers' pay would be
cut by 5%, followed by a five-year freeze.
Parents and charities would be allowed to set up state-funded
schools - based on a model used in Sweden - and "unaccountable" police
authorities would be replaced with a directly-elected official to set
policing priorities, budgets and strategies.
Mr Cameron dismissed suggestions that there was no demand for
people to set up their own schools as "cynical".
He said a network already set up to help them do just that had been
"inundated" with offers and there was a "huge appetite" for people to
Other pledges include raising the stamp duty threshold for
first-time house buyers to £250,000, to raise the inheritance tax
threshold to £1m, to freeze council tax for two years and a
voluntary "national citizen's service" for 16-year-olds.
As well as pledges to reform out-of-work benefits, scrap ID cards
and increase health spending, there is also a pledge for an annual cap
on non-European Union migrants who are allowed to live and work in the
And there would be a referendum on any future European treaty "that
transferred areas of power or competences" from Britain to the EU.
BBC chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said there were
no new details of how the Conservatives would reduce the budget deficit
- something the party have pledged to do "faster" than Labour, who say
they will halve it in four years.
None of the main parties has definitively ruled out raising VAT and
the Conservatives also do not make a pledge on income tax, which Labour
have said they will not raise.
“ The business and economy section of the
Tories' manifesto is its ideological and intellectual heart ”
Robert Peston BBC's business editor
But shadow foreign secretary William Hague told the BBC: "The plans
we have don't involve raising VAT. We are not looking for tax rises.
People feel over-taxed."
Ken Clarke, shadow business secretary, later told the BBC that
politicians should be "ignored" if they make firm promises on tax,
unless it is part of a Budget.
"So any politician who starts telling you firmly what he's doing in
tax should be ignored unless he's Chancellor of a very good budget," he
The UK Independence Party has launched its own manifesto, called
"empowering the people", and has pledged not to field candidates
against any "committed Eurosceptic" from other parties - including six
Labour launched their manifesto on Monday, pledging a "fair
Gordon Brown said there was a "complete hole" at the centre of the
Conservative manifesto and it showed the party "hasn't changed".
"There is nothing in it to help the recovery. Indeed their measures
would put the recovery at risk," he said.
"They are saying you are on your own. They are leaving people on
their own to face the recession."
Lord Mandelson - who is heading up Labour's election strategy -
said a "do-it-yourself" agenda for public services would not work
"unless the frontline is properly protected and properly funded", and
said Tories would "cut spending very sharply" to fund all their
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who will launch his party's manifesto on
Wednesday, said: "It's a manifesto of style over substance, you can't
trust the Conservatives when they want to give tax breaks to double
millionaires, not tax breaks to everybody else."
APRIL 15th 2010
This evening we had the first TV debate between Clegg, Cameron and
According to the poll of 1,000 selected viewers, Clegg was the winner,
Cameron next, Brown last.
It makes me want to see either Cameron or Clegg be given the job, so
that the could see the realities.
They had some good ideas, none of which Brown was ignorant of or even
disgreed with. Most of Browns plans went further than theirs, except
for the ones which were impractical or impossible and the economically
daft ones he disagreed with.
I don't think the public understands the issues or what any government
is up against. Nor do I think Briown understands the problems of
electing a House of Lords.
Most depressing of all was the claim by Cameron and particualrly Clegg
of 'straight talking' to the public when both of them continually
picked up classic points of misinformation (e.g. on inadequate
equipment for troops in Afghanistan, or the N.I. contributions being a
'tax on jobs' that would risk recovery). They know they are peddling
rubbish that appeals to the public on those and many other 'factoids'.
Well if they don't, it's even more depressing!
I honestly think Derren Brown could get himself elected in this
country, you can play the British public like an accordion.
The equipment available to troops fighting any enemy that is not
half-witted will always be less than enough at the right place and the
right time. What is it about war the British middle classes don't
understand - that it's not a game or a business perhaps? War is catchup
all the way until one side loses either its leaders, or its will, or
motivation to prefer fighting to a settlement. Soldiers get killed on
both sides. That's unless you go for massive or even preemptive
extermination which so far is not the extent of desperation that has
been reached. Yet Brown is held responsible, as he is for the crash of
The public seem to believe that when all three parties agree on some
major issues, Brown is to blame for not implementing them earlier. On
immigration, they forget that it was immigration that made possible the
rebuilding of the British economy, infrastructure, what manufacturing
has survived and may key commercial enterprises that generated the
growth during which much of lasting value was achieved. Browns plans to
curb immigration are sound and are already coming into effect with more
to follow. Cameron and Clegg now want immigration control without an ID
Summary: Clegg and Cameron produced a WISH LIST, that's all, and the
viewers fell for it, believing they were Fairy God-mothers.
APRIL 17 2010
So, today David Cameron points out the battle is between him and
Brown and, logically, he should be right. "He is The Prime Minister. I
think I would be a better Prime Minister", is his play in todya's media.
That is an interesting proposal. Each of them have a party behind them,
and in my book Cameron and Brown both have to convince me that they (a)
represent their party and (b) are not prevented by their supporters
from proper decisions on the government of Britain.
Gordon Brown has convinced me that he is capable of leading his party,
even though that party has has some powerfully dedicated and sometimes
confused activists who complicate life for him. He also suffers from
having to rely on urban voters who are used to being spoon-fed and he
lacks the chance of getting the support of those rural voters who have
be alienated by such cockups as the ban on hunting - though, let us be
clear, when urban politicians are told by the RSPCA, Patron HM Queen,
that fox-hunting is cruel, how can we expect them who know nothing on
such matters to tell the RSPCA it is talking through its fundament and
has been hijacked by ignorami?
Cameron has yet to convince me that his party has anything more than a
wish-list which it has little chance of putting into practice. All of
the wishes other than on Europe are shared by Brown and Clegg, they
just vary in priority and their ideas of how to achieve them. Brown is
the most realistic on that score and the most capable of evaluating the
means. He is NOT, however, a salesman or a performer. He is just what
he is, a man who decided long ago he was capable of making a serious
political career, of getting his head round the matters to be mastered,
and doing the work. Now he knows what that entails.
Of course, when you have both foreign competition and domestic
opposition, the smallest mistake will be pounced on. Have you watched a
cricket or football match, dear reader? Imagine if half of your team
were ready to make a play for the other side if it looked clever and
got them credit by the watchers.
Do you remember the story of the Millennium Dome? As this unfolded I
remarked from time to time: "The dogs will bark, but the caravan will
pass anyway". It was a good building in the right place so eventually
it would be a national asset. It could have been a success at its
opening, but to achieve that there would have to have been a supremo
with power to get things affecting the opening fixed and done right in
many areas of national and local government, in transport and
information systems and others besides. Our fragmented democracy with
its carefully developed barriers to protect individual and local and
commercial rights and interests does not allow supremos. Let us hope
that in the case of the 2012 Olymipcs we do not suffer the same fate.
Gordon Brown is a man who understands the limits of power as well as
the bottom lines when it comes to national survival and human values.
He knows how great the challenges are. I know he knows, because I know
David Cameron has worthy aims and great, positive thoughts. Nick Clegg
is rightly exasperated by the inability of government and civil service
to have a more successful application of sensible and fair policies.
But they are both babes in the wood. Should we give them the chance to
lead us in the biblical hope that we should do precisely because of
their innocence? Personally, dear
reader, I think you would end up in the same position as those who
watched while Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
When it come to
policies, there is essentially one to decide: how to deal with Europe.
We should get the EU working as well as we possibly can and that means
forgetting all thoughts of withdrawing and all thoughts of making it
one nation. We need as a country to UNDERSTAND the biology of
APRIL 22nd 2010
This evening we had the second debate with Brown, Cameron and
Cameron and Clegg had nothing to say of any importance and Brown was
very good on Europe. Gordon Brown answered all the questions on all the
subjects and answered them very well indeed. Unbelievably, an instant
poll afterwards showed Brown slightly lower than Clegg and Cameron in
the lead. However it was slightly easier to understand when we were
presented on the screen with a woman called Anne Treneman (if I have
remembered that right) who came out with such a stream of utter trivia
that one realised the whole event must have been prestaged and in some
way the people in the instant poll primed and subliminally suggested to
(Derren B, were you there?!?) so that today Cameron, who was easily the
weakest came out on top. Again, I must repeat, listening to Anne
Treneman is enough to make one regret that women were ever given the
vote. Why is such an air-head employed anywhere, in any job? I think
she was seriously pissed. Then we had an apparently pissed Michael Gove
arguing with Nick Huhn (is that the name) and thingummy from Labour. I
must say the candidates come over much better than the casual
commentators, however. They all upped there game though Cameron least
of all, so his coming top makes no sense at all.
Final observation: the Sky young lady with the microphone who went
around interviewing people was quite brilliant. She was a woman of few
words, all of them loud and clear, she asked crisp questions and shut
up till all the answer was delivered by the largely incoherent
commentators and journalists. They were all pissed, it seemed, or
getting senile. What a country! If we don't just get on with it and let
Gordon Brown finish his painful stint of at least another 5 years we
will be wasting time. He has at least some grip on the esentials and
the means and that's more than you can say of the others. I see the Sky
presenter of the programme is Kay Burley. Well done Kay. You hardly
spoke a word but each one was golden and you allowed us to hear every
word from everyone else.
On a sour note, it appears that Labour leaflets accusing the Tories of
wanting to scrap some pensioners rights to do with bus passes, TV and
some other things were incorrect. That needs to be cleared up. Why do
stupid things like that?
APRIL 28 2010
I think that in spite of the horror of the alternatives, Gordon
is blowing it. On the one hand he hasn't the sense to shut up aboiut
fox-hunting - which means he hasn't understood that the legislation his
party voted for was a travesty in law based on ignorance in biology -
and on the other hand he insults a solid (if of limited economic
intelligence) labour lady supporter by calling her bigoted, not to her
face but to himself and his aides and by mistake to the world because
he forgot he was wearing a radio microphone.
Gordon seems to be blowing it. He was annoyed by the woman's criticism
of his economic policy, and I can sympathise as it is astonishing how
few people understand what Alistair Darling, a chancellor with more
good decision to his name than an other, is talking about. He did
not find a perfect way of anwering her questions. But his annoyance
then bounced onto her complaints on immigration. Ironically the
interview went well even though he was irritated. The disaster is his
mutterings afterwards which show a lack of empathy. A\leader should
understand the feelings of those who oppose his policies so that he can
lead the public through stages they dislike to ends they approve of.
Many people may say that there are more important issues than this on
which to vote, that Gordon Brown has made a personal apology and spent
over half an hour with the lady in question, but they are missing the
point. It was Brown's moaning to his staff that they had made a mistake
in selecting the woman for an interview which demeans his personal and
political stature. She was exactly the sort of person he should have
been talking to. He did have answers for her questions (though she
didn't stop talking long enough to hear them at the time) and he had to
be brief. He did treat her with great respect until he was back in his
own car. But then he betrayed a failure of significant proportions,
called her a bigot and complained about his staff for selecting her.
I have stood up for Brown for a decade because he actually had a grip
on some big political and economic realities - the first time in my
life we had someone who had a real clue, though John Major was far from
useless (just didn't have a party behind him). But this reveals him as
lacking in the empathy essential for a leader. Add to that his
scientific ignorance and the conclusion must be: He has got to go.
That leaves the country in a disastrous position unless somebody rises
to the occasion, with a following in Parliament and in the country.
Alistair Darling is a safe pair of hands, but a PM?
As for the Institute of Fiscal Studies, those guys are a joke. They
seem to think that they understand the economic model, that they can
predict growth in various areas, and that a government can decide and
declare in advance how, how much and where they will tax, how, how much
and where spend, and how reduce national debt. Alastair Darling has
explained his commitment to reduce the debt and given the time table.
He has said where his priorities are for the maintenance of services
and employment, and that is as far as anyone can go.
APRIL 29th 2010
What a mess. Yesterday I wrote "Gordon Brown has got to go!". It
longer to turn a blind eye to what his critics see as the flaws in his
character, his inner arrogance which vies with a genuine humility and
sometimes rises to the surface. More seriously, it also sometimes
prevents him from understanding his opponents even when he tolerates
them. But are we seriously to contemplate swapping him and the rest of
his team for the alternatives? Labour have made many mistakes, but they
have learned a lot. They have done a lot. The others have done nothing,
the valid complaints they make are well known, but of their ability to
do better I see no evidence whatsoever. The internal contradictions in
the policies put forward by Tories and Liberals, where they differ from
Labour, are massive. The public will unfortunately buy them, as the
public will not see these contradictions, as they are embedded in the
public mind. Brown's latest gaffe will lose him some vital votes from
amongst those who have voted labour (often for the wrong reasons) all
their lives. I don't see how he an win now - the maths are against him.
He needed a HIGH turn out. He has just turned some of his
voters off. It was going to be close anyway. Now he needs a miracle.
This evening we had the final Prime Ministerial debate on TV. Brown won
it hands down, Cameron had nothing to say, Clegg's only big point is
his lifting of the tax threshhold to ensure no tax is payable on the
first $10 or £11 thousand pounds of earned income. It is a
measure I have advocated for years but the Treasury boffins say its a
loser and maybe now is not the moment to intriduce it. Anyway, the
selected audience the BBC had chosen from uncommitted voters were
completely fooled and gave Cameron the points, followed by Cleg with
Gordon (who they now hate) last. Poor sods. Talk about turkeys voting
for Christmas. But I am afraid that's the way it goes. In Question Time
on BBC TV aferwards we had the barmy Janet Street Porter who hasn't
brain at all holding forth at 90 decibels. What a country. Dimbleby did
his best but he hasn't a clue either. Later it was a relief to find
Rory Bremner (has brain) and Clare Sweeny (best of British) had their
ears an eyes working and detected the reality. But some of the British
public are badly hurt and they do not understand either the national or
the global economy. Vince Cable, who does (somewhat) is getting quieter
as time passes. Very wise, Vince. You might find the nation turning to
you to show some financial leadership on the level of Gordon Brown....
MAY 2nd 2010
Now we have had the Jeremy Paxman interviews. Anybody who heard
and now votes for Cameron is in my view crazy. He could not answer a
single point made by Paxman without dishonesty in the argument of some
sort. Once again he raised the point about Labour 'not fixing the roof
while the sun was shining' while being totally confused as to whether
that meant more or less government spending!!! Paxman does not
understahd what it means himself. In the Brown interview, Brown did not
allow Paxamn to get away with anything. Paxman's questions were all
answered and his logic and understanding exposed as shallow. Anything
worthwhile in Clegg's wish list that is possible can be introduced when
appropriate by a Labour government.
The simple point is this: Gordon Brown undrerstands how to lead a
government that has a chance of pulling this country through the next
five years and the others haven't the slightest clue. Whether we like
him or hate him it remains true. I would be the first to admit that
what has happened in many of our schools under Labour has been an utter
disaster, but they know that and have put it right in some cases. They
have also has sucecsses in education. Where it is still wrong and where
pupil behaviour is a disaster and the national curriculum stultifiying
there is no reason to suppose Tories can correct it any quicker or, in
some cases, any less to blame. I have a lot of beefs against the Labour
Party and its policies, but the thought of handing power to people who
are clueless on major mechanisms in the world of finance and government
in general is enough to make me swallow them in the short term.
MAY 7th 2010
So, we have a hung parliament and worse than that, we have a
mess, with Nick Clegg calling the shots. What an absolute fucking
disaster. The public rallied, and voted, and did their best. But the
Clegg factor has caused chaos. It is quite difficult enough
steering the UK and the world through what's comimg up. If I was Gordon
Brown I would keep going at all costs. Cameron could form a government
if he had a party that had a coherent policy, but they're lost in space
even though they have more supporting voters in the country than any
other due to some Labour inanities and pandering to some of their more
idiotic urban supporters over the years.
There is an anti-Tory majority in
Britain to the extent that a Liberal-Labour coalition would have the
support of a hugely bigger majority in the country than a Tory minority
government would. The Tories do NOT have the first right to try to form
a government. But Clegg has given Cameron the chance - by doing exactly
what he said he would not do: act as King-Maker.
Now we will see what Cameron and Clegg are really made of. Cameron's
problem will be with his party. How can he sell their souls to Clegg?
What can he count on from all the other parties?
I predict that in the event Brown goes we will have a weak government,
with a non-aggression pact between Clegg and Cameron. If Clegg wants a
deal with Labour based on Brown's replacement that is absurd. Either
way this affair is costing the UK serious money and interfering with
our dealing with major issues. We had a PM and Chancellor who were not
in hock to any vested interests and knew what they were doing. I want
them back. Many Liberal voters would like a Lib-Lab deal. But Clegg has
poisoned that. So Clegg has booted the ball to Cameron, as a challenge,
to concede on some major political principles. How can they?
Mind you, Brown will not give way on everything Clegg wants either, no
13:45 - Gordon Brown has now spoken in public and accepted the election
result, and although for the time being he will naturally continue as
PM and his government will continue to provide a stable administration
and continue in all the international fora and negotiations in which
they are engaged, he has also accepted that Cameron and Clegg should be
given time to see if they can come to a political basis to form a new
There are still some politically motivated commentators claiming that
the election result has been a decisive rejection of Gordon Brown.
There is no justification for this. There are those who dislike and
reject him and they are very vocal; but there are probably more who
think he is by far the best man for the job, even though his ability to
appeal to the public is very mixed. There are no examples in our
history of a man who has lasted so long as Chancellor, then as PM, gone
through such unpopular wars and economic circumstances and yet, after 3
terms with their party in power, achieved such support in an
election. Anyone who calls that rejection is not in possession of an
independent functioning brain with freedom of thought.
Brown is the best PM of my lifetime and unlike Thatcher, who did two
very important things, and got them right almost by accident, Brown has
done many things in an unspectacular and unappreciated and unloved (by
many) way over a very long time. We needed Thatcher because there
wasn't a man around to do the job. We needed Brown all through the last
3 terms of government years and we need his ideas and judgment still.
Brown offers the Liberals electoral reform.
Cameron offers the Liberals the abolishment of ID cards and of the
National Insurance tax increase.
Trouble is, the ID card offer will be loved by Liberals, the NI tax
less so, and each are bloody awful ideas.
The other offers by Cameron to Liberals are totally inadequate. Clegg
will not be able to answer
So Cameron will end up trying for a minority govt and deals with other
BUT! Hold the phone! Only a combination of Conservative and Liberal
Democrats adds up to a solid majority to win all votes in the House.
This means that for stable government, these two parties would have to
agree on economic policies which as things stand, they do not, even if
Cameron moves on tax. In addition, the Conservative position on Europe
is incoherent and totally opposed to the Liberal Democrat position.
There is no answer to this problem unless the politicians make more
sense on a whole heap of issues.
Some election notes:
The expenses 'scandal' had almost no effect at all, apart from on those
MPs who were guilty and have already resigned. I am very pleased to
hear it (see my comments in another file). Because people queue
outdoors, it meant a lot of people were refused the right to vote if
they were not inside and holding a ballot form when 10pm arrived.
However, since we depend on some very worthy but unimaginative people
to run these things, and it requires imagination to learn before, not
after mistakes, it is not surprising that in a few places there were
cockups. These did not alter the results, but it would have been quite
easy to have stretched the law intelligently and in some places it was
So it is probably good-bye Gordon and Nick and Dave can struggle with
the result. Serves them right. It will always be possible to replace
e.g. Alistair Darling with George Osborne with one or two treasury
advisors to hold his hand, but they can't all talk at once or carry the
same credibility. Try replacing some Milibands, Gordon Brown and Mandy
on the same basis and you will start to see what we have lost. And that
nice Stuart Rose does not understand national and international finance
just because he was good at running M&S. It's a big game.
Oh, and by the way, electoral reform is irrelevant. It will make not
the slightest difference to the possibilities ahead, only to who does
the talking and how long it will take to make the mistakes from which
we learn as the evolution of human society proceeds. It may have an
effect on perceptions and self esteem and the level of violence etc of
course. I am not against it if that is what makes people happy for a
MAY 09 2010
I think Shirley Williams summed up the Gordon Brown tragedy.
"Shakespearian". It seems he will have to fall on his sword to feed the
panicking pygmies around him, that his 'flaws' have brought him down,
in the parlance of our usual media bores. However, at the moment he
remains PM. It is ironic that a man who has spent his entire life being
elected to positions of power and responsibility, elected unopposed by
his own party as their leader, should be accused of a lack of
legitimacy and moral right to his current job.
The coalition that would make sense is one between Tories and Labour,
with the extremists and Europhobes ignored, but that is why I advocated
some years ago forming a new party of pro-Europe people who realise the
EU can be well run providing we stop endlessly enlarging it. But I
really would like to have a Prime Minister for whom I would get to my
feet if introduced, or even if they came into the room. We have one
now, but I can't see myself getting to my feet for any of the
contenders or even wanting to speak to them.
MAY 11th 2010
Cameron and Clegg have cobbled together an agreement. So here we go, at
this critical time, with a Party and a leader who have called it wrong
on every important policy decision I can remember or, if they got it
right, or did anything at all, for the wrong reasons. Now they are in
charge. They have had good ministers in their time, John Major, Kenneth
Clarke, Douglas Hurd, Chris Patton, perhaps one or two others I am
forgetting; but most of them got big stuff completely wrong - even that
nice Geoffrey Howe, though he did make up for it by realising
Thatcher's admittedly useful time was over.
I suppose things could be worse. Vince Cable will be a marginal help in
preventing some sorts of economic idiocy but Brown-Darling would have
been better. Clegg can prevent some sorts of European idiocy but
Brown-Mandleson-Miliband would have been better. But the ID system will
be put on the back burner until these dumbos realise it is essential
and that the problems they think they understand can be overcome (it's just that
discussing this in advance, in public, is not very sensible). To even
think of running this country in the coming decade without a proper,
cheaply upgradable and enhanceable ID system that can relate to cards
is just ridiculous.
I just curl my toes at the thought of William Hague representing my
country in Europe. It's not that he is not a lovable and likeable and
quick thinking Englishman who can express himself clearly, it's what he
does not understand about how to deal with what to him are the unknwon
unknowns that spooks me. The EU is a key organism and it needs people
like Hague on the INSIDE, not dancing around on the outside playing up
to insular 'little Englanders' to gather their approval ratings. The EU
needs Britain and Britain needs the EU. These neighbours of ours
are.... our neighbours. Get it? I am not calling for Fortress Europe or
USE. I am calling for un understanding of evolving systems, of global
politics and economics and the future.
MAY 13the 2010
We are into BAD decisions already. No third runway for Heathrow, no ID
system linked to cards for those who should or need or wish to have
them. Next they will screw up the new railway line to the north. Oh
God, what will they make better? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Why couldn't they
run away and play. They seem to have realised that the NI increse is
not so stupid, as to raise taxes you have to do it from the profitably
employed as well as others. It is a tax on those with jobs, not just a
on profitable jobs, and as such is part of a balanced tax system.
GROWTH is what
is needed, of the right sort, to move slowly and surely towards a
balancing of the books, and I just hope there are some civil servants
with brains to tell these novices what not to cut to get it.
MAY 16th 2010
Well well, I have to admire and approve of the move George
Osborne has initiated in the matter of calculating and presenting the
financial situation and the basis for the budget. But I am not sure how
suddenly this can be done and still make sense. It is certainly
something that can only be done when there is (a) a complete change of
government and (b) a collapse of established methods across the globe
related to the same problem in many countries. In a globally linked
financial world, the instant competition between currency blocks as
these are played like a casino by the bankers, investors and commercial
business managers, not only makes the financial forecasts a political
as well as a financial statement but also a BID as in the game of
bridge, or a poker-face as in that game.
Osborne has said, rightly, he is making a rod for his own back and
future governments, but he clearly believes the global system must
respond and that this is the future. In fact he could be right, if we
don't rock the boat while we change tack, or the boom doesn't knock
Osborne overboard as it swings (Hey, I am not a sailor, out of my depth
with these analogies). It is a brave move, if it is not just talk or
double or triple bluff. It means the UK is leading the way, although
there has been honesty in accounting in some European countries for
some time - or should I say the skeletons have their own cupboards
where they do not play an active role in the dynamics of the active
budget. Many countries have their own cards up the sleeve, too, as well
as hidden black holes. [Run out of
similies now, just stop - ed.]
Just remember, the trick is to blame the preceding government. In this
particular trick, you exaggerate the problem in order to justify rapid
apparent movement on the 'deficit'. There has been some very sensible
reticence in discussing what are relatively
volatile positions and the forecasts. I am personally not sure
that an 'independent' body will be staffed by individuals with a deep
understanding of our planet and its economy. I do not believe it lkely.
These will be political appointments. They will be some economists
whose histories and education I should like to see. Choosing these
people could be a lot more critical than electing a Cameron, Clegg or
known political face. Alistair Darling was no fool. Previous Tory
chancellors have grossly overestimated their own knowledge. However, we
Oh, they are just going to ask Alan Budd. That's simple, why didn't we
think of that before. Dear God, it's time to die!
Savings plan next week - Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne has said the government will
announce next week how it plans to make £6bn in spending cuts
There will be significant reductions to the costs of quangos and
some Whitehall departments, he said.
Mr Osborne also pledged to make it harder for the government to
"fiddle the figures" by giving up the job of making economic forecasts.
The coalition's "emergency Budget" will be on Tuesday 22 June, he
Mr Osborne, in his first speech since becoming chancellor, said the
newly formed independent Office for Budget Responsibility would publish
economic and fiscal forecasts, rather than the government.
He said these forecasts, the first of which will come out before
the Budget, would create a "rod for my back down the line and for
future chancellors. That's the whole point."
Mr Osborne said: "This is an enormous thing for the chancellor to
give up... I'm deliberately doing this because I don't think it [the
current system] produces good Budgets."
Mr Osborne said Labour's economic forecasts had mostly been wrong
and "almost always in the wrong direction".
The coalition's changes could "enhance" frontline services, he
argued, saying: "In the end this is about value for money."
He also said: "I'm absolutely clear that, alongside reform, we can
improve the quality of education that people receive and the healthcare
that people receive."
“ "Dear chief secretary, There's no money
Liam Byrne's message to successor as treasury chief secretary David
Mr Osborne said: "The Treasury's assessment is that there is a
strong economic case for an immediate spending reduction of £6bn.
So we are in no doubt that this action is advisable. By tackling
wasteful spending now rather than later, we can demonstrate our
commitment to tackling the deficit."
The chancellor said he would like his first Budget to be about
"handing out goodies", but the UK had to "live within its means" and
the deficit was the "most urgent issue" facing the government.
Liberal Democrat David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
said the task ahead was "colossal" and that Labour had left the public
finances in an "unacceptable" state.
The reductions would amount to about 1% of government spending, he
Mr Laws said his predecessor, Liam Byrne, had left him a letter
saying simply: "Dear chief secretary, There's no money left."
Before becoming government partners, the Liberal Democrats had
argued that spending cuts should be delayed until next year. However,
the coalition deal meant they signed up to the immediate budget
Mr Laws, will meet cabinet colleagues later this week to agree
where the £6bn of cuts will fall.
He said every new spending commitment and pilot project signed off
by Labour ministers since the turn of the year would be individually
reviewed in a bid to find savings "in addition" to the target.
But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "With the economy so
fragile and thousands still losing jobs, the government needs to avoid
rushing into a round of cuts.
"If the economy suffers as a result of decisions taken ahead of the
emergency Budget, tax revenues will fall and the deficit will only get
worse. This is not a time to wield the axe without very careful
consideration of the wider consequences."
On Sunday, Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC One's Andrew Marr
Show on Sunday that an audit of the government's books had already
found some "crazy" spending decisions.
As an example, the prime minister highlighted the fact bonuses were
paid to 75% of all senior civil servants.
MAY 19 2010
That's the link to the BBC News page on Nick Clegg's announcement that
he is promising "biggest shake-up of our democracy" in
It is not impossible to do what he
suggests, and I get the distinct impression that this announcement has
been made because both Cleg and Cameron and thei team are utterly,
completely DESPERATE to think of a way to tap into some sort of new
zeitgeist. Government cannot solve your problems, they are saying, so
we must get off your back so you have the time to take things on
yourselves. Sounds bold and inspiring.
But just a second, how on earth does reducing CCTV security cameras
help? The whole point of modern technology is that it gives individuals
immense freedom and power, quite unbelievable in fact. A small
quid-pro-quo is that the same technology can be used to prevent ABUSE
of these great freedoms and powers. I do not know anyone whose life has
been in any way impaired or threatened by what Clegg and Cameron call
'The surveillance society'. What I do know it that CCTV could be more
Then we have the abandonment not just of ID cards but of any ID
database. They have been led to believe that however biometric a
passport it can and will be forged, so therefore it is a unnecessary
expense. How little they understand. But worse, it looks like
Clegg/Cameron believe the levers of control of our systems are in the
hands of politically motivated people, or could now go that way. Scary
eh? It seems these are frightened lads. Are they right? Well, that is
not the only possible motivation. They could have decided that
employing many more people, rather than systems, is the way to fight
identity fraud and all the other criminal acts that could breed in the
new mobile, wired world. I would be the first to agree there is a
choice of futures and a choice of how to get there. But nothing these
guys have said over the years has given me the slightest clue that they
know what they are doing, in spite of the brilliant speaking of Cameron
who is certainly rising to the occasion verbally.
I seriously wish them well, but I also seriously wish to know where
their advice is coming from in the Civil Service and the world of
Academe. It is possible to do what they claim they are about to do, but
it would need leadership and knowledge of a level I have never seen in
political circles yet - there will be huge thrills and spills, and it
might not work anyway. Those of us who accept the fact that we live in
a very dangerous world can live with that (or die happily in a good
cause), but I just don't get the vibe yet that they know which way is
up. Never mind, give it a go and we will find out!
MAY 20th 2010
Here is an excellent analysis in the Independent of the real meaning of
Clegg's new world.
When Andy McSmith says 'this should not not be a problem' below he
refers to the Liberal and Tory parties, not the country, I assume.
I think he is pessimistic about the intractability of the West Lothian
question. It was indeed insoluble in the past, but might be in the
May 20, 2010
Blueprint for a new politics, or much ado about not very much?
1. 'There will be no ID card scheme: no national identity
register, a halt to second-generation biometric passports'
This should not be a problem as both parties committed themselves to
it before the election. Scrapping the biometric passports was Liberal
Democrat policy only, but the UK is not obliged by any international
agreement to add other data to passports, and not doing so will save
money, so the Tories will not mind.
2. 'We won't hold your internet and email records when there is
just no reason to do so'
Goodbye to the database that was going to hold every email address,
phone number and internet site anyone has visited. And it saves money.
3. 'CCTV will be properly regulated'
Since most CCTV is run by private operators, it will be interesting
to see what this means in reality.
4. 'The DNA database will be properly regulated'
Your DNA could still go on the database even if you have done
nothing wrong, but after a limited time it will be wiped off.
5. 'There will be no ContactPoint children's database'
This is a directory that is supposed to make sure that no child is
left unprotected. The Tories had already said they would scrap it.
6. 'Schools will not take children's fingerprints without even
asking their parents' consent'
It emerged in 2002 that some schools take children's thumbprints
without telling parents. The Labour government warned schools to
observe the Data Protection Act, but otherwise said it was a matter for
local education authorities to set policy. Banning the practice will
7. 'We'll remove limits on rights to peaceful protest'
In 2005, Labour passed a law banning unauthorised demonstrations
within 1km of Parliament. The Liberal Democrats promised to repeal it,
which ought to be simple enough if the Tories are on side.
8. 'We'll review libel laws'
All of the parties agree that the libel laws need to be changed,
although there are differences of opinion about how, so there may be a
9. 'We will ask you which laws you think should go'
They will set up a website, and if enough people log in to complain
about a particular law, they may or may not pay attention.
10. 'We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new
But we do not know what that mechanism might be. Neither do they.
11. 'This Government will replace the House of Lords with an
elected second chamber'
This is easy to promise but a nightmare to deliver because, if the
Lords do not like what is proposed, they can hold it up for months or
years. It is promised that a committee will report by December, but
cynics doubt whether much else will happen in this parliamentary term.
12. 'We [will] legislate to fix parliamentary terms... unless
Parliament votes [by 55 per cent] to dissolve itself first'
Fixing the date of the next general election should be simple. But
the proposed 55 per cent hurdle has already met opposition and may not
13. 'Parliament's power will be strengthened... starting with
provisions to give MPs much more control over Commons business'
A committee chaired by the Labour MP Tony Wright has proposed
creating a powerful new committee to control how Commons business is
conducted, and removing the power of party whips to decide who sits on
select committees. This was approved by the old Commons against
opposition from the leaders of both Labour and the Conservatives. The
Tories have seemingly dropped their opposition.
14. 'If your MP is corrupt, you can sack them'
This sounds good, but it will apply only where an MP is "guilty of
serious wrongdoing" and will require the signatures of 10 per cent of
people living in the constituency. It will not happen often.
15. 'We will regulate lobbying in Parliament'
There will be a statutory register of lobbyists, but other
regulation may be hard to enforce.
16. 'This Government will be putting to you, in a referendum, the
choice to introduce a new voting system'
There will be a referendum all right, but it may not produce a vote
for reform, because most Conservative MPs, a substantial number of
Labour MPs and most of the newspapers will campaign for a No vote.
17. 'We will be setting out plans to strip away unelected,
There is no reason to doubt that plans will be set out. Identifying
"inefficient" quangos, and abolishing them without causing unforeseen
damage, will be harder, but it will have to happen because the
Conservatives are desperate to reduce public spending.
18. 'We are serious about giving councils much more power over
the money they use'
This conflicts with the Government's first priority, which is to get
public spending down. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have
talked about taking power from Westminster and returning it to a local
19. 'Our plans to disperse power also include strengthening
devolution to other parts of Britain'
The Conservatives had already agreed that the Scottish Parliament
should have more tax-raising powers, but their manifesto promised only
that they would "not stand in the way of the referendum" on more power
for the Welsh Assembly. Nick Clegg's words were more positive.
20. 'And, of course, [we'll be] asking what we can do about the
difficult issues surrounding the West Lothian question'
This issue has dogged politicians for nearly 25 years and has
baffled Britain's finest constitutional brains, so if Nick Clegg thinks
he can resolve it, he is to politics what Stephen Hawking is to physics.
MAY 25th 2010
This file will now end, and discussion of the Colaition Government with
continue in COALITION
GOVERNMENT, but it will be very sparing. The die has been cast, or
as young TB would say 'The kaleidascope has been shaken and the prices
will settle as they may' or words to that effect, I forget.....