15 May 2010

Minister Grimsdale! Minister Grimsdale!

It wasn't the most decisive election in the history of Britain, but there's no doubt the electorate finally decided to put us out of Gordon's misery. And yet, there he stayed, under a lie that he was constitutionally required to remain Prime Minister until it was clear who would be taking over at Number 10. Under this contrivance, he was subject to greater and greater indignity, all the while being told by Labour mouth-pieces how incredibly dignified he was being.

Across social media, this ever escalating perversion of the will of the electorate was accompanied by a bewildering array of support and seeming affection for the fallen leader. The leftist media-luvvie wanketeers can lead a strong narrative of bullshit if it's in the cause of sabotaging a change of government (I swear they'd sing the praises of Pol Pot if he could keep the Conservatives out of Number 10). But, the tone of affection really surprised me.

Why would a dismal, failed premiership, as lacking in achievement as it was filled with vicious in-fighting, fiscal incompetence and complete lack of vision; what's more, one characterised by a fatal ineptitude of interpersonal skills, inspire such warmth and sympathy?

It finally clicked. With a starting point of Vince Cable's observation that the now ex-Prime Minister had morphed from Stalin to Mr. Bean, this was the final stage of his metamorphosis. Here he was, a man who is useless at his job, beset by incidents born of his own clunking ineptness and the slings and arrows of clumsy fortune; yet a sizeable group of people were rooting for him to succeed, to win through against all the odds. No matter how useless he is, no matter how spectacularly he fucks up, they're there, willing him to win. In this humiliating electoral limbo, he became Norman Wisdom!

He already gone from the clunking fist control freak, to being the oddball, alienesque, socially retarded weirdo, before finally becoming the hapless, luck-proof, well-meaning but ineffectual tit. In the mind's of New Labour apologists he was now the pratt-falling, serendipitous nicampoop that the folks want to win the day!

"She was just some sort of bigoted woman!" Oh, Norman, you still had your microphone on! You've done it again! Ho ho ho! You big silly!

"Minister Grimsdale just resigned, saying we'll never get re-elected with me as Prime Minister." Oh my sides! What whacky thing will happen to Norman next!

"Oh dear, I came last in all 3 of the television debates." Stop it, Norman! You're killing me!

This affection crystalised when he finally admitted he'd lost the election, and resigned as PM. As he departed Buckingham Palace, in a car now devoid of Police outriders to escort it on it way (a stark illustration that he doesn't matter anymore), the hashtag #thankyougordon sprang up on Twitter.

With the damage he wrought on our economy, and the duplicity and deceit he used to excuse and conceal his poisonous and destructive influence, I personally found this uncritical gushing pretty nauseating. He wasn't Norman Wisdom, blundering about to comic effect; he was consistently fucking up and lying through his teeth every time he got called on it.

I didn't want to just let this stream of bullshit flow uninterrupted, so I decided to inject some reality into proceedings, adding my own thanks for a job bad done. I reproduce them here so they aren't lost in the flow of text that springs from novelty island. There's a few extra for good measure.

#thankyougordon for robbing my parents' pensions

#thankyougordon for turning our economy into a pyramid scheme, then acting surprised when it fell apart

#thankyougordon for selling our gold reserves at a quarter of their value

#thankyougordon for promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, then sending David Miliband scuttling off to sign it without the nation's say so

#thankyougordon for letting cheap debt drive house prices far out of reach of first time buyers

#thankyougordon for the culture of cheap debt that turned property market into the preserve of buy-to-let profiteers and quick-buck property developers

#thankyougordon for creating a necessity for 40 and 50 year mortgages, 100% mortgages, and for people to lie about their earnings to be able to buy

#thankyougordon for looking at an out of control property boom and the inevitable housing crisis it caused and seeing only more money for the treasury

#thankyougordon for allowing a culture of reckless borrowing that had the population racking up mortgage level debt on their credit cards

#thankyougordon for announcing the same money again and again and again, to make it sound like you were investing 3 times as much as you really were

#thankyougordon for incentivising indolence, failure and bankruptcy, and punishing success, wealth creation and job creation

#thankyougordon for having opposition members arrested for uncovering government incompetence, then denying all knowledge (Mugabe and Ahmadinejad would be proud of you)

#thankyougordon for underfunding our troops and then lying about how much you'd spent to keep them safe

#thankyougordon for PFI schemes even the Conservatives wouldn't have run, locking local authorities into expensive service contracts for buildings they don't own

#thankyougordon for giving up on nationalising industry, and nationalising the workforce instead, with 1 in 4 people of working age employed by the public sector

#thankyougordon for leaving office with higher unemployment than you inherited form the "evil" tories

#thankyougordon for a bigger gap between rich and poor than you inherited from the "evil" tories

#thankyougordon for over 8 million people who are classed as economically inactive

#thankyougordon for bringing the repeatedly disgraced Peter Mandelson back into government, continuing Blair's legacy of cronyism and giving vast power to someone the electorate can't remove

#thankyougordon for fighting an election campaign against the Conservative party of 30 years ago, and getting the same result as the Labour party of 30 years ago

#thankyougordon for fighting the ghost of a woman who's nearly dead, and losing

#thankyougordon for trying to stitch-up an electoral system that would mean only Labour could ever win again, when you had just spectacularly lost

#thankyougordon for sending your unelected minions to pervert democracy and lay claim to the votes of 7 million Lib-Dem voters, many of whom despise your government's actions in office

#thankyougordon for taking Labour back to childish, nasty, poisonous, divisive, envy-politics that kept Labour out of power for a generation

#thankyougordon for post defeat election shenanigans that make Florida 2000, Zimbabwe 2008 and Iran 2009 look reasonable

#thankyougordon for unleashing your attack dogs, McBride, Balls and Whelan on Alistair Darling for being honest about the disastrous economy you'd created

#thankyougordon for trading on a reputation as a safe pair of hands built on a false, bubble-economy that grew more dangerous the more you shored it up with unsustainable borrowing

#thankyougordon for inspiring me to come up with the saying "When the going gets tough, the weak get lying"

#thankyougordon for going into hiding while mass-murderer al Megrahi was given early release from prison

#thankyougordon for allowing the release of al Mehgrahi so BP could get oil development programs in Libya

#thankyougordon for never achieving an electoral mandate, even within your own party, yet still attempting to cling to power after being rejected by the country

#thankyougordon for abolishing "Boom & Bust"... oh, wait...

#thankyougordon for a smile that could curdle milk

#thankyougordon for not being Prime Minister anymore, you slack-jawed incompetent, power-clinging, mandate-lacking destroyer of our economy.

I didn't even start on the things that happened under Tony Blair. Thank fuck that's over.

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09 May 2010

Considerations for Lib-Dems who favour a piecemeal deal.

My political philosophy is to vote against any Government that has been in power so long that it thinks it belongs there. I am not a tribal voter, but I am not a floating voter either. I am always open to debate, and responsive to sound arguments, but I will already know who I will vote for at least a year before an election takes place. Party political broadcasts, fatuous celebrity endorsements, funny photoshops and election posters will never sway me. In the interests of debate, I offer the following observations about coalition government.

There are two parties which consistently voted against 90-day detention, control orders, secret trials with secret evidence, ID cards, DNA records retention for those charged with no crime, and many other, ultra right-wing database/surveillance state measures that New Labour introduced.

There are a lot of foul authoritarian works to be undone. Labour in coalition cannot possibly consider allowing a party with a double-digit seat tally to dictate to them a reversal of years of their legislative works.

There is also the deficit, which Gordon refused to tackle in case it further harmed his poor chances of re-election. A coalition with Labour would require a disagreeable multi-party arrangement to achieve a workable majority, with Scotland and Wales angling for big cash sweeteners at a time of deep financial crisis.

Propping up a discredited and roundly defeated government would do immense harm to the democratic credentials of the party. Especially if it were to result in a hastily concocted electoral system that assists a failed and rejected Government returning to power.

Labour has consistently stolen Lib-Dem votes through tactical voting wheezes which are never remotely reciprocal in size and effect. Labour activists have spent the period since the election claiming Lib-Dem votes belong to them, being proxy "anti-tory" votes, and therefore de-facto votes for Gordon Brown continuing as Prime Minister.

They promised electoral reform 13 years ago, and apart from some frivolous dallying with the House of Lords, nothing has been achieved. Fool you once, shame on them... you know the rest. Their crassly cynical promises now propose an ATV stitch-up that would have them in power forever, knowing that in most cases 2nd preference votes from Lib-Dems would go to Labour; and leaving libertarian minded people who oppose statism and Big Brother snooping with nowhere to cast a 2nd and 3rd vote.

Even when it has left the Conservatives hugely electorally disadvantaged, they have always espoused the integrity of a representative democracy of local, and locally elected, representatives. Even if you don't agree with it, it is impossible to deny that this a principle position, and has never been about short-term advantage.

Labour cynically offers and withdraws support for electoral reform, with no principle involved, merely self-serving political expediency. It considers its first duty in power, not to govern well or wisely, but to deny power to the tories. Anything that achieves that infantile, tribalistic goal is justified.

They perpetuate a childish, poisonous, divisive and reductive "Heroes & Villains" narrative in British politics that is every bit as instrumental as FPTP in shutting Lib-Dems out of elections. This is where your Cleggmania surge disappeared to.

Nick Clegg and David Cameron are self-evidently "new politics"; Gordon Brown is a 20th century politician, flinging totemic images of Thatcher around to scare voters; Labour are still fighting the battles of 30 years ago, and it's no coincidence that doing so delivered similar results to Michael Foot's endeavours.

That is not "progressive" politics, it is regressive politics. Blair's New veneer has been rubbed off and we're left with a party that's stuck in the 1980's fighting the memory of a now frail old woman, yet it still clings to power after a devastating electoral defeat.

Supporting that situation is not a place that any political party that wishes to retain the respect of the electorate should be positioning itself.

The Conservatives will shoulder the unpopularity of public spending cuts, yet the Lib-Dems can have some say in where they fall. One party a lightning rod for the unpopularity of the cuts, the other a conscience in how they are implemented, and neither party in the restrictive thrall of unions who would put their own interests before the financial future of the nation. After nearly a century out of power the Lib-Dems can demonstrate they have the chops for governing, and show there is an alternative way for ordinary left-leaning Britons to vote without getting dragged into ugly, divisive politics of Lab-Con confrontation.

There is every chance Labour will soon be riven by a war of Blairites vs. Old Labour union stooges. Balls and Whelan want to take Labour back to the 70's; whereas Mandelson will be angling to return the party to election winning ground with a Miliband, or some other leader who doesn't revolt the middle-classes that Blair wooed in the 90's. Gordon lost those voters in the noughties, and they'll be very hard to get back.

The centre left is up for grabs and the Liberal Democrat brand is not tainted with toxicity of an illegal war, facilitating torture and financial incompetence. Joining a failed Labour party in government could only stain the Lib-Dems. With a dodgy jigsaw coalition that Labour would need, that would make an Autumn election very likely. Tainted by Labour, and lacking the huge cash reserve the Conservatives have in their war-chest, the Lib-Dems would be quite likely to do even worse, as the Labour vote firms up in the pain of opposition, and the general public feel betrayed that Labour have been allowed to remain in government after defeat.

If ever the Liberal Democrats are to be seen as a party worthy of power in their own right, they must break the abusive relationship with Labour, and demonstrate the country's needs are a much higher priority than partisanship. Electoral reform is clearly needed, but PR has as many failures in the world at large, and aside from the great necessity of WWII, the history of coalitions in Britain is a history of failure.

Huge reform of the way boundaries are set and altered, removing the tectonic lethargy and balancing the catchments, is vital, but as a one time advocate of PR, I have gradually become very cautious about its ability to deliver effective government. The situation we have now, of a man who has lost the only attempt he has ever made to seek a mandate and yet remains in power, is a foretaste of what PR is most likely to deliver. As this goes on, I'm not sure the wider public will have a taste for it. If it comes to a referendum, it may well fail.

Fundamental electoral reform must not be rushed through to benefit a failed government in time for a run-off 2nd election. It must be explored, considered, scrutinised and debated. As someone who is fully behind thorough electoral reform, I hope the offer will be made. I hope it will be accepted.

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