Monday, 21 July 2014
Ken Clarke, free at last to express his real opinions, has lambasted Osborne's so-called "economic recovery". Speaking to the "Guardian" he described the recent slight economic improvement as nothing more than "a bit of cyclical upswing" while Britain's economy is "fragile, vulnerable to shocks, and still lacks the strong productive base necessary to compete long-term in global markets". "It's not firmly enough rooted on a proper balance between manufacturing and a wide range of services and financial services," he says. "I mean, we have this mystery of why we can't get productivity to start rising again." Describing Osborne's policy as merely reviving the "ludicrous cycle of house price booms," he has, in effect, trashed the Tory party's entire economic policy. Not that there is much to trash since their policy consists entirely of erecting a solid wall of economic privilege between themselves and the rest of the country and then pulling up the drawbridge. Ken Clarke, it must be said, is the last of a dying breed within his party - a "one nation Tory" who believes that a government should govern in the interests of the whole country and not in their own selfish interests. As such Ken Clarke is a bit of a dinosaur as the "modernising" Tories seek to turn the clock back to the 18th century and grab what they can while they can. Pity he didn't say all this when he was in a position to make some sort of difference.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Nick Clegg has had an epiphany. After supporting a minority Tory administration for over four years he has finally admitted that the Tory party is full of "head-bangers" and that the bedroom tax is both unjustified and horribly unfair. Which rather begs the question as to why he supported it in the first place? The basis of his objections now seem to lie in the fact that the policy hasn't "worked". Worked in what sense? The tax has punished the poor for being poor, forced many into further debt and led to many losing their homes. So what did Clegg expect the policy to do exactly? Did he really believe that people would be able to move into smaller properties even though he knew that these did not exist? Apparently, since Danny Alexander said today that the Lib Dems "have always said that we'd be guided by the evidence and now we have it." Is he really telling us that he now has "evidence" that non-existent properties are actually non-existent? Did the Lib Dems really have help to inflict untold misery on thousands of people simply to gather evidence of what everyone else already knew? Are they so unutterably stupid that they need evidence of the bloody obvious? If so they are hardly worth voting for, if not then they are too hypocritical to vote for. Either way Nick Clegg's belated epiphany cannot be equated with St.Paul's epiphany on the road to Damascus. Rather Nick Clegg is on the road to his own personal Cavalry and, with the rest of his treacherous party, will suffer a well deserved crucifixion in May 2015.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Cameron has reshuffled his cabinet and what is the result? Gove, after a disastrous four years in education, has been moved from pouting at and bullying teachers to pouting at and bullying Tory backbenchers. While David Cameron described his petulant colleague as "a heavy-hitter" his real motive seems to lie in ditching an electoral liability who has managed to drive teachers into industrial action, entire schools into the hands of right-wing dingbats and religious fundamentalists and parents to the point of despair. To redress the Tory image of a bunch of Etonian toffs completely out of touch with the rest of the country, Cameron has beefed up the number of females around the cabinet table - replacing several insane male right-wing ideologues with an equal number of insane female right-wing ideologues. Esther McVey has been promoted from bad-mouthing poor people on behalf of Iain Duncan Smith in parliament to bad-mouthing poor people in the cabinet where IDS needs all the support he can get after his total failure to starve the poor into submission. Indeed Cameron's failure to move IDS somewhere where he can't inflict any more harm on vulnerable people or cost the country even more money is the real story of the cabinet reshuffle and tells us everything we need to know about the course of any future Tory government after 2015. Vicious and incompetent at the same time, IDS is what modern Toryism is all about. Forget the idea that Cameron's cabinet is now more Euro-sceptic - that's simply window dressing to recapture the swivel-eyed loons who have deserted to UKIP - what this reshuffle really tells us is that, after 2015, we can only expect more of the same. More poverty, more austerity, more social division and more disdain of ordinary people from a party who see themselves as somehow superior instead of the greedy scroungers they actually are.
Sunday, 6 July 2014
We are used to politicians legally dodging their tax liabilities and "accidentally" claiming too much on their expenses. We've even become used to politicians perverting the course of justice and then returning to government after being "re-habilitated." The disproportionate number of MP's and Lords with criminal records is no longer shocking, though it should be. Nor are we any longer amazed when a so-called celebrity is shown to have feet of clay and to have been hiding from us all a darker side. But what is about to crash into the headlines, the widespread abuse of power by politicians in the 1980's, threatens to rock our democracy to its very foundations. Should we be so shocked however? It is clear from the cases involving Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, the miner's strikes and Hillsborough that there was something very wrong about the 1980's. Perhaps Lord Tebbitt summed it all up for us when he revealed on TV that a cover up was not unlikely and that, at that time, such things were routine. It was a different time with different attitudes he blithely informed us as if that makes it all OK. The truth is that, apart from the attitudes of the political elite, it wasn't different in the 1980's. I was a young man then and, if sexual freedom was taken for granted, rape, sexual abuse and child molestation were not. It was a matter of knowing right from wrong. Sex, even then, was a mutually consensual activity and children under 18 were strictly off limits. What is being revealed by all of this is that the abuse of power in the 1980's was not only widespread but was considered normal. The 1980's were not what many of us believed they were and now stand revealed as a house of cards erected upon rotten foundations. Worse yet we now find that the establishment cover up continued well after the 1980's and even up to the present day. Today the Labour MP Simon Danczuk has revealed in the Mail Online that he has been pressurised by a Tory Minister to keep quiet about child abuse by politicians, while documents are now known to have conveniently disappeared. Meanwhile Michael Gove is desperately trying to tell us that this was all in the past and we should now concentrate on the future instead of raking over old coals. The Tory party is heavily implicated in all this, although it should be noted that they don't stand completely alone. But one thing is now becoming crystal clear at that is that Tory hegemony of power between 1979 and 1997 was a period in which the abuse of power lay at the very heart of government and, like now, formed a cornerstone of Tory philosophy.