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Saturday, 1 May 2010

Tactical voting

The Guardian has now come out for the LibDems, but is urging its ex-Labour and newly Libdem voters to vote tactically in some seats to secure a Labour rather than Conservative MP. Meanwhile the old LibDems, who used to vote tactically for Labour, will now vote for their own candidate even when they don't have a chance - to score a high national total vote and make a point. Conservatives in safe Labour seats will vote UKIP to make the point that Dave hasn't listened to them, and UKIP voters in Conservative marginals will vote Conservative to keep the LibDems out. In local elections, Conservatives in several London boroughs will vote LibDem to get Labour out, except in Dagenham, where they will hold their noses and vote BNP for the same reason. The Greens are expecting a vote surge following next week's pictures of oil-drenched Southern fowls that will not end up being sold as food by Colonel Sanders but this will not be tactical, but because they care, you understand.

It seems as if the only voters who won't be voting tactically in this election are those with incumbent MPs of their own party with a decent majority.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Is Blair sick?

This pic taken of Blair out on the stump shows him looking elderly, worn out and too thin to fit his clothes - he's wearing out a damn sight quicker than I am, that's for sure. He looks about 70. Or perhaps he's ill?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Brown tantrum we didn't hear

Brown's petulant and jejune comments over a perfectly satisfactory meeting with a Labour voter don't even begin to offer a true insight into the mental barricades he has erected to keep the real world at bay. His aides know perfectly well that he must not be exposed to any risk of contagion from any person who doesn't share the distorted and self-deluded Brown world view. In Gordon's eyes, introducing Mrs Duffy to him was like presenting a starving peasant to Kim Jong Il.

As Andrew Rawnsley writes in the Guardian this morning, this is Brown wholly in character; everything is always someone else's fault, never his own.

So you can be sure there was one massive Brown tantrum we didn't hear yesterday; the one in which Gordon blamed Sue Nye and / or Justin Forsyth for not turning off his mic. You can be sure he would have excoriated them, and there may even have been physical violence; in Brown's distorted vision, his own gaffe would become solely the fault of his aides.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

So Brown's a two-faced lying hound - what's news?

Well, the news is that he's been caught red-handed. Or tongued.

That he's a mendacious, duplicitous, crooked bastard who doesn't know the truth from his ringpiece is hardly news. He's a politician, after all. His only real regret is for his poll ratings - it's self-pity rather than repentance.

Phooo. Just another bottom-feeding coprophage slimeball.

The Magistrate Speaks

I can't recall quite how long I've been reading the Magistrate's Blog - three or four years, perhaps. In all that time I have been uplifted and enlightened by his observations on the front line of what has been described as the 'broken society'. His evident empathy, his basic humanity and his transparent probity shine through, tempered with utterly depressing tales of the asinine 'modernisation' of the magistrates court system by a new 'managerialism' that has infected almost every aspect of public life. In fact his balance and neutrality, and his equanimity, have confirmed what I suspect I knew well already - that I would make a lousy magistrate. A really bad one.

What the old chap's never done is comment critically, directly and at length on the nature of the laws the he's required to administer. Before now.

It's a one-off post I suspect, and well worth reading. HERE.

The coming death of the political class

We still hate them and they still don't get it. Those loathsome turds, the 'professional' politicians, spin merchants, political organisers and their sycophantic dags both in the MSM and Web 2.0 are still behaving as if nothing has changed. There are still those blinkered and foolish enough to believe the mantras of the political class - 'politics is a profession' and all the rest. We're sick of them and they rate lower than a snake's arse in the popular imagination. We know very well that none of the three main parties is telling anything like the truth on the scale of budget cuts to come and extra taxes to pay and the hempen rope party if it existed would probably take the majority of seats on May 6th.

And yet they're still behaving as if nothing has changed, with their fingers in their ears going 'la la la' and hoping all the nasty anti-politics will go away so they can carry on playing politicians.

Everything has changed. And before long they're not going to be able to ignore it.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Labour flayed at press conference

Mandelson getting the Edward II treatment at this morning's press conference - enjoy

(Best line "Adam, you're not standing for election" to which the reply came "Neither are you")

Sanguinis martyrum, semen christianorum

There is a particular virulence with which Dawkins and his dags attack the faith of Christian believers, and the crisis in the Catholic church has offered such people undreamed of opportunities for bile and spite. The Pope has also become fair game, it seems; even the teenage scribblers in the Foreign Office are now sufficiently enboldened to circulate offensive material.

No matter. It's no more than a trifle. Compared to the real martyrdoms of the 20th century in the Nazi extermination camps, Soviet gulags and the mass graves of the Spanish massacres, such petty spites are nothing. But such spites are still spiritually dangerous; as John Paul II said

Other difficulties in living the faith are not due only to external restrictions on freedom or to constraints by men, laws or regimes. They can also derive from customs and ways of thinking contrary to evangelical principles and which have a powerful influence on society. Again it could be the influence of materialism or religious indifference which kill spiritual aspirations, or the false and individualistic notion of freedom which confuses the possibility of choosing whatever gratifies one's passions with concern for fully developing one's human calling, spiritual destiny and the common good. Is it not this kind of freedom which forms the basis of human dignity and encourages Christian faith. Believers who are surrounded by such influences need great courage to remain faithful and to exercise their freedom properly. We must pray for them also. As Jesus said, we must fear those who can destroy the soul.
That the FO memo has found the light of day is a positive event; Tertullian may have little Christian blood to show for it, but even the smallest volume of rising sap from the growing seed can raise great stones.

Our next PM will be Clegg or Cameron.

Matthew d'Ancona was spot on in his piece for last night's Standard. The TV debates have changed everything; a politician who hasn't been through the wringer of the televised debates has no legitimacy to lead the nation. This also explains Salmond's panicked legal challenge; the next PM will also be recognised in Scotland as having greater legitimacy than Salmond, who will remain a regional boss in the United Kingdom rather than the leader of the Scots nation.

Since Clegg has ruled out Brown, this effectively condemns Labour to having to agree to Clegg as PM in any Lib - Lab coalition; the public just won't accept Johnson or any of the others waiting in Labour's wings, simply because they weren't part of the debate.

What interesting times these are.

Netherlands stays left as Hungary turns right

Obsessed as we are with our own elections, it's easy to forget two concurrent and interesting European elections in the Netherlands and Hungary.

Back at the beginning of March, I reported Dutch polls that predicted 27 seats for Wilders, with the Christian Democrats at 26 and Labour at 24, raising the possibility that he would lead Holland's next coalition government. The polls have now turned, and the weekend's predictions are for just 18 seats for Wilders and 30 each for the CDA and PvdA. Ironically, the collapse in Wilders' support seems to have occurred as he toned down his anti-Islamic demands in preparation for coalition negotiations; the Dutch will vote for an angry and uncompromising Wilders as a political outsider, but not for a responsible Wilders preparing for the burden of PM of a coalition government, it seems.

In Hungary, it's a race between the right and the far right. The Hungarians have slaughtered the socialist MSZP party, blaming it for the nation's chaotic economic state, mendacity and endemic corruption, cutting the party's seats in the first voting round from 189 to just 28. Many former socialist voters are reported to be tactically supporting the right-wing Fidesz, predicted to gain 258 out of 386 parliamentary seats, to block the far-right Jobbik's seat gains. If they can give Fidesz a 2/3rd majority, they can prevent it having to enter a coalition with Jobbik.

Like the BNP, Jobbik draws its support from disillusioned former socialists; as the Herald says

The disappointed electorate has responded to Jobbik’s rants against the corrupt political elite, the “criminal Romas” and “the grasping Jews and foreigners”. The first round gave Jobbik third place in Parliament, right behind the Socialists. According to political analysts, the vote for Jobbik came mainly from unemployed agricultural workers and disillusioned former Socialist voters from the industrial rust belts.
With the right continuing to make gains in next-door Austria, and the success of the anti-mosque vote in Switzerland, it seems Europe's Eastern door is creaking closed.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Suffolk South and the borstal boys

Suffolk South is my old constituency and where many of my family will cast their votes, based pretty well on the old Saxon hundred of Babergh. You can get an inkling of where my politics originate from the East Anglian Daily Times, which describes Babergh as "one of those rare areas where independents are found in substantial numbers on the district council because local people do not believe party politics has any place in civic affairs. This somewhat outmoded view means that rural Babergh bucks the Suffolk trend and is not dominated by Conservatives in the council chamber". Damn right.

Tim Yeo, an inoffensive enough MP, is facing a challenge not only from the LibDems but from UKIP's David Campbell-Bannerman. I suspect either would make a decent enough MP for the next Parliament. Good luck to 'em both.

Anyway, Hollesley is just outside the old Hundred but part of the county that bred the Suffolk Punch, a breed that has been working Suffolk fields since the 1500s. After the war when the tractor displaced the horse from British agriculture, the breed was kept just alive by a small stud operated by the borstal boys of Hollesley Bay Colony. The breed is still endangered. The stud is now run by a Trust, and have just announced the birth of the first foal of the year; in a good year, some 30 to 40 Punches are foaled each year across the UK. So congrats to dam and filly.

That's what I call good news.

Electoral Calculus: My dream election

I've always preferred the Electoral Calculus calculator to the BBC's but in this case they come up with almost the same result. Imagine Cameron's support firming up and Labour's collapsing further; the following vote share is not unimaginable;

Conservatives - 36%
Labour -23%
LibDems - 30%
Others - 11%

This would leave Cameron 6 seats short of an absolute majority (EC) or 9 seats short if you prefer the BBC. Either way, close enough to form a government without a pact with the LibDems, but one constantly on a knife-edge. It's a result that would strengthen Parliament and rebalance the current tyranny of the executive. It would return power to back-bench MPs and their constituents. But as I say, a dream result ...

Clegg's arrogance on PR - it's our choice, not yours

Clegg has made clear that his price for joining the Conservatives in coalition is a change in our electoral system from FPTP to PR. There's only one problem. It's not a gift that's in Cameron's hands; any change in our electoral system will require a national referendum. The most that Cameron can offer is the referendum. Clegg also has that unfortunate Fedarist belief prevalent amongst EU officials that it's perfectly legitimate to use tax money to sway public opinion by unashamed biased propaganda, and no doubt will expect Cameron to use the State to bend public opinion towards a PR outcome.

The split between those who support PR and those who oppose it is essentially a simple one. Do you think that an MP should represent their constituency, or represent their party? PR is the choice of the political class, because it strengthens the role of the party in our political system. For that reason alone I unequivocally oppose it.

Clegg and the LibDems are also strongly supportive of State (read tax) funding of their party - so much easier than having the inconvenience of members. Cable's price for agreement with Labour on State funding was risibly narcissistic; a State limo and driver for the leader of the Libdems.

I have no doubt that Clegg will also demand of Cameron the support of the Conservatives for State funding of the main parties as the price of Coalition. If Cameron should sign up to this, he will have earned my undying hostility.