Friday, 7 July 2017

Stray thought

I say, I say, I say!  Remember all those TORIES, who - before the election - were saying Jeremy Corbyn should STEP DOWN as Labour leader because it was essential for a democracy to have an effective opposition?

We don't hear so much from them these days, do we?  But that's by the bye ...

What I'm wondering is will they be consistent and demand Theresa May step down, as the result of June election means she can't provide an effective government?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Negotiations “haven’t proceeded the way we would have expected.”

The Tories can't even impose their will on a bunch of Irish God Botherers they outnumber 30 to 1. 

How the Hell are they going to beat Europe into submission?

Agreeing a deal with a party that is basically on your side shouldn't be so bloody difficult, woman!

Theresa May said she'd thrash Labour ... She didn't.

She said she's bend the DUP to her will ... She didn't.

She says she'll negotiate a deal of absolute awesomeness with Europe ... Given her track record, how do you think that will work out?

Still, third one's a charm, eh, Tessa?

Jeremy Corbyn is far better at talking to Irish people!

Monday, 19 June 2017

White People

Following the van attack at Finsbury Park Mosque, which has killed at least one person and injured several more, I think we need to talk about White People.

If the driver of the van turns out to be a White Person (and it is a statistical fact that 200% of all people who drive white vans are White People), I assume we will be calling for white people to be banned? Their values are clearly at odds with civilised society.

Lets be serious about this. No more pussy footing around people's 'sensibilities' for fear of causing offence. Brass tacks time. Forget political correctness. Is it time to intern White People?

I demand to know why White People didn't report him. They must have known. Their silence means they condoned it, were effectively complicit in it.  All of them.

You can't trust white people, they might act nice to your face, but what are they really thinking?

Oh, and White People - you need to speak out and condemn this act. Though if you do, I'll deny you did, or claim you didn't mean it.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Why Corbyn matters and why Labour will win (Possibly repetitive)

Forgive me, dear reader, if I am repeating myself.  I am engaged in a lot or arguing across the internet and the nature of troll slaying is that it is repetitive.  But occasionally I say something that I may not have said before, or which bears repeating.

First, with regards the meme being put about that Labour would have won if pretty much anyone but Corbyn had been leader.  Let us dispatch this ideas swiftly.  First, and most obviously, there would probably not have been an election if anyone but Corbyn had been leader.  Labour would not have been so riven with dissent and would not have appeared so utterly helpless (while in fact being poised for a devastating counter-strike).

Further, a different leader would never have put forward such an audacious manifesto or campaigned so successfully, motivated so many canvassers in the constituencies or inspired young voters to roll on up to the polling station. More people voted for Corbyn's version of the Labour Party than voted for Milliband or Brown or even Blair in 2005 - either in terms of vote share or raw numbers. And turnout was particularly high among the young. He managed to bring people to the polls to vote for Labour, far more successfully than in their last three attempts. And the ground war waged by Labour activists was astonishing, by all accounts, and crucial in winning the battles in key constituencies.

Finding an extra 3.5 million votes, and robbing the Tories of their absolute majority just two years after they won it, proving people will vote for a 'leftwing' manifesto, humiliating May and de-fanging the Mail and the Sun ... That's not a bad run for someone we were assured was going to absolutely destroyed, buried, annihilated.

Not only is it likely that Labour will romp home at the next election, they will likely win a majority that will keep them in power for another decade. Strategically, that's far more significant than the two year zombie administration May is likely to be recalled for.

Now, as for the prospects of the Tories.  Below are ten off-the-top-of-my-head reasons why they can expect to be trounced at the next election, which will liekly be within 2 years.

  1. They are in office but not in power. They will get blamed, fairly or unfairly, for every bad thing that happens. This is what did for Brown when he took over.

  2. The Public mood is against them. Look at the polls since the election. Labour in the lead. Unless they do something dramatic and interesting, the Tories will continue to flounder. A 'better manifesto' will be viewed cynically.

  3. Their reputation for competence is shredded. They went in with a majority, came out without one. They look like idiots.

  4. Years of scheming and undermining await - assuming May tries to cling on for a couple of years, her potential successors will be constantly plotting against her and each other. Again. look at how that worked out for Brown.

  5. History is against them. Cameron managed to defy political gravity by increasing his vote share and number of seats. I don't think any other administration has managed to do that in recent history. Almost inevitably, the party in power loses ground - even Thatcher did worse in each election than in the one before.

  6. The Mail Failed. And the other news media that were so shrilly anti-Corbyn. They threw everything at him and it did not work. What do you think they have left to attack him with? The 'Terrorist sympathiser' and similar lines have been used, they wll be even less effective next time.

  7. Labour are getting stronger. With less disunity and negativity, and with a stronger front bench, Labour will look more voteable. A team lead by Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott probably did worry a few voters. As more 'traditional' Labour MPs get involved, the party will look less like a demented leftwing cult and more like a genuine contender.

  8. Labour have lost the 'loser' image. It is likely some people did not vote / voted for other parties because they did not think Labour would win. Almost all the polls suggested Labour were due for a hammering. Yet they still came from twenty points behind to within three points of winning more votes. If there is an election in the next couple of years (likely) then Labour's vote will get out in droves, and the dispirited Tory vote will be more inclined not to bother.

  9. Ground game. Labour have a superb team of activists. The oft derided Momentum foot soldiers turned out to be a) just normal people, not scary Trots and b) willing to actually get out there and knock on doors and get the vote out. There will be even more of them next time, as the 'One More Push!' message gets rolled out. Where will the Tories get a activists like that?

  10. Time for a change. Whether the next election is in two years or five, the will have been in power for a long time and people will have become very sick of them.
This isn't even considering the horrors of Brexit that await the Tories, or the horrendous image problems Theresa May is experiencing, or the lack of awareness among the Conservative Party in parliament about how unappealing any of the obvious candidates are.

There simply isn't any obvious reason to think they will win the next election, or even just tread water.

They blew it.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Post Election thoughts, Round 2 - Possibly Repetitive

The full scale of the awful situation that has engulfed the Tories is only just starting to sink in.

Probably, the only thing worse than calling a vanity election and losing your majority would be calling a vanity election, losing your majority and still being left to deal with the mess you've made of everything.

I give them two years, max. They won't have a choice. Every by-election, defection or resignation will drive them into calamity.The longer the Tories cling on to power, the worse their situation is going to get.

They will look more and more shambolic and hapless.

People are going to get sickened by the sight of them limping weakly from disaster to catastrophe, too frit for another election as they're (can you believe this) scared of Jeremy Corbyn!

The Tories are waning. Labour, on the other hand, are waxing.

They can sit back and occasionally tweet about how different things could have been, if only ... They will likely have a stronger front bench within a couple of weeks, as Corbyn has a reshuffle and some big names agree to work with him.

Corbyn can carry on spreading his hopey-changey message to da yoof and exhort them not to give up - "One more push! Tomorrow belongs to us!"

The right wing media have shot their bolt. They threw everything at Corbyn. Next time, what more can they say?  So whatever effect the relentless negativity had will be diminished.

The Tories have no message. The said they were strong and stable, and ended up in a coalition of chaos.

What can they say to the electorate that will be believable and which will entice voters to them? They got nothing, because the electorate will look at any offer and say, "Why didn't you say that in 2017?" 

Worse, Brexit beckons. Negotiations are due to start in a week! How are the Conservatives - disorganised, demoralised and divided - going to make anything other than a mess of them?

Only Labour can look forward to another election with any enthusiasm. The Tories will likely slip further away from power - why would people want to vote for them more in 2018 or 19 than they did in 2017?

My only concern is Corbyn's age. If the Tories hang on until 2019, he'll be 70. Will he have the energy for another big campaign? Will he have to hand on the leadership, and just play the figurehead role in the campaign?

A bit of me is wondering if that is why the Conservatives will cling on to the bitter end - hoping that something will turn up to help them, and hoping the irascible Corbyn will stop ruining things for them.

Put to fear by a hapless vegetarian.  Can it get any more humiliating for the part of Churchill, MacMillan and Thatcher?

Post Election Thoughts, Round 1 - Whither Now, Tessa?

Well, that was interesting.

I remember, back in 2010, when Cameron managed to ... um ... not win an election, I predicted that the Tories would live through some sort of grim equivalent of the ordeal Labour went through in the 80s.  I turned out to be wrong, massively, as the Tories managed to form a solid coalition with the Lib Dems and managed to survive for ten years and went on to win an outright majority ...

But, undeterred, I now confidently predict the Tories will find themselves in a situation curiously reminiscent of the 1990s.  And the worst bit of the 90s at that.  Not the good bit where they won an election.

Some thoughts for the stunned mullets on the right, particularly those desperately trying to spin this result as a victory for Theresa May.

  • Your party has no inherent majority. You had one of course, but you threw it away.
  • You're relying on a bunch of Irish Nationalists to give you a working majority.
  • Even then, you've only got a tiny majority.
  • Your leader is humiliated, her authority is broken, her credibility is gone.

Fair summary of the situation, yes? Nothing too controversial or partisan there.

So, the question is, how do you manage to rebuild your party brand so the next election - in 12 months? 18? 24? - isn't a thrashing on the scale of 1997?

  • Can the conservatives offer the country "strong and stable" leadership? No, because the coalition has a tiny majority and every time an MP is sick, or mysteriously absent because they don't want to be associated with a piece of toxic legislation, the they risk defeat. They are at the mercy of events and mavericks. 
  • Can they offer a strong leader that can run a presidential style campaign? No. You tried that, and it didn't work very well. May was awful. Who could replace her? BoJo would be a disaster. Rudd has a tiny majority and is going to be focused on that? Gove is a joke.
  • Can you offer a vision that you can sell? No, you don't seem to have any. There was no vision or ambition or hope in 2015. How are you going to find it by 2019 and sound credible? You can't. That's why the Conservative campaigns are so relentlessly negative. They have nothing good to say about themselves.
  • Can you rely on the opposition destroying themselves. I doubt it. They did there best in 2016, and the still managed to turn May's coronation into a bloodbath. Corbyn managed to re-invent himself as everyone's favourite batty old uncle, and some big names will be tempted back onto the front bench now that they see power is actually within their grasp.

Remember John Major? A basically sound bloke, whose majority was whittled away over the course of his second term. Eventually, he was left propped up by the Ulster Unionists, but even then he was continually embarrassed in the House. He had to endure continual leadership intrigues, eventually having to suffer the humiliation of asking the party if he was more or less popular than John Redwood! His party was divided against itself over Europe. You see the parallels? By 1996, the Major administration was a feeble, zombie government, shambling on wards, hoping that something would turn up to reverse its fortunes. Nothing did. You'll recall what happened in 1997, I think.

It took the second Major government five years - 1992 to 1997 - to reach the sorry pass May finds herself in. She's starting from the 'shambling zombie' situation Major ended up in.

(And at least he managed to win an election!)

So you've got a couple of years to sort yourselves out, Tories. But I think you'll spend it mired in recrimination, feuding, leadership intriguing, and wallowing in the humiliation of continual defeat and gibbering in terror at the prospect of facing the electorate again.

Monday, 29 May 2017

It has begun ... (amended because I was wrong)

So I wake up this morning, make a cup of coffee, fire up my laptop and discover that mild mannered Jeremey Corbyn has been busily laying wreaths on the graves of terrorists, or some such.

The story was reported in the Sunday Times before feeding out into the wider internet.  It is already being twisted in all sorts of ways.

It was actually a memorial service for the people murdered by Phalangist militias at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982.

What Corbyn actually wrote:
The PLO had relocated after the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982 when Israeli troops oversaw massacres by Phalangist militias at the huge refugee camps in Lebanon, home to Palestinians driven from their homes in 1948.

After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991, we moved to the poignant statue in the main avenue of the coastal town of Ben Arous, which was festooned with Palestinian and Tunisian flags.
It is not clear who he means when he refers to murders in Paris in 1991 - but claims it was connected to the Munich murders look very weak, as Atef Bseiso was killed in 1992, and also Corbyn refers to 'others' - more than one person.

In a sane world, someone might ask Corbyn what he meant before blasting the stroy across the internet.  But that was beyond the capacity of the Sunday Times (the original source of the smear) because it isn't interested in proper journalism, just propaganda.

Tories using the mass murders of Sabra and Shattila to score political points. That's pretty despicable.

EDIT - I am, of course, completely wrong.  The commemoration service was not for the victims of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, but the Israeli attack on the PLO headquarters.  Still nothing to do with the Munich Massacre, however.

And at least my error was the result of genuine uselessness, not deliberate malfeasance.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hahahahaha Part 2

Massive whoopsie!
Britain is more unsafe because of its involvement in the Iraq war, David Cameron said, as he promised his foreign policy would not be dictated by the US if he became prime minister. 
The Conservative leader endorsed a report by his party's policy group on security issues, which said: "We need to recognise that a central element of foreign policy - the intervention in Iraq - has failed in its objectives so badly that the threat to this country is actually greater than it was before it began."
You tools! You pathetic useless tools!  You hopeless bunch of no-hopers!

You can't even run a decent negative campaign without making yourselves look like idiots! You're a disgrace to the fine tradition of hatchet jobs! You've buried the hatchet alright - in your own stupid legs!

(Actually, there's probably more intelligence in you legs than in your solid bone skulls.)

The Tories have just blundered into a massive elephant trap.

The frightening thing is, I don't think it was actually intended to be a trap. Corbyn said a few reasonable things about foreign policy and its repercussions; the Tories immediately denounced him for saying, even though he was just echoing their own words.

Labour did nothing here. The Tories dug the pit for the elephant trap, put very sharp stakes in it, concealed it with considerable cunning, then all jumped into it with lemming like enthusiasm.


Are we supposed to trust these clowns to run a country and negotiate Brexit? they can't even savage Jeremy Corbyn properly - the softest of soft targets, we are continually told!

Drum these clowns out of power! They're in mortal danger of making Diane Abbott look good!

Tide of history

So YouGov have Labour as high as 38%, just five points behind the Conservatives, and ten points up on their dismal polling position a month ago.

While I love polls, I do hate the way they are reported. Probably, this poll is an out-lier and and when Labour 'fall' to 35% some on the right will pronounce that the momentum is back with May and that the voters are deserting Labour.

One time Labour PM Jim Callaghan - he of the Winter of Discontent - remarked, on his way to defeat in 1979, "There are times, perhaps once every thirty years, when there is a sea-change in politics. It then does not matter what you say or what you do. There is a shift in what the public wants and what it approves of. I suspect there is now such a sea-change and it is for Mrs. Thatcher."

Callaghan's tide of history comment was always a bit of an excuse, trying to cover up the fact he'd chickened out of an early election and made a mess of working with the unions.

I wonder if Callaghan's tide of history is suddenly running against the Tories?

Are voters looking at the state of the nation(s) and thinking, "They've had seven years, and we've still got a massive deficit and debt is still piling up; they've had seven years and they still haven't managed to keep their promises on immigration; they've had seven years and our wages are still the same; they've had seven years and we're still being attacked by crazies. Stuff 'em."

Or maybe the polls are wrong.

Who knows. Jolly good fun, though.

Theresa May - Hapless and Hopeless

Prime Minister Theresa May, commenting on Jeremy Corbyn's robust, but nuanced, speech on defence and secuity:
She added: "There can never be an excuse for terrorism. There can never be an excuse for what happened in Manchester." 
She said voters faced a choice "between me working strongly to protect the national interest and Jeremy Corbyn who, frankly, isn't up to the job".
Is this really the Tories master strategy? Claim Corbyn said that "We brought it on ourselves"?

I always thought that the Tories were cunning. Seems I was wrong.

Nothing positive to offer, only increasingly shrill negative personal attacks. They sound pathetic, disorganised and desperate.

This is the stuff of insanity. Corbyn did not 'excuse' - he condemned. He simply noted that reckless foreign policy in the past had contributed to the the current mess the world finds itself it.

Any adult - any child - can understand that actions have consequences.

Theresa May seems to think that young men wake up and decide to detonate themselves at pop concerts simply because it seems like a fun thing to do - there is no background, no (however twisted and perverted) reasoning, just a bunch of people who hate us for kicks. It's berserk thinking. I don't imagine for a moment that she genuinely believes it, but she thinks so little of the British people that she hopes we will buy it.

Almost all their facts are made up, or misprepresentations. Like May bleating that Corbyn is saying terrorist attacks are 'our fault' or people repeating the lie that he 'attended an IRA funeral.' Or that he 'danced on the way to the cenotaph,' or ... it goes on and on. And then there are the lies the Tories tell you to make themselves loook good. 'We'll eradicate the budget in a parliament,' 'We'll reduce immigration to less than 100,000,' 'We're all in this together' .... Don't Conservative voters ever get tired of getting lied to?

And it's hilarious - but at the same time slightly nauseating - to hear the woman who couldn't handle a few questions from Andrew Neil mumble how Jeremy Corbyn isn't up to the job.

She can't even look after herself, how can she look after the rest of us?


Fallon disagrees with a quote, thinking it is from Corbyn, then discovers it is actually Boris Johnson saying the Iraq War "the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people".

Also repeats the stupid lie that Corbyn wants to "sit down and talk" to terrorists. Obviously not understanding what "That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions."

Stupid Tory Muppet.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Good Grief, New Statesman Edition

Sarah Ditum actually wrote the following in the New Statesman yesterday:
Corbyn, who has led the way in smirking denial of anti-Semitism within Labour, even while one of the greatest threats to the nation and the continent is the creep of the far right.
Never mind that Corbyn set up an inquiry into claims of antisemitism, something no other Labour leader bothered to do.

Never mind that he condemned Ken Livingstone's stupid decision to repeat the stupid statement that lead to his suspension.

Never mind that the New Statesman quoted Corbyn's condemnation at length just a couple of weeks before Ditum penned her spite column:
"Ken Livingstone’s comments have been grossly insensitive, and he has caused deep offence and hurt to the Jewish community.

“Labour's independently elected National Constitutional Committee has found Ken guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and suspended him for two years.

“It is deeply disappointing that, despite his long record of standing up to racism, Ken has failed to acknowledge or apologise for the hurt he has caused. Many people are understandably upset that he has continued to make offensive remarks which could open him to further disciplinary action.

“Since initiating the disciplinary process, I have not interfered with it and respect the independence of the party’s disciplinary bodies. But Ken’s subsequent comments and actions will now be considered by the National Executive Committee after representations from party members.”
Never mind that there is an election on, and Ditum has deliberately decided to start accusing the leader of the Labour Party - without evidence, mind you - of condoning antisemitism.  I'm not in favour of people having to suppress their opinions for party electoral advantage; but I'm equally not in favour of people deliberately timing their phoney accusations to cause maximum damage to the party she is a card carrying member of.

Never mind all that.

Sarah Ditum is a journalist.  She enjoys privileged access to the media.  I had a look over her recent New Statesman columns to see how much time she had dedicated to identifying and targeting antisemitism in the past year.

I did find a passing reference to 20th Century pogroms in one column on the Brexit referendum; but that's it.  (And in it, Ditum manages to repeat the false claim that Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was subjected to antisemitic abuse.  She wasn't.  She was called out for talking to a journalist from the Telegraph.)

Yet in the past year, from what I can see in the index of articles she has published in the New Statesman, she has not dedicated one to the issue of antisemitism, in the Labour party or elsewhere.

Even though she lambastes Corbyn for ignoring the "creep of the far-right" which is "one of the greatest threats to the nation and the continent."

In the odd, self-righteous world of Sarah Ditum, this grave issue - which she attacks Corbyn for ignoring - did not merit a column.

Not one.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Oh, really?

John Woodcock, Labour MP:
"But I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain's prime minister."
Not sure you can really continue to be part of the Labour Party, John, if you are going to refuse to support the leader of that party in his attempt to be Prime Minister.

You're basically saying if - entertain the though for a moment - Corbyn actually won the election on June the 8th, or managed to assemble a coalition giving him a notional majority in the Commons, you would vote with the Tories to deny him that office.

It's interesting to see just how deep this Corbyn-hating runs parts of the Labour Party.  Theresa May calls an election - and Woodcock's first impulse is to attack his leader.  And this has been going on ever since Corbyn was elected leader (the first time, I mean) and the resignations and refusals to serve started to get tweeted while he was giving his (inclusive and conciliatory) victory speech.

The problem is not and has never been Jeremy Corbyn.  The problem has always been the faction that refuses to work with him.  Doesn't just refuse to work with him, but seeks to undermine him, to the detriment of the Labour Party and the undermining of the wider movement it represents.

You won't vote to make a Labour MP Prime Minister, John?

Think about the implications of that, your own words.

Oh, an election, is it? Some random thinks.

So ...

  • Theresa "I won't call a snap election" May calls a snap election.
  • The CPS has indicated up to 30 individuals (including MPs) may be charged with breaches of election expenses laws.

Could these two things be at all related?

Because otherwise May's decision makes no sense to me. She has a majority. She is doing well in the polls and popular. There was an election just two years ago, and a referendum. The boundary changes have not yet gone through.

An early election only makes sense if she is anticipating a major crisis - either substantial charges being laid around the 2015 election, or some massive economic upheaval. Because the annihilation of Labour in 2017 will probably mean the end of Corbyn and his replacement with someone who might (big might, given the talent pool) appeal more to floating voters.

And 2022 is a long way away, and if the parliament elected in 2017 runs its course, the Conservatives will have been in power for 12 years. So even if she manages to see off Labour in 2017, she may have brought forward Labour's return to power closer by a term or two.

But, feck me, these Tories are cynical. Theresa May has been adamant about not calling an early election (inspite of ticking off Gordon Brown back in the day for being un unelected PM). then she decides she needs to have one after all. Because she needs a mandate to be able to give the country "Strong and stable leadership" - a banal phrase she used about 5000 times in her first attempt at an electioneering speech.

Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words. The soundbite of the nascent Tory campaign may be "Strong and stable leadership." But how does "No election until 2020 ... oops, I've changed my mind" equate to stability?  Or a chancellor who abandon's a key part of his budget about five minutes after he's finished his speech? And how can a leader forced to go to the country three years early, because she can't manage her MPs, claim to be strong?

Someone needs to give Theresa May a dictionary so she can look up what the words she is saying mean.

With regards to the outcome, the problem with FPTP is that there is very little correlation between votes cast and seats won at a national level.  Majorities of seats are won on pluralities of the vote.

It's hard to see the Conservatives losing, but maybe Corbyn has authentic video footage of Theresa May beheading kittens or something. Equally, I can't envisage the Tories winning a majority of a hundred, in spite of what the polls say. They just don't feel right to me. It's entirely gut based but I suspect the pollsters have over compensated for 2015's screw up.

I think Labour will hang on to a lot more than people realise. Remember, Labour DOOM was predicted at the local elections last year, and failed to materialise. It might, but I think they will hold onto about 220 seats.

It is also important to remember that the result in 1983 was distorted by a split in the left vote - Labour + SDP/Liberal Alliance polled more than the Conservatives, but as they were often stealing votes from each other, they were both thrashed. There isn't that factor as the Blairites have (thankfully) not gone nuclear and split. So the Tories will need a much bigger swing to produce anything like a 1983 result.

I think the Lib Dems will enjoy a bit of a renaissance. They had 50+ seats up until the 2015 election and will be eyeing them again. As the official anti-Brexit party, they can expect to draw a lot of support from Remainers of all sides.

Scotland will more or less stay the same. The SNP may lose a couple of seats and the the Tories and Lib Dems pick up a couple there.

The problem for the Tories is that for every seat the Lib Dems win back (assuming they win any back!), the Tories need to take one somewhere else.

If Labour is a bit more robust than expected, suddenly increasing May's majority becomes very difficult. If Labour cling on to 220 seats, and the Lib Dems reach 20, suddenly May may even be looking at a REDUCED majority.

I can't imagine that happening, but unless Labour go into a meltdown and the Lib Dems don't surge, it is hard to see how she can make significant gains.

So, some predictions (Bearing in mind I got the 2015 election completely, utterly wrong):

  • Conservative - 345 ... Well done, Tessa, you put us through that, for a few extra seats. LOSER.
  • Labour 215 - This leaves Corbyn in a precarious position. He's avoided the apocalypse, but has lost a lot of seats. He'll hold on to get the leadership election changes passed at conference, and then step down in 2018, which was pretty much the plan all along. WINNER, surprisingly.
  • Lib Dems - 20. Just enough to stoke talk of a revival, but not enough to actually be one. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WINNERS AND LOSERS, appropriately.
  • SNP - 50. They maintain ther stranglehold on Scotland, but the support for independence is clearly ebbing. PHRRYIC VICTORS, again appropriately. Us Scots don't do outright victory.
  • Ireland and others - 20.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Useless Idiots

The madness seems to run very deep in Labour at the moment:
But some Labour MPs suggest even more drastic remedial action is required. 
“In order to convince the public that you’ve moved on, you have to have a Clause Four-type moment,” one member told me. “Which would probably involve kicking John McDonnell out of the Labour Party or something like that. 
“You have a purge. Ken Livingstone gone, maybe even Jeremy [Corbyn] gone. That’s the only way that you can persuade the public that you’re not like that.” 
So Labour MPs are fantasizing about purging the man who has been overwhelmingly elected and then re-elected as leader.  And they think that will help make things better.  Fucking demented loons.

Here's an idea, Labour MPs!  Stop being dicks, start co-operating.  Make Corbyn effectiveley irrelevant by doing such a fantastic job of running all the shadow portfolios that.  It.  Stops.  Being.  About.  Him.

So suddenly being leader is really almost a ceremonial role.  Christ, Attlee was deried as being a little man surrounded by a cabinet of giants.  Corbyn has a different problem.  He's a little man surrounded by a party of microbes.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Twitter down?

Must be why Donald Trump hasn't been bragging about his job approval numbers.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Nurse Ban

Canadian nurses working at Michigan hospitals were shocked last week when border security officers stopped them from entering the U.S. because of changes to their working visas under new immigration policies. 
Staff at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital heard reports of nurses unable to renew their working visas.  
Last week, a new Canadian hire at Henry Ford tried to go to work, but was turned away at the Windsor-Detroit border. She was told advanced practice nurses and nurse anesthetists no longer qualify for the working visas because of policy changes under U.S. President Donald Trump. 
"We really question the motives," said immigration lawyer Marc Topoleski, whose firm is retained by the hospital. "All of the immigration executive orders and all the things being rolled out have been focused on national security first, and this is clearly not an issue of national security whatsoever."
Good.  Isn't Kenyda where that commie Muslim Saddam Hussein Obama came from?

I mean, nurses, terrorists, they're basically the same. Where ever you get nurses or terrorists, you get injured and dying Americans. Think on!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Saturday, 11 March 2017


I'd normally ignore everything to do with Katie Hopkins, on the principle of not feeding trolls, but this is a special occasion; she has just been found guilty of defaming and damaging Jack Munroe's reputation.

Horrible bully gets her comeuppance.

Wonder if the Mail will mention this detback for their star columnist?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Post-Copeland post

So the by-elections have been and gone, and as Labour managed to win one and lose one, I suppose we're in for another round of leadership self-smiting by Labour.

I don't think Corbyn was the real problem. But note the tense. Before the Brexit referendum, Labour's vote share was increasing - they were starting to show parity with the Conservatives in polls. Two things happened. First, the chicken coup. Second, the elevation of Theresa May. Labours ratings immediately plunged.  The combination of Labour's public self mutilation and the Conservatives managing to look unified and vaguely competent in the face of a completely unnecessary disaster they precipitated, was potent.

I think May's boost will fade - she's a horrible person leading a horrible party and people will come to loathe her.  But the constant schisming in the Labour Party looks like it will continue. As long as significant, experienced MPs are refusing to serve, or grandees like Mandelson are bragging about how they try to undermine Corbyn on a daily basis, and as long as MPs are merrily briefing against him and leaking, then they are going to look like a seething mess of worms with delusions of being vipers, unworthy of power, or even being in parliament.

I think that Corbyn may have been irredeemably damaged by the constant smears and poor poll ratings. Perceptions can become reality.

But I doubt he's got the strength of character, or the resources or support, to overcome the public's perception that he's a useless loser.

Unfortunately, there are about 229 other useless people in the Labour Party, not one of whom has the charisma, competence or popularity of Gordon Brown.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Corbyn Wanings

I was a defender of Corbyn ever since his election but even I am now weary of trying to argue his case.

I think he may be viewed as a stage Labour had to go through, to demonstrate the total disconnection between the PLP and the membership.  I also still think he is more sinned against than sinning - he's been consistently attacked and undermined for the last two years, by the media and his own party.  The refusal to support his leadership and the coordinated resignations were unforgivable.

Unfortunately, we can't just blame them for it.  He was not the man for the job.  Given the opportunity, he has failed to do anything with it.  In part he has been hampered by the lack of cooperation and backstabbing (he must have a huge back, there are so many knives planted in it) but his own weakness, and the weakness of his team has not helped.  As remarked below, the three line whip fiasco was a completely foreseeable, avoidable and utterly unnecessary disaster.  A conscience vote would have kept a lot of people onside, avoided the charge of hypocrisy and not affected the outcome of the vote.  Arguing the media would portray it as weakness or 'ignoring the will of the British people' (what happened to the 48% - have they been stripped of their citizenship?) is to overlook that whatever he did would be portrayed negatively by the media.

So fairness, consistency and avoiding unnecessary damage should have been the consideration.  Instead, all three were sacrificed and the result is a disaster.  Nothing good has come of it, and a lot of bad has.  After facing front bench rebellions against a three line whip - even some of his whips voed against the party line - Corbyn realises he can't really do anything other than issue a 'written warning' to the rebels, asking them not to do it again?

And it was all utterly predictable and foreseeable.  Anyone could have seen this coming. Except, it seems, Corbyn and McDonnell.

Maybe someone should reactivate the old 'Corbyn Warnings' twitter account ... only this time, to warn Corbyn of the bleedingly obvious consequences of some of his more mutton-headed decisions.

De ja vu

Friday, 27 January 2017

Tam Dalyell has died

Tam Dalyell, former Labour MP, who served in parliament from the early sixties through to 2005, has died, aged eighty four years old.

Famously awkward and persistent in being awkward, and a man with no time for cant or the all too common mealy-mouthed political flim-flam - hence his infamous "West Lothian question," concerning the voting rights of Scottish (and other non-English) MPs in Westminster on English matters - a query that has never been satisfactorily answered.

As often happens with contrarian figures, he sometimes took it too far, endorsing the Lockerbie con-man Lester Coleman.

But a remarkable figure in Scottish and British politics.

Corbyn's final blunder?

So, it turns out (hideously) that the Guardian was right and I was wrong.  Jeremy Corbyn has told his Shadow Cabinet that a three-line whip will be issued over the triggering of Article 50.

It's like he resents how the media have been - just ever so slightly - focusing on Conservative woes recently, and wants the spotlight back on his own troubles.

I've been pretty supportive of Corbyn up until now, but I'm done with him. This is madness.

Imposing a three line whip is politically stupid as it generates negative headlines for Labour at a time when they really, really can't afford them.

It is morally stupid because Corbyn has always been a bit of a rebel and telling other people how to vote smacks of hypocrisy.

It is democratically stupid as it leaves the 48% who voted remain unrepresented and alienated.

So, pretty stupid.

One member of the Shadow Cabinet, Tulip Siddiq, has already resigned over this:
Shadow minister Tulip Siddiq has resigned from the Labour frontbench, telling the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, that she could not reconcile herself to the party’s three-line whip to vote for triggering article 50.

In her letter to Corbyn, the shadow minister for early years said voting to start the process of leaving the EU would be a betrayal of her north London constituents, three-quarters of whom voted to remain in the EU.

“I have always been clear – I do not represent Westminster in Hampstead and Kilburn, I represent Hampstead and Kilburn in Westminster,” Siddiq wrote in her resignation letter. “I feel that the most effective place for me to counter Theresa May’s hard Brexit is from the backbenches.”

Siddiq said she had made the final decision to resign after Corbyn confirmed to the shadow cabinet on Thursday morning that Labour MPs would be expected to back the article 50 bill and a three-line whip would be imposed. “I do not support the triggering of article 50 and cannot reconcile myself to the frontbench position,” she wrote in her letter to Corbyn.
A few days ago I said he just needs to keep things quiet and let the Tories endure a bit of bad publicity. I dismissed the rumours of a three line whip as unsubstantiated trouble making by the Guardian. Now this.

Corbyn, of all leaders, should understand the importance of conscience. And he's picked a silly, needless, divisive fight which will alienate the last few MPs who support (or at least tolerate) his leadership. And it was completely unnecessary, as there was no prospect of the trigger bill failing.  To win, he didn't need to do anything - he would have avoided the negative headlines, kept his cabinet intact, made his opponents looks mean spirited divisive. The handful of votes against Article 50 he would have countenance would be unlikely to make a difference to the result.

Now he has to endure the resignations (and probably several more triggered by those trying to destabalise him, again) and still face the rebellions at the vote.  Possibly even more as he has put his authority - such as it is - on the line.

The only way this makes any sort of sense is if he is looking for an excuse to resign. But that would suggest more cunning than I credit him with.

Corbyn allowed free votes over blowing up Syrians and potential nuclear annihilation - is Brexit really more important than either of these issues?

Friday, 20 January 2017

Oh, the (unintentional) irony

The Guardian is running an article about how the BBC 's Laura Kuenssberg has been found to have been impartial in her reporting of a statement from Jeremy Corbyn:
The broadcaster’s regulator concluded that a Laura Kuenssberg report for the News at Six in November 2015 breached the broadcaster’s impartiality and accuracy guidelines, in a ruling that triggered an angry response from the corporation’s director of news.

The News at Six item included a clip of the Labour leader stating: “I am not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counterproductive.”

Kuenssberg had presented that as Corbyn’s response to a question put to him on whether he would be “happy for British officers to pull the trigger in the event of a Paris-style attack”, but the Trust concluded that Corbyn had been speaking in a different context. sdsd
Which is hilarious, coming from the Guardian, with its ignoble history of inaccurate and anti-Corbyn coverage. Even today, they are running a report titled, Corbyn to order Labour MPs to vote for article 50 trigger; even though he has said no such thing:
Jeremy Corbyn will order Labour to vote in favour of triggering article 50 in a move likely to prompt a rebellion of around 30 MPs, including several frontbenchers.

The Labour leader signalled on Thursday that he would impose a three-line whip if the government lost its supreme court challenge and brought a Brexit bill to parliament.

However, dozens of Labour MPs, especially those with largely urban constituencies that voted to remain, are known to be agonising about whether to defy the party line.
If you read further down the article, you discover that Corbyn did not actually say he was going to issue a three-line whip:
Asked by Sky News how he would handle any legislation in the Commons, after the Guardian revealed that some shadow cabinet ministers were considering voting against it, he said: “It is very clear. The referendum made a decision that Britain was to leave the European Union. It was not to destroy jobs or living standards or communities but it was to leave the European Union and to have a different relationship in the future.

“I’ve made it very clear the Labour party accepts and respects the decision of the British people. We will not block article 50.”

When asked if that meant a three-line whip, an order to MPs to vote for the bill, he replied: “It means that Labour MPs will be asked to vote in that direction next week, or whenever the vote comes up.”
Notice how "ask" morphs into "order" in the headline.  The Guardian might argue that Corbyn is talking in euphemisms, and if it was another politician they might have a point; but Corbyn doesn't tend to do that.  When he says hell ask them to vote for Article 50, he probably means that.  He is not an authoritarian leader.  He allowed a free vote over Syrian air strikes and on Trident.  As a life long rebel against the party line himself, it does not seem to be in his nature to impose strict discipline on matters of conscience.

Presumably, when he doesn't actually issue said whip, they Guardian will accuse him of backing down in the face of pressure ...