Saturday, 7 December 2013

Nelson Mandela RIP

I'm surprised at being slightly more moved than I expected, given he's been busily dying for almost a year; and surprised that Barry Obama managed to sound dignified and genuinely sad. I thought everyone, but everyone, would simply explode in grief.  I'm far more worried about the future of the BBC than I am about South Africa.  The nation will survive this; I'm not so sure about the Beeb.

I think his most impressive feats were a) doing very little with the power he was given, and b) standing down after just one term. Both of which set a pretty stern precedent for South African leaders.

 He could have used the near absolute power and international impunity he was given to eradicate white South Africa.  It would have been very hard to question his moral right to do so, given the vast wealth and power that was and is still vested in largely white hands, to the detriment of the denizens of Soweto.  But he didn't.  Perhaps he could have done more; but doing exactly the right thing is far, far harder than doing too much.  And doing too little is - in this case - preferable to doing too much.

And giving up the presidency after just one term was a truly impressive move, which will make it much harder for any tinpot wannabe Mugabe to abuse the nation's democracy.  Are you listening carefully, Mr Zuma?  As long as people can point to Mandela's example of renouncing power, then anyone trying to cling on to it will look pretty damn shifty in comparison.





I suppose there is absolutely no point in looking at any news source for the next 72 hours. Or will the Guardian offer a 'No Mandela' option like it did for Royal Baby?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

An exemplary demonsration of polling excellence

Opinium confirms its status as the only pollster that actually polls people, real people, and not MPs or rats, asks their opinions in sensible ways and compiles the data in statistally valid ways to achieve meaningful results.  All the other polling companies are lying liemongers and lackeys of the savage beast of rampant capitalism and are probably all owned by George Osborne.

CON 27%(-2)
LAB 38%(+2)
LDEM 9%(+2)
UKIP 17%(+2)

I also note that Anthony Wells has allowed a bug to creep into the workings of UK Polling Report - unaccountably, his UNS Projection suggests Labour would only attain a 58 seat majority in an election, where as we all know the correct figure would be 580.  I may send him an email about this.

How the Right treats people

Has to be said, when it comes to playing dirty, no-one does it like the right.  They don't stop at dirty tricks, smears and manipulation of their opponents.  That would be expected.  They do it to their own, with out qualm.

Consider: Kim Dotcom tried to buy his way into influence, with generous donations to John Banks.  In reply, the right set the police on him, froze his assets and destroyed his business, at the behest of the US.   He discovered that the right only owes loyalty to the most powerful.

Bevan Chuang fought to represent the right in Auckland; when they failled, they switched to Plan B and used her affair with Len Brown as a means to attack him, in the meantime destroying Chuang's credibility and budding political career. She discovered that if you can't be useful to the right, you can still be used.

And now Jock Anderson has been wolved by the NBR for daring to suggest that Len Brown should get on with his job.  Apparently, that's not neutral and unbiased.  One has to assume, the NBR employed Anderson to be stupid, and on this occasion he was not stupid enough.  Nothing else makes sense.  He discovered that the only liberty the right tolerates is the liberty to toe the line, or be trounced.

Friends like these, and all that ...

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Manbag

So, it has came to my attention recently that I now have too much stuff to comfortably fit in my pockets.  So I set out on a mission to find a bag on a strap that I can carry stuff about in.

My wife helpfully informed me that what I was seeking might commonly be called a 'manbag'.  I wanted something practical, and the items she had in mind was too small for a laptop, which is why I didn't see much point.

To which she replied, "That's why you need to buy a tablet as well," at which I (technophobe who still buys music on vinyl) hurrumphed and requisitioned one of her spare handbags (they are like manbags but for girls, apparently) which wasn't too screamingly feminine, so that's all good.

I did think about just stuffing stuff into a laptop bag, but it is a delicate balancing act, far more complicated than I realised at first.

If the amount of assorted rubbish you feel compelled to carry about with you exceeds the capacity of your pockets, it may not be enough to fill up a laptop bag to a respectable degree; one looks suspicious if one has a large bag the turns out to contain a glasses case, a copy of Nostromo and a half eaten packet of Fruit Pastilles (do you still get Fruit Pastilles? They were my favourite sweet when I was a kid).

Or worse, it makes it look like one has not adequately planned this foray into the word; and one can not go about forever lugging a laptop just to fill up the extra space in the bag.

So an intermediate bag is needed, for those occasions when you need a bit more than you can sensibly cram into your pockets, but can not justify a backpack or laptop sort of bag.

I think the manbag thing is looks a lot better when you're David Beckham, not lurgee. Still, now I can carry a book around with me. A real one, not some nonsensical Kindle.

I tried to justify forking out for a dedicated manbag by arguing (to myself, aloud, in public) that they are essentially another means of display to impress women with. "Look," they scream, "I've got so much stuff I can't cram it into my pockets like that oaf you are with just now! And I can waste money on a pointlessly expensive leather pouch rather than a scruffy backpack!"

However, Mrs lurgee seems to resent my appropriation of her wardrobe (the handbag, not the undies - she doesn't know I filch them) and used a recklessly unsupervised visit to Auckland to buy me a 'proper' manbag of my own, though I'm not sure about it.

First, it looks like a laptop bag, and if you are going to do this whole looking like an idiot thing you might as well do it properly.  Some people might actually think I'm just carrying a laptop about, not trying to make a pretentious fool of myself.  Still, a few moments of conversation should soon set that right.

Also, it has velcro bits, which also diminishes its ludicrous urban fop cache.  I'm sure David Beckham's bag doesn't have velcro on it.

Finally, it has too many compartments, and I can never find things when I need them, and can imagine what I'm expected to be carrying about with me in order to fill them all.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Miliband Miliband Miliband

Looking at this whole miserable mess in a detached manner, it's actually been very good for Miliband (Ed edition - see what I did there?).  He's managed to completely trump the Toery party conference, and build on a robust, crowd-and-voter-pleasing speech at his own shindig.  Best of all, he's been able to do it without seeming to be trying to do it.  If he'd loudly announced free jam for every one just as Cameron took the stage, he'd have looked like a cynical opportunist and people would - quite rightly - have asked why he hadn't bothered to mention this during his own conference.

And he's been attacked - through his dead war veteran dad - by the Daily Mail, so he can only look good as a result, the way we tend to not condemn Stalin as much as we should because he was on the side of decency against Hitler.  Anyone been excoriated by the Daily Mail probably deserves the benefit of the doubt - Mark Duggan and Stephen Lawrence's killers being the exceptions that prove the rule.

Miliband has had a chance to look tough and forthright, and has managed to not sound whiny about this.  He's been angry, but not self-pitying.  He's managed to link the mess to a wider narrative - the nastiness and unscrupulousness of some parts of the press, and the concentration of media in the hands of a few self-interested rightwing moguls.  And he's won sympathy from the sort of people who start sentences by saying, "I've been a lifelong Tory voter ..."

Even better, his rivals have been flat-footed.  Cameron and the other Tory heavyweights have been silent, making them seem to be endorsing the Mail's repugnant behaviour.  Nick Clegg is the only senior member of the coalition to unequivocally condemn the Mail.  True, some of the old sticks have spoken out from the comparative safety of the Lords - but as Polly Toynbee points out, it is easy to risk your political career when it is essentially over.

As for the Mail, it has been a disastrous misjudgement. They've made Miliband far more human and likeable than he was a week ago, raised his profile immensely, made themselves look truly hateful and unintentionally demonstrated why we need to reform and strengthen the way the British press is regulated.

What were they thinking?

Did Margaret Thatcher hate Britain?

Just a thought that occurred to me while replying to an earlier post on the Ralph Miliband furore (is it a furore, yet, or is it still just a brouhaha?)

The Daily Mail's case - if you could call it that - against Ralph Miliband is based on two pieces of evidence.  Exhibit one is his diary entry where he rails against the insularity and chauvinism of the English people he encountered, and their narrow-minded anti-European attitude.  That is not hatred of Britain, but a hatred of a old fashioned, self-satisfied perspective which Miliband could see was already consigned to Trotsky's dustbin of history.

And he was quite right to be contemptuous of it.  Small mindedness, nostalgia and bigoted dislike of foreigners are all hateful attitudes.

His comment about wishing Britain would lose the war seems shocking, but has to be understood in relation to the above.  Miliband is not expressing a genuine desire for Britain to be defeated and for Nazi jackboots to trample all over fair Albion.  That would be a rather stupid thing for a Jewish refugee, who had already had one very narrow escape from the Nazis, to desire.  Rather, he is expressing his frustration with the aforementioned attitude, the complacenty of the British, secure behind their channel, feeding off their Empire, and convinced that nothing - NOTHING - can possibly happen to dislodge Britainnia from her proud place as the greatest nation on Earth - another shabby delusion Miliband could see had outlived whatever dubious truth it had ever enjoyed.

So there is nothing there, really, to justify the Mail's berserk accusation that Miliband hated Britain.

The second line off attack by the Mail is that Miliband longed to reform Britain, which is not surprising when he saw it as so dog eared and fusty.  In this, of course, he was not alone, as the electorate of Britain voted in a reformist Labour government at the first opportunity after that messy business with Hitler was concluded.  Did the 11,967,746 people who voted for Attlee's labour party in 1945 also hate Britain?  Of course not.  Many of them, like Ralph Miliband had been fighting to save it from Hitler, and once that job was done they got on with the matter of making Britain better.

That involved making a lot of changes and doing a way with a lot of things that may have been cherished by the reactionaries and the small minded little Englanders that Miliband expressed such contempt for; but they had enjoyed having their own way far too long.

So is calling for disruption to The Way Things Are And Have Always Been really synonymous with hating Britain?  If so, then Margaret thatcher must have truly hated Britain with a passion, as no-one did more in the 20th century to change it.  Smashing the 'traditional power' of the trade unions, breaking up the old state monopolies, turning London into a modern financial hub, trashing old heavy industries, opening the country to the ambivalent blessings of globalisation ... Almost everything she did would have been decried by the Little Englanders of Miliband's youth, and their successors, who ironically clung to the vision ofMiliband and Attlee as The Way Things Are And Have Always Been.

Of course Thatcher did not hate Britain.  She was, in her own way, a partriot, and while I disagree with her on almost every point (perhaps only finding some common ground over the Falklands - which, oddly would put me at odds with Miliband) I accept she acted in what she thought - in her narrow ideological way - was the interest of the country.  This is why I posted nothing when she died.  Her day had been, whatever damage she did was history, and she even if she was wrong she thought what she was doing was right, and good for the country.

It's a little thing called integrity, and both Thatcher and Ralph Miliband had it, in their own ways.

Unlike the stinking self important yahoos of the left like George Galloway and the idiots who were not even born when Thatcher was deposed. They made themselves as low as Dacre and his nasty minded 'journalists' who smear and misrepresent Ralph Miliband to turn people against his son.

Fortunately it seems both camps are equally stupid, as the revulsion their behaviour has provoked shows.  Galloway proved nothing by gloating over Thatcher's death, other than proving he is a loathsome fool who revelled in the death of an old woman.  Equally, Dacre and those who have followed his lead have shown only that they are as devoid of principle and decency as Galloway.

That is not an accomplishment for anyone to be proud of.

Again with the Ralph Miliband

Another day, another even-more-hysterical defence of the lies about Ralph Miliband 'hating Britain.'

The Daily Mail doesn't know the way out of a hole is not to keep digging, does it?  Or is it just milking its infamy for all it's worth?  After all, as they say, if there is one thing worse than being talked about, it's ...

Now, first of all, truth is justification enough.  Any criticism of Ralph Miliband would be justified if it were true; but there is no evidence he hated Britain. he hated chauvanism and the wilful Blimpish ignorance he encountered in too many British people, but that's not the same thing at all.

So, the latest defence, penned by Stephen Glover, boils down to something I touched on yesterday - somehow, it is okay to traduce Ralph Miliband's memory because some people were unpleasant, vulgar little scumbuckets when Margaret Thatcher died.  Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, clamours Glover.

Well, yeah, but in this case the goose being sauced is not the goose that deserves it.  Some people did make fools of themselves by ostentatiously celebrating when they heard that Thatcher was dead. And they were vermin. Miliband was not one of them. He condemned their childish hatefilled antics. 

Trying to justify smearing his father because some other people are excrement just makes you look stupid.

Of course, before some stupid self-propelling turds were dancing to celebrate Thatcher's death, there was a lot of appalling sludge directed at Gordon Brown. So did that justify the celebrations of Thatcher's demise?

Of course it doesn't. If one person behaves in a way I find offensive, it does not justify me being unpleasant towards a third person. The Mail, however, is trying to claim it does.

As for the Thatcher comparison, that would only be a telling point if only Ed Miliband had got out there and started jigging. The fact that some on the left are stupid little swinebags who celebrated the death of an old woman (George Galloway was one, as I recall) does not justify similar behaviour from anyone else.

Did Ed Miliband celebrate her death? Nope, he condemned those who did.

So basically, the Mail's argument argument boils down to, "It's okay to tell lies about Ralph Miliband because George Galloway is a turd."

Or, to put it another way, dear reader, would it be okay for me to make up stories about Paul Dacre because the Mail smeared Ralph Miliband?  Of course not.  Which is my point.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

More on Miliband



A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and actions speak louder than words.  So here's a picture and an account of someone's actions.

The toothy young chap in the picture is Ralph Miliband, wearing the uniform of the Red Army British Navy, which he often wore as he proclaimed his hatred for Britain fought for Britain in the Second World War.

The list of people excoriating the Mail grows longer and shows just how far from the path of sanity and decency the vile little rag has gone.  Ralph Miliband's biographer, Michael Newman, has weighed in, describing the use of quotations as 'distorted' and the piece as a 'vicious and offensive' attack on Miliband.  But he's writing in Pravda The Guardian so probably a leftist liar Blairite Trotskyist Britain hater sane, so we can safely ignore him.

The Mail, after all, operates in a place where the normal rules don't apply, where even the laws of physics (c.f. Climate change) have been repealed, so why should decency and honesty still apply?

Tory grandee (how I hate that word!) Michael Hesseltine also condemns the Mail's ravings.  But he was something of a traitor, wasn't he?  He pretty much destory Margret Thatcher, so what would you expect?  He's finally coming out as a leftist liar Britain hater, as is anyone who refuses to indluge in the Two Minutes Hate that the Mail is calling for to be directed at a dead veteran of the Second World War.

The preposterously titled Lord Moore of Lower Marsh also speaks out against the Mail.  He's described by the Gaurdian as a 'Thatcher ally' and Miliband acted as his political comissar tutor at the London School of Economics.  But the LSE was founded by socialists and leftist liars, so any alumnus of that corrupt institution has to be suspect.

Even current Tories - who might have a bit to fear from the Wrath of the Mail - have been moved to speak, with Zac Goldsmith describing the anti-Miliband campaign as 'appalling.'  But Goldsmith accepts that the laws of physics work, that climate change is happening and that the effects might be a bit worse than forcing the good yeomen of England to convert their farms to vineyards.

It's saddening that David Cameron has not said anything about this debased attack on the leader of the opposition.

It really beggars belief that the Mail is trying to brazen this out, rather than Memory Holing the embarrassing blunder.  One wonders if it is a strategic move - if Labour form a government in 2015, every misstep, every failure and every frustration will be described as Miliband Jnr carrying out his father's dark goal of destroying the country he hates.

It is good to see Conservatives repudiating the Mail.  there is no need for the sort of grotesque smears masquerading as journalism that it specialises in.  the fact that a major newspaper thought this was acceptable is an index for how course and demeaned our politics have become.

It isn't a one way street of course.  When thatcher died, there was plenty of hateful display by idiots on the left.  Perhaps this was what made the the Mail think traducing Miliband was acceptable.  But claiming the behaviour of oafs as a a justification simply reveals the oafishness of the person making the claim.  One can not stoop and stand up straight at the same time.  The Mail has stooped willingly, indeed with indecent enthusiasm, into the filth.

The true colours of the haters on the left, who gloated at Thatcher's death seems no different to the sickening hue of the idiots who delighted in calling Gordon Brown a one eyed spastic drug addicted psychopath, or the current putrid snarling of the Mail.

What it comes down to is you're either civilised or you're not; political persuasion is secondary.

Now I could finish up by telling you what I think of Mail editor Paul Dacre - a man who might be truly said to hate Britain as he has used almost every opportunity to degrade and coarsen it's journalism -  and  Geoffrey Levy, the scribbler who concocted the original poisonous stew of misrepresentation and venom.

I could make up some random stuff about them, post some libellous allegations about them.  After all, they've signalled anything is fair game and making an honest representation of facts isn't really that important.

But I won't, because I'm civilised.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ralph Miliband

I wasn't going to get involved - however irrelevantly - in the whole foul stinking mess the Daily Mail has created around Ralph 'Father of Ed' Miliband.  It was just too odious.

But the Mail has decided to double down on its vileness, and the Spectator has joined in.

I'm not at all surprised at the Mail being scummy over this.  That's what the Daily Mail is for.  It's the id of the Tory party, the primordial urges that shouldn't be voiced and can't be acknowledged.  If the Mail is saying it, you can be sure the British right is saying it. 

With this in mind, I'm slightly disappointed in the Spectator.  It shows the poison that is used to print the Mail is spreading to other parts of the British right and what would normally be unspeakable is simply becoming a little bit rude and impolite.

Still, this nasty little episode shows how foul and remorseless the right really is. Any excuse, any means. Besmirching a dead war veteran - a man who fought for his adopted country, one of those whose courage and willingness to lay his life down to save Britain we recall on Remembrance Day.

That's truly repulsive, even by the dismal standards of the Mail.

And this hypocritical smearing after all the po-faced sanctimonious phoney calls for respect for the dead after Thatcher died. It shows how empty and self-serving their pretend offence over 'Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead' was.  Lying two-faced hypocritical scumbags devoid of human decency - who'd have thought it?

I suppose it show Ralph Miliband was right in his comments about the British (actually English) character - there is a loathsomeness about the British right that is hard to describe without reaching for the strongest and most contemptuous terms.

You want to measure of how utterly odious the Mail's smears are?  It has made Alastair Campbell - ALASTAIR CAMPBELL - seem like a decent human being.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Crushing Victory for Red Ed

No Labour leader can hope for a better headline than this:

Peter Mandelson criticises Ed Miliband's energy plan

Seven magic words that confirm it is a good idea.  A finger wagging from Peter Mandelson confirms this is a actually a good idea - I had my doubts until now - and it's all over for David Cameron.  Miliband is a shoe in now.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Song for Ed Miliband

The screaming and howling that has greeted Miliband rather modest proposals for capping power prices is hilarious to behold.  A conference speech by 'Red Ed' apparently wiped billions off the share price of utility companies.  Dire warning of a return to the power cuts of the 70s abound in the lunatic rightwing press.

Blimey, the man stopped a war and has not started a new Global Financial Crisis, and he isn't even in power.  Lenin has nothing on this chap.

By any saner-than-the-Daily-Mail standard, the speech was fairly middle-of-the-road stuff, cannily aimed at being seen to try to do things to make things easier for the typical family. If he was wading off to the extreme left he'd be talking about re-nationalising the electricity companies, not talking about capping profits.

Interestingly, the comments underneath the Mail article linked above suggest that Ed may have hit a nerve. Normally you'd expect anything he did to be utterly condemned and derided by the readers of the Mail ... But a lot of them are positive.  Tories may scream, but the people know they are being giped and they aren't listening to their masters any more.  Revolution is in the air!

So here's a slice of old fashioned tub thumping political pop, courtesy of Paul Weller in his Style Council Days.


"Lights go out," indeed!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Guardian Schmardian

Oh, dear.

Another day, another example of soft porn mid-brow titillation from the Guardian. Just stick a topless bird on Page 3 and be done with it.

If people want smut, there is plenty of it out there on the interweb. Either keep this site free of it, or if you are going to go there, do it properly and don't disguise it in wantonly pointless articles like this, or with endless phtoographs of luciosus bints who somehow make the front page without actually being remotely newsworthy.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Cunliffe's Cock Up II

So, a total no-story about a remark Standard blogger and Cunliffe campaign stalwart Jenny Michie becomes a fair-to-middling crisis for Team Cunliffe because of Cunliffe's poor judgement.

For the historical record, here is the original remark, made in a discussion recorded for The Nation:
That’s right, I think it's not a big a deal as it used to be. You know we now have gay marriage, and it actually went through without that much of a fuss, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Having said that I think we'd be na├»ve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t.

Which is innocuous enough, especially as it was in response to a direct question from the interviewer, Rachel Smalley: "Grant Robertson Jennie says that he wants to be judged on his ability, not his sexuality. How do you think the socially conservatives might view Grant Robertson you know in the year 2013?"

That's the sum of the original incident, which, for what it was worth, was broadcast on the 25th of August, after Shearer had resigned but before Cunliffe had declared his intention to contest the leadership.

Fast forward to last night, and suddenly the story is on the news, some two weeks after the original discussion.  Michie is now working for the Cunliffe team and the Southern Were-Shrew, Clare Curran happens upon the quote and starts shrilling across Twitter, with the help of Patrick Gower, who never saw a crap story he didn't like.

At that point, the story should have died.  It was slightly surprising it made it onto the TV news, but everyone likes a bit of aggro, so perhaps it was to be expected.  Cunliffe made grumpy noises but nothing more that evening.  The next day, he announced Jenny Michie had been 'stood down' from the campaign team.

I am not impressed by Cunliffe’s behaviour. Sacking a worker who has done nothing wrong is not what you would expect from someone wanting to lead the party of the workers.  Even viewed pragmatically, it was a misjudgement, as it has made a small and rather silly story bigger and distracted people’s attention from Curran’s role in it.

On the Standard, this has been hailed, weirdly, as Cunliffe 'showing steel' and demonstrating effective action and sound political judgement.  I think that is wrong on all three counts.  I don’t think a CEO who sacks workers to hire cheap labour is showing steel. Nor is a politician who boots out his staff for no good reason.

Cunliffe's response is fairly strange, on many levels.  First of all, dismissing someone who had given their time and energy, for doing nothing wrong, was pretty repulsive behaviour.  Especially from a man who wants to lead the party of the workers.  And especially from a man who should have know what it is like to be treated unfairly - Cunliffe after all had been demoted last year for exhibiting  disloyalty which he had always denied.

Of course, Patrick Gower was involved in that farago as well, and perhaps Cunliffe panicked, seeing his nemesis once again manifesting.

Another other reason it was a strange move from was because it showed poor instinct.  The story was not interesting until he made it interesting by his poorly judged response.  Curran was only making herself look stupid. No-one really cared what jenny Michie said a fortnight ago on a TV show no-one watched, and most people would have agreed with her assessment that there are still some brain dead idiots out there for whom Grant Robertson being gay is an issue.  After one night, the story would have died as it seems to have little to do with the Kardashians, or loveable rogue sheep - unless Jenny Michie was booted because she was actually a Kardashian. Or a rogue sheep.

Doing nothing wouldn’t have hurt Cunliffe. But by doing something he made it look like it was a story after all.  If sacking Michie was supposed to close the story down, it didn;t work as it was on the news again tonight. I doubt the original incarnation of the story would have been. Sacking Michie gave it legs. Fortunately, probably not enough to make it into a third night.

So it was morally a pretty unpleasant thing to do.  It was also clearly ineffective and miscalculated.  And Cunliffe should have known this.  He should have realised that he was not killing the story, but turning it into a zombie that would lumber after him.  If he is smart, and if he has been ‘under constant attack’ from the ‘biased’ ‘MSM’ as some slightly paranoid sounding posters at The Standard make out, he would have seen how this would be seized on as an example of his remorseless ambition.

Robertson and Jones have shown a bit of nous on the issue, more than Cunliffe. Robertson got to look big by saying it was nonsense, and that should have been the end of the story. Jones got a good line about werewolves. Cunliffe gets a lot of bad coverage. Who won?

So, he botched it.  It happens.  Not the end of the world.  But if this is the sort of blundering reaction to a relatively feeble attack by a blethering idiot, what will he do when the National machine starts? Sack New Zealand?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Guardian in Pretty Girl on Front Page of Website SHOCKAH!!

Gosh.

Another day, another toothsome filly featured on the front page of the Guardian website, this time highlighting the Burning Social Issue of skin whitening.  The fact that she is a bit famous (in Brazil) and fairly easy on the eye has nothing to do with the positioning of this story, of course.  We're ALL whitening our skin these days, dahling.  I burned my Epidermis right off the other day, thorough careless application of bleach.  What a silly cow I am!

Perhaps it's a new campaign.  Forget poverty, forget unemployment, forget education, Syria and global warming.  To Hell with Female Genital Mutilation.  Who cares about disabled rights?  Why bother about the badger cull when some bird in Brazil has been photographed under very different conditions and the photos don't look the same?

You're not OUTRAGED?  I'm burning a Brazillian flag as I type (not as easy as it looks, you know) and next time I get the hair ripped off my crotch I'm going to call it a Freedom Wax!  That'll teach 'em.

Or perhaps not ...

The fact that her winesome visage will generate a lot of clicks (including mine ...) has nothing to do with anything.  Nothing.

This hypocritical foregrounding of attractive women on trumped up, non-story reasons is a bit pathetic, really, and the silly 'social concern' angle just makes the blazoning of this young woman's pictures across the front page even more distasteful.  The Guardian used to be a paper worth reading.  Now there might be a certain prurient pleasure in looking, but its criteria for what makes a story 'newsworthy' are depressingly obvious and tabloid.

I would have hoped the ready availability of endless amounts of smut and salacious imagery on the internet would have meant the Guardian didn't have to demean itself with such titillations.  The image brought to mind is of a (late) middle aged successful writer or (being the Guardian) broadcaster, gurning rather shamefully at the paparazzi camera after being snapped clubbing with some blonde doxy who is enjoying her five minutes of fame with a Top 30 hit with a cover of a Cyndi Lauper song.  You should know better, act your age, and all that.

At least The Sun is open and honest in its use of pretty birds to generate interest.  The Guardian is only a couple of notches above the Mail, these days.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Waffle About UK Economic Growth

So, the Financial Times is getting excited because the UK has managed the fastest quarter of growth in the past three years - a not-exactly-whopping 0.9% for June, July and August.  That's very nice.

Just a few weeks ago, people were getting excited about the 0.6% growth in the second quarter of the year (a proper quarter, not the rather spurious 'last three months' which is tantalising the FT).

The second figure is conflated in the first figure, of course, as there is an overlap in the periods being considered.  But even a grumpy curmudgeon such as I will accept that, yes, the economy is growing, slowly.  But it isn't terribly convincing, as it is based on internal consumer spending, not foreigners buying stuff made by Brits.  The FT notes - rather far down the article, I felt, that exports fell, particularly to non-European countries, and the trade deficit expanded between June and July - from £1.3bn in June to £3.1bn.
 
Britain is buying in more than it is selling overseas, so the recent growth isn't sustainable, unless the trade figures pick up.  It's a spending bubble, and will collapse as soon as the spending stops.

Yet the Tory boys trumpet the wussy growth figures as if it was a vindication of George Osborne's demented - and ongoing - attack on public spending.  Not so.

Ed and Ed - Milliband and Balls - warned that Osborne's  austerity drive would delay and reduce growth. I think that has been demonstrated to have happened. It was damn close to being a double dip and a miserable, potracted period of stagnation is nothing much to crow about.  The USA went for the opposite approach and has enjoyed comparatively strong growth.

It is worth bearing in mind that wages are stagnant here while inflation is rising; and Osborne has plenty of cutting still to do.

The crucial question is, have people become so inured to hardship that they will actually regard this mediocre growth as the dawn of a new Golden Age?

I suspect that may have been Osborne's strategy all along.

Wither now, Aussie Labour?

If the New Zealish Labour Party thought it had woes, then they need only look across the ditch and see what REAL problems look like.  And it is really sad as, viewed pragmatically, Abbott's victory offers a brilliant opportunity for the Labour Party to regroup and get ready for what should be a straightforward return to power in 2016, for it won't take long for Tony Abbott to become so hated that people would even vote Kevin Rudd back in.


However, I confidently expect the Australian Labour Party will not manage to put its house in order and will go into the 2016 election - and the one after that, and the one after that - as a disorganised, dishevelled, hate-inspiring rabble of self-serving divisionists, gleefully plotting against each other and not giving a damn about the party, far less the country, because their seats will be safe.  After all, if they've managed to cling on to their seats through the routing of Rudd, they'll probably never lose them.

Blessed with playing opposition to what will be the most hated government since ... er ... their last one, Labour will not be ready. Abbott is going to be loathed, his policies are going to be hated and his MPs are going to turn out to be drivelling morons who couldn't even find a place in One Nation. In fact, there is a possibility Labour and the Coalition will be so hated that, next time round, Australia will see it first ever Green government, with One Nation forming the opposition. Or the other way round ... because both the big parties are going to be despised and disowned for a very long time.

(Okay, that last bit is a bit fanciful.)

So, what now for the Labour Party.  In a sane world, Rudd would step down.  But this isn't a sane world.  This is the mad world where Tony Abbott gets to be PM, so all bets are off.  He should go.  But who would replace him?  There aren't enough Labour MPs left to have a leadership race and an election, are there?

You can imagine the conversations between the remaining members of caucus: "Right, I'm standing and so are you. I'll vote for you and you vote for you, and that way we can say the new leaders was elected after a fiercely fought contest, winning the overwhelming support of the Labour Party cauccus. All three of them ..."

At least the travails and misery of the (sort of) left in Australia should serve as some sort of warning to our lot.  But will they heed it?  I fear not.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Aussie election blah blah blah

First of all, let me say I profoundly don't care which of the scumbags gets to be Prime Minister of Australia.  They are both loathsome human beings, in a way that even John Key isn't.

But the machinations of politics does fascinate me, and as the psychodrama of the NZ Labour leadership toddles tediously along, the show across the Tasman provides a welcome bit of Grand Goignol.

The Guardian is calling the election for the Coalition, Abbot for PM, and proclaiming the demise of Kevin Rudd.  This seems to me to be a very superficial reading of events.

Rudd was not brought back to win the election but to minimise the defeat.  It's a measure of how much of a (shortlived) impact his return had that this was immediately forgotten and replaced with a 'Who will win?' narrative.  But it was never a win/lose proposition, no matter how much Sunny Kev might try to make out he expects to be PM on Monday.  He was brought back because an awful lot of marginal Labour MPs were worried they might lose their jobs. 

If he can save them, they'll save him.

Whether or not he has made a difference to the scale of Labour's defeat remains to be seen.  I suspect he may do well enough to hold on to have another tilt next time, if he wants to - he seems to be the only person who wants to be leader of the Australian Labour Party, and who can blame the others for shirking a slurp from that poisoned chalice?

Abbot is already unpopular and he hasn't even won the election yet, far less started doing anything to really annoy people.  Wait a few months and see the real hating start.  Whoever is in charge of Labour for the next election will have a good chance of condemning Abbot (assuming he isn't rolled, as happened to Rudd and then Gillard) to the ignominy of being a one term wonder.

Something Rudd hasn't actually achieved, of course, as he got booted out before the 2010 election.

Cunliffe's cock-up

Hat tip to Karol on the Standard for highlighting this.

David Cunliffe has been speaking his branes on the history of Labour Party:
Since Michael Savage’s day, Labour has stood for a sense of security, that we could have the basics covered by working together and that would give us the chance to make the best of our lives.
That really is an apalling re-write of history. What happened to the 1980s, David?  Huge swathes of New Zealand – usually those with least – were not civen a chance to make the best of their lives. They were given redundancy payouts and left to rot in communities with no jobs, no future and no hope.

Any man who can mouth that falsehood should be barred from even looking at the levers of power, far less touching them.

That line has done more to make me doubt Cunliffe than anything the other candidates, National, Kiwiblog, Whale or ever the endless dittohead comments on the Standard has done. He’s either practising in deceit, like every other politician, saying whatever needs to be said to achieve his ends; or he’s actually deeply naive / stupid / deluded about his party’s history.

The sad thing is, even if he’s both deceitful, and naive / stupid / deluded, he’s still probably the best candidate of the three.

But I suspect 2014 will see me making up about 1% of Mana’s party vote in Palmerston North, again.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Nefarious Machinations of the Nightbeasts claims already in

A rather cryptic title for a short thread observing that, over on The Standard, Fanatics 4 Cunliffe have already started muttering about how the leadership is going to be handed to Robertson, or Jones, or - all together now - Anyone But Cunliffe through some devious plotting by the 'old guard' in caucus.

Good grief. So if Cunliffe loses after an open contest where votes are divived between caucus, the membership and the unions, some people will STILL not be happy with the result?

I think he will win – though a bit less certain since Robertson seems to be quite hungry – and I want him to win. But I can’t believe we can already see the factionalist refusniks already starting their wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Obviously, for some, it seems the only fair 'election' would be the coronation of David Cunliffe.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Meanwhile, in China ...

Our Esteemed Trading Partners are taking care of business as usual:
Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday that 22 ethnic Uighurs were killed Aug. 20 when security forces opened fire at a house in a suburb of Kashgar.
The area, which lies close to China's borders with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, has been a frequent site of bloodshed between the dominant ethnic Han Chinese and Uighurs, a Muslim minority.
Local sources verified the Radio Free Asia account to the Los Angeles Times, saying the dead were buried before their families were notified of their deaths. But they provided no further details.
The World Uyghur Congress,  a Germany-based advocacy group, says that it has documented a number of deadly incidents since March, some of which were also reported by the official Chinese media. In all, they say 103 to 138 people have been killed and at least 125 arrested.
Funny how we aren't so concerned about the plight of the Uighurs as we are about other peoples who have had their land stolen, their culture suppressed and who are bullied into submission by totalitarian thuggery.

I've been busy!

With 13 posts in August (14 including this one), this has been my most productive month since July 2011.  Which is pretty feeble, as having opinions and grumbling isn't exactly onerous.

On the Unexpected Discovery of Backbone in Mr Ed Milliband

This is astonishing. Britain's march to war halted. Obama checked. the French - as always - looking desperately for an opportunity to give up.

Ed Milliband has single-handedly brought the Western military industrial complex to a stop.  Just think what he could do if he didn't sound like a dork every time he opened his mouth.

And think how different recent history if the Tories of 2003 had shown the sanity and backbone that Milliband and Labour showed today.

The pathetic claim that he was somehow offering 'succour' to Assad, as stated by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, deserves nothing but scorn.  he wasn't succouring a bloody dictator, he was preventing another blundering inept foreign adventure.  And if he really was called a Copper bottomed shit - an appalling mixed metaphor -  by a government source he should wear the label with pride.

And on the subject of Tories, pause to consider this:
Michael Gove, the education secretary, was overheard shouting "disgrace" at Tory rebels, an MP told the Press Association.

The Scottish National Party's Westminster leader Angus Robertson told Sky News he watched as Gove had to be "persuaded to calm down" following the outburst.
While this is all very serious, the image of Michael Gove losing the plot and shouting "Disgrace" and "Infamy" and "For shame" and so on in the Corridors of Power is very funny.

So all in all, not a good night for the Tories and David Cameron, but a better one for Labour and Britain.

This might be odd from someone who is in favour of intervention in Syria.  But a ill thoughtout lurch into a conflict is not going to help.  There should be a UN backed intervention - thoough it is hard to see how it can be done in the face of Russian and Chinese vetoes.  After all, the USA would not want to set a precedent of ignoring vetoes when it comes to the Middle East, would it?

Even an utterly black-and-white UN report probably won't lead to a mandate for direct intervention, I think. The Chinese and Russians will block it. But they must be tired of backing Assad, who is starting to look like a loser. They will probably allow the rebels to be supported and perhaps air cover 'to prevent further atrocities' if they can be persuaded that Assad is on the way out, and they have to think about making sure thye have friends among the regime that replaces him.

As for the nature of the rebels, we have to be phlegmatic.  Yes, some of them are unsavoury and perhaps are affiliated with terror groups.  But what did you expect would happen?  Two years ago, the Syrian people tried to overthrow Assad.  He shot them, and has continued to kill them ever since, while we did nothing.  Did we really expect the rebels to wait meekly for Assad to butcher them because we said they couldn't have guns to fight back with?

it shouldn't be that difficult to make sure we are putting guns in the hands of the least worst of the Syrian rebels.  After all, it will be in our interest to make sure the factions least hostile to us are in a strong position once Assad goes.  And go he must.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Doubly Damned Dave

So, Robertson versus Jones it is, for now.  Will Cunliffe make a bid for it (perhaps hoping not to win?) or sit this one out?

Cunliffe is damned either way, really.  If he goes for it, he may lose the leadership race; if he wins, he may lose the election.  If he doesn't have a crack, he will look like a cynical coward who was anticipating defeat in 2014.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

More balderdash on the Labour Leadership

Just as my planned post comparing Shearer/Milliband to Clem Attlee prior to the triumph of 1945 was disrupted by Shearer's decision to fall upon his sword, I fully anticipate that Cunliffe will announce he is running within seconds of this post hitting the internet. 

There's going to be a leadership contest (for those who have been hiding understones for the last couple of days).  David "Shoulda been me" Cunliffe versus Grant "I'm Not David Cunliffe" Roberstson seem to be the popular picks - though I suspect things may still turn out differently, as they contemplate precisely what being leader of the Labour Party right now means.  Neither has declared they are running, at this time.  Both are consulting friends and family, or whatever it is politicians say when they are desperately doing the numbers to see if they can win.

If it is Cunliffe versus Robertson, it has to be Cunliffe. If it is Cunliffe versus anyone in caucus, it pretty much has to be Cunliffe – though I thought that was the case 20 months ago … The question is, will Cunliffe go for it?

Is his (oft commented on) high self opinion so high he thinks he can take on Key?
If he does become leader, I suspect there will be an immediate surge in Labour support – but mostly at the expense of the Greens, and perhaps NZ First. So Labour will be happy, but the 2014 result will still be a coin toss, for now.

But it isn't as simple as that.  Cunliffe has to decide to run first, before he gets to be leader.  If he does, he would probably win.  You’d have to be stupid to take Robertson over Cunliffe.

But I’m still not sure he’ll go for it this time.  In spite of his undoubted desire to be leader, he may decide to hold back.  After all, he's been waiting a long time, and probably anticipated waiting longer before Shearer's sudden demise.

He may weigh up the likelihood of winning against the likelihood of losing and being out of a job in 2014.  Unfortunately, his prime motivation will be the betterment of David Cunliffe.  I don't think he wants to be remembered as the guy who lead the party to defeat in 2014, which will still be a distinct possibility for all the superhuman qualities some seem to attribute to him.

With this in mind, he might decide he'd rather play the assassin's role after the (very possible) defeat in 2014.  So Cunliffe may nurse his ambitions and elect to sit it out - perhaps showing his loyalty and support by signing up as deputy - with a canny eye on 2014.

The same applies to Roberston.  Both have time on their side, both are ambitious and neither would desire to be a pathetic footnote in Labour history.  So we may - just possibly - have a situation where the two main contenders for the job are not contending, leaving it open to either Andrew Little or a stop gap candidate like Annette King - someone who will at least stop the defeat of 2014 turning into a rout. 

Then, once the small business of who runs the country between 2014 and 2017 is dealt with, the important matter of who gets to shout at John Key for three years can be attended to.

The other reason Cunliffe might sit this one out (other than cynical self interest) is because he is too resented for his role – or perceived role – in all the undermining and plotting against Shearer. He might feel a period of loyalty, blasting national from a glamorous front bench position, might serve his interests better. Because it is always going to be about his interests, not the parties.

There will be some interesting meetings going on between bland little men in grey suits.  Those meetings will determine who is going to be the leader of the Labour Party, because they will be where it is decided who will be encouraged to step forward, and who will be quietly told not to make themselves difficult.  I suspect that these grey little men will mention to Cunliffe that not being difficult now might result in a swift return to the front bench, and perhaps even a hint of support if there should happen to be a vacancy after 2014.

NB – Whatever happens, I also anticipate Roy Morgan releasing some essentially random set of figures, calling it a poll and placing some frivolous interpretation on it, which will likely be contradicted by their next poll.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Labour Leadership, Yet Again

Ho, hum.  I was contemplating a longish piece - a sort of essay - on the leadership travails of Ed Milliband and David Shearer.  My starting point was likely to be the experiences of Clem Attlee, who was so scorned by his own party that he faced (and ignored) continual demands to quit for someone more acute, more charismatic, more dynamic, more leftwing, more anything.

Attlee, of course, went on to win a massive majority immediately after the end of World War 2, and instituted a programme of reforms that haven't been matched by any British prime minister since; and is now regarded as the perhaps the best PM of the century, almost certainly the best of the post war bunch.

But I didn't quite get around to it and just as well, as David Shearer decided to quit, without checking with me if that would be okay.

So, with the phoney war over, what now for Labour?

Obviously the three most mooted names are Cunliffe, Robertson and Little.  Romantics nervously suggest Jacinda Ardern.  I think none of the above are likely, for the simple reason they are career politicians with time (but not much else) on their side.

They aren’t thinking about what is good for the Labour party, but for their own prospects. Cunliffe, Robertson, Little probably don’t relish the idea of taking on Key, even now. I think the ‘Big Beasts’ will be thinking about the 2014 leadership election, rather than the 2014 general election.

I think Annette King might emerge as a stop gap contender. 

King is familiar and have a bit of ‘elder statesperson’ gravitas. King / Cunliffe or King / Little might be viable tickets, with the deputy keeping a canny eye on his prospects for 2014.

So it would be very funny if King managed to scrape some sort of a victory in 2014, and so delayed the succession to 2016-7, by which time Jacinda might be a more realistic prospect.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

More unbiased and thoughtful commentary on the British polls

The brilliantly reliable and accurate polling company Ipsos Mori confirm what everyone already knows, which is that the Tories are in their death throes at 30% (though the claim their support has risen by one point is laughable!) and Labour are sitting pretty at 40%.  Some other parties got 10% and 11%, respectively.

The superbly reliable and honest ComRes puts the Tories on CON 28% (probably a bit of a sympathy vote helping bolster the figures, as decent Brits take pity on Cameron), Labour 37%, Lib Dems 8% and the UKIP 19%.

The unutterable Populus continue a shameful history of basically making stuff up, ludicrously claiming the Tories might actually be supported by 36% of voters, and Labour by only 39%.  Pull the other one, Populous!  They rather over do the joke, however, by giving the Lib Dems 10% - not this side of a leadership change, and the UKIP a surprisingly accurate feeling 8%.  What's up, chaps, forget to add the '1' at the front?

And YouGov - who are to polling what Steven Segeal is to quality film - continue their quixotic attempts to pretend the Tories are doing smashingly, giving them 34% to Labour's 39% - an absolute affront to decency and verisimilitude.  No doubt they will shortly be reporting that the Titanic reached New York safely, such is their wanton propensity for deceit.

Respect Reject Galloway

Oh dear:
All five Respect city councillors in Bradford - where Mr Galloway achieved a surprise parliamentary by-election victory last year - have quit to sit as independents.

It was the latest blow to the party which has had a turbulent history since its creation in 2004 as a Left-wing alternative to Labour.

The strife follows Mr Galloway's disclosure that he was considering standing as the capital's Mayor in 2016.

Two Respect councillors, Ishtiaq Ahmed and Mohammad Shabbir, were suspended by the leadership after they spoke out against the move and attacked his record as the MP for Bradford West.

The party's other councillors left the party in sympathy and said they would not rejoin until the suspensions were revoked.
To get dumped by Labour is one thing. Might even be considered a badge of honour and decency.

But to be excoriated by your own vanity party and rejected by the very people who only got where they were by clinging to your dismal coat tails, is another.

Must be very unlucky, Gorgeous George. Or vain, self interested, hate inducing spasm of puke. You decide.

But he's never seen a barrel of oil, of course.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

More on that poll - serious, this time

As mentioned earlier, Opinium have produced a poll for the Guardian that shows, among other things, that Labour's lead has fallen by 3 points and David Cameron's approval rating has 'improved' marginally.  The poll itself is fine - Opinium's methodolgy seems to overvalue the UKIP (given a rather ludicrous 17%, consistently) and probably undervalues the Lib Dems, but probably gets the positions of the two big parties just about right.

The problem is the Guardian's write up of the poll, which is an impressive effort in trying to make something out of nothing.

I know journalists have to write stories and proprietors sell newspapers and stuff; and I know "Poll shows no real changes" is a boring headline.  But a 1% change in the number of people who think Cameron is doing a good job doesn't indicate anything, other than that the polling company's methodology is robust enough to produce broadly similar results.

Does the Observer not understand the concept of statistically insignificant variation? If Labour's support has dropped by 3 points, it probably ins't duse ot anything that has happened; it just tells us the last poll was probably a bit too generous, and this one a bit too harsh.

Pretending a change from one poll to another, and reading Grave Import into it, is pointless at best, and at worst a rubbishy attempt to set the agenda or engineer a crisis.  So they get to write more stories and sell more newspapers.

Poll

The foul and pernicious Opinium - whose predictions are so inept and unreliable even Robert Mugabe would blush to use them - have released spurt of propaganda masquerading as a poll:

CON 29%(+1)
LAB 36%(-3)
LDEM 9%(+1)
UKIP 17%(+1)

The suggestion that Labour support might fall in the face of the failed policies and miserable corruption of the venal convocation of serpents, glorifying themselves as a government, is laughable.

Tiger, tiger, breeding bright ...

"A rare Sumatran tiger gave birth to two cubs on Monday in efforts to keep the breed from becoming extinct, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoo."

"The tiger named Damai gave birth to the first cub around 6:15 p.m. and the second around 8:23 p.m. Both cubs are healthy, but zoo keepers are monitoring the newborns. Damai is nursing and grooming both cubs, according to the news release."

"Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild."
(Here)
Sad to say, but I think celebration is naive.  We should stop wasting resources trying to preserve a species that is doomed in every meaningful sense.  We can not preserve them in their natural encvironment; preserving them in zoos would be an abomination.

Is it worthwhile concentrating resources in an effort to preserve these critically endangered species, or if we focus on stopping other species reaching crisis point?

As for the preserving them in zoos, you aren't preserving them. You can preserve tiger genetic code by maintaining a few sorry specimens in zoos, but the that things make a tiger a tiger are gone the moment you put it in a cage. I really can't comprehend how anyone can argue putting a tiger in a zoo is humane.

Let them - and all the other glorious species we have destroyed through our greed and stupidity - fade away.  We've tormented them enough.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Polls polls polls

Another typically reliable and accurate poll from YouGov shows the Labour at about 40%.

CON 31%
LAB 39%
LDEM 11%
UKIP 11%

It would appear, however, they have missed the decimal point in the figure for the Tories.  3.1% seems far more likely.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Tough on lines, tough on the causes of lines

Eric Pickles has put in a useful effort for the typically hotly contested 'Dumbest Idea' category of British legislation.

He has suggested that allowing people to park in No Parking areas - indicated in the UK by double yellow lines - for up to fifteen minutes would be a boon to struggling high streets and revitalise dying town centres, lift the economy, eradicate world poverty and cure cancer.

Okay, some of that may be hyperbolic. But it's not much stupider than what Pickles is actually suggesting, which is to take a perfectly simple rule (YOU MAY NOT PARK YOUR CAR HERE) and make it stupidly complicated - YOU MAY NOT PARK YOUR CAR HERE BUT YOU MAY AS LONG AS IT NOT FOR MORE THAN FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Setting aside the dubious claim that allowing people to park free of charge on the street would really have a significant impact (how much money can you really spend in fifteen minutes?) this is so impractical it prompts me to wonder when the last time Pickles drove his own car.

Double yellow lines are there for a reason. TO MAKE IT SAFER. Allowing people to park there for a short spell will make things far more dangerous. Then there is the policing issue. It makes fining for illegal parking almost impossible: "I was only here 15 minutes, gov!"

Either get away with double yeller lines altogether, or keep the rule as it is. If there needs to be more parking, make it official, rather than creating more ambiguity, whinging-room and silliness.

Anyway, I'm not sure double yellow lines are killing the high street. I think inflated rents on properties and not being very good or competitive are what is killing the high street.

Maybe David Cameron will order the internet to be closed because it is killing the high street?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Polling trolling

Populous - long the enemy of truth and the people - have released yet another mendacious 'poll' suggesting the Labour lead may be as low as 5 (FIVE) points.

Someone should tell them that if they are going to foist lies upon us in a feeble effort to defend their despicable Tory paymasters, they should at least make the lies almost believable.

If they had claimed a Labour lead of just 15 points, it might have been accepted by the more partisan or credulous, though would undoubtedly have been met with howls of derision by anyone with a brain or a molecule of intellectual honesty about them.

CON 33%
LAB 38%
LDEM 12%
UKIP 9%

Here

Everyone knows the Labour lead is really closer to 50%, of course, but you can't expect the Tories to face up to too much reality at once.

After all, if they had to dispense with comforting myths entirely, they would have to rethink their economic policy.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

British political polling

Populous - generally considered to be the benchmark in absolute reliabilty, unbiased accuracy and total integrity - confirms what we all knew all along (even Tories, in their dirty little Tory 'hearts'): the nation is deeply in love with Ed Milliband's glorious project of renovation and revitalisation, and dreams of the day the Tory chancers are shown the door, never to darken the precincts of Downing Street again.

CON 29%
LAB 40%
LDEM 11%
UKIP 12%

Meanwhile, the highly suspect and oft ridiculed YouGov - traitors all - have produced and other fanciful so-called 'poll' which suggests - laughably - that the Labour lead might only be measured in single digits.

CON 34%
LAB 40%
LDEM 10%
UKIP 11%.

The good yeomen of England, the canny denizens of Scotland, even the miserable demi-humans of the other bits, recognise this as the cheap trick it is and call for the perpetrators of the Wellesian bit of hoaxery to be carted off to the Tower forthwith.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Good Grief

A massacre is taking place in Egypt.
At least 136 supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, have been shot dead by security officials in what is the worst state-led massacre in the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, according to figures released by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian health ministry said that it had counted only 20 dead so far – though their figures are only based on bodies delivered to state institutions. Reporters at the scene counted at least 36 corpses in a single room.
The massacre took place in the small hours of Saturday morning, at a sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya, east Cairo, where tens of thousands of pro-Morsi supporters have camped since Morsi was deposed on 3 July.
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said the shooting started shortly before pre-dawn morning prayers on the fringes of a round-the-clock vigil being staged by backers of Morsi, who was toppled by the army more than three weeks ago.
It's hard to see how the West can stand back and allow this to happen, on top of the 50 odd Muslim Brotherhood supporters murdered a couple of weeks ago.

Surely even our spineless, hypocritical leaders must realise they must immediately severe support for the psychopaths who have seized power, curtail all aid and demand the immediate restoration of the democratically elected government of Egypt?  And that the criminals in charge are brought to justice?  Or would the last be a bit too much for countries that let George W Bush and Tony Blair walk free?

The Egyptian military has been described as a moderating force for order and decency as the brass were all educated in the west.  This was the reason that the coup-that-was-not-a-coup was not utterly condemned.  The theory was our (supposed) values and understanding of the role of the military would rub off. Clearly, this didn't really happen. They do seem to have learned one tip from the West, though - at all times, refer to the people you are killing as terrorists. Even when they are your own people.

I think we know who the real terrorists are.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Labour Leadership, Part 561

I give up. I thought the insanity that seems to have possessed the post-Clark Labour party would have run its course after 2011. But it seems some can not sate their need to schism and plot against their own party, rather than their opposition.

Does anyone really think installing David Cunliffe or Andrew Little is really going to give Labour a real boost in the polls? That suddenly this brain dead, factionalised caucus will suddenly unite and start pouring out brilliant ideas? That suddenly the New Zealand public will realise what it has always wanted to do was embark on a Long March to the left? Get real.

Swapping out Shearer for Cunliffe will simply mean the current coterie around Shearer will become the scheming plotters trying to undermine the leader. The (possibly terminal) decline will continue. The polls will stay miserable, with the occasional 35% rating being greeted rapturously, while National pooter along quite happily at 48%.

Do you really think there are Brilliant Ideas - better than KiwiBuild and the NZ Power - that some members of the caucus have just plain forgotten to mention but will rediscover with Shearer out of the top spot? It seems rather unlikely, to be generous.

There isn't much to be said for Shearer; there isn't much to be said for Cunliffe. If Shearer is rolled, the electorate will not rejoice and switch from National to Labour. They will look on the conspirators as the Roman plebs looked on Cassius and Brutus - only they won't need an Anthony to rouse them. They'll see it for what it is - the petty politicking of little men who were so interested in advancing themselves they betrayed the movement they claimed to be part of. The electorate will be more firmly pro-Key than ever, because the NZ Labour party will have succeeded in becoming toxic as well as useless.

Cunliffe - and anyone else - would be a fool to roll Shearer now. it won't fix anything - not one of the buffoons put forward as a possible new leader has the wit or charisma to fix the problems of the Labour party. They are the symptom, not the solution. They will look at how few of those who strike the fatal blow go on to wear the crown. Brash rolled English and lost. Gillard rolled Rudd and lost. Rudd rolled Gillard and will likely lose - and if he does win, based on his moves against refugees, it will be a Phyricc victory as who would want to win on a platform of xenophobia and fear?

Cunliffe and the other contenders - pygmies all, but the Labour party is a party where pygmies are well represented - would probably prefer to wait until after 2014. They are none of them so stupid as to think substituting Shearer for any one of them would make a sufficient difference. But they also know that by 2014 they will be as stale and unappealling as Phil Goff in 2011. So they will perhaps be compelled to act now - before whatever miniscule talent they possess is completely over-shadowed.

I suppose being leader for a year and a bit would be preferable to never being leader at all.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A sort of cautious defence of John Inverdale

John Inverdale has made a lot of people cross by commenting on the appearance of Marion Bartoli, the highly likeable and quirky Wimbledom champion.

He commented, 'Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, “You’re never going to be a looker?"’ This has lead to all sorts of accusations of being mean to Bartoli, to promoting negative views of female athletes and sexism and so on. Male players, we are told, are not subjected to this. Bartoli has also been subject to a lot of hateful comments on the internet by trolls calling her ugly.

I think Inverdale was actually trying to compliment Bartoli on her skill and work ethic, in a clumsy way. If any insult was intended, it was towards the likes of Sharapova and Kournikova, who are popular and attract sponsorship and media attention disproportionate to their ability.

The comment was meant to convey that Bartoli would have to actually win tournaments and stuff, rather than looking lithe and flashing her knickers. I think he was trying to say that, to be famous and beloved, she'd have to do it the hard way. If everyone is talking about her, it's because of her success as a tennis player. The full version of his comment bears this out:
Speaking on the show yesterday, Inverdale had said: ‘I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, "listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker".
‘"You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5ft 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that". ‘
"You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it", and she kind of is.'
Also, worth pointing out that male atheletes are frequently criticised for their appearance - think of the comments directed at Waybe Rooney, or at the nickname the Sun came up with for Jerzy Janowicz (Murray's semi final opponent) - Frankenstein. Ivan Lendl was called 'Darth Vader' in the 80s because he was perceived as sulky and dour, as if smiling and waving was part of his job - a criticism still levelled at Andy Murray.

I can even recall it being said about Michael Chang that he "wasn't sexy enough" to attract the sort of sponsorship that Andre Agassi could, when they were both emergent players. So it does happen to male and female athletes.

Obviously, Inverdale was stupid and should have kept his ill formed thoughts to himself - but it is fairly common for people to comment on athlete's looks, and the exceptional fuss aimed at Inverdale is a bit odd.

The internet trolls, on the other hand, should be sought out and killed.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Tory Polling Blues

Dave is DOOOOOOOMED!!

Or at least he should be.  According to a new poll, the Tories are not just 13 points behind Labour.  They are just one point ahead of the UKIP:
There is also a Survation poll out for the Daily Mirror which has topline figures of CON 23%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 22% (Full tabs are here). It’s the lowest the Conservatives have shown in a poll this Parliament, and the closest UKIP have come to them, but that’s largely for methodological reasons because the Tories hate inducing scum that will soon be the third party of British politics. 
I may have adapted Anthony Wells's comments a bit, and Survation are a bit suspect compared to proper polling companies, but who cares? Since the anti-AGW lot have decided you can just pick what ever data you like and manipulate it whatever way you see fit, I'm happy to join in.

The response of the right?  To rave and scream about some miserable corruption in candidate selection in Scotland.  The Mail rather hopefully suggests this may be a threat to Ed Milliband's leadership.

Dave - or should I say Nigel Farage? - should be so lucky. No one cares about what happens in Falkirk. The desperation of the Tories is obvious from the eagerness with which they have seized on this.

With their polling numbers drifting towards the low 20s, you would think the Tories would be a bit more introspective.  Ostriches, Titanic, whatever metaphor makes you happy.

But respectable polling company with robust methodology shows the Tories at 23% and just one point ahead of the UKIP - and the right's response is to squeal about some tawdry little near scandal in Falkirk.  Those wondering where or even what Flakirk is should not feel ashamed.  No-one other than William Wallace has ever been at all bothered by goings on in Falkirk.

Do they really think that's going to win back the missing 10%?

Do they really think the British electorate will shiver in terror at the mere mention of the unions?

Amusingly, Thatcher broke that stick and the Tories will struggle to beat Labour with it. Yet it still seems to be the only one they use. "Vote for us, coz, coz ... UNIONS!! WAH!!"

Not suggestive a party bringing over with energy, hope and ideas, is it?

Egypt

So, Egypt's short lived experiment with democracy appears to be over. Oh, I know, the army are saying they will be handling power back soon. Just like in Fiji.

I don't particularly like the Muslim Brotherhood being in power but they were democratically elected; collapsing democracy is a bigger problem than allowing some moderate Islamists the opportunity to disillusion their support base.

Revolution was necessary to get rid of Mubarak, but not so with the Muslim Brotherhood. A second revolution will probably condemn Egypt to either civil war or dictatorship - following the pattern of Russia in 1917. If you don't like the results of a democratic election, the solution is not to start a rampage to collapse the elected government.

It would have been be nice if the Egyptians had chucked out Mubarak and immediately started debates about the relative merits of Single transferable Vote as opposed to Mixed Member Proportional representation; but that was not exactly a realistic prospect. It was always going to be a bumpy road; the important thing is that the Egyptians stayed on it.

Morsi was always going to be divisive as almost as many people voted against him as voted for him. He lost the enthusiasm of some of those who supported him, but I don't think this could really be described as a 'popular' uprising.  Yeah, a lot of people are running about in the streets setting things on fire and scrapping - that's what you do when you are young and have no job and no hope of getting one.

Because the fundamental problem isn't Morsi's mildly silly Islamism.  People don't over throw their governments because they want to close all shops at 10pm.  They tell them to stop being silly.  Morsi's government fell for the same reason Mubarak fell - not enough jobs and high food prices.  And this will be the reason the next democratically elected government - if there is one in the near future - will be welcomed, become loathed and finally fall.  The example of China suggests a lot of people will put up with a lot in exchange for work, food, and a degree of security in exchange for following the rules.  Democracy is trumped by hunger.

One of two things will probably happen now, neither of them good. Either the military will keep power, while mouthing an intention to return to democracy when the 'national emergency' is over, which will always be '12-18 months from now'; or they will cede control back to an interim government, which will also rapidly become hated and unpopular, and the cycle will repeat.

And even if a stable government is established, the precedent has been set for military intervention at the whim of the generals. Not a good omen.

Yes, I know, that was one of three things. No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition, and all that.

So we've had a coup followed by mass arrests of the leaders of the democratically elected (until ver recently) governing party. Not looking too good, is it? Even if the army does cede power back to civilians, they appear to be setting things up so that the Muslim Brotherhood is too weak or intimidated to contest power again.

In Britain, the Tories are consistently behind in the polls. Will the British army heed The Will Of The People and oust these power crazed scum?

Jonathan Freedland makes a (for him surprisingly) good point in the Guardian. The impact of this coup may be more than just the stunting of Egyptian democracy, but a wider disillusionment with democracy among Muslims in the region. They tried, they won, they were run out of town:
To remove an elected president, to arrest a movement's leaders and silence its radio and TV stations, is to send a loud message to them and to Islamists everywhere. It says: you have no place in the political system. It says: there is no point trying to forge a version of political Islam compatible with democracy, because democracy will not be available to you.
Why bother trying if you are going to be overthrown when you try to actually use the power that was fairly won? I think this is important because democracy requires compromise. The Islamists just booted out in Egypt would - if they had been allowed to continue to participate - have discovered the necessity of diluting their plans, building consensus and accepting there are just some things that they can not do because the people will not wear it. Instead, they've been taught a blunt lesson on How To Do It - get the mob out, get the Men With Guns out, then you can do whatever you like. The next incarnation of Islamism in Egypt will be far harsher, and far less concerned with gaining power from the ballot box.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Result

So, there's been a by-election and the result was a Labour victory over a bubbling Mana party. As an instinctive Labourite who voted Mana in 2011, I'm happy with that. It shows a solidly centre-left vote, albeit split three ways, between Labour the Greens and Mana.

Over on The Standard, of course, it is being hailed as (I kid you not) a ''disaster' for Labour. Clearly, some people don't know how numbers work. Perhaps they thought the vote tallies were akin to chart positions, and getting to one was the aim.

I don’t see why it is a ‘disaster’ for Labour. By-election results are almost always wobbly, as they are on reduced turnouts and without the over-arching narrative of a general election campaign. Also given this by-election was about a relative unknown contesting the seat vacated by a very well known politician who had held it for years.

I suppose people will read into it whatever they want to read into it; the factionalists and schismatics will mysteriously claim a win is a defeat and call for Shearer’s head.

I suppose the simple question they have to answer is, would they rather see David Cunliffe back in government, or would they prefer him on the opposition benches for another three years?

Because I think that really is the reality. There’s a slim possibility of the former if the squabbling stops and Labour get their act together; and a very strong likelihood of the latter, if things continue as they are.

What it comes down to is the common leftwing delusion that their faction is the one that people really want. When in fact within the broad church of the Labour movement, the far left make up only a small, lonely clique. Because they talk only to each other, and about little else, they exaggerate their own importance and influence.

I know, because I am one of them, but sufficiently cut off from the hot house of leftwing factionalism to be able to recognise my own utter insignificance.

Again, the issue comes down to compromise - and the far left are virulently opposed to compromise. They prefer the moral high ground (also known as the opposition benches) to the messy reality of achieving and using power.

They make a sad moral virtue of it, scolding those who do get grubby for being traitors and failing to mimic their own utter ineffectual sideline squawking.

At the time of the original leadership election, I preferred Cunliffe to Shearer - not because he was 'far left' (he isn't) but because I recognised him as an effective, experienced performer. But he lost. I got over it.

It's well past time for other people to move on. I’m sure he’d rather be a minister in government than leader of the opposition.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Stupid Tories

And when they aren't busily re-announcing spending-as-usual as new spending, the Tory Liars are trying to cover up the fact that their (few) policies have failed.
While serving in opposition, the shadow Housing minister, Grant Shapps, promised Tory backing for people who built their own homes to kick-start a house building “revolution” in the UK.

Two years later in Government, he launched an action plan to double the number of self-build homes within a decade.
Hurrah! Encouraging people to build and invest, making money flow about the economy and ending the recession! Not a bad idea, for Tories. But wait ...

But when Labour attempted to find out how the Government was getting on with its pledge, senior officials in the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) attempted to prevent the release of statistics showing how many self-build homes had been started.
Bizarrely, they tried to claim that they could not provide the information because to do so would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs”.
“Officials and Ministers need a safe space in which they can offer free and frank advice and exchange [of] views,” they wrote.
“It is reasonable to acknowledge that data from a variety of sources will form an important part of this essential process and therefore should have the same degree of protection as other information.
“If this data was made available at a premature stage it would result in weaker discussions, poorer decision-making and the closure of policy options.”
Shy Tories, hiding their light under a bushel! Fortunately, the shadow Housing minister, Hilary Benn decided the Tories should not be cheated of the credit they were due for pursuing good policy with dogged determination, and for helping ever increasing numbers of people achieve the Tory ideal of home ownership. So he told the Information commissioner that the Tories were too coy to reveal their excellence to the world.

In his ruling, seen by The Independent, the Commissioner roundly rejected the argument put forward by DCLG officials and demanded that the information be released.
“The exemptions cited by DCLG require more than the possible inconvenience in responding to queries about disclosures,” he wrote scathingly.
“The Commissioner considers that DCLG has not provided arguments which demonstrate that disclosure would inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.”
And what did it show? In a short table released to Labour it showed that the number of people who begin self-build homes had fallen since the depths of the recession in 2009 under Labour from 11,800 to 10,400 in 2011.
Oh dear. What have we here? Good policy helping people into home ownership? Nope. Blatant abuse of power, with idiots trying to hide their incompetence from scrutiny. By all means be useless. But don't try to hide the fact. And if you are going to try to hide it, do it competently so you don't end up being exposed as incompetent, untrustworthy idiots.

An even better idea - have good policy that works.

Quotes from the Indie.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Awkward

Bit of a problem for George:
The Chancellor will announce £11.5bn of cuts for the 2015-16 financial year in three weeks – but so far only £2.5bn have been agreed, as senior members of the Government battle to protect their own departments from further suffering.

-snip-

Seven smaller departments have settled with the Treasury. The unresolved budgets include defence, education, business, transport, local government and the environment.

 Here 
Might be difficult to pick where the axe should fall. Unless, of course, that talk about the Greenest Government Ever was just that - talk.

I rather suspect the windfarms may be in for a hammering and anticipate James Delingpole to be made Under-Goblin in the Department of the Environment.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

More waffle on the Yucker 'triumph'

As the scale of the UKIP achievement continues to be exaggerated, here are more of my branz on the matter.

For all their success in the local elections, the Yuckers are unlikely to replicate anything like this in the parliamentary General Election in 2015. First Past The Post dooms most small parties. Look at the electoral history of the Liberal Democrats - polling 20% of the vote, and getting less than 10% of the seats. They may poll 20% across the country, but their only impact may be to split the right wing vote.  The difference between South Shields and Eastleigh suggest it is, fundamentally, appealing to right wing voters.

The move towards the UKIP appears to be in traditionally conservative (small c) areas which either voted Tory since time immemorial, or Lib Dem as the alternative, as they would never, ever vote Labour. This happens in rural Scotland as well where conservative, pro-union Scots vote Lib Dem because they hate the Tories and Labour equally

What happened last night was essentially, a protest vote, not a genuine vote in support of UKIP policy.  People are angry with the coalition and are voting against it, not for the UKIP.  And, it is important to reiterate, Labour wwould never have a look in in the areas where the local elections took place, just as it would necver have had a look in at Eastleigh.

South Shields showed there isn't much movement from Labour to the UKIP. All we're seeing is the right wing vote reallocating itself. Probably, massively to the detriment of all three right wing parties.

Which will make 2015 wildly unpredictable, as it may come down to whether the right vote is so split it allows Labour to grab seats that would normally be off their target list.

The Yuckers might get a few seats at the election but I don't think they will get many because from now until the election they are (probably) going to be under continual attack from the Tories and / or their appeal to voters will wane.

Farage pretty much conceded he's going to be nothing more than a historical footnote when the UKIP was compared to the SDP in the 80s. He pointed out that the SDP 'won' in the long run as Tony Blair was effectively an SDP Prime Minister. Yes, Nige, but that was 20 years later and he wasn't the leader of the SDP.

I think Farage, if he is smart and picks a good seat, might be in with a shot. Maybe a couple of others. But I don't think they could hope to get into double figures. Also, that woold require them to concentrate most of their resources in these key seats and so their national profile would slip. So they might grab a couple of Southern seats while their overall share of the vote declines, oddly.

The problem for the UKIP isn't the Tories or Labour, but the idiot electoral system. It puts them in a position where, unless they can win over the majority of the Conservative vote in seat after seat, they face being left with very little in terms of representation.

That cuts both ways, of course - I do think a few of the smarter Tories might be reflecting on how they sank the Alternative Vote campaign and wishing they'd gone for it.  Alternative Vote would allow all disaffected Tories to vote for the UKIP as first choice - and Conservative as second, meaning the number of seats in jeopardy from a split vote would be minimal.

I really do think the party that will come out of this best will be Labour. They won't deserve it, as they won't have done anything to earn it, but they will benefit.  They will benefit from the split in the right wing vote, from the fact the Tories will make themselves hideous and ugly and unelectable to stop more bleeding to the UKIP (though I don't think the support they are losing are people who have suddenly decided to be anti-immigration or quasi-racist; a lot of the new UKIP support were Lib Dems in 2010 and expressing anger with the government) and because of the resources that will be diverted to fighting the UKIP.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Welcome to the 80s, Tories!

Have the good people of South Shields doomed David Cameron?

Normally, you would think not. Normally, the vote in South Sheilds - a rock solid Labour constituency in the North of England - are about as relevant to the fortunes of the Conservative party as elections in New Zealand. But perhaps this time it is different, because the wild card in this election, and perhaps in 2015, has been the UK Independence Party.

The UKIP recently drove the Tories and Labour into third and fourth place in the Eastleigh by-election. Eastleigh is the polar opposite of South Shields, a constituency that traditionally returns a Tory or (if they are feeling daring) a Liberal Democrat. In the recent poll there, the UKIP took substantial amounts of votes off the incumbent Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. The Labour vote - though negligible - remained solid:
Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) 13,342 32.1 (-14.4%)
Diane James (UKIP) 11,571 27.8 (+24.%)
Maria Hutchings (Conservative) 10,559 25.4 -13.9%
John O'Farrell (Labour) 4,088 9.8 (+0.2%)
The UKIP had turned what should have been a safe coalition seat into a coin toss - it could have gone any one of three ways, with just minor reallocation of votes or changes in turnout.  If the message of Eastleigh holds good for the whole of the South of England, an awful lot of seats that might once have been judged safe for either Conservatives or Lib Dems suddenly look vulnerable and (worse!) unpredictable.  Incumbents might cling on as the vote splits three ways; or one party may triumph as a result; or the whole thing might be an appalling mess.

The message from South Shileds was much clearer:
Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour) 12,493 (-1.51%)
Richard Elvin (UKIP) 5,988 (+24.21%)
Karen Allen (Conservative) 2,857 (-10.04%)
Ahmed Khan (Independent) 1,331 (+5.38%)
Phil Brown (Independent Socialist) 750 (+3.03%)
Lady Dorothy MacBeth Brookes (BNP) 711 (-3.65%)
Hugh Annand (Liberal Democrat) 352 (-12.79%)
The ranking might be different, and the gross numbers different, but the changes in share of vote virtually the same. Labour, solid. UKIP surging from no-where. Conservative and Liberal Democrat, catastrophic.

So, you'd think, another good night for the UKIP?  Maybe.  But the UKIP sharein South Shields would appear to be made up almost entirely of Tories and Lib Dems.  They failed to make any impact on Labour's vote.  And the Tories and Liberal Democrats have never had enough votes to challenge Labour's dominance in the North.  Even if every non-Labour single voter in South Shields had voted for one party, they would have failed to win.  That's how dominant Labour are.  Near invulnerable in many places, and too strong for a vote split between three squabbling right wing parties to bother them.

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher won landslide victories inspite of recording a decreasing share of the vote at each election.  Even after the Falklands, the Conservativ Party's share of the vote declined in the 1983 election.  What allowed her to rout the left was the fatal split between Labour and the SDP - converting scores of Conservative marginals that might have fallen into rock solid strongholds, and allowing Conservative candidates to record wins in scores of Labour seats.  Thatcher was never loed or popular; she was merely fortunate enough to face an opposition divided against itself.

The upshot of all this might be the end of David Cameron, certainly of Cameronism as a political creed.  Everyone of his MPs in the South of England will be looking over his or her shoulder to see how close the UKIP is - and that means, how much of the vote they are losing to them.  I don't think their faith in democracy extends to letting the voters boot them out in 2015; they'll be shrilling Cameron for a change in direction (and that means a hard turn to the right) otherwise they'll be thinking of changing the leader if he's not for turning.

A likely consequence may be the political demise of George Osborne.  Cameron will need to offer up something to appease his critics and signal the change of direction they desire; it would also serve to make the Tories marginally less hateful, as Osborne's special skill (god knows it isn't economics) is attracting voter opprobrium.  But the sane option - installing a paternal, One Nation wet like Ken Clarke - is also impossible.  The voters might like it.  The Tory right wouldn't tolerate it.  Not for one little minute.

There is probably nothing to be gained for the Tories by lurching right.  The people voting for the UKIP aren't doing so because they have suddenly discovered Euroscepticism.  They are voting for the UKIP because they loathe the coalition but will never, ever vote Labour.  Moving right will simply alienate them further.  Though the likely Tory response will be to move even further right, just as Labour in the 80s sought support out in the further extremes of leftist lunacy - and failed to find it.

Welcome to your version of the lefts nightmare 80s, Mr Cameron.

Hopey-changey stuff

First of all, people are talking about a 'vote for change' based on the combination of Labour, Greens and New Zealand First. ‘Chan...