Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Oh, really?

Someone tried to draw my attention to an article purporting to reveal how climate data has been systematically manipulated to increase the warming trend in recent decades.  They failed, largely because the article was in the Telegraph behind a firewall, but I did glimpse enough to see that it was penned by Christopher Booker, of whom I have spoken before.

Christopher 'bullshit' Booker? Really?

Sorry to respond in such a predictable and Pavlovian vein, but the author is a serial crap-merchant.

For that reason if no other, I feel inclined not to bother reading it.  The Telegraph should be ashamed that it is giving space to a man who propounds biased and disingenuous nonsense masquerading as scientific criticism.  That said, the telegraph seems to know no shame these days.

In the extract from the article that was sent to me, I saw mention - positive - of John Christie's satellite temperature record at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH).  No mention, though, of how the UAH figures are constantly being manipulated and adjusted as well; the ItsNotCausedByPeopleEvenIfItIsHappeningWhichIsNotToSayItIsHappeningButItIsHappeningOnMarsAndTheDinosaursDidn'tDriveSUVsDidThey crowd (deniers, for short) don't see bothered about that. Because UAH continually undercuts the surface temperature and allwos them to claim there is no warming because blahblahblah. Even though, I think, the UAH figures are continually being revised UPWARDS for the reasons indicated above.


Nasty Tory SHOCKAH!!

A Conservative local election candidate who said she could never support "the Jew" Ed Miliband has been suspended. 
Gulzabeen Afsar, a council candidate in Derby, made the comment on Facebook. In a post, she said: "Just can't take Mr Ed Miliband seriously!" and later said: "Never ever will I drop that low and support the Al Yahud!". 
Al Yahud is Arabic for "the Jew". 
The Conservative party said her comment was "offensive and wrong" and a full disciplinary hearing would follow. 
In a statement, Philip Hickson, chairman of the local Conservative association, said: "There is no place in the Conservative Party for these comments or attitudes either in Derby or anywhere else.
 BBC
The barrel full of Stupid Tories is a very big barrel.  I doubt, even now, that we are anywhere near scraping the bottom of it.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Enemy at the gates

Panic spreads through the upper echelons of the Conservative Party as they realise they may be about to go down in history as the administration so inept that they were replaced, at the first opportunity, with the party they had succeeded in booting out of office.
All of this comes back to the question of whether the Tories have the right messaging. Lee Atwater, the Reagan/Bush strategist, has said the key to good message strategy is to choose the ditch you’re going to die in – meaning that messages need to be chosen early and then stuck to because by election day either they will have been proved right or it is too late to choose otherwise. 
The Tory “ditch” was supposed to be leadership and the economy. But Cameron weakened his leadership advantage by failing to turn up for the debates and has relied on an economic message far too triumphalist for the reality of the fragile recovery at hand. 
As a result, the ditch the Tories chose to die in may well result in electoral death rather than messaging victory. 
Source
The grim choice facing the Tories is blaming their likely defeat on Ed Milliband's political genius (which seems a rather weak defence); their own utter uselessness (a strong case could be made; but I don't think they will want to make it); or on the evils of the British electoral system (another strong case, but one that would reuire a degree of hypocrisy I think even the Tories may not possess.)

Bluntly, they had plenty of warning.  They were told not to embark on an ideologically driven programme of austerity, but decided to do it anyway.  As a result, Britain's economy languished while the economies of comparable nations improved.  So trumpeting the recent growth sounds hollow and weak.  Celebrating small falls in unemployment when there are millions out of work and in part time work or facing up to having no work next week makes them sound out of touch and arrogant.  And the recent promises to spend money - even when they don't know where they are getting it from - and somehow reduce deficits at the same time, shreds the whatever is left of their reputation for competence and calm leadership in the eyes of people who haven't suffered as a result of the economic mismanagement that has blighted the country for the last five years.

The startling thing is, though, that this was always going to happen.  There hasn't been a time since late 2010, when the Labour have been significantly behind in the polls.  The Conservatives might argue that they are peaking at precisely the right time; they have pulled Labour back just when it mattered, given that the parliament was going to run for five years; but it is a doubtful claim.  They've had five years and this is all they have to show for it?  And 'peaking' suggests going up, whereas their share of vote has fallen from somewhere in the 40s in 2010 to the low to mid-thirties now.  That isn't peaking, it is bottoming out.

Or at least, they'd better bloody well hope they've bottomed out.  There's still plenty of numbers smaller than the ones they are on just now.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Has Ed gone evil?

Like progressives everywhere (or at least those paying attention to the British election) I was dismayed to hear Ed Miliband mouthing the sort of phrases we normally expect to hear from the other side:
In an effort to shed perceptions that Labour was soft on immigration, Miliband said that in the past his party had been “too timid” about insisting that newcomers learn English when they arrive in the UK. 
“It’s something we should expect from everyone who comes here and it’s especially important that people who work in public services in public-facing roles should be required to speak English,” he told an audience at Pensby high school in Heswall, Merseyside. 
Miliband said the need for people to speak English was “nowhere … more true than in our NHS”, which has a significant proportion of nurses and particularly doctors who have qualified overseas. Of the 267,150 doctors registered with the General Medical Council on 6 January this year, 97,915 (36.7%) were foreign-trained, including 34,120 specialists. 
“I will never demean or devalue their contribution to our country, but it is vital that people who come to fill those roles don’t just have the right medical skills but can communicate with those for whom they care,” Miliband said.
It is interesting that the Guardian clumsily headlines this as "New immigrants must speak English, says Ed Miliband."

Miliband isn't saying that all immigrants to Britain MUST speak English. That would be silly and unenforceable.

The only concrete part mentioned was: "A future Labour government would pass laws to ensure all health workers spoke English well enough to care for patients before they could start work, he said, and regulators would be given powers to enforce the rules."

So doctors, health workers and the like will have to prove competency in English.

I imagine he has this case in mind.

It isn't great to hear him flirting with the xenophobia and hating of the right; but I think he's just about managed to avoid ctually blundering into anything actually evil.

It's pretty obvious tactics really - clearly designed to broaden his appeal to the moderate Conservatives who might be frustrated with Cameron, annoyed by his profligate promises and rudderless campaign, and who might, just might, be responding to the message that Miliband's Labour party is responsible and listening to them.

I don't liek it, but I've always understood how First Past The Post compromises politicians. I'll swallow this rat.  Just don't offer me too many more.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

British election - the week that was

Another bad week for the Tories, with Cameron's massive tactical error in refusing to attend the debate making him look arrogant and cowardly at the same time - a remarkable achievement.

Miliband managed to look like the only real politician on the stage - another remarkable achievement, for him - and Sturgeon over-played her appeal to him, sounding suspiciously like a beggar on the streets of Edinburgh, desperate for change.

(Take a moment to appreciate the cunning play on 'change' - I'm quite proud of that!).

All she needed was some copies of the Big Issue to flog, a wee dog on a piece of string, and a bottle of Whyte & MacKay not very well concealed in her pocket, and she'd have been there. there, I tell you.

Meanwhile, the only possible good news the Conservatives could have exploited - marginally improved employment figures and a good school report from the IMF (which should set alarm bells ringing everywhere) - was pretty much brushed aside.  It didn't register because a) everyone was focused on the 'contenders' challenge' and, b) the Tories had squandered their reputation for economic competence the week before, when they basically promised everyone in the UK would be able to afford TWO golden speedboats, to wave a magic wand at the nasty deficit to make it disappear, and give all the money in the universe to the NHS.

(These may not be the actual policies proposed.)

(Actually, that's a better policy schedule than they came up with - at least it indicates HOW the deficit will be reduced, and relying on magic isn't inherently sillier than relying on 'supply side' voodoo economics.)

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail continues its heroic anti-Miliband campaign, slapping this not-at-all-over-the-top headline across the top of its website:
'You're not strong enough': Debate nightmare for Miliband as Sturgeon insists he cannot get to No.10 without her help - while Farage is forced onto the defensive for 'demonising' immigrants
Not at al biased there, the Mail.

It is intriguing that the rightwing media are still running so virulently anti-Miliband.  Is there a panicked sense on the right that too many of the sort of people who read the Mail and the Sun are toying with the idea of voting Labour?

Also, note the swipe at Farage and the UKIP - the pro-Tory press seem to have realised that they did too good a job of drumming up interest in the UKIP over the last five years, and now it risks fatally wounding the Tories.  Realistically, the Conservatives are unlikely to win any support from Labour at this stage - the 34% voting Labour have proven their unshakeable loyalty to MIliband over the last five years and are now savouring the possibility that they were right to stick with him - and Cameron's only route back is to squash the UKIP vote.

I don't think that will work, because if your stomach is strong enough to let you contemplate voting for Farage, you'll be difficult to sway.  Unless the press have some footage of him actually eating a child, or (worse) running an illegal immigration ring, the people voting UKIP will probably stay with them.  Though it might only take a few desertions to have a big impact.

And the Sun focuses on the issues that realy matter:

In spite of the right wing snipping, Ed Miliband's personal ratings have improved significantly - people really do seem to like the Happy Warrior.  And people don't actually care if he has two kitchens.  Most of us would quite like two kitchens and a nanny, if only we could afford it.  So Ed's 'hypocrisy' doesn't turn people off.  The difference between Miliband and Cameron is that Miliband comes across as humble and human, in spite of his privilege.  Whereas Cameron comes across as a bullying country squire, and a poltroon to boot.

So, another relatively uneventful week, overall, with the polls still quag-mired. It is interesting (very slightly) to speculate about how things might be shaping up if Labour hadn't suffered such a catastrophic reversal in Scotland.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Holy crap!

I've just realised I've been doing this for over 8 years.

And still the world has not seen sense.

If anything, it seems to be getting worse.  I'm probably responsible for, well, everything.  I'm sorry.

Particularly the bits involving John Key and the Levers of Power.

Ed Miliband

A long, but worthwhile read by Rafeal Behr, about the man who will be the next Prime Minister of Britain.

(Or might not be.)

You can fault Ed Miliband for lots of things, but you can't say he hasn't got guts.

He's gone through five years of demonisation and attacks, from pretty much everyone, from the reasonable (You're pretty boring! You're too right wing!) to the preposterous (You can't eat a bacon sandwich like a human being!) to the downright evil (Your dad hated Britain).

And he just kept on through it all.

However, though the article makes something of Miliband's underlying radicalism, it also notes how his tendency to hear too many voices blunts it:
But often his modus operandi was to bring more people into the room, harvesting contradictory opinions and letting them simmer before acting. It was a system that, according to one contributor, “rarely resulted in a choice being made that was more radical at the end than at the beginning of the process”.
Miliband comes across as a man with strong principles and an apparently bottomless fund of self-belief.  But at the same time he also too often seems awkward and technocratic and forced.  It's hard to distinguish what is the real Ed Miliband - the glimpses of a passionate, committed and articulate progressive Behr describes, or the goofy, superior, inflexible academic that we see at other times.

I like to think the latter is just a media caricature, but sometimes the image can become the reality.

And, worryingly, I can recall, an interview with another ambivalent Labour leader on the verge of power.  Way back in the 90s, just before his stupendous landslide, Tony Blair featured in a similar write up, assuring his readers that he would be far more radical when in government than was saying he would be in when in opposition.  I remember experiencing  twin shivers when I read it - one of excitement that he might actually mean what he said (that hope was soon dashed) and the other of unease that this was a man who would say anything his audience wanted to hear, had no scruples and held everyone in contempt (this one, alas, was rapidly confirmed).

We got the rotten Tony back then,  We got the rotten Gordon Brown (raving psychopath rather than  mercurial financial wizard) and we got the rotten David Cameron (sneering snob rather than modernizer).  Form suggests we'll get the rotten Ed Miliband - detached, aloof, awkward and befuddled.

But maybe we're overdue the good one.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Further musings on the SNP, Scotland and Labour

I recall people who Understood Such Things claiming that Labour would never support Scottish Independence because they had no chance of winning a Westminster election without the Scottish seats.

Scotland returns 59 seats to Westminster. Most of them have been Labour for ... gosh ... a very long time. Crucially, since the 70s, a dwindling number have returned Tory MPs. Currently, the Tories have just one MP in Scotland, to Labour's 41.

Well, it looks the conventional wisdom is going to be challenged in 2015.

According to current polling, the Scottish seats aren't going Labour's way. The SNP are predicted to win 54 of the 59. Nothing like this has been seen before. It seems outlandish and impossible that the SNP might actually pull off this insta-rout of Labour. Yet the polls are consistent.  the total destruction of the Labour party in Scotland - or something very like it - seems like it is really going to happen.

(Personally, I think the final result will be much less emphatic for the SNP for two reasons.  First, a slice of its support may stay at home, and this will swing a few seats Labour's way. Second, some currently saying they will vote SNP may waver; whereas if you're still saying your going to vote Labour in Scotland in 2015, your pretty much definitely mean it.

In spite of those considerations, I still expect it will still be a disaster on an incomprehensible scale for Labour, but with expectations now so low, it may not seem like the catastrophe it actually is - and the SNP may find themselves portrayed as having 'failed' for 'only' winning the majority of seats in Scotland. Such is the berserk nature of the British press.)

And yet, in terms of overall seats at Westminster, Labour still look like finishing a whisker ahead of the Tories.

That's a measure of how crap Cameron's rabble are - they can't even beat a Labour Party that is shorn of Scottish seats and led by Ed Miliband.

It's like Labour are deliberately handicapping themselves, to try and make a fair fight of it.

In spite of all this, however, Nicola Sturgeon and her party are in a precarious position.  their support is drawn from three distinct camps: roughly 1/3 actual pro-independence SNP; 1/3 angry traditional Labour voters; and 1/3 Tories and the weird minority of voters who support Lib Dems a for reasons relating to the arcane nature of Scottish politics (henceforth, the Ragbags).

And whatever Sturgeon does, she risks losing a whole chunk of her support.  I suspect the crunch issue will be Trident, which Sturgeon has said she will not support under any circumstances.

If the SNP refuse to vote for a bill allocating money to Trident, and she brings down a Labour administration, she'll lose her Labour defectors; they want the SNP to force Labour to behave like Labour, not like the bastard demonic spawn of Tony Balir.

If she supports it, she may lose the Ragbag element, who are more vehemently anti-Labour than pro-SNP.  But the loses from this group will probably be fewer in number and may be open to the argument that the SNP is acting in Britain's interest - some of them at least will probably support a nuclear deterrent, for all that they are currently voting for the SNP.

If it comes to a vote on Trident and a Labour government loses, then the administration falls - money bills are always treated as confidence bills.  So by knocking back Trident, the SNP topple a Labour government.

It is possible that the Tories could vote for a trident bill; but this seems unlikely  The Tories would probably prefer to topple a Labour government. If no new administration can be formed, parliament is automatically dissolved and a new election is called. The Tories would almost certainly walk it, as they would be the only ones who could afford another campaign, and they would be able to campaign hard on "Look what happened when you let that useless shower have a shot. We governed for five years, they couldn't even last five minutes."

After all, the Tories are fundamentally uninterested in keeping the Tories out of power.  They can introduce their own Trident bill when they have control of the government benches.

So the SNP get Trident and the rest of us getthe Tories and everyone loses.

Labour could play things smartly and introduce a Trident bill before any further Scottish devolution; because Sturgeon can be fairly certain she won't get much out of the Tories on the devolution front. So she may even end up in the perfect storm of Trident in Scotland, Tories in Westminster, and Devo-Max no-where.

But supporting Trident would be the least damaging option for the SNP. IT would reassure the Labour voters that defecting to the SNP was the right choice; ditto the Ragbags.

The only segment of her voter base she can rely on is the dyed in the wool SNP voters. They haven't got anywhere else to go, realistically, as no other party is offering independence. Trident is a rat she has to swallow, I think.

If she's fenced herself into a position where she can't actually compromise on it, then she's been foolish.

Polling companies - who can we trust?

Anthony Wells (who I want to gay-marry) at UKPR has compiled this handy guide to which polling compnies are the best and most reliable (on the left of the graph) down to those who are not to be trusted (on the right):


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

ICM

... have delivered a poll so rogue, it makes Boris Johnson look like a vicar:


CON 39%(+3)
LAB 33%(-2)
LDEM 8%(nc)
UKIP 7%(-2)
GRN 7%(+3)

What is interesting about this poll is not that it is so askew - that happens when there are several polls emerging every day, as is happening in Britain just now, but that the Daily Mail saw fit to run a story on it- even though the poll was commissioned by the Guardian (ComRes seem to be the Mail's pollster of choice at the moment).

I can't think of any reason why the Mail would suddenly take such an interest in polling conducted for another paper.  No reason at all.

It is also interesting to note that yesterday, when Labour launched their manifesto, the Mail's political coverage was buried deep down screen on their website.  Where as today, the launch of the Conservative manifesto receives prominent positioning.

Monday, 13 April 2015

George's Sheffield moment

George Osbonre had a bit of a disastrous encounter with Andrew Marr, where he was asked, repeatedly, about his claim that he would somehow manage to find £8 BILLION to spend on the NHS.

Marr, understandably, asked him how howas going to do this.

Osborne waffled and evaded. So Marr asked him again, and again. And again.

In total, he asked George Osborne how he was going to fund this spending increase (About 8% of the current NHS budget), FIFTEEN times. And Osborne failed to answer.

In 1992, Neil Kinnock is credited (unfairly) with losing the general election for Labour at the infamous Sheffield rally.

If the Conservatives lose the election - rather, if they fail to secure enough seats to let them cobble together a coalition - then it will probably be immortalised as the moment it happened; the moment the second most important figure in the party, asked a question about a promise he has just made, with his party's (grossly exaggerated) reputation for economic competence riding on his performance, was unable to answer.

Go back to making vacuum cleaners, George!

Osborne's dreadful performance has been mocked, rightly, in most media.   Yet the Mail, mysteriously, neglected to mention how Generous George couldn't answer a fairly simple question in spite of being asked (approximately) 500 times.

Instead, this very impartial and unbiased newspaper headlined their account of the interview:
You're as posh as me! Osborne tells Harman the class attacks 'wear thin' when they both went to the same private school
The story that follows even mentions health spending, and how it is funded:
Mr Osborne insisted, however, that the Conservatives had shown in government that they were able to make the savings necessary to deliver additional funding for the NHS. 
'We have a balanced plan to grow our economy, to make savings in government including in welfare to fund our NHS each and every year,' he said. 
'We have to make similar savings each year that we have made for five years of this parliament but for two years. 
'We have a track record in this parliament where we found almost £8 billion extra in real terms for the National Health Service in very, very difficult economic circumstances so we have proved our mettle, we have proved our ability to stand behind the National Health Service in this parliament. We can do it in the next.'
But no mention of how he failed to explain where he is going to find 8 billion a year.

Or  how he is going to 'deliver additional funding' by requiring the NHS to find 22 billion in 'efficiencies,' effectively cutting its budget by over 20%.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Chasing the Green Light

Over on the Standard, the rather pretentiously named mickeysavage highlights the National Party's favourite unicorn - the balanced budget that appears to be eternally receding before us, always just slipping through our fingers:
John Key and National have placed a huge amount of political capital in returning the country’s books to surplus.  Back in 2008 they campaigned heavily on how Labour was going to deliver “a decade of deficits” and it really was the slogan de jour.  According to them Labour’s mismanagement of the economy as the cause of the global financial crisis and not the pure unadulterated greed of a bunch of merchant bankers like Key seeking never ending wealth.
He then provides a list of quotations that illustrate his point very nicely.   Back in 2011 we were assured surplus would be achieved in three years.  That would mean 2014.  But in 2014, we were told “The Government is focused on returning to surplus," and earlier this year, we were promised that “The Government is working towards a surplus and repaying debt,” both of which would rather suggest we had not got there yet.

This from the party, remember, who warned us about the risks of electing Labour in 2008 would lead to a 'decade of deficits.' Nice sound bite, John. It might also do as a summation of your contribution to New Zealand.

Those of us with litereary pretensions might feel this is all a bit reminiscent of the final lines of The Great Gatsby:
And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning - 
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
It should be remembered that Gatsby was a gangster who ended up dead in his swimming pool, and the narrator, Nick Carraway, a naive fool who couldn't see which he for what he was.

I'll charitably assume John Key and Bill English are more like Nick than Gatsby; I'm sure they believe, really believe, in the green light as well, and they believe that if we just cut a little further, reduce a little more, we'll catch it at last.  Their green light is the surplus, and if it is eluding us now it just means more austerity, until finally, one fine morning ...

The annoying thing (or tragic, if it directly affects you) is that this was all fore-warned. Even I managed to see ho Bungling Bill's ideologically driven austerity drive would be self defeating, all the way back in 2009 when Bll English delivered his first budget (here, here and here).

It isn't just in New Zealand that the right win lie continually about their own economic confidence.  In Britain, George Osborne has signally failed to deliver on any of his annual promises to eliminate the deficit.  Yet he feels we should listen to him when he promises us that he'll boost NHS funding by £8 billion - by 2020. And (sotto voce) if the NHS can find 'efficiencies' (that means nurses and doctors and operations and things like that - trivial and unimportant things in a modern health service). Cast your mind back, dear reader, to the Emergency Budget of 2010, when Osborne told us:
In order to place our fiscal credibility beyond doubt, this mandate will be supplemented by a fixed target for debt, which in this Parliament is to ensure that debt is falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16. I can confirm that, on the basis of the measures to be announced in this Budget, the judgement of the Office for Budget Responsibility published today, is that we are on track to meet these goals. Indeed, I can tell the House that because we have taken a cautious approach, we are set to meet them one year earlier - in 2014-15. Or to put it another way, we are on track to have debt falling and a balanced structural current budget by the end of this Parliament.
Debt, you will note, is not falling. Britain's public debt has, in fact, exceeded 90% - the level we were warned would have a catastrophic impact on growth. At least it would, the Tory argument would go, if Labour were in power.

Meanwhile, the sane argument goes that it would have a catastrophic impact on growth if Reinhart and Rogoff could get their sums right.

Nor has Britain achieved "a balanced structural current budget".  The deficit is still running at 5.8% as of 2013-14.  That is nowhere near a balanced budget.  It is, however, pretty much where Labour's Alaistair Darling wanted it to be at this stage - while Osborne wanted to eliminate the structural deficit in a single term, Darling sought to halve it (Well, to be pedantic - halve the overall deficit and reduce the structural deficit by 2/3rds).  And Darling's goal has almost been accomplished, almost by accident, in spite of the Conservative mania for growth stangling austerity.

And, insanely, the coalition boast about this.  They even make posters about  it:


"The deficit halved."  Not quite the same as "a balanced structural current budget by the end of this Parliament".

And elsewhere, as Paul Krugman points out, the right proffer the same nonsense, time after time:
The 90 percent claim was cited as the decisive argument for austerity by figures ranging from Paul Ryan, the former vice-presidential candidate who chairs the House budget committee, to Olli Rehn, the top economic official at the European Commission, to the editorial board of The Washington Post. So the revelation that the supposed 90 percent threshold was an artifact of programming mistakes, data omissions, and peculiar statistical techniques suddenly made a remarkable number of prominent people look foolish. The real mystery, however, was why Reinhart-Rogoff was ever taken seriously, let alone canonized, in the first place. Right from the beginning, critics raised strong concerns about the paper’s methodology and conclusions, concerns that should have been enough to give everyone pause. 
Moreover, Reinhart-Rogoff was actually the second example of a paper seized on as decisive evidence in favor of austerity economics, only to fall apart on careful scrutiny. Much the same thing happened, albeit less spectacularly, after austerians became infatuated with a paper by Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna purporting to show that slashing government spending would have little adverse impact on economic growth and might even be expansionary.
And, worryingly, what the right sell, the public seems to buy.  I suppose austerity must tap into some self-flagellating instinct in people, the need to be punished for revelling in luxury.  And of course, it is handy when the politicians are  quick to point out that it will be Other People who endure the worst of it.

Astonishingly, with this seems to be the only argument they can offer.  There's nothing beyond the "Reduce spending" mantra.  Keynes, it seemed, never existed in their world - though he's been around so long he surely counts as some sort of a conservative by now.

Which is the real issue here.  The Conservative party - and its analogues in other parts of the world - has been colonised by people who are fundamentally anti-Conservative, and whose intent is a complete neo-liberal reformation.  Some people rather dimly follow their mantra because they are bamboozled by the arguments - I put Bill English in this category.  Others understand it more fully and recognise it as the desired goal.  Their green light is not a balanced budget, but the effective eradication of the state.  And so they lie, consciously, wittingly, saying things they know are untrue and making promises they know are impossible.  Because like fanatics everywhere, they know it is the end, not the means, that is important.  They aren't interested in conservation versus reform - the point of argument between conservatives and progressives - but in destruction. Their bible is Atlas Shrugged, the story of how people with an overwhelming sense of mission and justification destroyed the world for the rest of us.

And as a reward for reading lll that, here's one of the best songs ever written on the subject of green lights:


Saturday, 11 April 2015

British election - the week that was

What's really strange about all this is just how hopeless and confused the Tories have been. It isn't a surprise that there's an election happening. They knew it was going to happen. They've had FIVE YEARS to plan for this. And what have they got? Nothing. Well, as close to nothing as you can get, as you can't have nothing. Because there's nothing there to have. Okay, right, there's this cat, in a box, and if there's some poison in the ... Oh, never mind.

Anyway, like I said, they've had FIVE YEARS to plan this campaign. Which reminds me of a scene from the very great Grosse Point Blanc, which you should all watch:



Kinda crept up on you? No, time just PASSED. Like it does all the time, Dave. FIVE YEARS! FIVE! WHERE WERE YOU? And what have you got to show for it? Um ... Yup, that's it. The sound of nothing. No plan. No strategy. No Goddamn idea how you are going to persuade anyone to let you do it again except ... Ed Miliband. That's it. That's your strategy. And the Big Society. Which no-one liked last time, but maybe you thought we'd all forgotten about it or grown smarter and more appreciative of your benevolent cleverness in the FIVE YEARS when you weren't planning how to get re-elected or, I suspect, running the country.

Because if you had been running the country, you;d have something to show for it, and something to brag about other than ... Yeah, that's the sound of nothing again. Occasionally interrupted with the noise of broken promises from the last five years. Like leading the greenest government ever. Like reducing immigration to the tens of thousands. Like sorting out the deficit. Like protecting Sure Start funding. Like promising there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS.

If I was a Tory, I'd be very bloody mad with David Cameron just now. Not because of those broken promises - a Tory would probably be quite pleased about that - but because other than breaking them, Cameron hasn't got anything to show for his five years in office, and if he can't rustle up something pretty quick, he isn't going to have the opportunity to carry on breaking promises for another five years.

So we get George Osborne promising us, with his most sincere face, that he'll let the NHS have billions more funding ... in five years, and if it can find tens of billions of cuts, sorry, efficiencies. And the utterly-missing-the-point idiocy of giving people paid time to volunteer. Only, even though that is a policy they were burbling about five years ago, which has still failed to be realised, and so is recycled (Greenest government EVAH!) for 2015. Only, they they still haven't thought it through, because no sooner did thee re-announce it than they had to do an about face and explain you couldn't take that time to work on behalf of a trade union - and by extension a lot of other worthy organisations that don't meet whatever definition of charity they are groping towards.

And so Ed Miliband moves a faltering step closer to Downing Street. The frightening thing is that he doesn't seem to be interested walking there himself. He's virtually being pushed by Cameron and the inept bumbling idiots behind the Tory campaign.

If Labour wins, it will be Cameron's victory - the one thing he'll have achieved in five years.

Generous George found some money down the back of the sofa

Astonishingly, George Osborne has just found £8 BILLION a year to spend on the NHS!

You'd think there was an election on, and the chancellor who has been banging on and on about austerity has suddenly realised he isn't actually going to be chancellor much longer if he doesn't come up with some pretty big rabbits, pronto.

You'll be surprised to learn there is a catch.

To get the money, we have to to wait until 2020. Until then, we'll have to make do with much smaller increase.

But Osbourne really, really promises us that he'll let us have the full 8 £billion, every year, in 5 years time.

Just like he really, really, promised us he'd eliminate the deficit in five years. And continued to promise, year after year, that it would be accomplished within five years. Without ever actually doing it.

Though if you look at what he actually says, it sound's a bit sinister:
The Five Year Forward View sets out a projected gap between costs and resources of up to £30bn by the year 2020-21. As the plan says, the majority of this gap, £22bn, can be made up through efficiency and reform
So the NHS has to find £22 billion in 'efficiency and reform.'   Wonder if that might mean cuts?

Enough is enough

Is George Osborne actually doing all these really stupid photos for a bet?  Whoever is planning his photo-ops needs to be shot.  Even I'm starting to feel sorry for him.


Is he not aware what century this is, and that the proles are not so impressed with gurning clowns patronising them for a few weeks every four or five years?

Is he actually trying to lose the election?  Is he a leftwing sleeper agent who has infiltrated the uppper echelons of the Tory party to undermine them at this crucial moment in history?

Or is the Conservative campaign so utterly clueless that they think this is a wise strategy?  One has to wonder, as thus far it has consisted of one old duffer ripping into Miliband, like your embarrassing uncle after he hits the sherry at lunchtime (affording Miliband the priceless opportunity to sound gracious in the face of this tirade), a stupid, measly bribe to rail commuters and the staggering news that Ed Miliband had a few girlfriends when he was younger.

(I'm still baffled at the colossal uselessness of that Mail revelation.  On what planet did it seem like the right time to lob that outstandingly dud grenade?  Who on Earth calculated that making Miliband seem like something more than a pathetic political wonk with no social skills at all was a strategic masterstroke?)

A few months ago, there was talk of Labour's 35% strategy - the idea they could attain power on just 35% of the vote, given how grievously the right bloc was divided and the way that Labour's vote was concentrated in urban seat that required fewer votes to win.

At the time, it was ridiculed as an admission of failure, a calculated exercise in political cynicism. Now  it looks like we're in a situation where the two big parties get 65% of votes, and there are parties that will be under-represented (UKIP, likely to get 15% of vote but only a couple of seats) and over-represented (SNP, likely to win about 80% of seats on less than 50% of the vote); and 35% seems like a veritable electoral Everest, for either party - and I'm thinking more the Mallory-Irvine, rather than the Hillary-Norgay.  The way the polls are lying at the moment, 35% would be a massive improvement for either party.

(Which raises all sorts of inevitable questions about the retention of First Past The Post.  Will the parties - spooked by two hanged parliaments in a row - actually acknowledge The System Is Broken and reform it?  Or will they seek to protect their privilege even more, as it is suddenly so threatened?  That was easy to do in the good Old Days when only the SDP-Liberal / Lib Dem vote was wasted.  Even the Libs sort of enjoyed the sense of being politely martyred by FPTP.)

Whoever can win over a couple of percentage points, and have at least one friendly party in parliament, will win. And maybe Osborne looking like a dick will encourage people to vote Tory, or maybe vote Labour. Or not vote at all. I don't know.

But enough is enough.  Not of the silly pictures of George Osborne.  As long as he's happy to make himself look like a fool, I'm happy enough to put them up here.  Payback for the hundreds of time Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband have been mocked for their appearance.  But enough of the antiquated electoral system that is corroding democracy.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Generous George at it again

Truly, George Osborne is the gift that keeps on giving:


Caption: "It's too late, George, the wheels have already come off the campaign!"

Still, he looks so happy there, tinkering about and pretending he knows what he is doing.  I recognise that face.  I often wear one like it myself.

And letting him goof about in a garage is going to have fewer repercussions than letting him stick a spanner into the economy.

Flanders' philanders

So the Daily Mail is breathlessly reporting that Ed Miliband ... wait for it ... may have had girlfriends in the past.  More than one.

Quite why the revelation that young people occasionally fall in-and-out of love is getting served up as news, and what the Mail hopes to achieve by making Ed Miliband seem more likeable and human, remains elusive, but that's the Mail for you.

I predict that 'Shagger' Miliband will see his personal approval rating rise perhaps as high as the low teens on the back of this dynamite.  Which, for Ed, would be truly impressive.

One of them, the Wail revealed, was economics talking head, Stephanie Flanders.  Who - I'm surprised the Mail didn't make more of this angle - also dated Ed Balls.

What lefthandpalm can exclusively reveal (because I just made it up, for the sake of a very bad joke) is that Saucy Stephanie rated her beaus.

Apparently, Ed Miliband gets a 10.  And Ed Balls gets an 11.

And I'll get my coat ...

Cameron launches fightback

I think this is Dave's Big Idea, his attempt to wrest back the headlines from Milliband's grip.  If so, Heaven help us, and I begin to feel sorry for all you Tories out there.  This is your man, the best that you can put up.  Fighting for his political life.  And this is what he has to offer for it.  This is what he thinks it is worth.  This is how much he cares.

From the Guardian:
More than 250,000 annual rail season-ticket holders could save an average of £400 over the next five years after David Cameron pledged that the Tories would freeze regulated fares in real terms. 
In a consumer-friendly announcement designed to boost Tory fortunes amid flagging poll ratings, the prime minister will say on Friday that regulated rail fares would only be able to rise in line with the retail price index (RPI). 
The prime minister will also seek to revive his 2010 election “big society” campaign theme by offering workers employed by companies with a staff of at least 250 people the right to three days of paid leave to volunteer. 
“This is the clearest demonstration of the big society in action – and I’m proud it’s a Conservative government that will deliver it,” Cameron said in an echo of the language he used during the 2010 election campaign.
This is dreadful. It's not that Cameron is trying to bribe the voters - he's a politician and all politicians do that - but that he thinks we're so cheap that offering us measly £400 spread over 5 years (about £1.50 a week) will do it. Look, Dave, we have principles. If we're going to sell them, it should be for at least a fiver.

And the return to the bemusingly muddled 'big society' concept - the Michael Gove 'inspired' idea that almost lost the Tories the 2010 election against the back drop of Iraq, the expenses scandal, ID cards, Gordon Brown and the crash - is utterly, utterly baffling.

If you listen, I think you can hear the sound of the Conservatives barrel of ideas being scraped, vigorously.

Campbell ... live?

Now, I'm not at all convinced by the current story about Campbell Live's ratings being cataclysmically low.  I think the Cricket World Cup might have had something to do with.

That doesn't mean there isn't an underlying problem.  A slow, dignified death is still a death and when we're talking about something as important as investigative journalism on TV, that's a worry.

(It's even more of a worry when someone as mellow and undangerous as John Campbell is the nearest thing we have to a New Zeland Ed Murrow.  Though we seem to have more than our fair share of Rush Limbaughs.)

And, even f it does turn out that Campbell Live's decline is down to the success of the Black Caps, the eagerness with which this story has been trumpeted is symptomatic.  Commercial TV wants shot of quality journalism.  Sooner or later - probably sooner - Campbell Live will be consigned to the scrap heap of not bad things that commercial television just didn't want to do.

The real problem is that, bluntly, commercial TV isin't interested in public service broadcasting.  It's stupid to pretend it does.  It never did.  I don't like watching people being forced to do something they find unpleasant and uncomfortable, so the sooner commercial networks are free to show nothing more news worthy than pictures of celebrities in their bikinis, the happier they and we will be.

Instead of the current ghastly situation where commercial channels are forced to pretend they give a damn about the public interest and public service broadcasting, New Zealand should have a state funded non-advertising channel, similar to the BBC.

This will be free to pursue important but non-commercial investigative journalism.  And the commericial channels will be free to do whatever they think their audience wants them to do.

(Though they are frequently wrong - the cliche about no-one every going broke under-estimating the taste of the public is always true. Plenty of cynical shit merchants have gone broke doing just that.)

The sooner we stop pretending that a mixed model actually works, the better.  And it will be good for the audience as well.  It is noteable that British commercial television is far better than commercial televison in other countries.

That's because it is forced to compete - not against other commercial TV channels, which would result in a race to the bottom and then right down into the subterranean depths -   but against a non commercial rival.  The BBC forces commercial rivals to maintain their standards, so even those who don't watch it will benefit from it.

Just stop wasting tax payers money on commercial companies who don't really care.

He really is Red Ed

From the Indie:

All hail the Happy Warrior!

As the election campaign heats up three polls out today show comfortable Labour leads.  It may be that people are rejecting the negativity emanating from the Conservatives.  It they are trying to run a dirty campaign, it doesn't seem to be working.  It shows a spectacular misjudgement - people don't actually like patrician Tory bullies sneering.

The other thing is that Milliband's gaucheness is actually quite appealing.  Whatever he may be - dorky, awkward, a bit weird, he isn't a sneering patrician Tory bully.  Nor, thankfully, is a a Tony Blair.  No-one could ever decscribe Ed Milliband as being a polished, sauve political operator.  He just wouldn't be very good at that.

And the British, cussed contrary people that they are, may be warming to that.

When his notes for the leaders' debate were found, his reminder that 'I am happy warrior' hit exactly the sort of note that appeals.  Probably, the media thought they would get another cheap laugh at his expense - as if they haven't had enough already - but it doesn't seem to have come off like that.  Damn it all, it made him seem human.  We - the little people - could recognise a little bit of ourselves in those four words.  And in contrast to Cameron's aloofness and the down right nastiness emanating from the Tories, it seems to be the sort of approach that is likely to win people over rather than switch them off.

The conventional wisdom - described by Simon Lusk in the opening pages of Dirty Politic - is that dirty campaigns favour the right because it alienates the floating voters and reduces participation to the hard core tribalists and the self-interested.  Has Milliband - presumably with out intending to - found the long sought antidote?  Just be nice.  And a bit daffy.

(Of course, what will nbow happen is that his handlers will try to get him to do this all the time, smothering the campaign with a sort of synthetic nice daffiness that ill be as false as Tony Blair's charm, John Redwood's sense of humour and Nigel Farage's blokeish schtick.  And then Labour will tank, because if there is one thing less likely to succeed that a campaigning running on nice daffiness it is a campaign running on synthetic nice daffiness.  The worst thing that can happen is that Milliband starts referring to himself as the Happy Warrior.  He needs to do what he has been doing for the last two weeks - talking about ideas, talking about policy, being vaguely too interested in the minutae of politics but obviously having his heart in the right place, and being apparently impervious to the brickbats and abuse directed at him by the appalling right wing press.)

Anyway, UK Polling Report describes three polls out today.  Three polls, all showing Ed is en route to a triumph exceeding the defeat of Nazi Germany, and that Cameron should start running for the hills, as packs of angry right wing voters seek to exact vengeance for their unutterable humiliation:
  • TNS - Con 30%(-3), Lab 33%(+1), LDem 8%(nc), UKIP 19%(+3), Grn 4%(-1)
  • Panelbase - Con 31%(-2), Lab 37%(+4), LDem 8%(+1), UKIP 16%(-1), Grn  4%(-1)
  • Survation - Con 31%(-1), Lab 35%(+2), LDem 9%(nc), UKIP 15%(-3), Grn  4%(+2) 
Three polls make a summer, surely?

 It seems the people like The Happy Warrior.


UPDATE - unconfirmed polls from ComRes andYouGov are a bit less exciting from a Labour point of view, but may well be a cause for relief among Conservative campaign managers:
  • COMRES - Con 34 (-2), Lab 33, (+1) LDem 12 (+3), UKIP 12 (=), Grn  4 (-1) 
  • YouGov - Con 35 (+1), Lab 34 (-1), LDem 8 (=), UKIP 12 (-1), Grn  4 (-1)
While I'd regard YouGov and ComRes as a bit more reliable than the likes of Panelbase and Survation, I'd raise an eyebrow at the surge in Lib Dem support ComRes report.  That looks a bit anomalous - that's suggesting they've increased support by a quarter in a week when they've done virtually nothing (though that might be WHY they've increased - it's got to look better than  a  week in coalition ...) - and while I regard YouGov as the best pollster, overall, I suspect its methodology may sometimes makes it a little slower to report trends.

(But that might also just b me not liking the fact it isn't showing the movement to Labour I want to see ...)

So I'm hoping that there is a bit of a move towards Labour in the 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

'Dirty Politics' in the UK?

Look, about this Dirty Politics thing.

We (meaning Britain) pretty much invented it.  And for all that New Zealanders moan about John Key's twin track strategy, letting Cameron Slater smear his opponents while Key simply affects an air of blokey niceness and wins big majorities, Britain still does it better.  You didn't get main stream newspapers suggesting David Cunliffe's dad hated New Zealand.

Still, it is kicking off in Britain now.  Now only do we have Michael Fallon simultaneously attacking Ed Milliband for being too weak and too ruthless at the same time, but the Tories are unleashing a series of attack adverts that look more than a little familiar.

You can see that Lynton Crosby is working for the Tories.  The relentless personal attacks on Milliband, the 'this side / that side' billboards, the out of context quotes ... It's exactly what they've been doing in New Zealand for what feel like a hundred years. It stinks.  Down with this sort of thing!



At least the Demon Eyes poster about Blair was
a) funny and
b) kinda true as it turned out.

























And the old 'Labour isn't working' from the 1970 is almost worth a Nobel Prize for Literature compared to the current right wing bilgefest.















The above was so effective that Labour have nicked off with it for their current NHS poster - a worrying trend, as Labour have form for stealing Tory ideas and it didn't end well then, either.

Musical Interlude

Kimbra really is more awesome than an awesome thing that's awesome.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The horror! The hospital!


DR (loudly): Just step this way, Mr Cameron. (quietly, to nurse) That bit of paper's got him distracted, but we need to be quick. When we get around the corner, I'll grab him, and you get the needle in. He's usually placid, and a bit slow working out what is going on, but he's a big lad. Got a history of violence and destruction going back years as well. Smashed up few a restaurants.

(Photo courtesy of The Guardian)

The horror! The hot dog!


The man's evil. Pure evil. At least Ed Milliband has the manliness to seize a bacon sandwich and cram it into his gob like a true man of the people.

I suppose we should be glad Cameron didn't get his butler to cut it up for him and feed him morsels. Still using a knife and fork, of course.

How can we trust this man to negotiate with the likes of Vladimir Putin on our behalf?  Putin would probably happily eat raw bear, tearing gobbets of flesh from the still quivering carcass and cramming them into his maw.  How can some pansy who eats hot dogs with a knife and fork hope to go toe-to-toe with him?

Ban David Cameron!

(Photo: Fox News)

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Disaster

Just what Labour didn't need. Tony Blair swooping in like the third string stand in for Voldemort in some really rubbish stage version of Harry Potter.


That should be game, set and match to the Tories, if they were half way competent.

So, fortunately for Labour, all is not lost ...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Honing those skills employers seek

That's our George 'Gideon' Osborne, getting up to speed with menial tasks as he might be out of a job in a few weeks time.


Caption: "Nice of them to give that simpleton a job. Left to their own devices, people like that can be a menace to society."

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Musings on the SNP and the British General election

After the strange election of 2010, which saw Labour and the Tories realise that they might have to consider sharing power, much thought has been given to the possibility of another hanged parliament emerging after the 2015 election, barely a month away.

There are three big little parties that are likely to play a role in determining the election - though I do not think it is likely the UKIP will have much to do in the actual parliament that is formed from it.

If we accept that the polls are broadly accurate and neither Tories nor Labour will form a majority, then the question is, how will they fnd themselves placed in relation to the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the SNP?

(There are a gaggle of other parties, many from Northern Ireland, but as their political behaviour is incomprehensible even to themselves, it is best to pretend that they do not exist, unless we really have to.)

The Lib Dems will likely lose a large number of seats, perhaps actually achieving an electoral first for them, with their share of vote matching their share of seats (usually, their share of vote wildly exceeds the number of seats they win -  but, cruel coalition has diminished their support from a robust 25% to a parlous 5%).

The SNP will win an awful lot of seats in Scotland - though not, I suspect as  many as their current share of vote suggests on a universal swing, which suggests they would win virtually every seat in Scotland.  First Past The Post is a funny beast, and Scottish voters funnier still.  It is likely the SNP will win 25 to 30 seats, maybe even 35.  And that would be a truly impressive result, and likely have a decisive impact on the British election.  But - if expectations are not cannily managed  then it will seem like something of a disappointment.

The SNP have ruled out working with the Tories and set all sorts of bottom line issues, notably around the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system.

I think it is far more likely that the SNP will find it in their hearts to compromise on Trident. In spite of their good running, they are actually in a tricky position. If the Tories are the largest party in in a hanged parliament, and the SNP are in a position to stop them getting into power, but do not, the SNP will be abjured by the Scottish voters.

The Scottish public will not countenance a Tory led government being tacitly supported by the SNP over something the Scottish public aren't quite as vehement about as the SNP are. It is also worth pointing out that many people in Scotland have jobs that depend on military spending. I grew up in Helensburgh, beside the Faslane submarine base. We didn't like having it there, but we didn't like the idea of not having it there either, as it brought in so much money to the town.

It is (slightly) interesting that the SNP boost is not coming entirely at Labour's expense. A lot of it seems to be the anti-Tory, anti-Labour, anti-Nats who have traditionally voted Lib Dem, which is the bloc that has resulted in the Lib Dems always being over-represented in Scotland. The reality is that the SNP will be under immense pressure to support Labour, because a lot of their support is former Labour that will be disgusted if the SNP do not help Milliband into Downing Street and help keep him there.

About 12% of the SNP vote (according to polling analysis) is from Labour, and it is the most volatile. They aren't interested in Independence, but are interested in pushing Labour into power and pushing Milliband to the left - it's a tactic to outflank the still powerful Balirite pseudo-conservative, anti-progressive right wing of the party.

The other 12% of the SNP's new support is largely drawn from the Lib Dems, who have always enjoyed an unusually high degree of support in Scotland. That's largely because of the peculiar nature of Scottish politics. No-one is suggesting, I think, that the Highlands and Islands are havens for those concerned with Gay rights and electoral reform.

But these far flung Scottish constituencies are full of people who won't vote Tory (too English in profoundly conservative rural Scotland), won't vote Labour (too urban in profoundly conservative rural Scotland) and won't vote SNP (too nationalist in profoundly conservative rural Scotland) so they schizophrenically vote for the Lib Dems.  Now that vote seems to have shifted to the SNP - along with a fair chunk of Labour's vote.

It looks like being the most interesting election in aeons, or at least since 1997.

The SNP and the UKIP are wild cards, but of different sorts.  The UKIP may critically injure the Tories in crucial constituencies, allowing Labour or the Lib Dems to win what should have been unwinnable seats. But they (UKIP) won't win many seats at all, just make it harder for the Tories.

The SNP, on the other hand, probably will win a lot of seats, mostly from Labour. But as the only option for the SNP is to work with Labour, formally or informally, that doesn't hurt Labour nearly as much as the UKIP hurts the Tories.

Also, Miliband has shown he's not useless in debates, so he'll be getting lots of good coverage over the next few weeks.  Cameron, on the other hand, is coming across more and more as a loathsome toff turd - A “bunch of hypocritical, holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists” indeed.

Dave, apart from the last word (which hardly applies to Labour, alas!) you just described your own party. Too a hypocritical, holier-than-thou,, hopeless, sneering tee.

Friday, 3 April 2015

More Mailevolence

The Mail has now put up a new headline about the leaders' debate:
Cameron dodges a bullet: PM escapes unscathed as 40% still think he is best to lead the country after Miliband fails to land killer blow and Farage is attacked for 'foreigners with HIV' comment
Again, no indication of bias there. None.

They also have an interesting pairing of images. Milliband is shown looking angry, where as Cameron looks calm and quizzical.

Even more interesting, Milliband's photo makes him look a lot shorter than Cameron. Ed is shorter, by an inch or so, but the connotation of the photos is obvious - angry little man, looking cornered (Milliband) versus taller, calm, taller, at most mildly curious taller man (Cameron).

And the taller man tends to win elections, of course.

Full disclosure

According to a very scientific and robust poll in The Sun, I am a 100% Labour supporter.


Though I wasn't sure what the party line on Kasabian was. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure what a Kasabian is, though I assumed that - due to the association with Coldplay (of who I have at least heard) they are music makers. But whether folk, death metal or hip hop, I have no idea.

British leaders' debate

Didn't watch it, but watching the responses is fun.

Polls suggest that it was a fairly good debate, inspite of the 'beargraden' fears voiced before.  Ed Milliband, David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage have been identified as the best performances.

Yes, you read that right.  Ed Milliband.  Accordig to ICM, he edged cameron 25% to 24% as the overall winner.  According to ComRes, they are neck on neck.  YouGov found Cameron edged Milliband by a whisker, but both were trounced by the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon.


Which, given he's been written off as a useless mumbler who can't articulate his on name, with the charisma of a damp dishcloth and the nous of a dead mouse, is bad news for Cameron.

It'll be really crap for David Cameron if he goes down in history as the man who lost to Ed Milliband.

Meanwhile, the Mail, inevitably, has its own interpretation of events:
Ed falls flat: Miliband fails to land a blow as Clegg calls on Labour leader to apologise over crash and Cameron hits him over NHS - while Farage is attacked for 'foreigners with HIV' comment
Not showing any bias at al there.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Spot the slightly uncomfortable looking Tory posh boy

Who's just realised the people beside him might not have gone to Eton:


Someone should have givben him a bacon sandwich to eat, that might have made him feel more relaxed.

Prediction

There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going...