It has been another of those busy weeks, so I'll have to be selective or this will end up too long for comfortable reading – not that the content necessarily makes for comfortable reading, of course, but I try to temper it with my own thoughts and experiences...
A Knock for Nick
Actually, several over the past two weeks; but this from Guido shows the Lib Dem leader's apparent dual standards when it comes to his own education as against his public stance against Michael Gove's education reforms. It's that question of 'unqualified' teachers – in reality, those not indoctrinated into the politically-driven 'training' style of the (as is now widely known) Lefty 'profession'.
That's what this whole debate is really about: it has nothing to do with standards and quality, only about control by political interests, as generations of unqualified teachers have shown. Nick Clegg himself is an example of the outcome of that freedom. There are times when qualifications are of value, but this turns out not only to be one of the exceptions, but also to be long-established.
While we're looking at hapless Nick, just a few days earlier Fraser Nelson was looking at this and other aspects of the Lib Dems and the behaviour of that party and its leader. It's Fraser in his telling-it-as-he-finds-it mode, and well worth reading throughout.
On a Lib Dem related matter, also in the Speccie on the same day, James Forsyth considered what David Cameron needs to offer Nick Clegg in order to keep the minor partner in the Coalition on board.
Now, if they had done what I outlined a while ago, this wouldn't be an issue for much longer, and the remaining programme of joint work should be well established. Remember: I (and a few others) thought that the two parties could start to separate into more distinct entities in their own right, starting from the recent conference season. Indeed, we have already seen fairly strong signs of that happening.
The idea is to reach a point whereby all the pre-election initiatives and legislation are either now complete or are currently going through the necessary stages, from now on, and nothing brand new (except for emergencies) should suddenly appear at this relatively late stage in the parliamentary five-year term. I'm reasonably confident that this is exactly how it has all been set up, behind the scenes, by the two party leaders.
Expect the separation to be made decisive and unambiguous by next year's autumn conference season, by when only tidying-up and minor (uncontroversial) legislative matters should be all that's left to be done before the May 2015 election. Meanwhile, as James says, the Conservatives in particular need to construct their manifesto – and it looks like it's already well in progress...
In the ongoing saga of the UNITE Union, news of the intimidation techniques used by their so-called Leverage Team has reached the public awareness. It is noteworthy that they feel fully justified in applying such techniques, and have all the excuses ready. Of course, as the civilised world realises, only the lowest of the low would even contemplate such tactics, and only absolute trash would put them into practice.
The term 'Commie filth' didn't come about as a nasty insult devised especially for that purpose: it came into being from experience of what such types do in pursuance of their own agenda, here and anywhere else in the world. Put yourself in the position of someone on the receiving end – or, even more pertinently, one of their children.
There is no excuse in the Universe for that behaviour; and I think it might need to be treated as a much more serious offence than it is at present. Society should not be in effect encouraging this through a light-touch penal code.
I don't know how many members have now left the Union as a result of this (and all the other nasties that have been going on for years), but here's the story of one. Clearly noone with a shred of decency can now be a member of such an outfit – which tells us something about those who still are members and who have no plans to even consider leaving. Although I have no wish to turn the tables on them, it would be interesting to know how they'd respond if that did happen. Boot on the other foot, and all that...
The ongoing Falkirk candidate selection row continues this week with another delightful inside-track piece from former Labour member Dan Hodges. A batch of leaked emails has told much of the real story anyway, and it fell to the likes of Dan to write-up their significance, along with all the rest that has been going on during this unhappy (and hugely embarrassing, mostly for Labour) saga.
He correctly deduces, from the evidence now before us, that it is Ed[ward] Miliband whose personal reputation stands to take the greatest hit, rather than his party or even the Union that seemingly tried to rig the selection. As someone who has personally encountered selection rigging, I am very much alert to and cognisant of those methods described and other tactics used (only!) by the corrupt with their own agendas.
During all of the above, the ever-wily Jack Straw MP tried distancing himself from that Union, as this short video clip shows. Not that he was telling us anything we didn't already know, of course(!) Whether anyone believes his new-found stance is a matter for conjecture; but it's useful to have this on the record from a long-standing Labour MP, no matter how dubious his true motives!
Newman is the same old (Labour/Commie) man
Red Ed (Miliband) will continue to be unable to shake off that description while he is still subservient to the likes of UNITE's Len McCluskey, and also while he is ineffective at dealing with the numerous hard left (indeed, Communist) types firmly embedded within the Labour party and including both current elected members and those selected to stand in 2015. This is the story of one of the hopefuls.
To be blunt I have to say that it differs in no practical measure from those I have seen non-stop appearing within the Labour ranks and being picked as candidates, often getting elected (typically in safe Labour seats, but not only in those). Labour has, throughout most of its existence, been a Communist-style party with a very cleverly-manufactured public face to make it less obvious, and that certainly hasn't changed in the nearly forty months since Ed-M took on the party leadership.
Indeed, it has become the norm once again, and not even as well camouflaged as in earlier times – although that isn't helped by modern technology: it is much more difficult to conceal such truths nowadays, so it isn't necessarily down to poorer standards of deception. The example of Andy Newman will be just 'more of the same old Labour' to seasoned veterans like me; but might be more shocking to the younger generations who didn't live through the Foor/Scargill/Wilson (and the rest) years.
To anyone in that position, I can assure you that we've seen it all before, and it is and more-or-less always has been the true face of Labour, despite the veneer of seeming respectability and moderation they try to slap over the red rot to hide it from public view. They are just as totalitarian in nature as those running North Korea right now, and Labour-run governments have always headed in a similar direction, as is nowadays a lot better documented – and more easily publicly visible – than it was in my younger days..
Don't squander the advantage this generation has over mine: learn the lessons and learn them well! Today's world has not only better prospects of understanding the reality, but also has no real excuse for not doing so.
Completely Up The Poll
Jusr a brief mention of this very useful post from Dr Anthony Wells about misleading headlines to reports of and discussions of opinion polls. Long-term visitors to my 'blog will already be aware of how I always play it straight with everything I write, including polling news. The message here is not to be lulled into believing that all others act with such integrity when dealing with the same topic.
The good Dr Wells (whom I have met and talked to at some length) puts the record straight on a couple of recent examples of misleading headlines, and in the process reminds us to be sufficiently alert not to be taken in by such practices.
It has been standard big media practice to 'knock' the English Defence League (EDL) and its founder Tommy Robinson. When said Mr Robinson decided to quit the EDL they media hacks and editors must have been in paroxysms of ecstasy: their boat had come in!
In reality, the EDL for all its many faults was never anything like the outfit it was portrayed to be, and some have cited considerable evidence – sometimes backed up with hard-to-challenge photographics records of what actually did happen at EDL meet-ups – that reminded one of the anti-Israel reporting that has been thoroughly documented in other 'blogs for years (I have studied much of that material myself).
Despite all of that, the EDL was known to attract the less idealistic and more thuggish elements of society – I'm sure not by design, and it was just an unfortunate side-effect – so there is some valid criticism of them 'out there'. Much, however, plainly isn't justified. I have been watching the scene for a couple of years now, so have become reasonably well clued-up on what is and what isn't accurate in the various reports I have encountered.
Daniel Hannan MEP has his own take on what he perceives to be a symbiotic style of relationship between the EDL, the Islamists (often a..k.a. Islamo-Fascists or, in the Hannan piece, Islamo-nutters) and even the ironically-named Unite Against Fascism (UAF) folk. By appreciating how all sides act at times, Dan paints what I think is not only a more comprehensive picture of this whole sorry business, but also a more helpful one than others tend to offer.
As for Tommy Robinson's departure from the EDL, this was recently covered in a BBC documentary. Ah, I can already hear alarm bells ringing in my readers' heads! Yes, you are right to be suspicious, though the BBC did a generally good job. However there were other aspects that need bringing to people's awareness – and Douglas Murray has done just that. As one might by now expect of Douglas, he covers not only all you need to know about the programme and its main Islamic participant in typical thoroughness, and then goes on to look at deeper questions.
It's fairly long; but I think you will find the time reading it through time well spent and 9as with Dan) helpful; and that is what we need most in regard to a topic that is somewhat sensitive and prone to misunderstanding and misrepresentation, including of its most media-visible players.
On The Record
Coming closer to home, I usually like to feature at least one item from my local area and (more often than not) its council. This week, it is the initiative by Eric Pickles to allow the public to record Council meetings in sound and/or video, perhaps including committees as well..
Of course, this will not become law for a little while, owing to parliamentary and legal procedures, and at this early stage no-one knows what will even be proposed, let alone finally passed into law or equivalent. Therefore it is hardly surprising that Medway Council did not permit recording by the public of a recent Overview and Scrutiny meeting.
This has infuriated local Labour, who (several weeks ago, a full three weeks before the policy proposal had even been announced) were planning to make and use such a recording for purely party political reasons (as everyone realised at the time, apart from any dullards if indeed any were present), and they are – predictably – having a go at the 'wicked Tories' for refusing such permission.
It also has to be said: if Labour now say "it’s wholly wrong for people not being able to record or film in public meetings", why did they do nothing whatsoever about this during their thirteen years in government? It has taken the Coalition Government just three years (barely a quarter of Labour's tenure) to come up with such a proposal: one that Labour clearly never actually wanted – at least until they could see a way of turning it to their own political advantage.
As always but always with Labour, what is dressed up as being in the 'public' interest is in reality pushed by them only when it is in their interest – nothing to do with the public at all...