Monday 29 December 2014

Pre-Election Coalition Divide

As I (and a few others) have been saying for a year or more, once the autumn party conference season was over,the coalition partners have been going their own ways in the run-up to next May's General Election. Thus it comes as no surprise to find 'big name' Liberal Democrats putting out their party's lines, and indeed it is what I'd expect them to do.

There are, however, difficulties inherent in this approach if it isn't handled well – and it seems to be being poorly managed, at least in places. There is one glaring example of this that has come to media notice and which could be very damaging for the party's chances in the election – and their hopes aren't exactly high as it is.

This is the case of David Laws, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury who was compelled to resign from that position owing to what might be termed 'expenses.irregularities'. It is not a good idea to deploy him so publicly in the first place, as his past will be brought up in hostile reporting, but even worse when he has to trot out his party's lefty-at-heart lines about 'the cuts' to public expenditure.

What he has apparently been saying completely contradicts his (very public) stance while he was in that former office and, then, in a position to know the reality. He isn't now, except second-hand from his replacement, Danny Alexander. He will now be perceived as two-faced, and putting party dogma above truth and the interests of the country. This will also most likely curtail his political career.

I'm sure Lib Dems reading this will try to find ways to disagree; but if the boot were on the other foot and they were aware of someone in another party doing exactly the same, their attitude would suddenly be very different. That, I believe, is more-or-less the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

However, apart from David and Danny, they have no authoritative-seeming voices on economic matters; and if they tried to push this topic onto another member of their senior team it'd come across as odd and with less 'clout' – so they are rather stuck!

Of course, if they were to grow up as a party and throw out the Lefty dogma, then this issue vanishes – and they can still maintain their essential differences from other parties on a number of important issues, which is healthier for British politics as well. I can't see this happening, sadly, so again they are going to come across as a party of deceivers and will fare badly next May, probably losing a number of parliamentary seats in the process.

The national approach is also likely to harm the chances of local council candidates who are standing this year, including in my own home borough of Medway. They are already down to three members here, out of the 55 councillors we have – easily their lowest proportion (below six percent) of the available seats since the current council was created (and first elected for) in 1997.

They could be wiped out by their party's national perception caused by their campaign methodology for the General Election, doing a disservice to their local members, candidates and supporters. We already saw very recently, in the Rochester & Strood by-election, just how few votes they are now get, even when fielding a long-experienced candidate who has been the leader of their council group for years.

Once they gofrom the Council, if that does indeed happen, it will be very difficult to come back in future: it is essentially a one-way street to oblivion. Only they can do something about that, by I don't think they will.

Thursday 25 December 2014


My (long time ago) acquaintances Steeleye Span are probably best known for their Christmas song Gaudete ('Rejoice'). Although  there are a few minor 'oddities' in the Latin, the meaning is clear enough – and here we have it all translated into English as if it had been written entirely correctly.

I can still recall the moment in the artistes' bar at Brighton Pavilion, listening to Maddy Prior's then unborn child in her tummy, just minutes before the six went out onto the stage to perform. That child must have had a wonderful time, having Maddy's superb, clear voice vibrating through her in the womb, being regularly treated to something that the rest of us would have encountered live like that only rarely, if ever...

Saturday 20 December 2014

Learning the Lesson

As I am fond of saying, there are essentially two ways to learn something: the easy way, and the hard way. I prefer the latter, as it hurts more so gets learned good and hard, rather than lasting only a short time and then the same mistake is repeated.

Despite that, I'd still save people all of that if they'd learn to accept what I write and say (as the majority do), even if it takes them outside their 'comfort zone' and causes them to re-appraise their own thinking. Those with fixed personal and corporate agendas usually cannot do this, or at best are so unwilling to do so that there is no point in pressing the matter, whatever it might be.

If I wanted to show how 'clever' I have seemed to be in recent years, I could easily list a whole range of statements, predictions and other pracle-like pronouncements I have been making consistently, and we could now easily see just how many of them have already panned out and others are obviously heading toward doing the same. Undoubtedly there are a few that didn't (such as the Lib Dem polling recovery after the 2014 Party Conference season – though there are signs, if too late to be very useful, of that now starting to happen) but it all goes to show that anyone with sme insight and a decent brain can work out what is likely to happen next, and why.

But no: the people always know best, and even I have been labelled as 'biased' (waits for everyone to stop laughing) if I dare to suggest anything that doesn't fit their worldview.

Thus I have been working mostly on getting people to think more for themselves, rather than (one might think) spoon-feeding them on this 'blog. What I have done here over the years was necessary, in order to lay down the proper foundation ahead of the period that is so soon to come.

That I did in considerable detail, but – as long-term readers will recall – wasn't with slanted, manipulated or fake materials to push a preferred view, but as openly as I could, so that readers were in a position to evaluate a situation for themselves. I might have guided the style of thinking, but it wasn't my way, by and large, to steer people's thinking in a specific, fixed direction. Occasionally there was a single, important issue that needed to dominate, but not often.

It was thus that, for unrelated reasons, I considered taking down  older material. The world had moved on anyway, and some of what was in that huge number of political posts was no doubt by then out of date in some specifics. Ultimately, though, the time had come for my readership to move on too – and, to be fair to them, they have done so. If they ever truly needed me at all, they certainly don't now – not in the way I had been posting. They've grown up...

So, where does that leave us? Should I still post the occasional political post here? I think so; and it is important to keep that option open. Others in this area, and elsewhere, are continuing to provide their own insights and experiences, and that has improved noticeably in my home area over the past two years – which is one reason why I have been happy to take more of a back seat approach over that period.

Folk are going to have to learn their own lessons, as in practice they always have when it comes right down to it, and it is as I have predicted: that those who have tried to fool us with easy and convenient 'sales pitches', when Police and Crime Commissioner candidates or upcoming political parties, these and others are coming unstuck and greater public/media exposure is revealing to the masses what some of us have known all along.

In the final analysis, all will be well...