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Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Douglas Alexander: Substance vs. Style

In ge2010, the conservatives on April 29, 2010 at 20:03

via email:

Let’s be clear – tonight’s Leaders’ debate on the economy is a huge opportunity to show the country the facts.

Labour has shown that it can manage the economy in good times and in the bad times of the global economic crisis. It was Gordon Brown that had the experience, judgement and substance to lead Britain from recession to recovery. Tonight is our chance to prove it.

So I’m asking you – one more time – to use the Labour Debates Dashboard to share our message with your friends through email, Facebook and Twitter.

Visit the Dashboard now and be the first to see our new Word of Mouth app

You know that Gordon can’t be matched on experience, judgement and substance by either David Cameron or Nick Clegg. And with a record number of undecided voters at this election, we can all make a difference tonight by playing a role in making that point.

To help you, we’ve added a new Word of Mouth app to this week’s Debate Dashboard – allowing you to show your support for Labour right up until polling day.

Visit the Debate Dashboard tonight and make sure everyone knows the important choice facing the country

In this word of mouth election, Labour supporters across the country know that we’ve got a real chance in the debates and in conversations afterwards to make our point – that Britain is on the road to recovery and we cannot let the Tories wreck it.

Visit the Debate Dashboard tonight and make a difference

Thank you

Douglas

Let’s be clear – tonight’s Leaders’ debate on the economy is a huge opportunity to show the country the facts.

Labour has shown that it can manage the economy in good times and in the bad times of the global economic crisis. It was Gordon Brown that had the experience, judgement and substance to lead Britain from recession to recovery. Tonight is our chance to prove it.

So I’m asking you – one more time – to use the Labour Debates Dashboard to share our message with your friends through email, Facebook and Twitter.

Visit the Dashboard now and be the first to see our new Word of Mouth app

You know that Gordon can’t be matched on experience, judgement and substance by either David Cameron or Nick Clegg. And with a record number of undecided voters at this election, we can all make a difference tonight by playing a role in making that point.

To help you, we’ve added a new Word of Mouth app to this week’s Debate Dashboard – allowing you to show your support for Labour right up until polling day.

Visit the Debate Dashboard tonight and make sure everyone knows the important choice facing the country

In this word of mouth election, Labour supporters across the country know that we’ve got a real chance in the debates and in conversations afterwards to make our point – that Britain is on the road to recovery and we cannot let the Tories wreck it.

Visit the Debate Dashboard tonight and make a difference

Thank you

Douglas

BoJo gives some lessons on how not to be a complete unmitigated ass

In Campaigners of note, Housekeeping on April 28, 2010 at 22:04

From the Times:

But the truth about walkabouts and “real” people is that they are (actually) real and so, by definition, random. Yesterday people told Boris about autistic children, illnesses, parking, travel, unemployment and, yes, their anger at immigration. So here are some tips from the Book of BoJo:

• When someone from Poland talks to you, answer back in Polish. “Dzien dobry!” cried Boris at the Pole, who was thrilled.

• When someone hands you a mobile phone, do not throw it (habits of a lifetime, etc) but talk into it. Yesterday it was the owner of the Chitter Chatter phone shop trying to give him a new phone. Of course, Boris rejected it (well, he had to, the BBC was filming ) but only after securing a vote for Ange. (This is an ultra-tight three-way marginal).

• When someone disagrees with you, have a bit of a good-humoured debate, then say: “Well I’m sorry we disagree!” And walk away.

• Have fun. When asked about the Lib Dems, Boris began to splutter: “How can you conceivably trust the Lib Dems! Spineless protoplasmic invertebrate amoebic fibbers — Janus-faced!” (Isn’t that so much better than “bigoted”?) Finally, pretend you don’t know where you are going. As Boris left yesterday, he walked away from his own car. “Boris!” cried everyone as the blond-haired one looked abashed. Personally I think he did it on purpose. Gordon needs a masterclass — now.

Why it’s important that the car exchange was aired

In editorial, Gordon Brown, the labour party on April 28, 2010 at 21:01

The story has well made the rounds by now. As have the images of Gordon Brown with his head in his hands, looking completely gutted in front of Jeremy Vine.  But, a question has been raised about the ethics of airing the exchange between Brown and a member of his staff following the encounter with Mrs. Duffy.

Well, let’s put this out front right away. The comments were made by a public servant, on a campaign stop funded by the British taxpayer, while sitting in a Jaguar paid for by the electorate.  Of course it’s ethical.

The media exists to provide the citizenry with the information they need to make informed decisions and live freely in a democratic society.

If the Prime Minister thinks they’re bigots, they have the right to know.  Besides, if he was stupid enough to forget he was wearing a live mic, it’s his own damn fault.  Period.

That said, we can’t help but feel somewhat sorry for him.  He’s losing spectacularly.  Lavishly.  He knows that.  His own party is now questioning his position as leader.  The pressure he is under must be immense and while he doesn’t deserve to be Prime Minister, he does at least deserve a certain amount of sympathy.

We’d like to point out that Mr. Vine could very easily have amplified the outcome of the gaffe live on the air.  He didn’t.  That is a credit to him as a broadcaster.  We’ve always thought Jeremy to be a gentleman, and today he really showed his true colours.  Good job, Jeremy.

However, getting back to what we said earlier; it was important that the exchange was aired, having been recorded – accidentally or not.

If the Prime Minister actually believes what he said – and there can be no doubt that he does – then the public needs to know.  It reveals some very important things about his views on immigration.

In other words, throw wide the doors of Great Britain.  To offer up constraints in the manner that Mrs. Duffy would like would be to admit a bigoted, narrow view of what a multi-cultural society ought to look like.

The sage academy of the Cabinet know what it should look like. Nobody else.

Just look at this – from October 2009 (thank you, Telegraph):

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

Hmmm.

So, if you’re not on board with Labour’s immigration policies, you’re a bigot – and you deserve to have your nose rubbed in it.  Or you’re a working class drone that doesn’t have the right to an opinion.  Or if you do have an opinion, you have a right to keep quiet and let the Dear Leader do What He Knows Is Right For Britain.

In the end, BigotGate is not all that remarkable, as all it does is serve to exemplify all that is wrong with the Labour endeavour, and more specifically all that is wrong with Gordon Brown.

Everybody draw Mohammed

In news, North America on April 28, 2010 at 09:47

A Seattle cartoonist has launched an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in response to recent threats made against the creators of South Park, an American television cartoon.

The threats came following insults against Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.

…it included a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004, and said the producers could meet the same fate. The website posted the addresses of Comedy Central’s New York office and the California production studio where South Park is made.

Read the rest of the story, here.

Source: The International Free Press Society

Dave hits a homer

In David Cameron, the conservatives on April 27, 2010 at 21:19

We’re not the sort of people that use profanity in public all that often, but today it seems quite appropriate.

Dave’s speech today, on ‘mending our broken society’ was a fuckin’ home run.  Way to go, Dave.  Keep it moving, now.

(Apart from the Barak Obama bit. No, we don’t hate him because he’s black, or because he’s American. We hate him because he duped an entire country out of realising he’s basically an idiot.  Though perhaps that in itself is worthy of compliment.)

Here it is, in its entirety:

Brooke Kinsella is here today because one night, nearly two years ago now, her brother Ben had his life taken from him in the most violent and tragic way.

Just a few months before his death, Ben had written a creative writing piece for his English GCSE, imagining what it would be like to be killed by a knife.

With Brooke’s permission, I’m going to read some of it out.

“Everything feels cold. Numbness persists. As I stare up at my killer-to-be he feels not the slightest measure of remorse at what he has just committed. Instead his dark smile sickens me in ways I couldn’t imagine.”

It is heartbreaking beyond belief that while out celebrating the end of those GCSEs, Ben’s vision of his own death became true.

Ben Kinsella has been added to a long list of victims who are now household names.

Rhys Jones. Gary Newlove. Sukhwinder Singh. Damilola Taylor. Jimmy Mizen.

And there’s a name you might not know.

Sofyen Belamouadden.

He was the boy who was chased into Victoria Station by a gang of school children and stabbed in front of crowds of commuters.

Just think about that.

It was about twenty past five in the afternoon, when people were making their way home, thinking about where they’d go out that night or what they’d have for dinner – when a boy lay bleeding and dying on the floor of the busy station.

Let me say that again: this happened at rush hour.

And he was a boy – not a youth, not a thug, not a faceless member of a gang – but a boy who loved playing football with Acton Garden Village Youth Sunday league team,  who had talent and a future until that day in Victoria Station.

In the week after his death some flowers appeared there on the floor of the station, some lovely bright yellow daffodils that someone had laid there, but the bustle of the station soon swallowed up the shock of what had happened.

And that’s why I’m here – and why Brooke is here – today.

There’s a danger that we as a society can slowly become immune to events like this.

Each time the shock is a little bit slighter, a little bit quicker to pass.

And as our sensitivity gets coarsened, we get a step further away from what it is to be civilised.

So I think it is time to be honest about what has been happening in our country.

There has always been violence.

There has always been evil.

But there is something about the frequency of these crimes – the depravity of these crimes, that betrays a deep and fundamental problem in Britain today.

As I have argued for many years now, these acts of murder and abuse are just the most violent and horrific expressions of what I have called the broken society.

I know I’ve been criticised for saying our society is broken and I know I will be again.

But I am saying this as I see it.

When you see schools that have metal detectors at their entrance.

When you see fire engines called out on a hoax only to be pelted with bricks.

When you see people with disabilities abused on the streets because they are in a wheelchair.

When you see people take their lives because they’ve become so overwhelmed by out-of-control debt and they can’t bear to tell their family.

When you see addicts whose only daily event is the queue to get some methadone to take the edge off life for a little bit.

When you see those who have never worked, who have no shape to their day or structure to their life and the grim grind of hopelessness is there in their eyes, your inner voice says – something is fundamentally not right here.

Something is broken. Society is broken.

The broken society is not one thing alone.

It is not just the crime.

It is a whole stew of violence, anti-social behaviour, debt, addiction, family breakdown, educational failure, poverty and despair.

This is life – or the backdrop of life – for millions of people in this country.

So how should we respond?

The first response – the human response – is to feel unutterably sad at so much waste.

Wasted hopes. Wasted potential. Wasted lives.

But sadness and anger aren’t going to change anything on their own.

Mending the broken society needs head as well as heart.

It requires us to have an understanding of what has gone wrong as well as a clear approach to putting things right.

MY ARGUMENT

And my argument today is this.

We have arrived at this point in our society for a number of reasons, many completely divorced from politics and what government does.

But I am certain that government is a big part of the problem – its size has now reached a point where it is actually making our social problems worse.

That’s because by trying to do too much, it has drained the lifeblood of a strong society – personal and social responsibility.

And the biggest victims are those at the bottom, who suffer most when crime rises and educational standards fall.

They are the victims of state failure. They are the victims of big government.

There is, I believe, only one way out of this national crisis – and that is what I have called the Big Society.

A society where we see social responsibility, not state control, as the principal driving force for social progress.

A society where we come together, and work together, to solve problems.

A society where we remember every day that we’re all in this together.

And today, I want to make the case for the values that should drive the creation of the Big Society – and the policy agenda that flows from those values.

It requires, I believe, drawing on the deepest values of Conservatism, giving power to people not the state, strengthening families, encouraging responsibility, common sense and rigour, and applying these values to the key aims of improving the lives of people in our country – especially the very poorest.

Progressive ends. Conservative means.

That’s the guiding philosophy of any future Conservative government.

I want to explain why this particular combination – progressive and conservative – is the way to tackle the problems that have defeated policymakers for decades.

The approach we offer is profoundly different to what any government has done before.

It ranges from the more conventional means such as improving policing and schooling, to the politically more difficult things like supporting families and backing commitment.

I believe we have the right weapons in our armoury to be the ones who finally confront social breakdown – and start winning the battle.

And today, I want to set out the key elements of this pioneering approach – the progressive conservative approach – to mending our broken society and building the Big Society.

BIG GOVERNMENT

The process of mending our broken society must begin with an understanding of what has gone wrong.

There are the concrete characteristics of our broken society – the violent crime, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol addiction, family breakdown, debt, worklessness, inequality – which have been bad for decades.

And there is the less tangible feeling, that we have been slowly losing the value of responsibility in our society…

…a sense that more and more people are less concerned about their responsibility to themselves, their duty to their family, their obligation to their community.

This is something we can trace back to cultural changes and shocks that have been going on for decades at least.

So I’m not going to pretend that the broken society was born under this Labour government.

But I do believe that, after thirteen years, it is reasonable for us to evaluate Labour’s effectiveness in dealing with our biggest social problems.

Because the evidence – as well as our instincts – shows that our social problems are getting worse, not better.

The poorest are getting poorer.

Social mobility has stalled.

Teenage pregnancy is the worst in Western Europe.

Levels of family breakdown are some of the highest in Europe.

Violent against the person has risen since Labour came to power.

Drug offences are up seventy percent.

There are now 10,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour every day.

And one in six children now grow up in a home where no one works.

These are astonishing statistics.

And what makes them more astonishing is that, for the past decade, the state has been hyperactive in its attempts to deal with these problems.

It has pumped record amounts of money in, passed record numbers of laws, and collected and stored record amounts of information about its citizens in its growing number of databases.

But the interesting thing is not simply that the state has failed – more, it’s why the state has failed.

I believe part of the reason is because the state – monolithic, inhuman, clumsy, distant – more often than not only treats the symptoms of our social problems, not their causes.

So for instance, its main response to rising severe poverty is more and more redistribution, with means-tested benefits and tax credits, and its main response to crime is passing another law or criminal justice act.

Let me make clear: we will keep tax credits.

But this approach, in which big government deals only with symptoms of our social problems, is nearing the limits of its effectiveness – to put it mildly.

It is time to ask some searching questions.

How many more tax credits do we keep funding before we finally ask ourselves: just what is keeping people in poverty?

How many more laws do we pass before finally we ask ourselves: just why is it that people are turning to crime?

And there’s another, connected, reason why the state is making things worse, not better.

As it has continued to expand, becoming bigger, more dictatorial, more intrusive, it has taken away from people the belief and desire to do things for themselves, for their families and for their neighbours.

So there is less expectation to work, to use your discretion and judgement, to engage with your local community, to keep your neighbourhood clean, to respect other people and their property.

Today, the state is ever present: either doing things for you, or telling you how to do them, or making sure you’re doing it their way.

We see this starkly when it comes to the fight against crime.

Police performance indicators were introduced as a means of measuring the effectiveness of different police forces.

They take into account things like the number of crimes each force detects and clears up, and bonuses can be awarded accordingly.

It sounds like a good idea.

But in reality, it completely undermines the discretion of each and every officer, encouraging them to pursue those cases that will get easy convictions, to classify as crimes things that they previously would have dealt with informally, and, most substantively, to ignore those offences where it will be difficult to get a conviction – like a lot of anti-social behaviour cases.

It is the law of unintended consequences, one we see time and again from Labour’s approach to our public services – in schools, in hospitals, in social services.

Indeed, right across our national life people’s instinct to do the right and responsible thing is neutered or even discouraged by big government.

Some parents are better off if they live apart rather than live together.

Head teachers who want to restore discipline in the classroom are overruled.

Local residents who want to get involved with their local community, giving young children something to do in their holidays, have to go through the rigmarole of vetting and inspection.

This is the moral failure of Labour’s big government approach.

When our police officers, those who are there to protect us, are encouraged to steer clear of the most difficult cases, when parents can be rewarded for splitting up, when professionals are told to follow rules rather than do what they think is best, when the kind-hearted are discouraged from doing good in their community, is it any wonder our society is broken?

PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATISM

We need to move from big government to the Big Society – a society with personal and collective responsibility right at its heart.

To set off on this new course, we will be guided by the philosophy of progressive conservatism.

Progressive – because if the Big Society exists for any reason, it must be to help the most disadvantaged in our country and seek to create a more united and equal place for us all.

But Conservative too – because we need to draw upon historic values of conservatism, discipline, responsibility, a deep faith in mankind and womankind, a respect for traditional institutions, such as family, church, community and country, and an appreciation of the limitations of the state.

Progressive conservatism is a modern philosophy that is right for an age in which debate is being widened and power is being diffused.

That is why it is such a powerful idea, one that should be unleashed to tackle our biggest problems.

It is an idea whose time has come.

And it reflects age-old truths.

In fact, it was perhaps the most famous liberal politician in British history, William Gladstone, who best summed up what I believe a government should do.

‘It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right,’ he said.

Gladstone was, of course, a classic liberal.

But he also understood the power of traditional values.

And in these 19 words, he perfectly defined the ideal for government.

One that frees up people to do good, but is not scared to confront them when they are bad.

PEOPLE POWER

So how are we going to do it?

The defining characteristic of the modern Conservative approach is found in the phrase power to the people.

This is not just a slogan.

It is a radical blueprint for redrawing society based on a belief that the best ideas come from the ground up, not the top down.

On a faith that people can come together to make life better.

And on the simple idea that we must give innovators and the idealists the opportunity to deal with our most pressing problems.

So we will improve state schools by inviting in anyone with the ideals and inspiration to create a new school so that every child has the chance of a good education.

We will invite charities, church groups, businesses and social entrepreneurs into our public services to crack the dependency culture and get people off drugs and welfare and into work.

And when it comes to fighting crime, who do you think is best placed to make our streets safe?

Politicians issuing diktats in Westminster, civil servants pushing pens in Whitehall, or communities who know where the cars are broken into, the street lighting doesn’t work, the drunken fights break out and the local gangs gather?

That’s why we will give local people much greater control over local policing, with elected police commissioners and beat meetings to discuss local priorities and to raise local issues.

And we won’t stop there – we will go further and faster in building the Big Society.

Let’s give new powers to people to keep local pubs open, stop post offices from closing, to run their local parks, to help decide on planning decisions that affect their lives, to spend the profits from developments on local playgrounds and youth facilities.

Let’s give people the chance to take control of their lives and of their communities – and help make life better.

In almost every area, we will bypass the politicians and bureaucrats in Whitehall and hand control directly over to individuals, to communities and to local civic institutions.

With government giving them the support and power they need, they will help mend our broken society and build the Big Society in its place.

RESPONSIBILITY

This return of power to the people will be complemented by the second method through which Conservative means will deliver progressive ends – an emphasis on responsibility.

Personal responsibility. Social responsibility.

The right balance between liberalism and conservatism.

Trusting the individual, but demanding a commitment to society in return.

This will be the core of every policy: if it encourages irresponsibility we shouldn’t do it and if it encourages responsibility we should do it.

So we will say to head teachers – you do what you think is right to impose discipline and order in your school.

But parents will be free to judge you on your results.

We will say to those on welfare – if you can work we will do everything possible to help you get a job.

But refuse to work and we will cut your dole.

We will say to criminals – if you commit a crime you won’t get early release because if you commit a crime you should be properly punished.

But we will do everything we can to help you stop reoffending.

And we will say to the young – spend two months on National Citizen Service, working and living with people from different parts of society, and you will emerge a better and stronger person.

Above all, we will be the most family-friendly Government you’ve ever seen in this country, because I believe that the family is the crucible of responsibility.

Strong families lead to strong societies. It’s as simple as that.

So whether it is flexible work, flexible paternity and maternity leave, Sure Start or recognising marriage in the tax system, we are on the side of the family.

But in return, our plans also include giving parents greater legal responsibility for the actions of their children if they commit anti-social behaviour.

We are going to do all that we can to support every family – and every kind of family.

After all, show me the boy smashing up a bus stop, and I’ll show you a boy who feels worthless.

And show me an inmate doing time for a violent crime, and I’ll show you the man who never knew the love of his father.

So many of our biggest problems start and end with the family – and there can be little progress until we recognise this.

COMMON SENSE AND RIGOUR

But as well as people power and encouraging responsibility, we need something else.

We need to bring some Conservative common sense and rigour to our social problems.

Such simple words to use, but all too absent from our politics in recent years.

Common sense and rigour are part of our core beliefs as Conservatives.

And we’re going to bring them to government.

So we will cut back the bureaucracy imposed on the police, and free our officers to provide the sort of high visibility, zero-tolerance, beat-based policing that communities really want.

We will untangle the giant knot of health and safety rules and regulations which prevent so many people from engaging with their local community or volunteering to help children.

And we will insist on rigour at the heart of the curriculum in our schools.

No longer will so many children leave primary school unable to read and write, or leave secondary school with no sense of our island story. And no longer will we put up with an exam system that tests credibility rather than pupils.

Indeed, what sort of country have we become in which authors are not allowed to go into our schools and inspire children with a love of books without first going through criminal vetting?

And let me tell you something else:

I never again want to hear of a hospital that is so obsessed with meeting government targets that it allows patients to go unwashed and unfed.

And this approach, based upon common sense and rigour, must start at the top – with the way politicians spend taxpayers’ money.

This year Labour are spending more on debt interest than on our schools. That makes no sense whatsoever.

So we need to act fast to cut our debts – to protect our frontline services.

There is nothing progressive about piling taxes like the jobs tax on working people and firms trying to keep their heads above water.

There is nothing progressive about putting people out of work.

For every pound wasted on a public sector fat cat, a bloated quango, a computer programme that never works, that is a pound less to spend on our schools, our hospitals, our police forces and our social services.

So we won’t wait to slice out the waste.

If we win the election on May 6, we will start rooting it out on May 7.

CONCLUSION

So this, in a nutshell, is how we will set out to rebuild the broken society.

Harnessing the strength of conservative values to the power of progressive ideals.

The progressive aims of a fair society, opportunity for all, a safer place to live, delivered through the conservative means of giving power back to the people, social responsibility and common sense and rigour.

With a government focused on making life difficult for wrong-doers, and easy for those that want to do right by themselves, their family and their neighbourhood.

Gladstone’s ideal for government. Put into practice by modern, progressive Conservatives.

Only in this way will we liberate people to strengthen their families, rebuild their communities and create a better country.

Only in this way will we start to reclaim our streets from the menace of crime and to ensure all of our schools offer children the same chances in life.

To ensure that our public services serve the public and that our politicians are servants of the people, not their masters.

Inspired by the Big Society, not crushed by the effects of big government.

Based on hope, optimism and faith in each other.

Not rules, regulations and fear of each other.

This is what Barack Obama called the audacity of hope.

Now it is our turn to dare to believe that we can change our world.

Together. All of us.

So let’s do it.”

What’s the problem in Pontefract?

In Campaigners of note, the conservatives, the labour party on April 25, 2010 at 09:21

Nick Pickles says we don’t know the whole story of the A&E ward, for one thing.

We’ve seen our local MP Yvette Cooper in plenty of photo opportunities at the hospital, but we can’t go on with more of her empty rhetoric.

I have been contacted by several local NHS staff who have raised concerns the public are not being given the full picture and that the A&E services are set to be downgraded soon after the election.

The new hospital does not have any acute care beds, proper access for ambulances or a morgue. Ambulance crews are already under instructions that Pontefract does not accept trauma patients, while nobody seems to know how many beds the new site will have – I have been told it could be as low as 30.

To try and get to the bottom of this, I have also submitted several freedom of information requests to investigate the figures quoted by Yvette claiming 9 out of ten patients will continue to be treated at the hospital.

Staff have tipped me off that this figure has been achieved by not including patients arriving by ambulance and including some out patient treatments.

I find it astonishing that NHS staff have spoken so openly to me about their real concerns that the current A&E provision will be downgraded as soon as the election is out of the way.

On the eve of a general election people in Pontefract deserve answers from their Labour MPs and not just empty rhetoric.

I have previously contacted the NHS trust demanding answers to my concerns over parking charges at the hospital – after more than two weeks, I have still not had a reply.

Nick Pickles is the Conservative PPC for Pontefract, Normanton and Castleford.

Spit or swallow: The Labour government begins the long goodbye

In editorial, Gordon Brown, the labour party on April 25, 2010 at 08:51

The Sunday Telegraph has reported that the Labour government may have started a long goodbye, following the revelation of persistent in-fighting among senior party leaders.

“Lord Mandelson ordered Harriet Harman, the party’s deputy leader, to “shut up” and told her he did not want to hear from her again, in a dispute over election strategy,” report Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite.

Disagreements, some quite bitter, range from campaign strategy to fresh leadership should the Labour party fail to win a majority.

The real story here though is that senior party strategists appear to be preparing to bring yet another unelected Prime Minister to power, this time in the person of David Miliband.  A party that may now – twice in a row – present the country with an unelected PM, ought not to be considering strategy, but withdrawal.

…the major role [in post-debate TV interviews] was played by Mr Miliband – with Lord Mandelson, who had taken the main “spin” role the previous week, absent.

A Labour insider said: “The plan was clearly to promote David [Miliband] and give him exposure with the future in mind. The official reason – that ministers were all being given a turn to mix it up – is obviously rubbish.

Harriet Harman, who is leading the campaign strategy, has widely circulated details of her humiliation at the hands of Lord Mandelson.  Last week, she appeared to have been shifted to the back seat following a row over strategy in which Mandelson told her to “shut up”.

The picture this morning is of a party desperately fighting for its life, in complete disarray with factions fighting internal battles, rather than presenting an image of unity and Harmany (yes, we know). Strategically speaking, the Labour rows could not possibly have come at a more difficult time for the party.

This is definitely not the time to be rethinking campaign strategy, with just two weeks to go before the election.

The fact that one of the factions already has its own name and identity – the “ultras” – only serves to solidify the notion that the Labour party is gasping for breath, and quickly sinking into oblivion.

…the “ultras” faction backs Mr Miliband – and hopes that key roles in a power-sharing government would be taken by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, and Lord Mandelson, who could achieve his long-cherished ambition of being foreign secretary.

Sources close to the Miliband camp say they would have “no problem” in offering the post of Chancellor to Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, with Mr Clegg also given a senior Cabinet job.

May 6 leaves the Labour voter with just two choices: spit or swallow.  One way or another, Labour will be expelled.

Enough bitching, already!

In editorial, the conservatives, the lib-dems on April 23, 2010 at 22:23

There are many things in this election to get irate about.  Many.  But, from the “you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up” department, we now have yet another addition to our list of Things That Make Us Irate™.

Fake nurses.

That’s right.  They’re not just working for the NHS, now.

Fake nurses are also posing for party political pamphlets in – good heavens – Cardiff!  (cue creepy music)

Jonathan Morgan, the Conservative AM for Cardiff North, said: “They should apologise to my constituents and to the [fake] nurses working in Cardiff who will be astonished at this behaviour.

“It is appalling that the Lib Dems in Cardiff North would seek to deliberately mislead my constituents by using a picture of their candidate talking to a [fake] nurse, when I know she is not a [fake] nurse and has never been a [fake] nurse.”

Well, we’re certainly appalled here at thecredo, let us tell you that.  The British taxpayer works long hours to pay the wages of these civil servants who pretend to be nurses at every NHS hospital across Great Britain.  That our money is now being used for party political matters is just scandalous and we are Irate™.

The Lib-Dems need to apologise and provide a full explanation to The News of the World, by Monday morning.

End of satirical rambling

Seriously, though, is there not something better that Mr. Morgan can do with his time before the election?  Like, I don’t know, figure out how to fix the NHS in Cardiff?  Or, fix Cardiff?

Dave, we love you.  Save the party from this sort of thing.

What a pillock.

Telegraph’s friendly fire fuels Clegg campaign

In David Cameron, editorial, ge2010, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg, the conservatives, The Great Debate on April 23, 2010 at 09:55

With great thanks to The Daily Telegraph, Nick Clegg got just the boost in exposure he needed to come very close to clinching the second of the leadership debates in Bristol, last night.

We were left puzzled over why the Telegraph decided to run with the story they did, yesterday, mainly because there really isn’t much of a story there at all.  It was intended to – evidently – depict Clegg as just another one of the boys.  It back-fired though into a massive crash as Clegg looked – once again – more the victim and outsider to traditional ‘jobs-for-the-boys’  politics, surging ahead in many polls following the debate.

The Lib-Dems played the scandal perfectly, not giving it the purchase that was intended by simply brushing it off as nonsense and by not reacting in any substantive way at all, really.  It was a master stroke by the Clegg handlers and an inspired bit of public relations.

What it will mean for the Tories is yet to be seen, with Cameron coming across much stronger last night – though still falling short of the target of ‘knock-out punches’ in the Sky debate.

Dave does seem to be loosening up a bit, but the Tories need to concentrate on letting him be himself as the election looms ever closer.  PR is about taking calculated risks, and so far the Tories seem – with a few exceptions – reluctant to do this, opting instead to stay in the safe, calmer waters of generalization and vagueness.

All is not lost, though, as Cameron has proven himself more than capable of serious political discourse in the past.

We think he needs to 1) stop assuming the electorate to be incapable of grasping complex political concepts, 2) open up all the stops on the console of the Cameron organ – let fly, be passionate, take the risks, 3) hammer away at the Lib-Dems and Labour – concentrate on policy, not personality.  The electorate is much more intelligent and informed than – we think – any of the leaders appear to believe.

Bring it home, Dave.  We know you can do it.  The question is, do you?

Back in the UKKR

In Housekeeping on April 21, 2010 at 21:26

Back no thanks to ash. Normal blogging will resume tomorrow.

Here’s to the folks at the CAA growing opposable thumbs.