Category Archives: Liberal Democrats

THE DEFICIT MYTH – We’re STILL underperforming the #EU ……..#GE2015

THE DEFICIT has been a constant in our ears ever since someone at Conservative HQ discovered that because the GDP was exceptionally low in 2010, THE DEFICIT was a high percentage of it.

In fact, it was about 10%.

Gradually, because the GDP has increased, THE DEFICIT has gradually become a lower percentage of the GDP.

It is now of the order of 5%……..or as Messrs Cameron and Osborne prefer: “We have HALVED the deficit!”.

Yes…from 10% to 5%.

The graph above shows that as far as THE DEFICIT is concerned, the United Kingdom continues to UNDERPERFORM the European Union.

(If you click on the “EXPLORE DATA” link on the above graph, you will land on the official Eurostat page where you can add other countries to the graph for comparison and have as much fun with statistics as our Coalition Government did!)

Gideon and the Welfare State.

This is what Chancellor Gideon said about Mick Philpott, the scumbag who killed his own children through an act of gross stupidity:

“Philpott is responsible for these absolutely horrendous crimes and these are crimes that have shocked the nation. The courts are responsible for sentencing, but I think there is a question for government and for society about the Welfare State and the taxpayers who pay for the Welfare State, subsidising lifestyles like that. I think that debate needs to be had.”

These ill-conceived words from an ill-conceived Chancellor have sparked a debate because of the link made between the crime and the Welfare State. Let’s test Osborne’s opinion with a small substitution:

Shipman is responsible for these absolutely horrendous crimes and these are crimes that have shocked the nation. The courts are responsible for sentencing, but I think there is a question for government and for society about the NHS and the taxpayers who pay for the NHS, subsidising lifestyles like that. I think that debate needs to be had.”

It doesn’t work, does it?

Philpott is the product of an upbringing, a  British education, a social environment, a learned set of values and generations of genetic programming.

Juxtaposing the Welfare State and Philpott’s crime was yet another “bad call” in a long list of bad calls by the Chancellor.

The Genesis of the United Kingdom’s Welfare State is to be found in the Liberal Welfare Reforms of 1906-1914, under Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.

Surely, Gideon and Dave aren’t going to blame the Libdems for this one too, are they !?

Eastleigh: a UKIP lesson

Last year, I predicted as follows:  “David Cameron will realise that UKIP is a clear and present danger and will begin the fight-back by the only way possible. He will adopt their policies and reinforce that by continuing to spray copious volumes of testosterone in Brussels.” ( #17 HERE )

In spite of the Conservatives’ best efforts to smear the Liberal Democrats with the ridiculously-timed media Lord Rennard “Gropegate” campaign, the Party has been humiliated in the fifteenth by-election of this lame government. The majority of all the other by-elections since 2010 were straightforward and predictable “Labour Hold” results – this one was different. Very different.

If the insufferably smug UKIP leader Nigel Farage struts any more zingily, he’ll injure himself! But who can blame him? The incompetence, the 19th Century policies, the 18th Century verbal jousting and lack of cogent communication by the other parties has helped UKIP to begin their final climb to Westminster.

Both main parties will dismiss this colossal electoral success by UKIP as a mere mid-term blip…and they will suffer because of their total lack of either proper analysis or strategy. To both main parties but especially the Conservatives, UKIP has been allowed to become (ironically) like the Eurozone – it has flourished into a problem without solution. UKIP is here to say.

The way any government operates is very straightforward. The first half of its term in office is given over to imposing the necessary “bad bits” – the policies which are bound to be unpopular.

The second half of its tenure (especially in the final 12 months leading to a General Election)  is usually distinguished by the giveaways – the “nice bits”. (Tax decreases, new thresholds, share handouts etc).

This time – it will NOT work. It will not work because , in the final analysis – forget policies and promises….we vote for people we like and trust. The present Coalition government (especially the Tories) have no-one particularly likeable to offer and they have certainly “blown” the last vestiges of any pre-election trust that the electorate had in them.

But the REALLY big tactical error that the Conservatives made in Eastleigh was their choice of candidate, Mrs Maria “I say what I think” Hutchings. She was the nearest that the Tories could find to their own ersatz  UKIP candidate.

They thought that they might just fool the electorate…………. and failed.

We’ve already had the traditional “Yes, it’s disappointing but I’m sure that we can win the voters back at the next General Election” announcement from the Prime Minister.

Are you sure about that, Dave?

(BTW – well done Libdems………. and Nick, there’s a difference between “stunning ” and “stunned”!)

An Early Vince Christmas

In the last FOUR YEARS, the British taxpayer bailed-out the banks and  insured them against failing and the government has TALKED about reorganising them. It has also TALKED about excessive bank profits and bonuses.

So it is only natural that as the banks are busy “rebuilding their Balance Sheets” – which is already one of the longest construction jobs on record,  the UK Government undertakes to lend more TAXPAYERS CASH to Small and Medium Enterprises. (THIS time, £1 BILLION is the headline figure.)

Meanwhile, during this recession-without-end, Banks are booking profits at pre-banking-crisis levels!

….and how will this cash be distributed to SMEs?

Through “intermediaries” and small banks…..although the Business Secretary is still a bit light on detail. That signals MORE meetings, MORE forms, MORE reorganisation, MORE training, MORE Treasury Select Committee…etc.

You know the drill.

….and by the way, it is no coincidence that Vince Cable has been allowed to announce this latest initiative during the Libdem Conference.

**Applause**

p.s. How many more businesses will go to the wall while the politicians continue to meet, ruminate and pronounce?

Quaint Liberals?

Quaintness pervades British Society – from our cute little village tea rooms, the genetically coded-in inferiority complex of the working classes, Barristers’ wigs to the way we run our Parliament and economy. We wear 21st century clothes which disguise 18th  and 19th century thinking.

For instance, India has a Space programme, nuclear bombs and an industrial infrastructure which will leave our economy standing in a couple of years. Yet we still see ourselves as “England Sahib” and attempt to dispense Colonial munificence to the natives by insisting that they accept our charity. They are embarrassed, they don’t want it but we feel that they ought to accept the £200 million-odd per year.

Remember how we felt in 1974 ago when the mad Idi Amin of Uganda launched his “Bananas for Britain” campaign because he’d heard that we were starving ? Mind you, at the time, the UK  was in a spot of bother. The oil crisis had sent the economy into freefall, unemployment was rising and industrial strife was worsening. (Sound familiar?).

The following Amin telegram was received in Whitehall:

“In the past months the people of Uganda have been following with sorrow the alarming economic crisis befalling on Britain. The sad fact is that it is the ordinary British citizen who is suffering most. I am today appealing to all the people of Uganda who have all along been traditional friends of the British people to come forward and help their former colonial masters. The people of Kigezi District donated one lorry load of vegetables and wheat – send an aircraft to collect this donation urgently before it goes bad .”

The politicians and Civil Servants both greeted the message with embarrassment and derision.

That is exactly how those  millionaire and billionaire Indians feel about the “peanuts donations” (their words) that we keep forcing on them.

But that is the very essence of our collective quaintness. We are oblivious because in our minds, we are still  “KING OF THE WORLD!”  We appear to be oblivious to the fact that  since 1845 (never mind 1945!), the world has changed.

We’re still like a maiden aunt handing a 5/- Postal Order to the nephew with an iPhone.

“But English is the world’s main-language” is the oft-repeated Mantra. Yes, because hundreds of years ago, we could sail boats. That meant that we could travel  and steal lots from the natives! Then we’d force-feed them God but more importantly – we taught them the English Language.

We weren’t “quaint” in those days. We were thieving and murdering conquerors with attitude. We used to have balls!

Now we are like the wheezy old duffer draped over a worn-out leather club chair, who likes to reminisce about the “good old days” and when being British “meant something”.

Great Britain consists of 6,289  damp little  islands in the North Sea – and only 803 of those  have what can be loosely described as a coastline. The rest are rocks sticking out of the sea.

It used to be said that the sun never set on the British Empire – but IT DOES NOW and like a rheumy-eyed old-timer, we should wake up and smell the Earl Grey!

There is one word which we treasure above all other : “TRADITION”. Our mentality dictates thas as soon as we have done something once, it has to become “tradition”.

Everything from the Christmas Turkey to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace are “tradition”.

Why is there a ribbon on every MPS coat-hook ? “It’s for his sword, Dumbo! It’s TRADITION!”

“We vote Labour in this house -it’s tradition !!”

“You have to drink 10 pints and then be violently sick because…………” You’ve guessed it!!

I am listening to three Royal Commentators being interviewed on the subject of the Queen’s Jubilee. A great demonstration of synchronised obsequiousness borne of our love of tradition. ” The Queen does not see herself as a celebrity, she is far more than that….did you see those new photos of her….she wasn’t  just “Hollywood”…. she was….Majestic!!!”

The Brits absolutely worship the Royal family because……it’s TRADITION. It’s tradition personified.

No-one is suggesting that we should start , as the French did, by trashing the Royals. The French are almost as traditionally-minded as the Brits . That is why Monsieur le Président de la République is expected to behave like a king and why he lives in a palace.

Yet, the French have taken that important  one step forward from tradition and appear more modern and sophisticated than the Brits. They are NOT quaint. They have struck the right balance between modernity and tradition.

Why do we feel so uncomfortable in Europe? Why do we come across as outsiders? Geography is often blamed. “We’re an island…that’s what it is. We’re British!!”

Geography is to blame but it is not physical Geography. It is our mental, attitudinal Geography.

“We’re BRITISH, for God’s sake!”

Yes – we are British but we continue to treat Britishness as a virtue whilst we sit passively as the world around us grows and changes.

The government is ruled by the Conservatives (yes, even when the Labour Party is running things). They (the Conservatives) are VERY traditional. They are the Establishment.

Her Majesty’s Labour Opposition (see what I did there?) is ruled by the unions who are more conservative than the Conservatives.

Even those vast expanses of white nylon shirt displayed by overweight union leaders have become “tradition”. Their antipathy to any government has become traditional and in its own way…..quaint.

We are all drowning in a sea of tradition and quaintness – but there’s a surprising answer.

The Liberal Democrats are the United Kingdom’s newest and least-traditional bunch of politicians. But traditionally , they are  constantly squeezed from the Left as well as from the Right

Liberal Democrats do not make enough of their  “Democratic” credentials because they prefer the more traditional (and  quaint) “Liberal” – which actually doesn’t mean anything  to the average voter.

Liberal has two sets of meanings: Progressive, forward-looking, reformist, radical, libertarian, free-thinking, modern.

The second set of definitions or synonyms is the one with which the Liberals have been traditionally associated: Tolerant, indulgent, unbiased, broad, disinterested, unopinionated.

However, they do have one great advantage. They are neither in the hands of the traditionally quaint Establishment nor the quaintly traditional Unions.

That’s where our answer could be. Not necessarily in the hands of the traditional Liberal-Democrats but maybe in a new fired-up Democratic-Liberal Party ?

The quaintness has to go.