Saturday, June 28, 2008

Labour - are they actually trying to lose?

The result of the Henley bye-election had Labour in fifth place behind both the Greens and the BNP. They lost their deposit. This is a very bad result for them, and for the Liberal Democrats. One reason that it may have been so bad is that Harriet Harman chose polling day to announce legislation that would allow companies to discriminate against white men when hiring. I think that all discrimination is odious, and dangerous because if you allow it as a principle then the argument moves on to who is discrimminated against, which may end up in a very bad place indeed. In political terms it is also deeply stupid. If you analyse the demographics of Labour support then at its core is working-class white men. This measure is aimed against them like a missile, but the barrage doesn't end there. Ed Balls has threatened to close what he calls 'failing' schools, but that amounts to about a third of the schools in the country, 3 in Basildon, and it went down like a lead balloon. Then there are the polyclinics that threated GP surgeries to the point that over a million signed a petition against them. Meanwhile the chancellor wants to retrospectively rise car tax to hit just about every motorist in the country and there are still millions of people who have not been baled out by the government's package to help the poorest hit by the 10p tax fiasco.

Who is running the political strategy for the Labour party? Are they actually trying to drive away support? At this rate they will end up not only with less than 200 MPs but hardly any councillors, no money, and a legacy of bitterness that will keep them out of power for a generation, or finish them off entirely. I am genuinely perplexed as to what may be going on. These are not stupid people after all, but they are acting like political morons.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A balanced review of Gordon's first year

The Conservative Party has issued an objective analysis of Gordon Brown's year as Prime Minister. Chapters include: Brown the failure, Brown the incompetent, Brown the ditherer, Brown the opportunist, and Brown the hypocrite. You get the drift. On one level you should try to play the ball not the man in politics, but when it comes to leadership much is bound up in the character of the leader, and much of the failure of Labour is bound up in the character of Brown. It is also pretty funny.

My favourites are some of the photographs, like this one of Brown asleep:

Or this one of him on fire:

Or having had a make-up malfunction:

Apparently there is someone now employed at No.10 whose entire job revolves around preventing such images. Given Brown's legendary temper they must be a master of tact.

Basildon Cabinet - Everyone Agrees!

Just got back from a Cabinet meeting at Basildon Council and I think that we may have achieved a first. Every item was passed by unanimous vote; this with a multi-party Cabinet, in Basildon. For those that don't know, Basildon politics is traditionally highly adversarial, with disagreement often occurring seemingly just for the sake of it. However Lynda Gordon, the new Labour leader, and Ben Williams who is also new to the Cabinet, clearly have a different way of working. This is a good thing, with a better discussion of the various items instead of party-political ping-pong. I don't doubt that we will continue to have disagreements, but if they are on matters of real substance then we will serve the people better by spending our time arguing about things that matter.

It is Full Council tomorrow. Let us see if the trend continues.