Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mandy And Millie Show A Ratings Flop

The over-hyped Mandy and Millie Show has turned into another ratings flop for Team Brown. Voters tuned in, turned on and turned off.

The game of Party political personality posturing was exposed as a pathetic ploy to capture the news. But it seems there's little else left in Downing Street's sad old spinning world.

Fresh from gracing Her Maj with his lordy presence, Mandy The Unelected found time in Da Bizy schedule to pen a few words of support for the other Supreme Leader for Labourgraph readers, while banana-boy Miliband let it be known to Guardianistas he's available for offers, if battered Brown ever finally gives up the ghost.

It's a sad state of affairs when suffering voters have to put up with petty political bickering from an odd couple in a fag-end government propped up by peers. Voters gave them the boot in the Euro elections. But will they give up? Will they heck.

The Telegraph interview with Peter The All Powerful and the Guardian with the UK's absent foreign secretary Milibland have so much in common anyone could be forgiven for thinking it was all part of a dastardly plot.

Both managed to capture the news agenda for a short while until the electorate dozed off. Both figured high in the BBC political stakes. And both had absolutely nothing fresh to say on domestic or foreign policy. And who accused the Tories of reducing political debate to personality not policy?

Letting his new found glory go to his head, Mandy shocked the nations with the revelation that there will be another attempt to topple Brown from a “small group who keep coming back”. But the newly anointed prime-minister-in-all-but-name insisted he would not "lose any sleep" over it. Weasel words from someone safely tucked up in his ermine-lined pyjamas.

Meanwhile the boy who would be king has been sending shock waves around Westminster admitting he nearly quit the cabinet.

Well knock me down with an over-ripe banana. All rather strange coming from a foreign secretary who one might be forgiven for thinking, perhaps, he should mention a few foreign policy thingys.

Either put up or shut up. Perhaps when he's found some moral backbone, he will consider having a proper grown up go.

What next? Some strange Brown bear stuff in the woods?

Just what is the point all this palaver? Clearly both believe voters are interested in all the clap-trap.

Both are pushing the new mantra that the economy might come out of recession far sooner than some dull economist expected. The only weapon left in the depleted armoury of spin. A hollow strategy to rebuild Brown's battered reputation and try to give the rotting brand some new found street cred.

At a stroke it shows them up. Totally out of touch with the real world and real people who are worried sick about rising unemployment and making ends meet.

As James Forsyth points out over at the Spectator, apart from this line on the economy, there is little domestic policy message in either interview.

The Tory 'cuts' v New Labour 'invest' line didn't work after all that Brown sauce was exposed as a lie.

So it's left to the only hope left, the economy. Bring it on, dragged screaming from the depths of recession depression to cheer everyone up as Things Can Only Get Better with New Labour.

And all that hard on the high heels of Tears for Blears bleating on about how she was sorry for everything. Everything that is expect her expenses fiddle. Hazel: you now realise what everyone in Salford already knew. Your'e a sham.

The Orange Party made the point earlier that the Zzz-Team is sending voters to sleep. Now there's next week's Brown mini-me manifesto to look forward to.

All timed for the two up and coming by-elections in Norwich North and Glasgow North-East and a few nasty shocks in store at September's leaving Party.

Can the Labour Party ever wake up from its self-serving self inflicted insomnia? Waiting in the left-wings is an idea for a radial new manifesto from the Campaign Group.

Among the policies are: the restoration of trade union rights, more council houses, an end to public service privatisation, scrapping the Heathrow third runway, freezing and then abolishing student fees, scrapping Trident and ID cards and electoral reform.

For those in Brown Town, these are called policies.

Issues and a change of political direction that need to be debated and addressed. Policies from a true Labour manifesto which puts the frighteners up the bunch of saddos clinging on to their cushy jobs in a discredited New Labour brand with nothing better to do with their time than prop up themselves and bunkered Brown, boring the pants off voters with long-winded newspaper articles.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Laws And Sham Targets Won't End Child Poverty

A window-dressing wheeze of grandstanding laws, targets and quangos has been dreamt up to tackle child poverty from a fag-end government which has failed miserably over the last decade. Finding a new found 'vision', the centre-piece is an obsession with targets, while poverty is brushed under the carpet.

Tackling child poverty has been reduced to heartless number-crunching target-setting with no soul.

New work and pensions minister, Yvette Cooper, reckons this is being "bold about what a future Labour government's vision represents", at a stroke setting the electioneering tone and delivering just what the spin doctors ordered for a born-again Brown bounce.

Meanwhile, even using the government's own figures, 2.9 million children are living in poverty in a land of stark contrasts between the filthy rich who get the pleasures and poor who get the blame.

The Cooper bill sets out four targets, placing a legal duty on all future governments to abolish child poverty by 2020. And that means the Tories.

No governments should be allowed to wriggle out of responsibilities and move the goal-posts. But this smacks of a government using child poverty to try to wrong foot the Tories. In a crafty move and a sign of things to come, Cooper threw down the gauntlet - support this bill or risk being exposed as a greedy, uncaring cost-cutting bunch.

But a law which ties the hands of future governments begs the question: Why didn't they do that before?

The poverty bill plans to set up targets and a quango. But where in the proposals are the core social, health and welfare policies which would go some way to actually cutting down the number of kids in dire poverty?

The whole issue is fraught with double standards and clap-trap. Using the indices of disposable income belies the poverty beneath and what it means for families and children.

It means living in a squalid council flat, living off cheap crap food, in an area riddled with crime and decay with no hope of a job and no dignity or self-respect.

Once again the government is obsessed with a target culture instead of getting down and dirty tackling the real problem.

That won't be achieved by another quango stuffed with a well-fed bunch of do-gooders dreaming up strategies and campaigns, obsessed with tick-box targets while ministers pass the buck and duck responsibility.

Kids on the bread-line cannot eat strategies. Targets and campaigns don't lift them out of the depths of despair and despondency.

Once again it is the culture of the process - meeting targets - rather than the end result which is the obsession. Tick the boxes, fiddle the figures and hey presto the problem disappears.

All that will be left is a useless set of targets which a government, any government, may or may not meet. And if they don't they can always change the goal-posts.

Reducing poverty to a cold set of statistics and figures means people spend their time chasing targets while kids live in squalor. It's not as if the government hasn't had enough time to have a stab at it.

It's all a tad too little too late. Where has the government been for the last ten years?

Ending child poverty by 2020 was just one of Blair's broken promises of 1999 which has fallen by the wayside. The audacious target hadn't a cat in hells chance of being achieved without some brave and bold ideas.

The government says it has 'lifted' half a million children out of poverty but that will still leave a damning indictment for 2007/8, with the number of children living in poverty put at 2.9 million.

Child poverty has been reduced to a set of meaningless statistics based mainly on income, those who live in households with an income of less than 60% of the average. But the problems and root causes of poverty are far more complex than mere reliance on state benefit.

It boils down to giving people hope and something to live for. Some hope to cling on to, a purpose in life and a way out of the poverty trap.

The government needs to wake up and get a grip. Simply relying on means-tested benefits to tackle child poverty is a numbers game for a cold, uncaring treasury but it is living in a fools paradise.

Putting a legal duty on councils and hard-pressed services including the police cuts no ice with staff already stretched to the limit.

Instead it's the root cause that must be tackled. And that means getting to grips with a high quality education for all kids not just the rich. Tackling family breakdown, the mountain of personal debt, dealing with rising heroin abuse and shocking street crime.

Laws and targets do not do that. A State with the power to change the huge amount of unevenly distributed wealth can. A government which wakes up and recognises that while child poverty is rife it merely serves as a sad indictment of society. A government which gets off its high horse and actually does something.

A meaningful job for parents and a roof over their head in somewhere safe and pleasant to live would be a start. A State welfare system which recognises the need for a safety net and security blanket for the weak and vulnerable who cannot help themselves.

There's something very wrong with a so-called wealthy country where you can see such high levels of child poverty. Why do poor children have to grow up and suffer the worse health care, lower life expectancy and no chances to get on in life.

To cap it all, even the useless action won't start immediately. The bill will receive its second reading in a fortnight and is due to become law by the end of the year. Just in time for a general election while child poverty is kicked into the long grass and a new government left to tackle the thorny issue.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Smug Grins And Spins Fool No-One

Beaming Brown thinks he's on a winner playing the 'Tory cuts' card, lifting the gloom on his recession depression. But times have changed. The savvy public have seen through the sham. Never smile at a Crocodile. No-one is taken in by the great big grin. He's just imagining how well you fit within his skin.

With perfect timing, news on the economic 'recovery' front came at just the right moment for bullet-ridden Brown. What a co-incidence.

Prayers were answered in the shape of a think-tank report that the economy bottomed in March and has started to grow again.

So that's it. Time to come out of the Bunker with a large dose of "I told you so" to all the doubting Darlings? Time for a smug grin at September's Labour Party conference? Now Things Can Only Get Better - but only if you stick with Brown sauce.

Er, not quite. It all depends on where you are standing, according to The Times business editor, David Wighton.

The claim from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) was remarkably clear. The economy hit rock bottom in March. Growth is tiny, 0.2 per cent in April and 0.1 per cent in May but enough for its boss to declare: "The recession is over".

But even if the claims are accurate, it means the country is coming out of recession months before chancellor Darling predicted. No wonder Brownballs wanted rid of him.

Downing Street is pretending not to get too excited but behind scenes they must be rubbing their grubby little hands all the way to the ballot box. Or so they think.

Of course the recession depression will bottom out sometime. It cannot keep going through the floor. With billions of pounds borrowed and using the cute trick of printing even more money, it was bound to come to an end some day.

But the legacy of monumental debt piling up will still be there for generations to come. The economy may well grow but it will be darn slow. Unemployment will continue to rise.

Economic recovery may be V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped or pear-shaped. No-one knows and no-one can predict the unpredictable.

Back in the real world, unemployment is going through the roof, hard-pressed families are struggling to make ends meet and pay off their own mountain of debt. What little there was left of UK manufacturing has taken such a severe hit, it's impossible to predict when or even if it will ever fully recover.

Signs of improvement sure. The FTSE 100 rallied and sterling gained against the dollar. The City cats can start to make a fortune again. But if something looks too good to be true it probably means it is.

Look beyond this bottom and the country has still a long way to go. What is clear is the tired old mantras of "downturns" and "cuts" are still being trotted out and voters are frankly fed up to the back teeth with them. How times have changed.

'Tory cuts' was soo 2001. Painting New Labour as the Party of bountiful investment battling to keep out the nasty cost-cutting Tories cuts no ice anymore.

Once again it is the Sun wot captures the mood of the country as it sets about capturing votes for the Tories: "Where is the disgrace in making cuts? Who really believes some services WON'T need cutting to pay back the monstrous debts we are running up to beat recession?

Whoever is in charge there will be cuts and they will be deep. The legacy of Brown's smoke and mirrors accounting won't just evaporate. Who is to blame for that bloomin' Boom and Bust is not something voters will forget in a hurry.

Cameron had a hard job explaining away his shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley's revelation that Tories are planning 10 per cent cuts to public spending if they win the next election. But the Lansley "gaffe" line didn't last long. Now Brown's Burnham is in a pickle over NHS 'cuts' policy as he tied himself in knots.

It is all there in black and white in deluded Brown’s own treasury figures. The budget sets out plans for a seven per cent cut. But play the "Tory cuts" line they will ad infinitum ad nauseam. It's the only deceitful line they have left in a depleted armoury of spin.

The struggling Supreme Leader will play his last roll of the dice for all its worth. He was right while everyone else, including his own chancellor and Saint Vince, got it wrong. Who needs democracy and parliament when he's the only one to save the world?

But beleaguered Brown is forgetting vengeful voters. In case they need any reminding and it's doubtful they do, a little dose of reality from the wonderful world of retro Disney won't go amiss:

Never smile at a crocodile
No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile
Don't be taken in by his welcome grin
He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin

Mid Picture: New Labour campaign poster 2001


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Zzzz-Team Sends Voters To Sleep

Bullet-ridden Brown is wearing Mandy's crown. The Zzzz-Team has begun a fantasy fight-back sending voters to sleep. Dreaming up anything to cling to power, Brand Brown has a smug grin until the next time.

A mighty mandate for government change was delivered in the Euro election wipe-out but after beating off a limp challenge from lily-livered MPs, vengeful voters have to put up with the clap-trap for a little longer.

Bruised, beleaguered, battered and broken, it's not all bad news in the Bunker. Beaming Brown lives to fight another day in a fag-end government of the living dead, propped up by a self-serving bunch of yes-men henchmen.

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) was Brown-beaten into submission in a carefully stage managed show of sweetness and light for the Dear Leader. Paul Waugh over at the Standard has a blow by blow account of the gory details.

Some put their heads above the parapet. Few wanted to be cut lose from their cushy jobs as lowly ministers and pay roll MPs. In the end greed, self-serving interest and blackmail won the day.

Few had the guts to stand up to the bully boys. Team Brown played the final blackmail card: stick with me or lose your cushy seats. But there's no reason for the Dear Leader to look so smug.

New Labour MPs must be kicking themselves. Todays poll for the Independent shows starkly what many including the Orange Party were saying all along. With Johnson at the helm, the Party stood a fighting chance of beating off the inevitable Tory landslide saving some dignity and some seats with a well-hung parliament.

Now if this squalid spectacle is allowed to run its dozy course, bully-boy Brown is well and truly stuffed and MPs will only have themselves to blame. They blew it and now they and the country have to live with it.

And things can only get worse. Listeners had to put up with the mind-numbing garbage of banana-boy Miliband gabbling away on the Today programme. Spewing out the Party spinning line made for excruciating listening.

To cap it all, even the smoke and mirrors economic recovery miracle was wheeled out as an example of what New Labour can do. And all that from the boy who would be king. No wonder the Party would rather just curl up and die.

The only bit of reverse ferret policy to come out of the whole sorry mess is that it seems Mandy's back-door plan to sell-off Royal Mail may disappear up its own fudge in a move to keep the backbenchers sweet.

Lessons have been learnt. Next time there will have to an organised, cabinet-level coup led by someone the Party takes seriously, instead of fannying around going off half-cock.

Have another go they will. New Labour will do what it always does in time of trouble - tear itself apart.

A couple of bloody noses in bye bye election defeats, more of the ruthless smearing tactics of the Downing Street reservoir dogs and here we go again. Brown will be breaking out into a sweat and the knives will be out perhaps at September's Party conference.

For now it's Carry On Regardless Up Their Convenience as broken Brown and his cabinet cronies dream up anything just to cling on to power for power's sake.

But what has become clear is that the fate of the struggling Supreme Leader won't be decided by voters, parliament or the PLP. Power lies in the grubby little paws of an unelected and unaccountable First Secretary of State rewarded with a whopping bunch of ministerial underlings for saving battered Brown's skin.

Mandy is lovin' it. He's got what he's always wanted. All the powerful pleasure of being prime minister without responsibility. No Party spin line, no speech, no strategy, no policy, nothing will come out of Number 10 unless it has the blessing of the blessed lord Mandy.

When Mandy decided to move against Brown he will. The power behind the throne is wearing the crown. It's third time lucky for Mandelson.

What a sad day for democracy, the Labour Party, the parliamentary process and the country, when the fate of a prime minister is decided on the whim of an unelected First Secretary who's living up to his grand title and putting himself first.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Euro Trashed

Brown's New Labour has been Euro trashed. Voters have delivered a damning verdict on the broken prime minister and his broken government. No amount of spinning can mask the shocking defeat. Brown and his bullies must go.

With Brown treading water on a sinking ship, the Party has been wiped out in Wales, thoroughly beaten by UKIP and allowed the far right BNP to gain its first MEPs. 

Any carefully scripted spin that these election results  were the result of the MPs' expenses scandal or the dire state of the economy have been blown out of the water.

They are not the problem. The Labour Party isn't the problem. Brown and his bunch of yes men henchmen in a collapsed compromise cabinet are the problem. 

In the Welsh Labour heartlands, one of the birth places of the movement where Labour runs through the blood, the Party hadn't lost an election since the 'khaki election' of 1918. 

Now thanks to Brown's New Labour, as its vote dropped by 12%, it is left playing second fiddle to the Tories. The Tories. In Wales.

Elsewhere, the UK Independence Party finished second to the Tories, well ahead of Brown's New Labour, taking a 16.5% share of the vote forcing the ruling Party into a miserable third place with a 15.7% share.

Any share below 20% should send a clear sign that the game is up. This is no victory for the Tories, UKIP or the BNP which gained a 6.2% share with two MEPs. It is a resounding vote against Brown's New Labour. 

The Labour Party wasn't the problem. The blame rests solely on the shoulders of a deluded prime minister and a rotten bunch of cronies who are bent on destroying the Party, the country and dismantling democracy in an arrogant, self-serving lust for power. 

The prime minister is being held hostage by his old enemy with the fancy title First Secretary of State. 

The country is being run by the unelected and unaccountable Prince of Darkness who now wears the crown, with a spineless cabinet tagging on.

Government and democracy have broken down but New Labour just doesn't get it. 

This is a collapse in the Brown New Labour vote rather than a sudden surge in support for other parties. 

With a last roll of the dice the ex-Supreme Leader is due to try it on tonight with the blackmail card as he squares up to his MPs to shore up support: stick with me suckers or lose your seats in a general election wipe-out.

But the Party could salvage some dignity, respect and a few seats if only Brown had the good grace to go now and the Party had the guts to let the people have their say instead of forcing them to take a back seat.

A week's a long time in politics. The Orange Party is in no mood for detailed dissection. This is a sad day for the Labour Party. The results leave a bitter taste, sickened that the Party can be dragged down so low. 

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan's Dr Seuus moment sums up the mood of voters:


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Democracy Dismantled In Last Gasp For Power

Democracy has been dismantled while a squalid game of petty politics engulfs a fag-end government and people and parliament are left in limbo. Mandy is left lording it up as the winner and voters forced to take a back seat. 

The party is over for the New Labour Party on the horns of a dilemma in a lose-lose situation, driven only by a last gasp lust for power.

As a broken Brown government ignores parliament and the people for a self-serving game of cat and mouse politics, Brown is left a hostage to his own cabinet and a hostage to his former foe. 

Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, has managed to achieve what ruthless politicians can only dream of - absolute power with absolutely no accountability. 

The Party is paying the price after Mandy's intervention to save the skin of the ex-Supreme Leader.

The parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meets for a showdown tomorrow, angry and frustrated at the autocratic and dismissive style of Brown's leadership.   

But the PLP is stuffed with lowly ministers and pay-roll MPs who've taken the Downing Street shilling to toe the line. 

It would take an honest and honourable member to put the Party and the people above their own lust for power and greed. A PLP revolt stands little chance of toppling the regime unless MPs get off their backsides and show that it's parliament not the iron grip of government that should call the shots.

Not since the 1950s has there been such a government of the unelected and unaccountable with so many unelected peers entitled to attend some cabinet meetings. 

Not since the rotten boroughs has parliament been forced to bow to corrupt peer patronage. 

Not since god knows when has there been one man with a fancy title of First Secretary of State who holds so much power and influence and the fate of a prime minister in his vile and grubby hands. 

The stuffing has been knocked out of Brown's waning authority. He's left in limbo land with a collapsing compromise cabinet stuffed with a motley bunch of cronies and yes men, with unelected Mandelson calling all the shots and pulling all the strings. 

Hope for democracy is on the horizon with the opposition motion this week of no confidence, by Welsh and Scottish nationalist parties and looming support from mainstream Tory, LibDem and backbench New Labour MPs. 

But even if the motion is allowed through, expect a rerun of the 42 days detention debacle, when the Northern Ireland DUP held all the cards with a squalid game of pork-barrel politics set to repeat itself. 

Today the Sunday Times exposes the bitter rift between Brown's henchman Balls and Mandelson, while a leaked email swirls around in which Mandy attacks the "angry and insecure" PM fresh from his disgraceful and embarrassing performances in Normandy (right side-bar)

Things should only get worse but in an undemocratic autocratic regime, anything that crops up no matter how damaging makes no difference to the arrogant power-crazed political elite. 

Looming in the background are the "terrible" European election results, due out later today, set to show a disaster for the government with the shocking undemocratic state of affairs where the ruling government of the day will be left with an impotent political voice in Europe. 

In a democracy, if the Party came behind UKIP, or dropped below 20 per cent of the national share of the vote, the game should be up.

But even with this likely blow and government set to take a hammering, the spinners are already preparing briefing notes ready for the automatons to be wheeled in front of the TV cameras reading from the carefully-crafted spinning script.  

At the heart is the intractable dilemma for the Party. Stick with Brown and hope things will get better, which they know in their hearts it can't before spring 2010, while bunkered Brown clings on until the bitter end. Or cut their losses now, instal Blair prop Johnson and the inevitable general election in the autumn.

Despite the best efforts of Downing Street spinners  that all is hunky dory in Brown town, it is clear that both the PLP and grass roots members are split right down the middle. 

Dave must be delighted. In lose-lose New Labour land only the Tories are winners. Cut Brown loose now and a general election will see a small Tory majority. 

Limp on and an increasingly angry and frustrated electorate will punish the now discredited New Labour brand,  leaving the Tories with a landslide from which it will take a decade to recover. 

New Labour just doesn't get it. The Party could salvage some dignity, respect and a few seats if only Brown had the good grace to go and the Party had the guts to let the people have their say instead of forcing them to take a back seat.

But Mandy is having a lovely time. The power behind the throne is now wearing the crown. Why spoil the party for the sake of the Party.