Monday, January 3, 2011

The State of Political Play in 2011

Liar Liar
David Cameron
Credit where it is due, come on now it's a new year, let's not be mean spirited let us congratulate the Conservative party on their sort of win in the 2010 general election, after all, it was no mean feat that David Cameron managed to throw a double figure lead away in the polls, and then hang on by the skin of his teeth to assume the position of prime minister, after being forced to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. Well done David (I think).

The other day on facebook's labour page , I was having a debate with someone who feels David Cameron is more liberal than Tory. I disagreed, I believe he is more extreme right, this got me thinking about why the Tories are giving off such mixed signals. So where does today's Tory party stand in the political positioning stakes?  After Cameron's Tories spectacularly failed to win an outright majority at last May's general election and they were joined in "unholy" matrimony to Clegg and his Democrats, it has become increasingly hard to position both parties in the political arena.

When the coalition was first formed I predicted that both parties would suffer a crisis of identity. To be honest, most political minded people could see the writing on the wall for the Liberal Democrats, the only surprise there has been the sheer speed of their decline, I don't think many political hacks would have forecast that particular political Armageddon back in May 2010, 'myself' included. However, while some people were falling over themselves to gush about the "new politics" that they truly believed had risen Phoenix like, out of the ashes, and as they hung on to the every word of Cameron, Clegg and Osborne, many of us "labourites" could clearly see that it would all end in tears, only no one was listening to us, the "seasoned political journos" knew best didn't they?
I wondered why no one else was seeing the problems that I believed would be insurmountable with the, Tory right, the Tory liberal/left and the Tory centre? It seemed inevitable to me that in the end no one would be pleased, and bickering behind the scenes would progress to full scale political blood baths, it hasn't quite reached that level (yet), but if recent history is anything to go by (Cablegate and Liberal-lose-lip-gate is anything to go by), it's getting that way! So when the corridors of power is awash with the blood of political in-fighting, what colour will that blood be? Blue, orange or red?

Red Blood
Many political pundits rubbed their hands together in glee at the prospect of the labour party publicly tearing itself to pieces after the general election, especially, when it was announced that the party would have that ludicrously and unnecessarily long leadership contest. The prospect of labour turning in on itself, and attacking itself from the inside, exited many seasoned journalists. This would be something they could get their teeth into. The general election was over and what better to fill the void? They looked forward to a "silly season" summer of reporting on the in-fighting, they just had to wait for it to begin. So they sat back and waited, and waited, and waited, the smug smile of Tory BBC journalist Nick Robinson gradually faded, from smugness to bewilderment. After being taken down a peg or several very publicly, Sky's bemused Adam Boulton and Kate Burley seemed to shrink to in-consequence and disappear, sent "away for the summer" after huge campaigns on facebook calling for their dismissal for political bias and that debacle of Adam Boulton's when he became incandescent with rage, almost apoplectic, one thought he was going to punch Alistair Campbell. The Daily Mail looked on utterly appalled at the *lack* of labour fighting, and the Sun, Times and News of the World, and the Murdochs and "Murdochista" reporters? Well they just did what they normally do in circumstances where they wanted something to happen badly and it doesn't, they just made it all up as they went along, their journalists seem to reside in political la la land, where the 'right' is always right and Rupert Murdoch walks on water. 
The collective right wing press tried desperately to stir tensions between the Miliband brothers, that never happened either. They turned to the unions, surely they would give them some succour? No, seems they were not playing ball either. Depressing for the journalist's, the party conference was upon us and still no labour in-fighting, but after so long they now had something to cling on to, the Miliband brothers were neck and neck in the leadership contest, but few if any, predicted the final outcome, that Ed Miliband would beat his brother to the crown, but he did and now the journalists were almost beside themselves with glee and happiness, surely now they will their desired labour in-fighting, and a brotherly feud too (hopefully) ?  In the event none of it happened, David Miliband calmly and dignified took himself off to the bank benches to assess his position and who can blame him? The very worse time for making huge life altering decisions is at a time of great stress. David Cameron being the unpleasant person he really is, has tried causing tensions between the brothers by leaking that he has offered a top job to David, in recognition of his political skills and that they should not lay farrow or be wasted, however, that bit of political mischief making did not work either, the prime minister forgot about Twitter, David Miliband simply tweeted from his family Christmas holiday that "he had not been offered the job and he would not take it even if he were to be", so that news spread rapidly and that put paid to that pathetic attempt by Cameron and the Tories to steal a march on the now quietly "resurging" Ed Miliband and labour party. Despite the best attempts by the media to pin the "Red Ed" tag on the new labour leader it has not happened, probably because the public are not fools and saw Ed is just a nice shade of politically acceptable pink. After a quiet start, (which was to be expected) owing to the fact that that Mr Miliband and his partner were expecting their second child, the labour leader's "star" is very slowly on the ascent.

It is true that to many he seemed too quiet, and people started to become restless, the labour troops badly needed leadership and direction, and above all they want to get stuck into what they saw as the Tories blatant attacks on the poor, the elderly, the young, the disabled and the vulnerable and now soon to be rising unemployed. Quintessentially after all, this is what the labour party is all about, it is why it came into existence, if you care about "social mobility", if you care about what happens to the masses and not the few, if you wanted a fairer society where getting on is *not*  a privilege of birth, then the labour party "broad church" was, is and always will be your natural political home. It is why the Labour party is quite able and content to attract such a diverse range of people, and why they, for the best part can always get on with each other,  they can, because they all have one or several of those burning desires in common. So political positioning of the labour party is not, and never really will be that much of an issue, (only to the political mischief making hacks who always want problems where there are none).  the labour party is there right in the centre of British politics, anchored by its very virtue, and such as its structure which naturally evolved over the years but has also been so carefully built since the labour party's very conception, it can quite safely sway very gently to the left, to the right or settle in the centre, ready to move any which way as is needed for the benefit of the nation and its very design embodies and embraces political movement. The labour party can do this because its design is first and foremost is, people. "People" at their very best, wanting the very best "for the many, not the few" and I believe the labour party can never, ever be shaken from its core foundations, despite the odd political hand grenade of life being lobbed in from time to time, once the explosion has happened, the dust soon settles and it is business as usual - people, labour people, working for "the many not the few", their desire never thwarted, never beaten and never despondent for long, their sense of fair play always willing them to get up after defeat, brush themselves down and just bloody well get on with doing what labour does best - working for the benefit of the people.

So Ed Miliband after a quiet start, is starting to shape up, his detractors underestimated him and his ability to come from way behind his brother and win, and in their political eliteness and asinine snobbishness, they are still underestimating him, which must have the Miliband team smiling gently but not complacently away in the background, as they plan labour's pathway back to power. Ed Miliband is proving to be a calm and dignified young leader, with an exceptionally wise head on his shoulders. Cameron has been told he can easily goad Miliband into losing his temper, but this has not happened, in fact Miliband tested, has stayed a dignified calm with integrity under pressure, and has never taken Cameron's bait in the House and this has sent the Conservative prime minister scuttling off in all directions, like a demented hermit crab on speed, picking up empty shells here and there, only to cast them off when he has grown tired of them, or they of him. Cameron has made himself look ridiculous, his reputation is beginning to become tarnished, his carefully constructed tower of lies is beginning to shake at its foundations, "the peasants are revolting" Cameron is told, 'yes of course they are', he replies, what's new? And it is barely 8 months in to this "new government"!
Ed Miliband is slowly showing the country, this tawdry, horrendously arrogant bullying, and extremely nasty side of Cameron that he (Cameron) has managed to keep hidden, concealed that is until he came up against the young labour leader - and yet, still - Cameron and his team continue to underestimate Ed Miliband, maybe it is that "same old Tory" arrogance? Who knows? But whatever it is, long may it continue, 2011 looks very interesting indeed from a labour point of view! So as the seasoned political hacks begin to get over their disappointment of no labour in-fighting, the labour party is now emerging as a credible, strong and extremely united opposition and if the Tories are not worried, then they do not understand the situation, which is hardly surprising, as the Tories do not seem to be able to understand anything much if the last 8 months are anything to go by, one cannot really have missed their political clumsiness and their incompetence and their complete inability to get even the smallest announcement right! So much to the disappointment of journalists no "red blood" is spilled in the corridors of power!

 Here is a prediction or two for 2011, look out for the return of the "super brilliant, smashing" towering intellect of David Miliband to the labour front benches  and - "Steady Eddy" Miliband, will prove to be one of the most astute party leaders of all time and he will crush the Tories so slowly that even they will not realise it - until it's too late!
Orange Blood

Well where on earth do we begin? Who would have thought that the Liberal Democrats riding so high in the summer of 2010, could fall quite so far and so fast? Now averaging at around 8 to 9 percent in the polls and looking set to fall still further, this is a long way from their heady days of  briefly making it to be the first party during the election campaign, so what on earth has gone wrong?
I believe the answer to this is quite simply and twofold, first the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has been exposed as a charlatan and liar and has been guilty of making promises he knew he was not going to keep, and furthermore, knowing he could not keep these promises he still asked for peoples' votes on the back of them.  Second, for many years the Liberal Democrats have campaigned unfairly in general elections, by-elections, council elections etc and up until now they have got away with it, pretending to be all things to all people, one candidate promising one thing in one constituency, while another candidate promising the exact opposite in another constituency, and never having to explain their discrepancies of opinion. There are quite a few Liberal Democrat MPs sitting in parliament now having been voted in on non existent Liberal party policies. Of course the difference now is, they are part of Government, so have to explain those varying positions, this is something they have found difficult.

 It appears that every time the Lib Dems are questioned about a broken promise or a policy they have dropped, they try to pin this on being in a coalition and on compromise and they repeatedly say they did not win the election outright. However, even if we take them at their word, then how well does this bode for future coalition governments in the long term?

 No one party or its supporters are pleased, no one feels that anything is being done, and no one knows what this government, or the Liberal Democrats actually stand for any longer. The debacle that turned out to be "tuition fees" will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the Liberal Democrat party as a separate identity and the long and hard fought for position as the third political party in British politics will be totally lost forever.

The Liberal Democrat leader seems to believe that coalition government means compromising all his parties promises and beliefs, maybe he should he take a cursory look at the coalition governments in other countries? He would find that they all dig their heels in and refuse to budge on what is seen as their party's very life blood policies and they would never even think of betraying what is their particular party ethos, that would be seen as "political suicide", yet "political suicide" is what Nick Clegg seems to be committing on behalf of his party, but without first asking them if they actually want their party to die!
"Nickocchio" Clegg
Leader of Liberal Democrats
Nick Clegg is so arrogant that he still fails to see why his support and popularity has gone into free-fall and has been reported as being shell shocked at the reaction of students to his blatant lying over the raising of tuition fees. Yet should he be shocked? He (Clegg) and every other Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate willingly signed a pledge NOT to raise tuition fees, and barely six months into the brand new government of "new and open transparent politics", Clegg spectacularly broke that promise made to students not to raise tuition fees, after procuring their votes at the last election.  Students feel let down, lied to and cheated, they feel as if their votes were stolen and they have every justification to feel this way. I would suggest that Clegg feels shocked because he is basically an egotistical arrogant man and allowed the headiness of last summer to bolster his ego, and he arrogantly thought he could get away with lying by offering an explanation of why he lied to students and the electorate. He tried several times to explain, but he soon found out that people no longer listen to people who they think has purposefully lied to them, and they tend not to believe anything that person has to say anymore. So the student demonstrations, the unrest, and the riots, may have come as a surprise to him, however, he is now left in no doubt what people think of him and his blatant lying and vote stealing. The Liberal Democrat party is hemorrhaging support, they are slipping into political obscurity as people react vehemently to voting for the a left leaning party and then seeing that party turn sharply to the right in order to offer undying support on everything the Tories and David Cameron does.
Nick Clegg arrogance was never so keenly portrayed as when he calmly announced that the Liberal Democrats were not the receptacle for disillusioned labour voters and perhaps they and other left leaning Lib Dem supporters should not bother supporting the Liberal Democrats.  it would appear that these voters have in fact stopped supporting the Liberal Democrats and support in the country for the Liberal Democrats is collapsing. Clegg has completely misjudged his party support and where it is coming from and why, that he should tell the vast majority of Lib Dems who were naturally left of centre  to stop supporting the party has to be one of the most startling arrogantly pieces of political stupidity - ever! He has resoundly kicked in the teeth and alienated his core supporters and now he appears to be left with a rump of supporters that are right of centre politically, this will be nowhere near enough to secure him seats in a future general election and it probably has cost them wins in by-elections, which used to be something the Liberal Democrats did well. What happens to the Liberals from here on in? Where do they go? Do the remaining left of centre Liberal Democrats MPs carry on taking the Tory shilling, despite it now being proved that the majority of people voted against having a right wing government? They certainly did not vote for Clegg in order to get Cameron, however, this is exactly what they have ended up with. Many people in constituencies where Liberal Democrats were the only party positioned to challenge the Tories voted Liberal Democrat, on the  advice  of Lib Dem electioneering information which was posted through thousands of people's doors during the last election campaign.This is support that the Liberal Democrats have almost certainly lost and this is enough to make a shattering difference to them securing new MPs in the future. Nick Clegg and the 23 MPs who have joined the Tory government, appear to have sacrificed Lib Dem tenets and beliefs in exchange for a dalliance with power and a ministerial car! Where do the Liberal Democrats go? What is going to happen to them now? They have major initiatives coming up in 2011, the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election, forced because the Liberal Democrat candidate accused the labour candidate of lying and this was upheld by a special court. labour's  Phil Woolas who was forced to step down was the winning candidate and had a slim majority of 103 votes. However, what is seen as having double standards and bizarre is that the Liberal Democrats should accuse others of lying, when they themselves have been proven to be lying in almost every single constituency they have ever contested and their leader is undeniably guilty of telling the most blatant lies himself and is now pictured as Pinocchio throughout the country.
Now in a further blow to Liberal Democrat supporters, it is openly being touted in Tory circles that many want a merger of the Liberal Democrat party with the Tories, whatever happens, it is very hard to see how Nick Clegg can continue as leader for much longer. The Liberal Democrats are now in real danger of being swallowed up entirely by the Tory party. Why not? There is apparently little or no difference between Liberal Democrat MPs and most Tory MPs, there is certainly very little difference of opinions between the Lib Dem MPs and the Government, and this is proven by the Liberal Democrats voting with the government and helping them push through their ideological  cuts to welfare, education and the NHS and raising VAT, which they previously said they would not do, which is going to hit the poorest hardest, so what is the point of having two different political parties. They should be honest about it and officially give Cameron what he wants, his working majority.  Britain does not have a coalition government, it has a Tory government, and no one should be fooling themselves otherwise. There is going to be a lot of internal wrangling with the Tories. However, there will be plenty of orange blood spilled in Westminster before this year is out.

Predictions for the Liberal Democrats for 2011.

The party will fall further in the opinion polls possibly to around 6% and even lower as the cuts begin to bite and the savagery of them and how they affect the poor, unemployed and ordinary person the most is exposed. After overtures from Cameron, Clegg will lurch even further to the right. The party will probably ditch Clegg as their leader, forcing a split within. The Cleggites will go and merge with the Tories in the hope that they win an outright majority at the next election and the people who are left will elect a new leader and try to rebuild the Liberal Democrat party, this will not be easy as they will have lost nearly all their MPs, either to the Tories or naturally through by-elections.
Blue Blood

Who are these "Tories" what do they want? They seem to stand for nothing except cutting the deficit. What does Cameron hope to achieve? Failing to get a mandate from the British people has not stopped him from introducing some pretty extreme right wing measures. The Conservatives say they are paying the deficit down, but the cuts they are making they have also said will NEVER be reinstated, what does this mean?
The poor being hit hardest, are going to stay being hit the hardest, they can have no hope for the future. The disabled losing their benefits will never have them reinstated, so they stand to lose forever. The poor are being hit disproportionally hard for something they did not do and had absolutely no control over, the banks who caused this mess are not being penalised at all.
Every single policy the Tories have tried to bring in has been beset with errors and problems, they seem fundamentally incapable of seeing the entire picture, or thinking things through and calculating the knock on effect making changes to things like education, the NHS and the economy and welfare will have, yet they are set to pursue these radical reforms all at the same time and without a clear picture of what they actually want or what they want to achieve in the long term.
Who are Cameron, Osborne and Clegg? What do they actually stand for? What does they actually hope to achieve? There is no clear cut visions of what today's government is about other than they want to cut back the state viciously and they don't care who they hurt when they are doing it. They want to get rid of the NHS, that is going private under peoples noses and once this is done it will stay done, the country will have lost its health service for good.
Instead of concentrating on these very real issues that will affect millions of people in our country, the Tory right are complaining about Cameron and what they see as Liberal interference, no one it seems is happy in the Tory party or the Lib Dem party and no one trusts each other. Each party is split right down the middle and set to be split still further when the issue of the EU rears itself, already Cameron has angered the Tory right, they see Cameron as selling them all down the river and they have not forgiven him for throwing the election away. The only thing that seems to matter to Cameron and Clegg is that they somehow cling onto power for the next 4 years! They are even prepared to gerrymander parliament to do this and this in itself will bring a fresh wave of demonstrations.
At the moment there are "Cameronites" in the Tory party who are trying to change the party by speculative political experiment, worse still, this is what Cameron, Osborne and Clegg are doing in the country as a whole, it is just one huge ideological experiment, one I feel is doomed to failure, there is absolutely no precedent ever set before it that may help it through either.
Cameron is fixated on the coalition and making it work, not because it is good for the country, but because it is good for Cameron, it will keep him in power for a further four years.
But beyond this? I don't think the Tory right has anything to worry about, Cameron is not a liberal, and neither is Osborne, nor Clegg for that matter, these three men are very right of centre, the policies they are pushing through are proof of this.
Come the next election (whenever that may be) regardless of outcome, the Tory right will be firmly in charge of the party and Clegg will join the Tories, it is almost a certainty, there will be no third party in politics as the Liberal Democrats will have been entirely swallowed up by the Tories, which explains exactly why Cameron wants them, he is busy fiddling and fixing the boundaries, in order for him to lock the Labour party out and also the liberal Democrats, first he has to ruin one of the party's and for this he is using the Liberal Democrats.
Divide? Cameron has almost succeeded in doing this. Conquer? That comes after division, but is will come. Then having fixed all the boundaries in his favour, Cameron will be head of the only party in British politics, stuck there for the duration, unable to be moved unless of course the majority of the British people see through Cameron and his "NCPO" (New Country Political Order) and vote against him in droves, even then he will be hard to remove. Please stand up President Cameron.
Cameron is not only stitching the Liberal Democrat party up, he is busily stitching his own party up too, one wonders if they will see it and stop him? he has no vision beyond trying to stay in power for the next four years and then for staying beyond that, this is what he wants, as I said about Labour, we always know roughly where they are at because the reason they here never really changes that much, only the way to achieve it does. But of the Tories, all we know about them is that they hate the EU and are fixated upon it, which makes what Cameron did by signing over more powers to them even more puzzling.
The only thing we know of this Conservative government is that they appear to detest poor people and those less well off than themselves. To have a government that is fixated on ideologically wrecking this country is very frightening indeed.
People did not vote for this, they did not give a mandate for this and the only way this Conservative government are able to carry on threatening peoples' lives, is down solely to the Liberal Democrats, so after all the who-ha, the smallest part with just 52 seats is holding the country to ransom, for without them, this sham of a Tory government would have fallen weeks ago. So in the end "blue blood" will be shed in Westminster as the Tory right fight for control of a party they see as lurching off violently to the left, but which isn't at all. But the "long knives" are now out for David Cameron, when they catch him what will he bleed, blue, orange or purple?
I have come to the conclusion the reason why Cameron is giving off mixed signals, is because he attempts to change to wherever he can gain the most political points, in that way he is a bit like a Liberal, he will say one thing to one person and another to someone else. Perhaps Cameron is not really right, left or middle? Perhaps he is just an arrogant toff bully boy who needs his ego fed constantly and just feels the need to be in a position of power? Perhaps he is a right wing megalomaniac who has precious little understanding of the harm he is causing this country or its people and even more alarming he just doesn't care? If I was pushed, I would opt for the latter.

Predictions for Tories for 2011

Perhaps we will see the end of the Tory party as we know it? It will become a watered down mixture of people who have no idea where they stand politically, or even have no idea of where they are *allowed* to stand politically. As dissatisfaction grows with the Tory government over the cuts and the cuts do not pay down the deficit and further tough measures are brought in by Osborne, Cameron and Clegg, and support starts slipping dramatically for the Tories, the knives will be out for David Cameron, there will be an attempt to oust him, although who will stand is another thing, the Tories do not have one single person capable of leading their party, perhaps they will throw Clegg in? Cameron will unsuccessfully try and change the constitution of the Tory party. The Tories will be hit by a succession of sleaze scandals involving high profile Tories who avoid paying their tax, like George Osborne and David Cameron. The Andy Coulson affair will come back and clout Cameron in a mega big way. If Rupert Murdoch does not get his way over BSkyB, his papers will turn against the Tories, especially David Cameron and George Osborne.
What Students Really Think of Clegg

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