Thursday 30 April 2015


Three weeks of retirement  and I'm beginning tp think it's better than being in politics.The main change is that people now talk to me where they'd ignore me as a passing politician. I amble around Grimsby just like any other pensioner and people stop me and say they're sorry I'm going or wish me a happy retirement.

The difference is that they talk to me as a real person where they avoided me as a politician. They're suspicious of politicians, particularly since the expenses scandal,just as they're suspicious of anyone trying to sell them something. They don't want to get involved but now I'm not an object of suspicion any longer just a real person they can relate to

It's wonderful. I go into town and people stop me and ask what I'm going to do in retirement (no idea) or advise me to go on holiday or on a cruise "every day's like Sunday" one said today while another extolled the joys of a hobby. No one talked about the election. No one complained or grumbled No one told me off for my views on anything. They just wanted to relate as they never had before .It's marvellous

I should retire more often..


In fact Ive worked harder since retirement than I did as an MP because Linda and I are making a film extolling the real Grimsby and showing what a marvellous place it is to counter the picture presented by Skint and by Sacha Baron Cohen's Grimsby which was actual filmed in Tilbury showing us as a kind of hell hole inhabited by fat lady football fans

Great place. Great prospects. So we're calling it GREAT GRIMSBY because that's what our town is. In fact we've found so many good things and good people that its becoming difficult to cram them all in 


I don't think Labour should get stuck on a pro EU policy. Leave "My Europe right or wrong" to the Lib Dems just because we've decided (wrongly in my view ) to oppose the referendum on membership which we once promised (and gave in 1975) doesn't mean that we have to like every aspect of this shambolic low growth blackspot or that we won't face problems from it when we come into office.

What will we do about the lax tax laws in Luxembourg which allow British companies toi register there and pay very low taxes not those due in Britain. Or what  about the low corporation tax in Ireland or the double Irish escape route, or the dirty deals with Holland? What will e do about the ban on state aids for industry when we try to revive manufacturing in the face of stiff EU competition or about the  open immigration from East Europe which drives wages down and boosts social spending.


Note that all the promises held out by theTories of no tax increases, various tax cuts and spending improvements  all depend on the economy improving and reaching much higher growth levels by 2018. On present Tory policies it won't and can't. This rash of promises demonstrates only that the Tories are rattled but they only serve to increrase suspicion of politics and politicians

Remember George Bush's daddy "read my lips.No new taxes"


Whoever advised Cameron to energise and pump himself up for the last week of the campaign made a bad mistake. .The energised Cameron is abusive exaggerating and desperate. He rants on about how small businesses saved the country when it was cheap money and the Bank of England,promises paradise in three years time and generally goes nuts like an amateur version of Boris. Put him back on valium

Wednesday 29 April 2015


Elections are about two things. They're a verdict on the performance of the government of the day. In Britain this has usually gone in favour of a government at the end of its first term. Give 'em a fair go seems to be the attitude. They're also a judgement on the future; who'll make us better off?

This government's record has been pretty disastrous particularly because it killed the growth Labour was regenerating in 2009-10 with its stimulus measures by massive cuts in investment and the wholly unnecessary austerity programme which followed killing two years of growth and holding back recovery.

Yet the Tory party is better at PR than economics and it was able to conceal this failure by blaming everything on Labour rather than the recession produced by our irresponsible banks  and claiming that we'd become another Greece unless borrowing was cut. Not true but it frightened our masochistic electors who're always partial to a dose of sadism particularly for other people.

So with the two main parties level pegging in the polls we have to assume that the Tory party has got away with it's failure. No use Labour attempting to argue with that judgement however wrong headed. An argument about blame is a waste of time at this stage of the game. Leave it to the historians Fight on the future.

Here Labour's prospects are better because the recovery isn't strong, the people are nervous and few believe the Tory promises of ongoing recovery particularly now that growth has slowed suddenly and dramatically indicating that the recovery is shaky and can't be sustained.

The "long term economic plan" won't bring recovery because insofar as there is any plan at all it rests on low interest rates  and will be killed when they rise and on cutting back the state which needs to expand in both spending and employment terms . It is a recovery in high asset prices rather than demand which is low because of cuts and low wages and it requires government to borrow and spend in order to stimulate jobs and growth which the Conservatives obstinately refuse to do.

Indeed the Tories promise the opposite of what's necessary to boost the economy. They're promising a massive programme of cuts, including twelve billion pounds worth of further cuts in welfare which will not only be extremely painful for the poor and disabled who've been hit hard already but be deeply damaging to demand .That needs to be boosted not cut back .Welfare is only part of the programme of cuts which will fall hard on every department outside health and education.. They then assume that after the cuts growth will come automatically because public spending has been reduced. It won't and can't. The economic boost has to come from both public and private spending. 

Here is Labour's opportunity which it must seize by solid plans for growth investment and the expansion of manufacturing.  To recover Britain needs a big house building programme, a massive infrastructure renewal and a boost to wages and jobs. No point in cutting borrowing until recovery boosts demand and rebuilds government's tax revenues and little point in reducing debt when interest rates are so low and government has no problems borrowing to spend to stimulate and grow. No point either in cutting the deficit when Britain needs deficit spending to boost our pathetic growth rate.

This election is about what kind of future the British people want. Will it be one of low wages, mean benefits and a shrunken state? Or one of investment growth and rebuilding a manufacturing base which can pay the nation's way in the world.? That's the choice. The key to the future isn't caution, conformity and pledges to balance the budget. That all comes later once we've got real and substantial growth and more people in work. The immediate need is hope and the better prospects offered by  Labour as against the cuts and sell offs promised by the Tories. Let's Grow With Labour.


Notice how as the parties have shrunk in membership they've grown in output . More leaflets, pamphlets and  appeals have poured through every letter  box this time than ever before. Whole forests are being decimated to feed British dustbins though my local Green candidate assures me that her pamphlets are "funded by ordinary people and printed on 100% post consumer fibre FDC(R) recycled certified and PCF ((Process Chlorine Free) paper." Thank God for that

Tuesday 28 April 2015


Since the parties have produced nothing which sets the election alight it's going to be decided by a basic thug to thug slugging match between the parties each recruiting its diminished vote on the old basic recruitment lines : middle versus working class, north versus south, rich versus poor. The gimmicks have failed and settled conditioning takes over bringing forward the old question of whose supporters are most likely to vote.

When people are confused about politics, as they certainly are now, they'll fall back onto conditioned reflexes. Most electors are programmed (though more weakly now than ever before) to one side or the other so if they're enthused or dutiful enough to get to the polls they'll vote that way, though probably in diminishing numbers on both sides. No sign there of the shy Conservative factor which is supposed to have produced a last minute surge to John Major in 1992.

Then there's the self interest pull. Wealth will always do its duty by the Tories because they do more than their duty to wealth. But the poor aren't necessarily so clear about their self interest and are less likely to vote while small business is usually blind to the fact that demand is always better under Labour than under the Tories because they see their self interest as served by cuts in tax and regulation rather than the prosperity of their customers.

Finally there's the traditional difference  between the possessed and the dispossessed. The Tories have lavished rewards on the possessed as house prices rose making home owners happy but those wanting houses miserable, while the dispossessed suffered from the cuts, the unemployment and wage freeze, and the general austerity. Here again an advantage to the Tories because the comfortable are more likely to vote while the uncomfortable find it more difficult to get their act together.

Any judgement of the past five years should be against the Tories because this Government has been a mess, wasting time and growth on a cruel and unnecessary austerity which has undermined the strength of the economy.

Any judgement on the present recovery should go to the Tories though they didn't produce it (the Bank of England did) and its not firmly based 

Any judgement on the future should go to Labour because the prospect of massive cuts which the Tories wont specify must be damaging to both the good society and  demand and investment in the economy

That's the choice. It's also the explanation of why the two major parties are running neck and neck and will do so right up to the wire, leaving the consequences of their indecision to be sorted out by the politicians.

Monday 27 April 2015

Election homeward plods its weary way.....

Election 2015 has become such a drag one wonders if they can manage to drag it on until polling day. The Tories have chucked in all their smears and fears about Ed and Labour's policies to no effect. Cameron has declared war on Scotland and no one has noticed. Boris has bounced and blistered then buggered off back to his London bolt hole to await the call. Labour has announced a new policy every day and got little response. Cleggie has preached sanctimonious sermons all over the country and ruled himself out of any relationship with Labour while the Liberal vote continues to fall .UKIP have opted for moderation and lost support accordingly.Three weeks of campaigning have got us nowhere. Except to new levels of boredom.

The least successful strategy seems to be Lynton Crosby's Oz approach which is designed for Australians because they  are more bloody minded than our genteel minuets and work less well in multi party politics.His instructions are to concentrate on five points but the bulk of the party seem to have forgotten what the five were, and use the leader as a he-man hero but Dave isn't capable of downing a pint of beer in seven seconds and prefers a much more languid stroll to a victory. He sees it as his by right rather than something he has to put himself out and fight for.
Labour has brought some good new policies to the feast and Ed has certainly grown in stature and de--geekified but it has got bogged down in tax tables and raising money by a little bit on this and that and failed to exude hope on a big enough scale to excite a nation hunkering down in its mediocre misery. 

This lack of excitement  and interest produce a real danger that the turnout will fall (again) and that people will do what they usually do: give a one term government another chance because they don't realise what disasters are to come and feel things are coming back to normal (which the aren't) so Cameron's languid privileged assumption of divine right will be justified  and with the support of a pathetic rump of Liberals and the Ulster unionists he can have another five years of improvisation 

God forbid. But funny things can happen when you're bored stiff.


The Libs always go for the carper caper whenever Labour announces a policy they've never thought of.  Promise to cut Uni fees to £6000 and Vince says it'll only help the rich. Promise to abolish stamp duty for first time buyers and their housing spokesman attacks it as no use in the south where houses are more expensive. They say they'll work with either major but they're painting themselves into a Tory corner.


Love the  energised New Cameron pledging himself to small businesses. Now he can put Boris back in the cupboard. Hell Yes!! Unfortunately he's not energised enough to face a confrontation with Ed and Osbore has gone back on his promise  to debate with Balls. Shame.

Minors make the runnng

This addled election has become so confusing that no one in their right mind can now predict the result and those pundits who have dared a guess are about evenly divided between a Tory minority and a Labour one. That confusion arises because it's the minor parties not the majors who are making the running at this late stage.

The Tory strategy was to rely on abuse of Miliband and predictions of red ruin if Labour won. That failed to frighten so they began to trundle out all sorts of tax cuts and  and promises of instant Nirvana which weren't believed leaving dire predictions of Sturgeon dominating a Miliband government and splitting the country up

Labour relied on a 35% strategy winning a few seats and relying on the bias in the electoral system to put it into power by gaining business support through promising to stay in the EU and be a cautious, debt reducing,government. Then came the threat of loosing its Scottish seats to the SNP which would knock away the base of its majority, a particularly potent threat because Labour was n't planning to make a big effort to win back seats it lost last time like Cleethorpes, Brigg and Goole or Calder Valley, none of them the focus of frantic campaigning.

Result? The two majors deadlocked and the Tories were reduced to a frantic attack on the SNP which were suddenly portrayed as barely human uncivilised and a threat to everything English and kilted killers set to sponge on London .,the City and the excessive taxes paid by honest Englishmen.

So the initiative passed to the minors who've suddenly come to dominate the scene as the majors argued about what they'd do with seats they hadn't yet won and probably won't.With his usual sense of fun  Alec Salmond began to tweet the toes of the great by announcing what he'd make a minority Labour government do,Farage began to intimate tha he'd prefer the Tories to Labour and Cleggie  sanctimoniously  set out his terms for a coalition he wasn't going to get from anyone while the Greens prattled on endlessly about all the sensible things they were going to do  but on another planet .

A touching spectacle  but none of it bears much relationship to reality. UKIP is fading with Farage's health  and though its vote will go up because they're contesting more seats they'll probably only win Clacton,whose MP is a marvellous maverick not a natural UKIP churl. The Liberal parliamentary team will be halved and the SNP won't win as many seats as it claims.So net minor party representation n the new house will probably be much the same as in the last.

It's fun for journalists and other desperate Tories to speculate on who will dance with whom but it's a waste of time until we know the numbers and particularly those of the two majors. Whoever has the most MPs has first priority bit whoever' second is in with a chance of it can collect more allies and supporters .Whatever's said now is totally meaningless until we have the numbers

Once we have the politicians will sort out the dancing partners. It may take weeks . They may have to eat words . It won't be as easy as it was last time when Cleggie and co were eager for office and prepared to sell out on anything that stood in the way. But politicians are there to decide these things when the electorate doesn't..So we should shut up and let them get on with it.

But rejoice too.A new system of multi party politics is being born It comes late to Britain which has always been used to strong one party government and got it even after 2010 when the Tories didn't win but were propped up by Cleggie happy to help them to do their dirty work 

Since multi party politics are clearly here to stay because people are never going t for back into two party boxes again the sooner we adjust to it by int reducing proportional representation like Germany the better. 

Then the parties will have to listen to the people instead of just imposing whatever ideological whims, or wars they happen to want at the moment.

Tories want Cameron to show more passion. That's not his bag. He prefers things to be handed him on a plate and his skill is he can roll with every punch and adjust to whatever his barmy party want.

He has no ideology. Chaps don't have things like that,and his economics are given him by Osborne. They've been disastrous but that's hardly his fault.Besides have any of his critics given a thought to the mess that lies ahead? He knows it and may not even want to carry on. Go now and leave the party to its lunatics.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Futile and Fun Free

Elections excite, stimulate,decide,clarify and change. But not this.Britain' first futile election ushers in a new era and a new politics but provides none of the usual benefits.

It's futile for.the two major parties because they're fighting for power and a majority to govern but neither can get it. It's futile for the growing number of minors because they're setting out attractive programmes which they've no hope of implementing.

It's futile for the electorate which wants change but isn't sure what. It's futile for the nation which has clear and pressing problems like a 6% balance of trade gap,,a 6% public revenue gap and a growing productivity gap and is kept going only by record personal and public debt levels and  yet offered no solution to any of these problems

The election can't and won't do it's job..Instead it's going to usher in a new era of poli tcal uncertainty in which government's have to be cobbled together,,can't impose their will or whim  and must fix a majority together for whatever they want to do..That's the system which operates in most EU countries and now in New Zealand.

It's sesitive to public opinion and the wishes of minor parties and groups. It's less brutal than the British and less likely to impose Thatchemrite ideologies, harsh austerity or other punishing and prejudiced policies .It also means less of the pun hand jus politics we know and lath whereby the parties are better armed better researched and better employed abiding each other than they are at solving  and tackling  the nation's problems.That's far too difficult.Just blame it all n the other lot !

However it's all going to be we and strange to a BRITISH people accustomed to the smack of firm government rather like corporal punishment and prefer a Churchillian leadership which they can grumble at constantly and then throw out when they're fed up of it because the one things BRITISH elections have done up to now is operate the ejector seat.

Best of all it's going to be marvellous for backbenchers, particularly the Independant minded ones who have more brains than just following the party line.When government has a majority  they're powerless and can do no more than heckle the steam roller as it passes over them. When it hasn't got a majority they have to be consulted and conciliate and they can get concessions as I did ┼Áhen Tony Blair was desperate to get a majority for the imposition of fees on university students.I was against the measure but voted for it in return for two nice concessions for Grimsby

Think of that ! Back benchers will be changed from lobby fodder tramping through the lobbies to please their leaders. They'll have power to get things for their constituencies ,to change minor policies, to get cases resolved in their favour.In short to do the job they were elected for : serve their constituencies!!!I wish I was back there to enjoy it,use it and get things done for Grimsby.

This election is the end of strong government and government by party and the start of a more genuine parliamentary democracy Bliss will it be in that dawn to be alive but to be assertive will be very heaven.

Can't report any great interest In the election. It's the first election to die before the voting.. For most people it's a background noise even a nuisance and a distraction. Indeed young people don't seem to be interested at all. Yesterday I met two students.One didm't know who was Prime Minister ! Another asked me what an MP is

Always remember that. Boris's isn't as daft as he acts..He may sound demanded. He may seem to ow very little about politics. He may lower the tone. But it's all serious stuff. He has to hold a balance : show support for the Tories as they thrash around. In the mess Crosby (Boris's man) has created.  But he's also got to ensure that CAMERON is defeated so that he ( Boris ) can replace him as party leader.. Boris is always fun but never crazy. So far his interventions are right on plan

There's a lesson for all political parties in Scotland. That country has always provided the backbone of the Party and elected loyal Labour MPs.As a result it was taken for granted and didn't get Anouilh return from the "feeble fifty" because Labour moderated its policies to win power in the south.

The result is now rejection. Scotland wants more. That's a lesson for the North of England. We elect LabourMPs.We give seats to Labour leaders. We're now the new backbone of the party. Do we get enough out of it in return? Will it keep us happy? Should it? 

Thursday 23 April 2015

Ignore the election outfits. Look at their souls

Our first past the post electoral system forces the major parties to pretend to be something they ain't because each must drive to the centre to win enough votes to add to its core vote to win. Labour becomes more cautious, less socialist as it dilutes its radicalism to win votes from the Middle class and the South The Tories become more generous particularly to the old and more caring

Both processes have gone on apace at this election almost to the point of cross dressing leaving so little space between them there's no room for the poor old LibDems to plat their old moderate middle game.

This makes those to the right of the Tory party to hate CAMERON who they really want to get rid of but must put up with to hope to win while Labour's left feels that their party isn't delivering enough to working people and the poor.

But both sets of ultras have to campaign for their party to win in the hope that they can force more out of it by campaigning if it wins change the leader and radicalise it if it looses.

Things might be different under proportional representation because then the majors can show more of their real selves and recruit the extra support they need to govern by coalitions or pacts with minor parties so that government becomes a coalition between parties rather than within one party

But we don't have PR  we have first past the post. So what can your average voter who neither knows nor cares that much about politics do? First look at the essence of a party and  what it's likely to do when it drops its electoral fancy dress and puts on its working gear and then decide which best serves their interests.

Second discount the glitter of the minor parties who can promise anything because they're never going to have to deliver any of it.

Third. Don't believe anything that one major says about the other and only believe half of what each says about itself

More important remember the old maxim : voter give an honest curse. Defend the bad against far worse. 

With any luck that should see Labour win.


Two weeks to go and what is there new to say or for the parties to do ? New policies? New issues? New insights?New inspirations? CAMERON getting more fed up and ratty?Boris going batty?  Anything to release the boredom. Je t'attendrais  toujours. Le jour et la unit Je t'attendrais.

Wednesday 22 April 2015


Ever since they slipped into third place in the 1920s the Liberals have been Britain's centre party: Middle of the road where the long yellow streak is, all things to all folk standing for values and virtue and also providing a channel for protest as a bucket to spit into.

A marvellous role! Always right. Never responsible .Not political either because Libs always dug themselves in by pavement politics, being on the side of everybody against whoever was in power.

Unfortunately Cleggie and a group of right wing neo liberals got tired of being virtuous but impotent and wanted a bit of pelf and place so in 2010 when the Tories needed a few suckers to give them power and share the blame for a very illiberal austerity Cleggie rushed in as sorcerer's apprentice and Osbone's little helper.

Result?  The wages of sin are death, damage, and discredit which will lose them half their seats and votes. Cleggie is now plying for hire again but his party has now damaged itself so badly that it's less desirable as a mate and has lost its third party role to a jostling scrum of nationalists and naive idealists. The values and young naive votes to the Greens, the disgruntled vote to UKIP, and the protest votes to the SNP, Plaid and Paisley

In other words there's now no real role for the Liberals and no great future as the always right but never potent party. Pity really but it couldn't have happened to a nicer crowd


The sad result of the death of hope in English politics is the rise of defensive politics and limitation of aims and ambition. I can see it vividly locally

In 1997 when Labour was on a roll as the party of hope all the local action in South Humberside concentrated on winning Cleethorpes and Brigg and Goole leaving me in Grimsby feeling positively alone and neglected. Big names were trundled in. But never to Grimsby. Paid party workers and students poured in. But not to Grimsby. John Prescott flew in in a helicopter to be greeted by a huge cheering crowd. But, you guessed it, not to Grimsby. 

Labour won both seats and held them to 2010. Now Labour needs to win them back to form a Government. Both are winnable marginals. Yet all is different. All the effort , the recruited talent, the shadow ministerial visits are going onto Grimsby because of the scare that UKIP might win it, but while Grimsby gets overkill the real marginals are starved. No Prezza, no party workers - all diverted to Grimsby. Little money, little help, and candidates with small parties who feel neglected. If only because they are.

It's barmy!


Is it only me or do you get the feeling that this election is winding down before the electorate is wound up. No new ideas. No new policies. Just a dreadful juddering stalemate. 

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Calm down Tory dears, calm down

 Bring back the days of the Tory military men whose regimental motto was always calmness under fire.Their successors have developed an un Tory propensity to panic  under fire and run round in small circles when the going gets rough.Like now

The concerted attacks on Nicola Sturgeon and the shock horror claims that she'll rule the world and insist that the national anthem be replaced by Scotland the Brave played only on bagpipes typify the trend.

So does the exhumation of John Major from the museum of Tory History in Peterborough to warn that coalition with the SNP will ruin the country in a way coalition with the Lib Dems failed to do over the last five years

The scaremongering only goes to show that Cameron is running scared. Rightly so because none of the shots the wizard of Oz had placed in his letter have worked so far. Demonisation of Ed Miliband singularly failed to take on and Ed has grown in stature  as a serious leader unlike Dave.Then the warnings of disaster from a Labour government failed too because it wasn't possible to envisage a bigger disaster than the mess the Tories have created by five years of austerity.

Finally no one believed the bundle of special offers and tax cuts  with which the Tories tried to hide the fact that they also plan huge cuts in social security. So there we are. Nothing left in the box  except scattergunning  and even bigger handouts of the type they've been telling us for five years are impossible. A nation waits, struggling to stay awake.

There seems little doubt that the Tories are winning the air war of advertising, Facebook propaganda , posters and media scares because they have more money than Labour . But there's also little doubt that Labour is winning the ground war with more canvassing and door to door campaigning by devoted teams of party workers. 

My problem is that I doubt the effectiveness of both. Adverts, particularly those in the press cost a lot and yield little result. Canvassing particularly by paid students is notoriously unreliable. Not only are canvassers likely to return a whole household as voting the way one person at the door is but both canvassers and canvassed lie "we'll be with you"is the usual excuse and meaningless . This election there's also the addition al risk that grumblers, who are more numerous now than ever are returned as UKIPers and LibDems are ashamed to admit their perversion

So don't believe canvas returns. The margin of error on opinion polls is around 2% .That on canvas returns must be 30%. Remember that as the major parties shrink and lose members so do their roots in society atrophy and so too do they become more fanatical and less normal. At this rate they'll soon be getting the same reaction on the door step as the Mormons

Sunday 19 April 2015

BBC local politics programme opt out.

I'm proud of Grimsby. I hate to see it messed about as it was by the Sunday Politics constituency opt out which was another disgrace to add to the disgraceful treatment the BBC has given to our town.
The interviewer Tim Iredale managed to forget the name of the Melanie Onn who will be the next MP. He also managed to screw up the interview by trying to be an amateur Andrew Neil and grilling Victoria Ayling about something in the Mail about her son which is totally irrelevant to Grimsby Instead of asking her what she wanted to do for the town he bogged the whole programme down in that, and harassed her when she rightly refused to answer. Sadly he couldn't shut up and managed to drive her into becoming incoherent. 

Having upset her he then bullied Steve Besant and largely ignored their Tory candidate  who didn't have much to say but wasn't allowed to say it. What a mess. Grimsby is a town with great prospects. It shouldn't be subjected to this amateur league stuff.Why can't the BBC increase the IQ allocation  to its staff?


Great news for the Tories! Boris is back to electrify their campaign and tell us Ed is "deranged" To the background music of Dambusters he announces that the Labour manifesto was written by Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn (posthumously  or course) and that Ed ( who apparently was personally responsible for the recession) has a mad plan to wreck Britain

Wonderful to know all that because I didn't know any of it. Boris will next appear on Gardener's Question Time to tell us how Ed will fill our gardens with weeds and cannabis plants as the country goes to 

Tory plans to rebuild Hadrians Wall

Why are Tory politicians and the media chorus which supports them so slavishly, so loud in their abuse of Nicola Sturgeon, Alec Salmond and the SNP? Answer. Because they realise that the most likely election result is a McLabour government taking office with SNP support on motions of confidence and supply. That would be a government which because of the daft legislation for a five year term the Tories insisted on  could hold power for years

That means the SNP have to be discredited and any Labour government which depends on them portrayed as illegitimate,dangerous and certain to break up the United Kingdom as the SNP use their power to extort home rule from Labour.

All balls. The only threat to national unity is the Tory refusal to offer the DevoMax offered to the Scots if they voted for unity as they did only to find CAMERON proposing to stop Scottish MPs voting on English issues.You can't treat Scots MPs as second class parliamentarians and if they choose to support a McLabour government then that government and that support aren't totally legitimate

Indeed since the SNP are further to the left than Labour that support should produce a more radical government. And it won't be one which splits up the UK because it's very existence depends on not doing so.


The Tories have to build up these horror stories (all eagerly amplified by a press chorus which is becoming desperate as the rich press owners become more frightened and throw independence,objectivity,and responsibility overboard to convert once great papers into propaganda sheets ) because they're all realising that their party hasn't improved its position on 2010 when they lost and took power because the LibDems sold out to them.

Next time they won't have enough friends to form a government.The LibDems aren't going to opt for Suicide Pact two and will be much fewer in number.UKIP won't have any MPs, the SNP won't touch them with Harry Lauder's stick and Ulster will want money big time.
Neo-Liberalism doesn't win friends.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Tories in Tinsel

The Tory battle plan for the election as outlined by Aussie Guru (contradiction in terms) Lynton Crosby was to concentrate on five simple themes.They've forgotten what three of them were because the first two to be tried haven't worked.

First was to demolish Miliband as a useless geek.That failed because he's come through well and grown with the campaign while Cameron has got smaller and, in refusing to debate him, more cowardly. So their picture of socialist horror and Milibandish incompetence hasn't scared people off. I hear more and more people saying they think he's doing well.

Second was to hide the horror of cuts to come behind a picture of present prosperity and growthwhich  was to be attributed to the government's "long term economic plan"This isn't working too well either because recovery is better in the sSouth than the North, because its not enough to generate any "feel good" and it's only a recovery in employment to 2008 levels before the banks buggered things up. Many of the jobs are low pay casual or self employed jobs  and none of them feel particularly good or secure.

Nor can the recovery hide the shocks to come because it's based not on government investing and rebuilding the economy but on the Bank of England's cheap money policies which no one thinks will continue. Financial interests are already clamouring for a rise in interest rates which will almost certainly come after the election to nip growth in the bud and exports are failing already. So the only tangible benefits are cheaper holidays in Europe (not the US ) and the rise in house prices which may make oldies feel happier but not if they have to have their kids living with them forever.

The people aren't as daft as the Tories think. They may not be able to tell Stork from butter but they can tell the difference between a flash in the pan after five years of failure and a recovery of growth,jobs and living standards. If they can't they deserve everything that is coming to them..


David Axelrod who advised Obama and is now advising Labour from afar before he comes in person next week writes in his new book that one of the reasons why Obama won in 2008 and Hillary Clinton lost was that Clinton campaigned for what she knew was practicable while Obama offered the hope the American people wanted.

Hope is what's missing in our BRITISH election campaign. Labour has been too cautious and responsible to offer much while everyone knows the Tories are really doom salesmen temporarily decked out in tinsel and fairyland promises.

That's a sad gap for a nation which desperately needs hope and better prospects.

We need revolution in the North

The North feels exploited if only because it has been. Labour has always relied on our votes  and those of Scotland to win power but it's also trimmed its offer and moderated its politics and appeal to win votes in the more conservative South .The result is that it's never delivered to the North or Scotland on the scale and with the policies we both need and deserve

Scotland has now rebelled and thanks to devotion and the rise of the SNP it's demanded more and better and I've no doubt that with McLabour it will get it. Which leaves the North in an even worse situation  because Scotland will now demand and get more, Labour will still go for caution and moderation to crawl to the south and we'll be left with  the scrapings from the barrel

Time now for the North to rebel and for Northern MPs to stand together to demand the same deal as Scotland. Not crumbs from the rich table of the South but a better deal for the North. Labour has taken over our seats for leaders, incomers, apparatchaps and shadow cabinet ministers, but we're not a colony .What Scotland gets we must have as our reward for loyal service .


 Ashcroft is spending a lot of money on polls that are all to pot. Today's says UKIP are pushing  Labour close in Grimsby but the race in Cleethorpes is neck and neck between Tories and Labour. That must be total rubbish because the two towns are one community  and UKIP's impact in both will be the same.
His problem is that the sample in any one constituency is small  and inevitably unrepresentative .Best ignored


Is Any Questions a party political programme for Jonathan Dimplebum or a discussion?Is if possible for Jonathan to shut up or does he have right to play John Humphries with his panelists?

Friday 17 April 2015


Like the majority of my fellow countrymen (but it was a first for me) I didn't watch the contenders debate on Thursday. I enjoyed myself instead. I went to the dance class given by Keith and Judy Clifton, mother and father of Kevin of Grimsby. Thoroughly enjoyable, fun and very funny and no one gave a thought to the election the contenders or politics in general.

Which is as it should be. Most people  whatever their class or group just want to live a happy life. Their concerns are their kids, their gardens their cars their house, their happiness and politics is an intrusion which we thrust upon them ever few years  when we ( the political class-a small obsessive minority - are desperate for their votes.

I realised as I watched the dancers enjoying the rhumba and the waltz and laughing at Keith's jokes just how much we're imposing in the people asking them to decide between impossible promises assuming we can buy them by benefits and tax cuts, dangling baubles before them,and shouting love our leader not their's just how tawdry elections have come.

The British aren't a people with high aspirations,they just want to be happy and left alone to get on with their lives and they're perfectly happy to let the politicians get on with running the country. Now that we've screwed that up we're desperately asking them to back us and give us their votes .Why should they give us any more credibility than they give to any other set of hucksters, door to door salesmen or advertisers lying about their product ?

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Election latest: Price Waterhouse takeover and Shame on the BBC

I was hoping for an exciting election with revivalist rhetoric, invocations of a new Dawn and a new Deal and a Britain brimming with milk and honey but damn me it's gone as dull as ditchwater because the accountants have taken over and reduced the whole argument to how much this will cost whether that tax will raise enough and what promises are funded unfunded or just daft. We're getting lost in a fog of calculations,accusations and simple lies so confusing that the ordinary voter is switching off and falling back on an automatic pilot which isn't working very well

The Tories are promising big spending increases from growth not having got much in five years of power when they killed the growth reviving when they came into power and  stopped the year by year improvement we normally get by cuts until the Bank of England managed to revive it by pouring out cheap money
After spending the growth we won't have they then go on to argue that the cuts they've already made can be easily repeated ignoring the fact that they've already cut to the bone and the easy cuts are over to make it sound almost beneficial while Labour ignores the need to expand and invest and grow and instead promises to be ass stupid as the Tories have been but are now learning not to be. Ot's all veery disorientating. Perhaps we want to encourage the minor parties as the only ones who can be clear cut and give simple answers of the type Clegg does so brilliantly as the most pompous pillock in British politics 


The BBC reportage of Grimsby is little short of disgraceful. They send in juvenile inexperienced reporters who know nothing of the town and misrepresent its people.  Classic instance on Six o"clock TV news tonight when a junior mastermind announced that UKIP was a close challenger for Labour when a glance at Electoral Calculus would have told him that Labour was well ahead, the seat isn't marginal; and the UKIP candidate was a low third in the preferences
The next  best was when another reporter told Victoria Ayling that  fishing industry leaders wanted to stay in the EU. He either made that up or he'd been talking to a child catching fish in a jam jar by the canal. It's total Eurocrap.

The Jerk Journos then prattle on about the death of fishing-which was  thirty years ago when we lost Icelandic waters and Ted Heath gave away British waters and say nothing about the seafood industry which has replaced it.They talk to a few disgruntled citizens who exist in every town and don't mention the fact that the real marginal is next door in Cleethorpes which Labour lost in 2010 .
This concoction of selective ignorance, (which could have been said of anywhere) is then put out as an objective report. The only justification is that such stupid condescending reporting brings tourists and journalists to our town,boosts interest in Grimsby, though for wrong reasons and gets Melanie Onn, who will be the next MP, onto TV to rebut the rubbish. It  also gets better odds from bookmakers for those sensible enough to bet on Mel. But it debases journalism and the image of a wonderful community which deserves better.

So for public education purposes just let me make it clear. Melanie Onn (Labour) will be the next MP for Grimsby, the Conservative candidate (whoever he is) will be second and Victoria will continue to be Ayling.You can bet on Onn as long as BBC idiots bamboozle the bookmakers.


It's perhaps as well that the latest rogue poll puts the Tories 6% ahead of Labour because it delays the playing of the crisis (collapse of confidence) card which the financial arm of the Tory Party (also known as "the City","Markets" and "business opinion " ) hold in reserve to be played as the prospect of a hung parliament  or even the possibility of a Labour victory emerges.

That will be the point at which wealth and the dosh holders play the ultimate card  fear of a crash, the trashing of Britain's credit card by the world, a run on sterling and a collapse of the pound and the certainty of national bankruptcy will all dominate the headlines and the media talk producing a swing to the Tories to keep put Red Ed and the revolutionary terror which Labour government will ensure. 

This ultimate deterrent defeated Labour in 1970 when Harold Wilson stood on a platform of bringing the country through crisis only to have headlines of a trade deficit in the month of election because Roy Mason had been daft enough to allow airlines to buy several jumbo jets in the same  month. It was played again in 1974 but didn't work then because Ted Heath had managed to create an even bigger mess

Now with the country importing 6% more of GDP than  it exports and the pound too high to produce the export revival Osborne wants some kind of sterling crash is inevitable  because we cant pay our way in the world .When it comes the Tories will certainly blame it on Labour's plans to tax wealth and abolish Non-Doms  to cover up their own contribution to uncertainty by their referendum on the European Union.

This time it won't be the gnomes of Zurich who Harold Wilson blamed .It will be a home made crisis boosted by London based hedge funds speculating on a fall in sterling, the big accountancy houses selling tax avoidance schemes , idiot directors and banks announcing their departure abroad  and the rich shifting their money to avoid their social obligations here .

Remember when the crisis comes. It will be money going on strike against the people and trying to stop Labour creating the fairer society Britain needs and our people want. Money can't vote but it will do its best to veto our votes if it doesn't like them


Tory policy on bring the Right to Buy at big discounts to Housing Associations is a crime against housing. Right to buy can only work if a replacement council or social house is built in the same area to replace every house sold.The Tories have never done this. So right to buy drastically reduced the stock of public housing for rent and  tuned estates into dumping grounds when the buyers sold their houses to speculators who put anyone in just to get a rent leading to a host of undesirable residents and the deterioration of whole estates.

Then much of remaining council housing (with the best houses sold off) was privatised top housing asociations.Now the Tories propose to repeat the disaster.They promise one new build for every sale but they also promised that in the coalition when they increased the discounts and in fact only built one replacement for every five sold.

To repeat the disaster now will cripple the housing associations who have borrowed on their stock and wont be financially viable unless  they're compensated .Will they be? and what will the cost be of that? This is a policy of desperation not sense. It makes no contribution to increasing the housing build by the 100,000 extra houses we need to build each year.It will reduce the stock of the public housing for rent which is needed by the two fifths of our people who cant afford to buy at these prices. It will push prices and housing benefits even higher. It will lead to rent increases for those who remain tenants. It is in short  a crime against housing.


At what stage will it occur to the two main parties that multi party politics is here to stay? Each of the nations of the UK has its own nationalist party as a challenger to the Tory and Labour parties. England has UKIP which is really an English nationalist party. Scotland has the SNP, Wales has Plaid. Then there's the LibDems for the quibbler tribe and the Greens for the naive idealists and petty purists who are growing in numbers

Britain has entered the age of multi party politics when a major proportion of the electorate refuses to fit into one of the two big boxes. The only way this can be made to work is by proportional representation  which gives every party a stake in the results.Without it we're in for a long period of hung Parliaments, unstable governments and increasing alienation

Sunday 12 April 2015

Time to raise the party bids

Here we are several days in to the election caring and the Tories are in panic mode..They've firmed the Crosby guns - fear of Labour-fear of Ed-shock horror and possible mass rate to come-the  UK spit with Nicola Sturgeon dictating policy -business reduced to terror -the rich leaving the sinking ship -and none of it has worked. Worse. Labour has edged ahead producing the kind of desperation shown by Fallon"s desperate assault on Miliband for fratricide and propensity to surrender Britain to whoever cares to occupy it at the moment while the press gets more and more hysterical in its denunciations Labour, it's policies, it's leaders its prospects and its dirty underpants anything in fact that comes to hand.

That panic has turned the election into a contest between doomsters about who could reduce the deficit and reinforce the cuts fast enough into a bidding war about who can offer most. Suddenly the Tories having proclaimed more spending impossible produce eight billion for the Health Service to save it from extinction, a freeze on ticket prices  for commuters,time off from public service for co month service  and all sorts of other goodies all plucked,unconstitutional and unfounded out of desperation to please. Labour too has upped the ante, more midwives, doctors for every geriatric, even more spending on cancer patients.

Thank God. we're back now with elections as they should be - gift bonanzas in which the parties compete to promise even more to the electorate.Why? Because all the parties are running scared and minor parties are promising even more . The moral is  we must keep it up. Keep them running sacred. Don't let any party edge ahead and we might even get more generous promises about running the economy in the way the country needs like scrap austerity, increase wages and benefits,move back to full employment, stop foreign takeovers and rebuild manufacturing to take us back to where we used to be ( and need to be again)

It's  crucial now to  end the obsession with reducing debt, ending the deficit and balancing the budget.Nothing could be worse in a situation of recession, high unemployment and low demand. The parties will never realise this in their desperate competition to be virtuous and show themselves responsible The electorate which wants better times and an end to misery can  bring them to sense by keeping them scared and sensitive to the needs of real people in the real world.

The Tories,who've been telling us for four years there's no money to spare for anything but paying off debt are now splashing out tax cuts: inheritance tax,income tax help with deposits are all suddenly possible. Keeping the parties scared and the election undecided has one other enormous benefit. It keeps the pound falling in value, the necessary boost to Britain's exporting industries to restore our ability to pay our way in the world The dollar will go up as the Ged decides to increase interest rates. The Euro will come down as the Euro crisis get's worse. So keep the pound committing  and we get more jobs too. Electoral uncertainty is a win win win situation for the people and the economy.

Wednesday 8 April 2015


It really amazing that a nation which breeds societies for the prevention of cruelty to cats dogs horses tarantulas and snow leopards we've not done anything to protect the rich and allow them to enjoy their money free of fear and threat .Why should they be reduced to sheer terror every time Ed Balls or Ed Milliband opens his mouth.

It can't be right that they should have live with their bags packed ready to leave at a moments notice if there's any prospect of a referendum on membership of the EU. Nor is it healthy if they're under threat of being forced to sell their houses at a loss and move to some tiny hovel in Barnsley  if a mansion tax is proposed on houses worth over two million a pathetically congested cottage for those who own so much of the nation's wealth.

No one who contributes so much should have live in fear in this way.If they have to struggle so hard just to protect their money they're not going to be able to invest it. Nor will they be happy let it trickle down to the rest if government is take it off them. In the name of enterprise and justice they'll be forced to employ accountants and clever lawyers rather than workers,paying fees to the tax avoidance industry rather than giving it to charity as they really want.

Surely it's time to giver to the deserving rich rather than give way to the politics of envy by taking it away from them.Send your cheques to MORE, the Campaign for the rich, Care of Price Waterhouse Coopers.


Love the way that LibDems having betrayed their commitment to scrap tuition gees now attack Labour's proposal to reduce them as a gift to the wealthy.It's a gift to all students and a step on the way to total abolition and the restoration of means tested grants.But let those who've opted out of the state system and gone into private education pay full fees.They obviously prefer to pay rather than depend on the state.


Labour's hit on a good strategy with the Non Doms announcement. A bombshell a day keeps the Tories at bay.

Guest blog by Michael Meacher: Austerity’s the real issue. Why is not being tackled?

The Tories want only to talk about the deficit- which, by the way, they’re not reducing- when the real issue at this election is jobs, living standards, and sustainable growth. So why isn’t Labour attacking far harder the disastrous Tory economic record?

The facts are clear. Osborne’s expansionary fiscal contraction has squeezed wages by an unprecedented 8-10% in real terms. Productivity, on which all future growth depends, is almost the lowest in the G20. Business investment is anaemic with the FTSE 100 companies sitting on cash stockpiles of nearly £700bn because they don’t believe either that Osborne’s ‘recovery’ has legs. The balance of payments deficit in traded goods is the worst in British history because with Tory neglect of manufacturing we cannot pay our way in the world. Unemployment is still nearly two million, and even the jobs that have been created are low paid, insecure, and often subject to zero hours contracts. Household indebtedness is now over £2 trillion and increasing.

To cap it all, bringing down the deficit, which is allegedly the whole purpose of this burgeoning economic disaster, isn’t happening either. Osborne predicted this year it would be £37 billion, it’s actually nearly £100 billion. More worrying still, the reason it’s not fallen, because contracting wages has contracted the Governments tax receipts as well, mean that it won’t fall significantly in future years, and may even rise. So why does Osborne continue to make such a totem of it? Because the real Tory aim is not to reduce the deficit as such at all, but rather to shrink the State (as he has himself said, to 1930s levels,) to squeeze the public sector, and to shift from public services to a fully marketised private State.

So why doesn’t Labour attach this hammer and tongs instead of just saying we’ll cut a little less than the Tories- the same policies as the Tories, but a little less painful? If it’s fear of being taken as profligate, why doesn’t Labour retaliate that in Labours 11 years to the crash (1997-2008) the deficit was never higher than 3.3% of GDP, whereas Thatcher-Major racked up deficits bigger than this in 10 out of their 18 years?

So what should Labour be saying? When private investment is flat on its back, public investment is needed to kick-start the economy into sustainable growth, jobs, rising incomes, and the growing tax receipts to really pay down the deficit. We need public investment in house building, infrastructure, and a low carbon economy. At 0.5% interest rates a £30 billion investment package sufficient to create 1-1.5 million jobs within 2-3 years can be paid for at a cost of only £150 million a year.

Better still, it could be funded at no increase in public borrowing at all either by instructing the public banks, RBS and Lloyds, to prioritise lending to British industry rather than overseas speculation, or by a further tranche of quantitative easing targeted directly to industry rather than the banks, or by taxing the ultra-rich whose wealth, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, has expanded from a cool £250 billion to a scarcely imaginable £500 billion 

Tuesday 7 April 2015


Now that the LibDems have been chucked overboard by the Tories, Cleggie is having to ply for hire in the hope that he can still find a home for his sanctimonious  irrectitude. Someone should tell him. That he won't get it by insulting both LaboUr and the Tories as he is doing.

Far better surely to recognise that they aren't really a party at all, but a Bownie pack ..which happens to have the same leader. I have a better idea. Split them up into two parties. Cleggie can then lead the natural conservatives like Clegg himself and including Laws and Danny Alexander all of whom have burned too many boats to work with. 

Then the SDP rump of people like Vince, Kennedy and Farron will be free to work with and support a Labour government.There may not be enough of either branch to be worth a formal pact but like Tesco every little helps and it's surely better to be Ed's little helpers than Cam's big dupes.


One thing Victoria Ailing and Her merry shoal of UKIPPERS have done for Grimsby is to get our town more national media coverage than it's ever had before since the 1977 by election.. We've had powerful pieces from top journalists from the Guardian (Hinchcliffe and White) and the London Review of Books (James Meek) and bottom journalists from the Independent on Sunday(Jamie Crap).We've had radio and TV programmes  and national attention.
Cameron hasn't been because he never leaves the kitchen from these days, though he might if we got them to do MasterChef from the Fish dock

Monday 6 April 2015

Small prize offered

I've decided to offer a small prize for anyone who can think of an election more baffling than this. One week's campaigning gone already and the commentators are all busily analysing the result as if it's all over. No real policy unveiled yet but lots of statements on what the Parties won't do - the Tories making their ritual pre election promise not to raise VAT which they always raise after winning, while Miliband has said he won't increase National Insurance as he should.

Threats abound : Tories say Labour will crash the economy, Labour  says the Tories will slash welfare to the bone but no one talks about the real threats; that we can't pay our way in the world and productivity is pathetic. It seems that they're all so fixated on the bad times ahead  that not one of them dares offer what the people really want: which is  a large dose of hope  rather than the short sharp dollops of pension pot spending which is all they're going to get.

Here's a gaping hole which the Tory press is rushing to fill by a vitriolic camping of distortion and abuse of Labour's policies and people, Labour by a cost of living crisis and the LibDems and UKIP by denouncing both main parties for their failures on just about everything.

It's deeply frustrating to see everyone fratching, fighting shouting and distorting, the ship's log filled with shite and the officers trading insults while the ship of state heads for the rocks and the smell from the bilges becomes asphyxiating.


There is, at last some serious thinking going on even if most of it is now too late to influence  the escapist election .Look at Michael Meacher's new collection of essays "What the Three Main Parties are not telling you: A radical way out of Stagnation and Inequality"Here are first rate ( but gloomy) analyses by John Mills, Michael Burke and Meacher himself. It'll fill you with angry frustration that so little of it is raised or even understood by any of the parties in this escapist election where irresponsibility rules and truth can't be mentioned for fear of frightening.

Sent from my iP

Saturday 4 April 2015


Everyone thought their own leader won though some thought it more defensively than others.The Guardian's poll thought Miliband won, the Times said CAMERON,the public more generally thought Sturgeon won (as did I) and rated Farage highly though I thought he lacked his usual panache and punch.

The women did better than the men,the minor parties better than the major ( which isn't difficult because they aren't weighed down with responsibility and suffused with the caution of statesmanship).Cleggie was taking the same easy middle line as he did in 2010 though no one now believes him now and he queered his pitch by going on about the mess Labour left as if we'd wrecked the banks rather than helping them up when they committed suicide.

So the real winner was the minor parties who got their moment in the sun before first past the post puts them back in their box.All told it was a display which would have been totally appropriate if we had proportional representation but which was merely confusing  in an electoral system which  doesn't work well when there are several parties not just two alternative government's

So the real conclusion was that it doesn't matter who won because they're all in for a mess in which the future probably lies with McLabour. Learn to live with it guys!

Thursday 2 April 2015

Warning! Don't be a politician

When I left television to go into politics I noticed a strange and discomforting phenomenon.Where I'd been loved and even adored as a TV personality and found people happy to see me, friendly and out going, as soon as I became a politician things changed almost as if a screen had been inserted between me and them.

I began to feel that where they'd been coming towards me before now I was forcing myself on them.They were more cautious, cooler and guarded, perhaps even a bit suspicious but certainly less natural.

No alternative but to accept the distance because like a salesman I was trying to sell them something, rather than giving them something even if it was only a bit of phoney glamour and fading radiance. It may have been a bit vacuous but it was warm and comforting.

Now that I've retired and most people have realised that I'm no longer their MP it's moved back the other way.People  look me in the eye again.They're friendly. Many wish me a happy retirement People are coming towards me again and some even give me advice on how to end my retirement. Like cruising or lying on a beach (even in Cleethorpes) or even thanking me for long service. It even makes me think it's all been worthwhile after all

No exaggeration.I may be over sensitive but I do feel a real change in the atmosphere.It's marvellous. Even though it's also a bit late.New candidates be warned. You have nothing to lose but your ambience.

The 100 "business leaders" who signed a letter praising the Tories and warning against Labour are beginning to look  like a set of hopeless creeps.Some are retired and defending their fat pensions for failure.Several are Tory donors who want a return on their money with a seat in the Lords, five are former Labour donors who seem totally confused like the man from Morrisons who trotted out more reasons for Labour which don't apply to the  Conservatives. All are total creeps.

Next week we'll have a hundred beneficiaries whose benefits have been slashed, a hundred disabled people who've  been declared fit for work,a hundred council tenants who're happy with the bedroom tax a hundred Librarians who're overjoyed that their libraries have been closed. A hundred criminals who think the police cuts are a good thing,a hundred job seekers suspended from benefit, a hundred food bank customers grateful for the soup and a hundred prisoners who've attempted suicide because of the conditions ( some speaking posthumously) and a hundred pipers who will announce that McLabour is a good thing.

No lie test will be necessary if you wish to play please get a hundred friends together.


An increasingly important part of an MP's job ( I speak from memory of course) is the local ombudsman role. More and more people come to their MP with all the problems that arise from a creeping, understaffed and  too frequently destabilised government machine, which is why MPs ha e had to have more staff and offices in the constituency to deal with them

The numbers have been growing exponentially because privatisation of housing utilities and services creates more problems and theMP is the helper of last resort. The MP (I have to speak impersonally now) can usually help and often through the priority access that they get. They don't do it to win votes ( though they always hope that it might help) and it doesn't get a lot of gratitude  (though I've. had hundreds of nice thank you cards and letters but they can often help and always get an explanation if they can't

Yet now there are no MPs with the end of Parliament .They can't pull status and their staffs are under notice of redundancy if they're retiring or in suspended animation if they're standing for re-election as most are.

So what are people with problems supposed to do in the 40 day campaign period? Problems don't go away. Social services are still taking children, child support cases are still arising, rent areas are still leading to evictions , Job centres are still suspending benefits to let people starve and  Border force is still expelling people to disease ridden tyrannies but there's no one with the magical powers of an MP to help them and MPs staff are meant to do "meaningful work"but not that.

Either government should suspend and stop all sanctions and hold up all cases or Ex MPs should take up cases as they've always done.Otherwise it's tyranny rules. Not OK
Watch the Leader crowd spectacular tonite. All the minor parties (except Cleggie) will shine because they can give the easy answers while the majors are mired in complexity,  the perpetual state of those who can form government's  which must lumber while minor parties leap like gazelles over the facts. 

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Home sweet homes

Britain has a housing crisis with record levels of homelessness and long waiting lists and a national shortage of housing but none of the parties have an adequate policy for dealing with it. Housing used to be a major election issue with all the parties promising bigger building rates. Now it's an embarrassment partly because neither major party in power has built enough houses, both have brought the building rate down to the low levels of the 1920's which is no record to be proud of.

Labour promises a higher build rate which will be a major boost to the economy and to jobs in construction but says little on the major problem of building council and social housing.This is crucial because we need far more public housing for rent for the increasing proportion, currently around two fifths of the electorate who can't afford to buy at this level of prices and wouldn't get a mortgage in any case. What are they to do unless we build more public housing for rent as Labour government's always did up to 1979?

The reason for this ominous silence is that public spending will be necessary to pay for public housing and we don't want to be accused of higher public spending.There are ways out. Councils could issue council bonds to raise money That would count against public debt but it's perfectly open to fiddle it off the public sector borrowing requirement  as both parties have done with private finance initiatives which are far more expensive. We could also use money from quantitative easing provided it goes for major contracts or to the Homes and Communities Agency which is presently starved of cash with proper terms of payback. Why not?

Tory policy is horrifying in its stupidity. They've stoked a housing price boom by not building and by throwing dosh at demand with help to buy but doing nothing about supply.Now they propose to make things worse by selling off the stock of the housing associations by extending the right to buy at a huge discount to their properties .  That will bankrupt the associations,,decimate their stock and create the same mess as right to buy has done with the council estates where so many of the houses sold have been bought up by landlords to let at higher rents than were paid to the council..The Scots have had the good sense to stop this.

Labour proposes to regulate private rents and give tenants more security. The Tories don't.They are prepared to subsidise higher private rents with housing benefit and encourage those who cash their pension pots to put the money into buy to rent.They promise to build more cheap jack starter homes but have broken their 2010 pro,ies to build a new council house for everyone sold as they will any promise to make Hiusing associations do the same why their stock is raffled off..

All told only the Greens are offering a housing policy which makes any sense and they won't get in.

When one poll (the Mail) puts the Tories 4% ahead and another (Sunday Times) puts Labour ahead by the same amount. Deduct the 2% margin of error from both and they're neck and neck.That means Labour is going to win. The slight bias in the electoral system caused by the fact that we have more smaller majorities favours us  and should put us slightly ahead as the largest single party but even if we're not  we will be helped by the fact that the Tories  will find it more difficult to find partners or supporters of a minority government than Labour.

The LibDems will lose half their seats so they're once bitten twice shy. They can't accept either a referendum on EU membership ( which they once supported) or the Tory dislike of the EU..The Scot Nats who will be the largest third party won't support them but are prepared to back us on confidence and supply so that a Mc Labour pact is possible and would put some backbone into Labour since the SNP is to the left of us. The Welsh Nats would follow  and the Ulster unionists will support anyone.

So Bingo McLabour rules. OK which is the best way of maintaining the union since  such a government will give the Scots what they really voted for : Devo Max, autonomy just short of full Independence, the kind of thing which if the Tories hadn't frustrated it 125 years ago would have kept Ireland in  the way Parnell and Redmond really wanted. Lord O'Donnell (who should shut up) is wrong.It won't endanger the union but create a better one

Can't be bad -that's a result to look forward to. Fight to win but know that if you don't you'll still win !
The Times, which has become disgracefully partisan  and lost its sense of balance, warns that the Labour left will frustrate Miliband's proposal for cuts. That shows that the Laboir Party still has a soul. Why though don't we know if anyone at all in the Conservative party will frustrate Osborne's proposal for eve more massive cuts? Are they all blue lemmings? Or just insane?
Election. Reporting is getting a bit stale and repetitive already. Never have so many struggledso hard to whip up so little excitement among so few.

Sent from my iPad


Tory media never criticise the Tories because of the obituary rule: never speak ill of the dead.But it pleases their proprietors if they speak at least a bit of  ill of the living and lively Labour party.That's why they're so horrified at John McDonnell for pointing out that the left will opposefurther cuts by a Labour government.

So they should. But the shock horror is overdone. First it's so one sided. They only ask about Labour splits and ignore the bigger ones on the Tory side about the scale of the cuts to come and the argument over what is to be cut,or indeed the gaping chasm over the EU : in or out, rengociate about what, referendum or not.

More important they ignore the nature of the new politics. Now that majority government is over, parties must negotiate deals to shore up what will be a minority government.They'll needan agreement over support on confidence and supply and pact partners will be able to pick and choose about which policies they support as well as voting for their own policies which in the SNP's case will be to the left of Labour's in the case of the LibDems to the right.

That freedom can't be confined to pact partners.Government Rebels will demand it for themselves Minority government means power for backbenchers.They can't be denied the freedom pact partners have, so it sets them free to vote against whatever they don't like provided they support the government on any confidence vote arising.  Which is OK because they won't want to bring their government down. Just teach it a bit of sense.

That's an important new freedom for backbenchers. They'll no longer have to be herded around like sheep as they have been for so many years. Life's going to be exciting in the new Parliament,though there will be an added chore. Backbenchers will have to think! Never been allowed to do that before!
Cameron is promising to create so many new jobs he'll have to bring in more immigrants to fill them. But then he doesn't fulfil  his promises does he?
I started political life as a Liberal , wearing a yellow rosette on my meat round in 1950 and acting as Liberal agent in the school elections in 1951 (pas mal pour un Lapin) So I can testify to the joys of always being right. It's something you don't get in a major grown up party where you're often wrong but accept that pain because on balance you do more good

Which is why I feel so sorry for my Lib Dem friends now: good sincere honest men and women conned by the closet Conservative Clegg into betraying all it once stood for to enable the worst government since the war to do so much damage to the good society.

Now that they face decimation as punishment for this betrayal it's pathetic to see Clegg and Alexander (RIP) claiming credit for the accidental recovery produced by the Bank of England's cheap money policies (of which Liberal Keynes would have approved even if Liberal Gladstone wouldn't) but not entirely convincing. Sorry guys. I once I thought we were friends. But that's a long time ago Now you're just rubble in the way .

The essence of the Tory election campaign is fear. Fear of Miliband (mixed with a lot of abuse) fear of tax, fear of Labour policies, fear of the SNP. Not much forward thinking, not many policies for the future, but lashings of fear.
It won't work because electors want hope and policies to make things better and only Labour offers either, but it sets me a tremble because I really do fear. I fear the return of a Tory government committed to more cuts, to greater inequality, to lower wages and an ever growing trade deficit.
Just seen my first election poster-Tory. Looks like the trees will be voting Conservative again !

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