Category Archives: Tory Party conference

Handing Jeremy Corbyn The Keys To Downing Street?

Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, one phrase that had been uttered every now and again, but which now features more frequently in the speech of hyperventilating Tory MPs on their tour of the nation’s TV and radio studios, is “Handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street”, or variations thereof. But what does that phrase really tell us about the Conservative Party?

First, it shows the Tories are scared of Corbyn’s Labour. This is in marked contrast to the language they first used when he became leader. Then, he was painted as a ‘disaster’, who would make it easy for them to rule with a massive majority for all eternity. How wrong they were, but even when they claimed Corbyn would consign their enemy – his party – to oblivion, they did so knowing that he posed a threat to their control of mainstream political discourse, but they lacked the self-awareness to realize it. Now, they have been rudely exposed as being weak, utterly devoid of ideas and bereft of all meaning. What do the Tories stand for? Smears? Lies? They don’t have any policies to speak of… well, not ones they didn’t steal from Labour first, and then dilute them according to taste.

Second, and more perhaps more importantly, their shrill repetition of the phrase reveals their over-riding sense of entitlement. Remember, the Tories see themselves as the ‘natural party of government’, a claim they wholly crafted from their own self-importance and sense of self-righteousness. The Tories are not and will never be democrats, and for all their talk of wanting a “strong opposition” these last couple of years, it’s actually the last thing they really wanted. In Corbyn they claimed to see weakness. They dismissed the massive influx of members to the Labour Party as unimportant. “After all” they opined, “members aren’t the electorate”. There was an obvious flaw in that line of thinking, but who were they kidding? Themselves. It turns out that members really do matter, because members  are out there in  the pubs, clubs, workplaces and on the street, talking to people and putting forward the party’s case. Tory activists, by contrast, are thin on the ground and efforts to attract younger members have gone from the embarrassing to the downright laughable.

When one looks back at the Tory conference just gone, one couldn’t help but notice that it had the appearance of a mausoleum and the overpowering smell of embalming fluid. What sort of person would be attracted to something like that? A cadaver?

This is a dead party walking.


Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Political parties, Tory Party conference

The EU, human rights and right wing hypocrisy

Since the European sovereign debt crisis, the usual voices  on the Europhobic right have been in full cry, “Let’s withdraw from Europe”! “Give the British people a referendum on whether we should stay in the EU”. To the latter, I’d say, “We’ve already had the referendum and the majority of British people elected to join the EU”. To the former, I’d say “The only reason you want out of Europe is to scrap crucial workplace legislation”.

The one thing that has caused them to increase their anti-EU noise levels over the past few years is the Human Rights Act or, rather, its interpretation by judges… but that isn’t something that they want you to know about. They’d rather you think that it is the convention itself is the problem. We can’t have people coming here and breaking the law, only to be allowed to remain in the country because they have a cat. It simply won’t do.

Yet, when it comes to Syria, it’s a different matter. In that country, human rights are routinely abused as they are in Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Burma and many other countries. They’ll complain bitterly about abuses in those countries but  yet, they want to scrap the act in this country and replace it with something called the “British Bill of Rights”. According to the Newsnight studio guests last week, the proposed bill would be exactly the same as the HRA.  As the average bloke in the high street would say, “It’s, er, like the Human Rights Act but it’s, er, British. Because, like, we ‘ave nuffink in common wif dem bloody Europeans”.

But that sort of flushes over 1000 years of history down the khazi, doesn’t it?

This country owe much of its character to continental Europe. Okay, the Normans were a brutal bloodthirsty bunch who introduced feudalism but what about those Romans? Or the Norse? Or those Saxon hordes? They all hated human rights….well, to tell the truth, they had no conception of human rights. If they didn’t like the look of you, they’d have cut you down where you stood.

Europhobes claim that the reason they want Britain to withdraw from the EU is “sovereignty”. They want Britain to be able to lock people up without trial without recourse to human rights legislation. They want to roll back workplace legislation because they believe that “health and safety” is a form of red tape that prevents people from making a profit.  People should work in dirty, dangerous and unsanitary conditions and like it. Just as workers did in the 19th century. Which reminds me, the Tories tend to view the 19th century through rose-tinted spectacles. For them workplace deaths were a price worth paying. After all, it made Britain great. Those dead workers were martyrs to the cause of capitalism. Well, they weren’t actually.

The problem for the Tories is that, for all their talk, they can’t repeal the HRA, as this blog points out.

The Conservative Party has its own Human Rights Commission. As one might suspect, the commission is only concerned with human rights outside our borders.

Are they hypocrites?  Of course they are.

But are the Tories the only ones to oppose the HRA? Well, no and predictably enough, UKIP also oppose the HRA… but then UKIP are, for all intents and purposes, cut from the same cloth as the Tories. Here’s what UKIP’s Paul Nuttall had to say in 2007,

The second problem is the Human Rights Act, which was incorporated into British law in 1998. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for human rights, but only the human rights of the victim. Those perpetrators of low-level crime who ruin the lives of many hard-working citizens could not be locked up as in New York because it would contravene their human rights. It leaves a sour taste and a feeling that the human rights of the criminal are well protected but those of the victim are routinely trampled on. It has also been a golden opportunity for human rights lawyers, such as Cherie Booth QC, to make a fortune. Again, if you want “zero tolerance” then the Human Rights Act needs to be ripped up.

“Don’t get me wrong” he says, “I am all for human rights, but only the human rights of the victim”. In which case he isn’t in favour of human rights at all.

What really makes me laugh is the way some vox pops on television will actually claim that they “hate” human rights. Maybe a few months in concentration camp will help to change their minds?

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Johnson: the tube strike was a “nakedly political gesture”. Well, duh!

Could Boris Johnson be any more thick than he already is? Yesterday, the Emperor of London told the Tory Party conference that the Tube strikes organized by the RMT and TSSA unions was a “nakedly political gesture”. Well, duh! Strikes are by their very nature political.

He told delegates: “It cannot be right that 3,000 people should be able to hold the city to ransom, stop people getting to work and jeopardise the economic recovery when the measures we are taking to reform ticket offices are an inevitable consequence of the success of the automatic Oyster [smart card] system … and when we are able to make these changes with no compulsory redundancies, with no loss of earnings and with no station unstaffed at any time.

Johnson has never had to fight to keep his job; he tends to walk in and out of them on a whim. But for someone with an expensive and classical education, he is a remarkably thick man.

The CBI also chimed in with some dubious calculations,

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claimed only 33% of those balloted supported the tube strike, with the organisation proposing legislation that would require 40% of balloted union members to be in favour of a strike.

Johnson naturally called for a change in trade union legislation.

“I say to our legislators at Westminster that it cannot be right that a ballot can lead to strike action when less than half the members of that union take part.”

So what does he want? A blanket ban on trade unions?

Brendan Barber of the TUC reminds us of the UK’s restrictive trade union laws,

“The UK has some of the toughest legal restrictions on the right to strike in the advanced world. Already the courts regularly strike down democratic ballots that clearly show majority support for action.”

I get the feeling that the likes of Johnson and Hannan won’t be content until they see this country run like Pinochet’s Chile.

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In the Tory mind, poverty is an abstraction

Today the Honourable Gideon announced that Child Benefit was to be cut to those earning £44,000 or more. This is to assume that a family with this kind of income can weather the ever-increasing cost of living. Let’s face it, Britain is an expensive country to live in and one literally pays for the privilege to live here.  Earlier on the Daily Politics, IDS was talking to Brillo about his proposed changes to the welfare system. His new Universal Credit would replace a whole raft of benefits but those receiving this ‘credit’ would be forced into accepting crap jobs which they would be forced to remain in till they die (presumably). Again, the government have no a priori of unemployment; surviving on low wages or  living in poverty; for them the idea of poverty is an abstraction. These people rake in loads of money through their jobs as MPs, ministers and directors of businesses.

Osborne and his gang love to tell us how ‘we’ must all ‘share’ the burden of the public debt that was forced upon us by their friends in the banking sector. Given their track record on issues of equality, how dare they lecture us on the nature of collective responsibility?

Just to demonstrate how out of touch these people are, I found this in The Guardian,

Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, on Thursday urged her blog readers to report to the Department of Work and Pensions people who tweet more than 50 times a day and claim benefits. She had apparently being told of a tweeter who has posted 34,500 times in a few months. This tweeter is Humphrey Cushion, who is disabled through arthritis, yet does not qualify for disability living allowance. She had to give up work as a home carer, as she is currently on a waiting list for two foot operations. If someone tweeted so frequently, Dorries wrote, then clearly they had nothing wrong with their hands or mind and should therefore be fit for work.

Remember Nadine Dorries is the one who cheated in Tower Block of Commons on Channel 4 earlier this year.

But Liverpudlian Mrs Dorries – nicknamed Mad Nad by fellow Tories – outraged the women when she whipped out £50 from her top, hours after turning up.

Mum-of-five Rena, 40, told her: “You hid money in your bra. Do you think when our benefits are gone we can just go into our bra and pull out 50 quid? It’s cheating. I feel none of you MPs are being 100 per cent honest with us.”

Then there’s,

in November the Sunday Mirror revealed how she handed just-graduated daughter Jennifer, 22, a £28,000-a-year taxpayer-funded job in her Commons ­office. Eldest daughter Philippa, 24, has also worked for her.

Like the rest of the shower in power, Dorries is a vacuous careerist who has never had to face poverty. She claims to have grown up on a council estate in Liverpool where she says in an interview with Totalpolitics,

I am more than ever convinced that Britain is broken because on my estate growing up we had dads and there were no guns, knives, drugs and the police had authority. However on the estate I spent time in the opposite was the case in each instance.

I don’t know what part of Liverpool you lived in but on some of the estates that I visited, there were knives and possibly even guns and this was the 1960’s. Are you sure you come from Liverpool, Nad?

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Filed under ConDem Budget 2010, Government & politics, Public spending, Tory Party conference, Tory Party conference