Archive for the 'NuLab' Category

As it was in the beginning…

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

I’ve been looking back to the beginning of the Blair regime – that time of misplaced hope, ‘glad, confident morning’, etc. – and was struck by a number of things in the New Labour manifesto. This in particular now strikes a rather chilling note:

“New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole.”

I mean WTF? Isn’t that the kind of thing totalitarian regimes say about themselves? At least we can’t pretend we weren’t told.

Then there’s already an indication of a desire to play fast and loose with the legal system:

“…fast-track punishment for persistent young offenders by halving the time from arrest to sentencing”

Note the missing stage of trial and actually needing to be found guilty. As ever it’s hard to believe so many of them are trained lawyers.

Some stuff, though is almost comic in the mismatch between what they said and what they actually did:

“…In health policy, we will safeguard the basic principles of the NHS, which we founded, but will not return to the top-down management of the 1970s. So we will keep the planning and provision of healthcare separate, but put planning on a longer-term, decentralised and more co-operative basis. The key is to root out unnecessary administrative cost, and to spend money on the right things – frontline care…”


“…Over-centralisation of government and lack of accountability was a problem in governments of both left and right. Labour is committed to the democratic renewal of our country through decentralisation and the elimination of excessive government secrecy…”

But best of all is the list of 10 pledges, of which this is number nine:

“We will clean up politics, decentralise political power throughout the United Kingdom and put the funding of political parties on a proper and accountable basis.”

Yeah, right. Maybe it was a typo and they meant ‘We will clean up in politics”.

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.
Edmund Burke

Burning issues

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Once again we see that there is no idea for a new law so stupid that you can’t get a policeman to speak up for it. So, burning a flag should be a criminal offence, should it? Not for any reason it would seem other than the usual politician’s reason – passing a new law is a substitute for enforcing the laws we already have. I’m surprised to see the police going down the same political route. Actually, no, hang on. I’m not surprised to see the police taking the same easy option as New Labour have been taking for nearly a decade (and, to be honest, the Tories before them), since under the present government the police have become totally politicised.

The useless prick who drew up these and other proposals is quoted as saying:

“There appears to be a growing public perception that policing of demonstrations is unduly lenient.”

Perhaps he should have considered that the reason for this is that his force has singularly failed to enforce existing laws against some demonstrations (the defining characteristic of the leniently policed demonstrations will be left as an exercise for the reader). Resulting not, as any fule kno, from a lack of laws, but rather from a lack of will on the part of the Met hierarchy to do their duty and enforce the law impartially.

Meanwhile, Lord Goldsmith is ‘preparing a package of announcements’. That sort of thing always makes me shudder these days. What new repressive abomination are they dreaming up? Which further part of our liberty will be chipped away? Apparently ‘Everything is on the table’ so that ‘We are hoping to announce a national strategy for dealing with these people in November.’

Is it just me, or is there something chilling in the phrase ‘these people’? Still, there’s always a New Labour rent-a-mouth MP ready to do his arse-licking duty (some people really have both no brains and no shame). Step forward Shahid Malik – maybe there’s a promotion in it for you.

For fuck’s sake – why not go the whole hog and and just ban dissent altogether? Oh hang on – they already did.

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
Edmund Burke

Crying Wolfgang

Monday, September 25th, 2006

I know it’s always tempting to find conspiracy and outrage in everything that the Labour Party does, but surely the fact that a non-delegate, non-member of the NEC (as yet) only has a visitor pass to the conference is really a non-story?

Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.

But don’t hold your breath

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Another big Labour lender arrested. Disappointingly, it turns out to be a different Chris Evans. I still think that it will be hard to prove anything, despite whatever compelling inferences might be drawn from the order of events, unless someone turns Queen’s evidence. It certainly stinks, and is part of the reason Labour has haemorraged members in recent years. I’m sure it fills most of the remaining membership with shame – but I don’t expect them to anything about it. Why change the habits of a lifetime?

Meanwhile I noticed this contribution on the (hardly busy) Party Funding Review forum:

If political parties are to be beholden to the people then it would make sense for the people to provide funding via the state.

…which is dumb on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. But since political parties aren’t “beholden to the people”, I guess we can dismiss the rest. Even if they were, it’s hard to see how the conclusion follows. You could equally well say “If political parties are to be beholden to the people then it would make sense for the people to provide funding via individual contributions”. Hang on, isn’t that what we do now?

The altnerative is for wealthy men representing powerful interests to provide the funding for the parties who will therefore be, just ever so slightly, beholden to the powerful interests and therefore not the people.

…or for the parties to rely on individual contributions from a mass membership base. But to build that, they’d have to convince us that they have at least a slight intention of paying attention to what we want. Note the false dichotomy – the only alternatives are state funding or funding by the rich. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. There are other options.

State funding should tighten a link between the people and the parties and loosen the smiling bear hug of corporate interests.

Just like it has in those countries that have state funding for parties. Oh, errr, never mind. Lord, since the bastards can’t persuade us to pay for their dubious services, they want instead to force us to pay. What planet are they on?

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief.
Edmund Burke

Doggerel Dave elsewhere

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

My alter ego, Doggerel Dave, has been active in the comments to Rachel’s rhythmic, rhyming rant. I can’t help myself – I just find it too easy and tempting, and my brain just works that way. Come and have a go yourself – let’s face it, there’s plenty of source material.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.
Edmund Burke

…the second time as farce

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

There’s been quite a lot of talk comparing these last days of Blair’s premiership with the end of Thatcher’s reign in Downing Street. Blair of course in many ways modelled himself on Thatcher, and adopted much of her legacy in defiance of the party he led. And indeed there are striking parallels – the long-serving party leader, winner of three successive elections now looking but now looking increasingly like an electoral liability; the scheming colleagues manoeuvering for advantage under whatever new dispensation succeeds to the post; the back-stabbing briefings; the resignations; the assassin-in-chief and would-be successor who fails at the last; and the seemingly delusional attitude of those in the bunker [insert Berlin 1945 metaphor of choice here].

But yet, but yet, the difference decade and a half makes. While the fall of Thatcher still looks in retrospect like a tragedy (in the theatrical sense), with its combination of hubris and conspiracy, the end of Blair is being played out in a petulant atmosphere more reminiscent of the school playground (“I was going to sack him anyway, so there!”). It’s hard to imagine Thatcher planning a farewell tour including appearances on Blue Peter and Songs of Praise (perhaps an appearance on the JY prog on Radio Two, though). Thatcher at least recognized (eventually) that the end had come and that she had to go – Blair just looks like someone desperate to cling on to position (if not power) as long as he possibly can, to squeeze every last drop of personal – and financial – advantage from his post. He seems the opposite of dignified. The Old Pretender, meanwhile, looks increasingly like he’s just chicken (perhaps remembering Hezza’s fate). It’s all very well to play a long game, but as Keynes noted, “in the long run, we’re all dead.”

But who knows, maybe Yates of the Yard will give us a new meaning for the phrase ‘conviction politician’.

“You have sat here too long for the good you do. In the name of God, go!”
Cromwell, dismissing the Rump Parliament in 1653.

Another rubbish idea

Monday, August 28th, 2006

This (and also here). Has anyone actually weighed up (sorry) whether all this recycling makes any kind of economic or environmental sense? Or is it just largely meaningless ritual activity? Meanwhile:

Mr Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s environment board, said charging to collect non-recyclable rubbish would give people ” a real carrot to recycle”.

Sigh. That’s a stick, not a carrot, you illiterate. I guess abuse of language must be built into some people’s job descriptions.

A people may prefer a free government, but if by momentary discouragement or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or trust him with powers to subvert their institutions, in all these cases they are unfit for liberty.
John Stuart Mill

Plus ca change

Monday, August 28th, 2006

well, I’m back. I’ve been in New Zealand for a month, and had fun rebuilding my computer after getting home (it’s rather like my grandad’s hammer now, as all that remains of the original is the box and the power supply – still cheaper than buying a new one to the extent I’ve treated myself to a 19-inch TFT screen, and I can now read text without squinting). In the interim nothing much seems to have changed, just more of the same old rubbish. The people who want to control every aspect of our lives (for our own good of course) are extending their tendrils of surveillance and instruction; and those who should be standing up to them are still shuffling their feet, looking at the ground and waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

I must have missed the announcement that the terorists have won, though. Did it happen while I was away? Anyway, we’re now officially told to be terrified all the time. And apparently the threat to our culture and way of life is so severe that the government have decided to lock out freedoms away and change our way of life to keep it safe. For as long as it takes.

Now that all looks to me as John Reid, Princess Toni et al. just don’t get it. But then, it’s pretty clear that they never did.

It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.
Thomas Jefferson

Calling International Rescue…

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

It seems that Home Office Bungle has been replaced by the Hood from Thunderbirds:

John Reid - new Home Secretary The Hood from Thunderbirds

And he can do the thing with the eyes, too…

The... eyes... ...he can do it too.

“That the crown…derives its whole consequence merely from being the giver of places and pensions is self-evident, wherefore, though we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door against absolute monarchy, we at the same time have been foolish enough to put the crown in possession of the key.”
Tom Paine, Common Sense

120 reasons not to vote labour

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Wow. Just that. Read it and weep.

“When the republican virtue fails, slavery ensues.”
Tom Paine, Common Sense

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