Social and political commentary from a conservative perspective

David Cairns and his resignation letter

A previously unheard-of Government Minister resigned today. David Cairns (for that is his name) is unhappy with Gordon Brown’s leadership, and feels that he can no longer serve under him.

I have just been reading his resignation letter, and, goodness me, what a frightening document.

Here are some excerpts:

“Dear Gordon,

As someone who has never uttered a public word of criticism of our Labour Government, far less ever cast a vote against it in the years that I have been an MP, the concept of loyalty to my Party and our Leader is at the very heart of my political beliefs.”.

Interesting. People go into politics for all sorts of reasons. Their intentions are oftentimes honest, although the underlying philosophy might be misguided. Some wish to alleviate poverty, improve educational standards, advocate greater personal responsibility, reduce the tax burden, and so on.

But David Cairns? Just read the above excerpt: at the heart of what he (without irony) refers to as his political beliefs is the self-serving, unthinking “virtue” of loyalty to party and leader. (I note without further comment his telling capitalisation of the word “leader”.) Loyalty no matter what. To this politician, it matters not what the party or leader may decide, he has no independent principles, no settled beliefs of his own against which to weigh those decisions. If it comes from the party or from the leader, then it’s good enough for Mr Cairns.

He states, as a matter of pride, that he has never cast a vote against the Labour Party in all his years as an MP. What David Cairns is telling us is this: that when it came to Parliamentary votes on serious decisions, decisions on which rested weighty issues such as life and liberty, he voted, not for the good of his constituents, but for the good of the Labour Government.

So the interests of the Labour Party were of primary consideration to him during the Parliamentary votes on detention without charge of suspected terrorists, the EC Treaty, and the declaration of war on Iraq? At no point did his conscience ever kick in to lead him to depart from the Government position. (Perhaps I err in my assumption that he has a conscience independent of the Labour Party.) Of course, I am not so naive as to think that politicians of all parties do not act in so partisan a manner. What shocks me is that, with his chest-beating declaration, he obviously sees such behaviour as a virtue, vainly puffed up in his arrogant mind.

Some more from the letter:

“For me it is an article of faith that the worst day of a Labour Government is better than the best day of a Tory or SNP one.”.

Isn’t that lovely? In other words, whatever an opposition party does or says is, prima facie, bad. To him, the Labour Party alone has all the answers. Truly saddening. What crime did we commit as a nation to deserve such representatives?

At least he has now resigned. Thank heavens for this brief moment of lucidity, but don’t expect it to last. His delusion has truly taken hold, as this letter plainly shows.

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No change

It’s been a while since I posted here. In all that time, not much has changed in UK politics. The hapless Gordon Brown is still seated uneasily on his throne, and things continue as they were. The cowardly Cabinet has still not found the necessary backbone to shove Gordon off his throne. They are staying silent, hiding behind the skirts of two rather outspoken women who have finally decided that enough is enough. Pathetic, but completely unsurprising.

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Labour’s cowardice

Every morning, I check the latest UK news to see how things are going in the annual Labour leadership selection.

Every morning, the news is the same as the day before. Much muttering and grumbling from “unnamed Cabinet ministers”, together with angry rebuttals from “allies of the Prime Minister”.

This carried on for a few days, until, as the papers tell me, something “electrifying” happened.

So what was this “electrifying” act? Did somebody step forward, declare himself sick of the current impasse, and challenge Gordon Brown to a leadership election?

Not on your nelly.

The “electrifying” act was a boring article written by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, in which he set out his “vision” for Britain. Boring the article may have appeared to you and me, but among the supine, lily-livered bunch of Labour MPs, that sort of behaviour is the closest thing possible to open warfare.

The press, bless ’em. They have talked up the article for all it is worth, trying to provoke some sort of reaction from someone, anyone. They are doing their best to fan the flames of aggression, but Labour MPs, while willing, in private, to play the game, are too scared to come out publicly and declare their hand. Surely they cannot expect the press to wield the knife for them?

Among Labour MPs, the hostile intent towards Brown is everywhere present, but fear stays their hand. Had it been the Conservative Party suffering such a calamity, someone would, by now, have stepped forward to challenge the leader. Even the Liberal Democrats have shown themselves to be much more decisive and ruthless.

My comment is not about whether or not Brown should be ousted, but simply that, if that is what Labour wishes, they had better stop dithering, and get on with it.

I wonder for how long this will go on. Miliband took what, by cowardly Labour’s standards, was a very bold move. He then retreated a few steps by telephoning Gordon Brown to “explain” what he meant by that article. Hilarious. Is this the way to conduct a leadership challenge? What sort of people are these? He wants to be at the forefront should a vacancy arise, yet he is too mindful of his current status as a Cabinet minister to step out all the way. A strong-minded man would resign immediately and make plain his desire for the top job.

These Labour MPs are pathetic. They attack Brown for dithering, but by their private plaint and public inaction, they surpass him in this most unattractive trait. They are a bunch of weak-willed, cowardly men, and Gordon Brown knows that full well. With puffed-up self-importance, they squabble amongst themselves, deciding between themselves who should be the next Prime Minister. The views of the electorate are, to them, an irrelevance: in this also, they take after their hapless leader.

So let them squabble, let them fight amongst themselves. At least, while they are thus occupied, they are distracted from inflicting any deliberate damage on the country. They think themselves to be people of significance, but their every action tells a different story. The public are watching, and have given their judgement. These are not men to be respected. Rather, they are regarded with contempt, derision, and much, much pity.

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Labour’s delusion

Much talk in the press about Labour MPs and ministers plotting to unseat the hapless Gordon Brown. For some reason, they seem to think that he is the root of all their current woes. They do not realise, or choose not to realise, that the problem goes much, much deeper than that.

Simply put, this is it: the British public is sick of the Labour Government, and would like nothing more than to vote them out. Yes, there is a big problem with Brown – more to do with the fact that there is simply no connection between him and the public. To put it very kindly, he appears to most people as a statistics-spouting robot programmed only for one-way communication. Plus the fact that, having greedily and dishonestly grabbed all the credit for the good times in the economy, he cannot now distance himself from the current economic troubles. All his talk about “global turbulence” does not wash with the electorate.

But the bigger problem is Labour itself. People are quite rightly entitled to ask what exactly they have achieved from 11 years of a Labour Government. So far, the answer to that question should not fill any Labour MP with pride. The point of this article is not to enumerate Labour’s failings, numerous as they are (these are documented everywhere everyday – all one has to do is turn on the news); rather, my point is simply that if Labour MPs were truly honest with themselves, they would look to the bigger picture.

For any Labour MPs that might be reading, let me draw them an outline of the bigger picture: people are fed up to the back teeth of higher taxes, wasteful spending, rising crime, curtailment of individual freedom, nannying, excessive political correctness, erosion of British sovereignty, corruption among the political classes (though, to be fair, Labour is far from the only guilty party here), excessive regulation, and condescension from on high.

By all means, get rid of Gordon Brown – there will be very few tears shed – but do not delude yourselves that that would be the end of the nightmare. Far from it. Brown is actually performing a useful service for the Labour party. He is serving as a convenient lightning-rod for the anger of the electorate. Without him to hide behind, Labour and its self-serving MPs will face the full, undeflected wrath of the British public. Perhaps something for them to consider.

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Harriet Harman on PMQs

I have just had the dubious pleasure of watching Harriet Harman blunder her way through Prime Minister’s Questions.

For all that, she still did better than Brown on his best day.

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The hypocrisy of Gordon Brown

So Gordon Brown is now lecturing us to stop wasting food?

This from a man who, as Chancellor, threw away almost £2bn of taxpayer money every year on overpaid tax credits (see here and here). A man whose Government continues every day to create new ways to waste our money. (For a recent example, see the £2.7bn Crewe and Nantwich byelection bribe – a last-minute, unbudgeted expense, done for little more than political expediency.)

After all that he has done to our public finances, I am astounded that this man can stand there, and without shame, presume to lecture the British people about thrift.

This is even more galling in view of last week’s vote by MPs to continue, among other things, having their meals paid for by the taxpayer. We pay for their food and wine, and then they turn around to us, and, in between mouthfuls of the choicest fare, give us tips on how to make our food last longer. “Package it properly, put it in the fridge, plan your meals properly. Do all this and you will save £8 a week.” All this they tell us, while feeding themselves fat on the good of the land.

This is beyond ridiculous. What makes it worse is that these people seem not to realise the level of contempt in which they are held. Or maybe even more worrying, they do realise, but are past caring. They have been afflicted with that condition often seen among people who have held power for too long. They have become blind to all but themselves. Oblivious to every warning, they plough on in the single-minded pursuit of self-interest. In this regard, I am reminded of a verse in the Bible. It was used in a different context, but would be apt here:

“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand.”

Blindness in part has come upon our “leaders”. How much longer until they fall into their self-appointed ditch?

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Mugabe stripped of his knighthood

Yeah, that’ll show him.

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More on our political journalists

A follow-up to my recent post about our political journalists.

I find it somewhat amusing the way Gordon Brown’s downfall has been predicted again and again by the so-called ‘analysts’ and ‘experts’ that make up the UK political commentariat.

Before the local elections, the consensus among this astute and discerning group of sages was that Gordon Brown would be finished if Labour lost more than 200 councillors. As it turned out, Labour lost over 300 seats, but Gordon Brown stayed put.

They then decided that if Labour lost the Crewe and Nantwich byelection, that would be the end of things for the hapless Gordon.

When it became clear that Labour was going to lose, the analysis changed. It then became a matter, not so much of Labour losing, but of the margin of defeat. If Labour lost by over 3,000 votes, we were soberly informed, the men in grey suits would lose no time in escorting Gordon Brown out of 10 Downing Street. In the event, Labour lost by over 7,000 votes, but of the men in grey suits, there has been no sign.

The ‘analysis’ has now changed. We are now being told to look forward to the European parliamentary elections next year. The ‘analysts’ prophesy that a Labour defeat would land Gordon Brown with a one-way ticket to Fife.

OK, here is my response to these experts and analysts: quit making it up as you go along. Stick to what you know (whatever that may be), and stop giving false hopes to the rest of the nation.

My own view is that Gordon Brown will be in place until the latest possible moment to call a General Election. None of the lily-livered, spineless cowards in his Government will dare to push him out. Of course, I do not hold myself out to be a ‘political expert’, and I will be very happy to be proved wrong in my prediction.

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Our political journalists

I don’t know if I will ever understand the blinkered reasonings of the lazy political journalists that inhabit the UK. Obviously, there are exceptions, but most of them appear just to swallow Government propaganda and regurgitate it without thinking.

I am thinking right now of Nick Robinson’s reaction to Alastair Darling’s 10p compensation statement:

“Labour MPs are happier than they have been for weeks and the Tories, for the first time in a long time, look wrong footed.”

First things first, why does everything have to come down to the political implications? I know Nick Robinson is a political journalist, but does that mean that he must see everything in terms of which party is up, and which is down? What about the actual details of the policy? What about the fact that this is a catastrophic mess? The Government have shown themselves up as completely incompetent; they abolished the 10p tax rate, and are now, partway through the tax year, introducing retrospective changes to undo that measure. What about certainty in tax matters? What about the fact that the compensation package will cost £2.7 bn, which will have to be funded through borrowing? Are these not issues upon which any reputable journalist worth his salt ought to be making sustained comment?

(For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Tories have been wrongfooted. Nobody is looking at them; rather, all eyes are on this blundering Government as it tries to find its way out of its labyrinth of incompetence.)

Anyway, back to Nick Robinson. Maybe he needs to get out of Westminster once in a while for an appreciation of how Government policy affects real people. I remember last year, after Gordon Brown decided not to hold a General Election, Nick Robinson made a comment to the effect that the decision did not have major consequences for the nation. Maybe not for him, but try telling that to people who have been affected by Labour’s damaging policies, and who would have wanted an opportunity to vote them out. Elections can be life-changing events for voters; however, for political journalists, things continue the same. Regardless of who wins or loses, or what policies they implement, these journalists get to hang out with the politicians, conspire in their schemes to withhold information from us, and accept without thinking whatever the politicians choose to tell them.

It’s one thing for a journalist from a commercial enterprise to behave in this way, but when it is a BBC journalist, we should sit up and take notice. We hear a lot of bleating about the value of public service broadcasting. At the very least, we should expect a political journalist from the BBC to have a broader perspective of the issues at play in the country. Hard as it may be for such people to realise, politics is not an end in itself. It affects real people living real lives, way beyond Westminster’s cosy restaurants.

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While going through the UK news from last week, I happened upon an interesting story.

A not-so-merry band of thieving women were up before a judge to be sentenced for their role in a robbery. In handing out his sentence, the judge described them as behaving like “a bunch of over-the-hill slappers”.

Inappropriate, no doubt, given that their “slapperiness” (or otherwise) had nothing to do with the robbery. However, what caught my attention was the response to the judge’s comments. A friend of the women took exception to her buddies being described in such brutal terms. Springing to their defence, she claimed:

“Mel’s still in her 30s and none of them reckon they are over the hill. They might have let themselves go a bit but they still reckon they could pick up a fella given half a chance.”

Pick up a fella given half a chance? Now, if that’s not the definition of a “slapper”, I don’t know what is.

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