Friday, June 27, 2008

A Couple Of Moorhens in the Curate's Paddock

Rather nice little things they are, too. They should be having their chicks any time now. I recently bought a second-hand camera with a hefty optical zoom - 10x or 12x - I'll try to get some pictures.

Well, when I posted this morning, I'd not heard the news of the latest Labour by-election disaster. Pretty impressive.

The comments, again, are more telling than the commentary.

"I can see Labour getting utterly obliterated at the next general election."

"Anyway, it's all fiddling while Rome burns for Labour. Come election time, he's a goner, I'm afraid, as is the whole New Labour project. They've had 11 years to get it right, and they have comprehensively blown it."

"Can he turn things around in the next 12 months? Sunder, he couldn't turn things around if he had another 12 years. NuLab have lost most of their support, I am genuinely surprised that there are still a few apologists out there. Maintaining the current discontent and not increasing it further is the best he can hope for over the next 12 months, funnily enough, if he manages that it will be his finest achievement."

"Public opinion has turned. They have decided that time is up for Labour. It does not matter what Brown does - he is finished."
"As many have stated above, New Labour are finished. A party that once stood for fairness abandoned that principle a long time ago. The executive is in thrall to the City and the ultra-wealthy, and a truly pitiful band of supine lobby-fodder backbenchers will not challenge them, in fear of damaging their careers. Too late, many of them are realising that after the next election they won't have careers, and with Labour's funding problems, many of those career politicians might have to actually find a proper job for the first time in their lives.Tied in with the relentless assault on personal and civic freedoms under the catch-all banner of security, they have managed to inflict massive damage to this country. But after all this, they still don't understand what they have done and why they are now despised. "

"Like virtually everybody else I forsee a Labour meltdown at the next election."

"This isn't about policy really anymore. Its about the hate of an ignored people for those who have lorded it irresponsibly and contemptuously over us for too long.

I listened to Harman yesterday, it wasn't necessarily what substantively she was saying (even though her statement was worryingly woolly) it was her wretched suburban nannyish tone, her condescension and sense of automatic superiority that upset me.

Red rag to a bull really, Labour are beyond the pale. At the next general election the people are going to administer a good kicking to Labour that will make 1997 look like a picnic."

"Sunder, your article explains exactly why labour is in danger of extinction as a national political movement. As I grew up on an innercity estate surrounded by trade unionists I was told I had to support labour because they were 'our' party.

This is no longer true, taxes on the poor and lower middle incomes are at record levels. The last three big policies have been, banging people up, which will disproportionately affect labour's core as they can't afford lawyers and are no longer eligible for legal aid.

Then there was changes to planning, a vast use of political capital that will benefit corporates and nobody else. Finally, yesterday Harman says its ok to discriminate against white men. You probably think this is great, but most of labour's heartlands are white and regretably I expect the BNP to exploit Harman's bill to the full.

Sunder, you and Harman represent the Elite NUS policy wonks that are destroying the labour movement. As a tory you might think I would cheer, but the vacuum that is being rapidly created is exploited by racists, separatists, fanatics and will lead to trouble ahead here on this humble estate of mine."

So we're seeing the total disconnection of Labour from its grassroots. At the same time, while people are willing to vote for Cameron, there are no deep currents flowing to the Tories. Cameron's USP is that he's not Gordon Brown. His support is wide but shallow - indeed, I wonder if the more traditional the Tory, the less they'd trust him - the way Old Labour felt about Blair.

It took eleven years - and a change of leader - to take Labour from the heights to the despised depths, during which time the grass roots withered. I have a feeling it could take David Cameron much less time.

UPDATE - I forget where - article, comments or Polly Toynbee's Damascus moment - more great comments - but someone pointed out that saying you support Labour is becoming unfashionable the same way that it was unfashionable to be a Tory in the 90s. Now in one sense it's a tragedy that UK politics is now a matter of fashion - but it's been like that for ten years or more. And it's necessary that both the main parties suffer the same treatment before politics can be rebuilt. Have I Got News For You, Ben Elton and the 'alternative' (now establishment) comedians, Spitting Image, and long before them stuff like TW3 - they were all basically anti-Tory - but they builded better than they knew.

I've said before that Cameron's 'de-toxification' of the Tory brand (aka 'removing anything conservative') must be reckoned an achievement - a marketing achievement, mind, but an achievement nonetheless.

Brown keeps up the line that Cameron is just a good salesman. Doesn't he realise what a compliment that is in the new age of politics ?


Sgt Troy said...

Mere electoral defeat and political oblivion is not enough.

These swine deserve extirpation, legal certainly - physical quite possibly.

Dave said...

What really finished off Brown was his betrayal on the EU constitution, whether the Tories are going to maintain support will depend on if they keep to their word on this issue, which I doubt!

Sam Tarran said...

"I listened to Harman yesterday, it wasn't necessarily what substantively she was saying (even though her statement was worryingly woolly) it was her wretched suburban nannyish tone, her condescension and sense of automatic superiority that upset me."

All of the "Blair Babes" seem to have that effect. Blears is the worst. You really do want to smash her face with a brick when she talks.

Laban said...

re Blears - I guess it's all a matter of taste. I'm quite fond of what Iain Dale calls 'the little chipmunk' although not of her politics, naturally.

To the Sgt of Her Majesty's Dragoons - can't you sign a sef-denying ordinance to the effect that you'll stop threatening people with death on these comments ?

Bums they may be, but they're elected bums. We'll leave the 'physical extirpation' of political opponents to Spanish and Russian 'socialists', Republican murderers and African despots, thank you very much.

I sometimes wonder if you're a Guardianista dedicated to closing down the comments or merely driving away those whose first thoughts aren't of ropes and lamp-posts. You're certainly doing a good job.

IF we are on the same side - which as above I begin to doubt - could you do me the courtesy of leaving such comments at someone else's blog ?

Anonymous said...

The truth is the Labour Party have become the party of the graduate middle classes. They may well still have quite a few people who worked they way up from the shop floor but their numbers are dwindling. It is inevitable that at some point the real working classes detects that the Labour Party has nothing in common with themselves except tradition.

The same is true of establishment comedians. Once upon a time they were all sourced from working mens clubs. Today they come from an entirely different background.

DJ said...

The thing is that it's all self-referential. Politics has become an end not a means. It's Richard Nixon's line about the difference between people who enter politics to do big things, and those who enter it to be big. All that's happening now is that the mass of the people is slowly starting to perceive the true nature of their rulers.

Anonymous said...

Cameron is using the same technique of dissembly that Blair used. Not the most genuine or honest but nevertheless effective. What lies beneath? Well he was the man that wrote Michael Howard's manifesto, so perhaps not as "wet" as some people have predicted. The problem Cameron will have is that his hands are very much tied by the EU. Will he provoke a showdown with the EU leading to the UKs withdrawl? Or will he prostrate himself before Barosso? I suspect he will have no choice but to take the former path, since the Tories are quite happy to stab a leader in the back that is underperforming. Even if he does go along with the EU I suspect that the newly burnished Lisbon treaty or its inevitable heir will make life impossible for him, just as Maastricht and EMU did for Major.

Big changes lie ahead, that's for sure. The Tories will have to dance to a Daily Mail tune or quickly find themselves turfed out in favour of god alone knows who.