Thursday, 30 April 2015

People of England - Your Country Needs You

There is something very odd going on in this election. On the one hand we are told, and it certainly seems to be the case, that here is a disconnect between our politicians and the electorate, a disconnect that the politicians themselves have ensured remains chasm-like by refusing, as far as is possible, to get out and meet any real people. There will be no Gillian Duffy moment during this election campaign for the very good reason that anyone such as she will be kept well behind a cordon of spin doctors and lecterns. Wallace would rather go and meet a long haired millionaire revolutionary with incoherent ill formed opinions than an ordinary member of the public.

So the fact that no one party is set to win a majority is entirely understandable then? Well, yes, except how the hell do we explain what is happening in Scotland?

Is it that the SNP is simply different to the other parties? Well that seems to be the perception. But it just isn't true.

The SNP is engaged in a calculated campaign of lies and half truths with the emphasis on the lies. They have been engaged on this campaign now for years, ever since they were granted their referendum. Having lost said referendum they barely paused for breath before claiming that they woz robbed and that it was a Westminster stitch up.

But it's working. In vain do we point out that all of their talk of being the anti austerity party is not borne out by their own decisions and performance in government, their own demands for fiscal independence and their own sums going into this election. In vain do we point out that they have even backtracked on their own rhetoric and claims about independence. Scotland, they told us, would go independent within 18 months of that historic vote. Now they tell us that raising their own money via taxation would need to be phased in over several years. The umbilical cord with England would need to be kept in place for several years. So how would independence have worked then?

The SNP is not noticeably different from Labour when push comes to shove. Except for some reason they can get away with their lies, evasions and fantastical economics.

Yet here's the point. What we are seeing here is how our electoral system works. A party only needs to poll in the low to mid 40s to be in landslide territory. That is what the SNP is looking at. If only Labour were that little bit more passionate, in possession of emotional appeal in addition to the reckless spending and bribery they are actually engaging in and they would be looking at 1997 territory once again. Indeed if only David Cameron was able to harness his inner Farage perhaps he would be able to unite the right and centre right and assemble an anti left majority too.

As I wrote here perhaps our politicians take us for fools because we are fools. But then they don't need to fool all of the people all of the time do they. They just need about 45% of us. That is why the SNP is looking at a landslide and at holding the country and Labour to ransom. Most pathetically of all, Labour are seeking to blame Conservatives for this state of affairs. As Danny Finkelstein pointed out in The Times, Labour used to propagandise about a lack of Tory legitimacy in Scotland because that country voted for Labour but was governed by a Tory government. Now that country, sick of being taken for granted by Labour, has decamped to their yellow and tartan mini-me party. The SNP are mischief making with one eye, whatever they say now, on a second referendum. What will Labour be willing to do to force out Cameron and install themselves? On past experience they will do more or less anything and then look at the nation with doe eyed innocence and blame the Tories.

People of England, you know what you have to do.

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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wallace vs Brand

Let's be honest. But let's not call this the trews because that would just make me look like dickhead. But yes, let's be honest, Russell Brand and Wallace probably deserve one another. There are so many similarities.

Yes, of course Wallace had a very privileged and gilded unbringing and Brand didn't. But they have both had very privileged and gilded adulthoods. At least one of them became known as something of a ladies man. The other is a hirsute comedian. Oh and he has that weird grey streak in his hair. Boom boom!

But yesterday Wallace hot footed it around to Brand's house where they communed and, being the intellectual giants that they are, no doubt talked about heavyweight things so that Wallace could be transmitted to Brand's many internet followers. No doubt the advisers around Wallace pondered this for some time. People who follow Brand must be brainless cretins surely. All the better, said Wallace, they are less likely to understand what we're talking about too.

It is odd though isn't it that hundreds of thousands of words have erupted from Brand over the last few months, of which at least a couple of hundred have actually been coherent enough to have been understood by the English speaking world. What we have been able to glean from the logorrheic one, from amongst the steaming pile of ordure that passes for thought, seems to have meant that he doesn't think people should vote. Given this, why would he be speaking, during an election campaign, to a man who is presently spending all of his time, much of it behind a lectern, imploring people to, well without putting too fine a point on it, vote?

And I think I can explain it. Both of these men are utterly convinced, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, that they are weighty and estimable intellectuals. And so they probably met to have a kind of joust, a duel if you will. Perhaps these are two brilliant men who are much misunderstood. Perhaps it is that they are ahead of their time. Or perhaps it is because they really are a pair of solipsistic, vacuous airheads who are just winging it and can't believe that they are getting away with it.

So surely we should encourage them to be together as often as they can. That way we don't have to listen to them. Perhaps they could both be given a lectern from which to lecture one another. They could do it for charity. The last man standing wins. And we all win.

Wallace and the Lecterns

I've already made a video taking the piss out of Wallace's habit during this election campaign of going everywhere with a bloody lectern. This is annoying because the latest example was the best yet. Wallace took his lectern to someone's back garden.

Now it would be churlish not to admit that the Labour campaign, at least in terms of its presentation if not its juvenile policies, has been very professional, if a bit sanitised and anodyne. But then the reason for this is Wallace himself. He has an unfortunate habit, if asked awkward questions, of answering them with a stream of sixth form standard socialist drivel that would make Michael Foot squirm in embarrassment. This is why he is not trusted to meet any members of the public.

And this is why he travelling around the country carting with him his fucking lectern. Last autumn he gave his conference speech on the hoof and forgot large parts of it. And so now, almost as punishment, he has to spend his time on the political equivalent of the naughty seat. Stand by this you nauseating little shit and do as you're told. And stick to the script.

And so he does. You can imagine the scene as they arrived can't you:

'Mummy, mummy! There's a funny man at the door. He sounds like he's got a cold and he said he wants to come into our back garden.
'Yes, darling. That's the man who wants to be our prime minister next week. He wants to use our garden to pretend that he spends time in gardens like this and not in Dartmouth Park where they have two kitchens.'
'What's that thing they're carrying in, mummy?'
'That's his lectern.'
'What's a lec...a lec...?'
'A lectern. It's a thing that people stand behind when they want to look serious and statesmanlike to distract from the fact they're talking bol...talking balderdash dear. Hello, Mr Miliband. I was told to ask you this question. But I've decided to make one up myself. Why do you insist on carrying that lectern around with you?'
'Now look, I'm glad you asked me that. I'm really glad. And I want to be very clear about this because this goes to the heart of what this campaign is all about. I think, and I have been very clear about this, that the real question here is about Tory cuts. We've been very clear that we are against all cuts, unless they are Labour cuts to make us look as though we care about the deficit.'
'But I asked about lecterns.'
'Now look, I've been very clear. Thanks for your question. Now if I can just have a few more pictures of me standing at this lectern. Oh and put some more of that washing up in the background. I've been very clear that this makes me look like a man of the people.'

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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Labour's Housing Wedge

When history comes to be written this may well be termed the economically illiterate election. But then any election involving Labour tends to have this complexion. The trouble is that the parties of the right have been forced to adopt 'progressive' attitudes to stay in touch. 'Progressive' if it means anything is state confiscation of the assets of one section of society to hand it to the rest. This is not to say that this blog objects to the rich paying more. What it objects to is the language that demonises the rich or even those comfortably off as if they have done something wrong.

Of course the fact is that Wallace, for all his undoubted socialist tendencies and instincts does not necessarily believe all of the crap he is saying in this election. He is adopting language to try and win that 35% core vote that he thinks will propel him into Downing Street. Thus he enthuses his base with wedge issues and policies that stick it to the rich and to hell with what it does to the economy.

Take Wallace's latest intervention on rent controls. This is as though he is revisiting his greatest hits. Having not learnt the lesson of his energy freeze debacle, a freeze that would actually have cost people money and may already be doing so since home energy prices have not come down as fast as petrol prices, Wallace is having another go. This time on rent.

Throughout history rent controls have not worked and have ended up decreasing choice. The British property market is a mess this is certainly true. In addition the but to let market has skewed the market. But that is because, in an uncertain world, people have decided to put their savings and bet their future on investment in bricks and mortar. That is a perfectly rational and sensible thing to do. Now once again Labour, the party that destroyed our fully functioning and well funded pensions regime by taxing it, is going after people who are saving another way.

Study after study, some of which Wallace even claims to have read, shows that rent controls don't work. If the state starts telling owners of private property that they cannot set rents themselves and must guarantee people long tenures then they will sell up and get out of the market. What happens if interest rates suddenly shot up for some reason? Are landlords supposed to make a loss, go into insolvency? The reason that rents are so high, especially in London, is because here are too many people chasing too many homes. Yet Wallace is presenting this as rapacious landlords exploiting people. Why? Because its a wedge issue. It may well win them votes whilst buggering up the economy and leading to less choice and poorer quality accommodation.

The only solution to our housing problems is not to attack the people who are helping provide accommodation whilst ensuring a secure and well funded future for themselves, something that the government, any government, ought to be encouraging, it is to build more homes. Hundreds of thousands of them.

And what is the record of Labour on that? Awful. Whilst engaged in their spending spree which led to our current malaise, Labour were not building homes. The government that spoke constantly of investment and borrowed accordingly built fewer social homes during its entire 13 years than were built in a single year under Margaret Thatcher.

And yes, I entirely accept that the Conservative policy of allowing social tenants to build their homes in an echo of Margaret Thatcher's famous wedge issue is idiotic too. But then that is the election campaign we are in. Many of them must be hoping against hope that they end up in a coalition that forces them to dump much of what they are promising. The rest of us must fervently hope for plenty of broken promises for us to complain about in the next parliament. But it would be nice if they could all agree to build plenty of new houses too.

Islamophobia - A Word Used By Wallace Who Doesn't Understand Freedom of Speech

It seems obvious now that Wallace is prepared to say and promise anything during these last few days of the election campaign in order to get the win he is so desperate for. Once he has his power he can do what Labour always do and renege and backtrack and pretend they said something completely different. That's what Labour did prior to 1997 after all when they promised us that their spendthrift days were behind them. Now they still don't accept that they spent too much.

And then there are small matters like freedom of speech. Labour is intent on bringing in forced regulation of our press along the lines of Leveson. Coupled to an SNP that wants to rein in the BBC from asking awkward questions and this is worrying to say the least.

Most troubling of all though is that Wallace this weekend promised Muslims that he will outlaw Islamophobia. As Douglas Murray has pointed out, what the hell does that mean? A phobia is usually defined as an irrational fear. So were the editorial team of Charlie Hebdo suffering from an irrational fear? Are those fleeing the maniacs of ISIL? Surely there wouldn't be the problems in the Med that Wallace was so hypocritical about last week were it not for a fear of some elements of Islam?

And of course just last week we saw that accusing people of racism and Islamophobia is all that liars and frauds like Lutfur Rahman, the deposed mayor of Tower Hamlets had to do to cow sections of the left, win friends like Ken Livingstone and George Galloway and prevent investigation by the serially useless and pusillanimous Metropolitan Police. Yet Wallace wants to turn it into a crime.

As this blog says right at the top: Islamophobia is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons. I'll leave it to you to decide which of these the current leader of the Labour Party is.

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Monday, 27 April 2015

You Need More Than A Lectern To Look Prime Ministerial, Wallace

This has been an election campaign characterised more by what the parties don't want to talk about than what they do. For the most part this has seen the parties refusing to go into detail we need to see and hear about. On some issues there has however been complete silence.

One such issue, until Friday, was on foreign policy. And then in blundered Wallace. He did so because Labour had spent all week trying to talk about anything other than Scotland and the SNP. Then Wallace had one of his eureka moments which in the case of his animated alter ego would have involved cheese. This Wallace decided to talk about dead people in the Mediterranean. It wasn't funny.

Wallace wanted to not at all subtly hint that David Cameron is somehow to blame for all of those people drowning on small unstable boats in the Med on the way to southern Europe. This, said Wallace, in that voice he deploys when he is lecturing us about how we are all morally inferior to him and really ought to listen because he is an intellectual don't you know, was because of the lack of planning that took place after Libya. he would have liked to say that this was because of the whole military action in Libya but even he couldn 't do that because he realised that we might have pointed out that Libya had been a rare example of his being decisive for once. He backed that. He then stopped talking about it altogether. Even his own spin doctors struggled to find instances of his grave concern. This was because he had shown none. Until Friday.

In other words then Wallace chose to make his speech on Friday, not because he is desperate to talk about foreign policy, Labour doesn't have one. It's that Labour desperately wanted to change the subject. In other words he decided to weaponise drowning people in the Med.

Acres of column inches, thousands of posts, millions of megabytes have since been expended calling him a shameless hypocrite and much much worse. This blog joins in with all of that. In vain will you look for any mention of Libya in Labour's manifesto published just two weeks ago when people were drowning in the Med too. That manifesto had been rewritten at the last minute so that they could put in all of that guff about Labour's new adherence to fiscal probity. Yet there was no rewrite to mention the events off the coast of Libya and Italy. No mention in the speech that accompanied that manifesto either. Why not?

In truth Wallace said nothing about Libya from September 2011 until Friday. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Then he needed a distraction. Ooh look at the drowning people. Let's blame that on Tories.

And remember right at the start of this election campaign Wallace boasted of his intervention in Syria when he stopped the government, after earlier promising his support, from bombing Assad's forces in Syria. He presented this as being principled. In reality he just backed away from a fight with his own party and the Diane Abbott tendency and then claimed to be acting on principle. As a result Assad was appeased, Putin was pleased and a quarter of a million people displaced, many of them now on the shores of Libya gazing longingly at the Med and faraway Italy, just a death boat journey away.

This is the cynical, opportunistic principle free zone of a man who wants to be our prime minister at the end of next week. Wallace is very good at criticising things after the event. He's nothing like as good at making a bold call, making a decision and then sticking with it. This is the true meaning of being prime ministerial. You can carry a lectern around with you as much as you like. After Friday it's not fooling anyone.

Questions for the Next Government

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale - Genesis: Chapter 14 -

Now, at this time there were some kings around we're told. Again it is not explained where these kings and their whole different race of people could have come from since everyone on the planet had been wiped out by the flood. Anyway, these kings were Amraphel, king of Shinar; Arioch, king of Ellasar; Chedorlaomer, king of Elam; Tidal king of nations.

These kings made war with Bera, king of Sodom; Birsha, king of Gomorrah; Shinab, king of Admah; Shemeber, king of Zeboiim; and Zoar, king of Zoar. This cast of made up names are required for the next fantastical story in this litany of self serving idiocy.

For 12 years these 'kings' served Chedorlaomer but then they rebelled. Once again we are not told why. The Bible doesn't really do explanations. Narratively it really could have done with a better editor.

Anyway, Chedorlaomer didn't take kindly to this rebellion and so he came along with yet more kings and they engaged in an orgy of vengeful smiting of the sort that the Old Testament takes special delight in. They went from country to country smiting and generally being unpleasant.

Now of course at the time of all of this warring, Abraham's brother Lot had gone to live in the area. Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and all of their worldly goods were seized and with them all of the worldly goods of Lot too and he was imprisoned.

But someone escaped from the prison and took word to Abraham that his brother had been captured. So Abraham went off with his slaves because the Bible sees nothing wrong with keeping slaves and they went off to free Lot which they duly did and engaged in some more smiting, albeit this time it was righteous smiting because they were doing it. Lot and his people and possessions were liberated and brought back to their home.

And the king of Sodom went out to meet Abraham and praised him and his friend this vengeful chap called God and he blessed and praised him for his great power. God does love to be praised as being very powerful and beneficent so this was clearly a most politic and diplomatic thing to do. God, it has to be said, is nothing if not vain and hubristic.

All of this story is simply yet another attempt to show the power of God and of Abraham, the founder of a new religion for this God and to try to demonstrate their right of possession of lands. All based on a story. Still, it seems to have worked for some.


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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Labour's Scotland Problem

Labour got very angry last week. They wanted to talk about the NHS. Everyone else wanted to talk about Scotland, the SNP and Labour's intentions towards England, specifically riding to power on the coattails of the SNP and shafting England as part of a deal. Labour as a consequence have refused to rule out doing a non coalition deal with the SNP. They have refused this for the very good reason that it is their route to power. When that happens Scotland will be handed an even better deal than they get already. In return they will put Wallace in Downing Street and levy additional taxes on England.

For proof of this we only have to look at the intervention of Labour's last prime minister. Remember him? The man who never knowingly goes into an election he hasn't managed to stitch up in advance and who has therefore stood down as the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has been making one of his interventions in the election he isn't standing in.

Yes, Gordon Brown, for it is he, has charged in to his party's rescue by - offering to throw money at the Scots. But not the English. Within 24 hours of Labour coming to power, said the man who will not be an MP and not be in government but still feels qualified to make policy pledges, they will hand out £1 million of additional money to Scotland's food banks. Not the UK's food banks. Just Scotland's.

Leave aside the issue of whether or not such largesse is needed and whether or not our country is really suffering the kind of crisis of poverty and starvation that is alleged - if Labour are elected they will quickly find this problem is nothing like as bad as was alleged within a matter of months - why is it that Scotland will need such emergency help and not the rest of the country? Could it be that all we were saying about Labour's dodgy dealing could be true after all?

Video Diary - The Katie Hopkins Edition

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Labour and the SNP - England Must Prevent This Unholy Alliance

The SNP, stirring as usual, are telling the nation, even the parts of that nation where they have no candidates, that they will use their new power within the House of Commons after the election to keep David Cameron out of Downing Street. The problem with this assertion is that David Cameron is already in Number 10. After the election there is no obligation for him to leave.

That is the way the British constitution works. The incumbent prime minister is under no obligation to resign unless and until he is voted out by the House of Commons. Indeed the sitting prime minister has an obligation to remain in post until a new prime minister is appointed. Generally, over the last 60 years or so, when there have been clear results in elections, the sitting prime minister has either remained in post because he or she has won the election or gone to the palace to resign because they have lost that election. This is probably not going to happen at this election, although the movement in the polls suggest that it is a possibility.

Thus, in two weeks time, assuming another hung parliament, David Cameron would remain as prime minister until a deal for a new government was done. He is constitutionally obliged to do so. In 2010 Gordon Brown hung on in office for 5 days until it became clear he could not do a deal. He then flounced out before that deal was done, thus ignoring the niceties of the constitution. The Queen was obliged then to appoint David Cameron as the new PM before the deal was signed off.

This time Cameron will be the sitting PM. If Labour want to remove him they will have to do a deal with the SNP to vote down the Queen's Speech that Cameron, either leading a minority government or having done a deal with other parties, puts forward. Labour know this but don't want to talk about it.

Today the Tories are rightly talking about a new constitutional settlement that will settle this question once and for all. If Scotland is to be given the powers it wants then it is only fair, one of Labour's favourite words, that England has the same rights without interference from Scottish MPs. The famous West Lothian question is at last a live issue. Britain is becoming a federation. That is the consequence of devolution. Labour were warned about this in 1997 by John Major. They went ahead with devolution and now it is coming back to bite them.

This is why the Tories, and this blog, have been talking about Scotland all week. It is a live and pressing issue. The SNP are intent on causing trouble in the next parliament. Labour have been asked 101 times  so far to rule out doing a deal with the SNP and have refused to do so. But England can prevent this unholy alliance. England elects the vast majority of MPs to the House of Commons. By voting Conservative we can ensure that the SNP contingent have to twiddle their thumbs for five years.

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Auditing Labour and the SNP

The IFS is set to report on the spending and taxing plans of the parties today. The IFS, in its quiet and diligent way, has become like the nation's auditors, running the rule over the claims of the parties and telling us all what it means. Yet we are still enduring the most dishonest and deliberately evasive election campaign in history. Whatever the bean counters say the parties will still keep the truth from us. Honesty would be considered a gaffe.

But then this is why so many of us have kept hammering away at the SNP/Labour theme this week. Its not that the Tories are not also being evasive about cuts and spending. Its that Tories have felt obliged to because the gap between the parties of the left and reality is now so stark.

The SNP, they tell us, are proposing spending plans that are moderate and balanced. Yet only the Tories are promising to eradicate our deficit. The other plan on turbocharging it. That means that, ten after the recession to end all recessions, Labour and the SNP, probably in cahoots, would still be borrowing at eye watering levels. They claim that this is the caring approach. It is the opposite of caring.

And why is it necessary anyway? Because of the instincts of the left. Labour, when in power, managed to build up a deficit even while the money was pouring in. Labour, when in power, famously levied huge stealth taxes on the nation and yet still had to rely on borrowing. Now their instinct is to borrow even more.

And here's the bottom line. We are now several years into a recovery and still borrowing. Inevitably at some point in the next few years, possibly much sooner given what is happening in Europe and Greece in particular, we will experience another slowdown and possibly a full blown recession. At such a time the default response is to use borrowing to cushion the blow. We may not have that luxury. We will not have that luxury because Labour and the SNP were determined to keep featuring their own next based on lies and delusions and fake claims of the evils of austerity.

This is what always happens when parties of the left take control of the nation's finances for any period of time. They are serially incapable of balancing the books. Waste and profligacy are the default choice rather than the hard and responsible choices we must all make to live within our means.

That is why the compact between Labour and the SNP is so dangerous. The Tories yesterday released a video of Alex Salmond boasting about how he will write Labour's budget. Of course there is no amount of vainglorious boasting that Salmnd and his party are not capable of. But there is truth behind his smugness. That is the SNP's intent. The same is true of David Cameron's joke yesterday about Alex Salmond stealing your wallet. None of us should be laughing.

Labour never learns its lesson. Now it is intent on cementing that by also allowing the SNP to drive a coach and horse through our finances and with it our constitution. I'll come to that next.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wallace and Labour's English Betrayal

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at Labour's discomfort and consequent anger at the story of their SNP difficulties. 'Desperate' Wallace called it yesterday as he was sidelined from talking bollocks about the NHS. So when he accuses the Tories of planning to privatise the NHS it is all fair and reasonable. When the Tories raise the prospect of a left wing conspiracy to freeze them out of power it is desperate? Hmmmm.

The real reason that Labour are upset about this is that it is an issue that is finding resonance with the public. Most people tune out of the election campaign for the very good reason that all of the parties are running a sanitised, hermetically sealed campaign of photo ops and zero voter interaction. This is an issue that people readily understand and worry about. It is a lose lose for Labour. And they know it.

And there is nothing at all unfair about the accusations. Sure there is a bit of hyperbole going on, but only a bit. The fact of the matter is that Labour have consistently refused to rule out doing a deal with the SNP. If they wanted to kill this story they could by making that simple and easy to understand stipulation. But they won't. They prefer to play games instead, ruling out a coalition that nobody was saying would happen anyway. That leaves the way open for them to do something more informal with the SNP.

And in so doing they would be frustrating the democratic will of the majority of the country. It would even be against the democratic will of the majority of Scots. Having lost their referendum last year, the SNP look set to win a Scottish landslide with the 45% of their countrymen who agreed with them last September. In a referendum its not enough. Thanks to our first past the post electoral system - a system they don't use in elections for their own parliament - that looks set to give them a disproportionate advantage.

Now of course this is the system we use in this country. That is fair enough. But what is not fair enough is for Labour and the SNP to collude together to take this country to the far left and spend money that will be raised mostly in England using votes from Scotland. What is not fair enough is for Labour to do a deal which enables the losers in a popular vote only 8 months ago to start the process of ignoring that vote and starting along the road to a re-run. What is not fair enough is to frustrate the will of the people who are the majority in this country all so that Wallace can best his big brother and show off to his dead daddy that he is the son he should most be proud of.

And Labour know all of this. They know that the English are angry about this and set to get angrier. We know this, not only because they are crying foul now over Tory tactics but because they steadfastly refused to do any deal to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English only matters. The SNP are threatening to involve themselves in matters like English hospitals and schools and a new Mansion Tax that will impact mostly on one corner of England. They are doing so for entirely self serving and duplicitous reasons. If Labour are stupid enough to let them do that then that is their affair, but they can hardly complain if the Tories, the media and the bloggersphere make a lot of noise about it.

When the Lib Dems did the deal five years ago which created the coalition government Labour was furious. They saw it as a betrayal. They used to call the government the ConDem government. Remember that? It's why we should keep talking about their intentions with regard to England, the SNP and what might well be the result of this election unless England votes Conservative. We in England have the right of veto because we pay the bills and because we represent 90% of the population of this country. We have the ability to keep the smug hordes of the SNP out and powerless on the opposition benches twiddling their thumbs. Labour only won in 2005 thanks to votes from the periphery, mostly Scotland. England voted for Michael Howard's Conservatives. The English didn't complain. Labour don't want us to complain now either. It's why they are whining about Tory tactics. They must be working.

Super Void: Labour On The NHS

Astronomers announced this week that they have discovered a vast region of the universe in which there is nothing. This shouldn't exist and they cannot currently explain it. Apparently, however they were not pointing their telescopes and instruments at Labour Party policy.

Labour are fond of telling us that they are the party of the NHS. Yet they cannot explain even basic details about what they will do with the NHS as this hilariously awful interview with Andrew Neil illustrates.

Labour will fund the NHS with whatever it needs they tell us. But the NHS has said it needs £8 billion just to stand still. Labour won't commit to that because they are already committed to spending more than we can afford with borrowing. Their famous Mansion Tax is supposed to fill a gap. Yet it is actually being used to fund additional spending on the NHS.

And on the Mansion Tax itself? They cannot tell us about basic detail on how it will work. Who is going to be hit? At what rate? Will houses over £2 million be hit for the whole of their value or just that above £2 million? Labour won't say, because they know it will  hit their chances in London which is set to be disproportionately hit thanks to London property prices. This is people who live in comparatively normal housing that just happens to be worth a lot of money.

Wallace himself is set to pay the Mansion Tax on his terraced house. But then it does have two kitchens.

But the central point here is that Labour claim to be the party that is committed to the NHS. It won't be safe under the Tories they allege without any evidence whatsoever. The evidence is that the NHS in England has been protected by the Tories. Under Labour in Wales and the SNP in Scotland it has been given less.

Facts That Wallace Can't Run From

These are the facts Ed Miliband can't run from.Watch, then SHARE with friends:
Posted by Conservatives on Monday, April 20, 2015

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Debt, Deficits and Austerity: A Guide for the Confused, Labour and the SNP

Most Tories, it is fair to say, are in a quandary when it comes to Scotland and the SNP. On the one hand we are watching gleefully as Labour find themselves skewered by a party that is managing to enthuse a socialist leaning nation when the former socialist party of choice is run by a bunch of London dilettantes.

On the other hand we can't help being irritated by the SNP. How are they getting away with it? What they are saying is deluded and so dishonest it beggars belief. And yet they continue to ride the crest of a popular wave. Even some English people were applauding them yesterday. This must be what it's like being in a nation being taken over by a demagogue removed from reality - a specialism of the deluded Left. A Castro or a Chavez. Fortunately we are one step removed, but the revolution will impact on us and we can only watch in horrified fascination and look incredulously at those who are applauding them. After all the great socialist revolution of Venezuela was applauded enthusiastically by the usual suspects in this country. They've gone quiet about that now. Venezuela's revolution has imploded just as many of us predicted. See here, here and here.

And now it is starting to happen in Scotland. What, you accuse me of exaggeration? Well look at the evidence. The SNP, entirely for tactical reasons, has adopted the mantle of 'progressive.' This meaningless word is one adopted across the political spectrum. You have to give lefties their due, they are good at labelling things, see: Progressive, The Bedroom Tax, The Poll Tax. All dishonest, all tendentious, all terribly successful.

But they are all part of a deception. The SNP is a party with a right wing agenda posing as a caring, sharing (other people's money - mainly the English) party of the left. And they are getting away with it.

Yesterday, interviewed on the BBC, Nicola Sturgeon posed as the liberator of the entire country in this election even though she is not actually standing in it. She was going to end austerity she said with a kind of smiling, smirking arrogance in which the nationalists specialise. We can all see the effects of it she said. But, as the interviewer failed to ask, what effects? What does she imagine the very mild austerity has had on our nation, an austerity from which Scotland has been to a large extent protected thanks to the continued idiocy of the unfair Barnett Formula?

And this is an austerity that has not been very austere. The deficit remains at £90 billion - this means, for those who don't understand these things, that we are spending more than we are earning by £90 billion. The national debt, since 2010, has increased from around the £1 trillion mark, to £1.5 trillion.  That's a trillion and a half. I'll write down the number for you: £1, 521, 150, 000, 000. Put another way this country, suffering from evil Tory austerity according to Labour and the SNP, is borrowing £5, 000 every second. Austerity?

The reason we have to cut the deficit is because it is adding inexorably to our national debt. Debt has to be repaid, unless of course we want to become like Greece. If our debt keeps increasing then the repayments on that debt eat into public spending. We now spend around £40 billion a year paying the interest on the debt. That is set to increase to £60 billion by the end of the next parliament even under Tory plans. Austerity?

And this is a deficit that cannot be tackled by taxing the rich more. There aren't enough of them and when we start increasing taxes by too much they take the perfectly rational and sensible decision that we all would make under these circumstances and bugger off. The policy of Labour and the SNP, they tell us, is to encourage people to be educated so that we can become a nation of the highly educated or the highly skilled. But with the next breath they warn that you that if you become too successful they will punish you with high taxes. Just this week HSBC, our biggest bank, is under pressure from shareholders because of the increasingly punitive tax regime in this country. And that's before Labour and the SNP get together to dream up ways to tax them even more and tax their executives houses relabelled mansions.

Under this government, and entirely counter to the predictions of the Left which railed against the cuts agenda and called it evil, we have somehow managed to keep the NHS going and increase its funding, keep welfare payment, pay pensions and increase them and keep pace on education despite a huge increase in pupils. Where cuts have been made the wheels have failed to come off. Crime has continued to fall. Tuition fees were of course increased. Yet students have continued to enrol in record numbers and our universities are as a consequence better funded and so better able to compete internationally and maintain their record of excellence.

The economy meanwhile is performing superbly. GDP is the best in the G7, the envy of Europe and 2 million jobs have been created in five years. That is more jobs than the whole of the Eurozone put together. Labour predicted a triple dip recession and unemployment heading to 5 million.

In Scotland by contrast, though its economy is doing well since it is effectively being run from London, its spending run by the SNP, on health and education, has lagged behind England's. Why? Nothing to do with austerity. Its because the SNP preferred to spend its money on things like free tuition fees which garner it headlines. This is how the Chavez revolution started. Freebies that garnered him headlines and popular support. Now the people of Venezuela have to queue for everything, queues that often lead nowhere. They cannot even get toilet paper. Venezuela, it should be noted, has vast oil reserves to rival Saudi Arabia.

What usually happens with socialist revolutionaries is that they start cracking down on the messenger. The SNP have shown themselves adept at that too through their brownshirt brigades - otherwise known as the Cybernats. Just last week Alex Salmond was talking about parliamentary control of the BBC to ensure it remains on message. If you are an SNP type then you see last year's referendum defeat as a conspiracy. It was the media and establishment that won it. It wasn't the SNP's voodoo economics and bullying.

And this is why we Tories are conflicted about the SNP. On the one hand they are damaging Labour. But on the other hand we love our country. We don't want to see Scotland heading down the road it seems set on. We don't want them dragging the rest of the country down with them. Nationalism and socialism are not happy bedfellows. The SNP is propagandising with remarkable and terrifying success. But that is demagoguery at its most dangerous and deluded. As ever socialism is promising the earth with money they haven't got and which will inevitably run out.

This election is a stark choice. To be fair Labour and the SNP are running slick campaigns. But then they always do. The Conservative campaign by contrast has been faltering and monotonous. But we do have the facts and the economy on our side. Labour will be dragged to the left by the SNP. We know this because the SNP have said so and because Wallace will be quite happy to play along. We have had to abandon austerity, he will tell us, because Nicola made me. That is the danger we face. It is why England needs to vote Conservative en masse. We need to save our country and save the Scots from themselves.

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Monday, 20 April 2015

Perhaps Our Politicians Take Us For Fools Because We Are Fools

Have you ever tried arguing with a Creationist? It's a dispiriting, depressing and pointless exercise. The most fervent of believers are entirely immune to logic or even to the basic courtesies of debate. They imagine that their imaginary friend is watching them, I suspect, and cheering them on. They probably imagine that they will get their reward in heaven. As a consequence no amount of sophistry, casuistry or bovine stupidity is beyond them in their attempt to, as they see it, win the argument. Their arguments are so circular even the medieval church would have to acknowledge that circularity.  If religion still had the sort of power enjoyed by ISIL in the more unfortunate parts of the middle east, I would by now have been tossed off a building for even questioning them.

Whilst arguing with one last week following a brainless article in The Telegraph by the curiously still employed Tim Stanley, I was engaged by one such Creationist dimwit. I thought I had him at one point. He had argued, as they are wont to do, that its not just the church that has been responsible for some unpleasant and brutal acts over the years until such time as their power was thankfully dissipated by most of us becoming enlightened. No, said the dimwit, what about Stalin and Hitler. This is what they always say, to which I sighed and pointed out that neither of them, even if they were atheists which is subject to doubt, had slaughtered people in the name of atheism. I then pointed out that atheists are just as capable of bad deeds or indeed good deeds as anyone else, but the good deeds are done without the need for us to imagine that we will receive any reward for it in an afterlife. No, said the dimwit, all good deeds are done with the grace of his god. Even good deeds done by atheists are done with the grace of his god whether or not we know it. We have free will to be sinners and evil apparently, but we don't have it to be good. That is only with god's grace.

I gave up at that point. Its rather like when god botherers praise the lord for the miracle of saving them in a car crash or when the doctors revive them after a heart attack. Its never explained why he saved one person but left others to die, or indeed allows children to die. What for instance is he doing about all of those poor devils in the Mediterranean? God, it seems, gets all the credit but none of the debit in the eyes of some of our more intellectually challenged fellow travellers.

Anyway, this lengthy pre-amble is to introduce my theme. People are stupid. Often they are stupid in their millions to the bemusement and frustration of the rest of us.

How else to explain this election?

Has there ever been a more dishonest, superficial, brainless campaign? But in the defence of our political leaders, those of us who often accuse them of treating us like fools may have got it wrong. An awful lot of people are fools.

Have you ever watched those vox pops they do on the TV news programmes? Have you ever listened to the opinions of audience members on Question Time or the debates? Have you watched the news panels that are on nearly all of the news shows this election or the interviews with real people on the Ten 0 Clock News on the BBC? Doesn't it make you lose the will to live? What a catastrophically ill educated bunch of numpties we seem to be. Last week, just to pick one example, the Beeb spoke to some 20 something from north of the border. Tax avoiders should be prosecuted said the numpty. Nobody thought to point out to him that what he actually meant was tax evaders, tax avoidance being perfectly legal and something we all engage in every time we buy an ISA, duty free goods or engage a good accountant.

And it is because we are confused by this basic issue, because we don't know what the difference is between the deficit and the debt, that our politicians get away with so much. But could it be that we have all had a mass memory lapse too? How else to explain the fact that Labour, having apparently learned none of the lessons of just five years ago, remain on course to at least be in a position to negotiate a coalition or something less formal in just over a fortnight's time? Indeed were it not for that party's implosion in Scotland, they would now be on course to win a majority and for Wallace to walk into Downing Street as of right on the morning of May 8th.

Labour's position on more or less everything is so incoherent, so nonsensical, it ought to be unelectable. On every metric they have been proven to be hopelessly wrong. Their predictions for the economy, for unemployment have been hopeless and deluded. Yet last week they stood before the nation and, straight of face, told us that they really won't spend too much, even though they still don't accept that they did the last time. Their plans, they told us, will require no additional borrowing (my italics). This is their way of kidding the electorate. It leaves a massive amount of borrowing still in place alongside their use of the word investment which means anything they care to name. Investment is Labour's favourite weasel word. It covers up a multitude of fiscal sins. Gordon Brown was terribly fond of it.

Labour think that all they have to do is promise us fiscal rectitude and all will be forgiven. All they have to do is say NHS and privatisation and we will throw up our hands in horror and vote accordingly. All they have to do is call a benefit cut a bedroom tax and we will all be outraged. They will have to cut, they tell us, but theirs will be caring cuts whereas Tories cut because they enjoy it. I'm sure I'm not the only one screaming abuse at the television when they spout this nonsense but sometimes it seems that way.

But the duplicity of Labour is as nothing to the brazenness of the SNP and the astonishing state of politics in our soon to be independent neighbouring socialist state. Only 9 months ago they lost their referendum. Now they are riding high in the polls and enjoying the fact that our electoral system will soon reward this rump party with the power to create mayhem and division. Yet why has this happened? The SNP case for independence was lost and lost convincingly for the very good reason that it was a nonsense. Yet now they look like being rewarded with what will be a landslide.

The SNPs lies are even more egregious than those of Labour. Yet Nicola Sturgeon was widely seen as the winner of those debates. The winner! This from the party of perpetual and wholly imagined conspiracy theories. They only lost that referendum, they are telling the people of Scotland, because of a plot at Westminster. It was The Vow wot won it. Or the biased BBC. Or the biased media. Or, and this is the best one, they didn't lose it at all. The vote was fixed by MI5.

The SNP case at this election, an election in which she is not even standing, is as ridiculous as their case for independence last September. Austerity is an evil Tory plot that must be defeated. Yet look at the SNP's own record. Scotland received more per head in spending than the rest of the country thanks to the Barnett Formula. Yet, thanks to the peculiar priorities of the SNP such as on free tuition fees (a middle class subsidy) health spending has increased more slowly than in England and education spending has seen a real terms cut. Real terms, for my intellectually challenged fellow citizens, means after inflation has been taken into account. In order to pay for its idiotic tuition fees policy, the SNP has overseen a fall in numbers attending university. Those thinking of voting Labour for its tuition fee cut policy should take note.

In Scotland the SNP does not have to defend its record because it simply invokes the same old rhetoric about Westminster, the English or conspiracy theories.

And it is this coalition of liars and sophists who may well collude in just over 2 weeks time to frustrate the democratic will of the rest of the country. At the general election of 2005, Labour would not have won had it not been for their MPs from outside England. We accepted that result without question because we are a union of nations and that is the way our democracy works. But Labour have acknowledged at last, possibly in an unguarded moment of honesty for a change, that they will do a deal with any party that will deliver Wallace into power. That means they will do a deal that betrays the defence of this country and which will levy huge new taxes on us all (but disproportionately on England and in particular London and the south east) to satisfy Wallace's lust for power at any costs.

In so doing the SNP will pursue their policy of divide and rule and Scotland will be headed towards independence regardless of the expressed will of a very clear majority only 9 months ago. The SNP will not be gainsaid. They are a party with one overwhelming policy aim. It is not to be 'progressive' because their every action demonstrates that they are not. Progressive is a meaningless term at the best of times and essentially a rebranding of socialism. But in the hands of the SNP it is a fiction, just something to say to convince the bovine masses of their sincerity before they tear us all asunder. They are that little bit closer to their aim now. One more push. When it all goes wrong they will blame everyone but themselves. Perhaps by then the people of Scotland will have woken up.  Or is the Scottish education system under the SNP so much worse than the English one now they won't know the difference?

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale - Genesis: Chapter 13 - God, Abraham, Sodom

And so Abraham, with Lot and his wife and his ill gotten gains left Egypt. The whole point of that silly story about Egypt seems to have been a way of showing how powerful he was and to get him some worldly wealth. Quite why this was necessary when he had a god on his side is a mystery. Why didn't god just give him some gold, silver and cattle?

So they went back where they had gone from in the first place and to where he had built his altar to God and they had another chat during which he presumably thanked him for all of his freshly acquired booty and for his septuagenarian wife who was nevertheless such a babe that she had turned the head of a Pharaoh no less.

And Lot was with him too and Lot also had flocks and herds and tents.

Indeed such was their new collective wealth that the land could not cope with them and so they had to go their separate ways. So apparently they had been able to take all of this wealth out of Egypt but then so great was their herd in size that they had to split up.

Abraham said to Lot, let there be no strife between us and between our herdsmen - they had herdsmen now too - we will simply split our wealth and I will go one way and you can go the other way. So Lot looked across at the whole of the plain of Jordan, that the land was bountiful and he decided that this was the place for him. So Lot journeyed east to claim his new lands. Abraham decided to live in the land of Canaan and Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom.

But of course the men of Sodom were terrible sinners. Quite what their offence was goes unsaid and so we have to read between the lines. Although of course Abraham had just gone into a foreign land where he had lied about his wife being his sister and had then been given all kinds of wealth to buy him off after his friend had visited plagues on the Egyptians. Presumably then what the people of Sodom were doing was much much worse than this.

So God said to Abraham that all of the land he could see in whatever direction was his. This was where, God said, Abraham and his descendants would live forever because he was giving it to them. Quite what Abraham had done to deserve this special favour is also left unsaid. It seems to amount to his having been a bit of a sycophant willing to build an altar and so God gave him lots of land.

To this day there are many who regard this fantastically silly story as all the justification they need for claiming these biblical lands and for all of the violence and bigotry we see across the middle east.  In fact it was a transparent attempt by one particular tribe of middle eastern people to claim these lands for themselves based on a mythology.

Anyway, after God promised all of this to his new favourite, Abraham built him a new altar. That is apparently all you need to get a god on your side. Just build them an altar. An altar is a god's best friend.

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Friday, 17 April 2015

The State We're In

In some ways it is good that Wallace chose to take part in last night's pointless and absurd so called challengers' debate. Now he knows what it feels like to be up against shameless opportunists, fantasists and liars. Frustrating and irritating isn't it.

Earlier this week, at their manifesto launch, Labour tried, entirely unconvincingly, to paint themselves as the party that has seen the error of its ways - even though it doesn't actually admit that it was an error - and was now going to be fiscally responsible. But then they came up against the challengers in this election, a pathetic ragbag army of spendthrifts and class warriors whose message for the nation is that the present government is inflicting terrible suffering on the poor and dispossessed of this country who are descending into a 21st century Dickensian reality all at the behest of Tories and their evil austerity. Wallace was caught in this bizarre pincer movement, a lovely dress rehearsal for what it would be like if he was elected. And that's in the unlikely event that he could win with a majority. If he were to need propping up by some or a combination of all these dimwits it would make matters even worse. Labour's already half hearted austerity would be cast aside on the horns of Wallace's dilemma. His ambition or the country? I think we all know which he would choose. Suddenly austerity would be just one of those things to be negotiated away.

One of the great mysteries of modern politics, apart from the disconnect between Scotland and reality, is that politics and politicians are held in such general contempt. Politicians are, mostly unfairly, seen as in it for themselves and with their grubby hands in the till, yet all that any of them has to say to win cheers is talk about how much of our money they will spend on us. So we don't trust them, don't like them, see them as shallow careerists who have never worked in the real world and generally shaft us and ignore us once safely re-elected, yet we cheer them to the rafters if they promise us money, more for the NHS and pose and preen sanctimoniously about how caring they are by promising to shovel ever more money into public services. Why are they untrustworthy unless and until they are helping themselves to our money to spend? It's a form of collective idiocy.

Take the NHS. Anyone looking at it objectively can see that it struggling. The reason it is struggling is because it is a hopelessly inefficient way of providing healthcare that we could and should be reforming before it bankrupts us. Yet the sort of people with whom Wallace shared a stage this week, instead of addressing this obvious truth, prefer to offer us ever more entitlements. Longer opening hours to see your GP, shorter waiting lists, ever more doctors and nurses. Oh and in certain parts of the country they even offer free prescriptions to everyone. Cheap populism always trumps pragmatism, but the money has to come from somewhere and it comes from hitting other services. When Nigel Farage made the hardly unreasonable case that perhaps it is not terribly sensible or fair to be giving health tourists free treatment for HIV he was treated as if he had just advocated genocide. But then this is the state of the debate across a whole swathe of public services.

Take the stance of these 'challengers' on defence and nuclear weapons. Would they be used against ISIL Wallace was asked. No of course not. But there is the very clear and present danger of a belligerent and increasingly bellicose Russia and its president who may be on the cusp of megalomania even if he hasn't already crossed over. The argument with nuclear weapons has always been that unfortunately we cannot un-invent them. Thus, if we are not to be blackmailed by the likes of Vlad the Botoxed, the Fat Leader of North Korea, the madmen of Tehran or the medieval rapists but enthusiastic video bloggers of ISIL it is probably best if we retain the capacity to strike back. But no, the likes of the SNP just see all of that money being spent on nuclear weapons and see it as an opportunity for more grandstanding.

This is the state of our politics. The Conservatives were rightly criticised this week because they too played the game of uncosted promises, cuts they wouldn't identify. But that is because this is the infantile way our politicians now treat us. Election campaigns are now about what little they can get away with. All of the so called challengers last night condemned David Cameron for failing to turn up last night. But what would have been the point? So that they can spin more lies about spending we can't afford and the ravages of austerity?

Look around you at Britain in 2015. Does it look to you like a country that has had its services cut to the bone? Hard choices have had to be made for sure, but to claim as was claimed last night that all would be well if only Tory cuts could be reversed is a travesty.  But this is the state of our political debate. The SNP, having lost its referendum is now playing a new game of divide and rule. Wallace, thanks to his own shallowness and opportunism, was last night boxed in by people who can carp and criticise as much as they like because they know they will never have to make hard choices. If ever the SNP get their wish and get to raise their own money they will still attempt to prise more money out of England just exposing how inept and unrealistic their whole raison d'ĂȘtre is. But you heard none of this last night. That's why David Cameron was better off at home watching it on TV. He would have been better off watching one of his box sets.

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Fictional Democracy

Tonight is the so called Challengers' Debate. In this the minor parties, those that have no earthly chance of governing on their own, but minus the Lib Dems who like to have it both ways, will preen themselves and make all kinds of attacks leavened with promises and Wallace will get to know what it feels like to be prime minister. David Cameron will be able to watch from home and chuckle softly to himself. Nick Clegg will sit wishing he was there thinking wistfully of 2010 and Cleggmania.

The Lib Dems had their day in the sun yesterday as did Ukip. The nation was left none the wiser, especially as Ukip supporters behaved like their nationalist brethren north of the border and booed any journalists asking inconvenient questions.

But what was the point of either the Lib Dems or Ukip publishing a manifesto? We already know from experience that what the Lib Dems promise will almost certainly be traded away in the days after May 7th. Perhaps, after the experience of their promises in 2010, they are being less bold. But essentially they are telling the nation that a vote for them will mean that they get nothing of what the larger parties are promising either.

In the case of Ukip, a vote for them means that it will be a lot less likely that those voting for the purple party will actually get what they want. Most Ukippers want a crackdown on immigration and to get out of Europe. The only party with a half realistic chance of delivering either is the Conservative Party. By voting for a Ukip candidate voters will be helping ensure that a man who is opposed even to a referendum on Europe enters Number 10 next month.

We are accustomed to party manifestos being something of a joke, a document we only read with the benefit of hindsight so that we can throw broken promises at the party leaders. Last time around the manifestos of both the Lib Dems and Ukip were a travesty, in the case of Ukip in particular few bothered reading it, even its own candidates. In the event of a hung parliament in May, which all of the polls still point to, these expensively printed treatises will be cast aside. Why even bother referring to them?

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Tory Realism Leads to a Brighter Tomorrow

For reasons that many of us find frustrating, irritating and perplexing, Tories remain, for many, the party of the rich, of the selfish, of the venal. This a perception that was not helped by too many Tories being apologetic about their Toryism and even going along with the label of the nasty party. For some this was a legacy of the Thatcher era. They were wrong. I am not arguing for a moment that our greatest prime minister was not a divisive figure, simply that those who regard her as such were being dishonest and deluded. Thatcher was not uncaring. She was the not the monster she was painted as. She saw a country she loved diminished and she did something about it. We needed her and she delivered in spades.

And anyway this image of the right is not unique to Britain. Across the world lefties live in a delusional state in which taxes can keep rising, debt can be reduced by spending more and human nature can be ignored. Those of us who believe in self reliance and a smaller state really have nothing to apologise for. We should therefore stop apologising.

And yesterday, at last, David Cameron started to say precisely that. In order to pay for the things we care about, he told the nation, we have had to be tough. You cannot keep paying for the NHS, the underlying principles of which we all believe in, if we adopt Labour and the left's approach to public spending. Yesterday we also saw the launch of the Green manifesto. Yes it was extreme and at times absurd, but it wasn't so very far from what Labour would like to be promising if only they felt that they could get away with it.

What David Cameron offered the country yesterday was a vision of a caring and sharing Britain, the compassionate Conservatism he would have introduced to the country had not the recession and financial crisis intervened. The perception that the Tories are for other people, not ordinary people is persistent and frustrating. It is also wrong headed. So here he was offering the lowest paid an end to taxes. Cheap homes for those who work and do the right thing. The NHS as a backstop for all that will be properly funded because the economy is performing well.

And yes it has been pointed out that we have had no detail about where some of the money for these pledges is to come from. Yet the last five years have shown that George Osborne has been able to find funding for these things and has been prepared to be pragmatic about reining in the cuts agenda according to how the economy has performed. It is simply not true that this has been a government that has cut for the sake of cutting. That's why the deficit is still there. Osborne was prepared to change tack and cut less until the economy had recovered. This benefits him now as he hesitates to go into detail. The only reason he will not go into detail is because the other parties would scream about Tory cuts. Labour once labelled the Tories cutters simply because they were planning on increasing public spending less than Labour were. In Labour land being less generous with other peoples money than they are makes you heartless. Yet had we adopted the Tory stance at the 2005 election we would now not be having to cut so much and the deficit would never have grown to such eye watering levels.

This ultimately is the Tory message this general election. It is easy to do what the other parties do, offer spending and largesse all paid for by the rich and the never never. But this government proves that there is an alternative, that it isn't heartless to live within your means. Indeed borrowing just loads it on to future generations. We've done enough of that already.

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Labour: We Will Take You Back To The Seventies

For months now this blog and many others have been pointing out the emptiness of Labour's policy agenda. Surely, we thought, they would have something in reserve, some new ideas, some agenda to deliver the prosperity and opportunities for all that we all want for our country.

Then yesterday Wallace stood up and revealed his party's manifesto. It is empty. It is bereft of ideas. It is a document which latterly and very half heartedly promises us that they will learn their lesson of the past, that they can be trusted.

And they come up with a typically Labour idea to try and appease us. There will be a triple lock they told us. Oh well that's all right then. Because that's what you need from your politicians an admission that they went too far last time and so will have to set up an external body to police them. Because that sort of rules based approach worked so well the last time Labour were in government with all of their talk of golden rules. Any politician who feels the need to promise such a thing, and only at the last minute, is not fit for government.

And the fact is that we don't believe them anyway. As I pointed out yesterday, Wallace told the country, on live television less than a month ago that he doesn't believe that Labour did spend too much money. So why the need for this idiotic lock? Apparently this message, which is central to their entire manifesto, was only added last Friday. And they wonder why we don't believe them?

Furthermore Labour are sending out mixed messages. They tell us that they will rein in the spending but don't tell us how. As the IFS said yesterday, we would have no idea what Labour are going to do. They have left themselves plenty of wriggle room on spending and reducing the debt. They will continue to borrow 'for investment'. They tried that trick last time. Investment becomes simple spending under Labour. That's how they bequeathed that vast deficit to the country.

Ed Balls is also trying some semantic tricks. Talking about reducing the debt. This is deliberately misleading. The debt is not reducing. It is growing. What Balls is doing is saying that he intends to have the debt will be rising more slowly than the economy is growing. It is doing that already. It enables Labour to keep borrowing more 'for investment.'

And in Scotland, where Labour are under pressure, they are sending out a different message. Jim Murphy told the country that Labour are going to end austerity. But they didn't say that at all. They said they were going to continue with austerity and cut the deficit. Its just that they wouldn't tell us how.

Essentially Labour had nothing new to say except what we knew already. They are half heartedly committed to austerity but won't admit that they spent too much money. They try to tell us that they will get all the money they need by taxing the rich, although their means of doing so will raise little or nothing and may actually cost money. The 45% rate has raised more than the 50% rate. Ending non dom status may cost up to £8 billion. Labour want to do this on principle they tell us. In reality they want to do it because they can't think of anything else to say.

They are talking about zero hours contracts when these represent a tiny proportion of contracts and have contributed to the flexible employment regime which reduced unemployment in this country. Labour said that unemployment would go through the roof. It seems that they are intent on ensuring that that happens under them.

Labour's manifesto was essentially a teenage rant about the perceived unfairness of the world. Yet their remedies for that supposed unfairness will just impoverish us all, the poorest most and reduce opportunity for all. On education they are against choice - the state always knows best. On health much the same. The railways will not be nationalised as such but by stealth that is their intent.

Yet at the centre is the economy. Having been wrong about it for the last five years they now tell us that they can be trusted to run it again. But of course they didn't do anything wrong in the first place. Wallace, we're told is an intellectual. He wrote Labour's manifesto in 2010. We're still waiting for that famous brain to come up with something original. Instead he's just intent on revisiting the 1970s.

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Labour Want to Take Us All For A Greek Style Ride

Apparently the EU and the hated Troika (now renamed, for reasons of Greek pride) are becoming exasperated in their negotiations with the Greek government. The Greeks, in between demanding war reparations, are effectively in a kind of suicide pact and threatening to jump taking the whole eurozone with them unless it immediately stumps up more cash. In return for this? Well.....did they mention that they would jump? Oh, and isn't that Vladimir Putin a splendid chap?

The Greeks are offering precious little in reform and have cancelled privatisations to raise money. They are even promising to re-employ sacked civil servants. With the next breath they demand fresh loans of the eurozone to pay the bills. In short they demand the right to continue as they have always done paid for with other peoples' money.

Its hard not to see Labour doing much the same thing this morning. They are announcing their manifesto and prominent promise to be fiscally responsible. Yet this is Labour. This is the party led by the man who forgot to mention the deficit in his speech. This is the party of Gordon 'prudence' Brown. Remember that? Remember when he used to tell us he was prudent? Remember when he had his golden rules on borrowing and investment? Remember when he promised an end to Tory boom and bust?

And we should always remember that, when he was asked by Jeremy Paxman if Labour had spent too much when in power Wallace gave an unequivocal answer: 'No.'

Rememeber also that Wallace was a firm admirer of Francois Hollande, whose unapologetically socialist agenda and higher taxes for the rich were watched enviously by our would-be next prime minister. France is now the sick man of Europe, a kind of Greece but with political clout. Even so Hollande has had to do a rapid about turn as his country's economy has bombed thanks to his policies.   Still, at least the French and British socialist leaders have enjoyed remarkably successful love lives, even if Stephanie Flanders now regrets her dalliance with Wallace. Her close shave with him was supposedly not very exciting conversationally. He wanted to talk about economics. No, really. What is it about Labour leaders that they like talking about a subject they apparently cannot understand or at least wilfully misunderstand?

Except of course Labour are now telling us, rather late in the day, that they are the party of responsibility. Fortunately the British people are nothing like as stupid as Labour assumes. Why would we believe his protestations now? The party that said that the cuts were too far and too fast, that has resisted all attempts at cuts to welfare but tells us it will be tough. The party that waved in 2 million additional people into the country and called anyone who objected a racist. Now they are trying the same trick that Gordon Brown tried prior to 1997 before he raised £1 trillion in extra taxes over their tenure and yet still contrived to overspend so much that they left us with a massive deficit and a vast and growing debt even after 5 years of austerity they have routinely condemned. Do we believe their Damascene conversion to fiscal probity? Or do we suspect they are the same as they ever were and mean to let the spending taps gush once again?

If you need any further evidence then just look at their promises on tax. Their mansion tax, 50% upper rate of tax and crackdown on non doms will, if they raise anything at all, raise peanuts. There is a good chance that they will actually raise less than currently. But then, as Wallace told us last week, he sees cracking down on non doms as a matter of principle. So, once again, the country must pay for Labour's principles. We usually end up paying through the nose and often with our jobs. Every Labour government that has ever won power has always left unemployment higher. There are no exceptions.

Labour's protestations this morning will be treated with snorts of derision around the country. Labour simply are not trusted on the economy. That moment of forgetfulness was revealing last autumn. But it has been repeated during this campaign. Labour still don't accept that they spent too much. Wallace, the man who was an adviser to the worst Chancellor and prime minister in modern history, refuses to acknowledge this. He is like a Greek negotiator demanding more money. The only difference he is doing by batting his eyes at us and telling us to trust him instead of with menaces. But the menace is still there. The menace is that he will spend our money shoring up his party with his pals in the unions, bankrupt the country and put us back to the 1970s. Labour never learn. Its against their principles.

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale - Genesis: Chapter 12 - Abraham's Trek

For no very obvious reason, the Bible refers to Abraham when he is first introduced to us, as Abram. Then, in Chapter 17, right in the middle, it suddenly and without explanation changes his name to Abraham. So to avoid confusion he shall be called Abraham throughout this account. This is just one of those weird inconsistencies that is generally ignored. But a name? Could they not even get that right?

Anyway, God clearly liked Abraham - maybe that's why he changed his name. You can't go around being called Abram. He told his favourite to get out of his father's home and the lands of his forefathers and head to a new land that God would show him. And God said that he would bless this man whose name he couldn't get right and make him great. And, he said, he would bless them that bless him and curse those who cursed him. What Abraham had done to deserve this status is left unsaid.

So off Abraham went with his wife Sarai who was later renamed as Sarah. Lot went with him. Abraham, we are told, was 75 years old at this point, when he decided to up and leave his father's home at the behest of a voice in his head. What is it with the Bible and people who live to advanced old age before anything of note happens to them?

Anyway, they gathered all of their worldly goods and apparently they had collected souls in Haran and off they went to the land of Canaan. They passed through this land into the place of Sichem and the plain of Moreh. The Canaanite was in this land at the time.

So God appeared to Abraham and told him he was giving him this land. This of course is a brazen and not at all convincing attempt to claim these lands for an Arab tribe which became the Jews. To this day these passages of the Bible are used by some of the more deluded to argue for the right of Israel to exist and for the Americans to protect its existence. The rights of Israel are a complicated issue which we won't go into here. But on the  basis of this fantasy?

Anyway, Abraham/Abram was impressed by the fact he had been given some land for nothing and to his children and all their children forever more and so he climbed a mountain and built an altar to God because God is nothing if not an egomaniac who does love to be praised and told how great he is.  You wouldn't have thought that a God would be so insecure.

And then for no obvious reason, Abraham carried on his journey and went to Egypt. He did this despite there being a famine in the land. It was a grievous famine but Abraham went there anyway because he needed a sojourn - not my word, but the Bible's word - and so he journeyed on.

We then get a completely ridiculous and pointless story about Abraham, Sarah his wife and the Egyptians. Let us first stop for a moment and consider where it is the Egyptians have come from. Remember all of life was wiped out only a few generations earlier by the flood. Yet now we are told that the offspring of Noah had not only spread out but somehow a completely different race, the Egyptians, had come about and were in the lands nearby. Why is this story here? Again this is about establishing Abraham in these lands next to Egypt, an ancient civilisation they couldn't ignore, and telling the Jews that they too were a powerful race with a God on their side.

So we get this story. Abraham said to his wife Sarah that she was very beautiful and that as a consequence the Egyptians would want her. It should be noted at this point that they were both in their 70s.

So Abraham feared for his life at the hands of the Egyptians, despite the fact he had a God on his side, and told her that the Egyptians would surely kill him and take her because she was so lovely. Therefore he told her to tell them that she was his sister and not his wife.

So they got to Egypt and the Egyptians were very impressed with Sarah/Sarai and the princes saw her and told the Pharaoh how lovely she was and so she was taken to see him.

And the Pharaoh was so impressed with this septuagenarian that he entreated Abraham/Abram to let him have her in return for sheep, oxen, asses, maidservants and camels.

At this point God decided, apropos this offer and Abraham's lie about his wife, to send terrible plagues on the Pharaoh and his people. Why? Mysterious ways probably.

So Pharaoh realised that Sarah/Sarai was actually Abraham/Abram's wife, didn't ask him why they had two names and asked him, hardly unreasonably, why he had said that she was his sister. And he said that Abraham should take Sarah/Sarai and depart and take his vengeful and capricious God with him. So they did, taking lots of gold and silver and cattle with them. This spectacularly stupid story is a brazen and not at all subtle attempt to show how powerful Abraham/Abram was against the Egyptians against whom there was a clear inferiority complex.