Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Respecting People”

Finagling

verb (used with object), finagled, finagling.
1.
to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of):
He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
2.
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation:
to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
dictionary.com | fenagling

So who is finagling and who is being finagled? Read more…

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Who is Kidding who?

The BBC reports today that Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today (six months on) criticised the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

But how much is the actual business model – of using charities to deliver what would otherwise be government services – examined and criticised? Read more…

Laziness and Populism

There is a strand in British politics – probably much approved of by the Pub Landlord – that says that by resorting to simplistic slogans, that have just a germ of truth to them, you can attract much approval and support.

Our Prime Minster seems to be especially good at this; I hope it is a character flaw rather than as a result of his expensive education.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Cameron said the push on language was “about building a more integrated, cohesive, one nation country where there’s genuine opportunity for people”.

He also said that while he accepted there was no “causal connection” between poor English and extremism, a better grasp would make communities “more resilient” to threats of radicalisation from so-called Islamic State – or Daesh.

“If you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh,” he said.

Lady Warsi – who was the first female Muslim cabinet minister – welcomed the new money for language teaching, but said: “This lazy and misguided linking, and what I saw once again as stereotyping of British Muslim communities, I felt took away from what was a positive announcement.”
BBC News Website, 18 January 2016 : David Cameron’s Muslim women policy ‘lazy and misguided’

We need to be more (academically) critical of some of these pronouncements. Read more…

Labour won’t find its soul by navel gazing

… last year’s election defeat could be reduced to two key factors – Labour’s failure to pay enough attention to “economic competence”, and the fact that “the public did not perceive Ed Miliband as a credible prime minister”.
The Guardian, 1 January 2016 : When are Labour party ‘moderates’ going to do more than just moan?

But behind that there is a rejection of Labour’s attempts to hold power by trying to ape the Tories – they can never be “better Tories than the Tories”. If unrestrained global capitalism is the name of the game you might as well vote Tory.

But if unrestrained global capitalism is not the name of the game … Read more…

Honour and Dishonour

Once again the honours list gives us something to discuss over the new year – but have we got to the stage where something drastic must be done?

  • Negative Political Campaigning is deemed a “public service” worthy of a knighthood,
  • Another Liberal MP, kicked out after a single term in coalition government office, is deemed worthy of a knighthood,
  • A bureaucrat who seems to have been spectacularly unimpressive in leading two agencies is deemed worthy of a dame-hood, and finally
  • A “Windsor” gets a dame-hood for public service (nepotism? 😉

And yet we still have plain old Mr Oliver Letwin – despite more than 30 years of public service!

Read more…

British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

Initially I read the above Guardian headline as referring to the “British Left” being vulnerable before realising that it was about something far more serious – or something that should be more serious.

Archbishop of Canterbury claims benefit sanctions and bureaucratic delays in welfare mean government is partly to blame for ‘tragedy’ of hunger.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that government policies on poverty and welfare reform have left too many people in Britain unable to feed their families. …

Welby also urged a widening of the political debate around welfare away from the pillorying of people dependent on benefits to one which recognised the value of social security as an expression of a national belief that “we are one people with care for all”.
The Guardian, 10 December 2015 : British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

It is serious, but “Archbishop warns about poverty” is hardly news – is it?

What we have to ask is why is this situation not just a constant but actually getting more severe?

Read more…

Donald J Trump is unhinged

Republican presidential rival Lindsey Graham, said: “What has been in the past absurd and hateful has turned dangerous. .. Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level.” …

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump’s proposed ban [on Muslims entering the US] would apply to “everybody”, including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country. Another Trump staffer confirmed that the ban would also apply to American Muslims who were currently overseas – presumably including members of the military and diplomatic service.
The Guardian 8 December 2015 : Donald Trump: ban all Muslims entering US

What has provoked this – as if this “man” works on reason? Read more…

Tax Credits

The Government seemed to be hell-bent on two objectives:

  1. Imposing severe income cuts on those least able to accommodate such cuts
  2. A truly ghastly political car-crash

Then they seek to create a “constitutional crisis” that can only be resolved by flooding the House of Lords with Conservative Peers to push through “Gideon’s grab”.

And yet it could have been so different. Read more…

Gideon’s Dictionary: Powerhouse

Every emperor, or prospective emperor, has to give the appearance of having “the common touch”. In view of the restricted background of our potential new emperor, I offer him a dictionary in the hope that studying it will help him understand the people he wishes to rule.

Powerhouse

Read more…

NHS Overspend: Truth or Dare?

What does [the overspend] mean for patients?

Patients can expect the same level of emergency and urgent care and there is no suggestion this will be compromised by the financial plight of trusts.

But as the year progresses and if financial problems persist, hospital chiefs may decide to allow waiting times for elective care and non-urgent procedures to lengthen.
BBC News Website, 9 October 2015 : What’s gone wrong with NHS finances?

But what does that mean for the finances? Read more…

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