Outside the marginals

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

Archive for the tag “Cameron”

Any leadership to prevent this Brexit?

There was a Labour Party public meeting held this week-end in this Tory safe seat. Whilst in some ways it is heartening to see any political activity in the constituency that is well outside the marginals, it is also a bit worrying to see potential dissipation of effort. Arguably Labour should be putting its efforts into more marginal seats in the region, either defending seats vulnerable to loss or seeking to recapture winnable seats from the Tories.

Local officials seemed very chipper despite accepting that the Council Election results were a “disaster”. It was not quite so unrealistic as saying “one more heave”, but the view seemed to be that a few more heaves would capture the seat.

But by the time that has happened, the country may look very different. Read more…

Enemies of the People

The country is split; horribly horribly split. This week’s High Court judgement has opened the split even more.

But dig deeper and it is not a Brexit vs Anti-Brexit split. It is a deeper and more dangerous split amongst the people of this country. The split is between those who have given up on the major institutions of the country (Parliament, Judiciary, City, “Mainstream Media”) – as well as the EU and all its institutions – and those who are still trying to have faith in some of the institutions.

Read more…

What If: (best move for #Remain)?

Today we are told that Cameron and Osborne are for a while stepping back from the Remain campaign:

Labour may be taking centre stage today, but Chancellor George Osborne has still been on the campaign trail in Liverpool. He was asked by the BBC whether a degree of panic within the Remain campaign had prompted the “Labour fightback”.

“We want to make sure as we approach this vital vote… that all the voices are heard, not just the Conservative government voices – important as they are – but also the voices of the Labour Party, the voices of the union movement,” he said.

“So you will hear lots of these voices now in the final run in to this referendum because people need to know that all sorts of different political parties, all sorts of different political opinions, all the unions, businesses, the works, we all agree on this.”
BBC News Website, 13 June 2016 | EU referendum campaign latest: Vital that all pro-EU voices are heard, says George Osborne

Which makes me wonder; what might be the best thing that could happen for the Remain Campaign? 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…

Cameron’s baseball bat vs Howe’s broken cricket bat

Using a cricket metaphor to describe Mrs Thatcher’s attitude to British negotiations in Europe, he [Geoffrey Howe] said: “It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only to find … that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.”
BBC News Website, 10 October 2015 : Obituary: Geoffrey Howe

Well at least for Thatcher it was “cricket”.  Read more…

Migrant Miopia; Cuts and Fences

… the Home Office said support could end for failed asylum-seekers, to discourage illegal migration.

Bolstered security measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday.
BBC News Website 2 August 2015 : Calais migrant crisis: UK and France urge EU action

And Cameron really thinks that a poor potential economic migrant in Sudan or a terrified potential asylum seeker in Syria will really be “discouraged” by such steps? Read more…

End of Term Report: Conservatives

The Conservatives did not win a majority at the last election. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics.

Read more…

Bigger than the BBC

The BBC seems damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson initiated the BBC investigation which prompted his suspension, after he informed BBC bosses of the alleged “fracas”.
BBC News Website 13 March 2015 : Jeremy Clarkson approached BBC bosses about ‘fracas’

This is a man who it is widely reported was on a “final warning” following a number of instances when he “pushed the limits”. But then we see:

An online petition calling for the star’s reinstatement – set up by political blogger Guido Fawkes – has accrued almost one million signatures since the presenter’s suspension.
BBC News Website 20 March 2015 : Jeremy Clarkson alludes to ‘BBC sacking’ at charity event

So Clarkson knew he had probably over-stepped the mark and initiated a process that he knew might well lead to his sacking. Possibly he was getting bored and wanted an exit – albeit a rather arrogant one.

Or he thought that he was such a big star that he could create a situation where the BBC would have to back down. He probably holds employment disciplinary practices in the same contempt as he holds “elf ‘n safety”.

Where before have we seen a situation where the BBC believes that someone is such a big star that indiscretions and complaints should be ignored? Read more…

Double-speak on Youth Unemployment

The Prime Minister speaking on the Andrew Marr programme (28 September 2014 BBC1) announced:

Unemployed 18 to 21-year olds would be given six months to find work or training.

Their jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) payments would be withdrawn unless they agreed to take part in “community projects” such as cleaning up local parks.

They would be entitled to a “youth allowance”, set at the same level as JSA – currently £57.35 for those aged 16-24 while carrying out the community work. …

“At heart, I want us to effectively abolish youth unemployment,” …

“I want us to end the idea that aged 18 you can leave school, go and leave home, claim unemployment benefit and claim housing benefit.

“We shouldn’t be offering that choice to young people; we should be saying, ‘you should be earning or learning’.”
BBC Website 28 September 2014 : Tories would tighten benefit cap to fund apprenticeships

I wonder if I hear a touch of double-speak? Read more…


I suspect that we are now seeing two “debates” about Scotland.

  • Within Scotland there is a vigorous debate going on with much soul-searching between:
    • a self-confident, self-contained “Yes” campaign that knows what it wants and thinks it can see the way to get it. They have traction.
    • a stuttering, disparate and increasingly desperate “No” campaign that knows what it does not want but cannot coherently vocalise what it does want. It is slipping.
  • Outside Scotland there is a horrified “shadow” semi-debate that lacks any structure or discipline – typical of debates amongst the disenfranchised.

Examples Quotes:

These quotes rather sum up the situation, and illustrate why the Union may be lost. Read more…

Post Navigation