Tag Archives: Rochester

Is the Coalition progressive or are the spin doctors out again?

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on 'slow rinse'.

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on ‘slow rinse’.

“In these days it is hard to differentiate between reality and the work of spin doctors, and no more so evident in these days with 6 months to go before we go to the polls to elect a new government,” according to a blog new to Vox Political called Through a Carer’s Eyes.

“Especially evident is the fact that a spin doctor or Public Relations Specialist is in residence at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.

“A spin doctor is defined as: ‘a spokesperson employed to give a favorable interpretation of events to the media, esp. on behalf of a political party.’ It doesn’t say truthful interpretation.”

Absolutely correct, but it isn’t just Cameron putting a spin on events. Here’s – of all people – Michael Gove!

On the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday, Gove asked viewers to believe that the Conservative Party hadn’t spent the previous week saying it was pulling out all the stops to achieve victory against former Tory – now UKIP – MP Mark Reckless; instead he told us the prediction had been a 15 per cent lead for UKIP that he wanted us to think the Tories had prevented.

Bravo, Michael. You must believe you are single-handedly changing reality. And why not? In his mind, he single-handedly changed the facts about World War One a few months ago; many people believe he has ambitions to be the next Tory leader and single-handedly turn the clock back 90 years.

As we’ve mentioned the office of the prime minister, let’s see what Gove had to say about the incumbent, David Cameron: “People are all-too-well aware of the difference between a prime minister who has led this country through tough times and whose stature has been augmented during that period, and a leader of the Opposition who, during his tenure, has actually… you know… found the public moving away from him, just at the point when he should be rallying their support.”

Seriously? David Cameron? The most useless excuse for a national leader since Neville Chamberlain? The man whose standing amongst other national leaders, as evidenced by his performance at international summits, would have been improved if he had stayed at home? The man whose ‘reforms’ have corrupted Parliament to make it legal for money to be taken away from the poorest and given to rich businesspeople instead, so that they will donate some of that cash to the Conservative Party? The man who is such a weak leader he cannot even sack his worst-performing minister, Iain Duncan Smith?

If he had the stature of a gnome to start with, then now he has the stature of a dung beetle.

Here’s the icing on the cake. According to Gove: “I think that this government has been, er… one of the most, er… successfully progressive governments in our lifetime.”

He was referring to the legalisation of gay marriage (for example), but that doesn’t make the Coalition progressive. It means Tory leaders have realised that throwing a bone or two at the masses will make them think they are achieving real societal gain, while all it is really doing is hiding the massive destruction of our society’s structure that has been taking place alongside it.

In fact, this has been the most REgressive government Britons have had to suffer for the last century, at least.

How sad for Gove that the British people are far too perceptive to accept these absurd claims. This evening (Saturday, November 22) for example, his opponents will take to Twitter with infographics and comments explaining why they say #CameronMustGo.

Vox Political has several such tweets planned. If you want to see them, you’ll have to be on Twitter from 6pm – that’s 1800 GMT.

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UKIP on course to form government in 3,392 years

A UKIP MP

A UKIP MP.

Congratulations to UKIP on winning its second seat in the House of Commons. At this rate, the party – formed in September 1993 – is on course to form its first UK government in the year 5406!

One has to wonder whether the issues facing the nation will be the same, by then, as they are now.

UKIP stormed to victory – most notably against the Liberal Democrats, who were left with just 4.5 per cent of the 7,800 voters they attracted in 2010. That’s just 349 votes!

The Conservatives, who used everything including the kitchen sink to… well… sink UKIP, kept 59 per cent of their voters, with 13,947 supporters (down from 23,604 in 2010).

Labour suffered a similar drop, retaining 49 per cent of its 2010 vote (down from 13,651 to 6,713).

Turnout was down from 47,971 to 40,065.

None of the above figures present the real fact of the matter, which is that the people of Rochester and Strood voted for their sitting MP.

While UKIP and the media may make much of incumbent Mark Reckless’s change of party, in fact his constituents supported no change.

It doesn’t matter what Nigel Farage might say; this wasn’t so much the Army of the (rich and xenophobic) People didn’t so much score a victory as it was the rest of us learning what Mark Reckless really thinks – and this was hammered home by Labour’s Dennis Skinner, within moments of Reckless being sworn in as an MP.

In the debate on the National Health Service that followed, the Bolsover Beast got on his hind legs and growled: “we dragged the national health service, between 1997 and 2010, from the depths of degradation that the Tories left it in and hoisted it back to the pinnacles of achievement. I have got a united nations heart bypass to prove it—it was done by a Syrian cardiologist, a Malaysian surgeon, a Dutch doctor and a Nigerian registrar, and these two people on the Bench behind me talk about sending them back [Reckless and fellow UKIP MP – and Tory defector – Douglas Carswell].

“If you did that in the hospitals in London, half of Londoners would be dead in six months. Those are the facts about the United Kingdom Independence party.”

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Will more rats leave the sinking Tory ship?

John Baron [Image: BBC].

John Baron [Image: BBC].

According to the Daily Express, Six Tory MPs [will] defect to Ukip if it wins [the] Rochester and Strood by-election.

If it’s true, doesn’t it say everything you need to know about the kind of person who joins the Conservative Party these days? They’re not interested in helping anybody else. They’re not even interested in helping the party that got them into Parliament. They only want to help themselves.

The Express reckons John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, might be next to cross the floor. If this is true, it will be just about the only thing he’ll have done that is worthy of public attention since he became an MP in 2001.

According to Wikipedia, he supported David Davis in the 2001 and 2005 Tory leadership elections (no fan of Cameron, then), and he has been consistent in opposing wars in Iraq and Libya. Then there’s this: “In June 2012, Baron delivered a letter, signed by over 100 Tory MPs, to the Prime Minister David Cameron urging him ‘to place on the Statute Book before the next General Election a commitment to hold a referendum during the next Parliament on the nature of our relationship with the European Union’.”

That’ll be the UKIP connection, then.

It seems a bit tenuous, though. Also, this is the paper that reckons 40 per cent of Labour voters are going over to UKIP, which is a bit surprising. Why would anyone support a party whose members like to call Labour supporters “You lefties”?

Look at what Mark Reckless, whose defection to UKIP triggered the by-election, had to say: “There are many Labour voters who would never have considered voting for me because I was a Tory. Now I am UKIP they are willing to vote for me to rep­resent them. The Tory label was holding me back. I feel now I have been set free.”

What a lot of bilge.

The verdict? Well, we’ll only find out if UKIP wins, won’t we?

Postscript: Meanwhile, UKIP has received the dubious support of the neo-fascist group Britain First.

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George Osborne naked – but is it art?

Cor - what a big... carrot: The painting of George Osborne symbolising his empty promises by Kaya Mar [Image: www.kayamarart.com].

Cor – what a big… carrot: The painting of George Osborne symbolising his empty promises by Kaya Mar [Image: www.kayamarart.com].

He was not amused.

It seems this was not what George Osborne had in mind when he hosted a boozy awayday in the Cotswolds to boost Tory spirits ahead of the Rochester by-election and the general election.

The Guardian has reported that he was “straight-faced” when former Tory minister Sir Alan Duncan whipped out a naked portrait of him, representing Osborne’s empty policies and failed promises, during a speech at a dinner in a four-star hotel near Chipping Norton.

Apparently this is Osborne’s ‘just desserts’ for offering unfunded tax cuts to the electorate in advance of the election next year.

It seems the event – ostensibly held to strategise against the threat of UKIP – subsequently deteriorated into the usual chaos of any event attended by the Bullingdon hooligans.

The painting is by Kaya Mar, whose images of politicians in the raw can be viewed on his website.

The artist’s website had this to say: “It was reported that a stone-faced George Osborne was furious about being humiliated by Duncan, who went on to make comparisons between Kaya’s typically fat-bottomed naked politicians in his satirical paintings and the Chancellor’s own increasing waistline – a consequence, perhaps, of all those lavish breakfasts, luncheons and dinners paid for by grateful, un-prosecuted bankers and lobbyists working for corporate privateers and plunderers since he wafted into 11 Downing Street all those hundreds of billions of borrowed pounds ago.

“There is, of course, a glaringly obvious subtext to that weekend’s bad-tempered exchanges and barbs; namely the bitter acrimony felt towards David Cameron and George Osborne by a significantly large cadre of back-bench MPs, who have always disliked Cameron’s slick PR style of policy-lite governance which many feel has done the party a great deal of reputational damage.

“The internal blood-letting and back-stabbing … signifies that fiercely partiisan rival camps for the inevitable forthcoming leadership challenge are finally emerging from the shadows, and have now spilled out into the public view.”

The site went on to suggest that the greatest threats to Cameron do not come from Osborne, but from the “polar opposites” represented by London Mayor Boris Johnson and former Education Secretary (recently demoted to Chief Whip) Michael Gove.

“Johnson is hugely popular for his well-honed theatrical ‘bumbling’, which he uses as an effective smokescreen to disguise his enormous ambition to be Prime Minister,” the site claims. “Michael Gove, with his patently ‘British Empire’ beliefs around education, crime and punishment, is well-liked by the reactionary wing of the party, for whom he represents the best chance of putting the UK’s cultural clock back 90 years.”

It may be too much to hope that this resentment will bubble up beyond symbolic gestures like this – at least, before the election – but it seems that the writing, or at least the painting, is on the wall for both George Osborne and David Cameron.

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