Tag Archives: Spencer

#BorisJohnson reshuffles #Cabinet to shift blame – but can’t even do that well

Thumbs up: Boris Johnson has announced new roles for some of his MPs in a bid to be seen to be cleaning up the government. But there’s no indication of HOW they’ll do it – so what’s the point?

Errant prime minister Boris Johnson, still trying to divert attention – or blame – away from his (alleged) participation in those lockdown-busting Downing Street parties, has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Many of us predicted that he would carry out a reshuffle to present one or more scapegoats to the public – and save his own alcohol-soaked neck.

But this one seems more a case of Johnson lining up sacrificial lambs – to take the heat off him in the future.

So Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, even though experience has shown that there are no opportunities arising from Brexit that are worth having.

That being said, the wording of his new title is vague enough that it could refer to opportunities arising from Brexit for a very few, very rich people – those for whom Brexit was originally intended.

As for government efficiency – exactly what does Boris Johnson want his government to be efficient at doing?

Ultimately, This Writer doesn’t think it matters – if public opinion turns against Johnson because of misbehaviour by government personnel, it will be Rees-Mogg’s responsibility; if the cost of living rises further because of Brexit (for example, due to increased bureaucracy at our borders), it will be Rees-Mogg’s fault.

Chris Heaton-Harris becomes the new chief whip, because his forerunner Mark Spencer is replacing Rees-Mogg as Leader of the House of Commons.

Spencer’s appointment has been questioned because he is currently being investigated for Islamophobia after allegations were made by former Tory Cabinet Minister Nusrat Ghani.

Logically he should have been suspended from any position of responsibility, at least until such time as the investigation is complete – not promoted to a position of more responsibility.

Indeed, as Leader of the House, he is responsible for standards of behaviour in Westminster. Doesn’t that make him responsible for the investigation into himself? And isn’t that a conflict of interest?

I think it is.

Paymaster General Michael Ellis takes on some roles currently carried out by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, lifting some weight from Steve Barclay, the incumbent, who Johnson appointed as Downing Street Chief of Staff this  week, in addition to his ministerial role and his duties as a constituency MP.

Questions have been raised about Barclay’s ability to carry out three jobs at once, and Ellis’s appointment seems to have been an attempt to address that issue – alongside being a reward for his attempts to defend Johnson from allegations about the Downing Street parties in Parliament.

In agreeing to take on three jobs at once, of course, Barclay has shown that Johnson didn’t learn any lessons at all from the Owen Paterson scandal last year, which was all about MPs having more than one job (although, admittedly, their second and subsequent jobs were outside Parliament, not in it).

So it seems that Johnson is lining the ways of the Cabinet Office with potential fall guys if the government comes under further criticism for letting us all down.

And – crucially – we’ve heard nothing about how putting these people into these jobs will ensure that Downing Street – and the government generally – will clean up its act. Are we just to take it on trust? Only, some of us don’t have very much trust left for Boris Johnson.

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‘Frank Spencer tribute act’ Williamson gets jingoistic about Covid vaccine. Should Michael Crawford sue?

.                               Spencer                                                                                             Williamson

After cocking up his own brief on breakfast TV, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson went on to display his ignorance on the radio.

Talking with LBC’s Nick Ferrari (who once crossed swords with This Writer, and I wonder if he regrets it), Williamson was asked about the Covid vaccine and decided to play the race racist card:

For clarity: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was developed by a US/German company using mainly Turkish scientists. It was approved using EU rules, which means all the countries Williamson mentioned had some involvement (if only minor).

And on a day when a man named Adolf Hitler was trending on Twitter after he won an election (in Namibia), the public ensured that Williamson was right up there with him – as inept TV comedy icon Frank Spencer.

(It seems they find his accent amusing.)

See:

Really, all he has done is divert attention away from the terrifying fact:

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Corbyn is the most popular UK political leader – so it seems Labour moderates are holding the party back

This man is now Lord Livermore, so he did all right for himself out of Labour’s election defeat.

Some people simply won’t face the facts.

Spencer Livermore* seems to be one of them. Now Lord Livermore, he was Labour’s general election campaign director in 2015 – in other words, he’s the man who lost the election for Ed Miliband. Had he learned any crucial lessons from that disaster?

No.

It is now widely accepted – isn’t it? – that Labour lost because it didn’t offer a political programme that was substantially different from that of the Conservatives – alienating English and Welsh voters who simply didn’t support anybody at all, and driving Scottish voters into the arms of an SNP that promised a truly left-wing alternative to “Red Tory” Labour.

That’s not the case according to Spencer! He simply hasn’t learned the lessons of the loss – but perversely, that is exactly what he told Radio 4’s The World At Once was Jeremy Corbyn’s problem – and it must have been music to the ears of the mostly-Tory bigwigs at BBC News.

What progress have we made so far against the enduring weaknesses that led us to lose the election in 2015? Are we further ahead now in terms of economic credibility? Do the British people now see our leader as a potential prime minister. And have we broadened the base of our support in the country? I think if you look at all of those things I think it is impossible to conclude that we are anything but further away from power than we were even on May 8.

He mashed up his words so the meaning may have been unclear, but he was trying to say that Labour’s economic credibility has taken a tumble under Corbyn, that the electorate don’t see him as prime minister material, and that Labour’s support base has narrowed. Let’s look at those.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has formed a special committee of economic experts to ensure that Labour policy is based on the best possible advice and will produce the most reliable and sustainable results. Spencer doesn’t care about that. Is it because it is based on real economic expertise as opposed to the neoliberal nonsense we’ve had to endure for the past 36 years? This Writer thinks so.

If the British electorate don’t see Jeremy Corbyn as a potential prime minister, the most likely reason is that they keep being told he isn’t – by Labour representatives like Spencer, who should be supporting their leader rather than undermining him. If Livermore had an ounce of public-spiritedness in his body, he would be extolling the virtues of a Labour leader who actually stands for traditional Labour policies that support everybody, rather than just the richest, but that never occurred to him at all.

Finally, perhaps it has slipped Lord Livermore’s mind – what with being ennobled and all – but Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader corresponded with the largest increase in the party’s membership in years – perhaps decades. Maybe that enthusiasm for Labour (and not neoliberal) ideals hasn’t filtered through to the wider population yet, but that is because of people like Spencer, failing to do their duty and promote it.

He said that elections are decided well in advance of polling day, and that Labour lost in 2015 because it did not take the right decisions on the deficit and welfare early on in the 2010-15 parliament.

“I think we hadn’t taken the difficult decisions early on in the parliament to convince people that we could be trusted on issues such as the deficit and welfare. Having worked now on four general election campaigns, it is increasingly clear to me that elections aren’t won in the six week campaign at the end, probably aren’t won in the year before a campaign, but are won in the first months and years of parliament. That’s when the voters make up their minds really about a party. And if the wrong decisions are made at the outset of a parliament, it is very, very hard, almost impossible, to correct those decisions later on.”

In that case, perhaps Lord Livermore should consider the results of the latest Ipsos-MORI poll of voting intentions, which showed that Jeremy Corbyn is easily the most popular UK political leader.

151120corbynsatisfaction

The same poll has Labour – as a party – trailing the Tories by seven per cent.

Think about that.

Corbyn is riding high, nine points above his nearest political rival – who isn’t even David Cameron!

But Labour is seven points behind the Conservative Party.

What can be turning Corbyn’s 12-point advantage over Cameron into a seven-point disadvantage? What is the 19-point drag factor?

Only one possibility comes to mind. The problem that has been hounding Corbyn ever since he took over as Labour leader.

His own party’s so-called ‘moderates’ are sabotaging Labour’s chances of winning over the electorate.

I refer to Simon Danczuk, Maria Eagle, Tristram Hunt, Mike Gapes, Caroline Flint, Graham Jones, Kevan Jones, Ben Bradshaw, David Blunkett – the list is lengthening all the time. Silly, silly people who can’t accept that Labour is returning to the roots it should never have left.

If not for the noise these crybabies have been making, the electorate might be able to form its own opinion on Corbyn policies, such as his plan to protect police budgets that the Conservatives are determined to slash. Considering the current claims that we are under threat of terrorist attacks, which of these is most likely to protect national security?

Corbyn’s plan, of course.

The message to the ‘moderates’ is clear: Stop destabilising.

If you can’t get behind Corbyn, get out of the way.

Source: Labour’s 2015 election chief says party heading for defeat under Corbyn – Politics live | Politics | The Guardian

*He’s classic New Labour, this guy. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he went to work for the Labour Party and became a SPAD for Gordon Brown. His only experience of real-world working conditions appears to have been as a ‘senior strategist’ with Saatchi and Saatchi, the advertising company that won a string of elections for – would you believe it? – Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party. Draw your own conclusions.

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