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Love not the Hate party…

By Sara Scarlett
April 30th, 2010 at 2:50 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Culture

If you’re not as big a fan of Marmite as I am you may not have noticed the truly inspired advertising campaign they’re currently running. It centres around the phoney “Marmite election” and there are some complete gems on their Youtube Channel. This spoof of the ‘Hate Party PEB’ struck a particular chord with me, however,  as it completely sums up the bigotted narrative of authoritarians everywhere. You could substitute Marmite for practically any vice and it’d work. Take a peak:

Love Marmite, love liberty!


The final leaders debate…where does leave it us?

By Angela Harbutt
April 30th, 2010 at 1:36 am | 5 Comments | Posted in Election, UK Politics

After all the controversy that has emerged about these “leaders debates polls” and whether – after the Sky debate – at least one polling company ran its polling BEFORE Nick made his closing remarks …I sit wondering what the “who won the debate” polls actually tell us.

One has sympathy for the polling companies – it’s a new format – the polls are under pressure to deliver and deliver fast – so I can see that they may struggle to do it perfectly in order to do it quickly. Then again maybe they have all done it perfectly ..(in which case at least one of them needs a better PR company)..Ah well it will all come out in the wash I am sure…

And of course each party has spun itself silly trying to persuade the nation why their guy “won”.  And the newspapers will slavishly follow their political masters….  The Sun will gun for Clegg, The Telegraph will call it for Cameron etc etc.

For the first time tonight I watched the debate with an audience – with about 50 or 60 Liberals to be precise. It is infinitely more difficult to draw sound conclusions when surrounded by partisan Liberals cheering on Nick’s every word (though it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience).

So I am not attempting to “call it” tonight.

I have two observations however…

1. I think this debate will have half the impact of last week’s debate – which in turn had half the impact of the first one. Most will already have made up their mind prior to this evenings debate and barring a total cock up tonight (which there wasn’t- that was demonstrably yesterday’s story) I doubt there was anything there to change people’s minds.

2. Politicians and papers still seem not to have woken up to the fact that the people of this country are sick to death of  the old-school confrontational, attack-style politics. I noticed tonight that when Cameron attempted to have a go at Nick about the Liberals immigration policy, Camerons line (the “worm”) went into the negative. When Nick talked about getting all three parties chancellors together to agree the size of the debt and a plan to sort out this economic mess – Clegg’s line shot up.

People want consensus..they want the politicians heads knocking together to sort this mess out …. they are tired of cheap political point scoring… and bored with negative attacks from the Parties pet newspapers on their rivals. 

So whilst I find it hard to call who won the debate tonight – as Iwatched amongst eager, upbeat Liberals – I think it is clear, however much David Cameron (and tonight Gordon Brown) might object, that people WANT a hung parliament…they WANT consensus politics….they WANT a different way of doing politics in this country. I think they will get it. And I think that was determined within 24 hours of the first TV debate.    

(Oh and lest there be any doubt about this,  my view on the Liberals policy on limiting bankers bonus’ is that it is populist nonsense).

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Old New Labour unravels on a word

By Andy Mayer
April 29th, 2010 at 8:38 am | 4 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

pademoneyesIt was bad luck for Gordon Brown that an open-microphone gave the public an opportunity to hear what he actually thought of a voter. He isn’t the first politician to make this error, and he won’t be last, although the most famous example is fictional Tory Peter Mannion from In the Thick It who says:

“Peter Mannion: This is the trouble with the public, they’re fucking horrible!
Emma Messinger: Peter, you can’t say the public are fucking horrible.
Peter Mannion: Yes I can, I’ve met them.”

In one sense this story is a 48 hour wonder.

In another more serious sense it’s a painful insight into psychology of New Labour and why their time has gone.

New Labour in one sense is just the SDP just over a decade late. The political platforms of the SDP and New Labour were not very different and many of New Labour’s more successful policies were taken wholesale from the Liberal Democrats of the 1990s. Socialism as a credible political philosophy died in Britain the 1970s after successive decades of government waste and state control of industry proved unequal to the challenges of the oil crisis and global competition, ending in an IMF bail-out. It took Labour 20 years and four election defeats to accept defeat. It’s taking some European socialist parties a little longer.

In another sense New Labour was a political attitude, one born in shame of losing again in 1992. The election where Neil Kinnock “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory”. Labour campaigners I have spoken to about 1992 describe it as “the moment we realised the public were stupid”, “from then we knew we’d have to lie to win”, “we’d need to talk right to act left”.

What followed 1992, and the untimely death of John Smith in 1994, went beyond the militant-tendency purges of the late 1980s. It was a wholesale realignment of the party around a platform sold as economically liberal, but in substance corporatist, and one that reverted quickly to old-style socialist spending on the national credit card part-funded by stealth taxes. It was combined with some genuine socially liberal reform, undermined equally rapidly by an ever-expanding raft of authoritarian control measures designed to appeal to exactly the kind of voter Gordon Brown just called a “some kind of bigot”.

New Labour in that regard is a rag-bag of contradictions. Economically it is genuinely left-wing. Tax and spending has risen massively after 13 years of Brown. It was sold as “prudent” and “conservative” so well, that many disgruntled socialists genuinely believe they were sold out, whilst David Cameron circa-2006 felt he had no choice but to commit to Labour’s spending plans in order to restore his own party’s economic credibility. Gordon Brown’s confidence tricks should have Respect and their fellow travellers in the Green party cheering him to the rafters – he has even undermined the credibility of the City of London.

Socially it is an authoritarian agenda delivered by people who used to run Liberty, campaigned against apartheid, and hate the Daily Mail. It is a party that has opened the door to unprecedented levels of immigration whilst speaking the language of the BNP. It is a party elected to clean up politics that will be leaving office mired in a swamp of sleaze exposed by their own reforms. It is the party based on a philosophy that values equality over liberty, that has delivered reductions in both.

The Janus-faces of New Labour were bearable to a significant minority of the electorate when masked by Tony Blair, a man who could believe six impossible things before breakfast, sell four to the Chinese, and go to war on the other two. With the Incredible Sulk in charge however the polish fell off. Suddenly it wasn’t New Labour anymore; just Labour, and you always had the feeling that; support them or not, they didn’t like you very much.

Now Gordon Brown, in one off-hand remark, has confirmed it.

His reactions were awful at every level. He appeared fake when meeting Mrs. Duffy. His response to her uncomfortable immigration analysis was to blame his aides. When exposed on radio he didn’t fess up straight-away but make a conditional apology “if I’d said that”. He even said it again after he’d heard his own voice on tape. His announcement that his apology had been accepted, after half an hour of face time, is unconfirmed, and premised on an unconvincing analysis  that he didn’t mean what he said and had misunderstood her.

It was like watching an unstoppable lie collide with an immovable truth.

That is why, today, there is every possibility that a century of Labour’s membership of the political premiership is about to come to an end.

This is a party that believes in something but can’t talk about it for fear of causing offence. A party that wants human progress, but doesn’t believe humans are progressed enough to choose progressive opportunities for themselves. A party that has caused an economic meltdown and is led by a man whose leadership was only tolerated on the basis of his apparent economic genius. A party with no answers to any major question facing the electorate beyond their fear of change.

This is New Labour, and this is why the Party is over.

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A quiet revolution is underway…

By Angela Harbutt
April 28th, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Comments Off on A quiet revolution is underway… | Posted in Election, UK Politics

…but has the “old media” cottoned on yet ???

Earlier today I linked to a great video that was primarily about people rebelling against the old notion of doing what they are told in an election; casting off the idea that politicians “know best”; rejecting the idea that things can never change. It was a neat, beautifully produced video that summed up how many people feel.

Within a matter of minutes I came across another video – with a similar theme. And then was emailed about another video that also said, pretty much, the same thing. Then another and then another…

This, I think, is the Obama-style theme of this election – bubbling along underneath the General Election coverage we see on TV and read in the newspapers.

People have woken up – at last – to the fact that we have been lied to, robbed, ignored and patronised. Out of a single debate, came the idea that people could do actually do something about it. As the video below states to the politicians in this country….

The  more  you  threaten  us , the stronger we will become.

Talk that makes us fearful will make us braver.

The more you seek to make  us doubt ourselves, the more determined we will become.

The more you tell us we are wrong, the more we will know that we are right.

For times such as this come but once in a lifetime. And we will seize the opportunity to take back that which is ours

This election has ignited peoples imaginations. Whilst the polls may not be saying this, I have a sneaky feeling that a Lib Dem tidal wave is rolling over this country unreported. Hope and empowerment are highly contagious feelings.

It  looks to me that we may well have an epidemic on our hands. 

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Turn things upside down?

By Angela Harbutt
April 28th, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Comments Off on Turn things upside down? | Posted in Election, Liberal Democrats, UK Politics

We simply LOVE this Youtube video.  It’s simple, effective and oh my goodness does it make the point……. Love it. Love it. Love it.


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