Ed Miliband today called for immigrants lacking proficiency in English to be barred from certain public sector jobs. The Labour leader said, “if we are going to build One Nation, our goal should be that everyone in Britain should know how to speak English.”
My first reaction to his speech wasn’t to question Labour’s record on immigration or analyse any key policy changes but rather to recall former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s sustained assault on the English language:
“We are now taking proper, putting the amount of resources and investment to move what we call extreme conditions which must now regard as normal.”
“I undressed 450 students yesterday with Ed Miliband and Eddie Izzard and I did 300 last night.”
“The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it.”
Luckily for the people of Humberside during the PCC elections, they managed to stop the indigenous Lord Prescott attaining a “publicly- funded, public-facing job” via the ballot box.
We are joining the ranks of Lib demmers looking at the new ads being run by party HQ and saying er, No.
The most recent ad looks, as Digital Politco puts it, like “someone photoshopped it when they were bored for 5 minutes”.
We really thought we heard Nick tell us last week that were the party of the centre ground. Yet here we are, but a few days later, shouting a leftwing banker bashing message for all we are worth. We are not even sure that it is that easy to recognise Ed Miliband beneath that powered wig hat and ears. (And we are sure he reminds us of some character from a BBC period drama but can’t quite put our finger on it.)
And though you might think us picky we are not even sure you can count a poodle (if that is indeed what it is supposed to be) as a lapdog, surely it has to be a minature poodle to be a lapdog? All in all a pretty lame effort.
It also curiously, seems to have little to do with the ad van running around Labour conference right now (photo from Liberal England blog spot). Well Ok , its bashing Labour, its from the Lib Dems and it has the fairertax website url on it.. but really does that constitute a coordinated campaign?
Its best been described by a former LV blogger with a flare for hitting the nail on the head :
“It’s a Focus leaflet graphic on a billboard, with no clear or memorable message, targeting a group unlikely to switch to the Liberal Democrats and saying nothing of any interest to other groups, with the possible exception of tax geeks who like bar charts” .
(We are also not entirely sure that the numbers are correct – though we hope we can at least rely on Campaigns to get that bit right , so we bow to their expertise on this one.)
So what is going on? Last week at conference Jeremy Browne articulated what many of us who have worked in marketing or communications have been saying for a while – we should not define ourselves by the Conservatives or Labour, but define ourselves in our own terms. – as liberals Sadly that message seems not to have reached whoever is in charge of our media strategy.
We are not entirely convinced that an ad van, presumably targeting the (most hardened of) Labour activists attending conference is necessarily a good spend of our cash. Unless of course it is a cunning plan to excite conference attendees to push Labour further to the left in bid to squeeze out a bit of space in that fabled “centre ground”.
Either way with precious little money to spend, the party needs to get much better at these “attack” ads or, better still, abandon ya boo politics, pull our finger out and get the growth going. When we see some real green shoots we will have something to shout about, until then we are probably best saying nothing – especially if this is the best we can come up with. Unfortunately in the interests of “fairness” we have a nasty feeling that we might just see something equally cringe-making ad “sticking it to the Tories” at Conservative conference next week. More humiliation. Oh joy.
Yes probably. But I could not help but hoot when Ed Miliband went off air for a while during his speech… Trust Labour with the economy ?.. You can’t even trust them to get their “once a year- showcase to nation” broadcast right. Oh dear…
There is a mischeavous part of me that wonders if his “advisors” did not pull the plug on him..
Then came the sad indictment of the whole Labour party conference…Rather than spend hours with woeful Labourites arguing (still) that Ed Balls should not have apologised for Labour mistakes – or analysis and reactions to their glorious leaders speech- both BBC News Channel and Sky News decided that showing hours of live footage from Michael Jackson’s doctors trial was more interesting!
Hmmm.. Apparently… coverage of deadpan attorney in a dry courtroom addressing question of whether doctor killed pop star or not much more interesting than coverage of dull Labourites in dull conference hall addressing question of whether leader had killed party or not.
I seem to recall a certain Labour phrase about it being a good day to bury bad news. But NO! They surely didn’t deliberately schedule their hapless leaders speech to end just before the trial was due to go live… just in case?
Liberal think tank Centre Forum has been busy crunching some numbers, and their findings don’t make happy reading for Labour’s seemingly-doomed leader.
Ed Miliband has made a big socalist play of his alleged plans to force nasty bankers to subsidise cheaper degrees for the bright teenage children of hard-working families.
Yet through its complexities, Miliband’s plan would typically benefit “graduates in their fifties earning £72,500″.
The study says: “Virtually no one in the bottom half of the earnings distribution, and virtually no one under the age of 35, will stand to gain from Labour’s plan.”
The policy of lumping further taxes on the financial sector “will be harmful during a period of economic recovery”.
It also adds: “Given the way that the student loan system works, the majority of the gains are illusory – what government gives on one hand, it takes back on the other.”
Indeed. Taking with one hand to give back (less) with the other. Nice to know someone else has noticed that.
Anyway, it looks like Our Vince is happy with the report:
“I would urge anyone attracted to Labour’s proposals to read this very informative analysis,” Vince said. “It makes clear that the policy only benefits wealthier, older graduates, and it exposes Labour’s claim that they want to help young people as completely false.”
…..a “climate change sceptic” or as Mr Miliband dubbed those of a different opinion to himself last week - a “climate change saboteur” …… but boy they are not making it easy for me.
For I find myself increasingly wondering – just how much money is there in this for those who are leading the climate change vanguard? How much kudos, fame and bandwaggoning is tied up in this particular cause? The scientists taking their research funds; the energy companies taking their subsidies; the politicians taking centre stage with their great moral crusade on which they pontificate, and use to terrify us into submission.
Only today The Sunday Telegraph reports that professor Phil Jones – who until recently led the Climate research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia -has so far received £13million+ in climate research funding no less. That’s 13million good reasons to big-up any issue.
It has not helped the climate change cause that the very same unit in receipt of the £13million is also at the centre of the investigation into doctored figures. Emails (obtained by hackers it seems) from Prof Jones say, amongst other things, “I’ve just completed Mike’s NATURE trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline”. Well…if you will incentivise people to go down a particular path, don’t be surprised if they overstep the mark.
And let’s not forget the holier-than-thou, great-and-the-good descending on Copenhagen. 15000 delegates are seemingly required to discuss pie-in-the-sky “targets” that everyone seems to agree already will not result in any binding deal. And even if they do agree binding targets – these dont appear to be modest, sensible ones, over, say, the life of most parliaments (e.g. 3 or 4 years) that today’s politicians will be answerable to. Why not cancel the thing and save the many thousands of tonnes of carbon the conference seems set to cost. Because it will have a BIG carbon footprint. Last heard, some 1200 limo’s will be used to ferry these hand-wringers around and some 140 extra private jets will use Copenhagen’s airport. That’s a lot of hot air, in every sense of the word.
Back in boggy Britain, we, the little people, are berated over OUR energy use. We are bombarded with sinister Government adverts telling us to use our cars 5 miles less per week, use public transport wherever we can – no matter how difficult/poor/filthy/cramped etc that is- switch off our lights, fly less, recycle more, obey or be doomed. Politcians on the other hand swish about in gaz guzzlers, attended by dozens of “advisors” along for the jolly, making big speeches feeling very self important . What bit of irony don’t they get?
We do irony well in the UK. We also do dissent rather well too. Echoing the results of The Times survey a couple of weeks ago, an ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph published today, shows that nearly 50% of voters think there is no proof that mankind is causing global warming. Gordon Brown described such people as “flat earthers” . There’s clearly an awful lot of them about. And his response to the ICM survey was to say that he’s convinced by the scientific evidence (well thats ok then) and that his government will be making the case that the threat of climate change is real. Hmmmm…..We have seen the effects of dodgy dossiers from this Government before. Let’s hope that the Government has not got another one in its briefcase this time.
All I really want for Christmas is an open honest debate on this issue – preferably amongst scientists – butI will take what I can get. No doubt inspired by the Daily Politics show last week, just such a debate appeared on BBC’s Politics Show lunchtime today between Lord Lawson and Ed Miliband. Government may be reduced to name-calling. Research units may manipulate the data and seek to prevent FOI requests for the raw data. But it seems to me that a healthy debate concerning the science and the economics of climate change is coming out at last. That has to be good news for all sides of the debate because it’s good for democracy.And because its more likely to result in the right policies being implemented.
And no Ed Miliband I do not think it “irresponsible” to query the science of climate change. As Lord Lawson put it so magnificently…” What I think is profoundly irresponsible is to say that dissent should not be tolerated. That honest, rational, reasoned debate is unacceptable. That is wrong on any issue”
You can catch the Nigel Lawson v Ed Miliband debate at the top of the post - or catch the full Politics Show programme on BBC iplayer by clicking here.