Aggregated UK political opinion content, stakeholder research and policy consultations.
Jerry Hayes

The Achilles heel of the Coalition is it’s treatment of Parliament. Timetabling the AV referendum Bill is an act of monumental folly.

August 3rd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

As the Shadow cabinet huddle round their Ouija board in a desperate attempt to make contact with the living, their leadership contenders sleepwalk their messages through the media. The poor devils Zombie their way from ghastly meeting to awful gathering with all the enthusiasm of  doorstep encyclopedia salesman. More than a month to go and they still can’t stir up apathy. At the Weekend Miliband D hit the airwaves in an embarrassing punt at populism with a,  ”save our pubs” campaign. His press release, written in pure Jim Garnerese, gave parady a bad name, “It could be last orders for British pubs” , he squealed. “Make no mistake……”  I really can’t go on, it is just too painful, save to say that there is a photo of the great man with a pint of bitter poised at his lips. We are told it is London Pride, probably because some ghastly wannabe thought it would be good for the gay vote.

This morning it is the turn of Mr. Balls to grace our breakfast tables. The sight of this grotesque, smug, Jabba the Hutt like figure lecturing the Labour party on how to win the next election would be comedic if it wasn’t so tragic. The only battle he is trying win is not being slaughtered in the polls by that political genius Diane Abbott. The poor man is totally deluded. He is not just going to be beaten for the leadership, his treatment will make the stringing of Mussolini from a lampost look like a charm offensive.  But he still doesn’t understand. After, being shot,stabbed, fed Prussic acid and floating down the St Petersburg Canal encased in ice, even Rasputin eventually got the message.

It’s all very well for  Labour to try and derail the coalition by picking at the scab of Liberal Democrat cutting fast and loose with their voters, short term its quite effective, but long term the public will soon get bored. The real Achilles heal of this government is its treatment of Parliament. I had hoped Cameron had learned his lesson in his ill fated attempt to pack the 1922 with his supporters. Sadly, not. The Cameroons had crack at removing Bill Cash from the chair of an important European Scrutiny committee. This was pretty stupid, not just because it failed, but because Cash is a busted flush; a political irrelevance.  As a result, a lot of backbenchers, particularly of the right, nurse a simmering resentment. But the message still hasn’t been taken on board. The government intends to timetable the AV referendum Bill, leaving just two days for pre legislative scrutiny. This is an act of monumental folly. This is a bill that abolishes parliamentary seats, and redistributes boundaries. This a bill that proposes to hold the AV referendum on the same day as the Scottish and Welsh elections. This is a bill of immense constitutional importance and deserves proper scrutiny. Try and railroad this one through old son and you will unite every parliamentary bore with a grudge from every wing of every party. At the end of the day, this is a bill whereby a large number of  vociferous turkeys are being asked to vote for Christmas, so at least humour them before Mr. Bernard Mathews wrings there little necks. And listen to Graham Allen. Graham Allen is the chairman of the select committee monitoring the office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It is his committee which as been given just two days of pre legislative scrutiny to one of the most far reaching constitutional changes in a century. He is cerebral, honest and has carved out a niche in the Commons as the man who has fought fearlessly against his own government to restore power to the backbenches. He has that rare commodity in Westminster; respect. Yesterday, in his own quiet and unassuming way he warned the coalition of the folly of curtailing debate. They will ignore him at their Peril. Sometimes it is necessary for a government to stand firm and unyielding for fear of appearing weak. This is not the time for big willy machismo games. Parliament has been given a new and more powerful voice, it must be allowed to use it. Think again Mr. Clegg. Remember that it was the bedrock of pragmatic realism that this Coalition was founded upon.

David Miliband is no longer running for office but for cover, Theresa May gives a good impression of competence; the silly season has begun

July 29th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

To those who enter David Miliband’s campaign headquarters, a warning . The pungent aroma that smothers the senses is the lethal combination of funk and indecision. Little brother is hoovering up the Unions, dry humping the grass roots and causing the venal wing of  the parliamentary bottom suckers to rise to the surface of their murky pond and take a more considered view. Danger; career hungry jackals are ready to pounce.  Day by day, political recalibrations are being subtly made.  So how does Mili D react?  Calm, aloof and statesmanlike? No, the poor booby attacks Cameron’s foreign tour. In an act of breathtaking arrogance, stupidity and blind panic, he accuses the Prime Minister  not taking into account those thousands of Pakistanis who have been killed in the war against terror. Just how low can you sink?  What is the point of stirring up a hornet’s nest with potentially tragic implications for our troops?  All Cameron is saying is the painfully obvious truth. There are Pakistanis who are actively assisting the men of terror. We know that. What is more, the government of Pakistan knows it. The policy is to undermine these people or else a very fragile nation might just find that the finger on their nuclear button belongs to someone with a Taleban Turban. There is nothing new in this. It was government policy when Miliband was Foreign Secretary. Rash comments such as these give an impression of a frightened man thrashing around in desperation. Poor David is no longer running for office but for cover. Actually, it’s rather sad.

But there does seem to be a theme by Labour supporting writers to accuse Cameron of shooting from the hip. That he shouldn’t have said that Gaza is a prison camp. Why not? We all know that it is. That he shouldn’t be trumpeting Turkey’s claims to accession to the EU. Why not?  Why shouldn’t the guardians of our freedom in the Middle East, a benign, yet secular Muslim superpower, strengthen the EU by having a seat at the top table?  Or do we just have to grin and bear the casual racism of the French and Germans?  It is all very strange. It is as if Westminster’s political magnetic core has shifted, with normally sane politicians being swept into the outer space of unreason by the solar winds. Jack Straw is opposing AV, not because he is against it, but because of some trumped up charge that the Coalition are gerrymandering to boundaries. Obviously, it’s just tribal, but is railing against the tribe.  Everything the midwives of the Labour party have fought for for generations, fair constituency boundaries where one vote is worth no more than another. It is a disgraceful and untenable position.

And then there is the Tory right. Those forty four dimwits who are opposing the referendum on the grounds that it should be held in isolation from other elections. Do these guys have brains or just tepid bowls of custard? Signing an EDM just gives Labour a fantastic opportunity to put down  an amendment to the Bill with exactly the same wording.  Are they going to tramp through the Lobbies with the comrades? Are they hell. Those names will be flying off the pages when the House gets back.

And then there is the genial and normally sensible, Alan Johnson.  Attacking Theresa May’s police Commissioner plans on the basis of  a,” breathtaking lack of consultation”.  Oddly it was on the same day that the Association of Police Superintendents broadly welcomed the plans and thanked her for listening and acting on their representations. And what on earth has happened to our new Home Secretary? A couple of years ago I contemplated writing a book entitled 100 uses for Theresa May.  After, coffee table, ashtray and door stop, I just gave up. But now she seems to be doing a surprisingly competent job, even old Blunkett seemed to be lacking hostility to her ASBO review. I know we have entered the silly season. But this is all to silly for even me.

Tags [ , ]

Categories [ politics ]

Comments [ 7 ]

Leave your comment

David Miliband executed by the spymistress and why Cameron & Obama must put pressure on Europe to accept Turkey’s membership.

July 20th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

You could almost feel the noose tightening round David Miliband’s neck as former MI5 boss, Dame Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, was asked the killer question at the Chilcott Inquiry; whether the Iraq war had increased the risk of terrorism in the UK.  And when she breathed the words, “substantially”,  the snap of our erstwhile Foreign Secretary’s vertebrae echoed round the room, while his limp body dangled from her rope.  If his leadership hopes were holed below the waterline over his department’s alleged involvement in torture, then today’s evidence wiped Miliband shares off the political stock market.  Quite simply, he lied.  Lied to the public, lied to the House of Commons and lied to the Cabinet. Even with Cameron away in America, Harriet Harman will have a very uncomfortable PMQs tomorrow. As Foreign Secretary, Miliband would have been briefed by the security services and told the mind bogglingly obvious truth; British lives have been shed and are still at risk because of the ill thought out catastrophe of invading Iraq. Never mind lecturing us on your values sunshine, why could you not just tell us the plain unvarnished truth?  And if you hide behind the flimsy veil of, ” national security”, there is just on word. Bollocks. Innocent lives were butchered in Russell Square because of this insane policy. At the very least, their families have a right to know just how serious the threat level was at the time.  And why nobody was told. I doubt that these families will want an apology from the lips of a politician on the make. What they will  demand is the truth.

So, once they have paid lip service to the  BP ecological disaster and made fine promises to work together to make sure it can never happen again, foremost  in the minds of Cameron and Obama will be how they can best protect their native homelands from Islamic extremists. Where they will be at one, is the total shambles of the EU in dealing with Turkish accession.  Quite honestly, it is a no brainer. Turkey is a valued, if not pivotal, member of Nato. They have some deeply unpleasant neighbours such as Syria and Iran with whom they have forged a working relationship. They have good relations with Moscow.  They are a functioning democracy which respects the rule of law, although they accept more needs to be done to respect human rights. Economic reforms have meant that inflation has been reduced from 72%  to about 8%  and that their deficit is 16% of GDP. They are becoming a prosperous economy. Turkey is also a land bridge for the secure supply of oil and gas to the West from Central Asia and the Middle East without which our economies would grind to a halt.

So why are there such howls of protests at Turkey joining the EU from France and Germany? Well, although the country is enshrined constitutionally as secular, they are a predominantly Muslim nation. But they are moderates. The Burka is banned. Shia law doesn’t  apply and they have the same view of Islamic extremism we do. They exemplify by example, that Islam really is based on peace and justice. Our enemies are theirs. And most important of all, unlike the rest of the Middle East, they are not a client state of the USA and not dependant on the almighty dollar.  Better still, they  have a fiercely independent foreign policy, Good heavens, they even recognize the State of Israel.

Cameron recognizes the strategic, economic and political importance of early membership, as does Obama. What they find so incomprehensible is a leaderless and rudderless Europe, sleepwalking into making a stupid and potentially dangerous decision not based on fact, but born out of emotion and prejudice. It’s time Europe woke up and smelled the coffee; it’s Turkish.

The Gibson Inquiry has destroyed David Miliband’s leadership hopes; it is the shackle in the room.

July 8th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Politics can be cruel, wicked and unfair. For a government to be rightly accused of sacrificing innocent lives in  an unjust and political war is unforgivable; Sir John Chilcott will decide. For a government to be rightly accused of complicity in torture and flights of rendition, is an indictment of everything this country stands for; Sir Peter Gibson will decide. But whatever lapses of judgement, flights of fancy, megalomania, downright stupidity or just plain toadying to the Americans, the Blair regime may be guilty of by invading Iraq, nobody can accuse him of not taking responsibility for his actions. History may treat him with disdain, dislike and perhaps even ridicule, but at least he stood up for what he believed to be right. Although he was horribly wrong. Iraq will hang like a black and fetid cloud over Labour for a very long time.

But the invasion of Iraq seems almost a minor inconsequence compared to the tacit approval or active encouragement of torture. Cameron is no fool. He ordered this inquiry for two reasons. Firstly, because of an incomprehensible horror burned into our collective British DNA  that ministers might have turned a blind eye to a wickedness worthy of Zimbabwe or any South American dictatorship. Secondly, the allegations, if left hanging in the air, will be a recruiting sergeant  for the enemies of our way of life. If we are shown to have a morality no better than the purveyors of hate and terror, what moral right do we have to pursue them to the ends of the earth? If ministers, of any government, have approved, turned a blind eye or just casually shrugged  to complicity in torture, then our democracy will deserve the flames of eternal damnation. There will have to a cleansing and that will require political blood. So here is where it all becomes unfair. Jack Straw will obviously be the first on the list for human sacrifice. But he’s enough of an old pro on the way out to not care an awful lot, except, perhaps for his footnote in history. But what of his successor, David Miliband?  He’s seen the papers. He’s asked the questions; there will be a paper trail. Let us make the traditional British presumption of innocence until proved guilty. That is both fair and right. If he was just Shadow Foreign Secretary, perhaps he could weather the storm. But he is the bookies favourite to be Labour’s next leader. From now on at every hustings there will be a lingering suspicion, the shackle in the room. And if he wins? This inquiry is going to last for a year. The leaks, the hearings, the endless speculation will be relentless and will detract from any hope of Labour rising from the ashes. I rather like David Miliband and hope for all our sakes that he is vindicated. But his leadership hopes died the moment this inquiry was announced.

I hope all ministers are vindicated. But if not,there will be an indelible stain on everything this great and tolerant country stands for. Please let us be better than the rest.

Tags [ , , ]

Categories [ politics ]

Comments [ 2 ]

Leave your comment

Diane Abbott could be the Nick Clegg of the Leadership Election

June 12th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

One of the many pleasures of not being a tribune of the people, is that I don’t have to pretend to have the slightest interest in football. The, “get pally with the lumpen proletariat”,  is a New Labour phenomenon, not to be aped by the Cameroons. This patronising, testosterone fuelled laddism, was designed not just to show how cool and in touch everyone was, but also to exclude. As a member of the press gallery in the heady days of Campbell,  you could see ambitious young journos embracing the culture of the terrace in order to rub shoulders and clunk pints in manly,ersatz chummyness, to grab a story. Now some people did like all this sort of thing. Michael Foot was a genuine supporter and worshipped his team. But he didn’t make a big display of it. We know now that Blair’s interest in football was cynically illusory, with Campbell providing the briefings.

However, before I get too pious, my ego did get a boost when I was asked to play in a charity match at Wembley. The proper one. Not this horrible temple of Rastafarian Gothic, whose turf has been laid more times than Katie Price. And what’s more, I scored a goal. So here we were, proudly marching through the famous tunnel, to find that the cheering crowds were not for us, but the greyhounds, who out of  sheer nerves had turded our graceful exit. What my team had failed to realise was that my knowledge of football is comparable with Paris Hilton’s grasp of Wittgenstein. Halfway through the game, I found myself motoring through player after player and heading for the goal, and to to the back of the net it sailed. Elation! But no hugs for me. Sadly, I hadn’t realised you change ends at half time.

So it is a breath of fresh air that Diane Abbott will not be troubling us with all this football nonsense. I really don’t believe for one moment that she can possibly win the Labour leadership election, but I have a sneaking feeling that she may turn out to be the Nick Clegg of the contest and dynamise the debate. David Miliband may rue the day that in a selfless act of opportunism,  he redistributed some of his lobby fodder so that she could appear on the ballot paper. Perish the thought that any of them will actually vote for her. How refreshing that a white middle class, middle aged  man should give a black woman an opportunity to fail. Although to be fair to Miliband, he probably thought it was equal opportunities for someone from Cambridge to have a crack at it. But the ballpark has radically changed. MPs are now just a small part of the electoral equation and Abbott will grasp the opportunity to show the grass roots that she doesn’t have the baggage of war and the pilfering of the poor. She could portray herself as a radical in the style of Labour’s founding fathers, championing the underclass. Already, serious political commentators like Simon Carr are beginning to take her seriously. Good heavens, she’s even been love bombed by Eric Pickles. Not a pretty sight.

Her advantage is that she stands out from the achingly predictable, monochrome morass of failure and mediocrity. She could resonate with the faithful in such a way that could prompt a “stop Abbott” response from the others. It won’t be long before that Iago of the candidates, the ghastly Balls, will be pouring poison into the ears of the press against her and Charlie Whelan’s Unite phone banks going into meltdown.

Many years ago, when Diane was first elected I saw her on the Terry Wogan Show saying that she was quite prepared to pair with a Tory on uncontentious votes. Swiftly, I penned a charming note with a photo, offering my services. A couple of weeks later the photo was returned. This could be my great chance to end those sleepless nights. Until I noticed two lovingly crafted words scrawled  on it. FUCK OFF. This girl has judgement. She will do well.

Comments [ 2 ]

Leave your comment