Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Tories' Second General Election Strategy?

Well. This new poll, predicting that UKIP will be in second place in 100 UK Parliamentary Constituencies after the May General Election, adds a new twist to a likely Tory second General Election strategy. Goes something like this:

Provided Labour secure anything short of an overall majority, the Tories will not allow anyone else (but the Tories) to form a government after the General Election in May. They can still do this. The constitutional convention is that the government in power remains in power until they resign.

They present a full legislative program, full of goodies, to Parliament, daring the opposition parties to join forces and defeat the list of goodies. In particular, they include the legislation required to stage the in-out EU Referendum, and legislation to allow only English MP's to vote on laws for England.
This does two things:

1) It puts certain MP's in a quandary, because they don't want to be seen voting against a EU Referendum, when UKIP might be in second place in their constituency.

2) It puts Labour MP's from England in difficulties, because the issue of letting Scots vote on English laws is especially sensitive in northern England, where folks feel they should have as much devolved power as Scotland. If SNP loudly vote against such legislation, and any Labour MP has joined them in voting against what is known as EVEL (English Votes for English Laws), again those Labour MP's might well suffer in a second General Election.

If the Tories win the vote on their program by use of such devices, they stay in power. If they lose, they go back to the country, and hammer the naysayers for voting down goodies, EU Referendum and EVEL.

Voters in those seats with UKIP in second place, having seen how close UKIP got, and being generally disillusioned that the first Election produced a stalemate, or elected MP's who then voted against goodies, a EU Referendum and/or EVEL, those voters then move to UKIP in a second Election. Possibly producing as many as 50 UKIP MP's, taken mostly and equally from Labour and the Tories, with a few from the Liberal Democrats.

Net result? Cameron loses about 20 seats to UKIP. But gains a likely partner (in UKIP). Who have just secured 50 seats. And reduced Labour by 20. Likely making the Conservatives the new largest party in Parliament. Able probably to form a new government in coalition with UKIP. Or to enter into a confidence and supply agreement with UKIP. Sneaky, huh?

Did I miss anything? Hey. Wake up ... !!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

How Thatcher's Government Covered Up A Pedophile Ring

And so, the sleaze and corruption of the British Government of the Eighties finally hits American shores. And I'm not talking about my book. Although the two are linked.

The article in the Daily Beast about political pedophile rings is a bit simplistic. But that is to be expected. It took me some twenty years to understand the machinations of the British Establishment.

The next important point to note is that British political parties of all hue are going to get savaged by this scandal. The filth may have occurred during the Thatcher years, but every government since has covered it up.

Why is it all coming out now? I don't really have a clue. Certain folks are dying. Society is more open. Nothing can stay hidden in the age of social media. We all suddenly became angels. Take your pick. All I do know is that, back in the Eighties, British society was definitely more closed than it is now.

How was this allowed to happen? How was it able to happen? I wrote recently about how the British Establishment worked back then. No point in repeating myself. Read that post.

I knew a little about this. A number of the gentlemen's circles referenced in my post operated tangentially to the Conservative Party. I was well aware of senior politicians who used the annual Party Conference as an opportunity to step out with whatever beau happened not to be their spouse. There were rumors of seedier activity. But only rumors.

The connection with my book is that one of those gentlemen's circles was the one benefiting from kickbacks associated with the burgeoning arms trade, kickbacks which found their way to senior figures within the Conservative Party and Government.

My book is the story of how I discovered that my dead mate was one of those who set up the operation which laundered those kickbacks.

It has become increasingly clear to me that any investigation of any one of these gentlemen's circles is met with stiff rebuff from Britain's intelligence services.

I am still not sure which is regarded as the darkest secret: the arms dealing, the pedophilia, or something yet to come to light. But it is my opinion that someone somewhere is very concerned that investigation of one circle will lead to exposure of the others. And so investigation of all is suppressed.

My book details the suppression I experienced over the course of my exposure of the political corruption associated with arms dealing - corruption which has continued since the Thatcher years, and which therefore taints all of the major political parties in Great Britain.

There is one further, and for me very poignant, link between my book and this developing scandal. One of the first British journalists to write about the political pedophilia of the Seventies and Eighties was Simon Regan.

Simon Regan was Editor of an investigative journal called Scallywag. He wrote about abuse in boys' homes in North Wales back in the Eighties. Simon was excoriated by his fellow journalists and disowned by the political establishment.

But he became my friend. We finally hooked up in the early Noughts. He took a huge interest in what I was doing, and very generously offered to help me write the book. He died of ill health before he could help me.

He saw the connection, as I did, between all of the machinations of the British Establishment in the Eighties. He was a beacon of light for me, during years when I felt nothing but darkness and rejection, except from my closest family and a few enlightened souls like him.

He displayed immense courage tackling powerful forces all on his own. I wish he were alive to see what my meager efforts may be now be about to unleash.

For I do feel that this is the year it will all come crashing down. The scandals being exposed by the official investigations into establishment pedophilia in Great Britain will eventually meet up with the allegations in my book about that same establishment and its illicit arms dealing. And who knows what else.

This post didn't start out as a homage to Simon. But it is fitting that it has become one. And a salute to all those brave citizens who are not prepared to sit by idly while those they have entrusted with authority abuse it in the belief that they are too powerful to be caught and brought to justice.

Facebook comments here.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

How David Cameron could win the general election but not the keys to No 10 - Double Yawn

I love it when UK political pundits take their own wishful thinking and present it as scientific analysis. Let me have a shot. Actually using figures provided by the Labour-leaning quality newspaper in the article here.

First, voting intentions have not been stable in the UK since last November. At that time, with the UKIP bubble still at its height, Labour were recording an average 3% lead. I've checked. I could find only one acknowledged Tory poll lead, and that was for 1%.

Since then, the landscape has quite steadily moved in the direction of the Tories. Currently, leaving out wombat pollsters like Survation, the average Tory lead is about 1%.

But then you start looking at the narrative, and the situation becomes really interesting.

The last couple of weeks, on the face of it, have been quite dreadful for the Tories. Billionaire Tory donors, merrily skipping to elite fund-raising balls, and doing the tax-dodging fandango with drug-money banks and simpering toff Tory Cabinet Ministers from Eton.

Immigration out of control. Pledges broken. The NHS in about the same condition as most of its patients. Weakness on Syria. Weakness on Ukraine. And to top it all, Malcolm Rifkind.

In 1997, John Major had a booming economy, and yet he lost in a landslide, 'cos a couple of his MP's couldn't keep their trousers on.

And yet, in the past ten days, three separate polls, two of them in left-wing newspapers, have shown a 2% Tory lead, for like the first time in three years. Not to mention the analysis in the newspaper article linked to, which oh so casually, sniff, just happens to mention that, well, the Tories just might, kick cat, be the largest party in May.

This isn't scientific evidence of stability. This is a begrudging admission of defeat, three months before the Election itself.

And no-one wants to admit the rather uncomfortable reasoning behind the recognition of defeat.

Deep down, at some point in the past two to three weeks, folks have actually started to become scared of Labour.

This is the difference between Major and Cameron, notwithstanding all the recent bad headlines for the Tories. People weren't scared of Blair in 1997.

For sure, folks in the UK have no love for toffs, squires and billionaires. We invented the Peasants' Revolt. But right now, those scumbags know how to make money, that money makes jobs, it supports the Tories, and the Tories know how to run an economy which also makes jobs.

Trade unions don't make jobs. Trade unions support Labour. And Labour don't seem to be able to announce an economic measure that doesn't include a tax rise. Heck, even that nice man Vince Cable calls Labour "economically illiterate."

For a while, people were buying the line about Labour being better for the NHS. But again, there seems to have been a palpable shift in the past month. Folks suddenly, quietly get that you can only fix the NHS with a healthy economy.

As for immigration, whether it is due to UKIP, Cameron or Merkel, people have finally got that message, too. The immigration fiasco is due to Europe. And the only party in a position to do anything about Europe is the Conservative Party.

There are some other bits and pieces. But, the bottom line is, people are finally, begrudgingly, buying the Tory brand.

The author of this analysis keeps on weighing matters in terms of the rising and falling fortunes of the minor parties. But he and others are 'missing' the most important factor: folks are finally giving up on Labour for this election cycle.

And it gets worse. This is only what is visible. I wasn't expecting a regular Tory lead of 1% until the end of March.

If it is appearing this soon, who knows how many people out there feel the same way, but can't yet bring themselves to admit it to a pollster?

Then we come to the chatter about what will happen if the Tories are the largest party. Sigh. For here we come up against woeful ignorance of the constitutional rules.

Those rules, or conventions, changed after the last General Election, in 2010, as we advanced towards the formation of the LibCon Coalition Government.

It used to be that the sitting Prime Minister called the shots, even if he or she were no longer the head of the largest party in Parliament.

If they felt they could not command the confidence of the House of Commons, either they could choose to step aside in favor of the party with the most seats, or they could call a second election.

After 2010, especially with the passage of the Fixed-Terms Parliaments Act in 2011, that all changed. After the results are finalized, the Cabinet Secretary now automatically calls on the leader of the largest party to attempt to form a government.

Now. We could descend into a deliciously geeky discussion about whether or not this is actually the new rule. But the bottom line is this: as a consequence of what happened in 2010, which became the de facto new norm, a sitting Prime Minister, who no longer heads the largest party, might squirm for a week, but eventually, he or she would have to concede to the leader of the new largest party.

If the latter remains the Tories, they ain't going to waste time trying to form a Coalition. They don't have to. Under the terms of the Fixed-Terms Parliaments Act, they have only to follow the new procedures.

There is automatically a fixed term of five years for the new Parliament. The Tories will forge ahead in minority.

They could choose to do next to nothing in Parliament. Continue to preside over an ever-improving economy. While allowing all of the legislative reforms of this past Parliament to take hold. And just wait out the five year fixed term.

They could supplement this with a Presidential style of government out of 10 Downing St. Using Orders-in-Council, the UK equivalent of US Presidential Executive Orders. Who needs coalition?

If the other parties sought to derail them with regular votes of no confidence in Parliament (the only trigger for an election, bypassing the five year fixed term), the Tories would go back to the country with the line that all the other parties were conspiring to upset the wishes of the electorate and the attendant, continuing economic recovery.

Or, the Tories could quite boldly force an immediate second election by simply presenting to Parliament a comprehensive program the other parties would have to defeat.

It is generally agreed this strategy would seriously disadvantage the Labour Party, which simply wouldn't have the funds to fight a second election so soon.

Bottom line: the truly striking aspect of this analysis is that the UK's leading left-wing quality newspaper is so openly discussing the prospect of a Tory victory three months before the General Election. All the rest is so much embarrassed shoe-shuffling.

Taint of super-rich stops the Tories in their tracks - Yawn

Spot of UK politics geekdom. The narrative in the UK at the moment is: if the Tories are winning the argument, how come they ain't surging in the polls? In my opinion, this is the wrong narrative. It ought to be: if the Tories are regarded as such a nasty bunch of billionaire-loving, tax-dodging sleazes, who hate poor people, how come they ain't bombing in the polls?

The answer to all of this, in my humble opinion, is very simple. This election is about jobs. The ones we got, and don't want to lose. Or the ones we want the kids to get.

So it is that Labour make great play of the fact that the CEO of newly-merged chain pharmacy Boots-Alliance-Walgreens, who is worth an estimated $10 billion, dodges UK taxes by living in Monte Carlo.

Frankly, Joe Ordinary doesn't care. He might care in 2020, or 2025. But right now, he wants a job that pays enough that he doesn't need a government handout. And if the Boots guy can sell him cheap pharmaceuticals and give him a job, he doesn't give a toss where Stefano Pessina lives, or how many yachts he owns.

The author of the article linked above thinks that the Tories would be doing better if they did the hoodie-hugging thing all over again. Wrong. The mood of Joe Ordinary changed after the Great Recession.

Again, Joe will feel all gooey and huggy when he feels his job is safe. For all the good news on a UK macro-economic level, Joe ain't stupid. He knows he ain't out of the woods yet.

So. He'll support the boys who are in bed with the billionaires, so he can get a job and cheap groceries. And he'll vote for the guys who want to reduce any drag there may be on his chances for economic survival. Which means the political party which positions itself as anti-Europe, anti-immigrant, tough on welfare recipients, and tough on companies that don't give sensible pay rises. Er. That would be the Tories. Eventually. When people tire of UKIP. Which they seem to be doing already.

Is Joe going to tell the pollsters this? Heck no. It's embarrassing. What folks are telling pollsters at the moment is who they want to vote for, not who they are going to vote for. And come the day, they will not be voting for Miliband.

Check out this article by the Deputy Director of Labour progressive group Progress. It sounds like he's claiming that people on the doorstep are saying: hey, we love Labour, but ...

That's what they ought to be saying. Three months away from a General Election. After the most stringent austerity program ever. After a week which highlighted the close connection between toff Tory Cabinet Ministers and tax-dodging billionaire Tory donors.

Actually, what they are saying is: we hate the Tories, but ...

So what, I hear you say? I've done the door-knocking routine. In what we call a 'caravan' of supporters. A parade of cars arrives. All noise and color. Balloons. Leaflets. Happy smiles. Can we count on you on polling day?

It takes a tough soul to say anything other than the usual litany of side-steps. Er. I'll be there. You know I'll do the right thing. I like the color of your bus.

Yet, here is a seasoned political campaigner letting slip that he heard that the Tories and Labour were neck and neck. That folks were saying anything nice about the Tories. Trust me, you have to read between the lines. Such a response on the doorstep spells looming disaster for Labour.

At this stage of the game, I'm going to stick my neck out a bit further. I think the Tories are going to win, with a very small overall majority. And Labour will actually lose a few seats overall. Not to the Tories. But to SNP (in the main) and to UKIP (a bit; possibly one seat; possibly Grimsby; but lots of votes; which may hand some seats to the Tories).