Posts Tagged 'John Major'

Titanic Labour

Not the force of Greek myth but the early 21st century sinking ship. As the rats leave (Jaqui Smith and Hazel Blears at time of writing), it leaves only the inevitably poor showing in the European elections to draw out the plotters. But no one is brave enough to play the part of Brutus or indeed Michael Heseltine.

The truth is that the Labour party are suffering from government ennui, a desire for change regardless of performance. Labour’s performance in recent years has been lamentable: the impoverished response to the banking crisis, the waste (non jobs in the public sector) of money in the good times, the Iraq retreat debacle, failure to assert itself in Europe. But none of these are election winners or losers. The great British public invariably vote in general elections based on the economy, incompetence, or boredom but rarely ideology. The government have handled things better than in the dying days of the Major administration but one cannot help thinking that only a collapse by the Tories will lead to anything but a 1979-esque rout.

The smell of power has quietened the rabid right wing dogs and their howls of immigration, EU, and low taxes. The hope is that David Cameron will use the 12 months as thinking time to develop a true ideology leading to economic sustainable growth, a viableĀ ‘free’ healthcare system, a resuscitation of our morbid education system, and a foreign policy thatĀ puts the UK and its sphere of influence first.

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Cameron @ the Open University

“No Revolution” but some tinkering necessary and a return of power to the people through personal responsibility, as well as greater independence to individual MPs and accountability of the Executive was the summary of this speech. It feels strange to hear of a right wing leader using the phrase ‘power to the people’ but it is an indication fo where this country has come in the separation of public servants and the public they are meant to serve.
Cameron encapsulated themes he had gone over prior to the expenses row but wrapped them in relevant themes: expenses, over zealous bodies such as the police and councils, ticking of boxes rather than common sense. The theme of subsidiarity is not a new one, I recall John Major using it in an attempt to dilute some typically all encompassing European initiative. However the desire does appear to be there even allowing for the media froth.
I was pleased to see Mr Cameron return to one of my favourite themes of the number of MPs! A reduction of 10% and an equalisation of population sizes is a very good start. It is ridiculous for the UK, especially given the powers of devolution, to have more MPs than India! Also it is farcical that Na h-Eileanan an Iar has 22,000 voters whilst the Isle of Wight has 110,000 voters. This country’s surface area is not so large nor its transport and communications so backward that there is a need for a 5x disparity in (voting) population sizes.
The messy beast that is proportional representation was explicitly torpedoed. I feel that the resulting LibLab concensus would lead us to the constant political mess that is Israel or Italy.
Unfortunately he did not address the West Lothian question, but that is the elephant in the room. It must be addressed in the first post election Parliament.
Europe was addressed by a promise of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty and a desire to have powers returned. I would have thought DC would play this one down since it’s an easy whip to use against his party by the left.
This was a far reaching speech (and my synopsis does not cover all themes) but it was a SMART response to the country’s questions and frustrations.

nb: SMART: http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html


November 2017
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