Archive | July, 2014

New Zealands Rotten Boroughs

28 Jul

So there we have it …no wait.

Old Sarum , a British parliamentary constituency used to send 2 MPs to Parliament. The problem is no one lived there , they hadnt for several hundred years. The owner of the houses that remained owned the vote for the two MPs. There was only ever one contest ( I think its a long time ago ) and the Refoem Act finally abolished the seat in the 19th century. Rotten boroughs , and pocket boroughs were seen by Conservative elements as providing stability and opportunity for new young MPs.

Oh the irony, that young(ish) New(ish) Conservative(ish) Colin Craig must wish he could get some pocket borough rotten borough love from Mr Key. How he must wish he was seen as valaubale as ACT or United Future. Mr Dunne who has spent the last 3 years becoming discredited still gets the special treatment, Mr Craig does not. Maybe he wasnt nice enough , Maybe Key has stronger views on the moon landing than we thought.

But wait …the real story isnt the dumping of Craig , its the continual carrying of ACT and United Future, providing a 2 seat cushion for Key and shortening his odds for a third time. Now its all over to Winston , Democracies only hope….

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In the fascist toilet …part two

21 Jul

It used to be a touchstone issue when I was younger. You knew someone was a complete and utter arse if they said anything along the lines of ” Enoch Powell was right ..” and often people seemed to. It was a code you see for being a racist , but they just wanted to appear intellectual about it. Of course whenever you heard ( and maybe still occasionally do hear ) this , it was a red light to me. Oh was he right about what ….his views on Airey Neaves murder , which when recently raised by a TV programme caused daily mail outrage ? His mad views on the Health system ..no you don’t remember that , his views on Northern Irelands role in the UK , yes he was sort of proved wrong on that , is it his views on the monetary system ? his homosexual poetry …odd how people got uncomfortable about that. Many of Enochs ” fans” would be quick put off by..volcano shafts and his secret ?? No , was it his views the crucifixion ? No okay its racism isn’t it ? No matter how much Simon Heffer et al protest Powells rivers of blood speech is racist.

Powell became a byword for the issue of immigration. His supporters not understanding really what he had said ( here i agree with Heffer ) just latched onto it . Of course he was hopelessly wrong, in fact pathetically wrong. His logic was built on error , which was a contradiction to the didactic Powell and as many have pointed out he was just trying to mobilise a mass. Roy Hattersley correctly terms him ” the alf garnett of british politics ” except Garnett we hoped was a figure to laugh at , Powell had serious supporters. And he still does , Nigel Hastilow a Tory parliamentary candidate used the phrase ” Enoch Powell was right ” in a leaflet in 2007, and David Starkey seemed to be exploding his own ” volcano shaft ” in 2011 saying the riots proved him right , despite the total lack of race contained within them.

Of course he was wrong , he predicted that by 1985 the black man would have the whip hand in this country. Not only an appalling use of language for a group of people subjected to 400 years of slavery , but not tru..look athe Cameron Cabinet all those whip hands are very white…

Anyway , Powell was as close to a fascist senior politician the british have seen for many years. His dark desire to be killed in uniform makes him sound more like Milosevic than Churchill. Indeed his linguistic dances on the heads of pins and his appeal to only speaking what is presented to him makes closer to those antagonistic Yugoslav politicians of the 80s and 90s than his fans would admit.

The 70s. One day I will write a book about british politics in the 70’s. Not the sort of Sandbrooke book but one that looks at the way political culture was smashed , bashed , removed and rebuilt. Where ideology went down the toilet and the Right flushed the chain. The path to Thatcher was paved with so many mistakes and the rewriting creates heros out of villains and vice versa.

In Simon Heffers biography he requotes the story , given by Powell that Powell met Wilson half a dozen times in the toilets at Westminster to discuss the tactics around his speeches during the Feb 74 election. In fact it is even narrowed down to the toilets in the Aye lobby. Haines destroys this theory of the meeting of bladders in his ” glimmers of twilights”. The timeframes don’t make much sense , the ability for 2 senior politicians to discuss business in the toilets was impossible and discusses the tactics employed by a Journalist in making the contacts through Haines not Wilson.

Ah well , Powells fans would like to believe his preeminence in the 74 election and continue to portray this myth…Powell pissing in the Fascist toilet while the leader of the opposition listens intently and thanks him kindly.

The Coming of the Election ….

18 Jul

Elections are like Birthdays , they inevitably turn up , you have no reason to have not planned or expected them and yet when they are getting close you just wish they would go away. Elections also seem to define the rhythm of mainstream political life. Like some old testament linkages Rowling begat Muldoon begat Lange begat Palmer ( remember him ? ) you get the idea.

Well there’s no going back , the election campaign is going to keep coming. And sitting at the apex of his political powers it seems is Key. Flying high in the polls , his party way above any other, a man who hasn’t had a policy idea since 2008 and that was the national cycleway, a man who seems to have the philosopher’s stone of political success. He does nothing for no one but somehow everyone thinks ” great bloke ” , and so ordinary with his hawai holiday home and 50 million dollar trust fund. Well his main problem is this aint FPP. Key might need a friend or two by September. He might have his own rotten borough in Epsom but is that enough ?

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So this is what his MPs have to do , drive around with a picture of themselves on a car. Sure they are never going to have that embarrassing moment when you can’t find your car in the supermarket car park. But they are not likely to escape any crime scene easily. I wasnt sure if the act of leaving this car on a forecourt while buying petrol was classed as electioneering. But anyway this election may be decided on the margins. Although im not convinced. I think KEy and his fanboys will claim victory on election night despite not having a majority and let everyone else catch them up. And there’s plenty chasing..

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..on this poster there are parties who look like they are being made up on the spot. Focus ? Does it matter probably not but to paraphrase Rousseau the election is the moment of freedom , everyone wants to be part of the confinement that follows.

And this road trip , I don’t get it

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it seems like some awful film plot. These three in a car driving around the provinces convincing us of all things Intermanaish. The leader of the party now believes her ” owner” shouldnt even be here…this leaves for a few awkward silences don’t you think ? And what exactly is the relevance of the cat ? 20140716_142332 The gagged cat is it Dotcom ? Is it the intermana ? Is it us ? You ? Me ? Cats ? Animals in general ??please explain. I don’t like to see cats in this way , its disturbing. To me and the cat, all cats. Is John Key in league with Dogs ? I know Peter Dunne wants to torture them or something for cosmetic experiments , but maybe the Cat would be in favour of that ? Perhaps I am not the target market ?

It s coming , and I don’t want to do predictions but I feel this is Winstons last shot at power. I don’t think he will lead in 2017 so these signs may come down 20140703_125615 or they may go to Dover Samuels ? I don’t care and never have.

There is one guy ecstatic at the moment though 20140711_135808

Ooh Ahh Jackie Straw

17 Jul

There was a sketch on the Saturday Night Armistice about the Jack Straw fan club. I used to find this hilarious. Of all people why would anyone be a fan of Jack Straw. And yet theres a sincere earnestness to him that seemed right to rib, You were embarrassed and horrified at the same time as entertained. Why shouldnt he have a fan club ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIVtS1CTzjw….it starts at about 16.45 if your interested.

I found myself amongst the memoirs. I have avoided many of the Blair era big ones. One day one will be the one to read, or maybe you need to cut and paste them all together ( a job for Dominic Sandbrooke perhaps ?).
Yet Jack Straws appealled. It appealled because it was always clear he had a love for being a politician that shone through, above any ideology, because his son dealt drugs and because he was Foreign Secretary during the Iraq war. The biggest Foreign policy issue for years. What would he say , well…

Before that , his early life is dealt with in an open and engaging way. He is aware of his breaks, he downplays his role in the Norman Scott file issue, but then he would. As a politician he is remarkably Conservative ( not surprisingly so ) a Labour John Major if a pair was needed.
He waxes large on Education in a way traditional COnservatives would have loved him to be their man. No 60’s nonesense about being pupil centric.In Government he writes about calamity jack in a gracious way , given that none of us remember any of the issues he feels so bad about.

His sense of irony and humour go beyond satire.” I will tell you why I supported the war abd how I could have stopped it but didnt”. At this point you move closer to the page. Then he just goes all Judith Chalmers on us, tells us about all the flights and answers neither of the issues he said he would.
He seems to be the only Cabinet Minister who didnt really have a view or experience of the whole Blair/Brown thing. He thought Brown would be ok , but could have done better, he wore tights and lasted longer than anyone else.

A strange memoire , readable, likeable but I have no idea what he thinks.