Would Britain benefit from more political parties? — July 17, 2012

Would Britain benefit from more political parties?

[EDIT: Consider this argument post-electoral reform, not under FPTP ~ Cheers for this guys!]

We’re at a stand-still in British politics, cynics will call it the “mid-term blues” but I think it goes further than that. There is huge political apathy in Britain, voter turnout is continuously falling and the expenses scandal, combined with nearly every other scandal since has done nothing to disprove that all MPs are as “bad as each other.”

Britain has been a two-Party state now for long over 70 years, with many scholars and authors talking about a post-War consensus between the Labour Party and the Conservatives. You can debate the validity of such an idea until the cows come home (I know, I wrote 3,000 words on it easily!) The undeniable fact is that we live in a two-Party state, with no other Party seemingly able to make a significant impact. This is exasperated by the fact that the main Parties have rushed to the centre-ground in recent years, not really daring to be radical (seen as a dirty word) or too different from their opponents, in fear of losing votes. The 2010 General Election threw up an anomaly, allowing the Liberal Democrats to hold the key to power, but it was far from an election victory for the Party in the grand scheme of things. So, just how do we break the two Party stranglehold on power?

Split them up.

There are obvious divides with in all three major parties, with MPs and grassroots members forever moaning at their executive or backbenchers. The Labour Party remains divided and has been since 1994, even his name irks the Left of the Party. Tony Blair and his Blairite followers have been sidelined by Ed Miliband and the Unions, perfectly demonstrated by the attack on Progress (a “Blairite” think tank). So the Labour Party could easily split, with David Miliband leading a Blairite Labour movement. Allowing Ed Miliband to revive the Left and take his Party back to electoral abyss (or not, who knows what the electorate want)!

In the Tories the divide is as glaringly obvious. Cameron has attempted to modernise the Tories, and people within the Party don’t like it. Let Cameron start the New Conservatives, a more socially liberal Tory Party. Nadine Dorries and her socially backward friends can continue to conserve society, heck she might even bring back Feudal law or make Priests all powerful. We will call this Party the Dinosaur Party, complete with socially conservative members, incapable of moving on from 1872.

There is of course a split in the Liberal Democrats too. We’re far too often accused of “infighting” and not focusing on the other two Parties, but I’d say we’re guilty of it no more than other Parties. The Social Liberal Forum exists to promote just that, social liberal society, but for some (including me) that isn’t enough. They are happy to allow for the state to grow and support higher taxation and Keynesian policies. The “Orange Book” liberals, or classical liberals ‘run the Party executive’ and annoy the SLF with our all-round liberalness, including our economic liberalness (smaller state, lower taxes). The SLF could continue as the Liberal Democrats, headed by Tim Farron (the epitome of a “Lefty-Liberal”) and the [Classical] Liberal Party could be spear-headed by David Laws/Jeremy Browne.

Heck, even UKIP are divided. Their older, (slightly) xenophobic wing exist solely to leave the EU and berate life in general. They have a more socially liberal, even libertarian wing in the YI. They want an even smaller state than many of the “classic liberals.”

So instead of a two-Party state, we could have a real democracy with 6/8 smaller Parties. The great benefit is that people can choose a Party that really fits with their views, rather than having to settle into a Party that often conflicts with their ideals. Nobody agrees with every decision their Party makes, if you do, you are either a loyal MP, or a moron, incapable of engaging your own brain.

Here’s a (wild) estimation of where the Parties would exist on Political Compass.

Two quick polls:

I agree with Ed — May 1, 2012

I agree with Ed

Yes, believe it or not – I agree with Ed Miliband. Trust me, I was as surprised as you are. You are in the right place I promise you. A Conservative is openly agreeing with Ed Miliband. Worse yet, its yet another Tory policy I disagree with. Maybe I am in the wrong Party after all

This week’s horror show policy idea (baring in mind its only Tuesday!) is the idea to give married couples a tax break. To many, on the face of it this doesn’t seem like such a bad policy, but trust me – it is.

“A High Court judge is launching a campaign to champion the institution of marriage as “the most stable family structure” for raising children.” What a load of garbage. I don’t know what reality this judge is living in, but there are plenty of people who are brought up by single parents, step-parents and same-sex parents. The idea that children are better off simply because their parents remain married is bogus, its a sweeping generalisation. Children are individuals, whose cases will differ from child to child.

As Ed Miliband so succinctly put it (never thought I’d write that here!)

“But in the end what matters most is the strength of your commitment and whether you provide a good and loving home to your children. That comes in different forms. It’s really important to say that.”

But there is a more philosophical point behind this policy idea. To give married couples any form of tax break suggests to the public that being married is better than cohabiting. The Government is encouraging people to get married with a tax incentive, it is clearly stating that marriage is the better option for couples and that people should be rewarded for remaining married. It is social engineering in its most blatant form.

The state should remain neutral in social issues such as this, it shouldn’t be showing a preference to one party over another.

Beyond the sorry mess of the idea, how would they go about implementing the policy? Would it be for all married couples? Couples married after the tax break is introduced? How much would it cost? How would they cut it off? Would it be a flat tax break, or progressive? Would it encourage more “sham” marriages? Would same-sex couples receive it? (I highly doubt this by the way, this is a policy being pushed by the Right of the Party, who are against “marriage” for same-sex couples – making the policy even more repugnant).

Overall, tax breaks are a shambolic idea being suggested by the Right wing of a Party who wants less state intervention, but is paradoxically suggesting the complete opposite.

Ed Miliband is completely right to oppose the policy and for that, I congratulate him.

Is is time for me to leave the Conservatives? — April 25, 2012

Is is time for me to leave the Conservatives?

Well, well, well. Omnishambles indeed. Where to start? The Conservatives have had an absolute disastrous month or so. I might as well start with the biggest of all screw ups. The UK is back in recession. There’s no spinning the fact, back to back quarters of negative growth is a disaster, it puts the UK in real danger, the Eurozone is a mess and the UK could lose its credit rating and the markets confidence, which was crucial to George Osborne’s Plan A.

Recent news this past week offered the UK some “good news” the Government was borrowing less than before, a fall in real terms of approximately 10% to (wait for it)… £126bn. It’s not a fall in borrowing at all, its a fall in the rate. Conservatives and Cameron especially are quick to remind Labour that you don’t get out of a debt crises by piling on more debt. But that is EXACTLY what the Coalition is doing. Austerity hasn’t even kicked in yet, with estimates that 15% of the spending cuts have actually occurred as of this month. There is a lot more to come, and sadly Plan A isn’t working right now.

Worryingly for the people of Britain, the alternative to Plan A offered up by Labour seems to be a mix between taxing bankers and spending the same money, a number of times over and a Keynesian borrowing scheme. In reality they have no costed, credible alternative, and as Ed Miliband and his followers will tell you, its all part of the electoral game. The Coalition’s plan clearly isn’t working, but, and we can only play counterfactuals here, the Labour borrowing plan would be far worse.

Moving on to Yesterday’s fiasco. Jeremy Hunt is being hounded to resign (at the time of writing his Special Advisor has just resigned) because of his role in News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB. Hunt is accused of essentially pushing the deal through for News Corp. and not remaining impartial in his role. Another blow for the Conservatives. But guess what, once again Labour are guilty of hypocrisy. Ed Miliband called on Vince Cable to be sacked for standing up to the Murdochs, now wants Hunt sacked for rolling over for them? Its hardly like the Labour Party were never close to the Murdoch’s, or gave them access to their highest ministers. I’m sure Tony Blair never spoke to Rupert Murdoch – despite being a Godfather to one of his children.

So where does a disgruntled Conservative turn? Certainly not to Labour. They lack credibility on the economy, they are an opportunistic Party, too concerned with playing the electoral game and are stuck with a weak leader propped up by the Unions. If you think I’m wrong to say that – check out Ed Miliband last night. When pushed on what cuts he’d reverse he merely replied that he would “tell you at the next election.” It is utterly deplorable that in such tough times Labour politicians and supporters are more concerned about seeing a Labour majority in 2015 than working constructively with the Coalition.

What about to the Liberal Democrats? Well its certainly not a huge leap across the political spectrum to join the junior party of the Coalition. But it would be political suicide. The Liberal Democrats have been used as cannon fodder. Come 2015 (if the Coalition lasts that long) the British public will be reminded of the Tuition Fee betrayal, a failed attempt at political reform with AV and most likely the House of Lords and frequently backing reform they originally opposed. Worse yet for the Liberal Democrats, their successes will be stolen. It will be COALITION policy that took millions out of income tax all together, COALITION policy that re-introduced the triple lock for pensioners and COALITION policy that tackled tax avoidance. With all the apathy aimed at the Liberal Democrats, I fully expect them (wrongly) to struggle in the Local Elections and subsequently the General Election in 2015.

What about UKIP? Farage Fever took over last week when UKIP polled above the Liberal Democrats. This surge lasted all of a week and ICM/Guardian had them back at 3% shortly after. UKIP have a lot of good policies, there is no mistaking that, but how many of them are feasible? It is easy to promise the World when you have no chance of being asked to deliver. We aren’t going to leave the EU any time soon, we can see that by Osborne sending the IMF another £10bn (a policy Labour aren’t sure if they support or not!) Whilst this is unlikely UKIP will forever remain a one issue Party in the eyes of the electorate. Their welcoming of Roger Helmer, whose views on rape and homosexuality are abhorrent has really put me of UKIP lately. There are a large number of their members who are xenophobic, you only have to ask them about immigration and their desire for a cap. It is not a libertarian party, far from it, it simply has a handful of libertarian members. Crushingly for UKIP, the big two, Labour and the Conservatives destroyed the Yes2AV campaign enshrining a two-party system in the UK for the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t even back UKIP to pick up a single seat in 2015.

The UK political scene is in a dire mess, we have no credible alternatives. Is it time for me, and the country to ditch the Conservative Party just yet? Maybe not, but we’re very close.

Trying to second guess Ed Balls’ logic — April 18, 2012

Trying to second guess Ed Balls’ logic

I might be being overly generous here, but perhaps Ed Balls is playing a political master-stroke today.

He and the ever grating Rachel Reeves have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill which will be debated today. His proposal which you can read here will remove the 45p tax band from 2013. Leaving the top rate of tax officially undecided, or 40p, the next highest band.

But maybe, just maybe it’s a clever move by Balls. Surely the Conservative’s will have to oppose the move, because they have just published a budget calling for a 45p tax band. If they could have afforded to cut the band to 40p, surely they would have done so? So, by calling out the Tories to back a 40p band and then them backing higher taxes, can Balls and Miliband spin their cock up against Osborne and Cameron. Tories voting in favour for higher taxes (as opposed to Labour’s scrapping off it) won’t sit well if it comes out in the media with grass root voters.

As I said, maybe I’m just being kind, maybe its yet another cock up by the ever incompetent Keynesian. After all, they did technically abstain on the bill in the past.

Don’t Be Fooled – Big Money Is Here To Stay — April 16, 2012

Don’t Be Fooled – Big Money Is Here To Stay

Ed Miliband this weekend attempted to con the British Public into believing that he is the man who is finally going to take “big money” out of British politics. He is lying!

Ed took to the Andrew Marr show and proposed that there should be a cap on personal donations to political parties of £5,000. Now there are many reasons why such a cap would be good news for the Labour Party.

Firstly, their finances are in disarray. We can see the effects of this with the Labour Party threatening to block Liam Byrne MP from standing for mayor in Birmingham, primarily because of the cost of a future by-election. If they could drag everybody else down to their level, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about the cost of by-elections and other party spending.

Secondly, the number of “big” donors to the Labour Party in comparison the the Conservatives is paltry. They simply do not inspire they same level of donations.

Finally, suggesting such a low cap (in comparison to the Conservative £50,000) allows them to take the moral high ground on the debate. They can portray the Conservatives as the Party of the Rich. Something they are desperate to “remind” people off as the cuts start to hurt.

And yet, would you believe it. In reality, it’s all a load of codswallop anyway. The cap would have nearly NO effect on financing the Labour Party. The cap would only affect “additional donations” from the trade unions, NOT affiliation fees which is the driving force of the Labour Party. In 2011, the cap would have affected £100,000 worth of donations, which is less than 1% of the £10,056,682 the Labour Party received from trade unions.

Ed Miliband’s latest attempt at political genius is to bankrupt the other political parties whilst still allowing the Labour Party to be run by the trade unions. Sadly Ed, you aren’t fooling anybody.

There is of course an issue with private donations and the influence that it has on British politics. We need only be reminded of the “Cash for Cameron” scandal only a few weeks ago. But is Ed Miliband’s latest attempt sincere? Not in the slightest.

Ed Miliband’s latest bandwagon — March 29, 2012

Ed Miliband’s latest bandwagon

The problem with Twitter is that you are in a bubble, you follow like-minded people and the discussions tend to be about the same topics. With this in mind, I’ve avoided Twitter as much as possible this week, as it seems that the majority of tweets are commentating on an episode of “The Thick of It.”

Last week’s budget “gave the rich a tax cut and decreased the pension relief.” On top of that, we had the Cash for Cameron scandal, but what are people and worryingly politicians focusing on? Pasty-gate. A VAT hike on hot pasties.

Ed Miliband genuinely visited a Greggs over the Pasty tax.

CHRIST ALIVE – GET A FUCKING GRIP.

The Leader of the Opposition is a man who picks his battles, the problem is he picks tiny, insignificant ones. It’s hard to live in a democracy when the Opposition is led by such an imbecile. He should be focusing on the serious, underlying issues that are plaguing the UK, not jumping from one bandwagon to another.

He should be coming out to renounce the impending fuel strike, but seems as his union paymasters are in favour of it, it seems nearly impossible that he will do so. I wonder if we’ll see another repeat of this howler.

Labour under Ed Miliband are an Opposition of one word. That word is No. They are consistently acting as a roadblock to reform for the sake of it.

Here’s something that some are unwilling to say. The Conservatives have had a terrible March, they are making a hash of things. But does anybody really think Ed Miliband is Prime Minister material? Give me a break.

Unimportant. Unelectable. Uncertain? — March 6, 2012

Unimportant. Unelectable. Uncertain?

Today’s car crash interview on BBC Radio 5 Live was just the latest domino in a sequence of embarrassing, cringe-worthy moments for Ed Miliband’s leadership. How long does this floundering leader realistically have left, if Labour truly want to contest the General Election in 2015?

Charles from Wakefield hits the nail on the head. He calls Ed “unelectable” and says he “lacks gravitas and importance”, as well as suggesting that the country needs “a credible Opposition.”

Today’s speech entitled Made in Britain that he made sums Ed Miliband up. It’s an old, useless, feel good rhetoric that politicians of all creeds have been spouting out for years.

Ed sadly lacks any real innovation. He is weak, opportunistic and out of touch with the gravity of the situation that the economic crisis has left us in. He consistently polls badly, falling behind Nick Clegg in many areas. He is seen as the worst leader and  the person least likely to make tough decisions. People mock him, but even worse, they feel sorry for him.

So, who do they turn to? Unsurprisingly, Labour should turn to David Miliband. They should have elected him leader in the first place, but such is the perverse nature of the Labour Party, the Unions vote ultimately swung the election narrowly Ed’s way. David received more nominations from his fellow MPs (81-63) and then received over 10,000 more votes from Labour Party members.

David is seen as the anti-Christ by the Left of the Labour Party, because he is a Blairite. He would move the Party even nearer to a new centre, consensus that is forming in British Politics. Personally I don’t see a problem with this, people come to a consensus if they agree, if people agree in politics, it’s usually because they are doing something right. I’m not suggesting that David would roll over and let the Government do what it wants, far from it. He clearly had his own ideas in his campaign for Leader of the Labour Party. To me, it seems that he would offer more constructive criticism and engage in real politics, not opportunistic point scoring.

Now I know they’ll be Labour/Ed Miliband supporters who will tell me all Opposition leaders do the same. If that’s the best you can come up with, you need to take a hard look at yourself.

Ed Miliband in yet another U-turn shocker — January 21, 2012

Ed Miliband in yet another U-turn shocker

It doesn’t take a political genius to work out that Ed Miliband is in a worrying position. The Conservative Party are leading in the polls, despite high unemployment, poor growth figures and in party tensions over the EU. Last week Ed had his 6th relaunch, a statement which itself shows how badly he is doing. The relaunch was supposedly due to the U-turn Labour had decided to make on spending cuts. Ed Balls, who is probably the biggest Keynesian in UK politics (a term I’m quite sure he doesn’t understand) made the brave decision to back the cuts and said that Labour backed the pay freeze. Labour had seemingly accepted austerity and for the first time in 15 years, some realistic economic policies.

But, of course we all know the Labour Party and Ed Miliband. This was never going to last. Today he has announced he wants a bigger public sector. So his U-Turn lasted less than a fortnight. Today we have a U-U-Turn. Back to business as usual. Back to public spending, back to profligacy, back to the wilderness.

Jane Ellison MP hits the nail on the head: “Following all the confusion and posturing surrounding Ed Miliband’s aborted u-turn on Labour’s economic policy at the weekend, he has showed again how he and his party lack any credibility on tacking the deficit.”

Ed Miliband is a clueless leader, falling ever further behind in the polls on the big questions, such as leadership qualities and trust on the economy. He is openly mocked in the papers and on Twitter. The Save Ed campaign (which I jokingly support) mocks Ed, the Conservatives want Ed Miliband to stay in his post until the end of time, he’s one of their best assets. Yet, for the sake of the country, Ed Miliband needs to be replaced. We deserve a credible Opposition, we need a real voice to question if the policies are right, not the whining, policy devoid, yappy we have right now.

Ed’s very sad because of his compulsion to divide and rule, he says its tactic as old as colonialism.