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Blog : Posts tagged with 'Tories'

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Weekly news

In which we think some people are not entitled to keep their opinions to themselves


Time for a news roundup. Today in the news: Ellenor Bland, a Conservative councillor and parliamentary candidate has been caught forwarding an unfunny poem about illegal immigrants. She said it might have been her husband that did it, not her; but he’s also a Tory councillor, so it doesn’t really make much difference.

I don’t particularly care that some Conservatives might enjoy racist jokes – it’s hardly recent news, after all. I’m more worried that they have such a poor sense of humour. The “poem” has been going around for some time now – several of my colleagues were circulating the email a few weeks back – so it’s hardly news either. The worst thing is what she said to attack the rival politicans who broke the story:

[S]he claimed that the leak was “an infringement of my life”, adding: “I’m finding this all rather tiresome.”

I’m sorry? You want to be a politician, don’t you? If you want to be a politician, even a local councillor, you have to expect people to want to know what your opinions are.* If you do something that seems to demonstrate you have an opinion on a political topic, you can hardly complain when people want to talk to you about it. You can’t pick and choose which opinions you want to discuss.

In other news: someone has been searching the web recently for: “symbolic forest pressure group”. Which is clearly a sign that I should set up a pressure group of my own; I’m just not entirely sure what I want to campaign for (or against). Suggestions, please! Maybe I should campaign for more single-issue campaigns.

* even though, like most politicans, you may well end up straining as hard as you can to prevent people finding them out.

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Vote early, vote often … so long as it’s worthwhile

In which there’s nothing to vote for


As I said yesterday, I’ve been pondering the rather rubbish choice we have in the forthcoming local elections. Checking the candidate list in the local paper, I discovered that in our ward there is a grand total of two candidates for the available seat: one Labour and one Tory. Oh, what a choice I have.

At least, if I don’t vote, I don’t have to worry about letting in any of the Nasty Parties in this ward. The reason we only have a choice of two candidates is that we currently have a hung council governed by a Tory-Liberal coalition. To try to ensure at least some slice of the pie, the local Tories and Lib Dems have agreed that neither can beat Labour on their own.* They’ve also agreed not to compete against each other; each seat has a Labour candidate, and a Tory-Liberal Coalition candidate, although of course they’re careful not to say that out loud.

Now, I know that local politics is important, and should be all about local issues, nothing to do with national politics. The current Tory-Liberal council was elected on local issues – largely, the enormous deficit run up by the previous Labour administration. Nevertheless, on Friday morning, all of the party leaders will be trumpeting their results as being a vote of suppose for their national policies. I can’t bring myself to vote for a party that wants to bring in an expensive and repressive identity-tracking database; and neither can I bring myself to vote for a party run by Norman Lamont’s old sidekick. Right. That’s my vote out of the window, then.

People always complain about voter apathy, but I’m not being apathetic here. I’m making a deliberate choice to abstain, because my choices range from bad to worse. The problem is: I want the parties to realise that I’m not apathetic. So, the plan** is: write to the candidates and tell them why I’m not voting for them. Write to the local Lib Dem leadership and ask them if they really think that their effective merger with the Tories is really a good thing for local democracy. Write a sarcastic letter to Lib Dem head office applauding their “let’s not stand against the Tories” attitude, and asking if they plan to continue it at the next general election. Above all, make sure they all realise that just because I’m not voting, it doesn’t mean I don’t care, or that I’m not interested in local politics. Let’s see if I get any replies.

* The local council follows the standard county-wide voting pattern: red on the council estates and in the Victorian terraces; blue as soon as you get anywhere near fields or big gardens; odd patches of yellow in suburban villages.

** Assuming I am not too lazy

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Stereotypical

In which Boris Johnson might help perpetuate a stereotype


According to yesterday’s Observer, Boris Johnson is planning to stand for election as Rector of Edinburgh University.*

I’m not among the relevant electorate, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Aside from the fact that he can hardly spend much time on the job, it’s hardly going to do very much for the university’s reputation. Edinburgh is already known as the university for posh, rich English kids who aren’t bright enough for Oxbridge; voting for someone who carefully cultivates a reputation for being posh and bumbling is hardly going to help.

* I’m quite pleased that I managed to avoid the cliché of adding “…is planning to follow in Gordon Brown’s footsteps by…” Aaargh, damn, I’ve spoilt it now. At least Brown’s Rectorship had a lasting effect: he annoyed the University management so much that they banned students from standing for the post.

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Time for the political post again

In which we look at political motives


The new Tory leader has jumped right in to the job, and is trying to persuade Liberal Democrats to cross the floor and join his party. Presumably he thinks that the Tory party itself has no hope of attracting new blood – or that politics itself is always a zero-sum game – so is trying to mind-meld. Maybe it’s working. Although there’s sometimes national-level talk of Labour and the Lib Dems working on a similar wavelength, out in the country they are usually fighting like rabid wolves, and Lib Dem-Tory alliances are far more common. In fact, my own local council – the worst local council in the country – is one.

Not only does Cameron’s plan imply he’s given up on attracting new people into politics; but it also makes it look as if he’s already given up on winning the next election outright. His current “I’m more liberal than the Liberals” positioning is paving the way for a hung parliament in 2009 or 2010. In case that happens, he wants to be first in line in the Lib Dems’ doorway. He seems to be hoping that modern politics is all about words, not deeds.* If Cameron says: “I’m a liberal!” he hopes that the voters will all believe him, even though there is little evidence for it in his present and past policies.**

* to be fair, this is after all what governments have been getting away with for the past 25 years.

** to be fair, there’s little evidence of anything in any of the recent ones.

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Nail on the head

In which we consider the ideal qualities of a party leader


(yes, this is the semi-regular political post. Feel free not to read it)

The Conservative Party have had a bit of a problem in the past few years. Apart from the big problem of not winning elections, they have a bit of a problem with credibility. That’s because they have two types of high-level politicians. The sort who were around in the last government, and are thus tarred with the memory of all sorts of bad decisions and dodgy policies. Or, alternatively, the fresh-faced new sort who you’ve never heard of.

So, to get around this, they have apparently come up with a Cunning Plan, and found a leader who is both at once! Hurrah! He isn’t just fresh-faced and youthful.* He isn’t just somebody you’ve never heard of. He’s someone you’ve never heard of, who just happens to be closely associated with some of the Major government’s worst moments too! Jackpot! Clearly, this is an amazing election-winning strategy which will lead to unstoppable success.

* Fresh-faced and youthful in both political and Tory contexts, I mean. He’s not youthful in the real world.

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Vote for … um … noone!

In which we think about the Tories, although not for very long


All politicians are evil, but Tories tend to be more evil than the others. I’m mostly interested in the current leadership contest purely out of a grim kind of schadenfreude: they are an aging party which is slowly pulling itself apart. I can’t help thinking that the main reason for their lengthy, baroque leadership election process is purely to help the party stay in the public eye* for longer.

* above the Government in the headlines, I mean.

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