Polly at Gash Mark 666
And believe me, she's definitely at GASH MARK 6 today.
Brown must show his
cockhand, even if it means an argument
The chancellor needs to come
hard inside meout of his corner and set out an agenda of democratic renewal, green policies and social justice
Gosh, The Grauniad subs must have had a hard time today, eh?
Labour's flagging fortunes might be a reason for the heir apparent to feel his hour is at last nigh. But that's not quite the way it looks, with Gordon Brown under heavy battery from those who seem to think that Tony Blair's legacy would be best served by no one else winning after him.
Well, it's not that his legacy would be best served with "no one else winning"; simply that the Labour Party feel that the best person to win the leadership may not be Gordon Brown.
The latest Ipsos Mori poll yesterday put the Conservatives 10 points ahead, at 41%; only six months ago they were 10 points behind. Blair's approval rate has sunk to minus 41, his lowest ever. Yet the handover looks no nearer.
And yet... and yet... and yet, Polly, the polls have also shown the Conservatives far farther ahead when Brown is posited as leader than with Blair. For all his faults, Blair is—as I have said before—the acceptable, cuddly, middle-class face of NuLabour: those all-important professionals and home-owners, which NuLabour had to win over to gain their power, are not fooled by Brown.
They believe him to be a traditional, old-Labour, tax-and-spend Chancellor, someone who is going to tax them because they are not grovelling in the mud for the pennies dropped from The Gobblin' King's oh-so-generous hand. And they'd be right. Many of these middle-class folk are stupid enough to believe that Blair means them well, even if he is a lying incompetant; they do not see the same in our Cyclopean Chancellor.
Oh, and for more poll information, visit Factchecking Pollyanna.
The not-yet race for the non-vacant deputy leadership is in danger of turning into a proxy Stop Brown campaign.
Whereas Brown's, of course, is turning into a stop-the-women campaign. Mind you, given that those women are, allegedly, Harriet "my husband knew nothing about the loans" Harman, Hazel "squirrel-face" Blears and—laughably—Patsy "terminally stupid" Hewitt, one can hardly blame him, frankly.
Alan Johnson, the likeable and well-respected contender to succeed Prescott some day, is now being floated as the latest in a succession of Anyone-but-Brown candidates touted by the Anyone-but-Brownites. Johnson, a wise and canny politician, no doubt looks with a beady eye on the sorry fate of previous wearers of that prickly mantle.
Alan Johnson may, indeed, be one to watch: the people at Fisking Central seem to have been impressed, anyway.
This is not flimflam. At the heart of the party is an ideological divide that dares not speak its name.
Everyone else does: pity that they are so insulated from reality, really.
As always in the long history of Labour rifts, the personal and the political are too deeply intertwined to separate altogether. But the Blair and Brown camps have different visions for the future. Nothing like the lethal divide between, say, Healey and Benn in the bad old days...
Which was the divide between wrong and swivel-eyed loon wrong...
but full of symbolism nonetheless. Trying to see beyond the personal bitterness, where's the beef?
Have you been reading ChickenYoghurt, Pol?
It is time these conflicting visions were thrashed out in the open.
If you ask me, it is time that the entire NuLabour cabinet were thrashed out in the open, preferably throughout the streets of London and beyond. Bagsy I beat Gordon...
It takes some decoding to glean from Brown's necessarily guarded public utterances, but his priorities are significantly different.
Yup, there's eighty of them listed here.
True, both he and Blair devised New Labour and its triangulations: he, too, will be a public services reformer, prudent as ever.
What?! Prudent? Go fuck yourself, Polly. What's prudent about putting every household in this country in hock by £70,000? What is prudent about racking up a public sector debt that is one third larger than the entire country's GDP? What is prudent about spending all of this money at a time when the economy is healthy: for what is he going to spend when the inevitable downturn hits? Is he going to spend yet more money that he doesn't have? Will he, perhaps, borrow from the IMF, as the government were forced to do in 1976?
But he has talked for so long with marbles in his mouth, to prevent a major row with his leader, that some are wondering if he has the new ideas to kindle real renewal. Brown the unspun makes a good contrast with slick Cameron the calculating charmer - but where's the fire?
In Brown's pants. And I imagine that it feels like there's a fire in yours too, eh, Polly; the fire of desire for The Gobblin' King. Does your cunt itch with a burning yearning for his big, Scottish caber, Pol?
Some watching Cameron sweep all before him, on a billow of blue-skies, policy-free thinking, see how weary he makes the government look, weighed down by the burden of office and its accidents.
Accidents? I think that you mean the exposure of the corruption and incompetence that have characterised this bunch of shysters: an exposure which has been neither ruthless nor cruel enough. These are not accidents: they are entirely deliberate fuck-ups by a government who thought that they were so in control of the media that they needn't bother attempting to correct their mistakes.
This long, pointless wait for a new leader leaves the party dangerously adrift.
Good: I hope that they get annihilated.
Brown is admired for his conviction on poverty at home and abroad...
Not by me, Polly. I'm sure that he does have this conviction, but his policies utterly fail to address the problems on a practical level. He is an absolute fucker, and here's why.
Brown professes to be a champion of the working poor. His introduction of the minimum wage was, up to a point, a good thing; however, having raised people's wages, he has then cynically kept the Personal Tax Allowance at almost the same level for the last nine years: someone on the minimum wage, working for a mere 20 hours a week, is now liable for income tax.
Brown has forced employers to raise the wages of the poorest in order that he may collect more tax. The more he raises the minimum wage, the more tax he gets that he otherwise would not have had.
It is a policy of such breathtaking cynicism that it makes my blood boil and renders me almost speechless. Almost.
That is your wonderful, prudent champion of the poor, Polly; a cynical cunt with the stickiest fingers you'll ever see. Gordon Brown is a total shit.
... key speeches over recent months stress work/life balance and the environment, set to be main themes of his leadership. But he has been hamstrung in passionate rhetoric while unable to lay out his manifesto. He is criticised for caution, but if he dares reveal his beliefs, his enemies charge him with divisiveness, disloyalty and old Labour factionalism.
Don't forget cupidity, avarice, economic illiteracy and pure fucking evil.
Someone needs to start breathing life and energy to rally a woebegone party and summon back all the voters who fled.
That person will not be Brown.
What directions might he take? As Mr Clean, democratic renewal comes first. Brown can draw a line under sleaze and the contamination of party funding. But as a party tribalist he could do the really brave and wise thing: bring in a fairer voting system to open up politics and get people back into the polling booths.
But he will never do that, Polly; did you not see the figures from the last election? Labour polled 100,000 votes less in England than the Conservatives. Do you really think that Brown will give up the twin advantages of the First Past the Post System and control over the Boundary Commission? No, the present set-up—massively skewed, as it is, in favour of Labour—suits him fine.
Green ideas are ripe for harvesting. The public knows what has to be done...
Well, that's a relief. I was going to leave it to the scientists—you know them, Pol; the ones with the training, the understanding and the research—but no, it appears that the ovine masses know exactly what to do.
the first person to confront hard decisions on energy saving will earn rewards for honesty.
No, he won't; the public will shoot the messenger who brings bad tidings, as they always have.
Polly, it is not enough to say, "we must deny ourselves such-and-such a thing"; you must give people an alternative. Right now, the research is so flawed, that we barely know what is happening, let alone what we need to do about it.
Rummaging about for "Britishness", a Brown vision could brand Britain green, a pioneer environmental nation, green in agriculture, energy, transport and low carbon living.
Actually, Pol, I agree about the pioneer nation; I believe that we could, indeed, be trailblazers. But environmentalism is not the core: it is free trade that I believe will not only enrich both us and the developing nations, but also restore a sense of pride to this nation. Unfortunately, Brown shows no sign of allowing this to happen.
As for social justice, Brown has already done most to redistribute, albeit quietly.
Taking pounds from the rich to scatter pennies to the poor. And then demand that the poor repay the pennies. Fuck him.
He should talk honestly about wealth as well as poverty.
What? Will Gordo suddenly admit that being wealthy is not a bad thing? Will you, Polly?
More voters than the Blairites dare believe are disgusted by the gross greed that lives alongside children who never have a holiday.
You're right, Polly. And, sorry, how much are you paid again? More importantly, how much of what you are paid do you voluntarily redistribute; for surely your alledged £140,000 is far more than you actually need?
As for women, it is Labour who knows that their work and family lives are too hard: how can their votes be turning Tory?
Women want the freedom to live their own lives, not to have Gordon constantly meddling in their affairs. The Tories traditionally stand for personal freedom (although I am, unfortunately, beginning to have my doubts about Cameron), so naturally their votes will turn that way. Women work extremely hard for their money—in fact, Polly, I am sure that you would say that they work harder than men because we are all evil mysogenists—and they want to keep as much of it as they can, so that their lives can become a little easier. The Tories traditionally stand for lower taxation (although I am, again, beginning to have my doubts about Cameron on this score), so naturally their votes will turn that way. Do you not see this, up there is your rich, ivory tower, Polly, you Champagne-socialist, hypocritical fuckwit?
These three broad sweeps of direction - the democratic, the green and the socially just - strike deep chords.
Only with those who stand to benefit, Pol.
Blair has never dared trust people to care enough about such things. He appeals to individual pockets and an individual right to choose in public services, while doing good quietly on the side. Is he right?
Yup; people are greedy. It is bred into them at genetic level; this is why Adam Smith's "invisible hand" was such a good idea. Possibly the best.
The invisible hand is a metaphor created by Adam Smith to illustrate the principle of “enlightened self interest”. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith makes the claim that, within the system of capitalism, an individual acting for his own good tends also to promote the good of his community.
You know all those horrible, self-interested middle-class people who constantly ensure that they get the best policing and schools, Polly? Yup, it's the "invisible hand". You know all those on benefits who have no reason to strive, to work, to better themselves, who live on shitty sink estates? No "enlightened self-interest". Do you see, Poll?
His pollsters tell him there is no other way. Any appeal to higher visions, let alone belt-tightening for green or social-justice reasons, is doomed to disaster. People are essentially selfish, as conservatives always say.
Yup: that is the first sensible thing that you have, possibly, ever said. Welcome to the world of human gene-centric biology. Will it change the drivel that you write? I somehow doubt it; after all, writing this load of old horseshit means that you keep getting the work in: do you see the fundamental selfishness there, Polly?
Can you not see the stupity inherent in formulating policy that does not rely on people being quinessentially selfish, Pol? That was the basis of Communism, and it was why Communism failed: because people are selfish. This is why we have to force tax from people rather than relying on their good nature and asking them to donate it.
It is such a basic thing, Polly, really it is, that I am surprised that you have taken so many years to realise it. Far better to have a good idea of how individuals behave and then try to build a society around that, rather than attempt to force individuals to behave entirely altruistically when it is fundamentally against their nature to do so.
The underdog fares better under Labour: how frivolous it is to put them in jeopardy for the sake of higher ideals.
What are you talking about, Pol? The underdog may fare better but nobody else does; everyone else is worse of, or at least believes themselves to be. You have just pointed it out, Polly, the conservatives are right.
This is as good as it can ever get.
Then we are all screwed. The only reason that that sentence does not plunge me into the depths of despair is because I know that you are wrong, wrong, wrong. As usual.
Raise the Personal Tax Allowance to £12,000 and scrap means-tested benefits; introduce the Citizens' Basic Income. Those measures will make things better, almost instantly. People will not be penalised for working, nor rewarded for doing nothing. That is just the start.
Dear Christ, Polly, I thought that you were beginning to see the light for a second, but I see that you are still just the fawning, ignorant, pusillanimous fool that you have always been. Go away and kill yourself, Polly; put us out of your misery.
Oh, and there's more from The Snipe.