Carnival of the Pollykicking #6
As predicted by Mr E and myself in the cosy confines of Cloisters (website under construction), Polly is dismayed by the election results in Sweden; as The Guttersnipe so eloquently puts it, Polly's world must be collapsing around her.
OK Pol… I understand that you’re in a delicate emotional state at the moment given that your utopia of free love state intervention and the answer to all your problems has in fact been wisely thrown out by those crazy Swedes.
It's well worth reading the whole thing, as is the Reactionary Snob's critique.
Anyway, as you will no doubt know, the good folk of Sweden have booted out their social-democrat government and elected some right-wingers. The Grauniad is holding a wake as I type, and Polly Toynbee is clutching desperately at a tub of valium - life no longer holds any meaning now Polly's perennial 'Exhibit A' have been booted out of office!
Still, there is nothing quite like giving a bloated and rotten corpse a damned good thrashing and I couldn't resist having a pop at old Polly.
Yes, indeed; and Polly is, it would seem, in shock.
Why Stockholm syndrome should terrify New Labour
Um, why, precisely, should a psychological condition in which a hostage begins to identify with their captor terrify NuLabour? Surely that would be the apeothis of their rule, something that they should look forward to? After all, in that analogy, we are the hostage and they the captor: if we started to be less hostile, they'd just fucking love it. In fact, of course, the very reverse is happening.
The defeat of Sweden's Social Democrats underlines how a bored electorate could easily turn to Cameron's Tories
Oh, for fuck's sake! If Labour lose the next election, is that how you are going to write it off, you stupid trout? I can see it now: Polly says that the electorate didn't vote ZanuLabour out because they were illiberal, incompetent fuckwits but because the populace were bored. For fuck's sake, woman, get a fucking grip, will you?
The fall of the Social Democrats in Sweden reverberates around Europe, but sends particular shudders through those close friends of Goran Persson in Labour ranks. As strangers occupy Stockholm's governing corridors, here is a chilly memento mori for Labour.
Reminder that you wil die? Well, with luck, yes, NuLabour will die a nasty death.
But this fall "reverberates around Europe"? I don't think so; it might cause a minor stir but I don't think that it has quite the importance that you place on it, Pol. But then, you're a tit who has some kind of near-sexual fetish about Sweden.
What an irony that the victors — 41-year-old Fredrik Reinfeldt's New Moderates — modelled themselves on New Labour. They took power by ditching old promises to savage the welfare state, rebranding themselves as near Social Democrat clones. Reinfeldt won by doing what David Cameron does, sounding so Social Democratic no voter could take fright. Unsurprisingly, Cameron is in close touch with the New Moderates.
It's nice to know that Cameron is in touch with a bunch of winners: it makes him seem like less of a loser.
Here is Labour's fear. How can a good government lose power when the country is flourishing?
As I said before, Polly, why, in the name of fuck, would the problems of a "good government" be a worry to the shower of cynical, fascist, incompetent cunts who infest our parliament, eh?
With a rising growth rate of 5.6%, low interest rates, thriving manufacturing and exports Britain would die for, how did it happen?
Given our pathetic growth rate of 1.4% and increasing tax burden, I would imagine that NuLabour have got a lot to fear, Pol. You appear to be right for once; don't let it go to your head.
True, unemployment is a problem - but hardly worse than in much of the EU...
Well, that rather depends how you measure it, doesn't it? Wikipedia points out that under conventional measures, Sweden's unemployment is about 11%. Some put it even higher. And unemployment is pretty important to someone who is unemployed. I know that might seem strange to you, Polly "140 grand a year for writing two pieces of drivel a week" Toynbee, but I can assure you that it is the case.
Unemployment is also a problem to those who are employed, because they assume—quite rightly, as it happens— that they are paying swingeing taxes so that a considerable proportion of the population can sit about on their arses, watching day-time TV and wanking themselves blind. So, yes, unemployment is a large problem.
... while Sweden's welfare system is the envy of the world.
Well, for you, Polly, yes it is.Obviously, the Swedes themselves aren't quite so enamoured of it.
Abroad, Persson wasn't hampered by two unpopular wars with no end in sight. So why?
Yes, yes, Polly; that's the second time you've asked that, you dozy, old troll. Why don't you tell us? I have a horrible feeling that you are going to anyway...
Swedish Social Democrats held many sessions with Labour about "how to renew in office", swapping fall-asleep thinktank tomes on staying alive.
Dear fucking god, well that'll be one reason then, eh? Anyone who talks about "how to renew in office" is seriously fucked and needs to go. Apart from anything else, it's meaningless management-speak bollocks and engenders zero respect.
Aware of the threat from a new young face after 12 years in office...
Bzzzzzzzzt! Wrong, Polly; but thank you for playing. Persson took office in 1996: now, count those years, Pol: that's right, dear, you're two years out. No wonder you advocate the policies that you do: your mathematical ability is fucking pitiful.
Goran Persson tried to deflect criticism for staying too long by promoting fresh-faced young ministers, as Tony Blair has. But all to no avail.
Well, it hasn't worked for Chuckles, so why the fuck should it work for Persson? No amount of promoting smug, ignorant, patronising cunts with all of the ability of a lobotomised goldfish is going to help; it's still the same shitty house and making minor adjustments to the furniture is not going to hide that.
Sweden shows "the economy, stupid" is no longer enough to win. That is alarming to Gordon Brown whose claim to the top job is Britain's unaccustomed economic strength.
It's a bit worrying for you too, ain't it, Pol? How are you going to cope if both of your idols fall in the space of one year, eh? Tell me, if Brown doesn't get the top job, is there any danger that you will retire? Please say "yes".
The warning from Sweden is that when things feel so good, voters feel they can take a punt on a fresh new party. "Time for change" is always a potential winner: a natural democratic urge tugs voters towards throwing the bastards out after a while.
Yes, it's a good way of reminding "the bastards" not to get too comfy, frankly. Once they do, they think that they can do anything; even ignore the rule of law.
Visiting Sweden during the campaign and talking to those ruefully picking over this week's result, I can see stern lessons for Labour.
Is that lesson, "fuck off"? Because I'm not really interested in any other.
Persson's party ran out of steam. Its leader stayed far too long, a risk Labour faces if there is a seamless Blair/Brown continuity of more of the same, going on and on. Brown seems dangerously eager to emphasise "no change" on every policy of importance. But change or die is the lesson of Sweden.
Well, that would be lovely. I would love it if NuLabour changed from a fascistic, illiberal, corrupt, statist, incompetent bunch of ex-Commies and scum into a free-trade, anti-EU, libertarian, small-state, law-abiding, low-tax and business-friendly party but that isn't going to happen is it? And so lacking in trust and confidence are the public, that even if NuLabour did so, no one would believe them.
Persson forgot his wise maxim: in opposition the left must behave like a government, and in government it must act like an insurgent opposition. But in Britain and Sweden left-of-centre governments have fallen into the trap of micro-managing departmental policy, forgetting the lifeblood of politics. Bogged down in minutiae, devoid of infectious enthusiasms, parties forget their identity.
Look, you fucking loony, both Persson's lot and NuLabour are statist parties; in their philosophy the state is the answer to everything. OK? So of course they end up "micro-managing departmental policy", you silly bitch, because their policies inevitably fail—if the answer to your question is the state, then you're asking the wrong question—and, because they think that the state is the solution, it must mean that their is something wrong with the structure of the state. Therefore, the solution is to tamper with the operation of the state departments.
Have I put that in simple enough terms for you to understand me, Pol? I don't think that I can make it any more simple.
Reduce the question to who manages best, and why shouldn't voters without emotional attachment give the other lot a try?
How about a government that doesn't try to manage everything? Why do you have such a lack of faith in people's ability to adapt? Listen to me really carefully, Polly: management is the fucking problem, you fuckwit, not the fucking answer. OK? 'Kay? 'Kay.
Blair's four committees devising 10-year plans are unlikely to fill the vacuum at the heart of Labour politics.
Of course not, because Blair doesn't have a fucking clue what will be happening in 10 years time, no more than I do, and in any case it won't be him that has to implement the policies! For fuck's sake, think, woman, before you write. Fuck me, but you really are a cunt.
Here's the other great lesson from Sweden. They forgot about women - yes, even in Sweden.
Which does not, of course, have as long a history of patriarchy as every other Western country, naturally.
New Labour has won the past three elections only on the strength of women's votes - yet Labour too has forgotten the importance of connecting with them.
Yup, and you're here to remind them what great thinkers women are, eh? Fucking hell; it's a good thing that I don't judge all women on your showing, isn't it?
Sweden's women ministers fumed during the campaign as Persson ignored the party's record on childcare and maternity and paternity leave, which should have been the Social Democrats' proudest electoral assets.
Strangely, that's preceisely what you have been complaining about with NuLabour's campaigns too, ain't it? Can we spot a bee in your fucking bonnet, at all?
He let the right set the agenda with traditional male politics when it is the women-friendly subjects that win the Social Democrat vote. Forgetting about women seems a peril of power.
Now, if I were a misogynist, I would call it a perk of power frankly; especially when those women are Ruth "Religious Nutjob" Kelly, Mo "Delusional" Mowlem, Tessa "Liar" Jowell, Patsy "Patronising" Hewitt, Hazel "Squirrel-Face" Blears, Clare Short "on Brains", "Harridan" Harman and the other female jewels in Nulabour's crown. Actually, I think the peril of power is that... well... it corrupts and you forget about everyone; you start to believe your own hype.
But in opposition look how Cameron's campaign is devoted to pleasing women, in tone, style, words and demeanour: the polls tell him women are more green, family-minded and worried about work-life balance.
Wishy washy crap that means fuck all to anyone, you mean? What a wonderful view of your fellow cunt-wearers you have, Pollio.
Never mind if it's all empty mood music, trading on what Labour has done without promising anything more than mild exhortation...
Better than legislation.
... Cameron has the right tunes. New Labour came to power understanding what women want - but they have lost it and Cameron is winning the women's vote.
Yeah, unfortunately he's losing the male vote. Fuckwit.
War has done Labour all kinds of damage - but especially among women voters.
Even in realms where Blair was once undisputed champion of the women's vote, he has chased them away with strident emphasis on punishing children and blaming parents.
Yes, that's right; because in your worldview, it's never the parents' fault that their offspring are boorish, violent and badly-behaved, is it? It's society's fault for allowing some people to get richer than others, ain't it, you fucking stupid, Commie cunt.
Failure to work with the grain in reforming health and schools is alienating the women who staff them and use them most.
Look, Pol, the women don't want to worry their pretty little heads about why the school is shit; it must be the government's fault, mustn't it? Nothing to do with shoddy teachers who are barely more educated than the students that they would attempt to teach were they able to keep the little fuckers from knifeing each other for more than five minutes. Nothing to do with the Unions constantly striking when they see the vaguest sign of their monopoly being broken? No, it's all the fucking govermment's fault isn't it. Why don't you fuck off.
Yet consider what Labour has done for women. Labour's best narrative is the story of its family revolution, with Sure Start for babies, universal childcare, after-school and breakfast clubs, domestic-violence laws, tax credits and the children's trust fund.
Polly, dear heart, not all mothers are poor and stupid. Many mothers, middle-class mothers, realise that what Labour has done is to extort the families' hard-earned cash through higher taxes and then made them beg—through the medium of intrusive and vastly complicated forms—for a small bit of it back. These mothers also realise how expensive these schemes are to administrate and they realise that they are geting back far less than they put in; and then they get the demand for the £5,000 back in one lump sum and they go and hang themselves.
Why has so much political capital on brilliant social programmes - noticed most by mothers - been allowed to vanish from the political radar? Sweden's Social Democrats are asking these same questions - far too late. It will take Gordon Brown more than intimate interviews about his children to recover this lost ground.
It's already gone, Pol, and don't think that I don't know how the prospect of your big, Norse warrior not getting the top spot terrifies you; how will you get wet enough to insert that cucumber—or, more likely, a whole watermelon—if you cannot see Brown on the TV anymore?
Above all, Labour needs a woman as deputy leader.
Oh, yes, of course it does; with that rolecall of female talent that I listed above, how could you come to any other conclusion?
And not any woman, but the woman who persuaded the party that childcare was the only route to getting families off welfare and into work. That means Harriet Harman, to remind what's been done while pressing for much more.
Er, why? Because Harridan Harman has said that she wants it? Never give power to someone who thinks that they are entitled to it, Polly; and that goes for Brown too... Hang on, are you Harridan Harman in disguise? That would explain a lot.
What a pathetic figure Ming Campbell cut in an ill-advised photo opportunity on the beach with his tiny cohort of women - only nine out of 63 MPs; yet the Lib Dems, like the Tories, still refuse to use quotas to get more women into parliament.
When you say "quota", Pol, I hear "discrimination". So, you are in favour of discrimination, are you, Polly? OK, let's use "quotas" to get more darkies into government, shall we? Oh, and I don't think that there are nearly enough graphic designers or amateur theatre producers in the House of Commons either; let's use quotas to get a couple of whores in there too, shall we? Oh, and we'll need some oil rig workers, and some telesales assistants; ooh, I know, let's get a couple of prison inmates in there too. What is anything you say?*
Labour has 97 women MPs. Polls show that voters feel women are more "on their side" - yet Labour still fails to use their strength. The Swedish result warns that without the women's vote, Labour is lost. It's not an add-on: women are the main event.
Right, so women are more important than men? That's right, is it, Polly? Interesting attitude, certainly; have you been talking to that dried-up, raddled, old whore, Germaine Greer, or something? Go, with all due respect, fuck yourself.
The last, brief rightwing government in Sweden left heavy footprints. It cut the welfare state and damaged education by bringing in private schools, leaving a far more socially segregated system.
Yup; there were good schools, which were private, and shit schools run by the government. One set of schools allowed their pupils to leave with a good education and the other set were... well... shit. Does it remind you of Britain, Pol? You know, that Britain wherein almost 20% of people leaving school at 16 are functionally illiterate? That Britain that spends almost enough on each pupil to send them to a day private school but instead fritters one third of the money away on administrative LEAs and fails generation after generation of young people? Is that what it reminds you of, you over-privileged, patronising bitch?
The New Moderates may deliver more of a shock than voters were lulled into expecting. If so, many may regret the decadence of throwing out a good government just because they were bored.
Or maybe the New Moderates will turn out to be good news, and the people realised that they voted out the last lot not because they were bored but because they were fucking pissed off.
But decadent or not, here is the wake-up call Labour needs: competent governments can be killed by boredom.
And since NuLabour are not even competent, they should be fucking shitting themselves, frankly.
People want circuses with their bread. In politics as in everything else, humans also need novelty and romance.
Which is what I would say, were I your editor, as I sacked your tired, lame, ignorant, embittered arse: "Humans need novelty and romance, Polly; and I'm afraid that what you write is the same tedious, tendentious shit and that's why I'm fucking firing you. Here are the forms that you can use to apply for your benefits, all 3,000,000,000 pages of them..."
I hate you, Polly.
* Thanks, Thom and Dave, for reminding me of that last night.