Sunday, February 21, 2010

Could the Barbary Ape win?

Pater Devil has been maintaining that he will vote Tory on the grounds that "these fuckers have to go" (and the pater does not use sweary language with anything like the frequency of his eldest off-spring) or that he "would vote for a Barbary Ape to get these bastards out of government".

You would have thought that these would be uncontentious statements—after all, Labour (and especially Brown) has, without question, been a complete fucking disaster. The Labour Party has failed in all of the objectives that it claimed for itself—the government has not been "whiter than white"; despite vast increases in funding its policies on "education, education, education" have left us with a deeply uneducated workforce; Patsy Hewitt admitted that billions poured into the NHS had been wasted; thre has most definitely not been "an end to boom and bust"; the country has been pulled into three disastrous and illegal wars (the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq); social mobility has decreased; and the government is now spending about £150 billion more per year than taxes bring in.

And yet somehow—fuck knows how!—the Tories don't seem to be able to take a decisive lead.
The “people’s bonus” plan comes as a Sunday Times/YouGov survey today reveals that the Tories’ lead over Labour has slipped to the narrowest gap in more than a year.

The poll, the first in a series of weekly surveys which will be conducted between now and the general election, puts the Conservatives on 39%, down one point on January’s figure, and Labour on 33%, up two. The Liberal Democrats drop one point to 17%.

6%? That's fucking pathetic. How the hell have the Tories managed it and, more importantly for those who believe that they are the only ones who can save us from that Barbary Ape in Number 10, how the hell can they pull ahead?

In the Times, Dr Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute reckons that the Tories should focus on growing the economy.
Focus on growth. Don’t argue about cuts

The battle of the economists is a sideshow. We must urgently put money into entrepreneurs’ hands

Public spending does not stimulate growth. It merely takes cash from where investors think it will create mid and long-term returns and puts it where politicians think they will get the best short-term political return.

Indeed, maybe the right time to cut government spending is actually when things are bad, because government spending is inherently wasteful. In 2007, economists at the European Central Bank calculated that with a bit of tweaking, the Government could deliver exactly the same level of public services but with 16 per cent less spending. When the Government already takes nearly half the nation’s income, that saving would be a huge boost to struggling businesses all over the country.

This is a point of view, and it is one that Burning Our Money shares—although Wat Tyler feels that people are not going to realise just how bad things are until the storm actually breaks.
How can the Tory poll lead be collapsing? Or to put it another way, how can Dave be so ineffective at capitalising on Bean's disasters and offering a clear alternative?

There is a school of thought - to which Tyler has subscribed - that says we need to see the actual invasion before we'll be convinced. We need to see that much-trailed collapse in market confidence, complete with sterling plunge, huge hike in bond yields, and Darling frozen in the TV lights outside HMT.

But Tyler's now beginning to wonder. Would that actually do it? What if Comrade Bean held an immediate morale boosting parade in Red Square (as Stalin did in November 1941)? Comrade Mandelsonski nodding gravely by his side, he reminds us that such a moment of national destiny is no time for a lightweight novice from the PR industry flip-flopping all over the place.

He, the Great Helmsman, has learned from previous mistakes, he will now always listen to his generals, and he stands ready to form a government of national unity with Comrade Cleggomov and St Vincenzo. It is time for all True Patriots to set aside past differences, to rally to the flag, and to defend the Motherland!

It is this kind of approach that the Labour Party seems to be taking, as this interview with Douglas Alexander seems to suggest.
He said: "We must not allow the Tories to frame the election as a choice between status quo and change. What we want is a choice between two competing visions of the future."

Yes, Comrades: ignore the past and look forward to our Glorious Future!

And, in the meantime, everyone wonders what the fuck the Buttered New Potato is playing at. Part of the problem is that Cameron has had a charisma by-pass and this is allied with the fact that we have no real idea of what the Tories are planning to do. Where we do have an idea, e.g. school vouchers, the Conservative policy is seriously undermined by the fact that the Tories don't seem to understand why said policy works and, as a consequence, make it look shit, e.g. still controlling what and how schools teach.

The wife feels that the Tories should not, in fact, be concentrating on the money at all.
First, begin immediately to practise what you preach re: accountability, openness, responsiveness by operating the Conservative party according to these standards. The party is a large organisation very like a government; its own record on these matters will be viewed as an accurate predictor of how the Conservatives will run the government itself. So stop the stupid infighting about selection. Stop providing local associations with shortlists chosen by non-local party leadership. Sure, you might end up with a load of straight, white male PPCs as a result, but that won’t matter because you’ll have shown that you encourage localism and democracy within your own organisation, thus giving voters more confidence that you’ll encourage it across the nation when you’re in charge.

Second, announce everything you intend to do to protect or, if necessary, restore civil liberties. Without mentioning Labour, enumerate every piece of legislation you will repeal or amend to this end. Commit to destroying the NIR and ID cards, repealing the Coroners and Justice Bill, the Digital Economy Bill (if these things have passed), the Civil Contingencies Act, RIPA, etc. If you think a Bill of Rights is desired by the populace, produce a draft and circulate it. Invite suggestions, consultations, the contributions of legal experts, constitutional experts, and so on. Actually tell the country how you intend to ensure the restoration and protection of ancient and long-held liberties.

Then leave the money stuff for later. You’re the opposition party; you don’t have access to the information you need in order to make credible promises about finance. You don’t have access to the civil service brains in the Treasury who could explain the ins and outs of the budget and recommend cuts that wouldn’t affect ‘frontline services.’ You don’t even really know where the money comes from. So quit throwing around silly figures like £7 billion. Instead, reassure people that you are committed to responsible financial management and eliminating waste, and promise that one of your first, if not your actual first, undertakings in Government will be a thorough and completely open auditing of the country’s books, after which you will commit to responsible financial practices and put the budget back into the hands of Parliament as a whole – in which every expenditure, saving, tax cut, or tax rise will have to be approved by the legislature before you can implement it.

I tend to think that this would be a good approach—one of the worst failings of the Tories is that they have failed to bother building a coherent vision of what the country might look like under their stewardship.

One of Cameron's most terrible omissions has been his utter silence on civil liberties—apart from the ID Cards. For fuck's sake, one of his own front bench resigned from his job and called a by-election on this issue!

The civil liberties issue is bound in tightly with the financial issue too, as Milton Friedman acknowledged.
I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?" Government spending now amounts to close to 40% of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes.

Which is why I am so gutted that I was unable to attend a recent Adam Smith Institute event at which the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, talked about his country's proposed Liberty Act. [Emphasis mine.]
However, the main function of the evening was for the President to outline plans for one of the most sensible pieces of legislation enacted since the United States' Constitution: The Liberty Act. This seeks to constitutionally enshrine the economic reforms pursued since the Rose revolution, by imposing a strict cap on the remit and size of any future government. Under the Act, government spending is not permitted to exceed 30% of GDP, while the budget deficit is capped at 3% and public debt at 60%. Price controls and state ownership of financial institutions are banned, and no new taxes or increase in tax rates can be imposed without a referendum.

One question in particular elicited a marvellous response. When asked why he was seeking to bind his successors, the President promptly replied, "I don't trust any government, including my own".

Which is an entirely excellent attitude to take: I don't trust any government either—it's just unusual to hear that any politician say so. Mind you, we British didn't spend fifty years living under the Communist jackboot—so we are merrily creating a British jackboot government all of our own.

But, to return to the issue at hand, I believe that there is one single issue outlined in that section above that would win the Tories the next election. Did you spot it? Yup, it's this bit...
... no new taxes or increase in tax rates can be imposed without a referendum.

There's your election-winning strategy right there, Cameron. But you won't deploy it, will you? No, that would severely limit your control over us all—as Uncle Milt pointed out.

As the wife pointed out in a later post (she's really much better at analysing and articulating these things than your humble Devil), the point is that the Tories and Labour really aren't that far apart.
The function of the Republican party in the United States and the Conservative Party in Britain is to disguise the fact that the country is ruled by what is essentially a one-party statist blob. Superficially, R/Cs may differ from Democrats/Labour on such issues as abortion, gay marriage, the role of family, etc – but the keen observer will notice that regarding all of these superficial issues, the solution on both sides is statist intervention of one form or another. Abortion – legal or illegal? Gay marriage – legal or illegal? Whatever the outcome, it will always be determined by some fiat legislation or judicial decree. Rarely does either side say, ‘Hey, these things are not for the government to decide.’

That, of course, is the function of the Libertarian Party—although we are constantly trying to juggle pragmatism and principle.

The trouble is that people do not seem to want to hear these arguments. The vast majority of comments concerning my party that I get are derogatory—they are all along the lines of "yeah? And how many votes will you get?" or "you aren't libertarian enough: I'm considerably more libertarian than yeeeeooow".

Rarely does anyone pop up to say "thank fuck that at least one political party is even thinking in this way" or "you might be wrong on this but I'd like to help you to form a practical policy on it".

It seems that even the libertarians floating around the blogosphere don't want a Libertarian Party (or not this or that particular one)—so why the hell should the Tories (let alone Labour) edge that way for the vast majority of the population who don't even claim to be libertarian?

So, the Tories will carry on tinkering at the edges and the political pendulum will keep swinging between Tories and Labour—sometimes one will win sometimes the other.

The only thing that is absolutely certain, no matter which one of those statist parties wins, is that the British people will lose—lose their money, lose their freedom, lose their pride.

It's a depressing thought.


Left Outside said...

I wasn't aware that Afghanistan was illegal?

A NATO ally, the US, had been attacked and we joined then in war in their defence.

Now I think Al Qaeda can and could have been dealt like the vile criminal that they are, but I don't think going to war in Afghanistan is anywhere near the level of awful that Iraq was and is. Disastrous certainly though.

Anyway, not read any further yet, just thought I'd mention it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Left Outside,

You may be right and I should probably amend the post.

However, our ally was not attacked by Afghanistan nor by the Taliban: the US was attacked by a terrorist organisation known as Al Qaeda.

The US was no more attacked by the government of Afghanistan than it was by the government of Iraq.

If invading Iraq was illegal, then so was invading Afghanistan, surely? Certainly, this gentleman seems to think so.


Wearysider said...

Well, thank fuck there is a Libertarian Party, I don't agree with all your policies or ideologies, however one thing I have learnt reading your blog (and others) over the years, there are options, those options may not be real options yet but like any fledgling idea it will grow in time and I can but hope somewhere down the line the political battlefield will be more than simply red vrs blue vrs yellow but actually mean something more tangible.

Anyway, I can't support the Libertarian Party as I'm going to found my own party inspired by Mr Hicks 'The People Who Hate People Party' ;)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't agree with some of LPUK's policies, but THANK FUCK that there is a Libertarian Party in the UK. I'm no radical but I still like the basic principles of LPUK. All I need is a LPUK PPC to vote for! I will even donate money.

So come on man, you guys need to sell yourselves more. Like Charlotte Gore questioned, how will you 'evil dorks' get your message across to the mainstream public? LPUK needs more funding and more public attention, and less arguing and criticising other Libertarians for being too radical or not radical enough.

Tom Paine said...

It is one of the many fine qualities of libertarians that they are difficult to lead. If they were easily led, let's face it, in the current intellectual climate they would be statists. Every leader of LPUK is going to experience the frustrations you describe and the only solution will be to embrace them as an emblem of libertarianism.

The party has made a good start and you should not be dispirited. Until money can be raised to fight elections, much can be done by explaining constantly the false choice they currently present. I concur though with your view that splittism is a complete waste of energy. Until the statists are in retreat, it might be better to concentrate such feeble fire as we can muster in their direction!

Gareth said...

Cameron and Brown are playing to a smaller and smaller audience and fighting over who has the biggest share of it. Their comfort zone is that audience and they are completely unwilling or more likely unable to operate outside that pliant, unthinking lump of serfs.

Cameron wants to win by sounding more 'progressive' than an already discredited 'progressive' party. He doesn't want to demolish the grotesque architecture of the State stone by malevolent stone but build a facade around it. He doesn't want to force the State to retreat from our lives he wants it to interfere in a different way, force us in a different direction.

He wants to polish the turd rather than dispose of it.

Whoever wanted Westminster's idea of progress? We just want to be left alone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank fuck that at least one political party is even thinking in this way.

Funny how the colours are swapped with the US. The thing is Obama would probably be massively more popular and have more support for his healthcare reforms if he sorted out Gitmo, Iraq, fixed the economy etc., FIRST. Instead he lost all support for it by ignoring all the pressing issues.

Likewise as the Mrs says, Buttered Potato needs so sort out his priorities. I'm not the smartest guy in the world but we can all see that CCHQ is just being silly. I don't believe they are total retards either. What the hell is going on?

JimmySnob said...

Libertarian party! LOL.

There's only one party that can save us. And it begins with a 'B'.

Andy said...

Perhaps the debate needs to be framed more fundamentally: why does one pick a particular party to vote for?

If there is a LPUK candidate in my region come the election I will vote for them. Strangely, I don't agree with large portions of the manifesto. I've realised that that doesn't matter though -- the detail isn't the point, you have to look at the character of the people in the party. At it's core the libertarian party wants to trust me more than it trusts itself -- which, fortunately, coincides exactly with my view of the world.

The details are always going to be a problem, and pragmatism is going to have to play a role, since it would be suicidal for a country to go cold turkey on day one of a libertarian government. My advice then would to be to major on that one key fundamental difference:

The libertarian party trusts you more than it trusts itself. LibLabCon trusts itself more than it trusts you.

Middle Seaxe said...

Crack on DK,

Keep hammering away at the bastards. It's a marathon not a sprint after all.

I notice the naysayers are very short on reasons why they think the libertarian principles are wrong. It very rarely extends beyond unoriginal one line put downs.

At a guess I'd say they were mostly BNP trolls as they get banned from chopsing off on other comment sites.

On the Ape in No 10, A bit of an insult towards the Apes I believe, they share about 99% of our DNA, a lot more than the beast in No 10 has in common with us I dare say. In a rather perverse way, in this instance, it would have been to our benefit to be in the Euro as we'd be in pretty much the same shit as the Greeks and at least then, the ghastly poltroon would have been forced to stop spending our fucking money.

I shall now go and spiritually cleanse myself as that was an extremely disconcerting thought.

paul said...

So, you cant even get your own dad to vote for your party?

The Random Punter said...

I don't have any affinity with the Conservative Party in its current state, but it would be a travesty if Gordon Brown and his mob are not annihilated at the election. Cameron - despite so many of our misgivings - has to win, and win big.

I tend to agree with Mrs DK that the way the Conservatives run their own party regionally hardly breeds confidence for how they'd win the country. I'd take it one step further. How they are running their party centrally also points to a party that will be a cosy little club run for the cosy little club's benefit. The Bullingdon Club attacks by left-wing scrotes intent on class warfare are ridiculous, but a different truth exists beneath this facade.

Among the party there are some very talented politicians who are being sidelined because they don't agree with every word David Cameron says, yet they are clearly the best people in the party to run the country. Equally, among the current shadow cabinet are two glaring weak links and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work them out.

Step forward George Osborne and Chris Grayling.

The former is a man who, although not without his merits, can't even establish a lead on economic matters against a party that's pissed all we have up the wall in 13 years of drunken madness. As you put it, even a barbary ape should be able to trounce Labour on matters financial. While the latter is perhaps the only person to make the Conservatives look even more embarrassingly authoritarian than Labour. Every time Grayling opens his mouth I cringe - he is a complete embarrassment.

What makes this worse is that there are two people confined to the back benches who would immediately command respect, and who would be certain to win their arguments. Ken Clarke, as the person who bequeathed a vibrant economy for Gordon Brown to wreck, has the experience and gravitas to win the economic argument in his sleep, while David Davis has walked the walk when it comes to dealing with the erosion of civil liberties, which is a big issue for the electorate. He would be a good home secretary - principled, in favour of individual freedoms, but tough on miscreants.

Replace Osborne with Clarke and Grayling with Davis and the Conservatives would win by a landslide. The fact that Cameron is willing to shoot wide of an open goal in order to preserve his cosy clique, is very worrying indeed.

Anonymous said...

No it has to be a fringe party.
If the fringe parties e.g UKIP get even a few MP's (20 would do),it will give them a fright .
Enough of a fright to reappraise the soverenty question.
Amongst others.
They will maybe also have two parties willing to bring up the embarrasing stuff they sweep under the carpet .

Anonymous said...

Given the amount of comments a reference to the UK smoking ban seems to elicit, I wonder why "Dave" does not propose a review or amendment to allow the creation of indoor "smokeeasy's" - with millions of pissed off smokers out there I think this is a no brainer and I don't even smoke unlike Dave who does or did!

Anonymous said...

Having seen the vile and wholly discredited Mandie and Fatty-Prescott doing all day what they do best - namely viciously and vindictively rubbishing their critics in the vilest way possible, I came to the conclusion that the tipping point is past.

Labour will get in again because (i) the vast majority of people are either public sector workers or (ii) those that are not believe that Labour is 'for the working man' or (iii) they don't care but are easily manipulated by the mainstream broadcast media and Pravda.

The only thing we can hope is that the Tories lose and Labour are left holding the resultant chaotic post-election financial collapse.

After another 5 years of Labour during the coming austerity (we aint seen nothin' yet) not even the cretins that support Brown and his pals would vote for them again - would they?

And perhaps Cameron and that pug-nosed prat Osborne will have been traded in for something more credible. Hague and Davis perhaps.. assuming, of course, that Brown hasn't engineered an election system that makes it impossible for Labour to lose by then..

And yes, I agree, we don't have a realistic choice of government. It doesn't matter how I vote, my MP will remain the same no matter what because it's a safe seat.

Anonymous said...

I never used to believe in NWO conspiracy theories but I'm starting to wonder if I should get a tin foil hat. Do the Tories even want to win this election ?

Lola said...

Most people in the UK are libertarians - only they just don't know it. Why? Because the state indoctrination system that laughably passes itself as 'education' does not provide the knowledge and tools for the younger generations to use to make decent decisions.

This is of course deliberate policy by the 'establishment'. The lefties have long known that to possess education will give them a head start. They've been reading 1984 as a manual. And the righties who favour oligarchism over democracy don't really want a load of well educated thinking fighting men telling them to piss off and then setting taxing land properly and taxing labour (that is your life) and capital less.

Rob Havard said...

Thank fuck that at least one political party is even thinking in this way.

I don't agree with everything you say but I am happy to support you. I will tear up my Con membership and join LPUK today.

I am an environmental proffesional and farmer and am happy to help with any Environemtal or farming policies you require - even if they are "Gov.t does Fuck all"

You can also use the Farm for fundraising events/meetings if you like.

You can contact me through here:

The ball is in your court.

Rob Havard said...

Joined. Took 2 mins online.


johnny nunsuch said...

Until boy dave and his tory glee club admit that the UK needs to be out of the EU it doesn't matter who is in charge at Westminster except for degrees of fucked