Friday, May 26, 2006

Polly and Gordon go at it hammer and tongs

On a rather depressing, rainy Friday, there is a ray of light in my life: yes, there is another Polly Toynbee article to lay into. What fun! As a matter of fact, I now have her CiF page in my RSS Reader that I may not miss a single word of wisdom from the very best that The Grauniad has to offer (which I think shows what a total rag it is).

Yesterday, in response to the Doc (and not, I assure you, apropos of nothing, for that would lead to highly pertinent and, indeed, justified questions about my sanity)I speculated that Polly probably does not wear any knickers so that she may be ready and waiting should she ever manage to get The Gobblin' King alone; today's paeon to the Cyclopean bastard does nothing to dispel such speculation. I mean, look at the headline:
David is stealing Tony's clothes - and it's working. It's time for Gordon

Nothing would please me more, since The Grauniad's own poll shows less support for Gordo than for Toni. This is because, as I have said before, Gordo is an old-fashioned Labour tax-and-waste Chancellor; Toni is the acceptable, middle-class face of Labour—which is the reason that he has lasted so long. Without Toni's veneer of moderation, the spectre of 1979 and the winter of discontent (or, as Neil put it, the "high water mark of equality") will once more be present in the minds of everyone who remembers it as a time of absolute misery.
Wherever Labour people are huddled together these days, a groan of despair is audible. Even on-message ministers, surprisingly, are now heard saying: "Enough is enough." You have to pinch yourself twice at some now declaring that the bunker must surrender: Blair must go soon, before it's all too late.

But, oh! Who will replace Blair? Who has the charisma, skill and political nous to possibly lead the Labour Party into the next election? Who?
Watching the polls with glee, the Tories kept this education bill alive to keep Blair in situ a while longer.

Why would they want to with those poll results, eh? Except that, of course, as Blair sickens and dies, so Gordo's failures will become ever more obvious.
In public interviews ultra-loyal ministers give a little whistle, in best Hazel Blears Jiminy Cricket style. "The election is three years away still! Cameron will implode. It's just a blip and we'll get the Home Office and NHS sorted. Remember, our economic fundamentals are solid!" All that is plausible.

Only if you are foolish enough to think that the economy won't be in a parlous state by the time of the next general election, and Gordo's increasing eagerness to take the premiership suggests that he knows exactly how bad things are...
After this week's grim Guardian/ICM poll, Labour are looking across at the opposition benches and imagining themselves back there before long.

And not a moment too soon, frankly.
Senior figures are saying that if this goes on beyond another six months, the position will be "irrecoverable", whoever is leader.

Yes, they're right, tee hee hee. Of course, the total fuck up that Gordo has made of our economy will really kick in in a year or so's time, and then they are really screwed. Might you, so are we, but it might serve as a reminder to people like Heil Harding of exactly what redistribution leads to.
If Labour really has lost the high ground on its core issues - the NHS and education - that will be hard to win back, however good the figures on waiting lists or exam results.

Anyone expecting those to be good? Well, actually, of course we are expecting those results to be good but the rather more pertinent point is: will anyone believe them?
The prospect of opposition concentrates minds. What will be left? Nothing but a broken shell of a party, with virtually no councillors and no party members, bereft of ideas and idealism, intellectually running on brain-empty.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha! I really, really cannot wait!
Watching Tories pushing on with Tony Blair's own reform policies...

Christ, I hope not. One rather hopes that the Tories will have their own policie to implement, not Princess Toni's failed tinkerings and illiberal, fascist joke-laws.
... their opposition would be paralysed now that so many ideological dividing lines between the parties are blurred.

Ah, well, we shall see, shan't we. Mind you, given all of this, Polly, my knickerless darling, no doubt you will be happy to see the Tories in if they are going to carry on Blair's good works, surely? Or will you be donning the extra-strength nosepegs and still voting Labour?
Remembering the 1980s, the shattered remnants would have to start all over again, reinventing Labour from first principles.

Ha! I'm thinking that it's more likely to be '79 that they'll be remembering, Pol.
How long would that take? Another 12 or 18 years?

God willing, yes. Or, hopefully, longer.
Just as Thatcher left her party hollowed out, so Blair risks doing the same. If he is still there next May then both the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly will be lost, along with much more of England.

I wouldn't, unfortunately, be so sure about that but—hey!—you never know...
But hang on, before sinking into morbid gloom, why wait to renew and refresh until all is lost? What's wrong with now, before it's all over?

Wait! Who could possibly save NuLabour at this juncture? Who has the skills? Who can this superman be?
Time for Brown: if he's a disaster then Labour is a dead duck anyway.

Yes! I knew it. Although it's not dead duck I smell on your writing, Pollyanna' it's fish...
Since I wrote about Labour's lost local elections, distraught emails have poured in from around the country.

What, to you, Pol? I had no idea that you doubled up as an aginy aunt to the socialist fools in this country; what a busy life you do lead, my dear.
Here is the latest, from Wyre borough council in Lancashire. This Tory council has warped its spending towards wealthy Tory wards, ignoring solid Labour Fleetwood.

Ah, yes, we all know how all Tories want, secretly, to starve and kill the poor so that they may cease to plague us further. Perhaps the council just got tird of the unemployed and unemployable thugs smashing up every facility that the council provided. That's pure speculation on my part, of course, but then so is Polly's sentence.
Last Thursday, two weeks after the main local elections, there was a byelection in Park Ward, the poorest in Lancashire and the second-safest Labour seat in the county; activists piled in to support a good local candidate.

Ah, good stuff.
But they were shocked to lose, with a staggering 27% swing to the Tories in a seat that was never Tory before.

So even the poor think that they will be better off under the Tories; that rather implies that SuperGordo's attempts to eradicate poverty simply hasn't worked, eh? Either that, or these people are just ungrateful bastards.
The chair of Lancaster Labour party writes: "We've seen support from our regional office dry up (except when they need to bully) and membership has lapsed to its lowest ever.

Oh, diddums.
We're alone, isolated and fed up.

It's time to put yourself and some bricks into a sack and just into the river, sonny.
So on Wednesday night we passed a resolution calling on Tony Blair to resign before the annual conference." They are not by nature that kind of local party.

Well, they weren't whilst they were winning, no. Now that they have lost, they are looking for someone to blame; after all, that is the culture that NuLabour have instilled. It is never your fault that something has gone wrong, someone else is always to blame, you just have to find them. A bit like when you, Polly dearest, blamed the anonymity of the internet, rather than people's righteous rage at your execrable writings, for the abuse that you receive.
What is to be done?

Why not get Gorgeous George to assassinate Princess Toni?1 That'd solve your problems.
It is no good ministers fuming over Cameron's outrageous selling of Conservatism in fake Labour bottles. Even if his homeopathic politics are devoid of a molecule of content, they are having a strong placebo effect on the voters. Take family-friendly working life, putting wellbeing before GDP. Refusing any tricky obligation to make employers do it - Cameron voted against every measure on parental leave and flexible work - his call for a work-life balance "culture change" stole one of Labour's best patents, rebranding it as his own.

Hang on, what is that phrase about getting a dose of your own medicine? I imagine that it is something about which you are starting to learn a wee bit, eh Pol?
He only succeeds because Blair wastes energy fighting over institutional change that most people neither know nor care about, instead of building on Labour's own best achievements.

And what are they, exactly, Polly? Apart from keeping you in a job writing this drivel.

Because Blair is aware that on everything that he promised, he has been an utter failure.
  • The NHS?—still in crisis and costing twice as much.

  • Education?—still appalling, with 1 in 5 children in England leaving school functionally illiterate and universities having to run remedial courses for those with As.

  • Crime?—well, we being treated to a fresh scandal at the Home Office on an almost daily basis.

  • Foreign policy?—Iraq. Need we say more? Oh, yes, his failed Presidency of the EU and the ludicrously bad deal that he got us when he was unable to close the deal on the budget.

  • Sleaze?—well, The Little Red Book... is already out of date.

It's not an impressive record—not exactly a catalogue of success—and Blair knows it.
Because Blair is deeply conflicted about admitting Labour has done anything radical for fear of being anti-business.

Well, he shouldn't have put Brown in charge of the Treasury then. Because "business" has been less than keen on NuLabour for some time.
David Halpern, a bright thinker in Blair's own strategy unit, was the first to offer powerful policy ideas about wellbeing, but Blair wouldn't touch either the policy or the language. So while he preferred tough stuff about business-linked trust schools (of which there will be precious few anyway), Cameron stole one of his crown jewels. If people want wellbeing, how well Labour could talk up its plans for universal, wrap-around nurseries and childcare. Labour is already delivering more babies: the ONS suggests a rise in the birth rate is partly due to mothers getting more help.

Well, apart from the fact that this is a typical Toynbee lie, what if it were true? All it means is that more people who cannot afford to have babies are having babies that must continue to be paid for by the rest of us: I don't think that the fact that NuLabour policy is slapping yet more financial burdens upon us is something to be celebrated, do you?
But Cameron keeps stealing Labour fire. He was the one to tell business to know its place, but why didn't Labour take that chance to go further and challenge boardroom greed?

Because it is none of the state's business what private companies pay their bosses, or any other employees for that matter. We are living in a totalitarian state (yet).
Cameron goes green, but it will be painless, he says. Blair could earn more trust by telling the hard truth everyone knows - that reversing climate change means consuming less.

Or, of course, innovating more. Besides, it is highly unlikely that the climate change that is happening can be reversed, and the studies that have been done are, in any case, deeply flawed.
Cameron has even purloined social mobility.

Well, that is because social mobility has declined under Labour, partly because of extremely high marginal tax rates and the mania for means-testing. It is not difficult for Cameron to promise to do better than making the situation worse.
So far the voters are buying Mr Placebo's herbal remedies and not Labour's genuine prescriptions.

The mind absolutely boggles when one reads a sentence like this. Are you living in the same country as us, Polly? Do you have any concept of what is happening in economics or politics? Are you mad or stupid?
Why does Tony Blair stay on? Ask his henchmen...

Ah, Blair has "henchmen"; well, he must be about as evil as Skeletor (with whom I always associate the word).
... and they point to yesterday's pensions policy as a good reason: Brown would never have relinked state pensions to earnings. Ahead, they say, there is so much Blair still wants to do: nuclear energy, Northern Ireland peace and repairing the damage in the EU once Chirac departs next year. "He knows he can't afford a year of drift."

He's fucked. So are NuLabour. And, unfortunately, they've fucked us too. Although, one imagines that your considerable earnings will ensure that you're alright, Jack. Sorry, Polly.
So when, then? "Well, he does know he can't stay until autumn 2008, as he planned. But when Gordon takes over voters will demand an election soon after, so it can't be too soon either." Autumn 2007? "No, no, that's just when Cameron launches all his new policies, a disaster!" It would be a disaster too, they keep saying, if the party ever publicly defenestrated their leader.

They're screwed, wahey!
But what if things go on getting worse?

Well, they've continued to do so over the last nine years: there seems no reason why ZanuLabour shouldn't continue on their downward spiral...
The chances of Tony Blair pulling out of his nosedive look slim.

I know: isn't it fantastic?
"He needs to wait for a time of quiet, not under pressure, to decide for himself." What if there is no more quiet? Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers are pledged to be the ones to tell him if the time ever comes when the party needs him to go. But frankly, it doesn't sound as if the messengers intend to pay that call any time soon. As for the message from Wyre, it has not got past the guards outside No 10 - yet.

The "achievements" of Nulabour don't seem to have got past your guards yet either, Polly. There is only one man who can do that, of course; only Gordo's purple-headed love-warrior can get past the guards of your labia majora and minora in order to plunge his meaty message home.

And when he has delivered his burden into your womb, then the message will be spread about and diluted by the churnings of your internal fluids; the sugared coating of his sperm creating dangerous infighting—much like the Labour Party—with the acidity of your vaginal juices. It is unlikely that the information will reach that part of you that it needs to and, even if it does, it is unlikely that it will take hold.

I just hope that it is not an event that Robert Winston feels like filming...

1. Some excellent stuff on this from Mr Eugenides.
The back arrow will take you up to the original place in the text.
Thanks, by the way, go to Daring Fireball, for the idea of how to implement these footnotes.


Katy Newton said...

She said no, didn't she?

Devil's Kitchen said...


She never called; I feel used...


Anonymous said...

I did admit to reading the Guardian the other week but after a quick glance at the article in your link I cannot imagine I would ever read Toynbee. Good god, how can anyone get two paragraphs into that without all their braincells turning to mush from the sheer tedium of it?

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