It was a dark time for The Kitchen.
Luckily, Polly Toynbee is still writing her bigoted, spiteful bollocks, toadying to the ZanuLabour ministers with all of her female wiles and so there is still a faint light—like the last power cell of the TARDIS in an alternate reality—glowing, and slowly gaining in strength (and hopefully consuming ten years of Ms Toynbee's life as it does so). Ah, Polly—my saviour, the light of my bile—come to me, my frabjous girl, and let us frolic together in Gordon Brown's underpants!
Britain wants an honest leader to tell hard truths
Oh, Polly: is it really the hard truths that you are looking for? Or is it something else...?
An email arrives from the general secretary of the Labour party, desperately seeking likely prospects. So will I join, it asks?
Strangely, Pol, I'd assumed that you already were a member of this magnificent organ of government: why would I think that? Maybe it was your sucking up to Tony Blair, or your repeated literary attempts at sucking off of Gordon Brown (if not actively rimming him)? Alas, maybe we shall never know...
This visionless little shopping list is what every party promises. So why on earth would anyone bother joining? Has everything Labour ever meant finally been boiled down to that pathetic little puddle of inoffensive nothingness?
Yup. After all, it is hardly as though NuLabour can point to their successes as evidence, eh? They have ballsed up dealing with crime (even Blair admits it although, given his past record, that makes me think that it is not as bad as we all thought!), the war&mdas;or, rather, the peace—in Iraq has been something of a fiasco (if only in PR terms), the Lords reform has been half-arsed, the NHS (despite record levels of funding) is worse than ever, democracy is vanishing fast in these once great isles with the introduction of the ID Cards, Abolition of Parliament Bill, suspension of habeas corpus and too many other infractions upon our liberties. If you didn't have Gordon's cock up your arse and his fist up your twat, bringing you to screaming socialist orgasm, even you would admit that the economy is failing, with growth—except in the number of unemployed and record number of bankruptcies—almost non-existent, and the wheels so close to falling off the NuLabour financial project.
Forget agonising over why voters are dangerously disengaged, look no further than this empty reductionism in the wasteland of some imaginary centre ground.
NuLabour is not in the centre: NuLabour is an old-fashioned, tax-and-spend socialist hellhole, with the thin veneer of middle-class acceptability that is Tony Blair; it is the only reason that he still leads.
In his Let's Talk meeting yesterday, Tony Blair plunged back into the womb from which New Labour was born...
What, the stage-managed press conferences, the NuLabour stooges with pre-issued questions sitting hanging on their god's every weasel word? Back into the birthing pool, indeed.
... proclaiming himself, unsurprisingly, on the side of the victim not the criminal. In the early days, "tough on crime" were the magic words signifying Labour's return to the land of the living. What does it mean now?
As a rallying cry to call back lost members and voters to the Labour flag, nothing at all. After nine years in power and 43 Labour criminal justice acts, it falls on stony ground.
Of course: what is the point of making laws if you don't enforce them? Tougher laws and more attacks on our civil liberties—and make no mistake, that is what Tony's latest law'n'order drive means—do not stop criminals from committing crimes. Not unless you actually enforce those laws. You might as well stand about with a megaphone, imploring the Yardies and other assorted numpties, chaves hoodlums and wanker crims to give themselves up for the good of their souls.
Worse, as the prime minister threatened radical reform of the entire criminal justice system, a great shudder ran through all the public services that have felt the lashes of Blair reform already.
Repeated reforms, all useless, all completely fucking useless. And expensive, so very, very expensive. And supported by you, Polly, you faithless whore; don't tell me that you are jumping ship at this crucial juncture?
Tony reminds me, at this point, of Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars, shortly before he and the Death Star are blown to atoms: "Abandon ship? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances." And Polly is the second-in-command, edging her way to the escape pods whilst still shouting, "Good show, Grand Moff! You're doing fine..."
The NHS is going through a turmoil that may yet finish off Labour at the next election.
At the rate that it is going, the NHS and Labour will both be irredeemably fucked at the next election; there's always hope.
Labour MPs may rebel again next week over similarly abrupt education reforms. Half the police forces are already at war over amalgamations their areas don't want. Local government awaits with trepidation a white paper promising "double devolution" with yet another reorganisation.
You've summed it up quite nicely, Polly; thank you. You supported this lot, didn't you? Albeit with clothes-pegs taped to your nose.
Now the criminal justice system is about to taste Blair reform, too. It always starts with a frenzy in the press, as nowover criminals. Blair dashes for an eye-catching response. He elevates that political impulse to a higher plane of ideological mission. He sets an eyewatering target: he has long been too impatient to wait for evidence-based policy, with pilots to prove what works. He raises public expectation even higher than his targets and nails his own credibility to these unrealistic goals.
Which are never reached, although they have ensured that his credibility has reached a nadir.
It works for a bit, the sheer enormity of his promise silencing the front pages for a while. His reform succeeds in making measurable improvements too. But it fails to fulfil the unreasonable expectations his rhetoric has aroused. Disappointment means voters mistrust the good figures that do show improvement.
Yes, that and the constant spinning and lying means that no one believes a single word that emanates from this bunch or corrupt fuckers. Although, what figures you mean, Pol, I don't know. Is that the National Audit Office figures that show that a 73% increase in funding to the NHS resulted in a productivity increase of 0%–-1%? The sharp increase in violent crime figures? The figures showing record bankruptcies this year and last? Which improvement figures are these, Polly?
It's Labour's tragedy that crime, schools, the NHS, poverty, cities and open spaces are all very much better - but few believe it.
My dear Polly, only someone in your rarified strata (was it £140,000 a year that you earn?) could possibly think that things have improved. Did you children go to state schools? Do you go private for your health provision? And where do you live: an affluent suburb? I would be very surprised if you live in a dingy flat in Brixton or Maryhill, amongst the hopeless, helpless and shiftless.
Nor do they believe the man who too often promises too much. Iraq may be an extreme analogy, but invasion and destabilisation is easy while creative reconstruction is slow and hard.
How long do you want, Polly? Ain't nine years enough? But you're right: destruction is easy, and NuLabour—your bedfellows and fuckbuddies—have been eminently capable at fucking things up.
So who would join Labour now because it is "tough on crime"? Law and order credibility is necessary, but it won't stir an ounce of support to save the party from its worst poll ratings since 1992. Why might anyone join?
To destroy it from within?
Because social justice is what fires most Labour people.
Social justice? Oh, you mean redistribution, don't you, Pol? You know, stealing property from those who have worked for and earned it, and giving it to those who haven't. Yes, I can see that.
Labour's only reason for existing is to stand for fairness, protect the underdog and know that money doesn't buy as much happiness as common social goods.
Polly, Polly, Polly: Labour's reason for existing is to get into power and stay there. And common social goods? Wow, hasn't the state done a wonderful job of providing facilities to those that it claims to represent!
Taxes are good value: health, education, the arts, parks or sports are more precious and pleasurable than anything bought in a shop.
Taxes are good value? Why? It simply ensures that everybody is forced to pay for the pleasures of a few, regardless of whether they want, need, or are at all interested in those things that the state provides. Besides, as Timmy points out, many of these things are privately funded and privately provided.
But something is rotten in the state of NuLabour: can anyone save it?
We wait to see if Gordon Brown can breathe life into what is fast becoming a party of incompetent managerialism.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's Gordon cumming up Polly's smelly cunt like a train...
Will it be too late? While Blair fiddles with antisocial behaviour, the planet is in meltdown and everyone knows it.
Is that so, Polly? Amazing: Polly has switched, effortlessly, from talking about a corrupt party in a small, wet country in northern Europe, to the massive scope of the whole world! Truly, Polly, you are worth that big, fat, capitalist paycheque! And the planet is in meltdown, is it? Are you sure, Polly: there seems to be an awful lot of disagreement on that score and, at the very least, a considerable amount of hyperbole from those who aim to profit from scare-mongering (e.g. NGOs like Christian Aid who were, I notice, predicting doom in the Metro the other day), and those scientists whose continuing funds are predicated on the scale of the disaster that they predict.
Voters will be increasingly contemptuous of politicians like Cameron who pretend the solutions can all be easy. There may be an appetite for a leader honest enough to tell hard truths about taxes and climate change, the things Blair and Cameron so assiduously duck: there are no free lunches and no quick fixes.
Quite so, Pol; but the people who are going to sort this out are not governments: it is private enterprise. Because they are so much better at it...
Blair is hymned as Labour's mesmeriser of middle England, a talent Brown lacks, the Blairites warn. But, just possibly, it's something of a myth. Professor John Curtice, reviewing the voting evidence, casts doubts over the Blair magic.
For the less gullible of us, Polly, he never had any. Besides, I don't own any clothes-pegs.
He inherited a double-digit lead from John Smith, Curtice points out: "Blair's luck has been a decade of Tory collapse and that luck has just run out." The Tories are back in contention for their lost middle-class and southern vote: if Blair had southern magic, it has gone.
How right, for once, you are.
With his ratings at an all-time low, this month Labour scored its worst local election results. At the last general election, Blair polled only 1% more than Kinnock in 1992.
And only 2% more than the Tories; a result that translated into a 60 seat majority for Labour. Which would suggest that our electoral system, if not actively rigged (who appoints the Boundaries Commission, eh?), is pretty fucked up. Perhaps you'd like to tell us how much they polled, Pol? 21.6% of the electorate, was it?
Newsnight has engaged a distinguished US pollster, whose survey found that perceptions of Blair has collapsed into "They don't believe a word he says".
Newsnight needed to hire a pollster for that? Jesus...
But what of Brown's chances of winning back the southern vote?
Uh, uh, uh, oh, oh, oh, yeeeeeeesssss, Goooooooooordooooooon...!
Curtice says we just can't know.
Brilliant. Well, that was well worth the reporting, eh?
His ratings as chancellor are high...
Because people are stupid. Once the extent of his fuck-ups become obvious, as they soon must, they may not rate him so very highly.
... but the "How would you vote if Brown were PM?" is a "rubbish" question: no one can know until it happens.
How about having a wee guess? Go on, have a shot.
Knowing the truth about how Labour won three elections matters crucially for the Brown years. If Blair really did inveigle middle England by encouraging individualism and consumer choice, never criticising greed and preferring to damn hoodies than talk of the poor, there may be no room for Brown to strike out progressively.
This is becoming obscene: does Gordon's cock taste like Polly's favourite food, or what? Or is it just that the dour Scottish git has given Polly her first orgasm ever?
But times change: nine years is a long time in office. A large BBC commercial survey, based on nine focus groups and an opinion poll, hints that politicians are falling way behind the curve, missing a new altruism out there. "Goodbye Middle England - Hello Big Britain" shows not apathy and alienation, but frustrated environmental and social concern. Professor Roger Silverstone, of the LSE, calls the research hopeful, "revealing the emergence of a dynamic, socially engaged and environmentally conscious" voter - not a few, but 20 million.
Ah, yes, those who swallow the newspaper articles whole, and question not the information that they are spoon-fed every morning. I wonder if another poll would show that the majority of those are Grauniad and Independent readers; those newspapers which combine environmental sensitivity with offers of cheap flights to the destination of your choice. So very, very conscious of their obligations...
Cameron has caught the zeitgeist, but will fail to convince if his policies are no more than taxphobic windmills in his mind. This social democratic impulse belongs to Labour. It is there for Brown to seize, if he dares.
Surely, my dear, you should be seizing Brown and then feeding him into your sopping cunt: that's what you really want, isn'tt it, you filthy whore. That's right, baby, ooh, yeah; you like that? Yeah? You like it up you with a social conscience...?
Safety-first is no longer an option.
Oh, Polly, you should always put safety first; are you telling me that you aren't using any kind of protection? Naughty Polly, bad Polly! You don't know what you might catch: you might catch a dose of reality...
Can Labour recall what it's for, and why anyone should join?
No, and no. But why don't you tell Gordon what he should do—in those tender moments, batheing in the sexual afterglow—when he will be most receptive to your stroking of his... ego? I'm sure that you can make him that man of the moment; and you can rule as Queen Bitch, standing proudly by your man, then squealing ecstatically as he fucks you roughly from behind over the arm of your environmentallly sustainable throne...