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Those BA Stirkes

Now the issue as I understand it is that the BA cabin crew are amongst the best remunerated in the industry. BA also flies with the greatest number of Cabin crew per flight. BA wishes to reduce the number of crew per flight (to a figure still some way above the industry average) and cut the pay of new recruits (not existing employees) because it has struggeld to make money in the face of onerous pension liabilities, the economic downturn, the ash cloud and oil-prices. The Union, for some reason, thinks this completely unacceptable, and calls strikes with the potential to bankrupt the company, thus ensuring that UNISON members (and the colateral damage of everyone else at BA) lose their jobs and pension.

This strikes me as so HEROICALLY counterproductive, the only reason I can see for this is the internal politics of the Labour movement. A big strike, and a high profile corporate casualty would strenghten UNITE and Wheelan in the battle to shape the Labour party. BA employees voting for a strike are pawns in someone elses game of chess.

Or am I being a tin-foil hatted conspiracy lunatic who should spend less time on t’interweb?

Declaration: The writer hopes to fly BA this week.

Protection on the Left Flank

The Labour party demonstrated its attitude to the Liberal Democrats after the election: They thought that the other left of centre party was theirs for the taking, and any Lib Dem votes could be added to theirs in an ‘anti-Tory alliance’. This was true for about a third of Lib Dem voters. Tories make the same mistake with UKIP.

When asked what they wanted to see from the election the voters seemed to indicate that a hung parliament was their favoured option, and that a Lib-Con alliance was what they wanted to see. Whilst I wanted to see a big Tory majority, I am disgustingly satisfied with most of what’s come out of the Government since the election. This poses a problem for the Political blogger. I have no-one to rant against. I am reduced to apologising and defending government actions against people that disagree. So If you think you’re going to see right-wing firebrand ranting against the CGT raise, you won’t. I don’t agree with the policy. But as it’s (1) Temporary (2) a simplification in that it’s a tax at the same rate as income taxation & (3) ‘paying for’ a rise in the income tax threshold to £10k, I think I can let it slide.

And this is the point of Coalition. If I can be persuaded that some dodgy policies are necessary, at least in the short term, imagine what the Liberal Democrats in Government are doing to the left. As I mentioned above, the Labour party HATE the Tories. But they will not be able to muster the passion in their activists against the EVIL Tories because their fellow-travellers have got into Government too.

Maybe it will force the Labour activist base to reappraise their view of Tories as evil, rich class enemies. Many Labour people assume Tories are naturally authoritarian. We are not. We are only interested in ‘the rich’. We are not. We are bigoted. We are not. And perhaps because the Liberal Democrats have seen this, eventually the Labour party will too. In the mean time, the leftist opposition will be blunted by the presence of genuine left wingers, albeit ones who see what needs to be done to fix the country, in Government.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see gentlemanly politics return to Westminster, and freedom to the country.

Or am I just demonstrating a hopeless optimism?

The Electorate have spoken, Damn Them!

Despite polling stations reporting queues at 10pm, with hundreds of voters too stupid or disorganised to vote earlier were denied access to the polls. The Liberal democrat polling surge turned out to be a surge in responses amongst the 39% of the electorate who think a General Election is an episode of X Factor and can’t be bothered to find out where their polling station is. My greatest dissapointment of the result was the pathetic turnout, for which the British People should be ashamed. We do not deserve to live in a democracy.

Generally the message is “they’re all as bad as each other, innit”, and as a result, not voting is seen as in a typically nihilistic and cynical British way, as the correct option. The truth is that we, the lazy, spoon-fed and ignorant electorate have the Government we deserve. 20 years of Labour lies have left the electorate immune to savage assaults on their civil liberties and willfully ignorant of the real differences between the parties. The Lib-Dems and the Tories share a commitment to civil liberties that goes beyond the labour approach of treating everyone equally as a criminal/terrorist/potential paedophile, whilst using group “rights” as a crowbar in their policy of divide and conquer. Both reasonable parties deplore 42-day detention, ID cards, databases and the creation of the British Democratic Republic of omnipresent CCTV and surveillance by council prod-noses and state-sponsored informants. They are not “all as bad as each other” and I will violently assault the next person to make that assertion for it is merely Labour’s most pernicious and corrupting lie.

For if the Low turnouts of the past few years can be blamed on anything it is this childish attitude. It stems from the New Labour approach in the 1990s to turn a few back-benchers’ misdemeanours (for next to the appalling corruption at the heart of Labour, shagging one’s secretary in a Chelsea shirt, or ‘cash for questions’ has an almost comic innocence) into a belief that the entire Conservative Government was corrupt: the lie that started the rot. Rather than excoriating the stupid, corrupt individuals, the reputation of the Tory party and the entire political system was dragged through the mud for Labour’s base party political ends. Then the Labour party started to Govern. Cash for policies – the ecclestone affair, purchase of honours, the abuse of the immigration system to import Labour voters to “rub the right’s nose in it”, the lies, the incompetence, the constitutional vandalism, the fiscal diarrhoea and the slovenly abuse doled out to political opponents both outside and within the party finally destroyed the reputation of the Labour party too. Of course the dashed hopes of 1997 made this a more painful betrayal for the electorate.

Of course, whilst the Labour party destroyed the country, the smearathon on the motives of the Tory party continued to be effective.

They may have been politically successful, but the failure of the New Labour machine to govern effectively was total. Despite the biggest rise in peace-time taxation in history which occurred during one of its longest booms, Labour was running a massive budget deficit even BEFORE the crash of 2008. The achievements with all this money boils down to reduced productivity, overmanning and public sector waste. Of course there have been improvements, it would be hard to spend that much money (that we don’t have) and there not be, but the gains are not commensurate with the cost.

It is no wonder the people have turned off politics.

Which meant that when the Tories unveiled the most optimistic, decentralising, yes… Libertarian manifesto (I am ignoring the Daily Hail-courting ‘National Service’ plans as a silly dog-whistle) I could have hoped for from a mainstream political party, no-one was listening. Because the Labour party had managed to frame the debate around £6bn of “cuts” as a result of not raising tax which is, apparently, “taking money out of the economy”. This is economic double-think, and the only reason I can think of that it is taken seriously is that the party spouting this nonsense is ACTUALLY IN GOVERNMENT. Had they been talking this piffle from opposition, they would have been rightly derided: just another advantage of incumbency abused by Labour.

Finally, the the fear-mongering amongst public-sector workers, who thanks to Gordon Brown’s decade of fiscal incontinence now make up 50% of the electorate, that the Tories would fire them instantly they won, meant that Labour managed to secure a face-saving and totally undeserved rear-guard defence of seats.

This profoundly negative campaign contrasted with the rather optimistic and naive campaign of the Tories who assumed that the people would take radical policies in Education, taxation, benefits, policing and the Constitution as CHANGE. Cameron relentlessly focused on his policies,though you wouldn’t have guessed from the coverage, which focused entirely on personality. They didn’t believe in Cameron as an agent of “change” because they’ve been looking at Cameron for 4 years, which is a long time in X-factor Britain. And, of course because, so the other Labour lie goes, no-one who went to Eton can be trusted to run a Bath because they’re evil. Talking about policies is “boring, and they’re all the same, and nothing changes, innit”. The lesson: in New Labour’s Britain, only viciously negative campaigning works. Never, ever mention policy.

Because the Tories, who are “just as bad as Labour, innit”, cannot represent “change” another Young public schoolboy of whom the electorate were only dimly aware popped up halfway through the campaign. Nick Clegg did well in the debates and has an interesting set of Policies. The media had decided that Vince Cable, instead of being a self-righteous superannuated socialist, proposing more of the same failed “tax the rich” nonsense, was in-fact something of a Guru. Now they could paint Nick Clegg as “Change” too even though on the manifesto, his offering looked more like “the same old politics” than the Tories’. Under the lib-dems Westminster would become a regional assembly in the EUSSR. He even disagreed with the electorate on the only policy they seem to care about: Immigration.

Never let the facts get in the way of a Media Narrative.

Despite their x-factorisation of politics, the truth is the election debates are the only good thing about this whole sorry campaign. At least they caused the electorate to sit up and take notice to the extent they’d indicate to the pollsters that they’d been paying attention. However the end result was an election in which the people have demonstrated that by Apathy they can be persuaded to accept the hellish Benthamite Panopticon that New Labour’s Britain has become, and that If you repeat a lie often enough, the people will accept it. They may tell the Pollsters that they’re going to vote for someone, but in reality they can’t be arsed because “they’re all the same, innit”. The lie factory that is all that remains of New Labour has destroyed British democracy to such an extent that even in the midst of a fiscal crisis caused by reckless Government spending for more than a decade, one and a half hot wars and the most unpopular Government since records began, little over half the electorate can be bothered to vote, because they’ve been persuaded to blame the present crisis on “the banks”, and can’t be bothered to remember the rest.

So what happens now? Parties will have to work together. Cameron will be PM with Lib-Dem help. Despite my support for First Past the Post, some form of electoral reform is now inevitable, if not now, then as soon as the Left next get their hands on the tiller. I would rather the Tories make something lasting, in tune with what is left of the British constitution. So I hope the Tories get into bed with the Liberal Democrats even at the price of some form of PR, in return for their support in getting a Conservative budget and Queen’s speech through and undo some of the Savage assault on civil liberties. I am sure I could be persuaded by multi-member constituencies, so long as they were small enough, and individuals rather than parties remain what you vote for. Counties and equivalent seem the obvious choice for constituencies.

As I write this from a sunny bar in Cyprus, I understand negotiations are ongoing between the Tories and the Lib-dems. Labour cannot be allowed back into Government. That means the Liberal democrats may just get their greatest wish. A Very British Dude reluctantly concedes electoral reform as inevitable, in order that the Tories can start to undo the damage of 13 years of New Labour’s national scat-party. A small price to repay for National renewal.

The Tories must seize the opportunity to mitigate the lunacy of some of the PR proposals as the price of shutting the Labour party out of power for a very, very long time. Conceding defeat to a silly proposal because the electorate however nihilistic and ill-informed have been persuaded of its necessity is a price of Democracy. Electoral defeat is not what Brown and Co. deserve; New Labour deserve to be hanged for treason, not let off with pensions. However forgoing bloodthirsty revenge is another price of democracy.

The people have spoken’ damn them.

Oh. And for the record, I’m in the 39%, because of an almighty fuck-up by my proxy who might get forgiven, if they’re really, really nice to me. This is the first election, local or national since 1997 in which I have failed to vote.

Strengthen Fairness in Communities

“Strengthen fairness in communities” is the fifth and final pledge on Gordon’s GE2010 pledge card. What does it mean? On their website, they use it to mean ‘controlling immigration and giving young people jobs and handing out ASBOs’, but that doesn’t really capture it.

Let’s try to decipher it, shall we. Word by word.

“Strengthen”: strong. Good. bold. People like “strengthening”, especially when you’re strengthening something that is also good, like….

…”Fairness”. Fairness means something very different to a lefty than to a proper person. To most people it means paying their way, working hard, not taking the piss and accepting responsibility for your actions. If you fall on hard times, you will be supported. That is fair. What fairness means to a lefty is “High marginal tax rates on the middle class” and “redistribution”.

So… Where is “Fairness” going to be “Strengthened”? Why “In Communities” of course. Now “Communities” means to most people ‘Where you live’, but to the lefty, it means ‘your identity group’: Gay, Black or other minority ethnic, gender, or economic status. ‘Community leaders’ receive tax-payers money to their organisation and in return, they deliver identity group block votes. Now this strategy is falling apart. Respect is picking up the disaffected Muslim vote, much of the Indian vote has always been Tory, the Gay community appears to be forgiving the Tories for section 28, and so on.

So…

We have a slogan that means “making where you live a bit fairer” to the average punter, and cannot possibly be objected to by anyone any more than a political party will say “we’re against fairness”. “Strengthen fairness in communities” is an anodyne, focussed grouped bit of meaningless marketing hocus-pocus. However to Labour’s pets in the grievance industry, it means delivering tax-payers loot to undemocratic “community groups”.

It’s a dog-whistle.

The Brown Bounce, Anacyclosis and Ochlocracy

There were 2 polls in the papers over the weekend, which saw the Tories return to election winning leads: ComRes in the Independent had the Tories 9% up (they recently posted a Tory 1% lead) and YouGov in the Sunday Times which showed a 13% lead. During this crisis, fear of an unknown quantity – the Cameron conservatives has seen Labour pick up floating voters. Nationalisation of banks has seen the Labour core strengthen. But as perception of a sure hand on the tiller gave way rapidly to hubris, spin and hyperactive policy making – spending taxpayers’ money with the accuracy and care of a man urinating after 20 pints, so the public support waned.

As unemployment rises inexorably towards three million, and ever more tax-payers money is shovelled into schemes to get banks to commit commercial suicide by lending to marginal companies in a recession, whilst being pressured simultaneously by a hyperactive and panicked regulator to rebuild balance sheets, that ‘fear of the unknown’ will give way to anger. That anger will be directed at the Government, and there is nothing they can do about it. The next stage in the cycle will be Hope, yet this will not save Gordon Brown.

Hope will be invested in the incoming Government rather than the incumbent, though as Conservatives, it will not be so euphoric as 1997; luvvies will not be leading the cheerleading. Instead it will be led by the middle classes, grey business people and others who will be doing the rebuilding of the economy once more. Hope will give way to optimism, though I fear that is many years away. A return to fear, and the completion of the cycle is a decade or more hence.

This is the political cycle in a democracy. But democracy is dying – it was already on its deathbed but is now being smothered by Labour who are hastening the move to Ochlocracy: the final phase in the development of societies in PolybiusAnacyclosis. This time it is not just the Rulers who have been corrupted, but the mob too: corrupted by a sense of entitlement. Alexander Tytler supposedly observed that democracies are…

always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship

Apathy has given way to dependence, and dependence is giving way to bondage. Look how the Daily Mail and the Sun – the best selling papers in the UK demand ever more surveillance and support CCTV, the suspension of Habeus Corpus and the draconian powers of the State. Even tax-cuts are viewed with suspicion. The British people have become slaves – at least the Northern half of them because they have become totally dependent on state hand-outs. This coming recession will merely complete the process.

Unless…

It is easy to go onto Wikipedia and find a cycle, see where our society is on that cycle – be it Tytler or Polybius and fear. But these cycles were written not as predictions but warnings. Polybius was lamenting the demise of Republican Rome – as was Tacitus when he put freedom-loving soundbites into the mouths of ancient British noble savages.

“they call it ‘social justice’ when it is part of their slavery.”

But the fall of Roman democracy was not inevitable, it just became so with hindsight. People can influence history. It was inevitable that Germany would defeat the British Empire in 1940 but the British people pulled together. It was inevitable that Sterling would join the Euro (and aren’t you glad that didn’t happen?) but a coalition of papers and politicians made that politically impossible without a referendum. Just as inevitabilites were not so, these political cycles are warnings not forecasts. If heeded, we can become free once more. All it takes is that pressure be applied in the right places We should eshew revolutions until we have tried the simple things first: Have you written to a local Conservative MP demanding the end to the database state? Demanding the repeal of a specific law? because you can bet that plenty of people have written to the incoming party of Government demanding something be banned. Let’s use our remaining democratic feedoms to persuade our next Government to relax the choke-hold a bit, and hope that the long-forgotten but ancient instinct for freedom gets rekindled in the British heart. It’s going to take a long slog to climb out of the economic and political mire left by this most odious of Governments, but it is achievable with a bit of faith, in the country, its people and their capacity for hard work. Democracy has failed. Long Live democracy!