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Can Maria Hutchings turn this all around and pull off a sensational Eastleigh victory?

When the markets opens the Tories were the favourites – one bookie even opened up with the party the 2/1 on favourites – which is quite strong. The incumbant MP was going to jail, he was a member of a political party that were languishing in the polls, the smaller coalition party were bearing the brunt of the voter rage of the government and the seat is in an area that has always been blue until the death of Stephen Milligan prompted a by-election at a time where John Major was overseeing a tough and deep recession and had a cabinet full of backstabbing bastards. This was a Blue gain and the chance to make Nick Clegg seriously squirm.

However very quickly the punters lumped on the Lib Dems and within hours most bookies had them both around evens and they weren’t sure which way to go. The Tories got in first with their candidate and on the face of it is seemed a swift and obvious choice but as the days have passed we have noticed one thing – it was a horrific one.

Eastleigh people clearly like the local Lib Dems as they hold every seat on the local council in the constituency. So to win they needed to appoint a candidate who was a soft Tory and not a hard line one. Someone prone to gaffes, speaking about how local schools aren’t good enough for her son, someone who wasn’t down with equal marriage and isn’t exactly keen on foreigners coming to the UK and working. This was a Tory candidate who was basically walking hand-in-hand skipping along with UKIP policies. Not exactly the best plan when you consider UKIP will be picking up the protest vote so instead of gaining disaffected Lib Dems she is busy fighting off disaffected Tories going to UKIP.

When you have an election where the majority are clearly broadly in a small political spectrum then you should put yourself in that political spectrum if you want to win. The Tories and the Lib Dems currently are in a pretty narrow field overall. Cameron is a soft Tory and Clegg is certainly not a natural left leaning Lib Dem leader so essentially if the candidates towed the national line it would come down to whether the Huhne mess and the general Lib Dem national malaise would be enough for the Tories to step in.

As we all know though the Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton is the only person in the narrow spectrum that the majority subscribe to. Soft liberals will not vote Tory next Thursday. They may vote Labour or one of the fringe parties or not bother voting but the soft Lib Dem vote will not go in any significant number to Maria Hutchings. So to win she has to establish herself as more credible than UKIP and try to tear down the Lib Dem vote to keep it at home or to send it to Labour or fringe candidates.

Can she do this? Yes but I can in theory become a Calvin Klein underwear model. Maria Hutchings is not a dynamic candidate that is engaging the public nor one who is generating positive press. I think the press over-inflate their influence but she just isn’t getting *any* positive play and her ground game is not what the Lib Dems or UKIP is. The Lib Dems know to win all they have to really do is keep the vote they had and maybe take a few soft Tory votes who are scared by the right-wingness of the Tory candidate and UKIP. UKIP know all they have to do is target anyone who is pissed off with everyone and swoop them up. When you see Boris Johnson knocking on doors and getting nowhere you know you have an issue.

The Tories could well win still in Eastleigh. Things can change but the general noise coming out is that they know they won’t. The thing is though that the Tories could and maybe should have won Eastleigh. The Chris Huhne trial and story has been knocking around for an awful long time now. Plenty of time to prepare, get on the streets, collect canvass data and have a candidate in place who was a soft Tory that could basically say, ‘look…you are pissed off with Nick Clegg and disappointed in Chris Huhne, why not vote for me and I can be that centerist candidate and not be a liar’ and victory was a far more realistic prospect.

Polling day is six days away and the more likely scenario now is the Tories fighting UKIP for second than fighting the Lib Dems for the win. If the polling does see UKIP get second place it will become possibly the biggest story of the by-election. UKIP’s strength against the Tories, the Tory collapse and the Lib Dem resilience would be the stories and in that order. Having a strong Lib Dem hold might just be the third biggest story of this election – who saw that coming?

Of course plenty can change but the Lib Dem campaign is holding up and confidence is there. The UKIP campaign is strengthening and they are sniffing giving the Tories a real real scare and the Tories are floundering. Labour were never going to be a significant runner and a fourth place would not be embarrassing for Ed Miliband in the slightest. If they were to get in the mix with UKIP and the Tories it might actually be a very good night for the party.

Still all to play for but the Lib Dems have run (so far) a very good campaign. The Tories seem to have stumbled without a clear plan (despite plenty of feet on the ground) and UKIP are picking up on that general anti-establishment feeling that is encompassing the nation.

Whatever happens next Thursday I can see several very interesting storylines…

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So an Eastleigh by-election is upon us. Can the Lib Dems hold on…?

They say you’ll never find a poor bookie. Well as the books open on the Eastleigh by-election one thing is clear – they have no idea who’ll win this by-election. You can get both the Lib Dems and the Tories at odds-on and also odds against. It is a straight two-horse race as it just isn’t a Labour area and the big question we’ll see for the first time in this new political climate is the effect of UKIP on a Tory/LD marginal.

I wrote last year that UKIP could actually be the saviour of the Lib Dems in 2015. It sounds mad but a strong UKIP could work very much if the Lib Dems favour. The majority of Lib Dem seats in the south are very much in Tory/LD marginals. Heck most of the marginals that the Lib Dems are in are with the Tories in the south. Now I hypothesise that a strong UKIP will pick up more votes from the Tories than they do the Lib Dems. Yes there will be Lib Dem protest votes that disappear to UKIP but the question is will these be more or less than those votes from disaffected Tories?

It should be noted that in the pathetic Police and Crime Commissioner Elections that in the borough of Eastleigh (which isn’t strictly the constituency ward but is the majority of) that the Lib Dem candidate got the most votes with the independent candidate second, Tories third and Labour fourth. The council is made up of 40 Lib Dems and Four Tories. No other party is represented. In 2012 Eastleigh actually saw two LD gains. So this is an area where the Lib Dem vote is strong and is holding up.

Chris Huhne took over the seat in 2005 and just about held on but in 2010 he increased his 600 odd majority to just short of 4,000. The seat was a three-way marginal but Labour’s portion of the vote has dissipated since their high point in the 1997 massacre where they were still a good 5,000 short of winning in Eastleigh. Labour are not winning Eastleigh so don’t throw your money away. This is now a two-way marginal with UKIP being the interesting party to watch.

I don’t think Chris Huhne’s actions will hurt too much with the electorate. It won’t help for sure but if the Lib Dems put forward a good local candidate who speaks well and campaigns hard then they it shouldn’t be a huge issue. I don’t see the Huhne personal vote as a big one. Just watching VoxPops on the local news and the general consensus is that he was an idiot and they are very disappointed in him personally – but not disappointed in the party.

This is without a shadow of a doubt the first by-election that will actually show something of this parliament. I know George Galloway won in Bradford West but that was very much a protest vote against Labour and an excellent local campaign. If The Lib Dems lose Eastleigh then they might well be in real trouble in 2015 but if David Cameron can’t take Eastleigh then there will be a large section of his party that will think they can’t win an outright majority in 2015.

Labour should sit back and watch the carnage and basically work out their 2015 strategy in large based on this. This by-election will be the largest indicator that we’ll get to how the Lib Dem vote is holding up against the Tories and in turn how UKIP will influence these vital Tory/LD marginal. After this by-election we’ll know so much more but for now all we can do is speculate and watch the drama unfold. Oh and Phone Bank, Phone Bank, Phone Bank…

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The Tories have suddenly found out that actions have consequences – and they no like it

The problem with coalition politics is that everything is essentially a negotiation. No one party will get everything they want. For something one party wants they’ll have to give in to something the other party wants. It is pretty simple stuff but of course with there being a Tory for every five Lib Dems (give or take) in the coalition it could easily be argued that the Tories should get more than the Lib Dems. However they shouldn’t just get everything their own way…

Today the Lib Dems didn’t let the Tories rub their bellies whilst blowing raspberries on it and actually stood up against the Tories because of another piece of the electoral reform process got canned. The Lib Dems were willing to go along with boundary changes in exchange for a more elected House of Lords. They were losing on one front to gain on another. That is pretty much the basis of coalition politics. The Tory backbenchers decided they didn’t want this so killed the bill but still expected the Lib Dems to see through their part of the deal. They seem shocked and not just shocked – appalled – that they didn’t get their own way.

I won’t sit here and say this is a great day. I think boundary reform is important as everyone’s vote should be worth the same but also is ensuring that communities aren’t split up. For example locally in Southend there is no rhyme or reason why Leigh and West Leigh wards would be farmed off to Castlepoint for parliamentary elections. The people of Leigh and West Leigh consider themselves linked with Southend and always have done. Moving this boundary would just be about numbers and not just about communities and that isn’t the best way to be.

Former Southend councillor Peter Bone MP has called for all the Lib Dems who voted against this bill to cross the floor and collapse the coalition. I wonder if he wants the Tories who voted against it to leave the Tory party as well? I suspect he doesn’t. He knows that collapsing the coalition would lead to a General Election and the Tories not having power any more. So he is basically saying that he would prefer not to have any power than share power. An interesting position.

The thing is it is on days like these when the Lib Dems stand up and follow through with what they’ve said they’ll do you see that they couldn’t win either way. If they had voted with the Tories then everyone would have just called them Tory stooges. If they voted like they did against the Tories then people say they did so out of spite. People don’t care about the actual deal of House of Lords Reform for boundary changes (I know there was never a ‘formal’ deal on this but everyone knew it was either both or neither). People will just see what they want to see and if they see the Lib Dems as bad they’ll find a way to justify that position.

One day we’ll get to a point where people understand how coalition politics works, the Tories clearly aren’t there yet. They knew they were going to lose this vote but they still went ahead with it as they wanted to make the Lib Dems look bad. That was their plan all along. The thing is the Lib Dems are getting used to it and like most things they do if people ignore the headlines and who screams the loudest and actually listen to their explanations the hostility will not be as fierce.

Is today a good day for democracy in the UK? Maybe, maybe not. However when the Tory backbenchers and Labour decided to gang up to ensure that House of Lords Reform was very much kicked into the long grass then that probably wasn’t a good day either.

Boundaries need to be reformed but communities must not be split up. The Lords needs to be reformed. It is a shame that neither of these will happen in this parliament but it isn’t solely at the feet of the Lib Dems. There is plenty of blame to go around and all three of the parties deserve a large dollop of it at their feet.

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Labour are targeting a measly 16 Lib Dem seats in 2015 but keep saying the Lib Dems are dead. Something doesn’t add up…

Back in the day I went to school. 190 days a year. Lots of boring lessons. The odd interesting one as well. One lesson I did was maths. I was actually pretty good at it. Always in the top set and without sounding big headed always at the top of the top set. Maths wise I was always smart and basic number was my forte. I just nailed it.

So when I read today that Labour are targeting 106 seats for gains in 2015 but only 16 of them were Lib Dem I was a bit perplexed. Now you see I know Labour don’t need the Lib Dems to wither and die to gain power but I do know that all I read and hear is about how the Lib Dems are dead an as electable force. The two groups of people saying this are UKIP and Labour activists.

In 2015 – they say – the Lib Dems will cease to be and be wiped out. I have heard it so many times so surely if this was the case then Labour would be targeting every single Lib Dem seat because the Lib Dem vote is going to vanish into thin air? I mean there are 57 seats up for grabs – essentially free seats because no-one will vote Lib Dem any more so they’ll obviously vote for someone?

Here is the Labour target list with the Lib Dem seats bolded:

1 North Warwickshire
2 Thurrock
3 Hendon
4 Cardiff North
5 Sherwood
6 Norwich South
7 Stockton South
8 Broxtowe
9 Lancaster & Fleetwood
10 Bradford East
11 Amber Valley
12 Waveney
13 Wolverhampton SW
14 Marcambe & Lunesdale
15 Carlisle
16 Stroud
17 Weaver Vale
18 Lincoln
19 Brighton Pavillion
20 Plymouth Sutton & Devonport
21 Dewsbury
22 Warrington South
23 Brent Central
24 Bedford
25 Brighton Kemptown
26 Pudsey
27 Brentford & Isleworth
28 Hove
29 Enfield North
30 Hastings & Rye
31 Manchester Withington
32 Burnley
33 Ipswich
34 Dundee East
35 East Dunbartonshire
36 Halesowen & Rowley Regis
37 Nuneaton
38 Gloucester
39 Northampton North
40 Bury North
41 Kingswood
42 Erewash
43 Blackpool North & Cleveleys
44 City of Chester
45 Arfon
46 Croydon Central
47 Worcester
48 Keighley
49 Wirral West
50 Cannock Chase
51 Loughborough
52 Harrow East
53 Warwick & Leamington
54 Birmingham Yardley
55 South Swindon
56 Ealing Central & Acton
57 Pendle
58 Stevenage
59 Elmet & Rithwell
60 Edinburgh West
61 Watford
62 Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
63 Vale of Glamorgan
64 Argyll & Bute
65 Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale
66 Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
67 Norwich North
68 High Peak
69 Milton Keynes South
70 Rossendale & Darwen
71 Cleethorpes
72 North East Somerset
73 Great Yarmouth
74 Dudley South
75 Dover
76 Colne Valley
77 South Ribble
78 Peterborough
79 Stafford
80 Stourbridge
81 Harlow
82 Aberconwy
83 Ilford North
84 Preseli Pembrokeshire
85 Brigg & Goole
86 Crewe & Nantwich
87 Bristol NW
88 Battersea
89 Finchley & Golders Green
90 Calder Valley
91 Redcar
92 Crawley
93 Hornsey & Wood Green
94 Reading West
95 Rugby
96 Burton
97 Cardiff Central
98 South Basildon & East Thurrock
99 Tamworth
100 Redditch
101 Chatham & Aylesford
102 North Swindon
103 Cambridge
104 Bermondsey & Old Southwark
105 Bristol West

106 Leeds NW

Now of course Labour could be saying the other 41 seats will go from the Lib Dems to the Tories but they obviously don’t want that because if the Tories take the rest of the Lib Dem seats then the likelihood of a Labour majority is virtually wiped out. There are other parties as well all know and maybe Labour think that the Doctors against the Coalition will sweep in and take a plethora of seats. That is a possible scenario but so is a scenario where I score the winning goal for Portsmouth in an FA Cup Final.

So after the publishing of this list I would like to see Labour activists stopping with their dull and repetitive rhetoric that the Lib Dems are essentially a dead party walking towards 2015. If Labour truly believed that then they would be targeting every single Lib Dem seat.

It should also be noted that not one of the target seats is where the incumbent is a Liberal Democrat member of the Cabinet. So they are not targeting Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, Michael Moore nor Edward Davey. The highest ranked Lib Dem they are attacking is Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire. If the Lib Dems were hated so much then surely their best known faces will be the ones to fall as they face a backlash about being in cabinet.

So either Labour don’t actually think the Lib Dems are dead or their activists are lying not only to everyone but more importantly too themselves. I’m not saying Labour can’t take all 16 target seats but if the Lib Dems were truly dead then there are a lot more than 16 that Labour should be targeting.

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I thought Labour would easily win in 2015 but that might not actually be the case…

Labour have one of the easiest jobs in modern UK politics. Basically sit back and say they would do things differently whilst slagging off the Tories and the Lib Dems. It is just too easy for them and it is starting to feel like they are Ronnie Rosenthal and having rounded the Aston Villa goalkeeper the open goal that is gaping might not be filled with the football at their feet.

You see people aren’t stupid. Certainly not people who vote in a General Election. A lot of people get annoyed by it but most who troop down to the polling station will do so after having listened to a few bits on the news and read some stuff that has been pushed through their letterbox and/or on the internet at a minimum. So whilst the polls say one thing today that is not an accurate representation of how people will vote in 2015.

Today I sat here and listened to Ed Balls sound like the drunk uncle at a wedding reception who thinks that he knows everything. It was genuinely one of the worst performances in the House of Commons I have ever seen from a front bencher. He wanted to claim benefit for the petrol duty rise being scraped but his party wanted it only to be delayed until April instead of being scraped altogether. They brought a proposal in front of MPs and it was voted on just last month. They lost the vote by 48.

Now it is extremely fair to say that George Osbourne and I do not see eye to eye. I think he’s one of the most smarmy gits in the Commons and I also think he’s one of the stupidest members of the cabinet. However he schooled Ed Balls today.

Another big political point scoring point is the cut in the top level of tax for the rich. Politically this is easy for Labour as the majority of us think that the rich should pay more so the poor have to pay less. The thing is the higher the tax rate doesn’t automatically mean more money in the Treasury’s coffers. If anyone has ever played SimCity they’ll know that if you have a high rate of tax then your city doesn’t grow very quickly and the demand for new properties goes down. You’ll also know that you’ll raise money but not a lot. If you cut taxes then more people come into your city and therefore more people paying a lower level of tax is actually a healthier state of affairs.

The numbers the PM quoted in PMQs this afternoon have been quoted before and no-one has disputed them so we’ll take them as fact. At the 50p tax rate there were 6,000 people paying tax raising £6.7bn in taxes. The previous year when the 40p tax rate was in place 16,000 people were paying on that tax rate and they brought in £13.7bn in tax revenue for the Treasury. So more people paying less actually led to £7bn more money being raised. Isn’t the point of taxation to raise money for the Treasury and not political point scoring?

If you ask people on the doorstep today they’ll say they hate this policy but if they are reasonable and you can talk to them about this then they will listen to the facts. It is the same for the Lib Dems with regards to tuition fees. If you can get people to listen as you explain the new system they’ll be far less hostile. The same with the NHS when you ask people whether they had to pay for their A&E trip or whether they had to pay to visit the doctor or for physiotherapy or whatever. When outside an election the majority of people only listen to the news narrative but in an election period they are wiling to listen far more.

All Labour had to do was pillory the coalition parties whilst sounding credible with alternatives. Today they didn’t sound credible and their attempts at pillorying the coalition parties didn’t actually pass the smell test. As for credible alternatives…well yeah I don’t think I have to give that the time of day at this juncture. It seemed all too easy but maybe it is too easy and the two Ed’s will miss even worse than Ronnie missed and come 2015 the ball will be ballooned over the crossbar.

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The NUS are undertaking #demo2012 today but why are the University of Manchester strong-arming societies and what good will it do?

Well folks today is the big day. I’m getting married… psyche! As if. No today is the today the 18-22 generation are going to change not only their own futures but change the world. Yes it is the National Union of Students 2012 Demo as thousands of NUS kids flock into the capital to tell the government of the day that they don’t care about the young generation and they feel they need to change everything in Westminster and bring back the Labour Party who never introduced tuition fees and never proposed a students tax that students would be paying back for the rest of their lives. No the Labour Party would save the students…

There are several issues that I’d like to talk about and the first is the fact a major metropolitan university seemingly tried to strong-arm their student faculty into buying tickets to go to the demo in London. This university was the university of Manchester whose SU sent out an e-mail saying, ‘In order to be sure of Silver or Gold Award, societies will need to send 10 members to buy tickets (£8.50 to London is an absolute steal!) and thus show support for the national student movement.‘. The person in question who sent out this e-mail was Tommy Fish who is Activities & Development Manager. Having done a spot of research his job doesn’t seem to include ‘heavily implying societies should be doing things to ensure their funding for political purposes’ but maybe I just missed it?

Look I’m no legal expert but I’m pretty sure saying that funding would be guaranteed by purchasing so many tickets for this demo is pretty stinky and kinda blackmail-y? Or maybe it is just greasing the wheels but either way it stinks. Flat out stinks.

There is an e-petition about this entitled University of Manchester Students’ Union: Society funding should not be contingent on endorsement of political causes and I’d fully implore you to sign. As the petitioner shows it isn’t about the demo itself but is about whether funding from the Student Union should be dependent on societies being able to buy tickets to the demo and sending a minimum amount of people to something that they may not have a big issue with.

I think that is a disgrace but lets be honest a lot of this is a disgrace. I’m fully down with free speech and if these people want to protest then I have zero issue with that but what I do care about is whether they are spreading lies or untruths with their reasoning for demonstrating. The official Demo 2012 website says that the protest is about Education, Employment and Empowerment. I can understand the first two but the third is a bit bizarre but still lets look at the three issues one by one.

Education is important. They say, ‘The government has placed this under attack from all fronts – by scrapping the EMA, slashing undergraduate teaching funding, increasing tuition fees, introducing draconian restrictions on international students, cutting funding for post-graduate students, hiking fees for adult learners looking to gain basic skills, causing funding chaos in the nations…‘ One issue I have with this…does education start at 16? By the sounds of it according to the NUS it does. Do they not care about the Pupil Premium and ensuring that more people get a better education throughout their first eleven years of compulsory education?

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I’d prefer everyone to get a better education for the first eleven years for free and then have to pay beyond that if the alternative was free education for all after 16 and having an inadequate education system up to 16. If they are the only two options on the table I want to fund compulsory education to the fullest that we can and that is where I stand. Therefore I can’t stand alongside these demonstrators certainly when I look at how Americans have much worse student debt and how it was pretty much a straight choice (in the real world and not in idealistic la la land) of either dumbing down education for making people pay (in the long term – not in the short term) for good after 18 education. I mean seriously they were the options so what would you do?

Moving on to Employment and I can see what they are talking about here. I took two years after university to get a full-time job so I know what it is like. It is a genuinely soul-destroying experience so I do think the government need to find a better way to encourage young persons employment. So yes this is an issue and something that should be talked about more and if the protest just talked about this then I could see good, solid reasoning behind it but alas it isn’t.

Lastly Empowerment. Basically the NUS are saying that the Lib Dems lied and that they want the Lib Dems obliterated so that the Tories can screw them even more after 2015. Wait a minute they actually want Labour to win as Labour will save the day and make higher education free for all. Vive la revolution but of course if the Lib Dems were all kicked to the curb there are more Tory/LD marginals than Labour/LD marginals so if the Lib Dems withered and died in 2015 then Labour would lose. Woes. One line I love from their official website is thus:

Politicians have let education and employment slip off the agenda, but now we have an opportunity to create a movement that empowers us to take back our future.

Education and employment have slipped off of the agenda? Are you freaking kidding me NUS? Are you freaking kidding me? Are you sure this is true or is this pathetic propaganda to fit your narrative and try and justify your demonstration? As a politico I keep a pretty close eye on what is going on and do you know what? I’ve seen employment and the economy pretty high up in what is going on – in fact I think I’d go as far as to say it is the biggest issue out there that the government are tacking.

Also Education might not be top of the pile but it is certainly not being ignored. The Pupil Premium is out there and expect more Pupil Premium news in the next budget. Just because in our 24hour news cycle world you don’t hear about Education every single day it doesn’t mean it is being ignored. If you want people to take you seriously then don’t make stuff up. The NUS are fast becoming ‘the boy who cried wolf’ and they aren’t being listened to or trusted any more. People probably trust Newsnight and The X Factor more than they do the NUS – and that my friends is saying something.

Lastly and least importantly (but still deserving of a mention) is talk about what these people will be chanting tomorrow. Stace talks about it here and you can get a screenshot of the proposed chants here and whilst the fact they need cheat sheets might actually be the biggest issue the chants do nothing to further their cause and are just politically motivated (and in some cases are just flat out lies). They need to decide if they hate David Cameron, Nick Clegg, the Tories or the Lib Dems more. At the moment there is no cohesive argument apart from Labour seem great.

Look I know I was only a teenager at the time but I don’t recall mass NUS protests when The Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 came into force. Yes I recall some dissatisfaction but I don’t recall mass protests. Are we saying that £3k is fine and a Student Tax would be fine as well but a £9k maximum is too far? Or are we saying that Labour’s proposals are more favourable because the NUS are essentially Labour Youth? I would love to know whether the people protesting today are protesting about the fact students should pay anything or about the fact the Tories and the Lib Dems are in power?

If the protests today were just about raising awareness of young persons unemployment then I’d back it but it isn’t. It is about politics. The fact that the university of Manchester’s Student Union are strong-arming their societies is extremely troubling but it doesn’t surprise me. Many large student unions are staffed by people who have never worked out in the real world and still believe in idealistic claptrap. Well I live in the real world and things aren’t perfect. Young unemployment is a real issue boys and girls but kicking out the Lib Dems for making the decisions they did on tuition fees and not being realistic with budgets, finances and even the increase in education spending for compulsory education for the most needy is not.

All this demo will do is give a few people criminal records for being idiots. Give the police a hard day. Make many people feel big and important and do very little (or indeed nothing) to further their cause. Demonstrations are great if something can come of it but are the government going to change course because of this? No. Are people going to change their 2015 General Election vote on the strength of this? No. So what good can it do? Please tell me folks what good can this do?

I await your responses *watches tumbleweed flow through*

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Lib Dem Councillor leaves the party for Labour saying he’ll work even harder now he’s a Labour councillor compared to his Lib Dem days

You may have already read that a Brent councillor has switched his colours from yellow to red after believing that the Lib Dems have betrayed everyone. He has posted the following open letter across a plethora of Labour websites:

It is with great sadness that after more than 10 years as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, this week I have resigned my membership of the party. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I wanted to help make Britain a fairer, greener and more equal country. I no longer believe that the Liberal Democrat Party can make this happen. They have betrayed the values that I once shared with them.

However, I do believe that the Labour Party, under their new Leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt along with Ed Miliband in Westminster, shares my values and that I can as part of a Labour administration continue to work for the people of Brent.

I find that I am unable to lend my support to the devastating policies the Coalition is inflicting on Britain. In particular I have been sickened by the hypocritical things the Liberal Democrats do and say here in Brent.While my feelings about this have built up over the past two years, there are three issues that have finally pushed me to take this decision:

The people I represent in Alperton are struggling more than ever under this government, but the Liberal Democrat Leadership in Westminster is prioritising reform of the House of Lords instead of a plan for economic growth.

The closure of the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital under this government is an astonishing betrayal. Sarah Teather campaigned to keep the A&E when it was not under threat of closure. Now she is in government closing it. I am only sorry that I trusted her back then and I am sure that a number of her constituents feel the same way.

Paul Lorber also knows very well that had the Lib Dems won the Local Election in 2010 they would have faced the same pressure to close the six libraries in Brent. It is the Coalition cuts to local government that are causing this problem and Cllr. Lorber’s posturing on the issue is just an insult to the library campaigners and the people of Brent.

I recognise that some of my constituents in Alperton will feel let down by my decision. I apologise to them if they feel I ought to have nailed my colours to the mast more firmly before the election. Equally I trust that many of them voted for me because they knew of the hard work that I have done as a councillor over the years. I pledge to them that I will work harder than ever to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Alperton. I know that there are many people who voted Lib Dem at the last election and indeed many Lib Dem members who feel as betrayed as I do by the party’s record in the coalition. I urge them to join me and to join the Labour Party.

Regards,
Councillor James Allie

Now this isn’t a diss against this guy but I feel this to my core and have said it repeatedly. If you are elected as a member of a party then you serve an elected official of that party – or you serve as an independent. You do not serve as a member of another party. That wasn’t how you were voted in. In Southend a Lib Dem defected just a couple of weeks back and although he has joined another party – the Liberal Party – he will serve as an independent. I have seen Labour already making flirty eyes towards him and I find it disgusted – and I know the Lib Dems do it as well – I find it just as disgusting when we do it.

Once you are elected and you decide the party isn’t for you then you have three options. Two of which are acceptable and one is self-centred and shows that all you care about is being a councillor and not representing those who elected you. You can either serve as an independent which I think most people can understand. You can resign and force a by-election where you stand for the party you now wish to represent and put the decision to the voters. This again is fair enough and is in fact the best way forward or you can serve as a member of another party. This is the cowards way.

This councillor though is a man who has been very vocal in his message that innocent people’s DNA and fingerprints should be deleted from police records yet has joined a party who thinks differently on this issue. A party that wanted to record everyone’s biometric information is the party he has now joined and one he believes best represents him. So clearly he was never a big civil liberties fan.

Having done a search for him on the Brent Liberal Democrats website – which is maintained well and updated all the time there have been but two references to Cllr James Allie in 2012. So clearly he wasn’t doing a great deal.

He has defected from the Lib Dems to Labour not because he now truly believes that Labour are the future but for self-preservation. He’ll be up for election again in just under two years time and now is the perfect time to quit the party and get prepared to fight an election for Labour. He can sense the way the winds are blowing and has decided to cash in now to get the reward at the polls.

As for his letter. The prioritising lark is just a lazy line that people who don’t like the fact the Lib Dems actually are a relevance spin to justify not liking them. Governments can do more than one thing at a time you know. Everyone knows the economy is the single most important issue out there but a government and the House of Commons can’t spend all day everyday debating it because that will do nothing. When will people realise this? Cllr James Allie realises this but he wanted a cheap and lazy line to help him justify quitting the party instead of giving the truth and saying ‘as a Labour councillor I’m bound to win, as a Lib Dem I’m not sure.’

If he is so confident that the people of Alperton ward would vote for him again because of his hard work then go to the polls and find out. Don’t just say it. Find out. Also why will you work ‘harder than ever’ now you are a Labour councillor? Are you saying that you were hot-dogging it as a Lib Dem and now you’ll actually work?

This just sickens me that councillors can do this. They get in and then say ‘hey fuck you’ to their constituents. If he (and anyone else) wants to switch parties then fine but let the electorate decide whether they want it or not. In the future where I am supreme-overlord of the world any defections will result in an automatic by-election. I suspect however that we’ll never live in that world. Sad times…

Update: I have amended the title hence why the comments may not make sense.

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Do you remember Tony Blair’s last day in office…?

Away from the fun and games of online dating this blogs other prominent subject seems to be politics. Well it has now been just over five years since the day Tony Blair left office and I came across a video in the annals of my YouTube list that gives the highlights of his final day in office and it was an interesting viewing. Certainly the highlights of his last ever PMQs.

Notes from this video:

Sir Menzies Campbell was a nice chap.
Richard Younger-Ross really didn’t get it.
Tony Blair’s reply the euro sceptic Tory MP was genuinely funny and the fact his MP also genuinely laughed showed this.
Cherie Blair really can’t keep her gob shut can she?

I just thought it was a decent reminder that back in the day a personality really could carry his own weight. The Prime Minister nor his opposition leader have a personality to stand on. Tony Blair would cream either just on natural charisma alone. Politics is shifting and as we’ve seen in London with Boris Johnson the good old fashioned dull politician who is quietly effective isn’t the be all and end all any more. If you can naturally talk then you can actually do something in politics no matter what your policies are.

If you can make people listen to you and not switch off then you have done 90% of what is needed. You just need to ensure that the final 10% of what you actually are trying to get across is good and you’ll do ok. This is in part why no-one won a majority in 2010 in my opinion – neither Brown nor Cameron had a personality. This is why I think Clegg actually saw the Lib Dem vote go up nationally – he seemed a breathe of fresh air at the time. He’s not exactly Boris Johnson but he was by far the most natural with the camera and that is more important now than ever before.

For example if Nadine Dorries did leave the Tories for UKIP then it would do wonders for UKIP. Nadine may not be everyone’s cup of tea but heck put her in front of a camera and for every 100 people of twitter bashing her they’ll be 250 people out there in the real world agreeing with her. It isn’t just about talking sense it is about making the electorate agree with you. Use buzzwords and be something a bit different. Nadine is certainly that and I’d hypothesise that if Nadine was the leader of UKIP they would comfortably to the fourth party in UK politics in 2015 and might even win a few seats.

Nigel Farage has no personality. People look at him and listen to him and switch off. If Nadine was saying exactly the same things I reckon more would lean towards her than Nigel just because she is just so belligerent that she wouldn’t care what the twitterati were saying. She believes so deeply in herself and her PoV that she would just plough through the insults and people would respect that and she would just never quit.

It would be an interesting thing to see but I doubt we’ll ever see it. Tony Blair won three elections mainly on two principles – he was a better showman than his opposite numbers and all he had to say was ‘look, we’re not them’ and that was enough. He won an election even after Iraq when everyone supposedly hated him and his party. He did that because the opposition was such a shambles but because he could still stand up and whether you liked him or not, whether you believed him or not, you always felt he was telling it how he saw it and not how some spin doctor wanted him to spin it. He may have been talking rubbish but he was selling it so well and depressingly I think that is the future of politics. It is style over substance and Tony had style.

I do wish I could go into a parallel universe and see how the 2010 GE would’ve turned out had Tony not resigned and had he kicked Brown to the curb like he wanted to do for so long. I suspect the result would’ve been significantly different and even if Labour hadn’t have won an outright majority then they would certainly have been the dominant party in a Lab-Lib coalition. Sadly I don’t have that power (yet…) and for now it will just remain a hypothesis.

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Ed Miliband to call for an inquiry into David Beckham’s omission from the Olympic football squad

The Rambles of Neil Monnery have been contacted by a source that wants to remain anonymous with a leaked copy of a speech that Ed Miliband will give later in the weeK:

Thank you, thank you, you’re far too kind. Can I give an encore…just joshing ladies and gentleman. I know you aren’t here to listen to me rap. You are here to listen to me ask the government to open a governmental inquiry into why David Beckham has been left out of the squad for the football at the Olympics games here in London, which are proudly brought to you by and of course the Labour Party who were in charge when we beat those garlic loving French twits to win the rights to host the games. The Tories did nothing…

Anyway David Beckham – or Sir David Beckham as I’d have him known if I had the power because he’s so amazing and awesome and deep down we all wish we were him – but yes David Beckham has given his life and soul for the people of the UK only to be discarded by a man who has decided that the whiny Welsh tit Craig Bellamy is more worthy of representing our great nation than David Beckham. Does anyone remember his goal against Greece at Old Trafford? What did Craig Bellamy do in that game? Naff all that’s what. Some may say that he did nothing because he is Welsh but I say he dd nothing because he’s nothing compared to Lord Becks.

Also Ryan Giggs was picked and all he’s ever done for the UK was spend a lot of money on condoms. Is this the face we want to show to the world? A man who would screw his brothers wife for years because he deemed himself worthy? I do not think so. Lord Sir David has never cheated on his wife and even though there have been rumours who are we going to believe? A great Englishman or some unknown bint? Yeah exactly. Lastly a player who wasn’t even deemed better than Martin Kelly is better than Lord Sir David? Oh pur-lease.

Stuart Pearce has done nothing. Has David Beckham ever missed a penalty in a penalty shoot-out? No he hasn’t. Well he has but Uri Geller moved the ball so we can’t count that and it was only a quarter-final. Pearce did it is a semi-final and that was at a World Cup. Also he made money out of being rubbish by getting involved in a Pizza Hut commercial campaign. Did Becks resort to such low level? Did he heck.

I think it is clear that the government are at fault and a full inquiry would reveal the truth behind the cover-up. Some say that the cover-up is about aliens and that we have been visited for many years by little green men but that is just a smokescreen. The real conspiracy is about Stuart Pearce being the puppet of the PM and his coalition government as they try to keep public spirits down so they can carry on rinsing the Great British public of their soul and any optimism for economic recovery. A Beckham led victory in the football tournament at the Olympics would have brought back the feel-god factor that would stop the coalition government spending all of their time and energy slagging off the Labour Party.

It is not as though Ed Balls was the City Minister during the LIBOR scandal. That is just more lies from the coalition. If the government don’t open a full inquiry into this event then all they are doing is showing the great people of this country that they have something to hide. If you have nothing to hide David Cameron then I ask you this, why not have a public inquiry into this disgraceful behaviour of a true British hero?

The Labour Party treats its national heroes with the dignity that they deserve. The coalition government just wash their hands of it and pretend that it isn’t the right time or place to interfere with a football manager. Well I say this, if this isn’t the right time or place then when is the right time and place? A Labour cabinet would never have allowed this travesty to have come about and if we see no public inquiry then we all know what to do come 2015.

Labour – the party of the heroes. The Tories and evil Lib Dems – the party of the gobby, the shaggers and the isn’t as good as Martin Kelly’s.

*wait for applause – make sure you have the portraits of your family in shot as well as a photo of you and David Beckham and refuse to take any questions because you are so annoyed*

Shocking I know, first a press ethics inquiry, then a banking one but a David Beckham one? Well the way the tabloids are acting then it would go down quite well…

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Why Labour are the backup Quarterback of politics

For those who us who grew up on cheesy American teen sitcoms and/or films we got that perception that the most popular kid in high school was all the quarterback on the football team. He got the girls and he had the looks. At high school that might be the case but once these young people moved on to university then everything changed. The most popular kid on campus is rarely the quarterback – it is the backup quarterback.

Over in the states college sports are nearly as big as professional sports – certainly when it comes to football and basketball. I’m not just talking about the buzz around campus I am talking about really being under the national spotlight. Casual sports fans in California will know the college Quarterback of most of the big colleges on the east coast and they will know who Anthony Davis is and who Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is. They will know about the quarterback battles at various colleges and then of course there is recruiting and where 17 year-old kids decide to go to university is big business and kids make decisions on live television. It is the most bizarre concept to anyone who has never seen it before.

So why am I blabbering on about this? Well when it comes to college sports it is very rare that a college has no issues at quarterback. Last year LSU was undefeated going into the national title game but still no-one knew who should be the quarterback and fans despite winning wanted the backup in because the starter wasn’t playing very well. So when you consider most teams weren’t winning every week you can see how their fan base wanted someone else is. It is a bit like in 2010 when Gareth Barry became the greatest midfielder ever because he was injured and out of the team. When he got back into the team he was as distinctly average as ever but absence made the heart grow fonder and absence gave us hope that he could actually make the difference.

Labour spent 13 years in government until 2010 when they were voted out of office by the electorate. No-one was really voted in to replace them but the people wanted change. Two years later and the polling suggests that the electorate are desperate for Labour to return to office but it isn’t because anyone trusts them or likes Ed Miliband – it is solely because they have decided the incumbant isn’t who they want. It is the same as the backup quarterback – they don’t actually want the backup quarterback it is just that they do not want the starting QB.

People aren’t saying they will vote Labour because of they believe in their policies. They are saying they would vote for them because they just don’t like the policies of the current government. So I think Labour activists who are predicting landslide in 2015 and that the country has once again ‘gone red’ should take a bit of a step back. The country has most certainly not gone red but it most certainly has cooled off from the colour blue and the colour yellow is certainly not as fashionable as it was two years ago. People see red as the best of the three options not because they believe in red but because they disbelieve so strongly in blue and yellow.

There is one big problem though that Labour have yet to face. When the backup QB comes in they often don’t match up to the hopes and aspirations of the fan base and quickly they want the next backup QB to replace the new guy. This is part of the ebb and flow of college football and it is the same in politics. Labour won three successive elections not because they were popular but because of two simple things – firstly the economy was booming and secondly the backup QB wasn’t one that the electorate liked the look of.

David Cameron was the highly touted backup QB who has now stepped up to the job of QB and is making a pigs ear of it. Ed Miliband was the walk-on who got the backup job over the popular and highly recruited David Miliband and now he is thought of as a better option than Cameron not because of anything he is saying or doing but because of Cameron’s mistakes. There was another young QB called Nick Clegg but he’s not in the running any more after he decided he could play Running Back with Cameron and even though that got both he and Cameron on to the playing field at the same time which seemed on paper to satisfy the fan base/electorate in reality they are not happy with this arrangement at all.

Ed Miliband may win the job in 2015 but not because the country are fully behind him. They are just pissed off with the lot of them at the moment and he is seen as the best of a bad bunch. With such a disillusioned and unrestful fan base Ed would need to start strong or they’ll turn on him quickly.

It is a very hard job being the Quarterback of a team that can’t play all it’s star men and it’s even harder being a Prime Minister in turbulent economic times both at home and abroad. Cameron isn’t doing a great job that is for sure. Osbourne his long time to go guy is also having a stinker but they are not being helped by off the field issues regarding neighbours economies that are creating issues for the home team.

The fan base aren’t calling for Cameron’s head just yet but they aren’t far away. Unless he can turn it around soon then they’ll do anything just to get rid of him and by do anything what I really mean is give Ed Miliband a chance. He has shown nothing. Wasn’t recruited by anyone and wasn’t highly touted coming in to the Labour party but now he’s the only alternative and it is getting to the point where an unknown alternative is better than the known incumbent.

Labour and Ed Miliband are like the backup quarterback. They are wanted by the electorate not because of who they are and what they stand for but because they just aren’t who we have at the moment and people don’t like what we have right now. It is a bit like a girl leaving a boyfriend who treats her badly and just getting with a nice guy who’ll respect her but after a while realising that isn’t exactly who she wants and then moving on again. If Labour are going to win in 2015 and grow after that then they’ll have to have some substance and not just say ‘well we aren’t them’ and sit back on that.

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