Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Boris wins, Conservative Party loses

As everyone now knows Boris Johnson is the newly elected Mayor of London. Some pundits are tipping him for the real top job one day when we might see him park his bike against the railing of No. 10. That could well happen but let’s not kid ourselves: Boris solidly outperformed (44.01% of the vote) Tory London Assembly candidates (31.98% of the vote) – it was the man that won it not the Party. In a General Election, hundreds of individual Conservatives would be up for election to Westminster and all would heavily rely on the Conservative Party brand to achieve victory. Not every parliamentary candidate has a personality like Boris. Therefore, unless the Conservative Party gets its act together, even Boris can’t save them.

Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Why would we want Boris as leader? He wouldn’t be much different from the liberal Prime Minister we have now. Boris, you see, is from the same stock as David Cameron. The kind who don’t have to worry about the common man on the street and his problems as they can live far enough away from them. They are relaxed about mass immigration as they don’t have to live in the same cramped neighbourhoods competing for scare GP places but they quite enjoy the rates of pay foreigners charge for cleaning their houses. Failing schools aren’t a problem either as they send their kids private. And quite frankly a moribund economy isn’t much of an issue either as people like the Cameron’s and Johnson’s have been recession bomb-proof for generations when it comes to their personal finances. 

Therefore, I find it a bit strange that arch-critic Nadine Dorries MP says she would back Boris in a leadership challenge (which, by the way, is not going to happen). The only difference between Boris and Dave is Boris has a personality which makes people laugh but underneath he is still a person who is intensely relaxed about gay marriage and doesn’t really want to shake the EU apple cart too much. 
Political geeks like me enjoy Boris’ antics on the political stage and his staged mumblings with an uncomfortable Dave at City Hall on Saturday were amusing but if we are to bring Britain back from this economic mess Labour bequeathed us, get control of our borders and make British people proud again it’s going to take more than a few jokes to achieve.


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Why is Diane Abbott still a Labour MP?

The answer to the headline question is the same for why Ken Livingstone continues to be Labour’s London Mayoral candidate on 3rd May: they are both people of the Left.

Diane Abbott posted a racist tweet on Twitter which said “White people love playing ‘divide and rule'” and apart from being told to remove the offending tweet no disciplinary action was taken by the Labour high command and she was allowed to carry on as normal.

Now we have Ken Livingstone saying the Conservative Party is ‘riddled’ with gay people ‘like everywhere else’. Again, Labour leader Ed Miliband will take no action.

Just imagine if a Conservative MP had sent a racist tweet or if Boris Johnson had talked about homosexuality in such divisive terms. That would be it, game over. End of career.

But not for the Left it would seem. They have spent so long painting the Tories as the devil incarnate they now actually believe themselves to be all holy. This allows people like Ken Livingstone to spout their filth and cosy up to extremists like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has praised Hitler and the Holocaust, without any sanction.

As the Left are such strong advocates of equality, should they also not be treated the same as the Right?


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Why do men of God mistake handouts for compassion?

The bishops in the House of Lords have proven how confused they are by defeating the Government again yesterday over the long due Welfare Reform Bill, ably devised by Iain Duncan Smith. The Bill will eventually be returned to the House of Commons where the Government has promised the amendments will be overturned.

Paying someone, who is perfectly capable of work, £60,000 to sit at home and do nothing is not right. The Government has proposed legislation to bring in a benefits cap of £26,000, which because this is tax free, is equivalent to a salary of £35,000. If I was in charge, the benefit cap would be far lower. Let’s be frank here: being on benefits should not be a pleasant experience. It should be a worse life than having a job so one is motivated to get back into work as soon as possible and save us all billions of pounds a year. The bishops should realise that handouts which provide a comfortable living for a family which many hard working families cannot afford is not compassionate: it is exactly what drives despair for the people trapped in dependency and ruins an economy for the rest of us. 
Unemployment is going up for the British indigenous population but is going down for economic migrants to this country. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, called it the ‘Pret a Manger phenomenon’ after he noticed how there were hardly any ‘native’ Londoners serving him in Pret a Manager shops. I have seen this myself and can report I have never been served by anybody other than a chirpy polite hard-working foreigner. 
The wider point Boris was making is the private jobs are there but British people don’t want to take them.
Therefore, we have to make it much harder for the indigenous population and the newly identified 370,000 immigrants to want to collect state handouts. 
As a nation, we also need to get more accustomed to moving to where the work is. It’s what my parents did in the 1980s and what I did in the early 2000s when I moved to Ipswich. There is terrible mindset in some towns which means people are born, grow up and expect to find work for life in the same town. What century do they think we live in – the 18th?
The Government, of course, is pleased with the defeat it has suffered in the Lords. The public are full square behind them and the Labour Party know they are on a hiding to nothing if they oppose the very sensible benefits caps proposal. The Government will win the day, using the Parliament Act to force through the legislation if necessary. And because of the ‘noise’ created by the Upper House the public will actually notice the policy being brought into effect. The Conservatives (we all know Wally does not like the policy) will then be duly rewarded at the ballot box.

UPDATE: Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, backs the Government on Welfare Reform in this brilliantly written article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2091330/Lord-Carey-benefits-cap-Fuelling-culture-welfare-dependency-immoral.html?ito=feeds-newsxml


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Boris-Foster Island

My MP, Ben Gummer, last week alerted me in one his tweets to an announcement by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, showing again his support for a new Thames airport. But this time the idea is a bit more specific.

Boris has teamed up with Lord Foster, the brilliant architect who designed the marvellous Willis Building in Ipswich and has designed both the Hong Kong International Airport and the terminal building at Stansted Airport so he knows one or two things about designing airports!
Foster’s proposal would see a new UK London airport built on the Isle of Grain in the Thames estuary, Kent. A railway station would also be built underneath the terminal building to cope with 300,000 passengers a day and would link with Crossrail.
I’ve always been a fan of all things aviation: airports, aeroplanes, the history of manned flight etc. Since 9/11 travelling by plane is a stressful experience but putting that to one side aviation technologies have made the world smaller and allowed people to visit places they could never imagine visiting even 50 years ago, which must be celebrated.  
Aviation has also brought great wealth, in terms of enabling trade, to the masses and is the reason why the Government needs to pull its finger out and get on with planning and building a new London airport before further economic damage is done to Great Britain. Both London and Gatwick will reach capacity in 20 years and, quite frankly, Heathrow should never have been allowed to expand from the hut and a small airfield it was in 1929 to the third busiest airport in the world it is today. Not just because the airport is IN suburban west London but because the flight path is over central London, which I believe makes Heathrow the only airport in the world which has its flight path over a major city.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much trust in the Coalition actually doing something about this any time soon. In fact the Conservative Party manifesto in the 2010 General Election said the party was against airport expansion. The new transport secretary, Justine Greening, is yet to comment on the new Thames estuary airport but she is expected to publish a draft aviation policy for consultation in the spring. An important point is, as Labour succinctly put it, there is no money left so private foreign investment would be needed to build the airport.
The fact environmentalist Ben Gummer is for the new airport is a good sign and hopefully the Conservative leadership’s position against airport expansion takes a different course soon or we will only make our dire economic outlook even worse.