Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Is the Coalition about to implode?

Never mind Bashar al-Assad using the London Olympics to do some violent acts whilst the world is looking the other way, it seems Prime Minister David Cameron has mortared the Lords Reform Bill the Liberal Democrats so desperately wanted to ensure they held the balance of power ad infinitum in the upper chamber at Westminster. And Nick Clegg didn’t wait long to retaliate, firing a volley of missiles about “broken agreements” at a press conference this afternoon.

There have been spats before between the Tories and the Yellow Peril, most noticeably on Cameron’s faux Treaty veto last year in Brussels but usually Clegg just sulks in his office rather than come and sit next to the PM in the House of Commons. But since Parliament is in a recess this form of attack can’t be used so Mr Clegg has hit the airwaves to say the scrapping of the pointless Lords Reform Bill “breaks (the) Coalition contract”.
Fine, so when are you going to leave the ministerial limos and grace and favour houses and head back to perpetual Opposition Mr Clegg? Today sounds like a good time. After all, come 2015 your party will be annihilated. 
Clegg continued at his press conference to tell the Tories they can get stuffed on the forthcoming boundary review legislation, which would see constituency boundaries re-drawn and the number of MPs decreased. This would redress the balance of power at the next General Election ensuring Labour do not have an unfair advantage (as they do now) over the Conservatives. The Lib Dem leader has announced his party will not support this legislation as retribution for the Lords Reform being scrapped.
The Lib Dem leader should check his copy of the Coalition Agreement and Section 23 on Boundary Reviews in particular:

We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for
the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.

The Boundary Review had nothing to do with House of Lords reform. It was linked to the AV referendum which the Liberal Democrats were given (and lost) last year.
As Cameron should have done in May 2010, we now need to form a Minority Government and go to the country say on November 15th when the Police Commissioner elections take place and when funnily enough Louise Mensch’s seat is scheduled to have its by-election.
It’s not as if the economy has improved under a Coalition Government – quite the opposite. Time for Cameron and Clegg to act in the “national interest” and give the country a chance to elect a strong single party Government again.


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The Olympics won’t save you Dave

I’m an Olympics widower. I don’t really like sport (unless it is very exciting like Judd Trump smacking balls into pockets at the UK Championships last year as if he was playing down his local pub) and most Olympic sports are frankly boring.

Do hysterical spectators and people screaming “come on” at the telly realise these athletes do nothing else other than train all day? They have never had a real job or a life for that matter. We’d have a lot more world-class athletes if we didn’t have to work for a living too. Unfortunately, most people have to go to work to eat and have a roof over their head to pay for the taxes dished out in grants to these demigods the masses cheer on.

That’s not to say I am disappointed we bagged the Olympics Games. It is a geopolitical event extraordinaire. We had one billion eyes watching our Opening Ceremony on Friday evening and we were able to remind the rest of the world how much we have done for them: industrial revolution, saved their countries twice (thrice if you count the Cold War), export the best music in the world etc etc. And then of course the sheer brilliance of our engineering and technical skills shone through in the Opening Ceremony production itself.

But one thing the Olympics won’t do is save Dave and George’s skin. London, away from the Olympic venues, resembles a ghost town. Most workers have packed up for 17 days with reports hotels in the capital are having to slash room costs as it seems tourists have deserted the city along with the businessmen and women. And this isn’t even taking into account the skiving that is probably going on amongst the athlete-worshipping working population.

At this rate, we could be heading for a fourth quarter of negative growth within the current double-dip recession. This is terrible and is being caused by a) having a Coalition Government and b) poor and weak leadership: the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

There are many things George Osborne could do to kick-start the economy and reduce the debt, such as:

1. Bring the top rate of tax back to 40p: The Chancellor idiotically only moved it back to 45p at the budget in March thereby missing the chance to take one political hit – he blamed the Yellow Peril (yawn!)); this tax change would demonstrate the UK is open for business and encourage entrepreneurs to open new businesses and create more employment.
2. Cut public spending. We were promised by both Labour and Conservatives at the General Election in 2010 a bonfire of cuts, a holocaust of cuts, but instead the Government has barely scratched the surface with borrowing in this financial year targeted to be £120bn – more than Gordon Brown was borrowing in 2009/10. Bear in mind this is a worst case scenario (hence “targeted”) and actual borrowing is likely to be higher! In particular, local government spending should be cut further and why is NHS spending ring-fenced when it spends £17 on a pizza base (not even with topping)!
3. Use the savings made from the public sector to lower taxes for ordinary workers. Top of the list should be VAT – back down to 17.5% to kick-start the crippled retail sector. 
4. Reform planning laws to reverse rules which favour nimbys and instead make it easier for new housing to be built and dare I say a new airport to be built in the South East. This would help the other sector which is dying on its feet: Construction.

There’s four ideas. But it would require strong political leadership of the Thatcherite variety and when I look at the smarmy faces of old-moneyed David Cameron and George Osborne I really don’t think they would know how to act in Thatcherite manner if they tried.

The genius of Margaret Thatcher is she knew what it was like to strive and so knew what was needed to help the strivers in Britain and in turn wind the economy back up after the disastrous years of Labour in the 1970s. Dave and George can’t even imagine what it would be like. The sooner they are replaced the better (thankfully, if one goes, the other will follow!).


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Who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron?

The Prime Minister yesterday gave a good speech on the subject of the welfare state in the UK. Everything he said has been said before by the Right of the Conservative Party and the right-wing media. Nevertheless, it was good to hear it from the lips of David Cameron, who is, at best, slightly distrusted by many in his own party in terms of his natural Tory instincts. Many backbench MPs and even more party members keep asking themselves: “Is he one of us?”. The jury is still out on that one.

However, I agreed with every word of Mr Cameron’s speech on removing housing benefit from those under-25 who have a room at home with their parents. I’m sorry, if you are under 25 and you want your own pad and more importantly independence from those nagging parents then you need to work for it. Get qualifications, get a job and then you will get your OWN money to pay for accommodation. The state does not owe you independence from your parents. Period. You have to work for life’s pleasure. No one owes you anything, especially the hard-pressed taxpayer.

The tax take from ordinary workers in the UK is massive. Did you know every penny collected in income tax is spent on state benefits? Approximately £165 billion. £84 billion of this is spent on working-age benefits, which comprises Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit, child benefit, Gordon Brown’s beloved tax credits etc. When voters are told how much of their monthly tax bill is spent on paying people to sit at home all day on their Xboxes they are livid. Polls say 74% of the public think welfare payments should be cut. 

The UK’s welfare system creates a very perverse society. Take the young couple, outside of London, who have no intention of working having a child. They are automatically given a council house and when all the different benefits are totted up you are looking at more than £27,000 in benefits tax free. Another couple next door, one a hospital porter, the other a care-worker, both work long hours each day and together take home £24,000 a year. They would love to have children. But after they have paid the mortgage or rent, paid for food and the bills, they know they can’t until they saved for a few more years: they are doing the right thing. It is wrong that their hard earned money paid in tax is handed back to the work-shy couple next door to enable them to have children with full assistance from the state.

Work should always pay more and until the Government’s benefits cap of £26,000 is actually implemented, which it won’t be until next year at the earliest because the complicated IT system required is yet to be fully developed, people who don’t work and receive state handouts are better off than those who do work. Our country’s benefits system was gold plated during the Blair and Brown years to deliberately create a client state where one generation after the next in the same family were encouraged to live a life on benefits, at the expense of you and I. That is not what the welfare state, envisaged by William Beveridge, was meant to be for; it is a safety net for those who fall on hard times, it is not meant to be used as a way of life.

Life on benefits should be tough. Work should always pay more and, frankly, able-bodied people of working age should find a period of time on benefits so difficult they should be desperate to get back to work; as part of the “tough love” approach, benefits should be time-limited to act as a motivator to find work. As it stands in this country, many school-leavers choose claiming benefits over ever trying to get a job because living off the state is such a comfortable option. By next year the Welfare Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, promises the £26,000 benefits cap, equal to the average wage, will be in force. But let’s not forget all benefits are tax exempt. Claimants don’t pay tax on them. Therefore, to take home £26,000 if you are working means you would need to be on a salary of £35,000 per year. This is madness and must stop.

I look at my monthly pay slip and thousands of pounds of year go to the Exchequer. That money only pays for benefits and state pensions. It doesn’t pay for education, defence, or even the millions in contributions to the EU we must send to Brussels each year. All that must come from other tax revenue we pay such as stamp duty or fuel duty – or, most likely, borrowing!

Another point made by Mr Cameron in his speech yesterday was minor but nonetheless important. He pointed out that those who claim benefits are called customers by the local council or job centre. The PM rightly pointed out they are not customers, they are claimants. When I was a local councillor, reports were full of the word ‘customer’ or ‘client’ when referring to benefit claimants. When someone pays for a service they are a customer. If something is given to someone, the word customer does not apply! This language just rubs salt into the taxpayer’s wounds.

Now, of course, all of the reforms David Cameron hopes for will probably never be implemented. Not in this parliament because the airy-fairy Lib Dems won’t let him and after the next General Election there is a high probability Labour will be back in charge, due to the indecisive and weak government Coalition brings. I hope that won’t be the case but fine words from Mr Cameron’s inner Tory won’t be enough next time round – the electorate needs to see action and now.


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Listen up Cameron, speaking the truth wins elections

A year ago, most people were looking at George Osborne as the successor to David Cameron, should he unfortunately get run over by a bus. But since the ‘omnishambles‘ of the budget back in March and the fact he can’t make up his mind to be Chancellor or political strategist, his form has taken a downward trajectory. And quite frankly, I never saw Osborne as the next leader of the Conservative Party anyway as he is as vacuous as Cameron and once bitten, the membership would be very shy indeed.

The only true Tories in the Cabinet are Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove. IDS has worked tirelessly to fight the civil service tooth and nail to get his welfare reforms through parliament but he is yet to see any of his changes implemented – millions of people are still creaming billions off the state whilst sitting at home all day playing on their Xboxes, which you and I are paying for. For the Universal Benefit to become reality, a computer system probably more complicated than the failed NHS computer will be needed. And IT and Governments go together like oil and water.

But Michael Gove is in a different league. He is a Tory who is actually changing the education system in this country daily. Free schools, Academies and now serious policies to scrap GCSEs and replace them with O-Levels. He hasn’t gone around, unlike Yellow Peril universities secretary Vince Cable, saying it is the nasty, evil universities which are failing young people by not letting them in even if they can’t read and write. No, Michael Gove has laid the blame firmly at the doors of the primary and secondary schools and a culture of “competitive dumbing down” which was created by New Labour during their thirteen years of disastrous rules. Labour introduced “prizes for all”, “nobody can fail”. They introduced league tables which instead of improving schools forced them to dumb down and teach to the test. Schools were ably assisted in their league table ranking by corrupt exam boards who marketed their exam papers as easier than their competitors. They shout “choose us, we’ll ensure our questions are easier.” One question in science GCSE in fact asks: “What do you use to view stars? A telescope or a microscope.” I kid you not. When you see those screaming sixteen year old girls in the newpaper each August showing off their ten A*s and then universities and employers find they can’t string a sentence together or add up you now know why!

Blair and Brown deliberately allowed exams to get easier so they could say their education policies were succeeding. This not only fails employers, it fails the students themselves. If you have passed all your exams and then can’t even mentally calculate the right change for a customer this will hit the young person’s self-esteem very hard.

Blair set the target that 50% of all school-leavers must go to university. This was wrong and I refuse to mince my words like New Labour politicians did for thirteen years which led to a bankrupt nation, economically and intellectually: 50% of all school-leavers are not academically capable of going to university! Frankly, they aren’t clever enough as a result of their genetics – no level of social-engineering will fix that and why should we want to. I do not want to live in a country full of academic lefties. I want a broad spectrum of jobs and vocations for the next generation to go into. We need non-academic people probably MORE than academic people. That doesn’t mean they are inferior to more-academically gifted children. It means they have talents elsewhere – for instance in a trade like electrician or plumber, where they can expect to earn much more than a graduate does now with a devalued degree caused by the ludicrous imposition of the 50% target.

The above point was raised on BBC Question Time last night. Labour’s frontbencher Andy Burham almost agreed the 50% target was wrong. They probably knew it at the time but Labour are so obsessed in their false belief that the Conservative Party deliberately prevented people from certain socio-economic groups from going to university they thought it was right to dumb down the schools and exams systems to shoe-horn non-academic students into university, where the only thing they achieve is £10,000 worth of debt. That’s Labour economic policy all over: debt upon debt upon debt.

Back to Michael Gove. Along with IDS he is speaking the truth. And it grates against the beliefs of the socialist Nick Clegg and his party. Nick Clegg is your classic socialist, who once he had been privately educated, he couldn’t wait to pull the ladder up behind him. Socialists love to keep the masses under control with a sheep dipping, one size fits all education system. Lump everyone together and then no one gets above their station, eh? Well, that is morally wrong. Not every child is the same. We are all unique – that’s something that makes socialists sick. How can they command and control from on high if the plebs start to think for themselves and are encouraged to do so. No, they want to move children through an education system that fits the script and the targets not tailor-learning to the individual through different qualification streams which Michael Gove is proposing we go back to with ‘O’-Levels and CSEs.

This country’s education system is frankly a disgrace. Ever since New Labour got hold of it, we have slipped further down the global league tables of education attainment. These are the league tables which really matter as multi-national corporations look at them when deciding where to set up shop. Hmm, should a global engineering firm go to the UK where sixteen year olds leave school unable to fully read, write and add up or shall we go to Singapore where using calculators for basic arithmetic is unheard of?

Michael Gove gets it. The Conservative activists love it. If David Cameron doesn’t get behind him, it’s not only Clegg’s position he will need to worry about.


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70% of Tory members want to exit EU

I think the Conservative high-command will soon have to wake up and smell the coffee. A poll commissioned by Channel 4 News from ConservativeHome has found 70% of Tory members would vote “Out” in an In/Out referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union.

This is not new information – most commentators would have reached for the 70% figure if not higher. But it is interesting how polls on an EU referendum are now being seriously reported on by the broadcast media and by an outlet – Channel 4 News – not exactly renowned for being on the Right of the debate. It is also a timely reminder that the Conservative leadership, especially after the decision by Cameron to jump into bed with Clegg, is way out of touch with its base. Unless something is said by David Cameron along the lines of “You know what? You’re right. I am off to Brussels to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU tomorrow”, then we can expect a haemorrhage of Tory supporters to UKIP in the European Elections in 2014. If that happens, then UKIP will overtake the Conservatives and come first in the poll. By then it may be too late for the Conservative Party to save their credibility on the subject as Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon reports here.

Polls also show the general public split 50:50 on the In/Out question. It is a British political fault line which has to be tackled by our political servants at some point and that time is fast approaching. You have to be over 55 years of age to have been given the opportunity to vote on our membership of the EU or the EEC as it was cunningly called in those days. To be denied a referendum despite 1975 being a generation ago is wholly unacceptable.
The EU is a political organisation and has a highly undemocratic Commission which makes 70% of our laws, stripping away the ability to run our own affairs. The technocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg (where the EU Parliament decamps to every month to appease the French) would rather the birthplace of democracy – Greece – go to hell in a handcart than admit the European Single Currency was a mistake with no economic grounding. I don’t want to be part of this “club” and would rather look out to the world to do business than primarily looking into the slowest growing economic bloc (the European Economic Area) in the world. At present our trade outside of the EU is heavily restricted by Brussels rules – once we had extracted ourselves from her clutches we could leverage our language (the world’s business language of choice), our historical links with the Sub-Continent and represent ourselves in the World Trade Organisation rather than be hidden under the banner of the EU.
That’s a Britain I would be proud to be part of: an independent country doing business across the world in the world’s language.


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Cameron caved into Clegg over top rate of tax decrease

There was a reason Labour didn’t touch the top rate of income tax until Gordon Brown finally allowed insanity to take a grip on him. Because they knew it fed economic growth and brought in the billions of taxes for them to spend on creating the client state with millions gratefully dependent on Labour handouts. However, this all changed when Gordon Brown in a stroke signalled to the rest of the world back in 2009 that Britain was not a fan of business when he raised the top rate to 50p.

Britain, along with Germany, was the financial powerhouse of Europe during the years when the rate at which the Government stopped taxing income was held at 40p. Gone were the days of Labour Governments raising income tax to 83p and Labour Chancellors saying the “tax the rich until the pips squeak”. Britain was open for business.

But after thirteen years of profligate spending during the Blair-Brown years the chickens came home to roost and the economy took a nose-dive. Gordon Brown saw his opportunity to whack up the top rate to 50p and thereby slammed the UK plc shop door firmly shut.

Labour were duly kicked out of office in 2010 and we then had a Tory Chancellor in George Osborne who instinctively knew he must reverse Brown’s decision and take the top rate back to 40p. It would put the open sign back on the UK plc shop door. It wouldn’t solve the financial crisis overnight but it would certainly turn us in the right direction. The proof is that low taxation grows economies as was seen in the 1980s and 1990s until Labour got their wrecking ball out in 1997.

But it seems, according to the excellent Tim Montgomerie over at the Conservative Home parish, George Osborne was scuppered at the last moment during this March Budget preparations by the smarmy and quite revolting Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrat leader told David Cameron the top rate must only drop to 45p and Cameron said: “Yes, sir.”

Nick Clegg is a man who leads a party which has only 1/6 of the seats in the House of Commons but is treated by the Prime Minister as if he is the senior partner. What would have happened if Cameron had said “no”? Nothing. Clegg would have buckled and ordered his troops to go through the Aye lobby to rubber stamp the Budget. Because they will always put the ministerial limo before their principles and we would get a good Tory Government backed up by the Yellow Peril. But instead, Cameron caved into Clegg and we have a Liberal Democrat-led Government as a result. It’s working out, isn’t it?

I am still believe in the Conservative Party and our core values but I just wishe the Conservative leader would talk about them more. Tim Montgomerie said the same thing yesterday:

If staunch Tories like Tim are saying this openly, Cameron is in trouble. As I’ve said before, we should never have gone into coalition with the Liberals. If we had gone to the country again in October 2010, we would now have a Tory majority Government and if Cameron dared to behave like this in a pure Tory Government, he would be gone in that “sudden, unsentimental and brutal” fashion very soon indeed.


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Household energy costs set to rocket

As if our electricity and gas bills weren’t high enough already, the Coalition Government – who you have probably guessed by now I am not particularly happy with – have carried on as if Chris Huhne was still the Energy Secretary and decided to press on with an Energy Bill to encourage more “investment in low carbon generation and clean energy”. In other words, wind farms. But where will the money come from for this “investment”. Do you think the nice people at npower or E.ON are going to cough up themselves? No, of course not. They are going to put up your energy bill to pay for those turbine monstrosities.

So, for the Coaltion Government to be able to meet EU carbon emission targets for non-existent anthropogenic global warming, they are going to force the energy cartel that provides our electricity and gas to whack our bills up to the tune of an extra £200 a year according to the independent Committee on Climate Change.

I was having a chat with my MP, Ben Gummer, last weekend and I politely advised him that talking of climate change in his weekly missive in the Morning Ipswich Star (not online) was not such a great idea. Most people in urban centres in the provinces don’t care for climate change when we are experiencing the coldest May for a century and they especially don’t like paying ever higher energy bills to ward off non-existent global warming. Mr Gummer listened carefully and told me that the Queen’s speech was going to have a Bill in it to “reform the energy market” and I thought at the time that is not the same as saying there would be a Bill to tackle the exorbitant energy bills his constituents have to pay. I know Ben Gummer’s views well as I selected him to be the Conservative Party Ipswich parliamentary candidate in 2007 so I took his reassurances with a large pinch of salt. My doubts were well placed when the Queen spoke a few days later.

The Government did indeed, through Her Majesty, say the Energy Bill will “reform” the electricity market but it won’t be the type of reform that will have a positive disruption. It won’t break up the energy cartel and force down prices – quite the opposite.

This is another example of the Coalition’s priorities and leadership being woefully lacking. The economy is in a complete mess – the BBC Question Time panellists last night, including the hapless Caroline Spelman, the repulsive Chris Bryant and the arrogant Lord Oakeshott didn’t have a clue on how to bring back growth to our industries. Only The Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne had a partial solution – the orderly break up of the Eurozone.

So whilst our economy flat lines, the Government still has time to put in a Bill on House of Lords Reform and, as if people weren’t suffering enough, an Energy Bill which will increase our electricity charges once again in the service of our EU masters.

It would seem our Prime Minister, David Cameron, has learnt nothing over the last week.


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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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We want our Conservative Party back

The last couple of days have seen a flurry of commentators from the so-called centre-right press round on David Cameron and George Osborne as out-of-touch public schoolboys who have open contempt for the party they lead.

MPs and activists have grumbled for years that they were being sacrificed by David Cameron to demonstrate to the metropolitan chattering classes that the Conservative Party had “changed” and was no longer the “nasty party” it supposedly once was.

As Iain Martin said in his excellent piece for the Daily Telegraph yesterday, this “modernisation” of the Tory Party has been a “electoral and philosophical dead-end”. It has never been a successful ploy. Let me remind the Tory high command once again: the Conservative Party has not won a General Election since 1992!
And, as I have written before, it will not win the General Election in 2015 unless the leadership start to listen to its core supporters: the thousands of party members and its backbench MPs.

The Conservative side of the coalition has done some good things. Michael Gove is expertly executing the Government’s education policy with the introduction of free-schools with terms and conditions for teachers set by the school not by the Trotskyite local education authorities and Iain Duncan Smith has managed to do what even Thatcher could not achieve by getting the Welfare Reform Act on to the statute book, which, if implemented, will allow work to always pay more than benefits. These two reforms will help to reverse some of the enormous damage inflicted on Great Britain by Labour between 1997 and 2010.

But on the economy, the Government is failing to tackle the mess Gordon Brown left behind. We must go faster and deeper on public spending cuts to reduce the deficit not penalise hard-working people who will get us out of the mess we are in. Public spending is only being taken back to 2005 levels: it was those levels that gave us the biggest deficit in peace-time history and a national debt the size of Greece with only our higher GDP and the fact we are not in the Euro saving us from oblivion.

In the Budget on 21st March, George Osborne had the opportunity to help out the strivers and prudent pensioners who also just happen to be the people who vote Conservative. But instead the “modernisation” agenda took precedent and those very people who contribute so much in taxes, which are frittered away on benefits, non-existent global warming counter-measures and helping the Indians buy fighter jets through our international aid payments, were told to dig deep and give the Government even more of their cash.

The “granny tax”, whereby the personal allowance for pensioners will be frozen from next year, was a policy on a par with Gordon Brown’s doomed 10p tax band removal. Then VAT was whacked on to working people’s lunches with tepid warm pasties and sausage roles being levied with the tax. Do Cameron and Osborne have a political death-wish?

If it wasn’t bad enough that the traditional Tory voter was rubbished by Cameron and his inner circle to demonstrate at dinner parties with Guardian and BBC journalists how thoroughly modern they were, they now think it is a good idea to ignore the same voter now they are in power.

As the old saying goes, you reap what you sow. And so it came to pass when the last week turned into the Government’s week from political hell which started with the Budget and ended with the Conservative vote decreasing by 22% in the Bradford West by-election won by George Galloway.

Traditionally during these tricky weeks, the Government looks to their Party for help. When Cameron and Osborne looked out into Downing Street for assistance, none was forthcoming. Instead of running to their aid the backbench Tory MPs who are ignored by Cameron, whilst he schmoozes up to Nick Clegg, hit back. The centre-right press, who are rarely phoned up by Conservative ministers, went on collective attack, and the party activists started writing letters to the Daily Telegraph saying they were fed up of Cameron and his chums.

Every mainstream paper rubbished George Osborne’s budget, which was easy to do as every measure had been leaked before hand leaving the Chancellor to announce all the bad ideas in one go. And then Unite launched a foray into enemy territory by announcing fuel tanker drivers had voted to put industrial action in their armoury. They didn’t announce a strike but said they might strike at a time of their choosing – but seven days notice is required by law.

Cue the Tory arch-moderniser, Francis Maude. Ironically it was his very unmodern discourse which got him and the Government into trouble. Mr Maude responded to the “cash-for-Cameron” scandal by saying they were only “kitchen suppers” and then proceeded to advise the public they should fill up “their jerry can and store it in their garage”. It may well be Maude’s mouth which sealed the fate of Cameron and his cohorts at the next General Election.  Because it is class which might do for Cameron what sleaze did for Major. As a commentator on Radio 4’s PM said last week, we now know the layout of Maude’s house: he has a dining room but his house is so big he can instead eat his dinner in his kitchen.

In addition, most people in the UK do not have a garage as house prices are so high that relatively well-paid professionals like myself cannot afford to live anywhere other than a terraced row in a provincial town. Therefore, we a) don’t have a jerry can and b) I wouldn’t have anywhere safe to store it anyway.

Maude allowed the chitter-chatter I was used to hearing in the bars at Conservative Party conference to invade the discourse of Government communications to the nation. He has no idea how most people live in this country. This is not how the Conservative Party behaved and spoke when it was winning three elections in a row. People can say (and they do) what they like about Margaret Thatcher but she was from a humble background who knew what it was like to strive to ensure food was put on the table. Her father was a grocer and it was only by marrying wealthy oil man Denis Thatcher she was able to go into politics: she didn’t see it as her destiny unlike some of those occupying Number 10 and 11 Downing Street today. Thatcher never forgot her up-bringing and knew how families went out and worked hard, had to budget for the weekly shop and wanted Government to help them get on in life not hinder them – she knew because she too had to work hard to get on and up. It wasn’t handed to her on a supper plate.

People want a Government to first and foremost to provide the environment for a strong economy through tax and spend policies. Despite what the Guardianistas say they also want to feel proud of their country and our standing in the world. Most people in Britain are conservative with a small ‘c’. Blair knew this and did his best to paint a picture of a Government that understood this but still all the time Brown was stealthily raising taxes and creating an obese client state that was completely reliant on the Labour party to eat and live. Eventually they were rumbled and Labour were driven from office. But Cameron seems to not even care about pretending he understands the British people.

This Government is more interested in counter-measures for non-existent global warming rather than policies to tackle high energy prices. Cameron would rather see our defence forces cut back to the bone than cut international aid to India who then use it to buy French fighter jets.
The “modern” Conservative Party in Government hammers pensioners and workers trying to buy lunch but spends an exorbitant amount of time trying to legalise gay marriage. And to top it all off, a Conservative-led Government wants to bring in a law (actually an EU law) to allow the security services to see every email you send, every tweet you post and every website you visit. Not even Labour dared do that.

Many Conservative voters and Party activists were willing to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt when they wondered was he really one of them during the first five years of his Tory leadership, as long as he won us back power. But when he failed to do this in 2010, Cameron’s blatant dislike of the ordinary party member became more of a kick in the teeth. Despite Labour almost bankrupting the country, the Conservative Party could not win a majority. One reason for this was because David Cameron could not communicate a coherent message on Conservative core values, including patriotism, toughness on crime and a small state, and instead bumbled on about the incoherent big society. There was also another reason: Tory voters could not see a Tory Party to vote for and so stayed at home, which was borne out by the Conservative vote only increasing by 3%.

Back in 2010, the Tory voter was still loyal enough to the Conservative Party to not vote against them. But as we saw in Bradford West last Thursday, the tide has started to turn. George Galloway’s share of the vote (over 50%) and majority over Labour of 10,000 must mean Tories voted for him. Conservatives aren’t just staying at home, they are looking to fringe parties to give Cameron a bloody nose. This alone should deeply worry David Cameron and his liberal elite.

It’s as if the Conservative Party has been invaded and occupied by a foreign force and now we must wait for the uprising to begin. This could come sooner than we think and, as Rafael Behr said in his New Statesman article, when it does the end will be “sudden, unsentimental and brutal”.


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Another non-Conservative policy

After thirteen years of Labour, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has done some good things: accelerating Tony Blair’s policy on Academies and introducing Free Schools, the Welfare Reform Act (which will be good if implemented) and cutting 50p tax to 45p (should have been 40p) to encourage the enterprise we desperately need.

But David Cameron as Prime Minister is allowing distinctively non-Conservative policies to take centre stage as well. This coupled with rumours he is actually quite happy being in coalition and is not so keen on winning a Tory majority at the next election is starting to leave a bad taste in the mouth. Firstly, we had little bones thrown to the Liberal Democrats at the start of the love-in back in May 2010 with the introduction of wasteful Local Enterprise Partnerships replacing the wasteful Regional Development Agencies then we moved on to bigger fish with the great ‘pause’ over the Health and Social Care Bill which has resulted in a dog’s breakfast of an Act of Parliament, which is not understood by anyone and with the only achievement being to give most of the power to the most incompetent health workers in the NHS: the GPs. 
We have the continuing sop to the chattering classes and the yellow peril that is the gay marriage policy and last week Home Secretary Theresa May was wheeled out to tell us the Coalition was going to stop the poorly paid from being able to afford a can of beer to relax upon an evening.
As Philip Davies MP said on Sky News last Friday, the fact Caroline Lucas from the Green Party is in favour of minimum alcohol pricing should have sent a signal to Mr Cameron the policy was not such a good idea. It will do nothing to stop the louts who can’t think five seconds into the future from “pre-loading” before heading into town to get drunk and have a punch-up in the street. However, it will stop sensible ordinary people on low incomes from enjoying a glass of cheap beer from the supermarket after a hard day’s work.
What on earth has government, one with an allegedly Conservative Prime Minister, got to do with telling people they can’t buy 2 for 1 promotions at the supermarket? It is the policy of the Chinese Communist Party or the former USSR. Ironically, the policy is probably illegal under EU law.
The economy is already in an enough mess without the Coalition trying to make it worse by lowering retail sales. My advice for Cameron and Osborne is to concentrate on reducing public spending and for Theresa May to get tougher with the louts who stop decent people from entering their town centres at night rather than penalising the law abiding and hard-working.