Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


The people will judge the mainstream political parties soon

As I have been writing for some time (here, here, and here) there is a major problem brewing for the traditional main three political parties, which are the Conservative Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats Party. Their problem has been visible since David Cameron presented his “big, open and comprehensive offer” to the Liberal Democrats on 7th May 2010 which eventually led to the first Coalition government since the Second World War. Commentators are now suggesting this is what David Cameron was hoping for all along and his time in Opposition had been about reaching out to Liberal Democrat and Labour voters at the expense of his own supporters. If that is true, as I have written before, David Cameron will go down in history as the only Conservative leader to lose two General Elections in a row, as he surely will in 2015 unless he drastically changes course.

The problem got a lot more visible last week when UKIP – for the first time – overtook the Liberal Democrats to become Britain’s third political party in a YouGov poll for The Sun. Other polls have pushed the Yellow Peril ahead again but on the whole UKIP and the Liberal Democrats are level-pegging.

I believe on Polling Day this year for local council elections across the UK and the London Mayoral election on 3rd May there will be a) a low turnout and b) a large rise in the vote for smaller parties and independents. The bookmakers are already on to this with Siobhan Benita, the only Independent candidate running to become Mayor of London, having her odds to win the contest slashed from 500-1 to 20-1.

Outside of Planet London, the local election results are going to be very interesting. I predict a collapse in the traditional party votes which will result in some surprise wins. These being local elections, Ipswich is seeing only the Greens contest widely across the Borough with UKIP only contesting the Bixley County by-election.

But this does not mean that the traditional political parties in Ipswich will be immune from the political fallout which is heading their way.

The forming of the Coalition Government by Messrs Cameron and Clegg has severely damaged each party’s respective core vote or the ‘base’, as the Americans call it. The base is a better word as it signifies the party’s key supporters – the ones who cold call on doorsteps, who deliver the leaflets come rain or shine and generally put themselves out there to promote the party and the leader for free. As volunteers, they are not obliged to carry on working even if they are treated like dirt by the hierarchy, they just walk away. And that is what is happening in droves as a result of the way David Cameron and the Tory high command (Osborne, Maude et al) have sacrificed their supporters on the high altar of liberal elitism to show how thoroughly modern they are.

David Cameron has sacrificed his conservative values (if he ever had any) to show how the Conservative Party has changed and he has sacrificed and ridiculed his core supporters in a vain attempt to ‘detoxify’ the party brand. Just by Nick Clegg getting into bed with the Tories has been enough for his supporters to head to the Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats are looking into the political abyss.

The Coalition has achieved one thing: both Conservative and Liberal Democrat membership is plummeting and the number of activists are dwindling. Each party is going to find it difficult to get people to drive old ladies to the polling station come 3rd May as their activists will either be on the golf course or will have decided to save their precious holidays from work for more important matters like sunbathing on a Spanish beach.

Then we come to the wider Conservative vote. Cameron promised so much in Opposition but a lot of floating voters were still not convinced and the base didn’t like the incoherent Big Society message which foolishly Cameron and Osborne put at the centre of their campaign without focus-group testing it first. The end-result was the Conservative Party couldn’t win the General Election – again. But hundreds of thousands of core supporters did come out and vote Conservative just to get Gordon Brown kicked out of Downing Street. But now we have had a Conservative government for two years with no Conservative policy actually implemented – either on the deficit, on Europe, on defence etc. etc. – the base won’t be hoodwinked any more. The only true Conservative policy is the Welfare Reform Bill, ably taken through parliament by Iain Duncan-Smith, but nothing will change in the welfare state until a very sophisticated computer system is developed and installed to administer the whole thing. The history of governments and computers doesn’t bode well for the Welfare Reform Act ever coming into fruition.

Peter Oborne, who seems to change his views depending on the day of the week, wrote this in his Daily Telegraph piece during the week:

The truth is that Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg did not choose to cohabit out of self-interest, but were driven by patriotic motives to join forces to confront Britain’s greatest economic crisis for a century.

Oh, don’t make me laugh! I don’t believe that for a second. Cameron wanted to tick off “PM” on his CV and Clegg is purely about power above principle.
I believe the ordinary voter has a similar view to me. In Bradford West earlier this month, Respect and hard-left politician George Galloway won over 50% of the vote and achieved a 10,000 majority over Labour. Some Tory voters must have voted for Mr Galloway. I’ll say that again: Tory voters must have voted for George Galloway. Not because they have had some kind conversion to Socialism but because they are fed up of their own Conservative Party and the other two traditional main parties and decided to send a message to David Cameron and the Westminster elite.

I don’t think the Bradford West result was a one-off. We will see a similar trend on 3rd May and although this election won’t effect who runs the country on 4th May if the trend continues it will do come 2015.

People are fed up by being led by a liberal elite whose only aim is to appease the chattering classes in metropolitan London at dinner parties in Islington and Notting Hill. These people do not represent ordinary Britons – they do their best to stay away from us ordinary folk in their exclusive streets and gated communities or in their country homes miles from the “dirty” towns. Most people don’t want gay marriage (even most homosexuals), most either want less interference from Europe, which will allow us to deport extremist cleric Abu Qatada on our say-so, or they want out of the EU altogether.

Britain, despite the best efforts of Labour through uncontrolled immigration, is still a conservative country with Christian roots and values. Tony Blair managed – through clever political smoke and mirrors – to pretend to the British people he was leading a ‘Tory-lite’ government but of course behind the curtain Gordon Brown was pulling the economic levers of destruction causing immense damage over 13 years which created a client state consisting of millions dependent on handouts or in non-jobs in the public sector; he destroyed a pension system which was the envy of the world, sold our gold at rock-bottom prices and delivered the biggest peacetime deficit which is still crippling this country today because George Osborne is deliberately failing to get on top of it to appease his liberal chums.

The chickens are about to come home to roost. The tectonic plates are being crushed together and they will soon break apart – this could happen on 3rd May or may take longer but it will happen. The British people have had enough.

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It’s time to remove al-Assad

When you hear about your fellow human being being put through the same treatment, if not the same scale, as The Holocaust, the time has come to use our power to stop the pain and wanton destruction of human life.

That time has come in Syria. Apart from the fact Bashir al-Assad’s troops have been firing mortars and tank rounds into residential neighbourhoods like Babr Amr in Homs, it is now been reported, through smuggled video footage, that there is also State-organised torture of Syrian citizens. In the style of Dr Mengele, doctors are the ones doing the torture of patients as they are manacled to their hospital beds.

Channel 4 News reports on their website there is a factory of torture in Homs and at 7pm they will broadcast some of the footage showing the evil acts of these doctors. The video files were smuggled out of Syria by a French photojournalist, who risked his life to ensure the world now knows what al-Assad’s barbaric regime has been denying for months: that they are torturing their own people, sometimes to death.

The Syrian hospital employee who filmed the torture of wounded civilians at the Military Hospital in Homs said:

“I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks.

“I saw them slamming detainees’ heads against walls. They shackle the patients to beds. They deny them water. Others have their penises tied to stop them from urinating.”

The Syrian regime has ordered all civilians to be taken to the Military Hospital for “treatment” rather than the civilian hospitals.

I visited the Imperial War Museum recently and saw the inhumanity of man against man in The Holocaust Exhibition. At the end of the Second World War the allies decreed this must never happen again. But it has happened again: in Cambodia, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Rwanda, in Srebenica. The difference now is we  have the means to do something about it. I believe Tony Blair’s interventionist doctrine, laid out in his speech in Chicago in 1999, is sometimes moral and right.

If we have the means, we must help our fellow man. Yes, start with diplomacy, covertly arm the Free Syria Army (which is undoubtedly happening) but that is proving now not to be enough. It was said the Jews could hear Allied bombers coming over the death camps in occupied Poland and they prayed their camps would be hit – just so the pain could end.

It’s time to stop this sheer evil in Syria before it is stopped for us.

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Ed Miliband is the Captain Smith of the Labour Party

In today’s Daily Telegraph, their superb and supremely intelligent columnist Fraser Nelson pretty much sums up my own views on British party politics today. He describes the woes of both Labour and the Conservatives. Fraser’s characterisation of Labour’s key players in the parliamentary party is spot on with his main premise that both Ed Miliband and David Miliband are Labour losers who are not the answer to any question the Labour Party is asking.

From a Conservative perspective, Fraser states what I have thought all along but not articulately very well that Labour actually did quite well at the last election, considering they were being led by the worst post-war Prime Minister. They have one of the biggest Opposition parties ever as a result. But this isn’t because the voters liked Labour, they just didn’t understand or like what the Conservatives stood for. This cuts back to my view on why the Conservatives lost the last General Election, which I have written about here. The fact Cameron could not win a majority in 2010 puts him in the bracket of the most electorally unsuccessful Tory prime minister in history – all my Coalition-loving Tories should question why we failed to win so many seats in the last General Election instead of thinking we won the General Election when we patently did not.

Fraser Nelson also has time in his article for a Tony Blair appearance. This section from his article is wonderful:

“One wonders what Tony Blair makes of all this. He visited Britain last month, and, like many foreign dignitaries on tight schedules, held a breakfast meeting with an invited audience. Carefully selected young Labour MPs were summoned and sat like groupies at the Cabinet-style table, as he held court.”

Enjoy the full article here.