September 17, 2008

More than 50% want the Conservatives

Ipsos-MORI has an absolutely astonishing result in their latest poll: Lib-Dem 12%, Labour 24%, Conservative 52%. It has to be an outlier but even so this is an amazing result. Using the UK Polling Report swing calculator that gives a massive 481 seats to the Conservatives with Labour and the Lib-Dems picking up 129 and 13, which is unlucky for quite a few Lib-Dem MPs. One of the reasons that I had expected the Lib-Dems to be able to do well in the next election, and possibly eclipse Labour, was because I could not believe that even when Labour reached their lowest point (which has still to come) that anybody could get over 50% of the vote. This placed a limit on the number of votes the Tories could get meaning that they would almost certainly flow to the Liberal Democrats as a way of voting against Labour without voting for the Conservatives. It looks like I was wrong.

I still think that they should be talking about their traditional policies, these are perfect for picking up centre-left ex-Labour voters (and there are going to be a lot about) since on just about every centre-left touchstone the Lib-Dems have been much close to the mark than Labour have for years. It is also more likely to be believed than the road to Damascus conversion to tax cutting and a smaller state that they are currently talking about.

Sharia comes to England

Sharia courts' rulings are now legally binding in England, and this isn't what is ironically called Islamic Justice being applied to divorce rulings, or for splitting un inheritances (as a way for the males to screw over any females), it is also for things like domestic violence:

In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

That is the men used their Allah givern right to beat up the unfortunate women that were married to them until the women had been beaten into submission. Perhaps the welsh druid we currently have as arse-bishop was correct when he said that allowing Sharia was inevitable, because lefty establishment figures like himself refused to do anything to stop it.

September 16, 2008

In Praise of Gordon Brown

During the boom years Gordon Brown let no opportunity slip to take the praise, despite it not being much to do with him. Now that the economy is in trouble he is having the blame directed at him because he claimed the credit. Some of this blame is justified and there is a lot that Gordon Brown has done that will not be helping during this economic downturn, but he did do one thing that will aid us through the turbulent times ahead. He kept us out of the Euro.

Unlike the UK all three of the major Eurozone economies have already had a quarter this year where their economies shrank. Unlike the UK the Eurozone could already be in a recession. We are going to have to work our way through a painful correction to the house price bubble, but at least we where not in the Euro where the consistently lower interest rates would have pumped the bubble up to an even more gigantic size before it popped, as happened in Spain and Ireland. With the economy heading for problems we are also going to see changes in our exchange rates with other countries, but at least these changes will be based around the expectations for the UK economy and therefore act as an automatic stabiliser for it. Had we been locked to the Euro where instead of regaining competiveness through a short currency depreciation we could have been forced into a long and painful deflation of the entire economy as has happened to Italy during its recession in 2005.

The Eurozone looks like it could be hit harder than the economies of the USA or UK by the fall out of the credit crunch and sub-prime crisis, just as it was hit harder during the fall out from the bursting of the Dot Com bubble. Had Tony Blair not had to deal with a Chancellor that was attempting to thwart his ambitions at every turn he could well had taken us into the Euro as he wanted. That would have meant that today we would be in an even worse position that we are now, so while Gordon Brown's period as Chancellor might have been in many ways overrated he did at least do one thing to help the country weather the coming storm.

September 10, 2008

Nick Clegg on the NHS

Nick Clegg has a good article on the, poor, state of the NHS and why it is like it is.

There are two basic, structural problems with their NHS: it is too massive and centrally controlled; and because of that centralised system, we have a second basic problem, that the financial incentives all pull in the wrong direction.

To which he offers a very Liberal solution.

The basis of my approach is to make the NHS a people's health service, with resources controlled from below, not from the top down. We want to replace centrally-set targets with personal entitlements like the ones you get in an insurance contract. Everyone should have the right to private treatment, paid for by the NHS, if the waiting time is not met.

To give patients more control over their care, we would extend direct payments and personal budgets – so people with long-term and chronic conditions choose what care they need.

I also believe top-up payments should be possible within the NHS.

All great stuff, but not exactly what is going to help him pick up votes fleeing from Labour.

September 08, 2008

Climate change warning ... for hell

Satan is going to have to get himself some thermal underwear this winter and the damned souls will be building snowmen, I've just found something to agreed with with a Labour minister! The shocking cause of the infernal climate change is the cross party plan to stop migrant workers from moving to this country, and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne's rejection of it. The cross party group has called for a cap on immigration Liam Byrne has rejected it as unnecessary, OK only unnecessary rather than unworkable, illiberal and stupid. Still that is a small step in the correct direction towards correct response to finding people that actually want to come here, join our society, and work of throwing the doors open to the world and shouting "come in, we loooove you!" Admittedly my open doors approach does require the abolition of the Welfare State to avoid getting swamped by freeloaders, but then abolishing the Welfare State is something that we should be doing anyway.

September 03, 2008

The Macavity Theory

Tomorrow September the fourth is a date for the diary, it is (according to what I have gleaned from lurking on PoliticalBetting) the last date when items can be added to the agenda of the Labour Party conference. This is important because it is the last realistic possibility of coup within the Labour Party to get rid of Gordon Brown before the summer of 2009 due to the parties rules. It is hugely unlike that anybody would want to get rid of him then, with defeat looming it would be much better for anybody with a chance of becoming leader to ride out the storm and then present themselves as the fresh face afterwards. However Daniel Finkelstein of The Times is proposing an interesting scenario is Gordon Brown going to do a runner before being defeated at he election in 2010?

Wouldn't it be exactly in Mr Brown's character, goes the theory, to disappear just as the election was about to start, when loss was inevitable?

So a few months before the election brown resigns 'to spend more time with his family' (if he still has some spin control) or for 'health reasons' (if he doesn't) and a new caretaker is installed to lose the election, probably Jack Straw (if they can get him to accept this poison chalice). Brown's place in history is safe. He becomes one of only tiny handful of Prime Ministers never to win an election, but he manages to dodge the title of worst Prime Minister ever and the only Prime Minister ever to go from the position of a landslide victory to a landslide defeat.

The result for Labour would be quite catastrophic. Brown stays on long enough for the Brown poison to infect the rest of his party, but vanishes just before the election and not to be replaced by a shiny new leader but by a caretaker and a power vacuum. The Tories and Lib-Dems would destroy them, every policy would be a statement from the caretaker with absolutely no idea that the direction the party would go in once a new leader was elected after the election. Even if the policy ideas put forward where in themselves credible the platform wouldn't be because of the huge doubt around what on earth would emerge once a permanent leader arose. Not that any of the ideas would be credible. As all of the big players would be not only trying to save there own seats they would be positioning themselves in relation to their rivals. This means cosying up to their union paymasters and the hard left, and in the full glare of national publicity. The party would shift into the election in full frenzied piranha tank mode with everybody biting at everybody else.

I can only hope he does it. Cameron would win anyway but by disappearing at the crucial moment it guarantees that it will be the Lib-Dems leading Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and the total analation of Labour as a political force (plus the bankruptcy of the party shortly afterwards). Unfortunately it requires a bit too much self knowledge on the part of Gordon Brown to be considered a high probability.