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Ed(ward) Miliband calls for a public enquiry at any given opportunity, so much so it has become a joke. But is there not something more sinister going on?

Chief Scout Ed(ward) Miliband is a politician of so little substance that even at an anatomical level, he is barely held together. He must be surprised to see himself in the mirror each morning, since he is so forgettable he is barely corporeal. His policies are no less Lethean and his slogan of ‘One Nation’ (which cannot even be credited as an original) can surely only have been devised  on he basis that its brevity makes it memorable enough for Labour’s intellectually inanimate leader to remember. He’s described as ‘courageous’ in the same way one might describe a village idiot as a ‘colourful member of the community’. Despite being a punch-line in himself, one ongoing joke concerns the fact that Mr Miliband calls for public inquiries on a range of subjects almost weekly. Thus far, he has requested investigations into:

  • The murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane
  • Jimmy Savile
  • The West Coast Mainline franchise debacle
  • GCSE English papers
  • The banks
  • PIP breast implants
  • Cash-for-access
  • London Riots
  • Care home abuse
  • The Press [1]

His bandwagons are so many that he could set up his own ‘used’ bandwagon dealership, since the very quantity of his requested inquiries has devalued the product. And like any charlatan, Mr Miliband can afford to  be insincere in the wares he peddles – he might be the butt of jokes for his repeated calls, but to those who only think about politics come election time, he looks like he is responding to public concerns in an earnest fashion. He can be seen to be standing up for public interests against vested ones in order to position the coalition as being on Goliath’s side. This is one of the virtues of opposition, since real responsibilities and the affairs of state are just toys in the waiting room.

And whilst he plays make-believe in opposition, Mr Miliband sees the taxpayer’s funding as monopoly money for his disingenuous demands – how very Labour of him. Public inquiries never fail to run into the millions. The Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday lasted twelve years and cost the taxpayer £195m [2]; the Leveson Inquiry is estimated to have cost at least £5.6m and climbing; the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry cost £12,959,390 [3]; the total cost of the Iraq War Inquiry since 2009 has cost £6,130,600 [4]; the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) Inquiry cost an estimated £14 million, the BSE Inquiry around £27 million.

Now this is not to say that some of these inquiries are not important, but sheer cost is likely to skew the perception of an inquiry’s worth, especially in austere times. Tor Butler-Cole (who won the 2004 Woolf Scholarship for an essay examining ethical applications of public inquiries) succinctly concludes that ‘the duration and cost of public inquiries are arguments for limiting their use, but not for abandoning them altogether.’ [5] As a Labour politician, Mr Miliband is unlikely to be able to accept the absence of money as a means of denying his own political fortunes.

And it is here that the cynical, if not outright sinister aspect of Mr Miliband’s inquiry-mania seem to reveal itself. Alluding to the moral philosopher Onora O’Neill, Ms Butler-Cole writes of how ‘a “culture of suspicion” [..] has gripped Britain, creating a nation devoted to league tables and performance indicators, and obsessed with blame and compensation. The ubiquitous demands for public inquiries might be thought an illustration of this problem.’ [6] Such disintegration occurred under Labour with alacrity. They created a cosmetically ‘free’ and ‘equal’ society, whilst all the while ceding power to the EU and decimating hundreds of years of hard won legal and civil liberties in a state power grab. In the same way, public inquiries give the appearance of transparency and reform to parties like Labour, whilst deflecting attention away from  their appalling political, ethical, moral, social and intellectual record.

In effect Mr Miliband is proposing modern day variants of the show-trial. The truth that such inquiries may reveal is not as important as the political capital he and his clutch of metropolitan champagne socialist trendies hope to reap from the false sincerity that hides behind the phrases they employ, like ‘in the public interest’. Thanks to electioneering of this sort, public inquiries have begun to resemble an amalgamation of TV talent contests and reality TV shows, where the process of humiliation, implied slights and innuendo takes precedence over whatever the inquiries conclusions may be.

It would be incorrect to suggest that the principle of public inquiries is wrong, but the clamour for them often seems to outweigh the necessity. Of course this is not as exciting nor as lucrative for the ambitious Mr Miliband. Peter Hitchens has it exact when he remarks that ‘liberal bigotry is the worst of all because it thinks it is so enlightened.’ He could not have described Mr Miliband with greater precision. Mr Miliband’s ongoing calls for public inquiries are the stuff of self-aggrandisement; they are damaging because they do not appear discerning, and they are discredited because they are disconcertingly political.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

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The real victories of last night’s by-elections belonged to UKIP. But what might this signal and how will  Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg translate the messages?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

 – ‘The Second Coming,’ W.B. Yeats

After last night’s by-elections, the only party that has cause to celebrate is UKIP. Coming second place in both Rotherham and Middlesbrough, and third in Croydon, is no small achievement for a party that has worked tirelessly along the tributaries of British politics into the mainstream in only a matter of years.

That Labour won in all three seats is no surprise, but as Daniel Hannan has remarked with regards to Rotherham in particuar, ‘I don’t want to hear any Rotherham Labour voters moaning about the arrogance of the political class’, since it was under the governance of that party that Denis MacShane resigned after criminally obtaining public money by deceit, and it was also the party that saw inactivity over child grooming cases and the removal of foster children from UKIP-voting parents [1]. Tribal voting is the stuff of primitive thinking, so of the 9,866 voters in Rotherham who voted Labour, it is probably fair to claim that some did so with only half their wits.

It is also no surprise that the Conservatives should made no progress in these areas. That the Liberal Democrats lost their deposits in Rotherham and Croydon proves beyond doubt that they are the party of insignificance and that they can no longer be used to amplify the voices of discontented voters. Expect them to be annihilated at the next General Election.

What of this? In a previous article, this blog suggested that UKIP’s ascent in Corby was not the result of a mid-term blues protest suggested by the Conservatives, it was the result of long-term disenchantment with useless politicians and their discredited parties. UKIP’s showing in Rotherham and elsewhere would seem to underscore this notion.

Mr Miliband need not break the habit of his leadership; he need do nothing, nor come up with credible policies – the coalition are perfectly adept at blustering incoherence and unravelling without the aid of parliament’s odious Chief Scout. Heaven help the UK when Prime Minister Miliband has to actually make the ‘tough decisions’ he bleats on about. Yet what the Rotherham vote has shown is that UKIP are not just a party of and for the right, they are increasingly a party of and for all political colours. If they can succeed in Labour ‘safe’ seats at the same level as they have in Rotherham, Corby and Middlesbrough, then Mr Miliband may actually have to call an inquiry into thinking about the direction in which he is heading.

And what of Mr Cameron? He is the best publicist of his own stupidity. He continues to alienate the sort of Conservative voters his party has haemorrhaged to UKIP under his leadership, not only because of his dogged determination to make social democrats out of the Tories, but also by refusing to  retract his typically immature remarks that UKIP members are mostly ‘closet racists’. The truth is that ‘centre ground’ politics is not only unpopular, it is inherently damaging to democracy. Yet it is clear that Mr Cameron is just a less uncomfortable looking version of the unhinged Gordon Brown: he is intractably stubborn, to the extent that an easy victory in the 2015 General Election will not be his for the taking. He will sooner listen to the likes of Matthew D’Ancona, who wrote in a wildly inaccurate and faintly bizarre recent article:

…the very worst thing Cameron could do now is to rip up his centre-ground strategy and hurtle off to the Right in search of these voters. Not many of them would come back. And many more centrist waverers would be lost in the process. [2]

Though this is precisely what Mr Cameron would want to hear – and certainly the only advice he is likely to listen to – it is at the cost of his own party and democracy. So Mr Cameron’s likeness to Mr Brown is evidenced once again: when a person (let alone a politician) cannot be seen to fight for their own survival, then it rings as defective. By heading off in the right direction, Mr Cameron could outflank UKIP’s ever growing number and bring under his wing the working class vote that UKIP appeals to: immigration, crime, withdrawal from the EU. Since the moribund Lib Dems have had their life support terminated, what consideration need Mr Cameron give to them? Yet he persists in targeting none of these matters, which appeal to all voters. The consequence is a further disenfranchised electorate and the collapse of his vote. As Yeats wrote:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

UKIP may yet have to win parliamentary seats, but it signals the direction in which any successful party or thinking person should be heading: a politics of consent, of decisiveness, of the nation state. Under their current leaders, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are interested in ideology, not practicality. Ideology is cheap and easy, since it exists in the mind. Practicality and workable policies are much more credible victories, but intellectually beyond the reach of those on parliament’s front benches today.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

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The news that a married couple fostering children of an ethnic background had the children in their charge removed from their care by Rotherham Children’s Services on the basis of their support for UKIP is an alarming but, frighteningly, not a surprising story given Labour’s record. 

In the summer, the odious Edward Miliband graciously gave the British public permission to talk candidly about their anxieties concerning immigration: ‘Worrying about immigration, talking about immigration, thinking about immigration, does not make them bigots. Not in any way. They’re anxious about the future.’ [1] It was quite a u-turn, given that his party – a party in which he held seniority during the tenures of the illiterate Mr Blair and the unstable Mr Brown – actively sought to stifle debate about the reckless policy of open-door immigration by smearing not just those who opposed it, but even dared raise doubts over it.

In light of the Rotherham scandal, one might say ‘old habits die hard’, but this might suppose there was ever really an effort to change this gravely cynical policy. No, such cynicism is policy, with Mr Miliband only making such remarks in an attempt to steal the initiative from Mr Cameron (not difficult) and to reach out to the voters his party marginalized by deliberately creating an ‘underclass’ voter base. Old habits are alive and well, never more so than in South Yorkshire, it would seem.

The action of Rotherham’s degenerate Labour council – which was recently exposed for covering up  systematic child abuse and whose MP was the discredited criminal Denis MacShane – was overseen by Joyce Thacker, the council’s strategic director of children and young people’s services, who claimed: “I have legal advice I have to follow for the placement of children and I was criticised before for not making sure their cultural and ethnic needs were met. If the party mantra is, for example, ending the active promotion of multiculturalism I have to think about that… I have to think of their longer-term needs.”

Ms Thacker seems to have consulted hearsay and opinion from the left, whose stock phrases of ‘racism’ and ‘xenophobia’ are the emotive attacks they mount when encountering UKIP. She may have done worse than consult the party’s website, which quite clearly reveals a colour blind party motivated by a practical response to the pressing concerns of immigration and multiculturalism.

Thinking of any kind seems to elude Ms Thacker; her hopeless obfuscations cannot mask the inadequacy of her competence, nor do they conceal the latent, insidious traces of Labour’s ‘old school’ smear tactics. Labour cannot and will not understand why perfectly intelligent people would vote for UKIP because they cannot and will not understand (let alone tolerate) free individual thinking. Not really a surprise given the socialist rabble that makes up their parliamentary party alone.

The effect of Ms Thacker and Rotherham council’s actions has, however, gone a long way to vindicate UKIP, despite, even, the gag reflex of the BBC who cannot mention ‘UKIP’ without alluding to the BNP in the same sentence. Today, for the first time, UKIP has been publicly acknowledged as a mainstream party with legitimate concerns supported by a great many of the electorate; Mr Gove, the Education Secretary, is probably the most high profile figure to have suggested as much. Even village idiot Edward Milliband decreed through gritted teeth that it was ‘okay’ to be a foster parent and support UKIP.

But whilst UKIP continues to prosper, the stink of state controlled thinking, political correctness and anti-Britishness lingers around the Labour party. Despite the cynical efforts of their Chief Scout, they remain the party of intolerance and aggressive single-mindedness.

‘One nation party’? They’re not kidding.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

1. ‘Ed Miliband Immigration Speech in Full.’ Politics.co.uk. 22 June 2012.

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The result of the Corby by-election has wider implications beyond the borders of this disputed constituency…

That the Conservatives lost their Corby seat in today’s by-election came as a surprise to no one, least of all the Conservatives. Their majority was always precarious, but not unmanageable. Their mistake was to ever think that the lobotomized Louise Mensch was ever a credible MP, let alone one strong enough to hold on to such a narrow margin, especially when the potent forces of her own ego would always come before public service.

Whilst the odious Edward Miliband paraded the victory of his candidate, the Liberal Democrats were not only beaten into fourth place by UKIP, they lost their deposit after receiving a woeful 1,770 votes.  The Conservatives only beat UKIP by a mere 4368 votes, a statistic that should have them very afraid, especially in a seat seen as a litmus paper for the views of middle England.

At this point one might suggest that Mr Cameron has some thinking to do – he could lurch to the right and cast off his social democrat colours in favour for radical Tory reform – but as has been implied, this would mean Mr Cameron has to not only think, but think strategically and perform acts of self-evaluation and intellect that he is woefully incapable of commanding.

Instead, what do Mr Cameron and his cronies say? They spin the result as simply the mid-term blues that all incumbent governments undergo as voters register their discontent with the direction of the ruling party.

It is a line that typifies the disconcertingly patronising tone of politicians from all the main parties. It suggests that to them it is almost a badge of honour, a virtuous failure, to be mauled by the electorate halfway through a parliament, as if governing in the interests of the electorate and securing or sustaining a popular mandate are laughable impossibilities. They chose to ignore what is in front of them – whether it is the striking election results by UKIP or by the success of independent candidates as Police Commissioners – this is not a mid-term blues protest: it is the result of long-term disenchantment with the useless politicians and the discredited parties they serve.

By voting Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem, the electorate are merely changing the guard, all of whom protect the same thing: their interests, which are dependent upon their mutual survival as political parties. Today’s results are a victory for independent candidates away from Westminster, and it is a story of success for UKIP, whose ascent is damaging the three party system, and above all, Mr Cameron, who had better watch his back from his own party members before anyone else.

Mid-term blues? Hardly! Things have rarely looked better…

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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This video has done the rounds on the internet for a while, but it is worth refreshing one’s memory of the precision of Peter Hitchens’ argument. This is extracted from a longer debate with Labour MP Chris Bryant (a snivelling, unintelligent, political vegetable) after the equally contemptible Edward Miliband had the temerity to tell the electorate that they were not bigoted for opposing mass, uncontrolled immigration [1].

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Notes

Retiring in the UK is a bleak prospect for many. Whilst fuel poverty blights and sometimes takes the lives of among the most vulnerable in society, a protected budget of £11 billion is committed to aiding poverty abroad. In the UK, the government’s charity does not begin at home.

It is no secret that the UK’s population is taking longer to shuffle off its mortal coil. A recent report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has indicated that Britain’s ageing population is growing at its fastest rate since the 19th century and is projected to hit 70 million by 2027, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The current 62 million UK population is rising at 0.8% a year and may increase by 4.9 million to 67.2 million by 2020 and to 73 million by 2035. The ONS also suggests that the oldest age groups are the fastest growing and the number of people over the age of 85 is expected to more than double from 1.4 million now to 3.5 million within 25 years. Centenarians are set to rise more from 13,000 in 2010 to 110,000 in 2035, with the median age rising from 39.7 years in 2010 to 39.9 in 2020 and to 42.2 by 2035 [1]. Of course, this does not include mass uncontrolled immigration into the UK’s porous – rather – non-existent border.

Yet, in the present day, there is good reason to fear old age. Hardly a week seems to pass without reports of the appalling physical and psychological abuses dispensed by manipulative  sadistic and criminal employees at ‘care’ homes. Such abuses include:

  • Not being given adequate support to eat or drink, in particular those with dementia
  • Home helps not carrying out vital tasks such as washing and dressing because of lack of time;
  • Financial abuse, such as money being systematically stolen;
  • Talking over older people (sometimes on mobile phones) or patronising them;
  • Physical abuse, such as rough handling or unnecessary force. [2]

Even those not occupying care homes face difficult times, especially during the winter months. In 2007-09, around 35% of single pensioners were living in fuel poverty (defined as when someone needs to spend 10 per cent or more on heating their home) with many cutting back on food to meet their energy bills; around 2 million elderly people are so desperately cold that they go to bed when they are not tired or else move into a single room, in an attempt to keep their energy bills down.

The UK government has every reason to feel embarrassed at this shameful state of affairs, especially since the ‘Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000’ is meant to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016 [3]. Worse still, a number of the UK’s main energy suppliers have decided Christmas will arrive early for them this year:

  • EDF announced they will raise prices for domestic gas and electricity by 10.8%, meaning its typical dual-fuel bill for a direct debit customer will rise by £122 to £1,251 a year.
  • SSE, which trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, increased its tariffs by 9% on October 15, the same day as Scottish Power announced plans to hike bills by an average 7% from December 3.
  • British Gas will impose an average increase of 6% affecting 8.5 million customers from November 16, with Npower planning an average rise of 8.8% for gas and 9.1% for electricity from November 26.

The government previously estimated that the total number of deaths relating to fuel poverty in the UK at 2,700 a year, but according to Prof. Christine Liddell (University of Ulster), some 7,800 people die during winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly. This figure suggests that there are 65 such deaths a day [4].

In the mean time, the government has responded by suggesting consumers ‘Switch utility providers and use price comparison sites’ – hardly a possibility for the computer illiterate pensioners who make up those most in need.

At the present time the government has budgeted £7.3bn for elderly social care in 2012, whilst the budget for overseas aid in 2013 is projected to be £11bn, ring-fenced by the philanthropic Mr Cameron. Both sums are large, but why should Mr Cameron be prepared to spend more on foreign aid than combating poverty within the UK’s borders? It is not a question of one life being more important than another, it is about dutifully serving his fellow countrymen, or (if one wishes to put it clinically) assisting British taxpayers who have paid money to the state all their lives, trusting that when they need assistance in turn, their taxes may well help them.

It is not even remotely cynical to suggest that committing £11bn in foreign aid is much more glamorous to career politicians like Mr Cameron than it is committing the same amount to help the vulnerable at home.

Domestically, Mr Cameron and his cross-party kin preside over a flat-lining economy, a crumbling society, a decrepit rule of law, an increasingly undemocratic politics and a talent for populist policy (which never comes to fruition either).

On the international stage, however, Mr Cameron has a chance to radiate statesmanship and policy. Whether it is preaching democracy in other countries, demanding the cessation of conflict, insisting that important things are attended to, or patronising third world countries with the British taxpayer’s money, there is a chance to cast himself in the role of a world leader.

It is all sound and fury, signifying nothing, but what else might one expect from the likes of Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg, who have only ever seen their parliamentary careers as an apprenticeship to their entrance on the world stage. Whilst their future (like their past) will be comfortable and they will never know what it is to endure, elderly men and women will have to suffer  all manner of indignities and hardships because they are less efficient political capital.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

In no particular order, some reasons why Labour will, one way or another, win the next general election either as a government or as a majority party in coalition. Please feel free to add your own…

  • It promises benefits and big spending to country addicted to ‘free’ money and profligacy
  • It has managed to position itself as the party of fairness to an ill-informed, benumbed electorate
  • It does not discriminate in any way whatsoever, so the good are as bad as the bad, and the bad are as good as the good – anything and anyone goes
  • It does child-care, education and thinking for you, so personal/public responsibility need not be exercised
  • It promotes ideological fancy, which is much easier to cultivate than practical, workable policies
  • It still maintains an entrenched tribal loyalty in parts of the UK despite it having long since having forgotten working people
  • It has created a generation unable to think and critically analyse the follies of voting Labour thanks to its bankrupting of the education system
  • It is not the Conservative Party, nor the Lib Dems, which for many people is reason enough to vote Labour

© thepanopticonblog, 2012