No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Boris Johnson

The Precious Midpoint

It’s a truism of politics that you win the centre to gain and hold political power.

But there’s a difference between acting on that and worshipping it as a religious principle that requires politicians to do nothing but sniff the winds and bend accordingly to what they detect.

Politicians and political parties that do that are doomed to accomplish nothing in power beyond managing the status quo until they tire and are voted out in favour of the next new, shiny thing. And if enough time goes by and the status quo breaks down, such a party will simply be left on the side of the road.

Strangely this seems to be the fate of the old socialist parties of France and Germany, which are facing extinction as major players, and the British Labour Party seems to be intent on joining them, as noted in this article, The Road to Hartlepool Pier:

But worst of all is that this transmogrified middle-class party views its old working-class constituency not simply with incomprehension but with contempt. “Yep”, Liddle quotes a “Starmer superfan” as tweeting about the result, “as expected the working class love a bit of nationalism and racism. Well done Hartlepool, you turkeys. I’ve never been and I never will”.

“The Labour Party we knew is gone,” Liddle concludes, “gone for good. Those votes are not coming back”. Stirring stuff and written from the depths of a Social Democrat’s soul.

But the article points out that this is nothing new for British Labour or British Socialism, as implied with the title of the article, cribbing from one of Orwell’s famous books:

“The truth is,” Orwell concludes, “that to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.”

That was written in 1937.

Here in New Zealand I have to wonder if the same thing is true of the National Party? Certainly Chris Trotter notes the problems that Centre-Left parties are having overseas but is cocksure that the same won’t happen to NZ Labour, with his “Four Houses” analogy:

Far from losing touch with its brown working-class base, New Zealand Labour’s liberal, university-educated middle class: the house members of Working With My Brain and Taking Care of Others; are doing everything they can to empower Maori and Pasefika New Zealanders. They are doing this by strengthening their unions; by increasing their benefits; by more appropriately tailoring health and educational services to their needs; and, most significantly, by reconfiguring New Zealand’s constitutional structures to ensure their voices are heard and their cultural needs recognised.

Ironically, this leaves New Zealand’s National Party where British Labour now appears to be standing: with insufficient allies to win a nationwide election. Of New Zealand’s four houses, only Taking Care of Business (especially rural business) is overwhelmingly loyal to National. Increasingly, the house members of Working With My Brain, once more-or-less evenly split between National and Labour, are clustering around like-minded “progressives”.

And here also:

The only real questions, after Thursday’s Budget, is how long will it take National to realise how profoundly the political game has been – and is being – transformed by Covid and Climate Change? Will it be two, three, or four terms? And, how many leaders will the party have to elect, and discard, before it finally masters the new language of electoral victory?

While that’s amusing and something to think about, it must be said that poor old Chris has a long, repeated habit of swinging from orgasmic joy at Labour electoral victories followed by dark mood swings as they flail around and fail to recreate the wonders of Micky Savage’s First Labour Government. That second article might as well have been titled the same as the famous cover of Newsweek in 2008, heralding the arrival of Saint Obama and following the spending spree of the Bush Administration as they effectively nationalised a stack of financial firms.

Things turned out differently of course.

However, the reason for my post’s title was the thought that National may actually be thinking the same as Chris, and it’s been foremost with ex-Cabinet Minister Wayne Mapp, commenting on a number of blogs, including Trotter’s. Here on No Minister he has of course regularly lambasted me as being to the Right of 90% of New Zealanders and I have acknowledged as much.

But over on Kiwiblog this comment from Wayne in a DPF post on electric cars, made it clear that it’s not just me he’s concerned about:

Fourteen out of twenty four comments criticising DPF, either directly or indirectly, for choosing an EV. It does show how far Kiwiblog commenters are from the midpoint of NZ voters.

Given that the vast majority of those comments were not knee-jerk reactions but accurate observations about the cost, range, life-span and capabilities of EV’s, and given that many of those people are or have been National voters, I thought that was a foolish and reactionary comment itself.

But it does show the thinking that’s evolving here, at least with one ex-National MP, and it’s thinking that fits perfectly with Trotter’s about what’s wrong with National and where they have to go to regain power – which is basically to just cede all these fundamental arguments to the Left, roll over and awaken when the electorate eventually tires of Jacindamania.

Given that Labour and its policies were floating around the low twenty percent mark in mid-2017 before the Hail Mary pass to Jacinda yielded a massive increase in Labour’s vote share, even as the policies remained the same, I think that simply following them in those basic policies, if not in detail, is stupid beyond belief.

Having talked to countless Jacinda worshippers and having always asked them the key question, “Would you vote for Labour policies if Jacinda vanished today?”, I’ve not been surprised to find them answering that they’re not actually aware of Labour policies and a hesitant answer that they might still vote for them. In other words, at rock bottom, the popularity of Labour is still in the pre-Jacinda range of early 2017.

As the threat of Chinese Sinus AIDS retreats and the costs of being a NoRightTurn extremist on AGW mount up, especially for that “brown working-class base”, I don’t think even the magic pixie dust of Jacinda will be enough.

Instead of aping the strategic goals of Labour and sneering at their own voters, what National should be thinking about is what the votes for Brexit and Trump in 2016 and for the British Conservatives in 2020 meant, and what the changing politics of things like the recent Hartlepool election meant – rather than imagining that the forces driving them can be wiped away by defeating Trump-like politicians.

National is not going to be rewarded by simply saying that it will do the same as Labour but with better management. In the face of failing public systems, especially education, that’s no longer good enough. The 2020 election told National that when voters are presented with such a choice they’ll just vote Labour.

And the lesson is not to be like the New Zealand equivalent of Mitt Romney, Theresa May or David Cameron – all squishes who either failed to get elected or if they were, failed to grasp the actual electoral environment they claimed their “moderate” noses could sniff out.

That approach just won’t cut it anymore with Centre-Right parties. Real, practical solutions based around giving incentives to individuals – in education, healthcare and other areas – are what is required. Certainly not something that “‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders“, from the hearts of wealthy suburbs sporting myriad electric cars.

The midpoint is there to be moved, not just accommodated with as others move it.

Just as important is that all this needs to be backed by a willingness to fight with the likes of Tova and John Campbell when they use their usual emotional bullshit arguments in opposition. That’s yet another lesson that Trump has taught at least the next generation of GOP politicians. I see Nikki Halley is already being talked up, but the future actually lies with the likes of Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo, and Kristi Noem.

Who National’s future lies with I have no idea.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 6, 2021 at 10:23 am

Brexit Triumph For Boris…

…… and for common sense.

Does anyone remember that strange little fellow who used to hang aound here shouting about the end being nigh for Britain if Brxit went ahead? He lived in bombed out U Boat pen in La Rochelle.

I hope Kiwi and Aussie primary producers are able to grab this opportunity with both hands.

In passing, I didn’t come across this in the Australian media which is preoccupied publishing meaningless hourly updates on the number of Covid infections.

Written by adolffinkensen

January 2, 2021 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Britain, Europe

Tagged with ,

The British Lockdown

George Orwell set his dystopian story, Nineteen Eighty-Four, in Britain for the simple reason that it was the place and people he knew best.

But while other nations actually did suffer something close to that horror story I’ve always thought that the particular nature of the British people was better suited to the tale than most others around the world. The buttoned-down conformity, the in-built Class structure and its forelock tugging, the Boxer-like attitude towards enduring while being screwed over by higher powers.

For all of Simon Schama’s lofty talk about the long history of the British people’s fight that “tied together social justice with bloody-minded liberty“, and some recent evidence of the latter in the Brexit vote, the response to their government’s lockdown of the nation to deal with the Wuhan Flu has been sad to see.

In a superb piece at Spiked Online, editor Brendan O’Neill explores aspects of the damage this has done to Airstrip One

Covid Britain feels like a one-party state. Normal political life has been suspended. Political protest and industrial action have been banned. Even small gatherings that question the ruling ideology of this strange new nation – the ideology of lockdown – are violently broken up. Witness the police brutality that was visited upon lockdown sceptics in Hyde Park a few days ago. You dissent at your peril. 

The role of the citizen in the Covid dystopia is to applaud the state, not question it. Every Thursday night, on your doorsteps or your balconies, you must clap for the benevolent state and its gracious health service. Big Brother loves you and you must love it back. Vast propaganda billboards remind us of this duty.

But he points out the degree to which blaming the government or the Police is diverting responsibility:

Snitching is the only thriving business. By the end of April, British police forces had received 214,000 calls from Covid Britain’s willing army of spies. ‘Always the eyes watching you’, as Winston Smith put it.

There will be no hugging of people from outside your household until autumn at the earliest, says Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for human touch. A survey found that some people (possibly as high as one in five) are breaking lockdown to have sexual intercourse. Sex is an illicit activity in Covid Britain, as in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Hancock is our one-man Junior Anti-Sex League keeping a watchful eye over citizens and their wandering hands. In Orwell’s dystopia, ‘the sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion’. Same here. Just ask Neil Ferguson.

To be fair to the British I’d bet there’s been a lot of booty calls going on that breeched the lockdown rules. The old instincts never run far below the surface of civility.

 

But O’Neill points out that, aside from instinctive desires, there’s been almost no thinking opposition:

Public debate has disintegrated. Do not for one minute be fooled by the noisy media discussions of the government’s failures or the pantomime yelling matches between TV presenters

All of this takes place within the lockdown ideology. The only ‘dissenting’ view you may hold in Covid Britain is that the lockdown didn’t come early enough / wasn’t severe enough / is being eased too early. The media-government spats over the Covid crisis are the narcissism of small differences.

In lockdown Britain, there’s one way to think and one way to behave. You must accept the lockdown or risk being demonised as a hateful individual and possibly being beaten by the police.

Sounds familar, even from our comments section. And as Public debate collapses so too does Political debate:

Every clash and row takes place within the parameters of acceptable thought. Genuinely demurring voices are notable by their absence. Lockdown scepticism is staggeringly absent. Jacob Rees-Mogg is right to say that MPs must get off their Zoom calls and physically return to the Commons. 

But it isn’t their physical absence that’s the problem – it’s their intellectual absence. Where are the voices for reason and liberty and a return to work and production? The speed and thoroughness with which our allegedly conflictual political system was bent to a singular, myopic cause raises profound questions about the health of our democracy.

He points out that the lockdown long ago achieved its objective of “flattening the curve” so that hospitals were not overwhelmed, and that people cooperated with that. But the cases never came in the numbers predicted, hospitals are now half-empty, and lockdown has now become something else entirely:

…lockdown has become a political, ideological cause, not a medical one, on to which so many of the elite’s prejudices – about the harmfulness of economic growth, the undesirability of mass society, the unimportance of liberty, the need for mass compliance to expert advice – have been projected. The lockdown is now separate from the pandemic. It has its own logic. It is the ruling ideology of our age.

As with other societies that have gone down this route, it has been enabled through fear multiplied far beyond what science said:

Government adviser Professor Robert Dingwall is right to say that officials have ‘effectively terrorised’ people into believing that coronavirus will kill them. We have been incited to fear not only a disease, but each other. Misanthropy is the fuel of the lockdown ideology. Steer clear of people. Do not touch them. Do not sit next to them. They might be diseased. And you might be diseased.

And similarly the result may end up backfiring on the conservative government because such terror has worked too well.

Polls show that many people are now reluctant to go back to normal life. Many want schools to remain closed. There is fear about returning to work. Things are so bad that the government is having to redirect its resources, away from terrorising us to stay indoors towards trying to coax us to come out again.

Return to your tasks subjects! The economy needs your enterprise and labour. The Welfare State needs your taxes.

Johnson himself is quoted as joking that “I’ve learnt that it is much easier to take people’s freedoms away than give them back.”, to which O’Neill responds pungently:

That isn’t funny. The use of terror to cow much of the public, decimate economic life and suspend everyday liberty is not a joking matter. Terror has consequences, especially in a situation where any form of meaningful dissent from the terror was demonised and even criminalised.

One of the most pathetic aspects of the old communist regimes was that their leaders always ended up wondering why The People slowly turned away from their slogans and exhortations and turned to drink and apathy. They seemed surprised that decades of fear and terror and repression and ugliness should induce such behaviour.

It would be ironic if the same thing happened to the victors of the Cold War, and it would be richly deserved.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 24, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Supermodels, Dangerous Curves and Experts – Part 1

The phrase “on the advice of expert epidemiologists and public health officials” has been bandied about a lot so I decided to write about these experts and their models of COVID-19 infection, and this is the first part, focusing on the models as they are being presented to us, at least from overseas.

When Jacinda Adern made specific reference to “tens of thousands of deaths” in New Zealand during her Monday announcement of the Level 3 and Level 4 measures, my ears pricked up for that more than anything else, even with all the other drastic stuff. Could it be true?

Well I was assured by various people on this forum that Jacinda was getting advice from experts in public healthcare and epidemiology. Experts! With models and everything.

Presumably a model similar to the one published on March 16 by epidemiology experts at The Imperial College in London. They input assumptions about transmission, infection rates and other factors and played out different scenarios, including one where nobody took any action, not even individuals protecting themselves:

.. given an estimated R0 of 2.4, we predict 81% of the GB and US populations would be infected over the course of the epidemic.


Leading to the graph on the left.

Naturally it was this one that got the attention of the MSM: 500,000 dead after about three months before the disease burns itself out as usual.

They also looked at other strategies such as mitigation and supression, with different tactics used in each.

Then they reached some summary conclusions:

Perhaps our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US healthcare systems being exceeded many times over.

In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.

We therefore conclude that epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time.

Mass deaths. Government hospital systems swamped. “Suppression” of the population the only option.

Sound familiar?

With a claim like that from such an impeccable source, Boris and company had no choice but to go for a lockdown similar to ours. In case the report had not made it clear the lead author, Neil Ferguson, did so in the NYT a day later:

Based on our estimates and other teams’, there’s really no option but follow in China’s footsteps and suppress.

You would think that scientists would be more careful. As the study itself admitted the do-nothing scenario was highly unlikely. Even in the absence of government action people would protect themselves in various ways, starting with the now famous “social distancing“. But Ferguson let it ride because he knew that such a strawman, worst-case scenario would scare the living daylights out of everybody and enable him to get his preferred option.

And now he has decided this new strategy and new data has changed the results, as he testified to Parliament the other day:

UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, he said, and could be much lower.

Not only that but he now thinks the NHS can cope with the peak of the disease when it hits in the next two-three weeks, after which it will subside. No longer any calls for suppression lasting five months or and eighteen month quarantine until a vaccine turns up. From 500,000 to 250,000 to 20,000. That’s one hell of a model.

But it was not just the strategy factor that was changed. It was also that estimates of the viruses transmissibility have changed:

New data from the rest of Europe suggests that the outbreak is running faster than expected, said Ferguson. As a result, epidemiologists have revised their estimate of the reproduction number (R0) of the virus [up to 3 from 2.4]

Now all that is fair enough: inputs to a model change, but as one other expert commented:

The Imperial model has played a key role in informing the UK’s coronavirus strategy, but this approach has been criticised by some. “To be fair, the Imperial people are the some of the best infectious disease modellers on the planet,” Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia, UK, told New Scientist last week. “But it is risky to put all your eggs in a single basket.”

True. Because another team from University of Oxford released provisional findings of a different model that they say shows that up to half the UK population could already have been infected. The model is based on different assumptions and will also have flaws, but it reaches roughly the same number of predicted deaths as the Imperial Model – for now. Remember the latter got its new numbers based on factoring in the new lockdown strategy for GB.

Bottom line: We still have no real idea how many people have this disease and aren’t showing symptoms, for whatever reason. It could be a small number. It could be an immense number. The death and hospitalization rates depend entirely on knowing, as does our national response.

This is my shocked face from years of dealing with experts, models and their inbuilt assumptions, not to mention data.


This has not stopped this particular virus spreading to the USA, where it’s turned up as an online model called COVID Act Now.

And of course it’s producing the same projections with the same focus on hospitals being swamped (rather than deaths), with the same logical conclusion being followed by Governors of states – lockdown.

But the projections of hospitalisations by mid-late March turned out to be wrong, typically by an order of magnitude.

This, plus the following types of criticisms of the Imperial Model…

Chen Shen at the New England Complex Systems Institute, a research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues argue that the Imperial team’s model is flawed, and contains ‘incorrect assumptions’. They point out that the Imperial team’s model doesn’t account for the availability of tests, or the possibility of ‘super-spreader events’ at gatherings, and has other issues.

… have resulted in the COVID Act Now website providing a list of its problematic assumptions:

  • Many of the inputs into this model (hospitalization rate) are based on early estimates that are likely to be wrong.
  • Demographics, populations, and hospital bed counts are outdated. Demographics for the USA as a whole are used, rather than specific to each state.
  • The model does not adjust for the population density, culturally-determined interaction frequency and closeness, humidity, temperature, etc in calculating R0.
  • This is not a node-based analysis, and thus assumes everyone spreads the disease at the same rate. In practice, there are some folks who are ‘super-spreaders,’ and others who are almost isolated.

And all this scare-mongering finally led one of Trump’s COVID-19 taskforce experts, Dr. Deborah Birx to specifically call out the Imperial Model compared to the reality they’re seeing and also take the scare-mongers of the MSM to task.

  • So in the model, to get the numbers of infected people predicted, from which other projections of hospitalisations and death tolls are derived, you have to have either:
    • A large group of asymptomatic people who have never presented for any test. That’s possible but to determine that in fact, much testing is going on, Yet – “In no country have we seen an attack rate of more than one in a thousand.
    • Or a transmission rate that’s very different from what is being seen on the ground.
  • But the predictions of such models don’t match the reality of what they’re seeing on the ground in Italy, South Korea and China.
  • If you did the divisions according to the models, Italy should have 400,000 deaths. They’re not even close to that.
  • “Models are models. There’s .. enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to make these predictions much more sound.”
  • When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience.
  • There’s no reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks“.
  • It would only be possible for 50-60% of the US population to get the virus if there was nothing being done to mitigate it and if the virus was constantly being recycled through this cycle and the next into 2021.
  • 19 out of 50 states had early cases of coronavirus, but have persistently low levels of cases. “That’s almost 40% of the country with extraordinary low numbers and they are testing
Is the Imperial Model the one our experts are using here in New Zealand? It would seem so, judging from the PM’s dire predictions of tens of thousands of deaths if we did not go with this State of Emergency.

So what assumptions did they make to customise it for New Zealand? What reasons do they have as to why they’re confident that those assumptions are correct, given the problems with the assumptions of the original model. And that’s before we even get to the question I raised yesterday about having accurate numbers on testing, ICU beds and so forth.

One last thing: it would seem that Neil Ferguson’s one of those cold-blooded types who thinks that most of the fatalities will be in people who would have died later this year anyway:

It [the deaths of those who would have died anyway] might be as much as half or two thirds of the deaths we see, because these are people at the end of their lives or who have underlying conditions.”

But he does at least have a grasp on the economics of this, which is nice to see given that it’s not his area of expertise:

But, he added, there would be a cost. Thanks to the stringent measures used to save the health service from disaster, “we will be paying for this year for many decades to come in terms of economic impact”.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 28, 2020 at 1:39 am

Where to From Here for Britain?

Right. Last post on Britain from me for a while. Must get back to that whole Impeachment farce across the Atlantic.

PROS.

1) Brexit will now happen. 

There can be no more argument. I suspect Boris will pull the plug on a Hard Brexit by setting a date but with room to move on pressing the EU to soften the lines around exactly what happens on that date. The EU has played tough but they must now know the game is up and will want to limit the damage, and those discussions will then simply merge into the usual trade negotiations that occur between any nation state or trading bloc.

Despite his prominence in the Brexit campaign Boris would have been quite happy to Remain, and his deal will not be what the likes of Farrage wanted. But like his promises of new hospitals and huge infusions of money into the NHS, and having won traditional Labour seats, Boris knows he has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to break old rules – and he loves winning. It’s not altruistic of course, but by the same token all the claims about a new era of Thatcherism are just crap. Boris now owes former Labour voters on the things they care about aside from Brexit: if he fails they’ll go back to a non-Corbyn Labour Party in five years time.

2) There will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 
The “soft” border wasn’t created until 1993, but whether the border was hard or soft seemed to make no difference to the Troubles. In any case Britain, the EU and Ireland have all said they will not set up a hard border. Notably it played no part during the Leave faction’s great “Fear” campaign of 2015/16; it was an empty threat created later by the EU, intended only for negotiating leverage.

A few months ago I was in a Lake Como supermarket-mall and my mate pointed out the dozens of cars with Swiss stickers, loaded to the hilt with food and other EU consumer items. Obviously running the terrible risk of getting caught at the border: rigid adherence to WTO rules my ass.

3) Northern Ireland will slowly unify with Ireland and the EU. 

It will take twenty years but time passes quickly when you consider that the GFA is more than twenty years old. The traditional Northern Irish voices for sticking with England grow fainter every day and the bad hits on the DUP show that. No leverage on Boris there now either.

4) Scotland will go independent.

Again it might take twenty years. The referendum of 2014 is now null and void, since that was when it meant Scotland would be part of the EU. The votes for the SNP show that ordinary Scots want nothing to do with either British Labour, British Conservatives or British Lib Dems: they want out of Great Britain.

Boris has of course already rejected another Scottish independence referendum, but large numbers of his modern Right-Wing voters support the Brexit-related concept of letting peoples have their independence, and also increasingly not giving a fuck about a “United Kingdom”. There have been gleeful arguments about how this would also permanently cripple Labour, but that’s probably a moot point now since they’re dead in Scotland anyway.

Now don’t misunderstand me: being of proud Scottish inheritance I’ve always wanted Scotland to tell the Sassenachs to shove it. But while I’ve no doubt that most Scots have the same desire, when they got their chance in 2014 they showed their true colours in being too gutless to cut the welfare strings. I’ll let young Renton explain the problem:

It’s shite being Scottish! We’re the lowest of the low. The scum of the fuckin’ Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some people hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonised by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonised by. We’re ruled by effete assholes. It’s a shite state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won’t make any fuckin’ difference!

Of course now they have a new potential sugar daddy whose largess will exceed whatever bribes Britain can offer.  Whether the EU will accept Scotland is another matter. Do they really want another future Greece, Spain and Italy on their hands? Conversely how soon will Britain tire of the SNP gouging more welfare out of them by threatening to leave before finally taking them at their word?

5) Wales will stay in the Union.

They’re more locked in physically and mentally than either NI or Scotland.
6) Corbyn is goneburger.
As well as some of his elderly, scummy Marxist mates.

 
7) A permanent shift in thinking for the Working Classes of Britain.
Although glimpses were seen when Thatcher enabled the great Middle Class home purchase thirty years ago, this latest shift has been more dramatic and has taken some time to occur, starting with Labour PM Gordon Brown’s comment a decade ago:

“That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous….. she was just a bigoted woman.”

That instinctive contempt has become the mainstream thinking of the British Labour Party. No Victorian snob ever expressed it better.  Labour sneered at their own voters support for Brexit, their cultural values and became more open than Gordo about calling them racist xenophobes over their concerns about the EU and mass immigration. This was often done by implication – as if anybody missed that “clever” snideness. Labour’s muddled thinking over a second referendum grew out of this basic contempt and trying to straddle its new and old friends.

Defeat has made no impact, as angry Corbynista Paul Mason explains: “…a victory of the old over the young, racists over people of colour, selfishness over the planet“.

I can’t see “Vote For Us, You Bigots” working any better for Labour in 2024.

CONS.
1) Boris could still stuff up Brexit.
There has already been criticism of his BRINO deal (BRexit In Name Only) so pressure may come early to toughen it up by dumping compromises that were made to the EU and to Tory Remainers back when Boris had no leverage over them. The real question is whether Boris wants to do the same or whether he just wants to get this behind him and say that Brexit is done? If the latter then Britain will find itself in a situation where its sovereignty amounts to little more than continuing to agree with EU regulations for reasons of trade, and that naturally leads to the following…

2) The Conservatives will embrace Big Government more than ever.
In pledging to throw huge amounts of cash at the NHS and “infrastructure” and god knows what else, Boris was cunningly pushing into the centre-ground of Labour leader Gordon Brown a decade ago, who made the same promises for the post-Blair age. But the flip-side will be the usual expansion of government that Right Wing parties around the world rail against but hardly ever do anything to even restrain.

And that’s just the spending. Is there any prospect that Boris’s government will roll back the incredible tide of regulations, only a portion of which can be blamed on the EU? Will there be a rollback of actions on “hate speech” and the increasingly creepy Orwellian approach of the British Police to such things. “Wokeness” is bullshit, many on the Left hate it as much as the Right do, and they especially hate it when it starts to involve police “interviews”, arrests and fines.

The Tories will do little to reverse any of this, mainly because much of it has happened on their ten year fucking watch in government.

3) Corbyn is dead. Long Live Corbynism.
The following Marxists will still be around at the top of the Labour Party: Seumas Milne, John McDonnell, Andrew Murray, Katy Clark, Anneliese Midgley, and Andrew Fisher. They and others like them are a very dedicated core of True Believers that now have control over a lot of the wheels and cogs of Labour and can use them to screw the moderates and keep control. It’s classic Leninist stuff on how to take over an existing body.

They also know this is the best chance they’ve had in decades, perhaps ever, to enact their dingbat policies and all it might take would be a recession to drop the Conservative vote, so they’re going to fight down to the last unbroken bone to keep control of Labour. Unlike Militant Tendency of the early 80’s Labour party these guys won’t be dislodged by a mere election defeat.

And backing them in the rest of the party are the thousands of activists of many Far Left stripes who joined for ₤3 and who think like this…

And nowadays they have the vote for any new leader. Unless that changes we’re just going to see Corbyn 2.0, but perhaps one who can better downplay all the hard stuff in public until they get their hands on power.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 16, 2019 at 11:30 pm

British Labour and the 2019 Election

Perhaps it’s too simplistic an analysis, but the 2019 British general election was basically the second Brexit referendum and the key difference between the two major parties was that the Conservatives figured that out while Labour did not.

Labour had a huge, cluttered manifesto and a wishy-washy stance on Brexit, all in complete contrast to the simple message of Boris and the Conservatives, on which they showed incredible message discipline and which cut through all other messages almost every day of the campaign: Let’s Get Brexit Done.

But Labour certainly had other big problems, and still does, starting with their Marxist leader – and his Marxist minions.

Got a face like a smacked arse now, haven’t ya, Corbyn?

….

Actually, judging by his speech on Thursday night, there’s no sign that Jeremy Corbyn feels any shame or embarrassment at all in having led the British Labour Party to its fourth loss, the second in a row under his leadership, and the worst result since 1935!

First let’s review the numbers:

So Boris actually did only a little better than May’s “failure” in 2017. But he wins a much bigger victory because of the huge drop in the Labour vote in their FPP system. It looks like about 1.5 million 2017 Labour voters went to the SNP and Lib Dems in 2019; more importantly another million just didn’t bother voting.

I’m Jo Swinson and you WILL vote “yes” for the EU

The SNP took full advantage and slaughtered Labour in Scotland, where the Tories had already been long dead.

But even with all those additional Labour votes the Lib Dems, a party that for almost forty years has aimed to supplant or equal Labour and the Conservatives, basically collapsed. As recently as 2010 they had 57 seats. Before this election they had 21. Now they have 11.

And their leader, Jo Swinson, who was yammering about the possibility that she could become Prime Minister, is no longer even an MP, having lost her seat. For “centrists” it’s a hard pill to swallow. If you’re a fringe party then maybe you’re the extremists.

Meanwhile Corbyn says he’s going to stick around as leader while the Labour Party does some big, internal review. Frankly I don’t know why they’d bother while Momentum – the Party-Within-The-Party – continues to hold such sway, together with those thousands of new “Labour” members who joined on the cheap and were allowed to vote Jeremy into the leadership position.

Those are structural things and unless they’re changed the British Labour Party will be treated the same way Lenin treated Russia in 1917, with a very small number of key people and activists driving the whole thing.

I don’t see much hope of change if the following comments are anything to go by, and although I’ve culled these from The Standard here in NZ (doing the work you don’t want to – ick), there’s no question they’re a perfect match for what’s being said in online forums today by their British comrades.

The tories will take this chance to blitzkrieg their economy just like the Rogergnomes did to ours in 1984-1988. Bye bye NHS and anything else of value not tied down.

The Conservatives were putting forward White Papers in 1944 for an NHS, and they’ve managed it for over forty years of its 71 years of existence. Even the dreaded Thatcher refused to touch it. But sure, Boris and company will flog it off.

To fully appreciate the scale of manipulation here, one has to appreciate why British Billionaires backed Brexit. The only real threat to the power of the 1% within Britain was EU regulation to force transparency and close tax havens….

Basically the whole of London’s financial class – “The City” as they say – opposed Brexit, as did any number of British billionaires. Are there no billionaires in the EU, or if there are, are they significantly hamstrung by the EU and don’t have tax havens? FFS, the ignorance on display here is stunning, as well as being yet another example of how the Left believe in the power of the regulating state and never question how wealthy people are the ones that capture such a state for their own ends – especially to get wealthier.

Brexit is a blindsiding of Westminster Democracy for a neoliberal plutocracy hell bent on taking power no matter what the price. Dark days are ahead for Britain under neoliberal Boris and Labour’s impending implosion into sectarian fighting will ensure two terms.

Don’t you worry my little Far Lefter: I’m sure many of those billionaires are on board for the fight against AGW – and the Tories will probably hand over the cash so they look like they’re doing something about it.

Dredging through all this you’d have to conclude that there are no problems with either the leadership of Corbyn and his Marxist aides, or with their fabulous policies, which we are assured “The People” love?

This calls for a Star Trek TNG double facepalm.

Then there were the organisational stuffups, which is what I expect from Marxists now, as identified by one pissed off Labour staffer:

Party staff were divided into two camps during this election. Those who had fought election campaigns before 2017, and repeatedly warned that the data pointed to massive losses, and those whose political education starts and ends with Corbyn, who believed blind faith and winning the Twitter war would see Jeremy propelled into Number 10.

Although I’ve long suspected that the managerial capabilities of Marxists have always been overblown, even during their revolutions. The success of Lenin and Mao is more a case of their opponents being even more useless, with any revolutionary management weak points papered over by the crude effects of using large-scale violence and terror. Without the latter all the centralised, bureaucratic bumble-fucking of later decades was simply the revealed truth. So goes Corbyn and company today.

There was an unprecedented mis-allocation of party resources. Activists were being bussed to no-hoper seats and concentrated in London until a fortnight ago. Staffers with no organisational experience, but the requisite ideological purity, were handed senior paid campaign roles. There was a total lack of control as Momentum directed their volunteers to seats where Momentum activists were standing.

You often read this about losing campaigns, along with blunt, over-stuffed manifestos. But that’s not the real long-term problem Labour faces even with their Brexit confusion no longer an issue.

Alan Johnson, former Labour Home Secretary and a man who lives in a Working Class place in Yorkshire, absolutely gets stuck in during ITV’s election night coverage, with one of the key leaders of Momentum sitting right beside him.

I’m afraid the Working Classes have always been a big disappointment to John and his cult.

Jeremy Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep. Everyone knew that he couldn’t lead the Working Class out of a paper bag.

Aiming to keep the purity. The cultural betrayal goes on. You’ll hear it now more and more in the next couple of days as they… this little cult… get their act together.

I want them out of the party. I want Momentum gone. Go back to your student politics.

Another commentator also gives a glimpse of this in looking at the seat of Bolsover, formed in 1950 and held ever since by Labour, with the current MP holding it since 1970. He was 87 years old and a ex-miner.

Dennis Skinner has been there forever, in an impregnable Labour fortress, and now he’s gone – like the mines, the jobs, and the hope. No point trying to sugar-coat this result, Labour heartlands that loathed Thatcher even when she won landslides, have gone to the Tories now. You can’t replace those with a handful of university towns.

Oh come now. He should be thanking Thatcher for closing all those coal mines and cutting CO2 emissions: she had a science degree, and saved Labour the trouble of destroying their lives later.


But I got more enjoyment from another similar “shock” Tory win.

Yes, “Gorgeous George” – a vile, evil little shit who paved the way years ago for the Far Left huggers of Western-hating forces to take over Labour – got 489 votes.

But then why vote for George when Labour now think the same way, but have a better shot at power?

West Bromwich East and Bolsover are just two examples of what happened to Labour seats everywhere – even those they won – as its ties with the Working Class were severed for the first time in decades, in some places in a century.

These and many other seats are examples of what has been happening in recent years as “the continental plates of Western democracies appear to be cracking and shifting“, with “The Toilers” increasingly turning away from their supposed defenders.

The same Labour staffer as before sums it up:

This election is a damning indictment that finally proves these despicable London-living politicos and pundits do not understand the working classes and never will, and what comes next is on them.

The Swing Vote: 2017 vs 2019

He could just as well be speaking of working class Americans in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania reacting to the East and West coast snots of the Democrat Party. And yet what is the response of the Corbynites?

The Brexit campaign used Boris and Farage as front people while exploiting Cambridge Analytica’s ability to target angry white working men who had been left behind by globalisation. Manipulating working class resentment into making a decision like Brexit to ensure the power of the 1% is as Machiavellian as it gets.

Cambridge Analytica? Man, that is so USA 2016. The curse word now should be those colonial upstarts Topham Guerin.

Were those white working men as easy to manipulate by Labour in the past? Is that why Labour won? Or were they perhaps voting with a combination of hope and to best serve their self-interest? And if they were voting for those reasons back then – with all that “Working Class Solidarity” being so much bunk – then why is that not an equally good explanation now?

But no! Now it’s a manipulation by dark, nefarious voices good at stirring up “discord” via Social Media. And lying. And racism. It has to be, right?

I so hope they keep thinking that way – and globally too.

UPDATE: From a commentator on this thread:

Written by Tom Hunter

December 14, 2019 at 9:27 pm

Here’s Why Boris Will Bolt In

One of the very best political adverts I’ve seen in a long, long time.

As The Veteran says, this is almost certainly the work of Topham Guerin  and here are two articles from David Farrar on the young men from NZ who are shaking things up in the political world.

First up is this Kiwiblog piece from April 24, 2019, that introduces them and gives their background. It starts with fearful rumours from The Grundian about the frightening new beast, as well as our local weepy, Russell Brown, writing in his usual passive-aggressive manner:

Topham and Guerin, both young men making their way in the booming industry of digital persuasion, may not feel that they’re doing anything wrong here; that it’s all in the game, that working on contract for Darth Vader is just a hell of a career opportunity. But the rest of us might feel that the material involvement of politically-connected New Zealanders in such a deceptive and deeply cynical covert politics project brings things a little too close for comfort.

The rest of us“? I always love that casual arrogance: speak for yourself pal.

Next up is the story around the Australian election, The Kiwi Connection:

A low-profile Kiwi digital and creative agency was in the thick of the ‘miracle’, come-from-behind campaign that saw Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Liberal Party re-elected. 

Topham Guerin, established just three years ago, helped the Liberals outgun Bill Shorten’s Labor campaign with high octane digital messaging, deploying videos and ads around the clock. 

Founder Sean Topham was based at the party’s national campaign centre in Brisbane with members of his Auckland staff and has been credited in Australian media reviews of the campaign with helping execute a digital campaign that swamped Labor.

Looks like they’re doing it again, this time in Britain. As one final example here’s something released by the Conservatives early in the campaign.

lo fi boriswave beats to relax / get brexit done to

Guido Fawkes explains what it’s about – for old farts 😁

‘Lo-fi Chill Beats Study Mix’ is a popular genre of long-form video on YouTube featuring relaxing trip-hop and hip-hop backing tracks that people often put on in the background to relax or study to. The genre has spun off popular parodies ranging from Waluigiwave to Moggwave.

And also makes this point:

The Tories’ digital gurus Topham & Guerin are making sure this election is nothing like 2017…

Written by adolffinkensen

December 9, 2019 at 11:55 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

Continental Drift and Its Victims

A few days ago, my fellow blogger, The Veteran, drew attention to protests on the West Coast against the Labour-Green-NZ First government in this piece: YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS ON TV:

The rally heard speakers from all sectors of West Coast industries; mining, farming, tourism, forestry, plus lines company Westpower and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.    They railed against the freshwater action plan, the ban on new mining on conservation land, the Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill, the rejection of windblown timber legislation, the canning of the proposed hydro dam on the Waitaha river all of which were seen as doing ‘irrevocable harm’ to the West Coast economy.

Ye Olde Classic Lefty, Chris Trotter, has now joined the fray in yet another of his almost endless paens to a lost world in The Message From Messenger Park:

It’s precisely this widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions to shut down whole industries are made, hands-on experience is not only rare – it’s despised. What do workers know about anything?

For a start, they know that human-beings have been changing nature for millions of years. From the moment some brave ancestor pulled a burning branch from the edge of a blazing forest, our species ceased to be just another mammal. From chipping flint to smelting steel, humanity’s relentless drive to innovate and alter has granted it, in the solemn language of Genesis: “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

You don’t truly understand this truth until, using your own strength and skill, and the strength and skill of your workmates, you collectively transform your world. And that sort of truth: the knowledge you gain down in a mine or felling a tree: you won’t find in a book anywhere.

Good solid Working Class stuff! Salt of the Earth. The sort of thing laughed at regularly by university graduates for decades now, whether they were Lefties in the Humanities Departments or Righties in Commerce and Management Studies.

But what really cracked me up was the following comment from one “Sanctuary“, familiar to most readers here for his always-angry rants on blogs like The Standard and Kiwiblog about the failures of the Left and the evils of the Right.

Wah wah wah, cry me a river. I am heartily sick and tired of the whining exceptionalism of coasters and farmers. Plenty of people work hard for sweet f**k all, try being an all night cleaner in Tamaki’s industrial sprawl.

The world is changing. Coasters seem to think they have a right to do what they want because, reasons. Nobody forces them to live in that rainy and dreary place. Yes, their way of life is out of date. So stop whinging that the rest of us have some sort of obligation to support a dying way of life, like some sort of giant outdoor paean to the 20th century and accept it.

I had a bit of deja vu as I read that, for it could have come from the pen of any Rogergnome in the 1980’s that one cares to name as they wrote about the dead and dying world of the Polish Shipyard that was the NZ government-economy.

So much for all the criticism heaped on the “Labour Party Traitors” and the Right for crushing and destroying the outdated world of Sanctuary and his friends.

Turns out that his only real objection was being the target. It’s rather like his Leninist forebears in 1900’s Russia whining about the cruelties of the Okhrana, the Czar’s secret police – only to set up a vastly more evil secret police, the Cheka, as soon as they got hold of the levers of power.

Similarly, now that the boot is on Sanctuary’s leafy suburban foot it’s time for that boot to stamp on the faces of the Coasters – forever.

It also reminded me of a present-day argument presented in this article written in March 2016:

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too.

The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

That’s hardline Rightie, Kevin Williamson, writing in the classic Right-Wing magazine, National Review.

It could be Sanctuary writing about the West Coast of NZ.

Incidently the title of that NR article is The Father-Führer, where Williamson raged against the populism of Trump as he appealed to save these American places that can’t be saved.

Perhaps like the 1980’s we are about to see a new “Rightish” realignment within the Labour Party between the likes of the Sanctuary’s and the Williamson’s, as we’ve seen between elements of the “new” Democrats and WTO Republicans in the US.

By the same token, in the USA we’ve seen a “Leftish” realignment with Working Class Democrats voting for the GOP – well, specifically for Trump in 2016, much to Williamson’s disgust. Or the “strange” realignment that seems to be taking place in Britain since at least the Brexit referendum, where a polling trend shows the Working Class increasingly supporting the Tories.

The continental plates of Western democracies appear to be cracking and shifting. In the case of the West Coast I doubt that voting National will change anything for the Coasters, given that National are equally in thrall to the urban voters who know little of the provincial-rural world and care even less.

Still, Sanctuary’s words, coming as they do from a hard-core Labour Party man, should be sent to every West Coaster along with the message:

This Is What You’re Voting For.

Oh to be a Gay Englishmen in America

Andrew Sullivan is one of the few gadflys of US political commentary. An eager immigrant to the USA from Britain in the 1980’s he gloried in what he felt was a better gay scene in the US, despite the supposedly worse homophobia of the general population.

He has always incorporated a number of conflicting aspects. A longtime passionate advocate of gay marriage, he’s also a serious practicing Roman Catholic. HIV-positive, he once advertised for anal sex with other HIV-positive men, getting a lot of criticism from the gay community. He supported the Iraq War and George Bush in the aftermath of 9/11 and strongly argued against Islamic cultures that persecute gays. But then he shifted away from the GOP and supported Obama in 2008 and 2012. And there’s a lot more like that.

Still, such characters are interesting precisely because they can’t be pigeonholed. Sullivan has recently entered the fray around transgender issues and to say the least, as a gay man he’s not happy with the recent bolshiness of the trans community.

So his recent take on comparing Boris Johnson and Donald Trump is worth reading in The Difference Between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

First up, he deals with Brexit:

It’s clear to me now — as it should be to any dispassionate observer — that the pro-Remain parliamentary and media elites in all parties have never had any intention of honoring the result of the 2016 referendum. And they still don’t. They are sabotaging that democratic decision simply because they did not like the result, and they’re too chicken to take that case to the polls. So they’re keeping this zombie minority government in power, while preventing it from achieving its primary goal indefinitely. For all this, in my view, they deserve nothing but contempt.

But the following passage is an example of Sullivan’s ability to see both sides of an issue as he reveals how strongly he supports the idea of Britain being an EU member – recalling wearing a “Britain in Europe” button to school during the original 1975 referendum – and describes the economic damage he thinks leaving will cause, and that he would vote Remain again if given the choice.

But, call me crazy, I also believe in abiding by the result of legitimate national, democratic votes. Upholding that principle, even when it goes against our own strong wishes and personal vote, is foundational to liberal democracy. And retroactively nullifying by waiting out a referendum result solely because you lost is unacceptable, period. Consistently bullshitting about your own motives thereafter is contemptible. Preventing a new election in order to keep a zombie government in power, even when it is begging to be put out of its misery, is unprecedented.

Yes, I’ve become radicalized. But anyone who believes in democracy or national sovereignty should be radicalizing every day this anti-democratic stonewalling farce continues.

It would be great if more Remainers were equally honest and decent about this process rather than screwing democratic results while at the same gaslighting people about how the EU and British Remainers are supporting democracy.

He then goes on to write about another political shitstorm, the one across the Atlantic in his adopted nation; Trump and Impeachment.

But while both stories provide a pretty good analysis, it’s marred by two things.
First, Sullivan fails to make the connection between an elite in Britain and Europe that has refused to accept the 2016 referendum Brexit result in Britain – and the same sort of trans-Atlantic elites in the US who have simply refused to accept that Trump won the 2016 Presidential election. The “throw-sand-in-the-gears” approach of the vote losers is also the same in both cases, but Sullivan simply ignores that in the case of the USA.
Second, Sullivan has a history of getting unhinged about “oik” candidates. He really came unglued about the last one who was a precursor  to Trump – Sarah Palin. For months he banged on about how her baby, Trig, was actually her daughter’s. It was a different kind of “birther” conspiracy and he got labelled, “The Trig Truther”.
I can’t recall any gay man ever being so obsessed with one woman’s vagina!
Finally, there is Sullivan as an example of where politics can lead the human soul. He provides a synopsis of each Democrat candidate, which Kiwiblog boiled down further:
  • Joe Biden: confused, addled, over-briefed, and clearly past his expiration date as a politician.
  • Bernie Sanders: appealing to millennial Marxists who have no memory of the 1970s.
  • Elizabeth Warren: unelectable by pledging to rip everyone off their current private health insurance. A supercilious, smug, know-it-all Massachusetts liberal who reveals contempt for the deplorables.
  • Cory Booker: On paper, he’s perfect. In reality, he comes off as an earnest cyborg from outer space.
  • Kamala Harris:  a feckless, authoritarian, lying opportunist who treats the Constitution as cavalierly as Trump, but without his excuse of total ignorance.
  • Tulsi Gabbard: despised by too many Dems to have a hope.
  • Amy Klobuchar: a ball of nerves and insecurity who seems to shrink upon exposure.
  • Beto O’Rourke: a woke, moronic bigot, who believes we live in a white-supremacist country….Of all the candidates, he’s the only one I actively loathe.
  • Julian Castro: an open-borders globalist panderer dedicated to the vital cause of free abortions for transgender male illegal immigrants.
Ok. So it’s a hopeless field of candidates, but then we get this:

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll vote for anyone, including Warren or Sanders or even the vacuous “Beto” to defeat Trump. We proud human scum will not be distracted from the central task at hand.

Wait! Only “Vacuous”?  No, no, no.
You, Mr Sullivan, said that “Beto” was “a woke, moronic bigot” that you “actively loathe”. But you would still vote for such a person if the alternative is Trump, who is presumably an unwoke, moronic bigot that you actively loathe? And here I thought you hated all the woke bullshit?
Not to mention the implication that you would vote for Harris, a person you describe as knowingly treating the Constitution “cavalierly”. Surely such a person is more dangerous – especially when she’s also a “feckless, authoritarian” – than one who acts out of ignorance? She certainly was to Californians she prosecuted.
The whole concept of, vote-for-the-candidate-who-will-push-your-central-political-idea-irrespective-of-anything-else, remains intact, if unmentioned.
Which is worth remembering the next time you’re confronted by some yowling, screaming ethical and moral void trying to pull the usual game of moral and ethical one-upmanship by telling you that you can’t possibly vote for a given candidate because “they’re the worst person ever (sob)”.
As in much of life the answer is, “sez you”.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm