Tuesday, 27 June 2017


The DUP and the Tories: What's the Big Deal?

So, Theresa has her deal and predictably people are complaining. Yet it's not really easy to see why. It seems to amount to a surprise that in politics votes mean deals being done and that this usually means that money is spent. Given that many of those complaining would have had no difficulties whatever with the various money splurges of Chauncey's Labour Party, including a wholly unnecessary commitment to give free tuition fees to students and cancel their debts, a naked bribe with our money to get the great unwashed to come out and vote, then what is the problem?

Or there's the SNP. If they had been in a position to do a deal with Labour then would they have done so for free? What price would they have extracted for their support do we imagine? Not that Scotland is in any position to complain when it comes to money even without this. Scotland does very nicely out of the Barnett Formula as it is. Their inability on this occasion to extract anything further hardly makes them paupers as a consequence.

During the 2010 to 2015 parliament, as I recall, the Lib Dems managed to prise very many concessions out of David Cameron in return for their support including Nick Clegg's ridiculous free school meals policy with which we are all saddled now for all eternity because once it is given it can never be taken away. They forced a referendum on the country that it didn't want but happily gave up their commitment on tuition fees as part of the quid pro quo. That said all you needed to know about Lib Dem policies. The rest is history.

The irony is that had Theresa May not abandoned the triple lock on pensions and not promised to means test winter fuel allowances she might not have needed the DUP's help at all. Instead she has had to have imposed on her what she should probably never had abandoned in the first place, however sensible it might have been economically and fiscally. If only the unionists could have insisted on her abandoning the 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid policy we could all rejoice.

It goes without saying of course that, though Labour are critical of this deal, they tried to have a similar one in both 2010 when Gordon Brown was trying to cling on and again as we approached the election in 2015 under Wallace. Had Brown managed to cobble together a coalition or some kind of confidence and supply deal he would have had to do a deal with more than one party so he was perfectly prepared to spend our money keeping himself in power. And the same would be true now under Chauncey. He is under the impression that he will be PM in six months time - he informed someone at Glastonbury of this over the weekend. The only way that that will happen is to do a deal. That would mean doing deals with the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, the Lib Dems and the DUP. How much of our money is he prepared to spend to do that? Or would he accomplish it all by taxing the rich and confiscating their empty homes? Even for Chauncey's Labour, the hypocrisy of criticising this deal is startling.

Anyway, the deal has been done and now we have a government that looks, dare I say, reasonably strong and stable for the first time in a couple of weeks. Now is the time to get on with some governing. Maybe the DUP might force the Conservatives to actually behave like Conservatives and stop apologising for their principles. That would be welcome. Chauncey told people at Glastonbury that he expects to be PM inside 6 months. Presumably he did so having inhaled some of the sweet aromas that waft around Worthy Farm at this time of year. This deal means that that is not going to happen any time soon. As the past few weeks have shown, a lot can change in politics very very quickly. And so this deal is well worth the money offered up to the DUP. Money spent on Northern Ireland's infrastructure rather than on Labour's gerrymandering is money very well spent.

What Infidelity Means

Why Fans Love Benedict Cumberbatch

7 Movies You Thought Were Massive Flops (But Really Weren't)

Monday, 26 June 2017


Glasto Chauncey: How Long Til Millennials See the Light?

I think the most depressing feature of the current hero worship of Chauncey amongst a certain section of our more intellectually challenged countrymen and women is that we all know damned well that in a few years time, when it has all gone disastrously wrong, they will all deny having ever cheered his name, chanted it, written placards about it, tweeted it, liked it on Facebook or got the gurning supply teacher who looks a bit like him and dresses a hell of a lot like him to pose for a selfie. Voted for him?  Gosh no. I always thought he was a wrong un.

I suppose we can content ourselves with this thought but you do have to worry don't you. Even if the Tories bring back a deal that gets the EU to pay us to leave whilst handing us the German car industry   and forces the French to give us the Gallic shrug in addition to our fish back there will still be people who find fault, not least the Labour leader who would claim that by speaking softly to people he could have instituted world peace at the same time. We have to worry though because the plan was that we would have a couple of years after the deal was done and it had been forced through parliament before we had to have another election. Now there is a good chance that we will have one either when all is going disastrously wrong or just when the inevitable compromises are being made. Result? Nobody will be happy, everyone will complain, everyone will claim that they could have done better and everyone will blame the Tories for saddling us with Brexit in the first place, history having been rewritten just sufficiently in the meantime. After all if we can convince ourselves that the Tories are responsible for a fire in a tower block and that it is their fault that many of those who were living there illicitly will never be identified then we can presumably blame them for Brexit very easily.

Perhaps the millennials who are now singing Chauncey's name at Glastonbury ought to remind themselves of a piece of recent history that is unrelated to his fondness for terrorism, left wing fascism, the Soviet Union and union militancy. Perhaps we should remind them that the man now being lauded for the brilliance of his electoral campaign in which he strode around the country with much energy, stood in great contrast to his performance during the referendum campaign. Where was his energy? Where was his fiery rhetoric? Where were his principles? Had the Labour vote held even slightly to the Labour line ostensibly in favour of remain and history would have been very very different.

But this should cheer us up. Yes the world has very clearly gone mad in recent months but this madness cannot last. Even if this current reverence for all things Chauncey, this cult surrounding a man who cannot dress properly and who looks like Steptoe and whose political opinions would make a beauty queen blush with shame seems baffling we can at least now understand how apparently sane countries can get swept along by populists. We have always assumed that such things could never happen in Britain, now we know that we are not immune. A man who was a national joke only months ago is now having his name chanted at a pop concert. How did that happen? I don't think any of us really know, least of all the man himself.

This is a 69 year old career politician whose career has been a failure, who only got his present position by mistake and who never dreamt that he would ever do so well at the general election. He is only still in position because he ignored the opinions of his own MPs. Oh and he lost the election. The last 2 leaders of his party to do that resigned the next day.

Now? Not only is he firmly entrenched in power, he is intent on forcing out his critics and centrist enemies. Yet he presents himself as the voice of reason, of compromise, of peace and loveliness.

I know none of this sounds very cheering, but it is. Because the left are ultimately extremely unpleasant people who imagine themselves morally superior. This means that they will go too far. They always do as a consequence of that very special sanctimony unique to them. They will be exposed and those currently enamoured by them will be disgusted and discomfited. Had the Tories been even slightly competent that would have happened at the election. Now, like a really scary movie with a most improbable storyline, we have reached the third act, the point when everything goes bad and all looks hopeless and lost and the villain is seen by everyone as the hero before his true colours are revealed just in time. All the Tories need to do to achieve this is have a hero emerge to rescue us all. No pressure.

Women : Know Your Limits!

Global Warming: Yes, Prime Minister!

At last satirising the global warming gravy train and fake science.

6 Worst British Rulers

10 Perfect Movies With One Glaring Flaw

Sunday, 25 June 2017


The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 12 - Don't Mess With Moses on Pain of Leprosy

God and Moses are the best of pals. We know this because they spent so much time talking to one another on Mount Sinai. So you don't go dissing Moses. If God finds out, which of course he will because he is God, then you're in trouble. Even if you're Moses' brother.

The tribe of Israel was on the move. They were moving through the desert and making camp in various places throughout it.

Now I may have forgotten to mention previously that Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. In my defence the reason I forgot to mention this was because the Bible forgot to mention this. It tells us thus:

'because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.'

Now they tell us.

Anyway, for some reason this prompted some resentment in Aaron and his wife and they talked about it angrily. But God heard all about this. It's odd how sometimes God hears things and sometimes he doesn't isn't it. It's almost as if they make it all up to suit the story.

Anyway, God called Aaron and his wife to see him in the Tabernacle where he spoke to them from behind a big pillar of cloud. If only they did weather forecasts like that.

God told the two of them that Moses was his pal and that, though he was speaking to them from behind this big cloud, - it's not mentioned whether or not they had umbrellas - when he spoke to Moses he did so face to face. No clouds or speaking through visions or dreams for his mate Moses. In other words Moses was the main man, second only to God and God had his back. So why were they talking badly about him? Aaron and Miriam, his wife, were sent on their way but Miriam was afflicted with leprosy as punishment.

Why though wasn't Aaron punished? He was the chief priest. His sons had been killed by God for not getting things right in the Tabernacle, not wearing the right clothes in the right order or treading on the cracks in the pavement or some stupid reason. Aaron had been rude about God's best friend and his own brother and he was let off and his wife was punished. More casual misogyny there from the Bible and from God.

Aaron went to Moses to plead for Miriam and so Moses, humble chap that he was, went to plead with God for her salvation and cure. Don't worry, said God, just chuck her out of the camp as per my standing instructions about lepers and she will miraculously get better without antibiotics and you can let her back in again. So that's what they did. Fortunately they didn't move the camp during her isolation. They waited for her to stop being scabby. All in all she got off more lightly than her sons did. But not as lightly as her husband.

But the bigger question is, why have we only just been told about Moses getting married? It's like they make this stuff up as they go along isn't it.

Top 10 Live TV Moments

Twitter Rips Trump Over Comey Tapes

What if Trump Actually Fires Mueller?

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Friday, 23 June 2017


Democracy: The Least Worst System

Sometimes you have to wonder about democracy don't you, or remember what Churchill said about it being the least worst system. Then again we are some way off from the next election, even in the unlikely event that Theresa May fails to do a deal with the DUP and they cut their noses off to spite their faces.

A poll out today says that Chauncey is now seen by a majority as the better prime minister over Theresa May. This seems to be based largely on the fact he is better at talking to grieving members of the public and dispenses hugs. These are clearly great attributes if you are a PM. Maybe he could try it on Angela Merkel. Or Donald Trump. It's almost worth voting for him just to see that.

Theresa May has not had a good couple of weeks of course, but she is by no means suddenly lacking in capability as prime minister. She is just not the colossus of competence and sure footedness we had formerly assumed.

Chauncey on the other hand remains the confused half wit those of us who pay attention have always known. Only 3 weeks ago his MPs considered him a deranged liability. Then they abandoned principle and decided he is a genius, having lost the election, but by a margin that looked respectable.   His various solutions to the country's ills remain dangerous and illiterate. He would create a defence and security crisis and bankrupt us. Most of the country saw this at the election. The others just saw the free cash he was promising and voted accordingly.

Now a few more have decided he is their kind of guy because of the hugs. Like I say, sometimes you have to wonder about the great British public and start casting your eye about for property abroad. But this should be concentrating minds in the Conservative Party. Mrs May needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. The smart money now seems to be moving in the direction of David Davis. He would be a good choice, indeed I was disappointed when David Cameron beat him to the leadership. If a coronation could be arranged then it should be done with despatch. Either way when Chauncey is regarded by a cretinous section of the country as the better prime minister then something needs to be done.  Do the Tories have a hugger?

Is the EU Capable of Making A Reciprocal Offer to Britain After Theresa May's Unilateral One?

The Brexit talks are underway and the French are being as French as they always are, which is to say arrogant, superior and treacherous. They are couching it in reasonable language of course but President Macron's talk of the door always being open to us to rejoin is actually just intended to divide and rule us. It may succeed.

Even those of us who are are and remain ardent leavers have had occasional bouts of remorse or at least of doubt these last 12 months since the referendum. And this has only been made worse since the election result. The remainers, who had been seen off, are now fired up again and promising all kinds of trouble for the government as it seeks to navigate its way through the negotiations and to get it all through parliament without a majority. Both main parties promised Brexit, but Labour has no idea what it stands for since it cannot agree. The Tories are similarly divided and arguing for different versions of Brexit. Add to this the fact that we are probably going to change prime minister some time in the next few weeks or months and we are entering treacherous waters.

Of course if the EU was really serious about wanting to keep us and our 12% of the annual budget in the EU then they would make us a decent offer to keep us in. But that would undermine their precious project. And so we have to play this silly game of demanding a huge divorce settlement and of telling us we are in a different universe during preliminary talks. Yesterday the PM went to Brussels and made a generous offer to give EU citizens in the UK the right to remain here with full rights as UK citizens after Brexit whilst rightly rejecting their more outlandish demands over timing and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Can the EU reciprocate? Can it negotiate in the same spirit? If it wants us to stay then it should make an offer in that kind of vein.

This blog always argued that if the EU had made us a decent offer when it was talking to David Cameron then I could have been won around to staying in the EU. They didn't. I doubt that they are capable of such magnanimity because they are always looking to preserve their union and to forge it ever closer. That is what Britain rejected. It is why, though the Government will have difficulties, we are unlikely to be made a decent enough offer to ever tempt enough of us to want to stay in on the old terms. Different terms? Probably. But they won't be forthcoming.

Comey's Plan Worked

How to Narrate Your Life Story

How to Speak British

How Time Becomes Space Inside a Black Hole

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Rage? Not in this Lovely Weather Thanks

Do you get the impression that the election result has gone to Labour's heads a bit? During the election campaign they were on their best behaviour with Chauncey forever denying his worst excesses or unpleasant past. Now you get the impression that he believes his own publicity and he just wants to let himself be himself. They really do believe that they are on the cusp of a great revolution that will sweep the Tories from power and him to Downing Street. All he needs is another big news item to allow him to hug some unsuspecting member of the public and he will be carried aloft into Downing Street. He might even be able to crowdsurf there. In the meantime he doesn't have to bow to the Queen or pretend to engage in conversation with the PM as they walk to the Lords. It's almost a surprise he didn't stay in the Commons with his friend Dennis and ask him to become his new gag writer.

And Labour's over confidence has betrayed itself as they call on illegality or at least the confiscation of property for the sin of being in possession of a level of wealth they find unconscionable. How dare you own a flat you don't live in all the time? Confiscate it. They have also called for huge marches through London including yesterday's day of rage. Hilariously 300 people turned out for this day of rage. It was a day of we would be enraged were the weather not so lovely. That's probably why the Russians had their revolution in October. There is supposed to be a million person march in a couple of weeks time called on by John McDonnell the well known democrat. Perhaps they had best postpone it until the autumn.

Labour are wholly misinterpreting the current mood in Britain. Just because the country became less enamoured of Theresa May and because a certain bovine constituency became more amenable to being bribed by Chauncey and co does not mean that the workers are at last ready to bring revolution to our streets. People are probably fed up of austerity. I accept that. But it does rather presuppose that those of us who have been advocating it have done so because we are economic sado-masochists bent on budget surpluses to give us our kicks.

And ultimately, as we have to keep pointing out, though Labour did indeed do well in the election, the Tories did better. Quite a lot better. It's just that we Tories are not known for our marches. But then, as we saw yesterday, those bloody students may have turned out to vote this time, but they really can't be relied upon to get off their arses twice in a month. Given that they demonstrably have very short memories and clearly weren't paying attention in modern history lessons, it's not at all clear they will be arsed to turn out and vote again at the next election either.

So, Does Trump Have Tapes of Comey?

The Truth About Stonehenge

Sean Spicer is Irreplaceable (Because No One Wants His Job)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Cable for Leader? What's the Point?

What is the point of the Lib Dems? That seems to have been the question the British electorate asked over the election campaign and, presumably, could think of no reasonable response. It wasn't just that Tim Farron was and is about as effective a politician as a jelly blancmange - I doubt most people cared about his views on homosexuality. It was that the Lib Dems have reminded the country of how utterly pointless they are. They told us that they would not enter into coalition with any other party, come to no kind of electoral arrangement. So why bother? Why bother being a party that doesn't aspire to actually governing? Why bother voting for a party and taking seriously its manifesto when they stand no chance of implementing even part of it?

And now they are going through the motions of a leadership election. Chances are that they will end up being led by Vince Cable, a man whose reputation seems to hinge upon him having once said something quite witty about Gordon Brown at PMQs. Oh and he also claims to have predicted the financial crisis of 2008. He didn't.

Now Cable wants to lead his party but only for a couple of years after which he will hand over to Jo Swinson. He has the experience and that is what the party needs apparently. But why? Why does his experience leading a pointless party with very few MPs and zero chance of exercising power make any more sense than merely giving the job to Ms Swinson in the first place? Wouldn't she be just as likely to be as good if not better than a more experienced man, especially given that the Lib Dems have no intention of getting anywhere near power anyway?

The Lib Dems are confused about what democracy means, which is odd given that the word is included in their title. The age old complaint of the third party that the electoral system works against them is rendered moot given that they have no intention of ever using their influence again anyway. We have a hung parliament.  We have a nasty extremist Labour Party bent on violent revolution. We have a Conservative Party on the verge of a nervous breakdown or civil war and possibly both. Yet the Lib Dems don't want to use their 12 MPs to influence the direction of the country for fear of being tainted?

There is a reason that Lib Dems are loathed by the other parties and this is it. They are a party that seeks election for election's sake, that says whatever suits it according to circumstance and poses as principled and righteous but whose very raison d'ĂȘtre is compromise and selling out those principles. The Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor democratic. They serve no purpose. Do people grow up aching to be Liberal Democrat MPs? To what end?

Vince Cable may well end up being his party's next leader if only because the other options are so desperate. But what is the point of him and his party? Their brief period in coalition answered that question. Now they pose as the party opposed to Brexit. Yet they would refuse to any kind of electoral deal to try and influence it. Why? Self preservation. Neither liberal nor democratic is it.

17 British Accents

Gay Hunting with Grindr

Is Andi Osho really in need of date? What is up with that? She's gorgeous! Give me a call.

Jimmy's Unnecessary Joke

Sean Spicer Fired?

The Seven Deadly Sins

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


Islamophobia: A Word Created by Fascists and Used by Cowards to Manipulate Morons.

I must confess myself mystified by some of the reporting and garment rending with regard to the Finsbury Park mosque attack on Sunday night. This had nothing to do with Islam, of course it didn't. But neither did it have anything to do with the far right. It wasn't really terrorism either. It was one damaged and pathetic man who became angry and bitter and decided, apropos of recent events, to take his anger out on Muslims. He could just as easily have taken it out on another group that might have attracted his ire. If someone had spilt his pint whilst wearing a Chelsea shirt he would probably have headed down the Kings Road.

Of course the politicians rushed to the scene to dole out their usual bromides and platitudes, including a lachrymose Chauncey desperate for someone to hug and the chance to emote some more. How he is enjoying the opportunity to engage in his touchy feely brand of asinine gesture politics. What a pity that he has no answers other than looking tearful and threatening land grabs. It's very noticeable that he went straight to this scene within hours to dish out his honest straightforward bollocks, but just talked in generalities about the other attacks without bothering to go and see them.

The reaction to this latest attack was ridiculously over the top. I suppose it was felt they had to react to this attack the same way as we all reacted to the attacks in Manchester and the 2 in London. Equality of grieving and outrage was strictly enforced.

But it is not really clear that this was an act of terrorism at all. This was a spur of the moment attack by a loser who imagined he was getting vengeance. In reality he was just using it as an excuse. Of course the same was true of the losers who perpetrated the other attacks too. But they had made their intent clear prior to their attacks and indeed had done considerable planning. They had been radicalised and had become extremists. He was just a drunk whose life had gone wrong. This is not to diminish what he did or at least what he tried to do.

Muslims have been expressing fear about how they can go on worshipping and going to their mosques in the light of this and other hate crimes. Well you go on the same way that everyone goes on. You don't let them win. You go on because to do otherwise is to let them win. You go on because there are more of us than them and life goes on. Keep calm and carry on. Here is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that this was an attack on freedom, freedom to observe a religion in this case as opposed to freedom to go out and have a drink or freedom to walk along a bridge, or freedom to attend a pop concert. Freedom comes in many forms. That's why it's called freedom.

And this was not Islamophobia. It was a hatred of Muslims. The two are not the same. Islam is a religion. It is an idea. It happens to be an idea with which I have a number of problems in addition to my problems with other major religions from which Islam is an offshoot and a rather poor imitation. But they are ultimately as bad as each other, albeit only one is currently inspiring credulous people to commit brutal and atavistic murder. I am very anti Islam. I am not anti Muslim. There is a distinction here that needs to be made.

Muslims are not a race. They are people who follow a religion, albeit in very different ways. It is a form of fascism to try and invent something called Islamophobia. This was not a crime of Islamophobia, it was a hate crime against Muslims, all Muslims regardless of what they believe and how fervently they do so. The unthinking cretins who label this Islamophobia undermine our freedom. They may not do so in a murderous way, but it is just as dangerous. Freedom is about being able to criticise and to debate. And yes that means religions too. Labelling things as Islamophobic is the same as trying to shut down criticism, in much the same way that other religions have tried to do throughout our history. We gained the right to be critical of those religions, to do so openly and then to stop believing in them at all. The same is urgently necessary for Islam.

Brian Cant

Let us pause for a moment to remember my childhood. Actually the childhood of millions. If, like me, you grew up in the 60s and 70s you will remember fondly Brian Cant who has died at the age of

Brian found fame originally on Playschool and then on PlayAway, a show for slightly older kids and their parents who liked corny jokes.

He will probably be most fondly remembered however for narrating Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley, oft repeated animated programmes centred around their eponymous towns and villages and most famous for the fire station manned by Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub or for the windmill run by Windy Miller.

Cant was hugely popular, in part because he was working at a time when children's TV was dominated by the BBC and ITV when we only had 3 channels to choose from. A survey ten years ago revealed that he was the most popular kids tv presenter of all time, a revelation he was typically bemused and modest about.

It was a simpler time of course and the programmes seem very unsophisticated by modern standards. But perhaps that is why they live on in our affections so long after we all grew up. Kids nowadays don't know what they are missing. And we will all miss Brian Cant.

Trump Appears to be Self-Destructing

Britain's Scariest Mythical Creatures

Things It's Best to Say in Latin

Monday, 19 June 2017


Theresa May Must Go

This cannot go on. Fairly or unfairly - it is a mixture of both but with the former in the clear majority - Theresa May is now seen as toxic: uncaring, unbending, formal and stiff. Her response to the Grenfell inferno has been correct in purely administrative terms but the optics and politics of it have been disastrous.

Chauncey is good at this kind of thing and it showed. His policy ideas were idiotic, juvenile and plain nasty as ever. But it didn't matter. He turned up and he listened and he showed he cared. Theresa May announced money and a full independent, judge-led inquiry. It was all that she could really do. But the fact that she once again opted not to speak to the public, to face their anger, to listen meant that none of this mattered.

The great irony of this is that the woman who once labelled her party the nasty party has now become the embodiment of that. As a consequence, even if she is not doing so already, she should consider her position. She should go into Downing Street, behind that lectern she likes so much, and announce that she is standing down. She should say this to her colleagues first of course in the hope that they will find some way of uniting behind a new leader without the need for a leadership election. The Conservative Party needs to step up and govern. It has a lot to do and it is not doing any of it well.

Theresa May has been found out. She is simply not up to the job. She was perfectly good at running a ministry in which being tough and uncompromising was an advantage. In that job she could hide away and do what she was good at without anyone noticing. You cannot do that as party leader and prime minister and yet that is exactly what she is trying to do. She looks out of her depth. She looks lost. She looks overwhelmed. Someone needs to have a quiet word with her and tell her to quit for her sake, for the Conservative Party's sake and for the sake of the country.

Unless they get a grip (as Boris accused others of lacking) the Conservative Party is in danger of handing the next election to Labour under a left wing extremist bent on class war and property appropriation. This is like 1992 all over again. The Grenfell disaster is a different kind of disaster to Britain's falling out of the ERM, but it has the potential to have the same impact on public opinion. The only remedy is for the party to get a grip and to install in Number 10 someone who is capable of doing all of the job and not just the part with which she is comfortable.

It's worse than that though because this government is rudderless. Theresa May was kept in office precisely because it was felt that it was best to have someone in office during this period of huge upheaval and existential debates and negotiations. Yet her powerlessness means that a vacuum has been created. The Cabinet itself is arguing and briefing against one another. Number 10 is doing nothing about it because it is in no position to do so. And this is only going to get worse. The Government is at the mercy of events. It goes into EU negotiations having conceded the whip hand to the Commission. We are going to get a catastrophically bad deal and the Tories will be blamed for it unless someone takes over and runs the show.

I backed Theresa May to become Prime Minister. I was wrong. She is not up to the job. She is a good and moral person, who cares about her party and her country. I don't doubt for a moment that she has been as moved by the events of Grenfell as the rest of us. But she had the kind of old fashioned British upbringing in which showing your emotions is not exactly frowned upon but regarded as weak. She is crippled by a social awkwardness and lack of personal confidence. She is incapable of being extemporaneous, of dealing with anything that isn't pre-scripted. She likes to take her time, consider matters fully and deeply, which is admirable but not always practical for a party leader and PM. She is not capable of connecting with people, of being witty and charming, of getting people to like her. This is not her fault. But you do have to wonder why someone with this inability to talk to real people who might ask awkward questions or be angry with her imagined she could be a successful leader of her party.

Mrs May should be honest with herself and with the country and admit this, perhaps not in so many words (she is incapable of this anyway) but it needs to be done. Something along the lines of: 'It has become clear to me that my continued presence in this job is impeding good government rather than facilitating it. I am therefore announcing my intention to step down.'

The Cabinet should then announce that it is uniting around Boris as the next PM and invite the parliamentary party to back them. That is the only way of rescuing this situation before it is too late. If absolutely necessary then we will have to have a leadership election, but it should start immediately and should be truncated as much as possible and concluded over the summer.

There were good arguments for keeping Theresa May in power for a while to get on with governing and dealing with the many plates she needs to keep spinning. But spinning is the very thing she has proven to be so disastrously bad at. Theresa May has to go and go now.

The Real Sherlock Holmes

Andrew Flintoff: The Best Over Ever

Brian Clough vs Don Revie

Sunday, 18 June 2017


The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 11 - God Punishes the Whingers

So all has been going really well now for a while hasn't it. God has been making a series of rules and regulations and lots of highly unreasonable demands of his chosen people and thus far, since the unfortunate incident with the golden calf in Exodus, things have been going very well. Unfortunately things are about to go pear-shaped as God has a temper tantrum.

So the long journey was underway as God led, by means of a big cloud, his people to the promised land. But immediately they started to complain about everything, the conditions, the food, the having to carry his big silly tent and commandments around with them. God thus lost his temper and set fire to them. Yep, God is a pyromaniac.

Fortunately there was quite a lot of them and perhaps God ran out of matches, but anyway some of them went to Moses and implored him to help and he beseeched God to put out the fire. So he did. Anything for his pal Moses.

But even after this warning the people kept on complaining. You have to say don't you that these Israelites either weren't very bright or God wasn't very bright for choosing them. Because they kept on complaining about their plight. Why had they left nice cosy Egypt for this life of misery, they said. Actually you have to say they had a point.

They complained about the lack of food. I say again the lack of food. We have just had chapter after tedious chapter of Leviticus telling us in great detail about all of the animal sacrifices that God demanded and yet now they complain about lack of food. Had God and his priests eaten all of the animals, although you have to wonder what the animals were being fed on out there in the desert.

Moses heard them complaining and then he himself went to God to complain about them. No, really. Why did you send me to free this bunch of ingrates he asked. Just kill me now, I've had enough. I can't lead them anymore.

So God decided to give Moses some help. Note that,  for now, Moses brother is completely forgotten about. It's almost as if he was inserted later when the story demanded a priestly ancestor.

God told Moses to gather up all of the elders so that he could delegate to them his duties and so that they could deal with the whinging and the complaining. They were to be the world's first middle managers.

God was really angry by now. He would give them meat, he said. They would have so much meat that they would be sick of meat. Moses asked how God would accomplish this out in the desert. God told him that he was God. He can do anything, although not choose a better chosen people apparently, or indeed get them to their promised land quicker to stop them complaining, which would surely have been the better and more expedient option.

And so God told Moses and through Moses the elders what would happen. They prophesied a great meat mountain heading their way. And it came true. Millions of quails descended upon them, tons of them. So many of them that they were piled up on the ground. It was a bit like a Friday night at KFC.

So the people gratefully scooped up the quails and began eating them. But God, being the nasty vengeful, toddler God we all know, got nasty. He visited a plague upon them all and many of them died. That's one hell of a food allergy.

The Unbelievable Scale of Black Holes

The Threat From the Russians is Real

Saturday, 17 June 2017


Video Diary: The Labour Bad Losers Edition

Film Review: Churchill

Film Review: Slack Bay

Film Review: Dying Laughing

Film Review: By the Time It Gets Dark

Film Review: Rock Dog

Film Review: Whitney: Can I Be Me

Film Review: Gifted

Friday, 16 June 2017


Grenfell: Where Were Our Health and Safety Obsessives?

Like many people I had always assumed that the advantage of our health and safety obsessed society is that we are all, well, safe if mollycoddled. It seems not. Clearly something has gone disastrously wrong at Grenfell Tower in west London leading to the deaths of dozens, maybe even over a hundred people. It is astonishing. How can this happen in a country where people obsess about putting out small signs to warn of spillages and have to attend courses in order to use a step ladder?

There is going to be a big political row about this inevitably but the response of Chauncey has been disgusting as he attempts to politicise it based on his usual assumptions that we live in a Dickensian society of waifs and strays governed by malevolent Tories. His suggestion that we should seize the properties of the rich to house the victims is typically absurd and yet at the same time disturbingly nasty. His class warfare language is unhelpful and dangerous. We don't yet know what happened and why. Chauncey's assumptions based on his nasty brand of vengeance politics are another example of why he would make an appalling prime minister.

The conspiratorial accusations of Lily Allen are typically asinine. The authorities are only confirming those deaths that they have clear and unambiguous evidence of. That is a standard procedure with all deaths. The nature of a tower like this is that many of the people asleep that night would not necessarily have been registered as residents, they may have been visiting or in some other unofficial arrangement. That makes the work of the authorities more difficult and maybe even impossible.

This area of London sits cheek by jowl with wealthy areas of London, in all probability employing the residents of this tower. London is a melting pot of nationalities drawn to its wealth and opportunities. Grenfell Tower is like a modern day Tower of Babel and indeed its language issues may have been part of its problem as residents struggled to make their concerns known.

An inquiry has been announced and it will do its work. I suspect that what it will reveal is a classic case of British administrative torpor rather than out and out incompetence. There is certainly nothing malign or malevolent here as the likes of Chauncey and Lily Allen would like to allege. It will be an example of something slipping through the gaps, of various authorities assuming that others are responsible. This is not an excuse. It is sadly typical of the kind of pettifogging we do so well in the UK. Much of our bureaucratic meddling is pointless and annoying. It operates whilst allowing genuinely dangerous situations and whole buildings to continue regardless.

There is a huge problem with housing in this country, in London in particular. The Government should seize the moment and announce a fundamental reform leading to the building of hundreds of thousands of new homes for the poor and dispossessed, homes that will be modern, safe and foster a sense of community. Where high rise buildings are allowed they should be high quality and rigorously maintained and administered. They are a good solution in high density areas like London but mostly they should be avoided. It is time for action. We don't yet know what is to blame for this tragedy. But we do know that housing is in crisis. It is time to act

Labour's Oath of Juvenile Idiocy

Further to my post yesterday on the principles or lack thereof of the Labour Party, many of them are however acting in a petulant and juvenile way with regard to the oath of allegiance to the monarch. See Richard Burgon, a key Chauncey supporter (above), and one of the Abbott tendency in that he has been promoted way above his intelligence, talent or abilities would normally expect, who made the oath with a silly caveat attached. Perhaps he also had his fingers crossed behind his back. Pathetic. Chauncey also made the oath in a barely audible whisper as have many of his friends and colleagues. It brings back memories of when he was going to have to kneel before the Queen when he joined the Privy Council or when he refused to sing the national anthem at a service to honour our dead servicemen and women.

This blog has republican sympathies. It believes that we need a democratically elected head of state or even for the role to go to a ceremonial head of state elected annually by parliament in the manner of a lord mayor or similar. I even used to be an active participant in Republic, the pressure group that campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy.

But the monarchy has the support of the people. It is a good deal more popular as are its members than any political party. Therefore we have to accept it and honour it. Surely even the most churlish of Labour MPs would have to accept that the Queen does a good and estimable job, is trustworthy, honourable and dutiful.

Since the present system has the full support of the people and there is no widespread call for its abolition or even reform - even Chauncey was forced to acknowledge he has no plans for that during the election campaign - then Labour MPs should take the oath as required of them and without acting like children. They claim to be democrats. Well democracy requires you to obey the law of the land, obey the constitution and offer your allegiance to our head of state in our fully functioning and dignified system of government. I stopped bothering going to Republic meetings because I realised that it is pointless. The British people are happy with things the way they are. They lack the anger and resentment of many lefties wherever they see wealth and privilege.

It is time Labour MPs like Burgon grew up. Many of them imagine that the election result means that they are on the cusp of their longed for revolution. They are not. The result was the consequence of Conservative incompetence and complacency and their own admittedly impressive campaign, albeit a campaign based on lies, misrepresentations and voodoo economics. There is no appetite for the aims and ideas they have but which they keep hidden from public view for fear of scaring them. But they are there all the same. These representatives of the people ignore the people whenever they feel like it. That is the true face of the Labour Party. It is juvenile, it is arrogant and it is facile.

British Food is Boring? 9 Dishes That Prove Otherwise

Dennis Rodman Visits the Stoner Paradise Known As North Korea

Thursday, 15 June 2017


The Price of Labour's Lack of Principles

Labour Party members are generally rather tribal, which is to say that they group together to the exclusion of all else. This, needless to say, is odd for a political party. Parties are supposed to be about representing the people, advancing a cause, furthering an interest or some form of combination of the above. Labour always accuse Tories of being like this. In fact they represent it themselves to a much greater degree. They are wont to talk of their love for Labour and for the Labour movement. It's an odd outlook. No Tory ever professes a love for the Conservative Party. It is a means to an end. I vote Conservative because by and large it represents a philosophy and an outlook with which I agree. But I could easily be cured of this if the party were ever led by someone like Donald Trump. Or Chauncey.

And so one could not help but feel a certain respect for those in the Labour family who refused to serve in Chauncey's shadow cabinet and who tried to oust him from the top job.

Turns out however that many declined to do so, not because of a principled disagreement with his policies and his ignominious past. It was just because they thought him a loser. Now he is a loser but in a manner that they consider might one day be a winner they are rallying to his cause. And letting it be known that their formerly principled stance was nothing like as principled as formerly. We were wrong many are now saying. Wrong about what exactly?

Presumably they are saying that Chauncey's stance on nuclear weapons is now okay with them? His fondness for the IRA? For Hamas? His belief that terrorism can all be laid squarely at the door of western foreign policy even though countries like Sweden have also suffered terrorism? Are they now okay with his policy of rampant nationalisation? Are they okay with his belief in a vast spending spree in the event of his ever winning an election? Are they okay with his tolerance for anti-Semitism?

What they are really saying then is that their principles will only stand the test of Labour, not so much winning an election but losing in a manner that is not a complete humiliation as they had hitherto expected. Those are pretty cheap principles aren't they. They certainly seem to be because this week they actually stood and cheered and applauded the man who led them to defeat last Thursday. The Tories, who won the election, looked sullen and angry and are still deciding what to do with their electoral liability for a leader. Labour have decided what to do with their loser. They have abandoned their principles for him.

9 Mistakes That Kill Your Charisma

Melania Trump Gets Emotional About Moving Into the White House

Jeff Sessions Can't Recall What He Forgot to Remember

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


West London Tragedy

I don't understand how this terrible fire in west London has spread so rapidly and disastrously. Residents of tower blocks and similar properties of multiple residences, are usually told to stay put in their homes when a fire breaks out in another flat because in concrete and steel buildings like this fire is supposed to be contained and should not spread. So how has this happened? And how has it happened so quickly and devastatingly?

One of the problems with these huge buildings, a legacy of the failed experiment with large tower blocks built in the 60s and 70s, is that there is little heed paid to fire safety amongst residents. When they move into such buildings no information is given about fire safety and what to do in the event of fire.

But the central point is that such tower blocks simply should not catch fire like this. If it was refurbished last year and the refurbishment was in accordance with all of the regulations then are the regulations fit for purpose? There are plenty of stories about the speed and ferocity of the fire spreading through the building. Such buildings tend not to have fire alarm systems and anything other than fire doors and there is little or no information given out about what to do in a fire anyway.

There must be a possibility that this fire was started deliberately using some kind of accelerant, but even if it was it simply should not have spread like this. As ever on these occasions talk will be about resources and cuts. But the fire service has responded quickly and efficiently, the first appliances were on the scene within 6 minutes, there were over 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines on site and there are many tales of bravery and heroism. The building itself was only refurbished last year. This looks more and more like fire regulations that do not work.

Soft or Hard?

Let's be fair to Theresa May. When many of us backed her to become Prime Minister last year (after Boris dropped out in my case) we did so because we believed that she would be a good PM, not because she would be a great party leader and electoral campaigner. We had clues about how awful she would be with her largely forgettable performances at PMQs each week. She generally got the better of Chauncey, if only because he is even worse at them. But she is not a politician who charms. She is not a politician who displays great wit and vivacity. She is a swot.

But the point is that, though elections are a vital part of our democracy and indeed define it, they only come around every so often. Of course they may come about a little more often for now. Theresa May has generally made a reasonable fist of being Prime Minister, although how strong and stable she is is a matter of debate. She was also backed because it was felt that she would be a doughty negotiator in our coming battles with the EU. This remains the case, even if her failings in other areas have just made her job altogether harder.

Quite how the Government is going to manage the process of Brexit now is a huge matter of concern. The remainers have been emboldened by the election result and are talking of ensuring a soft Brexit. In so doing they just make it harder for the Government to negotiate. If the EU knows that there is a substantial body of opinion, probably a majority in parliament, holding out for the so called soft option then they can offer us nothing and demand a great deal. A hard Brexit is a negotiating stance, albeit one predicated on firm grounds because Britain would be just fine leaving the Single Market and customs union. This does not mean that those of us who advocate such an approach are hostile to a softer option if it can be negotiated, but in order to negotiate this we need to set out a willingness for the harder option.

I really hope that one day I have to buy or sell a house or a car from the soft Brexiteers. I could end up with them paying me to take it off their hands.

Those advocating a soft Brexit, one that means we stay as associate members of the Single Market are effectively saying that they wish us to either effectively stay in the EU or take the Norway option. They should say so. Soft Brexit effectively means no Brexit at all. This is why hard Brexit is the preferred option and the only one that enacts the decision of last June. We opt to leave the Single Market and customs union, we regain control of our borders, we free ourselves from the jurisdiction of the ECJ and from Brussels pettifogging, we regain our annual contribution to EU coffers, we regain control of our fisheries and agriculture. We would be free to negotiate our own trade deals with the rest of the world, including with the EU.

This is the bottom line. But that is not the end of it. From this position we then negotiate to opt back in to certain areas that would be advantageous. Certain areas would be uncontentious such as cooperation on civil aviation, on security cooperation, freedom of movement (but not access to labour markets) and so on. We negotiate access to the Single Market. In return for this we could offer some form of staged payments for our leaving. We might wish to offer privileged access to work permits for EU citizens, albeit without ECJ interference. We of course would accept EU rules and regulations for exporting goods to the EU. Since we already do this it would not be problematic.

This is what the Government is trying to accomplish. It would not have been a problem had Theresa May won her large majority. The British people did not give her that and so we have to work around it. But insisting at this stage that we want a soft Brexit is not helpful. If those advocating it wish to say that they simply wish to ignore the result of the referendum then they should say so. The result of the election was clear. Both main parties were for leaving the EU. The only way to accomplish this satisfactorily is to call for a hard Brexit and to see what we can negotiate after that. The soft Brexiteers should put up or shut up.

Yes Minister Explains the EU

Trump Crashed A Wedding

Trump Didn't Do Anything Wrong Unless It Was, But It's Not

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


Labour Struggles With Basic Concepts

How did you vote in the election? Feeling good about your choice? Watch the video above and then feel free to tell me to mind my own business because it's a secret ballot.

We became accustomed to Labour's inability to add up during the election campaign. It seems that this has continued into the aftermath too. They are having difficulties adding up to 326.

Emily Thornberry and indeed many of her colleagues do not accept that they lost the election. And yet when parliament reassembles this week they will find themselves in the same seats as they were before the election. Sure, there will be a few more of them now and fewer Tories. But the position in the House of Commons suggests in a way that perhaps mere arithmetic does not for the Labour front bench, that they did indeed fail to win the election. As is pointed out to Lady Nugee, even if they were to get together with all of the other parties like the SNP, Lib Dems, the Greens and even Sinn Fein if they could be bothered to take their seats, they still wouldn't have a majority. They would still need the DUP.

Lady Nugee is confused. She says that they had a surge of support and this means they won. Er, no. Winning is having more seats. They cannot even claim, as Hillary Clinton did, to have won the popular vote. The Tories won that too. So how does Labour claim a mandate again?

Not that this matters according to Lady Nugee. She and her colleagues would form a minority government which would be incredibly popular. So, I'm confused. How would being incredibly popular, but not as popular as the Tories, enable them to govern? Would they just ignore parliament? Does having a Commons majority not matter? It seems so. Labour would put forward a Queens speech and it would be up to the other parties whether or not they supported it. Which they wouldn't. Because they don't.

This is the party that might by now have been governing us. This woman is the woman who might have been representing us to the world by now. Labour lost but cannot even deal with this statement of fact. It's not hard to see why they struggle with arithmetic, economics, foreign policy, supply and demand and the concept of deterrence.

Theresa May is back to her day job from this week, one to which she is eminently better suited than campaigning. She may have run a lousy campaign, but I know who I feel safer being governed by.

Literature - Voltaire

Brits vs Americans: Who's Smarter?

What We Now Know from James Comey

Monday, 12 June 2017


From Stalin to Mrs Bean

The cant and hypocrisy of Labour has been startling these last few days, or at least it would be were we not wearily accustomed to it. The rats who departed the sinking ship are now swimming back towards it, tweeting Chauncey their congratulations and acting as supplicants as they beg forgiveness and his indulgence as he hands out shadow cabinet roles. It will be interesting to see how he negotiates this process given what we know of his administrative incompetence.

Labour did well, it would be churlish to deny this. But it is arrant nonsense to say that theirs was a good campaign. Elements of it were good. Chauncey is good on the stump and was willing and indeed keen to go out and do what he does best: shout platitudes at people that make little sense in the round, but which go down well with people who pay little attention to politics and policy. Stupid people in other words.

This was the stupid election. Labour ran a Trump style campaign. It was long on promises and incoherent rants, long on lies and hypocrisy. It was short on detail and on basic competence. Chauncey was great at megaphone politics, notably awful when anyone tried to pin him down about what it all meant, what it would all cost. And when they asked him about the stupid and plain vile things he has said in the past he simply adopted the Trump approach and lied through his teeth. He even managed to spin 180 degrees and claim never to have opposed a shoot to kill policy, and the one time ardent critic of the police claimed to want thousands more of them on the streets to protect us against terrorists. These are different terrorists to the ones he used to support presumably, or indeed the ones whom, a couple of weeks previously, he had said were only doing what they do because of our foreign policy. This was not the straightforward honest politics they claim. It was straightforward dishonesty in a soft spoken voice to make it sound more plausible.

All of which explains why Labour have come into this weekend claiming, absurdly, to have won this election. They didn't. They ended up with the same number of seats as Gordon Brown in 2010. Theirs was a very good performance, but it was not enough to actually, you know, win. They lost in terms of seats won and in the popular vote. They came a close second, but they still came second. For all that they seem to have galvanised a large part of the electorate to vote for them despite their inconsistencies, lies and incoherence, they also galvanised a greater portion of the electorate to vote against them. The Tory vote remained remarkably consistent throughout the campaign at the low to mid 40s. Theresa May remains in Downing Street, not so much thanks to her campaign but despite it and because half of the country were violently opposed to Labour under Chauncey in power. Britain looks as divided as America right now. The two main parties are back.

But both parties are led by people who are liabilities. For those of us who have not become aware of Chauncey during the last couple of years, who have known of him and dismissed him as a nonentity, his rise has been startling. But it is a rise born of the fact that most people have no idea who he is. Particularly the young who think that they invented or first though of everything from sex to popular music and even, it seems now, socialism. It reminds me of when Paul McCartney teamed up with Rihanna and Kanye West and Kanye fans extolled the virtues of their idol for giving this old dude Paul a big break.

All of which should set Tory minds a little more at ease this weekend despite opinion polls (should anyone take them seriously now anyway?) and the inevitable anger, frustration and criticism that has poured out since Thursday. The Conservative Party managed to win the election, without a majority, for the 3rd time in succession despite mounting another awful, lacklustre, brainless and plain inept campaign. They ran a presidential campaign around a woman who has no charisma, no noticeable sense of humour and is a bad media performer. Her stock responses were irritating even to those of us who supported her. Her decision not to take part in debates cost her hugely. Her manifesto was a disaster. Her U turn on that manifesto was even worse. There was no vision, no ideas, no prospectus for a more hopeful future. Labour promised ridiculous promises they could never have afforded or enacted. It was pork barrel politics of the most egregious and shameless kind. But it persuaded some people. It succeeded in this because the Tories refused to engage, refused to hit back. It succeeded because Tories are afraid to be Tories, to laud their successes and to warn of consequences of yet another Labour spending spree at odds with the economic reality that we still haven't finished clearing up after the last one.

Imagine then if the Tories were led by someone who is not Mrs Bean, who is willing to go toe to toe with the liars of Labour. Imagine if it was led by someone with oodles of charisma, someone with a sense of humour, someone the public likes, someone who can get away with gaffes and missteps galore. I think you know who I mean. What other politician is known instantly by his first name without any other information?

It is generally agreed that Theresa May's position is untenable. She has to perform the duties of prime minister for now but the process of replacing her must begin now. It would be better for all if the Conservative Party could simply recognise their position now and face the inevitable. Party infighting kept Boris from the leadership last year. It was a terrible mistake. Now keeping him from it again would easily lead to the disaster of a hard left Labour government on to whose bandwagon even the so called moderates are now piling. They can smell the heady whiff of power and so they are leaving all principle behind.

It falls to the Conservative Party to save the country from this disaster. There is only one man for the job. Whatever your reservations about him, whatever your personal animus towards him, think of the country. We could easily have another election within months or even weeks if things go wrong. If Chauncey called on his friends in Sinn Fein to take up their seats in parliament as they always steadfastly refuse to do he might even sneak into power for a while or at least force another election. Thus the Conservative Party urgently needs a new leader in place. There is no time to waste.

Literature - Ralph Waldo Emerson

How to Swear Like a Brit

Sunday, 11 June 2017


The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 10 - Trumpets, Clouds and Fathers in Law

And we're off at last on our journey. In this chapter we have trumpets, clouds and confusion about fathers in law. Don't say we don't keep you entertained.

Finally we are about to set off on the road trip to end all road trips. Actually it's not really that far from Sinai to the land known enigmatically and not at all accurately as the land of milk and honey, it's just that God keeps faffing around and delaying. Even now, before they got going, he told Moses to make a couple of trumpets. Worse these had to be silver trumpets. Because obviously they had a large amount of silver just lying around. And why would a tribe, albeit a very large tribe, of desert dwelling herdsmen, have the ability to fashion large musical instruments from soft metals? Is it often called for?

Anyway these trumpets were duly knocked out by the resident tribal trumpet maker and God issued his instructions. They were to be used to signal the entire community. Blow both to summon everyone to the Tabernacle, even though there was supposed to be a couple of million of them. They must have been big trumpets. With amplifiers. Blow just one to summon just the leaders. There were also other signals for war, telling everyone to leave the camp, for celebrations and so on. All very practical, although it's not clear why they had to be silver.

And then it was time to leave. Hurrah! They were off to the promised land at last. The cloud had lifted from the Tabernacle and they had set off after this slow moving heavenly signal. It came to rest in the wilderness of Paran. But they set off with military precision and in the order that God had decreed. It was all going very well. Very methodically.

Now though Moses went to speak to Harab. Now Harab, we are told, was Moses father in law. This is interesting because previously we were told that Moses father in law was Jethro. Oh and on other occasions we were told that he was Heber or on another occasion that it was Reuel. How many fathers in law did he have? Anyway, whoever he was, Harab said that he wasn't going with them to the promised land. He had land of his own.

Moses persuaded Harab to stick with them though. He would be useful as a guide even though they had their helpful cloud. And if Harab stuck with them he would get God's blessing. So Harab agreed to go with them on their epic journey. A journey that was about to be made a lot more epic than it really needed to be.

Trump Claims He'd Never Demand Loyalty.........

The Grand Tour: Aston Martin Vulcan

Lawyers Are Avoiding Trump At All Costs

Saturday, 10 June 2017


Video Diary: The Electoral Debacle Edition

Film Review: Berlin Syndrome

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

Rachel Weisz interviewed by Simon Mayo

Film Review: Wilson

Film Review: The Mummy

Film Review: Norman

Film Review: The Shack

Friday, 9 June 2017


Election Reality Check

Here's a short reality check for Chauncey fans: You lost. Yes you had a very good result, you got a share of the vote that few of us thought possible and you managed to galvanise a part of the electorate that rarely votes, albeit by offering them shameless and pointless bribes that are economically ruinous and entirely unnecessary because the present system is working just fine.

Despite this however Labour lost the election. In a parliamentary system parties need enough seats to form a government and vote through their legislation. Labour failed. Labour has now failed to win a majority in three successive elections. For all of the talk of Chauncey and the other parties today, there is no coalition possible to form a government or to defeat the Tories. Labour had a very very good night. They put on an increase in share unseen since 1945. But it still wasn't enough to actually win. Because the Tories got an even bigger vote share and indeed increased their vote share on 2015. A peculiarity of this election post the Brexit vote was that solid Tory, wealthy areas of London like Kensington voted for a Marxist run Labour Party. That is a peculiarity that will not last.

The Tories had a disastrous night last night. But they still emerged as the largest party within a whisker of the magic figure that would have given them a majority. It is comparatively simple for them to manufacture an arrangement that will enable them to govern. That is how our system works.

In some ways it would almost be worth the Tories standing aside and letting Labour into power in present circumstances. Let's face it, it could still happen if everything goes wrong. But perhaps Labour in power and thus able to screw things up for a while would be instructive to the half wits who voted for them.

I suspect however that we have reached peak loony. Labour managed a 40% share of the vote. But the Tories managed a 44% share of the vote. The country divided along those lines. The Tory vote came out in force and saved us from a Chauncey administration. For all of his bluster he has no right to form that administration. Theresa May has every right if she can command a majority in the House of Commons, even if it will be anything but strong and stable.

I remain of the opinion that she will have to go sooner or later. She arrived back at Downing Street talking of five years. No chance. The Tories must not let her lead them into another election. She has demonstrated quite clearly that she is not up to it. She and her team owned this election campaign and they failed disastrously. They failed to confront the lies and voodoo economics of the Labour campaign and failed to campaign at all in many ways. A more able operator would have confronted Labour and hit back hard. She didn't even come close. Her aloofness and awkwardness lost this election along with some spectacular own goals in policy terms.

To be fair she was also a little unlucky. Suddenly suffering three terrorist attacks in quick succession created doubts in peoples' minds, even if those doubts were largely unfair. More police on the streets would not have stopped the attacks.

It is probably right for now for her to stay in position. But this must be temporary. Theresa May must go in the coming weeks or months.

Chaos Reigns

This is an election that was won by pork barrel politics, lofty and fantastical Marxist dreams and lost by a Conservative Party that forgot how to be Conservative. As someone else has written: it's as though the Tories saw the Hillary Clinton campaign and decided to emulate it.

This election was won by a huge turnout amongst younger voters who bought the whole nationalisation, nuclear disarmament, free stuff for everyone paid for by someone else, hope over experience bullshit of the Labour Party. We came this close to electing our own Donald Trump. Next time we may well get him because Labour are back and its not the nice cosy Labour that puts up our taxes by stealth its the Marxist version that wants to wage class warfare.

Except of course Labour didn't win. They lost. So did the Tories. So did the Lib Dems. So did the SNP. Labour, for all of their gains, lost the third election in succession. Nobody won this election.

The problem is that Britain is deeply divided. The Tories won 44% of the popular vote. Under normal circumstances that would have been enough to win a handsome majority. But Labour somehow managed to get 40% too. The country reverted to something close to two party politics. Were it not for the complicating factor of Scotland and the SNP, Chauncey would be Prime Minister this morning.

If only Theresa May had run a half competent campaign, not upset her core constituency, not complacently tried to reach out to Labour voters, she would have got her majority. There was no talk of Brexit. There was no talk of tax cuts. There was no talk of immigration. There was no talk of foreign policy and the travails with various hostile forces. There was no talk of our housing problem. There was no talk of youth feeling left out and ignored. Forget the just about managing, what about the only just started voting?

The Tories need to regroup and rethink and start being proud Tories again. Labour got their gains with a shameless appeal to people with a spending binge. In 2010 the country voted for austerity. Now a large part of the country, probably a majority wants the spending to start again. How does a Conservative address that issue?

Theresa May said she wanted to bring stability. She has brought chaos. The rules are that she remains Prime Minister unless and until she resigns or is defeated in parliament. There is no need for her to go to the palace. She has the right to try and form a government. Labour cannot do so. With the aid of the DUP Mrs May can. But it will be inherently unstable and difficult. The very opposite of what she wanted.

Were it not for the fact that chaos would reign, she ought to resign and let someone else try and form a government. The problem is that it is unclear who that would be. And so Theresa May is probably going to have to stay on unless the Tories can unite behind someone to replace her. It needs to be someone popular and better able to talk to the people. Given that Ruth Davidson is unavailable it ought to be Boris. But then I said that last summer. It looks like I was right.

We are going to have to have another election sometime soon. There is a very real possibility that Labour could win next time unless Tories have a better leader who galvanises the country.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

General Election Live Blog

So we can be pretty clear now what all of this means. The Tories took a gamble and lost. They shouldn't have lost. They contrived to lose. They however stay in government for the moment at least as a minority government. They will be able to do deals to get legislation through but the price of those deals may not be acceptable to many Tory MPs. Theresa May is responsible for that.

Constitutionally she stays in place unless she decides to quit or unless she loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. But she is diminished and she has lost her majority.

Most Tories will want her to go. I certainly do. She ran an appalling campaign that allowed Labour under a Marxist half wit close to power. Whenever there is another election they could easily win now. That is Theresa May's fault.

The problem is how we manage this. She needs to be replaced but how to accomplish that with Brexit on the agenda. And the government will be very unstable and thus prone to collapsing and another election being forced. Tories cannot go into another election with Theresa May as leader.

Conversations need to be had and some kind of deal done. But Theresa May's position is now untenable. She should go and hand over to a caretaker.

It looks like we are going to have a hung parliament. It's not yet official, there are still plenty of seats to be counted, but we can be pretty clear that that is what is going to happen.

This means a number of things. The Tories can govern. Chauncey's talk that Theresa May should resign and allow him to take over is nonsense. He has done very well. Astonishingly well. It boggles the mind actually how well he has done, but then that's what pork barrel politics does for you. But he hasn't got anything approaching a majority and cannot cobble one together either. The Tories are still the only party capable of doing that.

It means however that dreams of a five year period of stability are over. Brexit can still happen and the deal can be negotiated but getting it through parliament is going to be next to impossible. Don't be at all surprised now if it never happens.

Theresa May will have to continue as PM too because there is no alternative, unless of course the party can decide on a replacement for her without a leadership contest. There simply isn't time for that. But the difficulty is that the Tories need someone to lead the country and lead negotiations with the EU. They also need a new leader to take them into the next election, an election that may well happen within months.

Finally, according to Peter Kellner, the Tory vote share is likely to end up around 44%. That is perfectly respectable, even impressive. It means that the Tory vote share has remained broadly stable throughout the campaign period, according to the polls. What happened is that we returned to two party politics and there was a huge turnout for Labour, especially amongst young people and students.  How long that lasts remains to be seen but it means that the Tories cannot risk a campaign as bad as this again. At some point soon they need to find a way to replace Theresa May.

The two pals of the coalition, Nick Clegg and David Cameron are now no longer either in government or even in parliament. Clegg has just lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam. The Lib Dems have somewhat fancifully been saying that they would not enter into a coalition with anyone. Now of course the chances are that they wouldn't be asked and that they wouldn't be able to make much of a contribution. But you do have to wonder what the point of a party that has no chance of actually winning an election is if they rule out being involved in coalitions. Clearly the British people have largely come to the same conclusion hence the fact that except in Scotland and one or two isolated pockets of London (Vince Cable is back) they are once again suffering a bad night. They may end up with the same number of seats. But this was supposed to be the beginning of their fightback. As it is it is Vince Cable's fightback. The next leader of the Lib Dems? Tim Farron may be about to lose his seat.

The psephologists have been revising their numbers in the light of results and, as expected, the Tory number of seats is creeping up. I am now confident of a small majority. But a very small one. No landslide as we had every right to expect given a half competent campaign.

Boris has been re-elected and made a guarded but significant speech telling the country that Tories need to listen. Yes they do. To young people in particular. But also to Tory voters who got ignored.

If there is a pattern emerging tonight, and maybe it will emerge when there are more results or at the end of the night, it is that Labour are doing very well in urban areas, particularly in London. London has swung quite heavily in their direction. The Tories are doing better the further north you go, have held on in Nuneaton already and some other midland swing constituncies. They are also doing extremely well in Scotland at the expense of the SNP, although ironically in some cases this is just handing power to Labour. The SNP may actually be the biggest losers of the night in some ways, assuming the Tories manage to scrape a majority. Their dreams of another independence referendum may be at an end on this result. We did say we had gone well past peak Nat.

The results in Scotland show what can be achieved with a good and charismatic leader who comes across well and isn't afraid to throw herself into the fray. Ruth Davidson might have a shout to be the next national leader if she was an MP. As it is the odds are narrowing on Boris being the next leader. If Theresa May, as looks likely, only scrapes a majority or loses one and has to cobble together a deal then she is toast. Boris would be the best alternative. He would have won this election as those of us who initially backed him last year said all along. He reaches the parts other politicians (other than Ruth Davidson) cannot reach.

If this is an election that is being decided in a big way by a huge turnout of younger voters for Labour then this is in many ways a positive thing if you believe in democracy. Of course from a Labour perspective it will be even better if the Tories sneak in making those younger voters angry. If Labour get in they will inevitably disappoint those younger voters. Given the absurdity of Labour promises and of their bad maths they might have been disappointed to the point of never voting again.

The Tories have to learn from this debacle. First, don't put the party in the hands of someone so catastrophically bad at campaigning. Chauncey was appalling at giving broadcast interviews and no good in the debates, but he was good at talking to people who agree with him at rallies. It gave his campaign momentum.

The Tories on the other hand got more or less every part of this campaign wrong. They kept their best performers out of the spotlight preferring May who was terrible at it. They got the policy offer wrong and abandoned core voters in a grab for Labour voters who weren't up for grabs. They abandoned their core constituency and are paying the price.

But they also need to start making the arguments for Conservative policies and philosophy again. They have failed to do that. It's not as if they lacked a good argument and indeed even had one on students. But they couldn't or wouldn't make it.

There is also an issue surrounding housing. That has to be addressed and urgently. It is a clear market failure. It is something that has been neglected for too long.

Just after midnight and the picture is changing all the time. I think it is safe to say now that this one is going to be very difficult to predict and we are going to be here all night. There are going to be big regional variations with Tories doing better in some areas and less well in others. The other big factor is Brexit. There are some areas where there is a swing to Labour and other areas where there is a swing to the Tories.

The other factor is that turnout is up and younger voters have turned out, particularly students having received their promise of a bribe in the abolition of tuition fees, however impractical, unaffordable and socially unnecessary it might be. So much for social justice eh.

On the back of this Labour have done well. Much better than anyone expected. This despite the big holes in their finances, the idiocies of their front bench and the appalling past of many of them. It means that Chauncey and co have control of the Labour Party and now they are not going to be removed.

It also means that this has to concentrate minds in the Conservative Party. Labour was there for the taking and Theresa May fluffed it. Even if she sneaks over the line her days are numbered. I have stayed silent during the campaign but now we can say it. She was right to call the election but the way she ran it was incompetent, lacklustre, and arrogant. Everything is up for grabs now.

You know, I get the impression that this exit poll might not be as accurate as we might have assumed. It's still very early days and we've only had a couple of results both in safe Labour seats but it's not been as bad for the Tories as the exit poll suggested. Indeed it could be seen as positive for the Tories to some extent if they are going to have the more limited ambition of achieving a majority.

I suspect that is what is going to happen. How big a majority remains to be seen and how damaged the PM is after this is something we will discuss tomorrow. But I doubt that we are going to have a hung parliament.