Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Nick & Dave Show

Thursday morning at the LGA conference was given over to set-piece speeches by the leaders of the Tories and the Libdems. There were plenty of contrasts and pointers for the future.

Firstly, "Dave". It was the first time I've seen Cameron 'in the flesh' so to speak, and he is a hugely polished performer. There's been some media chatter that ultimately he will be succeeded by Boris as party leader. The last 2 days demonstrated to me the gulf in class (ahem, politically speaking) between them - Boris simply isn't in Cameron's league.

He even tried to ape Blair by making some announcements that made the faithful squirm, including elected mayors for all major cities (whether the people want them or not).

Dave used the new buzz word "localism" a great deal, but for the most part it seemed to be a cover for the same old Tory ideology from the 80's. More power and resources for the voluntary and charitable sectors sounds fine in principle, but under the Tories last time that meant less money and reduced council services. So Cameron's hand-wringing over a broken society would have more resonance were the Tories not viscerally opposed to Sure Start, which has done more to transform the lives of some of our most disadvantaged families.

With all the parties trying to don the "localist" mantle, you might have thought that the LibDems would be ideally placed. Surprisingly then, Nick Clegg gave a muted and downbeat speech. He talked about the old LibDem shibboleths of local income tax and more accountability of PCT's, but that was about it.

The LibDems are facing something of an open goal at the moment as far as local government agenda is concerned - alas (to mix my metaphors) their policy cupboard seems to be bare.


Bank Top 2008 said...

I think that Councilor John Williams is quite clever when it comes to playing the media. If you pay close attention to him he can pull a face to match any story which he might be featured in, whether it be The Northern Echo, The Town Cryer or on the back of a leaflet.

He also cannily has observed that ties are very yesterday and has consigned his neckwear to the bottom of the wardrobe , going open neck for maximum appeal.

This clever move will undoubtedly be applauded by the fashionistas amongst the electorate as The Labour leader reinforces his credentials as being a man in sympathy with what is now.

Anonymous said...

Tank Top 1973.


Fashionistas and Bank Top surely an oxymoron.

Paul Cain said...

Sorry, Coun. Wallis, but no-one's listening to anything Labour has to say any more.
Your party has lied, cheated and misled for too long, both at local and national level.
Perhaps last week's expenses vote, when more than 140 of your party's MPs voted to keep their snouts in the trough, explains why the mere mention of the word 'Labour' makes ordinary people grind their teeth in contempt.
Do you realise how toxic you lot are? Do you understand the anger, verging on hatred, that exists for your party, even from prevously loyal Labour voters like me?
Do you remember that your party leader vowed to 'co-operate fully' with the review of MPs expenses, and would ensure that Labour MPs would adhere to any recommendations that review might make? Don't you ask yourself why, then, Mr Brown (and even our own Mr Milburn) failed to turn up to back the recommendations?
Is this not yet another example of venal incompetence at the heart of the Labour Party?
I know a bunch of Tories also blocked the review recommendations, but then they never came to power a decade ago vowing to clean up politics. And their leader did not take over his party just over a year ago promising a 'new approach' to politics after years of Blairite deceit.
And you, one of those at the centre of the Eastern bypass overspend fiasco, have the nerve to criticise Messrs Cameron and Clegg over local government policies?
If your party, both at local and national level, had an ounce of integrity, you'd resign and put your case to the electorate.
In the most extreme sense of the word, your politics, at present, disgust me.
Labour is no longer a party with one ounce of common decency in its soul.
I know of your policy on deleting abusive comments. I do not regard my comments as abuse - merely the truth as seen by someone disillusioned by what your party has done.

Ian White. said...

The vote over expenses was utter contempt for what the "man in the street" wants, as long as they are on the "gravy train" its "I'm allright Jack" I too was one of those loyal Labour voters!

What now? Who now?

The time has come said...

Ian White. said...
.......... I too was one of those loyal Labour voters!

What now? Who now?

The only salvation for our country, The only party with the backbone to tackle crime and immigration full on, The only party with the courage to take a stand on thorny issues, making the ground safe for the timid Tories and UKIP to move onto later and pick up on once all the flak has been taken and a public concensus has been achieved by those with good & sometimes controversial ideas and the guts to promote them - The British National Party.

I too was labour and regretably voted them in in 1997 - I have never voted Labour since.

Darlington Councillor said...

Hmmm, I'm not sure that anyone called Paul Cain exists in Darlington, so I'll regard him/her as another anonymous ranter.

Elements on the right regularly argue that Britan is in a state of complete moral collapse, equivalent perhaps to the last days of the Weimar Republic.

I think they're well wide of the mark. But in any case, 'the time has come', we've learnt that the solution certainly isn't electing a bunch of Nazis.

Paul Cain (as large life, honest) said...

I'm Paul Cain and I'm pretty sure I exist. I have lived and worked in New York for two years, but I'm a Darlo lad and my family have lived in the town for years.
Coun. Wallis's refusal to answer any of the substantive points I made (and expressed, I hope, in as temperate a tone as I can manage) demonstrates my point precisely.
He, like the national Labour Party, has developed such a sense of political entitlement, such a distance from the concerns and feelings of ordinary voters, that they cannot be said to represent us in any meaningful way.
He makes no answer to my point about Labour MPs and ministers blocking more transparency on expenses, when ordinary votes are struggling to keep their household finances in shape. I imagine he has no notion of how resentful working people are at such greed.
He glibly passes over the overspend of almost two million pounds on the Eastern bypass - suggesting he simply thinks the people of Darlington shouldn't worry their little heads about such things. Or perhaps we're just too stupid to understand that we ought to be grateful for having a Labour administration in charge, and the loss of a grotesque amount of money is a price worth paying for the privilege?
Coun Wallis: I find your refusal to engage verging on the cowardly. At best, it suggests you have no convincing reply to the points I make.
Finally, lest I be accused of another anonymous 'rant', how Coun Wallis and Labour can accuse posters here of being 'right wing' is astonishing.
Forty two days detention without charge, anyone? ID cards, anyone? A ban on lawful, peaceful demonstrations near the Houses of Parliament, anyone? Catch-all public order laws to prevent a peace campaigner from reading out the names of our war dead in Iraq, anyone? Taking more in tax from the poorest than from millionaries, anyone? The 10p tax rate, perhaps?
You have the gall to call others right wing?
I'll stop there. I will not parody you any further. You do the job much better than I ever could.

Darlington Councillor said...

Well, I've a lot on my plate representing the 4,200 residents of Haughton West together with my ward colleagues - I didn't realise that my duties stretched across the pond to people claiming to be "ordinary voters".... Still, we'll let that pass.

As it happens, I was disappointed with the vote in the Commons (not that it was Labour MP's alone who carried the day), although the defeated amendment seemed far from perfect too - imagine the fuss in Darlington if councillors could claim thousands of pounds a year in out of pocket expenses without having to produce any receipts.

As for the Eastern Transport Corridor - Mr Cain , my friend, you clearly haven't read the all-party Scrutiny Report into the history of the problems, nor their recommendations. Perhaps you'd do so before using words like "cowardly" to describe me again.

Finally, you may not like the Government's attempts to protect the citizens of this country from terrorist attacks - I would rather that these measures were not necessary, but in the current climate, I'm prepared to accept that some rebalancing of our civil liberties are necessary in the short term whilst the threat persists. I look forward to the time when these measures can be removed, as happened at the end of the Northern Irish Troubles, for example.

The time has come said...

"...Northern Irish troubles...."
Don't you mean troubles in the north of Ireland.
Surely you don't recognise that artificial Unionist gerrymandered territory do you?

The time has come said...

"...Northern Irish troubles...."
Don't you mean troubles in the north of Ireland.
Surely you don't recognise that artificial Unionist gerrymandered territory do you?

Anonymous said...

" I'm prepared to accept that some rebalancing of our civil liberties are necessary in the short term whilst the threat persists."

About 300 years then !