On New Year’s Day, a few sometimes random reflections on 2011, and the same for the year in prospect.
2011 was an interesting year politically at the local and national level and 2012 looks set fair to be at least an equally interesting year as some of the issues from last year reach their conclusions and as yet unforeseen developments occur that Rotherham Politics will report on as the occasion demands.
2012 will see many new developments in the blogosphere, as keeping an eye on those who wield power in the ‘name of the people’ and spend vast quantities of our money, catches on. Rotherham Politics has started developing in unexpected ways, into the world of our parish councils. Most of Rotherham’s citizens know little of the activities of their own parish council never mind knowing how to hold them to account. This is changing fast as experience grows and more and more internet connected citizens follow the examples of others that can be found documented in the Parish Pump, check back regularly as rapid development is expected over the following weeks and months.
Found this graphic on the Independent website, it shows the ‘poll of polls’ throughout 2011 and makes depressing reading for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party as the latest information shows quite clearly a lead for the Conservatives for the first time. David Cameron has reasons to be cheerful it would appear! Click here to launch ‘A year in politics: How party fortunes changed’
The Labour Party must be getting increasingly concerned that the Leader, foisted on the Party by Trades Unions, is a dud! Looks very much that public opinion on Ed Miliband personally, is beginning to crystallise and the people are unimpressed, to say the least!
Charismatic? He is not!, and he doesn’t look like acquiring any soon. He has been exposed as merely an apparatchik, with little in the way of inspirational leadership qualities and it is beginning to look as the only suitable replacement available is Yvette Cooper! David Miliband has, I am afraid, missed his opportunity and there is no path for David to the Leadership, that wouldn’t involve further strife in the Miliband family.
Personally, I doubt that the Labour Party will have the stomach to replace Ed and we will be destined to another General Election of the ‘Foot pump’ and ‘Welsh windbag’ variety, leading to a more powerfully placed David Cameron, with an absolute majority in Parliament, without need of a coalition partner! Followed inevitably by another lurch to the right by the Labour Party chasing votes.
The papers now available due to the 30 year rule, reveal that 2011 was a lot like 1981. Austerity, rising unemployment, public sector job losses, strikes and even riots on the streets! Lets hope that 2012 does not simply play out like 1982, or we really are in for a rough time!
May 2012 will see the first and last local elections of this four year cycle and the first not to be distorted by a General Election as in 2010 or the referendum in 2011. Looks already as though it will be an uphill battle for both Labour and Liberals with many losses expected. Turnout for these elections is predicted to be an all time low and this will have unpredictable effects even perhaps in Rotherham? Remember 2013 will be a local election free year, the next four year cycle starting in 2014 when the terms of office expire for the largest cohort of ‘dinosaurs’ remaining on RMBC.
Across the country the cause of Independents has run out of steam, as the anger over greed, sleaze and expenses fraud abates and those brave souls prepared to challenge the status quo are demotivated by their experiences and fall by the wayside.
The Police investigation into the MP for Rotherham Denis MacShane’s expenses claims has just celebrated their second Christmas and New Year! One hopes very much that this charade is brought to a swift end in 2012. There must be a limit even to Denis’s excuses! Justice must prevail no matter how well connected and powerful they are. Readers of Rotherham Politics only have to read the MacShane files to leave them scratching their heads at the delay! I am reminded here of Dominic Lawson’s comment about the “type of man of the left for whom the essential and intrinsic virtuousness of his public positions allows him to retain his sense of personal rectitude even when his private conduct is deplorable.”
Gerald Smith, Rotherham Politics hopes, will not be involving himself with the legal side of elections in May 2012 after so spectacularly getting it wrong in 2011 and ending up having to accept a police caution (a conviction) for an elections offence he repeatedly denied in his flurry of letters in the Advertiser at the time. This ignorant buffoon is surely living on borrowed time as he is called to account for his actions, usually at our (great) expense! Make your own mind up? Read the Gerald Smith Files. His ward Labour Party having been taught how to ‘dump a dinosaur’ by Gerald Smith himself last year in ridding RMBC of Hilda Jack, may well turn around and do the same to him!
Another welcome development this year has been the campaigns to save the greenbelt which is still growing, learning all the time and preparing for the battles to come! Currently there are two websites for those concerned about the wholesale destruction of important green spaces and wildlife habitats in our Borough. The Save Our Green Belt – Rotherham Action Group and the Dinnington and Anston Action Group. Anyone who thinks that these groups are not serious about preserving the Green Belt is deluding themselves.
Whatever happens in the local elections in May, there will likely be the largest new intake to the Rotherham Labour Group in the history of RMBC! Will this provide Jahangir Akhtar the votes he will need to oust Roger Stone? Or will he have to wait until 2014 when Roger Stone will step down, if he has any sense that is, we shall see?
Rotherham Politics did well on the readership front, notching up over 30,000 hits in 2011! Impossible to be precise I’m afraid about the 1stQuarter, as we migrated to a new platform at the end of March. Hits recorded between January and March are the hits these older posts got only after migration. Readership has increased in every quarter of 2011 and we very much hope that this trend continues in 2012. 1stQuarter 3000; 2ndQuarter 5115; 3rdQuarter 10875; 4th Quarter 12618, a grand total of 31,608, on my calculator. The perennial favorite Gerald Smith case goes international – Swedish ‘Kristdemokraten’ picks it up! has had a total of 1,741 hits so far.
Key to our success, as always, is due to Rotherham Politics contributors, sources, commenters and others, without whose input postings would be unintelligible and I am very grateful to you all.