“Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion!”

Seen on a placard waved by a protester, at last weekends Liberal Spring Conference held in Sheffield behind a ‘ring of steel’,“Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion!” Seems to have caught the underlying mood at the gathering of the party faithful!

Hands were rung, anguish expressed, motions carried and more promises made to the acclamation of all present! That was while they were there inside the conference bubble but as soon as they returned to reality, they realised, that for all of the earnest debate and Cleggs’ speech, things are just the same as they were. Amply demonstrated by Cameron’s statement today that effectively said on the NHS, ‘the lady’s not for turning!’ I am sure that’s what he meant.

The Liberal Party has managed to annoy just about everyone whose vote they won last May, no mean feat in such a short time, after all it is only just 10 months since they tore up their principles. Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister and there were plenty of Government places for Liberals, it looked like a sell out then and experience since has confirmed it.

In their haste to get their feet under the table and the salaries and perks that went with them, they appear to have had their heads turned by privileges not granted to mere mortals and now can’t even see what they have done. They are blinded by office and are not worthy of our trust. The Local Elections, this May look like being a disaster since they went from heroes to zeros.

Hubris, Arrogance and Vanity, Cameron Appoints Personal Photographer!

David Cameron, it has been announced, has appointed Andy Parsons as his personal photographer, at a cost of at least £35,000 per year. This is in addition to the appointment of Nicky Woodhouse, famous for ‘Webcameron’, again at a cost to us of at least £35,000!

Tony Blair even at the height of his hubris never thought to put a personal photographer and videographer on the public payroll at a total cost to us the tax payers of at least £100,000 once ‘on costs’ are added.

Parsons and Woodhouse are just two of at least a dozen former employees of the Tory Party to have been put on the Government Payroll since the election. Others include, Chloe Dalton, an adviser to William Hague in opposition, who is now a civil servant in the Foreign Office, Ameetpal Gill and Clare Foges, have civil service jobs in Downing Street, they were previously speechwriters to Cameron, Sam Freedman, has been made an adviser in the DfE and Rishi Saha, formerly, head of digital strategy for the Tories is now deputy director of digital communications at the Cabinet Office.

Forced to defend this at yesterdays PMQ’s his defence to R’Ed Milliband’s question “Is it really a wise judgment when he is telling everyone to tighten their belts to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll?” was pretty pathetic given that he must have prepared to be asked this question, he merely stated, pretty limply, that his government was slashing Labour’s spending on communications and publicity.

This kind of behaviour from a coalition Government, committed they claim, to the National interest does not look at all as though they understand why the public have so little confidence in politicians or the broken political system.

We deserve better than this! The government must stop this profligacy, Now!

The Sitwell By-Election What it Reveals!

A by-election was held on August 5th 2010 in the Sitwell Ward of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, the results reveal much about the rapidly changing fortunes of the main political parties and the overall political climate nationally when recent by-elections held in July in Walsall (15th) and Wolverhampton (29th) are factored in.

Here are the Sitwell Ward Results:

Rotherham MBC Sitwell Ward August 5th 2010
2008 Result 2008 % Vote 2010 May Result 2010 May % Vote 2010 By-Election Result 2010 By-Election % Vote % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Party
Tory 2300 58.5 2684 41.5 1213 45.5 -13 4.5
Lab 768 19.5 2238 34.6 864 32.4 12.9 -2.2
R Ind 751 11.6 252 9.5 -2.1
UKIP 793 12.3 241 8.9 -3.4
Lib 867 22 98 3.7 -18.3
Totals 3935 100 6466 100 2668 100

The picture painted by these results is very mixed, with Labour failing to increase vote share from May. Actually losing 2.2% of their share of the vote in 4 months, they must be beginning to feel they are still losing ground in Rotherham and local opinion polling continues to bear this out with the most disaffected being their own core supporters. Trust, it would appear, is at breaking point amongst Labour’s formerly loyal supporters and as more revelations of their cynicism pre election are made clear this is set to get steadily worse as the Labour Council is also obliged to cut essential services against increasing local opposition and their continued personal greed in these times of austerity sickens all but the most tribal of voters.

Liberals must be in despair, not only in Rotherham have the voters deserted them but as can be seen from the results below of recent by-elections in Walsall and Wolverhampton there too. This catastrophic loss of votes for the junior Coalition Government partner must be shaking Liberals across the whole country to their foundations. This pattern of voting in areas formerly having significant Liberal votes is not going to change any time soon.

UKIP also suffered a reverse losing vote share for the first time in Rotherham in an election battle with an extraordinarily poor candidate, John Wilkinson the local Party Secretary, who seems to be intent on proving his own ignorance in the letter columns of the Rotherham Advertiser almost every week, it seems, for many months! His views on global warming would be amusing if they were not so seriously wrong in terms of  the scientific ‘facts’ he insists on repeating mantra like as if something becomes true simply by endless repetition.

Dave Ridgway standing for the Rotherham Independents improved their position coming in third place as opposed to last in May, a creditable result in the circumstances.

Two other by-elections for local council seats have taken place since the General Election on May 6th, here are the results:

Walsall Bloxwich West Ward 15th July 2010
2008 2008 Vote % 2010 May 2010 May Vote % 2010 By-election 2010 By-election Vote % % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Party
Tory 1436 53.1 2329 40.7 800 37.5 -15.6 -3.2
Lab 465 17.2 2008 35.1 1142 53.6 36.4 1.3
Dem Lab 365 13.5
UKIP 286 10.6 91 4.3 -6.3
Lib 102 3.7 563 9.8 71 3.3 -0.4 -10.2
Green 97 1.7 28 1.3 -0.04
BNP 722 12.6
Totals 2704 5719 2132 100

There will be another by-election later in Walsall after the death of a second councillor was announced this week.

Wolverhampton Bilston North Ward 29th July 2010
2008 2008 Vote % 2010 May 2010 May Vote % 2010 By-election 2010 By-election Vote % % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Party
Tory 1272 44.6 1481 29.6 460 23.1 -21.5 -6.5
Lab 1180 41.4 2262 45.3 1292 64.9 23.5 19.6
UKIP 55 2.7
BNP 589 11.8 131 4.4 -7.4
Lib 209 7.3 663 13.3 52 2.6 -4.7 -10.7
Green 189 6.6
Totals 2850 4995 1990

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Sitwell By-Election 2 – It was the Liberals!

It has now been revealed that the by-election was called by the Liberals, defending themselves by saying it was OK because they waited until after Michael Clarke’s funeral!

What tosh! Seeing clear political opportunity at the expense of their Coalition partners, they defied convention, the requirements of  basic respect and called the election at breakneck speed, whilst simultaneously denying publicly having done so!

The formation of the Coalition Government involved the most naked political opportunism by the Liberals, in their push for power they abandoned principle, gave up all of their policy promises in order to get their feet under the table of Government and access to the accoutrements of office, oh and lots of Ministerial salaries to assuage their guilt at abandoning pretty well all principle!

Hopefully Sitwell Voters at the polls on August 5th will roundly reject such cynicism and exercise their votes accordingly!

Rik

Emergency Budget – Far From Fair or Balanced!

I mentioned in my previous posting on the Budget, that further probing would reveal the ‘devil in the detail’. They would reveal themselves if there were any uncomfortable facts hidden deep inside the ‘Red Book’. There are such details and now they are public.

The details unearthed so far, not by Labour this time, but by, of all people, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) an economic lobby group, not noted for major criticism of Conservative Governments in the past, as it is about as right wing as they come. Robert Chote, of the IFS, has gone on record, with the evidence that tells the lie, to any claim that this budget was fair!

The IFS has now done a detailed analysis of the Budget, including the inconvenient facts, buried deep within the ‘Red Book’, it confirms the overall regressive nature of the Budget, that had been trumpeted, by some Government Ministers, as the ‘Fairest Budget in History!’ The use of such ridiculous hyperbole, now shows clearly the essential hubris running through the Government currently.

Some of the evidence for a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, was visible on Question Time on the BBC last night. Vince Cable batted for the Coalition Government, he visibly wilted in front of the audience as it appeared to have dawned on him, during proceedings, that the LibDems may just have been had on the Budget and he made a very poor job, at least for him, in defending his increasingly indefensible looking position. Audience reaction, to his attempts at justification, also appeared to strike home hard.

Looks likely that they have made a serious miscalculation on this one and there are already signs of LibDem backbench restlessness, as they are getting a wall of flak from their constituencies and in particular their own Party Members. To their horror, they have realised one important fact overlooked until now, they did not fight as hard as they did, in the General and Local Elections, for LibDem MPs just to become lobby fodder, to drive through such a draconian Budget as this one, now the full facts are appreciated.

This issue is in the process of testing the loyalty, of everyone signed up to the Coalition, to breaking point perhaps? We shall see?

Labours’ poor performance at the polls has resulted in one amusing happen stance, that may yet end up with the best Candidate for Labour Party Leader, not on the ballot paper. I speak of course, of Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who may yet find her feet at the dispatch box, only to be superseded by someone else, with lesser ability.

Rik

Forgemasters £80M Loan Cancelled! Labour Cynicism Revealed!

Every announcement of funding by Labour in the early part of the year, to try to convince their voters in the ‘traditional heartlands of Yorkshire and the North’ to trust them, are now exposed for the cynical election bribes they were. Only the memories of the local euphoria the £80m for Sheffield Forgemasters now remains.

Disillusionment cannot adequately sum up my feelings on this matter, to find that we were basically conned when these promises were being announced, makes me very annoyed indeed!

It transpires that they were inadequately budgeted for and would, in all probability, have been axed by Labour if, by some miracle, they had clung on to power.

The sight of MacShane practically frothing at the mouth today in Parliament, with a synthetic rant of complaint that Labours cynical ploys had been rumbled, did him no favours in the esteem department. Few, if any, constituents will have been much impressed by this and must also have reason to question his sobriety even at this early hour, if they were to have witnessed it themselves, as I did.

While not, I am sure, disastrous in the long term, this will undoubtedly put back planned development that would have directly benefited the whole of South Yorkshire, at a time when our local economy needs improvement, that this will now postpone.

This may also undermine, perhaps fatally, Nick Cleggs local support in his Sheffield Hallam Constituency and confidence in the Liberal Democrats generally in South Yorkshire if having the Coalition Governments Deputy PM as a local Member does us no good at all.

Next weeks emergency budget is not going to be pleasant for anyone, on this evidence the fun will really start next Tuesday, when George Osborne delivers his maiden budget, we shall see.

Rik

The Conservative Party has issued Labour’s Legacy, well worth a read if you have any lingering doubts that Labour’s Term of office was the usual economic disaster, nothing ‘New’ about that then?