Saturday, May 07, 2005

Today I gorged on UK election commentary, on media great and small.

This might not be everyone's cup of tea but it satisfied me.

Among the mass of opinions expressed I came closest to agreeing with Matthew Parris, a writer for whom I seem to find a strange mixture of admiration, mild irritation, and fury. Still, I think he nailed what was really worth nailing in his current commentary, with his usual stylishness and hyberbole thrown in.

On the other hand I have reflected and thought that it was unwise to call Galloway the leader of a racist party- as I did yesterday, wishing to find a suitably progressive insult. They might be that, but hearing about Jeremy Paxman making Galloway look good completely turned me off that somewhat unstraightforward assertion.

There is though a much darker side to election 2005 than Parris's slightly bucolic prose brings to light. Melanie Phillips digs in, and I think effectually.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Not so bad as all thaaaat.

Mark Steyn (at least, his website) blogged the election, and aside from predicting a fall in turnout he did a very nice job as you'd expect.

He and Andrew McCann differ- as do most Conservative leaners- on whether it's A) The beginning of the end of the Conservatives, or B) The end of the beginning for the Conservatives.

I was sad of course that Tim Collins, my favourite Conservative I'd generally say, lost his seat, and that hideous George won one for himself by playing the race card so shamelessly. Really the man (hideous George) is beyond parody, beyond reproach.

Other notable things included the amazing disappearing Ulster Unionist party, typified by David Trimble's annihilation at the hands of the surging DUP. With Sinn Fein's vote hardening and the SDLP sinking, the region seems to be polarising. Another success for Mr Blair's bestridal of the international stage.

That the Prime Minister and I coincided over Iraq seems now to have been only a coincidence. Like Howard I would have favoured taking on the Saddamite regime whether 'WMD' or no- though Michael should have troubled himself to explain it better.

On the whole I think Howard has given the Conservatives heart. Blair's unpopularity over the war was not a Conservative issue, but it was one of the few trains departing the station when Mr Howard was waiting to board a train (and Howard's nothing but a decent man of his time). Still, despite that he managed to match the Liberals for whom this was an issue. We can discount RESPECT as a party for inner city racist vandals. On balance I think Andrew McCann has it right: it's the beginning of something for the Conservatives, allowing room for personnel development (post updated, slightly)- if you know what I mean.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Garton-ass (as Tim Worstall puts it) follows Gordon (see below post) in laying out the case for voting Labour to usher in a new- but strange, apparently- Liberal Britain.

As Tim points out this is rubbish masquerading as history. As I recall it from me history classes, the days of Liberals versus Conservatives were the days when a sensible, if often unacceptably languid, debate was had between the State not doing something, and the State doing something- all at a time when it was much harder for the state to wield any kind of apparata whatsoever.

These days it's dead easy for the Government to 'do something': it's call fiddling with absurdly complex and deliberately managerial taxation, and pumping it into artificially lowering unemployment by creating such various bodkins as 'classroom assistants' (nice though they naturally are) and the like.

Anyhow, What Blair definitely isn't is a classical Liberal- and the same almost goes without saying for Charles Kennedy. What the strange new birth might be, in fact, is a nation of state-fed puddings- stodgy, doughy, fatty and stupid.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Vote for Polly's head to explode. Hilarious end to a Worstall post. My cross is already on the paper, waiting to be popped into the box.

Gordon Brown has one thing wrong in his analysis of the political situation, and unfortunately it invalidates all the rest.

Says Gordon:

'So to anyone tempted to use this election to register their discontent: there are real consequences to a protest vote that risks inadvertently returning the Conservatives to power, and which by punishing Labour would end up punishing the people who most need Labour.'

What's wrong with this (the emboldening gives the clue)? NO-ONE needs Labour. No-one needs the No 11 kleptocracy to do their thinking for them. No-one one needs Gordon.

If Gordon's lucky they'll vote for him anyway, as fat people vote for an extra burger.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

John Simpson's 'lesson' the Americans should learn in Iraq: 'you're crap and you know you are!'

In this article he returns to his favourite ground: that of journalists being hit by friendly fire, and takes time to reiterate his favourite 'violence is growing almost daily' meme. This line is used so often by the BBC that if I plotted a graph with every mention of 'growing violence', and expected to find a pattern which mirrored these assertions- as opposed to the real situation of ebb and flow- I would add to the 'growing violence' by dying of laughter.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Classic line from Denis Boyles, brought to me via A Tangled Web:

'If Howard wins, I won’t be unhappy, just astonished at the triumphant vitality of European political mediocrity, British accent and all.'

This is sadly my point of view too, though saying anything original about the election cooked up for us by our current crop of politicians is not an easy matter.

Gerard Baker gives it a go.

My point of view is that Howard hasn't done such a bad job. He needed to appear tough and professional and he has. Unfortunately he's been tough in a one-dimensioned manner, ruled it seems by assumptions about the electorate, about Blair, and about the Conservative party which are difficult to rally around. It's been politics by numbers; points supposedly hitting public concerns but treating the public rather like a child that responds only to carefully numbered, reassuring and repeatable lists. There is no argument, which for a lawyer is pretty extraordinary, and no joined-up thinking. Just lists of words. It's boring, and easy for Blair to seem, as Boyles says, the only 'the only sentient British politician in sight'.

The tragedy of having to say that Howard's a decent man trying to do a difficult job (which sounds so much like what we used to say about IDS, funnily enough), is that Blair is such a flawed character; like Clinton only his faults are more fundamental, more lulling, more damaging.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


It's not the BBC's fault of course, but it seems strange to me that when you predict the result of the election using the Beeb's swingometer, and you assume 35% each for the Conservatives and the Labour party respectively, you find the Labour party with 134 seats more than the Conservatives. Sounds fair to me- not.

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