Tag Archives: Conservative

SNP Are Nationalists First – Labour King Makers Second

The SNP will support a future Labour Government on progressive legislation. When it comes to painful austerity measures to bring down the deficit, they would force Labour to have the Conservative side to support them. That way, the SNP can paint Labour as the same as the Tories. Thus, the hope will be to chase Labour out of Scotland as the Conservatives have been as they hang on to one MP.

To read Sunny Hundal’s analysis you would think that Nicola Sturgeon really wants a Conservative Government, to make the case for Scottish Independence that bit stronger. I disagree with his view:

Let me spell this out. I don’t think Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond want Miliband to be Prime Minister. It would wreck the illusion that Scotland can only prosper and survive independently without working with Westminster. If the SNP and Labour managed to work together it would be the end of that illusion.

Furthermore, the SNP’s ultimate goal still remains independence. Is that achievable more under a Tory government intent on drastic cuts, or a Labour government they could work with? It doesn’t take a genius to put 2+2 together. The Tories are intent on juxtaposing Sturgeon with Miliband, and the SNP are intent on helping them.

The bigger prize for the SNP is to play the game of removing Labour as any serious opposition to them north of the border – to dominate Westminster in a hung parliament and to win in the Scottish Parliament. Hence SNP encouraging the English to vote for the Green Party. Making Labour more dependent on the elected SNP MPs in parliament. In short, the SNP can try and take credit for any legislation that is progressive while claim Labour is working with the Tories on austerity measures.

The deputy SNP leader on BBC Radio 4 Today made clear this Easter Monday the SNP would support Labour on a bill by bill basis, even if the Conservatives have more seats. While this is being sold as keeping Labour honest to left wing policies, the honey trap should be obvious. Labour cannot be completely anti-austerity in government – the extent to which some measures will be done, in a bid to keep interest repayments down and credibility with the markets, will not be fully realised till after the election. Result is SNP can claim Labour are the Tories if they depend on the opposition to pass austerity measures. Ed Balls as Chancellor will be aware of the need himself to play this game himself – I predict the Blair Brown relationship will be nothing compared to the two Eds in Downing Street.

The Liberal Democrats had the most to gain in the leaking of Sturgeon’s supposed comments that Miliband would be a weak premier, and that she wanted a Conservative government to make it easier for the SNP to argue for independence. They want to be seen as the honest broker in any coalition or special voting arrangement. Nick Clegg tried to position him as such in the debate: less cuts than Conservatives, less borrowing than Labour.

The opinion polls did not believe Nick Clegg, as Nicola Sturgeon resonated with people south of the border on progressive policies like zero tuition fees, and offering friendship with England to provide left wing policies. It is a poisoned chalice that many Labour supporters are willing to drink from in the hope that for once, a Labour Prime Minister has to stay on the left.

Government’s are not immune to market’s assessing risk regarding a high deficit, and the relative low interest payments on the national debt are not guaranteed. Britain never was a Greece as Cameron tried to claim, but that is not the same thing as saying high deficits are sustainable or desirable over the long term. That the coalition failed to cut as much as they planned helped the recovery we have had, rather than most of us have felt.

Will Ed Miliband be tough enough to deal with the poisoned chalice, becoming Prime Minister and make the case that if he fails it was Tartan Tories that had it in for him as he seeks a full majority in a snap election? If his whips when in opposition can be as effective in Government, he might yet play the game the way SNP never envisaged.

Up for grabs for the next government is the future constitutional settlement of this nation. After the indy referendum it might be easy to forget that. The problem is to beat the nationalists Labour must be an electoral force to be reckoned with north of the border. That would be best helped by a progressive Labour Government. English voters should consider voting a majority Labour Party is the only way to safeguard the United Kingdom as it is. The risk is a minority Labour Government.

As for a Conservative majority, hopefully they understand the future federal structure necessary to safeguard the union. Hopefully members are listening to Paul Goodman:

What is the alternative, if the Union is to be saved (and Cameron to stay on, for that matter)?  Margaret Thatcher tried to wish the problem away.  John Major sent back the Stone of Scone.  Tony Blair and Gordon Brown tried a devolution halfway house with rotten foundations.  None of these ploys worked.

Only the federal solution remains: unless, that is, one prefers shouting “Boo!” at Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in the hope that they will go away (which they won’t) – while simultaneously bringing closer the very SNP-Labour deal that Team Cameron is rightly warning the country against.

It is time to put the Conservative and Unionist Party name to the test – and prove Peter Hitchens wrong that you would never accidentally on purpose allow a situation where independence happened to lock-in a future English Parliament.

As David Cameron said:

I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone. I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain’s success – so for me there’s no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation.

There is no question for me that Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland and Alex Salmond in Westminster know how to make that happen in a hung parliament where the Liberal Democrats do not help Labour or Conservative to the 326 majority of MPs. The nationalists do not come at the English with swords and guerilla raids. They come in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie. The smiles and bonhomie cannot disguise that the SNP will do what they can to ensure an independent Scotland happens.

If you thought that the indy referendum had settled the future of Britain, be prepared to wake up to a potential headache after May 7th. The SNP were not knocked out, rather Labour is on the canvas in Scotland as we await the count to start when the polls close. If Conservative voters in Scotland are serious about saving the union they need to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat to keep the SNP out.

The nationalists are coming, and Labour are the ones to blame. For by them losing MPs in Scotland we may well be a step closer to the break up of the United Kingdom. Can anything happen in the next month to change that? Well I expect leaking the memo was an attempt by someone.

England – if you wanted a say in the future of the United Kingdom during the indy referendum, this General Election you have by either returning a Conservative or Labour majority government. Judging by the polls, many things will hang in the balance.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Video: David Cameron Conference Speech Parody

Set to Eminem’s 2002 track ‘Lose Yourself’, the rap slices together moments from the Prime Minister’s party speeches over the years.

It was released the day a new EU law came into effect which allows comedians to splice together or parody other people’s work without risking legal action. [The Independent]

(N.B. some use of mother farmers in video, but in a pulp fiction sense)

The British Prime Minister’s actual speech to the Conservative Party Conference did reach moments of self parody.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Joe Scarborough Mea Culpa?

Sort of … Joe Scarborough former Republican congressman now television host says in the wake of Sandy Hook it can no longer be business as usual. However he gives these causes:

The violence we see spreading from shopping malls in Oregon, to movie theaters in Colorado, to college campuses in Virginia, to elementary schools in Connecticut, is being spawned by the toxic brew of a violent pop culture, a growing mental health crisis and the proliferation of combat-styled guns.

Though entrenched special interests will try to muddy the issues, the cause of these sickening mass shootings is no longer a mystery to common-sense Americans. And blessedly, there are more common-sense Americans than there are special interests, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Good luck to the gun lobbyist or Hollywood lawyer who tries to blunt the righteous anger of ten million parents by hiding behind a twisted reading of our Bill of Rights.

Trying to pin it down on pop culture (video games, and movies). Up there with mental health issues – which if we believe current reports not helped by a mother preparing for the apocalypse, training him to shoot in preparation for the breakdown of society. Also note “combat styled guns”. This suggests to me not all types of guns. You know, the other ones that also hurl metal at bone piercing speed, smashing through organ matter.

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In case you think I am nit picking, another quote explaining abandoning libertarian views:

But the symbols of that ideological struggle have since been shattered by the harvest sown from violent, mind-numbing video games and gruesome Hollywood movies that dangerously desensitizes those who struggle with mental health challenges. Add military-styled weapons and high capacity magazines to that equation and tragedy can never be too far behind.

If we want a discussion about the impact on a psychotic person certain video game and film content has, fair enough. We can study that. The problem with the analysis above is that for the health problems of a few that non health experts consider susceptible, and those primed psychotics needing a trigger, the solution is to oppose the First Amendment. By a conservative moralist.

So conservative views on art and entertainment are after a piggy back ride on the sorrows of a nation – when the demographics of the killer at twenty years of age suggest he would play such video games, see such movies.

The issue is not that media entertainment exist. The question is were his mental health needs safeguarded, and what role did the mother (reported that she took time off work to look after him unclear) and local social health workers have in his welfare?

The focus must be on Adam Lanza so we can actually see what could have been done, and learn.

Misinformation abounds as the news is gathered – the above could be speculation as far as I know reported as true regarding mother and concerns for son’s state of mind. The answers to his upbringing and mental health will be key in the coming days. No doubt other factors as well which might be even more critical; how can we judge till the information is in? We need to examine the facts.

So we do not make any mistakes again, or draw the wrong conclusions now. Or knee jerk ones that appeal to our own values and prejudices.

Previous blog: Crazy talk on Sandy Hook, and a heroine

All Sandy Hook blogs here

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Student Revolution

The battle of ideas cannot be kettled, although for us observing we can be distracted. So while media comments on anti-semitic remarks on a student leader’s facebook page (Independent today – Julie Birchell) or YouTube clips of a wheel chair bound protester handled roughly by police – the principles and vision of civil society is clouded in the fog of a propaganda war.

The question is who pays and how should the goods of higher education be distributed? Is this a good which benefits society the more people consume or is it such a personal benefit that the person studying should pay – the means of financing being the issue?

Homo economicus has been absent for too long (I’m back!) so this is something to sink the teeth into because economics might let you think about the answer to these questions.

To the question of who pays may be impacted by whether higher education is adding to human capital or an indication of the labour market value of the student. If adding to human capital, increasing the value of the economy, would mean that society has an interest in optimal higher education being consumed. If all higher education does is signal the value of employing graduate labour (by degree studied or university attended) then society does not have the same vested interest whilst the student has a pecuniary one.

My economics lecturer said how students were aghast when he suggested the private benefit of higher education suggested a contribution would be in order by students – something he had done for the last 20 years. My class were less horrified because the New Labour government of 1997 had just announced a U turn on tuition fees. We were not affected and demonstrations were muted for those to come. Oh the times they are a changing now.

Yet education is a political social good. The citizen that is numerate, literate, articulate and has financial means beyond survival has the chance not just to be a part of civil society – but to shape it. A hand to mouth existence does not allow this freedom till the dirt of the poor is washed away by the blood of the oppressor, by the hand that had nothing in it to lose.

Yet that calls for the focus to be on primary and secondary schools – for when they fail students the prospect of higher education is as illusory as winning X Factor. If higher education is a means of entry to the political elite, or the good life, it becomes a matter of urgency that we need good schools (though not the only thing a key factor not least for women).

However even if we raise attainment levels, the odds of someone from a poor background going to University is about 2 times less than from a rich background with the same attainment. Debt aversion is cited as being a major disincentive, rather than seeing it as an investment in higher future earnings.

It might well be the perception of higher education needs changing to increase participation, and improving secondary and primary attainment, that need to be the focus of social justice. Stats that a richer student is 22 times more likely to go to Oxbridge then someone eating free school meals (today’s Independent) misses this crucial point of attitude and academic achievement prior to higher education. This is more then class war for want a be rebels.

The riots are the backdrop to some serious points on education and social justice – and a Conservative led government might explain why students are revolting now but not when Labour accepted the concept that students should directly contribute towards their education back in 1997.

So try and see past the visceral and decide what education system and society we need, an equitable way to pay for it, and the price we pay if we get it wrong. That really would be a revolution.

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