The Last Days of Flashman

362A38AC00000578-3684727-The_microphone_David_Cameron_was_wearing_picked_him_the_Prime_Mi-a-83_1468258613840Off he toddles humming away. ‘Right’. He doesn’t exactly look very bothered does he?

People like David Cameron are born in power and will die in power. A few years actually, you know, ‘running the country’ isn’t really here nor there.

As British politics descends further into a purer level of farce it’s important not to be drawn into the media’s narrative about the personalities involved. This isn’t about Jeremy v Angela or Andrea v Theresa. While the Tories are often indivisible, driven by a shared obsession for power, there are real and important political differences in Opposition politics being payed out today. ‘Brexit means Brexit’, there will be no compromise and the people with petitions and thoughts that Article 50 somehow won’t be enacted are delusional.

The real issues are on the other side which will reach some form of conclusion today as the Labour Party NEC meets.

“Imagine. You slash the welfare state; push the NHS towards bankruptcy; carelessly drag the UK out of Europe and apart, then sod off humming.”  – Deborah Orr

It’s worth trying to assess David Cameron’s time in office and how it has interacted with the demise of New Labour. Because as it’s a simple and easy line to see Cameron as a Thatcherite, in many ways he is far more the ‘Heir to Blair’, and as we see Chilcot and the Corbyn coup playing out it’s important to realise that David Cameron’s last days are really the last days of New Labour.

As Tony Wood has written:

“…what is most striking about Cameron’s Conservative Party is not any atavistic devotion to Thatcher, but how closely they have modelled themselves on New Labour. Cameron has adopted a rhetoric of ‘change’ and ‘modernization’, speaking of social justice and improved public services, with an additional dose of eco-friendliness—a scribbled tree was approved as the party’s new logo in 2006. Party strategists have busied themselves with the same kind of ‘triangulation’ as did New Labour’s, tailoring policy statements to the concerns of floating voters in marginal seats. There are parallels, too, in the role of former tabloid editor Andy Coulson as Cameron’s spin-doctor, and in the party’s reliance on the largesse of millionaires: Osborne apparently pressed for a donation from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska while a guest on the latter’s yacht, along with Peter Mandelson; the Tories’ biggest donor in recent years has been its deputy chairman, the oleaginous tax-evader Lord Ashcroft. Like New Labour, today’s Conservatives are also unabashed in their admiration for their supposed antagonists: in 2003, the current shadow schools spokesman Michael Gove said of his own attitude towards Blair, ‘it’s what Isolde felt when she fell into Tristan’s arms.’

_59132943_59132942David Cameron’s time in office has been characterised by the art of politics as perception. If Thatcher was a conviction politician, Cameron was one for whom the veneer of belief was worn lightly. He’d appear to believe in whatever you wanted him to believe in, whilst quietly issuing in very specific and ideological policies.

Does anyone remember ‘Hug a Hoodie’ and the Huskies? Remember his claim to lead the “greenest Government ever”?

If there’s any example of the gap between rhetoric and reality it’s his environmental legacy. He scrapped  the Government’s flagship Green Deal home energy efficiency programme as part of the austerity drive and pulled the rug on Scotland’s renewable sector. His government cut solar incentives by 65%, with a corresponding crash in installations, and ditched the Green Bank. They binned Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and lobbied in Europe to undermine pollution caps for cars, then they removed  subsidies for wind energy but gave tax breaks to the shale gas industry and it’s been revealed (via ministers’ letters ) that they are taking fracking planning decisions out of the hands of local authorities.

But if their hypocrisy over the environment has been spectacular their mismanagement of the economy has been staggering. While the last labour government famously left note saying: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money”, the reality is that six years on there is £1.7 trillion less. This despite a raft of astonishing punitive welfare reforms and tax cuts for the rich. His has been simultaneously the most ideological of Tory regimes and – on the surface level – the kindest and most progressive. A reality only understood by those on the receiving end.

His association with News International, his friendship with Rebekah Brooks and his appointment of Andy Coulson seems to have been quietly forgotten over the years, but the sewer that is tabloid Britain remains because it was fed and nurtured by Cameron’s close friends and colleagues.

So as Cameron departs, humming away, oblivious to the chaos him and his party have caused, in comes the unelected who will enact the greatest foreign and economic policy disaster she opposed. The theatre and staging of this is going to be highly choreographed as Paul Mason comments:

“Theresa May’s conveniently short walk to Downing Street is designed to combat the impression that nobody is in control. But without a major change in policy, we are still rudderless on a churning financial sea.”

Meanwhile, whilst the opposition should be slating the Conservative government for their reckless ineptitude and self-serving hypocrisy, they are instead attempting by legal means to keep their leader off the ballot for re-election.

angela-eagle-labour-partyAngela Eagle and the Entryists

After much fanfare and derision  of Corbyn’s media management, Angela Eagle’s opening press conference was a disaster from her pink Union Jack with “Aargh” scrawled over it like a plaintive plea for help – to a series of awkward tv interviews.

Asked why she voted for Iraq war, Eagle just said ‘I’m a Northern working class girl who understands modern life’.

Asked what policy differences there were between her and Corbyn by Andrew Neil she said nothing.

Her ticket is that she is not Jeremy Corbyn. That’s it.

She is, as she and her supporters repeatedly claim “electable”. They don’t say for what reason, under what policies, or by what strategy. She is, like Cameron, a slogan and stylists artefact, coiffed and well-presented but with nothing to say.

Maybe it was a good thing that the media fled to the Andrea Leadsom pantomime. What would she possibly have said?

“BBC anyone? No? Okay? Robert Peston, where are you?” – Angela Eagle

Tony Wood again: “The void at the party’s core has been filled by conformism and careerism, hunger for electoral success distancing it ever further from its origins in the labour movement. This has not come without cost, as indicated by Labour’s steadily declining share of the vote, and even more by the rate of abstention in the party’s industrial heartlands.”

CameronHoodie_468x545As the desperate strategy of ousting their democratically elected leader the last of the New Labour tribe are at least open and honest. Tessa Jowell yesterday was very clear: “The only purpose of a political party is to build a route to power”.

There are only three options from today: the death of labour; the split of labour or reconciliation. The first seems most likely. That will be Tony Blair’s real legacy and Theresa May’s inheritance.

We face the most right-wing government ever without effective opposition as we embark on the most radical, and potentially disastrous political act in a sea of financial uncertainty, geopolitical chaos and a new culture of racial hatred.

He’ll be remembered for ‘winning’ one referendum and losing another, two decisive steps in the dissolution of the United Kingdom. He won elections and lost a country, blinded by the incompetence of his own elite and the remarkable PR that has consumed our political class.

 

 

Comments (40)

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  1. Mach1 says:

    If the NEC decides to keep Corbyn off the ballot as the leaders of the putsch want, then democracy has died in the Labour party, and it is time to bury the last of its elected representatives at all levels of government via the ballot box.
    It has been laughable to see former Leninist turned New Labour acolyte Margaret Hodge talk down Corbyn. No one seems to recall her role in the Islington child abuse scandal.
    Corbyn does appear to be a fundamentally decent person. It is the contrast of his rather naive politics with the Blairite machine that most appals ordinary voters.

    On the Tory side, let it be said about Theresa May, she won’t last until May. Her party’s cloven feet have been exposed by Brexit, and, as many observers have noted, is now in thrall to its right-wing.
    This is a gulf she cannot bridge, and the team she is currently drawing around here are so deeply at odds that she may have to hold separate Cabinet meetings to discuss her programme in government and what the Brexiteers demand.

    It is likely she will try to delay signing Article 50, or the exit negotiations (which ever gets the Brexiteers off her back) but the upshot will be the same: confidence in her will seep away and the Tories themselves will decide to go to the country, expecting that a disorganised Labour party will have no chance of winning.

    The great hope must be that the Tories have underestimated what having 500,000 plus members means for the Corbyn wing of the Labour party, let’s call it Continuity Labour. And that the Continuity Tory party of Theresa May is a far more fragile beast than the markets would have traders believe.

    This should be the opportunity that Scotland is waiting for, where the only vote that makes sense is for the SNP, a consistently progressive centre-left voice which is decidely pro-European. It is on this pitch that independence can be won.

    1. John Mooney says:

      The “Labour” party died the day Blair,Brown and the rest of the scrofulous crew gained power in ’97 now is the time to inter the festering remains for good!

  2. Frank says:

    I think Labour’s right wing is pushing for a split. They don’t want a mass party where MPs are accountable to the grassroots – instead they would prefer a top down party which is managerial, hierarchal and run by the MPs and spin doctors. I find it incredulous that less than a week after Chilcot, Angela Eagle who voted for the war and was opposed to any independent investigation into Iraq, can be presented as a serious candidate. Yet, regardless of what happens at the NEC today Labour are in a period of serious decline. As much as I like Corbyn and despise those who are organising the coup against him, his leadership of the party has not been great and whilst it’s true that the Blairites have organised against him from day one he is awful at presentation and getting his message out. Moreover, he has allowed his opponents to frame the narrative, whereby the contest is reduced to personalities rather than policies. His strategy of not attacking his opponents is a major weakness. Corbyn is of course popular with the left and political activists but he has yet to develop a strategy for winning power. Yet despite these criticisms, anyone who supports democracy or believes that ordinary people should play a role in political parties beyond that of putting out leaflets, must support Jeremy Corbyn.

    1. tartanfever says:

      It’s not Corbyn’s fault that he can’t get his message out, every single media outlet has it in for him Exactly the same happened in our referendum, ‘Yes’ couldn’t get their message out because all the media were favouring the other side.

      The media report what they want, they have no duty or responsibility to be even handed.

  3. David Sangster says:

    Do not forget, o speedy one, that the cloven-footed are rather adept at crossing the rickety rackety bridge. An alternative scenario is that May takes the party by the scruff of its neck, signs Article 50 on Thursday, dispatches her team of negotiators to Europe on Friday, says No means No to the Scots on the following Monday, and she hasn’t even paused for breath. Tuesday is prep for PM’s Questions, and she socks it to ’em on Wednesday. First week, phew!

    1. tartanfever says:

      Bet you £100 she doesn’t.

      1. David Sangster says:

        No I don’t think she will either! That was supposed to be a teasy riposte to the post by mach1, but it has become detached by a long way. Thanks for the offer of a punt, though.

  4. Tony Reekie says:

    I honestly thought the humming as he walked away was a Chris Morris sketch but realised we don’t need The Day Today or Brass Eye any more. A thought is nagging away at me though. The ongoing narrative from ‘Remain’ is ‘it’s a disaster, we are adrift, alone and economically vulnerable’. Given that so many No voters were also clearly Remain voters how do we begin to argue that another split doesn’t make things even worse, especially as so many on the Yes side are going along with the ‘it’s a disaster’ argument? Confused of East Lothian

    1. Yeah i thought that it was a clever dubbed edit too.

      I take your point about the ‘adrift’ thing – but maybe because the next ‘split’ will retain us with 27 other countries?

    2. tartanfever says:

      Easy Tony. As we leave the EU, we leave the single market and all the treaties – 40 years worth of behind the scenes negotiations, years of work, whole civil servant careers dedicated to this cause and also the membership of the World Trade Organisation, whose membership is so tied up with the EU now that the UK leave vote also now means leaving the WTO also.

      In short, the new UK will have absolutely no trade deals with any country anywhere in the world. It’s ground zero.

      An independent Scotland, looking at the rhetoric from Europe, looks as though it could negotiate a deal to effectively take over the UK’s place in the EU with a few tweeks here and there. In short, our trade deals are already in place with the rest of the world, the only one an Independent Scotland would have to negotiate is the one with England.

      Thats the choice.

      1. Sandy says:

        Not entirely correct and it’s another scare story project fear 3 can’t use against us. An independent Scotland in the Eu will get the same trade deal with the rUK as the rest of Europe. They will not be able to bully or punish us with 26 states behind us.

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          Sandy, I seriously doubt you’ll see a Project Fear 3. PF1 was invented (and used a-purpose & successfully) by Gordon Brown and his pet curr Damien McBride in 1997. In 2014 BT was run by Labour and funded by the Tories, with Labour’s logic being, ‘WE know Scotland, we know what will work.’

          This time, f/u Labour (and the goat you rode into town on), Layton Crosby and his sort will run things and the numbers will add up.

          Another ‘Moral’ campaign will be wiped out worse than ’14.

          If Scotland does not have in hand an UNAMBIGUOUS document signed by Merkel, Junker, Hollande and Draghi stating Scotland = rUK, full and final … IndyRef2 is a pre-, present, and post-farce.

          CB

      2. JohnEdgar says:

        Yes, that’s right. And England would also have to negotiate with Scotland. Over Trident removal etc etc.

        1. Mr T says:

          Yes. And Scotland would have to negotiate with the rUK over continued access to tax and benefits systems until we write our own. It’s not all one way.

  5. Dorothy Bruce says:

    “pink Union Jack with “Aargh” scrawled over it like a plaintive plea for help”. Nice thought. But if you look closer you’ll see it’s actually ‘Angela’ that’s scrawled over it. Still, amounts to much the same thing.

    1. Yes I know.

      It was a joke.

  6. John Edgar says:

    Politics of perception became the policies of deception and deceit ending in a mess!
    After all, Cameron threatened to propose Brexit if he did not get those ” concessions from the EU”.
    In other words a game, a nice little jape. If it goes wrong, no matter what, I’ll be off.
    NICE ONE!
    Was that humming one of relief or one of contempt? Usually with Cameron, when the mask falls, as we have seen in his responces to Corbyn at PMQT or in his poking fun at his prounciation of Farage’s name, his inner nastiness like his “nasty party” becomes apparent.

  7. e.j. churchill says:

    I’m a non-dom and live & work in the City, so my only interest in Scotland is financial. That said, IF the Englich Hatred can be lost/shelved/hidden, it sure looks like there is a mutually beneficial deal to be had in some type of role reversal: Britain NEEDS a ‘Best Friend’ in the EU and Scotland NEEDS the stable 40% of Scotland’s GNP Britain cheerfully buys. I don’t think there are sufficient adults to make it happen, but I DO know the whole scenario has been gamed ar BoE.

    Scotland’s basic Financial position of Independence (immediate Bankruptcy) is not much changed, but the EU is going to hurt w/o a LOT of Britain being re-included.

    Could that ‘LOT of Britain’ be Scotland? dunno

    CB

    1. Kenny says:

      By what logic do you believe Scotland’s “basic financial position of independence” would be “immediate bankruptcy”? I can take people arguing that Scotland might be poorer after independence (I strongly disagree, but I can accept the argument.) But “immediate bankruptcy”? Do you really buy the “Greece without the sun” line? Why? Do you think Scotland’s economy is as fragile as Greece’s? Do you think Scotland’s tax collection systems would be as lax as Greece’s? If you know much about economics at all, you’d know that the “catastrophic” oil price crash that “torpedoed” the economic case for independence actually only reduced Scottish GDP by a measly one percent. Meanwhile, we have plenty of successful industries and the potential for substantial growth in others.

      I’m also curious about this “English Hatred” of which you speak. Is that English hatred of Scotland or Scottish hatred of the English?

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Back off the defensive attack. It won’t work, but some open eyes might help you, if you want answers.

        I’m Cassandra – if you wish. I’m a big-time i-banker and I don’t have the luxury of wishing/hoping/asserting/etc. iScotland would have IMF on speed-dial. Get a map, it will answer everything (other than currency, bank, financial system … sure & sudden death theirownselves) BEFORE you get to geography and loss of 40% of GNI.

        Scotland is at the north edge of nowhere, off established sealanes, with no ports, poor infrastructure and an ill-trained & equipped, but still expensive workforce. It is rich in the same natural resources it’s neighbors and competitors are … but THEY have ports/infrastructure, shorter hauls/costs and existing relationships with buyers. Scotland has English ports & infrastructure and shared relationships withy buyers.

        Can those disadvantages be overcome? eventually … maybe.

        Would joining the EU WITHOUT Britain’s extraordinary terms help Scotland? Not on your nelly. The EU is FAR worse master than Charles I Britain.

        sorry

        1. Wul says:

          ” I’m a big-time i-banker”

          ‘kin briliant!

        2. Graeme Purves says:

          You clearly know nothing whatsoever about Scotland. Get in the sea!

      2. e.j. churchill says:

        Peter Pan.

        1. Kenny says:

          LOL. Anyone who has to describe themselves as “big time” inevitably isn’t. Also, you’re incoherent and didn’t actually answer a single question I posed. You actually think that we’d completely LOSE 40% of GNI? You think there would be 100% border friction with England?

          Sorry pal. Troll harder next time.

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            Peter Pan, see above. I purposely ignored your ‘talking points.’

            Personal attacks are a poor substitute for addressing data, but this time seems to be a repeat of last time purely foreseeable butt-kicking.

            Don’t you arse-enn-peers learn anything from being beat like a red-headed stepchild?

            sheesh, what a maroon!

        2. e.j. churchill says:

          and, yeah, 40% loss may be conservative over say … 2 years. Data from EVERY new border, anywhere supports an immediate 30-50% loss of trade, and shrinkage, and Scotland has a special case of loss.

          Subsidies.Gone.Now.

          arse-enn-pee is dumb AND have no idea of the depth & breadth of their dumbness.

          It’s called a known-unknown most places. In Scotland, it’s called Scaremongering.

          Mike, good article.

          1. Kenny says:

            Awwww. You’re kinda cute when you try to be clever. Keep trying though. One day you might even be qualified for your BIG TIME job.

            xxx

          2. Jamie Tintin says:

            You don’t happen to be Glasgow Working Class 2 who trolls other Indy websites? He thinks he can insult everyone’s intelligence too.

          3. e.j. churchill says:

            Hi Jamie, nope & nope, but it is impossible to keep Einstein’s quote under wraps: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

            So far and ATP, all I’m seeing from public sources is the same dreck – the Moral Argument – dodge, deny, deceive. It lost. It is a loser. It will lose worse this time.

            Learn the lessons and try for some winners. Politics ain’t rocket surgery, but it is damn sure not SCAREMONGERING when somebody reveals an objective reality: your finance & economics suck and you’ll be bankrupt.

            No, Angus, there are not a lot of currency options, and now is NOT ‘different from last time.’ Pick a currency and let the world see & test your assumptions.

            Let Peter Pan be & Grow Up.

  8. Gralloched says:

    Do not lose sight of the fact that the Tories friedmanite agenda, pursued relentlessly since 1979, involves the dismantling of all state provision. The disposal of all public assets, at fire-sale prices. Wholesale privatisation. Wholesale destruction of all regulation, and hard-won rights.
    This is their agenda, and all else is a convenient smokescreen behind which they will ruthlessly pursue this agenda. “Brexit ” et all is a God given distraction, and they will never waste a good ” crisis “.

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      While I might quibble at the strength of your hyperbole, indeed, following (loosely) Friedman (and how to turn around a purposefully ruined economy) ‘saved’ Britain from sequential begging-bowl trips to the IMF and many who tried to protect private pastures proved insufficient to the task.

      As in any revolution, there are winners and losers, but nobody could argue that the main system was broken and more of the same was, demonstrably, going to make things worse and worser.

  9. Connor McEwen says:

    I love e j churchill [Not ] You have been rumbled.

    But will the thick headed pensioners see through you

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      Change the channel or re-direct the rabbit-ears.

      Put on your beanie?

      Take off your beanie?

      You’re getting ~Twilight Zone~ on every channel.

  10. Ian Ferguson says:

    e.j. churchill gives us the definition of insanity as Einstein’s repetition while expecting a different result… MMM, this sums up voting for ANY Unionist Party to a T.

    The fact he itemises and highlights the extent of their failure in Scotland and admits repetition is insanity then surely it is time to vote for change and Independence?

    A Unionist vote is indeed insane.

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      Generally, the Status Quo (Union) is a ‘safe’ vote, expecting little or no change.

      SNP won the ‘Moral’ case & vote. They’ll win it this time too, but that’s a loser. BT was pretty inept last time, and mighty comical. The Tories are a different game. deny, deflect, distract won’t work so good. Everybody knows what the important stuff is. Do YOU see any evidence the SNP is preparing for even medium-difficult questions?

      The same Moral campaign will lose again, and HUGE. I don’t know what you would call a ‘leader’ of legions of Peter Pans, torching straw men, and whose sole campaign is (AGAIN) GGG … but *EYE* would say, there goes Tweedledumb & Tweedledumber.

      have a delightful

  11. Ian Ferguson says:

    Deary me, once a fool,or should I say Lunatic, always a Lunatic and the same result will be achieved by taking the same failed course of action… e.j. churchill tells us this then proposes we repeat past actions and accept the failure which results from those actions… Vote Unionist… Fail…Vote Unionist again and fail ad neuseum…Lunacy indeed.

    e.j. churchill tells us about Einstein and the Lunacy of repeating the same failed course of action and expecting a different result… e.j. listed the failures of THE UNION and the adverse effect their misrule has had on Scotland but proposes more of same… Lunacy indeed.

    Do me a favour e.j. Look in a mirror, then YOU can spot the Looney too.

    Scotland needs change, the Union could have kept its vow and we would now have a Federal Scotland, but hey ho old habits die hard…THEY LIED.

    It is Independence for me.

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      Ian, might you by dyslexic?

  12. Ian Ferguson says:

    e.j. Might YOU be a Troll?

    1. Pilrig says:

      No might about it.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        silly goose(s).

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