Monday, January 02, 2006

Old Peer living in the past shock

You have to laugh. Roy Hattersley once again uses his Guardian piece to berate his party’s leader. He must now just use some software to trot out all the embittered phrases in a random order for each article. Still I expect he picks up a few hundred quid a go so it’s money for old rope really. He apparently hankers after the good old days when the Labour leadership kept the party safely in opposition as they did when he was part of the team. Life was so much more pleasant there for those interested in political theory rather than the hard work of political practice. I always enjoy the letters from former Labour councillors who resign in response to some element of Government policy that doesn’t somehow fit in with their theoretical view of how the country should be run. Few of them seem to recall the compromises they had to make when engaged in the dread work of local government nor do they show much loyalty to the Party that helped them to their few years of local glory. Herumph.

Happily the paper’s leader writer seems more attuned to twenty-first century political realities than is their noble lord columnist. The writer declares that “it is essential to treat Tony Blair's achievement seriously” and, later that “Mr Blair's legacy already exists”. Quite correct, now why can’t his critics move on? The Independent is concerned about Whales but on an inside page has a rather tongue in cheek piece about how to become rich or at least to feel rich. I especially like tip 9 that advises us to “hang around with poor people” because feeling rich is primarily about comparison. But the real truth is in tip 10 that hints at how rich we in Britain all really are in global terms. The Telegraph leader writer remains in awe of David Cameron but, reading between the lines, it’s clear that the new wonder boy will have trouble ahead from the ‘political correctness gone mad’ brigade when (if?) he gets round to announcing any real policies. For example, the death of the patient’s charter will, the writer thinks, raise a few eyebrows.

In the Times William Rees-Mogg, about ten years after everyone else, has realised that election campaigning must be targeted on marginal seats. He noted that the Tories woke up to this difficult concept in 2005. Scary, before that we could rely on them wasting much of their resource campaigning hard in their extremely safe seats. Living in a Labour no-hope constituency and adjacent to another I'm sometimes amused at the uncomprehending fury of some local activists who can’t seem to understand why the nearby Labour marginals were besieged by Cabinet ministers in early 2005 whilst their constituencies couldn’t even attract the Regional Organiser for a visit. Meanwhile the Daily Mail is trying to restart the cold war. They are incensed at the Russians' attitude to their gas reserves. It must infuriate them that their hero, Mrs Thatcher, was happy to see our North Sea gas reserves sold at rock bottom prices (mainly because it enabled her to keep personal tax rates artificially low) whilst the Russians seem to understand market forces rather better and have hung onto theirs until prices went up. Funny old world, eh? Further down the comment piece the writer expresses concern about the authorities keeping track of our fingerprints and DNA. With the Mail and Liberty both lined up in opposition, our Home secretary must be more or less on the correct track…..

Happy New Year

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