A Blueprint for a Bluetongue

In a week dominated by more foot and mouth and an unprecedented outbreak of Bluetongue on Britain’s farms, Gordon Brown fired the first shot in the warm-up to the General Election. It was his personal blueprint, setting out his values and his moral compass. A blueprint for a Prime Minister who appeared to have caught Bluetongue. Set against a deep blue screen, the Prime Minister came out of the closet and revealed himself to be a Tory to his bones. Gordon was trying to convince Middle England, straight-faced, that front is back, left is right, and red is blue. Perhaps some of them were persuaded by vacant statements like “Aspiration for the many and not the few” that they had been born yesterday. Surely most of them were left wondering, “Where’s the beef?”

Election fever seems to be the new political Superbug. Gordon Brown has been helping to spread it by getting his hands as mucky as possible in recent weeks, pinching Quentin Davies, Conservative ideas, and cadging considerable ground. But yesterday, he was scrubbing them furiously. Not of election fever, but of the last decade. Desperate to cleanse himself of the germs festering from the Blair years. Wringing his hands of the Northern Rock crisis, pledging to toughen his own failed laws on cannabis, binge drinking and gambling. Barely a flicker on the EU Constitution. Hardly a single mention of Iraq. “Don’t blame me!” he was shouting, “I wasn’t there!” But he was, of course.

It was awfully depressing. It was the first time that, as a voter, you might credibly feel that choice had finally diminished, that red had merged with blue to become the colour of Gordon’s chosen tie. He spoke of “British jobs for British people”, limits on immigration, “British values”, tough prison sentences for knife possession. “You’re safe with Gordon!” he was telling the Daily Mail readers. If you closed your eyes, you could almost forget who you were listening to. Surely that is the strategy – to confuse the British people. To covince them that you’re not the Gordon Brown of Big Government and stealth tax. That you’re not the Chancellor who spent all their money and plundered their pension funds. The one who held the purse strings and plotted his way to Downing Street during 10 years of wasted opportunity. No, this is a different Gordon entirely. It’s the new and very British Gordon Brown, with aspiration, opportunity and social responsibility seeping out of every pore.

What the new, improved, Gordon Brown has done as Prime Minister so far is to mirror the way Chelsea played football under Jose Mourinho, going 1-0 ahead and then stifling the opposition by playing dull defensive football, squeezing the life out of the game. The polls suggest the electorate appreciate this contrast with Tony Blair’s presidential, informal style. But yesterday he went further – by cloaking himself in blue, the speech was the political equivalent of scoring the first goal, bursting the ball, and chucking it into a lake. The Prime Minister appeared to be saying “There is no choice”. That is what he represents. So far he is getting away with it. Those who worry about rising disenchantment with politics and permanent cynicism about politicians could do worse than to start with yesterday’s speech. David Cameron’s challenge next week is no longer to show that Brown represents no change – that plainly has not worked. His challenge is rather, to demonstrate that the Conservative leader himself offers a real choice, one that is attractive, stark, and unmistakable.

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When will the General Election be?

I’m going to risk making myself look like an idiot in my first Tory Radio column (A view which I’ll probably come to confirm in later weeks), but I at the time of writing (the evening of the 24th), my gut instincts are telling me that we won’t be getting an autumn election, and May 2009 will be the date. Apart from my gut instinct, I also draw that conclusion from my reading of the betting markets.

Political Betting is a pretty small fish in the overall gambling pool, but thanks to sites like www.politicalbetting.com (it does what it says on the tin), there is an increasing interest in this type of betting genre and liquidity is slowly building up.

The most influential market is the Betfair date of the General Election market. It is split in 6 month timeframes for the date of the general election. The biggest price movement in this market has been for a date between Jul-Dec 07. We all know why that is!, but as a daily reader of market moves on Betfair, the money doesn’t look like it’s coming from people in the know, just punters following the news agenda and believing the hype. One of my main reasoning’s for this not being inside money is the lack of movement in the Jan-Jun 08 and 09 markets. If this Autumn election was a cert, the prices of these would be lengthening, but there has been no significant movement at all, indeed the 6 months of 2009 remains a resolute favourite. And why is that?

Well it’s simple. In my very humble opinion, Brown’s favoured date is the spring of 2009. He will try and fight the County Council elections and the General Election on the one ticket. This is due to my belief that the proposal to destroy the mainly Tory District Councils will resurface next year as Gordon Brown Stalinist tendencies take over. The Autumn election idea is a wind up to the Tories and a stick to keep his party and the unions on message during his first 100 days. This has snowballed out of control which could rebound on him massively if it doesn’t happen.

Anyway May 7th 2009 is the election date I would be betting on. I just hope I’m not wrong!!

Blackpool here we come!

Well the CD’s have been burned, labelled and packed – all 2000 of
them. The hotel has been booked. The diary is getting very full. We are
all ready for party conference – though still no pass. Probably nothing
to worry about……

The good news is that we have interviews lined up with Francis Maude, Caroline Spelman, John Redowood, Nick Bourne, and Stephen Hammond already and hopefully will have time to conduct a few more.

Another reason not to vote Lib Dem

Photo of Ming Campbell Looking Rather Silly
Across the country we all know that is some places the Lib Dems like to portray themselves as a left wing alternative to Labour, and in a neighbouring seat as a moderate alternative to the Conservatives. To those of us who have been concerned about immigration and its effects on the UK, perhaps here is a reason why you should never vote Lib Dem.

The key word is not immigration in this story but ILLEGAL! My father emigrated. He did it legally. he jumped through many loopholes to do so. He didn’t just turn up in a country, work, take advantage of everything they had to offer in the hope that at some point he would be offered an amnesty. Are the Lib Dems really saying that some illegal immigration is justified? It certainly looks like it!


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Author Nick Inman has just published his new book – POLITIPEDIA, which has just arrived on my desk.

It is the ultimate quirky reference work for voters. students and politicos in the Westminster Village. Amongst its pages include The Top 10 back bench revolts, and perhaps my favourite, A guide to the top political insults!

You can buy a copy of the book by clicking this link

Nick Inman took time out of his schedule to talk to radio about his new book.

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Laughable Lamb

Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem Health spokesman has floated some "interesting" proposals today – which on the surface look sensible.

However afetr just listening to him on Radio  2, it seems that in the cold light of day they are laughable. As I understand it.(do correct me if I’m wrong) drunks who are abusive in casualty should pay for their treatment. Well as a non drinker Ithink thats a great idea. But hang on – does that mean those who arent abusive don’t get charged? So can the happy drunk get away with his or her behaviour – but the aggressive drunk gets charged.

Then the second part of the policy is that pubs or clubs who serve the booze should also be expected to pay. How on earth do you find out from someone drunk where they got their booze? My wife likes wine, and she joined the Sunday Times wine club – she bought one case and got another free. If she was silly enough to drink them all in one go would the Sunday Times be responsible for supplying her?

Norman – yes we need to tackle binge drinking – however is this going to solve the problem? Drinkers do need to face up to the consequences of their actions – but can’t the same analysis be used with regards smokers and obese people, or is abusiveness the only criteria being used for introducing such charging?

My copy of the Q o L report

It took a while – but I have finally printed it off in all it’s glory. yes it’s over 500 pages, but I did use the back of the headed paper I had for the 2005 election – so that’s a good way to recycyle, and yes I refilled my inkjet cartridge myself before you all start moaning.

Before I make too many comments on the report myself, and before I sit down with Zac at conferenec I’m going to do what alot of commentators have’t yet done – and try to read the thing.

I may be gone some time……..

Thatcher meeting Brown at No.10

Now I am pretty sure she isn't also going to be an adviser to Brown!

Quality of Life Report out now….

ConservativeHome have got hold of a copy of the quality of Life report due out in the morning which you can read by clicking this link. Tim rightly points out that this version has no exec summary (I assume one will be available in the morning) which is very ironic, as a 500 plus page report including many aspects about saving energy and being kind to the environment is hardly easy to read online – and hardly environmentally friendly to print.

However needs must…and I will be cranking up the HP bubblejet……but in the morning!