The government is getting its message across

Hazel Blears says the government is not getting its message across.

On the contrary, Hazel.

The last few weeks have been brilliant for letting the public see the true face of Brown’s regime.

The message of authoritarian control, stifling of freedom, class war, attacks upon success, feather bedding the public sector elite and the air of unreality about government borrowings and costs have all come across so well.The nasty politics, making public policy a trap for the Tories each time has proved instead to be a boomerang. Now we have a civil war between Labour MPs and Ministers as well.

Please keep up the good work. Let’s have more calls for loyalty – a sign of a weak regime. And let’s have more personal agendas, so we can see what they really think around the Cabinet table.

It’s not the dividisions that will bring them down – they are quite healthy in the circumstances. Divided parties do get elected, as Margaret Thatcher’s Tories and Blair’s New Labour showed. After all for 10 years we had the Chancellor running an anti government against Blair. It’s the dreadful economic results, and the oppression of our freedoms that will bring them down. It’s the attack on enterprise, the trashing of great institutions, the detention without trial, the decision on the Gurkhas, the incompetence of the Home Office and above all the lurch towards national bankruptcy.

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22 Comments

  1. Simon D
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I think you make an interesting point about the public sector elite. I am struck by three things (1) the expansion of the client state in terms of job numbers (2) the terms and conditions, including high salaries and (3) the hidden benefits of the public sector such as matchless job security and pensions underwritten by the state that private sector employees can only dream about.

    Any young person looking for a decent job should now consider the public sector as a well paid safe haven.

    The Conservatives have a difficult choice. (1) By all means lop the low hung branches but (2) bear in mind that public sector employees are voters and won’t necessarily vote for their own annihilation.

    We are a country living well above our means and one of the symptoms is our over-manned and over-paid public sector workforce.

    Things get better for public sector employees the further North you go. If a couple live in a northern or Scottish town and each of them has a middle-ranking public sector job they can live an extremely prosperous and and comfortable lifestyle in areas where housing costs bear no relation to the overheated south. The Blair/Brown dream ticket has done a wonderful job in managing the electorate in its favour at taxpayer expense.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 3, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I don’t see the public sector pension review as just a Conservative party future problem to sort out, this has got to be a cross party issue and agreement. 25% (the MP’s have had to put 27%) of gross earnings as taxpayer contributions to public sector pensions is not sustainable for any party after all they’re not even putting this in at the moment they’re trusting our children to make up their pension holiday, as well as paying of their personal tuition debts, and bank debts.

      It’s not sustainable for large private companies either as stakeholders and shareholders (that’s private sector pension holders and isa savers, amongst other big individual investors) need a return on their investment of money and time. Goodwin’s pension agreement featured on the BBC website on Friday should be a wakeup call to all shareholders in FTSE 100 companies of where our investment is truly going.

    • charles
      Posted May 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Hello John

      I know that most people think that Labour has now lost all hope for the next election – but I think that they are wrong.

      There are millions of government employees who will vote Labour, and – just as important – who will use their influence to propagandise on behalf of Labour.

      These people nowadays represent a truly mighty, exceedingly well-funded, organised force.

      Then, of course, there are all those claiming benefits from the state. They, too, will tend to vote Labour.

      So, how on Earth can the Tories ever win when it comes to the next election?

      There are millions of people who, at the outset, will be completely set against Tory ideals.

      Well, in my view, there is only one hope.

      The Tories must take on the state!

      The Tories have to *show* the people that the state is not, in fact, their friend.

      But the Tories are not doing this. They continue pandering to the notion that the state is ‘good’ for people.

      For example, in essence, most of the public believes that “Public spending is good”.

      And unless the Tories can reverse this notion – i.e. by showing the people that public spending is *bad* – then how on Earth can the Tories ever win – unless they, too, fall in line with the current ethos, and also proclaim that we need a lot of public spending?

      It seems to me that the Tories have to agree that public spending is ‘good’ in order to stand any chance at all at the next election …

      … UNLESS, that is, they can convince the public that public spending is bad!

      But this is going to require some bravery on behalf of the Tories because, to begin with, the notion that public spending is bad will not go down well with the public.

      But, RIGHT NOW, there seems to be a golden window of opportunity to *launch* a full attack on public spending and the size of the state apparatus.

      And yet, David Cameron is just not doing this.

      In fact, I do not think that David Cameron ever will.

      As such, he is really letting the side down, in my view.

      Charles

  2. Simon D
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I forgot to mention the BBC in my earlier comment. It provides a perfect template for everything that it wrong with the public sector (1) too much activity (2) too many employees (3) absurdly high salaries, terms and conditions and (4) a pension scheme to dream about.

    Why does the Director General of the BBC need to be paid over £700,000 a year which includes a hefty “performance bonus”.

    • APL
      Posted May 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Simon D: “Why does the Director General of the BBC need to be paid over £700,000 a year which includes a hefty “performance bonus”.”

      It’s the public sector ethos: “Because I can”. As to the performance bonus, let’s privatize the BBC and then, perhaps, we can better judge its performance, having done so use that knowledge to decide the size of the bonus.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I see Milli, with an impeccable sense of timing, now decides the public finances are in order for a private jet for the FCO!!

    • DavidB
      Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I suspect that revelation has more to do with the internal machinations of the Liebour Party than the publics right to knowledge. He is one of the “contenders” for Baldrick’s crown after all. A Smearjet as one of Guido’s conspirators dubbed it.

  4. Guy Herbert
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    What’s better still is her recantation late last night and unavailability for comment today. (What instruments of torture were shown her, I wonder?) That very nicely shows the nature of the Brown regime: the slightest deviation will be punished.

    Other notable instances include Admiral Lord West renouncing his skepticism about 42 days, “I am just a simple sailor”, after being called in to meet Mr Brown.

    Most recently David Blunkett was reported as having called for the ID scheme to be scrapped. He actually said no such thing, really implying only that it should be aggressively remarketed. However, it appeared as dissent, and the result was a recantatory letter from Mr Blunkett to the Daily Telegraph: “I am entirely committed to the whole programme and, specifically, the database.”

    I wonder whether anyone has a definitive list of such redeclarations of faith.

    • APL
      Posted May 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Blunkett: “I am entirely committed to the whole programme and, specifically, the database.”

      Well, he would be. Bought and paid for by Entrust.

  5. Donna W
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    You forgot the expenses issue, which is affecting Labour far worse than the Tories – at the moment at least – although the release of information in July will no doubt identify MPs from all Parties who seem to think they have a right to steal from taxpayer.

    The latest is Labour ‘Lord’ Baroness Uddin – who has claimed £100,000 in expenses for her ‘main home’ which was an unfurnished and unoccupied flat in Maidstone. At least, it was unfurnished until the Sunday Times challenged the Baroness. She actually lives only 4 miles from Westminster.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    John
    Yes amazing how all of a sudden the Media is finding out that Mr Brown and the Labour Party are not what they say, but what they do.
    What a shame it has taken 12 years !!!!!!
    The sad fact is that none of the Cabinet Ministers have had the courage to speak out before on the true state of affairs, or were they too dim to see what was really happening as well.
    More a case I would suggest of self preservation in both posiotion and salary for most of them.
    The problem we now have, and it must be a genuine concern if press reports are to be believed, is the mental strength and stability of our Prime Minister and his future actions.
    Clearly Mr Brown is desperate to remain in control.
    The danger will be if and when he puts his own position before that of the Country (some will say he already has).
    Perhaps we have now almost got to the tipping point, or perhaps we still have to get there.
    Only time will tell.
    But I would suggest that we do not underestimate Mr Browns ability to manipulate future policy and events for his own benefit.

  7. figurewizard
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    For years, with the honourable exception of a very few (e.g. Frank Field, Kate Hoey) the Labour party has supinely nodded agreement to every proposal put before them by the great leader. This has either been through fear of damaging carrer prospects or because they have always been profoundly out of their depth. Now, thanks to the polls a sauve qui peut mentality is taking hold of Labour, as evidenced by the revolt over the Ghurkas and expense accounts.

    Hazel Blears, the cheerleader-in-chief’s response is to complain that ‘the message’ is not getting across. What she fails to understand as you make clear is that the message has indeed got across. What she ought to be doing today is to apologise for it.

  8. Lola
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    You’re sounding very cross again. Excellent. More please. Let’s have some genuine fury.

  9. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    In view of all this the Tories should say to the ‘Stay At Home Party’ that if they want the Client State cut to ribbons to restore the UK to fiscal sanity then they must vote Conservative. Otherwise the Tories will not have the votes needed to get enough of a majority to win an election. The Conservatives must make it clear that Labour have been rigging elections with taxpayers money by ensuring that enough people rely on the state to ensure a payroll pro-Labour vote in marginal seats.

    I am not certain that that has quite been conveyed to the voters as yet – anyone who worries about the UK remaining solvent must vote Conservative or Brown will win on the back of people employed by him or subsidized by him to re-elect Labour.

    So broadcasting that message might make sense….

  10. Neil Craig
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Its the lurch towards national bankruptcy. If it were not for that being rude to the rich, reforming the Lords, tougher on terrorism, preventing aggressive little brown men coming here would not be hurting them. Indeed all these politices were first introduced not for the better running of the country but because they were expected to be popular.

  11. Javelin
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Just read an interesting article in sciencedaily.com (well I am in Hannah montanna movie with 4 girls/daughters and an iPhone). Anyway there’s an article on self control in the brain. There is an area in Pre Frontal Cortex (vmPFC) that controls decisions so it decides if you want to eat healthy or tasty food. It also effects whether you go into debt to gain immediate consumption The vmPFC is the pre conscious area and subtly controls our mind.

    So these researchers have also found another area in the PFC (the dlPFC) that modulates the vmPFC. There are a couple of things that this research could tell us. First that the Tories should campaign offer the healthy option on the menu. That the Labour party is just cake. Spending spluges taste nice but a nation cannot live off cake indefinately. Tories are not the cake party, but we will never be the nasty party. The Tories are the healthy party. The Labour party are the tasty party, but in the long run they are the nasty, obese party.

    Conservaties are the healthy party – especially for those who have poor self control. If the Tories want to win those voters they need to look at what persuades people to change their lifestyle and eat properly. I suppose the 5 a day is the best thing I can think of.

  12. Javelin
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Great song at the end of the Hannah Montanna film called “it’s about the climb”. Should be used as the next Conservatives conference. The Tories need to campaign on health. Healthy body (NHS), healthy minds (education) and healthy finances etc.

  13. Mike Spilligan
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the next photo we see of Hazel Blears shows signs of the accident she had this morning – or tomorrow morning, perhaps.
    .. and Simon D: The BBC DG gets over £800K pa, and when the Ross scandal was at its height just couldn’t be bothered to get on a plane from Sicily. So much for standards of accountability.

  14. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Alan,

    Brown has already put his country before the UK, Scotland of course. Devolution was developed by the EU and the Scottish maffia used that plan to destroy England, in that at least it has been succesful. All socialist parties since the war, WWll that is, have run down the economy and had to be bailed out once by the IMF and again by hard work on the part of the incoming conservative administration. The worry now is that the situation is so much worse than on previous occasions and I do wonder whether Cameron and Osborne have the nous and backbone to do what is clearly essential.

    Derek

  15. mikestallard
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    We all know that this awful, corrupt and extravagant government is doomed, probably much more quickly than we think.
    It is rapidly becoming very clear that Mr Brown is much more suited to local Scottish politics where Knox would “ding the pulpit in blads and fly out of it”. Losing your temper regularly and terrifying people is not how London politics should work.
    The huge question is this:
    Two years go the Conservatives were a really exciting party. Education, Police, Immigration, Taxation and proposals for much smaller government, and especially Civil Liberties were among the many fascinating ideas being discussed.
    So where are all these ideas now?
    Margaret Thatcher was electrifying at this stage.
    What a challenge!

  16. Chuck Unsworth
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not confuse ‘the message’ with the realities.

  17. Javelin
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I think a thought experiment is helpful.

    Suppose Labour crash to the worst defeat ever in the Euro elections, led by a Prime Minister who has never been held accountable in the polls. A PM who was soley responsible for the dominant issue, the economic mess. A PM who was never elected by his party.

    Now he may have a very flimsy mandate. But it would be necessary that a vote of confidence is held by either his party, parliament or the country, if he looses the Euro elections to a record level. I think that unless his position is actually put to the ltest, as opposed to his party, then he has stepped ouside his constitutional right to govern. I think that a loss is a loss, but a record loss means he will have to face a real vote of confidence. His circumstances are unique, the economic circumstances are unique and his right to govern will be unconstitutional.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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