The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

From the Corus crisis to the tragedy of Teesside

It is devastating to hear the news that the Corus plant in Redcar is going to be ‘mothballed’, perhaps signalling the death knell to the area’s steel industry and highlighting what a sorry state the economy, and industry in general, is in in this country.

A Labour Government has overseen a far greater decline of industry than there was under Margaret Thatcher. Isn’t that a grim indictment of this dreadful Brownite government?

The Corus crisis has been going on for some time now. The British Steel works, at their peak, employed tens of thousands of people. Now the last 1,700 have been given their marching orders, as owner Tata has decided to close the plant, complaining about the failure of the consortium to come to a solution.

Declining demand is only part of the problem. We have a Government that is more interested in keeping its pals in the City of London banks happy by having uncompetitive exchange rates that’s good for speculators and those who dabble in foreign exchanges, derivatives, and so on.

The London fat cat has got fatter at the expense of the worker in places like Redcar and elsewhere.

There are 1,700 workers, and many families with their kids facing a bleak future this Christmas thanks to this dreadful news.

It’s not just the jobs, it’s the symbolism of the closure of the steelworks, that has cast a further shadow over a once great industrial area.

People lining their pockets elsewhere have colluded in the dire state of our economy that’s led to this situation. We need a mindset change from government in terms of how it handles industry.

After all, if we don’t make anything that adds any value, and keeps decent working people in jobs, and all we do is shuffle money around the world and get paid commission and bonuses (and many of those involved in that profession are far from decent, we must admit), then what as a country are we for?

It’s no use saying “oh, let them take benefits”. Jobs and economic renewal is what places like Teesside and other parts of the North, and of the Midlands, need.

This Government, despite being Labour and formed for the people, isn’t going to deliver that; all they will deliver is more expenses wheezes and other ways of making as much money for themselves as possible.

It’s an absolute disgrace.

4 December, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

When will Lord Mandy ever learn? The postal crisis should be taken seriously

After his notorious attack on the trades unions in the “British Jobs for British Workers”, or no British need apply, scandal at the Total factory at Lindsey, Lord Mandy has now told the postal unions to “wake up”. Union leaders have rightly highlighted how Ministers have been “sulking” and, in return, Mandy – who met Qadaffi’s son while on holiday at Rothschild’s villa this summer – has attacked the Communication Workers Union.

But who engineered the decline of the Royal Mail? Why, that would have been the European Union of which Mandy was once a Commissioner. And now, after his stint running the country from the Rothschildodopoulous Estate in Corfu, and being “PM as PM” (what a joke), he has now decided to have a go at the salt of the earth postal workers who deliver our mail despite Government animosity and hostility. Mandy is trying to make the postal workers Brown’s mineworkers, thinking that will somehow win back Middle England.

But the EU, by semi deregulating the industry, allowed private companies to cream off the best of the postal business, leaving the Royal Mail in a crisis. Of course postal workers should strike, given the way that they have been treated by Labour, which once would have stood up for them. But then big business, which David Cameron rightly promised to stand up to 4 years ago when he became leader, call the shots in the Labour party now, not the unions.

Labour is so determined to please its corporate cronies and pals that it will run yet another important British industry into the ground. It is Mandy , Brown and the rest of them in the Cabinet who need to wake up and smell the cappuccino, not the unions. After all, no self-respecting union man would mistake mushy peas for guacamole; but then Lord Mandy is so detached from the real working-class people of this country, despite once being the MP for ‘Poolie, that there is no chance of him waking up any time soon.

We need rid of this Labour rabble (which is again betraying its own people ), so that social and economic progress can be resumed at long last.

19 August, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wilted Rose awakens (again): Labour has not been a progressive party “for an age”

Watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers the other evening, the following line caught my attention:

TREEBEARD: The ents have not troubled about the wars of men and wizards for a very long time. But now something is about to happen that has not happened for an age

As you know, the ents keep discussing what they are going to do, and then finally do something about it. The parallel with new Labour is irresistible, except that Labour is still discussing what they are going to do about child poverty, entrepreneurship, job creation, and many other important policy matters. Socialist ideology has a lot to say about these issues, and yet its insistence upon massive public spending, the oversized state, and therefore high taxation (disproportionately on the less well off, i.e. the poor) means that Labour can never deliver.

Labour was once progressive. It was once a party that stood for something, and stood up for the working man or woman. Yet now, it is empty ideology and failed policies, that have led to one of the worst recessions that the UK has experienced since the 1920s.

Two years ago I started this blog, angered by the state of our country, and was particularly vexed by the murder of Rhys Jones and the lawlessness and the impunity with which perpetrators committed crimes. The torture and murder of Peter Connelly, or Baby P, who was recently named, and his pathetic mother and her coven of vicious men also highlights the social – and, in effect, socio-economic – failures of the New Labour project. And so have many other tragedies over the 12 years of Labour, from Blair to Brown.

Now while I admit that I have had some concerns about the Tories’ (and Mr Osborne’s) reactions to the recession, the Conservatives are in opposition and, arguably, would have reacted better if they were in Government. However, Mandelson’s attacks are groundless – Tim Montgomerie has already debunked them thoroughly.

I read Mandelson’s article and the front cover of Tuesday’s Guardian (it being one of few British newspapers available in Finland where I am until early September), but let me make this comparison. Why is it that, after 12 years of New Labour, a child born and brought up in Haringey fares so much worse than a child born and raised in one of the most socially deprived areas of Helsinki? Why is it inconceivable that the Baby P tragedy (and atrocity) would happen in Finland, and yet it happens again and again in Broken Britain?

Why indeed. If Labour set out to deal with the (socio-economic) causes of crime and to eradicate child poverty through its “Third Way” policies, that Lord Mandy constantly trumpets, why is it that these policies have been abject failures? What is the point of 12 years of Bliarism and Brownism when vulnerable families are being evicted daily, in their droves, from their homes due to repossessions by state-backed mortgage lenders? And, elsewhere, because they cannot afford the rent?

The truth is that Labour has had over a decade and yet has been too busy entertaining Cool Britannia to bother about doing what it said it would do in its 1997, 2001 and 2005 manifestos.

It is really Labour, of which Mandy boasts about being a major architect, that is the “Do Nothing Party”. Labour has not been a progressive party “for an age” and Mandelson’s article is yet more empty rhetoric to try to act as “The Emperor’s New Clothes” over a Government and Labour Party that is embarrassingly naked of delivering on its many broken promises.

13 August, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

So it’s the worst recession since the 1930s

According to the thinktank NIESR, it is the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression:
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said in 2009 the country’s GDP could contract by 4.3%, and then grow in 2010 by 0.9%.

But the Nationwide Building Society said UK consumer confidence saw its biggest rise in two years last month.

Separately, a committee of MPs has criticised the government’s growth forecasts as “too optimistic”.

The government has predicted the economy will shrink by 3.5% this year, and then grow by 1.25% in 2010.

But the Treasury Committee said it was “very concerned about the state of the public finances” in its report on the Budget, and questioned the chancellor’s assumption that positive growth will resume in the final quarter of this year.

Whether it is as bad as the Great Depression depends on whether the lenders manage to con people into buying what are still overvalued properties; whether the jobs gloom worsens; whether consumer confidence and, therefore, spending improves; and, in other words, whether we return to the vicious cycle of debt – credit-card or mortgage fuelled – that led to this recession.

I should know about job losses, as mine (and another colleague) is due to go in September, unless one of the people who are responsible for the finances in the university decide to keep us on. My future is in their hands – and whether I can continue living at home, or have to emigrate again to Great Britain to continue my career, or at least  earn a living. I’m not the only one whose life is on hold, but at least I don’t have a mortgage any more. I do have a pension, but having a job is essential to securing it for the future.

There are sadly many people in Brown’s Britain who don’t have the option to go elsewhere looking for a job, because they’d be penalised by the tax and benefit system; it would break up their marriage or wreck their family; whereas many others can sit in their state-paid-for welfare-houses and do nothing.

Getting on my bike, as Lord Tebbit once said, is an option for me – but, sadly, not for most Britons. Brown must go.

7 May, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Part-privatising the Royal Mail? Digging its grave? Lessons not learned?

That ex EU Commissoner Lord Mandy is doing the EU’s bidding in part-privatising the Royal Mail is not in the slightest bit surprising.

Labour backbencher John Grogan said three cabinet ministers had told him they opposed the plan and told the BBC:

“Is this the time for the Labour government, which is going through hard times at the moment, to completely split the Parliamentary party down the middle?

“Over 100 Labour MPs have signed a motion against these proposals – it’s going to be Peter Mandelson against a big bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

Lord Mandelson, who has come under fire for choosing to introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said he was sorry for the “political pain” that the proposals were causing in Labour ranks but vowed not to “walk away” from the proposals.

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski told the BBC he would vote against the plan, because he was concerned deliveries to rural areas, like his Shropshire constituency, would be under threat if Royal Mail was run by a private company.

Good on these MPs for standing up to the élites of  the EU and skunks like Lord Mandy and the Government who are rubbing working people’s faces in the mire yet again. How many postmen and other Royal Mail workers (and their families) will suffer, in the current Brownian Depression, because of this?  They will not vote Labour again.

It was the EU that forced competition onto the Royal Mail, which is one national institution in which the free market simply doesn’t work, because delivering certain items and to certain locations are “uneconomical” and, therefore, have to be subsidised.

Lessons have not be learned from the deregulation of the buses, where rural services were axed (forcing many country folk into cars, and others – especially the elderly – into isolation), or for that matter the Beeching of the Trains (not privatisation – just butchery).

So, in digging the grave for the Royal Mail, the EU – which has no accountability or mandate to the British people – has forced part-privatisation and rats like Mandy are lapping it up.

This does not only mean misery for many Royal Mail workers, but it also will damage even further OUR postal service and OUR deliveries (they’re not Labour’s, remember). There would still be 2 deliveries a day, with mail by 7.30am, if it had not been for allowing private mail firms to cream off the best of the business.

26 February, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The empathy vote: “Mess with our mothers and fathers and we won’t vote for you”…

I had an epiphany on a doorstep in Crewe in May last year. A lady’s grandson had committed suicide, because he couldn’t find a job, she told me. She said that there was no way she – or anyone else in her family – would vote for the Party responsible. After I left the doorstep, I felt pretty sad for what had happened to a young man who had lost hope.

This lady’s story is a particularly extreme case. But there are countless other examples in the current climate where people are switching their vote from Labour or Tory because of what’s happened to a relative or friend (or switching from Lib Dem to Tory to put Labour out, for the same reason).

We may be a country of millions of single households – but we still have family ties, and we have friends – and if you mess with our spouses, or our kids, it’s one thing.

But mess with our mothers and fathers…

I wonder how many other elderly people had the shock my mum and dad had today when they opened their electricity bill and saw how much it has soared.

There’ll be plenty of other sons and daughters, who may even have to help their parents out financially as a result of soaring energy etc prices [whichever statistician made up the figures that imply inflation is slowing is taking the mick], and they have lost patience with Labour.

And these are just some of the things which explain why Labour is doing so absolutely abysmally in almost every social group, gender, and location. Its policies have hurt so many people, but they know many others who are suffering and they are voting accordingly: we shall call it the empathy vote.

The only way to repair the system is to rid it of the parasite – the Brownian Labour Government – that is causing the “toxic debt” that is destroying large swathes of our economy and society.

23 February, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brown’s new £500b ‘gamble’ … But then it’s not his money

As the real economy collapses around him, Brown is planning to announce another bailout, this time a £500,000,000,000 (enough 0s there?) ‘gamble’, as today’s Telegraph describes it.

Though it’s our money, not his, and the worst sort of gambler is one who takes ‘excessive risks’ with other people’s money.

Which is just what the banks stand accused of doing…

… so what is the difference between Brown and bankers? Very little, let’s be honest.

It’s no wonder he’s doing so badly in the opinion polls.

23 February, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A weak currency arises from a weak economy which in turn is the result of a weak Government” – Gordon Brown.

Edmund Conway, on p 21 of today’s Telegraph, quotes Brown when he criticised the Tories in 1992 at the time of the disastrous Major/Clarke/Lament era…

Brown was right to say this then, and the quote is even more apposite today.

It’s just a pity he didn’t live by it, and has made even bigger mistakes than the Tories did then.

23 January, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Today we are officially Recessionary

The official figures released today show two consecutive quarters of economic decline or contraction.

Which will stop the ‘downturn’ lie …

… But also remind us what a sorry state Brown has got us in.

23 January, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Suspend the National Minimum Wage? NO.

Julie Hepburn, the next MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East, highlights the scandalous and outrageous proposal by the British Chamber of Commerce’s Mr Frost (or is that Scrooge?) to suspend (or freeze) the National Minimum Wage.  

Frost isn’t very festive when he makes this suggestion.  While businesses (particularly those in the retail sector) are suffering during the current recession, it is their workers who are facing uncertainty and hardship. Making a profit is important to firms, but business ethics is just as important to society at large – and the individual workers who would be affected by an unethical suspension of the NMW. 

Freezing (or Frosting) the National Minimum Wage would equal a reduction of low income workers’ wages in real terms.  With inflation and the current low returns on savings, wages should be increased – not frozen. Also this proposal would affect women, many of whom work in minimum wage retail jobs, disproportionately – so it would be sexist.

Let’s see whether Labour, which as the Bishops rightly said is “beguiled by money”, caves into Mr Frost’s ludicrous demands.

31 December, 2008 Posted by | economy, Labour, Labour Party, politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It will be working-class Northern women who do for Brown

The great Kathy Staff has sadly died.  We never found out the politics of her character on Last of the Summer Wine, but I’m willing to hazard a guess that Nora Batty (the fictional character, not the actress) was  a Tory and that she would have had none of Gordon Brown’s financial & economic nonsense – and that she would have seen our hapless PM with one swoop of her broom.

Ms Yvette Cooper isn’t a Northerner herself: she’s a public schoolgirl who neither understands economics (despite – or because of – being Chief Secretary to the Treasury Numbskulls), nor has any of the financial nous that characterise tough Northern ladies like Mrs Batty.

Labour is doing very badly with women in the opinion polls (around 10 – 12 points (or more) behind the Tories).  In particular, Labour’s advantage in the North is not as good as it should be, and the explanation is quite simple.

In earlier posts, I highlighted (a) how Northern & Scots men aged 35-55 and on benefits were flocking back to Labour; and (b) why the Tories need a Northern strategy.  I managed to offend Kerron Cross (and no doubt other people) with my Rab analogy, but I was just trying to make a point and I apologise if anyone else was offended.

More recent opinion polls have generally confirmed the trend, and though there are no specific figures, it’s fair to say that in the North (whether we are talking about Sunderland, Darlington, parts of Yorkshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, or wherever) Labour will not have as easy a time electorally as one would expect.  Particularly in Greater Manchester, given plans to ignore the congestion charge referendum and press ahead with the scheme.

Once the Tories get their economic strategy – and their Northern strategy, just as importantly together – they will be able to pick off a number of key Northern marginal seats largely on the back of working-class Northern women. Let me empahasise that I’m not characterising Northern women as Nora Batty, but my point above is that she would have seen off Brown with her broom.

And when it comes to the next general election, it will be working-class Northern women who do see off Brown – with one swoop of their metaphorical broom, the vote that women fought so hard to win – and they can make a difference to all our futures by ousting this dreadful Labour Government.

While some sections of the electorate have fallen for the Labour tax con and the apparent “Save the World” reincarnation of Brown, working-class Northern women have not.  It was they (and particularly Catholic women) who, more than any other group, gave Labour the boot in Crewe & Nantwich by switching to the brilliant Tory candidate Edward Timpson.  I remember one such lady on the doorstep in Crewe who told how Brown’s economic policy, including rising food and petrol prices and the abolition of the 10p tax rate, were affecting her and her family – and why she was voting Tory for the first time.

One key element of the Tory Northern Strategy (and their broader economic strategy), therefore, has to be to connect with working-class Northern women in such a way as to reassure them that, while Brownian economic policy means debt and disaster, the Tories’ means prosperity and plenty.

15 December, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why the Tories need a “Northern Strategy”

The latest Populus poll for the Times has Con 39%, Lab 35%, LD 17%.

But, as the detailed figures show, amongst men it’s Con 38%, Lab 35% but women are Con 41%, Lab 32% – with the Tories around 20 points ahead in the South, Wales/SW, and the Midlands, and Labour well ahead in the North and Scotland.  As a writer in the Salisbury Review observed a few years back, the Conservatives need a “Northern Strategy” (á la Nixon’s phenomenally successful Southern Strategy).

I’ve argued before that it’s less a Brown bounce, than an Osborne bust.  The Osborne effect, but also worryingly more widely the malaise that has fallen the Tories on matters economic (and especially fiscal), has allowed Labour to claw back a considerable portion of its former support.

Whenever the General Election comes, and Brown must surely be weighing up his chances next spring with this latest ‘vindication’ (or vindictive?) poll, the Labour Party is going to offer 4-5 years of the same as we’ve had over the last 11.  And that is not good for Britain – a surefire way of breeding more Karen Matthewses and more tragedies like the death of Baby P.

Ed Balls (with Mandy spinning away in the background, doing more damage than even he did in Brussels) has carefully transferred the blame to the hapless Sharon Shoesmith.  Yes, it happened on Ms Shoesmith’s watch – and, whilst it was the murderers who killed Baby P, it wasn’t social workers (who are being increasingly demonised in the name of political expediency, exacerbating the recruitment and retention crisis in the profession).

It’s partly ideological, but it’s also systemic, and it’s a polical failure (as Camila of Kids Company has argued), which means that many Social Services departments are rotten to the core.  But, at the end of the day, the buck stops with the even more hapless Government and the clearly out-of-his depth Mr Balls. 

At the same time, Labour looks in a better position in the polls when it has overseen 11 years of economic (eventually after the apparent but false ‘boom’) and social (drip-drip-drip) collapse. 

It’s time for a change but a large part of the population doesn’t yet realise it.  But then, whatever happens, as they used to say in the States, the “welfare checks [sic] will keep comin’.”

One way that the Tories could kickstart a “Northern Strategy”, which is doable as they won the otherwise inpregnable Labour stronghold of Crewe & Nantwich in May this year, is to bring back David Davis who appeals to Northerners like the Oxbridge boys don’t.  The next step, just as they did beautifully in Crewe, would be to tell the people of the North what the Tories can do for them economically and socially.  Voilá.

9 December, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments