The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

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

Haringey resignations: they should be prosecuted: but it’s endemic

Meehan, Shoesmith and Santry – Leader of Haringey Council, its Director of Children’s Services, and its Children’s Services Cabinet Member – have been forced to go following a scathing independent report into the murder of Baby P. 

As Balls’ Tory shadow, Michael Gove MP, has just pointed out on Sky News, the same authority was given a “clean bill of health” in a report a year ago.  But that there are other failings in a full report that he has seen  but which has not been made public in this climate of Government secrecy and cover-up. 

Had Cameron not “gone ballistic” at PMQs a few weeks back, Labour would probably have covered up this report and allowed Meehan et al to cling on to their jobs…

Gove can’t say what is in the report as the Met would probably arrest him on a trumped-up charge. 

Why has the Department for Public Prosecutions and the Met not started legal proceedings against those who have resigned, given their culpability in the death of this child?  These people should be arrested, not Damian Green.

And so it goes on.  Ed Balls should reconsider his position and resign – after all, it’s happened under his watch and one of his fellow Ministers was tipped off some time ago by a “whistleblower”.

Kids Company’s Camila Batmangehelidjh has outlined on Sky how there should be a “structural review” of children’s services across the country. The “chronic underfunding” of social services departments and a “lack of leadership of politicians” highlights what she describes as a “political flaw” and which needs a new structure.  Individual social workers should not be vilified, she explains, as it is a flawed and badly structured system across many Social Services departments.

Ms Batmangehelidjh, who is one of the most respected “social entrepreneurs” in helping disadvantaged and vulnerable children, is absolutely spot on.  It has been clear that this is an endemic problem due to the “political flaw” that Ms Batmangehelidjh outlines.

We don’t need any more weasel words from Ed Balls or his ilk – we need action, for the sake of our kids – put in the resources centrally and sort out the structure in these social services departments.  And, most of all, change the “ideology” that Tim Montgomerie bemoans:

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the whole affair is that the fate of Baby P is the claim that all the usual procedures were followed, all the boxes ticked, all the shibboleths observed. There is ideological problem represented by a hostility to adoption by social workers and not only in Haringey.

This proves that it is the system that it is at fault – if we don’t deal with this “political flaw”, while we are fussing about trying to fix the banks, then we as a society will be a lot worse off.  And, for the sake of kids like Baby P, we owe it to them to resolve this endemic “political flaw” and ideology as soon as possible.

1 December, 2008 Posted by | economy, Gordon Brown, kids, Labour Party, politics, social breakdown, social services | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment