Tag Archives: Lib Dem

UK Election 2015 – Exit Polls

Initial reaction… huh!? I had to rewind the BBC broadcast a few times when Dimbleby first revealed the exit polls at the stroke of 10 there. Even though we’ve already heard by this hour repeated calls for a cautious approach to the figures, which give the Tories 316 seats to Labour’s 239, it was unquestionably a blind-siding start to proceedings. Now we can only wait for, or more likely sleep through until, the results proper.

Why by contrast the rest doesn’t surprise me, I’m not sure. It felt clear that the SNP were running away with the show in Scotland, and I’ve maintained unwavering faith in my prediction of five years ago that the coalition would result in pain for the Lib Dems. They did a deal with the devil as it were, chucked in their principles for a seat at the big boy’s table, and rightly are suffering. A German-inspired neologism springs to mind – schadenfreudegasm.

Favourite moment of the night so far? Without a shadow of doubt, the tantalizing prospect of Ed Balls losing his seat. I despise the man, in vast disproportion to my sentiment towards the Labour party, which is much the same as towards all parties – sceptical. This eventuality would appear to be a perfect encapsulation of why the Labour party appear to have come out so poorly. Not enough trust on the economy, and to be sure, Ed Balls inspires as much faith as a fox offering guardianship of the hen house.

Pardon my language, but he’s also a giant bell end, and by comparison I find Ed Miliband rather endearing for all his goofy qualities. But enough of that. How do I feel about the current prospect of another Tory government? Err… well, it’s better than a stick in the eye? Gonorrhoea is probably worse…

The markets definitely seem to like the idea. Honestly though, at this point I’m far too glued to the election analysis to really get into this consideration too deeply. And things may all change yet. And Jeremy Vine is doing more of his silly but curiously captivating 3D guff, so, more to follow…!


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UK Party Conferences 2013

My disdain for the transparency and excessive aspiration of the party conference season was close to shutting down any thought of writing much about it, beyond the last article’s brief showing of a lack of deference. I thought to wait until the whole lot was over next week, when the Tories had said their piece, but I’m going to jump the gun on that. After the Lib Dems, UKIP and Labour there is surprisingly already quite a lot to say. Less surprisingly, none of it too good.

Quickly then. The Liberal Democrats once again set the bar for pitiful desperation, with notable speeches coming from Vince Cable as he went on the attack against their coalition partners for being the “nasty” party. Presumably this makes the Lib Dems the nice party. And Nick Clegg was almost popping an aneurysm as he screeched into the microphone, “We’re not here to prop up the two party system, we’re here to bring it down!” I have many problems with both sets of approach.

First, despite the occasional bleating threat from the catamites of coalition that they might cede from the agreement and leave the Tories to a minority government, the likelihood of this happening, at least until the most expedient moment in time prior to the 2015 elections, is minimal. Clegg himself stated with wild abandon that the Lib Dems simply must stay in power as otherwise Labour or the Tories would surely take us down the road of communism or fascism respectively. So Cable’s attacks on the Tories are little more than self-flagellation as his party are inexorably tied to them for the foreseeable future.

It won’t serve the Lib Dems one bit to paint the Tories with the nasty brush, because they have largely towed the line with the same power-hungry eagerness that has utterly annihilated their support base up and down the country. In this sense, they’re a bit like the school yard bully’s pathetic underling, the one who hides behind the big lad and supports his loutish behaviour but then runs to the teacher later to discreetly rat everything out, hoping to gain supremacy via treachery.

Frankly, Clegg’s entire speech smacked of, “If we say it loud enough and often enough, then it must be true.” It’s sort of an effective political strategy except for the fact that it was barely half a wink after the Rose Garden two or so years ago that those once loyal had forever written him and the party off as crass operatives lacking any scruples. I don’t think anyone believes the Lib Dems are around for any other reason than to serve themselves, and the notion they form a critical mechanism against main party excesses will only ever again fall on deaf ears.

Moving on, UKIP… ah, UKIP. Thank you for vindicating the avalanche of criticism I levelled at you some months ago after the aberration of your success in Eastleigh. There have been various things between that by-election and last week’s conference that have steadily delegitimized them, and so my expectation of a dearth of joy for them come 2015 is on track. This is only helped when central party figures like Godfrey Bloom not only depart the reservation, but actually go stratospheric with their patent deficiencies of character and credibility.

Do I even need to detail his infringements? Never mind the fact that his name is now popularly “Bongo” after his incredibly tactless comments on foreign aid some weeks ago – throwing around the term “sluts” and bashing up CH4 journalists with party pamphlets is a new kind of crazy. Bloom already lost the whip and is now also quitting the party in Brussels, but the damage has already been done. I can’t remember a single policy point or anything from, say, Farage’s keynote speech. So thanks Bongo! Enjoy the wilderness, but I don’t think you’ll be alone for long. UKIP really is a gift to satire.

As for Labour, well, the opposition has been having a very tough time of late. As if sliding poll numbers during a prolonged government austerity drive wasn’t enough of an indictment of their own quality as a group of politicians, Damian McBride’s dagger to the soft flank of his former comrades speaks further volumes. I would say first that I do not believe for a fleeting microsecond that Balls and Miliband weren’t party to McBride’s actions during the Labour years, as they themselves were staunch Brownites. The launch of his book was callously timed to take advantage of the Labour conference and deliver maximum sensation against Labour’s front pair.

As for the conference itself, we’ve had fairly empty promises of a return to socialism in the form of repealed taxes, increased benefits, more social support, bank levies… all of which screams of a reaction against criticism for Labour being only able to promote an austerity-lite model that was received with particular derision after nearly three years of lambasting and rejecting everything the coalition was doing. It’s a feature I particularly despise about the Labour party at present, but what really miffs me here is that all of these things that Balls and Miliband have promoted are barely even socialist.

It’s just classic New Labour. Big spending promises, which have largely already been called out as unfunded and impractical, and only a short while after they came close to financially sinking the nation. They have slipped straight back into bad habits after a few years in opposition left them completely floundering for an idea that was even remotely dynamic. It is really appalling. Miliband just gave his big speech, and although I’d usually reserve some words for how laughably uncharismatic he is, being as stiff and obviously coached as any useless public speaker I’ve ever seen, I think it would only distract from the more pertinent point.

If Labour went to the elections in 2010 saying of the Tories, “You can’t trust them on the NHS,” after 13 years of Labour government and a distinct shift in Tory culture and personnel, then how on earth does Labour expect we could trust them on the economy? It will have only been five years come the election and the people at the reigns are still very much the same that were central to Labour’s abysmal failings pre-2010. They haven’t learned and they haven’t listened. The Treasury reports a funding gap in Labour’s proposals of around £27bn, and I take Labour’s denial of this with absolutely zero faith. I think they are dangerous.

The Tories will probably repeat something along these lines during their conference, which I expect will be a fairly confident affair. The more the economy grows, the more their poll deficit will decrease and this will only be helped by Miliband’s beleaguered position. They should be careful however, because one thing Labour did accurately identify is that the recovery isn’t yet being felt by the majority of voters, and the cost of living has taken a sharp upturn. If in the next couple of years they can provide more than what amounts to Labour’s rhetorical dogfarts, they stand a decent chance.

Without wanting to sound too much like a right-wing sycophant I could suggest you read past articles where I liberally criticise the Tories and coalition for their various amateur errors, and surely they will produce some further points of consternation. But I guess at the moment the strident river of tripe emanating from the other parties actually puts the government in a reasonable light. If only they ditched the moronic bedroom tax and lowered VAT a bit. The narrative is there for the taking. I guess I should actually wait and see what their conference reveals…

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The Good Ship Eurofeud Embarks Again

Well well… it turns out our Prime Minister has a little fight in him after all. Quick to chide cabinet ministers Gove and Hammond over their indiscretion concerning the European question, and holding the course on the 2017 date for the referendum, it seems he’s not ready to bend over to the Eurosceptics quite yet. Although doubling down on holding the referendum if renegotiation is rejected by Europe will hush the right a bit, two and half years after the general election is certainly less politically expedient than it could be. A smattering of confidence in the party’s 2015 intentions, and in his own renegotiation policy.

A cheeky little endorsement from Obama on his support for a “fix” is nice, but isn’t certain to shake more than a few MPs out of their intoxication, drunk as they are on pandering to this transient UKIP bounce. The American president isn’t exactly every conservative’s cup of tea. This week, from the comfort of a New York armchair, Cameron gave his fellow party leaders Clegg and Miliband a minor savaging on their own undetermined positions regarding the UK’s relationship with the continent. “Heads in the sand,” as the PM phrased it, omitting entirely his own firmly lodged disposition up until the last few days.

While a very large question mark remains over the issue of what this renegotiated position would look like, the suggestion is that it would come heavily down to Cameron’s individual abilities as a statesman. In the face of Hadal level confidence and even whispers amongst conservatives that here is a latter-day John Major, the embattled leader’s resurgence, of sorts, is vital to his prospects. And judging by the debate in the Commons yesterday over the Queen’s Speech and this theatre about the absence of the EU question, Cameron does appear to have turned some of the guns away from himself. Rigorous criticism was circulating around the entire House, notably in Clegg’s direction.

The amendment was easily defeated 277 to 130, but the 114 Tory MP’s who voted in favour are still a long term issue for Cameron. And with 29 year old Eurosceptic MP James Wharton winning the private member’s ballot for the first attempt at a referendum bill today, we can anticipate early problems in the process. Wharton is a staunch in/out referendum supporter and will certainly be trying to lock down the House on the 2017 date. It was by no means an overwhelming rebellion on Europe, but with backbench support up from 81 in favour of a referendum in a late 2011 vote, the already blatant swoon rightwards by some MPs is further indicated.

Now it remains to be seen how many in the Commons will actually get behind Wharton’s bill, and while it is currently likely to be shot down, the Tory’s did announce this morning that the three line-whip was coming down in favour of it. Cross-party backing is in short supply right now, although 11 Labour votes in favour of the Queen’s Speech amendment shows some desire in the opposition for Miliband to take a stronger stance on Europe, and as Tory Eurosceptic John Baron was suggesting earlier, there will be hopes a few Lib Dems could be rolled over in favour too. This issue remains something of an anathema to me though.

At the time of the Lisbon Treaty, Clegg was a bold little mouthpiece when it came to Europe, calling for a referendum then, and carrying this message through to 2008 and beyond. Despite criticising Cameron on the radio today for the renegotiation policy being “clear as mud”, where he stands and wants his party to stand on the matter is now one of Westminster’s total mysteries. To “lead the reform and then give people a say in a referendum when that leads to a change in the rules”, is ostensibly a position loyal to the coalition agreement, which stipulated that changes in the EU relationship would trigger an automatic referendum.

Sadly, the agreement also states that he and the Lib Dems have to be integral to such a reform process, and in light of Clegg’s hateful fecklessness, born from a confusing amalgam of power hunger clashing with a party political need to remain distinct from his coalition partner, I predict he will be true to his spanner-like identity. Thrust himself firmly into the works he will, the unmitigated pillock and architect of Liberal Democrat ruination. He’ll be the linchpin of political deadlock for the next two years while his party begin trying to carve themselves a more distinct and electable identity for 2015.

Rant over. They just annoy me, the Liberal Democrats. Not being a Eurosceptic myself but recognising the problematic relationship between the UK and an increasingly integrating continent, at least politically, it seems clear that public sentiment is generally in favour of strong and determined action to achieve the relationship the public is comfortable with. I believe in renegotiation, albeit ideally helmed by someone less precarious and subject to the sceptics gaze than Cameron, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in questioning the very one track European trajectory that has been.

As disturbing as it is to say this, as long as Cameron can hold his nerve he remains the best prospect for moderate change. Labour haven’t shown signs of offering the British people what they want and I doubt the Lib Dems under Clegg will ever have the guts to follow through with their supposed position. UKIP simply want the UK to slip into obstinate and isolated ignominy with their extreme position, more to the tragic irony of their general “Rule Britannia” understanding of the world. So… yeah. If Europe is the central issue in your mind, then the man even I had virtually written off last week is indeed your flickering, faint supermarket-bought pocket torch of a thing once known as hop… shop? Hope! Hope.

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Spring of the Long Knives

Nigel Farage must be laughing himself silly. Not to be hyperbolic, but chaos has beset the main three parties, as the last few weeks show the knives being drawn from clunky sheaths by not the subtlest of hands. Just today, Conservative cabinet ministers Hammond and Gove turned up the temperature on Cameron by announcing that a referendum on Europe tomorrow would see them voting “out”. The pain isn’t limited solely to the Tory leadership however, as signs indicate Labour and Liberal Democrat factions are steadily beginning to murmur insubordination.

It doesn’t come as the greatest of surprises that Peter Mandelson is dipping his beak back into the news cycle at this point, with words that poor old Ed Miliband won’t be delighted to read. Attacking the vagueness of the rather insipid “One Nation” theme that the opposition launched at last year’s party conference, the more cutting edge of his criticism was about Labour’s broader trajectory and focus. “You have to be more than a slogan and more than a label to get people to vote for you. So much is obvious,” he says.

Clearly not obvious enough to his party’s Commons front bench, who have proved guilty of being little more than a hollow protest bloc under Miliband’s leadership. The odd whispers of exciting, intellectual social democratic ideas that he is reported to be a font of haven’t translated into notable policy or a cohesive party mission. And more importantly, they haven’t translated into an energising force in terms of the electorate. Miliband, and Ed Balls for that matter, have consistently polled worse than their opposites in government.

This will be a strange one for Miliband to compute, given that “One Nation”, a concept pinched off conservative Disraeli, was his attempt to plant the Labour flag much closer to the Mandelson-favoured centre-left. A mild twist, given that Miliband came up through the party in the Brown faction that never quite got behind the “Third Way”, and was propelled to the top by the unions. Without the support of the dark lord of the New Labour movement and having been recently thoroughly spanked by Unite leader Len McCluskey for not being a union lapdog, it seems that Cameron is not alone in his hapless scramble in the dark for an ideological foothold.

Perhaps the most speculative of the treacherous whispers is regarding Nick Clegg, although how his fate isn’t considered inevitably sealed by his party’s current flirtation with ruin is an enigma. Whether or not Gove’s suggestion that Clegg’s opposition to childcare reforms is an attempt to shore up his strength in the party is almost irrelevant. Supposing that the slyly propagated rumour was true, and even if Lord Oakeshott were to put Vince Cable on the throne, the party are doomed to face only more electoral pain for the coming years. The initiative is gone for the Liberal Democrats, and they won’t see another bump in the polls like 2010 for some time, if ever again.

Of greatest import currently is that we’re on the eve of dramatic activity within the Conservative party, with events since the local council elections telling us that Cameron is likely to surrender to most of his right wing’s demands on Europe and immigration. Unless he has suicidal tendencies. Even the “compassionate” sympathisers seem to be getting dragged by fear into the traditional fold as is particularly indicated by Gove, who has been a major supporter of Cameron up to this point and for a long time. The education secretary undercutting his leader so bluntly is no small thing.

Until the 25th hour Cameron was desperately trying to inject enough confidence in his EU “renegotiation” strategy with Merkel to avoid this sort of mess, but UKIP struck too soon and he simply failed in that respect. With prominent ministers speaking their rather expedient piece, adding to the anti-EU chorus of old Tory notables like Nigel Lawson, this bizarre vote on the Queen’s Speech amendment on Tuesday is about as clear a message to the PM that it’s time for obedience on Europe. That, or protracted in-fighting, which could consign the lot of them straight back to opposition.

Tense times, where centre-ground politics are at stake. The country is generally not at all lurching to the right, as the Daily Mail might idiotically suggest in an attempt to deny Labour some comfort out of a very soft performance in the polls, but the race to target the middle that New Labour initiated has presently lost its vigour. I don’t think it’s impossible that we see a set of manifestos come 2015 that much more resemble types from the pre-Blair years. It’s looking that way for the Tories and we still have to see for Labour, but the amount of time they take to start galvanising their bases is directly proportional UKIP’s consummately unwanted longevity.

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Also Coming Soon

Focus on a real job in combination with much time spent on a philosophical piece for counterpart blog TranquilSigh has resulted in this shocking dearth of material for ProlongedSigh. Don’t panic. The piece is nearing completion and I will be procastiblogging again at the first opportunity, especially given all the excitement of today’s telling council elections across England and Wales.

Will UKIP chew up the Tory share? Will Labour steal back those 2010 losses? Will the entire Liberal Democratic party commit nationally mandated harakiri for being so disgustingly… Liberal Democratic?

Do we care about Green at all? Is the UKIP surge a sign of a national lean to the right? Is this a concern for the Tories on party political grounds, or for Labour on basic ideological grounds? Do council elections actually mean anything at all when so much can dramatically change between now and the next general election?

If the answer to my last question is “No”, have I actually just written this article in its completion? Possibly, but I wouldn’t be a political and current affairs blogger if I didn’t find a way to say something about most things. Coming soon. Probably after whoever shouting the loudest on Question Time later informs me of my position.

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The State of Governance: UK Edition Three

The long awaited Third Edition of this almost long abandoned series is here. It was my intention at the offset to write a regular article on the lesser machinations of Westminster and yet both initial attempts descended into angst and distraction. I like to think this is because I do care about the nation’s politics, however perilous a notion that is, but I’m also happy to invest plenty of the guilt in Westminster itself.

Where, oh where, oh where to start? Well, despite a recent wild assertion of Simon Jenkins that Nick Clegg is political mastery personified, and an article from Lib Dem president Tim Farron suggesting that the party is still a significant force not to be written off, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dem’s are now entirely written off. Attach any variety of expletives to the prefix “catastro-”, and you’ll be in the right descriptive area.

Both Jenkins and Farron were eviscerated for these outrageous views and rightly so, with polls showing Lib Dem support holding to their once familiarly weak 10% vote share. The minor surge in popularity brought to the party by Clegg’s 2010 debate performances has been trampled under the perception that they have done nothing to vindicate a single vote cast for them. The Mansion Tax, voting referendum, university fees and Trident spring to mind.

The truth is that Britain was briefly fooled into thinking there was a viable third party when the Lib Dems were given a platform at those debates, the first of their kind in this country. I can only imagine how small the minority of regularly engaged political junkies is in this country. Most do not take great interest in PMQ’s much less any other venue for occasional Liberal bleetings, and so the sight and sound of an essentially new figure who could complete full sentences was hard to dismiss.

I’m happy to call it now. Come the next election Labour and the Tories will strip the Lib Dem’s back down to their core base, however disenfranchised that lingering gaggle may be. But what of the main two parties, what are they doing to earn those votes? Virtually nothing at a glance. While the Lib Dem’s have been haplessly consigning themselves to ignominy, messirs Cameron, Miliband and all under them have also been resoundingly disappointing.

Labour first. I will admit to having a more sympathetic ear to the Tories, notably after a fairly destructive 13 years of Labour power, but that doesn’t make my present distaste for the front benches totally biased. Wednesday’s PMQ’s provided sound context for this claim, as Miliband stood up once again to try on the latest of his tactics, those currently being aggressive derision for the Prime Minister.

It may appeal to the hardline Labourites but I would think that to anyone to the right of even a fairly liberal disposition is going to be turned off. Speaking for myself at least, I have no time for someone who offers little beyond hugely hypocritical criticism, and in a fashion entirely lacking in deference. He and Balls sit at the dispatch box like some smug cabal, apparently ignorant of their responsibilities towards the current climate.

Labour are direly in need of some housecleaning, starting at the top. It should have taken place in the immediate aftermath of their 2010 defeat, the electorate having only disposed of so much chaff. As much as I may lean towards centre-right views, I passionately believe in a proper socialist alternative to act as a foil and provide a genuine spectrum of political discourse. Labour under this pairing are offering us nothing of the kind. I’ve said it before and will keep saying it.

The Tories, of course, are now also in need of a similar purging. I was for quite a long time pleased and impressed with Cameron’s “compassionate” conservatism, effectively a ploy for moderation while hoodwinking the right of the party into thinking there were still some traditional values politics therein. The game is now up though, and as last night’s vote on legalising gay marriage showed, at least half of the party is significantly behind the times.

As a side note, the legislation isn’t all it could be. I do not like that it explicitly protects religious freedoms as I feel these are already well enough protected. The state recognising the right of homosexuals to enjoy full marital status should have been the extent of it. Churches of any description in the nation can now hide behind the law, without further consideration for the progressive direction of society. Not that it matters to me, but this lack of debate within these religious bodies places their future at great risk.

But that isn’t why over half the Tories didn’t vote for it. Listening to the Commons debate it was the usual bewildered denial of marriage being anything other than the union of man and woman, and similar baseless propositions. The definition of marriage is whatever we what it to be, as made clear by the distinct evolution that the institution has gone through over the centuries. As with some of the stronger anti-European members of the party, I wish they were only a minority. Theirs being the prevalent position would not be good for the country.

Beyond this stark question of identity sadly lies the substance of the Tory’s successes and failures, and here there is little cause for celebration. Farce after u-turn after mishandling after farce, has bombarded my once rosy outlook on the party with so much doubt that I further seriously question the general competency of government. Botched contracts, botched policy and the metronomic presence of scandal does that to a young observer.

The absolute judgement is inexorably tied to the state of the economy, which is presently often labelled “anaemic” despite George Osborne’s regular insistence otherwise. But the signs of his over-optimism are apparent, as with Michael Gove today retracting his plans for an English Baccalaureate we have further proof that disorder is systemic within the echelons of the party. The likelihood now that Osborne stands alone in getting things right, if the Pasty Affair hadn’t already minimised it, is minimal.

Cameron bears plenty of responsibility for not guiding the ship with a firm hand, perhaps the result of trying too emphatically to return to cabinet style politics from the more presidential model of the Blair years. But this failing is clear outside of the cabinet, made visible by the increasing resurgence of the old Tory faction. I frequently allude to his balancing act of satisfying this wing while moving the party forward, and the act is in a more endangered state than ever.

It is unlikely, but heavens forbid he be ousted before the next election. Our political system is essentially one of cheques and balances, where one major party acts as counterweight to the other. Just as we need a worthy Labour party, we need a moderate Conservative party, in light of the fact that people prefer multiple incarnations of Labour to a harder right Conservative image. It was the inability of the Tories to find the middle-ground that allowed Labour so much unhindered activity from 1997 to 2010. After barely three years, it would be disastrous to go straight back to that.

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Rhetoric… Broadly Speaking

It’s been a fascinating couple of weeks. Politics have dominated the headlines in the UK and USA given the slew of autumn party conferences here, and across the pond the final countdown to the general elections began with the first of three presidential debates. Needless to say I am giddy and swooning like an addict given too great a fix. The finer machinations of running a nation are, of course, occasionally a bit dull but when the gloves of office come off as they have so energetically done of late even a true cynic could surely not resist a cursory glance at how the key players are attempting to engage their existing and potential supporters. Where to begin?

With Michael Deaver actually. Ronald Reagan’s long serving communications guru and Deputy Chief of Staff during his time in the White House had a very interesting perspective on the importance of constituent elements in a successful broadcast appearance. While referring mainly to the occasion of a leadership debate, his suggestion that appearance was 85% of the game followed by 10% “how you say things” and 5% “what you actually say” is curiously relevant to all of these recent and ongoing events.

Chronologically we had the Liberal Democrats first, as indeed how else could they be first in any other consideration. They may as well have taken this opportunity to lead the pack, in however a meaningless fashion, but sadly there was never a possibility this act could really seize the initiative. Nick Clegg and company are simply far too damaged at this point to attain any reversal of fortune but nonetheless from 22-26 September they did their best to ignore the fact. It was quite remarkable how oblivious they were to the arch-dilemma they are consumed by. Perfunctory apologies from our esteemed Deputy PM for their impotence in opposing the vast student tuition increase were ridiculed but beyond this the Liberal Democrats carried belligerently on as normal.

This was not a party in crisis mode as far as I could discern and my substantial disbelief at claims they were an effective foil to Conservative antics was only surpassed by the audacity of bothering to promote a platform at all. The Mansion Tax, now wholly rejected by the Tories, and any other permutation of their “fairer tax for tough times” initiative was laughably electoral in nature given their roundly accepted inefficacy. One could almost understand this however, if looking at the polls. Somehow, despite the Tories leading the charge on most of the unsavoury policy of government, the Liberal Democrats support has plummeted harder and Clegg himself is arguably the least popular party leader since polling began.

Applying Deaver’s model to the Liberal Democrats is almost wasteful due to the severity of the problems they face. We’re not talking about a short stint in the wilderness that the two major parties must suffer in defeat, but a catastrophic regression that may well require dissolution and recreation to ever re-emerge back into the forefront of politics. But still, with Clegg looking like a walking shambles, sounding like a man on the edge and saying things that make very little sense at all, I’d say he failed to pass the acceptable standard of a man supposedly vying for power over a nation. Moving on.

It pains me to say that Ed Miliband faired better. He went into his conference with a very specific personal mission – to convince the country that he can be as good a statesman as he can be a policy wonk. That I find myself in opposition to many a product of his wonkery does not altogether detract from the fact that he has a decent brain. Probably unfairly though, myself and many, many… many of us have some difficulty hearing past his nasal, whiny voice, his gangly, disproportioned physique and his unashamed usurpation of his brother’s potentially more credible leadership. There are concerns over his ability to exercise authority over the unions who made his ascension possible as well as his formative apprenticeship under the ignominious Gordon Brown.

And how he attacked this mission with heavily coached enthusiasm. And how, in my opinion, he fell short of the mark, thanks mainly to the transparency of every intonation, gesticulation and motive behind near every sentence he spoke. Rhetoric comes so painfully unnatural to this man that in reaching for such heady heights as Disraeli, the most heavily referenced individual in his keynote speech, he forced me on several occasions to literally reel with embarrassment. Was he convinced he was Steve Jobs reincarnate? As the entire affair was so clearly informed by the primary goal of casting off his nerdy shackles he also failed in saying much of worth. Although he did have me nodding in agreement during his feisty attack on coalition incompetence, there wasn’t an identifiable detail of policy in an entire speech that was largely dominated by a tame personal story and the vagueness of the co-opted “One Nation” concept.

Poor man, he did try, but there are limitations there he just can’t surpass. And if we place significant credence in Deaver’s model there is probably no hope for his aspirations. Miliband Junior will always be the nerd and his only chance lies in the ineptitude of his opponents. After all, he’s tried almost everything. Whether it be embracing or trying to defeat the majority perception, he looks wrong, sounds wrong and if the substance of his words is worth so little, I return to an old thought that he really is the caretaker leader while Labour recover as a party. When will David make his move?

The first presidential debate was a bit of a surprise and makes the reality of Deaver’s model a very sad one. Romney was on fire, and I’m sure you have picked up on the general impression that he demolished an inexplicably lacklustre performance from Obama. He looked and sounded rather presidential compared to the hesitant and professorial President. The Denver altitude perhaps. Throughout the history of presidential debates the polling question that attracts the most attention is which candidate seemed more presidential, and there was little doubt in this case.

I can only hope that through some phenomena the American public chose to pay more attention to the 5%. In the aftermath of the debate, the fact-checkers went to work and item by item began to take apart Romney’s performance. In the figurative battlefield of ideas, Obama could have put a bullet straight though the heart of the Romney campaign if he’d even bothered to fight. The painful irony of the supremely encouraging employment statistics that appeared the day after the debate showed this – quite detrimental to Romney’s assertion that Obama’s methods have failed and that he was going to be the master of small business and job creation, employment is at it’s best since 2008 and Obama is in fact a net job creator.

But how Obama allowed Romney to disavow himself of the actually insane though still wholly under-defined budget proposals he’s been running with for months is beyond me. How, after his barnstorming energy of the 2008 campaign he allowed Romney, who stumbles over the most simple sentences on many occasions, to come across as a superior orator is further beyond me still. During one rather extended patriotic rap I actually thought Romney had a shot, it was a sublime political mini-speech. The big question is, was this performance enough to undermine the gradually established notion that Romney might be an emotionless cyborg who gives private dinner speeches describing half of the American populace as welfare dependant parasites.

I sincerely hope not. The thought of a Romney-Ryan Republican government chills me to the core and I cannot begin to fathom his motivations beyond being the first Morman president to Obama’s first African-American president. What is clear is that Romney really wants to be president and I think that’s an unhealthy disposition for a role of sombre duty and immense power.

I’m thoroughly looking forward to David Cameron’s keynote speech. If it can’t surpass the efforts of his fellow party leaders then I would be inclined to lose the last of my now microscopic hope in the Conservative party. That is if I hadn’t seen William Hague’s speech today. I lament his ill-fortuned time as party leader and it continues to feed my distaste for the Eurosceptic branch of the party to this day. Cameron made sense at the time – young, moderate and apparently competent in the wake of the old, grey and angry Tory disasters that were IDS and the vampiric Howard. But barely leading the party to victory against Brown after 13 years of Labour government does not really prove his worth.

Was Hague today renewing his intent? Deaver would probably think so if he was still around today and it just so happens Hague was making sense. Interesting times.


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