Monday, 6 April 2009

Seventies versus Noughties

I’m ashamed of myself. I really am.

It’s something I shouldn’t do I know, because it’s just plain wrong. But if it happens by accident and you don’t do it on purpose then it’s not really your fault: especially if you look away at once. Just like glimpsing your elder sister in the shower.

I read Labour List.

Of course, I clicked away from it almost immediately; having averted my eyes as quickly as I could, but ever since seeing it I’ve been having these thoughts. And feelings. Truth be told, I haven’t been able to get rid of those feelings since I saw what I saw. I spent the whole of last night tossing and turning – well, turning, at any rate – and I think the only cure for it is to do what millions of men in my situation do every day – which is to sit down at my PC and use the Internet for its main purpose, which is letting it all out.

The first page was innocent-looking enough: a memory of my pubescent years in the 1970’s under the Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan – hardly the stronger, darker stuff to which we have all become accustomed (one might even say hardened or coarsened) in recent years.

And yet. And yet Helen Symons’ simple, almost wholesome piece reminded me of those long-ago days of my teens and my earliest loss of innocence.

By Helen Symons

I'm sure you've read in the news about the PM's success at the G20 this week - a 1.1 trillion dollar programme to get our economies going again.

I surely did read about the success; it was on the BBC website, in full colour!!! Whoo-ee, what a scorcher!

Tax and spend and spend some more! Because you can! Because no-one’s ever tried debasing the currency before in all of history! Because the world is young and because we’re only just becoming curious about our economy and what it can do. And what we can do with it, and to whom…

It's important to all of us - because it's ordinary hard-working people who've been hurt the most by the downturn, with jobs and homes being put at risk.

Thanks for your sisterly sympathy, my dear – I’m sure that you mean me and all my friends, right? You don’t mean the underclass with its rough boyish charm or the elegant sensuality of the Political Class that has lifted the underclass onto our backs forever..

Too many people have suffered already - but with a global agreement for action, at least there's hope on the horizon. And I'd like to do what feels a bit like a first in British politics - say well done.

‘Yes, yes,’ she cried, as the Govan Beefcake showed her his magnificent achievement…

Gordon's taken a lot of flack over recent months - with the media doubting his ability to pull an international agreement together. But, yesterday, he came through for all of us.

And indeed on us and all over us. If you thought old Wilson could systematically reduce Britain’s competitiveness and nationalize the odd industry or two, wait till you see what big Gordo’s got in his briefs…

So, good job. But now it's time to get Britain to work. Send Brown your message of support now.

I will, I will; dear Miss Symons but I think I’ll send it in another way.

The priority of the summit - jobs and the economy

Whose jobs? What economy?

- was right. Action to regulate hedge funds and credit agencies.

Which arose, tall and proud, after the Dear Leader dismantled the Thatcher and Major regulatory structures and bid them go forth and multiply, and add, and to divide into mutually-supporting pyramid-selling insurances…and to account laterally

along with a financial stability board,

Don’t blame it on sunshine…

will help prevent a crisis like this happening again

Don’t blame it on good times…

. And a pledge to invest in green jobs

Don’t blame it on moonlight….

will make sure we are creating a sustainable future for us all.

Blame it on the boogie…

And we must never forget our commitment to ending poverty - both here and abroad.

I just can’t, I just can’t, I just can’t control my banks…

Now, we need to put this progress into action domestically - by putting people first. Jobs must be at the heart of our strategy. We need to invest in our infrastructure - roads, schools and hospitals - keeping people in work rather than on the dole, and also building better homes

Not better than Grace & Favour homes, but still rather better than at least one out of the three homes for which most MPs claim expenses, right?

and public services for all. And we need more help for our manufacturing industry, too, with more investment to keep people in work and to create new jobs.

Sign our petition to support Gordon Brown and to call on him to keep jobs at the heart of our domestic recovery.

We've taken an important step forward. But there's a lot left to do.

Well, that was fun! I t took me back to the happy old days of my youth; to Abba and the Jackson Five (whose lead singer was a stocky little black boy. Wonder what happened to him?), to the Winter of Discontent, to a disarmed Britain and petrol crisis and stagflation and over-mighty unions fighting over shares of an ever-smaller national cake.

Helen Symons; a name to conjure with, a sweet, girl-next-door fantasy and for me a glimpse back at adolescent worries of national economic crisis and utterly unrealistic fantasies of a strong, virile Conservative party to arrive and sweep us off our feet and give us all what we so yearned for.

And so she dreams her dream of New Labour and Mister Brown’s ‘success’, and revels in the Noughties and tough choices.

But I remember Wilson and Callaghan’s Old Labour: they brought the country to its knees.

But they didn’t make it suck.

But the peep-show temptations and half-hidden implications of Miss Symons soon lost their lustre, and as age saps my strength I found myself looking for something a little darker and harder…

(Picture of David Cameron doing something illegal on a bike with a shiny new helmet deleted. I’m a social conservative, after all.)

Could Cameron have delivered the G20 deal?

By Alastair Campbell

I promise that my tweet last night - wondering whether David Cameron as Prime Minister could have delivered the G20 deal - was not merely rhetorical. If the polls are right, and don't change some time soon, then Cameron may be the next PM, suddenly dealing with global economic issues, war and a planet in peril.

our planet in peril! Cue for someone’s Top Ten Tentacle Sites: starting no doubt with the tentacles of Wall Street, the Square Mile, the Institute of Directors and Right-Wing Think Tanks…

So it is a question requiring serious thought.

When Barack Obama was elected, the Tories tried to run the line that the real lesson for Britain was the power of the 'time for a change' argument. What recent weeks and months have shown is that the real stuff of politics is substance and policy, not style and image.

You’re obviously aware that it’s important to keep a sense of humour at times of international economic melt-down and, boy! Have you kept yours Al!

I have always acknowledged that Cameron is perfectly good at the latter. But the G20 has shown once more his weakness on the former. I know from our days in Opposition that it is never easy when a big international event involving Presidents and Prime Ministers is dominating the global agenda. You can get in only at the margins.

But when you do get in, it is worth having something to say.

Like ‘Shut up, so-called free press! When I want your editorial comments I’ll dictate them to you! There are very, very good reasons why a major Labour donor should receive immunity from the tobacco advertising ban in the first weeks of a New Labour government, but national security forbids us to comment further.’

It is not that you have to pretend to be the Government, but you do have to have an analysis and give some indication as to what you would do. And because you can only get in at the margins, you have to have considerable clarity about what it is that you are saying.

Show us your clarity, Al, oh, please do…

So ask yourself - what message, if any, have you heard from David Cameron before, during and since the G20? There will be different responses, but mine would be 'nah nah nah nah nah.'

As the crisis developed, he had no analysis other than that it was a crisis.

It’s so big!

As Gordon Brown took some very hefty decisions,

It’s so hard!

particularly in relation to the banks,

As in ‘What banks? Who; me? No, never met them before, and I don’t know how all those billions of pounds found their way into my Exchequer over the past eleven years.

And these? Oh, they aren’t mine. I found them lying around the house when I moved in. I’m just wearing them in memory of my old pal Tony. Yes, they do pinch a bit, but they are rather wicked boots, aren’t they?’

Cameron was on hand to say they wouldn't work. By now their general line was emerging as a political one - to try to present anything bad in the economy as a particularly British problem.

So what if our main high street banks have only two sets of owners these days – the Barclays family and my grandchildren’s’ wage packets.

As Gordon Brown forced the pace on setting up the G20,

Force it, force it Gordie! But watch out for the black chap – he looks a little big even for you.

and scoping out its agenda, the Tories' analysis was all about the PM, not the economic future of the world.

Two items which have precisely nothing to do with each other.

Mister Campbell and his history-writers will see to their past un-relationship, and the electorate will handle the future.

And if some of the world leaders gathered in London picked up on Cameron's tone,

…whilst the eastern ones no doubt picked over the bargain basement sale of Britain’s once-proud financial services industry…

…it would not be the best possible start for his relations with them.

True – they have been in contact with New Labour for over a decade now. Better practise Safe Begging, Dave.

He seemed to see the whole thing as a bit of too little too late jamboree.

Well, Cameron did play Three Wise Monkeys whilst Gordon put the finishing touches on the dog and pony show he’s made of Britain’s economy, but he is not longer a Wise virgin. He seriously wants to get into bed with the big boys.

So then we come to his reaction last night - a melange of limited welcome for changes he would never have been able to secure, something about Doha (I think he felt if he threw out a name of a foreign city, he would acquire gravitas - it could just as easily have been Copenhagen) and then his big message - it's all very well for GB to secure more money for the IMF to help weaker economies, but now it is time he turned his attention to Britain.

The dirty pervert! Putting yourself first! Regarding your own country and the interests of your own people above everyone else who wants to play the game! Nice guys come last, okay? Some things are just too sick even for Big Gray Al to do.

But surely if recent weeks have shown anything it is the inter-connectedness of our economies, and if there is one success above all for which Gordon deserves credit it is in turning that reality into an event of real substance and change.

Any time now, Gordon. When you’re ready.

Playing 'what if?' is not an exact science, but if Cameron's isolationist

This would be the EU fan who just loves Obama, right? That isolationist?

..and laissez-faire ideals..

laissez-faire as in Cameron’s ‘capitalism with a conscience,’ or as in Mister Brown’s ‘regulation with a light touch?’

..had already secured power, it is doubtful he would have been able to organise a meeting like the one we've just had,

…because nobody would be quite ready to dance on Britain’s grave, Al, or just because Gordon knows the managers of some of London’s swankiest hotels ( and some of the cheapest, for the EU representatives)?

let alone steer it to a decent conclusion.

The ‘conclusion’ was no new money, no new ideas, and no plan to generate wealth by helping productive industry and cutting the super-high costs of government.

In acting as he has in recent weeks, flying round the world, never off the phone, despatching officials left, right and centre to try to assess the best possible outcome and then work towards it,

…which of course in no way looks exactly like utter panic…

Gordon HAS been focussing on the British economy.

Which perversion is it when you look at a corpse through night-vision binoculars, I wonder?..

Because without the global economy reviving, nor will ours.
Time to revive 'no time for a novice.' Because in this case, it is true. DC is no Obama. I'm beginning to wonder if he is even William Hague.

All this is very well, and I can see what they’re getting at, and getting back to. The problem is, Helena, your old-style country-fucking just isn’t up to the hardcore fisting Alasdair and his bosses have been dishing out.

However delightful and tantalizing the colour fantasies that you have spun for us, they just aren’t as good as the real thing.

I want an economy, and I want a Britain, and I want them now.

I need the touch of a real woman.



CherryPie said...

The link about the Unions backing the plan had me worried for a minute... Then I realised it meant the ones that are affiliated to the labour party ;-)

Mark Wadsworth said...

That's all well and good but why does Helen spell it "flack" instead of "flak"?

Was did she learn to spell at State school, or is she just dumbing down for the masses?

Tory Poppins said...


North Northwester said...

Cherry Pie - ah yes, I'd forgotten some union weren't affiliated, bless them. Mine still negotiated a pay cut for the Northwester household lately. Chumps!
I've finally linked to your site under 'non-conservative goodies'. Just a guess on my part. Please let me know if you'd rather be classed elsewhere.

Oh yes, I noticed the spelling error but I felt it best not to make a fuss as random readers might come to think I'm some sort of paranoid Right-wing traditionalist deluded enough to think that educational standards aren't rising under Nu Lab.

Hello and welcome again TP.
I swear, I'm going to swing by your place any time now..

Plato said...

hohoho-great stuff

TDK said...

He we go again. Helen is attempting to create a cult of the leader.

Left it a bit late, I'm guessing, but nice to see the fake Egalitarians show their true Philosopher King colours?

CherryPie said...

Didn't they allow the members to vote on the pay deal? We are about to go through that process now. The offer means I will effectively get a pay drop but some members will receive a large pay rise!

Thanks for linking it is just fine where it is :-)

WomanHonorThyself said...

and the Jackson Five (whose lead singer was a stocky little black boy. Wonder what happened to him?)..LMBO..great work dude!..hang in there!:)

North Northwester said...

Plato - thank you for your laughter. We all need laughter in these dark days - it helps us concentrate on stripping, cleaning, oiling, reassembling and sight-proving our sovereign franchises.

TDK welcome back. Long time no see. And your comments are wise and off we go on another new hunt. The cult of perssonality is usually the product of three sets of circumstances:

1] future-looking optimistic cultism where the leader is expected to go on to great things, and for which his or her followers provide encouragement and support, such as Hitler and Obama.

2] Nostalgic or past-regarding worship, where the leader is deemed to have achieved greatness already, and the followers invoke him/her in their present actions and future plans; Lenin, Churchill, JFK, and Thatcher.

3] The graveyard shift. The Great Leader has already failed to do the job and shows no signs of being able to handle the present or future, but if he attained the reputation for strength or warmth, then all might still be well and great victories won;
Major, Brown, Beckham.

And speaking of which TDK - and I won't say which for fear of all kinds of consequences - when are you going to set up a browsable blog?

Hi Cherry Pie.
"Didn't they allow the members to vote on the pay deal? "

Nope - unions and management agreed that it should go ahead, management chose the assessment scheme by which our many talents and good looks were ignored, and the unions did not object to that choice. It's not strictly a pay deal, but a pay grade restructuring intended to raise up the humble and unwanted, and it has. That's how I feel, at any rate. The review is supposed to be budget neutral and the unions will back it if the appeals process doesn't resemble the Napoleonic Wars, [there'll be no vote at all as it's half their baby] and so far we're not managing the battle of Roy Jenkin's bum!
"We are about to go through that process now. The offer means I will effectively get a pay drop but some members will receive a large pay rise!"
You have my sincerest good wishes, but scuttlebutt nationwide is that the plan was originally intended by the unions to rob Peter to pay Paula, but works out robbing Peter and Pauline to pay Paula.

Hi again Angel.
The Great Grey Hope was a lovely little singer and I do miss him. Still, in Islam, he's found a faith in which he can get back at his father and wear a mask. How rebellious is THAT, o millionaire recluse?

James Higham said...

"I need the touch of a real woman."

Don't we all.

CherryPie said...

Seems like your union sold you short there. But the scenario sounds familiar, I am going to do a blog post on our pay offers!


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