Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Re-think first, then re-shuffle

There’s a great deal of chatter over the anticipated Cabinet re-shuffle.  Back from holiday, the Prime Minister has an awful lot to think about, but I hope he finds time to step back from the question of who to put where, to take a glance at the bigger picture facing his crew.  What the country, the Conservative party and the captain of the ship needs now is not so much a re-shuffle as a re-think.  The polls tell a consistent story and point to one inevitable conclusion. Re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic will do nothing to alter the impression that the ship has lost its way. It's a change in direction which is needed and wanted.

I can think of two pressing areas where the Prime Minister should consider an immediate about-turn – and both concern his relationships management: with the Liberal Democrats, and with the wider Conservative party family, including his backbenches. It may have been right to create a coalition after the election, but the current set-up isn’t working. The Prime Minister and his most enthusiastic disciples have allowed their appetite for indulging the infantile behaviour of their coalition partners to get the better of them. The LibDem minority has run ragged over the government in a manner not remotely justified by the level of their electoral support.  When will the leadership wake up to their responsibility as the leading partner? Allowing the LibDems to have their way in a hopeless effort to avert yet another puerile tantrum, whilst at the same time ignoring the pressing needs of an economy struggling to raise itself from base camp, does nothing to engender good will from those who pay the price.

My point is that Mr Cameron should never have hitched his star to any of the self-indulgent lunacy that has been characteristic of the unreasonable demands of his coalition partners. It was always going to fail, and has created unnecessary distance between him and the country. Why did he not put his foot down and assert his position, firstly, as Prime Minister, and secondly, as leader of the Conservative party? What are his true priorities? It seems that appeasing the childish tit-for-tat approach to politics that is the entire Liberal Democrat mindset has dominated his thoughts for far too long. The country needs a full-time Prime Minister and not a chamber-maid for a marginal, irrelevant pressure group who have got him in a virtual arm-lock with a constant stream of threats to abandon ship.

So the re-shuffle is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to re-define his coalition. His Cabinet must be able to show an unstinting focus on the critical needs of the economy and an ability to achieve growth -- and soon. It is time for the Prime Minister to put the country before the political needs of the coalition, and deliver policies that will create prosperity. If that means abandoning Vince Cable, or upsetting the balance in Clegg’s clandestine playground, so be it.

And whilst he has reform on his mind, Mr Cameron should start to re-build the damaged relationships between himself and supporters of his own party. It’s time to stop treating his backbenches and his party as an unnecessary inconvenience, and demonstrate a genuine willingness to engage in a grown-up conversation. On Europe, on gay marriage and on Lords’ reform, the Prime Minister has chosen to set himself against the instincts of his party and he has consistently failed to listen. He marched proudly towards defeat on the third of these, and was forced to retreat in a humiliating eleventh-hour change of course. Were he to have shown a modicum of respect for his wider party – who are, afterall, the link with the country at large – he might just have surprised himself at how much they have to offer, and the positive impact it might have had on his own political fortunes.  Ken Clarke might believe that applying traditional Conservative principles risk harming the party’s brand, but it’s actually the reverse which is true. It is the Government itself that is creating toxicity through grubby politicking and a wilful disregard for the party's traditional values. 

Some of the Westminster commentators have chosen to draw the analogy between the Prime Minister’s current reshuffle predicament with the actions and fate of the Captain of the Titanic. Mr Cameron has juxtaposed his own stance in contrast with that of his party and the country too often and for too long. He might believe the fiction that it is virtuous to set himself against his colleagues and support base, but if his message is to be that 'the ship has only stopped to take on ice', rather than alter its course, the fate can only be failure. Mr Cameron needs to take meaningful action to steer the ship to new waters, and the re-think should drive the re-shuffle.


  1. Absolutely agree with you but Will Cameron take any notice? If not, we are condemned to another Labour debacle in time.

  2. I suspect the Lib Dems will not allow cuts to reduce spending to what is affordable and a smaller percentage of GDP. Therefore the UK is heading towards a fiscal cliff from ever rising debt/GDP. Labour's answer will be to borrow and spend more as they have already told us this is their solution to a structural problem or any problem come to that.
    Hence we already know this cannot work and is equivalent to running at the cliff even faster. The Labour answer to the light at the end of the tunnel problem is to build more tunnel.

    1. Right, as though the current level of cuts in spending haven't already sent the British economy back into the toilet, you want to double down on more cuts? We're not running at the cliff, we're already staring into the abyss...

    2. There haven't been any cuts. Spending is still rising out of control.


  3. The election results I’ve posted show that UKIPs relatively small vote was more than enough to rob Cameron of a majority in all those 20 seats. Furthermore this was the vote for UKIP before Cameron formed a coalition with the Lib Dems and before major cuts were announced. Now it cannot be denied that UKIP are gaining in popularity at the same time as the Tories seem to be an utter shambles. They are struggling with the economy through no fault perhaps of their own. However they have made no impact whatsoever on immigration and they stick slavishly to the “Human Rights Act” thereby leaving an angry public paying to keep foreign criminals and terrorists at their expense. They refuse to hold an in/out Referendum and mess about with issues like gay marriage and reforming the House of Lords and wasting billions on foreign aid
    All this at a time when many of the normal hard working Conservative electorate are struggling to make ends meet.

    Now I understand that UKIP will almost certainly make an easy win for Labour in the next election
    But unless the Tories start to behave like the Conservatives we voted for we may as well vote Labour forever because there is little difference between all the main parties at present. The Tories need to loose the next election in order to bring them back down to earth and to make them realise they are there to represent those who elected them and not their own unrepresentative interests or that of their EU masters.

    In the past Cameron has dismissed UKIP as “Fruitcakes, Nutters and Racists” Well you and I know that these fruitcakes will become Lions at the next election and give him a bite in the backside that will end his political career. Time is running out, as are many Tory donators and supporters and they now have to offer cut-price tickets to their conference, they must act NOW!!!!!!!

    Immediate EU in/out referendum
    No Foreign Aid
    No Gay Marriage
    Massive clamp down on immigration
    End the Human Rights Charter

    Here is a list of all the seats UKIP spoiled for the Tories at the last election and this was before they formed an alliance with the Liberals.
    I cannot see the Tories winning again unless they hold an in/out Referendum on the EU BEFORE the next election.
    Cameron must be stupid if he thinks anyone will believe a promise of referendums after the next election, it's time he went.

    Bolton West:
    Labour 18,329; Conservative 18,235; UKIP 1,901
    Derby North:
    Labour 14,896; Conservative 14,283; UKIP 829
    Derbyshire NE:
    Labour 17,948: Conservative 15,503; UKIP 2,636
    Dorset mid & Poole:
    Labour 21,100; Conservative 20,831; UKIP 2,109
    Dudley North:
    Labour 14,923; Conservative 14,274; UKIP 3,267
    Great Grimsby:
    Labour 10,777: Conservative 10,063: UKIP 2,043
    Hampstead & Kilburn:
    Labour 17,332; Conservative 17,290; UKIP 408
    Middlesbrough South:
    Labour 18,138; Conservative 16,461; UKIP 1,881
    Morley (Ed Balls):
    Labour 18,365; Conservatives 17,264; UKIP 1,506
    Labour 16,393; Conservatives 14,841; UKIP 3,491
    Plymouth Moor View:
    Labour 15,433; Conservatives 13,845; UKIP 3,188
    Liberal 23,635; Conservatives 23,460; UKIP 1,200
    Somerton & Frome:
    Liberal 28,793; Conservatives 26,976; UKIP 1,932
    Southampton Itchen:
    Labour 16,326; Conservatives 16,134; UKIP 1,928
    St Austell & Newquay:
    Liberal 20,189; Conservatives 18,877; UKIP 1,757
    St Ives:
    Liberal 19,619; Conservatives 17,900; UKIP 2,560
    Labour 15,977; Conservatives 14,996; UKIP 2,428
    Walsall North:
    Labour 13,385; Conservatives 12,395; UKIP 1,737
    Walsall South:
    Labour 16,211; Conservatives 14,456; UKIP 3,449
    Liberal 24,560; Conservatives 23,760; UKIP 1,711
    Wirral South:
    Labour 16,276; Conservatives 15,745; UKIP 1,274

    1. That lot would get my vote. The present "policies"? Not so much!

  4. "On Europe, on gay marriage and on Lords’ reform, the Prime Minister has chosen to set himself against the instincts of his party"

    So what the Tories need is more xenophobia, more bigotry and less democracy?

    That'll make them more electable, won't it?

    1. Anonymous, insulting your opponents is usually what you do when you have lost the arguement, when you can't be bothered to find out what people actually think, much less engange in a constructive debate. That said, the same intellectual laziness infects Cameron too, which is why he's unfit to lead the party.

      Rather than believing the smears of our opponents, Conservatives need a leader who can articulate the values that have won election after election: personal freedom, constitutional democracy, an aversion to change for its own sake, spending less than you earn and saving a bit for a rainy day. If you want the politics of the madhouse, borrowing more to solve our debt crisis and smearing anybody who questions it, Labour have that pretty well covered already. What's wanted is a message of positive Conservatism not a reheat of Heath's gentile decline and electoral failure.

    2. >>insulting your opponents is usually what you do when you have lost the argu[e]ment

      'childish', 'puerile', 'a marginal, irrelevant pressure group' etc.? I would take these to be insults.

      Mr Binley appears to accept that the coalition was right, but that the Liberal Democrats should support Tory policies which they dislike for nothing in return. No PR (AV is not PR), no House of Lords reform, fiasco over supporting Tory policy on tuition fees, and Mr Binley thinks the Liberal Democrats are getting everything their own way.

  5. I think we will go over the fiscal cliff before the end of 5 years of Labour government as ageing demographics will be kicking in hard by then making the debt/GDP problem even worse than they can imagine. The markets will refuse to lend once they realise what their their chances are of getting money back. That only leaves printing money as a means to maintain our unaffordable lifestyle. That translates to devaluation so food, energy, and imported goods will because very expensive but will make our unfunded liabilities less onerous perhaps.
    I have no answer re Cameron but in my experience in industry shakers and movers achieve most in the first two years and cruise from then on.

  6. The Times they are a changing

    Come all the electorate throughout the UK
    It’s time to ignore what the LIBLABCON say
    Lets face it these parties have all had their day
    Our politics need rearranging
    So go out and vote UKIP lets sweep them away
    For the times they are a changing

    Not one of them listens to our point of view
    They’d sooner give our cash to the EU
    So lets kick them out and try something new
    We can’t afford this lot remaining
    Political rethink is long overdue
    For the times they are a changing

    They lied about Lisbon and promised a vote
    There all Europhiles and in the same boat
    Their treachery just bring a lump to my throat
    As each other they just keep blaming
    So send them a message and let them take note
    That the times they are a changing

    We will no longer tolerate lies being told
    Tax breaks for the rich but more tax for the old
    Ruled from the EU and our birthrights sold
    They ignore us when we are complaining
    If we all vote UKIP there out in the cold
    For the times they all need changing

    Alas all this will come true

    There is no copyrights, I wrote it and Cameron should be made aware that this is what his long term supporters are now thinking

  7. What Democracy ?

    Democracy, Democracy that enigmatic lie.
    From the dictionary it ought to be deleted
    Whilst democracy’s the slogan that politicians cry
    The majority of us feel that we’ve been cheated
    With political correctness forced upon us every day
    Just in case the casual word may cause offence
    If you have a strong opinion be careful what you say
    Even though you may be talking perfect sense
    When we joined the E.E.U. I’m sure we took the view
    It would give a larger market for our trade
    Yet now our mighty nation has a legal obligation
    To abide by regulations Brussels made
    MP’s pull out all the stops to try to fill our shops
    With G.M foods that we don’t want to eat
    Whilst cameras check our speed on roads where there’s no need
    We’d be better off with coppers on the beat
    If confronted by a crook and you land a good right hook
    You may think that he deserved it, it’s his fault
    When he is on probation you’ll be locked up down the station
    To appear before a jury for assault
    When travellers leave a mess, you’d be spot on if you guess
    That authorities will turn an eye that’s blind
    Yet drop a fag end in the street and before it hits your feet
    You will get an instant ticket and be fined
    If asylums what you seek and English you can’t speak
    Benefits are paid for your welfare
    But if your British and your old, your property is sold
    To pay for any time you are in care
    If you chastise your child, because he has run wild
    That law will on your collar give a tug
    For no matter what you say, do-gooders rule the day
    Even though the child may grow into a thug
    With the hunt and hanging banned, in our democratic land
    These decisions were decided by the few
    It was no doubt understood, M.Ps thought it would be good
    With a total disregarding of our view
    In the interest of fair play referendums are the way
    The majority decide just where we go
    We shouldn’t change our laws or take part in futile wars
    To massage a political ego
    When we are due a big election, parties vie for our affection
    Promising the things they have in store
    It fair gives us the hump, they should take a running jump
    They must realise we’ve heard it all before.
    It is hard to understand who governs our fair land
    Or who it is that makes up all our rules
    Our politicians bore us, or totally ignore us
    Democracy in Britain! It’s for fools!!.

    1. I appear to have stumbled into Poet's Corner!

  8. What CAmeron needs right now, is to give up the ghost he is trying to bottle and become a CONSERVATIVE prime minister, not New Labour V2.0 and Lib Dem friendly in all things

  9. Cameron was always just PR and no substance-he'll be no loss to the Tory party (or what's left of it after the next election).

  10. MPs need to stop indulging themselves in wishful thinking about Cameron. If he was capable of a rethink, he would have done it when he failed to win the last election or when is idiotic 'sharing the proceeds of growth' mantra hit the rocks in 2008. As it is, four years later, he is still wedded to essentially the same polices.

    The only sensible thing for MPs like Brian, who wish to retain there seats AND do the right thing for the country, is to add their names to the list with the 1922 Committee requesting a leadership election. Anything else is mere posturing.

  11. "a marginal, irrelevant pressure group who have got him in a virtual arm-lock with a constant stream of threats to abandon ship"

    That's a pretty harsh way to talk about the 1922 committee.

  12. Cameron needs to learn the lessons from British coalitions. He looks like becoming the next Ramsey McDonald!

  13. ... a bit harsh! Ramsay wasn't as bad as that.

  14. "Re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic will do nothing to alter the impression that the ship has lost its way." The Titanic did not just lose its way: it sank. And the same will surely happen to Mr Cameron and his crew if he fails to heed your warning, Mr Binley.

  15. "Europe's nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."
    Jean Monnet, Founder of the European Movement. Former Cognac salesman and bureaucrat at the League of Nations. 30 April 1952.

    "In the time-scale Blair is thinking of, Britain will not love Europe ... when the day of judgement comes, fear must stalk the land."
    Hugo Young, celebrated leftist political journalist, Guardian, March 2000. On how to get the British to vote to join the Euro

    This is why UKIP will grow

  16. Well, the solution is obvious. Cameron, if he is a "man, not a mouse", is to fire the entire Lib-Dem part of his Cabinet, replace them with sound capitalist MPs from the conservative-leaning part of the Commons, and defy the LibDems to make him call an election.

    1. So, you would have him force the Lib Dems into a position where they have absolutely nothing left to lose and then attempt to call their bluff?

      Yeah, right, like that's ever worked...

  17. Perhaps you and your 1922 committee should focus more job creation, economic recovery, and political survival, rather than attempting another 1990s-esc rebellion.

    "It’s time to stop treating his backbenches and his party as an unnecessary inconvenience, and demonstrate a genuine willingness to engage in a grown-up conversation."

    The best Conservative years were when they dared to change things.

    1. Absolutely fantastic mixed metaphors. Chambermaid in an armlock abandoning ship? Brilliant!!

  18. This summer, on a camping trip to Kent, I took Sunday communion at Canterbury Catherdral. I saw an abomination. I saw a woman, called "el presidente" break the bread and divide it to the two men serving her.

    Conservatives must stop worring about gay marriage. Righteousness was lost in the early 1990s, when the first women were ordained as Church of England priests. There is no more abomination in homosexuals, rather than women, grabbing the reins.

    It is best to lead the beast to slaughter than be led by it. Women and homosexuals naturally now set their sights on the top-gun position, the Archbishopships. Let it happen.

    Take courage from your Bible. God allowed Sodom and Gomorrah to flourish before a blindingly fast destruction. Not a war of attrition but quick, total annihilation.

    Prepare Conservative policy without opposing such abominations. Alcohol, drugs, Europe, jobs, taxes, energy and manufacturing are vital policy areas to turnaround.

    Sign-up women and homosexuals saying we offer no obstacle to their sights. We can agree with our new allies God can do all things, including punish the wicked.

    Vengeance is mine saith the lord.

    1. Uganda would love your company. Bon Voyage!

  19. I wish they were all like you. I have written to my MP to complain that too much time was being given to minority issues, that do nothing to helping the country out of its mess. The government should be working 100% to creating wealth and jobs not pussy footing around with gay marriage etc.

    1. Thank you with your pen of rage. I hate to remind you but you are in the minority, yet insisting we take your interpretations of the Bible as the Law of the Land.

      We wopuldn't need to be pussy footing about Marriage Equality if the Church had not kicked off a 1,000 years of persecution. You killed a king for his love of another man yet Henry VIII is fawned upon.

      Sodom and Gomorrah were cast down by its inhospitality, something you should seriously consider before picking up your pen of rage, insisting on the hatred of others. I don't think Christ would share your intolerance and spilling of blood in His name!

      And wealth? Ask the recently departed CEO of Barclays about wealth. He fiddled the Libor and for this crime what was his punishment? £9 MILLION as a thank you. There are plenty of jobs to be had, but the City are too busy flying to Guernsey in order to create an off-shore account. What is your glorious Tories doing with this? I'm thinking a needle and a camel.

      You are so very thrilled to point the blame to 'minorities' and yet you are just seeing your reflection of hypocrisy.

    2. What are you babbling on about? Who mentioned the bible? And, I suggest that you study biblical doctrines before spouting them out, as you have got everything wrong bar the spelling. As for Wealth, I mean the Nations wealth that was decimated under Gordon Browns stewardship. We need job creation, investment and an end to the something for nothing culture.
      Psalm 45: my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer. I do think Christ would share my intolerance of others, as he sits in judgement of mankind and will exercise judgement accordingly, remember the money lenders, and the Pharisee ( Vipers ), Don’t think that you know the mind of Christ, if all you can do babble.

    3. Beliefs

      Don’t you sometimes think it odd
      That wars are fought in the name of God
      Behind religion armies hide
      Claiming God is on their side

      But what is even stranger still
      The Gods tell us we must not kill
      Yet we strive with all our might
      To prove that only our Gods right

      And of the others there’s no doubt
      Our Gods say we should wipe them out
      All religion beneath the sun
      Believes that it’s the only one

      To whom mankind should kneel and pray
      So to these ends we wound and slay
      Since the very dawn of time
      In Gods name we commit this crime

      Perhaps if all religions cease
      Mankind will at long last find peace
      Well here’s my own agnostic view
      God and religion NO thank you!


      Well I live in magnificent splendour
      I am honoured wherever I go
      I sit in my ivory tower
      And pass judgement on all those below

      I criticise government actions
      Though nobody elected me
      I always want more and I cadge from the poor
      My organisations tax-free

      I criticised all bankers bonus
      Shout for more equal shares of the pot
      In reality we are far richer
      And what’s more were keeping the lot

      I preach that we are all equal
      And demand laws that heed what I say
      But I’m just a snob for your barred from top job
      If you’re female or worse still your gay

      Who am I? Have I got you Guessing?
      Well believe me I have no remorse
      For the habit I have of cross-dressing
      I am an Archbishop of course

  20. You moan about the undue influence of the Lib Dem Minority, but seem to conveniently forget that without them you would not be in power at all. The Tory party did not gain a majority at the last election. Let's repeat that, YOU DID NOT GAIN A MAJORITY. When you do get a majority you can get back on your soap box and start beating your chests again, but until that time your party is shackled to the Lib Dems because it is only through them that you have power. That the coalition lasted this long is a miracle, that is lasts until 2015 is very unlikely.

  21. 2015 THE TORY LAMENT

    Now look at me, an ex MP who once had a majority
    I thought we were the ruling classes choosing to ignore the masses
    Disregard their point of view, no in/out vote on the EU
    Promising the unwashed shower, when were back in we’ll claw back power

    Alack alas that didn’t wash, they thought our promises were tosh
    Our vote took an enormous dip. It seems they all went for UKIP
    UKIP simply had us beat and I have lost my Commons seat
    At Cameron I am much annoyed, for now I’ve joined the unemployed

    We should perhaps at least reflected why it was we were elected
    Listened and took careful note of those who gave their trust and vote
    We were there at their behest, not to serve our own interest
    Were their serve, not dictate rules. THE VOTING BRITISH ARE NOT FOOLS