Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Meagher’

When does the autopsy on the Remain campaign begin?

21/09/2016, 08:06:07 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Three months after the Remain campaign crashed to defeat, there is ne’er a squeak in British politics about what went wrong.

This is strange. Surely an autopsy on a losing campaign is entirely logical and much needed?

Where did the high hopes and expectations of Remainers come unstuck? When was the moment the voting public decided they wanted to jump the other way?

There’s lots of analysis about the effects of Brexit (with the Fabians weighing in just this week), but nothing about the campaign itself.

Perhaps the absence of any hint of organised reflection and public analysis is explained by the reaction of many hard-core Remainers.

They refuse to come out of the jungle and accept the war is over. Denialism is rampant.

They want to play on after the allotted 90 minutes. To continue boxing for a 13th round. Any excuse to avoid the glaring conclusion: they lost.

‘Ah but Leave promised to spend £350 million more on the NHS, that’s why they won.’

Their lies were better than our lies.

‘There should be a second referendum’.

Best out of three?

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Dispatches and Panorama were dreadful for Labour. Does anyone care?

19/09/2016, 10:25:04 PM

by Kevin Meagher

What will an average voter make of the Labour after watching tonight’s Dispatches on Channel Four or Panorama on BBC1, chronicling the party’s descent into internecine student-level factionalism and sloganizing?

That’s a question – perhaps the question everyone involved in democratic politics. need to constantly ask themselves: ‘What does the electorate think of you?’

Tonight’s programmes were an embarrassment for the Labour party.

The exact mirror opposite of a party political broadcast.

Here was Labour showing the electorate on prime time evening television why it isn’t fit to run the country.

Riven, incompetent and in the hands of either well-meaning fools or vicious entryists.

The only scintilla of dignity and poignancy on display was Neil Kinnock ruing that, at 74, he probably won’t live to see another Labour government in his lifetime, such is the state of the party.

Over in the Corbyn dreamscape, it was probably chalked up as a success because the word ‘socialism’ was mentioned on the telly.

Normal people aren’t bothered about how Labour chooses its shadow cabinet, or whether Momentum is packing the annual general meetings of constituency Labour parties.

But they do wonder why Labour seems to bang on about nothing else these days.

Neither are they bothered about socialism or any other ‘ism’.  Or discussions thereof.

They are not looking for a walk-on part in the people’s uprising.

And they’re certainly not bothered which nutty far-left sects a constituency Labour party official in Brighton is or is not a member of and whether they contravene Labour’s official policy on membership of nutty far-left sects.

They just want to hear people in Labour politics address their concerns realistically.

To come up with workable proposals to improve their lives.

Not a wish list of uncosted, impossible promises.

Or an invitation to the ramparts.

I was left with that uncomfortable, squirming feeling that you have when you watch The Office.

David Brent’s complete lack of self-awareness or understanding of how others perceive him translates perfectly to the modern Labour party.

At this rate, Jeremy Corbyn is going to emulate Brent’s infamous ‘There’s good news and bad news…’ speech.

The bad news will be Labour is trounced in 2020.

The good news is it will be eight million votes for socialism.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

The left’s failure to embrace school standards has opened the door to grammars’ return

19/09/2016, 05:21:05 PM

by Kevin Meagher

The debate about grammar schools should have been over and done with a generation ago.

After all, it was a system that locked-in the most appalling social inequality.

If you passed your 11-Plus exam, you went to grammar school, with an effective guarantee of a professional career and life membership of the middle class.

If you failed it – because you were poorly on the day of your exam, or dyslexic, or for any other reason – you went to Secondary Modern school, where you would learn to ‘do something with your hands.’

A broadly-based education was not for the likes of you. Like the Epsilons in Huxley’s Brave New World, you were bred for drudgery.

It was a wicked system that divided families and communities, perpetuating ridiculous assumptions about intelligence and by extension, the worth, of tens of millions of people over decades.

By disregarding the talents of so many, so early and so utterly, it fuelled strife in industrial relations that bedevilled post-war Britain.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

One way or another, UKIP is parking its tanks on Labour’s lawn

17/09/2016, 09:56:28 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Will UKIP survive? It’s a fair question as the kippers gather in Bournemouth for their annual conference and anoint Diane James as their new leader, to the chinking, no doubt, of large gin and tonics in the hotel bars.

The feuding in the party about who should succeed Farage – the political equivalent of a Jeremy Kyle paternity test special – had seemed terminal, but, for now, appears to be in remission.

Space, then, for the largely untested Ms James to set out what her party is for, given we have now voted to quit the EU, UKIP’s ostensible purpose.

Undoubtedly, they have come a long way in the last few years. For so long a collection EU-obsessives, English nationalist romantics and weirdos who wrote to the letters page of the Daily Telegraph complaining about the change in meaning of the word ‘gay,’ they are now a force in British politics.

As Farage pointed out in his valedictory leader’s speech, they alighted on immigration as an issue in 2011, adopted it as their cause célèbre and never looked back.

It certainly helped scoop up many of the four million votes they received at the last general election as well as providing the magic bullet that made Euro-obsessery a retail issue for millions of voters in the referendum.

Even with their central purpose achieved and Nigel Farage sloping off the main stage, the party can still claim to speak for 15-20 per cent of the electorate pretty consistently and still has a major impact on our political debate, (with Theresa May pinching the idea to bring back grammar schools from them).

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Hillary Clinton’s damaged goods. It was madness for the Democrats to choose her

16/09/2016, 10:27:26 AM

by Kevin Meagher

It’s safe to say the Clintons have cast a long shadow over the Labour party.

A generation of political professionals have imbibed the campaigning techniques that propelled Bill to the presidency in 1992 and 1996, with two ambitious young Labour frontbenchers sent over to learn from the master at close quarters.

The lessons Tony Blair and Gordon Brown brought back with them have pretty much shaped everything Labour has done since. Rapid rebuttal. ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Triangulation. New Labour was born in that war room in Little Rock.

But now the Clintons have had their day. Bill was a good domestic president, focusing ‘like a laser beam’ on the economy; balancing the budget, creating jobs and presiding over a decade of prosperity.

But he is also venal and morally-corroded. A Vietnam draft-dodger who, while Governor of Arkansas, notoriously sent a mentally-disabled man to his death, just so he didn’t look weak on the death penalty, (the issue that hobbled Michel Dukakis’s 1988 tilt at the White House).

Never mind that impeachment business.

Despite his many good works as president, a trail of slime followed the Clintons throughout their time in the White House. As people, Bill and Hillary make Frank and Claire Underwood in House of Cards look like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Emily Thornberry’s gaffe-laden Sky interview was down to incompetence, not sexism

11/09/2016, 05:56:47 PM

by Kevin Meagher

It’s not particularly hard, being Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Clearly you don’t actually run anything and all you have to do is echo what the government of the day is saying in relation to international events, affecting a suitably grave intonation.

Perhaps you urge a bit of restraint here, a bit more dialogue there, but, in the main, you take a bi-partisan approach.

When he was the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell turned this into an art form, quoting back to broadcasters the received opinions he has read in broadsheet newspapers’ editorials that morning.

And that’s a big part of the job; skimming through the foreign pages, keeping tabs on the Foreign Office’s website and, if you’re really diligent, reading the Economist and Foreign Affairs.

By osmosis, you will pick up who’s who and what’s what.

Judging by her horrendous, comet-ploughing-into-Planet-Earth interview with Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News yesterday, Emily Thornberry certainly doesn’t know her ‘who’s who’.

When asked the name of the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Ms Thornberry went off, in the vernacular, “on one”.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Ed Balls was a useless shadow chancellor

02/09/2016, 10:50:09 PM

by Kevin Meagher

‘You are only a man’ servants used to whisper in the ears of Roman generals to stop them believing their own hype on their triumphant return from battle.

It’s a pity no-one ever performed a similar service for Ed Balls.

The former shadow chancellor, who was unceremoniously ejected by the people of Morley and Outwood at the last election, is rematerializing into British politics, with a new book out about his life in politics and some unsolicited advice for the party.

The extracts show Balls for what he is: a clever and effective politician in many ways. Unfortunately for him, his curse is hubris.

His period as shadow chancellor under Ed Miliband was an unmitigated disaster for Labour.

Routinely 20 points behind Cameron and Osborne throughout the last parliament on questions of economic competence and trust, it was clear three years out from the election that the party was stone-cold dead on the economy.

His associations with the dog-days of Gordon Brown’s government meant Balls – so long his factotum at the Treasury – was an insane choice for the role.

He was a constant, corporeal reminder of Labour’s previous mistakes, which the party in government did so little to contextualise when it had the chance.

But he coveted the job when Alan Johnson, Miliband’s original shadow chancellor, quit. Pride got the better of him and he simply wasn’t slick enough to shake off previous form to win a second hearing.

At no point did he manage to alter the terms of political debate.

Labour spent too much and regulated too little. They didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining. They maxed out the credit card. They have no long-term economic plan. The blows rained down on Labour’s reputation and Ed Balls was not equal to the task of rebutting them.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Labour needs to learn to accept the public’s mandate

30/08/2016, 09:27:26 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Is it really a surprise that Theresa May intends to press on and trigger Article 50 and begin our negotiated withdrawal from the EU without a vote in Parliament?

After all, June’s referendum was conclusive.

A clear majority of Britons chose to quit the EU. 52 per cent to 48 per cent. 17.4 million votes to 16.1 million. And at 72 per cent, the turnout was higher than the 66 per cent that voted in last year’s general election.

The debate was had. The issues were discussed to death. Both sides made their case. They were well-matched. The Remain campaign lost. Game over.

What comes next is axiomatic, surely? Article 50 is triggered, we negotiate the terms of our exit and future working relationship with the EU and we get on with it.

That’s what the public chose to do. It’s what they commanded ministers to implement on their behalf and the political class to accept.

Yet Owen Smith is standing for the Labour leadership on a platform of offering a second referendum, while Tottenham MP, David Lammy, called Theresa May’s plan to press ahead with Article 50 a ‘stitch-up’.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

The skipped over people of real Britain

26/08/2016, 05:10:12 PM

by Kevin Meagher

There’s a space in British politics that no one wants to occupy at the moment.

If you’re sensible and moderate, perhaps even old-fashioned in your outlook, in favour of traditional marriage, say, or concerned about the pace of change in society, maybe disapproving of mass immigration and not particularly enthused by the growth of identity politics, then there’s not really anywhere for you to go, politically, these days.

In previous times, many of you backed Labour, as your family did before you, but they’re all career politicians these days aren’t they? Self-serving PC loonies.

You can’t understand why Jeremy Corbyn won’t wear a tie or makes such a fuss about singing the National Anthem.

You don’t live in central London. You’re from one of those towns in the north and midlands that people in London have heard of, but aren’t quite sure where they are.

You don’t own an Apple Mac. You can’t taste the difference between Guatemalan and Colombian coffee beans. You voted to leave the European Union and you don’t regret it one tiny bit.

You want to buy British and be proud of your country. You like your politicians in suits. You wonder why we can’t just jail or expel Muslim fanatics who hate us.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Beat Corbyn in a fair fight, not by smearing him

24/08/2016, 07:13:33 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Is Jeremy Corbyn a racist?

It’s a strange and unfamiliar accusation against a politician who has spent his entire adult life on one anti-racist march or another.

Israel aside, Corbyn is the bleeding heart’s bleeding heart.

The allegation of racial discrimination against him comes from a serving Labour frontbencher, Chi Onwurah.

Writing in the New Statesman earlier this week, she complained about the way her brief as shadow minister for culture and the digital economy (nope, me neither) had been split between her and another Labour MP, Thangam Debonnaire, without telling either of them:

‘If this had been any of my previous employers in the public and private sectors Jeremy might well have found himself before an industrial tribunal for constructive dismissal, probably with racial discrimination thrown in – given that only five per cent of MPs are black and female, picking on us two is statistically interesting to say the least.’

‘In any other job I would have called on my union for support in confronting an all-white management which prevented two of its few black employees from doing their jobs. I would have expected the Leader of the Labour Party to condemn such ineffectual management which allowed such abuse.’

The accusation is a new low in the war of attrition between the Parliamentary Labour Party and their leader. Corbyn may be many things and not be many things, but he is no racist and the slur is contemptible.

It’s also a doomed attempt to ‘swift boat’ Corbyn on an issue he has made his own.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon