Friday, July 30, 2004
Linked here the article in my view wrongly concludes as follows:-
The fight is no longer over ideology: it is about which group of individuals has most understanding and sympathy for the problems and pressures of day-to-day life. Somehow, the Tories must show that they identify with real people and that their policies come from the heart, as well as the head.
As if the Tories continuing failure to better this disgraced and distrusted government in the polls were not enough, YouGov has now asked questions that go to the heart of the voters' distaste for the Tories. The poll published today in the Daily Telegraph linked here reports the Tories lagging but almost level pegging with Labour but while the headline seeks to distract from the truth of Howard's disastrous standing in the eyes of the public, the facts of the poll speak for themselves.
Those who think the Conservatives lack an impressive team of leaders number 75 per cent against 56 for Labour. Fifty six per cent think the Conservatives are stuck in the past against only 31 per cent for Labour. While sixty four per cent believe the opposition lack any clear sense of direction - incredibly again more than that for Labour who are thus condemned by fifty nine per cent. This latter result for me is particularly telling against Michael Howard - it is understandable for a governing party to get bogged down in the detail of present day problems and trivia and begin to take on the appearance of aimlessness - BUT for an opposition party to be deemed to have no vision for the future is truly a disaster - after all what else do they have to do?
One bright spot for the Tories is that the UKIP stand at only six per cent, just punishment for that party's present indecision over Hartlepool, the disastrous cowardice at Hodge Hill and Leicester South and apparent treachery in now closely integrating with the EU machinary rather than setting about its destruction as promised. I continue to fight against these negative aspects as can be daily read on UKIP Uncovered linked here.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
The Spectator has an item, linked here, by Matthew Parris, (bit below par if I may say so) which has this paragraph towards its end:-
And Tony Blair? We all talked ourselves into a great froth about whether the Prime Minister could take the risk, but the real risk was putting Mandelson in the Cabinet. Mr Blair has been credited for being bold when he has played safe. As for the necessary Hartlepool by-election (about which the newspapers puffed the PM’s alleged worries), one may question how damaging a by-election loss to the Liberal Democrats or Ukip’s Robert Kilroy-Silk would be. Why should ‘momentum’ for a third party worry Mr Blair? In a general election most Liberal gains mean Tory losses; while Ukip is Michael Howard’s nightmare, not Tony Blair’s.
Wrong Matthew! If the UK Independence Party pull themselves together, as I am urging them on the blog Ukip Uncovered linked here, then UKIP will be a potentially lethal threat to all parties come the next General Election. Bruce Anderson also writing in this week's edition equally misses the point - it is all politicians in all the established political parties who are now at risk - widespread and general disgust at politicians' blatant cronyism, deceit and the clear pursuit of nothing but self-interest is on the rise and nothing should now be so sweepingly predicated on past assumptions!
The Guardian has a leading article (linked here) discussing the crisis within the Conservative Party.
Where before power dropped ripely back into the Tories' lap without the need for strenuous intellectual effort, this time, at least on their recent showing in opinion polls and by-elections, it looks quite possible that they will be only a point or two ahead of the Lib Dems at the next election. In share of the vote, they might even come third. The party leader, the shadow chancellor and the shadow home secretary could, on a strong showing by the Lib Dems, all lose their seats, along with 40 or so of their colleagues who have majorities below 5,000 at the moment.
As the writer makes clear, there seems no realisation within the Conservative Party of the true dimensions of the crisis they now face. Throwing in the sponge at the Hartlepool by-election before the contest has even begun is yet one more sign of their sorry state.
Yet the nation is crying out for an effective opposition with honest and straightforward leaders. Such is what cannot be found. The crisis therefore looks set to continue.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
The Independent linked here reports that Michael Howard is now in danger on three fronts:
Michael Howard was given an ultimatum about his leadership last night and warned that "the muttering will become louder and louder" unless he delivers an impressive performance at this year's party conference.
The Daily Telegraph linked from here, details the reasons given by the Tory leader for ruling out any accomodation with UKIP over the EU at the coming General Election. The article quotes the lamentable performance of Angela Browning MP on yesterday's 'World at One' programme:
"I would certainly be in favour of us looking again at our terms of trade, but what they [UKIP] want is a big row and out tomorrow."
The ignorance displayed in that statement must have been immediately apparent to any of her constituents listening in Tiverton and Honiton, thus making this constituency a prime UKIP target. As the Leader of the House of Commons points out in this item from Reuters linked here - the ignorance and disconnect of the typical Westminster MP on the EU is practically total and most certainly completely shameful - Hain himself being no exception, as the many asinine comments of his regarding the EU clearly demonstrate, many of which are detailed on my blog Ironies linked here.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
More trouble for Michael Howard from his sordid arrangement in the EU Parliament with the ultra Federalist Euopean Peoples Party masquerading as a sham alliance between an apparently powerless and almost imaginery ED wing within that grouping. The report from The Times is as follows:-
Meanwhile, a Tory MEP launched a renewed attack on Mr Howard’s deal under which the Conservatives sit with the federalist European People’s Party (EPP) in the Parliament. Roger Helmer, a Eurosceptic MEP for the East Midlands, called the deal a “cosmetic device” which allowed the EPP to spend more than £500,000 of “our” parliamentary funding to promote its federalist agenda.
This report is from The Scotsman linked here, is similar to an earlier one on the same topic from BBC Online, the latter is linked from UKIP Uncovered. The following is a quote from the newspaer's coverage:-
Labour Party chairman Ian McCartney accused the Tories of being “in turmoil” over UKIP’s stance and challenged leader Michael Howard to demand his MPs not sign up.
In a letter to Mr Howard, he wrote: “When asked on the Today Programme on June 2 this year if you were certain that there are no Conservative MPs who hold the extremist position of wanting to pull Britain out of the European Union, you replied ‘No Conservative MP has said anything like what you’re suggesting they think’.
“However, following UKIP’s statement today that they will ’give a clear run’ at the next General Election to Conservative candidates who sign a letter backing withdrawal from the European Union, I am concerned that a number of Conservative MPs and parliamentary candidates with a history of calling for withdrawal from the EU, may be tempted to take this offer from a Party you labelled as ‘extremist’ in a speech in Southampton on June 1 this year.
“Will you demand that no Conservative MP or parliamentary candidate at the next General Election should sign such a letter to UKIP calling for Britain to pull out of the European Union? Will you issue a statement to make your position on this clear?”
The Scotsman linked here has a report on the latest gathering Tory dissent. They ran a similar article yesterday which seemed to suggest future party hopes might centre around yet another former John Major so-called heavyweight Sir Malcolm Rifkind - that idea - repeated here, must surely say all there can be said about the state and prospects of the Conservatives.
Have the Conservative MP's not even twigged (we forgive The Scotsman for overlooking this point) while the voters are not sure about much - at least in England thay are absolutely certain that after the last eight years they need a change from being governed by Scots!
Next thing - Heseltine will be having another stab for Number 10 Downing Street, I would not now be surprised to hear!
Monday, July 26, 2004
In another certain sign of the Conservative Party's death wish the Daily Telegraph this morning reveals at least one fight the Tory MPs seem willing to undertake - civil war based upon conflicting views of comparative underperformance. The extraordinary revelations may be read from here.
The same staunchly Conservative newspaper also suggests in its leading article that some 30 of the present sitting Tory MPs should be for the chop, they miss the point that the rot starts at the very top! The Leader is linked from here.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
The descent to destruction deservedly gathers pace for the Tories as the News of the World Populus Poll reports the Lib Dems as having caught up with Howard's lame duck party at a 28 per cent approval rating. The summary may be read from this link to ePolitix.
Howard should recall that it is to a large part through overly regarding the theories, policies and opinions of the last Conservative Deputy Prime Minister and his sidekick Kenneth Clarke that the Tories are now in this apparently doomed state. The BBC report carrying the news item, linked here, also reports abject political failure - Michael Portillo urging similar advice from the columns of the Sunday press. It will be recalled that this latter boor, while Defence Secretary, held a cocktail party which - with windows left wide open - treated a large audience, trying to enjoy a Beating of the Retreat ceremony, to ample evidence of his unsuitability for public office.
Ministers from John Major's administration clearly have no concept of the complete contempt in which they are held by the country at large. As evidence read this quote from the Hartlepool Mail linked here, which I overlooked linking yesterday from the post below:-
And Hartlepool's own businessman Gus Robinson this morning said he would be considering putting himself forward for the by-election.
He ran as the Tory candidate in 2001, winning 7.939 votes, but losing out to Mandelson, who polled 14,571.
This morning Mr Robinson said: "I would consider standing as an Independent.
"I sincerely believe I would do a first class job for Hartlepool. I have the experience and the qualifications to do the job.
"I learned in the last election that the people of Hartlepool did not have a stomach for a Conservative candidate.
I think that will probably prove true in the country at large if the Conservatives present themselves to the electorate still led by one stained from the Major administration. It looks as if it will take a General Election to convince them of that fact however. Ineptitude? Stupidity? Arrogance? Or something more sinister!
Friday, July 23, 2004
The last Conservative Party candidate in the departing Mandelson's constituency of Hartlepool is reported in today's Hartlepool Mail as stating that if he were to stand in the coming by-election, it would be as an independent - oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!
What a whopper of a clanger dropped by Blair today, and the Tories under Howard totally unable to capitalise as usual!
Wonderful news for eurosceptics everywhere of course!
Bruce Anderson in his article in the week's The Spectator linked here suggests the two should not be mutually self-exclusive.
All is not hopeless, he thinks - he even believes talent exists in Central Office a point disputed by other commentators recently linked from here... but telling the truth - now that would truly be revolutionary!
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Now Michael Howard's position looks even less secure than did that of IDS this time last year. The final straw could be contained in the following item taken from the most recent report of the above newsletter Number 197 issued this evening:-
DO THE 'EUROPEAN DEMOCRATS' EXIST?
The Conservative Party in Britain claims that it has negotiated a clever deal with the federalist European People?s Party. The idea is that the Tories join up with the Czech ODS, the Portuguese Popular Party and one Italian to form a sub-group called European Democrats. According to one Conservative MEP, this solution is as good as not belonging to the EPP at all. ['The end of the affair for Tories and federalists,' by Daniel Hannan, The Daily Telegraph, 18th July 2004] How odd, therefore, that the web page of the 'European People's Party' (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats' makes no mention whatever of the autonomy of the ED. See this link.
Instead, it reports only on the re-election as party leader of the arch-federalist Hans-Gert Pöttering. It is impossible to find anything out about the new ED group from this page.
The Conservatives claim that they have remained within the EPP because they
want to team up with other conservative parties in Europe. How odd,
therefore, that their first act in the new European Parliament was to vote a
Spanish Socialist, Josep Borrell Fontelles, as President of the Parliament,
even though the conservative parties in Europe clearly won the European
The Scotsman , carries this somewhat startling report, that implies considerably more than a feeling of being 'downcast' - worse even than 'dismay' - more like mutiny perhaps (see our earlier post below)? A quote:-
“I congratulate UKIP MEPs on using their position to inform the British public about the waste, excesses, corruption and stupidity of European institutions.
“The more the British people know about the EU, the less they like it. The EU is being driven hard towards a single federal state. Our destiny is not to be consumed by that federal state.
Dismay would seem the more appropriate reaction after this disastrous year!
The Independent sums up the mood of the party, linked from here, which in the past year dropped an increasingly trusted and realistic leader for a known past failure and widely distrusted annointed replacement. Now they wonder why their general election prospects seem hopeless! Some quotes:-
Michael Howard....... owned up to mistakes over Iraq.
His lacklustre Commons performance this week dismayed Tory MPs already downcast by two abject by-election performances and poor opinion poll ratings.
some MPs admitted to feeling downcast as they left Westminster for their summer break, which begins today. One characterised the parliamentary party's mood as "gloomy but not mutinous".
The Guardian carries a column by Catherine Bennett, linked here, which apart from its own critique of Howard, such as:-
That is not to say he can no longer make a useful contribution. Maybe he could clean behind the fridge while the lovely and still sought-after Sandra is out on her modelling assignments.
Later goes on to quote Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail who :-
...lamented the way Howard had "shrivelled like a punctured birthday balloon" when confronted with an uppish Blair and an unusually hyper-active audience. "Mr Howard was thrown by this mob. His speech yesterday was a disaster."
The speech on the EU, mentioned in a post below, has now been posted in full on the Conservative Party web-site, linked here , it really represents nothing new from the Tories on the EU, contrary to the impression possibly obtainable from the report in the Daily Telegraph.
The Conservative ambiguity and deception over Europe, which lies at the heart of the party's obvious decline has still not been accepted.
Contrast the Tory attitude with the clarion call for 'Our Country Back' issued by Robert Kilroy-Silk this morning in the Strasbourg Parliament, as reported on UKIP Uncovered
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
This link to the BBC's press review provides an overview and is linked here, it reports:-
"Tory leader Michael Howard is damned by many papers for his performance, described as "lacklustre" by the FT.
The Telegraph says the Tory leader "failed to land any telling blows on the Prime Minister" at Wednesday's debate on the Butler Report into intelligence"
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Shabby opportunism! Such was the charge, in my view quite rightly, thrown across the floor of the House of Commons, at Michael Howard and Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram, as beamed around the world by CNN and other international TV channels this afternoon.
We can only wonder at how Britain can be so badly governed and yet lack effective opposition. There is a complete lack of principle within the Tory party, the quotations of Howard's speech to News Corporation executives by Tony Blair (previously referenced on this blog) could not better demonstrate the complete lack of moral fibre apparently across the entire Tory front bench.
Acting as if there remained some remote possibility of the Conservative Party winning the next General Election while this probably most widely distrusted of ex-John Major ministers remains at the head of the Tory party, Michael Howard has today attempted to better reflect public opinion on the EU in the country at large. The Daily Telegraph carries the report, linked from here.
Now if he had made such a statement on first assuming the leadership and arranged for the marginalisation of the likes of Ken Clarke, some might have trusted that he actually believed and planned to do what he said. Some few gullible fools!
Reality may be found in The Independent where Bruce Anderson declares the next election unwinnable for the Tories and The Guardian where details of the latest ICM poll report:-
Michael Howard has a minus 8 points approval rating on this month's poll. The Conservatives had only 30% of the vote. The alternative parties who are exciting voters are the Liberal Democrats, who in the wake of their byelection triumphs are up three points to 25% this month, and the Greens and Ukip, who both take a 3% share of the vote.
Monday, July 19, 2004
In reviewing the results and comments on last week's by-elections the true nature of the Tory disaster becomes apparent. The following excerpt from a Daily Telegraph article by Anthony King, linked here, published on 17th July seems to adequately describe the full nature of the Tory defeat:-
"At the general election, the Conservatives came second in four of the five seats. In the subsequent by-elections, they have won nothing and come second only once. They have contrived to finish fourth once and third three times.
Moreover, their share of the vote, far from increasing, has fallen on all five occasions. Until recently many Conservatives believed the party was on a roll.
They were right. It is. It is rolling gently backwards.
The Tory share of the vote in Birmingham Hodge Hill has fallen from a respectable 37 per cent in 1987 to less than half of that, 17.3 per cent, now.
In Leicester South, the fall in Tory support has been equally precipitous: from more than 40 per cent a generation ago to just under 20 per cent at the by-election.
The conclusion is as simple as it is inescapable."
The true extent of the total lack of integrity of prominent party members, which is clearly a main cause of the present deep malaise, was further demonstrated by Daniel Hannan, SE Region Number One Tory MEP, in his astounding article in yesterday's Sunday Telegragh linked here.
Hannan in his unbelievable explanation for his continuing within the federalist EPP group during the present parliament, has exceeded even my expectations regarding the depths of hypocrisy achievable in Howard's Tory party. Today of course we have more evidence that it is indeed the party's leader who clearly sets this tone with his opportunistic change of tack over his support for the Iraq war, reported extensively today, of which this other Telegraph article is typical, linked here.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
After the by-election results and the comment in the pages and editorials of the press, not least in their weekly 'House Journal' today, from which this is but a short quote:-
A few malcontents are slyly blaming Michael Howard.
It would be folly to dispense with the current shadow cabinet, given that the pool of talent upon which to draw is so shallow. And the electorate would merely be befuddled by a rash of new Tory policies, so soon after the last lot.
The full editorial with links to other adverse comment is linked from here
Friday, July 09, 2004
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Its been a lonely old business trying to tell the world what rubbish is Howard, while the likes of Polly Toynbee, the BBC and assorted other labour supporting media have proclaimed what a wonderful decision the treacherous Tory backbenchers had made when they dumped the democratically party-member elected IDS for the annointment of the failed and deeply distrusted ex-Home Secretary Howard.
In an absolutely scathing piece on the Conservative Leader's change of tactics this week Daily Telegraph linked here political correpondent, Andrew Sparrow, in a piece titled 'Howard's flop on the sofa' concludes Mr Howard presumably thinks that people might vote for him if they like his wife. After yesterday, he might win more support if he lets her stay at home.
As we point out in the post immediately beneath this, our democracy is in danger from many sources - freedom lovers cannot allow their main opposition party to be led by a loser with no love or loyalty towards democratic processes within his own soul - such is how he has always struck me!
Tory Leader Michael Howard is reported in tody's Financial Times linked here in reaction to the latest poor polls for the Tories, as admitting that:-
the Tories were not in a position to challenge New Labour's grip on power, stating: "We are making a lot of progress but I would entirely accept that we are not yet there." People had lost trust in the government. "But they are not yet as convinced as I would like them to be that we are a credible alternative."
The newspaper's report later makes the following further point:-
Some commentators attribute the Tories' poll decline, at least in part, to the recent increase in support for the europhobic UK Independence party. But Mr Howard denied any suggestion the Tories might be tempted into a deal with the UKIP if his party's ratings did not improve before the election.
Democracy in Britain (and across the entire EU) is under extreme threat from both the ever expanding institutions of the EU, but also in Britain from its own repressive government particularly the Home Secretary who yesterday was once again in the vanguard of those EU forces pushing for ever greater citizen-oppressive measures. (See yesterday's Ironies).
Howard has aligned his party with these anti-democratic and repressive forces, the UK Independence Party is at least striving to mount some form of opposition.
All believing in democracy must urgently and seriously consider uniting to fight the greater danger. As Karl Popper wrote sixty years ago - any society not providing its citizens the means and right to periodically change their leaders without bloodshed (such as through elections) is a Tyranny. None seeing the PRESENT institutions and workings of the EU, even with its existing powers, never mind those extra ones envisioned in the new constitution, can have any doubt that the EU is already such a Popperian TYRANNY, yet the Conservative Party turns its face from this daily ever greater reality and growing danger.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
The Tories have sunk below thirty per cent support level in the latest poll and Howard's personal ratings have likewise plummeted. The Scotsman linked here and Sky News here both make much of this story. This small quote is from the fromer:
Since becoming Conservative Party leader in November, Mr Howard’s rating has dropped among every social and age group including Tory supporters, The Times revealed.
Voters prefer Mr Blair over Mr Howard as PM by 47% to 31%, while Mr Brown beats him 49% to 29%.
The urgent question must now be for the entire nation - how come the main opposition party, just as its last leader was gaining a reputation for dogged determination if not efficient management or sparkling parliamentary performance, ditch his leadership for a very clear no-hoper such as Howard - his character stained for ever in the public's mind by his senior role in the still shamed Major administration?
IDS had just started to make steady but clear advances in the polls and if left in place would by now be looking like the next prime minister. Were the increasingly anti-EU policies he was adopting both cause for this rising support AND of his removal?
Saturday, July 03, 2004
The appearance is part of a drive to show the Conservative leader's human side and will avoid politics. Mr Howard will speak of his passion for football and the team he supports, Liverpool.
Both interviews should help to raise Mr Howard's profile in the campaign for two important parliamentary by-elections in Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill on July 15.
The article may be read from this link.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Epolitix linked here, reports on what this blog has been reporting for months and is now being confirmed by MORI - Howard is a loser ....always was! A quote:-
"What's happening is that the don't-knows are making up their minds... and he's not coming across well."
Hodge Hill and Leicester South will tell, my guess is that if UKIP chicken out as they seemed like doing up to the moment the deadline for nominations approached - then it is likely to be other smaller parties that gain....a little birdy tells me the English Democrats might be running so those opposed to the EU might have the chance for a non-racist anti-EU vote in at least one of the constituencies - even if it means appearing to support the concept of an English Parliament, which this blog most strongly does not.
Such are the choices forced upon what should be natural conservative voters by the appalling record of the Conservatives over the EU, the continuing alliance with the EPP in Brussels and the ambiguous but obviously long-term EU-federalist policy of Howard, the price I assume, exacted by the Tory federalists for his annointment as leader.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
The Belfast Telegraph linked here has one theory:-
A 4% share of the vote for the UK Independence Party at the election next May or June, should hobble the Tories nicely. Labour MPs, who like all MPs are neurotic about their own prospects, have taken it into their heads that their low watermark has been reached.