May 2006

British local elections and the aftermath

I watched the BBC’s British local election coverage live online until well into the morning. What a complete bunch of arse. No really. A complete bunch of arse. I mean, there was no Paxman! What’s up with that? David Dimbleby’s dry, cynical asides were all very well, but I wanted to see Paxman pull out a beer bottle, smash the end off the side of the desk and threaten “Dr. John” Reid with it.

Oh, and what is it with Labour and their obsession with “headlines”? Apparently public perception of the party is so negative because of “two weeks of bad headlines”. Nothing to do with the deputy PMs philandering, nor the Health Secretary being resoundly booed by the nurses unions, and certainly not the shambles at the Home Office. No, it’s the fact that these things are being reported that’s the real problem. We are witnessing the arrogance of entrenched power reaching absurd extremes when a government begins to blame the media for reporting its failings. It implies a government philosophy based around the “It’s not a crime if you’re not caught” principle.

Which may or may not speak volumes about Tony Blair’s attitude towards ‘CIA rendition flights’ and the export of suspects for torture abroad.

Needless to say, the government were given a damn good kicking in the local elections. I suspect “headlines” had less to do with it than the fact that most people in Britain see their government as a bunch of arrogant corporate apologists wanking themselves senseless at the thought of an invite to Camp David or a photoshoot with Condi. At the last count, 306 nuLabor councillors lost their jobs last night. Good riddance.

The only problem is that most of them were replaced by Tory councillors. Turns out the British people said “We don’t want you arrogant tossers in charge any more. We’ve decided to vote for the only mainstream party who have a trackrecord of being more arrogant and bigger tossers”. You gotta love democracy… people are morons but at least they get accurate representation in office. More people voted for a party which describes itself both as environmentally responsible and “The Party of The Motorist” than for any other party. That’s not Orwellian doublethink, it’s just plain thick.

And it turns out that people simply aren’t willing to vote for a party run by someone called Ming. Who can blame them? I don’t know much about the guy (except he’s firmly pro-capitalist. Hiss!) but I do know that name is a serious liability. It’s no surprise to me that he was once an Olympic athlete… with a name like that at school you learn how to run fast.

Some elements of the media are focussing on the fact that the British National Party gained some ground. That they gained more councillors than The Greens despite fielding quarter the number of candidates is indeed a bit unsettling. But frankly the Far Right don’t scare me nearly as much as unsustainable capitalism. Not because one is worse than the other, but because one threatens to destroy the planet I live on, while the other is currently a small bunch a moronic thugs whose greatest power is the power to worry the media. I’m not saying “It couldn’t happen here”. I’m saying “it isn’t happening here at the moment, but something else bloody well is”.

The Green vote – being the vote that comes closest to saying “ummm… unrestrained consumer-capitalism might not be the best idea” (albeit in a fairly quiet voice a long way from any microphones) – is clearly the only ethical one. The fact that they won a number of council seats is good news.

And don’t come to this blog with a load of “nothing unethical about consumer-capitalism” nonsense. You’re wrong. Deal with it.

Tony shuffles a deck full of jokers

The fact that Tony Blair had decided to reshuffle his cabinet was telegraphed well in advance of the local elections. Everyone knew that nuLabor would get a kicking at the polls, so what better to occupy the political press the following day than a change in personnel up in Whitehall? We wouldn’t want them expending all their energy analysing the election results now, would we? Teflon Tony… Transparent Tony… Tosser Tone.

And what a reshuffle it turned out to be. There is perhaps one man in the nuLabor inner-circle who is guaranteed to take more delight in shitting on civil liberties than The Safety Elephant. So guess who got the Home Office job? Yup. Dr. John. No doubt he’ll be quick to reschedule cannabis as Class B and enforce the immediate arrest of anyone suspected of being in possession.

So long as they’re not him.

Dr. John; the man who so recently gave a speech dedicated to undermining the validity of the Geneva Conventions; has been put in charge of law enforcement and anti-terrorist duties. You couldn’t make it up. And I love the fact that the man he replaced – Charles “Safety Elephant” Clarke – couldn’t even step down with good grace. He actually made a speech about how Tony might have had “the right” to sack him, but was wrong to do so. These people are such unholy pricks, they really are.

Once again though, you have to wonder about the people who voted for them. Almost 16,000 people in Norwich put their ‘X’ next to the name “Charles Clarke” in 2005. Sixteen thousand. That’s 4,000 more than would fit into Wembley Arena. Imagine the amount of drool that would be produced if you got them all together!

The appointment of Margaret Beckett as Foreign Secretary is mystifying. She’s a political lightweight and now poor old Jack Straw no longer has a legitimate reason to cuddle up to Condi. He’ll be distraught and she’ll be overwhelmed. And Jeff Hoon as Europe minister? If nothing else, it allows nuLabor to regain some of the eurosceptic ground from the tories. Next time someone claims the government is ‘caving in to Brussels’, Tosser Tone can point out that giving the European portfolio to a blithering idiot is surely evidence enough of his contempt for the cheese-eaters across the water.

A few weeks ago I was struck by the news that Condi’s visit to Greece had also been met with demonstrations. The difference between the Greeks and the British, however, was that as well as bringing anti-Condi banners to the demo, in Athens they also brought petrol-bombs. When you look at the current UK government, it makes you wonder whether the British people shouldn’t take a more Greek approach to politics.

Posted in: Opinion