Thursday, 19 January 2017

When You're In A Hole

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The Guardian and Telegraph newspapers may be at opposite end of the spectrum in terms of UK politics, but their parliamentary sketch writers are as one: Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is toast when it comes to Brexit.

Instead of being on the defensive at PMQs Theresa May felt confident enough to mock the Labour leader with the taunt "I've got a plan, he doesn't have a clue!"

Ouch, that's got to hurt, especially when Jeremy Corbyn is described as not knowing which side he's on and facing both ways at once.

Sadly, this has been the position for months and there's no sign yet that the Labour Party is even capable of taking on board Denis Healey's famous advice about what to do when you find you're in a hole.

Tories in awe of May, as Corbyn's opposition runs out of ideas

By John Crace - The Guardian

Conservative MPs toe the line but Labour looks more confused than ever
Theresa May said she loves the EU, just not enough to stay in it. Photograph: PA

There was only sweetness and light on the Conservative benches. It was as if the divisions of the past six months had never happened, as the Eurosceptics joined ranks with the Europhiles to praise the brilliance of the prime minister’s Lancaster house speech.

Anna Soubry, normally Theresa May’s bete noire, could only marvel at the clarity and leadership the prime minister had provided and just hoped that she could write down her 12 objectives so parliament could venerate them as holy relics. Alistair Burt, another erstwhile troublemaker, was overwhelmed by how constructive the speech had been and prayed that God would grant her even more constructiveness in the months and years ahead.

Even the dogged Ken Clarke had only the most mild of rebukes for Theresa, saying it would have been nice if she had come and told parliament about what she was going to say first. The days when the Tories washed their dirty linen in public appear to be at least temporarily over.

If only the same could be said for Labour. Though that’s asking a lot when there’s a leadership that doesn’t even appear to agree with itself. While yesterday Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit minister had applauded the prime minister for not taking the hard Brexit option, Jeremy Corbynhad appeared to be saying the exact opposite. It’s not always entirely clear if he knows what he’s saying himself.

PMQs showed why Brexit is killing Labour

By MICHAEL DEACON - The Telegraph

Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons - CREDIT: PA WIRE

Never mind a hard Brexit. Labour need a quick Brexit. And when I say quick, I don’t mean in two years’ time. I mean they need Brexit to happen today, or, at a push, tomorrow. Maybe, at the absolute latest, next week. Because, until Britain actually leaves the EU, and the public finally forms a consensus about whether Brexit has been a success or a failure, Labour are stuffed.

That’s not an exaggeration. They’re stuffed. Political debate, for the next two years and beyond, both inside the Commons and out, is going to be dominated by Brexit: the most important, and most viciously divisive, issue of our age. And Labour don’t have a position on it. Arguably, they can’t have a position on it. Almost all their MPs voted Remain – yet most of their seats voted Leave. But then, to further complicate the problem, polling suggests two-thirds of Labour voters voted Remain. 

And as for their unshiftable leader - nobody seems certain what side he is on, even now.

Car Crash Corbyn (13/01/17)

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I enjoyed Michael Deacon's sketch for The Telegraph in which he describes the latest Labour party own goal as Jeremy Corbyn being 'at war with himself' over freedom of movement in the European Union. 

While Corbyn supporters like to blame the mainstream media for the Labour leader's terrible public image, the truth is he's completely useless and out of his depth.

The day Jeremy Corbyn slapped down Jeremy Corbyn

MICHAEL DEACON - The Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn gives a speech in Peterborough, during which he announces that he may or may not oppose freedom of movement - CREDIT: LEON NEAL/GETTY IMAGES

Ever since he became their leader, Labour MPs have been at war with Jeremy Corbyn. In the past 24 hours, however, the conflict has taken an unexpected twist.

Now, it seems, Jeremy Corbyn is at war with himself.

Put it like this. Until last night, Mr Corbyn was a staunch supporter of EU freedom of movement. Then his aides revealed to the press that he was about to give a speech saying he wasn’t. This morning, however, Mr Corbyn went on the Today programme to distance himself from his own remarks (“We aren’t saying anyone couldn’t come here”). And then, this afternoon, when the much-trumpeted speech was finally given – at a community hall in pro-Brexit Peterborough – he said the following.

“Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle,” he insisted. “But I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.”

Corbyn as Trump (11/01/17)

Nothing else has worked, so Jeremy Corbyn's latest wheeze is to try and steal some of Donald Trump's clothes as an snake-oil selling, populist politician.

Not a good look, if you ask me but decide for yourself.

Here's how Jim Waterson on Twitter described the subtle difference between the version of Corby's big Brexit speech as briefed by his official spokesperson - and the one actually delivered by the Labour leader on the day.


Labour's Pushmi-Pullyu (18/11/16)Image result for push me pull you + doctor dolittle images

Michael Deacon writing in The Telegraph suggests that Labour have achieved the impossible under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership by alienating both the Leave and Remain camps.

And it's true if you ask me, because while Labour MPs like Keir Starmer patiently build a a case which is trying to force the government into explaining exactly what Brexit might look like down the line - the shadow chancellor (John McDonnell) is encouraging us all to be more positive about leaving the European Union.

Not for the first time Corbyn's Labour is facing both ways at the same time when its job is to oppose and deny the government a blank cheque over what Brexit really means.

Well done, Labour. You’re alienating both the Brexiters and the Remainers at once

MICHAEL DEACON - The Telegraph

John McDonnell, the Labour shadow chancellor, delivers a speech in London about the economy and jobs CREDIT: BEN STANSALL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

What Labour have achieved should be impossible. Yet somehow they’ve managed it.

They’ve convinced people who are pro-Brexit that Labour are anti-Brexit – and convinced people who are anti-Brexit that Labour are pro-Brexit.

Or, to put it another way: they’re alienating both the 52 per cent and the 48 per cent. And becoming the party of the 0 per cent.

On the one hand, they have Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, forensically probing for flaws in Brexit. And on the other, they have John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, who announced in London today that “It’s time we were all more positive about Brexit.”

Corbyn's Dead Cat (11/01/17)Image result for dead cat on the table + images

After months of dreadful opinion polls Jeremy Corbyn and his advisers have clearly decided to throw a 'dead cat' on the table, if the Labour leader's comments on Brexit and a national 'wage cap' are anything to go by.

Now I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't really care what Wayne Rooney earns from Manchester United FC 

Because what I care about is whether Wayne Rooney and people like him pays their fair share of taxes.   

If any Government were stupid enough to set an arbitrary limit on Wayne Rooney's wages, then everything above the new 'wage cap' would be lost to the Inland Revenue - and the end result in not one extra penny piece for the public purse.

In other words it's a piece of virtue signalling from a politician who is running scared from the electorate and because Jeremy can't think of anything better to say, his only hope is to throw dead cat on the table.  


Equal Pay Day! (10/11/16)

Today is Equal Pay Day in the UK during and if this Twitter photo is anything to go by, all kinds of people including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be keen to emphasise their public support for the concept of 'equal pay for work of equal point'.

But it's worth pointing out that despite all the windy rhetoric from 'leftist' politicians like Jeremy, the trade unions in the UK have never held a national demonstration, never mind a national strike, over Equal Pay during the past 30 years!

As regular readers know, Action 4 Equality Scotland has led the fight for equal pay north of the border and the trade unions have often been part of the problem.

In areas such as South Lanarkshire, for example, where local trade union leaders actively discouraged their members from pursuing equal pay claims against the local Labour-run Council.


Having A Laugh! (17/10/16)

The latest Labour Party poster made me laugh with its ridiculous image of Jeremy Corbyn 'calling time' on the equal pay waiting game.

Maybe Jeremy could find the time to send this poster to some of the many Labour council who fought so hard against equal pay for all these years?

South Lanarkshire and North Lanarkshire Councils are two of the more obvious ones that spring to mind.

In South Lanarkshire, of course, the local trade unions actively discouraged their members from pursuing equal pay claims against the local Labour-run council for many years - and if you ask me Jeremy Corbyn is of that same, old-fashioned, 'leftist' union mindset.

One that talks the talk, but fails to deliver time after time.


Can't Cut The Mustard (22/09/16)

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I listened to quite the most devastating assessment of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership abilities on Radio 5 Live, the other day, from his first wife Jane Chapman.

Now this was not the bitter rant of a woman scorned, not least because Jane voted for her former husband first time around when he won the Labour leadership in 2015.

Nor was this 'uninformed' opinion of someone with an axe to grind since Jane is now widely regarded Professor of Communications at the University of Lincoln and a visiting Fellow at Wolfson College Cambridge.

Nonetheless Jane's view was that Jeremy had failed to mark his mark in any of the roles he has played throughout his life as a local government councillor, a trade union official and/or as a Labour MP, observing that:
  • as a local councillor Jeremy chaired nothing more important than a council sub-committee
  • Jeremy's trade union career never progressed beyond the 'entry level' rank
  • as Labour MP for 32 years Jeremy never took on any position of responsibility - not even that as the chair of a parliamentary select committee 
So without rancour or any hint of personal animosity, Professor Chapman essentially came to the same view as the vast majority of Labour MPs - that Jeremy Corbyn does not possess the skills for the job of Labour leader.

Which is, of course, my considered view as well.


'Bog Standard' Officials (24/06/16)

Jeremy Corbyn appearing on The Last Leg

I was unfazed one way or the other by Jeremy Corbyn's appearance on 'The Last Leg' TV programme which had the Labour leader arrive in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, dressed in a dinner suit and a full-length white fur coat.

After all if you have an image problem, then why not do something out of the ordinary to confound and confuse your political opponents.

But no, my real problem with Jeremy is that in answer to a 'dolly' question about how he would rank the importance of the next week's EU referendum on a scale of 1 to 10, Jezza responded with the unbelievably lame answer of "7 to 7 and a half".

Now when so much is at stake in next week's referendum, you would think a Labour leader worth his mettle would have emphasised, in the strongest possible terms, the very real threat to the UK economy, jobs and investment posed by the country's withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

So Jeremy's a complete fool if you ask me, a political half-wit, but that's what you get if you elect as Labour leader a man who rose to the dizzying ranks of 'bog standard' union official before finding a niche as a backbench Labour MP in the House of Commons for the next 32 years.

And while there are some decent trade union officials around, believe me there are plenty of complete 'duds' in the ranks too, as the Labour party and the country is finding out to its cost.


Labour Flip Flops (10/01/17)

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Question: What's the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and a pair of flip flops?

Answer: Not a lot, especially as the hapless Labour leader prepares to join the Tories in arguing that Britain will actually be better off outside the EU.

Apparently, after months of claiming the exact opposite, Jeremy Corbyn will stand Labour policy on its head and say that his party supports 'repatriating powers' from Europe and is not wedded to the principle of 'free movement' of workers within the EU.

If you ask me, this is all down to Labour's terrible showing in the polls and the prospect of the Copeland by-election in Cumbria where Labour is defending a once previously safe seat which is now vulnerable to the Tories because of Jeremy Corbyn's well known hostility to nuclear power.

Still, could be worse, Theresa May could call a general election and force Labour to go to the country with Jezza at the helm.