The timeless Tories


9:00 am - November 10th 2008

by Kate Belgrave    


      Share on Tumblr

Why the Tories will forever be old hat.

Hello, all.

This lengthy piece (tis a bit long – got carried away) is the first in a number that will look at Conservative behaviour on the ground. Yours truly wonders if the Tories are fit for public office, exactly, and/or if social responsibility is really their bag…

This week, staff at Tory council Hammersmith and Fulham will meet to organise a response to the latest attack by the council’s Conservative leadership. What a distasteful attack this one is, too – all council staff have been told they will be dismissed and forced to sign new employment contracts on much-reduced terms and conditions.

So.

I know exactly how the Tory trollies among you will greet this news: you’ll say (sans deliberation, as always) that lazy, fat arsed public sector staff – those you doubtless imagine operate the schools, housing offices, libraries, street cleaning and social services at Hammersmith and Fulham – deserve it (do you class bankers as fat arsed, overindulged public sector workers now, btw?). You’ll say that public sector workers deserve the awful hours, and the lack of union representation and employer sympathy and flexibility that your average working stiff in the private sector gets.

But do they?

I think not.

I think – like anyone who thinks even a tiny little bit – the exact opposite.

I also think something useful is happening for the left at Hammersmith and Fulham. The rabid H&F Tories – and the privatisation and service-cutting programme they’ve pursued there since they took the council in 2006are shaping up as quite the godsend for those of us who want to poke holes in the ‘public sector needs private sector/freemarket ideology’ theme that has defined public sector thinking for the last 30 years.

Poking holes in any programme based on the Market is Christ thesis shouldn’t too be difficult – especially now that we know that the Market is Christ thesis fragged even the markets. What is so interesting is the energy that low-rent politicians put into trying to prop up the corpse. These mighty local neocons have nothing new to show us, and nothing new to say. The maniacs the Tories already have on the ground still behold the private sector with rapture.

And they have maniacs galore at Hammersmith and Fulham, all right. The charismatic (ahem) Stephen Greenhalgh’s Conservatives took office in 2006, and went after public services with a steamy animalism that surely spilled over at home…

Right out of the blocks, they tried to close the fast-improving Hurlingham and Chelsea school – amid rumours that they wanted to replace it with an academy, or another form of up-market institution that would appeal to a better class of person than wasters who’d happily send their kids to a large comprehensive like H&C (although one assumes that a few well-heeled whites numbered among the very large number of local people who fought the closure, because the council backed off in the end).

Onwards, nonetheless: they attacked hostels for the homeless, closed and sold the Castle youth club (leaving bored youths to wander the streets – a telling move by a party supposedly concerned about bored youths and youth violence), and stopped the mobile library service. In the same spirit of community, they went after housing and sheltered housing caretakers – the people most likely to foster a sense of safety and community in areas most in need.

The voluntary sector also hit the hit list early – at the beginning of 2007, the council unveiled a programme of cuts that seemed particularly to target immigrant support groups, and – significantly – the socialist-minded, too-smart-for-their-own-good lawyers at the Hammersmith Community Law Centre. The Tories lobotomised the Hammersmith voluntary sector when they cut the law centre out – doubtless the point of the exercise.

The Hammersmith Law Centre was made up of community-minded, campaigning lawyers and law-lecturers who were easily the council’s match and gave free legal advice to most people and voluntary sector groups who asked for it. (I was at Hammersmith and Fulham Unison for several years, and the law centre’s employment specialists were very forthcoming with free legal advice for us – considerably more so than Unison’s often-useless and distinterested legal team).

For 30 years, the law centre had taken cases for local people who were struggling with benefits, housing and immigration issues. They helped campaign on local issues like housing, and to clean up estates.

They were also prepared to take on politically-unpopular cases – to defend, if you like, the law, in the face of public and political opposition. They specialised in immigration law and human rights – not fields where anyone’s made a lot of political friends in recent years. (I did a lot of interviewing at the law centre and on the voluntary sector cuts in Hammersmith last year. You can read that here).

Anyway.

Time to end this post. Suffice to say this is as auspicious a time as we’ve had to think about the on-the-ground realities of neocons in public services, and this weird preoccupation with the so-called genius of the private sector that has held so many for so long.

We can also look at the facts of the Hammersmith Tories’ much-trumpeted tax cuts while we’re at it (famously, they put an (unintentionally) hilarious music vid about Hammersmith council tax cuts on You Tube. Sadly they had to pull the vid, because they left the comments open, and excited record levels of unmonitored abuse. Happily, someone’s replaced it with this).

The question we’ll be asking, of course, is whether tax cuts need be made at the expense of services – a question we need to be thinking about on the left. Hammersmith is, after all, the council that decided there was enough cash around to pursue pay rises for itself even as it masterminded the cuts programmes we’ve looked at above. It’s also the council that has found millions to regenerate King Street – and its very own council buildings.

At the same time, residents are using council-tax savings to pay increased charges for recycling, meals on wheels and homecare services. Are we talking about real cuts and real services in this case – or theory for the hell of it?

There is plenty of reason to wonder about the heart of this beast. This is, after all, the council that set the local equalities scene last year when its very own Lucy Ivimy observed in an email that Shepherd’s Bush was a mess, because immigrants from India chucked rubbish out of their windows: “I know that in India throwing rubbish out of a window and total disregard for the cleanliness of a public area is normal behaviour…’ Is this the sort of thinking we need from people providing public services at a time when public services will be sorely needed? Will these people make useful government?

Hell – maybe they will. Maybe the scene is set for something majestic in Hammersmith and Fulham – Westfield at one end, and a streamlined council at the other, and endless happy families in between. But let’s see. Let’s follow Hammersmith and Fulham over the next year or so and find out what cutting public services is all about. Let’s think about the services that most of us will need at some point or another – schools, homecare, and clean streets. Let’s look at councils that have started to think outside the Market box, and that are managing to provide good in-house services at reasonable cost. Let’s think about the money we’ve spent bailing out bankers and other rich wankers and the dated thinking that got us there.

We’ll be tracking Barnet council as well, btw. They are also bandying the ‘sack all staff’ idea around – and have the added frisson of a great deal of money tied up (gone forever?) in Iceland. Let’s see if these Conservatives can impose order with the old order. Let’s see these Conservatives making it real.

Back soon with more.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Kate Belgrave is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a New Zealander who moved to the UK eight years ago. She was a columnist and journalist at the New Zealand Herald and is now a web editor. She writes on issues like public sector cuts, workplace disputes and related topics. She is also interested in abortion rights, and finding fault with religion. Also at: Hangbitching.com and @hangbitch
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Economy ,Local Government ,Trade Unions

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Well done for pulling this all together and highlighting it!

“Time to end this post.”

I’ve never been more glad that this was a lie. ^.^ Great post, packed with fun information. I’m feeling glad that I didn’t use Hammersmith council to deal with my grant now, but they *can not* have cocked things up more severely than my current one…

No problem.

There’s a lot more to come. I think it’s time we shone a very bright light over the realities of various Tory administrations, especially if this lot really are likely to be next in government.

This softly-softly stuff from Cameron needs to be put to rest for once and for all. These people have no sense of community, no interest in women’s rights, no sense of decent education for all and public health, and not an iota of interest in anyone who is struggling in any way at all – and a lot of people are at the moment. There is no imagination in this generation of Tories – only an obsession with the Thatcher past and a mad-keenness to return us to those glory days… There are no new ideas – anyone who watches Osbourne can see that.

Tax cuts are their only mantra and the likes of Westfield their only notion of development and regeneration (although I understand that that development only employs one in five local people – that in a part of the borough where unemployment and poverty are real problems. I’d like to see them insist that any major profits made by Westfield (if any are – jury will be out on that one for a while) are put back into the community. Wonder if they’ll be up for that.

@ James – thanks for your comments And yes, they’ll will cock up your grant – they’re getting to the point where they haven’t got enough staff to handle requests and enquiries. Plenty of money to rebuild and redecorate the town hall, of course – just not to assist anyone who requires public services. They’re about to move their contact centre to Rochdale, too, so that will make access to staff and services even more difficult.

H+F is their flagship council as well. Much of what is being done there is a trial for London as a whole and the rest of the country.

It’s also important to remember that the much-vaunted 3% council tax cut does not work out as a real-terms cut for most people when you take into account the big increases in service charges and fees. So in a typical year, your family may save £30 in council tax but then have to spend an extra £600 in funeral costs when granny dies. It’s mostly a con, and worth bearing in mind when Cameron talks about freezing Council taxes.

Great post. Enjoyed reading it immensly.

From comments: ‘anyone who watches Osbourne can see that’ … Ive seen enough already !

Yes I do class bankers as fat-arsed public sector workers, and a lot of them (eg HBOS) will be losing their jobs over the next year.

But could you tell us what the “much-reduced” terms and conditions consist of overall?

I’m sure you are aware that all over the country the recession is forcing private sector workers to accept such reductions. Indeed at many firms they are actively choosing them in order to prevent job losses.
Should the public sector not share the burden to some reasonable extent?
(Especially given the huge increase in the number of public sector jobs over the past 10 years.)

Or should future taxpayers be forced to pay for the extra debt which would otherwise be taken on?

This is not to say that H&F is behaving reasonably.
Just asking the question in principle.

Exactly right, Adam.

People in H&F are paying for homecare now, recycling, and increased charges for meals on wheels, as well as the costs you mentioned. If the council had managed to close Hurlingham and Chelsea, etc, people would be paying even more serious charges – school fees, and/or the cost of sending their kids elsewhere for an education.

Cameron is disingenuous in the extreme when he talks about tax cuts and council tax freezes, as I note he has been doing in the last day or two (council tax freezes, anyway) – what he means is that costs will be shifted onto the taxpayer. That includes social costs – the truancy, problems with youth violence, social problems of homelessness, etc, that we can expect when frontline services are eroded. Cut youth clubs, and you’ll see young people out on the streets. Cut services and accommodation for the homeless, and you’ll see those people out on the streets, getting pissed and picking fights. It ain’t rocket science.

To my mind, the real problem in the public sector is prioritising and distribution of income. Top heavy with management and extra-reliant on private sector consultants – those are the issues. Let’s get real about it. I remember seeing an audit report while at H&F that said the number of officers earning more than £50,000 had tripled in the three years to date, or something to that effect. That’s a direct result of an age built on managerialism. Was it Heseltine who said the public sector needed more, and more, managers?

It’s not enough for opponents of the public sector to glibly state that the problem is that ALL public sector workers are lazy and that they need a bit of the private sector feel to wake them up to themselves. Frontline officers are not lazy – I’d challenge anyone in the private sector to put in a week on the public desk at a White City housing office, or as a social worker in the north of the borough. I’d also prefer to know that my tax money was paying the wages of people in those sorts of roles – rather than walking out of the building in the hip pocket of some wanker from Deloittes.

etc

Why how nice of you to take the trouble to tell us how to run our country , it is shocking that so few English feel the need to go around the word in order to exercise their social conscience .Perhaps everything antipodean is so perfect there’s little to do , or perhaps you do not actually give a sod about any of it and are only interested in your silly meeeja career . Which is it ?
But I am unkind .It is fascinating that this brilliant pastiche of a teenager’s inability to see beyond their own bedroom wall appears today. Its style is the sort that demands six different colours of biro and I enjoyed it. Today the news reached the tax payer that the Brown Reich plans to announce quite significant tax cuts after a US election in which both Parties promised tax cuts . The problem is that without savings being budgeted from the Public sector these tax cuts are nothing of the sort .They are actually tax raises deferred and not for long judging by the leper colony into which our currency has been put .Bewilderingly , this remains Americas fault but that’s old idiot Brown for you . Tax cuts are at this point probably essential whether retrenchment is equally so is the problem Conservatives face . Meanwhile far away from this adult problem in London`s subsidised public sector nursery for teat sucking parasites ,the call goes out for more publicly funded lawyers using human rights legislation imposed by unelected commissioners to ensure that yet more people that hate us live at our expense .
Well that seems like a fair deal. Wheres my union, where’s my pension , where as all my money gone ? On this crap ?

Gahhh

Hi cjcjc,

How’s it going, man?

Excellent points. The T&C cuts they facing at H&F at the moment are to leave allowances, dependency leave allowances, and sickness. You are absolutely right to say that private sector workers are having to deal with pretty draconian reductions to their terms and conditions – and salaries, and number of working days – just to keep in work as the recession hits. That is exactly right. I work in the private sector myself, and will not necessarily be excepted from any recession.

The point I’m making above is that the Tories employ this age-old, crowd-pleasing ‘public sector workers have had it too good for too long’ rhetoric as a starting-point (or, in this case, quarter-way-thru point) to work up a dialogue to justify an all-out attack on the actual service, and indeed to justify the tired old Market is Christ rhetoric.

Witness Conservative Barnet Council, around which I did a lot of journalism work last year. They (and the private company they worked with for care for the elderly) began their programme to cut careworkers’ wages by cutting the careworkers’ annual leave and sick leave allowances – the justification being that they were just bringing careworkers’ leave allowances in line with the private sectors’ etc. That’s an easy sell – that’s the ‘public sector workers are overindulged anyway,’ line. We’re all happy to buy into that.

Then, the cut careworkers’ salaries – by £300 a month in some cases, and reduced the starting wage for careworkers from about £8 to £6 an hour. That was the real aim, and that was where the real money was to be made. Needless to say, the service has suffered, the staff have suffered and the council hasn’t actually saved money – the private company it works with to provide care services is as we speak trying to shoehorn millions more out of the council – it’s claiming that even after sweating the assets, it can’t afford to keep going, so it needs another £8m. The council is due to go to arbitration on the issue. And there you have it – shit wages, a much reduced service – and an extremely expensive exercise after all. So much for market theory delivering a better, cheaper service.

Anyway – that’s the point I’m making. By describing public sector workers as lazy assholes who deserve nothing better than a good stint down the mines, necons are able to start the crowd-pleasing dialogue they need to usher in the whole deadly programme.

That’s what we’re seeing at H&F.

I’d also argue that the ‘well, private sector workers have to put up with much worse’ line is no argument either. Why do they have to put up with much worse? Well – they have to put up with much worse because private sector employers fall over themselves to get the most out of staff for the least possible money, and to sideline trade unions, which is an important part of that exercise. Right now, private sector workers are putting up with much worse because greedy bankers didn’t give them a moment’s thought when chasing fortunes. I think private sector workers should get better leave provisions, and dependency leave provisions, etc – NOT that public sector workers should have those provisions taken away. those are the things that make equalities work, especially for women.

Good topic.

Hey newmania,

What’s this – an English blokette telling me to keep my nose out of another countries’ business…? Any irony there…? Plus, I’m an Irish citizen. Yis told us how to live over there for many, many years, so I’m just returning the favour. And also, I have sex with an Englishman, which surely earns me extra points. Do some homework, my friend.

Also – this is the global era, mon ami. You’ll note our comrades over at Dale, for instance, have been bigging up the NZ election and telling us all to take notes from that fantastic result – a nice neocon has taken power there. I’d also note that the only reason that public sector cuts are needed is because all our money has been given to the wanker bankers and there ain’t none left for da hospitals.

Of course Greenhalgh’s own allowances are mysteriously buoyant in the downturn. Earlier this year he awarded himself an additional £5000 a year for a brand new role which he was in fact already doing and last year he tried to broker an 18% increase to his basic allowance. There’s no sign of the downturn for him.

Hi Adam,

Yes, I noted that – £5000 for recruitment services, or something like that, wasn’t it?

I think that’s one of the points I’m trying to get at, simplistic though it is. There’s money – OUR money – for bankers, councillors and other high-ranking members of the cadre, but not for the poor. I pay tax for those people – not the bankers. Don’t get me wrong – I’m as big a capitalist wanker as the next man, and have done most things for a buck (including, as I’ve noted elsewhere, consultancy work in the public sector – pays really well) but even I have limits. I’m a hypocrite, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want something new to look at.

Ironically, this litany of cuts to the voluntary sector, bungled attempts to close schools, and reductions in youth and estate concierge services sound a lot like what the LibDem/SNP administration is doing in Edinburgh. However, they did find a lot of money to spend on nice flags, and they also managed to find a way of diverting ‘regeneration’ money to some of the poshest bits of the city.

If the Tories are ‘Old Hat’ I’d love to know what is modern about what the policies the LibDems are pursuing in Edinburgh.

Good point, AD.

Off the top of my head, there’s a Lib Dem-Conservative coalition at Camden as well (think the Lib Dems are the majority there) where a major cuts programme was also floated a while back (may have gone ahead – I wrote a few things at the start of it).

I’d be interested to know more about the Lib Dem view of public service provision as well. the Lib Demmers on here are good and tend towards the socially-minded – I think their main argument thus far has been that Clegg’s general tax cuts proposal is aimed at the less well-off and would put more disposable income back in the pockets of those who need it most. They may have more to say about the actions of Lib Dem councillors on the ground atm, and the proposed reach of those tax cut proposals.

So your addled state of mind has been caused by putting out for Queen and Country? That’s a damn fine excuse however justifying disingenuous opining for pleasure and profit with reference to Cromwell and the Raj is well,……. addled .I dread to think what rights you feel you have in Mongolia Italy , Germany ,France . The fact that ( as you presumably agree) New Zealand is a barbaric backwater with no history at all is not evidence of moral superiority of its denizens capice !

1-all our money has been given to the wanker bankers and there ain’t none left for da hospitals.-Idiotic

Our money ? What have you contributed then ? Agreed ,Brown`s brilliant solution is actually no such thing and should have allowed measured failure . Nonetheless it has no current cost the tax payer anything except via alack of confidence the currency and risk to future tax payers . It has nothing to do with the budget deficit and real National debt which if you include Public Sector pensions is over 150% and even if you do not is at a historic high and at this stage of the economic cycle ( remember the golden rule ) PFI and Cross Rail cannot be ignored . No surprise when public spending has increased at 55% over the last ten years .
The regulatory frame work that has caused our unique disaster and the money supply credit boom were both engineered by Brown to disguise damage to the economy , same thing with uncontrolled immigration.
I wonder if you understand any of this ….I doubt it … Surely you do understand, however, that we cannot live on human rights lawyers and community projects . Surely you also understand that arguing that someone honestly earned money should be removed and chucked at any trendy charitable cause you invent in your ‘post coital dreamland’ is an outrage ? Surely you must have some tiny inkling that we all think we work hard but if you are me your views matter not a sod when you cannot sell ? Even you can understand the 1.5 trillion labiality on the public purse paid for by people with no pensions , is a fucking disgrace .Even someone so lost to all sense must have some comprehension of why it is that we can no longer afford unionised jobs for life ? Can you really be oblivious to any of this? Can you.?

I feel work behind a bar would suit you well for the rest of your holiday

Kate,

My individual view of public service provision is that it is a good and necessary thing. My view of the tax-cutting package is that it is redistributive and as long as the cut backs come from things like ID cards then acceptable. I rather think that the upcoming announcement of Conservative tax cuts will be of the ‘slash-and-burn’ variety.

Furthermore on public services I think there are issues with bureaucratisation which should be addressed by as far as possible the state supporting people who are in a position to provide services through self-activity. People having control over the services that the state provides is in my view a good and democratic thing….

Hi Darrell,

Much appreciated response. I think we’re coming from the same place in some respects – it is that top-heavy bureaucracy that is one of the key faults and areas of waste in the public sector. Managers everywhere you look… those people wield a lot of power, though.

Paul’s (Newmania’s) latest bout of incoherent screed has given me an idea, folks.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the recent appeal by the Libertarian Alliance for the means to send every MP a copy of Orwell’s 1984 with the phrase ‘This is warning not a fucking manual’ inscribed into it – or words to that effect.

Well, I reckon we should run our own parallel appeal for copies of JK Galbraith’s analysis of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, ‘The Great Crash’, to send to incoherent bloggertarians who still haven’t got the message that swingeing cuts in public services will only deepen the recession we’re currently moving into and make matters even worse.

Actually, you might have thought, given his line of business, that Paul would be right behind the government’s plans for an economic stimulus package based on bringing forward planned investments in material infrastructure. After all, if you’re in the business of selling insurance to building contractors and related trades then a hefty investment in capital building projects is going to be just the thing to get his business moving again.

Oh, and Paul…

…If Kate’s nationality automatically invalidates any commentary she cares to make on British political culture, then I look forward to seeing you popping over Guido’s and telling him to shut the fuck up as well…

..after all, isn’t he also an Irish citizen….

Kate,

Your welcome :). I think it’s pretty fair to say I am on the left of the spectrum of opinion in the Lib Dems lol but yes I agree. One of the worse aspects of this debate usually is that as soon as somebody starts talking about decentralisation it’s assumed they mean ‘privitisation’ which is mostly Labour’s fault with things like the PFI…however, that way of thinking bogs this debate down because I think there are ways to decentralise which maintain the principle of provision and one of the things the left in general needs to do is accept that I think and start thinking creatively about how to solve the ‘top-heaveyness’ that you rightly mention….

All the way, Unity!

Nice to meetcha, Paul. Is that like Paul Newman(ia)?

…but Jesus H – Guido’s Irish as well??? Wow man – we’re probably related. Which ain’t such awful news – I might do quite well out of the Staines inheritance. Alas, there’ll be less in it for Guido… Our family riches on the Irish side amount to the broken arse-end of a Waterford ashtray.

Good to know yr there, though, bro.

David Cameron has not promised tax cuts and has , as near as dammit, promised tax rises and secondly if there is an offer of up front tax cuts it would be volte face imprudent and only prompted by the insanity of debt funded tax cuts Brown is suggesting . Conservatives are not against the Public sector, they simply do not have tan ideological commitment to it as a self justifying good in itself .
This can be seen in the welfare to work policies in development , copied by Labour and the proposed Wisconsin style approach . Something the left cannot and will not get is this . Conservatives have an interest in spreading wealth. That makes more Conservatives . Labour have an interest in retaining poverty, that makes Labour voters .We see this in London and even more in Glasgow no doubt Kate is energetically keeping people poor during her stay

Antipodean imported lefties do not get us for a couple of reasons . They have no Conservative tradition comparable to our own and equate British Conservative with Neo Cons with depressing political illiteracy .More important is the relative cost of housing . In Australia for example there is a very similarly geared tax regime to gross income .It operates however on a retained disposable income after tax vastly greater than ours with property being so comparatively cheap . That why centrist positions from the colonies translate into swivel eyed class warfare here . The tax they demand for their luxury projects comes out of small margins. This not the case in their vast lands of endless space and for all I know this young lady has little idea how offensive her views are to struggling families balancing budgets and working hard.

Newmania…

Let’s see what happens Tuesday with regards to the Tories and tax shall we…something tells me you will be regretting your statements…

Darrell,

Decentralisation is an interesting one. I’m not sure of the perfect construct there, but it’s certainly worth the discussion.

In the good old days, I worked for an area health board in the earlier-mentioned antipodes – the notion being that devolution and local representation meant better, locally-provided and locally decided, if you will, health services.

If memory serves, NZs’ conservative government (just returned to power, after many years in the wilderness, to the delight of Dale and my newly-discovered brother Guido) dismantled that democratic structure in favour of centralised service provision, deriding it as costly and ineffective. They may have had a point, but if they did, it was difficult to grasp it, because the whole argument became one of ‘area health boards = socialist = bad vs central provision = neoliberal = good.’ The end.

You could argue that one of the problems with local government in this part of the world is that it is main party-dominated, inasmuch as the majority of local politicians belong to one of the three main political parties, and are thus tied to national initiatives and party lines. Local parties – even local independents – might be much more inclined to focus solely – or predominantly – on local issues. They’d need much greater independence from the national scene, though – no point talking about state funded local government if the national initiatives and incentives are for those who favour outsourcing and privatisation, etc.

I do think it’s interesting to look at examples of public service provision around the world. We’re certainly all looking closely at the States at the moment, even though we ain’t all Americans.

Newmania,
the forthcoming announcement tomorrow about the latest tory tax policy to be decided on the hoof appears designed to upset you – are you hanging round here to find out which alternative party to switch your vote to?

Hey Paul,

May I say it again – it’s good to know who you are.

xxxx

Kate,
you would seem to be ideally qualified to review chapter 8 of Blears’ Communities in Control white paper (on ownership and control of local services), would you be happy to be co-opted?

Kate,

I definatly think it is, I see it as something of a return to good old-fashioned empowering people leftism. I dont think there is a perfect construct but it is definatly something the left could champion and be relevant on I feel.

Interesting example you give there because I feel that in general people in this country would preceive it as being the other way around. I can see the point you make about the dominance of parties in local government but I think to be honest councillors can be independant minded in my limited expereience of them.

I agree which is why this debate has to be won at a national level I think.

Thomas,

Incidentally, a little off-topic but this has come up on my blog. Whats with all this removing restrictions on faith-based charities malarkey then?? Quite a violation of secularism I would say…

Hey Thomas,

Yep, count me in.

” I have sex with an Englishman….”

Is that routinely, or do you accept applications?

And have you posted the obligatory ‘newmania is back’ APB to forewarn the blogsphere?

” I have sex with an Englishman….”

Is that routinely, or do you accept applications?’

Well, my best is probably behind me, but I still do Christmas parties… when’s yours?

latest tory tax policy to be decided on the hoof ?

Perhaps you woud like to explain what the Labour plan for paying all this money back is .Then they will have tax policy at all at the moment they have a fairy story for children and thus join the Liberals who never have anything else

newmania,

While reading your characteristically abusive [polite warning – Ed] stream-of-consciousness nonsense, I did prickle at this ::

Surely you do understand, however, that we cannot live on human rights lawyers and community projects

Errr sorry to burst the bubble, but as a trained accountant specialised in project finance, I must protest…

Well-run community projects can have an accelerator effect on a local community. Indeed, community-based investment can lead to “real-economy” returns. Evidence exists in all leading world cities, where on-the-ground projects have been crucial in economic regeneration.

[Good] Community projects have a real impact on the world. Unlike many in the city, who are mere parasites on the paper-economy, and have no positive effect on the real economy. Much of the public money poured into the financial crisis, has been to buttress a sick system. One that was poisoned by investors who bled it for all it was worth, while exposing their portfolio to almost zero risk. This is not market economics. It’s crony capitalism.

Also, that Kate has made a very good case against an increasingly questionable Tory council, is proved by your rapid decent into abuse. Can’t you do any better and is this the very point of your existence? If so I pity you.

Your occasional visits to this site usually amount to two things: the first is your astonishing ability to write completely incoherent off-topic diatribes, that add little or nothing to the thread in question. And the second is that amongst this gibberish, you take care to insert many personal jibes that merely highlight your own prejudices and ignorance.

I’d ask you to think before you next contribute to this site, but I fear you and rational thought are not particularly well acquainted.

Toodle-pip.

Well, I’m guessing it’s the same as the Tory repayment plan, Paul – give it to someone like Osbourne to take down to the track to blow on fast women and slow horses. It’s the Lehman Brothers school of futures planning and prudence, if you will.

How do they plan in your place of work?

Darrell,
I don’t want to jump the gun as it could be interpreted in a variety of ways as I hope we can discuss the detailed proposals in greater length, but it seems to me like Labour want to ensure the services are provided without funding them through taxes… doesn’t that require coertion, or state control of voluntary groups and charities?

Newmania,
you are confusing this with a partisan site. Perhaps you could expound how your side balance the political pressures of funding and provision of services? Send kids to boarding school until they are of age, then send them into the armed forces etc?

I can’t keep away from this blog; its hilarious. The first few sentences set the tone, with, I quote “Tory trollies”, “average working stiff” ( I assume that’s anyone outside the public sector or the left media or a web –spend all day browsing the internet, non job- editor), “maniacs”, “necons” and my favourite “rabid Tories” You don’t see the irony of that one after writing vitriolic pony like that.

Council workers, whether they are a library assistant or the tourettes lesbian diversity outreach worker, are employees of the State. Any reduction in the size of our bloated Sate machine, as long as its done wisely, should be welcomed. It will reduce the unsustainable public sector pension burden and hopefully, the number of people indoctrinated in Marxist rhetoric.

Not sure why you think H&F is the Tory flagship council, surely that is Wandsworth, where taxpayers have happily voted in the Tories for the past 20yrs or so.

“your family may save £30 in council tax but then have to spend an extra £600 in funeral costs when granny dies”

That’s a well thought out opinion! It could be manipulated by Alistair Campbell: “Vote Labour or your granny dies!”.

Not sure how being a guest from NZ for 5yrs qualifies you as an expert on local politics in London. It does demonstrate how easily those with leftist tendencies can be indoctrinated into Tory haters.

I have little knowledge of H&F so I can’t comment on your allegations, but I’m sure they are over-simplistic and could be refuted by the council. Please, please, lets hear your opinions on Barnet Council because its my LA. My family and I also suffered under the years of Marxist Labour run Camden, who were finally booted out in 2005 so lets hear your opinions on that too.

“I have little knowledge of H&F so I can’t comment on your allegations,”

</ends

Ah yes,’stream of consciousness’ is that four times you have used the phrase? I can almost remember when I used to think that was clever ….so very long ago. Accountants count beans Aaron that’s all, they do not make them and thus do not understand how to. Of course if you fling a load of money in the street some of it will do some good .Less , obviously, than had you left it in productive hands in the first place .Still what’s wrong with a bit of face paint and another statue of Nelson Mandella .
I do not entirely disagree with your estimation of Labours handling of the bank crisis . Also I do not share New Labour’s ignorant zeal for markets .Its been like giving whiskey to the Indians actually .As for the rest of your sulking , it was a delight to read. I imagine Daniel Day Lewis playing Cecil Vyse, in Room with a view would do it justice .Imagine the sniffing and delicacy of hand movement .. Exquisitely horrible , bravo.

Kate when we are short of cash we just moan a bit and more appears ,as if by magic .

Newmania,

Ah yes,’stream of consciousness’ is that four times you have used the phrase? I can almost remember when I used to think that was clever ….so very long ago

Maybe not clever, but still sadly relevant. See comment #41…

Accountants count beans Aaron that’s all, they do not make them and thus do not understand how to.

You clearly have no idea how finance professionals operate in the manufacturing industry. Reporting is a very small part of what they do these days. The usual unsophisticated response, I’ve come to expect. Many UK manufacturing businesses are so highly geared, that financial management is as important as the widgets they make.

When so much of your revenue is tied up in CapEx and debt management – as is the case across the anglo-saxon economies, the humble accountant takes centre stage in a business’ daily management. You’re also forgetting that accountants and their teams are at the pit-face of the financial crisis. We’re the ones dealing with banks and increasingly diminishing head-room.

Many UK manufacturing businesses are so highly geared, that financial management is as important as the widgets they make.

I have heard this tale in one form or another from every back office clerk I have ever met. Yes thats right Aaron your a master of the Universe , happy now .

Newmania,

You seem to unable to accept or do not want to accept, the reality that in our globalised capitalistic system financial professionals are hugely important.

Your sarcasm is simply evidence of your inexperience, and your inability to counter a perfectly factual and reasonable argument. As made crystal clear in your abusive responses to Kate’s post

Newmania, let’s get one thing perfectly clear. You’re a poor example of a Tory Troll, desperately trying to pick a fight with “lefties” you deem wedded to 1970-era partisan politics. Kate has made a very good case for monitoring H&F as a basis for assessing Tory claims against their policies in action. It’s entirely legitimate and non-partisan.

Shame on you.

chavscum, you old honeydripper,

No offence, man, but tou Toryboys probably should abandon the ‘don’t interfere in our country’ defence’… the landed gentry in this fine nation having devoted most of its history to interfering in other people’s nations and lifestyles, including me own beloved ROI… as we speak, the self-appointed aristocracy here is busy making a nuisance of itself in Iraq, etc, and putting the many who don’t care for it into coffins, etc, so let’s maybe give the old ‘mind your own business’ one a wide berth for the moment.

Let us not forget either that in the modern global era (possibly you’ve yet to enter it) there are no boundaries to thought or comment… Your side’s own beloved Dale and Guido, for instance, spent the weekend celebrating New Zealand’s recent electoral result and drawing parallels between this nation and that and the briliance of a tax cuts campaign (Key campaigned on these)… don’t know if merely surfing Kiwiblog makes anyone more or a less a guest in another nation or more or less qualified to discuss the political affairs of elsewhere, but that didn’t stop either of them… and nor should it. We look round the world today and find parallels. You’re stuck in a rather traditional conservative groove when the best you can do to get rid of the opposition is to write a person off for being a) a dumb colonial and b) Irish. Things have kind of moved on, comrade. Race and nationality are neither here nor there, really. And I mean really, chavvers. Dunno if you’ve heard yet, but last week, the Yanks went totally nuts and put a black man in the White House.

Methinks Hammersmith and Fulham aint the only topic you come up a bit short on.

Re: Barnet – can’t wait to find out how the council there is pissing your money away, either. Should be comedy gold. They’ve got savings in Iceland, so clearly have end-to-end financial whizzes on the job. I’m expecting great things as a result, and stories of prudence and exemplary fiscal management – something along the lines of – to paraphrase the great Private Eye – ‘Michelle in Accounts read about Icesave on the internet, and it all sounded like such a good idea.’

Etc.

To keep you going, I can tell your council is locking horns with the Fremantle Trust and Catalyst Housing – they’re both demanding more money from your council – a council which seems as brilliant at contract negotiation as it does at investment. Should be great.

PS – when’s your Christmas party? Let’s make a night of it, fellas.

Wow Tory boys, you better get that looked at. Kate just broke both your noses.

Kate, wasn’t it the media – those now squealing with outrage – who enthusiastically recommended Icesave (as recently as this autumn) as a great place to put your money?

I seem to remember the financial pages of the Daily Mail were particularly enthused by the Icesave press-packs.

Why – thank you, Aaron. Wasn’t aiming as high as their noses, but good to know I’ve scored…

Yes, I do believe that ‘journos’ at the Daily Mail featured on the list of persons who happily took up junkets offered by Icesave’s crack (and they were obviously pretty good) PR team in London (Icelanders being more welcome in London than the Irish…?). The aforementioned Private Eye has a list, so am just looking for that now. I’ll need to put the pig in the other room if I’m going to do a proper search.

.. can’t find the friggin mag atm, but it’ll show up. I went to – how’s this – Dublin last week and must have left it on the train. It’s around, though. It lists the journos/newspapers that accepted freebies from Icesave’s people and then wrote up the glories of saving in Iceland gloriously. Someone else may have it?

I read that article. Two weeks ago methinks.

And you’ll never believe it, I left the copy in the waste paper bin in a hotel in…Dublin.

Hey – was that you? Small world, man… I meant to ask your name… where were my manners

Kate this country has done a lot good and bad all irrelevant, your ancestors probably joined in. A better point would be that if you were black and not just some Kiwis wanabbee journo over here trying to be famous then such remarks would appear bigoted . I have no real objection to you offering an opinion .On the other hand I won’t take your bleeding heart too seriously either. Fair?

Meanwhile, poor Aaron abides in the palace of sulks ..He always pontificates when his feelings are hurt . Still this is not a non partisan post nit wit , the clue is in the title . Its traditional whining about cuts of a sort we have heard from left wing propagandists since the year dot. Yes I am sure there are all sorts of important tax avoiding scams and balance sheet misrepresenting being done by vital accountants. You however are a bean counter. Don’t worry about it and save your “global” bullshit for the pub . It just makes me giggle. On facts it seems to me that I have made a number of serious points which you have ignored entirely anyway
Connoisseurs of personality will note that you are such a girls blouse about a bit of bandinage whereas Kate shows an admirably resilient good humour . I should imagine when courtship consists of bellowing over the hill to the next sheep farmer down the valley you toughen up a bit .

Newmania

Forgive me. It’s difficult to pick out any relevant points in your post.

Hurt feelings? Please, don’t congratulate yourself. You’re no where near as cutting as you think. Your barbs are imprecise and witless, to say the least.

Yes I am sure there are all sorts of important tax avoiding scams and balance sheet misrepresenting being done by vital accountants. You however are a bean counter.

You really don’t have a clue. You’re so blinded by clichés, it’s difficult to take you seriously. So I don’t.

I would very much like to hear how Newmania sells conservative budgeting thinking, or does he just support the party line irrespective of what the big daddy tells him?

Paulie boy,

I suspect the sad truth is that my ancestors spent the glory days starving to death in the boggy fields of the Emerald Isle, but I might be wrong – they may have been raping Indians and slaughtering Aboriginals and generally living it large with your boys. As I’ve already said to our Aaron, it’s a small world. Hell – you might even be my Great Granddad, now that I think about it – his was always a shady branch of the family tree and I don’t believe we ever quite managed to tie down his name. He was – or so legend has it – quite the old reactionary prick, too, so – well, next time I have the family tree out, could I poke your name in his hole?

I’d also make the point that if you are indeed my Pop, you’ll quietly be taking great pride in the efforts I’m making to get our name in global blogging/journalism lights – even if I am doing it by taking shots at Hammersmith arseholes you fancy. Sadly, neither my ancestry nor your bigotry changes the horrible fact of Stephen Greenhalgh. There he is, my man, holding us together for all the world like a giant two-way buttplug.

Etc.

I refer next to this comment of yours:

‘I should imagine when courtship consists of bellowing over the hill to the next sheep farmer down the valley you toughen up a bit .’

What do you mean ‘when’?

Guys – please ignore newmania the troll. When I get back, we’ll be using the disemvoweler on him – which might even make him more articulate.

Awww Sunny!

Ripping the piss out of Newmania is one of my favourite pastimes. Oh well. I’ll have to make do slaying trolls on my XBOX.

Newmania truly is the highest class of troll. Amusing where he intends to offend, entertaining where he intends to irritate. But that the internet were filled with his kind!

Hi Kate,

Good article. Might also be worth mentioning that in all of the examples which you and others have given, H&F, Camden, Brent and Edinburgh, the heavy cuts to services came after Labour was voted out and the Tories and/or Lib Dems were voted in. Not to say that Labour councils never cut services or anything like that, but they tend to be a bit less prone to the ‘keep council tax down whatever the real cost’ mania.

Hi Don,

Fair point. I’m wondering if any of the Labour councils have gone for this wholesale ‘outsource & sack everybody’ approach. Ealing rings a bell, but not sure if that’s true and/or if it is/was Labour? That’s yr neck of the woods, I believe, so you might be able to put me straight on that.

I understand now that some Labour councils are working more closely with staff and unions to look for viable solutions for inhouse service provision, mostly because it’s cheaper and delivers a more reliable service. This wholesale outsourcing theory doesn’t always seem to have paid dividends – it leads to a very high staff turnover because of the much reduced pay and conditions, and often, it seems, to budget problems, because companies can’t deliver services at the cheap prices that they say they can when tendering. Total minefield, and many exceptions to the rule either way, of course, but one that is certainly worth looking at further and looking for trends in.

I do think that councils – Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, whatever – tend to be top heavy and that the management models many follow have led to – of course – too many managers. I’d happily swap two managers for 20 frontline housing officers or social workers, etc. It may be possible to reduce council tax while not compromising the services much by rationalising the management structures. Be interesting to know your thoughts.

Ealing has been Tory since 2006. They have, in fairness, been very different from Hammersmith and Fulham, e.g. agreeing a living wage for all dinner ladies. They did lose in the High Court when they tried to remove the grant from Southall Black Sisters.

One problem re: management in local govt is that it is quite hard for any individual council to buck the trend. Say a council decided that it thought 80k for directors and 100k+ for a chief executive was vastly excessive and decided to offer half that – it would end up finding that only very weak candidates would apply. An incompetent senior management team will end up costing a council far more than it saves by lowering their salaries, by making bad decisions.

As well as working with staff and unions, I think there is definitely more scope for councils to link up with local voluntary and community organisations when delivering services and deciding on policies. Sometimes councils do deliver poorly run, expensive services, and it is more feasible for them to get another organisation, be it private or voluntary, to do it, but equally there are times when services are being delivered by other providers and would be better delivered by local authorities.

Overall, I think over the past decade nearly all councils have got much better at delivering services and getting value for money.

Haha, looks like the lumpenprole connection is staying strong. I went to school in Ealing and my Government & Politics teacher was a councillor there. Always bragging about their success with graffiti and so on.

I think the other problem with the management tiers is that eradicating them involves turkeys voting for Christmas… internal restructuring – which council management can engage in at any time it sees a necessity as far as most reorganisation procedures are concerned – can mean the making of new departments and divisions that all require management structures.

For example, I was in a department that was run by one director. The department was restructured and divided into two – for which two people at assistant director level were required, and found. Suddenly, there two where before there’d been one. It was like a minced hydra.
I understand from people still employed at that council that there have been another three restructures or so since I left – which seems extraordinary. How many times do you need to reorganise, and how often do you need to shore up the management structure? The place just wasn’t that big or complicated As I said earlier in this post, I remember one union rep and myself happening across an audit committee report that said the number of people earning more than £50k a year had doubled or trebled in as many years. I’d have no problem with a Tory argument that said those numbers needed rationalising, while frontline staff should be maintained. All this seemed to be taking place while the council was developing relationships with so-called delivery experts like Jarvis and its various offshoots. I mean – how many cooks do you need?
I’d agree that councils have become much more service orientated and that staff have a much better grasp of the notion of customers and frontline service provision. Pity councillors as we have them at Hammers, etc, don’t feel the same. The aim there appears to be to eradicate services used by those unlikely to vote Tory.

I think what I’m also trying to say is let’s try and start thinking outside the dogma, if you will… the “outsourcing = good and cheap” and “inhouse provision = expensive and useless” flippancy is going nowhere. I’m all for council tax cuts, me – but let’s try and get past the abovementioned neocon shite (whether it be Labour or the Tories trying to flog it) and think of something new.

I understand from union reps at Bristol city council, for example, that relatively innovative work has been done there in drawing up workable and cost-effective models for inhouse delivery of homecare services.

The council was so offput by outsourcing stories like those they were hearing about Barnet – where outscourcing became costly and a legal problem for the council, let alone ineffective service-wise – that people started to think outside the square. I’ve got more work to do on that one and for all I know it’s collapsed, but the people talking about it got my attention at the time, because they seemed to be trying to go somewhere better with the whole concept of public service provision. This ‘the private sector knows it all’ line goes out with George Bush and the banking crisis, and this is our moment to look around for places and people who are trying to think about the way a new order might work for them on the ground.

I remeber hearing Nick Clegg recently claim to have found people in Sheffield council on £50k/year managing a budget of £25k/year – just goes to show!

Yep – that’s just the kind of thing, Thomas. What Clegg needs to do now, though, is not leave the statement there – he needs to explain how he’d address that kind of issue without dismantling the service or insisting the private sector somehow gets involved. That’s yesterday’s thinking. After all, what you’re seeing in the public sector is a kind of capitalism, if you like – a lot of not-so-well paid footsoldiers and a bunch of people at the top of the pile sorting things out v nicely for themselves. There’s no doubt that private sector thinking has made its mark in the public sector – and the structure reflects that.

Didn’t the LibDems say they’d make all civil servants earning over £100k reapply for their jobs?

Hi Newmania

I’ve just fisked your pal Iain Dale over at my place, feel free to drop in and leave a comment of support for him.

And for anyone else interested, if not exactly “Conservative behaviour on the ground” then at least on t’internet.

http://prisonersvoice.blogspot.com/2008/11/question-time-for-iain-dale.html

They might have – I’m looking for that now.

They – and the others – need to go further than that, though. They need to tighten legislation around restructuring so that people will be less inclined to lobby to create personal fiefdoms. They need to do some work on appropriate manager-budget-staff ratios.

They need a little imagination about the way that they’re going to provide public services to the public’s best advantage at a time when the public is most likely to need those services. People may well be looking to councils, community law centres and voluntary groups, etc, as the recession bites – this may well even apply to some of our previously well-off comrades who still like to think that the markets have the answer.

I also think that there needs to be a reassessment of the people at which we should be directing our anger. After all – I hardly think a bunch of housing officers and dinner ladies at Hammersmith are responsible for the current economic climate. Sure, some of them might get a bit more leave than the rest of us, but that hardly rates in the greater scheme to my mind. I mean – so what? The fault for the current economic mess lies firmly with the greedy egomaniacs who’ve been driving global finance for the last ten years, and the wet politicians who’ve worshipped them as they’ve done it.

They’ve helped themselves to our hard-earned money – around the world – and continued to organise bonuses for themselves while they’ve been at it. Yet the neocons at the likes of Hammersmith feel perfectly justified in trying to turn the mob onto a bunch of frontline officers who do a considerably more meaningful day’s work than Fred the Shred ever did. I feel considerably more sympathy for the frontline workers at councils and the people who need the services they provide than I do for the wankers who brought down Lehman Brothers and who’ve thrown all of us in it (yep – NZ and Ireland are in recession too).

Grrr.

“They’ve helped themselves to our hard-earned money” – more like we’ve helped ourselves to the money our kids haven’t yet earned!

Great, isn’t it?

Oh I see, so you’re one of those people who thinks that Academies are the source of all evil? Perhaps you would like to provide evidence that setting up an Academy is a bad thing?

Academies are not up-market institutions – your ignorance is astonishing. Academies are deliberately targetted at areas of educational underachievement and in many (although not every single) case the Academies have ended up being massively oversubscribed within a couple of years of being built, as parents from every social and ethnic background witnesses their achievements. Have you visited the Mossbourne Academy in Hackney for example? It’s a shining light of educational improvement and your disparaging remarks are an insult to what they and many others have achieved.

http://www.lettersfromatory.com

“Not sure why you think H&F is the Tory flagship council”

It’s the flagship for some ideas on the right of the Conservatives about how to deal with former Labour administrations (slash and burn and do everything you can to cut taxes). Its leader got a place on the Forensic Audit Panel helping Boris deal with a former Labour administration (slash and burn and do everything you can to cut taxes).. It’s held up in neighboroughing areas* by the local Tories as a reason to vote Tory (slash and burn and do everything you can to cut taxes).. I think it deserves a closer look, don’t you, to see what the consequences of a tax-cuts-at-all-costs policy are?

* where I live, for instance.

I’m loathed to get into a debate and waste my valuable time with someone who is so clearly lacking in knowledge and intelligence, but why not.

“No offence, man, but tou Toryboys probably should abandon the ‘don’t interfere in our country’ defence’”… …

I pointed out to you that you are not qualified to criticise Tory councils when you have only lived here for 5yrs and most of that time has been spent gazing at a monitor. Incidentally, you claim to be Irish. 100%?

“as we speak, the self-appointed aristocracy here is busy making a nuisance of itself in Iraq, etc, and putting the many who don’t care for it into coffins, etc, so let’s maybe give the old ‘mind your own business’ one a wide berth for the moment.”

That statement is a good indication of your low level debating capabilities. Its so ridiculous its hardly worth commenting on. The elected Labour Party, who are backed by the trade unions and use to represent the British working-class more than 60yrs ago, took this country to war in Iraq. They did this by mis-leading parliament and the public on the gravity of the threat posed by Iraq to our security.

“Re: Barnet – can’t wait to find out how the council there is pissing your money away, either. Should be comedy gold. They’ve got savings in Iceland, so clearly have end-to-end financial whizzes on the job. I’m expecting great things as a result, and stories of prudence and exemplary fiscal management – something along the lines of – to paraphrase the great Private Eye – ‘Michelle in Accounts read about Icesave on the internet, and it all sounded like such a good idea.’”

Yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Barnet had money in Icelandic banks, as did neighbouring Lib/labour Haringey council, as did numerous other LAs run by all the parties, as did many State authorities, including the Govt’s own State funds watchdog – The Audit Commission (4% of its entire budget)! So did 300,000 private investors. All of whom are now aghast that Gordon Brown new of the impending collapse of Iceland back in April and told nobody and did nothing. Even their beloved Guardian, who were recommending Icelandic banks to their readers in their financial pages, just weeks before the collapse.

Barnet elected the Tories back in 2000 (maybe you were at school somewhere in NZ) following a disastrous socialist Lib/Lab 8yrs, where they ran down the reserves and committed to such disastrous projects such as the Tally Ho Arts Centre against the wishes of the residents. They were then kicked out and most of the leading lights then deserted the borough for lives elsewhere (London boroughs have often been the target for opportunist socialists from the provinces). So, please lets have more of your incisive comments on a subject you just google from your bedroom.

Are you actually aware that much of the process of collecting and distributing funds from council taxpayers is controlled by central Govt? Much of this process was instigated by the Thatcher Govt (were you born?) to safeguard the assets of LAs run by the loony left. However, the politically corrupt Labour Govt has used this process to gerrymander votes by diverting funds from non-Labour run councils to Labour ones.

“Kate, wasn’t it the media – those now squealing with outrage – who enthusiastically recommended Icesave (as recently as this autumn) as a great place to put your money?”

Indeed.

“I seem to remember the financial pages of the Daily Mail were particularly enthused by the Icesave press-packs.”

Yes, and the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, etc. Does your obsession with the Daily Mail cause blindness?

I pointed out to you that you are not qualified to criticise Tory councils when you have only lived here for 5yrs and most of that time has been spent gazing at a monitor. Incidentally, you claim to be Irish. 100%?

That’s nonsense, and a really weak excuse.

If I bought a Marsbar today, am I not entitled to an opinion on it? Isn’t paying one-years council tax reason enough to have a valid opinion as to how the money is spent?

This position is so daft, and so utterly illogical, it’s not even worthy of discussion.

“Incidentally, you claim to be Irish. 100%?”

I claim to be Irish, too, since it’s possible to be Irish by having one grandparent born there and filling in a form. Actually, my son’s Irish, too, by that reckoning, and he was born in, er, Hammersmith. And, while we’re on the subject, the most Irish of my Irish mates (he tends to great me by singing ‘The Boys Of Kilmichael’, possibly because it contains a frankly flattering reference to ‘Tom Barry’s bold column’) was born in Ealing and lives in, er, Hammersmith. There’s a large Irish population around here, and defining who’s Irish and who isn’t is rather difficult at the best of times.

You use the term ‘neocon’ way too much. I know the whole basis of the post is to paint anybody you disagree with as the Enemy, and that the association of the Iraq War with neoconservatives in America provides an opportunity to tar by association, but I dare say that none of Cllr Greenhalgh, Cllr Ivimy or even John Key played an advisory role in the Pentagon in 2003. Nor were they ex-Communists and ex-liberals who became conservatives in New York in the 1970s. So using the term’s a little silly. Call them Tories or call them Right-wingers or Enemies of the People, but neocon is a cliche.

Indeed Neocons were mostly ex-Trots and other “muscular liberals”. Many of them got on board big style on the whole social conservatism bandwagon, though.

Bad apples.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Kate B

    In fact, you can read some of the articles I've written about Hammersmith and Fulham's smashing of services http://bit.ly/bJsiL4. Enjoy

  2. Utter Piffle

    RT @hangbitch: In fact, you can read some of the articles I've written about Hammersmith and Fulham's smashing of services http://bit.ly/bJsiL4. Enjoy

  3. Kate B

    @BorisWatch Tories starting shafting voluntary sector the second they got their little blue peckers in @ Hammersmith http://bit.ly/bJsiL4





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.