Recent Humour Articles

Looking back at the Miliband era

by Don Paskini     April 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

22nd November 2026

Ed Miliband’s resignation as Prime Minister, following the rejection of his controversial land value tax reforms to replace the council tax, brings to an end the ‘Miliband era’. It was greeted with jubilation in many parts of southern England, with chants of ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, out, out, out!’ echoing round the wine bars, luxury car dealerships and estate agents of Surrey.

In assessing Miliband’s time as leader, it is important to remember the situation eleven and a half years ago when he first came to power. Having won a narrow majority in 2015 against an exhausted and discredited Conservative/Liberal coalition, he took over a country in seemingly permanent economic decline, and with few allies for his radical vision even amongst his own Cabinet.

Indeed the first three years of the Miliband government saw Labour slump into third place in the polls, behind both the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party. His early economic reforms led to a higher level of inflation that Britain had experienced in decades, and he was forced to scale back many of his plans after threats of an ‘investor strike’ from the powerful financial sector. Some in his Cabinet even urged him to step aside in favour of former leader Tony Blair.

Miliband’s decision to oppose the war on Iran is often cited as a turning point in his first term. Skilfully taking advantage of the diplomatic opportunity to broker a peace deal, he drew a sharp contrast with the pro-war right wing parties, which badly misjudged the public mood with their bloodthirsty rhetoric. The decision of James Murdoch to close the loss-making Sun and Times newspapers later that year, and the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act drastically weakened the right wing press’ criticisms of Miliband’s government, and the split between the Tories and UKIP proved catastrophic for the electoral fortunes of the Right.

But it was not just the weakness of his opponents which led to the Miliband landslide of 2020. With unemployment falling sharply, many workers benefiting from higher real wages due to the expansion of the living wage, the building boom of new council and co-operative homes cutting the cost of housing, and new local banks supporting the development of small businesses, many in the ‘squeezed middle’ felt less squeezed by the end of the decade.

It was in his second term that Miliband gained a reputation for the ruthless way that he went about destroying the pillars of the right wing establishment. The number of buy to let landlords had already started to fall, as more people were able to buy, rent from the council or join a co-operative to get their home. Landlords complained about tough new regulations and falling levels of housing benefit payments. In the ground-breaking Budget of 2021, punitive new taxes on multiple home ownership effectively made buy to let economically unviable.

With billions flowing to the Treasury from the renewable energy boom, vindicating Miliband’s investment in green industries, he was able to turn his attention to the ‘Enemy Within’ of the City of London. His Financial Transactions Tax, new regulatory regime and work with other governments to crack down on tax havens and speculation were bitterly opposed by the financial sector and their remaining allies.

Overall, the collapse of the City of London caused by Miliband’s war on predatory capitalism affected very few people. Most people, particularly in the Midlands and North, benefited from the rising share of national income that went to wages rather than profits, and the explicit focus on full employment as the main goal of economic policy.

It is important to remember, however, that the PM who came to power promising ‘One Nation’ presided over decline of towns in the Home Counties dependent on the City of London. The brutal police response to the notorious ‘stockbroker riots’ of 2023 in Beaconsfield and Haslemere reinforced the notion of a divided Britain with a prosperous North and impoverished South.

As Miliband approached his tenth anniversary in power, he became increasingly dogmatic and unwilling to compromise. The mutualisation of the railways failed to improve the quality of service from the old days of Virgin Trains, and he was embroiled in scandal after the arrest of several members of the ‘Primrose Hill set’ over price fixing in the solar power industry.

Despite the return of Nick Clegg from the European Commission to lead the new ‘Progressive Conservative’ party and the decline of UKIP, Miliband was easily re-elected for a third term in office in 2025. At that time, little attention was paid to the section in the Labour manifesto about the need to reform the council tax system. How ironic that, just like another long serving Prime Minister, it would be local government finance that brought an end to his career.

Clegg aide offers Telegraph best response ever

by Sunny Hundal     January 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Nick Clegg couldn’t make a meeting with the Queen, and sent his aide instead.

They knew what was coming when the Telegraph asked why Clegg wasn’t there again.

This was Clegg’s aide’s response:

“I can’t believe we are having this ——- conversation again,” an aide to the DPM emoted in a tirade worthy of Malcolm Tucker in the television series The Thick of It. “The —— fact is he can’t ——- be everywhere, but I know you are going to go off and write that the DPM has ——- snubbed the Queen once a ——- gain.”

The Telegraph still runs with the headline: Nick Clegg ‘snubs’ the Queen for a fourth time.

(hat tip @stephentall)

The real untold story of Iain Duncan Wilberforce

by Don Paskini     January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

The comedians at Conservative Home recently described Iain Duncan Smith as ‘a latter-day Wilberforce’, comparing his work on welfare reform to the abolition of slavery.

This got me thinking – what if Wilberforce had adopted the approach to tackling slavery which this current government has adopted to tackling poverty?

Here is the story of Iain Duncan Wilberforce, the man who tried to end slavery:

Iain Duncan Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was an English politician, philanthropist, and founder of the Centre for Slavery Justice (CSJ). A native of Essex, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent Member of Parliament for Chingford (1784–1812). In 1780, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education. His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially repressive legislation, and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

In 1781, Wilberforce founded the Centre for Slavery Justice (CSJ). Through his work with the CSJ, he became convinced that traditional anti-slavery campaigning had an excessively narrow focus on ending the slave trade and making slavery illegal, an approach which Wilberforce dubbed ‘freedom plus a shilling’.

Instead, Wilberforce and the CSJ identified five Pathways to Slavery – Family Breakdown, Economic Dependency, Educational Failure, Addiction and Debt. He argued that slavery could not be addressed without a greater focus on the moral character of the slaves, as opposed to what he and his supporters dubbed the ‘politically correct, liberal elitist’ focus on slave owners.

In December 1783, William Pitt the Younger appointed Wilberforce as Secretary of State in his Coalition government, in order to put his ideas into action. Wilberforce published reports which claimed that slavery had increased by ‘three hundred billion drillion’ under the previous government (though independent fact checkers struggled to find the evidence on which these figures were based), and broadened the official government definition of slavery to reflect his concern with family breakdown and the dependency culture.

In a speech at a workhouse in South East London, Wilberforce argued that, “Across the Empire, there are children living in circumstances that simply cannot be captured by assessing whether their parents are slaves or free. There are many factors that impact on a child’s wellbeing and ability to succeed in life… and measuring slavery alone does little to represent the experience of those in pauperism”.

Asserting that ‘work is the best route out of slavery’, Wilberforce set out ambitious plans to ‘make slavery pay’, as well as Work Capability Assessments and Mandatory Work Activities to require paupers and the sick to undertake unpaid work in exchange for receiving the services provided by the workhouses. Wilberforce’s greatest achievement was the Welfare Reform Act of 1791, dubbed the ‘Strivers not Slaves or Skivers’ Act in the popular press.

Despite official government statistics claiming that these measures reduced the extent of slavery by ‘six hundred billion million drillion quadrillion’ over the following three years, the slave trade continued to flourish throughout Wilberforce’s time in office, much to the bemusement of Wilberforce and his key adviser Lord Freud. In later years, Wilberforce also came under criticism from some younger Conservatives, who campaigned for the official government definition of slavery to be extended to those who had to pay the new income tax.

In 1834, the House of Lords passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire from August 1834. This marked a rejection of the gradualist application favoured by Wilberforce, Freud and the CSJ, but proved to be far more effective than Wilberforce’s reforms had been.

The story of Iain Duncan Wilberforce and his role in the anti-slavery movement has mostly been forgotten today. But it is an important reminder of what can be achieved by a conservative politician who combines personal commitment to a cause with a determination to set aside or make up the evidence to support his own prejudices and priorities.

Donald Trump parody song goes for Christmas No 1

by Sunny Hundal     November 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

A new satirical music video features a three-foot puppet of Trump strutting, strumming, and warbling his way through Bohemian Rhapsody is going for the Christmas No. 1 spot.

The rewritten version of the iconic chart-topping hit was given a blessing by Brian May, describing it as, “a horrible example of bullying the defenceless by a rich man who apparently can buy anyone or anything he wants.”

The makers of the parody video say his hair is a work of art, “giving an off the pate experience as Trump supplants the guitar solo with a bagpipe scuffle.”

They have even created a website to explain why the video was made:

Contact creators:

Watch: Jon Stewart on Donald Trump & Palin

by Newswire     October 25, 2012 at 8:31 am

Even more Olympics hand-wringing questions answered

by Guest     August 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

contribution by RedPesto

As the Olympics nears its end, LibCon’s specially commissioned Olympic agony aunt, Ms Olympia, is still on hand to help with more of those last-gasp efforts by each leftie to wrestle their conscience into submission.

It’s a ‘big ask’, as they say in sport, and the competition to achieve the perfect political result is intense.

Yet like a good coach, Ms Olympia is here to help anxious lefties peak at precisely the right moment and execute whatever game plan they had in mind.
continue reading… »

More of your lefty hand-wringing Olympics dilemmas answered

by Guest     August 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

contribution by RedPesto

For all the fun and games of London 2012, it’s clear that for some left-wingers it is also an event where their politics and loyalties are stretched to the very limit.

Four years of campaigning, protesting and relentless blogging regimes have led to this moment. Yet they still need that last-minute advice as they enter the home straight of the second week of the Games.

LibCon has specially commissioned its very own agony aunt, Ms Olympia, to help answer all those tricky Olympic questions.
continue reading… »

The left guide to Olympics hand-wringing: ‘Is it ok to leer at athletes?’

by Guest     August 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

contribution by Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe

Liberal Conspiracy is running a light-hearted series on Olympics-related topics that may or may not prompt some hand-wringing.

There is a part of me a pulsating, engorged part of me, that feels wonderfully at home with leering at athletes.

Each one of them is in peak physical condition. Their bodies are taut, smooth, rippling odes to physical perfection. When I listen to Ryan Lochte speak, I am reminded why I adore him most when he glides through the water, a sleek machine of brute strength.

For most of the year my crushes are more esoteric: James Deen, Ryan Adams, Paz de la Huerta. These people are beautiful, sure, but they are simply a refinement of your average person. That guy you’d meet at the pub, plus five points.
continue reading… »

Is the new Dark Knight film a right-wing dream?

by Jon Stone     August 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Two women break into a house at dusk. They’re looking for somewhere to bed down for the night.

Isn’t this someone’s home?” Says the virtuous one, unsure. On the floor is a family photograph in a frame – a sun-drenched image of a beautiful All American family, man, wife and kids; all white. It is smashed. The camera lingers, deliberately.

“No, this is everyone’s home now,” the first replies, in her foreign, roughly Russian accent. She moves to switch out the light: outside a violent revolution led by an incredibly uncharismatic man is promising to redistribute power to “the People”.
continue reading… »

Laziness levels in Britain getting lazier, wails government

by Guest     February 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

contribution by The Taxman

More than 2.6 million people of working age are now sitting on their fat arses at home watching Deal Or No Deal while eating ice cream, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed.

Levels of youth laziness have also hit a record high, validating government fears that each successive generation is lazier than the last.
continue reading… »

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