Thursday, May 29, 2008

This Government Suffers From "Like Me-itis"

Yesterday chaos ruled at the heart of government. This may not be unusual nowadays, but it was chaos which made political tealeaf reading even more difficult than usual. The issue was fuel and road tax rises. Several cabinet ministers went out of their way that the government might back down (again) with the Chancellor apparently abandoning the planned 2p fuel duty hike along with the new Vehicle Excise Duty rates - dubbed by many as the Government's "poll tax on wheels". John Hutton dropped the heaviest hints, which, as Business and Enterprise Secretary, well he might. But later in the day, he and his colleagues were slapped down by Number Ten who told reporters the planned changes would be staying. Period.

But then the Chancellor intervenes to drop a very strong hint in this morning's Sun that he will indeed bow to pressure and abandon the 2p rise in October, and might even go further.

This is very bad politics and is just the kind of 'reactive' government we saw from John Major in the 1990s. It's the kind of government which screams "like me, please like me, why won't you like me?!" Ministers think it demonstrates they are listening to people whereas the people see a government that bows to every prevailing political wind. And if there's one thing they don't like, it's weak government.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Ian.

They are trying to be strong on daft Ideas like 42 day detention and ID cards, yet are totally weak when it comes to controlling the nation's budget. People do not like this.

Wait until families have to cough up £300 for each ID card, that's £1,200 for a family of four plus loss of wages attending the Biometrics session. Then we will see riots.

Mark Gullick said...

Dear Iain

That this government suffers from 'like me-itis' is perfectly understandable. It's axiomatic that anyone of a Socialist persuasion is afflicted, not so much by a desire to be liked, but by a pathological fear of being disliked. This institutionalised dread has led directly to Conservatives being cast as the 'nasty party' for the simple reason that right-of-centre individuals tend to be more indifferent as to the conventional approval of others. If the Tories stress 'listen to me' rather than 'like me', I suspect they'll be surprised at the positive voter response they might achieve.

Just a thought.

Regards

Mark Gullick

londonerr said...

This govt can't but help 'listen' because the people are shouting, and what they are shouting is GET OUT!

Chris Paul said...

As Phil Woolas said so sensibly on Newsnight the 2p escalator was put on a watching brief for October when it was first postponed for April. Not a story. Changes in the VED would be. But once again we have this Tory commentator catch 22.

TC: It would be sensible to change this in light of the oil price change wouldn't it;
Govt: OK then;
TC: U-Turn! U-Turn!
Govt: Whatever.

How is your imaginery friend with his 2002 Passat getting on? Discovered your alarming??

tapestry said...

John Major wasn't hated. He was made fun of - underpants outside his trousers and so on.

Gordon Brown is genuinely and rightfully hated. He can lop pennies off taxation as he wishes, but he will not recover. People have made up their minds. They want to get rid of him as soon as they possibly can. He is the greatest electoral disaster in British political history.

He's destroyed our economy.

He's established state power that bosses people around from dawn to dusk.

And he lies through his teeth about nearly every issue.

The electorate only have one word left for Gordon Brown - 'Next!'.

sniper said...

I trust "political tealeaf reading" is clearly efined as being for entertainment only as well as not experimentally proven.

Letters From A Tory said...

I agree. Having a government that is pandering to the whims of voters shows how seriously they lack a vision for this country. They've run out of ideas, and now they are running out of credibility.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Two Sovereigns in Britain". Why is there a link from this article to the Human Rights/Regional Government/Minority Victim Culture web page about Cornwall? Contact John Garrack for more information? In Cornish? Grunt, grunt.

Max said...

Iain you're right, and this entire dance we see around petrol prices, with phone calls to Saudi and meetings with oil company execs is smoke and mirrors. Today the price of petrol in America is 53p a litre and they think that's expensive. Two days ago in Malaya they were paying the equivalent of 30p a litre. We are now paying £1.20 a litre. So who's really to blame, OPEC, the oil companies, or Gordon Brown?

btw the definitive list of government failures since '97 is coming along well at "The Error Log" and I've made some changes to the blog to make the list more accessible. Please drop by. All suggestions welcome.

Max

http://theerrorlog.blogspot.com/2008/05/petrol-problem.html

narcissa said...

The Gordon Brown Song by Mika:

Do I attract you, do I repulse you with my queasy smile?
Am I too dirty, am I too flirty, do I like what you like?
I could be wholesome, I could be loathsome
I guess I'm a little bit shy
Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me without making me try?

I could be Brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky.
I could be hurtful, I could be purple,
I could be anything you like.

Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more.
Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? (Walks out the door).

Anonymous said...

Gordon is supposed to be listening isn't he ? Can't he hear the message ? - For God's sake go and take the rest of them with you.

You've ruined the economy;you've ruined the social cohesion of the country and you've got us into 2 unwinnable wars. For Christ Sake can't you take hint and just **** off !

Anonymous said...

If Gordon EVER did actually try listening to voters he would resign immediately.

Get this Gordon, we're not asking you to steer the country through this difficult time, which you created, we're asking you to just GO. Please. We never voted for you, just go.

And that goes for you too Chris Paul. How much do you get paid by Labour for all this astroturfing? I hope it's enough that you can emmigrate in a couple of years...

Z.

don't like them either said...

What annoys most people are the lies. Such as, 'the 10p tax thing was a mistake'. Or that the fuel and VED hikes are 'Green'. Or that
taxing pubs out of business as fast as post offices is all about 'binge drinking'.

Are foreign hauliers less green because they pay less for diesel? No, but at least they'll still have jobs by the autumn.

Anon at 9:02 wrote:

They are strong on daft ideas like 42 day detention and ID cards, yet are totally weak when it comes to controlling the nation's budget.


Almost all Labour legislation has been punitive, from demonising the young to bin offences.

I now walk past two CCTV cameras to the bus stop. It has a new no-smoking sign (it's in the middle of the country) and it's been painted with anti-climb paint. No one has climbed this bus stop in living memory.

A new Labour initiative is to collect all our e-mails and text messages - already 1 year's worth is required to be stored by the ISP.

So, we have no economy, no disposable income, only thought police. How can anyone like the society Labour has created?

Windsor Tripehound said...

Broon should be reminded of the reply given by Lord Tebbit when someone remarked that people didn't like Margaret Thatcher.

"People didn't vote for Margaret because they liked her, they voted for her because she was competent and they trusted her"

Chris Paul said...

Astroturfing Z, what are you on about?

The point is the 2p escalator has been on a watching brief all along. It would not be a U-turn to postpone that again given the movement in the price at the pumps. Changing the VED proposal would be a real change but this "change change change" followed by "you changed changed changed" is just rubbish.

The real U Turn round here is Dave - Husky, Windmill, Cycle-to-work - Cameron deciding to ditch the old vote blue - go green thing having just won various elections under it.

Now that's what I call U-turning.

Alex said...

It is ironic that for years Brown has been slapping VED on fuel "in order to reduce consumption to reduce carbon emissions", and now when world markets force the price of oil up to levels that may actually reduce consumption, he is encouraging oil companies to produce more oil.

If Brown hand any conviction that there was a purpose to high VED, he would have stood firm. It speaks volumes that he hasn't done so.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Chris Paul said...

The real U Turn round here is Dave - Husky, Windmill, Cycle-to-work - Cameron deciding to ditch the old vote blue - go green thing having just won various elections under it.

Now that's what I call U-turning.


I don't recall huskies, windmills or bicycles featuring in any Conservative campaign.

Now that's what I call Chris Paul desperately clutching at straws (as he has been for some weeks now).

A bit gutted to see all your hopes turning to ashes Chris?

Travis Bickle said...

Any politician truly acting for Green reasons would scrap VED (on which high mileage road users pay much less per mile than occasional/careful users), and put it all of the price of fuel (so the more you drive the more you pay).

Scrapping the 2p rise, and keeping this nasty retrospective VED hike (for the environment) is a complete nonsense and, just like everything else our moronic politicians do, completely arse about face.

Not really rocket science is it?

Different Duncan said...

Don't agree. People outside of Westminster couldn't give a monkeys how strong or weak a government is. They do care, however, about how a govenment's actions affect them. This is why Labour are so screwed in the polls lately, and this is also why they are wise in cutting taxes, even if it is cynical, reactionary and desperate.

Auntie Flo' said...

Anon 9.02 AM said

Wait until families have to cough up £300 for each ID card, that's £1,200 for a family of four plus loss of wages attending the Biometrics session. Then we will see riots.


Well said! And wait until the prisons are groaning with millions of people like me who will loudly REFUSE to hold ID Cards, REFUSE to pay any fines or to accept any other penalties.

I would be proud to go to prison in defence of our English (s*d British) freedom and civil liberties an. I would gladly give up the right to a passport, food, or whatever to protest against this outrageous attack on my freedom.

The government will doubtless try prison avoidance tactics such as Asbos (I shall flout the conditions), tagging (I shall visibly remove mine at my nearest cop shop) or taking fines directly from my bank account (I shall draw my money out and hide it under my bed first).

Can anyone think of any other penalties nulab might impose for refusing to hold an ID card so that I can prepare to evade these in advance?

another measure of popularity said...

Tony Benn once joked that New Labour was the country's smallest party and all the members were in the cabinet.

He wasn't entirely joking. Actual Labour membership halved with Tony Blair as PM.

By 2004, in the wake of the oh so popular illegal war, membership stood at 190,000, less than half the '97 figure and the lowest since Ramsay MacDonald split the party in the 1930s.

2006 data showed Labour losing the equivalent of 27,000 members a year since the start of the decade.

The same rate of decline under Brown - likely I suspect - would imply no members at all by 2013. Statistically, people like Labour less and less with every passing day.

The Labour Party is, like the joke about Northern Rock, a 'gone concern'.

Raedwald said...

Another measure etc.

Yes, I've been keeping an eye on Labour's membership figures too. I reckon when they publish their 2007/08 figures before long there'll be another 20,000 drop - and don't forget these figures include party members more than 6 months in arrears with their subs, so they're not voting members.

The 10p tax debacle and visceral hatred for ZanuLabour will trim at least another 30,000 off this year.

So if not now, then next year, Labour will be below 100,000 voting members. The Royal Yacht Association has more members than this; the RHS has more, as does the Women's Institute. And the National Trust has millions.

The Tories aren't immune to declining memberships, either. Back in the 50s Labour had about a million members and the Tories 2m. The Tories lost over a million members between 1979 and 1997 - not a time in the doldrums of opposition. Go figure.

The 16m voters who don't vote in general elections aren't lazy, don't need postal votes or booths in Tesco or Internet voting - they're disengaged with all of the main parties.

Helena Kennedy's 'Power' Commission covered most of this ground; indeed, I heard Cameron speak at the report launch at the QEII conference centre. And was impressed.

Hayden Phillip's risible and scrappy little report that Brown thought would push a goosewing breeze behind State funding has stalled. The British public won't accept it now. Where do Labour go from here?

(apols for length, Iain)

The Remittance Man said...

Ministers think it demonstrates they are listening to people whereas the people see a government that bows to every prevailing political wind. And if there's one thing they don't like, it's weak government.

No people dislike a government that seems to think it can do everything and yet demonstrates it cannot do anything.

A government that can't do anything but doesn't even pretend to be able to do so is a blessing.

the grim receiver said...

Raedwald said...

Where do Labour go from here? (apols for length, Iain)

Interesting points, I thought. Fewer members than the Womens' Institute eh?

Hmmmm. Perhaps Harriet and Hazel should start making chutneys and bramley jelly. The WI doesn't owe £24m.

David Anthony said...

Just glad you didnt say...

Me Like-Titis