Spineless Tories

Tory peers have capitulated on ID cards. All along, we knew that the Tories would be crucial in blocking this insidious erosion of our traditional freedoms – and they have failed.

Charles Clarke now says that if Labour win the next election, they will roll out the full, unexpurgated, compulsory ID card system. Our only hope of escaping the police state is to ensure that they don’t win (or emigrate).

What a sad day for the so called ‘free country’ we live in.

A message to the Darbyshires

(Apologies for posting it here, but since the Darbyshires saw fit to disable comments on their own blog, it apparently doesn’t stop them commenting on other peoples)Dear Darbyshires

I’m not sure why you felt the need to unload a whole heap of your bile on me. I think I was one of your more restrained critics. I also think you’ll find some of your harshest critics were not Lib Dems at all. My disquiet at your blog arose more from the comments you were arousing on Tory and New Labour sites – and my fear that you were bringing our party into disrepute at what was already a difficult time for us.

Since you have chosen to use my comment facility, I will not censor you (as you have done to many of us) rather, I will respond to your comments.

Actually Steve, we ARE real, but after the way we were treated on Lib Dem blogs, the sheer bitchiness of other Lib Dem members in spoofing and criticising our blog (a personal journal for family and friends) we decided to leave the Party as we figure it doesn’t deserve us or our efforts at all.

A blog is a personal journal accessible to the world. Some people will like what you’ve written and some will not. Expect some criticism. No criticism means no-one is reading. If you want to write only for family and friends – try email.

Chris Rennard is very keen to apologise to us for what we’ve experienced (and has already done so in part) but we can’t be bothered. It’s too late. You’re all nasty. I’ve thought it for a long time but since the spoof blog happened everyone else said it too, we are just way too good and way too nice for politics.

I can’t pretend to speak for Chris Rennard, however he is a wily and experienced campaigner. I’m sure he would advise you to develop a thicker skin if you want to be in politics. We are not all nasty, please don’t make generalisations. And if you were ‘way to good and way too nice’ you wouldn’t say things like:

The rest of you are scums and lowlifes and definitely not pretty!

Childish and narcissistic? What a joke! I can only assume you are jealous of the fact that we are/were NORMAL Lib Dems with happy, healthy lives and (unlike most other Lib Dems) blessed with good looks. Seriously, from the Lib Dem conferences I’ve attended we are definitely the ONLY ones.

You really must look up narcissism in a dictionary. To deny narcissism in the same paragraph in which you claim to be the only good looking attendees at conference suggests you don’t understand what the meaning of the word is.

Our friends and families wanted us to make this Party different, to finally prove that Lib Dems could actually be good looking as well as highly intelligent but we can’t be bothered wasting our time helping the pathetic group of individuals that forms the Party anymore.

Politics has very little to do with looks. The Lib Dems are a pretty normal cross-section of people, some of whom are more physically attractive than others. It’s irrelevant really.

We’re now more than happy to carry on blogging to our many family and friends and leave you geeks to carry on blogging to your sad, geeky little group of friends while we continue to attract positive media attention for having been in politics and being normal, happy, healthy and successful. We sure were the only ones from what I saw at Conferences.

I thought the New Statesman piece about you was quite positive actually. I’m amazed you complained about it – it really gets much worse if you choose to have a public life.

Incidentally there’s been a police investigation into the spoof blog so they have at last got their just desserts having now been labelled criminals.

Writing a spoof blog about someone is not a criminal offence. The spoof blog simply mimicked your writing style using ficticious characters. What offence did you complain of?

As for Simon Hughes. I thought this was actually a free country and one was free to comment on how another has treated them badly.

And so it is. I only suggested that you should withdraw one potentially libellous remark that you made about Simon – and thankfully you did.

Robin and Leah, the Lib Dems are a diverse group of people united by a common set of core values. Many of us have happy, normal relationships and I wish you well in yours. Blogging is not for everyone, and neither is politics. Both open you up to criticism from strangers. If you can’t stand the heat – you shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

Respectfully yours

Steve Guy

Another ineffective budget

Gordon Brown is the master in making a ‘nothing’ budget sound like a triumph. He tinkers around the edges for cheap headlines while ignoring real inequalities. He says there is money to spend but does nothing for Britain’s beleagured pensioners who have been hung out to dry by Labour.
On the environment, once again he gives the appearance of doing the right thing yet the measures are so small as to be virtually ineffective. Take the £210 Road Fund Licence for the top 1% of polluting cars. The increase that these drivers will be paying doesn’t even equate to an extra tankful of fuel for these urban behemoths. I doubt it is enough to discourage even one person from buying one.
I recently challenged chelsea tractor owners to justify their purchases to me. I only had one defence from an admitted owner, and that was on the grounds of safety. I have children, and understand the urge to keep them safe, so I did a little research on SUVs and safety. Yes, it’s quite true that the occupants of the large, high 4×4 come off better in an accident, but only at the expense of the worse damage you will inflict on the normal vehicle you run into. Add to that the finding that the higher front means you are more likely to cause head and chest injuries to any child who runs out in front of you, and it becomes clear that your safety comes at the expense of the safety of others.
The public highway is payed for and maintained for the benefit of all road users, and therefore the government has a duty to encourage responsible use of it. Driving around our urban and suburban streets in large, inappropriate vehicles is both irresponsible and selfish. On both environment and safety grounds, we must put pressure on the motor industry to promote more responsible marketing of vehicles to the public. A few pounds extra in car tax is not enough.

Why Cameron will prop up Blair

That Tony Blair is now damaged goods is now beyond dispute. A man who came into power as the antidote to Tory sleaze, with a promise to be clean and ethical, now finds himself mired up to his neck in £14 million pounds worth. That the loans were ‘within the law’ matters not one jot. It is patently obvious that the intention was to circumvent the very transparency this government promised us.

Cameron won’t crow. Tories have long relied on rich benefactors and are in this deeper than Labour. But more than this, Cameron wants Blair to limp on for as long as possible. The more this discredited leader ignores his critics, the more unpopular he becomes. The more unpopular he becomes, the easier it is for Cameron to paint himself a credible alternative.

Many, if not most, other democracies have faced the inevitable truth: money corrupts, and excessive money corrupts excessively. It is time we stopped selling influence to those with the deepest pockets. The only answer is a severe cap on donations, accompanied by state funding of parties on an equitable formula.

This problem is not unique to Blair’s administration – but that it still exists is a betrayal. It is time to consign political patronage and bought peerages to the history books.

Classless Society

About the only thing I remember John Major saying was about how he wanted to build a ‘classless society’ (apart from his off the record comments about ‘bastards’ in his team). I remember thinking this was funny rhetoric for a Tory. To me, Toryism is inextricably bound up with maintaining the class divides in this country. I also niaively believed that Labour were instinctively against perpetuating the class divide in our country.So how bizarre is the place we are at today when we witness a Labour, a Labour, government which still hands out peerages as rewards for rich sycophants and passes an education bill that promotes two-tier education with Tory support?

I am clear in my vision of modern democratic society. We must strive for fairness and equal opportunity at every turn. There is no place for anyone to be proposing, approving, rejecting or revising legislation who has not been democratically chosen by the people to do so. The House of Lords is an affront to a decent democracy. The solution is simple: not another single person should be appointed to sit in that house until they have been elected. I actually believe that it is staggeringly simple to achieve. We simply decide how many peers we want, and then hold periodic elections for those seats that have been vacated by death, resignation or disqualification. Candidates need a significant number of nominations, and may be identified with political parties or independent. Once elected, you are effectively a ‘life peer’. This maintains the independence of the Upper House and prevents it being packed out with peers from one party during a Commons landslide.

On education, I am speechless that nothing is being done to tackle the current unfairnesses that we are inflicting on our children. Today, those whose parents have money or influence are still likely to end up in the best-performing schools. Until we accept that this is not good enough, we will continue to fail our children. Every child deserves the same educational opportunities. Turning education into a marketplace condemns some children to second-class schooling. Any school which does not welcome all pupils equally has no place in a fair and just society. Academic and economic selection are dangerously intertwined. Any school which is funded by the taxpayer must serve the whole community, and not be allowed to cherry-pick it’s pupils. Any education bill which does not seek to address such injustices is a recipe for failure, and it will be less fortunate children who pay the price.