Top Trumps – Labour Leadership 2010

September 1st 2010 is a significant date in the diary for many reasons. For most schools in Britain it heralds the start of the new academic year. It marks the 25th anniversary of the wreckage of the Titanic being discovered. Uzbekistanis celebrate the 19th year of independence from the former Soviet Union. For Ed, Ed, Dave, Andy and Diane the 1st of September takes on a special significance as it marks the day in which the Labour leadership ballot begins to drop. Throughout the month, Labour party members will be voting in their thousands until the 25th when the results are announced.

Regular readers of the blog will know that this isn’t the first time I’ve strayed from the subject of the coalition. As I’ve stated before you can’t separate the coalition from the Labour leadership election because the winner will have a direct impact on the success or failure of the Con-Dems. If the correct candidate is elected, then they will have the challenge of trying to form a credible opposition.

When I was growing up, my friends and I used to argue about who would win in a fight…who would win between Optimus Prime & Megatron; Dalglish & Kendall; Stallone & Schwarzenegger; Thatcher & Kinnock (ok I made that last one up). Optimus was a truck but Megatron was a plane; Kendall had Sharp but Dalglish had Rush; Stallone had Rocky but Schwarzenegger had The Terminator; Kinnock had Hattersly but Thatcher had Tebbit. We loved nothing more than debating the minute details of each opponent. Sometimes we would fall onto the statistical debating cards, Top Trumps, to assist us.

Well, in a throwback to those salad days, my friends and I were in the pub the other day sharing stories of our complicated lives. During one of our discussions, two of my more troubled friends started to debate the leadership election. As the debate grew to include all of the table, it became clear that we all seemed to share different views of the candidates.  One area where we were all in agreement was on the importance this election has on the country. We just couldn’t agree on how best to judge the candidates…who would win? David has more support from MPs but his brother has the overwhelming support of the Unions; Diane is a woman, the rest all look the same; Well, just for fun, I’ve made these cards to help me choose and I hope they help you decide…the Cameron card is also included in the pack. (Cards not to be used for serious debate…watch out for the ‘special’ election reform referendum pack soon).

Ed 'I'm not David' Miliband

Ed 'I almost lost my seat' Balls

Diane 'I'm a woman' Abbott

Andy 'I'm northern' Burnham

David 'I'm not Tony but by god I want to be' Cameron

David 'I'm not Tony or Gordon' Miliband

The one with politics all over the gaffe.

Cameron the new Bush

Source Guardian.co.uk

When the coffee house phenomena hit the States we still had the humble cafe (pronounced caff). Several years later the cafe has all but disappeared and in its place are the egregious green & white caffeine oubliettes. It took several years but America found a way of exporting them to our peaceful land. We lapped them up.

My first job was working in a coffee shop in a shopping centre, churning out ‘Expresso’ and ‘Frothy Coffee’ by the vat load like some Indian sweatshop worker (this was in the day before the minimum wage). I produced these bastardised coffees to the general public and they queued up in their thousands as if they were the best things since sliced bread (which is ironic really as we also sold that but like Pacman and Amstrad computers it just wasn’t that popular anymore, replaced by the grandiosely titled Wrap). We all wanted to be ‘Friends’, to sit around all day talking about sex & relationships. We couldn’t stop the invasion, in fact we welcomed it.

We’ve allowed it to happen again. Only this time it’s not addictive hot beverages, this time we get bad political oratory. We all mocked the Americans for voting in a man that was more into his gaffes than a cockney describing his house. You would have hoped that we learnt the lesson of history, well we didn’t.

Over the past week, our illustrious leader Dave Cameron, has thrown a few in of his own. What with his comments on World War 2, his demonstration of world class diplomacy with his ill-advised India pandering comments about Pakistan. Then came his comment yesterday when he stated that Iran had nuclear weapons. His PR machine span the line that the PM had simply mis-spoken, of course he knows that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons (yet) and he just made an error. I’m not a politician, I didn’t go to Eton, I didn’t even do that well either at school, college or university for that matter. However, even I know that if you’re going to screw up, don’t do it about nuclear weapons. It’s probably a good thing that the Conservative pin-up, Lady Thatcher (or as she was known back then ‘The Milk Snatcher’ or ‘That woman who stole my job and then my community) was in charge during the Cold War and not him otherwise who knows what damage could have been done.

Having a quick trawl through the YouTube archives, I’ve found Dave’s recent gaffes as well as a couple of older ones, just in case we were thinking that the pressure of the job was getting to him.

The one with Cameron and the Gay gaffe

The one where Cameron equates China and Iran

The one where Cameron rewrites history

The one where Cameron accuses Pakistan of promoting terror and thereby pissing off nearly a billion people

The one with Cameron, the public, Iran and the Nuclear weapons.

… just for laughs The one where Cameron checks the cameras are on him and his excellent Blair impression.

Lasting moment of change?

So it’s all change at the top…yesterday saw the start of something special, something very special. That’s right yesterday saw the start of Junior Apprentice…over the next few weeks we get to see ‘Lord’ Alan beat the shit out of little, annoying teenagers, most probably because they are little, annoying teenagers. Ironic really that as we see the birth of a new government, a government rooted in the Thatcherite policies of old, that we also see on our screens the birth of the next generation of ‘Loads-A-Monies’.

So we ask the question, has this new Con-Dem government really brought the change in politics that they proclaim so loudly? Nick Clegg has spent the past 4 weeks trying to convince everyone, which he has done to some degree, that he is the 2nd coming (the first of course is his new friend Dave Cameron). He has told us repeatedly that he wants to change the way that Westminster works, that “the only choice you have is between the two old parties who’ve been taking it in turns to run things for years.”, hitting us with his campaign mantra of ‘Change that works for you, building a fairer Britain’. We all know where ‘Dave’ stands on change, its change this, change that, vote for change. Well how well do Con-Dem stand up to this idea of change? Lets look at some figures (Courtesy of Newsnight);

  • 65% of the the new cabinet went to either Oxford or Cambridge (15% of Tony Blair’s first cabinet were Oxbridge)
  • 61% of the new cabinet were educated at private schools
  • 4 members of the cabinet are women (would we even have Theresa May in the cabinet if Chris Grayling, ironically, hadn’t come out as a raving homophobe (the word ‘change’ once again rings loudly in the ears. Their were 8 women in Blair’s & 5 in Brown’s first cabinet)
  • 1 cabinet member is from an ethnic minority (she’s also a woman)
  • There are no ethnic minority MPs within the Parliamentary Lib Dem party.

Surely if you want to sell a different type of politics then you need a different type of face? What we see is that the change that they offered was a change from a progressive, representative cabinet to a change back to a government that now once again looks very white, very male, very upper middle class and very elitist. At least the Tory party from the 70’s and 80’s had a woman that was there simply not to make up the numbers.

Where does that leave them on the ‘change’ front? Well after 3 years of rebranding from ‘Dave’ and all the trumpeted ‘change’ nonsense from ‘Nick’ we see very little change in the look of the government. How about the ‘change’ to their policies? Lets take the ‘Big Society’ that Dave offered us.

When Cameron stated in his first speech as PM that he wanted to ‘change’ Britain from ‘One where we don’t just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities’, he was selling his vision of change to the country. 23 years earlier Maggie stated that ‘People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations’. The words may have changed but the sentiment hasn’t – its worth noting that Maggie also said in the same speech that ‘there was no such thing as society’ – we all know what happened next – society itself crumbled…we are still suffering the hang-over from that 80’s party.

So in the same week that the budding ‘Loads-a-monies’ of the early 21st century launch their quest for loads of money, the old ‘Loads-of-monies’ of the late 20th century launch their quest for change…the only problem is, they haven’t!

The government of change. Source BBC