...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Day 2065: But What is Steven Byers FOR?


"Lord Blairimort Returns"

When lost fragments of his homeworld (America) were discovered in a galaxy far, far away [R: wrong franchise!] Lord Blairimort disappeared without trace. But after a long summer holiday searching, he found only depressing cinders orbiting the burned out ruin of a minor (pop) star. His quest a failure, Lord Blairimort resolved to return to Britain to continue his mission to bring us Truth (as he sees it), Justice (ish) and the American Way!

Look, Brian Singer found it difficult enough to make a go of this when he was casting gooder-than-good SUPERMAN in the lead: you can IMAGINE the trouble the Downing Street spin engines are having getting THIS off the ground!

(The Conservatories have announced this as this "SPIN OVERLOAD"; I think that I will call that announcement IRONY OVERLOAD!)

Now, it might look like the Labour were trying to feed the press a line of "the Prime Minister is very busy, don't you know" – suggesting that Lord Blairimort would concentrate on the Middle East crisis and on "pressing domestic issues" (or the IRONING, as we call it) – but REALLY this is just saying what the press office is EXPECTED to say.

The REAL spin from the Labour at the moment is to cover up the government's ABUNDANT failures with Westminster Village gossip about how long Lord Blairimort will last before being arrested retiring with honour.

The professional JOURNALISTS of the country seem to have all bought into the idea that most IMPORTANT issue of the day is NOT war, plague, famine or ITV's ratings but the soap opera of Lord Blairimort's impending defenestration dignified stepping aside.

Either THAT or they have all decided that they want to convince us that they are nothing more than DISGRUNTLED HACKS, disappointed that they did not get a job writing on EASTENDERS!

Yes, it is ALL GOOD FUN watching a once unified totalitarian party fall into in-fighting as they squabble over who gets which scrap of what legacy. But frankly, that happens with ANY DICTATORSHIP. That is why they do not last.

(Monarchies, as opposed to dictatorships, require INSTITUTIONS to keeps them going, and institutions like to get COMFORTABLE. Hence fewer JACKBOOTS. The MOST comfortable that you can be is actually not to rule the country at all, so eventually you arrive at a BRITISH DEMOCRACY. But that's not important right now.)

Does it really INFORM or EDUCATE us any to know that the Lord Woolsack, Tony's Chum Charlie says it's not time to change the PM or Mrs Tessa the Culture Secretary says the uncertainty is causing uncertainty? What ELSE are they going to say?

"Come Mr Frown, take power at once and sack us, like we know you want to!"

"And I for one, welcome our new prudANT overlord!"

No, it may not do the Labour much GOOD to have the press concentrating on their battle for the succession. (It's going to be Mr Frown. Next question…) But it does them less HARM than anything ELSE the press might be concentrating on. Like why they aren't running the country instead of having their little succession spat.

What the Labour REALLY wants, though, is a good old fight with the Conservatories.

The complete absence of any kind of Conservatory policy is, of course, getting SILLY.

Even Mr Balloon's one time BOSS (the one who was driving when the POUND went over a CLIFF at the QUARRY) has started to notice!

But it DOES make it difficult for the Labour to land any kind of PUNCH on them, especially when all Mr Balloon seems to do in parliament is say how much he agrees with all the government's policies and how terrible it is that they don't do them EVEN MORE!

That may mean that Mr Balloon is no more use to the country than that NODDING DOG that advertises car insurance…

(Blairimort: Can I introduce tuition fees that will cost up to £30,000 a student?

Balloon: Oooh, yes!

Blairimort: And can I privatise the health service, even though private medical practices cost the taxpayer vastly more money?

Balloon: Oooh, yes!

Blairimort: And can I have a car with my own chauffeur called Les?

Balloon: No, he's got to be following me on my bicycle… oh bugg…)

…but it also means that Lord Blairimort does not have a handy BOGEYMAN to hold up and say: "Look… I mean… you've got to vote for us, or these guys… will be eating your babies, you know… come on… just look at them!"

So what IS a poor monomaniacal Prime Minister with a god complex supposed to do? Walk on water?

(Blairimort: Well, look, obviously… I can and… you know… I would… but…)

In the absence of a Conservatory monster, they would have to INVENT one!

Oh Look! Enter stage RIGHT, the former Minister for Burying the News about Burying Bad News, Mr Stephen "pants on" Byers.

First he appears in the Telegraph making a Conservatory-esque call for a TAX CUT, then he turns up in the Times demanding a Conservatory-esque spending review (spot all that coded language about "not turning the clock back"! He might almost have added: "well, not further back than 1981"!)

Who is this POSSIBLY supposed to benefit?

Well, not the Conservatory Party, for starters.

By setting up some "nasty right-wing" policies, Mr Byers gives the Labour something to hit against: this could be DESIGNED to shore up the oft-mentioned "core vote", the working people who genuinely support the sort of policies usually derided as "Old Labour" (which the Unions have started calling "Classic Labour" – to distinguish it from "Labour Zero", I would guess).

This strengthens support for the Labour, mostly among people who have not switched to voting Liberal or Conservatory but who are just not bothering to vote at all – the THREAT of baby-eating Conservatories could be enough to give them a reason to turn out.

But it goes FURTHER than that: when a bunch of ill-thought-out right-wing proposals pop up in print, who are the obvious people to ask for comment?

The Conservatories are caught in a bind here – do they SUPPORT these ideas in principal and ADMIT that they are baby-eating right-wingers; or do they REJECT them, which ALIENATES their own "core vote" and ALSO draws attention to the emptiness of their own policy cupboard!

"Not just a straw man, but a bear trap too!" Daddy Alex cleverly summarises.

It certainly LOOKS like Mr Boy George has got in a flap and dashed off a few tax dodges, apparently intending to fund them by steeling from the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS.

Quiz: whose tax plans were described as:

"a panic measure written on the back of an envelope"

So that's the Conservatories shafted, then.

But Mr Byers cannot SERIOUSLY think that HE has a hope of re-entering front-line politics. Not with his track record (his RAILTRACK record you might say!). And even if he were that DELUDED (he IS a friend of Lord Blairimort, so do not rule it out) even if he were though, THIS kind of manifesto is really, really not going to win him the leadership of the Labour, now is it?

But it MIGHT get him a PEERAGE if what the Labour is calling for now is a marvellous futile gesture. Fly over to Germany. Don't come back.

Now, who's got some terrific headlines for giving a good thumping to the nasty right-winger?

"Mr Frown Returns!"

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