...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Day 2284: Sir Mr the Merciless' Baptism of Fire


"Reject the Labour and all its works, and all its empty promises!" urged Sir Mr the Merciless today, at the launch of the Liberal Democrat campaign for the local elections in England.

This year, the Liberal Democrats are the ONLY party to be fighting to represent EVERY part of the United Kingdom, from leafy suburbs in the South to the urban landscapes of the North, from the Valleys of Wales to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Everywhere, people are saying that they have HAD ENOUGH of Lord Blairimort and his dreadful, centralising authoritarian government. In the South, many councils no longer have ANY Labour representative AT ALL!

And yet, Mr Balloon's GYMKHANA-LAND Conservatory Party remains in full retreat to its heartland and has given up on even being the opposition in large parts of the country.

So for people in the North, ONLY the Liberal Democrats offer them a chance of change, and a real hope for a better way, protecting the environment and protecting people from crime.

While in the South people have to decide between a TRULY LIBERAL party that will oppose the government's heavy hand just as much as they will oppose crime, and a wishy-washy "us too" Conservatory opposition that most of the time does not even seem to oppose Lord Blairimort!

This will be our real test: can we hold out against Mr Balloon's promise-anything Conservatories when they are riding high, and at the same time take the fight to the Labour in their rotten-borough strongholds?

The polls are predicting big gains for Mr Balloon, and with the dog end of Lord Blairimort's premiership still hanging around like a nasty smell, we have to say that anything less than 500 gain for the Conservatories would be a BAD NIGHT – anything over 1000 and they are really flying.

Similarly for the Labour: if their losses are contained to less that 500 then they can be hopeful of some recovery. Much worse than that and we can expect Mr Frown to be barricading himself into Number Ten until 2010 at the earliest.

AND US? can we do better than coming out holding on to as many seats as when we went in?

Our aim has got to be to get as many seats for as many Liberal Democrats as we possibly can. Even if the polls are predicting a net loss of over a hundred for us now, we have got to come back with more councillors.

Meanwhile in Scotland, where they have PROPER elections[*], the Liberal Democrats will be encouraged to hear that the latest poll has them gaining ground – and SEATS!

Of course, it is only one poll, but it is GOOD NEWS to get them off to an ENTHUSIASTIC start to their campaign for a BRIGHTER FUTURE.

[*]using FAIR VOTES – what did you THINK I meant?


Later we watched the Newsnight Show with their three BRASS MONKEYS: Mr Danny Idont-Finkso of the Conservatories, Ms Olly Organ-Grinder for the Liberal Democrats and a Sharp Suit for the Labour.

First, they played some clips of the campaign launches. Mr Frown and Lord Blairimort, together again, one oozing fake bonhomie the other looking like he would rather be at his own funeral – which in some ways, of course he was. Then Mr Balloon launching his latest search for a policy “What are we going to do about the Police Force, with Graham Norton” surrounded by some very dubious looking policepeople and an even more dubious looking Mr Davis David, in fact looking like there was a VERY BAD SMELL coming from… well, almost exactly where Mr Balloon was stood. Finally Sir Mr the Merciless speaking with honesty and passion about finding a better approach to policing, one that solved problems, protected people and tried to reform criminals. I know that I am BIASED but I really think he had the BEST clip.

Turning to their spin doctors, Mr Paxo asked what they thought. Obviously ALL of them were SPINNING; it was interesting what their spin WAS, though.

Both Mr Finkso and the suit dismissed Sir Mr the Merciless out of fluffy foot:

“Too old!” they chorused

“Well look,” said Ms Organ-Grinder, “after Lord Blairimort and the war and now Mr Frown and these pensions decisions, people are looking for some trust and one thing that is obvious about Sir Mr the Merciless is that he says what he means.”

“Too old!” chorused Mr Fink and the suit. “La la la we’re not listening!” they added.

I have to say I was SURPRISED at how DESPERATE they were to spin against Sir M like this. Are they really so afraid of him?

The ONLY person who can decide when Sir Mr the Merciless is “too old” is Sir Mr the Merciless himself. Anyone else is just being AGEIST!

Mr Balloon got almost as short a shrift.

“No policies!” said Ms Organ-Grinder and the suit.

“He HAS got policies!” squeeked Mr Fink. “He had some policies there… or at least he will have! Anyway, looking nice is much more important!”

“Oh shut up,” said Mr Paxo.

But they spent most time discussing the would-be man of the moment: Mr Frown. Mr Fink had a GOOD piece of SPIN – which had the advantage of also being TRUE. Mr Frown’s dilemma is that he can be seen as CONTINUITY or CHANGE. What he needs to be is CHANGE, but he keeps on being MORE OF THE SAME. And being seen with Lord Blairimort is only going to reinforce that message of MORE OF THE SAME.

Ms Organ-Grinder was also trying out some spin against MR Frown: that after the pensions trick in his first budget and the tax-cut-that-wasn’t in his last budget, he is just too TWISTY-TURNY clever by half. This seemed to get some traction with the audience… so long as you remember that the audience was Mr Paxo.

Most astonishing, though, was the spin from the suit. He was clearly a BLAIRITE, because he would go through a sentence staying on message, staying on message, staying on message… and then suddenly veer off and suggest something BONKERS like Mr Frown should face a challenge from his own campaign manager, Mr Man O’ Straw. It was as though, after so long in power, the Labour can no longer even be bothered to rein in all the internal hatreds and jealousies.

All of the QUALITY people from the Labour’s early cabinet have been FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE over the years, and now they really only have two actual ASSETS left: Lord Blairimort himself, of course – even though there are increasing numbers of people who start throwing things the moment he appears – and of course Mr Frown too.

And yet, such is the depth of the BITTERNESS that has grown over all these years, that EVEN the Labour themselves cannot bring themselves to see that Mr Frown is obviously the best thing they have left. Twisty-turny and TAINTED as he is.

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