It cannot have escaped your notice that Mr Balloon seems to have accidentally hit the "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" button on the Conservatory Party.
They're crazy, they're unlikeable, they're split worse than the Beatles after Yoko and they're parking in disabled parking places like they think they own the country again. It is just like old times.
What is REALLY crackers about all this is the issue that they have chosen to go into MELTDOWN over. Whether or not there should be more selection-by-brainpower Grandma Schools.
Hello! None of you GO to state Grandma Schools! Hardly anyone in Mr Balloon's Shadow Cabinet went to anywhere other than ETON!
Here is the news from January 2006 – yes, that's right, more than a year ago. No more Grandma Schools say Conservatories! A nation yawns!
Fastwind forwards a year and the (no, I couldn't believe they were tarring themselves with this label again, either!) "Heirs to Blair" follow the little avocado book of spin to the letter, relaunching the old news.
Great is the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
BOTH sides in this Conservatory IN FIGHT are claiming that this is about ASPIRATION. This is because that is a good BUZZ WORD that Conservatory supporters LIKE. As in "the Conservatory government will support our aspirations". Which sounds nicer than "the Conservatory government will give us stuff we want". But it is NOT REALLY TRUE.
Demanding Grandma Schools is not about the aspirations of the KIDS who might go there; it is about PROTECTING the privileges of their nice Conservatory parents.
But equally, the City McAcademies are not about widening opportunities for kinds either; they are vanity projects for CRAZED CREATIONISTS to take charge of public money. Taking an existing school and just bunging a bit of extra money at it is only a short-term solution at best.
It is funny that BOTH the other parties talk about CHOICE as the means to make schools better, but neither seem to understand that if you are going to give parents choice then you need MORE schools – in fact you have to have a very lot more classroom places than you would need in order that the good schools have the flexibility to take in more pupils when over subscribed, even though this means that less popular schools then have much smaller classes. Still, that would address the actually practical point that smaller classes really do make for better learning environments for kids.
And it is a BIT RICH (unintended pun) when Mr Alan Duncan-Donuts comes on the radio to say that the Conservatories LOVE Lord Blairimort's education policy, but that the Labour are at war with their leader over this.
"Delusional" says Mr Balloon of anyone who suggests opening MORE Grandma Schools. "I'm in charge in THIS party, and to prove it, anyone who crosses me will… er… get a severe wigging! And if they do it again, well I'll… er… give them ANOTHER severe wigging! That'll learn 'em! Er, what do you mean he's walked out?"
Fastwind forwards another week – "Ahh, when I said 'delusional' I actually meant, 'that's a flipping fine idea and I back it all the way!'."
What has happened in a year?
Well, the obvious answer is that the Conservatories have had a whole year more of Mr Balloon to swallow and, frankly, they are getting a bit sick of his diet of "shut up and stand in the corner".
They've had time to have a think about the local election results too. After a good old Conservatory gloat about it, they sat down and had a proper look and realised that the Tory Toff has only delivered them spadefulls of places where they've ALREADY WON. In other words: they're not going to win the next election.
These days there are only THREE crimes left that carry the DEATH PENALTY: piracy on the high seas; being Welsh within bowshot of Chester city wall; and failing to guarantee an election victory for the Conservatory Party.
Mr Balloon, three little words to remember: I.D.S!
(Because Mr Ian Drunken Swerve was elected with the popular support of the party too. Of course, he turned out to be an incoherent mumbler, but remember that Mr Balloon too likes to be "the Quiet Man"… at least on policies!)
The change at the top of the Labour is not going to have helped either. Mr Frown has arrived and so far Mr Balloon's sharpest darts appear to have bounced off the IMPERVIOUS HIDE of the Gord-zilla.
In fact, Mr Balloon rather more successfully shot HIMSELF in the foot by flip-flopping too publicly over the Freedom of Information Amendment Bill. He succeeded in moving the story away from Mr Frown and the government's SECRET STALIN COMPLICITY and making the story be about the Conservatories INDECISIVENESS over whether they supported the democratic system or had something in their expenses that they wanted to HIDE!
The media can of course only have one DARLING at a time. (No, it is never ALISTAIR Darling!) They seem to have decided that – for the moment, anyway – Mr Frown's attempts to appear NICE or even BLOKISH are to be treated as modest, shy and charmingly gauche rather than crushingly false and embarrassing.
BIZARRELY, the fact that Mr Frown is trying to be Lord Blairimort and OBVIOUSLY ISN'T VERY GOOD AT IT has somehow mutated into a VIRTUE!
This is double bad news for Mr Balloon who (a) loses his place in the media sun and (b) is now just TOO GOOD at looking like Lord Blairimort.
Did I mention that UNBELIEVABLY Mr Boy George Oboe was on the radio claiming that the Conservatories will be the "Heirs to Blair" i.e. insane, unpopular and soon to be out of office.
Funnily enough, Lord Blairimort swanning off on his farewell tour is also playing well for stay-at-home, get-on-with-running-the-country Mr Frown – actually, the Conservatories tried to pin a £1 million price tag on Lord Blairimort's "Blairwell Tour", a story which appeared in the Daily Mail and related free clones, but INEXPLICABLY seems to have been BURIED beneath other news in online editions, otherwise I could point you to the Conservatories' figures saying "look here are the £846,648 of costs that make up Lord Blairimort's million pound trip!" I wonder if Mr Boy George Oboe did the ADDING UP for them?
The mild swelling that was the Conservatory lead in the opinion polls appears to have reduced slightly too and that's ALWAYS the sort of thing that give people the COLLIE-WOBBLES. (Yes, Liberal Democrats too – do not deny it, we can panic with the best of them!)
What the Conservatories want from their leader is three things: Victory, Certainty and Very Large Tax Cuts. So far, Mr Balloon looked like he was delivering on at most one of these – but that would do. Policies are promised and we'll just nod and wink about the other.
Except the policies ARE stating to dribble out. DRIBBLE being the operative word. They come out almost involuntarily, make a nasty mess and then Mr Balloon starts trying to mop them up again.
This does not bode well for the coming months of so-called policy reviews reporting. And the main bulk of the Conservatories are already starting to pre-emptively make it clear that they are probably going to enforce their own policy line. You know, the barking mad one that they all loved when Mr Balloon put it in the last election manifesto.
This is going to end in tears!
Mind you, if the Shadowy Europe Minister has to resign over their Grandma Policy, GOODNESS KNOWS what will happen when they finally take the lid off the Europe Policy box!