HS2

What ever happened to the Conservative party?

The pandemic and panic take their toll.

Tree of the year 2015, see footnote.Tree of the year 2015, see footnote.Here we go to lockdown, again. It's been tried before and does not work. Or it's been tried before and was so successful we repeat it. What do you think? One good question leads to another; what ever happened to the Conservative party? We have in a previous article, see below on the Home page, asked the same question about the budget. That article was posted on May 1st a few months after the party came to power. Yes hindsight is a wonderful thing but we should not be shy of taking advantage of the long view. As further on again the shape of things is even clearer. Prior to the December 12th 2019 General Election the whole of UK politics was in the doldrums. The combined efforts of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had damaged more than their own parties. The entire UK political mechanism was frozen. Then along came Boris Johnson. He was neither of them and, so it seemed, only semi-attached to the Conservative party. At the time this looked like an advantage. Thus you could vote for him because you had grown weary of May or Corbyn or both. You could also vote for him if you were weary of the Conservative party, so why not? He was the odd ball, not like the rest of them. Then again if you wanted Brexit, and 17.4 million people did, he was an obvious choice.

What ever happened to the Budget?

The pandemic goes economic, who will win who will pay?

New blue tree! New blue tree!
In the first budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak we saw a new species of tree. A new tree? Yes we did! Gone is the Labour party money tree the mythical giver of low hanging fruit for all and in its place stood the mighty Blue tree. This is a cross between a hardy traditional Oak and some fancy hybrid that just keeps on giving. But then days later from Sunak came the measures to deal with Covid-19. Here was not so much a money tree but a forest. Confused? You are not alone! The first question must be was the Government caught out by the spread of C-19 and if so why? At the moment we are so busy dealing with the virus the lessons will come later. Thinking about budgets as recently as Nov 2019 the Labour party was taken to task for its money tree promises to spend, spend, spend. But that is what we now see and very late in this Covid-19 crisis we also see questions being asked about this spending. Can you really out-spend a pandemic? A spending spree is such a tempting thing for a government to do. But if it goes wrong then it opens the door for your political opponents. So to stop this political to-and-fro Tony Blair gave us fiscal rules. The idea was to lift the financial management of the nation away from political pressure. What could go wrong? Well plenty, it was as most things with Blair an act, a delusion.

Selling out, buying in

It's your money but they waste it

The original Mr Bean The original Mr Bean

Poor old Vince Cable. Like his party his fortunes are on the way down. The Liberal Democrats look to be stuck as the fourth party in UK politics several points below UKIP for the foreseeable future. While the performance of the LibDem Leader, Nick Clegg, must be responsible for some of this he cannot shoulder all the blame; so attention switches to the coalition Business Secretary, Vince Cable. The National Audit Office says that the Royal Mail privatisation was wrong to sell the shares too cheaply and this has cost the taxpayer £750 million.

However, Cable is very proud of the way he handled the sell-off and has refused to resign. Perhaps we have to feel a little sorry for Cable as way back in late 2007 he was the Leader of his party and in a position to dish it out to Gordon Brown. It was during a debate on defence that Cable said -

The house has noticed the prime minister's remarkable transformation in the past few weeks - from Stalin to Mr Bean.

We now see that having a go at Brown was not only easy, he was a natural target, but the high-water mark for Cable. What a turn-around that Cable now finds himself being biffed by Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary.

More from Andrew Gilligan

HS2 and Hacked Off get the drubbing they deserve

Gilligan and bicycleGilligan and bicycle
We have praised the work of Andrew Gilligan before, he has an eye for transport matters, he is the Cycling Commissioner for Mayor of London Boris Johnson. And has been following the HS2 saga. His report in the Telegraph sums it up well, recommended reading, as so is this. For stupidity the HS2 ranks alongside global warming and in a similar fashion has fiddled statistics to 'back it up'.

Next Gilligan looks at press regulation. You may say it's just a journalist looking after himself and his trade following severe ctiticism of the ethics of some newspapers. No that's too simple.

Transport, jobs and politics, are we on the right track?

Cameron is in another fine mess of his own making

BREL built locoBREL built loco
The news about the problems at locomotive builder Bombardier leading to the closure of the Derby works brought forth a range or reactions; the ritual gnashing of teeth being the one the MSM liked best. However, the first wave of reporting left out as much of this story as it reported. A typical MSM headline talking about Bombardier as 'the UK's last train maker' was not an incorrect statement but it would be wrong to try to pass off Bombardier as the last British train maker, for it is an enormous Canadian company. So the 1,400 jobs at the Derby HQ, while vital to Derbyshire, are perhaps no more than natural employee flows over the whole of the company on a global basis.

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