Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Is delayed referendum another shambles by a doomed PM?

‘The Speech’ – David Cameron’s address on Europe and Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The way it has been built up you would think the Prime Minister was delivering the sermon on the mount.

However it’s more than likely to be the beginning of the end for a doomed Prime Minister who frankly is beginning to look and behave like a man who knows he has a use by date of May 2015. For over a year I have wondered whether Cameron is actually bothered anymore, hated by an increasing number in his party, despised within the country and not fussed about trying to change either situation.

The EU speech was simple, pull the rug out from under UKIP and offer a straight EU referendum next year, then sit back as disgruntled Tories come flooding back ‘home’ praising the Tory leader. He wouldn’t have to actively campaign for an Out vote just simply say he was doing what the people wanted.

A referendum in 2014 would have rather annoyed Labour and Ed Miliband who would then have faced having to campaign for an In vote and risk a majority in the country wanting to pull out. Not a good look 12 months before the UK votes on what Government it would have liked.

It would have seen Mr Cameron neuter the threat of UKIP, challenged Labour and put himself well back in the race for Number 10 in 2015.

Instead, Mr Cameron is believed to be offering a vote in 2017 which, as well as being FOUR years away, is also dependent on a majority in the UK voting Conservative again. Something which is looking less and less likely every day.

Instead of taking the lead, Mr Cameron is making it very easy for Labour to offer the same deal, a referendum in 2017 and takes a potential advantage and chucks it to one side.

UKIP could still be emboldened by this, enough of a suggestion Cameron would urge people to vote no and Nigel Farage and friends could still give him a bloody nose come the General Election.

And too much pro-Eu in his speech could see Tory backbenchers declare enough is enough and begin an attempt to topple the PM.

Can’t be done? Remember John Redwood v Major in 1995, the Eurosceptics didn’t win the battle then but they won the war, the Tories were kicked out of power for 13 years.....

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cameron revives the politics of divide and rule

As suspected yesterday's vote on capping welfare benefits descended into a verbal free for all and petty point scoring which helped nobody.
But it also showed the vacuous state our Parliament has become and has allowed the Conservative Party to preach Thatcher-like 'divide and rule' politics.
The poster which suggests Labour wanted to put benefits up would be funny if it was not so disgraceful.
Basically the Conservative Party hope everyone who works will treat those on benefits as some sort of social pariahs. But what about the new mum whose maternity pay has been frozen? Does she deserve criticism for having a baby? What about the disabled man who just cannot work? Does he deserve to be held up as everything that is wrong with 'Broken Britain'.
Apparently, according to the Conservatives yes they do, they should be bracketed with the feckless father's and the lazy scroungers who scoff at the prospect of a minimum wage job.
In tackling the benefit problem which does exist in the country, the Prime Minister has branded everyone who takes a benefit as a scrounger. That is not only wrong it is a disgraceful way for a Prime Minister to behave.
The welfare system was set up with the aim of helping those who truly need it, it has been abused under all Governments and needs tightening up.
It's not 'socialism' or 'left-wing' to support welfare systems, for those that GENINUNELY need it, but if you are disabled, pregnant or even someone fighting but failing to get a job in an increasingly competitive market, you are now nothing more than a scrounger in the eyes of your Government.
This one-size fits all cap demonises hard-working people as much as it does the scroungers and once again puts a huge dent in the hillarious 'We are all in this together' mantra.
However, its not just the Tories who deserve criticism, the Liberal Democrats once again did their 'Standing up for what's right but then forgetting to and just vote with the Government' act. The party may preach its holding the Tories to account, when in truth they are now nothing more than puppies who roll over and have their bellies scratched.
Labour made no headway at all, Ed Miliband was silent, David Miliband was vocal. And while the Tory line against 'No Money Left' Liam Byrne is very, very boring and tiresome, it does undermine his credibility to fightback.
In the coming months, Labour need credible plans on the economy, spell out EXACTLY how they would do things, really go for the Tories throats on all areas and set out their positions on everything.
Failure to do that will leave us all hung (parliament) together again in 2015 and after the farce which is this coalition Government, I am sure we cannot afford five more years of that.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Time to add some polish to the pledge

WHEN is a pledge not a pledge? When it's one made by a politician.
Certainly the coalition Government is doing its best to make the above ring true with a series of 'pledges' which just haven't worked.
The latest baffling policy comes into effect today as millions of families see their child benefit cut or axed.
Families where one parent works and earns £50k a year will see benefits reduced, while those who earn above £60k will see it cut altogether.
The Prime Minister tells us it's only fair that those who earn more help tackle the deficit. 
But therein lies the problem, if mummy and daddy both work and bring in less than £98k a year, they KEEP child benefit!
The Prime Minister to be seen as being fair that he is rushing out policy after policy without researching the implications. 
Far from hurting the poorest, this policy has the potential to leave many Conservative-leaning voters feeling mightily miffed.
Husbands who have always voted Conservative may not like the idea of their wives being penalised for choosing to stay at home or vice-versa.
But the potential fatal blow could be struck by women voters. Cameron has hardly appealed to women since he took office and penalising mums who stay at home won't endear him at the nursery and school gates.
More thought should have gone in to the plans, then again more thought should have gone into a lot of the policies and pledges since 2010.
Too much has been rushed out without consideration leaving the leadership looking shambolic. Better to preach a deficit tackling strategy to the public while ideas are dreamed up and fully researched behind closed doors.
Cameron may like to think UKIP will cost him in 2015 and ensure a Prime Minister Miliband. But his own policies, judgements and leadership will also play their part when voters cast their ballot.
And if those who may vote for his party desert him then the Prime Minister could find himself at the helm of a sinking ship.

Friday, 4 January 2013


After a break of a number of years, I have decided to dip my toe back into blogging and take the dust sheets off RobBlog!.
I first began a blog in 2005/6 when I was invited to take part in something set up locally, that saw the birth of RobBlog and allowed me to vent my spleen on issues affecting me then and there.
A lot has changed since then, the birth of Twitter and continued presence of Facebook technically and personally, I got married in August 2011 to the love of my life.
But I have always wanted to come to back to blogging and well, here I am. I can't promise entertainment or fun, it's just going to be blogs about issues in the news, sport, political arena or current affairs.
I may even throw in a few personal blogs from time to time about life as a local journalist and the challenges that brings.
For that is what I do for a living, I am the senior reporter for the Worcester Standard and the news editor of the Droitwich Standard. I am very proud to hold those positions and take great pride in my work.
Any views expressed here though are strictly my own and not those of my employers or the newspapers I work for, have to get that in just in case!
Thanks for reading if you have, I hope you come back sometime soon!