August 14, 2013

A military led government will apply military solutions to its problems and it should come as no surprise that this morning Egyptian security forces have started to use extreme force to clear supporters of former President Morsi camped at two sites in Cairo.

The obvious and first lesson the West should learn from this whole sorry saga is that elections do not always equate to a satisfactory or friendly democratic government and Western leaders should not get giddy when elections take place and think a western style liberal democracy will be installed the day after the election.

Secondly if the West supports elections (held fairly of course) and democratically elected governments in places where dictators/military ruled then it must be prepared for the outcome that governments which it does not particularly like or agree with will get elected! And even in this scenario the west should support the process by which the government was elected even if not the actual government. Otherwise you end up with the situation in Egypt where an obvious military coup wasn’t described as such and the west now finds itself in limbo between the proverbial rock and a hard place where it didn’t condemn outright military intervention and the ousting of an elected president and now has to look on as civilians are dealt violently by security forces and the country begins its descent into violent civil unrest.

The stance of the west in Egypt will also be viewed by various parties elsewhere in the Middle East who will no doubt conclude that coming to power through the ballot box is no guarantee of acceptance or legitimacy in government by the West and conclude that they should use means other than the ballot box to come to power.

Ethnic Minority Votes

August 12, 2013

The Guardian today has news that that in 168 marginal seats, the ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP, which obviously means that the ethnic minority vote could be key in determining which party leader enters Downing Street after the next general election. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has campaigned in seats in areas such as West Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Midlands and London though what is not mentioned and is also of crucial importance is that turnout among minority voters also tends to be higher than the indigenous population which ensures this vote is very influential.

What is a surprise however, is how very little has changed in terms of targeting the ethnic minority vote with reliance among all parties still on so called community leaders and elders to ‘deliver’ the vote. Promises of hundreds of vote being guaranteed if certain individuals are on board is simply nonsense and their influence greatly exaggerated. This often results in candidates being selected especially in local elections who may be well known in the community but often lack the required skills to competently fulfil their role when elected as councillors and often have a very poor grasp of the English language.

We still see politicians stand outside Mosques greeting worshippers as that is what someone has told them to do and which somehow will translate into votes. While these methods may have (minimally) held true many years ago it no longer is the case now. The internet and social media means that communicating directly with people from the ethnic minorities like with everyone else is so easy and has to be the way forward especially with those born in this country who are all social media savvy. Elsewhere candidates going to people’s homes and discussing issues has considerably more impact than any other method.

While there are issues specific to these communities such as relating to cohesion, terrorist ideology etc the economy, education and the NHS will like all other communities rank as the priorities when ethnic minorities cast their vote. A Party that consistently gets its message across in these areas will stand a far better chance of success. The days for example of sending Eid cards or messages at the start of Ramadan in the belief that this shows ‘understanding’ of the community have long gone and the sooner this is understood the better.

Blogging Again!

July 28, 2013

I have decided to resume blogging after a long hiatus…………stay tuned!

Debate As Expected

April 16, 2010

Last night’s debate between the three main political parties went very much as I expected. David Cameron had the most to lose as expectations of him to win the debate easily were very high and were never going to be met once Clegg was allowed to debate and another opposition leader was able to attack Brown and present an alternative set of policies. There wasn’t much expected of Brown so the only direction he could have gone is up which he only just did and Clegg was always going to gain the most as he could more or less say whatever he wanted knowing he will never be PM and could use the ‘same old party’ attack against both Labour and Conservatives and portray himself as the radical third way.

In the end all three candidates stuck to their policy lines with Nick Clegg looking most assertive and on most polls winning the debate. Now the Clegg novelty factor has worn off it will be interesting to see how he does in the other two debates especially as expectations will be high for him to repeat his performance of last night.

Conservative Manifesto

April 13, 2010

You can read it here

In short the Conservatives plan:

· to build a new economic model

· to build the Big Society

· to build a political system where people have more power and control over their lives.

Compare it with Labour’s manifesto and its:

· Big State -v-Big Society

· Government meddling-v- Trusting people

· Big debt and Borrowing -v-Prudence and New Economics.

Absolute Hypocrisy!

April 12, 2010

Labour launched its manifesto today and one thing that stood out on a skim read of the education section is this:

Frontline spending on Sure Start, childcare, schools and 16-19 learning will be increased, safeguarding our priorities such as an additional 41,000 teachers and 120,000 teaching assistants. But funding will not rise as fast as in recent years, making tough choices necessary to focus resources on the front line, with £950m saved through collaboration and efficiency in back office functions and procurement and £500m from quangos and central budgets. (Chapter 3:2)

At the drop of a hat Labour will find savings of £1.45 billion from its Education budget including from quangos! Since at least 2005 when the Tories argued that a large amount of taxpayers money was being wasted in Education, Labour has replied that this was simply untrue and accused the Tories of wanting to cut frontline services – but today cutting that waste has become so important that it has found its way into Labour’s manifesto and amazingly and unsurprisingly this will be done while ‘safeguarding’ frontline services. Hypocrisy of the worst kind!

Election on 6 May

April 6, 2010

The General Election has been called and will be held on 6 May 2010 along with the local elections on the same day in many parts of the country.

This will be the closest election since 1992 despite the mess Labour has made. However, my gut feeling is that the Conservatives will end up with an overall majority on 7 May.