Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Politics Decoded: Bravo Gordon, Gordon gets it wrong, Gordon gets it right & the Greatest PM we never had (or were likely to have)

He’s nearly made it

They have thrown the kitchen sink at him, but it appears that Gordon Brown has got to the Christmas break with his position and cabinet intact. The calls for heads to roll have not been this vocal since the Major days, yet Brown has stood firm. The next chapter in the whirlwind novel that is the Brown Premiership is probably going to be the most important. While the last chapter was seriously damaging, it is the next chapter that will decide whether we have a lame duck PM leading an unpopular party or we have a PM who has ridden out the worst of it and the autumn of 2007 will merely be a distant memory. In short, is Brown the new Blair or the new Major?

A good decision or two at last

He has already made his first good move. Last week I suggested that Brown withdraws from Iraq and makes his presence on the international scene felt a little more – make himself more of a statesman. It appears the man reads The Wardman Wire and has taken my advice. The final leg of Iraq really does now appear to approaching with Brown’s latest announcement. He has also shown his face in Afghanistan saying Britain is in for the long haul. This has covered his back to those who may have said he was weak by pulling out of Iraq by showing he is strong in the other major theatre of war. I think Brown is spot on with both of these decisions. There is nothing to be gained from either side by Britain staying in Iraq. There is all to be gained by committing to defeat the Taliban however long it takes. More importantly, there is all to lose if we do cut and run in Afghanistan now – the Taliban will turn back the clock five years and it will be a major propaganda coup for Bin Laden et al.

EU Disgrace

So it looks as though things are heading in the right direction finally for Brown. Well no actually. In two day’s time we will all be one step closer to a United States of Europe when Mr Brown’s school boy fag, David Miliband, is sent to the mainland to sign the treaty of Lisbon for him. The man once again is living up to his reputation as going missing when the tough times hit. He is claiming that he has an irresolvable diary clash. What a load of old tosh. It’s not like this treaty signing jaunt has suddenly been sprung on them at No.10. The man has no shame and just when I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, he decides to pull this one. He is selling us all down the river. If he thinks the treaty is such a good thing for us, why not let us tell him so in a referendum? (No prizes for guessing the right answer, I’m afraid). Will Brown’s treachery be packaged up with bad few autumn months for Brown and forgotten after the Christmas break? I fear it might if he has a bit of luck and plays the political game a bit more savvy than he has done, in the New Year. Time will tell however, whether the media and electorate will ever forgive him for this most cowardly of acts.

The Answer is not blowing in the wind

This week’s announcement from BERR Secretary John Hutton was that Britain will soon be powered by the wind. This will go a long way to pleasing the green lobby and will also tap in to the general mood that we need to cut our carbon emissions. But is this really it? Will it really mean that all our houses will be powered by a few windmills in the North Sea? Can we finally look forward to a day where we no longer need to burn fossil fuels and we can forget about that dark and murky world of nuclear energy? Well, in short, no.

The French are right for a change

While this is a major commitment and a bold move the government, do not start to think that this is the solution to all our energy needs. For a start, wind energy is reliant on wind. Yes is can be stored up but it neither predictable nor constant. Secondly, to power this country solely on wind would be one of the poorest decisions ever taken by a government. The real driver behind all this is security of supply – and the key to that is diverse and reliable energy forms. Wind fits neither of those two requirements on its own. The facts still remain that we will still need to buy large quantities of oil and gas and that renewable energy is a long way off being the answer. While we are dithering around, the French must be laughing their little French socks off at us because the answer is staring us right in the face. Nuclear energy.

Forget about the green propaganda, yes nuclear is not the perfect solution but it is still the best one we have. Just look at the French – they have some of the lowest carbon emissions in the western world and are making a killing by flogging their nuclear powered energy to mugs like us and the Germans. Let’s stop messing around move ahead with new nuclear build. Only there is one thing stopping us. The green lobby.

Time is running out

The new nuclear consultation document is going to be published next month after the previous one was challenged by the greens in a judicial review. It seems that the greens will once again be mounting a legal challenge to the new document and that decision looks to have been made before it has even been published. So that will put back any decision made by the government another six months or so. In the meantime, we are heading rather too quickly towards a time where we will have an energy shortfall because we have been messing around trying to appease the green nutters in the face of common sense. You cannot put up a nuclear power station over night – we are already going to miss getting new stations on line in time even if the industry got the go ahead tomorrow. The regions are crying out for them too. Far from the belief that people don’t want them in their backyard, there are plenty of communities (mainly areas that currently have plants) that are very much in favour – it will provide jobs and they are used to have a plant in their doorstep.

Labour are right on this one and Lib Dems are wrong. As for the Tories, if David Cameron could get his story straight, then we might actually know what he really thinks about nuclear. Oh how the French must be loving all this.

The Best PM we were never likely to have had

Last week Polling Report wrote a piece on the best Prime Minister we never had from a YouGov poll. The results were:

1. Denis Healey

2. Roy Jenkins

3. Ken Clarke

4. Neil Kinnock

5. Hugh Gaitskell

6. Aneurin Bevan

7. Shirley Williams

8. Michael Heseltine

9. Tony Benn

A fine list there – all of which would be doing a far better job than our current man is doing, I’m sure. But it got me thinking, who is the best PM we never had but were never likely to have either? My vote goes to Stephen Fry – the man seems to have the common sense and the brains. In fact he seems to be so intelligent we could do away with cabinet altogether, just let him run all the departments. He could hardly cock up places like the Treasury or Home Office any more than they are already are. Let me know your best PM’s we were never likely to have had in the comments…

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