Last night’s shock by-election result in Bradford West was fuelled by a dislike for the major parties.
I believe Galloway put across his message well and it helps that he is a well known politician.
I was listening to BBC radio 5 Live this morning with Nicky Campbell and a muslim voter in Bradford told the listening public that Bradford is dealing with high unemployment, run-down areas and that the old politics, the politics LibDems stood against in 2010 had failed Bradford. I believe they haven’t just failed Bradford but failed the country. This guy mentioned how he hoped and thought the Galloway would revitalise Bradford.
Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy asked the question what Galloway had done for the Tower Hamlets, I would add what did he do for Glasgow as well, to revitalise the area? The guy didn’t answer the question but continued to push what was wrong with Bradford and how a new voice might help change that.
Sunny had a good point, what has George done to change the constituencies he has represented previously. Not alot.
He made a name for himself but not by representing his constituents well. In fact, we rarely hear of the MPs who represent their constituents well. In fact with my own MP, you simply don’t hear what she is up to. So its not just good MPs we don’t hear about.
What shocked me most wasn’t the 7% loss in the LDs share of the vote or the decrease in the Conservatives support by 23%, after all they’ve just had a bad week but the loss of Labour support. Ok Bradford has been a Labour seat for a long time and there are voters who think that old politics have failed but that doesn’t mean you switch support to a party or a candidate unlikely to be elected. I would suspect a thousand or so do that but Galloway achieved a 10,000 majority over Labour who were defending a 5000 majority in 2010.
I think this spells trouble for Ed Miliband. After all if he can’t capitalise on a bad week for the government and trounce an unpopular government and enthuse the public that he has the ideas, candidates and ability to make a real difference to people’s lives so they turn out and vote Labour, what can he do?
How do you solve a problem like Ed?
That all depends on your political allegiances. Some don’t want Ed’s problem to be solved so that they can waltz into number 10. I don’t want a weak opposition leader, I want a strong one. I want the government of this country to be challenged. Ed’s simply not doing that.
What’s his problem? Actually, that should be problems.
First, he doesn’t sound or look like a leader. On Marr this morning, he looked fairly statesmanesque. It pains me to say that.
At the same time, he looked awkward, uncomfortable and frankly not PM material. This has and always will be Ed’s main problem. In psychology, and behavioural economics there is this thing called the blink test. This test, is how we judge the people we meet, what we think they are capable as such. Ed’s problem is he has clearly failed this basic test. It doesn’t matter how many times, he relaunches his leadership. He has failed one of the cruellest tests set by the electorate.
Its this test, which makes me think that Nick Clegg’s polling is recoverable. I think that because when people found out who Nick Clegg was in the election campaign, Cleggmania resulted. We took an immediate shine to Nick, so he passed the all important blink test. Because of the anchor effect in behavioural economics, those first impressions affect the rest of our decisions so whilst yes we need to rebuild trust, having a leader thats passed the blink test makes that easier.
Second is he promotes Keynesian economics but he didn’t promote them whilst in government in the good times. This lacks credibility. You can’t be Keynesian in the bad times but not the good times. That leads to distrust and voter misunderstanding. Take it from a LibDem, voter misunderstanding is not something you want to encourage.
Third, he nicks LibDem ideas and claims credit for leading the charge, when he has done no such thing. Take his interview on Marr this morning.
At 11.08, Ed starts saying he was the first person to latch on to “responsible capitalism” in his conference speech and that Nick and Call-me-Dave are falling over themselves in his wake. That’s so wrong its rolling on the floor funny. Vince Cable in his conference speech a week before Ed’s, coined the phrase “responsible capitalism”. Watch John Harris over at the Guardian talking about it with Vince himself as well as other delegates here.
Even longer than that, Vince and the LibDems have been calling this “responsible capitalism”, against big banks and big business because they can harm individuals freedom. You can debate, that in government we are not doing enough. That is fair enough but we are in government with the Tories.
Ed was also falling in behind LibDem ideas when he “took on” Murdoch. Remember the Telegraph sting operation which caught Cable saying, “I’ve waged war on Murdoch”.
Ed is just coming to liberal ideas. The government he served in did nothing to help deliver “responsible capitalism” and in fact didn’t even mention it. If Ed really has come over to liberal ideas, then he can come and join us. But he should stop claiming credit for ideas that liberals have been campaigning for, for years.
Debt is often likened to fat. This is due to the idea that debt like fat is a weight that bears down on the individual (or country) and restricts what one can or cannot do.
To make this comparison is to misunderstand the biological reason for fat.
This misconception can be understood if we consider why the body requires fat.
We become fat if we consume too many calories in times of plenty, this if consumed in the form of fat or carbohydrates (we can’t store protein) is stored away.
Why do we store this excess energy?
In case there comes a time when food becomes less plentiful i.e. during winter or a famine. We can therefore use the extra energy stored as fat to stay alive and to find any morsal of food around whether that be fruit and vegetables or hunting down an animal that is also managing to survive the harsh times.
This shows that fat is the biological equivalent of an economic surplus. A surplus after all is a built up stack of money during times of plenty like a boom that you can then use when times are hard.
Debt is the exact opposite. Debt is the economic equivalent of your body shutting down because you are not consuming enough relative to the energy your expending in order to stay alive. If don’t balance your calories (tax revenues) with your energy expenditure (expenditure) then you will physically crash because your body can’t cope. We are experiencing one of the biggest global financial crashes in our history due to governments and banks not balancing income with expenditure.
As Nick Thornsby pointed out in his blog, Labour were overspending before the financial crisis hit in 2008. We might not have been anorexic as of 2008 but I’m guessing we were pretty darn close.
The problem with anorexia and the financial crisis is that you can’t cut your way out of it. It is impossible to cut yourself out of anorexia. You can cut your energy expenditure to bare minimum but if you aren’t consuming enough then your body will continue to shut down your internal organs. That leads to death.
In the financial crisis, we can’t cut ourselves out. We need to grow ourselves out. All non-essential spending should be cut but we need growth as well.
The fat cats sitting on surpluses have to realise that they built those surpluses exactly for this reason therefore need to spend it in order to create growth in the economy. Only by creating growth in the economy, will their need to dip into their surpluses diminish. They can then replenish their surplus.