Sunday, 10 October 2010

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

Last week saw the Tories gather for their annual conference at Birmingham. It began with Boris Johnson calling for strike ballots to be ruled invalid if less than 50% of members had taken part. This was obviously a rallying call for the true blue union bashers to join him in his battle with the arch enemy Bob Crow.
If such a rule was applied to the London Mayoral Election of 2008 would mean that his victory would be ruled invalid and most local councils would not be able to function due to insufficient interest from voters.
Then we heard Boy George's plans to scrap the Universal Benefit of Child Allowance to any family where one parent earns above £44,000 per annum. This was designed to give the impression that higher earners would contribute to the austerity measures due to come our way.
This caused some concern to Tory supporters who would suffer from this measure but I bet their not screaming at their employers to negotiate a pay cut.
To celebrate this delegates shamelessly drank champagne after George Osborne's announcement of his savage child benefit cuts.
Ministers and MPs ignored warnings from Tory high command about this year's "austerity conference", necking £50-a-bottle bubbly in the bar of the plush five-star Hyatt hotel.
They were probably gloating that the poor would have to fork out extra in taxes if they decided to purchase White Cider.
Then Lord Hutton joined the fray calling for an end to final salary pension schemes in the public sector. Also on pensions the Tories confirmed plans to raise the age of retirement for both men and women which would significantly affect the aspirations for dignity in retirement of hard working people.

So with all that going on there was an obvious chance for Ed Milliband to eat into the usual rise of support that occurs at Party Conference week.
His Shadow Cabinet announcements were eagerly awaited and he had the chance to set his party on the right path towards creating an economic alternative to these cuts.
He announced Alan Johnson as Chancellor of the Exchequer a man with little experience or knowledge of economic affairs.
Let's try harder next time shall we?

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