Polly Toynbee

Toynbee.jpg

by Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph

In so far as New Labour has a fairy godmother, Polly is the girl

It is easy to make fun of Polly Toynbee. It is easy to convict her of hypocrisy; but she genuinely knows and cares about the bottom 20 per cent …(she) has made herself an authority on the evils of Gordon Brown’s high taxes on low earners

Polly Toynbee the Tory guru: that’s barking. Or maybe not

Nah, I said to myself. You have got to be kidding me. I squinted again at the Guardian headline on the mat, and felt all funny. Someone, I whispered, is pulling my leg. You all know of course that I am a voortrekker of the Cameron movement. You realise, I hope, that I positively breathe the spirit of the solar-powered, bike-riding, glacier-friendly modernising tendency of which I am proud to be a part.

But when I saw yesterday’s Guardian, I almost swooned. A new ideological guru had been found for the Tory party, smirked the paper in triumph – and it was Polly Toynbee! The author of the new position paper was none other than my brilliant friend Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, with whom I found myself recently in total agreement at the Tory conference.


Greg! I gasped: what are you saying? Not Polly! For Telegraph readers unfamiliar with her work, Polly used to be the BBC’s health and social affairs correspondent, and now writes a weekly column in the Guardian.

In so far as New Labour has a fairy godmother, Polly is the girl. She incarnates all the nannying, high-taxing, high-spending schoolmarminess of Blair’s Britain. She is the defender and friend of everyone whose non-job has ever been advertised in the Guardian appointments page, every gay and lesbian outreach worker, every clipboard-toter and pen-pusher and form-filler whose function has been generated by mindless regulation. Polly is the high priestess of our paranoid, mollycoddled, risk-averse, airbagged, booster-seated culture of political correctness and ‘elf ‘n’ safety fascism. In an ideal Polly Toynbee world, private sector broadcasting would be banned, Rupert Murdoch would be nationalised, and the BBC would hire thousands more taxpayer-funded social affairs correspondents to psalm the benefits of social democracy.

In Polly Toynbee heaven the NHS would drive out all private competition, and taxes would go up to fund it. How the hell, you may ask, can a proper Tory find anything to admire in Polly’s world view? All I can say is that when I had come out of my faint, and read what Greg was saying, I saw, naturally, that he was absolutely right. In spite of all she gets wrong, there are things that Polly says that are serious and true, and that any Conservative government should be saying. I don’t just mean her stance on fox-hunting, admirable though it is. I recall some powerful pieces in favour of the immemorial rights of the British to slaughter foxes – as you might expect from a gel who is a descendant not just of various ineffably grand Toynbees but also of Gilbert Murray and the Earls of Carlisle. More important still, she is also deeply conservative and Conservative in some of the things she does, as opposed to the things she says.

She joins the usual Labour snarling against fee-paying education, and selective education of all kinds. In reality, of course, she is the beneficiary of a highly selective education and also sent her own offspring to one of the most expensive and competitive public schools in the country, an establishment way beyond the means of most people.

Of course there will be those who accuse her of monstrous hypocrisy, and wonder how she can write her hate-filled philippics about selection in education, and how on earth she can insist on imposing a one-size-fits-all comprehensive system on the rest of the country, and close down the opportunities of so many poor but bright kids, when she has so ruthlessly maximised the opportunities of her own children.

To which I reply: oh well, of course she is a hypocrite; but by their deeds shall ye know them! Never mind the rhetoric of her Guardian column. In her actions, Polly emerges as someone who cares about securing the best possible chances for her own children, and in that way she is bowing before the strongest and deepest conservative force of all, a great and immutable fact of human nature, a truth of biology and motherhood compared with which a thousand hypocritical Guardian columns are nothing but chaff.

Then there will be those who complain that it is hypocritical of Polly to have her lovely second home in Italy, to which she doubtless repairs on so many cheapo flights that she has personally quilted the earth in a tea-cosy of CO2; to which I say, yes, it probably is wrong of Polly to keep calling for higher taxes when that would put such opportunities – for air travel to second homes – beyond the reach of millions slightly less fortunate than her. But never mind the hypocrisy: look at the fundamental Tory behaviour. At least she’s renting the villa out at pretty keen rates. Good on you, Polly! You can’t buck the market, as Mrs Thatcher used to say.

And the private-school-using, villa-owning Polly Toynbee is also right in this paramount sense: that if natural Tories like Polly are to have a hope of governing this country again, then they must show that they know and care about what life is like for those who do not have it as easy as they do.

It is easy to make fun of Polly Toynbee. It is easy to convict her of hypocrisy; but she genuinely knows and cares about the bottom 20 per cent. She is right that there are too many people in poverty under this Government, and right that they are overworked and overtaxed. It is a deep conservative insight that life is competitive, and that there will always be people who can get into the good schools, because they have Toynbee genes or money, and there will be people who are less lucky.

And if you believe that there must always be winners and losers – as I do – then you must understand that a healthy society will do its best to look after the losers. She may be a hypocrite, she may be a solid Thatcherite in her approach to property rentals and private education, but Polly Toynbee has made herself an authority on the evils of Gordon Brown’s high taxes on low earners, and for that alone she deserves respect. Greg Clark is right. Welcome to the Tory party, Polly. Let’s all have tea!

117 thoughts on “Polly Toynbee”

  1. I think we all rather fell off our seats at this pro Toynbee thing but actually Guido had it a while ago and there is much les to it than meets the eye .

    “Tellingly the conclusion quotes Adam Smith, the father of free market ideology, not Polly the mother of social democracy. Quoting Polly approvingly re-inforces the “Tories have changed” meme – which is their core message. The paper is published tomorrow. Guido has it today.”

    His point ( Clarks) on absolute poverty is probably timely there has always been a difficultly with defending wider and wider class separation on the basis that the lowest are better of than a Match girl .Nonetheless beyond the notion that some sort of social justice should be on the Conservative agenda there is nothing much new . Polly Toynbee`s hypocrisy on schools and lifestyle is echoed by most of her type and one ceases to be at all surprised. Even when Nu Labs appear to be playing the game they have , of course , bought themselves houses next to the one decent school left in the South east ./ Boris has had this stuff sitting in the drawer for years as have most of us.

    I have to say I `m not desperately impressed with this , its late and doesn’t analyze the issues that might be raised.

    1 Ditching the sacred cow of absolute poverty levels and accepting the role of the state in addressing class injustice

    2 The pitiful means whereby a tedious little wonk like Clarke dresses up his god awful insipidity by the mention of Polly Toynbee to be something new .

    3 the Nu lab destruction of the working class with immigration , indirect tax benefits and housing and marginal tax rate policy

    I have the distinct feeling that time was short for the leonine one on this occasion . The only thing |I like is Boris`s inability to keep a straight face when claiming to be a Cameroon

  2. I think in some respects Britain must be very healthy as losers tend to flourish here. However, those that are just above the poverty line are the ones who suffer, the ones who are striving to be winners, but are having to pay to make up for those who are happy to remain losers. It is these people who cannot send their children to university because they earn too much to qualify for help, but not enough to actually be able to afford it without help. They get no help with housing, childcare etc yet are taxed for anything and everything. They finally can afford, after saving for an age, holidays abroad then suddenly they are told that that will be taxed as upper middle class politicians, who can afford expensive flights, announce they wish to help the enviorment. Britain needs to find a way to help the “losers” of society without stamping out anyone who wants to work to be a winner

  3. K I must take you up on the language you use there……. ” happy to be losers ” . It absolutely reeks of public school and k an inability to imagine what it might be like coming from a different back ground .
    Noone is happy to be ” A loser”.

    I agree with your broad point about disincentives but there is much more to this than you suggest. If anyone who for a variety of reasons has not “succeeded” is going to be branded a loser we might just as well return to the Victorian period and take poverty to be symptomatic of immorality.

    I understand what you mean but the way you put it betrays attitudes that are not helpful in my humble opnion

    Crumbs I feel like the touchy feely lefty.

    Boo HISS K

  4. Part of the problem with NuLab’s redistribution of wealth is that they are in thrall to their own absurd definition of poverty. In their view, any household with income less that 60% of the median is in poverty. Now I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word poverty, I think of a fly-blown hellhole in Darfur, not a family whose housing, clothing, food, healthcare and education is adequately covered by the state.

    I’m not trying to diminish the undoubted hardship that the poorest families endure in this country, but I think it’s a bit rich of Labour to describe people who aren’t financially comfortable as poverty-stricken – especially when their condition is defined as much by the prosperity of the well-off as by the penury of the underprivileged.

    It seems to me that New Labour seized upon this issue of poverty as an emotive cause that they could champion and overcome. Unfortunately, their tendency to hamstring the aspirational working classes has turned strawman of poverty into a more difficult proposition than they supposed.

  5. Newmania,
    Actually, when I said losers and winners I was not meaning loser in a “what a loser/idiot” type way. I was simply refering to Boris’s notion of loser and winners.

    But, yes i do think that there are some people who are happy to be losers and so do not even try to succeed. And I do think labour have encouraged this by making it difficult for those in full time, but low paid work to survive financially.

  6. Poverty is not just about income. A rich person can feel impoverished in squalid surroundings; a poor person can feel rich in a beautiful environment.

    It’s the combination of low income and urban squalor that makes for real poverty. Sadly, we are squeezing more and more people into ever shrinking spaces – people we wouldn’t necessarily choose as neighbours. Result: Social friction and a strong sense of alienation.

    Our population chemistry has gone badly wrong and in my view much of it is down to overcrowding. It’s no coincidence that the poverty hotspots of Britain can be found in the most crowded places.

    Nor should be we believe that poverty and injustice go hand in hand. The greatest injustice is to those who try their hardest to stand on their own feet while watching hundreds of thousands of the feckless living in relative comfort at their expense.

  7. PaulD – very good viewpoint. Bette Midler was heavily involved in urban regeneration:

    In 1995, Midler founded the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of revitalizing neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City. These include Highbridge Park, Fort Washington Park, and Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan and Roberto Clemente State Park and Bridge Park in the Bronx. In 1999 the city planned to auction 114 community gardens for commercial development. Midler led a coalition of greening organizations to save them. NYRP took ownership of 60 of the most neglected plots. Today Midler and her organization work with local volunteers and community groups to ensure that these gardens are kept safe, clean and vibrant. In 2003 Midler opened Swindler Cove Park, a new five-acre public park on the Harlem River shore featuring specially designed educational facilities and the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, the first community rowing facility to be built on the Harlem River in more than 100 years. The organization offers free in-school and after-school environmental education programming to students from high-poverty Title I schools.

  8. “Sadly, we are squeezing more and more people into ever shrinking spaces – people we wouldn’t necessarily choose as neighbours. Result: Social friction and a strong sense of alienation.” – PaulD

    This is true, but NuLab seem incapable of doing anything about it. Ultimately we will have to decide between overcrowded areas with insane property prices, and cheaper, more humane living environments built on green belt land. Short of reducing the population and suffering the accompanying economic decline, I can’t see we have any choice but to eventually go with the second option.

  9. Tayles
    The problem is not lack of space, but lack of employment near space.

    The problem is also greed on the part of property developers who squeeze as many houses into a space as possible so as to maximise profit. This could also be a contributing factor as to why so many children are unhealthy nowadays, as they do not have gardens to play in so tend to stay in and watch tv and play video games.

  10. I’ve no doubt that property developers are greedy, but if open spaces were opened used for housing, it would mean a greater supply and a lower price.

    The idea that people have to live across the road from their place of work was put paid to when the suburbs flourished. I’m talking about extending the suburbs, not building a bunch of houses in the middle of nowhere.

    I agree that no one wants to live in a shoebox in a crowded area at an inflated price. The only way of combatting this is to build more houses a commutable distance away.

  11. ‘The only way of combatting this is to build more houses a commutable distance away’ (Tayles)

    It’s six and two threes. You pay less to rent a room in the suburbs than the city, but then you’ve got to buy the monthly travelcard to get into the city.

  12. This is, unfortunately, the trade off. People wouldn’t necessarily be better off, but it would at least give them a nicer, cheaper environment to live in. The money they saved would undoubtedly be eaten up in travel. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  13. In some shape or from tayles has a point. At the moment the main credentials for having ahouse supplied by the state are that you have always lived in the area . This is paid for by people who habitually move to find work our afford better accomodation

    As a stand uo comedian would say Uh? Whats all that about then ? Uh ?

  14. Boris I have just tagged you, no pressure, but it would be nice to know what are the ten things you wouuld never do.
    [Ed: you’ll have to go over the Forum section above: Ask Boris…]

  15. The problem is also greed on the part of property developers who squeeze as many houses into a space as possible so as to maximise profit (k)

    Not as simple as that, k. Government planning guidelines encourage higher density to maximise the use of brownfield land.

    Another negative force is the affordable housing contribution builders have to pay on every development above a certain size (can be a low as 12 units). In some cases this may amount to half the total value of the development – a little known but vicious stealth tax. Someone has to pay; in the end it’s the house-buyer. The net effect is, of course, to push up house prices and squeeze builders’ margins such that they must pack ’em in tighter to make the scheme viable.

    Short of reducing the population and suffering the accompanying economic decline… (Tayles)

    How do you define economic decline, Tayles? The only “benefit” this population explosion has brought is an increase in GNP so Gordon can boast he runs the fourth largest economy in the world. But at what cost? Switzerland seems to get by OK.

    Having spent 10 years commuting into London (a while ago, thank goodness) I can say the whole business is insane. During that period I wasted about 10,000 hours of my life (two hours each way, five days a week over 10 years) playing sardines on the train and/or burning petrol in the car.

    The suburbs flourished, Tayles, when a commuting was a civilised 20-minute journey on a punctual railway. Now, for many people, it’s a blight on their lives as they struggle daily with erratic public transport, crushingly overcrowded trains and buses, and crime.

    The answer is surely to encourage the development of live/work communities where travelling is kept to a minimum. While none of us wants to see the countryside eroded, I can see no harm in relaxing the controls on farmland and redundant farm buildings for use by business and light industry.

  16. The suburbs flourished, Tayles, when a commuting was a civilised 20-minute journey on a punctual railway. Now, for many people, it’s a blight on their lives as they struggle daily with erratic public transport, crushingly overcrowded trains and buses, and crime. – PaulD

    We can’t use the fact that public transport is rubbish and overpriced as an excuse not to create more housing out of town. This is defeatest and lets our inept government and transport supremos off the hook. The fact that we don’t have a decent transport infrastructure to accommodate such developments should act as the impetus to improve our transport system, rather than a reason not to build more houses.

    As for the idea that there is no such thing as cheaping housing, it’s simple supply and demand. If you build enough houses, the cost will come down. The trouble is socialist planners trying to tell where people want to live. If you built a new town in the middle of the Fens, it would be an oasis of doom. Stick it in Hertfordshire, with easy access into Kings Cross and you’d be onto a winner. And if no one wanted to live there and preferred overcrowded slums in London, then that’s their decision.

    As for recommending a reduction in the population, aside from the fact that population growth does generate greater productivity, growth and prosperity, it is a deeply misanthropic message to present people as a problem. If the mediocrity of Switzerland is to be a role model for us, then our horizons really have lowered.

  17. The fact that we don’t have a decent transport infrastructure to accommodate such developments should act as the impetus to improve our transport system, (Tayles)

    Amen to that! Which brings us back to Personal Rapid Transport (see BJ Forum).

    population growth does generate greater productivity…

    There I must disagree. The public sector bursting with its highly unproductive Outreach Cluster Co-ordination Managers is a direct product of social problems arising from an overpopulated country.

    to present people as a problem…

    I don’t present people as a problem. Too many people are the problem.

  18. You’re missing the point, Boris. Polly Toynbee behaves like a Tory in some respects precisely BECAUSE she’s New Labour. Which everyone knows is just the Tory Party in a process-driven guise, and has been since they kicked out Michael Foot.

    You’re all the same. The only(possible) interesting thing about Cameron is that he may (but only JUST may) be about to stumble across something DIFFERENT.

    Good luck with that. I’m here to tell you I’m not optimistic.

  19. PS: I don’t read Polly Toynbee habitually, so I’m no expert. But her book ‘Hard Work: Life in Low Pay Britain’, for all its flaws, should still be required reading for anyone seeking a career in Government.

  20. High density housing isn’t necessarily bad housing. I would love to live in a west London mansion block, or one of the crescents in Bath, all of which, due to having lots of floors, achieve much better floor area to land use ratios than the shabby little boxes developers expect us to live in these days.

  21. ps

    Newmania – have mentioned you – and invite your comments, among others – under the Forum discussion post of ‘Christmas’

    Come along and comment

  22. Polly Toynbee behaves like a Tory in some respects precisely BECAUSE she’s New Labour. Which everyone knows is just the Tory Party in a process-driven guise, and has been since they kicked out Michael Foot. – Mark Gamon

    I’m sensing a yearning for the old days here, when Britain was all YTS schemes and Findus pancakes; Minder on the telly and the pools lady at the door; misty mornings spent huddled around an oil drum, listening to a shop steward ranting about his comrades in the East; Michael Foot with his scarf and CND badge, looking like a cross between an eccentric academic and Catweazle; grey, lumpen, parochial old Britain.

    It’s true that Foot’s Labour saw the end of the old guard, but by that stage he and his kind had been embarassed by history.

  23. There’s no point moaning about developers building tiny flats in London. If they built the same number of big houses, they’d be out of people’s price range, so what’s the point. And anyway the developers would be unlikely to find enough land to build them on anyway.

  24. I take issue with suggestions that you can’t build good quality high density housing. Sure, low land use puts constraints on the architect, but the problems were solved centuries ago. I know ‘high rise’ got bad press in the 60s & 70s with the Stalinist concrete monoliths so beloved of the Oldlabour apparatchiks of the time, but to suggest high rise buildings are universally awful is a fallacy. Take a walk round any European city which wasn’t flattened by the Luftwaffe or later equally misguided idealists (Start with Shrewsbury, for example) and you’ll see marvellous examples of very liveable tall buildings. The secret is not unrestrained land use, it’s good design, good infrastructure, and good materials. Sadly, it’s cheaper and easier to just bang up another low rise proto-slum on a former green field than to do the leg work neccessary to make high density housing work. As long as it stays that way, that’s what we’ll keep getting.

  25. Developers in Southwark are demolishing perfectly restorable decent period buildings left right and centre in order to spectacularly ugly tiny flats sold at unfeasably huge prices. They get away with this by selling 30% of the flats as “affordable” the definintion of which has yet to be explained. These “affordable” flats are the smallest and nastiest.

    Driscol House on the Old Kent Road is being demolished soon, although it is the sort of building that would make fabulous big conversion appartments, the builders wouldn’t be able to squeeze in anything like so many units.

    The new buildings are tending towards bizarre panels in hideous colours such as orange. See artists impressions of the proposals for Elephant and Castle.

    In addition Network Rail propose building a new concrete and steel rail viaduct through the historic Borough High Street Conservation Area – requiring demolition and part demolition of: –

    • Twenty-listed buildings including 16-26 Borough High Street
    • Green Dragon Court and part of the market roof structures
    • the top portion of the Wheatsheaf pub and part of Bedale Street opposite the Globe

    See: http://www.sabmac.co.uk/

    Where is Jamie Oliver when you need him?

  26. The 30% affordable housing ( which is supposed to be 50% across London), is supposed to be shared equity key worker accommodation and almo run Council let of various sorts , I thought.
    I think Cap badger is overly impressed with the architecture good or otherwise, it isn’t the buildings it’s the people that live in them. Vast numbers on benefits on huge estates which no one else will enter is the way it has been in Iz . I think the high rises are regarded as slightly safer , if anything .
    Its interesting that both Margaret Hodge and Emily Thornberry live yards away from desperate social conditions in Barnsbury yards away but another world

  27. Economics and politics are two different and dangerous forces. There is your way (Thatcher’s way) which, as we have seen, doesn’t work. There is Polly Toynbee’s way (Blair’s way)which doesn’t work either. It is up to any Cameron government to leave behind the eighties and find a new way, a…. fourth way? Perhaps.

  28. Shortly after one of the many discoveries of NuLab deceit and corruption I remember Miss Toynbee proclaiming in one of her Guardian aricles that it was all right for politicians to lie – for the cause that is . This commendation did not include Tories or anyone who was/is not on message .

    A remarkable woman . Remarkable for her totally impenetrable conceit and hypocracy .
    As one who , in my daily work , spends much time in direct contact with the marginal/poorest 20% I know full well just how they have been betrayed by this appalling , sanctimonious government .

    By the way Boris – you said re foxhunting
    ” I recall some powerful pieces in favour of the immemorial rights of the British to slaughter foxes – as you might expect from a gel who is a descendant not just of various ineffably grand Toynbees – – – ”

    I think you mean ” the English ” . Foxhunting takes place throughout the British Isles but is most associated with England – which is why NuLab ( with its celtic roots and its hatred of all things English ) launched such – in the event completely innefective – attack upon it .

  29. Melissa

    It’s on Amazon. The early chapters are an eye-opener. She gets a bit weird about the church later on, but it should be read. In the same way that everyone should have read ‘Round About a Pound a Week’ at the beginning of the 20th century…

    [Ed: cheers Mark!]

  30. Tayles

    No nostalgia, I assure you. Apart from Minder, of course, which I miss dreadfully.

    On the other hand, I remember the sixties and seventies as bright, unruly, chaotic, colourful decades – nothing like the grey Britain you seem to suggest. Maybe it’s in the eye of the beholder, and no doubt the Labout party of the time made terrific mistakes (just like the Tories in the 80s) but I don’t remember the period when Labour was in power as a bad one.

    As for Michael Foot, any politician with the courage to wear a CND badge gets my vote any day of the week. I watched Peter Hain U-turning on the telly last night over Trident and very nearly threw up in the kitchen sink. I kid you not.

  31. A remarkable woman. Remarkable for her totally impenetrable conceit and hypocracy. – Jake

    Indeed. I’ve lost count of how many sycophantic eulogies I’ve read about this abominable woman this week – all along the lines of how tough and sassy she is for putting her feelings on issues ahead of truth, honesty or consistency. She would have gone down a storm under Stalin.

  32. As for Michael Foot, any politician with the courage to wear a CND badge gets my vote any day of the week. I watched Peter Hain U-turning on the telly last night over Trident and very nearly threw up in the kitchen sink. I kid you not. – Mark Gamon

    No one could ever doubt Foot’s commitment and consistency; it’s just that history left his brand of socialism behind. Personally, I miss it. Not the socialism, but the raw ideological integrity. What offends me is that NuLab have abandoned the unworkable policies – like a command economy, hostility to big business and unilateral disarmament – and slipped pernicious PC policies, that have little to do with socialism, under the wire.

  33. Polly Hypocrisy

    From: Guy Fawkes guido.fawkes@order-order.com
    To:polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk
    Date: Apr 21, 2006 10:42 AM
    Subject: How much do you earn per annum?

    From: polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk
    To: Guy Fawkes
    Date: Apr 21, 2006 12:41 PM
    Subject: Re: How much do you earn per annum?

    Why should I tell you, who don’t even give your true name or address?
    An organisation has to go public all together.

    From: Guy Fawkes guido.fawkes@order-order.com
    Date: Apr 21, 2006 12:52 PM
    Subject: Re: How much do you earn per annum?
    To: “polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk”

    Err, because you wrote an article headlined “Throw open the books so
    that we can see what everyone earns” stating that “trust and social
    glue are corroded by pay secrecy”.

    And because, as you wrote, “the highly paid command the citadels of
    public debate, they grossly distort the true picture of the way most
    people live now. Making sense of reward is difficult – but the
    debate has to begin by throwing open the books. It wouldn’t hurt much
    if everyone had to do it together.”

    Polly Toynbee is, Guido understands, on the books for £140,000 a year at The Guardian.

    Plus income from BBC.

    Link to the article from Guido’s blog below

    http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:aU7GBhMaQC0J:5thnovember.blogspot.com/2006/04/polly-hypocrisy.html+polly+toynbee+hypocrisy&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=5

    It looks as though Polly hypocrisy is now Polly turncoat too and has twitted everyone, including herself.

    November 22nd was my birthday. I struggle to remember a more miserable one. I felt like going to the world’s end, the pub, that is. But I don’t drink.

  34. I’m guessing Polly is chuffed to bits about all this media coverage – she might even get a pay rise. What woman wouldn’t want all the world fascinated by her? In the best possible way of course.

    I can’t understand the media citing PH as if he hates her, he doesn’t, he’s said he likes her very much and would happily break bread with her any time (or words to that effect). And I reckon it’s that Maggie Thatcher allure really – all you men fancy her really?

  35. Aww Auntie Flo. Well Happy Birthday and remember we all love you here. You are one of our best contributors and we value your comments.

  36. Thank you for cheering me up, Jaq, you’re a sweetheart. I need it too, I am so fed up about this Toynbee business. I can’t stand Toynbee or her wretched hypocrisy.

    I can’t forget her weasel defence of Blair and nulab and – effectively – their illegal invasion of Iraq, before the last election. Toynbee has claimed that she’s totally against the invasion, yet she mounted an extraordinarily enthusiastic – ‘put a peg on your nose and vote nulab’ – campaign in the Guardian to keep Blair and nulab in power. Do you remember that?

    I’m sure that motivated a lot of the Guaridanista middle class in key marginals to stick with nulab and Blair. Never did like her anyway, never have liked champagne Socialists, and she always seemed so phoney. Her campaign compounded that dislike and I’ve detested her ever since. I’m shocked that Cameron got mixed up with her.

    I’m no fan of Greg Clark either, it’s that boyish smile and Cliff Richard/ Blair persona all over again and the dogs and cash cows and business.

  37. Flo you’re very welcome and I have opened a bottle of Moet in your honour and am toasting you as we speak (type) cheers! (allow me to glug on your behalf – hic!)

    I think if I was speaking personally I guess I would have to agree with you, though I’ve never met the woman, she strikes me as a bit up her own voting slip. However I don’t hold personalities as a barrier to good writing or opinions (as may be obvious) which means I may not like them but i may like what they write or at least consider them worth reading.

    So allow me to direct you to this and though I may agree with the general flavour of your comments I think this article made some important points. Notably “there was more than a whiff of Victorian reformers worried by the morals of the poor rather than by their poverty itself” and the article gets better from there. She made some important points in my opinion.

  38. Actually I don’t recommend Moet – after half a glass I feel quite unwell. Oh well that’s all that was left after giving a rather good bottle of Gewurztraminer away as a birthday present.

    Old Mother Hubbard is out of good vino 🙁 it was just a matter of time)

    For another Polly link, see this with the very impressive Jesse Norman.

  39. Good article, Jaq, thanks for that link. You’re right, Toynbee’s insights are useful for highlighting the paternalistic, moral crusade approach of the Conservative’s to their new found love of social justice – and it’s that’s

    However, does Toynbee do any better? Surely PT’s and nulab’s approach is an equally, perhaps even more, paternalistic on. Nulabs and their apparatchiks claim, we are the doctor, we know best what’s damn well good for you – and you’re damn well having it.

    Then, when the majority of us protest about the chaotic effects of the latest Mickey Mouse scheme they’ve dreamed up, Blair and Toynbee whine whine, ‘You evil, ungrateful b*****ds’ 🙂

    So what’s the good of mimicking that?

    Doesn’t Toynbee also implicitly moralise against the poor she eulogises about in her articles too? Our Poll Pot is clearly out for all she can get to keep herself and her children in their own starry little world, isolated and insulated from the poor – isn’t that partly why she paid for private education for her children, so they don’t have to mix with those whom she must covertly see as less worthy than her own sprogs? Isn’t that why she demands the luxury of her Italian villa, for privacy, seclusion and isolation from all of us ‘rabble’?

    So maybe we need to look for sultions elsewhere. What do you think we should do, Jaq?

  40. There are other issues too.

    Social justice, can act as a mighty disincentive or source of bitterness to those who work hard for, say, average or slightly above average wages, yet see young single mothers or unemployed people with large families and wide screen TVs, apparently coining it in.

    There must be incentives to work and achieve – for both less skilled and highly skilled workers. How do we sustain those incentives if we are constantly revising welfare provision upwards? We would have to constantly increase pay rates accordingly. Then how do we deal with the inflationary effect of the spiralling costs of this – which in itself will create unemployment and more relative poverty? Will we not just end up in the old boom bust cycle if we go down this road?

    Blair/Brown have deferred the resultant crisis by borrowing unsustainably massive sums, encouraging huge levels of personal debt and migration and a consequent house building and public service boom. The crisis won’t, however, be avoided for ever. When it does materialise it may be all the worse for being deferred too.

  41. Apologies for duplicating my 2nd posting at the beginning of my third. Slightly brain dead this evening after a 4-5 hour hike today – after which, I returned to my car to find to my horror I’d lost my keys. Retraced my steps in the countryside for an hour until I couldn’t see where I was any longer, let alone my keys, gave up, walked home. Then got a cab to my car with my spare key – where, tucked under one of my windscreen wipers, were my lost keys. Some kind soul had found them for me, I imagine it was one of the dog walkers I asked to keep an eye out for them.

  42. Worry not Flo – duplicate post can be removed, I made the same mistake.

    As for Polly, I agree you make some valid points (and as a single mother I realise I’m on dangerous ground)

    The thing is that as legislation stands it really is a poverty trap. They talk about re-education programmes to help get peole back into the workplace but they mean learning to speak English or a basic computer course. They used to allow a certain number of hours worked on top of benefit but that’s been stopped. They don’t even allow volountry work so you can’t even work in a charity shop one day a week and perhaps overcome agraphobia or polish social skills or working with modern tills, nothing. You have to hit the ground running. This is all an attempt to stop people abusing the system but once again they are removing benefits from law abiding people when the criminal element will do it anyway.
    I particularly liked your comment

    Also, if poverty really is relative, then we’re all poor in relation to those above us on the social scale. If we tax and redistribute on that basis, we’ll end up with a Communist society

    I think we’re well on the way, especially with the level of domestic surveillance in the name of protecting us. Boris is a champion in trying to defend our liberties.

    I’m loathe to direct you to Peter Hitchens speaking at a debate recently as he’s another example of writing important truths mixed up with complete rubbish but check out his speech here and see what you think (scroll down to the MP3 list and click on the name you want to hear). I’ve detailed this debate on my blog if you lose this link as I also recommend you listen to Jesse Norman. My point in directing you here is that we agree on the travesty of New Labour, but what really is the alternative? Or rather, what should it be? Should that silent 37% be blogging, be writing letters to MP’s, be doing something to say ‘this is what we want’ or in doing nothing, do they get the government they deserve? And we along with them.

  43. Thank you for the Jesse Norman article, I’m reciprocating with one from factcheckingpollyanna, who is very critical of the poor quality of Toynbee’s research and writing. fcp states:

    ‘Polly Toynbee writes on CommentisFree that:

    In 1979 14% of children lived below the poverty line: that rose to 33% by 1996.

    Sadly, these two figures come from two inconsistent sources — the Family Expenditure Survey and the Family Resources Survey — and cover different geographies — the UK and Great Britain.’

    fcp adds:

    ‘This blog started because I think that policy debate should be informed by fact, and that Polly does not deliver that. As a bonus, I’ve learned a lot by reading the research that she skims

    …why Polly? She is widely read, influential and interesting to read. She also has a reputation for thorough, factual research. I think it is undeserved.’

    If the link below doesn’t work, Jaq, the site can be found by searching on fact checking pollyanna.

    http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:E0OWkYm7tM8J:www.pkblogs.com/factcheckingpollyanna/+Toynbee+all+babies+removed+after+birth&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=13

  44. I have just had an awful week , I `ve got gastric flue and the tinnitus I always struggle with is out of control . My hollow voice echoes directly from white faced Hades.

    What is the Tonybee in the Tory bonnet ? .A political philosophy cannot be only a means for safeguarding the privileged the successful and the lucky . How glib and fatuous it is to say “yaaas well you are giving disincentives to pile up more cash as a Lawyer by obliging me to support this “work -shy” family ” ; as if the disincentivised one would exchange places for a second .

    People are not of fundamentally different sorts ,given any numbers ; the barriers between classes are higher than they were in the 60s . Quite clearly new Labour have little interest in the poor except to infantilise pacify and bribe. Conservatives , if they were sincere , and many have doubts , must think of new approaches.

    One point is ,that the most worrying trend is not relative poverty but, “absolute poverty.” Absolute poverty, in a bottom detached level of the population, has worsened ,and in the context of overall growth ,and increasing incomes ,it is like a chasm. We have created a whole culture that exists not inside but beneath society , parasitic on it becomes and detested as a carrions feeder. This is something we must be concerned about , it is expensive , it creates nihilism and terrifying crime It is wasteful and wrong .

    Other fissures have grown ;the barriers between those outside private education and without capital as compared to those with those advantages . It is telling that top Public schools are now abandoning the A levels , the last redoubt of reliability, because they are worthless internationally . All of those in public education with money are stratified away from the remnant . These escapees include the children of Polly Toynbee . Naturellement.

    Liberals like to bleet loudly about all this, mostly to advertise their own class qualifications . Graduate , professional , Guardian reader was , for a long time a statement of class superiority , it still is in the less “with it” Universities like Oxbridge . They are safe in the knowledge that they will not live with the objects of their staged concern and their children will never meet . Time and time again this nauseating double standard is replayed . This is why many Conservatives hate Polly Toynbee , not her supposed “caring qualifications “. Her sickening hard hearted hypocrisy

    In my youth working-class credibility if not solidarity was something to aspire to .Now it has been replaced by a faint smear of social concern worn more or less like an accessory.
    People forget that some of us became Conservatives out of moral outrage at the duplicitous smarm of middleclass ,”worriers”. Norman Tebbit is a hero to all of us who have this thread in the skein. Neo Con monetarist thinking makes for a good essay and a cogent argument . It is fairly useless to deal with education , opportunity and social exclusion but without a strong policy here Conservativism , for me , implodes.

    Margaret Thatcher`s “Right To Buy ” , was brave attack on entrenched positions on behalf of the poor . . One hopes the rumours about a Cameron rent to Mortgage scheme are true . I equally hope the Conservatives will immediately come to the aid of leaseholders who have been the doctrinal whipping boy of the inner city hard left ever since.

    So Clark , who is himself a creepy little wonk has touched , perhaps accidentally, on a key issue . Society is drifting apart. “Opportunity” the prerequisite for moral Capitalism does not exits for whole geographical and social trenches. We can hardly suggest more credits , more benefits , more means tested goodies which has been an unparalleled disaster . So what can we do ?

    Not easy is it . Firstly accept that the state cannot solve the problem it can only try to create better conditions for people to solve it for themselves.

    Cuts on Reggressive indirect taxes
    An increase in the tax allowance
    A slow squeeze on points based Council housing and benefits
    The development of new mortgage products and housing association schemes
    The reintroduction of grammar schools by some other name ( which T Blair quite obviously sees as essential himself)
    Major public investment in education which must be keyed directly into work , not floating in a NUT dreamland
    Tight curbs on further immigration
    Rigorous policies of cultural coherence for those here , especially on language
    Schools with eight languages should not be inflicted on the most dis- advantaged
    All of this would help working class communities to re -establish
    The end of the state will provide assumption
    AND A Large tax allowance for married couples .
    Cash rewards for exam results
    I also think you have to attack the glacial snobbery that has descended on the country by finding ways to mix people and extend the experience of everyone .
    Perhaps the internet will help , thus far I’m not greatly encouraged
    The Trade Unions have a vital role to play in all of this especially in training schemes

    David Cameron has talked about a Responsibility revolution. I wonder if he means it. So far he has shown little appetite for political risk taking .The concept of responsibility is exactly what must be reintroduced to the deserts where the poorest live.

  45. I have just had an awful week , I `ve got gastric flue and the tinnitus I always struggle with is out of control . My hollow voice echoes directly from white faced Hades. (newmania)

    Oh, poor you. As a connoisseur of tinnitus – on account of my deafness – my advice is some white noise to deal with it. Do you or anyone you know have one of those relaxation tapes – waves on the shore, heartbeats, that sort of thing? That should deal with noises in your head. You don’t talk while you’re listening, so you won’t get the hollow voice effect either.

  46. How sweet of you Flo.The thing that works best for me is relaxing and staying healthy.I`ve been trying to do do much and fallen to pieces. This began only six months ago ( I suspect the motorbike).

  47. ‘Liberals like to bleet loudly about all this, mostly to advertise their own class qualifications . Graduate , professional , Guardian reader was , for a long time a statement of class superiority , it still is in the less “with it” Universities like Oxbridge . They are safe in the knowledge that they will not live with the objects of their staged concern and their children will never meet.’

    This is too sterotyped, newmania. You know I’m a liberal – one who could even be thrust back into Liberaldom again by Clark and this Toynbee rubbish, there’s not a lot to choose between them from where I’m sitting right now – yet I don’t conform to this stereotype of yours and I detest Toynbee with a vengeance.

    You aren’t going to drag out the sandles and beard stuff again, are you?

  48. Mark gamon-“I don’t remember the period when Labour was in power as a bad one.” Well I wouldn`t know about the 60s , but in the 70s Socialism turned the lights off , cut the working week to three days ,gave us 25% inflation and handed the running of the country to the miners . Just how bad could it get ? Interestingly Margaret Thatchers manifesto even against this bleak backdrop was quite middling . Perhaps there is hope for the “Liberal Conservative Cameron”

    Call it by new names if you like but we all know what really has to happen is return to the Thatcher programme

  49. ‘in the 70s Socialism turned the lights off , cut the working week to three days ,gave us 25% inflation and handed the running of the country to the miners . Just how bad could it get ? ‘ (newmania)

    You forgot the bodies piling up in makeshift mortuaries

  50. Flo this word Liberal is perhaps unhelpful . What I mean by it in this context is the vague expression of concern for the poor without any wish to get involved with policies that might help social division. I accept myself that division , of the caravan , is important itself.

    I see an active role for the state in disrupting what you might call class monopolies of opportunity . This could be through the educational system , which means taking on the NUT . This could be through providing outlets by grammar style streaming . It must include buttressing the working class communities from within , protecting them from without . Not all of this is pretty , most of it will fly in the face of what I think of as the “Liberal “consensus” about the benefits of multiculturalism and undermining traditional family structure . One thing that horrifies me is the disappearance of working class political representation from parliament . On this basis it is hardly likely that much will be achieved . I would like to see the Conservative party reconnect with its working class support , not focus exclusively on the centre “Liberal ” voter. I would like to see more talk about social justice and less about the pretty subjects of the “environment “sort . I am overall concerned at the rampant inequality between classes that widens daily .
    What we get as our “representative MP s? Priti thingymabob . Asian , oh goody but the sprig of a long line of bureaucrats last seen getting kicked out of Uganda by the blacks for feathering their nests at their expense. She knows nothing of disadvantage . I want to see class back in the political language and Bennetton ad smarm dispensed with . By the way inside the EU all of this is somewhat problematical.

    Here is a thought . What about a what class am I quiz ?

    1 Does either of your parents have tatttoo ?
    2 Were you educated at the states expense
    3 Do you like X factor
    4 Did you ever devote a lot of time to dance impressively at clubs
    5 Did you play out ?
    6 Did either of your parents attend any educational establishment after 16
    7 Can you fight , or have you ?
    8 has anyone in your family ever done anything creative for a living

  51. Having made whatever suggestions popped into to my right wing little head I notice this morning that Frank Field when encouraged to ,”think the unthinkablble “, said many of the same things,before getting mugged by the Broon.

  52. V. good point Auntie Flo and thanks for the quote – certain ‘pundit’s’ do cherry pick facts to suit their prejudices but it seems that once in print, once in their column it becomes accepted fact, other journalists quote this stuff as truth. I’ve been accused of ‘going on’ about this sort of thing before but think it’s important that sources are cited and can be checked. As you have shown Flo, the so-called experts often twist the ‘facts’ (polls cannot be held as facts, just an indication of trends) to suit their own politics or agenda. The problem with that is that you often end up with a generally accepted ‘truth’ based on little more than either prejudice or a desire to sell newspapers.

    Newmania, so sorry to hear you’ve been poorly, get well soon.

  53. Newmania – I think there is some confusion between the British definition of ‘liberal’ and the American one. I consider myself a liberal in that I am concerned with liberty, i.e. freedom from interference by the state. In America, however, it means the sort of hand-wringing, Left-wing bleeding heart that gets right up my nose. So, yes, it can be a misleading description, but in a British context, it is a useful one.

    As for this whole issue of class opportunity, one of the things that Thatcher did was open the eyes of the working classes to a life beyond menial drudgery. She showed them a vision of home ownership, social aspiration and material wealth. And the middle classes hated her for it. The Daily Telegraph set begrudged having their natural territory polluted by all these aspirational oiks. And the Guardian readers resented the working classes for refusing to accept the role they had been given: sympathetic underdogs who proved the unfairness of the system.

    What riles the socialist mentality most is the idea that equality of opportunity exists. Because if it does, then failure must be attributed to the individual, and not to the system. NuLab and its supporters are always pointing to supposedly unfair systems that favour a certain class of people. However, they rarely look beyond the number of minorities represented. They can believe that there is prejudice and corruption at work, because this supports their conspiracy theories, but they cannot countenance the idea that a lack of ‘diversity’ is the result of a fair system running its natural course.

  54. Hey newmania, nice to see you being ill hasn’t stopped you being able to think.
    Although I’d have thrown in dynamic banding of exam results (top 10% get A regardless of how diluted the exam becomes for example) rather than the meaningless ‘everyone shall have prizes’ approach currently favoured, I find myself broadly in agreement.

  55. Blackouts were fun weren`t they. My father tells me the war was fun as well.Chatting to Italian POWs ,watching the dog fights everybody excited …..

    Less fun please

  56. Modern Life is Beyond Satire ( or even burlesque )part 482-

    Would you believe it I have been roped into being Santa Claus at a Child centre place by Mrs N.
    It is true; you are under strict intructions not to sit a child upon your knee and to avoid contact.

    How sad …I can do the ho ho ho but thats about it .

    Another paedophile atrocity foiled. Phew!!!

  57. newmania’s what class am I quiz ?

    1 Does either of your parents have tattoo?

    What an absurd question

    2 Were you educated at the states expense

    Yes

    3 Do you like X factor

    I’m deaf, so rarely watch TV

    4 Did you ever devote a lot of time to dance impressively at clubs

    No – married too young – was an ace dancer though

    5 Did you play out ?

    Yes

    6 Did either of your parents attend any educational establishment after 16

    Yes

    7 Can you fight , or have you ?

    I scratched another girl once, wicked thing to do, found her through Friends Reunited and apologised to her a few years ago, no other fights as a child. As an adult, I was carried out of a Stop Stansted Expansion demo once – in a semi-sitting position, difficult to do that – it took three of them to haul me up from my sit in protest on the floor. Handed myself in to one of the police officers afterwards, of course – he didn’t wish to arrest me.

    I once chased Two Jags round his massive, ‘wow factor’, experimental housing estate near here – told to him to stop concreting over the South East, to give some of houses away and to find some other stooges to pay his massive pension.

    Has anyone in your family ever done anything creative for a living

    Need you ask? Yes, my parents

  58. Flo you have lived . My answers are pure prole for that lot. These things can be complex though. I `m quite the provincial bourgeois in other ways .

  59. Newmania – here are my answers to your quiz. Not sure what it makes me.

    1 Does either of your parents have tatttoo?
    No way.

    2 Were you educated at the states expense?
    I attended state primary school, did 6 weeks at a local comprehensive, then when to prep school and public school.

    3 Do you like X factor
    Love it!

    4 Did you ever devote a lot of time to dance impressively at clubs
    Nope. I’m a terrible dancer and have always preferred a chat in the pub.

    5 Did you play out?
    In and out. We had a good sized house and garden and plenty of fields and woods in the surrounding area. Surrey was not too dangerous in the 1980s, so my folks didn’t have much to worry about.

    6 Did either of your parents attend any educational establishment after 16?
    No. Both left school at 15 or 16.

    7 Can you fight, or have you?
    I’m 6’3″ so I don’t attract much aggro (touch wood). I avoid trouble because fighting is brainless, but I like to think I could look after myself. I’ve only physically confronted anyone twice in over ten years – and on both occasions it was because they were upsetting women.

    8 Has anyone in your family ever done anything creative for a living?
    Yes, we have one artist, one movie cameraman, a graphic designer and a furniture designer in our family.

  60. Newmania – a technical hitch prevented me from adding that I was about 10 yrs old at the time. We bought candles and lacked for nothing. We were in no danger.

    War was not fun. Even the gulf war and the Falklands in which my brother-in-law served. The only fun bit I can remember was my sister reading about the exploits of her husbands ship when he was actually sat beside her and the ship was docked in Plymouth. But of course if it’s in the paper, it must be true.

    Tayles – a true gentleman.

  61. How interesting !!! Don`t why I put the fighting one in , not my bag at all. Although I am just the right size to be punched ( and the right volume) so I have been obliged to run away a bit ..long ago now. I was trying to think of markers that were not economic and preferably funny or quirky. I was also trying to imply a point that class is important and in England , hard to escape . A case for some limited social engineering ..GASP!!! Has he gone Toynbee crazy head crackers ?

    .Socialists are not all Blairs who just want a nice job and a big shiny picture of themselves everywhere .Whatever it has become ; some of the wishes of British Socialist were admirable. Dennis Potter ,a playwright from what I think of as the great days of the BBC said this ,and I have often felt the truth of it . You have to imagine his rasping venomous and slightly camp delivery…

    ” After he war everyone came home we made a land fit for heroes . We set up the NHS and the welfare state … Ever since then it has all got shittier and shittier and shittier….” …I know what he means .. (I can`t check the exact words by the way )

    TAYLES and FLO I really loved both your efforts . Don`t know how revealing it is although highly suggestive . JAQ is Tayles a modern Knightly ?

  62. FLO Your birthday !! I missed it , sorry , happy birthday . I also like your contributions and I’ve been please to see you in evidence a bit more of late . I `m also pleased to see that the light dusting of Liberalism seem to be fading and absolutely agree with you about Clarke . Creep.

    XXXXX Cheers hic hic

    TAYLES – That terrifically snarling post of yours on the middle-class ambivalence towards allowing opportunity to others is about one thing really . Downward-mobility.

  63. Newmania – Knightly as in Emma? Ooh I dunno, I hope so. But as such a delicately built little thing I would find someone 6’3″ very intimidating. Even if they were the perfect gentleman. I suppose you just can’t get away from your history and the effect that some packages have on you regardless of content. I wonder if before the media was image driven whether we listened to the political message more and whether now a certain image is all? Height, looks, hair, voice. If Satan and JC suddenly appeared, Satan would be handsome in a sharp suit and JC would undoubtedly be sectioned immediatly. I found the Polly/Churchill comparison astonishing. What politicians would fail do you think, if they were around today? (and why?)

  64. Yes Knightley from Emma JAQ , and who says that JC should not have been sectioned ? I think he was honestly mistaken myself (on the parentage front).
    I find your comments on Tayles highly amusing by the way but I`ll spare your blushes…wee delicate thing!!

  65. Much of the problem with Cameron’s programme of making the Tories look nice is that it is aimed not at the population as a whole but at the the Guardian reading, organic eating chattering classes. Firstly I don’t think those are ever going to more than flirt with the Tories but more importantly the Guardian does not sell to a fraction as many voters as the Sun.

  66. If Satan and JC suddenly appeared, Satan would be handsome in a sharp suit and JC would undoubtedly be sectioned immediatly (Jaq)

    Forgive me if I’ve asked this before: Where would Labour be if Blair was an ugly git with rotting teeth? (and before you say he is, some women allegedly swoon over him).

  67. I refuse to believe there are women so lost to humanity that they “swoon ” over Tony Blair. Politicians are rarely attractive though are they . I mean , I hear Boris this and Boris that but he looks like a butter Coloured Telly Tubby to me (is it La la ?). I must admit the leader of the Islington Labour Party is a bottle of hot daddies sauce and she always smirks at me as she sweep past on her way into the Town hall for some diabolical purpose. Fortunately I do not believe there can be love across such a divide .Montague and Capulet is one thing but the damned ; lefties quite another. Is there a drama in this

    She meant to steal from the leaseholders , but she stole his true blue heart …….

    Naaaah …..

    .

  68. Thanks for the belateds, Newmania, it was one of my least enjoyable birthdays courtesy of Clark and Toynbee.

  69. ‘I `m also pleased to see that the light dusting of Liberalism seem to be fading…’ (newmania)

    Not so fast, I didn’t suggest that. I’ll always be an old style Liberal culturally. Love my freedom, civil libs and individuality too much, so too much of a rebel to be otherwise. That’s why, like so many others, I believe, I voted for the Liberals. Though I was always half-hearted about the Lib Dems, they were and are far too into Socialist control freakery and I began to lose faith in the EU and their adoration of it.

    Economically, I’ve never been a Liberal extremist, never a Thatcherite.

  70. Much of the problem with Cameron’s programme…it’s aimed at the Guardian reading, organic eating chattering classes…I don’t think those are ever going to more than flirt with the Tories but more importantly the Guardian does not sell to a fraction as many voters as the Sun. (Neil Craig)

    Exactly!

    Do you know that 8 MILLION people read the Sun and over 3 million of them buy it. How many buy the Guardian, 3-400,000?

    The Guardian lost a lot of Liberal supporters from among it’s readers readers, well, they lost me, over their backing for the illegal invasion of Iraq and Toynbee’s sickening ‘put a peg on your nose and vote Labour’ campaign. Liberals like me who took part in the Guardian embargo will never forget Toynbee and the Guargian’s apologetics for warmonger Blair.

    In respect of the past three elections, it largely was ‘the Sun wot won it!’

    Cameron’s gambling a heck of a lot on winning over, say, a 130,000 Guardian reading Labour supporter in Labour marginals. Even if the lot of them vote for him, it won’t be anywhere near enough.

  71. PaulD said:

    Where would Labour be if Blair was an ugly git with rotting teeth? (and before you say he is, some women allegedly swoon over him).

    You’re right, paul, a friend of mine asked me to please not criticise Blair in her presence as she’s ‘in love with him’. No accounting for taste, is there?

    Where Cameron has to be careful is that the basis of his attraction for many women is that we see him as the antidote to Blair, the saviour of democracy, free speech and civil liberties. He’s taking a huge risk in associating himself with Toynbee and her control freaked, Blair/Brown views. I’m back on the fence again, thanks to this and it’s one mighty crowded fence. The next poll results
    will be interesting.

  72. Flo – Cameron isn`t just winning Guardian readers. Its public sector employees that are the key and the electoral key is the regionalisation of the vote.

    I do very much sympathise with your view though. I usually feel the same

  73. Its public sector employees that are the key and the electoral key is the regionalisation of the vote. (newmania)

    Only a very small fraction of the 5 million or so public sector ARE
    guardian readers, largely the white collar professionals – and they’re included in my 130,000 in the Labour marginals.

    Which newspaper do you think huge chunk of the other 4.8 million public sector read?

  74. FLO

    Well it is your assumption that David C only appeals to Guardian Readers, if I understand you rightly. This has clearly not been the case thus far ..or has it ? Why do you say so and where does your 130,000 figure come from ?
    Public sector workers are important because the main argument with the Neo Con right of the party is on tax cuts. To them that reads job cuts . The big issue for popular Conservatism would be immigration which I think Cameron is wise to leave myself .

    What would you be telling the team to do differently Flo. What policies or policy ideas would you want floated .? Lets say you are leader of the Conservative Party what would you say to the press tomorrow about the new direction Auntie Flo was taking us in ?

    BTW I have just read some of the Boris articles on Blair prior to his first election win . There is a strange mirrored resonance with DC now Even Boris went a bit Blairy eyed at one point .(As did I). I had forgotten how “right wing” he appeared then.

    Insomnia strikes………………..

    Flo as PM now that would be fun . JAQ as Home secretary ,a firm hand , K, I think gets the treasury Idlex Sport and culture and media ,Leader of the House would be Mel and I `m giving Steven L Foreign Affairs .(He would genuinely be more respected than the current one). Paul D can have rural affairs …he will be disappointed, I know. Tayles will be ruthlessly excluded leaving free to prowl menacingly on the back benches. Captain Badger gets Lord Chief whip and Captain of Gentleman at arms. I `ll be the fat bloke who doesn1t do anything but somehow still hangs around getting a fat wad and run of the typists . Oh Mark Gamon gets shunted into the Lords …

    Can`t please everyone

  75. Prowling menacingly? Like the sound of it. Let’s face it, I’m too outspoken to get a front bench position. Always been my problem – I want to thrash out the truth when others are happy to form a cosy compromise. Oh well, the Dennis Skinner of the Tory back benches it is.

  76. May I suggest Jack Ramsey as minister for women given that the education post is taken? And I see you didn’t appoint idlex as minister for children, perhaps Tayles would like control of the Olympics?

  77. I live in a west london apartment building and absolutely love it despite the fact that there isn’t a lot of space. The thing is–its beautiful and the parks are beautiful and even the people who live around here are pretty attractive. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with apartment living as long as you have good parks as long as the apartment is stylish and a pleasure to live in.
    Long commutes make life utterly impossible. What people don’t like is an ugly apartment with paper thin walls and vicious neighbours with bad taste in clothes. If on top of that they have to take on a huge mortgage to pay for the privilage of this hell life must all seem a bit hopeless.

    What I want to know is why need these apartments be ugly?

    And why aren’t one’s neighbours a pleasure and a joy to be near?

  78. >Flo as PM now that would be fun . JAQ as Home secretary ,a firm hand , K, I think gets the treasury Idlex Sport and culture and media ,Leader of the House would be Mel and I `m giving Steven L Foreign Affairs .(He would genuinely be more respected than the current one). Paul D can have rural affairs …he will be disappointed, I know. Tayles will be ruthlessly excluded leaving free to prowl menacingly on the back benches. Captain Badger gets Lord Chief whip and Captain of Gentleman at arms. I `ll be the fat bloke who doesn1t do anything but somehow still hangs around getting a fat wad and run of the typists . Oh Mark Gamon gets shunted into the Lords …

    Can`t please everyone
    ——————

    Newmania

    What a hoot – love the Leader of the House idea, I’d spend all day chatting up everyone in the Tea Room and as I’m an old hand I’d know all there is to know and be able to help steer everyone the right way

  79. The Multicoloured/Multi-dimensional all singing and dancing Party

    or

    Kaleidoscope

    or

    Polychromatic Party

    the slogans would be

    “The facts of life are kaleidoscopic”

    “Vote for change, vote for a new dimension”

    Well, Steven_L – any more ideas?

  80. Well if I had anything to do with it wouldn’t be called Kaleidoscopic or anything else implying that a wide range of cultures can be tolerated as equals in one country. It would be called mono-scopic if anything . The kaleidoscopic experiment has failed .
    As David Cameron has called himself a “Liberal Conservative” if it was my party following the time honoured nomenclature I would call it either “The Real Conservative Party” or ” Conservative Continuity “.I`d like to get nationalism in there and a sense of concern for the working class as well, so maybe the Nationalist Socialist Conservative Party ?I `m thinking some sort of catchy shortening a cool symbol , some tasty uniforms in black ………

    The very first order of the day is to purge the cabinet of Kaleidoscopicists who were merely pawns to sweeten the accession. Following a scandal ,( grainy photos ,a farm yard animal). Mel resigns suddenly before mysteriously contracting radiation sickness. This leaves only Flo standing in my way. By working whithin the party committee by committee I acquire influence . About this time we adopt th symbol of the clunking fist or clenched on the scrawny neck of Polly Toynbee. Looks good at the torchlight parades. Flo dies suddenly .

    We turn our hungry eyes to the soft underbelly of Europe. Steven L unveils the new army in a march past of terrifying intent .

    The world respects this country once more

    Jon done

  81. Newmania

    As you are the fat cat in this regime I would have to agree totally and be held under Cabinet secrecy

    ps yes Jaq, no deaths

  82. .. I `m looking forward to Flo`s real suggestions if she can be bothered. I don`t really want black uniforms and god knows what Steven L would do with a new army.

  83. Idlex Sport and culture and media (newmania)

    That’s very kind of you, newmania. I’m already working on my policies.

    First, sport. My immediate impulse is to completely ban it. But on further reflection I think I would prefer to simply ban athletics, and withdraw from the Olympics. There is nothing more tiresome than to watch than a lot of people running round and round in circles – except perhaps to oneself run round and round in circles.

    As for other sports, I’m inclined to change the status of the ancient rain-making ceremony of cricket from a sport to a religion – thus transferring it to another government department.

    In respect of rugby football, I would require the use of a spherical ball rather than the large fat sausage they currently use. And I would forbid any handling of the ball. And I would require that points only be scored by kicking the ball under the bar, rather than over it. In this manner I would reunite rugby football with association football (soccer), and thereby end the confusion of what is meant by ‘football’.

    And then I would de-professionalise football (and indeed all sports), and restore it to its ancient amateur status. And at the same time I would require free admission to all sports venues (this last will be a big vote winner).

    And finally, I would have written above the gates of every stadium, in large capital letters: GET REAL! IT’S ONLY A GAME!!

    Now, culture…

  84. ‘so maybe the Nationalist Socialist Conservative Party?’ (newmania)

    I’d rather call it the National Socialist Democratic European Workers Party. Like any national socialist party we need a scapegoat, and I suggest the French.

    We could swell the ranks of my army with strapping young East Europeans. We could blame their poverty on the French appeasement of Hitler and French inability to defend their country against the Nazis.

    ‘Even now how hardworking European Workers like you are suffering for French inadequacy. You toil 12 hours a day in British fields and pay taxes to subsidise the rich and lazy farmers of France.’

    Riling them all up against the French should be easy, after all France wouldn’t even let East Europeans work there after the accession. Then we train them, arm them and invade France, simple.

  85. Newmaniac stands, gloating over Flo’s stricken corpse, his twisted frame shaking with the vile force of the half crazed evil that’s driven him for so long.

    “All mine…ALL MINE! D’you hear me Flo’? It’s all mine! I warned you, but you laughed. You scoffed at me every time I said I’d beat you and your puny Bushmen. Now you’ve paid the price. Bring me wine you oafs, I want to celebrate my conquest of UK”, Newmaniac screams, laughing manically.

    A frighted young serf rushes in and offers to pour Newmaniac a glass of wine from the flagon he carries. Newmaniac grasps the flagon, brutally clubs the trembling young man aside with his staff and greedily quaffs, ignoring the bloody rivulets that stream down his power crazed face and neck.

    “Blair, Cameron, Auntie Flo’, I beat them all. Today Flo’. tomorrow the world!”

    So engulfed with the flush of his victory is Newmaniac, that he’s slow to notice the pungent scent of lions beginning to fill the air of his fetid chamber… until he suddenly quizzically sniffs…..”What the….?

    “Don’t move too quickly, Newmaniac, you’re safe…for a time…as long as you keep still.”

    “FLO’! You! B-u-u-ut how…?”, Newmaniac stammers, as his bent frame, writhes around until he faces the open jaw of a magnificent male lion.

    “Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeee! No, please Flo’, I’ll do anything, anything, save me, please Flo’, let me die like a man, not like a piece of meat.”

    Smiling serenely, Flo’ hessiates, then turns to her tribe of Bushmen, their glinting spears held aloft just inches from Newmaniac’s bent and trembling frame.

    We’re a free democracy, Bushmen, no evil can ever subvert that forever. So, what do you say, shall we save Newmaniac….or let the lion have him?”

  86. Flo flo flo …I laughed and laughed and laughed…oh lord and the bushmen come and save the day its priceless.

    Bravo I `ll remember that for a long time .Just seen the new Bond (good), this is a bit more old style

  87. “One last request before I’m cat meat, Flo”, whined Newmaniac.

    “I poisoned you, manacled you, tied you up in a sack, stabbed you, drowned you, then strangled you just to be sure. No one could have survived al of that, you’re a zombie, aren’t you? Make a dying man’s wish come true and tell me before I snuff it that you’re not really Flo’. I did beat her this time, didn’t I?”,asked Newmania.

    “Of course she’s Flo'”, said the lion, affectionately licking Flo’s cheek, with his great rasping tongue.

    “Not so hard, Aslan”, Flo’ squealed, pulling her face away….but it was too late. Flo’s face had split in two and hung droopily either side of Aslan’s mouth. All that was left was a sputtering lump of blubber…which somehow seemed strangely familiar to Newmania.

    Newmania gazed, horrified, at the blubber. “It’s not YOU, under all of that muck, is it?”, asked Newmania, squinting at the artificial mess of rubber filler, glue and hair before him.

    “Of course, it’s me”, snapped the whinging lump of blubber, grumbling to itself and spitting strings of glue and Polly Filla with every word it spoke. And this should be your classic denouement, Newmania, for all of that rubbish you’ve written about me. Oh, and let me correct you, it wasn’t you who did for Flo’ either, you couldn’t push the skin off a rice pudding. Flo’ survived alright, so I finished her off. But how can I do for you now too while I’m like this? Aslan, down boy, forget Newmania, I need a bath first, let’s go”, said Polly, grabbing her decoy bath duck.

    “Not so fast”, said Aslan, hooking Polly Filla back with his great claws…hmmm… aren’t you the one who wrote that a sickbag is needed for Disney’s new epic about Aslan and Narnia? Tell me, Polly Filla, what exactly did you do to my friend Flo’…..?”

  88. aaawwwww a happy ending you old softy .Can you feel the love tonight !!!Don`t know if CS Lewis would find it doctrinally pure exactly and Polly Filler has got to taste like crap.

  89. I do like your shadow, shadow Cabinet idea, Newmania, though I think Boris should be PM of this. I’d like to be Secretary of State for Heritage. First thing I’d do is shame the French into leaving our war graves alone, tighten up the regulations on Listed properties and slap Listings on all of our graves and graveyards, stop any encroachment on our villages and anything but sympathetic developments in these, stop all of this development in the South East and no more runways.

    Jaq, thank you so much for taking newmania to task for killing me.

  90. Idlex – Not sure about your deprofessionalisation (is that a word?) of sport. You’d end up with all the talent abroad and the likes of me playing for Chelsea. Not a nice thought.

  91. You’d end up with all the talent abroad (Tayles)

    Quite the opposite. At present, more or less any good player from Brazil ends up playing for some European club, rather than in their own country. So professional sport impoverishes Brazil, all the talent having gone abroad.

    At the same time, this process acts to crush the aspirations of young British or European football players, who have a much reduced chance of playing for clubs like Chelsea when half the team comes from abroad.

    I used to live in Brazil, and they play football for the pleasure of it (something more or less entirely lost in Britain). The Peles and Ronaldos of Brazil grew up kicking balls around for fun on streets and beaches and back yards, and developed their skills there. When do you ever see this happening in England? It’s probably illegal, anyway, like everything else. And it entirely explains the dearth of once-abundant English football talent.

  92. Flo – last of the links but I had to draw your attention to this one. In ‘The alternative manifesto’ story it’s important to follow the ‘Here’s a post’ link in the last paragraph.

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