Steven Davis puts newly-promoted Southampton FC ahead of defending champions Manchester City FC
And I think this was one of the greatest moments of my life
I feel like somebody’s thrown a lorry at me
hahaha yes “swept under the rug” indeed, not like Lee Rigby is a household name and there are still stories on the BBC about it today, of course not
Hahahaha what the fuck are they talking about, Woolwich was one of the biggest stories of the year and media are hitting Steubenville levels of apologism for Blackman
Stalagmites rise up, stalactites hang down. Brownites, supposedly, lurch left. Anybody who remembers the physical manner of our last Prime Minister will know that rapid movements of any kind usually ended in tears, but ask Conservative Party HQ and that’s all Labour are capable of these days. The language of cabinet reshuffles is difficult to understand at the best of times, but when we’re caught up in a sensational row about the man who hates Britain and the son who’s bringing back Marxism, spin doctors dealing with substance are going to have a tough job on their hands.
First things first: there is a serious lack of interest in Westminster’s internal carousel of career politicians. This morning a YouGov poll revealed that 42 per cent of voters were paying no attention to Tuesday’s reshuffles, while 17 per cent weren’t even aware they were happening. This figure is significantly higher when you look at young voters, almost 30 per cent of whom didn’t have a clue.
People don’t know and don’t care, and who can blame them? To the average punter only the most senior positions have a visible effect on people’s lives; the schools are supervised by Michael Gove and the Defence Secretary has all the guns. The Public Committee for Oversight of Departmental Affairs could, for all we know, mean anything from deploying troops in the Middle East to operating Number 10’s trouser press. But that ambiguity leaves these mostly superficial changes at the mercy of pundits and politicians who wish to paint a picture.
Between snorts of the party line, Conservative chairman Grant Shapps is describing Ed Miliband’s shuffle as obedient service to Len McCluskey, as if the Unite boss is some kind of Jabba the Hutt, sat on high and demanding a woman feed him grapes. “Len McCluskey is the real winner of this reshuffle,” he said yesterday. “Ed Miliband’s purged the moderates and promoted those who want the same old Labour policy of more spending, more borrowing and more debt.” It’s almost as if he wants Labour to run with outdated policies from the Blair administration. Perish the thought!
Sections of the media, who have to at least try and make it interesting, have spruced things up by calling it a ‘cull of the Blairites’. Perhaps that’s the type of exaggeration you get when you make changes which Don’t Mean Very Much, but Labour insiders are tipping new Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt as a future leader, and Rachel Reeves will be tackling Iain Duncan Smith on one of 2015’s battleground issues. Not all of these changes are meaningless.
Still, moves on the government front bench are the ones which get the most publicity. In David Cameron’s altogether more substantial rejig last year, fair points were raised about the new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his historic goal of NHS privatisation. Green activists whipped up a storm when the role of Environment Secretary was passed to a climate change sceptic in the form of Owen Paterson. But those were really big moves, absent from Tuesday’s reshuffles on both sides of the Commons.
When the press give us dry politics, it allows politicians to hose them down. It puts party mouthpieces like Grant Shapps in a position to tell apathetic voters that Marty McEngels is a union stooge, because nobody will know any better. It is as much a myth as ‘something for nothing’ or ‘go green, vote blue‘. When Shapps tells you about the purging of moderates, he forgets his party’s role in redefining the centre ground of politics in the 1980s; by moving Britain permanently to the right, Thatcher changed the game, and New Labour played it. Today, that means the Labour right is ‘moderate,’ the centre immoderate and the left out in the bushes somewhere with some Kleenex and a copy of The Communist Manifesto.
Nick Cohen warned last year that if Labour and the left failed to define their stance in their own terms then it would be defined for them. If you’re anti-austerity, you’re pro-debt. If you support trade unions, you support corruption. We need to respond with our own, new language. Having taken action to clarify where the party will stand in 2015, Ed Miliband has started to claw agenda-setting power back from his enemies, and the caricatures seem sillier by the minute.
Culling the Blairites and cleaning up the lexicon at the wake of New Labour is a natural and necessary part of bringing the party out of the shadow of its most recent giants. Labour needs new leaders who aren’t defined by their peers (as Brown was by Blair) or by their predecessors (as Blair was by Thatcher). This week is just the beginning. Putting left-wing politics back on the table doesn’t mean there’s a socialist future on the horizon - and there’s still time for ‘Red Ed’ to reel his neck in - but come 2015 there might well be fundamental differences between Britain’s two major parties for the first time in over a decade. Say it quietly. If Britain votes left, it won’t be a lurch. It will be the confident step of an electorate who are finally free to make an informed choice.