No difference between New Labour and New Conservatives?

Alex Kane sees little redemption, political or moral for the current UK government, and is less than impressed with the Conservative opposition.By Alex Kane

As troubles swirl around and threaten to engulf the Prime Minister, I am reminded of Enoch Powell’s dictum: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” And the brutal reality for Tony Blair is that he is now a washed-up Prime Minister. His authority within the Commons and within his own party has withered. The fact that he cannot now serve out a third full term of office has reduced him to the status of a verbose albatross. His political judgement, along with his moral judgement, has vanished. The occupant of Number 10 is now the mere ghost of a politician.

His inability, or his unwillingness, to dump John Prescott, an incompetent, adulterous buffoon, is a clear sign that the Prime Minister no longer knows the difference between political ineptitude and plain old fashioned immorality. Most of the people booted from the Cabinet in the reshuffle deserved to go. They were no good at their jobs. That is the nature of government office, for not everyone appointed to a top position in politics is capable of handling the pressure, the responsibility or the flak. So be it.

But in Prescott’s case it wasn’t just about incompetence, monumental though the evidence was to indicate it. All of the information now in the public domain, none of which Prescott has denied, is that he is an adulterer, a sexual predator, an office bully and a thoroughly disorganised and uninformed departmental minister. This, it also needs to be remembered, is the same man who led the charge against the sleazy, slimeball, trouser-dropping, brown-envelope-collecting members of the Conservative Party in the mid-1990s. And this is Tony’s mate, the same Tony who swept to power in 1997 with a promise to end the political incompetence and personal immorality which was drowning John Major’s administration and swamping public opinion in general.

Holding on to Prescott is a quite clear and staggeringly blatant abuse of Prime Ministerial power. In allowing him to keep the title of Deputy Prime Minister, the £133,000 salary, the grace and favour accommodations and the chauffeur driven cars, it also comes close to political corruption. But hey, since this is a Prime Minister who seems happy to swap peerages for donations to his party, I doubt if he will lose any sleep over using tax-payers cash to keep Prescott’s snout deep in the trough. Still, at the very least, Mr. Blair could ask the congenitally sanctimonious Peter Hain to lay off the lectures about MLAs being paid to do nothing!

But the most depressing aspect of the crumbling and meltdown of Tony Blair is the fact that his two most likely successors are simply appalling. Gordon Brown has been grazing at Number 11 Downing Street for almost a decade, bleating in the background like a malign sheep. But he doesn’t have the personal or political bottle to seize the crown and seems content to inherit and wear whatever rusty trinket Blair tosses over the garden fence when the furniture van trundles him out of office in a few months time.

David Cameron, on the other hand, is an ideologically vacuous hoover, spending his time sweeping up anything and everything which can allow him to present himself, and what was once the Conservative Party, as the I-can-be-anything-you-want-me-to-be alternative to Labour. If Mrs. Thatcher’s party political legacy was the destruction of a socialist, nationalising Labour Party, then Tony Blair’s may well be the destruction of her once beloved and triumphant Conservative Party.

Let’s face it, with this imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery approach to inter-party politicking, it’s no wonder that the electorate is staying at home. There is no difference between New Labour and New Conservative. Radicalism has been replaced with wretched opportunism and false consensus; and both parties now want complete state funding and compulsory voting. Could there be any greater admission of their selfishness, stupidity, arrogance and venality?

  • The Watchman

    So then Alex,

    Off topic, I know, but are you happy for the UUP to be linking up with Ervine?

  • The Watchman

    Oh and in relation to the question at the top of this thread, the answer is No.

  • Loyalist

    Damn you Watchman you got there before me!!!

  • Damn you Watchman and Loyalist, you both got there before me!!!


    “Sir Reg, on the other hand, is an ideologically vacuous hoover, spending his time sweeping up anything and everything which can allow him to present himself, and what was once the Ulster Unionist Party, as the I-can-be-anything-you-want-me-to-be alternative to the DUP”.


  • Hey, it’s in a pile-in! And it’s also a game everyone can play:

    But the most depressing aspect of the crumbling and meltdown of the UUP under David Trimble is the fact that his most likely successor is simply appalling. Reg Empey has been grazing at whatever ministerial positions he can get, bleating in the background like a malign sheep. But he doesn’t have the personal or political bottle to seize the crown and seems content to inherit and wear whatever rusty trinket Trimble tosses over the garden fence when the furniture van trundles him out of office in a few months time.

    Though I can see why pro-Agreement cheerleaders in the UUP want to talk about the Tories and Labour. Doubtless it’s a damn sight less painful for them than having to face up to the way they f*cked up Ulster Unionism.

  • Alex. Kane

    Hi one and all,

    Glad to have provided some fun for you guys today. Nice to see that the art of parody is alive and well

    Karl, this article was written on Friday, before the whole Ervine business hit the proverbial fan.(I thought you were a sort of fan of Reg’s, by the way.)

    I have huge difficulties with the Ervine business and will set them out at a meeting of constituency officers tomorrow night in Cunningham House.

    Best wishes,


  • I was ‘a sort of fan’ of Reg’s: he had the salient virtue of not being Sylvia/the Gimp/blandy from Lagan Valley. As I’ve set out to him, I’m no longer a fan. My departure from the list of conditional admirers is hardly going to cause him to lose much sleep; on the other hand, the fact that not one UUP MLA has publicly contradicted this vile change of tack is causing me to lose sleep about why on earth I am still in the UUP/UVF.

    Paisley = dead – DUP here I come; local Tories making any sort of effort = implausible – but there I’d prefer.

  • Alex,

    Spot on re Nulabour and NuCon’s – Call me Dave is just hopeless.

    Look forward to hearing your views on the UUP/UVF link-up a la Reg the vacuous!


  • Alex. Kane


    I do find it surprising that all 24 UUP MLAs have bought into this pact. It begs the question, therefore, if they are privvy to some aspect of it which is being kept under wraps. Mind you, it would be the first time ever that they managed to keep anything in-house for so long!

    Best wishes,


  • not a fan

    Does that mean no one is telling you anything? A link between something being kept in house and Alex Kane not knowing what it is? Surely not!

  • Carson’s Cat

    In a vain attempt to keep this vaguely related to the thread topic – maybe Reggie and Davy have agreed a Blair/Brown pact where another ‘man from the East’ will take over as UUP leader.

    After all, its no more ludicrous a suggestion than either giving it to Danny, Sylv or the Tank Commander. I dont even contemplate Burnside, I fear that if I did I may not be able to stop laughing.

    Good to hear your views Alex on the Ervine debacle though. It may be possible that no-one in the UUP Assembly Group has even noticed – they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  • Alex

    thank you for posting here off topic.

    I look forward to reports tomorrow from Cunningham House.

  • BooBoo

    I spoke to one of the UUP MLAs last night and he said—and I quote reasonably accurately—“I didn’t realise that Ervine was becoming a member of our Assembly group, I thought it was some wider Assembly voting block and he would share the whip on that. We’re taking far more damage than McFarland said we would.” Looks like the Major will need a big shovel to clear up this mess.


    PS: Great stuff by Feeny in today’s Irish News and Lindy at the Tele. Can I open a competition for anyone who can pinpoint any public support for the UUP-UVF Pact? Anyone quoting the obviously put up jobs from CunningPlan House and the Young (mostly of brain) Unionists will be disqualified!

    I’m off to London for the next few days and look forward to a large pile of entries when I return.

  • BooBoo

    Oh, just before I leave for airport, it has been reported that Lady Hermon has told Commons that Ervine decision caused her great distress and that she was not party to the decision. This may cause some surprise to those who were told that her Ladyship had been “squared off” on this issue.

    Maybe 2 shovels for the Major?

  • BVG

    In an interview with Radio Ulster David Burnside said Ervine deal was “badly handled, badly presented and open to misinterpretation.” good God, the UUP can’t even do stupidity properly.

    In same interview he said the deal was a “one-off tactical decision, we will not be merging with PUP.” He might care to explain why ervine is listed in the UUP’s Assembly Group and sits with them?

    Looks like the first cracks are appearing and the dam about to burst.


  • Crataegus


    Tony is utterly self centred and shows no visible adherence to any fixed standards and I fear David shows all the taints of being capable of being equally flexible.

    Of the three Brown is by far the most capable. His current position is difficult but when Tony is eventually axed at the Autumn conference of 2007 the party will have been hopelessly destroyed. Likely outcome of the next election is a hung government with the vague possibility of NI MPs having some influence.

    As for Prescott if he had any standing he would refuse the inducements. The fact that he is happy to justify his perks is more damming than the affair.

  • kensei

    Removing Prezzameans a Labour Deputy Leader election, basically. The logic of that follows rather obviously. It’s bugger all with Blair losing his radar. Realpolitik time – sack Prezza and probably lose Premiership, or fudge it and hang on?

    I would call the whole article dumb, but I’m amazed anyone linked with the UVF is that articulate.

  • Bob Wilson

    Alex if Esmond Birnie ever appears in public to defend this Ervine nonsense I’ll eat my eat.

  • Bob Wilson

    No the Cameron point you said the article was written on Friday are you sure it wasnt the Friday 3 weeks ago before Tories did very well in local govt. elections. I suspect like me (Im a Thatcherite)there is part of you that just wants to be ideologically pure -even if it means never winning another election but in the real world one has to adapt.
    So your argument may or may not have some relevance in GB. In NI we need to realise that much has changed – and it is time for our politics to change. The vision of national/proper politics has more appeal than in has had since Laurence Kennedy’s day – especially amongst the young.
    Karl Rove – watch this space

  • Julian Robertson


    I know you approve of very little these days – you’re getting too set in your ways – but perhaps Cameron just might know what has to be done. After all, 40% in the polls after flatlining in low 30s for so long can’t all be bad. Anyway, given the comparative leadership examples of my leader and yours, can you guess who I prefer? Enjoy your officer’s meeting tonight – are there any tickets on sale?

  • D’Oracle

    Alex Kane may be right about the lack of difference between New Labour and New Conservative. Same lack of difference is in evidence in Republic

    The key variable in the democracy equation is the direction and & rate of (homogenizing)globalisation ;if it deepens the crisis gets worse ; if it’s peaked and reverses, our systems may auto-reset