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Iannucci: now is the best time in a generation to go out and vote – generate churn and change in a way that doing nothing never can

armando iannucciIn a January article Iannucci wrote: “They’ve had months, years even, to prepare and mighty budgets for media spend, and yet we feel so little the wiser. You get the impression they’d love their manifestos to go out encrypted. It’s easy to see then why the Brand mantra – “Don’t Vote” – has so much appeal. Post 2010, we all got austerity measures, bedroom taxes, NHS reforms and tuition fees that absolutely nobody voted for because absolutely no political manifesto mentioned them. So why shouldn’t we abandon our political masters and stay at home?

Extracts from a more recent article by Armando Iannucci in the Observer

Questions to David Cameron included:

  1. What are the further £10bn of welfare cuts you need to make but haven’t detailed?
  2. Do you accept that parliament will not vote on a possible replacement to Trident until next year?
  3. If so, can you explain why the Ministry of Defence has for the last two years spent £1.24bn on “getting ready” a replacement and preparing “long lead” parts of an as-yet unvoted for missile system?
  4. Is it true that for your first year in office you had no idea of the full scale and ambition of Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms and were furious when you found out?
  5. Why did you push the TV companies to schedule as many of the TV debates as possible before the publication of the party manifestos?
  6. How can the electorate question you on your proposals if you’ll take questions only before you propose them?
  7. Do you feel responsible for a political culture in which more than a million benefit claimants were sanctioned and penalised in 2013 but only one HSBC tax evader has been prosecuted?
  8. How do you feel about the rise in suicides of people who have been denied disability benefit?
  9. Why do we have so many food banks? Why do Save the Children and the Red Cross, two organisations set up to work abroad, now work extensively in the UK?
  10. How do you square launching the “big society” with Iain Duncan Smith’s refusal to meet volunteers from the food bank charity the Trussell Trust in 2013 because he felt they were “scaremongerers” and “political”?
  11. Why did IDS refuse to speak in a 2013 Commons debate on the growing use of food banks? Indeed, why did he leave that debate early?

Questions to Ed Miliband included:

  1. Why do you not make a speech highlighting the benefits immigration has brought to this country?
  1. Why did your work and pensions spokeswoman, Rachel Reeves, say Labour “is not the party of people on benefits”?
  2. If you’re prepared to admit that New Labour made mistakes over wealth inequality and financial deregulation, will you go further?
  3. Will you also admit that many of the administrative problems in the NHS were caused by New Labour’s mission to inject private market forces into an organisation not built for that purpose?
  4. Will you admit that much of New Labour’s obsessional drive to impose targets on the NHS pushed staff to breaking point with, to cite one example, paramedics suffering from urinary tract infections because their bosses wouldn’t permit them toilet breaks?
  5. If you’re in favour of commissioning a replacement to Trident, will you or any of your team be making a speech defending the cost and outlining your clear reasons for prioritising a nuclear deterrent over other spending plans? Or is this an awkward subject?
  6. When so much of the first-, second- and third-generation immigrant community votes for your party, why do you still prefer to use the language of “restricting” immigrant numbers employed by Conservatives and Ukip?
  7. Do you like the unemployed? Or are you embarrassed by them? Do you take it for granted they vote for you? Are you fully aware many of them are turning to the Greens, Ukip and the SNP instead?
  8. Why do you feel the need to talk tough about welfare cuts and immigration levels without much prompting?
  9. You do realise that the slogan Vote Labour, We’re a Little Like Ukip is not going to bring out your base?

Iannucci reflects: “Now is the best time in a generation to go out and vote. With such a fragmented system on offer, nothing is inevitable. Uncertainty may create instability, but it can also generate churn and change in a way that doing nothing never can. The truth is, we haven’t been abandoning politicians – they’ve been abandoning us . . . The 45% who voted yes to independence in Scotland . . . is driving the agenda in Scottish politics as powerfully as if it had been on the winning side . . . Alternative answers such as Green, nationalist, pro-NHS, even the Pub Landlord (standing against Nigel Farage), no longer look like stupid also-rans”.

To read the March article go to http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/28/questions-for-cameron-and-miliband-armando-iannucci

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USA, NATO allies & North Korea: stop bragging about missiles and meet basic human needs

NATOWatch_logo2Extracted from the latest NATO Watch Observatory’s Editorial: Sauce for the goose and the gander, written by the Director – Dr Ian Davis:

“In October last year, North Korea drew a stern rebuke from the US State Department for boasting it possessed missiles capable of reaching the mainland United States.

“A State Department spokeswoman said “Rather than bragging about its missile capability, they ought to be feeding their own people”. Pyongyang has a long record of making unsubstantiated assertions about its military capabilities and most experts agree that North Korea remains a long way from having the necessary know-how to develop an ICBM capability or to build warheads small enough to be fitted to such a missile.

“The United States, on the other hand, has 500 launchers and deployed warheads in its ICBM inventory. Clearly, therefore, America wins hands down any bragging rights over long-range missiles. The world’s wealthiest and most heavily armed nation is on more shaky ground, however, when it lectures North Korea on food insecurity.

“According to a coalition of organisations working to end hunger in the United States, 16.7 million American children—nearly one in four—live in households that do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead active, healthy lives.

 

Leaving British food bank

Leaving British food bank

“Within NATO member states, the US is not alone in suffering food insecurity and growing levels of inequality: Britain has seen a boom in food banks for struggling families. Austerity measures in several other European states are creating similar levels of human and food insecurity.

“In other words, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: both North Korea and the United States (and NATO allies) should cease making missiles and concentrate on feeding their people.”

And, we would add, maintain a healthy environment and enable constructive work.