As we are coming to the end of the last serious conference season before the next General Election (those extras, like the winter conference or the spring conference are unnecessary extras and of little importance) everyone outside UKIP seems to be rather gloomy.
The choice, one must admit, is not particularly scintillating but it is my opinion that as things stand Labour has no chances of winning the election. Their own particular conference and the farce of the Leader's Speech, billed for 80 minutes but lasting for only just over 60 because two of the most important subjects were simply not mentioned though they were clearly there in the text handed out to the media, did not exactly inspire any one except those so committed to the party that casting their vote for anyone else would be like walking barefoot on broken glass.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives are deemed by the media to have had a bad week-end because of losing Mark Reckless and because of the Brooks Newmark scandal. Until this story broke I had not heard of Brooks Newmark but the biggest scandal of all, in my opinion, is that we have such a thing as a Minister for Civil Society. What on earth is that?
On the other hand, I was pleasantly suprised to hear that the Mirror's sting operation (whose author, a free-lance hack has, as of this moment, not revealed his name) had been directed at several young Conservative MPs and only one was foolish enough to fall for it, the aforementioned former Minister for Civil Society. It is good to know that the others had enough brains or just an instinct for self-preservation to steer clear of the whole fracas. That, of course, leaves us with the unfortunate young women, whose body parts were used to create the fictional twitter character without their permission and the fact that other newspapers, such as the Sun are virtuously explaining that the idea had been offered to them but they turned their noses up. Also, we have the first case to come before the new Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and it does not involve a Murdoch newspaper. How they must be laughing.
Will any of this really help the Labour Party whose opinion poll results are nowhere near good enough to predict a victory next May? Somehow, I doubt it. There is far too much talk about "New Old Labour", which anyone with any kind of political memory will know to have been unelectable. Ed Miliband is seen as far too left-wing but also incompetent in the simplest political acts like delivering a speech at a party conference. It is particularly unfortunate that his flub should have come so soon after Gordon Brown's highly praised performance in Scotland towards the end of the referendum campaign.
We do, of course, have another "New Old Labour Party" now and that is UKIP who clearly intends to compete for that limited and ever decreasing vote.
Incidentally, the Boss and I discussed Patrick O'Flynn's speech that outlined those preposterous economic policies including the one about raising VAT on "luxury goods". Setting aside the obvious question as to what is defined as "luxury goods" and the obvious comment that a good many people from working class background like to be able to buy them, one cannot help asking why UKIP should be so supportive of VAT, an EU tax that is open to a great deal of fraud and is not particularly useful for the economy. Why not call for its abolition (and if you cannot do that within the EU well you know what we ought to do) and for competitive local sales tax? I seem to recall that the present UKIP parliamentary candidate for Clacton co-authored a book some years ago with one, Daniel Hannan, in which that was one of the policies outlined. One wonders how he felt having to applaud the economic spokesman of his new party who was making it quite clear that neither he nor the party were interested in any serious radical ideas.