A month is a long time…

Autumn is relentless with politics, even though no actual work is going on. First the Lib Dems, then Labour, now the Conservatives are heading for the cost for their conference. And in the mean time there were smaller parties like UKIP and Health concern (who had their conference in a large back garden).

After Hartlepool the Conservatives seem to be getting increasingly desperate with shriller and shriller claims, and rash statements that don’t quite amount to anything. “We aim to reduce taxes,” they say, “but aren’t making any promises.”

Actually oddly enough under the extreme surface some of what they propose is reasonable for them. There is talk of cutting stealth taxes, which I can only take to mean reopening tax loopholes. However instead of silly swipes at the tax system, the headline policies are tame enough like having a bit of a look at inheritance tax, council tax, and stamp duty. All things that affect the haves, more than the have nots, but due for a tinker nonetheless, most of it is already Lib Dem policy. It is usually the case that politicians of an extreme position like the Tories hide their extreme policies in a sensible headline, but unless it’s a double bluff we have the opposite here. What gives?

The main tactic of the Conservatives seems to be to try and inflate a misplaced public sense of fear and persecution. Motorists are, we are told, a case in point. But according to John Redwood one of the things the Conservatives would do to stop this “persecution” would be to roll back the proliferation of speed cameras. While this is not a new tactic it is still as misleading as it is misguided. It is simply pandering to popular prejudice to say speed cameras are persecuting the ordinary “law-abiding” motorist as anyone who is caught by a correctly functioning camera has clearly broken the law. Even if we misrepresent fines as a revenue stream, is it not just that wrong doers, to use rightwing parlance, should pay more to the upkeep of society than the careful amongst us?

Meanwhile elsewhere the Swivel Eyed Loons (aka UKIP) appear to be suffering from a bit of a hangover from their recent conference and post Hartlepool celebrations. Their main benefactor, Paul Sykes, has had what can possibly described as a bit of a think in light of their deciding to try and take on the Conservatives en masse, rather than ignoring the more euro-phobic MPs. Paul thinks that this was tantamount to the Europhobic movement shooting itself in the foot, and has withdrawn his support. Robert Killroy-Silk’s comments about killing the Tory party are said to have been the final straw. Sykes claims that he has just been listening to the Conservatives’ message on Europe, while John Redwood (yes him again) claims to have had more direct contact. Mr Sykes has not yet formally pledged any money to the Conservative Party.

Nigel Farage, UKIP MEP, seems to have admitted UKIP have made a mistake and need to re-think taking on the Tories, and seems to think the party can tempt Sykes back. Anything can happen in politics it seems.

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