The Week in Bits: Web wars, wages and watercannons

12th January, 2014 2:35 pm

Gif Dems/ LOL Dems/ Listicle Democrats

One Lib Dem Buzzfeed list this week (yes, there was more than one) centred around trying to convince Sherlock character Mary, a “disillusioned Lib Dem”, that she should stick with them in 2015, confirming suspicions that their hopes for a core vote in 2015 lie largely with fictional people.

Another list, apparently and worryingly created by a member of the public, outlined ten reasons why we were all going to fall back in love with Nick Clegg. My, how we laughed! Or at least, we did until web-based viral meme sensation and virtual shadow chancellor Ed Balls waded in to tell the New Statesman just what a swell guy he thinks the Deputy Prime Minister is. Clegg responded by pouring amorous fuel on these embers of romance with a telling tweet that simply read: “Ed Balls”.

With this following on from Grant Shapps’ much-mocked effort in November, the political world now waits with baited dread for Labour to inevitably have a go. May we humbly suggest: ’37 cute dogs who would probably vote Labour’. If political parties are serious about trying to reach out to young people online, then the next election should be fought on pugs, not personality. Or policy.

Week in bits

Year of Hard Truths

2014 is not the Year of the Horse, as the Chinese calendar would have us believe, but the Year of Hard Truths, according to George Osborne. The Big Hard Truth to face up to is not, however, that your ex won’t take you back (true as it may be, Nick Clegg) but that what we really need is a further £25 billion of budget cuts.

According to Osborne’s speech on Monday, The State bustled into the Whitehall offices on the first day back, harping on to everyone how it was “New year, new me!” and promising, “I’m going to cut down on all those fatty welfare policies that are making me bloated!”

These indulgent policies include housing benefits for people under 25, because people under 25 don’t need homes; they all live on the internet now anyway. That’s why you don’t knock on their doors, you make Buzzfeed lists.

Bozo the Mayor wants some new props for the biggest water-squirting flower gag EVER

London’s incredible Mayor Clown, Bozo Johnson, has applied for heavy duty water cannons for a hilarious joke where Londoners think they’re attending a protest against his cuts, but actually they’re getting sprayed in the face with loads of water.

Incidentally, cuts to London’s fire service kicked in this week, so if you find your house burning down, the most effective way to have it put out is to hold an anti-austerity rally in your front garden and wait for the riot police to turn up.

Paying you less will make you richer, say not-backwards Tories

Clear-headed members of the Conservative Party have been rushing out to warn against raising the national minimum wage, after news was leaked that George Osborne was considering offering a rise as a pre-election pledge. Over the past five years, the minimum wage has stayed stagnant, falling around 10% behind inflation in the meantime. These helpful Tories have pointed out that strengthening the minimum wage would actually be a bad idea because of all those jobs that were lost when it was introduced.

They also suggest: firefighters fighting fire with fire, brewing tea with cold water and making £25 billion worth of cuts to a tentatively growing economy.

Blue fare rise Monday

If major travel delays, packed trains and terrible weather weren’t enough for commuters this Monday, London Labour Party kindly had activists at stations across the capital to hand out leaflets reminding people that was the most expensive commute they’ve ever had.

  • leslie48

    However you did not mention (and possibly because it’s new) Labour’s Tristram Hunt’s weekend ‘teacher bashing’ which is unbecoming for our party given that teachers are already suffering the Gove public service employee blitzkrieg.

    Frozen pay, an end to salary increments, worsening job conditions, re- jigged league tables, more autocratic power to heads, harder Ofsted, endless negative Tory propaganda aimed at the immiseration of school teaching so it’s no longer attractive to our brightest graduates! – lets up the stress even more with our Mr Hunt’s bashing too. Come on Labour that was unneeded. So it was by last night over 1,500 had blogged the Guardian about this crazy nonsense. In many places where we find top A Level students the idea of teaching does not even register for university or careers & so Hunt has done his bit too.

    • JoeDM

      Tristram Hunt does seem to be out of his depth.

      • treborc1

        “Labour is “on the side” of parents who want to set up schools and would
        not shut most existing free schools, the new shadow education secretary
        insists”.

        He would not even think of looking at the teachers in this lot or the private sector but the public sector has become a serious problem for the labour party, I suspect it full of working class, disabled people and those types.

        • John Ruddy

          The policy is designed to require all teachers – whether in a state school, a free school or a private school to have professional registration certifying their credentials as a teacher.

    • Doug Smith

      If ‘teacher bashing’ has appeal in the marginal seats Labour must win in 2015 then ‘teacher bashing’ is what you’ll get from the Labour Party.

      Don’t expect well-thought out and value-based policy from today’s LP when ministerial limousines are up for grabs.

    • TomFairfax

      Good points. Why just teachers? Why not engineers, why not solicitors and barristers? Why not medical consultants? Why in fact single out teachers instead of say Ministers or Whitehall officials?
      Will we expect Admirals and Generals to take regular competency tests even though they aren’t able to officially ‘retire’?

      I suspect someone has thought it’s a great idea for making sure Free Schools have real teachers. However, It does seem a case of ‘not thinking things through’

      • John Ruddy

        Engineers, Solictors, Barristers and Medical Consultants already all have professional certification.

        • TomFairfax

          To get the original certification yes. Regular tests to monitor standards, no. In 20 years neither FEANI or the IET have asked me to re-confirm my capabilities.
          The issue with the teachers is that they would be regularly re-certified, so I question why they are being picked on.

    • Danny

      I’m not sure what it is with politicians with Hunt for a surname. They seem to be as similar to an utter waste of oxygen as their names are similar to an apt piece of profanity.

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