Tag Archives: Liberal Democrat

How to design a death trap

The Grenfell inquiry is still going on and the last testimony from Dr Barbara Lane is not just an eye opener, it shows two elemental parts. The first is that the ‘stay put’ scenario could never have worked, the second one is that the cladding itself had the additional issue of getting set against combustible materials. That does not make the person who decided on the cladding innocent, it merely proves that the people behind it all failed in spectacular ways. The first part given is “Styrofoam core panels were installed between the new windows and around kitchen vents; ethylene propylene diene terpolymer was used around the new window frames; and polyurethane expanding foam was used to fill joints in the insulation and in gaps between new windows and walls – all combustible materials. She also found combustible polymeric foam above some windows, even though there was no evidence of it being specified, and polyisocyanurate foam that was not in the design” This states that not only was there more combustible materials, there was additional combustible materials that were not even part of the design. So someone acted, someone approved those additional costs. Then we get the first killer. With “horizontal cavity barriers designed to stop fire spreading through the facade had wrongly been installed vertically. They feature an intumescent strip that is meant to expand and close the gap during a fire, but some of these barriers were installed facing into the existing concrete, rendering them useless. She said some of the required cavity barriers had simply not been installed around windows“, we see not merely a construction error, a direct flaw on parts that would stop fires, or at least largely decrease the speed was done wrong and now we see that the building had ‘vent columns‘ to allow the fire to reach maximum speed. At this point, we have issues with procurement, with the installation and construction inspection. Optionally, the architectural setting was wrong, which gives us a failing on nearly every level from the council to the person telling the man with the drill what to do and where to do it. I think that this is a first for me, to see failing to this degree. The stay put was basically a death sentence in 30 minutes. It is the additional “more than 100 fire doors inside Grenfell did not meet fire regulations” that gives the light that the corridors would have been as deadly as the apartment to stay put in, in close to 30 minutes. She gives a few more points, but at this stage, what she gives out is that the killing blow would have been close to a given when those remained inside beyond the first 15 minutes. The article ends with “The same compartmentalisation strategy was essential for firefighting internally, which relied on a working firefighting lift, protected lobbies, ways of getting water up the buildings, a protected space between the firefighting stair and the flats. All of these failed to one degree or another“, now we see that Grenfell was a death-trap for tenants and firefighters alike, the fact that no firefighter died that day is a small miracle to say the least.

So in all this, when we consider the Telegraph article a day earlier (a clear reason for a second Leveson), we see a different side. The article job is a hatchet job by Hayley Dixon, a person who should not be allowed in journalism (a personal belief on mine due to this one article). So when we get back to the title ‘Grenfell survivors question why it took 15 minutes for firefighters to tackle initial blaze‘, and as Hayley Dixon published this at 21:30 local time the previous day. Was this the result of writers block? Was this a mere emotional writing of 104 words to meet a deadline requirement? If so, how irresponsible is the editor? When we put the Telegraph article next to the Independent, the Guardian and the testimony of Dr Barbara Lane, we are confronted with the emotional push of some kind? You see, the setting we see now, the videos that are online and the pictures clearly show that there was nothing normal about the fire and that Grenfell was a constructed death-trap in the shape of a Roman candle. Additional views (from the Independent) gave us “One survivor reported that building’s dry risers – vertical pipes used by firefighters to distribute water to multiple levels of a building – were not working“, so in all this, how was the Telegraph article not merely a waste of space and existence?

This entire fish gets another flavour when we consider an earlier BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40330789). In this we see “Four ministers – all from the Department for Communities and Local Government – received letters but did not strengthen the regulations. Ronnie King, a former chief fire officer who sits on the group, says the government has ignored repeated warnings about tower block safety. “We have spent four years saying ‘Listen, we have got the evidence, we’ve provided you with the evidence, there is clear public opinion towards this, you ought to move on this’,” said Mr King.”” we would expect that at least some move would be made and even as the cladding and other issues now showing would not have stopped anything, better regulations might have at least delayed enough for people to reconsider getting out. So who gets to be on the front page? Yes it is Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams – who was then a minister in the department – replied: “I have neither seen nor heard anything that would suggest that consideration of these specific potential changes is urgent and I am not willing to disrupt the work of this department by asking that these matters are brought forward“. This can be countered by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40422922, where we see “London Fire Brigade warned all 33 councils about the potential risks of external cladding on tower blocks in May this year, the BBC has learned. It followed tests on panels from a high rise that suffered a fire last August. The insulation panels were made up of polystyrene and plywood, and tests concluded they were the likely cause of the fire spreading up the outside“, so there was clear evidence from May 2017 (after his ‘reign’), yet the issues had been clear put forward in 2014 when he was there. He remains in our sights when we realise that this had been going on since 2009, as it was highlighted at the coroner’s inquest into a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009, which led to the deaths of six people, including three children. So at that point, the words of Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams become a statement of falsehood the moment he spoke them in 2014. When we hear ‘I am not willing to disrupt the work of this department by asking that these matters are brought forward‘, whilst there is a clear coroner’s inquest regarding 6 people, including 3 children, when did ‘disrupt the work of this department‘ become an accepted answer?

I am not sure if we could blame the London Fire Brigade from walking away in the future and let 100% of London burn down, you know, they would not want to ‘disrupt any department‘ by caring, now would they?

The fact is just slightly too dark when we consider that there was ample evidence up to 9 years before the Grenfell blaze. If there is one positive, we might see a change where councils need the office of Dany Cotton, or the office of her previous post where she was the Director of Safety and Assurance at the London Fire Brigade, to sign off on any refurbishment before allowing it to happen. It would optionally stop every council from seeking a ‘short cut’ to adhere to the wishes of rich investors. I am mentioning this, because it will have to be said again and again that the refurbishment and cladding was added “a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround North Kensington, according to planning documents, as well as to insulate it” (source: The Independent). So as luxury flat owners nearby thought Grenfell was too yucky, it ended up being upgraded from apartment building to Roman candle.

I believe that the testimony of Dr Barbara Lane is one of the most damaging to the council, the constructors and decision makers in the refurbishment of Grenfell we have ever seen, the question will turn soon enough into: ‘how many death-traps are there in London?’ It is merely my personal view that there is a level of complacency to set the economic values of London in a way that might be way too dangerous for the people living there. If we see these issues in North Kensington and Chelsea, what would we find if there was an actual serious look at a council like Islington? The fact that Islington is overcrowded, it is growing in the sparkling area for socialites and professionals, so the visibility is high. Even as the London Metropolitan Police is working hard to lower the rising crime number, the impact of a Grenfell like event in Islington will do more than merely burn a building and the people in there. now, let’s also realise that Islington is nowhere near the worst, Also, the high rise situation seems a lot better, yet the overcrowded part seems to give ‘rise’ to other considerations and whilst we all focus on high rises, there are other ways for fires to propagate. Another reason to raise Islington is that so far its housing strategy (2014-2019) looks nice (as all brochures are), we also see that house prices are close to 50% higher than the London average, so the damage is a lot bigger if things do go pear shaped. I also raised it as I know it decently well, yet the brochure on page 29, who gives us all the acts and strategies and legislation gives no voice to the fire dangers. The Housing Act 2004 does give two mentions, ‘Consultation with fire and rescue authorities in certain cases‘ as well as ‘miscellaneous repeals etc. in relation to fire hazards‘, yet there is more. You see even as the brochure might look less sexy by mentioning an issue like: “Depending on the type of property and how it is occupied some or all of the following will apply:

  • the Building Regulations 2010 Part B
  • Housing Health & Safety Rating System
  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The issue we see with Grenfell is the lack of fire prevention focus, the Housing Strategy for Islington 2014-2019 shows that there is a mere reference to the Housing Act 2004, yet housing strategy is a lot larger towards tenancy and Asset management, and in a place as overcrowded as Islington it could become a problem. Now we understand that Grenfell is only a year old, yet there is additional evidence on several levels that this is an issue that had been going on since 2009, so even as we ‘brand’ Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams by his extremely poorly chosen words. He is not alone in not having a much larger fire safety focus. The question becomes if the councils were much stronger on fire prevention, would Grenfell have been prevented? My personal believe is that this would be an absolute certain. The failings that Dr Barbara Lane gave testimony on reflects the failing on nearly every level, so as more levels need to mandatory look at certain hazards, issues would have been brought to light (a personal belief), in this London (not just Kensington and Chelsea) have a much larger workload to content with and these changes would require a reflection on a multitude of levels in the coming year. Even as we accept that voices from Islington stated “Fire safety in Islington. We are the landlord/freeholder for over 35,000 households, and we take our responsibility for your safety very seriously“, we accept that this is a response to Grenfell, yet the housing strategy also shown that there was not enough focus in the past. One additional page in that brochure on certain (read: specific) hazards could have given light that the Islington council had that focus, we now merely see (read: expect) that this is not entirely the case.

London and a lot more metropolitan areas like London mind you will have to adjust their current course on actions and considerations when it comes to fire hazard, because we do not want the London population to wake up looking at the speculative sights shown below from a distance.

Rotterdam 1940

 

OR

Hawaii 2012

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Finger in a dike

We have all heard the story of the boy who stopped a flood by putting his finger in a dike; Robin Williams made a reference to it and women in comfortable shoes in the past (whatever that means). The story is known, the act sounds just too ridiculous, because any flood that can be stopped with a finger is one that will not amount to much flooding. Yet the story behind it is very different. You see, the story is about the dangerous Muskrats, who dig themselves boroughs in dikes. These boroughs have canals that can go for hundreds of feet and as the Muskrat population grows, the dikes and dams they are in could be damaged beyond normal repair and that is when the dangers start, because dikes are important in the Netherlands. A large part of it is vastly below sea level, meaning that such a loss could have impacted safe living in that place. Muskrats are also fierce fighters and feeders, meaning that as their population grows, the other animals become extinct. Even as that rat has a usual lifespan for a year, in that year it can reap damage that only people can match. So as we consider the damage a year brings, we need to now consider todays story in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/14/freedom-of-information-act-document-leaks-could-become-criminal), where we see: “criminalise passing on information discoverable under FOI requests“, so basically any news given, even when it can be obtained by an FOI request can become an issue that follows prosecution and even conviction? How is anyone allowed to pass this as law allowed in office, especially as he lives by the motto that was a Herman Brood hit (read: I’ll never be clever). There is a weighting here. I for one have spoken out against the non-accountability of the press. The one time they got scared (read: The Leveson enquiry), they started to scream foul and promise bettering themselves. A promise some of the press broke even before the ink of that promised dried. Yet there is in equal measure a need to keep the people correctly and decently informed. There is a need to get cybersecurity on a decent level and there is a need to hunt down hackers. In this places like Sony are feeling the brunt of hackers and until the authorities are willing to execute the parents (or children) of these hackers, depending of the age of the hacker in front of their eyes, they will not ever see the light and these issues will happen. In this, the entire whistle-blower thing is another hot potato and some politicians seem to think that the one will stop the other, which is even more delusional than my idea of executions to make a point. There is another side to all this that is linked. You see, in the military there is a strict need of secrecy. In that this Bradley Manning person is just a traitor who did not realise just how stupid he really was. The fact that he did not spend life in prison until death is another failing which has been covered by too many for too long and too often. Julian Assange is another matter. Basically he was a mere facilitator, we might seem to consider him a traitor but in the end he did not break any laws and the US knows this, they just have another need to address the ego of certain people. I see Snowden as a traitor, plain and simple. As we were misrepresented with a movie, a book and all kinds of stories, there is still the issue that things did not add up. The never did and never will. In this light a whistle-blower seems to be a very different needed person (I will get to that later).

The three names mentioned all have their own role to play in all this. In case of Manning, it is treason plain and simple, whomever got him off lightly did a stellar Law job, but in the end, he committed treason under war time conditions. Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-08-02/bradley-manning-s-crime-is-smaller-than-treason) gives us the view of John Yoo, a legal expert, whose view I share: “His actions knowingly placed the lives of American soldiers, agents, and allies at grave risk. In the world of instant, world-wide communications and non-state terrorist groups, Manning committed the crime of aiding the enemy, and he is lucky to escape the death penalty“. As an operator, Manning had access to do his job and he abused the access he had endangering the lives of his ‘fellow’ soldiers. In this the less diplomatic view would be that he was more entitled to death by hanging than some of those executed at Nuremberg. So as we realise that Manning soon could have more rights than an optional member of the press is just a little too insane in my book. In all this, as we see that part in a little biased light, we need to realise that the press has a need to expose certain elements. Yet they too are biased and they are biased towards advertisers and stakeholders, which is why certain military documents are placed in a juicy sexy light, yet the issues of Microsoft, Sony and a few others that clearly food for thought for a generation of consumers seems to be misplaced. So how should we see the less responsible acts of the press in that light?

The second part is Snowden, again, as I see it a traitor, here the issue is severe on all sides, the Intelligence community failed miserably on several sides as one person has seemingly access to systems that should have been monitoring access on a few sides. I saw within two hours at least 3 issues for consideration of prosecution of certain heads of intelligence for mere gross negligence. The issues found with NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III just adds to the issues in Alphabet soup land. In this there would have been the need of a very different whistle blower, one that could have walked into the US supreme court stating that his nation is in serious danger giving evidence free from prosecution where an ‘uncle’ of the NSA walks into the office of Admiral Rogers (current director, not the director at that time) asking what the f**k he thinks he is doing on the farm. In a system that is about subterfuge and misdirection, those making errors are often chastised in unbalanced ways. As they are about deadlines and being flawless (which is a delusion all by itself) finding ways to clear issues, solve issues and give support in a place that is relying just a little too much on contractors is an essential need. In this the US is the most visible, but we can agree that the UK has its own demons, the most visible ones were in the 70’s, yet the cloud is now a dangerous place and in addition, I foresee that the near future will bring us more, because if a place like Sony cannot keep a lid on its data, do you actually believe that the cloud is secure? It is not, because some people were pushing too fast for a technology that has issues on several levels. As the cloud grows the customer is no longest charged per Gigabyte, but per Terabyte, so as the cost seems to be 0.1% of what was, they are all seeing the financial benefit and they are clearly ignoring the need to comprehends data sizes and what to put where. As the sales teams are giving nice presentations on security and no loss of data, they seem to be a little more silent on amount of data replicated somewhere else. Which in case of Intelligence is a bit of an issue under the best conditions. By the way that switch from GB to TB happened in the last 5 years alone, so this market is accelerated but in ways that seems to be a little too uncomfortable and I love tech and I embrace it whenever possible, so others should be a lot more mindful and worried than I am at present.

Last we get to Julian Assange, he is either loved or hated. I tried to remain in the balance of it as he basically broke no laws, but to shed the dirty laundry in the way he did was a little stupid. We read all the things on how certain stuff was removed and so on, but there is an issue. In all this we heard all the military stuff, yet when the mention and threats of bank presentations came, he went quiet and dark less than 48 hours later, so it seems that some issues are just not given to the people, especially certain facts that should have been brought out. Here we see another side of the whistle-blower. I get that certain events should not be allowed out, yet when I read: “We would expand the Freedom of Information act to stop ministers and departments from being able to block the publication of information they see as politically inconvenient“, which we get from Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson. We see another part of the conversation, one that needs scrutiny on a few levels. The entire issue that a conviction is possible for releasing information that is readily available under the FOI is dodgy to say the least. There is a side in my that there should be a certain level of control on whistle-blowers, yet in that same light as we see too often that corporate whistle-blowers are refused the light of day by the press calls for questions marks on the earliest given Mondays of any week.

If the dike is to stop the people from drowning we need to make sure that the muskrat is stopped for various reasons, yet when that dike is also the road that facilitates for the shipment of toxic waste, we need to wonder what the basic need of that specific dike is. And that is before we see that the road facilitates for ‘Big Pharma’ to ship its medication, whilst the 1000’s of tonnes of pharmaceutical waste is left ignored, which is ignored by the media when Dr Who (read: World Health Organisation) is telling people that there is now a direct danger to newborns, with in India alone an estimated 56,000 deaths of newborns dying from resistant infections. So as we see very little of that in the news, what are those opposing the whistleblowing actions crying about? They themselves have become filters on what the people are allowed to learn about. Doesn’t that sound slightly too sanctimonious to you?

The issue that goes on is that these events are less and less an issue of rarity. The Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/600-tonnes-of-waste-dumped-under-road-dmttlzrkh), gives us, when you are subscripted, a view that “Up to 600 tonnes of household rubbish have been dumped under the A40 in Buckinghamshire, in one of Britain’s worst incidents of fly-tipping”, this is not some issue that is done with a simple truck, this took time and staff. This was deliberate and orchestrated. In this the whistle-blower would have been essential in dealing with such a crime, as it stands now, it made someone an easy £90,000 and the damage could end up being considerable larger and more expensive. It is anyone’s guess if the CPS will ever secure an arrest and conviction. So as we see the toxicity of the changes the UK and others could face. When we consider the final part “Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, said: “The Law Commission’s proposals would move the clock backwards, undoing improvements in the UK’s 1989 Official Secrets Acts, and setting a dangerous example of eroding freedom of expression protections, which may be copied by oppressive regimes globally”, we must ask what the devils own sugar did the Law Commission have in mind when these changes were proposed. By the way, the moment it gets adopted, there is every chance that any person with direct links to Wall Street will see other sides. This is what we get from the NY Post, “The Financial CHOICE Act 2.0, which passed the House Financial Services Committee last week, has provisions to keep corporate whistle-blowers involved in any wrongdoing from collecting awards. The act would also require the whistle-blower to try to stop violations from happening within their company — a stipulation that advocates fear would force employees to choose between being fired or not reporting anything at all”, we see this at http://nypost.com/2017/05/14/whistleblower-bill-sparks-fear-among-advocates/, so you tell me who this is all supposed to benefit. As I see it, we see a shift where those who have not are stronger and stronger segregated from those who have and those who continuously want to have. A mere adaption from the battle strategy segregation, isolation and assassination? Assassination needs not resolve in death, today we see how economic and financial death could at times be much worse than anything permanently offered, although the mothers in India might disagree on that. The question becomes where does the press truly stand, with informing the people or with the advertisers they rely on nowadays?

 

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London Cemetery Inc.

The Guardian is back with an interesting twist on how London is ruining its own future. The article ‘Come see London’s latest luxury housing venture – where a car space is £50,000‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/22/come-see-londons-latest-luxury-housing-venture-where-a-car-space-is-50000).

Behold The Aykon Tower, the first step to truly remove equality to a population and push exploitation to new heights. The following quotes should raise alarms “London’s first fashion-branded tower went on sale on Tuesday – prices start at £711,000 for a studio – with each one of the 360 luxury apartments designed with the “elegance and sensuality” of Donatella Versace“, the second more disturbing is “But in yet more evidence of the city’s extraordinary property boom, visitors attending the launch of the 168m-high Aykon Tower were told that all of the Thames-facing apartments had already been snapped up in ‘pre-sales’“, I personally believe that this is incorrect. I believe that the quote should be “all of the Thames-facing apartments had already been offered to the in-crowd and those to be considered special ‘friends’“, the fact that we see the added information “Forced by planning rules to include social housing, the developers are erecting a separate, rather more squat building for housing association tenants. It will have a “poor door” – a separate entrance to the main tower – and no access to the luxury amenity floor“, now we can accept that like with a luxury liner or a plane, the first class has extra options and those travelling coach do not get those, yet, the fact that this is approached with ‘a poor door’ shows how eager London realtors seems to be pushing for class distinction. The added issue is not just what is pushed for classes it is the part “In a revealing insight into the economics of London’s residential tower-building frenzy, Hamptons reckons that buyers need only put down a 5% deposit now – around £50,000 on a typical one-bed flat – and another 20% over the next 18 months, yet they could then walk away with a profit projected at £230,000 on a £1m apartment without even stepping inside” that takes the cake, a side of growth that will benefit less than 1% of the top incomes of the UK, which amounts to a little less than 500,000 people. And this is only the first of several projects. So is this an overreaction on my side?

Consider that this market is about resale, a form of resale before the apartments have been completed, the fact that this entire setup, even though it is set for regeneration of the Nine Elms district and it is nice that the US Embassy is going to that area, but how is this helping the 99% that can never afford this? So, even as we read that 25% of this building is for social housing (minus the amenities), 90 houses does not go far, even though I will admit that 90 is a start, considering it needs well over 35,000 new social rental properties each year, this in an age where the London cost goes up almost 20% each year and the pressure of homelessness and rents blowing out of proportions and poor conditions in existing homes only pushes up pressures, giving additional illustration on how inappropriate the Aykon Tower seems to be.

In addition, the fact that this seems to be a money rush from foreigners to foreigners is added ammunition for the people of London to get truly disgruntled.

Yet the issue remains, how to solve it all? You see, as I see it London is only digging its own grave here, by allowing for London to become unaffordable, how will hospitals continue? When nurses require 3 hours travel every day in a time when they are already exhausted, how long until they find a hospital with affordable living nearby? How will shops continue when staff can no longer get to where they work? Never mind the shops closing down due to the internet. London is already unaffordable, now with the overload of foreign investors who are buying property they will never live in, that shift of living balance will deteriorate even further. You see many shops rely on more than just tourists and when the London population are wealthy foreigners just parking their ‘however begotten gains’ London will face the silence of the grave sooner rather than later.

Still, how exaggerated is this view?

Well, first off, several sources already claimed in 2013 that buying a house whilst earning less than £500k ($800k) is pretty much no longer an option. Now consider the quote “the mid-ranking banker on an income of less than £500k ($800k) – he (or she) often can’t afford to buy a house in London“, which pretty much states the issue, if even bankers can no longer get by, what remains? And that is just housing, schooling and other elements have not been considered. So as we consider the dangers for London, please keep in mind that upcoming jobs will soon not matter as those working cannot afford to pay rent at all. This means that either new jobs are paid higher from the start, or a switch pushing jobs away from London into other regions (where possible) would become the next set of nails into the Coffin named London.

When we read the additional advertisements regarding The Abbey Tower boasting a ‘fully private block with no social housing’, I wonder why these people are coming to London to begin with. Even though it was met with the comment by London Assembly member Darren Johnson on how honest it was, I do wonder if he was biting his nails on this one, even as we read that London mayor Boris Johnson has been urging to give Londoners a chance to get on the housing ladder, it seems to me that the solution offered by  DICO UK Property Holdings Ltd is to make sure that Londoners cannot even close to afford it, this in light that the studio apartment is only affordable for the top 1% of the earners and how many of those are willing to go to a studio apartment?

Which takes me to an interesting find regarding the Canary Wharf Tower, that even though it went to the local population for 50% of it, the rest went to foreign investors, which includes a fair amount of Greeks, so where did THEY get the money from? Aren’t they down half a trillion and in that light, if these places are now regarded as options for possible tax evaders, how will others react to this? The danger of London becoming a haven for parking possibly ill-gotten gains is not one we can ignore.

Consider that I have been on a decently good income, even that income will now no longer give me anything within the M25 circle, whilst I was living across the street from former Prime Minister John Howard just a few years ago. That shift is weird and scary for any person to consider, so as we consider that Life in London would be limited to the Saturday visit, how scared does parliament need to get before they realise that they are largely responsible for making the housing market unobtainable for those under 40, so as they need another solution, where will they go and once they leave what will be left?

And even though the Labour party ignored this issue for what should be regarded as ‘their powerbase’, so as the Labour party whinges “a result of the Government’s failure to build enough new homes“, yet when we look at 1997 – 2010 we see that for every 170 houses sold under Right To Buy between 1997 and 2013, only one new social home was built. Minister Stephen Williams (Liberal Democrat) stated “the number of social rented homes under Labour falling by 420,000 from 1997 to 2010“, so how surprised should Ed Miliband be that he did not get elected? Even now we see half-baked promises by the Labour party stating on their site (http://www.labourinlondon.org.uk/london_housing_crisis), which, pardon my British is a load of Bollocks (Johnny Rotten was a great English teacher). Consider the quote “We will start a massive increase in house building – to at least 200,000 homes a year“, this is nowhere near realistic. Where do they think to build them? Relabelling Anglia into Far-East London might not go over well. Considering that it makes Chelmsford Middle-Eastern London will be met with even more opposition, especially in light of the pummelling Chris Vince got by Sir Simon Burns (51% versus 19%). So as the Labour party is wondering why they were not elected, I wonder how a dose of realism will help them. Yet, this is not about just Labour, the Tories have made near equal disastrous actions in the housing department and it will take a massive realignment in off course actions to come even close to saving part of what was lost. As we see the massive profits that The Aykon Tower is making another arrangement is needed, especially as the builders know that they will make a really good living, instead of having them get away with their 75% option, giving them an option of only 10% in social housing with the added requirement of setting down at least two buildings first that are 75% affordable housing in another part of London might be an option. Still, we have to consider that as the space within the M25 is now dwindling down to zero, other options have to be considered, including the nightmare scenario of a population cap for London. That last part is not even close to realistic from my side, but consider the risk of choosing between London Partial Living Ltd. and Cemetery London Inc.

Which of the two would you choose?

 

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The day after the election before

It is nice to see the fallout reign over papers and TV shows alike. How some Tories see the demise of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage entertaining, I myself have mixed feelings on such an act! The right party won as I see it, yet that is no grounds to see the others kicked when they are down. It also seems a little silly to replace one leader for the next wannabe because the previous one lost. That is a loser’s mentality! You see, in my view there is no better Labour consideration, who will fill his seat? Liz Kendall? I took her apart in that tech article she added her name to in the Guardian, if she takes control, great! That means the next two administrations are extremely likely to be Tory too, works for me! Andy Burnham? Seems like a decent labour man. I do not know too much about him other that he seems to be devoted to his wife, his children and the labour party (in that order). He does not seem to be a strong leader, but his last true test was when he turned 40, so he might have risen to the occasion, if he wins time will tell!

If Miliband is not an option, it seems to me that Angela Eagle, Rachel Reeves and Chris Leslie are worthy options here. I consider the two ladies because no matter what rises to leader in any party, it is best that this person comes with a few awesome economic degrees. Chris Leslie is not that but still has a decent view on matters, in addition to whatever he brings, he was able to overturn Keighley from Tory to Labour and did so with a decent margin. That makes him a tough opponent and a possible political price fighter. The fact that he was a former private secretary to Lord Falconer would work in his favour too (footnote: not the same Falconer as in R v Falconer (1990) 171 CLR 30).

I have a limited view on who should lead Labour. Even though Ed Miliband made his share of errors, especially as he went into the final lap, there is no guarantee that the replacement politician will not make the same mistakes (or worse).

When we look at the Liberal Democrats, there seems to be only confusion. That is to be expected, the Liberal Democrat fighter goes into the ring, got his fists ready and gets clobbered with a spiked bat. That is what losing 49 seats is likely to feel like. I always thought of Nick Clegg as a decent fellow, yet how wrong was his message to lose THAT many seats? Of course Scotland costed him a bundle (except for Shetland, them pony’s be faithful). The only way to restore the party is by finding a true visionary. It seems that Lord Ashdown has one massive fight on his hand finding that person. To be honest, I reckon that as we see the current choice is Norman Lamb and Tim Farron, Tim Farron would be the favourite here as I see it. The main reason is that Tim is a little left leaning. He can rally the ‘deserters’ on the right and sway several labour players on the left. This would give him the tactical move to restore the party to power, but that is not done overnight, it will likely take more than one election, so if He can sway enough people before the next general election, the Liberal Democrats would regain party fame as well as visibility.

Now we get to UKIP. I will not bore you with too many details, the issue here is who would be good. Here I take the current achievements in consideration. Steven Woolfe falls off the map then. He is bright, but consider that he has Stockport and he trailed both Conservative and Labour by a lot, being 50% below conservatives and almost 75% below Labour is not a good place, if you have your constituency at 13% you are not doing too well and the same can be said for Patrick O’ Flynn, who is trailing the four bigger ones by an uncomfortable margin, which is the only reason why I do not see them as UKIP party leader successors. Even though, according to the BBC article Douglass Carswell took himself out of the race, I am not convinced that this would be in the interest of UKIP. He won his place from the conservatives with a comfortable margin and squatted Labour ‘choice’ Tim Young like nothing you saw (likely with support from Giles Watling). My only concern here is that I personally feel that any party leader needs to have a decent degree in economics, because the next 5 administrations will all be about the economy and finding new ways to boost it to better heights, no matter who gets to be in charge. Although, the reasoning Carswell is the right one, Nigel Farage might have lost his constituency, the rise in votes is almost astronomical. If we go by the numbers of the last election we can see that there are at least 5 constituencies where winning is a realistic option for the next time around. They can give serious worry to at least 6 additional constituencies. That makes for 11 constituencies that obtainable if the right paths are walked, before Farage that was never even an option. If UKIP keeps its heads together and do not waste energy on futile public exclamations that only confuse the voters they could win a lot more, they basically got 5% of the votes. If they can rise to 11%-13% several locations will fall in favour of UKIP, which is not an outlandish goal or even an unrealistic one.

Now to the Conservatives, my own side!

There is a comfortable margin for the Tories, but as stated above, UKIP has the power to grow. Tactically speaking the best thing conservatives can hope for is that UKIP takes over a few more LD constituencies and try to have a go at the labour won areas. That tactic will work fine form UKIP for now, yet, to some extent it will work favourably for the conservatives too. Yet, there are areas, especially around Manchester where UKIP is a close third to the Tories with Labour on top, getting those people active in a decent and thought out way could pave for a strong third administration in 2020. As UKIP needs to focus on the attack and swaying, the Tories can for now rely on building a strong foundations within their constituencies, that strength could be the path for administration 3 and 4. It is not a given, but it is a realistic view.

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full)

 

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The after election party

I have had a few words in the past in several ways. I for one thought the UKIP would become a much larger player, this did not happen, but is that fact totally true?

You see, when we look at the very nice full election map the Guardian made available (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full), we are shown an interesting option, not when we look at the winner, but when we select ‘vote share UKIP‘. Now we see the view I had, which is to be honest a minority view. The purple map show one true dark spot (the one area they got), but we also see a fair bit of purple all over Britain. Hartlepool, Haywood & Middleton, Rotherham, Boston & Skegness, East of London and North-West of Birmingham. All areas that have clear UKIP representation, and even though not a winner, the European events as they are unfurling could make these new powerbases. But that is not for the immediate at present. The Conservatives could diffuse the situation and see how the minds of these areas can change, because Nigel Farage is down, but he is in no way out at present. You see, in all these areas UKIP came second and in some cases only by a small minority that this loss became fact. This means that in those areas trouble will brew for whomever held that constituency.

There is another side for the Guardian, that map they produced (which would not work during the elections for me), is still an amazing source of information, so I hope that they will release it as an app for mobile tablets as the information will be useful to many people who keep an eye out on British politics.

So how wrong was I? That is the question I ask myself. I felt comfortable with my predictions and the map (as well as the numbers) show that UKIP could have been much more powerful, but why that did not happen is less easily answered. You see, as we focus on Nigel Farage, we need to consider how well and how well supported Jane Collins was for Rotherham. The same question counts for John Bickley in Heywood & Middleton as well as Philip Broughton in Hartlepool. Three politicians who got close to make Nigel cry out loudly. UKIP seems very happy with the amount of votes they got, so as the Liberal Democrats move into the basement office space, UKIP is on the way up. This is not me poking fun of the Liberal Democrats, I tend not to kick a man when he is down. If that person is a militant extremist, I might shoot that person in the head, but this is politics, not a warzone (even though the difference in a week before elections is really hard to tell).

You see, when you look at the vote share map, but now, when we look a Liberal Democrats, an odd situation occurs. I am not talking about the massive losses they led, but wherever the Liberal Democrats have a decent footholds, UKIP tends to have near zero influence. This is exactly what I mean when I said ‘the Conservatives could diffuse the situation’. It is almost like the Liberal Democrats are a conservative buffer, keeping UKIP even further from any chance of being a contender. Perhaps there is the difference, but also the danger. If we accept that those moving away from the Conservative, or not entirely ready to be conservatives are Liberal Democrats (or UKIP), then it stands to reason that the Liberal Democrats could be the new power base for UKIP if they can get their acts right. If too many of the LD goes towards UKIP, the initial prediction I made would be exceeded by a lot, which also means that the Conservatives will have to start wooing the LD in a few ways from day 2.

Now that Nick Clegg has resigned (not sure if that was a good idea), we need to consider two parts.

The first part is that the data seems to imply that the Liberal Democrats had a two sided battle, one not moving to either Conservatives or UKIP (remember that UKIP had a massive addition of votes, but not victories), second to move the party forward. In this I actually like the headline the Telegraph offered (who would have thunk that!), which read ‘History will judge Nick Clegg more kindly than the voters have‘, I think I can second that to some degree. In my view Nick Clegg was not a true leader as I saw it, more of a follower of the Conservatives for as far as it benefitted the Liberal Democrats. It is not much of a standpoint, but it is a valid one. The pilot fish does not traverse the oceans on his own power and as long as the conservative and Liberal Democrat path are in the same direction it is not a biggie.

Yet, I must state that I never saw Nick Clegg as a leader, but was he a decent leader of the Liberal Democrats? That part remains, because who can take over? The four names that usually follow are Danny Alexander, David Laws, Lord Ashdown and Tim Farron. We can leave Lord Ashdown aside, he is the man who gave serious life to the Liberal Democrats, a youthful youngling, born slightly before 1950, originally from New Delhi. Former diplomat, intelligence officer and long-time MP for Yeovil, in the county of Somerset. My initial thought? I do not think he will return as the leader of the LD, but he will be there, as a man behind the curtains, the party orchestrator holding the strings and pulling those (read: advising) that will lead the Liberal Democrats back to strength.

Danny Alexander has a new ghost to fight, as former MP to Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, he faces other demons (one named SNP), no matter how LD minded he is, the link that would be drawn between the LD and the SNP are too dangerous to allow them to be voiced too often. There is also every chance that the SNP will woe this capable politician down the road, that is not a given, just a possibility. David Laws is another matter, so I will skip him for a moment, which leaves us with Tim Farron. My vote would go towards him for one wrong reason, which is the fact that David Laws and Lords Ashdown are both Yovillians. David pretty much took over from his lordship leaving us with a student mentor relationship, whether true or false, this is how it looks ant that can be deadly in politics. There is no doubt that David Laws will remain the power player in the LD, but I fear not that of leader. There are other members that could rise to the occasion, people like Gerald Vernon-Jackson that could rise to it all if the right push and mentor for higher office comes around, but for now my focus remains Tim Farron. The fact that in the past he was able to sway Tories to vote his way only gives weight to his ‘fighting’ spirit. Will my view pan out to be the correct one? I dare not say, but I do know that the Liberal Democrats have less than a week to make a decision, because the members of a party without a leader tend to go shopping as soon as possible for the ‘leader’ that will represent their issues the best and there is absolutely no chance that they are all considering the Conservative party.

For now, the UK remains conservative and I hope that they will get the deficit and the total debt down, because the reality that Greece is about to bring to the table is not a nice one and the UK better be prepared for what follows, because the Guardian had one article that smouldered sarcasm called ‘nine reasons to be cheerful’, in it there is mention on how Farage lost his constituency, which is unfortunate for Nigel, but the one that does truly matter is the one quoting “Someone at the Treasury gets to write a hilarious ‘I’m afraid there is no money’ note to themselves this morning“, yes, that is true, but let’s not forget that this is mostly due to the failings of Labour, which got the Conservatives re-elected. The nation and nations at large are facing the consequences of previous governments overspending by so much that European Austerity is here to stay for at least two administrations that are to come, this one not included. So, when you consider the ‘no money left‘ issue, then also realise that above all that Greece will need an additional 30 billion (perhaps even more), an amount of which the UK gets to pay a share, the economy has been misrepresented on a European level and the economists at the Guardian have no clue as to why the predictions are so far off. Here we see the exact same as the wrongful ‘hung parliament‘ prediction, the people are no longer believing the unrealistic promises that came from Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, with the added part that they were almost on the side of Nigel Farage, but found him a little too extreme and above all, the press is no longer trusted with the ‘predictions’ they make, especially economic ones.

So as I feel that UKIP is down but not out, there is a real danger that many places will consider UKIP to be the choice next time, many did, but not enough to sway electorates, the fact that they got in second in too many places is downplayed for now and will become an issue down the road, because the upcoming decade of Austerity is not a nice one. The Greek issue should have been slammed down hard, but those relying to survive on Status Quo are too powerful for now, that is until the next European general elections that will impact the UK, which will be France in 2017. They will very much consider the EU referendum and the tantrums of Greece are not helping. On the other hand extremism has an advantage, the fact that the not so ‘clued in’ father of Marine Le Pen (Jean-Marie Le Pen) is sinking her advantage by opening his mouth is good for the National Front opposition, but it is in no way a guarantee that National Front will not sweep the nation. Should they do so than Europe will face a Euro without France, at which point the UK will not be left with any options but to enforce ‘Brexit’ any way possible. So the tactical choice of holding the referendum AFTER the French elections makes perfect sense, but that reality is now completely depending on the actions and success of National Front, which means that there is no half way option left.

Again, I could just be totally wrong!

 

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