Wednesday, 8 August 2012

#ToryTantrums: Or why Andrew Lilico is a muppet

Andrew Lilico is one of ConservativeHome's favourite columnists. That is to say, they regularly call upon him to write the kind of ill-informed, inaccurate drivel that makes up the bulk of thought within the tory party.

And yesterday's article by him is no exception. In it he rants and raves about the evil liberals (that's people like me by the way) who are being "disingenuous" and who are "welching" on the coalition agreement by saying that, because tories won't support Lords reform, they won't for changing the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies.

Now, just to quickly recap, Lords reform is a treasured Lib Dem policy because we don't think it's right that lawmakers in the upper house should be able to sit their for life at the taxpayers expense without anyone having ever elected them. And changing the parliamentary boundaries is a favoured tory policy because, in addition to equalising the size of constituencies, they also want to reduce the number of MPs by 50 as this would reduce the in built bias which lets Labour win a majority in parliament with fewer votes than are needed for a tory majority.

So, moving on, Andrew Lilico comes out with this gem:

But let's be clear, here. There was no Coalition agreement to introduce a Bill for a PR-elected Lords, but there was a specific commitment in the Coalition agreement to introduce a bill to reduce the number of MPs and have more equal-sized constituencies. The boundary review is, in the Coalition agreement, specifically tied to the referendum on AV which was duly held. The Conservatives have not broken any commitment in the Coalition agreement by not passing a PR-elected Lords Bill. But the Lib Dems are breaking such a commitment if they do not pass the boundary review.
Now aside from the fact that "but let's be clear" is normally political code for "let's obfuscate and twist the truth" the simple fact is that Andrew Lilico undermines the entirety of his argument in the first sentence of his argument. Yes, there was no explicit commitment in the Coalition agreement to introduce a bill to reform the House of Lords. And yes there was a commitment to bring forwards a bill  on changing the parliamentary constituency boundaries.

But "bring forwards a bill" does not mean "and  then we will vote for it". All it commits the coalition to doing is bringing a bill before parliament. Well, there is such a bill before parliament. And Lib Dem MPs and peers voted for it in order to bring it before parliament. However, there is no commitment in the coalition agreement for them to actually vote for the boundary changes proposed by the electoral commission when they're presented to parliament. End of.

So, I hate to break it to Mr Lilico, but his entire argument is completely wrong. You see, if you're going to make arguments based on the literal interpretation of words and a legalistic look at things then it does rather help if you've actually got your facts right. Which Mr Lilico hasn't. Which all the other tories throwing tantrums about the nasty Lib Dems haven't.

But, since, as we all know, the conservative party as a whole isn't exactly blessed with an ability to see reality if it dances right in front of their face, I think I'm just going to sit back with some popcorn and watch the show. If there's one thing I truly love about this coalition it's its glorious ability to piss off the kind of right wing troglodytes who write for and comment on ConservativeHome.


  1. The Tories have let you down and broken their promises.

    Cameron said that they would not support AV, but that he would not campaign against it. He did!

    Now he's let you down big time, because he is too weak to control his loonie right wing Nazis who desperately want the House of Lords for a retirement home, and a title "for their wives" of course.

    So stuff him, I say. Don't give him his extra 20 seats at the next election and save us from the utter horror of 5 years of Tory rule.

    1. Calling people who disagree with you Nazis is despicable. You should be ashamed.

  2. There is no commitment of any kind in the Coalition agreement for the Conservatives to support House of Lords reform. This was a Government Bill so Conservative Ministers were bound to support it. This they did with the exception of some Juniors who have lost their posts. Cameron has betrayed no-one.

  3. George Potter agreed with the above statement on Conservative Home. He also agreed that there was agreement on Boundary Changes although LiberalDemocrat MPs would not be whipped to vote for it. It is a Government Bill so if LiberalDemocrat Ministers vote against it they will be breaking the Coalition Agreement.

    1. No. There is no commitment in the coalition agreement for tories to vote for Lords reform. Neither is there a commitment for Lib Dems to vote for the boundary changes. There is an implied commitment in both cases but, since you tories have decided to play silly buggers and stick to the letter rather than the spirit of the agreement then I'm pointing out that you can't complain if we do the same.

      There is nothing in the coalition agreement saying that Lib Dem ministers have to vote for the boundary changes. It is a government bill and therefore there might normally be an expectation that ministers would vote for it but there is no obligation on them to do so - particularly as Cameron has effectively agreed that it's okay for them not to vote for the changes.

      But the big picture you're missing is that the coalition agreement is a bargain. You get A, B and C, we get X, Y and Z. If we vote for and pass all of your things and you refuse to pass one of ours then the only way the coalition can continue is if we stop backing one of your things in return. In this case the thing we chose not to back was the boundary changes as, constitutionally, without improved scrutiny from a reformed Lords, they would have only strengthened the executive at the expense of parliament. Of course we could have chosen something else so perhaps you'd care to suggest an alternative, treasured tory policy we could kill.

      Welfare reforms perhaps? NHS reforms? The lowering of thre 50p tax rate? Osborne's economic Plan A?

      You see, as I said, it really is quite simple: we voted for plenty of tory policies that weren't in the coalition agreement (welfare reforms, NHS reforms and cuts to legal aid, for example) so, unless you're prepared to vote for Lib Dem policies in returned, then you've got no excuse for throwing a tantrum when we respond in kind.

    2. George, you flit backward and forward with no solid base to your arguments. Your leaders ratted on the NHS reform after Clegg signed them off. You supported Osborne's economic plan before the election but didn't tell anyone you had done so.

      The boundary chbanges were linked to thei AV Referendum. They had no connection to House of Lords reform or is Clegg a liar? You and your party are being childish and petulant. Ask David Steel what he thinks. I am not missing the big picture at all. You had your AV referendum and were soundly rejected by the electorate. The Conservatives fulfilled their obligations on HoL reforms and more. Theymgave in to you on NHS reform.

      You should grow up.


      You may leave a reply but it won't be read. I have no desire to come to a site populated by the idiots who throw Nazi at people they don't agree with. You should be ashamed to have them on your site. If you agree with them then you are as bad as they are.

    3. The interesting thing about people who stomp of in high dudgeon announcing that they will neither read nor reply to any further communication on a subject, is that they invariably do.

      I simply repeat my point that ever since Peter Lily with his "little list", governments have done their best to demonize those who were unemployed, or in receipt of benefits for some reason or other.

      Brown's government and this one have taken it to extremes.

      The employment of Atos, not only for Incapacity Benefit claimants, but now also Disability Living Allowance, the methods used to remove 88% of people from protection, the denials of the existence of targets by management, but their obvious existence, is morally repugnant.

      However, a largely decent population has been persuaded that this is the right thing to do, because of a steady drip of examples of cheats and scoundrels.

      The government has done nothing to discourage this, indeed it has frequently pointed out that most people on benefits need not be on them, but enjoy being there, because they get money for nothing, and if only they made a bit of an effort they could be perfectly able to work.

      They have lied on occasions (probably mainly be inference) about how much money is wasted by keeping scroungers in benefits, and they even went as far as to try to ban an English Ministry of Defence video showing people how deal with the tests and to appeal against decisions. (A perfectly normal kind of information video produced by a Justice Department that would represent actual real justice.)

      The brainwashing of the public into hating a particular group in society is exactly how the Hitler regime managed to persuade a reasonable decent German public to hate their next door neighbours, and to not protest when they were taken away.

      There has been little protest about the fact that Atos has been ruining people's lives, because the propaganda says that there's nothing wrong with these people except a good dose of laziness, so Mr Average has no problem with them being made to go work for nothing.

      Anyway... Hannam will undoubtedly have read this, but has now shut himself off from a method of reply, unless done under a pseudonym.

  4. Hannam: I don't call people I don't agree with Nazis.

    Otherwise I'd call an awful lot of people Nazis.

    However, the methods used to take the people with the Nazi party and allow what happened in German to happen, are not terribly dissimilar to those used by the government to make us dislike unemployed, and now sick people. Hate crime against disabled people has increased dramatically since the DWP started quoting very selectively the numbers cheating on Incapacity Benefits, IB, and DLA.

    They have persuaded the masses that nearly everyone who in claiming is perfectly able to work, and are diddling the country out of vast amounts. Meanwhile around 30 people a week die after being told they are fit to work. We wouldn't tolerate that if they hadn't persuaded us that these people are cheats.

    Now they are starting on the old. We are going to have a situation where old people will be ashamed to live too long taking pensions and medical care. We have already been told that families must take more responsibility for old people, and not leave it to the state.

    Oh yes, there are Nazi leanings in the Tory party.

  5. This is gibberish and you know it. Nobody believes that most people claiming benefit are scroungers. I am disabled and very much resent your tone. However, there are people claiming to be disabled who are frauds and should be dealt with.

    To call this Government Nazi shows you have no idea whatever of what Nazism was. You insult the Jews, disabled people and others with your unediifying rant.

  6. No. Yo're entirely wrong. I do not insult anyone with this except members of the Tory party, whom I intend to insult.

    If you are offended then I regret that but you need to grow a thicker skin. I feel this on behalf of unemployed and sick people with whom I work.

    Many commentators have remarked how this is happening. Osborne and Cameron, although with his despicable DWP ministers Smith and Grayling (not too whiter than white on the expenses front) have managed to make people believe that it is wrong to be unemployed and that 88% of people claiming sickness/invalidity/incapacity/DLA are fit to work.

    The right wing of the party can't abide homosexuals, and they are doing their best to blame unemployment on what does that remind me of?

    You need to look at the figures. There has been a dramatic rise in hate crime against disabled and sick people since this lot slithered into power.

    Unedifying rant, you say? Good god, listen to yourself.

  7. And the insults continue. I hope never to grow a thick skin and become like you. You should note that these measures are supported by the LibDems. Are they also Nazis? I think unedifying rant fits what you write very well but feel free to use your own terminology.

  8. They may be supported by the Liberals in government, and shame on them for that; I thought better of them. I haven't met one person in the country, or one Lib Dem blogger, including George, whose space we are using, who agrees with them.

    YOu may remember that I referred to the right wingers of the Tory party in these terms. I don't think that there are any, and there certainly aren't many Liberals that far to the right.

    If you are happy with what the Tories are doing, fine. Enjoy it while you can. I have a feeling it will be another very long time before they are back in government, unless of course Scotland gets independence in which case you'll probably have them forever (sans David Cameron though methinks)..

  9. I don't understand your second paragraph. Did you mean many ? Why do you insist on referring to the Tories and not the Coalition? The LibDems are in there as well. This implies deep seated and irrational hatreds in you. Against such blind prejudice I will brush the sand from my sandals and move on. Bye.

  10. Right. Mixed messages there. You asked me to clarify a paragraph, you asked me a question, and then implied that you wished no further truck with me.

    I'm happy enough with that. Discussion with you hasn't been a pleasant experience.

    However, I will answer your questions.

    You said "You should note that these measures are supported by the LibDems. Are they also Nazis?"

    I referred you to my original mention of the word Nazi, and to the fact that I had originally mentioned it in context of the right wingers of the Tory party. I don't consider Ken Clarke a Nazi. I doubted that there were many Liberals as far right as the right wing of the Tory party.

    I don't think that there are ANY, and there certainly aren't MANY (if there are any).

    I hope that is clearer.

    Yes, I realise that it is a coalition, but by and large it is a Tory government, not unsurprisingly given the numbers on either side.

    Yes, I have a deep seated hatred of Tories. I am Scottish. We still haven't got over what Thatcher did to our country, which is why by a small majority we seem to have elected, on the borders with England, one pathetic little Tory.

    Almost without exception in Scotland we don't like Tories, and we didn't vote for them, and yet they are all over us like the smell of a bad drain.

    Have a good weekend.


  11. I agree with tris.The Tories are behaving just like the Nazi Party in the Demonising of the Disabled.

    Lain Duncan Smith could put Joseph Goebbels to shame with his out and out Propaganda.

    Just google about Atos and you will find out what the Tories are doing.In fact,George Potter,the Blog owner has wrote many articles on the Welfare Reform Bill.And if you are a frequent visitor here you will know that,if not,just another Tory Troll.

    And yes the LibDems did go along with this abortion of a bill,and I will never forgive the LibDems that let this happen.But some LibDems like George Potter are very decent people.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.