Author Archives: David Allen

Buy the Brexit Pig – in a poke!


It’s the chance of a lifetime!  Roll up, in your millions!  Come and buy our beautiful Brexit Pig – in a poke!

When Brexit wins, June 24th will be a Golden Dawn*!  Our Prime Minister, Whoever that might be, will soon show Angela Merkel who’s boss!

  • What’s that you say? We’re going to let Cameron stay on?  But that will be disastrous, he’ll drag his feet, it’ll all go pear-shaped!  Surely we need to tell the nation that it’ll be Our Man?
  • What’s that you say? That there’d be chaos, Boris slugging it out with Gove, the Opposition parties threatening to bring down the government?  It’s a nightmare!  What can we tell the public?  I know!  Let’s tell them nothing!  Let’s dodge the question, say nothing at all about who will lead us out of Europe, and hope they don’t notice the problem.  Keep that pig firmly in its poke!

Anyway, our Prime Minister Whoever will know exactly how to deal with Europe.  It certainly won’t be like Norway!

  • What’s that you say? That Cameron is bound to go for the Norway approach, which comes closest to no-change?  Keep quiet about that.  We haven’t told the public who Prime Minister Whoever will be, remember!  Keep that pig firmly in its poke!
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

Why the polls really got it wrong

The statisticians appointed by the British Polling Council have spoken.  The cause of the 2015 opinion poll disaster was – wait for it – statistical sampling error.  Pollsters chose the wrong mix of people.  Never mind that they had previously blamed bad statistics for their 1992 disaster, and thought they had then sorted out how to do the maths.

Meanwhile, professionals and pundits agreed that asking which party had the best leader was, consistently, a more reliable guide to who would win.  Thus, if they’d just relied on the finding that Cameron led Miliband in 2015, they’d have called it right.

Hang on, though!  If the problem was really a faulty, Labour-biased sample, then why should that sample be any less biased when asked “Who’s the best leader?”  If you have a biased sample, changing the question you ask them cannot possibly get rid of the bias!

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 48 Comments

An Ideology for the Liberal Democrats?

agenda2020aThe new Agenda 2020 consultation on Liberal Democrat Philosophy appears on a special page of the Libdems website which provides the consultation paper and a box for members to submit comments. However, these would then seem to disappear without trace, so that only the privileged will see what anyone else has said. Not a very liberal start. LDV provides a better forum for open discussion, so – here’s my shot.

The consultation paper says:

All political philosophies are based on a view of human nature. … We believe in the essential goodness and improvability of humankind.

Deep breath. Well, OK, I do believe that humans are capable of doing good as well as evil, and that much of the time they don’t really do either. But – surely this is far too unworldly, too trusting, too out-of-touch with life’s harsher realities?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 34 Comments

Refugees – Europe’s failure to plan by consensus


To state the obvious, Europe is failing to tackle its long term refugee “crisis”.  Less obviously, I would argue that it is primarily a failure of analysis and planning, and above all, failure to seek consensus.

Ironically, Cameron gets closest to a coherent plan.  He plans a token effort, just enough to defuse criticism and satisfy shallow consciences.  Then he can retreat into military fantasy, and dream of the Pax Britannica he will impose in Syria, just as we did in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq (!)

Merkel’s plan, if more appealing, contains a gaping hole.  Germany blithely invites half a million refugees a year.  But when they come, Germany demands that other nations should also take a share.  Eastern Europe angrily refuses to play ball.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Opinion: The Conservative campaign – some concerns


It is an opportune time to take issue with some of the key planks of the Conservative campaign.

Mr Crosby, who likes simple messages, has primarily put forward just two.  The first is that the Tories have a long term economic plan.  The second is a clever cartoon presenting Miliband as a puppet in Salmond’s pocket.

It might perhaps be argued that George W Bush, who repeated endlessly that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al-Qaida, was the original inspiration for the “Long Term Economic Plan” campaign.  Surveys showed that a majority of Americans came to believe a story known to be entirely false.  Constant repetition of the untruth helped Bush justify the invasion of Iraq.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Stop state sponsorship of sweat shops

BBC News reports:

Outlining proposed restrictions on tax credits and child benefits, Mr Cameron said a migrant in work with two children was getting £700 a month on average in support from the state, twice the amount paid in Germany and three times as much as in France.

Let’s forget about migrants for a moment. Britain’s “generous” in-work benefits are payable to all. Should we be proud of our “generosity”?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Opinion: Devo-Instant – a recipe for disaster

Union FlagWe are now into headless chicken mode. With a week to “save the Union”, we are contemplating fundamental constitutional reform at breakneck speed, driven by a timetable drafted on the back of a fag packet by Gordon Brown. Decades of unresolved debate about conflicting options will now be sorted out in months.

We all know about the Dangerous Dogs Act, “emergency” legislation which turned out unworkable. This time we’re not just talking about dangerous dogs. We are talking about the dangers of a botched constitutional settlement and national disintegration.

For politicians who don’t understand, this is not just about abstract ideas like regional government or an English Parliament. It is about organisation. It is about making sure there is one authority for each necessary task, not three or zero. It is about the jobs of those who skivvy for you politicians and do these tasks. It cannot be set up in a fortnight.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 25 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 20th Nov - 1:02am
    I would have thought the reality of local work bringing results is a little more cheerful than Peter wrote. For one thing, the grass-roots built...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Nov - 12:27am
    I suggest everyone adopt my home town team of little old Huddersfield Town as their 'second club'. They have the lowest cost season tickets in...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 20th Nov - 12:02am
    Andy Daer is right. I have no problem with the idea of a cross-party review. But if a party, ANY party, is simply going to...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 19th Nov - 11:58pm
    Sorry if I'm being dim here Mr Walter, I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that someone is doing something wrong here? Or...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 19th Nov - 11:50pm
    Join those of us at non-league football - simple enough. Season tickets at some of the low-level clubs come in as low as £40 for...
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 19th Nov - 11:33pm
    Lorenzo I welcome your explanation and sincerely hope the present review does result in further improved procedures.