A hilarious piece of political parody


By MatthewHarris
April 13, 2010
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Somebody produced a very funny parody of Cameron Conservatism, a spoof manifesto that was so trendily pretentious as to sum up the marketing guff of David Cameron. I couldn't read it without bursting out laughing at several points. I assume it's meant to have been written by the Conservative spin doctor character from The Thick of It. Either way, it's very funny, so I really urge you to take look: http://media.conservatives.s3.amazonaws.com/manifesto/cpmanifesto2010_lo....

There is, meanwhile, an energy company currently advertising with posters encouraging people to buy less energy - from an energy company. Yes, it's supposed to "shock" readers into thinking that this is so unlikely, that it can't be true, to get us to read the posters in astonishment. Yawn. Anyway, the Conservatives' pitch makes me think of that: a big corporate entity trying to show us that, hey, it's not just a bunch of men in suits, it's a bunch of young and funky people like YOU (no thanks). The Tories remind me of a big company whose website boasts of what they've been doing "in the community", with photos of grinning employees who've just run the London Marathon for charity. Of course, corporate social responsibility and the running of marathons for charity are deeply admirable things, but not when they crop up in cheesy corporate videos and naff advertisements for energy companies or the Conservative Party.

I just saw a Conservative Party Election Broadcast which was totally devoid of content or policy; it was just meant to make us think that a diverse bunch of "ordinary people" (as if there was ever such a thing) is voting Conservative, so YOU can too...Perhaps their slogan should be "Take the politics out of politics". I don't want phone companies to tell me "At X, we want to bring people together" - no, you want to make a profit, and I'm a liberal, so that's OK with me, and jolly well get on with selling me things without all this nonsense.

The Conservative Party resembles nothing so much as an oil company that is seeking to re-brand following a pollution disaster off a protected coastline. I really don't like it. No, really, beyond the fact that I am not a Conservative anyway, I really don't like it. I understand the philosophy that is English conservatism, on which the Conservatives have turned their back. Just as there are liberals outside liberal parties, so there are conservatives outside the Conservative Party. I actually wonder if the truest values of English conservatism - scepticism, moderation and a desire to go with the grain of human nature, not against it - are now better represented outside the Conservative Party than within it. Surely my party, with Vince Cable, is now the party of fiscal and monetary responsibility? If David Cameron claims to be a liberal conservative, can I perhaps claim to be a conservative liberal? Actually, someone did once call me "the Boris Johnson of the Liberal Democrats, but without the charm". Well, I've got the hair.

As Nick Clegg said, it's somehow typical of the Tories to launch their manifesto in a power station that isn't producing power any more. OK, I admit it, the document linked to above actually IS the Conservative manifesto, a document that is frankly beyond parody. My party's manifesto is out on Wednesday, setting out what we would do; meanwhile, here is my party's response to the Tory manifesto: http://www.libdems.org.uk/siteFiles/resources/PDF/2010%20Genera%20Electi... - well worth a read, if you're mistakenly thinking of voting Conservative.

Matthew Harris is the Lib Dem candidate for Hendon.

This blog is part of the JC.com's On The Campaign Trail blog for the Election 2010 where candidates in key Jewish areas have been invited to blog. Read more on our Election 2010 page

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 23:00

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Vince Cable is the most overrated politician on the planet.

Of course the LibDems don't do negative campaigning do they ...

Matthew Offord gets my vote in Hendon.

http://www.oyvagoy.com/?s=west+hampstead

Look how the LibDems use different leaflets for Jewish and Muslim areas. And Clegg called for an arms embargo on Israel. And Tonge disgracefully remains a LibDem peer.

The Conservatives would have vetoed Goldstone and would have closed the Universal Jurisdiction loophole.

Look how many LibDems (53) and Labour (80) signed EDM 502. Contrast with 2 Conservatives.


Joshua18

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 08:14

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"Look how the LibDems use different leaflets for Jewish and Muslim areas. And Clegg called for an arms embargo on Israel. And Tonge disgracefully remains a LibDem peer."

It's in their blood. Here's that vile toad, David Lloyd George on Hitler:

"I Talked to Hitler" by the Right Honourable DAVID LLOYD GEORGE (1936)

http://tinyurl.com/y7apak6

Incidentally, this odious Welsh midget, not content with simply praising Hitler to the skies, even tried to explain away the concentration camps. In November 1939, incredibly, Lloyd George had to be dissuaded from sending a letter to Hitler congratulating him on surviving an assassination attempt.


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 09:26

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Odious Welsh Midget???? Do you not think that's a little overblown.... and plain prejudiced.

Could you apologise please, There are Welshmen here...


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 09:33

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Besides, Chamberlain was still appeasing years later....


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 09:49

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I bet he wouldn't say "odious Welsh midget" to a Prop or Hooker after a match.


MatthewHarris

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 11:37

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David Lloyd George was a renowned philosemite and a leading Zionist; he was the British Prime Minister when the Balfour Declaration was issued, and was key to it happening at all. Hence his writing this piece in 1923: http://einshalom.com/archives/210. When Lib Dem Friends of Israel were in Jerusalem, we got our photo taken on Lloyd George Street. Indeed, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains online (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Israel%20beyond%20the%20conflict/Whats%20in%20...) that Israel's "General Allenby, Lloyd George and Lord Balfour streets honoring British leaders who championed Jewish rights to a homeland all remained in place." Of course Lloyd George was wrong to meet Hitler and praise him, just as Churchill was wrong to initially be impressed by Mussolini - a lot of people were conned by fascism and Nazism, which is kind of how the Nazis won power in the first place. Once Lloyd George realised the true horror of Nazism, he became a staunch opponent of Chamberlain's appeasement policy and was instrumental in bringing down Chamberlain and replacing him with Churchill in 1940.


Jessica Mills

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 15:44

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Well said Matthew, I won't hear a word against the Welsh. DLE - had to speak up to prove you righjt - Cardiff Jew here!


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 04/14/2010 - 17:13

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Cheers Jess, Although I'm technically only half welsh.... and I havn't lived there for years.... But even so, definitely proud to be a Celtic Jew, got the history of two ancient peoples that both determined to say sod off to the Romans....

Makes me proud.... Plus, a few more Welshmen would go a long way towards improving the quality of synagogue choirs!


Joshua18

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 06:56

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"Do you not think that's a little overblown.... and plain prejudiced."

Not at all. He was odious. He was Welsh. He was tiny.


Joshua18

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 07:31

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"David Lloyd George was a renowned philosemite and a leading Zionist;"

I am well aware of what he claimed to be. The fact remains that as late as 1936, despite what was then known about Nazi policy towards the Jews, he was not only meeting with Hitler but also praising him to the skies. Later he excused the concentration camps and even as late as November 1939 still held Hitler in extremely high regard.

"a lot of people were conned by fascism and Nazism, which is kind of how the Nazis won power in the first place."

And there were a good many fine people who were not conned by the Nazis especially as late as 1936. Lloyd George was no naïf. He was an immensely sophisticated statesman. It is quite clear that he deliberated overlooked (I am being charitable here) the virulent anti-Semitism of the Nazis because it suited him to do so. So much for his supposed philosemitism. To support him in this matter is akin to saying that you sympathise greatly with the people of Zimbabwe whilst at the same time believing Robert Mugabe to be an awfully good chap.

Vernon Bogdanor on Lloyd George and his Nazi pal:

"In a letter published in the latest issue of the Journal of Liberal History, (Issue 58, Spring 2008) Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at Oxford University, writes that he was astonished to read in the report of the discussion at the Liberal Democrat History Group meeting on 'The Greatest Liberal' that Lloyd George "was credited with being one of the first to warn of the dangers of Hitler". He added that he hoped no-one believed it.

Bogdanor then quotes various refers comments by LG, first a speech made at Barmouth in September 1933 in which LG argued that if Hitler were to be overthrown, Communism would come to Germany. Then in November 1934, in the Commons LG said: 'Do not let us be in a hurry to condemn Germany. We should be welcoming Germany as our friend'. In 1936, according to Bogdanor, LG sought to justify Hitler's remilitarisation of the Rhineland and after meeting the Fuhrer later in the year, he declared that Hitler was indeed a great man and wrote an article about him in the Daily Express headed 'The George Washington of Germany', in which he said that: 'The idea of a Germany intimidating Europe with a threat that its irresistible army might march across frontiers forms no part in the new vision', and that 'the Germans have definitely made up their minds never to quarrel with us again'. Bogdanor alleges that LG tried to explain away the concentration camps, that he declared Mein Kampf to be Germany's Magna Carta; and even after the declaration of war, in November 1939, he had to be dissuaded from sending Hitler a letter of congratulation following the Fuhrer's fortuitous escape from an assassination attempt!"

http://tinyurl.com/yyugx4r

In any event, I dispute that most people were conned by the Nazis. They were wildly popular in Germany, Austria and in many other places in Europe, at least as regards their ideology, precisely because people exactly understood what they stood for especially in relation to their treatment of Jews.

Today, your party's open hostility to Israel (a hostility based on little more than blind prejudice) and the despicable actions of Baroness Tonge will guarantee that they will obtain precious few Jewish votes in the upcoming election.


Joshua18

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 07:34

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"Besides, Chamberlain was still appeasing years later...."

So?

1) Chamberlain was appeasing Hiitler; he was not in love with the man.

2) Even if Chamberlain had been a great admirer of Hitler that would not in any way excuse the conduct of that odious Welsh midget. Perhaps Demjanjuk should try that as a defence: "Hey, man, everyone was doing it."


Joshua18

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 07:39

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"I bet he wouldn't say "odious Welsh midget" to a Prop or Hooker after a match."

Hey, let's that put that to the test. You pretend to be Welsh and then we can see what happens.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 08:28

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Clearly Josh, you lack understanding of the subtleties of language.

If somebody perceives offence in something you have said, you should apologise... Not try to defend your apparent racism through semantics. Even if you don't think you have said anything wrong, you need to have a bit of grace.

You wouldn't call me an odious welsh midget to my face, even if I hadn't had a shower that day... So don't say it online. Simple as..

Irregardless of how Lloyd George behaved, it does not give you license to behave like a (word I cant write here.)


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 09:40

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My grandparents were German Jews who came here as refugees in the 1930s, so I do know a lot about the rise of the Nazis and down the years have spoken to a lot of people who were actually there...OK, I met Vernon Bogdanor in passing when I was at my old college of Brasenose as he is/was a Fellow there, and I bow to his superior wisdom. Lloyd-George's behaviour vis a vis Hitler was disgraceful. Interestingly, he was, in addition to being deeply wrong regarding Hitler, a very important Zionist who made a crucial contribution to the Balfour Declaration. Paul Johnson's peerless History of the Jews details Lloyd-George's role vividly.

I don't accept that my party is blindly hostile to Israel. We are the only party to have passed (overwhelmingly, in 2007) a party conference motion condemning the academic boycott of Israel. Nick Clegg was the only party leader to call, last year, for the UK to boycott Durban II. We have persistently, over many decades, had a policy of supporting Israel's right to exist in peace and security, while also calling for the negotiated creation of a Palestinian state - a two-state solution.

Yes, Tonge is awful, as bad as Linton and Kaufman, which is why Nick Clegg sacked her from the front bench. Really, I don't see why one backbench peer should put people off voting for us if they agree with the broad thrust of our policies, and lots of Jewish people have said that they are voting Lib Dem in Hendon.


Marcus Dysch

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 14:33

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Matthew, do you not think the problem is not just "one backbench peer" as much as the party leader who continues to back her and himself has a strong anti-Israel line and genuine lack of understanding about the issues Israel faces?


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 16:31

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Thanks, Marcus, I don't think sacking her counts as backing her, nor do I think he has a strong anti-Israel line or a lack of understanding about the issues that Israel faces. I think he has engaged intellectually with Israel/Palestine over many years, as becomes apparent on those occasions on which he speaks about the subject at length, eg on this occasion: http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/?content_id=11415


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 21:08

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Nick called for an arms embargo on Israel

That confirms a total lack of understanding about Israel.

And the LibDems give different messages to Jews and Muslims.

Only the Conservatives offer anything approaching a fair deal for Israel.

Vote Matthew Offord in Hendon


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 21:47

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Here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/07/nick-clegg-israel-ga...) is the article in which Nick Clegg first called for an arms embargo. Read it and judge for yourself. I myself do not support an arms embargo on Israel, although I strongly agree with my party's policies on tightening up the UK arms trade more generally, which are in our manifesto.

I do, however, believe that "Israel has every right to defend itself. It is difficult to imagine what it must be like to live with the constant threat of rocket attacks from a movement which espouses terrorist violence and denies Israel's right to exist."

I also believe that the EU must "apply tough conditions on any long-term assistance to the Palestinian community."

I believe strongly that the "removal of the EU presence on the Egypt border in response to Hamas's election, for example, has made it easier for the rockets being fired at Israel to get into Gaza in the first place. An EU mission with a serious mandate and backing from Egypt and Israel would help Israel deal proportionately and effectively with the threat from weapons smuggling."

There are no limits to the extent that I believe that to "secure peace in the Middle East, Hamas must turn its back on terrorism, and help create Palestinian unity. Only unified leadership in the West Bank and Gaza can offer Israel the security guarantees that it rightly seeks."

And may I say that when it comes to Israel, "I have the country's long term interest at heart. No terrorist organisation has ever been defeated by bombs alone. Only a new approach will secure lasting peace for Israel itself."

I say all that as a British Jew with close family living in Israel. So, where do all those quotes come from? They come from the same article by Nick Clegg - the same Guardian article - in which he called for the arms embargo. It is in light of those quoted remarks that I feel able to remain a strong Lib Dem supporter of Nick Clegg on Israel issues, even if I don't personally support an arms embargo.

Oh, and if you want to know what I thought about the Gaza war, here's what I wrote publicly at the time: http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-israel-has-no-option-but-to-defend-it...


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 21:52

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http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/nick-clegg-israel-jewish%E2%80%99

"Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg stunned audience members at a major speech on antisemitism by asking whether referring to Israel as a Jewish state was “a new idea”. "


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 21:58

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53 LibDem MPs signed EDM 502, opposing any change to the loophole in Universal Jurisdiction.

There are only 63 LibDem MPs in total!

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40074


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 22:02

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"At a local level, the Lib Dems have ruthlessly targeted voters in Muslim areas with an anti-Israel message to whip up hatred against Israel and garner votes."

Here is the evidence:

http://www.oyvagoy.com/2010/03/02/lib-dems-vilify-israel-to-win-muslim-v...


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 22:45

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Thanks, Jonathan, I was at the lecture at which Nick Clegg made those remarks about Israel being a Jewish state. He'd been invited to deliver the annual lecture of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA); it was a good speech: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6498148.ece.

Shortly before this event, Prime Minister Netanyahu had made his important speech calling on Arab states to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. The way in which Mr Netanyahu made this precise call was considered new and interesting by a range of experts, as evidenced by this Jewish Chronicle article from that month: http://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/who-cares-if-arabs-accept-israel-st....

Shortly before Mr Clegg arrived for the lecture, over coffee, one prominent Anglo-Jewish communal figure was talking animatedly about how signficant it was that Mr Netanyahu had now called for the Arab world not just to recognise Israel, but to explicitly recognise it as a Jewish state - he was very excited by this new development.

It was in that spirit that, during the questions and answers after the lecture, Nick Clegg asked whether what Mr Netanyahu had said about Israel being a Jewish state was new. It did NOT mean that he didn't know that Israel is a Jewish state! You know when you say something clever, and someone doesn't understand what you've said, so they wrongly think you've said something stupid? That's what happened on this occasion, quite frankly.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 22:58

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I wasn't there. Maybe others who were, will comment.

I agree that the report seems very odd.


Yvetta

Fri, 04/16/2010 - 11:51

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It's quite true that Lloyd George was a philosemite, as were many members of his Cabinet, which promulgated the Balfour Declaration.
But David is long dead, and Nick and Co hardly bear his mantle. If they did attempt to don the cloak of such a (in politically terms) towering figure it would swamp them, pygmies that they are.
The LibDems have many vocal anti-Israel scoundrels in their ranks, of whom Tonge and my own MP represent only the tip of the iceberg.
A vote for the LibDems would help to erode British support for Israel.


MatthewHarris

Sat, 04/17/2010 - 14:27

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Thanks, Yvetta, but here's a thought: if we're going to have an enlarged contingent of Lib Dem MPs, don't we want there to be many friends of Israel among them? Thinking strategically, that strikes me as a pretty good reason to elect a Vice-Chairman of Lib Dem Friends of Israel as Hendon's next MP!

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