11 Apr 2012

Political Broadcasts in 'spin' shocker!

On the off chance you were watching ITV news yesterday (10.04.2012), you probably saw this Conservative Election Broadcast (rage warning; it's a Conservative election broadcast), which is the first of two I've decided to look at today because I'm a total masochist. Apparently, ALL the Labour councils are trying to get a ton of money, whereas no Tory council would ever do that. It's an election broadcast, so of course they're going to lie. And if Labour aren't crap in comparison to the Tories, then its because the Tories are truly exceptionally crap - and even then Labour suck. However I'm already narked at my own (Tory) council for probably cutting my school transport subsidy*. And they're also cutting the hours elderly and disabled people will be able to use their bus passes as well.

And, since Pickles and Cameron express such ire for council barons, I'd like to introduce you to David Parsons, the Tory leader of Leicestershire County Council who's spent £210,000 on the council car since April 2006, or, rounding it to 6 years, roughly £35,000 per year. His office in general cost more than £1 million in the past 5 years. Or £200,000 per year on average (peaking at £384,000). Admittedly, some of that is hiring people, but it's still ungood to say the least. His salary, admittedly, at 'only' £56,000 isn't obscene, but it's also thought he might have hired a personal PR guy back in 2010, you know, when they were deciding the cuts.  There's probably a reason he's facing a vote of no confidence.

That aside, the Telegraph has found that Chief Executive pay was functionally rising as of August 2011, despite the video claiming the exact inverse to be the case. In fact, the top paid chief executive is head of Essex and Brentwood councils, on £260,000 a year. They're both, to my knowledge, Conservative. In fact, Brentwood is none other than Eric Pickle's own constituency! Things are slightly better than the worst of 2007/8, but Pickles' claims are still laughable.  Especially considering that, her aside, the top five has a lot of Tory council Chief Execs. Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council? Conservative. Buckinghamshire County Council? Conservative. Norfolk County Council? Probably Conservative.  Surrey Country Council? Guess what? Actually every single one of the top 5 council executives in terms of pay work for Tory councils, as did the chief executive of Kent county council (excepted from the Telegraph's top 5 due to special circumstances (explained in a note there)). So yeah. Unless there was a revision (which there could have been), the Tories are massive hypocrites.Which actually isn't a shock, come to think of it.

In addition to this stuff, the £186,877 Camden spent on 7 Trade Union activists? £186,877/7= roughly £26,700 per person, or roughly £500 above average salary in 2011 (Telegraph link). And just over 1/10th of the aforementioned head of Essex and Brentwood councils's pay.

Of course, egregious spin is a feature of Party Election broadcasts. Case in point, this post's other sporkee: last month's (March 2012's) "Delivering on our promises".  I'm not going into depth, but after 20 seconds of wooly stuff about what they've done, there's this real gem from Cameron: "the most important part of accountability is politicians being judged on whether they keep their promises". A few seconds later there's a shot of him signing a pledge to stop Labour's 'tax on jobs' (a boost in National Insurance). Which is of course, precisely what the Tories did. Or not (scroll down to the bottom). I could use now to pick on Nick Clegg, but it's just too easy an opportunity to do more than this.  The rest is just Cameron boasting about how he's going to force his values onto us, wrecking people's lives with the benefits cap, repeating Mail-rhetoric on immigration, and lying about the NHS. It's probably fairly standard fare.

There's this glurge as well, but that's enough for today and it's not as recent. Althought here is some definite irony in them declaring that Labour ruled during peak youth unemployment.

Of course, like I said before, if Labour doesn't look crap in comparison, it's because the Tories are ridiculously bad. The main reasons why my examples are all Tory is because it's their broadcasts I'm focussing on. And they did preside over the start of the recession, although I doubt they inherently caused it (like the broadcasts imply) and the post-war Labour government was in surplus from 1948-51 (contrary to Tory claims that every Labour government hasn't done that, it was also when the NHS was first set up, funnily enough). Plus, they're utterly ineffective as opposition. And we all know about the Lib Dems.

It's a good thing I can't vote, cause I'd have to pick revolution (which comes under 'spoiling the ballot', but whatever)**.

* Full disclosure: I'll be in 16+ if/when it comes into effect, and, whilst not having access to the school bus is merely inconvenient for me (I'm a twin, there's no way my family can afford £980 (£490 each)), I can't imagine it'd do much good for others' prospects at attending 16+.

**Well, maybe the Greens. I have little faith in the electoral process as it is though.

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