Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Phony War

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council Keith Mitchell (pictured) has come out in the Guardian of all papers to blame the social care cuts on the "well heeled lefties" in the county. Its interesting that he has chosen the lefty paper to make this assertion, its almost as if he wants to wind up the "lefties" in Oxford.

There is a great phrase used by Bill Clinton in his auto-biography on a tactic used by right wing politicians. The phrase is called "reverse plastic surgery". What it means is to misrepresent the stance and/or argument of your opponent(s) and keep repeating the lie until people believe it. The modern tea party use this quite a lot. What I think Keith is doing here is actually quite cunning. The people protesting against the current library proposals are largely voters in Tory villages where all of the library cuts are happening under this proposal. His plan I believe then is:

A. Muddy the argument and make it about something else
B. Wind the lefties up so his own side closes ranks against them and votes through the proposal, regardless of any evidence that it won't work.

I hope the Conservative group in Oxfordshire see through his little gambit, he clearly thinks they are easily convinced if they are told the lefties win if they vote against his proposals. The people against the current proposals are the people in your divisions who vote in the main Conservative, not the people in "lefty" Oxford that Keith has gone to great pains to wind up, their library users are not being forced to volunteer.

The reality of the situation is the proposal will lead to library closures, won't save any money and will create a massive bureaucratic burden on the council trying to manage the training for all the volunteers. All the other options that the other libraries are doing in the future libraries program are being ignored, back office shares, supply chain efficiencies etc. It is a very un-tory proposal on the table. I doubt Keith's hero Maggie would like it and I if it does get pushed through Keith's legacy when he leaves in the next 12 months (his division is disappearing) will be to greatly diminish the tory vote in Oxfordshire.

Update 06/10/11 22:13

Even the Torygraph thinks Keith's latest outburst is "astonishing". I think Keith may be leaving sooner than he thinks if the telegraph thinks he has gone bat-shit crazy.

p.s I'm not a "lefty"

Keith's original article:

The excellent response by Patrick Butler:

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