February 19, 2011
As I Oil The Coil Of The Hempen
Chris Patten - is there a more obnoxious person infesting our body politic? Glenys Kinnock and Baroness Ashton might come close if it was put to a vote? But votes and democracy are alien to these three and their ilk, so I'm declaring Fatty the winner by fiat; unless you have a better idea.
April 14, 2010
Going Green With Clegg
I have a simple proposal - there is no way they are ever going to win an election for as long as I have a hole in my arse - why bother campaigning, speeding all over the place thrusting leaflets into babies faces, putting signs up outside suburban semis - they might as well write "an idiot lives here"-, using up our planet's precious resources on a vanity trip for people who don't want to be real politicians?
Why not sit at home with a nice cup of herbal tea, don't annoy the rest of us and do your bit for the environment?
October 23, 2009
Miliband, getting a head in the climb up the greasy pole
Laugh out loud, I suppose his level of competence is appropriate to the EU but why he is still given any serious consideration is beyond me. I wonder what he does that makes all his masters so pleased with him...
October 22, 2009
Question Time - Conviction Politicians
Looking through my stats I notice a sharp peak over the last couple of days of people looking for details of Peter Hain's criminal conviction, you don't suppose someone is preparing a counter attack do you? I'm almost tempted to watch Question time to see if my prediction comes true, but watching a bunch of Socialists (National, Euro, Green or whatever) shouting at each other is not my idea of an interesting evening.
We are all troughers now
Responsibility has drained away from the British welfare state, leaving a poisonous blend of entitlement and apathy. Middle and high earners, who could and should be independent of public welfare, instead use their political weight to extract “their fair share” from government, through universal benefits and near-free higher education.
Reform is arguing that us middle class troughers should be denied our benefits, or expect to pay up for them. Fair enough, but the middle classes feel that they have already paid enough and it is only fair they get something back, by fair means or foul.
Reformer of The Year
Throughout the year Reform celebrates the leading figures from politics, journalism and policy who have advanced the reforming agenda.
They are asking for your vote - there is one name that should be the clear winner in my mind - Heather Brooke - go and give her some support.
October 16, 2009
The Price of Oil is Blood in St James
British prosecutors were told more than two years ago that they had sufficient evidence to charge two Libyans over the killing of WPc Yvonne Fletcher, according to a leaked report.
The fact that no further progress has been made despite the report will raise fresh questions about the nature of Britain’s vexed relationship with Libya since diplomatic relations were restored in 1999.
We should have burnt the bastards out of the embassy not let them go in the first place, and not forgotten this outrage when Gadaffi was making up with us and splashing cash to make friends with us.
October 15, 2009
Beckett and Benn - Wasters
Taxpayers are to be landed with a £622 million bill for bungled payments made to farmers after reform of the Common Agriculture Policy four years ago, according to the National Audit Office .
The scale of chaos and administrative failures at the Rural Payments Agency, which distributes £1.6 billion a year to English farmers, and lack of oversight by ministers is outlined today in one of the most damning audits produced by the public spending watchdog.
The inefficiencies are starkly illustrated by the estimated £1,743 cost to process each farmer’s claim for cash, a rise of 20 per cent in four years. This is six times the £285 cost for administering payments in Scotland.
The average amount paid to about 107,000 English farmers is £15,300 a year. However, the watchdog found that there were substantial overpayments — totalling between £55 million and £90 million — but the data was so unreliable that the auditors were unable to find out the precise sum. Some claims were validated 11 times by different officials and still the payments were wrong.
Many of the problems are due to the complicated payment system chosen by Margaret Beckett...
The latest study found that officials may again be keeping ministers in the dark over the true state of the payment process and the mistakes that are embedded in the expensive computer system.
Extra staff costs have already cost £304 million. About £280 million has been set aside to pay Brussels penalties for administrative errors and late payments to farmers. Costs for the IT services are already above forecasts. A contract with Accenture has cost £84 million for the past two years, yet the agency told MPs that it expected to spend £36 million in that period.
The NAO has found that some 100 Accenture staff are working full time for the agency with a salary of some £200,000 per person in the financial year 2008 to 2009....
It stops short of calling for heads to roll but raises serious questions over the future of the agency and the scrutiny of its operations by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Nick Herbert, Conservative Rural Affairs spokesman, called for a fundamental overhaul of the agency to “get a grip” on farm payments.
“Vast sums of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on excessive administration costs and fines to the EU, yet typically ministers who should be held accountable for this dismal state of affairs still refuse to accept their responsibility.”
Maybe if Defra and its ministers stopped waffling on about climate change and prosecuting farmers for ignoring the psychological needs of a cow and got on with doing their jobs we would all be better off.
October 14, 2009
Brown Envelopes in Parliament
The Prime Minister's own MPs began openly defying his call to pay back expenses claims, while some Cabinet ministers blamed him privately for allowing Sir Thomas Legg's investigation to run out of control.
If you are facing redundancy in May next year keeping a few grand in the back pocket is a sensible idea. What's he going to do about it anyway?
October 12, 2009
MPs Return - Video News
MPs are returning to Westminster after the long summer break to find the expenses row still rumbling on.
Why I love paying tax
Every time I write out a gigantic cheque to the Inland Revenue, I get a bit excited. Woooo! I go. What a seriously grown-up thing to be doing! It’s like drinking whisky, buying an engagement ring or chopping down a tree... On this basis alone, I find it exhilarating. I kind of want it to hurt a bit. I feel like The Joker facing down Batman: “Come on — stick National Insurance on top of it! I can handle it! VAT me! VAT ME!”
But you know what would, in a single stroke, make tax-paying much more popular in this country?
A receipt. After all, whenever I’ve just blown £227 in Waitrose and feel a bit alarmed by it, it’s oddly comforting to read through the receipt and say to myself, “but at least I have a lot of yoghurt now”. Similar comfort would be experienced by the taxpayer if, in exchange for a large cheque, one was simply issued with a print-out of what you’d just bought yourself: £2,000 for the NHS, £600 for streetlights, £2 for Prince Andrew, etc.
And of course, once you’ve got a receipt, it’s much easier to claim a refund . . .
On that I can agree, if we could see what we were buying there would be a queue round the block to the refund counter.
October 9, 2009
David Cameron and all the Mod Cons
BBC - Newsnight: Michael Crick: What's in a party name?
... how often he used the term "Modern Conservatives", and used it as a means of showing the modernised Cameron party is much more compassionate and inclusive than Conservative Party of Margaret Thatcher and others....
Indeed the thought occurred to me - is the phrase being tested? And might "Modern Conservatives" be slowly adopted as the party's unofficial title in the run-up to the election?
Mod Cons? Brave rebranding or a step too far? But worth a punt on buying up variations of it..
Cameron Speech - The Boy Done Well
Well, not mad but impressed.
October 7, 2009
Conservative party conference: full coverage
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
October 6, 2009
Anyone But Brown
A Times Populus poll suggests that the Tories may only be doing well under David Cameron because of Labour’s unpopularity
68 per cent still believe that the party does not seem to have changed much under Mr Cameron and is doing better “mainly just because the Labour Government has become so unpopular”.
That ties in with an earlier Populus poll indicating that about 30 per cent of Tory voters are doing so as a vote against Labour, and only 30 per cent as a positive vote for the party. Forty per cent say that it is a bit of both.
All that wonkery, marketing and brand placement and yet all they actually need to say is "We are Not Labour" to have the same impact. You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.
(That's The Times headline and while it does point out that applies in the soggy left the main thrust is how support for the Tories is rooted in a dislike for Labour - I think the sub has it mixed up.)
October 5, 2009
Unregulated legal fringe is risk to public, says Lord Hunt of Wirral
Consumers are at increasing risk from a growing “fringe legal market” in will writing, probate work and claims handling, says a report due out today.
In the report seen by The Times, Lord Hunt calls for an extension of the regulatory “net” to any area of activity where “consumers currently enjoy no regulatory protection”. He adds: “I perceive a serious breach of both the public and the consumer interest in any area of activity that looks or ‘smells’ like a reserved activity but is allowed to go unregulated.”
Back to the old days when you couldn't just pick up a will pack or tenancy agreement in WH Smiths and the simplest contract had to be considered by your local solicitor for several hours before he would have it drawn up. Now why would a lawyer recommend to a bunch of lawyers that only lawyers be allowed to do all legal work?
October 4, 2009
Scottish Jobs For Scottish Workers
His hallowed status in Labour history may be tarnished by new revelations unearthed by Stirling University historian Dr Jacqueline Jenkinson. "Manny Shinwell was one of those who campaigned to stop black sailors getting work. His radical seamen's union, the BSU, openly banned black members. It was felt they were keeping Scots out of jobs when they returned from service in the First World War, and lowering wages."
"Shinwell gave quite inflammatory speeches in which he condemned the employment of black sailors in the merchant fleet."
"He played a celebrated role in the protest in George Square on 31 January 1919. But just a week before, on 23 January, he also played a key role in a very violent attack on 30 African sailors. "
"Newspaper reports tell how he spoke to 600 sailors and it was quite a rabble-rousing speech about black and what he called Asiatic, or Chinese, sailors. This led to around 30 black sailors being chased by a baying mob down James Watt Street. They tried to take refuge in a sailors' retreat in Broomielaw, but the mob smashed all the windows and they were turned out on to the street."
Some of the black sailors were attacked and they fought back with guns, shooting one of the mob. One black sailor was singled out and attacked with knives, leaving him with a gaping wound in his back. The police eventually stepped in and arrested the black sailors, with the wounded man taken to court before being allowed hospital treatment.
Fellow historians have supported Jenkinson's view that discrimination against black sailors on Clydeside has been "glossed over".
Professor Elaine McFarland, a specialist in modern Scottish history at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Red Clydeside does have this dark, racist underbelly, and there has been a reluctance to expose it.
"It may be due to the political leanings of some historians, but there has been a sentimental view of those who took part in Red Clydeside.
Scratch any socialist and there is a racist National Socialist not far under the surface.
Squeezing us dry
The Chancellor said last week that the 50p income tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 would raise £1.1 billion, but figures revealed yesterday suggest that he expects to lose £2.5 billion as many of the 350,000 higher earners take action to avoid, through legal means, paying the rate by working fewer hours or moving abroad.
It emerged yesterday that HM Revenue & Customs was preparing to spend a quarter of its £4 billion budget to crack down on tax evasion, but accountants said that that would do little to validate the 50p tax rate. Angela Beech, a tax partner with Blick Rothenberg, the accountant, said: “Some of our clients are already talking about leaving the country, while others are looking to retire early or cut their hours to reduce their income.”
However, the Treasury expects the tax take to rise from 31 per cent to 38 per cent in 2011, when new rules will make pension contributions much less tax efficient.
You can only milk a cow for so long before she gets fed up and kicks the cluster off.
October 1, 2009
The cupboard is bare
Labour plans to halve Britain’s deficit with spending cuts and asset sales worth £75 billion without resorting to further tax rises, The Times has learnt.
Senior ministers are demanding that the pay of judges, top civil servants and NHS managers be frozen within weeks as the cuts package begins to bite. The remaining five million public sector workers can expect only minimal rises, union leaders have been warned privately. They had told the Prime Minister that protecting existing jobs was their chief priority....
Cabinet ministers are also being pressed for a list of possible privatisations. They believe that sell-offs, particularly of property, could significantly reduce the deficit. Ordnance Survey is among the state-owned bodies being considered for sale, although ministers acknowledge that it will be difficult to ensure best value for such sell-offs given the state of the economy.
Gordon's has been watching too much Cash in the Attic as he cowers in the bunker. Billions pounds worth of Government property isn't going to be sold before the election, the civil service will make sure of that as they want to protect their own empires. The Unions own the Labour Party and will not allow job cuts. The 50% tax rate won't increase tax receipts, and the economy won't grow to increase taxes either. This is just desperate floundering.
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
John Gill's Bible Commentary
Ver. 52. Then said Jesus unto him , etc.] That is, unto Peter, put up again thy sword into its place , or sheath. This Christ said not only to rebuke Peter for his rashness, but to soften the minds of the multitude, who must be enraged at such an action; and which was still more effectually done by his healing the man's ear: and indeed, had it not been for these words, and this action of Christ's; and more especially had it not been owing to the powerful influence Christ had over the spirits of these men, in all probability Peter, and the rest of the apostles, had been all destroyed at once. For all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword .
September 30, 2009
Gordon Brown's Britain
The family accused of tormenting Fiona Pilkington and her disabled children have received death threats, it was claimed yesterday, as police patrols were stepped up near their home.
Police officers drove past the Simmons family home at least 11 times and made a 30-minute visit to the home of Dorothy Simmons, the matriarch of the family. In contrast, the police log of the 33 telephone calls that Ms Pilkington made about death threats, children lighting fires on her property and her son being attacked show that she received as few as eight visits, sometimes days after the event.
More people are going to register this story and remember it as indicative of Gordon's Brown policies than the vacuous speech he gave to a handful of political obsessives yesterday.
September 28, 2009
Brown Poll Results
Brown points at the bigger boys and claims they did it.
Brown to 'ban old bonus system'
"We are going to clean up the system once and for all," he said.
The measures will "represent the toughest action of any country in the world," Mr Brown added.
Pathetic attempt to appeal to the envy of the voters, and what's the last thing the City needs to regrow as the leading global banking centre and huge contributor of tax money, more regulation. But he must have someone to blame for his actions, his uncontrolled spending as Chancellor which is still being defended as the work of a prudent financial genius.
Marr was right to ask Guido's queation
BBC stuns Gordon Brown with question on pill taking
Mr Marr told Mr Brown that he wanted to ask about "something everybody has been talking about in the Westminster village... A lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through.”
He went on: “Are you one of them?”
A stunned Mr Brown replied: “No. I think this is the sort of questioning which is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics.”....
Lord Mandelson, the First Secretary, attacked the "personal intrusiveness" of Mr Marr's questions. He told a fringe meeting at the Labour conference the questions had been unacceptable.
He added: "Based on what incidentally, I haven't the foggiest, and I wonder if Andrew did either"......
Mr Marr told the Daily Telegraph yesterday afternoon: "I thought very carefully about asking the question. So many people in the Westminster village and beyond are talking about it that it seemed to me a fair question to ask.”
Downing Street last night privately disputed his analysis about who is “talking about it"
Mandy at his most slithery, dear Andrew can expect a call. And of course Marr was right and proper to raise a well known rumour which has implications for how the country is being run. We wouldn't want to go back to the days when a Prime Minister has a stroke and is left ga-ga in No 10 and the press pretends nothing is wrong would we? Not that we could with the scuttlebutts of the blogosphere spreading the news.
September 24, 2009
Obama's Tea Boy
White House officials rejected repeated requests from Britain for a formal meeting between President Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, it has emerged.
The UK prime minister's team were "frantic" after being unable to secure the talks at the UN summit in New York, a diplomatic source has told the BBC.
However, the president held private meetings with the leaders of Japan, China and Russia.
Downing Street said reports of a snub were "completely without foundation".
A spokesman said the men had had a "wide-ranging discussion following last night's climate change dinner".
It has emerged this was a few minutes of conversation in a kitchen at the United Nations.
Even the BBC are taking the piss of The World's Statesman of The Year, desperate to touch the hem of the gown of The Messiah all he managed was a few mumbled words as The Chosen One was blessing a few loaves and fishes on his way out of the building.
September 23, 2009
Pass the Sick Bag
UKBA Latest News
Swansea Valley business could face a fine of up to £50,000 for employing illegal workers.
After the documents of staff were checked, five Chinese workers were found to have no legal right to be employed in the United Kingdom.
The takeaway was issued with an on-the-spot penalty notice for employing the five illegal workers.
To avoid a fine of up to £50,000 (up to £10,000 per illegal worker), the employers must prove to us that they carried out the correct right-to-work checks to employ workers from outside the European Union, such as asking for passports or work permits.
'The message is clear for employers - we will not tolerate illegal working. It is a crime that not only undercuts local business but also has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.
'There are simple ways of checking a foreign national's right to work and there is no excuse for not checking the identity of those applying for jobs.
'We support and encourage employers to comply with the rules, but when they fail to do so it is right that we crack down on them.'
A tough new civil penalty system was brought in last year to provide a fast and effective way of tackling employers who fail to carry out proper checks on workers from outside Europe.
A fine of up to £10,000 per worker can be imposed for every illegal worker found at a business.
Guidance for employers on preventing illegal working can be found on the UK Border Agency website, www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employingmigrants or by calling the UK Border Agency Employers' Helpline on 0845 010 6677.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed in Wales can contact the UK Border Agency on 029 2092 4727.
A RESTAURANT in Great Bentley faces a fine of up to £50,000 after employing five alleged illegal immigrants.
The Thai Flag now faces a fine unless it can prove the correct pre-employment checks were carried out.
Restaurant manager William Ng said: “At the moment we are still waiting to sort things out.
“But we believe we have the correct documentation and when they came to work I saw their documents.
“I believe they have permission to work in the UK, which is why I employed them.”
Mr Ng, who is originally from Hong Kong but has lived in the UK for 38 years, said the restaurant has only been open 14 weeks.
The UK Border Agency said a fine of up to £10,000 per worker can be imposed for every illegal worker found at a business.
Chief immigration officer Jack Davis said: “Those who use and exploit illegal workers face severe financial penalties.
“Employers who don’t play by the rules will get struck off our register, lose the right to recruit staff from outside Europe, face on the spot fines and could potentially end up in jail.”
The agency said a tough new civil penalty system was brought in last year to provide a fast and effective way of tackling bosses who fail to carry out proper checks on workers from outside Europe.
• Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
September 22, 2009
Politics Fantasy League
The announcement came on an unsettled day for the party, amid further questions about whether its programme for the general election was sufficiently distinctive. Nick Clegg came under fire from his own front bench for scrapping pledges to abolish tuition fees and the Child Trust Fund. This scale of dissent towards a party leader so close to a general election is unusual.
Why do we have to read this guff about a bunch of losers playing fantasy politics by the seaside? They might as well write about the behind the scenes manoeuvrings of the Worthing Women's Institute's Presidential Election for the all the relevance it has.
Tax, it is all your fault.
Financial Secretary Stephen Timms denounced tax avoidance as "morally wrong" and said the PBR would contain measures to "tilt the game back towards honest, hard-working taxpayers".
Mr Timms told a conference of international tax experts at the Treasury in London that the global economic downturn had created a "different world" in which tax cheats would be pursued more vigorously than ever before."
A minority of companies – including large and small businesses – behaved as if they were playing a "game" with the tax authorities, in which their role was to find ways round government efforts to improve the efficiency and equity of the tax system, said the minister.
But the impact of their efforts to get round measures like the new 50p income tax rate was to increase the complexity of the tax system and harm the wider interests of British business.
Where's the morality is mulcting money from " honest, hard-working taxpayers" and pissing it away. Where's the morality of companies ignorint their duties to their shareholders, including " honest, hard-working taxpayers" and paying more tax than they legally have to, and where's the morality in blaming the bloated and byzantine tax system on the sufferers rather than the instigators?
September 21, 2009
Making Cash by Printing Money
Lewes banknotes are a tourist attraction, not a boost to the economy
One year, and 45,000 banknotes later, the Lewes Pound has been embraced by one group above all others. “Tourists come in and they’ll buy one for a pound,” said Alison Ridley, deputy manager of Bill’s grocery and cafe. “Sometimes they ask, ‘how much should I pay for one?’.”
The pound notes expired last month and have been reissued in denominations of £5, £10, and £21. With less than a fortnight until the final deadline, around 80 per cent of the old notes have not been returned.
Of course the local currency wasn't going to boost the local economy in the tofu-eating bicycling way they hoped, but it means thousands of of real pounds have been spent on useless bits of paper for their collectable nature. I can't see the Brixton Pound having quite the same "old British town and antique thing.”
And I'm not convinced that Darling's idea of printing lots more UK pounds will work in quite the same way either.
September 18, 2009
Baroness Scotland and a struggling farmer, compare and contrast.
Farmer 'checked illegal workers'
A farm owner from Devon who is facing a fine of up to £120,000 for employing illegal workers says he had taken precautions to check their credentials.
He told BBC News: "We do our best to comply with regulations.
"We have a very good database of all employees and we have a list of passports and proof of identity.
"But the biggest problem for employers is to prove the identity of the person.
"We are not experts in forgery."
Mr Coleman was handed an on-the-spot penalty notice by immigration officials that could mean a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.
A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: "Mr Coleman was issued with a fixed penalty notice following the raid.
"That civil action is still pending.
"To avoid being fined, Mr Coleman must prove to the UK Border Agency that he has carried out the correct checks before giving the workers jobs."
I need not ask if Baroness Scotland has been handed a fixed penalty notice do I?
September 17, 2009
Cuts, more like a graze
...departmental spending is earmarked to fall from £390.5billion in 2010-11 to £386.3billion in 2013-14. That is pretty grim stuff.
I thought he was being ironic there at first, but no he is serious. This small fiddle at the edges, this margin of error stuff is considered grim.
10% cuts would still be only a start...
September 15, 2009
No Blame No Pain No Wonder
..it highlighted a number of failings, including a lack of accountability for mandarins.
"We see no evidence that senior leaders in poorly-performing departments are likely to lose their jobs in the way that has become established in local government," the MPs wrote.
"The Cabinet Secretary told us the high cost of severance payments can be a barrier to dismissing staff who are not discharging their responsibilities," they said.
The report went on: "Even at senior levels in the civil service, incentives to perform better, and sanctions to tackle failure, are far weaker than those in the private sector and in senior levels of local government."
Yee Gods - Worse than local government! I didn't believe it possible. And they believe they are worthy of comparable pay to the private sector where the rewards are balanced with the risks of failure.
September 11, 2009
The First Cuts
DRASTIC plans to solve the UK's debt crisis by saving £50 billion from public spending per year have been outlined by the Institute of Directors and the Taxpayers' Alliance.
A freeze on the state pension, abolition of the government's controversial identity card scheme and a 10 per cent cut in "non-frontline" staff in the NHS and schools have been suggested as methods of tackling the UK's debt crisis.
CUTS FOR CONSIDERATION
SOME of the 34 proposals:
1 Abolish Building Schools for the Future £2.3bn
2 Halt further orders and upgrades for Eurofighter £740m
3 Abolish NHS National Programme for IT £1.2bn
4 Abolish ID cards £55m
5 Cut non-frontline staff in health and schools by 10 per cent £921m
6 Reduce size of civil service by 10 per cent £1.2bn
7 Cut 10 per cent from budgets of most non-ministerial departments £1.7bn
8 One-year freeze of grants given to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales £1.4bn
9 One-year freeze of the Basic State Pension and the Minimum Income Guarantee £1.4bn
10 One-year pay freeze across public sector, excluding armed forces serving in conflict zones £6.2bn
11 Increase employee contributions to all unfunded public-sector pension schemes by a third £2.5bn
12 Abolish Child Benefit and Child Trust Fund, and increase Child Element of Child Tax Credit £8.5bn
I can't find a link to the release or it reported in any of the serious London Papers - The Guardian has a snarky piece though - so all I can say is that it sounds like a sensible start.
I'm sure we can all think of a few more to go the list.
September 8, 2009
THE Queen has vented her anger over the Army equipment crisis directly with No10, it was claimed last night. Internationally-respected historian Andrew Roberts says the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles are up in arms over the failure to provide Our Boys with bomb-proof vehicles and enough helicopters.
He said: "They are all furious with Gordon Brown over sub-standard equipment in Helmand"...as the Prime Minister spent the traditional weekend with The Queen at Balmoral Castle, Scotland.
That must have been a lovely weekend; Charles turning off the heating to save the world as the Highland damp seeped through the draughty old pile would be nothing to the frost across the table as Her Maj enjoyed Gordon's scintillating wit and repartee. She takes looking after Her Troops very seriously.
September 6, 2009
Brown Spits on IRA Victims Graves
GORDON BROWN personally vetoed an attempt to force Colonel Muammar Gadaffi to compensate IRA bomb victims because it might have jeopardised British oil deals with Libya.
Documents passed to The Sunday Times reveal how the prime minister took a close interest in a campaign to secure payouts for the 2,500 families of those blown up by the Libyan-supplied Semtex explosive used by republican bombers.
However, Brown refused to help the victims because of government concerns that putting pressure on Gadaffi might lead to Libya withdrawing co-operation over trade and the war against Islamic terrorism.
The lawyers acting for the IRA victims want Brown to put pressure on the Libyans to secure a US-style scheme for British terror victims. Separately, Libya had already paid out $2.7 billion (now £1.6 billion) to families of victims of the bombing of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in which 270 died.
Libya shipped Semtex and arms to the IRA for several years from 1985. Lawyers representing British victims have evidence that the Semtex was used in a series of IRA atrocities, including the Enniskillen bomb of 1987, the Manchester bomb in 1996 and several explosions in London.
Families of US victims caught up in IRA bomb blasts in London during the 1980s and 1990s have agreed multi-million-dollar payouts with Libya after the intervention of the White House. Some are in line for payments of up to $10m each. By contrast, British victims have received only modest compensation from the UK government, with some seriously injured people getting payouts of less than £3,000.
And all he is worried about is parroting how there isn't a paper-trail leading to his door.
September 4, 2009
First In Last Out
The UK economy will shrink in the third quarter and register zero growth in the fourth quarter, while America's economy will grow by 2.4 per cent in the fourth quarter and the euro Area's will increase by 2 per cent.
Only Brown in his bunker, and the FT, will be surprised.
September 1, 2009
News in Brief
And I have got a bridge to sell you
August 31, 2009
82% Labour Candidates Public Teat Sucklers
The survey from the New Local Government Network (NLGN) think-tank found that half the candidates from the three main parties come from local government. More than 60 per cent of all Liberal Democrat candidates are councillors while the figures for the Tories and Labour are nearly 45 per cent and 44.2 per cent.
In addition, 15 per cent of prospective candidates have either worked for a political party or as a special adviser, and 10 per cent have worked in the Commons as a researcher.
The study, the first of its kind, suggests that the current model of the career politician is set to continue. The analysis does, however, show that the Tories have been successful in attracting a high number of candidates (46 per cent) with business backgrounds. The Liberal Democrats have 30 per cent, while 18 per cent of Labour candidates have worked in the commercial sector.
I'm not so worried about the number of councillors, unless they are bearded liberals. It is a sensible first step in political activity but yet again too many are divorced from the real world. I wonder of those that boast a background in commerce how many have actually sweated over running a business and how many count a shelf stacking job as experience? How can the Tories only manage a minority of candidates who have actually worked? A plague on all of them.
August 30, 2009
Dad's Army - The Bullet Is Not For Firing
Ministry of Defence cutbacks mean that troops are being issue with blank rounds, which cost about 10p, instead of live rounds which cost about 30p. The MoD said the "ever-improving quality" of computer simulation had also reduced the need for live fire training.
August 28, 2009
Exclusive - Gordon Brown's Holiday Address
Last year 2008 Gordon graced the delightful town of Southwold with his presence, and the press was lead to believe that he was staying at Shadingfield Hall.
I have just spent an excellent week on Bulcamp Drift in the Whitehouse Barns and a man doing the drains swore that Gordon spent his week in the wonderfully secluded Bulcamp House - Bulcamp House map from Ordnance Survey (The footpaths across the marshes to it are all impassable at any level of the tide as the sea has been allowed to take the area back).
I may be wrong but in my experience a man who does the drains knows a lot of secrets.
August 21, 2009
And on that bombshell....
THE Treasury was forced to borrow a record £8billion to keep public services running last month, as the UK's national debt hit an all-time high.
In the first quarter of this year, net borrowing soared by £49.7bn, compared with £15.9bn last year, while tax revenue plummeted. The nation's debt, at £800.8bn, accounts for 56.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), its highest level since records began. It is equivalent to £13,400 for every man, woman and child.
Another reason for a Defence Minister to resign
AUDITORS have been unable to verify the existence of £6.6 billion worth of Ministry of Defence assets such as vehicles, weapons and radio equipment, they said yesterday.
In a damning report, the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised financial controls in the department as "inadequate", and also branded its payroll function as "not fit for purpose" after finding tens of millions of pounds worth of wrong payments had been made to soldiers.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "At this time of high operational demand, it is more important than ever for the Ministry of Defence to have accurate records of where its assets are.
That's not just sloppy, not just a few items "liberated" it is a bloody disgrace. No wonder troops are ill equipped if the bean counters don't know where the kit is.
Negative on Positive
THE Conservative Party will be full of "second-class citizens" selected for their ethnicity or gender, former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has said, as she slapped down David Cameron's candidate selection policy.
"I believe, as a woman, that every woman in parliament should be able to look every man from the Prime Minister downwards in the eye and to think she got there on exactly the same basis that he got there. And if she can't, she's a second-class citizen. We're going to have a Conservative Party full of second-class citizens," she said.
Tokenism is insulting to the tokens and unfair on everyone. I just want the best person for the job, not the best "tick-the-box" applicant. And when the local Tories pick their candidate here I will let them know that.
August 19, 2009
Off with their heads!
Oh good, I thought he is getting tough at last, though decapitation is for errant Queens and Frenchies; what's wrong with a stout length of Empire grown hemp?
Then I gathered it is a cunning Tory wheeze to keep Darling, Balls, Bradshaw et all stomping their own pavements hoping to save their own skins rather than battlebussing round the country.
I still prefer my idea though.
August 12, 2009
Local Sit Vac
Marquess of Lothian, Earl of Lothian (created 1606), Earl of Lothian (created again 1631), Earl of Ancram (1633), Earl of Ancram (created again 1701), Viscount of Briene (1701), Lord Newbattle (1591), Lord Jedburgh (1622), Lord Kerr of Newbattle (1631), Lord Kerr of Nisbet, Langnewtoun, and Dolphinstoun (1633), Lord Kerr of Newbattle, Oxnam, Jedburgh, Dolphinstoun and Nisbet (1701), and Baron Ker, of Kersheugh in the County of Roxburgh (1821), all but the last in the Peerage of Scotland.
And they are all not going to contest my local seat in the next election, I do hope there is an open primary so I can put my hat into the ring..
Councils to Kill Businesses to Raise Cash
Car parking charges will overtake council tax as a source of revenue for many local authorities as they put up prices to counter the effects of the recession, experts are forecasting.
When I discover a Council that puts up the charges its staff pay and not just the customers and staff of hard presses businesses then I will be amazed. Every town centre I drive through round here is dying, I don't stop because I won't pay to park. Not just because I'm tight but I don't have the change and I don't want to risk the fine by overstaying.
August 10, 2009
State Snooping - it is getting worse
A request to snoop on public every 60 secs
The authorities made more than 500,000 requests for confidential communications data last year, equivalent to spying on one in every 78 adults, leading to claims that Britain had “sleepwalked into a surveillance society”.
An official report also disclosed that hundreds of errors had been made in these “interception” operations, with the wrong phone numbers or emails being monitored.
A Home Office spokesman said: “It’s vital that we strike the right balance between individual privacy and collective security and that is why the Home Office is clear these powers should only be used when they are proportionate.”
That's a new meaning of the word proportionate I haven't come across.
August 5, 2009
Disgraceful Mockery of The Joker
I'm shocked, it can only be because people are racist..
July 31, 2009
ID Cards are a stupid idea Home Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday
THE decision to introduce ID cards is a "no-brainer", Home Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday as he unveiled the card's design.
No-brainer? No brain, no thought, no intelligence, just plain stupid; it is hard to argue with Pat on that.
July 29, 2009
Massive - don't make me laugh
Union fury as civil service outsources jobs to India - Times Online
More than 100 jobs at the British Council are to be outsourced to India as part of a massive cost-cutting drive to save the taxpayer money
Massive? Cutting just the costs on 100 jobs in a Kinnochian Quango? You call that massive? How do you describe your button mushroom knob in the personal ads? "My only problem is my mighty donkey cock smashes the furniture every time I turn round". It is a pathetic teeny cosmetic scraping of the mould off the rotten bloated corpse of public spending. Let me lose on it and I will show you "massive cuts".
Yvette Cooper tries to buy votes
£1bn scheme to create 'soft jobs' including dance assistants, tourism ambassadors and solar panel engineers.
while the number of people employed in the private sector has fallen by 286,000 since December 2008, the number of people employed in the public sector has actually risen by 15,000.
In all, 19,000 of the new 47,000 jobs being announced are to be in Scotland and the north of England, department sources said. A further 9,900 will be created in the Midlands.
Meanwhile about 6,500 will be created in London, the South-East and the East combined, and just 700 will be created in the South-west.
Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research released earlier this year found that in the north-east of England the state is expected to be responsible for 66.4 per cent of the economy this year.
Jobs for turkeys, Christmas can't come quick enough for me.
I wonder what criteria was used to decide that all the jobs should go to
Bob Arsehole - Defence Secretary
A government with no shame - Scotsman.com News
The cases, being heard in the High Court, were brought by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth.....
Wiltshire town stands silent once again - Scotsman.com News
HUNDREDS of people have again turned out to pay their respects to soldiers killed in Afghanistan as their bodies were returned to British soil....
One of those who came to pay their respects was former Royal Engineer Brian Brown. The 78-year-old, from Melksham, Wiltshire, said he wanted to pay tribute to the four men, but was concerned the now frequently held repatriation ceremony was turning Wootton Bassett into "a circus".
He said: "It's sadly happening too regularly now. It's too frequent.
"When the Wootton Bassett Legion started this, they wanted it to be low key. We just want to quietly show our respect for the victims and their families."
Whether the case is justified or not Bob Ainsworth is guilty of being politically wrong in allowing to go ahead at such a time. I hope he is enjoying his holiday - I understand the poor dear needs to "recharge his batteries" after so many weeks in such a stressful job...
July 27, 2009
Why is it all such an utter cock-up?
The problem is that many of us no longer trust the Government to do anything right because there is such a lot of evidence that something is deeply and systemically wrong with administration in this country. Too much public policy either fails to achieve its stated objectives; or it does so at exorbitant cost; or it makes bad situations worse; or it has undesirable and unforeseen consequences.
A Civil Service once the envy of the world has had its reputation tarnished by years of politicisation and impossible demands placed upon it; laws are introduced almost weekly that merely serve to inconvenience people and drive them to distraction, not help them; bad decisions are routinely arrived at; and public projects that are simply unnecessary are introduced vastly over-budget and those that are needed are incompetently delivered, or are not delivered at all.
Why does modern British government make so many mistakes and such big and costly ones at that? This question is vexing two of the country’s leading political academics – Anthony King, professor of government at Essex University, and Sir Ivor Crewe, Master of University College, Oxford – who have embarked on a research project to see if they can find the answer.
I've got some ideas, and some solutions; the main one of which is neatly coiled hanging on the back of the barn door.
July 25, 2009
Paul Flynn calls David Miliband a Liar
Paul Flynn (Labour MP) praises David Milliband as "an engaging convincing speaker..(who).. is too intelligent to believe all the stuff that he is obliged to say."
Claiming to believe things you don't and using your skills to try and persuade others to believe in the the things you don't aren't commendable characteristics from where I come from, it may be different in Wales.
July 22, 2009
Iain Dale's Comedy Program of The Year
Earlier today Radio 4 broadcast a half hour programme on the MP expenses scandal. It is a close look at the effect the scandal had on MPs and their families. ..I suspect that many people will have an adverse reaction to the programme and accuse the MPs of shedding crocodile tears and think they deserved all they got. Many did. But several of the MPs featured in this programme were clearly driven to the edge of reason by what happened.
Listen to the programme HERE.
It must be a spoof, tears ran down my face as I laughed. I didn't think Iain had such a wicked sense of humour.
We're all going on a summer holiday.
Gordon Brown had hoped that he could leave for his final summer holiday before the general election, having made good his pledge to clean up Parliament and start bringing the economy out of recession.
These were the reasons that he gave for staying in post when the failed attempt to remove him took place just seven weeks ago...
For the story of the response to the expenses scandal is one of retreat after retreat, climbdown after climbdown, from the proposals originally tabled by Mr Brown.
On the economy, the record is not much better. The Government borrowed another £13 billion last month, the highest for June, taking debt to a record 56 per cent of national income.
A further setback awaits tomorrow. Labour seems certain to lose the first “expenses by-election” at Norwich North, caused by the decision of the veteran Labour MP Ian Gibson to resign after a disciplinary panel ruled against him standing again.
We're all going on a summer holiday.
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on a summer holiday.
No more worries for me and you.
For a week or two.
There will be laughter and chuckles as the Brown and Balls Charabancs head off to the sun or Scotland. The delicate question of whether Harriet Harman or Lord Mandelson will take charge of Britain when Gordon Brown takes his summer holidays has been resolved in comradely style. They will take turns. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, and Jack Straw, the Lord Chancellor, will each take a turn at holding the reins, too.
July 21, 2009
Good Day To Bury Bad News
WHITEHALL auditors have refused to sign off part of the Treasury's accounts over its exposure to potential bank losses.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has not passed the accounts in full as insurance granted to troubled banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland was not approved by parliament. It is thought to be the first time that the Treasury's accounts have been qualified. It will publish its annual report and accounts this afternoon – as MPs prepare to depart Westminster today for their summer recess.
However, a Treasury spokesman said: "They have not expressed concern about the figures for the costs of interventions … which are consistent with the range of £20 billion to £50bn set out in the Budget."
Four other government departments – HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office – are also expected to disclose that their accounts have been qualified by the NAO.
So would you invest in a company whose accounts were not accepted by the auditors and the MD and senior staff all went off for a three month holiday the same day?
UPDATE - The Times has more:
A mountain of bad news was buried by the Government as it rushed out reports and 26 ministerial statements the day before MPs go on holiday. Whitehall sources said that many of the reports were ready to be published weeks ago, and would normally be released in stages, but ministers had insisted they all be delayed till yesterday.
The dangerous state of the public finances was laid bare by the reports, which showed that the Government’s tax take plummeted by £32 billion last year. Figures from HM Revenue & Customs showed income tax, national insurance, VAT, stamp duty and corporation tax fell by £21 billion, while other debts and legal liabilities had cut income by a further £10 billion.
The figures were disclosed as the National Audit Office (NAO) refused to sign off six sets of Whitehall accounts because of fraud, error, overpayments and IT problems. The accounts, covering billions of pounds, included the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury, the Revenue, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The Government also slipped out reports criticising its training programmes and announced delays in several policy areas.
July 19, 2009
Offering Depressed MPs a Helping Hand
A goverment whips meeting this week discussed profound concerns about MPs' wellbeing.
In particular they talked about worries that depressed Labour MPs leaving the mutual support group of fellow MPs as they go off for the summer could be at risk of depression... or worse..'.
Appalling the idea that MPs might fall prey to the temptation to self-harm themselves and have no one to turn to for help. Being the public spirited chap I am let me announce I have set up a 24/7 service to help. At the first hint that an MP needs help and doesn't know where to turn they can call me and I will speed deliver them a length of rope, some blades and some rat poison. It's the least I can do.
July 10, 2009
The Public Trough
In the real world, the public sector must pay
Private sector workers are tired of footing the bill for bloated, inefficient services and the fat cats who run them
The mild-mannered head of the Audit Commission has lit the blue touchpaper and not retired — making him extremely rare among officials who usually save inconvenient truths for their valedictory speeches.
The outraged reaction to Steve Bundred’s suggestion that a year’s pay freeze for public sector workers could help to save Britain from bankruptcy shows a fascinating disconnection from reality. I am reliably told that civil servants are quietly planning for possible 20 per cent cuts in public expenditure, and that some local authorities are discussing cuts of up to 30 per cent at awaydays. But the public sector unions noisily protest that their workers “should not be punished for private sector greed”.
The unions have been abetted by sage commentators who have remarked, variously, that retiring on a full pension at 55 is a “right”, that average public sector pay is greater than average private sector pay because public sector workers are more “skilled”, and that Mr Bundred is a “fat cat” whose own quango should be abolished.
The outrage rather misses the point. There is no money. The private sector pays the public sector’s wages, and you can only stiff the private sector for so much.....
Read on as she tells a few more home truths that too many are trying to ignore.
July 6, 2009
Hazel Blears "Why haven't you been sacked?"
No not an MP or Minister, don't be silly, just some poor pen pusher who anonymously opined that of Miss Blears: "How dare you wave a cheque about on national TV, saying that you are sorry.
"You are only sorry that you have been caught. You are a disgrace (including all the other honourable members). Why haven't you been sacked?"
July 2, 2009
ID Cards - The Sham U Turn
The Government is still pressing ahead with the national identity register, to which will be added the details of everyone who applies for a passport. Anyone on the register will be obliged subsequently to inform the authorities of a change of address, under pain of a £1,000 fine. In other words, if you don’t want to carry a card, that’s your choice. But we are still going to take your fingerprints, and if you don’t have a card we can march you down to the station to have you checked.
If there was ever a solution in search of a problem, it is ID cards and the identity register. You know what will happen: the authorities will spend thousands of hours pursuing forgetful, peripatetic students. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda sleepers diligently settling down to lives as teaching assistants as they prepare suicide attacks will be careful to conform to all pettifogging bureaucracy. Like the Tube bombers before them, it isn’t their identities they wish to conceal, only their ambitions.
ID cards voluntary? Don’t you believe it
June 30, 2009
Another Mandy Whizzo Plan With No Trousers.
Brown takes cash from schools, roads and health to pay for 30,000 homes - Times Online
There was immediate confusion in Whitehall last night as departments appeared not to be aware that they were supposed to be funding the £1.5 billion centrepiece of the Government’s pre-election fightback.
Within hours the sums were being challenged. The Department for Communities refused to accept that it would foot half the bill and seemed to be fighting a proposal to plunder its Decent Homes refurbishment programme. Whitehall sources repeatedly told The Times that no agreement had been reached, amid warnings that the move would leave at least 200,000 council homes in disrepair.
Officials at the Schools Department were also taken by surprise. The Department of Health implied that the money could come from a £350 million underspend in capital projects this year, but had no details....
What a wonderful way to run a country, Mandy has a doodle on a napkin in the evening, Brown's minders write it out in crayon in big letters and it is announced the next day as policy. In a month's time it will all be forgotten as Mandy moves onto something new to grab the headlines for a day.
Friendless, broke and mad
Michael Jackson was emaciated, virtually bald, covered in needle scars and had only pills in his stomach when he died, according to an autopsy report.
Though authorities are expected to pinpoint Michael Jackson's cause of death within weeks, settling the King of Pop's estate — homing in on Jackson's assets, determining his debts and divvying up what's owed to creditors and promised to beneficiaries — could take far longer.
"This is going to be a major headache. These are matters that could take years and years to settle and could touch off a feeding frenzy,"
Why do I keep misreading "Michael Jackson" as "Gordon Brown", they aren't similar in anyway.
June 26, 2009
The Death of the South West Regional Assembly - No Flowers Please
The Regional Assembly has for the last ten years been at the centre of decision making in the South West, today, 13 May 2009, the Assembly’s Regional Planning Body, housing and transport functions will transfer to the Strategic Leaders’ Board with immediate effect.
The transfer follows agreement between the Assembly Leaders, the Strategic Leaders, the Social Economic and Environmental Partners and South West Councils and brings to a close the work of the Assembly in line with the motion agreed by the Assembly at its final meeting in March.
10th July they have a final wrap up and that is it - it is gone, replaced by a Council Leader's Talking Shop. I only learnt by accident, just shows what a waste it was when its abolition is as pointless as its existence and no one notices.
Are the other Regional Assemblies also being killed off?
June 25, 2009
Always look on the bright side...
In a defiant interview after another crisis of confidence in his leadership, a slump in Labour’s vote to 16 per cent in the European elections and the debilitating expenses scandal, the Prime Minister brushes aside suggestions that he might walk away before the next election.
“I have got a job to do,” he says. “One that every day I address with new enthusiasm.”
Seems quite sane in comparison... And here's a preview of his Conference Speech
June 24, 2009
Brown's Bill To Destroy Parliament's Sovereignty
Make no mistake. This is an anti-democratic, pernicious and malign little Bill. Consider this provision;
You see, Brown's new Quango doesn't merely check MPs' claims - it pays them. Rather than Parliament owning its own pay chest and being its own master, MPs will now be employed by the government. Brown has taken Parliament's resources from them. And who decides just how much of Parliament's property, rights and liabilities are to be transferred to the government? Why, a government minister, of course! With the complicity of Brown's Speaker, Mr Bercow;
(8) An order under this section may provide .. for specified property, rights and liabilities which subsist wholly or mainly for the purposes of the House of Commons to be transferred to the IPSA by a scheme
(9) A scheme made by virtue of subsection (8) is to be made by a Minister of the Crown with the consent of the person who chairs the House of Commons Commission.
The last thing this nation needs is an Act that would pack the chamber with vile apparatchiks and 'professional' politicians, rob the Commons of its authority, turn our parliament into just a department of government and treat our MPs - returned by us to Parliament to exercise the thunderous powers and sovereignty of that body - as mere hirelings, irrelevant juniors.
Not only Cameron but all decent MPs must find their balls. Don't be afraid to oppose this most malignant of Bills.
NHS IT - “no overall concept of affordability or ability to demonstrate value for money”.
Reports from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) showed that there were concerns from the outset in 2002 about the Government’s ability to take on such a huge project. Over several years the civil servants repeated issues of unrealistic timetables, unknown procurement risk and an inability to predict costs. They wrote that there was “no overall concept of affordability or ability to demonstrate value for money”.
The project is running four years late and its estimated cost has risen from £5 billion to £13 billion.
Stephen O’Brien, shadow health minister, said: “It’s incredible that the Government should have ignored these warnings.”
I think he meant "inevitable" rather than "incredible" - The Government is merely the political wing of the public sector troughers, of course they are going to continue to shovel the swill in.
June 23, 2009
Politics Home and Away
There used to be a website called Politics Home for political obsessives to examine each others navel fluff. It used to send over fifty visitors a day who enjoyed a less reverential view compared to the mass of boring clogging MPs it was increasingly featuring. no longer does, I wonder if I have upset Iain as this humble blog in it declining years still punches in the premier league according to independent stats.
So I thought I would check it out http://www.politicshome.co.uk/, looks strangely familiar....
Sir Alistair Graham on The Ministry of Truth
Bring back Speaker Martin
At least he was authentic, I have taken an instant dislike to the new smarmball, I'm sure that will save time in the future. It seems the Honourable members have learnt nothing from the last few months and like a recalcitrant hound they need to be taught the lesson again with a louder voice and bigger stick.
June 19, 2009
Darling Follows The Viv Nicholson School of Economics
Huge rise in public sector borrowing renews fears for Britain’s credit rating
There are fears that debt could rise to nearly 100 per cent of GDP in the coming years as the public finances continue to deteriorate, leading to concerns about the long-term health of national finances.
Drunken sailors on shore leave don't come close, we are fucked.
June 16, 2009
Ihre Papiere, bitte!
David Cameron adopts German accent to mock ID cards - Telegraph
The Conservative leader pledged to scrap identity cards during a question and answer session with voters in Norwich.
When explaining his concern about the scheme he pretended to be a German speaking English and said: "Where are your papers?"
A woman in the audience raised her hand and asked him: "I wonder about the wisdom of you adopting a German accent?"
Mr Cameron told her: "It was meant to be light-hearted."
No need to apologise to the humourless bitch, it is a valid bit of historical social commentary.
Blood on the streets - hardly
BBC NEWS | UK | 'Huge job cuts' for public sector
As many as 350,000 public sector jobs could be lost over the next five years, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is warning.
Chief economist John Philpott says the recession will bring "a bloodbath in the public finances" which will force employers to slash their workforce.
This could lead to "guerrilla war" in the workplace, characterised by repeated strike action, he said...."One brake on this possibility may well be wider public opinion.
"Here sympathy will have been frayed by private sector job losses and pay freezes which will have touched many families, and further exacerbated by a growing awareness of the huge gulf between generous public sector pensions and private sector pension schemes that have been squeezed and in many cases closed."
He said it. With nearly 6 million directly employed public sector jobs this suggested cut is hardly a bloodbath, a 5% cut is mere prudence in the private sector, it is barely half way to decimation.
June 15, 2009
Osbourne and the C word
It's ridiculous to pretend there won't be cuts | George Osborne - Times Online
We, like Labour politicians, have fought shy of using the “c” word - cuts. We've all been tip-toeing around one of those discredited Gordon Brown dividing lines for too long. The real dividing line is not “cut versus investment”, but honesty versus dishonesty. We should have the confidence to tell the public the truth that Britain faces a debt crisis; that existing plans show that real spending will have to be cut, whoever is elected; and that the bills of rising unemployment and the huge interest costs of a soaring national debt mean that many government departments will face budget cuts. These are statements of fact and to deny them invites ridicule.
A hint of plain speaking, a welcome sign. What I really want to hear is that he intends to be as Alaric and his Visigoths in 410 AD. I want to hear that the bureaucracies of Whitehall and Brussels are to be sacked and burnt....
June 14, 2009
Kinnock - Paying the Price Of Being Useless
Glenys and Neil Kinnock have six state pensions - Times Online
GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party.
They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances,..During their time in Brussels both Kinnocks claimed a housing allowance on top of their incomes, even though they lived in the same home. This alone would have netted the couple almost £600,000 over 10 years. ...Glenys Kinnock, a teacher who went on to become the most-travelled British MEP, clocking up almost 130,000 air miles in a five-year term, also employed her daughter Rachel as an executive assistant. Rachel is now in charge of events and visits at Downing Street.
The Kinnocks’ Cambridge-educated son, Stephen, 39, director of Europe and central Asia at the World Economic Forum, spent eight years in Brussels in senior positions with the British Council.
Neil Kinnock resigned last week as unpaid chairman of the British Council to avoid “perceived conflict of interest” with his wife’s ministerial role,
Jolly decent of him to resign the unpaid post just in case anyone might think that the Kinnocks were troughing it as they are justly rewarded for their years of brilliant leadership...
June 12, 2009
His Master's Voice
Spinoza (1632–1677) explains Machiavelli's text as probably meant to show "the folly of attempting—as many do—to remove a tyrant when the causes which make a prince a tyrant cannot be removed, but become rooted more firmly as the prince is given more reason to be afraid." Or, Spinoza says, perhaps Machiavelli wanted to show how careful a free people should be in entrusting its welfare completely to one man, who has to go in daily fear of plots and "is forced in self-defense to plot against his subjects rather than to further their interests."
June 8, 2009
Hannan Video - The Verdict on the Elections
To Forgive is Divine
GORDON Brown sent a defiant message yesterday that he would not capitulate to the clamour for him to go – saying the British public would not forgive him for turning his back on the country in difficult times.
Gordon Brown - definition - see "Messiah complex": A state of mind in which the individual incorrectly believes he/she is, or is destined to become, a savior
38 out of 40 million didn't vote Labour
The Tories held up very well putting the Labour lie that the expenses scandal was hitting all parties. UKIP were the biggest losers to the scandal as Europe wasn't a major issue in this election. And the National Socialists moved their vote from Labour to BNP. The rise of the BNP is a Labour problem, not across the board as it was portrayed. (The perplex on the BBC's talking faces as "Far Right" Andrew Brons extremist past was revealed to founded on his membership of the National Socialist Movement was a joy to behold.)
So much worse for Labour than they even feared, will Brown survive?
Yes until the election. There aren't enough cojones in the Labour party to make a serving of Prairie Oysters for one.
June 7, 2009
Love Peter, Love Derek - Full text of emails between Mandelson and Draper
has had the full texts for those of stronger disposition than me - I got as far as where they started signing off Love Peter and Love Derek and was in danger of losing my lunch, I'm off to the pub to swill the taste from my mouth.
Update - Sky has them, not sure why Politics Home no longer has....
June 6, 2009
Milf Flint Sparks As Balls Chokes As Mandy Power Grabs Brown's Inner Ring
A Downing Street insider claims that Ed Balls “went nuclear” as the prime minister wavered over whether to make him chancellor
“Ed thinks Mandelson ran a covert campaign to stop him. He thinks Peter advised Darling on how to handle everything. He went nuclear and warned Gordon that if he didn’t get the job he wouldn’t cooperate with Peter any more,” the insider said.
No 10 fiercely denied a rift, saying suggestions of “any tension” between the two men were “completely untrue”. The denial was echoed by a spokesman for Mandelson.
Meanwhile Caroline Flint, the former minister of state for Europe, has launched a new attack on the prime minister.
In an excoriating article for The Sunday Times, Flint, who resigned on Friday, lashes out at the chauvinism of the No 10 cabal, accusing Brown of “utter hypocrisy”.
Put a bottle on ice - I think a long happy read of the Sunday papers is coming up.
Guido Cashs in on Dolly and Mandy
Whilst Iain's commentators conjure up conspiracy theories of it being Dolly's revenge The Times gives the back story -
It is understood that the communications between Mandelson and Draper come from a cache of documents acquired by Paul Staines, the political blogger known as Guido Fawkes, that included the McBride memos. The blogger yesterday sold the Mandelson e-mails to a tabloid newspaper for a five-figure sum.
Makes it even sweeter; now how quickly can he sink Peter Hain the second time?
June 5, 2009
Yet another doorstepping interview with an MP
I continue to believe that Gordon will survive; but what a bloody mess, what a complete bunch of losers, what a fecking disgrace. The Cabinet he has ended up with is beyond belief, and I'm off to share the laughter at the pub.
Wiltshire Council Final Results
Labour Party 2 (2%)
Independent 7 (7.1%)
Liberal Democrats 24 (24.5%)
British National Party 0 (0%)
Conservative Party 62 (63.3%)
Devizes Guardians 3 (3.1%)
Green Party 0 (0%)
English Democrats 0 (0%)
UK Independence Party 0 (0%)
And Wiltshire voted...
The page is very slow but early results won't please Gordon...
Update 17:17 Results so far for seats won.
Labour Party 0 (0%)
Independent 7 (7.1%)
Liberal Democrats 21 (21.4%)
British National Party 0 (0%)
Conservative Party 53 (54.1%)
Devizes Guardians 3 (3.1%)
Green Party 0 (0%)
English Democrats 0 (0%)
UK Independence Party 0 (0%)
Lincolnshire Results All In - Labour Massacre
Conservative 60 seats (+15)
Liberal Democrat 5 seats (-3)
Labour 4 seats (-17)
Lincolnshire Independents 4 seats (+4)
Independent 3 seats (no change)
Boston Bypass Ind 1 seat (+1)
Lost Chipmunk - Please Help
Hazel Blears had told the Prime Minister that she wants to reconnect with her grassroots but today she was nowhere to be seen in her Salford heartlands. She was, effectively, in hiding.
The two pints of milk left by the milkman at her quietly respectable, suburban villa close to Salford Royal Infirmary were left untouched in the shade of the porch. Her newspapers went unread.
I hope she hasn't taken up hill walking...
Jaffa Miliband Hasn't Got The Balls To Resign
He's too frit to, he will only join in if a crowd does.
June 4, 2009
Purnell stands down to force leadership battle
The knives are coming out into the open.
This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy....
I don't think he gets what the country wants, though he might know what the Labour Party needs, although a lot of Members aren't so keen on Open Democracy any more when it is their troughing that is revealed.
Ministry of Defeat
The Army is in "denial" over Iraq, claims Richard North, author of Ministry of Defeat, a startling new book published today, the first comprehensive history of the British occupation of southern Iraq.
Charting the progress of the occupation, relying on "open source" material, the extensive official and Arab media coverage, and high level sources, he finds that the military made many serious blunders which led to an irrecoverable position. This eventually forced the retreat into a single base in Basra, leaving the city and its surrounds to fundamentalist Islamic milita....
The Army, as a corporate body, let down men and women on the ground, who performed admirably, fighting a vicious and unprincipled enemy. They were handicapped by poor strategy, inadequate equipment and insufficient resources. Without their perseverance, their skills and in some cases quite extraordinary courage, things might have been far worse.
The sad fact though is that the Army failed. More dangerously, it is refusing to acknowledge that failure and risks making the same mistakes in Afghanistan, particularly in terms of equipment procurement, where it is clear that lessons have not been learned.
A must for students of modern history and warfare.
June 3, 2009
Letter to Gordon Brown from his MPs
Over the last 12 years in government, and before, you have made an enormous contribution to this country and to the Labour Party, and this is widely acknowledged.
However, we are writing now because we believe that, in the current political situation, you can best serve the Labour Party and the country by stepping down as party leader and Prime Minister and so allowing the party to find a new leader to take us into the next General Election.”
I might have phrased it slightly differently, maybe more succinctly and Anglo Saxon, in fact with judicious editing I think I could get it down to two words. You may have your own suggestions.
June 1, 2009
Crooks want to redefine crime
We need a new constitution for Britain — and the debate has begun
For the first time since the suffragettes, constitutional reform has become a popular issue....
No it hasn't, the insiders like to chatter and play with transferable alternative tampon stuffing chad dropping systems to see if their beloved party could scam a few more seats and individual MPs can avoid being held personally responsible to electors. The problem isn't the system, the problem is the crooks. When there is a surge in burglary you don't need a convention on the importance of private property and its liberation, you don't need to redefine burglars as community equality outreach operatives you just need to bang them up. The same with MPs, don't be distracted by the smoke and mirrors of it being a constitutional crisis; it has nothing to do with the constitution, everything to do with individual behaviour.
Mandy complains of cheapness of jibes
New revelations pile pressure on Darling - Scotsman.com News
Mr Darling, who earlier faced Liberal Democrat calls to quit after being "caught with his fingers in the till", was again the subject of further revelations.
Mr Cable used his column in a Sunday newspaper to demand the Chancellor's scalp, writing: "Here is the company finance director caught with his fingers in the till.
"He doesn't explain. He doesn't apologise. He just blames his colleagues for not stopping him. His moral authority has vanished. He must go, now. We need a Chancellor focusing on the national accounts rather than his own. There are some urgent economic questions to address."
Joining the demands, Mr Clegg said: "As Chancellor, Alistair Darling occupies a very special position in government. He needs to enjoy the public's trust when it comes to issues of financial probity, of money, of managing our nation's finances.
"And given that very unique responsibility that he has, it's simply impossible for him to continue in that role when such very major question marks are being raised about his financial affairs."
The pair were accused of descending to "cheap jibes" by Trade Secretary Lord Mandelson.
Is it only the Lib Dems who want Darling to go? And only the squeaky clean Mandy who defends him. Interesting times.
May 30, 2009
Darling the next PM?
Gordon Brown wants Ed Balls as chancellor - Times Online
GORDON BROWN is ready to promote Ed Balls, his closest political ally, to chancellor this week in a high-stakes gamble to restore Labour’s political fortunes.
According to a top-level leak from Downing Street, the prime minister wants to make the appointment the centrepiece of a sweeping reshuffle on Friday, after the local and European polls.
With Balls, the schools secretary, one of the most divisive figures in government, the move would be a huge risk, which could trigger a ferocious backlash within the Labour party that could spiral into a leadership challenge.
Disastrous election results, followed by a bizarrely stupid choice of balls, the knives will be out. Of course Darling will be offered the Home Office as Jacqui is on the way out. But what if the Blairites have had enough, and Darling refuses. How about Darling being the replacement PM to guide the Labour Party to the next defeat and then the chosen son can take over unsullied by defeat? Worth a flutter?
May 29, 2009
Scottish Politician rinses out tea bags to save on expenses
As Westminster politicians struggle to explain their expenses, Ms MacDonald totted up her quarterly claim for attending the Scottish Parliament and found that she had spent only £32 — making her the lowest claimant of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.
Ms MacDonald, who served as the Nationalist MP for Glasgow Govan from 1973-74 and represents the Lothians in the Scottish Parliament, billed for only the costs involved in sending her press releases. Ms MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s disease and difficulty walking, also turned down an official car and a driver. Because she sometimes uses a taxi, her expenses bill for the full year has almost reached a heady £2,000.
Ms MacDonald says that she will not tell others how they should run their affairs, although she did offer five top tips for saving money. Politicians could follow her example by making their own office curtains, shopping at supermarkets after 5pm when food is often reduced, and using garden furniture in offices. They could further cut costs by reading newspapers online, rinsing out teabags, and buying the fabric for curtains in the sales.
Now that is more like how we expect our prudent Scottish politicians act, there are some tartan troughers in Westminster who could take some lessons.
May 28, 2009
Cameron Pets Cows
The farmers look impressed....
May 27, 2009
Pop goes the weasel
A great resource for seeing how and where are money is
invested spunked away.
Ministers To Learn What "We Are From The Governement And Are Here To Help You" Really Means?
MPs' expenses: ministers not exempt from tax laws and must pay, says taxman
...in an unusual intervention, HMRC told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night that MPs were not exempt from tax laws and that tax must be paid on some expenses.
In a statement it said: “It’s a general principle of tax law that accountancy fees incurred in connection with the completion of a personal tax return are not deductible.
“This is because the costs of complying with the law are not an allowable expense against tax. This rule applies across the board.”
It almost sounds as though some one at the Revenue is a teeny bit annoyed at the antics of Ministers, not nice when they get annoyed. I do hope so.
Safety Advice For Voters
I find when dealing with MPs that a nosepeg and rubber gloves are also desirable.
May 25, 2009
Darling Takes the Piss
The Chancellor was among nine members of the Cabinet who used publicly funded expenses to pay for an accountant to complete their personal tax returns, The Telegraph can disclose.
I may be in a bad mood tonight as I had to leave the King's Arms early when my old mate Spud had a bladder control accident in front of the bar but the news that the bastards who make the tax rules up, and make advice we need a non allowable expense, charge the taxpayer to ensure their income is free from from tax makes me finger my can of Grinding Paste fondly. I know how I would help Darling understand his tax return - I think a 2.5kg tub might do it..
Chemico Grinding Paste has a lithium grease base, specifically formulated and manufactured solely for Chemico Sales & Overseas Ltd. The high-viscosity, high-temperature lubricant provides inherent shear stability, that is the lubricant remains in place during the grinding operation for the most efficient grinding together with inherent corrosion protection and good sealing properties.
Silicon carbide is one of the hardest abrasives known and the particles are especially sharp. Moreover they are brittle and tend to break up into smaller particles that still retain their sharpness and so continue to work efficiently.
One for Gordon
May 24, 2009
The trouble all started when we let them vote...
Professor Oswald said that having daughters made men "gradually shift their political stance and become more sympathetic to the 'female' desire for a ... larger amount for the public good".
"They become more Left-wing. Similarly, a mother with sons becomes sympathetic to the 'male' case for lower taxes and a smaller supply of public goods," he said.
... 67 per cent of parents with three sons and no daughters voted for Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
This rose to 77 per cent in households with three daughters and no sons. A similar pattern was found among families with two and four children.
When I was younger I was siring sons, now it is daughters, I must be getting soft in my old age.
May 22, 2009
MPs feel the terror of their type of rule.
BBC NEWS | Politics | MP's fears of expenses 'suicide'
...MPs were walking around "with terror in their eyes" and likened the atmosphere to that surrounding Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch-hunts"...
Good, as they say only the guilty have anything to fear, but they are all complicit in creating a Britain where ordinary people are spied on, reported on, fined and criminalised for "innocent" mistakes. Every self-employed person lives every day in fear of the State "investigating" their business and personal circumstances. So it is excellent news that every single Member is now getting to feel just a little bit what it is like to be a subject.
May 21, 2009
A flutter after a drinkypoo - whoops.
Haven't we all been there? What's up with the modern puritans running the place when a chap gets punished for upholding the traditions of the city. He didn't go running to nanny claiming a big boy made him do it, no, he kept quiet, popped a couple of Alka-Seltzer and "traded out of his position for a small profit the next morning". How unlike our MPs who don't put right their mistakes with other people's money until nudged by the cattle prod of public indignation, and then only grudgingly with little risk to their well being.
May 20, 2009
The Death of Old Labour
Michael Martin owed his position to loyalty - not to voters, but to a Scottish party machine that all but ignored them...For more than 50 years after the war, it ran councils and constituencies as a self-perpetuating oligarchy, with a code as rigid as that of a latterday mafia. The assumption that Labour was the natural expression of the people's opinion was so endemic that the people themselves were rarely required to be involved in its affairs.
So, when Mr Martin responded to the wave of outrage that has swept the country in the wake of the expenses scandal by turning on his critics rather than promising to expose the abuse, he was merely reflecting the system he represents.
This is the true corruption of a party that has been in power too long - it is not the bathplugs or flat-screen TVs that matter in the end, but the failure to connect with those who put them there in the first place.
For Mr Martin and his supporters, the expenses story was seen as an unwarranted intrusion into private affairs rather than an exposure of abuse. These diehard representatives of Labour hegemony seem to believe that power is theirs by right, rather than something to be fought for. In the long course of Labour domination, the fundamental question of why they came to politics in the first place has become blurred. The old notions of championing equality, fighting poverty and defending the underprivileged have grown emptier over the years as the gap between rich and poor has widened. And poverty appears as ingrained as ever, while the underprivileged remain just that.
No one walking through Mr Martin's constituency of Glasgow North East yesterday could have failed to note the stark contrast between the deprivation on the streets, and the stories of refurnished second homes and thousand-pound food bills that have been front-page fare for the past two weeks. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has always been incendiary in politics. It is what brought Labour to power in the first place. Now, as the voters look around, they see that, for all the promises, the reality of their own lives bears no comparison with the luxuries to which their MPs have grown accustomed. That is why the anger is so palpable, the desire for electoral revenge almost tangible.
Labour must now reinvent itself, go back to its roots and discover again the simple maxim that it is there to serve the people rather than help itself to power. When, at the next general election, it presents itself to the voters, it must do so in sackcloth and ashes and in a mood of humble contrition - as different as it is possible to be from the mumbled resignation speech of a man who simply failed to recognise that history has moved on.
As the dinosaurs die out I won't be shedding any tears.
May 19, 2009
Martin - The End is Nigh
19 May 2009
Beleaguered Commons Speaker Michael Martin is to hold emergency talks on the reform of MPs expenses as he fights to save his political career.
He is trying to hold on but his trotters haven't got much grip on the slide...
May 18, 2009
£59,000 for 89 houses in 4,500 acres - too much
A LANDMARK community takeover has been thrown into doubt because of difficulties in buying the land from the Scottish Government.... 4,500-acre estates of Borve, Luskentyre and Scaristavore ...89 houses...However, the deal has stalled with the government insisting it must pay the market value for the land and the community unable to afford the £59,000 asking price.
Yes - that is the asking price, and they are complaining that it is too much and they should just be given it by the taxpayer.... Anyone fancy a whip round so we can buy it and evict the moaners...
May 17, 2009
Tories are the True Friends of Dorothy
BRITAIN must learn lessons from film classic The Wizard of Oz if it wants to survive the recession, former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has said.
He said The Wizard of Oz could be interpreted as an allegory describing a failure of monetary and government policy, released in 1939 as the world was coming out of the depression caused by the great crash ten years before.
The twister, which saw Dorothy whisked off to Oz, represented economic collapse following a boom. The wicked witch of the East was the eastern bankers, whose demise freed the Munchkin, a hard- working people.
The yellow brick road was the gold standard and Oz was the abbreviation for ounces, the unit of measurement of gold and silver. The Wizard was the US president and the Emerald City was Washington.
He continued the analogy by suggesting that the tin man symbolised industry and the scarecrow represented agriculture.
"(They) do everything that is asked of them by the Wizard, but he fails to deliver and when challenged turns out to be a fraud," said Forsyth.
"The Wizard may have turned out to be powerless, but on the journey the lion had shown fearlessness in great danger and found his courage. The tin man had displayed great kindness and shown he had a heart and the scarecrow showed great ingenuity and shown he had a brain," Forsyth said.
"They had possessed the courage, the intelligence and the compassion they were seeking all along... the moral is clear. Put not your trust in governments. A political failure had created the whirlwind that changed everything and threatened everyone."
He added: "The remedy lay not with government, but with the people themselves through their courage, innovation, enterprise, determination, hard work and the strength of their families and communities."
Not that I disagree with his thesis but the story was actually first published in 1900. Many scholars have interpreted the book as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America of the 1890s.
Martin 'planning to retire'
Mr Martin is reported to be ready to say that he would step down at or just before the next general election in a bid to avoid a humiliating exit.
It is just down to a timing issue now then, will the Commons accept a lameduck speaker to see out this lameduck government or do they want to take out their hurt on him sooner?
Hope for a New Labour
Backlash denies Lord Gould daughter safe seat - Times Online
Gould, a part-time student who works for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, beaten by Teresa Pearce, a local candidate...The upset was being seen as a further sign of grassroots fury at the arrogance of the political classes. Local party members had been angry at the bid by a clique of senior Blairites to bulldoze their candidate into the seat.
In a battle marred by accusations of nepotism, vote tampering and other dirty tricks, Gould’s supporters were said to have broken party rules by encouraging voters to register for postal ballots.
Taking back the party by the real grass roots is the only thing that can save the rotting edifice.
May 16, 2009
Guido notes that the "the MPs expense scandal is un-named" and asks for suggestions.
How about "A Beginning", it won't have gone nearly far enough until we see the likes of Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper installed in their well earned position.
Beckett's Ceausescu Moment
We're forced to eat out at restaurants, says Beckett | News
Mrs Beckett was booed on TV as she tried to defend claiming £72,000 for a second home in Derbyshire, while living in a Whitehall grace-and-favour residence. She also earned income by renting out a flat in the capital.
Audience members on Question Time branded it a “scandal” and heckled the minister when she refused to pay back the taxpayers' money.
Political experts were stunned by the hostility towards MPs, who had to fend off accusations that those fiddling expenses are no better than benefit cheats.
"Political experts were stunned" and that is the problem with mainstream political reporting, they are all eating from the same trough.
May 15, 2009
Plod Recognises Right To Dress Up In Uniform And Ride A Horse
Police forces are to stop monitoring hunts in a change of policy that sounds the death knell for the hunting ban, The Times has learnt.
New guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) states that gathering evidence of illegal hunting is difficult, that the ban is hard to enforce and that chief constables have more pressing priorities.
Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales and the Acpo spokesman on rural affairs, said: “Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place.”
May 14, 2009
Those Who Fail to Learn From History Are Doomed to Repeat It
I meant to blog about this well written history of the 1970s before as I was kindly sent a review copy. It reads almost like a novel with the twists and turns, which whilst familiar to me as a youngster come as surprises in the narrative. What an appalling time it was; imagine having the choice of Wilson, Heath or Thorpe to lead you.
A week ago the book seemed especially pertinent to read as the mistakes of the seventies are being repeated around us, but with the sleaze exposures grabbing the headlines the far worse policies of the Government are going unreported on. But maybe in a weeks time we will wake up and notice them again and then this book will be a must read again.
Anatole frolics thru the Green Shoots
...signs of recovery continue...
....some commentators believe that ... by printing huge quantities of money the Bank has guaranteed an inflationary crisis in the years ahead. As a result, many financial experts are advising borrowers to lock in to fixed-rate mortgages at relatively high interest rates to protect themselves against even higher rates to come. But are increases really inevitable? There are four reasons why the Bank could keep rates in the 0 to 2 per cent range for years ahead - and would be right to do so....
And the weather on planet Kaletsky is what this morning?
With output falling, money sloshing out of the presses, Government up to eyebrows in debt, if I had to borrow money I would lock in at what ever - but then I'm not an expert or qualified to give advice.
Morley - Pecunia non olet
May 13, 2009
Fabian - Cunctator
...dilatory... from Fabius Cunctator, Roman General.
Antimacassars cost y'know
The old boy's £10,000 for an interior designer - no surprise...
Victorian design was established in the 19th century in England and is basically on the feminine side of decorating and is very elaborate as well. You have to realize that the people the 19th century did not care how much their decorations cost. All they cared about was the look of wealth that it gave to them and their families. They spared no expense back in those days which make the Victorian Interior Design look get pretty expensive in today's day and age.
May 8, 2009
Lumley steamrollers Woolas - fabulous
Oink, oink, oink
This morning there is only one story dominating the political blogosphere..
Enjoy a proper scoop. I couldn't watch some youtube clip of Gordon Brown yesterday as I started to feel sorry for him, I must get a grip.
May 7, 2009
Protect Your Data
That works better than a grinning Youtube appearance, doesn't it.
Jackboots Smith Doesn't Get It
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "This well-spun proposal proves that the Home Secretary has yet to learn about the presumption of innocence and value of personal privacy in Britain.
"Wholly innocent people - including children - will have their most intimate details stockpiled for years on a database that will remain massively out of step with the rest of the world. With regret we shall be forced to see her in court once more."
The sooner she is retired to her DNA splattered sofa the better. The Scottish system is there to be copied but that is too simple and doesn't satisfy her urges.
Darling - Amateur Night at The Treasury
It's GCSE economics: high taxes don't work | Eamonn Butler - Times Online
Given the damage that the new 50 per cent tax rate will probably inflict on the UK economy, the Chancellor seems to have been very cavalier about it. When the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee asked how he decided to impose the new rate on everyone earning £150,000 or more, he replied: “There was no science behind it. It was simply my judgment.”
No science? If there is one part of economics that lends itself to scientific analysis, it is tax policy. Taxation has been under the microscope ever since Adam Smith first distilled the principles of good and bad taxation in the 18th century. Two hundred years of evidence later the science is clear: high taxes don't work. They bring the Treasury less revenue, not more. And on the way, they really mess up your economy.
So Darling admits he hasn't got a clue, we knew he didn't have a clue but for him to admit he is just guessing what to do is astonishing. And the cost to the country, read the rest of Eamonn's piece, is too high to forgive such amateurism.
May 6, 2009
Jackboots Smith's Latest Whizzo Plan
Jacqui Smith says ID cards could be available from high street shops - Times Online
The Home Secretary will also announce that residents of Greater Manchester will be the first to be able to volunteer for identity cards.
Ms Smith’s decision to seek the help of high street businesses in taking the biometric fingerprints and photographs needed for the cards is an attempt to minimise costs and make enrolment in the scheme easy.
Ms Smith said that providing facilities on the high street would allow people to provide their biometric details while shopping.
Excellent - I think I will pop up to Manchester and buy several different ones. The unique secure key to all our information available over the counter at thousands of small shops, what genius! She really is getting desperate.
May 5, 2009
Another Fine Mess
Fast fines scheme 'a failure' as 15,000 go unpaid - Scotsman.com News
Statistics given to Ms Mitchell by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill showed penalties worth £3.7 million were imposed by prosecutors last year as an alternative to court action. Of this total, £1.3m had been collected, £1.2m was being paid in agreed instalments and the other £1.2m was in arrears.
No payments at all had been made in 14,741 fines, or 41 per cent of the total, while a further 4,769, or 13 per cent, were in arrears. More than 57,000 warning letters had been sent out. Ms Mitchell said: "These figures are an absolute disgrace. It is surely bad enough that 54 per cent of fiscal fines, or 19,510, remain either unpaid or only partly paid, but the real revelation is the shambolic administration of these fines."
The breakdown of Law and Order. The system is being laughed at; I'm sure nice middle class people pay up but everyone else is just sticking two fingers up at a fine obsessed system. Fewer laws properly applied is what is needed.
May 1, 2009
Dr Dave explains the Tory Tax Policy
A bit of gel on this finger and you won't feel a thing...
Brown losing it but winning according to the BBC
Gordon Brown has lost it, say ministers - Telegraph
The Prime Minister was forced to surrender in his battle to reform MPs’ expenses yesterday
BBC NEWS | Politics | MPs back allowances reform plans
The government has won a series of votes on planned MPs' expenses reforms
The Brown Broadcasting Company....
Gaoled on an unexplained whim?
On Thursday, Ferry was cleared of the witness intimidation charges, which had seen him locked up for four months, after the prosecution said it was offering no evidence on both counts.
Prosecutor Kerry Barker told Gloucester Crown Court: "I don't intend to explain in a public court why those instructing me took the decision they took.
"The reasons why are not a matter that is or should be in the public domain."
Lock him up for four months and then offer no evidence and refuse to explain? Lovely world isn't it.
April 28, 2009
iea A Credit-Crunch Reader...a valuable compendium of free-market blog and think-tank responses to the crash of 2008.
The overriding message from these readings is clear. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the crash was not the result of unchecked "laissez-faire" capitalism. In fact the credit crunch can be explained by a combination of misguided regulation, government intervention and loose monetary policy. Unfortunately, as the authors point out, governments' responses to the credit crunch would appear to be equally ill-conceived.
Graffito spotted today near Malmesbury...
April 27, 2009
The SNP Spending Plans Explained on Video
THE SNP administration will not axe any of its expensive public spending plans because of the squeeze on the Scottish budget from Westminster, ministers insisted last night.
April 25, 2009
And turn the lights out on your way out
H/t Sue 11 am Sat
April 24, 2009
How to raise treasury income now and encourage enterprise
The full scale of the tax crackdown on the rich became clear yesterday as details emerged of a fresh Labour raid on pensions....
The bags are being packed all over town.
May I make a modest proposal to the Tories how to restore confidence in Britain being the place to do business and raise more tax money.
Let people pay their tax in advance. Establish your average tax bill for the last three years and you can then prepay that amount for the next five years and that is is it, if you earn more you don't pay any more tax, less, bad luck. If the rates change it doesn't matter. If you think you are going to be a success and grow a business it lets you fix your outgoings. The banks might have to lend you the money to pay the lump sum but the Treasury gets the money upfront. It might especially work towards the end of a parliament. If it was offered now a lot would take it up.
If the new target is not reached, Gordon Brown will consider making voluntary service a compulsory part of the secondary school curriculum.
Mr Brown believes that encouraging children to undertake voluntary service is an essential part of building a greater sense of national pride.
A Scot forcing English children to slave unpaid, (he has no power over the Scottish curriculum), yes I think that will give us some national unity. He's mad, he believes he is Churchillian...
April 23, 2009
Darling's Rich Bitch
Scanning the papers I have eventually found one article that faintly praises Darling, the rest are united in condemnation, so I give you bitching about the rich the one and only - Polly!
His one idea of putting his tab on the rich bastards' bill has been recognised as being pathetic. His only consolation is that the Tories don't know what to do about it as they can see being portrayed as the rich bankers friend as the trap it is meant to be. Maybe, just maybe, treating the people as grown ups and trusting them with the truth might work now..
April 22, 2009
Jack Straw at The Ministry of Truth
The Budget Statement Video
Ray Collins distances his site from Labourlist
After I revealed the minor link between Ray Collins' smear site http://www.davidcameronseconomicpolicy.co.uk and labourlist, in that they shared the same faveicon, Ray's site has removed its faveicon completely and Dave's site has moved its to http://www.labourlist.org/images/labourlist/favicon.png.Strange that though they are unconnected both took action the same day...
The power of blogging eh?
BBC NEWS | Education | Ministers' Sats account 'fiction'
The English qualifications agency's former head, who quit over last year's Sats fiasco, has described ministers' version of what happened as "fiction".
Poor old Ed, it doesn't get any better for the slippery bastard does it. Being a Brown Mini-me doesn't look such a great career choice now does it.
April 21, 2009
MPs "not enough to do so we're all going on a summer holiday"
The 12-week recess, which is a week longer than last year's break, comes as MPs admit there is not enough work to do at Westminster.
Difficult times, may people are facing falling order books and staff are having to take time off; my local industrial giant Honda has been honest with its people, close the lines for a long holiday, ten per cent pay cuts for workers, 15 for managers and so I'm sure our MPs are doing the same.....
April 19, 2009
Labourlist and Ray Collins - the favicon connection
Is this favicon from the unofficial, unconnected, LabourList or http://www.davidcameronseconomicpolicy.co.uk/ "Promoted by Ray Collins, General Secretary, the Labour Party on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HA"? Or both?
It seems it isn't just a server they share.
April 18, 2009
News of the World calls No10 Liars, and the other Sundays pile in...
A new email shows that Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins chaired a secret meeting to create the Red Rag website now ensnared in the Smeargate scandal.
The email’s existence links the dirty tricks site to the very TOP of the Labour Party.
And it exposes the LIE, put out by Downing Street, and repeated by government ministers this week, that the smears project was just a minor aberration cooked up by a couple of renegades acting alone—and which would never have seen light of day.
Joining Collins and Whelan at the meeting were the two men whose leaked smear emails later brought the scandal to light: Damian McBride and Draper.
Also in the room was the man who was to be the public face of Red Rag, Unite press officer Andrew Dodgshon, as well as political journalist Kevin Maguire, who was there in a private capacity.
The Red Rag story runs and runs, and doesn't stop here..
Brown's trademark has been to mercilessly rip his rivals' jugular veins and, on God's honour, deny any responsibility. Admirers praised the absence of Brown's fingerprints as the genius of Houdini and McCavity. His quest relied on attack-dogs like McBride eager to spill blood while the commander posed as the innocent saint. Until now, the suspicious had lacked documentary proof of what insiders always whispered about Brown's tactics. .
From The Sunday Times:
Ed Balls ‘ran’ Labour’s smear unit
April 17, 2009
Coming Soon - The Ministry of Truth
Nothing to worry about
Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, believes that even if there are concrete signs of recovery, the level of debt incurred as the Government attempts to spend its way out of the crisis means we have months if not years of "austerity Britain" before us.
"As we are forced to change and adapt our bad spending ways, put affordability first and further cut spending, it could be as long as ten years before signs appear of a real and sustainable recovery," Mr Wheeldon said.
As such, the Government's dreams of economic improvement by the time of the next election should, he claims, be buried for good.
But don't worry because Mandy told an audience on a visit to Scotland to cheer up and not be so gloomy about the country's prospects.
A song, a dance and all is well in Mandy land....
Exposing the press in the press, it takes an outsider to do what all those cosy media reviews haven't done. And he isn't even one of the thousands of holders of media degrees our universities have been churning out.
Snoop Doggy Dog
BBC NEWS | Politics | Council 'snooping power' reviewed
Councils in England and Wales should not use surveillance powers to target minor offences such as dogs fouling pavements, the home secretary has said.
Jacqui Smith was speaking as the Home Office launched a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
Ms Smith said the government had to protect people's freedom "from interference by those who would do us harm".
Protect our freedom by restricting it to prevent our freedom being restricted is what I think she means.
Is there anything that passes Jacqui's desk that doesn't cause a review to be set up? She is paid to make bloody decisions, how about making one for a change. What fun it must be in the Smith household. Toast or Muesli? I'll set up a review into breakfast choices. Black shoes or brown, we need to consider the sensitivities of the communities I will be visiting and so I have set up a review. Shall we go out for a meal or an evening in on the sofa...
April 16, 2009
Plod Don't Want Photos
Man questioned under terrorism law after taking picture of police car in park (From Enfield Independent)
Mr Sleath claimed the car was being driven on the footpath, causing pedestrians to get out of the way and also caused damage to the grass.
As the acting chairman of the Friends of Town Park, Mr Sleath said he took the picture to back up anecdotal evidence that cars were damaging the park at future meetings with the parks police sergeant.
But the officers in the car were not happy. Mr Sleath said a PCSO told him that under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 he was not allowed to take photographs of police officers and vehicles.
( Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to stop and search anyone they suspect is a terrorist threat. The newer Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 aims to prevent people gathering information, including photographs, of the police or armed forces which could be used by terrorists. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison, and given a fine.)
Mr Sleath was detained while the PCSO checked his identity using his driver's licence and filled out a form. He said: "That's the sort of reaction you get when you're living in a police state. It was completely bogus.
Protesters have turned the tables on Big Brother state - Times Online If, in future, police use the controversial section 76 of the new Counter Terrorism Act to stop people taking pictures of officers during demonstrations, that would be a dangerous abuse of power.
Jacqui Smith's hyperbolic civil servants.
Mandarins under fire over arrest of top Tory Damian Green - Times Online
A parliamentary report concludes that senior civil servants overstated the significance of the leaks to persuade police to investigate the Tory MP and raid his Commons office.
It condemns as “hyperbolic” a claim made in a letter from the Cabinet Office that the leaks had caused considerable damage to national security.
A letter from Chris Wright, director of security and intelligence in the Cabinet Office, to Scotland Yard said that leaks from the Home Office between 2007 and 2008 had caused considerable damage to national security.
The letter was written after discussions with Sir David Normington, the top civil servant in the Home Office.
Ms Smith, the Home Secretary, and Sir David, her permanent secretary, had not been able to find the source of the leaks. Sir David admitted that he and Ms Smith expressed their anger and frustration when the leaks appeared in newspapers.
Luckily Sir David and Chris Wright are civil servants and not politically motivated in anyway and would have resisted any pressure from Jacqui to over egg it, wouldn't they?
I note the Home Office is going to hold yet another review, their answer to everything. I have a feeling that the Tories are going to want quicker answers.
Andy Burnham - The VideoLiverpool, the socialist worker's paradise, greet the Culture Secretary in the traditional way that Socialist Governments end. "Sections of the crowd chanted and booed when he mentioned the Government's response."
Kevin Maguire, evil. ignorant or misunderstood?
And just what is the truth of Cameron's alleged embarrassing complaint of a highly personal nature? I, like the drinkers in the Steamboat, Alum and Riverside, would like to know.
The truth is that it’s a lie; a big, fat pork pie put about by nasty little shits. The nasty little shits have even admitted this. So why does Kev continue to propagate it?
Good question. I understand that the allegation is not a "ho-ho Cameron has itchy underpants" but a disgusting fabrication that is so hurtful that a lesser man like myself would have difficulty in not horsewhipping the offenders. And no, I'm not going to give any hints to fuel its further propagation. I may be wrong, I haven't seen the emails. But if I'm right then either Kevin is a heartless bastard or he is not "in the know". Which is it?
April 15, 2009
Hunting for the Artist
So let's clear up the technicalities. Someone created a new blog at wordpress.com, under the ID 'aredrag' at 4:24pm GMT on Tuesday 4 November - a free service with a minimally intrusive registration form. On the same day, before or after, someone using the pseudonym Ollie Cromwell registered the domain name 'theredrag.co.uk' - a tenner for two years through easily.co.uk. They then paid wordpress.com the $15/year fee to run a wordpress.com-hosted site under a different domain name. The site itself consists of a standard Kubrick template, with only the default 'Hello world!' post visible. It has a (very rough) custom header graphic, but beyond that, it's as 'out of the box' as it could be. To me, it suggests someone who knows what they're doing online; and in the right hands, it could have taken only a few minutes.
The flag image is from wikimedia commons, which also shows some web knowledge, but why put all the heading texts in the graphic? Reminds me of something....
April 14, 2009
MSPs Against Vermin Cull, Professional Solidarity?
SINCE the Scottish Parliament building was opened in 2004, its officials have been battling against constant bombardment from winged menaces.
Now Holyrood bosses have finally admitted the only way to tackle the pigeons and stop them fouling the building is to introduce their own air force. They have asked falconers to tender for what could be a £40,000 contract to chase off the pigeons.
But the idea, originally conceived by independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald, has been taken up on the condition that the bird of prey used does not actually kill any pigeons.
There had been concerns that visiting schoolchildren might be shocked by the sight of a hawk tearing a bird apart.
Apart from it being far more honest, healthier and less stomach churning to watch a hawk at work then politicians doesn't that pathetic contract rider say all that needs to be said about the spineless nonentities at Holyrood.
April 12, 2009
Dolly Draper's Strange Bedfellows, and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.
A reverse IP lookup for LabourList shows that the following sites are sharing the same server. ..
Those parked domains that look primed for some more smearing campaigns claim to be owned by:
Ray Collins, General Secretary,the Labour Party on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HA.
I presume that doesn't include the ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING one, but I think he ought to be asked what the plan for the others was.
All Your Emails Are Belong To Us
Dizzy Thinks: Draper's comment about email hacking amused me...
I have now just read Derek Draper defence of the emails from yesterday on Labourlist and this little bit caught my eye.
Imagine if all your emails suddenly became available to people wanting to damage you.
I wonder whether Derek is aware that the Government and party that he supports is actually has an official policy of reading our emails if it wants? Or taking contorl of our computers remotely if it suspects us of something?
Guido is no naive innocent. It was deliberate timing to launch this assault on Downing Street this weekend to fill the holiday news vacuum. Nobody so far has commented on the irony that it was also this week that it became legal for the government to read all our emails.
Only the guilty have anything to fear we hear....Id quot circumiret, circumveniat.
April 11, 2009
Draper on Toast for Sunday Breakfast
Tomorrow the News of the World will reveal the sensational details in the shocking email smears sent by Gordon Brown's top aide.
The PM's spin-doctor, Damian McBride, and Derek Draper, who heads Labour's internet campaigning, outlined a dirty tricks war of highly personal stories about top Tories.
The plan was far more sophisticated than McBride or Draper have claimed and was close to completion.
Emails seen by the News of the World show McBride and Draper schemed to spread false malicious stories that:
Opposition leader David Cameron had an embarrassing illness
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's wife was "emotionally fragile" just because she appeared upset at parties
A Tory MP used his position to get publicity for lover's business
Involved allegations about female Tory MP Nadine Dorries and another named MP.
In the emails, McBride says: "We've got to keep up the momentum."
Stories had been drafted and pictures selected to run alongside them.
Oh what fun, this smear exposure has been well handled and timed to create the most mischief.
The Ollie and Stan of British Blogs, Guido and Iain, are making a formidable double act.
A leisurely breakfast with a glass of something cheering seems to be a plan.
My only question is how does one get hold of a copy of the NoW? If I hid it inside a copy of Asian Babes Botty Fun would that save me from embarrassment or do I need to drive outside the county to buy it if I'm to avoid total social ostracisation?
Guido Goes Down
Too popular or......
Wouldn't Lamp Posts be Cheaper?
In Wiltshire, £5.5 million was spent on redundancy packages for 29 staff...
£190,000 each on average? £190fucking000. We have been sold the reorganisation of our councils down in Wiltshire on the promise it will save money by reducing staff. So I'm not sure whether it is that they have only managed to trim 29 staff or that the 29 staff have had the ratepayers cash so liberally spunked all over them that I find more upsetting.
April 7, 2009
Give £1 Million to Labour - Get to Train the Police
In Cumbria the Blencathra hunt, one of the oldest in the country, has regularly been followed by police. The fact the officers were trained by IFAW was confirmed in a letter written by Superintendent Ted Thwaites of Cumbria Police who said:...IFAW were engaged to provide a day of training to selected officers."
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP and chairman of the Countryside Alliance, has written to Craig Mackey, the Chief Constable of Cumbria, to raise concern about the involvement of animal rights activists in 'training' their officers.
"You may not be aware that IFAW is a profit-making limited company, not a charity. IFAW has always been completely opposed to hunting and its offshoot the Political Animal Lobby has been responsible for over £1 million in political donations in support of the anti-hunting campaign," she wrote.
"The idea that this is a suitable organisation to provide "training" for your officers on issues relating to hunting and the Hunting Act is extraordinary.
"I also understand that there has been a significant change in the policing of hunting since the "training" took place. Serious concerns about the change in attitude of Cumbria Constabulary towards hunts in the area and the behaviour of officers on hunting days have been raised with us this season.
"The hunts and wider rural community in Cumbria would, quite rightly, be as shocked as I am that Cumbria Police has been working with animal rights activists."
Out of Control Policing
The Guardian obtained this footage of Ian Tomlinson at a G20 protest in London shortly before he died. It shows Tomlinson, who was not part of the demonstration, being assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding police.
Pure thuggery, a disgrace. The armed state in action.
Home Office Porn
BBC NEWS | Business | Home Office website links to porn
The Home Office has removed a link from its website after being alerted by the BBC that it linked to what appeared to be a Japanese pornography site.
The link was on a page providing information about the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism.
Keep it in house, saves all that embarrassment of having to go out and rent it....
April 6, 2009
Strangling the property market.
Before Hips people were happy to just float their homes out on to the market to see if there were any nibbles. Now it is a major commitment to do so so they don't and the market is less vibrant.
Bleak outlook for new home information packs
...new rules on home information packs (Hips), which come into force today.
The changes, described by estate agents as “pointless and damaging”, prevent sellers from marketing homes until they have a pack giving information on issues including structural damage, flood risk, parking and service charges. Previously, the process could start as soon as a pack had been ordered...89 per cent of agents did not think that the new arrangements would benefit buyers. Government statistics showed that 77 per cent of people paid no attention to the packs when deciding whether to buy a property.
The Government defended the changes. Margaret Beckett, the Housing Minister, said: “We think it is right that consumers are well informed about the home they are looking to buy, and Hips are an important aid to potential buyers when making one of the biggest financial decisions of their life.”
Has Beckett ever bought a home of her own with her own money, or just a caravan?
Darling Today's Hoon
Alistair Darling has claimed thousands of pounds in expenses on his family home while renting out his privately owned London flat and living in a grace-and-favour apartment in Downing Street, it was reported last night.
The Chancellor has on a number of occasions swapped the title of main home between his house in Edinburgh and his flat in London, reportedly enabling him to claim expenses for both dwellings while also earning rent from his South London flat.
Are there any Ministers that haven't been exposed yet?
April 5, 2009
How to Avoid Stamp Duty - Become an MP
MPs claim stamp duty on expenses - Times Online
MPs are avoiding stamp duty of more than £10,000 on second and third homes by claiming it back on their parliamentary expenses.
They are claiming it in addition to furnishings and mortgage interest payments for homes they are allowed to keep after leaving parliament. The exemption from one of Labour’s most unpopular taxes is revealed in more than 1m receipts for MPs’ claims due to be published this summer.
Details of the perk will further inflame public anger over MPs’ funding of private homes at public expense.
Among MPs who claimed a stamp duty refund is Kevin Brennan, a Cabinet Office minister. He bought a flat in London in July 2007 and claimed back stamp duty of £10,200. “I was advised I could claim stamp duty by the authorities and did so for simplicity,” said Brennan, the MP for Cardiff West.
Ten grand for simplicity, of course, why not?
April 2, 2009
April 4th, 1984 - Twenty Five Years Ago, It Was A Bright Cold Day In April
1984 - Part 1, Chapter 1 by George Orwell
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him....
April 4th, 1984.
For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The telescreen had changed over to strident military music. It was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say. For weeks past he had been making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind that anything would be needed except courage. The actual writing would be easy.
Twenty five years ago, it all seemed unimaginable, but now? Will any of our brave reporters remember and report the anniversary or would that be against the doublethink?
April 1, 2009
Caroline Flint - What's The Use Of Her?
The Minster for Europe on Lisbon Treaty | eurealist.co.uk
During questions yesterday in Parliament, Europe Minister Caroline Flint admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty in its entirety.
Following a series of vague answers on the implications of the Treaty for European defence, Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois asked, “Has the Minister read the elements of the Lisbon Treaty that relate to defence?”. Ms. Flint replied, “I have read some of it but not all of it.” She went on to say: “I have been briefed on some of it.”
As well as leading calls for the Treaty to be ratified, back in December, Caroline Flint claimed that the Irish voted ‘no’ due to “misunderstanding” of the Treaty.
It beggars belief doesn't it... What is Caroline Flint good for? Only an exercise in tracking Google searches according to the Oxford Agenda
Caroline Flint, whose constituency, Don Valley, lies somewhere between Scunthorpe and Barnsley West and Penistone, is the current holder of the title sexiest MP. She has risen from the bottom to breast the tape ahead of the others thanks to her naked ambition. There is no beating about the bush with this girl. ..... She will not be defeated by mockery – you will not find her rolling over and lying on her back with her legs in the air because someone is horrid about her.....
Caroline Flint has got this far by sucking up to Tony Blair. Whether licking Gordon Brown’s [sorry, even I can't quite bring myself to picture what was coming next, even in the cause of a controlled experiment in web searching]....
Property is Theft
Queen's friend facing legal action over Royal Deeside right to roam - Scotsman.com News
THE Queen's neighbour at Balmoral has become embroiled in a row over public access to his sprawling country estate, The Scotsman can reveal.
John Gordon, the laird of Abergeldie, whose family have enjoyed a close relationship with the Royal Family for more than 150 years, could face enforcement action under land-reform legislation if he does not make changes to locked gates and stiles on his property.
The 70-year-old, who charges the Queen's Trustees an annual rent to use his grounds for hunting and fishing, has been the subject of numerous protests from members of the public in recent years, with ten complaints made in the past 36 months.
His private land which the socialists have seized without compensation a right to access to. His private land which The Monarch happily pays to access has to be made free to access for hoi polloi. No matter the deer will get out and the sheep frightened, fires lit and fences cut the new masters have decided that property is theft so they will steal it back.
March 31, 2009
Aaronvitch Fails To See Outside the Westminster Bubble
Our prurience is a disgrace, not the porn films | David Aaronovitch - Times Online
No one seems at all concerned about the privacy element in all this. In newspapers, on television and computer screens we, in our millions, have been shown copies of the bill in question - someone else's bill - itemising the times and dates of the films. In terms of exposure of personal data it is as big a breach as one can imagine, and one designed specifically to “get” the Home Secretary. Nor do I think, as many do, that the morality is covered by the rubric of “it's public money, we should know how every penny is spent”. I cannot see why it would be insufficient if the Commons authorities simply refused to pay the bill, explaining why to the claimant.
In that case David it is time you sniffed the air outside the bubble, you have been sharing the air in there for too long. Come out here and live in the real world.
Maguire Refuses To Gossip
Cops tonight used pepper spray, I'm told , to subdue two men and a woman behind the Speaker's chair just yards from the chamber of the House of Commons. And No, they weren't MPs....
Why so shy Kevin? I believe they were three journalists, you know the sort of people you hang about with. Having a "domestic" - Three, Domestic, Arrest - meat and drink to the inky trade unless they are fellow members eh?
But I forgot, sorry...
I'm not one to gossip ...
March 29, 2009
So that is what you do when I'm out is it! I'm off to my sister's....
Blue movies on expenses: How Jacqui Smith's husband watched pornographic movies... paid for by the taxpayer | Mail Online
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s political future was in jeopardy tonight after it was revealed that her husband used her Commons expenses allowance to pay to watch pornographic films.
Richard Timney, who works as Ms Smith’s Commons adviser, used part of the Minister’s second-homes allowance to pay for the blue movies he watched on a subscription television channel.
The relationship between Ms Smith and her husband was said by Government insiders to be ‘very difficult,’
Oh, what a frabjous day!
Nigel Griffiths - His Turn To Be A Bukkake Victim
Nigel Griffiths tries to gag the News of the World | News | News Of The World
He cheats on wife, cons his voters and is whitewashed by Commons watchdog..then goes to court to stop YOU finding out
Go on, you know you want to read it, the NOW lets him really have it, and I expect others to join in any minute... just wash your hands when you have finished.
March 28, 2009
Who will tell the Emperor he has no clothes
There's something wrong in our politics, something big and bang-in-the-middle: a howling question that is not about the global economy at all. It's about domestic leadership. It's about Mr Brown. He isn't any good. He's failing. He's embarrassing. He's dreadful. His colleagues know this. Yet they are gripped with a terrible fatalism, sliding towards election defeat as though catastrophe were unavoidable.
Defeat isn't, but catastrophe is. New Labour has modest achievement to its credit; and as to its two great blunders - Iraq and the credit bubble - the Tories have been in there too: up to their necks. It is still possible to pull things back quite some distance. But not with Mr Brown.
Don't rule out an October revolution. Don't rule out Mr Brown himself staring a 2010 defeat in the face, and deciding to run away. He's avoided two elections already - for the leadership, and then for an early general. He can duck a third.
My guess is the deal is that he will be allowed to hang on to his dream right up to the election; Labour is going to lose who ever is leading so why sacrifice yourself by being a losing leader. Take a lesson from the Tories. Shoot the loser after the inevitable and start the new brand then with an unsullied Alan or Dave or whoever.
March 27, 2009
An Apology to Derek Draper
I may have given the impression that LabourList.org is the worst Labour blog imaginable. I was wrong, I now recognise it is a work of towering genius compared to Aneurin Glyndwr - Peter Hain's new love child.
No wonder Guido has declared a truce with Dolly...
h/t The Devil's
UPDATE - The Labourlist webcam caught Dolly after he returned to the office yesterday...
h/t Old Holburn
March 26, 2009
Mervyn King and his one eyed friend..
BBC still ignoring Hannan speech
The internet has changed politics - changed it utterly and forever. Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me...Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly. It's all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it's good news for libertarians of every stripe. Lefties have always relied on control, as much of information as of physical resources. Such control is no longer technically feasible.
I should have linked earlier but everyone else had so I assumed you had already watched it, was I correct? With nearly 600,000 views by this morning it seems I was, and even some of the dinosaur press is noticing it now - but not of course the BBC
The Misuse of Anti-terror Laws
Counter-terror powers to spy on people have been used 10,333 times by councils for things as trivial as dog fouling.
The 10,333 council operations also targeted benefit fraud, fly tipping, theft and graffiti damage.
Just nine per cent of them led to a successful prosecution, caution or fixed-penalty notice.
Ministers are now promising to carry out a review to ensure the powers are not abused.
10,333 Number of times town halls used anti-terror laws to spy on people
0 Number of times town halls used anti-terror laws in terror offences
My favourite - "establishing the identities of those taking fairy lights from a Christmas tree"
How Very Dare You! Question a Labour Whip's Second Home Allowance
A GOVERNMENT whip was today embroiled in the growing expenses row after claiming thousands of pounds for a second London home despite already having one within 10 miles of Westminster.
Assistant government whip Dawn Butler has claimed £37,245 in taxpayers' cash in two years to pay for a second property.
Speaking at her Wembley home today, Ms Butler declined to answer questions from The Standard about her use of the second home allowance. She said: "I totally resent you coming to my private home. Have some respect. How dare you."
Quite, how very dare you question me spending your money...
March 25, 2009
Jacqui's Inoffizieller Mitarbeiters
Jacqui Smith unveiled the government's terror strategy in a round of interviews this morning
Shopping centre and store managers will be among 60,000 British workers trained for action on a new frontline against terror.
Jonah Brown Sinks Dundee Labour
Nationalists seize control in third major city as provost quits Labour - Scotsman.com News
THE SNP will next week seize control of Scotland's fourth-largest city for the first time in the party's history, following the surprise decision of John Letford, the Lord Provost of Dundee, to quit the ruling Labour group and stand as an independent.
Gordon Brown boast backfires after SNP seizes control of former Labour stronghold - Telegraph
Labour has ruled the local authority in Dundee for 35 years,...The Prime Minister; "It's in a great state, I replied. It's got a Labour council." on his visit to Dundee on 6th March 2009.
March 24, 2009
The Fundamental Flaws Of The Government's Databases
ContactPoint’s failure is a symptom of a wider disease - Times Online
Technology moves fast. Governments do not. Those in the know are not in the least surprised that ContactPoint has been halted. The Government’s databases are in a mess.
A scathing report, published by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust yesterday, found that the most of the Government’s databases have “significant problems and may be unlawful”. ContactPoint was one of the systems said to be “fundamentally flawed”. ContactPoint’s failure is a symptom of a wider disease.
The problem is that the Government is rarely at the forefront of technological advances and therefore is liable to be sold shoddy goods. The report stated: “One noticeable effect is that the UK public sector always appears to get sold whatever technology or methodology is just going out of fashion in the private sector.”
But press on regardless eh? Stamping and cataloguing the peasants, there is no time to lose...
March 20, 2009
Darling Cash In The Attic Search
Alistair Darling has demanded a further clampdown on Whitehall departments, in the first sign of a much tougher spending squeeze as public finances continue to deteriorate, The Times has learnt.
Oh he is still here is he? I had quite forgotten he existed. I suppose he will scweam and scweam until he he sicks but the finances are so buggered up that paperclip savings are irrelevant and the Civil Service know he is a lame duck so they will just shuffle the paper at him and protect their own.
Go on Love, just do it.
Go on then, jump! Do us all a favour.
March 19, 2009
Gordons Two Nations Policy
Public sector shielded as unemployment hits 2 million - Times Online
A growing divide between a burgeoning public sector and struggling private sector emerged yesterday as figures showed that the number of people out of work rose above two millions in January – the highest level since Labour came to power in 1997.
The number of people signing on for unemployment benefits rose by 138,000 last month – the fastest rate since 1971. Meanwhile, jobs and pay are still rising in the public sector. Official figures show that 30,000 jobs were created in the public sector last year, with 105,000 lost in the private sector.
The gap between the growth in pay in the public and private sectors rose to a record 4.8 per cent. As companies slashed salaries and bonuses, earnings in the public sector continued to rise faster than inflation. Public sector pay rose by 3.7 per cent in the year to January 2009. Private sector pay fell by 1.1 per cent in that period. Inflation is currently at 3 per cent.
The figures reveal that 21,000 extra NHS staff and 5,000 public adminstrative staff were recruited in the last three months of 2008.
And for how much longer do you plan to continue to milk the cash cow without allowing it access to food and drink? Do you think it will die or turn on you first?
From The If It Moves Tax It School of Politics
Economic migrants and students coming to the UK from outside the EU will have to pay a £50 levy towards the costs of the public services they consume.... Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said that the long-term benefit to the UK from migration is "significant" and will play a vital role in the country's recovery from recession.....
March 18, 2009
Gordon's Correct About Our Unique Ability To Recover
UK recession will drag into 2010 as others recover, says IMF - Times Online
Britain’s economy is set to keep shrinking well into next year, even after all or most of its leading competitors have begun to enjoy renewed growth, the International Monetary Fund will warn this week.
Yes, thanks to Labour our economy is unique, thanks to Labour the recession will be longer, deeper and worse here than anywhere else.
Gov to Curb Personal Quantitative Easing
Gareth Thomas, the consumer affairs minister, said it was vital consumers were properly protected.
He said: "We are concerned that people may be tempted to borrow irresponsibly".
Has he warned Gordon about his concerns? Pots and kettles, dear boy.
March 17, 2009
Gunboat Diplomacy in Cockburn Town
Britain to seize control of Turks and Caicos Islands - Times Online
Britain is expected to seize full administrative control of the Turks and Caicos Islands next week after a corruption probe into the governance of the small Caribbean territory.
The Foreign Office announced plans today to suspend the constitution on the idyllic islands situated to the east of Cuba for two years.
Gordon Wetherell, the British Governor, broadcast a message across the islands announcing that a proposal had been drafted in London to transfer the authority of the local government ministers into his hands.
He blamed “clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and general administrative incompetence” for the move which is likely to suspend the democratic administration of the territory until the next scheduled election in 2011.
With no income tax, an array of unspoilt beaches and the security offered by its status as a British dependency, the Turks and Caicos Islands had become a haven for celebrities and their bank accounts.
The calm has been disrupted, however, by an inquiry into allegations of political corruption. At the centre of the inquiry was the islands' charismatic Premier, Michael Misick,...
An investigation into the administration of the islands by Sir Robin Auld, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, found a “high probability of systemic corruption or serious dishonesty”, according to Gillian Merron, a junior FCO minister.
In a written statement to Parliament today, she said: “The Government has formed the view that parts of the constitution will need to be suspended and has decided to take steps to enable it to do so.”
In a better world that would read...
Turks and Caicos Islands to seize control of Britain - Times Online
Turks and Caicos Islands is expected to seize full administrative control of the British Isles next week after a corruption probe into the governance of the small European territory.
The Foreign Office announced plans today to suspend the constitution on the idyllic islands situated to the west of Europe for two years.
Gordon Wetherell, the Turks and Caicos Islands Governor, broadcast a message across the islands announcing that a proposal had been drafted in Cockburn Town, to transfer the authority of the local government ministers into his hands.
He blamed “clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and general administrative incompetence” for the move which is likely to suspend the democratic administration of the territory until the next scheduled election in 2011.
With high income tax, an array of spoilt beaches and the insecurity offered by its status as a Europen dependency, Britain has been losing celebrities and their bank accounts.
The calm has been disrupted, however, by an inquiry into allegations of political corruption. At the centre of the inquiry was the islands' uncharismatic Premier, Gordon Brown,...
An investigation into the administration of the islands by Sir Robin Auld, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, found a “high probability of systemic corruption or serious dishonesty”, according to Gillian Merron, a junior FCO minister.
In a written statement to Parliament today, she said: “The Government has formed the view that parts of the constitution will need to be suspended and has decided to take steps to enable it to do so.”
Just hand over your money
HMRC investigates allegations of tax avoidance schemes at Barclays - Times Online
Alistair Darling signalled yesterday that he was ready to crack down on tax avoidance by Britain’s banks.
HMRC said: “We have received papers relating to allegations of tax avoidance in the banking industry which we are studying carefully.”
The Chancellor told MPs that HMRC would publish a code of practice on taxation for the banking sector around the time of the Budget next month. The code, initially voluntary, would mean that banks must comply “not just with the letter but the spirit of the law”, the Chancellor said. “We expect banks to fully comply with their tax obligations.”
The scheme will be based on the one introduced for the corporate sector, in which officials engage in a “dialogue” with big companies to weed out avoidance schemes. According to the Treasury, it has resulted in billions of pounds extra in tax being collected.
Tax avoidance is legal, whereas tax evasion is illegal – but avoidance is deeply frowned upon and each year the Treasury comes up with new efforts to close loopholes.
Officials said that the taxpayer could save billions as a result.
No, No, No, The Taxpayer who has his pension funds invested in Barclays shares will lose billions which will be passed through the Treasury mangle to result in a small benefit to the country. Barclays has a duty to minimise the amount it pays in Tax, if it fails to plan to avoid unnecessary tax bills it is failing its shareholders.
March 14, 2009
Iain Dale Outrage That Press Reveal Miliband Has A Girlfriend
Stories like this are from the school of thought that assumes all politicians are on the make or easy to influence in a malign way.
I plead guilty, but then I'm not an insider like Iain.
March 12, 2009
LGA Chairman claims he is hung like a donkey
Councils did not "underperform" during snow chaos, says local government chief. - Telegraph Mandy Rice-Davies Applies - He would say that, wouldn't he - I bet he also claims he is a better driver than the average, has a better sense of humour and is a demon in bed. If he can't recognise underperformance when it on the street in front of him then I pity his passengers, his golf club fellow members and his partner....
March 11, 2009
Da Fink Gets It, Do The Tories?
Because what British politics is going to be about in the next ten years is living with the consequences of the State being broke, of the Government running out of money.
I don't mean to make a meal of this. It's just that sometimes when I listen to the political debate, I wonder if everyone is still connected with reality. They're all busy announcing new schemes and White Papers or dreaming of tax cuts and so forth, and no one seems to talk much about the cash. La la la la (fingers in ears). ...
Every Labour government has kept its unstable coalition of leftist dreamers, truculent union men and hard-nosed managerialists together by spending money....
New Labour was made possible because steadily increasing state spending allowed important choices to be avoided. The Government could give out more in benefits to the low paid, spend cash on the NHS to cover up its failures, buy off the unions and all without alienating the middle class too badly. If it proposed market reforms, to burnish its credentials as a progressive party, it could buy off the left-wing critics with taxpayers' cash. No more. In the era of no money, the Left will have to choose. And choosing will be grim.
But things will be grim for the Right, too. Many Conservatives have lived in a dreamworld. Cutting spending would be easy. Cutting tax is a moral necessity. They are about to find out just how difficult it is even to control the amount Government pays out. Consumers of public services have rising expectations and most of the services are labour intensive. Both these things keep pushing up costs, even if government does nothing.
And Tory ideology robs them of the one escape route that the Left retains. They can't very well start putting up taxes - at least not greatly, at least not for an extended period. The party leadership is going to find it hard enough restraining the demand for tax cuts from activists and newspapers, tax cuts that the era of no money make impossible....
It will not be open to David Cameron to be the mirror image of Mr Blair - to move gently towards Tory goals while using spending to keep his opponents always, always slightly off balance. In the era of no money a much more bloody clash will prove almost impossible to avoid. The Left will not find themselves, as the Right did in 1997, confused and with little to say. The battle with the Tories over tax and public spending will seem familiar. Then again, they might like to recall that when those were the battlelines, they lost.
When the Tories get in, assuming the get a proper working majority of seats, they need to grasp the nettle quickly. They will have a short honeymoon period when they can swing the axe. If they try to do it all nicely nicely the four years will soon be up, the opposition will have regathered itself and it will be a bloody mess, and I fear that is what will happen.
March 9, 2009
Dr Eammon Butler Owes Me A Drink
National debt is running at £175,000 per household, five times more than thought, while each year the Government has passed 3,500 regulations, along with 100,000 pages of rules and explanation.
'The Rotten State of Britain' claims to be the first "deeply researched factual account" of Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's time in office.
The author Eammon Butler, a director of the leading think tank the Adam Smith Institute, claimed that his book had been turned down by two publishers because of the "unconventional" nature of the content.
He said: "A new form of centralised government and authoritarian government has been created that is worse than ever in Britain's recent history."
A well written and easily readable book, though I think I will need to buy a second copy as after every page or so I throw it on the ground and declaim about the bastard politicians and then have to go to find a fresh bottle of good cheer as a necessary restorative. Dr Butler is costing me a fortune....
Nevertheless it can and should be purchased by clicking here.
Armed Guards Stood By As Soldiers Died
Security guards stood by as gunmen killed Northern Ireland soldiers - Times Online
Armed security guards employed to protect the military base in Northern Ireland where two soldiers were shot dead did not open fire on the terrorists, even when they stood over the injured men and fired further shots.
Army sources said that it was the first time that the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service (NISGS) had had to deal with a direct attack on a base. The service took over responsibility for security of barracks from soldiers more than ten years ago.
The speed and audacity of the attack not only exposes a gaping hole in the intelligence picture of republican terrorist activity but also raises questions about why barracks throughout the UK are protected by civilians.
Why do I have a feeling the civilians are more like plastic plods rather than Blackwater contractors? What is their training? What are their rules of engagement? How has their effectiveness been tested? Is this just cost cutting? Who is responsible?
March 8, 2009
Pass the Sick Bowl
Presenting Brown with a silver honey bowl in the shape of an apple at the British embassy in Washington, the foundation's founder, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, hailed "your courage in defending freedom and human rights ... and also your key intellectual and compassionate leadership in these critical times, when financial upheavals raised societal tensions and international tensions
No comment from me needed. - HT ASI
March 6, 2009
£900 fine for not carrying your ID Card
Foreign drivers face £900 roadside fines to halt rise in crashes - Times Online
Foreign drivers will have to pay on-the-spot fines of up to £900 for flouting traffic laws under new legislation to be introduced next month.
If they do not have enough cash or a working credit card their vehicles will be clamped until they pay — and they will face an additional £80 release fee.
The law will also apply to British residents who cannot prove at the roadside that they have a valid address in Britain.
The fines will be described officially as “deposits”..
Nasty foreigners getting away without paying their fines, let's get them! Of course provided you are carrying your British ID Card it won't be a problem to us British, will it....
March 5, 2009
Paper of Record Disses Guido's Counting
Guy Fawkes' : How Many Standing Ovations Will Congress Give Brown?
Guido counted even the half-hearted stand-ups ,making it 17, BBC reckons 18...
But this morning
Pravda The Times makes it 19 standing ovations during the address — the same as Tony Blair in July 2003.
How great our Glorious Leader is and how dare anyone suggest he isn't as loved as the discredited running dog Blair.....
Printing Money - invest in wheelbarrows
The Bank of England is set to slash interest rates to another all-time low and announce plans to pump newly-created money into the ailing economy.
With borrowing costs also set to fall to 0.5% after a sixth successive month of cuts, the Bank is now pulling out all the stops to stave off a prolonged slump.
Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to give the go-ahead for the Bank to create up to £150 billion, according to reports this week.
If we look over the Atlantic we can see what these exciting policies will bring us - I'm surprised Gordon hasn't found the time for an extra leg on his trip to touch the hem of his economic guru, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as he tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages...
March 4, 2009
Hush, hush whisper who dares, Here's a Tory idea that works.
Local services face a new wave of privatisation across England as a Conservative council leads moves to put contracts worth billions of pounds out to private tender.
Essex County Council is one of a growing number of authorities, mainly Tory-led, that intend to outsource all or most of their services to save funds, including schools management, social care, roads and libraries.
Essex, which has shortlisted two companies for a £5.4 billion contract over eight years, is regarded as having developed the blueprint for town halls under a Conservative government.
Case study: Hammersmith and Fulham
When the ruling Conservative Group at Hammersmith & Fulham Council reviewed the efficiency of its council-run cleaning service last year, the result was less than impressive.
According to Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of the West London council, thousands of pounds were being wasted through ineffective management and other “Spanish practices”. “We were providing a Cinderella service when it was done in-house. And it was costing the council a significant amount of money,” he told The Times .
In January the council tendered its school cleaning service to a private company. “We’ve got a better service and it’s costing us a lot less,” he said.
Cue howls of protest from the town halls and it won't be official Tory Policy as it is too contentious but at last a real Tory policy that reflects Tory ideals and provides real benefit.
March 3, 2009
The Cost of an Addiction
Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, is meeting Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, next week, and he will be raising cross-Border sales and ways of restricting them.
The UK government is looking at introducing legislation to have similar measures, in particular minimum pricing and restrictions on promotions, across the UK. Sources within the Scottish Government have said they believe Scotland is being considered as a test for the rest of the UK.
Restrictions, legislation, Government pricing can't you see it all happening. Alcohol addiction is a terrible thing and the addicts harm themselves and their families but it is a mere annoying pimple compared to the addiction to power our rulers have.
All that stand between us and Mugabonomics is Fred's Pension
Government by vendetta: I remember it well | Tom Winsor - Times Online
Trying to legislate to annul an inconvenient contract binding on the State (or a state-owned bank) would do massive harm to Britain. What company in its right mind would place reliance on a contract with a Government that is prepared, after the contract has been signed, to use its legislative pen to strike out the clauses it later decides that it doesn't like? If we go down this route we get close to the status of developing countries, such as as former Soviet republics, where foreign private companies need special protection against political interference in their contracts with host governments. Their technique is usually to set up enforcement of the contract in a neutral third country, with direct recourse against the foreign-held assets of the state in question. Is that really where the British Government wants to take us?
Unfortunately, the present Government has form. In 2001, the Government's No1 hate figure then was Railtrack.....
Threatening companies with legislation to extinguish their contractual rights was obviously a desperately clever thing, and it was kept for the next time some enemy of the State with an inconvenient contract had to be dealt with.
On October 24, 2005, having repeatedly insisted that the independence of the economic regulator for the railways was sacrosanct, Alistair Darling tabled a Commons motion congratulating the Government on the legislative threats it had made to me. So now we know what he thinks of contracts that government later wishes it hadn't signed. The damage caused by the Government's handling of Railtrack was severe, and it took years for confidence to recover.
If Ms Harman's harangues are to be translated into special legislation to reduce the value of one wealthy banker's severance contract in an act of political vengeance, we will revisit the place of Third World governments whose promise is suspect. Are the word of the State, the sanctity of contract and the rule of law really worth so little that they should be undermined in this way to pursue a political vendetta? Sir Fred Goodwin can afford to give up the money, and perhaps he will, but the British Government will pay an exponentially higher price if it tries to legislate it out of his grasp.
Tom Winsor was the Rail Regulator, 1999-2004
Defending the odious Fred the Shed's rights is defending the rule of law and contract without which our descent into third world status is complete.
March 2, 2009
Money, Money, Money
A business-like public sector? We wish
Private companies are freezing pay as they struggle to survive the recession, unlike their counterparts in local government
Jenny Hjul: We’re all in this together, except for the councils - Times Online
The one comfort of the economic crisis is that we are all in it together. Obviously, some are cushioned from its blows more than others, but even the fund manager or the footballer can’t get a decent price for his house or a return on his investments these days.
Belt-tightening has become a national pastime, recession humour lifts the gloom, and “how to save money” handbooks are the new bestsellers. Few professions or trades have been unscathed by retrenchment and redundancies and even those workers who have hung on to their jobs now live in a climate of uncertainty. Every expense is measured, travel plans are curtailed and expansion projects are postponed.
There is an escape, however — not to distant lands (which are also feeling the pinch), but to a parallel universe where little of the above applies. This other reality is called government and so far it appears to be depression proof, nowhere more so than in Scotland.
Thrift has not darkened government’s door here, either at national or local level, spending remains profligate, employment is secure and pensions are protected. Council bosses and ministers have simply chosen to ignore the financial meltdown affecting other parts of the country.
That's all folks for today as I'm out early trying to fit an extra job in to keep the pennies rolling in, how unlike our pampered bosses...
March 1, 2009
Fred the Shred the Law
Herr Harman was full of pant-fillingly scary quotes such as:
It may be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the government steps in.
Sir Fred Goodwin should not count on [keeping his money] because it is not going to happen.
The prime minister has said that it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted.
And (Fantasy Island) treasury spokesman Vince Cable said:
Nobody disputes that Sir Fred should be deprived of his pension.
Nobody? Is there nobody who recognises the rule of law anymore, nobody who recognises a smokescreen for what it is, nobody who knows where the finger of blame should really point?
February 28, 2009
MPs want to control your searching
Politicians have urged the Government to put an end to Google’s dominance of the online search advertising market, calling for the matter to be referred to the Competition Commission.
Twenty-nine MPs have signed an Early Day Motion outlining their concerns. The motion, tabled on February 11, has the support of 25 Labour MPs, one Conservative MP, two Liberal Democrats, and a member of the Scottish National Party.
“On the internet, competition is literally one click away,” said a Google spokesman. “We have to prove our value to our users and advertisers every day, because if they’re unhappy with Google, there’s nothing preventing them from switching to another search engine.”
Quite, what do the MPs suggest, that we are rationed to only using Google for every other search? One day a better search engine will come along, as Altavista and Yahoo found out, both were near monopolies once....
February 27, 2009
Iain Dale - Statist Thug
Iain Dale's Diary: Does Sir Fred Goodwin Have No Shame?
Parliament should act to take it away from him.
Iain, Iain, Iain, wrong, wrong, wrong. If it is his legal entitlement agreed by contract then only the worst sort of politician hoping to appease the mob would enact retrospective legislation to confiscate his private property. I'm sure you will realise that in the morning.
UPDATE - The Devil agrees in his usual forceful way...
February 26, 2009
Are such things done on Albion's shore?
To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children's author has written this article
The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake's prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.
We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys....
A Must Read
UPDATE - It has been removed from The Times' website so I reproduce it below.
Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms
To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children’s author has written this article
Are such things done on Albion’s shore?
The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake’s prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.
We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.
We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?
The new laws whisper:
You don’t know who you are
You’re mistaken about yourself
We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless
We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you
And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised
The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:
Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity
Whatever your opinions are, we don’t want to hear them
So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are
And we do not want to hear you arguing about it
So hold your tongue and forget about protesting
What we want from you is acquiescence
The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.
You are not to be trusted with laws
So we shall put ourselves out of your reach
We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition
You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them
You do not need to hold us to account
You think you will get what you want from an inquiry?
Who do you think you are?
What sort of fools do you think we are?
The nation’s dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.
And the new laws whisper:
We do not want to hear you talking about truth
Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours
We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on
We do not want to hear you talking about innocence
Innocent means guilty of things not yet done
We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence
You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt
We do not want to hear you talking about justice
Justice is whatever we want to do to you
And nothing else
Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don’t mind if we are. They don’t think we care about it.
We want to watch you day and night
We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you
We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people
We can see you have abandoned modesty
Some of our friends have seen to that
They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible
In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide
We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural
We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things
One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:
We know who our friends are
And when our friends want to have words with one of you
We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need
It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law
It is for us to know what your offence is
Angering our friends is an offence
It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.
And those laws say:
Sleep, you stinking cowards
Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms
Freedom is too hard for you
We shall decide what freedom is
Sleep, you vermin
Sleep, you scum
Source: Times Online
February 24, 2009
British Taxpayers Paying for India's Rockets
The currency confusion is The Times - I presume it is meant to be dollars and then pounds. A billion squids is still a lot of money, even in these profligate days, but it is just about the amount Britain gives to India every year as aid.....why?
Jacqui Cuts Plod
Large numbers of police forces are planning to cut thousands of officers despite the threat of a recession-driven surge in crime and disorder.
Representatives from dozens of police forces contacted by The Times last night gave a grim picture of falling numbers and “significant and painful” cuts...
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: “There is no reason why police strengths should reduce..
I think I have spotted half a dozen who are surplus to requirements...
But then just as the Queen believes the world smells of new paint these jumped up poltroons of politicians believe the streets are always full of police. When my local hospital spends £30,000 or more policing its grounds against smokers but the county can't find the money for more plod on the beat then you know our priorities are screwed.
February 22, 2009
Standing up for the right to offend
Open season on free speech in divided Britain - Times Online
As our society fragments into more and more special-interest groups – I’m sorry, I mean, as our society blossoms into an ever more vibrant and diverse “rainbow nation” – these competing groups find more and more reasons to feel offended, and to demand that the law protect them from feeling offended again. This is missing a fundamental point about a democratic state: the right to freedom of speech far outweighs the right not to feel offended. As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”...Our political leaders should toughen up a bit, and encourage some of the electorate to toughen up as well. There’s nothing dumb about freedom of speech.
February 20, 2009
Crud and Crap to Replace the Brown
As part of his defence of Miss Harman, Mr Cruddas wrote in the Independent: "Their personal attacks, anonymous briefings and confused diagnoses are symptomatic of an inability - or simple refusal - to grasp the end of an era."
Saucer of milk?
February 19, 2009
Gordon's Ripper Fantasy
YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will almost certainly spend the rest of his days locked up, the Prime Minister has said.
Seeking to reassure the public after reports suggested doctors had cleared Sutcliffe as no longer dangerous, Gordon Brown said: "I don't think he will ever be released. But I'm arranging for him to have some day releases to help repay the community for his crimes. I've given him the spare backdoor key to Yvette Cooper's house and than a taxi is booked to take him to bloody Harriet Crusty Knickers Harman. If he wasn't out of practice that Fat Gobshite Jacquii would be on the list as well, she can bloody wait for next weekend.......
Rats queuing to leave the ship of state
Just as public figures flocked to Labour in 1997, now celebrities and business leaders are following the polls towards the Conservatives....Think-tanks, keen to attract business sponsorship, are concentrating on centre-right policies - Demos, new Labour's favourite wonk-house, recently launched a project on Progressive Conservativism.....Across Whitehall civil servants are carefully pulling back from the Labour administration. I am told that it is getting harder to recruit fast-streamers for plum jobs in ministerial private offices - the bright young things don't want to become too associated with the politicians of what they assume to be an out-going regime.
Meanwhile, politicians are thinking increasingly of life after Gordon. Cabinet ministers are jostling for position in preparation for the leadership contest that would follow a Labour defeat. Harriet Harman - who, as deputy leader, has won one party election - is said by colleagues (and rivals) to be campaigning assiduously for the top job..... “Harriet's positioning like mad,” one senior figure says. “She's written off the election and she's thinking about herself.”
She is not the only one. Ministers claim that Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is “on manoeuvres” with speaking engagements to party groups all over the country - his speech suggesting that the global recession would be the worst for 100 years was seen as an attempt to reach beyond his ministerial brief. Ed Miliband's opposition to the third runway at Heathrow was interpreted by MPs (and No 10) as an attempt to appeal to Labour's green wing.
“There is a massive sense of fatalism both among MPs and civil servants,” a former Cabinet minister says. “Gordon's lost all authority. How can this go on for another 16 months?”
February 18, 2009
Abolish Private Property to Create Jobs
Letters to The Editor -Times Online
...The Marine and Coastal Access Bill, currently being debated in the House of Lords, will create a continuous route for walkers around the coast. It would provide an annual boost of up to £128 million to coastal businesses and create an estimated 11,300 jobs. Britain has a window of opportunity to bring her coastline alive again. If this rare opportunity is to be grasped, there must be full public and cross-party support for this visionary Bill.
Head of Walking Environment
The Ramblers’ Association
11,000 jobs (though only paying £10 grand) who could possibly be so curmugeonly to object to this
benefit cost? It only involves the confiscation without compensation of private property rights so even the Tories can hardly be worried about that as they happily did it to Leaseholders when they were in power.
The state broadcaster wants to know if we are living in a police state
BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Are we living in a climate of fear?
Do you think recent anti-terrorism laws are justified? Is the UK moving towards a police state? Are ministers using terrorism threat to create a climate of fear the UK?
I want a rebate on my TV licence
the level of penalties issued by the broadcasting watchdog since its establishment increased from £452,500 in 2004 to a record £4.7 million last year...Recent cases include a number of faked phone-ins on BBC radio and television, including a £45,000 fine for scam in which a charity competition run as part of Comic Relief was won by a producer posing as "Dave from Essex".
The BBC's infamous rigging of a competition to name the Blue Peter cat resulted in a £50,000 penalty in 2007.
The Corporation was also criticised for highly offensive language broadcast prior to the watershed as part of the Live Earth programme in 2007 and the fine is pending.
ITV was fined a record £5.67 million last May...
So it looks like 2008 is going to be an even bigger bumper year for fines, so where does the money go? I haven't seen my share as compensation for being conned and offended, why doesn't it come off the TV licence? There's a policy idea for Jeremy Hunt
February 16, 2009
Police State - Warning
Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state.
(Best Devil article for a while - do visit)
Critics rush to point finger of blame at 'Culpability Brown' - Scotsman.com News
GORDON Brown was last night facing an unprecedented barrage of criticism over his role in the UK's financial crisis amid claims he was responsible for massive gaps in the regulatory system and that he failed to maintain stability in the country's finances.
Analysis: What an appalling mess – and Lord Turner may have pressed the ejector button that could catapult Gordon Brown out of Number 10 - Scotsman.com News
What an appalling, blame-dodging, question-begging mess is now unfolding with new items almost every day.
Bankers with no banking qualifications; top executives who say they were not to blame; a regulatory system almost perfectly designed to miss the big picture; bonuses showered everywhere – and a government in denial of its responsibility.
Gordon Brown now looks vulnerable on four fronts.
First, he was the architect of the current tripartite regulatory system, set up in one of his first acts as Chancellor...
Second, it was Mr Brown as chancellor who made appointments to the FSA.
Third, it was Mr Brown as Chancellor who made appointments to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee and who ordered the Bank to set interest rates using the EU-standard Consumer Price Index as its inflation measure.The central flaw of the CPI is that it has no house price component. As a result, interest rates were cut and kept low even though house prices and mortgage lending boomed.
And fourth, it was Mr Brown, together with his Chancellor, Alistair Darling, who promoted the Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS by waiving competition rules.
February 15, 2009
Draper Must Apologise
Dolly Draper admits his ignorance by allowing commentators on his site to use the derogatory term for mentally retarded kids - "windowlickers"; ignorance is no defence, he didn't allow Carol Thatcher to get away with Golliwog because she knew no better, so nor should he, especially as he is an expert in mental health.
Or as he would say in that excitable way of his:
Sadly the left wing blogosphere has today proved itself to be even more offensive and objectionable.
We have no doubt that sections of the blogosphere will accuse us of picking a fight But we should not - and cannot - ignore this.
Because this goes beyond personal abuse.
This is about zero tolerance of bullying. It is about coming down firmly on bullys and their apologists and enablers wherever they show their sick, ugly heads.
We call on Derek Draper to remove these comments immediately and apologise. Take down these comments now. They are on your website. You should hang your head in shame.
Draper has issued a decent grown up apology. That's the way to do it.
February 13, 2009
Where's Flashman When His Country Needs Him?
I learnt three things from watching Gordon Brown for two and a half hours yesterday. Our Prime Minister is right about everything (no exceptions). He truly believes he is saving the world. He is operating on a very, very short fuse.
The problem the Tories have is that Dave and George were never the school bullies. They were the ones with "Kick Me " signs pinned to the backs of their jackets, theirs were the shiny little red faces pushed down the bogs. Any bully recognises when the victim is about to break and lash out in a terrible bait and then run home crying, and that is the moment the special taunt has be reserved for. But they keep letting Gordon off the hook; you don't suppose they realise that the best thing for their political careers is to keep him in No 10 for as long as possible, it might not be in the country's interest but it definitely is in the Tory Party's.
February 11, 2009
Jacquiii; A Politician for Our Age
Jacqui Smith is a symptom of our consensus of cowardice - Telegraph
It is a measure of our cynicism about politicians and our archaeologically low expectations of them that there should have been so little outrage about the expenses of Jacqui Smith, our Home Secretary. There is no suggestion that Miss Smith has broken any law, or even rule. It was not that long ago when such behaviour – very much within the letter of the law, but far from within its spirit – would have been condemned and those responsible would have been hounded out of Parliament for it. Now, a great officer of state and other MPs can indulge in it. With all the resignation imposed upon us by experience we shrug our shoulders, and the MPs
carry on pretending they are fit to rule us.
No suggestion at all that the fat faced porker has been filling her fat face illegally at the taxpayer's trough, oh no.
Boris' Potemkin Village
Amid growing concerns of a repeat of the £1billion Millennium Dome fiasco, The Times has learnt that the Olympic stadium will cost at least £800,000 a year to keep open...In an embarrassing admission, three years after promising that the Olympic venues would not be a further drain on the public purse, the Government said that no football or rugby club was interested in becoming the anchor tenant after 2012.
No progress has been made because the stadium's design - a submerged bowl surrounded by an athletics track - means that spectators would be too far from the action on the field.
“There were insuperable obstacles to do with the shape ...,” Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said. “But we will have a world-class facility, which will be a wonderful thing for British athletics.”
Privately, Olympic chiefs concede that the stadium, which will be reduced from 80,000 seats during the Games to 25,000 afterwards, will never be profitable. A £10million annual maintenance fund has been earmarked for the park, although it is not clear whether this will come from London taxpayers or central government.
“It is not only about buildings. It's about creating communities, where people are happy to live and work for years to come,” Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, said.
You may remember to build this folly to Politicians vanity at least 300 firms with 5000 employees, a real community where people were happy to live and work for years were compulsory purchased and razed to the ground
February 10, 2009
Show Trial Time
Senior bankers face MPs for live television grilling - Telegraph... many MPs will be expecting an apology.
Now where have we seen senior managers forced to make apologies in television for mistakes before being sent to the countryside for reducation in the past? No of course such silly Maoist ideas have no place in modern Britain...
"I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s and we all remember how the politics of that era were shaped by the economy."
Having to sit next to Jacqui Smith I'm not surprised at his views - but first a history lesson....
In power, the party attempted to form an economic policy that was a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, ...launched several public construction programs and government initiatives throughout Italy to combat economic setbacks or unemployment levels...pushed for government control of business:
foremost priority was the subjugation of the minds of the people and the use of propaganda to do so; whether at home or abroad, and here his training as a journalist was invaluable. Press, radio, education, films—all were carefully supervised to create the illusion that fascism was the doctrine of the twentieth century,...All teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath to defend the fascist regime. Newspaper editors were all personally chosen by Mussolini and no one who did not possess a certificate of approval from the fascist party could practice journalism. These certificates were issued in secret;...ways to ideologize, with an accent on schools. ....
Yup, pretty spot on.
February 8, 2009
I've lost a brown envelope about this long....
'Peer for hire' Lord Truscott grabs £70,000 housing perk - Times Online
LORD TRUSCOTT, one of four peers named in the “lords for hire” scandal, has taken at least £70,000 in allowances for overnight accommodation in London while staying at his home in the capital.
He uses the allowance to maintain a £700,000 flat he owns in Mayfair, central London, with his Russian wife, Svetlana.
Revealed: The secret Soviet past of Labour peer at centre of sleaze row | Mail Online
At the time they married, Lady Truscott was an active member of the Communist Party and her father was a senior Red Army officer at a secret military institute connected to the Soviet equivalent of the SAS.
Must be a love match made in heaven, I wonder what first attracted her to the balding shortarse with a title and ready source of influence and cash? Will she get to keep the house as well as the jewels?
February 6, 2009
Snow business means no business
cost of snow fsb - Google News
£1.2bn, £3bn, top £1bn, £3.5bn, 1 in 5 workers were not able to make it into the office, at a cost to the economy of £1.2bn, $1.7 billion, an amount likely to increase as the snow persists....
Well, shall we just call it a lot. 6:30 am here in Wiltshire and we haven't had any snow overnight and it isn't even freezing; but the forecasts were some fearsome yesterday evening it has been declared a duvet day by many already, just what the economy needs. At least it gives Gordon yet another excuse...
February 5, 2009
I bet you think this song is about you
And when he looks in the mirror he sees Brad Pitt looking back, yeah, yeah yeah.
I think we are suffering enough under a delusional leader already not to need Mr Potato Head's help.
February 4, 2009
Glenrothes - voters records go missing
SNP raises doubts on Glenrothes as inquiry launched into by-election - Scotsman.com News
The SNP has raised concerns after it was revealed the marked voter register from last November's poll had gone missing from the sheriff clerk's office in Kirkcaldy. These papers show who came out to vote.
The by-election was surprisingly won by Labour by a margin of almost 7,000 votes...Question marks had already been raised over the turnout at the by-election – it was, unusually, much higher than in the general election – and the number of postal votes, which was four times the average.
Tricia Marwick, the Nationalist MSP for Central Fife, said: "Without these records, there is no evidence of either a fair or unfair election. This undermines the confidence of everyone who took part.
"It is almost beyond belief that a by-election which attracted media coverage throughout the UK, which delivered such a surprise result and had a much higher turn-out than anticipated, now has no records to show who actually voted."
Whoops! Dearie, dearie me! Could happen to anyone; I must try that excuse when the Revenue Man wants to see my records....
February 2, 2009
Scammer Warning - We are all at risk
MORE than three million people are potentially at risk from scams in Britain, as experts warn that billions of pounds could be lost during the worsening economic downturn....
Decimal point error - according to Her Maj there are Thirty Million taxpayers who are at risk from the scammers who have conned us out of billions of pounds which will be lost during the worsening economic downturn..
As the article continues:
Gareth Thomas, minister for trade, development and consumer affairs, said: "Scammers cause deep anguish to their victims. Anyone can be targeted by these criminals, ... cost the UK billions of pounds each year."
Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, urged the public to be on their guard all year round for unexpected letters, e-mails, text messages or telephone calls. He added: "We ask you to stop, think and ask yourself, 'What's in it for them?'"
Normally they are trying to keep their seat in Parliament....
January 30, 2009
Gordon's Message to The Country
Gordon Brown has issued a passionate appeal to the British people for optimism in the face of the economic downturn, insisting that confidence will see the country through the deepening recession.
January 29, 2009
Scottish Prudence Doesn't Work
Scottish recession is steepest in UK … and UK recession is worst in world - Scotsman.com News
SCOTLAND'S economy is now falling faster than the rest of the UK, according to statistics published yesterday.
The gloomy news from the latest gross domestic product figures came as the world's leading economic organisation, the International Monetary Fund, warned the UK would suffer the worst slump of all industrial nations, in the deepest recession "since the Second World War".
And only a month ago we were being lectured on how our economy should be run...
SNP focus on Scotland's economy | SNP - Scottish National Party 2008-11-12
Indeed, it is this Scottish Government’s firm view that public expenditure should also increase at this time to ease the hardship on Scottish households and Scottish businesses. This balance of lower and fairer tax, matched by increased in investment in frontline public services is our social democratic contract with the people of Scotland – it is a model the UK government would do well to adopt.
I will leave it to others to casually mention how Gordon continues to live in La-La land by insisting the UK as a whole is better run than the rest of the world.
January 27, 2009
Brown's Dead Cat Bounce is Over
Only six weeks ago Gordon Brown was portrayed as an international hero single-handedly defeating the evil spectre of recession. Feted by presidents and Nobel prizewinners, he basked in glory as Labour climbed in the polls. ...Now, as the hedge fund managers shout “sell Britain”, the voters are whispering to the pollsters “dump Brown”. And what worries Labour strategists most is that it is the crucial swing voters - skilled workers in the C2, D and E categories - who have turned in greatest numbers to the Conservatives. They have most to fear from the recession. There are growing calls at a senior level in the Government to rethink how the Prime Minister is handling the economy.
Job losses mount as downturn steepens - Times Online
In one of the darkest days since the credit crunch started, more than 4,000 posts in Britain were axed, with Corus, the UK’s largest steelmaker, alone cutting 2,500 staff....The cuts edged the economy closer to forecasts that unemployment will reach three million by Christmas. Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said: “If you’re getting this number of job losses in one day, that gives us some indication of the scale of the problem we could be facing over the course of the coming months. Unemployment lags behind the economy – it will peak after the economy starts to improve.” ....
Every evening Dave and Georgie must kneel by their beds and thank their lucky stars that they aren't in control. Because whilst Darling Brown are making it worse the Tories wouldn't have made it much better, and if they had got in last year then this recession would have been the end of the Tory party for a generation. Let us hope when they do get handed the reins of power that they are lucky and the global economy is improving and secondly that they have found a clue as to what to do, and it isn't the managerialist's wet dream they have come up with, which is the kind of thing you would expect to be dreamt up by a wet-behind-the-ears Tory boy with no experience of the real world beyond his gilded cage.
January 26, 2009
Go Clause Four
Back to basics with Clause Four | Analysis: Alice Miles - Times Online
13 years after its demise, Clause Four is back. It was a defining moment in the creation of new Labour – Tony Blair ditched the party’s traditional pledge.
Written by Sidney Webb in 1917 and printed on every Labour membership card, it promised “to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service”.
Even back then, few in the Labour Party thought that it meant nationalising the banks....
And a small prize for noticing the first mention of Labour Lords Laws for Cash on either....
At the risk of getting my backside blasted with a twelve-bore, I feel like falling to my knees at the gates of my local nob's house and saying sorry.
I was one of those who cheered on Tony Blair when he embarked on his mission to rid the House of Lords of hereditary peers....How dare these old buffoons, who are only in Parliament because some distant ancestor slept with Edward II, try to throw their weight around in a democracy, I thought...I now realise, though, that they were staunch upholders of civility and decency compared with the mercenary toadies that have replaced them. Somehow I can't imagine the late Duke of Devonshire trying to squeeze £120,000 out of a lobbyist to help to gain an exception on business rates - not even if the roof at Chatsworth had fallen in and he had worn through the leather patches on his elbows.
The appalling thing about the current House of Lords is that it has become a receptacle for all manner of wannabe politicians who would fail if they put themselves up before the electorate: MPs who have lost their seats, party donors with little popular appeal, and retired, often disgraced, Cabinet ministers who use the place like a free gentlemen's club....
Maybe there is something, after all, to be said for an upper parliamentary chamber made up entirely of hereditary peers, whose hands are unsullied by trade and who - in some cases, at least - have had a notion of public duty drummed into them from an early age...
Ross Clark then spoils his argument by suggesting driectly elected Lords, as though adding more bad apples to the barrel will make it better.
The advantage of hereditary peers was that they didn't have to seek short term approval or reward. They could afford to take a long term view informed by a sense of history, and by their position of influence being inheritable they were incented to ensure stability continued so they could pass it on to their heirs.
No other system is as good, though the old Greek habit of choosing some legislators by lot comes close. What we don't want is a House of Commons 2.0
January 25, 2009
Refilling the Gravy Train
£35 billion black hole in council pensions - Telegraph
Householders are paying up to £140 a year in council tax to help fill a £35 billion black hole in town hall pension funds.
An investigation by this newspaper raised renewed criticism of the “final salary” pensions offered to council employees. Such pensions have been almost eradicated in the private sector.
The final salary schemes used by councils offer workers guaranteed pensions based on their salary when they retire.
They include clauses allowing workers to retire early on full pensions.
The slump in share prices caused by the recession has hit pension fund investments hard and added to the scale of the problem.
Council chiefs admit that the situation was made worse when some local authorities took “pension holidays”, withholding contributions to their funds when the markets were strong.
I note that every household in Wiltshire owes £1,149 to the County's Pension blackhole (I'm excluding Swindon) If we exclude those households who are funded by the public sector then the figure rises towards £2000. £2000 we owe to a scheme we have already paid for, one that won't benefit us one iota. They taxed us once to fill the pot, the pot sprung a leak so they will tax us a gain to fill it again. £2000 would come in very handy to fill my leaking pension pot, can I go back to my past employers and ask them to pay me again?
4 out 5 Labour Peers Offer Laws For Cash
Revealed: Labour lords change laws for cash - Times Online
LABOUR peers are prepared to accept fees of up to £120,000 a year to amend laws in the House of Lords on behalf of business clients, a Sunday Times investigation has found.
Four peers — including two former ministers — offered to help undercover reporters posing as lobbyists obtain an amendment in return for cash....
Our reporters posed as lobbyists acting for a foreign client who was setting up a chain of shops in the UK and wanted to secure an exemption from the Business Rates Supplements Bill. We selected 10 Lords who already had a number of paid consultancies. The three Conservative peers did not return our calls and a Liberal Democrat and an Ulster Unionist both declined to help after meeting the undercover reporters.
However, four of the five Labour peers were willing to help to amend the bill in return for retainers.
Excellent scoop by The Sunday Times - Read and follow up.
Interestingly "Lord Truscott, the former energy minister, said he had helped to ensure the Energy Bill was favourable to a client selling “smart” electricity meters." I have been trying to untangle the web behind smart meters in the past because my nose smells something but I couldn't put my finger on it....
January 23, 2009
An Apology to India in a Picture
Omigod, he's got photos of the 'real India' | Hugo Rifkind - Times Online
Bob Marshall-Andrews once called David Miliband a “pillock on his gap year”. Bearing this in mind, I think it was rather brave of the Foreign Secretary to spend a night last week in a thatched hut in rural Amethi, experiencing what his host, Rahul Gandhi, called “the real India”.
Within a few days, however, he was telling Indians that they didn't understand Kashmir and that he did, and behaving so condescendingly towards a venerable septuagenarian Foreign Minister that it's a wonder he didn't actually pat him on the head. Despite such a promising start, his trip to India was by all accounts a raging disaster. If he had any sense, he'd go back in a few months and say sorry. Like Jade Goody.
Any excuse to republish this picture of the prat, that he represents Her Brittanic Majesty and us is an utter disgrace. I'm embarrassed for my country and hope India understands.
Welcome to ToyTown, the ToyTown from Hell
To American eyes Britain has never seemed more like toytown - Times Online
There is real doubt in President Obama’s team – as there was in George W. Bush’s Administration – that Britain has any significant help left to give.
Good luck, Gordon Brown, in trying to portray yourself as the economic wise man who can offer avuncular advice to the novice. It won’t make up for Britain’s reluctance to offer many more troops in Afghanistan – and the US suspicion that even if Brown wanted to, he couldn’t.
To Washington eyes never has Britain seemed more like toytown than in the heady first 48 hours of the Obama White House. But even if the attention that Obama’s military advisers pay to British affairs is slight, it takes only a second to register the hard numbers.
They can see at a glance the cuts in military spending, the shrinking of the Army and the national debt. It doesn’t take much to work out that this means cutbacks, and mysterious delays in expensive new kit.
With regard to our decline a kindly Septic is coming over to tell us about it - here's a chance to hear him.
Yo, Brits - Maggie's FarmHeads up, cousins. Jonah is coming! (The author of Liberal Fascism - if they still permit you to read such radical and subversive books.)
Of course, the Brits are already experts on liberal fascism. They live it.
The fragrant Wendy Alexander
A total of £2,555.44 was spent by MSPs on toilet paper and other hygiene products....
Much of the detail of this was hidden, but parliamentary sources said that most of the extra claims were down to support costs for former Labour leader Wendy Alexander and ex-Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen.
Lipstick costs you know.
January 22, 2009
Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan
GORDON Brown was yesterday accused of a "humiliating climbdown" after the government abandoned attempts to exempt MPs from having to fully disclose their parliamentary expenses.
Or was it the Internets what won it?
This is a huge victory not just for transparency, it’s a bellweather for a change in the way politics works. There’s no such thing as a good day to bury bad news any more, the Internet has seen to that.
Make no mistake. This is new, and it reflects the fact that the Internet generation expects information to be made available, and they expect to be able to make up their own minds, not be spoon fed the views of others. This campaign was always about more than receipts, it was about changing the direction of travel, away from secrecy and towards openness.
I have a feeling the Tories were wrongfooted as well but turned a stumble into a well executed goal score, there saw what a PR disaster was awaiting to happen; so congratulations to the whole campaigning web and especially the organisers.
January 21, 2009
Gordo Wants to Keep a Secret
Gordon Brown has imposed a three-line whip to force a move to block full publication of MPs' expenses through the Commons, The Times has learnt.
As they say of ID Cards, CCTV and the DNA Database only the guilty have anything to fear.
January 19, 2009
Clarke Returns, The Dry Spell is Over
Slug is a common non-scientific word, which is often applied to any gastropod mollusk whatsoever that has a very reduced shell, a small internal shell, or no shell at all.
Evolutionarily speaking, the loss or reduction of the shell in gastropods is a derived characteristic; the same basic body design has independently evolved many times, making slugs a strikingly polyphyletic group. In other words, the shell-less condition has arisen many times in the evolutionary past, and because of this, the various different taxonomic families of slugs, even just of land slugs, are not closely related to one another, despite a superficial similarity in the overall form of the body.
The soft, slimy bodies of slugs are prone to desiccation, so land-living slugs are confined to moist environments and are forced to retreat to damp hiding places when the weather is dry.
Slugs produce two types of mucus: one which is thin and watery, and another which is thick and sticky. Some species of slug secrete slime cords to lower themselves onto the ground, or to suspend a pair of slugs during copulation.
Brown's volkstümlich slogans
Nazi parties turn popular resentment into votes
The fascists are trying to exploit this by whipping up nationalist feeling and outright racism with demands for "German jobs for German workers".
Foreign advert ban puts British workers first - Times Online
Employers will be prevented from advertising jobs overseas under plans being drawn up to ensure that British workers fill vacancies during the recession.
This is the first significant step towards fulfilling Gordon Brown's controversial promise made in 2007 to keep “British jobs for British workers”.
THE NAZI National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), has made a major electoral breakthrough in Saxony...with such slogans as "German money for German interests"...
Gordon Brown will vent his fury at bankers today over the discovery that up to 80 per cent of the loans by British banks are to foreign companies and individuals.
January 16, 2009
Doubts on the "Veracity of what is said in this chamber"
Labour has been working on a "Pinocchio file" and the Liberal Democrats have been keeping a record of "mistruths".
Good to know someone worries about Ministers misleading a Parliament, even if it is only the Scotch one. But with Labour pointing the finger up there, motes and beams in eyes and stones and living in glass houses comes to mind down here...
January 15, 2009
Sometime the old ways were the best ways
Data sharing ‘is step towards Big Brother’ - Times Online
Personal data gathered by one government department will be available to other areas of Whitehall, local government and agencies under proposed legislation published yesterday.
This will open the way for the bulk sharing of information across government, and reverses existing policy, in which data can only be used for the purpose for which it was gathered. Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, defended the proposal, saying that it was intended to improve public services and help to fight crime.
Jack Straw and The Peasants Revolt of 1381
The British politician John Whitaker Straw (born 1946) adopted the name Jack Straw after the rebel leader....Jack Straw turned on his associates under torture and betrayed many of them to the executioner - though it did not save him. Jack Straw was executed and his head displayed on London Bridge.
Miliband "saying terrorists are evil is a mistake".
BBC NEWS | Politics | Miliband regrets 'war on terror'
The idea of a "war on terror" is a "mistake", putting too much emphasis on military force, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said.
Writing in the Guardian,...that it was not a "simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil" and treating them as such was a mistake. ....I suppose he suggests we reach out and show our love for them, "We love you but we are a bit disappointed in your behaviour, maybe you are playing a bit roughly so why don't we all have a group hug in the teepee, otherwise you may have to sit on the naughty step for five minutes...."
In other news: "We have been learning, slowly circling them and moving closer in. We have them trapped now so we can’t stop." Reporters embedded with Israeli forces in Gaza have described them as “moving slowly but shooting readily”.
Looks like this time the Israelis decided, a while back, to finish it. No matter how much the EUnuchs and terrorist sympathizers here whine and scream.
January 14, 2009
Harsh winds create tiny draught in cosy council offices
Forty councils approached by The Times yesterday were planning a total of 7,000 redundancies, and unions fear that few of the 442 local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales will escape the cutbacks.
The Local Government Association said on Monday that one in seven of the 388 councils in England planned to make redundancies.
Council officials admit that the scale of the cuts is much higher than any measures taken over the past decade. They blame a series of factors, in particular the collapse of the housing market. Fees from property developers have fallen dramatically. Fees from land searches and domestic planning applications have also dried up.
If the fees have dried up it means the work has dried up as well! And if the work has dried up then in the real world it wouldn't be a surprise that job losses follow, but in council land it is. Of course they will cut the rubbish collections first as that is the only real service councils deliver and the only cut anyone really notices, leaving all the non-jobs safe.
UPDAET : More from John Redwood MP ｻ Class war and the two Britains
Nationalising the economy
The Financial Times said the Government would underwrite 50% of up to £20 billion of "relatively low risk" credit to all but the 150 biggest UK firms - with the banks promising to up corporate lending.
It said a higher-risk taxpayer-backed 75% loan guarantee would also be made available to viable small firms in sectors considered vital to economic recovery and that there would be a multimillion-pound fund to provide share capital in debt-laden small firms with promising futures.
So there will be local committees to judge which firms are "promising", which ones are "vital"... and they had better check that the firms don't discriminate against anyone, employ the right number of graduates, recognise the right union, contribute to party funds....
Maybe I won't bother to dust of the business plan again...
January 11, 2009
The Brown Bashing LoserList.org
I don't know whether to laugh or vomit....
Interesting that Dolly Draper leads with this quote:
This downturn was a product of a particular way of running the financial system and that has to change dramatically and fundamentally.
I can't find the quote anywhere else on t'net so I'm not sure what context it was said in but as I think we all know who has been running the British financial system for the past decade I think we can take this as an accurate bit of Brown bashing.
January 8, 2009
Go to the mattresses
Punish savers and make them spend money | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
I believe, in line with the vast majority of non-socialist economists, that Mr Cameron's campaign for savings is completely wrong; that “borrowing our way out of debt”, paradoxical as it sounds, is exactly the right prescription for our present problems.
The next logical step, although it may be politically controversial, would be to do the opposite of what the Tories suggest. Instead of reducing taxes on interest payments, the Government could tax all bank deposits and other risk-free savings. This would create a negative risk-free interest rate, encouraging savers either to invest in property, shares and other productive assets - or simply to save less and consume more.
But what I think is of little importance, especially as I have been wrong about so many aspects of this crisis
So the State is a better judge of what we do with our own money than we are, why not go the whole hog and confiscate all savings. The first sign of my very modest savings being taxed and I'm going to the mattresses.
Warren Buffett emailed this note to the directors of his company, Berkshire Hathaway:
“This should be bullish for Berkshire. With great foresight, I long ago entered the mattress business in a big way through our furniture operation. Now mattresses have become fully competitive as a place to put your money, and sales will soon take off.”
January 7, 2009
"All political power comes from the barrel of a gun"
Bailiffs were used in 1.2 million cases to recover council tax arrears last year, and 2.5 million households received courts summonses. Of 19,156 bankruptcy petitions, one in five was lodged by local authorities. In 1992-93 the proportion was one in a hundred.
Only a couple of weeks ago we learnt; "bailiffs would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts,...Bailiffs have for hundreds of years been denied powers to break into homes for civil debt or to use force against debtors, except in self-defence. In a famous declaration, William Pitt the Elder, the 18th-century prime minister, said: “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown.”...The proposals are just a thugs' charter. Anyone can be a bailiff, you can be finishing a jail sentence for manslaughter one day and be out battering down doors on behalf of a debt-collection agency the next.
It is extraordinary how less free citizens are in this respect than they were 400 years ago. Medieval laws against overbearing bailiffs were confirmed in a case in 1604....
Increasingly the State is turning violent against its own citizens as it tries to gobble up their possessions and freedom.
January 6, 2009
Capitalism is Dead Says God
Cardinal says credit crisis has killed capitalism - Telegraph
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, 76, made the astonishing claim at a lavish fund-raising dinner at Claridges which secured pledges of hundreds of thousands of pounds for the catholic church.
The Cardinal, dressed in his full clerical regalia, said in a speech at the black tie dinner that he had worried whether the dinner should go ahead because of the troubled economic times.
The four course dinner, with a champagne reception, had been provided free of charge by Derek Quinlan, the property developer, who owns Claridges who is worth an estimated £60 million.
Sir Rocco Forte, the hotelier and prominent Roman Catholic, was in charge of the decoration. He decked out the ballroom in red flowers and red lights to match the Cardinal's clerical outfit.
But The Cardinal went on to say that in 1989, with the collapse of the Berlin wall, that "communism had died". In 2008, he said, " capitalism had died".
It seems to me that if he believes capitalism is dead he was enjoying a pretty good evening feasting on its rotting corpse like a vulture. Maybe picturing him entering a house with a red light over its door would be more edifying than that.
Couldn't even run a knocking shop
For more than 100 years, the state has maintained a mighty herd of top-quality bulls in the Highlands...There are 119 bulls still there now, on two farms in Inverness-shire.....Crofters usually form small groups to hire bulls. It costs £500, plus travel expenses, for each bull hire, which works out at an average of £1,100 per hire.
According to the Scottish Government, it costs £3,000 per hire to maintain the bulls – a loss of between £1,900 and £2,500 per bull hire. No-one was willing to say exactly what the government's losses are on the scheme, but, with just 120 bull hires last year, the subsidy to the crofters was about £250,000...
If you want private progeny you can always go the delightfully named Semen World website and order a straw of the stuff...
January 4, 2009
Labour Money Laundering through Sub-Prime Charity
A CHARITY that has had more than £840,000 of loans quietly written off by a government fund has made two unlawful donations to the Labour party.
Catz Club, which runs after-school clubs for children, paid £30,000 to attend two Labour fundraising events at Wembley stadium. Charity law bans the use of charitable funds to bank-roll political parties.
“Taxpayers’ money has been recycled into the coffers of the Labour party through a children’s charity,” said Nick Hurd, shadow charities minister.
January 2, 2009
Scholar vs. Spin
Restore trust by ending privileged access to official data, says statistics watchdog - Times Online
Britain’s statistics watchdog has called for an end to the culture of spin.
Trust in government data would be restored only by letting ministers have it at the same time that it was released to Parliament, the media and the public, Sir Michael Scholar, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, said.
Having broken bread with Sir Michael and enjoyed his hospitality on a couple of occasions (as an alumni of the college he runs)I am confident his formidable intelligence and strength of character will prevail in this battle of wills. It also helps he has right on his side.
UPDATE - what make this blog so rewarding to me are your comments and the fact that my mistake in Latin has been noted is wonderful and appreciated (My first draft was about being "one of the alumni..." and as I always try to trim as much verbiage as possible I decided that "one of the" was unnecessary and could be replaced with "an", but I failed to change alumni to the singular.) Mr Chalk will be setting a detention for me later.
December 31, 2008
The Biggest Ponzi Scheme Ever
Every adult could be forced to take out private insurance to cover the cost of their care in old age under plans being considered by the Government.
Excuse me, I think I have already paid. I'm sure my last payslip had a large deduction for NI which was sold to me as insurance for when I fell on hard times. So you want me to pay twice, I wonder why..
Brown Declares Victory - Gongs All Round
Anger over knighthood given to Treasury chief, Nick Macpherson - Times Online
The Treasury’s top official, who was at the helm during the boom before the credit crunch, has been knighted for his role in dealing with Britain’s deepening financial crisis.
The move, as the pound plunged to a record low against the euro and after another slide in house prices, prompted protests that the honour was premature and self-congratulatory.
Critics said that Nick Macpherson, the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury and on an annual salary of £196,400, had been knighted while it was still too early to claim that the £500 billion banking bailout was a success. Sir Nick, 49, a close ally of the Prime Minister,...
There is also an award for Alastair Clark, a former Bank of England expert in financial stability, who was brought out of retirement to help with Northern Rock....
I note the Times Subs have placed this picture in the adjacent column, no comment needed:
December 28, 2008
Do Nothing Tories Respond by Promising More Regulation
Conservatives plan to unveil tax cuts - Times Online
The Conservatives are poised to propose three new tax cuts to help recession-hit families, savers and pensioners in a bold attempt to shed their “do nothing” image.
Brown has brought Britain to the brink of bankruptcy - By David Cameron
So as we look to the future, it is not Labour's turbo‑capitalism we need, where a blind eye is turned to every corporate excess, nor the Left's unthinking anti-capitalism, but the modern Conservative Party, which believes in responsible capitalism and is not afraid to make it happen.
"Responsible Capitalism" I guess is the magic motto Dave found in his Christmas Cracker and is what he is going to beat us over the head with. How can you disagree with it, aren't you a capitalist, aren't you responsible? It actually means for all Georgie's talk of tax cuts and freedom to spend that they actually believe the man in Whitehall can regulate and direct what choices we can make when we want to buy and sell better than we can.
December 27, 2008
Why State Robbery is The Liberal Position
Liberal Conspiracy » Why I am not a Libertarian
As an example, suppose that you, O Hypothetical Reader, have a pound - a whole shiny pound all to yourself. And I have nothing. Now, assuming you don’t want to just give me your money, that’s the most efficient distribution of the money possible.
But suppose that, while you don’t want to give me your money, you were forced to, and I invested the money and made ten pounds, of which I was forced to give you five. Instantly, we have *both* benefited, substantially, even though this is ‘less efficient’ in market terms.
Now, in this hypothetical situation, you would of course either just give me the money or invest it yourself. But in a real life situation involving billions of pounds in the pockets of millions of people, it can’t be guaranteed that the equivalent would happen.
Or suppose having robbed me of a pound you then spend it on Special Brew, Wind Farms or anything else equally wasteful, we then both have nothing, but you will expect me to go out and earn another pound so you can rob me again next week.
December 26, 2008
Dick Face Andy Burnham And The New Administration Censorship Plans
Internet sites could be given 'cinema-style age ratings', Culture Secretary says - Telegraph
Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obama’s incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.
Mr Burnham said: “If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. It’s true across the board in terms of content, harmful content, and copyright. Libel is [also] an emerging issue.
“There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; Mr Burnham admits that his plans may be interpreted by some as “heavy-handed” but says the new standards drive is “utterly crucial”. Mr Burnham also believes that the inauguration of Barack Obama, the President-Elect, presents an opportunity to implement the major changes necessary for the web.
“The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause.”
December 22, 2008
No Surprises Here
National Grid chief Steve Holliday: blackouts will be common in 7 years - Times Online
Clue - Whirlygigs aren't the answer.
Gardai’s Semtex haul throws doubt on IRA’s arms pledge - Times Online
- And I have doubts over Santa as well
Gordon Brown: I'll create extra 100,000 jobs - Telegraph
And deliver presents to all the good little girls and boys, Ho Ho Ho.
December 18, 2008
MacJobs in the Public Sector
The latest figures reveal that 37,300 people were employed by quasi non-governmental organisations in the third quarter of 2008, 1.2 per cent up on the same quarter last year.
The rise emerged as latest unemployment figures for Scotland showed a rise of 12,000.
The same figures also reveal that the proportion of employees working in the public sector has risen slightly since last year from 22.5 per cent to 22.6 per cent.
Plenty more swill in the public trough now the brakes are off on public spending, we no longer have to worry about paying for them because we can just print some more money! Triples all round. What could possibly go wrong?
December 15, 2008
He said Mr Brown had "squandered" the economic growth he inherited as chancellor from the Tory government in 1997: "They have spent and spent and spent."
Sir John, who was faced with a rising tide of unemployment during the recession of the early 1990s, said: "I fear we are going to have an avalanche of job losses in the first three or four months of next year."
He said it was ironic that Mr Brown, the man who had been in charge of the nation's finances since 1997, was leading the response to the turmoil.
Sir John said: "If a burglar has ransacked your house, you don't normally invite him back to fix the security locks. The concept that Gordon Brown, who has presided over this train wreck, is the person to put right what he got wrong strikes me as being ironic to say the least."
Sir John said the government paid £262 million interest every day on the debt and commented: "It's a frightening scenario."
He said other countries were better placed to afford a fiscal stimulus package because they had stronger reserves.
"If we continue borrowing like this, the world will be coming out of recession and we will have a huge amount of borrowing that will force up interest rates. In three years' time, as the world comes out of recession, in the United Kingdom we will have higher interest rates, we will have higher National Insurance contributions because the government have already implemented that, and we will have higher taxes."
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Yvette Cooper, said she "completely disagreed" ..
The government's actions would "help us come out of this stronger and faster", she added.
I fear Mrs Balls is talking balls and the boring grey accountant knows of what he speaks. I wish I was wrong, I don't want a recession and I don't want us to be the last out of it, it is a frightening prospect.
The Debt We Owe To Turkeys
The Confederation of British Industry claims that the cost to the taxpayer of unfunded public-sector pensions has ballooned to a massive £915 billion and is now unsustainable.
The figure is more than 80 per cent of the UK's GDP and more than twice the size of the national debt.
Forget trying to save for your own old age, you have someone else's to pay for first...
December 14, 2008
A CHARITY which has led the fight against sectarianism in Scotland could fold within weeks because of a lack of Government funding.
Nil by Mouth was founded in 2000 to combat religious bigotry
For the past six years Nil by Mouth has received its core funding of £50,000 directly from the Scottish Government and its predecessor, the Scottish Executive.
In recent weeks Nil by Mouth was praised by Irish MEP Eoin Ryan, "It's impressive as it is not about wagging fingers but is about encouraging good behaviour and healthy lifestyles."
Former First Minister Jack McConnell, said: "Nil by Mouth is one of those organisations that make life difficult for politicians by telling home truths without fear or favour. But that is precisely why they should continue to be funded by Government."
It's not a bloody charity, it's a subprime arm of the ruling elite, it's not about making politician's lives difficult it is about ensuring that the views of the political elite are promoted by other means rather than through being expressed via the people's choices. Real charities, real causes that reflect the real concerns of the people are supported directly by the people and are reflected by who they vote for. And I'm not picking on this "charity" for a particular reason only that it's leeching is representative of many thousands more.
Subprime lending was for those who couldn't get funding anywhere else, ditto subprime charities. We need to foreclose on them.
December 12, 2008
Dave Miliband Believes in Santa
BBC NEWS | Politics | Miliband: Germany backs UK policy
Germany backs Labour's decision to borrow billions to fund tax cuts in a bid to boost the UK economy, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has insisted.
It comes after a second German politician attacked the policy.
Steffan Kampeter, of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, said moves to raise debt "were a failure of Labour policy".
Finance minister Peer Steinbruck earlier branded UK policy "crass"
It's nice to know that Gordon will no longer be lonely in the imaginary world he inhabits now that Dave has joined him. And with his brother "Dick" Ed away with the green fairies there is a danger that the cloud may be getting crowded.
Army Pays For Folly
The Armed Forces yesterday became the first significant victims of government attempts to reduce spending in the face of the advancing recession...sparked anger and accusations that the cuts went against the Prime Minister’s promise to help Britain to spend its way out of the downturn...The Government is pouring hundreds of billions of pounds into a possibly vain endeavour to solve the financial and banking crisis but at the same time cutting back on the nation’s defence and security. This is folly.”
You already knew that this is where the cuts would come didn't you. But there seems to be an exciting new way to deal with our enemies - Danegeld..
Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage - Times Online ... a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country.
And I can't resist Kipling on the matter:
Dane-Geld A.D. 980-1016
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --
"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"
December 11, 2008
Darling Should Worry as Pound Free Falls
Value of pound falls to 28-year low - Telegraph
Bank of England figures, which measure sterling against a basket of international currencies, recorded the pound at its weakest level since records began in 1980.
The pound has fallen amid growing fears over rapidly increasing levels of Government borrowing. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, recently conceded that public borrowing will reach more than £1 trillion over the next few years.
Sterling is also not seen to be as strong as "global" currencies such as the dollar and euro during the economic downturn. The Conservatives have released figures showing that British Government debt is now considerably less creditworthy than that issued by the McDonalds chain of fast-food restaurants.
Peter Spencer, chief economic adviser to the Ernst & Young ITEM club, said: "You need a strong economy for a strong currency and there's no strength in the UK economy.
And so spoke the markets, people who actually bet on the future say the UK is a basket case. And because the pound is falling relative to other currencies it means it is judged to be have worse prospects than other currencies. So much for Gordon's "saving the world" or leading it out of trouble, the smart money is all jumping into other lifeboats rather than trust the Great Helmsman.
Don't Worry Darling Anatole Says It Is All Great
Borrow, spend... then recoup it in energy taxes | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
Where will the money come from?...
There is nothing wrong with printing money - and plenty of it - in a period when prices are falling, property and stockmarket values are collapsing, banks are paralysed and the only assets that savers are willing to invest in are pieces of paper issued by the government.
Printing money and spending it on public works or on tax cuts, far from being profligate or imprudent in such conditions, is the only responsible thing for politicians to do. This is what Keynes demonstrated in 1936 in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money...
The Tories are plain wrong to attack the increase in borrowing planned by the Government for next year....
There is one type of tax crying out to be raised in the present environment because it would actually strengthen the economy. This is a tax on energy, carbon or fossil fuels....
If President-elect Obama wants to save the auto industry, revive US manufacturing, control government borrowing and restore US geopolitical independence, now is the time to announce a long-term increase in energy taxes.
Never again will the stars be so favourably aligned.
And so spoke "one of the country's leading commentators on economics, formerly Economics Editor and now an Associate Editor of The Times."
December 8, 2008
Gordon Brown has revealed that he was beaten with a forked leather belt as young boy at a strict Scottish boys' school.
The Prime Minister said he was punished with the fearsome-looking 'Lochgelly Tawse' for wanting to sneak away from school to watch Scotland play football.
The Lochgelly Tawse is a two or three-forked leather belt that was traditionally made in the town of Lochgelly near the Browns' home in Fife.
Until the 1980s it was widely used as a tool for corporal punishment.
Though its use in schools has now died out, it is still popular with sadomasochists.
Never did him any harm did it... if anyone isn't sure what to give Gordon for Xmas I note that Tawses are available here
I note he was punished for thinking about committing a crime in the future, is that where he got his legislative ideas from?
'Bullying, stupid, ignorant' – Lord Mandelson accused over HBOS deal - Scotsman.com News
LORD Mandelson, the Business Secretary, was yesterday branded "stupid and ignorant"
Bagsy me with the hot iron....
December 4, 2008
Jacqui Smith in Contempt of Court
BBC NEWS | UK | DNA database 'breach of rights'
Two British men should not have had their DNA and fingerprints retained by police, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.
The men's information was held by South Yorkshire Police, although neither was convicted of any offence.
Under present laws, the DNA profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are kept on the database, regardless of whether they are charged or convicted.
The court found that the police's actions were in violation of Article 8 - the right to respect for private and family life - of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also said it was "struck by the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the power of retention in England and Wales".
The judges ruled the retention of the men's DNA "failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests," and that the UK government "had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard".
The court also ruled "the retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society".
Shami Chakrabarti said: "This is one of the most strongly worded judgements that Liberty has ever seen from the Court of Human Rights.
"That court has used human rights principles and common sense to deliver the privacy protection of innocent people that the British government has shamefully failed to deliver."
"The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement" -
Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary
Listen Jacqui Stasi Smith - you lost, lost big time, get over it, get on with implementing the ruling.
Speaker Michael Martin - Update
World's oldest living animal discovered after he is pictured in 1900 photograph - Telegraph
Despite his old age, locals say he still has the energy to regularly mate with the three younger females.
A spokesman said: "He is the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived in 1882.
"He was already mature when he arrived and was at least 50-years-old.
"He lives in the grounds of Plantation House which is the governor's residence with five other tortoises who are much younger than him.
"Apparently he remained nameless until he was named by Governor Sir Spencer Davis in the 1930s.
"He feeds on the grass of the main paddock.
"He is still very active despite his age and adores attention, he is a real poser.
"He seems to be sightless in one eye, but does not let that slow him down."
Cheap money isn't the answer.
The mechanism’s broken, rate cuts won’t fix it - Times Online
The Bank of England is certain to slash interest rates again today. It is less certain how effective the cut will be in reviving the patient. Martin Weale, a member of The Times’s interest rate panel, says that a cut of one percentage point would have more impact than “sacrificing a goat”, but it is difficult to have any real conviction it will do much good. After all, last month’s 1.5point cut has done little to improve financial conditions.
The root cause of the economic downturn is the credit crunch, which has choked off the supply of credit for mortgage borrowers and businesses.Cutting official interest rates is not going to increase the quantity of credit available. The mechanism that turns official interest rate cuts into a boost for the economy is broken.
There are countless distressing examples of small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat for want of a bit of cash, but in many cases, including some highlighted by the media, what they need is new equity investment or a change of business model, not a bigger overdraft. It is no good expecting banks to lend companies money they are unlikely to get back.
There is much more of a problem of unmet demand for credit among homebuyers and large companies, because nonbank sources of funding have evaporated....
The Government believes it is business as usual, tweak the rates and allow the great ship of state to proceed on its course. Businesses are retracting back into their shells as quickly as they can, they can see hard times ahead. And those who can't see a survival mode are best advised to go broke as quickly as they can. The problem now is the imbalance between the State's demands both financially and regulatory and the private sector's ability to service those demands. Allowing people and businesses to borrow money more cheaply to pay their taxes isn't the answer.
Contempt for politicians caused by contemptable politicians
The truth is that the deepest divide in British politics today is not between Labour and the Tories; or between Speaker Michael Martin and irate backbench MPs; or between members of Gordon Brown's Cabinet and each other. It is between Britain's whole political class and the great majority of the British people. On the far side of a chasm stand politicians of all parties and their hangers-on. On the near side is almost everyone else.
...According to the latest survey by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, three quarters of adults - roughly 34million people - do not trust MPs and ministers to tell the truth.
Britons have always been sceptical about politics and politicians. Now their scepticism has morphed into cynicism, even contempt. At dinner parties, it is now rare to meet an admirer of more than two or three prominent politicians. It is the few oddballs, the one-offs - Vince Cable, Ken Clarke, Frank Field - who fare best. The issues that excite intense interest in political circles seldom rate a mention anywhere else....
The answer is not that "democracy is under threat". Democracy is secure; most people want more of it, not less. The answer is that misgovernment is bad in itself and that cynicism of politicians on the present scale corrodes people's respect for the law generally and undermines the ability of governments of all parties to persuade ordinary people to act in a disinterested, civic-minded way. If our politicians are such a shabby lot, why should we be any better? It would be sad if this country's public life came to resemble that of Greece or Italy.
Blogs have revived some interest in politicians some bloggers are so inside the political mutual jerk that they are part of the problem, others stand a respectable distance from it and reveal the grossness of those involved whilst a few of us having taken a peek inside, slam the door on them all and wish for a cleansing storm.
December 3, 2008
Queen's Speech will give workers will get the right to ask their boss to alter their contractual hours to fit in with their lifestyle, following Cabinet battle led by Yvette Cooper.
BBC NEWS | Business | UK job market weakening rapidly
The UK job market weakened rapidly in November as permanent placements declined at a record rate, a new survey from Markit Economics suggests.
No Comment from me needed
December 2, 2008
The Olympic's Inconvenient Truth
Ministers ignored evidence from their own experts who found scant social or economic justification for bidding for the 2012 Olympics, The Times has learnt.
A 250-page strategy document, signed off in December 2002 by Tony Blair as Prime Minister but selectively distributed, found little support for the claim that the Games would produce significant economic returns or more people playing sport. ....
Researched for nearly a year by ten experts, Game Plan was intended as a framework for sports policy for the next decade – in particular, whether Britain should bid for events such as the Olympics and the World Cup.
Instead it was quietly forgotten when it did not present a strong case for a bid. Civil servants watered down the findings but the final draft was still unhelpful to bid champions within the Government, an unnamed source told The Times.
“This was a robust report that showed why we should not bid for the Olympics but it was an inconvenient truth. Almost the moment the ink was dry, there was a volte-face,” said Stefan Szymanski, a professor at Cass Business School.
“The justification for bidding should have been based on evidence placed in the public domain. Instead key evidence was suppressed or ignored.”
Which is exactly why we need patriotic civil servants to leak this type of dicument.
December 1, 2008
Two Britain Labour
We certainly have two Britains. The government has split the country into the hard working compliance ridden tax paying private sector, shivering without cash and awaiting the call of the well heeled state Inspector, and the overbearing, camera wielding, humourless, play by the increasing number of rules politically correct Inspector state where any amount of borrowed money can be channelled into more nonsense. This is why the state can afford to prosecute us for parking in the wrong place, for offering a client a glass of wine or for using the wrong words to describe people, festivals or religious observance with no sense of proportion.
There is a growing sense of injustice amongst all those who run businesses and try to make a contribution through the private sector, and growing sense of unfairness between the towns and districts where people mainly work in the private sector, and the ones where a majority now draw their income from tax and public borrowing.
Quite - on the money as always.
November 28, 2008
The Three Leaked Stories
So what did Damian Green leak that has warranted his arrest? From what I can gather, here are the three of the stories in this case...
February 2008 – Illegal immigrant found cleaning the Commons with a fake identity pass
February 2008 – Details of a secret blacklist of Labour MPs suspected of plotting to defeat Gordon Brown’s flagship terror reforms which had been drawn up by the party’s whips
September 2008 A leaked memo from Jacqui Smith to the PM running through the consequences of the economic downturn on crime.
I don’t want to think I live in a country where anyone, far less opposition politicians, can get banged up for scrutinising the government in this way. And what will the public think tomorrow morning: “naughty Mr Green” or “what kind of police state is this?” No wonder No10 is stressing that Gordon Brown had “no prior knowledge” of what looks like calamitously heavy-handed policing. This could end up being a disaster for him.
At the moment these seem to be the stories that Mr Green was arrested over, though obviously there may be something else we don't know yet. So I'm happy to ensure they are brought again into public attention.
Gordon seems to be claiming he was running round the room with his fingers in his ears shouting "Na, na, na, I can't hear you" when the police consulted with their political masters prior to this arrest. It isn't as though he is a control freak who demands to be in charge of everything is it? I'm sure Cabinet members versed in the dark arts will be slitheringly whispering this morning that there is no smoke without fire, and it was noticeable that the Labourgraph was quick to say " the arrest of such a senior Conservative figure who hopes to become a Home Office minister will embarrass the opposition. He is now likely to face pressure to resign from the Tory front bench."
How the rest of Her Majesty's Press and the public react I don't know. But with Boris in the vanguard - A spokesman said the Mayor finds it hard to believe that on the day when terrorist have gone on the rampage in India that anti terror police in Britain have apparently targeted an elected representative of Parliament for no greater crime than allegedly receiving leaked documents. The Mayor told the new acting commissioner of the Met that he would need to see convincing evidence that this action was necessary and proportionate. - the Tories should stick by their man, the principles and their outrage and hammer those responsible, even if they claim they they were elsewhere like Macavity - The Mystery Cat
This poster illustrates the trial of the so-called Industrial Party in 1930, one of the first show trials of Stalin’s reign. Placed on trial were various members of the Soviet technical intelligentsia who were falsely accused of plotting a coup d’état with the help of foreign governments, including the British and French. The group was also charged with committing large-scale acts of economic sabotage. The charges were entirely baseless, yet the accused were coerced into confessing at their trials. These show trials served multiple purposes for Stalin. They created a sense that the nation was under perpetual siege from enemies both inside and outside the Soviet borders. This siege mentality was intended to intimidate dissenters, inspire self-sacrifice among the masses, and excuse the hardships and failings of Stalin’s industrialization policies.
November 27, 2008
Citigroup said the blast-off was likely to occur within two years, and possibly as soon as 2009. Gold was trading yesterday at $812 an ounce. It is well off its all-time peak of $1,030 in February but has held up much better than other commodities over the last few months – reverting to is historical role as a safe-haven store of value and a de facto currency.
Gold has tripled in value over the last seven years, vastly outperforming Wall Street and European bourses.
Mr Fitzpatrick said Britain had made a mistake selling off half its gold at the bottom of the market between 1999 to 2002...
When the Treasury sold half of Britain's reserves, it got an average price of just $275 an ounce. The price fell sharply the moment it pre-announced its intention to sell parcels of gold reserves in a series of auctions over three years.
With the proceeds of the sales, the Treasury bought euros, dollars and yen.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said: "There is no better example of Gordon Brown's economic incompetence.
November 25, 2008
Additional Problems For The Darling Plan
Spending in the shops, however, is on the slide. An upward spike in food costs has meant household food bills shot up in the second half of this year, leaving less to spend on non-food items any-way, even before recession-prompted thoughts of spending less kicked in.
Because of this, the VAT giveaway will probably be less than forecast.
Then there is the question of what consumers will do with what they have saved on their purchases which, according to government estimates, should be about £250 a household. The problem here is that households are labouring under an unprecedented burden of debt – currently about £10,000 of credit card and loan debt each. And since everyone knows a job-destroying recession has set in, any fuel efficiency or VAT savings made are much more likely to be spent on reducing debt rather than going out to spend.
But where the sums do not add up is in his belief that the recession will end by next summer and in autumn the UK economy will return to a growth track.
Economists call this a v-shaped downturn – a sharp fall in output followed by an equally sharp rise. But much more likely, given the probability that the £20 billion "stimulus" will not have the hoped-for effect, is a u-shape – a sharp fall, followed by a period of no growth and then eventually an upturn. In that case, the tax increases will not produce the predicted revenue and, even worse, they may kick in while the economy is still in recession.
Inflation, or rather the lack of it, also causes a problem for Mr Darling.
Governments often increase their tax revenues by doing nothing. If inflation is running at 3 per cent and pay awards are at the same level, governments can raise their revenue from income tax by keeping rates and allowances at the same cash levels.
Although inflation is now relatively high at 4.5 per cent, it is falling fast and some believe it may even hit zero or turn negative into a period of falling prices or deflation. And if that happens, Mr Darling's sums certainly won't add up.
November 24, 2008
Roll Up Roll Up To The Greatest Show On Earth!
FOR Alistair Darling, it is the challenge of a lifetime. Even his friends admit his downbeat style and monotone delivery are unlikely to make this afternoon's Pre-Budget Report in the Commons great political theatre.
Yet interest in the speech is feverish and all eyes will be on the Chancellor as he tries to pull off arguably the biggest financial conjuring-trick in British political history.
That's our future being pissed against the wall that is. At least he could put on the top hat and red coat and add a few performing seals as we watch the shambles
pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
- A scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin: “The economy was in a shambles” (W. Bruce Lincoln).
- Great clutter or jumble; a total mess: made dinner and left the kitchen a shambles.
- A place or scene of bloodshed or carnage.
- A scene or condition of great devastation.
- A slaughterhouse.
- Archaic. A meat market or butcher shop.
[From Middle English shamel, shambil, place where meat is butchered and sold, from Old English sceamol, table, from Latin scabillum, scamillum, diminutive of scamnum, bench, stool.].
November 23, 2008
For Sale - One Labour Party, Slightly Shop Soiled.
Lord Sainsbury in £2m gift to Labour - Times Online
The refinancing deal means the party will have to find £2m a year to service its debt.
Under the restructuring plan, masterminded by Ray Collins, the party’s new general secretary, the annual £2m debt bill will be paid for by “commercial activities” – mainly event sponsorship and conferences
Revealed: how minister cashed in on contacts - Times Online
The former transport minister Stephen Ladyman has been using his parliamentary office to lobby officials for contracts for a private company.
Documents obtained under freedom of information laws show that the Labour MP touted for the business on behalf of ITIS Holdings, a transport company that pays him £1,000 a month.
Looks like Ladyman is just ahead of the rest of the Labour Party by a few months....
TREASURY officials who oversaw the Northern Rock debacle and the onset of the credit crunch have been rewarded with record bonuses, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
New figures show that civil servants at the UK Exchequer pocketed £1.2m on top of their basic pay last year...
And where are the sirens of left shreiking against the obscene bonus culture in the city when you need them.
No Shopping on Sunday
ALISTAIR Darling will tomorrow cut the level of VAT in time for Christmas as part of a multi-billion-pound bid to kick-start spending and revive the economy.
Give away? Slightly less take away would be more accurate. I suppose the tumble weed will be blowing through the shopping centres today as prices will be cut tomorrow...
November 21, 2008
Never have so many owed so much to so few.
Independent specialists published forecasts showing that an extra 50,000 public officials will have been recruited in the six months to the end of the year.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) forecast that over the same period 300,000 private sector workers will have lost their jobs.
Figures showed government borrowing still rising, with Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, expected to announce that it could reach £68 billion this year. The Treasury had to borrow money in October – usually a strong month for collecting taxes – for the first time since 1994.
Doug McWilliams, the CEBR chief executive, said: "There is an issue of how the pain should be shared out. What is clear is that the public sector is insulated from the pain and is getting special privileges.
Has anyone actually worked out how many people each wealth producer now has to support?
November 18, 2008
Nasty Tories Attack
The traditionalist roar grows.. they want short-term populism rather than long-term strategy
I don't speak for anyone else, and not even for myself but her defence of the Dave and George show is bollocks. It is the short term populism of showering money on voters that Gordon is proposing, and Dave and George aren't opposing. Old fashioned Tories want long term financial responsibility to be at the heart of policy, even if that means a painful period now. And they actually want D&G (oh what trendy initials they are!) to actually get up and do some opposing.
Even Tories Are Telling Dave It's Time To Grow A Pair
Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown have peddled some pretty good bilge in their time, but I don't think I have ever seen anything so bare-faced and intellectually putrid as their attempt to blame the Tories for the sorry state of the pound....
Of all the Government's pretences, perhaps the most sickening and self-serving is that none of this matters, that there is no use crying over spilt milk, and that the most patriotic thing we can do is keep silent while Gordon the great helmsman gets on with saving the country and the world.
That, again, is phooey. We need to have an urgent argument about this devaluation and its causes, not least since devaluation is not, in itself, an unmixed evil. ...
We all want tax cuts. Of course we do. We need to stimulate consumption and confidence as quickly as possible.
The danger is that Gordon may be tempted to do this in such a way as to make matters worse. George Osborne is paid to warn of such risks, and he is absolutely right to do so.
Even Iain Dale says "We need a bit more of this from the Shadow Cabinet. If they allow Brown to set the terms of the debate, the debate will be over before they know it. Passion. Anger. Attack. That's what we need more of."
The Tories are being pathetic, out spun, failing to set the agenda, failing to oppose; No wonder David Davis is itching to take over and start biting a few ankles.
November 17, 2008
Politicians and Trustworthyness
A study has revealed the facial characteristics that we associate with trustworthiness and applied them to leading politicians. Here is video footage of the politician's faces being treated to be more trustworthy and then less trustworthy.
Gordon Brown is perceived to have the least trustworthy face of the three due to his thick eyebrows, wide nose and size of his mouth. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was next on the list while Conservative leader David Cameron is judged to be the most trustworthy because of his fresh-faced smooth complexion, wider mouth and more rounded eye shape.
(credit the Alibi website)
I wouldn't trust any of them to be telling the truth unless I had the bamboo skewers and the pliers to hand...
Amazing Economic Discovery
Patients are now able to choose where they are treated, with many snubbing the traditional visit to their local hospital and opting for units with the best treatment records, facilities and, crucially, cleanliness and infection control.
And the hospitals that are losing patients are losing funding so they are sharpening up their act to the patients benefit. You would have thought that someone would have noticed this phenomenon before and written a book on it, or something, so that we hadn't had to waste 60 years, billions of pounds and thousands of lives before Tony Blair discovered it. I don't suppose it work in schools as well would it? Just asking, as Gordon seems determined to shovel billions into building lots of new classrooms....
Spend and Splurge - The Plan To Correct The Overspending and Splurging
Whitehall officials told The Times yesterday that the spending of about £15 billion in NHS surpluses and other capital projects would be brought forward and the details disclosed in the Pre-Budget Report next week. This money is available because Whitehall departments have not proceeded with some building schemes as fast as the Treasury had intended.
Labour also believes that speeding up spending on schools and hospitals will help to sharpen the widening political divide with the Conservatives.
The Government is also preparing tax cuts for low-income families who would be more likely to spend, not save, the extra cash.
Schools and Hospitals, haven't we been here before. And of course low income families shouldn't be paying tax anyway but while they may splash the cash around they aren't the one who will build up the economy by building up businesses, that is being left to the over-taxed over-regulated off-overseas middle classes.
Tories To Be Educated - at last.
Conservative MPs are to get compulsory lessons in scientific literacy under a plan to strengthen evidence-based policy-making.
Classes explaining scientific method and basic concepts will be included in the induction programme for all Tory MPs after the next election, and sitting members and peers will also be offered the opportunity to attend, The Times has learnt. ...
Though scientific challenges such as global warming, stem-cell research, pandemic flu and GM crops are becoming increasingly important political issues, Parliament and the Civil Service have long been dominated by people with backgrounds in the humanities, law and business. Both the Cabinet and the Shadow Cabinet each have just one full member with a degree in science, medicine or engineering: John Denham, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, who studied chemistry; and Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, who is a medical doctor.
No wonder they are so in awe of charlatans who infest our daily briefings on the state of the world. Not being au fait and being rigorous in the use of the scientific method should rule you out from any job more responsible than cleaning chewing gum off the street.
November 16, 2008
Mr Nowhere Man
The New York Times carries a lengthy report of the meetings held between world leaders this weekend. Read it HERE. Rather illuminating that the only major world leader not to rate even a mention is our very own Prime Minister. And he wishes us to believe the agreement was all his doing. And our gullible political journalists fall for it. ..
He's a real nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man, please listen,
You don't know what you're missin',
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command.
He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
Nowhere Man, don't worry,
Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all 'till somebody else
lends you a hand.
George Osborne - Enemy of The People
BBC NEWS | Politics | Osborne faces pressure over pound
Sterling has fallen sharply in recent weeks amid fears about a UK recession.
It has lost more than a quarter of its value against the dollar and hit a near-record low against the euro.
On Saturday, Mr Osborne said the more the prime minister borrowed, the less attractive the currency would become.
His comments attracted criticism from Labour politicians...Chancellor Alistair Darling questioned Mr Osborne's political judgement...Mr Brown, who is also in Washington, said he was disappointed by Mr Osborne's "partisan talk"....some MPs suggested that the shadow chancellor could find himself in serious trouble if the pound plunges when currency markets open again on Monday.
He is a State Traitor for pointing out the bleeding obvious which the Great Helmsman and his musteline sidekick have declared to be untruths. He must be hounded by the organs of the state and its loyal followers. He escaped once after our fearless Sleazebusters had him cornered, it can not be allowed to happen again. Comrades, do you duty.
November 13, 2008
Oxford Innovation Pays Off
Bungee jumping is a global leisure phenomenon estimated to have generated more than NZ$1bn (£375m) in foreign earnings for New Zealand's economy alone.
The first bungee jump was performed in 1979 by the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club
I seem to remember from then, when I was up at Oxford, it was a club of silly young men from expensive private schools, I wonder if Dave and George ever took part. If they didn't I have a length of rope they can borrow...
Olympics - Jowell admits they are a mistake
Tessa Jowell, the minister for the Olympics, made the admission to leisure industry bosses at a dinner in London.
The Budget for the 2012 Games has almost tripled but organisers are now under mounting pressure to cut costs...
Well stop building then - tell the IOC that Sorry they will have to make do with whatever we already have or they can take them elsewhere. We have got plenty of Stadia and swimming pools already. If you go past house building sites you will see the gates are locked and the workers have been sent home, lets do the same for the Olympics.
November 12, 2008
Stunning Cuts the both of them
David Cameron and Gordon Brown sought to outflank each other on the key battleground of tax yesterday
Unfunded this, handout that, stimulus the other, it was like two alcoholics trying to prove that they weren't really drinkers, look I can go to the off licence and not buy any sherry; But I can move the Crème de menthe from the under the sink cupboard to the shed with out opening it.... They are both drunk on taxpayers money, they are addicts, they need help.
November 10, 2008
Theirs not to reason why
GORDON Brown will today call for Britain to intervene more on the world stage as he seeks to ally himself with US president-elect Barack Obama.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said it was "crucial" for the armed forces to experience a reduction in the tempo of operations, in order to recover from several years of overstretch. His comments come as Barack Obama, the US president-elect, prepares to order a significant increase in troop numbers in Afghanistan
I think we can see where this is going as Gordon tries to suck up to The Messiah in hope some of his charisma will rub off on him, all it will cost is a few more exhausted troops in the sandpit....
November 7, 2008
A Cunning Plan
Geoff Baker asks; "Have you got an address for Gordon Brown? I want to drop him a note to explain how he can end the war, make enough money to pay off both the national debt and those hoarding cunts currently known as banks and also get loads of back-slaps worldwide for it....."
I commend his plan to the house.
Scared Scotch Voters Run Back To The Apron Strings
Labour springs surprise in Glenrothes by-election - Telegraph
Lindsay Roy, held the seat with a 6,737 majority – a far larger margin than either side expected in what was thought to be a tight contest.
Whilst the Westminster village thought it would be a narrow squeak win for Labour, outsiders thought or hoped the SNP would get it. I admit to being in the latter camp even though a month ago I wrote about voters and the SNP:
Come home to Mummy, had a nice time playing at being a wild pirate in the playground? But the night is closing in, and a storm is brewing so back home to Mummy and the warmth of the family hearth.
November 6, 2008
Ms Smith said cards would be issued on a voluntary basis to young people from 2010 and for everyone else from 2012.
She added: "But I believe there is a demand, now, for cards - and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don't want to wait that long.
I'm not surprised she wants an ID card - she might be mistaken for a vegetable...
Your Visit Here Will Be Recorded
It is further evidence of the Government's desire to have the capability to vet every telephone call, email and internet visit made in the UK, which has already provoked an outcry.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has described it as a "step too far".
Officials tried to reassure the industry by suggesting that many smaller ISPs would be unaffected by the "black boxes" as these would be installed upstream on the network and hinted that all costs would be met by the Government.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We are public about the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the name given by the Home Office to the database proposal., but we are still working out the detail. There will a consultation on the Communications Data Bill early next year."
Consultation, that makes it alright then. Not that the Government takes any notice of consultations unless they support their view. I suppose Hazel doesn't want to hear my views on thois proposal, though they are very short and succinct, in fact I think two words should cover it.
November 5, 2008
Remember, Remember The 5th November
Terrorism Act 2006 (c. 11)...offences include every statement which—
(a) glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and
(b) is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances.
.... it is a defence for him to show-
(a) that the statement neither expressed his views nor had his endorsement...
Let me make clear that any blowing up of Parliament is very naughty and doesn't have my endorsement - that should keep me out of clink....
Labour to lose the hidden by election?
BOOKMAKERS yesterday cut the odds of an SNP win in the Glenrothes by-election, as the Nationalists claimed swing voters were switching to them.
Losing Glenrothes, which neighbours the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency of Gordon Brown, would pile pressure on the Prime Minister, as Labour insiders admitted if they could not win in his home territory, they would struggle to win anywhere.
I have just moved some of my ill gotten Obama winnings across to bet that Labour will lose - I twill be interesting to see how the odds move today, especially as all the big betters are tucked up in bed now after being allowed to stay up all night.
November 4, 2008
Respect for Life
A judge has ruled that an illegal immigrant who killed an Oxford University graduate by driving into her at 60mph should not be deported.
An immigration tribunal had previously decided that Sabri, who came to Britain in 1998 aged 18 on a student visa, should be sent home to Pakistan as he had overstayed his visa.
However, this decision has been overturned by the High Court after a judge ruled that deporting him would breach his right to "respect for family life".
I feel like coming over all Daily Mail crossed with Richard Littlejohn when you read stuff like that, "respect for family life"... No, 'll leave it for you to complete the rest...
The Three Monkeys Are In Charge
...The three men sat, in a row, looking like a trio of naughty, if rather aged, schoolboys. ..Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, and Whatshisname, the new guy at the Financial Services Authority. They did, actually, look furtive.
Beside Mr McFall was a stack of 5,000 e-mails with questions for the Guilty Three from the Great British Public. The trio gulped. Mr McFall read out the first question, from Ted W. “Where,” he demanded, “has all the money gone?”
Michael Fallon, a Tory, demanded to know who was really responsible. “We have this impression of See No Blame, Hear No Blame and Take No Blame,” he said....Mr Fallon fixed his gaze on Take No Blame (the Chancellor). Why didn't he say he was sorry. “I said to you,” said Take No Blame, “that I accept responsibility for everything that I am responsible for.” The other two looked impressed, for this was, as I'm sure you can see, a wonderfully blameless answer.
See No Blame looked almost transcendantal. “Sometimes the wisdom of crowds is deeply unwise,” he announced.
Now came a question for Hear No Blame (Mervyn King) about the £37 billion bank bailout. “Has the taxpayer been taken for a mug?” Hear No Blame wasn't having any of that. “No,” he insisted, “this is an investment which I believe will pay off.” And so the blame game went on, for, as you can see, it's nobody's fault.
I hope you are now reassured that they know what they are doing and will lead us out of this depression....
November 1, 2008
Quentin Davis - A disgrace to his office and county.
Quentin Davies, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support said that he found it "impossible" to take the resignation of SAS commander Major Sebastian Morley seriously.
"I recently visited Afghanistan, and 100 per cent of those I asked said they were satisfied with their equipment," he said.
The smug fat turncoat, I suppose he should know about the impossibility of being taken seriously. If it wasn't so serious, if it wasn't about our men being killed and wounded it would be laughable. But it isn't; there is pile of old pallets and tyres out back that is just looking for a bucket of lard to be topped of with, please step forward Quenty you sorry excuse for a human being.
Meanwhile a world away ...
October 30, 2008
Comrade Minister Announces Zil Lanes
Within months, officials will draw up plans to create a faster lane for those willing to pay for a quicker journey on the country's busiest roads during the rush hour.
Oh how our Socialist Paradise progresses, do you think Minister's Cars will be free to travel on them without the Man of the People having to pay? And what fun when the bloated plutocrat is speeding down the hard shoulder and my old Morris Oxford breaks down and has to drift into the lane to stop in front of him. Will you let him out into the poor people's lane?
Gordon and Jacqboots ID Card Claims Shredded
Gordon Brown's claims that a national ID card scheme would help prevent terrorist attacks are "absolute bunkum" according to a senior Government security adviser.
Harvey Mattinson, a consultant at the information technology arm of GCHQ, said that the only real value of identity cards would be to help state bodies share information about people.
Mr Mattinson is a former senior official at the Cabinet Office who now advises GCHQ's Communications-Electronics Security Group. "We have got to get this right because it is stopping us doing our business. We need biometric as well as biographical data; we will have to build up the information on the chip."
A Home Office spokesman said: "No one has ever claimed ID cards are the complete answer to terrorism or crime. Criminals and terrorists are known to use multiple identities to avoid detection."
An interesting point is that Mr Mattinson was supporting the idea of ID cards so that his employers can build up even more information on us to allow GCHQ to "do its business".
October 28, 2008
Caroline Flint YouTube
There seems to be one video out of that bunch that Youtube suggests that is more interesting than the rest...
Oh alright here it is...
Gordon's havin' a laff
No responsibility for smashed monitors is accepted by the management.
October 27, 2008
Citizen Juries - the money trail
Guido has been banging on about Deborah Mattinson Gordon's helpful private pollster, for some time - September 6, 2007...Organising "Citizen's Juries" has made Gordon's pollster, Deborah Mattinson, a lot of money over the years. Amazingly they have now become a key Gordon Brown government policy. Who, Guido wonders, will get paid all those fat fees for organising what are jumped up focus groups?
Today a few figures and the burning questions asked are revealed:
The polls were conducted in locations around the country, often in the presence of a Government minister. In many cases, they were carried out by Opinion Leader Research (OLR), a polling group set up by a close friend of the Prime Minister who now works for the Labour Party.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is a particular champion of the concept, and his department has spent nearly £850,000 to consult 500 people about how to teach and look after children.
Hazel Blears, the Local Government Secretary, presided over the spending of £70,000 to ask 35 people their thoughts on building community cohesion through the teaching of English.
Hilary Benn's Environment department spent £20,000 asking 15 Devonians about water pollution and the role of livestock farming.
October 26, 2008
The untwisting story
I thought the press would wake up having been done up like a kipper on the Queen KYacht and Georgie boy. Older hacks don't like that and are digging for the real story the smokescreen was blown to conceal...
“You cannot hope to bribe or twist, Thank God! the British journalist But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to” - Humbert Wolfe
October 24, 2008
Iain Dale Wants To See The Tories Grow A Pair
The Tories have let Mandelson run rings round them leaving their flabby pink faces gasping like freshly caught guppies. If they haven't got the balls, the guts, the networking and the attack dog instinct to deal with this weak story and turn it round then it really makes you wonder if they are capable of running a bath let alone the country.
October 23, 2008
Post early for Christmas
If you haven't signed up to send your MP a copy of "1984" - it's a warning not a fucking instruction manual - then Power to the People! has a draft letter to send to your MP - probably a better idea than mine of sending a length of hempen rope....
October 22, 2008
The Return of The Smooth Operator
• Oleg Deripaska: The billionaire is thought to be Russia's richest man with an estimated wealth of £16 billion. He bought British car company LDV, the former Leyland Daf vehicle maker, two years ago.
• Nathaniel Rothschild: Co-chairman of Atticus Capital, an investment fund. Seen as a rising star in financial world. He has been friends with George Osborne since the pair were both members of the student drinking society at Oxford.
• Andrew Feldman: The Tory fundraiser took up his post this July. He is a close friend of David Cameron and was a member of the same tennis club at Oxford. He is credited with helping the party win many new donors.
• George Osborne: As an heir to the Osborne & Little soft-furnishing and wallpaper company, Mr Osborne has a personal fortune of around £4 million. He became the youngest Tory MP in 2001.
• The Smooth Operator: He who shall not be named.
October 21, 2008
The real £50,000 question
A total non story leads The Times - Tory fundraiser is invited by friend to visit very rich man for an agreeable hour on two on a yacht. Very rich man later offers a small donation to Tories, Tories politely turn it down as it would be illegal. Another very rich man writes to The Times to inform them of this.
Why do I smell something behind this story, the whiff of sulphur as someone organises this. Is someone trying to turn the Times back into a nuLabour rag? What is the real story here?
It is understood that Lord Mandelson was told yesterday of Mr Rothschild’s intention to send a letter to The Times.
October 20, 2008
He knows of what he speaks
A call for level headedness and legislative restraint in an age of danger and risk was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC in the inaugural CPS Lecture.
Sir Ken said that technology had brought the State enormous powers of access to information but this needs to be used with great care.
"We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom's back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security State," said Sir Ken.
"Technology gives the State enormous powers of access to knowledge and information about each of us, and the ability to collect and store it at will. Of course, modern technology is of critical importance to the struggle against serious crime. Used wisely, it can protect us.
"But we need to understand that it is in the nature of State power that decisions taken in the next few months and years about how the State may use these powers, and to what extent, are likely to be irreversible. They will be with us forever. And they in turn will be built upon.
"So we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can't bear."
The full lecture is here - Coming Out Of The Shadows - Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions
"Our struggle (against terrorism) has been absolutely grounded in due process," said Sir Ken. "We all know that this has worked. Our conviction rate for terrorism cases is in excess of 90 per cent – unmatched in the fair trial world.
"So we have been absolutely right to resist, whenever they have been suggested, special courts, vetted judges and all the other paraphernalia of paranoia. On the streets of our country, violent law-breaking is dealt with as crime. It is taken through the courts as crime. It is dealt with in accordance with our constitution. We would do well not to insult ourselves and all of our institutions and our processes of law in the face of medieval delusions."
Take that Jacquiiiiii Smith and stuff it where the sun don't shine.
October 19, 2008
Back to a Keynesian Future - or Don't They Ever Learn?
Financial crisis: Alistair Darling will spend his way out of recession - Telegraph...plans to prop up the economy by embarking on big government-spending projects, an interventionist policy in the style of John Maynard Keynes, the 20th century economist.
Britain has overborrowed in the past decade. Both its consumers and the Government have fuelled the boom of recent years by living beyond their means. The message is that we must cut back and endure a few lean years. Borrowing and spending more today will only serve to build up inflation in future years. This was the lesson which Keynesians learnt to their cost, when the high-spending years of plenty were followed by the misery of the 1970s.
Samual Johnson on the financial crisis
The commercial world is very frequently put into
confusion by the bankruptcy of merchants, that assumed
the splendour of. wealth only to obtain the
privilege of trading with the stock of other men, and
of contracting debts which nothing but lucky casualties
could enable them to pay ; till after having
supported their appearance a while by tumultuous
magnificence of boundless traffick, they sink at once,
and drag down into poverty those whom their equipages
had induced to trust them.
Among wretches that place their happiness in the
favour of the great, of beings whom only high titles
or large estates set above themselves, nothing is more
common than to boast of confidence which they do
not enjoy ; to sell promises which they know their
interest unable to perform ; and to reimburse the
tribute which they pay to an imperious master, from
the contributions of meaner dependants, whom they
can amuse with tales of their influence, and hopes of
October 17, 2008
Brown to tax us more to save us.
The Prime Minister instead said that he would spend to get the economy moving.
Some ministers privately believe that Mr Brown should be prepared to talk about cutting spending as the Government's debts mount.
The Treasury has forecast that spending will exceed tax revenues by £43 billion this year. But independent economists say borrowing is likely to be as much as £90 billion
"We are spending more to get the economy moving." Mr Brown admitted that "hard and difficult times" lie ahead as tax revenues fall and welfare bills rise.
The Prime Minister said: "The issue for me is what we can do to help hardworking families in our country - what we can do to help people facing high petrol prices high gas and electricity bills, people seeking mortgages and small businesses worried about their cashflows."
And the biggest brake and drain on the economy of small business and ordinary people are taxes, what are you going to do about them? Increase them!
Who owns Tony Blair's House, is it us?
There is no mortgage/no mortgage interest claimed by Gordon Brown on his houses as far as I know, but I wonder ho