May 11, 2013
Highwaymen Agree Coach Passengers Must Agree To Be Robbed
The G7 group of industrialised nations have agreed that there must be collective action against tax evasion and avoidance, the UK's finance minister has said.
Chancellor George Osborne said after the talks that it was "incredibly important" that firms and individuals paid the tax they owed.
April 19, 2013
How Bobby Sands Won The Cold War For Us
Let us remember that when the Argies invaded the Falklands no-one in the international community thought we would fight. We were a sad little declining ex-imperial ruler. Even Ronnie was very wobbly on it, hoping for some sort of consensus compromise. As the Task Force sailed he was only convinced it wasn't just empty sabre rattling when it was pointed out the the Blessed Margaret had accepted with equanimity the deaths of Bobby Sands (Daily Mirror Slimmer of the Year 1981) and his now forgotten runners up. If she was prepared for those British Subjects to die and not give in she was prepared to fight. She fought and proved we still had balls. This gave Ronnie the cojones he needed to defeat the Evil Empire, with her help.
Without these preliminaries it would not have happened, and why if the Nobel Peace Prize had any meaning to it, hollow laugh, she should have received it annually for as long as she was alive.
April 16, 2013
Mr FM and I are meeting in the City tomorrow to doff our caps as the funeral procession goes by, and then we will turn back time to the eighties and have a proper city lunch; a table at Rules has been booked, though I expect we will swing by some old favourite wine bars on route so it will be a afternoon meal.
It is only fitting.
March 19, 2013
No to The Royal Charter of Press Regulation
Hacked Off have a lot to answer for, for it is they who have driven this ridiculous agenda. A group of jumped up, rich celebrities who pretend to be fighting the cause of Milly Dowler, the McCanns and Christopher Jefferies, but in reality are only concerned with covering their own backs and doing their best to ensure that tabloid newspapers can never again put them on the front pages.
December 18, 2012
Not The Normans
According to the author Kevin Cahill, the main driver behind the absurd expense of owning land and property in Britain is that so much of the nation's land is locked up by a tiny elite. Just 0.3% of the population – 160,000 families – own two thirds of the country.
Now Kevin may say that, but the linked website, doesn't only that lots of rich people own lots of land.
It is, of course, complete bollocks. It isn't because their Noble Lordships refuse to sell off building plots; most would welcome an influx of the readies. It is because land only becomes building plots when the man from the council gives planning permission. Blame the bureaucrats, not the Normans.
December 3, 2012
Let The South Rise Again
Exhausted from a hard day’s work and even longer commute? Irritated at higher and higher taxes eroding your pay while watching monopolistic train fares spiralling out of control? Sick and tired of subsidising folk from the rest of the country?
You belong to a select club – the club of the hard-working, clever and creative people living in London and the South East who single-handedly are giving the rest of the nation a standard of living they can’t, or won’t, create for themselves.... I have done my bit and I would like the people of Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and vast areas of the rest of England to do theirs.
This area needs its own party. It needs a leader who believes that the striving classes in the South are overtaxed and overburdened...
November 12, 2012
Your TV licence at Work
Mr Entwistle, who resigned on Saturday night after just 54 days in the job, leaves with a £450,000 lump sum on top of his £877,000 pension pot,...
The BBC Trust said Mr Entwistle had been given a year's salary, which amounts to £8,333 for every day he spent as director-general, to "reflect the fact that he will continue to help the BBC business" by giving evidence to a series of inquiries into the Jimmy Savile affair and "to effect a speedy resolution and allow the BBC to move on".
November 11, 2012
Fatty Pang's Final Failure
I could hardly stop laughing as I saw his sad little face on the News last night and it has cheered me up no end again this morning. "All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure" as Enoch once wrote. And Fatty has been allowed to swim for far too long already.
November 5, 2012
October 10, 2012
Eamonn Butler on Hayek
Hayek and his ideas are still largely unknown even though they have been hugely influential in modern western economies. The average broadsheet reader could probably give a vague definition of Keynsian theory, "spend a bit more on public works when times are tough, build up a reserve when the economy is booming," but would not know where to start with Hayek. Well this is where to start. Whether you think he was right or wrong you should read it to get a broad background understanding. The only warning is that if you have a belief that he is wrong or irrelevant you might start thinking, and thinking that maybe he has the answer. But take the risk, it is an enjoyable read as well as being educational.
September 26, 2012
Hayek To The Rescue
Harriman House Press Release - 25th September 2012
Dr Eamonn Butler provides an accessible exploration of the life and work of Friedrich Hayek in his remarkable new guide
Friedrich Hayek was one of the leading economists of the 20th century and the leading contemporary critic of Keynes. He did pioneering work on monetary theory and trade cycles, but achieved international fame through his 1944 critique of totalitarian socialism, The Road to Serfdom.
Setting him in context as well as incorporating criticism since his death 20 years ago, this book explores several major areas of Hayek’s thought and argument:
• why society is not something that can be rebuilt any way we want, but is the result of long-term cultural evolution, and what that means for political reform, morality and individual choice
• the kind of laws that true freedom relies upon, and how freedom and its benefits are threatened by political confusions
• how the market process really works: from maximising gains for everyone who participates, to competition as a discovery process
• where boom and bust cycles come from and how privatising currencies could be the startling solution
• how we actually interpret our world, and what this means for social sciences and politics
• why socialism was a mistake, capitalism isn't wasteful, and what economic organisation has to do with political destiny
• the impossibility of social justice but the genuine hope offered by true economic freedom
• what the real foundations of a free society look like.
Author Eamonn Butler says:
“It is now plain that only one group of people understands the cause and cure of the crisis we are now in – those that follow the Nobel economist F A Hayek. In the 1930s, he showed how a fake boom built on easy money and cheap credit would inevitably turn into a painful bust. And that the only cure is to take the pain of the downturn, and let the economy right itself. A 'hair of the dog' policy of even more money-printing and even lower interest rates just prolongs the agony. It explains our present situation perfectly.
I knew F A Hayek, whom everyone regarded as hugely intelligent and deeply humane. He was no soulless adherent to laissez-faire. His warnings about the dangers of state centralism came from the heart, and from his experience of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism. He understood how even the good intentions of activist politicians can lead us down a 'road to serfdom', while the actions of free people build into a thriving, creative, 'spontaneous order' or society – a social order that can solve its own problems far better than any political authority.”
About the author
Dr Eamonn Butler is director of the Adam Smith Institute, a London-based think tank dealing in market economic policy. He has an MA in Economics and Psychology, and also a PhD in Philosophy, from the University of St Andrews. Eamonn’s most recent books include The Best Book on the Market (Capstone, 2008), Milton Friedman (Harriman House, 2011), Adam Smith: A Primer (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2007) and Rotten State of Britain (Gibson Square, 2009). Dr Butler writes regularly on economics for leading newspapers. In 2012 he received an Honorary D.Litt from Heriot-Watt University.
September 21, 2012
Devil's Kitchen Fucks Off
Another one bites the dust, quite understandably. We will miss him but sincerely hope we continue to meet up and catch up.
All the best mate.
September 15, 2012
The Deserving Rich
Ed Miliband today declares that Labour will be on the side of capitalists who want to get rich, provided they work hard for their money.
David Miliband makes £14,000 from two-hour speech - Today's News - News - JournalLive
SOUTH Shields MP David Miliband is under the spotlight after earning more than £116-a-minute for making one speech.
The former Foreign Secretary received £14,000 for a two-hour speech to a law firm at Claridge's Hotel in London on June 14 - £116.66 a minute.
The payment is outlined in Mr Miliband’s declaration on the latest register of MPs’ financial interests. He collected £441,821.60 in outside earnings since June last year on top of his £65,738 annual salary as an MP.
Leaving aside the interesting conversation the Brothers may have, Ed is just recycling the old Marxist value equals labour, or as another bunch of socialists said work ennobles you.
Of course nobody ever got rich by working hard, it needs a sprinkle of luck as well.
June 15, 2012
Uses For A Used Gordon.
We can’t let the former PM degenerate into Ted Heath. He should resign his seat and find a new purpose
Suggestions on a postcard please.
May 30, 2012
Corruption in Local Politics
A red face bar stool habitué kept poking me in the chest this evening to emphasise his point that he knew that all local politics is corrupt because the bloody landowners are the ones who keep getting planning permission.
As you know I'm not one to go out of my way to defend any politician but even I felt obliged to point out that most people who apply for planning permission are landowners so his stunning discovery was not really that surprising. If most people applying are landowners then most permissions will go to landowners, all things being equal.
I failed to persuade him that his wasn't a valid reason to string them all up, though of course there are other ones...
May 19, 2012
Can We Say Producer Capture?
Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s former director of implementation, suggested that the size of the Civil Service could be cut by 70 per cent. The proposals are being strongly opposed by parts of the Civil Service, which is now attempting to take charge of the reform programme.
May 16, 2012
NIMBYs Cause Misery
A study of people’s living spaces by RIBA found that people are going to “extreme” and “absurd” lengths to cram their belongings into their houses.
The research found that many British homes lack the storage space for basic day-to-day items, such as rubbish bins, household appliances and food.
Ben Page, the chief executive of Ipsos Mori, said: “The research graphically shows just how cramped and poorly planned much of our housing is today, and the extraordinary lengths people go to cope with it.”
And why? It is not the cost of building bigger houses, that is minimal. It is the cost of the land with planning permission. It is an artificial shortage created by planners backed by NIMBYs. (There is also an element of green thinking here with the belief that no one needs more than one car per family and that we like to huddle up to our neighbours to keep warm.)
May 4, 2012
Where Are The Liberals When You Need Them?
Alone of all the people in Downing Street at the time, I opposed the ban on smoking in public places. I derided the legal anomaly by which smoking would join flashing as one of those activities that are legal (indeed, rather fun) in private but illegal (and wrong) in public. I pointed out that most of the damage done by smoke happened in the home, not the pub. And I deplored the arrogant assumption of power. I have never smoked, but nothing makes me want to start more than the Government telling me that I have to stop.
I never liked the Labour Methodism that tolerates spontaneous fun only so long as it is properly planned. I can’t abide the do-gooders who try to bully me into being better. Before you can say “leave me alone” you find the gentleman in Whitehall is giving you a nudge and, when the nudge doesn’t work, he’s following up with a smack. And if you still don’t listen, he uses the law. Conservatives are strangers to doubt about whether they have the right to govern your smaller pleasures and this is now a subject on which they are splitting from their Liberal Democrat partners in the coalition.
Yesterday the Prime Minister hosted a summit on internet pornography at which these meddlesome instincts were on display. The Government is investigating what one insider has called “the Chinese option”, by which a device is installed in every new computer ....
...The desire to make everyone conform to your prejudice is the cachet of the authentic Conservative. Mr Cameron has bravely moved his party on issues such as gay marriage. But there is a streak of the socially severe magistrate about him too. There is a genuine chasm here between the top Conservative and the top Lib Dem.
This is not exactly the high road to popularity for Mr Clegg. On a demolition day for his party in local government. I bet he will be delighted to be told that he should become the champion of lap dancing, tab smoking and binge drinking. But these are tests of his credentials as a liberal. The virtue of liberals in government is that they are there to stop conservatives from trying to tidy up the mess.
April 4, 2012
HUNDREDS of obscure laws which date back as far as the 14th century should be swept away in a bid to clear up the statute book, it has been claimed.
A joint report by the Law Commission for England and Wales and Scottish Law Commission said there are as many as 817 entire acts and sections of a further 50 that need repealed.
It's a start I suppose - can you think of any law passed in the last fifteen years that shouldn't be repealed as well? Anything?
April 1, 2012
Every Word You Write
THE government is to expand hugely its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits of every person in Britain.
Under plans expected to be announced in the Queen’s speech next month, internet companies will be told to install thousands of pieces of hardware to allow GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, to scrutinise “on demand” every phone call made, text message and email sent and website accessed in real time.
Under the current law, companies must keep records for some traditional types of phone and electronic communication for a year.
The new legislation would extend this provision to cover a much wider field, including social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and online video games.
An effort by Labour to introduce a similar law was shelved in 2006 after fierce opposition from the Tories, Liberal Democrats and privacy campaigners.
March 13, 2012
Lib Dems - Don't Sack Ineffectual Staff
Employers who want to sack ineffectual staff will have to write to them, with an offer of a pay-off to avoid the need to go to a tribunal, under plans due to be unveiled by Lib Dem Business minister Norman Lamb....
Mr Beecroft had proposed allowing employers to sack unproductive staff with basic redundancy pay and notice. However he conceded that a “downside” under his new scheme is that employers could fire staff because they “did not like them”.
Does this apply to The Cabinet as well, where hiring and firing at a stroke seems to be the tradition?
March 2, 2012
Big Brother Warning
In the UK and beyond, we need to ask ourselves whether we are not drifting, imperceptibly, towards new forms of an authoritarianism that once seemed in permanent retreat.
....we need to be less complacent, in future, about those freedoms we say we cherish; but which we often let slide, when some man or woman in a suit tells us we would be safer with just a bit more form-filling here, a bit more fee-paying there, and – oh yes – those security cameras on every corner, to check that we’re doing as we’re told.
February 26, 2012
Clegg Uses C Word On BBC to Describe The Unemployed.
Exactly 30 seconds in - "every 18 to 24 year old cunt" ....
February 14, 2012
British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation” reminiscent of “totalitarian regimes”, a Cabinet minister will warn on Tuesday.
I very happy a Muslim woman can represent a Protestant country to a Catholic ruler. I hope all their imaginary friends get on very well. And while I love the heritage of the Church of England and the richness of it has given our society I prefer truth to beauty. I prefer a society which is sceptical of priests and of politicians. And only when Richard Dawkins starts to send his young disciples to kill and die in the name of The Selfish Gene will I worry about militant atheism.
February 7, 2012
Monbiot's One Dimensional Dimness
...we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence.
The paper proposes that right-wing ideologies, which are socially conservative and authoritarian, represent a mechanism through which cognitive ability is linked with prejudice.
So surprise, surprise, social conservatives who don't like darkies, queers, and foreign food and only make love with the lights out are a bit less adventurous and free thinking than social progressives.
Monboit makes the mistake of still believing in the old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789. He needs to update his views a little and move to a multi-dimensional view of the world.
The underlying theory of the Political Compass is that political views may be better measured along two separate and independent axes. The Economic (Left-Right) axis measures one's opinion of how the economy should be run: "left" is defined as the view that the economy should be run by a cooperative collective agency (which can mean the state, but can also mean a network of communes), while "right" is defined as the view that the economy should be left to the devices of competing individuals and organisations. The other axis (Authoritarian-Libertarian) measures one's political opinions in a social sense, regarding a view of the appropriate amount of personal freedom: "libertarianism" is defined as the belief that personal freedom should be maximised, while "authoritarianism" is defined as the belief that authority and tradition should be obeyed.
February 4, 2012
Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts
Born in Athens Vasiliki Courmouzis, 1952,married an LSE academic with the surname of Pryce, whom she divorced in 1981, having had two daughters together.
Pryce is now separated from Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh and former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; the couple are in the process of divorcing. They married in 1984, and had three children together.
How will she plead is the question. Could Huhne survive a guilty plea from her, could he portray that as just the fury of a woman scorned? I haven't heard any public declaration of innocence from her, though that doesn't mean she isn't and won't plea that way.
February 1, 2012
Life's Not Fair - Live With It
We seem to be going through one of those collective fits of public morality where "It's not fair, something must be done about it" is the rallying call. Whether it is executive pay, or baubles, or bonuses or whatever envy stalks the land. A banker is no different to a collectable thimble on Ebay - it is worth what someone will pay for it, no more, no less. There is no "fair" price or pay.
When we act on irrational prejudices the supremely rational market notices and reacts back. And in the long term we suffer.
December 20, 2011
It is normally considered a good idea to paint over graffiti of a skyward pointing prick flanked by a pair of balls when the Prime Minister is doing a photo opportunity. There was an old RSM I knew who would have had the answer.
September 17, 2011
Huhne - It's your fault, and the CPS's fault and the euro is a success.
Mr Huhne told The Times that families could treat themselves to a £300 mini-break if they showed as much interest in hunting for gas and electricity bargains as they did with smaller items.
“They do not bother,” he said. “They frankly spend less time shopping around for a bill that’s on average more than £1,000 a year than they would shop around for a £25 toaster.
Ministers fear that energy bills, and the rising number of households in fuel poverty, could become one of the dominant issues of the winter. Mr Huhne conceded that the pursuit of new nuclear power stations and green sources of energy by the Government would push prices up over the coming years. But he said that a Downing Street estimate that they would increase bills by 30 per cent by the end of the decade was “simply a mistake”. Bills would actually fall because of better insulated homes.
“The traditional British sport ever since the 1950s of predicting that whatever the Europeans are up to will come to nothing because they are a bunch of incompetents ... will once again be proved completely wrong.
“The political will in the eurozone is such that it means there will be success, it will work, the euro will be around for a long time to come.”
Mr Huhne has long intrigued colleagues by appearing to shrug off the police investigation into his driving record, and accusations — which he denies — that he persuaded his now estranged wife Vicky to put his speeding points on her licence.
Asked how long he expected the investigation to continue, he said that it was a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service. He added: “I would imagine that there are limits to the extent they can string it out.”
It is a good job this is a non-political blog because I might be tempted to comment.
August 12, 2011
The boys weren't arrested, because they ran away. 'We didn't know what we were doing. We were teenagers, we'd drunk too much - frankly, we did behave appallingly, irresponsibly, criminally.....
And not even a member of the Bullingdon...
August 4, 2011
The Real Welfare State Problem
Britain’s ageing population will live beyond 100 in unprecedented numbers, official figures reveal today, wiping out budget savings and leaving the State facing crippling health and welfare bills.
The new analysis shows that 20-year-olds today are almost twice as likely to reach their 100th birthdays as their parents. It leaves all three major parties grasping for policies at the next election to address the growing costs to the public purse.
The number of centenarians will rise dramatically over the next half-century, the Office for National Statistics predicts. In 2009, there were 11,600 but the figure will hit 80,000 by 2033, rising to 276,600 in 2050 and 510,000 in 2066, out of a projected population of 81 million.
The rapid improvement in life expectancy stems from improved medical treatment, housing and living standards, and nutrition. Only 0.6 per cent of those born in 1911 have reached 100, while babies born this year will have a 30 per cent chance of living past 2111.
Ponzi schemes crash when there are more withdrawals than new suckers putting money in.
June 30, 2011
Public sector strike: The generosity of public sector pensions has been laid bare after official calculations showed that a typical teacher can expect to retire with a taxpayer-funded scheme worth more than £500,000.
As a public servant I worry that drawing attention to our pensions might be counter-productive.
Having recently taken up a very minor part time job for Her Majesty I get to work out how much my civil service pension is worth.
As an example:
At the age of fifty according to my bean counter if I forgo £175 p.a. (yes per year) for the next fifteen years (total £2650) I will get an annual index linked pension of £1750 p.a.
Sometimes I feel I have been in the wrong job for too many years.
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out - leave our pensions alone!
June 26, 2011
The Sunday Huhne
A court has ordered The Sunday Times to hand over a recording of a telephone conversation between Vicky Pryce and Huhne discussing allegations that he pressurised her to take penalty points for speeding on his behalf.
During the exchange, Pryce can be heard talking about her fears of a police inquiry if the claims became public. “It’s one of the things that worried me when I took them; when you made me take the points in the first instance,” she says. Huhne, a challenger for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, is heard urging her not to discuss the matter with journalists. He also warns her that it is not “sensible” to talk about it over the telephone.
After a private hearing at Chelmsford crown court last week, a judge ordered that the evidence be handed to the police. The Sunday Times is considering appealing.
I wondered why the story had gone quiet for a week or so. The journalists aren't playing ball but plod is plodding on.
Nick and Billy Get The Decorators In
Separate bedrooms of course, they aren't vicars.
June 20, 2011
Britain has a worse tax regime than France, India and China, according to a Populus poll for The Times that reveals the scale of the challenge facing the Government on growth.
The UK has been ranked bottom of six key competitors on personal and business taxation in a poll of voters that suggests they do not yet regard Britain as being “open for business”.
And that isn't even adding in the increasing regulatory burden. Almost enough to make one wish that the Conservatives had won the election.
May 27, 2011
Britons tend to be better off, fatter and more content with life than their counterparts in other developed economies, but they are also more afraid of going out after dark, according to research.
Just as we are below average in health satisfaction in the OECD survey despite the NHS, so we seem to be worse off in the State provided public safety but ahead in the the private eating, drinking and having fun, and earning money, despite the restrictions the state puts on those activities. There is almost a pattern here.
May 17, 2011
The Other Hoon Troughing It
While all eyes are on one Huhne, his namesake Geoff - give or take a bit of spelling - is finding new pastures in the corporate world. The former defence secretary, who was ensnared in a Dispatches sting (saying he would use his contacts to find employment in the private sector*) is off to work for AgustaWestland, the helicopter company. Here is the full story on ft.com.
Hoon was in charge of the MoD in 2005 when it awarded a £1bn contract to Westland to buy "Future Lynx" choppers, an agreement that saved thousands of British jobs.
And it seems created one very cushy one....
A Fox Loose In The Henhouse
Liam Fox has formally objected to government plans to spend billions more on overseas aid, according to a letter to David Cameron that was leaked to The Times.
he Government is committed to spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid by 2013, up from 0.59 per cent in 2009.
This represents an increase from £7.5 billion last year to £11.4 billion in time for the next election — a 34 per cent rise, when cuts to departments are averaging 19 per cent.
The letter represents a direct challenge to Mr Cameron’s drive to “decontaminate” the Tory brand. It will play well with the party’s backbenchers, weeks after Dr Fox hinted that he had not given up his ambitions to be Tory leader, praising Mr Cameron only as a good “coalition Prime Minister”. A Downing Street source said that they “watch Dr Fox closely”.
As well they might as he seems to be a bit more in touch with the voters than the rest of them.
May 16, 2011
Daily Mail Huhne Hunting - See You In Court, Minister
No link to story on Daily Mail Site..
May 15, 2011
Huhne - The Cover-up - Splash
Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, tried to persuade a witness not to talk to the media about claims that he lied to police over a speeding offence.
A secret tape recording of the secretary of state reveals he repeatedly urged the witness not to discuss the allegations.
In the recording, which was passed to The Sunday Times, the minister said: “If I were you ... do not talk. I would have thought you would not want to talk.”
He warns that “the last thing” the witness wants is a “half-baked story” appearing in The Sunday Times prompting a police investigation.
During the conversation, Huhne repeatedly emphasises that the witness is the only person who can “stand the story up”.
“There is no way, there is no way, that there is any evidence for this story, unless you decide to give some legs to it by saying something. Okay?” he says.
The allegations relate to a speeding offence on March 12, 2003, when Huhne was an MEP. On the day in question, a car regularly driven by him was involved in a speeding offence coded SP30, which relates to exceeding a statutory speed limit on a public road, which can include a dual carriageway.
As the registered owner of the vehicle involved, Huhne was sent a document asking whether he was driving at the time.....
The Sunday Times has much more detail but is coy of revealing the "name" - so far they have the evidence of the attempted cover-up. Isn't that what always gets them.
May 10, 2011
Discovering Lib-Dems Lying Bags Of Shit Not In Public Interest
Mr Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrat Party, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a series of articles in The Daily Telegraph on 21 December 2010, 22 December 2010 and 23 December 2010 contained information which had been obtained using subterfuge in breach of Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
The complaint was upheld.
The articles quoted a number of comments made by senior Liberal Democrat MPs in their constituency surgeries which had been secretly recorded by the newspaper’s journalists posing as constituents. The MPs featured included the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, in addition to Ed Davey, Steve Webb, Michael Moore, Norman Baker, Andrew Stunnell, David Heath and Paul Burstow.
The newspaper said that its investigation had proved that the Liberal Democrat members of the Government were not consistent in their private and public statements, which it rightly brought to the attention of its readers and the wider public.
The complainant said that it was the public statements and comments of ministers which were the basis of collective ministerial responsibility, regardless of what other views they might hold, and which formed the basis on which politicians were judged by the electorate.
May 9, 2011
The Trough of Swill
When calculated on an hourly basis, the typical state employee earns up to 35 per cent more than his counterpart in the private sector, the report finds. But when the more generous pensions for state employees are taken into account, the advantage rises to 43 per cent.
Only a fool or a freeman works in the private sector now.
May 6, 2011
Prof John Curtice said the Tories projected share of the national vote (35%) was "fairly remarkable" for a party that had been in office for a year and they should take a "degree of quiet satisfaction" from it. He said the usual protest vote had been directed instead towards the Lib Dems.
At 6:00 am the number of Tory councillors is up, remarkable. Labour of course up more, but not as much as expected and the Third Party heading for the endangered list.
Obviously the "savage and brutal cuts" aren't too worrying to the realistic majority in the country. And the tofu munching protesters are all sulking and moaning as how it is all so unfair nobody loves them.
I'm Going To Scweam And Scweam - Offical Lib Dem Policy
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has indicated that the party will demand concessions on issues such as NHS reform and immigration in retaliation for the Conservative conduct of the campaign against electoral reform.
Paddy Ashdown said: "You cannot fund a deeply vicious campaign to destroy the personality of your partner, who has been unmoved in his brave support of the coalition, without there being consequences. When it comes to the bonhomie of the Downing Street rose garden, it's never again glad confident morn."
Aaah Diddums, did the nasty big man take your lolly-pop away? And you want a kissy make up consolation prize? There there.
May 5, 2011
An Alternative to AV
Why don't we restrict votes to people who actually pay something into the system? No, I am not suggesting a return to property-based eligibility; although that system worked quite well when Parliament administered not just Britain but most of the world. Today, income would be a much better test, setting the bar as low as possible; perhaps including everyone who pays at least £100 of income tax each year.
No Representation Without Taxation; it has a ring to it. Personally I would allow anyone to vote but only count the votes of those who used their own fountain pen to make the cross. Fair enough I think.
Reasons To Vote No - Number 1
Get out there and vote, don't assume the Nos will win and that the grubby little vote stealers won't sneak in as they want to with their grubby little number fudging system.
May 4, 2011
Reasons To Vote No - Number 2
Huhne is making a complete idiot of himself and hopefully will flounce out of the cabinet over AV when everyone knows he should be sacked for incompetence but for his untouchable status within the nuttier bits of the Lib- Dems.
May 3, 2011
Reasons To Vote No - Number 3
It would not cure the real problem but (or should that be "so") Huhne is in favour of AV, the professional politicians stitch-up.
May 2, 2011
Reasons To Vote No - Number 4
Spoil His Day
May 1, 2011
The owner of British Gas is considering shutting down Britain’s biggest gas field because of George Osborne’s surprise tax raid on North Sea firms.
Centrica today stopped production at Morecambe Bay, a reservoir 25 miles west of Blackpool that provides 6% of Britain’s gas, for maintenance work. The company said it may not reopen the field following the chancellor’s 12% tax increase on North Sea profits.
Centrica said: “Following the [tax] increase in the budget, UK fields are subject to some of the highest levels of tax in the world — our South Morecambe field is now taxed at 81%. At these higher rates, Morecambe’s profitability can be marginal. Accordingly, we may choose to buy gas for our customers in the wholesale markets in preference to restarting the field.”
Golden geese and all that, eh George?
April 26, 2011
Turn Out The Lights When You Leave Please
More than a third of wealthy Britons are considering moving overseas because of high taxes and fears for the country’s future, research suggests.
In a poll of almost 1,000 people with savings or investments worth more than £250,000, 36 per cent said that they wanted to emigrate, 14 per cent saying that they were likely to leave in the next two years.
The weather was also a major complaint, with 45 per cent saying they would rather live in a better climate.
The richest 1 per cent of Britons contribute almost a quarter of tax receipts collected by HMRC, Lloyds said. “This, coupled with the growth that wealthy people create in their jobs and through their spending, shows that they play an extremely important role in the UK economy.”
Will they be classified as economic migrants or climate change refugees when they move south?
Gagging orders are out of control, says Andrew Marr as he abandons injunction over affair
Mr Marr won a High Court injunction in January 2008 to suppress reports of a relationship with a fellow journalist five years earlier.
At the time, he believed he had fathered a child with the woman.
He also made maintenance payments – until he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the girl's father.
When challenged by the Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Marr declared he was now embarrassed by his gagging order and would no longer seek to prevent the story being published.
His affair, which ended in 2003, was common knowledge at Westminster and within the BBC, where he was political editor. But the injunction banned publication of his name in connection with the story.
Mr Marr said injunctions should not last 'for ever' and that their increased use by celebrities was 'out of control'.
'I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists,' Mr Marr said.
I wonder, uncharitably, if the total failure of the gagging order to keep the secret had anything to do with this.
As Guido said in January 2008:
A Story You Won’t Get from the BBC, Guardian or The TimesThe Secret of Three of Westminster’s Media Gate-keepers - Guy Fawkes' blog
Andy Marr fathering a child with Alice Miles whilst married to Jackie Ashley goes unreported. Across newsrooms, at Islington and Hampstead dinner parties it has been common knowledge for years. These three journalists are at the heart of the politico-media nexus that constitutes the new ruling class. The producers and editors who are the media gate-keepers would not be keen to dish the dirt on their own… despite the fact that it would be of huge interest to the public.
April 24, 2011
Vote Yes For Gagging
A leading campaigner for the Alternative Vote is the latest public figure to secure a gagging order from the courts preventing the disclosure of details of his sex life.
And I thought he was just a wanker, I didn't realise that he also........
UPDATE - As Raedwald says: Now as to the AV system. You need to support this to ensure that more people like me can enter Parliament; people you don't actually want as your first choice, who are not known to you, and who are wealthy and powerful enough to ensure that you can't find out anything discreditable about us.
April 21, 2011
The demand from the European Commission started a war of words, with Downing Street calling the request "ludicrous" and George Osborne, the Chancellor, accusing EU officials of having lost touch with reality. Last night the Government refused to say what, if any, increase in Britainâs contributions ministers were prepared to accept, prompting charges that they would eventually "roll over" and agree to hand over more taxpayers' money.
Tell me it ain't so, Dave rolling over to the EU's demands whilst yapping defiance. I used to have a puppy that would do that for the promise of a biscuit, just like Dave he was well trained.
April 15, 2011
Chakrabortty - Gov Subs the Free Market Solution
Reykjavik now serves as a very different kind of parable, of how to minimise the misery of financial collapse by ignoring economic orthodoxy. And in those other broke European economies – from Dublin to Athens to Lisbon – politicians and voters are starting to pay attention. After its three biggest banks – 85% of the country's financial system – failed in the same week, Iceland did two remarkable things. First, it let the banks go under: foreign financiers who had lent to Reykjavik institutions at their own risk didn't get a single krona back. Second, officials imposed capital controls, making it harder for hot-money merchants to pull their cash out of the country.
These policies were not just controversial; they represented a two-fingered salute to the polite society of academics and policy-makers who normally lay down the laws on economic disaster management.
Compare Iceland's policies with those followed by another tiny country in the North Atlantic, which also has a banking industry much bigger than its national economy. When the credit crunch came to Dublin, the government decided to underwrite the entire banking industry – including tens of billions of euros of loans made by foreign investors. That landed the country with a debt worth something like €80,000 for every household – a debt that effectively bankrupted the country.
Dublin was merely following the old free-market tradition that rules governments should never break faith with financiers.
Yet looking at the two countries now, it's hard to say that Ireland has prospered out of being orthodox, or that Iceland has suffered an especially terrible punishment for not sticking to the Way of the Markets.
Indeed, the evidence seems to point the opposite way: Iceland has come through in better condition than anyone in 2008 dared hope.
But, but, but I thought letting the bankrupt go bust is the Free Market way, creative destruction and all that. Or am I being an idiot.
April 12, 2011
Preventable Stupidity Common In The UK
A study involving more than 700 teenage girls at nine UK centres found more than two-thirds had a deficiency.
Experts say the problem stems from children drinking less milk, which is a good source of iodine.
Nearly 70% of the samples revealed an iodine deficiency and nearly a fifth (18%) of samples showed very low iodine levels, below 50μg/L rather than the acceptable minimum of 100μg/L.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide producing typical reductions in IQ of 10 to 15 IQ points.
That explains a lot.
April 4, 2011
27 years ago today
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.
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran....
Luckily it was only fiction........
Grubby Thick Yokel Yes Appeal
Zephaniah, 52, who was born and raised in Birmingham, reportedly appears on the London leaflets alongside Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Colin Firth, Honor Blackman and Stephen Fry. However, while his fellow five AV supporters show up on literature across the country, Zephaniah seems to have been dropped.
Tony Robinson, a longtime Labour supporter, best known for portraying Baldrick in Blackadder, replaces Zephaniah
Baldrick, far more like those awful people we meet at the petrol station as we speed through England to get to our charming little seaside cottages. They wouldn't appreciate multicultural culture would they, so better drop the darkie in case we frighten them.
Apart from the couple of GILFs (Grannies...) is there anyone on that list who would convince you to give up your democratic right in favour of a politicians' stitch-up?
April 1, 2011
the sudden change in the tax regime ran counter to a series of pledges Osborne gave to the North Sea oil industry in opposition. He told the Aberdeen Press and Journal in 2009 that one of his earliest budget commitments would be to set up a parliament-long stable tax regime for the oil industry.
The Treasury minister Justine Greening went to a bruising meeting with oil companies attended by other government ministers in which she was told that the industry has lost trust in government promises to maintain a stable tax regime in the North Sea. One witness said she was "grilled alive". At a meeting described as cold and pointed, attended by the Scottish secretary, Michael Moore, and the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, she was told she had put 40,000 jobs at risk.
Greening was told by oil companies including Total and Shell that Statoil was suspending a $10bn (£6.2bn) project at the Bressay and Mariner oil fields (two of the most valuable deposits left in the North Sea") to review whether the investment is still worthwhile.
The oil companies said they were responsible for a quarter of private sector capital investment in the UK, and were quite prepared to pull the plug on a large part of this investment unless the tax regime were changed. They pointed out that as reserves are slowly depleted, companies need better incentives to pump the remaining, harder-to-reach resources.
When the Goose gets old and is finding it harder to lay eggs don't steal its corn.
March 28, 2011
Vince Cable Proposes A Window Tax
Cable confirms ending of 50p tax rate, and reveals 'mansion tax' plans | Politics | The Guardian
"Well, there is a very strong argument ... that you need to have a proper base for taxing property and I'm sure that's one of the things we're going to have to look at as we change away from these very high marginal rates."
"Windows, damn it man, chaps with too many windows ought to pay more tax like they did when I was a lad. I think I have a winner of an idea here, a window tax".
March 27, 2011
Help The Census
A 2011 Census household questionnaire will be delivered to every household. If you have not received one, please request one here:
Teddy Miliband's Chums Boost GDP
Miliband said: "Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love...the main focus of activity was a sit-in at the upmarket grocers Fortnum and Mason, organised by anti-tax evasion activist group UK Uncut.
Fortnum and Mason is owned by a charity The Garfield Weston Foundation - FAIL
But all that fighting and clearing up gives the economy a nice boost - result!
March 26, 2011
A Bunch of Cuts
Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, has won legal aid to launch the unprecedented case.
Walker lives close to Heysham where two new reactors are planned, and says he is worried about having children who could suffer an increased risk of leukaemia.
"It is folly beyond belief, and almost genocidal, to build new nuclear power stations," he said. "Nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic and a dangerous distraction."
Walker's decision to go to court predates the Fukushima nuclear crisis following the Japan tsunami, though Walker said it has reinforced his fears.
He is an active member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance, and works on a project to help local people grow more food on a community allotment.
Public sector cuts – the truth | Society | The Guardian
A week today the cuts will start to bite. As the financial year ends, grants will run out, contracts will wind up, and charities and services will begin to shut their doors. After months of anxiety about the impact of the cuts, the consequences of the government's rapid deficit reduction programme will begin to be real.
Trafalgar has much in common with Tahrir | Priyamvada Gopal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
This Saturday, one iconic square, Trafalgar, is to be turned into another, Tahrir – where Egyptians transfixed the world when, with collective determination, they overthrew a powerful regime. British protesters' call to transform Trafalgar acknowledges that the struggles in the Middle East and those gathering momentum in Britain share a profound connection.
Britain has seen policies destroying public services hastily enacted without a clear mandate...
This not about the "us" of the west versus the "them" of the Middle East, but that more fundamental clash between the barbarism of economic plutocracy and the civilisation of social justice.
Cynics of the right sneer at the absurdity. Gleefully they seize on the silly comparisons of a few self-deluders: no, this is not Tahrir Square and no, Cameron is not Hosni Mubarak. Such exaggeration is as embarrassing as 1968 anti-Vietnam protesters in Grosvenor Square comparing themselves with the tragic Czech uprising.
But there are moments when protests catch the public mood. Will this be such a moment? It feels like the beginning, a marker put down for a turn in public attitudes.
My public attitude is changing - where are the bloody cuts we were promised?
If only there were some cuts, even a few titchy, little ones would do, but there aren't any. As John Redwood points out using Office of Budget Responsibility(OBR) figures:
Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending. (My emphasis)
Needless to say, the almost entirely useless media fail to ram this point into the public consciousness by endlessly repeating it in the way they endlessly repeat equally useless pictures of jet fighter-bombers wasting their time, and our money, over Libya. These figures should writ large on every headline in every newspaper - but don't hold your breath:
2011-12 spending increase of £10.6 billion
2012-13 spending increase of £9.2 billion
2013-14 spending increase of £8.1 billion
2014-15 spending increase of £6.1 billion
I can only repeat, borrowing is increasing not decreasing, as Redwood and the OBS make clear:
Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending.
March 23, 2011
Sub-prime Budget Idea
George Osborne will announce on Wednesday £250m of assistance for first-time buyers through a scheme that could help 10,000 people get on the housing ladder.
The initiative, called Firstbuy Direct, will fill a gap in the market left by the withdrawal of the Homebuy Direct scheme launched under Labour, which ended last autumn.
Please respect FT.com's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email email@example.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3b012bcc-54c2-11e0-b1ed-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1HP1gdLAb
Under Firstbuy, first-time buyers below a certain income threshold will gain access to a 25 per cent equity loan. The government will put in 10 per cent and the housebuilder another 10 per cent while the buyer will have to find a 5 per cent deposit and the other 75 per cent through a loan and savings. Under the previous Homebuy Direct scheme, the housebuilder and the state each put in 15 per cent.
The news will be welcomed by housebuilders, which have been forced to make up for the shortfall in government support by issuing own-brand shared-equity mortgages.
A senior executive at one of the country’s largest quoted housebuilders said the move was a “huge result” for the industry.
“Effectively this is the government turning around and saying, ‘we cannot fix the mortgage crisis at the moment’.
Is this the mortgage crisis that was caused by lending money to buyers who couldn't afford it against the equity in overpriced housing? And the cure is lending money to buyers who can't afford it against the equity in overpriced housing?
Fag End Jobs
£21,176 - £27,534 Band 5
22.5 hours per week, term-time only
We are looking to appoint two part-time trainers to deliver the ASSIST smoking prevention programme to Year 8 pupils across Wales. ASSIST is an evidence based peer led smoking prevention programme, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Appointments will be fixed-term until 31 March 2012 (term-time only). The ability to speak Welsh fluently is essential as it is anticipated that the prime focus of these appointments will be to deliver the programme in Welsh schools.
If only I could speak Welsh I could help out with these essential jobs in these straightened economic times. There is no room for cuts.
March 22, 2011
The Sovietisation of Britain Continues
THE first hostile buy-out of an estate in Scotland has been given the go-ahead, with the local community granted the right to purchase land the owner does not want to sell.
Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham yesterday paved the way for crofters to acquire the 26,800-acre Pairc Estate in Lewis sing the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which gives crofting communities the right to buy the land they croft and adjacent land whether or not the owner wishes to sell, if ministers approve.
Confiscation of Land definition from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979)
The confiscation of the large landed estates in the developed capitalist countries is the most important demand made by the Communist and workers’ parties and all progressive democratic forces. Inasmuch as the land and other means of agricultural production fall increasingly into the hands of the monopolies in developed capitalist countries, the demand for the confiscation of land acquires an antimonopolistic character. Experience shows that under certain socioeconomic and historical conditions, the confiscation of land may be implemented under a bourgeois regime.
This is Scotland where a property owner is having his land confiscated because his neighbours fancy farming it themselves.
In England the Conservative government is proposing a Localism bill which gives the right to "communities" to declare private property a "community asset" which the "community" has first dibs on if it changes hands.
So if your old man let the local pigeon club release their birds from the paddock at the end of your garden every week, when he dies, rather than you inherit it, the club has the right to buy it at some apparatchik's valuation.
The whole concept of the rights of private property is under increased attack and no one seems to be shouting from the rooftops that is the basis of all prosperity.
As always the attack on "private property" starts as an attack on land ownership, but once they have come for the fields and you didn't shout out because you aren't a farmer, then they will come for works of art, but you aren't a collector, who will cry out for you when your car is "shared", or your "excess" savings are "invested" for you?
Fiddle with the tax system, tweak the regulations, impose greenery as you will. Call your system "free market", "third way" "compassionate conservatism"; it doesn't really matter if the fundamental right to own, which includes the right to dispose of at will, property no longer exists.
There can be no peace and prosperity without private property.
March 18, 2011
Telegraph Cut And Paste Journalism
Karen Buck profile: former council worker who rose to Labour front bench - Telegraph By Victoria Ward
Karen Buck was elected to parliament in 1997 through a controversial all-woman shortlist. The method had been declared illegal the previous year as it breached sex discrimination laws but Ms Buck was allowed to remain in place as the Labour candidate.
Born in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, she was educated at the London School of Economics before joining a small charity specialising in employment for disabled people.
She later joined Hackney Borough Council as a disability officer and later, a public health officer.
She joined the Labour Party in 1987 and was elected as a councillor for Westminster City Council in 1990, a post she retained until becoming an MP.
Ms Buck represented Regent's Park and Kensington North from 1997 until last year, when boundary changes saw her contest the new seat of Westminster North. She narrowly beat Tory favourite Joanne Cash with a majority of 2,126.
The 52-year-old has long been a vocal opponent of Tory housing policy and last year warned that the housing benefit cap would lead to "social cleansing on an unprecedented scale."
She is married with one son.
Ain't journalism wonderful - at vast expense it brings us the detailed background on the stupid munter who claims the Tories want to ethnically cleanse Central London. I wonder how much research Victoria Ward did to justify her fee...
Karen Buck - Wikipedia
Born in Castlederg, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland,...was educated at the Chelmsford County High School for Girls and the London School of Economics, from where she was awarded a BSc and a MSc in Economics, and a MA in Social Policy and Administration. She joined the Labour Party in 1978. In 1979, she became a research and development worker with Outset, a charity working with disabled people, before joining the Hackney London Borough Council in 1983 initially as a senior disability officer, and from 1986 a public health officer. She went to work for the Labour Party in 1987 as a health directorate researcher, becoming a campaign strategy coordinator in 1992. She was elected as a councillor to the City of Westminster Council in 1990 and remained on the council until her election to parliament in 1997. Buck was selected to stand for election for Labour through an all-women shortlist. This method of selection was subsequently declared illegal in January 1996 as it breached sex discrimination laws. Despite the ruling she remained in place as the candidate for the following year's election.
Buck was elected at the 1997 General Election as the Labour MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North with a majority of 14,657 ...At the 2010 General Election she was elected MP for the new seat of Westminster North with a majority of 2,126 over Joanne Cash, the Conservative candidate.
..(age 52)..She is married to Barrie Taylor and they have a son
March 17, 2011
Talking About My Generation
Baby boomers want decent pensions and a modern health service, but are not putting enough aside to pay for them. That was the message from the boffins who have been mulling the ongoing transfer of wealth from the baby boomer generation to their children.
We are taking out more than we put back, and on a massive scale. If the situation continues, younger people, and the unborn, will have to pick up a tab that by 2030-40 – when the boomers are on Saga holidays or in nursing care – will be overwhelming.
David Willetts reckons that the average boomer will get 118% more in benefits and services over the course of their lives than they have paid in taxes.
We can argue over how and who to tax, but more money for health and pensions needs to come from somewhere.
Or maybe not tax?
Time To Wean Them Off The Teat
Another year. Another Six Nations flop. Like the failed and debt-laden bank whose fallen crest is emblazoned on the field of play, our national rugby team has suffered a catastrophic collapse. From Five Nations Grand Slam-winning amateurs playing it professionally in the 80s and 90s to a group of very well-paid professionals looking decidedly amateur, fighting over the wooden spoon.
This sad decline in rugby reflects a wider malaise in Scottish professional sport, ironically driven by huge injections of cash. Inversely proportional to the level of funding invested, a number of Scottish sports have fallen into a spiral of performance decline. As funding has increased exponentially, we have seen a reduction in competitiveness in both football and rugby....
These two sports have squandered huge cash injections, imitating real life where the unprecedented increase in Scottish public expenditure has not seen a consequential improvement in public service standards.
I couldn't see anywhere in the rest of the article where the obvious lesson is drawn, instead it is a call for more Government intervention to make them less dependent on Government intervention...
March 13, 2011
Polly or Dave - Time To Choose
Here is the win or lose political battleground of our era. The public realm is either a precious, civilising embodiment of our best collective endeavours – or else it is, as David Cameron described it last week at his party's spring conference: "the enemies of enterprise … Taxing, regulating, smothering, crushing, getting in the way … the bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible".
Polly or Dave? I'm surprised it is possible to slip a fag paper between them but as she declares it is the seismic fault line for once let me declare I'm on Dave's side.
March 8, 2011
Dave Miliband Has Some Good News And Launches Miliband Youth
We are living through a period of right-of-centre political dominance in Europe not seen in the whole age of democratic suffrage. In Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, six countries with good claims to represent the historic heartland of social democracy, there are now centre-right governments. This has not happened since the First World War. When it comes to the interwoven issues of self-interest and identity, wages and immigration, working-class voters see the Centre Left as at best suspect and at worst guilty. Middle-income swing voters, often young parents, are moving to the right. In Sweden only one in five Stockholm residents voted for the social democrats in 2010; and only half of trade unionists. The primary reason is tax and spending. These voters have a good lifestyle and don’t want to trade it for more generous welfare systems....he very success of social democrats in extending the role of government in tackling injustice has become a stick with which it is beaten; it has made the State more vulnerable to the charge that it is a powerful but incompetent ogre. That is why I support the Movement for Change, a new leadership academy for community organisers that aims to rebuild the labour movement. It is starting small, but with a big idea — to give 10, 000 people before the next election the skills to find and use power locally. (More £)
Pictured - Miliband as the Glorious Leader of the Movement for Change rallying his loyal supporter
s from his moral highground.
March 4, 2011
Labour's Bonnie Tyler's Moment
Ministry of Defence pay £22 for 65p lightbulb Army documents seen by The Sun have revealed.
Dim MoD bosses incredibly also pay £103 each for simple inch-long steel screws for the Army's Land Rovers for £103 each.
Exactly the same screw can be ordered online for £2.60.
Thank goodness we have a new Labour War Hero entering parliament with his inside knowledge of waste. Will he be part of the solution or the problem?
As Bonnie sang:
Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods ?
Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds ?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed ?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need
I need a hero, I'm holding out for at hero 'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero....
March 3, 2011
HMRC Shows Its Economic Illiteracy
"Assets taken can realise less than their actual value at a public auction"
Really? Their "actual value" in the auction room is what someone is willing to pay for them, how else would you define their "actual value" Mr Taxman? It might be not as much as the owner or the greedy bastard bailiffs hope but that is the "hoped for value", and if I could pay off my taxes with the "hoped for value" of objects then Her Majesty would soon build a large collection of interesting pebbles I have picked up from the beach.
March 2, 2011
The Coyote Law of Improved Technology and Inflation
You often hear people say that one of the main reasons for health care inflation is the cost of all the new technology. But can you name any other industries that compete in free markets where technology introductions have caused inflation rates to run at double the general rate of inflation? In fact, don''t we generally associate the introduction of technology with reduced costs and increased productivity?
Or look at medical fields like cosmetic surgery or laser eye surgery. Both these fields have seen substantial introductions of new technology, but have seen inflation rates not only below the general health care inflation rate but below the CPI, meaning they have seen declining real prices for decades.
The difference is not technology, but the pricing and incentive system. Cosmetic surgery and laser eye surgery are exceptions in the health care field — they are generally paid out of pocket rather than by third parties
I can think of one other industry where introduction of technology has coincided with price inflation well above the CPI — education. It is interesting, but not surprising to me, that this is the other industry, along with health care, most dominated by third party payer systems and public subsidies of consumers....
I dubbing this insight The Coyote Law as it suddenly makes clear a truth I had only dimly perceived before.
February 22, 2011
Jacqboots Smith - I am a poor defenceless "picked on" girlie
Jacqui Smith: My expenses were examined first because I'm a woman - Scotsman.com News
Smith, who posed for the magazine while walking around London's Soho, which has long had a reputation for its thriving sex shop trade, said it was her gender that led to people targeting her claims.
"I know that it was my expenses people looked at first because I was a woman and should have been at home looking after my husband and children," said the mother of two.
No, it was because you were a crook in charge of law and order.
February 15, 2011
You Are What You Read
Top seller a "limpid" account of escaping from the communists, at number three not THE Ian Fleming on improving your performance and number two the old National Socialist himself.
I'm sure this tells us something about Guardian Readers....
February 10, 2011
Wood From Trees
Seeing the wood for the trees - The Forestry Commission’s place in modern Britain - ASI
“In every great monarchy of Europe the sale of the crown
lands would produce a very large sum of money, which, if
applied to the payment of the public debts, would deliver
from mortgage a much greater revenue than any which
those lands have ever afforded to the crown...When the
crown lands had become private property, they would, in
the course of a few years, become well-improved and wellcultivated...the revenue which the crown derives from the
duties of customs and excise, would necessarily increase
with the revenue and consumption of the people.”
Adam Smith, An inquiry into the nature and causes of the
wealth of nations, Book V Chapter II
Hardly needs updating and expanding but the ASI has done so.
The facts are simple but the political truth isn't. Of course the state forests should be sold off, but the middle classes have got themselves into such a tizzy over it that Hulme could power half of London with the backpeddling Ms Spelman is having to do. There is no chance of actually persuading the people on this one, and I suppose it isn't that important, but this is the story of every economy the Government makes. It ends up not happening.
February 6, 2011
Gideon's Idiot Idea
Wealthy non-doms are facing a crackdown on their tax perks as the Treasury seeks new sources of revenue to spread the financial pain.
George Osborne, the chancellor, is considering a new levy on Britain's 120,000 non-doms, which he could signal as early as next month's Budget. It would be used to help lift the income tax threshold for the lowest-paid to £10,000 and reduce the burden on the middle class.
David Cameron says in an interview today he "would love to see tax reductions" but they are not possible when Britain is borrowing 11% of its GDP.
Non-doms are people living in Britain who claim a foreign connection that entitles them to avoid tax on overseas earnings and assets. Gordon Brown introduced a £30,000 annual charge on those who have lived here for seven years, but that has raised barely £160m a year, a quarter of the predicted sum.
Only a quarter, I wonder why that could be? Not even a rounding error in the sums but caused an exodus of talent, enterprise and money. And now he wants to try and tax the even more mobile high flyers (the proposals to extend the tax to less permanent non-doms).
As Boris would say:
Ὄρνιθος ἀγαθῆς ᾠὰ χρυσᾶ τικτούσης
ὁ δεσπότης ἐνόμισεν ἐντὸς εὑρήσειν
χρυσοῦ μέγιστον ὄγκον, ὅνπερ ὠδίνειν·
θύσας δὲ ταύτην εὗρε τὴν φύσιν πάσαις
τὰ πάνθ' ὁμοίην οὖσαν. ἀθρόως δ' ἕξειν
μέγιστον ὄλβον ἐλπίσας τε καὶ σπεύσας
ἀπεστερήθη τοῦ τὰ μικρὰ κερδαίνειν.
February 2, 2011
218,592 reasons for open govenrment
A cash-strapped council which has one of Britain's highest-paid chief executives has banned a petition calling for her salary to be cut.
The e-petition calling for a reduction in the £218,592 salary of Suffolk County Council chief executive Andrea Hill was placed on the authority's website.
But council officials removed it from the site after just seven people had had a chance to sign it, ruling that the subject matter was 'inappropriate' as the council did not have the power to cut her salary.
Suffolk County Council Petitions
I wish to request a significant reduction in Andrea Hill's salary
Outrage as petition calling for council boss to take a pay cut is deleted - mirror.co.uk
The county council “de-activated” it 24 hours later...
(Note to hacks - it hasn't been deleted, just closed to new signatures, haven't any of you heard of a tool called Google?)
A riverside view Blog reports: Eric Whitfield, Suffolk County Council’s Monitoring Officer, said: “The council’s provision for receiving and dealing with e-petitions is included in its constitution and reflects the legislation and the national guidance for local authorities set out in the government’s model scheme. “Full council is not able to vote on the alteration of individual terms and conditions. “It was therefore my view, as the council’s monitoring officer, that this petition was inappropriate as it was calling for the council to take action which it is not lawfully able to take.”
So the council is so bloody useless they can't review job contracts and so banning the petition is the right thing to do. Bet your boss was pleased you came to that view - except the petition only had seven signatures and would have lingered in obscurity. Because you banned it, it is now in all the papers and Suffolk Council and Andrea's £218,592 are being reviled everywhere...
January 24, 2011
Another Tory Attack On Private Property
Localism Bill: people to get legal right to buy "community assets"- Telegraph
Under the community rights scheme, people will have a legal right to confer “protected status” on any locally important community asset.
These include local shops, pubs, libraries and leisure centres which will be added to a “most wanted” list by the local council.
If a listed asset goes on the open market, its sale will be delayed while local people are given a chance to buy it during a "community countdown".
Richard Attenborough seeks compensation after he is forced to sell Scottish estate at knock-down price - Telegraph Scottish ministers intervened, citing legislation introduced in 2003 that gives communities first refusal on the land ...
After the Tories passed the Leasehold Reform Act of 1993 I realised that the rights of Private Property aren't safe in those spivs hands.
There are plenty of think tanks defending various freedoms and market mechanisms, and others nibbling or hacking away at the cornerstone of all prosperity, property rights, but no one seems to shout out on this fundamental right. The right to own private property is different to the right to engage in any type of economy. And without a certainty that what is mine is mine there is no civilisation.
It is a pity that thinkers such as Adam Smith took such facts as being self-evident and did not bother to mount a defence of them. A defence we now need because the insidious erosion of such rights is so much more dangerous than the failed attack on them from communism.
January 23, 2011
The postman always rings twice
Undercover police cleared 'to have sex with activists' | UK news | guardian.co.uk
The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmentalgroups.
So why is Mrs Johnson's personal officer being suspended?
January 19, 2011
Do Increasing tax powers lead to increased growth?
A LEADING economist, Professor Lars Feld of Freiburg University, last night backed calls for a Scottish Parliament with more tax powers but warned it would not automatically lead to a richer nation.
Last week, an official Scottish Government document quoted a paper from two other economists - Andrew Hughes Hallett and Drew Scott - which drew on Prof Feld's work, saying it had shown that increasing the amount of tax and spending powers of Scottish ministers would have the effect of automatically boosting growth.
Increasing the amount of tax powers could mean reducing the amount of tax, but I doubt it, which is why I doubt it would lead to growth.
January 13, 2011
Monboit Despairs of English Democracy
..Perhaps the biggest impediment the country struggles with is an institution that calls itself the mother of parliaments.
The extent to which England pioneered democratic government is debatable. What's not in dispute is that it's stuck with a system of governance whose roots are at least 796 years old (arising from the Magna Carta of 1215). The ill-defined relationship between the Crown, the government and parliament (which Tony Blair exploited so ruthlessly); the antediluvian procedures; the first-past-the-post electoral system; the House of Lords – all these and more are legacies of ancient history, which most countries don't have to accommodate. As a result, policy in England, by comparison to the newly empowered nations of the rest of the UK, is getting left behind.
Just not progressive enough as those state-teat-suckling Celtic paradises..
January 9, 2011
Big Society - BS
SENIOR government figures are planning a relaunch of David Cameron's Big Society vision amid concerns that the project is in crisis, Scotland on Sunday has learned.
A Conservative source said: "Blond and Hilton and other senior government figures are concerned that the Big Society Network has no message. It's just invisible and it appears to be doing nothing."
Whitehall sources said Cameron's advisers are looking at a relaunch. One said: "It won't be branded as a relaunch because that would be an admission of failure, but it cannot be allowed to fail because it was central to Cameron's manifesto."
Has anyone any idea what Cameron's fatuous idea is meant to be all about?
January 6, 2011
Splashing The Cash
Quango boss ordered staff to invent ways to spend £1m - Telegraph
The chief executive of UK Trade and Investment, the Government’s business promotion arm, said the Foreign Office was “heading for an underspend” and asked officials to help find ways to “get money out of the door”.
In the email Sir Andrew, a former British Airways executive who left his post this week to return to the private sector with a £1.2million pension pot, wrote: "If we can spend money in this financial year on a one-off basis, then we can have at least £1million...Can you think what we might do with such money?"
He went on: "In the past, it would have been marketing, but Cabinet Office restrictions make that difficult"
Susan Haird, who took over from Sir Andrew as acting chief executive after he left for a senior post at an investment bank this week, sent an enthusiastic response to the email.
She said using unexpected funding for visits was a “good idea and money can be spent swiftly on those”.
Wee Willie Hague has an opportunity now to show he has some balls and save the taxpayer some money. Sorry I forgot I am talking about Hague...
December 29, 2010
A Prosperous New Year?
Britons to spend first five months paying tax - Telegraph
Tax Freedom Day is the day when Britons begin working for themselves rather than the taxman and falls on May 30 in 2011, compared to May 27 this year, the Adam Smith Institute revealed.
Families face £100 extra in petrol costs - Telegraph
Motorists face sharp increases in petrol prices in the new year as two tax rises coincide with an increase in the cost of oil, motoring groups have warned.
Inflation, and lots of it. We know about Vat going up to 20 per cent on 4 January, but it's what's going to come after that should really worry us, for a depressed economy is no barrier to rising prices, as we will shortly see.
Global commodity prices are spiralling out of sight once again; the $100 barrel of oil will return before January is out. Cotton is up 30 per cent since September, and corn by 35 per cent, for example. Some crop prices are back
Our public spending cuts will, in their own insidious way, also add to the inflationary pressures. This will include the trivial – car parking charges ramped skywards by desperate local authorities – to the highly material, such as dwindling subsidies for public transport and steep rises in commuter rail fares. And soon enough, there will be a 300 per cent rise in tuition fees for some. Meanwhile, the £6 gallon of petrol (£1.50 a litre) cannot be far away. Gas and electricity prices will see more eye-watering rises in 2011, on the back of record demand from the cold weather, here and now in North America. The list goes on.
That, then, will be the first round of inflation – and notice how it is concentrated on the basics of life – fuel, energy, food, clothing, public transport; stuff we cannot avoid spending our cash on. How big the second round of inflation proves to be depends on how workers respond as they fill up the car, do the shopping, pay the gas bill and buy their season tickets.
December 28, 2010
Latest Fatuous Political Idea That Won't Happen
The government is to follow the lead of The X Factor television programme and allow the public to decide on legislation to be put before MPs.
In an attempt to reduce what is seen as a disconnection between the public and parliament, ministers will ensure that the most popular petition on the government website Direct.gov.uk will be drafted as a bill. It is also planning to guarantee that petitions which reach a fixed level of support "most likely 100,000 signatures" will be guaranteed a Commons debate.
Ministerial sources acknowledge that the proposals have the potential to cause headaches for the coalition because populist causes célèbres - such as a return of capital punishment or withdrawal from the European Union - could come top of the list.
Very sticky if the public was allowed to suggest laws they actually wanted - bring it on.
December 16, 2010
Unelectable Woman Demands More Unelectable Women In Power
Quotas clearly have a positive effect. The system of reserved seats, such as that in Uganda and Rwanda, has guaranteed women will be elected and will achieve a specified level of representation.
Quotas are capable of dealing with that discrimination and of ensuring that when there is women's leadership, there will be significantly more support for health education and other quality of life issues. We have seen clear evidence of this in Timor-Leste, Morocco, Rwanda and South Africa...According to the Fawcett Society, political parties too often fail to adequately respond to the significant barriers women meet wherever they want to stand for parliament. They have summed up those impediments as the "four Cs": confidence, culture, childcare and cash.
Funny having an unelected woman who was a Eurocrat and in the House of Lords only because she opened her scrawny legs for a ginger windbag made me think of a fifth C word.
December 14, 2010
Those Council Cuts Explained
December 13, 2010
Britain is now more Thatcherite than when Margaret Thatcher was in power, with people much less supportive of the welfare state and the redistribution of wealth than in the 1980s, according to an authoritative study of the country's mood.
New Labour oversaw the biggest recorded shift to the right in public attitudes on those measures...
In 1991, 58% thought the government should spend more on benefits. By 2009 that had more than halved to 27%.
Just over half (51%) backed policies to redistribute income from rich to poor in 1989, compared with 36% now.
All we need now is a Tory Party that also believes in Thatcherism.
December 6, 2010
Reading Between The Lines
December 2, 2010
Token Woman Demands Business Employ Token Women
It will also mean that a manager will be able lawfully to hire a black man over a white man, a homosexual man over a heterosexual man, if they have the same skill set.
Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities minister, denied the plans were about “political correctness, or red tape, or quotas” and would help make the workplace fairer.
The Government’s strategy said this did mean that employers could take on “quotas” or giving someone a job because they are female, disabled or from an ethnic minority.
Positive discrimination, the strategy said, is not acceptable and remains illegal.
Didn't we vote this lot out at the last election?
Remember girls if you get a job now you will always have that nagging fear you were only given it to meet a quota and not because you were good enough to get it on merit.
November 29, 2010
God Save The Duke
WikiLeaks cables: 'Rude' Prince Andrew shocks US ambassador | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Prince Andrew launched a scathing attack on British anti-corruption investigators, journalists and the French during an "astonishingly candid" performance at an official engagement that shocked a US diplomat.
Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, recorded in a secret cable that Andrew spoke "cockily" at the brunch with British and Canadian business people, leading a discussion that "verged on the rude".
During the two-hour engagement in 2008 at a hotel in the capital, Bishkek, Andrew, who travels the globe as a special UK trade representative, attacked Britain's corruption investigators in the Serious Fraud Office for what he called "idiocy".
He went on to denounce Guardian reporters investigating bribery as "those [expletive] journalists … who poke their noses everywhere".
I have been giving the wikileaks a good ignoring but a make an exception for this one. I think I owe the Duke an apology, it sounds as though he actually doing a decent job of promoting Britain whereas I thought he was just flying around on freebies. He certainly is better value than the lowlife scum he castigates and Miss Prissy Tatiana.
November 28, 2010
Miliband rejects the sour juice from the wizened teat of socialism
Any surprise that the baby prefers commercial to what is on offer at home?
November 26, 2010
Happy Tractor Stats
Using similar methodology to that which will form the basis of Mr Cameron's new scheme, Professor David Bell of Stirling University discovered that over the past ten years Scots have overtaken the English and Welsh when it comes to well-being.
Historically, measurements of happiness have suggested that Scots are by nature more pessimistic than those living in England and Wales.
But during the devolution decade, Scots have become more upbeat and are now surging ahead in terms of happiness.
Professor Bell's work involved surveying 2,500 Scots and comparing their answers with those from the rest of the UK. His results showed that in 1998, Scotland recorded 4.57 on the happiness scale, just behind Wales (4.58) and some way behind England, which recorded 4.7.
The year 2003 saw a gloomier outlook, with Scotland falling to 3.98 but by 2008 Scotland had overtaken its rivals climbing to 4.85 compared with 4.72 for England and 4.81 for Wales.
And we need to spend £2 million to learn next year's results.
And if Dave is worried his happiness score won't show an increase I have a few lengths of well oiled hempen and a list which will get the population cheering.
November 22, 2010
Bono and Windmills to save Ireland
Our panel of economists share their insights into how Ireland might resurrect its stricken economy
Head of policy at Dublin thinktank TASC
Ireland has huge capacity in terms of renewable energy, particularly in wind and wave. Because of our location on the periphery of Europe, we're the first land to be hit by those winds off the Atlantic. We could be a net exporter of energy. But instead, we're one of the countries in the European Union, most reliant on non-renewable energy. There's some investment in sustainable energy. But it's nothing like sufficient. There needs to be multiples of what's happening now for us to be a significant player.
Research professor, Economic and Social Research Institute
Our cultural exports, bands like U2, are probably not trivial. People have heard of Ireland and are more inclined to do business here because they know something about Ireland, or at least they think they do.
I think keeping corporation tax low has more chance, but then I don't believe in leprechaun and Blarney stones.
November 14, 2010
Dave's Green Socialist Big Society
Scots land rights to be extended to England - Scotsman.com News
The report's co-author Phillip Blond, whose Red Tory book formed much of the thinking behind David Cameron's "big society" and the Conservative manifesto, will argue that after a decade of booming state investment and welfare spending under Labour, "meaningful assets and market entry have become the preserve of the rich."
Blond and his co-author Steve Wyler take their cue from the 2003 Land Reform Act (Scotland) passed by MSPs which allowed communities to buy up vast tracks of land north of the Border.
The report argues that buy-outs have led to entrepreneurship in Scotland in communities where people have a stake in the assets.
It notes: "in Scotland especially, there has been a rapid increase in community energy experimentation, including community owned wind power, ground source heat pumps, biofuels, anaerobic digestion, hydro-electric schemes, solar power, etc."
So the rich have more "meaningful assets" - wow! That has come as a shock.
And as for the rest of it I think it can be translated into self appointed "community groups" being given shed loads of tax payer cash to compulsory purchase private property to then spunk away even more taxpayer cash on fatuous green wet dreams on it.
And this is from the man who does Dave's thinking for him.
November 3, 2010
Blairite Assault on Our Liberties Continues
"We should not view the right to a jury trial as being so sacrosanct that its exercise should be at the cost of victims of serious crimes," Ms Casey The ommissioner for Victims of Crime said.
"Defendants should not have the right to choose to be tried by a jury over something such as the theft of a bicycle or stealing from a parking meter."
Being found guilty of stealing a bike means you are a thief, a villain, untrustworthy, unable to be employed in many chosen careers and unwelcome in many others. If it is the fiftieth time you have been caught doing it then it isn't a big deal. But for some of us it would be and for some Blair favourite in a £100k non-job to propose wiping away our rights in a the name of convenience makes me want to brew up.
October 29, 2010
A cure I wish I could believe in
Lifetime cure for Lefties - Telegraph
Scientists have given mankind many blessings, but the discovery of the gene for Left-wing behaviour must be foremost among them. For now there is a diagnosis, there can be a cure. Just think of it – a quick screening of the unborn infant, a mild course of gene therapy, and hey presto! The disease can be eradicated within a generation.
Unfortunately it isn't that simple. Being Left-wing, being "liberal" and understanding different people are not synonyms. The press release stated: "People with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average."
The trouble is the researchers slip into a commonly-made assumption about liberal social views, which is that they require relativistic thinking - the appreciation of other people's point of view.
Socially, that's a charming trait for someone to have. Politically, it is the first step on the road to moral relativism, one of the grandest mistakes of so-called liberals the world over. In actual fact, liberalism follows from absolute values. Without them, it betrays itself. Moral and cultural relativism have led many of our fellow liberals into appalling positions. It has led anti-war protestors to argue, horrifically, that Middle Eastern countries do not want democracy. It has led us to accept female circumcision in the Third World. It has led us to a strand of multiculturalism which delegates authority to the leaders of communities, without worrying about the individuals in those communities themselves.
Liberalism is not based on relativism. It is based on an absolute value, one which was best expressed by Immanuel Kant but which you can also find in the New Testament: "Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you." In Kant's philosophical language it's more like: Act as if each of your actions was a universal maxim.
So it might not be Left-wingism we could cure but stupid people and their relativistic cant. Here's hoping.
October 22, 2010
The Purpose of the MOD is to provide employment in the Labour Heartlands
SHIPYARD workers at Rosyth are preparing for strike action, just three days after the Strategic Defence Review spared them from the axe.
It is anticipated a walk-out will take place at the Fife yard next week, with a full strike to follow in a row over pay.
Workers agreed to remain silent about the planned action until after Tuesday's defence spending announcement.
Taxpayers will have to pick up the £2.6 billion bill for the controversial aircraft carrier that will never carry jets because Gordon Brown agreed an “unbreakable” contract designed to protect shipbuilding jobs in Scotland.
When the coalition looked at axing one of the carriers to save money, BAE responded that the Government would still have to pay shipworkers to do nothing for the remaining 12 years of the deal.
The Prime Minister said earlier this week that the decision to go ahead with the second carrier had been the hardest of the spending review. He blamed an “appalling legacy” left by the previous Government and said that taxpayers had “every right to be angry about it”.
A spokesman for Mr Brown said that he could not comment on “MoD decisions made under the last Government”.
October 21, 2010
The Morning After The Cuts Before
Well that was all a bit of an anticlimax wasn't it. Well choreographed leaks and expectation management smoothed the day over. Though I stopped listening to the news as every cut was described as bad news and every remaining instance of the continued spunking away of taxpayers money was hailed as good news.
No it bloody isn't.
October 20, 2010
Sackcloth and Ashes
A minor readjustment is the end of civilisation - I don't think I can bear to listen to the commentators today.
No one seems to be able to say reducing the burden on the taxpayer is a good and welcomed thing, though the polls suggest the public recognise it is.
Of course if Georgie had accepted my CSR recommendations then the tears and anguish might be justified as the blood ran down the streets...
October 14, 2010
Call that a Bonfire?
BBC News - Quango list
You could barely warm a sausage over the flames, most seemed to be just being re-organised.
We want to feel the heat..
Now this is a bonfire:
October 11, 2010
Buy it cheap and pile it high
A review of Government efficiency by a leading businessman has uncovered a "staggering" waste of money, it has been revealed.
Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop and Bhs, will tell ministers they can cut swathes of waste from public services.
His report, to be published later today, will say that the Government has consistently failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating.
Sir Philip was appointed by the Prime Minister in August to review Government efficiency, focusing on the procurement of goods and services such as IT, travel, print and office supplies, and the management of the Government's property portfolio.
These are the hidden cuts that business apply all the time and the civil service needs to. Give the staff a good lashing and hide some bad news elsewhere.
October 9, 2010
Postman Pat to Deliver the Goods for Red Ed
Clever move, apart from keeping the poisonous pair away from the levers of power a bluff man-of-the-people will play well on the TV against Georgie and his whiney demands for prudence. "Forget the technicalities this posh banker is spouting - this is what it means on the streets today" sort of guff. I hate to say it but the Tories will need to wheel out Ken Clarke against him to neutralise this presentational problem.
On another note it is nice to see an old squeeze of mine being promoted to the shadow cabinet - what a lucky escape I had...
October 2, 2010
September 28, 2010
Red Ed - Who's the Daddy?
The Registrar General may by regulations authorise or require the information relating to the father to be provided in a prescribed form or manner.
(3)Subsection (1) does not require the mother to provide information relating to the father if she makes in the presence of the registrar a declaration in the prescribed form stating that one or more of the following conditions is met.
(4)Those conditions are—
(a)that by virtue of section 41 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 the child has no father,
(b)that the father has died,
(c)that the mother does not know the father's identity,
(d)that the mother does not know the father's whereabouts,
(e)that the father lacks capacity (within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005) in relation to decisions under this Part,
(f)that the mother has reason to fear for her safety or that of the child if the father is contacted in relation to the registration of the birth, and
(g)any other conditions prescribed by regulations made by the Minister.
Ed helped the law to pass - so why isn't he named as the daddy of his partner's child. Not getting round to it or a lack of commitment aren't acceptable excuses in the eyes of the law he foisted on us. So perm any of the above excuses to your hearts content....
September 27, 2010
Unions hail Miliband as he buries new Labour | The Times
Ed Miliband struggled to shake off claims that he was beholden to the unions yesterday as Blair-era donors snubbed his coronation.
Lord Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, failed in his bid to become the party treasurer. Lord Prescott had run a high-profile campaign and won a majority of support among activists, but was defeated by Unite official Diana Holland on the back of union members’ votes.
Paul Kenny, leader of the GMB union, reflected the union mood, saying: “New Labour is gone. It is a product of history. It can go in Madame Tussauds.”
September 26, 2010
Jaffa Miliband - Might as well have L stamped on his forehead
The dignity of David Miliband | The Spectator
We spend a lot of time criticising politicians so it behoves us to praise one when they behave with as much dignity as David Miliband has today
Don't make me laugh, poor old Jaffa, loser to the last. He just is used to it. He now has to grin and bear his idiot younger bother swan about in a job that was his for the taking if he had had any balls, sorry I forgot, he's Jaffa.....
September 25, 2010
Ed The Union Man
Bought and Paid For
September 24, 2010
Council Modalities - Looking After Your Money
African fraud gang: Could you please send us £102,000? Council: Why, of course we can
AN African fraud gang has succeeded in conning a cash-strapped Scottish council out of £102,000.
Strathclyde Police is investigating the con after South Lanarkshire Council admitted an accounts worker had been taken in by the sting.
South Lanarkshire is not the first local authority in the UK to be targeted in this manner. Police say a number of councils have been taken in by a similar fraud and forces across the country are working together to try and trace the gang.
I think I know how to get my council tax rebate now -
Dear Sirs, Excuse me writiug out of the unknown, but I have ben given you name as a reliable and trustworthy Council Officer who can help me get £24 million pounds that my lat father left in a suitcase out of Wiltshire....
September 23, 2010
LIb Dem Conference Round-up
Suffolk Council Points The Way
The Tory-controlled county's "new strategic direction", set for approval tomorrow, could see virtually every service outsourced to social enterprises or companies. The aim is to turn the authority from one which provides public services itself, to an "enabling" council, which only commissions them.
At present, the council employs around 27,000 people, 15,000 of whom work in education, which is set to be taken away from local authority control as the government converts schools to academies and free schools. Many of the remaining 12,000 could face either redundancy or be transferred to a social enterprise or the private sector.
But unions warn thousands of jobs are at risk. "We are led to believe that the council could end up only employing 200 to 500 people at the end of this process", said Helen Muddock, branch secretary of the Suffolk branch of Unison. "We are talking about having a local authority where the only people employed directly will be dealing with contracts."
"Warn"? "raise hopes" I think is the correct phrase.
September 20, 2010
All Labour Leaders Back Robin Hood Tax
Robbing Bastards - the new phrase is now "International Tax", watch the rebranding of it.
Fat Cat Bashing Time
PUBLIC SECTOR SALARIES
38,045 earn over £100K
1,000 earn over £200K
9,187 earn more than PM
10 GPs earn over £300K
1 GP in Hillingdon PCT earns £475K
17 teachers earn more than PM
331 BBC managers earn more than £100K
362 local council employees earn more than PM
The research threatens to undermine calls by trade unions for “civil disobedience” and co-ordinated strike action over the Coalition’s proposed programme of cuts to public sector pay and perks
More on tonight's BBC Panorama programme.
And a snippet of gossip from The Times
BBC ‘tried to influence Panorama TV report on fat cat pay’
Those involved with Panorama say they faced pressure from BBC management over how they covered the corporation. One senior member of the production staff said that dealing with senior managers had been a “f****** disaster”, as executives sought to argue that the BBC, which is funded by the £145.50 licence fee, should not be compared with other public bodies.
September 19, 2010
News of the Screws going Pay for View
Find out more about the all-new News of the World website | notw.co.uk | News Of The World
We will soon launch the all-new News of the World website.
In October we will replace this site and launch a paid-for website that will bring you agenda-setting showbiz, sport and news stories.
The redesigned site will be packed with unique video and pictures that you can't see anywhere else.
Find out more about the new features. You can also sign up for more information and see an exclusive Cheryl Cole video ....
Thank you but I will pass on your kind offer, exclusive Cheryl Cole videos not being high on my list of wants.
Obviously old Murdoch is happy how the paywall experiment is going.
Whilst obviously it is no great shakes if the NoW disappears off into a secret walled garden, inhabited by sad people with comb-overs and wearing nylon cardies, it is a shame that the more serious parts of his empire are ghettoising the worldwide web of news and views.
September 18, 2010
Reason must be warned to keep within its proper limits
The awesome mind of Pope Benedict XVI – Telegraph Blogs
Westminster just received a dose of some of the finest theology written in the last half-century. That might sound over the top, but this fact is widely acknowledged: even if Joseph Ratzinger hadn’t entered the clergy, he would have been a world-famous academic and theologian. The speech he delivered in Westminster Hall was as profound, then, as it was historic.
“The role of religion in political debate,” he said, is “… to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles.” He continued: “Without the corrective supplied by religion… reason too can fall prey to distortions...“This is why reason, too, must be warned to keep within its proper limits, and it must learn a willingness to listen to the great religious traditions of mankind. If it cuts itself completely adrift and rejects this willingness to learn, this relatedness, reason becomes destructive.”
I'm happy for Will that this twaddle enables him to achieve rapture, but step away from the smells and bells and examine it slowly.
Leave aside the very questionable assumption that there are such things as "objective moral principles" (the proper term probably lies closer to a collective subjective morality) and read it for what it is.
It is an attack on the use of reason.
Reason is only useful so long as it agrees with what my imaginary friend tells me late at night. And if MIF tells me something different then go with that rather the application of facts.When this is commanded to be applied to the way countries are run then it is right we protest it.
September 15, 2010
Public Sector Worker Round Up
Workshy the first in line to lose jobs as Cuba feels economic strain - Scotsman.com News
LAZY Cuban workers face the axe first, according to government plans to slash the Communist state's public payroll by 500,000 within six months.
The plans, along with a timetable for which government sectors will feel the cuts first, are laid out in an internal Communist Party document, which emerged yesterday.
'The trouble with the public sector is bone-idle staff' - Telegraph
Tony McGuirk, the chief officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said there was an "epidemic of failure to deal with poor attendance" in the public sector.
He said managers should be brave enough to root out lazy staff rather than sacrifice key infrastructure such as fire engines or stations.
The Office for National Statistics found that full-time public sector staff earned an average of £74 a week more than those in the private sector. Once employer pension contributions were included, the gap rose to £136, illustrating the generous pay-and-perks deals enjoyed by local and central government workers.
September 13, 2010
‘Anti-poverty’ fat cats live in luxury
Damning documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal eye-watering expenses claims by officials at the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
Taxpayers were billed for a £700 dinner by Sir Malcolm Williamson, the CDC’s chairman for five years up until 2009, at London’s Michelin-starred L’Autre Pied restaurant.
Another executive at the Government quango, Anubha Shrivastava, claimed £530 for a night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, while Richard Laing, the chief executive, who is paid £970,000 a year, claimed £7,414 in expenses.
Miriam de Lacy, the CDC’s communications director, said: “The expenses we incur are reasonable.”
The CDC was set up after the war to invest in the world’s poorest countries. It has access to Government funds of £2.5billion.
That makes Georgie's job a bit easier, another simple cut.
UPDATE - The CDC defends itself...
CDC: this non-quango doesn’t take money – it makes money | The Times... before you write off CDC — formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation — as another indulgent quango, take five minutes to find out who we really are and why we are needed. We are not a quango or a charity. We take no government money. Instead, we are a company that is fully owned by the Government, whose job is to stimulate economic growth in poor countries by backing promising private-sector businesses that find it hard to secure long-term risk capital.
September 3, 2010
Blair Sold Out Millions To Protect His Rich Friends
..what really shocks me about Mr Blair’s autobiography is his account of how millions of ordinary people’s retirement plans were reduced to a mere bargaining chip in what sounds like a game of political strip poker between him and Gordon Brown.
Mr Blair claims Mr Brown said he would expose what became known as the ‘cash for honours’ scandal unless Lord Turner’s proposals were dropped.
Mr Blair’s revelation of what goes on behind closed doors in Downing Street demonstrates why our pensions have been so badly mishandled by several governments. Saving for retirement requires long term planning but, on the evidence of these memoirs, most politicians seem to struggle to think further ahead than the next publicity stunt or botched back-stabbing.
Grubby bottom-feeding venal politicians - not the haloed statesmen they see in the mirror. Already the rose tinted nostalgia is setting in, let us never forget how utterly rotten Blair and Brown were.
September 1, 2010
Greenpeace in Greenland
Greenpeace, an organisation of toffs dedicated to driving humanity back to the bronze age, is now openly declaring war on Greenland, one of the poorest nations in the world, as it tries to improve the conditions of the people through exploring and exploiting oil finds.
Unfortunately, Greenland only had the Danish Navy watching its back, and they seem to have been pretty much useless.
The Greenlanders need to get some proper naval forces who won't be afraid to turn heavy machine guns on the posh boys and girls who are determined to keep the people down and living in misery.
The Scotsman's commentators offer some robust views on Greenpeace...
August 30, 2010
Why the Left are boring by Charlie Brooker
Conservatives, generally, are far more adept at politically reframing concepts by giving them snappy-but-misleading nicknames than liberals. "Loony left". "Boom-and-bust". "Flip-flop". "Ground Zero mosque". All simplifications or outright lies – but they worked. Like advertisers, the right seems breezily unconcerned about the truth of the slogan, provided it rings up a sale. They slap the words "fun-size" on the packaging and wait for the public to buy it.
The left, meanwhile, tends to respond by flinging back tired old insults. Bastards! Fascists! Racists! .....
August 29, 2010
To "suffer" from liberal guilt means that you are somewhat uneasy about all sorts of awkward things that it is tempting to harden your heart against, like global injustice, global warming, racism. It means that you are troubled by the stubborn persistence of our class system, though you personally have done fine by it. It means you sometimes worry that you might be prejudiced against all sorts of people. It means that your vague patriotism is laced with uncertainty about whether our ancient constitution is able to be truly inclusive. It means, for goodness sake, that you fail to be completely fatly smugly relaxed about this problematic world we inhabit. Is that really so shameful and wet, so laughably mentally effeminate?
If this little parade of privileged anxiety fills you with derision, then you are a Tory.
August 26, 2010
Questions on Public Funding With Obvious Answers Pt 94
As traditional funding dries up, public bodies are becoming the new patrons of the arts. Is it cash well spent?
The current vogue, however, is to parachute a composer into the most incongruous, unmusical environment imaginable: coal mines, hospitals, borough councils .... But with austerity knocking at the door of public funding, are composers in residence a justifiable expense or a dispensable eccentricity?
August 23, 2010
Squeezing Workers for One More Drop (and I give The Devil a Wallace)
Motorists face £250-a-year tax to park at work
Initially, the parking levy was seen as a way to tackle congestion and cut carbon emissions. Now, there is growing evidence it is also being seen as a source of extra cash.
Experts on local government believe that authorities may have little alternative but to turn to drivers as a source of income. “Councils are going to look at that kind of a thing as an option,” said Caroline Green, a policy consultant with the Local Government Association. “Traditional forms of money raising will not be sufficient.”
"Authorities may have little alternative" - I can think of one very easily - cut back on spending, especially as the money raised will be wasted on "transport initiatives" otherwise known as subsidies for middle class cyclists and fare dodgers.
August 3, 2010
Spying Councils Slapped
It is estimated that tens of thousands of Britons have been subjected to covert surveillance operations by Town Hall officials who suspect them of offences ranging from dog fouling to putting bins out on the wrong day.
Ripa was introduced in 2000 to give the police, security services and the Revenue and Customs service powers to spy on people in the fight against crime and terrorism.
But Councils have been accused of using the legislation as a “snooper’s charter”.
Miss Paton’s victory represents the first time the powers have been challenged at an open hearing and with the Government promising a review of the Act, councils are being warned they could soon lose the powers.
A small victory against Big Brother, maybe the tide is turning a little.
August 2, 2010
Good enough for Churchill, good enough for me.
Churchill was not known as an animal rights campaigner. One family photo from shortly before the war is of his wife, Clementine, cuddling a pet fox bred on their estate; but a 1948 portrait shows him riding with the Old Surrey and Burstow foxhounds. "The League Against Cruel Sports had been in correspondence with Churchill since the 1920s," explained a spokesman. "He was no big fan of fox-hunting but he regarded himself as a libertarian and wouldn't want to ban it."
August 1, 2010
Political Geek Picture Quiz
I noticed in Devizes a still used letterbox for The Department of Employment and Productivity - what era was that from?
July 27, 2010
The great quango cull
Steve Richards: The Tories are running the show
Economic Quangos: English regions will suffer
Education Quangos: Who will monitor the curriculum now?
Health Quangos: £180m of cuts 'a blow to the NHS'
Arts Quangos: A threat to our cultural life
Environment Quangos: Green initiatives in the firing line
My heart bleeds....
July 22, 2010
National Citizenship Service for 16-year-olds launched today - Telegraph
Every teenager in the country will today be invited to take part in a two-month summer residential course under plans for voluntary programme of national service....
The Times reports from its bunker that the CameronYouth will cost the taxpayer £1400 a head. The official line is that "Funding for the Citizen Service is being provided through the scrapping of a community cohesion programme run by the Department for Communities."
Savings are not income, by not spending money you don't create it, it is still funded by mulcting the taxpayer.
Will today's troubled teenagers give up their summer holidays to join the "Blackshirts-on-Sea" camps? Or will it be just subsidised holidays for the middle classes?
July 21, 2010
The State of The Nation's Finances
Pressure rises to cut debt as £14.5bn borrowing revealed
A Treasury spokesman said: "The UK is forecast to have the largest deficit in the G7 this year and is borrowing £1 for every £4 it spends.
"The figures for June demonstrate the urgent priority tackling the deficit represents, with borrowing higher than last June despite higher tax receipts."
"In fact", he continued, "we are as stuffed as Finnegan's turkey on Christmas day, I'm running round in circles going blubber blubber blubber with my lips, it isn't helping, but at least it isn't making anything worse....."
July 20, 2010
Racist and bully . . . meet David Cameron's role model - Gripper Stebson - Scotsman.com News
The Prime Minister joked yesterday that not only was he a fan of show but: "Indeed Gripper Stebson was one of my role models in life".
In his dreams....
July 19, 2010
Big Society, Big Joke for Little People
David Cameron launches his Big Society - Telegraph
Local communities will get the power and money to run bus services, set up broadband internet networks and take over neighbourhood recycling schemes under a mass transfer of power from the state to the people.
Mass transfer? Local busybodies under central control rather than slightly less local busybodies under central control to get the power to play buses and bin men? You're havin' a laugh.......aren't you?
July 15, 2010
The Dog that didn't bark
Lord Mandelson's mortgage still mystifies - Telegraph
Although there has been great interest in Lord Mandelson's financial affairs, he, predictably, sheds precious little light on them in his memoirs published on Thursday.
He says not a word, for instance, about how he found the £2.4 million to purchase his Regent's Park home in 2006....
We no longer care as he is now just a pantomime old politician, flogging the first draft of his memories. One day someone will reveal the tawdry secrets of the BBM years, but it will just be ancient history.
July 8, 2010
HMG - Your Freedom
The Coalition Government is committed to restoring and defending your freedom – and we're asking you to participate.
They are looking for ideas on this website - I'm not sure everyone has quite got the idea - you may want to comment...
Ban the law that says it's 'ok' to have a firearm — HMG - Your Freedom
A gun is a license to murder. That's all they are for. In 2009, 60 people died to gun violence alone. It's time to follow the route of civilised countries like China, North Korea and Turkmenistan and have a TOTAL ban on guns and a 10 year jail sentence for those who have them.
Someone who owns a firearm will use it against someone eventually.
Please visit our site: http://guncontrolnetwork.blogspot.com
July 6, 2010
Save the Landlord!
More than one million households who receive housing benefit will have to find extra cash to pay their rent to private landlords from next year.
If the cannot find the money they will evicted or forced to move.
Or as the headline says demand in that weird market supply and demandy way lower rents. We have been shovelling money into the market and wonder why the rents are so high. Stop shovelling and let us see what happens.
July 5, 2010
My Sort of Candidate
My actual candidate:
Recruitment into the Public Sector we can approve of?
A public sector long-used to plentiful funding and comfortable remuneration is having to turn to the private sector to find the axemen it needs to implement unprecedentedly savage cuts, with so-called "Six Sigma" experts – the SAS of cost controllers – in particular demand.
The Government has been trying to recruit scores of senior cost cutters since the coalition was formed, with demand expected to increase again after the October spending review.
The use of efficiency experts seems to be an exception to the current freeze on management consultancy in government.
But I thought the reason wall these Chief Executives and bag carriers were paid so much was that they were better than the private sector already...
July 4, 2010
Treasury orders cabinet ministers to brace themselves for 40% cuts
The only departments not included in the Treasury trawl will be health and international development, which have been "ringfenced" for the current parliament. Education and defence will also escape lightly. Alexander has told the education secretary, Michael Gove, and the defence secretary, Liam Fox, to plan for two scenarios – cuts to budgets of 10% at best and 20% at worst over four years. All other departments – including the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Transport – have been ordered to produce plans showing the impact of cuts of 25%, and at worst 40%.
Now we are talking - but can't we drop that silly ring fencing of International Aid promise that the bleeding hearts bounced Dave into. Sending aid to India and China for instance is indefensible when cutting at home.
July 2, 2010
Hattersley - at best patronising and at worst denigrating.
Bow down, you poor, to the great god Choice | The Times
Only the middle classes win when you ‘choose’ health or education. Life on the bottom rung saps your initiative
To suggest that there is a section of the population that is unwilling or incapable of fighting for its proper share of public services is to attract the charge of at best patronising and at worst denigrating the working class. The accusation is often made by politicians whose only acquaintance with low-paid workers is watching them clean up after a Bullingdon Club night out. But those of us with closer connections with the working class should not be intimidated into ignoring an inconvenient truth.
Good old Hatters, Man of t'people, noughts too good for them, but they really are stupid and need jolly good chaps like me to run their lives for them..
June 28, 2010
Squeal Piggy, Squeal
The Government has promised to guarantee NHS spending growth in real terms but the BMA says this will be “minimal”. The association called the cuts potentially “devastating”.
Dear Mr Doctor, Please try to preserve some dignity and sense of reality as your trough is not kept overflowing, but merely filled to the brim. You wouldn't want to lose the public's trust in what you say, would you?
June 27, 2010
Get on your bike
The coalition Government is drawing up controversial plans to relocate the unemployed to areas of the country where there are jobs, it has been revealed.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said he would be bringing forward proposals to make the workforce "more mobile".
"We have over the years, not us personally but successive governments, created one of the most static workforces in the western world," Mr Duncan Smith said.
"In Britain now we have workforces that are locked to areas and the result of that is we have over five and a half million people of working age who simply don't do a job.
"Often they are trapped in estates where there is no work near there and - because they have a lifetime tenure of that house - to go to work from east London to west London, or Bristol, or whatever is too much of a risk because if you up sticks and go you will have lost your right to your house.
"The local council is going to tell you that you don't have a right to a house there, the housing association is not going to give you one. We have to look at how we get that portability, so that people can be more flexible, can look for work, can take the risk to do it."
The coalition is believed to be looking at providing incentives for workers to relocate, rather than compelling them to move.
No compulsion? So why are they controversial then? But how does this fit in with Pickles new Localism agenda where local people get to say who gets council houses?
June 23, 2010
Cuts, What Cuts?
Burning our money drew attention to the plain fact that under the Osborne plan, total public spending is not facing any cut at all. In fact, it is projected to increase from £697bn this year to £758bn in 2015-16, a rise of 9%.
Departmental spending on current services (including all those doctors and nurses etc) is planned to be roughly unchanged over the next 5 years
Departmental spending on capital projects is planned to fall by £13bn pa (23%) - the entire cut decreed by Darling
Annually Managed Expenditure (largely welfare) is projected to increase by £74bn (23%)
So apart from capital spending, where are those cuts?
Where indeed? Apart from in the taxpayers standard of living.
The morning after the night before
6 out of 10. Not enough cutting, this was his big chance to do it and blame Labour. Not enough redirecting and reducing the State, just shrinking it. Too much mulcting to make up the difference. But probably as good as he could get past his partners.
Now off for a Full English with some pointy headed bean counters who will explain it all to me as they lift my wallet.
June 18, 2010
Spendthrifts get a letter from the Bank Manager
Finance secretary John Swinney has written to all managers across the public sector, calling on them to deliver the maximum in the face of "sharp falls" in future budgets.
"As public-sector leaders and managers, we must all be very clear that every pound of public spending for which we are responsible is targeted to address key public priorities and secures real value for the people who rely on these services.
"We must be vigilant, determined and encourage innovation in pursuing economy and efficiency. We have been able to rely over the past ten years on real-terms increases in public spending year on year and we must now adapt to a different climate."
That's more like it - picture him as a Scottish Bank Manager peering over his half-moon glasses from behind the big desk as you have the temerity to ask for a loan and you will get the picture.
June 16, 2010
Land Value Tax - the Window Tax of our Age
Tax land: it can’t be hidden from the Revenue
Taxing land values would be a fair way to help to plug the budget gap while stabilising — and even boosting — the economy.
Sorry, from behind Murdoch's Paywall, but you haven't missed much, yet another nasty demand to tax land based on jealousy and the desire to grab as much money for the government to waste as possible.
What these Land Tax fanatics fail to realise that land is a tool, it is the same as a scribblers typewriter or an accountant's calculator. It is a tool of the trade. The profits of the trade are already taxed. Why should one sort of tool be taxed when others aren't?
Unproductive assets such as jewellery and show off watches would be a fairer target, why not suggest those?
The land under your des res may not be a tool but was paid for from taxed income and is no way different from the tiles or windows of your house. Why not tax them? At least the number of windows is easier to verify. Or has that idea already been tried and shown to fail?
Let us have no more of this nonsense, as I said talk of Land Value Taxes only encourages more taxation rather than substitution of taxes. It is driven by petty jealousy and wealth bashing of the most boring 1970s type. Enough.
I'm not going to pollute my mind by entertaining the notion of studying the farrago but I gather our Noble Lord suggests we should apologise for shooting the wrong people. If we had shot McGuiness all would have been fine, in fact it would have been justified and justifiable. Is it too late to correct that error?
June 14, 2010
A billion here, a billion there, soon you are talking real money
The economy will grow more slowly and was more damaged by the recession than previously claimed, the new Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expected to conclude today.
At the same time, an ageing population will place an increasing burden on Britain’s ability to pay its way, the independent panel of economists will warn.
Some have estimated that the bill for state pensions could soar to £2.2 trillion as the baby-boomer generation reaches retirement age. Gold-plated Civil Service pension liabilities will add another £1 trillion to the bill, according to recent research from the CBI.
The country’s debt has soared to £893 billion, 62.1 per cent of GDP, and is expected to rise to £1.4 trillion in the next four years. Mr Darling estimated the economy would grow by between 3 and 3.5 per cent next year, with growth returning to a trend of between 3.25 per cent and 3.75 per cent in the following years.
..the OBR is expected to say that a greater proportion of Britain’s annual deficit, £156 billion this year, is due to underlying problems with the economy.
Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, has said that he will be demanding an apology from David Cameron if the OBR revises down the borrowing figures because “public finances are in better shape than I think we thought”.
Demand an apology? The only think he should demanding is the coward's right to wear a blindfold as he is tied to the post.....
June 13, 2010
Black Farmer Plays Race Card
Rubber-stamped by Dave, rejected by Wiltshire - Times Online
Cameron’s Black Tory followed Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones’s long quest to become the MP for Chippenham, in Wiltshire... He lost, natch, and Wiltshire suddenly had its first Liberal MP since around about the time the Corn Laws were repealed.
I would have liked the programme to tease out some of the reasons for this defeat: was it because Emmanuel-Jones was black, or was it that he had been imported from London — or maybe, more subtly, a combination of the two? It is entirely possible that some of Chippenham’s voters believe that black people are one of those strange, new-fangled things invented in London, like mains drainage and electricity. My guess is that in this largely rural, conservative seat, the colour of his skin probably tipped the balance.
It was always going to be a Lib Dem win, he got a similar swing to the fragrant Claire Perry who won Devizes. Wiltshire doesn't need metropolitan sneering that it is some racist rural throwback of a county, we can do that sneering ourselves...
June 12, 2010
Press Association Mistakes Cameron For a Queen
Cameron in first state visit to US - Google Search
David Cameron is to visit the US for the first time as Prime Minister on July 20 for talks with President Barack Obama....
The Press Association - 4854 related articles
He is just the bloody Prime Minister, the monkey; State visits are when the Head of State makes a visit. How hard is that for anyone to understand? Bad enough that the Press Association makes the mistake but that 4854 news organisations blindly copy the error shows the rigorous standards of the great traditional media...
June 7, 2010
An Invitation that will be hard to resist
The coalition will invite the public tomorrow to take part in an internet consultation on the spending review that the Government says will help to determine where the axe should fall.
I have a little list.....
From whose point of view?
DAVID Cameron will warn today that the impact of the government's plans for slashing the deficit will be "enormous" and worse than he had feared.
What's this "worse" you talk of Kemo Sabe?
Raedwald is up before me with the answer
June 2, 2010
Still not sure what he was worried about - he had admitted to people he was a merchant banker, that he was an MP and even that he had Lib-Dem tendencies. Beyond that what else was there to be ashamed of?
People really don't care what others insert into what orifices, they may be interested and as long as it is done in the street and frighten the horses we really don't care.
May 25, 2010
Women and Children First
Cuts, axes, front line services... It is just a shave, a single bladed shave. There is no excuse for alarmist talk and using the valuable and vulnerable as hostages. That is despicable.
May 24, 2010
A papercut, not an amputation
George Osborne to unveil £6bn of spending cuts as era of austerity begins
George Osborne will unveil a £6billion package of spending cuts on Monday that will lead to the elimination of thousands of civil service jobs, sweeping efficiency measures across Whitehall and “painful” retrenchment in the wider public sector.
"Era of austerity"? A small rounding error on the £156 billion deficit, which is a massive understatement of the true figure.
May 23, 2010
Brown aims to win election - Salmond Leaping for Joy
We can reveal that the former Prime Minister has asked to be given a role in the party's forthcoming Holyrood contest. In an interview with Scotland on Sunday, Scottish Labour party leader Iain Gray says that Brown's offer, in an unsolicited letter, has been taken up by the party as it begins its attempt to unseat Alex Salmond at the Scottish Parliamentary elections in less than a year's time.
Unsolicited? I wonder why they hadn't thought to ask him. I'm sure they will want him to front up the election, or maybe he could stay in the backroom sticking stamps on.
May 22, 2010
What are MPs for?
“What am I for?” asked one MP plaintively, before launching into a tirade against the leader who had plunged his party into coalition and then denied him a job.
The lost soul was rescued from his existential crisis by a couple of friendly faces from another party who stepped in before he said anything too loudly that he would later regret. But his question has echoed around Westminster all week as Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, with their divergent policies and priorities, try to get used to the idea of being one happy Government.
If you don't know what you are for, what about the poor voters who don't know what they voted for?
May 18, 2010
There is no money
Even a broken watch tells the truth twice a day.
Little Georgie is busy trying to scare us as to how harsh his emergency budget is going to be. With the Lib Dems "protecting Social Justice" (and Lib Dem jobs) I fear it is going to be a paper tiger which bites just in the wrong places.
May 17, 2010
Get the Candles in for the Lib Dems
We have seen before how cavalier Huhne is with data misrepresentation. If he is allowed to carry on with his pro-wind and anti-nuclear campaign from a position of Governmental authority, power cuts are inevitable and will be dire. People are going to die.
May 14, 2010
First Night Ashore
The coalition's plans outlined so far on the deficit quickly came under City scrutiny, with one institution warning that in their current state they would actually worsen the country's budget position.
Credit Suisse said the measures announced would add close to £10bn per year to the deficit, contrasting with the incoming government's emphasis on the need for "a significantly accelerated reduction".
The easiest solution would be a VAT rise, Credit Suisse added.
No, the easiest solution is to just stop bloody spending, a couple of days in power and they are already pissing our money away.
Yes the tax cuts are good, raising the threshold to £10,000 is great, but every such plan must be coupled with a balancing cut announced at the same time to make it at least revenue neutral or preferably debt reducing.
May 13, 2010
No to 55%
Tom Harris acknowledges that Labour lost the election and accept that the new government has the democratic legitimacy to govern. There are many policies which will be introduced in the next few years. But it is utterly unacceptable to redraw the rules of parliament and of democracy – not to mention the rules of arithmetic – simply to ensure that ministers hold onto their portfolios for as long as possible.
The plan is to scrap the centuries-old convention that when any government loses the confidence of the Commons, it must resign and parliament must be dissolved. Instead, 55 per cent of the Commons must support a no-confidence motion. ..
But why 55 per cent, you may well ask? Why not 51, or 54 or 58 or 65…?
Could it be that this magic number is based on the fact that the Tories already have 47 per cent of the seats in the Commons? Surely the LibDems would never be stupid enough to fall for such a cynical confidence trick?
Can someone answer me this (and it’s a genuine question): which LibDem or Tory politician – or indeed, politician of any other party – has ever publicly supported such a radical and anti-democratic perversion of our constitution in the past? Did it feature in either party’s manifesto at the election? Or any previous manifestos?
Quite, it is a cynical anti democratic stitch up. A majority is a majority.
The Nick & Dave Civil Partnership Pre-nup
That The Coalition Agreement in Full. I was going to fisk it but I'm just too weary to go through a six form mish-mash of good intentions.
May 12, 2010
The Coalition Agreement in Full for The Record
Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition negotiations
11 May 2010
This document sets out agreements reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a range of issues. These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government. It will be followed in due course by a final Coalition Agreement, covering the full range of policy and including foreign, defence and domestic policy issues not covered in this document.
1. Deficit Reduction
The parties agree that deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. We have therefore agreed that there will need to be:
- a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes;
- arrangements that will protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints; and
- protection of jobs by stopping Labour’s proposed jobs tax.
The parties agree that a plan for deficit reduction should be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of the signing of any agreement; the parties note that the credibility of a plan on deficit reduction depends on its long-term deliverability, not just the depth of immediate cuts. New forecasts of growth and borrowing should be made by an independent Office for Budget Responsibility for this emergency budget.
The parties agree that modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front line services can be made within the financial year 2010-11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability. Some proportion of these savings can be used to support jobs, for example through the cancelling of some backdated demands for business rates. Other policies upon which we are agreed will further support job creation and green investment, such as work programmes for the unemployed and a green deal for energy efficiency investment.
The parties agree that reductions can be made to the Child Trust Fund and tax credits for higher earners.
2. Spending Review – NHS, Schools and a Fairer Society
The parties agree that a full Spending Review should be held, reporting this Autumn, following a fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the private sector.
The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments. The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place.
We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.
The parties commit to holding a full Strategic Security and Defence Review alongside the Spending Review with strong involvement of the Treasury.
The Government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.
The parties commit to establishing an independent commission to review the long term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights.
We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011 with a “triple guarantee” that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats.
3. Tax Measures
The parties agree that the personal allowance for income tax should be increased in order to help lower and middle income earners. We agree to announce in the first Budget a substantial increase in the personal allowance from April 2011, with the benefits focused on those with lower and middle incomes. This will be funded with the money that would have been used to pay for the increase in Employee National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives, as well as revenues from increases in Capital Gains Tax rates for non-business assets as described below. The increase in Employer National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives will go ahead in order to stop Labour’s jobs tax. We also agree to a longer term policy objective of further increasing the personal allowance to £10,000, making further real terms steps each year towards this objective.
We agree that this should take priority over other tax cuts, including cuts to Inheritance Tax. We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement.
The parties agree that a switch should be made to a per-plane, rather than per-passenger duty; a proportion of any increased revenues over time will be used to help fund increases in the personal allowance.
We further agree to seek a detailed agreement on taxing non-business capital gains at rates similar or close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for entrepreneurial business activities.
The parties agree that tackling tax avoidance is essential for the new government, and that all efforts will be made to do so, including detailed development of Liberal Democrat proposals.
4. Banking Reform
The parties agree that reform to the banking system is essential to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis, to promote a competitive economy, to sustain the recovery and to protect and sustain jobs.
We agree that a banking levy will be introduced. We will seek a detailed agreement on implementation.
We agree to bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk.
We agree to bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.
We agree that ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and should be a core priority for a new government, and we will work together to develop effective proposals to do so. This will include consideration of both a major loan guarantee scheme and the use of net lending targets for the nationalised banks.
The parties wish to reduce systemic risk in the banking system and will establish an independent commission to investigate the complex issue of separating retail and investment banking in a sustainable way; while recognising that this would take time to get right, the commission will be given an initial time frame of one year to report.
The parties agree that the regulatory system needs reform to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis. We agree to bring forward proposals to give the Bank of England control of macro-prudential regulation and oversight of micro-prudential regulation.
The parties also agree to rule out joining the European Single Currency during the duration of this agreement.
We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.
6. Political Reform
The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.
The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. Both parties will whip their Parliamentary Parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.
The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP was found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.
We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motions by December 2010. It is likely that this bill will advocate single long terms of office. It is also likely there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.
The parties will bring forward the proposals of the Wright Committee for reform to the House of Commons in full – starting with the proposed committee for management of programmed business and including government business within its scope by the third year of the Parliament.
The parties agree to reduce electoral fraud by speeding up the implementation of individual voter registration.
We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’.
The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.
The parties will tackle lobbying through introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We also agree to pursue a detailed agreement on limiting donations and reforming party funding in order to remove big money from politics.
The parties will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups. This will include a full review of local government finance.
7. Pensions and Welfare
The parties agree to phase out the default retirement age and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. We agree to end the rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at 75.
We agree to implement the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s recommendation to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policy holders, through an independent payment scheme, for their relative loss as a consequence of regulatory failure.
The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work.
We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work should be referred to the aforementioned newly created welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case. We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged under 25 should be referred to the programme after a maximum of six months.
The parties agree to realign contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work.
We agree that the funding mechanism used by government to finance welfare to work programmes should be reformed to reflect the fact that initial investment delivers later savings in lower benefit expenditure.
We agree that receipt of benefits for those able to work should be conditional on the willingness to work.
We agree to promote the reform of schools in order to ensure:
- that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand;
- that all schools have greater freedom over curriculum; and,
- that all schools are held properly accountable.
We await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding, and will judge its proposals against the need to:
- increase social mobility;
- take into account the impact on student debt;
- ensure a properly funded university sector;
- improve the quality of teaching;
- advance scholarship; and,
- attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.
9. Relations with the EU
We agree that the British Government will be a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.
We agree that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom.
We agree that we will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future Treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that Treaty – a ‘referendum lock’. We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that the use of any passerelle would require primary legislation.
We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.
We agree that Britain will not join or prepare to join the Euro in this Parliament.
We agree that we will strongly defend the UK’s national interests in the forthcoming EU budget negotiations and that the EU budget should only focus on those areas where the EU can add value.
We agree that we will press for the European Parliament only to have one seat, in Brussels.
We agree that we will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.
10. Civil liberties
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.
This will include:
- A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.
- The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
- Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
- The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
- Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
- The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
- The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
- The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
- Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
- Further regulation of CCTV.
- Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
- A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including:
- The establishment of a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters.
- The full establishment of feed-in tariff systems in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded ROCs.
- Measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.
- The creation of a green investment bank.
- The provision of home energy improvement paid for by the savings from lower energy bills.
- Retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.
- Measures to encourage marine energy.
- The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard.
- The establishment of a high-speed rail network.
- The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow.
- The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
- The replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty.
- The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as efforts to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits.
- Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence.
- Measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.
- Mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
- Continuation of the present Government’s proposals for public sector investment in CCS technology for four coal-fired power stations; and a specific commitment to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.
- We are agreed that we would seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.
Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new national planning statement) and provided also that they receive no public subsidy.
We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.
This process will involve:
- the government completing the drafting of a national planning statement and putting it before Parliament;
- specific agreement that a Liberal Democrat spokesman will speak against the planning statement, but that Liberal Democrat MPs will abstain; and
- clarity that this will not be regarded as an issue of confidence.
And so another day dawns.
So it all worked out with Brown leaving with some dignity and even some grace, the New Prime Minister was driven through the normal traffic to take up residence. No Zil lanes, no pomp, just a very British muddle through strictly observing our unwritten constitution. A constitution and system that isn't broken but needs some gentle reforming.
FPTP or AV, I don't really care, they keep the strong constituency link. PR is just a recipe for a party hack parliament. The one thing that is clear from this election is that individual candidates were held to account by their constituents separately from their parties. We need that to continue.
Europe, that is going to be a battle for another day. The eurosceptics failed to make this an issue this election, though some may argue that it was the underlying reason why Cameron failed. UKIP cost him seats and his U-Turn on Lisbon cost him activists.
England. England wanted a different result to the other parts. We just ended up where England wasn't held to ransom by the vote buying "Progressive Alliance", but it was close. It mustn't happen again. A change is needed and the Tories know the change is needed for their continued existence as they have unwillingly become an English Party.
And for the first time I'm older than the Prime Minister which officially makes me a grumpy old man.
The first months and years of a David Cameron premiership are set to be very different to those previously envisaged by the Conservatives.
But not very different from the hopes and dreams of a lot of the new intake of Tory MPs if not of the Tory party members.
May 11, 2010
The Spirit Level Delusion
There is a sad little book doing the rounds at the moment: The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better arguing for "more progressive income and property taxes and more generous benefits, we also need policies to reduce differences in incomes before taxes and benefits. That means higher minimum wages, more generous pensions, running the national economy with low levels of unemployment, better education and retraining policies, increasing the bargaining power of trade unions."
"Preventing excessively high incomes and concentrations of wealth at the top is as important as pulling up the incomes at the bottom, and the first clearly provides the means for the second."
If we did this in the UK:
- Murder rates would halve
- Mental illness would reduce by two thirds
- Obesity would halve
- Imprisonment would reduce by 80%
- Teen births would reduce by 80%
- Levels of trust would increase by 85%
Unsurprisingly among the candidates at the election Claire Perry - Devizes Con - signed the Equality Pledge to work towards this nirvana.
The Lab-Lib-Celt Alliance loves it because it is "Scientifically Proven" by "Real Scientists". Who would be so cruel as to disagree?
Christopher Snowden that is who. He has been Fact-checking the Left's New Theory of Everything
And he has written a book "The Spirit Level Delusion" which will be published on 17th May 2010.
The book launch will be held at the Institute of Economic Affairs on 11th May at 6.30pm. To attend please RSVP here.
I have read the book, not only is it comprehensive in its demolition, it is well written, amusingly thorough and easy to digest. Even El Clegg would be able to understand it. I will send a copy to my new "Conservative" MP, though whether Ms Perry will be able to grasp its evidence is an open question
We are going to hear a lot more about how limiting growth and reducing inequality will make everyone happier and how we must legislate to make this happen. You need the evidence to show it is guff, you need this book.
Audacious? It was an obvious move that had been signalled since before the election. Why are the professional commentators so surprised, column inches and hours of air time to fill I suppose. It is not audacious it just another grubby squirming in the gutter as the wounded worm seeks a way out. It may well work but the smell will remain.
May 10, 2010
The Election The Internet Won
The hidden story of this election was the mass glee with which the public turned upon miscreants and, by extension, rewarded the decent. It doesn’t usually happen like this; the miscreants usually sneak back under the wire, under the chloroforming cover of the party ticket. But this time people, you know, took a real interest.
Pace Iain but this muddled result is exactly what you can expect if the blogosphere has a significant impact. Voters in constituencies have reacted to the information the internet has ensured has been broadcast. Individual politicians have been judged on their individual talents. Which is exactly the advantage of the first past the post system we have always been told. Of course at the first hint that the party donkey wearing a rosette may no longer be safe the parties suddenly realise they want to change the system.
The manifestos have been largely rendered irrelevant as a quick click on Google provides a broader view of any claim. And sorry Iain, being a pretty boy on television doesn't translate into votes anymore as Николай Clegg found out.
The turnout was high, people were interested and wanted to express a view. It is just that the view is no longer one the parties want to hear. Yes it is inconclusive, yes it is a muddle but that is how life is. A life that has found it's voice on t'internet rahter than in the parties.
And the grubby little deals being done will only further divorce the parties from the people.
The Hush Puppies Go In
Angry Conservatives are telling the party's leadership that David Cameron must break up his "chums circle" running the party and bring on board veterans who were largely excluded from the election campaign.
One senior Tory said: "If we had not had the television debates we would now be in government with an overall majority. Debates, plus big society and gimmicky nonsense equals a hung parliament. No debates, plus core message and proper politics would have equalled victory."
Sir Bufton is alive and well - other conservatives say that the old guard of Heathites were well consigned to the dustbin of history the problem was that the slick new boys weren't radical enough. Too concerned to hold the middle ground and not offend anyone.
May 7, 2010
Gordon Must Stay
Gordon staying on, ignoring his moral compass; Ed Balls emerging from the wings; Milibands jostling, another election. It could ruin the Labour Party for a generation.
Which is why, maybe, he is smart enough to be trying to graceful step aside and let someone else clear up his mess.
None of the Above the Winner
Cameron - Loser, didn't clearly win.
Brown - Loser, he is toast but the party survives.
Clegg - Loser, but could be the king-maker giving him unwarranted power.
Salmon - Loser, Labour increase in Scotland.
England - Loser, bribes to the other nations of English taxpayers' money will decide who is PM.
The Economy - Loser, pork barrels will be rolling, no cuts, the debt will spiral up, the markets will sell.
Party Politics - Loser, it isn't PR that is being demanded, that is just another bribe the yellow losers will demand, it isn't electoral reform to entrench the current parties we need, though that is what we will get. All the parties are losers, we don't want them.
Democracy - Winner, people want to vote and won't be taken for fools. And as the grubby deals are done today, they will know them for what they are. And we won't forget.
May 6, 2010
Election Result: Grayson Perry - Devizes - Conservative Hold
Grayson Perry is an English artist, known mainly for his ceramic vases and cross-dressing. He works in several media. Perry's vases have classical forms and are decorated in bright colours, depicting subjects at odds with their attractive appearance, e.g., child abuse and sado-masochism. There is a strong autobiographical element in his work, in which images of Perry as "Claire", his female alter-ego, often appear. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2003 for his ceramics, receiving the prize dressed as Claire.
No, I can't bring myself to vote for Grayson this morning, nor Labour, nor the funny woman from the Lib Dems.
We have an energetic Independent candidate, but could you vote for some one who has wasted so much money when he has no chance of winning?
We are blessed with a Librarian Party candidate here, who is saying all the right things, but what ever I do we already know the result.
I really am still in the camp of the undecided, even so I will vote.
May 5, 2010
It Is Time To Pick The Losers
We don't want any one to win this election but we want some of them to lose more than the others.
Brown must lose, he must be trounced for his incompetence, his intrusive big statism and his ruining the country.
Clegg must lose because he is anti-British, he is an annoying irrelevance and any belief that he represents a serious party ridiculed.
BNP - nasty socialists.
UKIP - faded from view, failed to make europe an issue.
Smaller parties - wastes of ballot paper.
Cameron - He is still wrong on Europe and green policies, still waffling on the need for cuts and downsizing. He has already lost, if a Tory can't build and maintain a consistent lead over this Labour government then there is something very wrong. But we need him in No.10 as there is no other option, but only just. He needs to know every day that we didn't want him to win, just not lose as badly as the others.
So vote tactically to deliver that message.
Addict Admits He Doesn't Want To Give Up....
I’ll carry on spending, belligerent Gordon Brown tells The Times - Times Online
The country is burdened by unprecedented debt and the costs of an expanding State and yet, after increasing public spending by 54 per cent over the past 13 years, Mr Brown’s pledge to the people is yet more spending on benefits, allowances and tax credits. In short, Mr Brown’s addiction to public spending is unaffordable.
Just one more drink, I can give up any time I want to, I won't drink tomorrow, but just one more drink tonight is what we need.
May 4, 2010
Brown tries to Command the Waves
Mr Brown was speaking at the launch of Labour’s “seaside manifesto” on Great Yarmouth’s freezing, windswept promenade at the fag end of a wet May Bank Holiday. “With the right support of an active government, places like Ipswich and Great Yarmouth can be a new riviera on the North Sea,” he declared, without a trace of irony.
I love the wild cold East Anglian coast but it will never be "riviera", which is the basis of its charm. He has lost it, the final proof in his insane belief in the power of government.
May 2, 2010
The Hidden Tory Agenda?
The first legislative programme of a Conservative administration would include a Great Repeal Bill to dismantle Labour's "Big Brother" legislation by scrapping ID cards and home information packs, restoring jury trial in complex cases and abolishing powers of bailiffs and council tax inspectors to enter homes.
Mr Cameron told the Sunday Times that his first Queen's Speech - scheduled for May 25 - would also include bills to allow the first new-style "free schools" to open at the start of this autumn's new academic year and to decentralise power and unleash enterprise.
The outline of a Tory agenda for power came as the party edged further ahead in the polls...
Extraordinary that no one believes we know what the real manifestos and yet we are happy to vote on that basis...
April 30, 2010
Save the Saviour
Being the saviour of the nation doesn't always get you re-elected as Winston found out. And I think his claim was a touch more credible.
Will The Television Debates Affect Betting Patterns on the Outcome of the Election?
We in the UK are now well and truly in the thick of the battle for the hearts and minds of the voters. This time there is an “X Factor” in the campaigning of the parties for the General Election. Yes, I am referring to the televised debates between the leaders of the three main parties. Of course doing well in a particular debate may boost the popularity of a participant but will it ultimately help his party win the election? One should never under-estimate the power of television. Lots of political pundits have been quick to point out that the rise in popularity of Nick Clegg in the opinion polls after the first debate can only have come about as a result of the viewing public’s perception of the Liberal Democrat leader. Over 9.4 million viewers watched that first debate and it is worth noting that many people probably watched because of the novelty value of a live election debate. Many viewers would not have watched a traditional party political broadcast if it had been screened instead. For the second debate viewing figures dropped to 4 million.
But will these debates influence the betting on who will win the Election? That remains to be seen. Many online betting websites are offering odds on which party will win the most seats on the 6th May. The Conservatives are 1/5, Labour are 4/1 and the Liberal Democrats are 16/1. However if Nick Clegg continues to do well in the final broadcast debate will punters decide that a bet on the Liberal Democrats offers the best value? Polls after the second debate showed opinions mixed on who won. If either Gordon Brown or David Cameron were to be seen as the winners of the final debate would this lead to a change in the percentage of people betting on the Conservatives or Labour party to win?
With the stakes so high the leaders cannot afford to make any gaffes when they are under such close public scrutiny. You can bet that they will be under a great deal of pressure to perform well from here on in. So is it worth having a punt on the winner of the last debate? Certainly it is possible. Odds being offered on David Cameron are 6/4 while Nick Clegg is 7/4 and Gordon Brown is quoted at 2/1. Of course, unlike with the main event it is the perceived debating skills and body language of the three speakers that will determine who is considered the winner. On May 6th it will be the policies that the parties are putting forward that will be the determining factor on where the “x” is placed on the ballot paper. Nevertheless it will be interesting to see if a pattern emerges in the betting on which party will win the election and which leader will win each debate.
In some ways it is odd that election debates have not been a feature of previous elections. Certainly they have generated interest and discussion among potential voters who might otherwise not have been reached by campaigning via any other means. The same might be said for political betting. People will have bet on the outcome of the debates who would have never thought of betting on election-related issues in the past. And after putting money on your favourite in a televised debate what could be more natural than having a bet on the UK General Election outcome?
(Disclosure - this is a sponsored post)
April 29, 2010
Canvassing at The Castle
I think you can identify the various party candidates in the video, if they ever find the bodies so will the police.
See you in London later.
April 28, 2010
Iain Dale - Wrong on Internet Politics
This was supposed to be the election when internet politics came of age, when the blogosphere and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook had a real impact on the campaign. But it hasn't turned out like that: far from being an important player, the internet has become all but an irrelevance. So why has the web been the dog that hasn't barked?
Because T'internet has had its bite already. Iain is ignoring the bleeding corpses of politicians savaged over the last few years and of the withered husks that the parties have become as the energy of political involvement has moved on from supporting the donkey wearing the correct rosette to being actively involved.
Of course if you spend all day with your head up a donkey's arse trying to propel it to victory your view is limited...
Blair Dead - Who Cares?
Next-generation Tories came of age under New Labour and are a diverse bunch – but has the party really changed? asks MARY FITZGERALD
NOT SO long ago mention of the Young Conservatives would inevitably summon images of braying Hooray Henrys mooning at the press or wearing “Hang Mandela” stickers on their lapels. To be young and Tory was to invite comparisons with all the stereotypes embodied in Harry Enfield’s Tory Boy.
But what of today’s young Conservatives? Children of the Thatcher era, they have little or no recollection of the bitter ideological battles of the 1980s, and only a hazy memory of the last Tory government.
Maybe that is why I don't understand the New Tory Party - it's an age thing.
The name Blair Peach brings to mind a long summer of being eighteen, earning decent money, beer at 30p a pint... before going to University that autumn. Of course I should be shocked and outraged that the SPG is wot did it, but are you?
April 27, 2010
BRÜN, KAMERUN or KLEGGI - I have never actually been inside an Ikea store but I do need a new kitchen....
Or maybe just a new jar of Marmite.
Given that each of his two appearances takes up just two hours of his time, this works out at £81,348 per hour, or £1,355 a minute, as near as damn it. Nice work if you can get it.
And of course that doesn't include his expenses including first-class air fares, five-star hotels, limousines, plus travel and accommodation for his ten-strong entourage, eight of whom are security men provided by HM government.
When Gordon Brown called the election it was widely expected the Blairs would be rolled out as Labour's secret weapon.
Wearing his other hat, as Middle East peacebroker, he had been in Israel when the planes were grounded by volcanic ash, but he had slogged out to Malaysia via Africa and Spain.
It was tempting to remark that, for £350,000, I'd have done the same. Instead I suggested that the inconvenience could hardly have come at a worse time, and that he must be keen to return to Britain and join the election fray.
Well, he replied with an impish grin that suggested the volcano had provided him with the perfect excuse, he couldn't possibly get back, could he?
'I just kept heading East,' he said with a shrug.
Cash not ash then is saving us from him, and he has already used up quite a few of his ninety days already this year....
Devizes Tories Threaten Orang-utans
The Conservative Party has accepted donations from a wealthy British family that is accused of profiting from the destruction of one of the few remaining habitats of the orang-utan.
Although the party has a policy of protecting orang-utans, it has continued to accept donations despite evidence of the family’s links to a company involved in the destruction.
A local spat to me - the Green candidate for Devizes, Martin Felcher, is in a tizzy about one of my neighbours, the Keswicks, the ex Tai-pans. The link to Orang-utans is pretty flimsy which is probably why it took TWO of Murdoch's star reporters, Ben Webster, Environment Editor and Dominic Kennedy, Investigations Editor, to regurgitate the press release.
Thank goodness Murdoch hasn't any links with far eastern trading companies.
If I vote Lib Dem I deprive Labour of a vote and make it more likely that Labour will come third – leading to a deal with the Tories? If I vote Labour to try to shore up their vote, an outright Tory victory is more likely.
Of course Real Conservatives have similar concerns over tactical voting, do you vote Tory to prevent a hung Parliament, even though the Tory Party isn't conservative, or do you vote UKIP/ Independent which wlll split the conservative vote and make it more likely an even less conservative administration emerges?
April 26, 2010
Cuts Threaten Front-line Services - An Email Arrives..
Funding available for public sector staff wellbeing!!!
I have funding available to help support Public Sector Organisations to take part in a Walking challenge.
The GCC (Global Corporate Challenege)sees teams of 7 employees aiming to walk 10'000 steps a day recorded on pedometer to complete a virtual walk around the world. The challenege boots health, motivation, team spirit and productivity and contributes to less sick days in the work place. As part of a bigger Health and Wellbeing initiative workplaces across the nation and indeed the World have seen real benefits from taking part...
We have funding to support organisations entering participants living or working within Wiltshire onto the GCC. The GCC costs £343 + VAT per team of 7 participants and WASP can contribute up to £100 per team or more if a case is made. Our only condition is that as we are using public money to promote health improvement we can’t support teams full of people who are already very active. Thus we ask you to abide by the spirit of the event and enter teams where the majority are not already particularly active and therefore have much to gain from participating in this initiative....
If you are interested in enrolling some teams onto this years GCC event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 5th May. I will then send you some further information on the event. You will be informed by 7th May of the panel’s decision for your Bursary Application
Wiltshire & Swindon Activity and Sports Partnership.
April 22, 2010
Tories - We are just misunderstood.
The Conservative Party has policies? Other than getting elected? You can't fool me.
April 21, 2010
Good News on Public Sector Jobs
"Warned"? "Nearly"? - "Promised hopefully" and "As a start" would be more appropriate.
April 19, 2010
The Stupid Party
So you are all fed up with politicians, you want to say "sod them all" but UKIP is a bit fruitcake. So why choose a man you have never heard of who runs a party you know nothing about except they are sort of nice and not too frightening and really reasonable in that Primary School teacher way?
The Lib Dems are the politicians' political party. Tories are Tories because they like to boss people around and want to beat people, they don't know one end of a political theory from a knitted toilet roll cover. Labour are either nutters who have wet dreams over being really radical or else old fashioned bruisers who recognise a route to power and money. If you aren't Italian or Chinese it is next best thing to being a member of the family.
But Lib Dems! You don't get to bully anyone, you don't get to be the top man, you must really believe in politics. You really care. You are the sort of people that the electorate don't want, but somehow they love you.
God save us.
Silly Bunts and The Flight Ban
Willie Walsh, the airline’s chief executive, joined four crew in a three-hour test flight from London, over the Atlantic, to Cardiff.
Wales is obviously further away from London than I realised.
As is increasingly obvious this flight ban is an overreaction based on computer models produced by the Met Office.
"Our first priority is the safety of passengers" is the excuse, and it is a meaningless soundbite. If you only worry about falling out the sky you would never fly. Our priority is to balance up the risks and rewards of all the options.
Airfreighting in mange-tout from Kenya gives us flaccid green stuff to chew (that is the so-called benefit), the cost in safety is that at sometime, in the millions of miles the freighting will chalk up, a plane load of petit pois will plough back into the ground, and it is a risk we think worth taking.
What the rewards are meant to be for going to Tenerife are beyond me so any risk is unjustifiable....
April 18, 2010
I couldn't resist a little dabble on the fall of confidence in the Tories (the confusingly yellow line) - I'm sure confidence will return there will be an opportunity for a bit of trading
April 16, 2010
Blues Ditch Green To Beat Reds
Only 7 per cent of the Tory candidates agreed strongly with the statement “expansion of onshore wind [farms] is essential if the UK is to deliver on its renewable energy targets”. The statement was strongly supported by 44 per cent of Labour candidates and 71 per cent of Liberal Democrat candidates. A total of 54 per cent of Conservative hopefuls, but no Labour candidates, disagreed with the statement. Among Liberal Democrats, 14 per cent disagreed.
When it comes to winning Tories on the ground know what will win them votes, and it isn't signing up to EU Renewable Commitments or Hugging Huskies, it is protecting the locals from useless wind powered Bird Mincers and other daft schemes.
Whether this sense will survive after they are elected is another matter.
Related - Below the fold for more on the costs of Wind Turbines.
Could We Be In For A Blue Moon Result?
The most literal meaning of blue moon is when the moon (not necessarily a full moon) appears to a casual observer to be unusually bluish, which is a rare event. The effect can be caused by the Tyndall effect (in turn, caused by smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere), as has happened after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which caused the moon to appear blue for nearly two years.
The key to a blue moon is having lots of particles slightly wider than the wavelength of red light (0.7 micron)--and no other sizes present. This is rare, but volcanoes sometimes produce such clouds, as do forest fires. Ash and dust clouds thrown into the atmosphere by fires and storms usually contain a mixture of particles with a wide range of sizes, with most smaller than 1 micron, and they tend to scatter blue light. This kind of cloud makes the moon turn red; thus red moons are far more common than blue moons.
The Leaders Debate - Who Really Won?
Nice Nicey Cleggy won on the night with his oh so sincere talking to the camera, Gordon did very well in controlling himself and managing to look human. He can do it and the training is paying off.
Cameron was scared rigid by the instructions he had to remember - hands to the side, no fidgeting, look at the questioner, furrow brow, mention x, use phrase y and so on.
The morning after I think the enthusiasm the instant results showed for Clegg will wear off as the enthusiasm for Barcadi Breezers does, they don't seem such a good idea in the cold light of dawn.
Brown will be recalled as a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all. But Cameron's personable, knowledgeable but quite aloof performance will stick in the mind as the most statesmanlike.
Room for improvement next time but Dave was the winner, and anyway, so what if the cute puppy with the yellow rosette was the favourite in show, he isn't going to win, or hold the balance of power.
April 15, 2010
Work - The Curse of the Blogging Classes
Understandable, but sad.
Onwards and upwards.....
April 14, 2010
Claire Perry - Devizes Tory Candidate - "obsessed with climate change"
Hello all. We are a household of 5 nr. Salisbury plus a satellite in London. We are trying to become much more aware of our impact/footprint. Claire Perry is now obsessed with climate change and hopefully will shortly start work in policy making in this area.
Is this the same Claire Perry who "lives in a small village near Salisbury with my husband and our three children ages 13, 10 and 7." and wants to be the next MP for Devizes?
I fear so....
The People's Choice of Election Music
Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg go into tomorrow’s historic televised debate facing a wall of public antipathy amid a tightening race.
A new Populus poll for The Times reveals deep disenchantment with the campaign so far and high levels of scepticism about manifesto pledges and the parties’ honesty.
More voters are now hoping for a hung Parliament than either a Tory or a Labour outright victory.
A mere 4 per cent think that the parties are being completely honest with voters about their tax plans and only 6 per cent about their approaches to cutting the deficit.
43 per cent were unconvinced by any party.
Why We Don't Care About The Election Part 137
Why We Don't Care About The Election Part 72
The reality, of course, is that whoever they vote for, Britons face the most substantial stretch of austerity government since the days of ration books. That is the hard economic consequence of having borrowed so much.
But much as we understand this logic, we don’t much like to be reminded of it, which partly explains the fall in Tory poll ratings after George Osborne attempted to launch the party’s campaign on a platform of pain and austerity.
You might have thought we would have tired of fantasy and delusion, but the election tacticians think not. Plus, they add, look at Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 manifesto, which hardly hinted at the radical reforms to come.
But this misses the point. Times have moved on since the 1970s: if nothing else, the expenses scandal should have reminded politicians we are now more discerning, less credulous and unwilling to put blind faith in politicians.
This election is not merely about the economy, but about renewing trust. Leaving the most important numbers out of both the manifestos seems a funny way to make a start.
April 13, 2010
The Two Nation Labour Manifesto
In Birmingham, Gordon Brown published a document he insisted would secure Britain's recovery with a group of policies designed to win votes in middle England.
In Motherwell, on the site of the former Ravenscraig steel works, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy revealed the party's Scottish manifesto, stuffed with pledges on devolved issues that Labour cannot deliver even in the event of a general election victory.
23 of the pledges made in the Scottish manifesto could not be delivered by a UK government, including education promises such as small group tuition for struggling school pupils, and policies on crime such as the introduction of mandatory jail sentences for anyone caught carrying a knife – a policy not included in the UK-wide document.
And many of the party's commitments in the rest of the UK were absent from the Scottish manifesto, including the establishment of registered supporters' trusts to buy football clubs, and protection for rural pubs.
Plans to increase democratic accountability for local government services will not be part of the party's Scottish campaign, neither will plans to allow parents to change the leadership of schools that do not meet standards.
The different versions of one part of the manifesto.
You will notice they speak slower and louder and with a cute regional accent to the Scotties, how sweet!
The Full Scotch One is below the fold for those with a strong constitution:
Postcode Lottery Cant
Whenever you hear a politician complaining about a 'postcode lottery' you can be sure they're speaking in code, and what they mean is 'loss of State control'.
Slap to forehead, of course. Any talk of "localism" or "giving stakeholders power" is utter cant when they deploy this phrase as well.
PoliticsHome | The Poll Centre projection of the election result leads to Tory majority of 16, for first time since projection began in March
Tories will win election, but little enthusiasm for race, ICM poll finds | Politics | The Guardian
Tories will win election, but little enthusiasm for race, ICM poll finds
David Cameron's slick start not reflected in bigger lead after first week of campaign that fails to grip voters
That's enough polls for a while I think
Vote to reduce the debt
At publicservice.co.uk (Public Sector & Government News), they're running a weekly poll in which the question is:
Should public sector workers have to pay more to maintain the value of their pensions?Can we round up enough 'Yes' votes to make them think pubic sector workers are all in favour of paying higher pension contributions? It would save the rest of us money, after all. The poll is on the home page, in the right-hand sidebar.
April 12, 2010
The Debt Clock
To highlight the crushing size of the national debt, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) is launching a 1,300 mile tour of Britain – featuring a 7 metre long, lorry-mounted digital Debt Clock, ticking up as the Government borrows more and more money. The campaign has a simple but direct message for the nation’s politicians: “Wake up to the National Debt!”
April 11, 2010
Tory Donor Supports Conservative Views - Shock Horror!
Embarrassment for the Tories as Swiss-born supporter is found to have given money to a group that wants Britain to leave the EU
Henry Angest has funnelled almost £7m to the Tories in loans and donations over the past nine years, according to an Observer investigation.
But he also backs lesser-known political groups that question scientific claims for climate change, campaign for the UK's withdrawal from the EU and seek to further the country's ties with the US radical right. Reportedly worth £45m, the 69-year-old is a trenchant critic of attempts to impose greater regulation on the City. He is equally scathing about the UK's "punitive tax system", including the recent levy on bankers' bonuses.
Apart from the fact the amounts he has given to these groups is chickenfeed what exactly is unConservative with those beliefs?
April 8, 2010
Smaller and better means large savings
Should the State raise its revenues to match its profligate lifestyle or make efficiency savings to get its expenditure back in line with its revenue? Do we want a big, expensive and inefficient State or a smaller, less intrusive, more efficient one?
Everyone knows there are huge opportunities to save money in the public sector. Not least because so much of the waste has been created by Whitehall requirements, rules and restrictions. The appalling public sector productivity figures say it all. In a period during which the private sector has increased productivity by 20 per cent, the public sector has moved backwards. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way that government does business.
So if their productivity was raised by 20% and the amount government "did" was dropped by 25%, not unreasonable, then that would be a 40% saving.
Who is proposing that?
April 7, 2010
Tory Tax Cuts
Cider drinkers won a reprieve last night after the Conservatives forced the Government to scrap its supertax on their favourite drink. Alistair Darling put up taxes on cider by 10 per cent above inflation in the Budget.
The tax rise, which took place five days after the Budget, will now be scrapped and prices will be reduced on June 30. The Conservatives forced the reversal of the measure during “wash-up”, the process at the end of Parliament where only outstanding measures that have cross-party agreement can reach the statute books.
The Conservatives also prevented two other tax rises: a tax on phones and the proposal to scrap tax relief for furnished holiday letters, which should have come into force yesterday. The tax on phones would have meant 50p a month plus VAT duty on each fixed line from October 1, while the Chancellor wanted to treat furnished holiday lettings as an investment business from this tax year.
The telephone tax was meant to fund universal broadband so the cider drinkers could download Wurzel videos, so a double win then...
April 6, 2010
The Choice is Between a Turd and a Fart
Oh goody I'm obviously young and cool as I find it increasingly difficult to "connect" to the fiercely contested election campaign.
A plague on them all as they refuse to "connect" to the real issues, Europe, Climate Change Politics, State intrusion and the loss of traditional liberties, and freeing up schools to take four from my worry list.
The idea of Brown continuing is abhorrent, Cameron unattractive and the rest are a waste of time.
Real Conservatives might wish for Dave to squeak in with a worrying loss of support to UKIP to sharpen him up.
But I'm too young, cool and unconnected to care!
April 4, 2010
Turned away from the inn
In a recording of the meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies, obtained by the Observer, Grayling makes clear he has always believed that those who run B&Bs should be free to turn away guests.
Iain Dale believes that his views, as expressed, will be damaging and are wrong.This is not about property rights. If you open your house to paying guests, it is no longer just your house. You are running a business, just the same as anyone else, and you should be subject to the same laws as anyone else.
The Devil profoundly disagrees on a philosophical and profane level.
Let me disagree with Iain on a practical level, whatever the law says B&Bs and people who have lodgers are inviting strangers into their own homes, they have to feel happy with them and trust them. Intuition, whims and prejudices all play a part. Anyone who runs such a business is terrified of being sued now for turning away the wrong sort of person who will sue. A dog-whistle from the Tories on this is reassuring to their voters.
Oh and The Devil is right on a the philosophical level as well.
April 2, 2010
Remain Your Obedient Servant, please.
In the article the yet-another-forty-something-Tim, Tim Loughton, Tory former banker now in charge of the Kiddie Portfolio, says this as well;
– we want public sector workers to have a much greater say over what they do and how they do it.
No we bloody well don't, we want public sector workers to do what the public, the people who pay them, want them to do. Not whatever empty headed idea has floated to the front of their minds that week.
Is there no end to Tory stupidity?
March 30, 2010
Polly Toynbee and The Winning Tory Policy
The Tories were winning the economic argument when they kept hammering on one consistent theme: the deficit is the danger, debt is toxic, Gordon is to blame and only Cameron is fiscally serious. The City liked it, so did his party, and axe-swinging austerity seemed to give the novices gravitas.
But ever since this policy, unique around the world, got an embarrassing raspberry from the world's economists at Davos in January, the Tories lost their nerve, zigzagging back and forth. No, the cuts this year would "not be particularly extensive" after all, said Cameron.
Now it's tax giveaways again. Yet he is still promising the deficit would be cut "further, faster, deeper" than Labour. How can that be done?
Simples, ignore the gnomes in Switzerland and go back to the original policy, the one that was winning.
Dave, if you won't listen to the real Tories, will you please listen to Polly when she accidentally points out what you should be doing?
March 29, 2010
Healey wants to squeeze profiteers pips
Sub-letting fraud is a civil offence punishable by a modest fine and the loss of tenancy. But Mr Healey intends to make it a criminal offence so that the courts can recover the profits made.
“By unlawfully sub-letting these properties for a profit they deprive families of the homes they need,” Mr Healey told The Times. “I am looking to make this a criminal offence, with tough penalties for the worst offenders to deter those who are thinking of making a fast buck from council housing.”
House still has only one family in it whether it is let by the council or sublet by the tenant, so it seems Mr Healey's anger is against people making a profit. There a perfectly adequate civil legal process already in place, the desire to criminalise everything is the reason Mr Healey needs to face some justice that is neither civil nor legal.
Time to Hammer the Scots (and the Welsh, and the English..)
No cut to Scottish budget, says Brown
Mr Brown’s intervention yesterday means the two main Westminster parties are going into the general election offering to leave the Scottish government’s budget to stand but also warning that they cannot put off the pain forever.
The position of the two main UK parties means if Mr Salmond’s administration decide to spend the entire budget for the coming year they could face harsher cuts the following year, putting the onus on them to impose their own savings sooner.
A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “The Scottish budget has already been subjected to a 1.3 per cent real terms cut by Westminster — which amounts to £400 million — and there is no cash injection for next year despite the fragility of the recovery.”
No cut is a cut, 1.3% reduction is savage, it isn't even a rounding error. 10% could be found without anyone even noticing, 20% without anyone caring about the cuts in diversity services and the ilk and 40% before any "front line" services had to be reduced, and 60% before any of the services that should be provided, rather than just nice to be provided, are at risk
March 25, 2010
My Local Tory Candidate Lays Her Climate Cards On The Table
Ms Claire Perry (Conservative) laid her cards on the table. She said: “I am of the 27 per cent of people who believe climate change is happening and is man made.
“It is imperative for the sovereignty of the country that there is appropriate technology to clean out carbon dioxide.
“Even if you don’t believe humans are causing climate change, you have to recognise there is an enormous and growing economy in green technology. We need energy security and there are massive business opportunities staring us in the face.”
Stick to the pots, love. I don't think I will be wearing your rosette.
Darling, was it good for you?
Budget 2010: the losers - Telegraph
Are you a loser in the 2010 Budget?
Yes, as is anyone who works or has worked for a living.
Next question, what do we do about it?
March 21, 2010
Four Labour MPs implicated in 'cash for influence' scandal - Telegraph
Geoff Hoon and
I haven't laughed so much since granny caught her left tit in the mangle...
March 19, 2010
Labour's Money Laundering
Union behind BA strike receives £18m from taxpayers in ‘money-laundering’ deal with Labour
Francis Maude, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said: “This really looks like money laundering - taxpayers' money is being funnelled into Unite then put straight back into Labour's coffers.
“It's a real racket, with taxpayers' money being round-tripped into Gordon Brown's re-election fund. We must have much greater transparency on what unions are receiving from the Labour Government in return for their backhanders.”
Strong words, will the media pick up on it or continue to gasp over Ashcroft?
March 16, 2010
I have a little list...from the TaxPayers Alliance
The public sector trade union UNISON recently launched an online video which claimed that cutting public spending meant leaving people without 999 operators, bin men or nurses.
In response, we now present an edited version of their film, which demonstrates the wide range of absurd non-jobs throughout the public sector which could be abolished without any impact at all on front line services.
All of these jobs are real posts in various branches of the public sector.
March 14, 2010
Timmy Too Late Elsewhere
Adonis strategy on drink-driving is the absolute limit | Tim Worstall - Times Online
The basic deal in Britain between rulers and ruled is that we’ll obey the laws as long as they don’t make any obviously stupid ones...we aren’t scofflaws because we tend not to have laws at which we scoff. .
Too late, Timmy, too late. The law is openly scoffed because of overlegislation, and we are all poorer for that.
4,300: How Labour has created a new crime every day since 1997 - Times Online
4,300 offences created by the Labour government since 1997 — an avalanche of legislation. It equates to an average of 28 offences every month since Labour came to power and it is getting worse. Under Gordon Brown the creation of offences has risen to 33 a month.
For the period since the war to around the 1980s you saw one major criminal justice bill each decade, but since 1997 we’ve seen more than 50.
March 13, 2010
Enquiring into our libel laws
Want to see for yourself how English libel law stops you accessing
websites? Go to the National Enquirer website http://www.nationalenquirer.com They've blocked access to anyone in the UK because they fear a libel action in London.
( anonymizer.nntime.com allows me to pretend I'm in the States. )
March 12, 2010
Our Bill of Rights and Liberties
Many have argued that our Bill of Rights should be respected and obeyed so it is heartening to see some doughty MPs leaping to its defence. I do hope that as they grasp at a bizarre interpretation of one of its clauses that they have always fully observed, defended and argued for all the other ones which protect the right of the subject against the overbearing power of the state. To suggest they haven't would be to accuse them of being cynical self-serving troughers.
BILL OF RIGHTS 
An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling
the Succession of the Crown
Whereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at
Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of
the people of this realm, did upon the thirteenth day of February in the
year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-eight [old style date]
present unto their Majesties, then called and known by the names and
style of William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, being present
in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing made by the
said Lords and Commons in the words following, viz.:
Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil
counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to
subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties
of this kingdom;
By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of
laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;
By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly
petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power;
By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal
for erecting a court called the Court of Commissioners for
By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of
prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted
By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of
peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to
By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the
same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law;
By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament;
By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench for matters and causes
cognizable only in Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal
And whereas of late years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have
been returned and served on juries in trials, and particularly divers
jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders;
And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal
cases to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the
And excessive fines have been imposed;
And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;
And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any
conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be
All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and
statutes and freedom of this realm;
And whereas the said late King James the Second having abdicated the
government and the throne being thereby vacant, his Highness the prince
of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious
instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power)
did (by the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and divers
principal persons of the Commons) cause letters to be written to the
Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the
several counties, cities, universities, boroughs and cinque ports, for
the choosing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be
sent to Parliament, to meet and sit at Westminster upon the two and
twentieth day of January in this year one thousand six hundred eighty
and eight [old style date], in order to such an establishment as that
their religion, laws and liberties might not again be in danger of being
subverted, upon which letters elections having been accordingly made;
And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons,
pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled
in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most
serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid,
do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually
done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and
That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws
by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of
laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late,
That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for
Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other commissions and courts of like
nature, are illegal and pernicious;
That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of
prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other
manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;
That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all
commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;
That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time
of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence
suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament
ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which
pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular
persons before conviction are illegal and void;
And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending,
strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held
And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises
as their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations,
judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in any
of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into
consequence or example; to which demand of their rights they are
particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the prince of
Orange as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy
Having therefore an entire confidence that his said Highness the prince
of Orange will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him, and will
still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have
here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights
and liberties, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons
assembled at Westminster do resolve that William and Mary, prince and
princess of Orange, be and be declared king and queen of England, France
and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and
royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them, the said
prince and princess, during their lives and the life of the survivor to
them, and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in
and executed by the said prince of Orange in the names of the said
prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases
the said crown and royal dignity of the same kingdoms and dominions to
be to the heirs of the body of the said princess, and for default of
such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body,
and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said
prince of Orange. And the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do
pray the said prince and princess to accept the same accordingly.
And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom
the oaths have allegiance and supremacy might be required by law,
instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and supremacy be
"I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and
bear true allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary. So
help me God."
"I, A.B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest and abjure as
impious and heretical this damnable doctrine and position, that princes
excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any authority of the see of
Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other
whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate,
state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power,
superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual,
within this realm. So help me God."
Upon which their said Majesties did accept the crown and royal dignity
of the kingdoms of England, France and Ireland, and the dominions
thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of the said
Lords and Commons contained in the said declaration.
And thereupon their Majesties were pleased that the said Lords Spiritual
and Temporal and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament, should
continue to sit, and with their Majesties' royal concurrence make
effectual provision for the settlement of the religion, laws and
liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be
in danger again of being subverted, to which the said Lords Spiritual
and Temporal and Commons did agree, and proceed to act accordingly.
Now in pursuance of the premises the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal
and Commons in Parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming and
establishing the said declaration and the articles, clauses, matters and
things therein contained by the force of law made in due form by
authority of Parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted
that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in
the said declaration are the true, ancient and indubitable rights and
liberties of the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed,
allowed, adjudged, deemed and taken to be; and that all and every the
particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed
as they are expressed in the said declaration, and all officers and
ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majesties and their successors
according to the same in all time to come.
And the said
Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, seriously considering how it
hath pleased Almighty God in his marvellous providence and merciful
goodness to this nation to provide and preserve their said Majesties'
royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their
ancestors, for which they render unto him from the bottom of their
hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly, assuredly
and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize,
acknowledge and declare, that King James the Second having abdicated the
government, and their Majesties having accepted the crown and royal
dignity as aforesaid, their said Majesties did become, were, are and of
right ought to be by the laws of this realm our sovereign liege lord and
lady, king and queen of England, France and Ireland and the dominions
thereunto belonging, in and to whose princely persons the royal state,
crown and dignity of the said realms with all honours, styles, titles,
regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions and authorities to the
same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightfully and entirely
invested and incorporated, united and annexed. And for preventing all
questions and divisions in this realm by reason of any pretended titles
to the crown, and for preserving a certainty in the succession thereof,
in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquility and safety of this
nation doth under God wholly consist and depend, the said Lords
Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do beseech their Majesties that it
may be enacted, established and declared, that the crown and regal
government of the said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the
premises thereunto belonging and appertaining, shall be and continue to
their said Majesties and the survivor of them during their lives and the
life of the survivor of them, and that the entire, perfect and full
exercise of the regal power and government be only in and executed by
his Majesty in the names of both their Majesties during their joint
lives; and after their deceases the said crown and premises shall be and
remain to the heirs of the body of her Majesty, and for default of such
issue to her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs
of the body of his said Majesty; and thereunto the said Lords Spiritual
and Temporal and Commons do in the name of all the people aforesaid most
humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities for
ever, and do faithfully promise that they will stand to, maintain and
defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation and succession of
the crown herein specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers
with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that shall
attempt anything to the contrary.
And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent
with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by
a popish prince, or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said
Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do further pray that it may be
enacted, that all and every person and persons that is, are or shall be
reconciled to or shall hold communion with the see or Church of Rome, or
shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be
excluded and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy the
crown and government of this realm and Ireland and the dominions
thereunto belonging or any part of the same, or to have, use or exercise
any regal power, authority or jurisdiction within the same; and in all
and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are
hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said crown and government
shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or
persons being Protestants as should have inherited and enjoyed the same
in case the said person or persons so reconciled, holding communion or
professing or marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead; and that every
king and queen of this realm who at any time hereafter shall come to and
succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom shall on the first day of
the meeting of the first Parliament next after his or her coming to the
crown, sitting in his or her throne in the House of Peers in the
presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled, or at his or her
coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the
coronation oath to him or her at the time of his or her taking the said
oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe and audibly repeat the
declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the
reign of King Charles the Second entitled, _An Act for the more
effectual preserving the king's person and government by disabling
papists from sitting in either House of Parliament._ But if it shall
happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the crown
of this realm shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such
king or queen shall make, subscribe and audibly repeat the same
declaration at his or her coronation or the first day of the meeting of
the first Parliament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such
king or queen shall have attained the said age of twelve years.
All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared,
enacted and established by authority of this present Parliament, and
shall stand, remain and be the law of this realm for ever; and the same
are by their said Majesties, by and with the advice and consent of the
Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled and by
the authority of the same, declared, enacted and established
II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid,
that from and after this present session of Parliament no dispensation
by _non obstante_ of or to any statute or any part thereof shall be
allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a
dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as
shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be
passed during this present session of Parliament.
III. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the
three and twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand
six hundred eighty-nine shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by
this Act, but that the same shall be and remain of the same force and
effect in law and no other than as if this Act had never been made.
March 9, 2010
THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE
Quite to repeat it again - THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE - he provides a commented potted analysis, the full article is here.
How reducing government makes us richer, freer and better - not a theory but a worked example from New Zealand.
No wonder we have turned our backs on the Commonwealth in favour of the overbearing EU.
Do read it, and copy it out in crayon and big letters for any Conservative you meet and ask them what is so bloody hard to understand?
March 8, 2010
Tories accuse senior police of giving political cover to Labour - Times Online
A Tory briefing document, seen by The Times, attacks the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which represents the 350 most senior officers in England and Wales.
The three-page briefing note contains a critique of the structure of ACPO, pointing out that although it receives vast amounts of public money, the association is a private limited company that is not accountable to the public or Parliament and not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.
The document outlines how, despite its private status, ACPO accrued operational policing roles in counter-terrorism, civil emergencies, intelligence gathering and ports policing. It also has subsidiary companies providing criminal record checks, security advice and road safety training.
The Tory note accuses the body of “bankrolling a ‘gravy train’ of ex-police officers who retire with a substantial police pension and then take up either consultancy work or full-time employment with ACPO”. It adds: “Parliament has never had the opportunity to debate the role of what is arguably one of the most powerful publicly funded bodies in the UK.”
One police source told The Times: “I would be amazed if ACPO survived the election of a Conservative government.”
That's the good news, ACPO is a scandal;
Tory policy on policing and law and order is still being formulated,....
That's the unbelievable news, had no one told them there was likely to be an election soon and we want to know what they propose?
March 3, 2010
Danny Pops The Westminster Bubble
Most of politics and most political coverage proceeds as if there was still a reasonable degree of trust. As if the messages were still getting through, still being listened to, still being weighed up. I suppose it would be hard to carry on if the truth were faced.
We will have two separate elections this year, held at the same time but in different worlds. One will feature the traditional knockabout, complete with press conferences, posters and battle buses. The other will screen out the political noise, ignore the political claims, only skim the coverage and feature instead the issues and experiences that voters encounter in their daily life. The result of this second election will be the decisive one.
Bloggers are the same, bloggers who blog about politics are obsessives. Most of them, no names, you can supply them yourselves, are running round the squeaking at excitement and hoping to be let into the gilded cage of Westminster. A few, a very few recognise the utter irrelevancy of what Sir What said to the Right Honourable Whom. Real politics is happening outside the bubble.
A Local Message For Dave
Johnny Rooster Byron, the hero of the award-winning play Jerusalem on in the West End, is everything we are supposed to dislike. He’s a squatter, a gypsy, a drug-pusher and a wastrel. He lives in the dank, dark woods in Wiltshire scrabbling around with his chickens in his rusting Airstream caravan.
A magnet for bored teenage children and the terror of parents, he smokes, swears, lives off junk food, sells Rum’n’Ribena, Benylin’n’brandy and wraps of speed. This Pied Piper’s arms are pitted with black tattoos. He neglects his six-year-old son, has been banned from every local pub and is the bane of the new housing estate.
Kennet and Avon District Council are trying to evict him under public health legislation. This man appears to have no morals, no sense of duty and no work ethic. No wonder Britain is battered and broken while Rooster and his bedraggled band still lurk in the bushes.
I'm confused is this a documentary they have been making in the village here? Because they have got it wrong, he lives on a barge, not in a caravan.
....satisfied our growing hunger for freedom, mischief-making and merriness. As the local village celebrates St George’s Day with safety-conscious Morris dancing, Rooster is making a stand for a land of eccentrics and rogues, pygmies and giants, pagans not puritans, anarchists rather than authoritarians and, most importantly, individuals — including charming scallywags. It is a part of England we are in danger of losing in our obsessive quest for safety, conformity and equality.
He is a brave man with a heart; this Peter Pan protects the children against greater evils such as abusive stepfathers but at the same time says: “Girls are wondrous. Grab your fill. No man has ever lain in his barrow wishing he’d loved one less woman.” Here is a character fighting against conformity, giant superstores, corporations, traffic wardens, Nimbys, focus groups, the soulless commute and the “sausage-fingered constabulary”. He sticks two fingers up at the nanny state. The middle-aged, middle-class audience, sick of being responsible and pushed around, love it.
Politicians who are obsessed by our waistlines, hospital targets, school exam results, health and safety legislation and rationing our fun should beware. This is what Gordon Brown has missed in his quest to woo Middle England. He assumes that we are all Dursleys, desperate for drab uniformity; that no one minds living in a bossy, finger-wagging, repressive, restrictive country if we think it will be a tiny bit safer; that we feel reassured by signs over hot water taps saying “Danger” and we want to be lectured on eating five bits of fruit a day and breast feeding because we cannot be trusted to get it right ourselves.
Over the years, this Government has come to believe that we would prefer to keep our children locked up in schools rather than allow them to go on potentially lethal outings, and that we are prepared to carry ID cards if there is the slightest possibility that it might prevent a terrorist attack.
But there is a flip side to the respectability and reassurance that people crave: and that is freedom. We might feel nervous about the maverick hanging out at the end of the road, refusing to live by the rules, but we are beginning to feel more trapped by the pen-pushing bureaucrats rewriting our lives, the public servants fixated on figures and targets. They can be just as dangerous. ...
...As the Tory leader focuses his message for the final months of the campaign, part of his pitch should be as David “Rooster” Cameron, promising that he will not cease from mental fight until he has built a new Tory Jerusalem, in which we all have the freedom to shape our own lives in this green, if not always pleasant, land.
Can I sue for plagiarism?
March 1, 2010
Watch the match yesterday, Dave?
No, I didn't see the speech either, nor did more than a handful of the undecided. A scare in the polls and a polished performance may prevent a few Tories registering a protest vote and few more envelope stuffers to volunteer at the local Con Club but it ll washes over us out here.
Marriage tax change? Yawn. A tweak here and there means nothing when we actually want a radical cut in the burden. Intrusive state, EU, wasteful health and education spending, global warming, where's the beef?
And wrapping your naked ambition to be PM, at any cost and with any slogan, in the flag is pathetic.
February 26, 2010
Dave - out of touch with his candidates, and the country.
The former Prime Minister was the overwhelming choice when Conservative parliamentary candidates were asked to name their political heroes.
The Tory leader’s relationship with Lady Thatcher is complicated. Mr Cameron has said that he was “terrified” of her when he worked in the Conservative Research Department. But since becoming leader, he has tried to distance himself from Thatcherism. He has insisted that “there is such a thing as society”. Lady Thatcher famously declared that there was not.
Lady Thatcher’s world view is most evident when likely new MPs are asked about the European Union. A separate survey of 101 candidates by the New Statesman suggests 72 per cent want an urgent and “fundamental renegotiation” of Britain’s relationship with the EU. Mr Cameron’s policy is much vaguer but, with the rump of Europhile Tory MPs being reduced further by retirements at the election, he will find limited room for manoeuvre on the benches behind him.
The survey also indicates a strongly Thatcherite taste for reducing the deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases.
Nor do the next generation of Conservative MPs share Mr Cameron’s commitment to tackling climate change. A similar exercise conducted by Populus for The Times among a relatively small sample — 36 Conservative MPs and 34 Conservative candidates in winnable seats — confirms the newcomers to be notably more sceptical. While 27 per cent of the MPs think it an established fact that climate change is man-made, only 9 per cent of the candidates share this view.
This research does show the class of 2010 to be more socially liberal than existing MPs — and certainly more so than Lady Thatcher. Two thirds of the candidates believe gay couples should have “exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples”. MPs take the opposite view.
...the surprising conjuncture of attitudes in the party...
"Surprising" maybe to the Westminster village, but refreshingly familiarly libertarian to those of us out here in voter land. We don't care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, as long as they don't frighten the horses, but that doesn't make us soppy left wingers on tax and scams.
Maybe there is hope for the Tories when Dave is recognised for being the young dinosaur he is.
Mr Tessa Jowell Escapes By Delay
In the culmination to a decade-long saga, the Supreme Court said the charges against David Mills, the estranged husband of Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, had expired under a 10-year statute of limitations.
The court said the fact that Mr Mills had accepted the bribe from the billionaire prime minister was not in dispute.
But it had happened in Nov 1999, and so the offence had timed out under the 10-year limit for prosecution.
The ruling handed Mr Berlusconi a victory because he was charged with offering the bribe. His trial, which was due to resume on Friday, is likely to be dropped, prompting outrage in Italy.
Mr Mills was last year found guilty of accepting the backhander from Mr Berlusconi in return for lying on his behalf in two corruption trials in the late 1990s. He was given a four-and-a-half year jail sentence which was upheld on appeal by a court in Milan in October. The case then went to a final level of appeal before the Supreme Court in Rome.
The Supreme Court's ruling overturned that of a lower appeals court in Milan last year, which had ruled that the crime technically originated four months later, when Mr Mills withdrew the money.
Mr Mills, a specialist in offshore tax havens, was ordered to pay £220,000 in compensation to the state for "damaging" Italy's image.
I think fining someone for suggesting that Italian politicians are corrupt was a touch unfair, but to escape on a technicality doesn't really clear his name. Hopefully though he will now achieve a rapprochement with the fragrant Ms Jowell, though I think I would prefer the charms of an Italian Open Prison to that.
February 24, 2010
More Taxes Are Less In The Mirror
Council tax set to 'fall' - The Mirror
Bills sent out in April will increase by an average of 36p a week - or 1.6% - to £1,194 a year for a Band D home.
The cost of living is going up at 3.5% meaning council tax will fall in comparison to other household expenses.
Sir Jeremy Beecham, of the Local Government Association which did the survey, said: "Local authorities understand money's tight and deserve credit for keeping tax rises lower than ever."
When you say "fall" I want to see an actual fall not a semantic trick, and when Councils want me to pat them on the back for the amount of money they mulct from me, it will be be when their spending is actually proportionate to the value of the services they provide. The sort of sums I can find down the back of the sofa.
Dave wimps out of hard choices
Mr Cameron has conceded that he cannot find public spending cuts to raise the money to stop the tax increase.
I suggest he looks a bit bloody harder if he wants my vote.
February 22, 2010
Stating the Bleeding Obvious - Eamonn Butler's The Alternative Manifesto
The book is a sort of workshop manual for fixing Britain, and it doesn't flinch from getting the spanner round those nasty problems that the politicians of all sides don't want to talk about.
It follows up Eamonn Butler's 2009 The Rotten State of Britain, which diagnosed what was wrong – politicians drunk on centralised power, perks of office, media attention and tax-and-spend policies. Indeed, the cover describes it not as a workshop manual but as a twelve-step plan to wean the political class off their fiscal alcoholism.
The Alternative Manifesto covers subjects issues such as:
The economy: public spending doesn't 'stimulate' anything, we need spending and borrowing cuts now;
The financial sector: politicians, not bankers, who failed us, so spare us from more of their 'cures';
Politicians: nothing short of complete constitutional reform will fix that one;
The bully state: how to make police and officials serve the public rather than the government machine;
Public services: step-by-step plans to replace state monopolies with choice and competition;
Taxation: ending the benefits trap through simpler, fairer, lower taxes.
I have had the pleasure of reading this book and it is an easy read and brilliant at summarising what needs to be done. And what needs to be done isn't rocket science and you feel is that "of course that is just obvious", but it is only after Eamonn's casual arguments have shown you that is is fact obvious and necessary.
If he slapped a rosette on it it would get my vote. And if you want my vote I suggest you read it pretty damned quickly.
February 21, 2010
Why can't Dave seal the deal?
One senior MP said last night: “The inner circle can crow all they like about how well they are doing, but the elephant in the room is the polls. Cameron spent last week talking about sexualisation of children and nine-year-old girls in suspenders, when there are much more important issues he should be talking about.”
Another backbencher said: “Cameron and his team are panicking. We are not over the line yet. They are trying to mumble their way to the general election, playing it safe, when what people want is real passion.”
The voters have woken up after a horrendous party, the furniture has been smashed, the bailiffs are knocking at the door, their wallet has been emptied and they turn over in bed and see who they have been sleeping with for the last thirteen years for the first time without make up and sober. And outside a fresh faced Dave sings them sweet songs about taking them away from all this. And the voters are still thinking of one more tumble in the filthy sheets rather than trust a Tory future?
There really is something wrong with the brand.
Little Georgie Osborne Offers to Sell Me What's Mine
While the details of the Tory plan are still being drawn up, it is expected that people would be offered shares worth between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds at a discount on the market price.
I've already paid for them once. You steal my watch and offer to sell it back to me? Careful you don't get mistaken for a spiv, Georgie.
February 19, 2010
Brown and Darling - We're Loving It
Brown hits out at right-wing 'hate'
Gordon Brown will hit out at right-wing parties around the world, warning that their "hatred" of government action could jeopardise the global economic recovery.
He will also attack the "narrow nationalism" of the British Conservatives, saying they would leave the UK facing "isolation and irrelevance" in Europe, according to advance extracts released by Labour Party aides.
Friday's speech comes amid a bitter battle between Labour and the Tories over plans to tackle Britain's £178 billion deficit, with ministers warning that attempts to cut spending too quickly could undermine the fragile recovery.
More than 60 leading economists have backed Chancellor Alistair Darling over his decision to delay spending cuts until next year.
In two letters to the Financial Times, they said it could be "positively dangerous" to begin cuts - as the Tories are planning - and would risk tipping the economy back into recession.
One letter organised by Lord Skidelsky, a cross-bench peer and biographer of the economist John Maynard Keynes, accused the authors of the Sunday Times letter of trying to "frighten" the public over the scale of the deficit.
If you are not frightened of the scale of the deficit you really don't understand the situation.
February 18, 2010
Eight million people 'economically inactive' - Telegraph
21.3 per cent of working-age adults are now "economically inactive", a category that includes students, the long-term sick, unpaid carers and those who retire early.
National Statistics Online
Public sector employment increased by 23,000 (seasonally adjusted) in the third quarter of 2009 to 6.093 million.
Should the second number be added to the first?
February 17, 2010
Offering a helpful hand
Assisted suicide in the Commons? - not much debate about that in my mind. Let's get the hempen draped down from the ornate ceiling and a couple of sets of movable steps and I will willing help the occupants form an orderly queue to be assisted.
February 13, 2010
Cameron - You are out of time, Baby
....For some time in our politics there has been a slow-swelling scepticism about government — all government — and about the wisdom and competence of government. I suspect that most of the Western world has been drifting rightwards ever since our decade-long global economic miracle began to falter.
This week’s Spectator Australia is mischievously quoting opinions from mainstream commentators offered a while ago when a group within the Opposition (the Liberal-National Coalition) began complaining that their leader (then Malcolm Turnbull) and his friends had taken the modernisation of their party a step too far, and swallowed too readily the fashionable, government-led consensus on the need for action against global warming.
The national media were as appalled and smug as you can simultaneously be. The (Australian) Daily Telegraph summed it up: “Unless [Malcolm] Turnbull can bring the climate-change dissidents to heel, the Liberals will face humiliation at the polls.” Another national broadcaster called it “signing their own death-warrant”.....
You may know what happened. The rebel faction succeeded in ousting Mr Turnbull and replacing him with one of their own, Tony Abbott, under whom the Coalition has lurched to the Right across a range of issues, especially taxation....
Lurch with me back to Britain and our own right-of-centre Opposition, still under the leadership of a modernising and moderate politician, facing our own general election soon, as Australia does.
And look at it this way. David Cameron is lucky he was elected leader some years ago. In today’s climate he would never have topped the internal Tory poll. He stays leader now because he has done a good marketing job at humanising what had become an ugly party; because of his own personal qualities of command; because of the nimble and decisive way he reacts, front-foot, to events; because his opposite number, Gordon Brown, is such a shambles; and because. . .
Well, because no big unforeseeable thing has yet tripped Mr Cameron, and no big, charismatic figure on his right stands ready to challenge him if it did.
This is not a bad situation but it is not ideal. Mr Cameron is not on the ropes, or anywhere near the ropes. But to know that you owe your continuance in office to quick-wittedness, an absence of obvious competition and the momentum of incumbency is to fall one clear notch short of security in your job.
The missing notch is this: to resonate with the mood of your times . . . to have the wind of your times in your sails . . . to sing with the tune of your times . . . to know that you and your ideas are the right shape to fit the prime-minister-sized hole in the public imagination ... these are the final securities.
Mr Cameron knows he isn’t quite right for his party’s or the electorate’s present mood. There was a moment when he was beautifully in step: the moment Tony Blair was sinking but new Britain was still riding high; the moment, post-Blair, pre-crash, when we still believed we could have it all. He rode the moment with masterly timing to achieve, then entrench, his leadership.
The moment has passed....
Dave; listen, think and act.
February 12, 2010
Robbing Bastards' Hood Tax
so that hungry people in poor countries don’t pay for the global financial crisis.
radically improve the health of people in developing countries.
Eradicating poverty...creating a society where all can participate as equal citizens.
(end?) child poverty in the UK
help poor countries fight poverty and climate change
plug the financial gap and get banks working for the poor.
support health services for the poorest & most vulnerable people
opportunity to confront the scandal of poverty in our rich nation.
an obvious solution to a problem that is deeply systemic. (No mention of what the problem is)
two million people in need of decent accommodation in the UK.
supporting universal access to sexual and reproductive health worldwide.
stop people dying needlessly.(Of Aids)
to help people and wildlife adapt to climate change in developing countries.
ending the scandal of child poverty in the UK
tackle poverty and climate change.
universal HIV prevention, treatment, care & support
to fight poverty and protect poor people from the impacts of climate change.
a fair contribution to jobs,justice and climate.
Millions of children around the world are denied their rights.
an opportunity to change the way the (financial) sector conducts itself.
We support the Robin Hood tax as a practical way for the banks to repay their debt to society.
So say the Supporters of The Robin Hood Tax (a handy list if ever there was one come the Glorious Day).
Who could possibly be so cold hearted to be against a tiny tax that no one will notice because it is on something they don't understand? Here's one, maybe because he understands it, a bit.
February 10, 2010
Olympics, Lying Politicians, Crash, - Look for a bail out.
It need hardly be said that it would be wrong – economically and morally – for taxpayers in other countries to step in. It was a mistake to rescue the banks from the consequences of their own errors, and that logic applies in spades to whole countries. Still, the EU has every right to make its own mistakes. What it has no right to do is to expect the United Kingdom to pay a proportion of the bill. We kept the pound. It’s not our problem.
It may not be our problem but we will end up paying for it.
February 9, 2010
Nearly three fifths of voters say that they hardly recognise the country they are living in, while 42 per cent say they would emigrate if they could.
Overall, 64 per cent think that Britain is going in the wrong direction and just 31 per cent believe it is on the right track.
But underneath there is still a hint of optimism that life will probably get better, despite the politicians.
February 7, 2010
Climate Stories of the Day
EU Referendum: And now for Africagate
The finger points more firmly at Dr R K Pachauri but it is a more nuanced error than Glaciergate which everyone could understand at a glance.
It is going to be harder to get traction with this ironically partly because of Richard North's success in exposing the rotten heart of the report. Every journalist now knows there are easy picking there and there is a multiplicity of stories in the papers today.
Enjoy them, but remember on Monday the same taxes, restrictions, reporting requirements and state intrusions demanded by the great god of carbon will still be in place, and that future plans and putative policies proposed by our politicians are unchanged.
February 6, 2010
Bad News for Dave
OK, if we have a baking summer the figures will change a bit, but that isn't going to happen before the election.
February 5, 2010
Detectives are confident that up to three politicians - two MPs and a peer - will face criminal charges over their expenses claims.
Only three? I have plenty of the hempen in the barn for a few more to be added to the list...
Spending on quangos rises by £10bn despite Gordon Brown’s pledge
Since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister the annual figure has increased by more than 25 per cent from £37 billion to £46.5 billion despite largely coinciding with the worst recession since the 1930s. The number of employees has risen, though, from 95,000 to 110,000.
The figures will be highly embarrassing to the Government, which announced a drive to cut quango costs as part of its efficiency savings package last year.
Remind which ones should be spared the ax when public expenditure is cut, I'm struggling to come up with any names.
February 2, 2010
Golden Geese Flee
High earners will cost the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds through tax dodges as they avoid the new 50p rate of income tax, a minister indicated yesterday.
Lord Myners, the City Minister, said that the Treasury had “significantly reduced” its estimate of the revenue to be earned from the historic change.
They are not costing the public purse anything, there is nothing dodgy about their behaviour. They are acting rationally, the public purse never had the money and should never have expected it. I'm sure proper economists have a name for the effect, it is just that the politics of envy pretend it doesn' exist.
February 1, 2010
Dave and Jesus share a Girly Problem
....the Tories have pledged to increase government funding to local authorities. If you remember, they were originally only going to promise increases in education, health and international aid expenditure. Now that there’s a fourth part of government that can’t be cut, many Tories will be wondering: is Dave an economic girlie man?
Real men find Church too girly -Times Online Real men don't like going to church because they don't want to "sing love songs to a man", because the "vicar wears a dress", because they feel like "mongrels on parade at Crufts"...The image of church is 'women and children' - action songs or kid's plays just emphasise this.... Men don't want to feel brainwashed by reciting words that they don't believe... The problem has become male culture versus church culture. Too many sermons talk about Jesus’ love, compassion and grace which are great but not male concepts. Men want to know about his great decision making and leadership. That is what they recognise. Churches are very pastorally driven whereas blokes are looking for decisions not discussions.
At least the Church recognises it has the problem.
January 29, 2010
Blair, I don't care
I was asked why I was doing so many climate change posts and ignoring politics.
Because Climate Change is the biggest politics story going on, the EU is our next biggest story, but no one is interested in that and flim flam about what Tony said to George who told Peter... is just that; bloody froth.
A pox on them all.
January 27, 2010
Jacqui Smith is a very nice person
Jacqui Smith - clarification
Alongside our 13 October front page article “But no need for Smith to repay £100,000 in incorrect claims” we published a photograph of Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary, in front of a billboard which had the word ‘theft’ written on it. We are happy to make clear that regarding the parliamentary investigation of her expenses claims Ms Smith was never accused or found guilty of acting illegally.
Let me join with the Telegraph in apologising if anyone has mistaken my view of Jacqui Smith because of some ill judged words or photo juxtapositions...
January 23, 2010
Does Dave want our votes or not?
David Cameron should impose significant increases in taxes on beer, wine and spirits if elected prime minister, according to the man charged with leading Conservative social policy.
In an interview with The Times, Iain Duncan Smith accuses the supermarkets of “being as close to immoral as you can get” by selling alcohol so cheaply and of “creating alcoholics”.
The former Tory leader says that the political parties are “in the grip of cowardice” for failing to advocate a big jump in the cost of alcohol for fear of alienating the voters before the general election. He says the tax should be ring-fenced for spending on the treatment of alcohol-related illnesses.
DaveWatch: Chairman Cameron sends his steel-hard cadres for re-education on climate change – Telegraph Blogs
Ten “high-fliers” from the Conservative candidates’ list were despatched last week to a “workshop” (what else?) designed to indoctrinate them into the mythology of climate change.
It looks as if Dave and his comrades were alarmed by a survey of Conservative candidates in winnable seats that showed “reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” came bottom of a list of 19 priorities for these unreconstructed Tories. The “re-education” course was run by an organisation called Green Alliance.....he Cameronian Conservative Party chains itself to the dead myth of AGW and attempts to indoctrinate its candidates into that discredited socialist superstition.
Why do Dave and his chums not simply parade wearing placards reading “Don’t vote for us”?
January 22, 2010
Blue Green Immorality
Taxes on driving, flying and other environmentally-damaging activities are to be increased by the Conservatives to fund tax breaks for married couples with children, the Daily Telegraph can disclose
The plan for green taxes will not be introduced until later in a new Conseravtive government's first term, but it is seen as crucial if the Mr Cameron is to win a second term as prime minister.
David Cameron will today put his plans to heal the “moral” decline of Britain under Labour at the centre of his election campaign
So slapping holier than thou taxes on people enjoying themselves to bribe the breeders to vote Tory is somehow "moral" is it?
If he thinks that it will win him a second term then he needs to go back to the bong for another hit.
January 17, 2010
The Laughing Gnomes
The Government could lose hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue as the result of a Swiss campaign to lure hedge fund executives away from London with a promise to halve their tax bills.
Multimillionaire managers are being wooed with offers that enable them to keep their funds in offshore havens and reduce their taxable incomes with official backing.
The argument is that Switzerland combines natural beauty with a stable environment and, in many cases, low taxes. They contrast their “pragmatic approach” with British taxes, which they say have become punitive.
So why wouldn't you relocate? Of all the damages to our economy the stupid kneejerk bashing of the bankers may turn out to be the most damaging done by Brown.
January 16, 2010
Thank goodness Gordon wasn't in charge
Gordon Brown has been known to keep a close eye on the country's shopping baskets, and on Monday morning root veg took its place alongside the prime minister's presentation of his election campaign team. Carrots and some green vegetables might run out because of the snow, Downing street was warned. There were also problems with the national supply of milk.
Just a week after the publication of the government's report on UK food security, the record cold snap brought the fragility of our hi-tech food system into sharp focus. By today, as the ice continued its rapid thaw, it was clear that the system had held – just – but the cracks bad weather could cause had been exposed...
The private enterprise system worked, unlike the rubbish collection, the schools, the road system...
While Richard wonders why the Councils want more money Adam Smith points out that
Both parties are fighting over how the government can control food production, distribution and retail. One can only conclude that Hilary Benn and Nick Herbert have gone stark raving mad.
January 12, 2010
Aaronovitch Miliband Love In
... For the gathering and increasingly vocal fringe of climate-change-deniers, Europhobes, anti-immigrationists and “hell-in-a-handcart” eye-rollers, Mr Miliband represents much that they loathe. He is cosmopolitan, unprejudiced, strategic and internationalist in outlook. His essential view is that Britain should embrace the outside world, not try to lock it out, and they cannot stand it.
Can I suck your banana now Sir?
The fact that Millipede wants to lock Britain into the EU and prevent it fulfilling its traditional role of embracing the whole world is obviously beyond poor little Aaronovitch; just as is the fact that he is a parochial little twerp who only understands a couple of villages in Westminster and is only comfortable parroting glib lines the big boys have told him.
January 11, 2010
Man no one remembers reminds us how clever he was
Purnell admits the party's vitality and vision is on life support.
He also reveals that last summer he argued inside the cabinet for the government to be more upfront about the need for spending cuts, a battle of emphasis that Alistair Darling, the chancellor, and the business secretary, Mandelson, appeared last week to have finally won. "I argued in cabinet that we needed to talk about cuts. It was clear that some cuts would be needed, because the economy was smaller than everyone had previously thought," he said.
"By being clear about that, I thought we would be in a better position to convince the public that the debt was down to our response to the credit crunch, not to excess spending before it."
Hats in ring etc, reminding them that they should have used his lies earlier rather than listening to the leader.
January 9, 2010
Gordon King of the Pygmies
One Scottish MP told The Scotsman: "We have an extraordinary situation. What has emerged from this failed coup is that Gordon Brown is the only Prime Minister in history not to have the confidence of his Cabinet but still remain as Prime Minister.
"He is there out of a mixture of obstinance and arrogance. There is a touch of the Churchills about him. He thinks he is destined for great things. Unfortunately, unlike Churchill, it is only what he thinks, rather than actually being true."
He went on: "But look at the pygmies he had in his Cabinet. Look at the pathetic concessions they wanted to support him.
"The problem is that the party has accepted defeat at the next election simply to avoid a little bit of discomfort in getting rid of the leader."
And that is one of his own talking...
January 7, 2010
Weirdos Demand Ball Restraints As Price To Continue Masochistic Partnership
Red Box - Times Online's Westminster blog: Cabinet ministers demand restraining Balls and Mandelson
While there was no sign of immediate resignations, the truth is barely less damaging: it took Downing Street close to six hours to extract grudging statements of support from key members of the Cabinet, and these were only given after Gordon Brown agreed to restrain the influence of Ed Balls, the schools secretary and longtime adviser, and Lord Mandelson, the deputy PM in all but name.
Even this was not enough to secure unequivocal personal endorsements from four members of the Cabinet: Alistair Darling, David Miliband, Harriet Harman and Bob Ainsworth.
What a bunch of incompetent wets, all too scared of the big bas wolf and so will drown together. All hoping Gordon will lead them to defeat and then they will arise as the appointed one. None of them is prepared to gamble becoming the William Hague of the party, never mind that it is the party's only hope. And no matter what the country needs, it is all about me, me, me.
If your Google search, like mine, was confused by the quoted Times article more on Ball Restraint can be found where I borrowed the picture from. What they are I can't imagine.
January 3, 2010
Public Spending Headlines of the Day
Public sector pay races ahead in recession
Public sector workers earn 7% more on average than their peers in the private sector — a pay gulf that has more than doubled since the recession began.
Official figures show that staff employed by the state are enjoying bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions worth up to three times as much as those in the private sector.
Since Labour came to power in 1997, the number of public sector workers has increased by 914,000 to more than 6m, just over a fifth of the workforce.
December 24, 2009
Adonis Ski Bum
Lord Adonis flew to a resort in Austria at the end of last week just ahead of one of the busiest periods for the transport system.
...a source close to Lord Adonis made clear that he had no intention of abandoning his family holiday. “The man’s a workaholic. Surely he’s allowed a short family break?”
No. He is paid to sort out the bloody shambles. Next question please.
Twenty Years Ago - A Flicker of Liberty
A nightmare all our tyrannical leaders should have, and for us to celebrate.
Naughty or Nice - Santa Knows!
Then there were six: files on two more politicians' expenses handed to CPS
None of the parliamentarians concerned has been named by the police or the CPS.
But recent media reports have concentrated on six individuals, including Mr Devine, the former Unison official who succeeded the late Robin Cook as Livingston MP. The controversy over his expenses surrounds invoices he submitted for £2,157 of electrical work from a company with an allegedly fake address and invalid VAT number.
Among the other five are Labour MPs Elliot Morley and David Chaytor, who each claimed thousands of pounds in second home allowances for so-called "phantom" mortgages that had already been paid off.
Labour peer Baroness Uddin is facing allegations that she claimed £100,000 in allowances by registering as her main home a property in Maidstone, Kent, that was reportedly barely occupied.
Another Labour peer, Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a former party chairman, has admitted his "terrible error" in claiming up to £18,000 a year for overnight subsistence when he often stayed with friends in London or returned home to St Albans in Hertfordshire.
Lord Hanningfield, a Conservative peer, is believed to be under investigation over whether he was returning to his home from Westminster while claiming overnight allowances totalling £100,000 over a seven-year period.
All six of those named deny any wrong-doing.
And I hope next year your Santa is called Bubba who shares your cell and has a very big surprise for you in his sack....
December 23, 2009
Average Man in Street Shows Gordon the Way
Families make biggest savings ever to clear debt - Telegraph
The ONS said that families saved 8.6p of every pound of disposable income they earned in the third quarter – the highest ever proportion. In total, households saved some £21.4 billion in those three months alone.
The disclosure is the latest evidence of how families are having to put aside unprecedented amounts of cash in order to rebuild their balance sheets, in the face of the longest recession since World War Two.
The news marks a stark contrast from early 2008 when statistics showed that, for the first time, British families were having to borrow in order to fund their everyday lives – something which contributed to the subsequent recession.
The wisdom of the crowds beats Government experts I think in this case.
December 22, 2009
An Economic Upturn
I hope Gordon bought Sarah something nice with it.
December 17, 2009
The winner of the Guardian's online contest to solve the mystery of Blair's finances is Richard Murphy, a crusading accountant from Tax Research UK. His entry unearthed the small print of the Partnership (Accounts) Regulations 2008 to reveal that Blair has found an unusual method to keep his wealth secret from the rest of us.
December 11, 2009
All you need to know about MPs Expenses
....The claims of Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland secretary, were submitted by Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants, which says it specialises in “amassing wealth”.
December 10, 2009
Miliband Gets Us to Pay for the Negatives
The Foreign Secretary’s use of a professional photographer will be made public for the first time on Thursday, when Parliament publishes all recent MPs’ claims. On Thursday morning his claims for the 2008-09 financial year will be made public for the first time, including two photo shoots he organised in his constituency and paid for using his office allowance, then known as the Incidental Expenses Provision.
The first, which cost £125, was described on the invoice by a local photographer as “photographic work undertaken of David Miliband in his constituency”.
The second photo shoot, using the same photographer and costing £100, was described on the invoice as “photographic work undertaken of David Miliband MP during constituency visits… for newsletter”.
I would love to see the photos that weren't published...
IF THIS was the Famous Last Stand of Fiscal Prudence, avert your eyes. As a defence against the debt onslaught Britain now faces, Alistair Darling's performance was about as convincing as D-Day without landing craft, or Rorke's Drift without rifles.
He may have mouthed the words of a "Pre-Budget Report". But it was a Pre-Election Report.
A disgraceful dereliction of duty for a chancellor, we are all going to pay for it in the future, I hope he also pays for it as well, but he won't as he enjoys his gold plated pension and speaking fees...
December 7, 2009
Tory Shows Sense Shocker
The “Birmingham Declaration” setting out the Council’s plan of action to combat climate change was approved this week ahead of the Copenhagen Conference – but one bold backbencher described the science behind it as a “fiction” and claimed the cause had been hijacked by “authoritarians” .
In speech at Tuesday’s full Council meeting, prospective parliamentary candidate for Ladywood Colin Hughes revealed that he has a degree in Applied Mathematics and spent a further two years as a postgrad studying computer modelling of fluid, dynamic problems – all of which leads him to question to current consensus about rising temeparatures.
Scientists who argue the case for global warming, he said, have failed to take account of the fact that there have been no further increases in worldwide temperatures since 2000 despite a rapid growth in Co2 emissions - instead they act as if their existing models is still accurate.
In a strongly worded statement, Hughes said: “Climate change devotees still rely on these models, despite the fact that we know these models to be wrong, for end-of-the-world predictions to justify their proposed actions.
“What this means is that we should be very careful before spending huge amounts of the public’s money on schemes that may not be necessary.
“The research needs to go on because there is huge gaps in our knowledge and understanding but while the science is lacking there are authoritarians on all sides of this chamber who can’t help but to use this issue to boss people around and to tell others how to run their lives.
“They’ve jumped on this bandwagon and use it to excuse any and all government interference into private lives. We are elected by the people of Birmingham and we owe them better leadership than that.”
Hughes nevertheless welcomed the authority’s commitment to insulating homes and using electric vehicles.
“However”, he added, “climate change is not something that can used to support these measures.”
And he continued: “All the proposals depend on the science being settled, that is fiction.
The local LibDim disapprovingly called it "a libertarian rant" which belittles the strong leadership Birmingham has shown.
Just wait to hear what Dave has to say...
December 6, 2009
Avoiding the Curse of Jonah
Gordon Brown was snubbed by badly injured Afghan veterans when they closed curtains round their beds during a hospital visit and refused to speak to him.
More than half the soldiers being treated at the Selly Oak hospital ward in Birmingham either asked for the curtains to be closed or deliberately avoided the prime minister, according to several of those present.
I't not necessarily true that they think he is an opportunistic lying shit, just you really wouldn't want him wishing you well would you?
No wonder Cameron is hiding in Afghanistan, it is safer there than facing his suddenly vocal climate sceptical core voters.
He is out of touch with them on Europe, on Copenhagen and on reducing the size of the state. The hangers and floggers find no joy in hugging hoodies and he appears to have no desire to pick the fight with the entrenched power of the education system and turn the school system into something run for children and parents benefit. Ditto the NHS.
Remind me, apart from Not Being Brown exactly what is his appeal?
November 30, 2009
Zac Goldsmith Statement On Tax
Anything you would care to add, Sir?
November 21, 2009
Lib Dems Can Keep Ill Gotten Loot
You may remember that the Lib Dems were being investigated to see if they ought to forfeit the illegal donation that keeps them afloat. A situation that was compared to that of UKIP by Michael Crick admirably.
No surprise that the news is good for the yellow bellies...
THE Liberal Democrats have been told they can keep a donation of £2.4 million from a convicted fraudster.
The Electoral Commission ruled the party had taken the money in good faith
November 19, 2009
They are coming to take them away...
From the left: Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Baroness Uddin, Lord Hanningfield, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine
The Daily Telegraph understands that detectives will imminently pass files on Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, and peers Baroness Uddin, Lord Hanningfield and Lord Clarke of Hampstead to the Crown Prosecution Service.
I have never prayed to be on Jury service before, but please, just this once, I'll even supply my own rope....
November 17, 2009
Banks will face having chunks of their future profits seized by the state if they do not fund a deposit insurance scheme, the Bank of England's deputy governor has warned.
In other news;
At least one of them was an honest man...
November 16, 2009
Against the Odds - A Nasty Viral Infection
The Stilettoed Socialist: Against the Odds plays her part in reminding us of Oswald Mosley and his inspirational work in The Labour Party...In 1926, a Labour seat in Smethwick fell vacant and Mosley returned to Parliament. Mosley then made a bold bid for political advancement within the Labour Party. He was close to Ramsay Macdonald and hoped for one of the great offices of state, but when Labour won the 1929 general election he was only appointed to the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a defacto Minister without Portfolio), outside the Cabinet. He was given responsibility for solving the unemployment problem, but found that his radical proposals were blocked either by his superior James Henry Thomas or by the Cabinet. Mosley was always impatient and eventually put forward a whole scheme in the 'Mosley Memorandum' to find it rejected by the Cabinet; he then resigned in May 1930...After the war Mosley was contacted by his former supporters and persuaded (initially against his will) to rejoin active politics. He formed the Union Movement, calling for a European superstate....
Now who does that remind you of?
We're in the mood for cuts
UK public 'favours spending cuts'
The survey found 59% of the 1,005 people polled believed there should be benefit or tax credit cuts - rather than tax hikes - to lower the deficit.
Start sharpening the knives George.
November 13, 2009
Tory Troughing is The Best
Is the food you're eating liberal or conservative? - Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG....political adversaries view each other with suspicion across a gulf in eating habits too...
Conservatives prefer plainer, meatier, more traditional foods and are keener on "junk" food takeaways. No surprises there, but obviously this is a Septic survey because the Liberals spend much more on and drink much more wine, a suspicious European habit. Whereas here drinking wine is upholding traditional values, there is very little wine worth drinking that doesn't come from somewhere that was part of the Empire or Wellington marched through.
And what is it with apple corers? Most conservatives have one and use it and most liberals have no clue what they are? I know what they are but wouldn't own one or use one, I have a karda that does the job, what does that make me?
November 11, 2009
The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. As with the other Ministries in the novel, the Ministry of Truth is a misnomer and in reality serves an opposing purpose to that which its name would imply, being responsible for the falsification of historical events; and yet is aptly named in a deeper sense, in that it creates/manufactures "truth" in the newspeak sense of the word.
George Orwell worked at the Ministry of Information, which was his model for the Ministry of Truth.
November 10, 2009
Banana Boy's Slippery Pole
Despite saying previously he was "not available" for the job, speculation had persisted that he might accept if it was offered. According to the BBC, Mr Miliband told Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the head of the left-leaning Party of European Socialists, he was not interested in the role when they met yesterday.
That fuelled speculation he is aiming to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader, either before or after the general election.
Why would he give up the chance to actually get a job with power to run for PM? Doesn't make sense to me, unless he realises that even the bunch of incompetent tossers that run the EU he would stand out as being an even incompententer tosserer twat.
November 9, 2009
Sir Ian Kennedy - Bring it on!
Sir Ian is said to feel that using the internet and other mainstream media, including radio phone-in programmes, will be more effective than the public hearing system used by Sir Christopher.
Oh please, please let this be true. Sir Ian the independent friend of Alastair Campbell and lunching companion of St Tony Blair (failing Presidential candidate) doesn't know what would hit his smug puffy porcine face if asked the public.
November 2, 2009
Claire Perry - my next MP - who She?
Grayson Perry is an English artist who is best known for his cermaics that feature paintings of his alter ego, "Claire," and for dressing up as "Claire" in public. Perry's glazed ceramics have an overall traditional appearance but are strewn with images that counter the objects' conservative but cheery look, that include scenes of sadomasochism and child abuse. Perry has said that there is an element of the autobiographical in his work, hence his public persona as "Claire."
I'm not sure Mr Google has found the right "Claire Perry - Conservative" or maybe Devizes is in for a bit of a shock!
Dope on a Rope
Political Betting asks Was this the end of AJ4PM? as Pat exploded like some red faced buffoon over the resignation of his Drugs Expert.
"It’s a natural for Cameron at the next PMQs and you can see him using it to draw conclusions about the whole government being in a mess."
Spliffy Dave will keep well away from this, he doesn't want anyone calling him Spliffy and he knows his bunch don't want anyone to tell them the truth either when it fails to confirm his prejudices.