Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Balls Goes Mad

Fraser Nelson reports that earlier today he received a threatening call from Ed Balls about his latest article exposing the government's lies over debt and cuts, entitled pithily, "Balls Lies".
Ed Balls has just called me up about my post from this morning , hopping mad. He instructed me to "take that post down now". I thought he was joking: has there been some change to the constitution where ministers now have power over the media? But he was deadly serious. "You should not call me a liar," said Balls. I told him that if he doesn't want to be called a liar, “he shouldn't tell lies”.
Extraordinary. Nelson continues:
Balls told me if I keep the post up, it will "expose" the sort of publication that we are - and our "political" bias. A curious point. McBride used to make pathetic little "threats" like this - now he's gone, Balls has to do the dirty work himself. You'd think Balls has perhaps by now worked out that The Spectator is rather pleased to consider itself a thorn in the side of this tawdry, mendacious government. "So you will take the post down?" Balls said. I just laughed. He hung up. Matt d'Ancona was later surprised to find out that he had four missed calls from Balls on his mobile.
The rest of article concerns the substance of Balls' economic lies (or 'false proxies' as Nelson reveals they are known in political circles) and it is most certainly worth reading. But I wanted to focus on the threats from a minister of the Crown made directly to a professional journalist. Channels, anyone?

It's just not acceptable behaviour - it's undignified, bullying and brings an office of state into disrepute. Nelson appears to be pretty good-humoured about these threats, but then he's that sort of a chap. We should not be so forgiving. This kind of outburst from a government minister is intolerable, not least because it appears to be an attempt to muzzle the press.

It's simple. Balls is unfit for office and should be fired for this outburst, though precisely which department he would be vacating remains unclear.

Hattip to Plato.

PS: Nelson's parting shot is certainly worth repeating:
If you're reading this, Ed (and I suspect you will be) then we have a serious point to make. Five years ago, you could lie like this on the radio and get away with it. Space is tight in newspapers, no one would devote hundreds of words and graphs - as we did - to expose a lie for what is. But the world has changed now. Blogging has brought new, hyper scrutiny. Blogs have infinite space, and people with endless energy, to expose political lying - no matter how small. Your claims can be instantly counter-checked, by anyone. If you stretch the truth, you can be exposed - by anyone. And if you plan to base a whole election campaign on a lie, as you apparently intend to do, then you're in for a rude awakening.
Now there's a rallying cry if ever I heard one. Get on with it, then ;)

How To Tell When Brown's Lying

Brown's lies about Labour cuts are bad enough - and they are proven untruths. But can you tell when he lies? "Yeah," I hear you say, "when the old fraud opens his mouth." Ho ho. But give a guy a fair break, even if he seems to be determined not to give anybody else one.

I thought it would be fun to find out using a marginally more (ie: not very) scientific method whether or not the man is a liar. If you have the time, watch the first video, which is about the "science" of lying. It explains some of the tell-tale signs that scientists believe indicate whether a person is deliberately telling lies. Then watch the Boulton interview with Brown from a few weeks ago. Make your own mind up whether Brown is a truthful man - or not.

My view? An epic "not". Brown really should carefully hide his interviews away on the radio from now on. The "tells" are a bit less obvious there.

Monday, 29 June 2009

OECD: More Pressure On Brown's Lies

The Telegraph reports that the latest OECD study of the UK economy makes terrible reading for Brown and the Treasury and puts Brown's lies about Labour cuts into clear context. His stated plans to try to fool persuade the nation into voting for him at the next election by launching a slash and burn spending programme, funded with even more gargantuan chunks of borrowing, are also thrown into disarray the day after they were announced in Parliament (or, rather, two days after they were pre-announced on TV). The impact of his self-serving and utterly dishonest course for getting himself elected - for the first time, lest we forget - will cause hardship and pain for years to come, according to the report.
In its annual survey of the British economy, the Paris-based institution told the Government to slash the size of its deficit far more than it currently intends or face major problems in the coming years.
The OECD said that Britain's deficit would climb to 90pc of economic output – significantly higher than the 80pc level the Treasury projected in the Budget. In order to keep the UK economy in good health, it added, the Government should target "more ambitious" budget cut-backs once the recession is over.
These are conservative estimates. There are indications that if conveniently ignored public sector pension liabilities and off balance sheet, PFI costs are factored-in, that hideous number would be driven far higher. But it's not all bad news in the report. Some is even worse:
The institution...cut its growth forecast, saying Britain will shrink by 4.3pc this year, adding that the deficit next year – at 14pc of GDP – would be worse than in any other major country.
Meanwhile, the government can't even decide whether it is going to review its own spending plans or not, at least according to Edmund Conway's article, which seems to be slightly at odds with virtually every other report on the subject over the past few days.
The statement is significant, since it is becoming increasingly clear that the next election will be fought over public spending, with the Labour party already attacking the Conservatives for what it claims are excessive cuts in Government spending.

It came amid speculation that the Government has postponed the expected Spending Review this year, with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne speculating that this was intended to avoid spelling out inevitable post-election cuts.

So there it is. Britain will be broke for years to come and all you get from this dissected, stinking corpse of a government are increasingly desperate attempts to save its own rotting skin. Just what's needed in a crisis. Really inspiring stuff.

But this evil man, Brown. My word, what a lying, cheating, bullying, spiteful, poisonous, destructive, vainglorious waste of humanity this creature has become. Are you one of those people willing to be fooled by Brown's lies? Do you really want the con-artist who drove Britain to ruin in Downing St.?

If the answer is 'yes' then you are either insane or a brain-dead Labour tribalist. If the former, you have my sympathy; if the latter, then you belong to an ever-shrinking minority of idiots, thank God.

Comment On "French Education Works"

Bricks in Labour's Wall
"We do need some education. We don't need no thought control."

I am pretty privileged on this blog because I seem to attract comments here that are remarkably enlightened and enlightening and I am grateful for them. A stand-out example is this one from a contributor who goes by the intriguing handle, Black Hole Sunset on a recent rant by yours truly about eductation. Here it is...
No mention by Burnett-Hall of the sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that comes from successful study - from simply knowning more than one did previously. No mention of the happiness and natural balance that comes from leading a productive life, from being able to provide for one's family and friends - and, as an aside, providing for others via the tax system.

"The élite here is still following an academic path created by Napoleon to produce engineers for his armies." - this is supposed to count against the French system? The truth is that most people are not the son or daughter of a career artist (perhaps Burnett-Hall appreciates this but her remarks were taken out of context - or perhaps the Telegraph just wanted at least one contrary opinion but could only, by definition, find a prejudiced idiot to supply it).

For the majority, a high quality education that instills discipline and provides a credible career path would be a dream come true - we can't all be, or would even want to be, artists. Very telling that everyone else they spoke to did almost nothing but heap praise on the French system.

That documentary about North Sea oil (including the first part, which is also knocking around on iPlayer) was absolutely brilliant, and very moving! (I missed it in the listings so thanks for pointing it out) As you say, we couldn't build the Millau Viaduct (just imagine the PFI disaster that would result if we tried) and probably couldn't duplicate the feats of the North Sea oil pioneers either - very sobering to learn just how crucial American money, expertise and bravery were to the whole endeavour, and how poorly thought of were the local workforce.

Education underpins the whole of society, the only thing I can think of that would halt our disastrous slide into mediocrity would be one or other of the various voucher schemes that have been proposed - where parents can decide where they want to apply and schools can compete for the business - no students, no revenue. I would also be inclined to allow schools to select on whatever basis they want (provided their criteria fall within the same bounds that private sector employers are allowed to apply).

I think that part of our problem is that we have a government, and particularly a civil service, which has no real competence in many of the areas in which it must operate (IT, construction, health care, education, utilities etc). They seem to think they can remedy the situation by 'outsourcing' competence, but this is just an invitation to get ripped off by spivs (they also can't tell who is, and who is not, a spiv). I think this is the reason why we've done so badly out of Browns PFI fetish - there is no one in government qualified to negotiate PFI contracts because they have no in-house competence or expertise.

They are literally incompetent, as far as I can tell - which would would explain a lot!
Suffice to say I find it very difficult to disagree with any of this. Education does, indeed, underpin the whole of society. Not the NHS or the welfare state, education. That's the sole, key premise from which all our politicians should operate. Until there can be political honesty about the disastrous education policies successive governments, but especially Labour governments - brim-full as they have always been of totally arrogant, privately educated, pseudo-intellectual socialist nobility (Shirley Williams, anyone?) - have imposed on this country, there can be no hope of solving the problem that is Britain's accelerating slide beyond universal mediocrity.

There is one policy that any Conservative government must immediately pursue in order to begin to attempt to reverse the process. It must purge the education system from top to bottom of Marxist/socialist ideologies, which have a proven track record - of failure. First, that means comprehending those ideologies and just how deeply they have penetrated education and society generally. That means taking-on the places where they have been propagated for so long: universities and their teacher training schools (as well I know from unhappy personal experience).

Next, the tearing-up of failed educational theories, created by left-wing doctrinaires contemptuous of anything they view as old-fashioned or traditional ("bourgeois" and "hackneyed" in their bankrupt language) or, heaven forbid, "elitist" (competitive). These parasitical theorists usually had or have little or no practical experience of their own to inform their judgment, just an agenda, with the predictable consequence that their harebrained notions in action have served to generate a national emergency.

Children, for example, are naturally competitive and it is intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise. Let them compete. Harness this urge, don't slap it down. Denying a child the right to compete - the chance to excel - is a betrayal and no adult, be he or she a "trained" (nowadays that simply means "indoctrinated") teacher or university educational (so-called) expert or not, has the right to cause such irreparable damage. Yet, that is precisely what they have been doing for a generation with the result that we now have hundreds of thousands of undereducated young adults wondering around the country, with no clue about their own capabilities and no idea how to survive a recession. (The bright ones who survive the system simply leave. Again, personal experience sadly informs here. If the proportion of my brighter friends - and I am just an average Joe - who have abandoned Britain to its fate is multiplied across the country, then the unreported brain drain under this Labour government has been and is currently at epidemic levels).

Labour in particular, and Marxism-socialism generally, has betrayed these people in the worst possible way: by constantly meddling with and corrupting children's natural rites of passage by contaminating their minds with things they do not need to worry about until they are adults, while deliberately neglecting the academic content children so desperately need and yearn for, and from which so many socialists - the Fiona Millars of this world - are loathe to admit, themselves benefited. Because this calamity has become so entrenched, I hope it's appreciated it's too complicated to set-out in one short blog post. Suffice to say, what children now need is a long break from the hypocrisy of not-so well-meaning Marxist-socialist adults - like Millar.

Purging the nation of these evils will be difficult - they have taken root. But it is essential if the nation is to survive in anything but name. Tories: you have been warned. Let's hope Black Hole Sunset isn't right about at least one thing he/she suggests, that the competence needed even to comprehend the need for, let alone launch, this titanic change of direction no longer exists in Britain today. If it doesn't, the game's over.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Smart Cat?

Ollie helping out with some stuff this morning...

Smart kitty? Nah. His state-of-the-art comfort radar simply guided him to the place of maximum pleasure, which can be anywhere. A proper cat all round.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

French Education Works

We couldn't build a Millau Viaduct

The weekend section of the Torygraph contained one the most prejudiced, petty and perverse comments I have read in quite a long time. Why the writer, Anthony Gardner, felt the need to include it in his otherwise reasonably decent article about French education is quite beyond me. The quote, from some ditsy PGCE-fodder named Louis Burnett-Hall, does serve a purpose, however. It perfectly encapsulates the reality of education in Britain today: because inadequate idiots like this one have a say in how our children are taught, this country is producing a generation of under-educated, maladjusted depressives.

But make your own mind up, do:
Louisa Burnett-Hall, who trained as a teacher in London before moving to Paris, believes that high French exam results come at a personal cost. “If the ideal in British education is to produce a happy, well-balanced child who reaches his or her full potential, the French ideal is simply to instil knowledge. The idea of having fun doesn’t exist."
A "personal cost" for God's sake. That's the whole point. If you instil that discipline into children they will achieve all that they can to the best of their abilities. Teaching a child that nothing comes easy and nothing is free is the only way to "produce a happy, well-rounded individual". Learning how to make a serious academic effort is not "fun" (at least at first. With an inspirational teacher in charge, it often becomes fun, though. That's the joy.). You have, as a teacher, done your duty if you have unlocked a child's latent talents. But that comes only with an enormous effort of will on the part of teacher and child. That will can never be generated by a teacher who is more worried about spurious child psychology theories than the information they are ostensibly paid to transmit. The will is unlocked by the process of learning, but only through bloody hard work.

Fail to show children the level of commitment necessary to make the most of their strengths and you have betrayed them. You do not deserve to be a teacher. French teachers know that. Unlike their politically indoctrinated, fun-loving, woolly-headed counterparts in Britain, they know that there are certain places sociological experimentation cannot go. One of those places is the classroom. No doubt to say this is a thoughtcrime nowadays, but true education is all about "elitism", because that always has to be the aim: to be elite. And believe me, children understand that completely. If you teach a child that it's OK to fail then you might as well take that child out of school and put him directly onto welfare (which is something many young girls do themselves anyway in Britain now).

I'm not going to bang on about this much more. It's too depressing. Besides, it just confirms what I've always suspected: of course with many exceptions, British teachers are fundamentally lazy - intellectually, morally and practically. That laziness is basically the only thing they transmit to our nation's most precious resource, our children. And then they justify their failure by saying success is just too hard to reach and shouldn't be forced on the young. So while the Grandes Ecoles churn out happy, well-balanced experts in their fields who build French nuclear power stations and the large hadron collider, or who choose to commit themselves to passing on the benefit of their studies to a new generation of French young, we have to bring in Americans to build the useless Dome and Australians to build the underwhelming Wembley. We build wobbly foot bridges. France builds Viaduc de Millau Bridge. I watched this excellent documentary last night about the North Sea oil boom. I am certain Britain simply doesn't have the expertise any more to pull something like that off again. And that is the result of a corrupted education system that has failed and polluted our children. (There is one, simple word that explains everything you need to know about how and why this has happened: Labour!)

Suffice to say, if you think, as this Burnett-Hall fool does, that the only way to produce "happy" and "well-balanced" children who reach their full potential is by wrapping them in left wing cotton wool, then there is no hope for you. You must have been educated in Britain. If, however, you recognise that the only way to turn children, who crave structure, leadership, discipline, knowledge and, above all, a real challenge, into "happy", "well-balanced" adults (who really do reach their full potential) is by supplying them with exactly what they crave, then congratulations. France might let you be a teacher in one of her schools.

PS: If you have ever seen the wonderful, moving Être et avoir, you will know precisely what I mean.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Same Treaty, Same Question: Same Answer?

Irish Referendum Part II. At least they get to choose

The recent Open Europe bulletin gives a pretty decent insight into the latest attempt by the EU to wangle a 'yes' vote out of the people of Ireland in order to keep the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty alive. Read on...
1. Ireland to vote on exactly the same text of the Lisbon Treaty.
Following the European Council meeting last week, Open Europe has published a briefing on the so-called 'guarantees' offered to Ireland in exchange for holding a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
In the conclusions of the summit, EU leaders agreed on a series of statements which seek to address what EU leaders perceive to be Irish concerns about taxation, ethical issues, workers' rights and neutrality. They also reiterated an agreement reached in December to postpone the reduction of the size of the Commission laid down in the Lisbon Treaty.

However, despite promises from the Irish government that they would not force people to vote on exactly the same text a second time around, the deal reached at the summit made no change whatsoever to the text of the Treaty, meaning Irish people will be forced to vote on exactly the same text they rejected last year.

As an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today notes, "So the Irish will vote on the same text they previously rejected by a seven-percentage-point margin despite assurances by their government as recently as last month that this would not happen." (WSJ, 26 June)

EU leaders agreed to attach the statements as a protocol to the Treaty after the Irish referendum and once it is already in force, but the text of the conclusions is clear that: "The Protocol will clarify but not change either the content or the application of the Treaty of Lisbon."

The EU Presidency confirmed that: "the text of the guarantees explicitly states that the Lisbon Treaty is not changed thereby" and several other EU leaders have since said the same. PA quoted Gordon Brown saying, "The summit conclusions set out the fact that the protocol does not change the relationship between the European Union and the member states, and that the protocol clarifies but does not change the content and application of the Treaty...The Treaty assurances have made explicit what was implicit in the Treaty already." (PA, Czech EU Presidency statement, Council conclusions, 19 June)

Czech Europe Minister Stefan Fuele told a Czech Senate committee, "The guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty itself in any respect. They have the character of explanatory assurances. In other words, the Irish guarantees only confirm and explain what is already in the text of the Lisbon treaty". Czech PM Jan Fischer also added that the guarantees were, "an explanatory clarifying text which changes not a dot nor comma of the Lisbon Treaty."(Irish Times, 20 June; Ceskenoviny, 25 June)

To read Open Europe's briefing on the Irish guarantees, click the link below:


Please leave your comments on our blog:


Simply incredible. The same treaty surely means the same question for the Irish, doesn't it? So that should mean the same answer, shouldn't it? So why ask it? Are they saying to the Irish people that they got the answer wrong the first time? You know, I think they are. Unbelievable. Where does the EU get off lying through its teeth to the leaders and the people of sovereign nations? When, exactly, did this become acceptable - even the norm? How can our leaders debase themselves in this way, and, by implication therefore, the countries they were elected to lead? I don't know about you, but I regard the integrationist propaganda coming out of Brussels these days, and dutifully passed on by our sickeningly fawning government in the UK, as an absolute insult to people's intelligence. They can't seriously believe that the EU Constitution, repackaged and given a new name (a bit like Windscale/Sellafield!), is something that they can simply ram through regardless of the wishes of the majority of people all over Europe.

Do these idiots think they can enforce a federal Europe on people who don't want it, who want to retain their national identities? If they imagine that this is not the case, then they are living in a fantasy world. For example, in the same bulletin it's revealed that 77% of the German electorate want a referendum on the Treaty. Logically, it can be safely assumed that those people don't want a referendum just so they can say 'Ya'! So 77% of the German people don't want an EU constitution. They want to remain German in a country called Germany where they elect Germans to govern them. For similar reasons, you can guarantee that that figure is higher in the UK. How are the goons in Brussels and David Millipede at home going to spin their way out of that one, I wonder.

It is essential that Ireland's people are not fooled by this spin and propaganda. It is no longer possible to believe not only the statements and guarantees coming out of Brussels, but also the words of reassurance spoken by their own leaders. But I am now seriously concerned. The UK has been denied a referendum and so has Germany because it is widely known that both countries would deliver a NO vote. You have to conclude that the outcome in this new, totally outrageous second Irish referendum might actually not matter, given this apparent contempt for the will of national populations. It's becoming pretty clear that there's a significant risk the ruthlessness of the EU leadership and their many accomplices in national governments is such that it might be decided simply to railroad Ireland, the UK and everyone else and enforce the treaty anyway, perhaps on the back of an ultimatum in Ireland's case, and even in the case of the UK.

Well, if they do try that (and after the treatment of member states over the constitution issue, you have to assume there is a degree of socialist mega-zealousness within the EU regime that makes such a ludicrous development possible, difficult to compute though that insanity is) then the answer to such brinkmanship is simple: call the bastards' bluff.

We'll soon see then who needs whom the most. We'll also see that the EU experiment has actually been a very expensive waste of time, effort and money. It's time for the UK government to start acting according to the will of the people who elected it. Either that or we'll get another one - and another one, and then another one, over and over again until we get a government that understands how democracy and liberty work.

Perhaps that highly hypothetical new administration could then teach the European socialist-federalists about democracy and liberty too instead of the current arrangement with our pisspoor government sucking up to the federalists, taxing us to buggery, curtailing our freedoms (the smoking ban was an EU idea, for example) and wiping-out our agriculture and fisheries for the privilege. Marvellous.

I think we've had enough of that kind of 'integration' in Europe, thank-you very much.

Labour Will Lose Norwich North

According to the latest ICM poll in the constituency of former left wing Labour MP and super trougher, Ian Gibson, the Tories are going to take it comfortably. Obsessive psephologist, Mike Smithson, at his mega political betting website, makes some crucial observations about the numbers.
CON 34 (+1) LAB 30 (-15) LD 15 (-1) GRN 14 (+11)

The above ICM poll with variations on what happened at the last election was commissioned by Norwich’s University & College Union and has just been published. The sample was just 500 which means a much higher margin of error must be applied.

As can be seen the figures are broadly in line with current national polling and, indeed, it would be a huge surprise if the Tories failed to take the seat from Labour with a thumping majority.

The Tory margin in the survey would have been double the 4% but for ICM’s standard practice of realloctating half of those who say they will vote but don’t know which way in accordance with what they did at the last general election.

Clearly the campaign has not started and there is not that much awareness in the seat that a by election will soon by happening. A total of 18% of local voters had no idea that there was an election coming up.

No doubt the main contenders are working on the postal votes right now. Let us hope that afterwards the marked register for this election is not “lost” - something that happened after the last by election at Glenrothes last November.

It is worth pointing out, however, that beyond all these qualifications, there are some wider implications for Labour. Tories polling 34-38% in this previously safe Labour seat would not be spectacular, but it would be enough. I think they will poll more - in the 38-42% area, simply because of the 'Crewe factor'. Labour have forgotten how to campaign (you can guarantee they will opt for the 'keep the hated toffs out' option once again), have no money and can't recruit enough foot soldiers. Whatever message they manage to get across will so garbled, it will be politically unintelligible.

But the chief reason why Labour are heading for whopping defeat in Norwich is because of, you guessed it, Gordon "Getting On With The Job" Brown. People, in England at least, really do hate him now. He's managed to alienate just about everyone with his constant lies and spin and his wrongheaded, stubborn inability to change his tune. The 'hate the Tory toff' line, make no mistake, comes from him. It doesn't work, but he doesn't believe that.

The swing to the Tories in this seat could be as much as 16% - or more once the campaigning kicks in. Another epic defeat for Labour which should send shockwaves right through the party, then. But will it? Parliamentary Labour appears to be so collectively spineless that they backed the losing horse, just for a quiet few extra months in post, presumably.

If they do not remove him this autumn, I would say that they will have doomed themselves to the biggest defeat in their history, fake economic recovery or not. Whether the Tories benefit with a landslide or not is an entirely separate issue - it looks now as though they will not. What Labour should realise now is that, thanks to their nightmarish performance in office and the disaster that is Brown, they aren't just heading for defeat, they are heading for annihilation and third-party status as millions desert them for other parties, including a significant portion of their core vote in England and Wales.

But they've already had fair warning about Brown with the local and Euro catastrophes, so I suspect a heavy Norwich North defeat will be just one more unheeded nuclear air raid siren. This behaviour can only be described as nihilistic. If so, then such obscene political self-indulgence deserves to be rewarded with biblical disaster, as it probably will be.

Jackson Freedom

I'll miss him.

It's about the music, after all, isn't it?

Or is it about freedom? You know, from the many different forms of human bondage (in the classical sense), with which every single reader of this blog will be familiar, one way or a very sordid other.

We're always a stranger to somebody, somehow, simply because we're alive - individually and, at least to ourselves, preciously.

Civilisation is a giant, accidental phenomenon caused by the random intersection of self-interested, very ordinary human beings over the course of the many brief centuries of our collective being.

In other words, all that's really been lost with the passing of Mr Jackson is, technically, no more than another potentially useful coincidence.

But I hope that's not true.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Crooked Beard, Dodgy Bloke

Jim Knight is on Question Time tonight. Here's his BBC publicity shot. Beard looks a bit weird, doesn't it? This clown is the Labour MP for Dorset South and minister for something-or-other (employment) who's a serial trougher who said his exorbitant second home and expenses claims were 'reasonable'. This is how his own local rag, the Dorset Echo, reported it at the time:
Mr Knight claimed £12,541.69 in mortgage interest payments last year for a one-bedroom flat in Vauxhall that he has owned for more than two years. He also claimed £3,395 for food and £2,290.85 for maintenance as well as sums to cover telephone bills, cleaning services and utility and Council Tax payments. His total additional cost allowance claim came to just over £21,363 last year – the maximum allowance being £23,083. Mr Knight said he is in favour of a total overhaul of the way in which MPs’ salaries and expenses are set, adding that members should have no say at all in what they earn. He said: “It’s important to be transparent and I decided, pro-actively, to publish my expenses.
Maybe so, but this asshole's just said on Question Time that he doesn't think he should have to pay any of this cash back and that Cameron is an 'opportunist' for forcing his MPs to do it. He doesn't seem to be getting much sympathy from the audience, one of whom, rightly, said that until there are prosecutions, no restoration of trust is possible.

Crooked beard; dodgy bloke: why not start with Jim tosspot Knight?

Cuts And New Structures

Cuts in government expenditure is one issue that has dogged the Tories for nigh on a decade of Brownian dictatorship. As long as Brown was able to fool people into thinking that there was endless money available for massive growth in government spending, then any Tory even suggesting that it was not only desirable but essential to peg back what they argued was an unsustainable expansion of the state was laughed off the stage. Not any more. The bust has come and Brown has not only been made to look a fool, his mismanagement of the economy has been revealed in all its stark reality, with the consequent pain being felt throughout the country. [Check out this devastating article in today's DT, if you want to know how bad that pain is and how much worse it is going to get.]

The Tory predictions of the 2005 general election have come true in spectacular fashion. As Mervyn King said only yesterday, running a structural deficit during what turned out to be little more than a property bubble - ie, a period of unsustainable growth - has just about ruined the UK. The myth of Labour's reputation for economic competence has been exploded once and for all. All we have had, in fact, is a near ten year explosion in state spending with little or no return in terms of improved productivity in virtually every targeted sector. In fact in some areas, such as the NHS and schools, standards have fallen, despite gargantuan chunks of money being thrown at them. One area where there have been improvements, if you can call it that, is in state wage levels. An NHS GP can now earn twice as much as an MP; a state school teacher in his first year, after gaining a fairly modest degree followed by a year of PGCE indoctrination, can expect to clear £30,000 plus, depending on the school. I simply do not believe these people are worth that kind of money. (I know from my own experience that many NQTs certainly aren't!)

It's difficult to cut state salaries, but they can and must be capped. That will help, but genuine, capital cuts are also required if the country is to avoid a return to the disease the last Labour government caused: stagflation. Brown has lost the argument on cuts - even his own party knows that now. He has been caught out lying about, among many other things, Labour cuts, something for which he will never be forgiven. Further, the mood of the public has altered and there are signs that Tory proposals will be taken seriously, as long as they are constructive. There is such a thing as constructive cuts, as long as the new spending levels are managed professionally, something which has been sadly lacking in the chaotic Brown years of profligate waste and corruption.

Fraser Nelson this a'rtnoon has written another decent piece on this subject. I like Nelson, by the way. If Guido caught Brown out on the smears thing, it's Nelson who's really got him on the economy - and deserves as much credit as the former got for his expose. In his piece today, though, he made some interesting observations about how the Tories might re-organise goverment spending in their first years in office, which are likely to be, thanks to Brown's nation-breaking levels of borrowing and debt, extremely difficult (no change there, then). According to Nelson, however, the first thing to reconstruct will be the mechanisms of cabinet government smashed to pieces by Brown as a consequence of his dictatorial style of what can be loosely described as leadership "where ministers are handed their budgets and told to eat it."

Here’s how it would work. The spending envelope would be set, in the Budget – but it won’t just be the Chancellor demanding cuts. The Office for Budget Responsibility would be up and running too. Very little attention is being given to the OBR, perhaps because it sounds like some spivvy quango which will be an irrelevance. But Americans perhaps thought that about the Congressional Budget Office before Nixon set it up in 1973 – it now has huge authority, and is a powerful check on the administration. If Britain had a CBO then Brown would not be able to lie through statistics so much. The Tories genuinely regard the OBR as a shift in power, removing the ability of the government to vandalise the public finances (and conceal debt) to the extent that Brown has done.

Crucially, the OBR would be responsible for telling the government when it needs to start repaying the debt. Mervyn King yesterday argued for prompter repayment—in the Tory era, we will have an OBR saying “quite right, and here is what we demand of the government.” It would be apolitical, and would not specify if these cuts were to come from extra tax or lower spending. It may (I hope) produce a model for dynamic tax forecasting – thus giving a realistic assessment of the options available to the Treasury. At present, HMT does “ready reckoners” which don’t account for the fact that higher taxes lower the incentive to work. The Treasury is programmed with false, zero- sum, high-tax logic. The OBR has the potential to take a real-world view of taxes – and hopefully a Tory Treasury will too.

Who would do the talking? Sir Alan Budd has been advising the Tories on the OBR, and I suspect that he may well end up chairing it (although other candidates are in the frame). So when the OBR speaks, the Chancellor will respond - in the Budget. That will set out a general spending envelope. Then, the Tories will start to work out who will eat the cuts.

To me, this is very significant in that it implies that after nearly a decade and a half of one, unanswerable man spending the country into oblivion, ably assisted by a constant stream of over-promoted and under-qualified, low-grade ministers given entire departments to play with, that game is over. No longer will ministers be beaten into submission by an all-powerful Chancellor/PM, it seems. And no longer will the Chancellor/PM be able to do such a thing even if he was corrupt enough to be so-inclined if this new quango really will have the kind of power the Tories claim.

However, surely there are constitutional issues involved, which Nelson does not discuss, preferring instead to continue revealing details of the Tory proposals, which, he says, are almost certainly going to be implemented. But the constitutionality of this OBR quango is an issue that must be explored. An elected Prime Minister is also First Lord of the Treasury and he appoints his Chancellor to run the country's finances, who is also (but not necessarily) elected to the House of Commons. At least with this arrangement it can be argued that, however superficially, the will of the people in the area of state expenditure is represented. The same cannot be said were Prime Minister Cameron to go ahead and create this committee, appointing unelected, paid experts ostensibly to oversee the government's performance in the area of budgetary management (presumably in a similar way to the Bank of England's oversight of monetary policy).

In fact, this body, assuming it has powers of censure, will have more authority than, possibly, it is within the gift of the elected guardian of the nation's treasure to cede. But without Cameron giving-up that authority, then the new organisation will be toothless rendering the proposal as little more than a political move to deflect some of the blame for budgetary errors away from the government ("Ah, but, the OBR said this. We did what they said so don't blame us that it's gone wrong." And so on). Clever, but dishonest. Rest assured, it is something the Left will seize upon with typical, breathtaking hypocrisy.

For myself, I agree with the idea in principle. Anything that can restore the reputation of government and parliament and offer genuine transparency and scrutiny after the utter disasters of the Brown years must be a good thing. But I do believe this new proposal for a new uber-quango must be examined from a constitutional standpoint before it is created, and it must be proved to me that it is not just a stunt.

Incidentally, there is one other 'constitutional' issue worth mentioning: how will this affect the 'authority' of the supra-national EU budgetary committees, one wonders? It seems to me there might well be a very wily ulterior motive for the creation of the OBR: to limit the influence and interference of EU policymakers in UK spending plans. In other words, this is Cameron and Osborne's way of cocking a snook at the interventionist Eurosocialists.

If this is true, then for almost the first time with the New Tories, I'm genuinely impressed.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Brown Porkies

The Tories have finally had enough of Brown's lies. About time.

I tip my hat to Plato.

Brown: Take A Detention

PMQs. Just watched it. Haven't seen anything quite so hilarious since my cat attacked the washing machine. Three memorable quotes:

"He [Brown] says he wants to be a teacher but it looks like he's lost control of the classroom." (Cameron referring to the cabinet split about government spending).

"There's simply far too much noise." Speaker of the House hassled, short-arse teacher, Bercow, trying to get a grip of a class that has no respect for him.

"It's the Liberal party that wants to cut public expenditure, not the Conserv.... not the Labour party." Brown, our unwanted, very mixed-up and potty prime mentalist muddling up his lies.

One thing is certain, this PMQs was an epic win for Dave C. Brown, finally caught in the most whopping of his great lies, was left totally confused. His trainwreck performance will not have gone unnoticed among elements within his own cabinet currently briefing against him.

One thing more: Bercow seemed happy to let Cameron get on with it - even to the point of stretching chamber rules to breaking point by allowing Cameron to quote MPs' names. He completely failed to protect Brown who seemed quite stunned more than once in the midst of the withering Cameron assault. All he could do was repeat a lie about Tory cuts (which are actually Labour cuts) in a way that simply served to make him look potty.

Deliberate on the part of Bercow? No. He's not that good. The reality is that without the protection of his mate Mick, Brown's debating inadequacies have been exposed. Cameron, a decent scrapper, made mincemeat of him. Brown's final insult to the electorate, Bercow, has backfired spectacularly. Key-ool.

See for yerself.

Bercow Can't Add Up

Bercow seems to think that he is going to be the star of the All-New Reformed-Parliament Show. So far, though, he has not struck me as the sort of person who will do anything other than an absolutely terrible job. He's full of what is clearly Labour reform spin and he sounds, frankly, dishonest. Why? Well, he can't even take it on the chin that his own party didn't vote for him. The Tories knew he was being forced on them out of Brownite spite - and the sums speaks for themselves. His vote count equates almost perfectly with the number of people on the Labour benches, combined with a few lefty Lib Dems. Young's votes almost exactly correlate with the entire Tory body count, combined with a few dozen moderate Lib Dems, a very few decent Labourists and a smattering of Independents. (The rumour is that three (mad) Tories voted for him.)

Watch yesterday's interview with Boulton (although the Bradby one was far better - but it's a hassle to rip). This turncoat idiot thinks he's some kind of minister. And a Labour one, to boot. Well, make your own mind up.

Then we have today's Telegraph report that the 'reform' these MPs have opted for is nothing of the kind, (as I humbly predicted yesterday). The 'transparency' promised will not be forthcoming. They've covered all their bases and protected their piggy backsides once again. Are we surprised? I think not.

But one thing is clear to me, and should be clear to everyone else: this is all Brown's work. Parliament is rotten, sure. But if you want to know what (or rather who) represents the diseased heart of that rot, then this Bill should provide final, incontravertible evidence: it is Brown. As the Heff says, Bercow is Labour's last insult to voters. Sure, he's Labour's last insult, but this Bill is not Brown's last lie. There will be many more of those to come in what will be the last months of his pitiful premiership. He lies. Through his teeth. All the time. That's just "what he does" - ably aided and abetted by the likes of Balls, Harperson, Woodward, Mandelson - and now Bercow.

Guido Fawkes has examined the government's new Bill in some detail and has written about it in what I think is one of his best pieces yet. These are his conclusions:

[It] is a stitch up, we don’t need more rules and self-selected regulators, we need reform of the expenses system, together with clarity, transparency and enforcement of the rules. The voters will kick out MPs if they can identify crooks, in this sense in a democracy voters are the ultimate regulator of politicians. This whole idea is ill-founded, we don’t need to intermediate democracy with another quango or committee, this approach has already failed.

We need only to empower voters with enough information so that they can determine the truth about those who seek to represent them. The truth is all we need, not redactions, not more quangocrats.

Amen to that. And it's a message that needs to be shouted out loud every minute of every day from now until the dissolution. Someone in that disreputable House will eventually listen, surely.

One thing we do know for sure, though, is that that person won't be John Bercow.

All he does is speaks.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fake Reformers, Fake Reform

So the first Bercow 'big reform' is to cast off the Speaker's wig. This is a laughable, disingenuous gesture designed somehow to provide a visual representation of that 'clean break' the Berk referred to in his cringe-making speech yesterday. But if you take the wig off the man, all you are left with is the man - and this man is part of the problem. Dan Hannan:
...the hairpiece isn't simply a mediaeval relic. It's a reminder to its wearer it that his office is bigger than he is. It was a bad start when Michael Martin arrogantly refused the headgear. "It's just not me," he insisted, presuming to take the job on his own terms - an attitude which prefigured his eventual disgrace. Had the old boy slapped on the horsehair, it might have inspired him to try to live up to the role, to be a bigger man.
Tee hee. But through this first, empty act, Bercow's immediately fallen into line and begun to do precisely the kind of thing that Brown-Labour wants: distracting, fake iconoclasm motivated not by any genuine principle or sincere wish to modernise - or 'reform' - constructively a parliament that has been rendered rotten only by its current members' systematic abuse of its time-honoured traditions, but by a simple, dishonest desire to stay put. And they will do anything and say anything they can to that one end. As Peter Oborne said in a TV interview today, Bercow is the manifestation of the corruption that has crippled parliament. He was forced to pay six grand of evaded capital gains tax and over a thousand pounds' worth of dodgy claims for a personal accountant.

How can this man, along with all the other MPs now tainted by serious and proven sleaze, be trusted to reform the system? The answer is he most certainly cannot. The problem is, that question is part of the distraction. The fundamental point is this: forget trust - we're well beyond that - MPs, including Bercow, no longer have the moral authority to change or create law. For Labour to think that it can install its placeman in the Speaker's chair and carry on regardless is a (further) deep insult to the electorate. It is a travesty and the so-called reforms that will be generated consequently will be no more than meaningless windowdressing and a waste of precious parliamentary time.

It has already begun. Harriet Harperson's first announcement on reform is to table legislation making it a criminal offence (a criminal expense?) for MPs to fiddle their fees or fail to declare their interests punishable by 'up to a year' in stir. Have you stopped laughing yet? Aside from the fact there's no mention of existing legislation that covers the small matter of tax evasion - or of false accounting - here we have in your proverbial nutshell the contradiction that will confront this bankrupt government and the parliament it helped to corrupt: legislation like this would not be necessary if honourable members were just that, honourable. That they deem this legislation necessary merely proves to the public that they consider themselves untrustworthy. "Well, if they can't trust themselves with public money, why the hell should we," the public will rightly think. (I do.)

They will go around in circles, new Speaker in the chair he does not merit. They will make laws to constrain a future generation of politician who might well need no such constraint, given the inevitably far higher level of public expectation and scrutiny that new generation will accept it will have to endure. What's clear is that this government and this parliament were incapable of obeying the letter and the spirit of the rules they themselves partly created. They were also incapable of exercising judgment in the realm of propriety, both individually and collectively. There is therefore no reason for them to expect people to swallow the notion that they themselves, in some sort of "reflexive lawmaking", should be permitted to make a new law that forces them to obey the rules. We say: no thanks, you no longer have the right. Besides, it will miss its target because such a law is always contingent upon what those rules actually are and those rules are made by, you guessed it, MPs. You see? Going around in circles.

The old system might be flawed, but flawed or not its basic operating premise, that MPs are honest and honourable, is essential if we are to have real democracy. It requires a degree of faith on all our parts to be successful. An honour code is the only way our elected representatives can exercise the power we give them to supervise the sovereignty of parliament, thereby ensuring the continued health of the body politic. And therein we find the root-cause of the problem: one dishonourable MP can cause enormous damage to parliament and to that health. Six hundred dishonourable MPs, including the Prime Minister, and you have a severe crisis. And the longer they stay in parliament, the graver the damage they do, by the very fact of their continued presence. But it should be unsurprising to us that these people are reluctant to leave, regardless of this damage. They are who they are, after all: they don't care.

Bercow, with his fake iconoclasm, is merely another sign of that 'graver damage' to which I refer. This man is an insult to our intelligence, with or without a wig. He's the latest symptom of a decayed, diseased legislature. The chief carriers of the disease are Gord'elpus Brown and his gang of amoral Labourists. (Tory sleaze has become a mere secondary infection, incredibly.)

The cure? It's a purgative and it always works: a general election.

Monday, 22 June 2009

"Bercow's Not A Tory!" -Cameron

Puppet and master
Conservative Home has already given some inkling as to the scale of the animosity Labour has potentially generated by playing politics with the speaker's election. In cynically manoeuvering John Bercow into a winning position, the Labour goons have gleefully set Cameron and the shadow front bench on collision course with the man who now looks certain to be has now been elected to that office.
Revealing blog from Tom Harris MP:
"A Labour colleague was in the toilet next to the chamber just before the first ballot, when he was joined by David Cameron in the adjacent urinal.

“David, I’m about to vote Tory for the very first time in my life,” said my friend jovially.

“John Bercow doesn’t count!” replied Cameron."

Job done, then. Poisonous Brown Labour have screwed and skewed parliamentary process once more. These events must surely cast doubt upon the genuine freedom and secrecy of the voting process. And there we were thinking this sort of thing only happened in Zimbabwe and Iran.

A terrible result for British democracy, once again. Bercow has no support from the main opposition party and is a serial expenses abuser to boot. It will be in his interest to follow the Brown line of blaming 'the system', as though MPs are somehow victims of their own perfidy and greed, because 'the system' let them get away with it. And once more, we, the electorate, are told effectively to go f**k ourselves.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

God, Not Bercow!

So Labour's latest stitch-up is now under way. With rumours of whips being sent out to try to bully Labour MPs into voting for Beckett (God, not her!) reported in the Times apparently proving to be without foundation, it seems today's Guardian was right after all: there has been a plot in Labour's ranks to install the weakest Tory candidate, someone they will be able to push around, someone who is sympathetic to Gordon Brown's fake 'reform' agenda for the House of Commons and someone who allows them to tick the "Tories turn" box, thereby heading off that fair criticism (which Beckett's election would have generated).

Widdecombe looks out of it, which is a shame -she would have been colourful - but Young and Haselhurst are still in, so there's still hope that the nightmare scenario of Bercow or Beckett might yet be averted. I've crossed everything crossable.

Update 6.59pm
Bercow: 221; Young: 174

All the others are most likely out, according to Sky's MP twitter.

The nightmare's becoming reality....

Update 7.14pm
Some MP's just twittered:
"Some people are saying Bercow is a dead cert. Others not so sure. But Beckett and Beith's votes will mostly go to him."

Result at 7.45 8.30 8.00 8.45, apparently.
Update 8.02pm
Bercow has well-over 300 votes.

Update 8.28pm
Jim Knight MP has just twittered that it's a dead heat! The daddy of the House gets the casting vote in that case. Cool...

Update 8.30pm
It was rubbish - it's Bercow, comfortably. Damn you Labour. Another stitch-up.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Very British Coup

Just watched this 1989 classic for the first time in years. It got me thinking, if he rigs things so he doesn't have to go between now and June 2010 (or even beyond that date), then how the hell will we rid ourselves of Gordon 'Tyrant' Brown? It's a tricky one.

Tell you what, even though he's a Dennis Skinner-type loony communist, the fictional PM Harry Perkins is infinitely more desirable than Brown. At least he's honest. At least he has principles. At least he's reasonably normal. At least he's elected!

So we'll have to switch the plot lines around a bit for our little revolution. The restoration of British democracy is the goal, not the subversion of it, as in the film. That can't begin before our demagogue PM is removed and this cesspit parliament taken down with him. Any suggestions?

Anyway, here's a clip:

"I'm going to tell the truth."
"He can't do that. He's the Prime Minister."

Tee hee.

How To Sell A Potty Prime Minister (Not)

Prescott: "This is how to connect with the British public, Gordon, you great Scotch nancy."

A scan of the Sunday broadsheets has revealed to me the disturbing (or, rather, the disturbed) pattern of thought that lies behind the government's most recent laughable attempts at news management and image-building. Someone in the Cabinet Office is trying to resurrect the myth that usurping, smearing, epic economic disaster zone, Gordon Brown, is "courageous" and guided by some strange sort of religious morality. Someone else in the Cabinet Office is trying to breathe life into the propaganda corpse that is 'Tory cuts' despite the fact that this particular myth has been comprehensively exploded many times over the past few weeks. [see Fraser Nelson's latest reminder.]

Both desperate, tragic attempts at misleading the people are doomed to fail. Why? The old reason: the cabinet itself (what's left of it) is split right down the middle on the one key issue that's impervious to spin: if Labour are going to lose the next general election, will it be a calamity or a catastrophe under Brown?

First, the economy. The Sunday Times reports that the cabinet is badly split over the simplistic and dishonest assault on Tory spending plans currently being peddled by Brown and his stupid little bully boy, Ed Balls.

The prime minister was challenged at a session of the full cabinet last week after he insisted Labour should fight the general election on a platform of more public spending in contrast to Tory “cuts”. He is determined to repeat the tactic that helped Labour win in 2005, despite the economic recession making significant spending increases impossible.

Cabinet colleagues fear the strategy is “too crude” and are concerned that the government has not been candid enough about the challenges posed by Britain’s £175 billion budget deficit.

Among those who spoke out at Tuesday’s cabinet was Yvette Cooper, the work and pensions secretary, who is normally regarded as Brown’s most loyal female minister. Alistair Darling, the chancellor, warned that Brown’s central assertion that a Tory government would cut spending by 10% was based on flimsy extrapolations.

According to one source who was present, Brown was visibly irritated at the way he had been undermined, and brought the meeting to an early close, avoiding further debate.

The disclosures come as the prime minister’s plans for a “relaunch” are delayed for a second time as No 10 struggles to find eyecatching policies that can stand up to scrutiny.

Unease flared in last week’s cabinet when Brown said of the Tories: “First they will cut by 5%, then by 10%. That is an ideological decision, not a pragmatic one.” But Darling pointed out that Brown’s Tory cuts figures did not represent the party’s policy but were merely “extrapolations” based on figures produced by a think tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Cooper, previously the Treasury minister responsible for public spending, echoed his concerns and warned that ministers must beware of making spending pledges they could not deliver.

It seems Darling gets it. It seems even that vinegary robot, Yvette Cooper-Balls, gets it. But her husband doesn't and neither does the stubborn old Scots fraud himself. He not only doesn't get it, he is it. As splits go, this is about as severe as you can get. It is also, at least to me, since this has all been leaked to the public via a national broadsheet, irrefutable evidence that someone in that cabinet thinks Brown is a busted flush and wants him gone. I wonder if it's Darling. I wonder if he has made the 'calamity/catastrophe' calculation and seen that it adds up to the latter. It's far more solid than his PSBR estimates, after all. And he has every reason to feel aggrieved about his treatment at the hands of his erstwhile 'friend'. And he doesn't suffer from the kind of delusional stubbornness that Brown increasingly does.

Whoever it is, what's clear is that somebody in that cabinet thinks Brown is potty and must be ejected before it's too late. Brown-led Labour is dying.

If further evidence of Brownite lunacy were needed (it isn't), then we need look no further than the second part of Sunday's news management mayhem: the relaunch of the Brown 'courage' and 'moral compass' memes. Unfortunately, as with all things Brown, it's already all gone Pete Tong. The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that our potty PM is appearing on, wait for it, Songs of Praise. Yes, that blue rinse bible basher staple, Songs of Praise.

"What's the big deal? Other PMs have done that," I hear you say. Well, yes, they have done that - and talked exclusively about their choice of hymns, as is the norm. But that's not for Brown. Oh no. Tame exposure is good exposure: he's hardly going to be mauled by cuddly Scot, Sally Magnusson. So this SoP will be a lot different. Read it and weep, people:

The Prime Minister will be interviewed in Downing Street this week by Sally Magnusson, one of the regular presenters of the BBC's popular religious programme.

When the show – during which Mr Brown will speak about courage and the people who have inspired him – is broadcast next month the chosen hymns will include Be Still My Soul, Fight the Good Fight and Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd.

Aides hope the move will help to reconnect the Prime Minister with Middle Britain after a torrid few weeks which have seen him struggle to survive the MPs' expenses scandal, Labour's worst election results since 1910 and a series of bitter ministerial resignations.

The interview will form part of a "fightback" strategy which will see Mr Brown attempt to put forward a more human image to voters.

In a far franker-than-usual newspaper interview this weekend the Prime Minister admitted the attempted coup by his Labour opponents had been the worst weeks of his political life.

He told The Guardian also said he had been "hurt" by personal attacks and added: "To be honest, you could walk away from all this tomorrow.

"I'm not interested in what accompanies being in power. I wouldn't worry if I never returned to those places – Downing street, Chequers... And it would probably be good for my children."

Although he insisted Labour could still win the next election under his leadership, he admitted weaknesses.

"I'm not as great a presenter of information or communicator as I would like to be," he said.

He added, in comments likely to raise eyebrows among MPs, that he was "not very good" at political manoeuvring. He also claimed he could become a teacher after leaving politics.

Some Labour MPs last night detected the hand of Lord Mandelson, the all-powerful Business Secretary, in Mr Brown's new penitent tone.

When you stop laughing, just think about how a 'penitent' Brown is going to sound and then start all over again. Remember, this is the guy who smeared his political opponents in the most hateful way imaginable, including members of his own party. This is the man for whom a simple apology for Smeargate was as hard to extract as an impacted wisdom tooth. This is the man who apologised for the expenses horror show only after he was boxed into a corner by an ever so 'umble David Cameron. This is the man whose known associates include Damien "Omen II" McBride and Derek Draper, ffs.

Bottom line: this is a man who is potty enough to believe that a dose of fake hand-wringing, dressed-up as moral authority and dished-out on what is meant to be an apolitical Christian singsong programme (target audience: three million OAPs who want Brown to give them back their pensions) is the perfect platform for yet another relaunch of his cesspool image. Unfortunately for him, I'm pretty sure the burnt-out, recycled moral compass/courage claptrap won't wash with the pensioners let alone the 57 million other members of Britain's non-Songs of Praise watching congregation. "Reconnect with middle Britain"? My sides are splitting. This is a pretty spectacular delusion even by Brownian standards. Cabinet members will ask (and, it seems, are already asking): is this really the best we can do?

While Songs of Praise normally features churchgoers talking about their favourite hymns, Mr Brown will appear in a special edition focusing on courage.

He wrote a book on the subject, which was published in 2007 and detailed the lives of eight figures whom he believed to exemplify courage. Other guests will include a woman who has campaigned against gun crime.

The BBC is understood to have approached the Prime Minister before the expenses scandal engulfed parliament, but the programme could nevertheless present him with an opportunity to reassert his credentials as a devout and honest politician.

He has previously referred to being guided by a "moral compass", and last month claimed that the revelations over expenses had offended his "Presbyterian conscience".

This will be one of a kind: a hilarious train wreck. I can't wait.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Blair Running Scared

The Observer's just broken this pretty shocking story. What's the real reason for Brown opting for a secret Iraq whitewash inquiry? Is it that Brown has something to hide himself? Probably, but no, not quite that. Is it because there was pressure brought to bear by a US government keen not to reopen old wounds? Absolutely not.

The real reason for the secret inquiry is that Brown did a deal with - guess who - Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. According to the Observer:

Tony Blair urged Gordon Brown to hold the independent inquiry into the Iraq war in secret because he feared that he would be subjected to a "show trial" if it were opened to the public, the Observer can reveal.

The revelation that the former prime minister, who led the country to war in March 2003, had intervened will fuel the anger of MPs, peers, military leaders and former civil servants, who were appalled by Brown's decision last week to order the investigation to be conducted behind closed doors.

Blair, who resisted pressure for a full public inquiry while he was prime minister, appears to have taken a deliberate decision not to express his view in person to Brown because he feared it might leak out.

Instead, messages were relayed through others to Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, who conveyed them to the prime minister in the days leading up to last week's inquiry announcement.

The other parties are already up in arms about this, and Nick Clegg's reaction was pretty blunt:
"If this is true about Blair demanding secrecy, it is simply outrageous that an inquiry into the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez is being muzzled to suit the individual needs of the man who took us to war - Tony Blair."
Quite. It's another stitch-up from beginning to end. Just like the referendum on Europe, out-of-control public finances as Brown tries to buy himself a general election, the expenses scandal and a whole clutch of others. I suppose we should not expect anything more from the most corrupt and incompetent government in the history of Britain.

The Tories offer a faint glimmer of hope, though, as they have 'threatened' to widen the scope of the inquiry if Brown doesn't immediately perform an about-face. Good for them.

But Brown. Ah, Brown. Lying once again to House of Commons. Doing shady deals with his nemesis. Spinning his way into another media disaster. What a numpty.

"Security" was his excuse for holding a secret investigation, with no powers of subpoena and no witness oath, with a panel tainted by previous inquiries and a report delayed for a year. Well, people, now we know the real reason: one more small favour for his predecessor; one more giant insult to the people of the United Kingdom. Mind you, I doubt he did it willingly. Brown thought he had finally killed-off Blair once he'd knifed him in the back and stolen his crown. But it's never that easy with regicide. Ask Menzies Campbell.

As the only suitable role model for Brown I can think of would say:
The time has been,
That when the brains were out the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools.
Blair's ghost has returned to haunt the usurper, mad McBrown. Seriously, though, just when you think this government cannot get any worse, something like this pops up. Incredible. Surreal.


Diddums Brown

The BBC, unsurprisingly, is making a huge thing out of Brown's discomfort during the challenge last week to his illegitimate leadership. He says he was 'hurt', according to the Beeb. But the entire article amounts to no more or less than a Gordon Brown publicity stunt.

We pay for that. And that pisses me off.

I agree with Brown: he was definitely hurt by evidence that he's not only useless, but a trougher too.

He was hurt - just not badly enough to make him an ex-Prime Minister.

Unless this troubled man, Brown, is ejected from the office that he stole, Britain could literally 'go under'. As long as this Labour government clings on to illegitimate power, Britain is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship.

If you disagree then you are either dimwit Labour voting fodder, or you just do not appreciate the legitimacy of anger in ours, the vox populi.

"Brown Out; Labour Gone" is the only message that counts. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm just about ready to act. Directly. I'm angry, see. I don't know about you, but I have had enough.

Brown Out; Labour Gone.

Friday, 19 June 2009

MPs' Council Tax Fraud

Tomorrow's expenses expose in the DT is probably the most gobsmackingly enraging of them all. More than 50 MPs have been over-claiming for Council Tax and pocketing the extra cash, most of them, surprise surprise, Labour. Not content with having all their utilities, mortgage interest and local taxes on their second homes paid for by us (why?), these troughers have gone a step further and actually submitted false tax claims.

Let's just remind ourselves of what the Department of Work and Pensions (you know, the department in which Kitty Ussher recently held a ministerial post, just before she entered the Treasury) says about people who try to cheat the benefits system:
Deliberately withholding information that affects your claim is stealing. That’s why we are targeting benefit thieves!

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) takes benefit theft very seriously. Although the vast majority of people who claim benefits are honest, those who steal benefits are picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers. In 2007-08 benefit thieves stole an estimated £800 million from public funds, that's why we are determined to catch them.

The government threats should not be taken lightly. There is no doubt that the government is serious about imprisoning benefit fraudsters - and that is what makes their hypocrisy so abject, and their fiddles so serious. That these thefts from the public purse are perpetrated by lawmakers is one thing, that so many appear to have been happy to misappropriate tax funds is quite another. Let's take a look at what the government says about tax fraud:
Tax fraud is when someone pays too little tax, or wrongly claims a tax repayment by acting dishonestly.The government can prosecute people who commit tax fraud, as well as anyone who helps them to commit the fraud.
As far as I am concerned, the redaction of the original document where these claims are revealed by MPs, who did not know that an uncensored copy would reach the press, shows intent. At the very least it demonstrates that many MPs felt they had something to hide and then tried to hide it. This fact alone merits extensive investigation. Simply repaying money because you've been found out is insufficient - and the police know that, so why are they not acting on information received?

All in all, though, this rotten parliament, as if this needs repeating once again, is morally bankrupt, has lost all authority to make law, is poisoned, paralysed and must be dissolved. Shout it out loud, folks. Every day from now until the dissolution. Many of these people are simply crooks and only a general election can rid us of them once and for all.

The Old Bill Goes In

Rozzers: some last minute truncheon practice before the raid

So Scotland Yard has decided to investigate four MPs and a Peer for their mortgage frauds. About time!

Suspects on their list include phantom mortgage claimants Chaytor and Morley according to the Speccy. Marvellous.

Somehow, though, I have a feeling that these abusers of public office and breakers of the law will get away with it. And if that happens, given that this pair, along with fellow Labourist fraudsters Hope and Moran, are the worst of the worst, then there will be no convictions at all of any of the hundreds of MPs who've been fiddling the system (by avoiding capital gains tax, for instance).

We shall see.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Blears Not Deselected - Exclusive Pictures

Hazel Blears, Sky is reporting, will not be deselected by her local Labour Party in Salford. I've uploaded the most recent pictures of her reaction to this disappointing news - disappointing to us, that is, not to the evil gopher, obviously. She seemed pretty happy about it: