The Official Inflation Stats:

They bear little relationship

to voters’ real life experience

In some instances it gives little or no pleasure to be ahead of the game. We are now in as sharp and sudden an economic downturn as I can remember but the curious thing is that everyone seems taken by surprise. Yet the signs were there at least six months ago to anyone who cared to see them. Why have we been caught unawares?

I wrote in December 2007 of my sense of déjà vu, to the effect that there was a sudden 1970s flavour to politics as the row over police pay got under way. It will be recalled that, in a quibble over some £30 million, Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith imposed a pay rise of less than 2% on the police apparently in order to set a benchmark for public sector pay. This was, for me, and I suspect many others of my age, a sudden reminder of the struggles over pay, public sector and otherwise, that took place in the 1970s post the 1973 oil crisis and which did so much to bring us to our knees by the time the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979.

I also wrote of the bogus nature of the governments measures of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index and the Retail Prices Index:

Which brings me (stop groaning at the back there) to the point. We have noticed out here in The Sticks in recent months substantial rises in prices in the basics of life, food, fuel (obviously) and all those things which emanate from the supermarkets. The rises have been well above the current levels of either the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) or the Retail Prices Index (RPI) (2.1% and 4.2% respectively in October).

There has been all this year a steady and inexorable rise in this or that commodity at the supermarkets which I (and I appreciate that this may reveal the extent of my economic illiteracy) always think of as being as good a true reflection of inflation as you can get, given the wide variety of goods from all over the world that require an enormous variety of means of production to create them and of transport to get them here. I imagine that your average elector certainly sees the supermarket as a more accurate reflection of inflation than anything the Government puts out. The Police, of course, are, by and large, average electors. For them striking is illegal, but it is lawful for them to talk of it and the fact that they are so doing may reflect the pinch they are feeling, a pinch that may be more universal than the government is letting on.

Now the price rises have gathered pace. I reckon the CPI and RPI figures are fantasy stuff: the true rate of inflation is somewhere between 10 and 15%. Not scientific, I know, but I have got into the habit of disbelieving government statistics, even if they do come from a notionally independent Office of National Statistics.

Now the Main Stream Media and the government are being forced to acknowledge that which we little people have known for months: that price inflation for the necessaries of life – food, petrol & energy and so on – was far above that which was suggested by Official figures. As a family we had already been taken aback by the sudden rise in food prices in part because I can remember the debilitating effects of inflation in the 1970s and what it was like to live in a time of rampant inflation and partly because it was so sudden and unexpected.

So it is without pleasure that one notices that the MSM etc are finally awakening to that which the public has known for months and which to my mind has been one of the principal motors of Gordon Brown’s personal fall from grace.

I think that the carefully contrived spat over the issue of police pay was no mere straw in the wind but born of Gordon Brown’s full knowledge that bad times were on their way. He picked on the group of public employees least able to fight back (the police, who are by law forbidden to strike) knowing that we were about to enter into a period of high inflation which would bring in its wake demands from other public sector employees backed by the Unions for above-inflation pay rises designed to keep ahead of inflation; in other words a return to the endless cycle of galloping inflation and the pay round which so prostrated us in the 1970s.

For what it is worth I reckon that the figure which is now being given out for food price inflation – 10.6% – is months out of date and that that was where we were six months or so ago. I reckon it is nearer to 15% now.

Which all begs the question: what did McStalin know and when did he know it? If, as I believe, he knew months ago that this was the position, then why did he not share it with the people of the country. Then we might have been in a position to make other choices and other preparations in advance, to plan rather than to have to react to the situation now thrust upon us.

Of course he would say that the price of oil has made its major advances in only the last few months. But the inexorable rise in its price was well under way in late 2007 and the scenario which is now unfloding was, I am confident, known then to the Prime Minister. Whay then has he not taken us into his confidence?

Well, we know the answer to that, do we not?

His peers such as John Major cluck disapprovingly about the personal attacks on Brown. Major, it might be thought, having been on the receiving end of some pretty justified criticism of his character and judgement, was no doubt merely reflecting the views of the ex-Prime Minsiters Club.

The rest of us might care to take a more dispassionate view of Brown. The truth of it is that he knew what was coming: at the very least the Treasury is paid in part to foresee such circumstances and its forecasting will have told Brown long ago what was up. Yet he deliberately chose not to warn us of what was coming.

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly he could never admit to us that the economy was about to go pear-shaped. The entire McStalin edifice rests on the sands of the economy and the fact that he has been in charge of it since 1997 means that if it goes wrong there is absolutely no on else to blame, no hiding place for Macavity: L’État, c’est moi!”. If it goes wrong, he and only he is going to be held culpable.

Secondly, concealing this from the public has everything to do with the electoral fortunes of the Labour Party.

If we are seen to have returned, albeit for different reasons, some extraneous but mostly self-inflicted, to a situation that we last experienced in the last of the Wilson-Callaghan years, then this provides huge ammunition to those of us who believe that Labour governments always end this way, with inflation through the roof and no money in the bank to tide us over.

That is a potent weapon to be placed in the hand of those of us who aspire to crush socialism out of our national life for ever and a day and as this turns from downturn to recession the size of the weapon grows daily.

For those who would still attribute decent, honourable motives to Gordon Brown, one is inclined to take a tough line. This man is a consummate Labour political operator who cheats, spins and lies his way through his political life and who, for narrow interests of the party whose principal raison d’être is legalised theft, would do or say anything to keep his hands on the levers of power and the buckles of our purses.

There is, then, a delicious irony in having him caught firmly hoisted with his own petard. He has opted to try and con us with the use of the CPI that inflation is only 3.8%. Since this is now a country mile away from the real figure as far as the necessaries of life which all must buy, rich and poor, young and old, and from the real life experience of most voters, he has been found out by his own deceits.

This is only just. But it is a pity that it has taken ten years and more for his true nature to dawn on the British public and that the damage to our economy and the fabric of the nation is already done. Now we must look to Cameron and Osborne to lead us forward, for, like it or not, they will be in the driving seat from 2010 onwars, when Gordon Brown and his Socialists have finally been driven from power, hopefully for the last time.

COMMENT THREAD

McNulty: a typical Labour MP long
on theory, short on real life experience

Tony McNulty, Counter-terrorism Minister, responds to more trenchant and devastating criticism from Eliza Manningham-Buller, lately director-general of the MI5, of Brown’s plan to detain terrorists without trial for 42 days by suggesting she has little experience of such matters. That’s rich from a man whose only job outside government was as principal lecturer in organisational behaviour at the University of North London.

It is a constant theme with this government that almost all of its members are professional politicians who have entered politics from the world of political theory, following a typical route of intern to researcher to think-tank theoretician or university lecturer. McNulty has a first degree in Political Theory and Institutions and a Masters in Political Science. He then went off to be a lecturer in something called ‘organisational behaviour’ at a former Poly.

He entered Parliament in 1997, just eleven years ago, after a stint as leader of the Labour group on Harrow Council.

His first Ministerial post was Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2002-3), with responsibility for neighbourhood renewal, housing and planning. So he was part of super-buffoon John Prescott’s plans to concrete over what remains of the green belt.

He had previously served as a Whip (1999-2002) following a period as Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Blunkett.

He was promoted to Minister of State with responsibility for rail and London at the Department of Transport in September 2004, having joined the Department as Parliamentary Under Secretary with responsibility for aviation, local transport and London in June 2003.

In May 2005 he became a Home Office Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Nationality and Citizenship. In May 2006 he was appointed Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety which was changed to Minister of State for Security, Counter Terrorism, Crime and Policing in June 2007. In July 2007 he was sworn of Her Majesty’s Privy Council.

Lots of experience of terrorism and counter-terrorism there, wouldn’t you say?

Of Dame Eliza he had this to say:

“For all that solid public service over 33 years none of it was involved in the investigation and prosecutorial aspects of operations,” he told Sky News.

“Her experience in that end of operations… is very limited.”

Later Mr McNulty said Baroness Manningham-Buller’s experience had been “at the intelligence end – the intelligence end is profoundly different from the investigative and prosecutorial end.”

By contrast Dame Eliza has spent an entire lifetime in the service of the State in MI5, specialising in counter-terrorism. As such she might be thought to have acquired just a teensy-weensy bit of knowledge about terrorists and their mindset.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller:

a formidable lady who rose to

the top of her profession on merit

McNulty’s singularly stupid attack on Dame Eliza will, one suspects, have gone down like a lead balloon with Peers who are able to put a proper value on the sort of experience she has.

It is, of course, a matter entirely for you to decide whose judgement in these matters you would rather trust: a Johnny-come-lately politician who has been in Parliament five minutes or a distinguished former boss of MI5.

For my part I reckon McNulty is one of the bigger twerps this government has thrown up, a judgement confirmed by this singularly misbegotten piece of criticism of someone who has more knowledge of counter-terrorism in her little finger than he has in his entire body.

Comment Thread

The Brown Junta continues to
think it can have its cake and eat
it with the Barnett Formula.
A nasty shock may be lying in wait

Another part of the Labour Gerrymander comes under assault today – this time from a normally Labour-sympathetic think-tank, The Institute for Public Policy Research (North). The Barnett Formula, the means by which public spending is allocated to different parts of The Union, is, IPPR North says, “inequitable and could undermine the Union unless reformed”. A helpful table states the bald facts.

This shows the positively shocking extent to which Labour’s heartlands – the regions from which they draw the great bulk of their MPs – Scotland, the North-East and the North-West, London and Wales – are favoured by the Barnett Formula which even its progenitor, former Treasury Minister in the Callaghan Government Joel Barnett says is out of date and in urgent need of reform.

Scotland in particular, from whence the Brown Junta draws the support of some 39 MPs (though that may be about spectacularly to diminish by one if Labour’s vote in Glasgow East, its third safest seat in the land, were to implode in the forthcoming bye-election) many of whom are routinely rewarded with government jobs.


Over the years all governments, but Labour in particular, have happily allowed this position to continue without significant tinkering. The Tories have been unwilling to meddle lest they further undermine their reduced vote north of the Border. Labour has shown no inclination whatsoever to change it, for the very simple underlying motive which has everything to do with pork-barrel politics.

Now, though, the Formula has become one of Devolution’s pigeons come home to roost. Devolution was supposed to kill off the SNP threat to Labour for ever and a day. That worked a treat: a minority SNP Executive rules the roost in Labour’s stead. Instead it has become, as IPPR North says, a threat to the Union itself.

Labour will doubtless continue to insist on its preservation:

a Treasury spokesperson said the Government was not about to scrap the formula, which provided a “fair allocation” reflecting population shares in different parts of the UK.

He added: “The Government is committed to improving prosperity and growth in all regions and countries of the UK.

“While it takes note of all contributions to the debate on this subject, the Government has no plans to change the Barnett formula.”

Such a statement beggars belief. How can anyone with a registerable IQ say that giving Scots 21% more than the UK average and 49% more than the South-East amounts to a “fair allocation” of resources? Quite why intelligent individuals make such absurd observations will baffle other ordinary mortals who can spot a grave imbalance when they see one.

This obstinacy, however, is part of a pattern. Brown routinely denies there is anything remotely undemocratic in the arrangements which the ‘West Lothian Question’ addresses whereas many English voters consider the ability of Scottish MPs, who are utterly unaccountable to English voters, to vote on matters which touch exclusively on the expenditure of Taxpayer’s money in England when English MPs have no influence whatsoever on hoe their money is being spent in Scotland a democratic outrage.

Likewise Labour can see no wrong in the Barnett Formula. Well, they would think that, wouldn’t they? Their heartlands are in receipt of such huge dollops of largesse when compared with those areas where Tories are more inclined to dominate. They would doubtelss argue that the allocations fairly reflect the fact of the relative situations of the various regions and are designed to offset the relative economic deprivation from which the winners under the Formula suffer.

The Barnett Formula has been around for some thirty years. Yet it does not seem to have brought much benefit to the likes of Glasgow East, nor to many other areas of Scotland which routinely return Labour MPs to Westminster. Instead such places are repositories of some of the worst social conditions in the land. The same might be said of the North-East and North-West of England. The sense that these regions have become ‘aid junkies’ is very strong.

The problem for Labour is that they are damned if they do something about the Formula and damned if they do not. If they act, it must be at the expense of Scotland whose allocation of money must thus fall. This, they fear, will simply play into the hand of the SNP who will then bleat long and hardf about Westminster stealing ‘Scottish’ money. On the other hand doing nothing will further inflame English voters who understand only too well what is going on.

Were it not for the damage that all this does to the Union, the situation would be one from which one migh derive considerable and long-lasting pleasure. The threat to the Union is one entirely of Labour’s creation (aided and abetted by their Lib’Dem’ chums). Now all of the things which were foretold of Devolution are coming to pass. The result may well be one which Labour thought they were avoiding by their espousal of Devolution: the elimination of their Scottish vote bank at Westminster and the everlasting enmity of large sections of the English electorate for having thus destroyed the Union.

That would be, one might say, a very simple case of what happens when you make rules for the game which are inherently unfair and how the Labour Gerrymander eventually undid Labour itself.

An interesting moment is coming. It may well be, as even instinctive Labour supporting commentators seem to feel, that we are on the cusp of a movement in the political tectonic plates and that Brown’s fleeting moment of popularity in the summer of 2007 was no more than ‘the dead cat bounce’ of a party which was already unpopular and is now in free-fall.

If the Conservative party secures a landslide at the next election, a circumstance which, provided they hold their nerve, is very much on the cards, then they will have an unrivalled opportunity for a radical rearrangement of the furniture in the Union House. The Barnett Formula and the West Lothian Question would be good places to start, in the intersts of England which is unfairly disadvantaged by these undemocratic and unjust arrangements.

If they are not dealt with, then all politicians should bear in mind the reponse of British Colonialists in America to unjust and undemocratic arrangements of this sort: they came up with the phrase ‘no taxation without representation’ and, after a lengthy and, at times bitter, struggle, overthrew the established order. Sometimes one is inclined to think that that might be no bad thing.

COMMENT THREAD

The first time a Socialist paw
is laid on a bottle of Krug and
Brown’s ‘waste, not, want not’
policy will be toast

When John Major exposed his ‘back to basics’ strategy to the world, it sniggered and winced in equal proportions. It sniggered because it knew it was doomed to fail with the first dropping of a Tory MP’s pants and winced because it knew just how silly Major was about to look. Now Brown is at it.

A propos Major, I winced a lot, for, human failing and frailty being what it is, not least the lawyer’s stock-in-trade, I knew it would be only a short moment or two before the first Tory adulterer was smoked out of the woodwork. So it proved to be, to nobody’s surprise.

We fondly believed at the time that it was, however, to John Major’s surprise as he emerged blinking into the sunlight every time yet another Tory was caught in flagrante delicto, apparently puzzled as to this unexpected rash of personal failings in his colleagues as the likes of Mellor, Yeo and so on were found to have been engaged in this or that piece of naughtiness. In fact he was well at it himself with the unspeakable Edwina Currie, so he was later to suffer the double blow of being thought a rank hypocrite and immensely stupid to boot.

What, I hear you ask, has all this to do with Our Dear Leader? Has the Son of the Manse been found engaged in some steamy ménage à trois above Number 10?

Sadly, no: were it so, he might find himself to be rather more liked as a man by dint of having an unexpected but racy flaw in his character. That is about as likely, however, as finding him voting for the BNP.

No, his claim to boobydom has come with his having, whilst on his way to a big beano in Japan where there will surely be wall-to-wall sushi on offer, urged us all to stop wasting food: (‘waste not, want not‘, in The Times, for example). Indeed the Daily Politics today reports that indeed there will be shedloads of suchi, foie gras, Perigord Black Truffles, sea urchins and something called ‘G8 pate’ (glutinous and indigestible, I dare say) at no less than eight official troughing sessions down to which the G8 Nabobs will be sitting: Guido has managed to snaffle from somewhere a copy of a menu for one of the G8 days which demonstrates the sort of belt-tightening McStalin has in mind.

I confidently predict that, given the propensity for political hacks and The Ovine & The Bovine troughing in close proximity to one another, it will not be long before John Prescott is spotted leaving his fourth helping of steak and kidney pudding half finished, at which point the charge of hypocrisy will swiftly be levelled. Or a particularly good party at the home of Champagne Socialist Shaun Woodward will have every last loving detail of the tartinas on offer and just how many bottles of Sainsbury’s own brand of vintage Champagne were required to wash them all down lovingly splashed all over the front pages.

It also sits pretty poorly with his failure to get his Ministers to vote for a curtailment of the system of allowances and expenses enjoyed by MPs, so that he has chosen to call for some serious literal belt-tightening by 59,999,354 of us whilst the other 646 have, by his conspicuous dearth of leadership, been urged to continue to spend, spend, spend.

McStalin is often said to be be the most cerebral of politicians of his, or indeed, if you can believe it, of any day. I reckon that pretty well every major decision (and a fair chunk of the little ones, too) he has made since the spring of 2007 have actually proved to be indications of serial boobiness. This one certainly has ‘booby factor ten’ written all over it.

More to the point, this is a remarkable statement for a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to feel he has to make. Since the ending of rationing in the early 1950s we have not really had to think much about parsimony in the kitchen as a way of life. Indeed the whole thrust of the intervening fifty years had been a solid increase in consumption across the board, such that we now have a serious problems with obesity in the UK.

It speaks instead of a time of gloom and doom for huge swathes of the British electorate who will be wondering just whose fault all this is. They will quickly fix on McStalin.

Now this dour Socialist apparatchik finds himself urging an electorate which already hates him to relearn the virtues of corned beef hash and currying the left-overs from the weekend joint of beef. Not so much ‘back to the 1970s’ as ‘back to the 1940s’.

Woolton Pie, anyone?

COMMENT THREAD


One of these two men is a weak, yellow,

mendacious, dishonourable, duplicitous,

opportunist ditherer. The other is

Mr. David Cameron

Yesterday’s House of Commons vote by MPs voted to thwart even a modest degree of proper scrutiny into how they spend Taxpayers’ money on themselves demonstrates succinctly how this weak Prime Minister fails to provide proper Leadership. Cameron told his Front Benchers to support the move. Brown gave his frontbench a free vote. Result: 69 Ministers and their PPSs ensured the measure’s defeat.

Of the 172 voting down the proposal, no less than 39 were Government Ministers and a further 30 were Parliamentary Private Secretaries (unpaid junior MPs who act as the minister’s liaison with the backbenches). Had Brown lead from the front few if any of these would have gone anywhere near the ‘Aye’ lobby and the whole matter would have ended quite differently. Of the remainder the vast majority were Labour MPs. Only the likes of Anne Widdecombe, Ann & Nicholas Winterton (whose enthusiasm for the bottom of the pork barrel has been well-documented) and a handful of others from other parties voted with 146 Labour MPs to keep the Hon. Member for Eatanswill in the style to which he has become accustomed.

That shocking number tells you all you need to know about the rotten greedy heart of Labour.



The support of the government is of a piece with government support for the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2007 proposed by David Maclean (Penrith & The Border, Conservative) which would have prevented the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in respect of MPs expenses. Whilst of late it has been Conservative MPs and MEPs firmly in the frame for having their snouts in the trough, one has always suspected that it was Labour who have the greatest amount to fear from any sort of exposurte of MPs expenses to the clear light of day, not merely for the fact of what they have been claiming but because the enthusiasm of Labour MPs for taking tax off the voters sits pretty badly with the sight of them plunging themselves into the trough up to the neck.

So there we have our gallant Prime Minister who, were he fully in the saddle, could have waved his hand and kept his Front Bench out of the ‘Aye’ lobby. Instead he dares not offend his parliamentary party lest it engender further revolts against his already dissipating authority. Yet again we have been shown a clear technicolour view of the yellow spine of this gutless Prime Minster.

He has become with astonishing rapidity, the most lame lame-duck PM by whom this country has ever had the misfortune to be administered. The political ineptitude of this is striking in one who was purveyed to us by the 313 Labour MPs who voted him into office by acclamation last year as a ‘great statesman and great politician’. One might think that shabby, calculating schemer was nearer the mark.

UPDATE: It is said that Our Dear Leader Gordon Brown was ‘disappointed’ at the result of the vote on expenses in which MPs voted to carry on spending taxpayers’ money on furniture and home improvements. It also appears that:

No 10 sources said that Mr Brown was kept away from the expenses vote by a meeting at Downing Street.

‘It would have been broken up for him if there was a chance of winning but we’d been told there wasn’t,’ an insider said. ‘He is obviously very disappointed.’

So, he would have turned up for a winner, doubtless so that he could garner plaudits for taking a principled stand. But, coward that he is, he elected to skulk in Number 10 doing his Macavity act once more.

Would it not have been infinitely more courageous to have taken the stand even in losing cause? And might not others, particularly his own Cabinet and Government colleagues, have felt constrained by his appearance in the Lobbies to follow his lead, thus overturning the ‘Aye’ vote of shame?

Character will be a major issue at the next election – indeed at any contest at the polls between now and then – and on almost every relevant count this Prime Minister fails to measure up. On this occasion he has given a clear and unambiguous demonstration of his failure of leadership and his deep-seated cowardice. It is for these and other grave character flaws that he has been rumbled by the people.

In addition the electorate has noted that no one in the Cabinet – nay, anywhere in the Lab our Party – seems willing to do anything to put a bit of backbone into their leader. This too will be placed into the account come the time of reckoning. Oblivion beckons.



This
is the list of Government Ministers and PPSs who brought such shame upon him last night:

Anderson, Mr. David

Austin, Mr. Ian

Bailey, Mr. Adrian

Banks, Gordon

Blackman, Liz

Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta

Blizzard, Mr. Bob

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr. Alan

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Rosie

Cunningham, Mr. Jim

Cunningham, Tony

David, Mr. Wayne

Eagle, Angela

Eagle, Maria

Ennis, Jeff

Flint, rh Caroline

Follett, Barbara

Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hesford, Stephen

Hughes, rh Beverley

Johnson, Ms Diana R.

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Mr. Eric

Kidney, Mr. David

Lewis, Mr. Ivan

Lucas, Ian

Marris, Rob

McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McCarthy-Fry, Sarah

McDonagh, Siobhain

McGovern, Mr. Jim

McGuire, Mrs. Anne

McNulty, rh Mr. Tony

Merron, Gillian

Moon, Mrs. Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Murphy, rh Mr. Paul

O’Brien, Mr. Mike

Plaskitt, Mr. James

Prentice, Bridget

Robertson, John

Ruane, Chris

Russell, Christine

Seabeck, Alison

Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)

Smith, rh Jacqui

Snelgrove, Anne

Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr. Gareth

Twigg, Derek

Ussher, Kitty

Waltho, Lynda

Ward, Claire

Watson, Mr. Tom

Watts, Mr. Dave

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun

Woolas, Mr. Phil

Wright, David

Wright, Mr. Iain

Wyatt, Derek



COMMENT THREAD


One of these two men is a weak, yellow,

mendacious, dishonourable, duplicitous,

opportunist ditherer. The other is

Mr. David Cameron

Yesterday’s House of Commons vote by MPs voted to thwart even a modest degree of proper scrutiny into how they spend Taxpayers’ money on themselves demonstrates succinctly how this weak Prime Minister fails to provide proper Leadership. Cameron told his Front Benchers to support the move. Brown gave his frontbench a free vote. Result: 69 Ministers and their PPSs ensured the measure’s defeat.

Of the 172 voting down the proposal, no less than 39 were Government Ministers and a further 30 were Parliamentary Private Secretaries (unpaid junior MPs who act as the minister’s liaison with the backbenches). Had Brown lead from the front few if any of these would have gone anywhere near the ‘Aye’ lobby and the whole matter would have ended quite differently. Of the remainder the vast majority were Labour MPs. Only the likes of Anne Widdecombe, Ann & Nicholas Winterton (whose enthusiasm for the bottom of the pork barrel has been well-documented) and a handful of others from other parties voted with 146 Labour MPs to keep the Hon. Member for Eatanswill in the style to which he has become accustomed.

That shocking number tells you all you need to know about the rotten greedy heart of Labour.



The support of the government is of a piece with government support for the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2007 proposed by David Maclean (Penrith & The Border, Conservative) which would have prevented the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in respect of MPs expenses. Whilst of late it has been Conservative MPs and MEPs firmly in the frame for having their snouts in the trough, one has always suspected that it was Labour who have the greatest amount to fear from any sort of exposurte of MPs expenses to the clear light of day, not merely for the fact of what they have been claiming but because the enthusiasm of Labour MPs for taking tax off the voters sits pretty badly with the sight of them plunging themselves into the trough up to the neck.

So there we have our gallant Prime Minister who, were he fully in the saddle, could have waved his hand and kept his Front Bench out of the ‘Aye’ lobby. Instead he dares not offend his parliamentary party lest it engender further revolts against his already dissipating authority. Yet again we have been shown a clear technicolour view of the yellow spine of this gutless Prime Minster.

He has become with astonishing rapidity, the most lame lame-duck PM by whom this country has ever had the misfortune to be administered. The political ineptitude of this is striking in one who was purveyed to us by the 313 Labour MPs who voted him into office by acclamation last year as a ‘great statesman and great politician’. One might think that shabby, calculating schemer was nearer the mark.

UPDATE: It is said that Our Dear Leader Gordon Brown was ‘disappointed’ at the result of the vote on expenses in which MPs voted to carry on spending taxpayers’ money on furniture and home improvements. It also appears that:

No 10 sources said that Mr Brown was kept away from the expenses vote by a meeting at Downing Street.

‘It would have been broken up for him if there was a chance of winning but we’d been told there wasn’t,’ an insider said. ‘He is obviously very disappointed.’

So, he would have turned up for a winner, doubtless so that he could garner plaudits for taking a principled stand. But, coward that he is, he elected to skulk in Number 10 doing his Macavity act once more.

Would it not have been infinitely more courageous to have taken the stand even in losing cause? And might not others, particularly his own Cabinet and Government colleagues, have felt constrained by his appearance in the Lobbies to follow his lead, thus overturning the ‘Aye’ vote of shame?

Character will be a major issue at the next election – indeed at any contest at the polls between now and then – and on almost every relevant count this Prime Minister fails to measure up. On this occasion he has given a clear and unambiguous demonstration of his failure of leadership and his deep-seated cowardice. It is for these and other grave character flaws that he has been rumbled by the people.

In addition the electorate has noted that no one in the Cabinet – nay, anywhere in the Lab our Party – seems willing to do anything to put a bit of backbone into their leader. This too will be placed into the account come the time of reckoning. Oblivion beckons.



This
is the list of Government Ministers and PPSs who brought such shame upon him last night:

Anderson, Mr. David

Austin, Mr. Ian

Bailey, Mr. Adrian

Banks, Gordon

Blackman, Liz

Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta

Blizzard, Mr. Bob

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr. Alan

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Rosie

Cunningham, Mr. Jim

Cunningham, Tony

David, Mr. Wayne

Eagle, Angela

Eagle, Maria

Ennis, Jeff

Flint, rh Caroline

Follett, Barbara

Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hesford, Stephen

Hughes, rh Beverley

Johnson, Ms Diana R.

Jowell, rh Tessa

Joyce, Mr. Eric

Kidney, Mr. David

Lewis, Mr. Ivan

Lucas, Ian

Marris, Rob

McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McCarthy-Fry, Sarah

McDonagh, Siobhain

McGovern, Mr. Jim

McGuire, Mrs. Anne

McNulty, rh Mr. Tony

Merron, Gillian

Moon, Mrs. Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Murphy, rh Mr. Paul

O’Brien, Mr. Mike

Plaskitt, Mr. James

Prentice, Bridget

Robertson, John

Ruane, Chris

Russell, Christine

Seabeck, Alison

Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)

Smith, rh Jacqui

Snelgrove, Anne

Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr. Gareth

Twigg, Derek

Ussher, Kitty

Waltho, Lynda

Ward, Claire

Watson, Mr. Tom

Watts, Mr. Dave

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun

Woolas, Mr. Phil

Wright, David

Wright, Mr. Iain

Wyatt, Derek



COMMENT THREAD


Mandelson: though twice disgraced,

we should not blench at using

him as a weapon with which

to help the EU’s demise

Time was when a brawl in a pub would be resolved after the verbals and the finger-wagging by an exchange of brutality with fisticuffs. Nowadays brawls start with the blade, the bottle or the Glasgow Kiss. Thus in life, so in politics as we witnessed last night Peter Mandelson eschew any opening preliminary skirmish and jab a broken bottle into Sarkozy’s face: “I am being undermined.”



In my days prosecuting or defending in cases involving pub brawls, it was remarkable how often the question: ‘Who started the fight?’ elicited the response: ‘The little feller.’ For some reason the diminutive amongst us seem to be the most aggressive. Perhaps it is because they have the same amount of testosterone as the rest of us but in a smaller frame which makes them go off pop so easily.



Thus it was France’s own Bantam Cock, little Sarko, who started this little bagarre when he graciously attributed Ireland’s bloodying of the EU nose to our very own Mandy. Now we see the makings of a feud which will go on, one must fervently hope, until the very end of Mandy’s sojourn in Brussels.

In some ways the two are utterly ill-matched.

Sarkozy, with his whirlwind courtship of and nuptials with a seriously good-looking lady very shortly after trading in his last wife, oozes heterosexuality from every pore of his body. He has the scarcely concealed demeanour of bottle of nitro-glycerine which may (and, one suspects, will one day) go off with a very loud bang. He reminds me of the swarthy and irascible Corsican hero of Goscinny-Uderzo’s Asterix en Corse, one Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, whose immediate response to any supposed slight is to produce a large sharp knife with which he threatens to eviscerate his enemy.


Ocatarinetabellachitchix: a

dead ringer for Sarko, or is it

the other way round?

Mandy, on the other hand, does not, nor does he exactly ooze heterosexuality. Rather he is the cold, utterly calculating type whose motto is undoubtedly ‘revenge is a dish best eaten cold’ who reminds one of Strelnikov, the ruthless Bolshevik in David Lean’s Dr. Zhivago. So last night he, having carefully bided his time, chose his moment with care and precision and, finding the space between Sarko’s shoulder blades with unerring accuracy, plunged his dagger up the hilts in the President’s back.

This is a good thing. The more that the ferrets can be encouraged to fight inside the sack, the better chance there is that this whole rotten edifice will come crashing down round their ears. If one of the instruments of its destruction has to be the Europhiliac Mandelson, then let us find some way of giving him all the encouragement he needs to go after Sarko and his protectionist chums.

As the economic situation continues to bite, the more these two will find themselves at odds. Sarkozy’s frustration is such that we must also begin to wonder at the state of the French economy. If he is so keen to get into a bit of toe-to-toe with Mandelson, and thus the rest of the boss-class in Brussels, it suggests that the French economy is faring worse than has hitherto been let on.

France’s traditional enthusiasm for protectionism, at which skill they are past masters – just ask our sheep and beef farmers – is well known. What interests one is whether we are witnessing a fundamental change to the raison d’être of the EU being trailed by Sarkozy or whether this is just France being France. Back when the Treaty of Lisbon was being drafted, Sarkozy tried to slip in a crafty clause which would have allowed him and his kind to enforce a tacking towards protectionism. Mandelson senses this and sees it as undermining the thoroughly modest and frankly useless opening up of markets he is trying to engineer.

Only time will tell if France is allowed to debauch the EU’s pretended virtues of open markets. In many ways one hopes they will. Protectionism is such a political dead duck here that it would provide a very useful piece of ammunition for the Eurosceptic mangonel. As a trading nation we need protectionism like a hole in the head and, for the most part (save for some particularly boneheaded lefties) the people of Britan know that. If the EU were to seek to undermine our ability to trade, all the (utterly bogus) arguments put up by EuroLovers about the advantages of the EU to our trade will vanish into thin air.

Meanwhile, let us sit back and enjoy the contest in this Bantamweight Brawl.

Seconds out, round two!

COMMENT THREAD

For a supposedly bright man,
Brown has made some pretty
dumb decisions: pressing
for devolution is one of them.

Devolution was supposed to end the SNP menace for ever and a day. The Labour Party, ever mindful of the need to preserve the lobby fodder its forty MPs from Scotland represent, reckoned they could have their devolution cake and eat it. Now they may be on the point of choking on its crumbs.

Glasgow East, about to be vacated by its sitting MP, is, in theory, one of the safest seats in the land for Labour. If they lost this at a General Election on a uniform swing, the Parliamentary labour Party would be able to share a bunk bed. With 60.7% of the vote in 2005 and a majority of 13507 votes, it ought to be as solid a Socialist Fortress as could be constructed. A swing of 21.85% would be required to topple Labour, not impossible but at the very limit of previous upsets. Yet…..

Glasgow East is the successor to an amalgamation of Glasgow Baillieston and Glasgow Shettlestone, so it is worth considering the votes cast in those two Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election. There you find that the combined SNP vote was 30.9% to Labour’s 52.13%. Now only a swing of 10.6% is needed and one begins to see how this might yet prove a disaster for Labour. If Labour voters were to switch or stay away in any numbers and Conservative and Lib Dem voters decide to vote tactically, the SNP might grab it.



And this is just the sort of seat where one might find a disproportionate number of the 1.1 million voters who continue to be affected materially by the abolition of the 10% rate of tax and for whom Alistair Darling says he is going to do no more than he has already announced. Factor in a collapse in morale of Labour supporters and one begins to see how Gordon Brown might find himself on the receiving end of a message in a bottle of Scotch…….

It would truly be ironic if this master gerrymanderer who was one of the driving forces of Scots Devolution were to get the bullet from the SNP who were supposed to have been neutered by the whole exercise. If you must live by the gerrymander, expect to die by it would seem to be the message.

If the voters of Glasgow East do trash Labour, then Gordon Brown will be seriously in the ordure, which many right-thinking people consider to be the best place for him. Hopefully he will cling on by what is left of his fingernails and take the rest of his rotten crew of Socialists with him.

Chart by ChartGizmo

COMMENT THREAD

Cameron & Clarke: Cobbled
together proposals for English
Votes for English Laws which
fob English Voters off
with an act of appeasement


Some might think that the man who once opined “I look forward to the day when the Westminster Parliament is just a council chamber in Europe,” was the least appropriate person to be put in charge of the Conservative party’s reforms to our Constitution. Ken Clarke’s proposals on English Votes for English Laws merely amount to rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic he so clearly despises.

Under this scheme English MPs are to be left as second-class members of our Parliament, able to amend legislation which affects solely English voters but unable, in the face of a determined government able to summon up a sackful of votes for Scotland, to ensure the passage into law of those amendments.


Scotland, on the other hand, because of the constitutional convention that has come into being since devolution, can vote entirely as it pleases on its legislation and know that it will not be voted down by Westminster. Its legislators have de facto primacy.


Not so under the Clarke plan. His is the classic act of appeasement, not unexpected when one considers his enthusiasm for propitiation of the EU’s relentless power-grabs when he was a Cabinet Minister. We in England are to be thrown a bone to gnaw on whilst the various petty Parliaments have, in their own affairs, plenipotentiary powers.


A determined and ideologically hide-bound government will not feel inhibited from voting down amendments made by English MPs to this or that clause of a bill. And the possibility of a serious constitutional clash is actually enhanced by this proposal if such a government used its power in Scotland to get its way.


We do not, however, need a separate Parliament. We already have far too many legislators and we need another lot of greedy pigs ordering us around like a hole in the head. Westminster is an institution which can be made to evolve to meet changed constitutional circumstances with imagination and if the will to give new arrangements real moral authority is deployed.


Thus Malcolm Rifkind’s proposal for an English Grand Committee, being an assembly of all the MPs of England, had the advantage of being a body distinctively English in character with distinctive power to signify its approval of each Bill
as a whole. Such would indeed have the requisite moral authority that would ensure that a constitutional convention that the Bill, as it left the Grand Committee, would not be voted down at third reading would be respected.


Needless to say Cameron, afraid of grasping the nettle, has already indicated his support for these proposals. They will do nothing to get him off the hook for this is a deeply unsatisfactory piece of irresolution which will do nothing properly to address the English democratic deficit that has been occasioned by devolution and will do nothing whatever to defuse the vocal claque which aspires to the nonsense of an English Parliament.


Cameron’s willingness not to grasp the nettle bodes ill for hopes that in the matter of Europe he might provide strong leadership. Instead he has opted to take a way out which proffers the line of lest resistance which can then be spun utterly falsely as a resolution of the ‘West Lothian Question’. This is not such a resolution and is no more than a typical politician’s fudge.


The people of England will not be fooled by this and they will know only too well that when push comes to shove the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish tail will still be able to wag the dog, vigourously if it so chooses. Because it will not work properly it makes even worse disaster of an English Parliament more rather than less likely, just as devolution was always going to make independence more rather than less likely.

UPDATE: Fraser Nelson at The Coffee House has this, which reminds us that there has been a significant retreat since 2001 on the Tory position. As I say, appeasement rules the day.

COMMENT THREAD

Sarkozy: Another in a long line of
arrogant Frenchmen deluded by
the thought that he ought to be
running Europe

Would Nicholas Sarkozy be hot-footing it to Dublin in the dog days of summer if Ireland had voted ‘Yes’ in its Referendum on the EU Constitution? Of course he wouldn’t. He is only going because even he can smell the raspberry the Irish blew at the EU last month. Having spoilt France’s grandiose plans for jobs for the boys, expect a whole lot of angry finger-wagging.

As his own spokesman Axel Poniatowski has made clear on his behalf, there is no other choice for the Irish but to hold a second referendum and, regardless of EU and French protestations to the contrary and regardless of whatever emollient nonsense Sarkozy utters in public, behind the scenes Brian Cowen will indeed have to put up with some serious pressure from this angry voyou from Paris to get it right in a second vote and to hold that vote sooner rather than later. Fortunately others are doing their democratic bit.

Now the faintly alarming President of Poland, Mr. Lech Kaczynski, has decided to withhold his signature, a legal requisite apparently for the completion of ratification by Poland, on the grounds that (a) Ireland voted ‘No!; (b) The Treaty of Lisbon requires everyone to say ‘Yes!’ for it to enter into law EU-wide; (c) ‘No!’ means ‘No!’; etc. etc.

Funny, isn’t it, that nations with some experience of being ruled effectively by other countries for hundreds of years (Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland) should be the ones to throw a spanner in the works of a Treaty designed to end that independence once more. They know a thing or two about being part of an Empire and having looked into the abyss of being part of yet another one, they have wisely drawn back.

How one wishes to be a fly on the wall of a EuroNabob’s private get together to hear thier true opinions of such naysayers. I bet the swear-box would be full in five minutes. Still, France’s diminutive President will, nonetheless, be out and about bullying the Irish for spoiling his grand plans for France’s Presidency.

He had thought that this next six months would see France once more in its rightful place as the natural leader of Europe, handing out this fatcat job here, this little pourboire there, accepting the plaudits from a grateful Eurcracy and European political elite for a job well and truly done.

Instead he is left with having to illuminate one of Europe’s greatest phallic symbols, the Eiffel Tower, in the colours of the EU as a highly suggestive symbol of what the EU really has in mind for its handmaidens.

“Protection” seems to be a word uppermost in this anti-democrats mind at the moment:

“We must not be afraid of the word protection. We have to reflect on how to turn Europe into a means of protecting Europeans in their everyday lives.”

Here we are back in Humpty Dumpty territory once more:

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously.

“Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

“But `glory’ doesn’t mean `a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.

“They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs, they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

“Protection” in the Sarkozy lexicon means the sort of protection that allowing State Aid to moribund industries and companies implies; the sort of protection that huge subsidies to inefficient farmers throughtout the EU; and sort of protection implicit in ring-fencing French companies from the take-over acquistiveness of international companies which might not have the interests of France foremost in their minds.

That such ‘protection’ leads in the long term to even greater disaster is not a problem: the real protection is intended for the President himself and his chances of re-election and thus a place in the queue for a nice fatcat job with the EU as his reward.

That all this is down to the casting of ballots in a free and fair election at the same time as the EU is frothing about the electoral habits of one Robert Mugabe is a delicious irony. There is, but for the violence deployed by Mugabe’s henchmen, little difference between insisting that the Irish vote again until they get the answer right and Robert Mugabe holding a second vote and insisting that Zimbabweans elect the ‘right’ man, such has become the democratic deficit in the EU.

All that said, one is only too conscious of how the EU will simply sail on regardless. For the UK our best hope of throwing our own spanner in the works is holding matters up until at least June 2009 when we can express ourselves at a European Ballot Box. By the time we come to elect a European parliament next June, Labour will hopefully be less popular than the monster Raving Loony Party (which it often resembles) and a tidal wave will engulf the remaining EuroLover parties’ MEPs and sweep them into the sewers of history.

Then Cameron might feel disposed to consider he has a mandate to restoring the primacy of our nation over the unelected Eurocracy for which we have rolled over this past thirty-five years or so.

But I am not holding my breath.

COMMENT THREAD

Blog Stats

  • 3,774 hits
August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031