Tuesday, 31 March 2009

MP Watch

With the fall from grace of so many MPs in the last few months, and a media appetite that finally seems to be focused on exposing them not unlike the weekly drip, drip, drip of similar stories during John Major's premiership, I thought I'd start a rolling list of those exposed as unfit to hold office. This will cover all parties, will be updated regularly and will be much helped by others sending me recommendations for the list. Here it is so far:


Ed Balls - Fiddling his expenses

Dawn Butler - Utter incompetence and failing in her job as a whip, as well as making the taxpayer pay for a second home only 11 miles away from her own

Gordon Brown - Utter incompetence and making the UK bankrupt

Harry Cohen - Fiddling full ACA whilst claiming his main home is really a caravan in Colchester

Yvette Cooper - Fiddling her expenses

Alistair Darling - Stealing from the taxpayer by claiming ACA for 2nd home whilst another already in London

Nigel Griffiths - Adultery, lying and using his taxpayer funded Commons office for sex romps

Peter Hain - ‘Forgetting' to register £100k of Deputy Leadership campaign funding

Harriet Harman - General vacuousness and financial ineptitude when running for Deputy Leader

Ann Keen - Claiming double rations of expenses with her husband

Alan Keen - Claiming double rations of expenses with his wife

Ruth Kelly - Utter incompetence when a minister

David Lammy - Utterly incompetent and completely out of his depth

Tony McNulty - Stealing from the taxpayer by fiddling his expenses (ACA 2nd home for parents)

Sion Simon - Utter incompetence and completely out of his depth

Jacqui Smith - Stealing from the taxpayer by fiddling her expenses (ACA for her actual family home whilst pretending to live with her sister) and for incorrectly claiming for porn films for her husband (paid £40k by the taxpayer as her assistant)

Keith Vaz - Endless dodgy behaviour and still having the brass neck to try and be taken seriously


Michael Ancram - Stealing from the taxpayer to fund repainting and moss removal on his family home

Chris Grayling - Stealing from the taxpayer by claiming ACA for a flat he rarely uses

Eric Pickles - Stealing from the taxpayer by claiming ACA when he clearly shouldn't (although within the rules) and arrogantly trying to justify it on Question Time

Caroline Spelman - Stealing from the taxpayer to pay for her nanny

Lib Dems

Charles Kennedy - Drunkedness

Mark Oaten - Bi-sexual adultery

Lembit Opik - Just for being an attention seeking prat


Gerry Adams - Other than being an ex-terrorist, stealing from the British taxpayer by claiming allowances from a Parliament he refuses to visit

Derek Conway - Out and out theft from the taxpayer to pay for his son’s university drugs, sex and rock and roll lifestyle

George Galloway - Appearing on Big Brother during Parliamentary session

Andrew Pelling - Adultery, alleged wife beating and having the arrogant effrontery to try and keep his seat

Update - Forgot Charles Kennedy and Mark Oaten!

The Silence is Deafening

The MPs' remuneration juggernaut continues to gather momentum.

As predicted, Dave and Cleggy did nothing. Stayed stumm. Just moaned a bit on the sidelines. Gordy has meekly tried twice belatedly to seize the initiative by making the Standards Committee act more quickly.

Shame on all of them. It's clear none of them have either (a) an ethical or moral compass, (b) the balls to take on the vested interests of their own venal MPs nor (c) the nous to see an electoral open goal by coming forward with suggestions for a rigorous new system.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday Short Post No 4

Lady GaGa is everywhere. With two No 1s now under her belt in quick succession, she is on the front cover of magazine after magazine, interviews all over the place, mass promoting of her disco beat. She is one of those ‘people of the mo’. What does this mean? Three things, I think:

1. That someone in a record company has worked out she is marketable – young, reasonable looking, nice figure (airbrushed to make it better), can dance a bit (no doubt with a coach), can sing a bit (no doubt with a coach and much ‘computer tweaking’) and with a couple of good upbeat tunes pumped out by a song writing factory, she’ll be good for a two or three Top 10s, one album and a summer of appearances at various musical festivals.

2. That she will be shit live.

3. That she will disappear without trace by 2010.

Monday Short Post No 3

Wahoooooooooo! F1 is back and in style. Great race, and what a weekend for Brawn GP.

The only downside was that the BBC coverage was (a) faltering and (b) dull. And WTF is Jake Humphrey doing presenting it? He is a footie man and has no F1 experience or knowledge clearly. And who were all the faceless presenters that did small packages but we never saw? Why not use Ted Kravitz more? And where's the glamour puss? Italian viewers have an ex-model presenting theirs.

Monday Short Post No 2

The Home Secretary, fresh from stealing money from the taxpayer to fund her home, now tried to get the taxpayer to buy her husband's porn. No shame.

A well known Labour MP, Nigel Griffiths, caught having extra-marital sex, first lies, then claims he was drunk and couldn't remember it, then fails to get a legal injunction to stop the story rolling. Was it stupidity or total arrogance that made him think he could get away with this?

It's like the Major years all over again, but this time it's Labour sleaze.

Monday Short Post No 1

Stuart Wheeler is an old school, unreconstructed Eurosceptic ie he says he wants to 'renegotiate' but in fact he'd be happy to walk out of the EU in a huff. His view does not represent the majority of the Tory Party.

You can't have members of any team dissing the team publically and supporting opposing teams. Dave was right to kick him out.

Wheeler will look pretty stupid and irrelevant when UKIP once again show itself to be a tiny fringe party at the Euro elections in June and the Tories are back in Government in 2010. This is one bet Wheeler will have lost.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Sadly I Agree With Lib Dem Voice

Here's what it says in full, but the important extract is this:

"You might have though (sic - Lib Dem's can't spell) it would have merited some coverage in the right-wing blogosphere, whether springing to the Tory party chairman’s aid, or brushing it aside as a momentary gaffe. I’ve checked a couple of times today on the leading right-wing blogs – ConservativeHome, Guido, Iain Dale, Spectator Coffee House, Times Comment Central – but there’s nothing, nada, zilch. A deafening silence.....

"I ask the following question purely rhetorically: can you imagine how much coverage there would have been on those blogs if a Lib Dem or Labour politician had tanked as badly as Mr Pickles did last night? Less rhetorically, I ask: have we just seen a preview of how the right-wing blogosphere will react when a future Tory government cocks-up?"

Putting aside the fact that Lib Dem Voice has clearly accepted that the next Government will be Tory, the point is absolutely on the money. I too was really disappointed by the silence on the Tory blogosphere yesterday.

We have to face into our mistakes immediately. I wrote my comment on the shocking reality of Pickles' stupidity straight after the programme and posted it first thing yesterday. To my fellow centre right bloggers: why didn't you?

Friday, 27 March 2009

Support Iain Dale

So after yesterday's shenanigans, and Guido briefly on radio silence but now back to form, today the Great Man himself, Iain Dale, (I always genuflect when saying his name) has bravely saddled up his horse, donned his armour and gone into battle as well.

Hoooooooooooooooraaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! I like men with balls. Well done Iain. Well done Guido. Support these men. Dale for PM. Dale for President. Dale for....whatever is more important than President. Guido for captain of the chess club and senior library attendant.

Everyone needs to support Iain and Guido in the fight against the pernicious, nasty, loutish, shitty behaviour that these NuLab spinning attack dog thugs go in for.

Bravo. Iain Dale, my hero. Go, go, go Guido.

Oooh, I think I need a lie down.

Arrogantly Out of Touch

If ever there was an advert for how totally out of touch these greedy bastard MPs are with public sentiment on the issue of their remuneration, last night's Question Time was it. I watched in horror as the Tory chairman tried to defend the indefensible. View it here:

That talentless arrogant fat fuck Pickles actually tried to explain why he needs the taxpayer to pay for his second home when he only lives 37 miles from Westminster because 'it was the only way he could be at work on time'. It was excruciating. Car crash TV. And the audience reaction said it all.

The Tories lost some votes last night.

Dave, get off your ass and do something about this. Make a stand. Lead for fuck sake!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Guido Fails Us All

Oh dear. It was carnage. Follow the link...


Guido, what were you thinking? Actually clearly you weren't thinking. If ever there was someone who had some killer punches to land who failed spectacularly it was Guido today. That little shit Draper got away with it. Again. When will this little tosser finally be upended?

And why is Guido now backing off as per his utter capitulation on his blog tonight? Where is the McBride 'smoking gun' email? Where is the Berkeley Draper proof? Has Guido had legal eagles after him?

For the record, these are the points Guido should have made:

1. The centre right dominates the blogosphere.

2. NuLab realised they needed to attack this in advance of the next election.

3. LabList was conceived by NuLab, within NuLab HQ, was created by trusted NuLab apparatchiks and is funded by the unions (aka NuLab Central Bank). It is not an independent blog, one of Draper's endless lies.

4. In content it is an utterly uncritical cheerleader for NuLab, attacking centre right independent bloggers as part of a wider NuLab pre-election smear strategy. It is a corporate PR blog.

5. All this is demonstrated by the choice of the 'editor' of LabList. Did they choose an erudite centre left free thinker? No, they chose Draper, a discredited, proven liar, Type A NuLab 90s attack dog, who has tried to reinvent himself after some time in the wildness 'in' not 'at' Berkeley and by marrying a media luvvie Z list celeb.

Lastly, Paul, you could at least have ironed your Berkeley t-shirt. And why is Draper now so fat? And why does he always look as if he just spent the night in a dumpster?

A Week in Surveillance Britain

I thought it might be interesting to see what a week in the life of 'surveillance Britian' was like. This last seven days, the following occurred:

1. Google Street View was launched last week. Why do we need this? How come Google has the right to take pictures of my home and put them on the internet? (But of course not Number 10). Google has been forced to pull down some images before the week is even out...

2. Dodgy databases abound in Government, according to The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which reports that one in four major government databases is "almost certainly illegal" under human rights or data protection legislation, with 11 of 46 systems being utterly dodgy and a further 29 looking pretty shaky too. You can read the full report here.

3. Social networking sites are to be monitored by the Government. Why should the law abiding 99% have their privacy rights taken by the state in tackling the law breaking 1%?

4. On average, councils have used terror legislation 25,000 in the last five years to snoop on their local residents, but for minor issues like dog-fouling, parking offences etc...

And that's just the last week.

How did we get here? How easily has society slept whilst our fundamenatal rights have been unceasingly eroded? What was Liberty and its the attention seeking Shami Chakrabarti doing whilst all this occurred?
Update: Thanks to Lib Dem Voice, here is how to get yourself removed from Google Street View.

McNumpty Inquiry

So the Standards Commissioner finally thinks that an MP might have questionable behaviour. Cue the usual belated toothless reprimand from the spineless powers that be...


Don't forget to watch Guido versus Draper today at 1200 hrs on The Daily Politics. Go Guido Go....

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Reforming MPs Expenses

PoliticsHome has a great poll today showing clearly how MPs are totally out of touch with their electorate on the issue of their remuneration. Interestingly, I have had more feedback on yesterday’s post on this subject, both by comment and email, than on any other post to date. Let me reply to some of that feedback.

One person said that “better people will come forward if we pay MPs more”. I utterly disagree. Politics is and always has been for the very committed. Legions of them try for years to become an MP. How much we pay is immaterial. They will still all mercilessly compete for the job.

When I was a councillor, my lazy wanker of a ward colleague, who did nothing at all ever, claimed in the debate surrounding NuLab’s then proposals for bigger salaries for councillors that he would work harder if he was paid more. Astonishing. He was paid more and he did even less. (For the record, MC made himself unpopular by opposing the change from a circa £2k allowance to a circa £7k salary. When the salary change occurred, MC refused to take it and only claimed the equivalent of the previous £2k allowance, a fact that Mrs Cragsbury has never let him forget!)

Another pointed out that there is a huge difference between a backbencher’s salary and a minister’s which is why ministers never resign anymore. They don’t want a drop in their pay. My solution: either make the difference smaller, say £10k, or make no difference at all. Why should ministers earn more?

On employing relatives, one person commented: “…we should be more trusting of Hon members. If they can explain family employees to the electorate then fine.” I think the PoliticsHome poll deals nicely with that issue. They have abused the trust they had, so now we need to act and make the rules absolutely crystal clear. They need to be made to lead from the front and not swim in the shadows filling their pockets with taxpayers’ cash.

Here’s one that made me chortle over my corn flakes:

“There is a very simple answer to the long-running soap opera over MPs' pay and expenses. Stop paying them salaries and expenses – and pensions. Instead, treat them like the adults that some claim to be.

“Pay each an annual "constituency fee" and let them decide how to spend it, whether on themselves, staff, offices or whatever. Require them to publish annual, audited accounts on their websites and a summary on their electoral addresses if they stand for re-election. Let the voters then decide whether their MPs are value for money.

“The "fee" would be equivalent to the combined total of pay and expenses, currently in the order of £200,000 a year. If they decide to pay the whole amount to themselves in salary, fine. Let them answer to the voters – and the media. But also include a "recall" provision whereby say ten thousand voters in any constituency can demand a re-election at any time, to oust someone who is abusing the system.”

I am afraid that I have to disagree. The good ones will do as they do now: work hard and use the money appropriately. The bad ones will fill their pockets as now. A good chunk of Parliamentary seats never change hands. Ever. So if you’re selected, you’re in. How would the voters eject many of these bad apples? They couldn’t.

But even this misses the main and very fundamental point: foxes cannot be in charge of the chicken coop. MPs need to have the setting, review and policing of their pay and allowances taken away from them and handed to an independent body.

Someone suggested my per diem idea instead of ACA was unworkable and cited the European Parliament example where MEPs slip into any old committee to sign in for the day just so that they can get the per diem. I take that point. But surely it is not beyond the wit of man to design a less easily fiddled mechanism for clocking in and out? MPs all have ID cards. Turn them into a swipe like an Oyster card.

Wise words from another person:

“An MP's job is a part-time job - it cannot be anything but. If it was a full time job, where would a Government minister find the time to be a minister?”

And another:

“If we can manage with one Queen (and I don't mean Peter Mandelson), then we can certainly manage with fewer MPs and peers. How does ‘Lord Cragsbury of Sordid Peccadillo’ sound?”

Rather good actually. I’m off for my ermine fitting.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Cameron's New Rules

So my post from earlier today brought this from a colleague and co-conspirator:

"Your post is typical Don Quixote. There is a system in place and when we pay for our legislators and lawmakers properly then perhaps the system can be amended. One goes with the other. Why should our MPs not earn well and be able to claim expenses for their work...or even better just allow MPs to claim for expenses and Parliament pays for staff etc. It's all very solvable with a clear set of grown up rules. But frankly all this ‘hairshirt’ and ‘why don’t our MPs work for nothing’or ‘how dare they claim anything’ is just such nonsense and frankly people who make these arguments just show themselves to be stupid and small minded."

He has a point. It's all very well wanking on about what's wrong with the system but how should it change? Here's the current system for reference, extracted from the Parliament website:

Summary of current rates with effect from 1 April 2008

Members' Parliamentary salary £63,291 from 1 April


Staffing Allowance Maximum of £100,205
Incidental Expenses Allowance (IEP) Maximum of £22,193
IT equipment (centrally provided) [worth circa £5,000]
Pension provision for Members' staff 10% of employee’s gross salary
London Supplement £2,916
Additional Costs Allowance Maximum of £24,006
Winding up Allowance Maximum of £40,799
Communications Allowance Maximum of £10,400
Car Mileage (per mile) 40p (for first 10,000 miles)
25p (after 10,000 miles)
Bicycle allowance (per mile) 20p
Motorcycle allowance 24p

So if you milk your allowances right and employ your wife and daughter you can walk off with about £250k per annum.

My Suggested Reforms

1. Reduce the number of politicians

We have 772 peers, 646 MPs, 21,000 councillors, nearly 100,000 parish and community councillors and God knows how many hundreds of thousands of quangocrats. This is way too many. We are massively over governed. The US Senate has (obviously) 100 senators and the House of Representatives has 435 representatives for a country with a population five times the size of ours to put this in perspective.

In round numbers, we have 450-ish councils (some two tier, some not) and 10,000 community and parish councils.

And don't get me started on the just incredible number of politicians per head in Scotland and Wales when you take into account their over-representation at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and their ludicrously small and numerous councils.

We need to massively shave the numbers. A considerable saving to the taxpayer for little loss in output.

2. Part-time versus full-time

Now just concentrating on Westminster, if you add up their Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays, the Commons will meet for only 153 days this session. (By comparison, if the average British worker gets 4 weeks holiday and 8 bank holidays, the comparative number of working days is 233. MPs have longer holidays than teachers. And please don't run the "we're terribly busy doing constituency work when Parliament isn't sitting" line because we all know it's bollocks.

So on this basis, we don't need full-time MPs. Nor should we want them or else we get ourselves into the current situation where none of them have ever created a job, fired anyone or have any experience of the real world. Just like the British Army General Staff in WWI, those doing the planning were so remote from the reality, they were utterly out of touch. We want Parliamentarians to have outside interests, albeit with strictly enforced rules about conflicts of interest independently set, applied and policed.

3. Salary

So therefore, an MP's salary should be a top up to compensate him for his time not spent on his work or for lost promotion prospects because he has chosen to be an MP, a critical point. No one made him stand.

So I reckon the current £63k is about right. Let's face it. There is not a shortage of people wanting the job is there? Supply and demand and all that.

The pension should be trimmed accordingly also as a top up to an MP's occupational scheme. And how about leading the public sector by stopping the final salary scheme. Difficult for unions to defend if politicians have led the way.

4. Secretarial support

Two assistants at £25-30k each, works out at an allowance of around £70k. But as my wise colleague said above, get Parliament to administer it. Do not just give the money to MPs.

No family employees. At all. Ever. Seems harsh? Well MPs need to be seen to be whiter than white.

5. Give them a per diem rather than ACA

WTF should the taxpayer help MPs build a property portfolio? They should get a per diem for nights they spend in London. No London MP, or any other MP that is within a 90 mins commute to Westminster should be allowed to claim a per diem. If it's alright for us proles, it's alright for them.

6. Receipts for anything over £10

Astonishing to even have to type this.

7. Get the NAO to audit them all once a year

Simple. Minor transgressions published and fined. Major transgressions, reported to the Speaker and publicly banned from Parliamentary office for life with an immediate by-election. Trust me, there wouldn't be a compliance problem.

Job done. Come on Dave, you know you can do it.

Fat Political Pigs Exposed In Detail

So yesterday's Evening Standard focused in on what Additional Costs Allowance London MPs have claimed between 2001-2006. You need to scroll down the page to see the table at the bottom.

A few observations:
  • The maximum possible that could be claimed over the five year period was £104,701.

  • For one there is no data (by-election post 2006).

  • 21 claimed nothing.

  • Three claimed less than £10k.

  • Eight claimed between £10-50k.

  • Nine claimed between £50-£100k.

  • Seven claimed more than £100k.
A few questions:

1. Mike Grapes (Lab - Ilford South), Harry Cohen (Lab - Leyton and Wanstead), Derek Conway (Con/Ind - Old Bexley and Sidcup), Andrew Rosindell (Con - Romford) all managed to get their claims to add up to....almost exactly £104,701. (Cohen's actually did add up to the penny). How did they manage that then? All those receipts, just all added up did they? Oh no, silly me. No receipts needed.

2. The three Croydon MPs show how utterly fucking stupid the system is:

Malcolm Wicks (Lab -Croydon North), a 'right-on', NuLab Government minister, lives in a very swanky detached house set in about half an acre of immaculately manicured garden in a very smart road in....Croydon South. His constituency is about 15 mins drive away. To get to Westminster, he can walk 10 minutes to his local station (Sanderstead - 30 mins to London Victoria). Trains run till just after 2300 hrs daily. If later, he can take a train to East Croydon 24/7 and catch a taxi (10 mins and about £10 including tip). WTF did he claim his £9138 for then?

Richard Ottaway (Con - Croydon South) lives on the outskirts of a nice village in leafy Surrey. His constituency is about a 10 minute drive away. To get to Westminster he has two mainline stations within 5-10 minutes drive: Oxted (40 mins to London Victoria) and Redhill (30 mins to London Victoria). Trains run to Redhill until just after midnight. WTF did he claim £101,808 for?

Andrew Pelling (Con/Ind - Croydon Central), a total muppet who has ruined a promising political career by being a media exposed adulterer and alleged wife beater, lives in Croydon South and claimed nothing. Is he so dumb he can't work out the fiddle?

3. WTF are any of these greedy bastards claiming anything for? All of them can commute like the rest of us proles.

THIS IS TAXPAYERS' HARD EARNED CASH!!!!!!!! If anyone can similarly detail the situations of others, please link or email.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Show Some Leadership, Dave

The Hate on Sunday led the field at the weekend with yet another story of outrageous playing of the ludicrously generous Parliamentary expenses system by MPs. Each week, we see another culprit. The Hate has months of this story left if they want it as there are so many MPs' hands in the till.

The fact that when caught, McNumpty has thrown in the towel so easily shows how aware he was that he was simply pilfering from the taxpayer.

They rage about those working the benefits system and endlessly bluster about clampdowns but they are in fact worse.

Of course in theory it's good news that the Standards Committee is going to do its stuff, but talk about bolting stable doors? Only a couple of weeks ago it said it would not do anything on the previous scandal. So rather than leading on the issue, it's felt compelled to do something after the event.

But there is a total lack of political leadership on this issue. No Brown clamping down on fiddles. No Dave photo ops. No Cleggy interventions. Radio silence all weekend. Why could that be?

Well first because they are all at it. But the fundamental reason is back to the issue I have blogged about before (most recently here and here): foxes can't be in charge of the chicken coop. We need an independent system to set and police Parliamentary allowances, not just a belated inquiry by the Standards Committee.

If Dave wants to court popularity then all he has to do is to tell his serving MPs and candidates what is acceptable, give the MPs three months to get their houses in order and then announce his proposals for a slimmed down system. For once, let's see a politician lead the debate rather than bury their head or follow the focus groups. Come on Dave. Show some bloody leadership.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Things Making Me Smile

Becoming a Parent - Shortly to be a parent for the first time with two small ladies inbound. Very, very excited.

France Rejoining NATO - Loving Mr Sarko. Keep it up you cheese eating surrender monkey.

England rugby - Thrashed France last week by finally showing hard graft and discipline. Please, please, please keep it up today.

F1 season only one week away - Wahooooooooo! And the Beeb have reinstated Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'. Does life get any better than this?

Moaning Jocks

I am sooooooo bored of Scots living and working in England telling me how shit England is and how brilliant Scotland is. I hate that nasty anti-English chippiness that many Jocks have. We will see much of that today in the environs of the Six Nations match.

With this in mind, I commend The Devil's recent post on why Scottish independence is a good thing and look forward to the negative scrounging bastards buggering off and leaving the English alone.

Osborne's Tax Telescope

Conservative Home has a very sensible post on this week's Tories 45% top tax rate story.

Little George seems to be peering down the wrong end of his tax telescope. Rather than accepting that taxes need to go up to fund the bloated state, he should be thinking about how he can scrap swathes of state crap. The Labour legacy is not too little income, it's too much profligate expenditure.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Dummies Guide to Alcohol Pricing

Thought about it now. Good old Sir Liam. Great chap. At considerable cost to you and I the taxpayer, he has worked out - must not have taken him too much time methinks - that the pricing level of a product is directly proportional to how often that product is bought by Joe Public. Huh. Who'd have thought it.

Do or Die

I have a right to life. I have a whole load of human rights. But utterly bizarrely, I don't have the right to decide when I die.

It is illegal for me to commit suicide. It is illegal for someone to assist me commit suicide. But if I truck off to the land of cuckoo clocks and am assisted on my way by someone else, the CPS aren't going to prosecute me.

The law is once again an ass.

Patricia the Stripper is doing her bit to point this out, but where is the leadership from Government, the Tories, the Loony Dems? All the polling I have seen reflects the courts, the CPS and the police's disinclination to prosecute anyone. We are like Ireland on abortion: don't do it here (but if you pop off quietly somewhere else to do it we'll turn a blind eye).

Having seen the utterly horrible indignity of death at first hand with my father, my mother, Mrs C's mother and most recently my brother-in-law, I for one am keen to control the 'when' and 'how' I die.

Are politicians so afraid of the religious zealots that will shout and scream at them? Pathetic.

Annoying Things - G20 NuLab Love In

Fresh from his cheesily pathetic attempt to achieve some reflected glory from St Obama two weeks ago, now standby for some truly teeth-sucking, butt-clenching G20 awfulness that will be all about Gordy desperately trying to look statesman-like, surrounded by wall to wall NuLab spin with their media pet poodles lapping it up. Ghastly.

Annoying Things - Defeatest Tories

Sooooo bored of doom mongering Tories. They're either deluded, or after so long in the political wilderness have lost the ability to see what winning is, or just spinning not to seem complacent in front of the voters. Majority of 60-80 is my prediction, depending on how bad the recession is and whether Gordy makes any headway in spinning the line in early 2010 that he has done jolly well setting us on the right course out of the depths.

Annoying Things - Spinning Lib Dems

So they think that they will hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament. How lovely. So sweet. So utterly detached from reality. First, as I have said before, Dave could go on a gap year and still win in 2010. Second, when push comes to shove, neither Labour nor the Tories will do a deal, always preferring a minority Government. Lastly, and most importantly, Cleggy, Big Vince and the 'Lib Dem game theorists' will need to concentrate on learning how to direct 'chaos theory' if they want a shot at the title.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

I'm Glad I Pay My Taxes

Today I heard endless radio adverts for the ‘Policing Pledge’.

I’ve checked it out: It’s pathetic NuLab spin. A list of things the police should be bloody well doing anyway. Here it is:


What a waste of taxpayers’ cash. But no, it get’s worse.

Yesterday I was bombarded by radio adverts by the DVLA telling me to remember to inform them if I move house. Oh thank God they told me. Never would have worked that out.

But best of all, last week – and I am still pinching myself as I post this – on one day I heard several adverts by the NHS telling me to have my blood tested if I had any tattoos done abroad. Unbelievable.

How much taxpayers’ money was wasted on just those three issues alone. Millions for sure.

Budget Madness

No, not the creative accounting that Gordy and Mr Eyebrows will do shortly to tell us how brilliant NuLab has been for all our salaries, pensions etc. No, I’m talking here about the ludicrous way public sector budgets are spent in March each year.

Regularly I drive to work. I like driving. I have a fast car. I strive to be hated by all tree hugging lefty tosspots. And March always pisses me off.

Because of the asinine way public sector budgeting works – ‘use it or lose it’ as well as ‘unused budget this year means smaller budget next year’ – March is always the season of utterly pointless road works.

Today, I drove through four sets of ridiculous road works, one where there simply never is a traffic problem but I guess in order to use up the budget some bright spark in the local council’s highways department – most likely now called a trendy NuLab name like ‘streets and spaces’ or some other crap – they have created a mini roundabout…for no fucking reason.

In my 20s I was an army officer, and I recall one March watching a 1.5 acre drill square being tarmaced just so the budget would be used up.

Tory Zealots Win Out...But Actually Lose

I have previously explained that I worked in the European Parliament in a former life. Let me tell you how it works.

The Parliament, and due to the Parliament's ever increasing powers and influence within the EU institutions, is run and dominated by the agenda of the two main political groups - the EPP (European People's Party - broadly conservatives) and the PES (Party of European Socialists - broadly quite lefty lefties). There are of course several much smaller groups, including one for the Lib Dems. All in all, this is much like Westminster.

Political parties need to be broad churches in order to gather a group of reasonably like minded folk who, with their bulk in numbers, can do stuff. They may not hold exactly the same views as each other, but they rub along because they need each other to have their voice heard.

So I have no truck with Cameron and Hague's agenda to force the Tories to leave the EPP. Conservative Home has it wrong. Nor do I have any time for small minded prats like Dan Hannan, desperate to rubbish the EPP, European Parliament and EU generally. Other Great Men have opined, like Dizzy and also British Dude. And this utterly stupid Hague agenda also allows the enemy to make hay: viz Recess Monkey and, according to Dizzy, that great big ass Draper has also smeared or spun or whatever the wanker does - I refuse to read his trash.

Do all Tories agree with Norman 'Raving Loony' Tebbit? No. Do they all agree with dripping wet Tim Yeeeeeoh? No. Do all Labourites see eye to eye with Denis Skinhead or Viscount Stansgate (aka Tony Benn) as well as signing up to Big Tony's Third Way? No. Of course not.

The thing is this: by leaving the EPP and disappearing off to a small insignificant group on the far backbenches of the European Parliament - akin to being a member of the DUP or SNP or PC at Westminster - an incoming Tory PM will have zero ability to affect the Parliament's agenda, and thereby less ability to affect the EU internal institutional agenda. And that matters, because the EU and the Parliament desperately need some really drastic surgery and change to get them back to doing what we want them to do and not all this loony Lefty federalist crap they love. And this job will now be harder for Dave.

Dumb move for puerile, Eurosceptic, zealot reasons.

And no voter even knows or cares.

Lord Turner is Wrong (...and so is Radio 4!)

So I scanned the detail of the FSA's announcement yesterday. Two things struck me:

First, Lord T and his crew have ruled out the separation of retail banking from the riskier business of investment banking. Mistake. It seems that the fundamental way to stop banks exposing themselves to too much risk is to do just that. Wheels within wheels. Bankers looking after bankers, methinks.

Second, that for once Radio 4's Today programme got it wrong and the FSA is not suggesting limiting mortgages to a multiple of three times salary (as I blogged about yesterday). Instead, the report said that the idea of regulation in the mortgage market should be debated but that it was too early to put forward specific action. Thank the living Lord. Sense won out. A rare win.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Political Straight Talk

TB Bechtel, a City Councillor from Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia, was asked on a local live radio talk show, just what he thought about the allegations of torture of suspected terrorists. His reply prompted his ejection from the studio, but to thunderous applause from the audience.

“If hooking up a terrorist prisoner's nuts to a car's battery cables will save just one Australian life, then I have just three things to say:

“Red is positive, black is negative, and make sure his nuts are wet.”

Twittering About My Second Life

I may live to regret this but, although clearly I worship the ground upon which the Great Iain Dale walks, I just don't get Twitter. Sorry. Tried it. Couldn't see the point.

If your are a celeb and want to tell your ultra loyal fan base what size poo you did this morning, then OK I can see it may have a use. (Note to The Great Iain Dale - loyal fan though I am, I need not know about any of your lavatorial ablutions). But other than that, I just don't get it.

And I follow this Luddite thinking with misgivings about Second Life. My brother-in-law is a clever intellectual language professor dude. He has taught English lessons to foreigners in virtual classrooms in Second Life. Apparently they lapped it up. For me, it just seems like strange, geeky, slightly weirdo behaviour.

Just guess I'm happy enough with my First Life.

Dangerous Financial Dogs Act

Do you remember the Dangerous Dogs Act? A couple of children were sadly mauled by a couple of dogs some years ago. It was a slow news day. The tabloids ran with the story hard for a few days. The net effect? Politicians queueing up to criticise and pontificate and then the Dangerous Dogs Act.

These last two posts show depressingly similar behaviour.

Now that global financial markets have calmed, our governments, politicians, regulators and quangos have gone through the wide eyed, bunny caught in the headlights phase and are now all turning their attention to pointless closing of stable doors. Hence much of the FSA guff announced today and little Cleggy having a shouty session with a banker.

This is the fundamental problem with having created a professional political class who have little to no business experience. They don't understand the real underlying issues. They've never hired anyone. They've never sacked anyone. They've never made anyone redundant. They've never been profitable. They've never been unprofitable. They've never fought with stupid regulation. They just opt for knee-jerk, headline grabbing initiatives.

As Fun Boy Three said: 'the lunatics have overtaken the asylum'. God help us.

Intergalactically Stupid News of the Day - Part 2

Yesterday, Cleggy met the Barclays CEO and pontificated about tax avoidance strategies.

Doncha just love Cleggy? Desperate to appear to be doing something and for once outshine Big Vince, he news grabs with a little shouty session at a banker. Sweet.

But the wider issue is very fundamental. Do our political class really expect and desire all businesses in the UK to be tax inefficient?

Just take the now semi-nationalised banks: do we want them paying as much tax as possible in every country they operate so that they make less profit? Do we want them to pay extra avoidable tax to not just HMRC but also to France, Germany, Spain, in fact every country in which they operate?

The net effect would be to depress their profits further, thereby increasing the amount the UK taxpayer must bail them out, and hand zillions to other countries' tax collectors.

How pathetically naive our politicians are. And all for a headline.

Intergalactically Stupid News of the Day - Part 1

According to the Radio 4's Today programme this morning, amongst Lord Turner's FSA recommendations today will be a suggestion that banks should apply a maximum multiple of three times salary for future mortgages.

WTF? Is this for real? This would be soooooo incredibly stupid that surely it can't be true. I mean really stupid. Totally dumb. Just schoolboyishly naive.

Now I am just a humble prole who runs a small business and reads a lot, thereby having only just a modicum of understanding about our once great economy. But one of the things I do know is that UK plc is much more reliant on its housing market as a driver of national wealth and growth than any other European market. In part, this is due to historically very high land values, a paucity of housing supply and relatively high home ownership rates.

So, a question: has the FSA not noticed the funding gap of mere mortals that do not have recession proof six figure salaries paid by the taxpayer (like them) when it comes to mortgage affordability? The idea that the first time buyer market - the basic driver of the housing market - would not just come to a stuttering halt with such guidance in place is just pure loony land, out there, not in touch with reality non-thinking.

What would be the effect on the housing market when anyone without a rich dead granny, generous well off parents, a fat taxpayer funded six figure salary or a lottery windfall stopped arriving on the bottom end of the property ladder? It would bring on economic meltdown.

Honestly, are these fuckwits devoid of any knowledge of the market?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

David Lammy: Pathetic Asshole

To hear this moron on the Today programme this morning, trying to defend the issue below, made me so bloody angry.

This muppet is a Government minister solely because he is a young black bloke and NuLab want to appeal to black yoof – ‘look at us, we represent you because young black blokes do well with us, as against those nasty racist Tories’.

This is patronising in the extreme. If I was a young black bloke I would be outraged and pissed off that this muppet - who this morning clearly hadn't mastered his brief and was so easily made to look a fool by Sarah Montague (not the most savage of journos) - is somehow a poster child for my kith and kin.

This is tokenism at its worst. And PC tokenism at that. The guy is out of his depth. God knows what the civil servants who brief him make of him.

Barmy NuLab Education

One of today’s big news stories is that universities want to increase the tuition fees charge from around a maximum of £3000 up to £5000. Now let’s get to the root of this problem.

In 1997 NuLab came in shouting ‘education, education, education’, a mantra that looked good and was unceasingly reported by the craven media. Interesting, therefore, that one of their first acts was to tax students for their then free education.

Why did they do this you ask? Because they thought that 50% of the population should go to university and they did not have enough dosh to spend on education for this to happen. So they taxed us a bit more, as is their way.

But let me ask some fundamental questions: Should 50% of the population go to university? Are 50% of the population bright enough to go to university? Does UK plc need 50% of its workforce educated up to degree level? And these three questions are even more pertinent when you are in a recession. Let’s tackle them one by one.

Should 50% of the population go to university? Short answer, no. Because the country cannot afford this seductive aim, which means that students have to be taxed, which means that graduates now start their working career with around £30k of debt. And as universities are today pointing out, even that is not enough dosh to run the system.

Are 50% of the population bright enough to go to university? Again, the short answer is no. Because to achieve this percentage, you have to dumb down the entrance exams, viz the debasing of the A level gold standard, which is now so worthless that good schools, one by one, are moving over to the International Baccalaureate system. Because in order to get courses easy enough for those that should not be there, we end up inventing utterly stupid degrees in golf (Lincoln), science fiction (Glamorgan), belly dancing (Falmouth) and Beckham (Staffordshire) for example.

Does UK plc need 50% of its workforce educated up to degree level? Again, no. Do you need a degree to work in a call centre? Do you need a degree to be a secretary? And that my friends is where the lower end of the university spectrum end up.

Once again, we see NuLab driven by its desire for Lefty social engineering lying to us proles, spinning their 50% target as brilliant social mobility when in fact they are raising kids expectations way too high, only for them to be dashed in the local call centre. And this was before the recession kicked in.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Deranged Moron of the Week

See him here...

Political Correctness Gone Mad

Today, the European Parliament has issued a dictat on 'gender neutral terminology'. No longer are we sexist racist Philistines allowed to use the terms: man made, Miss, Ms or Mrs, actress etc etc, need I go on. No, we must be politicaly correct in our speech.

Now I am not a UKIP EU hater. Indeed, in a previous life I worked in the European Parliament in Brussels. I see the need for it although the EU needs some very fundamental reform to get it to concentrate on what it should be doing rather than the Lefty centralization federalist nonsense they spend most of their time focussing on.

But this is a classic example of Liberal Facism at work. Liberal fascists are the type of people who get so caught up in their 'right on' Lefty view of the world, that they believe we should pass laws banning other contractictory viewpoints, thereby becoming facist in their actions, hence Liberal facism.

Now I hate racists, for example. But I will fight to the death for people to be able to hold unfashionable views, however repugnant. It's called demoncracy, you fuckwits. And it can be rather uncomfortable but it's the best system we have.

If you start banning speech or thought, then you are no better than Nazi Germany of Stalinist Russia.


Appalling posting regularity this last two weeks. Work is crazy. Home is crazy. Foreign travel. Overseas conferences and meetings. Just cannot seem to find the time. Am back in the saddle now. Standby. I've got a lot to rant about.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


So Gordy and I have been here in the Great US of A, hence my lack of posts for the last couple of days.

He is here to try and make himself look big and leader-like and strong and international and brave and virtuous and altogether much more important and clever than Dave. Not sure that's really going to work really. Frankly, even God would struggle to pull him out of his nosedive.

I am here to meet with my American colleagues. I work in an international business. Whenever I visit the US, there are several things that jump out at me about Americans, both good and bad.

Good things

Can do attitude - This is such a refreshing change to British negativism. We are a pessimistic, dour, fault spotting nation. We always come up with 10 reasons why something won't work, rather than looking to see how to make it work. Americans are just so optimistic. Even when presented with a plan that clearly has serious flaws, their DNA is pre-programmed to be positive and look for the good rather than fixate on the bad.

Infectious enthusiasm - They are so goddam bouncy. They could enthuse you about your own death sentence. They often achieve things just through sheer force of enthusiasm alone. It's very energising.

Practicality - They are so astonishingly practical. Everything from business processes to retail experience to design to anything really. Some silly examples:
  • Their road signs are held up by simple, cheap metal posts that have holes stamped all through them. They are as efficient as the much thicker metal posts we use, way cheaper and as they have holes in them any hurricane or wind of any strength just blows right through them. Why didn't we think of that?
  • They have 'drive thru ATMs'. I know, fat Americans can't be assed to get out of the car. But think about those moments when we have all parked on a double yellow and dashed in the sheeting rain to the cash point!
  • The snowy bits of the States actually have snow ploughs! They laugh at us and our gritting lorries. Before you even get to work, the bloody car park has been ploughed, let alone the roads.
  • The nozzles on the end of the hose at any petrol station has a lever to hold the trigger down so that you can stand beside your car and watch it fill up, rather than grapple with freezing fingers having to keep the trigger depressed while the petrol flows into your tank.
Bad things

Immediate shallow friendliness - They are all over you when you meet them. They tell you their life history in the first 15 minutes and always tell you you must meet up, drop in, come round to dinner etc. But let's be clear: all that is American for 'hello'. They actually do not want to see you at all. They would be mortified if you showed up.

Baying voices - Certain states. Certain places. OMG, it can be awful. 'Nu Joisy' (New Jersy), 'Baastan' (Boston) etc. Painful on the ears.

Arrogance - They are just so oblivious to the ROW (rest of the world), almost as if it is actually just one other place. "How do you do this in Europe?" Honestly, I was asked that this week, as if Europe is one homogeneous landmass.

But, for all this, I love them. I find them fascinating, invigorating even. I even forgive their arrogance. It is the arrogance of the population of the unchallenged world superpower. I am sure the British in the early to mid 1800s were equally irritating for foreigners, as we wandered around the world invading everywhere and buying everything. The Chinese in 2050 will be the same.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Election Map

It's Sunday. Light relief needed.

I have just discovered this animated election map thingy when looking at Labour Home (no I have not lost it, just following the advice of one of my great military heroes - "Know thy enemy", Sun Tzu in The Art of War).

It's fascinating. Shows the demise of the Liberal vote and the triumph of Conservatism from the late 1800s, then the growth of the Labour movement in the early twentieth century. Some amazing years, the most apocalyptic being 1997.