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Friday, 12 October 2007

Will Blairs repay costs of security work?

The Blairs' retirement house in Connaught Square was never an obvious choice. Near to Edgeware Road's large Arab community, the calls to prayer from the nearby mosque would doubtless have been painful reminders of failure as Cherry poured the Chardonnay for the couple's C-list guests on the roof terrace. Of course the taxpayer has funded extensive security improvements - I can't track down the figure, but I'm sure it will surface somewhere.

Now comes the news that the couple, who seem to be modelling their lifestyle on premiership footballers and their wives, have got their eyes on Winslow Hall, a Wren designed property that needs some £1m of maintenance works.

If Sir John Bourne has the energy to lift his snout from his taxpayer-funded Michelin-starred pot of truffles, he may like to apply whatever part of his mind remains un-befuddled by fine claret to an equitable deal for the taxpayer.

If the Blairs sell Connaught Square, will the public purse be repaid the additional value of the security improvements, or the cost of the improvements, whichever is the greater? Or will we write the costs off, but make the Blairs responsible themselves for any security improvements at Winslow Hall? I think we should be told.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Why Turkey and not Japan?

Turkey is surely a very remote place from the USA. A small nation at the edge of Europe with an economy smaller than Belgium's, it underwent a painful birth not even ninety years ago. So it is difficult to understand why the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Congress is making such a fuss about formalising the Armenian massacres as genocide. Not that it wasn't genocide, you understand, but why the interest of the US Congress?

Far more problematic in my eyes is the systematic denial by the Japanese State of the far greater, far more brutal and much more recent massacres carried out by the Emperor Hirohito's forces in the 1930s and 1940s. Japan is the world's second largest economy, the world's oldest monarchy, and its people pride themselves on their 'civilisation'. Yet recognition of the inhuman and barbaric behaviour of the Japs in the WWII era is expunged from history books, and the memory of millions upon millions of victims of Japanese militarism is degraded by a continuing brutal indifference on Japan's part.

So whilst I am encouraged that the US Congress is looking beyond the bounds of continental North America, I would further encourage them to turn their gaze southwards.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Commons researchers resent seat warming duties

Researchers and other staff in the Commons are said to resent being told to warm the lavatory seats for MPs, give up the choicest cuts of meat and the best puddings to elected members, leave a lift if an MP wants to use it, and to stand rigidly with their backs against the corridor walls should an MP happen to be walking past. New instructions from the Sergeant at Arms make it clear that MPs are most superior creatures who must be pandered to at every opportunity.

Ah yes. MPs such as 'shit in my mouth' Mark Oaten. And the rest of the mendacious , oleaginous snout-in-the-shit gutter rats that infest the Commons chamber like a virulent plague bacillus. Shame on you all.
MPs conclude that new EU Constitution same as old EU Constitution

In a well considered report published today HERE the Commons European Scrutiny Committee has damned the new Constitution and has damned Brown's government for pretending to be fooled by it. In the most elegant of Parliamentary language, the Committee concludes:
We welcome the emphasis placed by the European Council on providing EU citizens with “full and comprehensive information” and involving them in “permanent dialogue” which is said to be “particularly important” during the IGC. However, the evidence until now has not been consistent with these ideals, with an essentially secret drafting process conducted by the Presidency, with texts produced at the last moment before pressing for agreement.

As far as the substance of the Reform Treaty and its comparison with the Constitutional Treaty are concerned, we accept that references to the “constitutional concept” or “constitutional characteristics” in trying to distance the present proposals from the creation of a Constitution are less than helpful. What matters is whether the new Treaty produces an effect which is substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty. We consider that ... it does, and refer readers to the table in the Annex to this report.

The table shows that the only substantive differences between the Constitution and the 'Treaty' are the dropping of an EU flag, motto and anthem.

So now it's official; Parliament has been formally told by its own members that this document is the old Constitution in a new frock.

That Gordon Brown is incapable of honesty, far less of courage, strength or principle, comes as no great surprise. The redistributive Socialist iron in his soul has deflected his moral compass far away from a true pointing. He will continue to foist this EU lie on the British people and call it truth.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Brown's economic mismanagement comes home to roost

With news in the Telegraph this morning that household disposable income has fallen to its lowest in a decade, the economy is set to get worse. Brown's fabled skill at economic management, like so much of his carefully constructed reputation, is just so much spin.

Over the period 1992 - 2006 it's true that the UK GDP has grown by 49%, ahead of our mainland European competitors. But Canada on 59% growth, the US on 60%, Australia on 73% and Ireland on 137% all put our UK growth to shame. And because our growth has been fuelled in part by record immigration since the mid 1990s, per capita GDP growth has been much lower.

House price growth has fuelled consumption, and high public spending since 2000 has led to record public deficits. These are the pillars of Brown's 'economic competence'.

House prices are starting to fall. Public indebtedness is becoming increasingly unsustainable as interest rates creep up to ease the shock of the collapse of the sub-prime market. Immigration cannot continue at the record levels it has reached. Tomorrow's release of the CSR will have to rein in on public spending. In other words, all the factors Brown has relied on to fuel growth are collapsing.

Over the past few years Europe has been structurally reforming slowly and steadily; lower personal and corporate taxes, labour market reform, and a smaller share for the State in the national economy. Brown has been going in exactly the opposite direction, with the result that the UK is becoming increasing economically uncompetitive.

Brown's economy, reliant on immigration, rising house prices and high government spending, is on the point of implosion.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The face of Brown

Interesting to do a quick trawl through the online news sources to see the pic they've chosen for today's big story. And the make-up he's wearing for the Marr interview indicates the make-up girl couldn't stand him, either ....
It's all downhill now for Gordon and the Brownies

Brown is a man who has missed his tide not once but twice; his lack of bottom in not contesting the Labour leadership election left him brooding and bitter for a decade, and now the top of the flood for his premiership has passed, and the ebb is setting in. The remainder of his voyage in the Ship of State, as Shakespeare said, will be bound in shallows and in miseries.
  • The ratification of the EU Constitution is looming. He will be praying for another EU state to get him off the hook by not ratifying; if not, he is faced with a significant rebellion in his own party, a united Tory party and overwhelming opposition in the country.
  • The economy is on the downturn. Fuel tax rises have just kicked in. Winter fuel bills and above-inflation Council tax rises are looming. House prices are falling, interest rates are rising. Food prices are rocketing. The public are going to hurt.
  • Scotland is an open sore. Salmond will continue his twin-track strategy of winning Scots hearts and goading English irritation. Despite Brown's efforts to disguise his Scots accent and to wrap himself in the Union flag, English tribalism will turn its frustration on him.
  • Party funding is the one key area in which Cameron must not fail; a cross party deal will be hated by the public, and could rob Cameron of the personal lead he is creating. An announcement that the Tories have refused to sign up to the deal can only push the Tories further ahead in the polls.
  • Brown's record of failure will continue to haunt him. Education, health and immigration are Labour failures from which he cannot dissociate himself.
And finally, this recent humiliation will, I am sure, turn Brown away from whatever brief window of collegiality he has experimented with over the past three months; he will see himself as betrayed by the Brownies, and will turn back into the solitary brooding control-monster that allowed his survival as Chancellor.