Saturday, 29 November 2008

THEY MUST GO

Michael Martin MP, Speaker - A Speaker who fails signally to protect the interests of Parliament is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. For the good of the nation, he must go
Mrs Jill Pay, Serjeant at Arms - Reportedly appointed because Michael Martin couldn't get on with retired senior officers. The Serjeant is not there to pander to the Speaker's fragile ego but to defend the Parliamentary estate. She must go.
Jacqui Smith MP, Home Secretary - As the minister heading the department that has grossly perverted the role of the police from local citizens in uniform to State Security Organisation, and as the minister who failed to exercise leadership and control of her civil servants, she must go
Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary - For assuming a power and authority he had no right to do, and for perverting the role of the police, he must go
Bob Quick, Asst Commissioner Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police - For grossly exceeding his authority, for contempt of Parliament, he must go.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Damian Green update

  • Like many of you I have written to my MP, and to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority (Boris and Kit Malthouse)
  • I have made FOI requests to both the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Service; I doubt they will provide the information I have asked for, but I intend to pass their refusals to the Chairman of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee who may choose to subpoena them if he thinks his committee should know the answers
  • Old Holborn summed it up succinctly in a comment on Iain Dale's blog; "Two alternatives: 1) Ministers knew - we live in an authoritarian state, 2) Ministers didn't know - we live in a police state."
  • Spyblog usefully posted a reminder link to his brilliant 'Hints and tips for whistleblowers' for any civil servants now more determined than ever to share information in the public interest
  • Tony Benn expressed fury on the World at One, suggesting the Police may be guilty of a contempt of Parliament - BBC iPlayer link - and usefully reminding both MPs and whistleblowers that the surest way was to publish the information as part of Parliamentary proceedings, making it watertight privileged information.
  • Nick Robinson's blog doesn't reckon it's very important and in return Nick's readers don't reckon he's very bright.

Let's see how it runs on the early evening news reports.

Questions for Jacqui Smith

1. Were you made aware at any time by any person that the Metropolitan Police investigation into alleged leaks from the Home Office would or was likely to lead to the arrest of a Member of Parliament?

2. If so, was your opinion sought at any time by any person as to the proposed arrest?

3. Did you discuss this at any time with the Prime Minister?

4. Did you have any knowledge of any discussions between civil servants in the Home Office and civil servants in the Cabinet Office over the potential arrest of a Member of Parliament?

5. Did you have any knowledge of any discussions between civil servants and either the Crown Prosecution Service or the Metropolitan Police Service over the potential arrest of a Member of Parliament?

OUTRAGE!

The manner of the arrest and detention of Damian Green, and of the searching of his Commons office, is an outrage.

Firstly, the Metropolitan police, OUR police force, not Zanu Labour's, won't come out any more for a burglary. Your home can be trashed, a lifetime of belongings stolen, your world turned upside down and these clowns invite you to leave a message on an answerphone. Nearly thirty teenage boys have been vilely murdered this year, yet a London bus will still contain an upper deck of kids armed with knives. Illegals and overstayers steal millions from the public purse and by fraud and other acquisitive crime and they're not interested. Yet they turn out in force to arrest an MP who has cruelly exposed Home Office incompetence. Unacceptable. This is the moment when it has become imperative that London regains control of its police force. I and council tax payers in my borough are paying the salaries of a thousand policemen, and I want to see them here, on the buses, on the streets, not hidden in the thousands of Zanu Labour 9 to 5 'units' and made-up non-jobs that the Met has become.

I am writing today to the Acting Commissioner to demand, under FOI rules, to know the name of the senior Met officer who authorised the Green arrest, and to know just how many hours and how much manpower has been devoted to this investigation.

Secondly, Parliament. There are a few of my readers I know who mistake Parliament for Government. And I have been critical and am critical of the behaviour of MPs as a class. However, the privileges of the Commons are our most precious asset - forget for a moment the crass ineptitude, venality, avarice and petty corruption of many of the chamber's current members and think ahead to the day when the Commons is filled with our true representatives locked in pitched battle with a trenchant and besieged government - the preservation of those ancient privileges is critical.

I know little of Mrs Jill Pay, the current Sergeant At Arms who apparently authorised the violation of the house's privileges in the searching of Green's office. She is a career civil servant of the clerical and executive branch by her scanty online CV, and doesn't come to the house from any position of achievement. However, I am certain that the last Sergeant, Major General Peter Grant Peterkin, would not have allowed such access to the house without the assembled Commons having a say in the matter.

There is a reason sometimes why our traditions seem a bit stuffy and non- Zanu Labour and General Peterkin is it; the Sergeant needs to be a man (or a woman of the Margaret Rutherford type) who can tell the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to get lost. A general can do this as easily as breathing; a former clerical officer with no history of command or responsibility can't.

Thirdly, I cannot believe that the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was not informed of the arrest and search. I am sure astute questioning today and over the coming days will reveal this obvious truth. The police don't even arrest an MP for shoplifting without the Home Secretary being told.

This outrage is a watershed. It is an outrage perpetuated by the agents of the State against one of the people's elected representatives. Any personal shortcomings that Damian Green may have are irrelevant; it's the symbolism of the line crossed. I am furious. I am seething. And following the post below, I am wondering more seriously what will be demanded from all of us who hold our social democracy dear to keep it from such vile dangers.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Brown's mob of brawling thugs - the Brownshits

In 1930s Munich gangs of swaggering Brownshirts would strut around the bars and beer cellars alive for any hint of dissent; when they found it, they would silence it with fists and boots. Bullies who can't coherently articulate an argument always prefer to employ enforcer thugs to silence criticism.

There's always been a thuggish tendency to Labour, but until Brown the party leaders have always kept it under control. No longer. Yesterday saw our own domestic Brownshirts brawling in the Commons chamber; fifteen whips mingled with the backbenchers in Labour's ranks to yell, shout abuse and generally cause as much disruption as possible. The Tories may have won the vote to have a debate on the emergency budget, but Brown was determined that Osborne's voice should not be heard.

Quentin Letts in the Mail compares it to wild west saloon. It was nothing of the kind. It was a thuggish beer cellar assault by hoodlum Brownshits on a group of social democrats.

That this was led and orchestrated by Labour's whips lays the responsibility clearly at Brown's door; they would never have acted without his explicit authority. This demonstrates more than anything that the fey feartie o'Fife is running scared - running scared of the truth, running scared of the bullying bluster being stripped away to expose the vacuum beneath.

Very well. If Labour are mobilising their thugs and Brown has given his Brownshits free rein to let fly with their fists and boots then the lines are being clearly drawn. He fears the truth - let's tell the truth. He fears debate - let's invite debate. He can't think on his feet - let's push him on the back foot. Now he's drawn his cudgel, let's counter with a rapier.

A man who can authorise this thuggish response in the Commons chamber is capable of much worse. Let's be in no doubt - this will be a fight to the finish, with no quarter.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

So farewell then Woolies

Purveyor of Airfix model kits and Humbrol paints, cheap stationery, pick 'n mix sweeties and hopeless kitchen gadgets, we will miss you. And here's a couple of their cheapo albums of cover versions of the hits of the day - bought by my parents, I hasten to add. Now 12/6d is, erm, 62.5p in metric money. Now that's Woolies value for you.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Darling flounders as Humphrys goes for the jugular

Interview still going on now - check Radio 4's listen again in an hour or so if you're missing it. Humphrys is doing a sterling job, and Darling is lost for words. Hearing this whey-faced Onanist having his arse soundly kicked has raised my mood. But not by very much.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Not bad, just stupid and industrious

Many of you will have heard of the deathbed advice of Frederick the Great to his son. "There will be those in your service" he said "who are clever and lazy. They will be your senior military officers and civil servants, your ruling politicians. There will be those who are clever and industrious; these will be in the second ranks, able deputies and assistants who will shoulder the work of Empire. There will be those who are stupid and lazy; don't neglect them, for they will fill the ranks of your forces and be your civil servants, and can be managed and knocked into line. But if you find one person - just one - who is stupid and industrious, then cast them from your service as you would a deadly plague, for they will counter the gains of all the others."

Brown's government is very stupid and very industrious. Gordon works twenty hours a day, and the more he works the more damage he does. Gordon and his Labour cronies are not bad, just stupid and zealous. They want to see us come through the recession with the poor, the feckless, the idle and the stupid somehow more advantaged than they were before. And those they intend should pay for this are the clever, the industrious, the careful and the thrifty. They rely on the risk taking and entrepreneurship of small business, the diligence of professionals, the strength of traditional families and the honest striving of all the aspirational classes to fund what is without doubt a scorched earth offensive of lunatic social engineering.

I'm not going to demolish the vacuity of Brown's PBR; Burning our money does so succinctly HERE. Simply that we face, as a nation, challenges that go far beyond the fall out of the banking crisis. Peak oil, the high probability of a global pandemic, the effects of climate change (not, I stress, MMGW), food security, energy security, border security and the rise of asymmetric threats from piracy to Jihadist terrorism. In the decades ahead we will discover austerity as even our fathers never knew in the dark days of the 1940s. The ludicrously myopic fairyland of Darling's economic assumptions are either mendacity or stupidity. Let's stick with stupidity.

More than ever, this nation now needs a Churchill, or at least a Thatcher, with a clear vision and a hope for the future, to steer us through the coming storms. They are nowhere apparent on our political horizon. Instead of political leadership that harnesses the strengths and willingness of our people to some advantageous end, we have the purblind and mentally phimosed destructive and corrosive inanity of Brown's self-interest.

If ever there was a point of despair at the witless pygmies at the helm of state it was today.

High tax rates will lower competitiveness

Yes, I know this is axiomatic - everyone but Labour knows this. Let's just take the effect on one sector of the economy - private education. As this piece in the Telegraph graphically describes, high earning parents want their kids in private schools, and "Parents would rather crawl over broken glass than take their children out of independent schooling".

Now like them or not, the private schools turn out large numbers of well rounded highly qualified young people. Not to say they don't come out of the State sector as well - some decent LEA schools produce outstanding pupils, but consider that Eton got more GCSE A grades last year than the whole of the borough of Tower Hamlets.

Overall, higher tax rates with no tax exemptions for school fees will tend to depress the quality of pupil output as the private sector shrinks and the poorly performing State sector grows. And of course all the pupils taken out of private education will now have to be educated at the taxpayer's expense. Both ways we become marginally less competitive as a nation.

So long term losses in return for short term electoral gains. Isn't that Liebour all over?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

"You elect Labour, you'll get the IMF back"

This from a 1997 edition of the IHT:

Britain's crisis began in early 1976 with a steady loss of confidence in the pound amid expectations that the budget deficit, current account deficit and inflation were set to worsen, and that the government would encourage a depreciation to boost the economy. The pound slipped below $2.00 in March and continued sliding toward $1.65 by October, a drop of roughly 25 percent in one year's time. Denis Healey, then chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain's Labour government, sought to stop the rot by cutting spending and increasing taxes in July, but the effort failed. In late September, after a one-day fall of 4 percent in the pound, Mr. Healey abruptly turned around at London's Heathrow airport, abandoning plans to attend a Commonwealth conference in Asia in order to return to his office to ride out the crisis. The next day he unveiled plans to seek $3.9 billion from the IMF

In return for the money, Britain agreed to make further spending cuts and, for the first time, to restrain the growth of credit and the money supply. The IMF agreement marked an historical shift away from the postwar strategy of using government spending to stimulate demand and growth, advocated by John Maynard Keynes, the economist, in favor of monetarist policies aimed at fostering long-term growth by controlling inflation and government spending.

"We used to think that you could just spend your way out of a recession," the prime minister of the day, James Callaghan, told the Labour Party's annual conference at the height of the crisis. "I tell you, in all candour, that that option no longer exists."

The new policies worked quickly, in part because the forecasts of worsening deficits proved too pessimistic. Within one year, Britain beat its IMF budget deficit target, the current account was back in the black and the government was trying to restrain the pound's rise.

By contrast, the political effects of the crisis were long-lasting. Labour was driven from office in the 1979 election that ushered Mrs. Thatcher to power. She used the memory of the crisis to build a consensus for policies geared toward low inflation, free trade and reducing the role of the state in the economy, a consensus that Tony Blair accepted in leading Labour back to power in May.

"It enabled Thatcher to say, quite rightly, that the whole period of Keynesian demand management had led to this crisis," said Gavyn Davies, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs International who was Mr. Callaghan's economic adviser at the time. "Even until the 1997 election, the Tories said, 'You elect Labour, you'll get the IMF back."'

Who says history doesn't repeat itself?

Big Corporatism on the back foot?

I don't know whether you've noticed, but something extraordinary has been happening over the past few weeks.

It started with the Ross-Brand scandal. This was impossible for the BBC to defend; unlike Jerry Springer, which had a strong case on freedom of artistic expression grounds, or even Clarkson's truck driver comments - funny in an adult way - there were no credible grounds to defend the BBC's editorial decision. Previously the BBC have just waited it out, knowing things will blow over, but not this time. They're on the defensive. There's a TV Poll Tax revolt in the offing, and the nation no longer unequivocally supports its biggest corporation. The BBC are now hyper-sensitive to further vulnerabilities.

Today the Mail brands the utility companies 'power thieves' (please take note Phil Bentley, MD of British Gas) for skimming the bank accounts of direct debit customers. Again, they would normally bluff it out - but this time there's a sort of embarrassed 'oops' from them, and a real fear that Darling will force them to regurgitate our gobbled dosh. Again, big corporations not normally so sensitive to public opinion are running scared.

And the banks, for so long hated tyrants against whom ordinary people were powerless, have been humbled. Tens of thousands of people are still waiting to reclaim unfair charges are waiting in the wings, the public are waiting to see the Bank rate passed on and the government are holding a sword over their heads demanding crap or bust. Even Barclays is on the back foot; having lost the moral advantage, Arab money won't help protect them much against a new intolerance now walking abroad.

Councils have also been told to lay-off using anti-terrorism powers to catch litter droppers and folk who put their bins out on the wrong day; retailers are finding how rapidly changes in the public's spending decisions can send big corporate retailers to the wall and are reacting furiously to retain market share; oil companies are actually trying to demonstrate that fuel savings are passed on at the pumps. Big corporations are all looking carefully at top salaries and bonuses, for even if these are strictly the private decisions of those that own the corporations, they are extremely sensitive to public opinion.

I'm hugely encouraged by all this. Big corporatism is allied to the Big State; one hand washes the other. For now, the mood hasn't yet shifted against the central State, and indeed Brown is banking on public support for Big State powers, but I have a feeling this isn't going to last. Just as one can smell snow in the air, I can smell a new zeitgeist in the wind, and it's anti-corporatist.