Saturday, 22 May 2010

Squealing Mandarins squirm to save their troughs

Cameron's lead in walking to the Commons and jumping on a bus home is causing panic amongst the bloated functionaries at the heart of the Leviathan State. Senior mandarins, virtually unknown to the public let alone to a primitive Bradford Jihadist with a Grade D GCSE in English, have long cited 'security concerns' to excuse a munificent lifestyle of chauffeured cars and a closeted and protected existence far removed from contact with the citizens they rule. Cameron's behaviour may actually force these delicate orchids (Bateman-like shock) to take the tube to work.

Naturally, this weekend they are launching a concerted but anonymous campaign in the press to save their troughs by outlining the 'grave security risks' that Cameron is facing; their excuse for their own cosseted lifestyle lies in convincing their political puppets of their own importance in security terms.

Although these bloated plutocrats are actually at more risk of having their heads sawn off by an outraged taxpayer than by a Jihadist, and the security they erect around themselves nought more than pointless vain puffery and flam, expect them to fight this one viciously.

Friday, 21 May 2010

On the brink

The Euro crisis has placed the world on the brink looking into the depths of an abyss of global financial depression. Whilst our politicians find quiet ways to steal our taxes to line their party pockets and Euro fantasists in Brussels can't escape from their Federast dream-world the world is changing; the plates are shifting and a great change is afoot.

We don't have the slightest notion of the challenges we'll be called upon to face if the system falls. However, our strength, our national resilience, our ability to face the storm and keep the bow into the waves depends on those reserves of national character that have served us well in the past. I disagree with those who think we've lost it; I see signs of it every day, I see it in the comments to this blog. Our national character has been brutalised under Labour, starved and tortured by Brussels and perverted by the weak and foolish but I'm convinced it remains, hidden and undimmed, quietly waiting. And that gives me confidence.

So a weekend's work on the new boat - Anna - ahead and no doubt a beer or two.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Update: Coalition to get 70% of State Party funding

As an update to the post below, although the coalition won only 59.1% of total votes cast in the general election between them, their rules will give them 70% of the State Party funding pot they are creating. Labour will get 25%.

Angry beyond words.

OUTRAGEOUS!

Cock-up after corruption, it seems; after hosting the coalition document on a word press template at programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk with opportunities for public comment for each section, more conventional non-Web 2.0 heads prevailed and the site now redirects to a boring and inaccessible presentation at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_187877 with no opportunity for comment on the policies at all. After silencing the 1922 Committee, it's clear the way that Cameron's Central State Party structure intends to govern. Corruptly.

Back to that State funding deal. Only parties that returned MPs, and that returned MPs who take their seats, are eligible. That rules out any funding for UKIP (917,832 votes), the BNP (563,743 votes) and Sinn Fein (171,942 votes) but guarantees funding for the Greens (285,616 votes) and the Alliance Party (42,762 votes). However, 59.1% of the funding will go to the Coalition - helping Clegg and Cameron cement their incumbency and crowd out any challenge to their dying parties from newcomers.

It stinks like rotten mackerel. It's a lousy, corrupt, venal subversion of tax funds for crooked political ends. It's anti-democratic, it's a naked and avaricious grasp for power at a time when the old parties are coming to their natural ends, with a combined membership of less than 1% of the electorate they're now thieving our taxes to keep their cosy private clubs solvent. It's a foul and filthy pillage of public money for private gain.

I had been prepared to give the Coalition the doubt, but in less than a week they've shown their true colours.

Prepare for battle, gentlemen.

Coalition agree on back-door State funding of incumbent parties

Don't say I didn't warn about this;

"We will fund 200 all-postal primaries over this Parliament, targeted at seats which have not changed hands for many years. These funds will be allocated to all political parties with seats in Parliament that they take up, in proportion to their share of the total vote in the last general election."

Forget the red herring about postal primaries; this is an agreement to pump taxpayers' money into the central party organisations of the big three dying parties only - parties that have a combined membership of less than 1% of the electorate. They have no right to steal tax money in this way. This is an affront to the British people and an insult to democracy. It is corrupt. It is the sleazy filth that fouls anti-democracies. We must reject it.

I urge you to comment HERE.

Defacing the currency

Many years ago back home in Suffolk, one of our occasional Saturday night destinations was a large bar on one of the US air bases. Three things were needed. Firstly, your name on the clipboard at the gate, where impossibly large black-and-white American police cruisers crouched, parked akimbo, with impossibly large real American policemen wearing pistols beside them. Secondly, ID that showed you were over 21 (we weren't of course, and they didn't examine it too closely) and thirdly, you needed dollars. In return, you got to see a decent gig by a band flown out from the US to keep the troops happy. At that age we happily absorbed the culture shock of moving into a US mid West small town in which everything was American from a mediaeval Suffolk village just a few hundred yards away.

Anyway, after one such outing I was left at Sunday lunchtime with seven one dollar notes and about the same number of pounds Sterling. I dropped into the Three Tuns, where an obese US technical master sergeant was a semi-permanent fixture, to see if he would change my dollars. He decided to be unhelpful, shaking his head and pleading regulations that forbade such exchange. So I shrugged, tore the dollars into small pieces and left them in an ashtray on the bar. Although it was a deliberate provocation, the strength of his reaction took me by surprise; his wobbly beetroot face yelled "that's US currency! You destroyed US currency! " and he advanced towards me so rapidly I thought I was going to have to take a bar stool to him. I faced him down, and back he went. As a lesson as to how to make a lifelong enemy from a nodding acquaintance in ten seconds it was salutary.

I learned that like their flag, Americans regard their currency as being imbued with sacred characteristics, and they are not alone. It's also a heinous offence to deface the currency here in the UK. But only Sterling, mind you; we can deface the Euro to our heart's content with no penalty whatsoever.

It's a small point, but an important one. The currency is an ever-present and universal reminder of national identity and often stands proxy for our loyalty to our nation. The Euro has none. I'll bet not one single European would be offended in that instinctive amour-propre way by the tearing-up of a few Euro notes, and not one European prosecutor will ever bring charges against you for drawing moustaches on the Brandenburg Gate or wiping your bottom with Venice.

A currency without a nation is an orphan.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Pact: my own Red Line

The Lib Dems have been enthusiastic supporters of State funding (i.e. tax funding) of political parties; indeed, they wholeheartedly backed Hayden Phillips' corrupt and soiled proposals to dish out State cash based on vote share in the previous election.

So when Clegg also promised in his 'big speech' today to go ahead with "reforms to the funding of political parties to end the culture of big donors" you can read the code; State funding for these dying private clubs. The Lib Dems have barely 60,000 members, so Clegg's avaricious and rapacious grab for State cash to compensate for the unpopularity of being a LibDem can be understood, if not condoned.

This is my Red Line, as it will be for many Conservatives. It's time Dave grabbed his choke-lead and repeated a firm command "No. Bad."

This is something I'll go to the barricades for, and I know I won't be alone.

Police should determine charging for ALL non-indictable offences

There is good news in that Theresa May is extending the power of the Police to make charging decisions on minor offences without reference to the CPS. I'd like to see this extended to cover all non-indictable offences - something like 90% of all criminal prosecutions, from memory.

You see, there's no substitute for a red-faced Superintendant facing the media and explaining why he allowed someone to be charged for calling a police horse 'gay'. Or eating an apple whilst waiting at a red light. Named and responsible senior police officers will soon learn from what the psychologists term 'negative reinforcement' exactly what are and what are not acceptable prosecutions.

Here's the first for Clegg's List

I have a long list of legislation I'd like to see repealed, but perhaps none more so than s.167 of the 1996 Housing Act. As Nick Drew has commented, this Act was brought in by Major's government against the advice of Conservative local authorities. It has led to the destruction of traditional communities, the formation of alien ghettoes, the transformation of council estates into rookeries and an explosion in voluntary bastardy. It has fuelled an entire 'rights and advice' industry, consumes an inordinate amount of court time and costs taxpayers billions. It has encouraged economic migrants from the most primitive and backwards parts of the world to flock to the UK. It MUST go.

The offending law? This;

s.167 Allocation in accordance with allocation scheme
(1) Every local housing authority shall have a scheme (their “allocation scheme”) for determining priorities, and as to the procedure to be followed, in allocating housing accommodation.For this purpose “procedure” includes all aspects of the allocation process, including the persons or descriptions of persons by whom decisions are to be taken.

(2) As regards priorities, the scheme shall be framed so as to secure that reasonable preference is given to—

(a) people occupying insanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions,
(b) people occupying housing accommodation which is temporary or occupied on insecure terms,
(c) families with dependent children,
(d) households consisting of or including someone who is expecting a child,
(e) households consisting of or including someone with a particular need for settled accommodation on medical or welfare grounds, and
(f) households whose social or economic circumstances are such that they have difficulty in securing settled accommodation.

Even the LibDems must condemn this HRA failure

Let's be real. There can be few LibDems who will be happy for fanatical Jihadists determined to take British lives to be freed to get on with their evil. But Clegg's party's support of the Human Rights Act produces exactly this result. The legislation is fundamentally flawed in that it fails to recognise the primacy of our nation's security and of our protection from evildoing, and that this must excuse when necessary dealing cruelly and harshly with those that threaten us.

Jihadists may be primitive, credulous and unenlightened misfits from one of the world's most backward armpits, but they know fully well that if they conspire to evil and violence against us they place their own lives at risk. The LibDems must support whatever changes are needed for the HRA to recognise this reality.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Is there any way back for Professionalism?

One of the underlying ideological battles of the last half-century, along with central v. local and State v. community, is the conflict between managerialism and professionalism. Professionals have lost many of their responsibilities not only because the State seeks entry to regulate every aspect of society, but because politicians and governments of whatever hue are inherently short-termist.

One of the key privileges of the old professionals was the right to regulate themselves; their right to do so was often confirmed not only by Royal charter but by statute. As a result, they were often exempt from the application of other statutes. Physicians and surgeons, barristers and solicitors, clergymen and officers of the armed services all enjoyed such privileged autonomy. In return they provided public guarantees; high standards of professional conduct, a warranty as to competence and skill and a code of behaviour founded in a framework of ethics. All this was anathema to a socialist State the believed that it, and not some Royal College or Inn of Court, should decide who became a doctor or a barrister.

Professionals and their bodies are also by nature small-c conservative. They don't change quickly. This is at odds with politicians focused on short-term aims who want results within a Parliamentary term. It's one thing accepting in principal that 5% of barristers should be black women and quite another that 5% should be black women within two years. And so the State has eroded the power of the professional bodies to the extent that they are now little more than ceremonial, given a minor role to play by government so long as they remain utterly compliant.

And who are the winners from all this? Not the public, that's for sure. The quality standard of doctors and lawyers has plummeted, the clergy are a joke and the service arm to have most enthusiastically embraced the takeover, the Navy, has become greatly operationally weakened.

No, the real winner is the central State, having neutered centres around which alternative ideologies may grow, having disempowered the formerly powerful and having won control of essential social and national resources. Managerialism has triumphed over professionalism, and with that triumph has fallen the place of ethical standards at the heart of public life, and any difference in degree in the extent to which we expect competence in a doctor more than in a tyre-fitter.

The fate of the professions may also make infinitely more difficult Cameron's localist agenda. Communities need leadership and authority figures; destroy the integrity and status of doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergymen and ex-officers and often you destroy the grain of grit around which the pearl forms. Few community leaders are car salesmen or estate agents.

Will Hutton to lead pay review? Are they joking?

One of the most pernicious diseases to hit the public sector under Labour is the culture of managerialism. Together with the targets, performance indicators and benchmarking, together with the Audit Commission determining exactly how each of the lowliest parts of the public sector should do its job, together with the octopus of State Central Planning that manipulated the levers, came a wave of 'modernisation'.

Here in Zone-2 London, my GP used to be overworked and underpaid, but he'd known me since I moved here and on my very infrequent visits he'd want an update on what I'd been up to in the past year as much as he'd want a blood pressure reading. He ran his list together with a part-time locum and a receptionist. Then came a tsunami of health service cash. The rather scruffy terraced shop where he used to hang his shingle was closed and a pretty Victorian villa down the road was bought and refurbed at a cost of about £3m. The receptionist was re-designated practice manager and two more receptionists hired. A nurse appeared, with her own consulting room. Two more full-time GPs turned up. The list was exactly the same size, and patients were randomly allocated to whichever had an appointments slot, strictly limited to 15 minutes.

Well, my old GP didn't take to this 'modernisation'. For a start, he'd lost 'his' list to a faceless NHS organisation. He couldn't enjoy a rambling half-hour chat about fishing any more. And the new Trust that now paid him kept giving him targets to report on; what had he done to reduce teen pregnancy / domestic violence / diabetes? So he took early retirement.

I've had to visit twice since he's gone, to what is now no longer the GP's surgery but State Health Plant Number 532. First time I got a cold and lugubrious Frenchman who peered confused at his computer screen. It took ten of our allotted fifteen minutes to work out that my records had been wrongly transcribed, and included those of a woman with Psoriasis. He rapidly scratched out a prescription to be rid of me. I looked it up. It was inappropriate. I devised my own cure with the aid of the internet. The second was a Tamil chap, no more competent. I haven't bothered going back since.

This tale is symptomatic of what's happened under Labour. At the old surgery there were no appointments, you just turned up and waited. If you weren't that sick (and many weren't) you got fed up waiting and went home. No wasted guaranteed 15 minutes. And the doc knew you, making his work more effective and efficient. And he worked maybe 60 hours a week for a £45k salary - good value.

Anyway, Will Hutton. It soon became clear that lots of doctors like my old GP and lots of patients like me were unhappy, despite the record number of tractors being serviced by the State Health Plants. So the NHS engaged Hutton's Work Foundation to survey everyone to find out exactly how unhappy we all were. Then they set performance targets to reduce the unhappiness level.

Looking at Hutton's board, you find PWC, a trade union official, the permanent secretary of the Department of Communities and a brace of senior HR and management consultants. These are the very people who have caused all the mess in the first place; these are the modernisers, who pushed their culture of managerialism into things that worked quite well, and made them work appallingly badly. These are the people who should be removed from every public procurement list in the country and never used again. But what does Cameron do? Appoint Hutton to oversee a senior salaries review.

It's madness.