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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Prime Minister misleads the public AGAIN and the BBC think the story is really not that important

The BBC's bias is unreal, Gordon Brown gets caught out misleading the country again and the BBC report it with the lines:
'the head of UK Statistics Authority agreed with a Tory complaint that he had made inaccurate comparisons.

Downing Street said it accepted the statistics had been "unclear".

But it insisted that Mr Brown had since corrected them. '
Can you imagine the outcry on the BBC if a Conservative politician had mislead the country AGAIN? Indeed do you remember the furore when the Conservatives were accused of using misleading crime statistics, the story ran for days and there were strong interviews of the 'guilty'? But now the Labour Prime Minister does it then it's all forgiven by the 'fact' that Gordon Brown had corrected the mistake; no interrogations, no shock just acceptance that it was a mistake, and no mention that it was yet another in a long line of Gordon Brown 'mistakes'. Just as with misleading the Chilcot Inquiry & the House of Commons and then misleading the House of Commons again with his grudging "in one or two years..." when it actually fell in four years, Gordon Brown knows he can rely on the protection of the BBC.

Could this be a reason to vote Conservative?

It is being reported that Shadow Business Minister, Mark Prisk today stated that
"For the last 13 years, Labour have constantly meddled with the tax rules for freelancers and self-employed. IR35 has especially proved to over-complex, uncertain and often unfair. At a time when Britain should be open for business, Gordon Brown has made it harder to be self-employed. This is why a Conservative Government would mandate the independent Office of Tax Simplification to undertake a fundamental review of current arrangements with the aim of providing a clearer, lasting and fairer tax regime."
Any IT consultants out there not sure who to vote for?

The last day to buy a car before the hideous rises in Vehicle Tax are implemented

On 1 April 2010 new rates of Vehicle Tax are introduced and some of the rises are spectacular:

Band M cars (those with a CO2 g/km rating above 255) will pay £950, instead of the current £405, for a 12-month tax disc. Don't be fooled into thinking that this applies only to big 4x4s and supercars, it does apply to Range Rovers but also to vehicles such as the Vauxhall Insignia 2.8.

Band L cars (ranging from 226-255g/km) will now pay £750 instead of £425 for the first year; cars affected include the Ford S-Max 2.3.

Band K cars (201-225g/km) cars will pay £550, up from £215; that's for cars including the Ford Mondeo 2.3 or Focus 2.5.

Band J cars (186-200g/km) will pay £425 rather than £235; that's for cars such as the Honda CR-V 2.0 and even the Vauxhall Corsa 1.6.

Band I cars (176-185g/km) will see their first year tax rise from £200 to £290; affecting cars such as the Land Rover Freelander 2.2 diesel and the Vauxhall Astra.

Band H cars (166-175g/km) cars see a tax increase from £180 to £250 for such 'gas guzzling' cars as the 38mpg VW Beetle 1.6.

Band G cars (151-165g/km) see no increase and neither do band F and band E.

The increases go on and on but here's the percentage increase for each band:
M +118%
L +76%
K +124%
J +81%
I +50%
H +39%
G 0%
F 0%
E 0%
D -100%
C -100%
B -100%
A -100%

So if you are thinking of buying an interesting new car, I'd buy it this afternoon....

I should make clear that the new Vehicle Tax rules apply only to motorists buying new cars from 1 April 2010. Owners of existing will pay the old rates, unless another stealth tax is required...

Tasteful?


That's American soul singer Erykah Badu with her controversial music video in which she strips naked in public in Dealey Plaza, the site of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and at the end falls to the ground as if shot. "When I fall to the ground in the video, the word groupthink spills out of my head because I was assassinated by groupthink", she said.
Tasteful?

Good blogging

1) Letteres From a Tory asks 'What on earth is happening in European politics?' with regard to votes for far-right parties and wonders if there are implications for the UK.


2) Dizzy Thinks wonders why it will take 22 years for the government to release CO2 emission figures for 2008. Hmmm I wonder!

The BBC decides what is news and what is not

The BBC's attacks on the DUP continue with a piece reporting claims about Peter Robinson's property dealings. Oddly they have shown no interest in the Steve Purcell story.

It must be interesting being a BBC 'journalist' always knowing exactly which stories are newsworthy and which are not.

Why is 'Daily Mail reader' such an insult?

Last night I blogged three pieces of news that came from The Daily Mail, I knew that this would provoke at least one derogatory comment about The Daily Mail and my reading it, and I was not disappointed.

I have pondered before on the way that the British left see The Daily Mail and its readership as something amusing, something that can be instantly discounted, something that is automatically wrong. I suppose it saves them the time of addressing any legitimate problems raised by articles in The Daily Mail.



For the avoidance of doubt, I don't 'take' a daily paper, I read parts of The Telegraph and The Times (for the moment) on-line and dip into The Financial Times (on-line and in its pink version). I also a couple of times a week may skim through The Daily Mail and less often The Sun. At weekends I buy The Telegraph & Sunday Telegraph most weeks and The Times and Sunday Times less often and skim through several more on-line.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The UK in 2010

Three stories that show just a little of what is wrong with the Uk in 2010 after 13 years of labour misrule.

1) The Mail reports:
'A convicted rapist facing deportation has won a High Court battle to be allowed to stay in Britain so he can get married.

Alphonse Semo, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, threw his victim on a rubbish tip when he 'had finished with her'.

But last night he won the right to remain in the UK for his wedding, just hours before he was due to board a plane back to Africa.

A judge said it was difficult to have any sympathy for Semo, who was jailed for eight years, but he must be allowed to stay.

Mr Justice Collins said the Home Office had at first agreed to let the 53-year-old, from Deptford, south east London, get married to his long-term partner, a German national.

Then the wedding was effectively cancelled by a subsequent decision 'by the same Home Office - no doubt by a different department', he said.

The judge added that he was 'very reluctant' to intervene but said the Home Office could not be allowed to play 'hot and cold'.

The judge said: 'With considerable reluctance, I have to say he must be allowed to marry.

'That means there will be a prohibition against removing him.'

The judge said the Home Secretary would have to reconsider later, after the marriage, whether to make a fresh attempt to deport Semo.

That would engage issues of EU law as his bride-to-be, Bunsana Kalonji, is a refugee from the Congo who became a German national. The pair have a long-established relationship.

Once married, the pair are expected to claim that Semo is legally entitled to remain in the UK as the spouse of an European Economic Area national entitled to free movement within EU member states, including the UK.'



2) The Mail reports that:
' A father who was barred from a public pool's changing room because children were inside has said he was branded a 'pervert'.

Craig Roper claims new rules in force at a council-owned sports centre mean that all men are assumed to be paedophiles who pose a danger to youngsters if they are allowed in the same room.

The regular swimmer said he was furious when he was ordered out of the men's changing room at Scissett Baths in Kirklees, Yorkshire, after a confrontation with a teacher.

Mr Roper, a father of three who has been using the baths at lunchtimes for 30 years, said he always used a private cubicle if boys were still getting changed after morning swimming lessons.

But least week he says he was accosted by a female teacher after being let into the electronically operated room by a lifeguard, and she demanded that he leave at once.

'She said "What are you doing in here, you're not supposed to be here?",' Mr Roper said.

He was then forced to use a separate sauna facility to change.

Pool bosses later confirmed they had introduced new rules 'to protect all our customers from potential incidents'.

Mr Roper said: 'It implies that any male is perceived as paedophilic or as a threat or pervert. They haven't done this on the female side.

'I don't take it personally I just resent the introduction of a plethora of rules and regulations without considering how it impacts people's lives.

'It would now seem that the local schools have initiated a policy of "lock down" and implemented designated exclusion zones in what should be public spaces.

'After decades of the common sense approach to the multi-use of this small pool with limited resources it would now seem that the politically correct brigade have hijacked the agenda.

'These new imposed rules and regulations interfere with the civil liberties of the general public wanting to use this public sports centre.'

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Active Leisure, which runs sports facilities for the council, said the policy applied both to male and female changing rooms.

She said: 'We take all of our customers' safety and privacy very seriously and in order to protect all of our customers against any potential incidents we have a number of policies in place.

'We have a duty to specific groups in our community including our local schools to provide safeguarding of children.

'Kirklees Active Leisure introduced a new school swimming policy in 2007 in partnership with the education service stating that the teacher in charge of school swim sessions has the responsibility to ensure the safety and supervision of the pupils.

'As part of this policy KAL will, where possible, make arrangements for separate school changing areas to be available.

'This is the case at Scissett Baths, alternative changing areas are available to other customers during this time. These policies not only protect children but also all of our customers.''



3) The Mail reports that:
'Buying a goldfish at a pet shop used to be an innocent childhood pleasure.

But today an elderly pet shop owner told how she was entrapped into selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old schoolboy, then warned she could face jail.

She had breached a law introduced in 2006 which bans selling live fish to anyone under 16.

After a prosecution estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,0000, Joan Higgins, 66, a great-grandmother who has never been in trouble before, has been forced to wear a tag on her ankle like common criminal and given a seven-week curfew.

Her son, Mark, 47 was also handed a fine and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work in the community.

Magistrates were today accused of using a hammer to crack a nut in their bid to enforce the animal welfare laws.

The Higgins' ordeal began when council officials heard the Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester was selling animals to children.

They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold the youngster a goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.'



Happy in the UK? Happy with the effects of human rights legislation, safety legislation and idiotic laws? Consider this when voting...

Really, is that what it is about?

The BBC have a helpful 'Q&A: What's the BA dispute about?' piece but I didn't get far into it before I found an error. The BBC claim:
'What is at the heart of the dispute?

In November, BA reduced the number of cabin crew on long haul flights from 15 to 14 and introduced a two-year pay freeze from 2010.'
Near the end of the piece you do find this line 'The airline has said flights from London City Airport will not be affected, and long-haul flights to and from Gatwick will also operate..'


So why is Gatwick not affected but Heathrow is? The BBC don't seem interested in pursuing this question, might that be because long haul flights from Gatwick already operate with one less crew-member, something that I was discussing with BA cabin crew before the cancelled Christmas flights. Now why are the BBC so shy of reporting this information?

All in the emphasis

We are very close to Gordon Brown calling an election, assuming the great 'feartie' actually plucks up the courage to do so. So the BBC's spin on Labour's partial climbdown on Social Care provision is not that surprising. THe BBC's headline piece accentuates the positive and associates negative words with the Conservative's position. The headline 'Long-awaited plan for social care levy due' sets the scene, it would seem that we are all tired of waiting for this decision and now the wise and beneficent Labour Gordon are almost ready to satisfy us. Here's an extract from the 'news report:
'A compulsory levy would be introduced to help pay for social care for adults in England, under plans to be unveiled by ministers in a white paper later.

They will call for a new commission to look at when and how the fee should be applied, and how much it should be.

It is widely agreed the current means-tested system needs reform because of the ageing population.

A compulsory charge is opposed by the Conservatives, who called one proposal for a levy on estates a death tax.'
You have to admire the BBC's clever wording, well you would if they were not meant to be 'impartial'.

Oddly The Telegraph do manage to point out that:
'Death tax to pay for elderly care is scrapped - Plans for a new National Care Service providing free support for the elderly have been abandoned by the Government.'

Well you pays your money and you takes your choice. Except you don't, The Telegraph news website is free whereas we all pay for the BBC via the TV Licence and they are required to be impartial.


UPDATE: Take a listen to Radio 4's Today programme for the most bizarre of interviews where Andy Burnham is questioned but cannot answer even simple questions.

Monday, 29 March 2010

What's happening re the Steve Purcell affair?

News Net Scotland report that the answer is not a lot:
'the Scottish media quite casually reported that there would be neither an inquiry nor any investigation into the fallout at Glasgow City Council following the Steven Purcell scandal.



There was no media outrage at this announcement and no furious editorials; in fact no serious questioning whatsoever of the decision by Audit Scotland and Strathclyde Police to simply drop the matter. As far as these bodies were concerned the goings on were nothing to do with them, there would be no investigation which meant no evidence would be uncovered and therefore those involved would face....... 'no charges'.

It's almost impossible to envisage a more serious or scandalous series of revelations than the ones that have emerged this last few weeks from Glasgow council.



Here we had one of Labour's most high profile Scottish based politicians resigning and fleeing the country in disgrace without answering a single question. An English newspaper reporting that this politician had admitted taking cocaine, that he had been interviewed by drugs enforcement officers in his office and that he had been connected by them to drug dealers.

It is also reported that these officers were concerned that the politician may have left himself open to blackmail from these same gangsters. If true, then that alone leads one to ask what it was that the police believed could have been used in order to blackmail this politician? Were they aware of the aforementioned allegations of drug use? If so, why was an investigation not carried out then? If it wasn't drug use then what else did the police feel could have been used against this senior Labour politician?



Remember that this individual was in control of an annual budget in excess of £2 billion, he was making decisions that would affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Glasgow citizens.



Subsequent revelations involving local authority owned companies, public cash going to the Labour party and contracts to businesses owned by senior Labour donors led to cross party calls for an investigation into the council.



A more clear-cut case for an independent inquiry in order to restore public confidence in Scotland's largest local authority is difficult to imagine.



Of course we now that isn’t going to happen, the matter has been dropped and concerned citizens of Glasgow have been told to ‘move along, there’s nothing to see’.



Only media pressure can compel Audit Scotland and the police to change their minds and carry out an inquiry; but that media pressure simply isn’t there – nor is it likely to appear.'
Read the whole piece and you will note that News Net Scotland also wonder how this story would have been reported if it had related to a Conservative local politician rather than a Labour one:
'For those who see nothing wrong with the Scottish media coverage of the whole Purcell affair then imagine instead of Purcell, Labour and Glasgow being at the centre of the scandal that it was instead Boris Johnston, the Conservatives and London that was the focus.



Yep, the English media would still be savaging the Conservatives over this and a posse of journalists would now be closing in on the whereabouts of the ‘Tory Fugitive’.'

Remember what I wrote on March 8th:
'Just imagine that a rising star in the Conservative party, a city council leader no less, had resigned under strange circumstances. Imagine if the story involved claims or speculation about drug taking, rehab clinics. Imagine if high powered lawyers had become involved. Imagine if there were photos of this former high-flyer sitting next to David Cameron last week. Imagine if the young council leader had disappeared and was rumoured to have relocated to warmer climes. Just imagine all of that happening to a Conservative councillor and tell me that it would not be headline news on the BBC.

Oddly when the story concerns a rising star Labour councillor who was pictured sitting next to Gordon Brown last week, not a word on the BBC whose political lead stories still include a Lord Ashcroft story.'

Criminalising the Population - Repost from last year

'For a while now my thoughts have been turning to possible reasons for why this Labour government have introduced so many laws but not enforced that many that well. My theory is that with so many laws available, they could use them to make anyone a "criminal" that they choose. In an average day the average London motorist probably breaks a couple of laws - straying into a box junction without the exit being clear, moving into a bus lane to pass a car turning right and blocking the only carriageway allowed to cars, etc. etc. etc. Add to traffic laws, laws relating to waste disposal, other environmental laws, laws preventing photography of policemen etc. etc. etc. and you have a situation where there are too many law-breakers to be dealt with by the police and courts BUT it does mean that the State (or Party) can decide who to investigate and prosecute. In effect we are all "criminals", it's just that most of us are allowed to evade the consequences of this "criminality" unless we incur the displeasure of the State/Party when we will suffer. At the moment the sentences for each of these "crimes" might be a year in prison, how long before it is a prison camp or worse?


Thanks to a comment on Devils Kitchen, here is an extract from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" that seems pertinent:

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against—then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."'

Make Labour History

in case Vince Cable gets too saintly tonight at the Chancellors debate

The Telegraph reminds us that despite the 'saintly Vince' act, Vince Cable is no more honest than most politicians:
'Mr Cable earlier this month claimed to have been consulted by the Treasury about his party’s policies and suggested the talks were a prelude to his becoming Chancellor in the event of a hung parliament.

It later emerged that the meeting with Sir Nicholas McPherson, the permanent secretary at the Treasury, had been a “courtesy call” requested by Mr Cable himself.

Mr Cable’s presentation of the event angered Treasury officials, and the Lib Dem has now written to Sir Nicholas to apologise.'
I wonder if the BBC will report this climbdown, after all Vince Cable is the BBC's go to economist.

What the BBC and Labour don't tell us about unemployment

Here's some interesting facts about UK unemployment and employment:

'1. There are fewer people employed than at any time in the last 12 years
The employment rate in the three months to January 2010 is 72.2% - it fell by 54,000 on the quarter to reach 28.86m.

3. If you work in the private sector, wages are going down … in the public sector, they're going up
Average weekly earnings in the private sector are £426 per week - down 0.7% on January 2009. In the public sector, they're higher - £461 per week, up 4.1% on Jan 2009.

4. Public sector jobs are still going up
6m people are employed in the public sector - +46,000 on the year. 21.1% of us work in the public sector. The biggest percentage increase has been in the NHS - up by 4% on the year to 1.6m people in January. In contrast, private sector employment is down by 527,000.

7. There are more long-term unemployed
Those unemployed over six months has gone up by 58.7% to 549,000 people.

8. More of us are part-time
Part-time jobs are up - by 1.3% or 87,000 on the year. Meanwhile full-time employment has gone down by 3.4% (-642,000).

9. There are less young people employed
Employment is down for 16-17 year-olds (by 22.2% or 109,000) and 18-24 year-olds (down 6.6% or 237,000)'


Thanks to My Thoughts My Country for the spot and for some great information on other matters, a site that is well worth a visit.


Yet the BBC still push the Labour line that the recovery has started and that ll will be well under Gordon Brown's continued Premiership. It won't be, the UK economy is more screwed than most people realise but that won't stop the BBC supporting their political friends.

An alternative Conservative campaign suggestion from 'Red Flag'


A great idea although the tag line may need some work 'You've got to laugh. Or vote Conservative'. A small part of me says that that final line associates the Conservatives with the opposite of laughter. Regardless, let's make this 'viral'.


Thanks to Red Rag Online for the video.

What if Labour do win the election?

Burning Our Money depressed me with this:
'13 years of Labour misrule have left Britain emasculated not only economically, but also politically.

The state has wormed its way into all aspects of our lives. 25 million voters are now directly dependent on the state for all or part of their incomes (see here) - that's over half the electorate. Our political establishment have been bought wholesale with lavish troughing rights and Zils. And the left's state subsidised media hegemony feeds the people an unbroken diet of Big Government propaganda, making it impossible for dissenting voices to get a fair hearing. We are therefore consigned to live under the yoke of state socialism for ever.'


Whilst The Last Ditch writes
'If the polls are to be believed, a lethal proportion of our fellow-citizens remains willing to vote Labour in a few weeks time. This, despite all the evidence of the terrible damage that Labour has wrought.

Labour has lost our AAA credit rating. The agencies haven't announced it yet, presumably so as not to seem political. But bankers of my acquaintance are in no doubt it will happen. They are already re-pricing the nation's debt on that assumption and the epic costs of servicing it will soon rise. Britain has dropped in every international economic ranking. Yet Labour is winning the economic argument. It is winning it with the Keynesian idea that the government should prime the pumps with public money during a recession. That's a respectable argument (even if I don't buy it). What's not respectable is that no-one is pointing out that the pumps should be primed from tanks filled with reserves during the good times. Labour ran those tanks dry years ago. They can't be blamed for a global recession. They must be blamed for that lack of prudence. Why can't the charmless Gideon Osborne and his soigné chum Dave make that simple point?'
and goes on to depress me more with
'The British population is not, on average, stupid or insane. It is however in deep denial. It cannot face an economic truth quite so horrific. Perhaps voting for the agents of economic apocalypse is psychologically the very best way of denying it's happening? God knows. '

Depressed yet? This Labour government must be kicked out at the general election or this country is dead.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Gordon Brown's poverty trap

"In Gordon Brown’s Britain if you’re a single mother with two kids earning £150 a week, the withdrawal of benefits and the additional taxes mean that for every extra pound you earn, you keep just 4 pence.

What kind of incentive is that? Thirty years ago this party won an election fighting against 98 per cent tax rates on the richest."
That was DAvid Cameron in his recent speech. For more details on this Labour pverty trap please take a read of Burning Our Money.

'What do you think of Labour's election pledges?' The BBC might regret asking this question

The BBC 'Have Your Say' section was recently 'improved' to get rid of the 'most recommended' feature, many assumed because the most recommended comments were usually those most opposed to the BBC's house point of view. Today's Have Your Say on Labour's election pledges does not seem to be going the way the BBC might have hoped. Here are the first 10 comments:
'# . At 10:22am on 27 Mar 2010, The Uncivil Servant wrote:

A joke? Five vague statements.

We pleadge that 1. the day will begin at dawn, 2. rain will be wet, as will 3. the sea, 4. those bits of the plannet that are not wet will be dry and 5. the moon's made of green cheese. All as measurable as Gordon's effort.


# 2. At 10:32am on 27 Mar 2010, D Johnson wrote:

This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.
# 3. At 10:35am on 27 Mar 2010, grainsofsand wrote:

Based on Labour’s past performance – can I suggest that the following would probably be more appropriate for Labours election pledges:

To wreck the economy
To Lower living standards
To Let foreigners take control of our industry
To Let millions more immigrants into the country
To totally destroy the country as we know it


# 4. At 10:36am on 27 Mar 2010, Tim wrote:

You must be kidding this mans track record on promises speaks for itself.
Remember the referendum that never was? and all the porkys he has been caught out on recently. Not to mention the 10p tax disaster and the promise to make ammends that never happened. Just a few more weeks of lies and spin and hopefully a hung paliament. Cant wait to see all the red face polititians.


# 5. At 10:36am on 27 Mar 2010, Peter_Wilkinson wrote:

The only thing our political representatives inspire me to do is emmigrate!


# 6. At 10:37am on 27 Mar 2010, BDZ wrote:

Sorry, they've had 13 years to fulfil their promises. We don't believe them.
Nor incidentally do we believe any of the others.
The problem is that no matter what the result of the next election we'll still be ruled by politicians!


# 7. At 10:38am on 27 Mar 2010, just_common_sense wrote:

Great!

If Gordon Brown wanted to secure the economy, why did he split the responsibility for financial regulation, letting the banking system get to the verge of collapse?

If by 'control' he means more petty rules, ID cards etc, yeah we all want that!!!


# 8. At 10:39am on 27 Mar 2010, steve butler wrote:

I think I am going to throw up.

The sad thing is, there are enough gullible idiots in this country who are dumb enough to fall for this claptrap.


# 9. At 10:40am on 27 Mar 2010, Anthony WALKER wrote:

If I believed anything Nu Labour promised at any time, I would have to be one of the most gullible person on earth! When I look at the hash that Nu Labour has made of just about everything - especially the economy - It almost drives me to despair! I want a fair, just, truthful, and happy Country for my Children and Grand Children. I know that I will never get it under Nu Labour or, especially, Mr Brown.

Neither Mr Brown, or any of Nu Labour, or Nu Labour inspire me to do anything other than leave the UK if they get another five years!


# 10. At 10:41am on 27 Mar 2010, Wreck-O-Mend wrote:

In 1997 New Labour promised a fair deal for all and the chance to make the most of one’s potential.

As a single childless male I have never had a fair deal with New Labour and all those who have already had plenty of spoon-feeding continue to qualify for more help yet workers who are living way below these standards who don’t rely on state handouts or special privileges are ignored and treated as second class.

Why take from the starving to give to the greedy?

New Labour has created a more unfair society and only the cheats will argue that it is fairer now.'
Not until comment 31 is there any comment favourable to Gordon Brown and his party and that from a Mr Whinger!

No doubt the BBC will deduce from this lack of belief in Labour's pledges that they must redouble their efforts to explain why we must vote Labour.

NHS cuts, not according to the BBC

The BBC's strategy of reporting every piece of news detrimental to the Conservative party with banner headlines whilst either not reporting or minimising coverage of news detrimental to their friends in the Labour party is once again in evidence this morning. The Telegraph reported yesterday that
'Tens of thousands of NHS workers would be sacked, hospital units closed and patients denied treatments under secret plans for £20 billion of health cuts.

...

The plans have emerged as health chiefs draw up emergency budgets that cast doubt on pledges by Gordon Brown to protect “front line services” in the NHS.

...

The plans are contained in a series of internal NHS documents uncovered by The Daily Telegraph.

The final details of the plans are not due to be announced until the autumn, well after the country has gone to the polls for the general election. '

If this was a story about proposed Conservative cuts then the BBC would have this as a headline story but as it is about Labour cuts, it appears to not even have appeared on the BBC news.

The Conservatives finally go on the attack


One of the seven new adverts from Saatchi that the Conservatives have launched today. The other six slogans are (all ending vote for me)'I took billions from pensions', 'I lost £6 billion selling off Britain's gold', 'I let 80,000 criminals out early', 'I doubled the tax rate for the poor', 'I caused record youth unemployment' and 'I increased the gap between rich and poor'.

This is the angle that may help kill off this Labour government, the Conservatives have to stop being nice and attack this most vile Labour government.


More on the campaign at Conservative Home.

Gordon Brown 'lies' again and the BBC don't consider it a big story because they are not an unbiased news organisation but cheerleaders for Labour

I am truly fed-up with the crap that spews from the mouth of Gordon Brown and the way that the BBC protect him from the righteous wrath of the people. The BBC headline their news page with 'PM unveils key election pledges' and the news that 'Gordon Brown pledges to fix the economy and make government more accountable - as the Tories urge him to call the election.' Meanwhile hidden in the politics news section but not mentioned on the front page of that section is the news that (my emphasis)
:'The Conservatives have accused Gordon Brown of "dishonesty" over immigration figures used in a Number 10 podcast.

Mr Brown said net migration into the UK fell from 237,000 in 2007 to 163,000 in 2008 and provisionally 147,000 in 2009.

The Tories said the figure for 2009 was only for the year up to June, and excluded asylum seekers and people overstaying their original visas.

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister had made it clear he was using a provisional figure for 2009.

The Conservatives' interpretation of the figures has been confirmed by the Office for National Statistics.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling called it "another extraordinary example of Gordon Brown's dishonesty".'

Hold on, 'The Conservatives' interpretation of the figures has been confirmed by the Office for National Statistics.
; the independent Office for National Statistics confirm the Conservatives line and thus disagree with Gordon Brown's claims. This surely is worthy of a headline and indeed it would be anywhere but on the pro-Labour BBC.

Take a look at The Telegraph for some more relevant information.


So once again the BBC hide the news of another Gordon Brown 'brownie', and the confirmation of his lack of veracity by the Office for National Statistics, preferring to concentrate on more meaningless promises from the man who has screwed the UK economy, destroyed the prospects of a generation or more and who has made more serious economic errors than most politicians.

This sort of BBC bias makes me so angry and it pisses me off that so many people are so brainwashed by years and years of Labour lies, spin & attacks on any opposition all so cheerfully spread by the BBC propaganda wing that nearly 30% of the UK population intend to vote for a political party headed by this dangerous fool.

If, as I believe will be the case, Gordon Brown does lead the Labour party to victory at the coming general election then I and Mrs NotaSheep will not remain to be milked dry to pay for the idiocy of Gordon Brown.





Thanks to Biased BBC for the spot but not for raising my my blood pressure.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Poor Mike Gatting


The Duckworth Lewis Method - Jiggery Pokery

Byers' story doesn't hang together

Ed Howker at The Spectator has been studying Stephen Byers' emails to the 'lobbyists' and has found some odd inconsistencies. Here's the conclusion but do read the whole piece:
'In particular, in this second email, Mr. Byers stated "I have not spoken to Andrew Adonis...about the matters I mentioned."

We now know this not to be true because, on Monday, the day of the Dispatches broadcast, Andrew Adonis made the following statement in reply to a question posed by Tory transport spokeswoman Baroness Hanham in the House of Lords. The question concerned Mr. Byers involvement with National Express's East Coast Mainline franchise:

"Stephen Byers had a brief conversation with me in the House of Commons last June about the East Coast Mainline. We discussed his experience in dealing with rail franchise difficulties when Transport Secretary. As regards the situation then facing National Express," he continued, "I told him that despite the company's difficulties I had no intention whatsoever of renegotiating the East Coast franchise on terms favourable to the company as the company was seeking in its approaches to my department.''

It is only in a final email, just a few days before the programme broadcast, and after some details of the sting have been leaked to a Sunday newspaper, that Mr. Byers formally withdrew from the lobbying company's selection process. Why it took him so long is a question he must answer before the Parliamentary Commissioner but it's a tough sell. He "indicated" that he had attempted secretly to influence the terms of a government negotiation, then denied that he met with Lord Adonis to discuss the matter at all. Both of these claims are false. So what, do you suppose, is the Commissioner expected to believe?'
Doesn't look good for Stephen Byers does it? Now why is nobody investigating the Peter Mandelson angles?

Gordon 'fearty' Brown

Paul Waugh in The Standard wonders 'Is Brown running scared of a Paxo stuffing?'. He notes that
'Word reaches me that the Prime Minister has not agreed to take part in the traditional in-depth interview with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman during the general election.

Despite repeated requests from the programme, Number 10 have failed to commit to the grilling that previous premiers have faced.'
He reports that
'A senior Whitehall source confirms that the PM has not given the green light. “We are dragging our feet, that’s right. But we are dragging our feet with all of the BBC bids - we have about 17 different requests for interviews for the election,” my source says.

“Taking time out to do half-hour TV interviews has a real impact on the campaign. It’s not just the airtime, it takes a lot of time to prepare for Paxman, for example.”'
Forget the excuses, if Gordon Brown fails to appear on Newsnight for the traditional joust with Jeremy Paxman then it will be clear to all that he deserves his moniker 'FEARTY'.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Money (That's What I Want) - How many of these versions have you heard before?

In the spirit of Radio London's Robert Elms "Cover to Cover" feature I thought I'd like to compare the Beatles and the Flying Lizards version of the classic song "Money (That's What I Want)" but then I discovered that this song has been covered so so many times and so I have gathered as many as I could find in this post:


The Beatles - 1963



The Flying Lizards - 1979



Barret Strong - 1959



Buddy Guy - 1968(?)



The Searchers - 1962(?)



John Lennon - 1969 (live)



The Trashmen - 1963 originally but this video is somewhat later



The Kingsmen - 1962(?)



Rolling Stones - 1963



Led Zeppelin - 1980



The Doors - 196?



Bern Elliott & The Fenmen - 1963



Jerry Lee Lewis - ?



Jerry Lee Lewis & The Bee Gees - 1973 (Barry Gibb not singing falsetto!)



The Sonics - 196?



The Smashing Pumpkins - 198?



Hanson - 200?



Josie and the Pussycats - 2001



Great White - 1988



Blues Brothers - This isn't the original, anyone know where I can find it on YouTube or similar?



Avengers - 2009



The Supremes - 1966



Jr Walker and the All Stars - 1966




Jimmy Barnes - 2009



Waylon Jennings - 1964




Boyz II Men - 200?



John Belushi (Animal House soundtrack) - 1978



The Storys - played over the closing credits of the much underrated British Fil - The Bank Job


RC Succession - 1983 - Kiyoshiro Imawano has spent too long watching Mick Jagger - Actually that's not "Money" but well worth a watch of the band whose 1988 covers album's release was suddenly canceled with small notice by Toshiba EMI claiming "The album was too wonderful to be released."



Also try and find versions by John Lee Hooker, The Who, Ike & Tina Turner, Pearl Jam, Shonen Knife, The Pretenders, Scissor Sisters, Secret Machines, The B-52s, Cheap Trick, Etta James and any others - do let me know in the comments...

Will US Health Care reform really save money?


The answer "no" is no real surprise is it?

The seventy-sixth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award goes to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as reported in The Telegraph for concluding that: 'Ten million middle-income households have lost out because of Gordon Brown’s repeated tax rises'.

Gordon Brown's tax changes have hit middle-income households the hardest - "No shit, Sherlock".

The EU wants more money and more power and it will get both

Two reports catch my eye this morning:

1) The Telegraph report that:
'Figures contained in Treasury documents published alongside the Budget show Britain is projected to hand over £6.4billion this year, and £7.6billion in 2010/11.

This compares with projections previously disclosed in last year's Budget of £5.6billion for 2009/10 and £7.9billion for 2010/11.

Over the two years the UK will have given £500million more than previously thought to Brussels.

The figure for 2009/10 - £6.4bilion - is more than twice the £3.1billion handed over in 2008/09.

The increase is due to a reduction in Britain's annual rebate first negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 to balance out a smaller benefit from EU farming payments.

In 2005, Tony Blair agreed, with Gordon Brown's backing, to staged cuts in the rebate for a promise of a review of EU subisidies. He was criticised for failing to extract any concessions. '
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have sold this country out to the EU in return for nothing for the UK, but plenty for their friends and colleagues.


2) The Telegraph reports that:
'Germany and France have tabled controversial plans to create an "economic government of the European Union" to police financial policy across the continent.

They have put Herman Van Rompuy, the EU President, in charge of a special task force to examine "all options possible" to prevent another crisis like the one caused by the Greek meltdown.

His mission will be to draw up a master-plan for the best way to oversee and enforce economic targets set in Brussels as a key part of a bail-out package for Greece.

The options he will consider include the creation of an "economic government" by the by the end of the year.

"We commit to promote a strong co-ordination of economic policies in Europe," said a draft text expected to be agreed by EU leaders last night.

"We consider that the European Council should become the economic government of the EU and we propose to increase its role in economic surveillance and the definition of the EU's growth strategy."

Gordon Brown was last night examining the wording of the statement to see whether it was restricted to eurozone members or has possible implications for British economic sovereignty.

Officials are concerned that the language calling for an "economic government" could be another attempt at a power-grab in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty.'
Every event is used by the EU to accrue more power and to centralise control. The EUSSR is nearing completion and David Cameron will not protect the UK from its clutches.

What happened to this story?

A year ago I blogged about the discovery of a modern advanced Russian MiG-25 Foxbat plane being found buried in the sand after an informant tipped off U.S troops.
"The MiG was dug out of a massive sand dune near the Al Taqqadum airfield by U.S. Air Force recovery teams. The MiG was reportedly one of over two dozen Iraqi jets buried in the sand, like hidden treasure, waiting to be recovered at a later date. Contrary to what some in the major media have reported, not all the jets found were from the Gulf War era. The Russian-made MiG-25 Foxbat being recovered by U.S. Air Force troops in the photos is an advanced reconnaissance version never before seen in the West and is equipped with sophisticated electronic warfare devices... The recovery of the advanced MiG fighter is considered to be an intelligence coup by the U.S. Air Force.. The Foxbat may also be equipped with advanced Russian- and French-made electronics that were sold to Iraq during the 1990s in violation of a U..N. ban on arms sales to Baghdad.... The discovery of the buried Iraqi jet fighters illustrates the problem faced by ! U.S. inspection teams searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is larger in size than California, and the massive deserts south and west of Baghdad were used by Saddam Hussein to hide weapons during the first Gulf war. U.S. intelligence sources have already uncovered several mass grave burial sites in the open deserts with an estimated 10,000 dead hidden there. In addition, Iraq previously hid SCUD missiles, chemical weapons and biological warheads by burying them under the desert sand. U.N. inspection teams found the weapons in the early 1990s after detailed information of the exact locations was obtained."

The BBC at it again (and a personal note)

The BBC have a very short piece headlined 'Hoon admits interview 'mistakes' '. I will quote the whole article as it seems strangely short and lacking in information to me:
'Labour MP Geoff Hoon has admitted he got it "wrong" after he was filmed saying he wanted to turn his contacts in government into money.

Mr Hoon and two other former ministers were suspended for bringing the party into "disrepute" after revelations in the Dispatches programme.

Mr Hoon said he "should not have said some of the things I said", adding that he had been "showing off".

But he insisted he was not offering to lobby ministers in return for cash. '
How peculiar, is Geoff Hoon admitting to lying to the 'lobbyists', it doesn't seem that way to me. Indeed if you read the last two quotes again... "should not have said some of the things I said" and "showing off" then it could be deduced that Geoff Hoon thinks that what he did "wrong" was get caught.

It seems to me that one reading of this brief article is that Geoff Hoon has acknowledged he made an error in saying what he shouldn't and that he was not offering to lobby ministers in return for cash but there is no denial that he ever lobbied ministers (or others) in return for payment in the past.

The other oddity about this article is that there is no link back to the original news report so as to set this in context, unlike normal BBC practice. There is something very odd about this Geoff Hoon confession story, very odd indeed.




Yes I have restarted blogging after yesterday's hiatus but I must admit to not feeling the enthusiasm I had prior to reading that vile BBC article that I blogged about yesterday. Thanks to the three people who wished me well in my Comments section; for some odd reason Blogger would only let me post Craig's comment but I appreciate all three. Blogging will be lighter than normal until I regain my blogging mojo.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

If one is guilty then we are all guilty

The BBC's sympathetic piece about the mother-in-law of Mohammed Siddque Khan's life since her son-in-law was the ringleader of the plot that killed 52 innocent people on London's transport network 7 July 2005. Apparently
'Farida Patel, from Dewsbury, told an anti-racism conference in Bradford how police searched her family's homes.

She said her life "came falling down" when armed police knocked on her door.

Mrs Patel said: "When I opened the curtains all I saw was armed police officers with guns looking at me.

"When they walked in I asked 'why are you here', they said they are investigating the 7 July bombings and they will need to search the premises.

"They told me, my son and my daughter-in-law to take a few essentials and find alternative accommodation for a few days. That turned into two weeks."

The home of Mrs Patel's daughter, who was separated from Khan at the time of the bombings, was also searched.

Mrs Patel told The Monitoring Group conference that it was the most "difficult times of our lives".'
I really don't see what Mrs Patel's gripe is; her son-in-law was responsible directly and indirectly for the murder of 52 innocent people and the mutilation of many more, did she expect the police to not investigate family connections? Did she expect them to come unarmed and risk being attacked by other murderous Islamist fanatics?

My views on 7/7 are documented and I don't intend to go into that again but I am sick of the BBC putting articles like this one up. When was the last time the BBC interviewed the grieving relatives of those who dies on 7/7? When was the last time the BBC interviewed those who were maimed on 7/7 and whose lives have not been the same since?

The BBC disgust me; their support for Islamic terrorists in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Russia is bad enough but their trying to drum up sympathy for a relative of a man who caused so much death and destruction, without covering the plight of the victims and their families shows what a perverted sense of priorities the BBC have.

Writing this article has really affected me, I may not blog again for a while.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

“It is hard to imagine the circumstances when saying ‘f*****g Jews’ in a gym used by other people... could be considered reasonable.”

"It is hard to imagine the circumstances when saying ‘f*****g Jews’ in a gym used by other people, and overheard by two strangers 20 ft away, could be considered reasonable."
The words of District Judge Howard Riddle at the original trial of Rowan Laxton who was recently cleared, at a rehearing of the case, of racially aggravated harassment, having previously been found guilty.

Hard to imagine indeed.

Thanks to Harry's Place for the spot.

Pick your favourite cricket programme presenter




Sky's Charles Colville or ITV4's Mandira Bedi; tough choice?

The BBC admit...

The BBC have an interesting piece on comparing the economy in 1997 and 2010, take a look:
Inflation: 1996 ~ 1.9% 2010 ~ 3.0%
Government borrowing: 1996/97 ~ £27bn 2009/10 ~ £178bn
National Debt: 1996/97 ~ £347bn 2009/10 ~ £799bn
Growth: 1997 ~ +3.0% 2009 ~ -5.0%
Interest Rates: 1997 ~ 5.94% 2010 ~ 0.5%
Health Spending: 1996/97 ~ £42.8bn 2009/10 ~ 119bn (Do you feel the NHS is three times better?)
Education Spending: 1996/97 ~ £37.8bn 2009/10 ~ £88bn
Average House Price: 1997 ~ £55,621 2010 ~ £161,320
Unemployment: Jan 1997 ~ 2.23 million Jan 2010 ~ 2.45 million
Personal Debt: 1997 ~ £492bn 2010 ~ £1,460bn

So it's inflation up by 57%, Government borrowing up by 659%, National Debt up by 230% and Growth down from a healthy 3% to negative growth of 5%.

In return for that we have interest rates down albeit because the economy is tanking, massively increased spending in health and education (might this have anything to do with the deficit and National debt being raised?).

Average house prices are up thanks to Gordon Brown's deliberate creation of a housing bubble and I think that might be somewhat linked to the almost trebling of personal debt.

Unemployment is only slightly up but I think that figure needs to viewed with some suspicion bearing in mind the off-the count figures.


So 13 years of Labour rule - on balance good or bad for the economy?

David Cameron finally says it like it is

"Those statements by Labour are quite simply lies... "They are appalling people... The sooner they are out of the government of this country the better."
This is more like what the people want to hear. Tell the truth and shame Labour, their record is appalling and the people want to hear that the Conservatives have some fire in their bellies.

The BBC with a carefully worded headline

There should be a prize awarded to the BBC employee who chose to headline a report about David Cameron's claim that 'The "scandals" besetting Labour are "worse" than those which afflicted the Conservative government of the mid-1990s' with the headline 'Cameron: Scandal worse than 1990s'. Nicely done, I wonder how many people read the headline and think the story is about a Tory scandal rather than a Labour one?

More on the Steve Purcell story

I have blogged before about the rather odd Steve Purcell story and wondered why it has received so little coverage. Today I see that Tory Bear has raised the question
'A scandal far from London is edging closer and close to the door of Number 10. In amongst the plants and moans that normally take up the latter stages of PMQs there was a rare gem of a very intriguing question from the SNP's Angus Robertson asking Gordon about a conference call to discuss the suitability of Labour's disgraced cocaine king Steven Purcell as the candidate in the Glasgow East by-election in 2008.

AR: "Given that the Prime Minister will have looked closely at the tragic case. Will he confirm whether a Downing Street staffer took part in a conference in July 2008 which discussed the suitability of Stephen Purcell?

GB: I know nothing of what he says but I shall look at it.
'


Tory Bear wonders if
'you might be getting an idea why Gordon Brown was not exactly keen on drawing attention to the UK media about a story which has him and numerous senior Labour leaders wining and dining with people who have some seriously dodgy connections and backgrounds. If its full implications broke before the sixth of May it may not just destroy Scottish Labour but bring down Brown.'


Tory Bear also has three questions that he feels need answering. Take a read of Tory Bear's article and ask yourself why this story has received so little exposure?

That's an odd question to ask

A small article in The Telegraph catches my eye, I repeat it in full first:
'Martin Popplewell, quizzing Gordon Brown for GT magazine, put it to the Prime Minister that, if he had to have a homosexual relationship, would it be with Will Young, Brad Pitt (who happens to be heterosexual) or Lord Mandelson?

"Oh, come on," Brown told the journalist, laughing. "You're not going to expect me to answer the question, given what Peter would say, whatever I said."

"Don't tell Peter," Popplewell responded.

"Well, he'll know," Brown replied, plaintively. "You know what Peter's like."'
That's an odd question to ask Gordon Brown unless you bear in mind the rumours that have been circulating for many years about Gordon Brown, Peter 'outed by Matthew Parris' Mandelson and Tony 'Miranda' Blair.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

And still the power generation claims of the wind-power lobby get reported as fact

The Telegraph reports the breaking off a wind-turbine blade at a wind farm and ends the piece with this claim: 'The Whitelee windfarm... turbines can generate 322MW of electricity, enough to power 180,000 homes.'

Of course the key word there is 'can' because as well know windfarms rarely produce electricity at anything like capacity. Indeed The TimesM recently reported that:
'THE first detailed study of Britain’s onshore wind farms suggests some treasured landscapes may have been blighted for only small gains in green energy.

The analysis reveals that more than 20 wind farms produce less than a fifth of their potential maximum power output.

One site, at Blyth Harbour in Northumberland, is thought to be the worst in Britain, operating at just 7.9% of its maximum capacity. Another at Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at only 8.7% of capacity.

Both are relatively small and old, but larger and newer sites fared badly, too, according to analyses of data released by Ofgem, the energy regulator, for 2008.

Siddick wind farm in Cumbria, now operated by Eon, achieved only 15.8% of capacity, the figures suggest. The two turbines at High Volts 2, Co Durham, the largest and most powerful wind farm in Britain when it was commissioned in 2004, achieved 18.7%.

Turbine efficiency is calculated by comparing theoretical maximum output with what the farms actually generate. The best achieve about 50% efficiency and the norm is 25%-30%. '
I cannot find the generation figures for Whitelee but I doubt that it is more than 50% of the 322MW figure quoted in The Telegraph.


As an aside I have just looked at the always fascinating Neta site and see that for the last 24 hours this was the breakdown of power generation by type of power source:
Gas - 52.3%
Coal - 24.3%
Nuclear - 19.8%
Pumped Storage - 1.2%
Wind - 1.1%
Non pumped storage Hydro - 0.7%
Interconnect - 0.6%

That 1.1% is 12,206MWh; I wonder what the claimed capacity of UK Wind Farms is?

ChrisM reports in my comments that "Current capacity is 4122 MW with another 10,000 MW under construction". If this is true then wind farms were running at around 12.3% over the period I examined; impressive!

Fact-checking UNITE

Flying With Fish fact-checks UNITE's statement and the claims made within, here are a few extracts:
'- Unite The Union release: Only nine crew turned up for work today out of 1,100.

- BA Strike Fact: Without even having to verify the number of British Airways cabin crew who reported for duty, Unite The Union is releasing conflicting information. In a public statement Unite is stating only 9 BA cabin crew members reported for work, however in a Text Message sent to all BA cabin crew members of Unite, the union stated this “only 26 crew reported for duty today.“ Was it 9 members or 26 members?

...

- BA Strike Fact: There is no evidence of any British Airways aircraft having broken an emergency exit door. Unite has refused to reply to enquiries citing this incident or the flight it occurred on. If indeed this occurred, I’d like Unite The Union to please state what flight this occurred on.

- Unite The Union release: Only nine Heathrow flights have gone with passengers.

- BA Strike Fact: Unite the Union claims only nine flight departed with passengers, but goes on to only list seven flights … including Amsterdam, Dubai, Entebee, Frankfurt, Miami, Paris, and Prague. Again, without having to do much investigation, in the process of researching the passenger experience during the BA Strike I have heard from 11 people who flew with British Airways yesterday … none of which flew on the seven flights above. I heard from passengers who flew with BA to Madrid, New York (x3 on 2 separate flights), Boston, Newark, Munich, Milan, San Francisco, Zurich and Glasgow. Given that Unite states that BA 207, a 747-400 operating between London Heathrow and Miami, flew with passengers, a minimum crew for that flight alone exceeds 9 crew…, which leads to again questioning Unite’s statement, that only 9 crew turned up for work. Further more, volunteer crews are not operating on 747 aircraft, further evidence that Unite is unable to keep its facts straight … even within its own press release.'
Do read the whole piece and compare it with the BBC's acceptance of UNITE's claims.

What about UNITE?

On Monday Harriet Harman spoke about 'Lobbying and Paid Advocacy' and this was part of what she said:
"From 1 October last year, the Government now publish, for the first time, on a quarterly basis, details of Ministers' meetings with outside interest groups. It is therefore fully transparent which organisations a Minister has met and what the meeting was about."
Are the meetings between Gordon Brown (a Minister) and Charlie Whelan (a representative of an outside interest group - UNITE) reported in this way? If not, why not?

Italian driving


Ah the memories of Italian driving on the Autostrada, always 'interesting', sometimes terrifying.


Thanks to Subrosa for the spot.

Peter Oborne names the 'fixers' but is censored


I wonder who the three names were? Peter are you out there?


Thanks to 'Lobbyists are...' in Guido's comments for the video spot.

Something does not add up

Gordon Brown decides that there is no need for a parliamentary inquiry into the Labour MPs and peers (current & past).

Harriet Harman declares that "They (the departments) have assured the cabinet secretary that they are satisfied that there has been no improper influence on government policy or ministerial decisions."

The Labour party have suspended three MPs from the Parliamentary Labour Party over claims they were prepared to influence policy for cash.

So the Labour government line is that the only guilty parties are the Blairite former ministers and that no government departments or ministers are implicated in any way. For some strange reason I don't believe them; Lord Adonis and Peter Mandelson need investigating over their part in these claims. Don't forget that there have been stories about Peter Mandelson's amenability to lobbying for some time - the Hindujas and Oleg Deripaska spring to mind as examples from the resent past.

The Large Hardon (?) Collider




Thanks to various, including Dizzy Thinks for the spot.

Monday, 22 March 2010

'State spending now accounts for more than half of Britain's economy, for the first time since OECD records began.'

Read this Telegraph piece and realise just how much damage Tony 'multi-millionaire' Blair and Gordon 'fearty' Brown have done to this country.

'Remember the competitive, entrepreneurial Britain of which Cabinet members boasted for so long? State spending now accounts for more than half of Britain's economy, for the first time since OECD records began. Money from Whitehall and town halls made up 52 per cent of Gross Domestic Product last year, and the proportion is certain to rise. If Tony Benn had been Prime Minister in the 1970s, even he would have been hard pressed to engineer this intensity of state dependency – though he would have been delighted if he had.

When Labour came to power in 1997, government spending accounted for 40 per cent of GDP. That was a respectable figure, comparable to that of the United States. Now Britain has overtaken most European countries in state spending. Admittedly, the recession accounts for the big jump from 47.5 per cent a year ago. But the long-term trend has been shaped by Labour's eye-watering spending increases over a decade, cynically designed to build up and reward a public-sector workforce that could be relied upon to return the favour at election times.

The figure of 52 per cent should be at the forefront of our minds when Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivers his Budget on Wednesday. We should also note that, according to the OECD, state spending will account for more than 53 per cent of GDP in 2010 and 2011. This tells us something important. Whatever Mr Darling announces this week, the damage has already been done. Gordon Brown is a believer in "back loading" – announcing harsh (and bad) policies that do not take effect for a long time. He lit a long fuse on National Insurance increases and penal 50 per cent taxation; many useless social engineering projects are just beginning. Perhaps the Prime Minister guessed that someone else would have to clear up the mess. There is a whiff of scorched earth in the air. '


get angry, get even...

Peter Mandelson disappeared from the Stephen Byers lobbying story pretty quickly didn't he

When the Stephen Byers lobbying story broke there were two strands, one was that Stephen Byers had boasted that he had persuaded Lord Adonis to avoid hitting National Express with huge penalties last year after it pulled out of its franchise to operate the East Coast main line.

"Between you and I, I then spoke to Andrew Adonis and said, 'Andrew, look they’ve got a huge problem. Is there a way out of this?' And then we sort of worked together - basically the way he was comfortable doing it, and you have to keep this very confidential yourself."


The other was that Stephen Byers claimed to have successfully lobbied Lord Mandelson on behalf of Tesco to block costly food labelling regulations.

Now the Lord Adonis story is being followed up by the BBC, albeit concentrating on the less than convincing government denials, whereas the Peter Mandelson story is relegated to a short denial. Let's look at The Mail's coverage and then the BBC's. The Mail reports the departmental denials thus:
'A Department for Transport spokesman yesterday acknowledged that Lord Adonis had spoken to Mr Byers about the issue but he said it was a ‘chance meeting’ at Westminster, at which no minutes were taken.

He insisted that the conversation had not influenced the final decision and that National Express had not escaped penalties.

...

In a statement last night a spokesman for the Business Secretary said: ‘Peter has known Stephen in the past but has barely seen him since returning to government. He has certainly not spoken to him about food labelling regulations and would not expect to.’'


The BBC's report takes a slightly different tack:
'Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has dismissed claims he was involved in a secret deal over a National Express rail franchise as "pure fantasy".

It follows undercover footage of ex-minister Stephen Byers claiming he had persuaded the minister to allow the firm to withdraw on favourable terms.

Mr Byers said later he had overstated his case and never lobbied ministers.

And Lord Adonis told peers there was "no truth whatsoever" in claims he came to "any arrangement" with Mr Byers.

But Lord Adonis's confirmation that he had had "a brief conversation" with Mr Byers in the House of Commons last June about the East Coast mainline led the Tories to step up calls for an inquiry by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell into the claims. '
That "brief conversation" could be problematic...

The Mandelson link is dealt with thus:
'In undercover footage due to be broadcast on Channel 4's Dispatches programme on Monday, Mr Byers was also recorded saying he had intervened on behalf of Tesco to delay and amend food labelling proposals, by phoning Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

The Business Department has denied the claims and Tesco said they were "completely fictitious". '
"completely fictitious"; like a mortgage application?


Meanwhile Gordon Brown decided there was no need for a government investigation and seems to expect that we will trust his judgement, whilst also suddenly becoming a huge fan of controlling lobbyists access to parliament.

Also the BBC reports that
'Harriet Harman told MPs that the prime minister had asked Sir Gus O'Donnell for assurances that the departments of business, transport and health - about which allegations were also made in the documentary - had looked into the claims.

She added: "They have assured the cabinet secretary that they are satisfied that there has been no improper influence on government policy or ministerial decisions."'
How in depth were the departmental investigations, who was asked and was any independent verification of claims attempted? I think we all know the answer to these questions, but it is interesting how the Peter Mandelson angle is rapidly disappearing from the BBC; what hold does he have over the BBC? Will the BBC mention this story on Newsnight? If they do will Peter Mandelson be mentioned at all?

Steven Moffat just as left-wing as you'd ecpect

Dr Who leaves me conflicted; I am a long time fan and think that the David Tennant Doctor is up there with Pertwee and Tom Baker as the best Doctor's BUT I despise the right-on plot lines that have infiltrated Dr Who in recent years under Russell T Davies direction. I always thought that Steven Moffat wrote some of the best episodes and so was pleased at him replacing RTD as head honcho of the Dr Who series. 'Blink' was a msterpiece and the lesser loved 'Madame de Pompadour' I thought was just clever enough to get you thinking. However this Guardian interview shows Steven Moffat to be just as 'right on' as RTD; I just hope he does a better job of keeping his political and social views out of the new series, RTD was too fond of thrusting homosexuality down the viewers' throats.

The Guardian interview includes such classic lines as:
'If I'm not mistaken, Steven Moffat suddenly shudders. But the new Doctor Who showrunner... isn't chilled by the thought of malevolent monsters, unappealing aliens or sinister villains soon to appear in the Whoniverse. Rather, he winces at the prospect of a Conservative government – and specifically the influence that Rupert and James Murdoch may exert over it, its media policy and its attitude to the BBC.

"I hope the Tories don't win. Let's not beat around the bush,"'


and
'The burden Moffat bears...something of which he's very conscious."To me, a 'brand' sounds evil," he says, "reminiscent of men in tall hats running factories and beating small children'

Why do so many, otherwise intelligent, people on the left of British politics see life in such a strange way?

#CashGordon is back

Cash Gordon is back and presumably harder to hack this time...

#cashgordon

The Cash Gordon site has taking the UK blogosphere by storm. Read The Telegraph and The Guardian for opposing views. Then read Tory Bear for some analysis of left-wing hypocrisy. Then you might care to read political Scapbook and the comments for an idea of the left-wing 'fightback' allegations. Then a quick perusal of Dizzy Thinks for a reasoned answer to those points.

Then the matter gets darker, the site now redirects to coverage of Michael Gove's speech and Dizzy Thinks explains why that is better than where the previous attack left it pointing
'the developers who were paid to create it didn't, it seems, protect against code injection. The Twitter feed was scrolling as people used the hashtag #cashgordon. The problem was that by inserting javascript into the Tweet comment it was possible to browser hijack people and redirect them elsewhere e.g. to old men getting it on as in Lemon Party*.

People began to do it spades and it's been taken offline and word is that it's being fixed currently.'

So that seems like a good idea ruined by lack of IT systems security; looks like the Conservatives are ready for government as that scenario describes so much of the current Labour government's IT system...



UPDATE: The Register has a good summary of this story.

Climate Change snippets

A couple of Climate Change articles caught my eye this weekend and I thought that I would share them with you. The first is from a site that is new to me The Hockey Schtick and the article that I spotted shows some interesting pictures of the 'disappearing' glaciers can be found here, in the meantime here's two photos of the intersection of the Hintereisferner and Kesselwandferner glaciers, one from 1956 the other from 2003; not really shrinking is it?




The second piece is from the excellent Joanne Nova and concerns 'hiding the decline'. Here's the chart that I thought the most interesting but do read the whole piece, and then the comments which are often most illuminating.

Harry Carpenter R.I.P.

Harry Carpenter the voice of BBC boxing has dies at the age of 84; no more will Frank Bruno be able to ask "Know what I mean, 'arry?"

The world of broadcasting has lost one of the true greats; I grew up listening to his commentaries of Ali's fights, Wimbledon tennis, the Boat Race and other events and I for one will miss him.

Samantha Cameron


Definitely sexier than Sarah Brown; but then David Cameron is far better looking than Gordon Brown, not that that is difficult. Anyway you can't beat a bit of 'posh totty'.