Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cameron Q&A on Al-Jazeera

An interesting 25-minute interview with pre-recorded questions from the public, on Al-Jazeera. I'd quibble about the "climate change" issue, but otherwise I am reasonably happy with this from our Prime Minister:

What is Red saying?

Raedwald has been struggling to understand what Ed Miliband has been saying recently; and I have to admit I tend to agree with the conclusion that what Red really wants is democracy elsewhere, but his own dictatorship here in Britain.

It's not a surprise, but it is a useful reminder that Ed-M isn't going to support democratic improvements in his own country as it would take an unfair unadvantage away from Labour, among other things the skewed constituency boundaries and the suspected millions of fraudulent votes that appear for (mainly) Labour at general elections. It's not just in Tower Hamlets that the latter are believed to occur!

Raedwald also covers Red Ed's hypocrisy regarding ethics and principles. As it happens, Peter Mandelson on Andrew Marr's show this morning has said he is fully supportive of Ed Miliband in whichever direction he goes. Now, isn't that interesting to note as well?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

As daffy as Gaddafi

The really ghastly ultra-loud Lefty Mehdi Hasan has tonight tweeted this:

"Disappointed to see Hugo Chavez, a man I've often defended from lazy right-wing smears, coming out and defending Gaddafi. Pretty poor."

Well, who have thought that he'd have been a defender of Chavez. Perhaps he should team up with Ken Livingstone who also has an apparent fondness for the Venezuelan ruler.

The above confession certainly reminds us that the left are very much in favour of dictators (and are often seen in their company), since they aspire to become the same themselves. Indeed, they were near-enough all Gaddafi fans until a couple of days ago.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 25 Feb 2011

From Jackart (Very British Dude), about the real world:

Politics102: Righty. "This is how the world works". Lefty "No it isn't. I want it to work this way". World works just as righty says.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Yes2AV funding

This was real news to me, though in retrospect not all that great a surprise. I've seen enough going on in this business in my time, after all.

The Electoral Reform Society has pumped over a million pounds in cash, and a dozen staff and other "in kind" aid, to the Yes2AV campaign that is trying to persuade voters to go for the (ghastly) Alternative Vote electoral system.

That Society, though, has a very significant commercial interest in the outome of that referendum, as the largest provider by far of electoral materials. They'd do very well out of a change to a far more complex system and would make a lot of extra dosh out of AV than they do under the current system.

Unlike the "No" campaign, which has published its funding details openly throughout, the "Yes" outfit has been very secretive. Now we know why!

Now, one might perhaps try to find an extenuating circumstance or other get-out for both the Society and the Yes2AV campaign itself; but the latter has just pulled out of a debate due to be held in Leeds this evening, just after these revelations broke earlier today. They know they'd have been questioned about this and they know they have no satisfactory answer. It is the only possible conclusion one can draw.

With the "Yes" campaign seemingly farctionally ahead of the "Noes" in some recent polls (not all, admittedly) they must have thought they were well on the way to victory. This business must have a certain degree of impact on that now, though it is a side issue. It's that element of apparent impropriety that, at least in this country, can turn a result away from where it had appeared to be heading.

Let's hope it does; because the AV system is complicated, expensive, and allows fringe voters to have a more valuable ballot than a mainstream party supporter's ballot, as only the former will (after their first preference votes have already been taking into account) have the other preferences also counted in most seats.

It isn't a fair system, it isn't transparent, and it certainly isn't anywhere near "proportional". We don't need it here! Indeed, of the few countries that operate such a system, I understand that two of them are currently under significant internal pressure to abandon AV. It's dying out elsewhere, so why do we want such a ropey system here? I'm voting NO!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cameron in Kuwait

James Forsyth at The Spectator has picked up really well on David Cameron's speech in Kuwait today. It's a compact piece, but tells a strong story.

Forsyth is generally very good at this sort of thing, understanding not merely the words or the basic principles and intentions behind them, but the significance as well.

He has done so again today, in sussing out the truly liberal (in the literal sense) nature of Cameron's speech, and in particular in the PM's "hit[ting] all the right notes". His suggestions in his final paragraph are provocative but serious and important. Our leaders should at least be looking at them, and indeed they probably are.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 21 Feb 2011

From Jackart (Very British Dude) on the weary topic of the political left:

Left "hates" tories like a child "hates" authority. Tories look benignly upon lefties as childish idiots after whom we sometimes clean up.

Oh, Mister Porter!

Our old friend Aaron Porter has decided he will not stand for re-election as the National Union of Students' (NUS) president this April.

Oh, how sad!

Mind you, I suspect this is in reality a preliminary move toward becoming a Labour party candidate in some approaching election, either council or (more likely) parliamentary. Therefore don't be surprised if he is parachuted in to a safe Labour seat, perhaps even at the next by-election triggered by yet another expenses scandal-related resignation of a sitting Labour MP.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Common Cameron

Here's a funny website, trying to take the mickey out of David Cameron but in reality looking rather silly. Talk about desperation! As for playing the man rather than playing the ball...

Still, the images are quite enjoyable, for all that!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Trivia of the day - 18 Feb 2011

From this Tweet by Paul Waugh, we can learn several things:

"Top trivia re new No.10 man Paul Kirby: was among 31K Liverpool council staff sent redundo notices via taxi by DHatton in 80s"

  1. Paul Kirby has been around a while
  2. Liverpool Council employed more than 31,000 people, at public expense, in the '80s
  3. Those redundancy notices were ferried by (expensive) taxis rather than by either ordinary post or the internal mail at the council offices
  4. Those mass redundancies were an earlier example of political manipulation of a situation by the Lefties of the time, just as Lewisham Council is doing now (see my preceding post).

This is useful for us now, as it shows the validity of what I wrote earlier today, and I and others have been saying for a long time. Some of us were around when these earlier anti-Conservative government actions were taken, as a way to create resentment against the Thatcher government of the time by making people suffer (by losing their jobs) largely unnecessarily, and by spending money that could have kept some jobs going on taxi fares instead.

Derek Hatton was as Red as they come, though, and cared nothing for the workforce, only for his own political agenda for which those workers were merely pawns in the game.

As so often happens, a little history serves as a good reminder of what has happened before, that we are seeing again now.

The unkindest cuts

These are the (as expected) deliberately politically-motivated cuts to front-line services by local Labour councils here in south London. Two stories in the South London Press today caught my attention, as they concern the two councils upon whose adjoining boundary my home almost sits.

First, let's look across the road (or so) from me, at Lewisham. Here, the Labour-run Borough Council has just approved cuts of some £33 million, which have been deliberately targeted at (as the headline says) libraries, nurseries, elderly care and a youth club. Why? When other councils faced with similar public spending reductions can achieve results that do not impact the front line, why is Lewisham apparently unable to do the same?

Of course, the clue is in the word Labour. Everything for them is party politically motivated and has nothing to do with serving the public interest. Labour never do, though they sometimes make it look as if they are, at least to the less perceptive.

As a counterpoint to this story, let's move back across the boundary into Lambeth, where I live. Here we find a scandal that Lambeth Borough Council has run up a £35 million bill through leaving council housing empty while thousands of people remained on its housing waiting list. Note that this single-issue amount is greater than the savings the (at least as wasteful, inefficient and incompetent) Lewisham authority has agreed to make. Again, it's a Labour-run council, and does not serve the public interest as its real priority.

While it is possible that there are one or two decent Labour-run councils in our country, I for one wouldn't put any money on that turning out to be the case. As far as I can determine, they are all rotten to the core; and these two reports show only a part of the story in just two such councils at this one moment in time. The totality is no doubt hundreds if not thousands of times worse overall!

Remember this: Labour is garbage, always has been and always will be. With that in mind, one cannot go far wrong!

Tweet of the day - 18 Feb 2011

From Guido, on the ever-deceptive Ed Balls:

"I see @ is now telling the governor of the Bank of England he is wrong too. So that's the IMF, OECD and BoE wrong, Balls right."

No surprise or change there. Remember that Balls was always part of Gordon Brown's nasty gang of inner-circle bruisers/liars/smearers that included Damian McBride.

Alternative Vote

The Alternative Vote (AV) system is going to be offered in a referendum, possibly on the same day in early May that various elections are being held, now that the Bill has passed from the House of Lords back to the Commons for the last time.

It's a really odd voting (and vote-counting) method, involving multiple "preferences" rather than a single vote for each seat being contested. Some electors will have their "second choices" also counted in the process, while others will have theirs ignored. Third choices and beyond could also come into play, until a point is reached where the added together figures give the impression that one candidate (per seat) has received more than half the votes.

Of course, it's all an illusion, but it looks as though the voter is "more in control" by having more than a single choice.

There's a very good piece on the subject in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) by that publication's 'editorial page editor' (whatever that means) Brian M Carney, and I think is one of the best ways to get under the skin of the matter and gain a better grasp of why it is being pushed by some, but has little genuine benefit (in fact, probably the direct opposite) to the electorate. It is no surprise that hardly anywhere on Earth is this system operated!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 16 Feb 2011

From JackArt (A Very British Dude), observing the benches of MPs at today's Prime Minister's Questions session:

"Chicks on Tory benches are MUCH better looking than the horrid swamp pigs opposite them..."

This is something that has been noted over a number of years. The "Blair Babes" phenomenon never really lived up to the hype, and Labour female MPs tend, on the whole, to be ghastly in looks, posture, manner and verbally too.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Labour councils cut jobs

In view of the hot air currently being expended by Union bosses, Labour spokesmen and others on the political left about "the cuts" (which haven't happened yet, but are being blamed for all and sundry occurring now) it is worth reminding ourselves that all of this posturing is complemented by politically-motivated manoeuvring.

For Labour and teh Unions, people's jobs and interests are of little actual value: they always treat people (including Union members) as expendable pawns in their political games. There is plenty of precedent to demonstrate this beyond any element of doubt, though the information isn't easy to come by as it inevitably contains personal and case details that would identify the individuals affected. The parties involved are of course well aware of this, and hide behind it.

Today's lesson is that, in similar vein, Labour-run councils are scrapping jobs at a much higher rate than other councils, rather than dealing with the issues of inherent waste and duplication. As the headline at the linked page indicates, Labour-run councils are "eager" to cut front-line services first.

Of course, quite apart from causing as much dismay to their affected population as they can, giving them political leverage, this also protects their subversive placemen in many back-office posts, such as Common Purpose types and others whose primary actual function is to destroy our society from within such organisations as local councils.

Thus we see the ultimate corruption pervading the political left, and we must not be fooled by it. Fortunately, we do of course have the non-Labour run councils to use as a yardstick; and their approach tends to be far straighter. Where I am, virtually on the border separating two Labour-run London Borough councils, I can expect service reductions in the most sensitive areas (for greatest political effect) in my home area.

At least I shall know what the real cause and motivation is, and shall be seeking ways to publicise this, using other councils' approaches for comparison, and perhaps even looking at the possibility of legal action against those responsible for targeting front-line services. Those two councils can take it that they have now been warned!

Tweet of the day - 15 Feb 2011

From Kevin Schofield, on the new rat-catcher feline at Number Ten:

"Larry the new Downing Street cat to be unveiled today. Is this David Cameron's Claws 4 moment?"

Monday, 14 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 14 Feb 2011

No, not a Valentine's message, but this from HeadsOnPoles:

"The only reason 'little Ted' Milliband doesn't like the big society is because he can't say it"

Sally forth

That's Speaker's wife, the Labourite Sally Bercow, who is now being managed by an "artist management" outfit called ASM Damage Ltd. There must be a reason for their name, and for Mrs B to be associated with them.

Well, I can understand the 'damage' part of Sally's activities; but I think there's a slightly uncouth name for the type of 'artist' the lady is widely considered to be...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 13 Feb 2011

The date might be "unlucky for some", but Tweetminster are today reporting what many might consider to be good news:

"When we launched Tweetminster two years ago there were four MPs using Twitter. There are now 240 MPs on Twitter."

Of course, other folk might wonder how MPs have so much spare time to spend on Twitter, and when tweeting from meetings shouldn't their attention be entirely on the proceedings? I feel there is an interesting topic for on-line debate there!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

B is for Bully

It's long been known that Labour's national leadership and its advisers have comprised largely quite nasty bullies, such Brown (Gordon), Balls (Ed) and McBride (Damian) - the three B's, even if one is a 'McB'! We also know (and some of us have known for some time) that the then Labour national government were well aware that their spend-and-borrow policies were heading toward ruin.

It therefore comes as little surprise to discover that Balls at least was involved in bullying the IMF into playing down their reporting of Britain's economic situation. This goes way back to 2004, long before "it started in America" to quote Gordon Brown's frequently-stated disclaimer.

Okay, so we also know that Labour, in common with the political left throughout recorded modern history, are always dishonest because their modus operandi requires it: they cannot function with openness and honesty, and of them, ever. Therefore this is not an amazing new revelation: it's just useful to have documented in such a way as to remove any lingering doubts. It is entirely consistent with my own personal experience of Labour at various levels as well.

Red E and waiting

Last year, Ed Miliband pulled out of a planned attendance at a Union-based event because of the adverse publicity it would no doubt generate. I think many of us now realise that his ambitions were already in place back then, despite his protestations that he hadn't even thought about standing for the Labour party leadership (a claim that was recently revealed to be, shall we say, misleading) so, with the likelihood of Gordon Brown leaving that position ere long, he changed his mind at that time.

Now, though, he is the leader, and very much indebted to the big Unions for putting him there, so this year he is going to be at the same event, an anti-cuts rally next month, reports The Mail. The proof of the pudding will be to see if he does go, and (if so) in what he does there; but we now have the "heads up" on this, so can watch to see what transpires.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 11 Feb 2011

"On this day..."

Originally from one Paul Hilder on the day that President Mubarak of Egypt stood down, thoughtfully added to in a re-tweet (RT) by Harry 'Tory Bear' Cole: (his bit in bold):

"RT @: 11/2/11: Mubarak resigns. 11/2/90: Mandela freed. 11/2/79: Iranian revolution toppled Shah. < 11/2/67 @ born."

ID Card datanase destroyed - literally!

Let Home Office minister Damian Green explain:

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 9 Feb 2011

From The Honourable Lady:

"I was once told by a Labour activist that a union was more important than a family and could raise a child better. That is some scary s***."

Remember that old line? "All of your children are belong to us."

Son of Brown

For anyone who might not have realised just how close Labour party leader Ed Miliband has been throughout his political career, here is a year-by-year listing of Red Ed's jobs, courtesy of commenter 13eastie at Guido's blog:

  • 1994 Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown
  • 1995 Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown
  • 1996 Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown
  • 1997 Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown
  • 1998 Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown
  • 1999 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2000 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2001 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2002 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2003 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2004 Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2005 Smith Institute Wonk
  • 2006 Economic Secretary to Gordon Brown’s Treasury
  • 2007 Member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet
  • 2008 Member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet
  • 2009 Member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet
  • 2010 Member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet
  • 2011 Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
There seems to be an ever-so-slight connection between those two...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Weird tweet of the day - 8 Feb 2011

From Labour MP Paul Flynn:

"I was convinced that the fairy tale than Hain or Eluned Morgan show head the Assembly was a media invention. Wikileaks proves otherwise." 

I've tried, but I can't work out what it means!

Tweet of the day - 8 Feb 2011

From the Tory Press Office, on what the new (but "with a past"!) Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls claimed earlier today on Sky:

"Ed Balls today on Sky "I never believed in light touch". EB in 2006 ‘Nothing should be done to put at risk a light-touch regulatory regime’"

Well, who'd have thought it: Ed Balls is being less than straight with us!

Osborne vs Balls

The first clash between the Chancellor, George Osborne, and the new Shadow Chancellor, took place earlier this afternoon. Here, courtesy of ITN, is that four-minute event (the whole Treasury Questions session lasted over 90 minutes):

Here's Fraser Nelson's take on what happened.

Knight Rider in the Lords

Several observers, including EyeSpyMP (who can't seem to spell his surname correctly), have spotted David "the Hoff" Hasselhoff in the House of Lords today, though none (as yet) has given any reason for his presence.

From Baywatch to Baron-watch, perhaps!

Bank Levy

I am pleased that the Coalition Government's new bank taxation system, announced today, will generate an ongoing income, rather than the one-off £2.3 billion that Labour had apparently planned to impose.

Not only does that provide a regular additional income for the Treasury, of at least £2.5 billion every year (and probably more), it is also something for which any business can easily plan, as with any other tax, duty or whatever paid on a regular basis.

Mind you, in an attempt to sound more plausible, Labour have today been claiming that some of them wanted their levy to be for two consecutive years, but were in effect vetoed by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling who both said "it wouldn't work". Yeah, right!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Tweet of the day - 7 Feb 2011

From Guido, after today's release of the Lockerbie bomber release case documents:

"GUS Lockerbie report: barefaced lying by Brown, Mandelson, Ed Balls and particularly David Miliband - time and time again."

This view has come across strongly from other directions as well. Such phrases as the then Labour government "doing all it could" to facilitate the bomber's release are already floating around, despite it being the devolved Scottish assembly/parliament's job to carry the actual can of releasing the prisoner (another convenience of devolution).

On the other side of the coin: the best the BBC have been able to do, in their attempt to avoid bringing their faves Labour's name into a negative connotation, is to refer only to "the former government". It's just like when they refer to "Asians" in terrorist matters and the like, instead of "Muslims". Dishonest? Misleading? Diversionary? Yes, of course: it's the corrupt BBC!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Labour support Gove proposals

Okay, not all of Labour; but a few weeks ago the former Schools Minister in Gordon Brown's government is on record as agreeing with what Michael Gove is implementing now, including the so-called "free schools" idea.

Today, that has in effect been backed up by Tony Blair's former senior education adviser, Conor Ryan, who goes further and declares Andy Burnham's current objections as "ridiculous". As usual, current (shadow) ministers are just attempting to rubbish anything that the coalition government is doing, because that is their narrow, partisan way.

It just goes to show that those Labour folkare interested only in their own agenda, and not the country's, so have no value whatsoever to the nation. Some of us have known this for years, if not decades; but it never does any harm to have proof positive!

Tweet of the day - 6 Feb 2011

From JosephAGallant, in response to others' tweets:

"We Once had Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash: Now, We Have Obama, No Hope and No Cash !!!"

Friday, 4 February 2011

McBride saves us from more Gordon!

One of the most interesting disclosures to have come from the Wikileaks documents is the highly probably abandonment of what seems to have been a plan by Gordon Brown to call a snap election in May 2009. This, was designed to capitalise on Labour's rise in the opinion polls after Gordon's well-received work at the G20 summit.

As was so often the case before the new fixed-term parliaments were introduced by the current coalition government, when the Prime Minister of the day could pick and choose the date of the next general election, it would be designed for maximum political advantage to the PM's own party. This is why it was such a bad system, consequently being rarely (and only coincidentally) to do with what was best for the country.

Anyway, Brown's plan was scuppered when the Damian McBride (one of the then PM's closest aides) smear campaign came to light, largely through the efforts of Guido. That reversed Labour's fortunes, and Gordon obviously couldn't go to the country at that time after all, as he would have been likely to lose! Can't have that now, can we?

If it had gone ahead, we'd quite likely have been subjected to another five years of Labour in government. As it was, we got away with just one year - and look at the damage Brown & Co did even in that relatively short time! Therefore, in a strange twist of fate, we can actually be grateful to McBride for being the agent of Labour's downfall in May 2010. The discovery of his actions stopped the 2009 election from happening at all, and the smell he left behind must have had a negative effect on Labour's polling the following year.

It has been a double-whammy for Brown and Labour, and we can be thankful for that!

Red Ed needs help

The picture at the right says it all!

'Red Ed' Miliband is conducting one of his Fresh Ideas Cameron-style events, being broadcast live as I write this, though in a slightly too small player that (unusually) lacks a rescale or full-screen facility. Poor...

Others are following the event avidly, whereas Harry Cole found his "ears bleeding" at Ed's ghastly adenoidal voice and I have to concur. So, let's get a quick overview from PoliticsHome's Paul Waugh, via these two most recent tweets. First, this one a quarter of an hour ago:

Ed Mili's "British promise" is possibly the most clunkingly awful phrase I've heard in a political speech in a long time.

...and then this, a few minutes later:

Ed Mili has gone off-script from his speech. Not in a good way. Seems to be rambling a tad.

Oh well, poor Ed was never likely to be all that good at this "keeping up with the Camerons" stuff. Emulating the jacket-off, unscripted style pioneered in this country by David Cameron (at party conference and at Cameron Direct events) and copied by Nick Clegg (at his party conferences, but with the aid of an out-of-audience-view Teleprompter), poor Ed probably feels he has to attempt the same kind of thing in order to compete - even though he knows he could never do it well.

It should be noted that Cameron Direct events specifically exclude Conservative party members, ensuring an essentially hostile-plus-neutral audience and questioning, whereas Ed's events have been at Labour-friendly locations and with supporters making up the audience: even staffers posing as the public have been spotted at Ed's past events in the series. I couldn't find out (easily, anyway, and I gave up after a bit) where today's is coming from or any other details about it, so it's just another PR exercise for Ed-M in reality.

Not that it seems likely to be making much impact. There were between 24 and 26 on-line viewers while I was there, though reports indicated it peaked at 114 (remember I didn't stay with it). Well, that's not exactly impressive, even with Ed's new communications bods such as Tom Baldwin now involved...

UPDATE 11 Feb: the widget that shows how many are watching has become so embarrassing (especially as those watching were apparently hacks in the main, rather than the public) that it has now been removed!

In the end, Ed Balls (why was he there?) spoke for longer than Miliband did, according to at least two who followed the entire thing (e.g. Faisal Islam), which factoid tells a story of its own...

Note the body language of Miliband in particular: definitely subservient to Balls, and protecting his sensitive parts with his hands. It is clear who is the real leader (in the literal sense) here!

The only new policy idea I have yet gleaned from today is the idea of means-testing bus passes, free swimming and suchlike, which sounds to me as if it would cost more in bureaucracy than it would save. A modest raising of the age of entitlement to bus passes might be more sensible; but Labour have throughout the last several years been pushing for extensions to these concessionary facilities, not restricting or reducing them in any way.

Ed is therefore out of touch with his party's grass-roots and elected members around the country, as well as just about everyone else in the country!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Lutfur at 100 days

As any existing readers of this blog will no doubt recall, I have been writing about the strange case of Lutfur Rahman, the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets for the past hundred days.

Andrew Gilligan had been very informative on all that was going on in an almost Mafia-style operation to control that largely Muslim area of London, and now ConservativeHome has provided an update on the new mayor's progress. It makes extremely interesting reading. Here is the list of Rahman's "achievements" to date:

"In his time in office, Mr. Rahman
  • has been forced by freedom of information requests into revealing a diary which shows him rarely getting into the Town Hall before lunch – despite being paid £65,000 a year to be Mayor.
  • Despite this, Mr. Rahman has managed to book in regular sessions with the Council’s Head of Communications to “look at the proposed news list for East End Life”, the council’s propaganda newspaper.
  • has been revealed in his diary also to have gone straight back to his old ways of meeting exclusively with core supporters and key activist groups. Those who have not been loyal seem to have been frozen out of the Mayor’s schedule.
  • has gone on the BBC to attack the Government’s plans for councils to make public all their spending over £500 – despite a number of London councils voluntarily making their data available early. It was then revealed that in his previous term as leader, Mr. Rahman spent over £26,000 on celebrities such as Barbara Windsor for in-house council functions.
  • Demanded at his first council meeting as Mayor to be paid £75,000 a year – nearly four times the average wage in the borough – despite the council’s Constitutional Working Party originally proposing a salary £10,000 lower. Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors all backed a cap of £65,000. 
  • In one of his first acts as Mayor, sent council officers to Covent Garden to pick up iPhones for himself and his deputy, Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, at a cost to the Council of £600 apiece. An FOI request then revealed that the Council’s Head of Communications had banned responses to a press query about the phones.
  • took the best part of a month after his election to even appoint a Cabinet, leaving council departments with a combined budget of £1.3 billion rudderless.
  • added numerous staff to his private office, including a Head of Mayor’s Office on a salary of £60,000, while selling off historic buildings such as Limehouse Library and the LEB building on Cambridge Heath Road, and proposing cuts to council services elsewhere in his planned budget.
  • failed to turn up to represent the borough at the Remembrance Sunday service at Tower Hill."

We as a nation can use this information as a warning that exactly the same thing will no doubt be done elsewhere, systematically taking control of more of our non-national government where one individual or a clique can wield enormous power and with a huge budget (from the public purse) behind them. To all those who said "it couldn't happen here" - well, it has started to do so and will grow if we don't deal with this subversion of our local democracy to minority (and apparently downright evil and highly corrupt) interests.

Progressive Labour

I wonder whether Guido's rumour is accurate? Is Labour party leader Ed Miliband really thinking of renaming the party Progressive Labour? Kevin "Toilets" Maguire reports on this in a short piece in The Mirror (where else?)

If true, it would certainly be a logical step if one understands what is really going. It is one aspect of what is termed Cultural Marxism to change the meaning of words to suit one's political ends. The two most commonly-encountered examples of this are gay and progressive. Each is intended to convey a positive message, while neither in practice warrants it.

Another good example is Socialism, which as Stalin admitted (in the days before YouTube!) is "the everyday word for Communism". Unfortunately that video is no longer available, otherwise I'd have embedded it right here, as a reminder.

Politically, what progressive means to the left-wingers is more tax, more borrowing, more spending and more favouritism for certain groups of people. It is actually regressive as it always takes the country back to the bad old days of the 1970s and brings us to the brink of national bankruptcy. There is nothing whatsoever of any merit in such a policy direction!

As always with the left, their manipulation of language tries to conceal an outright lie; and the now Marxist-dominated Labour party (especially when one includes its Union funders) would lap up such a change, were it to be proposed by Red Ed.

Personally I'd prefer something like Social Labour, for which the short form could be S-Lab or even Slab; or perhaps Labour Rationalised, or Lab Rat for short...

Only time will tell if this rumour is true, and if so whether it goes anywhere (Mili-E is a known indecisive ditherer, at least as bad as Gordon Brown was); but it has the smell of distinct possibility, so I shall be watching for news...

Good news also comes in threes

Certainly the economic indicators for January 2011 now constitute threefold good news.

First it was manufacturing up, then the construction industry reported its January upturn, and today the service sector is also reported to have had a very successful month, growing strongly. In fact, it was much stronger than expected, with a sector Index (PMI) of 54.5. It was low at 49.7 in December, probably affected to some extent by the severe weather. January's figure represents an eight-month high, not just an improvement over December!

Even the retail sector has (as I suggested before that it would) been doing far better overall than Labour like to pretend:

"Kevin Daly, Goldman on retail PMI: 'If we average the index over past three months it's above the pre-recession (1997-2007) average.’"

These are all quite significant boosts, too, not marginal ones, and they are early indications (as there's still a very long way to go) that the country is getting back on its feet.

Citi seems to agree, also that last week's ONS growth figures were just plain wrong!

As long we don't have vast snowfalls or other unseasonal disruption, I expect the overall trend to be broadly positive across the various sectors from now on.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Voice of authority

There are several authoritative bodies publicly giving their views of nations' economies and relate matters, and in Britain we have the Bank of England, the new Office for Budget Responsibility (which is turning out to be valuable) and the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies).

The last of these has had a somewhat mixed reputation, with some statements and predictions that were way out of kilter with other outfits and with what turned out, but seems more recently to have got its act together.

There are also international organisations such as the IMF and the credit agencies such as Moody's and Standard & Poor. All of these are significant in not only judging how we as a nation are performing and our prospects, but also how others (the movers and shakers) view us. In the case of the credit rating agencies this can be crucial in establishing our loan interest repayment rates, so those perceptions are very important.

It is in that context that we see the IFS's latest assessments as being of value. There's a string of out that came out at the beginning of the new month (i.e. February), and they have been summed up in a series of tweets issuing from Tory Press HQ thus, starting with the IFS's assessment of the situation in Britain just a year ago:

  • IFS: 'Last year widespread concern that UK might not get funding from financial markets. Rating agencies said UK AAA credit rating threatened.'
  • IFS: UK government bond market over past year shows investors believe the UK deficit problem will be dealt with effectively.
  • IFS: Coalition plan more credible than Lab: 'completing fiscal repair job in 1 parliament [is] more credible than a plan to tighten in a future parliament.

I think that is fairly conclusive!  Here's Pete Hoskin's ten-point summary of the IFS's new Green Budget, which makes interesting reading is an easy-to-digest form.

Interestingly, from the same Twitter source, has come this very telling Tweet regarding the Opposition's response (or lack of any) to one of the items of distinctly good news on the economy that emerged yesterday:

"Labour oddly silent on manufacturing stats yesterday and oddly silent on construction stats today: sector returned to growth in Jan"

Hmm. Nothing even from Ed Balls? It seems not!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Fake Libraries

As regular readers her (if I have any!) will by now know, I live almost on the boundary between Lambeth and Lewisham council areas, so I keep an eye on what both of them are up to.

They're both quite bad in particular (but often different) respects, but today I was reminded of just how bad Lambeth has been for years by mention of this now two-year-old story regarding the infamous "fake libraries" that Lambeth Council created in order to fool inspectors, and then closed them again a few weeks later (probably just after the inspectors' report was published).

Today Harry Phibbs links to that story as background to the operations of that council who are now using the local taxpayers-funded council newspaper Lambeth Life to push political propaganda. Now, this is a difficult subject, as there are degrees of this kind of thing that might or might not be acceptable; but I have downloaded of copy of today's issue and it is definitely pushing it!

It might have been more acceptable if it were really a case of deprivation; but Lambeth is well known for its wasteful spending in the millions of pounds bracket, and has been that way for many years. It is notable that Lambeth's elected representation comprises 44 Labour councillors, 15 Lib Dem councillors, and just four Conservatives.

In common with most other Labour, Lib Dem or both combined dominated councils, Lambeth has become an easy place to indulge oneself and one's own or party agenda at local taxpayers' (often huge) expense. The Harry Phibbs piece mentions several examples and links to sources, so do pursue those if you want more detail.

Labour hold all the Cabinet positions at Lambeth (including Deputies, whatever they're needed for!), leader and deputy leader, and mayoralty. That can sometimes work, but not when Labour are involved.

When an administration has to falsify its actual activities, such as by creating fake libraries, even to score reasonably well with its own party's Labour-friendly (as has been shown on numerous occasions) inspection regime, then you just know that something is drastically wrong. Lambeth needs a clear-out and a fresh start!

And now for the good news...

After all the doom and gloom in recent weeks, most of which was concocted by Labour and their chums in much of the media, the confidence that some of us showed in riding out the storm (well, snow) has been shown to be justified.

Instead of "talking Britain down", as John Major used to say when he was Prime Minister, some commentators (generally those who understand something of how economies operate) were content to let short-term difficulties, outside human control, work their way out of the equation.

Thus it comes as no surprise today, the first day after the end of January 2011, to learn this:

"UK manufacturing PMI rose to record high in Jan. Expansion in UK manufacturing & employment highest for 19 years"

Here is the News Release (PDF file) from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Supply. Note that we are cautioned that inflationary pressures 'continue to surge', but that is what those in the know expected for the time being.

A large cause of that surge has been the huge Quantitative Easing (i.e. printing money, which is then devalued in the world market from where we buy so much) during Gordon Brown's premiership, some of which has had to be continued for a while after he resigned as PM (one of Brown's many nasty legacies).

As always, the key point is that the rot has been slowed in some areas, halted in others, and the British economy continues on track to a slow, hard but eventual recovery. We've seen it before, during the Thatcher years, and Labour tried all the tricks then that they are attempting now.

This is why we should take no notice of them and continue to repair the damage, just as was done during the '80s. Now, as then, this is the only realistic way to recover, ever.