Friday, November 30, 2007

Donorgate: Its like watching a really bad accident in slow motion

Words fail me.

We now hear that Peter Hain, he of the moral high ground and perma tan forgot to declare a donation of £5,000 from .. Jon Madelsohn? He of the I am Gordon Brown's chief fund raiser.

We have Harriet Harman's team on the verge of war with Gordon Brown's over her donorgate donation as they seem to have passed it on.

This is just getting to bizarre for words.

All politicians are sullied by this. Let us not forget that. As a Conservative party we can't promise to be purer than pure or whiter than white, that is impractical, however we can aspire to deliver. It is better to under promise and over deliver than to be caught in this latest sleaze storm.

Gillian Gibbons jailed for insulting Islam?

You are having a laugh surely? The people who are insulting Islam, the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him and religion in general are the horrendously loony people who have been offended by anything she has done.

Mohamed is a normal name in the region, and there is no sane reason why a child's cuddly toy can't have a normal name.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Donorgate: Has it got worse?

The donorgate scandal will not only not go away but seems to be getting worse.

According to this article in today's Telegraph people are beginning to question how a man of David Abrahams apparent means and wealth could donate quite as much as he has through third parties.

There is speculation that he is just a front.

If so, where does the money really come from and what influence is it trying to buy?

This could get worse. Hard to believe I know, but it could.

Mohamed the Teddy bear: An insult to Islam?

I have to say that I was not surprised at the arrest of Gillian Gibbons after the naming of a class teddy bear Mohamed. I had presumed that it was primarily to get her off the streets as there are some veritable nutters in the Sudan. I had up until now bought the Sudanese foreign ministry line that it was a storm in a teacup.

The issue has not become far more serious as she has been charged with "insulting religion" and "inciting hatred".

This is utter contemptible tosh.

Let us be straight. People call their children Mohamed, who may go on to do great things, or go on to be infamous criminals.

A child's toy on the other hand will always remain a hero in the minds of the children.

The world, and in particular the Muslim world needs to tell this lot of lunatics that in fact they are talking utter tosh. There is no breach of any law.

The BBC has this

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

From Stalin to Mr Bean: A remarkable transformation!

This is how Vince Cable described Gordon Brown at Prime Ministers Questions.

Very very funny.

He went on to say that he brings chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos. The house fell about laughing.

Just how bad can it get?

Look, there I am, busy with other things, like sorting out my garage, and Labour appears to be in absolute collapse.

We now learn (For example in this article in the Daily Mail) that one of the people use to channel funds to Labour, Janet Dunn knows nothing about it, it has not passed through accounts she controls, is upset about it, and is a Conservative voter.

Clearly there has got to be a serious suspicion in the part of the police that a criminal offence has been committed. So who will make the complaint?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Conservatives gain biggest poll lead since 1988!

According to this poll in the Independent.

It gives the Conservatives 40% (-1), Labour 27% (-6) and the Liberal Democrats 18 (+2) which according to the article would give the Conservatives a 64 seat majority and the largest turn over in seats of any party coming in to power.

The article does say this is after Gordon Brown's worst week. Well, those events have not settled in, and Labour are embroiled in a growing funding scandal. Its only Tuesday, this week could be worse than last week!

Labour general Secretary resigns as funding scandal goes nuclear

Its true that today Gordon Brown promised more nuclear. I am not quite sure this is what he had in mind.

Peter Watt, the somewhat youthful general secretary of the Labour party resigned today after having admitted that he knew that the secret donations came from Mr David Abrahams. His defence was that he was not aware of the law, and after the scandal broke sought legal advice.

Nice try Peter, however ignorance of the law is no defence.

What is scary though, is that someone could be placed in such a position without the knowledge or training to do the job. It would be a bit like putting a university history lecturer in charge of safety at a nuclear plant. Bound to lead to disaster.

It goes deeper though. This "arrangement" of which Peter Watt was aware appears to have been going on since before he took over. Did the previous general secretary know?

It gets worse (I kid you not) in that there was a "secret" donation to Harriet Harmans campaign. Did she know?

And worse still, David Abrahams company Durham Green Developments Ltd have been granted planning permission after "negotiation" with the highways agency (Then run by "wee" Douglas Alexander) for a £60 million pound development.

When this story first broke, I though that this could get embarrassing, but that it was the work of a rogue donor. It now appears to be getting worse by the day. What is more, the press are still furiously digging. One of the conduits for the laundered donations is a solicitor apparently who ought soon (if that is the case) to be an ex solicitor. We have the property deals, though wee Dougie has denied that he had anything to do with it, but most importantly of all, we have the fact that this appears to have been a long standing arrangement to subvert the law.

You just could not make this up!

Guido has this, the Telegraph has this, the Times has this, and the Daily Mail has this.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It was no junior official!

The government line, spin, or more accurately downright lie, over the loss of 25 million child benefit records is that it was a junior official acting on his own against laid down, and by implication followed procedure.

This story in todays Sunday Times blows that completely out of the water as apparently there is a bot of security. There were only 3 people with the clout to have the passwords to download the data, and lets face it, they must have asked why.

This is clearly not a rogue and more a systematic failure.

Labour in another party funding scandal?

Labour are in yet another party funding scandal as the Mail on Sunday carries the new that a jobbing builder has donated Labour £200,000 without his knowledge nor I doubt the tax payments to justify his generosity.

The crux of the story is that Ray Ruddick who drives a battered transit van and lives in an ex council house he purchased from the council 7 years ago for £12,000 pounds is listed as having donated about £200,000, making him Labour's third biggest donor since Gordon Brown took over.

He initially denied donating at all, but has curiously admitted the last donation he is claimed to have made after some thought. That was for £80,000.

The thing that smells for me is that I can't see him being able to write a cheque that large in one go. That means that someone else should have been mentioned to the electoral commission, and that does not appear to be the case.

Update 12:39

The BBC now has this
. It could get embarrassing

Labour are doomed!

There is an interesting comment piece in the Times, from Saturday by Matthew Parris, who I appreciate is no Labour cheerleader.

However I did like this quote:

I am absolutely sure that Mr Brown hasn't got it, never had it, and won't get it. For those of us who always believed and wrote this, the prospect of writing him off is easier to stomach than for those who thought they detected buried treasure and are still half-waiting for it to be uncovered.


Well, where to begin? the knives are out for Gordon!

I like, and I have to say it has a habit of having contributers who throw up some interesting stories.

Last week was not good for Labour or Gordon Brown.

Next week is set to make last week look like there best week ever.

Oh dear. (For Labour, me I'm lovin' it!)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

You have paid with money to use the pool? They have paid with limbs!

There is a disgusting nasty piece of work, believed to be a 30 year old woman who has in my view no right to live in this country, who abused injured servicemen whilst in a pool, according to this article in the Daily Mail.

She claimed she paid money to use the pool.

They paid in limbs.

She makes me sick. She makes me angry. Very very very angry.

She should be named and shamed so that we all know who this disgusting nasty low life is, and can look her in the eye and tell her what we think of her small minded ignorance.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Conservatives get biggest poll lead since 1992

According to Channel 4 news, the Conservatives have there biggest poll lead over Labour since 1992. The poll was conducted since the news broke of the data loss at the child benefit office.

the Conservatives get 41% (NC) Labour 32% (-3) and the Liberal Democrats 14% (+1). (From the last poll held on the 18th of November).

If you feed that into Anthony Wells election calculator that gives the Conservatives a majority of 12, with the Conservatives on 331 seats, Labour on 264, the Liberal Democrats 24 and others on 31.

Well, that does not look good for Labour.

Channel 4 has this.

Steve McClaren sacked Shocker!

In a moved which appears to have caught absolutely no one by surprise the FA has sacked Steve McClaren and Terry Venables.

The decision was unanimous apparently.

Now all we need is players (apart from Beckham) who play like they care. David Beckham already does.

The BBC has this.

Bank Chiefs deny delaying blunder announcement

One of the reasons why the government alleges it delayed the announcement of the child benefit data going missing is that "the banks had to get ready".

The Times reports on page three of this article as follows:

Last night bankers reacted angrily to a suggestion by Mr Darling that he had delayed his announcement because the financial sector was “adamant” it needed time to prepare. A senior City source said: “By 9.30 on Monday we were ready to run. It is hard to fathom why any suggestion was made that any delay was down to us.”

So someone somewhere is telling porkies, and it is not the bankers. They need to resign.

It does get worse though. According to this report they helpfully put the password on a compliment slip in the same envelope in some cases, removing the need for either a brute force attack or any other hacking method. Nice. The police are also looking at several other offences that staff wish to be taken into account.

It is clear this is not the fault of one junior official but a systematic practice which started when Brown was chancellor.

What a plonker!

The Telegraph has this over how the government was warned this would happen, whilst the Guardian has this on how this affects ID cards.

As a point of note ministers pop up with the untruth (for it to be a lie, they would have to have a clue what the truth is, and they don't) that our ID card data will be protected by bio metrics. Laughable. The fact is that government staff will be able to access your data without you having to unlock it, and on this lots form will be able to download the lot of it to disc and walk out with it.

Useless bunch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

England lose to Croatia 2-3 and are out of Euro 2008

And with regret I think we deserved it.

It is not the managers fault either. Fundamentally the players lack the spirit to win. The England Rugby team had spirit by the bucket load, this lot lacked any spirit what so ever.

The BBC has this

Gordon Brown is right: Alistair Darling should not resign!

Because it turns out that the decision to send all the sensitive data in the post, far more than the National Audit Office actually wanted was made in March when Alistair Darling was not Chancellor. Clearly the chancellor at the time should go as he can't run a whelk stall. One Gordon Brown.

Apparently a senior business manager decided that filtering out the sensitive data was too "burdensome". He needs to go as well.

Mean while, after the horse has bolted Gordon Brown has ordered a review into data security.

The BBC has this.

25 Million records lost in the post! Its not about the money!

Well, we have 25 million records containing very personal data and it has gone missing.

It was sent unregistered in the internal post some say because managers skimp on these things (now there is a shock? not!) and when it did not arrive it was sent recorded.

This all misses the point.

No one individual, from PM to cleaner (Her Majesty possibly excepted) should have been able to extract this data in the first place, let alone be able to put it on a CD and be daft enough to send it anywhere, in particular, where they had not asked for that level of detail.

In short there is something very sick about how this government handles our data and its regard for us as individuals.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

25 million records missing including bank details and national insurance numbers!

Apparently according to some reports of the statement given by Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, copies of 25 million records have gone missing.

This happened because some junior official sent it to the National Audit office, who sent it back. Then it was sent again by unrecorded post in October. It did not arrive so they sent it again by recorded post.

Can you believe that? Why on earth were they sending this data to the NAO in the first place by any kind of post?

This is a complete beach of the Data protection act.

The BBC has this on the statement of Alistair Darling.

Government loses yet more private data and still wants ID cards?

The Inland Revenue and Customs, the sub department of the Treasury dumped together in a rushed ill thought out merger has lost the details of 15 million child benefit claimants, which will include just about all the information needed for ID theft on a grand scale.

The Chairman of Revenue and Customs, Paul Gray has resigned.

Ministers have apparently been aware of this breach for some 10 days, but as yet they have not seen fit to tell any of us until today. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is due to make a second uncomfortable statement in the House of Commons later.

What is unbelievable is that this bunch expect us to let them collect all our personal information in one place. Do they seriously expect to be trusted with that?

The BBC has this on the lost records and this on Paul Gray's resignation.

Northern Rock Shares suspended 5 times so far today!

In what has been a very bad day fro Northern Rock shareholders shares have now fallen to 93p per share down from £12 in February.

The collapse also covers the time when the former CEO was urging others to buy shares whilst selling his. I wonder if that will lead to a law suit against him.

It also does not bode well for the tax payer getting their money back, with £24 billion lent directly and many more billions used to guarantee depositors funds.

The question to be asked about Northern Rock's shares is "how low can they go?"

The BBC has this.

Northern Rock crisis, Is it going from bad to worse?

The Northern Rock crisis seems to be going from bad to worse. In what can't have been much of a surprise to anyone none of the bids for Northern Rock valued the bank at its current share price. Given the fact that it is in a fire sale and its chief executive was selling shares whilst encouraging others to buy them that seems fair.

We now have the position where there are doubts, however small that the taxpayer may not get all the money this government piled in back, and even if they do, it may be some considerable time yet.

Politically the fallout may be landing. In the initial aftermath of the run on the Northern Rock it looked like no one was blaming the government. Now you can't be quite so sure.

We will find out soon enough, there are some more polls due out soon. I would not be surprised to see Labour dipping some more on what has been fairly relentless bad news.

The Times has this
whilst the Guardian has this and the Telegraph has this.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is Gordon Brown's government failing apart already?

There will come a time when Labour will fail to win an election, in my view that will be the next one, though I may be wrong. When they do, people will try and look back and see when the tide turned.

I suspect that the main focus is going to be on both the Conservative party conference of this year and the election that never was.

Up until the autumn it has be be grudgingly admitted that Gordon Brown had been doing a good job of being prime ministerial. He appeared to be dealing with the issues that came up as and when they did without looking like a messianic nutter (not that I have any one in particular in mind, oh no!).

Then the polls looked so good, that Gordon could call an election he had insisted on taking office that he did not need to, that he would win hands down.. in the run up to the party conference season.

It was always obvious that the wheels were going to come off that plan, because it was also always obvious that the Conservatives were going to get a conference bounce. However the speculation continued to be driven by those close to Brown (For that, read Ed "blinky" Balls and wee Dougie Alexander) to a point that when Brown said he was not going to call one because he wanted to shell out his vision the press smelt a rat (well, two, Blinky and wee Dougie) and have been at the government ever since.

We are now in a position where the Conservatives, in the latest poll by the Sunday Times, by Yougov lead Labour by 6 points, being on 41% (NC), Labour on 35% (-4) and the Liberal Democrats on 13% (+2). Well, to be fair that is no great shakes, but what is staggering is the change in fortunes of Gordon Brown's personal ratings. From a net approval rating of 30 (59% of people thinking he is doing a good job to 29% not) collapsing to -10! (33% good, 43% bad).

It has to be said the turnaround is staggering, though not irreversible. Well, I say that, I think there are dark forces in Labour looking to make it so. Leaks and briefings are again rife. We have this about David Milliband apparently being blamed for a campaign to destabilise the PM.

We have had stories about Gordon Brown and his tight cabal running all of government, in Brown's bunker first raised here in the FT, with this in the Times today about people leaping to the defence of Gordon Brown whilst there is this in today's Daily Mail about how government is constipated and dysfunctional according to senior civil servants.

The question is then this:

Will this government recover?

The answer is not while Ed "blinky" Balls, Ed Milliband and wee Dougie Alexander are in effect senior commanders. The problem this government has is that is the sum total of people Gordon Brown appears to trust.

Calamity Clegg and Cockup Chris!

I am sorry to any Liberal Democrats out there but when I heard this story break I did have to laugh.

The one thing that has so far characterised the latest Liberal Democrat Leadership campaign has been its sheer dullness and an almost complete lack of media interest...

That is until there is some dirt about, and now there is in the form of a "briefing note" sent out on Friday by "team Huhne" which caused a bit of a stir on this mornings politics show. That note was entitled "Calamity Clegg" and was sent out on Friday. Cockup Chris has been forced to apologise blaming the title of the document on an overzealous researcher, whilst standing by the contents highlighting policy "flip flops" Nick "Calamity" Clegg. Does that fill anyone with confidence? A choice between a flip flopper and a man whose team let the teas boy put titles on serious press briefings?

Well, it doesn't impress me, though it did make me laugh!

The BBC has this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hooray! Israel win 2-1 keeping England's hopes alive!

Well that is I have to say fantastic news! Israel beat Russia 2 - 1 so England can still qualify.

Unfortunately Scotland lost to Italy, 1 - 2 and are out.

England Expects Every Israeli to do his duty!

Or at least their football team. England need Israel to win or draw with Russia for England to still have a chance of qualifying, as we lost against Russia.

So far so good, Israel lead 1-0.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Barry George gets a retrial at his appeal!

I have to say I am pleased. he is guilty, in fact guilty as hell, but only of being odd.

Is he guilty of killing Jill Dando? Somehow I doubt it. In any case there is little evidence that I have heard of which makes me think he did it.

I await seeing what happens in a new trial.

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Targets "let dangerous criminals slip the net"

Targets "let dangerous criminals slip the net" is the headline of this article in the Times today.

The long and short of it is that a police constable or indeed their force gets the same points score for convicting a murderer or pedophile as it does for convicting a burglar.

This comes from Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency who is also a former Chief Constable.

Well, two things spring to mind. Firstly it shows that if you set targets, you need to understand how they can be met, without achieving your ends, and secondly that this government has not got a clue about how to set targets or what effect its targets are having on the ground.

Home Office in even bigger fiasco Shocker!

Its hard to believe it but the Home office is drifting into an even bigger fiasco.

After weeks of discovering that the government had not got a clue about how many immigrants were working in the UK, and had to keep revising their figures, it then emerge that a government agency had cleared up to 5,000 illegal immigrants to work in "security". Well, many of these worked in Whitehall, and what is more damaging is that the Home Office new in August, as did alleged Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, but they were hoping no one else would notice.

Well, The Daily Mail has, and has this story here.

Toughening rape laws?

I always get concerned when I here someone wants to toughen rape laws up, largely because I don't think they understand what the problem is, though perhaps that is me. Either way more research needs to be done.

Firstly the reason for raising the subject is that David Cameron has, along with some scary statistics that indicate some people (a worryingly large percentage) seem to thing forcing sex on people is OK.

The problem we have is one of evidence. In stranger rape lack of consent is easy to show, and I suspect that most, but with regret not all, jurors would not buy the "she was asking for it" argument. These rapes apparently form 17% of rapes. Apparently "date rapes" form only 4% which I have to say surprised me. The rest, seem to be made up of either people known to the victim, or partners/spouses (running at about 50%).

You are on a jury. Two people known to each other have had intercourse. The facts are virtually mutually agreed, apart from one key detail, consent. Each witness is totally convincing. Can you convict beyond reasonable doubt?

One thing that David Cameron did do was to compare our rape conviction sates with both the past, and other countries. The problem is what is legally rape is different now from the past, and also more narrowly defined abroad, so there would need to be much research to establish what is going on. We have apparently 5 times the rate of rape of Italy. Is this because we are by comparison morally bankrupt or is what constitutes rape and what people report as rape different?

Above all this seems to be more of a social problem than a legal one, or at least the solutions are. It could not possibly be right that that we lower the burden of proof required for one of our most serious crimes.

One interesting thing to come out of David Cameron's speech was that those convicted of rape are serving shorter sentences than 10 years ago. That needs some serious looking at as well.

The BBC has this

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For the fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon

Remember Armistice day, and the millions who have given their lives to keep us free, from this country and throughout the Common Wealth.

Please also support the Royal British Legions appeal to mark Armistice day.

Conservatives lead Labour by 8%!

In an ICM poll for the Sunday Express, the Conservatives have recorded a poll rating of 43%, the highest ICm have recorded since 1992.

The full figures are: Conservatives 43% (+3) Labour 35% (no change?) and the Liberal Democrats on 15% (-3)

On Anthony Wells electoral calculator that would give a Conservative majority of 6, with them on 328, Labour on 273, and the Liberal Democrats on 21.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Outrageous and disgusting behaviour that ought to be criminal!

I was watching a program on channel 4 presented by Ian Hislop called Not Forgotten.

One of the things they covered was the recovery of a workplace war memorial which was found broken up and incomplete in a skip!

This is disgusting! How dare someone or anyone treat such a thing with such contempt. It ought to be criminal! The least they could have done is remove it complete and pass it one to someone who is not quite so despicable as to want it removed in the first place.

Channel 4 has this.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gurkha's make Taliban melt away.

I just saw an interesting report on BBC news 24. Our last remaining Gurkha battalion is serving in southern Afghanistan, on foot and deep into Taliban territory. However, the Taliban seem somewhat reluctant to engage.

I wonder why? Could it possibly be that the Gurkha's are above all one of the most feared fighting forces on the planet?

You have to ask why we are now only down to one Gurkha battalion when we did have five, and we could have twenty. The Taliban will not mess with the Gurkha's, they now better.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Army Supply chain Chaos caused soldiers death shocker!

Whilst I am deeply saddened to hear that the death of Fusilier Gordon Gentle was mostly due to an admin cock up it has to be noted that this was always the case.

The Ministry of Defence is a failing department, and was so when it was the Ministry of War (a title which is at least honest, you know where you are with a country that has a Ministry of war) since before the Crimean war. The whole lot is useless, and ought to be burnt down and restarted from scratch.

The BBC has this.

Be Thin, Be Fat, Die anyway!

News reached us a few days ago that being a bit underweight lessened your risk of cancer, now we have a study that says being a bit overweight makes you live longer.


You will be after the next episode of Soap! (Or after reading any medical advice in the mass media).

The Independent has this.

Editors note:

Studies note that it is easier to enjoy life whilst alive, as there are few studies indicating how the afterlife is to be enjoyed and the effects of enjoying life on enjoyment of the afterlife.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jacqui Smith: Without a clue?

I listened with some shock and amusement to Jacqui Smith, alleged Home Secretary on BBC Radio 4's Today program talking about extending the time people can be held without charge from 28 days.

Despite repeated questioning she had no clue as to how long she would like them to be held, though did concede that no one had so far needed to be held longer.

Is it just me is is it worryingly bonkers that they do not seem to know how much of our civil liberties they want to take away?

Today's home page is here, whilst you can listen to the alleged Home Secretary dither here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pakistan the Dilemma!

General Musharraf has quite outrageously suspended the constitution of Pakistan, and is clearly acting against civil society. That is clearly very bad. However he is also locking up lawyers left right and center.

Such a dilemma! Do I condemn him for the bad things he is doing and ignore the good or vice versa?

Now that is a toughy :)

The BBC has this.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Musharraf: Acting to protect democracy?

Apparently General Pervez Musharraf is acting to protect democracy, whilst no doubt Osama Bin laden is looking to bring about world peace.

Perhaps they have missed their vocation in life, they should surely have been comedians?

The BBC has this.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Immigrants: Over here and stealing our Jobs? According to the FT

There is an interesting article in todays FT here, showing that the number of British workers in jobs has fallen by 270,000 whilst the same number of jobs have been created.

This has to be of great concern to politicians, as bluntly put, people vote, and for that, it is people who have the vote, on the money they have in their pocket. Immigrants don't have the vote and those that do are finding life a lot tougher.