Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rudy Giuliani endorses John McCain

I forgot to mention it. I suspected he would and he has! So there!


John McCain is the only sensible candidate for President of the United States of America.

I also note that Rudy Giuliani's endorsement had warm words, was delivered with John McCain, and was in the Reagan Library.

The BBC has this.

Arnold Swarchenegger backs John McCain!

Republican Governor of California, Arnold Swarchenegger has endorsed John McCain!

It has to be said this looks like a band wagon rolling!

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney appears, apparently from the CNN debate to believe that Hezbollah are somewhere in Iraq. What a jerk!

Google has this.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Derek Conway to stand down as a Conservative MP

Iain Dale has his full statement here.

Derek Conway is the MP for Bexley and Old Sidcup. David Cameron withdrew the whip from him yesterday.

What this shows is that David Cameron can act decisively when there is sleaze about. Gordon Brown on the other hand can't.

This is a sad end to a political career, but then politicians have to learn that our money has to be accounted for.

The BBC has this.

Senator John McCain wins Florida

Considering he was written off 3 or so months ago Senator John McCain has had a stunning comeback. He has won Florida where Rudy Giuliani had been campaigning and spending lots of money. Guiliani came in behind both John McCain and Mitt Romney. It looks highly likely that Rudy Guiliani will bow out of the race later today and some think he will endorse John McCain.

With most votes counted the results are as follows:

John McCain: 36%
Mitt Romney: 31%
Rudy Giuliani: 15%
Mike Huckabee: 13%
Ron Paul: 3%

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cameron withdraws whip from Derek Conway

It seems that David Cameron has withdrawn the whip from Derek Conway. This is after it was revealed that not only had Freddie worked for him during his time at university, but that also his other son Henry had as well.

There appears to have been no evidence of any work at all being done by Freddie. What is more Freddie did not even know who his fathers office secretary was. Surely there would have to have been some contact between Freddie Conway and his fathers office?

Anyway, David Cameron has now acted decisively. It is a shame that Gordon Brown does not.

The BBC has this on the fact that Derek Conway has been reported to the police.

So what of Derek Conway?

Derek Conway has been hauled up before the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, not because he hired his son, Freddie as a researcher, or that he was a full time student at Newcastle University, but because there is no record of him doing anything like enough work to justify the amount of time he was paid for.

To be fair, it could be just a case of appalling record keeping on Derek's part,
but as a taxpayer, I expect my taxes to be accounted for, and in this case this has not happened.

David Cameron has not withdrawn the whip from Derek Conway as he has been punished, and apologised to the House of Commons.

Fair enough, just about, had it ended there, but alas it has not. It turns out that Derek's older son, Henry had a similar arrangement, but only whilst he was at university. At this point one has to move on from thinking things are a little unfortunate to politically untenable.

According to this article from the Daily Mail, (which broke the Henry story)
David Cameron would not withdraw the whip for the Freddie offence but would have sacked him from the front bench. Things would be different if it was more serious. It is now.

Oh, and that is 1,000 posts on my blog!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alan Johnson denies wrong doing

Alan Johnson has got himself into a spot of bother over "illegal" donations.

Apparently he received a donation of £3,334 form a Labour party member, registered to vote in this country. He accepted same. It now turns out that the donation did not come from one Waseem Siddiqui, but his brother Ahmed Yar Mohammed who is treasurer of the Croydon Labour party.

Clearly this is wrong. Donations should not be made in this way. We all know this is exactly the same thing that happened over the David Abrahams affair.

But.. What is a campaign team supposed to do? They checked that Waseem was entitled to donate, even that he was a member of the Labour party. What more are they supposed to do? This does not appear to be like the Abrahams situation in that no one is claiming (yet) that someone in Alan Johnson's campaign knew the actual source of the money. So I can't see anything wrong with what Alan Johnson has done.

On the other hand Ahmed Yar Mohammed has clearly set out to avoid and breach the law, so should be expelled from the Labour party, and investigated.

The BBC has this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So is Peter Hain just another brick in the wall?

Because now he has resigned that will inevitably up the pressure on Harriet Harman and Wendy Alexander. Possibly even more people.

The mood in Labour must be quite bleak at the moment as the drip drip of bad news stories continues day after day.

Peter Hain resigns as his donations are referred to the police!

Peter Hain has resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary after the Electoral Commission referred his donations to the Metropolitan Police.

About time too. Had someone who had failed to notify the DWP of a change in their circumstances over a benefits payment said "Sorry I was too busy" they would have asked them to tell someone who gives a damn.

Peter Hain will apparently now work to clear his name. Well I am not sure what he means by that. He seems not to have been accused of corruption but breaking the law through incompetence.

The BBC has this.

It is necessary to stage public sector pay awards!

yes, according to our dear leader, Gordon, for it is he, it is necessary to stage public sector pay awards so as not to fuel inflation*!

*Of course this does not apply to those public sector workers who can strike who's unions donate money to the Labour party who get their settlement in full, like the teachers and firemen. I mean, who needs nurses and the police? Sheesh!

The BBC has this.

Inflation beating Council Tax Rise!

Yes citizens of this great socialist republic, rejoice, for whilst it is not possible to have inflation busting pay rises, the Government of Gordon Brown is pleased, nay honoured to announce that it can produce an inflation busting council tax rise!

Meanwhile all us poor downtrodden tax, fuel, food and general bill payers have to work out how to pay for this largess.

Thanks Gordon.

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Fed slashes interest rates by 3/4% to 3.5%

The United States Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates not by 1/4 or 1/5 a percent by by 3/4. This is to send a clear signal to everyone.

We will have to see what effect it will have on the Dow as the markets open at 2PM. (those lazy Americans, not getting up until the afternoon!).

With a bit of luck this will stave off disaster and lead to a bit of a rally on other markets.

The BBC has this.

FTSE 100 Bounces off the floor!

After yesterdays drubbing on the stock market the FTSE 100 dropped 400 points on opening this morning only to bounce right back off the floor.

Lets all hope people are calm in the markets and not just running around like headless chickens.

The BBC has this.

Financial Meltdown Continues!

Stock market financial meltdown continues on the worlds financial markets.

Yesterday was, bad, today does not look much better. We are all apparently worried by a recession in the United States of America, where markets are closed. George Bush has announced a series of measures to boost markets, which other market watchers have not been impressed by.

What we are seeing is headless chicken syndrome. The same people who bought into low yielding stocks are running away from them in the same manner.

That said there are underlying problems in both the US and UK economies, mostly due to house price inflation not being controlled. Where there is a silly boom there will always be a bust.

The BBC has this.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Has Obama beaten Clinton in Nevada?

The reason why I ask this daft question is that the process in Nevada is a Caucus not a vote, and it is the state delegates that count. Currently Obama is ahead!

You could not make this up!

John McCain walks South Carolina

At this stage in the evening it looks like a cakewalk for Senator John McCain in South Carolina, and what is more it looks like a decisive victory.

Fred Thompson is looking a tad lame and Mike Huckabee is is severely wounded. Rudy Giuliani has not as yet had a primary where he has bothered to campaign. He may well have left it too late.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MOD data loss: Three questions need to be asked

The MOD has lost a laptop with the records of 600,000 recruits on it. This is ridiculous. Three questions need to be asked.

  1. What sort of cretin allows someone to put such data on any laptop?
  2. What sort of cretin leaves said laptop in a car overnight?
  3. When are the two separate cretins going to be sacked?
This data loss includes bank details of some as well. There is a very lax attitude to data protection about. People need to be punished or else no one will take it seriously.

There is no need nor justification for that information ever leaving the building in the first place, and if the person who's laptop it was really needed access from outside of the building there are several secure ways to allow it.

There is never any need to leave laptops, or any other valuables in a car. You can always take them with you.

The BBC has this.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Coward the Hero!

Get used to headlines like that, I suspect they will magically appear in tomorrow's papers, for John Coward, the co pilot of BA038 was the one who landed the plane after a loss of power.

From news reports the plane lost power at 600 feet. That must have been fun for the pilots. There would have been little time to react, and crucially no room for error. The plane would have had to take a steeper decent to maintain speed, hence landing harder than normal and short of the runway.

The flight crew and emergency services excelled themselves, we would expect nothing less. Then the passengers were kept hanging around with no refreshments for hours by petty bureaucrats who were apparently very unhelpful. With regret, again I would expect nothing less.

The BBC has this on the co-pilot, this on the report, and this on how passengers were let down afterwards.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well, it looks like Mitt Romney has won Michigan

Which I have to say is a bit disappointing for me, I was hoping Senator John McCain could use that as a bounce to pick up momentum.

The Republican race looks very wide open now.

Peter Hain: The Minister for Incompetence!

Well, the Daily Mail has made much of Gordon Brown's comments on Peter Hain, saying that his failure is one of incompetence rather than corruption.

What concerns me though is Peter Hain's apparent attitude that he was to busy to comply with the law.

Could a benefit claimant who had got work but not quite done the paperwork after wards get off? No Ifs, No Buts, could they?

Nuff said. Peter Hain can not run that department. It would be one rule for him and another for his "clients".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Teachers pay rise: Will it anger the Police?

I see Ed Balls has gone and given the teachers a 2.45% pay award for this year to be followed by two further annual rises of 2.3%. This is of course well above what the government tell us inflation is whilst being well below what inflation actually is.

However the problem is that other public sector workers, for example the police, who have been awarded over 2% by their pay board but had it cut to 1.9% by the alleged Secretary of State for the Home Office, Jacqui Smith. Of course they can't go on strike, and their union does not donate money to Labour.

So how will that make the police feel? Not good I expect.

The BBC has this.

Conflating party funding issues

I note that party funding issues are being conflated.

We had George Osbourne's lack of double reporting over his office expenses, the funds declared to the Electoral commission, but not the Register of Members Interests, and now we have David Cameron's flights, declared to the register of members interests, but not the electoral commission. There may be a legal issue with the latter, I can't comment, but they are totally different to Peter Hain's affair.

Those deluded enough to support his cause make out, despite the evidence, that he went to the electoral commission as soon as the funding issues were uncovered, and in essence he brought the issue into the public domain.

The fact is that these admissions were beaten out of Peter Hain's campaign team by Guido who kept on asking awkward questions which then led Peter Hain to pop along to the electoral commission. That is entirely different from reporting a donation once, rather than twice.

So will John McCain win in Michigan?

Well,that is the question. Currently in the national opinion polls, John McCain is well ahead of all his rivals but still strapped for cash. Winning in Michigan, and knocking out Mitt Romney will help.

I certainly hope he does, as my money is on McCain, but I also back him as he seems to be the only candidate for either party who is not a certifiable loon.

As an example, Hilary Clinton, (and all the Democrats) seem to want to cut and run from Iraq, despite the fact that it seems to be just about coming good now, and that you should not run away from what you have broken.

Barrack Obama on the other hand has said that he will go after the Taleban in Pakistan if they are not dealt with. That is a threat to effectively invade an ally and nuclear power all rolled into one. Brilliant! Not!

The Democrats are also holding a sort of primary in Michigan, but against party rules, so who wins there is not important.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I can't believe Peter Hain is hanging on!

No, seriously I can't. After all the revelations we heard in the Sunday Times that even his aids said he should go, and today the Telegraph will run a story saying that Gordon Brown is coming under pressure to sack him!

Its not hard. he runs the "No Ifs, no Buts" department, yet clearly can't control a small campaign team. What a joke.

What is also laughable is that some Labour apparatchiks are trying to equate this with George Osbourne declaring all his donations to the electoral commission and following the as it now appears wrong advice of the Parliamentary authorities in not registering the same with the register of members interests. There is no comparison.

The fact is that Peter Hain has demonstrated that he can't run a small operation, let alone one the size and with the budget of the Department of Work and Pensions.

Mind you, it is clear why he is hanging on, he is one of the domino's that if he fell would lead to the fall of Harriet Harman and Wendy Alexander.

The BBC has this and this, whilst Guido has this, this and this.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peter Hain hangs on by his fingertips!

Its seems Peter Hain has no shame, and is hanging on to his job!

How are we supposed to take anyone seriously as head of the DWP, responsible for prosecuting people for benefit fraud, under section 112 of the 1992 Administration of Social Security Act, where to knowingly give false information is an offence yet can't get the hang if his own strict liability for reporting donations!

I mean we are talking about over £100,000!

Can anyone take him seriously when he squarely dodges his reporting responsibilities?

The BBC has this.

Is Peter Hain about to resign?

From early this morning I have been hearing reports that Peter Hain, AKA Hain the vain was about to make a statement over the funding of his deputy leadership campaign. Despite the reports saying the statement was "due shortly", it has not as yet happened.

Why the delay? Is he trying to secure some support so that he does not have to resign but having trouble doing so?

Ah well, we will find out "shortly" I suppose, and I seriously expect him to have resigned by the end of today.

The BBC has this.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So how did Nick Clegg get on at his first PMQs?

Well, in the House of Commons, fine is the answer. Workmanlike, easy introduction to the bear pit that is Prime Ministers Questions. It would be harsh in the extreme to expect him to shine, as he only gets two questions after all.

Overall though, his first outing was disappointing because it got not air time, at least not on TV. That is a shame really as that is more the media than anything else, but there you go.

Still, looking on the bright side, at least he did not start by presenting an open goal like Ming Campbell did!

The BBC has this.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hilary Clinton's shock win in New Hampshire

Senator Hilary Clinton has won in New Hampshire, in what is a big shock as it runs totally counter to what the polls seemed to be saying. That certainly will give her momentum.

Now all the Republicans need to do is to nominate their winner in New Hampshire, Senator John McCain and they will win a third term on the trott. I don't think any other Republican can do it.

The BBC has this.

Monday, January 07, 2008

McCain and Obama to win New Hampshire

Well, that is a prediction, based in part on the polls which are definately looking that way but also having a feeling for the ground covered and momentum built so far.

Barrack Obama has the momentum in the Democratic race, and not only that seems to be able to communicate with people in a way that Hillary Clinton just can't. I mean, if it was a choice between the two, who would you vote for?

On the other hand Senator John McCain has won New Hampshire before and what is more, being a north eastern state, seems to be talking much more their language than Mike Huckabee does.

Polls seem to indicate that Mitt Romney will come something like second. I have to wonder about Mitt. He seems to excel at irritating all his opponents at the same time which is not a good trait.

One thing is sure, Mike Huckabee will not come first for the Republicans in New Hampshire, though. I don't think he will get the nomination either, but losing in New Hampshire will not kill him off, but losing for Mitt Romney, or worse still coming third may kill him off.

For Hillary Clinton she has been set up for a fall. So many people are saying she is finished if she does not win New Hampshire. Personally I think she is finished anyway, but a good second place could just keep her in. A poor second or, worse still a second third place, with Senator Barrack Obama winning would mean that the momentum would be decidedly with Obama, along with the financial support. It would be so hard for her to carry on.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Oil at $100 a barrel

It seems some people are predicting economic gloom and doom as oil has hit $100 a barrel.

There are lots of reasons to be economically gloomy, but I don't think the price of oil is one of them. It is true that not so long ago oil was $10 a barrel but that was very very low. $100 is also high, but economic growth has not stalled as prices have risen to that level so there is no reason to assume that it will slow now.

The only problem is that crossing the $100 mark will hurt confidence, which will slow spending creating a slow in growth where none would have happened, which is a bit odd as the price hike seems to have been created by speculators leaving the dollar and moving their money into oil and gold and a little bit of trouble in Nigeria.

The Times has this, whilst the FT has this.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a happy new year.

Alas, it does not look that happy a new year in either Pakistan or Kenya, but we can hope.