Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harriet Harman to be charged!

Harriet Harman is to be charged for various driving offences relating to her crashing into a park car whilst using a mobile phone and failing to leave any details.

Oh dear.

She ought to resign.... but probably will not.

The BBC has this.
Harriet Harman denies the charges... if she is convicted that will look very very bad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We shall remember them

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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Government to regulate irresponsible lending!

The news this morning, pre announced as usual is that the government is to regulate against irresponsible lending.

If ever there was a case of bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted, left the farm, and been sold off at market by someone else this is it because lenders are now being very very tight on their own lending anyway. What is more, adding regulation to the situation now may make things worse.

These regulations will not help the many thousands who have been irresponsibly lent to in the past and have either committed suicide or gone bankrupt as a result.

The curious thing is though, that this is a return to how things used to be. It used to be a principle of common law that lenders who lend to people who could not pay it back, and the lender ought to have known that they could not pay it back, lost their money, and quite possibly had to pay compensation as a result. I remember some cases making the news in the 1980's and early 1990's. I wonder which bunch friendly to the banks got rid of that, or if its lack of use is due to the fact that you can't get legal aid anymore.

The BBC has this.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Labour Spending cuts, Ed Balls speaks!

Having gone from the ridiculous position of "Labour investment verses Tory cuts" to admitting that Labour will have to cut spending Ed Balls announced that he thinks he can save £2 billion in education. (The BBC has this here)

He does have some good suggestions, like cutting 300 staff in Whitehall who issue curriculum advice. This will have more than he thinks as well, as the rubbish they write has to be read by teachers and consumes an enormous amount of time for very little gain.

However where he is wrong is thinking that one head master can run several schools. The rational is there, because secondary head teachers used to be fairly well paid and are now ridiculously well paid, but the problem is a school needs a figure head and that is its head master/mistress. Having one super head over several schools and then a series of deputies will make a lot of schools feel rudderless.

Still, on the plus side, at least Labour no longer see our pockets as bottomless pits of cash that they can raid.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interesting prison blog

One of the interesting things about blogs is less blogs like mine which discuss what is going on and more blogs like Night Jack*, and NHS blog doctor which give you an idea of what is actually going on at the coal face.

Well, here is Prisoner Ben's blog.

I have read all of it and found it quite enlightening.

Prisoner Ben murdered a friend at the age of 14, handed him self in to the police and pleaded guilty etc and got a tariff of 10 years. He has been inside for 30.

*We can of course thank the Times for ruining that one, the useless nasty MSM.

Gender change at 12? And now 9? Has the world gone mad?

Yesterday's Sun carried an article about a 12 year old boy who turned up o school dressed as a girl, and with a girls name.

Today the Sun has another story about a 9 year old in the same circumstances.

This is nuts.

If you read this website set up to help children and adolescents with gender identity issues you will note that very few of these cases are actually resolved by a gender change.

There is no doubt that these children are both confused and unhappy. Many "right on" people will think that it is great that they have parents and schools who are trying to be supportive. The problem is that these boys are just far far too young to understand the decisions that are being made. No one can make this sort of decision for them, and they are definitely far far too young to decide themselves.

When I said that the schools was trying to be supportive, I did not actually mean they were actually succeeding. They could not have announced it in a more cack handed way if they tried*. Meanwhile parents who are voicing concern on the Internet are being threatened by police. Its a bot of a shame there were none about to help out Fiona Pilkington and her family over 7 years of abuse, but then they were not a "right on" type of case.

Hat tip to Manwiddicombe for the link in the Sun.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Government spending cuts

It seems the debate has moved on from the very facile "Labour investment versus Tory cuts" to the merely somewhat facile nasty Tory cuts versus Labour's caring ones.

The reality is this:

Labour have been spending money like it was water over the last 12 years and have now run out. Thing is, its our money not theirs.

They seem to have measured success less by what they have achieved and more by what they have spent. We now have the best paid doctors in the OECD and spend more per head on education than most countries in Europe to less effect.

Now up pops Lord Mandelson who claims Labour must be wise spenders not big spenders. Well, up until now they have been both big and stupid spenders.

Take for example prison policy. One day a prisoner will be released. In fact pretty much every day prisoners are released. You will bump into them. Someone was running a course on comedy in prisons. The project was cancelled when Jack Straw got to hear about it. Now ask yourself this: Could you rather an ex con told you a really good joke or mugged you?

See what I mean.

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Germany invades Poland! The 70th anniversary.

70 years ago today Germany invaded Poland, which started the second world war, the most destructive in history. One fifth of Poland's population would be dead by the end of the war.

Of course, the events that led to this point were already in place, like the annexation of Austria and the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

There are memorial services in Poland today.

The BBC has this.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A long slow fragile recovery

So says Mervyn King the Governor of The Bank of England.


Well mostly because of the effects of massive public and private and corporate debt.

Well, government debt is getting larger by the minute and even if a government with some sense of fiscal control took over in the morning it would still be cataclysmically bad.

Labour now insist that they can't be responsible now because taking money out of the economy would lead to a worse recession.

The problem is that government spending is taking money out of the economy because money that the government has borrowed is not available for private industry or indeed consumers, to borrow.

Meanwhile whilst politicians are insisting that banks should lend more, including government ones, government is telling (via the FSA) banks to lend less to private individuals and to hold more government debt.

Labour tell an interesting lie about government debt. That is that is was lower when the recession started than when Labour took power in 1997. It is an interesting lie because it is absolutely true. We started the recession with government debt at 38% and in May 1997 it was 40% of GDP. It is a lie because it is used to hide a startling truth and that is that government debt going into the 1990/1991 recession was 20% of GDP, and paying for that recession added the extra 20%.

This is important, because that Labour lie covers up another big issue which is that Gordon Brown has been borrowing massive amounts of money whilst the economy has been growing, not saving up for what is now a very rainy day.

So much for prudence and no more boom and bust!

The BBC has this.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Iran show trials lambasted

It appears that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and his cronies think it is a good idea to put some protesters on trial for disputing the obviously rigged election.

The problem is that it will not stop the protests and if anything will harden opposition to him in the upper circles of power. The man is clearly having a laugh.

What is interesting is that despite putting some prominent people on trial, there is still prominent and open opposition to the result and indeed the trials.

This is not over, not by a long way. What is particularly daft is that it is possible that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad could have won fair and square but that does not matter any more as the result was so obviously rigged that even if a rerun were held no one would believe it if he did win fair and square.

The BBC has this.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Government Education cuts!

After all the waffle and lies from Labour about "Tory cuts" and calling David Cameron Mr 10% now at least we have some truth!

Labour is cutting the funding of university teaching by £65 million.

The BBC has this!

Still, certain course can recruit more students, particularly ones teaching technology, they just can't have any more money!

The truth about Bank interest rates.

Some people are having a go at the banks for the interest rates they charge, particularly as the Bank of England base rate is at 0.5%.

People claim that the banks are making a big profit by charging interest rates of 4.5% and above when the Bank of England rate is so low.

The problem is, as I have said before, that no one cares what the dreamers in the Bank of England set interest rates at, no one is lending at that rate, particularly to banks. They are not even close to that rate to the government. Banks are paying much higher rates for the money they buy in to lend so are charging more for it. It is as simple as that.

The fact that the Bank of England is in cloud cuckoo land will however cause real long term problems.

The BBC has this.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Harry Patch, Rest in Peace.

The last man still alive, to serve to serve in the trenches in World War 1 died today at the age of 111.

He did not start talking about his experiences until he was over 100.

He was the last surviving man to have served in the first world war.

May he rest in peace.

The BBC has this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Conservative Chloe Smith wins Norwich North with majority of 7,000!

Well done to all who campaigned there, this is a fantastic result!

Chloe Smith got 13,591 votes, and a majority over Labour's Chris Ostrowski of 7,348 who got6,243.

That is a swing of 16.6%!

(Source Wikipedia here)

The BBC has this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Henry Allingham, rest in peace.

Henry Allingham, the oldest surviving World War 1 veteran and last surviving founder member of the RAF died today at his care home. He was 113.

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

We will remember him.

The BBC has this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peter Harvey, the teacher who snapped

Peter Harvey was a popular and well respected science teacher at All Saints' Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, then one day he attacked 14 year old pupil **** ********** with a 2kg weight and injured two other pupils.

The incident happened because he was being taunted by the physics class he was teaching, with them singing man in the mirror changing some of the words to psycho.

He will appear before magistrates today charged with attempted murder.

Peter Harvey had just returned from sick leave having suffered a stress related stroke. Then someone thought it would be a bright idea to throw him back in the classroom on his own.

To me at least, this seems like lighting the blue touch and standing well back. If the stress of teaching was so bad it caused him a stroke he clearly was not coping before he was ill and so needed much more support which he did not appear to have. You do have to wonder if the duty of care the school owed to him and his pupils was properly discharged. Personally I suspect not.

The BBC has this.

Update 22:53

Having read some of the comments, I offer this from the Daily Mail.

I would point out that we have no reason to believe **** ********** deserved anything. According to the Daily Mail article, he may well have been a nice lad.

What appears to have happened is that a class got seriously out of control with a teacher who should have been better supported.

Update 14th May 2010, to reflect a section 39 order I have been made aware of.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A bonfire of the QuANGO's?

A QuANGO is a Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation.

In principle, in their place they are no bad thing. For example they can be independent of government, albeit only to an extent. Only to an extent of course because those who run a QuANGO are usually picked by the executive and only really gain Independence when it is obvious that is likely to change, particularly if the head of said QuANGO decides now is a good time to give the existing executive a bit of a kicking.

As an example, we have the Office for National Statistics. This obviously has to be arms length and independent of government in order for there to be trust in the numbers it produces. However it is only as independent as its head, and he or she is only as independent as his next reappointment.

The ONS has given the government a bit of a kicking over things like immigration, but I personally suspect that is because the stench of death over this government is so clear you can smell it in Australia.

However there is another reason for creating an arms length QuANGO, and that is political cover for uncomfortable decisions. The Learning and Skills Council has crashed and burned in terms of setting up new collages and funding expansion of places (even here in Mid Sussex) but taken the heat for the calamity without it burning politicians.

You see, it gives political cover.

The Conservative party currently propose an independent NHS board to stop the NHS being a political football.

This is of course a fantastic aim, and is a bit like motherhood and apple pie (as our American cousins would say). You can't argue against motherhood and apple pie!

Except of course you can. The NHS consumes huge amounts of taxpayers cash. Enormous amounts of it. It will be something like £102 billion either this year or next.

Personally, I want to fire someone if they get that spending wrong. It is after all, a remarkably large amount of my cash.

And this is the problem with QuANGO's in general. They are a way of dodging political responsibility, generating headlines and pretending something is being done, whether it is or isn't.

The BBC has this.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

State abduction of children and spam (Or unsolicited commercial email)

This may be two subjects where you can see absolutely no connection what so ever. Fair enough. There is though, and I will get to it.

I read in today's Sunday Telegraph, of the case of a man who because he had security concerns about his circumstances asked to pick up his daughter from inside the school gates. This led to social workers turning up, refusing to show ID, and then him getting arrested and for a while sectioned.

Read the article, I really suggest you do. You can also read this from Manwiddicombe from whom I have got the link.

Right. Read those?

Now cast your mind back to baby P, or rather baby Peter. I wrote at the time that knee jerk reactions were no good.

The problem seems to be this: That if children die at the hands of parents then social services need to be harsher or if children are taken into care unreasonably they need to be easier.

This is where the link to spam comes in. One of the things the company for which I work sell is an anti spam solution. I personally do a lot of work on it.

We can move the goal posts in terms of score at which emails are considered spam or not one way or the other, catching more or less spam as spam and generating more or less false positives as a result.

Surprisingly* this is frankly not good enough. The customer who does not want spam does not want to lose an important email because it now score high enough. What the customer actually wants is more discrimination between what is unsolicited commercial email and what is not, rather than some individual binning their email on an arbitrary rule change.

Our response has to be raising our game to write better spam busting rules. The question then is, why can't the state? The case of baby Peter is instructive. He had half a finger missing. All you need is a medic or social worker who can count to 10 and do fractions and they would have noticed something amis. No need for harsher rules, just better discrimination between those that need intervention and those that do not.

*Actually, it is not that surprising at all really.

Hitler got things done?

The Sunday Times have conducted an interview with Bernie Ecclestone in which he apparently laments weak leaders and says that Hitler got things done. He also says that Saddam Hussein should not have been overthrown because he was the only person who could hold the country together.

Oh dear.

Well it is true that Hitler got things done, one of which was to get Germany totally destroyed, and divided for 46 years.

He may well have made the trains run on time* but if it is a choice between punctual trains, and living in fear of a knock at the door in the middle of the night, frankly, I'll walk to work if that's all the same to Bernie.

The Saddam comment is also illustrative. He held Iraq together with nothing but fear. I would rather be free in a wreck of a country than live in constant fear in a "perfect" one.

*I have no idea if he did, but it is often said.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Remove the power of the Bank of England?

There is an interesting article in the Times, by Jamie Whyte suggesting that powers be removed from the bank of England rather than given to it.

Specifically the power to set interest rates.

As it happens I think that the Bank of England should supervise banks, and have the power to do so.

That said Jamie makes a very powerful case for removing the power of the Bank of England to set interest rates. The only comment I would make though, is that it has already lost them. Many banks are paying much more than 0.5% for savings and lending at much higher rates as well, and Libor is much higher than 0.5% as well. In fact what the bank currently does with interest rates is mostly irrelevant.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Are the BBC this technically illiterate?

Note the above picture in a question for GCSE technology on the BBC website. (Click to zoom in)

The part is correctly identified as an inverter although it could also be called a not gate. The text below says:
It's an inverter, which is an electrical device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).
Oh dear. It is not that sort of inverter. Did someone technically illiterate at the BBC google it, or did someone setting the syllabus do that and the BBC not notice? Either way it amazes me just how ignorant journalists are.

Update 22:15

The BBC have updated the question to just say this:
CORRECT! It's an inverter.
Oh dear. You thought they could have looked up what sort of inverter that is!

Reform of MP's falling at first hurdle?

It is no surprise to me that the reform of MP's conduct of MP's expenses and conduct is falling at the first hurdle, as the BBC reports here.

I have no doubt that Labour government figures will blame people, particularly Conservatives, for being against this ridiculous bill on the grounds that they must not want either reform or MP's to be honest.

The reality is of course starkly different. When apologists for this bunch of liars turn up on the airwaves to lie, I will call them liars, just like Ed Balls is a liar.

As I have already pointed out, MP's guilty of making false claims could (and should) already be prosecuted for fraud, or obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception and be imprisoned for 10 years so why let them off with a maximum of 1 year?

The bill also seeks to reduce the privilege given to parliament, whereby a nothing that a member of parliament says can be used against them in court. Members of parliament who understand these things are needless to say against.

Then the bill has to pass the house of lords, where they will take one look at this fetid pile of excrement and throw it out only for the government to huff and puff.

Ed Balls is a liar!

There is no charitable way to put this, Ed Balls has been on the airwaves lying like there is no tomorrow.

Sue me Ed, if you dare.

As Fraser Nelson notes here, and then after the angry phone call here, Ed Balls has claimed that Alistair Darling's 2009 budget laid down plans to reduce the public debt.

Ed Ball's lied thus:
Alistair Darling in the budget set out plans which show the deficit coming down, national debt coming down.
The problem is that he is using a measure of debt most people would not use, and measured on a basis no serious economist believes.

The statement is true if you think reducing borrowing growth to a level where the economy is growing faster is reducing national debt. Basically if you imagine a household budget, you are still increasing your overdraft every year till 2017, but you will get pay rises every year till then of 3.5% and in 2017, the accumulated debt will look like less in percentage terms against your wages.

The problem is that this is still increasing debt in net terms, and the supposed real terms decrease on which the lie is based is founded on the idea that economic growth will start right now, be sustained, (no double dip recession) and then go on the serial above trend growth over several years of 3.5%.

It all comes unstuck there for two reasons. First of all most people would still regard continued borrowing as increasing rather than decreasing debt, but secondly and most importantly it relies on amazing growth figures for years to come.

That is not going to happen because overall debt (government, household and corporate debt combined) is running at 400% of GDP whilst real interest rates are near 5% (not what the Bank of England base rate actually is, but what lenders are actually charging for new loans) which means that this lot could cost us 20% of GDP every year. Quite a lot of that money is going abroad to foreign lenders. It drains money from the economy.

Whilst it is possible that there may be a strong bounce back in growth after a recession as inventories are built up, it seems utter fantasy land that such a bounce would last several years with this much debt.

Hat tip to Manwiddicombe for the links to Fraser's article.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Less UK born people in work now than in 1997?

It is, it has to be said quite some claim. That is that there are less British born people in work in the private sector now than there were in 1997.

All those jobs that were created went to foreign born workers apparently.

Fraser Nelson of the Spectator has this preliminary article and this one with more detail.

The implications are of course staggering. I have always thought that the Brown boom was built on hideous amounts of debt and immigration. What is more of a concern is that worklessness amongst those born in the UK has stayed at around 5 million and is now set to climb. We simply have not addressed that issue for over 12 years.

Now we need to.

Local homes for local people?

Well, it is kind of what people expected from local housing policy, at least for the most part. That is, that housing provided out of local funding would be primarily for people who had a connection with the local area.

As an example, a house in say Mid Sussex would be prioritised for a family with a good local link, not a family from say, Arbroath. The reverse is also the case.

Of course, if a family in Arbroath want to swap with a family in Mid Sussex, then there are (and always have been) exchange schemes available.

So now this is what this government is proposing.

What is interesting is how they, and the ridiculous left wing media treated this issue 10 years ago when Conservative councillors in Hammersmith and Fulham were proposing exactly the same thing. Now of course Donal Blaney would like an apology. He will not get one though, as he is dealing with mendacity at its best.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Labour promises 100,000 new teachers?

I heard this on a BBC Radio 4 on Friday, but could find no written information on it, but today the Daily Telegraph steps in.

In its article it suggest that Labour and in particular, Gordon Brown will try and spend his way back to number 10.

So, what about 100,000 new teachers? What will they do? Well apparently they are a part of a child's right to learn. So if they are not getting on well enough in English or Maths they get one to one tuition.

What will 100,000 teachers cost?

Well, if they cost £20,000 each a year that's £2 billion. If, as is likely they cost £30,000 a year (take into account paying them, employers national insurance, desk space and admin fees and that is a conservative estimate) then that makes £3 billion a year.

Where is this money supposed to come from? £3 billion, in terms of the amounts that has been thrown away by New labour over the years may seem like small beer, but it is still £3 billion that would need to be borrowed or printed by the Bank of England.

However, I personally doubt the veracity of the claim or its ability to achieve anything useful. For a start it looks like they are going to claim it is a right, which means only switched on parents will claim it, and those will have more successful children, and so the cost will be less.

Then again the idea is not wrong in itself. Had it been carefully proposed a number of years ago you could make a great tax saving case for it, but only if it was not a right of the pupil, but the duty of the state. (How are we going to work that out?)

Prisons are full to bursting with the thick, mentally ill and unemployable. If you could treat the failed education system, then surely that would reduce the cost of the prison estate and hey presto the scheme would over time pay for itself. However as we are talking about New Labour education, A level history students appear not to know what a despotic tyranny is, so it is somewhat doubtful what 1,000,000 new teachers would be able to achieve.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meanwhile in other news..

Whilst it is sad that Michael Jackson has died, it has to be said that the way 24 hour news organisations cover this sort of thing is ridiculous.

If you were hoping to tune into something like BBC News 24 for catch up on such trivia as the death of Farrah Fawcett, continued demonstrations in Iran or the collapse of the UK economy, forget it.

The only news in town is the death of Michael Jackson.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead?

Rumours and reports are surfacing that Michael Jackson is died.

Confirmed reports indicate he was found not breathing, and was taken to hospital after having CPR administered.

This is very sad news. He may have been an oddball, but there is no doubt he was a great talent as well. has this and the Los Angeles Times has this.

The BBC has this.

Bank of England Governor slams government borrowing!

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervin King said today that the governments plans to reduce the governments deficit were not ambitious enough.

In other words, spend less or borrow more. Possibly both.

Considering that Labour's published plans, based on possibly optimistic growth forecasts are not fiscally tight enough. The problem is that the governments plans on spending are harsher than Thatchers as it is.

Meanwhile the OECD thinks we are going to have a deeper recession than they previously forecast and much worse than the governments own assumptions.

In short, there are grim times ahead.

The BBC has this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MP's to get an easy ride for fraud?

One of this Labour governments great ideas for "reform" is to introduce a series of criminal offences specific to members of parliament the most notable of which is to "knowingly make a false claim", which if found guilty. could lead to a sentence of 1 year in prison.

This is reminiscent of section 112 of the 1992 Administration of Social Security act (possibly as amended) which supposedly deals with benefit cheats. These offences are mostly dealt with in a magistrates court on the assumption that the accused is also the guilty regardless of the facts, after all it keeps the proles in line.

This is a case of making laws to grab headlines. Fraud has been a criminal offence for a very long time, as has obtaining pecuniary advantage by deceit. Those sort of offences command a far higher sentence but no more intent.

So what is going on?

Well, as I have discussed at length (particularly with CaptainFF) it is a case of New Labour grabbing headlines with new laws making what was already illegal more illegal but with knobs on, though in this case, with a considerably reduced maximum sentence.

Not only that there will be a committee of the great and the good appointed to oversee MP's expenses.

Hold on, I thought we already had that, we the voters! All we need is the information, without all that black ink.

I do not want some patsy telling me that everything is OK. I will look at the raw data and make my own mind up.

The BBC has this, Guido has this.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No prayers for Iran's Angel of Freedom?

Neda Agha Soltan was just someone in a crowd in Tehran, yet a sniper took her life. All this is now on Youtube.

She has become a symbol, and so the Iranian government dare not let her have a memorial service.

Are they that scared?

Apparently, yes they are.

Protests continue in Iran, and now even the Iranian government admit there were some "irregularities". Those include at least two districts with over 100% turnout (Impressive, but Saddam never managed that!) 4 at pver 90% and a level of switching between reform candidates and Ahmadinajad that is simply not plausable.
The Telegraph has this.

Good luck to Speaker Bercow.

So John Bercow has become speaker of the House of Commons. I wish him luck. It looks as if he s going to need it as both the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are attacking over his expenses already.

Still, he promises change. Lets see what he brings.

The BBC has this, Iain Dale has this. Apparently Quentin Letts is not impressed either.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vanessa George, Angela Allen, female paedophiles and denial

Something that irritates me is the way that people like Harriet Harman discuss issues like paedophilia and domestic violence as an issue of wicked evil men, for we men all are wicked and evil.

However as I have noted in the past domestic violence is a two way thing, carried out by women as well as men, though that is seldom talked about and seldom taken seriously.

Suddenly we have two cases of alleged female paedophiles, Vanessa George and Angela Allen, both aged 39. The police are investigating.

I would like to assure readers that unless there was clear and unequivocal photographic evidence, the police would not investigate. They simply don't because every one knows women don't do this kind of thing.

Except of course that they do. Paedophilia is an aberration, but it is one that affects men and women, just as domestic violence does.

Curiously before both cases cropped up there was an interesting magazine article on the BBC website about female paedophiles. To show how much in denial some women are I will quote one respondents comments.
Hang on, I think we need to put this into perspective here. Female sexual abusers are very rare. I'm not saying we should ignore their existence and deny the victims but lets not whip up a media frenzy and start fearing every old lady on the bus who hands out sweets to kids.
The problem here is this: Sally (for that is her name) seems to think female paedophiles are very rare, yet we have had two turn up in a matter of weeks. Perhaps they are very rare because people are not looking for them? Do we know if they are rarer than male paedophiles or not, and if so, by how much?

Iran: Another call for a general strike!

From the twitter feeds, it looks as if things are gearing up again.

Mir Hossein Mousavi has called for a general strike if he is arrested.

What is interesting is that there were demonstrations today, and the demonstrators are gearing up for more.

My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran: Another day of protests?

So the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decread that the elections were fair, that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won and protests must stop.

Well, today we find out if anyone is going to take any notice. It is clear that if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad busses in support he can muster quite a bit of it. On the other hand Mir Hossein Mousavi doesn't have to primarily because he has support in the big cities and his supporters are more motivated.

The Bassij are already about on the streets, but curiously there are not many reports of the Revolutionary Guard turning up. That said one of the defeated candidates was a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard, and Mousavi was and still is quite well connected.

The odd thing though is that the twitter feeds seemed to have slowed down or dried up. We know that the regime in Iran is trying to arrest as many people as possible including bloggers. Perhaps they are getting to them or they have gone to ground a bit to avoid being captured.

My thoughts and prayers are with the protesters.

The BBC has this

Friday, June 19, 2009

Police to investigate MP's!

I have to say that I was surprised that the police previously issued a statement saying that they would not investigate MP's expenses. As I wrote here there is clear evidence to suggest a very reasonable suspicion of fraud in some cases and they obviously should be investigated.

Well,now eventually, and far far far too late the police have decided to investigate, having given people the opportunity to get their stories and paperwork straight.

The BBC has this.

Expenses blackout!

I had a look at a few MP's expenses earlier, and frankly they were so "redacted" that you could not tell what was going on.

Obviously Ben Brogan now of the Telegraph points out that we would not have known about non existent mortgages and dry rot in Southampton from these publications.

You do have to ask why they were published in this way.

Sir Stuart Bell a senior Labour backbencher on the committee responsible said it was nothing to do with him or his colleagues and put it down to "officialdom".

Umm... Strange.

Who to believe.

The BBC has this.

(I may even get a free lunch!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran:Why rig the election?

Protest over the rigged election continue in Iran. No surprise there, the rigging appears to have been obvious, inept and ridiculous.

However you do have to ask why it was rigged.

The thing is that the election was pre rigged. Only those candidates acceptable to the Guardian Council could stand. Mir Hussein Mousavi, as ManWiddicombe points out is no bleeding heart liberal human rights activist.

So if you have fixed the election by hand picking all the candidates, why not stop there?

Besides which, it is entirely possible that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have won the election in a fair election.

Instead of which what they have got is a potential revolution and a weakened state.

The BBC has this.

Banking regulation

I was quite interested in the reports of the Mansion house speeches by Mervin King, the Governor of the Bank of England, and Alistair Darling the alleged Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The bottom line appears to be this:

Alistair says that his predecessor is not the bringer of doom, and there is nothing wrong with the current regime, though obviously the Bank of England has to take responsibility to make the system stable.

Mervin says that's all well and good, but if you want us to make the system stable, is there any chance we could have the powers back that the bringer of doom took away from us when he created the ridiculous tri partite system back in 1997.

Needless to say Alistair is in a difficult position, because his boss is Gordon Brown, the bringer of doom.

The BBC has this as a report and this from Robert Peston.

Another one bites the dust: Kitty Usher resigns

You do have to ask how careless a government can get but it appears they have lost another minister over expenses.

The BBC has this.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Protests continue in Iran

Protests are continuing in Iran over the stolen election.

Perhaps that is not news. However what might be news is that Admiral Shamkhani was going to be arrested but wasn't because Iranian Marines told the police where to go.

This comes from this twitter feed from Iranian Student.

I did hear that the admiral had been arrested on other twitter feeds earlier in the day.

What is clear is that nothing is clear! It seems the "ruling class" are split on what is going on. The brighter want to continue the Islamic revolution and recognise it needs to move forward, the perpetually thick think they can hang on to Ahmadinejad.

The BBC have this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mousavi rejects recount promise

According to sources in Iran, Mir Hossein Mousavi has rejected the offer of a recount. Good call. The ballot boxes will have been well and truly stuffed by now.

Iran is in turmoil right now, demonstrators have been killed and the government is doing what it can to crack down on protests against the rigged election.

There are also rumours that Mir Hossein Mousavi has called off a demonstration today because of fears of staged violence.

See my previous post for twitter news.

The BBC has this.

Updates on Iran

You can get updates on Iran in various places.

Some twitter feeds are:

Here, here, here and here.

There is also a useful blog here.

You can be part of a denial of service attack on pro Ahmadinejad websites by viewing this blog though it will CPU hog until you click stop.

Twitter delays downtime to help in Iran

Twitter did have some downtime scheduled to happen around 9.45 AM Tehran time this morning. This was because their service provider needed to do some maintenance.

Thankfully they have had a rethink and recognised the importance of twitter in the Iranian election protests and have rescheduled the outage to occur in the night in Tehran.

Well done Twitter and well done NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services.

More here.

Hezbollah seen on the streets of Tehran?

Some twitter reports say that some of the security forces they are coming up against are Arabic speaking, presumed Lebanese and Hezbollah.

If true this is disturbing. It shows how desperate Ahmadinejad is getting for a start and desperate men do very bad things.

It is also quite startling. I had Sheik Hassan Nasrallah down as a clever politician who would therefore steer away from taking sides in such an issue. You can say what ever you like that is bad about him, but he knows how to play a power game, even if he does not always win. This strikes me as a lose lose, which makes Nasrallah a desperate man or a fool.

Looking on the bright side, if the protesters in Iran succeed, and Hezbollah are involved with Ahmadinejad then they will be badly damaged.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran Update: Iranian students launch massive DOS attack on pro Ahmadinejad websites!

They have set up a blog here:

If you go to this link it will "crash" your browser until you hit stop as it contantly reloads the same pro Ahmadinejad websites. This is quite a clever way of organising a massive denial of service attack without stealing peoples bandwidth.

Go on, you know it makes sense, if you are off for a cuppa, open the link in another page and get a cuppa for a while!

Iran update: General Strike called for tomorrow!

Delving around on Twitter it seems that Moussavi has called a general strike called for tomorrow.

See here.

Iran is revolting!

And no, that is not a comment on Iran's people or indeed the country but the fact that so many people are in open revolt in the streets of Tehran and according to some reports other cities as well.

Estimates of the crowds in Tehran vary from the hundreds of thousands to 2 million. Reporters say that they have not seen anything like this since the revolution in 1979.

Protesters have, according to Channel 4 news have attacked a base of Bassij (militia) loyal to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, burning it down despite being shot at. Casualties have been reported.

The BBC has this, Channel 4 has this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Swine flu death outside of the Americas is in Scotland

It is very sad to hear, but someone in Scotland has died of swine flu.

That said they did have "underlying health problems" apparently. We now nothing else about them.

Swine flu seems to be very easy to pass from person to person so almost impossible to contain but at this seems to be fairly mild killing relatively few. This will remain the case provided that it does not get mixed with more bird flu.

The BBC has this.

Andy Murray wins at the Queens club!

This is the first time since 1938 that a Britain has won the title and the first time a Scot has.

It bodes well for Wimbledon though obviously winning that is a massive task.

Well done Andy Murray!

The BBC has this.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is Iran about to have another revolution?

Iran held its presidential elections yesterday. They seemed to go well and people seemed to think things were a bit tight, and there would have to be a run off.

Now today we here that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has won a resounding victory.

I can't comment on whether he did or not, but what is now happening is there are many accusations of voting irregularities. A large number of Mir Hossein Mousavi supporters are young and feel stifled. In fact Iran is full of young people as it has been having a bit of a baby boom. If they get on the streets and protest about the result in large numbers then it will be interesting to see what happens.

The BBC has this.

The Prince, the Architect and Chelsea Barracks

It is fascinating to hear the uproar in the world of architects because one Prince (the Prince of Wales) wrote to another about a building project and and got it canned.

The problem for the architects is that for the most part, it is they who are out of touch not the Prince.

There are many interesting new buildings about, some which fit well with their older neighbours and some which don't. However in an area of London like Chelsea barracks you want something to fit it. What Lord Rogers was proposing certainly did not fit that bill.

So well done to Prince Charles.

The BBC has this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Labour lies on Labour cuts

It is fascinating to watch Labour lying its head off on the spending cuts it is planning and has listed in the budget.

The thing is that the only time since the war that there was an actual spending cut in cash terms was under Labour in 1947.

I have already written about how Labour cuts will be worse that those under Margaret Thatcher.

Now Andrew Lansley has said that the Conservatives are committed to protecting spending on the NHS, schools and international development and that will mean cuts elsewhere of something like 10%.

Labour have been running around shouting "Tory cuts". The only problem is that journalists are questioning Labour over Labour cuts. That is making it harder for Labour to get away with its lying.

The BBC has this.

Gordon Brown proposes electoral reform!

To be fair it was in Labour's manifesto in 1997 (because Labour thought they could only just squeak in, and may even need the Liberal Democrats) and their 2001 manifesto (Well there was foot and mouth, the fuel protests and maybe they had forgotten to take it out).

But now we here that Gordon Brown, who could have forced it a long time ago is all in favour! And no, he has not looked at the polls!

Well it is such a transparent effort to rig the voting system it will never fly in the court of public opinion. Even Labour supporting unions are scratching their heads.

There is not enough time to get something through in this parliament. If there is a referendum on it (or even the possibility), then up will pop the Lisbon treaty referendum question.

This will achieve nothing for Brown other than make it look like he is trying to fix an election. That will drive Labour even lower in the polls.

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Gordon Brown to survive until June 3rd 2010

Well, actually, given that the general election count may be the following day Gordon Brown may still be PM on June the 4th 2010.

That is when he will call an election, waiting for something like the Falklands war to turn up.

There are still some who laughably think Labour will topple Gordon Brown. They won't.

Firstly if they want to mount an official challenge then they have to get 72 MP's to agree on one candidate who also agrees to be nominated. That will be like herding cats, no matter how much damaging infighting goes on.

Secondly there is no way any number of resignations will get the message through. It just will not happen. He can appoint as many Lords and Ladies as he likes to fill in for the fact that there are few with talent on the Labour commons benches prepared to serve.

The only possible way that they may get a big enough hint across is to vote against Labour in the no confidence vote the SNP and Plaid Cymru have tabled, with the caveat that if they actually win Labour losses the general election a month or two later, so they need to vote against but make it close, and in doing so sacrifice their chances of staying on as MP's. No that is not going to happen either.

In short, Labour are headed for a meltdown, and no one or two quarters of growth before a general election even if that does happen will not save them because unemployment will still be growing.

All good stuff.

Monday, June 08, 2009

March 14th movement beats Hezbollah coalition in Lebanese elections

Well, I am pleased that the group with Hezbollah lost, but I would not have commented on that before the election unlike the United States which seemed to want to interfere.

I can understand that the US would not treat the Lebanon quite the same way if Hezbollah won, I doubt many would, but to say so is troubling for democracy.

The BBC has this.

The Conservatives lead Labour in every area of England and Wales!

I just want to say that I am very pleased that the Conservative party has topped the vote in all areas of England and Wales!

Scotland is yet to come.

Fantastic result for us!

BNP wins in the North West, Nick Griffin wins

However, the other big story is that the Conservatives lead in all areas of England and Wales.

Labour in 5th in the South East!

And now Danial Hannan is making that point!

Conservatives batter Liberal Democrat's into 3rd in the South West!

Fantastic result for the Conservatives in the South West!

And now the South East result!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Conservatives beat Labour in Wales!

The Conservatives beat Labour in Wales and the Liberal Democrats lose their seat! Fantastic.

Wales a Liberal Democrat free zone! :)

BNP gain seat in Yorkshire and Humber from Labour

Well, that is Labour for you. What is interesting is that the Conservatives got almost 3 times the vote but only twice the seats.

Are the BNP about to gain an MEP in the Euro elections?

The BBC are reporting that the BNP may be about to gain a seat in the EURO elections as indeed is politicalbetting.

This is not great but it is democracy. That said it is what I expect at the tail end of a Labour government, along with massive public debt, and racist strikes.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D Day, Operation Overlord beach landings begin

156 thousand allied troops land on Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches in Normandy.

A long bloody day is ahead of them. By the end of the day 10,000 will be killed or wounded.

We will remember them.

Pegasus Bridge captured!

In 10 minutes, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry have captured Pegasus bridge with only 2 fatalities, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance-Corporal Fred Greenhalgh

Today is the 65th aniversary of the longest day.

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry land at Pegasus Bridge

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry land at Pegasus Bridge, as part of an operation by the 5th parachute bigade to take bridges over the Caen canal and the Orne river.

Friday, June 05, 2009

On Conservative vote share

There is much cobblers being talked about the Conservative vote share in these elections.

We had, according to media expectations, to gain 220 seats. We gained 217 and 7 councils.

Now, lets make this clear. Local government is currently run mostly by Conservatives who started the night with a historically high number of councillors.

If Labour wanted to lose by a cataclysmic landslide (in terms of changes of seats not majority, as in lose 170 seats) as John Major did in 1997, then they would have had to have gained seats this time around, instead of which they have lost even more.

It was in a great night for the Conservative party, and we met the expectations placed upon us. Well done to all the hard working activists out there.

Caroline Flint and Tony McNulty resign!

And Caroline Flint criticised Gordon Brown for treating her like female window dressing!


Labour are clearly melting down here.

The BBC has this.

Trouble at the ballot!

I have heard a rumour that in one polling station the presiding officer had a bit of trouble with a full ballot box.

He broke the seal, and put some of the ballots in another box and then sealed both.

He could have reported the problem to the returning officer, who would have considered the options, and then have called party agents to see what they would be happy with, and had the above action observed by a number of opposing and independent people. Instead of which he just went ahead and did it.

Oh dear.

Conservatives gain Lincolnshire?

Well, so far, Lincolnshire County Council reports 13 Conservative gains with 11 Labour and one Independent and Liberal Democrat loss each.

More here.

How the voting went in Mid Sussex

Well,I don't think I could be more non committal. Our safe seats are safe. In fact the Liberal democrats did not even bother.

The situation is more complex in for Brian Hall, (Liberal Democrat) as he has had some issues over his allowances and lack of turning up for meetings. His division was very marginal, and we ought to win it and may well have done.

However we have an issue of a potentially collapsing Labour vote.

The reception on the doorstep has been mostly good and friendly. We have run across the occasional hostile voter, and under the circumstances that is what you would expect.

The underlying feeling I have though is that turnout is OK to good, but we may have a bit of churn in who is actually voting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How will the voting go today?

Well, first of all, I will be out and about. I will be telling in my area, specifically the Dolphin leisure (now called the Olympus leisure Center) center between 2 PM and 3 PM, after which I will be "knocking up" and such other duties as required until the polls close at 10 PM.

So how will it go? Political betting covers a poll by Yougov in today's Telegraph which has headline certainty to vote figures at Conservative 26% Labour 16% Liberal Democrats 15% UKIP 18% Green 10% BNP 5%, but if you include the less certain the Conservative vote jumps to 37% and Labour to 21%.

Curious. It is all about getting out the vote.

Curiouser still is this by Iain Dale, which suggests that 15% more myspace users are going to vote today because of the expenses scandal.

I don't have myspace users down as great voters, so that is interesting, and good that they are engaging. The only question is will they break the same way as the extra figures in the Yougov poll show.

We live in interesting times. Reports of the telling experience will be posted.

How to get rid of Gordon Brown now!

if you want to get rid of Gordon Brown, you could sign the Number 10 petition, which currently has 64,901 signatures. (I wrote about it here and here)

The only other way is to vote Conservative and show that the Labour party has lost so much ground. The differential in the vote will show those in Labour that they must develop the spine to get rid of him. Voting for a minor party will only show that all main parties have been hit and so Labour are safe. Giving Labour a battering compared to the Conservatives will drive the message home.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hazel Blears resigns from cabinet!

Hazel Blears resigned from the cabinet today, a couple of hours before Gordon Brown faces the House of Commons at Prime ministers questions.

After yesterday's resignations which led to headlines like this, things seem to have got worse for Labour. This looks like a co-ordinated attack on Brown.

The BBC has this, and politicalbetting has this.

Did accountants crash Air France flight 447?

There is much speculation about why Air France flight 447 crashed. Being near an international airport (Gatwick) you do meet and chat to a number of people experienced in flying and crewing international flights.

I have had a number of conversations which go like this:

We used to fly around these sorts of storms, which is easier now because of whether radar, but now because of the cost of delays crews are ordered to fly through them.

Make of that what you will.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jacqui Smith to stand down as Home Secretary!

Apparently there are strong rumours that Jacqui Smith is to stand down as Home Secretary!

This is amazing news, if not that surprising. Downing Street dismissed the rumours as speculation, whilst not denying it.

Also Whitehall sources are confirming this.

Apparently she is standing down to spend more time in her constituency of Redditch as it is a bit of a marginal. I think she is nuts if that is the case as she has lost her seat anyway.

Ed Balls to be Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Speculation is rife in the press that Alistair Darling is history as Chancellor, over expenses, rather than failing to turn Gordon Brown's disastrous years as Chancellor into some kind of mild failure or even success.

Darling is to be replaced by Balls apparently!

Gordon Brown as Prime minister and Ed Balls as chancellor is a dream team. Well it is for the Conservative party. We have a PM who smiles whilst talking about Susan Boyle being treated at the Priory, and Ed Balls who makes Gordon Brown shine as a communicator.

What is better though is that will seal the deal. No one in Labour (who counts) will move against either because frankly they have not got the balls. (After all, Yvette, Ed's wife has him). So the dastardly duo can carry on to the election in June 2010. (There is no actual mechanism to get rid of a sitting Labour PM in a shorter time frame).

Of course they are also Labour's dream team, but that is a nightmare.

US President to get our Queen to D Day celebrations?

I do not intend and unkind tone towards our American friends, or their President, Barack Obama. In fact well done the Americans for trying to do the right thing. The shame is that they have to.

However, why was there any question of us as a country not remembering D Day? Which historically ignorant tit decided we would not turn up?

Gordon Brown.

Then he decided after pressure he could go.

This is seriously dangerous as everything he touches goes horribly wrong. Besides which our Queen served during the war and was the only head of state alive at the time.

How can Labour be just so out of touch? Then they seem to want to blame it on the Palace.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Susan Boyle sectioned?

That is what they said on Radio 4's Today program this morning.

Fortunately it is not quite true, Susan Boyle has voluntarily gone to the priory suffering from exhaustion albeit escorted by police.

She has had a very tough 7 weeks, catapulted from zero to superstar in the blink of an eye. Who would not be exhausted after that.

I wish her well for a speedy recovery. With a bit of luck the tabloid press will lay off her, though I doubt it.

The BBC has this.

MP's expenses and Constitutional reform

It appears that the primary solution of Labour and the Liberal democrats, and to a lesser extent my own party to the expenses scandal is to offer some form of constitutional reform.

Your right, I don't get it either. As one letter writer* to Radio 4's PM put it, its a bit like scrapping the Route master bus because someone has been caught fair dodging. There is no obvious causal connection.

It has even gone as far as suggesting House of Lords reform and a reform of the first past the post voting system. No one seems to suggest more honest MP's.

The thing is though, that the transparency brought by publishing MP's expenses pre redaction has in the main solved the problem. No one will again apply for a mortgage that does not exist or an island for ducks. If they do, they will be unseated.

Most of the public think constitutional reform is a load of old cobblers as well, apart from possibly the ability to recall an MP.

Personally I think that the fact that this is even being considered shows how parliament has abrogated its responsibility to manage itself, because it could have thrown out people like Derek Conway. The reason why it did not was because members of parliament felt they and he were underpaid, and perhaps his offence was being caught. That is a disgrace, and also why we need a general election so we can get a house full of people who understand that MP's are actually very well paid. Then perhaps they will be prepared to sack those who break their own rules.

*It may have been an email or voice message.

NHS targets killing people

There is an interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph, about ambulances being kept waiting as various accident and emergency departments keep their doors closed to meet targets.

According to ambulance chiefs this is putting patients at risk.

In part this is blamed on the change to GP's contracts in 2005 allowing them to stop providing out of hours services which has meant a 30% increase in 999 calls.

The other things that does not help is the massive reduction in NHS beds since 1997. Yes you read that right. By 2001 Labour had slashed 10,000 beds. Since 2005 according to the article, it has slashed another 20,000.

Just how does Labour manage to spend such a vast amount on the NHS whilst cutting it so brutally? And why does anyone take them seriously when they accuse the Conservative party of wanting cuts?

Just to illustrate my point, I will mention a friend of mine, who went into hospital (not the Princess Royal) with a heart complaint. He spent 3 very difficult days there, but he remembers a heated conversation in the middle of the night. Accident and Emergency had called demanding that the head nurse in charge of the ward discharge someone so they could send another patient up. In the middle of the night. In a ward full of very sick people with heart problems.

New Labour will come knocking in the night, even if you are seriously ill, just to get a headline.

How sick is Labour.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Diversity wins Britain's got talent!

With Susan Boyle second and Julian Smith 3rd!

You could see what a strain it was on Susan Boyle, and I can also say that is not the last we will have heard of many of the acts in tonight's final.

I though Susan was a fantastic singer, and Diversity a fantastic dance troop. Spectacular!

Britain's got Talent!

Just watching Britain's got talent, and all I can say is that it has.

There are so many good acts, including Susan Boyle, Diversity, Julian Smith, Hollie Steel, Shaun Smith. The rest were pretty good as well.

Well done.

Geoff Hoon has paid all the tax he is liable for!

Geoff Hoon has made yet another statement (that I heard on Newsnight) that he has paid all the tax he is liable to pay.

As far as I know this is correct.

I would just point out that the same was true of Hazel Blears, who has now paid over £13,000 more than she was liable for, and according to Gordon Brown, her behaviour was unacceptable.

So what of Geoff Hoon? Is his behaviour acceptable?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Julie Kirkbride to stand down!

Julie Kirkbride is to stand down as an MP at the next election.

She was a good MP, but alas her position became untenable. It seems the expenses scandal is taking out both good and bad MP's. That said it is never good to over claim expenses and abuse the system. Blaming the system is no excuse either.

Apparently so is Margret Moran, the MP for Luton South.

The BBC has this.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Andrew MacKay to stand down

Andrew MacKay is to stand down.This is a shame as apparently he was a good MP.

On the other hand he had to go. There was simply no other way.

It is interesting though that the only party to actually get MP's to stand down so far is the Conservative party.

The BBC has this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Speaker Michael Martin to stand down!

According to the BBC the Speaker of the House of commons Michael Martin is to stand down probably this summer.


Also Douglass Hogg is to stand down as a Conservative MP at the next election as well. We do need a clear out of those so arrogant they think they are worth so much more than their basic pay of £63,000 which is 2.5 times mean average earnings and 4 times the modal average earnings.

The BBC has this.

Update 15:26

The Speaker, Michael Martin has said he will stand down as speaker on the 21st of June 2009, with a new speaker to be elected the following day. It is unclear when and of he will stand down as an MP though convention has it that he will stand down soon after causing a by election.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gordon Brown Acts on Elliot Morley's Mortgage

Or at least the Labour party have.

He has been suspended pending an investigation.

Well done.

The BBC has this.

Elliot Morley claimed £16,000 for mortgage that did not exist

That is the headline story in the Daily Telegraph today.

It is a staggering story.

Labour MP and former minister Elliot Morley claimed for a mortgage he (and us) had paid off!

I mean, you get a letter from your lender saying the mortgage is done and dusted. They ask you what you want to do with the deeds. How did he miss that?

He discovered his apparently last week going through his receipts..

From the story it appears he stopped claiming it after the fees office insisted on seeing the mortgage paperwork. On top of that he claimed his main home was a house in London on which he charged another MP rent.

This looks like a prima facie case of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deceit which is an offence under the 1968 theft act.

The BBC also has this, though initially forgot to mention he is a Labour MP, and claims he is paying his mortgage expense error. Just how biased can the BBC get?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Scientific Research center opens in Barnsley!

I bring you news, via Man Widdicombe, that a new research center into smoking, its affects and how often people smoke has opened in Barnsley.

Rather usefully this facility is co located in the Cutting Edge public house run by Kerry Fenton. So whilst you are assisting with research you can have a pint, and a cigarette obviously.

Man Widdicombe has the details, but basically the The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 part 2 paragraph 9 provides as follows:

9.—(1) A designated room in a research or testing facility is not smoke-free whilst it is being used for any research or tests specified in paragraph (2).

(2) The research or tests that are specified are those that relate to—

(a) emissions from tobacco and other products used for smoking;

(b) development of products for smoking with lower fire hazards;

(c) the fire safety testing of materials involving products for smoking;

(d) development of smoking or pharmaceutical products that could result in the manufacture of less dangerous products for smoking; or

(e) smoking cessation programmes.

(3) In this regulation a “designated room” means a room which—

(a) has been designated in writing by the person in charge of the research or testing facility in which the room is situated as being a room in which smoking is permitted for research or tests specified in paragraph (2) and is a room for the use only of the persons who are required to supervise or participate in the research or tests;

(b) has a ceiling and, except for doors and windows, is completely enclosed on all sides by solid, floor-to-ceiling walls;

(c) does not have a ventilation system that ventilates into any other part of the premises or other premises (except any other designated rooms);

(d) does not have any door that opens onto smoke-free premises which is not mechanically closed immediately after use; and

(e) is clearly marked as a room in which smoking is permitted.

Now, I can see some trouble with this, but it is still good that someone is trying to get around this silly ban.

The Yorkshire post has this, The Sun has this and the Daily Mail has this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cameron takes decisive action on expenses

It has to be said that I have had my head buried in my hands over expenses. At least David Cameron has decisive action on the expenses issue by demanding that several shadow cabinet members pay money back whilst instituting a review of Conservative MP's expenses with the promise that those who have claimed excessively will have to pay it back or have the whip withdrawn. This will mean that they can't stand as Conservative MP's at the next election.

Contrast that With Gordon Brown, who promises to have a review of all MP's expenses and possible claw backs which is not his to promise as that is a matter for the commons! David Cameron can do what he has promised because his party rules allow him to discipline his MP's.

Any way, more on expenses later. The BBC has this.

Tory Expenses

No excuses, no defence.

Where they are wrong they are wrong.

The second home allowance is to pay for what is necessary for conducting parliamentary business.

You do not require a tennis court either in London or your constituency to do that, nor a moat or any other aggrandisement's.

You just need a home. Mind you, you definitely do not need one in Southampton, if you are the MP for Luton South, even if you claim your partner lives their, as records show he "lives" in Luton.

Politicians need to get in touch.

Raising their pay is no answer either. I would be happy to raise MP's pay, but alas looking at the legislation that has come out of the house of Commons in the last 12 years, there is no justification for that.

The Telegraph has this

Still, looking on the bright side, the Liberal Democrats are apparently next!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Speaker Martin shoots the messengers!

I am absolutely astounded at the way the Speaker of the cesspit Michael Martin has sought to have a go at MP's who have been expressing concern at the orgy of ramping expenses.

This is utterly bizarre. Members of the Houses of Parliament are there to represent the people, and I can tell you they (the people) are very angry about MP's expenses. That the Speaker, Michael Martin should seek to criticize the critics and stick his fingers in his ears singing "la la la, I can't hear you" shows just how out of touch he is.

Parliament can't be reformed while he is still speaker.

The BBC has this.

James Gray should not have the whip withdrawn!

Iain Dale suggests here that James Gray, a well known complete and utter **** should have the whip withdrawn for trying to claim back the costs of remembrance day wreaths. (See the News of the World here).

I say Iain is wrong. He should not have the whip withdrawn, but applied on a regular basis until he has lost all of the skin from his miserable back.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Petition to get rid of Gordon Brown: An Update

You may remember that I posted about the petition to get rid of Gordon Brown here, well here is an update.

The petition asking Gordon Brown to resign, which is here, has so far had 56, 278 signatures.

I must admit I am a bit disappointed as I would have hoped it would have more. Still, it is the most popular petition up on Number 10's petition website!

Hazel Blears: Expense system is wrong!

Apparently Hazel Blears thinks the expense system is wrong.

Well it is the one parliament voted for.

We have Hazel Blears claiming a second home is a second home to get hold of taxpayers money, whilst calling it a primary residence when it is time to pay the tax.

We have Jack Straw claiming his full council tax on a second home which he was claiming council tax relief on. Were he an ordinary voter he would be charged, and in all likely hood convicted.

There is nothing wrong with the expenses system other than it assumes members of parliament are honourable.

Clearly some are and clearly some are not.

The only reform the system needs is that the expenses are published in full with address details. Any other reform is likely to be at the expense of the sort of transparency we need to ensure that MP's are behaving honourably.

The BBC has this and this.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Heather Brook is a hero!

As indeed many bloggers say, for example politicalbetting has this, Guido has this.

Well done Heather, and thank you very much.

I don't actually think the system of MP's expenses needs reform at all, as long as all the claims are published. It is not the rules that will make them clean but the light shone upon them.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Gordon Brown's cleaner and other expenses.

It appears that one mystery over data gone missing has been solved! Hooray!

At least we know where that disk with all MP's expenses claims has ended up. It is with the Daily Telegraph, unlike rather a lot of our personal data which the government and others have lost, to whom we do not know.

I would like to concentrate on Gordon Brown's cleaner, shared with his brother, who is of course a lowly paid senior executive of the French government owned (mostly) company EDF. This arrangement occurred apparently between 2004 and 2006, when it must be said that Gordon Brown's living arrangements were unclear. He obviously felt he should be living in Number 10 downing street (well actually he was, Tony bagged the bigger apartment at Number 11 as he had a bigger family), rather than number 11.

Hold on, this is some kind of joke isn't it? Gordon Brown has had a grace an favour house since 1997. He still has one.

How many jobs come with a tied cottage and the ability to claim half your brothers cleaning expenses? What is more, as Gordon Brown's brother Andrew Brown is a senior executive how come he isn't paying his own bills?

The BBC has this.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Party Political Broadcast by the Conservative Party

Impressive stuff. John Major won the 1992 general election by getting out and talking to real people on his soap box and arguably limited the defeat in 1997 the same way, and it appears that David Cameron will be doing the same.

As you will note from the broadcast, it is always easy to promise the impossible, like ending boom and bust, but people respond better to honesty.

Michael Savage and the banned list

Apparently Jacqui Smith, the alleged Home Secretary has published a list of people who are banned from coming to this country, including Michael Savage, the American "shock jock".

It has to be said that under the provisions of the 1971 Immigration act as originally passed into law does allow the Home Secretary to ban people from this country (though it makes no comment on one so hopeless as Jacqui Smith) on the basis that the Home Secretary feels their presence is not conducive to the public good.

So all's well then?


Firstly its a publicity stunt by the government because it can't get hold of the news agenda, though to be fair it has backfired in spectacular fashion.

Secondly, we have never before felt the need to ban people from coming here who do not appear to have any current plans to come here.

Thirdly, this is not exactly an exhaustive list is it? It does not include, by way of glaring example, Osama Bin Laden, nor Sheik Hassan Nassralla. Nor indeed Avigdor Lieberman.

In short, it is a pointless publicity stunt by the person who wishes she could be Home Secretary, but alas is not now, nor ever was up to the job, Jacqui Smith.

The BBC has this and this on Michael Savage suing.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Former MI6 deputy chief says we were dragged into Iraq war!

There is an interesting article on the Telegraph website here that reports a speech by Nigel Inkster.

It really does suggest that we only went to war because the evidence was manipulated.

Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson and Gordon Brown's leadership

I have to say it is fascinating watching the machinations of a party on self destruct, with a leader as Stalinesque as Gordon Brown.

On Sunday the Sunday Telegraph published a story claiming Harriet Harman would contest the Labour leadership, if it became available, as it were. The theme being a stop Alan Johnson candidate, but without suggesting that Alan Johnson wanted to be a candidate.

This led to a fairly unequivocal like ruling out of leadership ambitions by Harriet Harman on Monday morning.

This is followed in today's Telegraph that the way is now clear for Alan Johnson, whose leadership ambitions appear to be not unequivocal enough.

Bearing in mind Guido's suspicions that the Telegraph is morphing into the Labourgraph, taking copy from Number 10's spin machine, you do have to wonder who is feeding the Telegraph the briefings, and why.

Are they Brown insiders looking to get a clearly unequivocal ruling out by Alan Johnson so that he could not stand for the leadership? Or is it Ed Balls using the same machine to clear his way.

The only thing you can be certain of is that nothing is what it seems.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu: Its time to panic: Official!

Those of you who took note of my last post on the subject, and decided not to panic, well, well done!

However the World Health Organisation has now officially decreed that it is time to panic, raising the level of threat to level 5.

It is difficult to know exactly what to make of this. We in this country do have large stocks of anti virals, which in this case seem effective. That said our stockpile is worth £500 million, which means we are paying in capital costs alone between £12.5 to £25 million to keep it. Right now this looks like good value.

Apparently models have been made which indicate that a complete cut in travel will not stop the spread of the flu (well, unless we go into a real deep lock down) only delay its spread. After all we did get the Black Death.

So what do we need to do?

Firstly don't panic. Secondly follow some very basic old fashioned public health advice. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. It would also help if you did not panic buy things. That said I may give advice on what to make sure you have stocks of after this panic is over.

The other thing to do is to not go to work if you have the flu, and make sure no one you work with does the same.

The BBC has this.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cutting Public Spending by £90 billion!

If UK PLC popped along to see its bank manager, around about now, and asked to extend its overdraft by £606 billion over 5 years plus no date for the start of repayments he would say No! In fact, were it not for the bank of England printing money to buy gilts back, there is quite a high likelihood of a gilt strike. That is where the normal gilt buyers refuse to buy, leaving the government high and dry.

The bank manager would be looking for cuts in expenditure of at least £50 billion. The problem is that would be drastic. With that in mind I read the following email from A Ferrand Stobart & Associates:

Could someone please recognise that to economise in any service, public or private,one does not cut the service, one cuts out the current waste in providing that service which often actually improves the service

£15bn of economies are proposed in the Budget in the Public Services, about 2% of total expenditure, Reform says £30bn is possible 4%,. The Taxpayers Alliance has quoted £80bn, 10.5%, In 20 years of work in the field of operational improvements leading to cost reductions I have never found less that 12% and often up to 15% of benefits [cost reductions] achievable in the 12-18 months after revised system installations, £90 - £112bn. per annum in the Public Services possibly !! The Government/Chancellor are setting a very low target for economies which are quite certainly there to be had.

I have personally examined several Public Services in my time, and worked in a few of them. The most interesting reaction to what was called "analysis", establishing whether there was potential for improvement before offering to deal with it, was from a large department in constant touch with the public. [I shall not name names and it was some time back]. The problems, waste and frustrations at "shop floor" level were the same as at any other clerical operation that I had looked at. Plenty of opportunity for improvement, and I had an enthusiastic talk with a union shop steward on the possibilities !

But when I presented my findings to the top civil servant in charge, he was not pleased. He had wanted a report that his department was working well !! I do not think that he went "out on the floor " much.

If a way could be devised that the staff in a Public Service were rewarded by part of the cost of the waste they stopped, one might get somewhere. This has now been suggested by Conservatives ?

As Lord Digby Jones said recently "the work could be done by half the people", as the Book of Common Prayer says "There never was any thing by the wit of man so well devised or so sure established which hath not in the continuance of time become corrupted", and as Cicero said "Men do not realise that a great revenue may be had from economy"

Now, that is quite some savings, particularly from a relatively simple change. That said they could also scrap the stupid accounting rule that all budgets must be spent by year end or else you lose the balance and have it removed from your next years budget. With that sort of threat of punishment is it any surprise that budgets are pretty much always spent in full whether what it is spent on is worth while?

Swine Flu Panic!

Swine flu will kill everyone! ... continued to endless news paper headlines.

The fact is though, that there is no reason to panic. Outside of Mexico this virus does not seem to be fatal, and we can't therefore be sure that those who are thought to have died of it in Mexico actually did.

We also have large quantities of flu drugs, which do seem effective.

All that said, this flu outbreak is odd. Why are people dying in Mexico but nowhere else (yet)? How did it end up containing elements of swine flu from 3 continents?

My advice would be don't panic. Governments around the world, as well as health organisations are keeping an eye on this one.

The BBC has this.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

UK economy takes a nose dive.

Well, the economic figures issued by the ONS today are grim, showing economic shrinkage of 1.9%, far worse than expected and indeed worse than government forecasts. So far, on aggregate, the economy has so far shrunk by 4.1%, and there is yet more to come.

Alistair Darling looks like he is living in cloud cuckoo land.

What is of more concern is that unemployment lags in a recession, so the numbers of unemployed will go up from here, quite a lot. 3 million unemployed could look optimistic soon. It is certainly the case that the growth figures in the budget are shot below the water line. I could accept that there might be 1 year of growth at 3.5% the year after next, but not for three consecutive years.

It is clear therefore that public spending needs to be reduced further than even Labour are considering and as I have already said, that is harsher than Thatcher's cuts.

The BBC has this.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Worse "cuts" than Thatcher!

Just to give you an idea of how bad this budget is, and indeed how dire the public finances are, even the Guardian recognise that public spending restraint under this government will make Margaret Thatcher's look positively loose in fiscal policy.

There will be much blood on the carpet.

The Guardian has this, whilst Polly Toynbee has this. The amusing thing about Polly's deranged world view, is that she would rather tax the poor more so she can punish the rich, but that is another story!

What is the point of the 50p tax rate?

The short answer is that it is fantastic politics, and many opinion polls say it is popular.

The problem I have with it is that I want the rich to pay lots of tax, not tax the rich a lot. They may sound like the same thing but they are not.

I wrote this about how the 45% tax rate could cost money, but consider the actual evidence. When the rate of income taxes were eventually rationalised in 1988, to make the top rate 40%, the tax take from the rich went up, and when Denis Healey raised them the tax take went down.

So what you need to decide, is whether you want more cash from the rich (in which case rationalise the tax system to make it simpler, and reduce tax breaks) or whether you want to punish them and then get less cash so you have to tax everyone else more.

I know what I want.

Happy Saint George's day!

Just thought I would say that!

I will be raising a glass to him later!

George Osbourne´s reaction to the budget

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Budget 2009: My Comment.

Well, this government intends on borrowing eye watering amounts of money. In the net two years alone, if its laughably optimistic figures are to be believed, £381 billion. That is more than ALL OTHER GOVERNMENTS OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE BORROWED PUT TOGETHER!

As if that is not bad enough, the growth figures that future borrowing are based on are very optimistic. The net result is public debt will double.

Lefties the blogosphere over will be saying how this will ensure growth etc.

Rubbish. Firstly the numbers have no credibility in terms of showing how the public finances will be brought back to balance, and so drive up the cost of borrowing. Secondly borrowing is not free money, it is deferred taxation. As the tax rises and spending cuts to pay for it kick in, growth will be reduced.

The government think that growth will end up trending at 3.5%. This is a pipe dream. For a start the last 10 years of growth under Labour have been funded by both public and private debt. That can´t continue, secondly growth will be strangled because the government will have to pay back debt with higher taxes.

In short, we are in a very bad mess.

The BBC has this, with this report on David Cameron´s reaction , whilst Stephany Flanders has this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

45p tax rate will cost us money!

One of the Daily Telegraph´s leads this morning is that the 45% tax band will cost us money, in the sense that it will raise little or no extra tax and may cost some. It is based on an IFS study.

The treasury says this is bunkum, but even on their figures, it will actually only raise £600 million, leaving the budget short of £1 billion.

None of this is a surprise, as reducing the higher rate tax band to 40% actually raised the tax take.

The problem is of course, that beating the rich is popular, even if it is a really stupid thing to do.

Labour to slash spending by £15 billion!

Well, they call them efficiency savings, but were it the Conservatives proposing exactly the same thing, Labour would call them cuts.

How much they will affect front line services is difficult to say. You could cut public spending by the actually required £40 billion without affecting public services, the problem is that you would be reliant on those currently wasting money to cut the fat rather than the muscle, and if the could do that, they would be already.

However, there are many points to make about these much heralded ¨efficiency savings¨.

The first is this is a budget announcement, it has been leaked, ergo the chancellor should resign. That is what has happened pre New Labour.

The problem is that New Labour have so cheapened politics that they can get away with leaking budget sensitive information on a regular basis and the client media (yes, the same ones who have now turned on Damian McBride) just lap it up.

The second thing to say is: why have we been tipping £15 billion a year down the toilet? If we assume that this had been going on for 5 years, then had Labour acted sooner, we could have £75 billion more in the bank. Wow, that would come in handy right now.

The third thing to say is that the problem with these cuts is how they are delivered, and more importantly who sets the accounting rules. Government still works on the daft rule that if you do not spend all your budget this year then you lose the money, and you lose the same from next years budget. This is a bean counter rule, and what is more it is a stupid one. If you make reasonable budget assumptions, and beat them you are punished, not only this year but next.

Changing that one rule would dramatically help the public finances. For a start it would mean that there would be budget surpluses.

The last thing to say is that these public spending reductions will not go any where near far enough to reduce public debt. Remember that almost every pound borrowed by the state is a pound less available to the market for every one else.

The BBC has this.