Monday, 2 March 2015

HOW many times do they need telling?

Danny Alexander is one of the more obtuse cretins infesting Whitehall, it seems; his launch today of a new plaque to appear on public capital works just repeats the sort of stupidity Mr Alexander can't understand. OK, just one more time: The government doesn't have any money. All money spent by government is from tax - including borrowing, which is just future tax. These works are taxpayer funded. 


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Putin is Bad, not Mad

The Speccie spoils an otherwise excellent piece by Marina Kim with the strapline 'Putin may be mad – but not mad enough to have had Boris Nemtsov killed'. Frankly, I don't think Putin is in the least mad. He's ruthless, he's a killer, maybe even gifted with that cool psychopathy that marks a host of great military and national leaders - including British ones. But not mad in the meaning of mad-insane rather than mad-a good laugh. He's deeply patriotic and prepared to ride roughshod over international law for Russia's sake - but then so is the USA. He believes the trappings of State enhance the status of the nation - but then so do the British. And he imposes a requirement for domestic discipline and obedience that has the Hun panting in jealousy. All of this makes him Bad, not Mad.

I'm no expert on either contract killings or State assassinations, but a killer who fired seven shots only four of which hit the victim and only one of which, to the heart, was fatal seems to me to be a lucky try rather than the work of a professional. I suspect that if Putin had killed Nemtsov his method would have been more subtle and with at least an element of deniability.

The long-legged 23-year old Ukrainian 'model' with him at the time may help shed light on the assassination. No doubt her mobile phone records will be of great interest to the Russian authorities.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

CAGE group Asim Qureshi is a lying dog

The shaven head and unkempt beard should have been a clue, but when gullible TV allowed Islamist Asim Qureshi of Jihadist group CAGE to describe Jihadi John as 'gentle' and 'beautiful' I couldn't quite believe the stupidity of TV producers. "You lying Islamist Dog!" I barked at the TV, in reaction to what was so obviously self-serving and exculpatory bollocks from a man who had aided Queens Park Mohammed in his bread-knife career.

Today of course the papers are full of Qureshi's Islamism and incitement to disaffection - what used to be termed Sedition in this realm. And also of stories of how stupid, gullible, naive and jejune agencies have poured buckets of gold into CAGE and similar fronts for Islamism. £305k from Joseph Rowntree. £120k from Anita Roddick. And it's surely just bad luck that the Islamists didn't also get half a mill from the Home Office.

This is personal - a quarter of Britain's 3m Moslems think it's OK for them to cut my head off for including a happy, chuckling Hebdo cartoon Mohammed in this blog's header. So until the buggers agree to fly a Union flag on every mosque and forswear every hint of Sedition, you'll forgive me for being suspicious of them all. And as my view - and words - on Asim Qureshi proved entirely justified, perhaps I'm not so easily taken in by liars as others.  

Friday, 27 February 2015

Keeping Labour on the back foot

As C@W posted yesterday, Devo-Manc is a superb tactic from Osborne to wrong-foot Labour. The tenet at the core of Labour's existence is central Statism; command and control of the nation from Westminster and Whitehall, with metropolitan micro-management of every aspect of the economy to achieve an enforced equality of outcome across the nation. Oh how they hate any devolution of power! Labour can never, ever, be a party of Localism; the idea is antithetical to the party's very being. It will lose them every seat they have in Scotland, and as Osborne is finding, can make deep inroads into the Labour vote in the North. George, with his new haircut, is shedding the haunted look of a furtive Onanist and is growing into a Mandelson. 

But, Scotland apart, don't mistake Osborne's moves for Localism. Devolving Spend without also devolving Tax isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit. The powers of England's Cantons to set, collect and spend at least half the tax burden are yet distant; 95% of UK taxes are still determined and collected centrally, only 5% of Council Tax, capped centrally, is set locally. In Switzerland, the central government only levies about a third of total taxation; the other two-thirds is charged by the Cantons and municipalities. So a target of 50% in the UK is really quite conservative. And is nowhere in Osborne's plans.    

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Cleaning the BBC's Augean stables

I wonder how the BBC will report today the recommendations by MPs that are to be published in the Commons? No doubt there have already been a whole series of top level editorial meetings and the agreed editorial line has been issued to all news managers. However, if the take of the MSM on the expected recommendations is correct, the reporting will focus on the decriminalisation of non-payment of the licence fee and the abolition of the Trust model invented in 2007. 

However, the devil may be in the unglamorous detail. Making major inroads into BBC secrecy by allowing in the daylight of the National Audit Office to the BBC's books is something the organisation has long fought. But the BBC spends £4bn a year of tax - yes, the TV licence is a tax - and taxpayers must have answer for its stewardship. Combined with FOI, this will help stamp out the horrendous financial abuses, the waste, privilege and squander of this bloated bureaucracy. 

And secondly, the expected requirement for the BBC to 'port' portions of the TV tax to independent local newspapers across the country may be the start of something interesting. As a Localist, I welcome any devolution of tax and spend from the metropolitan centre to the counties and towns of England, allowing a multiplicity of local voices to speak and be heard. The next step may be, in this multi-platform media age, the handing over of airtime to editorially independent sources. Interesting. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Paying MPs more will only encourage their greed

If you extend the arguments being made by supporters of increasing the wedge paid to MPs, you must believe that burglers burgle because their welfare benefits are not high enough, and that to stop them robbing our houses we must fill their mouths with gold. Claims by MPs to 'Pay us more or we'll keep thieving' are outrageous and should never be considered.

The answer to thieving, bent and crooked MPs isn't to pay them more; this will only attract even more greedy, self-serving, amoral narcissists in search of a comfy berth with no heavy lifting and the opportunity for some freelance crookedness. As it happens, I believe the current base of between £60,000 - £70,000 is about right - and that this should only rise in line with the nation's average earnings increases. 

However, discouraging both the sense of entitlement that MPs have, and their attraction to lobbyists, will require a constitutional change. We must go back to the demands of the Chartists in 1838 and Item 6 of the Charter - the only article left unfulfilled. This called for
(6) Annual Parliament Elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since as the constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelvemonth; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.
I don't believe that annual elections are still the best answer. Whilst what Lutfur Rahman did in Tower Hamlets to buy the Mayorality - bribery and imtimidation - was once widespread for Parliamentary elections, it is now a danger now largely confined only to Pakistani constituencies. And an effective power of recall if MPs 'defy and betray' their constituents should deal with the other leg of the problem. 

Whatever remedy we find must allow men and women of true probity, selflessness and with a total commitment to the public good to fill Parliament and deter the disgraceful bent old wrecks such as Rifkind and Straw from infesting like lice the heart of our democracy. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Bent Bastards

"I charge £5,000 a day. That's my going rate"
"Of course I'm abusing a position of trust - that's what I'm selling. I've got credibility"
"Look, I can get you access to serving government ministers - a quiet lunch in Pimlico"
"Just pay me and tell me what you want me to do"
"My MP's salary is just a sort of retainer - being an MP doesn't create any sort of time obligation"
"If you want to influence legislation, the going rate is much higher. We need to square the committee."
"Ha ha no there are limits .... I wouldn't kill someone for example"
"Yep £1,500 an hour - paid into my Lichtenstein HSBC account"
"I know just about everyone in government who matters - my reach is very long"
"No, I've no particular objection to that ... after all, he was cleared of the last charges, wasn't he?"