Friday, July 04, 2008

Blue Blood for the NHS

Instead of ranting on about who invented or voted for the NHS Annabel Goldie has done something simple and effective to back the 60th anniversary of the NHS, she has given blood.

This marking of the anniversary, is typical of the understated and very effective way, that Annabel has led the Tories in the past 18 months.

Mind you as one of the comments on the site says

Why not, she gave blood at the opening of the NHS.

Goldie bringing blue blood to ordinary Scotsman(or woman).

Goldie gives NHS something back - News

Thursday, July 03, 2008

GB PLC accounts in Disarray

The Times reports that the National Audit Office is refusing to sign GB Plc's accounts or at least the Treasury versions. What a surprise this is, as the Government attempts to put the 50bn bail out of Northern Rock anywhere but the debit side of the accounts. The Times says

Mr Darling is fighting a bruising battle with the National Audit Office (NAO), which is unhappy at the way that the nationalisation of Northern Rock is being treated in the Treasury’s books. The annual report from No 11 was published yesterday but, in a highly unusual departure from normal procedure, without the department’s resource accounts.
The problem is that if the Northern Rock bail out is put on the debit side the borrowing this government has to do will exceed all expectations by a significant amount.

Michael Fallon, the chairman of the Treasury Scrutiny Committee, said:
“This is a fresh humiliation for Alistair Darling. He has lost control over public finances. Now it looks as if he can’t get his department’s books past the auditors.”
This is just another in the long line of demonstrated incompetencies of this disintegrating government. Whilst Darling and Brown argue about 10p tax, CGT, VED, Fuel Duty etc the accounts and indeed the whole nation is slipping deeper and deeper into an economic quagmire.

Please, Please can we have a General Election and get rid of this shambles.

National Audit Office rejects Treasury accounts - Times Online

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Come on England - Scotland 2 England 0

The score is now 2 leaders to nil in terms of Party Leaders between Scotland and England, with the departure of Nicol Stephen, the Liberal Democrat leader in Scotland to "spend more time with his family". Surely England can do better than this and at least get rid of one and make a real game of it. On Saturday we had the departure of the late and unlamented Wendy Alexander.

I'm sure the loss of Nicol will be tremendous blow to the Lib Dems in Scotland. His Leadership and sure footed policies in getting the Lib Dems to their lowly position in Scottish Politics will be sorely missed, well at least by the Tories and SNP.

After today's Brownies at PMQ's how much longer will we need to wait until Gordon does the honourable thing and resigns.

Gordon Brown and his Lists

Nick Clegg told Gordon Brown today at PMQ's that he confused a "list" with answers. It also seems from this article by Irwin Stelzer in the Telegraph that Gordon confuses "lists" with Priorities and Actions.

The problem is that Gordon has lots of "lists" but nothing is in reality generated from them. As Mr Stelzer says

Unfortunately, he knows how to draw up an impressive list of goals, but cannot set priorities or figure out how to get there. He wants to end child poverty, but that can't be accomplished by increasing child benefits and dependency on the state, or raising the minimum wage to price teenagers out of jobs.

He wants to raise the productivity of British firms, but ensnares them in EU regulations that reduce workforce flexibility. He wants to increase the number of workers gainfully employed or on training schemes, but can't seem to grasp that continued payment of benefits makes the couch more attractive than the workplace.

Mr Brown wants the NHS circa 2008 to be as great a boon to Britain as it was at its founding 60 years ago, but can't quite accept that full patient choice and genuine, wide-open competition are a surer route to reform than more and more central directives.....

....Gordon Brown wants a richer, fairer nation, its citizens safe on the streets and in their homes, but insists on micromanaging every twist and turn on the route to that goal.

He understands, or says he does, the power of Adam Smith's invisible hand and the diffusion of power it creates.

But somehow, he can't resist relying instead on the clunking fist. It just seems to him so much more effective to do it alone, rather than to rely on the individual choices of citizens, free to pick their kids' schools, their own healthcare providers, and workplaces in which the rules suit them and their employer, rather than central planners' notions of the proper work/life balance.
As Mr Stelzer says at the end
"Too bad, not only for the Prime Minister, but for Great Britain."
I can only echo this sentiment on a day when it becomes more and more obvious that we are heading towards a recession that Gordon Brown has no idea how to handle.

Gordon Brown would achieve more by doing less - Telegraph

Honours for 42 day votes?

The Telegraph thinks Keith Vaz was offered honours for his vote in the 42 days detention debacle. This was brought up at PMQ's by David Cameron and Gordon Brown has denied any "bribes" to anyone, including the DUP.

The Telegraph says

Mr Vaz is the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He was previously opposed to the plans but later offered his full backing. He made a major speech during the debate on the proposals which is thought to have won over some backbench MPs. Securing his backing was seen as crucial by the
Amid rumours of a peerage or knighthood, Mr Vaz was asked in Parliament during the debate the day before the vote whether he had been offered an honour for his support. He said: “No, it was certainly not offered—but I do not know; there is still time.”
In the handwritten letter sent on 12th June 2008 – the day after the key vote - Mr Hoon writes: “Dear Keith…Just a quick note to thank you for all your help during the period leading up to last Wednesday’s vote. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated all your help.”
“I trust that it will be appropriately rewarded!...With thanks and best wishes, Geoff.”

Gosh wouldn't this be a surprise.

Gordon Brown under pressure over 'reward' for Keith Vaz over terror bill - Telegraph

Markies are Struggling

If Markies are struggling it means the UK is in a bad way. If we can't afford to occasionally shop at Markies it means we have little or no spare money. According to the BBC shares are down over 15% today on the back of poor sales figures particularly food.

They are one of life's little rewards when you need a bit of "Feel Good" factor or just want a nice bit of luxury without the hard work.

Another marker in the slow death of Gordon Brown's tenure as Labour Leader.

BBC NEWS | Business | Sales gloom sees M&S shares dive

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Barking Mad

Can you see anything wrong with this advert with a nice picture of a cute puppy? Well look here to see who thinks it is "unclean".

PC gone mad. Why have the Tayside Police said sorry. This is ideological stupidity. This highligts the fact that political correctness dominates all publicly funded agencies, and the fact that police forces have to employ diversity advisers rather than on bobbies to tackle crime.

H/T Gabble of Pb.Com
Barking Mad

Goodbye to the NHS

Whenever I hear that the government is about to "do" something to the NHS, I head over to DR Crippen at NHS Blog Doctor to see what the real story is. Dr Crippen is a General Practitioner and has a long experience of seeing the NHS from the frontline

A case in point is the release of the Darzi Master Plan for the NHS. Now I know what the plan is about and how it will help me to a better "quality" life. However I am still stuck as to how Labour will do anything with this report to actually help anyone. As Dr Crippen says
You begin to lose the will to live as you wade through this morass of focus-group soundbites. Is there any meat on the bone? Don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, don’t have sex and don’t go mad. All good stuff. You can’t fault it, can you? You can’t criticise motherhood and apple pie. Trouble is, you cannot build a health service on soundbites.
In other words the report is the usual mound of meaningless drivel that Labour calls "Policy" and then uses it as justification to waste our money.

If you want to do a bit of reading on the Farzi committee I suggest you peruse through these articles at the Ferret Fanciers blog.

Meanwhile I will be celebrating my first day with Private Health care courtesy of my company.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Flying Ruaridh

Ruaridh at tubing In Alford with the Youth Club tonight.
Posted by Picasa

I don't know what it is, Brown, but somehow you piss me off.

The title of this article in the Independent is a more sober, "Gordon Brown thought he could rely on the Scottish vote – now it could bring him down" but I'm sure that Bruce Anderson would have preferred to title it with my version.

His comment below is probably the stand out

When Labour dominated the Scottish executive, there was no equivalent of the prawn cocktail offensive that the Blairites launched to woo the City. Most Holyrood Labour ministers were surly, glottal-stopped, class-hating mediocrities. It was hardly surprising that businessmen who had dealings with them found the process deeply depressing, especially as everyone assumed that they and their ilk would be in power for ever. Now, however, the Nat ministers use the language of free enterprise. There has been a smoked-salmon canapé offensive. This has led a lot of Scots who are natural Tories to conclude that independence might not be too bad after all.
In this he is quite right, Tories in Scotland are generally seeing there is a better way forward than being ruled by a government in London, that has little relevance for a modern Scotland. In this they have been helped by the way Annabelle Goldie has handled Holyrood since the elections in 2007 gave Labour a bloody nose. She has been the only stand out Tory performer the Scottish Government. The problem with the Tories in Scotland is that they have been to hell and back and attracting really good people back into politics is a long and slow process. The beginnings are there but much work is still required. Bruce Anderson has this to say on this subject
Even if the Scottish Tory party were led by Adam Smith, Henry Dundas and Walter Scott, it would have difficulty in overcoming its countrymen's snivelling resentment. But the current leadership is some way below world-historical class. In the 80s and 90s, the Scots Tories produced Messrs Forsyth, Lang, Rifkind and Younger, plus my Lords Mackay and Strathclyde – as well as a score of able though less eminent figures. Today, most of their successors are dire, and proportional representation creates another obstacle to a Tory revival. Under PR, those at the top of the party's list are virtually guaranteed a seat, however badly the Tories do short of extinction, not yet a danger. In the Scottish Parliament, the Tory leaders enjoy status and income without having to fight for it. They have no incentive to resist genteel decline, and there is a further hazard.
I would disagree with him on his last point. I do see a resurgence in the Scottish Tories, no longer do you only whisper you are a Tory. With this resurgence will come competition for position and this will make for better candidates.

One final point from his article is as follows
It is extraordinary that Mr Brown could not persuade Wendy Alexander to stay on at least until the by-election was over. She has been a hopeless minister, a truculent colleague and a useless leader. She might at least have tried to compensate for this by showing some gratitude to the man who made her political career. (No wonder they were drawn to one another. They are similar personalities.)
This is very much in tune with what I thought over the weekend when I heard about Wendy's "resignation". The two of them were of such similar outlooks that you wonder if the one can exist without the other in the Labour hierarchy. Only time will tell.

Bruce Anderson: Gordon Brown thought he could rely on the Scottish vote – now it could bring him down - Bruce Anderson, Commentators - The Independent

Sounds on Sunday - Tracy Chapman - Fast car

Way back in the distant past in the years B.C. (Before Chris, my wife) I finally bought a CD player and then had to buy a CD to play on it. My first CD, bought more for the fact that it was Digital Recording,and I wanted to see how a CD could perform, was Tracy Chapman. I had heard the odd snipet of Tracy Chapman before this and thought I would like the CD.

How right I was. I cannot number the times I have listened to this CD. When I met my wife she was living in Inveress and I was in Aberdeen so I spent a fair bit of my life driving up and down the A96 (not a pleasant experience) between the two cities. Much of the time I listened to this CD and this track was perhaps my favourite depending upon the mood I was in, good on the way and bad on the way back.

Anyway enjoy.

P.S. And no to my brother she is not a poor man's Joan Armatrading.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

You've never had it so Bad

According to the Telegraph and calculations performed by Capital Economics the current tax burden is the worst it has been since 1991.

The household tax burden rose from 34 per cent of income to 34.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year - the highest level since the spring of 1991.

The figures, calculated from official data published on Friday, underline how far taxes have risen since Labour took office in 1997. They come after the scrapping of the 10p tax rate caused an internal Labour mutiny.

Despite the Government's headline tax rates remaining unchanged, a variety of so-called stealth taxes have increased the burden.

So the next time Gordon says taxes are down at PMQ's you can tell him it is yet another of his "Brownies".

Families hit by greatest tax burden since 1991 - Telegraph