Thursday, May 28, 2009

No choice for Labour

The Times has a Leader today asking if the result of the Euro Elections will be the final chance for the Labour Party to dump Gordon Brown. It asks

The Labour party is about to suffer a serious electoral defeat. The Cabinet now has a big decision to make - whether or not to act.
The problem is that Labour knows that it has gone past the point of hoping that dumping its leader will enable then to be voted in by the public.The public has had it with Labour, regardless of whether it is Gordon Brown or one of his lackeys that is running the party, why would one of the current Cabinet want to take on this fatally poisoned chalice. Labour under Gordon Brown have managed, yet again, to do what Labour always does and bring this country to the verge of Bankruptcy. As usual it will have to be the Conservatives who have to supply the medicine, a medicine that yet again will not taste very good, but has to be taken to allow us to no longer be the sick man of Europe.

Gordon will continue doing what he does best, building lists of what he thinks we should do, with no reference to anyone else, as only Gordon knows how to save the World. The Times gives a clue to why Gordon is currently bunkered away pretending to be Macavity rather than out in the real world. According to the Times he is
...already working on how he plans to respond. Mr Brown is said to be weighing his options for a Cabinet reshuffle, discussing plans for political reform and putting the finishing touches to a national plan in the hope that he can restart the conversation about economic recovery.
In reality what Gordon is doing is trying to save his skin until next May when he finally has to have an election, one he knows he cannot win. Then and only then will he relinquish power as he, as the saviour of world, cannot face defeat.

As the Times puts it.

Of course, Cabinet members may choose not to act. This would involve closing ranks around Mr Brown on the ground that economic recovery will provide a political dividend. This would mean making an honest judgment that, for themselves, for their colleagues in the PLP, for the reputation of the Labour Party and for the sake of good government, they truly believe that Mr Brown offers the best leadership. It is hard to believe, for anyone familiar with the mood of Cabinet and senior Labour advisers, that they think that Mr Brown can deliver the best possible result for the party at the general election.

The question is now whether any of them is prepared to act. For a long while they have steadfastly maintained, at least in public, that the cost of removing the Prime Minister from office was greater than the benefit. Perhaps the verdict of the electorate will steel one or more of them to speak the truth about power. But doing nothing is itself a choice. Either way, Labour's future is not just Mr Brown's but the Cabinet's collective responsibility.

So the choice is stark for the Cabinet and any member that wants to be leader, either go for it now and be defeated as Leader or wait until Gordon resigns and still get beaten at the polls.

Not much of a choice but we can at least hope that someone in the Cabinet has the the balls to realise that under Brown we are doomed to even more serious problems, economic and political, and that anyone would be better than having Gordon in charge. They at least could say they tried their best to get us out of the mess that the UK is currently in.

The Choice for Labour -Times Online

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The writer is the UK prime minister

According to the article in the FT

the writer is the UK prime minister.
Well he may well have that position at the moment in name but by his inactions over the past few weeks few would actually know it. Whilst the Economy has been going down the pan and MP's are being panned, Gordon has been in the Bunker drawing up more lists of what he has supposedly done and what he is going to do to make him look good. The one list he has forgotten is the one about doing anything to sort out the actual situation we are in.

What does his article actually have to say. Not much really despite being in a paper in which you would expect some reasoned argument. His first riposte is to warn us about how the dreadful Tories would have a problem with Europe. I quote from the article as follows
So we face a choice: to embrace our membership of the EU knowing that committed partnership is the only way to achieve our common aims and protect British jobs, or to accept the Conservative opposition’s approach to British membership, which would threaten many British jobs.
So from this we learn nothing apart from some fear-mongering. Gordon is apparently right and anything the Tories do is wrong. No description or help to tell us what the Tories would do wrong, they are just wrong, a telling argument.

Next we get some puff about how Gordon has saved the world, words such as IMF and G20 to make it all sound impressive, but then we come to the meat, a new list from the Bunker. Actually it is just a call to the European Investment Bank to lend more quickly and to riskier investments, by which I assume he means lend to the UK as we are becoming more and more of a risky investment.

Finally Gordon mentions what is going on in the UK at the moment, well not really he skates over it and says he is just getting on with the job, he will shortly have a new list completed of how he will fix it all.

A quick final paragraph to try and blame it all on the Tories who of course created all the ills of the current Government.

Worth comparing this trivia from Gordon with what the Prime Minister in waiting has been doing over the past weeks. Whilst Gordon has remained curled up in his Bunker, David Cameron has been out speaking to the Country and attacking the problems head-on and with reasoned argument.

More and more we see the Media and the Public turning to Cameron when they want a response to our current problems. They know that Gordon is bunkered and only has one club, the wrong one, to get out of the hole he has dug. Cameron though appears to have the whole set of clubs and the knack of knowing which one to use and when. / Comment / Opinion - What Europe must do to build a recovery

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some Light Reading from David Cameron at the Guardian

David Cameron has four articles in the Guardian tonight at A New Politics which is on the Comment is Free site.

The first article is entitled We need a massive radical redistribution of Power and starts out

Adding his voice to the Guardian debate, the Conservative leader argues today that public fury at the MPs' expenses scandal points to deep problems in the British political system, and calls for restoring local control in the spirit of glasnost
In it David Cameron argues that
The anger, the suspicion and the cynicism – yes, with politics and politicians, but with so much else – are the result of people's slow but sure realisation that they have very little control over the world around them, and over much that determines whether or not they'll live happy and fulfilling lives.
The second article is entitled Democratic accountability and starts out
From local to central government, the driving principle of Conservative reform will be from the powerful to the powerless
In this Cameron says
But it's not just by decentralising power and reforming parliament that we can redistribute power away from an over-mighty executive. We need to end the culture of sofa government, where ­unaccountable spin doctors in No 10 – whether it's Alastair Campbell or Damian McBride – toss around ideas and make up policies not to meet the national interest but to hit dividing lines or fit the news cycle.
The third article is entitled The Post-Bureaucratic Age and starts out
Where the information revolution meets progressive Conservatism, people will control the things that matter to them
In the article David says
The lack of power and control people experience from politics was barely tolerable when times were good. But now times are hard and people are on the receiving end of wage cuts, job losses, negative equity, home repossessions and rising crime – and revelations about their rulers' behaviour, which has disgusted them. They are furious and finally demanding big change. Big change and a new politics is exactly what people can expect from a new Conservative government. We'll begin a massive redistribution of power in our country from the powerful to the powerless – from the political elite to the man and woman in the street.
The fourth and last article is entitled Electoral Reform and starts out
We'll consider fixed-term parliaments, but not proportional representation, as many in the Guardian series have demanded.
In it Cameron has a go at the current Government and its, and our, unelected leader
We also need to look seriously at the immense power prime ministers wield through their ability to call an election whenever they want. I know there are strong political and moral arguments against fixed-term parliaments. Political – because there's nothing worse than a lame-duck government with a tiny majority limping on for years. And moral – because when a prime minister has gone into an election and won it promising to serve a full term, but then hands over to an unelected leader halfway through, the people deserve an election as soon as possible. These arguments are of course particularly relevant today
I would recommend that anyone of any political persuasion reads these and has a think about what they mean.

You may agree or disagree with them, you may or may not believe that any party, far less a Conservative party, could be able to put them into being, they may make you angry or happy, they may even get you interested, if so they have achieved their aim and made you think about what is going on in the UK at the moment and make you want to do something about it.

Only when most of us want to do something about the current state of this country will it happen. Politicians themselves don't make anything happen, the truly good politicians though, might just get us pointed in the right direction, and get us back on our feet and believing in this once great nation.

A new politics: blueprint for reforming government | Comment is free |

Nadine on Nadine

Read Nadine's blog and maybe have a think what is going on here now. I know I am thinking there is more to the story than just exposing bad MP's, there is now too much in the way of a holier than thou attutude. We know there are a few fraudulent expenses, we know there are some MP'S who have lost a sense of morality and common sense, but there are also a good number just trying to do a good job and for this they should be paid a good salary. I quote

I believe it is right of the DT to bring this issue out into the open. I praise their exposure of fraud and mis-appropriation.

However, it is wrong to conflate the deadly serious with the mildly embarrassing and genuine administrative errors. By doing that you deem the truly innocent, wholly guilty, make it impossible for the public to understand where to direct their anger, create an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity, which in turn, threatens democracy itself.

Does the DT have an agenda other than the desire to perform a public service?

Why would they expose this fiasco at the start of an election campaign if the priority was not to de stabilise the main political parties and to drive votes towards the minority parties?

I cleave to my original substantive point. If it's in the name of the public good, do it all in one day. Get it all out there. One big explosive edition. Let the guilty be found, the mistakes be rectified and the innocent go about their lives free from the potential impending ducking stool.

Is there not something slightly hypocritical about the DT increasing its revenue by an estimated £1 million per day in the name of public good?

Whilst democracy teeters on the brink of collapse, the DT is laughing all the way to the bank.

On day 15 the boil needed to be lanced. Two weeks away from elections it was time to turn the discussion to how we put things right.

Public anger was at such a level that the situation needed to be taken by the neck, dealt with and a solution to guarantee that democracy is never again threatened in this way, put on the table.

You would never allow a business to freefall in the way we were allowing the mother of all Parliaments to spin out of control.

My colleagues, my innocent colleagues, were literally being made physically ill by the bullying process deployed by the DT, as part of the drip, profit, drip, profit technique. It had to stop.

If I had to use one word to describe any personal quality I possess, it is loyalty.

I would never betray a friend and I always instinctively, fiercely, protect those I care for. Seeing the innocent amongst my colleagues, from all political parties, on all sides of the house, suffer in this way and threading together what I saw with what I have explained above, made me realise that we were in danger of being a long way from putting things right if the anger wasn't soon lanced.

I had no idea that the few words on my blog, written from a perspective of concern and care, would result in another 24 hrs of frenetic media or be quoted as the second item on the Today programme. I had only stated what was blindingly obvious to anyone and everyone who had been in Westminster that week.
It continues
Whilst waiting for my fate to unfold in Saturday's papers I was aware that if I had called the time wrong, I may be toast with my own association. I also reflected on the disproportionate, inappropriate action of the DT. The profile on UKIP's Nigel Farage in the following days paper did not surprise me in the least.

and the last bit
The phone rang an hour ago. An upset female MP, wrongly targeted by the DT. Her husband's company had received hate emails. The press were camped outside her house in a pack. Her very young son, unknowingly holding telephone conversations with journalists, even though he had told them mummy wasn't in. Her life and her family in bits, and in her case the DT have got it completely wrong. Decent people do not like to see the innocent victimised. I suspect this wont stop until June 5th, the day following the election. By which time much more harm than good may have been done.

I knew on friday morning that I had walked into the eye of a storm. I also knew that in voicing concern for all but the immoral fraudsters and the totally ridiculous, I would become a conduit for the anger which had yet to be earthed.

It was a mere rehearsal. If party leaders do not resolve this issue then backbenchers will need to pick up the gauntlet and find ways and means to bring about legislation which will.

Never again must democracy be threatened or the innocent be victimised whilst two of the richest men in the world, sit back and become even richer.

I finish on my initial point. If the Telegraph are doing this not for the advantage of minority parties, not to destabilise democracy, not to make themselves even wealthier, then handle it better. Leave the innocent alone and publish the guilty all on one day. Because if democracy is damaged as a result of the increased wealth of two men as a result of a minority of fraudsters and crooks, we will all in the long term be much worse off than we are today.
A Conspiracy? Bad Timing? Good Journalism, Bad Journalism? What is the answer. I know one thing the Daily Telegraph is not just doing this for it's own good.

Why I did What I did

BBC List of missing data misses out MP'S expenses

The BBC has put out a list of data missing in recent months from various Government systems. The list itself is already large enough without also adding the biggie that they have missed of all the data from MP's Expenses or Scamalot that was also strangely mislaid. This data, as I have said before, is not just a little extract but the complete contents of a database or system and should be hugely worrying to both the authorities and the general public.

Add to this list all the data that the NHS so regularly loses and we have a prospect of chaos as more and more data is stored by the government.


Here are other cases to emerge in the recent past:


It emerged that data lost from RAF Innsworth in Gloucestershire the previous September included 500 highly sensitive files, containing details of individuals' extra-marital affairs, debts and drug use.

An internal MoD memo passed to the BBC warned that the material "provides excellent material for Foreign Intelligence Services and blackmailers".

On the same day, a report from the Information Commissioner told the NHS to improve its data security, after the watchdog took action against 14 NHS organisations in the last six months.


A health worker in Lancashire lost a memory stick containing the medical details of more than 6,000 prisoners and ex-prisoners from HMP Preston.

The data was encrypted, but the password had been written on a note which was attached to the stick when it was misplaced.


A memory stick - holding passwords for a government computer system - was found in the car park of a pub in Staffordshire.

The Gateway website gives access to services including tax returns and child benefits. The memory stick was lost by an employee of a subcontractor called Atos Origin.


A computer hard drive containing the personal details of about 100,000 of the Armed Forces was reported missing during an audit carried out by IT contractor EDS.

It is thought to contain more than 1.5m pieces of information, possibly unencrypted, including the details of 600,000 potential recruits, a small amount of information about bank details, passport numbers, addresses, dates of birth, driving licence details and telephone numbers.

The Ministry of Defence police said it was investigating the disappearance but it is not yet known whether or not it was stolen.


The government confirmed that a portable hard drive holding details of up to 5,000 employees of the justice system was lost in July 2007.

The details of employees of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, including prison staff, were lost by a private firm, EDS.

Officials only realised the data was missing in July of this year. Justice Secretary Jack Straw launched an inquiry.

Also this month, the MoD admitted that tens of thousands of personnel files had been lost from RAF Innsworth in Gloucestershire.

Hard disks containing the data, which included names, addresses and some bank account details, were taken from a secure area.


Home Office contractor PA Consulting admitted losing a computer memory stick containing information on all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales.

It also held personal details of about 10,000 prolific offenders.

The Home Office suspended the transfer of all further data to the private firm pending the outcome of an investigation.

An Information Commissioner's investigation later ruled that the Home Office had broken data protection laws over the incident and must sign a formal undertaking to improve its procedures in future.


The Ministry of Defence confirmed that 121 computer memory sticks and more than twice as many laptops than previously thought have been lost or stolen in the past four years.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth gave a written statement to parliament saying 121 USB memory devices had gone astray - five of which contained secret data.

And in a parliamentary written answer, Defence Secretary Des Browne said 747 laptops had been stolen - 400 more than originally reported. Of those, 32 have been recovered so far.


A senior intelligence officer from the Cabinet Office was suspended after documents were left on the seat of commuter train from London Waterloo. A passenger later handed them to the BBC.

The seven-page file, classified as "UK Top Secret", contained a report entitled "Al-Qaeda Vulnerabilities" and an assessment of the state of Iraq's security forces.

Cabinet Minister Ed Miliband said there had been a "clear breach" of security rules, which forbid the removal of such documents from government premises.

But Mr Miliband said national security did not seem to be "at risk".

Two inquiries - one by the Cabinet Office, the other by the Metropolitan Police - have been launched.


An Army captain's laptop was taken from under his chair as he ate in a McDonald's, near the Ministry of Defence's Whitehall headquarters.

The MoD said the data on the laptop was not sensitive, and was fully encrypted.

This is the latest MoD laptop theft to be made public and it came after the government tightened the rules on employees taking computers out of work.

Whitehall staff are now banned from taking unencrypted laptops or drives containing personal data outside secured office premises.


A laptop computer belonging to a Royal Navy officer was stolen from car in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

It contained the personal details of 600,000 people who had expressed an interest in, or applied to join, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the RAF.

It contained data including passport numbers, National Insurance numbers and bank details.

Defence Secretary Des Browne later admitted the inquiry into the loss of the Royal Navy officer's laptop uncovered two similar thefts since 2005.

At the time, Dr Liam Fox, shadow defence secretary, said 68 MoD laptops had been stolen in 2007, 66 in 2006, 40 in 2005 and 173 in 2004.


The details of three million candidates for the UK driving theory test went missing in the US.

Names, addresses and phone numbers - but no financial information - were among the details stored on a computer hard drive, which belonged to a contractor working for the Driving Standards Agency.

The information was sent electronically to contractor Pearson Driving Assessments in Iowa and the hard drive was then sent to another state before being brought back to Iowa, where it went missing.

Ministers said the information had been formatted specifically to meet the security requirements of Pearson Driving Assessments and was not "readily usable or accessible" by third parties.


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) lost two computer discs containing the entire child benefit records, including the personal details of 25 million people - covering 7.25 million families overall.

The two discs contained the names, addresses, dates of birth and bank account details of people who received child benefit. They also included National Insurance numbers.

They were sent via internal mail from HMRC in Washington, north-east England, to the National Audit Office in London on 18 October, by a junior official, and never arrived.

The Metropolitan Police were informed of the loss in November and extensive searches began.

In December, a reward of £20,000 was offered for the return of the two discs, but they were never recovered.

This list is only the tip of the Iceberg.

BBC NEWS UK Previous cases of missing data

Ed Balls and the Wreaths - A fat boy did it and ran away

Apparently the excuse for claiming for wreaths by Ed Balls is as follows

The claim for a wreath was submitted in error by a staff member, as part of reimbursement for the up front costs she paid for organising 2 veterans badge presentation ceremonies for constituents, including for room hire at Parkside Methodist Church & Wrenthorpe Village Hall. Ed paid for wreaths every year – in 2005/06/07 & 2008- & this claim should never have been submitted in 2007. As soon as it was brought to Ed’s attention by the Fees Office he immediately reimbursed the staff member personally as he has done every other year. No erroneous payment was made by the Fees Office.

So of course it's not his fault, he uses the Fat boy did it excuse and runs away from any responsibility. These are his expenses and he is responsible for them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Wreath of Shame for Ed Balls

Ed Balls horror at being told he had to pay for Wreaths

After the post I wrote on James Gray who claimed for wreaths on his expenses I see that that paragon of virtue Ed Balls has done exactly the same thing. Well he is also an a***hole of the largest variety. Let us hope the media go to town on him as well, though it looks like the Daily Telegraph are trying to hide this story for some reason.

I know that attending memorial services is something that many MP's have to do as part of their duties but claiming for wreaths is just not morally correct, it speaks of disrespect for the dead and for their friends and families.

MPs' expenses: Alistair Darling's claim for help with his tax return - Telegraph

Alistair Darling's Flipping Tax Returns

The next batch of details from the Daily Telegraph on how MP's spend our money focuses on the fact that nine members of the Cabinet used our money to have their tax returns filled in.

This is taking the proverbial. They have the cheek to steal our money, cheat on taxes by flipping and then get us to pay for filling in their crooked tax returns. You just couldn't make it up.

The Daily Telegraph tells us that ex-Trot and Public School Boy Alistair Darling the Labour Chancellor is such an incompetent at dealing with the likes of Taxes that he got the public to pay up more than £1,400 for accountancy bills in two years. This included the cost of receiving tax advice for “the treatment of rental expenses against income”. During 2007, Mr Darling rented out his London flat after becoming Chancellor and moving into a grace-and-favour apartment. Mr Darling is also one of the few MP's who has managed to flip four time in four years.

Of course it's all within the "rules" the rules, you'll remember, they themselves have set. Of course the reason they need to get accountants to do this for them is because of all the new Labour government’s taxation policies that have made the process so complicated that it is very hard for ordinary tax-payers to complete their returns without professional advice. Professional advice that ordinary punters cannot claim against expenses

Ministers who claimed to have their tax returns filled in included Hazel Blears, Geoff Hoon and Jacqui Smith, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary.

MPs' expenses: Alistair Darling's claim for help with his tax return - Telegraph

Nigel Farage 2 Million Expenses - UKIP Troughing

Nigel Farage, who is calling on voters to punish

"greedy Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs"
at the European elections on 4 June, boasted of his personal expenses haul at a meeting with foreign journalists in London last week. Asked how much expenses he had conned out of us, the public, in the last 10 years he replied
"It is a vast sum," Farage said. "I don't know what the total amount is but - oh lor - it must be pushing £2 million."
According to the article as Ukip circulated new party literature saying Westminster MPs had "ripped off taxpayers", Farage, who employs his wife to help run his office and pays her from his allowances, faced a backlash as opponents accused him of hypocrisy. Denis MacShane former Europe Minister suggested that Ukip's attempt to pose as more honourable on expenses than other parties had been exposed as shameless and hollow.

"Far from being the party of the little man in Europe, Nigel Farage's astounding £2m raid on the taxpayer shows he is up there with any other politician, happy to line his pockets with gold,"
he said..

Do read the rest of the article. And have a look at the video below on UKIP

Ukip leader boasts of his £2m in expenses Politics The Observer: