Friday, 8 May 2009

Quantative Easing: Sound Policy or Monumental Fuck-up?

I've said before its most likely to be the second option.

Someone else has read the tea leaves and agrees.

After the current allowances debacle has died down, this will be the next thing to bite the government's collective arse.

I did say it would end in tears and only this week hinted that Gordon Broan is the master of the cluster-fuck. Well, the big G and his clown cabinet are heading for another banana skin real soon.

Summer election anyone? I'm checking the odds.

Parliamentary Pigsty: A clash of Culture?

I've seen plenty on the blogs, TV and elsewhere today about MPs allowances, especially criticising MPs for justifying them. But I can see where they are coming from.

Theres a clash here: one the one hand, you have ordinary citizens who exist in an expenses-led culture, where you pay money out and then you get re-imbursed after providing receipts of expenses incurred, with pretty tight control of what is and isn't allowed. Thats how the private sector works.

On the other hand, MPs work in an allowance culture, where the allowance is provided, its for the MP to claim. To not claim, would mean losing out on money that they are entitled to. Hence you get MPs claiming "it was only within the rules" and "I never maximised my allowance"
They are told by civil servants that they are entitled to this money under certain (pretty lax) circumstances and so claim a large portion of it; but not the whole amount, so as to appear pious.

I hope you see the difference.

Basically MPs are justifying themselves by saying "I didn't rip off the taxpayer to the full extent allowed by the rules". They think what they are doing is right and proper, because the rules allow it. Nothwithstanding the fact that Joe or Jane Public can't comprehend the justice in a system that allows an MP to fit mock tudor beams to their house courtesy of the taxpayer, nor a system that lets an MP decide that three or more houses they own each individually (at some time or other) are classified as their second home and therefore able to be refurbished at the taxpayer's expense.

No, the public see mock tudor beams as in no way related to the work an MP does and the flipping of first and second (or third or fourth) homes as a cynical way to upgrade a portfolio of property at taxpayers expense.

Thats where the clash lies: were the MPs be able to justify any of the items they spent money on as legitimately related to their work as an MP, then there would be no row, no outcry.

MPs have not yet grasped that concept. I'm sure over the coming week that it will be driven home to them just how untenable their position is.

Parliamentary Pig Sty Exposed.

Its about time I added my thoughts to the several blogs and comments that have sprung up around this morning's publication of MPs expenses.

Nick Robinson calls it "small beer" compared to fraud in other countries (I'd like to point out he keept the F-word in his blog). I commented on his blog that it isn't small beer at all: this shows up the whole self-serving, stinking mess we have for a Parliament.

Others have said in better words than I can muster just how rotten this situation is: where a Parliament serves itself and its cronies rather than the people, that uses the "anti-terror" excuse to legislate against the people, that ignores democratic process and legislates by statutory instrument rather than by debate and votes in the houses of Parliament.

I really, really hope this opens the eyes of the voters, that they remember this and do something wonderful and different at the next election. Voting for whichever independant MP stands in your constituency would be a start. Remember, the majority of people eligible to vote, DIDN'T vote for this government. If that majority got off its arse and voted independant at the next election, we might see chaos, we might see a return of democracy, but at least we'd see CHANGE!

The WORST thing that could happen is that voters vote for more of the same, this time with the Conservatives at the helm. Voting in any of the parties will just perpetuate an undemocratic, corrupt system of government.

Another point I raised in my comment on NR's blog is how this reveals the cosy relationship between the press and Parliament. Why were these practices not revealed earlier? What state of affairs can arise whereby the government can effectively silence the press? Its high time this too was investigated and measures put in place through legislation to stop governments coercing the press by whatever means.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Phil Woolas Stitched up by Joanna Lumley

I really love this video. The body language says it all. I do love seeing Politicians squirm.

I'm sure the whole cabinet will be sqirming tonight and into tomorrow now that the Telegraph has got the disk with MPs expenses on it. They're publishing the expenses details of cabinet members first, but the rest will follow over the next few days. I for one am buying a Telegraph tomorrow if nothing else but to reward them for having the guts to pay for the disk and publish the contents. It needed to be done.

Caroline Flint for Labour Leader?

I just get a sense in the air that this might be a possibility.

No other reason. But I might put a bet on it.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

More Evidence the State Thinks Your Children are Theirs, not Yours.

Here, in the Telegraph.

A woman has taken her handicapped daughter out of special school, because she wasn't making any progress. She's now being taught at home.

Now the local authority have convened a case conference under child abuse laws, which may force the parents to send their daughter back to school, saying that in their opinion children are better off mixing with other kids.

Now forgive me for being blunt, but this little girl has a condition that will mean she won't ever hold down a job, so whats the point in forcing her to be "educated"? Far better to have her at home happy and well cared for, than forced into some regime which in her parent's view isn't doing her any good.

What next? Force disabled kids into mainstream schools to provide some twisted freak-show and entertainment for the normally abled kids? Don't think it doesn't happen, my Autistic son was forced into mainstream thanks to Oxford LEA's dogmatic policy. No suggestion an alternative might be appropriate.

This story is appaling: To tar the parents with the same brush as those that beat, molest and kill their children is obscene.

Just another reason why ministers, councillors and managers in charge of social services policy should get a grip on reality or fuck off. I really am wound up that when social services are needed to take difficult decisions and stand up to truly abusive parents and carers they walk away, but when it comes to picking on ordinary, amenable, truly caring folk they jump all over them with hobnails on.

The same goes for the old lady taken by social services (with backup from several Police officers) into a care home her daughter deemed unsuitable.

What fucked-up country is this where Politicians espouse the values of family, when social services and others employ policies which usurp the family status? Your children are not your own, your parents are not your own. They are the State's chattels and can be removed from you, tortured or even legally killed at the whim of civil servants.

I'm fucking ashamed of what my country has become.

This picture says it all:

My Grandfather worked on destroyers fighting Nazi U-Boats in order to maintain our freedom. Just what he'd make of the sorry, undemocratic, road-to-totalitarianism mess we're in now I hate to think. Apart from I suspect he'd say "fuck it, why bother?".

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Joanna Lumley Snubbed by No10?

Joanna Lumley says she wrote to number 10 3 times about the Ghurka issue, but never received any aknowledgement. No10 deny this and say they replied to each letter.

I know who I believe.


Joanna Lumley has seen the Prime Minister and says she "trusts him to do the right thing". He's resigning?? Oh, sorry, I think she meant about the Gurkhas. Aparrently Gordo has taken matters into his own hands (oh fuck) and will have a solution (hopefully for the Gurkhas, not the final solution)to the problem by the end of May.

So, anyone taking any bets on how mind-bogglingly badly he fucks this one up?


Er, I hate to say I told you so.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Labour MPs Ponder move to Lib-Dems

The BBC has the story here.

The Lib-Dems would be fools to take in just any old Labour defector.

After all, if they defect are they moving to the Lib-Dems for the rights reasons? Are they defecting because Labour ideology is moving to the Left, or are they defecting just so they have a better chance of staying on the Westminster gravy-train?

I know what I think.