Saturday, June 21, 2008

Les Miserables

If government minister, Tom 'Bummer' Harris, wants more reasons why people are so 'miserable',  he can take a look at this report today, which shows average families have seen their disposable income drop by £8 a week in the past year. 

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) points out that adding in the effect of more expensive essential spending - such as transport fares, utility bills, food, clothes and housing - meant that these families now had, typically, just £131 left to spend on other things - a drop of 6%.

Harris, with his patronising remarks, said he just wanted to "kick start a debate". 

He would do well to look instead at his own government's policies over the last ten years which have deliberately created and encouraged a debt culture with too easy credit and unchecked loans. He could get away with the artificial 'feel good factor' if prices remained stable. 

But now, rising prices and debt repayments are eating away at disposable income. And that's why people are so miserable.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Miserable 'Bummer' Harris

Smug-faced transport minister, 'Tom' Harris, says he just wanted to "kick start a debate" with his pathetic remarks on Britain's "miserable" attitude. Harris just wants to "understand". How patronising. How very New Labour. Why doesn't he just get out of his cosy bubble and talk to people.

"I want to understand why adults find it so hard to find contentment when we have so much material wealth - people seem to find it difficult to achieve real happiness", he said. What a bummer.

Sucking up to his idol Brown may well get him promotion out of the unglamorous world of transport - there may be a job going soon over at culture and media - much more his style. But it will cut no ice with real people. 

For ten years his boss has deliberately created a debt culture, where people have been forced and encouraged to spend on plastic and take out unchecked loans, to prop up the ailing economy and encourage the 'feel good factor'.

Now Brown's failed economic policies are coming home to roost. People are left with the legacy of crippling debt and there's no way out of it for them. 

Food bills, gas and electricity bills, mortgages and fuel prices are rising. But the credit card and loan repayments are eating away at the income. It doesn't add up and they are left to wonder how on earth they can get out of the debt trap. 

So now do you understand, Tom? That's why they are miserable. 

Harris is the second government minister to come out with silly remarks.

First we had 'Bloomer' Burnham and now 'Bummer' Harris. While the grinning Cheshire cat's away,  it seems all his little mice will play. 


Boris, The Olympic Messenger

When the 2012 London Olympics go pear-shaped, don't blame Boris. But we can already start to thank him for forcing New Labour politicians and their big business partners to start to own up to this financial shambles.

His forensic examination of the spiralling Olympics costs are already unearthing some of the skulduggery that went on behind the scenes to secure the bid. And forcing the government's main watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), to finally crawl out of the woodwork and do its job properly. 

Today the NAO highlighted the lack of a deal for construction of the Olympic Village, which is expected to cost more than £1 billion. And reported that plans for individual venues, including the main stadium and security costs were yet to be finalised.

The London Olympics is set to become one of the biggest financial disasters in the world. Its shameful legacy and financial repercussions will be there long after the the last team has flown home with their medals.

The true London Olympic cost has been full of deceit and spin since the beginning. The original bid put the cost at around £4 billion. This was later admitted to be just a number plucked out of thin air to secure the bid. Nothing like the true cost which no one can yet put a figure on. Officially it's around £9 billion but unofficially around £14 billion. It's rising by the week and there's still four years to go. 

As Mayor of London, Johnson can only observe from the side lines. The real driving force is the New Labour Elite - pushing though this fiasco as part of Blair's legacy.

Announcing a free party in the Mall in August, to 'celebrate' the handover of the Games from Beijing, London 2012 Olympics chairman, Sebastian 'Lord' Coe, described it as: "Starting the narrative of what we want to be saying about ourselves." 

Oh my goodness. It's that word 'narrative'. NewLabourSpeak. A reminder of the empty  language used for the empty Millennium Dome. An omen of what is yet to come. As for the cost? Just think of the Millennium Dome - then multiply that mess by a few thousand.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Burnham's Got Too Big For His Boots

Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti, is threatening to sue cabinet minister, Andy Burnham, who she says "set out to smear" her  and former Conservative MP, David Davis. Writing in the New Labour 'magazine', Progress, Burnham, said he found it "very curious in the man who was, and still is I believe, an exponent of capital punishment, having late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with Shami Chakrabarti."

The innuendo, said Chakrabarti, was perfectly clear.

Too right it was! This New Labour cabinet minister deserves all he gets. What a plonker! 

Who does he think he is? A stringer for a student rag? A blogger on an ego-trip? No, he's a government minister for goodness sake. 

A spokesman for Burnham is reported as saying he had not meant any offence. But that's not the point. 

Davis is a senior Conservative, a former shadow home secretary and a Conservative candidate in a by-election. Chakrabarti is the darling of the liberal left and a human rights activist. Doesn't the fool realise that she knows a thing or two about civil law. 

And what about the plonkers over at Progress

This is a published magazine. Does it have an editor and a sub? Didn't they hear even a little alarm bell? Couldn't they see a libel action staring them in the face? This was not even innocent innuendo. This is a serious allegation. A slur on the private lives of two public people. 

Hasn't anyone heard of 'running it past the lawyers just to be on the safe side'?

Hasn't anyone had to wait for ages while the duty lawyer goes through the copy line by line, weighing up the risks of publishing against the cost of any libel action? 

Are they journalists or just a bunch of New Labour kids playing at magazines and politics?

Here's some free advice for Chakrabarti. Take Burnham to the cleaners by all means but you should also go after the magazine owners and editors. It was they, not Burnham, who published the article. 


Cabinet Split Over Planning Quango

Buried deep in Blears' missing laptop and buried in a BBC report on the alleged theft, was a file giving just a small glimmer of hope to the growing campaign against the ridiculous expansion of Heathrow airport and Brown's 'eco-towns' con. 

According to the BBC, the laptop files, "also contained information that shows cabinet members disagree over the government's proposed planning laws."

Those 'proposed planning laws' are New Labour's cunning plan to by-pass the planning process with a new expensive, unelected and unaccountable planning quango.

This latest bureaucratic quango would be stuffed with New Labour cronies on fat salaries whose brief is to fast-track and nod-through pet projects. 

The proposed new planning law was due to be discussed by MPs in parliament only last week but with the increasing chance of a defeat for Brown, it was quietly shelved for the time being. 

Faced with stiff opposition from Conservatives, LibDems and back-bench Labour MPs, this didn't stand a change of getting through parliament. With the reported cabinet split on the issue, it now looks as if Brown couldn't even carry some of the New Labour faithful.

Heathrow expansion, has been exposed as just a money-making wheeze for big business, a disaster for the people who have to live nearby and it doesn't stand a chance of getting past tough new EU air quality rules. 

'Eco-towns', one of Brown's Big Ideas, have been exposed as a sham, a sneaky way of just building thousands of new houses in rural areas and  branded as 'eco-towns' as part of the spin. In the face of a huge and growing backlash, a short list of 57 was whittled down to 15, then 10.

One of the key proposals of the new planning laws is replacing accountable public inquiries with an unelected planning commission. 

This would cover massive building projects ranging from nuclear power stations, wind farms and incinerators, airports, new towns, roads and reservoirs. In fact anything that's unpopular.

But without a fast-track to ignore the planning process, these schemes could be on the back-burner for a while.


Brown Set To Tighten His Grip On Power

The new EU Treaty/Constitution has passed through the Lords and Brown has survived his last political hurdle for the time being. He can now tighten his grip on the government and the country but had better watch out for those 'events'.

Expect a cabinet reshuffle to be announced anytime soon, to give the Brownite cabinet time to settle in. Expect David Miliband's brother, Ed Miliband, to be given a more prominent position in this cabinet. 

And expect an announcement of a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq, to head off growing anger ahead of September's  Labour Party Conference. 

Thanks to his New Labour cronies in the Upper House and the shameful tactics of Euro-Boy Clegg and his LibDem peers, the new Treaty is due to be given the Royal Assent today, making a mockery of democracy.

Brown can now head off to meet the EU Political Elite and plot what to do about the Irish Question, how they can get round it and how they can create this new powerful EU state, with a full time president and sweeping powers over defence and trade. 

Bush, on his farewell world tour, has told EU leaders what he and the global corporations want from this EU superstate and with his allies in Brown and Blair, the US will get what it wants. 

The Treaty was the last political hurdle for Brown and he thinks he's  now got a clear run until the September Labour Party Conference. 

There are no nasty by-election surprises coming up, no back-bench revolts in the commons to test his leadership on the horizon and he can't sink any lower in the opinion polls because he's already off the scale.

He may be the 'unsinkable Gordon Brown' at the moment, but 'events', particularly economic ones, have a nasty habit of creeping up on you when you least expect them.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PMQs: TV Highlight Of The Week

It's that time of the week again when Headcases meets Big Brother in 'da House. Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) are a great chance for MPs to say, 'Look mum, I'm on the telly'. 

But the TV schedulers should find a better slot for it. It's hard work finding it on normal TV. 

It should be broadcast on the mainstream TV channels. After all, it only lasts for 10 minutes or so but it would need a good commentary. Harry Hill would be perfect. 

And it would be a great chance to let off steam at lunchtime. A chance to shout at the telly. A great lunchtime stress-buster.

Today's TV highlights? 

Will David Davis be allowed to speak this time and what will he say? If he does, will it be from the front bench, back bench or the corridor?

How long before Brown's clunking claw comes crashing down on the table? How long before he starts st-st-st-stammering? 

How clean and well scrubbed-up is Cameron looking today? And how small is Clegg getting? It may be the position of the fixed overhead TV cameras but he could still do with a little box to stand on. 

And there's always the chance to play politics. Who's placed next to Brown on the front bench and who is perched perilously on the edge? And who the hell are they?

But if you are still bored, there's 'Spot The Deliberately Scripted Soundbite' and which will make it on the evening TV news.

And then there's the 'plants'. Those New Labour cronies deliberately placed to ask self-congratulatory questions about tractor production figures. Last week someone even asked a planted question about bone-marrow transplants. A plant about transplants. Priceless. 

Mr Speaker is in a working class of his own. The plants are also used by the Speaker to defuse a heated debate, with New Labour even resorting to using women, yes women, so there's no flak from the courteous opposition. 

And there's the government's other device, the cries of 'Order' from the Speaker. It even floored the accomplished TV star Michael Howard last week and hindered his delivery of what was probably the best speech of the day.

But to really take-off, it all needs a snappier title - 'Stars In Their Eyes'? And for a House of Lords version, 'The Price Is Right'.


Casey Delivers Some 'Sobering' Waffle

Good to see Blair's pet New Labour 'Respect' project is alive and well and doing the rounds of the lapdogs at the BBC. It's in the sober hands of the once discredited 'respect tsar', Louise Casey.

Casey, the government's 'crime and communities adviser' (sic) undertook the year-long cabinet office review on justice and criminality which is full of the usual NewLabourSpeak and waffle. 

She was once one of Blair's New Labour darlings - charged with implementing one of Blair's most cherished domestic projects - the 'Respect' agenda - which caused more problems that it could hope to solve. 

But the woman chosen by Blair to put respect back into our life scored an own-goal over an expletive-sprinkled speech in which she joked about binge drinking.

In a recording of the speech to senior police officers, leaked to the Daily Mail, Casey was reported as telling her audience: "I suppose you can't binge drink any more because lots of people have said you can't do it. I don't know who bloody made that up; it's nonsense ... Doing things sober is no way to get things done."

The National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) said at the time: "Her outburst seemed to be wholly unacceptable behaviour. I would have thought it was a breach of the civil service code. Now she has been promoted. It's extraordinary." 

Nothing changes much in the cock-eyed world of New Labour. 


Euro-Boy Clegg Set To Save The Treaty, Again

What part of 'Liberal Democratic Party' don't the LibDems understand? This afternoon they had the chance to end once and for all the undemocratic farce that is the new EU Constitution/Treaty. Fat chance with Euro-boy Clegg in charge. 

The Treaty is due be formally ratified once it passes its final stage in the House of Lords, despite the 'No' vote by the people of the Irish Republic.

The Lords, by any reasonable test of democracy, should vote to put the new Treaty and its ratification on hold.

But the LibDems helped pave the way for the new EU Treaty/Constitution when they refused to back a UK Referendum and allowed the new Treaty to pass through the commons. 

Now LibDem peers are set to vote with the New Labour elite in the Lords and allow the ratification of the Treaty to go ahead. Strange for a political party that sets its store on democratic values. 

New Labour has tried to stuff the Lords with peers promoted for 'services to the Party' but with the Conservative Lords opposing, their vote alone won't be enough to push through the EU Constitution/Treaty. 

So enter Euro-Boy Clegg - a member of the EU Political Elite if ever there was one.

But where is Clegg coming from? In the muddled, confused world of LibDem politics, the answer is crystal clear - nobody knows. 

He has all the hallmarks of the New Labour Political Class. Real name Nicholas William Peter Clegg, like many of the Political Elite shortened to the ' call me Tony' moniker.

From prep-school to public school then Cambridge, Clegg studied Archaeology and Anthropology - what the 'nice but dim' read to get into Oxbridge with weak A-level grades (Prince Charles was one too) - then a political career in the EU as MEP.

The LibDems are going nowhere in the opinion polls but have only themselves to blame. They chose a New Labour clone who looks OK on telly. And a man who has EU written all over him. 

So LibDems and Euro-Boy, do you agree that the new EU Treaty is being bulldozed through by the UK government and Brussels? Do you agree that the Irish Referendum 'No' vote was true democracy in action? 

So why on earth are you set to vote for it?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The X-Files Strike Again

Communities secretary, Hazel Blears' laptop containing sensitive information on 'defence and extremism' has gone missing, allegedly stolen from her Salford constituency office. To lose one set of secret or sensitive files is unfortunate but to lose three in a row...

Interestingly and ominously, the BBC reports: "Nothing else was taken from the office."

So first we had some top secret documents on 'terrorism' left on a train. Handed into the BBC, not to a national newspaper nor the police.

Then another set of sensitive documents on 'terrorist funding' was left on another train and this time handed to a national newspaper, again not to the police. 

This time the sensitive documents were on Blears' laptop. 

What's she doing taking sensitive files up to Salford on a laptop? Why was the laptop left in the office and not chained to her wrist? And were all the files password protected and encrypted?

It is enough to make you wonder if this latest security breach is all part of a deliberate plan to embarrass the government.

Maybe someone out there doesn't like them.


The Extremist Worm In The Bud

Dispatches, From Jail to Jihad, was more than a brave attempt to expose the alleged radicalisation of young Muslim men in prisons and London's urban gangs. It exposed the worm in the bud. 

The Channel 4 programme, screened last night, raised fundemental questions about what has gone wrong in our society and how to tackle this problem in the country as a whole.

Radical Islam is a political ideology with God attached. It has been around for centuries but only emerged in the UK in the last ten years or so. It has nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with race and everything to do with political power. 

It has been allowed to thrive in this country because of misguided government policies and because people are just scared to speak out. Not because of any reprisals but because of the culture that's been created. 

The culture, obsessed with political correctness, misguided human rights issues, abuses of true asylum and misunderstood multiculturalism, has just made things worse. 

And people do not speak out, in case they are hauled up by the authorities for causing offence, stifling even genuine debate. 

Who or what are they supposed to be offending? There is no excuse for offending someone's religion or race, whether they are Christian, Jew or Muslim. 

But this is about political power and influence. Here, the freedom to speak out against a political view used to be a cherished right. It's what made this country healthy. 

Meanwhile, lurking in the background behind the veils and beards are the political activists - the 'preacher men' and recruiters and an army of human rights lawyers who've been allowed to flourish, skilled at getting round the mish-mash of legislation and appeals procedures. 

The authorities need a political and legal will to act, something which is sadly lacking at the moment.

It is time to take the worm in the bud and nip it in the bud. And that means making deportation quicker, easier and removing some of the legal barriers and loopholes which prevent deportation. 

In addition it should be recognised that extremists are very skilled at playing the system, a cat and mouse game and at present they can use the law and appeals procedure to wriggle out of deportation for as long as they can. 

This involves only a small minority of foreign nationals and people who have sneaked into the UK and craftily gained UK citizenship. Those radical foreign nationals who have gained UK citizenship should also have their citizenship revoked. Radicals at present locked up for minor crimes should also be deported. 

No doubt, they and their followers will try to whip up support, claim it's an outrage, continue their campaign of hatred and try to play the islamaphobic card. But anyone deported can still appeal, but that would have to be made from their country of residence. And they could still apply for short term visas to visit. 

To do this, the law and appeal process needs to be changed drastically, particularly regarding the Human Rights Act, Asylum and EU rules. 

This is difficult for the government because it would mean New Labour would have to admit that its ten years of half-baked laws and policies have only added to the problem and is beginning to affect a generation of people born and bred in this country. 

Meanwhile the agency responsible for deportation, the Home Office's Borders and Immigration Agency remains bogged down with red-tape, poorly resourced and staffed.

The last time Channel 4's Dispatches tried to raise this issue in mosques it was jumped on by West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Both the police and the CPS had to admit later that they got it wrong and apologised. 


Monday, June 16, 2008

Bush and Brown, The Mutual Admiration Society

It was the mutual admiration society today, as Bush and Brown fawned over each other. If any two men ever needed each other and deserved each other, it is these two. Both are facing disasters in public opinion polls and both are frantically searching for their legacies. 

So what do you do if your policies are a mess at home and public opinion of you is at its worst since records began? Bring on the troops and tap into national pride where you think you are on politically safe ground.

Thatcher's flagging political career was saved by the Falklands and Brown wants to try and pull it off with Afghanistan. But Thatcher knew she had public opinion on her side.

Brown has to do something to appease his new pal Bush. It's clear the UK has a timetable for pulling the troops out of Iraq, possibly with an announcement before September's Labour Party conference. He'll want it also before the next General Election so that may be sooner than we think. And the US is losing its taste for Bush and war.

Brown has to do something to show he is still right behind the US. After all, there are all those warships, troops and aircraft and huge military contracts with the US. So send more troops to Afghanistan and try to regain the political agenda. 

The war in Afghanistan was a lost cause before it started. Afghans have been fighting foreigners and each other for centuries. From the British in Victorian times, then the Soviets and now the US and the UK again. And what are we really doing there? Waging war on the invisible Taliban and at the same time protecting the poppy fields which produce most of the UK's heroin.

With some weird logic, Brown is reported as saying: "We have resolved that it is in the British national interest to confront the Taleban in Afghanistan or Afghanistan would come to us."

'We' have resolved have we? He's even using the Thatcher 'Royal We'. And the Afghans? What, come all the way from Afghanistan to the UK? Doesn't he know it's a land-locked country and they haven't got a navy or an airforce! So how do they get here? On foot? We'd see them coming a mile off. It's '45 minutes to destruction' all over again.

The number of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 reached 102 last week.

Playing politics with people's civil liberties is one thing - playing politics with people's lives in this country and abroad is shameful.


Yo, Blair! The Boys Are Back In Town

One is a powerful political force on the world stage, on a mission from God. The other is President of the United States. Bush and Blair meet today in London for breakfast, only this time there'll be no open mics to record the conversation. 

Officially Blair is meeting Bush as his Middle East envoy - but why in London and why now? 

Bush's farewell world tour is being seen as a 'lame duck president looking for a legacy'. But make no mistake Bush is still the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. 

Bush and the neocons may be on their way out but there's still months to go before he's consigned to the history books as the president who took the US to war in Iraq. And Blair is worried he too will suffer the same fate. 

After hiding away for months in his luxury Jerusalem hotel, Blair has been popping up all over the place. He popped up at Westminster the other week all empty smiles and popped up again to launch the Blair Blind Faith Foundation. 

Blair has already bought a huge house in central London and recently bought a country pile - a £4 million stately home in Buckinghamshire, just a few miles from Chequers, the prime ministerial country retreat. How convenient. 

Strange choices for someone who says he just wants to devote his life to God.

One thing we have learnt about Blair is not to trust him. He is all things to all people. That's how he and his cronies in the New Labour Project managed to fool most of the people, all of the time. Until we saw through him.

So far Blair has been richly rewarded by Bush for taking the UK into the illegal Iraq war and at the same time boosting the profits for the huge US global corporations. But the Big Prize still awaits  him.

Could it be the appointment of Blair as the new full-time permanent EU president, currently being bulldozed through by Brussels, with powers over defence and trade? That would be a US neocon's dream. Bush needs his man in Europe and Blair has never disappointed his powerful masters.

In his political novel, The Ghost, Robert Harris paints a similar picture for his Blair-esque prime minister, Adam Lang. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Bush is in London looking for his legacy on his farewell world tour. This time Brown won't dither. He will meet him, be photographed with him, touch him, sign him. Maybe they'll swap tips on what to say during both their farewell tours? 

Bush and Brown have a lot in common, with Brown even more pro-US than Blair, who will be there too to meet his old pal. 

Bush and Blair were set on destroying world peace. Brown is set on destroying this country. Bush and Blair  now seem to be in denial about the Iraq War. Brown just seems to be in denial. 

Brown is self-destructing. After bottling a General Election, dithering over Northern Rock, the 10p tax fiasco and the 42 day detention debacle, he's on a collision course with fate. 

New Labour and its ten year project is self-destructing, bringing the traditions, values, culture and civil liberties of this country down with it.

Meanwhile, as the anti-war protesters gather in London, kept at bay by the 'political police', the illustrious leaders eye up the dinner menu.