Friday, September 11, 2009

Cuts Battle Gets Breath Of Fresh Air

Voters suffocating in the spin of spurious 'cuts' have been given a breath of fresh air in a ground breaking report spelling out exactly where the axe should fall. New bedfellows, the TaxPayers' Alliance and Institute of Directors, have come up with a sensible £50 billion shopping list.

The public is being taken for a general election ride as the battle of the cuts hots up. Neither party is prepared to come clean with concrete cuts. But swinging cuts are on the cards to tackle the country's mounting debt crisis. To pretend otherwise is a deceitful false economy.

Now the respected employers organisation, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Taxpayers' Alliance pressure group (TPA) have joined forces with detailed proposals to save £50 billion of annual public expenditure in 32 painless steps.

The Orange Party has been take aback by the breathtaking detail from the two uneasy bedfellows. It is a lesson on how to cut spending without destroying essential public services. Add scrapping Trident and ending the wasteful Afghan War and it starts to add up.

The usual worthy suspects are there but there's more including: scrapping the useless NHS computer (saving over £1 billion) and ID cards, freezing public sector pay (saving over £6 billion), halving spending squandered on consultants (saving £1 billion), scrapping failed Sure Start (saving £1.5 billion) and wasteful Building Schools for the Future (saving £2.5 billion).

Cuts are not painless. You pays your taxes and takes your choice. But the report does set out options for reducing the crippling £175 billion debt burden after the pre-election political posturing.

The heat is on in the general election phoney war. Cuts are inevitable. Even dithering Darling has come clean about the dire state of the public purse. Cameron is starting to look like a man with a cuts plan. But both parties prefer to keep their powder dry rather than hand over ammunition to the enemy.

The report "How to save £50 billion", lays out detailed proposals to save £50 billion a year of public spending with a series of 32 practical steps which have the potential to save £42.5 billion a year from 2010-11 and a further 2 steps saving £7.5 billion that could be introduced from 2011-12.

Any talk of cuts should come with a health warning. Big public spending cuts could kill economic recovery and lead to mass unemployment but something has to give. The spoonful of £50 billion spending cuts would help the medicine go down instead of the mother's ruin of more reckless borrowing.

The Institute of Directors director general, Miles Templeman, reckons that large sums can be saved without hurting vital services. "We hope this will start a serious public debate about the best ways money can be saved, and whether the state needs to withdraw from certain activities it can no longer afford.”

The Orange Party is impressed. None of the usual wishy-washy drivel about "efficiency savings" here. Instead the report zooms in on reducing or removing unproductive items of government expenditure that don’t work, or are not essential.

Voters are no fools and they shouldn't be treated like fools. Trying to get a head round real government expenditure is a minefield of mind-numbing number crunching, deliberately spun to keep voters in the dark.

A start could be made by following the report's example and making government expenditure a tad more transparent so voters can identify further savings.

Everyone bar MPs, City fat cats and quango cronies have had to tighten their belts in the recession depression. It's time for the government to follow suit and that has to include public spending. The days of the taxpayer picking up the bill belong to boom, not bust.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, reckons the proposals offer practical, reasonable ways to save large amounts of money. "Taxpayers cannot afford to sustain the current rate of spending, and they want to see an end to their money being spent unwisely."

Meanwhile beleaguered Brown is due to crawl out of the bunker for a cosy chat at Chequers with union bosses to stitch up a deal with the Party's paymasters to stave off a cuts kicking as the Party conference season kicks off. That, as the Sun says, is no way to run a country.

The public is fed up with the arrogance of a fag-end government. No wonder deluded Brown's depressed. Show some leadership man. Come clean over cuts. Stop political point scoring and sitting on the fence.

Let the voting public have their say and decide who to trust with the inevitable axe.

Top graphic: News Of The World


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Terrorism Has Become The English Disease

The conviction of three home-grown bombers plotting to blow up thousands in mid air, blows out of the water any pretence of an 'international' threat of terrorism. Radical Islamic terrorism has become a peculiar English disease.

The Orange Party is heartily sick of the government blaming Pakistan and Afghanistan for terrorism. The root causes should be tackled here at home, not by fighting an invisible enemy in far off lands to prop up a corrupt government.

Misguided New Labour appeasement of extreme right Islamic groups and radical politicised religions just made things worse. But to admit that would be to admit a decade of failed policies.

Pakistan is being treated as the whipping boy. The Guardian quotes a senior Pakistan diplomat pointing out the terrorists, including the airlines plotters, were "born and brought up" in Britain, not Pakistan, which is being blamed for harbouring extremists plotting to attack the UK.

They may have popped over to Pakistan to learn a few tricks of the trade. But these were UK terrorists, with bombs made in the UK, to target UK air passengers with martyrdom videos spoken with UK accents.

Many of the recent terrorist outrages against the West have a UK connection. But the government is turning a blind eye to what is going on, unwilling or unable to recognise the scale and cause of the danger facing the country.

Excuses for the Afghan war are as fraudulent as the rigged elections and just as corrupt, with lame excuses for Brown's unwinnable war spun as a mythical fight against international terrorism.

Why send troops to their deaths against an invisible enemy in the killing fields and bomb the hell out of Afghan civilians when the problem lies here at home?

Millions of Muslims live in the US. Yet they are not producing 'home-grown' bombers, despite the US led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so often cited by extremists as the root cause of their grievance.

The reason lies in the strong sense of national pride and identity which has been lost here in a mishmash of pseudo liberal claptrap and political correctness. A pride and sense of belonging to a culture is just as important as the American dream.

It takes a brave soul to speak out and to say what many people know in their hearts and from their experience, for fear of facing accusations of being racist, anti-immigrant or a fascist.

Ed Husain, author of The Islamist and founder of counter-extremist think tank, Quilliam, is one voice to which those labels cannot stick. Writing in the Mail, he says what many know but are too scared or weak to say publicly.

A radicalised and self-confessed former Islamic extremist, Husain warns we have given in to the fanatics. A toxic combination of politically correct policy, denial and fear have opened the way for hate to grow in our midst.

The so-called liberal left has a long history of losing its way lurching from one cause to another, tying itself up in knots when the goodies become the baddies and vice versa. Many on the 'decent left' free of the shackles of New Labour would agree, vividly exemplified with raw examples in Nick Cohen's polemic: What's Left? How the Left has lost its way.

The Orange Party cannot understand why anyone would want to support or pay lip service to a barbaric medieval practice which subjugates women, is openly hostile to gays and wants to wipe Jews off the face of the earth.

But that probably has its origins is a misguided misunderstanding of peace-loving Muslims worshipping one of the world's greatest religions and those preaching the hate of a fascist political movement with a god attached.

Husain believes it's time to speak out about what he sees is happening, "before a terrible act of terrorism claims yet more lives".

Many Muslims may live in the UK but their hearts are in Muslim-dominated countries. Large parts of our cities have become Muslim ghettos funded by taxpayers, without a non-Muslim face in sight. "They might as well be in Pakistan or Afghanistan for all the contact they have with ordinary Britain," says Husain.

"They can send their children to Muslim state schools, go to Muslim NHS doctors, and do business at an Islamic bank. New immigrants arrive in this country to claim free local government housing, they are given a choice of Muslim areas to settle in."

Why this is allowed beggars belief. It makes the whole problem ten times worse. What is so wrong about offering new arrivals housing where they can integrate with people from our well-established rich mix of cultures?

Fresh from the ghettos, prisons and mosques have become recruiting centres for radical imams, or Islamic priests, highlighted in the excellent Channel 4 Dispatches documentaries.

Instead of protecting gullible young minds from brainwashing and radicalisation, the system encourages and directs them towards extremism.

"Time and time again," Husain points out, "I have seen Muslims go into prison as young Asian men, and return to their communities as something very different."

Satellite TV and the internet freely transmit the radical Islamic message straight into homes with thousands of UK Muslims preferring to get their news from foreign sponsored and owned Islam channels.

Pitched battles on the streets are becoming common place with the usual suspects whipping up a fanatical frenzy for their own political ends.

Damaging policies that have made the UK a seedbed for terrorists can be reversed. But unless that happens, warns Husain, "we will see further carnage on the streets."

But that means looking at the issues in the context of a 'sociological imagination", not through the eyes of a flawed politically-correct, wishy-washy pseudo-liberal nor through the eyes of a blinkered, racist bigot.

Top picture: Tanvir Hussain, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar found guilty of the airline bomb plot


Monday, September 07, 2009

Academies Giveaway A Desperate Act

Schools are being given away to the highest bidder by a desperate government in a belated bid to boost its stalled academies sham. Ditching the £2m set-up fee, school secretary Ed Balls has been forced to own up to a miserable failure. The fag-end government has resorted to freebies to foist on the public a flagging flagship of its failed New Labour brand.

Teaching unions have branded plans to scrap the £2m up front set-up costs for academy sponsors as a "sign of desperation" just to keep the discredited scheme going.

Balls says academies are moving into a "new phase", NewLabourspeak for failure.

At £2m a pop, only wealthy charities and sponsors could beg or borrow the cash, now a non-starter in recession depression.

Making it easier for private sponsors to rule the roost in English state schools, is a shameful way of playing politics with pupils.

The government is bent on privatising schools by the back door and bent on switching "failing" schools to its discredited costly PFI academies sham, handing control over to big business backers and government sympathisers.

Far from getting to grips with a class divide with any kind of level playing field, New Labour academies spin has made things worse with extra cash pumped into academies having a divisive impact on other schools in that area.

Protests from parents who have to put up with the hype of shallow academies and heavy-handed plans for more, often fall on deaf ears.

Many academies have been oversubscribed - creaming off the best kids to make them look good, leaving the dross to rot in underfunded and under-resourced bog standard comps.

Ramming dodgy ideals down gullible young throats so sponsors can get off on a high school high is despicable. Increasing the number of undemocratic, unaccountable schools makes a mockery of any pretence of listening to local opinion.

Schools are left to fight a government obsession with league tables, to produce record GCSE results, to stave off closure and meet unrealistic targets.

Refurbishment is out of the question. There's not the money to be made or favours to dole out.

What's the cost of building, equipping and staffing a new school, £10m? £170m has been squandered on ubiquitous management consultants to help them bid for shiny new schools under Building Schools for the Future, with little to show for it, according to figures obtained by the Tories under FoI.

So 170 new schools could have been built or refurbished, instead of throwing more money at New Labour cronies in a management consultancy money-spinning venture.

The then schools supremo, Andrew Adonis, surprised many when government moves to privatise state schools and hand them over to undemocratic business backers, were revealed last year with plans for a huge expansion of the flagging academies programme.

The Orange Party is incensed by the idea of more New Labour academies spin and a further 'focus on failure and closure' with a ruthless switch to discredited academies.

What was a twinkle in Blair's starry eyes became a byword for sleeze. City academies were at the centre of the 'Cash for Honours' political scandal when academy business backers were given peerages in return for New Labour Party loans.

Academies are nothing more than a shabby sham with smoke and mirrors accounting to hide away public spending and debt. The programme is a not-so-clever way of building schools under the discredited PFI scheme, to keep the building off the public balance sheet.

Pupils are handed over to an army of non-elected education consultants and bureaucrats in privately managed academies, out of the control of the local education authorities. Pupils are 're-educated' to suit dodgy ideals. Targets are manipulated by sympathisers to suit their own ends.

The government has already earmarked 638 schools in England as 'failures' under the National Challenge programme. They face funding cuts and a switch to the academy programme, unless they meet unrealistic GCSE targets and toe the line. Expanding the academies programme further will result in more schools branded as 'failures'.

But desperate times call for desperate measures if the fag-end government is to press ahead with its private plan to build shiny new temples to New Labour.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Is Brown On Drugs For Depression?

Startling claims the struggling Supreme Leader suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and depression raise doubts whether deluded Brown is fit for purpose. Is Brown 'on drugs for depression'?

The prime minister is a man too ill to be holding the Office. That is the stark conclusion of a senior civil servant, according to blogger and journalist, John Ward, who claims Brown is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder as well as drug controlled depression.

The Orange Party often lapses into adjectival reporting with a deluded Brown here and a struggling Supreme Leader there and has long pondered and posted whether it will be men in grey suits or white coats who will come and take him away. But that's born out of sheer frustration, rather than any evidence of Brown's mental condition.

On his website Ward claims there are signs the PM is taking powerful drugs to control both depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Ward bases his claims on a tip-off from a senior civil servant that Brown has recently been given a "long list of forbidden foods", spilling the beans that Brown had been banned from eating and drinking several specific things like cheese, Chianti and over-ripe avocados "because of the drugs he's on".

Apparently certain foods are banned for people taking MAOI drugs used to treat major depression when other anti-depressant drugs have failed. The MAOI drugs can be potentially dangerous if the patient eats or drinks the wrong thing.

A high-ranking treasury official told nby "In both a physical and mental sense, the Prime Minister is a very sick man, seriously disabled."

Another government source claimed "He is now on pills which restrict the foods he can eat and what he can drink. He is losing the sight of his good eye quite rapidly. It's a mess, and nobody knows what to do".

Rumours about Brown's health and mental state are nothing new. It's on record he's already blind in his left eye and has been losing sight in his right.

Back in 2004, Simon Heffer writing in the Spectator saw the writing on the wall. The prospect of Brown becoming PM, he wrote, should fill all sane people with dread. Brown, he observed, displayed many signs of Asperger's Syndrome. Rude, socially disorientated with obsessive topics of conversation, insisting on rules, insisting on routines.

The signs are there. Ballooning weight brought on by bunkered Brown's junk food binge. A gift for satirists with a demented YouTube video. The constant clunking fist and jaw clenching habit at PMQs and embarrassing need to churn out tractor statistics with every parliamentary answer.

An obsession with "just getting on with the job", "global problems require global solutions", ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Nothing can be proved. Downing Street can deny, spin or dismiss it all as anti-Brown smears. But Ward points out that "Brown's entourage must be sending out strict dietary requirements ahead of his regularly catered public engagements; one could even monitor what he eats on such occasions."

"It's a farce and utterly disgraceful," says Ward. "There isn't a mandarin in Whitehall who's unaware of Brown's condition ... yet won't lift a finger to bring it to the public's attention. We are being let down at every turn by the spineless Establishment running this country."

If true then why hasn't it all come out? Is it Westminster's best kept open secret? Fed-up and frustrated bloggers are forever moaning about the 'prime mentalist'?

Fleet Street editors have a habit of keeping schtum with a pact for the sake of a high office of state or the high ranking elite - until someone spills the beans or there's a deliberate timely leak in an Edward and Mrs Simpson moment.

Significantly, bully-boy Brown's rule by fear, smear and blackmail with a ruthless cabal of 'reservoir dogs' was quick to come out in the press - but only after Guido's McPoison scandal and Smeargate revelations. And they're still at it, smearing the new Army chief.

Upside down loyalty comes from some Labour MPs, resigned to a savage beating at the general election, mistakenly believing if Billy-no-mates Brown is down and out, that beating would turn into a total wipe-out. It suits the Tories to keep Incapability Brown. They'd do anything to leave liability Brown where he is.

His temper tantrums, throwing things around and screaming at secretaries "Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me", are reported more as a joke rather than symptoms of an underlying mental state and cause for concern. Are many a true word only spoken in jest?

The die is cast. Alea iacta est. The battle for hearts and minds and votes has been lost. Opinion polls cite boring Brown's ever dwindling popularity for a fall in Party ratings. The Sun has called his leadership into question over the handling of the Afghan war which rightly captures and reflects the public mood.

Bouncy Brown reportedly returned refreshed from his long summer hols. But Macavity Brown had a miserable first week back – the handling of the al-Megrahi controversy, the handling of Brown's War. Lurching from one disaster to another.

The pressure on beleaguered Brown is mounting as the conference leaving party and general election draw closer. The Guardian's Matin Kettle has already kicked off the Brown coup season.

Two-faced Brown's double-dealing over Lockerbie prompted the Orange Party to ask: Can Brown survive the Lockerbie storm? While not touching directly on Brown's mental state, Peter Oborne asks those questions in Saturday's Mail, reaching the conclusion that Brown is simply not up to the job.

The issue now is whether the country can afford "yet more of Brown's weakness, dithering, dishonesty and evasion." It is time he says, Gordon Brown, was cut adrift.

Evasive, indecisive and unpersuasive - how can such a Prime Minister govern, asks Matthew d'Ancona in the Sunday Telegraph. His damning character flaws have been laid bare.

Battered Brown is clinging on to power in the vane hope he can fulfil his lifelong ambition to become an 'elected' prime minister. But Oborne reckons Brown may be approaching his Cromwell moment: 'You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!'

Heffer, in his 2004 article, referred to Brown as a conviction politician "so convinced of his rectitude that he seems to think those with a different opinion must require psychiatric help."

As Paul Merton once quipped on Have I Got News For You: "You've got to feel sorry for the man - he's waited all this time to become prime minister only to realise he's not up to the job."

That's enough to drive anyone round the bend.