Friday, February 05, 2010

Perfect Timing For Fiddlers Three

Three New Labour MPs and a Tory peer have been charged with fiddling expenses. So why has it taken so long to bring them to book? And why has none had the decency to quit parliament?

The timing and handling could not have been better if it had been planned.

New Labour MPs Morley, Chaytor and Devine along with Tory peer Hanningfield now face a number of expenses charges under the Theft Act, which could see the four face up to seven years behind bars.

Hanningfield has quit his frontbench Tory position in the Lords but hanging onto his ermine. Chaytor and Morley were suspended from the parliamentary Labour party way back in May. The Party has banned the New Labour three from standing as candidates at the election.

But during the whole sordid saga, none of the three have quit forcing sticky by-elections. Mysteriously none were 'arrested' today and all three are set to draw fat MPs' salaries and huge commons 'golden goodbyes'.

Specialist police working with the Legg audit had been investigating expenses abuses since the Telegraph blew the whistle on the greedy MPs' sordid scandal in May last year.

Files on just six lawmakers left in the frame were handed to state prosecutors in November following the police probe, after a two-pronged attack with the Telegraph chasing commons cheats and the Sunday Times in hot pursuit of Lords a-leaping in second homes scams.

The Telegraph reported at the time those facing prosecution were Morley, Chaytor and Devine and peers Uddin, Hanningfield and Clarke.

Announcing the charges today, CPS boss, Starmer, said that "one further case was still being investigated", while there was "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against New Labour peer Clarke. Which kinda leaves New Labour peer Uddin.

Now out of all the crooks, cheats and chancers in the House of Shame, the CPS reckons only four can be brought to book with a 'reasonable' chance of conviction and if it is 'in the public interest' to bring prosecutions.

All four deny any criminal wrongdoing and are due to appear in court next month. But with perfect timing, no criminal trial would be expected to take place this side of the general election. And there are reports of an outrageous bid by the New Labour three to wriggle out of court, claiming parliamentary privilege. Fat chance.

Today's CPS announcement follows yesterday's damning verdict on MPs' expenses with half a house full of greedy MPs named and shamed and ordered to repay more than £1 million swindled from taxpayers.

But Legg's 'crackdown' was dogged with doubt after it emerged dozens of MPs have been allowed to dodge repayment demands, disappearing in a fog of appeals and audits.

Voters were left bothered and bewildered with more knights galloping around than round King Arthur's round table.

The sordid saga of MPs' expenses has disappeared in a muddled mess. A much needed cleansing of the rotten stench of corruption can only now begin with 'root and branch' reform to sweep away the gravy train.

But the expenses racket is set be buried with a watered down Kelly, an unelected cosy crony quango to take away the heat and a criminal trial long after the election dust has settled.

Wannabe MPs, hoping Legg's public punishment would draw a line under the sordid saga, have been sorely disappointed. The stain on the House of Shame was never going to vanish with a spot of Legg remover.

A bitter aftertaste lingers in the throats of voters, angry at a House full of fudge, riddled with expenses cheats hopping on an appeals bandwagon.

Criminal charges are a welcome start to rid the House of the stench of corruption.

But as the Orange Party noted yesterday, until an election, the rotten carcass of MPs' expenses will continue to fester away, leaving angry taxpayers, who footed the bill for their lavish lifestyles, still baying for blood. And the New Labour three laughing all the way to the bank on their way to court.

Top picture: Hanningfield, Chaytor, Devine and Morley face expenses charges


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fiddling MPs Dodge Expenses Crackdown

Greedy MPs have swindled taxpayers out of over £1 million with half the House forced to pay back their ill-gotten gains. But crooks, cheats and chancers have wriggled out of the farce of a crackdown, disappearing in a fog of appeals and audits.

Brown's expenses-buster-in-chief is set to deliver a 'devastating' damning verdict on the troughers. Guido is setting up a splendid running blog of the sinners.

Taxpayers will find out today the names of more than 350 fiddling MPs who haven't got a leg to stand on, after been ordered to repay over £1 million following Legg's audit of their shoddy expenses claims.

But Legg's 'crackdown' has been dogged with doubt after it emerged dozens of MPs have been allowed to dodge repayment demands.

Legg is expected to pull no punches, making it clear he thought the whole system was corrupt. MPs have no one to blame but themselves for milking a system rotten to the core, establishing a “culture of deference” which allowed flourishing abuses.

The sordid saga of MPs' expenses has disappeared in a muddle of watchdogs, audits and inquiries after the Telegraph first blew the whistle many moons ago. Some MPs will leg it, some cried foul and appealed and others have still to face the courtroom music.

Legg came under fire from some MPs by retrospectively changing the expenses rules on cleaning and gardening after the scandal broke, leaving dozens of MPs, including Brown, forced to cough up repayments.

So step forward former judge Kennedy, hearing a whopping 73 appeals against repayments, sometimes cutting the amounts to be repaid by five-figure sums, according to the Telegraph, which reckons at least 30 of the 73 appeals had their repayments scrapped or reduced.

Redacted receipts, party star chambers, visits by Yates of the Yard and more knights than around Arthur's round table. At the last count the Orange Party reckons there's one Legg and a couple of Kennedys wandering around. And has anyone here seen Kelly? The commons sleazebuster accused MPs today of going along with a flawed system.

With so many confusing 'watchdogs' wagging their tails, often at odds with each other, no wonder voters are left bothered and bewildered.

MPs, hiding behind the smokescreen of blaming the commons fees office, have been flushed out by Legg, who blames them, rather than the office, for allowing abuses to develop.

Meanwhile the 'independent' parliamentary standards authority, IPSA, shows little sign of living up to its name. And a separate audit of MPs' expenses by the national audit office will not be published until after the election.

The long overdue Kelly review is set to give the House of Shame a much needed cleansing of the rotten stench of corruption, with a 'root and branch' reform to sweep away the gravy train. But too late for the current bunch of troughing MPs faced with Legg's £1 million payback.

The rotten ball has been kicked into touch in the wiggle room. Now the expenses racket is set be buried in a muddle of deceit and self-serving self-interest, dodgy appeals, a watered down Kelly and a cosy unelected, unaccountable quango to take away the heat.

The Legg report makes depressing reading for voters already thoroughly angry and disillusioned with the corrupt state of politics.

Wannabe MPs ready to do battle in the election will be hoping Legg's public punishment, naming and shaming fiddling MPs, will draw a line under the sordid saga. But the scandal has left a sorry stain on the House of Shame and a bitter taste for voters.

Trust in parliament and MPs is at an all-time low. Legg will do little to assuage the anger, highlighting a House full of fudge, riddled with expenses cheats hopping on the appeals bandwagon.

Until an election, the rotten carcass of MPs' expenses will continue to fester away, leaving angry taxpayers, who footed the bill for their life of Riley, still baying for blood.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

90 Days And Counting

The election countdown clock is ticking away. Election weary voters are suffocating in the fog of a phoney war. 90 days and counting, reckons wobbling Dave. Just pray he's got that one right.

Cameron is always at his best when he is forced into a corner and has to come out fighting. Brings out Mr Angry in Mr Ambition.

Today's PMQ exchange was a walk-over for Dave, helped by a plant over the struggling Supreme Leader's secret 'slush fund'.

Boy did the Tories need it. The New Labour media narrative was winning the day. A narrowing of the push polls, Dave on his downers and the country being pushed over the cliff with a hung parliament.

Crafty Cameron delivered a classic put down line as he honed in on Brown sauce electoral 'reforms', with plans to switch from FPTP to AV:

“After thirteen years in power and 90 days from a general election, what first attracted the Prime Minister to changing the voting system?”

90 days? Election date speculation has mounted in recent weeks with St George's Day the crunch day for miracle 'growth' and a miracle cure for spinners pinning hopes on recovery as part of the cunning election ploy.

Will recession depression set in again or will bouncy Brown bounce back on the back of a whopping increase in growth to a staggering 0.16 percent of GDP?

GDP 'growth' is tottering on the brink, looking decidedly delicate. But a fag-end government is putting its money on a last roll of the 'recovery' dice.

Bottling Brown could surprise everyone, including himself, by making it snappy any day now or string it out until the bitter end. But the smart money's on 90 days and May 6 .

At last the depression will be over for Borrowing Brown and everything hunky-dory in La-La-Land.

The election date is one of the few in the gift of a prime minister - along with picking cabinet cronies and using the PM's prerogative to bypass parliament and the civil service.

The Orange Party fully expected Bouncy Brown to go for it in early 2009 while still riding the crest of a wave, after infamously bottling it in 2007. But why listen to political strategists when you are convinced of your own rectitude.

Tory screw-ups, eagerly seized on by the fawning media classes with everything to lose, put the blue/green party on the back-foot looking a dodgy shade of grey.

New Labour had finally got its act together, rallying the faltering faithful and blogging like there is no tomorrow - and for most of them, there probably isn't.

Over the last few days, down in the dumps New Labour had managed to capture the narrative and call in favours to diss Dave. Helped by Mandy's kind advice that Cameron was 'bobbing around like a cork'.

Mandy may just have given the Tories a wake-up call and kick up the backside they need. Today's PMQs showed Cameron's conservatives are back on form.

Slamming Brown with a damning Chilcot claim that he starved the Mod of vital Iraq and Afghan equipment on his treasury watch, was a warm up warning of things to come.

Only 90 days. And if you read this at one minute past midnight - it will be only 89 days. How time flies.

Top picture: Private Eye cover, November 2009


Climate Change Zealots Disgrace Science

'Climate change scientists' are being left out in the cold after being exposed as charlatans, as the man-made climate change con goes big time. The media can't get enough gates, reporting every twist and turn of the global warming scandal. Does the Orange Party feel sorry for those poor AGW 'scientists' and their pals? Not a bit of it.

The Climategate scandal was bad enough. Then the Floodgates opened with Glaciergate, Amazongate, Disastergate, Chinagate. Poor old Thermometergate hardly got a look in.

The casualty has been the honourable reputation of real scientists, slogging away with real research.

At the heart lies flawed scientific methodology, data manipulated to fit in with preconceived politics, usual rules over peer review abandoned and a climate change club which doesn't welcome robust scientific challenge or anyone who doesn't fit into their cosy eco-world.

The MSM is on the case. Hardly a week goes by without the discredited 'science' dealt another blow. Today's diet comes from The Times and Guardian, leaving the BBC and 'climate change' minister, Miliband, out in the cold, along with magazines Newsweek and Nature.

It's a year since the Orange Party was forced to issue a weather warning to 'beware the climate change conmen'. Man-made global warming is a global con to prop up the Met Office money-making machine and fuel carbon trading greed.

Not prepared to be bullied by eco-fundamentalists, the Orange Party has long believed the man-made global warming myth was an elaborate money-spinning hoax. The 'world's leading climate scientists' are more dedicated to promoting an alarmist political agenda than scientific research.

Man-made pollution and man-made greed are the culprits, not poor souls forced to read by dim energy-saving light bulbs. As the Wall Street Journal says: Follow the money.

The blogosphere has been on the ball since the ice ages. But kick starting credit goes to an unlikely source - BBC regional TV weatherman Hudson, who in October 2009 dared to ask: What happened to global warming? Pointing to the fact that "the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998."

Auntie got her thermal knickers in a twist. Climategate was born, picked up in the US by Fox. Real environmental scientists took up the cudgels.

Predictions were based on dodgy, discredited climate change computer models. Political wannabes had seized on the latest craze to jump on a greenwash bandwagon. Climate change fuelled fear. A new weapon in a politician arsenal.

The Climategate scandal was a breath of fresh air, as embarrassing leaked emails from the university of East Anglia climate research unit (CRU) revealed that 'climate' scientists 'hid' flaws in key global warming data. But that was the tip of the iceberg.

Hard on the heels came Glaciergate with 'scientists' accused of 'scientific fraud', after it was revealed a prediction in an IPCC report that the Himalayan glaciers could all disappear by 2035 was wildly exaggerated and based on a casual remark by a single Indian scientist.

To add insult to injury, Amazongate came along, with Delingpole reporting: "Not content with having lied to us about shrinking glaciers, increasing hurricanes, and rising sea levels, the IPCC’s latest assessment report also told us a complete load of porkies about the danger posed by climate change to the Amazon rainforest."

All roads lead back to back to CRU's Climategate and the IPCC, with the UN's climate change panel caught out making unfounded claims, forcing an embarrassing admission of false predictions on the glacier meltdown.

Chinagate debunked the link between humans and global warming (AGW). Rising temperatures in China were due to the warming effects of big cities rather than global climate changes.

And spare a thought for Thermometergate, with only one reporting thermometer north of 65 degrees in freezing Canada. Thermometers in Siberia? Not a lot.

Hurricanegate? A disaster. 'The dam is cracking', according to the BBC's Neill, laying bare the IPCC mess.

AGW 'scientists' deliberately set out to trick and mislead. How long will it take for the sheer skullduggery of the climate change zealots to be laid to rest, along with the whole 'man-made global warming' scam?

Data was skewed to fit in with a half-baked political agenda, throwing out facts which did not support an ideological stance. Science became only what AGW zealots deemed is science. Truth only that which which fitted into a narrow minded view of the complexities of nature's long rich cycles.

The public has been deliberately taken for a ride on the AGW eco-bus, when brutal reality is staring them in the face but hard to swallow. Pollution and greed are the culprits.

"Recent controversies over scientific data have not undermined efforts to tackle global warming," minister Miliband insisted, telling the BBC it would be "profoundly irresponsible" to use one "mistake" as an excuse not to act.

Man-made global warming has lost its popular appeal but some politicians still go with the flow. Miliband reckons it would be "devastating for future generations" to misinterpret them. Damaging sure, for someone desperate to hang on to a vast empire of the sun and the grand "department of energy and climate change."

The chickens of the "greatest scandal in modern science" have finally come home to roost.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bitter Short Spits Blair Venom

Blair's booby trap, Bitter Short, has spit venom at her former boss, pouring out her heart and hatred at the Chilcot whitewash. But the ex-cabinet minister didn't have the guts to quit at the time, instead backing warmongering Blair's illegal war. Short needs a wake-up call, not another audience.

The Orange Party has little time for Short.

For all her protestations now, the New Labour minister voted for Blair's war on the back of a pack of lies, leaving 179 UK soldiers dead along with hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and an almighty mess.

Cook was a politician of principle, delivering a devastating resignation speech on the eve of war. Short blew her chance as the only other New Labour MP with an ounce of principle and dignity, by staying on.

Getting short shrift from Campbell, who told Chilcot “she was very difficult to handle”, implying she might leak like a sieve, Short was a loose cabinet cannon. Campbellspeak that she refused to be bullied and beaten into submission.

Short's 'testimony' to Chilcot had the whiff of ancient history - resurrected when the now Independent MP set out her stall for Chilcot on Marr's TV sofa on Sunday.

There’s no love lost between Short and Blair. To hear her again wade into Blair and his cronies satisfied some of the blood lust for warmongering Blair and the Mail. A refreshing counterpoint helping to ease the pain of sitting through six hours while the slippery showman lectured Chilcot.

The “preachy” PM’s evidence to Chilcot was “ludicrous,” she told Marr, repeating her view to Brown's Chilcot placemen that Blair's cabinet was "misled" into thinking the war with Iraq was legal.

Attorney general Goldsmith had been "leaned on" to change his advice before the invasion. Blair "and his mates" decided war was necessary and "everything was done on a wing and a prayer." All good stuff with the ring of truth.

Slamming Blair's account as "historically inaccurate", she added: "I believed them at the time. You don't want to disbelieve your prime minister in the run-up to war and you want to believe the leader of your party. You want to be loyal."

But Short was loyal with one hand and holding out for a plumb job as she took the Blair shilling with the other. Only to later wake up and realise it was all a "con". In stark contrast to the honourable Cook who saw through the lies and quit.

No word from Short on pal Brown, recalling only how they cuddled up "having cups of coffee with me and saying 'Tony Blair's obsessed with his legacy and he thinks he can have a quick war and then a reshuffle'."

Blair “marginalised” Brown in the build-up to the war, she told Chilcot. The then chancellor neither opposed nor supported the invasion, she told Marr.

Which leaves Bunkered Brown facing Chilcot in complete denial, denying a war even took place on his treasury watch.

But for all her faults and failing for the anti-war lobby, Short has one redeeming feature which has stuck in the throat of the Orange Party.

Once asked how she thought Blair has changed over the years, she gave a spine chilling reply: "He developed a taste for war."

Mid pictures Scarfe, Sunday Times, Private Eye


Beware Papers Bearing Push Poll Gifts

Down in the dumps New Labour is now capturing the media narrative, rallying flagging troops and calling in favours to diss Dave. Leading the charge today is the Indy, pushing the boat out with a push poll. Beware of pollsters and papers bearing gifts. Opinion polls are a double edged sword.

Election weary voters are bogged down in the fog of a phoney war, vividly illustrated in the latest 'exclusive' ComRes poll for the Independent.

A scant glance shows Tory support back into single figures, New Labour narrowing the gap.

But the figures are Con 38%(nc), Lab 31%(+2), LibDem 19%(nc). The narrowing of the lead is down to New Labour increasing its support, not a tide turning move against Cameron.

To be expected voters' intentions are starting to harden as the election draws near and traditional Labour supporters come off the fence.

But such a poll fits in well with the New Labour media narrative of a narrowing of the polls, Dave on his downers and the country being pushed over the cliff with a hung parliament.

And it allows Brown's bruiser, Whelan, to rally the faltering faithful and twitter away: "Tories will be spluttering in their caviar and cornflakes when they read Sylvester, Riddell, Stephens, Grice and Richards. All turn on Cam."

Er, not quite. Maybe caviar at your private boarding school, Charlie boy. But the poll also shows New Labour is failing to make significant inroads. A seven percent lead is a whopping margin this close to polling day - but not enough to overturn an inbuilt anti-Tory election system with a landslide majority.

Opinion polls are only as good as the samples, weighings and questions asked - or as Wells at UK polling points out - the questions not asked.

The election will be won and lost in the marginals. Here all parties' private polling is kept well under wraps, though the current predicted outcome is a Tory majority of around 70.

But the poll allowed the Indy to splash the New Labour narrative all over the front page with a Tory bashing 'no confidence in Cam" headline and gleeful copy.

Only it doesn't.

As both Smithson and Wells have been quick to point out - the headline is not justified in analysis of the polling questions. "For readers might be surprised to learn that participants in the survey were not asked whether they had confidence in Tory economic polices."

The headline 'Vote of No Confidence in Tory economic policies' appears to be based on the finding that 82% believe that “Mr Cameron should be clearer over what he would do about the economy” with 13 per cent disagreeing".

The Orange Party has said many times before that Cameron was having it too easy, kissing babies, trying to look cool, sitting back and watching New Labour tear itself apart as a decade of failure and disaster blew up in their faces.

Shining a searing light on Cameron's Conservatives is just what spin doctors ordered and voters wanted. But handled well without 'bobbing around like a cork' and voters may be able to spot a grain of trust which is where the key battle ground between Cameron and Brown lies.

New Labour is now deeply entrenched with its crony tentacles and placemen reaching out far and wide, as Oborne has pointed out, not least in the media classes.

Seizing on a 'good news' event and milking it for all its worth - at the same time keeping Liability Brown well out of the way until he can make the guest appearance coming over all statesmanlike, seems to appeal to much of the media.

But pumping out Brown sauce and knocking Cameron is all part of the ploy to Brownbeat election weary voters into submission. Dave needs to heed Mandy's advice - get a grip and be bold. Tories have enough cash to splash around to come up with a few killer strategies without fluffing their lines.

The free for all can continue right up until Bottling Brown names the day. Then strict election impartiality laws kick in for broadcast news. The MSM will be forced to come out, come down and take sides, taking their hacks and commentators with them.

Opinion polls will come thick and fast. And not all interpretation will be as blatantly biased as that of the Indy.

Old Sophocles summed it up after the crafty Greeks pulled a fast one on the Trojans: "Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well, 
So now I find that ancient proverb true, 
Foes' gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none."

Mid pictures: Private Eye