I've got a book to finish and I need to give it my full attention...I'll be back - probably in about six months. … [Read More...]
I came across this brilliant white board animation of Professor Stein Ringen’s assessment of New Labour and the state of the British Constitution purely by accident. It’s fascinating and his conclusions are absolutely on the money. See if you agree! Stein Ringen is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Oxford … [Read More...]
Regardless of the result of the Eastleigh by-election, it’s a racing certainty that the LibDems are going to be annihilated in 2015. Political oblivion beckons, and it may be that the party will cease to exist. So, if you were a Libdem, what would you do? The current leadership seems to be in denial, convinced that ‘something will turn up’. Like most politicians they believe in miracles. If you’re a Libdem right now, you have to, there’s nothing else...or is there? Desperate times call for desperate measures. There needs to be a coup. Yes, a good old fashioned coup. A coup to get rid of the tarnished Clegg, and to set the ‘new Libdems’ apart from their Tory appeasing fellow travellers. Who should lead the coup and replace Clegg? Cable is the only real option because he’s one of the few Libdem MPs who has managed to retain some of his credibility over the past two and a half years – … [Read More...]
Barclays like doing their dirty washing before anybody else does. And so it was this week when a well- rehearsed Antony Jenkins, their fresh-faced new chief executive, was pushed in front of the cameras to tell us that from now on it’s all going to be different at Barclays, that they’ve ‘learned lessons’ (if I hear that phrase once more I’ll scream – it’s bankers’ speak for ‘we’ve no intention of changing and nobody’s going to gaol, so there!’) and to apologise (only with prodding) for the appalling behaviour of the bank. One of the best interviews with Mr Jenkins was conducted by Jon Snow (see video). Jenkins started off by apologising for his role in the PPI fraud when he was head of Barclaycard. Very nice of him, I suppose. I couldn’t help thinking that he should have been sewing mail bags in Pentonville, not sitting in a television studio. Jenkins looked decidedly uncomfortable … [Read More...]
The recent Israeli election clipped Netanyahu’s wings, but there is little doubt he will be the next Israeli prime minister. Who will be his coalition partner is yet to be decided, but it could be the extreme right wing Jewish Home party, whose avowed intent is to bring about the complete annexation of the West Bank. The discussions in the coming months are not going to be about a two state solution or even a one state solution. Israel has no interest in discussing anything with anyone whatever the make-up of the coalition. Israel’s policy of ‘creeping annexation’ is effectively funded by the United States, and over the last four years, has gone unchallenged by their paymasters. Britain has been shamefully silent too, but that’s to be expected as most of our politicians are in the pay of Zionist lobby ‘benefactors’: their silence has been bought. Israel thinks it can do what it likes, … [Read More...]
Michael Gove’s elitist agenda is about to take English education back to the dark days of the 1950s. His so-called reforms are supposed to transform English education. They will do nothing of the sort. Why? Because he’s attempting to reform a broken model. He’s tinkering at the margins. Nothing he is proposing will bring about the fundamental change our educational system needs. When he’s finished, the British taxpayer will still be asked to subsidise private education. Private education is socially divisive and should have no place in the educational system. Why doesn’t he remove the charitable status of public schools? If he did it would put private education out of reach to all but the children of Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires and bonus bagging bankers. It would force public schools to change and integrate with the state system. It’s not going to happen. Although Mr … [Read More...]
It was in 1865 that John Bright used the phrase ‘the Mother of all Parliaments’. The full phrase is “England is the Mother of all Parliaments”. It was used in a speech in support of reform of the electoral system, which culminated in the much delayed Reform Act of 1867, and gave the vote to urban working class men. Far from complimenting Westminster, Bright was saying that England, not Westminster, was the Mother of all Parliaments. Westminster then was a deeply corrupt body, and as reluctant to embrace reform as it is today. Bright’s misquoted phrase has stuck. In people’s minds Westminster is the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. And so revered has Westminster become that to criticise it, or even suggest that the dear old lady is in need of reform, is to blaspheme against democracy itself. And therein lies the problem. Why? Because the Westminster model is broken. Today, … [Read More...]
It’s no coincidence that our Prime Minister cut his teeth as a PR executive. Today’s speech on Britain’s future in Europe was a classic example of the fact benders’ art: distortion. It was a lesson on how to confuse and manipulate an argument to achieve a desired outcome. Nothing wrong with that, you might argue. Well, maybe not if you’re selling dog food or soap powder, but not when the future prosperity of our nation is at stake. The days of controlling attitudes and opinions by force have long passed. Today, PR is the weapon of choice of politicians and political parties – aided and supported by a compliant media who, as we witnessed last year, are in the kitchen with the politicians concocting our diet of half-truths and misinformation. Their purpose is to control and marginalise the electorate so that the political class, and their wealthy elite paymasters, can rule. Our … [Read More...]
In the Treasury, soon to be renamed Micawber House, it’s been a very pleasant start to the year. Despite unhelpful mumblings from the usual quarters about a triple–dip, the spotlight has moved away, and for the first time for a long time, Gideon has been able to come out from behind his desk. And joy of joys, the cunning plan, the great distraction, seems to be working! Not a day goes by without some mention of ‘the great leader’s’ long-awaited speech on Europe – which has been put off more times than a Berlusconi trial. Meanwhile the country slips ever nearer to the edge of the precipice. Yet again the clown Cash and his eurosceptic cohorts have managed to get Britain’s membership of the EU to the top of the agenda. Not your agenda or my agenda or even the coalition’s agenda, but to their agenda. Yet again Britain is seen to be mithering on the sidelines about Europe. It’s boring, … [Read More...]
In New York, the international insurance and financial services organization AIG, whose demise would have plunged the world into a depression that would have made the 1930’s depression look like a walk in the park had they not been rescued in the nick of time by the American tax payer, is now suing the US government. Why? Because AIG consider the interest rate the government charged them was too high! So having saved AIG from the abyss, the US tax payer is being rewarded with jaw-dropping ingratitude and a massive legal bill. What arrogance! In London last week, Goldman Sachs threatened to change the date they paid bonuses from January to April so that their already over-paid employees could take advantage of the reduction in the top rate of tax from 50% to 45%. It took a nudge emanating from No 10 to get them to change their tune. Goldman Sachs’s lack of sensitivity speaks … [Read More...]
The US is seriously rattled by the Palestinian application for UN ‘non-member observer status’ which is due to be presented to the General Assembly on 29th November. Already accepted as a member of Unesco, their new status would allow the Palestinians to apply for membership of other UN organisations – and the ICC. This would open up the opportunity for the Palestinians to challenge the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in court. This would undoubtedly be an embarrassment for the US, but that is not the real reason for their unhappiness. The truth is surely that the US no longer believes in a two state solution or believes that a two state solution will ever be possible. It is dead and buried. This year more building contracts to build illegal settlements have been let in the Occupied Territories than in the previous three years. The US has remained silent. And the peace … [Read More...]
“We are dealing with the darkest of bourgeois taboos. Of all the things on which the world has declared "war" in modern times, self-harming substances must be the daftest. Yet the result has been to destroy millions of lives, expend trillions of dollars, and helplessly corrupt sovereign states, from Afghanistan to Colombia. It is the greatest single failure of modern statecraft. It is the dark ages, and we are still in them”. Simon Jenkins. There’s one good thing about tough times, bad things surface. Bad things and things politicians want to hide or shuffle onto the back burner. So it is with drugs. As Simon Jenkins so eloquently points out in his article below, our political class want nothing to do with drugs reform. It’s too difficult, they haven’t a clue what to do, and of course, there’s no political dividend. Instead they’ve christened the mythical crusade “the war on drugs”, … [Read More...]
“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!” The words of Leo Amery to Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons in 1940. Harsh words to a man who believed that he was doing his best for his country. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if those same words were addressed to Andrew Mitchell on Monday morning when the House returns from its Summer recess. Mitchell made a mistake. He foul mouthed a policeman for no good reason. But his real mistake was his failure to own up to what he actually said. He then compounded this error by refusing to confirm the accuracy of the policeman’s report – thus implying that the policeman’s report was false. If nothing else, Andrew Mitchell is a fool who has an inflated opinion of his own importance. But on that fateful afternoon, Mitchell also betrayed an … [Read More...]
Don’t be fooled that Israel thinks that Iran poses a nuclear threat to the so-called Jewish state. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually about the balance of power in the Middle East. He who has the nukes, rules – or at least is perceived to have an upper hand, a state of affairs which, up until now, has suited Israel - and the US. If Iran were to have nuclear weapons, the whole dynamic in the Middle East would change, and that’s something Israel and the US appear unable to accept. As Kate Hudson points out in her article below, it would also trigger the start of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, a totally pointless and potentially catastrophic outcome. With sanctions starting to bite in Iran, the US is probably now hoping that they will be the catalyst for regime change. Whether they are or not, those saner heads in Iran need to know that the West has a … [Read More...]
Hello! Over here...I’m in the long grass....just having a poke around to see what I can find. What’s this? ‘Political Party Funding’? Well there’s a surprise! And what’s this attached to it? A note from Sir Christopher Kelly, “Do something before this one blows up in your face”. Good advice, Sir Christopher, but I don’t think anyone’s paying much attention...an accident waiting to happen? Sure is. After months of prevarication and delay, Sir Christopher Kelly, the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, was finally able to produce his report, ‘Political Party Funding,’ in November last year. How was it received? After a few good words from the Deputy Prime Minister, everybody dashed off on their Christmas hols, and nothing has been said or done about the report since. In a nutshell, the Kelly report recommended that donations to political parties should be limited to … [Read More...]
Come October, don’t be surprised if you see this headline. Right now, the chances of it happening are very real indeed. Why? Because in September Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to attack Iran. This will be followed by the Iranians blocking the Straits of Hormuz, and a standoff between the US Navy and the Iranian Navy. As tensions escalate, oil prices are going to hit the roof. The price for Mr Netanyahu’s little escapade is going to be paid for by the likes of you and me in the form of higher fuel prices and an even deeper recession. How do I know Mr Netanyahu’s intentions? Well of course I don’t, but he’s been threatening to attack Iran for nearly two years now, and those in the know are putting their money on September. Why September? Because Netanyahu wants to deliver the Obama presidential bid a fatal blow. Not only do they hate each other’s guts, Netanyahu thinks the … [Read More...]
I have always argued that the ‘Osborne’s austerity’ would do huge and lasting damage to the British economy. Austerity unaccompanied by any measures to promote growth, is a recipe for disaster. ‘No medicine without tonic’ my mantra. A simple rule all businessmen understand, but one politicians have never been able to grasp. We're now in a rut and going nowhere fast. Ideas anyone? Enter the ‘mighty Clegg’ who today stuck his head above the parapet to suggest that those who have significant personal wealth should pay more. Few would disagree with the sentiment of his argument. It would be a measure that would have populist appeal, but would be unlikely to make a significant contribution to the reduction of the deficit. Clearly everyone in the coalition is casting about for ideas. The dilemma now is how to stimulate demand and generate growth. Unless something is done the tax take … [Read More...]
VIDEO: Eric Schmidt is Executive Chairman of big, bad Google no less. He’s not normally the sort of guy you would expect to be preaching revolution. He’s not, but within this conversation he appears to suggest an almost revolutionary change to the way governments operate and the way they deal with ‘vested interests’ (he hasn’t got any, of course!) Reading between the lines, he seems to have very little time for the political class – of any country – and sees their inability to think beyond austerity as a cure for current ills as symptomatic of their moral and creative bankruptcy. (Don’t we all!) For the likes of Eric Schmidt to be expressing these views so publicly is remarkable – and very welcome. Could his comments be a signal that we are entering a period of fundamental political change where pressure for change stems from the most unlikely of places? It would be nice to think so. … [Read More...]
This is the week of the annual AIPAC conference in Washington. (AIPAC, America Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in the US) Every member of Congress will be there. They have to be, their campaign funds depend upon it. This is the gathering that demonstrates all too clearly – for those who care to look - the power of the Israeli lobby and the total grip that it has on the US Congress. This is the week when the President of the most powerful country in the world kowtows to its ungrateful ally in the Middle East, and is made to look feeble and foolish by Benjamin Netanyahu, son of a militant Zionist, Arab hater, right wing bully boy, and the man most likely to plunge the world into chaos and economic catastrophe should he attack Iran, which he appears increasingly likely to do. What is it with Americans? Why do they allow a foreign country to … [Read More...]
On Friday the price of oil closed at $123 a barrel and the price of petrol on forecourts across Britain reached a record high. With petrol prices on their way too £1.50 a litre, we’ll soon be paying nearly £1 in tax and duty on a litre of petrol. This is absolutely ridiculous. Britain is now the fuel tax capital of Europe. Nobody else pays as much tax and duty as we do, and if the Chancellor has his way, we’ll be paying even more, an extra 3p a litre in September. If we had a booming economy, the cost of fuel wouldn’t be quite so critical. As it is, our economy is on its knees. Britain has a road based economy. The cost of fuel affects practically everything. What on earth is the sense in increasing the cost of this critical commodity at a time when we should be doing everything to reduce costs, encourage demand and generate growth? High energy prices hammer growth and stuff … [Read More...]
More Current Posts
- Is our democracy suffering because of feral lobbying?
- Free speech, is this a concept the LibDems have forgotten?
- The Tappin Predicament: careless handling of flawed legislation
- Noam Chomsky: The US decline in perspective
- Food speculation: banksters making a killing – literally!
- How journalists can avenge the death of Marie Colvin
- MPs and the Great Disconnect
- There’s no other way of saying this: banks are taking the piss!
- Ah, at last the ‘Confederation of Bankers’ Interests’ breaks cover!
- Noam Chomsky: ‘Losing’ the world: American decline in perspective
- Rupert Murdoch and the Fire Sale of the Vanities
- Sleepwalking into a war with Iran
- We should all feel lucky that Dirty Harry’s hit town
- No effective demand, no credit…it’s Armageddon Mr Osborne!
- Want growth? Want better performance? Ban bonuses!
- We’ll pick up the tab if it means politicians clean up their act, Mr Cameron