Westminster: November 2008 Archives

Brown goes down.

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Mbrown.jpgSo Michael Brown has finally been convicted in absentia of theft, furnishing false information, and perverting the course of justice. 

Despite the fact that they received (and spent) £2.4m of his fraudulently acquired £36m, the Liberals continue to protest their innocence and deny their links with Brown. It matters not - the Electoral Commission have already said they're back on the case.

As I said before, imagine an associate of a petty thief trying to tell the police and the courts that money can't be returned because it's been spent. 

This money was used to puff up the party of active abstention beyond their real strength, and it must now be surrendered to the taxpayer, as the law demands.

Brown is, of course, on the run. I wonder what beans he might spill about his relationship with the Liberals when he's finally apprehended in Monaco or on the Costa Del Clegg.


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brokenslide.jpgPolly Toynbee thinks the Pre-Budget Report shows the era of New Labour is over, and social democracy is back (and as vague a term as ever). She finds the evidence that Darling's massive borrowing has worked in an unusual place: the FTSE100.

"No one alive has ever lived through such a crisis or faced the danger of a slump so deep, so if enough people say that the right thing was done yesterday, then it was. The stock market rewarded Alistair Darling with the biggest ever one-day rise - so for now, it worked."

Right. So the logic is that if the City's happy with the Chancellor, we can tell Labour's back to being a social democratic party? What utter nonsense. 

It's not even as if she likes the VAT cut. The only part of the PBR she appears to support is the higher rate of tax for the wealthy, which is fine, but shouldn't it be for a better purpose?

In a stunning piece of cognitive dissonance, the truth about Labour is buried elsewhere in her piece.

"Here is a reminder of the shape of national incomes now: only 10% of people earn more than £40,000, to reach the top tax bracket. Half the working population earns under £23,000. A couple need £11,000 to rise above the poverty threshold - and over a fifth of people fall below, with a third of children born poor."

This is Labour's record now. They've failed to tackle the inequalities the Tories left behind, and failed absolutely as a social project. They're not social democrats, they're just about where the Tory wets were in the early 1980s. Trimming VAT for 13 months won't change that, and Polly knows it.

The ID morass gets deeper.

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Thumbnail image for harvieIDcards.jpgThe Guardian has details of the fines and the coercion which will underpin the ID card scheme, if it ever happens. Which it won't.

It's a heady £5+bn mix of insanity, pettiness and incompetence, and all three can be expected to rise as this project gets closer to the point where it fails completely.

Transgender people are offered two cards, one for each gender, if they pay twice. I'm sure there'll be a queue to get on the database twice. And won't the terrists exploit this loop-hole?

Fail to tell them you've moved house and pay a fine of up to £1,000. In fact, have a horrific injury and don't get a new picture taken, at your expense? £1,000 fine.

There's no coercion, they say, because you're not ever obliged to have one. Unless you want to travel somewhere outside the EU. 

Get married and change your name? Pay up. How does that encourage 1950s values?

The fees for the card are capped. But only for a year when it's only compulsory for airline workers. Presumably there's no way they could afford to cap fees for something based on a gargantuan government IT contract. If you disagree, and think this is pettiness, please reclassify accordingly..

Crystal ball.

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mysticmeg.jpgApparently Science Minister Lord Grayson has a sixth sense, the Sunday Times reports. Technically, it's the mystic skill of precognition he's claiming - second sight, in other words. (declaration of interest: the Brahan Seer is quite possibly an ancestor of mine)

Perhaps he's right - he certainly does appear to predict how good things will come to him. Famously, in 2002 he donated £50,000 to Labour, then his pretty incompetent company got a £32m contract. Next, he gave another £1m+ to Labour before getting a peerage and a ministerial role

Spooky! I wonder if Gordon has asked him who's going to win the next election..

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Westminster category from November 2008.

Westminster: October 2008 is the previous archive.

Westminster: December 2008 is the next archive.