Monday, 31 August 2009
As Kinnock did not quite say “Things can only get worse with Labour” – even Bliar's (sic) washes whiter, sleaze-free New Labour.
The sooner the electorate is allowed to replace the Brown/Daring/Mandelson troika with the Cameron/Osborne/Clarke triumvirate the better for us all.
In 1963 I heard Dennis Healey say of the (Tory) Douglas-Home government: "A condemned man does not hasten towards the scaffold". The current lot are equally reluctant to face the drop.
The Party should be actively opposing the dysfunctional Brown regime on all and every reasonable opportunity (P.O. 'privatisation'?).
Dave should adopt the attitude, if not repeat the words of Oliver Cromwell:- "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"?
After the election - clearing up the mess: “I've got a little list”
Reduced public expenditure
1. Starting at the top – leading by example.
Reduce the number of MPs; link their salaries to a multiple of the national minimum wage; apply the same rules to their expenses/allowances as for ordinary civil servants; move them to money purchase pension system; place a cap on the maximum pension payable an individual can receive from all public sector employment in current schemes.
2. Apply similar conditions to MEPs, County Councillors, Local Councillors.
3. Ditto for senior civil servants, public sector appointments.
4. Ditto (in time) for all public sector employees.
5. Cut red tape (what happened to Michael Heseltine's bonfire?)
6. Zero base budget, cost-benefit analysis
There must be no sacred cows:- Europe, the nuclear “deterrent” - missiles, warheads, submarines; aircraft carriers; outstanding order for Typhoon fighters; large-scale computer systems.
Dear Mr Straw,
It is widely reported that, some two years ago, in your capacity of Justice Secretary, you wrote to Kenny MacAskill, your Scottish counterpart, that it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make al-Megrahi eligible for return to Libya.
As this was done despite assurances to the Americans that he would serve out his sentence in a Scottish jail you must have had compelling reasons.
It would be informative were you now to publish them and, with the benefit of hindsight, comment on the consequences – both foreseeable and unforeseeable.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Brown's lack of leadership over Lockerbie release
David Cameron, Thursday, August 27 2009
We also read "the most recent medical consensus was Megrahi would live eight months, too long to be eligible for compassionate release".
There are other instances of miraculous recovery after release.
BTW The headline is too verbose: "Brown's lack of leadership" says it all. How long before NuLab's backbenchers lose their nerve and we see a contest?
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
From The Times August 26, 2009
Crunch time for council workers’ golden pensions
Leadership by Example? Not!
"John Denham, the Communities Secretary, is drawing up a series of proposals to overhaul the pensions of two million council workers, covering short, medium and longer terms."
We should see the MPs' scheme "overhauled" first. Then MEPs', then the top public sector jobs.
How about a cap on public sector pensions calculated as a multiple of the Basic State Pension?
MPs hijack expenses inquiry with complaints and demands for pay rise
RT wrote: "Every other paid occupation legally requires a Contract of Employment. Why should MPs be different?"
August 25, 2009 8:13 PM BST
Monday, 17 August 2009
One million more workers face poorer retirements
End of final-salary pension is no bad thing
In the real world of industry and commerce it has been clear for over 30 years that final salary schemes only provide significant benefit to those (directors apart) who are in a "job for life".
It is now clear that, real world, value-adding, profit-making, dividend-paying companies cannot afford them.
The 500 gorilla lb in the room: how does the economy pay for all the defined benefit pensions in the public sector? And which particular group has the best scheme as part of its "rations"?
Sunday, 16 August 2009
North Sea’s new bonanza Jonathan Leake
"Britain could be in line for a new North Sea bonanza following research which reveals its suitability to store billions of tons of waste carbon dioxide."
CCS sounds wonderful but there are two significant issues.
1. The CO2 capture process is energy intensive. It consumes 25% of the power output equating to burning 33% more coal. There are consequent increased transport costs with their own CO2 overheads.
2. Once captured the the liquid CO2 is nasty stuff. For heath and safety reasons a CO2 pipeline should not run through populated areas. This present a serious problem for the Kingsnorth expansion proposals.
Whilst some may tilt at windmills, nuclear power is the only viable route to meeting our CO2 reduction aspirations and commitments.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
From Times Online August 13, 2009
Alan Duncan keeps his job but Cameron criticises 'big mistake' over comments
"my remarks, although meant in jest": it does not sound that way in the recording Mr Duncan.
How are MPs different?
Well, they are currently only liable to dismissal at general election time.
They are free to take up other paid employment.
(A former Labour minister received £70,000 last year for attending 14 meetings as an non-executive director of a FTSE100 company. Its share price declined some 70% over the same period and the dividend has been slashed.)
Their salary of £64,766 is in the top 10% of UK incomes.
Their holidays compare well with any other job.
Their pension scheme is generous - even when compared with other public sector provision.
Their restaurants and bars in the Palace of Westmister are subsidised. This cost taxpayers £6.1 million last year; food and drink at around half the cost ordinary consumers would pay.
They do have a new expenses regime, however...
In every other work context it is a legal requirement to have a contact of employment. Similarly expenses are only reimbursed on the basis that they are incurred "wholly, necessary and exclusively" as part of the job.
Mr & Mrs Taxpayer have to purchase & maintain their home and pay their living expenses from their taxed income. MPs should do the same.
Mr & Mrs Taxpayer mostly have to fund their retirement income through money purchase (defined contribution) schemes. MPs (leading the way for other public sector employees) should do the same.
Those MPs who need to stay in London on parliamentary business (200 nights p.a.?) should be accommodated in adequate hotel rooms - perhaps to MOD standards.
"Rations" Mr Duncan?
"But his views are shared by many MPs" - roll on the election and the constituency selection process!
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The trouble with Labour is that they never grasp the consequences
The Government's failure to think ahead will leave a disastrous legacy, says Simon Heffer.
Amen. So moet it be.
An excellent analysis.
However, analysis is much easier than synthesis.
I hope you have the conviction to work within Dave's incoming government to help sort it out.
While giving evidence at the trial of Stephen Ward, charged with living off the immoral earnings of Keeler and Rice-Davies, the latter made a quip for which she is now best remembered. When the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her, she replied, "Well, he would, wouldn't he?".
MiniTruth: Stating the bleedin' obvious
If the negative version of any statement is clearly content-free; the original statement is equally useless.
Saturday, 8 August 2009
June 15, 2009 William Hague attacks Brown's terms of reference for Iraq inquiry
email to David Cameron
date 16 June 2009 06:41
subject Iraq Enquiry
I would have put this comment on the Blue blog but...
"David Cameron today called on the Prime Minister to take steps to ensure the Iraq war inquiry is not seen as "an establishment stitch-up".
With no public sessions planned, and with the Inquiry itself not due to report back until after the next General Election, David said people may conclude that the Government want to ensure that they do not have to "face up to any inconvenient conclusions"."
Surely the answer is in your own hand: why not commit publicly to, post the election when you are in charge (inshallah), change the terms of reference & hold the hearing in public (perhaps with anonymous witnesses for evidence which has security sensitivities)
Posted by: Richard Tebboth | June 16, 2009 at 06:35 PM
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Nothing new here: it's all in "Yes (Prime) Minister.
No one is to blame; if the stress becomes too much there is always early retirement on that meagre Civil Service or parliamentary pension.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Nuclear progress in Iran has dire consequences if diplomacy failsSo: diplomatic progress with Iran is dependent on "Russia and China, who hold the right of veto at the UN Security Council".
Meanwhile, a common argument in the debate over the future of Trident is that this is the essential criterion for Britain's membership of that Council.
Meanwhile, the resolutions of the UN General Assembly are ignored.
Not entirely unlike the situation with resolutions passed by (or the lack of resolution of) the League of Nations.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Comment by Richard Tebboth on May 18 2009, 21:48
Dave, as I have already urged you:
It is surely time for you to deliver the same explicit message to Mr Brown as that of Oliver Cromwell to the rump Parliament in April 1653:
“You have sat for 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!”
Furthermore: "Mr & Mrs Taxpayer have to purchase & maintain their home and pay their living expenses from their taxed income.
Parliamentarians should do the same.
Mr & Mrs Taxpayer mostly have to fund their retirement income through money purchase (defined contribution) schemes.
Parliamentarians (and other public sector employees) should do the same.
Those MPs who need to stay in London on parliamentary business (200 nights p.a.?) should be accommodated in adequate hotel rooms.
End of story."
Luke 16:10: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."
Leadership by example, leadership by example,
leadership by example.
"What I tell you three times is true"
Finally an email:-
From: Richard Tebboth
To Darling Alistair, Peter Mandelson
Dear Alistair & Peter
I was intending to order a car under the scheme which you announced in the budget speech over three weeks ago.
Presumably a little preparation went into your announcement particularly as it was widely anticipated and imitative of other policies in France, Germany...
It is therefore somewhat annoying to discover that my selected supplier informs me that they await input from the government before they can proceed.
My supplier is not unique:-
"Under the scheme, the government will subsidise £1,000 while the motor industry will provide at least a similar discount.
However, Honda says it is seeking clarity on the contribution from industry, as well as on a couple of other "administrative points".
A Honda spokesman said: "Relating to the £1,000 contribution - the original request was for a contribution of £1,000 from the industry.
"We were looking at splitting that between the manufacturer and our dealers but we're being told that we can't do that."
He added that they were being told that manufacturers alone would have to make up the payment, and Honda was challenging that.
A spokesman for Ford said: "Based on details which have only become apparent late in these negotiations [between the government and manufacturers], Ford is working to resolve some outstanding administrative issues."
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was seeking to clarify the exact tax position."
A well known phrase including the words "piss-up" and "brewery" springs to mind.
Of course, Alistair's immediate neighbour could call an immediate general election and pass on this and less pressing economic issues to a government of whatever complexion the British electorate deems capable of managing them.
Yours very sincerely,
Sunday, 2 August 2009
"Sir, I may have been the last British serviceman to leave Palestine on May 14, 1948. The governor, General Cunningham, intending to be the last to leave, had already boarded HMS Euryalus at the oiling jetty at Haifa and, to my embarrassment, they were waiting for me, a junior engineer officer, to finish refuelling the ship before we left. Firing had already broken out on Mount Carmel to the south. The feeling on board as we sailed west was of disappointment. Despite the efforts of Britain to provide balance, the world was trying to correct the great wrong done to the Jews in Europe by committing another great wrong, the dispossession of the Arabs of Palestine. Despite the subsequent admirable courage of the Israelis and the unattractive behaviour of Palestinian extremists, I still feel the same. This is simply a sense of practical justice.
The injustice will continue to be the cause of Middle East instability and a volatile fuel for terrorism until it is understood both by Israel and the US. In practical terms it requires the maximum effort by Israel to put it right as far as possible within the bounds of its own prosperity, which would probably improve as a result.
Israel needs to renounce all religious claims to territory, to clear the West Bank of settlements other than those maintained by negotiation, and to facilitate communications between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by some kind of Palestinian-controlled road. The real possibility of peace would make it clear to the Palestinian people which of their political parties truly represents them and their Government would become more reliable. The rest of the world could then help by providing aid and trade to the new nation, cramped and oddly shaped, as is Israel, but at last viable."
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Maybe the editor of the DailyTelegraph is trying to wind me up.
"Motorists to pay £250 tax for parking at work.
Motorists who drive to work face having to pay a £250 “parking tax” under a scheme to be announced by ministers on Friday.
The country’s first “workplace parking levy” will come into force in Nottingham in 2012 and is likely to be adopted by other councils.
Under the scheme, any firm with 11 or more staff parking spaces will be charged £250 a year for each. That cost could rise to £350 within two years."
Can this be really true?
If it is, surely the public sector should be "leading by example".
There are many parking spaces allocated to parliamentarians and civil servants in Westminster and Whitehall.
No doubt councillors and Officials in Nottingham enjoy similar facilities.
But then, were they to be charged, it would probably be "within the rules" as an expense.
More to follow....