Tag Archive | "Labour"

Gordon Brown destroys our faith in representative democracy

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Gordon Brown destroys our faith in representative democracy

Gordon Brown’s decision to remain as leader of the Labour pemocracyarty and, as a consequence, prime minister of this country serves only to shatter what is left of the publics faith in representative democracy. His decision to remain and those spineless Labour MP’s that surround him demonstrate their utter contempt for the people of this country. It is clear that the vast majority of Labour MP’s are petrified of losing their seats as an angry electorate reacts to the appalling way we have been treated and punishes them for bringing our country to the verge of bankruptcy through a combination of poor stewardship, lack of foresight, incompetence and their spendthrift policies. Rather than face the wrath of the people for their comprehensive failure, they choose to demonstrate and highlight the sheer impotence of the people of this country to exercise their will. I don’t know whether we ever had a truly democratic parliamentary system or if it is just accentuated by this government’s actions.

I find myself asking, doubtless alongside many others, just what it will take for the people of this country to be able rid ourselves of this unelected prime minister? Gordon Brown knows full well that he is despised by the majority of the people in this country, this is evidenced by numerous polls, we simply don’t trust him or his party any longer. This was further reinforced at the local elections as the public leave Labour in droves and then, the view was strengthened even more with the Labour party receiving just 15.3% of the popular vote in the European Elections. This is less than half the percentage that was needed to get New Labour into power in the first place. Or, to put in another way, just 1 in 7 of those that voted in the European Elections supported Gordon Brown and his Labour government. He has never never had the right or the mandate that would allow him to lecture us on “what the people want….” with 2 out of 3 people voting against his party at the last general election. Indeed, he has even less right to make this statement now, when 6 out of 7 voters said that he and his party do not speak for us.

The actions of Gordon Brown and his party clearly demonstrates that the people of this country have little or no power over what happens in parliament. Yes, we are entitled to vote for the party of choice once every 5 years, but under the current system, with less that 35% of the popular vote any party can get into power with a substantial majority, that allows them to do pretty much anything they want, up to and including a refusal to follow a manifesto commitment. If the public are dissatisfied with their MP they can do nothing, we have no right of recall. If the public are unhappy with a government, they can do nothing other than wait for the next election. This is not a society where power is vested in the people. Yes, the politicians keep telling us that we have a free society, that we are in a democracy, but where is the evidence?

The majority of people are angered by MPs’ abusing their expenses, but truth be told, they were angry before that. We were angry that our individual liberties had been decimated by successive governments, albeit the ultimate prize must go to New Labour who have virtually destroyed whatever was left under the guise of fighting crime and terrorism. We were angry that this government has taken our country to the brink and then, rather than accepting responsibility, chose to blame everyone else or, to lie, by saying that they couldn’t be expected to see what was coming. We were angry that in spite of successive tax rises, it was difficult to see the benefits, hard-working people were taxed even harder, whilst the workshy were cushioned with ever increasing tax credits. We were angry that in spite of the boom, this government failed to control spending, in fact, they continued to borrow. We were angry that this government were wasting up to £100bn every year through poor decision making, inept management and inflation busting increases in public sector budgets. We were angry that this government sought, against the will of the majority to introduce ID Cards, a database state and remove our inherent right to privacy. We were angry that as a direct consequence of the tax raid on private sector pensions, many excellent pension schemes were forced to close entirely or to new members. We were angry that this government sought to punish those that had prudently saved in a private pension scheme, whilst ignoring the burgeoning cost of the gold-plated pension schemes offered to the public sector. We were angry that MPs’ voted to introduce ever more draconian laws to control and govern the majority, whilst providing themselves with exemptions or immunity. The bottom line is we were furious well before the expenses scandal. The fact that MPs’ from all parties were helping themselves to our money was simply the icing on the cake, it became the conduit for the public to express their anger, frustration and contempt for those that sought to have parliament control, rather than serve the public.

We need change and we need it now. We do not want another talking shop that will allow this government to see out the next year. We need real reform. If we are to accept that we have no choice other than to retain our current prime minister and this pathetic government, then we must know that this will be the last time that we will be held to ransom. We need fixed term parliament, we need the power to recall individual ministers, we need the power to demonstrate a vote of no confidence in a government, we need the power to determine which local candidate will serve our local party, we need the power to vote on manifesto promises rather than having to accept an all or nothing situation, we need the power to have existing legislation repealed or changed to better represent the interests of all the people rather than a small section. In fact, what we need is power returned to the people. See Restoring faith in parliamentary democracy.

Anything less will be a lost opportunity, it will demonstrate complete and utter contempt for the people of this country and will further reinforce the belief that there is a ruling elite and then the rest of us. I don’t believe that Gordon Brown has what it takes to deliver these reforms, but then again, I know that David Cameron won’t, he is all talk and no action. So, I live in hope that Brown, who is clearly so desperate not to go down in history as the worst Chancellor and Prime Minister ever, that he might just try and push through the reform that we so desperately need….the thing I am left with is whether or not he has the competence to deliver anything.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (21)

Budget 2009: Return of Old Labour

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Budget 2009: Return of Old Labour

Far be it for me to defend the so called “rich”, but I would like to make some pertinent points in relation to this governments’ decision to increase taxes on those earning over £100,000 and £150,000.

First if all, I am at a loss as to how anyone can describe someone that earns over £100,000 as ‘rich’, take a look at any of the newspapers that still have jobs advertised and you will see countless middle management jobs and sales positions which offer earnings of around £100k, including bonuses or commission. So, these are not all city bankers, many of them may be your next door neighbours, or perhaps your boss. These are people that have almost certainly earned their positions through merit, not spongers or low-lifes! Yet, when our members of parliament refer to them, it is as if they are the great unwashed. Yet many of these people are creating jobs for the rest of us, should they really be treated with such contempt and disdain?

When people stay on in further education, this is invariably because they want to maximise their chances of doing well in the workplace, because they want to aspire to be successful, in terms of position and earnings. Are those that are successful to be judged as one of the great unwashed if they succeed in earning over £100,000 per year? One of the things that I am always hearing is that those that earn more should pay more. I agree, but they already do, taxes are paid in cash terms, not percentages. Take an average person earning £25,000 per year, they will pay £5945 in tax and national insurance every year. They will also, most likely, be entitled to additional tax credits and other benefits which will further reduce their net contribution in taxes.

Now, lets take someone earning £113,000, this is the level at which the individual will lose all of his or her entitlement to a personal allowance. As a consequence, their net tax contribution will be £40,362 (rising to £43,304 from next year), which is between 6.8 and 7.3 times more tax that Mr and Mrs Average. Or to put is another way, in percentage terms, they will be paying twice as much as the average wage earner (38% instead of 17.7%). Yet, they will not be entitled to any tax credits or other benefits. It is also likely, that someone at this level will receive ‘private health insurance’. However, even though this reduces the burden on the state system, the individuals will actually be taxed on the cost of private health, as a ‘benefit in kind’. For anyone that things this is a perk, they need to be reminded that this ‘benefit’ is not provided because the employer is feeling benevolent, but because they need their employee back to work as quickly as possible.

It is all very well deriding those people that have achieved success in their careers, but it is also worth remembering that these same people provide the exchequor with the same amount of net tax as 7 people on average earnings. Yet, they do not get seven times more pension, nor do they get seen by their doctors seven times faster, instead they are actively and unfairly targeted for yet more money. They are not rich, they are successful, they are achievers and this country would be a much poorer place economically, commercially and intelectually if we did not have people like this. Take a look at what ‘brain drain’ has done to some African countries where their skilled people left in droves following a change of government, some have never recovered, do we really want that here?

I dislike envy, as much as I hate greed, both are destructive in their own way. In the USA, they have always heralded success, placed people that have achived on a pedestal, here, we invariably look on with contempt. The politics of envy assume that these people have got ‘rich’ at the expense of their employees, rather than accepting that they are more likely to have been directly or indirectly responsible for creating jobs and wealth. I remember one of my former bosses saying that he never had a problem paying out large commission cheques to sales people, because it meant they were generating business, profit and security for the company and its employees.

There is a very real risk that, by removing all personal allowances for those earning £113,000 or more and, increasing income tax to 50% for earnings in excess of £150,000, many successful people will look to take thier skills, trade, entrepreneurship and money elsewhere. There simply has to be a limit to what they will accept. If they do leave, how many jobs will be lost as a result of the skills shortage? White collar workers are no less skilled in their trade as, for example, an electrician, coach builder or car worker. Anyone who suggests otherwise is naive. If these successful people spend their money in other countries, how many jobs will be lost as a consequence of the comparitive downturn in sales?

I believe taxation must be fair and equitable. From a moral perspective, it is okay to say those that earn more, must pay more. But it is not acceptable to state that those that earn more must also be hit with a penal rate of tax as if they were not part of the human race. Remember, many are already contibuting in cash terms, more than 7 times as much as the average worker. This country is in a mess and we will all have to accept that public services will have to be cut and taxes will have to rise, but it is, in my opinion, fundamentally wrong to target one section of the workforce for special treatment in the form of penal tax rises. Especially when so many companies and genuinley rich people are still using loopholes to avoid paying income or corporation tax.

I know that my comments will annoy many who are struggling to pay their mortgages, it will also irritate some that believe people who have been successful in their careers are not deserving of higher salaries, but this country needs achievers and to keep them, we must reward them. With the exception of bankers and the public sector, I don’t know of any business that will pay more than an employee is worth, nor a company that would be prepared to keep someone on that was not delivering results. If they are paying their taxes, even if this is as much as seven times that contributed by the average worker and then spending the money in our country, why should so many people judge them so harshly. These people also have mortgages and commitments, the only difference is scale.

I do not earn over £100,000 per annum, but my sense of fairness is what motivated me to write this post, plus I suspected that those that do earn over £100k would be roundly condemned. I am unusually indifferent to those that disagree with me on this issue because I have seen first hand what happens when countries start to lose key skills in what has been dubbed a ‘brain drain’. The country, the economy and the people all suffer in equal measure.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (7)

Gordon Brown diffuses MP’s expense scandal

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Gordon Brown diffuses MP’s expense scandal

Well, hats off to Gordon Brown and the cabinet. I have rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to praise Gordon Brown or this government, but credit where credit is due, they have dealt with the appalling abuse of MP’s allowances with sang-froid. Of course this proposal must be voted on my members of parliament and you can rest assured that there will be pressure on MP’s of all sides to vote this through, perhaps as early as next week.

Second home allowances will be abolished and replaced with an ‘attendance allowance’, this will do away with claims for anything from mortgage interest through to new kitchens and bathroom plugs! No announcement has been made in relation to the amount of the attendance allowance, but the public will very quickly react negatively if this proves too generous, or the conditions too loose.

Whoever sets the allowance must be cognisant of the fact that MP’s are already paid to attend parliament, therefore the allowance must not be based on, for example, the remuneration paid to a non-executive director attending board meetings. The attendance allowance will only be payable to those with constituencies outside London, although it is not known what the boundaries will be and shall only be claimable during the parliamentary session. Those with ‘grace and favour’ homes will not be entitled to claim for the attendance allowance, this however, should never have been the case anyway.

It is proposed that MP’s will have to provide receipts for all expenditure, including expenses below the current threshold of £25. This will, of course, bring MP’s in line with common business practice. No longer will the public accept that MP’s can be considered ‘honourable’ in such matters, MP’s must be dealt with in exactly the same manner as everyone else, they are not a special case. There is also a suggestion that MP’s should contribute more for their pensions, I, however, believe that an additional contribution of £60 per month is small beer, when you consider that their two-thirds final salary scheme is one of the most generous in the country and not available to the masses as a direct result of Gordon Browns raid on private sector pension schemes 11 years ago and in each successive year.

MP’s will also have to declare all of their income earned outside parliament as well as providing a record of how many hours they spend working for these businesses. This is quite sensible, but I hope they will also include strict rules. After all, MP’s are already paid to complete a full-time job, therefore I would expect a big question mark over where they would find the spare time to fit in these extra jobs.

All in all, if this gets accepted and quickly, then I would be the first to congratulate Gordon Brown and the cabinet. However, Mr Brown must be very careful not to use his usual ‘smoke and mirrors’ trick to dupe the public, nor must the replacement allowances be too generous, because the intention is to remove unjustifiable allowances, not simply replace them with something else. We shall be watching!

Posted in General, Labour | Comments (9)

Asset Protection Scheme IS a Blank Cheque

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Asset Protection Scheme IS a Blank Cheque

Whatever Gordon Brown may have said about the Asset Protection Scheme not being a blank cheque, he is either misguided or failing to be honest with the electorate, you decide. Whilst I was aware that  a proportion of the £325bn (RBS) of “toxic assets” insured by the UK taxpayer would be outside the UK, I had NOT expected it to be the “majority”. Furthermore, I had not considered the fact that we, the UK taxpayers, would also be liable for exchange rate risks.

Gordon Brown claimed that the banking bailout was not a “blank cheque”, that is utter rubbish, in my view the definition of a blank cheque is one where you don’t know what the final cost will be and there is no cap on your exposure. Could anyone disagree with that analogy? Yet here we are, insuring toxic assets, where our exposure is unknown, the vast majority of the “assets” are overseas and we must accept 90% of any losses as well as covering exchange rate issues at a time when Sterling is dropping like a stone against ALL major currencies.

Granted, when or if we have to stump up cash to cover these losses, no-one can accurately predict the exchange rates, but it would be a very brave man, with the state of our economy, that would envisage that Sterling will be stronger than it is now. Lets face it, this country has massive borrowings, lower tax income and it is expected to be the last of the G7 to come out of recession. That is hardly going to provide any confidence in Sterling, add to that, the fact that we are also printing money and the writing is on the wall for a weak Pound for some time to come.

Unlike the United States where the banking bailout had to be passed through both Houses of US Congress, in this country, Gordon Brown was able to commit money without such scrutiny. That is an incredible amount of power and it ought to have been used with care, but in my opinion, our Government has been reckless. Not only have they failed to complete a proper due diligence before investing our money into the banks, but they have now negotiated an appalling deal to insure toxic assets, much of which are overseas, at a rate of 90% of the loss plus cover for the exchange rate fluctuations. If this is the best our Government could do, then it is a very sad day for politics in general and this Government in particular. The opposition parties are not much better, because they have, through their relative silence, been complicit in the whole thing.

Fair enough, there must be no reward for failure, but conversely there must also be a price to pay for recklessness, a failure of duty and incompetence. We need to start with the bankers and then deal with the politicians, ministers and regulators that have failed in their duty to the public. We can regulate as much as we want, but unless those responsible are brought to book, lessons will not have been learnt and a clear message will go out that the only ‘price‘ that has to be paid is public humiliation. Tell that to our kids and their children who will have to pay the price for this wholesale failure.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (4)

Business rates, a tax on enterprise

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Business rates, a tax on enterprise

Even when times are not as tough as they are now, most business people, when asked which tax they resent most, will list ’employers national insurance’ and business rates (National Non Domestic Rates). I will deal with the former in another post, but business rates is seen as a tax on enterprise, because whether the organisation is making a profit or not, it must pay this “unfair” tax.

Business premises are given a rateable value. The amount of business rates payable is calculated using the rateable value and the multiplier, which is set by the government. Different multipliers are used for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The rateable value is based on the likely annual open market rent for the premises at a particular date. Currently the multiplier for England is set at 46.2%. There is small business rate relief available, but this does not benefit the vast number of businesses because the rateable (market) value has to be below £21,500 in London and £15,000 elsewhere. Even those that do qualify will receive a relatively small amount of relief, if they are lucky, a 25% reduction on the amount payable.

What many people do not realise, although the clue is in the ‘real’ name of the tax, National Non Domestic Rates, is that all this money is collected for central government coffers, by local authorities. The money collected is then pooled together by Central Government before being distributed to local authorities on a pro rata basis to help pay for the local services. In other words it is a Central, Government tax, which is subsequently used to subsidise local services, not based on the amount collected, but some arbitrary percentage of the total determined by Central Government.

The reason so many business people object to this tax is, that it is not a tax based on profit, number of employees or a service provided directly to the business. Instead, it is a tax that must be paid simply for the company operating out of what is termed ‘business premises’. It is not even applied equally. For example, a business that has to invest in large capital equipment will need larger premises, therefore they must pay more tax. Similarly, a business that has larger premises to house a larger workforce will also be penalised at a higher rate. No cognisance is taken of whether the company is profitable, how many local people are employed or its indirect contribution to the village, town or city. The tax payable is determined only on a multiplier of the market rate for the premises, the size of the premises is normally determined by the amount that the entepreneurs’ have to invest in capital equipment or people.

Ask any employer and, after their workforce costs, the highest other overhead is the building and they are then ‘taxed’ on this cost at a rate of nearly 50%. Most will tell you that they receive very little in return, they even have to pay extra to have their rubbish collected! Worst still, even though business rates are supposed to include an element of investment in the emergency services, I can provide countless examples where crime against business is considered a very low priority for the police, even if it involves criminal damage, theft or fraud. Crime against business does not figure on the police radar because it is rarely of public concern. Instead it is treated almost as a victimless crime and therefore, most crime against business is not included in government statistics and as a consequence police targets, unless there is a crossover, for example an employer is threatened with a knife.

Many businesses are trapped when it comes to reducing or trimming the costs associated with their premises. For example, they may be on a fixed term lease, or they cannot downsize because the cost of relocation would exceed any financial gain from a reduced rent and business rate cost. Even if they no longer need such large premises because they have downsized, they are trapped into retaining the existing premises and paying a penal ‘business’  or enterprise tax simply for surviving.

There is simply no logic in penalising businesses based on the size of their premises, having no regard as to the profitability of that company. For example, a reasonable sized business paying a rent of £35,000 per annum would be expected to pay a further £16,170 in business rates, this would be equivalent to corporation tax on profits of nearly £100,000. How can any government consider that a fair tax? Because the tax bears no relation to income or profitability, it can only be described as an enterprise tax and at a time like this, it is completely unacceptable.

If the government is serious about helping business, then the first step must be to look at any enterprise taxes, the priority has to be business rates, followed by the tax on employment, known as employers national insurance. A failure to look at these taxes at a time of recession will ensure that there are few businesses left to pull us out of the recession. The problem business people have, is virtually every government ‘business or enterprise department’ is staffed by civil servants, mostly career civil servants, who have never worked in, much less run a business. Worst still, even though the civil service brag that they want to encourage people from the private sector to join, the job descriptions and applicant profiles are written in such a way as to exclude those with private sector experience…another classic case of smoke and mirrors.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (1)

The unpublished cost of the shorter working week

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The unpublished cost of the shorter working week

As the recession bites, there has been a great deal of publicity surrounding the fact that workers, in fear of losing their jobs, have accepted a shorter working week and/or a reduction in their wages. However, there appears to have been little or no coverage of the cost to the taxpayer associated with these reductions.

Gordon Brown is keen to tell us that there are 500,000 jobs in the UK, even though he will be only too aware that some 40% of these vacancies are for part-time work. My concern is, that a shorter working week or even a reduction in salaries may keep the unemployment figures lower, but there is almost certainly a cost associated with the reduction in income which is not being considered. This relates to income support and/or benefits.

As we all know, the Labour government has introduced a raft of income support benefits and various other allowances that are available to people that fall below a pre-determined threshold. It is, therefore, highly probable, that many of these workers that have had to make a financial sacrifice on their take home pay to remain in work, will now be eligible for some form of benefit payment or income support. It is not my intention to focus on whether or not they should be entitled to these benefits, but whether or not the government is being candid about the additional cost to the taxpayer. Because, whilst the workers will not be registered as unemployed and therefore in receipt of job seekers allowance and benefit payments, they will in fact, be entitled to a taxpayer funded subsidy.

I would argue that government should be completely open with the taxpayer. For example, they must distinguish between how many full-time jobs are available and the number of part-time. This would provide everyone with a number that reflects the true situation rather than introducing false hope. Similarly, when the number of unemployed is published, the government needs to be more open, for example, identifying how many are unemployed, how many are on a disability payments etc., but now, they must include how many people are on a shorter working week and therefore entitled to some form of benefits payment.

This would not change the situation, but it would, at the very least, provide the people of this country with a more accurate picture of the effects of shorter working weeks and/or salary sacrifices. That is to say, if employees opted to go to a 3 day week, rather than have the lottery of losing their job through a comparable reduction in the workforce of 40%, then this loss would not be accurately reflected in existing statistics. For example, if an employer with a 1,000 strong workforce reduced the working week from 5 to 3 days, many employees would be entitled to state benefits or support, but the published statistics would not reflect this. Whereas if they reduced the workforce by 40%, the statistics would pick up the fact that there was a further 400 people unemployed. I would hate to think that this government would be able to massage the true state of our employment situation in the same way as they do everything else!

I live in hope that an enterprising journalist or an MP will, respectively, use the freedom of information act, or a parliamentary question to find out the true state of affairs. Otherwise, we will all be lulled into a false sense of security believing that it is not as bad as it seems, whilst struggling to secure an interview. I hope, at the very least, Alistair Darling has considered this aspect before he presents his budget, otherwise he could find himself missing yet another target. Par for the course when it comes to this government, but increasingly unacceptable.

Posted in General, Labour | Comments (1)

Harriet Harman and the missed opportunity

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Harriet Harman and the missed opportunity

How could Harriet Harman, rumoured to be vying for Gordon Brown’s job, miss the golden opportunity that presented itself at Prime Minister’s Question time? Now I am no fan of Ms Harman, in fact, that would be an understatement, but who could fail to squirm as she ‘performed’ in place of the prime minister.

It was clear from her replies, and I use that term loosely, that she was neither prepared nor capable of dealing with any questions, least of all those posed by William Hague, a serious bruiser on such occasions. It would probably be too kind to describe her performance as inept, but to all and sundry, it was an embarrassing experience. Miliband was unable to contain his amusement, whilst Straw, Darling and others looked incredibly uncomfortable. You could almost hear them in unison saying ‘when will this be over’. It makes you wonder whether there ought to be a deputy for the deputy PM. Lets face it, I have seen better, more polished performances from children at their annual nativity play…and yes, I mean it.

They do say that if you give someone enough rope, they will hang themselves and I suspect that those in the ‘Stop Harriet Campaign’, were more than happy to hand it to her. A first year student would know how important it is to prepare before you present or accept questions. Harman clearly failed to do this, worst still, this was in front of her fellow MP’s and the television cameras. If that is not clear evidence of a bad judgement call, I don’t know what is? Failing which, it could just be the arrogance of office, but one thing is for certain, she has demonstrated that she is unlikely ever to be a suitable candidate for Labour leadership. After all, we know that New Labour like polished performances, even if they lack must substance, in Harman’s case, it appears that she has neither.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour | Comments (5)

MP’s are preaching, not listening

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MP’s are preaching, not listening

According to a survey completed by the Hansard Society, MP’s are not taking advantage of the power of the internet and, those that do, typically use it as a method of transmitting information, not receiving it. The only thing that should surprise anyone here is the fact that this is being heralded as a new discovery. The truth is, members of parliament (from all parties) have been talking at the British public for decades, although it is more prevalent now than it was, for example, 15 years ago.

With one or two notable exceptions, the only time members of parliament engage with the public is when they want something, which is typically once every 5 years, to convince us to vote for them. Once they get their seat in parliament, the majority of them couldn’t give a toss about their constituents, all of a sudden that are taken in by the deference they are shown and the generosity of the expense accounts.

The internet is a great tool for engaging with the general public and blogs represent an excellent forum for debate, yet only a handful of MP’s have their own blogs or contribute to other ‘political’ commentary/opinion blogs. Why, do you suppose that is? I believe it is a combination of the following; they can’t be bothered, they have nothing constructive to say, they are frightened of engaging with real people that have not been briefed on what questions they can, or cannot ask, their own positions are indefensible or, they are way to busy completing their expense claims.

Some government ministers are contemptuous of so called ‘political bloggers’, take Hazel Blears for example, she waded into them last year claiming they were fuelling a “culture of cynicism about public life“.  It couldn’t be that people were daring to disagree with the government could it? In fact, her attack only demonstrated her own ignorance and ineptitude, because what she chose to forget was that behind these blogs are real people, voters, who feel that blogging is a method by which they can voice their opinion and engage with other who may or may not agree with them. One thing is certain, frustrated voters have no other way of venting, with a government intent on doing as much as they can to restric freedom of speech, marches or protests!

The truth is, members of parliament ignore the power of the internet and the influence of political bloggers at their peril. The internet is an excellent medium to find like minded individuals and although it may be still be some way off, I would not be surprised if a new political party in not founded via the internet and one that speaks for the people, rather than at them.  

Only a fool, or in this case, a party and government of fools would choose to ignore a growing momentum of disaffected voters in the vain hope that they will go away. MP’s should engage with the public, not once every 5 years, but each and every day….or risk losing their seat. If they don’t do that, then I predict that today’s political bloggers will become tomorrow’s independent MP’s, only then will the people of this country really be able to call the government to account, because it would be our equivalent of non-executive directors! So the message to ALL Members of Parliament is stop transmitting and start receiving, before it is too late!

Posted in Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (0)

Mortgage Help, another case of say something, do nothing

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Mortgage Help, another case of say something, do nothing

Anyone that was struggling to pay their mortgages would probably have been heartened in December last year when Gordon Brown said that the government were to introduce a new scheme to help them. Gordon Brown’s announcement even managed to upstage the Queens Speech. To be fair, Gordon Brown did say that the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme would be available early in the new year, but a recent government update suggests that it will only be up and running in April. Surely this has got to be one of the cruelest things this government could do to people facing repossession? Does this man, Gordon Brown or New Labour have no sense of decency? In December, the government claimed that 8 mortgage lenders had signed up to the scheme, if true, why the subsequent delay, doesn’t this government understand the urgency of the situation for real people in trouble?

For a government that loves statistics, I wonder if they will have anyone calculate how many families will have lost their homes during the intervening period between the announcement and implementation of the new scheme? I very much doubt it somehow. People could have been forgiven for believing that the government, following the annoucement, had something ready for imminent launch. What was the rush for Gordon Brown, was he just chasing the headlines? It smacks of a cheap and wilful swipe at real people, in crisis…something that appears to have become the norm for New Labour.

To make matters worse, Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne said the governments approach compared favourably to the Conservative Party’s “do nothing” approach. Is this guy on the same planet? Firstly the public are sick and tired of hearing government ministers and Labour MP’s constantly justifying their own failings by claiming that the Conservatives Party policy was to do nothing as if this was an acceptable excuse. Secondly, the Labour government appears to be incapable of understanding precisely how much they raise expectations when they make policy announcements and the level of disappointment felt by people when they find out that the reality doesn’t match up to the rhetoric.

Whilst I am not a great believer in government intervention, I do believe that if they make a commitment or promise, then they must deliver on it in timely manner and in accordance with the original announcement. That said, this government has rarely, if ever, lived up to any of its promises, it is time for a change and I suspect, the people that they are now disappointing, will be the very people that ensure they get it. I cannot wait for an election so that we can get rid of this incompetent, self-serving, spin loving, pathetic party and get on with repairing the damage they have cause and once again, get to the stage where we can call it Great Britain again. I suspect that it will take a long time to get things right, but at least we would have the comfort of knowing that a promise made, is one that they will do their damnedest to deliver.

Posted in General, Labour | Comments (1)

SuperBrown saves the World

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SuperBrown saves the World

A slip of the tongue for Gordon Brown at today’s Prime Ministers’ Question time, when he inadvertently said that “we not only saved the world”. Or was it? Yes, yes, I accept that he probably didn’t mean to say what he did, but I truly believe he thinks he is something of a financial guru and that is very dangerous. This is a man, who is in a position to further damage this country and yet so potentially deluded, that he believes he has all of the answers and somehow other world leaders are watching and then following his example. If they do, then the people of their countries have my sympathy.

The bottom line is whilst the president of the United States had to do to the Senate and Congress to get permission to fund a banking bailout, our prime minister was able to commit this country without refernce to parliament. The Prime Minister of the UK has immense powers and as we all know, power in the wrong hands can be disastrous, especially one that is deluded enough to believe he has all the answers. This is a prime minister that doesn’t listen, one that repeatedly fails to accept personal responsibility and one that is willing put this country further into debt so long as it doesn’t have to be repaid during his tenure in office.

What is truly worrying, is according to the latest polls, when it comes to the economy, Gordon Brown is streets ahead of David Cameron retaining an enormous amount of public confidence. Now granted, Cameron does not help himself by consistently painting an austerity picture, but really, how can anyone have any confidence in Gordon Brown? The mess that we are in happened on his watch, it was he that promised no return to boom and bust, yet we are entering one of the worst recessions of our lifetime. Moreover, everyone, other than Gordon Brown, accepts that we are in one of the worst possible positions to ride out the storm. Truth be told, when we do come out the other side, whether we like it or not, this country will be a shadow of its former self.

Our manufacturing business has been in decline for decades, our balance of trade has been propped by the financial services and banking sectors and as we have all witnessed, the latter has collapsed in spectacular fashion. It will never be what it was. Therefore, unless somone comes up with a brilliant new concept, we will not be able to rely on our decimated manufacturing sector, nor will we be able to look to the financial and banking sectors to plug the gap. Add to this, the governments commitment to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions together with the increasing tax burden on business and it is self-evident that businesses small, medium and large will struggle to prosper or perhaps even survive in this country. On top of all this, this country has a massive debt mountain that needs to be repaid through taxation, further burdened by a huge ongoing liability in terms of public sector final salary pension schemes, rising healthcare costs, education, PFI’s, government pensions and millions of people in receipt of tax credits, disability benefits, Job Seekers Allowances, unemployment benefit or other forms of income support.

In my view, far from saving the world, Gordon Brown has single handedly done more damage to this country than any previous minister in history. Still, he fails to grasp the extent of the problem or the active part he has played in this whole sorry state of affairs. For his legacy is only that our children shall have to pay for his mistakes, those of his government and yes, the excesses of many of the people of this country.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour | Comments (11)

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