Sunday, January 13, 2008

Northern Exposure

I see that the Conservatives have received from an opinion poll shows their lead over Labour has widened and indicates huge public support for their tough plans to cut the number of people on benefit. At the same time, Kent on Sunday shows that here in Kent we are faced by a particular benefit challenge and if the figures were sufficiently granular then, I'm quite certain that Margate, Ramsgate and Sheerness would catch the attention of the statisticians.

Strangely enough, even the LibDems, under their new leader, Nick Clegg, appear to be moving towards the policy right and listening to his speech yesterday my first reaction was 'Cameron-lite' as he talked about public service reform, education and hospitals. The LibDems describe themselves as 'The Progressive Centre' party but I'm not sure what this really means other than not being part of the two major parties in British politics.

I mentioned Northern Rock yesterday and like me, I'm sure you will be delighted to hear that the people involved in the biggest banking crisis in modern British history have been rewarded with annual payouts of up to £100,000 each. The confidential payouts, - which total £2.3million for this month alone - are capped at £25,000 per quarter and take effect from this month. The formula means that some staff – those earning £100,000 or less – could double their pay. Which is nice, as I'm sure you will agree.

It's reminds me that the head of HMRC, who 'resigned' after the personal data of 25 million families was lost, swiftly found another job at the Treasury. Which is also nice.

Another piece of news today comes from that paragon of political correctness, The Observer newspaper. - which I used to write for - . Apparently up to a million migrants have gathered in Libya, from where they will attempt to sail across the Mediterranean for Europe and, ultimately perhaps, the UK. Rather too many to fit in the Nayland Rock Hotel perhaps but I'm sure we will play our proper part should they arrive.

The issue is highlighted in tomorrow's BBC Panorama programme, which details how European leaders tried to reach an agreement with Libya, a country that until recently was named by Britain as a state sponsor of terrorism. we might joke about the enormous numbers involved but it raises pressing questions for the countries that lie between Malta and the English Channel, where the majority of economic migrants will be heading. Given the turmoil in Africa and the Middle-east, Europe is now effectively under siege and the defenses, in the shape of the Human Rights Act and immigration services of the EU states are quite inadequate.

If a million doctors, scientists, plumbers and software engineers were coming this way, that might be another matter but Europe isn't short of unskilled migrant labour, what it needs is a new generation of skilled workers to replace the 80% of the workforce that will retire over the next decade. without these, our welfare state will start to collapse under the strain of pensions, benefit and health provision. It's a mathematical certainty. Europe and in particular Britain, has to act decisively before it's too late. I'm not optimistic given the poor track record of achievements to-date.


Anonymous said...

Do the public trust David Cameron on drugs.? Watch the truth come out at the next election and destroy the Conservatives chances.

W Fox

Anonymous said...

Shadow chancellor George Osborne is facing questions after reportedly accepting £487,000 from donors last year without fully declaring the sum.
He blamed unclear advice from a Commons official for his failure to report the funds to the Register of Members' Interests, the Mail on Sunday says.

The story follows criticism of Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain for also failing to declare donations.

Labour MPs have accused the Tories of hypocrisy and called for an inquiry.

'In order'

Mr Osborne is reported to have received money from some of Britain's wealthiest people to help run his shadow ministerial office.


Anonymous said...

I Thought as part of the regeneration of Margate the Nayland Rock Hotel was going to be just that-a Hotel.This is completly the wrong location to house refugees when it is a prime site on the seafront,no other seaside town would allow this,surely there is a more suitable site?

James Maskell said...

Statement by George Osborne on the story regarding donations and him:

"These donations are to the Conservative Party, they are openly declared and we have followed the rules as they were explained to us.

All the donations over £5000 have been declared to the Electoral Commission and are available for all to see on their website, as the law requires.

They are donations to the Conservative Party, solicited by the Treasurers Department, and they go straight into the central accounts of the Party.

The Party obviously provides me with staff support in my role as a Shadow Cabinet member. These members of staff are employed by CCHQ on CCHQ contracts and they help the Conservative Party campaign on economic issues. I employ separate staff using the parliamentary allowances to assist me in my work as a constituency MP.

In December last year the Party sought clarification from the Registrar of Members Interests, Ms Alda Barry, regarding direct donations to a Party where donors express a wish as to how their donation is spent. The result of that discussion, which involved an exchange of emails between the Party and Ms Barry, was an understanding on our behalf that this kind of support from the Conservative Party did not need to be registered by individual Members. Following that exchange, I was therefore told that my declarations were in order.

Ms Barry has now told us that her initial advice may have been unclear and it has been agreed that the general issue of exactly how these donations to any political party ought to be registered could be raised with the Standards and Privileges Committee. The Opposition Chief Whip has done that, and I hope that her office will do too."

As for Clegg moving to the centre with his speech this week, its not a suprize. Hes an Orange Booker, a more right wing Lib Dem.

Cameron's university experiences many years ago wont ruin the Conservatives chances at the next elections and anyone who seriously thinks that that single issue will matter one bit to the majority of the public is a sandwich short of a picnic. Think of all the people who have admitted they did drugs while at university in the past...some of them are in Brown's Cabinet at the moment! It wont matter at all. I thought this issue was dealt with over 2 years ago...

Michael Child said...

James while I totally agree with you that what he did at university (although I thought he did it at Eton, perhaps it was both) won’t affect his election chances, I find the fact that he intends to make something he has done punishable by a five-year prison sentence rather inconsistent.

Anonymous said...


Tory Crime Lords

The fact that everyone knows he done drugs at uni but takes us all for mugs is what will come back and hit Cameron. The Tory party has two former senior MP's that have been to prison one who whom lived in Sandwich where he was more than picnic short. Then there is formal illegal pirate radio Jock Roger Gale who Cameron has little no respect for, not just because he's never got anywhere in politics but because he supported Davis as leader.

The Conservates are finished. They have no support ouside of south east England and are yesterday news.

Man in the street called Pete

DrMoores said...

Somehow, I think that Pete's incisive political analysis may be a little awry in the finer detail. I would concede though that Northern England, Wales and even Scotland are a problem for any political party that isn't Labour,whatever that really means in this day and age!

Anonymous said...

Dr Moores you are totally wrong in saying that any party that is not Labour can't win in Scotland. The SNP are doing very well, we are in control of the Scottish Parliment for a start. I may live in this dump called Thanet but I think of myself as Scottish not British. The Tories have had so many crooks it makes us wonder how many more they have. I hear the NTCA lost a few quid. How they gonna get it back?

Pete Man in the street

Tony Beachcomber said...

James, that's a very interesting comment on the Orange Book. Not many people have paid much attention on the orange book that would shift the whole centre ground of British politics. If these people have their way in the liberal movement peopl like simon hughes will look rather isolated,

Anonymous said...

Is Simon Hughes still gay?


DrMoores said...

I didn't say that any party that isn't Labour can't win in Scotland, rather that in the places I describe, beating Labour is a challenge at at Genral Election although we may yet see Scotland going fully independent! It's amost that way now!

If you really want to be taken seriously here, you need to raise your game to a higher level of argument Pete. Simply describing Tories as "crooks" doesn't do you any credit!

Tooth Ache said...

The George Osborne situation and that of Peter Hain are quite different and any attempt to link them is disreputable and disingenious. Osborne was in direct discussion with the relevant Parliamentary body and in receipt of advice that may have been erroneous.
Peter Hain has yet to explain what the untraceable and unknown front for his donations was and is and it does appear that this odd set-up called The Progressive Policies Forum was nothing other than a device to disguise the source and even the amount of donations to his campaign fund. Did we not see a few months ago the device used of 'proxy' donations?
When will the likes of Pete, 'Man in the Street' who sounds more like OVIT than anyone else posting today, realise that we are bored with the history of past years in regard to Tory has beens and are more interested in the utter impropriety and fiscal 'errors' that keep cropping up in regard to todays Labour Government and its ministers of the crown. Do we really believe that Two shags wasn't bonking his staff in his office? Do we really believe that honours weren't being peddled around? Do we really believe that Hain and others really knew nothing about donations to them. Hain might bluster his way out of the first embarrassment but must not be allowed to ride this one out. You are either straight or you are bent and there is no in between. We have a Labour Government that has let 7 million working class people lose dental services and the nation's dental health is one of the worst in Europe and getting worse by the day; is this what I expected from a labour Government when I voted for them in 1997? No! Did I expect them to be more devious and corrupt than Tory politicians? No! Its time to give the Tories their chance again to run this country and return some integrity to Government and dentists back to look after the people's teeth.

James Maskell said...

The new generation of Lib Dems are very much that way Tony. Look at the names of the contributors to the book. Vincent Cable, Nick Clegg, Ed Davey, Chris Huhne, Susan Kramer, Mark Oaten and Steve Webb. David Laws was also involved. All of the next generation, all of them very prominent at the moment (Oaten excluded for obvious reasons). As far as Simon Hughes is concerned, hes very much out of the inner circle, with names like the above still in prominent LD positions. Hes not likely to get a word in edgeways and he might as well just work on training these "Young Turks" so they can speak with more authority.

Clegg has already tried to shift the Party with his first speech on public services with a decidedly rightward shift in policy. Its about time because the LDs have always seemed a little too left wing for a liberal party.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Very well put James, probably explains why Labour party members who left to join the LD'S because of the Iraq war have returned.

anon again! said...

anon again!

Summarising the above comments, it is easy to see why the euro has gained 18p on the pound during the past few weeks, and the pound continues to slump on world markets.... Johnny Foreign has NO confidence in the present or future British Government!
Get out of that!!!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Then why do they all want to live here.