Archive for Politicians

I want to eat my cake

It is often possible to tell when either Labour or The Conservatives are having problems raising money as at that moment they point the finger at the other party.

I want to eat my cake

I want to eat my cake

The Conservatives would appear to be suffering as they wag their fingers at the internecine relationship between The Labour Party and Trades Unions. Which given that The Labour Party was created by Trades Unions is as ridiculous as whining about The Tories being funded by those with a vested interest in slicing tax rates.

When either part hits this point they raise the spectre of tax payers funding Political Parties. The logic that the Tories use to upset themselves about Labour party funding is the unfairness of a system by which non-party members of Trades Unions are forced to fund the party and arguing that their system of funding by choice is far better before slipping in to Tax Payers should fund it all as that would be fairer. I think that perhaps just a cursory glance at the reason given as to why Labour funding is wrong and then positing all taxpayers regardless of party affiliation should fund everyone, just slips down a big logic crack. Labour objects to Tory funding on the basis that people giving through their own choice just isn’t democratic… erm?

The idea of taxpayer funding holds far more a problem than the current system for a myriad of reasons.

It will presuppose that ant-racists are obligated to fund the BNP, that anyone who decides to set up a political party on what ever crackpot idea should be funded by everyone. It may be that the decision is made that funding will only be provided on the basis of the number of seats that a party stood for at the last election – which means that no new political party can ever get started, as they could only raise funds through the taxpayer, or is it still OK for people to donate to parties? In which case this is additional funding. How will candidates for European elections raise funding? After all parties from across Europe are absolutely entitled to, and do, select candidates for election in UK seats, is the suggestion that the UK dictates how parties in France and Germany fund their parties, or will their candidates be excluded from standing in the UK seats for the European Elections. How about Independents, council elections, parish council elections, Mayoral elections etc.?

That is before we head to tax hypothecation, which we are always told is too onerous to be worthwhile on other issues, or will the Government of the day decide on the annual budget for political parties. Would funding for political parties through taxation be protected, always increase, be subject to the same cuts as other Departments? Would we have a Minister for Party funding, a Quango, how would private party funding be regulated? The list goes on.

One vaguely intelligent idea is a cap on party income, but even that is fraught with paragraphs of problems.

The reality is that Democracy is a corrupt business and party funding is the exposed underbelly of that corruption politicians like to try and keep hidden, until they feel they may have a stick to poke the another party with, but to try and change it, is far worse than leaving it alone.

 

 

 

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It’s not our fault – it isn’t

Or as Johnny Rotten memorably put it – Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated -. So we turn to the rationale behind the proposed MPs pay rise which is anticipated to be in the region of 10% this year.

IPSA

IPSA

My scant views on the real independence of The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority prior to the legislation passed on the 20th July 2009 were expressed at the time as my derisive comments of the real independence of IPSA in November of 2009 and nothing has changed. I have been looking forward to the Audited Accounts for IPSA being published, which should be imminent, as the last accounts were published on the 2nd July 2012 and I will come back to them in due course.


Politicians (and the Journalists who follow their every move like fawning puppies) would have us believe that MPs are damned if they carry out their own review or damned if  ’an independent body’ carries out the review. In simple terms, IPSA, is not an Independent body, but another example of smoke and mirrors.

The commentary by Ian Kennedy, sums up the den of sleaze that is Westminster. He states -

‘..we know what happens when the element of pay is pushed aside as being simply too hard – the ‘nods and winks’ school of public financing emerges, and ultimately we end up with circumstances like 2009. No-one wanted the system that brought Parliament to its knees in 2009 to come into being, but it was the inevitable result of hard decisions deferred….’

Strip away the verbosity of language, he argues – if we don’t pay MPs more they will fiddle their expenses. I leave you to consider whether MPs, who are judged by a so called independent body as systemically corrupt, are MPs fit to serve.

Kennedy further adds -

‘..And, by way of a reminder, the legislation that gave us this responsibility is quite clear: the power to set the pay and pensions of MPs rests with IPSA alone. MPs do not get to vote. The Government does not get to pick and choose. There is no opting in or out…’

We have heard from many politicians that they won’t take their pay rise. Once it is in place, do you, I, or even the place-man Kennedy responsible for overseeing Parliamentary standards, really believe that these worthy types – to paraphrase - the ‘nods and winks’ school of public financing will emerge’ won’t quietly take their increased salaries a few months after the brouhaha has died down?

Or as Johnny Rotten put it -

Join Tim Whale on Twitter for an alternative view.

 

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Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The EU referendum

The debate rages on over EU membership and the rights and wrongs of a referendum.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Regardless of the call for a referendum or which side of the argument one sits, there does seem once again to be a missing element to the discussion.

Much is made of the fact that the last referendum vote on what was then called the Common Market was back in 1975 with many arguing this isn’t fair as they have never had their say on the matter, continuing with the argument that by holding the vote this will seal the deal forever. Little regard seems to be given for those who in another 40 years will be arguing that they too never had the opportunity to vote for membership.

If there is to be a referendum, then the framework should be set for this to happen cyclically, but typically, the myopic blinkered vision fails to address what will be an ongoing issue for future generations. Similar issues lie ahead with Welsh and Scottish devolution, regardless of the full Scottish split, where this generation feels they have the right to as is so often said ‘settle the argument once and for all’.

If people are calling for a referendum, they should also be calling for a second referendum in 10-15 years as part of an ongoing process.

I am minded of The Clash and Should I Stay Or Should I Go as the song for the day.

Combat Rock – The Clash is available on iTunes.*

Join Tim Whale on Twitter for more perspectives.

*Purchases made through the iTunes link will result in Anarchy in the UK earning a commission.

 

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The lessons never learnt by finger pointing

Having spent many years in business one basic lesson I learnt very early on was do not try to promote your product by criticising your competition. Politicians have never learnt that very basic tenet of communication.

The lessons never learnt by finger pointing

The lessons never learnt by finger pointing

There are many reasons for not promoting through criticism, but the most relevant and one that political advisers despite all their think tanks have never learnt is that pointing out faults in your competition raises doubts in the minds of your audience in the credibility of your own message through association.

Politicians of all parties in the UK and political commentators speak regularly of the falling numbers of voters and the need to try and engage people with politics, yet their main message of communication is to inform the general public that the other lot are rubbish because in 1996 one of their forebears said this or that. Or in the case of Prime Ministers Questions just yesterday, The Labour party can’t be trusted because they are funded by UNITE and The Conservatives can’t be trusted because they are funded by wealthy.

One would have thought that perhaps amongst the myriad of talking heads at least one lone voice would spot neither argument is particularly relevant and even more importantly all it sends out as a message is don’t trust them because they are worse than us.

The end result of this continued sniping has a direct correlation to the continued fall in people actually voting and party membership. As the message of finger pointing has increased over the years, so the number of voters and party members has dropped.

I am minded to Chasing Shadows by The Newds for today’s song of the day.

The EP – Ready  is available on Amazon*

Join Tim Whale on Twitter for more songs of the day.

*Purchases made through the Amazon link will result in Anarchy In The UK earning a commission.

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Raising Hackles – Thought for 2nd July 2013

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of Edward Snowden in releasing the PRISM information in June 2013 an equally important issue is not being addressed – The effect of intervention – raising hackles.

Raising Hackles - Thought for 2nd July 2013

Raising Hackles – Thought for 2nd July 2013

The USA has suffered many years of bad press and increasing hostility on a broader international scale and judging by the way that the Government and Security Services are handling this situation, little has been learnt. The aspect of how the USA is working to secure the arrest of Edward Snowden once again demonstrates the continued aggressive nature with which the USA stomps its feet until it gets its way.


I think I can say with some certainty that across the world stage it is known and accepted that the USA wants to ensure Snowden is returned to the USA to face charges. It is also known that there are some Countries across the world who are potentially prepared to stop that happening. Where the USA, in my view. is shooting itself in the foot,  is with the excessive pressure being put on those countries with unknown demands, offers and threats to seek to get those countries to change their minds with the result Snowden is becoming perceived as a man being hounded as he fires off more and more asylum applications around the world

It may all seem like a trivial point, but, as an example –  Ecuador has backed down under pressure and as a result their President - Rafael Correa – is angering his own population as it appears to many that the country has become a puppet to the American regime. This in turn potentially leads to many of neutral mind on the issue of the way the USA handles the world stage from coming off the fence and taking a negative view of their continued intervention in other Countries political affairs.

Irrespective of that, the story of PRISM, which runs daily across the world media has already caused consternation in what are supposed to be allies, is being kept alive and in the forefront of the mind by this continued exposure, raising hackles on both the level of was it right or wrong, but now the USA has succeeded in extending that to another analysis of whether the USA is perhaps too big for its own boots.

If the USA Government and Security Services settled down and took a more pragmatic view of geo-politics then perhaps they would get their man without once again being perceived as interventionist. Which only fuels the fire of those with a gripe about the country.

 

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Economical with the actualité

Lying has become such an endemic strategy in British Politics, Business and Policing that it is little surprise the general public is dismissive.

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

Back in 18th Century Edmund Burke – who as an MP in the the House of Commons for The Whigs came up with the euphemism for lying with his summation – ‘Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatsoever: But, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth.’ Burke is viewed as the philosophical founder of modern Conservatism. Politicians of all sections have learnt the lesson well.

In 1986 another politician –  A former Cabinet Minister – Robert Armstrong – brought it in to common parlance, whilst giving evidence during the Australian spycatcher trial in 1986.

Lawyer: What is the difference between a misleading impression and a lie?
Armstrong: A lie is a straight untruth.
Lawyer: What is a misleading impression – a sort of bent untruth?
Armstrong: As one person said, it is perhaps being “economical with the truth”.

In 1992 yet another politician – Alan Clark tried to make it all seem so noble an art for politicians to master when at the Matrix Churchill trial he exchanged under questioning -

Clark: Well it’s our old friend “being economical”, isn’t it?
Lawyer: With the truth?
Clark: With the actualité

This paroxysm of lying is now an inbred part of the culture of politicians in the UK that no-one sees it is a surprise. But it needn’t be the case and it is time the British Public and Media took Politicians to task for consistent lies rather than smile sweetly as with a naughty toddler.

Sadly this virus has spread wider than politicians and it is not a unusual site to look around a jury and find half the members stifling a laugh when a Policeman takes to the stand and takes a look at their black notebook – proclaiming – ‘this is what I observed at the time’.

This spiral of lies and deceit has subsequently found Bankers, Retailers, Manufacturers etc. deciding to join in the band wagon. That little bit of ‘bending the truth’ runs rife through the UK and is not acceptable and those in positions of influence must be called to account.

It is why Politicians think fiddling expenses is a fine and dandy thing to do. It is why none of these Police Officers –  who can be clearly seen looking directly at the assault – actually saw anything of Harwood pushing and murdering Ian Tomlinson -

The murder of Ian Tomlinson

The murder of Ian Tomlinson

It is why staff at agencies such as A4E and G4S sign contracts they have no intention of fulfilling and seeking to find mechanisms to secure payment with little come-back, on occasion resorting to outright fraud – for which no-one is ever made accountable.

It is why Blair continues to fly around the world lecturing on moral probity when the September 2002 document in which his introduction advised – The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them. -

Not only was the document proven to be wrong but his introduction an outright lie.

 

This comical and sweet sounding term –  Economical with the actualité – is a pernicious and dangerous festering sore that needs to be stamped out.

 

 

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The Insanity of Politicians

In the UK the Labour Party tried to introduce more extensive surveillance legislation, the Tories opposed, now the Tories hold the upper hand, they want to introduce tighter surveillance legislation.

All politicians demonstrate their complete lack of intelligence and reality of life regularly and this proposal just highlights the Insanity of Politicians.

Scream

Scream

The Scream by Shayna Michaels

Does an perpetrator of ‘major crime’ as this is the suggested rationale really sit at home on a computer or send text messages without taking precaution?

Politicians don’t seem to have heard of – Proxy Servers, Dongles, disposable email addresses, PAYG phones, multiple sim-cards and now a Raspberry-Pi (which the average copper conducting a search wouldn’t think was in fact a computer).

The inference for the need to have legislation, which means everyone in the UK will be under-surveillance, being that we are all master minding a coup or running a major criminal syndicate. This legislation indicates more about the mind-set of politicians not the mind-set of a ‘master criminal’.

Never mind the Statism of it all, those who chirp up with the ‘if you have nothing to hide’ chorus can perhaps explain how this proposed piece of legislation would actually achieve it’s supposed objective?

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Alcohol Pricing

The alcohol pricing issue is but another stake in the heart of the poorest sections of Society and bears no relation to reality.

Krug

Krug

The price ranges between £50 and £ 1 000′ish a bottle. I drink at least a case a week in addition to Red Wine. My closest friends, well they knock back the alcohol too. How many people do I know who drink alcohol below the ‘minimum pricing level’? Absolutely none. Yes I did know one person once on the Wirral, a really nice guy, who got it wrong and he is dead, that is the only ‘minimum pricing’ casualty I know. Now lets get an extra set of digits for the number of expensive alcohol drinkers who have died through alcohol poisoning, that I personally know. Would minimum pricing levels have made a jot of difference? You know the answer.

Have you ever been in to a City Wine Bar? Have you ever been in to the subsidised Politicians drinking den?

This war on alcohol pricing is absolute nonsense and is merely another swipe against the poorest in Society for the sake of it.

One day the Daily Mail will stop jumping with glee at every abuse of the most vulnerable (that is if any of them ever sober up) as every-time one of their number appears on Question Time they appear to be out of their head on drink.

Let’s stop harassing the poor and start looking at real issues.

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Social Unrest

We constantly hear that the protestors in the August 2011 disturbances in UK are scum, hooligans and common criminals. Certainly there are elements who fit that category, however to focus on the minority is to miss the reality of how deeply divided the country stands.

Social disconnect

Social disconnect

We have a Society which just recently was torn asunder by a systemic failure in the Banking system, old preconceptions of Capitalism were ripped away by the crass behaviour of banks to fail to secure their loans, under the pretext of lending rules, which even now permit banks to count loans as capital. Complex financial instruments which Credit Rating agencies failed to understand and rated incorrectly, regulators who didn’t understand what they were regulating and a political and media frenzy focused on revenue generation.

Bankers were rewarded for going bankrupt and individuals were convinced it would all be fine in the end. The mantra of 2.5% inflation was all that mattered, itself a fictitious number drawn from no genuine analysis.

The net result being a perception that greed really was good and avarice and ownership is the mark of attainment.

On the collapse, instead of a humbling of the banks, the Labour Party decided to refinance the banks with taxpayers money with no sanctions or penalty. This has led those self same banks to be in the position of lending money to the Governments who bailed them out, with effectively the very money that6 bailed them out, at punitive rates of interest. The new Government while talking tough have in reality merely punished the tax-payers further for the failure of politicians to seize the metal.

We still have a Society in which ownership of the latest bling is the measure of value and it can hardly be of any surprise that those with no bling are somewhat miffed at the situation. We hear much talk of the sharing of pain, but those in the have not pile feel, justifiably or not, that the pain is being inflicted at the have not pile.

We have a disconnect in the country as life has been too easy for too many years for the Westminster coterie. There is little public perception that MPs have actually bothered to clean up their act and we find the the Police and Media are just a bribe away from an orgy. Those with influence take, those without suffer.

I hear from Police Officers now, about how they fully support Peaceful demonstrations, but are appalled by the violence of the current round. The self-same police forces that kettle as a matter of course and cover up the murder of Ian Tomlinson. Politicians also like to spout how they accept peaceful demonstration as being a reasonable expression, but just a few months ago were lambasting Students and anti-cuts protestors as scum of the earth.

It has been evidenced that the system in which we live does not respond to either democratic vote, or demonstration. What exactly does Society expect those who are disenfranchised to do? Shut up and put up, or perhaps get violent.

These demonstrations are probably only a precursor  to more aggression. When the establishment doesn’t listen, history has shown it falls.

 

 

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The Democratic Disconnect

Through-out history social structures have evolved and been radically changed through revolution.

We, in the UK, currently live in a Representative Democracy, which has evolved over time, to give ever wider sections of Society a role in the election of representatives. But it is not a pure Democracy, rather a socially engineered system of Government it is, as it says on the tin a flawed ‘representative democracy‘ and as such vast swathes of the population have no representation.

Whilst in the early stages of its evolution this was not an issue, as individuals have gained greater knowledge and raised expectations, this system of Government is creaking at the edges.

Those who support the status quo of course attempt to claim the moral high ground prefacing their argument with the construct that they are right, in much the same way that any evangelist enters a conversation.

In very simple terms 1 in 3 people, registered to vote,  did not vote at the last election. Evangelists claim their failure to engage is their own fault. They never question why that 1 in 3 do not vote, perhaps some of them do not support representative democracy as a valid system of Government.

Of the remaining 65% who did vote, nearly 1 in 2 didn’t vote for the current Government.

To turn that in to a raw score – only 17 500 000 people in the UK actually voted for this Government which means that of the estimated 55 000 000 adults in the country only 30% of the population actively (at the last general election) support the Government in principal.

To suggest that a system whereby 7 out of ten people do not support the legislature is ‘representative’ is farcical.

It can not be right that 70% of the population is disregarded, sneered at and ignored by politicians, which is in effect what happens in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

Are there alternatives and does it actually matter?

Follow-up posts to be published

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