Category Archive: David’s Musings

That pesky £1.7bn EU Bill

It would appear that the question of whether the £1.7bn EU bill was halved or not just will not lie down and die.

On Wednesday last George Osborne was in front of the Treasury Select Committee, initially about the 2014 Autumn Statement, which was then followed by questioning on this supposed  halving  thingy (starts 16:48:17).

What followed was a classic example of a politician wriggling on a hook and utilising reams of waffle without exactly saying anything. Also appearing with Osborne was Mark Bowman, Director General, International and EU, HM Treasury; and he too was ‘well on the waffle’.

Not that the Treasury Select Committee is the only parliamentary committee on the case as the House of Lords EU Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs have asked the Government to justify claims that it “halved the bill”; and they have written, at the beginning of this month, to David Gauke M, Financial Secretary at HM Treasury.

Adding fuel to the increasing flames, we find today that Andrew Grice, writing in the Independent, reports that David Cameron, ‘in Council’, suggested to the other members that there was no need to create a big division and that communications needed careful handling – which would suggest that the bill was not the surprise it was made out to be – prior to then going out and creating such a division.

It seems that the old saying, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive , has not lost its relevance.

 

 


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Evil EVEL?

Today in the House of Commons William Hague presented a Command Paper setting out three options by which English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) could be introduced and the Hansard report (uncorrected at the time of writing) of those proceedings can be read here.

Hague’s statement was riddled with inconsistencies – but then what else can we expect from the current political class? Witness:

  • Hague stated that there was a fundamental issue of fairness – if this is so, just what the hell was Blair doing in 1997 but ‘gerrymandering’ the electoral process if not for political gain? If Blair’s actions were not for political gain, then why was devolution not ‘equal’ among the constituent nations of the United Kingdom where devolved powers were concerned?
  • Hague maintained that England, like Scotland, must have more power over their affairs -yet the people of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom will not have that power as it is only the politicians to whom the power is being granted.
  • Hague spoke about the introduction of direct democracy, by which means people will have local referendums on local issues. If people are to have local referendums on local issues, why can’t they have national referendums on national issues? Where is the difference, if we are to have devolution of power?
  • Hague also maintained that law making decisions must remain with Parliament – so if we are to have devolution per se, why should local people not decide their own domestic laws?
  • In his statement Hague summarised the three options that were proposed, which begs the question: if the principle is for only English (and Welsh) MPs to vote on the measures affecting their respective country, then what is the reason for the other two options?
  • In a short interview clip on LBC, Hague was heard to state that: ‘This is not about handing England the same powers as Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland‘ – in which case what the hell is it about, if not the diminuisation of England?

The Command Paper itself raises so many questions in regard to how EVEL could be implemented and it obviously has not been thought through, as is evident from the Command Paper – if anyone reads it, that is.

When will our political class realise that true democracy cannot be delivered under representative democracy? It is beyond argument that the form of democracy that the political class wish to introduce can only be done by the introduction of The Harrogate Agenda.

The underlying message of what we heard today can be summarised in two words: ‘Stitch Up’ – and it did not help allay that feeling when one heard the questions/comments posed/made by backbench MPs. Puerile would be an understatement!

Democracy in action? Pah!

 


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Oh ‘Great’………………

I see that the next wanna-be tenant of No 10 Downing Street has been visiting Great Yarmouth today. Have readers noticed how when visiting anywhere he always feels it is great to be there? (pass the sick bucket someone).

Someone also needs to inform Ed Miliband that – thanks to a load of free publicity earlier this year – the entire country is now aware of the fact he is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis; and that it is now becoming a tad tiresome as a topic in his speeches, such as this one today.

Yet another statement that is also becoming tiresome is the repetition of the  mantra that to leave the EU would be a disaster for jobs, business and families here. Those like Miliband who continually spout this ‘religion’ need to justify and explain why it would be a disaster for jobs, business and families and how it would be a disaster for jobs, business and families.

Of all his mannerisms, the most appalling and annoying is that of waving his forefinger when attempting to emphasise a point he is making, as here;

milliband-yarmouth-015-jbye.jpg

(photo source)

Leaving  to one side his facial expression, waving your finger at someone is the height of discourtesy. It is the type of gesture employed by a parent admonishing their miscreant child – and Miliband needs to be informed we are not children.

Unfortunately, every time Ed Miliband appears  (and the sentiment applies to the majority of his political class) I cannot but help recall a quote by Bob Edwards:

Now I know what a statesman is; he’s a dead politician. We need more statesman.


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2014
12/15

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David's Musings

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Democracy?

Two articles with an unstated, but common, theme appear in yesterday’s media output; one by Iain Martin in the Telegraph and the other by Andrew Rawnsley in the Guardian; and it will be no surprise to readers when I state that the unstated, but common, theme is that of our democracy.

Iain Martin is of the opinion that unless Jim Murphy can restore Labour’s fortunes with the Scottish electorate then the Union is doomed, while Andrew Rawnsley feels that the first-past-the-post electoral system can only lead to less stable government as Parliament will be hung, drawn and quartered.

While we all know that Martin is an inhabitant of the Westminster Bubble and thus knows no life outside it, according to Wikipedia he is a Scottish journalist and author who has held senior positions, including editor, with newspapers in Scotland and England. As such it continually amazes me that he appears unable to think outside the box.

Andrew Rawnsley is also a political journalist and broadcaster, currently being the Chief Political Commentator and Associate Editor of The Observer, a position he has held since 1993. He too is an inhabitant of the Westminster Bubble and thus seems to know of no life outside it – and he also appears unable to think outside the box.

Martin’s assertion that should Labour lose its support in Scotland it will mean the end of the Union is absurd in that he obviously has not thought though said assertion. Likewise, Rawnsley’s assertion that the current system of voting can only lead to less stable government is also absurd and for the same reason. It is quite possible for the Union to remain intact and for Parliament to provide stable government even while no party has an absolute majority. All that is required to solve both ‘problems’ is for the adoption of The Harrogate Agenda.

Very few political journalists firstly will acknowledge that Blair’s initial act of devolution was flawed from the onset; and on the extremely rare occasions they do tackle the subject of devolution, their analysis is totally illogical. Very few journalists are not only content, it seems, to turn a deaf ear to a flawed system of devolution, but also to appear to turn a deaf ear to the deficits of our democratic system.

What this means is that both the political class and the media (again I exempt Christopher Booker) are failing in the duty of care they owe to those to whom they ‘preach’ and thus through the incompetence, deliberate or otherwise, of two major sources of information (and education), the public are being led up the proverbial garden path.

This is democracy?

 


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2014
12/12

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David's Musings

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The disdain of our political class

Yesterday morning, in an effort to re-circulate my post about the Labour Party’s plans to lower the voting age to 16, I tweeted a link to brackenworld’s artice on the same subject and commented that that made two of us agreeing on this policy – a tweet that was promptly RT’d by HouseofTwits.

Totally out of the blue (or should that be red?) I received a comment from Barry Sheerman MP, the Labour member for Huddersfield, who stated: Some of us believe it criminal to shrink childhood undermine child protection create adults at 16! I replied: So I take it that makes three of us then? This brought forward the response: Many more under the radar! - to which I replied: Question is that if this is in the Labour manifesto, will you campaign on it?

This ‘conversation’ took place during a period of approximately 15 minutes – and as I write, my question remains unanswered. Barry Sheerman thus becomes another on the growing list of MPs with whom I have entered into ‘correspondence’, seemingly in vain.

It is understood and accepted that MPs are busy people with many calls on their time; but unfortunately for one who is a member of a body of people worried about the disconnect that exists between them and their electorate, one cannot but notice that on every occasion I have put what may be considered awkward questions to a politician, they are suddenly ‘struck dumb’.

Also yesterday we were blessed with another Ed message from Mount Miliband the text of which can be read here. This speech was most notable for what it did not contain – and that which it did contain, where phrases are concerned, was disingenuous to say the least. Witness the phrase: ‘productive investment’ – this is politic speak for borrowing, pure and simple; and what about: ‘sensible spending cuts’ – what is ‘sensible’ to one man is madness to another. The most hilarious of all the phrases Miliband used was: ‘as soon as possible’ – again another open-ended ‘promise’ which, in the context used, is meaningless.

Setting to one side the glaring faults in this speech, the phrasing leaves a great deal to be desired and also raises questions to whoever composed it. Once again witness Miliband blaming his opponents for ideological commitment to a shrinking of the state, come what may – yet is his party not also guilty of ideological commitment  to an expansion of the state, come what may? Labour is just as guilty as their opponents in that that which they wish to do is not because they have to do it, but because they want to do it.

One has to ask just how is the country – and its peoples – served by such vacuous speeches containing equally vacuous promises? Just how is the electorate best served by a political class who deliberately refrain from engaging with them; and especially by their use of phrases which mean nothing?

It is undeniable that we are being manipulated but the burning question is to whose benefit – and on the face of it, not ours. We are presently caught between political parties all intent on waging ideological war, the aim of which is to have power over us. Not once are we asked what we would like, we are told what we will receive; not once are we asked if we are prepared to pay the cost of their dreams, we are told we will pay – that is not what I believe democracy is.

And mores the pity, we meekly go along with it – which begs the question: who is the bigger fool?


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2014
12/11

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David's Musings

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Thursday 11th December

The fact that I am leaving at what might best be described as an unearthly hour tomorrow morning for Co. Durham (with a view to hopefully avoiding traffic on the M1, Jct 27-31) can but explain the lack of posting today and this evening.

Posting will resume tomorrow (late afternoon or early evening) and the first article will deal with two of our ‘labouring’ politicians and what can be classified as their apparent disregard for the electorate – and encapsulating, in particular, that which they would wish us to believe they hold dear; namely democracy.

 


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Lowering the voting age

With the announcement by Labour that they will legislate to lower the voting age to 16 comes an article in the Guardian CiF section by a 19 year-old who, still a student, has been selected as PPC for Bath by the Labour Party. Understandably therefore Ollie Middleton, the author, is all for such legislation; and is of the belief that 16 is the perfect age to begin exercising ones franchise.

It is very easy to present an argument against this move on the basis that people of such a young  age have no real understanding of life and the world; something exemplified in spades by the article from Master Middleton.

Having said that, it is necessary to immediately link to another article on Conservative Home, this one authored by a 58 year-old who also hasn’t a clue about that on which he pontificates – so the initial thought of despair that a 19 year-old might be elected to be one of those who may decide my future becomes tempered somewhat.

On the basis that our democracy is shot to hell, I suppose not much more damage can be caused by electing yet another individual who appears not to know the first thing about what ails this country.

As one comment stated on Middleton’s argument, he was permitted to go to the toilet unaccompanied at about the age of 5 – so perhaps the voting age should be lowered to that?

 

 


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Economical with the actualité (3)

We all know that politicians will seize any opportunity to make a political point and/or political capital, regardless of whether or not the point they make is factually correct or not.

It would appear that Andy Burnham did just that, resulting in a rather ‘sharp’ response by Jeremy Hunt.

Apropos my preceding post, another example of lax, or sensationalist, journalism for ‘dubious’ reasons?

So, here we have an example of media and political scaremongering designed to mislead the public.

Having said all that, it is a tad ironic of Jeremy Hunt to write:

This is yet another distasteful attempt to scare people by distorting facts and distorting figures you know to be dodgy.

when the Prime Minister of the government of which Hunt is an important member has used the same tactics and in so doing turned it into an art form.

 

(With ack to Full Fact for the story)

 

 


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Abandon all hope, those born ‘one of the people’

But today’s press goes beyond simple bias or affection. “Obsequious” might not be the right word. I could have used “brown-nosing,” “unctuous” or “deferential.” Maybe “throne-sniffing.” Or “sycophantic.” “Obeisant,” “parasitical,” “compliant,” “worshipful,” “ingratiating,” “servile,” “prostrate,” or “toadying?” Look, the precise word isn’t the point.

Source

The words above were directed at the American Press in respect of their relationship with Barack Obama, but they can just as easily be levied at our mainstream media (or legacy media as some would have it) and those within – and any one of those words would be applicable (Christopher Booker apart). It is only necessary to scan the media’s offerings today to see that; witness: James Kirkup, Polly Toynbee, Steve Richards, or Philip Johnston. All those ‘journalists’ are aware that something is drastically wrong with our country yet each in their own way appear not able to bring themselves to mention it.

Kirkup makes a fair point in his article, yet fails to acknowledge that human nature being what it is’ if people can get anything ‘on the cheap’ they will make damn sure they get a slice. Toynbee acknowledges that Labour has flaws yet informs us we should ignore all that and vote for them, presumably on the basis that Labour are the lesser of the evils on offer. Richards would have us believe that government should make us all financially comfortable when in fact only we can do that by hard work and logical choices on how and on what we spend our money. Philip Johnston is of the opinion that the Coalition was formed by a mutual desire for lower taxes and a smaller state when the reality is both parties desperately wanted to have their hands on the levers of power  and made damn sure they could.

While what Jon Gabriel calls the Fourth Estate can have any one of those adjectives applied to them then they are not performing the function for which they were created; which is to inform the people of not just what is being said or done, but why – and to point out when the truth is not being told.

Just saying……………………………..

 

 

 


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Economic Integration

At their recent meeting in Brussels, EU competitiveness ministers* agreed on what needs to be done to develop the single market and step up Europe’s economic integration. To those who question the last few words of the preceding sentence, then read the Press Release to which I link:

Among the priority actions to be taken in order to further develop the single market and increase Europe‘s economic integration………..

Also within the last few days, Lord Vader Mandelson is of the opinion that joining the Euro could be on the “British agenda” in years to come. When one considers the EU’s insidious incursion into our education system, he is probably correct.

 

* Yes, we do have one such: Ms. Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Intellectual Property – whether or not she is a ‘house-trained puss’ or a ‘cable car’ needless to say matters not.


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