Posts Tagged 'Vested Self Interest'

New Year, but same old hypocritical Labour

Today could not go unmarked following the speculation, hype, scaremongering and bitter argument in the run up to the entitlement of Bulgarians and Romanians to live and work without restriction as ‘EU citizens’ in the UK.

The Guardian, as always, chooses to report on Labour’s words of condemnation – that the government has failed to introduce measures to protect the rights of low-skilled British workers whose jobs may be threatened by the new migrants.

The Daily Mail, however, focuses on Labour actions – as their Chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, waited at Luton airport to welcome migrants landing on the first flight of the morning from Romania, even buying some a coffee and having a chat to ask why they had come… as if that wasn’t patently obvious.

This is Labour at its hypocritical worst.  In one breath extolling the virtues and necessities of EU membership and deeper integration, in the next complaining that British workers are being disadvantaged by cheaper foreign labour afforded the right to come here under EU law.

Similarly, while they want to be seen as standing by the working class they serve so poorly and railing against migration Labour has actively encouraged, they also cynically work to position themselves as the friend of the migrants in the hope of electoral reward in the future.

As always, we should judge these political pygmies not by their words, but by their deeds.  They speak louder than words ever can.

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Europlastics at large

Today’s big political story, the Adam Afriyie inspired vote to bring forward an EU Referendum in this parliament, will be the big story for the wrong reasons.  As the Daily Mail reports:

David Cameron is facing a Tory rebellion of up to 20 MPs today as he tries to head off calls to hold a referendum on Europe next year.

Maverick Tory Adam Afriyie last night indicated he would defy the Prime Minister and force a Commons vote as he tries to make the PM hold a referendum before the 2015 general election.

The media will paint this as Eurosceptics trying to push David Cameron into an early referendum so people can have their say on who runs Britain.  The reality is rather less noble. They are not doing this for us.  This posturing is the political equivalent of the Italian Job with Afriyie in the Michael Caine role, leading a small gang on an enterprise in their own interest.  This is the self preservation society in action, putting their electoral prospects before all else. As the story reminds us:

In a letter to MPs, Mr Afriyie said: ‘This is Conservative MPs’ last chance to try to secure a  referendum. If we don’t take this opportunity we risk sleepwalking to election defeat by driving voters to Ukip.’

We may as well look away.  This is a local issue for local political climbers, there’s nothing for us here.  Whereas in the film we are left guessing as to whether Caine’s gang managed to save the gold they had plundered, the outcome of this little enterprise is nailed on.  It is going nowhere.  But that won’t stop the media hamming it up in an effort to embarrass Cameron.  With most governance being managed from abroad, this is what passes for major political news in Britain these days.

Still, it will serve to deflect attention from something else.  So keep your eyes peeled for something unappetising being sneaked out while the glorious media corps piles into Westminster in an effort to make a big drama with some colouring pencils, old pieces of newspaper and paste.

The other side of the Legal Aid cuts coin

Make no mistake, the cuts to the legal aid budget will have ramifications for the ability of less well off people to have access to justice.  The media, in particular the BBC, will continue to tease out individual cases as part of its activism to make the case against cutting legal aid.

But the fact remains that legal aid has been abused by many people who easily have sufficient means to fund legal counsel, and by a number of solicitors and barristers, some of whom have become extremely wealthy over the years as a result.  Legal aid has also been used by convicted criminals to make unwarranted, nuisance challenges to punishments and restrictions justly handed down to them.

So it is of no surprise to hear yet more bleating from vested interests about how they are being adversely affected by the cuts after years of living happy on the hog, milking the legal aid fund to maintain very comfortable lifestyles indeed at our expense.

The most prominent example of this has surfaced in the Telegraph today, as Michael Mansfield QC’s firm, Tooks Chambers, has announced it is to cease taking client instruction from next month and close at the end of the year – as a direct result of the legal aid funding reductions.

Since the miner’s strike, joint head of chambers Mansfield has made a lucrative living taking on human rights cases and challenges to the establishment.  So much so that in legal circles he earned the nickname Mr Moneybags, with earnings apparently exceeding £700,000 per year.

A good example of how Mansfield earned this title, at the expense of taxpayers, is retailed in a Daily Mail piece from 2007.  It recalls how even as far back as 1998, Mansfield represented a client in a criminal appeal before the House of Lords.  In return for 43 hours work he submitted a legal aid bill of £22,300, or more than £500 per hour. Apparently after the Lord Chancellor criticised the fee, Mansfield very generously knocked £10,000 off the bill and only took £12,300 from the public purse.

There is no doubt that Mansfield has, during his career, taken on deserving cases in need of justice.  But the issue is the manner of his treatment of the public purse.  The Telegraph piece sets out what steps Mansfield and other Tooks’ barristers are being forced to take in order to start a new chambers and keep working after Tooks has gone:

Mr Mansfield said he plans to form his own, low-cost chambers “within the near future”.

Fifteen barristers from Tooks are expected to join the new set, to be called Mansfield Chambers,     which will keep overheads low by employing fewer clerks, sharing desks in cheaper offices and using     free computer software.

Only now, with limits put in place on the previously never ending reservoir of public money wrested from us through taxation, are some of these well-heeled legal eagles starting to be mindful of the costs they incur that they have long relied upon us to fund.

Where was this focus on costs previously?  The only conclusion that can be drawn here is that many solicitors and barristers are now reaping what they have long sown.

Had they charged reasonable fees and sought to be responsible in their use of other people’s money, perhaps the legal aid cutbacks would not have needed to be so drastic – and most importantly, more innocent people in need of help to fund worthy cases would not be squeezed out and left at the mercy of better resourced parties.

Perhaps this is something the BBC and other agenda based media would do well to consider when attacking the government.

Satan’s little helpers – the media’s coverage of Syria

If you have been watching the news and reading the dead tree press in recent days, you may have thought to yourself ‘Is there suddenly a lot more Syrian humanitarian disaster stories?’.

Don’t worry, you’re not imagining it.  The media really is being flooded with emotive, distressing and heart-string tugging stories.  Following the defeated motion seeking to authorise intervention in Syria, the powers that be have pushed for a concerted – and very one sided – campaign of media coverage of the impacts of war on ordinary people opposed to the al-Assad regime, while giving the impression of an escalation in the conflict.

This is the media playing its role as part of the establishment, supporting the government’s agenda in disgraceful manner and trying to make people regret their opposition to military action.  They know all too well it would take a heart of stone not to see the broken and burned bodies in hospital bed and the tide of humanity that has swept across borders in search of refuge, and not be moved to tears and wish for something to be done to end that suffering immediately.  That’s the power of the media.  We can be certain that some people who last week stood opposed to missile strikes against al-Assad’s forces, have since had second thoughts and wish the motion had passed, as a direct result of this propaganda flooding the news outlets.  Exactly what this media blitz intended to achieve.

But think for a moment about what we do not see.

Where is the footage of broken and burned bodies of people from the part of the Syrian population that supports al-Assad and who are under equally devastating attack by the rebels and Al Qaeda?  Where is the discussion of arms caches and the foreign fighters who have rushed into Syria to carry out violent jihad?  Where is the footage of the shiny stockpiles of Saudi and Qatari funded weaponary that has flooded into Syria as part of the effort to topple al-Assad?  Ask yourself why.  Ask yourself if you are really being presented with the full picture.

The media is helping the government to paint the conflict as a one-sided slaughter of innocents by a brutal dictator – in effect to paint it as a genocide – when the reality is the rebels control most of the country and have carried out terrible atrocities of their own.  Such is the evil of war,  But through such imbalance and bias by omission, the media is supporting tactics to change people’s minds and convert them to supporting the hidden agenda that is driving the desire for intervention.  This is the plan to justify the desired military action.

But think about what has not changed.

There is still only ‘confidence’ and ‘high probability’ – not absolute certainty – that the chemical weapons were used by the al-Assad regime.  Many stories are circulating, with information that has apparently come from people in Damascus who survived the ‘attack’, say that the weapons had been supplied by Saudi Arabia and were in rebel hands when detonated accidentally.  We have no way of knowing for sure.  A significant doubt of the US and UK’s ‘proof’ exists.

Most importantly, there is still only the intention of punishing al-Assad but no idea of the outcome or effects of military action.  This alone should preclude us from getting involved, because there is a significant capacity for harming the very people the military would supposedly be seeking to protect.  And of course the spectre of Al Qaeda is not going to go away.  It takes a special kind of insanity to want to launch an action that could significantly enhance the prospects of Al Qaeda emerging stronger and more capable of terrorism once Syria has calmed down.

A US or French or UK action has but one purpose, helping the rebels to defeat al-Assad.  Our government has picked a side and is using the chemical weapon incident as justification for direct involvement using force of arms, rather than providing humanitarian assistance.  There are plenty of conspiracy theories about this desire to be involved, and some very plausible analysis that aims to connect the dots to construct an explanation for it.  Whether they are right or wrong, there is an agenda at play at it has nothing to do with humanitarian considerations.  As such we should have no part in it.

Another Parliamentary man-child exhibits petulant hysteria over Syria fallout

It seems there is no limit to the capacity for self indulgent hysteria among some Parliamentarians as they throw infantile hissy fits about that Syria vote.

Rather than pause and reflect on the shortcomings of their arguments, they revert to petulant jibes at those they believe betrayed them in their effort to project military power without a defined objective to a known or predicted effect.  Leading the tantrums is the pompous former Tory minister, Malcolm Rifkind, who is quoted in the Mail on Sunday.

So distraught is Rifkind about David Cameron’s defeat at the hands of Labour and 30 Tory backbench rebels, he has suggested the refusal to intervene in Syria will result in a perception of British weakness around the world, risking another invasion of the Falkland Islands.  Into the bargain he takes a swipe at Miliband in an effort to paint him as weak on military action, when he said:

This will not affect our determination to defend the Falklands. But that had better be made clear to the Argentinian government – especially by Mr Miliband.

Such a comment is preposterous.  There is no similarity between Syria and any potential Falklands conflict with Argentina.  It evidently does not follow that refusal to use British military power in Syria without a clear objective and required effect, means we would not use military power to known effect to achieve a clear objective in defending the Falklands.

Moronic comments such as Rifkind’s are the consequence and by-product of life inside the Westminster bubble.  As an isolated gene pool that breeds within itself weakens and degrades, so it is that tightly controlled and limited sources of information, along with self reinforcing bias confirmation, narrows minds and results in comparatively uninformed and disconnected political leaders.

All of which explains why moral outrage was the sole driver of the desire to attack Syria and there was no consideration or knowledge about whether such an intervention would have a humanitarian effect or harm those who were supposed to be protected by it.  There are times when intervention and military action to a defined outcome are necessary and appropriate.  This is simply not one of them.

Another day, another effort by Robber Barons to snatch our money without our consent

tax_lordsWhen the talking heads take to the press and airwaves to witter on about tax ‘fairness’ and the need of taxpayers and businesses to pay their ‘fair share’ the comments and the kneejerk reactions to them are enough to make one lose the will to live.

For while the governmental entities, local and national, are striving to relieve us of ever greater sums of our money, too few people stand up to demand these entities explain why they need so much of it and to account for its use. The media never asks.  There is no accountability.  When the Americans waged a war of independence from the British one of their demands was ‘no taxation without representation’.  Today in the UK we have plenty of taxation, but the only representation we see is the political class representing its own agendas at our expense.

Whenever governmental entities cite the consequences of a lower tax take from us, do you notice how they always provide examples of the effects of lower spending on essential services and describe any inability to confiscate from us whatever they want as being a ‘cost’ to the council or government?  The notion of living within their means is alien to them.  There’s always someone else’s bank account to raid to make up the difference.  Notice also how they never provide examples where essential services are unaffected, but rather the council or government’s discretionary (non essential) spending is reduced, so their pet projects and bribes are scaled back instead instead of core services.  You see, their priorities are always put before our priorities.

If we refuse to feed the parasitic beast then it will dole out punishment by protecting spending on what it wants to focus on, while reducing spending on what it has to focus on.  Rather than enforce the law when it comes to taxation and illegally set fines, local authorities are not even behaving as if they are above the law – they are behaving as if they are the law.  This is a matter of great concern that will be revisited here soon.

But, focusing on local government for now, we must not – like the waste of time press – ignore how council income has increased substantially through the ever growing list of charges and fees which residents have to pay for services that we already pay taxes to provide.  Councils not only get their central government grant and collect council tax from residents, they also make a fortune in charges that far exceed the cost of administration they were supposedly designed to cover.  The total amount that councils take from residents over the course of a year far exceeds the council tax demand we receive each year.  Ask your local paper where they’ve written on that subject.

Despite all this, just over one week ago, the Local Government Association published a briefing note in which it suggested a number of amendments, one of which demanded the government in Westminster scrap its plans to embed council tax referendums in the Local Audit and Accountability Bill:


Not only is local government increasingly abusing its ability to snatch money from us at every turn (as we saw earlier this week in Barnet  and is something that is happening up and down the country) its mouthpiece representative body (guess how that is funded) is demanding that we residents should not be asked for our consent via local referendum for increases above a very small percentage.

Brighton & Hove City Council has already declared its refusal to hold a referendum on any proposed council tax increase.  The leader of the Green Party minority administration in Brighton, Cllr Jason Kitcat, really took the biscuit when he told the local press:

The referendum rule is mad. It’s not really workable and would cost about £300,000 to run.

There you have it.  A sitting councillor who no doubt prattles on about ‘democracy’ and the ‘wishes of the people’ when trying to get elected, declaring that having to seek our democratic consent for a raid on our personal wealth, is unworkable.  In other words, the council should be allowed to demand what it likes and to hell with what residents think.

No doubt Cllr Kitcat subscribes to the view of elected politicians and council officials throughout the country (which Richard articulated so effectively in a post on EU Referendum) that revenue-providers (aka citizens) are confined to expressing their wishes on council tax via approved channels – such as voting – which can be safely ignored, or funnelled into areas where the message can be discounted.  Find one party political manifesto for borough or county council elections that has not been torn up mid-term so a council can do something different.

Of course, forcing residents to declare their revenue raising wishes by voting in council elections also has the happy coincidence of giving the impression these parasitic charlatans have legitimacy for their subsequent actions, which is almost impossible for voters to control once those fat arses settle on the comfy chairs in the council chamber.

Understand this.  Unless you withdraw your consent and stand up to press for change, you are nothing more than a cash cow who risks being turned into a debt slave.  Your rights are ignored by your public servants, you are treated with contempt by them and even the guardians of the law will not uphold the law to protect you from illegal actions that echo the outrageous, lawless and intimidatory behaviours of feudal lords, robber barons and corrupt clergy in centuries long since passed.

Have you had enough yet?

Update: Richard beat me to the punch, and with far more eloquence expands on how councils whine about having to place statutory notices in the local papers, yet won’t yield an inch when it comes to spending a small fortune producing, printing and distributing their propaganda sheets – which always give a self congratulatory take on the news they want to share.

Try and find a single story in those reams of dead trees about why councils issue liability orders to residents that are way above the cost of the administration in producing them, which is legally all they are allowed to recoup.  Find one story about how the bailiffs they contract to enforce their council tax or parking fines break the law by charging illegal fees and claiming for visits that never happened.   Find one explanation about why we pay an ever rising policing precept to the county council, yet the borough council uses money for local services to fund restricted-power PCSOs to make up for a shortage of real police on our streets.  It’s happening everywhere, and no one is holding these slimeballs to account.

Labour’s selfish priorities laid bare for all to see

Far better to have a two-tier United Kingdom that includes a second class country than a two-tier Parliamentary chamber that includes second class MPs.

That’s Labour’s thrust in its opposition to the notion of MPs from English constituencies possibly being able to block legislation that only affects England, which would have been progressed through the Commons because of the party whipped votes of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs.  The Independent has gratefully palmed the proffered crumbs from the establishment table and is running with the story.

Labour says the coalition idea that only English MPs could have the final say in approving or rejecting legislation on matters that only affect England, is ‘hare-brained’.  They are right, but for the wrong reason.

It isn’t hare-brained because it marginalises and creates a lower tier of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs, who would not be able to impose laws on England that won’t apply in their own countries.  Boo hoo.  It is hare-brained because it continues to deny the English people – uniquely among western ‘democratic’ countries – their own national Parliament and the same level of self determination as that enjoyed by the other UK countries.

This Tory-Limp Dum plan tells the English they must remain second class citizens within the United Kingdom. It says the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish people will continue to have more control over affairs in their countries – in competences such as education, the NHS, transport or environment – than the English have in England.  It says the other parts of the Union can have power that is denied to the English.

These are not the reasons Labour are opposed to the ‘hare-brained’ idea, their only concern is that their party whips would lose a substantial number of votes in the lobby on English only matters, because 67 of their MPs are from north of the border or west of Offa’s Dyke.  It is self serving party maintenance of the worst order.

Why anyone in England would vote for such a rancid collection of bile-infused troughers remains a mystery.  Hopefully this will help some of those voters see Labour for the mendacious and bitter collective of grubbing  entitlement that it is.

England must have its own Parliament. That is the only acceptable solution to the West Lothian Question.

In a democracy decision making power should be delegated to the lowest possible level, as close to the people as can be achieved.  An English Parliament has a place in such a structure.  We just need real democracy in this country in which such a Parliament could function according to the will of the people…

With Hague a sitting target on EU renegotiation what does Farage do?

Politics needs serious people for serious times.  With Concrete Willy trying to sneak old, rejected suggestions past the media to appear like a new thinking on the faux renegotation, Nigel Farage should be showing leadership and setting the agenda by exposing the Tory fraud and convincing people to support a referendum ‘no’ campaign.

But it seems the blessed Nigel is having more fun in the self publicist game, playing up to the stereotype of a womaniser who likes a drink or two while looking like an utter buffoon posing for ludicrously posed photos…

One can’t help but wonder if the paucity of thought out policy on the UKIP website and the absence of detail about just how UKIP would extract the UK from the EU while preserving access to the market we would be leaving, is because Farage is having too much fun as a media personality to do politics.

No doubt the Faragista will rush forth with excuses in defence of the blessed Nigel, but voters will only wait so long to see some substance before concluding he’s all talk, just like the politicians he claims to be so different from.

Farage attempts to snatch defeat before getting anywhere close to victory

Within hours of the party he has forged in his own image record its best ever results in local elections, if reports are to be believed, Nigel Farage has demonstrated yet again his complete lack of strategic thinking – which may arrest UKIP’s momentum and cost him essential votes from wavering Labour and Lib Dem supporters.

Having spent the election campaign delivering the message that UKIP offers something to Labour and Lib Dem voters who are unhappy with EU membership and the ongoing net influx of migrants, Farage has perhaps supped a few too many pints while posing for the media and, according to the Daily Wail, informally offered entertained the idea of [edited to reflect observations in comments] an electoral pact and coalition with the Conservatives as long as they drop David Cameron.

In many ways it’s not news because he’s said it before.  But in doing so now, just after making a comparatively major advance, Farage has blinked figuratively and shown weakness when he should be portraying strength and confidence.  Compounding this political illieracy Farage has also undermined UKIP’s apparent appeal as an entity that stands apart from the discredited three main parties; for instead of occupying the high ground above the political class in the eyes of jaded voters he has instead signalled his desperation to join with them.

What was supposed to be an insurgency designed to break the mould in British politics is now being revealed to those less schooled in the ways of Farage to have an altogether different aim.  UKIP candidates who enjoin voters to reject the Lib-Lab-Con will now have to explain why given UKIP’s plan is to cosy up to the Conservatives. As Richard eloquently explained yesterday to the Campaign for an Independent Britain, we are no further forward.

In the final analysis what this means for voters, desperate for a change to the political system and for this country to become democratic, is that real change is not on the agenda.  Farage’s objective is to be part of the political equivalent of the Royston Vasey community, which will result in the Lib-Lab-UKIP-Con.  Clearly the message to voters is that this league of gentlemen is a local bubble for local politicians and there’s nothing for us ordinary people here.


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