THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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May 2009

"I don't know about that..."

In response to Andrew Marr's comment that the Commons blocked publication of MPs expenses, the Prime Minister said "I don't know about that..." and claimed that all this was coming out because of "Labour's Freedom of Information Act." Marr let him get away with it, despite the fact that Gordon Brown did nothing to prevent the attempted cover up, which his party backed! Are we to believe the party acted against the will of its leader? Brown was diplomatically absent from the votes on the disgraceful Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, designed to cover up the whole scandal.

While Ian Duncan-Smith acknowledged on the same programme that all MPs (including those who did not abuse the system) knew there was something wrong and felt guilty they had not acted, Gordon Brown claimed to have been surprised by the stories that The Telegraph has published. He told us he was just as angry as us. He even had the brass neck to tell us that his "Presbyterian conscience" (in his view, clearly a superior version to the feeble consciences of the rest of us) was offended. He added, pompously, that;

I was brought up in a household where integrity and telling the truth mattered.

So were most of the rest of us, you insulting, arrogant man. You have traded on your dead father's alleged integrity for so long, that at your age it is close to an admission that you have no belief in your own. If so, welcome to the club.

The consensus seems to be that Gordon Brown performed well in his rare excursion today from the hermit's cave into which he has turned 10 Downing Street. Perhaps I am biased (and I freely confess I despise the man) but I can't agree. To me, he seemed pompous, self-satisfied and insulting. If I were David Cameron, I would be grateful for his every such performance.

Yes, he steam-rollered the hapless Marr, ignoring all questions and saying precisely what he had rehearsed with his minders. Yes he repeated his points over and again, giving the false impression that he had been tackling these issues for years in the teeth of resistance by the unethical/non-Presbyterian rabble around him. But this wasn't a triumph by him. It was the result of Marr's suspiciously bad performance. He didn't press any question home. He simply didn't do the job he is highly paid from public funds to do.

Or perhaps, he did. After all, Marr is a leading member of the Scottish Raj and the current flag-bearer for the ruling Left-Liberal consensus. His performance was truly pathetic, only if you were expecting to see a disgraceful failure of a politician skewered. But if you were expecting to see him shielded, perhaps you are more than satisfied?

More unexpectedly, Marr was also so disgracefully rude in talking over Diana Krall, that she was forced sarcastically to apologise for interrupting him in order to get a word in. Maybe he was nervous about the imminent challenge of convincingly "throwing" his "fight" with the PM?

Is this the face of the worst of them all?

 BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | MP 'claimed for church donation'.

_45847386_000393821-1He doesn't recall the claim. No doubt because it was one among so many. He doesn't dispute it though, so accepts that he is someone who might try to reclaim from the taxpayer a donation to a church collection plate. I suppose we must be grateful that he didn't take money out, but then he didn't need to, did he? He could appear generous to the people around him during a memorial service to fallen heroes, secure in the (thankfully mistaken) thought that the mugs he works for would unknowingly reimburse him.

What the attempted claim tells us is that this is a man thoroughly conditioned to the idea that he could live cost-free at the expense of the taxpayers. Surely only someone with an ingrained, unthinking habit of claiming everything could have allowed himself to do something so disgusting? That would also account for why he (if he's not also a liar) he doesn't recall it. It would have taken only a millisecond of consideration to realise that to make such a claim was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Today is another when I wish I was a swear blogger, so I could call him for the unutterable ****ing **** that he undoubtedly is. The dead heroes he was "honouring" would have known how to deal with the likes of him.


More from the Telegraph on this horror;

The fees office wrote on his claim “Not Allowed” and refused to pay out on the claim. Markings on the note indicate the Commons authorities had been planning to blank out the word “offertory” before they were to be made public in the summer, meaning the precise nature of the claim would have remained hidden from the public if it had not been disclosed by the Telegraph.

Once again, the MPs and their servants are detected in the act of concealing the true nature of all those "innocent mistakes" and "genuine errors" which were anyway "within the rules." How dare they bleat for sympathy when every day there is new evidence of a systematic cover up of endemic corruption?

Also worth a look is Cook's own website (which any fool could have knocked up, cost-free in an hour or two). Ironically, the very first words written there are;


So he took the £10,000 offered for "communication allowances." No surprise there. It would be far more accurate to put "This life funded through Parliamentary allowance" beneath every picture of the odious little man. It's interesting to note how obsessed with money his website is. His bio reveals that he had to be bribed to join the Labour Party in the first place;

Frank joined the Labour Party (League of Youth) in Hartlepool in 1950, partly because his mother offered him a good bicycle if he did so.

Who was more likely to know his true character than his mother, after all? Clearly she already had him down for a Mammonite at an early age. Revealingly, he feels the need to tell us of his financial sacrifice in becoming an MP, referring to his old job as;

a post which actually carried a higher salary than that of an M.P. at the time

There's not much doubt about his motivations in using the expenses system, is there? Subconsciously he seems to have been justifying his behaviour to his (then blissfully-ignorant) consituents right there! While he claims to be "Old Labour" and a left-winger, his site reveals again how the temptation to make a buck has overwhelmed his "principles"

More trouble with his local Party followed Frank’s action in October 1987 in applying to buy – with the benefit of the generous discount available to all local authority tenants under the 1980 Housing Act – the council house in Billingham in which he and his family had lived for twenty four years. This transaction ought to have been a private one between himself and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council but was leaked to the media by someone (possibly a Labour councillor, though the person’s identity never came to light) denounced in December 1988 by Frank as a coward.

Isn't it amazing how keen these leftists are on their privacy when their own financial interests are at stake? Yet for the rest of us, "...if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear..." Of course, I have no problem with the privatisation of council housing that should never have been funded by taxpayers in the first place, but our Frankie did, which is why he wanted his transaction to be private. He boasts of his litigious nature;

Legal action was taken by Frank against the Northern Echo and its journalist Chris Brayshay who, in common with other local media, had accurately reported the criticism of Frank’s council house purchase by some prominent members of his local Party and the effect of the discount in bringing down the price of his home from £15,550 to £7,153. Brayshay however had gone further and stated that by this transaction Frank had contravened Labour Party policy.

Given that and the nasty streak, which leads him to suggest that official correspondents who call him out on his failing to honour promises that they are in need of psychiatric help, one can imagine why the person who leaked the council house story to the press wanted to remain anonymous. That Frank calls him/her a coward, is ironic, given that he was so keen on remaining anonymous himself in the given "transaction!" It's also delightful to note that he feels contravening Labour Party policy is more serious than contravening his left-wing "principles".

I hope the campaign to commemorate Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, who commanded the RAF’s 11 Group Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain will now disown this chiselling little toad as an "official supporter." His name does not deserve to be associated with that of a brave man.

A personal letter from the Prime Mentalist

'I'm sorry.. now vote for me' says Brown in letter blaming Tories for expenses scandal | Mail Online.

To our amusement, Mrs Paine received one of these supposedly targetted personal letters. Oh boy, is your database inaccurate guys! Not only is she NOT going to vote for you, she detests you. She was particularly disgusted by your crude attempt to smear the Tories by prominently referencing certain expense claims when Labour Ministers sit at Brown's cabinet table who did far worse and should now be in gaol.

I would have had her email it to me to reproduce it here, but she told me "It went straight in the bin."

Now we know she's desperate... ++UPDATED++

MPs' expenses: Julie Kirkbride claims criticism could mean fewer women in Parliament - Telegraph.

"Is it because I am a girl?"

No, it's because you claimed sums from the public purse which increased your net worth. All reasonable electors accept that MPs should not be worse off because of expenses necessary for their job. You, however, are alleged to have colluded with your husband to make contradictory claims which increased the value of your private assets at public expense. My advice would be to shut up now and consult a criminal defence solicitor at your own cost.

HM courts aside (for the time being) the "court of public opinion" has adequate proof from the clip played on HIGNFY of you hanging up on a radio interviewer who asked you about the claim a couple of years ago. You are politically finished, no matter how agreeable a friend you are or how many good deeds you may have done in the past.

At least your husband knew when the game was up.  Stop making him look good by comparison (and stop making your naieve, too-loyal friends embarrass themselves and jeopardize their own political careers in the vain defence of yours). You are helping no-one, least of all yourself.

Resign and stop pulling others (including your party and its leader) down with you. Let your constituency party try to retrieve the situation before some fascist or dimwitted celebrity is elected in your place. You owe your constituents that.


She's standing down, but still protesting her innocence. It never occurred to her until this furore that she was doing anything wrong. Hmm. I wonder why she hung up on that radio interviewer then? Still, credit where credit's due. This is a closer approximation to the right thing.

Charlotte Gores Labour

Hey, Wait a Minute!! at Charlotte Gore.

I grew up in the Labour heartlands. My own family's experience of Labour does not differ significantly from that of a small shopkeeper dealing with the Mob. Except that mobsters don't usually confiscate businesses altogether, preferring to "wet their beaks" rather than steal the whole damned birdbath.  One of the most difficult aspects of British politics is coping with Labourites' insufferably sanctimonious sense of their own moral superiority.

Charlotte Gore blogged recently about LabourHome using the Houses of Parliament as the background to its blog banner and elicited a polite response from the designer, thanking her for her feedback.  Comrade Alex Hilton's comment, however, was more in Labour style; of the greatest achievement of the Labour movement was getting the working class into parliament, something quite unpopular with the liberals at that time...

I enjoyed Charlotte's response;

...I had a quick look on the internet to discover a bit more about the history of universal suffrage in the UK, and was surprised to discover that it was a Liberal that gave us the 1918 Representation of the People Act, the one that extended voting rights to all adult males (and women over 30 with appropriate property rights) and a Conservative, Stanley Baldwin, that gave us the 1928 Representation of the People Act that extended voting rights to all adults, male and female.

Going back a little earlier, it was Gladstone - another Liberal Prime Minister - that got us the 1884 Reform Act that added another 6 million to the number who could vote.

It’s funny, when I try to think where Labour has empowered anyone but themselves and those that fund them  (including trade unions and all the other rubbish) I come up blank...

One can only speculate as to what she means by "all the other rubbish,"  but her point is well made. Like the Mob, Labour is a creature of sectional interests. It does not serve the working class, but services it (in the agricultural sense of that verb). No organisation has done more damage, for example, to the educational opportunities of the British working classes. Their offspring are far less prevalent in the professions now than they were when I (as a working class boy from a state school and redbrick university) trained as a solicitor decades ago. Labour's typical solution has not been to address the problem (which would involve confessing that its mad ideology caused it) but rather to bludgeon the universities and the professions into lowering their standards; promoting fake "equality" by devaluing education itself.

The Alex Hiltons of this world sing "The Red Flag" and "The Internationale" with misty-eyed sentimentality. You should have seen the look on the faces of my Russian colleagues when I played Billy Bragg's renditions of the same at a party at my Moscow home! But the true anthem of the Labour Party is the version that goes;

The working class can kiss my arse, I've got the boss's job at last...

Just look at the current cabinet. Look from pig to man, and from man to pig and then tell me it's not true.

When is a cover up not a cover up?

De Menezes inquest: officer cleared of staging cover up - Telegraph.

The defining story of the history of New Labour is not the expenses scandal. That has more to do with the impotence of parliament, which New Labour has ruthlessly exploited but did not create. The Devil found work for half of those idle hands (all praise to the half who resisted his wiles).

No, the defining story is that of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Deliberately destroying evidence when on notice that court proceedings are contemplated is, at best,  contempt of court. Fabricating or destroying evidence is one of the actions which may amount to the crime of perverting the course of justice. Anyone involved in killing a man should expect court proceedings, however confidently he may expect to be acquitted. Indeed, a man confident of his innocence might be expected to worry that destroying evidence suggests guilt.

The only criminal trial in the case of Jean Charles has been the ludicrous "health and safety" case against the Met, which I suspect was initiated to allow politicians to remain silent, arguing that the matter was sub judice, for just long enough to pass the limited attention span of journalists and public. Even in contemplation of that trivial case, or an inquest (and there had to be an inquest) however, anyone (let alone a trained policeman) should have known better than to destroy evidence.

But then a Prime Minister should have known better than to shred evidence that a court had ordered to be disclosed too, don't you think? Yet the authorities seem to have no particular action in mind there either. Perhaps he, like "Owen", was "naive?" Had you or I done it, we would have had to defend our behaviour in court. Not Blair. Not "Owen."

Of course we shall never know the truth in either case. We could be forgiven for suspecting however that in modern Britain you may safely pervert the course of justice if you are a member, or under the political protection, of the ruling elite.

"Be you never so high, the law is above you", unless - it seems - the party in power deems otherwise.

Scarecrow straws in the wind

Old Holborn's optimism gave me pause for thought. We are of a similar vintage. Am I just a grumpier old geezer? Is he just naive? The last time I felt as optimistic politically as I usually am in my business and personal lives was in the late 1970s. The tired ideas of municipal socialism I grew up with had patently lost their force. The trade unions were despised by all except a hard core of their members. My socialist friends and neighbours deep behind Labour lines lacked enthusiasm to defend the manifold, obvious failures of their ideology. The left-wing lecturers at my law faculty were despondent that their ideas were in retreat. Something was in the air.

I recognised the same feeling (with horror) as New Labour swept to power. Mrs P and I watched the news from Britain on an hotel room TV in Gdansk. I remember saying to her, "Perhaps this won't be so bad. The Conservatives need this. They have gone stale."

The sad truth is that thinkers are in a minority. The masses follow fashion in everything. So while I may have been right to doubt that "the people" will sustain their current anger about (or even interest in) politics, it doesn't matter. They need only recognise a change in the intellectual zeitgeist. They will follow the fashions set by very few active thinkers as unthinkingly as they follow the "ideas" of couturiers of whom they are only dimly aware.

With this thought in mind, I looked for any signs that this might be happening; for some straws in the intellectual wind. Here's what I came up with, from today's RSS feed.

Matthew Elliott of The Taxpayers' Alliance (an organisation so obviously necessary, it's hard to imagine why it was not formed centuries earlier) is given space in the Sunday Times. This was the first serious newspaper I read, as a teenager, and I regarded both it and the weekday "Thunderer" as "my" newspaper for the first half of my adult life. It has long been a debased Murdoch rag unworthy of serious consideration and a cheerleader for the piratical Blair/Brown raid on the productive minority. Yet now it is allowing the derided voice of the taxpayer to be heard.

Bishop Hill has fun with the internal contradictions of Guardianisti thought, referring us to the anguished comments on Martin Kettle's recent, thoughtful Comment is Free piece on aid to Africa. Kettle writes about Dr Dambisa Moyo (see film), who has been arguing that aid makes poverty worse. As Bishop Hill points out;

Moyo's message is what heartless rightwingers have been saying for years - the message of hateful Thatcher and moronic Reagan - but they find themselves not only unable to vent their fury because the message is being delivered by a young black woman, but also finding themselves finally having to admit that the hate figures on the right were, erm, right all along.

And, as he adds, the Guardianistas are further confused by the fact that their "green" beliefs tell them they should buy their pulses from the local farmers' market, to avoid "food miles", rather than from African farmers. In so many ways, their "caring" beliefs promote poverty. It almost seems they love the poor so much, they preserve poverty. Perhaps they can't maintain their hypocritical self-regard - the smug signal by which they identify themselves to each other - without the poor to pity?

These ideas have been discussed before, but the fact they are in The Guardian - a newspaper that serves the New Labour aparatchiki and which could not survive without government job adverts - is arguably an important straw in the wind.

It's harder to explain the significance of what happened in Luton yesterday. The press would have us believe that "extremists" organised (or perhaps hijacked) a protest against the scandalous behaviour of Muslim radicals at the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment back in March.

Around 500 demonstrators marched through Luton, Beds, on Sunday waving banners bearing slogans such as "No Sharia Law in the UK" and "Respect our Troops"

Far more than fair enough, most of us might think. But then we couldn't possibly justify the violence which followed, including the police fighting running battles with protesters, and Asian businesses being attacked. Perhaps the straw in the political wind here is that so many people could be mobilised for such overtly politically incorrect purposes; their anger overcoming their fear of being branded "racist" or "islamophobe." The concern, however, is as to who mobilised them. It rather looks like the fascist wing of statism was behind it (or at least piggy-backing on it).

If so, conventional politicians must take much of the blame for having identified themselves so firmly with the problem from which fascists are cheerfully making hay; unrestrained immigration of backward people who despise the British way of life (and perhaps even the British nation itself). The success of Joanna Lumley's wildly popular campaign for the Ghurkas proves that Middle England is not racist. It doesn't have a problem with hard-working immigrants who want to be British. It's not the colour or religion of the Islamists that's the problem, but their neo-imperialism. A nation is entitled to defend its way of life. To the French, the Poles, the Russians that is obvious. Yet our political class has branded the desire to do so "racist" and made "racism" the most serious of thought-crimes.

Scarecrow_1409526c Meanwhile, in Jamie Oliver's home village in the shires, a scarecrow contest associated with the annual village fete has caught the local imagination. To the organisers' amazement, locals have been very creative. 67 scarecrows have appeared around the village, including this one (click to enlarge) - satirising corrupt MPs. He is as good an emblem as any of the current political mood.

So no, I don't think OH is right to believe that the British people are ready to set a new direction in our politics. But perhaps they are ready to be led in one. The question is, who will lead them?