From Grald-Hunter to Rotherham’s Active and Empowered Citizens

Hi Di Hi Dear Active and Empowered Rotherham Citizens,

I nearly fell off my perch larfing when I read this piece of news – http://uk.news.yahoo.com/why-david-cameron-will-have-to-stump-up-%C2%A31-000-to-keep-obama%E2%80%99s-bbq-gift.html – cos it seems that Tory Toff Dave has been suckered by a gift from the buffoon across The Pond.

Apparently it’ll cost Eton Dave around a grand to keep his BBQ gift from the Obamas as parliamentary rules restrict ministers from keeping gifts worth more than £140.

JHC. if Posh Dave had been our RMBC Council Leedah he could have kept owt he’d got from his junketing n troughing forays provided he’d eventually put summat in t’Hospitality Register, even a £240 Cyclops Speed Detector as was once received by a certain elderly out-of-touch corpulent Laybah politician, rayt, right.

You couldn’t make it up. Or could you?

Grald-Hunter

Miliband relaunch sunk at first PMQs of 2012!

When you go it to battle with the Prime Minister as Leader of the Opposition on a subject such as rail fare increases, it pays to have your facts straight!

Ed Miliband made much of the recent fare increases on the railways, believing that he had found a chink in Cameron’s defences he duly went on the attack! To his apparent surprise Cameron quoted evidence that it was Ed who was wrong! Ed Miliband got nowhere, simply repeating his assertion that the PM was incorrect!

Who was right? Cameron was the correct one and now it is time for Ed Miliband to apologise for misleading parliament!

I think that this letter from The Rt Hon Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury sums up the position nicely!

Man of Steel! to albatross, in less than a week! Quite a political self immolation?

Guido Fawkes: Document Reveals Miliband Blundered on PMQs Fares Flap

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Oft misquoted phrase by George Santayana (1863-1952), the Spanish born philosopher, essayist poet and novelist.

David Cameron badly misjudged yesterdays historic vote in the House of Commons. The split in his party over Europe evident for all to see. When 81 normally pretty loyal MPs defy your Three line Whip you are in deep trouble. This goes some way to explain Cameron’s attempt today, to put a brave face on it, he’s all over the media like a rash as I write.

Yesterdays unedifying spectacle was occasioned by a petition signed by over 100,000 people calling for a proper referendum on the issue of Europe, the backbench business committee had decided that the issue should be debated on Thursday, but had it brought forward to last night, Monday 24th October. This was done for narrow party advantage. The fact that it backfired, big style, just shows the extent of Cameron’s miscalculation and the real trouble he is now in.

Remember this was a ‘peoples petition debate’. Most of us might assume that this would mean that any vote taken was not to be whipped and turned into a party political issue but of course you would be wrong! Three line whips all round! All the three main parties, yesterday, conspired against the people in the most disgraceful of manners! Don’t our opinions count for anything? Shame on the Liberal, Tory and Labour front benches and hearty congratulations to all the rebels who defied their party machines and voted against their party leaderships disgraceful and fundamentally undemocratic position!

Back to where this post began, has Cameron not learnt anything about his own parties past? Not, apparently, on this occasion, over the European question. A test of wills from the start, he has misjudged the mood both of his own backbenchers and the Tory Party members in the country and has also failed to understand the mood of the people. We have had our belly full of distant greedy politicians who do not listen to us, or fight our corner for a change.

The economy is in the doldrums to say the least. Unemployment is growing disproportionately in the North. We are close to an international banking crisis. The whole of Europe is in crisis economically. Business failures are again becoming commonplace. Inflation way above comfortable levels and not set to slacken for quite some time according to Mervyn King the Bank of England Head. The outlook looks bleak for most ordinary people. Oh, and we are told, ‘there is no alternative’!

The picture painted above should be awfully familiar to anyone who studies the Thatcher years from an objective perspective! Why is Cameron so determined to repeat the same mistakes of the past? One thing is for sure, Cameron is no Maggie!

Tories problem for 2012 – time to wield the knife as well?

One of the complaints, often levelled by critics of this blog, is that we rarely feature anyone else other than Labour on Rotherham Politics. The simple fact is, we are about holding those in power to account and that would be enough to explain our apparent bias but there is another reason why we have paid the opposition scant attention in the past. They are quite simply, so bad, that even their own members are embarrassed!

This year sees four Tories facing selection/reselection battles of their own:

Anston and Woodsetts Ward: Good candidate required for safe Tory seat? last one walked off and joined Labour, so much for ‘cuddly’ Tories, it would seem?
Boston Castle Ward:
Brinsworth and Catcliffe Ward:
Dinnington Ward:
Hellaby Ward: John Turner  – Con
Holderness Ward:
Hoober Ward:
Keppel Ward:
Maltby Ward:
Rawmarsh Ward:
Rother Vale Ward:
Rotherham East Ward:
Rotherham West Ward:
Silverwood Ward:
Sitwell Ward: Middleton, Christopher Norman Con
Swinton Ward:
Valley Ward:
Wales Ward: Thomas Anthony Fenoughty – Con
Wath Ward:
Wickersley Ward: Martyn Lawton Parker – Con Ward set to go back to Lab.
Wingfield Ward:

Even worse than Labour! At least Labour members do something for their money, instead of ‘taking the money and running’, as the Tories have done for many a year!

Quite simply, the Rotherham Tories are a disgrace, and are taking the mickey out of their electorates even worse than Labour!

One not to miss – Observer, War breaks out in Downing Street

From today’s Observer, By Toby Helm Political Editor:

War breaks out in Downing Street

A year ago Nick Clegg told the Observer he didn’t want to boast of victories over the Tories. But now, as the conference season opens, he has changed tack and gone on the offensive.. Read on……

Good Day To Bury Bad News? Cameron Does U Turn on Personal Photographer!

Amongst the general hoopla of the announcement of a royal wedding and the engagement of William to Kate, number10 slipped out a statement that responsibility for paying his personal photographer, Andrew Parsons, and videographer Nicky Woodhouse, would return to the Tory Party from the public payroll.

Quite right, these appointments exposed hubris at the centre of government and trying to get the story of Cameron’s U-Turn out on this ‘good day to bury bad news’ as it was once infamously put, by a former labour press officer, exposes political cowardice as well!

Previous Story:

Hubris, Arrogance and Vanity, Cameron Appoints Personal Photographer!

And now the circus moves to Birmingham. It's time for those nice cuddly and rich, Tories!

As the Tory Party gathers in Birmingham for their conference, delegates are dismayed that their celebrations have been ordered ‘put on ice’, for fear that images of conspicuous consumption and celebration would become public and not look at all good in this age of austerity.

Mobile phones and Youtube, now terrify the Tories as much as Labour it would appear. The Labour Party were said to be terrified last weekend, when the ‘brothers’ were celebrating their victory over both members and MP’s, that footage would make it online.

Lord Strathclyde has already cancelled his latest, ‘legendary’ champagne soiree at this years conference, on Dave’s orders.

Now time for Tory expenses embarrassment!!

Lord Taylor of Warwick a Tory peer and practising barrister, has been charged with six counts of false accounting in relation to alleged dishonest claims he made for £11,000 in subsistence costs.

It has just been announced that he has resigned the Tory Whip.

He tried unsuccessfully to become an MP, Cheltenham in 1992, losing to a Liberal after a disgraceful campaign with significant racist undertones. Embarrassingly this was one of the then safest Tory seats which they lost with a black candidate. Afterwards working as a Government Adviser, Lord Taylor became the Tories’ first black member of the Lords in 1996.

£11,000 is a lot of money!  Did no one realise that he had ‘padded’ his claims? Was Cameron unaware of this before today? Why was the whip not withdrawn sooner? Why did the Tories wait for him to jump?

There will be more to follow this sixth parliamentarian to be charged, as the police carry out further investigations into members of both Houses of Parliament.

His five fellow accused are former Labour MPs – Eliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine – serving Labour MP – Eric Illsley and Conservative peer – Lord Hanningfield are already charged under the Theft Act.

Current score: Labour 4 – 2 Tories.

Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, is in difficulties it would appear over his accounting in his expenses returns for the money used in his campaign. There are strict upper limits placed on election expenditure and are being alleged to have been exceeded in this case. £11,003 was the limit here, just 1/24 of the sums donated by him since 2007. Funny how the sum of £11,000 keeps cropping up!

Zac Goldsmith is ‘filthy rich’ so a challenge was always likely because for Zac, the upper spending limits were but mere small change! If proved, this will be another embarrassment for DC when he is riding so high in the polls.

He has donated £264,000 to Richmond Park, his local Conservative association since 2007, a record I believe, for a single candidate! Most of it generated by being a Non Dom tax evader for most of this time, no doubt! Until very recently that is.

Oh Dear! Business as usual!

Rik

Emergency Budget – Far From Fair or Balanced!

I mentioned in my previous posting on the Budget, that further probing would reveal the ‘devil in the detail’. They would reveal themselves if there were any uncomfortable facts hidden deep inside the ‘Red Book’. There are such details and now they are public.

The details unearthed so far, not by Labour this time, but by, of all people, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) an economic lobby group, not noted for major criticism of Conservative Governments in the past, as it is about as right wing as they come. Robert Chote, of the IFS, has gone on record, with the evidence that tells the lie, to any claim that this budget was fair!

The IFS has now done a detailed analysis of the Budget, including the inconvenient facts, buried deep within the ‘Red Book’, it confirms the overall regressive nature of the Budget, that had been trumpeted, by some Government Ministers, as the ‘Fairest Budget in History!’ The use of such ridiculous hyperbole, now shows clearly the essential hubris running through the Government currently.

Some of the evidence for a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, was visible on Question Time on the BBC last night. Vince Cable batted for the Coalition Government, he visibly wilted in front of the audience as it appeared to have dawned on him, during proceedings, that the LibDems may just have been had on the Budget and he made a very poor job, at least for him, in defending his increasingly indefensible looking position. Audience reaction, to his attempts at justification, also appeared to strike home hard.

Looks likely that they have made a serious miscalculation on this one and there are already signs of LibDem backbench restlessness, as they are getting a wall of flak from their constituencies and in particular their own Party Members. To their horror, they have realised one important fact overlooked until now, they did not fight as hard as they did, in the General and Local Elections, for LibDem MPs just to become lobby fodder, to drive through such a draconian Budget as this one, now the full facts are appreciated.

This issue is in the process of testing the loyalty, of everyone signed up to the Coalition, to breaking point perhaps? We shall see?

Labours’ poor performance at the polls has resulted in one amusing happen stance, that may yet end up with the best Candidate for Labour Party Leader, not on the ballot paper. I speak of course, of Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who may yet find her feet at the dispatch box, only to be superseded by someone else, with lesser ability.

Rik

Emergency Budget, was it worth waiting for?

Tuesdays Emergency Budget, delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on behalf of the Coalition Government, was probably the most political, in every sense of the word, that I have ever heard or, even perhaps any of us, will ever hear again.

The Chancellor set himself the goals of cuts with care and fairness at the heart of the budget. Did he succeed?

I am afraid we might have to wait a little while for the details become apparent, under Labour, the ‘devil was always in the detail’ and close inspection frequently uncovered vast expenditure or borrowing, kept below the radar in the Budget Speech itself. Not much chance of this here, but embarrassing detail may yet be revealed.

Before the election, many had considered George Osborne, too young and light weight, to boot. He has emerged from the experience of his first Budget with his reputation enhanced, as a serious heavyweight political player. At least we now know, he is no ones fool and indeed if the future is kind to him, may even be a good Chancellor as far as these things are judged.

Political considerations run through the Budget like lettering through rock. He has a fine line to walk if his claims that his Budget has fairness built in, is to survive close inspection. It will have to deliver, the squeeze on the public sector and on benefits must appear fair, once implementation is under way.

We have discovered recently, that Labour’s concealment of the true position before the election was over, was basically a con trick, even the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters would have been withdrawn if Labour had been returned to office. Labour’s breathtaking cynicism has been exposed and this area disproportionately adversely affected. Perhaps this explains the fact that Labour in Rotherham, is held in frank contempt,  especially vitriolic are those who voted Labour recently it seems.

We will all welcome the increase in basic rate tax allowances and the linking of pensions to incomes once again but the increases in value added tax, VAT, from 17.5% to 20% a rise of over 14% in this most regressive of taxes will impact most heavily on those already at the bottom of the pile.

The freeze on Council Tax next year is to be welcomed, because it sends a message to all local councils that they will not be able to fleece the Council Tax payers to cushion the ending of local council profligacy. No small wonder then, that the ‘Consultants’ are already ensconced in council offices, desperately looking for cuts as I write and Councillors are reported to be unusually glum!

The 25% reductions required of parts of the public sector and the 2 year moratorium on pay rises for the over £21,000 earners, will seriously impact on spending power amongst such a large body of workers that further decline in Rotherham’s local economy is, I am afraid, inevitable in the short and medium term as spare cash dries up in our pockets and reduces still further local spending power.

One of the functions of this Budget, though not explicitly stated, is to bear down on the problem of personal debt, which is so high, that it must be brought down, though not without much pain for those affected. The costs of servicing all of this personal debt is so large that this alone could stifle any spending driven retail business recovery.

It is already clear that the overall balance of this Budget is not neutral in it’s effects, the bottom segment of society will be required to pay a disproportionately high price because of the changes announced yesterday and therefore I believe it to have failed, in it’s fairness criteria, because overall this Budget is a regressive one.

Rik