Posts Tagged ‘Baroness Warsi’
A few days ago several of us met Sir Ranulf Fiennes who described the conditions he encountered at the North Pole. By comparison the allotments were sweltering, but that was of little consolation to the bunch of shivering codgers who gathered to clean out the hens this morning. The glorious summer suddenly seemed but a distant memory as we struggled to pick up eggs in wicket-keeper gloves.
We also had to replace some of the wire fencing around the runs, a fox having attempted an entry last night. As we did this there was much comment about last night’s AutumnWatch on the Beeb. Hero status doesn’t last long on the allotments ,and today it was the turn of Chris Packham to fall from grace. The main feature of the Friday night finale concerned the ‘exciting’ growth in urban foxes. We must, the great man urged, put aside our prejudices and welcome the presence of the magnificent creatures in our communities. We even met people who are helping the growth by feeding scraps. Clearly neither they nor Mr Packham have seen just what happens when a fox succeeds in entering a hen-run. It massacres every occupant. No, we don’t support the idea of posh geezers dressing up in red coats, but we do believe that the only good urban fox is a dead one!
Having whipped ourselves into a spiteful mood, we turned our attention to the water utilities. Our dear leader is absolutely right to launch a drive aimed at curbing their constant above-inflation rises in bills. Average water bills have leapt by 60% over the pat ten years to £390 despite reductions by many of the major companies in the amount they spend on repairs. Last week the regulator, Ofwat, woke from its slumbers to reject a request by Thames Water to increase charges by another 8%, arguing that it needed the cash to offset the loss of revenue resulting from the growing number of customers defaulting on payment!
Does anyone believe that privatisation of water supply makes any sense at all? How can competition work for a commodity that we must all use? Of course we cannot avoid replacing antiquated infrastructures, but we can avoid the extra cost of huge profits trousered by foreign-owned private companies. We find it particularly galling that the French government owns our local supply, not to mention the extensive land once controlled by the state.
But in the interests of our collective sanity we must accept that ministers know best. Unfortunately that belief is hard to sustain when we learn the real reason for the seeming reluctance of ministers to condemn tax avoidance, an art practiced by almost every large company including our pet hates, the energy and water companies. It seems that were our leaders to pursue the major contributors to our economic crisis, they would have to chase their own tails, and we all know the outcome of that.
Take a bow transport minister Stephen Hammond. Some months ago Davud Cameron described legal tax havens as “morally wrong” and his fellow Etonian, Gorgeous George Osborne, said such practice were “morally repugnant”. Mr Hammond is thus condemned since to avoid tax he bought a villa in Algarve through a company called Peal Gas Ltd. Last night he admitted that he was behind the offshore firm that owns the family’s second home. Peal Gas was set up in Gibraltar in April 1997. Hammond bought the company and the property in 2002.
In 2005, Portugal changed its tax rules so that the annual property tax for homes owned through companies registered in Gibraltar rose to 5%, in an attempt to reduce the number of holiday homes held offshore in this way. Had Mr Hammond simply transferred the property into his own name at this point he would have been liable for capital gains tax on the increase in the value of the property since it would technically have been classed as a sale.
Instead, in December 2005, he moved the company to Delaware, a US state not covered by the new Portugese rule. Experts estimate that the decision saved him about £20,000 in British tax because such villas rose in value by about£100,000 during this period.
The registered agent for Peal Gas is the Corporation Trust Company in Wilmington, the legal address of more than 285,000 separate businesses. In recent weeks we have identified many who ‘buy’ companies as a means of tax avoidance, now we can add a minister to the list.
The Hammond villa in Vale do Lobo is valued at £500,000 and is described on property rental sites as a “well presented and tastefully decorated four bedroom detached villa”. It costs as much as £2,425 a week to rent in the summer and is next to a popular golf course and close to a beach.
Mr Hammond has been the MP for Wimbledon since 2005. He employs his wife, Sally, as his office manager, paying her £45,000 a year from taxpayer funds. He lists Peak Gas shareholding in his register of interests as an MP but there is no mention of it in the ministerial register of interests.
The next item of news should be the transport minister’s resignation. If that fails to happen we can only assume that he is not alone in his “morally repugnant” activity.
But nothing should surprise us. Today Baroness Warsi, the first faith minister, has told us that banning Muslim women from wearing the veil would be like attempting to ban the miniskirt in the Sixties. Really? As we recall the latter did little to conceal the wearer’s identity!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; “Politicians are people who, when they see the light at the end of the tunnel, order more tunnel!”….John Quinton
We codgers have been around a long time, but we cannot recall a time when the gulf between leaders and led has been so great. We were reminded of this when Bob brought his copy of the Express on to the allotments this morning. A new poll has revealed that voters are angry at the EU for curbing Britain’s power to limit immigration, and a majority would vote to exit if given the choice.
But our leaders take a different view. Clegg and Miliband are determined to continue membership, Cameron talks vaguely of a referendum after negotiation but makes clear that he too wishes to stay on board the Merkel Titanic. If seems to us that the old concept of the elected taking heed of their elector’s vews has died the death. Only Ukip reflect the majority view and they are hardly likely to form a government.
And the lack of control over our borders has direct relevance to the public’s greatest concern right now - the ever increasing number of enemies within. The appalling Woolwich murder has provided a terrible reminder of the depths to which our internal security has plummeted, and the ease with which yet more undesirables can enter unchallenged gaurantees that the situation will continue to deteriorate.
As on each occasion before and since 7/7, the debate in recent days has covered the usual familiar terrain. Our dear leader and all leading politicians have given grandstanding speeches about how “we will never give in to terrorism”. They speak as if there was some likelihood of getting the Queen to stepdown with a view to instituting sharia law. Next, politicians and pundits from all sides of the aisle spout whatever is their pet security grievance.
We have heard it all before. There was even someone who called for the banning of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. That is exactly what Tony Blair said he would do after 7/7 and David Cameron swore he would do when he became PM. Today – as on each occasion before – absolutely nothing important will be done. The door remains open and the national obsession with political correctness influences everything said or done.
In fairness there is one politician who genuinely wants to act. Theresa May knows the security issues this country faces. She knows the number of people under observation who plan to carry out attacks. But in every direction she is scuppered. At every turn she and those who want to keep this country safe and to defeat the enemy within, find people who are working not just against them, but all of us.
Incredibly members of the cabinet feature amongst these. Take Sayeeda Warsi. Ever since he promoted her in the interests of PC the Prime Minister has found himself stuck with the Baroness. Too incapable to have her own department, and having failed spectacularly in her role as party chairman, Warsi was given a consolation title; ‘Minister for faith and communities’. Time and again she has given sustenance to the enemies within.
In March Baroness Warsi addressed a FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies) conference in Westminister. The conference discussed the ‘demonising’ of Muslim students. Just before the Baroness spoke there was a speech by an Islamist who believes that the beheading of those who leave Islam is not only right but ‘painless’. Shortly after she had spoken, one of her platform colleagues called for the release of a convicted al-Qa’eda terrorist. This is the kind of help Theresa May gets from some of her own colleagues.
Another barrier is the civil service. In the Home Office, and across related departments, are senior civil servants who think they know best. They actively work against May. Much of the civil service work against the government’s anti-terrorism agenda, fail to implement it, implement it wrongly, or go after pet peeves of their own as a condition of doing the job they are supposed to do. Sir Humphrey lives and in this instance it is no cause for mirth.
Last, but far from least, of the Home Secretary’s obstacles is the European Convention on Human Rights. It has tied this country up in a nightmarish bind. Mrs May must by now have spent longer on the case of Abu Qatada than any other. She has flown to Jordan to get yet further assurances and understandings from the government, yet nothing is ever enough to satisfy the ECHR or our own courts, which now feel wholly subservient to its whims.
Of course we could do what the French and Italians have done, and simply ignore the ECHR. In fact the Italians don’t even bother to pay the paltry fines the court sends out to the disobedient. But the British remain honest in implementing even dishonest laws.
Since the Woolwich slaughter many people have asked the same questions. Will it change things? Is this the last straw? Sadly the answer is no. Not only are there leading figures across all parties that believe soft pedalling is the only route to good race relations, there are also many people and powers in place to stop this country doing what it needs to do.
Which is? Deport illegals, lock up radicals, restrict immigration, tell the sympathisers the game is up. Right-wing claptrap? If you think that take a look at the alternative, or simply consider the fate of a young soldier daring to wear a ‘help for heroes’ tee-shirt!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; ” We might get back control over the shape of a widget, but there’s no way we’re going to get back control over our borders”…Nigel Farage .
Hands up all those who love warm sunny mornings such as this. On that at least we are united and working on the allotments this morning was pure delight. For some strange reason the government has today released a booklet providing advice on how to cope with a heatwave – paint your house white amongst other things – which does seem overly optimistic, but perhaps our dear leader has advice from a greater source. And I am not referring to Eric Pickles.
Meantime we were dismayed by comments from the minister of faith and community, Baroness Warsi. She expresses delight at the country’s “united and resolute” response to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. She goes on to say that “there will always be extremists on both sides”. What a ludicrous comment – we will never make progress if we regard our society as having “two sides”. Some of our allotments community are of Asian and Caribbean descent, but we most certainly do not regard ourselves as comprising two sides. We are a happy integrated community and have long since forgotten our varying colours and roots. It does perhaps help that none of us have the slightest interest in organised religion.
We were of course all outraged by the murder on a London street. In common with most people we do believe that a crackdown on extremism is desperately needed. We wonder if the battery of measures proposed in the aftermath of the 2005 bombings was as wide of the mark as their many critics said at the time. The then government proposed control orders, the power to monitor and detain extremists, and ID cards.
Lawyers, campaigners and journalists took issue with Labour’s proposals and they died a death amidst a torrent of cries about loss of freedom. We ended up with a coalition with an explicit commitment to restoring civil liberties. Deep down we probably all feel that this is right, but it is easy right now to have doubts.
At the time hate-fuelled organisations such as al-Muhhajiron and Islam4UK were banned and their plans to picket the funeral processions of British troops blocked. But then the civil liberty lobby triumphed and people like Anjem Choudary, a leader of both groups, have since been free to express their vile views. Similarly, the BNP and English Defence League are permitted to spout their venom.
An article in today’s Telegraph provides food for reflection. It is written by film maker Robb Leech, whose stepbrother Richard Dart was drawn to Islamic fundamentalism, and is now serving a six-year prison sentence. In April 2011 Leech broadcast the outcome of a two-year study of the world of the London Islamist and the circle of young men around radical Islamist cleric Anjem Choudary.
Leech accompanied his stepbrother to many meetings. “Prepare your steeds of war”, he heard Choudary say on many occasions. Equally regularly he heard the call to “Terrorise the enemies of Allah…you don’t come back from a martyrdom operation”. And worse. There was, Leech says, a sense of being united in a group apart, heavily reinforced by discussing vidoes of what were portrayed as atrocities carried out against their Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq. We now know that both of the alleged assailants in Woolwich were know to Choudary.
Yet despite all this there was Choudary, in the wake of Woolwich, appearing on Nesnight on Thursday. He craves such attention and we surely have to ask ourselves whether freedom of speech should extend to such as him. If it is we will continue to pay a terrible price. Yesterday our troops at home were again advised by the MOD not to wear their uniforms in public. Do we really find this acceptable.
It is all very worrying. Until we reach a society that has only only side the situation will continue to deteriorate. That the minister responsible for bringing that about still talks of two is horrifying!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; “I recall being told by Tony Blair that troops were being sent to Afghanistan to keep terrorism off our streets and to prevent drugs being openly traded throughout the world.
Terrorists walk freely through our streets. As for the supply of drugs, there seems to be an abundance available publicly and, indeed, in our prisons.
I take it then that all our brave young men and women who have lost life and limb in Afghanistan have done so in vain”….Ian Beck, Crosby, Cumbria
If this is summer God help us when winter arrives. I haven’t resumed the art of chicken-cleaning yet but felt morally obliged to look in on my pals in action on the allotments. Gumboots, gravel, cursing, sheets of water everywhere – it was not a happy sight. Perhaps we should have bred ducks which, unlike chickens, need no protection from the wet stuff.
Like a News of the World reporter of old I made my excuses and left. I headed for Tesco where I joined hordes of less-than-happy shoppers. For some it seems to have become somewhere to go when all else fails, but I have never become addicted to the idea of examining displays of baked beans as a diversion. But moments such as these do serve to remind one of just how crowded our island is becoming.
It was quite brave of Ed Miliband to speak out about immigration yesterday. Sadly what he said inspired little hope that he has any real plan in mind, but at least he did face up to the fact that his party has been “remarkably soft” on the issue. He was equally correct to say that politicians cannot go on with the pretence that there is no problem given that immigration is often the main topic of conversation in pubs and clubs up and down the land.
When Theresa May recently ventured to suggest restrictions she was immediately confronted by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – she of the expenses scandal – who predictably cried racism. It illusrated perfectly the mess we have allowed ourselves to get into. Somewhere along the line the politically-correct brigade have managed to convince everyone that to refuse entry to anyone who is not British by birth is to be racist, the sort of ghastly creature that is covered with tattoos and supports the BNP. It is of course illogical nonsense.
The simple, if unpopular, truth is that this island is becoming dangerously overcrowded. Every part of our social structure is creaking at the seams. Even without the handicap of Lansley, the NHS was losing its ability to cope with an ever increasing population, our social services are collapsing under the weight of rocketing caseloads, unemployment amongst young people is a nightmare, our roads are jam-packed with, er, jams, our commuter train services are the equivalent to cattle-trucks, our primary schools are swamped. Wherever you look things are overcrowded.
Given its obsession with austerity for the lower classes, the government is taking the axe to benefit payments, but no one mentions that over 350,000 of the claimants are recent immigrants. Many inner-city primary schools are under seige and class sizes have almost doubled in the past four years. To make things even worse more than a million children do not speak English as their first language. In the past year alone this total has risen by 50,000.
It all reminds me of the buses I used to catch many moons ago. The conductor would declare standing room only and, after allowing eight passengers to board, would declare that more would create dangerous overcrowding. That is where we are as a nation right now, yet the population projections suggest an increase of another 20 per cent over the next 20 years.
Perhaps the most alarming short-term crisis relates to employment. Miliband pointed to what he called “a collison of large immigration from Eastern Europe and a UK labour market that is becoming too nasty, brutish and short-term”. It is, he said, a “class thing”. If you wanted a conservatory built you are better off as a result of the large number of foreign workers recruited on short-term low-paid deals. If you earn your living by building conservatories you will struggle to find work.
Now that at last a leading politician has had the gumption to mention the unmentionable there is perhaps a ray of hope. There needs to be since over the next few months there is a real risk of large numbers arrivng from various parts of Europe. Someone has to have the courage to face up the EU and to say that the door is shut. And as new members of the EU such as Turkey appear someone has to make clear that unlimited access to the UK is not available.
Up until recently anyone coming out with such proposals would have been labelled a little Englander. No longer, most people now recognise that little England is sinking under the sheer weight of its numbers.
Our dear leader will doubtless respond to Miliband by pointing out the sanctity of the laws of the EU. Since he yesterday lectured the Argentinian President about the importance of referendums, perhaps he would like to hold one here. Polls suggest that his slavish adherence to EU rules is not quite as greatly admired as he imagines!
QUOTES FOR TODAY; ” A classic is a book that everyone wants to have read, but nobody wants to read”…..Mark Twain “I gave my young nephew a book for Christmas. He spent a month looking for where to put the batteries”….Milton Berle “A hundred thousand sperm and you were the fastest!”……Jim Hightower “He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death”……Saki “When they circumcised you they threw away the wrong bit”…..David Lloyd George “Tony Blair is only Bill Clinton with his zip done up”……Neil Hamilton
Another very hot day. The main preoccupation on the allotments is now water, an irony not lost on a bunch of codgers who have spent months splashing about in it. But in such temperatures chickens and plants alike consume enough liquid every hour to sink a battleship. So lugging is the order of the day, and we all know what happened to the captain of the lugger. Even the news that the Olympic Torch is due to pass our main gate this week did little to raise exhausted spirits when we sat down for our brew, but as always the morning headlines soon focussed our ancient minds.
The biggest surprise was the record of an interview given by Nick Clegg on yesterday’s Andrew Marr show. Being summoned to appear before Marr is the nearest earthly equivalent to meeting God, those called tend to spill the beans as one might in the confessional box. The difference is of course that what is said is immediately spread around by reporters, people least likely to be found on the Almighty’s right hand.
Asked about the News Corp scandal, Master Clegg was surprisingly frank. He said that the whole affair showed that Britain was being run by a “broken establishment”. “It all confirms my view that it’s high time we cleaned up our broken establishment”, he said and went on to say that his two years in government had convinced him that “power in this country is wrongly distributed, it’s totally wrong”. He didn’t actually mention posh boys but the inference was there, as it was later when Uncle Vince Cable talked of the need to break up the coalition “well before 2014″. Of course as with all Clegg contentions there is an inconsistency here. Clegg is part of the broken establishment.
But other more consistent vultures were hovering yesterday. Over on the Sky News ‘Murmaghan’ programme David Mellor was sharpening his talons. The former Tory cabinet minister said that there will be many scalps resulting from the Leveson Inquiry. The first to go will be Jeremy Hunt who should have realised that he could not take on a quasi-judicial role, having already expressed his determination to see the Murdoch bid through. But Mellor’s greatest venom was reserved for our dear leader.
Cameron, according to Mellor, won’t resign but his credibility is “blown away”. He went on to give his appraisal of David Cameron. “He has been exposed as a shallow callow sort of guy who doesn’t have too many aims and ambitions and can’t even get basic judgement calls right”. Oh dear. Considering that Mellor is still at the heart of the Conservative establishment that must have spoiled our dear leader’s weekend chillax.
Several other leading-lights lined up to earn interview fees by condemning their own government. Usually Baroness Warsi can be relied upon to rush to the rescue by speaking out for the good, honest guys. Sadly she was somewhat preoccupied defending herself. The fact that the normally supportive Telegraph has this morning published a whole page of ‘evidence’ regarding her expenses suggests that Knacker may be calling. Leading Lib Demmer Lord Oakeshott was quick to point out that like Ceasar’s wife, she must be above suspicion. He added that “I’m afraid the story so far looks seriously suspicious”.
But there is perhaps hope for an establishment under attack if one of the assailants is Nick Clegg, given his habit of invariably advocating that which the bulk of the nation opposes. Having earlier implied that the Tory part of the coalition would struggle to run a gentleman’s club – posh boys never run chip shops – he turned on Theresa May for suggesting that we may have to limit immigration from Greece if it finally collapses. “This is unhelpful, we are all Europeans”, he boomed. Maybe, but does he seriously believe that our crowded island can go on accepting whoever fancies drawing benefits here?
However, despair not. The British establishment may be broken but it ain’t broke. Today we learn that Cameron has over £4 million in his piggy bank, Hunt £4.7 million, Spelman £4.5 million, Hague £4.8 million, Osborne £4.5 million, Strathclyde £9.5 million and Hammond £8.2 million.
So even if the vultures finally dive, our dear leader and his pals can head for a cave and still have enough of the readies to order supplies from Harrods!
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY!
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over!”…..Eckhart Tolle
We have just returned from sun-kissed Snowdonia. Several of us share ownership of a holiday home which stands on the edge of the beach. Our usual experience is of a Scott’s last journey vintage with gale-force winds rattling our false teeth, this weekend was somewhat different. Even our fellow Welshmen were too drained to sing along with the Eurovision Song Contest, surely the utimate cure for insomnia.
We left Albert and several other chickenmen in charge. Albert has never been involved with the Welsh ventures, he regards us as a bunch of Welsh gits. We take no offence since his racism extends to most other parts of the Kingdom. Anyone not born in Lancashire is personna non-grata with titchy Al.
It is always interesting to chat to the villagers in North Wales. At the best of times they are less than keen on what they see as posh boys in distant Westminster. Now they are finally alienated. They may dwell in what our friends regard as God’s country far removed from English hell, but they read the same newspapers. And this weekend has finally confirmed their worst prejudices. We used to scorn their comments about posh boys as bent as hairpins, but suddenly that is exactly how it appears.
The political scandal over Murdoch’s battle to buy BSkyB moved closer to David Cameron yesterday after new evidence undermined the prime minister’s claim that his Government was scrupulously even handed in deciding on the £8 billion deal. A memo, released by the Leveson Inquiry, revealed for the first time that Mr Cameron already knew his Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was in favour of the bid, before he handed him quasi-judicial power to rule on it after Vince Cable had been mysteriously trapped in to revealing his dislike for the Murdochs. In the private message to the PM, Mr Hunt told that James Murdoch was furious at the delay and stressed the importance of the deal going through.
It has also emerged that Mr Hunt may have misled parliament by claiming that contacts with his sacked adviser did not involve him. In fact Hunt himself exchanged personal texts with Murdoch’s adviser, even to the extent of personal chat about their respective children. In total more than 1000 texts were exchanged between News Corp and Mr Hunt’s department.
Both Cameron and Hunt have great PR skills, but even their verbal sleight of hand cannot explain away the mass of revelations that show that they were both hell-bent on waving through the bid. Had it not been for the Millie Dowler affair the planned emasculation of the BBC would now be underway. Web of deceit hardly covers what has been going on. The so-called Chipping Norton set was perhaps the first indication that the Prime Minister was inappropriately involved with vested interests. Now we know that the stories of regular parties and get-togethers were but the tip of a corrupt iceberg.
In most organisations such a state of affairs would by now have been referred to the Chairman, someone who can normally be relied upon to stand apart from any misconduct. But the Conservative Party chairman is Baroness Warsi. This morning’s Sunday Torygraph has front page headlines that feature her, and for all the wrong reasons. The Baroness has admitted that she failed to declare a source of income for more than a year. And on this evenings’ BBC news a GP landlord has claimed that she paid no rent for accomodation on his proerty yet claimed expenses.
The Telegraph headline related to income from a London property she had bought and rented out. In normal times the Baroness might have escaped too much attention, but after so much talk by both her and our dear leader of a “commitment to be one of the most transparent governments in the world” it is very bad news indeed for the coaltion’s credibility.
Mr Hunt’s position is already untenable, the idea that he is not responsible for what his adviser does is ludicrous, especially since we now know that he condoned what was happening. And the web is beginning to close around the dear leader who still faces revelations at the various criminal cases being lined up by Knacker.
The latest polls show that the public now trusts Miliband and Balls more than Cameron et al. It isn’t that they have done anything to earn that trust, but they need do nothing given that ministers are sinking quickly into a quicksand from which escape looks as likely as the Welsh Nationalists lining up to applaud them!