Archive for February 2010
William Hague is accusing the New Labour government of deliberately failing in its economic strategy so that an incoming Tory government will be handed a ‘poisoned chalice’ of massive debt. Now to be fair, he does say ‘an incoming government’. But we all know what he means.
I think that from my other posts you will see I am no lover of New Labour. But this claim is ridiculous in the extreme. First, this presupposes the Conservatives will win. Yes, I know it is looking likely. But surely the basis of this pronouncement is that the Tories intend whatever the condition of British finances to introduce massive public spending cuts to fund massive tax breaks for their wealthy pals. And this sets the scene, putting the public’s mind in ‘service cutting’ mode.
And he forgets that New Labour might actually win. Would they want to return to power to face their own ‘poisoned chalice’? It smacks of playground name-calling, hoping that if enough muck is thrown, some of it will stick.
I suggest you ignore the tactics of the gutter and take a close look at policies, not just of the big two or even the big three. But see who is saying what you believe. Forget a tactical vote to keep New Labour or the Tories out. Vote with your conscience and maybe we will see a surprise result. Maybe more people are thinking like you than you give credit.
The Tories have come up with a plan to pay back the public for the investment in failing banks. The idea is to sell shares at discount prices to the public, with extra discounts for those on low-incomes and the young.
How will this help? With shares at hundreds or even thousands of pounds what kind of discount will they offer? If it is a large discount, selling shares at a few pounds then the banks will be disadvantaged and we will find a similar situation that the public investment was designed to ease. If it is a small discount, once again it will not be the less well off, but the Tories rich mates that will benefit.
Even if we ignore this and the obvious publicity stunt this is to catch a few votes, and accept it is a good thing and will help, we will see the shares bought up at slightly inflated prices that the small shareholders will see as attractive and a quick profit by the biggest and richest players and we shall be back to square one with the banks owned and run by a few rich individuals who care only about quick profit, whatever the cost.
Mainly, however we should look at the shares fiasco of the 1980’s. It is obvious that the Tory Party has not learned anything, that it has not changed and is dogmatically following the tenets of Thatcherite monetarism. If that’s what you want, vote for them. I want something different. Something none of the three major parties are offering. A return to the manufacturing base that made Britain great and paid high wages to ordinary people. A return to a system that put people before profits, not the utopian ideal that the benefits of capitalism and profit will inevitably trickle down to the less fortunate.
There are two scandals in the news this week. The BAE Systems £208m out of court settlement and the three MP’s and one lord, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield who are trying to use Parliamentary Privilege to avoid a criminal case.
In the first situation, the £208m ‘fine’ paid by BAE seems a massive penalty. But when one considers they count their income at over £1,000m and cash flow in the thousands of millions, it pales into a rather less significant consequence. And it has avoided an open court which may have uncovered further wrongdoing; I think they got off lightly.
As for the MP’s and lord, to break the rules sufficiently for prosecutors to believe a crime may have been committed and then try to use Parliamentary Privilege to avoid open court questions, I’ll make this point. If your extravagant expense claims are truly mistakes, you have nothing to fear from a criminal prosecution, for you will surely be found not guilty. Or does ‘nothing to fear if you’ve done nothing wrong’ only apply to us lesser mortals, who often have only Legal Aid, which MP’s seem intent on removing, to call to our defence.
These politicians should remember that Parliamentary Privilege was enshrined in law to prevent the monarch from interfering in the proceedings of Parliament, and prevented an MP from being impeached for proceedings or speeches made in Parliament. While I don’t claim a full knowledge or understanding of the Privilege, it seems to me it was not designed to protect politicians from prosecution for criminal activity, inside or outside of Parliament.