Archive for the ‘cuts’ Category

My admiration for the man has, if anything, risen even further after his dignified apology to the House of Commons in a personal statement he made in the past few minutes.

Of course it’s a cause for concern that 25 schools were left with the impression they were going to enjoy the post-Labour luxury of refurbishment, at massive cost to the taxpayer, through the astonishingly inefficient Balls Future Schools policy, but after his sincere apology about the inaccuracy of the lists released on Monday, which is ultimately a Civil Service issue for which the education minister is properly taking ministerial responsibility – Labourists take note – Gove’s reputation remains intact, if not enhanced.

Compare and contrast the reputations of the screaming Labour benches with their fake anger, wallowing in the deepest of hypocrisy. Compare their behaviour and reach the only conclusion possible: not only are they not fit for government, after the hideous unpleasantness of Tom Watson MP, for example (shrieking baseless accusations and vicious insults directly at Gove), a fair proportion of them aren’t fit to be Members of Parliament. That will be crystal clear to any sane person watching the exchanges.

There is one other point that’s emerged from this latest parliamentary spat and it concerns Bercow. He seems to think the being “Speaker” means he has to speak all the time. He appears to imagine that not only must he intervene to keep order, he must pass judgment on every point made, especially on the Tory side. He apparently considers his condescending, smug, self-publicising manner is appropriate for the great office of state he’s attempting, and failing, to fill. I’ve seen this odious man in action long enough now to know that he’s little more than a catspaw for Labour, no doubt to please his wife. He’s got to go before he does any more damage to the proper business of parliament and the reputation of the House of Commons. He’s that bad.

So, this procedural storm in a teacup, predictably stirred-up by the malignant, mendacious opposition and, one has to say after his questionable interventions and rulings today, by their tame placeman in the Speaker’s chair, Bercow, will soon blow over. But the debris left in its wake will not represent obstacles to Gove’s or the coalition’s programme of righting Labour wrongs and getting their disastrous, spiralling deficit under control. Far from it. Gove’s statement has re-established the principle of ministerial responsibility (I have no doubt he offered his resignation to David Cameron, judging by the depth and sincerity of his apology on behalf of his department) after all those years of abuse by the previous Labour regime. It has also revealed the pettiness and revisionism of a contemptible Labour contingent unable to take any responsibility whatsoever for their role in causing the worst crisis in British public finances for, to quote one of their number, sixty years.

Perhaps that’s what Gove was doing: smoking out the dishonest, discredited cabal of ex-ministers and their sweaty-toothed left wing comrades on the backbenches with sincerity. It’s possible – he’s that clever. However, I prefer to think that he was just doing what he thinks is right – owning-up, taking responsibility and apologising for the error. Insodoing he has left no one in any doubt as to his good faith and decency, and cast massive ones over a large swathe of Labour party members’.

“Good faith and decency”? Thy name is not the oily, weasily Bercow, and certainly not the scrofulous Tom Watson. Thy name is Michael Gove.

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Education is an area that interests me intensely so it might not be surprising that I’m spending the early evening watching the education funding statement on the parliament channel at this very moment (exciting, eh?).

Suffice to say, and in the spirit of his refreshing brevity and precision, Michael Gove is giving one of the more polished parliamentary performances I’ve seen in defending his policy of suspending Ed Balls’ pie-in-the-sky, dishonest pre-election plans for building and refurbishing 700 schools. A number of facts are emerging thanks to Gove’s extraordinary mastery of the detail, not least among them the bureaucratic waste, vast inefficiency and dreadful mismanagement of PFI contracts by Ed Balls and the department he apparently headed (even though he seemed far more busy most of the time trying in his role as Gordon Brown’s barely house trained thug, propping up the auld fraud and protecting him almost 24/7 from his own cabinet, a full time job in itself).

Gove’s handling of the various whining Labour opposition MPs, moaning about things that their own pathetic leadership brought down on them, is just breathtakingly good. The more insulting and detached from reality they become, the more witty and precise his answers become and, in a spiral that can only ever tarnish the grim image of the socialists further, causes the Labour MPs to become even more insulting and detached from reality.

The reason for this is simple: the principles underpinning Gove’s policy initiatives, even ones that amount to large but necessary cuts in the education budget at a time, thanks to the disastrous failures of the previous government, of great insecurity in the public finances, are bullet proof. Better value for money, less bureaucracy and higher standards through greater choice are on offer. And you would bet your house that Gove is the sort of man who will deliver.

All poor old Balls, the biggest villain of this piece, can do meanwhile is moan about the list of affected schools not being available in the Commons library for a handful of minutes. That really is the best he can do – and it’s not very good, is it? I think I can predict Gove’s response: “Ball, E: must do better, but on the strength of past performances probably won’t. D-“.

Gove is a truly impressive figure – everyone knows that. But when he’s up against the likes of feeble Balls and his ilk on the opposition benches, he looks like a world beater. Cameron beware!

Oh dear. And Balls is still moaning away – this time about his money fiddling of that dodgy Islamic faith school some aeons ago. Labourists – you’ve gotta love ’em (sort of). They are totally clueless. It’s a wonder to me they remember to breathe.

For them to be whinging about pre-announced policies is just priceless!

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Guido has the lowdown on the latest sighting of the Brown Pimpernel. Apparently, like Flash Harry from the St Trinians films, he’s taken to wearing a trilby hat low over his eyes and a long coat that makes him look like he’s gliding along without any sign of leg movement, slithering from Important Rich Luminary to Important Rich Luminary, touting for a bit of trade. “Inconspicuous” is the watchword.

After some excitement this morning that Gordon Brown might actually be in town to represent his constituents the truth unravels. While he may have put a fleeting five minutes in the chamber, (making the number of days he as been in two out of a possible forty-nine,) King of the Lobby Gary Gibbon has; what he was really down here for. A meeting with a Kennedy, a chat with Sir Tim Berners-Lee about his future employability and a natter with his old cabinet allies.

So it seems the great Brownian contempt for his own constituents, the public purse that provides his unearned salary and his abject lack of contrition for – or even interest in – his role in the debt disaster now confronting Britain thanks to him will just go on and on and on. Until someone in government has the guts to put a stop to it, preferably with legislation on the conduct of sitting MPs.

People should be a lot more angry about this than the painful budget Brown has brought down on our heads thanks to that sponging loser’s economic incompetence and political desperation.

As much as it was a Coalition budget, this was Brown’s budget. The Tories were right: let no one forget that. Oh, and if we are expected to make sacrifices for the sake of the future security of the nation’s finances, then might I suggest that everyone should be forced to pull his or her weight. We’re all in this together, after all.

Flash Gordon, that ex-wrecker and now dodgy shirker, would be a top target for me for the chop. Why should I be paying for him not to do his job? Cameron can lead by example, but he can also make them – preferably of the predecessor who is so frightened of facing the music to the extent that he is effectively now on the run.

It’s time Brown’s past caught up with him.

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Swansea city centre last Friday night. NICE!

Another one of these pejorative, interventionist (socialist) medical reports has just been released by one of the UK’s many health scare professional quangos, this time calling for enforced national temperance. I have several bones to pick not just with this particular, latest piece of medical meddling in people’s lives, but with these kinds of moralising “experts” and this sort of lifestyle intervention nonsense period. They seem to think that if something “costs the NHS” x-billions of pounds, they have the right to launch into moral crusade mode, as if the NHS is some sort of precious thing with a life of its own that must be protected as an institution over and above the people who pay a fortune for it and whom it is bloody well meant to serve, doubleplusungood lifestyle or not. These are the same clowns who helped give us the pub smoking ban, with no discernible impact on smoking rates anywhere seen so far as a result of it, but the destruction of the entire pub industry imminent thanks directly to it. Hewitt’s and Labour’s masterpiece.

I’m not going to rant too much about this latest here – haven’t got the time this morning – but I will say two further things. NICE is the same quango that regularly fails to take on big pharmaceutical corporations to get the price of, for example, life saving cancer drugs down so they are affordable. Instead it simply rations them, but never objects when the NHS iniquitously refuses further free treatment to patients who opt to buy the drugs for thousands of pounds privately. Why does NICE behave like this? Well, I was unsurprised to find out from Private Eye not that long ago (no links, sorry) that a suspicious number of “experts” who work for NICE also have strong connections with big Pharma. Surprise surprise. So it is hardly surprising that I do not trust them when they start pontificating about how people should live their lives. Sure, drink related illnesses kill 10,000 people a year (so they say). But you know what? About 500,000 people died last year, many after prolonged periods of treatment for things like heart disease and cancer and most of those diseases were the product of old age rather than any specific, chronic lifestyle problem.

Of the 500,000 dead, most were over the age of 75 (some 66% of all deaths for 2009, says the ONS). So the real “problem” for the NHS is that better diets, hygiene, sanitation, inoculation, peace, affluence, antibiotics and yes, medical technology, means that Britain’s annual death rate is plummeting. And that means the NHS is having to cope with tens of thousands more elderly and infirm bods each year – and guess what, it can’t. But it can’t talk about that so it allows one of its quangos to go into displacement activity overdrive by talking about binge drinking which, let’s face it, is far more a social (“Broken Britain”) issue than it is a health issue. Ask anyone who lives in any town centre anywhere in the UK.

That’s the general point. The second point is that while there are lots of good reasons to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles, especially if they are drinking too much, smoking, not getting enough exercise and/or taking drugs, you have to give them a reason why. Attempting to force people to drink less by hammering them in the pocket and saying that a) it’s for their own good, and b) it’s for the good of the NHS (as if some patients are somehow more ‘deserving’ than others) has never worked, won’t work today and will never work in the future. All it will do is hammer the poorest and those millions in Labour heartlands up and down the country living on benefits while annoying the hell out of the middle classes who have done nothing wrong generally speaking (although NICE or that moron Liam Donaldson will doubtless come up with another spurious, anecdotal study on middle class binging), but who will be forced to stump up another chunk of money to fund the biggest bottomless pit the world has ever seen – the NHS.

But that’s what this is really all about, isn’t it? The National-bloody-Health Service. Well, at least Andrew Lansley, the new health minister, has seen some sort of sense.

“Regarding Nice’s recommendations… it is not clear that the research examines specifically the regressive effect on low income families, or proves conclusively that it is the best way to impact price in order to impact demand.”

He went on: “The root causes of social problems lie not just in Government policies – although 24-hour drinking legislation has severely undermined clinician and police efforts to get to grips with this problem – but in social norms and peer influence.

“We must work across Government, society, communities and families to challenge negative social norms and promote the positives.”

Between the sociology-speak lines, this is more or less a comprehensive rubbishing of the report and a libertarian reading of the causes of the binge culture. A cause for hope, then, if not for celebration. We finally have a health minister with a brain. Next thing he can do is use that brain again to save his department, and us, about, oh, potentially £70 million in 2011 by abolishing Labour’s drug-rationing, talkative, 1999 brainchild altogether.

the Institute [has grown since 1999] from an organisation with no staff, premises, or bank account and a nominal budget of £8.5 million a year, to a body now employing over 270 people, with offices in London and Manchester, and an annual budget of £35 million which is set to more than double over the next few years.

said one of its talking heads last year. Well, there’s been an election since then and there will be no need for a shadow, unelected Department of Health, inventing work for itself and expanding its remit daily, from now on thanks all the same. Abolition should be imminent. Well, you decide. Here’s its website. It looks suspiciously like another Department of Health to me. So, and I say this with unabashed relish, this report should be that particular expensive quango’s swan song.

‘NICE’ to have known you as they say.

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Read this and weep, Labour wreckers.

The world expects a rational conclusion to the British general election, and that means kicking out this Labour government. Only idiots and socialists would fail to do that simple thing, and let the entire world down as a consequence. But idiots and socialists – they’re one in the same thing, aren’t they? They refuse to “get it”.
“Don’t let them [the British idiots and socialists] ruin Britain again,” is the clear message from the rest of planet earth.
The only way forward for Britain, and the only way the international community will listen to Britain again (rather than being lectured to by an arrogant, unrepresentative weirdo like Brown), is by meeting their expectations by voting the arrogant fool out. Forever.

We absolutely musn’t disappoint the world.

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What a load of laughable lightweight rhetoric. “I believe that government can make a difference,” whimpers Darling. Yes, mate. But not this one. Not your bust government.

The whole tone of the thing makes me think that he’s decided to vote Tory himself, actually (on the sly), because then, in his confused mind, at least he could guarantee the “big changes” he thinks we so desperately need – without Gordon there to wreck them, that is. Well, at least that’s two things we can agree on then: the need for big changes and the necessity to vote Conservative to get them.

Peter Hoskin was a little less (a very little less) scathing about this pre-budget manure. He also thinks it’s a signal that Darling’s nicked another Tory policy and is going to cut business tax. I doubt it will be handled competently even if he does, however, given this nightmare government’s record when it comes to the private, productive heart of the British economy. What’s more, you can guarantee that it will be paid for not with vital cuts in government debt and overspending, but with tax hikes everywhere. Prepare to become a lot poorer after tomorrow, everyone.

Epic, unravelling fail, 24 hours before it’s even happened.

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HMS QE: casualty of Labour incompetence

Iain Dale had the story earlier this evening, but now that it has been confirmed on the Channel 4 news website, one can only say that this is the most extraordinarily shocking news yet about this wicked government’s handling of a financial and economic disaster largely of its own making. Defence is to face Labour cuts of beyond 16% at a time when Britain is at war. On a day when Brown announced at the Copenhagen junket he was happy to waste a whopping (and borrowed) £1.5Bn of British taxpayers’ money on other countries’ infrastructure, we discover, via some sort of leak to a journalist, that billions are to be stripped out of the defence budget, including, potentially, the cancellation of two major capital projects (the two supercarriers and the A400 transport aircraft). Why? Well, on the face of it as a seriously belated reaction to the MoD’s huge procurement mismanagement and overspend during Labour’s disastrous period in office, but in reality because Labour cynically imagines that defence is not a priority for them because it does not appeal to its core vote or clientele. Perhaps that’s why there was no mention of it in the PBR, another bit of brazen dishonesty beneath contempt on the part of Brown and his ventriloquist’s dummy, Darling.

Meanwhile, our troops continue bravely to struggle through in Afghanistan, undermanned, underequipped and under-represented in Westminster. If you have found it difficult to contemplate the depth of the cynicism of this regime up to this point, this latest betrayal of our armed forces, already cut to the bone after 13 years of Labour hell, should leave no further room for doubt: the only thing they care about is saving their own skin. And that is indefensible.

My God, this stupifyingly duplicitous bunch of dangerous political whores calling itself a ‘government’ needs to be wiped out at the general election, or else they will truly annihilate Britain. They should be hammered into the dust, if not for these devastating cuts, for which there might have been an argument had they been but one component of a coherent, across-the-board emergency plan for tackling Labour’s (and consequently our) deficit and debt crises, then for the abject dishonesty which this latest scandal once more exposes. This Labour government can’t be straight with anyone, because it is, as a body of people, starting with its unelected liar-in-chief, Brown, a total stranger to the truth. It’s habitual and they should be made to pay for that habit by being annihilated themselves – at the ballot box.

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