Friday, March 30, 2007

Margaret Beckett – in the manure….

Judging by Margaret Beckett’s reaction to the severe censure of her handling of payments to English farmers, it looks like ‘mea culpa’ is not on her favourite list of Scrabble words. MPs have called for former Environment Secretary Beckett to be held to account over delayed EU subsidies to English farmers. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called the handling of the new Single Payments Scheme an "embarrassing failure"

Not much wringing of hands from Maggie. No offer to do the decent thing even though she has moved on to another job. No grovelling apology for the number of English farmers who have gone out of business – or even committed suicide whilst waiting for an EU subsidy cheque from DEFRA that never actually arrived. Margaret’s conscience is clear – apparently, she took the decisions "in good faith" ….. So that’s all right then.

Worse still is the potential fine that the taxpayer is going to have to stump up £500 million to the EU for the late/non-payment fiasco.

The MPs' report said: "A culture where ministers and senior officials can preside over failure of this magnitude and not be held personally accountable creates a serious risk of further failures in public service delivery."

The committee wants new guidance to make clear to ministers what they should do to take responsibility in the event of serious departmental failure….

Some hope. Since when has a government minister ever taken the noble route and resigned because they had cocked up? Twenty five years ago – Lord Carrington and Richard Luce fell on their swords citing their failure to address Argentina’s aggression in the South Atlantic. Since then we seem to have had either bloody fantastic and capable ministers – or a load of utter dumkoffs whose only knowledge of ‘honour’ is the kind that Lord Cashpoint reputedly sets up for wads of cash…..

Interestingly enough, and true to form, the BBC reports on TV, radio and web avoids describing the victims of this cock up as ‘English farmers’ – preferring to describe them simply as ‘farmers’… There is however a superbly agricultural quote on one web page from Leicestershire farmer Andrew Brown that, somehow managed to slip through the BBC web censor’s red pen….

Farmer Brown agreed with an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report calling for Mrs Beckett to be among those considering their positions.

"It was Mrs Beckett who decided to go down this route of the most complicated system for England and England alone," he said.

"Whereas in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they had a different system and they paid their farmers on time. So that left the English farmers at a great disadvantage.

"And where else but the Westminster village would the person who's in charge of this mess get promoted to foreign secretary?"

Where indeed?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Look out, flying Cable overhead….

Well, wonder of wonders. Vince Cable, that English hating Lib-Demmer has nailed his colours to the mast on a question of err, nailing our colours to the mast Amazing.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shove your Celtgelt up your spending gap, Gordon.

My good friend Gashy sent me this image of one of the brand spanking new 20 quid Bank of England notes with Adam Smith’s boat on. It’s proof positive that the people’s protest against the Barnett Formula, otherwise known as the Celtgelt / Celtgeld is gathering pace.

Alfie would really like to join in. He’s got his indelible pen ready and a witty quip to hand. Unfortunately, new 20 quid bank notes are as rare as honest politicians round our way (we’ve only just got used to the disappearance of the farthing and the diminishing purchasing power of the groat).

If anyone would like to help me out, just send your spare 20 quid Smithers to yours truly and I’ll get scribbling right away….….

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Joe Stalin's youngest....

I don’t know, what do you think? Is the Soviet Man of Steel related to our own Iron Brewed Chancellor? Check out the eyebrows, eyelids, chins and miserable menacing scowls....

Did Joe Stalin have a dalliance with old Mrs Brown from the Soviet Republic gulag of Kirkcaldykov all those years ago? Was she seduced by the big handlebar moustache, the five year plan and the endless supply of rocket grade vodka?

In short, is Gordon, Joe’s love muffin? Is our Chancellor’s real name, Gordon Ivanavoff Stanislav Stalin?

You know what, he just could be…. And if he was, it would all makes sense….. ‘Gordon Stalin’, ‘Gorball’s Mick Rasputin the mad drunk’ and ‘Czar Tony Romanov, the really, really Terrible’…….

One thing’s for sure, when Gordon finally takes over the Politburo and Czar Tony is airbrushed out of history, will our new glorious leader be buying a bumper pack of ice picks? If so, Charles Clarke, John Reid and Lord Turnbull better watch out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dear BBC Breakfast TV.......

Another letter of complaint I'm afraid regarding the story in this morning's show about hospitals in England making nearly £100 million from car park charges.

Honestly, when will the people at BBC Breakfast invest in some journalists? The standard of reporting this story was just pathetic -- and as per usual, the two people masquerading as 'presenters' completely failed to understand the dynamic of the story. Hospital Car Park charges only happen in England because English hospitals are the only ones out of the UK who actually charge their patients to park their cars.

And when Sian Williams read out that email about the hospital in Merthyr Tydfil that has FREE car parking, she airily summised that it is because land prices in Merthyr were cheaper than in England. Good grief, to come to such a conclusion really is pathetic, quite apart from it being totally inaccurate.

Wales and Scotland let their hospital visitors and patients have free access to their hospital car parks because they can afford to do so, courtesy of the Barnett formula cash dividend gathered from English tax payers.

So English patients are the only ones who have to pay for hospital car parking, only ones who don't qualify for expensive cancer drugs, only ones who have to sell their homes to pay for residential care.....

Don't you think this should be reported by the BBC? But then again, I'm not surprised, After all, editorial objectivity from the BBC was one of the first casualties of a post Hutton corporation. You are nothing but supine lap dogs for Nu Labour - with the reporting ability of a Janet and John children's book editor. Editorial objectivity? What an utter joke.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The 'Cash for Lives' scandal...

Another day, another drug apparently completely off limits to those living in England, although freely available to the Scots. All due to the great northern bribe, the pay-off of shame, the billions of Barnett formula cash given to the Scottish nation in an attempt to stop the moaning and emasculate the nationalists.

Well it just ain’t right. People in England are dying in the ‘Cash for Lives’ scandal, courtesy of Gordon Brown’s ball-point pen and his Treasury cheque book. The Barnett formula - this appalling annual pay-off, little more than hush money, has more in common with ‘Dane Gelt’ the Anglo Saxon tax pay-off to the Vikings, than with a modern sophisticated market economy..

This pernicious little Brown envelope payment to a miserable and ungracious neighbour has just got to be stopped. The Celt Gelt is out of date by a thousand years. It’s time to bin it and treat all citizens of the UK with equal respect, because if we have to rely on this illicit payment to help preserve the union, then from this person’s perspective, it’s much too high a price to pay.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

England BC…

Good God Almighty. The nightmare scenario of double the meddling from a no mandate leadership is looming like a big dour loomy thing over England. The BC option might actually happen.

It’s a truly depressing thought. The unthinkable might just become the possible; the barely credible could become reality. There, amongst the prawn cocktail dregs, stilton cheese crumbs and gravy stains, the terms of a Brown – Campbell power-sharing pow-wow has been scribbled on the back of a Lib Dem Harrogate Conference dinner napkin. Ming the power-mad opportunist reckons the dour Kirkcaldian might just need his help after the next General Election.

Ming thinks he and his party could be holding the balance of power aces in a hung Parliament – and has made it known that should new, New Labour Leader Brown be struggling to form a government, then he would be willing to throw his lot in with his Scottish conspirator.

It could happen I suppose. Brown is unpopular, miserable and uncommunicative – and thanks to Blair, Labour’s parliamentary majority will continue to whither, especially in England.

So the nightmare scenario could mean that the people of England will be ruled not by just one Scottish Leader with a Scottish constituency, but two. To be ruled by one Leader with no national mandate is a democratic outrage. To be ruled by two is like, having a laugh - but the joke is on us and it ain't funny.

But Ming’s complicity will come at a price. He’s proving he has got some scruples, even though they don’t work that well nowadays. He has set out 5 coalition tests that Brown must adopt in order to get the Lib Demmers on board. And do you know what? I’ll sort of bet my mortgage that not one of the 5 tests will include a commitment to give the people of England a national parliament. So let’s check –

1) End Labour's authoritarian attack on civil liberties. Identity cards will not stop terrorism, they won't stop illegal immigration, they won't stop fraud and they won't stop crime.
2) Grasp the challenge posed by climate change ...
3) Break open the poverty trap.
4) Trust the people.
5) Britain's foreign policy should not be set in Washington.

Hmmmm, can’t quite see the commitment to an English Parliament there, can you? I suppose the nearest to English empowerment is number 4, ‘Trust the people’ – (but not the people of England with democracy, obviously)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

St George or no St George?….

OK, I’ll admit that now and again I watch the crappest quiz show on the box – Channel Four’s Deal or No Deal?….

On special days, they’ll do a bit of a theme, last month was a luvvy dovey big hearted edition to celebrate St Valentine’s Day. Heart graphics and kissy-kissy icons everywhere.

Today, being St David’s Day meant the 22 contestants all had daffodils sticking out of their lapels. The woman invited to take the deal or no deal journey was Welsh and the special prize for which the public phoned in to try and claim was increased accordingly to mark this special day.

Guess what? They’ll be doing a St Patrick’s Day special on March 17th as confirmed by the Channel 4 bloke who I rang straight after today’s show. "So if you’re doing a St Patrick’s Day celebration – and you’ve just done St David, are you doing a St George’s Day celebration on April 23rd ?… Will everyone have roses in their lapels and will Noel Edmonds be dressed as St George?"..

His answer came straight from the Deal or No Deal box of evasion…."Hmmmm, I’m not really too sure. I could suggest it to the producers if you like"

Oh goody! Another media company ignoring the national icon of the biggest country of the union – I ranted away. Quite a lot, actually. He was quiet – hopefully he was listening intently. More likely he had gone away to make a cup of tea or something…finally, I said "So what are you going to do about it?"….

He said he would put my comment in the comments log.
Whoopy do.

I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone.
I wasn’t allowed to ask that someone ring me.
I wasn’t allowed to ask diddley squat…..

Maybe you’ll have better luck? You can phone Channel 4 viewer enquiries support on 0845 076 0191. Or you can email them from here