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Jerry Hayes

Drafting in David Owen to oppose AV is an epic lack of judgement of sphincter rattling Cecil B de Mille and Brownian proportions.

March 12th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

There will be much eye swiveling, biting of carpets and general frothing of mouths at Conservative Home when they read the latest poll from SKY news showing that the YES AV campaign is powering ahead.But what has utterly astounded me is that for someone who is supposed to be a shit hot lobbyist Mathew Elliott  has totally misread the public mood.

The complacency of the appallingly managed NO AV campaign is reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership bid in 1991. There was this ghastly, smug arrogance that backbenchers may be mad but not so mad as to give the lady the heave ho. John Moore, her campaign manager spent most of his time in America and Michael Forsyth, usually as bright as a button, came up to me and asked if I was “onboard”.  ”Onboard what?” was my reply. The Titanic, the Marie Celeste  perhaps, but supporting the Great Lady to push through more barking mad policies dreamed up by that nasty old former Commie machine gunner in the Spanish Civil War, Sir Alfred Sherman, was not an option. I would rather listen to a Gordon Brown Speech or go seal clubbing with Ed Balls. So when I politely declined Michael’s kind offer of self immolation, he looked at me in benign amazement. The whole unworldly fiasco was best summed up by her PPS Peter Morrision, a delightful old toper. “Well Prime Minister I think you’ll find that it’s in the bag…….unless there are a lot Conservative MPs  who are lying, ho, ho, ho”. Well, shock horror they were. And the Pope’s a Catholic and bears do shit in the woods.

I really am not sure how the NOAVistas are going to turn the tide. They’ve tried shock tactics. It will kill your babies, maim your soldiers and probably just fell shy of claiming that it will ruin your sex life and mess up your diet. Well, that was a disaster. When a campaign becomes a laughing stock it’s time to head for the hills.

Then there was that great old vote winner, you peasants are so stupid you couldn’t possible work it out. Forgetting that the knuckle draggers don’t read newspapers but just grin inanely at whatever tasteful crotch shots the Daily Star provides, and certainly haven’t managed to get themselves onto the electoral roll.

And then they tried celebrity endorsement. The only problem was that they just couldn’t find any, not even a member of the Gaddaffi family or Prince Andrew. Good God, they couldn’t even get one of Katie Price’s breasts.

Then came the intellectual approach. Somehow they managed to persuade a few celebrity historians to pitch in with a little bit of,” it will be the end of one man one vote and British Democracy as we know it”. Now, this was about as daft as Labour’s party political broadcast when the doctor in Eastenders endorsed their health policies. The one snag was that people sussed that he wasn’t a real doctor, but an actor whose part had been written out years before.

But today’s coup for the NOAVistas was a real doctor, and a real beast of the jungle, former Foreign Secretary and founder of the SDP, David Owen. Now in terms of a total lack of judgement this a  sphincter rattling, Cecil B De Mille epic of Brownian proportions. It’s not that David is regarded as total shit with the political morals that make Damien MacBride look like Mother Teresa. That can be managed: just about. What can’t be is his reasons for voting no. It’s because he despises first past the post and wants to replace it with PR. had nobody read his letter? Now this is not unlike a doctor adamant that he will not amputate because he wants to kill the patient.

As they see their campaign slowly go down the plug hole they will start to attack Cameron. It’s already began. He’s not doing enough. He is only just beginning to realise that his leadership will be under threat if the argument is lost. He must take control. Backbenchers are unhappy. The grass roots are enraged, blah, de blah, de blah. Of course it’s all utter bollocks. In fact the more Cameron has to speak on this the more embarrassing it is for him. “It will lead to Coalitions……smoke filled rooms……..broken pledges…..Liberal democrats holding the balance of power”. Mmm. Not much different from now then. In fact, no difference at all. The more he has to condemn AV the more he is condemning a system of government that he rather enjoys and is preferred by the public. It’s bit of a no brainer.

The reason the NOAV campaign has been such a text book fiasco is because it totally underestimates the good sense of the British people who are fed up with the Parliamentary dictatorship of the large majority delivered for the vested interests of the Unions or big business. They like the idea of closed minds being prised open by reality. They rather approve of the fact that unless there is compromise rather than tribal dogmatism, nothing gets done.

It’s just the British sense of fair play. And what’s more, if people really feel that they are biologically capable of only voting for one candidate they can. They just put the number1 in one box and leave the rest blank. And if it means that politicians have to work harder for their votes there is not going to be a national outcry.

I have always thought that everyone’s vote should count equally. I have always felt a sense of outrage that the government of this country is decided by 100 key seats and 150,000 key voters. Serious politicians with serious policies have no reason to be afraid of AV. After all, for the first time they will have a proper mandate to govern. But I fear Monty will be leading his Conservative Home scooters onto the Downing street lawn until the bitter end. And it will be very bitter.

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In 2013 the Treasury will put financial advice to all but the wealthy in the hands of the banks. This is a “fucking car crash” which must be stopped.

March 5th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

If you walk past HM Treasury and you hear strange  noises not noticed by its inhabitants; stop and listen carefully. Because, that cacophony of sound, is the collective noise of a selection of  time bombs carelessly laid by the  last government. Some, when they explode, will cause minor injuries. Others will cost political lives and could shake the foundations of this Coalition whose bedrock is fairness and justice.

In 2013 there will be a major explosion which will probably take the government by surprise and will be meat and drink for the Mail and the Telegraph. For in this year the hardworking middle classes, who want to look after themselves and their loved ones in old age and death, will be cast adrift of sensible financial advice and put into the  greedy, sticky little hands of the bankers.

Gone will be the days when your trusted family financial advisor will give you sound, impartial, advice about pensions and life insurances. Well, not quite; you, will have to pay a fee up front for it. Which means that only the wealthy will be able to afford the sort of financial advice that is so important for protecting our families. At the moment, we have something that this Coalition passionately believes in; choice. We can choose whether to pay our Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) a fee or have the money deducted from a commission that comes from any product we might have bought. That right to choose will disappear in 2013. Which means that swathes of ordinary decent folk will be denied the opportunity of sound, qualified and impartial advice. They will be driven into the clutches of the banks. It’s like putting the vampires in charge of the blood bank. But without the romance.

This all goes back to 2006, in the golden days when Gordon Brown was Chancellor and Ed Balls was Minister for the City. Remember that famous speech he gave to bankers crowing about the virtues of  light touch regulation and risk based management? It should be engraved on the tombstone of the British economy. Well, the FSA (shortly to be abolished) came up with a perfectly sound idea of improving the qualifications of IFA s to better protect the consumer. Perfectly sound principles that nobody could disagree with. But then, as usual with the last lot it, was not carefully thought through and worse, they were still in thrall of the Masters of the Universe who could do no wrong. So the Retail Distribution of Financial Advisors (RDR) was born.

Unfortunately, the midwife, the gynecologist and the father who donated his sperm, all happened to be bankers.

Now for some scary statistics. The cost to IFAs of the proposed RDR is £1.7bn and this cost will fall directly on the investor and consumer at a time when the UK has the lowest personal savings ratio in the G20, with widespread pension under funding.

Well, the banks will say that they are perfectly capable of advising their customers. Oh really. According to the Financial Services Ombudsman IFAs have 65% of market share on advice and selling with 2% of complaints. And complaints against the banks? A mere 61% and rising.

And it gets worse. The banks know that is no more economically viable to service a £50 a month client than an IFA. So they’ve come up with a wizard idea. They are to be providing us with a “simplified” advice service targeting the “mass markets” and on “models based on a “limited assessment of a customer’s financial services”. All at a time when the banks are regarded as having the morals and business principles of a Punjabi whoremaster. In a nutshell it will be crap advice on the cheap.

The UK’s leading money expert, Martin Lewis,  sums it up rather well,” There is a worrying possibility that the FSA is about to kill off independent financial advice in the UK for all but the wealthy. I’m not convinced that most people will want to pay for advice. The commission route has the advantage that you don’t pay a fee each and every time you want information; you can go without the worry of laying out cash”.

This is an idea that should be strangled at birth. Financial Secretary to the treasury, Mark Hoban, take note. Members of the Treasury Select Committee who will be questioning Hector Sants whose brainchild this is, warm your castrating irons. And Andrew Cooper Cameron’s new Director of Strategy? Time to kick some Treasury arse old son, because this is a “fucking car crash” that can be painlessly avoided.

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Barnsley was a horribly predictable spitoon for saloon bar gripes with Old Labour values of the Jurassic era. Ed should be troubled.

March 4th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

In Downing Street the thick bullet proof curtains of the Prime Minister’s study are closely drawn. There is hardly a noise save for the muffled screams of right wing backbenchers being ruthlessly beaten with rubber hoses deep in the Downing Street cellars and the brave cries of the people’s heroine, Laurie Penney, who has chained herself  to the railings in a life and death struggle to remove VAT from women’s sanitary products.  In a corner, a crumpled foetal shape is sobbing uncontrollably. David Cameron, sitting at his desk, surrounded by framed photographs of  the President of the European Commission , Cathy Ashton and a prized copy of the European Convention on Human rights lovingly embossed on human skin, strokes Larry the cat. He looks with disdain at the snivelling creature before him.

“For God’s sake Cleggers, stop blubbing. It was only a by election and it was in the frozen north. They’re all dreadfully working class up there, no woman over twenty five has her own teeth and all the men wear cloth caps, breed ferrets, race pigeons and keep dogs on pieces of string. Worse, they are all very, very right wing.”  At the words, “right wing”, Larry the cat, greatly perturbed, coughs up a fingernail that had been slowly extracted from Douglas Carswell the night before.

“Why do you think those nutters at UKIP did so well? Why do you think the knuckle draggers of the BNP managed to get 25 per cent of the vote at recent ward elections? Barnsley is one of the last outposts of Neanderthal Labour, you silly boy. Just thank your lucky stars that you didn’t have the Loony Party against you”.

At this the snivelling turns into a shreik. “But they did.  Howling Laud Hope was only 800 votes behind my candidate”.

“Oh, dear. How unfortunate”, condoled Cameron barely suppressing a grin. “It could be that you are every so slightly fucked. Well, not to worry. Now back to sorting out AV and the reform of the House of Lords theres a good chap.”

I am afraid that the Barnsley by election was a bit of a ball clenching, spincter rattling, China Syndrome of a meltdown for the poor old Lib Dems. Yet it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise for anyone. It’s the sort of place which is culturally dependent on state handouts, wedded to Old Labour values of the Jurassic era  and is a natural feeding ground for the BNP and UKIP. Yesterday it became a spitoon for every saloon bar gripe: Europe, immigrants taking our jobs and the cuts. It is a Barking in the making. Once the Euphoria has died down and the statistics analysed, Ed should be rather troubled.

If this result had been replicated in a seat representing swing voters it could be said that the tectonic plates of politics were shifting. This is merely a minor shock wave rather than an earthquake. Of course, it was predictable. Why do you think Cameron or Clegg didn’t go near the place?

But it will cause short term problems for both party leaders with their grass roots. The good result for UKIP will send a chill down the spine  for those in marginal seats and will put pressure on Cameron to do be more robust on Europe. The fact that “Europe” doesn’t even register with swing voters is always ignored by the right. But it will cause Cameron problems at the Conservative Spring Conference in Cardiff tomorrow.

Clegg’s problem is more acute and ironic. Whilst Cameron is being accused of giving too much ground to the Lib Dems, Clegg is accused of betraying his principles by rolling over to a Tory right wing agenda. That both accusations are hogg whimperingly wrong, is irrelevant. It is the perception to those who stand to lose their council seats that matter. And the Liberal have more to lose than the Tories.

The answer is simple and difficult. Both leaders must be robust and honest with their grass roots.The message must be clear and simple. The Coalition is here to stay. It is in the interests of the country. The reduction of the deficit is challenging yet paramount, and must be enshrined in fairness. The path to recovery must be through growth. There is no plan B. To listen to the siren voices of both the left and the right is a distraction.

Dog whistle politics should be left to the dogs. Yet I suspect that there will be a few bones being thrown around this weekend.

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While Cameron shows courage and leadership the Tory Right become fractious and frit. Beware the Pasty Faced teenage scribblers and Knock Down Ginger back benchers.

March 3rd, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

It won’t be long before we will be be transfixed by the horror of seeing innocent men women and children being massacred by Gaddaffi’s helecopter gun ships. It will be accompanied by gutwrenching reports of rape, mutilation and murder by hired mercenaries from Chad. There will be scenes of young and old, armed only with knives, stones and hope, mercilessly butchered.  And what will we in the West do?  Wring our hands. While the necks of innocents are wrung by the blood spattered goons of  Gaddaffi Family Incorporated. For that it was we have allowed Libya to become; a business enterprise of the privileged few.

Saif Gaddaffi is not a deluded fool. While we were showering him with business contracts, doctorates and the trappings and advantages of access that only the gluttonously rich are afforded, he was watching, learning and waiting. He knew that we would be taken in by his faux liberalism, his promise of reform and a better and more democratic life for his people. He knew that we in the soft, comfortable, liberal, west are masters of self deception. We believe what we want to believe. That somehow thinking that something ought to happen will make it. What stupid pampered fools we are.

While we are trying to work out what the hell to do Saif is securing Tripoli. When, through sheer terror and brute force this is achieved, and it could be very soon, his forces will move on to destroy the rebels. And then it will be too late. No matter what international sanctions are in place, there are always those to break them. It will be the poor who suffer and the ruling elite who will live high on the hog.

Those two great exponents of justice, democracy and free speech, Russia and China have effectively put an end to any UN resolution for a No Fly Zone. They have been aided and abetted by a United States who has cut the cojones out of its foreign policy and is buffeted by the winds of international change. It seems to have lost the will to make things happen.

The only leadership in the West has come for David Cameron. History will treat him well, but the present may not be so kind. He knows that we have a very small window of opportunity to make things happen. A No Fly Zone worked it the Balkans and it could work here. Arming the rebels and blowing up arms depots are also sensible options. But it is all so risky and already Tory backbenchers are feeling uneasy. Well, that’s what we are told by the pasty faced teenage scribblers of the right who seem to try and set Cameron’s agenda for him.

Tory backbenchers seem to be the Knock Down Gingers of politics. They creep up to a Downing Street front door, knock hard and then run away to pour poison into the ears of the Pasty Faced Ones. It’s all very strange. A Pasty Face at the Telegraph, today, tells us of backbenchers who are horrified that Cameron is reaching for the military  option to distract us all from domestic issues. On what planet do these guys come from? Do they really believe that Cameron would sacrifice British lives for personal political gain? If they do they are even more deluded that Gaddaffi. They don’t know the man nor his DNA.

If you want to understand the agonies of government, look across at the grey, fatigued and drained faces of Cameron, Hague and Osborne on the front bench yesterday. Soon terrible decisions will have to be taken. One that could save the innocents or destroy them. Once that could lead British forces into danger and death. And into that decision making factor I  would be amazed whether Cameron would have factored in the effects on his career.

What would Margaret Thatcher have done? You know darn well. And it wouldn’t be the way of the Pasty Faces or gutless Knock Down Gingers. How odd that when their Prime Minister is showing courage, determination and leadership they become fractious and frit. Or perhaps it is because they don’t regard Cameron as their Prime Minister.

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Through sheer carelessness Miliband has given a nod and a wink to wage inflation. Balls will be incandescent with rage.

February 28th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

Politics is about impressions rather than reality. Some will think of David Cameron as an irresponsible youth getting tanked up with his upper class Bullingdon chums, raising hell at Number 10, trashing the dining room, nicking the silver, stealing the door Bobby’s helmet and ending the evening throwing tin cans at Larry the cat for white fivers. Others will regard Nick Clegg as a monied, gauche, opportunist, who has settled the fee for his soul with the devil, not for a mess of pottage, but just for a mess.

But how do we regard Ed Miliband? Now that’s a tricky one. We don’t. He is sort of there and then he’s not. He is almost the ectoplasm of labour past. As soon as we try and touch him, he is gone.  Blair was all charm, smoke and mirrors. Brown, a volcanic eruption of anger, frustration, whom like a Harry Potter Dementor, sucked the joy out of the essence of life. Some have compared Ed to Michael Foot. But that would be unfair. Michael was one of the most principled, decent, charismatic men I have ever met. And, with Enoch Powell, one of the finest orators of his generation. If the either of their names appeared on the Commons annunciator, bars and restaurants would empty and the chamber would fill to capacity. They could hold us spellbound.

Those who know Ed tell me he charming, witty and far less of a stuffed shirt than his brother David. Yet on screen he suffers from the disability of another charming and witty man; John Redwood. And what do they both have in Common? They look odd and awkward. In our mind’s eye, you could pop out for a beer with Kinnock, Cameron, Blair and Clegg. You could have a lazy, literary lunch with Footie. But where would you go and what would you chat about with Ed?  That is his first problem.

His second is that today he has probably made the worst decision of his political life. Politics is rarely defined by the grand statements of our leaders; rather the careless ones. Miliband probably thought that it was innocent enough to say that soon wages would be down to 2003 levels. UNITE would cheer and maybe Polly Toynbee would give him a paragraph or two. But he, inadvertantly, has just given the green light to a divided Bank of England to raise interest rates. I doubt whether he meant to, but he has raised from the 1970s dead the spectre of wage inflation.

The definitionof inflation is simple; too much money chasing too few goods. Raising interest rates is rather a blunt intrument to calm things down, but, by and large, it works. At the moment inflation by far outstrips the Bank of England targets. But it is not home grown. Oil prices, commodities and the price of food are rising. Some say that quantative easing is fueling the flames of inflation. That is simply wrong. QE was all about giving the markets confidence on a day that the banks didn’t trust each other to settle up. If it hadn’t happened, credit and debit cards would have crashed and there would have been riots in the streets. According to a close friend who is the chief economist of a major bank, one Friday afternoon we were minutes away from an economic Armageddon. Yet, little of the “printed money” has found its way into circulation. Most of it still resides in the Bank of England. So unless inflation becomes home grown raising interest rates would cause considerable pain and no gain.

What Miliband has done is give a nod and a wink to his chums in the Trade unions to demand higher wages. This is insanity. It harks back the the days of Wilson, Callaghan, the social Contract, the Social Compact, The Prices and Incomes Commission; the midwives of higher interest rates and the birth of economic catestrophe.

This fragile economy needs wage inflation as much as Cheryl Cole needs to marry a footballer. Higher interest rates would shatter any greenshoot that may be trying to pop it’s head through the astroturf. Through loose talk Miliband has opened an enormous goal through which George Osborne will kick goal after goal. Balls must be incandescent with rage.

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Me Thatcher and the bombing of Tripoli.

February 27th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

What a strange, precarious, unpredictable, white knuckle ride, politics can be. On Thursday David Cameron and William Hague were impaled on the skewer of incompetence; tomorrow they will be lauded as courageous, decisive statesmen, leading the world in making the Gaddaffi family as welcome as a former husband of Katie Price.

Wobbly Wednesday was not a good day for Team Cameron. Aircraft to rescue stranded Brits took an eternity to leave the tarmac. Clegg was on a family half term break at a time of crisis when Cameron was abroad selling arms to the Arabs. Obviously, the middle Eastern sales drive had been arranged months ago. But rather than cancel it as some of the more poe faced columnists squealed, it was turned to British advantage. At a time when the Arab world is in chrysalis form and the West wonders whether it will transform into butterfly or killer moth, Cameron and Britain’s leading businessmen beat the Germans the French, the Italians, the Chinese and even the Americans to make first contact with those who will be bringing in some form of democracy. Of course, it was luck rather than a grand plan. But it doesn’t matter. British interests and jobs are more secure now in this troubled region than they were a week ago. As Dorothy Parker might have said, “you can bring an Arab to slaughter but you can’t make him think.”  That will be the challenge.

What is so remarkable is the rabbits in the headlights paralysis of the Obama administration. It is as if, because of a collective guilt over the invasion of Iraq, they were unable to present any coherent strategy. Sending a former envoy to Egypt to tell Mubarak that it was time to go and discovering that he did no such thing, has weakened both Obama and the State Department. And at a time of spiking oil prices, and Mad Dog Gaddaffi committing acts of unspeakable butchery on his people, the President thought it a good idea to promote his policy of gay marriage. Now, I’m all in favour of gay marriage, it is long overdue; but there is a time and a place to make such policy announcements and that wasn’t one of them.

It probably won’t resonate much, if at all, with the public that it was Britain who pushed through  the resolution through the UN to bring Gaddaffi and his family to trial, to freeze there assets, to ban their foreign travel. But what will strike a chord and put a spring in jaded steps, will be the daring and successful operations of the SAS rescuing stranded Brits.

And then there is the problem of Ed Miliband. A few days ago he had the beginnings of an argument over ministerial incompetence. Now, that is just piss in the snow. Not even the ghastly sophistry of wee Dougie Alexander, who in the manner of a clever lawyer, which he is, can spin arguments on their heads, can slither out of the ghost that haunts them all: Tony Blair. To hear him wriggling, obfuscating, and being economical with the truth on Newsnight about Blair’s role on arms sales, oil deals and the release of Mehgrahi was bordering on the obscene. The sensation of listening to wee Dougie is like wiping your arse with silk.  William Hague summed up the affair rather well this morning on Marr. You have to have communication with those you profoundly disagree, just don’t be their family friend. All this when he was sitting next to Peter Mandelson, who has more than a passing acquaintance with family Gaddaffi, trying desperately to flog the next toxic chapter of his poisonous book.

I remember the bombing of Tripoli in 1986 rather well. I had been summoned to Number 10 to have drinks with Thatcher. There were three of us. Myself, David Amess and Johnathan Aitkin. She was late so we sat down drinking buckets of gin until her arrival. I thought, to make amends for past sins I’d start off  by being a bit of toadying creep and congratulate her on Foreign Policy which was being spun. Eventually she joined us.  So with my tongue hanging out I Uriah Heeped the following. “Prime Minister, you are so right not to allow this great island of our to be an aircraft carrier of the Americans. I am so glad that you have instructed Geoffrey Howe to solve the Libyan problem through diplomacy.” Now,I thought, that was bloody good and that for once I’d get in the old girls good books. Sadly not. The reason she was late was to give the orders for American bombers to take off from Britain and bomb the hell out of Gaddaffi. That was the watershed of my relationship with Thatcher. After that it was downhill all the way.

So, rather depressed, I wondered back to the Smoking Room to meet a very depressed bunch of Tory backbenchers. They’d heard the news and thought that it was a terrible mistake. We gloomily sipped our gins. Suddenly, the door swung open and a young sprog, pale and shaking, asked for silence. “I have terrible news”, he wailed. “The Americans have accidentally bombed the French Embassy”. Well, the reaction he got was not what he expected. There was an almighty cheer, much jollity and everyone got very drunk.

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Time to have a moratorium on Judge bashing. Parliament has not distinguished itself in fighting for our freedoms; ask Gary Mckinnon.

February 24th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

I’m afraid our judges have become like dangerous dogs. No, I don’t mean that M’luds are frothing at the mouth, laying in wait along the garden path to maim any strolling  child or passing postman. It’s just that Fleet Street and rent a quote politicians on the make, are scanning the local press as they did in the nineties, to dig out any “mad judge”stories to prove that, “something has to be done” and that it is the elected politicians who safeguard our freedoms and not a brief of silly old farts in wigs who are totally out of touch with reality and who want to sell our fine manly hearts of oak British souls to the bureaucrats of Brussels.

Sadly, these passing whims of hysteria always lead to legislative disaster. I can give testament to this because, as a craven bloody fool, I voted for that monumental legislative cock up, the Dangerous Dogs Act and the that other piece of parliamentary wank (the name of which nature has removed from my mind) which destroyed decent, well managed law abiding gun clubs.

So imagine my surprise when the normally cerebral and sane Michael Howard jumped on the judge bashing bandwagon yesterday with a rather silly piece in the Times banging on about that the real custodians of our freedoms is the democratically elected Parliament rather than judges. Worse, that Parliamentary sovereignty must be “restored”.

This is such monumental bollocks that it is worth examining before it gains traction. Of course Parliament must be sovereign. But sovereignty in the real world. An act can be passed abolishing death, or renaming the continent of Europe, “Great Britain”, but it is meaningless. The whole point of an independent non elected judiciary is so they can make decisions without having to suck up to the venal and transient appetites of the electorate or an over powerful executive, who with bribes and  threats to their lobby fodder,  can steam roller the most appalling and dangerous crap onto the statute book.

What did Parliament do to help the freedoms of those innocent men whom the government would have allowed to go to jail in the Matrix Churchill supergun scandal? Nothing. It was the unelected judges who intervened to see that justice was done.

And has Parliament distinguished itself in protecting our freedoms with the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant? Of course not! It was whipped through. And I bet Gary Mckinnon is deeply grateful for the way Parliament has protected his freedom by introducing the quite scandalous extradition procedures with the United States of America.

So every time a politician squeals foul when a court gives a judgement which is inconvenient, they should remember that Parliament made the law and judges are merely interpreting it. The judiciary are not on some sacred mission to usurp the law making function, they are just clearing up the mess of a system which doesn’t adequately scrutinise the laws that it makes.

When David Cameron returns from the Middle East he would be wise to bring the temperature down a few degrees. Sadly, his and Theresa May’s verbal incontentence only encouraged the backbench knuckle draggers to whip up a bit of unhelpful ersatz rage.

Our judges, irritating and grandiose as some of them are, still deliver justice that is envied in both America and Europe. A tiny minority might be just a little bit mad, but not one of them is corrupt. Our legal system has many faults. Sometimes judges get it wrong. Sometimes judges throw hissy fits. But there is not a single one of them who does not believe in protecting our freedoms. I wish I could say that of Parliament.

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Mail reports Clarke to be replaced by Immelda Marcos with Tebbit overseeing Texas style executions in Frinton; nation sleeps safely.

February 20th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

Who on earth is briefing the press that there will be a cabinet reshuffle in the summer? Certainly nothing is emanating from Downing Street, where Cameron has always maintained that this doesn’t have to be an annual ritual. And for very good reason.

The first few months of a new government are faced with many dilemmas on policy implementation and delivery. Where this government has been weak is not having the machinery to monitor the effect of what seems a perfectly sound idea in principle turns out to be madcap bollocks in the cold light of day. That has now changed. But there is another good reason. It’s far better to have Cabinet Ministers in place at the implementation of major reforms, who are experts in their subjects.

So the real reason for all this piss and wind is the constant braying of the right for Cameron to rid himself of the apotheosis of all that is evil and untrustworthy. The man who puts our families at risk by filling the streets with drug crazed rapists and murderers. Who spies for Cathy Ashton’s Secret Intelligence Service. That cheese eating surrender monkey and the reincarnation of the traitor Heath: Ken Clarke.

But the barmiest of all these manufactured reports which hope to become self fulfilling prophecies by the ill informed or seriously deluded, is that Ken is going to be replaced or share his job with Michael Howard. Of course, Howard and Cameron are close. He served as a special advisor to him when he was Home Secretary, as did Rachel Whetstone, wife of the right’s other obsessive hate, Steve Hilton. But Cameron is not a fool. Throwing Clarke to the wolves or humiliating him in such a way that would lead to a resignation just won’t happen because it would put the Coalition at risk and would resonate very badly with the voters.

But what must have sent a chill down the spine of all Clarke baiters was his bravura performance this morning on Marr, when he announced that all his pronouncements on policy were personally sanctioned by Cameron and were government policy. So, at a stroke, the myth has been exploded that Clarke is some rogue European elephant stampeding around Whitehall trying to undermine Cameron with an alternative agenda.

The subtext of what he was saying is that the Coalition government would not leave the European Convention of Human Rights, but that it had to be radically reformed. Not the Convention itself, but the makeup of the judges and the way they operate. We send our best jurists to serve, whilst other countries are less picky. Some have never even been judges before. This seems to be a more sensible way forward than going it alone with our own Bill of Human Rights. I make one prediction. The commission will deliberate for ages and come to no conclusion whilst we do deals with the French Dutch and Germans to make the EHCR a more professional body, who unless there are gross and obvious breaches of the Convention, will not dictate to sovereign and democratically elected Parliaments.

What was particularly interesting is the way Clarke totally demolished Jack Straw.The prisoners judgement was over five years ago, whilst Straw sat on his hands; not a word of condemnation quivering from his lips. And as for giving those on the sex offenders register the right of appeal?  This happened a year ago and works perfectly well in Scotland. The sex offender would have to show that he is no longer a danger to society. Something that is very hard to prove.

If Cameron has any sense there will be no Cabinet reshuffle this summer. Give lead ministers (ministers of state and parly secs don’t matter too much) two years to prove themselves worthy of the job. Perhaps another job for Warsi after the May elections and replacing her with that wise old bruiser Michael Fallon. But leave it there.  So, no doubt the Mail will be reporting that Immelda Marcos will be the new Justice Secretary with Norman Tebbit overseeing Texas style lethal injections in Frinton. But that’s not going to happen just yet.

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Send for Larry the No 10 cat. I smell a big fat rat in AV NO. Why won’t they tell us who is bankrolling them?

February 19th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

Send for Larry the Downing Street cat, because I smell a large fat rat skulking around the AV NO campaign. Well, to be fair, to call it a campaign would be rather flattering.

What we have witnessed in the last few days is a glossy set of adverts with the subtle message that if the public are so thick as to vote for a change to our wonderfully fair voting system it will cost them over £250 m,  putting  babies and soldiers at risk of imminent death.

So there, you fools. It’s that bloody simple. Now just get on with your boring little jobs in your dull little lives and let us, the political classes, support our vested interests, whether it be big businesses or the Trade Unions and fuck up the country every five years. You know it makes sense. And we won’t let you down. But if you are not attracted to that logical and intellectual argument, a NO vote will give that little upstart Clegg the damn good thrashing he deserves. Now pass me the riding crop Heffer, I want to get in training.

But this nonsense is not what gets my goat, gives it a good shagging and sends it off to the Halal butchers to be distributed amongst terrorist cells in Luton. No, what I find so gutwrenchingly outragious is that the NO AV brigade is very coy in telling us who their financial backers are. Well, coy is being generous. They will tell us; eventually. And are gracious enough indicate that all will revealed before Britain goes to the polls. Well mateys, that not bloody good enough. The public have a right to be told who are the paymasters of those who want to preserve the present system where 150,000 voters in 100,000 constituencies decide an election. We want to know  just how well vested  these  vested interests really are.

The list of donors will, I suspect will not be too much of a surprise. Anti Brussels squillionaires, retired freedom loving businessmen living in off shore tax havens and well known right wing authors. And the big battalions of the Trade Union movement. Oh yes, their coffers have been opened to pour the hard earned cash of their members into the NO campaign. Why? Because AV would seriously weaken their power.

So I suspect the real reason that NO AV are doing their best to wriggle out of revealing their donors is because  they contain some unusual bedfellows who would not normally go on a date, let alone end  up in a full on gang bang of the electoral system.

And this is one of the problems for Cameron. This is like a national version of the Saddleworth by election, but with far higher stakes. He wants to keep the Coalition intact,  yet at the same time throw bits of red meat to his right wing. He wants Clegg to come out of it all smelling of roses, but feels he has to say something to the contrary. The dilemma will be how much and how often. Already he has been goaded by the Vicar of Grey, Tim Montgomerie, the Dame Formidable of Conservative Home, urging Cameron not to be a “loser” and come out fighting. How long will it be before the Orc armies of the Mail and the Telegraph demand that there should be the smell of grapeshot, gunpowder and sulphur emanating from the Tory wing of Downing Street. Not long.

Cameron, will go through the motions and we will see for the first time what might pass as a civilised debate amongst the parties. The electorate might enjoy the novelty. But the right won’t like that one little bit. They demand, blood guts, pain and torture. They will accuse him of being a closet Coalitionist, a Liberal lover, whose natural instincts are not Conservative at all, but with a well heeled, out of touch with the national pain, Notting Hill set. Oh, if only he would listen to our sound advice.

And what will he do? What he does best. Go on the stump and fight for every Tory seat at the local elections. But you won’t hear too much from him about AV. He’s nailed his colours to the mast and would now rather sail away to more peaceful waters.

Oh, and we mustn’t forget who is funding YES AV. 90% comes from those baby killing, soldier hating, Rowntree Trust and the Electoral Reform Society Johnnies. The Commie bastards.

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Tonight’s debate on AV will make Tamany Hall look like Frinton Parish Council and why Tory backbenchers deserve equality of protest.

February 15th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

The debate over whether prisoners should be given the right to vote was Parliament at its very best. Tonight’s squalid little affair over AV will be little more than a pork barrel being rolled around a smoke filled room, which will make Tamany Hall seem like the Frinton Parish council.

Tonight’s debate has precious little to do with AV and is everything about preserving the vested interests of the few. Labour wants to keep its rotten boroughs, whilst some Tories want to preserve the almost hereditary nature of safe seats. And many, who have worked so hard to get a cloven hoof on the slippery pole, won’t like the idea of coming up for reselection when boundaries are changed. Pity the fifty Poll Muddle Martyrs who will be blown back onto the cold hard streets of reality and the dole.  If anything will scupper Nick Clegg’s doomed plans for reform of the Lords it will be worried little bottoms wanting to swap green for red.

But what is really beginning to worry the No To AV campaign is that it hasn’t been a campaign at all; merely a cry for help. And even the Samaritan’s hang up on them. Because, if the opinion polls are to be believed, those in favour are in the lead.”But the peasants can’t possibly understand the concept”, squeal the nos. “It will cost squillions, and er, that’s it.”

What  really annoys politicians is that the voters tend to get it right. They hate tribal politics. They despise governments with huge majorities railroading every bit of nonsensical dogma that some ghastly think tank has dreamed up. Remember Thatcher’s famous war cry?  ”Never explain, never apologise”, so ably mimicked by Blair and Brown? Well, the public have had their fill of it. If AV means perpetual coalitions where pragmatism rather than gunboat politics forces our governments to compromise, then there will be a mighty cheer from the electorate. It looks like the government will win the vote tonight because of a peculiarly British compromise. A forty per cent threshold? A commission to study boundary changes? Nah! Just not to break up the Isle of Wight! Spooky.

But it is the New Politics that is causing Cameron’s potentially largest headache. I couldn’t understand why Chief Whip Patrick Mcloughlin  is getting such a rough ride from grass roots surveys in Politics Home. Ok, so he doesn’t cast out homosexual demons from his backbenchers and probably doesn’t have the gift of tongues, but in terms of competence and decency he is way up with the angels.

There are probably two reasons for the grumbles. Firstly, although by instinct  a right winger, he is close to Cameron and is a Coalitionist.  Secondly, he has been in government and the Whip’s Office long enough to realise why they are there: to get the Government’s business through the House. A lot of the new intake don’t seem to understand this. Perhaps, because quite a few took David Cameron’s careless talk in 2009 about the importance of backbench  independence and scrutiny of the executive  to heart. Perhaps because a lot of them, like Sarah Wollostan, Zac Goldmith and Rory Stuart are independent minded professionals who, when push comes to shove ,won’t be.

But I suspect the real gripe is that they feel second class citizens to the Liberal Democrats, who  are perceived to have a licence  for loose talk, whereas many Tories feel that they are slapped down the moment they say a word out of place. If there is to be a New Politics , Tory backbenchers are going to have to be given equality of protest with their Coalition partners, or else a very unhealthy resentment will  ferment, with very unpleasant consequences.

Tory backbenchers will not tolerate for too much longer a two speed government. Perhaps more of the carrot and less of the stick. Or, as Ed Balls used to tell the bankers, “More light touch regulation  and risk based decisions.”  Tricky one. But it has too be sorted and soon.

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