Archive

Tag Archives: money

Ed(ward) Miliband calls for a public enquiry at any given opportunity, so much so it has become a joke. But is there not something more sinister going on?

Chief Scout Ed(ward) Miliband is a politician of so little substance that even at an anatomical level, he is barely held together. He must be surprised to see himself in the mirror each morning, since he is so forgettable he is barely corporeal. His policies are no less Lethean and his slogan of ‘One Nation’ (which cannot even be credited as an original) can surely only have been devised  on he basis that its brevity makes it memorable enough for Labour’s intellectually inanimate leader to remember. He’s described as ‘courageous’ in the same way one might describe a village idiot as a ‘colourful member of the community’. Despite being a punch-line in himself, one ongoing joke concerns the fact that Mr Miliband calls for public inquiries on a range of subjects almost weekly. Thus far, he has requested investigations into:

  • The murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane
  • Jimmy Savile
  • The West Coast Mainline franchise debacle
  • GCSE English papers
  • The banks
  • PIP breast implants
  • Cash-for-access
  • London Riots
  • Care home abuse
  • The Press [1]

His bandwagons are so many that he could set up his own ‘used’ bandwagon dealership, since the very quantity of his requested inquiries has devalued the product. And like any charlatan, Mr Miliband can afford to  be insincere in the wares he peddles – he might be the butt of jokes for his repeated calls, but to those who only think about politics come election time, he looks like he is responding to public concerns in an earnest fashion. He can be seen to be standing up for public interests against vested ones in order to position the coalition as being on Goliath’s side. This is one of the virtues of opposition, since real responsibilities and the affairs of state are just toys in the waiting room.

And whilst he plays make-believe in opposition, Mr Miliband sees the taxpayer’s funding as monopoly money for his disingenuous demands – how very Labour of him. Public inquiries never fail to run into the millions. The Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday lasted twelve years and cost the taxpayer £195m [2]; the Leveson Inquiry is estimated to have cost at least £5.6m and climbing; the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry cost £12,959,390 [3]; the total cost of the Iraq War Inquiry since 2009 has cost £6,130,600 [4]; the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) Inquiry cost an estimated £14 million, the BSE Inquiry around £27 million.

Now this is not to say that some of these inquiries are not important, but sheer cost is likely to skew the perception of an inquiry’s worth, especially in austere times. Tor Butler-Cole (who won the 2004 Woolf Scholarship for an essay examining ethical applications of public inquiries) succinctly concludes that ‘the duration and cost of public inquiries are arguments for limiting their use, but not for abandoning them altogether.’ [5] As a Labour politician, Mr Miliband is unlikely to be able to accept the absence of money as a means of denying his own political fortunes.

And it is here that the cynical, if not outright sinister aspect of Mr Miliband’s inquiry-mania seem to reveal itself. Alluding to the moral philosopher Onora O’Neill, Ms Butler-Cole writes of how ‘a “culture of suspicion” [..] has gripped Britain, creating a nation devoted to league tables and performance indicators, and obsessed with blame and compensation. The ubiquitous demands for public inquiries might be thought an illustration of this problem.’ [6] Such disintegration occurred under Labour with alacrity. They created a cosmetically ‘free’ and ‘equal’ society, whilst all the while ceding power to the EU and decimating hundreds of years of hard won legal and civil liberties in a state power grab. In the same way, public inquiries give the appearance of transparency and reform to parties like Labour, whilst deflecting attention away from  their appalling political, ethical, moral, social and intellectual record.

In effect Mr Miliband is proposing modern day variants of the show-trial. The truth that such inquiries may reveal is not as important as the political capital he and his clutch of metropolitan champagne socialist trendies hope to reap from the false sincerity that hides behind the phrases they employ, like ‘in the public interest’. Thanks to electioneering of this sort, public inquiries have begun to resemble an amalgamation of TV talent contests and reality TV shows, where the process of humiliation, implied slights and innuendo takes precedence over whatever the inquiries conclusions may be.

It would be incorrect to suggest that the principle of public inquiries is wrong, but the clamour for them often seems to outweigh the necessity. Of course this is not as exciting nor as lucrative for the ambitious Mr Miliband. Peter Hitchens has it exact when he remarks that ‘liberal bigotry is the worst of all because it thinks it is so enlightened.’ He could not have described Mr Miliband with greater precision. Mr Miliband’s ongoing calls for public inquiries are the stuff of self-aggrandisement; they are damaging because they do not appear discerning, and they are discredited because they are disconcertingly political.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

More from The Panopticon:

Advertisements

A survey has revealed that if witness to anti-social behaviour, two thirds of people would walk by rather than intervene. But in the UK’s permissive society, is it really any wonder?

The Home Office describes anti-social behaviour (ASB) as ‘any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life.’ The moniker of ‘ASB’ deflects attention away from what it often actually is: criminal activity. The police offer an extensive list of examples of anti-social behaviour, some of which are flagrantly criminal, if not immediately connected to criminal activity. [1]

Anti-social behaviour is nothing new, it has just become more prominent since successive governments are progressively worse at curtailing it. Their efforts to foster a socially democratic ‘tolerant’ and permissive society have been enacted simply because they have not only lost control of the systems used to regulate it (such as the police), but also because they do not want to pay for such systems to be repaired, let alone maintained. Social democracy is the cheap product of cheap thinking.

It is little wonder then that Mr Cameron – among the country’s leading un-intellectuals – allows others to think for him. His favoured think-tank, ‘Policy Exchange’ has revealed that two-thirds of the public would walk on by if they saw a group of teenagers drinking and issuing verbal abuse [2]. Their suggested solution to this problem is to create ‘Citizen Police Academies’ to empower the public, to make them confident in approaching and performing a citizen’s arrest on such groups if necessary.

Their suggestion is made on the basis that  36% of adults would be interested in attending free classes with police officers and volunteers to learn about combating anti-social behaviour and how to avoid danger when walking home alone. This is not an impressive statistic. The word ‘free’ probably accounts for half of this number – the thrill of getting something for nothing always evokes disproportionate enthusiasm, but such thrills often exhaust themselves in equal measure. So, too, the adoption of a ‘Citizen Police Academy’ would be the governmental equivalent of that same ‘something-for-nothing’ excitement, with the same disappointing returns.

Policy Exchange are quoted as remarking that “Citizen police academies are one way of helping the public feel more confident about their role in preventing criminal activity.” [3] But this wishful thinking ignores the real consequences of people exhausted by inaction on ASB, especially when cases like those of Gary Newlove are etched in the public conscience. Mr Newlove was attacked outside his house in Warrington, Cheshire, on 10 August 2007, having gone outside to confront a gang of youths who were vandalising his car. Having had his head kicked like a football, he died in hospital two days later. Indeed, there are a litany of cases where those who have intervened to prevent ASB have themselves been prosecuted. Such an imbalance in justice is as much a deterrent as the threat of violence.

And all this forgets the simple point: the electorate pays the police to do this job. Unfortunately, because of under-funding, cuts and mismanagement, seeing police on patrol in a preventative capacity is a rare occurrence. More often they are often assigned to come and clear up after a crime has been committed or even in progress. No wonder the scum that intimidate and threaten are emboldened by the lack of visible authority.

Who knows if Mr Cameron will adopt the thinking formulated by his sub-contracted brain, but whether he does or not, he is just as guilty of propagating the problem of ASB as Labour were before him. A citizen’s arrest on characters such as Mr Cameron and his left-wing tribe would be of inestimable and long term value.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

  • 1. Nuisance neighbours; Vandalism; Graffiti; Intimidation; Drinking on the street; Litter and fly-tipping; Off road motorbike nuisance; Abandoned vehicles; Substance misuse such as glue sniffing; Begging; Prostitution related activity; Noise coming from alarms, pubs, clubs, business or industry; Inappropriate use of fireworks; rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour; Hoax calls to the emergency services; Pubs or clubs serving alcohol after hours; Malicious communication; Hate incidents where abuse involves race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability; Firearms incidents such as use of an imitation weapon.
  • 2. ‘Anti-social behaviour: Two-thirds would ‘walk on by”. BBC News. 12 December 2012.
  • 3. Ibid.

When it comes to the EU, one should trust Mr Cameron as they would adders fang’d…

Does any serious person think that EU reform will see them include ceding powers or the acceptance of a decrease in funding?

In spite of overwhelming historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary, Mr Cameron seems to think so, as do Messrs Miliband and Clegg. Having returned from irresolute discussions in Brussels, Mr Cameron is walking tall after not capitulating to the EU Commission’s unreasonable demands for a substantial increase to their budget. Bravo Mr Cameron – except, that is, for your track record on Europe.

His policy of ‘Practical Euroscepticism’ has time and again proven to be neither practical nor Eurosceptic. His modus operandi observes the following pattern:

  • Express exasperation and concern about EU policy
  • Adopt a ‘no nonsense approach’ to look strong
  • Capitulate and beg for mercy from his EU master

It follows, therefore, that having appeared strong on Europe at these recent talks, that at the next round of negotiations he will not hesitate to genuflect to the Commission, then claim to the British public that a satisfactory deal has been reached on their behalf. But who is he trying to fool?

At no point has Mr Cameron called for cuts to the EU budget, and his ‘real terms freeze’ will still see the UK debited for even more than the £53 million a day it currently pays. Worse still, Mr Cameron and friends are still willing to sign the UK up to a political ideology that has not had its accounts signed off by auditors for some fifteen years. The EU is a one-armed bandit against which the UK will only lose.

The only person aside from Mr Cameron who feels that the Conservatives will win the next election is Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie. Both characters have devised elaborate strategies to see the Tories regain power, peppered with newspeak and initiatives to ‘re-connect’ with voters – but they all choose to miss the essential point: that if Mr Cameron were to offer an EU referendum, with a positive vision of how the UK would manage (quite easily) without the EU, he would secure a second term and a majority.

This will not be done, however, because Mr Cameron is no more a Eurosceptic than the recently discredited Labour criminal Denis MacShane. In terms of difference and monetary returns, expect no change.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

More from The Panopticon:

Some notes on matters that have arisen over the last week

Europhile Denis MacShane is a criminal – no, I am sorry, he’s not a criminal – he made a ‘mistake’ and because of some technicality cannot be prosecuted for defrauding the taxpayer with their own money and using it to further his own political and financial ends.

Mr MacShane attempted to blame the BNP and other members of the political right for his actions, doing nothing to disprove that those on the left are incapable of applying personal responsibility for their actions. Indeed, in an effort to make it sound like he was doing the taxpayer a favour, he alluded to his efforts to tackle anti-Semitism – did he hope this would somehow justify his criminality to an already squeezed taxpayer?

One thing is for certain – as both a Europhile and a criminal, Mr MacShane is perfectly qualified to obtain a position on the European Commission.

*

I cannot have been the only one nauseated by the expressions of uninhibited delight that greeted Mr Obama’s re-election as US President, especially in the UK. The suspension of critical faculties was total, so in awe of the image of Mr Obama were those expressing adulation. No one seemed to mention the way in which Mr Obama is saddling future generations of Americans (and, let’s face it, the world) with trillions of dollars in debt, nor was his flaky attitude towards the Middle East situation probed with any purpose.

So star-struck were the Media Politburo of the Labour Party (the BBC), that they interviewed an actor who had played the part of a communications director, who worked for a fictional president, during an imagined Democratic presidency. Could his opinions be any less important? I hope that on matters of national security they will consult Daniel Craig, or else on matters of scientific revelation, they will grill Dr Who.

*

Every time there is a crisis at the BBC, commentators tend to remark that this blighted corporation needs to regain the trust of the British public, as if it were a long-term relationship were suddenly imperilled by indiscretion. But does any thinking person ever really trust  the BBC any more than any other company or media outlet? To do so would seem rather incautious, but I dare say there are those so slavishly devoted to the idiot box that nothing short of relationship counselling will help reconfigure their dependency.

*

There is a backlog of immigration cases in the UK equivalent to the population of Iceland – this blog has said more than once that if this was any other department, heads would role. But why don’t  they? Because the main political parties a) do not care and b) because, as Theresa May alluded to today, despite temporary curbs imposed on immigration from the EU in 2005 to protect the British labour market, these are set to expire and that it is not possible under EU law to extend them.

Miss May also suggested that the government was on target to cut immigration into the UK from people outside of the EU as a way of deflecting the point that it is largely people from within the EU, flooding the labour market and seeking benefits who are the most prominent strain on the country’s already overstretched resources.

*

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! – a celebrity reality TV show – a televised equivalent of the stocks returns soon enough to offer vital life support to the ever swelling legions of the UK’s brain-dead populace. One does not even need close analysis of the title of this sub-genre to realise that neither celebrities nor reality are constituent ingredients in this soup of human indignity.

That Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has decided to participate in this year’s series of the programme has caused her to be suspended by her party. This is not an unreasonable course of action from the Conservatives, especially since she will continue to be paid her salary whilst being absent from her constituency and from parliament – rather like that moulding potato Gordon Brown.

Ms Dorries’ has claimed that with an audience of some 16 million viewers (what did I say about ‘the ever swelling legions of the UK’s brain-dead populace’?), she will be able to profile who she is and what she stands for to an audience who are probably generally concerned with neither. Of course, one can hardly imagine a better place for Ms Dorries to champion her campaign to lower the point during a pregnancy at which an abortion can be performed than from a jungle in Australia.

Speculation has arise over whether or not she will defect to UKIP, especially since she is to the right of the Conservatives and a welcome stone in Mr Cameron’s flip-flopping shoes. Some seem excited about this prospect, but one may also be inclined to think that a discredited Ms Dorries could undermine UKIP’s efforts to make its outfit more professional and a part of the celeb-chasing culture that characterized the New Labour years.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

No you have not been out of the loop, nor is your memory failing you – the 2012 Lib Dem conference has been the usual blend of forgettable people and forgettable policies, save for those ones which are so brain-numbingly stupid that they leave one incredulous.

What has emerged out of the Lib Dem conference in Brighton is the Robin Hood rhetoric of easy/lazy policy making and demagogic politics, that is ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’. Cries like these, usually the stuff of the vacuous Ed Miliband to his ignorant tribal voters, are what one expects from sixth form or student politicians, not professionals. Quad erat demonstradum.

Mr Clegg made it quite clear that under his plans the wealthy top 10% of earners would be obliged to pay more to foot the bill for the feckless and for the poor decisions made by government. Thus, anyone earning over £50,500 would have the collection plate thrust at them with even greater eager righteousness than before by the Deputy PM and his league of crackpots.

Andrew Neil, quizzing the nature of this enterprise, pressed Jeremy Browne MP (yes, this man is an MP – a bag of boiling micturate has greater substance) on the point that the top earners already foot 55% of the UK’s income tax bill, asking in what way should the top 10% pay more? Browne, naturally, did not answer the question, instead deciding to deploy a dribbling, meandering response that puts one in mind of the drunken ramblings of a village idiot [1].

Today, Mr Clegg has more sensibly suggested that those pensioners with over £1 million in assets could probably do without the universal benefits afforded to OAPs. This announcement was probably made to take the sting out of his previous proposal, but it leads to an essential point missed by Mr Clegg and the politicians of big government: the wealthy should not be penalised for what they have earned, rather the government should better apportion, spend and invest the money it has at disposal. It is not the job of high earners to take care of or bail out the state because it is incapable of balancing the books.

It is a skewed understanding of ‘fairness’ that is preached by the Lib Dems and those operating on the left. The Lib Dems cannot talk of a fair(er) society since none of their policies connect with the real world that they are meant to serve. A fair society should no more penalize the wealthy for their money than they should the poor for their lack of the same.  For the Lib Dems, a fair society is finding any way they can to fund the realisation of their mandate, one which promises the ongoing ruination of the UK.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

Another day, another attempt by Labour to define its message. When it comes to salvaging the economy, let alone their credibility, they are utterly bankrupt.

To words and phrases such as ‘credit crunch’ and ‘quantative easing’, let us add ‘preditribution’ to the ongoing befuddlement that is the politio-economic lexicon. Or is that the ongoing befuddlement that is the Labour party’s latest response to stimulate the near-death pulse of the UK economy?

At his podium, Mr Miliband presented himself not unlike an evangelist preacher spreading The Word, an affectation that had a bearing on his lexical choices – on being quizzed about how he would feel working with the Lib Dems in a future coalition, the insipid Rev. Miliband replied ‘They made a tragic mistake, but I welcome all people who recant’. How benevolent. Ultimately, this Good Shepherd offered his political equivalent of turning water into wine through ‘predistribution’ (the old New Labour habits of buzz words and spin obviously die hard):

Our aim must be to transform our economy so it is a much higher skill, much higher wage economy. Think about somebody working in a call centre, a supermarket, or in an old peoples’ home. Redistribution offers a top-up to their wages. Predistribution seeks to go further – higher skills with higher wages. [1]

Rev. Miliband proposes that lower paid workers will, through a better skills index, be able to access higher wages previously unavailable to them. This is a radical message from Labour, effectively reversing a philosophy which has hitherto suggested that low paid workers would benefit from wealth distribution – that is, receiving hand outs from those with better opportunities – the cynical may even suggest that this implies they are living off the hard work of others. But like any evangelist, Rev. Milliband issued forth garbled false promises of salvation backed up by no evidence, let alone substance. One person on the BBC News website remarked:

Not sure I get it. Surely simple supply and demand economics means that you’re just down grading skilled workers jobs. The UK only needs a finite supply of electricians for example, say 20,000, if you training 40,000 to do the job your likely to get them cheaper and then have 20,000 people trained for jobs that don’t exist. That or companies will just wack up the prices to cover costs? [2]

Just so. Once again Rev. Miliband continues to deliver the sermon that time and again proves its own vacuity: politicians cannot create jobs. In the costly and unproductive public sector they can, but the private sector is not theirs to master. Indeed, Rev. Miliband has found another use for the bankers bonus tax; this time his populist panacea could be used to fund 25,000 new affordable homes. True to form, Labour have far exceeded the revenue such a tax would grant them with promise after promise about where and how the money would be spent. Listen carefully and one can hear the greasy fat hands of Friar Balls rubbing together with delight.

Rev. Miliband (who, as it transpires, has a hotline to St. Cable the Business Secretary) is a charlatan of the highest order. His promises of a better post-depression afterlife are the stuff of whimsy and outright fantasy, with ‘predistribution’ the latest gimmick to ensnare those members of the electorate who have not yet gone through political Enlightenment of their own. Rev. Miliband can promise idealism because it comes as cheap fodder to the uncritical mind. He may be willing to forgive the Lib Dems who recant the current economic policy under which this country endures, but anyone with sense, who uses their eyes, their ears and their mind will know never to forgive Labour for the ruinous state in which they left this country, nor to entrust them with responsibility for the economy ever gain [3].

Amen to that.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

Pat Condell once again illustrates the miry corruption of the EU by using the example of Ireland’s vote(s) on the Lisbon Treaty as his locus. A salient reminder of why the EU should be resisted rather than embraced, as the UK political class continue to have us do.