Friday, May 15, 2009

There is nothing British about the BNP

Formed from foreign ideology, rejecting historic British values of the basic equality of all people, engagement with the world, and political change through evolution, not revolution, the BNP is about as anti-British as you can get.

If they were British then why do they keep banging on about the Holocaust? The reason is simple, if your ideology is based on far-right philosophers from the continent then you have to attack the greatest single argument against them. So the BNP feed the Holocaust denial industry, because intellectually they have to. If your beliefs lead to extermination camps then they must be wrong. So, try and pretend the extermination camps never happened and that the Allies were just as bad. Imagine that, a political party with 'British' in its title that believes in moral equivalence among the participants of World War 2.

But this is why the BNP are fundamentally anti-British:

More here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cameron shows leadership on expenses

David Cameron looks like a Prime Minister, while the Prime Minister dithers. That is the contrast in the two party leaders' responses to the expenses revelations in the press. From David Cameron: unjustifiable expense claims to be repaid, all expenses to be published immediately and a rapid review of past expenses. Agree or forget being a Tory MP. From Brown, wait for a committee to report in a couple of months, due process must be followed, blah, dither, blah. Cameron gets it in a way that Brown just doesn't. In the same way as he has misread the public mood on every other major issue facing the country, Brown seems to think that the old trick of punting the matter into the long grass will do the trick. Not this time. People are simply furious at such blatant robbery of the public purse from some of our elected representatives. Brown and Labour will become yet more unpopular, if such a thing is possible.

As for Hazel Blears, Andrew MacKay, Elliot Morley and their ilk, they are finished in British politics, and probably for anything else as well. Both politics and business are built on trust. No one is going to vote for or employ anyone they cannot even trust to fill out an expense form honestly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brown says sorry

With truly inexplicable timing, Gordon Brown has finally said sorry for the MPs expenses fiasco. He apologised on behalf of 'all MPs' and 'all Parties', dropping his remarks into a speech to the Royal College of Nursing. Apparently, this was not pre-planned, with the PM deciding on the insert on the way to the event. Now, an apology is long overdue from Gordon Brown. While this mess afflicts all parties, most MPs are Labour and we have had a Labour government for the last 12 years, so the culpability lies mainly with them. More importantly, some contrition earlier, much earlier, might have given Gordon Brown or Parliament or both some chance of getting in front of this issue. Instead we have had stalling, denial and a refusal to take accountability which has only finally ended with the leaking of expense claims to the press. Now we have had an apology on the day that the Tories were getting a going over, which makes little sense in hard political terms. It is also far too late to draw a line under the issue, which will bubble on until every last grisly detail is in the public domain.

So, where now? Well, I agree with Sir Christopher Kelly, whose Committee on Standards in Public Life is carrying out a review of MPs' allowances, that the new openness means that most of the abuses that we have seen will probably never happen again anyway. All that is now required is for a code to be formalised that allows MPs office expenses and a second home in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster if they need it. Hardly rocket science. Oh, and it would also be nice if HMRC went after those MPs who evaded capital gains tax as part of their taxpayer-funded property development activities. If I have to pay a hefty tax bill then so should they.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

MPs Expenses

'I followed the rules', appears to be the stock excuse. It is very sad that this appears to have replaced 'I did the right thing' as the standard for our elected representatives. Of course not every MP has been taking the mickey out of the taxpayers by getting us to pay for their lifestyles and property deals, but enough have to tarnish the whole institution of parliament. At the moment it is the Labour party getting it in the neck via the press leaking of their historic expenses claims, but one suspects that the odd Conservative is going to pop up as having crossed the line of probity as well. Even so, such things tend to damage the governing party more. After all they are in charge, both of the county and in parliament where, by definition, they have a majority. Certainly the polls make grim reading for Labour on the back of this with a poll in the Mail on Sunday gving CON 45%(nc), LAB 23%(-3), LDEM 17%(nc). The UK Polling Report suggests that this equals Labour's lowest poll rating ever.