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Showing posts with label Labour Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labour Party. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Who ****** the UK economy 2007-2008?


Labour in UK Government 1997-2010.
Gordon Brown: Chancellor 1997-2007, PM 2007-2010
Alistair Darling: Chancellor 2007-2010
Labour/LibDem coalition in Holyrood 1999-May 2007.

SNP minority government under Alex Salmond: May 2007-2011

Northern Rock crisis and run on the banks -  Sept 2007 (SNP, Alex Salmond in minority devolved government for less than four months.)

RBS and economic meltdown 2008

Which party, which PMs, which Chancellors of the Exchequer, which politicians do you think ****** the British economy?

And a blog of mine from 2012 on the ineffable Alistair Darling, champion of all things British and enemy of Scotland independence - DON'T TRY TO REWRITE HISTORY, ALISTAIR!

The Herald carries a page two article today Darling lays into Salmond over his RBS judgment, and a featured interview with Anne Simpson and Darling on page 12. To say that Anne Simpson’s introduction to her piece is a little partial is probably to understate the case.

“ … Alistair Darling is not someone given to social affectations. Candour not coyness defines him. Yet why is this proud Scot, former chancellor of the Exchequer and committed fiscal Unionist so reluctant to spearhead a campaign against the man who would sever Scotland from the United Kingdom?

“So far Alex Salmond has steered the independence argument exactly to his liking. Meanwhile those who disagree with the First Minister’s plan for radical amputation are without a central figure whose gravitas could pull together a robust opposition.”

"... the man who would sever Scotland from the United Kingdom?"

What, Anne – no approving words on the First Minister’s candour, no plaudits for him as a proud Scot? No recognition that in every word, every policy statement, every media interview, the First Minister makes it clear that his vision for independence and a social union with the rest of the UK after independence is the very reverse of a ‘radical amputation’?

Well, moving on, let’s take a look at ‘candour not coyness’ Darling on ABN Amro -

In 2007 ABN Amro was acquired, in what was at that time the biggest bank takeover in history, by a consortium made up of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Fortis bank and Banco Santander. Here’s what Alistair Darling said in his memoirs about what happened at the end of 2007, just before 2008, the year when the world’s banking system fell apart.

Extract from memoirs - "time to start worrying"

On a Saturday morning, just before Christmas 2007, I answered the door at my home in Edinburgh. There on the doorstep was Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive of RBS, holding a gift-wrapped panettone.

Although it would mean not having my private secretary with me, I felt entirely relaxed about seeing him alone, at home. I was also intrigued. I had seen other CEOs of the banks alone in the past – none of this was abnormal – but I knew that his asking to see me in private could only mean that he was worried about something.

I had a great deal of sympathy with what Fred Goodwin was saying, but I asked the question: why were the markets singling out RBS for particular concern? His answer was that they felt RBS didn't have sufficient capital. I asked whether he was comfortable that RBS did have sufficient capital, and his response was that he felt that it did. And yet I was worried. It occurred to me that Sir Fred had not come just as a shop steward for his colleagues. He would not admit it, but I sensed that RBS, which until that time had seemed invincible, its directors and senior staff exuding confidence verging on arrogance, was in more trouble than we had thought.

Does this sound like a new Chancellor who had anticipated anything bad in relation to RBS? His pal Fred Goodwin, the CEO of RBS. “which until that time had seemed invincible had just popped in with a panettone. He asks Fred the Shred “why were the markets singling out RBS for particular concern?” Suddenly, the presence of neighbour Fred and his gift-wrapped panettone worries him.

This is the man who criticises Alex Salmond for supporting the ABN Amro deal. One might reasonably assume that Alistair Darling had a helluva lot more information about the ABN Amro deal and his pal Fred than Alex Salmond did, but in December 2007, the end of the year in which the deal was concluded. just before the world fell apart in 2008, he gets belatedly worried about Fred, RBS and his gift-wrapped panettone?

As the SNP commented after Darling ‘criticisms’ -

This is a laughable attempt to rewrite history by Alistair Darling. He was the Chancellor responsible for banking regulation and its failure at the critical time, and he was the Chancellor responsible for the signing off of the ABN Amro deal.

“Labour gave Fred Goodwin his knighthood, and Mr. Darling’s contacts with Fred Goodwin were far more extensive than the First Minister’s. Fred Goodwin was an adviser to Alistair Darling as chancellor, and was still a member of a key Treasury body advising Labour months after the banking crisis and quitting RBS.”

Here is ‘proud Scot’, ‘candour not coyness’ Darling talking to Isabel Fraser very recently. Judge for your self - Alistair Darling -- naive, disingenuous, or just woefully unprepared for Isabel Fraser?

As for Darling’s defining quote, the one used to headline the Anne Simpson interview -

Separation means that once you go, you go. You can’t come back.”

Leaving aside the banality of the statement, it is undoubtedly true – and none of the countries who ‘separated’, or rather secured their independence from Britain over the centuries have ever shown the least signs of wanting to come back …

Monday, 12 August 2013

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ed Miliband, Blair and the Blairites – and Channel Four’s ‘Dispatches’

I had hoped to bring you a YouTube video today, with Ed Miliband’s conference speech bit on “I am not Tony Blair – but he’s a great man”, intercut with clips from the must-see Channel Four Dispatches documentary, The Wonderful World of Tony Blair.

Well, it’s now up on YouTube, but you can only watch it if you live outside of the UK, i.e. anywhere else in the world. (Those of you who are techno savvy enough won’t find this a problem, but most will.) You’ll have to make do with this -

The reason is not a great conspiracy by Blairites and Unionists against freedom of expression, but the commercial and copyright interests of Channel Four and the programme makers. The full documentary is on YouTube The Wonderful World of Tony Blair and for anyone who doubts that the UK, some of its politicians, some of the Labour Party, and some politicians of every other party profit massively, obscenely and by very dubious methods from their elected position and from the military/industrial complex and non-elected brutal dictatorships, this 50-minute programme is a must watch, must see.

Issues examined forensically by Peter Oborne include Tony Blair’s wealth, his hidden and obscure financial dealings, his financial backers, his mandate  - or lack of one, as part of The Quad - the Middle Eastern dictators, oil interests and brutal undemocratic regimes that are his clients and provide a large part of his income, his selective dealings with Israel and Palestine, and how he interprets his role as Peace Envoy - all this and more.

Blairites will watch it through eyes that cannot, and will not see the true nature of their great leader and hero.

Who are the Blairites?

As Wikipedia and other sources cautiously warn, not all those identified by the media as Blairites would admit to being so, and some may have been mistakenly classified as such. Some clearly were, and now have the moral sense, with the benefit of hindsight, to realise what they allowed themselves to become identified with. Others are expedient closet Blairites who realise the mood has changed in the People’s Party, at least while Ed Miliband is leader, but stand ready in the slips to declare themselves again should he be deposed by, say, David Miliband.

We may say with reasonable certainty that Tom Harris MP and Jim Murphy MP and UK Shadow Secretary of State for Defence are Blairites. (Should they reject this appellation, I will be happy to withdraw my assertion.) I have some reason to believe that John McTernan, political commentator is a Blairite, and so also is Alistair Campbell, but this may only be unfounded rumour, similar to the scurrilous suggestion that Cheri Blair is a Blairite.

David Miliband is undoubtedly a Blairite, as is Jacqui Smith, former Home Secretary, forced to resign over expenses and a claim for pornographic videos rented by her husband. Jacqui Smith is one of those picked to front the Purple Labour concept, a not so thinly concealed attempt to revive the reputation of Blair and Blairism in the Party. I believe she may be a candidate to be BBC Vice-Chairmannow there’s a thought

John Rentoul is a Blairite - the political editor of the paper that claims to be The Independent, a newspaper that does its best to ignore Scotland and Scottish affairs, and whose reputation for high standards of journalistic accuracy and probity has been somewhat dented of late by their star columnist, Johann Hari, who is certainly not a Blairite.

I think we may safely say that if Tom Harris is elected Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, we might have a Blairite Scottish party, and in twenty years time, when Jim Murphy has drunk his fill of UK defence posts, and deigns to consider coming back home as Leader – but hold on – Scotland will be independent long before then …

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Labour avoids Megrahi and Budget - more Gray and Baker hypocrisy

What can one say of Iain Gray and Richard Baker? What can one say of Scottish Labour, puppets of the Westminster Labour Party?

I say - don't let these men anywhere near the Government of Scotland.

The First Minister of Scotland and the Justice Minister of Scotland must have integrity, dignity, and a deeply-rooted concept of justice in a democracy. Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill both have these qualities, and have demonstrated them fully over the last four years.



Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Poor South Shields - how did you wind up with David Miliband? Oh, you elected him? What the hell happened to the People's Party along the way

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

David Miliband, one of Labour's rich privileged Oxbridge London elite - watch, learn - and vomit.Labour's privileged elite

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Just what the ordinary people of Glasgow need in hard times - an Oxbridge-education, privileged political London anorak, David Miliband

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

In Scotland today, carpetbagger David Miliband. Watch his sour grapes over brother Ed's speech. The Miliband Brothers

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

@Dmiliband You and your Holyrood gang are too late to try and claim the word 'hypocrisy'. It's branded on you like the Mark of Cain, David.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

@Dmiliband Did Iain Gray promise eternal loyalty if you tell him what the hell is going on at Westminster? Megrahi? Libya? WMDs? Trident?

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Just highlighting the hypocrisy of Labour. We say "Will you no' come back again?" to those leaving. But not you. Don't come back.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

The continuing degeneration of the values of the Scottish Labour Party. Respect for Holyrood nil.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Watch the full awfulness of Iain Gray and Richard Baker in Holyrood today at FMQs. Hollow men ...

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

@DMiliband What the hell do you know about Glasgow or deprivation, David? An Oxbridge career politician. Go back to London - play with Ed.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

@DMiliband Your hopes turned to dust over Iraq and subservience to US foreign policy. I don't want nuclear politicos like you in Scotland.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Saltire in the sky over Kirkliston

Sunday morning in the ancient Scottish village of Kirkliston, where the first recorded meeting of the Scottish Parliament was held in 1235. A vapour trail intersects with a cloud in a perfect blue sky to form a Saltire - the flag of the nation of Scotland. An omen, perhaps? Not quite the Angel of Mons, but good enough for me.

Saltire over Kirkliston

Of course, it won't please the man who aspires to be Scotland's next First Minister (assuming it is visible from where he lives).

Iain Gray, at his Labour Party conference, uttered the crass words that will now haunt him for the rest of his political career - "I love my country too much to be a nationalist." This is the man that Ed Miliband calls a statesman.

God help Scotland if Iain Gray ever attains the post he aspires to, where we can confidently assume that he will defer in all things to the London office of his party, and to the UK Westminster Parliament. The people of Scotland will come a very poor third in Mr. Gray's scale of priorities.

Saor Alba!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

And then there was Ed …

Once upon a time, a young man with the aspiration to make his mark – and the means to do it - got a good degree, perhaps Oxbridge, but maybe a provincial university, then went off and had a career doing something real, a profession, business, or the civil service, achieved something substantial in that chosen career, got some real understanding of life, then in his late thirties or early forties considered a life of public service in politics.

On entering the Commons, he had some understanding of the life of the nation, its people and its problems – he had a broad perspective and perhaps even a modicum of wisdom.

Not these days, they don’t …. Oxbridge is a must, and the degree must be that strange hybrid designed especially for the aspiring politician, the PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and the career chosen is politics from the start. And so the Asimovian new breed of politicians have their gestation, and walk straight off the Oxbridge assembly line with shining, metallic, inhuman certainty into the seat and the heart of government as a political assistant, as a speechwriter to a Cabinet Minister, as a special adviser.

Of course they have to select a political party to join to achieve this, and this selection is made, not on the basis of experience of life or burning conviction, but on a mix of family tradition, contacts, and cold, calculating assessment of which party offers the best route to power and influence within a short timescale, typically four or five years.

At some point, a sabbatical allows them to work or study in the United States for a year, where they meet senior US politicians and absorb effortlessly the idea of Britain as a junior partner, fully committed to a compliant and subservient role in foreign policy to their US masters.

At the earliest opportunity, with the backing of the established politicians they have served, they seek a nomination as a prospective parliamentary candidate, ideally for a safe seat. But occasionally they may have to undergo trial by fire in fighting a lost cause, in a contest which nonetheless bloods them and provides essential media coverage.

From the start, these strange creatures, custom-designed for politics, are strangers to the true life of the nation and its people, destined to rule them, but locked into the assumptions of a closed world that ensure that they can never properly serve them or serve true democracy.

Sooner or later, they have the right to take the state to war  - with the approval of the United States – and they can assist the US in the pressing of the nuclear button.

They themselves will never be placed in harm’s way by military service, nor will their children, but they will sacrifice the children of others with relative equanimity, and with the glib words of regret and condolence they have learned to parrot at the feet of their mentors, words that they perhaps actually crafted for those who preceded them, in phrases liberally spattered with references to heroes, comrades, Queen and country, never forgetting and eternally grateful – variants on the old, old lie, Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.

(It pains me to mention that we have a version of this career path in the Scottish Parliament, where some candidates seem to think that proclaiming their ability to “find their way around the Parliament” - i.e. familiarity with the systems, procedures and political levers to push  - constitutes an election address and gives them credibility with the electorate, rather than experience of life as it is lived in Scotland today, with some tangible experience and achievement within that reality . Frankly, if that is all they have to offer, it is not enough – for me, anyway.)

And so we have Ed, although it was a close run thing – it could have been David. Does it matter which overall? Yes, a little. Does it matter to Scotland? Probably quite a lot, at least in the spring of 2011, since it will influence the Labour vote in a contest which will be a straight fight between them and the SNP.

We might usefully remind ourselves that this new Labour leader has a special understanding of Scotland. He was deeply involved in Labour’s manifesto for the 1999 Holyrood elections, and in fact resigned as Special Advisor at the Treasury to devote himself full-time to that campaign, and Labour’s rebuttal strategy. He will be a formidable foe of the SNP.



Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and Labour

The deep, cynical hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and the Labour Party is starkly and painfully exposed by this clip of a young girl - Tiari Sanchez - breaking down in tears as she talks of her family's poverty on a Citizens UK platform.

Her mother is a cleaner at the Treasury - yes, the Treasury - run by Gordon Brown for most of Labour's 13 wasted years in office.

The spectacle of Brown moving forward to comfort her, wrapping his arms around her and moving her away from the podium is deeply disturbing in the light of what we now know was the cause of her family's poverty.

 Andrew Neill is merciless with Douglas Alexander, and pitilessly destroys his feeble attempts to shuffle off Government complicity in the girl's distress.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The wisdom and prescience of Robin Cook

Once the Labour Party had men and women of integrity and real stature. There are none left, or if there are, they are silent and invisible.

Last week Gordon Brown, the present Leader of the thing the Labour Party has become – a cynical political machine for holding on to power – displayed a highly selective memory for events in the lead-up to the Iraq War, as he evaded the questions of Sir Roderic Lyne. One of his lapses of memory related to his late colleague, Robin Cook.

Let us remind ourselves of the courage, wisdom and prescience displayed by Robin Cook in his resignation speech in 2003.

A few selected quotes -

The US can afford to go it alone, but Britain is not a superpower.

Our interests are best protected not by unilateral action but by multilateral agreement and a world order governed by rules.

The legal basis for our action in Kosovo was the need to respond to an urgent and compelling humanitarian crisis.

Our difficulty in getting support this time is that neither the international community nor the British public is persuaded that there is an urgent and compelling reason for this military action in Iraq.

The threshold for war should always be high.

It is entirely legitimate to support our troops while seeking an alternative to the conflict that will put those troops at risk.

Nor is it fair to accuse those of us who want longer for inspections of not having an alternative strategy.

For four years as foreign secretary I was partly responsible for the western strategy of containment.

Over the past decade that strategy destroyed more weapons than in the Gulf war, dismantled Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and halted Saddam's medium and long-range missiles programmes.

Ironically, it is only because Iraq's military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam's forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days.

We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.

Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term - namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.

It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories.

Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?

Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam's ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?

Only a couple of weeks ago, Hans Blix told the Security Council that the key remaining disarmament tasks could be completed within months.

I have heard it said that Iraq has had not months but 12 years in which to complete disarmament, and that our patience is exhausted.

Yet it is more than 30 years since resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.

We do not express the same impatience with the persistent refusal of Israel to comply.

I welcome the strong personal commitment that the prime minister has given to middle east peace, but Britain's positive role in the middle east does not redress the strong sense of injustice throughout the Muslim world at what it sees as one rule for the allies of the US and another rule for the rest.

Nor is our credibility helped by the appearance that our partners in Washington are less interested in disarmament than they are in regime change in Iraq.

That explains why any evidence that inspections may be showing progress is greeted in Washington not with satisfaction but with consternation: it reduces the case for war.