John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, May 01, 2006
  Labour and Government
I was always amazed that the Labour Party got away with accepting a loan from Bernie Ecclestone that effectively changed the law on advertising smoking. Bernie got "access" the ability to influence the argument rather than a formal legislation for loans deal. The end result is, however, the same.

We now have a mass of issues
  1. Bernie Ecclestone's Loan for a law change - seriously bad in terms of governmental integrity.
  2. Patricia Hewitt's overall mess with the NHS - a very bad consequence for the population as a whole
  3. Charles Clarke and the prisoners. I cannot really understand how he is hanging on. This is clearly within his direct remit.
  4. Phil Woolas and the claim that the government have no policy assumption about the Council Tax.
  5. Tony Blair, Lord Levy and Loans for Peerages - now where has that gone
  6. The War in Iraq. We must not forget this situation.
  7. Overpayment for pharmaceuticals, Labour do get funded by pharmaceutical companies. See Guido
  8. The general refusal to answer questions. See my earlier posts about this.
  9. Tax Credits, The CSA, Connecting for Health and anything else you care to mention.
  10. PFI overpayment and 'optimism bias' adjustments.

I will always remember the Ecclestone saga even though it was a long time ago.
 
Comments:
I agree that most of that is deplorable. Fortunately for Blair he has been saved by the most wretched and miserable opposition in living memory and beyond. The Lib Dems run by a drunk, with rent boys and sex scandals lurking in all directions and an almost total lack of conviction on any issue you care to name, hand over to a couple of desperate pensioners who struggle to get out a coherent sentence at PMQ's without blubbering gibberish and lies. Oh, and the Tories who have adopted the Lib Dems confusion about whether to attack from the right or left... so end up shooting downwards into the foot region.

Thanks, John. You've nbeen a credit to a discredited opposition that has made virtually no public impact... despite your litany of Blairite cock-ups. The reason he can cling on to power is that no-one gives a toss about you.
 
He hangs onto power because he has a majority in the House of Commons.

In the mean time, however, I shall be campaigning for accountable government.
 
"He hangs onto power because he has a majority in the House of Commons."

He has a majority in the House of Commons because of the rank incompetence of the opposition and the electorate's disregard of them.
 
No mention of the fact that the biggest donor to the LDs (and proportionately, the biggest single donor to any party election campaign 2005), Michael Brown is now wanted on a whole raft of charges.

With the Electoral Commission now looking again at whether the £2.4 million donation was within the law, the holier than thou attitude doesn't sit well with the Lib Dems.

How many LDs would love to see the drunk back in charge? He was far more effective than the invisible and incompetent Ming.

No mention of Prescott.

Funny that.

No mention of the mass of successes, either: low interest rates, low inflation, high employment, national minimum wage (opposed by the LDs), massive school funding, more police, nurses and doctors than ever before, new dental and medical schools, more money in the NHS than ever, guaranteed paid holidays for all employees, powers to tackle ASB (opposed by the LDs).

Let's not forget what we've got right, shall we?
 
The Lib Dems support a minimum wage. It was a Liberal that introduced the wages councils.

Michael Brown is not as far as I know a party member. I do not think accepting his money was a good idea. However, that was under the previous regime. I remain a strong supporter of the new leadership.

You may not have noticed it, but I have seen substantial improvements. Those will be reflected across the country.
 
On the ASB point. I do support the existance and use of ASBOs. They are, however, merely a renaming of an injunction.
 
As ever, the Liberal Democrats were two faced on the Minimum Wage. They actually wanted a regional minimum wage to enable MacDonald's and others to get around the Minimum Wage in some parts of the country.

When it came to the vote on the minimum wage barely 50% of Lib Dems actually turned up to vote for it, provoking one Tory MP to say:

"The only people whom it will satisfy will be the Liberal Democrat Members, each of whom will be able to go home--they seem to have gone already--and tell his constituents that he voted for the principle, but not to worry as the rate that will be set will probably be perfect for the constituency. When, inevitably, the level turns out to be either too high or too low, the Liberal Democrats can blame the Government."

Oh so typical. Facing both ways at once.
 
I've got a copy of the LD election address for Birmingham - in glorious colour, with a line up of LD councillors on the front page (some of whom are up for election this year).

The thing trumpets the 'successes' of the LD coalition in Birmingham, without mentioning that partnership with the Tories at all. Scared of losing votes over that?

They promise 'neighbourhood wardens' - which is odd, as these are being made redundant across the city as funding is cut. (Being petty, I'll point out that the coppers pictured aren't from West Midlands Police).

There's also a fawning quote from a 'renowned London-based political analyst' - what, nobody at Birmingham University or UCE up to the job? This likens the LibDem's attempts to turn round Birmingham to turning round a tanker (illustrated by a freighter). Is this 'renowned analyst' the same Paul Ranger who is a campaign strategist for the Liberal Democrats? If so, he's hardly independent and it would help if that were made clear.

As for the policies...
 
Remember the leaflets from 2004 John? We will scrap the Voice newspaper and use the money for more policing?
Then when you became Deputy Leader you renamed the paper 'Forward' and signed a 3 year £1.6m deal to keeep it going. Don't try to deny it, I still have a copy of the contract with your signature on it. This is called lying to the electorate and you and your new blue buddies can't seem to break the habit!
 
The policy on the newspaper changed between the Stockland Green by-election and the June 2004 local elections.
 
Sorry John, check your leaflets. The only person who changed their mind were you and the elected councillors, AFTER the June election!
 
The manifesto was quite clear in that we were not going to scrap the newspaper completely.
 
You've been reading 1984.
 
But Tony, BEFORE the election, the Tories were derided for supporting Labour in running the City.

It was only after the election that John did his dirty little deal that's kept Whitless in power for two years.

(Let's not go through the semantic argument about how the LDs promised to get rid of the Labour council, so shafting the poor is a price worth paying for a manifesto commitment).
 
Well, I've still got the Trinity ward leaflet where a Mr.Hemming said that in the case of a hung Council, the best people from ALL three parties should make up the cabinet.
Once again a change of mind after the promise of Deputy leadership.
 
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