Tag Archives: Conservative

The Trial of a Proud Man: Evidence against Iain Duncan Smith

the_great_ids   Iain Duncan Smith has spoken a number of times about his pride in the welfare reforms he’s presided over. He’s dismissed all criticisms and poo-pooed all the evidence that these reforms are causing hardship.

Imagine that IDS could be put on trial for the harm he’s done (I wish) and evidence was presented for the prosecution. What would that evidence be? Where would we begin to start? Well, here’s an interesting video from February this year. It shows three well educated, articulate  people appearing before the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, telling how they suffered at the hands of Atos. Its a long video, over an hour and a half, but its well worth watching.

lbc-logo Here’s more evidence for the prosecution in the form of a conversation on LBC radio. A caller, Sally, who claims to be a former nurse assessor at ATOS  gives Petrie Hosken an uncomfortable insight into how assessments are made.

 

So, anyone going to present any evidence for the defence?

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The Cameron Whisperers: How Crosby Can Bend The PM’s Ear By Proxy

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I’ve lost count of the number of times David Cameron has been asked by journalists if his decisions about cigarette packaging and alcohol pricing were influenced by his election campaign guru, Lynton Crosby aka The Lizard of Oz. I’m probably more sick of hearing him deny it than he is of making these repeated denials.

There’s no denying that its an amazing coincidence that these particular policies have now been dropped when you consider how much they were banging on about them not that long ago. So what exactly is the Prime Minister saying when he denies that he’s been lobbied by the Lizard? Have you considered he might be telling the truth? The literal truth.

David-Cameron-Lynton-Crosby-460x288 Think about it. He said quite categorically that “Lynton Crosby has not lobbied me on anything”. So surely our next question should be “Then who else has been whispering your ear, Dave?” Lets not forget that the Lizard’s lobbying company has a London branch that goes by the name of Crosby Textor Fullbrook (CTF) and it was this outfit that was responsible for running Boris Johnson’s election campaign for London Mayor. And its now stuffed full of eager young Tories, most of whom worked within the government in some capacity or other until just before the Lizard was hired by Cameron. Now they work at CTF.

mark fullbrook But first of all lets meet Mark Fullbrook, co-founder and MD of the Lizard’s London office, Crosby Textor Fullbrook

Mark spent 10 years working for the British Conservative Party from 1983, where he began as a Party Agent, rising to become Head of Campaigning for the Party following the 1992 General Election. He was co-director of the Conservative Campaign for London Mayor in 2000 and has worked through all levels of the Conservative Party’s political roles.

His wife is Tory MP for South Ribble, Lorraine Fullbrook.

ctf  The lucky recipient of the football tickets referred to in this shot was Tory MP Helen Grant, according to online journal Political Scrapbook and clearly CTF were working for the donor, the infamous Michael Hintze, who bankrolled Liam Fox’s dubious mate Adam Werrity and once paid for a private jet for Fox to visit the States. Mark Fullbrook was the bearer of the gift on behalf of his client. I’m sure none of us are naive enough to think that Mr Hintze was paying to hire CTF Partners and dole out his bribes without expecting some return on his money. The real point here, though, is that Lynton Crosby himself was not personally involved in the lobbying process, just as Cameron says he wasn’t involved in lobbying him.  When Cameron says things like this he’s relying on our ignorance of the complexity of the lobbying process and our lack of understanding of the extent of the network of cronies that links Westminster to big business.

Mark Fullbrook is number one contender for the role of Cameron Whisperer.

Lets take a look at the recent additions to the staff of Crosby Textor Fullbrook.

canzini Here’s David Canzini who joined CFT in 2012.

David spent 20 years working for the Conservative Party starting out as a constituency agent. After a number of constituency and regional roles he became Head of Campaigns and Operations for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party where he led the devolution referendum campaign and the first set of Scottish Parliamentary elections. David moved to Conservative Central Office (latterly CCHQ) as Deputy Director of Field Operations (Target Seats) for the 2001 General Election. After two years in this role, he become Director of Party Campaigning, leading national campaigns, parliamentary by-elections and oversaw the target seat campaign for the 2005 General Election.

Not difficult to imagine that he might know David Cameron quite well, is it? So he’s Whisperer number two.

lomas Now meet Theo Lomas who’s worked at CFT since 2011. His background is interesting in the light of the concerns that have been raised about the Lizard’s involvement in the fracking business. Theo worked in Parliament as the senior adviser to the Parliamentary Private Secretary for the UK’s Energy Minister.  His responsibilities included: providing research and briefings, coordinating with senior figures in the Conservative Party and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, overseeing the Westminster Office, coordinating with the media and overseeing Parliamentary activities. Wonder if he swapped jobs with Guy Robinson who worked for CFT before moving across to Westminster to work for Owen Patterson?

Theo is definitely a strong contender for Cameron Whisperer.

horrell  Up next is Sophie Horrell who moved over from Westminster to CTF in 2011. Prior to this, she worked in communications at Parliamentary Liaison Services Ltd, the UK’s premier Conservative campaigns and communications consultancy providing communications services to a number of clients. This included working on a number of constituency based reports and grass roots campaigns for MP’s and Prospective Party Candidates.  Maybe Sophie doesn’t have enough status yet to whisper directly into the PM’s ear but she may well know a few people who do, so I reckon she’s a potential Cameron Whisperer, a kind of whisperer in waiting.

There are a couple of other candidates who joined CFT within the last two years from Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign office.

lyon Sam Lyon joined in 2012 as a senior director. He joined from City Hall where he was Director of Communications and official spokesman to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He managed all the Mayor’s external affairs during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Previous to this he was Media Director, spokesman and senior advisor to Boris Johnson during his successful 2012 Mayoral campaign. As a senior advisor he was certainly a Johnson Whisperer so he’s well versed in the techniques and has all the right connections.

knight And here we have Robin Knight who also joined CTF in 2012 ,just a month before Cameron announced he’d taken on the Lizard, having previously worked on Boris Johnson’s winning London Mayoral campaign.  His work focuses on research and consulting, developing detailed reports to inform and reinforce key arguments in line with campaign objectives. Like Sophie he’s a bit of a tyro as yet but none the less he’ll have useful connections within the Tory party so has a potential for whispering in all the right ears.

cartoon  As the next election looms closer the Lizard’s team of young hopefuls are going to be doing a lot of whispering and we’re going to see a lot more examples of his dog whistle politics and slick slogans. When a lobbying firm that champions the causes of powerful businesses is putting words into the mouths of ‘elected’ politicians and when Westminster has become one big revolving door between government and the board rooms of profit seekers surely its time for a complete radical change of how this country does government? As Cameron himself is fond of saying, “We can’t go on like this”.

Pls send this letter to your coalition MP

images (18)              At a time when more and MPs and Ministers seem to be involved in corrupt practices and apparently prepared to twist statistics to lie to us, even in the House of Commons I’ve become less and less confident in our political system as a means to represent the interests of ordinary folk. Accountability seems to have become a thing of the past. This post on skwawker’s blog is a ray of hope. If you want to hold your MP accountable and if your MP is a Conservative or a LibDem then please take the time to read this and follow skwawker’s advice. Then share this with others who might do the same.

images (20)  The more MPs we can reach the better. Its time to let them know their constituents are wide awake and watching and judging them by their actions.

The SKWAWKBOX

There has been a big response from readers to the two recent posts (here and here) on the response of Tory MPs to questions from their constituents about the government’s blatant abuse of statistics (i.e. lies, since they continue to repeat them even after the UK Statistics Authority rebuked them and told them not to repeat the claims).

In particular, the fact that most MPs who bothered to respond had clearly simply cut and pasted their response from a Conservative Central template, as the wording was identical, and the fact that even this response completely failed to address the questions raised, caused much outrage.

I would therefore like to enlist your help to send a letter or email to every coalition MP that cuts out – or at least renders overtly embarrassing – the option of doing the same thing in response. Hopefully, the wording of this new…

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Massive protest against NHS privatisation planned for Conservative’s September Party Conference in Manchester

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Unions who represent millions of people in the UK are planning to confront the Tories over privatisation of the NHS at this year’s Conservative Party Conference to be held in Manchester on September 29th.

The three biggest unions in the country – Unite, Unison and the GMB – have announced that they will be at the forefront of  community protests to highlight the public’s increasing concern at the piecemeal dismantlement of the NHS for the benefit of companies, such as Virgin Care and big US private health provider HCA.

download (1)They want to make it clear to the public that this year’s Conference is being bankrolled by the very private healthcare companies that stand to benefit from Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill 2012 and will be demanding an immediate halt to the handing out of contracts to these companies who put shareholders before patients.

In a joint statement calling for the mass rally, the Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis and GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said,

download (2)               “The people of this country do not want a health service run by the same global boardrooms that have brought misery to every other public service, such as the energy industry, that they have got their hands on. 
  
  Unite Logo          “We pay for this NHS to be different; to serve the public, and to ward off the twin fears of illness and poverty.  There is simply no place in our health service for business to profit from the misfortunes of others. This is the message that will ring around Manchester on 29 September. 
  
 GMB_logo                   “We will be demanding that a future Labour government repeals the act as a top priority – and this should be a warning to potential private companies not to bid for contracts. 
This issue will haunt this government all the way to the ballot box in 2015  when voters will see through the false promise that David Cameron made in 2010 that the NHS would be ‘safe’ in Tory hands.”

The unions say that they will work with the Trades Union Congress and its affiliates to ensure the full weight of the trade union movement stands squarely behind this landmark event.

images (1)     Neither the Tories nor their Liberal-Democrat co-conspirators declared their intention to privatise the NHS in their 2010 general election manifestos a fact that has angered millions who see it as an attack on democracy.

We’ve been promised a referendum on EU membership should any significant treaty changes occur yet NO opportunity whatsoever to vote on the fundamental changes happening to the most important public organisation in Britain, the NHS, on which every man,woman and child in this country relies for their health and well-being. 

images (3)   The Labour-affiliated unions also advised leader Ed Miliband that he must put reversing the so-called “reform” programme high up his party’s agenda,

“We will be demanding that a future Labour government repeals the Act as a top priority – and this should be a warning to potential private companies not to bid for contracts. It’s equally important that Labour isn’t let off the hook either. Much of the demolition programme for the health service started under the last government and has been seized on by the Con-Dems.”

Geoff Martin Pro-NHS campaign Health Emergency chairman also  warned Labour to take the issue seriously and not simply resort to playing political games,

“Grandstanding on the back of public outrage at the attack on the NHS would be pure political opportunism” he said.

download              So it looks like Cameron and his Demolition crew can expect a very loud and angry reception when they set foot up North in Manchester in September.

Lets make it one he’ll never forget!

Source: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/134466

The myth of the “Independent Report” or how the Tories are weaving threads of private interest into the very fabric of our country.

images (1)We’ve heard this week of yet another scandal in the NHS with the release of the Grant Thornton Report into the Maternity Unit at Furness General Hospital and the failings of the Care Quality Commission. I first heard the news of this in the early morning of yesterday on the BBC 24 hour news channel. I was struck by the repeated emphasis the BBC put on the independence of the report. They didn’t mention who had produced the report at that time but simply dubbed it, in large letters on the screen, INDEPENDENT REPORT. So striking was this emphasis that it immediately aroused my suspicions and a quick check on the Guardian website revealed just who had carried out the investigation – the UK arm of an international company called Grant Thornton LLP. So I decided to investigate just who these people were.

images (6)  On their website ( http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/ ) they describe themselves as ‘one of the leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms’ and strive to help businesses to discover ‘how to do things better, smarter, faster to achieve business growth and maximise wealth’. They ‘have partnered with the Daily Telegraph on an editorial & event series that examines how the most dynamic companies are achieving growth today; how are they capitalising on opportunities, and knocking through the barriers.’ In their latest Transparency Report pubished on their website they say that ‘at 30 June 2012, the firm employed 3,934 people (2011: 3,692), and currently provides client services from 23 locations throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, they have branch offices in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. My interest was definitely piqued by now, so I kept looking…

images (3)It didn’t take me long to discover that back in August 2010 Grant Thornton offered the Conservative Party the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash and non-cash donations such as staff secondments and consultancy services. 

Not long after taking office the Coalition decided to abolish the Audit Commission and The Observer reported:-

“The government’s decision to close down the Audit Commission, the public spending quango, is likely to benefit a number of companies that have donated large amounts to the Conservative party. Accountancy giants such as KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Grant Thornton have offered the party the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash and non-cash donations such as staff secondments and consultancy services. A government spokesman said it was “incorrect and malicious” to suggest that the major auditors will benefit from the closure of the quango – saying ministers hoped that “100 different” companies will win contracts. But critics point out all the companies have large public-sector audit departments and would be likely to put forward extremely strong bids. They also make up four out of five companies named on the Audit Commission’s website as already carrying out 30% of its public-sector audits.”

So it looks like the Coalition government dissolved a public body who audited public sector organisations very soon after the election providing more potential business for the big private auditors mentioned above and these guys hand over a significant financial reward  – but only to one party in the Coalition. I’m not suggesting they should have shared their largesse equally between the two coalition parties by saying that but pointing out that on top of the significance of rewarding a political party at this time, this also strongly suggests they have some friends in the Conservative party they want to keep onside.

Now we’ve all seen Margaret Hodge recently denouncing publicly and loudly about how KPMG have been allowed to be involved in government policy making on tax avoidance issues when they could soon be advising their wealthy clients how to get round the new regulations. The government obviously didn’t see any conflict of interest here or they wouldn’t have invited KPMG to consult on these matters. But then from a Conservative viewpoint, at least, their interests are definitely not conflicted by this.

I decided this needed further investigation so I did a bit of digging into the main players at Grant Thornton…and what I found was very interesting indeed.

images (7)Here we see Scott Barnes CEO of Grant Thornton being interviewed on CNBC TV about the economic opportunities afforded by the London Olympics. He also regularly blogs on a government website called ‘Great Business’

http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/2013/06/14/ten-tips-for-small-businesses-and-entrepreneurs-to-get-ahead/

download (1)He also writes regularly in the Torygraph and has set up a Grant Thornton ‘microsite’ under the banner of ‘unlocking the growth agenda’. He boasts on the company’s main website that:-

“We have partnered with the Daily Telegraph on an editorial & event series that examines how the most dynamic companies are achieving growth today; how are they capitalising on opportunities, and knocking through the barriers.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/grant-thornton/

I showed in a previous post how the Telegraph has gone out of its way to allow its editorial agenda to be commandeered by private healthcare vested interests –

http://wp.me/p3mYc5-42

download (1)Next up is Ed Warner OBE perhaps better known as the head honcho at UK Athletics and thus heavily involved in last year’s London Olympics. Ed is on Grant Thornton’s board but even more interesting is the fact that he’s Chair of Panmure Gordon, the investment bankers where David Cameron’s father made his fortune.

download One of the recent clients of Panmure Gordon is the pharmaceutical company based in Oxford,e-Therapeutics, who are currently working on a new cancer drug and a new drug for depression – both potential money spinners.

DavidCameron_eTherapeutics They recently invested in a new drug discovery centre in Oxford which was officially opened by none other than David Cameron.

Warner is also  Chairman of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee  and was recently appointed as head of the Organising Committee for the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations Championships (IAAF) World Championships in London by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) when it was still the remit of Jeremy Hunt, and the Mayor of London’s office. Boris Johnson personally vouched for him.

Obviously Ed is well connected with some top Conservatives.

download (3) The claim that Grant Thornton are an ‘independent’ disinterested outfit is even more discredited when you take into account that they have a large portfolio of clients in the private healthcare sector. Their website says it all:-

“In the private sector, our clients range from providers of primary and secondary care to private equity houses, care home providers and pharmaceutical and equipment suppliers. We focus on solutions. Our team is made up of highly experienced professionals who have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the healthcare sector and who recognise that our clients require our service to be delivered on time and on budget. We pride ourselves on listening to our clients, working in an open and flexible manner and developing innovative, bespoke solutions. We were announced ‘Health Investor Accountant of the Year’ in 2009 and 2010 in recognition of our seamless range of services for a variety of high profile assignments across all parts of the healthcare sector. Our commitment to the sector is demonstrated by the pro bono work that our professionals undertake, serving on the boards of Foundation Trusts, Department of Health working parties and mentoring projects for civil servants. In addition, we regularly speak at leading healthcare conferences and contribute to industry journals.”

In 2011 they produced a different kind of report entitled ‘Healthcare: The Finance Flow: Is it moving?’ in which they describe a survey of “200 CEOs and CFOs of UK businesses with turnovers in the £25-250 million range” in order to discover how confident they felt about their business opportunities in the UK health sector. They asked the question,

“Are you planning to undertake a significant transaction in the coming 12 months?”

73% of the 200 big companies surveyed said “yes”.

This is what our government claim is an ‘independent’ organisation. They seem to be rewriting the dictionary.

download (4)Now we need to turn our attention to the CQC and in particular to its newly appointed CEO, David Prior because this is where the plot thickens. Prior was appointed as CEO on 28th January this year after the resignation of Jo Williams and in the midst of the current scandal. He earns £63K for 2 to 3 days work a week.

CQC-David-PriorDavid Prior is a former Conservative MP (Norwich) who was also the Chief Executive of the Conservative Party. He was the government’s ‘preferred candidate’ for the job, a fact that the Guardian said, last December, was ’cause for concern’.Peter Beresford, a professor of social policy at Brunel University wrote in the Guardian:-

“Unfortunately, whatever helpful skills and experience Prior has, for example, in his role as chair of Norfolk and Norwich University hospitals foundation trust, these are likely to be undermined by his close history with the leading party in the coalition. More thought and independence of mind must be shown in making this decision than were evident in the earlier decisions regarding top appointments to the commission.”

What Professor Beresford doesn’t say is that back in 2007, when Prior was also the non-executive chairman of the private healthcare company Chancellor Care which owned Cawston Park, a private mental hospital, he was arrested, along with other board members, on allegations of defrauded the NHS of £2.3 million. He was later cleared of the charge and Chancellor Care was bought out by the Jeesal Group who provide private mental health care.

images (8)From the moment he stepped into the job at the CQC Prior has been calling for hospital closures and criticising the state of A&E’s – in other words this head of a so-called politically independent watchdog has been publicly peddling the Tory agenda of privatisation.

According to The Slog blog, an excellent source for a comprehensive timeline of NHS privatisation :-

“Mr Prior is calling for large-scale closures of hospital beds, and a massive diversion of investment monies into community care. Unfortunately, the Lansley-Hunt axis of madness privatised most of the Primary Care sector, which they have handed over to a combo of Dave’s mate Sir Richard Branson and go-getting GP entrepreneurs on £250,000 a year and no after-hours working, thank you very much.”

http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/tag/cqc-david-prior/

newslogo_nhePrior spoke at a conference hosted by health think tank the King’s Fund this May which was reported on the NHE website. He said too many patients were arriving in hospital as emergencies, when they could have been helped earlier:-

“If we don’t start closing acute beds, the system is going to fall over. Emergency admissions through Accident & Emergency (A&E) are out of control in large parts of the country … That is totally unsustainable”

He claimed that the CQC has identified 45 hospitals with sustained problems over the past five years, which have been set as a priority for inspection. A further 20% of hospitals are “coasting along”,

And he continues to sound even more like the SoS for Health when he says:-

“I think primary care is in bad shape. I think GPs ought to be responsible 24/7 – they should never have opted out from out of hours care.”

0_0_393_http-__offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk_News_PG_89708F60-BFC9-851D-3EF48E898E5E2E69Robert Francis QC  who was responsible for the report of the inquiry into the Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust has implied that in the future the CQC ought to merge with Monitor, who are the economic regulator set up to promote effective and efficient providers of health and care, to promote competition, regulate prices and safeguard the continuity of services. Whilst Monitor is a public body serious questions have been raised by Social Investigations about its CEO, David Bennett.

1261266_bennett-davidSocial Investigations found an internal memo written by NHSPN director, David Worskett which reveals both he and Monitor chief, David Bennett met during the Health bill ‘pause’ under the auspices of free market think tank, Reform. NHSPN is a consortium of private healthcare providers. The document was an update informing the groups members on the lobbying that had taken place during the so-called ‘listening exercise’. Mr Worksett informs his members how: ‘I had a second lengthy meeting…under the auspices of “Reform”, with only a handful of other (all like-minded) people present, including David Bennett, the chair of Monitor. He has also consistently taken the same line as us throughout.’

David Bennett’s bias was also brought into question previously when a FOI revealed an email from an unnamed McKinsey executive from May 2010, suggesting it was planning to exploit its privileged access to government. It stated: “We have been gathering our thinking on the implications of the new Government programme for the NHS (and) have started to share this with clients. Would you like to meet to discuss it?” The recipient of the email was David Bennett.

David Bennett was a former senior partner at McKinsey & Co, the architects of the £20bn savings that are being justified to sell off large chunks of the NHS.

nhs-plcIf the government were so eager to close down the Audit Commission almost as soon as they took over in 2010,paving the way for private auditors to make profit from public money, then its not inconceivable that they would merge the CQC with Monitor. Since both David Prior of the CQC and David Bennett of Monitor seem ‘on message’ with the privatisation agenda, whatever watchdog emerged would be likely to embrace a culture of private healthcare. A culture that put profit before patients.

It seems to me that the Conservative Party is effectively operating as a PR Department for big business simply there to sell their projects to us; and as such the democratic process is dead. These are people who WE employ to represent us, who are paid at least three times the average wage for that privilege.

On the BBC’s ‘advert’ for the Parliament channel David Cameron can be heard shouting self-righteously:-

“I know where I stand, I know where this Party stands, and that’s in the national interest!”

No you don’t David. You and your Party exist entirely to cater to the multinational interest.

“IF THE TORIES GET IN THERE’LL BE RIOTS!”:Nick Clegg 2010 before his transformation to NeoLiberal”Democrat”.

During the 2010 election campaign Nick Clegg made the controversial claim that if the Conservatives scraped through to power and adopted a  ‘slash and burn’ austerity programme then the British people would be rioting on the streets like the Greeks in Athens.The reporter in the newsclip shown above reminded viewers of the 1990 Poll Tax riots during Thatcher’s reign of terror by way of precedent. Little did Clegg know at that time that his prophesy would come true during the August 2011 riots, which while allegedly triggered by a controversial police shooting, nonetheless have since been attributed by several social commentators and academics in no small measure  to youth unemployment and austerity-for-the-poor policies. And since Mr Clegg has been complicit in supporting Osborne’s savage slashing of budgets I imagine he’ll want to forget he ever made such a prophesy.

In a pre-election interview with Jeremy Paxman, shown in the video above, Clegg was quizzed about what the LibDems would do in the event of them having to form a Coalition government with one of the other main parties. Towards the middle of this clip Paxman asks him if he and his party would vote for the kind of  ‘savage cuts’ being promised by the Tories. After a bit of the usual waffling he said that ‘self evidently’ given their election manifesto promises which did include cuts in spending but not immediate or savage:

“We will not support cuts driven by political dogma” AND “of course I’d vote against a budget of cuts that would destroy any chance of sustainable recovery.”

When asked if he’d ‘serve in’ a government led by Gordon Brown he laughed then explained he was laughing at the idea of ‘serving’ in a government led by another party. He emphasised that any coalition he entered into would be on the basis of getting together to form a ‘sane’ government in which LibDems would play a ‘responsible role’ and ‘fight for our policies’.

Well, we all know now what a load of bullshit that was.

So what other policies has Clegg criticised in the couple of years leading to the 2010 election giving us all the impression his party wouldn’t dream of doing? Watch the following short videos and you’ll see the extent of his U turns. He must be feeling very dizzy by now.

Here he is taking Gordon Brown to task on child poverty, youth unemployment and freezing pensioners…

And here he has another go at Brown over…I kid you not…housing benefit…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=yDVDmGKz3P4

And here he gets angry about people having to pay back tax credits they couldn’t afford to pay back and being sent threatening letters from government leaving them ‘terrified’ …..a bit like the current DWP sanction letters do today…

Last but not least, he even gets self-righteous about tax breaks for the rich…

So as you can see, anyone watching his performance over the last few years and listening to his election manifesto couldn’t be blamed for expecting his party to avoid or reverse the policies he was so loudly and publicly denigrating. If they decided to vote for his party on the strength of all this they could rightly expect him to deliver on it. We all knew from experience what the other two main parties were all about but the LibDems were virgin territory and all we had was their word to judge them by.

They’ve been a massive failure and in my view have let down those people who voted for them in good faith far more than the other parties have done precisely because with those other parties we more or less knew what we’d be letting ourselves in for.

This next video illustrates just how let down one long standing card carrying LibDem voter feels…

The ex LibDem voter in the video above reminds Clegg what it says on the party’s membership card. In future I suggest they change it so we all know exactly where Clegg and Co. are coming from. It should now read:-

                                                       “WE’RE ALL NEOLIBERAL “DEMOCRATS” NOW”

PMQ’s: Hypocritical Cameron slams Milliband over encouraging donor’s tax avoidance but Tories have been doing it for years!

 

0(Photo from Guy Fawkes blog)

During PMQ’s yesterday David Cameron took great pleasure in belittling Ed Milliband over the recent revelation that the Labour Party had advised one of its wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. He revelled in his schoolboy taunts accompanied by the usual mindless guffaws from Osborne and the rest.

This, of course, is business as usual from the shallow and integrity-deficient government benches. I’ve noticed over the hellish past three years that Cameron uses PMQ’s – when he turns up for it – primarily to blatantly ridicule  the front benches opposite instead of doing what we should expect a PM to do which is answering questions candidly.We’re paying him to turn up and inform us of what government are doing NOT engage in rowdy school yard catcalling. He comes across as a wannabe stand-up comedian rather than a serious statesman. And a pretty poor apology for one at that.

But by attempting to make party political capital from Labour’s tax avoidance gaffe he should be very careful because this is very definitely as case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Thanks to political commentator Paul Staines’ Guy Fawkes blog ( http://order-order.com/2012/07/02/tories-advised-top-donors-how-to-avoid-tax/) I discovered that generous Conservative Party donors have been offered advice on how to avoid tax through donating for years.

On the website of the Conservative Foundation –  

http://www.theconservativefoundation.co.uk/index.php?page=how

and with the declared mission ‘to strengthen the financial future of the Conservative Party’ they urge potential donors to ‘protect the country you love, defend the values you cherish’ by giving some of their wealth to the Party.

(Aside: One of the values Cameron definitely doesn’t cherish is honesty, see for instance http://wp.me/p2sftc-7TU)

Donors are encouraged to  leave some of this wealth to the Party when they die.In order to do this would be benefactors are directed to this link which explicitly mentions tax avoidance,

Obviously Mr Cameron didn’t realise when he opened his mouth in the Commons yesterday that he was putting his expensively shod foot right in it!

If you click on the link this is part of the advice you get:-

“How leaving a legacy can reduce your beneficiaries’ inheritance tax bill:

If the value of your estate is more than the current threshold your beneficiaries will have to pay inheritance tax (currently 40%) on anything beyond this.However, a legacy left to the Foundation can be subtracted from the value of your estate before inheritance tax is calculated – bringing the total value of the estate closer to the threshold so that any tax due can be reduced or even removed completely.”

According to Paul Staines ALL political parties give advice on tax issues to donors. And, of course, at present sadly its all perfectly legal.

We’re going to hear a lot more moralising about tax avoidance/evasion in the coming weeks as the G8 meeting gets under way. And I’ve no doubt Cameron and Osborne will be extracting as much political righteousness from it as possible. As we can see they’re in no position to stomp around over the moral high ground, as Cameron was doing yesterday.

This is dishonest politics and its time we stopped them.