ECRG Hokey Cokey

Meanwhile over in Brussels Finnish centrist Hannu Takkula has decided to stay in the liberal ALDE because presumably he remembered he isn’t a conservative after all and Lithuania’s Waldemar Tomaszewski has joined the Euro Conservatives / Reformists Group. So they are still an 8 nation group above the all important 7 nation threshold…

The General Election Dividing Line : Truth & Dishonesty

The Tories have accepted Gordon’s dividing lines on cuts versus spending.  Gordon seemed to think that he could then just shout “Tory Cuts” and that would be it, 1997 all over again.  Only problem being that the economy is in such bad shape there will inevitably be “Labour Cuts”.  The Treasury knows it, the Chancellor knows it, Yvette Cooper knows it, Peter Mandelson knows it, the City knows it, the media knows it and the voters understand that it is necessary. Only Gordon thinks his delusional dividing line is plausible. This is why this attack video from the Tories hits the spot (though it goes on a bit too long):

Cameron at PMQs keeps on going at Brown’s credibility. It will succeed as a line of attack because it is true. Brown can’t help himself when it comes to fiddling statistics.  The whole success of his chancellorship was based on massaging the numbers…

UPDATE : Politicshome polled 100 Westminster insiders and found that 74% thought that “‘the central ideas that make up Gordon Brown’s policy, political strategy and day-to-day tactics were all developed between 1992 and 1994. He hasn’t had an important idea since.”  Which explains why he thinks the “Tory Cuts” line might still work…

PMQs Live-Chat : Squeaker in the Chair Edition

Which Public Schoolboys Does David Davis Mean?

At last night’s Spectator debate on grammar schools David Davis said he owed everything to the opportunity given to him by his grammar school.  He described the failed forty-year comprehensive scho0l system experiment as a catastrophe.

“…out of this catastrophe there was only one winning group. Do you know who they were?  Yes, the public schools. Who teach just 7% of the population.”

The handicapping of the intellectual capacity of the country has definitely given the  children of the privileged who were able to buy a better education, great advantages.  Can’t help thinking he has a particular public school in mind…

Harman Bill : Not Independent, Not Credible

Parliamentary Standards Bill 2009

The government’s Bill introduced by Harriet Harman yesterday proposes establishing a body to be known as the “Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority” and an officer known as the “Commissioner for Parliamentary Investigations”.

The five members of the IPSA will be

“appointed by the Queen upon an Address of the House of Commons. A motion may only be made only with the agreement of the Speaker for a candidate selected on merit on the basis of fair and open competition and approved by a Speaker’s Committee. Members will be removable only in response to an Address of both Houses. There will be requirements that one member of the IPSA should have accountancy experience, that one member should have Parliamentary experience, and that one member be a holder of or have held high judicial office.”

The Commissioner will be appointed the same way.  There will, according to the Bill

“be a Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority charged with exercising the functions given to it under the Bill – in particular, approving the selection of persons to be members of the IPSA and the Commissioner.”

Do you see the flaw in this “independent” Comissioner and Authority?  Members will be drawn from the establishment and their selection approved by the Speaker’s appointees.  Would we permit criminals to choose their own judge and jury?

This is a stitch up, we don’t need more rules and self-selected regulators, we need reform of the expenses system,  together with clarity, transparency and enforcement of the rules.  The voters will kick out MPs if they can identify crooks, in this sense in a democracy voters are the ultimate regulator of politicians.  This whole idea is ill-founded, we don’t need to intermediate democracy with another quango or committee, this approach has already failed.

We need only to empower voters with enough information so that they can determine the truth about those who seek to represent them.  The truth is all we need, not redactions, not more quangocrats.



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