Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potty Priorities

The tabloid headline driven drug laws in Britain are a mess. The next Prime Minister of Britain spent his days at Eton smoking dope, the current Home Secretary says she only smoked “weak” dope, as if that makes a material difference.   If they had been caught and convicted they would probably not have got where they are today.

It is a mad situation where you get a lighter sentence for raping someone than you would for selling them a joint.  Which do you think is worse?

According to the government’s sentencing guidelines study in 2004, the average custodial sentence imposed for rape of an adult was 79.7 months and for GBH was 50.1 months.  For dope dealing the average was 84.0 months.

Why does “intent to supply” a relatively harmless, though wrongly categorised class ‘A’ drug like Ecstasy, attract a stiffer sentence than “attempted rape”?

UPDATE : Just noticed that Peter Wilby in the New Statesman is saying the contemporary left is too timid to be rational on drugs. The centre-right is too, given that a fair share of the Shadow Cabinet have enjoyed recreational drug use, isn’t it time we stopped kow-towing to Dacre and had a grown up attitude to drug addiction? It is a public health problem, not a criminal / judicial problem.

Hat-tip : UK Drug Policy Commission

Bailout : Gordon’s £1.4 Trillion Fail

giltsHere is the futures price chart for the generic Gilt.  All that is stopping that chart going further south faster is that the Bank of England is printing money (though printing isn’t the way it done nowadays, the Bank just changes amounts in the electronic ledger).  Some of that money is recycled into mopping up gilts.  It won’t work for ever.

Gordon has convinced fellow members of the IMF to sell the fund’s gold reserves, this visibly holds down the gold price as the relative value of paper money is destroyed.   There will be an awful day of reckoning.

The gilt market will revolt sooner or later.   Darling’s fantasy forecasts will be rejected by those of us in the reality-based financial markets.   The numbers are horrific.  Bloomberg’s Andrew MacAskill has totted up the cost of the bailout as £1.4 trillion.  That is over 100% of GDP.

Public Hearings on MP’s Expenses


Sir Christopher Kelly has this morning announced the terms of reference for the The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Inquiry into MPs’ Expenses.  He says:

The aim of our Inquiry is to reform the system of MPs’ expenses to create a new set of rules which are trusted by the public, and which give MPs the support they need to do their jobs.

There will be public hearings, Guido intends to attend those hearings and make a submission through the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.*

Over the last five years of investigating MP’s fiddles it is fair to say that Guido has become something of an (unwilling) expert on the system and the abuses of the system by which MPs enrich themselves.

Broadly speaking there are some simple principles which need to underpin any new system.  Firstly and most importantly transparency.  We need a completely transparent system of financing.  The best protection we have against shady behaviour is sunlight.

Secondly we need full accounting.  Every single penny must be accounted for, it is public money and the public are entitled to know where it goes.  If politicians don’t like it, maybe public life is not for them.

*Full disclosure, Guido financially supports the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics.  If you want to intern for the Centre (next month) email your resume to team@sunlight-cops.org.uk.

Nadine Ambushed Gordon at PMQs

Yesterday, prior to PMQs, Nadine Dorries asked the Speaker to call her in order to ask the Prime Mentalist for a personal apology over Smeargate.  The Speaker declined her request claiming that he could not use PMQs for personal special requests. Which is untrue because he can and does.

Nadine DorriesIf you watch yesterdays PMQs you will witness a successful ambush.  When Nadine stood up to ask the question her backbench colleagues mysteriously sat down.  The Speaker had to call someone from the Conservative benches, he was left with no choice but to call Nadine. Gordon was thus forced  humiliatingly to make a direct apology.  Never, ever underestimate Nadine Dorries, she is a Tory Tigress…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reporting from the Guardian

IndexGuido was at the Index on Censorship Awards ceremony last night, deep in the bowels of the Guardian’s new fancy offices. The purpose built modern building will make a great museum when the paper eventually goes bust.

The event was packed to the gills with media luvvies and Islington’s finest. David Hare gave a splendidly acerbic speech. Chairman Johnathan Dimbleby raged against the “censorship” of the BBC’s Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen, who was mildly criticised for his blatant anti-Israeli bias by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee. Guido thought it a gentle rebuke to Bowen given how biased his broadcasts from the supposedly impartial state broadcaster seem. Hardly makes him a dissident, does it? He has been given no punishment, no demotion, nothing. Wonder if he had been criticised for anti-Palestinian bias would the room have been so concerned?

Václav HavelStereotypically the auction fundraiser saw a week in a Tuscan villa get the top bid from the assembled Hampstead liberals and Guardianistas. No, it really did. Guido was very pleased to win the auction for a copy of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto signed by Václav Havel himself. The dissident playwright was imprisoned multiple times during the Soviet era by an authoritarian socialist Czech regime, his plays were banned and he was reduced to working in a brewery. After the Velvet Revolution he ended up being President of the freed Czech Republic. It went for a tenth of the price of that week in Tuscany. Guardianistas really do have different values…

Budget Message : Sod Off If You Are Successful

Guido isn’t going to do much on the budget, the FT is probably the best place to go for coverage. As soon as the 50% tax hike was announced emails pinged into the inbox along the lines of “That’s it, I’m off to Switzerland”. What is Labour saying to those who work hard and become successful? “We will punish you” seems to be the message.

Good news for Dublin and Dubai.  They will welcome entrepreneurs with lower tax rates and open arms.  Guido would not be surprised if this measure ends up reducing revenues as people flee penal tax rates.

PMQs Budget Double Bill Live Chat

Ed Balls and Jim Knight Lied to Parliament

Ed Ball and Jim KnightKen Boston is opening up with both barrels on Ed Balls and his deputy Jim Knight.   Boston was made the fall guy for the SATS fiasco, not so he writes in an explosive letter. Guido can’t help feeling that if Ed Balls spent less time plotting his leadership path and more time on fixing the state school system we might be better off.

Read the letter (here) Boston has sent to the Select Committee overseeing Balls’ department – it accuses Balls and Knight of spin, smears and deliberate falsehoods. In more honourable days this letter would mean the Minister’s resignation this afternoon. Fat chance with this dysfunctional cabal in Downing Street…

UPDATE : Gove is demanding an apology from Balls, Graham Stuart, Tory member of the CSF Select Committee wants him to resign:

“Ministers have been accused of misleading Parliament, Lord Sutherland’s official inquiry and the Select Committee. Millions of children were let down by the SATS exams fiasco and the response of Ed Balls was allegedly to smear a public official who was then forced into silence for months afterwards. If these allegations are proved true then Ed Balls will have to come before the House of Commons, apologise and consider his position.”

Nothing would make a lot of Labour MPs happier…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Copy-Taking Culprit

From : guido.fawkes@order-order.com
To : foiteam@cabinet-office.xxxxxxx

Dear Sirs,Smokescreen

Further to my Freedom of Information Request and Subject Access Request made under the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) on March 27, 2009, please can you assure me that you will be including all emails to and from Damian McBride and The Daily Telegraph in the days before he resigned.

Particularly but not exclusively the emails referring to myself (pseudonymously or not) or my blog which were sent to Andrew Porter.

Regards,

Vince Doesn’t Do Forecasts

Guido was at the PoliticsHome budget preview last night (opinion report here) where Vince Cable was the star turn.  This report is written through the haze of a hang-over, so as best Guido can recall he didn’t really say much new except that he didn’t expect to be Chancellor in a Lib-Lab coalition government.  Guido asked Vince to give an estimate of where he saw interest rates, inflation and unemployment levels in two years time. He said he didn’t do predictions and then predicted 3 million unemployed, he thought inflation and interest rates would go higher but stay in single digits.  So fix your mortgage rate now.

Ian Gibson MP was the only person more drunk than Guido and he gave a trenchant analysis of the Labour Party’s political position;  “We’re F****d so we might as well just let rip on public spending.” He also told Guido “what comes around, goes around”. Wonder what he meant?


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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