Wednesday, August 19, 2009

+++ Rose Friedman Dies +++

She died yesterday according to the annoucement on the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation website.

rose-and-milton

Our central theme in public advocacy has been the promotion of human freedom….it underlies our opposition to rent control and general wage and price controls, our support for educational choice, privatizing radio and television channels, an all-volunteer army, limitation of government spending, legalization of drugs, privatizing Social Security, free trade, and the deregulation of industry and private life to the fullest extent possible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gold-Plated Interns

Interns are a plenty with graduate unemployment high.  Only this government would pay someone with little to no experience more than the average national salary:

Departmental Work Experience

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many interns work in his Department; what terms of reference apply to their appointment; what remuneration they receive; and how long on average an intern appointment lasts. [286823]

Joan Ruddock: DECC currently has one intern. DECC’s terms of reference for interns are still being developed, and are based on giving an individual a personal development opportunity and introducing them to the civil service, while completing a meaningful piece of work.

Remuneration for this contract is based on £29,191 (pro rata) which is in line with the DEFRA HEO starting salary.

This contract is for three months.

Source: Hansard, Column 1630W, 21 July 2009,

Not as if the government has a budget deficit or anything…

Purnell’s Pig-Sty II

purnells-front-gardenJames Purnell has always been a bit shifty with his main residence claims – they tend to get flipped depending on what is the most rewarding in terms of expenses and capital gains dodges. He also got into a bit of trouble for leaving his old flat in a disgusting state. Purnell’s constituency “primary residence” (pictured here) looks like a dump. 

Guido knows he is hardly ever there, but now he has time on his hands he could make a bit more of an effort…

Via : Tameside Mafia

The High Pay “Problem”

David Aaronovitch suggests, not completely seriously, that perhaps it would be better to just publish people’s tax returns publicly rather than having a High Pay Quango to regulate banker’s bonuses.  As Aaronovitch says, it would be fun.

It will also destroy any semblance of privacy.  If private individuals have made money in the private sector why does anyone apart from their paymasters – the shareholders – have a right to know what they are being paid?

On the other hand everyone in the public sector and in public life should be transparent with their paymasters – the public.  So BBC mandarins, Newsnight presenters, civil servants and politicians should reveal how much of our money they are trousering, down to the last penny.  We are the paymasters.

It seems eminently sensible that members of parliament should, as in America, publish their tax returns. It would be nice to know how Mandelson in less than a decade has gone from being broke and tearful in his Hartlepool constituency with “water pouring down the walls”, to being able to afford a £2.4 million mansion off Regent’s Park for cash. He did this during a decade in which he was a selfless public servant.  Multi-millionaire John Prescott’s tax returns would be similarly interesting.  Alan Duncan is wailing that he might be a millionaire, but he isn’t rich, show us the truth Dunky and we will understand.

Polly Toynbee, the multi-millionairess toff and three-house-owning, Tuscan redistributionist friend of the down-trodden,  made the same demand some time back, namely for everyone to have their tax return in the public domain.  Guido emailed her to ask how much she made, she demanded to know details of Guido’s tax return first.  Guido gave the figure, she declined to reciprocate.  She did later reveal she was getting by on a mere £117,000 basic before book advances, royalties and appearance fees.  Barely enough to maintain her three residences.

So Aaronovitch, here is a chance for you to lead by example: how much did you make last year?

*Well not Guido in the case of the BBC, he refuses to pay the telly tax.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning view

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bell Pottinger Shall Party with the Tories After All

Like Cinderella it turns out that despite cancelling their own party, Bell Pottinger’s Peter Bingle shall go to the Tory ball. They are sponsoring Policy Exchange’s party at the Conservative conference.  Rumours of a six figure sponsorship deal turn out to be spin from rivals.  A “four-figure party” Guido is told. 

Hope there will be enough canapes to go round…

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Obama Agrees with Hannan: He Don’t Love the NHS

Mandelson and Brown are trying to play up Dan Hannan’s comment that “If the Americans came to me and said, ‘Would you recommend us taking up a system just like the British NHS?’, I think I would have to say ‘No.”

That whole line of attack has just fallen apart: President Obama has told Americans he would not use Britain’s “socialised” system as a model.

He also told an audience in Montana yesterday that he would not implement a “big government solution”. Obama said that a government-run system was not being proposed, nor was he seeking a “socialised” system; “I’m not in favour of a British system”. Looks like he don’t love the NHS…

Wonk Wanted : £100,000 Offered

The Institute of Economic Affairs has appointed headhunters at Odgers Berndtson to find a new General Director to lead the daddy of all think-tanks into the 21st Century.  The salary is £100,000, the closing date is August 28, if you want to brush off your CV.  Can’t be many wonks on that kind of money…

They say they are looking for a media-savvy, free marketeer with drive.   They should have political nous, but no party ties.  Guido has listed a few potential candidates previously.  There are also a few unemployed (and employed) journalists around who might be interested in the job.

At that rate even Guido could be tempted if it were not for the “no drinking on the premises” restriction…

Friday, August 14, 2009

NHS Twitter Storm in Small Tea-Cup

Twitter plus politics seems to get people very excited.  So the number of people who are hashtagging WeLovetheNHS is in the news.  Sarah Brown is in on the Twitter tag, Downing Street has just sent out an email about it, Cameron did the same yesterday.

Viral!  Some say it even crashed the Twitter system.  It didn’t.  How many people have used the #welovethenhs hash tag exactly?  In three days 11,902 people have Tweeted it a total of 22,642 times at the time of writing.  By comparison   69,991 people have signed the petition on the Downing Street website calling on Gordon Brown to resign and some 2.5 million people watched Dan Hannan dissect Gordon Brown to his face live on YouTube.  Guido knows internet viral storms when he sees them.  This ain’t one.

11,902 people is less than the number of people who come to this blog site on a day in Silly Season when Guido hasn’t even posted an article. Get a grip you twits…

UPDATE : If Sarah and Gordon love the NHS so much, why did she urge him to spend thousands of pounds having his teeth done privately? They don’t love the NHS enough to wait for it to fix his teeth. Hypocrite.

High Pay Attracts Wrong Type of MP

Alan Duncan has, we are told, been given a final “third strike and you are out” warning by Dave. Guido can’t see how the public can trust the Tories to be really sincere on reforming MPs’ expenses if Alan Duncan is negotiating for the Tories. His sense of self-entitlement clearly shows he is not well disposed to anything that is going to reduce his ability to pick the pockets of the taxpayers.

Tory backbenchers are lining up behind Duncan’s claim that parliament will not be able to attract candidates of the “right calibre”. Complete bullshit – this is a self-serving and fallacious argument. The army pays poorly and yet still attracts the best calibre people, well motivated and made of the right stuff. The finest priests are poor and honest.

Comparison
Politics is a field that has always attracted the worst character types; the power hungry and the vain, egotistical blowhards with an an over-developed sense of self worth go into politics the world-over claiming they want to “make the world a better place”. Paying them high salaries and padding it all out with financial perks compounds the problem. It attracts people with all the usual character flaws of those attracted to politics and who are also plain greedy.

Politics should be about public service, it should be an honour, not a grubby profession pursued for personal enrichment straight out of Oxbridge.

Don’t go into politics to make money. Choose a different business career if you want to be wealthy. Better still make some money first and go into politics after you have gained a couple of decades of real world experience. John Prescott becoming a multi-millionaire at the taxpayers’ expense when he was supposed to be a servant of the people sends out the wrong signals.

Politicians who claim that the “right calibre” people are motivated by high financial rewards really mean they want those rewards. Guido wants politicians who are motivated not by the prospect of personal enrichment, but instead by the honour of being elected as public servants.


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