Thursday, April 10, 2008

What Has David Pitt-Watson Got to Lose?

Something is troubling Guido’s suspicious mind about the new explanation for David Pitt-Watson not taking up the post of General Secretary of the Labour Party.

According to the Brownies, as communicated via the usually reliable medium on these matters, Ben Brogan’s blog;

The new general secretary is said to be worried about the state of the party’s finances and the rules that say his personal assets could be forfeit if the party goes into liquidation. Mr Brown counters that it would never happen so the problem doesn’t arise, but has reluctantly given Mr P-W time to sort his personal finances in order and put his wealth (described to me as “low millions”) beyond reach.

Now the only way this could be done is for him to divest himself of his assets into some kind of unbreakable trust of which he was not a beneficiary. Would Gordon countenance the future General Secretary of a party mired in financial scandals involving proxy donors and illegal donations doing something that would be perceived by some as questionable? And to take all the time he likes about it? Which direction is that on the moral compass?

How many millions has the new General Secretary of the Labour Party got to put beyond reach? Well his NW5 home is probably worth a little short of £2 million. He worked for a few years at Hermes on the asset management side where he remains a director of two of their funds as well as Oxford Analytica and our old friends the IPPR. So low millions seems about right.

He was in 1997 a director of two Labour Party controlled limited liability companies, Labour Party Properties Limited and Labour Nominees Limited. Perhaps he would rather the Labour Party itself was a limited liability entity? Maybe. Certainly some are speculating along those lines. Hard to see how the party could be re-configured on that basis without the unanimous agreement of all the creditors and a vote at the party conference. There is no way that the Co-op Bank could, bearing in mind its fiduciary duties, accept such a change.

Something isn’t quite right here. Remember that originally Downing Street spin, by which we mean lies, that DPW was tied up by contractual commitments? This new line still doesn’t make any sense. Guido has a hunch that the truth is as originally reported. To Gordon’s tantrum-ridden horror, DPW simply doesn’t really want the job…

Boris is Right, Tories Wrong. London Should Be a Shining City

Anyone who believes in free markets and free trade has to believe as a corollary in the free movement of people. Guido is the son of immigrants who came from Ireland and India to London in the 1950s and 1960s for economic and social reasons. They came, primarily, to better themselves. Now having lived and worked in some of the world’s greatest cities Guido still believes that London is the best of them all and is grateful that the city took in his parents.

Sure the public transport system sucks, it does in Tokyo and New York as well. Culturally New York is very self-centred and less internationalist, Tokyo is a bit of a mono-culture that just about tolerates foreigners. London is much more cosmopolitan than even New York with better French food than Paris, more bankers than Frankfurt and better nightlife than Berlin.Many people have come here without the right paperwork, they have come here to work and better themselves. They are not the problem and should be allowed to stay and given if necessary an amnesty to make them legally resident. They enrich us all. It is the people who come here to abuse the welfare state and commit crimes that are the problem.

Cameron disavows the policy and ConservativeHomies are up in arms about Boris supporting an amnesty for illegal immigrants. They should remember that one of their heroes, Ronald Reagan, supported and implemented an amnesty. London should be a beacon to those who want to be free to prosper for themselves and their families. Disqualifying newcomers from abusing the welfare state and deporting convicted foreign criminals might reduce the opposition to immigrants. Ronald Reagan did something like that when he had an amnesty for immigrants in 1986, because to him, the ultimate conservative optimist, immigration was a vital part of his vision of his country as “a shining city upon a Hill”.

Boris is an optimist in the Reagan mould who would like London to be a shining city for those seeking freedom and prosperity. An amnesty might not be a popular stance to take, illegal immigrants don’t have any votes, but it is the right stance.

No News from the New Statesman

The Staggers remains rudderless and loss making. Geoffrey Robinson has gone on holiday for a fortnight, so don’t expect any news until he gets back. Meanwhile over at the loss making Indy, Roger Alton is taking over as editor. They don’t call it the Dead-Tree-Press for nothing…

Gordon Begs and Rages at Gen-Sec Elect "Don’t Walk Away"

Guido has previously speculated about whether or not the Labour Party was actually legally solvent. It is noticeable that loan after loan has fallen due and not been repaid. The money has been rolled over, reportedly with some reluctance by some lenders. The party is up to its neck in debt to the Co-Op Bank and and the unions via money laundered through Unity Trust Bank. The latter bank has lent so much money to the Labour Party against a small capital base that the FSA put it on the high risk loan register and demanded monthly report monitoring of the risk.

David Pitt-Watson, as a calculating City risk taker, would have been well aware of the risk. The Labour Party is now classed by credit agencies as a dangerously high credit risk. As an unincorporated association the bulk of assets and debts are in law owned by trustees for the Labour Party, which is £20 million in debt and the members of the NEC are personally liable. If an aggrieved creditor were to call in the debts, it would be them who would be on the hook. David Pitt-Watson is worth millions, which a canny creditor might think worth pursuing. Ben Brogan has been briefed by Downing Street that, as speculated first on LabourHome and followed up by the Guardian, this is the reason Pitt-Watson has had second thoughts about the job. Brogan says that it will take until the autumn for “DPW” to “sort his affairs”.

Well it is certainly more plausible than the original spin from Downing Street that the delay was due to “contractual reasons” related to his previous appointment. To be honest, Guido never believed that line and this seems a bit too convenient as well.

Taking the explanation at face value is hard to do. Setting up a discretionary trust to protect your assets from creditors takes weeks not months, it also has the benefit of putting your assets out of the Chancellor’s reach. Wonder how the Labour Party rank-and-file will feel about a multi-millionaire general secretary of the party who has such little faith in his own skills and the party’s ability to raise funds that he hides his own money from creditors whilst putting his assets beyond the reach of the tax man? Not exactly “for the many, not the few” is it?

Incidentally, is this story LabourHome’s first proper scoop? Does it redeem Alex Hilton’s reputation?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Brown Dithers Over OlympicsNow Not Going, but Not Boycotting Either

Two weeks ago the line from Downing Street was:

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain will not boycott the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics.

After being humiliated by Kevin Rudd, (the Aussie PM) and Chinese Goons in Downing Street Gordon can’t now straight forwardly answer this simple question:

Q. Will you boycott the opening ceremony of the Chinese Olympics in protest at their policies in Tibet?

A. No I will not be boycotting the opening ceremony, I will not, however, be attending.

It is the will he / won’t he farce of the signing of the Lisbon treaty all over again. Trying to have it both ways because he is afraid to decide. This from the man who has his name on two books on “courage”.

He is however thinking of attending the closing ceremony. A couple of weeks ago we were told he would be attending because the “Dalai Lama himself.. yada yada yada bullshit spin and dither”. Why can’t he just be decisive one way or the other?

UPDATE : After Channel 4 News led on this story yesterday evening both Ben Brogan on the Daily Mail and Nick Robinson were clearly telephoned by the Brownies last night to be briefed that the position was always that the Ditherer was not going to the opening ceremony. A point they have faithfully conveyed. Something that, as far as Guido can determine, we were never told by them before. So the Press Association and many others got it wrong two weeks ago. We were never at war with Eurasia, Eurasia has always been our ally.

Charles Clarke Cashes In

Charles Clarke has been given a position by KPMG. Which is nice of them, it is of course entirely unrelated to the millions of pounds of contracts he gave when he was Secretary of State at the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) and the Home Office.

The DfES paid £1.3 million to KPMG in 2004 while the Home Office paid the company £90,000 for a review of the costing methodology of the ID Cards programme in 2005, both during Clarke’s tenure as the minister in charge.

Former Blairites cashing in on their ministerial experience with companies they regulated is becoming the norm:

  • Patricia Hewitt, former Health Secretary, is now a special consultant at Alliance Boots, owner of Boots the pharmacist. UPDATE : Forgot BT – she of course knows something about crap, too big organisations from her NHS days. She was instrumental in awarding a contract for the huge NHS Spine project to BT.
  • Alan Milburn, another former Health Secretary, is on the Healthcare Advisory Boards of Lloydspharmacy and PepsiCo.
  • Ian McCartney, a former minister at the department in charge of nuclear policy, the DTI, is an adviser to Fluor Corporation, part of a consortium that is bidding to run Sellafield
  • Richard Caborn, another former trade minister, is an advisor to AMEC UK, another company bidding to run Sellafield.
Isn’t it amazing how they never have any business experience when they go into government – not even a whelk stall – but when they come out of government they soon gain some.

Clarke’s appointment was given the all clear by the relevant advisory committee. So that is alright then…

Socialist Worker : "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, In! In! In!"

Not quite their new chant, but the latest edition of Socialist Worker, (the required reading for mockney speaking, public school educated, lefty students) does compare Gordon unfavourably to Margaret Thatcher. He cuts taxes for the bosses and raises taxes on the workers…

Maggie, say the Trotskyites, cut taxes for those on low incomes, Gordon hammers taxes onto the low paid. So can we expect the SWP to update their old chant?

Pound Plunging Means Europhiles Rejoice

This chart makes europhiles moist with excitement…A lot of eurosceptics have a nightmare scenario in which the plunging pound reaches parity with euro. At this point, they believe, swapping pounds for euros would be easier for the political class to sell to fundamentally eurosceptical British voters. It is no big deal the europhiles will claim, “prices will remain unchanged”.
The pound has now plunged to an all-time low against the euro, it bought €1.50 last year and now buys €1.25. At this rate of decline sterling could easily hit parity before the next general election. So a by-product of UK inflation getting out of control, growth faltering and house prices slumping could be joining the European Monetary Union and anchoring our economy to the Bundesbank. You have been warned…

Talking of warnings, only on Saturday Gordon was pontificating that the IMF needed to become “an early warning system”, well yesterday the IMF warned UK house prices could fall 10% this year. Got that Gordon?

+++ Law Lords Unanimously Dismiss Appeal for Iraq Inquiry +++

Naughty Naughtie

Did James Naughtie really just describe Gordon’s political situation as “a circle out of which he cannot jerk himself”. Yes, he did.

Seen Elsewhere

Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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