Monday, December 8, 2008

So It Begins : UK Authorities Censor Wikipedia

If you search Wikipedia for The Scorpions Virgin Killer album, you will get a “The requested URL en.wikipedia.org was not found on this server” 404 error. This is because the album cover is deemed to be child pornography. The censorship is being done at Internet Service Provider level by the networks. The rights and wrongs of this case are nuanced.

The technological capability will no doubt have the politicians salivating. They are able to block any website on some pre-text from being viewed in the UK. That is a power they won’t be able to resist…

Hat-tip : The Register

Can Someone Explain the Bank Bail-Out?

Guido has flu and so does baby Ms Fawkes, who made her unhappiness abundantly clear between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. this morning. So perhaps it is the grogginess that is hindering Guido’s ability to comprehend Gordon’s financial genius. The £600 billion bank bail out plan to restore liquidity to the credit markets includes the following elements:
  • H.M. Treasury has guaranteed British inter-bank lending (charging a hefty penalty risk premium adding to the cost of inter-bank lending).
  • The Treasury has demanded preference shares from the banks with, from memory, a 12% interest charge to be paid by the banks.
  • The Treasury has also encouraged the FSA to double the requirement for banks to hold government gilts in their reserves, yielding somewhat less than a paltry 4%.
  • The Treasury is demanding that banks lend at mortgage rates closer to base rates.
Is Guido missing something? How can the banks make a profit and recapitalise if the government has both hiked their cost of capital and reduced the returns on their reserves, as well as exhorting them to reduce their margins on mortgage lending? How does this plan add up?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gordon’s Slush Fund

The Mail on Sunday this morning is following up on this story. Guido will have more revelations next week…

Friday, December 5, 2008

Something Odd in the Banking Bill

Guido is suspicious about this seemingly innocuous amendment in the new Banking Bill:

Banking Bill
Part 7 — Miscellaneous

Weekly return

Section 6 of the Bank Charter Act 1844 (Bank to produce weekly account) shall cease to have effect.
The 1844 Banking Bill ensured transparency in the operations of the Bank of England. It has been good enough for over 164 years.The section the new Banking Bill seeks to abolish reads as follows:
And be it enacted, That an Account of the Amount of Bank of England Notes issued by the Issue Department of the Bank of England, and of Gold Coin and of Gold and Silver Bullion respectively, and of Securities in the said Issue Department, and also an Account of the Capital Stock, and the Deposits, and of the Money and Securities belonging to the said Governor and Company in the Banking Department of the Bank of England, on some Day in every Week to be fixed by the Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes, shall be transmitted by the said Governor and Company weekly to the said Commissioners in the Form prescribed in the Schedule hereto annexed marked (A.), and shall be published….

Surely it can’t be that they don’t want us to know how fast the Bank of England’s printing presses are going to be running?

Krazy Kaschke Kraut

Rather than going into tedious detail about why LabourHome’s Alex Hilton is being sued by Johanna Kaschke, Guido just wants to say that Johanna Kaschke is definitely ‘one cherry short of a Schwarzwalderkirschtorte’.

Last year she claimed to be “a member of the GMB Union, the Respect Party, the Communist Party”, this year she is a member of the Conservative Party. Blue clearly is the new red. Mockery is not actionable Kaschke, so don’t bother sending a writ…

Friday Caption Competition (You’re Nicked Edition)

Hain : CPS Statement in Full


CPS decides no charges for Peter Hain MP


5 December 2008


The Crown Prosecution Service has today advised all concerned parties that there is insufficient evidence to charge Peter Hain MP with any offences in relation to donations made to Mr Hain’s campaign to support his bid to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in mid 2007.


Stephen O’Doherty, reviewing lawyer from the CPS Special Crime Division said: “Although Mr Hain did not report all regulated donations to the Electoral Commission within the 30 days stipulated by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, in order to prove a criminal breach of the Act the Crown must first prove that Mr Hain held the position of either a ‘regulated donee’ or, if operating via a ‘members association’ he was the ‘person responsible for dealing with donations to the association’.


“The evidence in this case shows that Mr Hain’s campaign was run through an organisation named ‘Hain4Labour’ which was made up of members of the Labour Party. That organisation had its own bank account and the funds for Mr Hain’s campaign were solicited for that account and cheques donated were made out to that account. Those were all characteristics of a ‘members association’ as defined in the Act. Mr Hain was not a signatory to that account and did not direct where funds should be spent.


“In light of this evidence, I have concluded that Mr Hain was not the ‘regulated donee’ and nor was he the person responsible for dealing with donations to the association under the terms of the PPERA.”


“As to who should have been responsible for reporting these regulated donations, it is not possible to prove from the evidence available that any other individuals involved with Mr Hain’s campaign fell into the category of being either the regulated donee or the person responsible for dealing with donations. Accordingly I have advised the police to take no further action.”


Following a review into donations received to support Mr Hain’s election campaign by the Electoral Commission, the matter was referred for investigation to the Metropolitan Police Service in January 2008. Following their investigation, a file was submitted to the CPS in July 2008.

So you can raise some £100,000 without declaring it to the Electoral Commission in support of an elected politician using a shady “think tank” / slush fund and get away with it, so long as you muddy the waters enough. The Progressive Policies Forum was a slush fund. It had done nothing, had undertaken no known political activity, had no employees, no policies and there was no forum or indeed any meeting ever. When it quacks like a slush fund, acts like a slush fund and washes money like a slush fund, it is a slush fund.

Was it really not possible for the CPS to prove who was responsible for dealing with donations? Some donations we know were sent to the offices of Morgan Allen Moore, Steve Morgan was running the campaign. Steve Morgan, told Radio Wales on January 8, 2008 that he had been brought in to the campaign to “bring order to chaos”.

Here is a clue*:

—–Original Message—–
From: Huw Roberts [mailto:huw@huwrobertsassociates.com]
Sent: 24 April 2007 16:23
To: ian@tmcommunications.net; alan.cummins@waitrose.com; ‘Dai Davies'; russell.goodway@thechamberofcommerce.org.uk; showell@freshwater-uk.com; gary.mawer@up-ltd.co.uk; kate.lewis@morganallenmoore.com;
frank.specsavers@virgin.net;
nigel.roberts@paramountinteriors.com;john@clearco.co.uk

Cc: steve.morgan@morganallenmoore.com; andrew.bold@walesoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Subject: Dinner

Dear all

Thank you all for joining us at dinner last night. I thought it was a thoroughly enjoyable event as well as very helpful to Peter’s campaign. As I am now off to France to recuperate, Kate Lewis has very kindly agreed to follow up on the delicate matter of the contributions to the campaign fund.

Cheques, made payable to “Hain4Labour” should be sent to Kate at Morgan, Allen, Moore, Bay Chambers, West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5BB.

Best wishes,

Huw

Is it really impossible to determine who on the campaign team was responsible for donations?


Bear in mind, if Hain had “bought the election” having spent double the expenditure of the other candidates, he would now be deputy leader of the party of government, and beholden to secret donors unknown to us. That is not a minor technicality.

*The authenticity of this email was confirmed by Huw Roberts to the journalist Martin Shipton of the Western Mail.

Clegg Right to Boycott Speakers Ruse

Nick Clegg is not allowing the Speaker to get away with packing the committee looking into the Green affair, the LibDems will boycott the committee. The Speaker plans to establish a seven strong committee with four Labour placemen in the majority. A fix in other words.

Another LibDem, Chris Huhne, gave one of the most spirited speeches in defence of Green’s whistleblowing and against the government’s heavy handedness.

The unprincipled partisanship of the Labour hierarchy over this has driven the LibDems to side with the Tories again. If the next election is competitive Labour may regret having driven the LibDems towards the Tories so many times on so many issues…

+++ BBC – CPS Taking No Action Against Peter Hain +++

Statement due at 10.00.


Seen Elsewhere

Hunt Told Off By Former Head | TES
Scrap Tax on Family Flights | ConHome
Has May Declared War on Downing Street? | James Kirkup
The Nasty Left | Dan Hodges
Men Flock to UKIP | Andrew Cadman
London-Britain Divide | Alex Wickham
Pickles Puts Prezza’s Surplus Stationary to Use | Speccie
How Capitalists Can Win the Argument | CapX
Theresa May, or Maybe Not | Spectator Life
YouGov: Working Class Prefers UKIP to Labour | Times
Sainsbury’s Disowns Left-Wing Blogger | Mail


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


A ‘senior Conservative party official’ passes judgement on Theresa May:

“She is boring. A technocrat. She is Philip Hammond with a fanny. Not interesting, but rendered interesting by circumstance. And that circumstance is that she is a woman. And in an age when the Prime Minister gets it in the neck for refusing to wear a fucking T-shirt that says he is a feminist, that is a rocket boost right underneath you.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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