Friday, June 20, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich at Our Expense

The mortgage on the Winterton’s Belgravia flat purchased in the mid-nineties was paid by the taxpayers for a decade. However the generosity of the taxpayers wasn’t enough for them…
By 2002 they were the owners of a now mortgage free property in very good repair (we paid for the repairs) worth some £700,000, yet the Wintertons had a problem. There was no longer a mortgage to justify a housing allowance, meaning that tens of thousands of pounds that they had been claiming annually would no longer be claimable.

The Wintertons transferred the property to a trust to avoid £280,000 inheritance tax – a not unusual arrangement – however their arrangement had a twist. They themselves are the trustees, their children are the beneficiaries. The trustees (the Wintertons) charged the tenants (the Wintertons) £21,600 a year rent, which was paid by the taxpayer (you).

That arrangement over five years would, by Guido’s estimation, net them the trust £108,000 tax free, equivalent before tax to £180,000 to an ordinary taxpayer. The Standards and Privileges Committee has ruled that those payments are against the rules.

So will the estimated £108,000 paid to their own trust be repaid to the taxpayer? If not, why not?

Ed and Yvette Balls are Labour’s equivalent to the Wintertons. Mr and Mrs Balls are paid by the taxpayers quarter-of-a-million a year between them to ride around in ministerial limos, yet so hard done by are they that they still need to claim tens of thousands extra in mortgage subsidy on top. The cabinet pair have registered their North London house as a ‘second home’ under parliamentary rules, entitling them to allowances of up to £43,200 a year to subsidise their £438,000 mortgage.

The home in Yorkshire nearer to their constituencies was previously called their second home. But by simply declaring their more expensive London house to be their secondary residence, they can claim more money from taxpayers. The rules state that their primary residence, against which they cannot claim, is the home in which they are ordinarily resident. They spend most of their time in London at their “second home” and their kids go to schools locally. When Andrew Neil recently challenged Ed Balls about this live on television, Ed said “it is complicated”. No it isn’t, it is a fiddle to extract more pork out of the taxpayer. They are defrauding the taxpayers by lying as to where their primary residence is actually located. Shamelessly.

They have in the past done the now commonplace ruse of re-mortgaging a home that has had the mortgage paid down by the taxpayers subsidy to realise profits as well. By lying that their main home is actually their second home they are now entitled to hit up the taxpayer for any appliances they can buy in John Lewis, household repairs, kitchen re-fits and even groceries.

The Wintertons and the Balls are just two everyday examples of plain and simple wholesale looting by the political class. Why are they allowed to get away with it, unpunished even on the rare occasions when they are found to have broken the very lax rules? Why shouldn’t they be asked to pay back the monies by the Parliamentary authorities? The Standards and Privileges Committee, made up of MPs, has ruled that the Wintertons broke the rules and were not entitled to the payments. What is the punishment? They will continue to be paid the rule breaking payments for another three months. They won’t be asked to repay the payments, they will continue to receive the payments from the Fees Office for another three months to allow them make alternative arrangements. Does that strike you as taking the piss?

Compare the treatment of the troughing Wintertons to the treatment of an unfortunate researcher working for an MP (Guido knows her identity). She was over-paid an extra month after she terminated her employment with David Ruffley MP. She thought it was her termination bonus. Some months later she was contacted by the very same Fees Office asking for re-payment. She explained she thought it was her bonus, and that she had spent it and could only afford to repay it in installments. The Fees Office refused to accept her offer and are currently taking her to Court for a mistake not of her making. A very different kind of justice for her…

See also Mr & Mrs Balls Cash In On Two Homes Loophole

Dark Force Recognised

The Mail this morning casts Gordon Brown as the Sith Emperor from Star Wars. The dark forces of the Smith Institute are still under investigation…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Haltemprice Innuendo

Is there no end to the innuendo laden demeaning of politics? David Davis is calling on Gordon Brown to come out“: “Mr Brown likes to talk about Britishness – fundamental to Britishness is being free. He should come out and argue the case.” Something the co-conspirators have wanted Gordon to do for a long time.

A Love That Dares to Send Writ Threats

The mini-furore over Andy Burnham’s amusing innuendo-rich suggestion of some kind of seduction of Basher Davis after “late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with” Shami Chakrabarti is not something of which Guido would approve. Guido is responsible for Westminster innuendo and Burnham should stay off his turf.

Shami is not happy either, here is her letter to Andy:

I am writing in relation to your recent article in the ironically titled “Progress” magazine. In that article you set out to smear my dealings with the former Shadow Home Secretary. I must say that I find this behaviour curious, coming as it does from a Cabinet Minister; let alone someone with a partner and family of his own.

By your comments you debase not only a great office of State but the vital debate about fundamental rights and freedoms in this country. Indeed you seem reluctant to engage in that debate except in this tawdry fashion.

I look forward to your written apology as I’m sure does Mrs Davis. If on the other hand you choose to continue down the path of innuendo and attempted character assassination, you will find that the privileged legal protection of the parliament chamber does not extend to slurs made in the wider public domain. The fruits of any legal action will of course go to Liberty(the National Council for Civil Liberties).

Shami is getting a bit up herself here, Guido is something of an expert in this area and can see that she does not have a leg to stand on. Any reasonable person can see Burnham was clearly teasing, not really suggesting they were having an actual affair. Shami should hit back with an attack on Andy’s mascara looks. Any way, good to see that the Guidoisation of politics has reached cabinet level…

UPDATE : Burnham’s office has released a statement “An interpretation has been placed on Andy’s remarks that he did not intend. His comments related to politics and nothing else. He regrets if any personal offence has been caused.”

Via : Brogan

"The Hitch" Meets Peter Hitchens

The Hitch has just called with news, he has met the object of his homage this morning outside the British Museum.

Having spotted his hero he, of course, asked him for an autograph.

The not-at-all-bonkers Hitchens produced a grubby biro from his pocket, apologised for not having a fountain pen and proceeded to sign, just as he reached the letter “H” the Hitch said “I think I owe you an apology”. He immediately stops and asks “Why?”

As the Hitch recounts

“I’m the one who called himself Peter Hitchens on the Guido blog.” His chin hits his chest, a look of righteous indignation spread across his face followed by the screwing up of the autograph and his saying “In that case you aren’t having my autograph.”

I proffered my apology saying that as soon as I realised not-at-all-bonkers Hitchens had been hurt by my homage, I stopped doing it, this apparently wasn’t enough for the committed Christian. A frank exchange of views was then exchanged. Despite having told him it had all been in good spirit, Hitchens replied “If you really believe that then you are an even bigger aperture than you look”. To which I then retorted with a sub-Wildean flourish “And you are even more of a pompous w****r than I ever imagined, and you have a fat arse, now f*** off!”

The Hitch reports that his not-at-all-bonkers namesake then did just that, affording him a fine view of the Hitchens posterior as he wandered off a broken man. The Hitch is a disappointed, autograph-less man this morning…

See also the infamous blog post Peter Hitchens Stalking The Hitch

Downing Street Lisbon Treaty Referendum Update

As it stands this morning according to the Prime Minister’s own Downing Street website:

21,194 people have voted “No”


18 people have voted “Yes”

Open Government in Practice

The Register tried to interview a senior Civil Servant about another IT related fiasco, a Home Office press officer called soon after to say that “I’m not impressed by that… you [The Register] do not do that, you come through us. If you do you will not get any response [at all to your queries]“.

They asked if it was Home office policy to threaten journalists with excommunication if they try talking to senior civil servants. “No,” she said. “It’s just the way it is.” They really have forgotten who pays their wages…

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Downing Street Offers Lisbon Treaty Referendum Today

If you wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as promised by Gordon, now via the Downing Street petition site* you can finally vote for or against ratifying the treaty. Who said Downing Street would never give the people a chance to vote on the Lisbon Treaty?
or

Click on the appropriate box to vote on the official Downing Street Website

*Guido might have helped bring this referendum about…

Egotistical, Moi?

His DavidDavisforFreedom.com campaign site has come in for some criticism for being “too white”, and his blog is without a facility for comments. That’s nothing, he is having an election without opponents.

UPDATE : Fraser Nelson has an article in tomorrow’s Spectator which basically says Basher Davis was bored. So this is, as Harriet Harman says, a bit of a “frolic”. Why not just get a young mistress for a bit of excitement?

PMQs : Don’t Just Shout Abuse at the Telly!


Seen Elsewhere

Full Jenkin/Beckett/Straw Letter to PM | Politics Home
The ‘Buckingham Bonaparte’ is Cornered | Speccie
Coalition: The Movie | Indy
Lefties Moan About Messina Working For Cameron | MSNBC
Karen Danczuk V Louise Mensch: Round 48 | Sun
Jack Straw Slams Bercow | Sky News
Putin Shuts Down Red Square McDonalds | Telegraph
Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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