Now the economy is in trouble Irish interest rates should be lowered to make the currency more competitive and the attractive to U.S. investors. Ireland is a high cost country for American investors who now look elsewhere. Irish finance ministers John Bruton in 1986 and Bertie Ahern in 1993 drove down the punt to bring in foreign investment when economic growth was faltering. But as a member of the euro, devaluation of the exchange rate is no longer an option.
Yesterday the president of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet bluntly told Paul Tansey, economics editor of the europhile Irish Times that “the ECB has to care for the superior interest of the euro area”. Tough luck, Ireland isn’t important, monetary policy will not help the Irish. Anti-treaty campaigner Declan Ganey says the Irish are not eurosceptic, they are Brussels-sceptic. As the Brussels political elite’s contempt for Irish democracy becomes clearer, that could change…
Obviously the engineer enjoys his work…
Mail on Sunday
Northern Rock Hounds Whistle Blower
Mail on Sunday
Some bloke called Crick had a go as well – see here. Hmmm…
The Institute failed to implement key elements of the 2002 commitments arising from the first investigation.
The “predominant involvement of Labour Party politicians in the Institute’s activities, compromised the Institute’s independence.”
“Due to the amount and nature of party political content in some of the Institute’s events and publications, the Commission concluded that the Institute’s work was not always as sufficiently balanced and neutral as required under charity law”
“The trustees allowed inappropriate party political comments which were made at events, to be reported word for word… without any commentary, editing, qualification or disclaimer in Institute publications and disseminated to a wider audience”
The language used by the Institute at times “constituted a party political statement inappropriate for the charity. This inevitably compromised the Institute’s independence and reputation”
Directly criticised the trustees, finding “evidence of unchallenged party political comments being made at Institute events by politicians and also party political comments made by or on behalf of the Institute… combined with the predominant involvement of Labour Party politicians in the Institute’s activity, compromised the Institute’s independence. Bearing in mind the previous engagement between the Commission and the trustees in 2001/02 on this matter, the Commission concluded that the trustees had not safeguarded or adequately supervised the risks posed to the independence and reputation of the Institute”
Found that “the trustees had allowed the Institute to become exposed to concerns that is supported Government policy and was involved in party political activity inappropriate for a charity” and that they were “not sufficiently engaged to ensure the proper supervision of the charity”. The trustees were lambasted throughout the report for failing in their statutory duties to oversee the workings of the charity.
Still had ongoing concerns “over the Institute’s frequency of use of 11 Downing Street and over the review and monitoring of the impartiality of its educational programmes”.
Found “a number of instances where the balance and neutrality of the Institute’s work were compromised by a party political association… Sufficient steps had not been taken to identify or manage the perception that the Institute was unacceptably linked to and supported the Labour Party or that it inappropriately promoted Government policy… it is understandable how the perception arose that the Institute was focussed on or was connected to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer”.
This is a good result and Guido feels totally vindicated in making his complaint. The Commission has formally found the Institute in breach of the laws on political neutrality – anyone interested now knows what really went on. The Institute has been forced to restructure, with an audit committee. It has also closed down the subsidiary company S.I. Events Limited, which was used to launder money from corporations seeking regulatory favours and to invoice the Treasury for seminars. A formal oversight structure was ordered to be put in place with tight controls and it has been told to appoint known Tory and LibDem supporters to the board. It is now on probation and must report back on the implementation of the changes as ordered in six months. The Commission will take a second look next year.
Guido doesn’t think we will be hearing any more speeches on how to beat Cameron and the LibDems at Smith Institute events in the future…
Thought he said he wasn’t taking a foreign holiday..?
Labour are spinning that the report clears Gordon of any links to the Institute. Which is complete bollocks. The Treasury Minister John Healey welcomed attendees to Number 11 in December 2004 thus:
“I am a last-minute substitute for Gordon Brown, so I would like, on his behalf, to welcome you all to Number 11 Downing Street. I know, looking around, some of you are quite regular attendees of Smith Institute seminars, and you will know you get a letter from Wilf Stevenson before each one explaining that you are invited to Number 11 by Kind permission of the Chancellor. I have to say, this series of seminars in particular is being held not so much by the kind permission of the Chancellor, but by his absolute insistence that they take place. He is unable to be with us now, but he will want to know exactly what has been said in the discussion when I see him earlier this morning. Many of you, including and perhaps especially the panel here, have known Gordon for a long time”
The truth is the City and the Gilts market has regarded the Golden Rule as a political fiction for years. 700 or more PFI debts that build schools and hospitals owned by the state are government guaranteed debt whatever fudge the government claims. Northern Rock mortgage guarantees are not only bad debts they are also government debts, the Network Rail debt likewise, state pensions are another unfunded government debt.
The Office of National Statistics made it officially 43.1% back in May (full explanation from IFS download here). The only news is that the Treasury looks set to admit the truth. The pathetic reality is that Gordon’s psychology did not allow him to admit his failure to keep his own rule. The rule could have been kept to in the good times, it hardly needed much fiscal rectitude to sustain when he inherited falling public debts from Ken Clarke.
The Treasury is spinning this morning that it is not going to break or loosen the rules. Guido suspects it will “redefine” the economic cycle somehow.
See also Fantasy Island Economics.
They ask citizen bloggers to get in touch because “We’re thinking about how citizen journalism and new media are having, and might have, an impact on political communication, and on traditional journalism.” Well, Guido got in touch and they said “no comment”.
UPDATE : It is official. She resigned on Monday and an article has just popped up on the New Statesman‘s website where she says
“no matter who’s in an organisation, organisations seldom love you back as much as you love them. They are strangely, in this respect, less than the sum of their parts. And so it’s time to move on…. I wish Demos nothing but the absolute best, but a sense of après moi, le déluge has a certain appeal when you’ve been slugging your guts out for a couple of years. Does harbouring a secret longing for an inept successor, possibly unpleasant, maybe even scarily unattractive, make me a terrible person?”
Clegg can probably carry the parliamentary party, however the activist base is way to the left of his voters. Clegg’s party is in collective denial that it faces annihilation at the hands of the Tories in much of the South East. How will he get the legendary sandal-wearing, lentil-loving weirdy beardies to sell the new message?
When Cameron and Osborne won the leadership of the Tories, “Dolly” Draper was said to be boasting that he had socialised (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) with them back in the Notting Hill days. The understood implication being that none of them had kept their noses clean. No News of the Screws scandal exposé resulted. Some said it was because there was none, others mused that no newspaper editor thought Draper would be a credible witness for the defence in a defamation suit. Still, it will be handy to have his new skills available to Gordon…
UPDATE : 1 in 5 MPs has suffered mental illness according to a survey conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health. The report suggests that MPs cover-up their illnesses. LibDem MP Sandra Gidley chairs the group and says when “the former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik publicly disclosed his experience of depression, it did not affect his popularity”. The Palace of Westminster has a dispensary, the inventory supplies list would show a hefty monthly order for Prozac.
Without wishing to trivialise mental health issues, the PM’s mental health is being widely discussed if not publicly commented upon in the press. Given that Blair / Campbell back in the day described him as “psychologically flawed” it is not a new matter of concern. It is legitimate in these circumstances to consider the head of government’s mental well being when he clearly looks like someone at the end of his tether. A large proportion of the Westminster Village (across political lines) thinks that Gordon is unbalanced. The youthful wunderkind, blinded in one eye, the obsessive political nature, the brooding malevolence… some openly speculate that he suffers from high-functioning autism- a form of Aspergers. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem.
Some of the people that I have met out and about over the past 9 years as a local MSP have been absolutely inspirational. Today I met a man who was up there with the very best that the East End has to offer.
Mr McGuiness is a 93 year old – who looks not a day past 70, by the way – living in a sheltered housing complex that I went to visit today.
Mr McGuiness fought with the Desert Rats in World War II and was treated in hospital for shrapnel wounds. He also fought in Yugoslavia with the partisans against the German occupation.
He reminded me of all the sacrifices our older generation made so that we can enjoy freedom today. I hope every single voter in the East End uses their hard-fought right to vote on July 24th.
Having met Mr McGuiness today, I am reminded we owe it to people like him to use our democratic right to vote.
Mr McGuinness looks in good shape for 93. He looks more like 67. With good reason, he is 67. He was 4 years old when the war ended. The picture above is of George McGuinness a lifelong left-wing Labour activist whom Downing Street got an MBE as a reward.
Did you somehow get a different impression? You don’t think that was their deliberate intention?
UPDATE : The picture and the story have been up over a week, yet within minutes of this story being posted the picture was removed and the article has been drastically edited. Too late., they are also deleting the dozens of incoming mocking comments. The story now
has no picture and refers to Mr John Hipson. John Hipson will be pleased to know that Margaret Curran was so impressed with meeting him she could not even remember his name.
The former Brown fan “The Mole“ occasionally brings back the odd gem from inside the bunker. This has the ring of truth:
There are even reports from the PM’s plane to Japan that a young civil servant touted by Brown as his next speech-writer desperately doesn’t want the job and kept pretending to be asleep when the great man marched down the aisle towards him.
A group of London MPs who were called to the Cabinet room to meet Brown last week were mystified when – having told them that he wanted to tell them about his plans for dealing with knife crime – he came up with the idea of ‘midnight football’. He told them that youths in his own Scottish constituency enjoyed late night football, and it could be expanded in London.
“We asked him whether kids in his constituency really played football at midnight. He said they actually played between 8-10pm. It was really pretty odd,” said one MP who was there.
Won’t this interfere with the plan to curfew children? Perhaps the troubled families that get evicted can go live on the football pitches after they get back from visiting their stab victims at the local hospital. Pick a potty policy time…