Rich & Mark's Monday Morning View

Robber Baroness

Baroness Scotland Accused of £170,000 Expense Fiddle

Sunday Sleaze

Fiddler

Patricia Scotland, who was at the Home Office before becoming Attorney-General, has wrongly claimed some £170,000 since 2004.  The £38,280 a year over-claim is only for ministers who have a primary residence outside the capital.  Patricia has a £2 million home in Chiswick, West London.

Labour MP Graham Stringer told The Mail on Sunday that if Lady Scotland did not make a ‘principled resignation’, she should be fired by Gordon Brown.

‘It is extraordinary that after four days she is still in the post… The whole Government is tarnished. People feel the Government is passing laws it is not applying to itself.’

Despite giving her his full backing, if Brown thinks Patricia Scotland can remain as Attorney General, he is stark raving mad.

Bournemouth Bound

Off to Bournemouth, where people go to die and the LibDems are holding their annual conference.  Speaking at Liberal Vision’s session on MPs’ expenses. Mark Littlewood says he has a party membership application form waiting for Guido…

Family Blame PM : "Brown Should Sack Himself Now"

Bereaved

The family of Serjeant Paul McAleese blame the Prime Minister for his death. His father John McAleese, a former SAS member who was involved in the dramatic raid that ended the 1980 siege on the Iranian Embassy said his son had said there were not enough troops to monitor areas cleared of explosives. “Top brass have repeatedly told Gordon Brown what they need, but he won’t listen,” he said, “The military must be allowed to get on with the job. If not, Brown should sack himself now.”

Sjt McAleese’s father-in-law, Stephen Minter, wrote to the Prime Minister earlier this month to say that the family was “extremely angry” because his death was “needless and avoidable” and the PM had a duty to ensure that troops had the best equipment available and that the operational tactics were “sound and sensible”…”Failing to ensure this will be seen as an act of neglect and should not be allowed to go unanswered”.

Brillo v Cable : Like Boiling a Frog

Brillo-v-CableJust watched the Straight Talk interview (on iPlayer here).  It starts off easy enough, Cable perhaps expecting the usual “You saw it all coming and you can dance as well Mr Cable?” type of fawning interview he sometimes gets.  Brillo lures Cable into admitting to some fundamental policy flip-flops.  Twinkle-toes ends up blinking as badly as Ed Balls did under cross examination.  How anyone could think Vince called the crisis right after watching this interview amazes Guido. It was like watching a frog boil, Cable got more and more agitated as Brillo turned up the heat.

See also Cable Admits He Got Crisis Wrong

Saturday Seven Up

7upIf you were not one of the 83,914 visitors viewing 306,114 blog pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories that you missed:

  1. Cuts, Lies and Videotape
    Flashback to Fraser Nelson pleading with the Prime Mentalist to tell the truth.
    713 Comments.
  2. Bonkers in the Bunker
    News of the bunker’s own Eva Braun, Kirsty McNeill.
    645 Comments.
  3. Pound Whacked After Mervyn King Admits : QE Isn’t Working
    Mervyn entering the monetary twilight zone.
    562 Comments.
  4. Friday Caption Contest (Wales & Scotland Edition)
    Some of the comments were actually quite funny, winner to be announced.
    452 Comments.
  5. Sunlight Reports Baroness Scotland to UK Border Agency
    She of course now says she reported herself, afterwards.
    400 Comments.
  6. Lose the Loser : Harriet 4 Leader!
    Onwards to a Harman led Labour Party comrades.
    424 Comments.
  7. Baroness Scotland Has No Defence Unless She “Checked and Copied”
    Guido highlighted that the “not knowingly” defence offered was actually no defence at all.
    377 Comments.

You’re either in front of Guido’s blog, or you’re behind…

Scotland Case Causing Panic

baroness scotlandThe Sunday Times is calling round every government minister and shadow cabinet member stupid enough to answer the phone, asking them if they have foreign staff working as housekeepers, nannies or as cleaners?

Now of course all of the honourable members will be paying their help in full and above minimum wages, plus national insurance and income tax, first having taken triple copies of their paperwork and satisfied themselves as to their cleaner’s right to work in the country.

Nothing for them to worry about…

Question Time Special : "Are We Fooked?"

This is brilliant.

“The Prime Minister, an Economist and a Banker bear the full brunt of the Elephant in the Room during Question Time. Economic collapse can make your eyes water.”

“Debt is dandy”.

Cable Admits He Got Crisis Wrong

brillo-twinkleGuido has been saying for some time that Vince Cable’s reputation as a seer is much overstated and that his reputation is cashing cheques his actual policy account can’t cover. His ability to provide authoritative sounding soundbites to journalists is fantastic.  Hacks never bother to check his prognostications and previous policy flips (who knows what the LibDem policy is on anything besides PR?)  He thus gets a free ride in comparison to Labour and the Tories.

So it will be worth tuning into Straight Talk tomorrow where by all accounts Vince Cable gets a mauling from Andrew Neil about his history of changing his position on a range of issues during the financial crisis and Brillo gets him to admit that he was wrong last autumn to support the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS.  Vince admits to Brillo when challenged “you’re right – perfectly fair comment that my first reaction was not the right one.”

Brillo also spotted that in Cable’s just released policy paper for Reform he is proposing to cut items that were only earmarked by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable in February as part of a planned increase of £6.7 bn in spending on childcare and education.

By all accounts it is worth tuning into Straight Talk on BBC News tomorrow night to see Brillo hold Cable’s feet to the fire for all his flip-flopping on economic policy.

UPDATE : Sam Coates over at Red box has spotted another Cable incoherency.

UPDATE II : There is of course the whole Darth Cable / Brillo Skywalker angle about this: Cable was Neil’s economics tutor at Glasgow.  Now the circle is complete, the student is the inquisitor.  The force is strong…

Friday Caption Contest (Wales & Scotland Edition)

Britain's Attorney General Baroness Scotland and Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain arrive at Downing Street.

Guido has a copy of Fleeced!: How we’ve been betrayed by the politicians, bureaucrats and bankersto send to the author of the funniest account of a conversation between these two dodgy politicians. Funny, not merely abusive…

They All Look the Same

Not sure if this is actionable. Ed Davey should call his lawyer. To the Daily Mail they really do all look the same (LibDems that is). Well there is the Cameron look-a-like one who leads them, the bald one who used to lead them but isn’t the other old one who can dance and perhaps should lead them. And Lembit of course. Lembit. The only one we all remember.

oaten_ed

Truth is Stranger than Fiction for Radio 4

electric inkLast night BBC R4 ran a story line in which had an emotionally unstable and depressed PM on medication going a bit bonkers and undergoing psychotherapy.  Wonder where they get their crazy script ideas?

Jonah Jinx Hits Home in Fife and Downing Street

Dozens of co-conspirators have emailed to draw attention to the story of the young Diversity dancer crashing painfully into the ground outside Downing Street after meeting Jonah Brown.

fife2Away from his London home, the Prime Mentalist has been cursing workers back in Fife. The Fife Free Press notes the job losses resulting from Jonah Brown praising the company two months ago.  The curse continues…

fife1

++ Sunlight Reports Baroness Scotland to UK Border Agency ++

Letter here.

baroness scotlandUPDATE : Now if the standard operational procedure for law breaking by senior government figures as per the New Labour school of spin is followed (as executed in the past by Harriet Harman and Peter Hain) Patricia Scotland will report herself to the UKBA.  They report themselves so they can spin “when I became aware of the technical breach of the rules blah blah.”  They are not rules, they are laws, laws which the Attorney General has sworn to uphold….

UPDATE II : Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling is demanding answers to some difficult questions from Baroness Scotland

“The Government has been absolutely clear that small employers should carry full legal responsibility if they hire illegal immigrants. Baroness Scotland should be no different, she should face a proper investigation by the Border Agency and should face the same sanctions as any other employer.”

UPDATE III : Just got off the phone again with the SpAd who this morning said (repeatedly) there would be no further statements, she gave a further statement saying “Baroness Scotland has reported the matter to the relevant authorities”. How predictable…

breaking-news

Attorney General's Office : No Comment on Documentation Question

Just got off the phone with Baroness Scotland’s SpAd.

SpAd : We have no comment to add further to the statement last night.
Guido : So you are unable to confirm that Patricia has a copy of the required documentation?
SpAd : We have no comment to add further to the statement last night.
Guido :
‘Her spokesman could not confirm that the Baroness had the documentation required under the Immigration Act’.
SpAd : No, we have no comment to add further to the statement last night.
Guido : Well that sounds like a non-denial to me.

If they had the documentation they would surely have released it by now…

Baroness Scotland : Show Or We Tell

Chris Galley, the former Home Office official who now heads the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has written to Baroness Scotland demanding that she shows proof that she complied with the laws she was responsible for introducing at the Home Office.

It is a fundamental rule of politics that law makers can not be law breakers – particularly when they are the highest law officer in the land.  The letter asks the Attorney General to show publicly the legally required documentation or face being reported to the UK Border Agency later today…

Baroness Scotland Has No Defence Unless She "Checked and Copied"

baroness scotlandBaroness Scotland was appointed by Gordon Brown to be the government’s chief legal adviser. Prior to becoming Attorney General she worked as a minister in the Home Office, cracking down on illegal migrants and imposing tougher penalties on business and individuals who employ them was passed.

The Daily Mail has Baroness Scotland bang-to-rights, yet she says she did not knowingly employ the Tongan illegal immigrant, Loloahi Tapui, and her spokesman says the Attorney General “saw documents which led her to believe that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in this country” when she hired her.   There is only one statutory defence against conviction for employing an illegal worker under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 – the act specifies that you get this defence only by checking and copying certain original documents belonging to your employee.

The Home Office guidance on this is clear – you will only be able to establish the defence by checking and copying specified documents, including the passport and “any page containing UK Government endorsements indicating that the holder has an entitlement to be in the UK and is entitled to undertake the work in question.”

Amended ActSo all the Attorney General has to do to clear her name is show us the copy of the page and she is in the clear.  If she has not got that copy, she has broken the law she is supposed to uphold.  Clear and simple.

Cuts, Lies and Videotape

Remember Fraser Nelson pleading with the Prime Mentalist to tell the truth?

The tape doesn’t lie.  Unlike Gordon.

UPDATE 23.10 : Newsnight’s David Grossman has just run this pooled clip, without the Sky overlays. If you look carefully you can spot Grossman smirking in the front row.

The Truth Leaked : Treasury Cuts Plan

Here are the key numbers:

cuts-by-the-numbersThat negative increase is what we normally call a cut:

(1 – .008) x ( 1 -.04) x (1 -.018) x (1-.03) = .9071

In other words a cut of 9.3% on 2009…

Come to Labour Conference Free!

The Labour Party Conference in Brighton is going to be funereal. The commercial exhibition hall half empty, the bars absent lobbyists pouring booze down politicians throats and all the Blairites are staying at home as well.

The Indy’s Pandora is reporting that it is so bad, and the fear of empty seats on the TV coverage so great, that the Labour Party is now offering tickets to Brighton locals.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Amber Rudd:

“The Home Office is a great department of state.”

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