+++ Sky : Baroness Scotland Fined £5,000 +++

+++ UKBA Source : Baroness Scotland Served With 'Notice of Potential Liability' +++

baroness scotlandBaroness Scotland has been served with a “Notice of Potential Liability”. This is the first stage before a decision is made to issue a fine. According to a single source, most of the enforcement team is keen to nail her but Lin Homer (UKBA CEO) is desperately looking for a way to avoid prosecution. Lady Scotland claims that Tapui’s passport was current and endorsed with the correct Home Office stamps, telling investigators she “knows what they look like”. However, she didn’t take copies as required by the Act. The raid only turned up an expired passport.

Tapui is said to have contacted UKBA late yesterday afternoon. Everything is on hold until the UKBA enforcement team speak to her.

Mark Oaten Fridge Magnet

oaten-fridge-magnet

Party conference memorabilia doesn’t come more crap…

Jackie Ashley, Tory Strategist

Don Paskini laments the profound insight into political strategy offered by the Guardian’s Jackie Ashley, the self-confessed Brownite also know as Mrs Marr:

jackie ashley

June 2009: “what is silly is to imply that Labour would not make cuts or that they would not have to raise taxes for ordinary families…Better to admit the obvious and draw clear lines between Labour policies and Tory ones. There is a sensible, grown-up argument to be had, and it’s one that Labour could end up winning.”

Labour took the advice and how did it work out?

“It’s certainly now much easier for the Conservative government to make cuts. Labour has provided cover and, deliciously, Ed Balls has started the process.” ConservativeHome.

ConservativeHome is now reporting that

Today Jackie Ashley’s column is on the need for Labour to set out its plans for tax rises.

Guido has some sympathy for Paskini when he foams at the mouth “next time don’t write a newspaper article about how Labour would be more popular if they did what George Osborne wants them to do.” Quite.

Chris Davies Attacks Expense Fiddling "Dirty Cheating Bastards"

Guido was in Bournemouth yesterday speaking at a fringe meetingon the topic of MPs’ expenses organised by Liberal Vision.  Greg Dyke was on form, his political promiscuity means the former Labour-luvvie  is now a LibDem and he is helping the Tories formulate their media policy.

Thieving BastardAt the end of the meeting Guido asked the members of the audience to put up their hand if they thought the former LibDem chief-exec Lord Rennard should keep the £42,000 he claimed for overnight subsistence despite living in Vauxhall, just over the Thames from parliament.  Not a single hand went up, not even the manicured hand of the Telegraph-beatified ‘Saint’ Lynne Featherstone MP who was in the room.

Even the co-panellist LibDem Lord Teverson, who was sitting next to Guido, said he was abstaining…

IEA Chief Search Down to Last Ten

The search for a new £100,000-a-year Director-General of the Institute for Economic Affairs has whittled down the sixty or so applicants to a short-list of ten.  The final decision will be made by the trustees before the end of next month.  Word is the Trustees are looking for someone who can take the fight for free markets to the media more aggressively.  The IEA has failed to have much of a media profile since the 80s…

101

Meanwhile elsewhere in wonkland Guido asked Madsen Pirie, the Adam Smith Institute’s doyen of Westminster wonks, if his new book 101 Great Philosophers: Makers of Modern Thought was aimed at politicians. “No”, he said. It was aimed at aspirational people seeking self-improvement. “Most politicians are not like that,” he told Guido, “They think they are already perfect.”

Quite.

Vote LibDem to Knock £100,000 Off Your House Value

Henry GeorgeThis 1/2% tax on homes is basically updated Georgist economics.  Henry George was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, an idea that has floated around in liberal circles for two centuries. The problem is that implementing the tax would immediately discount the price of your home. Not the smartest thing to do in an era when many are struggling to stay out of negative equity.  A middle-class family home in London valued at £2,000,000 would lose £100,000 (1/2% x £1,000,000 x 20 multiple). Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, points out that it would hit the property market hard, because prices well below the £1 million level would be knocked as well:

Saleboards… home owners would face a double whammy – more tax and a cut in their wealth. The tax would add to Council Tax and Stamp Duty as yet another heavy tax on homeowners. It would be regionally unfair, since virtually the entire tax would be raised in London and the South East, and would be very unlikely to raise the £1 billion the Lib Dems expect – more like £600 million on  our calculations. Unfortunately the current crisis is not a time for clever-clever ideas for screwing additional tax out of the already hard pressed middle classes at a time when property prices have already fallen sharply, the top rate of tax has been raised and the tax deductibility of pensions has been largely removed.

“Vote LibDem for more negative equity” hardly seems like a winning slogan…

UPDATE : They seem pretty intent on shooting themselves in the foot with this extra tax on homeowners in the South East, it will be a gift to Tory candidates in LibDem seats.  It certainly won’t go down well in leafy Twickenham. Vince Cable has a majority below 10,000…

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.[…] Read the rest

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