Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Blair Memoirs

September 10, 2010

Most politicians, even Churchill and Thatcher, retain a self-knowledge about their ruthlessness ambition but there were no limits to Tony Blair’s moral conceit. He had a shining faith in his own virtue and a belief that his actions were not merely convenient, serviceable, and skillful politics, but also the will of God. Yet he flinched from every hard choice such reforming health and education, curbing immigration, or breaking the tragic and insanely costly dependency culture. Too late we realized his government only created an illusion of progress and his reputation plummeted as the cost of his mad-cap military adventures became clear. This is why he is giving the profits from his memoirs to the British Legion and why the families of our dead and maimed soldiers are responding with such cold cynicism.

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Sharp Elbows of the Bourgeoisie

September 9, 2010

I must take issue with David Cameron’s contention that sharp elbows are a defining characteristic of the middle class. He has defended bourgeois parents like himself who used these elbows to wangle their children into the rare high-quality state and church-run schools. Yet the PM is privately wealthy and could easily have afforded to pay school fees but, like the Blairs before him, he took the free places for political advantage. I believe the main bourgeois characteristics are rather patience, thrift, self-denial, seeking the good life through conscientious hard work and honest dealing. In the post-Communist lands where such virtues are not valued we see only a gross, tasteless, obscenely rich Mafioso atop the struggling millions beneath.

Retirement Revolution

September 6, 2010

A quiet revolution is taking place in Britain where a million workers are now over the age of 65 and one in 12 of our OAPs are still in the workforce. There are also 8 million part-time workers of whom a quarter are men and though some seek full-time employment many are choosing to work shorter hours. This is partly the result of firms cutting working hours instead of making staff redundant, though sadly such commonsense is unlikely in the intransigent public sector. But it is also driven by our increased longevity whose problems and opportunities are becoming starkly clear just as the vast baby boomer generation starts to retire. I believe the fact that future generations will work for around 50 years is inevitably going produce greater employment flexibility with shorter hours at various stages of life.

What is pensioned retirement?

September 6, 2010

The Coalition’s intention to abolish compulsory retirement at 65 ends discrimination on the basis of age and reflects the changing demographic of an ageing society. Yet it does not address the question: “What is pensioned retirement?” Is it a reward for past service; the long holiday for which we saved; or an exit for the “worn out”? The original Pensions Act introduced a century ago does not provide the answer since it was introduced simply to “lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor”. Its value was also set deliberately low to encourage workers to make their own provision for old age, and its conditions were, by present-day standards, very restrictive. The economic mismanagement of the last decade has prompted the present review but we should examine the whole concept rather than simply the financial implications.

What is pensioned retirement

August 19, 2010

The Coalition’s intention to abolish compulsory retirement at 65 ends discrimination on the basis of age and reflects the changing demographic of an ageing society. Yet it does not address the question: “What is pensioned retirement?” Is it a reward for past service; the long holiday for which we saved; or an exit for the “worn out”? The original Pensions Act introduced a century ago does not provide the answer since it was introduced simply to “lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor”. Its value was also set deliberately low to encourage workers to make their own provision for old age, and its conditions were, by present-day standards, very restrictive. The economic mismanagement of the last decade has prompted the present review but we should examine the whole concept rather than simply the financial implications.

There is more to it than sharp elbows

August 19, 2010

I must take issue with David Cameron’s contention that sharp elbows are a defining characteristic of the middle class. He has defended bourgeois parents like himself who used these elbows to wangle their children into the rare high-quality state and church-run schools. Yet the PM is privately wealthy and could easily have afforded to pay school fees but, like the Blairs before him, he took the free places for political advantage. I believe the main bourgeois characteristics are rather patience, thrift, self-denial, seeking the good life through conscientious hard work and honest dealing. In the post-Communist lands where such virtues are not valued we see only a gross, tasteless, obscenely rich Mafioso atop the struggling millions beneath.

Taxes are for “little people”

August 9, 2010

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of the Danish Social Democrats, was ahead in the polls and on course to win Denmark’s forthcoming general election.

Sadly she is married to Stephen Kinnock a member of the World Economic Forum in Geneva and son of the notorious family of EU gravy-boat sailors.

Recently she called for Denmark’s crippling tax rates to be raised even higher to cope with the recession but it now it appears her husband has been on the tax fiddle.

He induced her to confirm he spent less that 33 week-ends per annum in their home in Copenhagen allowing him to save £40,000 by paying his taxes in Switzerland.

This has caused an up-roar since Danes are clearly unaware Labour Party grandees and their families ignore laws set up for the “little people”.

Happy anniversary, Chilcot

July 31, 2010

Even before Iraq, forces families held Tony Blair in contempt for his weakness in the face of US pressure and his use of our sons to posture on the world stage.

Across the years we have disdainfully watched the post-mortem charade starting with the Hutton whitewash, then the Butler non-inquiry, and now the Chilcot farce.

In each case, the evidence was plain for all to see of a prime minister ordering his advisers, diplomats, and security chiefs to provide a Manichean narrative.

Of course, inadvertently, Chilcot managed to show the Establishment at its most loathsome having done nothing at the time but being terribly wise after the event.

The inescapable conclusion is that New Labour’s mad-cap military adventures all but destroyed the otherwise laudable goal of internationalist humanitarian intervention.

A chilling insight

July 31, 2010

Like the images of Vietnam once seen nightly on US television the Wikileaks portray Afghanistan as a bloodthirsty killing field, devoid of rational justification.

Only people of such catatonic arrogance and stupidity as New Labour and America’s military-politicos would have tried to build a western democracy in this medieval land.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of history knew that a western war of occupation would fail because the Taliban is a concept and not a military force.

By recording our folly and failure in such detail, the logs mock the moral basis of the ‘just war’ thesis and Tony Blair’s pretentious ‘moral’ foreign policy.

Not since the Somme have Western generals blundered so blindly in the dark nor have our politicians been so willing to sacrifice our troops to save face.

A new freedom on the horizon

July 31, 2010

In that hopeful dawn of 1997, calls were made to New Labour for an end to the compulsory purchase of annuities at the age of 75 – but that was a hope too far!

Gordon Brown, on the verge of becoming the greatest peace-time control-freak in our nation’s history, was never going to allow ordinary people such freedom of action

But good things come to those who wait and we finally appear to have a government capable of saying two or three sensible things in a row.

If people exercise personal financial responsibility while they are working, they should not have inflicted on them policies that assume they will blow the lot on retirement.

If we demonstrate that we have the means to avoid falling back on the state then we should be allowed to hand on our savings to the family and not an insurance company.