Daily Archives: December 31, 2015

New Year’s Honours: Almost 30 Tory Party members or supporters receive awards amid accusations of cronyism

Crosby: Consider it an act of treason to call him 'Sir'.

Crosby: Consider it an act of treason to call him ‘Sir’.

If there is to be an honours system in the UK – and This Writer believes there should – then it is clear that it should be independently-adjudicated (although the FCA and IPSA show there would be issues there).

Nominations from political parties would need to be judged on whether they were for real service to the UK, or merely for service to a political organisation.

The row over the honours system being used to reward Conservative Party ‘cronies’ is set to be reignited with the revelation that almost 30 Tory Party members or supporters have received awards.

Publication of the New Year’s Honours List confirms that the Australian political strategist, Lynton Crosby, is to be knighted for services to politics. It follows his short stint working for the Conservative Party earlier this year – for which he was paid £500,000 – during which he successfully directed their General Election strategy, resulting in an unexpected overall majority for David Cameron.

But analysis of the list shows that the future Sir Lynton is just one of many who have been honoured not for what they had done for the country, but for their services to the Conservative Party.

Labour’s shadow home Secretary, Andy Burnham, said: “This outrageous award is the clearest evidence yet that the Tories think they can get away with whatever they like. It is a timely reminder that Labour must make it a New Year’s resolution to stop facing inwards and expose them for what they are.”

The Labour MP Graham Jones warned: “The honours system is supposed to recognise dedicated public service, not simply be a vehicle to reward Tory cronies and donors. David Cameron should take care not to undermine the integrity of the system”.

Source: New Year’s Honours: Almost 30 Tory Party members or supporters receive awards amid accusations of cronyism | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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Banking culture inquiry shelved by regulator FCA


Oh, is that right – there “may have been a political motive”?

The only way the halting of this inquiry can be justified is if the FCA has decided to drop the preamble and go straight for the prosecutions.

Does anybody here think that’s what’s going to happen?

No.

It’s just another allegedly-“independent” organisation proving itself to be nothing of the kind.

The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has shelved plans for an inquiry into the culture, pay and behaviour of staff in banking.

The FCA had planned to see whether pay, promotion and other incentives contributed to misconduct seen in previous years.

The review was meant to be a major piece of work by the watchdog.

Mark Garnier MP, a Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee said he was “disappointed” by the decision.

He said there may have been a political motive.

Source: Banking culture inquiry shelved by regulator FCA – BBC News

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Labour MP Simon Danczuk suspended over explicit text message allegations

Simon Danczuk, who has been MP for Rochdale since 2010, has been suspended by Labour [Image: Jon Super for the Guardian].


Danczuk has been a poster-boy for Labour’s far-right, and a highly vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn, since the latter became leader of the Labour Party.

While the suspension concerns his personal – and not his political – behaviour, it can only impact on the credibility of those who have been rebelling against Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

MP Simon Danczuk’s membership of the Labour party has been suspended following allegations he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl, the party has announced.

In a statement the party said: “The general secretary of the Labour party has today suspended Simon Danczuk’s membership of the party, pending an investigation into allegations published in the media today.

“A full investigation will now take place under the authority of the national executive committee, which will be responsible for determining any further action.”

In a tweet Danczuk said: “My behaviour was inappropriate & I apologise unreservedly to everyone I’ve let down. I was stupid & there’s no fool like an old fool.”

Source: Labour MP Simon Danczuk suspended over explicit text message allegations | Politics | The Guardian

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Yesterday’s man speaks: ‘Divisive’ Corbyn will wreck Labour’s chances, says Mandelson

What a lot of codswallop.

Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are very, very far from being “hard left”, as this relic of Labour’s truly-divisive venture into neoliberalism wants to suggest.

In fact, by doing so, Mandelson is showing where his own sympathies lie: with the Conservative Government.

He is a symbol of the privilege that should never have been allowed to seep into Labour’s psyche – and that caused the party to haemorrhage votes between 1997 and 2015.

His claim that “Corbyn’s key instrument of power is unique in the party’s history – a whole new membership and set of registered supporters who are massively outnumbering longstanding members in very many constituencies” deliberately misses the point – that these are people coming back to Labour after a long period of disillusionment with the pale-Blue policies pushed by Mandelson and his cosy club of friends.

Shame on The Guardian for publishing this tripe.

Lord Mandelson writes in an article for the Guardian: “We have a leader who is revealing himself to be an intentionally divisive figure, abetted by organisations outside the party’s democratic structures and intent on splitting the party between the hard left and its centre ground.

“For Corbyn, pursuing his own far-left agenda and risking Labour civil war is a higher priority than taking on the Tories.”

He adds: “Whether or not the much-vaunted ‘revenge’ reshuffle happens – and I hope for the sake of the party Corbyn drops his plans – allowing two weeks of speculation when he could easily have killed it was clearly designed to remind his colleagues of their vulnerability.”

He asserts: “Through him, the hard left is beginning to exert a more suffocating grip on our party.”

Source: ‘Divisive’ Corbyn will wreck Labour’s chances, says Mandelson | Politics | The Guardian

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Experts criticise George Osborne over flood protection funding


The big question is, what would be done with this extra funding, if Osborne found it?

George Monbiot’s recent Guardian article highlighted the kind of defences that we know would work – but where is the will to see them created?

George Osborne has been accused of jeopardising Britain’s crumbling flood defences over the past five years by prioritising cuts to the deficit, and has also been warned that infrastructure spending may need to rise sharply to adapt to climate change.

The warnings from leading academics came as parts of the UK were hit by Storm Frank on Wednesday, with hundreds of homes evacuated and thousands of people left without power.

Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, of Oxford University, who has analysed data on recent flood spending, said there was little sign that the government had changed course to take into account the growing threat of extreme weather.

“What you would really expect is to see spending at a much higher level,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like the same kind of reaction which we know has happened to the threat of terrorism, where we know spending levels have increased by a large magnitude.”

David Cameron has promised to invest £400m a year on shoring up flood defences over the next six years; but official data shows spending was cut sharply at the start of the last parliament, from £360m in 2010-11, to less than £270m in 2012-13.

Source: Experts criticise George Osborne over flood protection funding | Environment | The Guardian

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Oliver Letwin memo borders on criminality, says Darcus Howe

Oliver Letwin said in a statement that parts of the memo were ‘badly worded and wrong’ [Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images].

“If a black man had said something quite like that he’d have been called into Scotland Yard and and he might be charged with incitement to riot. It is bordering on criminality,” said Howe, who was a prominent figure in black rights campaigns in the period the document was written.

In a statement, Letwin said: “Following reports tonight, I want to make clear that some parts of a private memo I wrote nearly 30 years ago were both badly worded and wrong. I apologise unreservedly for any offence these comments have caused and wish to make clear that none was intended.”

Howe, who went on to become a writer and broadcaster, said he didn’t think David Cameron would remove Letwin from his post, saying he had “no trust in Mr Cameron on the issue of race at all”.

The former editor of the political magazine Race Today said the incident would provide an opportunity for the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to stand up alongside the black community. “There are people in the Labour party who don’t want to be seen backing black people because they may lose white votes. Not Corbyn,” said Howe.

“I was saying about two days ago to a friend that Corbyn is going to get a chance to stand up with blacks and he will. And this is his opportunity. So that the black community knows that this is not the Labour party of Blair and the two Miliband boys.”

Source: Oliver Letwin memo borders on criminality, says Darcus Howe | Politics | The Guardian

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