Tag Archives: chris huhne

How appropriate that a man who perverted justice is urging Cameron to war

140818huhne

Less than a day after this blog said David Cameron was waiting for media coverage to make war in the Middle East palatable to the people again, an article appears urging him to make war in the Middle East – by Chris Huhne.

That’s right, Chris Huhne – a former Liberal Democrat politician who had to resign his position as Energy Secretary in Cameron’s Coalition cabinet after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by trying to pretend his former wife had been speeding, not himself.

Huhne had maintained his innocence right up to the beginning of the trial, when he changed his plea to admit guilt. Apparently the public is supposed to accept the advice of this weaselly creature, writing in The Guardian.

That’s right, The Guardian – if ever a newspaper should know better than to publish warmongering propaganda, it’s The Guardian, which tries to be the voice of reason in an ever-feverish British press. Admittedly, this is an opinion piece in the paper’s ‘Comment is free’ column. Nevertheless, it is ill-advised and editor Alan Rusbridger should have thought twice before playing into David Cameron’s hands in this way.

The article itself reads like a response to yesterday’s Vox Political piece, which stated that Cameron, stung by his defeat over Syria, was waiting for public opinion to be turned back on-side by media support for British military intervention in Iraq.

And what’s the title of the Huhne piece? ‘David Cameron must get over his Syria humiliation and act on Iraq’. How swiftly the prophecies of Yr Obdt Srvt fulfil themselves these days… No crystal ball required, either.

Huhne, whose Parliamentary voting record shows he strongly supported an investigation into the last Iraq war, seems to have undergone a complete reversal of opinion since Cameron lost that famous vote on Syria, almost a year ago. Perhaps he’s had a “Road to Damascus” moment, to use a Biblical reference.

“Britain has so far done little except tip food parcels out of military transport; the last week has been notable for dither and delay,” he writes. “There have been no British air strikes… Such is the shadow of the government’s parliamentary defeat on the Syrian intervention.”

He argues that Cameron must try to represent “both strands” that identify Tories: “the Whig imperialists who believe in muscular intervention in good international causes; and the Tory nationalists who want nothing if it does not serve narrowly defined British interests.

“It is a debate that has raged throughout Tory history, most famously pitting Winston Churchill against Neville Chamberlain on appeasement.”

Hold on that thought; so now Huhne is comparing IS, still a relatively low concern to anybody outside its own backyard, with the German Nazis of the 1930s and the huge threat to lives and freedom that they posed?

That’s a step too far, too quickly. Huhne should have thought about what he was saying. Trying to connect IS with the greatest enemy this country has ever faced is a ridiculous step too far, utterly disproportionate and clearly manipulative. And nobody has any interest in appeasing Islamic State.

He is calling on us to make an emotional decision based on a grossly misjudged comparison.

The irony is that he didn’t need to do it. The arguments speak for themselves. His claim that “regional powers joining to meet their responsibilities” could solve the IS question is reasonable. This blog stated yesterday that an international alliance could surround IS and choke it to death, ending its threat forever.

But, ultimately, that is not what Huhne is demanding. He wants Cameron to rush in, do another quick-fix, and set up the pieces for another conflict – possibly bloodier – further down the line. This is odd, because there are no military suppliers among Huhne’s business interests.

The bottom line is that nobody should support military action on the basis of what is written here.

It would be a crime for British troops to go back to Iraq on such a pretext – especially when urged to do so by this petty criminal.

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Tory insanity outbreak: Now disgraced Liam Fox wants to harm pensioners

Do not approach: Another Conservative goes feral. Pensioners - guard your assets!

Do not approach: Another Conservative goes feral. Pensioners – guard your assets!

There seems to be an increasing willingness among politicians to give high regard to disgraced ex-colleagues.

Only last weekend, Nick Clegg praised Chris Huhne, who faces sentencing today after being convicted of perverting the course of justice regarding speeding points on his driving licence.

Now Liam Fox has weighed into the debate on future Conservative Party policy. Dr Fox had to resign after being asked why a man who was not a part of the government had attended more than half of his official engagements including trips abroad, at the public expense.

His ideas are just as appalling as Theresa May’s plan to take away all of your human rights, as detailed in this blog yesterday.

He wants to freeze public spending for the next five years – that’s well into the next Parliament, no matter who wins.

He wants to spend the money this will allegedly save on tax cuts, notably capital gains tax – in other words, another nice little earner for the very, very rich. Odious, aren’t they?

Like Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats, he wants departmental budgets that are currently ring-fenced to lose that protection – including the NHS, schools and international development.

The NHS is already the subject of controversy over its spending because the government has claimed budgets have increased, while the UK Statistics Authority stated categorically that they have dropped.

Most schools have been under-funded by Michael Gove, in favour of his ridiculously expensive ‘free schools’ project. Under Dr Fox’s plans, unless your child is privately-educated or has been cherry-picked to go to one of these new institutions, their education would suffer and their chances in life would be hugely reduced.

International development is hugely controversial as well. At a time when the UK is struggling to pay for itself, critics say, the country should not be giving cash away to foreign nations.

And he wants to end protection for universal benefits – such as the pensioners’ winter fuel allowance.

Pensioners: This Tory wants to take away the extra money you get to heat your home during the winter, and the Liberal Democrat Vince Cable wants to means-test or tax the pension for which you have spent your entire working life paying. Do you really want to vote either party back into power to do these things to you?

Fox is a leading member of the Tory right-wing, and this is clear from his demands. But his own past actions make his current intervention laughable. He wants to cut public spending by – according to his own calculations – £345 billion over five years, yet he himself is an expenses cheat who has overspent taxpayers’ money on himself and his friends.

In 2009 it was reported that he had claimed £19,000 on expenses for his mobile phone bill over the previous four years. He said he was looking for a cheaper tariff.

He overclaimed £22,476 in mortgage interest payments, which he was forced to pay back in 2010. Fox said he had decided to remortgage his second home to pay for redecorations, and claim the higher interest repayments on his expenses because this represented value for money – he could have charged the taxpayer for his decorating bill directly. This was not true, according to the judge dealing with the case.

A study of Parliamentary records in the Daily Telegraph showed that he was receiving rental income from his London home while simultaneously claiming rental income from the taxpayer to live at another residence.

And then there’s the big one, for which he lost his job: Fox’s relationship with Adam Werrity, who had lived rent-free in Fox’s flat, had accompanied Fox on 40 of his 70 official engagements, attended meetings with foreign dignitaries and had used official-looking business cards which stated his was an “advisor” to Fox.

Fox resigned in advance of publication of an official inquiry’s report into the matter.

What a shame he can’t keep his mouth shut.

Power-hungry Liberal Democrats are addicts after their next fix

Hard hat to be worn at all times: Vince Cable will need it to avoid the brickbats his latest comments - and his party's power-hunger - will attract.

Hard hat to be worn at all times: Vince Cable will need it to avoid the brickbats his latest comments – and his party’s power-hunger – will attract.

There can be no truer example of the adage that power corrupts, in today’s UK, than that of the Liberal Democrats.

Now neither liberal nor democratic, that party’s leaders are telling their members to do whatever is necessary to keep them in government.

They may be in coalition with the Conservatives now, but the message is that they will seek an alliance with anyone who will have them, if that is what it takes.

For what purpose? We have already seen all the evidence we need that they will abandon any pretence of principles if it will curry favour with a larger, and therefore more dominant, political group. Nick Clegg may have apologised for reversing his position on student tuition fees, but that hasn’t stopped them rising (pointlessly, according to recent revelations).

They have proved to be as susceptible to the temptations of petty crime as anyone else – look at Chris Huhne, praised by Nick Clegg for his skills as a secretary of state, even after he was convicted of perverting the course of justice. That’s a serious crime. Clegg should not be praising anyone convicted of it.

But then, Clegg is in the muck right up to his own chin. He denied prior knowledge of the allegations against former party chief executive Lord Rennard, then had to go back on it. Now there are questions about when senior figures in the party knew of the allegations that Huhne’s ex-wife Vicky Pryce had taken speeding points on her husband’s behalf.

Undoubtedly there is more that we do not know (there always is). Undoubtedly there is more that we will never know.

Do you remember last year’s Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, when the Parliamentary party was instructed to vote against the then-Health and Social Care Bill, because of the harm it would do to the National Health Service if it every became law?

What happened about that? Oh yes… the Conservatives made a few mealy-mouthed promises and the Lib Dems voted it through without a qualm. That, in turn, led to Statutory Instrument 257 – the regulations that proved the Tories had been lying in their assurance that doctors would not be compelled to consider private-sector bids to run NHS services. Those regulations have been withdrawn for a re-write after the public – not the Liberal Democrats – protested.

Because the Liberal Democrats have changed in the last year. There is no similar moral crusade this time around.

Instead, former party leader Paddy Ashdown has told them to do everything possible to secure a second term in power. Commentators have taken this to mean they will whore themselves to whichever of the main parties secures the most seats in the 2015 election (if, again, no party gains a majority).

They’ve had a taste of power and found it addictive. “I want it to become a habit,” said Lord Ashdown. What a shame it seems to be the kind of habit we see in users of illegal drugs. They’ll do anything for more.

Ashdown went on to quote the party mantra introduced, to much hilarity in this blog, just after Christmas: “to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life”.

It’s about the least effective soundbite possible, considering the nation’s current circumstances. The economy has been deliberately weakened and society is becoming progressively less fair, thanks to the efforts of Conservative ministers, aided and abetted every step of the way by the Liberal Democrats. If you want evidence, read practically any entry in this blog since it was founded at the end of 2011.

The part about “enabling everyone to get on in life” is particularly sickening, considering the number of chronically ill or disabled people who have died as a result of Coalition policy on benefits.

If you think the above is enough to sink this once-great party for good, think again because there’s more. It goes to the heart of Liberal policy-making and shows that they are prepared to reverse the very best acts of the great Liberals of the past, just to service their own convenience now.

I refer, of course, to the words of Business Secretary Vince Cable.

He wants the government to stop protecting spending levels on the health service, and he also thinks that pensions should be means-tested or taxed.

The introduction of old-age pensions was the first step towards the modern welfare state, in 1907. That step was taken by a Liberal government (yes, the Liberals used to get enough votes to take office on their own). Current Liberal Democrat MPs aren’t fit to clean the shoes of those former ministers (and believe me, in comparison to today, 1907 was a barbaric time).

And of course the NHS was created in accordance with the report of Liberal William Beveridge, who recommended creating “comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease”. The Coalition’s treatment of the NHS constitutes a comprehensive betrayal of that plan.

Incidentally, Beveridge opposed means-tested benefits, meaning that Cable’s plan for pensions runs against established Liberal philosophy as well. It’s also bone-headedly stupid for a member of a party seeking re-election because pensioners are more likely to vote than any other section of society. That’s why the Tories have always tried to avoid hitting them with benefit cuts (although that determination has eroded over the course of this government). Upset the grey vote at your peril!

And let’s not forget that the government’s claim to have increased spending on the NHS since 2010 has been questioned – most relevantly by the UK Statistics Authority.

As we enter the last day of the 2013 Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, then, it seems reasonable to ask: Just what do the Liberal Democrats stand for?

It can’t be the values that made the Liberals great (when they were great) – the current Parliamentary party is betraying those.

It can’t be the values held by the Lib Dems before the 2010 election either – the current Parliamentary party has betrayed those as well.

The only possibility left is that they want power for its own sake.

They should never again be allowed to have it.

Citizens of Eastleigh: Beware!

Eastleigh by-election - who's going to win? "I don't know" says Huhne.

Eastleigh by-election – who’s going to win? “I don’t know” says Huhne.

Some of you may remember just after Christmas I wrote an article entitled “Lib Dems’ new message for the New Year: Don’t laugh – they mean it”.

Last night we had proof of it on the BBC’s Question Time.

The discussion was about Chris Huhne’s court case, abandonment of his Parliamentary seat, and the by-election that will take place as a result.

Michael Moore, representing the Liberal Democrats, vowed that his party would fight hard to retain the seat. He said the Liberal Democrats were about “building a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life”.

Those words are taken directly from the Liberal Democrats’ new ‘party message script’, released between Christmas and the New Year, that I dismissed as “utter, utter nonsense” in the earlier article.

The fact that Mr Moore felt comfortable quoting it merely reinforces my opinion that no Liberal Democrat should ever be allowed to get a seat in Parliament with it.

Allow me to reiterate what I wrote at the time: The economy is NOT strong; society is becoming more UNfair. FEWER people are now able to get on in life. It’s complete doublespeak and they need to be challenged on it at every turn.

The Eastleigh by-election is a perfect opportunity to do so.

Humza Yousaf MSP suggested that the poll might be a good opportunity for the Scottish Nationalist Party to field its first-ever candidate south of the English border; if I wasn’t a member of the Labour Party, I’d probably be telling you to vote for such a candidate!

One thing is certain – neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Conservatives deserve to win that seat.

Personally, I think the party that mobilises the 18-24 vote will be the winner, overwhelmingly if it can also engage the senior citizens. That means the message will have to be pitched just right.

My prediction: Eastleigh is about to be overwhelmed by a torrent of verbal and literary tripe.

A sad day for British politics if it takes 10 years to do the decent thing

Surrender, at last: Chris Huhne has finally given up the battle to cover up his criminal behaviour - but how many more MPs are getting away with it?

Surrender, at last: Chris Huhne has finally given up the battle to cover up his criminal behaviour – but how many more MPs are getting away with it?

I have absolutely no sympathy for Chris Huhne, who must quit the House of Commons after admitting he perverted the course of justice to dodge a speeding penalty.

After two years spent denying that he had offloaded the speeding fine onto his former wife, Huhne changed his plea to ‘guilty’ on the very day his case was to go to court.

That indicates, to me, that he knew he was guilty from the get-go, but was determined to hang on to whatever political influence he had until the bitter end – which came yesterday. (Monday)

Considering he was once a candidate to be leader of the Liberal Democrats, this influence was considerable – and it is therefore even more regrettable that he was not prepared to make the proper choice at the appropriate time.

His actions prove that even those who reach the greatest heights of political office are capable of lowering themselves to the utmost depths of debasement in the name of continued power.

Bear it in mind that he had been trying to have the case thrown out of court for abuse of process, and it was only after this attempt failed that he finally threw in the towel and changed his plea. He didn’t go willingly, even though he knew he was a criminal.

A criminal. Holding one of the highest offices in the land. Guilty of perverting the course of justice.

That, in itself, is deeply disturbing. This is a Parliamentarian who not only committed a crime but also tried to cover it up for as long as humanly possible.

How many other members of the Coalition government have similar skeletons in their closets, that they want to keep out of the public arena? How many members of Parliament of any political persuasion, for that matter?

The only ray of light in this whole dismal affair, in my opinion, is that Huhne’s guilt does not concern decisions he took as Energy Secretary.

But then, Gideon George Osborne used taxpayers’ money to make a huge profit on the Cheshire farmhouse for which – along with two pieces of land which had no connection with his duties as an MP – he claimed Parliamentary expenses.

And Liam Fox resigned as Defence Secretary after Adam Werrity, who was Best Man at his wedding, turned up at 57 per cent of his ministerial engagements, claiming to be his ‘advisor’. Dr Fox said there was no wrong-doing but, if this was the case, why did he leave?

And Andrew Lansley took £21,000 from Care UK’s boss, before becoming Health Secretary and implementing changes to the NHS which, I’m sure, have brought lucrative contracts to that company.

So that’s four cabinet members whose behaviour is questionable, and we haven’t even discussed David Cameron – the Prime Minister – and his familiarity with the world of tax avoidance yet!

They were all members of the government that, according to the Coalition Agreement, “believes that we need to throw open the doors of public bodies, to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account”.

You’ll note that it has yet to enact a significant part of the Conservative Manifesto 2010, that would “introduce a power of ‘recall’ to allow electors to kick out MPs, a power that will be triggered by proven serious wrongdoing”.

If they won’t clean up their house willingly, we have to do it for them.

That’s why I introduced my e-petition to the government’s website, calling for preventative measures to ensure members of Parliament cannot be tempted into corruption – the ‘Clean The House’ petition.

It’s doing quite well, too. But it could do better.

If you believe that politics needs to be free of corruption – and that it needs to be seen to be free of it – please sign the petition if you haven’t already.

And tell your friends about it – spread the word!