Tag Archives: lord mayor

Two down: Woolf resigns from sex abuse inquiry

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

The second chair of the so-called independent inquiry into historic child sex abuse cases has resigned, according to the BBC.

Fiona Woolf said she wanted to “get out of the way” after it became clear that victims did not have any confidence in her.

To the Tories, you see, image is everything – and it had been made abundantly clear to Mrs Woolf that hers was tarnished by her freely-admitted association with Leon Brittan, a man who, as Home Secretary during the 1980s, managed to lose a dossier containing the names of more than 100 alleged child sex offenders, including some prominent Conservative Party members (if rumours are to be believed).

The association made her as suspicious to victims’ groups as her forerunner, Baroness Butler-Sloss, whose own name was unavoidably linked with that of the late Sir Michael Havers, attorney-general during the 1980s, whose behaviour has also been called into question by allegations that he tried to hush up child sex abuse allegations against prominent members of the Establishment.

And these were all Establishment figures in their own right. Mrs Woolf had tried to distance herself from these claims by making assurances that she herself was not a member of the Establishment – but her case was lost before she even made it. She is, you see, the Lord Mayor of London.

This second resignation from an inquiry that is supposed to be independent, by a chairperson who had clear ties to people she would have been investigating, has raised renewed claims that the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, has not carried out ‘due diligence’ when considering who to appoint.

Mrs May seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. She has to appoint someone who is acceptable to the Conservative Party, but who is also acceptable to the general public – and the public has serious issues with her choices for the reason laid out in this very blog less than a month ago: Will a Conservative-led government ever find someone to chair this inquiry who is free of any alleged connections to its subject matter?

And the longer this drags on, the more suspicious the entire situation will seem. People will start asking more deeply disturbing questions. Logically, the first will be whether Mrs May has encountered so much difficulty in appointing a chairperson because the Conservatives want to influence the inquiry’s outcome, to ensure that nobody connected with them is ever implicated.

You see, image is everything to the Tories, especially with a general election taking place in the not-too-distant future.

David Cameron had given his backing to the choice of Mrs Woolf – as, if memory serves, he did to the choice of Baroness Butler-Sloss – so the resignation calls his judgement into question.

Then again, it seems that almost everything said about Cameron these days calls his judgement into question, whether it is his cavalier attitude to the NHS privatisation started by his former boss Andrew Lansley (that he didn’t understand), his keenness to award NHS contracts to Tory donors, his (alleged) failure to take an interest in the European Union’s re-evaluation of membership fees until he was presented with a bill for £1.7 billion this week, or any of the many other bombshells that seem to be bursting around him every day.

A report in Thursday’s Guardian has accused him of misleading the public over the total amount of his government’s planned austerity cuts that have been implemented during the current Parliament. Cameron said four-fifths of the process was complete, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies said more than half were still to come into force.

Now this.

Never mind Fiona Woolf’s resignation – isn’t it time we demanded Cameron’s?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Don’t believe Cameron’s claims; there is no need for austerity – and there never was

Flinging around the bling: Someone should have told David Cameron that he shouldn't surround himself with gold when he's rubbing the proles' noses in unlimited austerity. The horse impression may also have been ill-judged.

Flinging around the bling: Someone should have told David Cameron that he shouldn’t surround himself with gold when he’s rubbing the proles’ noses in unlimited austerity. The horse impression may also have been ill-judged.

David Cameron must think we are a nation of fools.

He came into office by the back door after failing to convince a majority of British citizens that his pal Gideon’s George’s plan to starve the economy of money would magically refill the Treasury’s empty coffers. Three and a half years of relentless pro-Tory propaganda from the tabloids later, and he tells us – at an opulent banquet, no less! – that austerity is here to stay.

Isn’t that because his policies have been a disaster, then?

Yes. But a disaster for us, not him or his bankster/financier/corporate masters.

As this blog stated more than a year ago, “people need to understand that the Coalition government’s fiscal strategy isn’t about reducing the national deficit at all. If it was, we would not have had a big tax break for the richest in society as part of the last budget. It’s a strategy to axe public services, selling off to rich corporations any that might be capable of yielding a profit. George W Bush followed this policy in the United States a few years ago; it’s called ‘starving the beast’.”

Look this up on Wikipedia and you will find that it involves cutting taxes in order to deprive the government of revenue in a deliberate effort to force reduced spending. In the USA, we are told, “the short- and medium-term effect of the strategy has dramatically increased the United States’ public debt rather than reduce spending”.

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson’s tax-cutting plan was expected to be funded by lower government spending on social security and healthcare – and it is important that people here in the UK should see the similarities between that and the Coalition government’s privatisation of the National Health Service (we’re told the NHS is a registered company now), along with its many attacks on people who claim social security benefits.

We’ve had tax cuts for the very rich – the so-called “millionaire’s tax cut” that brought the top rate of Income Tax down from 50 per cent to 45 per cent. Corporation Tax is coming down from 28 per cent to 21 per cent while the corporations that write UK tax policy are using it to facilitate tax avoidance schemes. And the poorest workers in the country are being fooled into believing they are getting a good deal out of the policy of raising the tax threshold to £10,000 per year.

Let’s look at that. Nick Clegg wants to raise it still further, so that nobody is taxed on earnings below £10,500 per year, but this means the Treasury will be starved of £1 billion. That’s a lot of money. Meanwhile, the deficit – and the debt – keeps rising.

We’ve had almost no change in the national deficit, year on year. Michael Meacher’s latest blog entry tells us, “the UK debt overhang is growing, not reducing… the budget deficit is not going down appreciably either. In 2011 it was £118bn and in 2012 this had hardly fallen at all at £115bn. The 40% cut in public spending budgets and the £18bn cut in benefits and hence in consumer demand, plus the £40bn further intended cuts after 2015, has produced searing pain, yet next to [no] improvement in the national accounts which was supposed to be the whole aim of the exercise.”

It is also important to note that the effect of raising the tax threshold for poorer people has been completely negated by other changes in government benefits for people on low incomes, unemployment or incapacity support; in fact they are worse off.

It is against that background – tax cuts for the very rich and the corporates, “searing” pain for the poor and worsening national debt – that David Cameron announced, at the gold-trimmed Lord Mayor’s Banquet, “We are sticking to the task. But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending… it means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”

At last he has admitted the point of the last three and a half pointless years. He has been starving the Treasury of the cash it needs to balance the books, and now he feels able to tell us that it isn’t going to happen unless public services are cut drastically.

He must be so happy.

Presumably he hasn’t realised that he has just told the British public that his policies, those of his political party and the Coalition of which it is a part, have been an abject disaster for the people of the United Kingdom.

He promised that he would get the deficit down; he failed.

He promised that the measures he took would be applied equally to everyone, from the highest-earners to the lowest; they weren’t.

Now he has promised to build a leaner, more efficient state, using examples from education and health, whose funding has been ring-fenced throughout his period in office; he is lying.

It is time, now, for serious-minded people to draw a line below the selfish policies of the last 30 years and start thinking about government for all the people once again.

When governments talk about making cuts, they’re not talking about help for the rich. Social or economic programmes, supported by taxes, are only ever put in place to level a playing field that would otherwise be tilted against the poor or disadvantaged. Removing such programmes means a less equal society; one that is more UNfair.

Remember that when Cameron and his cronies – especially people like Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey – talk about making Britain a fairer place to live and work.

Their words carry about as much weight as their leader’s 2010 election promises.