Tag Archives: standard

Standards on environment, safety and human rights to be slashed for a grubby trade deal with Trump

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: Enemies of the UK?

The Tory minister who once complained that the UK imports too much cheese is set to abolish the UK’s environmental safeguards – to get a food import deal with Donald Trump.

Theresa May promised that the UK would keep within EU rules on the environment, safety standards and human rights after Brexit.

But Boris Johnson will get rid of all these rules – that protect you – so he can sign a grubby deal with Donald Trump, to import genetically modified, inferior US food products at a high cost to the UK.

He describes this a way of gaining “flexibility”.

It seems responsibility for scrapping our protections will fall to cheese-loving international trade secretary Liz Truss.

This will require a huge admission of hypocrisy on her part – the woman who said importing two-thirds of our cheese was a “disgrace” –

– now seems perfectly happy to lower standards across the country in order to import all kinds of junk.

EU officials say that British negotiators are particularly keen to jettison EU restrictions on genetically modified foods – a key demand of American trade negotiators.

One EU official with knowledge of the Brexit talks suggested US trade officials appeared to have been in contact with British negotiators and told them standards would need to be slashed if there was any chance of a US trade deal.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said scrapping the protections was “vital for giving us the freedom and flexibility to strike new trade deals and become more competitive”.

And of course rejecting EU standards means there can be no free trade deal with the bloc after the UK leaves it.

The intention seems to be to put the entire country at Donald Trump’s mercy – and he doesn’t seem to have much of that.

It seems clear that this plan is in the interests of nobody in the UK – apart from, possibly, Boris Johnson.

He certainly seems not to be interested in his duty to act in the interests of the people of this nation.

Of course, none of this can happen while the UK remains in the EU – and without an exit deal that MPs and MEPs can support, the UK will do just that.

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson moves to scrap environment safeguards to get deal with Trump | The Independent

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Hypocrite Bradley’s ‘apology’ video for ‘vasectomy’ blog makes matters WORSE

Ben Bradley: Two weeks ago it was “Vasectomies for wasters”, last week it was “Splat the chavs”. This week it’s “I have matured”. What pearl of wisdom will we have from him next week? [Image: Getty.]

Ben Bradley has turned out to be just like every other Tory recently tasked with improving the Conservative Party’s profile with the young – he just can’t get anything right.

Yesterday (January 23) he posted an apology for blog posts written in 2011, calling for unemployed “wasters” to have “vasectomies” and saying he could not wait for water cannons to arrive in London so police could play “splat the chav”.

It’s a cringeworthy performance, made worse by his claim that matters have improved across the nation since he scribbled those appalling blog posts, with the arrival of the benefit cap and the limiting of child benefit to just two children.

So enforced poverty on families who rely on benefits is a good thing, is it?

The so-called ‘rape clause’ – that says mothers can only receive benefit for a third child if it is the result of sexual assault – is a good thing, is it?

I know many mothers who would disagree. But then, Mr Bradley isn’t a mother. He just thinks he can tell them what’s good for them.

Here’s his video; see for yourself:

The Daily Mirror has been having fun with Mr Bradley too, pointing out that he reckons he should be excused because his time in politics has allowed him to mature – just three months after he said Jared O’Mara should be “condemned” for offensive homophobic and misogynistic posts he put online.

Mr Bradley begged for his own mistakes to be forgotten – having already, it seems, forgotten that he said Labour’s failure to condemn Mr O’Mara was a “copout” and “weak”.

But that’s Tories for you. They are the Party of Double-Standards, after all.

A Tory MP has begged for his online mistakes to be forgotten just three months after saying another MP should be “condemned” for comments he made on the internet.

Tory youth spokesman Ben Bradley called for the unemployed to have vasectomies in blogs that were unearthed last week.

In another post he said it would be “incredibly sensible” to relocate people on benefits hundreds of miles from home.

Theresa May has been under pressure to sack Bradley, now 28, over the posts which were made when he was 22.

Bradley today issued a video, admitting he had “cocked up”, but pleading to be “judged based on what I’m doing now as a member of parliament, not stupid things I said as a young man.”

But just three months ago, he launched an online attack on another MP over posts he made online as a young man, criticising Labour for insufficiently condemning him and accusing them of a “cop out”.

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara, who defeated Nick Clegg in June’s General Election, was suspended by Labour in October, after a string of misogynistic and homophobic online comments posted when he was in his early twenties were revealed.

Many of O’Mara’s posts were published when he was younger than Bradley was at the time of his blogs.

Bradley also mocked O’Mara’s claim to have been “on a journey” since making his offensive posts.

But when he was forced to apologise over his own posts, he claimed he had “time in politics has allowed me to mature”

Bradley tweeted: “Labour totally fail to condemn Jared O’Mara again on Daily Politics. He’s been on a journey you know! #Copout #Weak”

Source: ‘Vasectomies for jobseekers’ Tory begs for mistakes to be forgotten months after attacking Labour MP for online comments – Mirror Online


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Ignorance could lumber us with another Tory government

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Why do people still believe the Conservatives are more likely to raise their living standards than Labour, even though they understand that they have become worse off over the last five years?

Why do political commentators brand Ed Miliband a “useless” leader, when even former Torygraph stalwart Peter Oborne has admitted he has been responsible for extraordinary successes and has challenged the underlying structures which govern Westminster conduct?

Let’s look at the first claim, courtesy of the latest Mainly Macro article by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis. He makes it clear from the start that people are being denied the facts; otherwise the economy would be the Conservative Party’s weakest point in the election campaign.

Look at the evidence: Since 2010 we have endured the weakest economic recovery for at least 200 years, with a steady fall in real wages (masked in average figures by the huge pay rises awarded by fatcat bosses to themselves). “The government’s actions are partly responsible for that, and the only debate is how much,” writes the Prof. “Living standards have taken a big hit.”

He continues: “There is no factual basis for the view that the Conservatives are better at managing the economy, and plenty to suggest the opposite. However this belief is not too hard to explain. The Labour government ended with the Great Recession which in turn produced a huge increase in the government’s budget deficit. With the help of mediamacro, that has become ‘a mess’ that Labour are responsible for and which the Conservatives have had to clean up.

“The beauty of this story is that it pins the blame for the weak recovery on the previous government, in a way that every individual can understand. Spend too much, and you will have a hard time paying back the debt.”

It’s a myth; the facts disprove it easily – so the Tories avoid the facts at all costs.

But why be concerned, if Ed Miliband is such an awful excuse for a Labour Party leader. Didn’t David Cameron describe him as “weak” and “spineless” to Scottish Conservatives only a fortnight ago?

Not according to Peter Oborne. Writing in The Spectator, he has praised Miliband because he “has been his own person, forged his own course and actually been consistent”.

Oborne praises Miliband for “four brave interventions, each one taking on powerful establishment interests: the Murdoch newspaper empire, the corporate elite, the foreign policy establishment and pro-Israel lobby… There is no doubting Mr Miliband’s integrity or his courage.

“Opposition is an essential part of British public life. Oppositions have a duty to challenge government and to give the electorate a clear choice. Ed Miliband has done precisely this and yet he has been written off. Does this mean that no opposition dare offend the big vested interests that govern Britain? Is this really the politics we want?”

It’s the politics the Conservative Party wants.

Professor Wren-Lewis notes that Miliband’s opinion poll ratings are low “because most people just see unglamorous pictures of him and note that he does not have that Blair appeal.

“That could be changed if they saw him in a one on one debate with Cameron, so there was never any chance that the Conservatives would let this happen. The debates last time had huge audiences, so no one can dispute that democracy has been dealt a huge blow as a result of what the FT rightly calls Cameron’s cowardice.”

He goes on to say that Cameron’s refusal to debate one-on-one with Miliband is “a key test” for the media, with Cameron counting on them letting his spin doctors dictate what people are allowed to see.

If that is true, then it seems Cameron has miscalculated.

Broadcasters have said the three TV general election debates planned for April will go ahead, despite Cameron saying he will take part in only one.

“It means Mr Cameron – who has rejected a head-to-head debate with Ed Miliband – could be ’empty-chaired’,” according to the BBC. Perhaps they really will put a blue chicken on the podium, as was suggested on this blog yesterday!

John Prescott has suggested that if David Cameron does not turn up for the TV debates, this should be placed on the empty podium.

John Prescott has suggested that if David Cameron does not turn up for the TV debates, this should be placed on the empty podium.

Perhaps the broadcasters were provoked by Cameron’s claim that they were the ones responsible for what he called the “chaos” surrounding the TV debates, when it is clear that he has been responsible for delays and indecision.

The end result is the same. Cameron has denied himself the chance to stand up and defend his record against an Opposition leader who is increasingly starting to come through as The Better Man.

Will the debates be enough to change the mind of the general public and mitigate against the mass ignorance nurtured by the Tory Press?

That will be up to Mr Miliband. If his performances in recent Prime Minister’s Questions are any indication, it should be a walkover for him.

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Now British Gas has cut its standard tariff – by much less than it should

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Gosh. British Gas is to cut household gas prices by five per cent – but this is a whopping 22 per cent less than the fall in wholesale gas prices.

The company says its 6.8 million customers will benefit by £37 over a year (that’s if the price cut remains for that long). It’s more than E.On customers (as reported here yesterday)…

… but the benefit of the wholesale price cut means British Gas will still make a whopping profit of more than £1 BILLION.

(Total profit is likely to be around £1,107,040,000).

British Gas representatives were all over the media this morning, apologising for making customers wait until February 27 before they feel the benefit; this is because the company reckons it bought the gas being used at the moment at higher, 2013-14, prices.

They should have been apologising for failing to pass on all of the wholesale cut to customers. It would have saved them very nearly £200 per year.

That kind of money is desperately needed by families feeling the pinch of the Conservative-planned cost of living crisis.

The drop will only benefit customers on British Gas’s standard and those Fix & Fall tariffs and the effect on different customers will vary.

The Labour Party, which has been campaigning for fairer energy bills for more than a year, has been (understandably) disparaging about this meagre display of largesse.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint tweeted: “Wholesale gas prices down by [more than] 20%, yet gas bills only cut by 5%. Regulator must have power to make sure full savings go to all consumers.”

In a statement to the press, she added: “This shows that Ed Miliband was right to challenge the energy companies to cut their prices and pass on the falls in wholesale costs to consumers. But given gas prices have fallen by at least 20 per cent a price cut of just 5 per cent means consumers still aren’t getting the full benefit of falling wholesale prices.

“The next Labour government is committed to making big changes in our energy market: freezing energy prices until 2017 so that bills can fall but not rise, and giving the regulator the power to force energy companies to cut their prices – when wholesale costs fall – to all of their customers.”

Some have taken issue with the description of a freeze that allows prices to fall, rather than keeping them static, but this is nit-picking. We can all see that Labour is simply pushing for households to get the best deal.

What do the Conservatives want? What do the Liberal Democrats want? Only last week they showed…

They’re quite happy for the rich company bosses to keep your money.

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Labour wins price battle as E.On cuts tariffs; the war continues

The price of privatisation: This graph charts the rise and rise of utility prices since privatisation. When the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s sold them off, the promise was that prices would fall.

The price of privatisation: This graph charts the rise and rise of utility prices since privatisation. When the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s sold them off, the promise was that prices would fall.

Here’s something many people may have missed: German energy company E.On has cut its standard gas tariff in response to “mounting political pressure”, according to the Telegraph.

Don’t get too excited – the 3.5 per cent reduction is less than one-eighth of the 27 per cent drop in wholesale gas prices over the last 12 months, but it does mean that around two million customers will save £24 on their gas bills if the reduction stays in place for a year. That’s equivalent to two weeks’ worth of usage.

E.On will lose £48 million of what it would have had if it had kept the tariff at its previous level – but if prices stay the same, it will gain £322,285,710 in comparison with its profits before the wholesale price dropped.

In any case, E.On has a lower tariff with an annual bill of £923, more than £200 less than the £1,145 post-cut cost of its standard rate.

So it seems Labour was right to call the cut “pretty measly”.

Some commentators have tried to claim that E.On’s move will signal a price-cutting war between the so-called ‘Big Six’ suppliers, but nearly a week has gone by with no further announcements.

The day after E.On cut prices, a Labour motion for regulator Ofgem to force energy companies to pass on the benefits of wholesale price cuts to their customers was defeated when the Tories and Liberal Democrats voted to support the energy companies rather than their constituents.

Despite voting against a move that would make it compulsory, Tories have hypocritically called on energy firms to pass on such savings willingly, and George Osborne has asked fuel companies to do the same with the prices of petrol and diesel.

There’s one more thing to say about this. Take note of the fact that E.On is a German company. This is what happens when you allow rampant privatisation of national utilities like gas and electricity – foreign companies get a chance to take those utilities away and run them for their profit, rather than for the good of the country.

E.On will make more than £300 million in profit from UK citizens, even after cutting its prices – and that’s on top of the profit it was already making before wholesale prices dropped.

Foreign firms own our energy companies and water suppliers. Foreign healthcare firms now have their claws firmly embedded in the English National Health Service. Hedge funds now own a large part of the Royal Mail as a result of Vince Cable’s botched sham of a sale last year. Who knows what will happen to the UK’s share of Eurostar, if the Coalition succeeds in selling that off before the election?

These travesties were all made possible because the public allowed the Conservative Party into government, giving its members an opportunity to strip the country of any assets that had value.

We must not make that mistake again.

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Revealed: Cameron’s lies over Euro bill

– Verbal malfunction: “I’m not going to pay that bill on 1 December. If people think I are- I’m going to- They’ve got another thing coming.” Cameron can’t even announce his complaint properly.

David Cameron has lied and lied again about the £1.7 billion bill from the European Union, it has been revealed.

An investigation by Full Fact has shown that the UK has been taking part in an exercise to revise the way payments are calculated since at least May this year, meaning that discussions on the subject must have been taking place previously.

The Treasury must have known about these discussions, meaning George Osborne would have been aware of them – and this means that Cameron himself should have been told. If he had not, then his government has not been doing its job properly. He says he knew nothing until he was presented with the invoice this week.

Not only that, the amount does not reflect any increase in the size of the UK economy during the current Parliament, but – humiliatingly for Cameron – during the period of the last Labour government. He reckoned it was based on his own government’s (dubious) economic recovery.

The report states: “EU law requires that member states measure the size of their economy according to EU standards. The UK hasn’t been fully compliant with these standards, so statisticians at the ONS have spent the last year revising old estimates of the size of the UK economy. Some, though not all, of these changes have had a generally upward impact on the figures the EU uses to determine the UK’s contribution to its budget.

“The resulting increase in the estimated size of the UK economy relative to other nations – specifically between 2002 and 2009 – is what’s caused the EU to ask for more money. If the Commission had known the size of the UK economy at the time, it would have charged us more, so the £1.7 billion represents the ‘back payments’ following the counting changes.”

There is some good news for Cameron, though. As the bill is for ‘back payments’, it seems likely to reduce in future years – no matter how the economy has performed under his government. His claim that the bill is because his government has turned the economy around is simply balderdash.

And it seems the largest factor in the increased bill has been changes in measuring the contribution of the not-for-profit sector – mainly charities and universities. As universities are currently experiencing a fall in income as their intake from foreign countries drops off due to “unwelcoming” government policies, it seems reasonable to expect that the UK’s contribution will fall.

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The best way forward now is for Cameron to accept the advice of Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, that he should swallow his pride and pay up.

There’s no reason the UK cannot amortise the amount over a period of time. If it does so in an agreed manner, it may avoid having to pay punitive 2.5-per-cent-per-month interest payments.

But then, Cameron has proven to be an economic idiot and may not understand this.

That’s what happens when you’re born into money; you end up with no idea of its value.

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The ‘Free Schools’ vanity project has wasted millions when the government said there was no money to spare

zcoalitionfailfreeschools

The Tory ‘Free Schools’ vanity project has been a complete disaster, with more than £51 million wasted on new schools that failed to meet inspectors’ standards or proposals for schools that were cancelled or withdrawn.

A report compiled by the Labour Party shows that £50m has been spent on free schools either declared inadequate by the education standards watchdog, Ofsted, or requiring improvement. A further £1.043m was spent on applications that were cancelled or withdrawn.

Of the 79 free schools opened in the first and second waves of the Michael Gove project, no less than one in three have been declared inadequate or requiring improvement by schools watchdog Ofsted. This compares with one in five schools overall – that’s including the institutions that ‘Free Schools’ were expected to outperform.

It is noteworthy that, according to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, the number of “inadequate” schools is equal to the number employing, as teachers, people with no teaching qualifications – one in three.

Worse still, the government has been caught trying to “massage” the figures. The example provided to us by a report in The Independent shows that the Hartsbrook E-Act Free School in north London, declared inadequate by Ofsted, was given a new name and number. This means the school appears as closed, even though it is now operating under a different name (Brook House Primary School), with the same head teacher and pupils in the same location. The re-designation means it won’t be inspected again until four terms have passed.

That could be disastrous for pupils, who by then will have spent almost another quarter of their primary school career in an environment that has been declared substandard, simply to save the government from embarrassment.

It seems the pupils aren’t the only ones who need to learn how to grow up and act in a mature and responsible manner!

Overall, primary ‘Free Schools’ are underperforming in reading, writing and mathematics, in comparison with the rest of the state sector.

It gets worse: Of those free schools whose 2013 national-curriculum test results were published, all bar one underperformed compared with the rest in their local authority and the national average.

Is this the revolution announced so boldly in the Coalition Agreement?

“We … believe that the state should help parents, community groups and others come together to improve the education system by starting new schools,” it told us in 2010.

“We will promote the reform of schools in order to ensure that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand; that all schools have greater freedom over the curriculum; and that all schools are held properly to account.

“We will give parents, teachers, charities and local communities the chance to set up new schools, as part of our plans to allow new providers to enter the state school system in response to parental demand.”

Which parents demanded this?

Free Schools also offered the opportunity to employ unqualified people as teachers. The Tory-run Education Department claimed this was a way of bringing in expertise that would not otherwise be available – now we know the facts.

‘Free Schools’ have been an expensive waste – not only of money, but of time and the potential of the school pupils they have failed.

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The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

140630minimumincome

The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more than £16,200, up from £13,500 in 2008;

Despite social and economic change, the list of goods and services different families need to live to an adequate level is very similar to that of the original study in 2008 – but people’s ability to afford them has declined. Overall the cost of a basket of essential items has risen by a massive 28 per cent over six years – much higher than the 19 per cent rise claimed by the official Consumer Price Index – while average wages have increased by just nine per cent and the minimum wage 14 per cent;

Increased tax allowances have eased the pressure somewhat for some households, but the freeze to child benefit and ongoing cuts in tax credits have outweighed this for low-earning families with children.

Out-of-work benefits have fallen further and now provide just 39 per cent of what single, working-age people need to reach a Minimum Income Standard.

On the other hand, pensioner couples who claim all their allowances receive 95 per cent of the amount required.

The bottom line is that the Conservative-led government has been hammering the working poor and people on benefits, while claiming to be helping them. The minimum income necessary for an adequate living standard, according to JRF research, is no less than two-and-a-half-times what people on benefits receive. That is an appalling disparity in the sixth-richest country in the world.

It also creates a danger that more people will look to loan suppliers like the government’s favourite (Wonga) for short-term help – at the cost of going into disastrous long-term debt.

Slow earnings growth and price increases have made all households worse off on average, relative to the MIS, the report has found.

The conclusion is a disaster for the Coalition’s “hardworking” people: “In the past six years the more important determinants of whether low-income households can afford the minimum budget have been the increasing cost of living relative to earnings and benefit cuts for households in and out of work.

“For working families with children, if these cuts continue, the opportunity to reach an acceptable living standard may not improve, even as wages start rising again in real terms.”

And the Conservatives have the cheek to use the slogan “For hardworking people”.

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Why is Tristram Hunt in the Labour Party?

'U' for effort: Why should parents vote 'Labour' if Tristram Hunt won't repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system - and our children's future?

‘U’ for effort: Why should parents vote ‘Labour’ if Tristram Hunt won’t repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system – and our children’s future?

According to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, Labour will not repeal Michael Gove’s major – useless – changes to the British school system if it wins the next election. In that case: Why vote Labour?

Gove has proved to be the stupidest education secretary of recent history. His divisive ‘Free Schools’ vanity project is a disaster that has increased costs for children who must get their education miles away when there is a school next door to them, while standards of teaching have plummetted at the new establishments – with unqualified teachers and calamitous Ofsted inspection reports.

Not only has he created appalling imbalances in the school system, but Gove has also de-stabilised his own department, bringing in unqualified ‘advisors’ to overrule seasoned civil servants on major decisions. The result has been wide-scale demoralisation, with many experts leaving the profession, their experience lost forever.

The agenda, as far as it is possible to see one, seems to be to maim the state education system so badly that it will be unable to compete with privately-run schools on any level, meaning the sons and daughters of the rich will be able to beat state school pupils to the choicest jobs.

Now, Tristram Hunt – whose political beliefs appear to be so amorphous that he could belong to any one of the major political parties – says he won’t sort out any of the problems Gove has been creating. He says that would be “tinkering”.

Many of Gove’s reforms “built on” Labour ideas, he told the BBC.

Those were bad ideas, Tristram. For a man who is supposed to be well-educated, you don’t seem to notice much, do you?

We currently have a system stuffed with so many kinds of school it must be impossible for parents to work out what’s best for their pupils, even if they have a decent choice available to them.

In practice, it seems, there is little difference between them as none seem capable of providing the education that people need. As a writer, I have seen the quality of written English nosedive over the past 30 years. Tristram Hunt will do nothing to change that. So why vote Labour?

Instead of having Free Schools, academies, grammar schools or whatever silly name people want to give them, why can’t we just have schools?

Hunt does put forward some useful ideas in his BBC interview but – having seen what he thinks of the Gove policies – it is hard to have faith that he can carry them out adequately.

He says the Free Schools policy has been wasteful in adding new places where there is already a surplus – and any new schools should be built where there is a shortage.

Also, Labour would put resources into technical and vocational education in a change from previous policy – which attempted to funnel half of school leavers into university, whether they deserved the extra education or not.

These are practical ideas, but if the system is not based on solid principles, they will not make any difference at all.

Mr Hunt is himself an educated man and must be made to see that his policies are ridiculous. He should receive a ‘U’ for effort and be made to take his exams again.

And, while Ed Miliband is putting people like this on his front bench, the question remains: Why vote Labour?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Storm in a scrapyard over Hughes – while Osborne should be arrested

I can’t see any reason to make a fuss over Simon Hughes.

The Liberal Democrat deputy may have failed to declare – fully – a £10,000 donation from a scrap metal firm. Big deal. He did not see any of the money himself. Apparently there’s another donation of £15,000 from a cruise company. Hughes was the speaker at a Christmas cruise on the Thames, operated by this company, and has spoken about both firms in Parliament. It looks like straightforward ‘cash-for-questions’, if there’s truth to it.

Isn’t it more interesting that this should come to light on the same day that I read about George Osborne and his paddock?

This is not an allegation but fact: Osborne – who is, let’s remember, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and therefore should know the rules extremely well – included the mortgage for a paddock in his taxpayer-funded expenses.

He bought a farmhouse in Cheshire, along with the neighbouring land, for £455,000 in 2000, before he became an MP – but then, between 2003 and 2009, he claimed up to £100,000 in expenses to cover mortgage interest payments on both the land and the building. The mortgages were interest-only. After 2003, he never paid a penny himself.

When he re-mortgaged in 2005, he increased the amount to £480,000 – again on an interest-only basis – to cover the intial purchase costs and £10,000 for repairs. He was using public money to claw back his outlay on the property, so from then on, none of the money paid on that building or land was paid by Mr Osborne. It all came from the taxpayer.

During the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 we learned that he had “flipped” his second home allowance onto the property and increased the mortgage. What we didn’t know was that the expenses payments were not just for the house, but for the paddock as well; it is registered separately with the Land Registry.

Osborne sold the house and the land – both of which are now firmly established as having been funded with your money, not his – last year, for £1 million. That’s more than double the original price. He has pocketed that money; the taxpayer won’t get any of it back.

So he has exploited us to make £1 million for himself.

Make no mistake – this was not a necessary expense to help him discharge his Parliamentary duties; it was a property scam.

Because the money was claimed as a Parliamentary expense, I think there are grounds for a fraud inquiry. It seems like an open-and-shut case of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception (Theft Act 1968, section 16).

Let’s also remember that this is a man with what I believe is known as “form”. Earlier this year he was caught in the First Class compartment of a train, having paid only a Standard Class fare. Again, he had obtained an advantage via deception.

Did he pay any penalty for the railway incident? I’ve heard nothing. Will he pay a penalty for this £1 million wheeze? I doubt it.

But you should remember it, next time you see him telling you that his latest plan to squeeze the last vital pennies from your bank accounts are “fair”.

And you should pay particular attention to this comment from him, made when he became Chancellor (and therefore while he was still claiming the mortgage on expenses, before making the sale): “I took a pay cut, and froze my pay on taking this job, took a pay cut from the previous chancellor, the Labour chancellor, in order to show that politicians weren’t going to get away with it.”

He seems to think he can.

I find it extremely dubious that the allegations about Hughes should take pride of place on certain news media websites, while the facts about Osborne appear to be all but brushed under the carpet.

My opinion: Osborne should be arrested and remanded in custody (without bail – the risk that he might abscond would be too great) until a trial can take place.