Tag Archives: Thatcher

A 10ft plinth to deter people from vandalising Thatcher statue? That’s begging for graffiti

Look at all that white space: What a wonderful – free – canvas for any would-be Banksy to pass comment on the woman whose image stands at the top of it. At least, that’s what this artist’s impression suggests.

It seems nobody wants to have a statue of Margaret Thatcher on their doorstep.

Westminster Council rejected plans to put it up in central London last year, basing the decision on a report that it could attract “potential vandalism and civil disorder”.

Now, according to Metro, councillors in Baroness Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire, are considering putting the £300,000 statue on a 10ft plinth – also to deter “politically-motivated vandals”.

They haven’t thought it through at all.

A 10ft plinth will be a blank canvas for every wannabe Banksy who wants to try their hand at satirical graffiti.

They’ll come from every corner of the United Kingdom to make their mark on that wonderful 10ft expanse of white stone – and to make a point about the woman whose image will stand at the top of it.

And with 17 objections to the statue plan, and only seven in support, it is doubtful that many people will be upset if they do.


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Thatcher’s privatisation tsar will be the BBC’s new chair. What do you think he’ll do?

Sir David Clementi. The government adopted the recommendations of his report, which called the BBC Trust flawed and said oversight should be handed to Ofcom [Image: David Hartley/Rex/Shutterstock].

The Guardian‘s report on the appointment of Sir David Clementi as the new chair of the BBC misses two important points: He was formerly in charge of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation programme, and he never applied for the job.

See for yourself, here:

And here:

Now, why do you think the Conservative Government would give the BBC to their arch-privatiser, even though he didn’t ask for the job?

We’ll have to keep this one under very careful scrutiny.

Sir David Clementi, a former banker with no broadcasting experience, has been confirmed as the new chair of the BBC.

Theresa May has confirmed the appointment of Clementi, the preferred candidate put forward by culture secretary Karen Bradley, who will lead the corporation’s new unitary board that will replace the BBC Trust on 1 April.

“I am confident that Sir David will provide the strong leadership necessary for the BBC to remain the world’s best broadcaster,” said Bradley.

“Sir David will bring a wealth of experience to the role and was the strongest candidate in an extremely competitive and high-calibre field. He has extensive experience as a chairman in both the commercial and not-for-profit sector and has a strong regulatory and business background. I am confident that under his direction, the nation’s broadcaster will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Source: Sir David Clementi confirmed as new BBC chair | Media | The Guardian

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Plans for an anti-Thatcher museum in London to showcase her “genuine terrible legacy” – Mirror Online

Does anybody know anything about crowdfunding? Perhaps something could be done to make Mr Cullen’s exhibition a permanent feature of the London scene.

Plans to open an anti-Thatcher museum in London are being hatched by artist Darren Cullen.

The 32 year old, originally from Leeds, says he is in the early stages of planning, but has already been looking into finding potential locations and raising the funds for a temporary exhibition on the Iron Lady.

In 2013, Cameron gave his backing to a £15million museum and library called The Thatcher Centre, that would celebrate her life to “ensure Thatcher’s legacy lives on”.

But Darren thinks that there should be an alternative to this: a museum which exhibits the negative side of Thatcher and the UK under her rule.

Darren says:” I wanted to start this project because I think there’s going to be a serious need to counteract the whitewashed version of Thatcher’s legacy the official museum will present.”

Source: Plans for an anti-Thatcher museum in London to showcase her “genuine terrible legacy” – Mirror Online

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Thatcher disdained sanctions. Why do her heirs love them so much?

austeritydolequeue

Vox‘s article on Nelson Mandela stirred up a huge amount of comment. As you might expect, much was complimentary; some was not.

One of the critics sought to alter the stated opinion of David Cameron and his Conservatives by pointing to a letter from Margaret Thatcher to then-South African President PW Botha in 1985, seeking Mr Mandela’s release from prison. This part of the letter didn’t sway yr (dis-)obdt srvt, as the suggestion seemed to be made as part of advice on how Mr Botha could gain political advantage from the situation, rather than from any genuine moral standpoint.

The letter did feature comments that are of considerable interest and relevance at this time – relating to sanctions. Mrs Thatcher wrote: “The Commonwealth meeting opened with forty-five countries seeking extensive trade and economic sanctions against South Africa… My rebuttal of the case… rested on two main premises: that sanctions do not work, indeed are likely to be counter-productive and damaging to those they are intended to help: and that it was inappropriate to take punitive action against South Africa at the very moment when you are taking steps to get rid of apartheid and to make necessary changes in the system of government in South Africa.”

Let’s take these comments back home and apply them to people who are unemployed in the UK today.

The Department for Work and Pensions, under Iain Duncan Smith, imposed a tough new regime of sanctions against Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in November last year.

Now, sanctions can be imposed for a month if a claimant is judged to be not actively seeking a job or being available for work. Subsequent misbehaviour along these lines would mean a 13-week period without benefit. The claimant must then reapply for benefit in both instances.

Benefit may also be lost for 13 weeks if a jobseeker fails to attend an interview with a Job Centre advisor, although it restarts automatically at the end of this period.

The highest sanction withdraws JSA for 13 weeks if a person leaves their job voluntarily, rising to six months for a second “failure” and three YEARS for a third.

In the eight months between the application of the new rules and June this year, nearly 600,000 JSA claimants were sanctioned. Employment Minister Esther McVey claimed that this affected only a small proportion of jobseekers – “The vast, vast majority of people don’t get sanctions” – but when you compare the actual number of sanctions (553,000) with the number of people on JSA (1,480,000) it becomes clear that this is not true.

In September 2012, 1,570,000 people were on JSA. The government has been claiming that the figure has dropped because people are getting jobs but from these figures it seems far more likely that they have had their money stopped instead.

Ms McVey also said: “The people who get sanctions are wilfully rejecting support for no good reason.” Let’s have a look at that with the help of this website. All the sanctions it describes were really imposed on real jobseekers by Job Centre Plus employees, and these are just some of them:

“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.”

“You have a job interview which overruns so you arrive at your job centre appointment 9 minutes late. You get sanctioned for a month.”

“Your job centre advisor suggests a job. When you go online to apply it says the job has “expired” so you don’t apply. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks.”

“You are on a workfare placement and your job centre appointment comes round. The job centre tells you to sign on then go to your placement – which you do. The placement reports you for being late and you get sanctioned for 3 months.”

The victims of these sanctions were clearly people who were trying to take steps to rid themselves of their unemployed status and get a job – but they were sanctioned by our Conservative-led government under a policy created by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. Draw a parallel with what Mrs Thatcher was saying about South Africa and it is clear that she would call that “inappropriate”.

But do they work? No.

According to Liam Purcell, writing in the Church Action on Poverty blog: “Where there are few jobs available, as in the North West of England, taking money away from people is hardly going to help them find jobs.

“Many of the unemployed despair of getting help and meaningful training. For most people who are sanctioned, it does nothing to help them acquire skills that would help them compete in the labour market.

“Having to apply online for dozens of inconvenient, unsuitable jobs for which they are poorly qualified, and which they may be physically or mentally incapable of holding down, is hardly a profitable use of time… Yet failure to comply can mean an end to even the minimum income produced by benefits.”

And the result? “Destitution, which follows, merely helps the poorest to learn how to survive by ducking and diving, by applying to charity, by falling into the clutches of payday lenders and loan sharks, by begging and sometimes stealing. Increasingly we come across people who find the whole process of claiming out-of-work benefits so demeaning and stressful that they just can’t be bothered to apply, and conveniently disappear from the official register of the unemployed.”

And conveniently disappear from the official register of the unemployed.

For those the system was originally “intended to help”, as Mrs Thatcher put it, her letter of 1985 was absolutely right: “Sanctions do not work [and] are likely to be counter-productive and damaging.”

But for a government that is desperately trying to claim that its policy on jobs is succeeding, sanctions that “conveniently disappear” people work very nicely indeed.

 

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Death of a great man marred by the hypocrisy of a weasel

Hypocrite: We can't prove Cameron was behind the 'Hang Mandela' campaign of the 1980s, but we do know he opposed Mandela's politics and supported apartheid in South Africa. He did not think Mandela was a "great light" or a "hero" - he's just saying what he thinks you want to hear.

Hypocrite: We can’t prove Cameron was behind the ‘Hang Mandela’ campaign of the 1980s, but we do know he opposed Mandela’s politics and supported apartheid in South Africa. He did not think Mandela was a “great light” or a “hero” – he’s just saying what he thinks you want to hear.

I hope everyone in the UK is as saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela as they are disgusted by David Cameron’s two-faced tribute.

According to Wikipedia, Mr Mandela rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife.

After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.

While he was in prison, David Cameron was involved in some extremely shady anti-Mandela activities.

According to a statement that was put out across the social media in the summer, “When he [Mr Mandela] does die, and David Cameron jumps on the Mandela bandwagon, remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced the “Hang Mandela” posters.

“In 1989, Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on an anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by PW Botha. Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Mandela.”

Cameron’s membership of the Federation of Conservative Students is questionable, as is his participation in the “Hang Mandela” campaign. His participation in the fact-finding mission is well-documented, though.

As for his party – well, let’s look at the words of Conservative talisman Margaret Thatcher: “The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation.” Tories revere the Blue Baroness; if that was her opinion, no doubt it belonged to many of them as well.

If you still need to be convinced, see the following:

“Nelson Mandela should be shot.” – Tory MP Teddy Taylor

“This hero worship is very much misplaced.”- Tory MP John Carlisle

“How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?” – Tory MP Terry Dicks

(All the above are taken from Tom Pride’s article on the subject earlier this year)

Conservatives hated Mandela; Cameron was a Conservative then and is Conservative leader now.

When you see him saying things like, “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time,” remember that.

What a two-faced, hypocritical slug.

 

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No lawbreaking required: Secret police are spying on students to repress political dissent

Caught with his trousers down: Herr Flick from 'Allo Allo' - possibly the last secret policeman to be revealed in quite such an embarrassing way.

Caught with his trousers down: Herr Flick from ‘Allo Allo’ – possibly the last secret policeman to be revealed in quite such an embarrassing way.

So now not only are our students facing the prospect of a life in debt, paying off the cost of their education (thanks, Liberal Democrats!) but they know they can expect the police to be spying on them in case they do anything radical, student-ish and treasonous like joining UK Uncut and occupying a shop to publicise the corporate tax avoidance our Tory-led government encourages.

Rather than investigate and solve crimes, it seems the police are embracing their traditional role (under Conservative governments) as political weapons – targeting suspected dissenters against their right-wing government’s policies, trying to undermine their efforts and aiming to apprehend key figures.

They are behaving like secret police, in fact. Allow this to go much further and we will have our own Gestapo, here in Britain. Before anyone starts invoking Godwin’s Law, just take a look at the evidence; it is a justifiable comparison.

According to The Guardian, police have been caught trying to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. It had to be Cambridge; Oxford is traditionally the ‘Tory’ University.

The officer concerned tried to get an activist to rat on other students in protest groups in return for money, but the student turned the tables on him by wearing a hidden camera to record a meeting and expose the facts.

The policeman, identified by the false name ‘Peter Smith’, “wanted the activist to name students who were going on protests, list the vehicles they travelled in to demonstrations, and identify leaders of protests. He also asked the activist to search Facebook for the latest information about protests that were being planned.

“The other proposed targets of the surveillance include UK Uncut, the campaign against tax avoidance and government cuts, Unite Against Fascism and environmentalists” – because we all know how dangerous environmentalists are!

Here at Vox Political, it feels as though we have come full circle. One of the events that sparked the creation of this blog was the police ‘kettling’ of students demonstrating against the rise in tuition fees, back in 2010. It was a sign that the UK had regressed to the bad old days of the Thatcher government, when police were used (famously) to intimidate, annihilate and subjugate picketing miners.

Back then, BBC news footage was doctored to make it seem the miners had been the aggressors; fortunately times have changed and now, with everyone capable of filming evidence with their mobile phones, it is much harder for such open demonstrations of political repression to go unremarked.

In response, we see the police being granted expanded powers of arrest against anyone deemed to be causing a “nuisance” or “annoyance”, and now the infiltration of groups deemed likely to be acting against the government, even though they may not have broken any laws at all.

This would be bad enough if it was a single incident, taken in isolation – but it isn’t. It is part of a much wider attack on the citizens of this country by institutions whose leaders should know better.

The UK is now in the process of removing the rights it has taken nearly a thousand years for its citizens to win.

It is a country that abuses the sick and disabled.

And it is a country where free speech will soon be unheard-of; where the police – rather than investigate crimes – proactively target political dissenters, spying on anyone they suspect of disagreeing with the government and looking for ways to silence them.

Who voted for that?

ConDem response to outcry over policies: Put a charge on plastic bags.

130914nobags

Today, Vox Political hands over to Geoff Reynolds, a commenter who submitted this in response to the government’s announcement that it is putting a 5p charge on plastic bags in order to discourage their use.

Here in Wales, the Welsh Government levied a charge on plastic bags a long time ago; clearly the Tories and the Lib Dems have realised that this was successful and their scheme is a copycat strategy – but you probably won’t see them admitting it.

Let’s all note that the BBC has once again given space to Tory astroturfers the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which is claiming the change won’t make any difference to the environment, even though it has cut plastic bag use in Wales by around three-quarters.

Here’s Geoff, who starts his comment with his habitual shout:

‘WHILST THE DEATHS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE FALLOUT CAUSED BY THE TRULY EVIL CRIMES OF WELFARE REFORMS SPIRAL HOPELESSLY OUT OF CONTROL, THIS IS THE ANSWER FROM OUR GOVERNMENT:

‘“PLASTIC BAGS ARE TO COST 5 PENCE.”

‘WHAT F**KING WORLD DO THESE IMBECILES BELONG ON? IT CERTAINLY ISN’T THE ONE WHERE I LIVE!

‘PENSIONERS ARE DYING OF HYPOTHERMIA, PEOPLE ARE HAVING THEIR HOMES TAKEN, DISABLED ARE BEING STARVED TO DEATH AND MORE CHILDREN ARE BEING BORN INTO POVERTY THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE THE LAST WAR.

‘The only things that are booming are food banks, yet these gormless b*st*rds, who got more for attending a Parliament call-back for Thatcher’s death than I get to live on for a full year, have the impudence to place “a shilling tariff on plastic bags”, at the top of the agenda.

‘They chose to ridicule a report by a UNITED NATIONS inspector on the real plight of our nation, while they pass legislation on a bag!

‘The leaking of the bag tariff has taken the thunder from the Lib Dems’ conference… It has been revealed!

‘WAKE UP YOU DELUDED T*SSBAGS!

‘THERE MUST BE MORE BRAIN CELLS IN A DISCARDED SHOWER CAP THAN THE WHOLE OF OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WESTMINSTER!

‘WORDS FAIL ME. WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE A GOLDFISH ON A LEAD.’

Cameron has lied so often that there is no reason to believe him on fracking

Fracked water is set ablaze in the film Gasland: "There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies," said Cameron.

Fracked water is set ablaze in the film Gasland: “There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies,” said Cameron.

“We’re all in it together”, David Cameron scrawled in his Telegraph article on fracking. Presumably this means he personally has invested heavily in the process as the evidence suggests there are appalling drawbacks for the majority of the UK.

The article, “We cannot afford to miss out on shale gas”, is sub-headed “Safe fracking will cut energy bills and create wealth without ruining precious countryside, writes David Cameron”.

Let’s put the alternative view immediately. Fracking would involve drilling large numbers of directional wells at regular intervals – coating the landscape with far more than the eight in the current largest onshore gas field in the UK, at Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire. Thousands would be required to temporarily – that’s right, temporarily – replace just one North Sea field. Production from a typical shale well declines by 70-80 per cent in the first year alone, meaning new wells must be drilled constantly to maintain production.

The method is to inject millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the wells, under massive pressure. Water consumption and contamination is a major issue, and disposal of the huge amounts of toxic waste produced by the process is extremely difficult – it seems attempts to inject it into the ground are causing large numbers of earthquakes.

Air pollution means high ozone levels, along with carcinogenic hydrocarbon vapours that can be blown hundreds of miles from the source, creating breathing difficulties, cancer clusters, neurological and reproductive problems in humans and animals living in the shadow of these industries. The typical response from industrialists (and government, to judge from Mr Cameron’s comments) is to demand proof from people who have neither the funds nor the health to do so.

Methane gas emissions amplify the global warming effects of burning other carbon fuels.

This is the process Mr Cameron wishes to inflict on you.

“If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive,” he wrote in the Telegraph. He’s clearly forgetting that families wouldn’t have such serious problems with their bills if a previous Conservative government hadn’t privatised the energy companies, giving them to greedy shareholders who have raised prices far above increases in inflation, every year. As for making the country more competitive, he is forgetting that the Conservative government of Mrs Thatcher reduced our competitiveness by closing down the coal mines in order to chase cheap fuels from abroad, that have now risen in price. What a false economy that was!

With such a track record, why should we now believe a Conservative’s claims about this form of energy extraction?

“Labour’s mismanagement of the economy means that many people are struggling with the cost of living today.” To clarify: Labour did not mismanage the economy – the 1997-2010 government recently received a clean bill of health, as reported on this blog and elsewhere. This is a repetition of a lie that Conservatives have been spouting gleefully, ever since they decided on a whim that they no longer support what Labour did to save the economy after the credit crunch. Previously, they backed Labour all the way but this has been retrospectively changed. They seem to like retrospective alterations.

According to the BBC, “the government’s own energy department DECC says it’s not clear whether fracking will bring down bills or not”. So Mr Cameron is contradicting his own experts.

“Where we can act to relieve the pressure, we must.” Fine. Since there are more fossil fuels stockpiled today than we can burn at once, without causing the climate change that has been feared for so many years, the answer is to cut fuel bills by forcing the energy companies to stop being so stupidly greedy and charge realistic prices. Obviously.

“Secondly, fracking will create jobs in Britain.” But these people will then contract fracking-related diseases and be invalided out of work. They’ll go on to claim Employment and Support Allowance and/or Personal Independence Payment, be refused by “Returned To Unit”‘s* Department of Work and Pensions and die. The deaths will go unnoticed because the government has already decided to stop collecting death statistics.

“Thirdly, fracking will bring money to local neighbourhoods.” This sounds enticing, but no reference is made to how this money will be distributed. It goes to communities, not to people. “This is money that could be used for a variety of purposes – from reductions in council tax bills to investment in neighbourhood schools.” Those are both benefits that could be negated by, say, reductions in government grants to local councils, meaning the local levy must increase, and privatisation of the education system, meaning local people will need to find other ways of educating their children.

“I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour. We are all in this together.” Does anybody remember the fuss when the route for the new HS2 rail service was revealed to pass through a government minister’s constituency? That was bad for the government’s image and won’t happen again. Expect fracking to be confined to areas away from Tory heartlands, where ministers and backbenchers won’t complain about it.

“Local people will not be cut out and ignored… firms looking to frack should make people aware of their plans well before they apply for a permit…. if residents express specific concerns, then companies should take them on board.” None of this guarantees that firms will be prohibited from fracking if sufficient public objection is raised; they’ll just say they’ve taken those concerns on board and carry on regardless.

Look at Balcombe, in West Sussex, where the firm Cuadrilla is facing determined opposition from protesters who were horrified when permission for drilling was granted last December. It seems likely that the firm will have to seek – and will receive – the necessary permits for fracking, but the community may receive no benefits as the oil targeted will be in rocks that are “not shale”.

Objections have been raised and ignored. That is what will happen to you.

“International evidence shows there is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated,” said Mr Cameron, leader of the Party of DEregulation. Conservatives do not know how to regulate anything and it is against their ideology to do so. “If any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down.” Note that he does not make any mention of exercising those powers.

Plenty of independent information is available on fracking – certainly on the Internet – and readers are encouraged to look it up and decide for themselves.

And tell other people to do the same – otherwise we all stand in danger of having our land raped by a money-grubbing liar whose political party caused the problems he claims this environmentally-disastrous process will resolve.

*Iain Duncan Smith.

Flawed Coalition figures claim crime is down. What about fraud (George Osborne)?

Shock revelations: Police using iPads demonstrate to Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron  that they can't stop Vox Political publishing the facts about their so-called government.

Shock revelations: Police using iPads demonstrate to Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron that they can’t stop Vox Political publishing the facts about their so-called government.

It must be a brutal blow for the Coalition government, after announcing that crime has dropped by a respectable amount, to then have to admit that a large chunk of fraud has been omitted from the figures.

“Crimes recorded by police in England and Wales have fallen by 7 per cent in the year ending March 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics,” stated the BBC, proudly acting once again as the Coalition’s mouthpiece.

At around the same time Jeremy Browne, the Minister of State for Crime Prevention, was telling us about mistakes at Action Fraud, which now receives all reports of fraud on behalf of all police forces in England and Wales: “Between November 2012 and July 2013, 2,490 reports (of which 1,738 were reports of crime) were not processed correctly due to a fault in the IT system,” he reported.

Oh dear – another cock-up.

By now, the people of Britain should be used to this sort of behaviour from an administration that once promised to be the most open government in history. Fraud is up, they say? How unsurprising – it seems one is being perpetrated on us right now.

The report from the Office for National Statistics estimated that “there were 8.6 million crimes in England and Wales, based on interviews with a representative sample of households and resident adults in the year ending March 2013”. This represents a nine per cent decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981 – less than half its peak level, which was in 1995.

But there are several reasons we should treat this result with care. Firstly, we are told the survey began in 1981 – during the first Thatcher (Conservative) government – and the amount of crime it measured peaked 14 years later, in 1995 – during the Major (Conservative) government. In other words, during all those years of Conservative rule, crime just kept getting worse and worse.

Also, under the Labour governments of 1997-2010, crimes committed fell from around 17 million to around nine million – a drop of about 48 per cent. In the last year of that government alone, crime fell by nine per cent, according to the British Crime Survey. Today’s result could very well be building on Labour achievements and have nothing to do with the Coalition, which has been cutting police numbers (and logically police effectiveness).

Finally, recorded crime totalled 3.7 million offences in the year up to March 2013 – less than half the Crime Survey for England and Wales’ estimate of the total number of crimes. If they’re not recording crimes, they’re not investigating them – so this means more than half of the crimes committed in this country appear to be going unpunished.

That’s not a good record.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, was quick to claim responsibility for the apparent improvement. She said: “Our police reforms are continuing to deliver results across the country with falls in crime in every police force in England and Wales.

“Recorded crime is down by more than 10 per cent under this government, and the independent survey shows that the public’s experience of crime is at its lowest level since records began. This is a significant achievement.

“Police forces have shown an impressive ability to rise to the challenge of making savings while still cutting crime. This government has played its part by slashing red tape and scrapping targets to enable the police to focus on crime fighting.

“We have encouraged chief constables to make savings in back offices to give renewed focus on the frontline and we are seeing the benefits of those efficiencies. We have also set up a College of Policing to ensure the police are better equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to fight crime.

“England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades, but we will continue to improve our national crime fighting capability when the National Crime Agency is fully operational later this year.”

Another national agency? Let’s hope it does better than the one dealing with fraud. Back to Mr Browne: “This issue came to light too late to notify the Office for National Statistics for inclusion in Crime in England and Wales for the year ending March 2013, published today.

“As part of routine revisions to the data, any corrections will be included by the Office for National Statistics in next quarter’s crime publications.”

He said: “Action Fraud has taken immediate action to process the affected reports and will be writing to apologise to everyone who submitted a report and to make clear that their report is now being dealt with.”

Vox Political‘s complaint against George Osborne was submitted in December 2012 and is therefore likely to be among the complaints that were overlooked.

It is alleged that he committed fraud by falsely claiming mortgage interest on a farmhouse, a neighbouring paddock, and other land in his Tatton constituency as an allowable expense, stating that he needed the house to perform his duties as an MP. Taxpayers’ money paid the interest on the paddock and the other land, even though they were registered separately with the Land Registry and went unmentioned in his expenses claim.

The apology letter is awaited with great interest. In fact, a letter may soon by winging its way to Action Fraud, just to make sure the matter is not forgotten again!

The hellish legacy of Thatcher

Martin Rowson's Guardian cartoon of April 13 satirises the spectacle of Baroness Thatcher's funeral, calling it as he sees it: A primitive tribal ritual.

Martin Rowson’s Guardian cartoon of April 13 satirises the spectacle of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, calling it as he sees it: A primitive tribal ritual.

“This is Hell, nor am I out of it.” – Mephistopheles, Doctor Faustus.

As I write these words, the funeral of Margaret Thatcher is taking place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Unemployment stands at 2.56 million (7.9 per cent of the workforce).

The banks are not lending money.

More small firms are going out of business every day.

The economy is stagnant and the outlook for growth is bleak, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The rich elite prey on the poor – Britain’s highest-earners are billions better-off than in 2010, while wages for the lowest-earners are increased by so little that most of them are on benefit and sliding into debt (0.8 per cent rise in the year to February).

The cost of living has risen by around three per cent.

900,000 people have been out of work for more than a year.

The number of unemployed people aged 16-24 is up to 979,000 (21.6 per cent of all those in that age group).

Politicians lie to us, in order to win our support by deceit.

Assessment for disability benefits is on a model devised by an insurance company to avoid paying money to those who need it most.

Health services are being privatised, to make money for corporate shareholders rather than heal the sick.

Government policies have reinstated the ‘Poll Tax’ principle that everybody must pay taxation, no matter how poor they are.

Government policies mean child poverty will rise by 100,000 this year. It will not achieve the target of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.

Government policies are ensuring that many thousands of people will soon be homeless, while social housing is being sold into the private sector.

And Legal Aid is being cut back, to ensure that the only people with access to justice are those who can pay for it.

This is Thatcher’s Britain, nor are we out of it.

She died; we went to hell.