30 June, 2006
Max Hastings writes an interesting piece about the battle of the Somme. There is a group memory about the Somme, naive men walking across no-man's-land into a hail of bullets.
I don't believe that after two years of war any of the soldiers involved were that naive, they had a job to do and they got on with it.
Some things change and some things stay the same.
The themes discussed ranged from immigration policy, development and aid, the BNP and reparation payments for the slave trade. The debate was very well conducted and I was pleased that while it was passionate it didn’t become heated.
Representatives were invited from the two main parties as well as the Greens and the Lib Dems. One of the questions that came up was the degree to which some political parties take the ethnic vote for granted, ironically enough neither the Labour councillor or Simon Hughes for the Lib Dems turned up. At least the Labour guy had the decency to ring up and apologise, still no news for the big yellow taxi!
Is it any wonder that people are turned off from politics, is it any wonder so few people want to become MPs?
The local Conservatives and a number of supporters worked hard because, as Bob said, we “will be taking nothing for granted”.
The real winner in this election was cynicism and disillusionment. As I said yesterday the Lib Dems and UKIP ran particularly nasty, personal and misleading campaigns which added very little to their results but brought down the vote for Bob dramatically. When will the Lib Dems learn that negative campaigning may damage your opponent but it does not win you votes?
I have no doubt at all that Bob will work hard for the people of Bromley and Chislehurst and win a healthy majority at the general election.
29 June, 2006
I have been over to B&C a number of times since the election was called as it is next door. What has come across is how negative much of the campaign has been.
I am pleased to say that Bob and his team have chosen not to get involved in the mud slinging and have stuck to promoting the candidate, the party and the plans for the area. I wish that the same could be said for the others.
The Lib Dems and UKIP have been the worst, but by no means the only, offenders and have consistently played the man rather than the ball. This unrelenting negativity has the effect of driving down participation.
Unfortunately Bob will be tarred with the same brush so I imagine the turnout will be low, even for a by-election.
Labour clearly feel that they cannot fight two battles at once and have given up the fight in B&C and decamped to South Wales. This will mean that the Lib Dems will pick up a fair number of soft Labour votes, not enough to win but they will get second place and close the gap on us. UKIP have thrown the kitchen sink at the campaign and could well come in third ahead of Labour.
I am not going to make a prediction because a low turnout can create some funny numbers but I am confident that Bob Neil will be the MP for Bromley and Chislehurst tomorrow.
28 June, 2006
I haven't seen Blair dance but it wouldn't supprise me if it was as bad as Brent's.
Funny old world, eh.
Ed (like many other MPs) has been helping out in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election and it seems that his experience at the coal-face may alter his view.
27 June, 2006
I'm not a lawyer so I can't really comment with any authority on whether a UK Bill of Rights would be easy or hard to introduce. Labour is screaming that it will be disaster, well they would wouldn't they. I can't understand how a set of rights and responsibilities written specifically for the UK can be less effective or less relevant that ones written in Europe.
Once again Ken Clarke has shown a remarkable ability to see an issue and firmly jump onto the wrong side of it. Just like the Euro and the EU Constitution Ken is jumping on the Labour bandwagon.
Ken was a very good chancellor in the last few years of the Conservative government, hand Gordon Brown the first dozen or so quarters of the 40 quarters of growth he is so proud of.
He's not daft but whenever something comes up which looks even slightly eurosceptic he goes off the rails and sharing a stage with the leading lights in the Labour party to promote the Euro doesn't help. He's probably still wondering why he did so badly in the leadership elections.
It seems that Charles Clarke was not quite as magnanimous over his sacking as I suspected. On Newsnight and in the press he has “stuck one” on Tony Blair, big time. Can you blame him?
The broadside has been covered everywhere and I am rather behind the curve with regard to comment, but you can read about the fallout here and here if, like me, you have been living under a rock for the last few days. Number 10 has been pretty quick in defending itself too.
The thing that I found most interesting was the fact that Newsnight chose to trail the story on a number of well read blogs. Iain Dale was given a transcript ahead of the broadcast its contents was spread pretty quickly through the blogosphere via Guido, Conservativehome and others.
Does this how a shift in the way that the traditional media view bloggers? We’ll see.
25 June, 2006
22 June, 2006
The move towards greener transport has come about because the market (that’s you and me) is demanding more choice in environmentally friendly travel. I have already decided that when it I have to replace the family mover it will be with a much greener alternative. That said I intend to keep the current car for a while and hopefully there will be a range of choices and a decent second hand market.
The government has cut the support for greener car buyers and yet the demand increases. It is called people power. “People power” is a term that left-wingers feel more comfortable with than market forces yet it is basically the same thing. Companies produce what people want to buy.
21 June, 2006
However when I heard that Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP had lent them her support I broke out in a cold sweat. I have a lot of time for Ann, I have seen her speak and she is an undoubtedly a formidable MP. However I have no desire what so ever to see her naked. I am sure the feeling is mutual.
It turns out that Ann was not taking part in a naked protest but was writing to all her fellow Tory MPs asking them to back the campaign to use fake fur on guardsmen's hats, or bearskins (to give them their proper name).
For the record I don't have a problem with the guardsmen's hats being made from real fur. The Canadians shoot well over a thousand bears a year and we take about 60 - 100 pelts a year.
The interesting point that Chris Watts, director of health at Lewisham Primary Care Trust, makes is that education is being used to break the cycle. Poor diets, poor sexual health, lack of exercise etc. contribute to the poor figures yet none of these is inherently linked with low income but there is a strong link with poor education.
Healthy living needs to start at schools and be supported and reinforced throughout a person's life. Someone has to be at the bottom of a list, I would rather it was not us.
20 June, 2006
Not any more.
The PM will now have his own brace of airplanes (one big and one small) and the royal family will have to borrow them, if they ask, nicely.
Well it seems that at least some senior police officers feel, as I do, that LabourÂs flirting with a UK MeganÂs Law is cynical and lead by pressure from the Sun and News of the World. You canÂt argue with the police, can you?
Maybe I am the cynical one, but might this all be a duststirred stired up to hide the fact that Reid is ditching the Home Office plans to merge police forces?
19 June, 2006
UPDATE 13.00 19th June.
Too late, the site is down, I'll leave the link up just in case he uses it in the future. You can find out a bit more about Rene's move to the Conservatives here.
I know that I am not alone in feeling that this announcement is cynical in both its timing and its subject matter. The Home Office has been under sustained criticism for months and John Reid, far from steadying the ship, has added to its woes by criticising his own civil servants and undermining their work.
Labour has managed, through its own ineptitude, to be painted in the worst possible way; soft on crime and yet a danger to civil liberties.
The “bang-um-up” papers like the Mail and the Sun don’t feel they are protecting us well enough and the “loss” of a thousand foreign prisoners, early release re-offenders etc. have added to this feeling. The civil libertarians are deeply worried about the direction we are travelling with things like internment without trial, abolition of trial by jury and the abolition of the right to appeal.
The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister clearly feel that the Guardian readers, who feel passionately about civil liberties, are already a lost cause. With Blair’s support for the conflict in Iraq, and the attack on civil liberties they are probably right. So their only available course of action is to try and win over Rupert Murdock, the Sun and its readers.
This sudden interest in a UK Megan’s Law (Sarah’s Law) is less about child protection and more about Blair and Reid protection.
The reason that I feel that it is cynical in its subject matter is that when it comes to parents protecting their children a lot of logic goes out of the window and I hold my hands up to a degree of this myself. Manipulating parents’ love of their children to create a little bit of political breathing space is the most despicable of actions. The attack on a paediatrician a few year ago highlights what can happen when parents' passions are stoked up and the MMR fiasco shows how otherwise intelligent people lose all sense of reason when their childrens’ safety is perceived to be at risk (real of otherwise).
John Reid seems to think that mob rule is a desirable thing, last week he told us to stop whingeing to the police and “have a go” at criminals ourselves. Now he says that people should know if a convicted paedophile is living nearby because they “had a right to protection”. What does he mean by that?
The police, prison service and probation service are the agencies tasked with protecting us from paedophiles not our next-door neighbours. If I am told that there is a paedophile living next door what am I supposed to do? Move away? Force him to move away? Force him underground? Just grin and bear it?
If the person living next door to me is a danger to my sons and my neighbours’ children and the Home Office knows that he is a danger, why is he not in prison?
John Reid should make sure that we have enough prison places to house everyone who is still viewed as a threat to children. Bringing in a lynch mob’s charter is not the answer.
17 June, 2006
16 June, 2006
So when the most recent set of candidates showed that local associations were willing to select candidates who were not all white, not all men, not all middle aged, not all urban elites I was expecting at least some coverage. Where are the articles to the effect that the desire to change and the desire to win are much more deeply rooted than some people thought? Nowhere!
What there was was a silence within the mainstream media that was deafening. It seems that the desire to print good news about the Conservatives, which was so in evidence after DC became leader, has gone. Never mind, business as usual for us.
Which brings me to Polly Toinbee’s review of Compassionate Conservatism (What is it, why we need it?).
Jesse Norman, of the Policy Exchange think tank, co-wrote the booklet with Janan Genesh and it is well worth a read, it genuinely makes you think, which perhaps is why Polly didn’t like it. Jesse and Janan are looking into the very heart of modern Conservative party thinking and as an insight in some of David Cameron’s motivators it is illuminating. It questions the relationship between the state, social groups and individuals. It’s rather good and you can read it here.
Dear old Polly either hasn’t read it or hasn’t understood it, because her review is all over the place. She accuses Jesse of using in accurate “factoids” and then goes on to do the very same. She feels that the whole idea that Conservatives can have compassion is an “oxymoron” and that only the state can create a happy and successful society.
One of the interesting innovations brought about because of blogging is the inclusion of reader comments on the Guardian site. Polly must be finding this hard because she get more than a few people telling her what rot she writes.
Not just that, Jesse Norman has written a rebuttal and it does rather put her in her place. Compassionate yes, timid no.
Looks like I was right.
15 June, 2006
The cross party motion presented by Cllr Darren Johnson was carried by 27 votes to 25 in what was a very well attended meeting. There were a few minor amendments but the main thrust was unchanged. Don’t close Ladywell until a replacement is up and running and look properly for an alternative site for a new school in the north of the borough.
Steve Bullock now has a difficult choice, ignore the wishes of the electorate and the council and carry on regardless or change his policy. Lets see what he does next.
I know lots of soldiers who completed their tour in Iraq and then left the TA, many were under a lot of pressure from their families to re-introduce some stability into their lives. Others felt that they needed to throw themselves into their work, getting back onto a career ladder disrupted by 9 months away.
I have already written about the psychological effects that TA soldiers have to deal with, often alone.
Please don’t think that this is moaning, the vast majority of TA soldiers are dedicated and professional and are happy, eager even, to do their duty. However when the national mood is so against the war TA soldier often find that their friends, family and employers do not fully support what they are doing. Giving up a large amount of your free time for an activity which increasingly puts you at adds with the very people around you is hard.
Civilian deaths and court-martials hit the news, the nation building and reconstruction, the policing and security work, the winning of hearts and minds goes unreported. So little good news comes back from Iraq that it is a wonder that anyone is in the TA at the moment. And the TA is close to breaking point.
Because of the part time nature of the TA it takes between 18 months and 2 years to train a soldier to a basic proficient level, a qualified parachute trained gunner takes about 5 years. Almost everyone that I know who can realistically be called up (not junior soldiers under training) has been.
Like so many of the other public services it is clear that Labour does not value the professionalism of the armed forces and is trying to conduct warfare on the cheap. A 25% reduction in defence spending linked to a huge increase in commitments is a recipe for disaster.
I hope I am wrong, because if I am not it will be my friends, my colleagues and possibly even me who pay the ultimate price.
I like to think of Tory bloggers as the little stone in the Nu Labour shoe.
14 June, 2006
Let's just stop and asses how the stuck in the mud, sexist, racist Tories have got on so far. Five seats selected recently, all with an excellent chance of returning Conservative MPs. Two white men, one black man and two women.
All selected on merit, no all women shortlists no imposed candidates.
Beat that Labour, beat that Lib Dems.
I haven't met Wilfred but I heard a very interesting program on Radio 4 where he was speaking about his farm and the work that he was doing intruducing young urban children to the countryside. I think that he will be spot on for Chippenham.
Best of luck mate.
“This Council does not believe that a convincing case for closing Ladywell Leisure Centre in 2007 has yet been made. The current plans have failed to command public support and the recent local election results reflect that. The Council therefore agrees to appoint independent advisors to investigate more appropriate sites for a new school in the north of the borough, rather than the Ladywell Leisure Centre site. The independent advisors will be commissioned jointly by the Mayor and the Leader of the largest opposition group, in consultation with councillors of all parties, parents' representatives and teachers' unions. Ladywell Leisure Centre must not close until a new Centre in the vicinity is fully operational and full Council must receive regular reports on all progress made and/or difficulties encountered”.Now that Labour do not dominate in the council chamber the Mayor has had to change tack. In a letter sent out by the council’s solicitors, councillors are told that the Mayor makes all the decisions except those which he is expressly forbidden to make. In other words, don’t bother with your motion because the Mayor’s decision is final.
During the election campaign I promised changes to the Mayoral system and a referendum on the continuation of the executive Mayor. This letter highlights the problem with the current system.
Lewisham has an elected dictatorship, although we have more political diversity in the council chamber than we have had for decades it counts for nothing. I am sure that Darren and Ian will ignore the letter and propose the motion regardless, what happens then will be very interesting.
13 June, 2006
I was having a little dig at the Lib Dem graph plotting skills and I put one on this site which I said was more accurate, it was not. I assumed their graph was based on the last general election result, if this was the case Labour should have been in second place.
It seems that the Lib Dems are using the results of the last council elections, it's hard to tell. If they are using the number of councilors in the Bromley and Chislehurst wards the graph should look like this:
If they are using the figures from the May 2006 elections they should really make it clear whether it is total votes, average votes per candidates, numbers of leaflets delivered, numbers of haircuts per candidate, etc, etc, etc.
I suspect they won't be drawn on the exact source, it may prove to be less impressive than they would like.
This is the traditional definition of a British summer and we seem to have had it.
Luckily the good weather at least covered the weekend, this meant that I got a nice tan while helping out in Bromley and Rosie (the dog) got very, very hot.
I also took Rosie, Susie and the boys to the South of England show, despite being a Lewisham boy I do have a strong rural streak running through me and the boys love animals. Being brought up with a dog and having been exposed to a range of other animals, neither of the boys are afraid of animals irrespective of their size.
I did feel a little pang of fear when I saw Rupert (21 months old) striding purposefully towards a Sussex bull, which must have weighed about a ton. He pointed towards the beast and said, "Moo". Moo indeed.
Classic. If any of you have better examples of "cliche collisions" please let me know.
My thoughts go to his family, friends and colleagues.
12 June, 2006
By the time you read this they may well have improved things so here is a screen grab to show you just how dire it is.
Other than a few wishy-washy words and a couple of pictures of Rachel it does nothing. No firm policy commitments, no ideas, no blog, no diary, no news, nothing.
She can't even spell the constituency name properly. Come on, at least put up a fight.
UPDATE 14.00 12-06-06
Rachel, or one of her team, have amended the top banner. Well done.
11 June, 2006
The Lib Dem game plan is based around ongoing electoral success. All their literature screams “Lib Dems can win here” or “Only the Lib Dems can beat Labour/the Tories” etc. They usually have a misleading graph or a cartoon with their famous "two horse race" tucked on there too.
Over the last few years they have done well in by-elections, either winning them or gaining a lot of ground. In most cases these have been Labour held seats and their success was more to do with a desire on the part of the electorate to kick Labour rather than any great desire to get a Lib Dem MP.
Bromley presents them with a problem, it is a Conservative seat. Their decapitation strategy failed miserably at the general election in 2005 and there is no real chance that they can turn Bromley and Chislehurst into a Lib Dem seat. More than that, the problems they are having with a lack-lustre leader and funding troubles means that they could well slip backwards, badly.
This will burst their bubble, big time.
Along to the rescue rides Vincent Cable, the Lib Dems finance spokesman. 2p off income tax!
Why would they announce that? There are a number of policy issues where they are on much firmer ground, foreign affairs being the most obvious. No one believes the Lib Dems are a low tax party, no one. Also until this is policy is ratified at their party conference it is meaningless.
And trust me, while the ever sensible Vincent Cable understands that the Lib Dems tax policies are their biggest electoral handicap the bearded, sandal wearers at their conference will kick these tax plans into touch.
I suspect that this tax announcement is meant to do two things, take some pressure off of Ming and prevent an embarrassing drubbing in Bromley and Chislehurst.
09 June, 2006
Will David Cameron find that he is successful in modernising the party but unsuccessful in winning the next election and will this break him?
Kinnock was the icebreaker who did the hard work changing the Labour party during the late 80s and in doing so paved the way for Blair to become PM. David Cameron is working very hard to bring about a change in the Conservative party; will he see someone else take the prize?
I think that the answer is no.
Kinnock was a Labour insider doing the job that an insider needed to do. Changing the emphasis of a party can only be done by someone who knows their party inside out; David Cameron knows the Conservatives and knows us well.
Winning elections is a different task and needs a different set of skills, Kinnock did not have those skills. The footage of him falling over on Brighton beach and the election night rally in 1992 made the skin crawl.
I cannot see DC making monumental gaffs like those. I am under no illusions, the next election will take a lot of hard work and commitment from the Conservatives, it is far from won.
Kinnock lost Labour the 1992 election; Cameron will not make the same mistake.
08 June, 2006
The four opposition groups on Lewisham Council are planning to work together to stop the demolition of the pool. Good work.
Alex Salmond, the SNP's leader said "I can't believe that any genuine Scottish football fan could believe that a goal scored against us was his most memorable moment.” Alex you have got it back to front, he probably is a genuine Scottish football fan, it the support for England that is made up.
This whole attempt to re-brand Brown highlights the very reason that I am increasingly confident that he will never be PM. The people that he has around him have no subtlty at all. This is the most obvious, cackhanded makeover that I have ever seen and if they can't get this right what make you think that they can get anything right.
The Arctic Monkeys for breakfast, oh please
Our good friend Boris asks whether the Labour party’s new found love of the English flag is genuine. I, like him, suspect not.
07 June, 2006
I particularly like the fact that the photographers and reporter, who walked, got there before him. What will we do for laughs when he goes?
He was on solid Lib Dem ground (Iraq, extraordinary rendition and America bashing) but that should not detract from the fact that he had Blair well on the back foot. I have to admit that I have been secretly hoping for Ming to improve, I suppose it is the natural wish to cheer on the underdog.
David Cameron has clearly been reading my blog because he has picked up on my bit of Brown bashing (although, to be fair he may have just come up with it by himself) and asked about the tax credit fiasco. He was good, as usual, but the day has to go to Ming.
Now let’s see if he can keep it up.
06 June, 2006
It is far too easy to look at the events, the horror and peoples undeniable bravery in responding to them and say, “we all pulled together” and “the blitz spirit pulled us through”.
Yes there were acts of immense bravery and selflessness, police officers, medical professionals, ambulance crews, transport workers and members of the public all stepped up to the challenge and were not found wanting.
However, to brand the report on the 7/7 incidents as just an “insult to 999 crews” as Ken Livingstone has done is an insult in itself. He went on to say that “They (the London Assembly Committee set up to report on the events) set out to look for everything that didn’t go perfectly and they found some”. Well Ken, that was the point.
The report highlighted equipment, and resourcing failures rather than individual failings, it seems Ken would rather sweep these under the carpet. If we bury our heads in the sand and refuse to learn lessons from the attacks and our reaction to them we are condemning ourselves to repeat any mistakes that were made.
05 June, 2006
The economy is also blown around by forces such as the weather, wars, economies of other nations and a whole host of other factors out of any one person’s control.
So what has Gordon done? He has put up taxes, 80 times, are here they are.
1. Council tax increased by 6.5pc
2. Mortgage tax relief cut
3. Pensions tax
4. Health insurance taxed
5. Health insurance taxed again
6. Fuel tax escalator up
7. Vehicle excise duty up
8. Tobacco duty escalator up
9. Stamp duty up for properties over £250,000
10. Corporation tax changes
11. New windfall tax on utilities
12. Married couples' allowance cut
13. Tax on travel insurance up
14. Tax on casinos and gaming machines up
15. Fuel tax escalator brought forward
16. Tax on company cars up
17. Tax relief for foreign earnings abolished
18. Tax concession for certain professions abolished
19. Capital gains tax imposed on certain non-residents
20. Reinvestment relief restricted
21. Corporation tax payments brought forward
22 Higher stamp duty rates up
23. Some hydrocarbon duties up
24. Additional diesel duties
25. Landfill tax up
26. Council tax up by 8.6pc
27. NIC earnings limit raised
28. NICs for self-employed up
29. Married couples' allowance abolished
30. Mortgage tax relief abolished
31. IR35: Taxation of personal services companies
32. Company car business mileage allowances restricted
33. Tobacco duty escalator brought forward
34. Insurance premium tax up
35. Vocational training relief abolished
36. Employer NICs extended to all benefits in kind
37. VAT on some banking services up
38. Premiums paid to tenants by landlords taxed
39. Duty on minor oils up
40. Vehicle excise duties for lorries up
41. Landfill tax escalator introduced
42. Higher rates of stamp duty up again
43. Council tax up by 6.8pc
44. Tobacco duties up
45. Higher rates of stamp duty up again
46. Extra taxation of life assurance companies
47. Rules on controlled foreign companies extended
48. Council tax up by 6.1pc
49. Council tax up by 6.4pc
50. Personal allowances frozen
51. National Insurance threshold frozen
52. NICs for employers up
53. NICs for employees up
54. NICs for self-employed up
55. North Sea taxation up
56. Tax on some alcoholic drinks up
57. New stamp duty regime
58. New rules on loan relationships
59. Council tax up by 8.2pc
60. VAT on electronically supplied services
61. IR35 applied to domestic workers
62. Betting duty change
63. Tax on red diesel and fuel oil up
64. Controlled foreign companies measures on Ireland
65. Vehicle excise duty up
66. Council tax up by 12.9pc
67. New 19pc tax rate for owner-managed businesses
68. New tax on private use of company vans
69. UK transfer pricing introduced
70. Increase in rate of tax on trusts
71. Increase in tax on red diesel fuel
72. Increase in tax on other road fuels (including LPG)
73. Council tax up by 5.9pc
74. Cancellation of stamp duty land tax relief for disadvantaged areas.
75. North Sea taxation doubled from 10pc to 20pc.
76. Zero per cent rate of corporation tax abolished
77. Council tax up by 4.1pc
78. Clampdown on trusts and insurance policies commonly used to mitigate inheritance tax.
79. Increase in vehicle excise duty for SUVs.
80. Council tax up by 4.5pc
Well no actually.
The press and other political parties are desperately trying to create some bad news about Bob's selection in Bromley. I know a lot of people in the Bromley and Chislehurst team and they have no desire to upset the progress that the party is making, they don't want to send out any subtle messages they just want to win the by-election.
As I said on Saturday far from rejecting the A list, B&C had two A listers in the final three and the feedback that I got was that Bob's local knowledge and understanding of London politics put him above the others.
It is well worth remembering that by-elections give the candidate very little time to get to know the community, the association, the local media and the constituency. This is why by-elections almost always favour a local candidate. The fact that Bob already represents the area in the GLA was always going to give him an advantage.
Yes he is white, yes he is middle aged, yes he is male but as Francis Maude pointed out, no one candidate can represent the diversity that the party is working towards. When we have selected the full range of candidates for the next general election I am sure the country will see all this petty points scoring for what it is.
03 June, 2006
It is clear that Bromley's biggest driver in their selection was a safe pair of hands; Bob Neill is the leader of the Conservative group on the GLA and represents Bromley and Bexley. He clearly knows the area well and is higly regarded amongst the local activists.
The final three was made up of Bob, Julia Manning and Syed Kamall MEP, both Julia and Syed are flyers and their inclusion in the final three shows that the Bromley Conservatives are not as blinkered as some commentators would like to make out.
I will be wearing through more shoe leather, over the next few weeks, helping to get Bob into the commons and if the weather stays as nice as it was when I was out delivering for them today, I might not even mind.
02 June, 2006
Saturday’s selection will be very interesting, I know almost all of the candidates who are on the shortlist and cannot see a weak link amongst them.
There is a very strong showing from B&C’s local government team and almost all of the other candidates have strong local connections. I feel confident that we will have a very good result there.
Above him the vultures sense that the end is near, first one and then two circle, soon others will join them. When the big man goes down they will fall upon his carcass without hesitation and start tearing at his political flesh.
So is the way of the wild.
01 June, 2006
I wrote about this year's tax credit claw back back in April, when Edward Leigh first highlighted it. I have just re-read my post, the thing that really get me is that no one in the media seems to be pointing the finger where most harm has been done.
This was his plan, his "big idea" and it isn't working. Blaming Dawn Primorolo is pure folly; she is trying to implement a fundamentally flawed mechanism. She claims that overpayments will fall in the future, of course they will, people are being put off of claiming in the first place.
This system is all wrong, it hits the lowest paid the hardest, it provides a disincentive to accepting overtime or a promotion. I know lots of people who think that Gordon Brown is a good Chancellor. I disagree.
He made the Bank of England responsible for interest rates, good move. He has, since then, performed a string of policy cock-ups.
Selling of our gold at the bottom of the market. Pensions tax raid. Taxing small businesses out of existence. Introducing a tax credit claw back. I am sure that there are plenty of others; please feel free to let me know of any more that you can think of.
There is so much wrong and unfair with the current immigration and asylum system it is sometimes hard to know where to start.
One of the most pernicious elements of the current system is the fact that asylum claimants cannot legally work. Because of this they have three options, return home, starve or work illegally. Rather than bring in an effective and fair system it now seems that Job Centre staff are being told to issue National Insurance numbers to people who the suspect or even know are presenting false documents.
I find it interesting that a Lib Dems is shaking his fist at this, during the 2005 General Election is was heavily criticised by the Lib Dems who were advocating an almost unrestricted immigration policy.