Posts Tagged ‘Cameron’
One of the more interesting follies on display in Westminster these days is the government’s absolute conviction that they are “right”, manifested most vividly in Cameron’s impotent fury at being brought to heel in the Commons by John Bercow. That sense of entitlement is gaining an increasingly brittle tone as they are dragged ever closer to an electoral precipice beyond which there is surely no recovery.
The sheer ‘wrongness’ of this conviction is seen again in Rebekah Brooks asserting her “complete bafflement” as to why she has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and in Jeremy Hunt’s shrill insistance that he has behaved with the utmost probity in his handling of the BSkyB takeover. David Cameron meanwhile can be presumed to be sticking both fingers in his ears, rocking back and forth emitting a high pitched keening noise to block out the unwelcome prospect of cross examination by the Leveson Enquiry proving to be inconveniently thorough.
One would almost feel sorry for these wretched idealogues if the policies they were hell bent on introducing weren’t so palpably self serving. Their problem is, that in their mad minds, the cosying up to Murdoch’s News International is just part of “Rolling up our sleeves” and “Getting the job done”. As David Cameron never tires of telling us “I spent many years working in the media” (as some kind of PR stooge for a television company) and here one would have to say that many years working in the media has turned better people than David Cameron into power crazed sociopaths obsessed with the advancement of self.
I digress. The real point here is one that anyone who has had any exposure to corporate politics will recognise. The reality of what has happened in the Murdoch empire. There is enough of a chasm between the world of influence and power represented by the Tories and their media cronies and the world of semantics and law required by the Leveson prosecutors for the phrase “I have no recollection…” to be assumed to be a reasonable defence. In the fifth form this would roughly translate as “…I never!…”.
The fact is that big business is a world of sophistication away from the shopping mall. In this context, Cameron taking a posse of arms dealers with him on his tour of the far east seems entirely natural. The game is about influence and connections, it is no longer about superb products, that’s just the PR machine. Cameron witters about our world class security products (by which he is presumably referring to the instruments of torture that proved such a hit in the middle east) as if they were a gift we are about to bestow on the hapless countries we’ve singled out as “growth markets”.
In Cameron, Osborne and the rest of this bungling crew we have a government so firmly in thrall to the methods and madness of big business that they genuinely can’t see anything wrong. To many of us, the arms trade is tainted, a thing we wish the world could do without. To a businessman it’s just another way of turning a fast buck. Who cares if we’re enabling some tin pot despot, so long as it allows us into the market.
The Cameron family fortune was made by exploiting loopholes in the tax laws to establish some of the first offshore funds, siphoning millions out of the UK economy in order to maximise the returns for the very wealthy. It’s in his DNA. George Osborne inherited his multi million pound fortune on his 21st birthday. This government don’t know any other way to do things, pursuit of the pound without any guiding principles turns ugly very quickly. Meanwhile, big business does what it always has done, weave webs of influence into which these hapless inheritants have willingly hurled themselves. We can revile Murdoch and his ilk, but we can’t blame them for behaving like businessmen. As somebody astutely observed, in business, when you push on an open door, you generally go in. The blame then rests squarely on the shoulders of the politicians that have embraced this poisonous ideology.
Cameron is a wannabe Tony Blair, but what differentiates these Tories from the Blair government they would so dearly like to emulate is that Blair, for all his many faults was driven by a vision that was about more than the mere accumulation of wealth. The New Labour project was a revolution in society and politics, a revolution that delivered on many of its promises to the electorate and crucially, got re-elected with crushing majorities, time and time again. And ironically, a generation grew up for better or worse, in a climate of unprecedented wealth and enjoyed what now look suspiciously like the best years of their lives under that Labour government. I say ironically, because the generation that will grow up underneath these Tories should we be so ignorant as to reelect them, will experience nothing of the kind.
The Tories’ worst crime is that of arrogance. Against a government as unpopular as Gordon Brown’s they could not muster a majority. The smoking gun, if there is one, lies in the fact that chief spin doctor and News International shareholder Andy Coulson was able to work without high level security clearance in a job where he had access to material that any fool can see should be classed as confidential. If rumour is correct, Cameron’s main concern in the hiring of Coulson was that he sign an agreement not to write a memoir about “the Cameron Years”. It seems as though Cameron was so convinced of his entitlement to power that when he finally got it, he acted as though he thought none of the checks and balances applied to him. He saw no reason not to socialise with the Wades and the Murdochs, because their interests he naively assumed were his interests and therefore the country’s interests. It may very well be that there was no secret contract, but for a PR man, Cameron is exceptionally naive – in these days of the internet and wall to wall news, we see the whole story unfold and as the saying goes, if it looks like a crock and smells like a crock then it very probably is a crock.
I’ve put off writing this post in the aftermath of the rioting, partly because I’m keenly aware that ranting about politics is not what this blog was originally set up to do, partly because I suspected in my cynical and road weary fashion that we’d get a bunch of soundbytes from Prime Minister Cameron asserting qualities such as ‘leadership’, blaming riots on the previous administration, followed by well, no coherent action. I wanted to see, if I was right.
Well frankly, in my wildest and most paranoid dreams I could not have predicted what a complete hash Cameron would make of it.
Firstly we got the soundbytes, exactly as expected. There was a lot of confrontational language on display. Words such as “fightback”, phrases like “zero tolerance” – not the words I would have chosen when dealing with a situation as potentially combustible as this, but exactly the sort of old fashioned Tory tripe I had expected to hear from Cameron.
And it got worse. Cameron enthusiastically blamed the Labour Party, the Police, the absent fathers – everyone and everything except the cuts, the joblessness and the despair his policies have visited upon the poorer sections of society. He proposed that not just the criminals, but their entire families be evicted from social housing. A suggestion immediately acted upon by Westminster council. A suggestion that flies in the face of fairness, human rights and common sense. And possibly the law.
Next, after a consultative process that must have lasted oh, at least five minutes, Cameron proposed to shut down Twitter, Blackberry messaging and damn it, if necessary the entire internet to stop these rioters communicating. I expect the telephone service and the royal mail to swiftly follow. Apart from the implausibility of the coalition actually doing this, isn’t this exactly what he so vociferously condemned the Egyptian government for attempting six months ago?
And then it got hilariously, stupidly, downright incompetently even worse. Without consultation with the police forces, Cameron appointed one Bill Bratton, ex chief of police for LA, a district so ridden with gang violence that it makes Tottenham look like Camberwick Green, to advise the government on how to deal with the societal issues that caused the riots. As offensive as this idea must have seemed to our own police forces, it was about to get even worse.
Bill Bratton is chairman of the private detective agency Kroll. (You can see where this is heading, right?) In June this year, Kroll were accused very publicly and in formal court papers by Dr Martin Coward, a city investment manager, of illegally planting covert surveillance equipment in his house and car. Evidence submitted to the court included the surveillance equipment and hilariously, a video of the goon squad going about their business. But of course as we well know, Cameron is a man who believes in second chances, so obviously he got his people to carry out background checks? Well, with crushing inevitability, it seems no background checks were carried out. So for the sake of a soundbyte, Cameron has done exactly the same thing he did with Andy Coulson. Arrogant? Ignorant? Incompetent? all of these?
There is just one good thing about this government. It is impossible to countenance the electorate ever again falling for a politician who combines poor leadership, empty promises and an empty headed view of people based solely on class, connections and money? Well, isn’t it?
“On the very day that the chancellor raised another £800m in tax from bankers – having already introduced the toughest rules on bankers’ pay anywhere in the developed world – it beggars belief that anyone could claim that donors to the Conservative Party are influencing policy…” – A Conservative Party Spokesman.
Cobblers. No, actually a blatant lie. Let’s look at the facts.
In 2005, the year that David Cameron became Tory leader, donations to the Conservatives from the City amounted to 25% of total funding. In 2010, firms and individuals in the city donated £11.4 million – exactly 50.8% of the party’s funding.
Those that give more than £50,000, no less than 57 individuals, are invited to join David Cameron and other senior figures at dinners, lunches, drinks receptions and important campaign launches. The majority of this privileged elite are hedge fund managers and brokers.
In return, the government, behind closed doors are proposing amendments to the tax acts of 1998 and 2009 which will effectively legitimise the shady offshore activities of these individuals, allowing them to avoid paying tax, at all, on any monies which have come from anywhere else at all, other than Britain. Only one other country in the world allows this state of affairs – Switzerland.
Adding insult to injury, the cost of funding these overseas offices will be an allowable expense against UK Tax. We already know that Corporation tax is being reduced to 24%, the lowest rate of any Western economy.
David Cameron said on Sunday, “What I want is tax revenue from the banks into the Exchequer, so we can help rebuild this economy.” This is what he wants the electorate to believe. In actual fact, he is doing just the opposite. These tax breaks will accelerate the movement of jobs and cash out of the country. The scale of the deception is massive.
Let’s have a look at Conservative party process. Almost all the members of the seven committees the government set up “to provide strategic oversight of the development of corporate tax policy” are corporate executives. Among them are representatives of Vodafone, Tesco, BP, British American Tobacco and several of the major banks: HSBC, Santander, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, Schroders, RBS and Barclays. So, no influence there then.
Meanwhile, back in the Big Society, a homeless man in St. Albans had an asbo served on him, banning him from St. Albans, his hometown. It’s a caring, sharing society allright.