Liz Drops The Ball
After a month in the job of Prime Minister, Liz Truss is already on the back foot. One huge policy U-turn has already been necessary, and her performance at the recent Conservative Party Conference was uninspiring at best. She must have a bad headache this weekend, as she reads the newspapers. The few politicians remaining loyal to her, mostly to protect their jobs in cabinet posts, are urging the rest of the party to back her to the hilt.
But she has dropped 25 points in the polls below the Labour opposition, giving the leader of that party, the equally uninspiring Keir Starmer, a spring his step, and a smile on his face. Next, she faces action from the fiery Scottish Nationalist leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who is tackling her head on about a referendum for an independent Scotland in 2023. With only just over a year left to make her mark, it seems that Truss may well face a disastrous defeat in 2024, unless she goes back on almost every policy she advocated during her leadership campaign.
Some of her colleagues are already calling for a vote of no confidence, and a new leadership election. The only thing holding them off is the fear that she might call an early General Election, thereby losing most of them their lucrative parliamentary seats, and handing government to Labour on a silver platter.
The U-turn that caused all the fuss was over the scrapping of the 45p in the Pound tax rate for anyone earning over £150,000 a year. One day she defended it, the next day she reinstated it. The Chancellor, Kwazi Kwarteng, defended his decision to scrap it, claiming in had been a ‘distraction’ from more important policies.
But it was too late.
Interest rates had already risen.
The Pound had fallen to an all-time low against the US Dollar.
Monthly Mortgage payments had already increased.
Mortgage availability decreased.
Anyone buying their own home was worse off.
National debt had increased because of the fall in the pound and the rising rates.
The media and various financial pundits were all asking the same question.
Why had that been done in the first place, when a financial guru like Kwarteng must have known it would be a disaster?
I think I know the answer.
Before becoming a politician, Kwarteng had been a successful hedge fund manager in the financial world. As a schoolboy, he won a scholarship to attend the influential Eton College, one of the most prestigious private schools in England. Other famous old Etonians include Boris Johnson, David Cameron, and Jacob Rees-Mogg. All of whom have had Conservative Cabinet posts, or served as Prime Minister.
In other words, Kwazi’s friends.
Kwarteng also worked for JP Morgan Chase as a financial analyst, and was a journalist on the right-wing newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. So his credentials are undeniable. He knows about national finance, he knows about international finance, currency markets, and interest rates. And he is not short of money, with his personal wealth estimated to be close to £3 million.
That means he also knows about ‘Shorting’ currency. Betting that it will fall on the world markets to make those markets nervous and guaranteeing it will fall. He also knows about buying back currency when it has reached all-time lows, and making a small fortune when it settles back to where it was before the fall.
Far be it from me to suggest he did this. That would be ‘Insider Trading’, and is illegal in UK law.
But you can bet he made a few phone calls to his rich friends, and that they are drinking very expensive champagne since Truss was forced to do her U-turn.
Pigs at the trough. Pure and simple. And what of the people struggling to pay increased loans and mortgages?
“Let them eat cake.”
Nightingale Hospitals: The Great Lie
Given the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions, the news reports are full of stories about overwhelmed hospitals. Seriously ill patients are being driven from one county to another in the hope of finding a hospital bed for them.
Understandably, the question has been asked. Why not use the purpose built Nightingale Hospitals? They were built in record time earlier this year, with the assistance of the Army. Every bed had access to a ventilator, and they were specifically designed to accommodate Coronavirus patients, thereby allowing other hospitals to continue to see other patients who did not have Covid-19.
The one in London at the Excel Centre cost tens of millions of pounds to convert and equip.
Journalists went there, to see how it was coping with the recent rise in cases.
They found it had been dismantled. It is now mostly an empty building, guarded by security staff who are supposed to stop people finding that out. But they told the reporters anyway. This is what they said.
It has no hospital beds inside.
It has no ventilators or oxygen inside.
It has no operational medical staff inside.
The equipment has apparently been ‘redeployed’ to other areas of the NHS.
Yes, it was all a great lie. Built with the help of the Army, and equipped by companies owned by friends of Boris Johnson and his cronies, only to be stripped out at the earliest opportunity. Don’t forget this, when the next election comes around.
Five hundred Intensive care beds just removed without public consultation, at a time when they are needed more than ever before in history.
Boris and his pals should be hanging from lamp-posts.
But nobody seems to care.
I do though.
Sport: What happened to sportsmanship?
Corruption in sport is nothing new. Boxing has often been fixed since the early days, giving us the familiar expression ‘taking a dive’. Horses and dogs were doped to slow them down, or to make them go faster. Team members and individuals took bribes to lose games or matches, and bookmakers could win or lose fortunes on the outcome of a race. Money was always involved, but never on the huge scale it represents today. Winning is all, whatever the cost. It doesn’t matter if it is an amateur contest, or the prestige of playing for a national team, fame, success, medals, or money seem to be all that matter.
Recent high-profile cases have included swimmers who took performance enhancing drugs, cyclists who did the same, as well as runners and athletes tied up in doping scandals. Now we have cricketers who have admitted to match-fixing, tampering with balls on the pitch, or deliberately playing badly for payment to do so. Football (soccer) stars who have feigned injury in the hope that their team will lose, and they will make money from payoffs or gambling, and Formula One cars with unauthorised modifications that have helped them win races.
Even in the world of Tennis, unfair play in the form of ‘gamesmanship’ has become the norm, with delayed serves, arguing with the officials’ decisions, and anything else possible to unsettle an opponent.
Second best is no longer good enough, unless it comes with a substantial paycheck to compensate for it. And what about behaviour? Cricket and rugby stars in this country attacking people in the street, or assaulting a police officer whilst drunk. Should they be trying to set a better example? I think so. Should they be banned from their sport because of that behaviour? I think they should
The spirit of sport is withering on the vine as we watch, and the corruption that began in the bad old days of Soviet-bloc hormone treatments has been exceeded by such widespread abuses, we can no longer be sure of the validity of any sport we might watch, or follow.
Tony Blair. Just go away
Tony Blair was arguably the worst thing that happened to the Labour Party in Britain. Admittedly, we had Neil Kinnock and Michel Foot, and they were never going to win anything. But victory at any cost has never been something I supported, and the arrival of the smarmy Blair in 1997 was the kiss of death to moderate left-wing politics in this country.
Little more than a closet Tory, sucking up to the Royal Family and America, he even changed the whole idea of the party, going so far as to change the name to New Labour, whilst disassociating himself from the trade unions and working classes who created and supported it. At the earliest opportunity, he plunged the country into pointless and deceitful wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, so that he could have ‘his war’, just as Thatcher had The Falklands.
Facing criticism and possible investigation, he resigned as Prime Minister and as a Labour M.P. in 2007. That should have been the end of him as a political figure. But no. He was immediately appointed as Special Envoy to the Middle East (Who by? I don’t know either) on a huge salary, and began the usual round of incredibly profitable public speaking, and selling his memoirs. This a man shamed for lying to his own government, and the British Public, to take them into a war he knew to be based on falsehoods and big business corruption.
He now runs this outfit, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Supposedly a non-profit organisation (whenever I see non-profit, I always know there’s a lot of profit there somewhere) that was funded to the tune of almost $10 million. I have no idea who put up this money, but I have my suspicions. The first thing that Blair did with this new institute was to become active in the Remain campaign, urging people to vote to stay in the EU. He was interviewed as if he was some kind of revered expert, and allowed to offer his opinions unchallenged. Once the vote went against his ideas, he returned to agitate for a second referendum, and keeps popping up with his ‘I told you so’ soundbites and comments.
Then yesterday, he appeared again, this time pontificating on the nerve agent issue in Salisbury. Warning us about Russia, Putin, and a new Cold War, as if he was the only one to be counted on to have drawn the right conclusions. This man has personal wealth in excess of £60 million. He is completely out of touch with any ordinary person in Great Britain, and owns no less than ten houses and some 25 apartments around the world. And his family is just one wife, and three children, so they have plenty of space to spread out in. And in case you think this is a personal attack, here is part of a newspaper report, from The Guardian.
“How much money will it take to make Tony Blair happy? Given the opportunity, most people would surely rest after a decade of running the country. Blair, on the contrary, appears to have spent every waking hour focused on amassing as much wealth as possible, seemingly intent on increasing his worth to match that of a small country. It should come as no surprise that the Blairs have thrown themselves into the property market, since no dollar is too dirty for them. Blair did, after all, give paid public relations advice to a Kazakh dictator after the police shot 15 protestors dead.
Tony and Cherie Blair’s property empire worth estimated £27m
So of course the Blairs have jumped on the property gravy train, snapping up more than two dozen flats in Manchester through a company Cherie and one of their sons, Euan, own; passing on properties from Cherie to her children as gifts, thus avoiding stamp duty, and ultimately amassing £27m worth of property, much of which is let out and has all already risen in value.”
This was a man who supposedly represented the working classes of this country and was the head of the only socialist party left in Britain. A man with no shame. A profiteer. A man who used his position and influence for personal gain, and family fortune. Why is anybody interested in what he says?
He needs to go away. he really does.