Monday, 30 April 2012

Letter 65: The Chase for Hunt closes in on the Prime Minister.

So instead of  being out on the campaign trail for local elections today, you've been called back to the House of Commons to answer Ed Miliband's urgent question on Jeremy Hunt. Ah well, Milton Keynes' loss is transparency's gain...
Just in case you don't manage to answer on the following in the House this afternoon, could you tell me...
I ask this having seen an article in The Guardian which shows the emails between Jeremy Hunt and NewsCorps - evidence provided by Rupert Murdoch to the Leveson Inquiry itself. Look online at Tuesday 24th April and you'll see what is so concerning.

With best wishes"

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Letter 64. Human Shields and Double Dipping

"Dear Dave and Nick,
What a day yesterday was! It was all Leveson, Murdoch, Hunt, spads as human shields and firefighting interviews by Gove wherever you looked! Summing it up, the whole day was about economic credibility and political integrity. Because, though who was or wasn't telling the truth about BSkyB is obviously important, the bigger story remains the awful news (double dip) about the economy.
So, leaving, Leveson aside for another time, there are a few things I would like to ask... Such as, how can we be both a "safe haven" and in recession? Secondly, what does it feel like to be the first government to reside over the only double dip since the 1970's? Actually, things are a bit worse than that: we seem to be experiencing the longest period of low or no growth for 100 years. What will you do? Yesterday on the Daily Politics show, Andrew Neil suggested in order to keep to your deficit target, you'll have to either increase taxes or make further cuts. Seriously - don't tell us that you're going to consider further cuts. We've only had 6% of this round so far and here we are in recession, low consumer confidence or people struggling to feed their families and pay their bills. Some might say to cut even more now would show just how out of touch you REALLY are."

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Letter 63: What is Society, Big or British coming to?

"Dear Dave,
What is society, Big or British, coming to? What have we come to in the UK when people living with disability are reduced to chaining themselves up in public to protest at Welfare cuts? Not scroungers or work shy as they are increasingly called, but disabled people deserving our help, respect and support. Did you know, Mencap believes that Coalition cuts planned for Disability Living allowance could see 500,000 people lose money? You must see how stark the disparity is between rich and poor? And there is no doubt that money and privilege can be a real buffer against some of the financial aspects of disability. A callous lot we must seem to people outside this country: a rich nation allowing our wealthiest to remain in a disconnected bubble, rewarded in the Budget with a reduction to the top rate of income tax, whilst the disabled and their families see benefits and services withdrawn. Is this what you mean in your Coalition agreement by " freedom, fairness and responsibility", gentlemen? There are other ways to reduce the deficit,than treating the vulnerable in this way.
What is Society, Big and British coming to? Heartless and shameful I would say.
With best wishes..."

Friday, 13 April 2012

Letter 62: George's tax awareness is astonishing

"Dear Dave
What an extraordinary state of affairs - despite being Chancellor of the Exchequer for two years, George has only just realised that lots of very rich people in the UK avoid paying their full share of tax. That really is staggering because it suggests that either he's not done his sums properly or he's turned a blind eye till now. Did the penny drop when he realised that just twenty people managed between them to avoid £145 million in tax, that if he helped HMRC to do it's job properly there would be less need for public sector cuts? Has he not realised that the rich have seen their incomes rise by 56% in the last decade? And they've used tax loopholes such as those mentioned here, (in loopholes: GIVE MONEY TO YOUR FAMILY/ MAKE A LOSS ON YOUR BUSINESS/ BUY LOTS OF HOUSES TO LET AND MORTGAGE THEM TO THE HILT/ GIVE TO CHARITIES) to keep hold of more of it? Astonishing!
How did he miss this? There's been more than enough evidence. In 2008 Richard J Murphy produced  a report for the TUC called "THE MISSING BILLIONS". In it he said that there was at least £13 billion of personal tax avoidance in the UK and a further £8 billion of excess reliefs granted to very wealthy people. see: and then think about how in these straightened times, that collected tax could help the most vulnerable in society, who still seem to be struggling disproportionately as a result of your austerity measures.
It's good that George intends to deal with tax avoidance , but it seems that the narrow GAAR that your government intends to use for legislation in 2013 will not go far enough - a much wider rule is needed according to a report published by the Association of Revenue and Customs today. They warn that the proposal put forward by Graham Aaranson QC (which you intend to use) may actually help the cheats. Now that just wouldn't be fair, would it?
Best wishes... etc

See: "

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Letter 61: Weaselly words in the Coalition Agreement

"Dear Dave,
Recognise this?⤵

We will be strong in the defence of freedom. The government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power; in keeping with Britain's tradition of freedom and fairness.

  • We will implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion  of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion.
  • We will introduce a Freedom Bill.
  • We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.
  • We will outlaw the fingerprinting of children at school without parental permission.
  • We will extend the the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • We will adopt the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
  • We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
  • We will restore rights to non-violent protest.
  • We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
  • We will introduce safeguards  against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
  • We will further regulate CCTV.
  • We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.
  • We will introduce a new mechanism to protect the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences. We will establish a commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British Law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.

 Yes it's page 11 of  "The Coalition: our programme  for government". Your words, your promises. Strange that having set out such promises, and invited voters to hold you to account, it is now your intention to expand Government powers to monitor email exchanges and webmail visits of every person in the UK. 
Then there's the issue of closed courts. Surely secret hearings lead to secret law; doesn't secret law go completely against the grain in a democracy?
I just can't work it out what this is all about - and why now? Is it a way of showing just how different the two halves of the Coalition can be? Let's face it, a little tiff in public wouldn't do Nick's ratings any harm, what with local elections coming up next month. It could be that we have yet ANOTHER distraction from how disastrous the past couple of weeks have been for you (Cruddas,the Budget Granny Tax pastygate). Or... you really mean to expand surveillance - because if you do, that suggests page 11 of your programme for government is nothing more than weaselly words and failed promises. I do hope not...
Best wishes..."

Monday, 2 April 2012

Letter 60 PM:"a bit of petrol panic may be no bad thing"

I have painted on many strange surfaces before, but never needed to paint on coal before...

  "Dear Dave,
   Did you tell ministers" a bit of  petrol panic may be no bad thing"? And who thought up the ingenious THATCHER MOMENT? In your attempt to humiliate the unions it appears you have now held the country to ransom. Many are very upset about this. Take Charles Moore at the Telegraph... He wrote:
"The Coalition is trying to pressgang the public without saying so into it's political battles." He also wrote: the reason for the current discontent" was" people detect selfishness" and "very few people appreciate being made into mugs."  
You have a shambles to clear up.
Which suggests it's time  for you to get back to  dealing with the fallout  from george's budget, Peter Cruddas  and "cash-for-access, rather than creating diversions...
Full disclosure on all meetings at No 10 and Chequers either involving Conservative Party business and/ or breaching Ministerial Code would be a very good place to start