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Denzil_DC

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 4,953

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London must stop sucking up cash from the rest of Britain

Britain’s capital city is becoming a spoiled brat. It is stupendously rich. It sucks population out of the rest of the country and then whinges when this drives up house prices. Now at Christmas, it demands the kind of baubles you would expect of an Arab princeling or a banana republic.

...


It is London not the provinces that is drunkenly dependent on public money. The latest figure for infrastructure spending on each Londoner is £5,500 a year, against Yorkshire’s £580 a head and the north-east’s £220. Not surprisingly, in the last three years London has grown three times faster than the north. Between 2010 and 2012 the capital added 216,000 more private sector jobs while Bradford, Blackpool and even Glasgow lost them. Vince Cable was right in calling London “a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country”.

This cannot be in the capital’s interest. Walk around parts of north Manchester, South Yorkshire or Teesside and you could still be in cold war eastern Europe. These places are economically destitute, dependent on taxes paid overwhelmingly in London and the south-east. By keeping them deprived, London keeps them parasitic and in its pay. Yet the capital never stops lobbying for more public money directed at its own interests.

...


The capital does not need more bridges, concert halls, railways, football grounds, galleries or artworks. They should be shared. The city claims to be the richest and most exciting on Earth, in which case it can show magnanimity. Besides, it’s Christmas.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/23/london-stop-sucking-up-cash-britain?CMP=share_btn_tw

The Sun told to put apology to Jeremy Corbyn on front page

Jeremy Corbyn has been handed a major victory over Britain’s leading tabloid, after The Sun was ordered to publish a front page correction for a story which falsely claimed the Labour leader only agreed to be initiated as a Privy Councillor because his party stood to gain financially.

...

Under the headline – “Labour hypocrite: Leftie who hates the Royals WILL kiss Queen’s hand to grab £6.2m” – the article said, correctly, that Mr Corbyn had decided to join the Privy Council. But it falsely alleged that his sole motive was to secure state funding for the Labour Party.

Under legislation passed 40 years ago, all opposition parties are entitled to what is known as ‘short money’ to pay the salaries of researchers and other aides. The money is allocated according to a fixed formula, which does not depend on whether the party leader is a privy councillor.

When challenged over the 15 September article, The Sun argued that the grant to the leader’s office might be withheld if the leader refused to join the Privy Council – something which has never happened since state funding of opposition parties began. Ipso found the claim was not true. The IPSO Complaints Committee ruled that “it was significantly misleading to claim, as fact, that Labour’s access to Short money (either the £6.2m, or the £777,538.48) was conditional on Mr Corbyn’s joining the Privy Council; the two were not directly connected.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/the-sun-told-to-put-apology-to-jeremy-corbyn-on-front-page-a6782181.html


ETA: Before anyone gets too excited about the media being held to account all of a sudden, here's the offending front page:



And here's the print version of the "frontpage apology":



Since The Sun seems reluctant to give its apology due prominence, I'll reproduce it in full:

Following the publication of an article in The Sun on 15 September, headlined “Court Jezter”, Rosemary Brocklehurst complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sun breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The complaint was upheld, and IPSO required the newspaper to publish this adjudication.

The front page article reported that Jeremy Corbyn had accepted Privy Council membership after becoming Labour leader “so he can get his hands on £6.2m” of Short money. It said that, had Mr Corbyn refused membership, a “constitutional crisis” would have been triggered, jeopardising the £6.2m.

The complainant said that Labour’s access to Short money was not determined by its leader’s Privy Council membership. Instead, most of it is made available based on the number of seats secured by Labour in the last election.

The Sun said that the article could have been clearer, but was based on accurate information.

If Mr Corbyn had not accepted Privy Council membership, his position as Opposition Leader would not have been “secure” – this would have triggered the “constitutional crisis”, and risked his party’s access to the £6.2m.

Nonetheless, it offered at a late stage in the complaint to publish a clarification which made clear that the criteria for Short Money does not include reference to Privy Council membership.

IPSO’s Complaints Committee found that it was significantly misleading to claim that Labour’s access to the £6.2m depended on whether Mr Corbyn was a member of the Privy Council.

The two were not formally connected and the article did not make clear how a majority of the funding was in fact allocated. The Committee upheld the complaint as a breach of Clause 1.

The newspaper failed to correct the significantly misleading coverage promptly and IPSO required The Sun to publish this adjudication.

The front page article reported that Jeremy Corbyn had accepted Privy Council membership after becoming Labour leader “so he can get his hands on £6.2m” of Short money.

It said that, had Mr Corbyn refused membership, a “constitutional crisis” would have been triggered, jeopardising the £6.2m.

The complainant said that Labour’s access to Short money was not determined by its leader’s Privy Council membership. Instead, most of it is made available based on the number of seats secured by Labour in the last Election.

The Sun said that the article could have been clearer, but was based on accurate information. If Mr Corbyn had not accepted Privy Council membership, his position as Opposition Leader would not have been “secure” — this would have triggered the “constitutional crisis”, and risked his party’s access to the £6.2m.

Nonetheless, it offered at a late stage in the complaint to publish a clarification which made clear that the criteria for Short Money does not include reference to Privy Council membership.

IPSO’s Complaints Committee found that it was significantly misleading to claim that Labour’s access to the £6.2m depended on whether Mr Corbyn was a member of the Privy Council.

The two were not formally connected and the article did not make clear how a majority of the funding was in fact allocated. The Committee upheld the complaint as a breach of Clause 1.

The newspaper failed to correct the significantly misleading coverage promptly and IPSO required The Sun to publish this adjudication.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/6818128/IPSO-complaint-on-Labour-short-money-is-upheld.html


Whether IPSO will consider that this fulfils its ruling, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Telegraph fined £30,000 over email urging readers to vote Tory

The Telegraph has been fined £30,000 for sending hundreds of thousands of emails on the day of the general election urging readers to vote Conservative.

... data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office found the newspaper’s parent company, Telegraph Media Group, broke direct marketing rules.

The watchdog said subscribers might have signed up to receive a daily email, but promoting the Tory election campaign “crossed a line”.

“People may well perceive the paper’s editorial content to have a political bias, but when the Telegraph emailed people directly calling them to vote for a political party they crossed a line,” said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/dec/21/telegraph-fined-email-conservatives


ICO ruling here: https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/mpns/1560367/telegraph-monetary-penalty-notice.pdf

Windows XP spotted on Royal Navy's spanking new aircraft carrier

Ooh look. The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier The Queen Elizabeth is using Windows XP.

The ship is a year from completion, so there is plenty of time yet to bin it for a more up-to-date and secure version of the venerable operating system.

The Ministry of Defence is not returning our calls, but this could always be, as one reader says, “comedy wallpaper on a technician’s laptop...”

You can check out the BBC News report about The Queen Elizabeth here. The XP wallpaper makes its appearance at 1m.25s.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/15/windows_xp_royal_navy/?mt=1450287631060


Now, my eyes aren't sharp enough and I'm not familiar enough with newer Windows desktop appearances, to confirm that this is what that mix of laptops and desktops is running (not to mention how integrated they are into the rest of HMS Queen Elizabeth's systems), but even if I take them at their word, it's not that unusual for the military to use older, tried-and-tested OSes.

But still ...

‘Britain Has Got Its Mojo Back,’ Osborne Tells U.S. Audience


...

“My message to you is that Britain has got its mojo back and we are going to be with you as we reassert western values, confident that our best days lie ahead,” Osborne told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Osborne admitted that the defeat Prime Minister David Cameron suffered in 2013 when lawmakers were asked to back military action against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad was a “striking moment.”

“It was a moment when Britain was unable to follow the lead asked of it by our prime minister and the government,” he said. “It is for me a source of real pride that actually a couple of years later the House of Commons has voted by a big majority to take part in the action already being directed against this terrorist organization Isis or Daesh in Syria.”

The effectiveness of air strikes should not be underestimated when supported by Syrian opposition forces on the ground, he said. There was no public appetite for deploying British or American ground forces to fight Islamic State, he said.

“I don’t think it would help the situation on the ground and it would possibly be a cause of further radicalization and grievance,” he said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-07/-britain-has-got-its-mojo-back-osborne-tells-u-s-audience


These remarks were in contrast to his other comments at the same meeting about Scotland, where an insurgent force of some 100,000 ground troops deployed under the banner of the Scottish Conservatives are looking to annex what's left of voters for the rump of the Scottish Labour Party and become the official opposition to the SNP.

This campaign is supported by airstrikes from media entranced by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who in May successfully led her party to its worst election result in Scotland since 1865. Seen here last April decorously straddling a tank barrel, she hopes to repeat her own remarkable performance in the 2010 Scottish elections, when she came fourth in a constituency election in Glasgow North East. Davidson's main hope of seizing power in 2016 is a "safe" regional list seat in the Scottish Parliament if she fails to charm enough voters in a directly elected seat in douce Edinburgh, where she has now decamped along with her ambitions, and possibly the tank.



Osborne left no one at the the Council on Foreign Relations in any doubt who he sees as the real enemy and a threat to the existence of the UK:

Mr Osborne, who was speaking in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, said the success of the SNP in previous Labour heartlands left the door open for the Conservatives to make gains north of the border.

...

The Chancellor said the SNP’s expanded caucus in Westminster marked a shift in Parliament.

“They are a noisy and aggressive bloc in the House of Commons who are not trying to be part of the UK Government and that is a departure,” he said.

https://www.politicshome.com/party-politics/articles/story/george-osborne-snp-mps-are-%E2%80%98noisy-and-aggressive%E2%80%99


The SNP's antics of course strike a shameful contrast to the decorum with which the Conservative benches comport themselves in Parliament and beyond, and they should be thoroughly disgusted with themselves for obstructing the shining path to the bountiful future not-at-all-nationalist, and certainly-not-socialist, Chancellor George Osborne envisages for these sceptred isles: one people, one country, one leader.

Tory bullying scandal: Mark Clarke 'used connections with Guido Fawkes blog to threaten opponents'

The stink around the Tory bullying scandal that's yet to attain full -gate status continues to spread, the Independent reports:

The “Tatler Tory” at the centre of allegations of bullying in the youth wing of the Conservative Party allegedly used his personal connections to the scurrilous Guido Fawkes political blog to threaten people who challenged him, according to claims being examined by lawyers hired by the party.

The Independent has been told by several people with knowledge of the alleged bullying and blackmail scandal engulfing the party that Mark Clarke used his friendships with individuals in the media to intimidate his opponents, and those who threatened to expose him.

There is no evidence that the Guido Fawkes gossip blog – required reading for Westminster followers – ever ran untrue smear stories pushed by Mr Clarke, the Conservative campaign director who has been banned from the party for life following the suicide of young activist Elliott Johnson. However, sources close to Clifford Chance, the law firm appointed by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) to investigate the scandal, confirmed that they would explore Mr Clarke’s media connections as part of the probe.


That last paragraph has a whiff of the Indie's lawyers about it.

Mr Clarke, 38, a consultant at Unilever, denies all the allegations and is not commenting until the conclusion of an inquest into Mr Johnson’s death. However, Mr Clarke is close friends with Harry Cole, who was previously employed by the Guido Fawkes blog (alongside its founder Paul Staines) and now works at The Sun newspaper. Both men previously belonged to the Young Britons Foundation (YBF), the so-called “Conservative Madrasa” founded by Donal Blaney, who is currently the chairman of the right-wing pressure group Conservative Way Forward (CWF).

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-bullying-scandal-mark-clarke-used-connections-with-guido-fawkes-blog-to-threaten-opponents-a6761166.html


The Guido Fawkes blog has been avidly covering the furore surrounding Clarke. The lucky boy even has his own tag there - http://order-order.com/people/mark-clarke/ - which includes a video of Cole commenting on Grant Shapps's resignation and aiming pointed questions at Lord Feldman on 28 November, so it'll be interesting to see whether Paul Staines lets his blog cover or respond to this latest development. So far, all the Order-Order.com-associated Twitter feeds have been silent about it.

Nor does it stop there, as the Indie's on a roll tonight:

Tory bullying scandal: Pressure grows on Lord Feldman as memo warned Mark Clarke was 'sociopathic' and 'dangerous'

Pressure on Conservative party chairman Lord Feldman to quit has risen after it emerged that senior party officials were sent a memo in August warning that the campaigner at the heart of the Tory bullying scandal was "dangerous" and "sociopathic".

The document, produced by a then-party official, alleged that Mark Clarke's "bullying tactics are well-known... it would literally be impossible to list all his crimes here".

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-bullying-scandal-pressure-grows-on-lord-feldman-as-memo-warned-mark-clarke-was-sociopathic-and-a6760111.html



ETA: Anyone who wants to follow the Harry Cole angle further down the rabbit hole might do worse than check out this Byline article:

EXCLUSIVE-“Worse than Militant”- The Gang of Four caught in Tory Bullying Allegations, with Freemasonry links

https://www.byline.com/project/30/article/645


ETA FURTHER DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: Zelo Street has been covering the role of Staines et al. and Cole in posing as covering the affair while instead serving up distractions, not just from their own relationships with Clarke, but the implications for a wide range of Tory Party figures. See Zelo's Policing tag - http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Policing - as well as some posts under Politics - http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Politics

Michael Gove scraps criminal courts charge

Judges and magistrates will be given greater discretion in imposing financial penalties, Michael Gove has promised, after he scrapped the mandatory criminal courts charge.

The justice secretary’s abrupt U-turn – in response to the protest resignations of more than 100 magistrates – ditches a money-raising scheme introduced by his predecessor Chris Grayling, which only came into force in April this year.

...

Gove had given broad hints that he intended to do away with the highly unpopular measure, which even the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, had condemned as putting access to justice beyond the reach of most people and “imperilling a core principle of Magna Carta”.

Gove’s overturning of Grayling’s initiative is the latest in a series of policy reversals. The former justice secretary’s plan for a secure college for young offenders, a ban on books for prisoners, outsourcing the enforcement of court fines and a prisons training contract with Saudi Arabia have all been scrapped.

Imposition of the criminal courts charge is due to end on Christmas Eve. The mandatory charge was levied on any defendant who pleaded guilty or was convicted, on top of the victims’ surcharge, prosecution costs and fines. It started at £150 for those admitting guilt at magistrates court, rising to £1,200 for those found guilty at crown court – creating a financial disincentive to risk the uncertainty of a jury trial.

The swift decision implies that early returns from the criminal courts charge did not deliver the anticipated income of up to £135m a year that Grayling’s officials initially promised.

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/dec/03/michael-gove-scraps-criminal-courts-charge


Just the latest supposed "money-saving" measure that hasn't delivered as promised, but in its brief existence has caused much misery and suffering, and in this case, no doubt miscarriages of justice.

Writing in the Independent, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq pledged to continue to press the government, posing four key questions:

First, will those who have already paid towards the charge be given the money back, and given no obligation to pay further? I have heard nothing from the Justice Secretary about this.

Second, I will be pressing for the Justice Secretary to confirm that all outstanding debts will be waived. Had it been fully implemented, the charge would have built up an additional £200m in outstanding debt to criminals, and under certain circumstances it is a criminal offence not to pay the charge. The Government’s own calculations factored in an additional £5m spending for prison places from it. I hope these debts will be cleared.

Third, what about those who have already built up additional debts trying to repay the charge? Many may have been forced to borrow money at high interest from payday lenders and others. No account has been given to the plight of these people.

And finally, what about those innocent people who may already have pleaded guilty because of the charge? We need an inquiry to identify these individuals.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/scrapping-the-criminal-court-charge-is-not-enough-michael-gove-must-undo-the-damage-it-has-wrought-a6759376.html

Don’t side ‘with a bunch of terrorist sympathisers,’ Cameron tells MPs

The Prime Minister has told Conservative MPs not to side with Jeremy Corbyn and ‘a bunch of terrorist sympathisers’ ahead of the vote on air strikes in Syria.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his MPs a ‘free vote’ on military action following pressure from his shadow cabinet, and both he and Hilary Benn will give alternate arguments at the debate tomorrow. Mr Corbyn warned that bombing raids will lead to civilian casualties, and told his MPs there was ‘no hiding place’ on the vote.

David Cameron previously said he would not call for a vote unless he was confident of a victory. He was worried a defeat would tarnish Britain’s reputation among its allies and serve as propaganda for Isis.

‘I will be making the arguments and I hope as many Members of Parliament – across all parties – will support me as possible,’ he said today.

http://metro.co.uk/2015/12/01/dont-side-with-a-bunch-of-terrorist-sympathisers-cameron-tells-mps-5538377/


Dangerous Dave just pissed off a lot of MPs - and a not inconsiderable number of the electorate - from all sides of the House by channelling his inner Flashman again. The boy just can't help himself, and he's sounding desperate as a large number of Labour MPs are indicating on social media that they will vote against the motion to authorize air strikes on Syria, and there are rumours that some higher-ups in Labour are looking for a graceful way to back down from their previous support for it.

The Lib Dems have announced that they will support the motion. The SNP will vote en bloc against. That leaves as the main uncertainty how many Tory rebels will vote against and how many what now appear to be becoming Labour "rebels" for. Presumably if Dave was confident of his own troops, he wouldn't have lost his cool.

Meanwhile, that well-known rabble of terrorist sympathizers the Foreign Affairs Committee will no doubt be next to be roasted like crumpets à la Tom Brown's Schooldays:

David Cameron has failed to justify Syria airstrikes, MPs' committee says

David Cameron’s hopes of building a consensus behind military action against Islamic State in Syria has suffered a blow after parliament’s foreign affairs select committee said he had failed to justify airstrikes.

The prime minister had made his case for military action in response to a critical report earlier from the committee, setting out what he claimed was a “comprehensive” approach to the crisis in Syria. The committee’s Conservative chairman, Crispin Blunt, had already given his personal view that Cameron had gone far enough and indicated he would support military action.

But in a meeting on Tuesday, the eve of the Commons vote on military action, the committee voted four to three in favour of a motion that Cameron “has not adequately addressed concerns”.

The vote came amid a row over Cameron’s claim that there were 70,000-strong moderate forces in Syria prepared to fight Isis after a senior army general declined to confirm whether they included members of Islamist groups.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/01/cameron-has-failed-to-justify-syria-airstrikes-mps-committee-says


Advance copies of the motion released on the eve of the debate make no mention of these 70,000 cavalry.

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