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The Tories as the Party of Gordon Gekko: Part 94 – The Boris Johnson Years

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I’ve commented several times before that the Conservative Party has all the morals of Gordon Gekko. Remember him? He was the monstrous incarnation of ruthless corporate greed played by Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone’s 1980s film, Wall Street. This had the now notorious scene in which Gekko makes a speech in front of his fellow financiers praising greed. ‘Greed is right’, he intones, ‘Greed is good. Greed … works’. The film ends with Gecko himself ruthlessly betrayed and discarded by a younger protégé, a man Gekko has been raising up through the corporate ladder according to his own set of amoral principles. Here’s the speech:

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like this in real life. The global banking system nearly collapsed due to the colossal greed of leading bankers and financiers through a system of toxic debt and a web of complex fraud. This brought down Lehmann Brothers…

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The right therapy at the right time – Rethink Mental Illness, the mental health charity

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment
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http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/11/5-benefit-changes-government-dont-want-you-know-about

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment
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Second Suicide Linked To Welfare Reform Reported This Week: RIP Victor Cuff

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

the void

atos-paralympic-protestAnother tragic suicide has been reported which appears to be linked to the brutal Work Capability Assessments used to strip people of benefits by declaring them ‘fit for work’.

According to South East London newspaper, the News Shopper, Victor Cuff, aged 59, hung himself in May after his sickness benefits were cut.  The newspaper reports that Mr Cuff had previously had suffered from depression and an inquest into his death heard that he had been “feeling down” and was having money problems after his sickness benefits were reduced.

This is the second suicide linked to withdrawal of sickness benefits which has been reported in just one week. On Monday the Bristol Post featured the story of Jacqueline Harris who took her own life after being found ‘fit for work’ resulting in her benefits being slashed.

Anyone who claims these suicides are not linked to welfare reforms has probably…

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Boris Johnson and the invisible prison of privilege

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment
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The Bell Curve: Familiarizing the Public with the Language of Fascism

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment
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Boris Johnson: Intellectually Questionable

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Boris Johnson: Intellectually Questionable

http://gu.com/p/3knkt

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Heard a thinktank on the BBC? You haven’t heard the whole story | George Monbiot

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Heard a thinktank on the BBC? You haven’t heard the whole story | George Monbiot

http://gu.com/p/3kz4y

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Energy’s big six: the more we learn, the worse they look | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment
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Standard and Pisspoor

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

 

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=hp_sauce&

Standard and Pisspoor
Parliamentary Standards, Issue 1354
paul beresford.jpg
Paul Beresford, top dentist (and part time MP)
ONE Tory MP who should have some sympathy for his fellow Conservative Nadine Dorries, the latest to come under the cosh in the unending saga of MPs’ financial skulduggery, is Sir Paul Beresford, perhaps better known as Putney’s top dentist than as a part-time Surrey MP.

Not so, however. Beresford and his fellow members of the standards and privileges committee ordered Mad Nad to apologise to the House two weeks ago for not declaring money she earned for her Gallowayesque performance in I’m a Celebrity.

Unlike Sir Paul, she didn’t take the dosh from the taxpayer. Beresford claimed thousands to cover running costs and mortgage payments for his lucrative dental practice, where he worked three days a week. He claimed his waiting area was his sitting room and filled in expenses forms so that three-quarters of the running costs of his surgery would be met by taxpayers. Three other dentists worked in the house to generate an income far in excess of Beresford’s salary as an MP.

Escaping judgement 
As a member of the double standards committee, he sits in judgment on MPs while escaping judgment on himself. He censured Dorries and approved the complaint against former Labour minister Denis MacShane for illegally claiming £12,000 in European travel costs – while letting off the Lib Dem David Laws, who had illegally given £40,000 in “rent” to his partner, with little more than a rap on the knuckles.

Beresford waxed indignant about MacShane but agreed that Laws – the Tories’ favourite Lib Dem – was a good chap who had made a mistake. Laws repaid the £40,000 and is back in the cabinet. MacShane also repaid his £12,000 but was referred to Inspector Knacker, had to resign as an MP and may well be jailed when he is sentenced next month.

Shome inconsistency, shurely? 
Sir Paul and his colleagues are guided by the parliamentary commissioner for double standards, Kathryn Hudson, who works two and a half days a week for a salary of £50,000. How she fills those days is a mystery. Statistics on her official website show that since she started on 1 January Hudson has received 85 complaints, of which 77 were “not inquired into” – suggesting that she and her five staff investigate less than one per month.

Popular tearoom Tory 
One group Hudson certainly won’t investigate is the standards committee itself, whose chairman, Kevin Barron MP, made a £500,000 profit in the London property market using taxpayers’ money to pay for his mortgage. MPs are now wondering if she will also find reasons to “not inquire into” David Cameron’s favourite A-list MP, Nadhim Zahawi, who claimed money under the “cleaned-up” expenses scheme to pay for heating the stables where he keeps his horses. “Nad” Zahawi is a popular tearoom Tory, whereas “Nad” Dorries has few friends and so could safely be targeted.

We still await Hudson’s verdict on culture secretary Maria Miller, who claimed £90,000 in four years for a so-called second home that just happened to be inhabited by her parents. It’s a tricky decision for Ms Hudson – as her delay in reaching it suggests – but Conservative MPs are confident she will do the right thing.

She has already done so, astonishingly, in the case of Mark Pritchard, Tory MP for the Wrekin, who was caught by undercover Daily Telegraph reporters this month offering to use his political contacts to set up foreign business deals in return for a six-figure fee. Pritchard referred himself to the commissioner – who announced that she would not investigate because there was “insufficient evidence”.

As the Telegraph pointed out, this was because Ms Hudson let Pritchard off without bothering to ask the paper for its, er, evidence.

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