The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

Meet the Professor

Friday, August 28, 2009

Browns revolting backbenchers

Always nice to see some backbenchers finding their spine - in particular Karen Buck MP.

She's known to us and get's a decent amount of attention on the Professor's DVD, where her statement, "I voted against the war in Iraq" was called into question. Karen was quick to point out she's independent-minded, had voted against her party on many occasions etc. etc.

We’d like to clarify some points.

1) You may hear on your playback what appears to be the interviewer (or Ms Buck) breaking wind. It isn't. Neither is it the sound of the interviewer blowing a raspberry.

2) We’ll leave it to you to decide whether Karen Buck’s voting record leans towards free-thinking or the party whip. The bare stats for the times she went against her party are ;

5 May 2005 to present day : 1 vote out of 329, 0.3%
7 Jun 2001 to 11 Apr 2005 : 16 votes out of 923, 1.7%
1 May 1997 to 14 May 2001 : 1 vote out of 893 or 0.1%

Today's "Independent" casts her as one of Labours revolting backbench MPs with regard to the government's planned housing benefit cuts for some of the UKs poorest families. "We should not under any circumstances be taking money from the poorest and making them choose between reasonable housing bills and meeting day-to-day expenses".

Let's see which way Karen votes on this one, and we wait with baited breath as to how she subsequently describes her voting record on housing benefits.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mexico ahead of the curve ?

These are strange days indeed.

Mexico had attempted to de-criminalise marijuana possession in 2006 but the Bush administration effectively nixed the move. On Friday, without fanfare (or US opposition), Mexican President Vicente Fox finally got his way and de-criminalised a whole raft of narcotics for personal use. "We can't close our eyes to this reality," said Sen. Jorge Zermeno. "We cannot continue to fill our jails with people who have addictions.".

The problem's a little more complex than that. Mexico has a serious drug cartel problem - decapitation of informants and policemen who don't toe the cartel line has been very much in vogue this summer. They've also had a problem with the police abusing the legislation - using it as leverage for information, hitting crime stat targets etc. Word is that this one small step is paving the way for full legalisation of drugs.

If Mexico's moving forward, it's almost certainly because things have got so bad they're running out of options.

Meantime, our progressive government, despite numerous (and unanimous) expert advice have re-criminalised cannabis. On the ground we're reliably informed it won't make a difference - there's no way the police are gonna bother charging people for personal use... unless of course they need something else out of you (like hitting a drug offence target).

Which brings us to the poor sod in Kissimmee (Florida) who got locked up for 3 months for possession of breath mints, he lost his job, apartment and car because an over-zealous policeman needed a bust and his field testing kit said the afore-mentioned mints were cocaine...

"A man is suing the Kissimmee Police Department for an arrest over mints. When officers pulled Donald May over for an expired tag [insurance] , they thought the mints he was chewing were crack and arrested him.

May told Eyewitness News they wouldn't let him out of jail for three months until tests proved the so-called drugs were candy...

May was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. When the officer walked up to him, he noticed something white in May's mouth. May said it was breath mints, but the officer thought it was crack cocaine.

"He took them out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence," May explained.The officer claimed he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs.

The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.

May said that never happened."My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine. Why would he say that?" attorney Adam Sudbury said.

May was thrown in jail and was unable to bond out for three months. He didn't get out until he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

"While I was sitting in jail I lost my apartment. I lost everything," he said.
While May was in jail, the police department also auctioned off his car."
Cut to the Magistrates association in the UK "vehemently opposing" proposed government legislation and absolutely not trusting the police with discretionary powers to even issue on-the-spot fixed penalty fines for careless driving.

Mexico, a 3rd world country ahead of the UK ? If it seems like this post's taken a scenic route around the logic (and the world. Ed) - blame the cannabis.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monkeys wanted, peanuts paid.

MP's evidence and submissions on how to reform the expenses system can be seen in all their glory here. They are deeply indicative of the mindset that led to the scam.

Many of the MP's submissions include the need to increase their own salaries... arguments range from along the lines of Helen Goodman's "selflessness in public life should not mean sacrificing the interests of our children and families” (she's a junior work and pensions minister) to David Blunkett's. “The most logical change would be to bite the bullet and pay MPs the kind of salary they would expect to be paid in equivalent jobs,”.

Andrew Robatham MP said if he had not left the Army, “I would almost certainly have become at least a Lieutenant-Colonel [who] is paid more than an MP and may also receive boarding school allowance, subsidised quarters and other perks”. He suggested “to attract people of quality, ability, intelligence and experience into Parliament” a salary of between £105,000 and £110,000 a year was needed .

...and herein lies the rub... If you asked your employer for a pay rise you'd do so with a pretty good argument for your performance in that position.

So how to measure an MP's performance ? Their job is to represent their constituents in Parliament - holding the government to account, ensuring the country's run to our satisfaction and if they happen to be in the executive, in a ministerial position, there's the additional responsibility of actually running the country.

By their own admission, since 2002, when they were first made aware the expenses "subsidy" had gotten out of hand by Robin Cook MP, they haven't come close to Robotham's requirement for "people of quality, ability, intelligence" - they chose to perpetuate the system by fighting FOI requests in court whilst continuing to take advantage of it and then publishing a "redacted" form of expenses even after the full versions had been exposed by the press. Naturally, those outside of government blamed the government, effectively admitting they'd failed in their job to hold them to account and couldn't hold them to account on a continuing basis. Worse than that, they'd been lying to their employers over the impending revelations whilst fighting them in the courts to prevent the lie being exposed.

Which brings us back to the boss's office and the request for a pay rise... you have to wonder what his Lordship Alan Sugar would've made of the request. This writer's inclination is to only offer a pay rise to their replacement. .

More to follow on Helen Goodman and Robotham's submissions

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Magistrates find Police untrustworthy and Government guilty of deliberate lies

Heh, heh, heh. We've raised an eyebrow in the past when members of the establishment (especially inside Westminster) brazenly said they didn't trust the police or the courts...

It seems they're not alone - and to some degree, the feelings mutual...

The Magistrates Association aren't entirely enamored with the police (or government) either. In fact, in an extraordinary press release they "vehemently oppose" trusting them even with issuing a fixed penalty notice for careless driving,

"Regrettably, recent experience... shows the Police cannot be relied on to use them appropriately or as intended. Once they've been given these powers, the police will misuse them, that is a certainty,".
They then go on to give the government a thoroughly good kicking...
"This is a proposal that places the convenience of the police above what is right in principle..."
and on the government's use of this quote to support their proposals, "seven out of eleven magistrates and six out of ten judges surveyed were in favour" the magistrates responded,
"How these eleven magistrates were selected and precisely what they were asked is not stated. Judges do not deal with careless driving offences except a limited number on appeal. To prefer a six year old unreferenced and frankly meaningless survey to the currently expressed views of a magistrates specialist committee is to seriously mislead the readers of the document about the views of magistrates, and it is difficult to regard this as anything other than deliberate"

You know you're up shit creek when the Magistrates Association accuses the government (in a press release !!) of deliberately lying.

Monday, August 17, 2009

NHS lies beat Obama

©Peter Brooks

There are better places than Santiago to wake at 4am in extreme pain with a testicle the size of a tennis ball (stop giggling at the back).

The UK embassy in Chile found the specialist I needed - he worked in a public hospital in the morning and a private hospital in the afternoon. My travel insurance covered all costs but my bollock wasn't going to wait for an afternoon appointment. The difference between the two was astonishing - not because the staff in the public hospital weren't friendly, competent and eager to help - but their hands were completely tied in the most insane bureaucracy.

The result was me being intimately examined as an example case, quite literally in a side alley at the rear of the derelict warehouse/hospital, by the good doctor and a dozen mostly female medical students as part of their training.

This wasn't altogether unpleasant,
"Hi I'm Carmelita."
"Pleased to meet you."
"May I ?"
At the end of the impromptu tutorial, the good Doctor decided further investigation was needed - a scan, urine and blood tests. This meant at the very least a two week wait in the public hospital plus another week for results, or in about an hour at the private one, with results a half hour later.

My lasting memory of the whole affair (aside from Carmelita and my testicle threatening to turn itself into a grenade) is standing in front of the admissions officer in the most excruciating pain imaginable with the good Doctor translating the complexities, requirements and form-filling intricacies of a public-run bureaucracy whilst a dedicated workforce looked on in embarrassment.

Sounds familiar ? Surely it's not fair to compare the NHS with a Chilean public service ?

Ask an NHS doctor, any NHS doctor, what comes first - the pen-pushers and government targets or their Hippocratic oath ?

The US anti-Obama healthcare lobby have put the willies up their citizens by telling them the "socialist" NHS decides between life and death by committee, on a cost basis... Cut to much gnashing of teeth and Gordon Brown, Cameron etc. twittering how much they love our health service... promptly followed by MEP Dan Hannan joining the fray (criticising the NHS) and Tory health policies coming under scrutiny amid the general tagline of "split in party ranks".

What a load of cojones. Once again, the real issue is completely side-stepped and it's all about headlines.

Gordon Brown and Co can tell us as much as they want that they love the NHS - it's not the point. Actually, what they're defending is the fact that in the UK there's always some form of healthcare to look after you. That's unquestionably something to be proud of as a country and we love the NHS for it. The media has turned the debate into something completely different - grabbing headlines that sell the issue way short. The US media are promoting the lie that Obama wants to introduce a "socialised" public health service like ours. He doesn't. He wants everyone in the US to have medical insurance, centrally administered (like our NI). That'll mean they're insured and give them the choice of where to go for treatment (and if you can't pay the NI, the state steps in).

Currently in the US if you don't have medical insurance you're fucked. In the UK if you've private insurance you get a fantastic service, if you don't - you get the NHS. This writer's had experience of both - in downtown Santiago and in the UK. I don't mean to sound ungrateful - no doubt if the NHS has saved your life you'll champion it - but it's service, speed and treatment limitations can't compare with a privately run hospital. If BUPA were smart they'd give us all a free taste of private healthcare - once you've experienced both, if you can afford it, only the most half-assed dogmatic morons would take the NHS route for their child. Gordon Brown wouldn't even take it for his teeth (Errrr... not entirely sure you can get teeth-capping on the NHS - Ed).

Obama and Hannan are actually positing the same argument - we should all pay the equivalent of the UK's N.I. but then have a choice about which hospital/service we use - public or private.

Naturally, we shouldn't have to choose between the two. In an ideal world the public sector would deliver a service at the same level as the private. Sadly, it simply doesn't. This government has effectively admitted they can't run a bath let alone the NHS in all kinds of sectors (where it suits them - for example prisons) and handed them over to private firms.

The reason they're scared shitless of giving us even a choice with our health is a complex web of emotional and message-based, focus-grouped, vote-driven nonsense and the media is just as guilty. Those who can afford to choose vote with their pockets and head for private healthcare - but the media, lobby groups and resultant headlines have almost certainly put paid to any choice for the majority of the UK. Obama's plans of healthcare insurance for all are now in retreat and having been hauled into the debate, this side of the Atlantic there's no politician with his eye on the prize who's going to criticise the NHS let alone come clean and admit it's a bureaucracy gone mad - you'll only hear that from the doctors.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brown's off-balance unemployed

The jobless figures seem to be either at the start of having some kind of public/media impact but this writer has only seen one article that spotted the real kicker - the "employment narrative" (©Lord First Secretary of State etc. Mandelson Inc).

To summarise - the last ten years have seen No 10's press office focus on "more employment than ever before", whilst moving "off balance-sheet" the total claimants of, for example, incapacity-benefit - a staggering 2.7million. For anyone who cared to notice, UK PLC's "unemployment" problem wasn't being properly accounted for.

This "off-balance sheet" mentality is an accountant's ostrich - leg's straight, spread 'em, bend over, head in the sand. A male stripper did this on a Blackpool beach hen night - it didn't end well.

The ostrich stance is pernicious in this government. The Ministry had the pleasure of spending some time in a privatised prison last week with several hundred employees. Once upon a time they'd have been civil servants on our payroll, now they're a statistic proving employment's up, public spending on crime is up and that the civil service payroll is down. Couple that with the private company doing a better job of running the show than the government ever did and everybody's smiling - except all we've really done is shuffle figures into different columns and proven the inability of our government to run a prison - let alone a country.

It also bolsters another thought that's been percolating...

This writer suspects many of the lies spun out over the years are actually only designed to cover up what turns out to be an extremely banal reality. Something so dull the press can't be arsed to report it (and even if they did we couldn't be bothered to read it)...

This government, and pretty much every government post-WW2, are simply crap at the nuts and bolts of management.

Not really a headline is it ? Best stick with "Brown's employment stat lies return to bite him in the arse".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Duncan factor

Alan Duncan is no stranger to the Ministry, indeed neither is his charm. He was kind (and brave) enough to invite us to his office and subject himself to interrogation under the Professor's highly controversial methods...

His thoughts, secretly filmed by Hayden Prowse of Dont Panic that MPs are rationed and "treated like shit"grabbed the headlines but it was his introduction that really cut to the heart of the matter, "Parliament's being "nationalised"...

Unless we're very much mistaken if there's one single institution in the UK that's owned by the nation isn't it Parliament ???.

The notion that the Palace of Westminster is accountable, is in fact owned by the nation, will be treated like shit in the press, will face the consequences of their actions when they quietly inflate their allowances because they don't feel they can justify jacking up their wages is clearly an irritant to the honourable Mr Duncan. Even pre-credit crunch when the government could claim to have been running the economy well, despite Robin Cook's warning a full seven years earlier that the allowances system was a car crash waiting to happen, despite Michael Martin et al fighting a losing battle against numerous FOI expenses requests in the court... Parliament still chose to continue the scam. That's the heart of it, and Alan Duncan felt resentment.

Does anyone buy his apology ? Does anyone actually think he's a changed man ?

Answers on a postcard please.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Yes Men Fix the World

Remember when Dow Chemicals had 3% wiped off their share price when a man pretending to be their representative announced they'd accepted full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster and had ear-marked billions of dollars to compensate the victims ? Or the perfect rip-off of the New York Times filled to the brim with the stories we all wanted to hear... "Iraq War Over" and "Bush Indicted" etc...

The Ministry was kindly invited to last night's preview of "The Yes Men Fix the World" and it doesn't disappoint. The film takes "cunning stunts" to previously unseen heights, recording the antics of two US teachers (Mike and Andy) who in their spare time hold corporations and government departments to account by impersonating their representatives and announcing their doing the "right thing".

You know it's a genius device because it leaves multi-nationals stupified for a response, so much so that the culprits haven't heard a squeak from corporate lawyers.

Expect a rash of highly suspect UK Corporate/Government announcements once the film's let loose on this side of the pond. Check out the official website - there's much food for thought and we're a little peckish.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blears vandals claim "within rules"

The Vandals who attacked ex-minister Hazel Blears car (windscreen smashed, all tyres slashed etc.) claim they acted "within the rules", deny they've done anything wrong, but understand her anger and have repaid the cost of repairs. They've released the following statement ;

"We sincerely regret any anxiety caused to both Ms Blears and the good name of vandals. We'd like to stress we were acting entirely within the rules, code of conduct and generally accepted practises of Vandals in the UK (VUK). If a car owner decides to leave their vehicle in an isolated place after noting a "bunch of hoodies" hanging around they have only themselves and presumably an extreme arrogance to blame for the consequences. However, as a gesture of goodwill and after lengthy consultation with VUK members we're pleased to present this cheque to Ms Blears Ltd and now consider the matter closed."
Ms Blears responded, "I'm entirely satisfied this criminal act has now been dealt with in a suitable manner. My initial response to call the police was an ill-considered, knee-jerk over-reaction and I have no intention to help them any further with their enquiries."

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said, "Ms Blears isn't connected with any investigation either here or at Scotland Yard. She's paid back the £13,000"

Vote for 20% VAT ?

Saturday saw the Telegraph saying the Conservatives were secretly eying up a hike in the VAT rate to 20% - followed promptly by denials from CCHQ. How short our memories are. Is Cameron out to pip Maggie from her coveted position in our top ten political porkies of all time ?

If you were wearing short trousers in 1979 you won't remember the jaw-dropping impact of Thatcher and her Chancellor Geoffrey Howe announcing they would be raising VAT from 8% to 15% (I've a distant recollection of my father mouthing the words "fuck me" over a breakfast newspaper). The hike itself wasn't the cause for national gob-smacked disbelief, it was the bare-faced lie that preceeded it in the Tory manifesto's election promise...

Labour had long been saying the only way the Tories could afford their promised tax cuts was to double VAT - hence Thatcher and Howe's absolute and explicit rebuttal, “We have absolutely no intention of doubling VAT.” At the time, The Daily Mail was so convinced, it included the “double VAT” charge in a splash on “Labour’s dirty dozen lies”, just days before the campaign concluded.

The secret plan, hatched at Howe’s house on the Fentiman Road a year before the election, was of course completely different : raise VAT from 8 to 15 per cent. Howe announced the rise in his first Budget.

Cut to my father realising he'd been duped.

As the FT pointed out, in his memoirs Howe was unapologetic, describing the row as “part of the small change of election campaigning”.

At least Cameron isn't saying he won't double VAT - that'd smell of a porky in the region of 29 to 35%. Perhaps.

In any case, consider the electioneering for next year officially started.

For further reading, this article in the Spectator shines a light on Mr Brown's record and the relationship between taxes and election promises. Ho hum.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Blair Conflicted on Iraq

Returning to reality after hols always takes a little while but this parked outside our former PM's London home threw a spanner in the works...

A free copy of "The Ministry of Truth" on DVD for the best caption

Monday, August 03, 2009

Balls to Castro

Two weeks in Cuba led to three remarkable discoveries...

  1. Castro is in better health than is generally reported
  2. Ed Balls was not in the UK - he has some explaining to do
  3. We suspect the First Secretary of State, His Lordship etc. also has some explaining to do. NB. Your humble servant was unable to verify whether the re-emergence of the Mandelson moustache was genuine or otherwise