Monday, July 31, 2006

New candidate for London Mayor

Cameroon Nicholas Boles announced his candidacy for London Mayor today. Bizarrely for someone who runs a thinktank called Policy Exchange he seems to be policy-lite, if not policy-zero at present. Luckily, The TaxCutter has been on hand to remind him of some good ideas.

Not wishing to upset the electoral balance, I've also eMailed them to Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick too.

May Primary Battle commence!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Here's a recent post found on a dating website

39 year old straight male looking for females aged between 18 and 40

recommended by: George, Samantha, Rebekah, Francis and Rachel
children: three
area: Notting Hill

drinking: cocktails
smoking: regular

education: university
employment: marketing
religion: Christian (non-practising)

height: 5ft 8in
build: curvaceous

Party-loving, intelligent, jovial, compassionate, moderniser, fond of biking, the enviroment and ciggies

George has this to say about Dave:
Dave loves riding his bike with me. He always looks out for his friends, and is great at dinner parties.

Samantha has this to say about Dave:
Dave is a great young guy who loves being with his family, until we send them off to boarding school in 2 years time.

Rachel has this to say about Dave:
Dave is a fantastic friend! He's the type of person who will always give you a second chance nevermind how mad you sound

Rebekah has this to say about Dave:
I took Dave to Becks party. He was disappointed when he found out that Becks was a footballer and not a beer, but was dead pleased that someone else admitted to being Posh.

Francis has this to say about Dave:
Dave is the sort of guy who looks to make big changes to any party. He's the kind of guy who is Built to Last.

to which Dave responded:

Thanks guys. I have always avoided online campaigning but since one of the staff showed me how to turn on a computer, I guess I have no more excuses. You know how difficult it is to make friends in London, you end up hanging around with people who all went to the same school and university as you. Being a modern chap, I have a long list of female, gay and coloured friends, many of whom I'd like to work with in the future. I am looking forward to adding to them in the next couple of weeks.

I've found that for some reason my friends have not been good at sorting out girl voters for me. I thought that I would give this a go as I'm told I speak to women in their language. I enjoy travelling and have this year been to a Norwegian glacier. I'm thinking about where to go the next time I have a local election, some people have suggested Australia or Ireland to learn about tax cuts, or Belgium to learn about sticking to promises. I also like to learn about new things, some of my new friends have also suggested that I consider nightclasses in business and economics.

I regard myself as family friendly. I worry about general wellbeing and I prefer to buy local produce and am not a fan of shopping in shops like Tesco that sell things cheaply to poor people. I'm not really interested in talking about politics. I like to look at new ways of doing things and am a big fan of change.

So girls, if you're looking for someone new, and a bright future, then give me a go!

Check the real site at Call me a cynic but aren't these girls a bit too good looking.

Top of the Pops is dead

Jim should have Fixed it for this so-called National Institution years ago. TOTP was one of the most obvious examples of what state run television channel produce best - mediocrity.

TOTP's only use in recent years was for its Christmas special to make the following Queen's speech look exciting. Its tried to trade on past glories, but anyone who remembers TOTP as being the cutting edge of music in past decades is looking at matters through rose-tinted NHS spectacles. OK, so it was popular in the 1970s, that's when it was against an entire 2 other TV channels, one of which was under the same state control. TOTP insistence on mimed music was just as prevalent then, between The Who in 1972 and Iron Maiden in 1980 not a single act performed live, meaning the entire period of punk, probably the UK's biggest contribution to world music other than The Beatles, got wasted. Some performances on TOTP were so contrived they would have made Emperor Nero, or even Lord Hutton, blush. TOTPs liking for formulaic acts meant that once music became more open it was doomed to die. Educated consumers would always choose the real thing.

In addition TOTP moral reputation was dubious, its association with DJs long known to have committed misdemeanours is well known, it lied to its customers by pretending acts were live, it followed charts long fixed by record producers, it banned God Save the Queen (anti-monarch) and Relax (gay anthem), it refused to play music its producers disliked regardless of record sales (eg heavy metal, early rap, punk), and TOTP was so cutting edge that it took until 1982 to have its first female presenter,

MTV showed that a music TV channel could be popular and cover wide tastes (MTV Raps, Metalhammer etc), US radio shows cover wide tastes encouraging greater talent and openness. Its no coincidence that US versions of TOTP flopped. Whilst TOTP wasted time showing Boney M, Bucks Fizz, Bros, Boyzone and Milli Vanilli artists such as REM, The Ramones, Metallica, The Pixies, Public Enemy, NWA/Dre/Cube, The Fall were making great album after great album with none or little coverage from the UK's so-called leading music programme. You have to wonder whether a privatised, and competitive, BBC would have stuck to a failed 1960s formula past the end of the 80s.

The youth and enjoyment of millions of UK music lovers were restricted due to successive UK government's reluctance to open both Radio and Television to market forces. The death of Top of the Pops was long overdue, its been rightly put out of our misery by empowered consumers choosing superior musical options.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A question of interest?

The main parties accounts make painful reading

Those famous loans

Something ain't right with the interest charge on the loans made to the Labour Party

Interest on the loans to the Labour Party, per their accounts is 6.5% to 6.75%. Yet if you assume all loans were made prior to 31 March, when the election campaign started, then there's some severe amount of interest gone missing, how does a £1 million loan only accrue £11,000 rather than £48,000 of interest.

The Conservatives had £14.5m of such loan liabilities - but the interest chargeable was an expected £1.07m, despite the terms of the loans having almost identical interest terms described in the accounts.

So how did Labour have £11.95m of loans yet the interest thereon only came to £436k?

Labour's so-called commercial loans are paying interest at a lower rate, approximately half, than their overdrafts or mortgages from the Co-Op. Which makes even less sense when you consider that mortgages and overdrafts are lower risk, and hence lower interest rate, due to the security and right to call in at any time. Anyone would think that interest was only charged when complaints were made about the loans were non-commercial and really gifts.

Pension Deficit

The Labour Party has a £6.5m pension fund deficit. This is only fair when you consider how much they've stuffed everyone elses' old age savings.


Its not just Prescott who has more homes than he needs, Tory Party money is still being wasted on renting out Smith Square.

What do they all do?

Another question is how does CCO have an average of 192 staff. When I worked there I reckon that the yearly average would barely make a 100.

Overall these accounts beg the question, why should the taxpayer fund political parties when they make such a ham-fisted effort with the money they already have

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Shagged if we pick Shagger

Twice-thrashed Steve was very generous in saying he'll stand aside as a Mayoral candidate, if that's what Dave wants. Funny how comment makers on blogs seek to discredit anyone against a 3rd Norris attempt. Anyone would think that he's already got a campaign team, and they are behind those attacks.........

By my reckoning, Red Ken's desperate for Steve to stand again. Its time to expose those Shagger myths

Steve is a good campaigner: The evidence shows that Norris is a vote-loser for the Conservative party

2000 - Norris won 27.1% of the vote in London. The party as a whole won 29% of the vote.

Norris only got to 42% against Livingstone's 58% after 2nd ballots - he was only 13% of the electorate's second choice. Norris' 27.1% of the vote is one of the worst ever performances by a Tory in a constituency the size of Greater London.

By comparison, the Conservatives got 30% of the vote across London in the 2001 General Election.

2004 Norris got 29.1% of first choice votes. This compares to 31.2% of the votes for specific London Assembly candidates, and 28.5% on the party vote.

Norris got 14% of second choice votes. This represents a 2% increase in his vote.

The Conservatives got 32% of the vote across London in the 2001 General Election.

Basically, both times Shagger has stood for Mayor he's basically underperformed the party by 2% to 3%, ie he gets between 6% and 10% less votes than other Conservative Candidates

Norris as MP As an MP he lost Oxford East in 1987 and won Epping Forest in 1988. In 1987 Labour got a 1,300 majority overturning a previous Conservative majority of 1,267. Norris was the only Tory to lose his seat in the south of England

His 5 mistresses brought unwanted attention to the party when it least needed it.

Steve was up against top quality opponents: OK, in 2004 UKIP did put up Frank Maloney. However, most candidates dream of opponents such as Susan Kramer vs Kramer, Simon "Straight Story" Hughes and Frank Dobson.

And as for Red Ken, well how difficult is it to campaign against the epitome of the Loony Left. The 'Mare is famous for overspending, in 6 years he has doubled the amount of Council Tax payable to him, he has welcomed the IRA, he lauds an Islamic scholar who supports the death penalty for homosexuals and the right of husbands to hit their wives, he has twice been caught making anti-semitic remarks, he built himself a palatial officeblock with taxpayers money, issues numerous propaganda also with your cash, he introduced a new tax on motorists and then broke his promise not to raise it with a 60% price rise, he pushed someone down the stairs at a party, and appoints his cronies to overpaid positions etc. Don't forget, Livingstone isn't even loved by Labour, he's more tolerated and I've not even mentioned his awful record as GLC leader. But despite this incredible ammunition, Steve didn't make any headway.

Steve is the only recognised name: The Tories are having Open Primaries as a great way to ensure that the winning candidate has established a high profile, and will be a recognised name before the proper campaigning begins.

Steve is a hard-worker: Only by the standards of some in CCHQ. In 2004, Norris lived by the old motto "Don't give up the day job".

Steve is really charming: So what, this is London, we don't do charm. Livingstone, see above, is Mayor is you've not noticed.

Steve is the best candidate: I'd quite like to know who the candidates are before deciding who to vote for. The TaxCutter will stand if otherwise only Norris would go forward, so Shagger definitely won't be the best candidate

Steve is a great ladies man: Even the thing he is most famous for, Steve isn't really that good at. Norris once got off with Edwina Currie. Proof, that those who do quantity only do so by sacrificing quality

Steve has a great record: Steve was the Minister for Transport responsible for the Jubilee Line Extension. You know the one meant to cost £2.1bn but which came in at £3.5bn.

Was I right not to vote for Norris to be candidate in 2004?

Don't get me wrong, Steve often comes across well on TV and some of his more liberal ideas should be given more consideration by rank and file Tories.

But his record is poor, I nearly forgot the Conservative Party had a mayoral candidate in 2004. However, following Norris lovers comments in my view I have changed my mind on his worklevels. Indeed, I don't think anyone has ever been more determined to come in 2nd place

Kiwis - bigger tax cuts needed

New Zealand doesn't just produce decent chicks (pleasant, sense of humour, like sport, never spoilt, don't read The Guardian etc). Kiwis get the idea of tax cuts too

The New Zealand government today announced its Business Tax Review. NZ plans to cut its corporate tax rate from 33% to 30%, and increased depreciation rates and new tax credits. Bear in mind that New Zealand does not tax capital gains and has a full imputation system - ie Kiwi Pension Funds, unlike the UK, are not subject to tax on dividend income.

Here's an example of general reaction in NZ ......................

"The discussion document Business Tax Review proposes fairly timid moves towards improved business taxation, says Business NZ. Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly welcomed the fact that the Review has picked up on Business NZ’s recommendation to move to a 30% corporate tax rate as a first step.“But this should be a first step only. Business would like to see evidence of the Government looking beyond simple parity with Australia, to a situation where New Zealand’s rate is well below Australia’s, so New Zealand companies can compete more effectively. The Review lacks a strategy for further reductions, within a dynamic framework. What if Australia now drops its business tax rate below 30%? They could potentially do this even before these proposals are implemented.

“The Review appears to be looking at lower business tax as a cost, not a benefit. This is a fallacy. The evidence shows that lower business tax stimulates business growth, bringing a higher tax revenues as well as increased economic growth. "

Contrast this with the attitude of Cameron, Letwin etc. Kiwis understand the need to cut taxes in an increasingly competitive world, why then don't some leading Tories?

Maybe we could have campaign posters like these

EU Tax Harmonisation: Last will and testament?

The European Commission know of no issue too petty for them to attack in their drive towards tax harmonisation.

Today Germany was referred to the European Court of Justice for its VAT treatment of supplies made by executors of wills.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cutting off Luxembourg's nose to spite the EU's face

Luxembourg is famous in the tax planning world for having "holding company" regimes. These reduce both withholding taxes on dividends and allow investors to sell their underlying investments tax-free. Consequently, a huge proportion of new capital, especially US capital, enters Europe via Luxembourg, as these entities enable overseas investors to increase their post-tax return on the capital invested in their Continental operations.

Step forward the European Commission which has now ruled that these are a form of unacceptable State Aid and is forcing Luxembourg to change its rules. Its another case of the Commission opening its tax harmonisation mouth before engaging its business brain. Virtually all the capital that went into these entities was ultimately invested elsewhere in Europe. UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany are already among the highest taxers, based on marginal rates, of business income in the developed world. The sense then of the Commission removing this tax benefit for overseas investors is to make Europe an even a less attractive place for overseas, and notably US investors. Yet again the Commission is harmonising taxes up when the higher-growth parts of the world are pushing them down.

This does raise one curious question. If this benefit goes, and given that the EU Savings Directive was never great news for Luxembourg, then what's the benefit for Luxembourg of staying in the EU. Its got quite a lot to gain from moving to a Swiss or Norwegian style status and retaining rights over its domestic tax laws.

Mole in CCHQ

Not the hero of South Park, I'm afraid. Instead The News of the World reveals today that a female party researcher in CCHQ is giving away secret info, having fallen for a Labour man. Given that there are about 3 female party researchers in CCHQ it won't too long to work out who it is. The TaxCutter did note that there was a post on Guido Fawkes site in the name of one female researcher suggesting intense dislike of Steve Hilton - so we can probably rule her out then.

Once you get over the obvious jokes, eg Labour must be falling apart if they think people in CCHQ have info worth knowing; Labour have no standards; what - there's someone pumpable in CCHQ; CCHQ is employing girls as researchers?! - then this raises a very serious point about how CCHQ is being run.

In the TaxCutter's experience CRD especially sought to employ people who did not have a history of party activism, or even basic membership. One male researcher in his 30s admitted to never having voted Conservative. If true, this leak should provoke a review of CCHQ employment strategies, and reach the obvious conclusion. The best way to maintain confidentiality is to employ sound and committed persons in the first place.

Prezza's number skills

Prezza's use of words has been much criticised, but his use of numbers is even worse. I've just watched Prezza on Sunday am. He keeps repeating "in my 35 years in politics". Didn't the June 1970 election took place 36 years ago.

Prezza claims that £5bn of investment has gone into the Greenwich Peninsula due to the government. Really, I think you might find that fulfilling the needs of the skyscrapers full of capitalist bankers built about a mile westwards has more to do with it.

Only Labour could actually claim Canary Wharf's success for itself, the only part of Docklands' growth Labour is responsible for is the vast expansion of the Financial Services Authority. For "£5bn" (or whatever the sum really is), Labour should be able to point to something more than just the North Greenwich tube car park.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Every picture tells a story

Heather Wheeler, the A lister, has made several final selections for PPC yet failed to win one.

Some cruel people have suggested the reason is not because she narrowly failed to beat the National Average on The TaxCutter's own rating guide for former PPCs.

Genuine release from the European Commission

VAT: Commission asks the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Portugal for information on the application of reduced rates to children's diapers

The European Commission has decided to send requests for information in the form of letters of formal notice to several Member States about their application of reduced VAT rates to children's diapers. The Commission believes that reduced rates on these goods do not comply with the Sixth VAT Directive (77/388/EEC), which was revised for the last time in February 2006. However, the Commission fully supports social and family friendly policies, as part of the EU’s response to the pressing challenge of demographic ageing. For these reasons the Commission will in parallel take the necessary steps in order to create a legal basis for the application of reduced VAT rates to children's diapers.

The European Commission's tax section really is getting desperate in its desire to harmonise taxes. This is almost as pathetic as the time they took action against Portugal for operating a lower rate of VAT on a Lisbon toll bridge, entirely in Portugal, on the grounds that it was preventing the workings of the Single Market.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Turn Again Coleman

Here's an extract from my conversation with the GLA Chair at what was a very fine barbecue yesterday evening:

TaxCutter: Brian, what's your view on having an Open Primary to select the London Mayoral candidate

Brian Coleman: If that's question about whether I'm standing, then I'm not

TaxCutter: I thought it was obviously a question about having an Open Primary

Tory party adopts Imelda Marcos clone as candidate

Quote from newly adopted PPC and A lister, Harriett Baldwin, found on JP Morgan's website

"You can never have too many shoes. I adore shoes, and am happy to say that although my new house doesn’t have a wine cellar, there is plenty of room for my shoes."

Tax Cuts are economic stability

There's no questioning the excellence of this article in The Business, the only paper that routinely dismisses the false orthodoxy of DaveGordism, the Butskellism of the Noughties. Nice of them to use the TaxCutter's statistic of 9,050 pages of legislation without reference again.

The article should be compared with George Osborne's dreary answers to questions he chose to answer on ConservativeHome

The TaxCutter notes that The Business only looked in detail at the US experience. Maybe they could do a whole series.

Eg Series A - Also look at Ireland, Australia and Canada, recent taxcutters whose taxcuts also increased revenues and economic growth

Series B - Old Europe, including theUK, who have either held taxes at a high level or raised them, and how virtually all the budgets are in deficit

Series C - look at Hong Kong - low tax, payable by few that means the Territory has huge back-up funds accrued over the years

Series D- The Flat tax champions of Eastern Europe

Hang on - I might just do it myself.

Recent murmurings suggest that the UK government might exempt overseas dividends from tax when repatriated to the UK. This of course should have been done years ago,
business has had to keep funds offshore rather than pay a poll tax when dividending profits of overseas subs to the UK - a factor the OECD has felt need to comment upon. An IMF survey a few years ago indicated that exempting such dividends increased the size of them by 50% - which would approximate to an additional £16bn of investment in the UK each year.

The reason for the change? Its because the ECJ will rule that UK law is illegal - so good to see that Gordon still has total control over direct tax matters

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How low can the Indie go?

Many who read the Indie decry the Tabloids as base publications. I've never read anything in The Sun quite as nasty as the article in The Independent today claiming that Keith Joseph had Aspergers. It also claims the same, after focussing on the high-priest of monetarism, of fellow under-achievers George Orwell and Isaac Newton.

Keith Joseph's beliefs in free choice and the market, compared to the power of the state, suggest to me that he suffered from the opposite of Aspergers - he understood that individuals are far better placed to make decisions about their lives than a politican is. On the occasions I was lucky enough to hear Keith talk he was nothing other than incredibly graceful to those of all political persuasions because he felt they shared a common objective of genuinely wanting to improve the world we live in.

What does the Indie's article really tell us? Simple - its got no real argument to attack the great man who spoke the truth against the then conventional postwar miswisdom. Its no different from a kid on the playground calling another one a spastic - pure spite.

Oh why are we waiting?

According to Guido, Shiny Dave will announce tomorrow that the Tories won't leave the EPP until 2009. That's the year 2009 rather than the TaxCutter's preferred time of 20:09 tomorrow evening

Why do Tory MEPs have to be in the EPP just because Dave told them? They could simply ignore it - after all they would only be doing what Dave himself promised.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

At last some good news for Prezza

Since July 1st, VAT on condoms has been reduced from 17.5% to 5%.

Why the Irresistible John Prescott must be saved!

Tim Montgomery and Will Norton's analysis of the DPM's policy failings in ConservativeHome was top drawer. However The TaxCutter is very perturbed at the skills of better-known bloggers at putting the knife into Prezza. Two Jags is a One Man Vote Losing Machine - worth far more to the Tory Party in office than forgotten on the backbenches . Its crucial that he is saved - so here's why
  1. What does Prescott do - his roles have been so limited that when it comes to what's good for the country, there's no real harm in leaving him on the front bench
  2. Prescott is essential is keeping Blair and Brown on a happy footing. And, presentationally, this ties Brown into New Labour's failings, as he should be. Hence, Gordon will get less of a clean slate when he becomes PM.
  3. Prezza's rise from a modest background to Jags and Bitches is to be applauded. And contrasted with the fall in social mobility under Labour since 1997. I can't get wound up about mangled syntax - Prezza communicates well to the general public and is a lesson to those Tories who want to do everything in the form of a dull JCR discussion
  4. Harriet Harman as Deputy PM(T)? Harman has the incredible achievement of being sacked for incompetence by Blair, who habitually backs lost causes past their sell-by-date, after only a year. She's also married to Jack "What loans?" Dromey - the Labour Party Treasurer who couldn't explain the £18m sat in the bank accounts he was in charge of.
  5. David Milliband as Deputy PM. Blairism without the charm but even more patronisng. And do we really want someone representing the UK who is rumoured to have dated a particuarly ugly sitting Cabinet Minister.
  6. A backbench Kingston-upon-Hull MP would spend more time in his constituency. Humberside has enough problems
  7. It winds up the sisterhood - its highly amusing to see female Labour MPs getting, sotto voce, upset by Prezza staying in office. Serves them right for being so two-faced about Bill Clinton and his antics
  8. Entertainment value - croquet, homophobic americans, women who really should not wear leather trousers - what's next!
  9. Setting a good example on crime - Prezza's Two Jabs was to be fair a perfectly reasonable reaction to someone violently assaulting him at close distance. Could JP implement a Broken Windows policy in the UK
  10. Punch and Judy politics - is much more fun than a consensus style - and Prezza remains up for it. And whilst government MPs vie for the role of Hangman and Crocodile it lets Labour appear as the sort of divided party the votes dislike
  11. Let's hit Labour where they have really hurt the country - Prezzabashing takes care of its Tabloid-self, letting the Tories concentrate on Labour's dreadful record on crime, health, education and tax

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Daddy, what did you during the by-election?

In respect of the Bromley & Chislehurst by-election, then in the TaxCutter's case, - the answer is absolutely nothing. There's no excuse for me not having the initiative to get my own backside down to my home county to drop leaflets, knock-on doors, and give Bob Neill the lining he clearly needs.

But what did CCHQ or the wider party do to encourage me or any other London Party members to go to B&C. There was

  • no eMail
  • no leaflet
  • no phone calls
  • no website campaign
  • no organised campaign days
  • no persuasion, gentle or more forced

All in stark contrast to the LibDems and Labour.

No wonder the Tories do so badly in by-elections when they can't be bothered to conscript their own volunteers.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Not Open All Hours

The Labour and Conservative party voted not to extend Sunday opening hours. Funny, because I don't remember asking to be banned from Sunday evening shopping.

With the development of the internet, the need to remove Sunday trading restrictions remains as strong as ever. The rules create a market distortion that favours virtual shops compared to physical shops - and hinder the much-loved local retailer compared to giants like Tesco and Amazon. I would like to buy as much fresh food as possible as close to the start of the working week as possible.

What's so special about Sunday anyway? The Sabbath in North London takes place on either Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

BGE 2005: Part III - Its the economy Dave

It’s the economy, Dave

The authors attribute Labour’s victory to the general perception that the economy was doing fine so hence why change. The Conservatives greater success in London and the South-East is credited to the fact that house prices and the economy has slowed more there than in the rest of the country. London and the South-East suffer especially from higher Stamp Duty costs and stealth taxes, eg the failure to increase the tax allowances by wage inflation has dragged many in the Home Counties into the 40% tax net, whilst much of the additional tax yield is spent in the North. Despite the latest trends, the need of the Conservatives to promote constant and sound economic policies, including tax cuts, remains as vital as ever, yes its still the economy Dave.

One man and his dog

The Study is especially critical of the Tories presentation of Michael Howard as a personality, whilst Labour presented its front-bench as a government. Other Conservative spokesmen got only a fraction of the exposure of their counterparts, and the second most commonly televised individual was Liam Fox, who was well behind Menzies Campbell and Gordon Brown in visibility. Andrew Lansley at Health and Tim Collins at Education were not even in the Top 10 of visible Tories, but Nick Herbert, never previously an MP, and Ann Widdecombe, now a backbencher were. Yet, all the evidence showed that Michael Howard was not voter friendly and the need for a wider front was tactically obvious, a factor compounded when he called Tony Blair a ‘liar’. The LibDems decapitation policy has been seen as a failure, but with hindsight, by keeping the Shadow Chancellor, Home Secretary, Health Secretary and leading female spokesman in their seats, and off national television, its secondary impact of making the Conservatives less look like a government was a success, even if an unintended one.

Monday, July 03, 2006

View Stateside

Check this on the US TaxGuru blog: You also get far better films out of the Mafia....

Notice a trend developing

2006 – Wayne Rooney was sent off playing for England in the World Cup, after being deliberately provoked by Christiano Ronaldo who also encouraged the referee to issue a red card. Both players play for Manchester United

2002 – Alan “Leeds ‘til I die” Smith is sent off in the European Championship qualifier. In injury time, against Macedonia, in the opposition’s half. Alan Smith is later transferred from Leeds to the subs bench at Old Trafford

1999 – Paul “2 bags” Scholes is sent off in a European Championship qualifier against Sweden – Scholes has only ever played club football for Moan U, and at 66 caps has the amazing achievement for a central midfielder of having made more appearances than successful tackles for his country.

1998 – Paul Ince is sent off in a qualifier against Sweden, Ince is formerly of, wait for it, Moan U

1998 – David Beckham is sent off in the 1998 World Cup, whilst being a Moan U player. He is sent off again in 2005 when captaining England vs Austria

Early 1990s – Neil “Postman” Webb is sent off playing for England B, whilst being under Fergie’s charge at guess where.

1986 – Butch Wilkins is sent off for England in the 1986 World Cup in a game against might Morocco. Ray Wilkins of course spent several years playing for the perpetual 2nd placed team of the 80s – Moan U

Of the last 8 sending-offs of England players (ie all those since 1977) only one, David Batty, did not involve a player who has not spent a considerable part of their career at Old Trafford. By contrast only 1 player, current, former or future, of each of Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, West Ham, Notts Forest and Newcastle has ever been sent off playing for England. Even really dirty teams like Leeds and Everton only manage 2.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Death of a great Tory

The best speech given at the Young Conservatives 1992 conference was delivered by Fred Trueman . Admittedly, being more inspiring than Chris Patten or John Major wasn't difficult, but FieryFred gave the "please donate to the begging bowl" speech with the gusto, character and attitude that got him over 300 test wickets at less than 22.0. Fred Trueman wasn't the sort who wanted to have matches off, complained about burnout, or came up with excuses about how the LibDems are just so good at by-elections.

Fred Trueman was one of the best ever Test Match bowlers, and the greatest English one by some distance. His sporting talents have largely gone unmentioned in my lifetime, despite being one of the outstanding English sportsmen of the twentieth century. May he rest in peace.

*PS: Chris Patten - do you still have the leaflet I gave you outside the Eastbourne venue challenging your views on - your words - "the triumphalism of Thatcherism". If so can you pass it along to David Cameron please as he might benefit from reading it too.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dave gets his rights right

Dave has got something right! Its always been amazing how a unicameral country with an ineffective separation of executive and legislative does not have a Bill of Rights to protect individuals from the excesses of government. So Dave was spot on when he suggested a UK Bill of Rights this week - so spot on he passed the acid test of being slagged off by Bagehot in The Economist. Strangley, The Economist's errata has yet to apologise for backing Blair in the 2005 General Election

We should do what the US did, when they wrote a Constitution that has lasted for over 200 years, and keep it short, basic and assume that people are free to do what they choose, unless government has the specific ability to legislate in that particular. The EU version of Human Rights confuses liberty and socialism-lite, and achieves neither.

What laws would fade away if Dave introduced a Bill of Rights Uncle Sam style. Lets take the US version and apply it to the UK

The powers not delegated by the United Counties of England by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the Counties, are reserved to the Counties respectively, or to the people

How great it would be, if the UK, let alone the EU, government could only pass laws on certain matters. Hence, matters get left to individuals unless the government has specific permission to impose restrictions on those matters. So no national laws on what magazines we can read, when we can drink, what we can smoke, smacking your kids, who and where anyone can get married, what can be advertised, etc

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

This would block Gordon Brown's trick of issuing a press release changing tax law, and then passing the necessary rules through Parliament 6 months later.

Nor shall private property be taken into public use without just compensation

What just compensation do I get from my private property being taken into public use from my taxes. Is the current level of public service provision, or non-provision, just compensation?

Congress will make no law establishing a religion or the free exercise thereof

No official state religion, and no nomination of bishops of the Prime Minister Millions of kids sigh with relief as they avoid having to recite the lord's prayer in assembly, again.

The right to bear arms

Its only a matter of time before carrying a penknife is banned. Note, its not the right to use arms.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state shall not be infringed

That's one not subject to any EU dictats or political correctness.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures

Hence ending Inheritance tax as an unreasonable seizure, levied on income already taxed at 40%.

There would be a ban on smoking bans, to enforce it would be an unreasonable search stopping people being secure in their own houses.

Excessive fines shall not be imposed

Bye, bye congestion charge. A second go at Inheritance tax, which levies an excessive fine on people for the not especially malicious act of dying.

Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

No playing Keane or Coldplay at high volume.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

And shall not be construed by Human Rights Lawyers to fight ridiculous cases at the taxpayers expense. Mrs Blair - its not just your husband that needs to think about a new job.


If you can stomach accidentally stumbling on the Butskellite musings of Hot Dog Portillo, KPMG will this weekend sponsor a Sunday Times survey on the best privately owned businesses in the UK.

By amazing coincidence, a few months ago, KPMG were No.1 in the Sunday Times survey on best firms to work for.