JG's blog

Cameron sees the light

It is being reported that the heir to Blair now wants to be the heir to Thatcher - apparently the whole Blair thing wasn't working.  The good news out of all this is Cameron has realised that green taxation as a means of looking green rather than actually tackling the issues associated with climate change was a bad thing after all.  It is expected that Cameron will u-turn at next week's election and scrap the bonkers talk about taxing second flights and car parking at supermarkets.  All he need do now is get rid of Zac Goldsmith, never ask John Gummer to write him

Benn sees the light

The government has made a sensible choice on the issue of light bulbs, I believe. The headlines ran that traditional light bulbs will be phased out by 2012 - but the key here is that the initiative is voluntary. Supermarkets and energy suppliers have agreed to gradually phase out incandescent bulbs from next year. It is supposed that while energy saving bulbs cost more to buy they last up to 12 times as long and use nearly 80% less electricity. Which can only be a good thing. Other countries have introduced an all out ban, such as Australia who will ban conventional bulbs beyond 2009.

Heard it all before...

The new Brown government is doing an incredible and shameless job of presenting a whole new load of ideas as though the past ten years were a massive mistake that was none of their doing.  In the same way we don't vote for a Prime Minister come election time, we vote for a party (the Labour elite trotted this line out - fairly - prior to Brown's coronation) by getting rid of the leader does not somehow erase all the mess that the government has made over the past ten years.  You got rid of one man - the rest of you are still there.  In fact, while Blair was trying to make himself le

Motorist boost the coffers

The war on motorists looks set to get worse in the suburbs.  Nottingham council has said that they expect that by 2014 commuters could face a "car parking tax" of as much as £350 a year to park at their workplace.  Failure to pay the charge would be £175 per offence. 

Clean hospitals? What a novel idea

Yesterday Gordon Brown made one of the most ground breaking, novel, ingenious, brilliant promises any politician has ever made.  The saviour of the NHS promised us clean hospitals for all.  Yes, that's right - while the rest us having been trying to work out what the most basic, obvious thing a hospital should be, Brown put his finger on it by making the pledge that we will no longer have to suffer from catching disease and viruses from the one place we go to get rid of them. 

Darling u-turns

Apparently “No government should ever be in the business of protecting executives who make the wrong call or bad decisions,” or so said Alastair Darling at the opening of yesterday's conference. But isn't this exactly what he did little over a weeks ago with Northern Rock?

Review of the Papers, Friday 21 September

British ministers are refusing to cooperate with the US criminal investigation into allegations of corruption against BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, the Guardian can disclose. More than two months after an official request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) was received from Washington, the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, has not yet allowed it to be acted upon. The US investigators believe the British are being obstructive.



That NHS upgrade system - it's not very good, is it?

Security breach on Government's £12bn upgrade computer system shocker!  So the new computer system in the NHS isn't a tight as Fort Knox or even as secure as the flies on John Prescott's trousers it turns out.  What a surprise.  Amusingly, it was a celebrity whose details have been pried upon by some geek locked away in his bedroom somewhere, no doubt, with the hope of making a few quid out of the News of the World.  Unfortunately they didn't name the celebrity involved, though it was in the North West region and probably someone with a sort after medical history...

Not worth the paper they are signed upon

The Times is reporting that town halls would be forced to take action over petitions with more than 200 signatures under new proposals to devolve power to voters. This is Hazel Blears' big idea for making councils act on demand of the power of the people. This is straight out of "The Big Book of Stupid Political Ideas" (foreword by some unknown Lib Dem - probably their leader). Blears has obviously given this "giving democracy back to the people" idea a lot of thought. Even the figure of 200 signatures isn't entirely arbitrary.

Judges to be formally assessed

What is the best way to improve the performance of our judges?  Well in typical New Labour fashion it seems the answer is to set target levels and dumb down.  It is being reported that judges’ performance in court could well be monitored by some sort of assessor who will look out for a judge’s performance on handling a court, showing authority, communicating and resolving issues and managing time and workloads, in the plans under discussion.  They will then be formally appraised how well they listen; whether they communicate clearly without using legal jargon and on the general handling of

Teach them to learn, not teach

Education, education, education.  I wonder how many blog entries I have started with those three words over the past year?  Incredible as it is to believe, but it was education that was the single biggest issue the Labour government was going to all about way back in 1997.  Shame they have done nothing of any good in this area whatsoever.  It is only recently, however, that people have really started to cotton on to this.  Usually the "exams are getting easier" stories last for about two weeks in August.  These days they just rumble on and on and on.  But what should we really do

We are all part of Northern Rock

I had no idea, until today, that I was an investor in Northern Rock and therefore liable for its risk.  Apparently, I am however.  You see, thanks to their stupidity and over "generous" mortgage lending their books have gone a little bit unbalanced.  Now, if my books were unbalanced and I had failed to keep up my re-mortgage payments with Northern Rock they would, rightly, have got a little upset.  As it happens they have been the less than frugal ones and now are facing serious financi

What is the NHS for?

The very reason we have an NHS is to ensure that those in society who may not be able to afford the luxuries in life can at least have free (at the point of use) health care that is of the same quality to that every one else gets in society.  Such is the state of the NHS, however, that is not the case.  It is the poorest and most vulnerable in society that are getting the raw deal when it comes to health care.  If the NHS is failing these people, what is it for?

"From Womb to Tomb"

First he had to put up with the mess left behind from his predecessor, then he started to come under fire himself but now Alan Johnson has officially lost it. He is now a fully fledged Health Secretary and the process to ruining his political credibility is now well and truly under way. The Fonze has come out with a new initiative to save the country from becoming one mass of fat and therefore saving the NHS. The plan is "From Womb to Tomb" - how catchy.

Oh to be a Lib Dem

It must be great coming up with policies for the Lib Dems. OK, they have no chance of ever winning anything, but that is the point - they know this and can say absolutely anything. If I were a Lib Dem policy maker I'd ensure that our manifesto included free beer for everyone, the three day weekend, Christmas would be twice a year, I'd abolish all taxes and reduce carbon emissions in the UK to zero. Of course, they wouldn't promise any of these things because they are obsessed with trying to sound like a credible opposition.

Late and Overbudget: A story of Government projects

There are two key areas that government is particularly bad at when it comes to major projects: completing the project on time and within budget.  I think today we have found the winner of the most ridiculous example of that recurring government problem.  The Times today reports that The Ministry of Defence's 20 biggest weapons projects are £2.6 billion over budget and a total of 36 years behind schedule! (Cumulatively, to be fair to the MoD).  That is six times longer than the length of the Second World War!  Just as well we haven't got a war to fight...