NEW LABOUR SPEND
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS ON NO-RESULT
-BUT CHARGES FOR USE OF THE YOUR
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ?
They promised us open
government. But they will fight tooth and nail to suppress any
THE ABOLITION of pension fund tax relief in Gordon
Brown's first Budget in 1997 is estimated to have cost more than £100
billion and transformed what was one of the best systems in the world
for the worst.
People who had
carefully put money away for their retirement found that their sense of
responsibility was being punished. Final salary schemes were
closed down and savers got pushed into schemes which were less secure
and offered a lower payout.
However, it now turns out that the Chancellor was explicitly warned in
advance of the huge damage to the pensions industry this move would do.
Internal Treasury forecasts sent to the Chancellor before
he abolished this tax relief, which were made public a few days ago,
warned that the changes would cause a shortfall in assets of up to £75
billion and that employers would have to contribute about an extra £10
billion a year for the next ten to 15 years to get pension scheme
funding on track.
These documents also warned explicitly that the poor would bear the
brunt of this disaster.
And so it has proved.
They warned that the changes would
encourage firms to end final salary schemes
And so it has proved.
Yet, at the time, the Chancellor said that the change
would have no negative effects on pension funds. many of these funds he
said, were in 'substantial surplus' and so should not feel the loss too
We now know that he knew this was
It is one thing to
produce a policy which has such a disastrous effect. It is quite another
for a government to push it through
- despite the fact that it expressly
warned of the damage that it would do.
And it is another thing again, when this reckless
disregard of such warnings is revealed,
-to pretend that had never
been given and to blame the pensions crisis on entirely different things
But what takes this
onto a different plane altogether is the way in which the Government has
concealed it from the public.
took a two - year struggle to get the Treasury to divulge these
documents , which were finally released under the
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
-only when the Treasury decided not to appeal against a
decision by the Information Commissioner
THAT IT SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC.
Moreover , the reason the Chancellor finally threw in the
towel was surely that the appeal was set down for May-2007 -the very
month when Mr Blair is expected to fire the starting gun for his
And look at the
hole-in-the-corner way in which this information finally sidled out. It
was slipped unannounced onto the Treasury website last Friday afternoon
-the day before the Commissioner's deadline -when parliament was in
recess and the Chancellor himself was in Afghanistan.
But then, isn't that just typical of the cynicism which
has been the
-of this Government since that false dawn in May ten
Just look at the
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
- itself, the means by which Whitehall's warnings about
THE PENSION RAID
-came to light.
Information Act was promoted as one of
-most radical reforms.
It was one of its proudest boasts that , through FoI, it
was opening up the workings of government and making public
administration transparent and accessible to the public for the
It was supposed to symbolise an entirely
NEW APPROACH TO POLITICS.
But when an attempt was made through FoI to open up
public scrutiny the decision to raid the pension funds, the Government
did its damnedest to thwart it. What it stands for, after all, is
NOT FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
-while keeping the public
IN THE DARK
-about anything which reveals its own wrong-headedness or
incompetence or worse.
Street, for example, is refusing to reveal whether the businessmen at
the centre of the
-were invited to private dinners last year at Chequers.
the circumstances, we are clearly entitled to know exactly who was
entertained by the Prime Minister in this way. What possible
justification can there be for this suppression of knowledge about such
a use -and possible misuse - of taxpayers money?
And this culture of secrecy extends beyond government
into other publicly funded bodies. The BBC , for example, has refused to
make public the report written in 2004 by the editorial adviser
Malcolm Balen, who investigated claims that the BBC's Middle East reporting was
systematically biased against Israel. Astoundingly the BBC has spent no
less than £200,000 trying to prevent publication of the REPORT.
SUCH an ATTEMPT to SUPPRESS a REPORT on a MATTER of CLEAR
PUBLIC INTEREST concerning its OWN JOURNALISM - and using LICENCE-FEE
payers MONEY to DO SO.
But the way
in which the FoI legislation was drafted has provided ample opportunity
for the Government and other public bodies routinely to thwart attempts
to extract information from them.
Caveats such as the exemption from public disclosure of
policy advice to Ministers curb to a drastic degree the scope of
And limits on the cost of such disclosure which have been
imposed of GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC BODIES mean that they can use the
excuse of the excessive cost to refuse requests to make information
As if that isn't bad
enough, the Government has proposed to restrict the scope of disclosure
even further, with officials counting the cost of the time, they spend
reading, considering possible exemptions and consulting in totting up
[We believe that there
should be NO COST involved in providing INFORMATION and that the
enormous sums of hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent on
PUBLIC INQUIRY'S which have in the main FAILED to bring the matters to a
FIRM and acceptable CONCLUSION. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry cost £175
million alone and in the last ten years there have been MANY which have
NOT satisfied PUBLIC INTEREST in their DELIBERATIONS.]
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer
[You know!- Tony Blair's old flatmate ] has
justified such an assault on openness by saying absurdly - and
'THERE IS A
RIGHT TO KNOW -NOT A RIGHT TO TELL'
But how can we possibly know anything if public bodies
DON'T TELL US?
The resulting outcry over these fresh restrictions has
been so loud that the Government has now announced a rethink, raising
hopes that they will be ditched. But the hypocrisy of New Labour's claim
to be the
PARTY of OPEN GOVERNMENT
-when it tried every trick in the book to nullify its own
reform, simply beggars belief.
SPIN and SECRECY
-are, of course, how Blairism will actually be
BUT HANG ON A MOMENT
-Isn't Gordon Brown supposed to be the man who will end
Is he not telling us that, once he succeeds Tony Blair as
- will be consigned to the trash can of history and a new
INTEGRITY and INTELECTUAL RIGOUR
-will wash away the
-of the manipulative
Yet thuis is the very same Gordon Brown who knowingly
took action which would devastate Britain's
-who disregarded strong official warnings about the
consequences; who tried to stop people finding out about it; and who,
when he could no longer suppress it, allowed officials to try to
BURY the BAD NEWS
-by a classic piece of
If he really is to embody a fresh start, ending the
-and introducing real
OPENNESS and TRANSPARENCY
-into his very own TREASURY would surely be an excellent
WAY TO BEGIN.
[Font Altered-Bolding & Underlining Used-Comments in
[Some words from the past.]
'Bad men excuse their faults; good men will leave
Ben Jonson(1573-1637) Eng. dram.
'The greatest of faults is to be conscience of none'
Thomas Carlyle(1795-1881), Eng.
essayist. historian biog. and philosopher
'To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult'
Plutarch- (46 -120) -Greek.biographer
'Give us the man of integrity on whom we know we can
thoroughly depend; who will stand firm when others depend; who will
stand firm when others fail; the adviser, honest and fearless; the
adversary, just and chivalrous; such an one is a fragment of the Rock of
A. P. Stanley (1815-81) - Dean of
[Font Altered-Bolding &Underlining Used-Comments in
THE PEOPLE HAVE
SPOKEN-IS THE EU COMMISSION LISTENING?
Ditch the EU
TREATY after IRISH REJECTION
[Daily Mail-Wednesday, June
MORE THAN HALF of voters believe Britain should
drop the controversial European Treaty in the wake of its
rejection in last week's
The poll comes as the Tories launch a last-ditch
bid in the
HOUSE of LORDS
today to delay the
have signed a
within the past few days
, calling on the
NOT TO RATIFY THE BILL
[WHY DON'T YOU?]
So You Want Out
Of The EU
THEN WHY NOT SIGN THE
RENUNCIATION of EU CITIZENSHIP
Details from petition creator
With the signing of the Maastricht
Treaty the people of Britain were given
EUROPEAN and BRITISH
The extra tier of citizenship was
thrust upon the people without their consent -and in many cases
The PEOPLE of GREAT BRITAIN should be
allowed the option of opting out of the EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP if they so
wish. The GOVERNMENT will then be able to provide those who have opted
-only such as British (not EU)
passports, driving licences and other national documents.
EU laws will also NOT APPLY to those who
HAVE OPTED OUT OF EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
[PETITION OPEN UNTIL
Let the people speak!
[Latest Addition - June07]
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION
to the EU
GORDON BROWN WANTS TRUST-BUT WHY WON'T
HE TRUST YOU?
HELL ON EARTH IN IRAQ
67% want powers back from
EU-ICM poll-June 21-2007-95%
of British people want a
SIGN TODAY ON LINE
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
THE QUESTION THAT THE
VOTER MUST ANSWER
YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY THE
CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND CORRUPT ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE
FOR THE TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS
WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
-ITS PARLIAMENT -WALES-ITS
AWAITS ITS PARLIAMENT-WHY?
[All underlined words have a