What the papers say…

Over at the Daily Mail, is the shine coming off Brand Cameron, or, is this just a kick up the pants? First comes the big slap…then the boot, with a stiletto heel.

Daily Mail, leader-column, 12.12.09:

“At a time like this, it’s madness to ring-fence any budget at the expense of the rest. Even sacred cows can be hugely overweight.  Since 1977, billions have been poured into health and education, without the improvements in standards we’d expect.

“How can Mr. Darling claim there’s no scope for cuts in the NHS, on the day we learn it is spending £1 million a day paying agency nurses up to £128 an hour, and that a doctor has been paid £7,000 for sleeping through a three-day shift?

“Everywhere you look in the public sector, the waste is horrific – from the middle ranging Border Agency IT worker paid almost twice as much as the Prime Minister to the offer of £35,469 a year for a researcher to study lap-dancing clubs.

“This week’s black hole of a Pre-Budget Report has left a political and moral vacuum, to be filled by any party with the guts to treat the British people like adults and spell out the painful measures that alone can save our shattered economy.

“We’re still waiting, Mr. Cameron.”

Daily Mail, Platell’s People, 12.12.09:

“At a charity gathering this week, David Cameron said his party was determined to support marriage – but was in no way critical of single mothers. Sorry, but he can’t have it both ways.

“Let’s be clear: there are many, many single mothers who are on their own because they have been widowed, or abandoned by selfish husbands. They do a wonderful job of raising children in very difficult circumstances. My issue is not with them, but with te countless young women who seek out single parenthood as a lifestyle choice and who sponge off a benefits system that actively encourages them to avoid living with a regular partner.

“Yet Mr. Cameron still refuses to criticise the mothers who are to blame. Instead, we get his wishy-washy pledge that he is pro-traditional families but not against single parenting. The result? He ends up standing for nothing.

“It was the same over City bonuses: one minute the Sunshine Kid was telling the world’s most powerful bankers that he was on their side; the next he was supporting Gordon Brown’s tax on banker’s bonuses.

“Or how about Green issues? Dave believes in caring for the environment so passionately that he cycles to work – het has a gas-guzzling car to follow behind with his shoes.

“Europe? He gave a ‘cast iron’ promise to Eurosceptics that he would hold a vote on the Lisbon Treaty – then ducked out at the last minute.

“Time and again, David Cameron seems to lack the conviction to stand up for anything.

“All that matters to him is causing the minimal possible offence, for fear that it might cost him a few votes at the election. This is the politics of appeasement.

“With our country’s social future deteriorating, the economy facing meltdown, and a pathologically dishonest government clinging to power, now is the time for strong leadership, providing consistency, conviction, and courage. If Mr. Flip-flop is our best hope, we really are in trouble.”

…amazing words from an ex-Central Office hackette, surely? – PY

Daily Mail, 12.12.09:

“Smiling cheerfully, this is Azad Ootam, a mid-ranking civil servant working for the border security force. He has every reason to look pleased after being paid more than £310,000 of public money last year – more than double the pay of Gordon Brown.

“Mr. Ootam joined the UK Border Agency in June 2006.  He was supposed to stay as an interim consultant for only five weeks, but ended up working at the Government agency in charge of enforcing immigration rules for three years.  During this time he was paid £750 a day, giving him an annual salary of £180,000.  He also received an extra £128,000 for four months consultant services work last year, and also successfully claimed £13,856 in expenses for five months.

“Lib Dem shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne said: ‘Even for the UKBA, which has been a byword for mismanagement, this is an extreme waste of taxpayers hard earned cash.

“Given that the agency has just paid bonuses for senior staff, this carelessness with public money should make them ashamed.”

Mr. Ootam drives a Porsche sports-car and now runs his own consultancy from his £1.3 million house in Ealing.

Daily Mail: Peter Oborne column, 12.12.09:

“Local opinion polls show that the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, stands an excellent chance of unseating veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge in the East London constituency of Barking at the General Election. Shouldn’t David Cameron help see off his odious challenge by ordering the Tory candidate to step aside in Barking – and make common cause with Labour against the BNP?”

Daily Mail, 12.12.09

“Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth let slip two opportunities to rescue a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates. Elite Royal Marine commandoes were twice ready to launch a critical assault on the gang who had captured Paul Chandler, 59, and his wife Rachel, 55.

“But each time Mr. Ainsworth didn not order the Royal Marines to move in. Nearly seven weeks later, the couple are still being held for a £4 million ransom by the pirates.

“The Royal Navy has been heavily criticised over its failure to come to the aid of the Chandlers.  Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Willie Rennie said: “Bob Ainsworth must make a statement to Parliament explaining his role in this escapade. It would be unfair and morally unjust for the Royal Navy to take the rap for something that is a political decision, especially when there were specialist troops on hand ready to go into action, just waiting for the order.”

Daily Telegraph, The Jeff Randall Column , 11.12.09:

“Feeding the debt monster is driving Britain to the brink of ruin. It is gobbling up unimaginable sums. In the pre-Budget report, Mr. Darling told us of his plan to borrow another £707 billion of the next five years. This will be piled on top of the state’s existing debt, so that we will end up owing about £1.5 trillion. Million, billions, squillions, how much is that?

“Well, £1.5 trillion is more than Britain’s total current annual output.  Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP, has calculated that one trillion pounds in £10 notes, placed end to end, would stretch to the moon and back… 18 times over. “

Daily Telegraph, 11.12.09:

“MPs went on a multi-million pound spending spree last year in the run up to a clampdown on parliamentary expenses. Dozens “flipped” their designated second home while others spent thousands of pounds renovating properties and remodelling their gardens at a time when calls for reform of the system were increasing.

Sixty claimed the maximum £24,000 allowance, with more than 230 claiming more than £20,000.

John Maples, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, has made an estimated £1 million pound profit by selling a house which he bought with the help of taxpayers money.”

Daily Mail, 11.12.09:

“George Osborne got his sums wrong by demanding more than the maximum allowable of expenses. The Shadow Chancellor – who hopes to be in charge of the nation’s finances next year – was rebuffed by the Fees Office when he claimed more than £24,006 last year.

“Having already claimed up to £1,794 a month on mortgage interest, £225 for jet- washing the side of his house, and £3.20 for a brass lamp holder, Mr. Osbourne’s request that the taxpayer foot his £654.91 home insurance bill pushed him over the limit.

“David Cameron slashed the amount he was claiming from £1,500 a month to just over £3,000 for the first three months of this year. He submitted a mortgage interest claim  just two days after publicly stating such claims as ‘wrong’.  “

Daily Express, 11.12.09:

Royal Mail profits are soaring despite strikes, shrinking postbags and a growing pensions black hole. The company made a £184 million profit in the six months to September, up four per cent on the same time last year – and despite customers posting seven million fewer letters a day.

Modernisation has allowed 80 per cent of all mail to be sorted automatically. The company shed 5,000 jobs, mainly in its letters division, as part on an efficiency drive,  but was forced to pump £300 million into its pension fund during the first half of the financial year to try to plug a deficit expected to top £10 billion – up from £3.4 billion three years ago.

Liberal Democrat business spokesman John Thurso said: Any improvement in profitability is welcome, but Royal Mail still faces many structural problems, including a decline in its core business and a worrying pension deficit.”

Daily Telegraph, 11.12.09:

Promised rises in child and disability benefits will be cancelled out after the general election, it has emerged. Alistair Darling announced an inflation-beating increase in the pre-Budget report with a 1.5 per cent rise in child benefit and disability benefits. It is due to come into effect next April, just weeks before the expected date of the general election. However, he made no announcement about whether the rise could be sustained after April 2011.

“Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman, said: ‘Alistair Darling appears to have hoodwinked those listening to his report about what this could mean for people with disabilities and families in the long run. But, incredibly, he also seems to have misled his own colleagues. All Ministers must take responsibility for this.”

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3 Comments

  • The trouble with the Mail is they see Cameron as too Liberal, and want a Right Wing Tory to replace him.

  • Herbert Brown 13th Dec '09 - 12:31pm

    “Local opinion polls show that the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, stands an excellent chance of unseating veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge in the East London constituency of Barking at the General Election. Shouldn’t David Cameron help see off his odious challenge by ordering the Tory candidate to step aside in Barking – and make common cause with Labour against the BNP?”

    For one awful moment I thought Cameron was going to be urged to make common cause with the BNP against Labour!

  • hmm. this seems like gloating over what is probably just a tactical effort by the right-wing press to pull Cameron to the right.

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