The BBC – The Secret Service and the Westminster Government – A Corrupting and Controlling Influence – Nothing Will Change

 

 

The BBC Is Totally Independent From the State – But Is It?

By the 1960s political vetting was so well entrenched that BBC interviews were resembling Civil Service selection boards. At one time, (according to former senior BBC executive Stuart Hood,) “a Civil Service Commissioner even attended the interviews.”

Hood recalls the selection boards using Whitehall euphemisms for vetting during their post-interview discussions. “Does he play with a straight bat?” or “Does he have snow on the right foot?” were typical BBC expressions for political suitability.

Hood was a key witness of vetting during this period. He had joined the BBC in 1946 and was head of the World Service throughout the 1950s. He became Controller of Programmes in 1961 before leaving in 1964.

He recalls attending BBC Board of Management meetings “During those meetings senior administrative officials used to approach me, show me these slips of paper and say, “I think you should know this,” and then show me an article in Peace News.”

Hood also saw the security files “The investigative reports produced on staff and performers by the security services are testimony to the amount of petty espionage and surveillance to which citizens of our society are subjected.”

Stuart Hood believes this interpretation was spurious. He argues that vetting was a natural consequence of the BBC’s constitution.

“If the BBC was honest about its role, it would admit that it must support the central political authority by virtue of the State licence-fee system. But the Corporation has always had this fantasy about itself as a totally independent social organisation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
Vetting of BBC Staff Always Had More To Do With Politics Than Security

The British Secret Service clearly saw the political objective as the major issue in their role. This was confirmed by the Observer’s disclosure that, as well as vetting, the security services also provided ‘background briefs’ to the BBC on industrial disputes.

These secret reports included the alleged involvement of subversives in trade union activity. They were delivered every three months to a small number of senior BBC executives, including the head of news and current affairs.

The ‘briefs’ included the activities of radical and subversive political groups and traced their involvement in strikes and campaigns.

The BBC confirmed the reports’ existence, but said they had stopped receiving them by 1985 and in October 1985, the BBC agreed to stop all security vetting except in two areas.

1. Members of staff involved in the planning and operation of broadcasting when British Forces are engaged in armed conflict, as they have access to classified information.

2. The External Services. This was due to the threat of infiltration and intimidation of staff by foreign intelligence services. Overseas broadcasters also had access to information from embassies which could be sensitive. But staff would no longer be asked to sign the Official Secrets Act.

Full report here:  http://www.bilderberg.org/mi5bbc.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Vetting – Sensitive Posts within the BBC

Around 120 BBC staff are positively vetted by MI5. If they fail to maintain a performance level acceptable to the controller and their P.V.  classification is removed they are either removed from their post or sacked.

 

Bias protest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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European Referendum – Cameron & the EU Are Intent on Signing the TTIP Agreement – If You Are Rich That’s Fine But the Poor Will Be Hammered

TTIP

 

 

EU Parliament backs TTIP resolution

Despite vocal criticism, the EU Parliament has approved a non-binding resolution on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, bridging a gap in protracted negotiations on the secretive trade pact between the EU and the US.

The resolution was approved by the majority of the parliament with 436 ‘Yes’ votes coming up against 241 ‘No’ votes in Strasbourg on Wednesday in hopes of influencing the TTIP negotiations between European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and the USA.

Washington insists that for negotiations to be successful a dispute body must be incorporated into the final agreement.

http://rt.com/news/272563-eu-parliament-ttip-trade/

 

TTIP

 

 
Barack Obama is pursuing increased trade links with the EU and with Australasian countries. But why are these treaties being pushed through in haste and secrecy?

 

 

 

 
The Truth About TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)

 

 

 

 

 
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability – Jeronim Capaldo October 2014

According to its proponents, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will stimulate growth in Europe and in the US. Indeed projections endorsed by the European Commission point to positive, although negligible, gains in terms of GDP and personal incomes. But, In a paradox, these projections also show that any gains in Trans-Atlantic trade would happen at the expense of intra-EU trade reversing the process of European economic integration.

Using the United Nations Global Policy Model (UNGPM), projections are that TTIP will lead to a contraction of GDP, personal incomes and employment. It is also projected there will be an increase in financial instability and a continuing downward trend in the labour share of GDP. (Simplified this means that the poor will get poorer and the already rich much richer as corporate power increases and the influence of States reduces.)

* TTIP will lead to losses (0.95-2.07) in terms of net exports after a decade, compared to the baseline “no-TTIP” scenario.

* TTIP will lead to net losses (0.30-0.50) in terms of GDP.

* TTIP will lead to a loss (3400-5500 Euros) of labour income.

* TTIP will lead to job losses. Calculations are that approximately 600,000 jobs will be lost in the EU.

* TTIP will lead to a reduction of labour share (the share of total income accruing to workers), reinforcing a trend that has contributed to the current stagnation. The flip-side of its projected decrease is an increase in the share of profits and rents, indicating that proportionally there would be a transfer of income from labour to capital. The largest transfers will take place in UK (7% of GDP transferred from labour to profit income).

* TTIP will lead to a loss of government revenue. The surplus of indirect taxes (such as sales taxes or value-added taxes) over subsidies will decrease in all EU countries.

* Government deficits will also increase as a percentage of GDP in every EU country, pushing public finances closer or beyond the Maastricht limits.

* TTIP will lead to higher financial instability and accumulation of imbalances. With export revenues, wage shares and government revenues decreasing, demand will have to be sustained by profits and investment. But with flagging consumption growth, profits cannot be expected to come from growing sales. A more realistic assumption is that profits and investment (mostly in financial assets) will be sustained by growing asset prices. The potential for macroeconomic instability of this growth strategy is well known after the recent financial crisis.

 

TTIP Freihandelsabkommen Politik Deutschland USA

 
Summary

Projections point to bleak prospects for EU policymakers. Faced with higher vulnerability to any crises coming from the US and unable to coordinate a fiscal expansion, they will be left with few options to stimulate the economy: favouring an increase of private lending, with the risk of fuelling financial imbalances, seeking competitive devaluations or a combination of the two.

There are two general conclusions.

(1). As widely reported in the media, newsprint, financial and economic literature, existing assessments of TTIP do not offer a suitable basis for important trade reforms. Indeed, when the (UNGPM) model is used, results change dramatically.

(2). Seeking a higher trade volume is not a sustainable growth strategy for the EU. In the current context of austerity, high unemployment and low growth, further increasing the pressure on labour incomes will further harm economic activity. Model results suggest that any viable strategy to rekindle economic growth in Europe will have to build on a strong policy effort in support of labour incomes.

http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/14-03CapaldoTTIP.pdf

 

Jean Lambert speaks to protesters at the London protest

 

 

Mundell’s Operating Finances Unjustifiably Increased Scotland Ripped Off Yet Again

 

 

 

Francesca Osowska

 

 

Scottish Affairs Committee Meeting – 2015 – Scottish Office – Financial matters – Francesca Osowska OBE, Director, Scotland Office, and Michael Chalmers, Director and Solicitor to the Advocate General were in attendance

Chair: Welcome to the Scottish Affairs Committee; we are very grateful for you both coming along today. If you would like to introduce yourselves and say what you do, and if there are any initial statements that you want to make to the Committee, please feel free to use that time.

Francesca Osowska: Thank you very much. I am Francesca Osowska. I am Director for the Scotland Office and I am also Principal Accounting Officer for the Scotland Office and the Office of the Advocate General. I have no opening statement, other than that I am very pleased to appear before the Committee to answer questions on the Scotland Office and the Office of the Advocate General Annual Report and Accounts for 2014-15.

Michael Chalmers: Thank you. My name is Michael Chalmers. I am the Director of the Office of the Advocate General and the Solicitor to the Advocate General. Similarly, I have no opening statement to make but am happy to answer any questions the Committee may have.

Chair: Thank you very much. Obviously, we are here to talk about the Annual Report, which we have all digested and know inside out and back to forward, and so on. We are grateful that we are able to ask you a few questions about what is included in the Annual Report.

One of the things that struck me, perhaps you could explain to me how this works is that there are 100 staff currently employed within the Scotland Office. Is that correct, roughly 100 staff?

Francesca Osowska: Across the Scotland Office and the Office of the Advocate General, yes.

Chair: Across the estate that is operating the Scotland Office. None of them are permanent. Does that create any difficulties or problems or issues for you? I would imagine it must, and why has the decision been taken that they have no permanent staff in the Scotland Office?

Francesca Osowska: Maybe I will kick off on that and I will ask Michael to comment and give a perspective from the Office of the Advocate General. Since devolution and since the creation of the Scotland Office this has been the case: that the Scotland Office does not itself directly employ staff, but we second or take staff on loan from other Departments.

Part of that is pure economics, efficiency and practicality; to run a full scale HR system for such a small office would be inefficient. By tapping into the resources of other Government Departments for example, in the Scotland Office in London most of our staff are on loan, but we also benefit from arrangements with the Cabinet Office we can access external expertise and indeed access external HR expertise, which is effective and efficient for us.

Members of staff, once they are in post within the Scotland Office, I feel are fully part of the Scotland Office team, so if the question is about allegiance, there are no difficulties there. Michael, do you want to say something?

Chair: Just before Michael comes in, if you don’t mind, it is not about allegiance and I don’t think that is the issue. It is just being able to build up a staff capacity when none of them are permanent and most of them seem part-time.

Are they shared with other Ministry Departments or are they exclusive to the Scotland Office?

Francesca Osowska: They are exclusive to the Scotland Office.

Chair: Seconded from other Departments?

Francesca Osowska: They are seconded or on loan from other Departments. They have direct line management throughout the Scotland Office in the case of my staff, and for Michael in the case of OAG staff and they are answerable to Scotland Office Ministers, so that line of accountability is very direct.

Chair: Are there any plans to get permanent staff in place, given you have significant and substantial pieces of work to consider as we go forward in the session? Are you happy and relaxed about the current arrangements with the….

Francesca Osowska: Yes, I believe the current arrangements work very well, because we are able to bring in staff from other Departments and benefit from their expertise.

Michael Chalmers: Yes. It is similar for the Office of the Advocate General, in that what I require to run my office is staff that have public law expertise and Scots-qualified lawyers. It is a relatively small office. We have about 36 lawyers.

It helps the resilience of my office to able to draw from a larger pool. So, the Office of the Advocate General is part of an association of Government legal offices, together with the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, Scottish Parliament lawyers and Scottish Law Commission lawyers.

All of these offices together draw from the same pool of staff but, yes, as Francesca has outlined for the Scotland Office, we have staff fully dedicated to working in our office. They do not move between offices day to day; they are on a reasonably long-term secondment and that operates as quite a successful model for us because it helps the resilience of not just our office but the other legal offices I mentioned.

It also means that staff interchange and it helps their development of legal skills. In fact, adding the perspective of working for another administration is helpful as well.

Chair: How many staff does the Office of the Advocate General have then?

Michael Chalmers: We have 36 legal staff and I think it is 46 in total.

Chair: The last year, as I think we touched on, has been a particularly trying year, with lots of pieces of significant and substantial work, particularly the referendum and the Smith Commission. What do you see as the main issues and challenges and the main thrust of your work as you go forward over the next year or two years in the parliamentary term?

Francesca Osowska: Thank you for the question. Again, I will speak for the Scotland Office and allow Michael to speak for the Office of the Advocate General.

In terms of the Annual Report, obviously that sets out five objectives for 2014-15. For the Scotland Office, I think our work continues in that vein. We have a strong constitutional role, primarily in relation to the Scotland Bill, which, as you are aware, is passing through these Houses at the moment.

That is a key priority for the Scotland Office. In addition we continue to be the voice of Scotland in Whitehall, so our work with other Government Departments across Whitehall, in terms of ensuring that they appreciate the devolution settlement and that they are conscious of the Scottish context, will continue.

Similarly, we are the voice of the UK Government in Scotland and, again, we work co-operatively with other Government Departments who have reserved responsibilities in Scotland to ensure that the UK government can work effectively in Scotland.

Chair: Just before we go to Mr Chalmers, do you have any sense of the balance? I am quite intrigued by seeing that you are the voice of Scotland and Whitehall and the voice of the UK Government in Scotland.

How would you see that balancing out in terms of the commitment to either of those fine offices?

Francesca Osowska: In terms of numbers of staff?

Chair: No, not in terms of numbers of staff but about how much time or effort. Do you see yourself primarily as the voice of Scotland in Whitehall or do you see more of a role as being the voice of the UK Government in Scotland? How would you characterise the effort that is put on to each of those very laudable aims and objectives?

Francesca Osowska: I think we treat them equally. If I were to take those objectives along with our constitutional objectives which, as I mentioned, include the Scotland Bill, but also include responsibilities in terms of Scotland Act orders and LCMs—then I would say that we give those equal weight.

Chair: Mr Chalmers?

Michael Chalmers: Yes. The role of our office is to provide Scots law advice to the whole of the UK Government. Our objectives reflect that, so that includes litigation for UK Government Departments in Scotland.

It includes giving Scots legal advice to all UK Government Departments, particularly on Westminster Bills, for example but not restricted to that and also supporting the constitutional objectives that the Scotland Office shares.

Obviously that would include the Scotland Bill and legal work on the Scotland Bill but it also includes a lot of the stuff that goes on below the radar.

Francesca mentioned Scotland Act orders; so, lawyers from my office will work closely with lawyers in the Scottish Government to make sure those orders proceed smoothly through each of the Parliaments.

I suppose an example would be the section 30 order that we put through in the early part of this year to change the competence of the Scottish Parliament to allow legislation for 16 and 17 year olds to vote at next year’s Holyrood elections, so there is a lot of that sort of working below the radar that we continue to do and we see ourselves as part of the good operation of devolution and government for Scotland.

Chair: Thank you.

 

Pete Wishart Chairman Scottish Affairs Committee
Financial matters – The Scottish referendum – Use of the Civil Service in support of the “Better Together” campaign

Margaret Ferrier: Looking at the 2015-16 budget for the Scotland Office it was set at £5.8 million in the 2013 spending round, but the most recent main estimate asked Parliament to approve an additional £3 million for capability enhancement. What are these additional funds for?

Francesca Osowska: In terms of the out turn for 2014-15 the total combined out turn for the Office of the Advocate General and the Scotland Office was £7.7 million. You will appreciate that that did include an uplift from the original budget setting process that occurred in 2010.

At that point, a referendum was not anticipated; a lot of the work in terms of 2014-15 has been the follow through or was related to the referendum, so the work in the run up to the referendum, contributing to the Scotland analysis papers for example, supporting Ministers as they gave public information to inform the debate about the referendum, and that explains the increase in that provision.

Margaret Ferrier: These public Ministers, are you meaning UK Ministers?

Francesca Osowska: Yes.

Margaret Ferrier: Not Scottish Government?

Francesca Osowska: No.

Margaret Ferrier: The Annual Report and Accounts show that general administration costs rose by about 8% from £7.2 million in 2013-14 to £7.7 million in 2014-15. Why do you feel the general administration costs are rising? Is there another reason, other than the referendum debate that was taking place?

Francesca Osowska: No. As I said earlier, the very initial budget was set in 2010 as part of that spending review. The referendum was not anticipated at that point and this increase represents the resources dedicated by the Scotland Office to supporting the work of the UK Government, overall, in informing the referendum debate.

Kirsty Blackman: The Scotland Office had allocated to it and spent an extra £3 million helping UK Government Ministers with information about the referendum, mainly?

 

 

Francesca Osowska: In terms of the increase, there are a number of different figures being talked about here. It might be helpful if I wrote to the Committee after this hearing to set out the sequence of events, because there were uplifts granted and changes in the Budget made from the original 2010 provision at different periods, including during the course of 2013-14, so I do not think it is entirely correct to say it was a single jump of £3 million.

In terms of what that money delivered and the outcomes that the Scotland Office delivered, I would refer the Committee to chapter 3 of the report. That sets out quite a detailed analysis of the outcomes and the outputs from the five objectives set by the Scotland Office, and certainly part of that work and a focus of that work in 2014-15 was in relation to the run-up and then the after-events—including the Smith Commission—of the referendum.

Chair: It would be helpful if you write to the Committee to explain properly what that £3.3 million did account for. What we are hearing is that this might have been the figure that was used for the referendum campaign, for the “No” campaign, and used by UK Ministers to take part in the referendum. Would that be roughly a correct characterisation of that spending?

Francesca Osowska: I don’t think it would be, if you don’t mind. What I am saying is that, if we look at page 54 of the Annual Report and Accounts, then you see the trajectory of the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General accounts.

You can see, in terms of general administration costs, that they have more or less been around the £7 million. That is why I feel it is important that I write and set out the explanation of the £3 million figure.

Chair: Please do.

Francesca Osowska: However, in answer to your question, Mr Chairman in relation to “Was this a way of the Government funding the ‘No’ campaign?” this was to fund the activities of UK Government civil servants, in line with the civil service code.

All activities undertaken by civil servants in my Department would meet a propriety test, yet I think you would agree that in the run-up to a referendum, obviously when Ministers want to be more visible, when we need to ensure that there is a good flow of public information for example, via the Scotland analysis papers that increases our activity and that is why there was an increase between the 2013-14 out-turn and 2014-15 out-turn.

 

Margaret Ferrier SNP MP
Damm, Damm and Double Damm – What a con – The civil service and their Janus-faced illegal political behaviour

Francesca Osowska in a number of her evasive statements to the Scottish Affairs Committee represented them misleadingly glossing over the expensive and extensive work of a large group of (supposedly politically neutral) Civil Servants who actively supported the objectives of the “Better Together” campaign. A gross misuse of public finances and Civil Servants presumably authorised by David Cameron and Sir Jeremy Heywood.

The matter of the vastly oversized Scottish Office staffing establishment drew comment but did not address the previously advised 50+ excess staffing of the Scottish Office over the Welsh Office. So the Scottish Office has retained 50+ unjustified posts the costs of which are charged to Scotland’s block grant each year.

The political slush fund created is an ever increasing Tory Party financial nest egg (it is skimmed off Scotland’s block financial grant) and abused by the Scottish Office for questionable purposes, such as the Westminster government anti-devolution leaflet production, printing and distribution.  And/or hiring Special Advisors (SpAds), often sons, daughters, other relations, friends of ministers or other MP’s.

 

 

Mundell Tory MP

 

 

 

Scotland Office – The Gobble Gobble Monster –  Rapidly Increasing Financial Allocations

The  cost of maintaining the Scotland Office is extortionately high and is ever increasing year on year without justification or satisfactory explanation.

A House of Commons report submitted in 2005/2006 recorded that the Scotland Office was hopelessly overstaffed and recommended  a 50 per cent establishment reduction. In the years that followed  salary costs were reduced.

But from the time the Tory Government took up the reins of government salary costs have  increased year on year, but it only recently that the method in the apparent madness of the Tory Government has surfaced.

The Scotland Office is no longer a team existing to assist Scotland and it’s devolved government. It is the UK Government of Scotland. Its supremo is David Mundell assisted by the unelected Lord Dunlop. Read the 2014/15 Annual Report, Link attached:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/448145/SO_Report_2014-15.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 February 2011: Scotland Office – a Political Propaganda Unit maintained to retain supremacy over Scotland

Twenty staff are employed at the £6million-a-year Scotland Office to cope with just three letters a day. The astonishing revelation sparked calls for it to be scrapped as an irrelevant waste of cash.

The Scotland Office occupies plush Dover House in Whitehall and is supposed to look after our interests down south. But its role has shrunk dramatically since devolution in 1999.

We can reveal 20 staff employed to deal with mail replied to 1252 letters in 2006-2007 – just over one per member of staff every week. The letter scandal follows a series of damning reports on money-wasting at the department.

Its 50 staff, who work between Edinburgh and Dover House, claimed £75,000 hotel expenses last year and another £8000 on hiring plants. Matthew Elliot, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “These figures show how little work the Scotland Office is doing at the same time as it is costing taxpayers an extortionate amount.

It was very evident in the 80s and early 90s how powerless and useless our so called Labour MPs were then as Thatcher raked her spurs along the flanks of Scotland.

The only time the “feeble fifty” Labour MPs did anything of significance in Westminster during that time was when the disbandment of Strathclyde region was announced, the Labour MPs walked out in protest with Dewar assaulting the mace. The present holders of the Labour flag are even worse if that were possible.

http://keyboredwarrior.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/newsnet-scotland.html

 

 

 

Lord Dunlop  Unelected member of the upper house at Westminster

 

 

Increase in salary costs (2014/15 – 2010/2011) Scotland Office: £6.408 – £1.950 = Total Salary Increase: £5.458K

 

Dunlop, Cameron, Mundell and? with Nicola & John

 

 

2010/2011: Total Establishment 57 WTE

Policy & Briefing: £.950k
Sec of State Private Office: £.300k
Corporate & Constitutional Policy: £.700k

Total Cost Scottish Office: £1.950K
2014/15: Scotland Office – Total Establishment 118

Scotland Office, London: 27.00 WTE
Mundell’s Private Office (London) 8 WTE
Scotland Office, Edinburgh 40 WTE
Mundell’s Private Office (Edinburgh) 1 WTE

Total 67

Number of staff in the Office of the Advocate General at 31 March 2015

Ministerial Private Office: 3 WTE
Legal Secretariat to the Advocate General: 3 WTE
Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General: 45 WTE

Total 51

Overall establishment 118 WTE

Total Salary Costs: 6.326K
add 1 Special Advisor: £.82K   (Post funded from vacancy money)

Grand Total Salary costs 2014/15: £6.408K

 

 

 

Notorious Tartan Tammy Twitterer – BrianSpanner1 – Revealed as a Mullet Head

 

 

 

Brian Spanner1    https://twitter.com/brianspanner1

 

 

Man’s BFF - Pets

This little white dog (LWD) never understood why it was the one who had to go to the groomer. (submitted by Carl) April 27th, 2010    http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2010/04/27/sns-mans-bff-2/

Brian says:   LWD does that stand for Little White Dog or Lonely White Dude?

Is Brian this Person?  LairdBrian McSpanner

 

 

http://ponsonbypost.com/index.php/news/63-rowling-and-spanner-the-untold-story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland Bill – Fiscal Matters – Sterling – Independence – Scots Need to Heed the Advice of one of the UK’s Greatest Chancellors – Have Courage

 

 

 

Denis Winston Healey,  politician, born 30 August 1917; died 3 October 2015

Denis was the best Prime Minister the UK never had. The aptly titled “Iron Chancellor” (1974 to 1979) rescued the UK from financial disaster on a scale mirroring the recent Greek fiasco. As with Greece and the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded the imposition of harsh measures on the workforce.

His high tax, low wage increase policies squeezed the rich and the poor alike but achieved results (in one year Healey repaid the IMF more of their loan than Osborne has paid back in 10 years).

But just as the economy took an upward swing the Unions decided they would no longer tolerate a wage squeeze on the lowest paid. Healey advised the Prime Minister Callaghan and the cabinet that the recession was at an end and whilst small increases could be entertained there needed to be a wage cap. Unions decided against the cap and instructed their members to strike.

There followed the “winter of discontent” which ushered in Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Party (1979). The Tories reaped the benefit of a growing (IMF loan free) economy and the added massive bonus of North Sea Oil and gas, the price of which would increase fourfold following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the Iran/Iraq war. More money in Westminster’s coffers than there had ever been. In Scotland there was euphoria. All was well with the world. But it wasn’t.

Thatcher embraced “monetarism” the financial philosophy of American economist, Milton Friedman. Based largely on restricting the money supply in circulation this was her weapon against rising prices, and it succeeded in halving inflation, to less than 5 per-cent by 1983.

But her success was brief since the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) failed to expand due to a massive programme of industrial downsizing instructed by Thatcher on Scotland and Wales, (punishment on Scotland for opposing the hated Poll Tax, support of the Coal-Miners and industrial action in the shipyards of the Clyde).

She went on to balance the failure of her monetary policies through the transfer of millions of workers to the care of the state, (the dole). Many aged over 40 would never work again.

Healey clashed frequently in Westminster with Thatcher, once accusing her of “adding the diplomacy of Alf Garnett to the economics of Arthur Daley.”

He also described her as “La Pasionaria of middle-class privilege” and declared: “I often compare Margaret Thatcher with Florence Nightingale. She stalks through the wards of our hospitals as a lady with a lamp. Unfortunately, it’s a blowlamp.”

 

 

 

Denis Healey and Scotland

Asked about “Scottish Independence” “fiscal independence” and the “currency union”  he said:

“I think we would suffer enormously if the income from Scottish oil stopped but if the Scots want it [independence] they should have it and we would just need to adjust. But I would think Scotland could survive perfectly well, economically, if it was independent. Yes, I would think so… with the oil.”

When questioned about the much repeated claims that Scotland is subsidised by the rest of the UK given that Joel Barnett, the architect of the Barnett formula, was his deputy at the Treasury and worked out what share of the national income pot Scotland should receive he said “pays its fair share” and that “these myths” are simply perpetuated by those that oppose independence.

On Scotland keeping the pound, he says Scotland would gain but adds that so “would the rest of us” and he doesn’t see why Westminster could say the Scots couldn’t have it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish State Pensions Rip Off – Scots Nearing Retirement Who Voted To Stay With the Union – Read This and Weep

 

 

 

 

 

21 February 2016: Budget 2016 – Former Pensions minister warns Osborne will drop a £4Billion Tax bombshell with pensions overhaul

Former pensions minister Steve Webb has warned that chancellor George Osborne is getting ready to drop a £4bn “extra tax bombshell” in next month’s Budget by getting rid of the so-called tax-free lump sum.

Webb, who was pensions minister in the coalition and is now director of policy at Royal London, said today that existing rules allowing people to access 25 per cent of their pension pots tax-free in a single lump sum when they reach the age of 55 “could be on the brink of extinction” if Osborne introduces a so-called pensions ISA.

http://www.cityam.com/235046/budget-2016-former-pensions-minister-steve-webb-warns-osborne-will-drop-a-tax-bombshell-with-pensions-overhaul?ITO=sidebar-most-read

 

The UK has the worst state pensions in Europe;

A study shows the state pays pensioners an income equivalent to just 17% of average earnings. The, “inadequacy” of the UK’s state pension system is, “beyond question”.

This is the lowest level in Europe and well below the average for all European Union countries of 57%. Even the Netherlands, which has the second-lowest level, provides a state pension nearly double the UK figure, the study shows.

At the heart of the problem is Westminster’s failure to undo the damage caused by the Tories under Margaret Thatcher, who cut the link between average earnings and pensions in 1980. Since then annual pension increases have been tied to retail price inflation.

So much for a caring Westminster political system. Scotland would be better served by being independent from the corruption that is Westminster. Vote, “Yes” in the referendum

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-1615956/UK-state-pension-is-the-worst-in-Europe.html

 

 

 
January 2014; Women fear the struggle to survive in old age over pension uncertainty

Three-quarters of women fear they will struggle to get by when they reach retirement age because their current income is too low for a decent pension, a study shows.

Research also showed widespread confusion among working age women over the effect of changes to the pension system and the rising retirement age.

The study by the Pensions Advisory Service found that almost four in 10 women did not know when they would be able to draw their pension, because of changes to the qualifying age, and six in 10 had no idea if they had paid enough National Insurance.

Overall, it showed that seven in 10 did not feel confident about making decisions when saving for retirement.

Meanwhile 76 per cent do not believe they will have enough income to be financially comfortable once stopping work.

Around 40 million people currently of working age will receive the new single-tier pension, which is due to come into effect in 2016, simplifying the state pension arrangements.

It will run alongside the Government’s landmark plans to automatically enrol people into workplace pensions.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service said: “The odds of women being able to provide for a comfortable retirement are stacked against them from the start.

“Women are much more likely than men to have career breaks, work part-time and have low-paid service sector jobs.

“The price they pay is an incomplete state pension in their own right and not much, if any, private pension to add to it.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10592474/Three-quarters-of-women-fear-struggle-to-survive-in-old-age-over-pension-uncertainty.html

 

 

 

 

January 2015; Less than half British retirees to get full pension

The UK government admits that less than half of all British pensioners will receive their full £150-a-week state pension from 2016.

The Department for Work and Pensions says only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full annuity.

The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps).

Now Rodney Shakespeare, a London-based professor of economy and political commentator, believes the pension system is being manipulated. “The pension system is part of a general cutback in state benefits of one source and another. Behind this is a collapse of the real economy, and that is because the UK system like that of Europe and in the Western system generally does not put any money supply into productive capacity.

It only puts it into the banks and those who have existing assets and it all ends up in a sucking up of wealth to the one percent.”

“Just about half of the people who are retiring in the next year or two are going to have much less in state pension and they had been conned and they had been deceived. They were allowed in the past, in addition to their taxes not to pay an element of the national insurance pension contribution,” Shakespeare went on to say.

Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of National Insurance (NI) contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before.

The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect.

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/01/12/392794/UK

 

 

 

 

20 February 2016: Experts say low-earners will bear the cost of reform that promised to be fairer and simpler – and its impact will be greater than that of tax credits.

Twenty million people will lose out from the introduction of a new flat-rate state pension with the burden falling most heavily on low-paid private sector workers, according to analysis by leading pension experts.

The startling figure, part of research by pension consultants Hymans Robertson, comes just before the new deal for pensioners is to be introduced in April. It appears to undermine government claims that the reforms will create a fairer, as well as a simpler, system.

The company also warns that the policy could have wider and graver repercussions for government than its attempts to slash credits for working people, which forced chancellor George Osborne to perform a spectacular U-turn in his budget last November.

Research has revealed that while there would be winners among middle-to-higher earners from this April, the costs of these rises would fall on lower earners in the form of lower pensions in years to come for about 20 million people. “Within the private sector, it’s the low paid – those earning less than around £15,000 – that will be hit hardest.

Gordon Brown made changes to the way the low paid accrue state pension, which resulted in employees with earnings below around £15,000 accruing relatively large amounts. “Under the new rules, this population will be significantly affected.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/feb/20/20-million-lose-out-pension-reform

 


Mortality Rates & Pensions

Up to the early 1950’s, Scottish mortality rates were broadly comparable with the rest of the UK.

But from that time, (attributed to increased levels of deprivation) life expectancy, in Scotland has hardly increased over a period of 60+ years.

In England, (over the same period) rates steadily increased year on year and there is now a very significant gap in life expectancy between England & Scotland.

Male pensioners, (approximately 1 million) of affluent areas of London & the South East of England enjoy a life expectancy of approximately 80 years. Female life expectancy, (similar in total)is approximately 84 years.

In Scotland, male life expectancy is approximately 72 years. Female life expectancy is approximately 78 years.

Allow individual pension contribution payments, (through taxation) approximately £60,000, (assume 40 years @ £1500 per annum) are the same for all taxpayers.

Maximum pension payments to male Scots. £6k x 7 years = £42K

Maximum pension payments to male English. £6K x 15 years = £90K

Maximum pension payments to female Scots. £4k x 13 years = £52K

Maximum pension payments to male English. £6K x 19 years = £76K

 


Summary.

Scottish pensioners are heavily subsidizing pension payments of English pensioners.

In his article the, “Artful Dodger”, (Gordon Brown) proves once more that, “liars can figure but, “figures don’t lie”.

Ignore the negative hype of the, “No” campaigners we should not be subsidizing pension payments for the rest of the UK. Vote, “Yes” to independence.

 


Worrying Statistics

The Office of National Statistics provides, age expectancy for 2010-2012, the years most favourable to England;

London & SE England: Males 80y,  Females 84y.

Glasgow & West of Scotland; Males 73y Females 78y.

Babies born in Glasgow & West of Scotland that reach age 65y; Males 73% Females 79%, (attrition rates much higher than those enjoyed by males and females in London & S/East England)

Note-worthy is the fact that 27% of males and 22% of females in Glasgow & West of Scotland will contribute to a pension all of their working lives and get NOTHING in return by way of pension, (Nice saving Mr Brown).

Scotland is poorly served by the United Kingdom. We will be much better off running our own affairs.

So as to be fair, I selected one, (similar in population density) conurbation in each country, namely,”Glasgow & West of Scotland & London & S/East England”. Statistics extracted reflect an accurate snapshot of age expectancy in both countries.

Scotland is much worse off in the UK. Our people are dying much earlier than those in England and life expectancy for 25%+ of our children indicates they may not survive beyond age 65y.

A damming indictment of the so called fair and equal distribution of resources in the UK. Time we were out of it.

 

 
Lord Bichard – Retired people Should do work for pensions

The former head of the Benefits Agency said “imaginative” ideas were needed to meet the cost of an ageing society.

And although such a move might be controversial, it would stop older people being a “burden on the state”.

He added “the debate on rising healthcare and pension costs needs to be broadened out.

Are there ways in which we could use incentives to encourage older people, if not to be in full time work, to be making a contribution?,” he asked the committee investigating demographic changes and their impact on public services.

The 65-year-old cross-bench peer, suggested the government should use the pensions system to “incentivise” retired people.

“We are now prepared to say to people who are not looking for work, if you don’t look for work you don’t get benefits, so if you are old and you are not contributing in some way or another maybe there is some penalty attached to that.”

He asked: “Are we using all of the incentives at our disposal to encourage older people not just to be a negative burden on the state but actually be a positive part of society?” He acknowledged it would be difficult for politicians to sell to the public, but added: “So was tuition fees.”

UK merit a place amongst the lowest pensions in Europe

 

The General Secretary of the “National Pensioners Convention”, Director General’s of the charity “Age UK” and “Saga” reacted angrily to Lord Bichard’s idea claiming that:

* “This amounts to little more than national service for the over 60s and is absolutely outrageous. “Those who have paid their national insurance contributions for 30 or more years are entitled to receive their state pension and there should be no attempt to put further barriers in their way.”

* “Older people are a hugely positive part of society – over a third of people aged between 65 and 74 volunteer, a percentage that only drops slightly for the over 75s. “In addition, nearly a million older people provide unpaid care to family or friends saving the state millions of pounds.”

* “Almost a third of working age parents rely on grandparents to provide childcare – and more than 900,000 people are working past the traditional retirement age “either because they want to or because they can’t afford to retire”.

* “We must not forget that retirement is a vastly different experience depending on your personal circumstances. For example, 40% of all people over 65 have a serious long-standing illness and 1.7m of our pensioners live in poverty. “For many of those, retirement can be an unrelenting struggle of trying to survive on a low income in poor health.”

* Those who have retired have already made huge contributions to our society and are already the largest group of charity and community volunteers.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20044862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasury Civil Servant Who Screwed Scotland Over in the Referendum – Gets to do it all Again – He Prepared the Scottish Finance Bill

 

 

 

 

Sir Nicholas Macpherson – Permanent Secretary to the Treasury – snubs the Civil Service Code

Macpherson breached the “Civil Service Code” when he released to the public his personal views and political advice regarding sharing of sterling in the event the Scottish Referendum returned a Yes vote.

His unsolicited “advice” (so he says) to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer also conflicted with the stated position of the Governor of the Bank of England who had previously advised that an effective union of currencies was feasible, subject to agreement to a number of conditions.

When asked to clarify his actions he said “throughout the debate on economic issues the Scottish Government has sought to cast doubt on the British Government’s position. it has claimed we’re blustering, bluffing – in effect casting aspersions on the UK Government’s integrity. My view in this case – and it’s a very exceptional case – is that if publishing advice could strengthen the credibility of the Government’s position, then it was my duty to do it. It was important in this specific case, which goes to the heart of the currency issues, that the arguments were exposed before a referendum than after it.”

It was later revealed his intervention, together with senior members of the government and members of the “Better Together” campaign formed part of a carefully choreographed exercise in political destabilisation, allegedly called “the Dambusters strategy” by insiders.

Noteworthy is his use of the word “we’re” which indicates his actions were politically driven, which he did not deny. Quite disgraceful conduct for a senior civil servant. He should be instructed to resign his position.

 

 

 
The Civil Service Code: Political Impartiality:

You must: Carry out your responsibilities in a way that is fair, just and equitable and reflects the Civil Service commitment to equality and diversity. You must not act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests.

You must not: Act in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or use official resources for party political purposes; or allow your personal political views to determine any advice you give or your action. http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/civil-service-code-2010.pdf

 

 

 

 

Sequence of Events

January 29 2014; Carney Governor of the Bank of England – on sharing sterling between Scotland and rUK

Sharing sterling between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK could lead to eurozone-style crises unless firm foundations are put in place, An effective union would also force a newly-independent Scotland to hand over some national sovereignty, he said in a speech at a business lunch in Edinburgh.

February 13 2014; Gun for hire

After the love-bombing of Scots last week by David Cameron, Osborne travelled North revelling in his role as bad cop. The venue for his declaration was a dramatic penthouse with a panorama of Edinburgh Castle in the appropriately named Bread Street.

He holstered a very large gun with which he intended to shoot down Alex Salmond’s plan to continue sharing the pound with the rest of the UK after independence, but the bullets were crafted by the long-standing Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson.
February 13 2014; Osborne fires the first shot – in the currency row

The Chancellor ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland after “strong” advice from the Treasury’s leading official, which was published today.

Sir Nicholas Macpherson told George Osborne that unions are “fraught with difficulty” and raised serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work.

Scotland’s banking sector is too big in relation to national income, the UK could end up bailing the country out and fiscal policy shows sign of diverging, he said.

 

 

March 7 2014; Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Says currency union decision is final

Calls for a monetary union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK are akin to “embarking on a damaging divorce” but insisting on still sharing a credit card, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said.

Mr Alexander set out his reasons for rejecting the Scottish Government’s preferred currency solution, as he insisted that the cross-party decision to rule it out was final.

He used his speech in Edinburgh to the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) to dismiss suggestions that the rejection of a monetary union, which would see an independent Scotland keep the pound, was a politically motivated, tactical move.

 

 

March 19 2014; Scare tactic by “Better Together”” bang on the money

On February 13th, in a flying visit to Edinburgh, the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, declared that Scotland would be denied use of the pound, if it voted Yes in the referendum.

What followed was a carefully choreographed exercise in political destabilisation, allegedly called “the Dambusters strategy” by Unionist insiders, which shook the “Yes” campaign to its foundations. It also shook the Union to its foundations.

March 23 2014; Osborne’s case against currency union ripped apart by top economist

The Treasury case against a post independence currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK has been dismantled as “misleading”, “unsubstantiated” and “the reverse of the truth” by one of the world’s leading economists.

Professor Leslie Young, of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, accused the UK Government of relying on a “lurid collage of fact, conjecture and fantasy” in making its argument.

April 5 2014; Currency furore over mystery of missing memos – No paper trail means Treasury’s position engineered, say SNP

The Treasury was last night at the centre of a growing row over political bias, after admitting it had no record of when its most senior civil servant first advised the Chancellor against a currency union with an independent Scotland.

The inability of permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson to give a precise date is fuelling claims that Westminster’s bombshell rejection of a currency union was cooked up to help the No campaign in the referendum.

 

 

April 9 2014; Sir Nicholas Macpherson – ‘I was not ordered to rule out sharing pound with Scotland’

Appearing before MPs at the Public Administration committee to discuss civil service impartiality and referendums the Treasury’s top civil servant rejected SNP claims that he advised against sharing the pound after independence because of political pressure, saying publishing his analysis was “vital to the national interest since the Scottish Government had been casting aspersions on Westminster’s integrity and it needed to be made absolutely crystal clear that a monetary union was not on the table” adding that, “the chancellor, had neither told him to write a letter rebuffing SNP proposals for sharing sterling or ordered the advice to be published.”

MacPherson went on to tell MPs that the decision to publish his advice was “not something I entered into lightly” but insisted he remained “unapologetic” stating “Throughout the debate on economic issues the Scottish Government has sought to cast doubt on the British Government’s position, It has claimed we’re blustering, bluffing in effect casting aspersions on the UK Government’s integrity.

My view in this case – and it’s a very exceptional case – is that if publishing advice could strengthen the credibility of the Government’s position, then it was my duty to do it. It was important in this specific case, which goes to the heart of the currency issues, that the arguments were exposed before a referendum than after it.”

He denied that revealing his private advice showed civil service politicisation, saying it was comparable to clarifying the UK Government’s position if questioned by a fellow European Union member state. He also dismissed the suggestion that Mr Osborne strong armed him into airing views in public. “Ultimately this was my call – the Chancellor is a traditionalist in his approach to the Civil Service, I am quite certain that if I had said that I did not want to publish this advice he would not have pressed me. I thought it was the right thing to do in exceptional circumstances.”

Kenneth Gibson, SNP MSP and convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said that Westminster’s “currency bluff had completely crumbled. Regardless of the Treasury’s actions we know the real position of the UK Government as an unnamed Government Minister admitted last week is that there will be a currency union everything will change in the negotiations if there is a Yes vote. Even Alistair Darling himself has said that a shared sterling area is desirable and logical. It’s time for the No campaign to stop the foolish bluffing, put its money where its mouth is and back sharing the pound.”

 

 

How Sir Nicholas MacPherson Permanent Secretary to the Treasury intervened to sabotage a Yes vote in Scottish referendum

So farewell Sir Nick, as he prefers to be known, Macpherson, knight grand cross of the order of the bath and retiring permanent secretary of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

After a decade in the top job advising Labour and Tory chancellors, Sir Nick is quitting at the relatively young age of 56.

When asked (at a Treasury select committee meeting) what he intended to do next, he hinted he had a second career in mind.

Two chancellors he mentored – Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling – are already “advising” big banks.

Sir Nicholas is infamous for publishing – of his own volition, he claims – the letter of advice he sent to Chancellor Osborne at the height of the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

In this letter, Macpherson rubbished the idea that a UK Government would accept sharing a common currency with an independent Scotland.

He implied that Alex Salmond was misleading the Scottish electorate by saying David Cameron was bluffing in this regard.

(Sir Nick seems to have forgotten that Alex Salmond wasn’t bluffing either, when he said an independent Scotland would refuse to take any of the Treasury’s debt liabilities if a common currency was rejected.)

 

It is unheard of for a senior civil service mandarin to enter the political arena so brazenly. Asked if civil servants were not meant to be independent of party politics, Sir Nick gave the game away in a recent interview.

No, he said, civil servants were not independent. Rather, they serve the government of the day.

He might have added: and if the government hasn’t the balls to put in the political boot, then the Treasury will do the job.

This is where any democrat, north or south of the Border, should start to get worried. At a lecture last year, held at Kings College in London, Macpherson elaborated on his doctrine of civil service political intervention.

He said that in such an “extreme” case as the independence referendum, in which Sir Nick believed “people are seeking to destroy the fabric of the state” and to “impugn its territorial integrity”, the normal rules of civil service impartiality simply do not apply.

Macpherson has a vision of the British imperial state and sees himself and the unelected civil service as its guardian.

Politicians may come and go, but the state – and the Establishment and City interests it guards – is another matter altogether.

Anyone seeking to “impugn the territorial integrity” of the state or “destroy the fabric of the state” (it’s the same thing as far as Sir Nick is concerned) is the enemy within.

And if the elected government of the day can’t protect the state from those seeking to “undermine” it (as judged by Sir Nick) well then the state (Treasury mandarins, MI5 and SIS, the BBC, retired colonels, etc., etc.) have a duty of care to step in.

Who is Sir Nicholas Macpherson? With his mop of unruly hair and soft accent, he comes across as a more human figure than, say, the caricature Whitehall mandarin of Sir Humphrey Appleton, in Yes Minister.

Delve down, though, and you will discover that Sir Nick went to Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He lists his clubs in Debrett’s as the MCC and the Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum, in Pall Mall, is the quintessential Establishment club – it allowed lady members only in 2002.

If you’ve read Chris Mullin’s wonderful 1982 political satire, A Very British Coup, you’ll know the Athenaeum is where the Establishment (led by “fictional” MI5 chief Sir Peregrine Craddock) plots to undermine a left-wing, unilateralist Labour government.

OK, Sir Nick is so Establishment he could have been invented by central casting. But does that make him dangerous? Perhaps he’s just an old-fashioned guy with old-fashioned values?

That would seem to be the consensus in government as neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg had the chief secretary fired for publishing his letter denouncing the common currency.

Nor did Labour object. In fact, while I was questioning Sir Nick at the Treasury Select, one of the Labour members kept interrupting in his support.

That was Rachel Reeves, Oxford University and ex-Bank of England, whose husband is ex-Treasury. When I say Establishment, I mean Establishment.

However, mandarins such as Sir Nicholas Macpherson are very far from harmless. As Chris Mullin (a former Labour minister) puts it, the British elite are: “still mainly educated at the same handful of schools and universities and belong to the same gentlemen’s clubs and freemasons lodges…many of these people are, of course, professionals who would indignantly deny that their political affiliation would in any way affect their duty as public servants and I am sure, in many cases, that is true.

I am equally certain that in many other cases it is untrue.” I have bigger beef with Sir Nick: his time at HM Treasury has been a disaster for the British economy. He was so fixated with the Scottish referendum that other things went by the board.

He has waxed lyrical about the effort put in by the Treasury to thwart Scottish independence: “The project was run by a standing Treasury team of six officials, though during the course of two years’ work some 50 officials contributed to the analytic work” (Full costs of which about £2.5million was charged to the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.) So Scotland met the bill for advice it never asked for.

Yet during Sir Nick’s decade as head of the Treasury, UK government borrowing doubled from 42 per cent of GDP to 87 per cent, productivity has flat-lined and the trade minister, Lord Maude, had to resign in disgrace after less than a year in the job, with the publication of yet another set of disastrous export figures.

Under Sir Nicholas Macpherson’s reign at HM Treasury we have seen the biggest fall in potential output since the 1930s and the weakest recovery in modern times. Macpherson has been in post far longer than heads of the Treasury usually are.

But far from having a strategic or reforming focus, Sir Nick has hunkered down, defending the political status quo and preparing austerity budgets.

His final few months have been centred on the internal negotiations with the Scottish Government over the post-Smith fiscal framework. True to form, he has used these negotiations to squeeze Scotland financially.

By letting Sir Nick Macpherson get away with intervening openly in a major political situation, the main Unionist parties have created a dangerous precedent. Sir Nick may be gone – in as much as Establishment figures ever actually go.

But in some other referendum, or General Election, or political crisis, we will see the head of HM Treasury, or even the Cabinet Secretary, make a dramatic intervention to “save” Britain from the elected politicians.

Sir Nick’s quiet but calculated sabotage of the independence referendum was carried out “without tanks on the street”. In fact, “It was a very British coup”.

Stephen Etherson: https://disqus.com/by/StephenEtherson/