George Osborne

What a good idea, the next logical step is a TABOR

George Osborne is looking at legislating for surpluses.

George Osborne is to announce a return to the public finances of the Victorian age, with plans for permanent budget surpluses designed to cut the national debt and to make life uncomfortable for the Labour party.

The chancellor will use his annual Mansion House speech on Wednesday to exploit the political advantage of the Conservative victory in the general election with a “new settlement” that would allow the government to borrow only in exceptional circumstances.

Labour, still shaken by the scale of its defeat last month, will be forced to decide whether it wants to back the proposal that tax revenues should cover spending on both infrastructure and the day-to-day running of government when parliament votes on Osborne’s tougher approach to the public finances later this year.

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As Bill English borrows and spends George Osborne wields the axe

Bill English is still droning through his budget, which by all accounts won’t deliver a surplus and while he is doing that the Chancellor on the UK, George Osborne is taking an axe to government spending.

George Osborne has told the Ministry of Defence and other Whitehall departments that they still need to find billions of pounds worth of cuts this year to help Britain go into “that extra gear” and secure the economic recovery.

Mr Osborne said that “the more you can do early, the smoother the ride”, as he said that unprotected departments will be expected to find £13 billion worth of departmental savings.

The chancellor disclosed that Greg Hands, the new chief secretary, has written to every government department except health, education and international development ordering them to find cuts.

It comes as the government faces a potential back-bench rebellion unless it commits to spending 2 per cent of Britain’s national income on defence.

In a speech that underlined his credentials as a potential future leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Osborne said he wanted Britain secure “higher living standards for the next generation to come”.

He said: “We are two weeks into a five year Parliament. The team around the Cabinet table is strong and experienced. Confidence in the British economy is at its highest level in 12 years. If we don’t, together, fix our country’s long term weaknesses now – when will we?”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that unprotected departments could be forced to make the equivalent of 18 per cent of additional cuts in real terms, about the same amount as over the past four weeks.

It has been suggested that the Ministry of Defence, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice could bear the brunt of the austerity measures.

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This will bend the left out of shape

David Cameron is making moves already, and one of his first is guaranteed to bend the left completely out of shape.

He is going to abolish the Human Rights Act.

Michael Gove is making a dramatic return to front-line political combat as David Cameron puts him in charge of Conservative plans to abolish the Human Rights Act.

In the latest moves in the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister appointed Mr Gove to the post of Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, which is set to be one of the highest profile positions in the new government.

Mr Gove was demoted to Conservative Chief Whip – a back-room role – last year after antagonising teachers with his radical reforms to schools during his time as Education Secretary.

He fell out of favour with Mr Cameron after causing a major row with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over slow progress in dealing with Muslim extremism, and was also said to have irritated the Prime Minister by suggesting there were too many old Etonians in the Cabinet.

However, Mr Cameron appears to have rewarded Mr Gove, a long-term friend, for his staunch loyalty as well as his ability to drive through controversial reforms, by putting him in charge of the Ministry of Justice.

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Harden up, it’s politics, not tiddlywinks

Some weak panty waists in the UK are having a sook about some sweary behaviour.

The glamorous aide behind George Osborne’s trendy new image has been accused of bullying in a real-life The Thick Of It-style Whitehall row.

The Chancellor’s adviser, former BBC producer Thea Rogers, has been branded a ‘pitbull’ by Treasury officials, who claim she shouts and swears like TV spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi.

They say she hurls four-letter insults and has ‘tantrums, rants and hissy fits’ when she is unhappy with their work, leaving colleagues in tears.

Well-placed sources say the Treasury’s Permanent Secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, has spoken to officials ‘bruised’ by Ms Rogers’s behaviour.

Ms Rogers, a former producer to BBC political editor Nick Robinson, has been credited with transforming the Chancellor’s public image since he hired her two years ago.

Mr Osborne’s dramatically reduced waistline, Caesar-style, close-cropped haircut and his high-profile tours of factory floors across the country have all been overseen by the aide.

But a Treasury insider who claims to have witnessed ‘Thea the pitbull’ treating staff badly said last night: ‘She is confrontational and humiliates people who displease her – often in the middle of meetings.

‘She has tantrums, rants, hissy fits and screams at people whose work she finds unacceptable. Some people were reduced to tears.’

The Mail on Sunday has been told Ms Rogers was accused of ‘astonishing rudeness’ in the run-up to a major speech by the Chancellor earlier this year in Tilbury, Essex, when Treasury aides struggled to find local bosses to join the audience.

A female civil servant involved in arranging the Chancellor’s visits reportedly ‘reached the end of her tether’ with Ms Rogers.

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We’re not scared of no Green Taliban – let’s build more roads!

The righties in the UK aren’t pussy footing around – they know that their economy will be boosted by a good roading network, and instead of pandering to minority hand wringers, they’re out and proud.

David Cameron will today embrace what Margaret Thatcher called ‘the great car economy’ as he unveils plans for the biggest roadbuilding programme for almost half a century.

The Prime Minister will announce a £15billion boost for more than 100 projects to be completed by the end of the decade, resulting in hundreds of miles of extra lanes on Britain’s motorways and trunk roads.

Can you imagine headlines like that for New Zealand?  All you would get is wall to wall whining from the Greens and Labour through their MSM mouthpieces, with just one or two little op-eds here and there saying it might actually be a decent idea.

Mr Cameron’s announcement echoes the ‘roads for prosperity’ scheme unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989 to boost ‘the great car economy’, which promised the largest expansion of the roads network since the Romans.

But many schemes were quietly abandoned in the mid-1990s after environmental protests and spending cuts.

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference in London today, Mr Cameron will say the Government is to set out the first-ever long term ‘roads investment strategy’ for the UK in Chancellor George Osborne’s forthcoming autumn statement. Read more »

Key is “a twenty-first century Holyoake” – Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter has written a very good post about why he thinks John Key may well go on to become NZ longest serving Prime Minister…but for the foibles of MMP.

IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2 months) would be surpassed and the title of longest-serving National Party Prime Minister would pass to the incumbent. How tempting it would then be for John Key to set his sights on “King Dick’s” (Prime Minister Richard John Seddon’s) crown of 13 years and 2 months. Just imagine that – a fifth term! By then the youthful Jacinda Ardern would be 41 years old!

Some will dismiss Key’s musings as yet another example of his celebrated political bravado. But there is another message to be drawn from his speculations concerning a fourth (or even a fifth) term. The Prime Minister’s suggestion that he and the National Party are good for another two or three election wins may also be read as his pledge to the electorate that any government he leads will be moderate and restrained in its policies.

Sir Keith Holyoake could not have governed New Zealand from November 1960 until February 1972 as anything other than a consensus-seeking prime minister. By indicating that he is not adverse to such a lengthy term of office, John Key is signalling to us that he, too, is a consensus politician.  Read more »

Services to Hairdressing?

Michael Cullen got a gong for services to the Australian Shareholders Association (Railway sub branch) which to be frank was a bit of a shocker but this is on a whole other level.

He is the architect of David Cameron’s eye-catching shift to the left.

But critics have questioned why Lino Carbosiero, the hairdresser responsible for the Prime Minister’s side parting, has been given an MBE.

The crimper to the stars, who has also styled Madonna, Adele, Sir Paul McCartney and Amanda Holden, was recognised for ‘services to hairdressing’ in the New Year’s Honours last week.

His Twitter page is now full of congratulations from colleagues calling him ‘an inspiration to the industry’.

It is understood that he was not nominated for the honour by the PM.   Read more »

The Ugliest Political Emotion – Pity

No, not envy…which is the chosen weapon of the left usually…now they are using a more despicable weapon…pity.

Brendan O’Neill at The Telegraph explains.

One of my abiding memories from childhood is of the time my dad told the local priest to sling his hook. A newbie in our parish in a rough-ish part of north-west London, the priest was knocking on the doors of the most churchgoing families and introducing himself. Standing imperiously in our living room, he asked my dad where he was from in Ireland. “Connemara”, my dad replied. Whereupon the priest put on his best sad face and said: “Aah – from one rough part of the world to another, oh dear.” My dad – a lifelong despiser of pity – told him to get out. “We don’t need people like that feeling sorry for us”, he told me and my brothers, “especially when there’s nothing to be sorry for!” The priest was all enthusiastic smiles and handshakes when we arrived at Mass the following Sunday.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I have always hated pity. In my view, there’s no uglier emotion in the pantheon of political feelings than pity, especially for “the poor”, whom it treats as an agency-lacking blob that must be cooed over and cared for by better-informed sections of society. The high-handed manner in which that priest expressed his feelings of sorrow for us – even though we had a nice house, an actual minibus (you need one when you have a family of eight), a TV and so on – taught me at a very early age that pity is a most selfish emotion. It’s not about helping the pitied but rather about making the pitier himself feel puffed up, through allowing him to make a big, public display of his ability to feel bad for the less well-off. As the old saying goes, “Friends help; others pity”.   Read more »

Suffering under stupid green taxes

Subsidies are evil, and doubly so when used to fund stupid green policies that further wreck the economy.

Right so they will attempt to cut household power bills by increasing the household’s tax bill…dumber than a sack of hammers.

Just ditch the dumb “green” schemes.

New taxes to pay for environmental schemes are being considered as part of a deal to cut household energy bills, it can be disclosed.

The taxpayer would foot the bill for two of the “green” schemes, all of which are currently paid for through a levy on gas and electricity bills.

The major energy suppliers have repeatedly told ministers the levies are pushing up household bills — for which they and the Government have been severely criticised.   Read more »

Another good idea from George Osborne, I hope Paula has him on speed dial

Paula Bennett should get over to the UK or Skype in to George Osborne and follow along with that he is doing to end the culture of bludgers.

Benefits will be stripped from the long-term jobless unless they work full time picking up litter, removing graffiti or preparing meals for the elderly.

George Osborne will today announce details of the US-style ‘work for the dole’ programme, starting within six months and affecting 200,000 welfare claimants.

Revealed by the Mail last week, the £300million scheme ends the concept of simply ‘signing on’, the Chancellor will tell the Tory party conference.

And he will accuse Labour of allowing people to linger on benefits for years – with no questions asked – while letting uncontrolled numbers of migrants fill low-paid jobs.

Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak ahead of his speech, Mr Osborne said: ‘From now on, people are going to have to do something in return for those benefits.  Read more »