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Alistair Darling

There’s no money – good luck!

I don't expect much from the Labour Party, but given the dire straights that they've left the country in some contrition might be nice. Not a bit of it. This is the message left by Liam Byrne for his successor at the Treasury.

“Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards — and good luck! Liam.”

And as if that wasn't enough, Alistair Darling has the gall to criticise the new Government for laying the blame for the parlous state of the finances at Labour's door.

Mr Darling, who is stepping down from Labour’s front bench, added: "The Conservatives and Liberals are playing the oldest trick in the book. What do you do when you are a new government? You blame your predecessors. It is straight out of Yes Minister. It looks like they are going to have to put taxes up, they want to make pretty heavy cuts in public expenditure and they are naturally looking to blame someone else."

And they don't have to look very far, do they Alistair? When Labour came to power the UK was in the black. After thirteen years of your stewardship we're perilously close to bankruptcy. Spin it however you like, those are the facts.

Alistair Darling: We’ll keep Barnett formula because it works

The toxic badger has been telling the Welsh that Labour intend to keep the Barnett Formula.

“We intend to maintain the Barnett formula because it works.

“But we have also said that we will make sure that Wales isn’t disadvantaged as a result of the Barnett formula.

“It’s not just the Barnett formula that Wales benefits from. For example, we are going to electrify the railway line between London and south Wales.”

“So yes, in relation to Barnett we will maintain it and we will make sure that Wales is not disadvantaged.

Lush! That's mega, boyo.

Just one thing, almost everyone except for you and Gordon Brown thinks that the Barnett Formula should be scrapped. Make that two things actually, the secong being: And what about England you cretinous little turd?

Darling: Don't Panic!

The Independent:

Chancellor Alistair Darling warned today that the UK was "far from through" the recession, raising speculation that he will be forced to ditch his forecast that recovery will begin in the second part of this year.

Fucking hell. No shit Sherlock! We're barely into the recession you dozey plonk.

Half my office has already been laid off, and today we received a management email warning us of another 10% reduction in staff numbers to come. It all seems rather unfair given that no one in the Government or PLP has been made redundant, or given us the chance to make them redundant.

Enjoy your subsidised beer while you can.

Scissorhands Darling

In a speech to the Scottish Parliament Jackson Carlaw has come up with a great new nickname for Alistair Darling:

Labour is so desperate to find a strategy back from an emerging wilderness that out comes the old scattergun of scare and shame. I know that Labour, when confronted with today's reality check on its health record—which I freely admit is not entirely without merit—will react true to form. I can hear the familiar charge coming, so before Labour members gobble on their spittle, I remind them again of uncomfortable facts. Labour is the only party in history that, when in government, forced through real cuts in the health service. A generation ago, Labour cut nurses' pay by 3 per cent; doctors' pay by 16 per cent; surgeons' pay by 25 per cent; and overall health spending by 3 per cent.

The Labour chancellor, Scissorhands Darling, chose to change the health baseline for calculating the Barnett consequentials, resulting in a budget to the Scottish Government on health that is about £342 million less than it would otherwise have been.

What Mr Carlaw doesn't mention is the small fact that the cut in Scotland's baseline is a consequence of a cut in the English health baseline of £2.85 billion. Scissorhands indeed.

A New Low in Public Ethics

Rupert Darwall in the Wall Street Journal:

Chancellor Alistair Darling's demand for assurances about HBOS jobs in his hometown of Edinburgh marks a new low in public ethics -- a clear-cut case of a minister abusing his public office to protect a constituency interest. It also gives English voters hard evidence that a Scottish-led cabinet puts Scotland's interests above the rest of Britain.

Nanny State Nation

My Alistair Darling Barred Facebook group got a mention from some Yank called Drew Carey.

Are you still allowed to say Yank, or is it banned?

A proper use of taxpayer's money?

Those of you still bristling at Alistair Darling's alcohol tax hike might be interested to learn how little MPs can buy their beer for in the taxpayer subsidised bars in the Houses of Parliament.

For comparison I add alongside the prices from a couple of random London pubs whose drinks prices I have been able to find on the internet (The Roebuck and The Dispensary).

  Commons Roebuck Dispensary
Foster's £2.10 £2.90 £2.90
Kronenbourg 1664
£2.40 £3.15 £3.00
Guinness £2.20 £3.10 £3.00
John Smith's
£2.10 £2.80 -
San Miguel £2.40 £3.15 £3.00

Unfortunately there are no figures for the individual subsidy on alcoholic drinks in the House of Commons bars. The subsidies are included in the overall catering budget which, according to the HoC Annual Report (p77), we - the taxpayer - subsidise to the tune of £5M a year.

That's WE the taxpayer subsidising the alcohol and food of the 646 MPs at Westminster who can get pissed and grow fat for cheap, in spite of the binge-drinking and obesity epidemic. Well, they do only get a basic wage of £60,000 a year, living expenses and free taxis to take them home when they are too pissed to drive.

Take a look at The Stranger's Bar price list (pdf).

The Press Bar (pdf) is also subisdised to the same degree, which is why you don't read about this outrage in the newspapers.

It's not just beer and bar snacks either, it's fine wines and champagne (pdf). That's a bit of fucking alright, eh?

The House of Commons doesn't do off-sales but if you are an MP and you want a 'souvenir' of your workplace you can buy alcohol from the souvenirs and gifts service, less 18.5% of the advertised retail price (but only if you are a member).

Greedy money grubbing bastards.

In light of the tax on our beer going up and up (for the good of our health) who will join with me to call for the end of subsidised alcohol and food in the Houses of Parliament? Just think of the MPs; think of their waistlines, their livers, our wallets.

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