13 October 2009

Brown’s “difficult day”

Brown speaking to the PLP last night:

It is a difficult time, it is a difficult day, there are difficult letters on the way.  Legg was set up on an all-party basis.

Now, hold on a minute.  It was Brown who initially proposed the Legg inquiry after Cameron was making the running on MPs’ expenses back in the summer.  It has now backfired on him a spectacular way.

We move on to Jacqui Smith, who would have been sacked on the spot in the private sector for a similar misdemeanour.  Here is why a seven-month inquiry was required to tell everybody what they knew at the time:

It took John Lyon, the Standards Commissioner, four months to get the full facts from her private office and the police who were guarding her over that period, amid signs of resistance from the Home Office.

After Lyon’s completed his report it was presented to Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.  This met last week when it was stuffed full of Labour MPs with only one Tory present.  Little wonder they decided that Smith did not have to repay £116,000 of taxpayers money that was falsely claimed.

Let us turn to another matter that happened during Brown’s “difficult day”, his latest headline grabbing wheeze regarding asset sales.  The whole process is ‘fraught with difficulties’:

Experts in infrastructure and corporate finance pointed out that the Government would have to drum up demand in depressed markets for real estate assets and the student loan book, while a number of other assets also had their own, unique problems.

We should remind ourselves that one of the reasons why the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail was called off was due to the recession, as Mandy explained at the time:

Market conditions have made it impossible to conclude the process to identify a partner for the Royal Mail on terms that we can be confident would secure value for the taxpayer.

There is therefore no prospect in current circumstances of achieving the objectives of the postal services bill. When market conditions change we will return to the issue.

Our Dear Leader can’t directly be blamed for the expenses scandal, but he is responsible for Legg, the Jacqui Smith saga and ‘selling the family silver’ for what will be rock a bottom price.

If Brown was a chief executive of a private company and managing shareholders’ money in this way, the board would remove him for what is politely called ‘gross incompetence’.

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