Liam Fox’s Atlantic Bridge linked top Tories and Tea Party activists

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Liam Fox and wife Jesme (right) with former prime minister Baroness Thatcher at his 50th birthday party in London. Photograph: John Stillwell/Press Association

Courtesy of Jamie Doward @ The Guardian:

Twenty US business leaders assembled in Pittsburgh in October 2006 to pay court to the coming man of British politics. They could have been forgiven for thinking Liam Fox, with his neatly parted hair and clipped Scottish accent, resembled the GP he had once been, rather than a potential Tory leader.

But, although few of the business leaders knew much about the shadow defence secretary, they were familiar with his charity, the Atlantic Bridge. This was the organisation whose patron, Lady Thatcher, was lionised in the US for her support of the free market and American military airbases on British soil. It was the organisation whose members in 2004 were ushered into the White House to be briefed by Karl Rove, George W Bush’s special counsel. And it was the organisation whose cocktail parties in the Carlton Club in London and Charlie Palmer’s steakhouse in Washington were high points of the transatlantic social calendar.

Shortly after addressing the business leaders at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Club – “the finest city club in the country”– Fox explained that the Atlantic Bridge promoted the special relationship between the UK and the US by creating “a network of individual people who can know one another”. He declared: “We are trying to bring people together who have common interests and to recognise that in an ever more globalised economy, we will all be called upon to defend those common interests.”

Last week those interests came back to haunt not just Fox, whose fall on Friday rocked David Cameron’s coalition government, but also many Tory members of the cabinet, whose extensive links to the Atlantic Bridge are now under scrutiny. The irony is that it took a furore around Fox’s friendship with a relatively minor player in the saga – a lobbyist, Adam Werritty – to make these links apparent.

Admittedly, senior Tory cabinet ministers had been scrambling to distance themselves from the Atlantic Bridge long before the scandal brought Fox down. The organisation’s website – and that of its sister charity across the Atlantic – has been dismantled. But old caches of the site reveal that, while shadow ministers, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and William Hague were all on its advisory council alongside Fox, its UK chairman. All four stood down as awkward questions over its political activities, which contravened charity laws, resulted in the organisation being wound up. Continue reading

David Cameron’s family fortune: the Jersey, Panama and Geneva connection

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David Cameron embraces his father during an election rally in Swindon in 2010. Ian Cameron helped establish Panamanian investment fund Blairmore Holdings Inc. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

 

Courtesy of Ed Howker & Shiv Malik @ The Guardian:

At the heart of a stunning 50-acre estate by the banks of the river Deveron in Aberdeenshire sits the granite-clad Victorian mansion Blairmore House, home to four generations of the prime minister’s family.

Built in the 1880s by Alex Geddes, a Scotsman who became known as the Chicago grain king, the estate holds decades of David Cameron’s family history. The union of the Geddes and Cameron families was celebrated in the grounds in 1905, and the nearby chapel remembers forebears killed in the first world war. David’s father, Ian Donald Cameron, was born in 1932 at Blairmore House. But soon after that, the old place was sold.

So it was perhaps for sentimental reasons that the offshore fund Ian Cameron helped to establish in the tax haven of Panama shares the name. Blairmore Holdings Inc, just like Blairmore House, is a monument to wealth obtained overseas.

Valued today at £25m, the Panamanian fund was established in 1982 while David was still at Eton, the school that his father attended. At the time, Ian Cameron still worked at Panmure Gordon, the City broking firm at which three generations of the family were senior partners.

The family’s banking history goes back even further, to the 1860s, when Sir Ewen Cameron joined the industry. He later helped the Rothschild banking dynasty sell war bonds during the Russo-Japanese war. While at Panmure Gordon, Ian was a bond specialist too, showing determination to overcome his physical disability – he was born with deformed legs – and make partner at the firm by the age of 30.

What little we know of the historic activities of Blairmore Holdings comes from a shareholders’ prospectus issued in 2006, less than a year after David Cameron became leader of the opposition.

The prospectus, designed to attract investors with a licence to take risks, notes that Ian Cameron, a director of the company, “was instrumental in the formation of Blairmore Holdings Inc” and explains that the fund is designed to “provide investors with steady long-term capital growth over and above the global rate of inflation”. Continue reading

David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him

Courtesy of The Independent:

Everyone may well have a mate called Dave, but it doesn’t look like social media users want that mate to be the PM. Maybe it’s the bedroom tax, maybe it’s the legal aid cuts. It might even be the widely mocked picture of him on the phone to Barack Obama.

Whatever the reason for his apparent lack of popularity on social media, David Cameron’s team have resorted to paying to get him more Facebook likes.

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Yes, Conservative strategists have forked out thousands in party funds on Facebook ads to get the David Cameron page more fans on the site, The Mail on Sunday reports.

Facebook wouldn’t reveal any specifics on the deal, but a marketing expert told the paper that the social media campaign would have set the party back around £7500.

The cost – which some Twitter users have noted is more than they earn in a year – even seems to have worked, with likes on the page more than doubling in a month to hit 128,000, overtaking Dave’s mate Nick Clegg who is on 82,000.

But in an indication that a social media campaign might not be the best way to boost the Tories in the polls, poor Ed Miliband is sitting on just 33,000 – The Conservatives have nevertheless trailed Labour in all recent election opinion polls.

Defending the ads, the Tory team told The Mail that such campaigns are commonly used by American presidential candidates, adding that the strategy was “above board”.

A Lib Dem insider nevertheless branded the campaign “pretty pathetic”, while Labour MP Sheila Gilmore added: “There is no end to his ego.”

Conservatives ‘suppressing garden cities report’

Courtesy of The BBC:

The Conservatives have been accused of suppressing a report which recommends building two new garden cities to combat the housing shortage.

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said his coalition partners feared alienating voters in southern England ahead of the general election.

Mr Farron said he believed the report identified two potential sites – in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

The Conservatives denied any delay and said plans would be outlined for 2015.

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New communities

The report was initially commissioned following a speech by Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago in which he supported the idea of new garden cities to help alleviate the housing situation.

Mr Farron has now accused the Conservatives of deliberately suppressing its publication.

The sites would provide thousands of homes and include schools, transport and infrastructure to support whole new communities.

Mr Farron said there was clearly a housing crisis – and the garden cities could provide a solution – but the Conservatives feared provoking an angry response from voters in Tory heartlands.

He told the Daily Telegraph the “log jam” needed to be broken.

“This report needs to come out now and come out quickly. The Tories are displaying a Nimby attitude towards garden cities.”

Earlier this week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg expressed his continued support for the idea in the Commons, and said he hoped plans would be published as soon as possible. Continue reading

The Cost of Cameron: 100 Worst Failures of David Cameron’s Government from May 2010 to Dec 2013

Since the Tories kindly deleted their pre-election speeches, meaning its harder for Jo Public to verify how badly they’ve been screwed by the state, well here’s an article from Dr Eoin Clarke of The Greenbenches:

Poverty

 1.      The number of UK people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has grown by 1,689,000 since 31 December 2009 says European Statistics Agency (evidence)
2.      ONS Show 6,442,000 workers earn below a Living Wage in Tory UK even though 2 Studies show a Living Wage would save taxpayers’ billions (evidence & evidence)
3.      Now 707 Food Banks operating in UK according to my own research (evidence)
4.      David Cameron turned down EU Cash for Foodbanks says the European Parliament (evidence)
5.      Child Poverty up 13% (after Labour had cut it by 50%) says ONS (evidence)
6.    800,000 more households are living in Fuel Poverty & this excludes the impact of recent price rises according to USwitch (evidence)
7.     500,000+ relying on Trussell Trust Foodbanks alone since April 2013 as government scrapped collection of Food Bank Statistics (evidence & evidence)

Tax

8.      Tax Gap (Evasion/ Avoidance etc) up by 13% says HMRC (evidence)
9.      Staffing Budget for Tax Collectors cut by 165 says HMRC (evidence)
10.  Profit Tax cut by 19% says Chancellor himself (evidence)
11.  High Earners Tax Cut by 10% says Chancellor Himself (evidence)
12.  George Osborne hiked the rate of VAT to 20% (evidence) Continue reading

Tories Attempt to Delete All Pre 2010 speeches from the Internet

They’ve only gone and done it anyway but where are the journalists from the mainstream media, holding these corrupt and malevolent politicians to account? Orwellian doublespeak from Mr Cameron, the UKs treasonous premier and courtesy of The New Statesman:

How’s David Cameron’s pledge to be the “most transparent” leader ever working out? Not very well judging by an extraordinary story from Computer Weekly. The site reports that the Conservatives have attempted to erase all speeches and press releases issued between 2000 and until May 2010 from the internet. That’s right; not just from their own site but from the Internet Archive, the largest publicly available digital library.

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Continue reading

UK GDP: It’s not a Recession but a Depression

I have wrote, blogged and re-blogged about market manipulation, I believe with conviction that all markets are manipulated and statistics on inflation, GDP and employment are not representative or true. If they were, inflation would be 6% plus, unemployment would be double and GDP numbers would prove we are in a depression.

Cui bono? Our illustrious leaders of course, if George Gidion Osborne, David ‘Never worked a full day in my life’ Cameron and William ‘War Criminal’ Hague had to stand in front of the British public with representative statistics, heads would roll…literally. Not forgetting that the wealth transfer, happening through quantitative easing, would end and the banks would fail due to being completely insolvent. Courtesy of Money Week:

I wrote here a few weeks ago about the oddly opaque manner in which the government figures out what inflation-adjusted GDP growth in the UK is. It doesn’t use the RPI or the CPI as a representative of inflation – as you might think they would – instead, it uses its own deflator. I have no idea how that is calculated, and I strongly suspect that almost no one else does either. The key point to note is that until 2010 the RPI and the deflator were much of a muchness. But in the last few years, they have suddenly (and to my mind inexplicably) parted ways. James Ferguson at MacroStrategy Partners has kindly picked this point up for me and produced this chart:

Real GDP vs NGDP adjusted for RPI

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If you assume that the Office for National Statistics’ occult calculations for the deflator are entirely reasonable and correct, the UK has avoided a double dip recession (hooray!). If, on the other hand, you note that the deflator and the RPI have rarely diverged in the past, and so think that using the RPI to deflate nominal GDP continues to make perfect sense, it turns out that the real economy has been contracting since 2008 (boo!).

That’s not a double dip. It is a depression.