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

image

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

Advertisements

George Osborne faces backlash after branding charities ‘anti-business’

image

George Osborne addresses the Institute of Directors, where he urged business leaders to put their heads ‘above the parapet’. Photograph: Rex Features

Courtesy of Katie Allen & Rowena Wilson @ The Guardian:

George Osborne has triggered a backlash from charities after he urged companies to defend the economy against their “anti-business views” and those of pressure groups and trade unions.

The chancellor called on business leaders to raise their heads “above the parapet” and fight back against charities and others who he said were making arguments against the free market and standing in the way of economic prosperity.

Osborne told the annual convention of the Institute of Directors in London: “You have to get out there and put the business argument, because there are plenty of pressure groups, plenty of trade unions and plenty of charities and the like, that will put the counter view.

“It is, I know, a difficult decision sometimes to put your head above the parapet, but that is the only way we are going to win this argument for an enterprising, business, low-tax economy that delivers prosperity for the people and generations to come.

“There is a big argument in our country … about our future, about whether we are a country that is for business, for enterprise, for the free market.”

Osborne did not name any of the charities that had antagonised him, but his remarks are the latest in a string of comments by senior Conservatives suggesting they believe charities have got too political and leftwing. Continue reading

UK Debt Is Actually £100 Billion Higher Than We Thought, Official Stats Body To Say

Courtesy of Huff Po:

image

George Osborne’s austerity message is set to be dented by the government’s own statistics body, as it prepares to adopt new calculations that mean the UK’s public sector debt will be £100 billion greater than estimated.

The Office for National Statistics will bring in the new calculation this autumn as part of sweeping changes that include estimating illegal activities like prostitution and drug dealing as worth £10 billion to the country’s national wealth.

The UK’s debt will effectively increase from well over £1 trillion by more than £100 billion, or 7.3% of GDP, as the ONS attempts to improve its accounting standards changes introduced by the US, Canada and Australia.

The ONS will bring Network Rail’s debt onto the UK’s books and also stop classifying the state’s stakes in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds as liquid assets that can be sold off quickly.

But in good news for the coalition, the ONS will give the UK’s GDP a boost of up to 5% (£75 billion) by reclassifying research and development as capital spending rather than a cost of production Continue reading

Deficit £185bn not £90bn committee of MPs warn

George Osborne is a liar and a treasonous one at best, through fraudulent accounting practices he is hiding the true debt and deficit of the UK. Has austerity worked, when the figures are skewed, of course not. He is leading this country to ruin, well it is his job and considering most economic indicators are lies, he is getting away with it. Don’t worry, he’ll end up with a cushy job and the debt will be hidden until its too late. Go back to sleep Britain, your leaders are in charge and care about you, go back to sleep Britain, everything will be ok…till it’s not.

To protect yourself and your family, consider Gold, Silver and crypto-currency because the GBP as we know it, will finish with its value returning to its intrinsic value of…0. In the past 300 years there have been 700 fiat currencies, the longest lifespan was 50 years and we’re 42 years in on this global fiat experiment. If history does not repeat itself, it sure rhymes.

image

Continue reading

BY GEORGE, BRITAIN’S AUSTERITY EXPERIMENT DIDN’T WORK!

Courtesy of The New Yorker:

George Osborne, the patron saint of austerity enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic, was in the House of Commons on Thursday, reveling in the fact that the U.K.’s economy is finally growing again, and claiming that “Britain’s economic plan is working.” Delivering his annual Autumn Statement—he was a bit late—the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed to forecasts from the quasi-independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which point to G.D.P. growth of 1.4 per cent this year and 2.8 per cent in 2014. Continue reading

Workers’ overall pay has not fallen, insists George Osborne

Courtesy of The Guardian:

George Osborne is to claim that workers’ overall pay has not fallen, despite official figures showing that the wages of middle-income families have dropped by £5,000 over the past five years.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, showed a 6.4% drop in the annual wages of median households from £37,900 to £32,600 from 2007-08 and 2011-12.

image

But in a bid to defuse the ongoing row over living standards, the Treasury has drawn up its own figures, due to be published in Thursday’s autumn statement. They claim that workers’ pay has kept pace with growth if rises in employers’ national insurance and pensions contributions are included. The Treasury will blame the rise in national insurance introduced by Gordon Brown for the relative slowdown in wages – rather than companies siphoning cash into higher profits. Continue reading

UK Housing Bubble…What Bubble?

The UK housing market is in a bubble. The OECD advised that UK home values have climbed 36.6% since 2004. The Bank of England said last week that mortgage approvals have surpassed 60,000 a month, 6 months earlier than predicted. I’m sure this will all turn out lurvely with lots of fluffy kittens included but a speculative real estate bubble validated as the key driver of nominal economic growth….what could possibly go wrong? Obviously this time, it will be different.

image