Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ever Watch A British Parliamentary Debate? The Beast Of Bolsover vs Dodgy Dave


When I was spending a lot of time in London on business for a few years, a friend of a friend was a Member of Parliament-- a gay Tory-- and he offered to take me to lunch in the Members dining room one day with the option of sitting in the visitors' gallery and hearing a debate. I gladly accepted .The day we picked just happened to turn out to be the day Margaret Thatcher decided to go join George H.W. Bush and go to war against Iraq. It wasn't a very lively debate and there was a sense of unrealness about what was-- in retrospect at least, being launched. One of the Members opposing Thatcher was Dennis Skinner., not a favorite of my host it turns out. Lunch, afterwards, though was very nice. Skinner, I was told, never eats in the Members dining room.

This week's debate over the Panama Papers was somewhat more exciting. That's when the same Dennis Skinner, a former coal miner and a Labour MP since 1970 (from Bolster in Derbyshire)-- affectionately known to his colleagues and constituents as "The Beast of Bolsover"-- caused quite a stir and got himself ejected from the House for the day.

Although most Americans who know of Skinner at all, know him as one of the PMs who was behind Jeremy Corbyn when he was overthrowing the New Labour dominance of the party, Brits still remember that Skinner, an outspoken anti-monarchist, had used the floor of Parliament to expose Thatcher for bribing judges in 1984 and, in 2005, referring to the Conservatives' economic record under Thatcher as a time when "the only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories." He was ejected from Parliament for those statements-- and quite a few others.

When Paul Ryan was dividing up Americans as "makers" & "takers," David Cameron was using the same kind of right-wing divisiveness to categorize Brits as "strivers" & "scroungers." Monday, Skinner, during a debate on the Panama Papers and the role of the Cameron family in the corruption, called the Prime Minister, "Dodgy Dave," which didn't go over well among the Conservatives, where the epithet struck a raw nerve. Under unparliamentary language rules, no MP is allowed to accuse another member of being dishonorable and "dodgy" would imply Cameron is a crook who was avoiding paying taxes by stashing wealth overseas. Cameron's defenders are also using name-calling to cloud the debate. Yesterday, Sir Alan Duncan, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton called working people who criticize Cameron for being a crook jealous "low achievers." He sounds very much like a Republican:
Paul and Dodgy Dave

"Shouldn't the Prime Minister's critics really just snap out of the synthetic indignation and admit that their real point is that they hate anyone who has got a hint of wealth in them? May I support the Prime Minister in fending off those who are attacking him, particularly in thinking of this place, because if he doesn't, we risk seeing a House of Commons which is stuffed full of low-achievers who hate enterprise, hate people who look after their own family and know absolutely nothing about the outside world."
He wasn't ejected from the Chamber but the debate over the Panama Papers is heating up worldwide-- and just as the U.S. confronts the latest slap on the wrist towards the bankster criminals at Goldman Sachs. No one gets blamed and no one is accused on anything. It's as though the entity "Goldman Sachs" did something complicated-- but without motivation-- illegal and will be asked to pay a fine, though not even close to the $5.06 billion being deceptively ballyhooed by the government in the media. The firm-- not individuals, apparently-- created and sold packages of shoddy mortgages to investors, one of the primary causes leading up to the near collapse of the world economy and siphoning billions of dollars from Americans' savings. The Washington Post reported that "advocacy groups quickly pounced on the deal as too lenient, noting that the $5 billion settlement is dwarfed by Goldman Sach’s recent profits. Also, they note, Goldman Sachs will be be able to deduct some of the cost of the settlement from its taxes. 'That is not justice,' said Dennis Kelleher, president and chief executive of Better Markets. 'Every single individual at Goldman who received a bonus from this illegal conduct not only keeps the entire bonus, but suffers no penalty at all.'" I'm sure that will make Obama, Schumer, and Clinton smile with disdain.

Speaking at a rally in Albany, Bernie told supporters that what was being discussed was "fraud" by Goldman Sachs and the inequity-- economic and judicial-- created by a rigged economy. "This is the system we are living in and this is the system we have to change. Goldman Sachs is one of the major financial institutions in our country... What they have just acknowledged to the whole world is that their system... is based on fraud." Perhaps this would be a good time for Clinton to release the transcripts of the speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs executives, speeches that gave the company legalistic cover to massively bribe her and her equally corrupt husband. Anyway, back to Dodgy Dave and his own embarrassing corruption exposure.

David Cameron has finally admitted he benefited from a Panama-based offshore trust set up by his late father.

After three days of stalling and four partial statements issued by Downing Street he confessed that he owned shares in the tax haven fund, which he sold for £31,500 just before becoming prime minister in 2010.

In a specially arranged interview with ITV News’ Robert Peston he confirmed a direct link to his father’s UK-tax avoiding fund, details of which were exposed in the Panama Papers revelations in the Guardian this week.

Admitting it had been “a difficult few days”, the prime minister said he held the shares together with his wife, Samantha, from 1997 and during his time as leader of the opposition. They were sold in January 2010 for a profit of £19,000.

He paid income tax on the dividends but there was no capital gains tax payable and he said he sold up before entering Downing Street “because I didn’t want anyone to say you have other agendas or vested interests.”

But the interview appeared unlikely to end scrutiny of Cameron’s tax affairs.

The Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said the prime minister should resign, claiming that Cameron had “covered up and misled.”

Cameron also admitted he did not know whether the £300,000 he inherited from his father had benefited from tax haven status due to part of his estate being based in a unit trust in Jersey.

“I obviously can’t point to the source of every bit of money and dad’s not around for me to ask the questions now,” Cameron said.

It was the fifth explanation in four days from Cameron and his aides about the benefits he and his family had enjoyed from the offshore fund.

Downing Street initially insisted it was a private matter, but Cameron then said he had “no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds”. His spokesman later clarified: “The prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds.”

Downing Street then said there were no offshore funds or trusts the family would benefit from in future, leaving questions about the past.

In his first interview on the topic after days of stonewalling, Cameron was questioned on whether there was a conflict of interest between his father setting up the Panama-based Blairmore Investment Trust, which did not have to pay UK tax on its profits, and his professed policy to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance.

...Richard Burgon, the shadow Treasury minister, said Cameron’s admission showed a “crisis of morals” at the heart of the Conservative government.

He said: “After four days of refusing to answer this question David Cameron has now finally been forced to admit he directly benefited from Blairmore, a company which paid no tax in 30 years. He must now further clarify whether or not he or his family were benefiting directly or indirectly in 2013 when he was lobbying to prevent EU measures to better regulate trusts as a way to clamp down on tax avoidance.
Don't say no one ever warned you. This is what happens whether you elect conservatives, whether Dodgy Dave in Britain, Paul Ryan in Wisconsin or Hillary Clinton in New York. It's in their political DNA. Wise up; we finally have real choice-- which doesn't happen all that often. After an onslaught from the establishment media, you may not think Bernie's perfect but, there's no getting around it: Hillary and everyone around her just reek of corruption. Support Bernie and the anti-corruption reformers like him who are running for Congress.

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