Parliament should now focus the rest of this session on the economic and social crises


The recall of Parliament today went better than I expected. In the Lords I think the questions on public disorder were measured and appropriate, and the tone continued that set in the Commons by David Cameron and Ed Miliband in avoiding political rancour. Today was the day for standing shoulder to shoulder against criminality, for being clear that there is no excuse for that criminality, and for being clear in support of the police and community representatives.

When Parliament resumes again in September I trust we will be at more distance from the unrest, in the hope that there is no resumption of the riots and looting. If so it will be important that other questions are put.

The Government faces a big challenge. It has to manage two crises. One of economic growth and the other of social breakdown. As the Prime Minister said in his statement, “crime has a context, and we must not shy away from it.”

The global economic difficulties are compounding our own problems of very sluggish growth in the UK economy. Slow growth means less money coming into the Treasury in taxes and more going out in benefits. It is estimated that borrowing will rise by an additional £43 billion over the predictions of a few months ago.

The Government’s strategy of deficit elimination this Parliament has been clear, even if the pain involves limited jobs growth, education places being reduced and welfare entitlements being scaled back. Now they have as difficult an additional challenge in responding to this week’s disorder.

We can argue about whether some of the measures in response to the economic crisis will exacerbate the social crisis, but most important is the Government putting an absolute priority on tackling the twin challenges.

Parliamentary time is limited between now and next May when the current session finishes.

This unprecedented set of economic and social problems are such that I don’t think Parliament has the luxury of being able to legislate and debate anything else of substance.

I think the Government should use the next three weeks to review the current legislative programme and retain only those measures that will either assist growth and deficit reduction or help to rebuild safety on our streets, confidence in the police and the re-engagement of those people who have lost touch with mainstream values of right and wrong.

If that means dropping spending £100 million on elected police commissioners, so we can spend the money on police on the streets, so be it. It may mean reducing our involvement in Libya. If it means postponing NHS and Lords reform, both measures that will absorb huge amounts of Parliamentary time, then that is part of the tough choices of Government.

I am not suggesting the Government should abandon other measures indefinitely, but I do think they should now be ruthless in prioritising what is important for the people Parliament and politicians are there to serve. It would be hard, but if the Prime Minister were to grasp this opportunity it would show true leadership in a time of unprecedented national difficulty.

24 comments for “Parliament should now focus the rest of this session on the economic and social crises

  1. Twm
    11/08/2011 at 5:24 pm

    The rapid turnover of Police commissioners should surely be arrested?

    I certainly have absolutely no confidence in any of our leaders at the moment other than Vincent Cable! Now there is a man with real style!

    • maude elwes
      12/08/2011 at 11:32 am


      Vince Cable betrayed those who voted for him and his idiot policies, which include more mass immigration, are proven senseless. The only saving grace was his spoken objective to stick it to the bankers. Yet, in power, he fades into a stooge of the City.

      He has no chance whatsoever of being re-elected, unless it is a fix, or his constituency is filled with dolts.

    • Senex
      12/08/2011 at 2:29 pm

      For a leveller there is nothing particularly level about Mr Cable.

      I have heard on the grapevine that his net income is boosted by him not paying any National Insurance contributions because he receives the state pension. Surely, in a time of austerity his Parliamentary income courtesy of the tax payer should be reduced prorata to bring him on a level with other ministers? Is it time to means test all MP incomes under self assessment so that they do not appear to profit from office?

      Sour grapes; inspired by Lord Blagger as a public service to those on welfare.

  2. MilesJSD
    11/08/2011 at 10:36 pm

    “This unprecedented set of economic and social problems are such that (Lord Knight) does not think that Parliament has the luxury of being able to legislate and debate anything else of substance”.

    They are mere ‘molehills’ alongside the long-known and much more long-term strategically

    “The Government should now be RUTHLESS in prioritising what is important for the People…”

  3. MilesJSD
    11/08/2011 at 10:55 pm

    “This unprecedented set of economic and social problems are such that (Lord Knight) does not think that Parliament has the luxury of being able to legislate and debate anything else of substance”.

    But they are mere ‘molehills’ alongside the long-known and much more long-term strategically urgent ‘mountains’ of difficulty and disaster increasingly besetting the Whole Civilised World and the Natural Lifesupportive Earth its 7 billion human dependents so luxuriously mass-extinct and destroy:

    essential reading “The Chaos Point – the world at the crossroads” by Professor Ervin Laszlo founder of the Club of Budapest.

    “The Government should now be RUTHLESS in prioritising what is important for the People…”

    Surely any government half-worthy of the name would have secured that already, and made it plain and ‘ring-fenced’ at the very Top of their election manifesto.


  4. Graham
    12/08/2011 at 12:08 pm

    Although slightly suspicious of party-political motives behind the suggestion, I do agree that there is too much legislation planned. This is basically a good suggestion that is worth the government considering.

    However, I would be firmly against any knee-jerk legislation, particularly involving any curtailment of rights, due to the riots. Summer riots are not unknown in this country and it has been some time since we have seen serious trouble. I would not support any legislation in reaction to the riots unless/until we see this as a long term and regular issue.

    Politicians should not be peddling concepts on which they cannot deliver, like “perfect safety”. Nor should they (of any party) be using these incidents as cover/opportunity for other political goals.

    Of course, inquiries into the causes and likely recurrence of the violence are welcome. As is short-term executive action to correct any executive mistakes. But legislation based on the riots should be completely ruled out for the duration of this session so that there is time for evidence-based policy making and serious reflection.

    • Lord Blagger
      12/08/2011 at 3:02 pm

      What makes a difference is convictions and meaningful punishments. That’s why politicians carry on with their looting of public cash.

      The solution is openness. Publish for example what the 212 peers did to get their expenses questioned, rather than rely on people to dig it out.

      The same applies to rioters. Look at what the photographs are doing.

      The same applies to social media. Allow it, and then get a warrant for all transmissions from within the relevant cells, and use that to prosecute those involved.

      Far simpler and doesn’t adversely affect almost all people’s right to privacy.

  5. maude elwes
    12/08/2011 at 1:14 pm

    The very best move for Parliament would be to look to the past and ask themselves, with an open and honest mind, what have they done over the years that has turned this country from a relatively law abiding, compassionate and worthy nation, in some decades with mostly full employment, into a marauding, wild pack of feral, illiterate low lives, we now call our people?

    What do we have today that wasn’t there yesterday? Can you just imagine for one minute how in the fifties and sixties even, peers and MP’s, who cheated the tax payers money on lies, would have been treated? How would bankers giving themselves booty in outrageous bonuses akin to the pirates of Somalia have been accepted? How would the sexualization of children, in school, no less, as well as the media, advertising and pornography, have fared? How would the exploitation of us all by utilities, the state, the High Street and any company or organization who knows they can get away with it, have been treated then? The promotion of third world abandonment of children, by making single parent lifestyle the acceptable norm and the acceptance of men, for just a one night stand, considered now so popular, even the Commons speakers wife is so ready to expose her lack of self esteem, as if it was a banner of excellence?

    Face up to what you have promoted and the fear you have had in speaking up against it, just in case it didn’t go down well with the politically correct brigade, brought in from the good old USA via their ideas on faulty psychology.

    Now we hear, Theresa May, is contemplating, in earnest, the employment of a spent police officer from that wonderful country that gave us this mess, as the man to show us the way to deal with it. Monty Python couldn’t do better.

    The USA is a disaster. It is a place no civilized person would raise a child or live in if they could avoid it. The British have an entirely different sense of morality to that lost society. And we are on the verge of bringing more of it here, because the guy who was their policeman wants to leave it and get a large packet of British tax payers money to do so.

    Above all, Americans, will sell you any line they can to fill their pockets handsomely. Take a look at the bankers for goodness sake. Hit men who have no sense of justice and, in the main, Americans.

    This link tells what really happened in LA and that this police chief was unable to change that significantly, as claimed, and that after his methods were put into practice, over time, murder increased via the gangs he was taken on to thwart.

    Read this carefully:

    These reports explain the true problem here is family breakdown, poverty and expectation flamed by consumerism, absent mothers as well as fathers, or, in short, abandoned children, as well as cultural differences in society. Exacerbated by political fear of addressing issues blatantly obvious to all.

    How do they deal with the high levels of murder, robbery and drug dealing in the Caribbean, Africa and other countries with high crimes of this nature? Do they deal with it?

    Unless you are willing to remove the blinkers and really face the problems here, this will grow faster than the rice grain on a chess board theory.

    Reason, it is considered cool and trendy to be this way and that was fueled by political indoctrination. You made it something that is trendy. Now you must deal with the foolishness of your inadequacies. And start immediately.

    PS: If you make the people homeless by taking away their cheap housing, and leave them to starve, by removing their benefits, without first making sure there is a path to the salvation you want to promote, you will only serve to inflame the situation of hatred through envy, to the point of mass hysteria.

    Keep in mind, it was the policies of government that led to this predicament in the first place.

  6. Twm
    12/08/2011 at 5:56 pm

    Blagger has an extraordinary and good way of turning it back at the politicians and since Maude sympathised with my “between a convicted murdere and a Trinidadian zombie scenario I should add that at some stage of the botched op ALL my clothes were stolen from me, and I was dumped by the criminally inclined (I’m well insured) surgeon outside the nuthouse with no clothes at midnight underneath a blanket with no other heat at all, until I agreed to be placed between them, or anybody. It was just above freezing.

    The convicted murderer did me a great kindness by going out the next morning specially, to recover my modesty and buy me a pair of trousers, for a tenner.

    The suit jacket that i was wearing at the time of the accident turned up a a committee meeting of the coop a few weeks later being worn by a former Private soldier in the guards of 38 years standing and violent temperament, who said he had bought it at the hospital charity shop for £5. He was very proud of it.

    I asked to look at the inner lapel and sure enough there was the Moss Bros covent garden where I had bought the pinstripe 9 years before.

    He offered it back to me for £25.

  7. Twm O'r Nant
    13/08/2011 at 8:42 am

    Does society itself suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, the only fix for which is copious alcohol and drugs for the everybody?

    I must get on with my apple cider harvest extraction!

  8. Gareth Howell
    13/08/2011 at 9:26 am

    The reason that stealing, and robbery was punishable by death, until the 1830s, even for small items (hang for a sheep as for a lamb)was that it undermined society.

    Murder was murder and if you could repay the sum due for the value of the person’s life who was killed, then that was ok.

    But with stealing it was different. It made EVERYBODY feel very uneasy that they would be the next to have valuables stolen.

    With the simultaneous arrival of the insurance industry and the police in the mid 19thC, society was no longer undermined in the same way at all. In the first place loss adjusters go the possessions back from the thieves for a fee, and later nobody bothered asking for the possession, merely the agreed sum due for the agreed value.

    It is no co-incidence that the Free police mason initiation ritual involves the hangman’s noose, (the blindfold and cuffs),
    hanging over the novice.

    It is no co-incidence either that the most common crime in the police force is petty theft. Wanting what somebody else has got,
    is evidently not something that is restricted to the criminal stealing classes, either before the 1850s or after it.

    It is being able to control those desires which distinguishes the better man from the other.

    Thus robbery with violence is most seriously viewed in the modern day. Violence (against the person) was dealt with by payment in money or in kind, but stealing along with it, usually meant that the thief had nothing to pay for the desired item with. Punishment, death, or today, a long term of years.

    Crimes against the person, of violence,property, and sexual offences are the categories of crime.

    “The word crime, from the root of Latin cerno = “I decide, I give judgment”. Originally the Latin word (aside from its lack of nasal aperatus) crīmen meant “charge” or “cry of distress.

    It is a cry of distress from the black community, of the cities of the UK.

    Not that many arrive at the beaches and beach huts of English/Welsh resorts in hot weather, but they should.

    I am quite certain that beach hut owners and sun bathers, beach game players, are delighted to see them.

    Such riots happen in hot weather.
    Get to the beaches oh ye black people of Britain! Don’t know where they are?

    Then search!!

  9. maude elwes
    13/08/2011 at 1:09 pm

    As a footnote on eviction from low cost social housing, in the event of being caught in a criminal act. Talk about hypocrisy.

    Lets begin with politicians who fiddle their expenses and have grace and favour accommodation. Company directors on the take ditto. Make it an across the board punishment for all who have a mind of criminality.

    Terrorist instigators who go home to the council house provided at tax payers expense, they should be the first to lose their homes. Why are they indulged in their acts against society without the punishment inflicted in this way?

    Here is a little example of that phenomena:

    Why should it be only those who are poverty stricken or without the ability to find an interested human rights lawyer, at our expense, because the case isn’t going to make their name a household excitement?

    Fair is fair after all. Equality is the name of this game.

    And recently I have been watching the BBC democracy live House of Lords debates. Nothing irritates more than seeing those Peers, especially Baronesses, who you know have fiddled expenses, or, hired illegals and got away with it, sitting beside the one who is speaking so they can be a feast to the eye on camera. It makes me feel sick. Talk about a grossly bad example to our young rioters.

    Then there are those same, longing for fame, and camera hungry, who refuse to wash and comb their hair or make and effort to look clean and tidy, like Baroness Warsi yesterday. Twitching away as if she had a tic, beside the on camera speaker, as well as smug with it.

    Really, you should set a better example to those you claim to represent. People in other houses of office across the world don’t look like this on camera, why should ours get away with it? If they want the job they should look the part.

    • Gareth Howell
      15/08/2011 at 12:29 pm

      “seeing those Peers, especially Baronesses, who you know have fiddled expenses, or, hired illegals and got away with it, sitting beside the one who is speaking so they can be a feast to the eye on ”

      Or organized the legalisation of sale of privately acquired stolen museum goods from Baghdad, and Iraq, by private members bill for public fine art auction room sale.

  10. Lord Blagger
    13/08/2011 at 2:20 pm

    It is no co-incidence either that the most common crime in the police force is petty theft


    Are you sure?

    I thought it was leaking and/or accessing information they should have. Well over 900 last year alone. Half of Merseyside coppers were investigating Stephen Gerard as an examaple.

    • Gareth Howell
      13/08/2011 at 8:07 pm

      Noble lord Blagger, I am out of touch sorry; apologies. I really must get my facts right in future.

      Petty theft goes unremarked unless they make a real success of it, leave the force and make the big time. There may be far more than 900 riflings of charity boxes by local constables. We will never know!

      I’m just wooin’ a black girl from Birmin’ham so I am a tad prejudiced!

  11. maude elwes
    15/08/2011 at 12:20 pm

    Bill Bratton is a waste of British tax payers money. First of all they have been using him for years here, under the Labour government. And yet, the gang and crime element is no better, in fact it is far worse than when he first showed up. Now I wonder why that is?

    Next: The side effect of his tactics will cost us more than it will save, according to this summary.

    Then, what an insult to the British police by telling them they are not up to the job this man is capable of. The last thing the British police need is a Duke Wayne as their director. Waynemanship is a fallacy and though it sounds good in cowboy films, reality is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    This guy Bratton is washed up in the US and is looking for the good old British to listen to his spent ideas and pay him fat cat wages so he and his family can retire in the UK, far from the US madding crowd. These tactics can be bought in any bookshop for just a few quid. Should they be needed.

    It appears this government is just as hell bent on wasting tax payers money as the previous one was.

  12. Lord Blagger
    15/08/2011 at 4:24 pm

    I disagree Maude.

    The police are all fighting over the job as Met Commissioner, with the enhanced pay, pensions etc, probably knighthood, …

    Far better to get in an outside to knock heads together, rather than an insider in such circumstances.

    They can put the knife in to those playing the game, knowing they are out of the problem in a short while. Insiders have to worry about annoying people, in case they are stabbed in the back later.

    • maude elwes
      16/08/2011 at 9:50 am

      @Lord Blagger:

      I take your point and understand fully that an outsider may well be the best bet as he will have no affiliation to the force as it presently is.

      What I question is this man’s experience and his cultural background in respect to the UK’s needs. Additionally, he has been advising the previous Labour government since 2006, that is five years now. If his tactics were going to work here, five years is ample time to test it.

      No, this man is not good enough for this country. We need someone from a European country who is more connected to the ethos of this nation. Following the US has been one of the reasons we have these gangs in the first place. Where else do they have this problem as deeply embedded in their culture other than the USA? This is an indication that their ethos and social environment exacerbates the need for such connections. It is nowhere near as prevalent in Europe.

  13. maude elwes
    16/08/2011 at 2:18 pm

    Two points on how our population could feel less deprived and marginalised socially.

    The first is, taxation of the rich. Why do the rich pay so ‘little’ personal tax whilst those on low and middle incomes pay so much? Warren Buffet, the famous American investor and billionaire, suggests the wealthy are ‘coddled’ by government on these matters. He tells the media he pays only 17.4% of his taxable income whilst those on low or lower middle are taxed far, far higher. And our George Osborne wants to give them a bigger break than they already get? Now why is that? Warren should be given a ‘peerage.’ (Yes, I do know he is an American, but, they knighted Teddy Kennedy for assisting the IRA) Warren is a guy of the people. A deserving soul.

    Now the utter lunacy government has with throwing away our hard earned taxes by importing unproductive people from abroad and putting them up in luxury at our hard earned expense.

    Here is a guy who somehow managed to transport from Somalia, his wife and their eight kids. Now how did he do that, being a pennyless, unemployed refugee? And what does our government know of this man? I mean, he could be a pirate or a killer rebel, could he not? Anyway, without speaking English, after living in this country on benefits with his family for three years, and still unemployed, he complained to his local Council that the six bedroomed house they gave him was inadequate for his needs, as, he wanted to be closer to his friends and family. He lived in Coventry and these friends and family (I wonder how many of those there are) lived an hours drive away, in London. Low and behold, somehow, he gets a London Borough Council which covers his part of Hampstead to give him and his entire family a six bedroom, two million pound residence, which costs £8,000 a month in rent, plus council tax, etc.. This was a gift to make him feel better.

    Yet, they force the poor indigenous (of any race or crede) of this country, to live in damp, inhuman conditions, should they be housed at all, and evict them if they won’t accept a job they decide is good enough for them. Yet this stiff and his fully covered wife, with no intention of immersing themselves in our society and way of life, gets the treatment afforded royals. And then our top brass wonder why we have rioting citizens, of all classes and backgrounds, believing they are entitled.

    What intrigues me is, who was it that found this 6 bedroomed Hampstead place for him? Which official decided it was the best way for the country to spend its money? What was in it for him/her? Was it a friend or relative at the town hall who managed to slide this through the paperwork. Or, was there some kind of personal pay off? Surely it couldn’t have been kosher.

    Is this Council also paying for independent Islamic schools for his eight kids as well. It only goes with the lifestyle after all. Or, is the local mosque throwing in the school on a bursary, as, mixing with the Kaffir who pay for this, is asking them to mix with the infidel. I thought immigrants were deported for not working after a period of time? Otherwise, we shall be keeping this man’s entire family, nuclear and extended, for the rest of their lives, as they are unable to function in this society and feed themselves as they are, can they.

    Does this government take us all for fools? And do you really believe the kids in our inner cities do not see this taking place right in their own back yard. Whilst they have no roof over their heads.

    As a Baroness wrote on another thread, charity begins at home. This is outright profligacy and with their own citizens hard earned and, forced off them, through their pay cheque. How many of our people do you think can afford £8,000 a month rent without stealing it?

    • Lord Blagger
      16/08/2011 at 5:14 pm

      You’re right. It’s just another form of Looting like peers and their attendence allowances, MPs and their expenses.

      However, on the tax front, it gets a little more interesting.

      I notice that Bufffet hasn’t voluntarily paid any extra tax. That’s because he doesn’t pay himself a large salary.

      In the UK a handful of people paid extra tax. I guarantee none of them are those calling for more taxation.

      For those calling for more taxation, such as Vince Cable. Have you ever heard him say thank you to all the people paying vast amounts of tax to fund his mad cap schemes? Not a peep.

      So cash cows, walk away. Organise yourself to pay less tax. Live on less. Starve the beast.

      Tax revenues were down yet again, so its working.

      Spending was up – no cuts

      Inflation is still going up.

      So much for oversight by the Lords.

      I think we can put that and the other items down as another failure of the Lords to regulate the Commons Maude.

  14. Lord Blagger
    16/08/2011 at 5:17 pm

    By the way, you may enjoy (or not) this little graphic

    The situation in the UK is worst.

    [Perhaps Phillip Norton can provide his own debt figures as asked for the UK. He didn’t like the 6.8 trillion figure, but hasn’t managed to post any numbers as to what the UK debt position is. Pensions included]

  15. MilesJSD
    17/08/2011 at 10:21 am

    You can not have Democracy where the ancient militant opposites still prevail
    (1) “I’m The King of the Castle”;
    (2) The Roman “closed ranks” Phalanx Syndrome.

    Australian policing back in the 1970, 1980s 1990s made the bold move for complexly corrupt Queensland of hiring a British police Commissioner to sort out its Police Force, which had its own corruptivities apart from the overarching corruptions of the “God’s-Very-Own” Bjelke-Petersen right wing nationalistic Premiership.

    That Englishman was as good as gold, but met such resistance that he had to declare publicly “The Queensland Police Force must be brought into the modern world – dragged kicking and screaming, if necessary”.

    But he was soon “voted out” by the “closed ranks” of the Qld police union, together with the new reform powers invested in him by the Federal Government;
    and that Union re-instated one of their very own “mateship mates”, as the regular long-term constitutionally “safe” Commissioner,

    but note, whose job-parameters not nearly so much required him to “perform” as had the remit of the (much more practically and morally effective) reforming English commissioner.

    Britain now “hiring” an American Police Chief, before it has achieved adequate internal moral and behavioural Civil-Service and therein Police Force responsibility (and response-abilities) and perceptual self-control, rather than reinforced others-control, might probably finish up the same way;

    and so might any Arm of the British Establishment that fails to establish internal perceptual, moral, behavioural and cost-effective self-control, instead of market-force dominated others-exploitation.


  16. Gar
    22/08/2011 at 8:33 pm

    “I notice that Bufffet hasn’t voluntarily paid any extra tax. That’s because he doesn’t pay himself a large salary.”

    It may all be commission on money invested on behalf of other people. Would that still be salary. Only a fool would gamble, Only a wise man take a commission only, on such risky ventures.


    The only problem with “@anybody” is that it undermines the present use of the diacresis(?)in favour of numbers only for email addresses, and then where would we be?
    California charging postal royalties to the world?

    You can only send 23 characters any way which is presumably the limit for a domain name, after the “@”.

  17. 01/09/2011 at 9:38 pm

    Lord Knight,

    It seems an odd argument that because the current system is clearly in terrible trouble all reform must be stopped. Whien I say odd I mean absurd and not unusual. I have never seen any governmental of legislative system which discusses reform measures openly in which some did not use that argument when a crisis arose in the system being reformed.

    Perhaps elected commissioners would be more effective in bringing communities into policing efforts and responding to underlying problems. I have in fact seen that dynamic in some cases in other countries…

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