Sunday, May 31, 2009

Move Over Darling?

The Telegraph has yet another expenses bombshell on the Chancellor, Alistair Darling. Apart from fliping four times and charing the taxpayer for personal tax advice, it appears he has now been claiming on two second homes at the same time. Added together, these misdeeds surely make his position untenable. Perhaps he will be endure the same media firestorm as a certain Conservative politician did last week. I look forward to his local Respect Party organising a street petition demanding his resignation.

What this might hasten is the appointment of Ed Balls as Chancellor. What a truly terrifying delicious prospect. Guido was right yesterday. If Caligula could appoint his horse a consul...

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/31/highway-patrol-fight-para_n_209500.html

DMC said...

Darling and Brown has been moving apart, I hope Darling stays because he has at least put a stop to the second fiscal stimulus that Brown wanted.

If Balls becomes Chancellor then my god he will just be a complete walk over for brown and will always just toe the Bunker line.

I would like to see John Hutton as Chancellor, I think he would do a good job.

MyMPsacnut said...

Bombshell?! No.

DMC said...

Iain

Great story here about who shouldnt be in the cabinet

Jaqui Smith will defend her decision to ban an American radio dj who wait for it wasnt even going to come to the UK anyway.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8076197.stm

Tachybaptus said...

Caligula didn't succeed in getting his horse Incitatus made a consul. Suetonius, source of this story which may well be pure spin, only says that he tried.

But this one is probably like the Canute story, where the wrong version becomes immovably established.

None of which has any bearing on what Brown may be able to do with his own creature.

Anonymous said...

The taxman's taken all my dough

and spent it on a stately home
lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And he can't sail his yacht

he's taken ev'rything I've got;
all I've got's this sunny afternoon.

Save him
save him
save him from this purge

we got a big fat home secretary tryin' to break me.
And I'd love to live so pleasantly

live their life of luxury:
lazing on a sunny afternoon

it's election time

Mirtha Tidville said...

never mind Caligula its the CID that looks to be needed here...Him and Hoon can share a cell what...

The Grim Reaper said...

So the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (who looks far too similar to Adolf Hitler for comfort) Edward Michael "Talks A Load Of" Balls could end up being the next chancellor. Just what we need - another stooge who will do exactly what Mugabroon tells him to.

Focusing on the main issue, however - why aren't the Tories demanding that Darling resigns over this? Or do they suspect the Telegraph have got more dirt about them that hasn't come out?

freecelt said...

Have we reached tipping point yet?

Macheath said...

From what I remember of my studies (well, reading 'I Claudius', anyway) Incitatus had a marble stall with an ivory manger and a gold water trough - amusingly reminiscent of some of the more egregious MPs expenses claims.

Presumably the next incumbent at No. 11 has to be squeaky clean (ie flip- and grift-free) - that should present an interesting challenge.

Flemingcrag said...

There has to be a certain genius in appointing someone more hated than yourself into the high profile Chancellor of the Exchequer role.
Gordon Brown has form in this type of manoeuvre bringing the equally loathsome Mandelson back into Government by way of contaminating the House of Lords even further with his presence.
There is even talk of bringing the twice disgraced David Blunkett back into the Government. Surely it can only be a matter of time before the next Government appointee is drafted in from one of Britains' much over-crowded prisons. Apologies in advance to any prisoner who feels mortified at the suggestion they have sunk so low as to be considered for a Government post.
With this line-up, Balls/Mandelson/Blunkett the spotlight is bound to move away from Gordon, we will be spoilt for choice for Public Enemy No.1.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Darling's management of his own finances is a disgrace and sufficient grounds to resign. Yet he is a New Labour operative and as his colleague General Anthony Cecil Hogmanny Melchett said: -

“If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

So we can expect silence and clinging to office instead of apology and honour.

JoeF said...

Balls? The one who claimed same second home as wife (Yvette Cooper) and appparently both claimed £400 each for food - total £800 a month, no receipts.

Apart from that, he's useless. Been making a complete mess of education, carrying on the surge of paperwork and trashing the system (e.g. new primary school curriculum, science no longer to be separate subject!)

Russell said...

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Darling's expenses - isn't it utterly extraordinary that his fate as Chancellor should be so openly discussed in the Press? Apparently other Ministers have been rushing to reassure everyone that he'll be moved to the Home Office.

This is a classic of Brown's way of operating - to leak details of his intentions (while remaining squeaky-clean and at arms' length from any repercussions)in order to undermine his target in public. Who in this case is supposed to be one of his oldest friends.

What a contemptible way to behave.

Thomas Rossetti said...

Iain, you still seem to be taking it badly that Respect organised a petition to get rid of Julie Kirkbride. As one commenter said on these pages at the time, it's essentially irrelevant who's organizing the petition as long as they're not forcing people to sign their names.

Admittedly, it would be slightly different if person organising the petition -- and I hope there'll be one -- against Darling did so on the grounds that he didn't like people with glasses, but as long as it's organised by a democratically-inclined group (or individual), they don't spread lies, don't coerce people to sign, and don't thump the politician in question, where's the beef?

Harri said...

It must be a bit of a bind for Gordon Brown, what with one thing and another and the added problem of having all that "talent" floating around going to waste?

This is now beyond parody, if they were pets it would have been the humane and "right thing to do" to have taken´them to the vets to have them put down.

The Lakelander said...

I don't think that No 11 Downing Street will be the only address in Whitehall with a vacancy by the 5th of June.

titus-aduxas said...

We only need a horse's head in No 11, we've already got its arse in No 10

Alan Douglas said...

He is not only "charing" the taxpayer, but taking us to the cleaners !

Will the last Labour MP left, when being appointed a Brown Minister, please turn out the lights when his misdeeds are exposed ?

Alan Douglas

Fausty said...

According to the Today programme, a spokesman for Darling said that the DT was wrong.

If Balls becomes Chancellor, Brown had better hope that he doesn't step on Balls's toes, given the latter's McBride-like tendencies.

Since the HO is going to fight Savage's suit against Jackboot, I assume that we'll be picking up the legal fees. I thought he was planning to sue her personally!

Knut said...

If this wasn't so serious for the fate of the country, it'd be bloody hilarious. All we can hope though is that the deeper a hole Brown digs Labour into, the longer they'll be in the wilderness.

Colonel Smedley said...

We could do with a bit of neo-endogeonous growth. Well, growth anyway.

Man in a Shed said...

I always saw Alistair Darling as one of the good guys of politics. In his trying the reign in the wild demands of Gordon Brown he may yet have done us all a far greater service than we credit him for.

He just doesn't strike as the sort to be lining his pockets at the public's expense.

I more ready to believe he's being especially targeted by those who want his job. ( Now who would that be ? )

Stepney said...

The ST said Balls was "widely respected in the City"

As someone on a joint income of £375,000+ yet STILL claims £800 a month for food I'm not suprised.

Such avarice and greed is stupendously impressive.

LMO said...

Ed Balls is a drinking buddy of the editor of the DT.He is not about to be exposed,is he?

B R Oken said...

Evan Davis was very weak questioning Brown on Today this morning. He let Brown read out all his prepared statements without interruption. When it came to questioning him over Darling he had obviously forgotten what the new allegations were and had to fall back on saying they were as spread across the Telegraph this morning. This let Brown say they were old allegations and Davis couldn’t challenge him. Bet Brown couldn’t believe his luck.
Bring back Humphrys.

albertmbankment said...

On the Today programme just now, Gordy Broon described Darling as a very good Chancellor and a friend. So, that's it; he'll be packing his tartan suitcases today.

Windsor Tripehound said...

When Huey Long managed to get elected as a Senator for Louisiana, someone remarked, "at least Caligula managed to send both ends of his horse to the Senate!"Looks like "history" might be repeating itself.

Anonymous said...

Evan Davis was very weak questioning Brown on Today this morning. He let Brown read out all his prepared statements without interruption. When it came to questioning him over Darling he had obviously forgotten what the new allegations were and had to fall back on saying they were as spread across the Telegraph this morning. This let Brown say they were old allegations and Davis couldn’t challenge him. Bet Brown couldn’t believe his luck.
Bring back Humphrys.

Lee said...

Brown has come out in full support of his Chancellor. What a guy to have in a sticky situation. Will back you what ever you do wrong. Now that is power for you! Ed Balls to be next Chancellor.....happy days are here again....I want to be on the same drugs as GB, the way he must see the world!!

Mick said...

"I look forward to his local Respect Party organising a street petition demanding his resignation."

Maybe your temper is getting the better of you Iain but Alistair Darling has no local Respect Party. Respect only organise in England & Wales. Darling's constituency is Edinburgh South West.

Anonymous said...

With increasing numbers of our soldiers coming back from Helmand in bodybags without any government representation at funeral ceremonies, I am astonished to learn that our prime mentalist has found time to phone Piers morgan and simon Cowell to enquire into the health of that fat scottish singer that came second in Btitains got talent following her admission to the Priory.

BRYAN said...

With Mr Darling, deservedly, the centre of attention again we draw his attention to one of the most balanced articles we’ve read on the MPs Expenses issue; it was written for the Telegraph on Friday by Brian Friedman, a retired senior tax partner with Ernst & Young.

Some of the sensible points he made include:

1. In commerce, if a company pays for a capital asset, then it remains the property of the employer.

2. The taxman doesn’t accept voluntary donations: the tax system doesn’t work like that. If we try to pay tax where none is due, he will simply return our cheque.
We believe this may have been the case with Hazel Blears who had either submitted an incorrect tax return, in which case she is liable for interest and probably penalties, or the whole thing is a charade.

3. From a tax perspective, any expenses incorrectly claimed and subsequently repaid represent a beneficial loan. If the total is over £5,000, the MPs should be subject to tax on notional interest arising – so the taxman should be charging interest and penalties on all those incorrect tax returns.

4. If the declaration any of us make when we complete a tax return is shown to be inaccurate, HMRC, in practice, gives us a last chance to come clean with a full accountant’s report on anything more to be declared accompanied by a ‘Certificate of Full Disclosure’.
If all MPs now had to review their returns and sign such a certificate it would certainly focus their minds.
If they don’t or won’t, why should we trust them with our votes?

5. If any MP has not declared as a benefit in kind the sum received for accountancy advice he/she will have submitted an incorrect return – see 4 above.

6. If Mr Darling cannot submit a tax return without specialist help he has himself and his predecessor to blame for the system’s greatly increased complexity during their treasury tenure. Now is the time for a radical simplification.

7. Special section 292 of the tax code that MPs created for themselves - which ensures lower levels of scrutiny by exempting their ‘ overnight’ expenses – should be abolished without delay. The most important need is to stop the rot and (we add this ourselves) not to be sidetracked by longer-term issues such as constitutional reform.

8. All expense claims should be suspended with immediate effect until a Certificate of Full Disclosure is submitted to the Fees Office.
This is the simplest way of separating the rotten eggs from those who have behaved properly.

Our own final comment on Mr Friedman’s article is that systems already exist within the tax code to help resolve the present main concerns.
We businessmen generally try to fix immediate problems without delay. We simultaneously start considering longer term solutions and plans.
Not for the first time do we note the government’s inability to adopt the same balanced approach thereby delaying the application of the tourniquet so clearly needed right now.

trevorsden said...

It should be pointed out that Darling is saying the story is wrong. He might even be saying it is a lie, I don't know.

But if the story IS wrong and/ or embellished, well you have to wonder why don't you. Who would benefit from a disgraced Darling? Who is a mate of the Telegraph editor?

Chris Paul said...

Are you just trying to see action in the libel courts? What's "fliping" and does it rhyme with "wiping"? What's "charing" and does it rhyme with "sharing" and "caring"? Have you some proof of this personal tax advice allegation or is that just a libel? And two second homes at the same time? Is that transitional relief? Or more libel Iain?

Balls as Chancellor is bollocks. Beckett is more likely.

Lee said...

Darling has started to pay up. £700 and counting.....

Jules said...

He claims them here - he claims them there
He’s the chancellor - with the silver hair
He flips his prop-er-ties like a juggler on co-caine
Yes, he’s a dedicated follower of cash-in

(with apologies to The Kinks)

Jon Harvey said...

It does seem to me that whether MPs are 'standing down' or not is based mainly on the court of public opinion multiplied by how close they are to their party leaders. Iain - you would be doing us a favour - if you could organise a small political experiment... Why not describe (say) four MPs and their expenses - without names, positions or parties - and see how people react as to whether they should go or not. I do fear that people are editing their reactions according to whether the MP is in the same tribe as them or not... What about it Iain? The results could be illuminating!

curly15 said...

Buy the book, then judge.

Lee said...

I know this is not the right headline but I have a question. How is it that GB is going to France to stand side by side with President Obama (Head Of State) and President Sarkozy (Head Of State)for the 65th anniversary of the D Day landings? Have I missed something because the last time I checked the constitution ,as such, the Queen was Head Of State. If he is going, who exactly is paying. As he is not Head Of State in what capacity will he be attending. If there is no money for anyone else because the Government choice to ignore the 65th Anniversary...I leave the floor open to answers and questions....

David said...

Re Mirtha's comment. Surely Hoon would need at least 2 cells?

Little Black Sambo said...

Caligula's horse was a graceful, intelligent and useful creature.

Des Harding said...

Could it be that the accountancy advice given to Alistair Darling, and paid for by the taxpayers, showed hium the very way to dip yet further into the public purse by flipping his homes four times? What a pity the spivy badger couldn't be so adroit with the nation's finances. Let's have a look at Balls' finances for a good idea of what is to come.

Lee said...

Looks like Darling may be on the brink......Sky News....DT Brogan Blog.....Guido Blog....Looks like it is going to be the Brown Balls show until election time!!

Michael J said...

Does Darling read newspapers?

This has been going on for weeks - so why may I ask - does it take so long for him to pay back or say anything.

Did he (and others)not see the writing on the wall.

Why do they all wait so long. Are they trying to see what the telegraph says so they can pay back less.

Darling has to go we can't have a chancellor who has and is acting so dishonorably.

He should resign everything including as an MP

norfolkandchance said...

I really do not see why you are worrying. By trying to retain the expenses cheats in the cabinet Brown has enraged both the public and Labour's own activists. GB will be very lucky to survive next week.

Adrian said...

Minifisk of AD's chat with Nick R on PM:

Guilty