Gerald Warner on Good Form re the Coalition of the Anointed


Coalition’s doing awfully well, don’t you think? It began as an exciting opportunity for two political parties, instead of just one, to share the spoils of office. Now, at the present rate of turnover, every Tory and Liberal Democrat backbencher should get a shot at ministerial office by the time the five years of power the coalition is gerrymandering for itself has elapsed. Just 18 days into the New Politics, David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, resigned for reasons that, to the untutored eye, look very similar to the old politics.

In his reply to Laws’ letter of resignation, David Cameron told him: “You are a good and honourable man.” That is good to know. So, why is he leaving the Government?

The little local difficulty was that Laws, over an eight-year period, had claimed more than £40,000 in expenses, against the parliamentary rules. It seems that further expenses remain to be scrutinised. According to The Daily Telegraph: “He also regularly claimed up to £150 a month for utilities and £200 a month for service and maintenance until parliamentary authorities began demanding receipts. Claims then dropped to only £37 a month for utility bills and £74 a month for his share of the council tax. Claims for service, maintenance and repairs dropped dramatically to less than £25 a month.”

It is fortunate that we are dealing here with a good and honourable man, otherwise some people might put an uncharitable construction on those facts. Cameron went on to say in his reply to Laws: “I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy rather than anything else.” Reading that and the similar drivel that has cascaded out of the establishment over the past 24 hours, one would think that Laws was under some compelling duress to take £40,000 of taxpayers’ money in order to protect his privacy. On the contrary, his privacy was only invaded because he had taken public money.

Once an individual claims any kind of state subsidy, his privacy is forfeit: the humblest benefits recipient could confirm that. The one certain way to have preserved his privacy was for Laws to have claimed no money – as he could easily have afforded to do. Laws is a multi-millionaire as a result of his previous career in banking: he was a vice-president of J P Morgan and then the managing director of Barclays de Zoete Wedd, before he was 30. That an MP with that kind of personal wealth elected to take more than £40,000 from the taxpayer says it all about politicians’ sense of entitlement.

It was that sense of entitlement that brought him down. His private life was revealed by Laws himself, in a transparent attempt to claim victimhood. To some degree that ploy succeeded, as the Dianafication of the former Chief Secretary among his colleagues and some elements of the media over the past 24 hours testifies. Cameron’s letter also said: “Your decision to resign from the Government demonstrates the importance you attach to your integrity.” It is good to have that on record, Dave, otherwise we might have imagined it had something to do with greed, media exposure and public anger.

Among the political nomenklatura much emphasis is being put on the likelihood that Laws will return to government. That is an expression of the resentment felt by the Entitled Ones that the public’s unreasonable touchiness about the disposal of taxpayers’ money has momentarily compelled them to abandon one of their own; but if the mug punters of the electorate think they have the final say they will be taught the error of their ways. The significance of the Laws affair is it signals that the sleaze which dominated the last parliament has leaped the fire-break of the general election to infect the New Politics. Anybody who ever imagined it would be otherwise is cerebrally challenged.

Another symptom of business as usual last week was HM Revenue and Customs blocking the peerage Cameron intended to bestow on Sir Anthony Bamford, a prominent Conservative Party donor. A minority of the public has succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome towards the political parasite class, masochistically decrying the exposure of Laws and giving him the “Parnell, my dead king!” treatment. The majority, however, has already shrugged off the momentary euphoria of the New Politics, assessed the situation and rightly concluded of its political masters: “They’re at it again.”

Less than a week ago I wrote that the Cameron project “has the smell of political death about it” – at a time when coalition scepticism ranked close to “climate denial” in establishment obloquy. The coalition is already unravelling, subverted by its own internal contradictions. Vince Cable has been passed over for Treasury office – the only role he deems worthy of his talents – twice in one month: the core of the Lib Dem reactor is close to meltdown. Dave is a loser: he lost the election, he lost the fight he picked with the 1922 Committee and now he has lost David Laws. This Government will end in epic disaster.

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19 responses to “Gerald Warner on Good Form re the Coalition of the Anointed

  1. Andre Peathey-Johns

    Might this result in the re-occurring nightmare of ZanuLabour smarming their way back into power with the added impetus of a new leader???

  2. I hope not. I’ll put up with corrupt, treasonable scum before I have malignantly corrupt, treasonable scum back again.

  3. I wish people would shut up about expenses.

    Look, it’s an expenses system. It’s a set of rules for claiming money from somebody else. The incentive is to claim as much as possible and, as with every expenses system in the world, those subject to it spend inordinate effort figuring out how to screw the system. That is what expenses are for, in most peoples’ eyes, and that includes capitalist warriors in the private sector.

    It’s no big deal. Yes, they all fiddled their expenses. Right now, people all over the country are being inventive with their expenses. The question is- and Sean once wrote an article on this- who decided there would be a hullabaloo about expenses, all of a-sudden?

    Moral panics start in the media because somebody from the Ruling Class wants them to. A primary function of the media in a statist (puritan/anglosocialist) State is to increase the arousal of the population, and not in a Page 3 kind of a way. It is there to tell the sheep- ourselves- what to be upset about, be it expenses or “legal highs” or “binge drinking” or crappy foreign horror movies or whatever the Ruling Class want to move against. We become aroused; we come to believe that the Damned Thing is of biblical proportions, and that Something Must Be Done.

    I believe what is Being Done here is a deliberate destruction of the reputation of, and trust in, politicians. We Libertarians may say, “well, good, they’re a bunch of crooks, let’s be done with them”. But that’s because we are naive and stupid, and we think that the politicians run the country. They don’t. They do what they are told by the Political Class en masse. They are simply the motor cortex of the hive mind.

    Thus, while the Enemy Class require some politicians to give a veneer of democracy, the weaker those politicians actually are the better, so that the rest of the Class are free to go about their rapacious business, with a suitably cowed bunch of politicians doing whatever bidding needs to be done. The more discredited those politicians are, the better.

    The power shifts, every day, from the old elected assemblies to the permanent salariat in the vast bureaucracy constructed over the past century and a half by The Enemy. This is about further transferring that power; in the post-democratic age we, the sheeple, will willingly give up the tiny protection that Democracy gave us, because it will have been utterly discredited. The process is far advanced, and this is just another surge in that campaign. And, the public humiliation of David Laws is another bad day for Democracy, another nail in the coffin of the system that, while it was never much good, is still, as Churchill said, “Least Worst”.

    Our new rulers will exploit us in ways unimaginable to some little MP clutching a handful of receipts. I feel sorry for the man.

  4. “I believe what is Being Done here is a deliberate destruction of the reputation of, and trust in, politicians. ”

    Correct. That is why the media targeted the Speaker. The Speaker is a non-political position, it’s value is purely symbolic of Westminster as an institution. It represented an institutional attack by the MSM against representative democracy.

    “This is about further transferring that power; in the post-democratic age we, the sheeple, will willingly give up the tiny protection that Democracy gave us, because it will have been utterly discredited. ”

    Yes and no. The permanent government will always be there managing most of our lives to make everything in everyway a little bit worse everyday.*BUT* I strongly suspect that the final step will not be the *end* of democracy but its very apotheosis. We will get direct democracy, where every consumer-bot will have a little box with buttons on it and the media will stage mock debates and give you a “choice” at the end between two predetermined options. And they will tell the masses that they are “freer than they have ever been” and the masses will believe them: because of the box with buttons.

    “And, the public humiliation of David Laws is another bad day for Democracy, another nail in the coffin of the system that, while it was never much good, is still, as Churchill said, “Least Worst”.”

    Democracy *is* the worst form of government aside from outright tyranny. Only Anglo-Saxon countries ever made democracy seem acceptable. In Britain that was because of the constitutional bric-a-brac accumulated over the centuries; in America because America was never founded as a democracy, but as a Republic, and so it actually had certain principles built into the structure specifically to constrain the democratic component.

  5. Sorry, Ian, didn’t mean to look as if I was sniping at you: I liked what you had written.

    “Democracy *is* the worst form of government aside from outright tyranny. ”

    Precisely *because* there are no principles in a democracy only personal and party advantage. Eventually, there is not even any real law in a democracy just a fist for standardisation. Most of the laws now passed are not real laws; they don’t represent natural law or universal moral law. Anyhoo democracy is not a libertarian form of government it is an authoritarian form of government.

  6. That’s okay Emac, I didn’t interpret what you wrote as sniping.

    I don’t agree that democracy is the worst form of government bar outright tyranny, other than that all other forms of government are basically tyrannies. The “modern” form for instance is a tyranny of “experts”. It is far worse than a shambolic sort-of-democracy.

    But then I would classify our system- other than the democratic figleaf- as being a “puritarchy”; that is, Government By The Most Moral. It has been since the mid nineteenth century. As has America’s government, since the Civil War.

    Also, I don’t understand this “we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic” thing. A republic is just a system without a monarch. It has nothing to say about how politicians and leaders are appointed. America is a republic, Iran is a republic, and the Soviet Union was a republic.

    America is also a democracy, because its politicians are appointed by democratic vote. It’s a democratic republic. Where is the contradiction?

    Democracy’s a pretty good system. Or it would be if anyone ever really implemented it. We, the sheeple, are dissuaded from it by arguments about the tyranny of the majority, when the threat is really teh tyranny of the minority. The USA and UK are run by, and for the benefit of, small oligarchic minorities. The reality is, the majority of The Majority don’t give a flying fig about passing laws. If every law needed the active approval of the majority of the population- if they had to turn up at a polling station- hardly any would ever make it onto the statute books.

    I’m a libertarian. As such, I have little fear of most of my fellow citizens. If i did, I’d probably be a socialist or a conservative or a fascist or a communist or something. The majority of The Majority are little interested in being tyrants. It’s that minority who actively seek power that you’ve got to watch out for, I think.

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  8. Paul Robinson

    Ian, I’m almost with you on this expenses business.

    I agree that it is unrealistic to expect politicians to be angels – they are human beings after all, they are simply differently motivated compared to the rest of us. However, it is quite hard to fathom what they can be thinking when “milking” the system as they do. Apparently, David Laws is a man of substantial means, and it might be thought that he of all people, went into politics to “put something back”, i.e., for reasons of public service, not private gain. I suppose you don’t acquire wealth by giving it away, and maybe his actions were merely thoughtless (in respect of the money – not his personal life).

    I’ll make this point again, having made it elsewhere on this blog, and being firmly (but politely!) shot down for my troubles! Any given set of rules can be subverted, usually by applying them in a robot-like fashion, and consequently, for any system to work properly, the participants must act in a manner consistent with the letter AND the spirit of the laws.

    I too have some sympathy for David Laws, not least because the press are absolutely determined to find “splits” in this government, but did he act wholly in the knowledge that it was public money he was spending? I suspect not. Should he have been “outed”(in respect of the money) in this manner? I honestly cannot make my up my mind, on this. On the one hand, the mock Puritanism of the press sickens me, but on the other hand, MP’s are well paid, and this particular MP is a man of independent means. My understanding is that he was (in the beginning, at least) complying with the rules as they then stood.

    Answers on a postcard please!

  9. . There is an anti-Puritanism: a Puritanism of Hedonism, if you like; it’s opposite but with the same techniques of ostracism and homilies. And just as Puritanism Christian morality created a limited state because men governed themselves, so the anti-Puritan is an incontinent who not only doesn’t mind being regulated all day long, he *demands* it; it’s practically the only restraint on his action.

    “Also, I don’t understand this “we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic” thing. A republic is just a system without a monarch. It has nothing to say about how politicians and leaders are appointed. America is a republic, Iran is a republic, and the Soviet Union was a republic.”

    Have you read Plato’s Republic? That is a true Republic and it is what the Founding Fathers were aiming at; the other Republics are phoney ones, counterfeits. The American Republic was founded to create an “ideal state” with universal moral principles for the benefit of its citizens which are coded in the Constitution. These ideals represent permanent metaphysical truths and as such could not be legislated away on the whim of an election. So the Constitution was protected specifically to make it as hard as possible for the democratic component of the whole to destroy the ideal (to prevent that which is base from destroying that which is good).

  10. Also St Augustine’s City of God: Christian Platonism.

  11. “Any given set of rules can be subverted, usually by applying them in a robot-like fashion, and consequently, for any system to work properly, the participants must act in a manner consistent with the letter AND the spirit of the laws.”

    Well said! It’s the mechanical mentality that is the enemy. The masses are programmed to demand more laws, more systems, more regulations and they go for it. But really, the machine is only as good as the man behind it. The problem in this country is a lack of good men, not laws or systems – there are far too many of those.

  12. “On the one hand, the mock Puritanism of the press sickens me”

    *The* most corrupt part of British public life is the media, bar none. It is the fountainhead of moral corruption. Having said although I agree with Ian on the subject of expenses, I am not unhappy to see this man go, mainly because I came to dislike the City of London and those who profit by its swindles and rapine. New Labour did a lot to b*gger up public finances, but where has most of the public debt come from? The bail out of the banks. And why did the banks go bust? So that characters like Laws could become personally wealthy and then dump the risk on taxpayers. He should be disqualified from public office for the reason that the City has disqualified itself as somehow a repository of economic expertise. It is just a band of gangsters in suits. The media will never talk in these terms; for twenty years since Maggie the media has been telling us that the City is the locus of “risk takers” and “entrepreneurs” and economic “gurus” (particularly the execrable phenomenon of management consultants); and look where we are now! They have practically broken the whole country; will the media ever run a campaign against the City? Never.

    As for MPs, IMO MP’s expenses are far too low as are their salaries. The problem is not the expenses or the salaries, the problem is the calibre of people in Westminster who do not deserve these expenses. But as Ian said earlier, this was an attack on Westminster, which the current crop of MPs (vermin) have actually *helped* by their subsequent behaviour. In the past had the media tried to hound the Speaker out of office, the whole House would have rallied round to protect him knowing that he was the symbol of the institution; now they queue up to throw the Speaker to the wolves to save themselves – and they *didn’t* save themselves they just made the situation worse by doing it. They are too selfish and selfserving to even recognise their group self interest. The fact is modern MPs are not fit to be in that place, and that is the problem not the amount of money they get paid.

  13. Paul Robinson

    “As for MPs, IMO MP’s expenses are far too low as are their salaries. The problem is not the expenses or the salaries, the problem is the calibre of people in Westminster who do not deserve these expenses.”

    But could it be that the quality of our politicians is so low BECAUSE salaries and expenses are on offer? For years, we (by we, I suppose I mean the MSM) have demanded dutiful attendance at Parliament, to the exclusion of all else, and the resultant professional political class is not a terribly pretty sight.

  14. “But could it be that the quality of our politicians is so low BECAUSE salaries and expenses are on offer? For years, we (by we, I suppose I mean the MSM) have demanded dutiful attendance at Parliament, to the exclusion of all else, and the resultant professional political class is not a terribly pretty sight.”

    Careerists are the kind of people who should by definition be excluded from politics. But unless you want an overt plutocracy instead of the covert one we have now, you will have to pay MPs salaries. I think the cause of the “professional politician” lies elsewhere. The MSM runs a pretty constant drumbeat propaganda of reducing *every* social problem down to money – too much money or too little or taxes or some other proxy for money. Not every problem is due to money, although money might be a phenomenological side-effect of it. So, although money should not be the reason a good man becomes an MP, nevertheless if you want that man as an MP to take on the kind of power the media and other vested interests have in this country, interests that can break you in two if they choose to, then you are going to have to pay them a lot of money. Would that attract crappy careerists? Yes. Does that invalidate my argument? No, I don’t think so. How would you filter out the careerists then? I don’t have the slightest idea. The mass mind is in the hip pocket of the MSM; the party apparats have a lock on selection, and none of the political parties are living ideological entities any more, they are more or less organised clubs/pressure groups for self-interest and the careerist MP is a side-effect of that. With the expenses thing, the MSM came pretty close to breaking the whole system, as it currently stands, IMO, but they got what they wanted: they smeared Westminster, took out the Speaker and have placed permanent pressure on MPs salaries and expenses to remain low – in other words to make sure that MPs keep a submissive position. What did the MPs’ do? They gave the MSM everything they wanted, and then went back to repeating soundbites like a trained bird. They should have rallied round the Speaker and boycotted the MSM to remind them of who is the government and who is just a reporter . And yet they didn’t: what does that say about the power relationship between the two?

    Like I said elsewhere here, I don’t vote.

  15. Paul Robinson

    “Careerists are the kind of people who should by definition be excluded from politics.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I still think the problem is a salaried political class, dancing to the tune of the major parties (the political wing of the ruling class) who require nothing but compliant, whipped lobby-fodder. Individual opinion or outright dissent is punishable by de-selection, and consequent loss of “job”, and above all loss of salary.

    If being a Member of Parliament is your one source of income, you have to be pretty strong minded to go against the party line, and risk your livelihood. Would it not be better to have a rumbustious, individualist House of Commons, where MP’s spoke their minds, and “things” only got done when there was real, general agreement. The current setup does not strike me as being in the “public interest”, i.e., debates curtailed by guillotine motions, and subsequent laws passed by the whipped votes of compliant party placemen.

    “How would you filter out the careerists then?”

    I can’t help feeling that NOT paying them, would at least put most people off becoming MP’s, at least until they had acquired some experience of life (and some money to support themselves). Perhaps an age qualification might help? No one allowed to stand for Parliament until they’re at least 40.

  16. The problem with not paying them is you exclude everyone except those of private means. I know some people view acquisition of wealth as a proof of inherent virtue, but I don’t. You’d just end up with Parliament being a ruling class plaything again.

    That might itself be a virtue, since it would discourage the myth that it’s acting on our behalf.

    The Ancient Greeks had appointments by lottery as a civic duty. I think a second chamber of appointed people by lottery with an absolute veto would be a pretty good modifier on the system as it stands. Appoint half the chamber every other year.

    Another solution to the problem of Parliament is much simpler, though I believe the amount of gunpowder required would be quite expensive.

  17. Paul Robinson

    “I know some people view acquisition of wealth as a proof of inherent virtue”

    I don’t (honest!).

    I just feel that politicians who are not dependant on being a salaried MP, have the option to take a more robust and independent view of things.

    “The Ancient Greeks had appointments by lottery as a civic duty”

    I mentioned this possibilty a while back, and as I said at the time, the results could hardly be worse!

    As to your final solution to the Parliamentary problem, modern explosives being much more efficient than gunpowder, and therefore requiring far smaller quantities, the cost might not be too prohibitive!

  18. Money is not the measure of a man, and at this point there are very few people with the private means necessary to live at the level of an MP for 5 years – and that’s before you get into office expenses and libel actions and what have you.

    This sounds like an attempt to return to the Victorian (or earlier) period. Well, hmmm, I think you will find there was still quite a bit of corruption then, albeit of a far more stylish and less morally hypocritical variety. The Georgian Commons was a pit of corruption, but at least we got Hogarth.

    I had toyed with the idea of giving MPs vast expenses, almost limitless, but no salary. That might be an option. I don’t much like the idea of lottery MPs, but at least it might have the virtue of reducing the whole place to an abject farce and it would take democracy to its logical conclusion.

    Remember also in the past there was a rather elaborate structure for training a ruling class and a gestalt that went with it, which is now gone. And that in the past “wealth” was not the same as “money”. Wealth was defined in terms of intergenerational property, so there was always at least some ingrained sense that wealth had privileges but also duties. That class and its gestalt obviously became morally corrupted a long time ago; although it did have the virtue of confining its cream skimming activities mostly to the Empire rather than this country. The problem with the financier and media elite is that they have no sense of responsibility at all; they live for the now.

    Really, all you would get is a bunch of media and City people in the Commons: the pirate and the professional liar.

  19. “Would it not be better to have a rumbustious, individualist House of Commons, where MP’s spoke their minds, and “things” only got done when there was real, general agreement.”

    Yes, of course. Where do such men come from nowadays? Do you know many yourself? Homo Democraticus hates to stand out from a crowd. The whole country is stuffed full of Organisation “Men” who prize conformity above all things and who would rather go flying over the cliff edge than voice an independent opinion. The whole immigration catastrophe can be boiled down to people not wanting to be thought of as “racist”. They were so scared of this word, they bankrupted the country.