Nought but a Ginger Herring

No sooner has the Tellyguff succeeded in unseating David laws, they set about his successor:


But they’re wrong. He didn’t avoid CGT, because CGT simply wasn’t due on the sale of this property.

The FT explains:

This morning’s story about his not paying capital gains tax on a London property appears overblown. Alexander bought his London flat in 1999 and started claiming on it only in 2005 when he became an MP; at that point it was his only home.

When he sold it two years later he paid no cgt – even though by then he had a home in Scotland and had designated the flat as his “second home” in respect of his Parliamentary allowance.

How come? Because under HMRC rules, if you move out of your main abode there is a three-year grace period during which you don’t have to pay any capital gains tax on selling it. As a result there was no obligation on Alexander to pay the levy and therefore he didn’t breach any rule. In fact, I’m not sure the country wants a Treasury minister idiotic enough to go out of his way to pay taxes he was not liable for.

There we are then. Case closed.

Now let the man get on with the job until he does something we can actually get mad about, eh?



Ah, Mr Alexander. Come in, sit down.

We’ve been looking at your CV, lad. What is it you think you can bring to the role of Chief Secretary to the Treasury?

Well, I share the former Secretary’s antipathy tae pot plants. It’s not acceptable tae have drugs cultivated in the Treasury.

Ah, very good Danny. Pardon me, may I call you Danny?

Aye, very good.

Good. Now look here, Mr Alexander. As you’ll no doubt be aware, the err … outgoing … err that is to say… exiting Chief Secretary was a very able man. VP at JP Morgan, MD at Barclays de Zoete Wedd, Policy Director for the Lib Dems and co-editor of the Orange Book.

Now, I’ve been looking around in my briefcase, because I know I have your CV somewhere here, but all I can find is this drawing my daughter must have put in there this morning. A sort of smiling orange with legs and a briefcase.

Ah – no sir. That is my CV. I thought it would distinguish me from the crowd and, evidently, it worked.

I see. Would that it were, Alexander. The thing is this, you see. Orders have come down from the top level. Our preferred candidates are unacceptable to the shareholders. Seems your gib is the sort of cut they’re looking for.

There is just one other thing though, Danny.

What’s that, sir?

Says here you married a Hoar. Tell me more, would you?

Yes I did, sir. Rebecca. A fine lassie she is too.

I see. And is she still a Hoar?

She took my name when we married, but she’ll always be a Hoar at heart, sir.

Well… I suppose it’s better than a gayer.

Danny, you’re hired. Bring your wife over to my place for drinks tonight. Wife’s away, I insist.

I’m sorry sir, I have a prior engagement this evening.

Of course you have, Danny. I’d be delighted to entertain your lovely wife, though. £800 okay is it?


Should I laugh or cry?

Okay, first, the laughs:



Now the piss boiler:

The 26-year-old, who squandered his multi-million fortune on drugs, gambling and thousands of prostitutes, has since February claimed £42 a week in jobseeker’s allowance.

That’s right, folks. He had over 9 million quid, on which I doubt he had to pay any tax, but we’ve been paying him dole for 4 months.

As if he hasn’t already cost us enough:

He arrived to collect his winnings wearing an electronic offender’s tag, fitted after he was found drunk and disorderly and has appeared before the courts dozens of times for anti- social behaviour.

In 2004, Carroll was jailed for five months after failing to comply with a drug treatment order, imposed as part of a sentence for cocaine possession.

He was also handed an Asbo by magistrates in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, for catapulting ball bearings at cars and windows from his Mercedes, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Feed ‘im to the pigs, Errol.


Laws Coverage: Redux

So, as predicted, Laws has gone.

An interesting debate, as it goes. Some views deserve special mention.

According to the Guardian, I mentioned, but glossed over, a likely cause of his error of judgement.


Of course there was nothing to fear. But the human brain does not always work like that. And it is not hard to guess why. His mother is Catholic. Laws had a Catholic education. The news broadcast this morning, which reported his situation, went on to cover the Archbishop of Canterbury’s efforts to stop churches giving their blessing to gay partnerships. The world is less progressive than it sometimes seems from north London.

Ahh. Catholics. It’s a rather pluralist approach to sodomy they have, isn’t it? Apparently, it’s the ‘voluntary’ variety they object to.

This Graun piece also deals with the question of Laws’ motivation.


The closet causes crises. It is an unhappy place to live and David Laws is not the first person who, on being forced out, immediately talked about the "relief" of no longer having to lie. It is tempting to blame Laws himself: a man who had the ability and determination to earn a fortune by the age of 28, and be in a senior government job at 44, is obviously no shrinking violet. Why wasn’t he able to take control of his life and be honest and open with his friends and family and be proud of his relationship?

Back in the blogodrome, Constantly Furious sees the case in black and white terms:

This furore is absolutely bugger all (oops) to do with Laws’ sexuality and everything to do – as always in the ol’ expenses scandals – about a genuine deadly sin: Greed.

As I mulled the case over yesterday, I did indeed wonder what the Telegraph’s motivation was. Tory Bear addresses this question head on:

One thought that TB can’t get out of his head is this whole affair reeks of a stitch up. Who tipped The Telegraph to the name of the landlord/boyfriend? Who might have know about the former Chief Secretary’s expense arrangements? Former deputy leaders and presidents of parties are privy to that sort of information about their MPs. Who is on internal party manoeuvres? Who is in cahoots to see the left of Liberal Democrats have a stronger voice? Who are more opposed to the right-wing Laws that the likes of Vince Cable and Simon Hughes, both rocking the boats behind the scenes. Just sayin’.

Meanwhile, wielding his pink handbag of homo-hysteria, the rolling self-parody Iain Dale apparently hoped Laws would survive this episode because he’s gay.

What has become of Laws is, for all of us, a tragedy. We needed him to deliver the forthcoming cuts. Now we have a Scotsman doing it.

Have we ever tried allowing a Scotsman to handle the money before? And how did that work out?

Fred? Gordo? Al? Bueller?


Laws Gone; arise Alexander the Great (Ginger Freak)

While I certainly saw Laws’ untimely departure coming, no-one expected the Ginger Inquisition.

Danny Alexander?

treasury jock

From press secretary to Chief Secretary in two moves. That’s class.


Abolishing Laws: Ur doin it wrong.

In my view, David Laws got off to an extremely impressive start as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Even the anecdotes apparently cast him in a good light.

So my jaw and spirits dropped to the floor as I watched the current imbroglio unfold last night.


I haven’t read blogs yet today, but I expect there are demands for his head from left, right and centre.

Even given my generous view of Laws so far, I don’t believe he can, or should, survive in his post.

On the face of it, his approach to his expenses lacks probity. Whether he was in breach of the letter or the spirit of rules that are already discredited is neither here nor there.

While Laws must shoulder his responsibility and act with honour, he’s not the only one who got it badly wrong.

Cameron and Clegg both failed to apply rigour in vetting. Each appointment should have been preceded by a process of full discovery and disclosure.

For a start, it’s no big deal to work out what candidates’ potential exposure to the expenses scandal is, without even asking them.

Secondly, if Laws was asked if there was anything Clegg/Cameron should know, and he didn’t disclose at least his expenses exposure, and preferably his other skeletons, then he should not only lose his post in government, he should trigger a by-election and let his constituents decide.

But really, it just doesn’t make any sense. Lots of politicians and others in public life are openly gay. While homophobia can still be found amongst the elderly,the religious and some immigrant groups, I genuinely do not think it forms a part of mainstream British culture in the 21st century.

Who exactly was he hiding this sexuality from? Every one except his other half, it seems. But why?

I mean, in this day and age – and correct me if I’m wrong, gayers – why would you not stick to your guns? We’re here, we’re smoking each others poles, we’re proud, get used to it.

Friends – don’t like that I’m gay? Goodbye and good-riddance.

Family – don’t like that I’m gay? Even easier. Can’t choose them, don’t even need to reflect on one’s own poor choices before ditching them.

Anyway, what next?

If Laws survives, it’s doubtful he would carry the credibility and respect required of whoever is to deliver the debtectomy this country needs over the next few years.

If Laws falls on his sword*, who should replace him?

The most likely candidates are my nightmare, Vince Cable, and our best hope, Philip Hammond.

Selecting Cable would cause uproar on the Tory right. Selecting Hammond would mean replacing a LibDem with a Tory. A pretty big reshuffle would be needed to restore the coalition equilibrium. Less than one month into the administration, both options are inconceivable, particularly after Cameron’s ludicrous scuffle with the 1922 committee last week.

So, what then?


* Don’t. I are respectable serious bloggist. K? Ahem.

Pies for Peers

It is almost too tempting to get all of a froth about these new peers. John Prescott. Sir Ian ‘Brazilian’ Blair. Des Browne. John Reid.

A shower of unspeakable bastards, if ever there was one.

But I can’t be bothered. The sun is out and the Sancerre is on ice.

There’ll undoubtedly be no shortage of relevant invective from my fellow bloggists.

The full list of new peers is here.


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