MPs need to travel first class because. . .

Well – it’s obvious why, isn’t it?

After Nicholas Winterton got off to a faltering start in defending MPs right to travel seperately from the hoi polloi – a totally different sort of people – it was essential that some more balanced and reasonable arguments prevailed.

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Tom Levitt, the Labour backbencher for High Peak, said: “I invariably work on the train, something I can only do in a first class carriage for three reasons: that I have a table, space and privacy to work there; that I have a seat (as the standard class carriages between Manchester and London are often standing room only); and that (as I am over six feet tall) I have the leg room for comfort.”

After all, only MPs are more than 6ft tall, or ever need a table to get some work done while trudging up and down the country on our creaking, shambolic, dogshit snandwich of a transport infrastructure.

Sandra Gidley, Lib Dem MP for Romsey, said: “I find I can usually do some useful work which is not always possible in standard class.

“Also, as a woman travelling alone late at night I feel safer in first, particularly on the later trains when there are often a number of people who have been drinking.”

Uh huh? Wouldn’t we all – especially if our HMRC expenses rules made such allowances possible.

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, remarked that IPSA members travel first class and MPs should be treated no differently.

Sir, sir! He get’s first class – it’s not faaaaaairr!! :sulk:

Happily though, one MP can justify her use of first class travel at our expense.

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, accused him of being guided by media “spite” rather than value to the taxpayer

You know, it’s possible. And I just can’t think why, Anne.

She said: “If I travel first class, I can plug in my computer, not a facility that is universally available in second class. I can therefore work throughout the journey.

Which is perfectly reasonable. After all.. blah blah blah.. cut to the chase, Widdie, you tedious old battleaxe.

[She] pointed out she had written two books while travelling first class.

And naturally, the proceeds of those books reimbursed the cost of your 1st class tickets that we’d paid for. Right ?

Fuck off, you bunch of total and utter thieves.

AJ

Local Government: Pension providers with a sideline in public services

Watching the Daily Politics wallahs talking about the BBC report suggesting forthcoming council cuts.

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In essence, pretty much everything will be cut – jobs, services, roads & other infrastructure. And they can keep cutting everything, except one thing: Pensions obligations.

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The end game for this Reductio ad Coffin Dodgem will be county & local councils levying council tax at current levels, but providing no services whatsoever except paying pensions of retired public sector clungemonkeys.

Have they been buying management consultancy from General Motors?

AJ

Cash is king

I’ve always been suspicious of Chip & Pin (see here), which is why I pay cash wherever possible – especially petrol stations, off-licenses, corner shops and supermarkets.

Here’s why you should do the same.

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Experts at Cambridge University believe the system is "broken" after they tricked it into accepting transactions without using a valid personal identification number.

They say the flaw is so fundamental it threatens to undermine the entire security of the system.

Now the consumer association Which? has joined them in calling for an investigation and any subsequent overhaul to protect millions of people from fraud.

"We want the banks to look into these potential flaws because we have had many examples where the banks have said a pin was used and the customer said it hasn’t," said Cathy Neal, a senior researcher at Which? Money.

Another crock of technological shite falls apart, having been concocted by a committee of fuckwits, driven by ignorant bean-counters.

AJ

The Clown was right

From last month:

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he goes on..

But then I asked him how accurate his PAYE had been for the last couple of years and the truth came out. For the last five years or so, his PAYE has consistently taken too much tax – not a lot, never more than £1500 and as little as £100 one year. But having spent no more than an hour on my tax return this year, including a call to HMRC to clarify something, I reckon that even £100 for an hour’s work is worth having, let alone £1500!

I know all this to be true, because a week ago, I got one of those letters, saying I don’t have to file anymore, subject to conditions.

Today, I received a cheque for £1235 overpaid in FY08/9. But no need to claim next year. Oh no. None.

AJ

Merde du jour

I had a whole bunch of stories I wanted to blog about, but then I had to go and do some fucking work, which impressed me not a jot.

So, here’s what I had lined up for today:

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Which is rather contrary to the weaselly claims he made at PMQs on Wednesday.

Next, who gives a fuck about this?

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I have absolutely no idea why this shit is still illegal in this country. Fucking puritans.

As for vice cops – Captain Buzzkill one and all – lowest of all cops. And that’s low. Once again, I refer you to the honourable Doug Stanhope.

Talking of cops…

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There are plenty of non-public sector blogs for children and hokey old women who like to anthropomorphise animals. That is all.

I’d rather you just concentrated on not melting the dogs to death in your cars, chaps.

In old news recycled:

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Ofgem reported on this yesterday?

Perhaps they’d have saved themselves 12 months by just reading some blogs and newspapers. After all, some of us have been concerned about this for a while now. Or maybe it just took them 6 months to remove the swearing from my blog posts.

Indeed – the front page of The Economist looked like this last August:

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Concerning.

More concerning, though, is this:

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Read that carefully, click through and digest. By many measures, we’re not in much better shape than Greece. We could end up in the same boat as them if our sovereign debt is downgraded this year.

So, perhaps the fact that we’re not in the Eurozone is the only thing standing between the us and ‘special measures’ imposed by Brussels, including a budget imposed by the ECB.

Next – the shock. The Sherlock. The meh.

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No fucking surprise when you look at what our society has become – divided, spiteful, shallow, avaricious, covetous, resentful, expensive, dirty, violent – and what our state has become – overweaning, overtaxing, under-delivering, deceitful, fraudulent, war-mongering, fear-mongering, risk-averse, bullying, nagging and judgemental.

Errr.. that’s it for now. If there’s anyone I didn’t mention, they’re all nobheads too.

AJ

Oh this is just too much – Blue Labour Ahoy!

I’m staggered I didn’t pick up on this earlier.

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The Conservative party’s official website states that David Cameron has given “a commitment to increase the proportion of taxes collected from green taxation, with revenues from the new green taxes going into a families fund that can only be used to reduce other taxes on families”.

It follows disclosures in The Daily Telegraph that motorists and air passengers face higher taxes under the Tories to fund tax breaks for married couples.

More fucking hands in my pockets to pay for cunting breeders.

If you have kids, it’s not my fucking problem. If I have kids, it’s not yours.

GET YOUR THIEVING HANDS OUT OF MY POCKETS YOU SOCIAL DEMOCRAT LEECHES

My mind is absolutely made up now.

I’ll cut my cock off with a copy of the Economist before I’ll vote for these shitbags.

AJ

Inflation

Perhaps your 1% pay rise didn’t look terribly bad when inflation was below 2%, especially as you’re still paying comically small interest payments on your mortgage, eh?

Well fucking pay attention.

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The BoE’s nerves to be tested? My fucking nerves are being tested, you cunts. This year, in real terms, I’ll earn less than last year, and pay more tax. In the meantime, my company, while doing relatively well, is still forced to make savings, which means thin-slicing of benefits, rising targets, increasing workloads.

That’s three ways I’m getting fucked in 2010. I’m far from alone – you’re probably in the same boat. Potentially worse if you’re on a tracker mortgage.

The Speccie has more:

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As Mark Bathgate and Fraser warned, the economic crisis now has an added dimension: inflation. The government’s preferred marker, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 2.9 percent in December from 1.9 percent in November, which as Andrew Neil notes is the biggest monthly rise in the annual index since records began. And the Retail Prices Index (RPI), used to calculate welfare payments and wage re-negotiations, rose to 2.4 percent from 0.3 percent. The underlying RPI rate rose to 3.8 percent from 2.7 percent.

The VAT hike has stimulated inflation but there is more at work. We are now seeing the long-term effects of Quantitative Easing and the use of debt to finance further government borrowing. A consequence of printing money is to devalue it – hence the collapse in Sterling and ever more expensive imports, notably crude oil, a commodity which itself has doubled in price over 12 months. With no current plans to arrest government spending, the future looks miserable.

You know, between this and the unwarranted cuntogram I’ve just had from HMRC, I’m considering dropping out of the whole fucking rat race.

I fucking hate what these cunts have done to my country and the difficulty of simply ‘being’ in this country is wearing me down.

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And if you’re thinking, “well it’s better than Haiti”, I’d invite you to go fuck yourself in the eye-socket with a rusty fork.

AJ

UPDATE: As ever, the excellent Wat Tyler provides sober, and indeed sobering, analysis.

RPI inflation has increased by the biggest monthly amount since 1979 – ie back amid the wreckage left by the last Labour government.

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Here we go again

We’re right back to the inflation tax: anyone with a bank or building society savings account, and anyone with a private pension is going to get seriously whacked.

Care? As we’ve blogged many times (eg here) socialists hate savers. Savers constitute the rentier class living off the backs of the workers. They deserve whatever they get, right up to and including being stood up against the wall and shot.

Of course, the Bank of England – the guys who’ve actually implemented this madness – they’re supposed not to be socialists. In fact, if memory serves, there was once some vague idea that they’d be independent of government.

Rage Against The Cash Machine

Via The ABD on Twatter, I see the pigs and the councils are upto all sorts of fresh pocket-picking.

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Police are using controversial car-surveillance technology aimed at catching criminals and terrorists to target members of the public in order to meet government performance targets and raise revenue, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Police whistleblowers also claim that intelligence stored on the national Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) database is "at least 30 per cent inaccurate", which has led to the wrongful arrest of innocent motorists and the seizure of their cars.

The revelations highlight growing concerns about a burgeoning target culture among enforcement agencies and local authorities seeking to bolster figures and income with so-called soft arrests and fines on otherwise law-abiding members of the public.

Do they even wonder why they’ve lost the support of the public anymore? Isn’t it excruciatingly obvious? No? Try this:

Stranded: ‘Police left me alone in the dark’

Bhnisha Hirani, 28, drove from Essex to Coventry to collect her belongings last October after splitting up with a boyfriend whom she feared.

She says her request for a local police escort was refused as no officers were available. But two arrived later at the ex-boyfriend’s house and seized her car for being uninsured. She offered her policy number, but says the officer refused to investigate why the car did not show up on the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) database. Police guidelines warn that ANPR data should not replace "thorough investigative inquiries and officer discretion".

Ms Hirani said the officers left her in the dark outside the house. "I was stranded – no money, no food, no coat, nothing." She stayed with a distant relative who lent her £150 to have the car released the next day.

In her complaint, she wrote: "I had offered every possible form of confirmation of my insurance at the scene and [the officer] refused to look at it. His actions were unlawful and… I will be seeking the highest level of damages."

I should fucking hope so too. The only reservation I have is that any financial penalty will inevitably be picked up by the tax-payer. Not by the pigs or the policy-makers responsible.

But this isn’t all they’re up to. We’re reminded of myriad other tricks they have up their sleeves.

Watching you, watching me

Parking

Millions of aggrieved motorists will tell you that parking wardens have no interest in reasonable excuses, such as "I only stopped for two minutes to look at a map" or "The yellow lines were obscured by snow." Appeal away – but in the meantime drivers often risk seeing the fine double after two weeks. Wardens in Islington, north London, recently ticketed a woman who left her scooter at the scene of a crash. Another familiar complaint is the use of anti-crime CCTV – supposedly meant to catch crooks stealing cars, and record street muggings – being used to dole out yet more tickets. In total, drivers paid out £330m in parking penalties last year. Another £100m was raised in speed-trap fines.

Putting out the rubbish

Some local authorities are so strict on wheelie-bin etiquette that even the slightest shred of black bin-bag poking out of the top of the bin can lead to a fine being issued. A family in Copeland, Cumbria, were given a £210 penalty when it was discovered – horror of horrors – that their bin was over-filled by four inches. Leicester City Council recently began fining residents £100 if their wheelie bins were put out on the wrong day.

Smoking

We all know that pubs, cafés, offices – and any other public place with a roof over it – are no-go areas for smokers. But surely you can puff away in your own home or car? Aberystwyth Town Council handed out a £30 fine to a decorator for smoking in his van, arguing that the vehicle represented his workplace.

Litter

You might think this one would come with a sliding scale, with fines relevant to how much mess you leave behind. How much, then, for a dropped ice-lolly stick? Schoolgirl Sorrell Walsh, 16 at the time, was told to pay £75 in an on-the-spot fine in 2006 after leaving one on a wall. Flicking a dab of ash out of a car window and dropping a slice of tomato out of a sandwich have led to fines elsewhere. Police officers issue around 200,000 on-the-spot fines each year, roughly amounting to £12m.

Feeding the ducks

The traditional fun of kids throwing bread for the birds in the park is fraught with financial danger in the West Midlands. Sandwell Council issued a £75 penalty to Vanessa Kelly in November last year for feeding geese "outside designated feeding areas". Her son, Harry, had the last laugh: At 17 months, he’s too young to be prosecuted and can fatten up the birds to his heart’s content.

On your bike

If police officers in Yorkshire manage to spot unwary cyclists riding without lights at night, they will issue them with a £30 fine. In London, around 100 people a month are fined for riding their bicycles on the pavement.

Just. Fuck. Off.

AJ

Cash Converters

Episode 1:

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So?

Experts accused the Government of unfairly seeking “easy pickings”.

They suggested that the decision to chase high-earning professionals for unpaid taxes had been forced on the revenue by the Treasury, in an attempt to raise funds to reduce the national debt.

The shock. The horror. After all – not many Labour voters in that demographic, eh?

Episode 2:

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The cameras are being used to take pictures of those infringing parking rules and generate an automatic fine which is sent through the post 14 days later.

Thirty four councils have discreetly taken advantage of the power to use CCTV and it is estimated they generate £3million of revenue every year. More are expected to follow.

Motoring groups say the practice of "ghost" ticketing is unfair as it makes it harder for motorists to collect evidence to mount a successful appeal.

It is also more prone to errors, they claim, because the camera system fails to account for those who stop only briefly to look at a map, or have blue disabled badges.

Approval has been granted by the Department for Transport, even though the Government’s official guidance admitted that motorists could regard camera enforcement as "overzealous".

And not before time, the motoring organisations, all too often government lapdogs, are stepping up.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, last night described the move as "Orwellian".

"CCTV enforcement is being done on an industrial scale and its intention has moved away from deterrence to a flourishing and lucrative industry, with drivers’ wallets being harvested for cash," he said.

"The system is seriously flawed. Cameras do not necessarily spot blue disabled badges, people who have stopped briefly to look at a map or those who are letting passengers out – as they are entitled to do on many yellow lines.

"We regard them as ghost tickets, because drivers are unaware of their alleged offence for some time afterwards.

"These tickets are very had to challenge because drivers are in no position to check the roadside signs or whether the ticket was issued by mistake.

"A civil enforcement officer can deter people from parking illegally – which is why they are there in the first place. All a camera does is raise cash."

Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Receiving a penalty through the post weeks after a supposed offence gives drivers little or no chance of gathering evidence to fight the ticket. The danger is many motorists will find themselves unable to contest the offence and be forced to pay a hefty fine for an infringement they have not committed.”

“CCTV enforcement might make commercial sense for local authorities, but benefits for council-tax payers must not come at the expense of justice for motorists – and there is a real risk that it will.”

At the expense of justice for motorists? You mean like S172? Fuck me.

AJ

A nice little earner

For the pigs, and for the contractors.

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Motorists who were forced to abandon their cars in a blizzard had to pay £150 to get their vehicles back after police ordered a breakdown company to tow them away.

Up to 100 drivers left their cars by the side of a dual carriageway, which had not been salted or gritted, after snow and ice made it too dangerous to continue.

When some returned, they discovered their vehicles had been taken to a compound 20 miles away and that they would have to pay a fine and ‘storage fee’ to get them back.

Thieving cunts. Oh and the Parking Nigerians are having a whale of a time too, naturally:

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Is there any event that can occur that the state won’t see as a revenue-raising opportunity?

Fuckers.

AJ

Buying the votes of leeches.

Some people are going to be in for a rude awakening in the next 5 years. So long as the unions can be disarmed. Again.

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Public sector workers earn 7% more on average than their peers in the private sector — a pay gulf that has more than doubled since the recession began.

Official figures show that staff employed by the state are enjoying bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions worth up to three times as much as those in the private sector.

Civil servants, National Health Service staff, council officials and other public sector workers have enjoyed a “golden age” under Labour, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times.

The analysis was validated by Straight Statistics, a group that campaigns for the accurate reporting of official data.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, the number of public sector workers has increased by 914,000 to more than 6m, just over a fifth of the workforce.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that average annual earnings of public sector workers rose to £22,405 last year — compared with £20,988 paid to the average private sector worker.

The lead of the typical state employee stands at 7%, compared with 3% the year before. Until 2005, private sector workers received more on this measure and as recently as 2002 enjoyed a 5% lead. “However you look at it, public sector workers have done better than most in the private sector over the past decade — and the gap is widening,” said Nigel Hawkes, director of Straight Statistics.

Official figures show that public sector wages are rising at 2.8%, compared with 1.1% in the private sector.

Just fucking jolly. I’m going to rub my hands together with glee as you fuckers are stripped of your ill-gotten pensions and your wages of bureaucratic sin.

Fuck you all. Right in the eye.

AJ

The time thieves…

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurs when taxes are raised.

But being as money is arbitrary, and taxation is proportionate to how much you earn, you can respond to this, as an economic and social agent, by working less, hence paying less tax and having more free time. Or you can work harder, to earn more, overcoming the tax hike. Or you can get a higher paying job. Or move to another country, or take tax avoidance measures.

My point is that in the face of tax hikes, you have options.

But it’s rarely remarked upon – less still railed at – that the government has been stealing minutes and hours from our lives for years, in spite of there being no way to get extra time back to compensate.

Example 1: You commute to work every day – due to patchy public transport and the demands of your life, you have no choice but to drive. In 1997 when labour came to power, they put the vast majority of road building and improvement work on hold. For example, work on fixing the dreadful M4 Junction 11 should have commenced in 2001. Instead, it commenced in 2008 as part of the package of measures to pump public funds into the economy.

The upshot, then, is that if you’ve had to cross this junction twice a day, everyday, it will have taken you between 20 & 40 minutes extra, per day, than it will once the junction improvements are complete.

This work should have been completed in 2003, not 2010. So, 240 working days a year, 20 – 40 minutes per day lost time: 80-160 hours a year. Over 7 years, that’s 560-1120 hours between 23 & 46 entire days of your life lost because of Labour’s ideological stand against the needs of motorists.

There are stories like this all around the UK, and the effect of delaying or cancelling all that work, after all said and done, is that there were 6 – SIX – sets of roadworks between me and my destination yesterday. I came home via a completely different, and much longer, route as I just couldn’t face anymore 46mph rolling-roadblock head-fuckery.

Example 2: How much time did you spend on household refuse management in 1997? How much time do you spend today, sorting and washing tin cans & plastic bottles, separating paper, composting food and doing all the other crap required by recycling-mad councils? Take a low estimate of 20 minutes a week. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s time you’ve got to find, and each year, that’s nearly 18 whole hours of your life.

Example 3: How many people are unnecessarily stuck in the income tax self-assessment process? Each year that’s (if you’re lucky) half a day’s work and lots of swearing (or £150 to your accountant). And what about those in receipt of a single person council tax discount, who have to write to the council each year to inform them that nothing has changed (in spite of the legal requirement to inform them if anything does change)? Got a classic car in a garage, that’s been there for 10 years? Don’t forget to contact DVLA to SORN it every year, or DVLA can now enter your property, take the car and destroy it.

Example 4: Airports post 9/11. Nuff said. If you fly regularly, even domestic, this is a massive time-thief.

Example 5: All those lowered speed limits. There are thousands of roads that had speed limits of 70 or 60 MPH in 1997 – National speed limit roads. Today, many of those same roads now have speed limits of 50, 40 or even 30mph. If you use those roads regularly,this is probably costing you at least a couple of minutes on every journey. As we’ve already seen, those wafer-this salami-slices soon add up to a considerable theft of your precious time.

There are plenty more examples, that I’ll come to in due course.

I resent this invasion every bit as much as I resent exorbitant taxes to pay for massive gravy-trains and utterly failing public services.

AJ

Gordon Brown Did This…

Oh, he cosied up to the City for as long as he thought them useful to him, but ultimately, in putting Barrenness Ashtray up for EU Foreign Minister, he has caused this:

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Alistair Darling has delivered a blunt warning to the EU’s new French finance chief against meddling with the City of London.

As Nicolas Sarkozy gloated over impending curbs on the City, the Chancellor said that such moves would drive financial services out of Europe.

The French President’s glee at the appointment of Michel Barnier as Commissioner for the Single Market took on an edge of menace yesterday when he said that unfettered City practices must end.

“Do you know what it means for me to see for the first time in 50 years a French European commissioner in charge of the internal market, including financial services, including the City [of London]?" he said yesterday.

"I want the world to see the victory of the European model, which has nothing to do with the excesses of financial capitalism," he said.

His implicit threat was just what Downing Street had feared when Mr Barnier, formerly an agriculture minister, was given the portfolio last week.

They feared it? They fucking caused it. Even Mandelbum agrees on that.

Perhaps another contribution to us sliding back into recession in 2010.

Is this what we need to happen before there’s a big enough growndswell to make leaving the EU a politically viable option?

AJ

Suicide watch…

Eamonn Butler is the head of the Adam Smith Institute – a free-market think-tank.

But I’d not be surprised to hear that the Dignitas marketing folk were keen to retain his services.

I say this because, ever since I started reading this:

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I’ve been increasingly curious about their services.

It’s an unceasing catalogue of the things that Gordon Brown and his coterie of bastards has done to our country.

Oh sure, there’s not much in there that you couldn’t find on most libertarian blogs, but the sheer scale of their destruction wrought upon the fabric of our economy, society, liberty, privacy, justice system and democratic protections is breath-taking.

I may, in fact, never finish this book, because I decide that I want to live. On the other hand, I may neck a fistful of vallium and get it over with. The book, I mean.

AJ

Blair will not be the new High €unt…

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Splendid.. now I just need Juncker to bag it late tonight.

And I really hope he does, because the front-runner wants to introduce a new EU wide tax:

image The man tipped to be Europe’s first president is already considering new EU taxes to fund the rising cost of Brussels and the welfare state.

Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian Prime Minister, broke his silence before Thursday’s summit to choose the president — but only at a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group of top politicians, bankers and businessmen.

The Bilderbergers? Oh great.

Anyway, what could they possibly need to raise taxes for… oh.

“The financing of the welfare state, irrespective of the social reform we implement, will require new resources,” Mr Van Rompuy told European and American guests

Yep – an EU welfare state.

But don’t worry, here comes Billy Vague with some more fine sounding words, signalling yet more undeliverable promises at relates to the EU.

William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “Britain would not be the only EU country that would find a proposal to give the EU tax-raising powers totally unacceptable. Advocacy of such a policy is not a fruitful use of anyone’s time.”

We’re not buying it, Billy.

AJ