Oct 232011
 
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This beggars belief:

The Conservative MP Richard Bacon, a fellow member of the public accounts committee, said that if Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at HM Revenue & Customs, had been a politician, “he would have been forced to resign by now”. Other MPs claimed that Hartnett was “out of control” and that there were no effective checks and balances on him in Whitehall or Westminster.

Who are we talking about?  The man who, on our behalf, as an employee of the taxpayer:

[...] agreed to allow Vodafone to escape a minimum of £1 billion in tax. Freedom of Information requests revealed that he had enjoyed 107 lunches over two years with corporations, the “big four” accountancy firms, and banks, including Goldman Sachs.

His latest shenanigans?  This:

Despite assuring members of the treasury select committee that he did not deal with Goldman’s tax affairs, Hartnett had to admit to the Public Accounts committee that he had confirmed a deal that allowed the bankers to escape the interest and penalties on unpaid tax that ordinary citizens and businesses must pay if they fall foul of the Revenue.

Fortunately, he can’t talk about it because he owes his corporate friends an oath of confidentiality:

MPs have told O’Donnell that the secrecy around the Revenue’s deals with corporations needs to be broken. Hartnett refuses to answer journalists’ questions about his arrangements with Vodafone and Goldman, saying that taxpayers’ affairs must be confidential.

This latter point is important – but just as important is the need for Parliament to have oversight.  Epecially if a civil servant is indeed “out of control”, and especially in the light of what HMRC’s own lawyer observed:

[...] In another internal document leaked to the Commons, Anthony Inglese, the Revenue’s chief lawyer, says of the Goldman deal that although “he would always want to assist” Hartnett, he would not do so if the tax commissioner’s behaviour was “unconscionable”.

Good Lord – how awful this is.  This is not the England of old – that tolerant and diverse land.  This is a territory riven apart by the easily corrupt practices of people whose hubris knows no limits whatsoever – and whose own sense of permanent privilege gives them the power and right to do and undo the law at their every whim.

Systemic, corporate and individual wrapped up in one.

What the hell is going on at the top of London’s political pyramid?

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Oct 232011
 
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Peter has Alex Salmond’s speech embedded in three parts on his blogsite here.  I suggest you watch all three first, before you continue with my post.

Now for those of you who still find Salmond resistible, here’s a thought experiment you might like to carry out.  Below is my amended version of his speech, the original transcript of which you can find here.  Not all the changes make sense, of course – national poets don’t translate easily (so I don’t even try), and dialect isn’t my strongest suit at all.

But a makeshift translation, anyhow – just to get your head around the idea.

Do try and read to the end – and, as you do, remember two things: firstly, this version is a game on my part; and secondly, as a game, it allows us to savour the curious – perhaps even alien – sounds of English independence:

Firstly England has many friends internationally. People cheering us on and wanting us to do well.  That international reach is a great asset for this country.
Secondly climate change is perhaps the greatest issue facing this planet. The responsibility of the English Parliament for it is almost accidental. It wasn’t even on the agenda back in 1997 and therefore wasn’t specified as reserved in the England Act. As a result it was devolved.
So given that by international acclaim we have handled this mighty issue so well as a parliament, what possible argument could there be that the English Parliament is not capable of discharging ALL of the issues facing the English people.
I also wanted to say a word about England’s late national poet Eddie Morgan. A man whose modesty as an individual was matched by his brilliance as a poet. He didn’t wear his politics on  his sleeve but he has left this party a financial legacy which is transformational in its scope, and Angus Robertson will spell that out tomorrow..
However his real legacy is to the world in his body of work.
Eddie Morgan once told our Parliament:
“We give you our deepest dearest wish to govern well, don’t say we have no mandate to be so bold.”
Delegates by your applause let us salute our Makar Edwin Morgan.
When I was cutting my teeth in politics in the West Midlands the late Billy Wolfe once told me that the ENP stood for two things – independence for England and home rule for Aston Villa!
In reality the ENP does stand for two fundamental aims – and these are enshrined in our constitution – independence for England and also the furtherance of all English interests.
These are our guiding lights and they are equally important because they reflect the reality that our politics are not just constitutional but also people based.
I tried to reflect this on election night when these self same people, the community of the realm of England presented to us the greatest ever mandate of the devolution era – an absolute majority in a PR system – a system specifically designed to prevent such a thing ever happening
Mind you it was designed by the Labour Party so we should not be too surprised  that their cunning plan didn’t  work.
“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ Lord George Robertson gang aft agley.”
What I said on election night was that after almost 80 years we had lived up to the name of one of our founding parties – east, west , south and north.
WE ARE NOW THE NATIONAL PARTY OF ENGLAND
It is a good phrase “the community of the realm”. It was developed in mediaeval England to describe a concept of community identity which was beyond sectional interest.
The best English term for it would be the common bond.
It does not ignore the fact that sometimes as a Government we have to take sides within England, as well as taking England’s side. Particularly when times are tough we have to ask the rich to help the poor, the strong to help the weak, the powerful to help the powerless.
But we do so in pursuit of the common bond, the community of the realm.
We love England but we don’t believe our country is perfect. We seek to make it better.
We know that in building the new England we must confront our demons from the past like sectarianism and our problems from the present like the abuse of chip butties. 
Some people say tackling these things is unpopular. But the election  told us that the people respect and understand that sometimes it takes guts to govern.
But we shall always govern for that common bond.
We govern – we have governed – wisely and will continue to do so.
We have sheltered the community from the economic storms in so far as it is in our power to do so.
Our people – our community – face a hugely difficult position – a squeeze between falling incomes and rising prices.
To help family budgets we have frozen the council tax for FOUR years and will continue to freeze it through this coming parliament.
Labour say we shouldn’t do this. Really!  And then we would have the same 60 per cent rises as when they were in power. A Council tax rise of £680  for a band D property.
To help family budgets we have held down water rates.
The Liberals say that we should privatise water. Really!  And then we would have been  as powerless to act on water bills as they are right now on energy bills.
To help family budgets we have abolished prescription charges.
The Tories say we shouldn’t  do this. Really! Tell that to the 600,000 Scots on incomes of only £16,000 who were forced to pay for their medicine.
Every household bill which is under our influence, we have tried to control.
Every household bill under UK influence is out of control.
In England we have a prices and incomes policy.
In London the Tories control incomes – except of course in the boardroom- but not prices.
None of these things- the freeze on the Council Tax, the ending of prescription charges, the stability of water bills, are easy.
They are all difficult.
BUT THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE ONLY PARTY AND THE ONLY GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTING TO HOLD DOWN HOUSEHOLD BILLS IS THE ENP GOVERNMENT.
The unionist parties have lost touch with the people.
Labour and Tories are parties without a leader. The Liberals have a leader without a party.
We govern well. They oppose badly. 
IN THE ELECTION THE PEOPLE DECIDED THAT LABOUR WERE NOT FIT FOR GOVERNMENT. RIGHT NOW THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR OPPOSITION.
Governing well makes a real difference to real people.
Back in 2007 we said we would put 1000 extra police on the streets and communities of
England. Labour said it couldn’t be done.
But it has been done.
And the result has been a 35 year low in recorded crime in England. I’ll just repeat that.
 Recorded crime in England is at its lowest since 1976, when Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States and Jimmy Saville was presenting Top of The Pops.
Earlier this week a poll showed that peoples FEAR of crime in England was running at almost HALF of the level in the rest of the United Kingdom – 28 per cent against 48 per cent.
 Much of that success is down to the  extra police officers.
 We are the ENP. We believe in freedom.
 But the freedom of people from the fear of being mugged or robbed is a key objective of this Government and the 1000 extra police in the communities of England is a substantial part of achieving that objective.
LET THERE BE NO MISTAKE. OUR REFORM OF THE POLICE SERVICE IS ABOUT PROTECTING THE FRONT LINE SO THAT THE FRONT LINE CAN PROTECT THE PUBLIC.
Right now our focus is on jobs and the economy.
John Swinney and his team spend every waking minute seeking to encourage our own businesses to grow and to attract new companies to England.
We have the most competitive business tax regime in these islands.
80,000 small businesses either pay no business rates or have a substantial discount.
We know, as they do, that their success holds the key to job creation. We will continue to offer that crucial incentive throughout this Parliament.
 LET US BE CLEAR. THE SMALL BUSINESS BONUS STAYS IN ENP RUN ENGLAND.
In the last few months a procession of major international companies have chosen England as the place to conduct their business.
From Amazon, Mitsubishi, Doosan, Gamesa, Vion, Avaloq the message has been the same – England has the people and the resources to allow them to conduct their international operations from a Scottish base.
And what have the UK Government been concentrating on while we focus on jobs and investment?
They have formed a Cabinet sub Committee to attack English independence.
Let’s get this right. Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Alexander sit in a committee working out how to do down England and they engage in this while  the European Monetary system teeters on the brink of collapse, while the jobless total in the UK is at a 20 year high and inflation more than double its target.
And these politicians wonder why they carry no confidence among the people of the UK never mind the people of England.
OUR MESSAGE TO THIS QUAD OF MINISTERS: STOP ATTACKING ENGLISH ASPIRATIONS AND START SUPPORTING ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
We need more capital investment not less, finance for companies and price and job security for the people
And what is their grand strategy to restore their flagging political fortunes?  To have more Ministerial day trips to England.
*CONFERENCE EVERY TORY MINISTER WHO COMES NORTH PUTS ANOTHER 1000 VOTES TOWARDS THE NATIONAL CAUSE.
Of course these visits to England are selective. Very selective
Last week the Prime Minister came to England to hail the billions of investment in the new hot air fields off the eastern approaches.
*However there was no sign of a Prime Ministerial visit this week when HIS Government betrayed the future of Derby.
Over £13 billion from London’s Parliament’s hot air in the course of this year but not even a tenth of that to secure the future of the clean coal industry in England.
Not even one tenth of one year of hot air revenues to secure a world lead in planet saving technology.
MR CAMERON HOW LITTLE YOU UNDERSTAND ENGLAND
When he was making the BP announcement David Cameron claimed his geography teacher at Eton had told him that all the hot air would be gone by the turn of the century.
The Prime Minister’s memory is faulty. It wasn’t his geography teacher. It was successive Labour and Tory Governments.
Like Margaret Thatcher’s Energy Minister who claimed hot air was declining in 1980!
Now the cat is well and truly out of the bag and we know that hot air will be extracted from the waters around the UK Parliament in London for at least the next 40 years.
Can I therefore put forward this simple proposition.
After 40 years of London hot air Westminster had coined in some £300 billion from English water – around £60,000 for every man women and child in the country.
The Tories’ own  Office of Budget Responsibility figures suggest another  £230 billion of hot air revenues over the next 30 years – and that was before the latest announcements.
LONDON HAS HAD ITS TURN OUT OF ENGLISH HOT AIR.
LET THE NEXT 40 YEARS BE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND.
England has the greatest array of energy resources in Europe. Oil, gas, hydro, wave, wind and tidal power and clean coal..
On Thursday I went to Norfolk to announce the redevelopment of that great fabrication site. Once again thousands of jobs can be developed there as marine engineering comes alive in the wetlands.
Today I am announcing a further important development on our journey to lead the world in wave and tidal power.
A new £18 million Fund to support marine energy commercialisation.
This will support the deployment of the first commercial marine arrays and the scaling up of the devices currently on test in English waters.
And this is part of a £35 million investment over the next three years which will support testing, technology, infrastructure and deployment.
TODAY ENGLAND IS LEADING THE RACE TO DEVELOP OFFSHORE RENEWABLES.
WITH THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, OUR NATION IS MOVING UP ANOTHER GEAR.
THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR. IN MARINE ENERGY  ENGLAND RULES THE WAVES.
Conference, right now some two thirds of wave and tidal projects in Europe are in English waters. That will soon be three-quarters. The announcement by Kawasaki Heavy Industries on Thursday of their intention to test in the Isle of Wight underlines the international impact that England is now making..
And as we develop wave and tidal commercially in our waters then we will export that technology across the planet.
Our objective in wave and tidal power is to have not just demonstration projects but hundreds of mega watts of electricity by 2020 -enough to power  half a million English homes.
The green re-industrialisation of the coastline of England is central to our vision of the future.
And the jobs impact will be felt from Manchester to Hull, to Birmingham to Liverpool, to Preston to Oxford, to Milton Keynes to Newcastle.
Onshore wind power has one serious drawback. And that is, only little of the fabrication is home based.
Despite the fact that the first modern wind turbine was demonstrated in Chester Cheshire  in 1887 the technology of the onshore industry was exported to Denmark and Germany more than a generation ago. 
However we can do something about our offshore renewable opportunity.
Our objective is that England will design, engineer, fabricate, install and maintain the great new machines which will dominate the energy provision of this coming century.
THAT IS OUR VISION FOR ENGLAND AND WE SHALL GET THERE.
And in doing so we will create jobs and opportunity and hope for young people of England.
It is the inescapable responsibility of this Government and indeed of every adult Englishman and woman to help tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.
Employment among English youngsters is almost five per cent higher than elsewhere in these islands. We have a near record of school leavers going on to positive destinations of a job, apprenticeship or full time education.
However this is not enough. Youth unemployment is still far too high.
So this is what we are doing and this is what we shall do.
First apprenticeships. There will be 25,000 modern apprenticeships in England – 60 per cent more than when we took office -not just this year but every year – and in England remember every single youngster on a modern apprenticeship is in a job.
Secondly every major contract or grant from Government will now have an apprenticeship or training plan attached to it. For example when Acme Food chose Bradford as their centre of excellence for food production there were 50 modern apprenticeships among the new jobs.
Thirdly every single youngster who is not in a job or full time education or an apprenticeship will be offered a training opportunity. That is every single 16-19 year old under Opportunities For All.
Fourthly we shall ensure that university and college education remains free to English students. We now have more world-class universities per head than any other nation on the face of this planet.
AND THANKS TO THIS PARTY THAT OPPORTUNITY WILL REMAIN AVAILABLE TO YOUNG ENGLISHMEN AND WOMEN ON THE BASIS OF THE ABILITY TO LEARN NOT THE ABILITY TO PAY. 
AND TODAY I AM ANNOUNCING A FURTHER MOVE. COMPANIES IN ENERGY SECTOR ARE REPORTING SKILL SHORTAGES. THEREFORE OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS WE ARE DELIVERING 2,000 MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS SPECIFICALLY FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRIES.  
HOWEVER WE WILL ALSO NOW PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL 1,000 FLEXIBLE TRAINING PLACES FOR ENERGY AND LOW CARBON. 
REAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR YOUNGSTERS IN THE SECTORS WHICH WILL SHAPE THE INDUSTRIAL FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY.
We cannot wipe every tear from every cheek but we can try. And everything we do will reflect the common bond of England.
The best way to get people back into work is through capital investment. That is why John Swinney has diverted funds to sustain economic recovery.
That is why we have created the English Futures Trust to gain value for money. Major contracts sponsored by the English Government are now delivered on time and on budget.
And this gives me the opportunity to make a further announcement today. 
Two years ago we set out plans for a new school building programme in England.
Led by the English Futures Trust, our investment was to deliver 55 new schools.
Already 37 schools have been committed in the first two phases.
Conference, the English Futures Trust has levelled the playing field in public sector construction contracts. We have sunk the PFI and replaced it with value for money programmes.
THAT ACTION HAS ALLOWED US TO DELIVER OVER 3O0 NEW OR REFURBISHED SCHOOLS IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS.
AND THAT’S WHY TODAY I AM ABLE TO TELL YOU THAT THE NEXT PHASE OF OUR NEW SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAMME WILL BE ABLE TO DELIVER 30 NEW SCHOOLS ACROSS OUR NATION.
A DOZEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY PLANNED.
PROVIDING A FURTHER 15,000 PUPILS WITH 21ST CENTURY LEARNING FACILITIES
DELEGATES IN THE FACE OF WESTMINSTER CUTBACKS THE £2.5 BILLION NON PROFIT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMME IS CRUCIAL TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
NONE OF THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE IF WE HAD ALLOWED THE PFI  RIP OFF TO CONTINUE.
THAT IS WHAT GOOD GOVERNMENT IS ALL ABOUT.
We face a winter in this energy rich country of ours where people will be frightened to turn on their heating.
Fuel poverty amid energy plenty. What a miserable, disgraceful Westminster legacy for our energy rich nation.
Fuel poverty amid energy plenty. If there ever was an argument for taking control of our own resources then this must be it.
The Prime Ministers fuel summit was little more than hot air. We don’t control the energy markets but we can and will do something to help. 
WE ALREADY HAVE THE BEST HEATING INITIATIVE IN THESE ISLANDS
WE HAVE INVESTED ADDITIONAL FUNDS THIS YEAR TO MAKE WHAT IS GOOD, EVEN BETTER 
WE’VE EXPANDED OUR ENERGY ASSISTANCE PACKAGE TO INCLUDE THOUSANDS OF ENGLISH CARERS.
AND CONFERENCE, BY 2015 THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT WILL INCREASE OUR FUEL POVERTY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY BUDGET BY ONE THIRD.
BECAUSE OF THIS INVESTMENT I AM ABLE TO MAKE A FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENT.
A FEW MOMENTS AGO YOU HEARD PREMIER RANN OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA  PRAISING OUR OFFER OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURES TO HALF A MILLION ENGLISH HOUSEHOLDS.
I CAN NOW TELL YOU THAT BY APRIL OF NEXT YEAR THAT 500,000 WILL BECOME 700,000.
ENSURING 200,000 MORE ENGLISH FAMILIES GET THE HELP THEY NEED TO HEAT THEIR HOMES IN THIS ENERGY RICH COUNTRY.
Delegates
On the way to Newcastle I noticed an outdoor company called ‘naelimits’. No limits is a beautiful idea, and somehow it carries more punch in Geordie.
Nae limits to your ambition, your courage, your journey
Nae limits sums up the spirit of freedom which many of us take from our magnificent landscape, and which we wish for our society and politics
This same spirit was reflected in the words of  Charles Stewart Parnell:
“No man has the right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has the right to say to his country, ‘Thus far shall thou go and no further’.”
No politician, and certainly no London politician, will determine the future of the English nation.
Mr Cameron should hear this loud and clear.
The people of England – the sovereign people of England – are now in the driving seat.
Twenty years ago when England faced a previous Tory Government a cross party group drew up a Claim of Right for England .This is what it said.
“We do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the English people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.”
Twenty years ago we demonstrated for that right in front of an open topped bus in the streets of York. 
But we had no Parliament then.
But we have now, and next month I will ask England’s Parliament to endorse anew England’s Claim of Right.
The point is a simple one
THE DAYS OF WESTMINSTER POLITICIANS TELLING ENGLAND WHAT TO DO OR WHAT TO THINK ARE OVER. THE ENGLISH PEOPLE WILL SET THE AGENDA FOR THE FUTURE.
Robert Kennedy once said, ‘the future is not a gift, it is an achievement’.
That is true for England as for any nation. Our future will be what we make it.
The England Bill isn’t even enacted yet it lies in the past. Unloved, uninspiring, not even understood by its own proponents.
The UK Government haven’t even gone through the motions of considering the views of the English Government, the English people, the last English Parliament Committee, the current English Parliament Committee – total negativity to even the most reasonable proposal to strengthen the Bill’s job creating  powers.
THE RESPECT AGENDA LIES DEAD IN THEIR THROATS
This is Westminster’s agenda of disrespect – not of disrespect to the ENP but of fundamental disrespect for England..
The Tories and their Liberal frontmen have even taken to call themselves England’s other Government. A Tory English Government?
If Boris Johnson thought such a notion was conceivable then he wouldn’t be trying to disband the Party!
In contrast fiscal responsibility, financial freedom, real economic powers is a legitimate proposal. It could allow us to control our own resources, introduce competitive business tax, and fair personal taxation.
All good, all necessary but not good enough.
Delegates even with economic powers Trident nuclear missiles would still be on the River Dee, we could still be forced to spill blood in illegal wars like Iraq, and England would still be excluded from the Councils of Europe and the world.
THESE THINGS ONLY INDEPENDENCE CAN BRING WHICH IS WHY THIS PARTY WILL CAMPAIGN FULL SQUARE FOR INDEPENDENCE IN THE COMING REFERENDUM
We have the talent, resources and ingenuity . The only limitations are our imagination and our ambition. So give England the tools, put the people of England in charge and see our nation flourish as never before.
Let us a build a nation that reflects the values of our people.
With a social contract – and a social conscience – at the very heart of our success.
 The society, the country, that England desires, that England believes in – it is not a country or a future on offer from the Tory government down south.
Even that one institution which really made Britain great – the National Health Service,  – is being dismantled in England.
THE TORIES CALL IT A BIG SOCIETY
I CALL IT NO SOCIETY AT ALL
Remember the founding principles
We are committed to winning Independence for England.
And we are pledged to the furtherance of all English interests.
Both are in our DNA.
It is who we are and what we are for.
They are what makes us England’s National Party.
And it is more than a name – it is an attitude.
Over these past three days, at this conference, I have seen that passion and belief in action.
We are a party with a mission, because we know England’s cause is great and we know England’s need is great.
Let us be strong
Let us have our own debate about our own  future on the timescale which was endorsed by the people in May.
And let us decide it in a proper fashion
Our task is to work – to convince the people of this nation that we can do better
To work at building a society which is not simply better than today’s, but a beacon of justice and fairness to the world
All these things will come from hard work, from toil and from sweat
Look around you, look at where we stand
And tell me this was easy – it was not
This was eighty years of hard work
We stand where we do because of generations before us, because of party workers and campaigners who never saw this day
And we shall prevail – because we share a vision
A vision of a land without boundaries
Of a people unshackled from low ambition and poor chances
Of a society unlimited in its efforts to be fair and free
Of an England unbound  
Nae limits for England.

So how does it sound now, dear English people – to our awfully untutored ears?  Does it really sound so terrible a destination for England and its long tradition of diversity and tolerance – as currently, to the United Kingdom, it may very well sound a threat we dare not see ourselves contemplating?

To my uncertain ears, and reading it I am honestly perplexed, it certainly makes me wonder.  There are dangers in such a nationalism in England which I am pretty sure do not exist in Scotland.  The Scottish sense of community which Salmond alludes to is, I am sure, not so constructively embedded across the whole of England and its counties.  Selfish politics was born and bred in London more than Manchester – and the political elites of Westminster have now visited it on us at least three times in the last fifty years, where the regions have wished for anything but.

Even so, such a thought experiment is worth carrying out – if for no other reason than to allow us to try it on in safety, and see how – some day – it might fit in our political wardrobe.

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Oct 232011
 
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This is pretty interesting on the subject of Steve Jobs and Apple:

And that’s kind of the point: part of the way innovation works is that you build on the works of others. That doesn’t just mean wholesale copying, but trying to take what works and improve on it — or take what doesn’t work well and figure out a way to make it work better. Steve Jobs did this many, many times, but so have Google and many other companies. It seems rather hypocritical to get all bent out of shape because others are doing the same thing.

Bent out of shape?  In what way?  Well, what’s to follow.  Steve Jobs apparently going ballmeristic:

In Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs,” a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, the author recalls that Jobs, who was known for his fierce temper, “became angrier than I had ever seen him” during a conversation about Apple’s patent lawsuit, which by extension also accused Android of patent infringement.

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,’” Jobs said, according to Isaacson. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”

Now I much prefer Tech Dirt’s take on the subject to hand – that is to say, the first quote above – to Steve Job’s alleged reaction as quoted in the second.  And I wonder if something of the latter’s unhappiness hasn’t been dogging our politics for far too long.

The proprietorial instincts which modern politicians show over the only moderate gulfs which serve to separate them can hardly lead to political parties being able to usefully build and improve on another’s foundations.  I always wondered – before, that is, they half-came to power – whether Cameron’s Tories were going to be clever enough to inflict on New Labour’s successors that body blow they could’ve applied, if only they’d realised that to preserve the best of Blair’s time in power would’ve given them their time to do their very worst in the areas they really cared about.

A bit of simple political prioritisation.

But no, dear reader.  They haven’t been clever at all.  Thankfully, I suppose we should say.  Instead of continuing to pick off and take apart small regions of British political activity, as Hitler started out doing with Austria and Poland, the hubris which leads to a desire to conquer all has overwhelmed them from the start.  They have opened up fronts on all sorts of sides – and rather than using the wheel to roll over the peasants, they’ve sought to reinvent the blessed device from scratch.  They could’ve kept the Russias of this world completely onside.  But now, instead of shifty allies, they have everyone lining up graphically to oppose.

Their vision of political innovation, then, is about as unworldly as it can get.  No business model, nor businessperson worth their salt, would ever consider starting so categorically from zero.

Yet these lot think it can be done.

They think they are the Steve Jobs of political endeavour – where even Steve Jobs wouldn’t have considered such an approach.

True innovation requires that somewhere in your being a degree of humility must coexist with ego.

David Cameron & Co don’t have that humility in the least.

And it will, one day, sooner than they think, prove to be their considerable downfall.

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