celebrex generic celecoxib cialis price 2.5 mg levitra 20 mg vs buy levitra mexico viagra 8000mg strattera 25mg nolvadex shop online order viagra discount brad cialis 20 mg efectos cialis generico wellbutrin generic forms nexium 40 mg patent zoloft 200 mg ocd levitra 10 mg flas ordering nolvadex cialis dosage 150mg cheap canadian viagra online viagra clubs buy viagra condoms buy cialis 32 brand viagra 100mg levitra 20 mg ranfrance priligy 30 mg erfahrung viagra online nicosia cialis comenzi online achat clomid 50mg buying viagra minnesota nolvadex d generico buy strattera 25 mg viagra generic wholesale generic viagra legality viagra generic nl nexium 20 mg wikipedia viagra generic viagra online 100 mg viagra 100mg erfahrungsberichte cialis black 200 mg buy overnight cialis diflucan online international metformin 1000 mg .ma viagra online malaysian mexican cialis 50mg buy zithromax thailand 40mg cialis safe 3200 mg bactrim generic nexium information formula nexium 20 mg lexapro 5 mg tablets acquisto cialis generico viagra cheap toronto nexium generic 40mg taking 25mg clomid buying priligy cheap levitra si buy cheap viagra 100 nexium cheapest prices cipro r127 online splitting cialis 20mg phenergan 25 mg tabletter prezzi viagra generico cialis 20 mg benefits cheapest super kamagra cialis 5mg enough lasix tabs 40mg tabletki glucophage 500 mg efek cialis 20mg buy periactin london clomid buy forum buy Cialis Jelly 30 cialis tadalafil 500mg buy clomid bodybuilding metformin 500 mg tablet 100 mg prednisone taper doxycycline 50mg caps cialis 10mg lisinopril 0.5 mg cheap viagra turkey generic lasix 100 mg 75mg viagra buy clomid clomid nolva buy zovirax 400 mg dosierung zithromax capsules online strattera order online levitra 40 mg mastercard multiples clomid 50mg 30 5 mg cialis 10mg lisinopril manufacturers cialis 10 mg bijsluiter cheap 40mg cialis lexapro 10mg images buy ivf viagra levitra en generico cialis reviews online buying cialis vancouver doxycycline online sale viagra prescription orders generic cialis buy 200 mg zovirax levitra generico ultrafarma order quality cialis buying bactrim online beand viagra online 40 mg cialis dosage 5 mg lexapro works buy viagra superdrug cheap kamagra forum propranolol 40 mg cena viagra 100 mg break get lisinopril online generic strattera 60mg erythromycin 250 mg iv cheap 5mg. cialis valtrex generic recall generic zoloft difference viagra 50mg buy valtrex online order wellbutrin 300 mg reviews prednisone 50 mg tab ordinare viagra online lisinopril 0.5mg prospect cialis 2.5 mg box viagra onlinedosage instructions super kamagra buy generic phenergan suppositories red generic viagra cialis 10 mg usa levitra 10 mg 12 stk dapoxetine 60mg india buy nolvadex usa cialis 50 mg hf gold viagra 5800 mg cialis 5 mg torrinomedica brand cialis buy cialis generic4all 10mg prednisone taper 50 mg clomid enough buy pfizer viagra zithromax 100 mg 1 tablet cheap levitra paypal 20mg cialis reviews cialis cheap online phenergan online chemist celebrex 200mg usage viagra 100mg brand achat cialis 10 mg doxycycline generic indonesia viagra online hongkong viagra sildenafil buy posologie cialis 10 mg levitra 10mg use lisinopril 30mg tablet buy clomid testosterone propecia 5mg approved generic cialis 4 tablets bactrim 20 mg xenical uk cheapest viagra generic info efecto viagra 50 mg 20 mg of cialis online viagra indian generic viagra flashback synthroid order online cialis 5mg superdrug generic strattera .80 mg coupons viagra online augmentin 1200 mg propecia online deals buy viagra gauteng xenical online generic buy doxycycline walgreens metformin 1a 850 mg cheap viagra paybal reichen 5mg cialis prednisone 10mg effects zoloft 50 mg farmaco propecia online canada propranolol 10mg pregnancy mgus vs cialis best generic wellbutrin xenical buy turkey cialis 2 5 mg funziona generic cialis craigslist buy celebrex australia viagra generica 25 levitra 5mg buy prednisone 50 mg burst existe viagra generica lexapro generic effectiveness erythromycin 500 mg packungsbeilage buy nolvadex supplement lisinopril pch 10 mg cialis 20mg.de 50mg viagra cost 10 mg viagra enough nexium 40 mg omeprazole achat viagra online propranolol 10 mg generic valtrex name cipro 500buy wellbutrin mood disorders cipro 500 mg alcohol doxycycline 100mg price 100 mg cipro online nome viagra generico cialis brazil buy prezzi cialis generico levitra bucodispersable 5 mg opinion cialis 20 mg celebrex kapsulki 200 mg valtrex 100mg buy kamagra 25mg cialis generica 40mg viagra 200mg online diflucan 150mg fluconazole viagra buy discount xenical orlistat cheapest generic of viagra viagra freeonline.com buy viagra 150 mgs viagra levitra generic buy indian zithromax viagra 7.5 mg prednisone 200 mg propecia prices 5mg lexapro 20 mg help lisinopril 10 mg g 101 methylprednisolone 20 mg prednisone generic viagra complaints augmentin suspension online cheap lexapro germany buy viagra cialis online free valtrex 1000 mg buy buy generic nolvadex lisinopril 20mg india phenergan iv 25mg 3generic sildenafil viagra doxycycline 300mg bula bactrim 400 mg online paypal kamagra 5mg lexapro pill generico do lasix augmentin 1000 mg cost levitra mg20 kamagra gold 200mg zovirax buy generic viagra 25 mg safe levitra professional 20mg prednisone ordering online rhine viagra 100 mg cialis 20mg cijena viagra 25 mg online cialis online cheap doxycycline 500mg capsule canine prednisone 20mg buy zoloft free zithromax 1 g buy online cialis black viagra generic hinta levitra cheapest online xenical 100mg 100. mg kamagra online levitra 20mg com viagra 100 mg prospect viagra 100mg cost cialis generico panvel 15 mgs prednisone forum generic viagra xlpharmacy 30 generic cialis softtabs cheapest priligy uk periactin 4mg tablets 50 buy kamagra brisbane metformin 500 mg sale msd propecia buy generic viagra dublin amoxil 500 mg tablet clomid 50mg cm buy strattera usa prednisone 60 mg surgery cipro 500mg wiki buy cialis tesco buy cytotec canada nexium generic omeprazole order cialis europe kamagra online apotheke erythromycin 5 mg ointment cialis generico inghilterra cura diflucan 150 mg lisinopril 2.5 mg alcohol anxiety lexapro 5mg celebrex 200 mg opinie cialis online svizzera valtrex generic dose diflucan 150 mg kaufen propranolol buy australia prednisone eg 1 mg metformin activa 500mg lisinopril 20 mg prescribed online zovirax shopping tarif cialis 20 mg augmentin 875 mg efectos buy priligy lebanon buy online zoloft propranolol 40 mg prix generic cialis zoll lexapro 40 mg depression order zithromax usa otc generic viagra viagra brand cheap buy teva viagra order doxycycline online lisinopril 10 mg watson 407 valtrex 1000 mg 21 ftb cialis 20mg presentation celebrex generic manufacturer wellbutrin 100 mg tablet viagra soft 90 mgs kamagra gel 100mg brand levitra 100mg nexium buy cheap cheap cialis usa generico viagra online cialis 20 mg nedir buy lexapro 5mg Cialis 10mg 90 Tabs generic wellbutrin global metformin ratio 1000 mg cipro online europe cialis generic cost generic augmentin propecia online europa amoxil 200 mg 5ml 50 mg of prednisone propecia online review generic lexapro wikipedia 10mg kamagra lisinopril 40 mg pill doxycycline reviews 50mg synthroid online cialis generic canadian diflucan 50 mg advantages clomid online bodybuilding nexium 40 mg injectabil buy nexium generic celebrex 200 mg zamiennik cheapest viagra kamagra lexapro 10 mg vademecum 50 mg clomid iui taking 60 mg prednisone buy levitra au generic synthroid lannett doxycycline 100mg pneumonia lexapro 5 mg sale generic priligy 60 mg synthroid ou generico lisinopril generic aceon cytotec 200 mg dosage prednisone 20mg mono buspar 60 mg augmentin 625mg bd mexico zithromax 1000 mg diflucan 75 mg pret buy xenical propecia xenical buy nz celebrex 100 mg dosierung cialis 20 mg. cheasp bactrim suspension 40 mg metformin heumann 850 mg levitra 20 mg tobuy nogales buying viagra generic viagra dick bactrim ds 20 mg generic lexapro substitute lisinopril 2.5mg online propecia consultation nolvadex 10 mg indicazioni synthroid 0.25 mg generic cialis brisbane zithromax buy powder propecia online uk buy 100 mg lasix cialis 20 or 10mg cialis online women generic strattera prices 50 mg cialis generic 20 mg cialis enough prednisone 0.5mg buy cipro 250 mg cheap 40 milligram levitra viagra buy liquid celebrex prospect 100mg save generic viagra uk cheap viagra generic propecia merck metformin 500 mg markings bactrim 40mg levitra 40 mg online 20mg of lexapro buy lexapro walmart order cialis web metformin 1000 mg hcl viagra 100 mg beragena citalopram celexa generic propranolol chlorhydrate 40 mg taste disorder metformin cheapest 200mg cialis bactrim 160mg prospect buy clomid cost cialis 40mg cena lasix 40 mg cost buy viagra com nexium 40mg programa chewable generic viagra valtrex generico viagra generico funziona generic cialis tadora diflucan 150 mg tab generic viagra chinatown lasix 20 mg tablette metformin buy canada online zovirax ointment lexapro 10 mg price strattera 40 mg wirkung lisinopril 40 mg tablet cheap viagra site buying levitra us cialis 2.5 mg prezzo cialis 20 mg foro buy cipro fedex metformin 500 mg brands cipro basic 500mg tablet clomid 50mg amoxil 1000 mg cipro nome generico prednisone withdrawal 5mg cheapest prescription cialis zovirax online shop generic propecia paypal viagra 100mg kamagra lisinopril online canada cheaper propecia 100 mg levitra online zithromax online price online drugstore viagra buy cialis rush propranolol 6 mg cialis 4mg 100mg generic cialis synthroid 0.088mg generic viagra cipal lisinopril 5 mg nebenwirkungen get xenical online celebrex 200mg nebenwirkungen diflucan 200 mg bijsluiter taking prednisone 20 mg prednisone 5 mg posologie purchase strattera cheap phenergan 12.5 mg suppositories ic doxycycline 100mg viagra usa generic cialis 40 mg paypal prednisone 5 days 60 mgs ic lisinopril 5mg generic lisinopril prescription cialis 100mg. price xenical 240 mg took 600 mg wellbutrin shop cheap viagra generic propecia costco levitra cheap overnight lexapro withdrawal 40 mg generic propecia legit buy viagra durban ubat celebrex 400 mg buy propecia propak cheap drugs viagra buy cialis tadalafil lisinopril buy it zithromax 500mg tablet wellbutrin generic name 60 mg generic cialis 100mg clomid migraine 10 x cialis 10mg cheap cialis site viagra 2 100 mg humortadela viagra generico buy dbol nolvadex buy cialis 5o buy cipro usa online viagra lloyds asian generic viagra metformin costs generic generic synthroid bad nolvadex 20 mg wikipedia levitra 20mg women cipro 500 mg generico levitra generic us erythromycin 250mg 5ml clomid 50 mg pct
GP Masthead

Subscribe

Sign up to receive Email of my posts



Godon Prentice - Westminster Blog

Search


Image of Gordon Prentice

Gordon Prentice - Talking Politics

My occasional blog on politics. Going where the fancy takes me.

 
Alberta Conservatives annihilated PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 00:00

In the end it was brutal.

The Progressive Conservatives ruled Alberta for an unbroken 44 years and, yesterday, they were trashed.

It is an astonishing end for a Party that most pundits believed could never be beaten in this low tax/no tax oily corner of Canada.

The left leaning NDP came from absolutely nowhere to take 53 seats leaving the PC with a rump of 10 seats – not even enough to form the official opposition. This mantle will now be worn by the right wing Wildrose Party.

For all its alleged imperfections, first-past-the-post is impressively efficient at getting rid of unpopular governments and sweeping the old guard away.

With PR systems, defeated politicians often re-emerge on Party lists.

No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t get rid of them.

Jim Prentice, the premier until yesterday, resigned as an MPP even before all the ballots were counted in his riding. He has gone for good.

All eyes will now be on the NDP.

Canada will be stunned if the Party replicates this astonishing success in the federal election in October.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 20:05
 
Michael Misick and Michael Ashcroft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Monday, 13 April 2015 00:00

The trial of Michael Misick, the former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, has been put on hold until the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (The UK Supreme Court sitting when hearing appeals from UK Dependencies and some Commonwealth jurisdictions) can rule on whether his case can be decided by a judge alone, without a jury. Misick and other former TCI politicians are charged with corruption.

The Judicial Committee’s expedited hearing will take place in London on May 11 and 12.

Five years ago, Michael Ashcroft sued the Independent newspaper for alleging that he was, in some way, improperly involved with Misick. In the July 2011 judgment in the High Court, Mr Justice Eady, wrote: 

An inference is invited that the Claimant (Michael Ashcroft) authorised a loan by the British Caribbean Bank evidenced by a document dated 14 March 2007 signed by his son Andrew Ashcroft. His authorisation is to be inferred from the size of the loan, the fact that Mr Misick was the Premier, the fact that earlier loans had been made to him in 2004, and the potential gains to be made by Michael Ashcroft’s commercial interests in the Turks and Coaicos Islands from supporting a corrupt Premier. But the key assertions underlying all this are Michael Ashcroft’s “ownership and control” of the British Caribbean Bank and the claim that his son was “in thrall” to him and “acts in accordance with his will.

The Judge, in effect, told the Independent to put up or shut up. He said the newspaper

needs to give “their best particulars of Michael Ashcroft’s role in granting the loan and, specifically, of the nature of the favourable terms.”

…it cannot suffice to put forward a case to the effect that Michael Ashcroft simply must have been involved in some way or another. They need to come off the fence and decide exactly what the charge against the Claimant is. 

The Independent was unable to meet this requirement and settled.

Misick’s trial is expected later this year. Courteney Griffiths QC, pulled out from representing Misick some months ago, allegedly because his expenses were not being fully covered.

Ashcroft’s interests in Central America and the Caribbean are, of course, well documented. “Lord Ashcroft’s Millions” looks at how the peer made his money in Belize and in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

 
Ed Miliband and non-doms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 01:22

A round of applause is, I think, deserved for Ed Miliband’s decision to scrap non-dom status.

This is not something that Tony Blair – in thrall to big money – would have contemplated in a thousand years.

Miliband’s move will come as a blow to my bête noire, the tax cheat Michael Ashcroft.

Until today, I had thought Ashcroft’s resignation from the House of Lords would allow the “proud tax avoider” to take up non-dom status once again. I had assumed that with a battery of tax lawyers at his side he would have been able to persuade a pliable Revenue and Customs that he is domiciled in Belize or wherever his heart now is.

Impertinently, he intends to remain “Lord Ashcroft”. After his announcement, he tweeted:

"Retired Lords keep their title and can use the facilities of the house should they wish to.”

Ashcroft has been preparing the ground for his exit from the Lords with some care.

On 22 July 2014, in a written Lords question he asked how many peers had not attended a single sitting of the House since the 2010 general election. We learn there is a long list of stale and utterly useless peers (including the “Canadian” Conrad Black, jailed in the United States for fraud) and, clearly, Ashcroft even then was looking for a way out.

Ashcroft was a complete passenger, rarely contributing to the work of the Lords even though he was appointed as a “working peer”. It was all bogus. His dribble of written questions over the years were on his pet subjects such as the Turks and Caicos Islands and benefit fraud.

He last spoke in the Chamber over six years ago, on 4 December 2008.


Last Updated on Friday, 10 April 2015 00:47
 
Time to get rid of non dom status PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:00

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Labour leadership will have the courage to include in the forthcoming Labour Manifesto a clear commitment to abolish non-dom status.

In 2008, under the Blair Government, the rules were tweaked allowing non-doms to continue to enjoy special tax advantages if they paid £30,000 every year to HMRC.

We now learn that HSBC Chief Executive, Stuart Gulliver, is a non-dom despite living in the UK for years. He has a house in Hong Kong and says he is going to retire there. As if! (The MPs on the Treasury Select Committee who grilled him were terrific.)

Seems to me all British Citizens should pay UK tax on their world-wide income. We could follow the example of the United States who taxes her citizens wherever they are. And here in Canada – where I pay tax – I am obliged to declare my worldwide income, such as it is, to the Canada Revenue Agency. Double taxation treaties prevent people being taxed twice.

With special tax treatment under their belt, buttressed by tax secrecy, non-doms have been laughing in our faces for years.

Ashcroft mocks us all

Yesterday, 25 February, the notorious tax cheat and former non-dom, Michael Ashcroft, in a Lords written question, smugly asked the Government to explain:

 “what they consider the difference between tax avoidance and aggressive tax avoidance.”

The Minister, Lord Deighton, explained:

 “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) distinguish between tax avoidance and tax planning. Tax avoidance is bending the rules of the tax system to gain a tax advantage that Parliament never intended. It often involves contrived, artificial transactions that serve little or no purpose other than to produce a tax advantage. It involves operating within the letter – but not the spirit – of the law."

"Tax avoidance is not the same as tax planning. Tax planning involves using tax reliefs for the purpose for which they were intended. For example, claiming tax relief on capital investment, saving in a tax-exempt ISA or saving for retirement by making contributions to a pension scheme are all legitimate forms of tax planning. While such actions may reduce the total amount of tax paid, they are not tax avoidance, because they involve using tax reliefs in the way that Parliament intended when it passed the relevant legislation.”

Ashcroft "a proud tax avoider"

In September 2013, Ashcroft told a bunch of turnip heads at a Labour Party conference fringe event that he was “a proud tax avoider”. He reportedly received a “polite round of applause”. The self-confessed “notorious tax avoider” only gave up his non-dom status in 2010 because my successful FoI request forced him to. He still thinks tax is something you pay when you absolutely can’t avoid it.

Indeed, Ashcroft and his fellow peer, Lord Fink, have at least two things in common. They were both Treasurers of the Conservative Party and they believe tax avoidance is OK.

Fink says he doesn’t object to Miliband accusing him of tax avoidance. “Because you are right: tax avoidance, everyone does it.”

In October 2010, not long after Ashcroft had come out as a non-dom, he used a written question in the Lords to ask, tongue in cheek, whether the Coalition Government expected citizens “to organise their tax affairs in order to maximise tax payable”.

He was told by the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Sassoon:

The Government expect citizens to pay tax that is due by law. The Government will take action against tax avoidance schemes that claim to produce results completely at odds with the intentions of Parliament.”

Ashcroft, who conned his way into the House of Lords 15 years ago when he promised to bring his tax affairs on shore, asked Sassoon in December 2012:

“whether (the Government) apply any principles of acceptability to legal tax avoidance practices; and, if so, what are those principles.”

Sassoon, playing it with a straight bat, replied:

“The vast majority of individuals and businesses in the UK pay the tax that is due and on time. The small minority that try to bend the rules to achieve a tax result, which Parliament did not intend, put a greater burden on the majority. That is why the Government are taking action to tackle tax avoidance by, for example, changing the law to close loopholes and by introducing a general anti-abuse rule to target artificial and abusive tax avoidance schemes.”

Corruption in the Caribbean

Michael Ashcroft – a citizen of Belize, a British citizen and a belonger of the Turks and Caicos Islands - clearly believes he is home and dry with all his dodgy tax dealings now far behind him, ancient history. The BBC's Panorama looked for evidence and there are lots of loose ends waiting to be tied up.

Elsewhere… The trial of Ashcroft’s old friend, former Premier, Michael Misick, on corruption charges will take place in the Turks and Caicos Islands later this year. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London is considering whether the trial can proceed without a jury. (Every second person in the islands has the surname "Misick". I exaggerate for effect but only slightly.)

When I was in TCI in December 2014 I saw for myself the impact developers have had on the island. Beautiful pristine beaches in Crown Land sold off to shady characters with off-shore bank accounts. I also spoke to local politicians and checked out Michael Misick’s mansion, now up for sale, reportedly built with a little help from his friends.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 18:25
 
HSBC, the Treasury Select Committee, Lord Green and the tax cheat Michael Ashcroft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Sunday, 22 February 2015 21:58

Next Wednesday (25 February 2015) the Treasury Select Committee will try get to the bottom of the shocking tax scandal at HSBC.

The one man who could shed some light of things, Lord Green, the Bank’s Chief Executive from 2003-06 and Chairman from 2006-10, is not in front of the committee and reports suggest he may not be called before it.

Green was recently doorstepped by BBC Panorama, but refuses point-blank to discuss his role.

The FT quotes a spokesman for Andrew Tyrie, the Committee chair, saying the committee will not be calling Green as it doesn’t want to “drag up the past”.

I read that my former colleague, John Mann, is unhappy about this – and well he might be. He should press the Select Committee to summon Green before them.

This is not as easy or as straightforward as it sounds.

Five years ago, my Freedom of Information request on the undertakings Michael Ashcroft gave to secure his peerage, was finally published. It forced Ashcroft to admit that he was a non-dom and had been ever since he cheated his way to a peerage.

He also misled his friend William Hague, then Leader of the Opposition, who wrote to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on 23 May 1999:

“Mr Ashcroft is indeed non-resident for tax purposes and has been for some years, during which time his principal business interests have been abroad. He is, however, committed to becoming resident by the next financial year in order properly to fulfil his responsibilities in the House of Lords. This decision will cost him (and benefit the Treasury) tens of millions a year in tax yet he considers it worthwhile.”

The Public Administration Select Committee embarked on an inquiry into Michael Ashcroft’s peerage but we knew we had to move quickly. Then, as now, a general Election was in prospect.

The Committee asked Lord Ashcroft and William Hague to give oral evidence. They declined. I recall being told at the time that there was a Parliamentary convention preventing select committees summoning members of the Commons or Lords.

In any event, the Chair of PASC, Tony Wright, received a letter from the then Conservative Shadow Leader of the House, Sir George Young, dated Wednesday 17 March 2010 informing us they weren’t going to appear before us. Sir George accused the Committee of being partisan before bluntly stating:

“In the days immediately preceding the dissolution of this Parliament, this inquiry inevitably risks being seen as partisan. I am writing to let you know that my Parliamentary colleagues who have been invited to attend are not inclined to do so.”

He went on:

“I think it best if these sorts of issues are explored in the round, and on a genuine cross-party basis, in the next Parliament.”

The whole truth of the Ashcroft deception, with all the twisting lies and distortions, would have been exposed if PASC had insisted on bringing Ashcroft and Hague before it. The convention should have been tested to destruction with the Committee reporting to the House that two key witnesses were refusing to co-operate. But we were right up against the wire with the election a month or two away. (The Committee had to make do with Hayden Phillips, the mandarin who waved the peerage through.)

I was hugely frustrated by this stonewalling and I recall Tony Wright telling me we had done as much as we could and to let it rest.

But history may be in danger of repeating itself. The scandal of HSBC should not be swept under the carpet until the next Parliament – which may mean never.

The Treasury Select Committee needs to assert itself and insist that Lord Green comes before it - and give evidence under oath.

Postscript on Ashcroft: Cabinet papers released to PASC in 2010 detail the extent of Ashcroft's deception.


Last Updated on Sunday, 22 February 2015 22:44
 
An independent Scotland needs its own currency PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 15:56

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, tells the TUC today that a currency union between England and an independent Scotland would be “incompatible with sovereignty”.

Carney, a former Governor of the Bank of Canada, should know.

During the Quebec Provincial election in March this year, Pauline Marois, the then leader of the Parti Quebecois, startled Canadians by claiming an independent Quebec would still use the Canadian dollar (the loonie). And she wanted a seat at the Bank of Canada.

The idea was widely regarded as fanciful and the Bloc went down to a crushing defeat on 7 April.

Why is the SNP’s insistence on keeping the pound after a YES vote not similarly laughed out of court? It is to me  a complete mystery.

The rest of the UK (rUK) is not going to underwrite an independent Scotland. The voters in rUK would never tolerate such a lopsided arrangement.

If not the pound then what about the Euro? (Now we can laugh out loud.)

Paul Krugman writing in the New York Times. is the latest in a very long line of economists to rule that one out.

So what are we left with?

Ian McGugan in today’s Globe and Mail (see below) says an independent Scotland should have its own currency. He suggests they call it the Thistle on the grounds it will be very hard to hold.


Ian McGugan writes: The world has embraced the loonie. But would it do the same for the Scottie?

As Scotland heads toward its Sept. 18 referendum with the pro-independence side edging into a narrow lead in the polls, a new currency becomes a distinct possibility.

Granted, the last thing a time-starved world needs is the distraction of yet another form of money, especially one backed by a tiny nation with only slightly more people than British Columbia. But, given the alternatives, a new national currency could emerge as the best path forward for Scotland Inc. The other obvious choices – continuing to use the British pound or switching to the euro – are riddled with problems.

MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY

The euro option, for instance, faces the immediate complication that Scotland has no guaranteed ticket to membership in the European Union. Among other obstacles, there’s Spain, which is struggling to placate its own independence movement in Catalonia, and doesn’t want to encourage its home-grown separatists by embracing a newly independent Scotland.

Even if Scotland’s path to EU membership proceeds without a hitch, the euro option would force it into the same one-size-fits-all monetary straitjacket as the rest of the euro zone – an approach that has had dismal results in recent years. If North Sea oil prices were to plummet, oil-dependent Scotland would have no way to offset the shock with looser interest rates.

That’s a problem. But the pound option is also looking less than, um, sterling.

While the Scottish National Party (SNP) has long insisted that an independent Scotland would continue to use the British currency, the power brokers in London have rushed to reject the notion.

All a bluff, sniffs the SNP. It says the English will come to their senses after the referendum, especially since the SNP insists it will repudiate its part of the national debt unless Scotland keeps the pound.

But that raises the question of whether keeping the pound makes sense for Scotland. There are two ways to do so – by simply adopting the currency (a process that goes by the unlovely term “sterlingization”) or by striking a formal currency union with the remainder of the United Kingdom.

The problem with sterlingization (other than its name) is that it leaves Scotland without any voice at the Bank of England and without any backstop from the central bank if crisis strikes. It also gives Scotland no way to adjust monetary policy to suit its own economy.

A formal currency union seems equally awkward. As the smaller partner in the union, Scotland would have to agree to keep its budget deficit within bounds set by the rest of the U.K. so that there would be no danger of it shifting risk onto its larger partner through runaway spending. For similar reasons, Edinburgh would also have to cede control of banking regulation to the folks in London.

At that point, not much would be left of Scotland’s new independence. “It is weird to tell the English you are desperate to be rid of them and, in the same breath, say you trust them so much that you wish to share a core activity of the state you are leaving,” writes Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.

All things considered, the best move for an independent Scotland would be a currency of its own. That would allow the new state to adjust its monetary policy to suit its own needs.

The problem, says Ronald MacDonald, an economist at the University of Glasgow, is that setting up a new currency involves a painful period of winning markets’ trust and building up foreign-exchange reserves. But in the long run it would seem to be the only policy that would make sense if Scotland does vote for independence.

The question that remains is what to call the currency. The Scottie? The Braveheart? I suggest the Thistle, since it’s likely to be painful to hold, especially as North Sea oil revenues dwindle.

Follow  on Twitter: @IanMcGugan


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:02
 
Scotland's future decided by non-Scots PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Friday, 05 September 2014 20:04

Canada’s Conservative Primer Minister, Stephen Harper, tells us that Scottish independence is "ultimately a question for the Scots"

It is not quite so simple. As opinion polls narrow (53% now say no and 47% yes) it is quite conceivable the result could be decided by foreign nationals.

An estimated 253,000 foreign nationals are living in Scotland and many of them will have a vote. Under the UK’s bizarrely anachronistic voting laws, citizens of 53 Commonwealth countries, including Canada, as well as the Republic of Ireland are allowed to vote in the independence referendum.

Nationals from the 28 member states of the European Union, if living in Scotland, can also vote in the referendum because the right to vote is linked to the franchise for the devolved Scottish Parliament, not Westminster. This means that while they cannot vote in an election for a Westminster MP they can, perversely, vote in the referendum.

How can it be right to allow the UK’s centuries old constitutional settlement to be changed irreversibly by non-UK citizens?

Simply posing the question illustrates the absurdity of it all.

In the 1995 Quebec referendum on secession from Canada (in which it hardly needs saying only Canadian citizens could vote) the Noes had the support of 69% of Quebeckers at the beginning of the campaign. This shrank alarmingly and on referendum day the Noes won by a hair’s breadth.

It is a cautionary tale.

Time for the Noes to speak out, loud and clear.


Last Updated on Friday, 05 September 2014 20:50
 
Michael Misick trial date pushed back PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 19:59

The trial of Michael Misick, the former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on corruption charges has been pushed back to 6 October 2014.

A ruling is expected on 23 June on whether the trial will be with or without a jury.

Misick is – or was - a friend of tax dodger Michael Ashcroft who cheated his way into the House of Lords in 2000.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 20:05
 
Michael Misick Corruption Trial Looms. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00

The trial of Michael Misick, the former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on charges of corruption is scheduled to start on 7 July. But this date could slip if his new UK based lawyer, Courtney Griffiths QC, successfully persuades Mr Justice Paul Harrison that he needs more time to prepare the case.

The Turks and Caicos Weekly News reports that, at a hearing on 27 May 2014, Griffiths “will argue against the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team’s (SIPT) application for a trial without a jury”.

Here the Turks and Caicos Sun TV interviews Griffiths about the upcoming trial and his previous experience with high profile cases.

In 2012, BBC Panorama broadcast an investigation into Lord Ashcroft’s business activities in the TCI.

Michael Misick counted Ashcroft as one of his friends.

Michael Ashcroft, who cheated his way into the House of Lords in 2000 will, no doubt, be following Misick’s trial closely.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 21:13
 
Toronto Centre By Election PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00

Next Monday (25 November) voters go to the polls to elect a new Federal MP for Toronto Centre, the constituency previously held by the former Liberal Leader, Bob Rae who has now retired from the House of Commons.

Rae was the (NDP) premier of Ontario, before swapping parties and going into Federal politics as a Liberal. This cross-dressing is much more common in Canada than in the UK.

He has accused the NDP’s by election candidate, journalist Linda McQuaig, of “class warfare”. Ooooh!

She says she is simply drawing attention to the huge gulf between the richest and poorest in the centre of Canada’s biggest city.

Her main opponent, the Liberal candidate, Chrystia Freeland, is also a journalist who has written extensively on the super rich in the United States.

She hasn’t lived in Canada for over a decade.

Astonishing really.


Rob Ford: the story that refuses to die

Type in the name “Rob Ford” in the Toronto Star search engine and it will return 5,614 results – and counting.

Even though Ford has now been stripped of most of his powers and is reduced to a figurehead, he will continue to fascinate.

Canadian municipal politics which, until now, never rated a mention in the UK media, is now grabbing the headlines.

The whole world now knows that a boastful, lying crack-head with an explosive temper is (or rather was) in charge of Canada’s biggest city.

He has become a figure of fun.

Ford shrugs it all off, ignoring the mockery.

He says he has fessed up and come clean. There is nothing left hidden in the closet (except perhaps, he says, the odd coat-hanger).

And yet he still refuses to address a long list of hugely damaging allegations made against him that are detailed in a partly redacted detailed police dossier.

We can only speculate what is behind the blacked out text. We shall all know in due course.

Here the sober, not-for-profit, no ads, political channel CPAC takes us inside Toronto City Council Chamber for yesterday’s unprecedented events where methodically, step by step, motion by motion, Mayor Ford’s powers are taken from him.

Anyone else would be crushed by such a public humiliation.

Not Ford. He gets strength from his notoriety and he revels in his celebrity status.

Like many others, I feel sorry for him.

He still doesn’t realise how much trouble he is in.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:28
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 39
PrivacyTech DetailsSitemap