Daily Mail - 01.08.2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1
Page 18 Daily Mail, Thursday, August 1, 2019


Why MPs must blow

open ‘Nick’ cover-up

AS the clamour grows for police to release
the unredacted report into the monstrous
‘Nick’ scandal, the silence of the Home
Affairs Select Committee becomes more
troubling by the day.
Its chairman Yvette Cooper was happy
enough to tour the broadcasting studios
yesterday, attacking the Government over
its handling of the knife-crime crisis.
Yet when it came to why ‘Nick’ – real name
Carl Beech – and his grotesque lies about a
VIP paedophile ring were swallowed by
Scotland Yard and pursued with such
devastating effect on innocent lives, she
had nothing to say.
Let’s just consider the enormity of this
affair. A former High Court judge – Sir
Richard Henriques – has publicly accused
Britain’s premier police force of perverting
the course of justice. If that doesn’t merit
investigation by committee members, what
on earth is the point of them?
They have a duty to scrutinise matters of
public concern across the field of crime
and home affairs. So why the apparent
dereliction of that duty?
Could it be because the whole truth could
cause even greater embarrassment and
damage not only to the Yard, but also to
Miss Cooper’s close colleague, Labour
deputy leader Tom Watson? He cynically
promoted Beech’s malicious falsehoods
and used them as a stick with which to
beat the Tory establishment.
As a result, Lord Brittan was hounded to
his grave, Sir Ted Heath cruelly defamed,
and former Conservative MP Harvey
Proctor’s life and livelihood ruined. And that
great soldier Lord Bramall was treated like a
common criminal and had his house – and
his world – turned upside down.
If we are to learn anything from this
appalling fiasco, ALL the facts must be
exposed to the disinfectant of sunlight. No
more cover-up.
Commons select committees have
developed a strong reputation for carrying
out bold, independent and non-partisan
inquiries. Unless the Home Affairs
committee probes this festering scandal
(as at least two of its members are urging)
that reputation will be hugely tarnished.
And it will seem to many as though Miss
Cooper is more interested in protecting
her friends than seeing justice done.

This is your victory

THE numbers are simply stunning. Since
the 5p charge was introduced in 2015,
plastic bag sales in the main supermarkets
have plummeted by 90 per cent.
In 2018/19 alone, a staggering 490million
fewer bags were sold than the previous
year – a 50 per cent fall.
The Mail has launched countless campaigns
over the years, but none more successful –
and inspiring – than our ‘Banish the Bags’
initiative, which began ten years ago.
As Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers
acknowledges today, our amazing readers
led the way in using ‘bags for life’, setting
off a trend which swept the country.
Their contribution to a cleaner, greener,
healthier society is incalculable.
This is a great victory for future generations
as well as ourselves. It is your victory.

Greed of the BA pilots

ALREADY facing huge extra holiday bills
because of the plunging pound, beleaguered
British families are now also to suffer long
flight delays and cancellations because of
impending strike action by hugely well-
paid British Airways pilots.
While other BA staff have accepted a
generous pay offer of 11.5 per cent over
three years, the pilots are holding out for
more – even though the average captain
already earns £167,000 plus a £15,
‘flying allowance’.
To feather their nests still further, they
are prepared to wreck the holiday plans of
millions. Have they no shame?

by Dominic




plunge has left

holidaymakers in

despair. But how

worried should we be

long term? There are

valuable lessons

from history...



HEN holiday-
makers stood
in line to
change their
money at
airport exchange
desks yesterday, they
faced something of
a shock.
At Gatwick, one bureau
was selling dollars for
pounds at a rate of one to
one, the worst rate
in history.
At Heathrow, meanwhile,
a travel journalist was
quoted £117 to buy 100 euros,
which meant each pound was
worth a pitiful 85 cents.
Such are the consequences
of the plunging pound, which
reached a two-year low of
$1.21 and €1.08 on Tuesday.
And even though sterling
recovered a shred of respecta-
bility yesterday, the fact
remains that the pound is cur-
rently the worst performing
major currency in the world.
A few figures tell the story.
As recently as the summer of
2014, the pound was valued at
$1.71. Two years later after
the EU referendum, it
collapsed to $1.32, and
although it clawed back a few
cents afterwards, it has never
come close to regaining its
former position.
Since many of us see the
pound as a symbol of British
national identity, it is natural
to wince at the spectacle of
its decline.


But right now these figures
are painful news for the
millions holidaying abroad
this summer, for whom they
mean more expensive ice
creams, fewer meals out and
bigger credit card bills.
Holidays abroad are expen-
sive enough as it is, especially
if you’re going to increasingly
overpriced destinations such
as France and Italy.
For the Government, though,
what makes this so dangerous
is not just the impact on
British holidaymakers,
fumbling for change in the
bistros of Paris and the
pizzerias of Florence.
It is the psychological
impact: the humiliating sight
of a breakneck decline in
one of the great totems of
British prestige.
For the pound is more than
just another currency. Sterling
has long been one of the
supreme symbols of British
pride, independence and
economic virility, which is why
so many people were deeply
opposed to Tony Blair’s pet
project of joining the euro. As

the expression ‘sound as a
pound’ suggests, sterling once
enjoyed an ultra-reliable
reputation. But the fact that
you rarely hear that expression
these days tells its own story.
Far from being a symbol of
economic strength, the pound
has too often been a badge of
weakness, as the workshop of
the world has struggled to
come to terms with the rise of
foreign competitors.
Indeed, time after time
during the last century, prime
ministers have been defined
— and destroyed — by the
struggle to prop up its value.
In 1931, for example, the first
stable Labour government,
led by Ramsay MacDonald,
collapsed in acrimony after it
became impossible to defend
the pound’s position on the
Gold Standard, where it was
wildly overvalued at a fixed
rate of $4.86.
After World War II, with
Britain’s finances exhausted
by the struggle against the
Nazis, the pound’s value was
fixed at $2.80. But in the eyes
of the markets, even this lower
rate overestimated its real
worth, not least because
British manufacturing was in
headlong retreat.
It was pressure on the
pound, for example, that

forced Sir Anthony Eden to
abandon the operation to
retake the Suez Canal from
Egypt in 1956, perhaps the
greatest diplomatic humilia-
tion in our post-war history.
And 11 years later, when
Labour’s Harold Wilson was
forced to devalue the pound
by 14 per cent to just $2.40, his
reputation took a hit from
which it never recovered.
In a disastrously miscon-
ceived TV broadcast, Wilson
assured the nation that ‘the
pound here in Britain, in your
pocket or purse or in your
bank’ had not been devalued.
But this was nonsense.


Then, as now, a lower pound
meant higher prices, and
everybody knew it.
As a result, aggrieved British
shoppers gave Wilson the boot
in the next election, three
years later.
The most chastening
humiliation of all, though,
came in the autumn of 1976,
after years of strikes, black-
outs and double-digit inflation
had destroyed confidence in
Britain’s ability to manage
its economy.
By September, with inves-
tors rushing to get rid of their
sterling holdings, the pound

was in free-fall, hurtling
towards a then unprece-
dented low of $1.63.
In an extraordinarily
melodramatic climax,
the Labour Chancel-
lor, Denis Healey, had
to turn back from
Heathrow Airport,
where he was due to
fly to a finance
ministers’ meeting in
the Far East, and
return to London.
There he negoti-
ated a record bailout
from the International
Monetary Fund, worth
some £12billion today.
Britain, once the world’s
banker, had become the
world’s beggar. And with
inflation apparently out of
control, the electorate once
again took their revenge at
the next election.
So should Boris Johnson be
losing sleep over the decline of
the pound?
Not according to some
Brexiteers, who argue that a
lower pound is something
to celebrate.
As they point out, a strong
pound is not always an
unqualified blessing.
During Margaret Thatcher’s
first term in the early 1980s,
for example, the pound was so
strong, thanks to high interest
rates and North Sea oil, that
British exports became
prohibitively expensive,
driving the economy into
recession and throwing
millions of people out of work.


Indeed, according to some
Brexiteers, we should cheer a
falling pound, since it will
make our products cheaper
abroad, boosting British
business, turbo-charging the
economy and providing count-
less new manufacturing jobs.
Unfortunately, very few
economists or businessmen
find this remotely plausible.
Nor do I.
For one thing, these days
most British manufacturers
rely on imported components,
which would be far more
expensive with a lower pound.
So their goods would not be
cheaper after all.
And the idea of a devalued
pound unleashing an exports
boom has long since been
exposed as a self-deluding
fantasy. Back in 1967, Harold
Wilson told the nation that a
lower pound meant we could
‘sell more goods abroad’. No
such boom materialised.
It did not materialise in 2008


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