Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Open Thread

I apologise for the lack of posting. I'm afraid my brain is so addled with cold that writing a blogpost about anything is the last thing on my mind at the moment.

That's unlikely to change for the rest of the day. Very sorry. So please use this thread to discuss the news of the day, especially the publication of MPs' expenses, if you can term it 'publication'. If ever the Telegraph's justification for publishing the ful details was doubted, today has proved they were right to publish what they did.

Now, where's the Lemsip...


TrueBlueBlood said...

Get well soon Iain. Lucozade, Lemsip and a nice sleep is in order.

Like you. I am also down and out. Tonsilitus :(

Had a chance to look at some of the sanatised have these become. Totally agree that the Daily Telegraph was pursuing a public interest story.

Unlike the Times over Night Jack...not a public interest story.

vervet said...

And they STILL don't get it.
What will it take for them to fully appreciate the fury outside the Westminster bubble ?

Dave Williams said...

You can pursue a public interest story and pursue it in a way that isn't in the public interest. That's what I would say the DT have done.

Actually I'm not sure there is a lot of fury outside of the Westminster bubble. Where's the evidence for it. most of the public seemed to become a lot more laid back about voting and willing to experiment with smaller parties a long tike ago. Now proper political fury -marches in the street...etc try Iran!

Half The Story said...

Shame they have not published it all isnt it and have just cherry picked at it.

resurgemus said...


I still do not see why so many Conservative councils are giving this government such ab easy time by doing it's dirty work for it.

Most of the pointless laws which make life a hassle for ordinary people are being enforeced by Tories locally. I quoted the instance of a pensioner in Leominster being brought to court for having his disabled parking permit upside down. The papers are of course running "pointless bureaucracy" stories every day.

Given the contempt with which Labour councils treated Thatcher, why should Tory councils be so compliant with central edicts which make life a chore for the ordinary voter ?

Victor, NW Kent said...

Not the Mexican Swine Flu, we hope. The States is dangerous place.

Meanwhile we learn that almost every MP has been on the fiddle, even through the blackout.

It is not becoming less horrific as another deluge of revelations is launched.

The sheer petty meanness of some of the claims is almost as staggering as the blatantly fraudulent ones.

Brown's talent for total uselessness is shown by the Fall of the House of Ussher - artex and all. 10 days from appointment to resignation.

WV= arific You can say that again, guvnor.

Sean Haffey said...

1. Lemon, honey, hot water and whisky, followed by sleep.

2. A delayed election is a good opportunity for the electorate to get some perspective on these expenses. Do we really want to defenstrate every single MP whose claims were the slightlest bit dodgy? Who defines "dodgy"? Where in the scale of justice do house-flipping, gardening and food claims sit? How do you balance one or two small "dodgy" claims against a couple of decades of excellent service? If we do go for the harshest approach (which might be right) can we get good enought PPCs in place beforehand and be confident they will stand up to scrutiny?

In letters to The Telegraph published on June 1st, WA Brewer wrote "I have struggled to get a sense of proportion about the level of wrongdoing and have now created the following categories to characterise MPs' behaviour: one, fraudulent – criminals; two, fiddlers – flippers and others working the system; three, frivolous – duck houses and moats; four, faithful – showing good judgment.

I hope that the police will deal with the first category and the political parties the second. The electorate will know what to do with the third."

Anonymous said...

Sean Haffey

I'll tell you who decides what is a dodgy claim. The electorate.

Your comment is just the sort of mealy mouthed, superior, class apart bullshit that winds Average Joe up.

And I'm Average Joe.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Paracetemol and hot drinks and wait for the fever to the blood/sugar levels as well...get well soon..every sympathy

What about the pressure building on the wreck ,that daily has to pass for a Prime Minister, re his decision to hold the Iraq enquiry `in camera`.Even Balls has indicated its not right..God your in trouble when that happens.

Most people think its an outrage and a cover up and of course they would be right..Of course there is no way Brown is prepared to have reportings in the media in the run up to a General Election so regardless of what needs to be done he`ll carry on regardless and destroy the Labour Party in the process.

Somehow cant see mandelspoon letting this idiot go on much beyond the autumn but he may be forced to do another U turn before then..

Lets keep the pressure on for an open enquiry. ALL those who died deserve nothing less.

Mark M said...

If that's what counts for transparency these days then our politicans really have lost touch with the real world.

Imagine if I tried to get my expenses past my boss like that. "Yes, I've blanked out all the important details, but don't worry. All is above board".

Alan Douglas said...

Iain, just goes to show that Balls is/are not good for you !

Be well soon.

Alan Douglas

Sean Haffey said...

-> Anonymous at 11.26

I asked questions: I didn't answer them.

I'm not sure what your point is about "class apart". I don't have pretentions to being a member of any class - upper, middle or lower.

And if you re-read the last two paragraphs, I'm not sure how you'd call these mealy-mouthed.

Anonymous said...

Did you overdo it last night Iain?

Anonymous said...

lol you wimp Dale.

He has a cold, not typhoid!


David said...

I am surprised how little coverage Mervyn King's Mansion House speech got in the MSM. It seemed to me to move the investment/cuts argument to another level. Not only will Labour cut expenditure but their plans to do so are insufficient!It is important support for the "Gordon is a fantasist" movement now sweeping the country and I hope Osbo follows up yesterday by picking it up.

judith said...

Sean H - I agree that some of the hype about expenses claims are vastly overblown.

The point about cases like Kitty Ussher is that precisely the Party (in Government) that admonished us (the electorate) so priggishly about tax AVOIDANCE being every so naughty is the same Party whose representatives are so eager to indulge in it themselves.

Rather like the fanatics in every religion who damn and blast sexual sins but covertly indulge themselves.

Mel Cannon said...

Lemsip Opik? He's in the Liberal Party isn't he?

VotR said...

Get well soon, Iain.

At least Widdecombe pays for her own drinks. I hope she makes it as Speaker, and stays on as an MP.

As for the expenses.. what a load of corrupt piggies. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh? They ever use that line again... Expenses will be used against them like a crucifix against Dracula in a Hammer Horror film. Except real life is even nastier, and far more leech like.

doodledandy said...

Home flipping in Downing Street???

Pete B - Pete's Politics Blog said...

Does anyone have any idea why MPs need to claim for food? Living in two places at once doesn't mean you need two helpings at dinner.

Catosays said...

I can't believe what I'm reading that the Tories want that horse-faced thief of a caravan dweller to become Speaker. Have they lost their marbles completely?

Uncle Bob said...

It's been quite funny looking at my MP's claims. How on earth can he justify a 400 claim for food each month given that he spends the majority of his time in London away from the constituency. He hasn't got half a dozen hungry mouths to feed and the shop's near him are Spar, Lidl and a Morrisons. If he ate that much food he'd be the size of Cyril Smith!

Barnacle Bill said...

Not something that started in America I hope Iain?

Uncle Bob said...

Oh and Iain, are you sure it isn't swine flu? Are you coming it out in rashers? Is your throat crackling?

I do need to ham it up.

Newmania said...

Sorry to hear that Iain get well soon

Meanwhile ..... I have to register my fury,at Michael Gove.He is giving in to the NUT, and allowing them by scrapping SATS at Primary level.
Teachers do not like SATS because they allow parents to judge whether the school is performing adequately or not. Local authorities do not like SATS because the knowledge that a local school, is failing does not help them herd children, like worthless cattle, into whatever box suits the bureaucrats.People like M Gove do not care ,because his brood will either attend Prep school, or his house/s (!!!) will be in a such a salubrious area it ceases to matter.
For those of us not as insulated we need the facts .Gove's suggestion that it would be possible to track back secondary school results to the school is the teenisest of fig leafs. If, by any chance ,this was true then what would be the point ? Presumably school would continue to ,"teach the the test" ,by which "Teach at all " is generally meant .
Some Secondary schools test whithin weeks of entry, but are these tests homogenous ? Will it really be possible to work out which Prinmary school is performing ? Not a chance; and if it did , see above ,as they say .SATS furnish invaluable information invaluable because it is nationally comparable and straighforward .
My own young children are sequentially entering Primary school and those parents who cared and understood, wanted to talk about years of SATS results in detail. The headmaster at the school we chose told us exactly what measures had been taken following a poor year, and was able to reveal the as yet unpublished improvements . We absolutely cannot do without this .

Cameron knows the whole Public Sector from teachers to bin men are going to have to take a hit on their pensions and salaries .He will therefore be looking for anyway to appease them that does not cost money . Well I am sorry but my children are not paying .I hope you have got that Gove.? My children are not paying for a plot to keep the Unions sweet. Furthermore ,as we are all paying for your children it is even harder to listen to you sounding like an oily New Labour apologist
I will compromise on most things but not this . Never this

Thats News said...

You poor soul! hot Whisky and honey with a fruit juice taster is the best thing. And chicken soup does help.

Fink -for that it what he is- gives his ‘reasoning’ as to why he thinks his newspaper is right in exposing this police officer to the danger of possibly losing his job. Makes you proud that, does, it Fink?!

Thomas said...

I am sure this will be unpopular but there's a whole lot of heat and very little light on expenses.

If MPs are going to be good constituency MPs, they need to have a second home. They get a salary that supports a decent first home but comes nowhere near enough to provide for a second home.

Some MPs have made ridiculous claims and deserve to be chased out of politics. But the majority have been attacked for legitimate claims like food, cleaning, gardening, and office expenses.

If people thought about the issue before they posted comments, or wrote articles, then perhaps we wouldn't face such a ridiculous example of the British public in one of its fits of ill-informed outrage.

Thats News said...

Damn. That should be fruit juice chaser! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Know just how you feel Iain!

I am awaiting the claim slip to show that I have financed
someone's knickers I seem to have contributed to everything else.

Its nice to know that my meagre pension has helped the deserving poor so much!

CryBaby said...

Gypsies get preferential treatment with GPs - do they pay tax and NI?

MPs are now allowed to tell us when a murderer of pedo lives near us.

Bloggers cant be anonymous.

The attack of the dustbins

The end of the greedy Chipmunk.

The public cuts LIE.

Iran go mental over the elections and we continue to take more and more shit from LIEbour.

Are we just pushovers or what??

Osama the Nazarene said...

Hope you're insured just in case its swine flu. The US is riddled with it. It started in America you know, from those intensive pig farms in Iowa or Idaho. According to the ever trustworthy Biased Broadcasting Corp.

sunonmars said...

Shahid Malik’s Council tax bill from 10 Aug 2007 shows he charged the taxpayer £62 Authority summons cost and £3 court summons cost.

Sack the man now. He broke the law got summoned for it and then charged us.

Page 18 of 07/08 ACA.

Whats even worse is he is claiming a 10% unnoccupied allowance discount, he’s claiming for an unnocupied 2nd home and yet claiming furniture for that home?

Mr said...

Get well soon Iain.

Am I the only one worried about the first Crown Court trial without a jury?

Osama the Nazarene said...

Mr Newmania I'm afraid you are wrong, in my opinion. Michael Grove's proposals are an example of joined up government. They have numerous merits as well as being cost effective.

Removing SATS from primary schools has the benefits that heads cannot "cheat" by lax invigilation, extra time, gentle hints etc. They also have the merit of restoring the final year of primary school to being a normal teaching year instead of a cramming year for the SATS exam.

The exam of first year secondary school would of course have to be compulsory and "homogenous". Secondary school staff should set it with appropriate expectations and its results would be valuable for "setting". Decent secondary schools never trusted the SATS and set their own tests so that they could split up the pupils appropriately.

These tests would be much cheaper as they would be marked by the secondary school staff. The secondary schools also know what primary schools their kids came from and it does not require an Einstein to send back results for all pupils so that they can be collated by primary school. These results can then be published.

It is a win win proposal all round.

Vote Tory get joined up government.

James Higham said...

Ah, so other people are sick in England as well at the moment?

fatter than prescott said...

telegraph will high-light things blacked out.

commons making them-selves look idiots

Anonymous said...

Why don't schools just hand out A*** GCSE certificates to every single pupil, then get employers to set proper test and examinations. Wouldn't that suit Labour's mental obsession with dumbing down?

Newmania said...

Osama .. allow me to retort .....

...........and where are the plans for this nationally recognised test to be taken within a few weeks of entering secondary school?
Where are the plans that this information is posted as it now is in a form a struggling parent can understand ? How exactly is the hard knowledge a parent clutches on the round of open days to be replaced ?
They do not exist for the very good reason that if they did then the exercise would be quite pointless as the Primary school would be in exactly the same position as they are in now.
If SATS are subject to fraud as you suggest that should be immediately amended and all those involved fired , we have far too many teachers anyway. It may appear to you that another year of normal teaching is a good thing by giving our appalling literacy and basic numeracy record I would like something somewhat better.

My suspicion is that Gove`s conspicuous consumption of expenses has placed him in such a weak position that he is obliged to carry this cup of poison for the team and in the hope of placating the NUT. There is no future in placating the NUT they have to be taken on and for some people that is the whole point of an Conservative Administration People like me .

It defeats me that just as parents were getting used to the idea they have independent information and used to accessing it on line it should be lost. The interaction between accountability and practice was already bearing fruit and it is just so un Conservative to throw out a developing system ..and just to please the Unions !
As you point out from Primary school you go straight into a system that is at least as selective as Grammars were with the tops sets always consisting of the same people, and mixing rarely with the others . Getting back from a failed Primary start is very difficult expensive and unfair . I will trust parents over the NUT any day and I amazed more people are not telling Michael Gove what an error he is making .

Lyttelton said...

Gobsmacked that Margaret Beckett claimed £600 for flowers and hanging baskets. Are they essential to her duties in the HofC? Thought she might have been a good possible for Speaker. Now don't think so. Hope she doesn't get it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Try and look on the bright side. If you die of Swine Flu, there is going to be a groundswell of support for an "Iain Dale Memorial Blogger of the Year" award. Sponsored by Calvin Klein and Audi. We could get Tim Ireland to do the inaugural speech.

Drop me an email if things take a turn for the worse.

Theo Christou said...

Some of those who have claimed to be whiter than white are as bad as the rest. Tony Wright (Lab) has been all over the media like a rash saying he warned them all and no-one would listen. Pity he didn't take his own advice instead of charging us for his eye test 3 years running, copious supplies of ginseng and chamomile teas, unidentifiable items from John Lewis, payments to his local Labour Party for copies of the electoral register, etc etc. Sickening.

Fausty said...

No need to apologise, Iain! Garlic, vitamin C, hot curry. :)

CryBaby, add to your list the first trial without jury in this country, conveniently reported on expenses scandal day.

The way this effing government has tampered with our constitution, and liberties makes me incandescent.

Please will all of you watch Straw's moves in the coming year on the Constitution he is proposing. You can be damned sure that it will not be in our best interests, regardless of how he and his lackeys spin it.

Plato said...

How about an MP who claimed for 1p phone call?

Come on down - Jeremy Hunt

joshuachambers said...


Angela Watkinson MP (Upminster) claimed for a tax accountant, just like Alistair Darling. I've posted the details here

Get well soon.

VotR said...

Brown forced to climb down over secrecy decision on Iraq inquiry.

Great, his power is crumbling by the day. Another year like this and there won't be anything left of Labour to vote for.

Times Online Link

No complaints there then.

Expat said...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Man flu is a pejorative term that refers to the idea that when many men have a cold, they exaggerate and claim they have the flu — the implication being that women do not do so.[1]

A web-based survey[2] of readers of Nuts magazine in late 2006 stirred interest[3] in this notion, which was criticized as unscientific and unreliable[1][2]. It has been suggested that such exaggeration is possibly just as prevalent in women.[4] [5]

A study published in 2009[6] was widely[7] reported [8] as supporting the concept that "man flu" exists, but this was purely the media misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting the science.[9] The study had nothing to do with 'flu (the experiment was related to bacterial, not viral, infection) and was performed on genetically modified mice rather than human beings, so the results are not necessarily applicable to humans. These media misrepresentations of science are quite common, possibly even the norm.[10]

Anonymous said...

During one nasty fever I had a dream there was a LibDem politician called Lemsip Opik.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for the Daily Telegraph, the MPs cramuwould have got away with most of their fiddling otherwise.

Uncle Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anand said...

Telegraph publishing a massive supplement with unredacted expenses for all 646 MP's this Saturday.

Dic Dyffryn said...

Catosays is absolutely right. Mrs Beckitt was the incompetent minister who presided over the introduction of the single payments scheme, among other catastrophes. Under her stewardship DEFRA opted for the most insanely complex scheme of any EU member state with the result that payments were in many cases nearly a year behind. As a result thousands of families suffered real hardship, several hundred families lost their homes and businesses and several farmers committed suicide.
It is incredible that the Conservatives would want such a serial failure in the speaker's chair, and I hope farmers in England, traditionally Tory to a man (well nearly), will take note.

The Independent Grub said...

I'm trying to decide why we have to pay £400/mth for food for my MP. It does sound like a lot for one person who probably spends at least 2 days a week at home with family and at least another day or two having a free feed on someone or some company.....

Oh, then there's the subscription to Poultry Weekly!!

Thomas Rossetti said...

Like others, I hope you get well soon, Iain. I initially misread "Lemsip" for Lembit, which made me laugh a little.

I completely agree with you that these edited expenses completely vindicate the Telegraph's decision to publish the expense details.

Lastly, have you completely switched off "comment moderation"? The second comment at 2:17pm was completely beyond the pale.

Twitter page

Paul said...

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a criminal trial can take place at Crown Court without a jury for the first time in England and Wales.

I see the slippery slope is upon us......

Cedric Rothermere said...

Not only did we pay for Labour hypocrite Tony Wright's eye tests for 3 years running, we also paid his annual accountancy bill to help him avoid tax. Which is nice.

Philipa said...

Get well soon. Hope it's not swine flu, we're surrounded with that where I am. Ooer! But the State won't allow the kiddies to break up early.

Anonymous said...

Whenever life get you down, Mrs. Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you've had quite enu-hu-hu-huuuuff

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour
That's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way

Our galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
It's 100,000 light-years side-to-side
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light-years thick
But out by us it's just 3000 light-years wide
We're 30,000 light-years from galactic central point
We go round every 200 million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whiz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth

Cynic said...

Try whisky, 3 cloves, half a sppon of sugar, a slice of lemon and the same volume of hot water as the whisky. It soothes all ills.

Anonymous said...

Guys - read this briliant piece -

Part One

Labour is extremely secretive but enjoys taking away our privacy. Why is it one rule for them and another for us?

By Ian Dunt

If you had told us in 1997 that Labour would become one of the most secretive governments in recent times, you would have been laughed at. After all, the Tory record was appalling, and Tony Blair promised a Freedom of Information Act, which he then duly delivered. Journalists and citizen activists have made good use of that Act and it is to be commended. Unfortunately, it has been the exception.

Labour's pre-97 promises to create more openness and accountability in the NHS ran into trouble almost immediately. Within two years of a Labour government, the pre-eminent medical journal BMJ had found numerous examples of attempts to prevent disclosure of alleged 'public interest' information concerning health bodies. It went on to describe NHS trusts packed with activists despite promises of an "open and fair" appointment system and NHS staff bullied by management into not giving interviews or making statements critical of NHS services.

A good example of that secrecy came in 2006, when a Scottish swan died of bird flu, triggering concerns of an avian flu outbreak. The media soon started creeping around the government's emergency protocols. One secret document seen by the Sunday Telegraph noted that the antiviral drug Tamilfu would only be made available to British embassy and consular staff overseas, not ordinary Brits outside the country. "It would not be advisable," the documents stated, "to announce this policy in the British media."

Things got more serious for GCHQ translator Katherine Gunn. On January 31st 2003 she received an email from a US national security agent calling for the illegal bugging of the UN offices of six different countries. They were Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, and Pakistan - the six 'swing nations' on the UN security council before the vote on the Iraq war. Having found a totally illegal request designed to bring about a war widely considered to also be illegal, Gunn behaved in an honourable and heroic way. She blew the whistle. Her reward was arrest and a charge under section one of the Official Secrets Act.

The case went to court a year later, but only lasted half an hour before the prosecution declined to offer evidence. Why? Any records of legal advice in the run up to war would have had to be released into the public domain to counter defence arguments that the whistle-blowing was intended to stop an illegal act. Fittingly, only the threat of a further loss of secrecy could stop the government getting its revenge.

Labour's decision to try to keep MPs' expenses secret first revealed itself some years later, when Gordon Brown imposed a whip on a vote excluding MPs from the Freedom of Information Act. Today, we have a double whammy. First, parliament published MPs' expenses, but only after redacting a great deal of the information - to such an extent that the worst abuses, such as 'flipping', would never have been discovered.

Meanwhile, Brown is struggling desperately to keep the Iraq inquiry secret. As I write this, news is emerging he may have conducted a semi U-turn, with discussions about opening up the inquiry to some public hearings. It took outspoken attacks from children's secretary Ed Balls, two Iraq inquest veterans in the forms of Lord Hutton and Lord Butler, and a Commons vote next week the government could easily lose for him to change his mind.

Anonymous said...

Part Two

On the flip side of British society, how is the public's privacy treated? With contempt and indifference.

Under Labour, the policing of protests has been increasingly conducted under anti-terror laws, including the warped and disgraceful new habit of filming peaceful demonstrators. The government has been open about attempting to track all our electronic communications. CCTV surveillance has become so widespread we are now the most watched society in the history of mankind. We have created the biggest DNA database in the world. Local councils have been granted powers under RIPA to launch hugely invasive surveillance operations for trivial offences such as fly-tipping.

Those privacy issues where the government has backed down were the never the result of honour, but sustained opposition from activists and libertarians. The electronic communication database and the attempt to allow data sharing between public bodies are two examples campaigners should be proud of. To give some idea of the contempt with which the government treats its citizens, it's worth noting that the data sharing proposal was originally in the exact same coroners bill which first suggested making some coroner's inquests private - even from the bereaved. That idea was dropped as well, but only after a fierce campaign.

It seems ironic and hypocritical for the government to be so secretive and so disrespectful of our privacy. It is. But it is also entirely logical. They are both symbols of a lack of respect for the electorate.

Health policy is based on a 'we know what's best for you' nanny-statism, because you can't be trusted to make decisions for yourself. Protests are policed under anti-terror laws because concerned citizens are equated with violent threats. Avian flu responses and MPs expenses are kept from us because we can't be trusted to react appropriately to the information.

All government's have this tendency in them - right or left. That's why we have democratic structures to keep them in check: a second chamber, the media, the judiciary and elections.

This is what happens when you allow the state to become too powerful - under the guise of counterterrorism, or health and safety, or even democracy itself. It will only get worse, unless we do something about it.

Will a change of government do it? Probably not - the Tories are promising less right now than Labour promised in 1997.

The first task of any concerned citizen now must be to scrutinise the Conservatives. Barring a miracle, they will be in power in a year's time. We still have a few months to pin their colours to the mast. We need promises from the Tories about what they will repeal and how they will reform some of our most authoritarian laws. Up until now all we have had are vague allusions to civil liberties and some populist rhetoric. No government is to be trusted. We need firm promises of reform, and we need them on the record.

The Speaker said...

I think most of the posting everywhere today will cover the MPs expenses. I personally think that it is a disgrace that certain details such as the shops they went to is covered up.
Also my blog focus is on different issues aswell such as the u-turn on the Iraq war.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else heard this rumour about the Scottish papers having a photo of Bercow with William Beggs (the Limbs in the Loch murderer who was in Bercow's faction in FCS)?

Anonymous said...

Apart from Daniel Finkelstein's Comment Central online, where the comments are uniformly hostile, all mention of Night Jack seems to have been expunged from the Times website.

Yak40 said...

Well, some of Blair's expenses survived the shredder. He'll have to do better than that to prosper and gain respect as an EU Kapitan, the Kinnocks can give him lessons, not to forget Mandy.

Salmondnet said...

Anonymous 1.19. Great idea, but not radical enough. All children to be awarded 10 GCSEs and an ASBO on registration of birth. All eventualities thus being covered we can redeploy both teachers and pupils to useful activities (coalmining springs to mind).

English First said...

The Ret. Dishonourable David Maclean, MP, penrith & The Borders, claimed for an "F" type Poppy Wreath. The invoice claimed was presented by The Royal British Legion, 26/10/07. The value - £19.00!!

Apparently and according to his girlfriend, sorry secretary, Maclean is to contribute £19.00 to the Poppy appeal this year.

Obviously we have a precedence set now. All thieves that are caught, not much chance I know, can now simply say sorry, big mistake I`ll give it all back!!

Unsworth said...

Issat Lemsip Opik?

Anonymous said...

The day Cameron pays back his fiddled expenses, Dale has nothing to say. How convenient!

Ingrid Jones said...

Get well soon Iain. Here's looking forward to Widdy as Speaker on Monday. If she is not selected I'll be more disillusioned than I already am.

I feel so sickened by what's been going on politically here in England, I support what Matt in a comments thread at Guido Fawkes' blog says today:

Close Parliament.
Send every MP back to their constituency for re-selection.
Hold a General Election.
Start from scratch after the summer recess.

Daniel1979 said...

Cheryl Gillan, my MP has been claiming around £200 - £250 on a monthly basis for "petty cash" - yet has been claiming for items as low in value as staples. The Telegraph only printed about he mis-claim for dog food when they sifted the books.

It looks like a straight-froward income suppliment to me.

There are some other receipts that reveal more of her claims that I will be looking into.

Daniel1979 said...

.... forgot to say, get well soon Iain.

It's all for adminstrative convenience Britain said...

Trial without jury - yet another sad day for this one proud nation.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

are you sure it's not Mexican flu?

Bird said...


It's always the way, isn't it? you think someone talks sense, until he starts talking about something you know well.
As an ex-primary head, I endorse Omar's view that SATs in year 6 of primary school are a bad thing, for all the reasons he mentions.
Newmania, do you want your children to spend their final year in primary school sitting old test papers. Do you realise many schools resort to cheating to avoid doing badly in league tables?

Anonymous said...

I am also puzzled why we need to pay MPs £400 month food allowance. They can't each in two places at once can they? And if they have a second home near Parliament they don't need to eat out except on business like anyone else. I assume meals in the H of C restaurant are subsidised like any works canteen.

Northampton Saint said...

This is genuinely frightening, and even more reason we need a referendum on The Lisbon Treaty NOW..

Henry Wood said...

Get well soon. Helpful health tip follows:

1 tsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
hot water
2 big drams Scotch (*NOT* Speaker Martin label!)

Open window, take deep breath, throw honey, lemon juice and hot water as far as you can. Sip Scotch slowly.
Repeat every hour.

Sleep well!

Anonymous said...

It seems that at least Blair fixed his roof when the sun was shining.

John said...

I don't understand why Sadiq Khan can claim 19.50 for an eye test in he 2007 - 08 Incidental Expenses Provision/Staff Allowance. We all have to pay for our own!

Anonymous said...

I see Labourlist are being misleading regarding Cameron's expenses. No change there then - Labour dishonesty.

doodledandy said...

Lemsip Opik comes from Iceland, so he's going to make you colder.
Nine out of ten MPs read:

The Grim Reaper said...

Everyone do a Mexican wave!

Constantly Furious said...

Get well soon! Funnily enough, I'm sick too - sick of the endless expenses "revelations".

We're really Flogging a Dead Horse now.

Come on, guys. The information that's been released today is a drastically censored version of what the Telegraph has had for weeks. Do you really think there's any meat left on the bones?

This is just a distraction - probably one that Gordon and the Lord High Mandelson are not particularly sorry about.

Thatsnews said...

UPDATE: Times comments being culled?

Thatsnews said...

"...........and where are the plans for this nationally recognised test to be taken within a few weeks of entering secondary school?"

I don't know, Newmania. But I DO recall sitting such a test in 1968 when I went up to Secondary school.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

So Hazel Blears lives to fight another day: and face humiliation at the election?

Reed said...

Just seen Brown on Ten O'clock News - claiming he was in favour of 'openness and trans-parency' regarding the Iraq war inquiry, but looking VERY shifty when saying it. Even he is beginning to realise what a liar he is. He still seems to expect us to swallow it like half-wits, though.

They played the clip of him announcing the inquiry where he says it will be held 'in private'.

This man has zero judgement, just cannot get ANYTHING right! Always behind the curve.

Step up John Major to apply even more pressure - He rarely comments on Government issues, so when he does it makes the news.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised said...

This evening, just before 10 pm, I left the following comment at Lord Renton's blogpost Connecting Parliament with the public:

"Looking forward to Widdy as Speaker on Monday. If she is not selected I’ll feel more sickened than I already am.

I am feeling very sad, angry and disillusioned over what is going on politically here in England. I support what Matt in a comments thread at Guido Fawkes’ blog said today:

Close Parliament.
Send every MP back to their constituency for re-selection.
Hold a General Election.
Start from scratch after the summer recess."

Here's hoping that other members of the public will make their voices heard at Lords of the Blog

DiscoveredJoys said...

I wonder at the expense claims for food, on a monthly basis. It may be a valid claim if there is no London second home... but with the subsidised restaurants and bars it seems more likely that in some cases it is a mere dodge to 'earn' more money.

It sounds more like a benefit in kind to me so I would hope that the tax inspectors get involved and start claiming back to tax due. And going back over 7 years tax records...

That will make a few MPs blood drain from their faces.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

you don't wear Calvin Klein boxer shorts do you Iain?!

The Grim Reaper said...

Reed said "Step up John Major to apply even more pressure - He rarely comments on Government issues, so when he does it makes the news."

That's because what Major says now actually makes sense. What a shame he didn't show such wisdom and judgement when he was Prime Minister.

A. Shore Thing... said...

Can MPs really claim for Public Relations consultants on office budgets?

Not according to the Times.

I wonder what Mark Field was paying for!

Anne Shore, W11

Anonymous said...

I've just watched Question Time, have I missed something or is the government now so scared of the public that it only appear on its own tv programmes now i.e. GMTV?

Anonymous said...

Iain, stop the nonsense. you were jet lagged and summer ball punch drunk. Ive never had a day off bar 3 in 25 years. that was because i was unconscious after a rugby incident. just be more honest than your political friends. Westminster and its hangers on is a total sham

Martin said...

Questiontime. What a joke. yet again the Tory gets ganged up on (a weekly tradition now) by Dimblebore and the rest of the panel. Yet not a mention of Kitty no name getting the boot.

and why won't the Tories point out that the worst expenses breaches have been by Labour MPs? The Tories get beaten up every week on total rubbish from Dimblebore on expenses whilst Labour scum get away scot free.

Oh and again we get the Tories beaten up about the EU parties. So what about the left wing extremists in the left wing coalition in the EU?

We got the usual right wingers are homophobic crap again. So what about Muslims? Ask most Muslims to be honest to your face that they oppose homosexuality, yet the Labour party encourages them to join it's party. Double standards?

Sinbad said...

What you are not reading in the Scottish press is that Jim Devine MP who recently appeared before Labour’s Star Chamber in connection with the 6k plus expense claim was actually settling a bar tab with his local pub landlord. This is the landlord who carried out re wiring and shelf erecting on his behalf

Anonymous said...

Iain, it might cheer you up to hear you're a topic of conversation on Popbitch. Apparently you are better than Guido because...

"More balance, less hyperbole, more humour, less venting, more experience, less knee-jerk judgmental bile. Also, he's a poof and is thus better with colours"

The Economic Voice said...

I feel exactly the same Ian that's why I came to your blog because I cannot be arsed to write a bloomin thing.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Re: the election of the speaker. Twice today I've heard that NuLiebour are applying the whip to their members to vote for Mrs Bucket. Since this is a secret ballot it would be interesting to see what authority the whips (and by extension Brown) have in being able cajole their members to vote for her.

In any case having Bucket as speaker would surely be a minor disaster. She continues to think that every member has been honourable and refuses to pay anything back for her hanging baskets!!!

Active Pensioner said...

I am increasingly inclined to follow the example of our Iranian friends and take to the streets in order to force a General Election.

Is anyone else up for it?

It would appear that our House of Commons is now completely devoid of Honourable Members and needs a complete clear out.

I am able to supply my own pike and piano wire.

English First said...

Here is the very simple answer.

A weekly one day country wide strike. That is - everyone!

Legal and easy!

The Government will be on its knees very quickly.


I listened to Blears chirping on about helping the poor people of Salford this morning. My response was to slip two fingers down my throat.

The arrogance of this woman and the political class is utterly staggering. She's a thief. Plain and simple. She's unfit to represent the 'good people' of Salford.

Mr Smiley, 'I'm a pretty straight sort of guy' turned Westminster into a kleptocracy and a rubber stamping machine for the New Labour delirium.

The deal with his Labour apparatchiks was simple. Trouser your expenses, keep your mouths shut and leave it to McMental, Mandy, Ali C and and I to impose the New Labour utopia on an unsuspecting public.

Well, we now know where that little wheeze got us. We want our democracy back. We want our MP's to represent us. We want a government who don't speak in soundbites. We want the culture of deceit, lies and spin consigned to one of the wheelie bins
so loved by Labour.

I agree with commentators above. It's time to take to the streets and demand an election. This government has bankrupted the country.

Anonymous said...

Today's Daily Mail, page 14.
Subject :"Is Gordon mentally ill?"

Anonymous said...

So the Telegraph have taken it upon themselves to published their own redacted versions.

The first one I glanced at was Jacqui Smith and hey presto they missed an instance of her address!

Anonymous said...

OK Now officially worried about you.

Dave W said...

What if MPs salaries and expenses were to be approved locally. Maybe an increase would be approved by a local referendum -or perhaps there could be a panel looking after MPS within the boundaries of a local authority. Might be another way of encouraging turnout at local elections

Thats News said...

Expensesgate scandal continues. Thats News argues for an investigation to find out who introduced this systematic, top down, abuse in the first place

hope you'll be well enough to do the programme. If not, could you Skype your inpiut to the studio?

Anonymous said...

Please write something Iain... and get well soon.

Being sold down the river said...

Events at the EU summit.

1) Gordo is trying to stop the Irish getting their alterations to the Lisbon Treaty put at a level of Protocols. These would require individual States to vote on them. Gordo avoiding the electorate - again.

2) Gordo handing over the regulation of the City to Brussels.

What a s**t he is.

Anonymous said...


Lempit O'prick said...

I need a new hair piece...

Anonymous said...

Until he's back read and enjoy this:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that was the comments. Here is the article. (How do you make it a link?)

Anonymous said...

Dale, where are you, soft lad?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone agree with me that john bercow is a twat and must be stopped.

Vote for Widdy said...

I agree with what Anonymous said June 19, 2009 @ 12:20 PM

ukipwebmaster said...

Summits up!

doodledandy said...

Isn't this a Friday thread?

Anonymous said...

"The PM treats people like idiots so they end up believing they are being governed by one"

I think that this remark says more about Cameron than Brown - it is really just pure abuse and really has little substantive content.

Anonymous said...

Thats News 9:38am

I think you will find the answer to your question is Margaret Thatcher who introduced the current expenses system as a way of getting round giving MPs unpopular increases in salaries.