Thursday, 17 December 2009

An added cost to the Lisbon treaty

From the Telegraph-the whole thing.

MEPs are to receive an increase to their staff allowance that will see it climb to £220,000 a year to help them implement the EU Lisbon Treaty.

The European Parliament was forced to clean up the rules over the payment of staffing expenses last February following press exposure of MEPs misusing or abusing the allowance.

Despite the high-profile scandals, an internal document seen by The Daily Telegraph has proposed a nine per cent increase in the parliamentary assistance allowance "following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty".

"With more power comes more work," said a parliament official.

Marta Andreasen, a UKIP MEP and member of the European Parliament's budgetary control committee, said: "It is disgraceful that MEPs have just awarded themselves an extra 1,500 Euros per month. When the political class is held in such contempt to be awarding themselves extra money is incomprehensible."

MEPs can use the extra cash to employ extra staff or increase the salaries of existing assistants. The increase, which comes at a time of swingeing cutbacks and austerity in national public sectors, will take the annual allowance to £203,000 in 2010.

The Daily Telegraph understands that staff expenses will be further increased by another £16,000 in 2011, taking the total annual allowance to almost £220,000.

At least 17 British MEPs - including European Labour, Conservative and UKIP leaders - who returned to the parliament following elections last June use a loophole, known as la clause anglaise, to pay close relations, including wives and children, from the allowances.

The boost to staffing payments, already regarded as lavish by most outsiders, will come on top of a proposed recession-busting pay increase taking the annual salary of an MEP to almost £86,000.

Negotiations on the 3.7 per cent pay rise for all European civil servants, as well as MEPs, ended in deadlock yesterday after 10 EU member states, including Britain, expressed opposition to the legally binding wage increase.

Senior MEPs and the parliament's president have lobbied hard to insist that governments "must respect the law" as regards the indexed EU salary calculation.

Trade unions representing EU staff have threatened strike action and expensive legal action to uphold the pay rise.

A British diplomat said: "The proposed pay increase is seriously out of step with the current economic and financial situation and is not in keeping with the situation facing millions of other employees across the EU who have faced pay cuts or even lost their jobs this year. We had hoped that Community officials would recognise this."

As well as staff allowances, MEPs receive a "general expenditure allowance" worth over £44,000 without having to provide any receipts. While working in Brussels or Strasbourg, MEPs pocket a £265 cash subsistence payment, worth over £40,000 tax-free every year.

What recession?


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Wednesday, 16 December 2009

“Accredited persons”

‘Snoopers creep’, it seems that law and order is not confined to the Police any more, it seems that under this so called labour ‘Government’ there is a small army of town hall spies and civilian snoopers who have the power to hand out fines and demand names and address has been built up.

Under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme a chief constable can hand employees of local authorities or private companies limited powers such as handing out on-the-spot fines for offences such as disorder, truancy and littering, stopping vehicles for roadside tests and confiscating alcohol.

They have their own uniform and badge and can demand your name and address as well as take a photograph of you if you are being given a fine.

There are now 1,667 so-called "accredited persons" in England and Wales after an increased of a fifth in just a year – the equivalent of a small police force. There were just 945 in 2006.

A further 478 civilians have also been accredited under the scheme just to deal with specific motoring offences including no tax and roadworthy tests.

It means more than 2,000 individuals have police-style powers but are not directly accountable to a chief constable or the public.

Simon Reed, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said: "It seems like we are starting to get almost a third tier of policing. It is not quite a private police force but it is another tier and what control do we have over these people?

"They have got these powers and who are they accountable to? That is our concern and, quite rightly, the public should be concerned about that as well."

Chief constables were given the right to hand limited police powers to civilians under the scheme in the 2002 Police Reform Act. The aim was to give civilians working in the community safety to have more powers to deal with the public.

So far, 109 organisations are involved, including 31 private companies, as well as local authorities, housing associations, NHS trusts and the fire service.

Last year companies were urged to sign up to the scheme and even encouraged to use their involvement as a way of promoting themselves for "market advantage". A Home Office good practice guide at the time even admitted they are doing the jobs the police do not want to do.

It seems that we are living in a country that is becoming worse than a Police state, it is becoming a snoopers state, filled with ‘accredited persons’ accountable to no one and able to fine, photograph and add us to the growing databases of the “security services”.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Sunday, 13 December 2009

To Con or not to Con, that is the question

Chancellor Alistair Darling has hit back at Tory claims his decision to increase some benefits in his pre-Budget report was a "pre-election con".

The claim came after it emerged Mr Darling did not set aside funding to pay for rises for more than one year.

Mr Darling told BBC Radio 4's Today the increases, in child and disability benefit, were "not temporary".

It comes as a think tank says the cost to families of paying back the national debt is £2,400 over eight years.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies said the pre-Budget report implies £15bn in spending cuts not yet identified by the government between 2011 and 2014 - which taken together with tax increases will impact on family finances.

The think tank says the government will have to cut 6.4% per year in order to protect schools, hospitals and increase overseas aid.

Defence, higher education, transport and housing are most likely to be hit, the IFS say.

In Wednesday's pre-Budget report, Mr Darling announced a 1.5% rise in child benefit and disability benefits from April - just weeks ahead of the expected date of the general election.

He also announced an above-inflation 2.5% increase in the basic state pension.

This was followed on Thursday by an announcement that jobseeker's allowance and incapacity benefits would rise by 1.8% from April next year.

Mr Darling said he was waiving the normal requirement to link the rise to the rate of inflation the previous September, as this would have led to the benefits being frozen because inflation was negative at that point.

What the Tories do if they win the next election in May or what will labour do if they call an election in March? Remember the chancellor’s statement “increases, in child and disability benefit, were "not temporary". “

Time will tell.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Friday, 11 December 2009

Divided Britain

As I sit here in my cold damp hovel, wrapped in blankets and three layers of clothing sipping my lukewarm gruel I wonder at the huge chasm that has opened up between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have not’s.

I watch the news and see yet another round of MPs expenses “scandals”; I see people who are rich compared to the majority of pensioners and young people, taking seemingly without compunction from the taxpayer to make their lives better while the rest of us are struggling to make ends meet.

I see a labour Government that has destroyed the economy and put millions out of work, and a Conservative party that has no real policies, I see indecision, and greed and the worst thing I see is lack of care.

The lack of care that extends deeply into our “democracy”, I see the Chancellor using the pre-Budget statement as an election ploy, trying to butter up the old and families with promises of more money, for a while at least.

I see a lack of police on the streets, and a crumbling NHS, I see thousands of overpaid public service managers and Government advisors, and I see the “leaders” feathering their nests so that they will be able to retire in comfort while ordinary people will have to work longer in order to “save money”.

I see a lack of intestinal fortitude from the Government over the ridiculously high bonuses paid to people who helped cause our problems, and I see a lack of urgency from the same government regarding the quality of life of the people that actually keep the country running-the workers.

I see overcrowded towns and roads, a lack of decent affordable housing, a lack of chances for the young, and a lack of consideration for the old.

I see thousands of patients dying in poorly run hospitals while senior management take home £150,000 plus each year, and I see the lack of justice because those that are responsible walk away with jobs and salaries intact.

I see a country that is in a shambles because of the lack of leadership and avarice, whose only answer seems to be “tax it” and all will be alright, unknowing that the less people have the less they will spend and this will delay the “recovery”.

Sometimes I think I see too much, sometimes I wish I were like the politicians-blind.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 7 December 2009

Pre-Budget report: what to look out for

Here is what to look out for when Alistair Darling delivers the pre-Budget report on Wednesday.

The threshold for paying inheritance tax – currently set at 40 per cent – is due to rise with inflation to £350,000 in April, but the Chancellor is likely to announce in the pre-Budget report that it will be pegged at £325,000 in an effort to create a dividing line with the Tories.

David Cameron has pledged to abolish inheritance tax for everyone except millionaires. The Tories promised to enact the necessary legislation in their first term.

Forecast: Threshold frozen at £325,000. Likelihood: 7/10

Alistair Darling has instructed officials to draw up plans to target bankers with a windfall tax to sate growing public anger at excessive bonuses. Two windfall options - a tax on employee bonuses, and a tax on bank profits - are on the table. Any measure would apply to all banks operating in Britain, including overseas firms, and would rake in substantially more than £1 billion a year for two or three years.

George Osborne has called for the Treasury and the FSA to prevent banks paying bonuses entirely in cash, arguing that traders would be less willing to take short-term risks if they received much of their bonus in shares in their company. While saying that he "wouldn't rule out" a windfall tax on bonuses, the shadow chancellor yesterday said he preferred measures to prevent banks from limiting their tax exposure by setting future profits against current losses.

Forecast: One-off tax on large bonuses. Likelihood: 6/10

A new top rate of income tax of 50 per cent on earnings over £150,000 comes into force next April. The Chancellor could lower the threshold to include those paid more than £100,000 a year, but this is thought unlikely. The accountants Ernst and Young have predicted that he could introduce a new 60 per cent band for people earning more than £500,000, raking in an extra £2 billion a year. More realistically, the accountants Grant Thornton have calculated that an extra 70,000 people a year will to be dragged up into the 40 per cent tax bracket as Darling freezes the personal allowance on which no tax is due, despite rising average earnings.

George Osborne says that he opposes the new 50 per cent tax rate but has not pledged to abolish it – at least for the first few years of a Tory government. Despite opposition from business groups the Conservatives have said that the upper bracket will remain in place for much of their first term, and won't be scrapped while lower paid groups are also struggling with other tax hikes.

Forecast: Threshold of new 50 per cent rate reduced to £100,000. Likelihood: 3/10

Profits on capital investments, including the purchase of second homes, are currently taxed at just 18 per cent. This is far less than most people pay in income tax and is seen as rewarding speculation. The accountants BDO say that Darling may address this discrepancy by increasing CGT to at least 20 per cent, and possibly up to 40 per cent for some short-term gains. Receipts from CGT have fallen sharply during the recession – the taxman is expected to take £2.2 billion over this financial year, down from £7.85 billion the year before – and raising the rate would help fill the hole in the public finances.

A commission set up by the Tory party to investigate possible reforms to the tax system in 2006 also proposed closing the gap between CGT and income tax rates. Osborne is said to be in “listening mode” about whether businesses would welcome such a change.

Forecast: CGT increased to 20 per cent. Likelihood: 5/10

The question of whether the tax system should be used to reward and promote marriage will be a hot issue during year's general election campaign. Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader and minister for women and equality, will say in a speech this week that tax breaks for married couples, which are backed by the Tories, would reward wealthy middle-aged men on their second or third marriages at the expense of single mothers and divorced women. With the cost of introducing tax allowances for married couples calculated at £5 billion a year, Darling is unlikely to announce a change in Labour policy.

What Tories would do: Women who do not work will be able to transfer their personal tax allowance to their husband, saving families between £1,295 and £2,590 a year. The policy is designed to encourage mothers to stay at home and look after their children, as it would have no benefit for couples both of whom work.

Forecast: Darling makes a point of attacking Tory policy as unfair and uncosted. Likelihood: 9 /10

The Chancellor will announce a number of measures to cut public spending in an effort to reduce in the deficit. Hundreds of millions of pounds will be saved by shelving part of the NHS computer database programme, which has already cost more than £12 billion. He will also flesh out plans to move more civil servants out of London and cut the salaries of the highest paid public sector bosses by 20 per cent over the next three years. Certain budgets within departments – cancer care, teaching, police numbers and transport infrastructure – will be protected from across-the-board cuts, meaning other areas will be hit with savage reductions of up to 20 per cent. Darling is also expected to disclose that the Britain's deficit will rise to more than the £175 billion he predicted, but not reach £200 billion...

What Tories would do: They have promised more aggressive action to reduce central government spending than Labour, while ring-fencing NHS and international development budgets. "This country is virtually bust," Osborne said yesterday. "If we don't deal with those debts then we are not going to have the sustainable recovery and the jobs that this country so desperately needs at the moment."

Forecast: Legislation committing government to halve deficit within four years. Likelihood: 10/10

In last year's pre-budget report Darling cut VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent in an effort to stimulate consumer spending. That reduction is due to expire on New Year's Day, although the Chancellor has been lobbied by retailers to push the date back. Ernst and Young accounts have predicted that he may consider extending the discount for another three months, then claw back the money by setting VAT at 20 per cent when it is reimposed. Estate agents are also calling for the stamp duty holiday, which affected properties worth between £125,000 and £175,000, to be prolonged beyond Jan 1.

What Tories would do: The party has criticised Labour's surprise VAT cut as an ineffective and expensive gesture. Reports this summer indicated that senior figures in the shadow cabinet were considering plans to increase the rate to 20 per cent within weeks of coming to power.

Struggling firms would be allowed to defer their VAT bills for up to six months, while the Tories have also pledged say they will abolish stamp duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers.

Forecast: Darling confirms that VAT will go back up to 17.5 per cent next month. Likelihood: 8/10

With one in five young people currently unemployed, the Government is expected to announce £2.5 billion has been set aside to extend a scheme to provide training or an internship for anyone between the ages of 18 and 24 has been out of work for 12 months. Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said that this "big further push" should ensure that young unemployment begins to fall in the second half of 2010.

What Tories would do: Money earmarked for unemployment benefit would be diverted to provide tax breaks to support the creation of new jobs. They are also calling for the government's various schemes to provide small firms with access to capital to be simplified. The Conservatives proposed a £50 billion nation loan guarantee system during the height of the recession, but are now calling for "failed" Government alternatives to be overhauled, with less red tape.

Forecast: £2.5 billion to train the long-term youth unemployed. Likelihood: 9/10

And of course the usual: Petrol and diesel prices up, fags up, booze up, car tax up. MOTs up, food up, gas and electricity up, wages down, productivity down, economy down, morale down, depression up, and bankruptcies up, makes you proud to be British doesn’t it?


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Angus Dei politico

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


In an effort to make today “have a laugh dayhere is a snippet of news from Westminster:

MPs at the House of Commons were hit with a strange short of shortage, after the building came dangerously short of loo roll paper.

In an episode that left officials suitably red-faced, the Palace of Westminster had at one stage on Tuesday morning just two packets left in the whole building.

The company who supplied paper admitted they had a problem with their supplies, but it remained unclear what caused it.

First disclosed in a blog by the Daily Telegraph’s political reporter James Kirkup, commons sources said there were only two packets left to re supply the entire parliamentary estate.

After MPs and Peers were left desperate by the lack of paper, frantic staff rushed throughout the building in a vain attempt to locate any remaining lavatory paper.

As news of the unusual crisis spread through Westminster, some MPs were so desperate for paper they even sent staff to the local Tesco Metro across the road to replenish stocks.

Some reports even suggested that some raided the women’s lavatory, where the supply had yet to run out.

The company responsible for supplying the paper, KGB – Kevan and Gina, Brown – admitted there was a problem with supply.

“There has been an issue with supplies,” a company spokesman said.
But it will be sorted out as soon as possible.”

They could not say what had caused the shortage.

With the amount of crap that comes out of Parliament I am not surprised, mind you they could always use the Lisbon Treaty for all the good it is.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 30 November 2009

They still haven’t got it yet, have they?

Dozens of MPs are thought to be refusing to pay back public money they were paid in excessive parliamentary expenses claims.

Sir Thomas Legg, the retired senior civil servant who audited all MPs’ claims since 2004, has been sending out final requests for tens of thousands of pounds worth of claims to be repaid.

He sent all MPs a letter of findings last month, stating whether they needed to repay money, were in the clear, or if he required more information. He gave them three weeks to respond before receiving a bill.

He has already received about £1 million in repayments, including more than £12,000 from Gordon Brown for cleaning and gardening claims deemed to have been excessive and further repayments from David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the Tory and Lib Dem leaders.

But it is thought up to 50 MPs are thought to have refused to respond or told Sir Thomas that they will not pay back the money, delaying his final report.

Sir Peter Viggers, the Conservative MP for Gosport who was found by the Daily Telegraph to have attempted to claim £1,600 for a duck house, was asked by Sir Thomas to pay back more than £40,000.

Sir Peter, who was ordered to step down at the next general election by David Cameron, was reported to be refusing to pay back the money. He declined to comment yesterday.

Frank Field, the former Labour minister, had said he would not repay almost £7,000 in claims for "housekeeping costs" and other household bills deemed excessive by Sir Thomas. Mr Field said yesterday: "I am awaiting Sir Thomas's final conclusions."

Frank Cook, the Labour MP for Stockton North, earlier said he would tell Sir Thomas to “p--- off” over his demand that the MP pay back £980 in utility bills. He was also asked to repay money for a fridge.

He also declined to comment yesterday.

Bernard Jenkin, the Tory MP for North Essex, who appealed after being asked by Sir Thomas to repay £63,250 that he claimed to rent a second home from his sister-in-law, has not heard back.

Commons rules changed in 2006 to bar MPs from renting from family members, but Mr Jenkin said he had been assured by officials that he could continue claiming allowances for the house.

Mr Jenkin, who received the largest bill from Sir Thomas of all MPs, said yesterday: “Sir Thomas Legg has not yet responded to my representations. I will repay whatever is finally recommended at the end of the process.”

Gordon Brown, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, and John Bercow, the Commons speaker, all told MPs they should abide by Sir Thomas’s recommendations in an attempt to end the expenses scandal.

A spokesman for Sir Thomas did not respond to a request for comment.

Strange that, when it comes to telling us what to do you can’t stop MPs talking, but when it comes to explaining why they are refusing to reimburse us for money they have ripped off they are suddenly silent.

As I said in the headline “they still haven’t got it yet” have they?


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Friday, 27 November 2009

Why am I not surprised?

The Quango which runs the Legal Aid system is wasting millions on unnecessary administration and overpaying lawyers, the National Audit Office has found.

And “suggested” that the Legal Services Commission should cut back on its administration budget, and questioned why it was overpaying lawyers with millions of pounds in fees.

The NAO warned that there were “risks to value for money from the way the Legal Services Commission administers and procures legal aid for criminal cases”.

The report found that the commission "should do more to understand the market for criminal legal aid to make the most of its ability to control price and quality".

Last year, it found the Quango overpaid solicitors on criminal and civil legal aid cases by an estimated £25 million. In the same year it spent £1.1billion on criminal legal aid.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, added: “The Commission needs to address this as a priority to make sure that it is paying a fair price for legal aid services that both sustains a competitive supplier base and provides value for money.”

A survey of solicitors by the NAO found that more than a third thought the Commission was “unhelpful” while 29 per cent of solicitors believed the Commission “did not fully understand the legal system”.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Justice Secretary, said: “This is a savage indictment of this government’s mismanagement of the legal aid budget.

"Criminal legal aid cost over £1billion last year, but the taxpayer is getting poor value for money. The government doesn’t understand the market for legal services and consistently fails to spend money effectively.”

Lord Bach, the Legal Aid minister, said he was disappointed that "control systems" at the commission had "led to a substantial number of overpayments.

"I have therefore asked the Commission to put in place an action plan to recover these amounts and to impose tighter controls to ensure claims are more effectively scrutinised to prevent repetition."

Last night the Government ordered the Commission to reclaim the overpaid fees, which amounted to £25million last year.

No recession for legal aid lawyers then, at our expense of course.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Thursday, 26 November 2009

More Value for Money

A new ‘broadband tax’ to fund fast internet access will attract VAT and be applied to each phone line, leaving nearly two million households paying up three times the £6 announced by the government.

Plans by Revenue & Customs show that ministers will apply the tax to each phone line rather than per customer — affecting more than 1.7 million homes with more than one phone line — and will also add VAT to the cost.

A document, leaked to the Conservatives and reported in The Times, shows the Treasury stands to gain a further £30 million annual windfall by applying VAT to create a tax upon a tax.

The levy, billed as ‘50p a month’ when it was announced in June, has also widened to include high-speed fibre-optic connections in addition to standard copper lines.

A household with one line for phone calls and another for internet or fax use would pay 50p a month on each line plus VAT, a total of £14.10. Users with three lines, many of whom work from home, would pay £21.15.

The CBI said businesses would need to pay their share of the cost of improvements to Britain’s broadband infrastructure but called on the government to “clarify exactly how the charges will apply to individual businesses with multiple lines.”

Ministers hope the levy will raise up to £175 million a year to fund fast connections for rural areas that currently suffer from sluggish or non-existent broadband access.

A government spokesman told the newspaper: “We do not comment on the contents of leaked documents. It is vital for jobs and growth that Britain has a world-class digital infrastructure. Next-generation broadband brings a range of innovative services and applications with wide business, health and social benefits.

“We want everyone to experience the opportunities that next-generation broadband offers, which is why we plan to introduce a 50p levy on all fixed lines to help the market to access homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas.”

And as we are going to pay for this, do we get a cut of the profits or a reduction in charges?


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 23 November 2009

British Bollocks Corporation

I really get pissed of by Numptys like Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC who vomit forth statements such as “viewers care more about repeats” than the exorbitant salaries paid to executives.

Figures released by the corporation disclosed the top 100 are paid an average of £199,316 – comfortably exceeding the Prime Minister’s £194,250 salary.

With bonuses and other entitlements, the executives’ average package is more than £214,000 a year – almost 10 times the average British salary.

Mr Thompson’s total pay package last year was £834,000, which is more than 20 times the average salary. The same senior staff also claimed £175,000 in expenses in the first three months of the financial year.

But one senior executive told the Daily Telegraph that there was to be no action on pay because the corporation’s private data showed that salary and expenses were way down the priority list of licence payers.

The BBC released the salary and expenses figures last week to try to live up to the demand that public bodies should be more transparent and open. But the move backfired as the Tories said the scale of the pay packages and expenses were “insulting” to the public, while the Liberal Democrats said licence-fee payers would be “gobsmacked”.

The director general is also adamant that the BBC will not bow to pressure from MPs to publish the salary details of its “talent” such as Jonathan Ross, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Graham Norton.

When was this poll? Why wasn’t I asked for my opinion? Does anyone know of someone who participated in the said poll?

The BBC (British Bollocks Corporation) has been on the slide for some years, programme quality has lessened, and yes there are more repeats, but the knobs at the top don’t have to watch them because the salaries they are paid allows them to subscribe to satellite TV, unlike many of the license fee payers who are struggling to eat because of the £139.50 per year or £11.63 per month which could be put to much better use than the £834,000, per year or £69,500 per month paid to “Mr” Thompson.

The BBC (British Bollocks Corporation) is supposed to be a public service, not a golden goose egg for the unworthy.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Friday, 20 November 2009

Safety begins at home

You may have noticed that I have not posted for a while, the reason is here.

Some of the world's poorest countries are to receive a cash injection of £1.5m from the UK government to help improve road safety.

Road accidents are now a bigger cause of death than malaria in developing countries, with one person dying on the roads every 30 seconds.

The funding will pay for pedestrian crossings and better road markings.

It was announced at the first ministerial global road safety summit, which was held in Moscow.

Minister for Development Gareth Thomas said the road safety statistics in developing countries were "shocking".

"I want to see this funding make a real impact on reducing casualty numbers where it's needed most. It will help with implementing basic safety measures," he said.

"Statistics show that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world. We must use our expertise to help developing countries meet the safety standards that we take for granted."

Use our expertise yes, but not our money.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Saturday, 14 November 2009

Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, Lord President of the Council, First Secretary of State,

Oh yes; we mustn’t forget “Deputy prime Minister” in all but Double H’s (Harriet Harmon) mind.

It seems that the “Prince of Darkness” has just been awarded yet another ‘title’-Politician of the Year in the Thread needle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards..

Other inane awards are:-

Newcomer of the Year was Ken Clarke, who has been around since Adam was a lad.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, became Survivor of the Year, in recognition of the exemplary way in which he saw off the attempt by Ed Balls to take his job.

Lord Adonis, the present Transport Secretary, was made Minister to Watch. He said that the country has had 36 transport secretaries since the war, half of whom served for a year or less, which is why we have such an excellent transport system.

James Purnell, who got Resignation of the Year for leaving his post as Work and Pensions Secretary, and who might have toppled Gordon Brown had Lord Mandelson not rushed to the Prime Minister’s rescue, said his career was going really well until the Spectator started being nice about him, and requested that this now stop.

The only deserved accolade was for Joanna Lumley and the Gurkhas who won the award for Campaigner of the Year, but Miss Lumley generously gave the politicians a chance to shine by sending a message that she had a prior engagement in Newcastle.

Don’t blame you Joanna; I would rather be in Newcastle than next to the “dark prince”


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Friday, 13 November 2009

Gord justifying MOD bonuses

Yesterday I posted a short piece on MOD bonuses, now it seems that Mr Brown has found the need to justify those bonuses.

Gordon Brown said he will "examine" any questions raised over the bonuses paid to civil servants at the Ministry of Defence.

Referring to the £47 million paid out in bonuses this year alone, the Prime Minister said that some of the recipients had been out to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking as he visited an engine manufacturing plant in Gillingham, Kent, Mr Brown said: "If there are any questions asked over the bonuses, I will examine them.

"I've got to say that some of the people who have received help have been working out in the field and people that have been supporting people out there.

"We want to send a message of support to our armed forces."

Official MoD figures showed a total of £287,809,049 has been paid out in bonuses to civil servants since 2003, the year Britain went to war in Iraq.

The figures, released yesterday, have sparked anger among the families of soldiers who have been killed fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said the civil servants deserve millions of pounds of bonuses because they face the same risks as troops on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Mr Johnson said that this year’s MoD bonuses were justified because some civilian staff from the ministry go “into the front line”.

The MoD said the bonuses were paid for “exceptional performance” but military families and campaigners said they cannot be justified when troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

The £47 million covers just the first seven months of the financial year. The MoD said yesterday that the bonuses would average less than £1,000, but a senior civil servant could pick up £8,000.

A total of 232 British service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001. More than 1,000 have been seriously wounded.

A total of 50,000 civil servants have been given bonuses this year.

Speaking to GMTV, Mr Jonhnson suggested that officials are also risking their lives for their country.

Civil servants had to go "into the front line" to develop mechanisms to protect troops from improvised explosive devices, he said "When they do that my understanding is they work 17, 18 hours in Afghanistan They don't get overtime for that - they get a bonus to compensate.

He added: "I instinctively feel that as much as we can... should be going to our front line troops. But I wouldn't suggest that civil servants doing that very difficult and sometimes dangerous job should just be told 'you don't get any extra reward for that'."

There are 85,000 civil servants at the MoD — one for every two active soldiers, the highest level among the Allied nations — and about 50,000 will get a performance bonus this year.

Last year, the department had 95 employees who were on a salary of more than £100,000. A private in the Army can be paid as little as £16,681 a year, with a bonus of £13 a day for serving in Afghanistan.

British troops are dying in Afghanistan at a rate not seen since the Falklands conflict and polls indicate that voters are turning against the mission. Commanders have said that some deaths could have been avoided if there had been more helicopters available.

The bonus payments have risen sharply even as the MoD’s record has come in for growing criticism. In 2003-04, total bonus payments were £24.9 million.

Many of this year’s bonuses were paid in August, as the department was trying to cut £20 million from the budget of the Territorial Army.

Keep at it Gord you may even convince yourself, but you certainly won’t convince me.

However; here is a comment from Yesterday "The MoD bonuses are imposed on the staff by a cabinet office ruling, which says that a bonus element must be included in any pay deal.What it really means is the minute pay increase for MoD civilians is mostly payed as a bonus which means it is not pensionable.It is the usual spin/lies by the media/government to inflame public opinion to agree with the policy to cut public services..."

Both sides.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Thursday, 12 November 2009

Over 50? read this

This was sent to me by a friend, prophetic?

10 Downing Street
London SW1

Dear people of the United Kingdom

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown of the economy, your Government has decided to implement a scheme to put workers 50 years of age and older on early retirement. This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the government to be eligible for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (Scheme Covering Retired Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the government deems appropriate.

Only persons who have been RAPED can get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously, persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by the government.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on, will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible.

The government has always prided itself in the amount of SHIT it gives out. Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your local MP. They have been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.

Sincerely,Gordon Brown


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Expenses reform-maybe-part 2

It seems I was right; Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, the head of the new watchdog charged with cleaning up Parliament, has refused to publicly endorse the recommendations of an independent inquiry into reforming the system of MPs’ expenses.

Sir Ian last night said that there is still “a lot of work to do” before a new expenses regime can be introduced.

In a statement issued by his office, also made it clear that he will fulfil his legal obligations to conduct a “full consultation” on the reform plans despite calls from the Prime Minister for a proposed new regime to be quickly introduced in full.

There is growing concern among Whitehall officials that Sir Ian, a friend of former Downing Street spin doctor Alistair Campbell, is planning to water down the radical proposals drawn up in the wake of the Telegraph’s MPs' expenses disclosures. Sir Ian has privately expressed doubts to officials over several of the planned reforms.

Last night, Sir Christopher and Sir Ian had a private meeting at the offices of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Following the meeting, sources close to Sir Christopher said that the former mandarin was reassured that his recommendations would be introduced as envisaged.

However, a joint statement issued a short time later by the two officials gave a far more lukewarm backing of the Kelly inquiry’s findings.

The statement stressed that the meeting was “warm and friendly” and said: “Both Sir Christopher and Sir Ian are clear about the task ahead and the direction of travel."

But it added: "The CSPL's report contains recommendations that now require detailed work by IPSA. IPSA must also by law consult on the new scheme for allowances. There is a lot of work to do, and Sir Christopher and Sir Ian expect to meet regularly.”

Sir Ian is bound by law to consult on reform plans but it is not clear why he is failing to publicly endorse the broad findings of the Kelly inquiry – despite the recommendations having the backing of all the main party leaders.

Yesterday, amid growing speculation that the plans will be watered down, Gordon Brown added to the pressure on Sir Ian.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, the Prime Minister said: “I said last week that I expected the findings of the Kelly committee to be implemented. I am pretty sure myself that in spite of all this speculation that those findings will be implemented.”

The Prime Minister is known have been irritated at the suggestion that Sir Ian would seek to unpick the Kelly proposals, telling aides that the new IPSA chairman had thrown away a clear opportunity to draw a line under the expenses scandal.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague also warned at the weekend that it would do nothing to restore public confidence if Sir Ian tried to change the Kelly recommendations.

“The public are pleased with what Sir Christopher Kelly has said and we have to accept it, not quibble about it, and we don't really want somebody else to come in and quibble about it either. That would be unwise and unnecessary,” he said

Sir Ian had told officials he was unhappy with some of Sir Christopher’s proposed reforms including the ban on MPs employing their wives and from making profits from taxpayer-funded houses.

He told Westminster insiders that the Kelly report was “only one of the bases of the conversation” and said he is planning to consult the public using the Facebook social networking site.

Don’t bother “Sir” Ian, just listen to “Sir” Christopher, listen to Gord and most of all listen to the electorate and JUST BLOODY ENDORSE IT IN FULL, and get it over with so that we can concentrate on getting our country out of the shit heap it has become under this government.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 9 November 2009

OH Gord get it right!

Gord is over in Berlin to pay tribute to "the unbreakable spirit of men and women who dared to dream" at an event marking 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell.

The prime minister will take part in commemorations in Germany hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Also present will be French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr Brown will pay tribute to ordinary people who brought down the wall.

Sadly he can’t manage to drag himself down to Wootton Bassett to welcome back the bodies of our fallen from Afghanistan.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Expenses reform-maybe

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy the man in charge of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is not happy with Sir Christopher Kelly's plans for expenses reform.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy does not like certain reforms proposed, in particular plans in the report to compel MPs to return profits from second homes and ban them from employing relatives.

It seems that that the plan to reform expenses set out by Sir Christopher - and embraced by the three main party leaders at Westminster - is not intended as the final word on the issue.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy has his head up his rectal orifice and is not listening to the electorate.

It seems that that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy is a close friend of Alastair Campbell, good old Tone’s spin doctor who still regularly advises Number 10 and is highly likely to be part of the central Labour strategy team aiming for a fourth general election victory.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy who is a medical ethics lawyer and chaired the inquiry into the Bristol heart babies’ surgery scandal - was selected by a Government-appointed panel. That decision was then approved by a committee chaired by Mr Bercow, who owes his position as Speaker to the support of Labour MPs.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy should stick to his own area of “expertise” and keep his meddling to himself.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy is probably not the right person for the job


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Thursday, 5 November 2009

Sick and tired of them all

I don't know about you but I am at the end of my whatnot with Politics and in particular politicians.

So to vent my frustration here is a selection of poli-pillocks.



Angus Dei on all and sundry



Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What Gord will do from next May and other ramblings

From the BEEB:

It seems that Gord is planning his “retirement”, and wants to get involved in charitable work when he leaves office, rather than go on lecture tours.

Mr Brown went on to say that he himself had "very little money", adding: "It's very expensive being prime minister. I gave up my prime ministerial pension that would be worth around £2 million, but on my first day in office I gave it up.

"And my salary is frozen. And I don't want our ministers to take any rise in salaries either."

Responding to allegations the expenses scandal "made you all out to be a bunch of corrupt spivs", Mr Brown said: "Yes, and that's very hurtful. I have never tried to make any money out of being a politician. The timing could not have been worse.”

Apart from the £12,000 odd that he claimed himself for cleaners and other necessities.

Read the rest if you want, but I fazed out after the first couple of paragraphs, same old-same old.

Other Ramblings

You may have noticed that I am not a political animal, I don’t give a Rat’s arse who is in Government, I don’t see the point in all this ‘left, right, centre left, centre right” bollocks that seems to prove you are “politically aware”.

My only interest in the political arena is the effect that the government’s policies have on me, my nearest and dearest and the people of this country, I voted no to joining the EEC (European Economic Community) back in the seventies because I could see the ramifications, the loss of sovereignty the loss of the ability to form our own laws and the loss of being able to run our own lives. The EEC was formed to enable fair trading between the member countries to stop the economic superiority of the USA and the Far East.

But like any cancer the EEC has spread and infested our lives, the EU is the mutated bastard child of the EEC, it rules the UK with a rod of self preservation, the EU evolved because of politicians who wanted more and more power, it vomits edicts designed to keep us in our place and sits in Brussels like Jabba the Hut, bloated, unable to lose weight and breeding like a festering rabbit.

It has absorbed countless countries, many of which are not contributing to the coffers and suck the lifeblood from Europe, their populace is disappearing into the “rich” countries faster than you can say ‘expenses’ and cause more problems than are solved.

I am not anti immigration, I believe that it is necessary for the UK and others to take in migrants, but the right kind of migrants, the UK Gov is impotent when it comes to getting rid of the criminals and illegal’s, a new kind of Viagra is needed but that will not be available as long as we are part of the behemoth that the EU has become.

People often ask me who I would vote for next May, and the answer is “I don’t know”, yet, there needs to be a radical change to the attitude of the “big two” as the Libdems are to be honest a waste of time.

There needs to be a change in the electoral process, such as making party manifestos legally binding so that if the elected government reneges on its promises then that government is dissolved and criminal proceedings are brought under the fraud laws.

Responsibility needs to be placed where it belongs, with the leaders, the CEOs and the “powers that be”, the bosses of Stafford hospital should be held legally accountable for the deaths as should the senior management of any hospital where the lack of standards kill patients.

The bosses of the banks and other financial institutions should be bought to book, not by the media but by the courts, their assets should be seized to make some recompense for the losses involved, the Government should take action against the gas and electricity companies who deliberately overcharge the consumer in the name of shareholders, there should be a cap on taxes; a maximum of 100% tax on any product such as petrol and diesel, and yes on cigarettes and alcohol.

The salaries of the bosses of public institutions should be capped, hospitals, civil service, MPs and local councils, give MPs £100,000 a year, give hospital CEOs less than that, give senior civil servants less than that and give local council knobs even less than less than that.

Get rid of the multitude of Quangos that slow down the government, shed the thousands of “advisors” who are paid massive sums to come up with ideas that anyone with common sense could come up with.

I could go on but even I am getting bored, so I suppose that if I were asked who I would vote for next may the answer would probably be UKIP, because the greatest danger to us in the UK is the EU.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Sunday, 1 November 2009

More Banks-just what we need

From the Telegraph

Thanks to the EU Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have little choice. Under European law, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock have to pay a price for the billions of pounds of state aid they have received. However, there are likely to be smiles rather than frowns in Downing Street because gradually returning these troubled institutions to full private ownership is firmly on the to do list. The government’s stakes in RBS and Lloyds are also threatening to become an even bigger political headache should these banks shower their best performing staff with bonuses in the New Year. Expect to see the emergence of Williams and Glyn, the revival of TSB and the resuscitation of Northern Rock hailed by the Prime Minister as a return to an era of more sensible and conservative banking.

At the Labour party conference, Mr Brown pledged to make last October’s dramatic bank bail-out pay for the average UK taxpayer. The government remains tight-lipped about the sort of prices these new banks may be sold for, but it is highly unlikely to be enough to cover the cost of the intensive care the banks have been in. RBS and Lloyds received a capital injection of £37 billion, and that is before counting any losses that might eventually land on the taxpayers’ doormat from the government insuring billions of pounds of the most toxic assets of RBS. The government will hope that the sale of these banks will go at least some way to recouping some of the billions spent at a time when the public finances are in such a parlous state. But with the sales not happening before the next general election, the taxpayer will have to wait.

Something to look forward to then.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Thursday, 29 October 2009

Why can’t they do this now?

From the Telegraph:

MPs will no longer be able to cash in on lucrative resettlement allowances if they stand down at future general elections or are defeated.

Current rules mean MPs are given up to £60,000 – almost a full year’s salary - when they leave the Commons.

The system has been called into disrepute after The Daily Telegraph’s expenses disclosures led to a number of MPs announcing they would stand down at next year’s election because of questionable claims.

However, because they are staying until the election they still qualify for the taxpayer-funded “golden goodbye.”

It means MPs such as Elliot Morley, the former Labour minister who was exposed for claiming £16,000 for a mortgage that had already been paid off, will still get the pay-off. Others, such as David Wilshire, the Conservative MP who channelled expenses through a company run with his wife, are in the same position.

Only Ian Gibson, the Labour MP who stood down over his expenses during the parliament and caused a by-election, does not qualify for the parachute payment.

Under the new rules, which will be unveiled by Sir Christopher Kelly next week, the maximum amount that MPs will be able to claim is around £10,000, close to two months salary.

So far 114 MPs across all parties have said they will not stand at the next election. That figure is certain to rise as a number of MPs will decide just before the election is called that are retiring.

However, the system will not come into force until the election after next. It means MPs like Mr Morley and Mr Wilshire will still be in line for the big pay off.

Those MPs marking time before they stand down still accrue pension rights and then, on stepping down, are able to claim the resettlement grant, the first £30,000 of which is tax free.

According to the Green Book setting out Commons allowances, the grant is “to assist former Members with the costs of adjusting to non-parliamentary life”.

At the last election a total of 136 MPs left the Commons. It cost the taxpayer £5.3 million in pay-offs.

The resettlement grants are based on an MP’s age and the time they have served at Westminster. The minimum is more than £32,000, but many can claim much more. Douglas Hogg, the Conservative MP who claimed for cleaning his moat, will be eligible for £59,584.

A number of other perks are also going to be taken away from MPs including the £25-a-day allowance for food and subsistence.

The controversial £10,000-a-year communications allowance will also be scrapped. The allowance was condemned by some MPs for effectively being a “spin” budget for all MPs to promote themselves to voters.

Sir Christopher will also address the issue of MPs’ travel. MPs will only be able to claim for first class train fares in specific circumstances where it can be shown to represent value for money.

The current system of allocating travel passes to the spouses of MPs will also be subject to new limits.

After all there are still six months to the Election.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 26 October 2009

A different reality

It appears that there has been space/time disaster, one of the Miliband clones; David I think has slipped through the rift from another reality.

Speaking on radio 4 today the intrepid dimensional traveller said “Britain's influence on the world will "wane" unless it takes a lead in developing European Union foreign policy”

And “a strong EU should not be opposed on the grounds of "hubris (Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance:) nostalgia or xenophobia".

In a speech in London, Mr Miliband said the alternative was to become an "irrelevance" in a world dominated by China and the United States.

He must have come from a world where Britain has influence on the world, and somebody actually gave a shit what he or any other politician says, and just to prove the point:-

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World at One, Mr Miliband repeated the government's support for former Prime Minister Tony Blair becoming the first president of the EU, saying it was "hugely" in Britain's national interest.



Angus Dei on all and sundry



Saturday, 24 October 2009

24 hour drinking a mistake-Gordon brown

Just a link and a comment today:

Gordon Brown says he was never happy with 24 hour drinking and will create powers to curb it in areas where binge drinking is a problem.

Yet another U-Turn by Gord, I think that anyone with common sense knew that allowing 24 hour drinking was a mistake, and now it seems that Gord and his gang have found a brain cell, probably in his handkerchief.

If he was never happy with the policy why oh why did he allow it to become law?

Dark room, arse and torch come to mind.


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The CPS wants to cut back their workload

And they want to do it by letting Persistent criminals escape punishment even when there is overwhelming evidence against them under new plans allowing prosecutors to overlook minor offences, senior lawyers have warned.

Hundreds of offenders may escape charges because court action would not be deemed “proportionate” to their crimes, under guidelines that set out the most significant changes to prosecution principles in 90 years.

The proposals are intended to encourage “common sense” to be used in the justice system – for example, forgiving a householder accused of assault when making a citizen’s arrest on a burglar. However senior lawyers said that they could prevent justice being done.

Under current rules, in operation since the 1920s, the Crown Prosecution Service can only consider whether enough evidence has been gathered against an offender and whether court action is in the public interest. However plans contained in an updated code for prosecutors drawn up by Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, introduce a new proportionality test.

The proposals, which could apply to crimes ranging from fraud to theft, shoplifting, minor assault and criminal damage, are designed to balance for the first time the cost and time involved in bringing a prosecution with the seriousness of a crime and the harm it has caused.

The changes, which are scheduled to come into force next year, would also allow the CPS to escape criticism for bringing cases against otherwise impeachable characters accused of minor misdemeanours. However, complex fraud trials, which can be extremely long and expensive to pursue could also fall under its scope.

Sources indicated that it was also aimed at cases where a previous offender who had been given a conditional discharge, later stole a small item from a shop. That sort of minor breach would normally trigger an immediate jury trial, costing tens of thousands of pounds. However under the new guidelines, the CPS would be free not to prosecute.

David Davies, the Tory MP who is a member of the Home Affairs selection committee, said the new guidelines in the Crown Prosecution Service consultation paper, were “disgraceful” and amounted to a “criminals’ charter”.

“This is another blow for those who believe that criminals should be punished,” he said.

"In certain very limited situations, it is right to take into account whether a prosecution is a proportionate response to the specific offending when deciding the most appropriate course of action," the new guidelines state.

Dan Hyde, a criminal lawyer at Cubism Law, said the introduction of the proportionality clause presents an opportunity to avoid wasting resources on spurious trials.

"One would hope it might avoid prosecutions which are patently unwarranted and which undermine public confidence in the police and CPS.

"They are trying to add a bit of commonsense to the decision making process. There is a ‘touchy-feely’ attitude to the whole thing.

“If applied correctly, it could see a situation where you stand back and take a look at it as a particular course of action.

"If a lawyer can see there might be public outrage if someone is prosecuted because they have committed a trivial offence, it allows them to say ‘hold on – it is disproportionate to prosecute that person’.”

Recent cases that might never have gone to trial under the new system include that of Renate Bowling, a disabled 71-year-old pensioner who was hauled before the courts and charged with assault after she prodded a teenager in the chest with her finger when stones were thrown at her home.

Another is the example of £20,000 of taxpayers’ money being wasted taking a man to court for taking a banana worth 25p during a drunken night out with his friends in Birmingham.

The CPS is now seeking views of lawyers and the public on the new code, which also contains eight new factors on when it will not be in the public interest to bring charges. These include cases where the offender will use a court appearance to repeat views which will cause distress to another section of society, and cases in which prosecutors or police have previously promised an offender that a prosecution would not be brought.

There are two new public interest factors that would make a prosecution more likely. Under one of these, charges will be more likely if the offence has led to complaints from a community, who either live in the same geographical area or share common "characteristics" or interests.

This is an attempt to ensure that prosecutors respond effectively to problems such as anti-social behaviour which is disturbing local residents.

OK, what we have is an untenable policy by the CPS, the thin end of the wedge if you like; it really is about time that the “law” in this country changed its stance and looked toward the victims of crimes instead of pussy footing around trying to make their own life easier, theft is theft. Whether it is a 25p banana or a £1000 TV taken during a burglary.

Is it ‘proportionate’ to prosecute a drunken driver who has killed someone but not ‘proportionate’ to prosecute them if they haven’t?

That surely is the whole concept of “Law”, if you offend you are punished for the good of the majority, if this “idea” is accepted the phrase “the law is an ass” will finally be true.



Angus Dei on all and sundry



Monday, 19 October 2009

Piss Poor Labour

From the Telegraph: revaluation of business rates from next April is set to hit the sites of car boot sales, including pub car parks, ministers confirmed.

Barbara Follett, the Communities Minister, confirmed the plans in a written answer to shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman, saying: ''Where a property is used entirely, or on occasion, as a car boot sale site, its rateable value for the 2010 revaluation should reflect any rental enhancement attributable to that use.''

The Valuation Office Agency is set to revalue business rates in England and Wales in April 2010. For car boot sales, these rates will be on top of those charged by the council.

This lack lustre, lack policy, lack common sense, lack care, lack prudence so called Government is taking the piss yet again, car boot sales are an economic means for people to furnish their homes, they go to car boot sales because the piss poor policies of Labour have plunged the man in the street into the economic black hole.

And can’t afford to buy new, unless he wants to use the “Pay Weekly” companies that charge close to 30% per annum, or take out a three year HP agreement with “furniture companies”, and as that isn’t happening some pointy head in number 10 has decided that the Gov will be able to rake in some more tax from the “poor”.

Piss poor thinking from a piss poor Government, screw those who have the least, for Labour insert Conservative, there seems to be no difference between them.

Angus (pissed off).

Angus Dei on all and sundry



Saturday, 17 October 2009

Andrew Walker-Who?

Andrew Walker is the man who since 1977 or 1997 depending on which newspaper you read has “run” the Fees Office for MPs expenses; he is a civil servant earning £125,000 per year He also used to be HR director at the Inland Revenue, which is perfect training to administer a multi million pound expenses office and handling complex tax and monetary issues.

He got the job at Parliament without any background in financial administration. His degree was in ancient Eastern studies, according to the Telegraph.

According to records in Hansard, Walker was due to complete an accountancy qualification last year, and until that point was being assisted by "appropriately qualified and experienced staff" in the office.

Oh yes this is the man who “rubber stamped” those MPs claims for moats, duck houses, manure, light bulbs, flowers, fake beams, cleaning, gardening, wide screen TVs and porn films.

Last year the man in charge of checking MPs’ expenses declared that he had virtually no ability to scrutinise their claims beyond a “common sense” test. Andrew Walker, the Commons resources director, said that responsibility for policing expenses lay with voters; they could eject an MP from Parliament if he or she had been exploiting the system.

“There is an ultimate responsibility for the member because of the constitutional position. There are limits . . . to which I or my staff can look beyond the claims and the information we receive. Therefore, for the most part we don’t walk into constituency offices. "What we do check is that the original claim is sensible.”

He is quite good at defending MPs-- 8 February 2008

Journalists should not be told exactly what MPs claim on expenses in case it affects their ability to do their job and damages British democracy, the Information Tribunal heard yesterday.

Andrew Walker, head of the House of Commons Fees Office, said that such scrutiny into MPs' lives, such as finding out how much MPs spend on phone bills, improvements on their second homes and hotel bills, would “discourage able people from entering politics”.

He said: “If MPs spend all their time having to defend why they had changed this avocado suite to a white one when it was only ten years old…they are not spending time working for their constituents.

“My view is that it has gone far enough and is intrusion into members’ private lives.”

One of the definitions of a civil servant is “The term civil service has two distinct meanings: * Branch of governmental service in which individuals are hired on the basis of merit which is proven by the use of competitive examinations. * Body of employees in any government agency, except the military.”

Back in May this year Scotland Yard were preparing to send in officers to quiz workers in the Fees office about the rules governing claims.

Have you heard anything about the outcome?

I am not going into detail about the ‘flipping, and designated homes’ because to be honest it is boring, and it seems that even if you are caught the only punishment you get is to make a half hearted apology to the House of Commons and a seat in the House of Lords.

I suppose the point of this post is not to absolve MPs from the full fury of the public, they deserve it, but there are always two sides to any story and this side is about a Civil Servant who has been in the same post for 32 or 12 years depending on which newspaper you read , who isn’t qualified, who doesn’t have a voice, or he would have said something to someone about the “help yourself” expenses rules.

A man who thinks that it is the voter’s fault that the expenses thing happened, and who doesn’t think that the public has a right to know.

A man whose idea of a “common sense test” is to allow all and every claim that floats through his office, and has no idea of audits or value for money.

Yes the MPs are to blame for their part in this debacle, but isn’t Mr Walker at least morally to blame for his lack of action over 32 years of “service”?
And I wonder what expenses he claims?

Still, even if he does go he will have a nice pension to look forward to.
Post amended on 21st october 2009 to satisfy a Numpty

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Will it ever end?

David Wilshire it seems has paid £105,000 over three years to pay a company he set up to run his office, but has insisted it was approved by the authorities.

The firm, Moorlands Research Services, is owned solely by him and his partner.

Mr Wilshire, the Conservative member for Spelthorne, says he has asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate.

Parliamentary rules say MPs must ensure that claims do not give rise to an improper personal financial benefit to themselves - or give the appearance that they are benefitting improperly.

Mr Wilshire, who said he was "deeply hurt" by the claims, told the BBC that he had referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner as the only way to answer the questions about his expenses.

"My constituents are rightly entitled to the truth about these allegations. I have therefore written to the commissioner for standards asking him to conduct an enquiry.

"Until I have had an opportunity to take his advice, I think it best if I say nothing further."

Although he could not confirm the amounts of money involved, Mr Wilshire stressed that neither he nor his partner Ann Palmer had ever received any payment from Moorlands Research Services.

Mr Wilshire also confirmed that his designated main home is in Somerset, more than 100 miles from his constituency on the south-west outskirts of London.

Widdecombe is on her box complaining about the expenses review, Jacqui Smith is grovelling, Mandelson is sort of for the review, and Gord is urging MPs to pay up, probably because it has just cost him £12,415.

Do they actually do any work in parliament, or is the 16 weeks and 2 days a year that Parliament sits taken up with the expenses debacle?


Angus Dei on all and sundry



Saturday, 10 October 2009

Twitter Twat Bradshaw manages to Balls it up again

The late Health Secretary Benny (Lego) Bradshaw has managed to upset All and Sundry by having a pop at “Dave” Cameron on Twitter over praise for the NHS care his late son received before his death.

Following his second twitter gaffe in three days, which was greeted with shock and outrage by fellow users of the social networking site, Mr Bradshaw issued an online clarification in which he said that he had not meant to offend the Tory leader and his wife.

But he failed to apologise, and his spokesman later reiterated his attack by saying that the Camerons had experienced good care only thanks to Labour’s investment in the NHS.

In an apparent response to “Dave’s” speech, Mr Bradshaw, a frequent Twitterer who was criticised for using the network to accuse the BBC of pro-Conservative bias, wrote: “the Cameroons got good NHS care thanks to Labour's investment and reform. Is this the ‘big government’ he derides” [sic]

I am not a fan of “Dave” but Benny boy Bradshaw has a bit of a history of not quite being able to see the consequences of his gob:- Benny is playing with his Lego again

Benny, it really is time to go, you will probably be a ‘non’ MP before long, so just put us all out our misery and BUGGER OFF before you drop yourself even further into ‘Brown’s runny stuff’


Angus Dei on all and sundry