Sunday, 31 May 2009


A bit of politics and health today: this is from the Telegraph By Laura Donnelly: this is the article in full:

Row as terminally ill woman given bed in hospital bathroom

Health service managers engaged in bitter argument over who was to blame after a terminally-ill woman was forced to stay in a hospital bathroom.

Correspondence between the head of a Liverpool hospital and the chief executive of the local ambulance service reveals angry attempts to blame one another for failings which meant dementia patient Gladys Joynes was left in a bed wedged between a bath and a commode.

The makeshift accommodation at Royal Liverpool Hospital was so unsuitable that the 79-year-old, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease, had to be taken off her drip when the machine's batteries ran out, as it could not be plugged in.

Her tray of food was placed on the floor, near an overflowing litter bin, her daughters said.
Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen Hospitals was issued with a written warning by local NHS officials over the incident, after a photograph of the accommodation was printed in the local newspaper.

In the correspondence, disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, Tony Bell, the hospital chief executive, said the ambulance service was responsible for failing to respond to calls to transfer Mrs Joynes elsewhere.

He wrote: "Whilst conditions for the patient were safe, her care and accommodation was less than satisfactory, and the family took the issue to the Liverpool Echo, who subsequently printed a damning account, complete with pictures."

He tells John Burnside, head of the ambulance service, that he wishes to "formally register" the hospital trust's dissatisfaction with the service.

But Mr Burnside hit back, pointing out that the service was short of crews because they were wasting thousands of hours queuing outside A&E units.

In a response, written in February, Mr Burnside says: "It is clear that you feel both angry and wounded by the incident and the adverse publicity it attracted, especially at a time when your organisation and staff were working hard to meet exceptional demand."

He goes on to express dismay at the hospital's failure to acknowledge the demands being made on the ambulance service, including delays at A&E departments which have left the service in a "critical" situation.

In total, 4,000 hours were wasted by ambulances waiting outside A&E departments in the region during the month of December, the letter says.

Mrs Joynes' daughter Kathleen Huxley described the NHS bosses' attempts to pin the blame for the incident on each other as "pathetic".
The forensic psychologist said that all she wanted from the hospital was assurance that the situation would never be repeated.

She and her sister arrived at the hospital in January to find her mother, who had been admitted via Accident and Emergency because she was suffering pneumonia, in a bathroom that "looked more like a war zone".

Mrs Huxley said: "What worries me most is what would have happened if we had not arrived when we did.

"My mother was distressed, and confused and vulnerable, and it was appalling to see her being treated in this way."

The average salary of a Hospital CEO is about £150,000+ why was this terminally ill woman treated in this way?

The money meant for patients is obviously not going to the right people, “Lord” Darzi keeps promising better this and better that in the NHS, but it isn’t happening, they are spending £350 million on management consultants and patients are forced to stay in a toilet.

The CEO of the hospital should be sacked: no golden handshake, no pension and no reference, the board of the hospital should resign, and let people who actually care about patients take their place.

This is totally unacceptable, and heads must roll.


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Saturday, 30 May 2009


Mandelson fears expenses 'haste'

Some MPs have been too "hastily" condemned over their expenses, Lord Mandelson has said.

The business secretary called for those facing allegations to be "given the chance to justify their actions".

He made his comments as Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said the police should be called in where MPs are accused of defrauding taxpayers.

Both Labour and the Tories have set up internal panels to scrutinise claims and rule on their MPs' futures.

This of course is the same "Lord" Mandelson who claimed for improvements on his constituency home after he announced he was leaving Parliament to become an EU Commissioner. He later sold the property for a profit of £136,000.

Lord Mandelson rejected claims he used taxpayers' cash to "renovate" his home for profit, insisting the money was spent on essential maintenance. He said the Telegraph's report - which details a £1,500 gardening bill and £1,350 in house repairs - was presented to provoke public anger. "The fact is that these allowances would not have been paid if they weren't within the rules," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

Oh I see, it was alright because it was in the rules that MPs made then abused as much as they could.

A bit more greed:

Conservative MP Bill Cash is the latest politician to come under the spotlight after the Telegraph revealed he claimed for rent on a "second home" owned by his daughter. He insists he has done nothing wrong and said he does not intend to stand down.

Labour MP Elliot Morley, who could face a police probe after claiming £16,000 for a mortgage that did not exist, is also facing pressure to step down and is due to meet party officials in his Scunthorpe constituency later.

It comes after Labour's Margaret Moran and Conservative Julie Kirkbride became the latest MPs to stand down over expenses revelations on Thursday.

There is no justification, there are no excuses, all MPs that have abused the system should resign now, not at the next election, why should we pay them even more of our money in resettlement grants, salaries and pensions when we are struggling just to keep our heads above the water, and the fat cat MPs are taking the piss?

“The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays” Francis Bacon


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Friday, 29 May 2009


Hazel Blears and other ministers who avoided paying tax should be thrown out of the Cabinet, Roy Hattersley, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party, said.

It was time for Labour to impose “punishments” on MPs who avoided paying capital gains tax, he claimed, and added that their behaviour was “inconsistent” with the values of the party.

The Daily Telegraph has disclosed that Miss Blears, the Communities Secretary, Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, and James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, had paid no capital gains tax on the sale of properties they had nominated as their second homes for the purpose of claiming parliamentary expenses.

It was time for Labour to impose “punishments” on MPs who avoided paying capital gains tax, he claimed, and added that their behaviour was “inconsistent” with the values of the party.

The Daily Telegraph has disclosed that Miss Blears, the Communities Secretary, Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, and James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, had paid no capital gains tax on the sale of properties they had nominated as their second homes for the purpose of claiming parliamentary expenses.

Hear, Hear!

By the way has anyone seen Gord lately? He seems to have disappeared, maybe he is curled up in a foetal position in a corner of number 10.

This depression was deep, and you don't climb out of anything as quick as you fall in.”-Will Rogers (December 31, 1933)


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Thursday, 28 May 2009


The Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said “Let us bar the gates of Westminster and stop MPs
leaving for their summer holidays until this crisis has been sorted out, and every nook and cranny of our political system reformed,”

He also said: "I'm setting out a plan of action to get all the changes we need delivered in just 100 days – making it possible for MPs to be sacked by their constituents, abolishing the House of Lords, getting corrupt money out of politics and changing the electoral system to give a voice to everyone."

No chance!

But the expenses fiasco rolls on- Sir John Butterfill a Tory grandee, has agreed to pay back more than £60,000 after it was disclosed he had paid no capital gains tax after making a £600,000 gain on the sale of his taxpayer-funded house.

Julie Kirkbride the backbencher, who used taxpayers’ money to fund a £50,000 extension to her constituency flat so that her brother and son could live in it, said the furore over MPs' expenses would put working mothers off politics.

She is helping the feminist cause by refusing to face public meeting over her expenses, in a radio interview, she said it never crossed her mind that she was doing anything wrong by claiming taxpayers' money to part-fund the extension.

She insisted she wanted to remain the party's candidate, but said that the decision was in the hands of her local Conservative Association.

Miss Kirkbride told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I understand people are angry about the way MPs' expenses operate, it is very hard to defend and I can understand why questions are being raised.”

Yeah right!

Definition of Politics: "Poli" in latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "blood-sucking parasites." Anon


Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Certain people (you know who you are) are beginning to come to the defence of MPs over the expenses thing.

I am not university educated, nor am I a lawyer or a GP, but even I in my ignorance can see that some MPs (I have already posted the links to the “good guys”) have abused the system without care or conscience, these MPs be they Ministers or back benchers, Labour, Tory or lib Dems were not forced to claim for duck islands, horse manure, ovens, furniture, gardening or any other “necessity”.

They claimed because they could and no-one said NO to them, they took the money and used it, they were not held at gunpoint or tortured, they took and continued to take, all the while saying that the system was wrong, but still did nothing to change it.

What we have here is a question of morals and ethics, is it morally correct to spend taxpayers’ money on these things, I think the answer is no.

Is it ethical to know that the system is badly flawed but continue to use it because it “tops” up their meagre salary of £64,0000 per annum, again I think the answer is no.

The other question of course is trust, should we trust politicians that are immoral and unethical? Answer-NO, should we allow them to step down at the next election and take their severance pay and pensions? Answer-NO, should they be “sacked” and by elections held-probably, I say probably because the rebound effect of a disaffected public could catapult parties such as the BNP into parliament and we really don’t want that, at least I don’t.

The party leaders are now plying us with “clean up” campaigns, promising to do this and that, more openness, expenses published monthly on line and so forth.

The country wants a general election, we need a general election, let the parties put up or shut up, let them convince us that we may one day trust them again.

I have no sympathy at all for the takers, the greedy must pay the price, and do the right thing, pay it back, and resign now and hope that the police aren’t on their doorstep.

So can we please stop farting around and call the election for the autumn, by then the public anger may have subsided a bit and reason taken over so that we can finally get the government we deserve, one that will look after the needs of the country, the sick, the poor and the old.

Come on Gord, DO IT!

Rich men without convictions are more dangerous in modern society than poor women without chastity.” George Bernard shaw


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009


BBC NEWS Cameron pledges shake-up of power David Cameron has said a Conservative government would address voters' anger about MPs' expenses with a dramatic redistribution of power.
Writing in the Guardian, he says he would reduce prime ministerial power and boost the role of Parliament.
He would look at introducing fixed-term parliaments and more free votes for MPs but would not end first-past-the-post.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said it did not go far enough and did not address the unelected House of Lords.
As the main parties try to shift focus away from the expenses revelations, Mr Cameron set out his plan to shake up Parliament.
"I believe the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power," he wrote.
"Through decentralisation, transparency and accountability we must take power away from the political elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street."

The Tory leader, who is due to speak about political reform on Tuesday, says his party will "look seriously" at the idea of fixed-term Parliaments and at the "immense power" prime ministers wield through the ability to decide when to call an election.
"If we want Parliament to be a real engine of accountability, we need to show it's not just the creature of the executive," he argues.
It will also investigate possible curbs on the whipping of votes - when MPs come under pressure to toe the party line - in considering bills line-by-line at the committee stage.

“Look seriously” and pledges are not really what we want to hear, put it in a manifesto and then maybe the public will take a look, because I don’t know abut you but I trust politicians about as far as Hazel Blears can throw John Prescott.

Truth is heavy, so few men carry it.”- Jewish proverb


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Sunday, 24 May 2009


As in life there are good and bad and even some decent MPs out there.

Just a link or three to day to the Telegraph part one.

Part two And part three.

Just scroll through the pictures.

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.” ~Alan Simpson


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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Brown defends ministers over tax

Gordon Brown has defended two cabinet ministers who did not pay capital gains tax on home sales - a day after calling Hazel Blears' behaviour "unacceptable".

The PM's spokesman said James Purnell and Geoff Hoon had acted within the letter and spirit of the law.

He had criticised Ms Blears who chose to repay the money despite also not apparently breaking any rules.

But the PM says he has "full confidence" in Ms Blears and she says she is "getting on with the job".

It reported that Mr Purnell had not paid capital gains tax (CGT) on his designated "second home" - and had claimed expenses for "tax advice" on the sale.

Mr Hoon sold a property on which he did not claim expenses. But the Telegraph said he had claimed it was his main home for CGT purposes, when he had been living in a "grace and favour" flat and renting it out.

Both said they were not liable for CGT and had had their claims checked over by accountants and Revenue and Customs.

Poor old Gord can’t even be consistent on being inconsistent.

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”-Oscar Wilde


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Well, Pluck a Duck

If it wasn’t so annoying it would be funny; but it isn’t, huge payouts await - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

Sir Peter will step down as MP for Gosport in Hampshire "at the direct request" of David Cameron after spending tens of thousands of pounds on gardening, including a £1,645 bill for a floating "duck island"

While Mr Steen, the MP for Totnes in Devon who claimed £87,729 on his luxurious country house, will also leave the Commons.

The future of a third leading Conservative, Bill Wiggin, was also in doubt after The Daily Telegraph claimed that the Conservative whip – a contemporary of Mr Cameron's at Eton – claimed £11,000 in interest payments for a property without a mortgage. He insisted he had not profited and had made "an administrative error", but he could join Labour's "phantom mortage" MPs Elliot Morley and David Chaytor in facing possible criminal proceedings.
Mr Wiggin, the MP for Leominster in Herefordshire, filed for the expenses after declaring that his constituency property was his second home. He stressed yesterday that he meant to claim for his London residence instead.

And here comes the killer-Public anger at the conduct of MPs is likely to be exacerbated by the news that any MP forced to quit over the expenses scandal will be in line for pay-offs of more than £100,000 and pensions of up to £30,000 a year.

MPs embroiled in the scandal remain entitled to two pay-offs so long as they serve until the general election, rather than resign immediately. All MPs who step down, or are defeated, at an election are paid a "resettlement grant" designed to compensate for loss of salary. It ranges between six months' and one year's pay depending on age and length of service in the Commons.
An MP aged between 55 and 64 who has been in Parliament for 15 years will be paid a year's salary – £64,766 at current rates. The first £30,000 is tax-free. In addition, all MPs can claim a maximum of £40,799 for "winding-up costs" to pay off staff and end office leases. Politicians also benefit from a generous final salary pension scheme heavily subsidised by the taxpayer.

Well, pluck a duck!

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.” Japanese Proverb


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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Expenses reform-What the Parties want

From the BBC, just a link What the parties want

They don’t really go far enough; give MPs a 20% pay rise, do away with “second homes”, make them stay in a purpose built or converted “MP” block, allow claims for travelling only if receipts are provided, admin support to come from the Civil service-paid for by MPs, no second, third or tenth jobs, being an MP should be a full time job.

Reduce the number of MPs by at least 30%, do the same with the House of lords, and publish all expenses claimed on a monthly basis so that we can keep an eye on them.

But most of all hold a general election now.


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Tuesday, 19 May 2009


The speaker has gone, and in a matter befitting his lacklustre term in office-with a whimper.

He will not go immediately of course but on the 21st of June this year, his reason for retiring is “for the sake of unity” at a time when the parliamentary war is at its highest with party sniping at party and MP backstabbing MP.

His disappearance will not produce unity of course, the expenses bloodbath will continue until another “revelation” comes along, and we will start all over again.

The PM must hold a general election, his arrogant attitude of clinging on to power is beginning to embarrass him and us, and we must start with a clean slate so that the real business of the House can be conducted.

That business being to get the economy moving again by helping the man in the street, not farting about with half baked ideas about “scrappage” and bailouts, jobs must be protected by investment in small businesses and new jobs created by allowing credit to the companies being starved of it by the banks.

Gordon Brown and his government have reached the end of the road, the public wants action, and we want it now, give us the chance to decide who we want in power, but be prepared for some shocks Gordon.

"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem."-Milton Friedman


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Short answer-YES.

The speaker of the house is a non parrot; he is ineffectual, mumbles and doesn’t seem to know what he is doing.

The no-confidence vote should be carried, and Mr Martin should retire,

Some people of course don’t want to make the decision Embattled Speaker to meet leaders “former Tory minister Peter Bottomley has tabled an amendment, saying that the Speaker himself is "best placed to decide when to retire from office".

No he isn’t, he is past his sell by date he has lost the confidence of the Commons and to be honest he never was that good as speaker.

Even Gord can’t bring himself to support Mr Martin “Prime Minister Gordon Brown declined to give Mr Martin his backing, saying that "the decision about who is Speaker is a matter for the House of Commons - it could never be a matter for the government".

Let us just get it over with and get rid of the mute speaker.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”-Arthur Ashe


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Monday, 18 May 2009


The Government finally have an excuse to abolish retirement, from the BEEB: Keep working 'to avoid dementia'

Keeping the brain active by working later in life may be an effective way to ward off Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Researchers analysed data from 1,320 dementia patients, including 382 men.
They found that for the men, continuing to work late in life helped keep the brain sharp enough to delay dementia taking hold.

The study was carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.
It features in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Dementia is caused by the mass loss of cells in the brain, and experts believe one way to guard against it is to build up as many connections between cells as possible by being mentally active throughout life. This is known as a "cognitive reserve".

There is evidence to suggest a good education is associated with a reduced dementia risk.

And the latest study suggests there can also be a positive effect of mental stimulation continued into our later years.

Those people who retired late developed Alzheimer's at a later stage than those who opted not to work on.

Each additional year of employment was associated with around a six week later age of onset.

Yeah right, work another ten years for just over a year of onset, if you are even going to get it.

There seems to be a theory by the Gov that when people retire they just sit in a chair and watch the telly, waiting for death: wrong, many retired people lead a fuller and more active life than when they were employed because they have the time and inclination to do so.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said it had carried out work showing that working beyond pension age had many positive effects.

"Not only can it mean more income, but also social networking and increased activity.
"We also find that many of today's older workers are choosing rejecting the cliff edge between work and retirement in favour of a gradual step down. And employers should help them to do this."

And of course it lowers the cost to the Government.

Well there’s a surprise.

"Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to." Harry Emerson Fosdick


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Sunday, 17 May 2009


I was browsing the Times website and came across this- MPs on £3,000 a day claim Commons perks

MPs are earning substantial amounts from jobs outside parliament while claiming generous parliamentary expenses, unpublished employment contracts have revealed.

More than 150 MPs have accepted nonparliamentary jobs, with some tripling their Commons salaries. One Conservative backbencher who claims the maximum possible second homes allowance has 10 other jobs.

The Sunday Times has established that: David Willetts, who had claimed £115 in parliamentary expenses for workmen to change 25 lightbulbs, is entitled to claim more than £3,000 a day working for a pensions advice company.

Ian McCartney, the former trade minister, is entitled to a daily rate of £3,125 from Fluor Corporation, an international construction company.

Adam Ingram, the Labour MP and former defence minister, is entitled to £1,500 a day from EDS, the government contractor which won a multi-billion-pound contract from his department when he was in office.

Ingram said he did not claim his full daily rate; McCartney has said he uses his earnings to fund a parliamentary office and donations to charity.

All three members claim second home allowances of more than £20,000 each, in addition to their MP’s salary of £64,766.

Tony Baldry, the Conservative MP for Banbury, has 10 jobs outside parliament. He is head of a London barristers’ chambers, chairman of a company investing in emerging economies, deputy chairman of an energy company and an executive partner in a film company.

Baldry claimed the full housing allowance last year of £23,083.

The answer?

Either they are full time MPs, as they all claim how difficult a job it is and how busy they always are on Parliamentary business, or they stand down as MPs and work in the private sector.

But not both, I for one don’t want a part time MP, although the one I have is about as much use as the expenses system, perhaps if he were full time he might actually do something for his constituents, which could possibly apply to all other MPs, that is of course if there are any left after the firing squads have finished their work.

The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure.” B C Forbes


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Saturday, 16 May 2009


BBC NEWS - Calls to prosecute expenses MPs There are growing calls for a police investigation into some of the MPs' expense claims revealed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has complained to police about former minister Elliot Morley, who claimed £16,000 for a mortgage he had already paid off.

The campaign group has warned it would consider a private prosecution if the authorities fail to act.

Scotland Yard said no decision had been taken on whether to investigate.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has joined forces with the Daily Mail newspaper to raise funds for private criminal prosecutions of MPs they believe have a case to answer.

Should they be prosecuted?

Or maybe they should call a general election now, let the voters decide and then prosecute the greedy bastards when they are no longer MPs.

“Force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels.”-Albert Einstein


Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Thursday, 14 May 2009

MoD 'still failing' on kit supply

I know that the MP expenses thing is still staggering on but I would like to draw your attention to this article from the BBC

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is still struggling to get essential equipment to front-line troops in Afghanistan, according to the National Audit Office.

It has published a report saying that 57% of consignments reach units within the allocated time.

The NAO also says armoured vehicles brought in to replace Land Rovers deemed to be too lightly armoured are themselves unreliable.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth says he will address any issues raised.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the NAO report found the MoD was failing to meet its own targets for getting equipment and supplies to front-line troops.

It highlighted problems getting spare parts for armoured vehicles, many of which were breaking down in Afghanistan's harsh conditions.

An SAS reservist commander in Afghanistan resigned last year after four service personnel were killed when a Snatch Land Rover struck a roadside bomb in Helmand Province.

He accused the MoD of ignoring his warnings over the safety of the vehicles.
Our correspondent said Defence Secretary John Hutton told the defence committee in April that the new vehicle brought in to replace the Snatch was being withdrawn due to mechanical issues.

She says the NAO report also highlights a shortage of helicopter spares in Afghanistan which means some have had to be cannibalised for spare parts to keep others flying.

Criticism over equipment supply has been a recurring theme in inquests into the deaths of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our soldiers are dying out there, if we can’t supply them with decent equipment, the MoD should pull them out, despite the fact that they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

“Think for yourself, question authority.” Timothy Leary


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Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Just a link today to the complete list of Mps expenses claims for all parties from the BBC.

Read, and decide what you want to do at the next election.

The covetous man is ever in want.” Horace


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Sunday, 10 May 2009


Communities Secretary Hazel Blears is facing pressure after confirming she did not pay capital gains tax on profit from the sale of a London flat.

£100K mortgage claim by Woodward Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward claimed £100,000 to help pay his mortgage interest, according to leaked details of his expenses.

Gordon Brown and Cabinet face questions over claims - Telegraph Gordon Brown and his most senior ministers are facing questions over their use of parliamentary expenses after the Daily Telegraph revealed details of their claims.

Douglas Alexander: spent more than £30,000 doing up his constituency home – which then suffered damage in a house fire.

Margaret Beckett: £600 claim for hanging baskets and pot plants

Hazel Blears: claims for three different properties in a year

Gordon Brown: house swap let PM claim thousands

Andy Burnham: had an eight-month battle with the fees office after making a single expenses claim for more than £16,500

Alistair Darling: stamp duty paid by public

Caroline Flint: claimed £14,000 for fees for new flat

Geoff Hoon: established a property empire worth £1.7 million after claiming taxpayer-funded expenses for at least two properties

Lord Mandelson: questions over timing of his house claim

David Miliband: spending challenged by his gardener

Paul Murphy: had a new plumbing system installed at taxpayers’ expense because the water in the old one was “too hot”

John Prescott: two lavatory seats in two years

Jack Straw: only paid half the amount of council tax that he claimed back on his parliamentary allowances over four years

Shaun Woodward: millionaire minister received £100,000 to help pay mortgage

Phil Hope spent more than £10,000 in one year refurbishing a small London flat

Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a second flat near Parliament even though he already lived just 12 miles from Westminster

Michael Martin used taxpayers' money to pay for chauffeur-driven cars to his local job centre and Celtic's football ground

Vera Baird tried to claim the cost of Christmas tree decorations

Greg Barker made a £320,000 profit selling a flat the taxpayer had helped pay for

Margaret Moran switched the address of her second home, allowing her to claim £22,500 to fix a dry rot problem

Ben Bradshaw used his allowance to pay the mortgage interest on a flat he owned jointly with his boyfriend

Phil Woolas submitted receipts including comics, nappies and women's clothing as part of his claims

Barbara Follett used £25,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for private security patrols at her home

Barry Gardiner made £198,500 profit from a flat funded and refurbished at taxpayers' expense.
Alex Salmond claimed £400 per month for food when the Commons was not even sitting
And the excuse given by Ministers Ministers defend expenses claims “all were made within the rules”

Downing Street says there was "nothing wrong" with Gordon Brown's £6,500 claim to pay his brother for a cleaner.

Lord Mandelson, who claimed £2,850 for his home, before quitting as an MP and selling it for a large profit, said the claims were for essential repairs.

Immoral, amoral, dodgy, unprincipled or greed, the words don’t really, matter it is the face of politics that we see, and that face is ugly.

“He declares himself guilty who justifies himself before accusation.” Proverb


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Saturday, 9 May 2009


I have been saving this up all week: it has been great sport to watch the media lambaste any MP that has claimed for cat food, sink plugs and security.

I have enjoyed the endless embarrassment of the Government, and next week I will immerse myself in the improbable expenses claimed by the Tories; and after that the Lib Dems.

The Government is decrying the fact that although we think that their expenses claims are beyond our understanding they are all “within the rules”, and there lies the problem.

The Government and politicians in general have no understanding that the people who voted them into office feel angry and disappointed by these revelations, they seem to think that what they are doing is morally correct because it is “within the rules” despite the fact that the rules are obviously amoral.

There is an answer to all this, scrap the expenses gravy train, and the second home debacle, buy an empty office block in London, there are plenty, convert it into flats and require any MP who doesn’t want to travel “home” to stay there.

This of course would include Cabinet Ministers, security can be provided at the door, there would be no need for “upgrades” or new kitchens or pretend beams, MPs would have one home which they can pay for out of their not inconsiderable salary like the rest of us have to, and we would know that our money is not being washed down the plughole (sink plug notwithstanding) by the greed and selfishness of those we have put our trust in to behave like responsible adults and consider our needs before theirs.

Still, my enjoyment will continue for another week or so, unfortunately for the political takers their embarrassment will continue.

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." Abraham Lincoln


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Friday, 8 May 2009


I was really looking forward to blogging about the latest expenses farce this morning but Henry North London seems to have got up at the crack of dawn and has beaten me to it, mind you Henry’s analysis is much better than mine would have been so pop over there and have a peruse.

Which leaves me with: Questions that MPs dread by Nick Robinson, yet another well written piece.

Which leaves me with: Lumley in public clash on Gurkhas The actress and Phil Woolas came face-to-face in highly-charged scenes at the BBC's Westminster office and then held an impromptu press conference nearby.

It followed the rejection of appeals by five Gurkhas for residency; rulings which Ms Lumley said were "shocking".

Opposition parties said government policy had become a "shambles".

Mr Woolas said the cases of the five Gurkhas, one of whom was badly injured during the Falklands War, would be reviewed.

He indicated campaigners and opposition parties would have a say in the formation of new regulations on residency rights, forced by Labour's Commons defeat on the issue last week.

Ms Lumley said: "I have met Mr Woolas now and I am reassured again. Because I know we are going to assist Mr Woolas in making the strongest guidelines possible.
"We have to believe in this. This is all we've got to believe in. We wish this campaign was over now."

But she urged the government to act more quickly, saying the issue could be settled by next week.

The 1,500 Gurkhas whose applications for permanent residence were currently being considered should "be received with open arms", she said.

Go for it Joanna, these guys deserve to live here, they have served our country, paying with their lives in some cases, the Government really has to bow to public opinion on this one, no more time wasting, no more “we will look at the five cases again” all the Gurkhas who have served must be allowed to stay, and given a decent pension.

We want it so why is Gord sitting on his hands over this?

"Fiat justitia et pereat mundus.Let justice be done, though the world perish." Ferdinand 1


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines


Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Jacqui Smith is ploughing ahead with the ID card scheme, despite the fact that she will not be Home Secretary for much longer

Manchester 'launch' for ID cards Manchester will this autumn become the first city where people can sign up for an ID card, she says.

Anyone over 16 in the city who holds a UK passport will be able to apply for a card at a post office or pharmacy.

The home secretary's speech signals her determination to push ahead with the cards - expected to cost people between £30 and £60 each - despite opposition.

David Blunkett said earlier this month that ID cards should be scrapped in favour of biometric passports; each card will cost £30 with a further £30 charge for collecting the data.

The Conservatives said the idea of trialling the scheme in one city was "nonsensical".
"The government is split down the middle on ID cards but it looks as if Jacqui Smith is carrying on regardless," said shadow home secretary Chris Grayling.

"They should abandon this farce and scrap the whole scheme."

Dr Edgar Whitley of the London School of Economics has been warning about the cost of the scheme - which he has estimated at £10bn-£20bn - for the past four years.

The government's figure for the cost to the Home Office is about £5bn.

Dr Whitley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The more I learn about it, the less impressed I've become.

"The government said one of the benefits would be you'll be able to use your identity card to get personalised public services.”

Am I being dim but, aren’t passports a form of ID that is accepted, if the ID card replaced the passport then there may be a small positive factor, but to have ID cards and passports is a sledgehammer to a nut policy.

And the other snag is that to obtain an ID card you will need some sort of identification, oh yes, a passport will do, so what about people who do not have a passport, do they become invisible in our totalitarian state?

Yet another pointless, expensive waste of money and time thought up by the “brains” in the Government.

We already have an “ID card” it’s called a passport! We don’t need both.

“If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.” W. Somerset Maugham


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines


Tuesday, 5 May 2009


The UK used to be a fairly nice place to live, I admit we had the Northern Ireland thing and other “troubles” but all in all it was a green and peasant place.

We knew where we stood, the Government Governed, the Teachers taught, and the Doctors healed.

Sadly we know have a United Kingdom of doubt, the Government has managed to alienate most of us with their abysmal management of the economy, their high level of “sleaze” and greed, and this applies to all parties, not just Labour, the NHS has become a target led, top heavy, management zoo that cares more for status than patients, and the teachers are boycotting exams for pupils aged 11 because they think it is harmful and does not give school children the right breadth of education.

Millions more are on the dole, hundreds of thousands stand to lose their homes, thousands are dying needlessly in hospitals and the rest of us are struggling just to pay the bills, and let’s not forget the swine flu, which is flu and not much more. So far at least.

So why are we in this predicament, is it because people no longer care, or greed is the order of the day, or perhaps it is because we are all exhausted, exhausted by the never ending train of change that seems to vomit from this Government, they have changed the education system, the NHS, the banking system, the benefit system, the lives of all of us and unfortunately not for the better.

The Government is falling to pieces, the knives are out, and pretenders are hiding in the bushes like cats waiting for a bird to land on the lawn, they deny their ambitions and pander to the lacklustre Prime Minister who knows he should go but pride and arrogance prevent him.

The opposition parties snipe away from a great distance, putting the crosshairs on the back of the Government and squeezing the trigger, hoping for an election and their chance to take power, with promises of making it better, and hoping for their “fifteen minutes” of fame.

But it will make no difference, a new Government will still have the problems we have now, they do not have a solution, just a mish-mash of badly considered changes that will not stem the tide of destruction, but will merely nibble away at the real problem.

The real problem?

The politicians have forgotten one thing; they are there to serve the country, to make it a better place to live, to educate the young, to treat the sick, to care for the old, the disabled, those unable to work because of mental illness, to ensure that ordinary people have a good standard of living so that they can raise their children to be decent human beings.

They are there because we put them there, so that they could collaborate with each other and produce laws that protect us not the criminals, to improve the NHS so that Staffordshire and Gosport do not happen, to make sure baby P is safe, to ensure that the old do not have to sell their homes in order to finance care.

The Government has failed, the opposition parties have failed, the country is failing, we are confused and angry, and rightly so, we have been failed by politicians that have lost their way.

The answer?

I don’t have one, most of us don’t have one, the political parties certainly don’t have one, but one has to found, not by one party perhaps but by co-operation and acceptance that no one party has all the answers but maybe, just maybe together they can change direction and give us the country we deserve, and re-grow our green and pleasant land for the people.

Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is only time we have.” Art Buchwald


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines


Monday, 4 May 2009


Double H (as apposed to triple H the wrestler) has done a u-turn again, Harman: 'I don't want to be PM' Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has denied a report she would fight for the party leadership, as speculation grows over Gordon Brown's position.

But she insisted the story was "simply not true" and under "no circumstances" would she be a candidate.

She told the BBC's Today programme: "I don't want to be prime minister and I don't want to be leader of the party."

The Telegraph said Ms Harman told friends she would stand if backbenchers tried to force the PM from office.

However, friends have told The Daily Telegraph that Miss Harman will not stand aside in favour of a rival considered more appealing to voters. She believes she has as much chance as anyone of winning a leadership contest – particularly given her proven track record in party elections.

Her refusal to be pushed aside means that if Mr Brown does stand down or is forced from office, Labour would face a potentially bruising and lengthy leadership contest in the run-up to the general election, which must take place in just over a year's time.

Most MPs agree that such a battle would be electoral suicide at a time when the public expects the Government to focus fully on tackling the recession.

You can make your own minds up, but to be honest does it really matter who is in charge of the Labour Party, because the odds are that they will not be in power after the next general election.

And to be really honest: who cares?

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief.” Edmund Burke


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines


Saturday, 2 May 2009


Labour MPs 'ponder Lib Dem move' Senior Labour MPs have discussed defecting to the Liberal Democrats if the party loses the election, Lord Ashdown has said.

In a Daily Telegraph interview, the former Lib Dem leader indicated some in Labour were concerned about a lurch to the left in the event of a poll defeat.

The current leader of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg, has said he was not involved in any secret discussions.

Labour sources say talk of defections rather than discontent is overblown.
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said it is known that some prominent Labour MPs are unhappy with the direction the party is taking.

It comes amid mounting criticism of the prime minister's performance on issues such as Gurkha settlement rights and MPs' expenses, with opposition parties claiming his authority has been fatally undermined

A spokeswoman for Mr Clegg told the BBC he was not involved in any secret discussions or secret deals with politicians from other parties.

But she said he was happy to work openly with MPs from all parties on issues of "moral importance" such as improving the rights of the Ghurkhas.

This week MPs voted by 267 to 246 in favour of a Lib Dem motion offering all Ghurkhas equal right of residence, with the Tories and 27 Labour rebels backing it.

If labour MPs think that by joining the Lib Dems, (who by the way haven’t been in power since Adam was dust), they will escape the wrath of the electorate they are sadly mistaken.

The whole of the Labour party is responsible for the mess we are in, their collective guilt is all encompassing, changing political parties will not make our country any better, what we need is a Government that will take responsibility, make decisions that are right for the public, be open and honest and do their job properly, not the inbred, sleaze ridden, selfish, greedy lot we have now.

The snag is, I don’t think any of the parties can fulfil that role.

“A promising young man should go into politics so that he can go on promising for the rest of his life.” Robert Byrne


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines