Tuesday, 30 June 2009

AN EMAIL FROM GORD


El Gord sent me (along with a couple of million others) this yesterday: From the PM - Building Britain's FutureTest

“I have today published the Government’s plan for Building Britain’s Future. It is a radical vision for a fairer, stronger and more prosperous society for all.We have made enormous strides, driving up standards of health care and education; cutting crime and poverty; and harnessing Britain’s economic potential.”

Which should read:

“I have today published the Government’s plan for Building Britain’s Future. It is a cobbled together set of half baked ideas, and I really don’t give a toss because I will be unemployed next year and look forward to my enormous pension and severance pay provided by the voters.

“We have made enormous strides, driving up the cost of health care and education by employing hundreds of management consultants at the cost of £350 million pounds, and trying to privatise the NHS destroying the moral of workers in the meantime.”

“The country has been transformed and I am proud that Britain is now a better place to live.”

"The country has been transformed into a waste land, I have bollocksed up the economy while I was chancellor and now you are going to have to pay for it for the next thirty years, and I am proud that I will be moving to another country when I retire next year,”

“The severe global downturn has threatened our jobs and homes here in the UK, leaving many of you understandably anxious about the future for you and your children.”

Honestly it wasn’t my fault, it was the Americans that caused it, and I still really don’t give a shit because I won’t be here to watch it.”

“Carefully targeted investment of an extra £1.5 billion over the next two years will also deliver an additional 20,000 new affordable homes and create 45,000 jobs. And new guidance will allow local authorities more flexibility on how they allocate council houses.”

I will be taking money from refurbishments, to build new homes, leaving hundreds of thousands of people living in houses and flats that need double glazing, new kitchens and bathrooms and lowering their quality of life for years to come.”

I have completely failed to control immigration and will pass the responsibility onto councils, so that they will be blamed when there are not enough houses for local people.”

“We have already started the process of cleaning up politics and more action will follow to restore confidence in our democratic institutions.”

We were caught with our hands in the till, and I will make sure that next time we will not be caught.”

“And we want to know your ideas on how we build a better future for Britain – one that’s fairer, more prosperous and responsible. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Really; don’t bother to contact me because I won’t listen to you and anyway after the next election any changes I might make until then will be reversed when I am unemployed.”

Gordon (I wish Tony was here) Brown



Angus

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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Gone over to the dark side


MPs second jobs revealed click on the link-very interesting.

Commons Speaker John Bercow accused of profiting from work as Government adviser it seems that John Cashcow was paid £40,000 by a health care firm which hired him after he wrote a report which led to a massive increase in special needs funding.

The MP worked for six months for the Priory Group, which runs a number of special needs schools, giving advice about children who suffer from speech and language difficulties.

He attended around five board meetings before he resigned from the post on becoming Speaker last week.

The payments – declared by Mr Bercow in the Register of Members' Interests – will raise fresh questions about the propriety of MPs taking money from firms working in an area in which they have dealt directly in Parliament.

Tory opponents of Mr Bercow, who was voted in as Michael Martin's replacement with overwhelmingly Labour support, said the revelations cast fresh doubts on his suitability as Speaker.

Does it really matter what they say: I for one don’t trust any of the buggers.

Friday, 26 June 2009

OPEN GOVERNMENT-NOT

Cabinet papers 'to stay secret' Cabinet papers would be exempt from Freedom of Information laws for 20 years under new proposals.

The decision to release details of Cabinet discussions currently rests on a "public interest" test.

Prime Minster Gordon Brown has said he wants to extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act as part of wide-ranging constitutional reforms.

He also wants to cut the limit on publishing official papers - but give more protection to sensitive material.

Such material would also include papers relating to the Royal Family as well as discussions between senior ministers.

Campaigners had tried to get cabinet meeting minutes from the run-up to the Iraq War published under FOI laws but Justice Secretary Jack Straw vetoed it in February.

Mr Brown also unveiled proposals to reduce the "30-year-rule" on the publication of government papers to 20 years and to extend FOI to cover private firms doing work for the public sector.

How nice, we only have to wait twenty years to find out what the Gov has been plotting.

Angus

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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Taking the Piss

A house which the married Labour MPs Alan and Ann Keen designate as their “main” home for expenses purposes could be seized by the local council after they admitted they have not lived in it for months.

The property in Brentford, west London, is partly boarded up, with creepers obscuring some windows, and the Keens have been told that if left unoccupied for much longer it will be used for council tenants. Rubble is piled high in the hallway and garden and a tarpaulin covers a window frame in an unfinished loft conversion.

The couple, who use Coutts bank, have claimed almost £140,000 over four years for their “second home”, a flat a short walk from Westminster, while saying their “main” home is the empty house 10-miles away in Mrs Keen’s constituency.

Neighbours say the couple have not lived at the Brentford address for a year, but documents seen by The Daily Telegraph show that the Keens claimed £14,311 in second home allowances between April and July 2008.

The fact that they have been living full time in their taxpayer-funded “second” home appears to be a clear breach of Commons rules, which state that an MP’s second home should be where he or she spends fewer nights.

The Labour Party last night refused to say whether they would have to appear before the party’s “star chamber”, which decides whether its MPs should face disciplinary action over expenses.

Mr Keen has claimed the arrangement was agreed with the parliamentary fees office because of “exceptional circumstances”.

The couple have had a letter from Hounslow Council giving them 28 days to explain how and when they intend to bring the property back into use.

Take it away from them, and rent it out to someone who needs it, this pair are truly extracting the urine from the public.


Angus

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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

John Cashcow, sorry Bercow will not claim for a second home now that he is the new speaker.

The MP for Buckingham admitted flipping the designation of his taxpayer-funded second home between London and his constituency home, which enabled him to avoid capital gains tax when he sold houses in both locations in 2003.

He denied any wrongdoing but said he would pay HM Revenue & Customs £6,508 plus VAT to cover the tax he could have been asked to pay on one of the properties.

Following his election as Speaker, Mr Bercow will have a third home, Speaker’s House, one of the grandest grace and favour residences available to any public servant.

His announcement that he will no longer claim anything under the additional costs allowance (ACA) is an acknowledgement that he could not justify billing the taxpayer for one of his two private homes while living rent-free in a public building.

Mr Bercow claimed £143,455 in second home allowances between 2001 and 2008, putting in claims for the maximum amount in the past two years.

As well as his payment in lieu of capital gains tax, he has also repaid £1,470 which he claimed on his office expenses to pay for accountants to fill in his self assessment tax returns.

Mr Bercow, who has promised to clean up the Commons expenses system, dismissed suggestions that his own record made him an inappropriate choice as Speaker.

He said: “I have always behaved properly and honourably. I have complied with the law, I have claimed allowances which I am entitled to claim, and those expenses have been incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in discharging my obligations as a Member of Parliament.”

The universal excuse- "I have complied with the law, I have claimed allowances which I am entitled to claim, and those expenses have been incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in discharging my obligations as a Member of Parliament.”


Too little too late.


Angus

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

THE DEED IS DONE


The house of commons has a new speaker:

John Bercow (Con) (“flipped” his second home from his constituency to a £540,000 flat in London and claimed the maximum possible allowances for it. Bercow, a candidate for next Speaker, "repaid" £6,500 capital gains tax on the sale of two properties.
His expenses files reveal he also twice charged the public purse for the cost of hiring a chartered accountant to complete his annual tax return)

At least he doesn’t seem to be loyal to one party-

Once a right-wing Thatcherite, he became an outspoken social liberal who fended off rumours he might defect to the Labour Party.

He won the support of many Labour MPs, who are convinced he will stand up to Conservative leader David Cameron, but there was a marked lack of applause from the Tory benches.

Mr Bercow's election was given royal approval in a traditional Parliamentary ceremony on Monday night.

He said MPs felt "very sore and very vulnerable" in the wake of the expenses scandal but added "large sections of the public also feel angry and disappointed".

And so they should.

"We do have to reform but I just want to say that I continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people who have come into politics, not to feather their nests, but because they have heeded the call of public service," he said.

Well that’s one person in the country then.

Time will tell.


Angus


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Monday, 22 June 2009

ORDER, ORDER



It’s all go today, the clean as a whistle MPs are to elect a new Speaker, the snag is, can they find someone who is acceptable to both the House and the public, because being the Speaker does not remove the stigma of the expenses fiasco from the one elected.

The candidates are:-

Margaret Beckett (Lab) (made a £600 claim for hanging baskets and pot plants. She dismissed the claim as a "mistake" although analysis of her expenses shows she made three similar claims on previous occasions)


Parmjit Dhanda (Lab) (repeatedly claimed the wrong amount of mortgage on his expenses)

John Bercow (Con) (“flipped” his second home from his constituency to a £540,000 flat in London and claimed the maximum possible allowances for it. Bercow, a candidate for next Speaker, "repaid" £6,500 capital gains tax on the sale of two properties. His expenses files reveal he also twice charged the public purse for the cost of hiring a chartered accountant to complete his annual tax return)

Sir Patrick Cormack (Con) (claimed expenses for household bills at both his main and second homes)

Sir Alan Haselhurst (Con) (charged the taxpayer almost £12,000 for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex, his expenses claims show. He was involved in an angry exchange with Parliamentary staff over his habit of submitting expense claims supported by estimates of his costs rather than by bills showing the actual amount he had spent)

Sir Michael Lord (Con) (claimed more than £8,000 over five years for his garden. He also claimed £82 for seven copies of TV footage from the House of Commons recorded on a day he took part in a debate)

Richard Shepherd (Con) (has repaid £162 to the Fees Office after deciding he should not have claimed for cleaning and gardening at his constituency home)

Ann Widdecombe (Con) (claimed just £858 on her second home allowance in 2007/08. However, she did spend more than £9,000 of taxpayers' money on her own personal newspaper cuttings service over a four year period)

Sir George Young (Con) (claimed the maximum second home allowance on his London flat for the past two years. He also billed taxpayers for the cost of a video camera so that he could broadcast clips of himself at work on YouTube)

Sir Alan Beith (Lib Dem) (claimed £117,000 in second home allowances while his wife, Baroness Maddock, claimed £60,000 in House of Lords expenses for staying at the same address. He also used his office expenses to pay for his London secretary to spend a month in his constituency during the last general election campaign)

All whiter than white-NOT.

Which one would you like to be in charge of sorting out the expenses policy for MPs?



Angus

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Saturday, 20 June 2009

JUST WALK AWAY


Gordon Brown has admitted recent events have been among the worst in his political life and made him think he could "walk away from this tomorrow".

He is however still deluded-But he insisted Labour could win the next election under his leadership.

And he has already chosen his career path-the prime minister also said he may go into teaching after leaving office.

This statement by Gord sums up why we are in such financial trouble-
During two interviews he gave the Guardian earlier this month, Mr Brown also said he wished he had imposed a tougher regulatory regime on the banking system, but said he "didn't want Britain to be outside the mainstream".

He also said he had been under heavy pressure to deregulate further, and acknowledged that he "didn't know a lot about" banks buying up sub-prime mortgages during his period as chancellor.

Labour MP Tony Wright told the BBC that Mr Brown had faced enormous problems during his time as prime minister.

He added: "He's the prime minister who has to preside over the worst financial and economic crisis for 60 years and the worst political crisis in modern times.

"Any prime minister presiding over that is going to take a battering. I would have thought the temptation to walk away would be great, but I've never seen Gordon as a walker-away."

Shame.


Angus

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

IRAQ-THE SECRET INQUIRY


Butler attacks secret Iraq probe

What is wrong with this Government? They just don’t get it do they?

“Saint” Anthony Blair took us into the Iraq war against our wishes; he is responsible for the hundreds of our soldiers’ deaths. He took us in on the premise that Sadam had WMDs and the fact that his nose was so far up Bush’s arse that he was deaf to everything else.

Sadam didn’t have WMDs at least none that could be found, and now that the inquiry is starting Gord’s gang want it to be held in secret, he doesn’t want us to know the truth, don’t forget he was one of those who backed the war.

A war which was not entered into for the good of the people of Iraq but for the protection of the oil reserves that the USA coveted.

The author of the last official report into the Iraq war, Lord Butler, is to criticise the government's plans to hold a new inquiry behind closed doors.

He will accuse the government of "putting its political interests ahead of the national interest".

The former cabinet secretary will argue in the Lords later that there should be a public element to the inquiry, BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson says.

The government says it wants to avoid damaging Britain's national security.

But Lord Butler believes that the inquiry, to be chaired by one of those who sat on his inquiry - senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot - must do more than "learn the lessons" from the war.

There must, he will say, be a "truth and reconciliation" element to it as well.

Conservative leader David Cameron accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who announced the inquiry on Monday, of "an establishment stitch-up", while the Lib Dems have threatened to boycott the inquiry if it is held in private.

MPs will debate a Tory motion next week calling for the inquiry's proceedings to be held in public "whenever possible".

The inquiry will cover the period from July 2001 to July 2009. Hearings will start next month and take at least a year.

Announcing the inquiry in the Commons on Monday, Mr Brown said it was designed on a similar basis to the Franks inquiry and it would aim to identify "lessons learned".

He added it would hear evidence in private so witnesses could be "as candid as possible".
He said the final report would reveal "all but the most secret of information" and the "unprecedented" process would be "fully independent of government".

Lord Butler's 2004 inquiry, which itself took all its evidence in private, found "serious flaws" in the intelligence used to justify war with Iraq.

The 196 page report said MI6 did not check its sources well enough, and sometimes relied on third hand reports.

It also says the 2002 dossier used by the government to make the case for war should not have included the claim Iraq could use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes without further explanation.

The Butler inquiry was also designed along similar lines to the Franks inquiry, in that it was given access to all intelligence reports and other relevant documents.


So come on Gord: let us know the truth, admit that it was wrong to sign up to the American resources gambit, because you are now so deep in the runny stuff that you know you don’t have a felines’ chance in the underworld of winning the next election, you know that it will do you no harm to let the cat out of the bag and treat the electorate the way we should be treated, with respect and the truth.



Angus

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

DARLING IS IN DENIAL


Banking regulation 'not to blame' Chancellor Alistair Darling is to announce later that he does not plan fundamental reform of the way UK financial institutions are regulated.

Mr Darling will say the current regulatory system is not to blame for the credit crunch, according to speech extracts released by the Treasury.

Instead, he wants to focus on improving the quality of judgement of regulators.
The current system has been widely criticised for failing to prevent excessive risk taking at banks.

The Tories, for example, are planning to announce wholesale changes to current regulations.

The existing tripartite system, which was introduced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, relies on the Financial Services Authority, the Treasury and the Bank of England to regulate financial institutions.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama's government will announce new powers for America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, to oversee the relationships between financial institutions.

In future, the reserve will require interconnected firms to hold more capital in case of a crisis, to help avoid a repetition of events last year when the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers threatened to undermine the financial system.

Despite the criticism of the UK system, Mr Darling believes no fundamental shake-up is necessary.

"Mr Darling does not believe that the tripartite model is to blame. He believes institutional reform is less important than improving the quality of the judgements of those who work at the FSA, Bank of England and Treasury," said BBC Business Editor Robert Peston.

Mr Darling also signalled a planned paper on reform of the banking industry will be much less forceful than the Treasury had originally suggested.

The paper, which is expected to be published in about a fortnight, will be a consultative green paper, rather than a policy-setting white paper.

And this bunch of Ostriches thinks that they can win the next election.


Angus

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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

WE’RE ALL RIGHT JACK!

Kinnocks entitled to 'six state pensions', think tank report finds
Lord Kinnock and his wife, Glenys, have amassed six public sector pensions worth a total of £185,000 per year, according to an analysis by a think tank.

Open Europe claimed they have so far received up to £8 million in pay and allowances – Lord Kinnock as a European commissioner and his wife as a member of the European parliament.
A spokesman for the Kinnocks admitted the couple will be entitled to six pensions, three of which they are already claiming, but described the report's figures as "inflated estimates".
Mrs Kinnock, 64, the new Europe minister, collects a teacher's pension, worth £2,568.46 in the 2008-09 financial year.
From next month, when she turns 65, the analysis states she is entitled to another from Brussels with an estimated annual value of £48,000.
She is simultaneously drawing a ministerial salary of £83,275 and she is entitled to a further ministerial pension.
Her basic pension from her time as an MEP is said to be worth £19,730 a year, but, as a minister of state, she will not draw this money.
The think tank has calculated that Lord Kinnock receives a pension of £83,089 for his service as European transport commissioner between 1995 and 1999 and vice-president of the commission from 1999 to 2004.
In the 2008-09 financial year, he received a further £28,936.43 a year for his 25 years as an MP, including time as leader of the opposition.
Open Europe said the couple claimed a total of £6 million in staff and salary allowances during their time in Brussels, £1.7 million less than the maximum to which they were entitled.
A spokesman for the Kinnocks said: "All payments to Glenys Kinnock, including the salary to which she was entitled as an MEP, staffing allowances and office expenses, were received exactly the same as all UK MEPs.
"The Open Europe figures appear to be inflated estimates, they should not be presented as those of Glenys Kinnock during her 15 years as an MEP."
And they say politicians are underpaid.




Angus

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Monday, 15 June 2009

Gord’s New Sideboard/ Cabinet


The Queen is pleased to approve the following Ministerial appointments.
The Cabinet

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service
The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP (unelected)
Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal; Minister for Women and Equality (and deputising for the Prime Minister at PMQs)
The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP
First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council
The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson (unelected)
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State for International Development
The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
The Rt Hon John Denham MP
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
The Rt Hon Ed Balls MP
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
The Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Health
The Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
The Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP * and #
Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (unelected)
Minister for the Cabinet Office, and for the Olympics and Paymaster General (and Minister for London)
The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
The Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
The Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Secretary of State for Wales
The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP
Secretary of State for Defence
The Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Lord Adonis (unelected)
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Ben Bradshaw MP

Law Officers
Attorney General - The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC***(unelected)
Solicitor General - Vera Baird QC MP
Advocate General for Scotland - Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC (unelected)

Department For Business, Innovation And Skills
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP**
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Lord Drayson* & ** (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
Minister of State - The Rt Hon David Lammy MP
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP*** (jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government) (and Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber)
Minister of State - Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE* (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (unelected)
Minister of State - Kevin Brennan MP (jointly with the Department for Children, Schools and Families)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord Carter of Barnes (jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (unelected)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ian Lucas MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Vadera (jointly with Cabinet Office) (unelected)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* - Lord Young of Norwood Green (and Lord in Waiting - paid) (unelected)

HM Treasury
Financial Secretary - The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP
Minister of State - Phil Woolas MP (jointly with the Home Office) (and Minister for the North West)
Economic Secretary - Ian Pearson MP†
Exchequer Secretary - Kitty Ussher MP†
Financial Services Secretary - Lord Myners CBE‡(unelected)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG**(unelected)

Minister of State - Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE* (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (unelected)

Minister of State - Ivan Lewis MP
Minister of State - Glenys Kinnock(unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Chris Bryant MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Taylor of Bolton (jointly with the Ministry of Defence) (unelected)


Ministry of Justice
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Michael Wills MP
Minister of State - Maria Eagle MP (jointly with the Government Equalities Office)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord Bach (unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Bridget Prentice MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Claire Ward MP

Home Office
Minister of State - The Rt Hon David Hanson MP
Minister of State - Phil Woolas MP (jointly with HM Treasury) (and Minister for the North West)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Meg Hillier MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Alan Campbell MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Admiral Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC(unelected)

Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs
Minister of State - Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Huw Irranca-Davies MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Dan Norris MP*
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* - The Rt Hon Lord Davies of Oldham (and Deputy Chief Whip (Captain of The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard) - paid) (unelected)


Department for International Development
Minister of State - Gareth Thomas MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Michael Foster MP (Worcester)
Department for Communities And Local Government
Minister of State - The Rt Hon John Healey MP**
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP*** (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (and Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Shahid Malik MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Sarah McCarthy-Fry MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ian Austin MP (and Minister for the West Midlands)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord McKenzie of Luton (jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions) (unelected)

Department for Children, Schools And Families
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP***
Minister of State - Vernon Coaker MP
Minister of State - Kevin Brennan MP (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Iain Wright MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Morgan of Drefelin(unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* - Diana Johnson MP (and Assistant Government Whip - paid)

Department of Energy and Climate Change
Minister of State - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE; and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords(unelected)

Minister of State - Joan Ruddock MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - David Kidney MP*
Department of Health
Minister of State - Gillian Merron MP
Minister of State - Mike O’Brien MP
Minister of State - Phil Hope MP (and Minister for the East Midlands)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ann Keen MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Professor Lord Darzi of Denham KBE(unelected)


Northern Ireland Office
Minister of State - Paul Goggins MP
Cabinet Office
Minister of State - Angela E Smith MP
Parliamentary Secretary - Baroness Vadera (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (unelected)


Ministry of Defence
Minister of State - Bill Rammell MP
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Lord Drayson* & ** (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Baroness Taylor of Bolton (jointly with Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Quentin Davies MP*
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Kevan Jones MP
Office of the Leader of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary - Barbara Keeley MP

Government Equalities Office
Minister of State - Maria Eagle MP (jointly with the Ministry of Justice)
Parliamentary Secretary - Michael Foster MP* (Hastings)
Department for Transport
Minister of State - Sadiq Khan MP***
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Paul Clark MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Chris Mole MP
Department for Work and Pensions
Minister of State - The Rt Hon Jim Knight MP** (and Minister for the South West)
Minister of State - Angela Eagle MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Helen Goodman MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Jonathan Shaw MP (and Minister for the South East)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord McKenzie of Luton (jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government) (unelected)


Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Lord Carter of Barnes (jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (unelected)

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Barbara Follett MP (and Minister for the East of England)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Gerry Sutcliffe MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - SiƓn Simon MP*
Wales Office
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Wayne David MP
Scotland Office
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Ann McKechin MP

Whips - House of Commons
Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury) - Nick Brown MP** (and Minister for the North East)
Deputy Chief Whip (Treasurer of HM Household) - The Rt Hon Thomas McAvoy MP
Government Whip (Comptroller of HM Household) - The Rt Hon John Spellar MP
Government Whip (Vice Chamberlain of HM Household) - Helen Jones MP
Junior Lords of the Treasury
Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Steve McCabe MP
Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Frank Roy MP
Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - David Watts MP
Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Tony Cunningham MP
Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) - Bob Blizzard MP

Assistant Whips
Assistant Government Whip - Diana Johnson MP (and Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Children, Schools and Families*)
Assistant Government Whip - Mark Tami MP
Assistant Government Whip - Dawn Butler MP
Assistant Government Whip - John Heppell MP
Assistant Government Whip - Lyn Brown MP
Assistant Government Whip - George Mudie MP
Assistant Government Whip - Sharon Hodgson MP*
Assistant Government Whip - Mary Creagh MP*
Assistant Government Whip - David Wright MP*
Assistant Government Whip - Kerry McCarthy MP

Whips - House of Lords
Lords Chief Whip (Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms) - Lord Bassam of Brighton(unelected)

Deputy Chief Whip (Captain of The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard) - The Rt Hon Lord Davies of Oldham (and Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs*)(unelected)

Baronesses and Lords in Waiting
Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton*(unelected)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Thornton(unelected)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Tunnicliffe(unelected)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Brett(unelected)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Young of Norwood Green (and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills*)(unelected)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Crawley(unelected)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Faulkner of Worcester*(unelected)

† paid as a Parliamentary Secretary‡ unpaid Parliamentary Secretary* unpaid** attends Cabinet*** attends Cabinet when Ministerial responsibilities are on the agenda# Provides Ministerial support to the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Office on the coordination of Government Policy and Strategy
Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister
Jon Trickett MP
Anne Snelgrove MP

I realise that this is a long list but it is important to see the number of people that Gord thinks he needs to run the country, they are not all invited to cabinet meetings of course, that is reserved for the select few:

The so-called "group of eight" – which is set to meet every Monday at 10 Downing Street – includes the two ministers seen as potential challengers to Mr Brown – David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary.
Lord Mandelson, the all-powerful Business Secretary, is also a member, as is Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, who is the Prime Minister's closest political ally.
However, a number of Mr Brown's most trusted ministerial supporters are not in the group – already nicknamed the G8 – a clear sign that he is having to end his reliance on a small core of long-time friends and supporters.
Sources said the decision to set up the group of eight was further evidence of the sway held by Lord Mandelson, who was rewarded with the title First Secretary of State after effectively saving Mr Brown 10 days ago.
The full membership is: Mr Brown, Lord Mandelson, Mr Balls, Mr Johnson, David Miliband, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader, and Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary.
However, three senior ministers – Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary, and Nick Brown, the Chief Whip – who are among Mr Brown's most trusted allies – are not included.
It seems that Gord has been cajoled into forming an inner cabinet by the senior MPs and unelected hangers on.

Hardly the actions of someone who keeps shouting about openness, clarity, and reaching out to the electorate.



Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines

Angus Dei-NHS-THE OTHER SIDE

Sunday, 7 June 2009

THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO SELL OFF OUR PROPERTIES


An interesting article in the Telegraph today, Ministers are to examine the sale of tens of billions of pounds of real estate assets in a fresh attempt to generate cash to repair Britain’s battered public finances.

The Government has begun a process to recruit experienced property executives to manage about £35bn-worth of assets. The new team will help establish a new wing of the Shareholder Executive, which is likely to be called the Property Executive.

In his report, Lord Carter estimated that the Government could expect to generate approximately £20bn from property disposals during the next 10 years and a further £5bn in annual savings from running costs by the end of that period.

Analysts said that establishing the new arm under the auspices of the Shareholder Executive, which manages a sprawling portfolio of assets such as Royal Mail, the Met Office and Channel 4, would introduce a more professional management approach to the Government’s vast property empire, which the Office of National Statistics believes is valued at about £370bn.

Democracy at its worst, Government at its worst, selling off properties that belong to us is a no-no, these assets do not belong to the Government; that is of course apart from the fact that property prices are at their lowest for years.

As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”-James Madison

Angus


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Saturday, 6 June 2009

ONE LAW FOR THE RICH?


BBC NEWS Charges 'unlikely' over expenses The Metropolitan Police has not ruled out criminal probes over MPs expenses.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it was highly unlikely MPs would be taken to court, unless there was proof they misled Parliamentary authorities.

But it added that a special panel needed more information in a "small number" of cases before making a final decision on criminal investigations.

Many MPs who had faced complaints over their claims appeared to have provided accurate information, the Met said.

In May, the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service set up a joint panel of detectives and lawyers to look at the reports of how some MPs were using the Parliamentary expenses.

This panel was charged with looking at whether a criminal investigation should be launched, rather than actually beginning a full probe.

Scotland Yard had received some formal complaints, including from Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon, formerly a high-profile police officer, and a tax campaign group.

In a statement on Friday morning, Scotland Yard said the assessment panel had met on a number of occasions over the past two weeks and considered "a large number of allegations" about alleged abuse of expenses in both the Lords and Commons.

It said that members of the panel had set out to understand the procedures for claiming expenses from the Fees Office in Parliament, the twin departments managing all submissions from MPs and peers.

Friday, 5 June 2009

GORD SHUFFLES AWAY

Latest news

Council elections-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/elections/local_council/09/html/region_99999.stm


Bob Ainsworth to Defence
John Denham to communities.
Yvette Cooper to work and pensions.
Alistair Darling - stays as chancellor
Alan Johnson - new home secretary
David Miliband - stays as foreign secretary
Jack Straw - stays as justice secretary
Lord Mandelson - stays as business secretary
John Hutton - quitting as defence secretary
Jim Murphy - stays Scottish Secretary
Sir Alan Sugar - made enterprise czar

The last one-Alan Sugar explains his reticence to talk on BBC Breakfast this morning.

BBC NEWS Johnson is the new home secretary Health Secretary Alan Johnson is to replace Jacqui Smith as home secretary, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown carries out a make-or-break reshuffle.

Alistair Darling will stay in his job as chancellor and Jack Straw will stay justice secretary.

Mr Brown is fighting for his political life after Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell resigned with a call for the PM to go "for Labour's sake".

It comes as Labour braces itself for bad results in English local elections.

Mr Brown is in Downing Street working on a reshuffle which is expected to see widespread changes in key jobs within the next few hours.

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said he understood that Mr Darling had turned down a move to the Home Office and Mr Purnell had been "sounded out" about the job of education secretary, which would have paved the way for Mr Brown's ally Ed Balls to become chancellor, but that was not now going to happen.

Mr Johnson had been widely tipped as a possible challenger Mr Brown, among backbenchers plotting to oust the prime minister.

Normally loyal Labour MP Barry Sheerman told BBC News he wanted Mr Brown to stand down and predicted many of his backbench colleagues would vote that way if they were "liberated by a secret ballot".

But one group of Labour MPs have told the BBC they may delay their plans to circulate an e-mail gathering support for Mr Brown to quit.

And cabinet ministers have been rallying round Mr Brown following Mr Purnell's surprise departure, with none so far indicating they are ready to follow his lead.

Good news for the NHS, bad news for the economy, good news for Gord, bad news for the country.


Angus

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NHS Behind the headlines

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Thursday, 4 June 2009

How to replace Gord


The rules for replacing Gordon Brown - Telegraph

The rules that would determine Labour's search for a new leader to replace Gordon Brown would depend on whether he chose to step down or decided to cling on and fight any challenger.

For as long as Mr Brown opts to remain in office, the rules make it intentionally hard to remove him.

They state that an election can only be triggered if 20 per cent of Labour MPs endorse a rival candidate.

Given Labour's current numbers in the House of Commons, this means that 71 MPs would have to put their names to a letter backing a challenger to Mr Brown.

Even that would not be enough to ensure a full leadership election took place.

The final decision would rest with delegates and trade unionists at Labour's annual conference - due in September - or a special leadership conference convened by the party's National Executive Committee.

If a majority of voting delegates at a conference supported a challenge to Mr Brown in a card vote, a full contest would then begin.

The election, with postal votes from MPs, trade unions and grassroots members, could take around six weeks.

If Mr Brown were to step down and create a leadership vacancy, replacing him would be much quicker.

Under the alternative rules that apply in the event of a vacancy, the Cabinet would elect one of its members to become interim leader until a formal election could be called.

Mr Brown's enemies are advancing a scenario where those rules would be used to make Alan Johnson interim leader, in the hope that he would then be the only candidate in the subsequent election.

Simple Eh?


"A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune." Anon

Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines

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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

TOMORROW’S THE DAY


It is finally here, tomorrow we have the pleasure of voting for our European Parliament MPs, exciting isn’t it?

The BBC website has a nice map with the 12 electoral regions and you can click on them to see who is standing.

But be careful, in the south east the BNP have 10 candidates, 8 in London, 6 in the South West, none in Wales, 7 in The East of England, 6 in the West Midlands, 5 in the East Midlands, 8 in the North West, 6 in Yorkshire and Humber, 8 in the North West, 3 in the North East, 6 in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland; a total of 73 in total.

I will admit a bias here; I do not want to see even one BNP Euro MP because of the political climate at the moment regarding the MP expenses thing, rebound anger against the three top parties could be a dangerous thing, and could leave us with the type of representation that we really do not want.

We need to think very carefully before we vote, and we should vote, because the Euro Elections are just as important as our general election, mainly because we have no choice at the moment about being in the EU, and a vast amount of legislation that concerns us and affect us comes from Brussels.

If like me you don’t have a clue what it is all about there is an “idiots guide to” here.

So do it, vote, and also vote in the local elections if that is applicable in your area, because if we don’t get out there and make our decision we have no excuse if things get even worse, and we end up with Euro MPs and local Councils that do not represent our needs.


"A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law."- Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton,



Angus


Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines

Angus Dei-NHS-THE OTHER SIDE

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

NOT A CLUE


Margaret Beckett is taking the moral high ground over plots to topple El Gord, saying that it would be grossly irresponsible.

This statement comes from the totally responsible MP who claimed £15,211.21 for work on her house, including £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants (not “POT” but plants in pots).

Mrs Beckett, 66, claimed second home allowances of £72,537 for her constituency home in Derby in the four years between 2004 and 2008, despite having no mortgage or rent to pay on the property.

Mrs Beckett earns £104,050, but during her spells as environment secretary and foreign secretary she earned £141,866.

During much of the time she was making the claims, she was living rent-free in Admiralty House, Whitehall, which enabled her to rent out her London flat.

Some of the larger purchases were made days before the end of the financial year, a time when some MPs appear to “use up” money still available to them from their annual allowances. On March 20, 2005 the then environment secretary spent £1,480.84 at Comet on a new larder fridge, a freezer, dishwasher, dryer and washing machine.

She also claimed £3,250 for food and £1,000 for interior decoration in the same year.

A month after she was upbraided by the fees office in 2006, Mrs Beckett submitted an invoice dated March 30 – the last day of the financial year – for £4,753, which covered the conversion of a bedroom to a study, work to “extend base of wheelie bin store” and work to install a new floor in the sitting room.

The following year her “annual interior and exterior work” came to £2,198, with another £3,313 for rewiring, replacement radiators and carpentry and £3,155.48 for a new boiler.

Mrs Beckett said: “Grace and favour homes are not rent free, we are taxed on them as a benefit in kind.”

She said her large gardening bills were submitted by mistake.

Margaret Beckett

Job: Minister of State for Housing and Planning
Salary: £104,050
Sample expenses claim for second home in Derby: May 9 2005 to Jan 31 2006
Food: £1,800
Utilities: £1,824
Telephone and communications: £191
Cleaning: £1,245
Service and maintenance: £1,920 (£600 disallowed for hanging baskets and tubs)


As she is obviously interested in gardening a bit of horticultural advice, which every good “son of the soil knows”-when you are in a hole and it is deep enough-stop digging.

Nobody believes politicians anymore, all we see is the hypocrisy and greed, and until they stop preaching to us that is all they will be-hypocritical and greedy.

It doesn’t seem to have sunk in Ms Beckett’s cranial space that the Labour party is finished, it is a non entity and should leave the political arena as soon as possible.

The only snag is so are the other two major parties.


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


Angus


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NHS Behind the headlines

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Monday, 1 June 2009

GORD LIVES!


Despite my concerns a few days ago that El Gordo has devolved to a lower form of life and swam away into the drains he has appeared, on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, at least I think it was him, absence makes the memory dimmer.

BBC iPlayer - The Andrew Marr Show: 31/05/2009 if you move the slider to about 27 minutes you can watch himself in all his boring glory.

He tried to divert attention by referring to his Presbyterian upbringing and how he was morally offended by the expenses thing, but he managed not to convince anyone that he was on top of things and that he had the moral high ground.

He wittered on about cleaning up the system and “times they are a changing” but failed to impress,

Sorry El Gordo but you have lost it, lost the battle, lost the war and lost the electorate who didn’t even have the pleasure of voting you in.

Just call an election, get it over with and let us move on.


“Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.” Robert C. Gallagher


Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

NHS Behind the headlines

Angus Dei-NHS-THE OTHER SIDE