Blair is Getting £400,000 a Year in Expenses

Just a teensy bit of help with office costs at the expense of the British taxpayer. Well he has two offices, one in Jerusalem and another in Mayfair. Handy for arranging those $500,000 speaking engagements in, errm, China.

Dods / ePolitix For Sale

Guido hears that Huveaux plc, the parent company of The House Magazine publishers, Dods and the yawntastic ePolitix.com (written by many, read by few) is for sale and on the block with private equity house August Equity LLP circling.

The parent company has £18m of debt and a capitalisation of only £40m, Guido suspects that any buyer will therefore be keen to spin out the political publishing arm. Huveaux supposedly paid £5m for “Political Wizard”, a political search engine and “sophisticated campaigning tool”. Not.

ePolitix until recently claimed to be the “UK’s premier politics site”, but after a bit of needling about them trailing some political blogs (which Guido is too modest to mention) they changed their slogan to “shaping the political agenda”. Meaning they will reprint any lobbyist’s press releases for cash.

359 Lords-a-Fiddlin’

Sam Coates in The Times has another research based snouts-in-the-trough piece. The evidence is that at least 359 Lords, that is the majority of the them, are fiddling their expenses. The evidence whilst circumstantial is particularly compelling. Can it be a coincidence that, according to the article;
  • 359 of the 550 Lords who claimed “day subsistence” — a £78.50 payment for meals and taxis — claimed the maximum on 95%of occasions or more.
  • 272 of the 406 peers who live outside London and claim “overnight subsistence” for hotels — worth £159.50 — claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more.
  • 338 of 514 Lords who claim office expenses, worth £69 a day, claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more. Unlike the House of Commons, secretarial costs are paid to the peer to distribute.
Essentially this is a tax-free fiddle with no receipts required. Guido has pointed to the prevalence of this fiddle before. Many of the same peers, particularly Labour ones, also get on a few Quangos as well to pad out their retirement as if the gold-plated, non-contributory pension benefits they voted themselves when they were MPs were not enough already. The gravy train flows thick and fast for many ennobled MPs.

What particularly irks and disgusts Guido, is that they claim £78.50 for “subsistence meals” per day and children in state schools get meals costing 40p per day. Shows their real priorities doesn’t it? They really know how to look after themselves don’t they?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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