March 15th, 2012

Washington Post Attacks Pilgrims


Back in June Guido reported that the campaign to end taxpayer funding of trade union officials had gone global. Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was attempting to restrict the activity of Pilgrims, or what they call “release time”. Today’s Washington Post has waded into the growing disquiet at “Union business, on the taxpayers’ dime“:

“…if union activities were paid for by union dues rather than tax dollars, there would be less dues money available for campaign contributions to the grateful politicians who negotiate release-time benefits for the contributing unions.

Release-time provisions have existed for 40 years. What is new is a willingness to call attention to them and contest them, a willingness born of the pressure the recession has put on municipal budgets. Just as a recession has the benefit of making private enterprises more conscious of efficiencies, it makes governments less cavalier about expenditures.”

So the barriers to change are the same on both sides of the pond: greedy politicos.


  1. 1
    Ah! Monika says:

    Guido goes Global

  2. 2

    Federal Judges Warn of Planned Budget Cuts’ Impact (New York Times) – So the special relationship also extends to running ‘democracies’ in which the rule of law and due process is unaffordable

  3. 3
    jgm2 says:

    Law and due process never used to be so expensive. If the UK and the US are having problems today then I suggest they rep*eal all the laws they passed in (say) the last ten years and see if that doesn’t reduce pressure on the budget.

  4. 4
    Bumblesnitch says:

    Another example of modern democracy gone wrong: not only giving the burglar the keys to the vault, but paying him as well to do so!

  5. 5
    British Citizen says:

    And do these sponges waste anything like the £7 billion that British Ireland does?

  6. 6
    Gordon Brown says:

    i am a man trapped in a man’s body

  7. 7
    Technomist says:

    Eric Pickles could be doing far more about this. It is not use leaving it to votes in town halls where the Labour Party and the far left in the unions have already entrenched this endemic corruption: pilgrims recieving taxpayers’ cash so they can then contribute union and time and money to electing professional Labour politicians, locally and nationally. (One effect of this is to make ordinary members of the Labour Party insignificant at the grass-roots as the union machines provide the money and manpower). The issue could easily be put on a local ballot paper for local electorates to decide as an extra precept on their council taxes at the same time as voting for their councillors.

  8. 8
    J. Pig Grim says:

    I hate all this transparency and accountability. We’ve all had such a cushy number going for us.

  9. 9
    'Bank of England' says:

    only christien pilgrim’s

  10. 10
    Martin McGuinness says:


  11. 11
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    That’ll take ages. Labour introduced loads over the 13 years they were in power.

  12. 12
    NeverRed says:

    And yet STILL a lack of any ‘Pilgrim’s progress’ from the government.

    Get rid of them or make the unions pay their wages SIMPLE.

    While they are at it they STILL haven’t got rid of the Trade Union Modernisation Fund!

    Almost 2 years ! FFS when is this government going to take action?

  13. 13
    Loungelizard says:

    Get Obama onside. Picture the scene, NHS hospital, Pilgrim crossing the vast staff car park to his/her/it’s Bentley, Drone passes overhead kersplat, end of !

  14. 14
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    I do remember something about using taxpayers money to fund individual electoral campaigns.

    Whether they do it or not, I don’t know.

  15. 15
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    No. You are an Idiot trapped in a man’s body.

  16. 16
    BB Barnaby says:

    I fail to see how the Unions can protect workers any more than existing legislation does

    Union members personal interests are far better served by private sector providers of Legal Advice Insurance.

  17. 17
    RedKen says:

    Rich Bastards should pay their taxes!!

  18. 18
    jgm2 says:

    It would take five minutes. Simply pass an Act that rep*eals all laws passed from a certain date and, if the new legislation replaced existing legislation, then revert to the prior legislation.

    This would have the effect that if, say, in 2005 the Wicked and Malicious government had passed The Theft Act 2005 replacing a prior Theft Act 1887 (or whatever) but with several hundred pages of bells and whistles then rep*eal the 2005 Act but revert to the prior Act.


  19. 19
    Ah! Monika says:

    All police officers should be made to take an annual fitness test, with a pay cut for those who repeatedly fail, a review has said.
    Tom Winsor, who has carried out the widest-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years, said those who fail the test three times should be subject to disciplinary procedures and a pay cut.

    BUT what about the ‘pilgrim’ coppers??

  20. 20
    Ah! Monika says:

    Ah! Monika says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    March 15, 2012 at 11:45 am
    All police officers should be made to take an annual fitness test, with a pay cut for those who repe@tedly fail, a review has said.
    Tom Winsor, who has carried out the widest-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years, said those who fail the test three times should be subject to disciplinary procedures and a pay cut.

    BUT what about the ‘pilgrim’ coppers??

  21. 21
    jgm2 says:

    Ken’s ‘defence’ is that with the 50K in taxes he ‘saved’ he was able to employ two people. Himself and his wife presumably.

    But lets suppose he was using the money ‘saved’ to pay for two thugs to accompany him around town and dissuade potential voters from asking him tricky questions – well, couldn’t we all make the same plea? I need to pay less taxes so that I can afford a cleaner/chauffeur/bodyguard/concubine/whatever?

  22. 22
    Steve Miliband says:

    What about MP’s who don’t turn up Parliament? No names, Mr Brown

  23. 23
    The Taxman says:

    And poor bastards. In fact, we should have a bastard tax. Anyone who can’t pursduade their parents to get married should have to stump up big time.

  24. 24
    Clicheville says:

    What goes around comes around

  25. 25
    Squatter says:

    They are too utterly incompetent to do anything properly though. For example GB is covered in unregistered land which anyone can do pretty much what they like on because there’s no owner to sue you.

  26. 26
    jgm2 says:

    The problems of the Labour Imbecility were entirely caused by Brown turning up far too regularly. It is galling paying him 60K plus expenses to do nothing but it’s a damned sight cheaper than paying him 150K plus expenses to fuck everything up.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  27. 27
    The Golem says:

    Probably never. They’ve proved themselves to be as commited to socialist utopia as the last lot.

  28. 28
    dai says:

    Sod the plod for being unfit, where I live they are bone idle, they work out the absolute minimum they can do and then half it. May be they should be checked for being bone idle bastards, also our so called community plod is bordering on being illiterate

  29. 29
    Dimblebore says:

    And tonight on BBC Question Time the audience will ask..

    Is Ken Livingstone a hypocrite?
    Why hasn’t Ed Miliband got one single policy on anything after 2+ years in opposition?
    The ratio of one teachers assistant to every three kids has only led our children to slip down the world league tables. Lets get rid of all the assistants and save a bloody fortune.
    The ECHR judgement on Abu Coathanger. Shall we just send him to the EU with a letter containing a rude word?

    Only joking .. 5 or six questions about Murdoch, saving the NHS and taxing the rich! Tune in tonight at 10.30 or follow us on Twatter!

  30. 30
    will says:

    The problem with eliminating all pilgrims is it is not that easy as many are hard to get rid of. Also many have been professional pilgrims for so long that they are unemployable or need to be reskilled.

    Councils and anybody funded by taxpayers money could start by being forced to list all pilgrims paid by the public purse each year, so with you council tax demand a list all payments to pilgrims, Also the growth of political advisors which are paid party lackeys list how much thye cost as well. I think lambeth has about 7 of them. WTF for.

  31. 31
    jgm2 says:

    Also many have been professional pilgrims for so long that they are unemployable

    Good. Then they can claim the dole.

    or need to be reskilled.

    They can pay for their own ‘reskilling’ with their pay-off.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Corrupt Local Government is in urgent need of reform. says:

    Eric Pickles is letting us down badly with corrupt Local Government. SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) moving council officers on a merry go round from Authority to Authority, each time their pay rising exponentially for doing the same job. Senior Council Officers and Chief Executives, grossly overpaid and doing, in most cases, an appalling job, with unsustainable index linked pensions. Inept Councillors, drawn from the ranks of the unemployed and unemployable, allowing this to go on, either because they are so incompetent, or the officers are letting them raise their allowances, and they are turning a blind eye. A local Authority Regulator, the Local Government Ombudsman, clearly a corrupt Institution, allowing miscreant Councils to get away with maladministration, time and time again:

    The victims of all this corruption? The poor overburdened Taxpayer who has seen his council tax more than double in the last ten years with no visible improvement in services.

  34. 34
    BB Barnaby says:

    we need a UK plc balance sheet where every citizen is binary classified as either an income OR expenditure – i understand that it may be difficult to classify some people or that sometimes people need to swap sides

    it is not simple enough to say policemen and nurses are similar to private security contracts and private health insurance contracts – they are expenses NOT investment

    You spend money on worthwhile things, health, security, education but one does have to question spending money on lard arsed union officials

  35. 35
    Lover of the REAL Adam Smith says:

    What is ‘new’ is capital’s clawing back of rights and concessions made to labour (in order to placate it) in distant decades.

    What people forget is that the same conditions that led to labour struggles>concessions will lead to the same struggles taking place again, with the same consequences. Look at any globalised industry and you see lanour struggles following relocated capital like a bad and ever more noxious smell.

    ‘Austerity’ is how capital (and its state) make sure others pay for its crisis.

  36. 36

    Sounds good to me – I’ll start by repealing the ‘Chav’-free Schools, the WRB and NHS England ‘reforms’ and we’ll see where we go from there.

  37. 37
    I don't need no doctor says:

    The first questions are from QT in a parallel universe.

  38. 38
    Selohesra says:

    I think Mr Rumpy in Brussels might be a bit cross if we did

  39. 39
    Local Government is totally corrupt says:

    Look at the 3rd Article down MP’s debate excessive public sector pay) and watch the video on the Taxpayer’s Alliance website:

    Confirms everything you say.

  40. 40
    Maximus says:

    Unfortunately drones are coming. They are being tried out on the quiet. When Plod gets a bunch you can bet it won’t be long before councils are using RIPA to get the aerial pictures so they can fine you for something which they haven’t yet licensed you for. It will be for the good (read: safety) of the community, you know. Of course the exercise will require lots of jobs, and they come with pilgrims attached.

  41. 41
    Ken and the Goliath says:

    It’s the lawyers that are unaffordable but unfortunately they have the strongest lobbyists in the land and Ken is having his work cut out in defeating them.

  42. 42
    Jimmy says:

    Obviously losing the support of George Will comes as a huge blow.

    You have no idea who he is do you?

  43. 43
    Some Geezer wot would like to "Check-out" of corrupt systems altogether says:

    The problem is that the Unions have the “check-off,” a mandatory deduction from the pay packets of all public-sector employees in lieu of collecting dues from their membership in person. All employees pay, the workers exercising their right not to belong to the union having their deduction called the “agency shop fee” as a way of discouraging “the free rider issue,” i.e. that they would get the same rises in pay and changes in work rules without paying the Union dues. Because of First Amendment freedom-of-association and right-to-petition-the-Government concerns, the public-sector unions must disclose all political contributions to the Democratic Party (rarely do they contribute to the Republicans, obviously) so that non-member public-sector employees can, if they even know about it (and this fact is kept hidden, generally), claim a rebate of that part of their agency-shop fee which is fairly connectable to political contributions; this process has traditionally been bothersome and time-consuming for the amount of money a worker could realise by doing so, and even some who know about it forgo it.

    It is telling that even Franklin Roosevelt, about as socialistic a President as the US ever had, was against public-sector unionising, as he felt it was injurious to the cause of the unions and the electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party for a system like this, with its inherent incestuous corruption, to be instituted.

  44. 44
    Di Fatbot says:

  45. 45
    Selohesra says:

    If its a balance sheet you might be better classifying as asset or liability

  46. 46

    Yeah, and when the local Mafia, or “Council” as they disguise themselves as, take you to court to stop you, you foot the bill if you loose – unless of course you are a pikey, an illegal immigrant or unemploed – or better still all three, an unemployed pikey illegal immigrant, when the tax payer will fund all of you fucking shenanigans for you, and we are supposed to accept this piece of shite as normal in a democratic society.

  47. 47
    Moscow Mike Handycock (sex Tourist on Taxpayer's money, Teen Fondler and No1 Trougher in Parliament) says:

    I have been in Local Government in Portsmouth, for over 40 years and I refute these accusations that it is corrupt:

    I also deny that we LibDems in Portsmouth are receiving illegal political donations from the local drug dealer/property developers who are making millions from housing these asylum seekers:

  48. 48
    BB Barnaby says:

    sorry, would T-account be correct?

  49. 49
    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Wikipedia Biography Service says:

  50. 50
    Ed Moribund says:

    Hey! Pwedatowrs and Pwoducwers!
    That’s my idea.

  51. 51
    Blind Eye to Corruption? says:

    Spot on #31… It is and will be as usual the poor old local taxpayer who gets to carry the burden of incompetence and unjustifiable ‘remuneration’ at City Hall. Worse still the few ‘actual paying taxpayers’ have to carry the extra load of benefit claimants, asylum seekers and other ‘non-payers’ who have been welcomed by their local administrations. The LGO has excelled itself over the past few years in finding an unbelievably small number of cases of maladministration – must be the ‘old pals act’ in force there.

  52. 52
    Taxi says:

    What’s that got to do with you, Abbott?
    Did you make him a star? Did you invite him to the White House?

    Do you also claim for every knife wielding hoodie arrested. He’s one of our East End boys!

  53. 53
    Greychatter says:

    Watching the programme last night about the European Court of Human rights, Andrew Neil talking to the lawyer, I think Michael Mansfield, and walking passed Lawyers offices it was interesting to note the make of cars, Ferraris, Maserati’s etc. That’s where the money is!!

  54. 54
    Displaced Brummie says:

    Not for the first time, Pilgrims are causing trouble in Amercia!

  55. 55
    Get a grip! says:

    Get rid of the Union Learning Fund as well while we’re at it, this is a sinsiter scheme funded by the tax payer without their knowledge to ensure that union membership stabilises.

    The point is this, if an employer requires its workforce to be literate and numerate etc then the employer should provide the training.

    This ‘scheme’ is rife amongst local authorities, just another example of mutual backscratching and appeasement which we all pay for.

  56. 56

    Wirral Council is a good example of the ineffective Local Government Ombudsman.

  57. 57
    Business Cat (Specializing in yarns, Cdn owned & op) says:

    A lot of US cities and towns are having problems with over-generous pensions and early retirement.

  58. 58
    Robert Mugabe and Goodluck Johnathan says:

    Well done Mike. We are still following you avidly, our Hero and Inspiration. You must be the richest man in the UK. Boaz.

  59. 59
    Business Cat (Specializing in yarns, Cdn owned & op) says:

    Number 1 trougher? There would be a lot of competition for that spot.

  60. 60
    Caped Crusader says:

    Looks like the net is closing in Handy. No corruption in Portsmouth? Could have fooled me:

  61. 61
    Alison Beddows, Alison Campbell, Alison Hippman Edinburgh Union of Spineless, Money grubbing, meddling, time wasters and their doppelgangers. says:

    We have formed our own time wasting money grubbing union on behalf of the Spineless, rating chasing BBC and the Brown Mong. We even have doppelgangers!

  62. 62
    Schlemiel says:

    Theres no money in repealing laws. It’s not a growth industry.

  63. 63
    Business Cat (Specializing in yarns, Cdn owned & op) says:

    Pilgrims? Send them to a monastery.

  64. 64
    Business Cat (Specializing in yarns, Cdn owned & op) says:

    He is a right-wing writer who has been with WaPo for years. Also writes for increasingly moribund sister publication Newsweek. I knew all that without Wiki, thank-you.

  65. 65
    Ivor Tapeworm says:

    Why is Phil Gingrey so eager to have his legs broken by Teamsters? A brave man!

  66. 66
    Grand Master Grand Lodge, Queen Street says:

    Don’t worry Handy. I have fixed the police investigation just as you and your Brother Council Officers requested. Jahbulon.

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