Saturday, February 9, 2008

BBC Finally Wakes Up to Snouts in the Trough

Nick Robinson, the BBC’s chief political correspondent, blogged yesterday that
The fact that MPs can claim expenses of £250 without a receipt has already been greeted with widespread incredulity. The fact we learnt today is likely to be greeted with even more. MPs can, apparently, also claim £400 a month for food without receipts.

Guido actually reported (MPs Get Fat on Your Taxes) the £20 per diem allowance back in October 2005. Do try to keep up Nick…

The above graphic from last December shows that MPs get £20 per day, no receipts required. That is 12 times as much as a fighting soldier has spent on him for food.

Can it be any clearer where their real priorities lie?

UPDATE : It is worth reading in full Sam Coates’ write-up of the Information Commissioner’s tribunal where the parliamentary resources director tries to justify not letting us know how MPs spend public money feathering their nests.

Friday* Caption Contest (Not Me Edition)


*Delayed due to very long, very liquid lunch.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Slaughter Loses the Plot

Andy Slaughter MP appears to have finally flipped his lid. He stormed out of an interview yesterday on “The Week in Westminster” after telling I Want a Referendum Chairman Derek Scott to “fuck off” during the interview. The presenter (Mark Darcy) told Scott he had never seen anything like it in his career. A sanitised version is being aired tonight. If a digitised version should accidentally be emailed to Guido he would be grateful.
Slaughter is also incomprehensibly threatening to report the I Want a Referendum campaign to the police for “election campaigning” in his constituency. This is the same campaign backed by Labour MPs Frank Field, Kate Hoey and Gisella Stuart…

UK Government Bails Out Less Indebted Liberia

Guido gets Treasury press releases, yesterday one caught his eye:
UK helps Liberia take big step towards debt clearance
The UK today assisted Liberia in taking a big step towards poverty reduction by helping it clear the arrears on debt it owes….

Alistair Darling went on to boast about how great this was for Liberia, which he described as a “HIPC”, a Heavily Indebted Poor Country. The 3 million inhabitants of Liberia have a government debt of $4.5 billion dollars, some £2.3 billion pounds or £767 per head.

Yesterday the ONS added £52 billion to the PSBR for Northern Rock taking the government’s admitted debts to 42% of GDP, busting Gordon’s already fiddled 40% golden rule. Gordon claims government debts stand at £536 billion, add in his off balance sheet fiddles like £725 billion of public sector pensions, £110 billion in payments due to companies in the next three decades under PFI and £18 billion of debt held by Network Rail and the figure is nearer £1.4 trillion, which is well over 100% of GDP. Now add on the private debts of credit card maxed-out Britons and the total debt is something like £2.7 trillion. Over £100,000 per household in Britain.

Which makes it seem very odd that Alistair Darling is bailing out the heavily indebted poor Liberians who have a tiny fraction of the debts that Labour has run up for Britons.

Digby Says Taxing Non-Doms is a Dud

Digby Jones is a pro-business Thatcherite so going into Gordon’s big tent was always going to involve him holding his nose. In the morning’s FT he says he wasn’t consulted over Labour’s copycat plan to tax foreign businessman, that it is not popular with businessman he meets as he tries to drum up inward investment. Shooting the golden goose is crazy, wealthy foreigners boost the economy. Osborne should know better. Digby knows it, the City knows it, but they don’t have any votes.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wee Wendy Prosecution "Not in the Public Interest"

The killer line in the Electoral Commission’s determination is:

In respect of a possible offence under Section 56, the Commission has concluded that, while Wendy Alexander did not take all reasonable steps in seeking to comply with the relevant legislation, she did take significant steps. Having considered all the circumstances, the Commission has decided that it is not appropriate or in the public interest to report this matter to the Procurator Fiscal.”

So if you don’t declare £950 of income on your tax return and get caught, try to use this as a defence. “I did declare most of my income, but I forgot about the £950 from the offshore source. It won’t be in the public interest to prosecute…”

UPDATE 16:30 : “I welcome the Electoral Commission’s announcement today, clearing me of intentional wrongdoing. My honesty and integrity have been confirmed by this judgment.” No it does not Wendy. If you did not deliberately solicit a string of donations from £999 to £950, just below the reporting threshold, we might believe you had some integrity. The list of undeclared donations included; GMB Scotland £999, Michael D Rutterford £999, Neil Davidson £995, Nicholas Kuenssberg £995, John Lyons £995, Phoenix Car Company £995, Strathvale Holdings Limited £995, City Refrigeration Holdings Limited £995, David J Pitt Watson £990, Paul Green £950. That is a pattern of deceit and a deliberate attempt to avoid donor transparency.

Create Your Own Boris Finger-Puppet

What with Gordon, Clegg and Dave doing Blue Peter, it falls to Guido to demonstrate that you don’t need double sided sticky-tape to be a politician. See it on GuyNews.TV.

Make Your Own Boris Finger-Puppet

Gordon Tells Court His "Manifesto Pledges are Not Subject to Legitimate Expectation"

Guido thought that this attempt to take Gordon Brown to Court by a UKIP member for breach of contract over not holding a referendum on the EU Constitution was crazy. It was in the manifesto and a manifesto commitment is a promise. So they do have a case of sorts but with little chance of success methinks.

But it was absolutely worth it for the admission in Court by Gordon’s barrister that you should not believe a word Gordon writes in the manifesto. Q.E.D.

Incidentally, the quote was taken down in Court and blogged before any broadcaster, newswire or newsroom got it out by Is There More to Life than Shoes? Good work pussycat…

Totty Watch : By Request, Black & White Ball (Men)

N.B. Guido was not actually in attendance so the person demanding transparency about a Guido donation to the Tory party is barking up the wrong tree. It was held on Ash Wednesday, the first Day of Lent, a day which Catholics observe by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance—a day of contemplating one’s transgressions. Something tells Guido politicians are not anywhere near ready to repent…

Seen Elsewhere

Labour’s Plan to Attack Part-Time Boris | Standard
Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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