Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Snapchat Now More Popular Than Twitter Among 18-34s

Remember those crazy Snapchat guys who turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook for their zero revenue firm? Bloomberg reports they are now in funding talks which value the app at $10 billion. Data from Business Insider shows that 1 in 3 US smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 34 are using Snapchat, twice as many as nine months ago and considerably more than Twitter. If Facebook had bought them out Mark Zuckerberg’s company would now own the three most popular social networks in America…

The Expenses Claims Parliament Doesn’t Want You to See

Flamboyantly-named IPSA chief Marcial Boo is plotting to shroud MPs’ expenses claims in secrecy once again. Boo has told John Bercow that politicians’ claims for small stationery items should be kept hidden from the public because the delicate flowers are facing ridicule in the press. In the interests of openness, accountability and transparency – principles IPSA clearly have no interest in – Guido is publishing some recent claims that they want to keep secret:

  • David Cameron – bulldog clip, 7p
  • Austin Mitchell – pencil sharpener, 2p
  • Cheryl Gillan – calender, 4p
  • Jeremy Hunt – paper clips, 5p
  • Emma Lewell Buck – pencil sharpener, 5p
  • Liz Kendall – pencil sharpener, 7p
  • Harriet Harman – drawing pins, 10p
  • Ken Clarke – ruler, 11p
  • Andrew Mitchell – Tipp-ex, 13p
  • Sarah Teather – staples, 17p
  • Chi Onwurah – mouse mat, 18p
  • Alan Johnson – fold back clips, 34p
  • Vince Cable – scissors, 43p
  • Nadhim Zahawi – hole punch, 53p
  • Alistair Darling – glue stick, 64p
  • Vera Baird – dustpan, 69p
  • Gordon Browncalculator, £1

It goes without saying IPSA should be acting in the interests of the taxpayer and not simply sparing MPs’ blushes, but there is also a wider point here. Jim Devine submitted false invoices for printing costs, an expenses claim he was eventually jailed for. Keeping this seemingly trivial claim secret might have meant he got away with it. That alone shows why every expenses claim, however small, must face the disinfecting glare of sunlight…

Loony LibDem Candidate Boycotts BBC Over Gaza

Where do the LibDems find ‘em? The party’s ambitious candidate to be Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, who was given a glowing reference on LibDemVoice just a few weeks ago, is something of a wannabe David Ward. Ayoub Khan has shown his campaigning genius by boycotting the BBC over their “biased” coverage of Gaza:

FROM: Ayoub Khan
TO: Kathryn Stanczyszyn
11 August 2014

Whilst it is in the interest of any candidate to promote themselves and attract voter support on mainstream media, particularly in a by-election, I have decided not to do this with the BBC because their broadcasting of the Gaza situation has been biased. One has to live with ones own conscience and I refuse to participate with organisations such as the BBC who in the view of so many, have acted in such an unfair manner.

Barrister Khan’s other credentials include being accused of lying in court, while on his website he modestly says: “Some people call me a hero, but I just did what anyone would do.” You have to wonder what BBC journalists risking risking their lives in Gaza think about being called Israeli propagandists by armchair activists back in Britain…

Crook Who Took Looks to Get Off Hook While Plugging Book

Jailed expenses cheat Denis MacShane couldn’t stop himself from trying to weasel out of admitting he thieved from the taxpayer as he plugged his book on Channel 4 News last night. “I have no problems at all with what happened to me,” he began, before trying to convince viewers that actually he had been terribly hard done by and didn’t deserve to spend Christmas in the clink. Quelle surprise.

“I claimed money back, all of it expended. Unlike some of my other former colleagues there isn’t a single bit of personal profit for me. As several prisoners said to me, ‘You’re the only guy who’s in here from parliament who didn’t make any money’. But I’m not complaining about it, I’m really not.” 

Of course you’re not, Denis.

Asked repeatedly by Cathy Newman if he accepted he stole from the taxpayer, MacShane refused to show remorse: “No, I was reimbursed for money expended, alright, you can trundle around this as much as you like.” Worth watching the interview just to see MacShame’s face when Cathy reads his charge sheet to him…

Vid via @liarpoliticians.

Monday, August 11, 2014

£173,000 Simmonds Quits Saying Expenses Are Too Low

Mark Simmonds has told the BBC that his decision to quit parliament was due to the “intolerable” impact of expenses rules on his family, saying his allowances don’t allow him to rent a big enough house in London to bring up his children. Last year Simmonds was named by his local paper as the most expensive MP in his county after they found he had claimed £173,436.96 in expenses for 2013. He cost the taxpayer:

  • £137,426.92 payroll
  • £13,005.38 office costs
  • £5,910.00 staffing expenses
  • £25,000 employing his wife Lizbeth as his office manager

Simmonds and his wife directly took home over £160,000 from the taxpayer last year, as well as claiming for tens of thousands more in other expenses. On top of that, IPSA rules allow MPs to claim £27,875 a year for rent. He says that is not enough to bring up his family in London. Guido imagines his missus told him he wasn’t going anywhere so he might as well start on getting a proper job and making some proper money…

Warsi’s Bitter Welcome for New Female Muslim Tory Peers

Baroness Warsi used her punchy Sunday interviews to imply that “public school” Tories around the PM had it in for her because she is a “a brown, working-class woman” who they saw as “not good enough” to serve in office. Two bits of information might influence how we view that claim – the names of the two new Muslim women appointed by those same nasty Tories as peers on Friday, the impressive women being businesswoman Nosheena Mobarik and popular former Hague SpAd Arminka Helic.

Those less kind than Guido might suggest that Warsi’s very public discovery of principles might have something to do with the two impressive new female Muslim Tory peers threatening her uniqueness as a female Muslim and her therefore being at the centre of attention.  Guido understands she got wind of the appointments just prior to her resignation…

Another Foreign Office Minister Resigns

Mark Simmonds, best known for missing the Syria vote because he was busy discussing Rwanda with Justine Greening, has quit his job at FCO. No.10 deny it is anything to do with policy, his replacement will be James Duddridge. Simmonds will also stand down as an MP in Boston and Skegness in 2015. Analysis by Survation of local election results back in 2013 shows that on paper the seat is UKIP’s best chance of landing an MP…

Hammond loses two ministers in two weeks…

Bercow’s £1,300 MP Funeral Bill on Expenses

Guido couldn’t help but feel the taxpayer had been short-changed when he read in today’s Sun that John Bercow claimed £1,300 on expenses to go to Paul Goggins’ funeral. A worthwhile trip perhaps, but could he not have done it cheaper? Guido decided to find out.

The Speaker charged us £45 for a car from parliament to Euston station and £67.50 for the return journey the following day. A quick browse of Guido’s Uber app (other free market-supporting smartphone-friendly cheap car travel services are also available) shows we could do the journey for a tenner each way.

Bercow did much better on his train journey. He billed £239.10 for him and two staffers to get up to Manchester, the standard fare. Though when he got to Manchester, the Speaker inexplicably blew £500 on cars across the city. Since the trip was only meant to be for a church service and then the funeral, Guido struggles to see why he spent so much on taxis. We reckon we’d have spent £50 at the absolute maximum.

Finally, Bercow put himself and his staffers up at the posh Park Inn by Radisson hotel at a cost to the taxpayer of a cool £364. There are plenty of budget hotels well situated in Manchester. Guido chose the Ibis Budget, which would have given us three rooms for £96.

Bercow total: £1,290

Guido total: £405

Every little helps…

Israeli Tourists Flout Galloway’s Bradford Ban

After hearing that George Galloway had declared his intention to make Bradford an “Israel-free zone”, even that “we don’t want Israeli tourists to come to Bradford”, yesterday a group of Israeli tourists decided to do just that.

Several of Shneur’s Israeli friends joined him on the trip to Yorkshire’s premier tourist destination.

Unfortunately for the Respect MP, it seems many of his constituents sided with the new arrivals.

Shneur says a “steady stream of people came over to wish us well and distance themselves from Galloway’s hate speech”.

brad2

Overall, Shneur says Bradfordians gave their Israeli visitors a “tremendous reception”, reflecting on an “amazing afternoon” of “well wishes and interesting conversations”.

Israeli tourists 1-0 George Galloway.

Rich’s Monday Morning View


Seen Elsewhere

Paper Trail Suggests Ashcroft Still Funding Tories | Indy
Bradford Bun Fight Coming | Speccie
Former Minister’s Join ‘Canberra Caterer’ Outcry | The Times
Stop Bercow | The Times
Speaker Cornered | Times
Britain’s Beheaders | Speccie
‘Underclass’ Is Dave’s Fault | Conservative Women
Civil Liberties/Privacy NGO Hires New CEO | Big Brother Watch
Why I Won’t Join UKIP | Dan Hannan
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? | Ron Lauder
Labour Swing Extends Deep into Tory Seats | Lord Ashcroft


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Lord Glasman tells it like it is:

“The first thing is to acknowledge that Labour has been captured by a kind of aggressive public sector morality which is concerned with the individual and the collective but doesn’t understand relationships.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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