So Much For “Green Crap”! Cam’s Cash From Sam Dad’s Subsidised Wind Farm

The PM’s father-in-law has been coining it to the tune of £3.5 million-a-year in taxpayer-funded subsidies for the wind farm on his estate. SamCam’s dad Sir Reginald Sheffield split the cash with RidgeWind, the developer, which is run by a woman named Marjorie Glasgow. Here she is pictured above with the PM at a “buffet luncheon”. All very cosy, especially since Marjorie has coincidentally just returned the favour by donating a cool £5,000 to Cameron’s office. Turns out green is the colour of money…

Outgoing MPs Claim For New Laptops and iPads on Expenses … And They Don’t Have to Give Them Back When They Leave

Shameless MPs standing down at the election are rinsing the taxpayer for brand new laptops and iPads on expenses before they leave parliament… and they DON’T have to give them back.

Two weeks after Andrew Lansley announced he would quit the Commons he claimed £499 for a new iPad, but the rules mean he can keep it when he leaves in May. Eric Joyce confirmed he would quit when Labour told him he was “unfit to stand” back in 2012. Yet last June he claimed £1,777 for “replacement laptops” on expenses, which he is allowed to keep when he goes this year.

Six months after Tim Yeo was booted out by his local Tories last February, he then charged the taxpayer £1,319 on expenses for two new computers. John Denham revealed way back in 2011 that he would be leaving at the election, yet that didn’t stop him from claiming £639 on expenses for a new tablet computer in April 2014. Sacked Energy minister Charles Hendry announced he would stand down from his seat when he lost the role back in 2013. Yet in September last year, eight months before he was set to leave, he claimed £1,024 for a new Latitude laptop.

In July last year Tory MP Mike Weatherley revealed he would not stand for re-election, and two months later he claimed for an £849 Microsoft Surface Pro touch-screen laptop. Tory MP Jonathan Evans announced he was quitting in 2013, yet in August 2014 he claimed £572 for a new Dell laptop, and then another £479 for an iPad Air the following month. In 2011 Tory James Arbuthnot revealed his intention to leave, but still charged us £594 for a new iPad Mini and case last summer.

In the last six months eleven other MPs also claimed laptops and tablets on expenses, including Labour’s Tom Watson – who claimed for two – Siobhain McDonagh, Michael McCann, Huw Irranca-Davies, Roberta Blackman-Woods and Fabian Hamilton, and Tories Theresa Villiers, Nick Hurd, Keith Simpson, Glyn Davies and Tobias Ellwood.

IPSA tell Guido: “we advise MPs who are standing down to pass them on to their successors but we cannot compel them to do so”. Fill your boots…

Hinchingbrooke Hospital Was Privatised By Burnham

What of Labour’s response to this morning’s news that Circle in Hinchingbrooke, the first privatised NHS hospital, wants to exit their contract. Despite Andy Burnham’s repeated attempts to distance himself from the hospital, he made the decision to put the contract out to tender to private companies when he became Health Secretary in 2009. Circle themselves sayit was clear by the end of 2009 that Hinchingbrooke would be run by a private company”. Hinchingbrooke hospital was privatised by Labour…

That said, Circle’s record at delivering value for taxpayer money has not been bad:

“Since Circle took on Hinchingbrooke in early 2012, the hospital has been transformed. Hinchingbrooke faced closure. It was described as a ‘basket case’.  We invested in the quality of care, in staff and in facilities. Now, it has won a number of awards. It consistently hits the most important outcome measures, including low mortality rates, excellent patient feedback, and meeting all major waiting time targets. In the first two years of the franchise, Circle made financial savings significantly above the NHS average. We have saved the taxpayer approximately £23 million.”

Circle were losing money, that is unsustainable for an enterprise mutual or otherwise. Companies will always fail in free markets, the difference is they foot the bill rather than the taxpayer…

RED ON RED: Audio of Murphy v Abbott Mansion Tax Bunfight

Jim Murphy’s mansion tax raid on London to fund nurses in Scotland has descended into an almighty slanging match with Diane Abbott. The Hackney MP couldn’t even remember the Scottish Labour leader’s name on Wato today:

“I am very surprised John Murphy is making these boasts… Jim Murphy can’t surely mean he is going to expropriate money from London to Scotland… he is jumping the gun in an unscrupulous way.”

Murphy hit back:

“It’s hard to take this argument seriously when she can’t even remember my name… I am leader of the Scottish Labour party, not Diane. I don’t have to consult Diane Abbott… I don’t have to clear things with Ed Miliband.”

Shots fired!

Hain: “Labour Needs to Learn to Love Spending Again”

hain

Peter Hain’s article in today’s Guardian reads like loony left bingo. Apparently focusing on the deficit is a “suffocating neoliberal orthodoxy” created by “the Mail, Telegraph and Murdoch stables”, and of course the Tories will take “public spending back to levels not seen since the 1930s when there was no NHS or decent state school system”. Hain insists “the deficit debate is a trap” and argues “Labour needs to learn to love spending again”:

“Labour will prioritise reviving Britain’s failing recovery by scrapping austerity… We urgently need (as some economists argue) £30bn a year for two years of extra capital investment in infrastructure, housebuilding, education, skills and low-carbon industries. This would rapidly expand the economy and cut the budget deficit by boosting tax revenues as people earn and spend more, working hours rise, and fewer families need to look to the state for support. 

Yes, the shock headlines would announce: “Higher Labour borrowing early in the next parliament”. But higher public spending and borrowing on capital investment today means lower borrowing tomorrow with the economy growing and tax revenues rising.”

Best of all, Hain accuses Blairites and Tories of subscribing to “Alice in Wonderland economics”. Says the spending-addicted debt junkie…

Review of 2014: Gordon Brown’s £10,000-a-Week Expenses

The most shared story on the blog this year was Guido’s investigation into the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown. Since leaving Downing Street, Gordon has raised over £3 million to support charitable projects yet has given less than a £1 million to charity. Nearly three-quarters of the money raised has gone on his office and globe-trotting travel expenses that run at over £10,000-a-week. Despite Gordon claiming he does not profit from the arrangement and that all the income goes either directly to charities or to support other charitable public service projects.

The former Prime Mentalist then got very upset when Guido went on the BBC’s Daily Politics to share the story with a wider audience, demanding that the interview be removed from iPlayer. Guido readers can still watch it here:

All that jet-setting meant the people of Kirkcaldy weren’t seeing much of Gordon, so it will hardly have come as a surprise to them when on another foreign junket McMental admitted he saw himself as an “ex-politician”, despite still taking his £67,000-a-year MP salary.

And so, in December, Gordon finally announced he is making his lack of parliamentary attendance official by quitting at the election. With the old media doing their favourite greatest hits, Guido couldn’t resist his own tribute.

So long then Gordon. We shall miss you.

Diane Abbott Pockets £110,000 of Licence Fee Payer Cash

Not only does the taxpayer fork out £67,000 a year to keep Diane Abbott in the style to which she has become accustomed, her salary is also subsidised by the licence fee payer to the tune of £110,000. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, Diane has raked in a six figure sum from Auntie Beeb for her appearance fees since April 2007. Despite the BBC Trust admitting two years ago that Abbott was overpaid. You can see the full breakdown of her BBC cash via the BanTheBBC blog hereThat means Diane has trousered nearly £600,000 from the British public in the last seven years…

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Oborne v Maguire

Today’s Mirror splashes on “heartless” George Osborne giving his SpAd Rupert Harrison, apparently “one of the chief architects” of the “cruel austerity drive”, a 19% pay rise.

The story very much upset Man of the People Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire, who Peter Oborne has the temerity to speculate is on rather more than Rupert:

Kerching!

General Election Campaign Officially Starts Today

vote

Today is the day election spending rules kick in and the campaign for 2015 officially begins. Here are the key dates for your diary:

  • December 19: Long campaign begins. Candidate spending limited to £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county (rural) constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough (urban) constituencies.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Reckless Crowdfunds Defence Against Tory Legal Action

“It is almost Christmas: a time for caring, reflection, and forgiveness,” Mark Reckless tells UKIP supporters in a mass email this afternoon, before asking for festive donations to fund his defence against the Tories’ “sour grapes” legal action against him:

“The fact that the Tories are bickering over £3,000 when we all know they may have a £78m election war chest put together by their secretive clubs, and dodgy donors shows that this is just another cynical attack on democracy, on UKIP, and on the British people.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million + + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Going, Going… Wrong

“Good evening everybody and welcome to Sotheby’s,” said Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman at a fundraising auction last week… At Christie’s.

The real joke was the fact a signed copy of Cameron’s flop of an immigration speech went for £45,000.[…]

+ READ MORE +

BREAKING: Dirty Desmond Donates £300,000 to UKIP

Seems he’s forgiven Patrick O’Flynn then…

UPDATE: 

Who will ask Farage the Paxo questions?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Tony Blair: Be Nice to Politicians and Pay Them More Please

Blair has some extraordinary demands in the New York Times today – pay politicians more and stop being mean to me, or them even:

“…politicians are not really well paid by the standards of those who are successful in the private sector.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Everything You Need to Know About the Autumn Statement

growthstatement

Helpfully compiled by the BBC.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne’s Kwasi NHS Spending Pledge

Kwasi Kwarteng isn’t backing down from his comments splashed in the Indy that NHS spending will have to be cut to clear the deficit:

“My general point was that if you’re going to have a serious debate about deficit reduction, everything has to be on the table.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Owen Smith backs one hour contracts but wants to abolish zero hours contracts:

“You need to give people a contract to say, ‘here’s what you will be working’. It could be one, but I’m saying it shouldn’t be zero, we should invert that emphasis.”

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