Frack That: Government Funds Anti-Extraction Campaign

fracking-national-_2641250b

Discredited anti-fracking charity MEDACT is making a last ditch effort to influence Lancashire County Council’s 24 June vote on whether to allow fracking, by holding a public meeting in Preston next week, in which they will wheel out their “experts“.

The only expert announced so far is one John Ashton, a former civil servant and the founder of environmental not-for -profit E3G.

E3G receives funding from the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

And the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

And the Department for International Development.

Oh, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The government is funding the opposition to its own fracking policy…

Best Reponses to MP Pay Rise Consultation

Sitting somewhere in an office on Millbank, an IPSA employee sifts through the hundreds of responses to their consultation on MPs’ pay while trying to justify giving them an extra 10%. Here are some of the Great British public’s more forthright contributions.

D.W. Jukes speaks for a nation:

“Obviously shut up in your little Westminster bubble, you have not noticed that the rating of MPs among the electorate is at an all time low. People feel that MPs are totally out of touch with voters, and your decision to review their pay now only confirms it.”

While John F Roga is a fan of caps lock:

“THE DICTIONARY DEFINES WATCHDOG AS ONE THAT CLOSELY OBSERVES GOVERNMENTS AND ORGANISATIONS. A POODLE IS DEFINED AS AN ‘ASSIDUOUS FOLLOWER’. I KNOW WHICH CATEGORY THE PUBLIC WOULD PLACE YOU IN”

Though he’s not as angry as this anonymous writer:

“The watchdog whoever he is is he an IDIOT or what saying the MPs should get 90k a year they DON’T DESERVE 50k a year or there CARS & EXPENSES should be STOPPED until the economy is a lot better.”

Captain Bryn Wayt is getting religious on them (his use of bold):

“I submit this document as a private individual and Christian taxpayer. I furnish my thoughts on the proven fact that the majority of MP’s were fiddling their “expenses” and robbing the public purse before the Telegraph blew their game apart in 2009. Somehow, most of them escaped jail by the skin of their teeth. Such despicable and dishonest behaviour will not be tolerated ever again.”

Mr JR McAvoy makes a not unreasonable point:

“Under no circumstances should you even consider raising their generous salary’s. There would be a national outcry against if you did”

Made slightly more forcefully by F. Biard:

“WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER EVERYONE GETS THE SAME DEAL ITS A SCANDAL”

This anonymous contributor used a powerful sign-off:

“It is immoral for an MP to draw a full salary and hardly ever appear in the house. The excuse of doing constituency work does not wash. Gordon Brown, Chris Huhne, David Miliband, Liam Fox, George Galloway just some names to consider. Yet another disillusioned citizen of what was once Great Britain.”

While John Bell gave greedy MPs a choice:

“MP’s have the same option as every one else if they are unhappy. They can resign and get another job more to their liking and they should be reminded they have this option.”

Best of the bunch? Here is Robert Nielson Donald:

“sir i put it to you they do not need a pay rise they first need to stop double dealing with renting their house to a fellow member then claim expences on another house it is day light robbery, i would love to tell them face to face exactly how the public feel about this. any increase in their salary when the nation is facing price rises in fuel and many being laid off would be a kick in the teeth for the rest of the nation whilst these parasites want more, in closing can i wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year”

Well said, Robert. Well said.

Pressure Mounts on Cameron to Reject Pay Rise

A cynic might say the wannabe next leader of the Labour Party is being shamelessly populist, but Andy Burnham is first out of the blocks to turn down his 10% pay rise:

The PM’s position on this is less equivocal.

Cameron said in 2013: “I think it would be wrong for MPs to get a big pay rise at a time of public sector pay restraint”.

Last year he threatened to abolish IPSA entirely if they did not “think again”.

Yet yesterday his Official Spokesman seemingly dropped that threat and suggested Cameron would be accepting the pay rise: “If IPSA determines MPs get a pay increase, MPs get a pay increase”.

It comes down to whether Cameron wants to give it to charity and annoy his more shallow-pocketed backbenchers three weeks into the new government…

UPDATE: Seems to be a concerted effort from certain Labour MPs up for elections to get ahead on this before PMQs:

Your Last Chance to Challenge MPs’ Pay Rise

Despite IPSA “receiving hundreds of responses” – and claiming to have “carefully considered every response we received” – MPs are still set for a 10% pay rise:

“We remain of the view that it is right to increase MPs’ pay to £74,000 for all the reasons we set out in December 2013 and which we summarise above. Subject to any new and compelling evidence arising from this review, we therefore intend to implement the determination as currently drafted, with a one-off adjustment in MPs’ pay to £74,000 and subsequently linking it to changes in average UK earnings for the remainder of this Parliament.”

However:

“That said, we invite submissions as to any new and compelling evidence that might cause us to reconsider. Consultation Question: Is there new and compelling evidence that might lead us to amend our determination?”

Handing MPs a 10% rise while public sector wages are capped at 1% seems pretty compelling.

Send your objections to: mppayandpension@parliamentarystandards.org.uk.

Rent Your Flat To an MP, If You Dare

Nice to see the mansions of SW1 getting a look in – this letter has been posted to flat owners near Westminster – but surely this has to be the biggest fib of the election? MPs will be “good quality, respectable tenants”:

Dolphin Square landlords need not apply…

Pie Minister: Cameron’s Colossal Campaign Calorie Count

A busy day on the stump for the PM, who seems to have spent the day stuffing his face. So far he has eaten:

Haggis (350 calories)

Fried egg (90 calories)

Fried bread (400 calories)

Fried mushrooms (160 calories)

Scotch egg (300 calories)

Steak, ale and Stilton pie (500 calories)

Half a pint of stout (135 calories)

Total calories: 1,935

2,000 calories already and it’s only just coming up to tea time.

Nevermind a chopper, they’re going to have to roll him back to London…

People’s Champion? No Sorry From Sarah

Labour MP Sarah Champion is today paying back the £17 she claimed on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday poppy wreath. Apart from a short statement confirming she would reimburse the taxpayer, Champion has maintained radio silence in the face of searing public criticism. The Labour majority in Rotherham was halved when Champion was elected in 2012 following the MacShane scandal and UKIP are narrowing the gap. Is a ‘sorry’ so hard?

“Kensington and Chelsea” Embarrasses Hacks

Nothing like a political scandal to flush out some sloppy journalism. Malcolm Rifkind is standing down from Kensington. Not Kensington and Chelsea. The parliamentary constituency of Kensington and Chelsea does not exist any more: it was scrapped in 2010 when the seat was redrawn. What was once one of the safest Tory seats in the country now has a majority of just over 8,000. That hasn’t stopped national newspapers, broadcast journalists, lobbyists and assorted political hacks displaying a shameful lack of knowledge about their patch:

Nope

Guido wouldn’t ‘bet’ on that!

But Boris has a bigger majority in Uxbridge, oh wise hack?

Really?

BBC.

And Sky…

Et tu, FT?

Partial reporter? Partial with the facts more like!

Even self-proclaimed Parliamentary experts get it wrong.

Perhaps most embarrassingly the Indy even ran this terrible headline:

Don’t tell Peter Oborne, but there’s another subbing error in the Telegraph:

Tut tut.

Malcolm Rifkind Steps Down as ISC Chair and MP

The Chairman of the ISC, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind has this morning issued the following statement:

None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security

[…]

+ READ MORE +

POLL: Should Rifkind Resign From Intelligence Select Committee?

Should Sir Malcolm Rifkind stand down to spend more time with the lifestyle to which he aspires?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Miliband Weaponises Straw

Miliband is quick out of the blocks in trying to use Jack Straw’s suspension to hit the Tories:

Dear Prime Minister,

I write this letter to you not just as leader of the Labour Party but as someone who believes

[…]

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Rifkind And Straw – The Footage

According to Dispatches:

The fictitious company
PMR, a communications agency based in Hong Kong was set up, backed by a fictitious Chinese businessman. PMR has plenty of money to spend and wants to hire influential British politicians to join

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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