Dan Watson Fails to Board the Family Gravy Train

Sadly the trouncing Labour got in the local elections meant that Dan Watson, of Tom Watson’s West Midlands political clan, failed to get on the taxpayer’s gravy train.

Still the Watsons will just have to manage on the £300,000 or so they claim between them from the taxpayers..

UPDATE : A co-conspirator emails to tell Guido that Amy Watson’s candidacy saw a 25% fall in the Labour vote in Birmingham Kings Norton. Another £15,000 in expenses denied to the Watson family fortune.

Watson Family Fortunes – Good News / Bad News

Guido likes to bring good news when he can. Today’s good news is that following on from Guido’s revelation last week that Joanne Watson had pocketed £15,000 for attending four meetings, she has decided not to stand again “due to family commitments”. Nothing to do with Guido’s story being picked up by the local press and her being castigated as a result?

Still at a cost of £3,723 per meeting, local taxpayers will be more than relieved to see the back of her… However there is some bad news, another little Watson piggy wants to suckle on the teat of the taxpayer. Joanne’s husband, Dan Watson has announced that he is standing for the gravy train Broadwaters ward. He obviously won’t be helping out with family commitments. Well they have to make up the lost income somehow, don’t they?

Is there anyone in Tom Watson’s family who doesn’t have their snouts in the taxpayer’s trough?

That Won’t Do Nicely

No wonder the speaker is so keen to block the voters from finding out what is going on with parliamentary expenses. When not swanking around in limousines at the voter’s expense he flashes his House of Commons credit card to pick up the tab. It is absolutely breathtaking.

No need to dip into the £137,000 salary paid to the worst Speaker in living memory. It might be legal, it still stinks. The Speaker is overseeing the investigation into parliamentary expense padding, no wonder he wants to hide the truth from us. What will it take to shift the fiddler-in-chief?

How They Fiddle a Political Conference on the Taxpayer

Today’s conference has nothing at all to do with tomorrow’s conference. Total coincidence that there is a private conference on today and another one tomorrow. This is to keep within Civil Service rules about civil servants doing political work. Tomorrow’s thing is being organised by the Civil Service (paid for by you), whereas today’s is by the Policy Network, with funding that isn’t clear (except there’s a big shout-out to David Sainsbury in the program). That would be David Sainsbury who just shuffled some of his assets around last week to save himself £28 million in Capital Gains Taxes since Alistair hiked the rate 80%.

So these conferences are completely separate, got that? Different organisers, different logos, the whole lot. You even had to accredit twice, with different people. By an uncanny coincidence, of the sort that one sees all the time in real life, they feature the same people, meeting in the same place, under the same title (Progressive Governance). But they’re totally different things.

Just like when Gordon’s Smith Institute invited U.S. pollster Bob Shrum to outline an attack strategy against David Cameron to an invited audience of Polly Toynbee, Ed Balls, Dougie Alexander and the rest of the Brownies fan club in the media. That invite wasn’t from the independent non-partisan charity the Smith Institute. It was from the private limited company called the Smith Institute, 100% owned by the Trustees of the charity, from the same office, with the same people. But a totally different thing.

All the SpAds and ministers and security are at the conference on the public payroll. Guido would be surprised if other subsidies hadn’t slipped through. The same applies to all the foreign attendees as well. The Euro-gravy train has come, at their respective taxpayer’s expense, via the channel tunnel bringing the social democratic elite to wine and dine. They really know how to trough on the continent. The British taxpayer is picking up the tab for the European socialist’s weekend break in London courtesy of Gordon Brown. Bet you are happy about that…

Councillor Watson Claims £3,723 Per Meeting

Joanne Watson, a member of the Watson Family Clan, is a councillor in Sandwell. In the 2006-2007 municipal year she has managed to claim £14,894.20 in allowances for attending a total of 4 meetings.
That is an incredible average of £3,723 per meeting.

According to official attendance records obtained by Guido, she has as Vice-Chair of the “Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel” managed to attend in this municipal year 1 meeting out of the 4 held by that panel. She attended none of the six meetings of the Health and Older People Scrutiny Panel of which she is a member. She attended 1 meeting out of the 5 held by the West Bromwich Town Committee, 2 out of the 7 full Council meetings and none of the meetings of the Education Staffing Committee. A grand total of 4 recorded meetings attended last year.

She also works for Pat McFadden MP and Michael Cashman MEP, so the taxpayer chips in a bit more there in addition to the payments she gets from the Labour Party and Amicus.

Is she the most overpaid local council fat cat? Are all the Watsons getting fat off the backs of struggling taxpayers?

UPDATE : Some suggestion in the comments that a massive 7 meetings were attended in the relevant year which would make it a mere £2127.74 per meeting. McKinsey charge less than that…

Halls of Residence for MPs?

Well if coppers, fireman and nurses can do it, why not MPs? What makes them so bloody special? They are just another public sector profession with housing problems. Plenty of cheap property over the river in South London, even Peckham isn’t too far…

TaxPayer’s Alliance forces Sleaze InvestigationInto Speaker’s Expenses

Click to enlarge.

The TaxPayer’s Alliance has struck a blow against the Speaker putting his snout deeply in the trough. Excellent news. If he is found to have abused the system he will have to go. He has no authority to oversee a system supposedly based on “honour”.

LibDemVoice has a copy of a press release from Nick Clegg about the speaker blocking the full publication of MP’s expenses in full.
“There are legitimate grounds for appealing the decision to publish private addresses. However, there is no earthly reason why the rest of the information should not be published immediately.

“Any delay will only add to the British public’s distrust in their politicians.”

So Guido called Nick Clegg’s office.
GF : I see from Nick’s press release that he thinks MPs should publish their full expenses immediately. When is he going to publish his expenses?
Tim : I don’t know. Can I get his press officer Hannah to call you?

So Guido called Lynne Featherstone, who is very strong on the issue

GF : When is Lynne going to publish her expenses in full?
Ian : Err, don’t know. I’ll ask her.
GF : Great, get back to me.

Guido called Ed Davey’s Office.

GF : When is Ed going to publish his expenses in full?
Kerry : He will as soon as he can. We have had staffing problems and he has been very busy with the Lisbon Treaty.

So Ed Davey is going to publish his expenses in full. Just as well because his leader says any delay will “will only add to the British public’s distrust in their politicians.” The LibDems are talking the talk, can they walk the walk? Don’t delay…

UPDATE 16.15 : Clegg’s office has just called to say he will be publishing his expenses in full the week after next. They were not clear if all LibDem MPs will be doing the same.

F o I Me? No Hypocrisy Says Robinson

Nick Robinson has acknowledged Guido’s FoI request for his expenses on his own blog. He doesn’t get drawn on the whys and wherefores of the issue instead he just gives a politician’s answer referring readers to the BBC’s official

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Don’t Read All About It :
Robinson’s Boozing Expenses are a State Secret

Nick Robinson was on the Today show and has a blog up this morning about the progress of openness campaigners in finding out about MP’s expenses. Ironically Guido was just about to blog about his progress in trying to find

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Analysis of MPs Expenses Shows Labour Most ExpensiveBrown and Cameron Fiddle Housing Allowance

There should of course be no reason why expense claims should vary in aggregate across party lines, yet they do. Guido reckons this says something significant about their attitude to the stewardship of taxpayer’s money. Of the 50 most expensive

[…]

+ READ MORE +

MPs £5,000 Food Allowance Should be Taxed in the Budget

Guido first drew attention to the £400 food allowance given to MPs in 2005. Strictly speaking the allowance is £20 per diem. In reality this tax free allowance is worth some £33 to 40% tax rate payers. There is

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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