Monday 30 March 2009
Details that identify individual suppliers, as well as any items on bills not paid for by the taxpayer, can be blacked out by MPs during the next month, Commons officials said.
MPs opposed to full publication of the receipts say that the information could be used to identify their homes and could put themselves and their families at risk. They will be invited to check receipts submitted for the past five years within days and edit out identifying details. Some plan to use the process to delay release well beyond the planned publication date this summer.
Talk about "them and us!"
Fuck the Fucking lot of you. You're troughing in the last chance saloon and you are too far removed from reality to realise where this is heading.
Dan Hannan had you down to a tee. "You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense! "
Your time of taking the piss is over. Stop now. Quit. Leave us alone. Just fuck off and don't come back.
We'll send your P45 on to which ever Country allows you asylum.
The Times has learnt that MPs are expected to call in the police today over how a copy of an invoice from her Virgin TV and internet account, submitted to the Commons as part of an expenses claim, came to be published in a Sunday newspaper.
Some MPs believe that digital images of all MPs’ invoices, which have been scanned for release later this year, may have been stolen and are being offered to newspapers for money. The suggestion will cause anger and fear among MPs, who have been campaigning against the release of this information.
Dear Jacqui, do you remember these words?
The plans I am publishing today inject a new momentum into the delivery of the scheme and its benefits. Our plans will now provide both the protections and the convenience of the scheme more quickly than previously expected. As the latest public attitudes analysis I am releasing today shows, public support for our proposals has remained broadly steady - at nearly 60 per cent - even after a series of high-profile government data losses.
Do you believe that the public are still onside after you lost control of your own data and that of your poor husband?
I am convinced that our increased awareness as a nation of the dangers of data loss and identity fraud makes the case for participation in the national identity scheme more pressing, rather than less. It doesn't get much more personal than personal information - and we should all be concerned at the potential for information to end up in the wrong hands, or to be used for unforeseen purposes.
Bet your having second thoughts on that statement now! It wasn't "unforseen circumstances" that you should have been worried about. It was the forgone conclusion that you were going to get bitten in the arse by statements like that!
That concern should make us question closely those who are charged with managing our personal information on our behalf. And it should make us think carefully about the responsibilities they have to live up to.
Oops! You are the weakest link, now fuck off.
Some claim that recent cases highlight the difficulty of entrusting sensitive information to anyone, let alone the state. I will argue today that it is precisely because of public's interest in secure identity that we need more effective mechanisms for protecting identity and safeguarding personal information.
You still here Jacqui?
What about this extract?
'The Last Enemy' transports us to a Britain of the not-too-distant future, where personal information has become the weapon of a surveillance state against its own citizens, and where a super-database called 'TIA - Total Information Awareness' appears to fuse state of the art technology with a rather draconian reinterpretation of the art of the state.
It all makes for a good drama. But - to turn an old adage on its head - we should never allow a good story to get in the way of the facts. When we return to the real world after an hour or two in front of the telly, how useful are these fictions for our daily interactions as citizens with government?
Well Bob errr, I mean Richard probably has a bit more of an idea now.
How much of ourselves do we recognise in these champions of individual liberty, as we pursue our own personal missions with bureaucracy to pay our tax bill or register a change of address?
Or claim your expenses from the long suffering taxpayer?
You have been found out Jacqui. You cannot be trusted to protect your own personal information, let alone, that of the long suffering general public. You haven't a clue what you are doing, or why you've been doing it. You just took the money and bent over, face in trough and allowed your masters to fuck you over, at the same time as you were shafting us.
All the best in your new job (if you can find one) Lawson.
Friday 27 March 2009
Despite growing resistance to new measures from the Treasury, the Bank of England and the CBI, Mr Brown is determined to not be put off announcing new spending plans in next month's Budget.
The Gorgon insisted on "targeted" plans for parts of the economy, extending to the mortgage market.
However, George Osbourne said:
Via Iain Dale
The President of Chile is right to point out, as we have done, that countries that put aside money in the good years are the ones that can afford to spend that money now without adding recklessly to national debt. Gordon Brown is getting lessons from the Latin Americans about sound public finances.
Iain doesn't believe this bodes well for Gordoom, the busted flush.
Warning, Warning, I had to have my brain vaccuumed after listening to this for less than 17 seconds, it having proved impossible to block both sound and vision simultaneously.
We're looking for contributors - we want to hear from Labour-minded people from across Wales who would like to get involved.
Hmmm, this lot may be interested. They have a similar approach to music and their presentation skills are just as faultless.
If it's not too late, maybe you could persuade Gordon to book them for the opening of the G20 bash on April Twats Day. Get both singers to duet and you wouldn't need riot police to clear the streets of protesters, they'd be begging to be led away from the horror, with ears bleeding and eyeballs rotating out of control!
Thursday 26 March 2009
Tom Harris (who?) thinks that Dan's speech on Brown was in someway unpatriotic.
Well, I snitched this from Dan's latest post
Awareness of their unpopularity makes [them] frightened and tetchy which in turn makes them lash out at opponents. Last month, Klaus came to the European Parliament and made a moderately Euro-sceptic speech. The EU had been a great success, he said, but it was in danger of drifting away from its peoples. All polities worked better when there was an opposition, he added. We should all listen to dissenting voices. The response of MEPs? To shout abuse and then storm out. Deliciously, they staged their walk-out just as Mr Klaus reached his point about listening to different points of view, thereby neatly vindicating his critique.
What happened next vindicated him even more, for not one of the protesting MEPs was so much as ticked off. Last year, by contrast, when a group of MEPs had held up banners in the chamber with the word "referendum", the parliamentary authorities went ballistic: ushers were sent in to take away our placards, the party leaders made pompous speeches comparing us to the Nazis and 14 of us were later fined.
I guess Tom can count himself lucky not to be a Czech then, or to be seeking a referendum.
Wednesday 25 March 2009
So, John Prescott, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and others, I hope you are proud of yourselves. Even as the Prime Minister was lecturing Wall Street on morality, the clean-up was beginning at the home of Sir Fred Goodwin, where windows had been smashed by vandals.
Well done, everyone. Well done on whipping up public hatred. Well done on ensuring that his children have been picked on at school. On ensuring that the man’s life is now so miserable that he may have to go and live overseas. You may not have lobbed a brick through Sir Fred’s plate-glass window yourselves but, in inciting public anger over his pension, you might as well have done.
Watch out for ricocheting nokias Harriet. Gordon and Prescott aren't likely to take the blame for this one. Best hope this induced vigilante behaviour doesn't result in someone being killed.
The "Summer of Rage." It all Started in Scotland:
From the beeb:
and from the New York Times
DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.
I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.
The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.
My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.
That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”
That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.
At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.
You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.
That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.
This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.
Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”
Nice one, Brick Throwing by Proxy. I wonder what a certain Professor "Sir someone" might feel about all this?
The video of Dan's speech has struck a chord the other side of the Atlantic.
Over 160,000 views of his video
More than 1,600 comments
Front page on Drudge.
Suggestions that he be invited to take over as President in the comments on youtube.
The MSM busily ignoring the whole affair.
James Forsyth at the Spectator wonders if the Internet will make this into a story.
The madrassa, or Islamic seminary, was a British charity financed by “Faisal”, who they said had lived in Britain for 25 years.
Four arrests were made after a raid yesterday on the Green Crescent madrassa and orphanage on the remote southern island of Bhola, Lt Col Munir Haque, an officer involved in the operation, told The Times.
“We found small arms – about nine or 10 in total – plus equipment to make small arms, about 3,000 rounds of ammunition, two walkie-talkies, two remote control devices and four sets of army uniforms,” he said.
“We also found enough explosives and other equipment to make several hundred grenades. We found some ordinary Islamic books, but others that are in line with extremists like bin Laden.”
He said that there were about 11 children between the ages of 7 and 8 at the compound at the time of the raid, but no other adults.
The charity, which is registered in the UK under the number 1099233, was founded in 1998 by students in Britain and Bangladesh, and is based in Stockport, six miles from Manchester.
Authorities are still looking for Faisal.
The Edinburgh home of former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin was attacked by vandals overnight.
Windows were smashed and a Mercedes S600 car parked in the driveway was vandalised.
There has been widespread public and political anger over a pension payout worth about £700,000 a year to the 50-year-old bank boss.
Well that's constructive, isn't it. Will you be condemning this behaviour Harriet? After all, isn't this what you hoped for, in a roundabout sort of way.
Tuesday 24 March 2009
The tracked men are said to have trained with extremist outfits linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban and are thought to pose a potential threat to British security.
The dossier of names is expected to be handed over to British anti-terrorist teams soon and is being seen as a big leap forward in the sharing of intelligence between the two countries.
British authorities may wonder why the names were not handed over before the suspects re-entered the UK.
Eleven of the Britons claimed they were studying in Pakistan while seven said they were visiting relatives.
Pakistani security source
We know the number of Britons engaged in what we would call suspicious activities is much higher - probably in the hundreds - but this isn't a Pakistani priority.
One said he was working for a charity with links to Britain and others said they were on holiday.
Eborders, working to ensure you live in fear.
Swindon brewery Archers has gone into administration.
The company, which produces specialist beers such as Golden and Crystal Clear, blamed a downturn in the pub trade for its difficulties.
Insolvency practitioners Monahans have been appointed to act for the brewery and is seeking a buyer to keep the firm in production.
The business has had to shed several staff recently to meet overheads and currently employs seven people.
Administrator Paul McConnell said: " The company has been in decline for a while because of a drop in sales.
"It is a victim of a decline in pub trade, the price of speciality beers and the smoking ban."
"Lots of people have expressed an interest in the business, but only time will tell."
Archers previously went into administration in May 2007, but was sold as a going concern.
A message on its website said the company, based in the town's Penzance Drive, was "saddened" to announce the collapse of the business.
Dawn Butler, a junior whip, claimed almost her entire £23,000 allowance to help to pay for a second home in her constituency in northwest London. Opposition MPs demanded to know why she needed the taxpayer to help to buy another property when she could stay overnight in her family home in East London.
Ms Butler, who has a family home in Stratford, East London, and another in Wembley, in her Brent South constituency. The Stratford property is eight miles and a 24-minute Tube ride away from Westminster. The Wembley house, bought after the election, is nine miles and a 32-minute Tube ride away from the Houses of Parliament.
There are 24 MPs with seats in Greater London who have claimed nearly £400,000 to fund second homes in the latest year for which figures are available.
Monday 23 March 2009
19:10 | 23/03/2009
Sir Christopher Kelly, Committee on Standards in Public Life Chairman
Channel 4 News
Sir Christopher Kelly said the inquiry into MPs' expenses would not investigate Tony McNulty over second home expenses but would review the rules upon which claims are made.
"We are certainly not investigating Tony McNulty. We are not an investigatory body," he said.
He suggested that if something is within the rules but reprehensible, we ought to question if it is a "good" rule. He also questioned rules which couldn't logically be justified to the public.
Sir Christopher claimed the inquiry was launched both "in light of recent events" and as a matter of course - the scope of it, whether it will include the Lords, not yet known.
"There are issues about the Lords. Whether it will come within the scope of the wider inquiry into the Commons, I don't know," he said.
He also confirmed the Committee would hear "aural(sic) and written evidence", hoping to report back by the beginning of the next parliament.
Fuck it, I'm all Ears.
The inquiry won't start until "towards the end of this year" and won't report until "early in the life of the new Parliament".
But why announce it now? When I interviewed committee chairman Sir Christopher Kelly for Sky News, he told me it was because MPs accused of wrongdoing keep insisting they haven't broken the rules.
He's referring, obviously, to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who claims her sister's spare room is her main home. And now Tony McNulty, the Employment Minister, who claims the house where his parents live is his second home.
But I'm not holding my breath.
Worthy of a Darwin Award? always assuming he gets the death penalty.
James Brewer could now face the death penalty over the unsolved killing in Tennessee 32 years ago, reports say.
Convinced he was dying after a stroke, Mr Brewer reportedly admitted to police he shot dead 20-year-old Jimmy Carroll.
The 58-year-old, who had fled Tennessee after the killing, was arrested after his condition improved, reports say.
"He wanted to cleanse his soul, because he thought he was going to the great beyond," said police detective Tony Grasso, who interviewed Mr Brewer in an Oklahoma hospital.
Well he may just be getting that thought into reality now.
Douglas Carswell asked:
a) "How many illegal immigrants are resident in the UK?"
The minister says he doesn't know...
b) "Ministers will recall that thousands of illegal migrants have been found to work in the security industry. Last month, it was revealled a mere 35 had been removed. Would the minister please tell the House how many more have since been removed?"
Minister says he doesn't know...
From epolitix this:
"Ministers also admitted that the government was not able to give an accurate assessment of the number of illegal immigrants residing in the UK.
That will be 100% of the one with less sense than you then Woolarse. All the others will just creep in through the backdoor you forgot to shut.
Phil Woolas is Minister of State for borders and immigration.
Sunday 22 March 2009
A spokeswoman for the department said: "We are concerned that the statement calls for direct support for acts of violence in the Middle East and beyond. We are also aware that a senior member of the MCB may have been a signatory to this statement. If it is proven that the individual concerned had been a signatory, we would expect the MCB to ask him to resign and to confirm its opposition to acts of violent extremism."
An MCB spokesperson said: "The MCB will not be dictated to by Hazel Blears. We do not take orders from Ms Blears. She is mistaken if she thinks the MCB will dismiss people at her say-so."
Saturday 21 March 2009
THE government minister in charge of stamping out corporate tax avoidance has himself set up a business in the tax haven of Bermuda. Lord Myners, already under fire for approving Sir Fred Goodwin’s massive pension from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), was part-time chairman of an offshore company which avoided more than £100m a year in taxes.
Myners’s involvement in Aspen Insurance Holdings (AIH) have emerged as Gordon Brown seeks to win the backing of heads of government to prise open tax havens.
Myners, earned nearly £200,000 from AIH in one year.
Myners held 318,338 share options. The shares, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $21.64 on Friday.
Myners, financial services secretary to the Treasury and former chairman of the Guardian Media Group, was awarded the majority of the share options at an exercise price of $16.20 a share in August 2003, a year after he helped to start the company.
Myners declined to say whether he had exercised the shares. (a spokesman suggested he had not)
Myners, who is also leading the government’s clampdown on City bonuses, received a farewell bonus of £50,000 for his final four months at Aspen.
Myners helped to launch a government investigation into the tax lost through havens, saying: “Off-shore financial centres must play a responsible role in the global financial system.”
Myners faces a challenge to his account to the Treasury select committee last week in which he said he did not know the full cost of Goodwin’s RBS pension.
Sir Tom McKillop, the former chairman of RBS, has written to John McFall, the committee’s chairman, insisting that Myners was told the full value of Goodwin’s £703,000-a-year pension.
Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the committee, said: “If the letter contradicts what Lord Myners told the committee then it could be very serious for him.”
From The Business Times Online
Mum Shelly Hubbard (24) was shocked when a letter arrived on official police notepaper saying that complaints had been made about her kids.
In the hand-delivered document, PCSO Tony Kennedy stated: "Children from your address are involved in incidents of anti-social behaviour and nuisance problems.
"We have received a number of complaints over the past few weeks regarding these youths being abusive when asked to stop playing football in the street and there are also allegations regarding possible damage to property."
Miss Hubbard, of Halton Close, Birchwood, Lincoln, said there was no way little Olivia (five), Megan (four) and Lennon Poyser (two) could be involved in anti-social behaviour.
"I thought it must be a mistake," said Miss Hubbard. "So when I got the letter I rang them because I thought they must have the wrong address, but they checked and said it was right.
"I've never heard anything like it."
"It says if a neighbour complains then I should move him on – but Lennon's two, what can I do? Where can I move him on to?"
Inspector David Legg of Lincolnshire Police has apologised for the distress this has caused.
PCSO Tony Kennedy, fearless in the face of tiny terror. Bet you're getting the piss ripped now.
"There is no way in the world I am going to agree with the National Lottery standing up and saying they sent our veterans to Normandy in the 65th anniversary,"
The Normandy Veterans Association said it would not accept the money at this late stage.
It said it had almost raised enough with the help of a national newspaper.
Friday 20 March 2009
Paul Saville, 23, a second-year sociology and criminology student at the University of the West of England, Bristol, was arrested, locked in a cell for two hours and forced to give DNA samples.
His "crime" was simply to write on a pavement "Liberty. The right to question it. The right to ask: "Are we free?" in protest over what he says in the "loss of civil liberties" in Britain.
The Guardian have made him their Liberty Central "Hero of The Week"
After Henry Porter wrote of the ironic nature of the arrest
With a wonderful lack of irony, the officers told him to stop writing. When he added one more letter they arrested him for criminal damage. The second year sociology and criminology student told the Daily Telegraph: "The whole reason I was writing in chalk was because I wanted to get my message across without causing lasting damage.
Lucky he wasn't using paint, as they probably would have shot him.
It's Friday, lets have some music.
Thursday 19 March 2009
John Humphrys: That was Sue Rimmer ending Kim Catcheside’s report.
Siôn Simon: Well they, they have got a problem and I mean let me say I really do, I understand and I sympathise with the frustrations of colleges in this kind of position. There, there, there will be colleges who’ve invested money, who’ve borrowed money, even some that have started doing building works. And it’s, it’s right to say that the LSC has given in principle approval to seventy nine colleges which totals three billion pounds, would total nearly three billion pounds of Government money and that it’s clear that that level of expenditure can’t be funded in the current spending round.
And we’re quite clear, as Ministers quite clear, that that’s not acceptable. We, that we shouldn’t be in that position and that’s why we, we’ve appointed Sir Andrew Foster, the former Chief Executive of the Audit Commission to look in to how the LSC got in to this position, what we need to do immediately to get out of it and what we need to do in the medium term to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
JH: I’m a bit puzzled as to why you need this review led by Foster because your own man, Stephen Marston, was, was at the meetings of the Learning and Skills Council where these things were being discussed. I mean you know what’s been going on, you should have been kept informed.
SS: Well I think one of the problems, I mean we’ll have to, we’ll have to see the, the, the Foster review to know the detail of exactly, exactly what ...
JH: But wasn’t Mr Marston telling you what was going on directly …
SS: Well …
JH: … I mean he was at the, I’ve got the minutes in front of me and he was there.
SS: … well if, if you’ve got the minutes you’ll see that the, the minutes of LSC, LSC council meetings tend not over the course of the last year either to have referred to this at all or to have referred to it in very great detail. Only, only towards the end of last year, as far as I understand, was this being flagged up to the, to the LSC council.
JH: Yeah and they accepted that mistakes had been made.
SS: And, and it’s clear that mistakes have been made and that’s why we’ve appointed Sir Andrew Foster to look in to what mistakes, why and how we make sure that they’re not making …
JH: Well I suppose the, the point I’m making is it’s odd that you don’t know what those mistakes were given that your own representative was at the meetings where those mistakes were acknowledged.
SS: Well I think the point I’m making is that it, I think the LSC itself doesn’t know how and what mistakes have been made and why and that’s why we’ve appointed an …
JH: Well that’s extraordinary, they wrote the letters to these people, I’ve got copies of some of the letters here that they wrote to these people.
SS: I mean, we should be clear that although there will be some colleges in the kind of difficulties that you’ve described in your packages that what we’re talking about is, is future expenditure. There’s an ongoing college building programme. There were two hundred and fifty odd colleges currently being built now as we speak …
JH: Oh indeed.
SS: … and, and none of that, no college in those circumstances is being stopped or slowed down or frozen.
JH: But there are these seventy nine colleges, as you well know, who are …
SS: There are.
JH: … in very serious trouble, some of them as you heard there, you, you heard Mr Booth at Barnsley College saying maybe we’re going to have to go bust, we’re technically insolvent.
SS: Yeah well that, that mustn’t happen and there, there will be some colleges like, but I mean it’s, I don’t want to go in to the details of individual college projects now, but Barnsley for instance is a very complicated multi phased project and it, and isn’t, by, by no means typical. All I’m saying is I don’t’ want the impression to be given that this is true for all seventy nine colleges, ‘cause it, ‘cause it will be nothing like the case, although most …
JH: Varying degrees of problems clearly, but some are in very serious trouble and that’s clear.
SS: And, and where there are colleges in very serious difficulty, well in any difficulty, but certainly if there are colleges that feel they’re in any kind of a precarious financial position, they must go immediately, immediately to their local LSC and they must, they must make the situation clear and we as Ministers will expect the LSC to deal urgently with urgent situations.
JH: Because what they may do is go to court. And indeed the LSC has acknowledged here again, referring to the minutes, the possibility of legal challenges arising from their decisions. What will you do then?
SS: Well I mean the, the, the LSC say that, that, that as far as they’re concerned that the, that the legal position is, is, is absolutely sound and, and one of the …
JH: Well, they, they don’t seem to be sure with the, if members asked that a clear action plan be in place to respond to any legal challenges. I mean, they seem to be a bit worried about it.
SS: One of the, one of the impressions that I think was created in, in, in one of the earlier two ways this morning was that colleges in getting approval in principle have, have all but got final approval and, and that really isn’t the case. Approval in, in principle is the very beginning of the process and the …
JH: Well that’s what Sue Rimmer was challenging wasn’t it, very robustly challenging, she says it’s disingenuous to suggest that. And when you look at the letters that they have had you, you do wonder about it, I mean looking at the wording of some of these letters. I mean if I’d had that letter I’d think yeah, they’ve guaranteed me the money.
SS: Well they, I mean again it’s not, it’s not for me now to second guess the wording of the letters, but they, I mean they weren’t guaranteed the money. But, but in a way I don’t think that’s the point now. The point is that this, this programme has not been managed properly. We shouldn’t be in this state, that’s why we’ve appointed Sir Andrew Foster to review how we got here and how we get out of it and colleges that are in immediate difficulties of the kind that you’ve been highlighting then we will expect the LSC to step in and sort these problems out?
JH: Isn’t it ultimately the responsibility of the Secretary of State, I was going to say of you, but you’re a relatively Junior Minister, isn’t it the responsibility of the Secretary of State? Shouldn’t he be considering his position?
SS: It’s, it’s the statutory responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council as a non departmental …
JH: Who answers to the, the Secretary of State.
SS: … they’re responsible to the Secretary of State and Ministers who set the policy and it’s the responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council to administer these programmes and this budget and to make them work and to let us know if they’re going wrong.
JH: So who carries the can ultimately, given than clearly things have gone wrong as you’ve acknowledged in this interview?
SS: I think Sir Andrew Foster’s report will, when, when we have that report which we’re expecting imminently …
JH: Are you? ‘Cause it sounds a bit like buck passing doesn’t it? Let’s have an inquiry.
SS: No it’s, it’s genuinely not a, a buck passing, let’s have an inquiry inquiry. He’s a, a very serious figure. He was Chief Executive of the Audit Commission for a decade. He’s, he’s done by the standards of the scale of the project and the amount of, the complexity of the projects and the sums involved, he, he will have done a very fast report that we are confident within the next few weeks we can begin to give people, colleges in the sector some, some clarity where we go.
JH: All right, and, and in the meantime can you give an absolute assurance to all of these colleges that not one of them will be allowed to go bust?
SS: I can absolutely assure any college that’s in financial difficulty should go to their local LSC and we will expect the local LSC to urgently support them through any immediate difficulties.
JH: In other words they will not be allowed to go bust?
SS: I mean, you know that I can’t give you a …
JH: Well I don’t know really, I mean you fund the LSC, or we, the tax payer, fund it, but you dish out the money.
SS: We, we dish out the money to the LSC and it’s the LSC’s responsibility to administer it. It’s …
JH: You, you, some people might, I know it’s a bit of a cheap crack, but some people might say RBS, a bank like RBS is safe, Government guarantees that’s not going to go bust, we can’t say the same for our colleges.
SS: Well I am saying that we, we absolutely are, are not willing to see colleges go bust and if there is any college in financial difficulty they should go to the LSC who we will expect to work with them to make sure that they’re supported through any difficulties that they’re in now.
JH: Siôn Simon many thanks.
Clark represented Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, between 1997 and 2005
She has described how she was "bundled" into a van, made to strip and forced to don a "suicide suit" at a police station.
She told Peterborough Magistrates' Court that the episode caused her to have nightmares.
It appears that she was forced to wear "yesterdays clothes" and had on her dirty knickers from the previous day, and all becaues of this captured on video. ( This vid keeps disappearing on Youtube)
"I was bundled in the back of the van," said Clark. "I didn't have time to put on fresh underwear or tights. I was wearing yesterday's dirty clothes to compound my humiliation."
She added: "I had to take my clothes off in front of police officers. I had to strip. I was put in a suicide suit. I had to take my knickers off in front of police officers – they had to pick them up from the floor. I was in the third circle of hell."
Clark said she was told to don the special suit after police officers became concerned about her behaviour in a cell.
She added: "I became very frightened and claustrophobic and started banging on the door.
"Two weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night screaming. I thought I was in prison. I thought I had been incarcerated."
I think the police were really the victims here. It's probably them who should be having the nightmares, induced by her personal attack on the arresting officers, that is later described to the court.
The court had also heard that, when police arrived at her home to arrest her, she told officers: "I remember in the Seventies when police were referred to as 'pigs'. That's what you all are – pigs. Look, everyone, I'm being arrested by the pigs."
Funny how they become "pigs" when they aren't protecting you from "us" isn't it?
She said she had "perfect pitch recall" of events in the Great Northern Hotel on June 15 and denied being "disorderly or out of control" and she said she had no previous criminal convictions.
Welcome to reality. (well apart from the fact you didn't mean pitch.) The place that your party of choice decided we all shall live. You have been judged to have committed a criminal offense. Perfectly innocent people get the same experience that you have had and their voices never get to be heard unlike that day in the Great Northern Hotel.
From the Peterborough Today site:
Former Labour MP for Peterborough Helen Clark was today (Thursday) given a conditional discharge after a two-day trial at Peterborough magistrates court.
Ms Clark was found guilty of using threatening words and behaviour to hotel bar staff.
Clark, who had denied any offence, was found not guilty of being drunk and disorderly.
The video statement, from your lawyer, records the fact, that you intend to appeal. Do you really think you deserve any less than you already have? You got a conditional discharge, leave it at that now please.
Wednesday 18 March 2009
Scroll down for the full list
Across-the-piece this LA has Actioned for Advocate Agencies who have an Ambassador who is Area based and Area focused.
Autonomous Baseline decisions have provided Beacon Benchmarking and established Best Practice via Blue sky thinking.
Achieved from Bottom-Up decision processes and CAA's with a Can do culture and Capabilities.
Capacity and Capacity building has been Cascading down and while this should be Cautiously welcome, the Challenge Champion, who enables Citizen empowerment for the Client in Cohesive communities is still needed to encourage Cohesiveness and Collaboration.
Commissioning Community engagement in an effort to Compact Conditionality and Consensual Contestability in a Contextual scenario will further enhance Core developments and forward the Core Message enwrapping the Core principles and Core Value of Coterminosity.
Here is the full list of 200 words which the Local Government Association says should not be used by councils:
Blue sky thinking
Can do culture
Direction of travel
Distorts spending priorities
Flexibilities and Freedoms
Level playing field
Menu of Options
Predictors of Beaconicity
Single point of contact
Tested for Soundness
Thinking outside of the box
Tuesday 17 March 2009
Monday 16 March 2009
Islamic extremist who abused British troops is given 24-hour police protection
Yousaf Bashir was part of a gang that hurled abuse at 200 members of the Royal Anglian Regiment as they marched through Luton last Tuesday after a second tour of duty in Iraq.
The moves comes after the semi-detached home Bashir shares with his parents was attacked on Friday.
Two downstairs windows and the glass in the front door were smashed, and the rear windows of two cars parked in the driveway were shattered.
Two police officers have been stationed in a marked car outside the property since the attacks and a CCTV camera has also been installed.
A more positive way of showing your feelings
Donations in support can be made online at www.justgiving.com
Fundraising target: £360,000.00
Donations so far: £ 136,030.00
Labour MP Keith Vaz tried to halt a court case involving a firm which had lavished hospitality on him.
He says the matter has been dealt with and has nothing further to say.
But co-signatory to the letter, fellow Labour MP Virendra Sharma, has since complained that he was not told by Vaz of his acquaintance with Mireskandari.
Yesterday there were calls for a new sleaze investigation into the affair. An inquiry, launched last autumn by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon, cleared Mr Vaz of any wrongdoing. It was condemned as a whitewash.
The Tory justice spokesman, Dominic Grieve, said:
"If true, the fact that Keith Vaz wrote as chairman of the home affairs committee must cast real doubt on his continuing as chair."
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said:
"I am really surprised that an experienced chairman of the home affairs select committee should seek to use his position in such a way when he clearly had a personal conflict of interests.
"I would have thought that the committee would want to question the chairman about him using his position in clearly such an inappropriate way."
This figure increases to 81% in the 18-24 age group.
There were fresh calls for an inquiry last week after documents showed that intelligence chiefs were urged to make a key dossier on the Iraqi threat as "firm" as possible.
Last month, Justice Secretary Jack Straw vetoed the publication of minutes of cabinet meetings discussing the legality of the war in the run-up to the invasion.
Sunday 15 March 2009
Although they gave a polite response, saying that the proposal by Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, would be studied, the word in Whitehall was that it would not happen.
Even though the health select committee is expected to consider the idea, all the signs are that ministers have no appetite for such an unpopular move, less than a year before a general election.
Gordon Brown was said this morning to be very cool on the proposal, and his work and pensions secretary later went even further, claiming that the Government would not punish the responsible majority of drinkers.
“We want to focus on the irresponsible minority rather than I think punishing everyone equally,” he (Purnell) told BBC1’s The Politics Show.
Due to constant bleating by NHS managers who fear their days of troughing may be over:
The move would be welcomed by many medical professionals, with alcohol-related illnesses costing the NHS £3 billion a year. Some 400,000 people are admitted to hospital each year with drink-related problems, including 1,000 children below the age of 14.
Many Labour MPs are also likely to argue that it would not be in the party’s interests to alienate voters who are responsible drinkers by introducing huge price hikes, especially when households are already struggling to make ends meet because of the recession.
And, From The Telegraph George Pitcher says:
The wonderful news to which I refer and which sparked all this self-improving joie de vivre is that a report from the House of Commons' select committee on health confirms that the Government has wasted billions of pounds of taxpayers' money on unresearched "initiatives" that amount to "little more than propaganda". Humungous sums of our money have been sprayed about on "ineffective and possibly damaging" interventions to try to forceministerially approved lifestyles on us, without "even basic calculations" about the supposed benefits.
No mincing of words here; this is a 100-per-cent-beef, full-fat parliamentary condemnation of the dozen years we've had to put up with the busy-bodying sanctimony of the Government's whey-faced health determinists, as they intone gravely that they are improving the nation's health. Now it turns out that the policies have been 100-per-cent-bull, from the fully-fatuous Department of Health.
Liam, why don't you just do one?
The sale of Anti-Depressants to the NHS will sky rocket you twat.
Fuck off and lose some weight before you lecture the rest of us on how to be miserable at our own expense.
Get your nose out of the trough and sod off to that joyless dream life you long for and leave us alone.
Saturday 14 March 2009
Cluster Fuck One:
Now, instead of one system - the cost of which has more than doubled to £513 million - there are to be five as the ministry attempts to cut the costs of the C-Nomis programme.
The system(s) were intended to give prison and probation officers real-time access to offenders' records, but now will only be available for use by the prison service.
Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, called the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) project a “spectacular failure” and a “masterclass in sloppy project management”.
He said: “Following blunder after blunder by senior managers, the programme clocked up delays of three years and forecast project costs had trebled.”
He added: “All of this mess could have been avoided if good practice in project management had been followed.” The system was intended to support the service's management of criminals in prison and after their release. Officers would have been able to see offenders' records, what courses they had done in jail to tackle their behaviour and what further work was needed.
Cluster Fuck Two:
"Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called "booze cruisers" who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules."
The new checks are being introduced piecemeal by the UK Border Agency. By the end of the year 60 per cent of journeys made out of Britain will be affected with 95 per cent of people leaving the country being subject to the plans by the end 2010.
Plenty of scope there for the finest of fuckups. Data loss between departments, ID mismatches, system failures, keyboard errors, etc, etc, etc.
Currently passports are not checked as a matter of routine when people leave the country.
Exit controls for departure to other countries within the European Union were scrapped by the last Conservative Government. The rest were scrapped by Jack Straw, when he became Home Secretary, after Labour won the election in 1997.
And that is the real purpose of this egregious attempt at control. Our Glorious Leaders don't want us to escape their clutches. It has nothing to do with controlling the numbers entering the Country illegally.
Gwyn Prosser, Labour MP for Dover and a member of the all-party Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "I think e-borders are absolutely necessary," he said. "Governments of all complexions have always been criticised for not knowing who is in the country. This is a very sophisticated way of counting people in and out."
You still won't know you twat, criminals aren't as thick as you appear to be. They aren't going to tell you they are fleeing the Country. It does however mean that you will be able to prevent honest people from leaving this shithole of your making.
A UK Border Agency spokesman defended the e-borders scheme. "It allows us to secure the UK's Borders by screening people as they travel in and out of the UK.
"The e-Borders scheme has already screened over 82m passengers travelling to Britain, leading to more than 2,900 arrests, for crimes including murder, drug dealing and sex offences. e-borders helps the police catch criminals attempt to escape justice."
Friday 13 March 2009
Anjem Choudary said he wanted the “flag of Allah” flying over Downing Street, all women wearing burkas and caning for drunkenness.
The self-proclaimed Sharia judge admitted his followers had organised protests against British soldiers in Luton this week, waving placards which called them “murderers” for their conduct in Iraq.
He said his “alternative morality” would mean “a pure Islamic state with Sharia law in Britain” and added: “Every woman, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, would have to wear a traditional burka and cover everything apart from her face and hands in public.”
"Nick Gibson said police insistence that he set up cameras to film every customer entering and leaving the premises would threaten drinkers' civil liberties.
The Information Commissioner's Office intervened, writing to the Metropolitan police to warn that the blanket introduction of CCTV in pubs "raised serious privacy concerns".
Yesterday it emerged that the police had dropped their conditions and Gibson was granted a licence for his pub - the Drapers Arms in Islington, north London"
The below, as far as Gloucestershire is concerned, seems to comply with the ICO's judgement, but it would appear that a great deal more Local Authorities do not.
Pub landlords in Gloucestershire are warning that installing CCTV could force them out of business if they have to have the cameras to get a licence.
More police forces insist on CCTV in return for supporting a licence application but Gloucestershire only requires it if there has been trouble.
The Licensed Victuallers Association in the county says it is one more expense that pubs cannot afford.
Landlords also claim the cameras are invasive and put off customers.
Steve Herbert, who runs the Old Spot pub in Dursley, said: "It's crazy isn't it? Licensees have been hit so badly in the last couple of years.
"We've had the smoking ban, the bad weather, duty increases well above the rate of inflation and we're having to cough up for it.
"It's an invasion of privacy - absolutely no need."
Which police authorities have been enforcing a strict compliance with an apparently illegal condition on obtaining a license?
Wednesday 11 March 2009
Kenneth Batchelor, fired a shotgun at “very close quarters” to 42-year-old Matthew Clements, after Clements had climbed the scaffolding of Batchelor's home to try to force open an upstairs window.
The jury at Maidstone Crown Court took just one hour to unanimously acquit Mr Batchelor of the murder of Mr Clements, from Ashford in Kent, who was “well known” to police, had settled disputes by violence and had once turned up at a garage to threaten the manager with an Uzi submachine gun.
Mr Batchelor, legally owned the shotgun which killed Mr Clements with one shot to the chest, and told the court that it had discharged accidentally as he stood terrified at a top floor window which Mr Clements was trying to open.
“In the circumstances, Mr Batchelor was entitled to defend himself and his property. You will hear Mr Batchelor told police the shotgun was discharged by accident in the heat of events.
“The case enters that very difficult area – the degree to which a householder can use violence to defend himself.
“What is reasonable and what is unreasonable; what goes over the line, what doesn’t go over the line. It is for the jury to decide where the line should be drawn and what is reasonable in response to a threat.”
Following the verdict, Judge Jeremy Carey said:
“No-one should draw any conclusions of a general kind on this case. This defendant has been acquitted of the charge of murder, each case depends upon its own merits."
The Battalion suffered nine men killed and 58 wounded in action during its six months operational tour in Helmand Province, Afghanistan last year.
The Regiment is to raise a Memorial at the Imperial War Museum's site at Duxford and The Regimental Museum.
More details at the Link below:
Donations in support can be made online at www.justgiving.com
Fundraising target: £360,000.00
Donations so far: £ 136,030.00
Tuesday 10 March 2009
Monday 9 March 2009
“The Government is hoping to get away with useless initiatives like this register and it is hypocritical to sound tough and do little.”
Ms Smith attempted to interrupt the tirade but she was shouted down and Ms Holey continued, insisting that the recent case of Sabina Akhtar showed that not enough was being done.
"I’m afraid this is just spin and PR. . . The majority of violent men don’t come to the attention of police and it won’t keep women safe.
“Police can’t be expected to monitor relationships and love lives of offenders.”
It's okay though, The Solicitor General saved her from further assaults.
And those of us with brains can see this shit for exactly what it is, vote grabbing. Sexist vote grabbing. Sexist vote grabbing by females. It’s just shite.
Might give you a bit of clue where you're going wrong Jacqui.
Ihatejaquismith has a post up on this as well, with a little bit extra at the end.
“PVE is thus underwriting the very Islamist ideology which spawns an illiberal, intolerant and anti-western world view. Political and theological extremists, acting with the authority conferred by official recognition, are indoctrinating young people with an ideology of hostility to western values. This strategic error on the part of officialdom is born of a poverty of aspiration: the belief of the authorities that they cannot reasonably ask angry Muslims for much more than a pledge not to use violence in Britain. The effect has been to empower reactionaries within Muslim communities and to marginalise genuine moderates, thus increasing inter-community tensions and envenoming the public space.”
An extreme policy failure by the government according to James Forsyth in his Coffee House blog.
The pdf is available here.
Sunday 8 March 2009
More sneakiness and subterfuge from our so very loving non authoritarian leaders.
Lord Patel of Bradford, Baroness O'Cathain, Lord Walton of Detchant and Lord Faulkner of Worcester have tabled amendments to the Health Bill at the committee stage in the Lords that would allow the Health Secretary to ban or restrict the sale or supply of tobacco products if they are sold in packaging that does not comply with regulations.
If passed, the Health Secretary would also be allowed to dictate the colour of cigarette packs, their shape, the trademarks displayed on them and any labelling.
The proposals will strike fear into other consumer goods producers, who believe that, having imposed the measure on tobacco, the Government would seek to clamp down more aggressively on producers of alcohol, fast food and confectionery.
Tobacco companies — for whom branded packs are the only remaining form of advertising in the UK — have always argued that plain packaging would lead to more counterfeit cigarettes entering the UK, hitting the Government's tax take from tobacco. They say that this is because smokers would find it harder to differentiate between their brands and counterfeits.
They have also argued that plain packaging on tobacco and bans on displays in shops have, where introduced, failed to bring down rates of smoking.
In Saskatchewan, the first Canadian province to ban displays of cigarettes in retailers, the proportion of adults who smoked rose from 21 per cent in 2002, when the ban was introduced, to 24 per cent in 2003.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, the health campaigning charity, said recently: “The tobacco display ban will help to reduce youth smoking." Which flies in the face of the statistics available from almost everyone but ASH.
She went on to say a load more bollox about non existent reasons for being a smug self satisfied bitch. You can read more about ASH and its fakery here.
"Political World" We live in a political world Love don't have any place We're living in times ...
"Political World" We live in a political world Love don't have any place We're living in times ...
Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, for profit. To fight back, let's cover the web with symbolic &q...
Government not a cashpoint says Mandy as he buys a trainset for Gordon to play with