Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great 'Expenses' Quote From Ann Widdecombe MP

One of the best quotes of the day, referring to the MP's expenses repayment saga, must have been supplied by Ann Widdecombe, Tory MP for Maidstone.

She was trying to make the point, that limits for expenses should not have been imposed on MPs retrospectively and was implying that MPs should be trusted to govern themselves.

However, her words have inadvertently described what a large majority of the voting public must be thinking about the whole sorry episode.

During an interview for the BBC Ms. Widdecombe said:

"if we can't govern ourselves within the rules of natural justice we certainly ain't fit to govern anybody else"

Well, it seems they have proved that they can't .... and many in this country think that they are not!

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Global Warming Makes A Nice Sunset?


If this is an October sunset in the UK that results from global warming then things can't be all bad! Bring it on!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Guardian Gagged From Reporting Parliament!

The Guardian newspaper has announced it has been gagged from reporting parliamentary proceedings, on legal grounds, for the first time in living memory. It has said in its report:

Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

The action against the paper appears to call into question the privileges that guarantee free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

The Guardian has vowed to immediately go to court to overturn the decision.

For the sake of our free speech and our democracy let's hope they succeed!

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Sympathy For MPs? - Not Even Slightly!

OK..Ok it's time to own up...aren't you feeling just a little bit of sympathy for that dysfunctional group of society called MPs?

After all, they have just returned from weeks and weeks on an expensive summer vacation (working in their constituencies, of course, and not holidaying in their second homes or travelling the world) to find that most of their number are receiving letters demanding they pay back expenses they have 'mistakenly' claimed in the past, not knowing they had never incurred them in the first place.

Of course, they are not guilty of having abused the system, they are just the poor persecuted victims of an unjust media world. Their only crime, in reality, was to get caught!

So....do you own up to feeling sympathy? I would guess not!!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Arse Kicking At Parliament Buildings!

For a country that has so many surveillance cameras the authorities can virtually see the state of your colon as you walk down the street - and all in the name of anti-terrorism - it comes as some surprise to learn that 50 Greenpeace campaigners (protesting against global warming) have been able to climb onto the roof of Westminster Hall, part of the Houses of Parliament, without being spotted by police officers guarding the high security building.

Even more amazingly, the demonstrators used ropes and ladders to climb the perimeter fencing - hardly items that can be concealed under everyday clothing.

Perhaps, the police guarding Parliament, are like the MPs they are supposed to be protecting - still on their annual vacation.

With everyone returning to work tomorrow, it seems likely that the arse kicking that will be sure to follow, will be increasing global warming even further!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Support World Mental Health Day - You Would Be Mad Not To!

Today, is World Mental Health Day.

It has been organised to try to stimulate discussion on what seems to be one of the most stigmatised areas of modern medicine: mental illness.

Most people would rather own up to having a serious sexual disease than admit they suffer from the most common form of mental disorder - depression.

It is a disease that brings a feeling of isolation to the sufferer but then feeds off the darkness of that same isolation. It is so easy to sink into the dark fog of loneliness, but to put it all into perspective, one person in four is likely to suffer from some sort of mental illness in their lifetime - governments have been elected with a smaller percentage than that!

More importantly, the percentage amongst children is growing, so it is even more essential we remove the taboo surrounding mental illness as soon as possible.

Almost as worrying, according to recent surveys, only about 25 percent of employers say they would give work to someone they knew had a mental illness. In most cases that just does not make sense and combined with the negative reporting in the press of people who suffer with extreme mental problems, it seems the quicker we all educate ourselves and tame our fears, the quicker the stigma attached to the disease will die.

I am going to start by admitting to the world that I have suffered from depression and received medication to control the imbalance in the chemicals that make up my thought processes. I feared people knowing about it - even though I have not been in such a bad way ever since I sought out medical advice. I was lucky, I had a superb and understanding GP who supported me throughout the whole slow healing process but I know some people are not so lucky.

Nowadays, when the 'black cloud' starts to descend, I go for a long walk and take action to reduce the stressful parts of my life that I know fuel the fire of my problem. I find it therapeutic to write about the things I used to think about; that is one of the reasons I maintain this blog.

I know it is manageable but I still fear that one day it might not be.

It is for all these reasons, I applaud and support any attempt to make such an illness socially acceptable, for sufferers need to be able to discuss and, thereby, share the burden that is mental illness.

So, please show your support for World Mental Health Day, for if you don't ... you really are mad!!

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

London's 'Mayor Boris' Tries to 'Stuff' Paxo

I have only just caught up with this interview between London's somewhat eccentric Mayor, Boris Johnson and BBC Newsnight's 'Rottweiler' frontman Jeremy Paxman. It was recorded at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 5th.

I am not sure if it is really about politics or is just an audition for the lead roles in a situation comedy. Judge for yourself - and weep!

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Second Class Service For A First Class Postal Strike!

Postal workers have voted by a 3 to 1 majority in favour of an all out strike. If it goes ahead, it will be the first UK-wide walkout since 2007.

However, I am not really feeling much sympathy towards either side in the dispute.

Postal workers are seeking to protect their job security and working conditions, while the management of the Post Office are trying to preserve their right to maintain large profits from a declining service.

Both concepts, are in today's world at least, rather out of touch with reality.

On one side, the workers are claiming they are now being overworked and undervalued, while their management are claiming workers are overstaffed and under modernised.

According to their latest management computer 'toy', which works out the theory of how fast a Postman should walk and therefore, how long each round should take, the staff are capable of doing more in their day. Sadly, I don't think that computers have a first hand knowledge of snapping dogs, inclement weather and the time if takes to chat with certain members of our smaller communities.

Both sides need to wake up and realise that the world has changed dramatically and how we choose to communicate with each other has become far more urgent than in times past; for most things we want instant contact and not next day.

Strike action is an outdated method of resolving a dispute and will not settle anything. Ultimately, it will cause an even greater decline to the postal service and its associated workforce.

For my part......I am going to start breeding pigeons!!

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Is Harriet Harman More Equal Than Anyone Else?

"I'm Harriet Harman, you know where you can get me."

Those are the words of Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

They were not the reassuring words of an MP to a worried constituent but, instead, are alleged to have been made to a witness, who saw a parked car hit by Ms Harman's vehicle, while she was apparently driving and using her mobile phone.

Ms. Harman denies the allegation and that she left the scene of the accident without supplying details of her registration or insurance.

The accident is said to have occurred in Dulwich, South London, on 3rd July and the police are waiting to question Ms. Harman. The reason for their delay is said to be because officers wanted to wait until after Labour's party conference last week. By anyone's calculations, that seems to be a long time to delay such an enquiry and we can only wonder why.

Ms. Harman is of course best known for officially promoting the case for women's equality.

It seems, though, that she sees herself, as being far more equal than anyone else.

I await with interest, the result of the police investigation!

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Conservatives Try To 'Benefit' From Cheap Votes!

At times of financial downturn in the economy and when politicians are having to justify the bad news about raising taxes and cutting public services to refill fiscal potholes, it is always the easy option to highlight those in our country who are unable to defend themselves. I refer of course to those who are receiving benefits.

An article in today's Sunday Times has reported that the Conservatives would force the jobless back to work by stopping their benefits, if they do not enter into privately run training schemes.

Of course, forgetting for a moment, the obvious point that training is about as much use as a cat flap on a submarine, when there are not the jobs available for the newly 'trained' to fill, it is insulting to brand, by implication, that all of those who are receiving benefits are a drain on public funds and scroungers.

It is no fun to be unemployed and the people who target them are usually those who have never themselves had to suffer the indignity of entering a job centre. They have never been unfortunate enough to need the help.

Most of them watch programmes and read papers that sensationalise the actions of the minority who abuse the system and then tar all other claimants with the same brush.

As we have found out recently, however, where there is a system to be abused, there are always those who abuse it. I refer, of course, to the MP's expenses scandal.

Most people who have received benefits over a long period do not want to be in that position. They want to work but have often lost all self belief and confidence in any ability they may have for finding a job. Single mothers are unable to afford the childcare that will enable them to work even part time. Many do not have the help of immediate families. They are not living the high life, they are trapped by the same system they are accused of abusing.

Interestingly, the simplistic view of the Conservative policy announced today makes no mention of those who have entered our country from abroad and used the UK as a benefits 'cashpoint' and then sent the money back to their families abroad.

Neither, is there a mention of the billions of pounds being lost by those who are able to exploit loopholes in the tax system and deprive the revenue - and the rest of the country - of the benefit. These cheats are not treated with the same scorn as benefit claimants and instead are often feted and admired.

Perhaps, this is because funding of our political parties is largely received from such donors?

It is regarded by many as a socially acceptable fraud but, in reality, it is just as much of a fraud as that perpetrated by the minority who abuse the benefit system.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who has been trapped as a long term claimant of benefits. She has fought to bring her two children up as respectable, intelligent, responsible and much loved individuals. She has struggled and her children have missed out on the things that most children take for granted, but they are neither bitter or envious; they are grounded.

I have gained far more respect for her, than I will ever have for the politicians who seek to make cheap political capital by attacking those who cannot afford a voice!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Don't Predict The Next Government Just Yet!

Six months is a long time in politics and we have even longer than that until the next general election takes place.

Of course, all the parties are now, unofficially at least, campaigning to capture the imaginations of the voters and predictably, the Conservatives are the most popular party in the polls at this moment in time.

Before they get to be too complacent, though, it is worth remembering that its main players have little experience of running anything more complicated than the tuck shops in their various public schools and their leader had a career in public relations - a profession where you gain the ability to persuade people that even a turd can be a 'must have' product.

They keep telling us they have great ideas but they have yet to reveal exactly what they are; they are promoting theory, rather than reality.

Now that The Sun newspaper has announced it is switching from being a Labour supporting rag to Conservative blue, there will be many more who will soak up all the promises made by David Cameron and his posse. The problem is they are the same readers who believed that Freddie Starr ate his hampster and that they all have a chance at copping off with the topless models on page three. They are gullible!

This might sound like I am a Labour supporter or I am anti Conservative but I am not. I was brought up within a Tory voting family and have been raised to hold beliefs about country, personal morality and honesty, which I have tried to incorporate into my everyday life - of course I have failed but I did say 'tried'!

The problem I have now - and I believe there are many others like me - is that I am disillusioned by all of the parties, as they all seem to be just mimicking each others presentation and policies.

Just like the buttocks on a Sumo wrestler, there is not a lot between them!

Therefore, we should not write anybody off, or vote anyone in, just yet!

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