Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 29 May 2009

Jacqui Smith and RIPA

In April 2009 Jacqui Smith was reported as saying that councils have gone too far with using RIPA to snoop on people who commit minor offences such as littering and so on. The BBC says so here

She was to "launch a review after fears [that RIPA] was being used for "trivial offences". Mrs Rigby thinks it meant she was going to set up a committee, but it sounds like a good start.

But, it doesn't quite work out that way because in May 2009 Jacqui Smith is reported as having encouraged councils to recruit children to become "environmental volunteers", to report instances of littering and dog fouling as well as anti social behaviour, and people who put their bins out on the wrong day. It says so here

Also in May 2009 the Home Office, with Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary, was reported as giving increased powers to council employees such as dog wardens, car park attendants, park wardens and shopping centre guards to hand out on-the-spot fines of around £60 for misdemeanours - it says so here

Trained under the "Community Safety Accreditation Scheme" these people are known as "Accredited Persons".

Mrs R notes that this scheme isn't something new because The Police Reform Act (2002) (quote from Home Office site)
enabled Chief Constables to accredit employees of organisations who contribute towards community safety. People accredited under such a scheme are called Accredited Persons (APs) and can be identified by a nationally standardised badge which must be worn at all times.
According to the pdf "Acceptable Persons Powers" these are the "offences" these Accredited Persons have powers to deal with :-

They can issue fixed penalty notices for disorder, truancy, in respect of an excluded pupil in a public place, cycling on a footpath, dog fouling, graffiti and fly posting, littering, offences against dog control orders and certain byelaws

They have power to require the giving of name and address, power to deal with begging, power to require the surrender of alcohol, ditto for under 18s, power to seize tobacco from under 16s, power to remove abandoned vehicles, power to stop vehicle for testing, power to stop cycles, power to control traffic, power to direct traffic, power to photograph persons away from a Police station ...

... the list continues tabling offences for which Accredited Persons may issue fixed penalty notices, such as being in possession of Cannabis.

Now, Mrs Rigby remembers a time, it must be a million years ago, when bad people were arrested and could go to court proclaiming their innocence, or reasonable excuse. These days, with Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary, it doesn't even take a specially trained Police Officer or a PCSO to find somebody instantly guilty of a punishable offence, with summary justice handed out on the pavement.

Did Jacqui Smith, when she was speaking to the BBC, forget about these changes in the law when she complained about councils overstepping the mark? Did she forget she'd given ordinary people the power and authority to punish misdemeanours, and did she forget the budding army of pre-teen so-called "environmental volunteers" she's training to snoop on their neighbours?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

PR and Mrs Rigby.

Sometimes things make Mrs Rigby feel a bit nice but dim, Proportional Representation has been one of those things.

Some politicians have been raising the idea that the current "First past the post" system of parliamentary elections is really unfair, for a few reasons.

a) The smaller political parties don't get many seats, if any.
b) The people who've voted for the smaller parties aren't represented
c) First past the post winner rarely gets "most" votes when all the votes cast for other parties are added together.

The CBBC site, probably says it better; the
"Single Transferable Vote", or STV, has an explanation in Wikipedia - it's miles too long to repeat here; "Alternative Vote Plus" is explained by the BBC and "Additional Member System" is described by the Electoral Reform Society, which has a careful explanation of all PR voting systems.

Looking at these various ideas Mrs R has begun to wonder PR originates from the same sort of "It's not fair!" that's bleated out again and again when somebody gets a prize and loads of other people - who have tried hard - don't.

She wonders if it's the same sort of, "It's not fair" and "everybody should be equal" that totally confused Little Miss Rigby when she was seven and had her first school sports day. The children had to show off their ball skills and run races that weren't (to make sure nobody could be last) but unfortunately there were no real winners either, because everybody got a sticker before they went home.
The teachers were delighted that nobody had ended the day in tears.

Now, you can't pull the wool over children's eyes - they know when they're being conned, and these children knew very well they hadn't done anything worthy of a special sticker - because it wasn't the same as getting one when they tried very hard with their colouring, got all their sums right, did some writing with no mistakes or read carefully during assembly.

Mrs Rigby has some simple examples of why she does not think PR is a good idea - not least because it's way outside our culture. She is also wondering who is trying to pull the wool over her eyes

In the real world there are winners and losers.

When a job is advertised there may be hundreds of applicants who will each have spent hours filling in complicated forms - they'll all have tried very hard, they'll each have done their very best, but at the end of it the employer will check Jacqui Smith's or Harriet Harman's rules about equal opportunities, and then choose the person they think is most suited for the job that's on offer.

Britain's Got Talent will end up with one winner - who will be chosen by public vote - the one with the highest number of votes wins. There's no question of ticking loads of different boxes to make it "fair" and "equal", it's simple maths and completely ignores the total number of votes cast, for all acts, when added together.

Musical hits are the ones with the highest sales; the winners in the marketplace are selected by sales volume, nothing else. In fact almost everything we touch is decided by a clear difference, not by some intricate formula designed to "make it fair".

So Mrs R looked a bit deeper, she thought it was really odd that a few years ago people like Gordon Brown thought PR was a silly idea, but high-ups in the Labour Party think it's great now - why?

Is it because somebody thinks his political party might not do very well at the next election?

Mrs R thinks this might be the case, she's realised that PR often leads to coalitions because it's hard to get a clear winner and she thinks somebody is getting rather desperate to cling to power, believing it's their right to lead this country. So, how are they going to manage to retain power - by Proportional Representation of course!


No thank you!

Flags and Americans.

Hmm, so it happens in America too.
Woman Upset after American Flag Taken Down at Work
Debbie McLucas is one of four hospital supervisors at Kindred Hospital in Mansfield. Last week, she hung a three-by-five foot American flag in the office she shares with the other supervisors.

When McLucas came to work Friday, her boss told her another supervisor had found her flag offensive. "I was just totally speechless. I was like, 'You're kidding me,'" McLucas said.

McLucas' husband and sons are former military men. Her daughter is currently serving in Iraq as a combat medic.

Stifling a cry, McLucas said, "I just wonder if all those young men and women over there are really doing this for nothing."

McLucas said the supervisor who complained has been in the United States for 14 years and is formerly from Africa. McLucas said that supervisor took down the flag herself.

"The flag and the pole had been placed on the floor," McLucas said. But McLucas also said hospital higher-ups had told her some patients' families and visitors had also complained.

"I was told it wouldn't matter if it was only one person," she said. "It would have to come down."
A lot of people made angry phone calls protested outside the hospital and ...
... late Wednesday morning, Kindred posted on its website a statement about the incident. It reads, in part: "The disagreement was over the size of the flag and not what it symbolized. We have invited the employee to put the flag back up."
Story first seen on Gates of Vienna here, where there are further comments worth reading and an update here .

Brown gets D-Day wrong, again!

Gordon Brown, bless him, seems to keep making mistakes when it comes to matters military.

He made a bit of a blunder trying to keep the Gurkhas out of Britain, so people made a fuss and he changed his mind.

e decided there was no need to do anything for the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, because he didn't realise there might be some old soldiers who thought it was important to remember their ten thousand or so friends and comrades-in-arms who died or were injured on the beaches of Normandy. Quite a few people made a fuss, so Mr Brown changed his mind and decided he'd like to go too - but he seems to have forgotten somebody a bit more important than him.

He managed to forget to make sure the Queen was invited to France for 6th June.

Mrs R thinks
Mr Brown should know a bit about protocol. He should know that the Queen cannot simply invite herself to a foreign country - it isn't what heads of state do. In the old days a King, Queen, or even a Prince, who wandered into another country without first being asked was called an invader, even if they were in their eighties.

Mr Sarkozy, who's Hungarian-
French, can't see what all the fuss is about either. He seems to think the commemoration should be a mainly French-American affair - perhaps he wants to meet up with his pal Mr Obama.

Maybe these important chaps rely on Hollywood for their history lessons, so think America won all the battles all on its' own, but fortunately there are plenty of French people, and plenty of British people who know what really happened - if not from our own memories it'll be from tales told by those who were there - and we won't forget, nor will we get it wrong.

We know that there are 27 War Cemeteries in Normandy, the final resting place of 17,769 British, 9,386 Americans, 5,002 Canadians and 650 Poles and
over 77,000 Germans. We know that others others died at sea or as a result of air battles.

We know that our Queen
(No230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor) wore her ATS uniform with pride during WWII and has, if anything, more right to be on the Normandy Beaches on 6th June 2009 these two younger men who appear to have no sense of either history or protocol.

Simon Weston, the Falklands War veteran said in the Mail
Mr Brown just seems to miss the point when it comes to the military, and anything to do with veterans seems to be a grudging afterthought.'
Mrs R tends to agree. She also sometimes wonders if Mr Brown can get anything right!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Mr Darling and his accountant get it wrong

Mrs R wouldn't like to be in Mr Darling's accountant's shoes this morning when they read this item in the Telegraph. She would have thought a good accountant would know the tax rules. :-

HMRC told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night that MPs were not exempt from tax laws and that tax must be paid on some expenses.

In a statement it said: “It’s a general principle of tax law that accountancy fees incurred in connection with the completion of a personal tax return are not deductible.

“This is because the costs of complying with the law are not an allowable expense against tax. This rule applies across the board.”

It also emerged that MPs had already been given specific guidance by HMRC prohibiting such tax- free claims, which accountants say constitute a “benefit in kind” and should be taxed.

Issued in 2005, the guidance states that “accountancy fees incurred in the preparation of the self assessment tax return or related expense claims” are “not allowed” as tax expenses.

Mike Warburton, an accountant at Grant Thornton, said: “HMRC produces very helpful guidance for MPs, which explains exactly what is allowable.

“MPs are responsible for their own tax affairs and for making their own declarations to the authorities.”

It rather worries Mrs Rigby that the Chancellor of the Exchequer needs somebody to check his Income Tax returns - in case he has made a mistake with his sums.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Somebody wants Scottish secession, with extras!

Mrs R spotted this comment in the Guardian yesterday, relating to an article written by
Will Hutton

If the UK leaves the EU I will be one of the first in Scotland to sign-up for secession,joining the Euro, banning the English from taking jobs north of the border if there is a citizen from anywhere in the EU qualified and willing to take it, putting tariffs on all English imports....

Mrs R thinks this is a fair indication of the deep, ingrained, almost institutional, hatred that some Scots have of everything and everybody south of the border.

She reckons that if this person's wishes were ever fulfilled it should be on the condition that those Scots currently living in England, and in positions of authority within a country they may dislike, should return north!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

An MP's threatening letter.

Mrs Rigby notes that some MPs don't seem to realise they're there to listen to their constituents, even if they don't like what they hear.

It's reported in the Mail today here that Brian Jenkins has written to his constituent Warren Clegg, threatening legal action concerning a letter in a local newspaper.

A Labour MP was accused of ‘bullying’ yesterday for threatening to sue a 21-year-old student who criticised him for not backing the Gurkhas.

Warren Clegg, a member of the Territorial Army, received the threat in a letter from his MP Brian Jenkins.

It was hand-delivered to Mr Clegg’s mother Julie Steggles at their home in Tamworth, Staffordshire – two days after her soldier husband John, Mr Clegg’s stepfather, had left to serve with the Army in Afghanistan.

Mr Jenkins, writing on House of Commons notepaper, said: ‘You have damaged my good name. It is my intention to seek legal redress unless you able [sic] to prove your allegations or are prepared to fully retract the offending comments and apologise unreservedly.’

In a letter two weeks ago to his local newspaper, Mr Clegg said: ‘I wrote to Mr Jenkins in support of the Gurkhas; as usual, my opinion as one of his constituents did not warrant a response.’

He said Mr Jenkins had ‘voted to keep the Gurkhas in poverty’ by not agreeing to let them settle in the UK.
Yes, some of the Mail article is padding - Mr Jenkins probably didn't know that one of the family had gone to fight in Afghanistan, probably didn't know that Warren Clegg is in the TA. And, maybe, Mr Jenkins was trying to save taxpayer's money by delivering the letter by hand.

But, instead, Mrs Rigby thinks he's highlighted a symptom of the country's malaise. You see, Mrs R has noted that the first thing a lot of people do when they run up against a problem is run to a lawyer - and attempt to get compensation of one sort or another. She hadn't expected an MP would do the same, especially not now, when politicians of all parties should be doing their utmost to rebuild the electorate's trust.

Mrs R would have thought his best route would have been to make an appointment, talk to the chap who wrote the letter, try to sort out their disagreement amicably and, maybe, even apologise - and mean it too, not with crocodile tears. Doing this could even have led to a positive report in the press, which might have helped him at the hustings.

Mrs Rigby thinks it's the duty and responsibility of our politicians to lead by example, and had thought they would realise that doing nothing about an irritation can sometimes lead to a good result.

By being heavy handed Mr Jenkins has brought this matter into the public eye.

Mrs Rigby wouldn't mind betting he wishes he hadn't bothered She wonders if he's just remembered that scratching a tiny little midge bite can make the itch a hundred times worse.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Audit - unavailable.

A questioner on Newsnight tonight mentioned that any spending of Public Money is required to be audited, by law. Apparently it's never happened to Parliamentary finances.

Mrs R went off to look at the Audit Commission, to see if she could find the rules. Unfortunately the site is broken, there's a little message that says :-

Internet Services are currently unavailable

Unfortunately all Audit Commission internet services are currently unavailable due to a system outage. We are working on the problem and expect a return to normal service tomorrow morning (Friday 22nd May).

We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Mrs Rigby realised that it had probably been swamped by the number of hits. She wonders if any .gov site is run properly - she remembers the disaster that was the launch of the 1901 census online!

If you want to take a look for yourself the Audit Commission is here

Mrs R then wandered off to look at the Treasury site here, but there's no mention of Standard & Poor's statement - "
United Kingdom Revised Outlook To Negative On Deteriorating Public Finances; 'AAA/A-1+' Ratings Affirmed"!

A "citizen" who lives in a "region".

Mrs R is asked, now and then, for her opinion.

The other day, in the profiling questions at the beginning,
she was asked of which "region" she was a "citizen". These were the options : -
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
Mrs R wasn't aware that either of these were "regions" she had thought they were countries.

Maybe somebody, somewhere, knows something she doesn't and people like Mrs R are sleepwalking into a living in a Republic - because it's in those that individuals are referred to as "citizens".

Citizens is also a term that nice Mr Brown is using increasingly often when he refers to the people of the United Kingdom.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is on top of the world.

At sixty five Sir Ranulph is the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest, where he planted the Marie Curie flag at 01:00 UK time this morning, 21st May.

Well done Sir.

Mrs Rigby knows that Sir Ranulph, who suffers from prostrate cancer, has had a double heart bypass and lost the fingers of his left had through frostbite, is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

He is hoping to raise £3 million, let's help him along the way.

His "Everest Challenge" site is here and here is where donations can be made.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A question of DNA

From Hansard here
debate 18th May 2009
T3. [275737] Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): Following the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell) about DNA samples, may I ask whether the Minister really thinks it appropriate to keep samples for six or 12 years, given that the European Court of Human Rights has lauded the Scottish model in which no samples from innocent people are kept except samples from those who have been acquitted of a sexual or violent offence, which are kept for three years? Why do we not adopt that model?
The Minister for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Mr. Vernon Coaker): The hon. Gentleman’s question gives me another opportunity to put on record the Government’s categorical statement that we will not
18 May 2009 : Column 1202
retain samples, which are genetic material, for longer than six months. As for profiles, to which I think he is referring, we know that keeping the profiles of those who have been arrested will enable us to solve crimes in the future. That is a proportionate approach.

If the hon. Gentleman reads what was actually said in the European Court judgment, he will find that the objection was to the indiscriminate, blanket nature of our policy, and that keeping DNA from those who had been arrested was not considered necessarily to be wrong.

Well, actually, Mrs R isn't impressed by that, not one little bit.

Her impression was that the European Court judgement said they should not retain DNA of those who are either not guilty or who were merely profiled because they happened to be somewhere where a crime had been committed, and needed to be excluded from possible suspects. Children's DNA has been collected and stored, simply because they live in houses that have been burgled.

Throwing away the DNA and keeping details of the genetic profile- presumably for ever - isn't good enough. It might comply "in spirit" with the ruling, but for goodness sake, an analysis can be wrongly labelled and it can be wrongly assigned - and it can be tampered with. This decision might be even worse than retaining the DNA itself.

This is yet another case of innocent until found guilty, and ties in neatly with ACPO's thoughts that everybody is a potential villain.

Line painting - Fail

Spotted in the news:-

"A council has admitted workers painted a warning sign outside a nursey school despite it closing 10 years ago.
The yellow zig-zag "school keep clear" sign has been painted in Aberdeen at St Peter's Nursery in The Spital"
You'd think it was a bit careless, wouldn't you? Especially as

"The work - costing about £200 - was carried out despite the building being boarded up."

"An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: "Staff have been instructed to check orders for all outstanding works to ensure they are still required."
Outstanding work?

Ten years!

Mrs R shakes her head and mumbles into her coffee.

"Met will not probe expenses leak"

Mrs Rigby has just spotted this item here Timed at Tuesday, 19 May 2009 14:19 UK

"The Metropolitan Police will not investigate the leak of MPs' expenses to a newspaper, Scotland Yard has said.
Senior officers and Crown Prosecution Service solicitors decided that a police inquiry would not be in the public interest.
Commons authorities had called in the Met after the Daily Telegraph published details of MPs' expenses claims.
Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the force was working with the CPS to study whether MPs broke the law.
The decision not to investigate the leak was taken at a meeting between the CPS and officers from the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Command, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.
He added that they concluded that a public interest defence would be a "significant hurdle" to any successful prosecution."
Hmmm, that's interesting, and could have meant another nail in Mr Martin's parliamentary coffin had he not resigned a few minutes after this hit the media, because it was the Speaker's Office that called for Police involvement.

Another beheading?

Mrs Rigby noticed in the "Today in History" widget that on 19th April 1536 Anne Boleyn was beheaded, having been charged with adultery. It might have had something to do with her not providing Henry VIII with a male heir, something he rather desperately wanted, and his close friends decided to find a way of getting rid of an inconvenience.

It's sad to read that

After Anne's arrival at the Tower in April 1536 it was noted that her behaviour oscillated from a resigned calmness to occasional bouts of hysteria and depression. One moment she would be laughing, sometimes maniacally, the next weeping uncontrollably.
Mrs R, unfortunately, can't help but compare Anne's situation with that of Michael Martin, a no doubt decent man who has found himself in a role that he longed for, but can no longer control, and who may find that today he loses his position, but not his head.

The Speaker holds one of the highest positions in the land, standing in precedent only below
the Archbishops, the Prime Minister and The Lord President of the Council (Mrs R had to look that one up here) It is a crucially important position, one that has a noble history. It is a role that has the full support of Parliament, but, unfortunately for Mr Martin there are only very few staunch Labour politicians support him, and wish him to remain as Speaker. One of them was reported as suggesting that the "campaign" to oust Mr Martin had been launched by middle class English people who've got something against the Scottish working classes. (Mrs R can't find the quote). This, Mrs R thinks, is ridiculous.

Mrs Rigby has long held the belief that when a person accuses another of something that is far-fetched and bigoted it's often because it's something that that particular individual might do to their own enemies. So, she wonders if it's the case that there are some Scottish people in Parliament who actually hold a grudge against a) the English b) "middle" classes, whatever they may be. Surely not, not in this day and age where equality rules supreme.

All that, though, is by the by, because Mrs R has noticed that Mr Martin might be tendering his resignation this afternoon.

Mrs Rigby is aware that he may be considered a scapegoat, but unfortunately there often has to be one, otherwise long standing, difficult, problems are not resolved.

Mrs R believes that if Mr Martin resigns with dignity he will be setting an excellent example to other politicians, of all parties, some of whom should also do the decent thing and resign their posts.

Mr Martin has indeed resigned and did so, Mrs R believes, with dignity.

These are his words.

"Since I came to this House 30 years ago, I have always felt that the House is at its' best when it is united.
In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of Speaker on Sunday June 21st.
This will allow the House to proceed to elect a new Speaker on Monday June 22nd.
That is all I have to say on this matter."

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Speaker said, "No!"

Mrs Rigby has just watched the Speaker make a statement regarding MP's expenses and so on.

Following this statement several MPs asked when time would be given to debate Douglas Carswell's motion of no confidence in the Speaker.

Mr Martin said it was an "Early Day Motion", and needed to be a "Substantive Motion" in order to be debated. When challenged he acknowledged that he might have made a mistake, and sought advice - but luckily he got the response he wanted. (Mrs R didn't expect otherwise.)

Mr Martin also said it was up to government to decide whether the matter be debated or not.

Mrs R thought there were times when opposition parties were allowed to choose what was, and wasn't, debated - on Opposition Days. She thought the Speaker should be aware of this - so perhaps she's wrong.

Mrs R thinks this is a sad day for Parliament.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Text of Motion of no confidence in the Speaker.

Taken directly from Douglas Carswell's blog here

The text of tomorrow's motion

Tomorrow I will be tabling the following motion in the House of Commons:

No confidence in the Speaker

"That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker and calls for him to step down; notes that Mr Speaker has failed to provide leadership in matters relating to hon. Members' expenses; believes that a new Speaker urgently needs to be elected by secret ballot, free from manipulation by party Whips, under Standing Order No. 1B; and believes that a new Speaker should proceed to reform the House in such a way as to make it an effective legislature once again."

I already have the signatures of a growing number of MPs on both sides of the Commons.

Please contact your local MP and ask them if they intend to sign it.

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Douglas Carswell
See also this post on his site for updates

Nepotism doesn't always work out.

Michael Martin seems determined to hang on to his position as Speaker until next year. A headline in the Mail says, "Michael Martin to quit, but not until after next Election to install son in hereditary seat and claim £100,000 golden parachute"

The story goes on to explain the thinking behind this plan, and how Mr Martin is determined to make sure his son, Paul, enters Parliament, through the route of a "safe" Glasgow seat. "Safe", Mrs Rigby presumes, because that constituency has traditionally returned a Labour candidate.

Mrs R has an inkling of how voters are thinking just now. She has a feeling that any politician who lets the media think they're "safe" is probably in for a very rude awakening. She's heard plenty of people saying they'd rather vote for somebody else, anybody else - even the Monster Raving Loony Party - instead of one of the few greedy, self-seeking individuals who see themselves above the rules of decent behaviour, and who aren't above pinching the petty cash if they think nobody's looking.

Mrs Rigby's notes to Mr Martin ...

* The electorate can see how you behave when you're at work - it was, perhaps, a sad day for you when they let television cameras into the House. Those with short memories can read your words in Hansard.

* Voters know you have been stubbornly refusing to change the rules relating to MPs expenses, they know you have spent vast sums of taxpayers money fighting a court ruling to make them public.

* The electorate knows you have been rude to MPs, they know that you yourself have seen fit to claim additional allowances when you already earn - according to Parliament's own FAQs here - £141,866.

* Voters might decide that you and your family have taken more than enough taxpayers money, and want to give somebody else a chance. Your voters might even choose an SNP candidate over Labour.

* Many people, Mr Martin, will have read or heard anecdotally, that you said,
"I have been a trade unionist all my life. I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me."
There are people on a minimum wage who pay their Union fees knowing full well that a percentage of every single union subscription automatically
goes to the Labour Party - to pay people like you to represent them and their interests in Parliament. That money is not intended to help you do your job, line your pocket.

* Take note, Mr Martin, of what has happened to 22 year old Georgina Gould, who had set her heart on being Labour parliamentary candidate for Erith and Thamesmead. Georgina's Dad was given a peerage by that nice Mr Blair, probably because he helped found New Labour, and Georgina's candidacy was publicly supported by Alistair Campbell and Tessa Jowell. There were some shenanigans with voting, silly nonsense about a ballot box and postal votes, which seems to have been brushed under the carpet. But, in the end, even an all-female shortlist couldn't help her and she came last, so will not stand for election to Parliament - not in that constituency anyway.

So, you see Mr Martin, nepotism doesn't always work out the way you want it to. It isn't always possible for people like you to draw up the ladder behind you once you've reached the top.

Actually, Mr Martin, Mrs Rigby thinks you should go now, straight away, before you are allowed to do any more damage to either the position of Speaker, the UK Parliament or the way the rest of the world views this country. If you were a man of honour you would know this is for the best - for the country you claim to serve.

Mrs R doesn't think you should be able to work out a long notice, giving you the opportunity to cause whatever mischief you choose in the interim. She thinks you should be given a large cardboard box and be ordered to clear your desk - with a security guard watching - the same as can happen within the private sector.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Party broadcasts.

Mrs Rigby and her family have watched, with interest, the latest video offering from the Labour Party. She thinks it's a Party Political Broadcast in advance of the European elections, although she isn't altogether sure because she didn't hear the word "Europe" mentioned, not once.

She's interested too in the way it concentrates on horrible things Mr Cameron will do - as if the speakers have a crystal ball. Mrs R didn't know he was standing for a seat in Europe, she thought he was happy enough here in UK.

She thinks the broadcast is all a bit odd, not only because David Cameron is just one person, but also because she knows there are lots of representatives of other parties standing for election to the European Parliament. She thought Labour would be hoping to trounce them all.

Anyhow, Mrs R was interested in what was said, because she has experience of some of the things the broadcast mentions.

1) "David Cameron would love to see people like me on the dole"
Well, OK, Mrs R wouldn't mind that actually.

When Mrs R lost her job she couldn't sign for anything because a) she is married b) her husband is in work c) Mr and Mrs R have been prudent and put a tiny bit of money into savings and d) she lost her job for the "wrong reason".

2) "David Cameron would cut support for families under real pressure in this recession"
Mrs R's family hasn't seen any support for families under "real" pressure in this recession, so she doesn't think there's much support to be cut!

Her own family hasn't seen any reduction in their living costs - in fact they've gone up because the house needs to be heated during the day. She hasn't seen any reduction in essential transport costs. She hasn't seen any reduction in food costs. What she has seen, with increases in fuel duty filtering outwards, is an increase in the cost of almost every single thing the Rigby family touches.

Mrs R knows families who are battling, unsuccessfully, with the system to get some help with their mortgage interest. She read somewhere or other that only one family in the whole country had made a successful claim since the scheme was set up, unfortunately she can't find the reference now.

3) "If David Cameron had been in power I wouldn't have an extra £60, a free TV license and a free bus pass."
Mrs R isn't old enough to qualify for any of these, but she has relatives and friends who do.

Almost without exception they quickly worked out that £60 a year is a teeny bit more than £1 a week, an insignificant amount in "real terms" when a load of bread costs more than £1. Those that don't have televisions don't benefit from the free license. Those who live in areas where public transport is poor, erratic or non-existent cannot benefit from a free bus pass.

All would have preferred to see their pension increased by a sum equivalent to the cost of the TV license and free bus pass, so they could choose for themselves where to spend this extra money; so they could choose whether or not to buy a television license; and maybe choose whether to use a bus or, in many cases, contribute towards somebody else's petrol or
share a taxi with a neighbour so they can do their grocery shopping.

Has nobody in the Labour Party, suffering from arthritis or a gammy leg, ever tried to get onto a bus with a wheeled shopping trolley and a couple of shopping bags filled with unwieldy things like toilet rolls?

4) "David Cameron would scrap the right for every patient to see a cancer specialist within 2 weeks."
No, sorry, it doesn't
even apply now.

If you go to your GP with a "scare" and it happens to be just before a public holiday - when an outpatients department could be closed for as long as two weeks due to staff holidays - you wait longer. Mrs R knows this from experience, and it resulted in a truly ghastly Christmas for all concerned.

5) "David Cameron would cut £160 million from crime fighting budgets right now, that is the equivalent of 3,500 Police Officers"
Maybe it is the "equivalent of 3,500 Police Officers", but it doesn't need to be.

Earlier this week the Chief Constable of Essex said he could save money AND increase manning by making small savings. Mrs R commented on it here.

She and her family, their friends and neighbours wouldn't notice if the Police budget was cut, because their local police station is closed most of the time. One early morning Mrs R tried to speak to the Police and found the station doors firmly locked shut. A telephone, in a box on the wall outside - that should have connected her to the "control room" - had been vandalised. She tried again when she got home, but the person on the other end didn't even know where Mrs R was, and wanted detailed directions. This sort of thing doesn't inspire confidence, and is possibly why some crime statistics are down - it's too hard for some people to report a problem.

The only uniformed people the Rigby family do see are called "Civilian Enforcement Officers", who give out fines for parking and littering, they aren't allowed to do anything else.

6) "Mr Cameron would give £200 to £300 to millionaires"

Mr Cameron would personally open public coffers and hand out that much money to people who are already "rich"? - To living people who've either worked damned hard all their lives, not spent their money and invested it in businesses etc.. Does this mean he'd hand over even more cash to professional politicians, entertainers or footballers?

No, on balance Mrs R thinks not. She thinks this is about Inheritance Tax, and is nothing about giving money to anybody, it's about not taking it from them.

Inheritance Tax is about taking money from the estates of people who have died. From the financial leavings of people who have paid taxes - on income, as National Insurance and property/car/contents insurance, in local community charges, on property transactions, on consumer goods - and they'll have done this
all their lives, rarely if ever making a claim or asking for anything back from the state.

This is a tax that doesn't only apply to "millionaires" - it applies to ordinary families who happen to be dealing with the estate of a relative who happened to own a property, a property whose value may have risen in their lifetime simply due to rising prices. This horrible tax applies as much to the working person who scrimped and saved to buy their rented home, and who have beggared themselves to maintain it in their declining years, as to those who were born to well-off parents.

This tax is applied to the estates of those people who may have struggled to retain some vestige in independence in their later years, who resisted the need to sell their home to pay for care - an iniquitous thing, not done in Scotland where elderly care is free.

Mrs R thinks this is a punitive tax, with levels set deliberately low so that it captures the life savings of almost anybody who has been careful throughout their life and whose home has a residual value, often due to no more than a geographical or demographic accident.

So, that's what Mrs Rigby thinks about the video.

Even if all these claims were true, Mrs Rigby wants to know what these issues are to do with Europe.

Europe doesn't set the levels of UK unemployment benefit or taxation. Europe doesn't set the cost of UK television licenses, public transport strategies or fuel duties. Europe doesn't set the price for a UK television license, nor does it
set the access standards for our healthcare. Europe doesn't set the UK Police budgets, and it doesn't dictate the levels of UK Inheritance Tax.

Last time Mrs R looked, all these things were dictated by her own government, with details decided either by small committees or following discussion within Parliament at Westminster, Brussels has nothing to do with these matters.

So, Mrs Rigby would like somebody who knows more about these things than she does to, please, tell her precisely what this broadcast has to do with the European Elections.

"Please-go!" reminder.

Kalvis Jansons' "Please-Go" petition now has 59,054 signatures.

It seems to have stalled, which is a pity, maybe people have been rather distracted by individual MP's financial affairs.

The petition is here.

It closes on 22nd October 2009.

Whilst nobody was looking

They sneaked this through when nobody was looking. They probably hoped nobody would notice because we're all so worried about MPs expenses, but thankfully some newspapers are on the ball.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary who lives in her sister's spare bedroom instead of the apartment the State provides, has pushed through legislation giving HM Revenue and Customs officials the right to look at the information that will be held on the ID database, when it's rolled out.

Here's an extract from the Mail
The Home Office says the ID card scheme will make life easier for both businesses and their customers. Companies will be charged around 60p a time to check details held on the giant 'big brother' database.

Every time a check is made against the ID card, it will be logged on the National Identity Register - and the details made available to the taxman.

Officials hope for up to 770million 'verifications' each year.

The data includes addresses, any second homes and National Insurance numbers.

Firms will be told that using the scheme will cut millions from their annual fraud bills and save them hefty fines for employing illegal immigrants.

Officials believe it will be cheaper for companies to confirm identity through the database than by using current methods such as bills and driving licences. The Home Office said businesses would need a person's consent to check information about them.

Official documents reveal that some 44,000 organisations could be 'accredited' to carry out verification checks.

They range from Whitehall departments, banks and financial institutions to mobile phone and video rental shops.

It comes after Jacqui Smith's announcement earlier this month that members of the public will be expected to have their fingerprints taken at the Post Office or in high street shops and pharmacies when they sign up for a card or passport.

At present, the right to take fingerprints is largely restricted to the police.

A similar report is in the Telegraph.

Mrs R thinks this is all a bit much. When they first proposed the ID card scheme it was meant to be all about protecting us from terrorists - but we saw through that idea. Then they said it would help slow down illegal immigration. Now they want us to believe it will help track down tax fraud.

Mrs R notes that within this report is a bit of an implied threat, if businesses don't sign up to using the scheme, and demand this particular form of ID from people then ... well, we'll have to wait and see what the penalties might be.

Mrs R doesn't object one little bit to the principal of an ID card, she's seen people from other European countries using little plastic cards instead of passports.

Mrs R knows that people in other countries don't understand what all the fuss is about. She knows they don't realise that in Britain the ID card is planned to be an added extra. An extra on top of a photo driving license, on top of a passport, and something that gives no benefit to the individual other than containing - on a small piece of loseable and stealable plastic, and on one single hackable, copiable, sellable, database - every single scrap of their personal information, including details of their most intimate biological make up, something Mrs Rigby will never have the right to see, but which as yet unknown "others" will have access too - all for a "small fee".

All the "spinning", all the lies, all the changes in the story, have not yet convinced Mrs R that this is not an intrusive, overbearing and potentially illegal in terms of human rights, plan for the state to oversee every single aspect of the Mrs Rigby's life, and possibly find legal fault.

So, Mrs Rigby offers a challenge to the Home Secretary. She wants the Home Secretary to tell her of one, just one, personal benefit from this data gathering exercise.

Mrs R suspects that it her only "benefit" will be that she will not be breaking some, as yet unmade, law that requires her to carry this particular bit of plastic on her person every waking moment.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Imitating St Francis?

Mrs Rigby often watches Prime Minister's Questions. When she watched the recording yesterday evening she heard Mr Brown say something that stayed in her mind. It wasn't because of what he said, but because of the
way it was phrased and also how he said it.

It's taken her a little while to track that brain itch, but she's now sure exactly what his phrases reminded her of.

Mrs R has copied what is written in Hansard, but has changed the layout a bit.

... Where people are being taken on, there is help available.
Where people are on short time, we are providing help
Where people have become unemployed, we have announced ...
Mrs R thinks, with its' comparative phrases and how it was spoken, it is remarkably similar to the Prayer of St Francis which is here. Mr R thinks she's probably stretching things a bit, but she's adamant that this is how it sounded to her at the time it was spoken - and this is her blog, so she can say what she likes!

Now, Mrs R knows Mr Brown is often referred to as "the son of the Manse", but this is the first time she's heard any real hint of that background in his speeches. Maybe he got some ideas when he visited Pope Benedict XVI?

And a separate comment - Details of yet another scheme? Wouldn't it be some help if all the other schemes that have been announced over the last few years were actually up and running, and providing the "real help" where it's needed?

Lucky Manchester.

Manchester, the city that voted against road charging and whose population are the first in the country to be given the opportunity to try out the nice ID cards, is getting a timely boost to its transport infrastructure.

Increasing the area covered by Metrolink, which had been shelved, is now going ahead. It says so here on the BBC last updated 15/05/2009

Here's an extract giving the background of the scheme and its' funding
The original £520m expansion of Metrolink was first announced back in 2000 and dubbed the Big Bang on account of the scale of the project.
But the plan hit the buffers in 2004 when the Government withdrew over rising costs, prompting outrage across Greater Manchester and the start of the Back on Track campaign.
In 2008, the Government confirmed it would pay a lump sum of £244m for a scaled down ‘Mini Bang’ expansion to Rochdale railway station, Chorlton and Droylsden.
Then, later that year, the full ‘Big Bang’ expansion was made a condition of the congestion charge, which was famously thrown out in a referendum.
But now, after months of negotiations, it seems that the money has been found to help Metrolink go the extra mile with the remainder being found from existing AGMA budgets.
Mrs Rigby wonders if, if her nearest city was given a tram system to make it easier to get around without needing to use a car, she would be interested in getting an ID card. - On balance, probably not!

Censorship by Postie?

Mrs R has noticed that posties in the West Country are being threatened with disciplinary action (the sack) if they refuse to deliver thousands of BNP leaflets that they claim are "right wing rubbish". It says so in the Times,

Mrs Rigby's house is listed with the mailing preference service, so she doesn't get much junk mail, although she does get local, unaddressed, leaflets - some she reads, some she recycles unopened. That's the thing Mrs Rigby likes, she chooses what goes into the bin, and why.

Mrs R doesn't think it's up to a postie to decide what she can and can't read. She thinks that, if they could do that, they would be censoring her mail and censoring the information she can receive. She thinks they could limit her choices and influence her personal decisions, according to their own, and she doesn't think that's the right thing for a postie to do.

As Mrs R sees it, if an individual, group or organisation has paid a delivery fee it's up to the postie to do the delivering. Nothing more, nothing less.

She wonders, for a silly moment, what would happen if posties
were allowed to filter mail according to any one of their personal scruples, preferences, prejudices and choices, and were allowed to choose to deliver only what they believe in. Would her household get any mail at all? Would Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP leaflets be delivered, would somebody refuse to deliver Christmas cards or postcards describing a delicious meal of lamb, steak or chicken?

Reading the article a bit more carefully, Mrs R noticed this little snippet. It says
The Communication Workers Union claims Royal Mail is breaking a “conscience clause” agreed four years ago which allows staff to refuse to deliver literature they find offensive.
The clause says members don’t have to deliver material if they feel threatened or if it is against their personal beliefs.
So, that's all right then! They aren't doing anything wrong!

Actually, Mrs Rigby disagrees, for the reasons she's outlined above, she doesn't think her postie should try to act as her moral guardian.

Getting a haircut.


One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased and left the shop.
When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a policeman comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The policeman is happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen doughnuts waiting for him at his door.

Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The professor is very happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen different books, such as 'How to Improve Your Business' and 'Becoming More Successful.'

Then, a Member of Parliament comes in for a haircut , and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Member of Parliament is very happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the Members of Parliament.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

20,000 more Police for Mr Brown's escort service.

Mrs Rigby notices that Roger Baker, Chief Constable of Essex, says that if they cut down on waste, such as
"... 'barmy projects', lavish buffets and designer sunglasses ..." there could be up to 20,000 more Police on the beat within five years. Being a bit of a cynic Mrs R notes that he will be retiring this summer, and wonders why he's waited until now to suggest saving some money. The article is here

Mrs Rigby thinks it's nice to see the principal of joined-up ideas working so effectively, she is pleased to see that all these extra personnel will be ready for Mr Brown's newly announced "getting home escort service."

You see, Mrs Rigby noted here that Mr Brown wants "the public" to be able to call on the Police to walk them home from the cashpoint, or from the pub after a night out. He doesn't say what people who live outside big cities and big towns are supposed to do to get home, when the last bus has been cancelled, but that's by the by.

Mrs Rigby would actually like to see Police officers, somewhere, anywhere. The last one(s) she saw whizzed past in a noisy fast car with a flashing blue light on top. Mrs R reckons that if there were more Police around, at all hours of the day or night, there wouldn't be the need for silly ideas such as Mr Brown's escort service. But, maybe, he wasn't thinking of us ordinary folk, maybe he's really trying to save Barbara Follett some money.

Mrs Rigby doesn't buy into the idea that we public don't need to see the Police to know they're working, because she's one of these "public", and isn't the least reassured by locked stations with nobody to open the door if you need to knock on it for help - especially at night.

Mrs R would like to see partly mothballed Police Stations in small towns (i.e. not cities) open 24 hours a day, instead of people having to rely on a yellow telephone outside the door. She'd like staff answering emergency calls to have some idea of the area they cover, instead of them being so isolated in the middle of a huge "command area" that they simply haven't got a clue.

Mrs Rigby thinks people should be able to see, and have easy access to what they pay for, and that's Police - proper Police - who know their local area, and who local people can relate to if they've got a problem.

Frank Field is first!

Actually, Mrs Rigby doesn't know if he is first, but he's the first she has noticed in her wanderings round the internet.

Frank Field, who is Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, has published his expenses on his website. They can be found on the front page of his site, which is here

Hat's off to you Mr Field, for doing the decent thing.

Separately, Iain Dale had an informal poll for, asking visitors to his site who they would most like to see as Speaker. 2,100 people (members of the public who visit his blog) voted and this answer caught my eye. Mrs R hopes he doesn't mind it being shown here.

who you would like to succeed Michael Martin

Frank Field 19%
Sir Ming Campbell 18%
Sir George Young 15%
Kate Hoey 13%
David Davis 6%
Sir Alan Haselhurst 6%
Ken Clarke 5%
Alan Beith 4%
John Bercow 3%
Keith Simpson 3%
Sir Patrick Cormack 3%
Richard Shepherd 2%

Mrs Rigby thinks Mr Field would make an excellent Speaker, but she thinks his job on the back benches is more important to his constituents.

Decent MPs.

Mrs Rigby thinks there are plenty of decent MPs who are being hurt by the current expenses scandal. She's sure that most of the 646 won't have "flipped" their second homes and won't be claiming their sister's spare room is their main family home. She's worried that the good MPs will be thrown out with the bathwater their less scrupulous colleagues have dirtied.

Ignoring the second home thing for a moment, which some MPs have clearly abused, an MP with a constituency a couple of hundred miles from Westminster will have to spend a lot on travelling, and will also need somewhere to stay overnight. Those MPs who have done this at least practicable cost to the taxpayer should be lauded, irrespective of their political party.

Mrs Rigby would like to see frugal MPs named and praised by the media. Whichever newspaper takes the lead, once the nasties are out of the way, she thinks they need to be realistic - and fair.

There was an article in the Telegraph on 7th May which tried to do this, giving Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, the accolade of being the "cheapest" MP. Dennis Skinner was second.

Mrs Rigby wondered at the time if there was some sort of internal competition for being the cheapest, because MP Desmond Swayne said here

He said he was competitive about lowering his expenses and was proud to be in the lowest 10

Reasonable and essential expenses.

Mrs Rigby wants MPs to show exactly what they've successfully claimed, and been given, by the fees office. She wants them to do it voluntarily, and to do it soon.

Mrs R doesn't want to see "redacted" lists, she wants to see exactly where her and Mr Rigby's money is, and has been, going.

You see, Mrs R got a bit annoyed after she followed Iain Dale's link and listened to Lembit Opik on the radio. She's sorry to single him out and write his name here for all to see, but in amongst all the news items about expenses this one struck a chord. He spent, and claimed, £700 for a television for his "second home". He'd tried to claim £2,500 for a presumably bigger and better one. The higher claim was rejected, so he bought it anyway - out of his own pocket - and put that television in his "main" home. That means he spent £3,200 on a pair of televisions, and got £700 back. Mrs R will concentrate on this £700 which was paid out by the fees office.

Using Jacqui Smith's "Court of Public Opinion", Mrs Rigby rules that this cost is unreasonable. There are two reasons she can think of right now.

1) Mrs Rigby knows that somebody earning minimum wage (£5.73 an hour) would have to work more than three 40-hour weeks to take home more than £700. (On National Minimum Wage somebody who works for 40 hours a week, excluding meal breaks, earns £11,918.40 - before national insurance and income tax deductions.) She wants to know why their taxes should buy an well-paid public servant's spare television.

2) Mr and Mrs Rigby can't afford to spend £700 on a single television for their only home. She's a bit irritated that any MP thinks it's okay to take the Rigby family's taxes and spend them so indiscriminately on themselves. She thinks a cheap television from a supermarket or electrical chain store is just as good for watching the news - if watching the news is why a television is "essential".

Mrs Rigby doesn't think expensive televisions are any more "reasonable", or essential, for an MP to do their job than cutting their grass.

Olympics Fundraising - Fail.

Mrs Rigby has just spotted this on

The U.K. government will pay to build the 1.1 billion-pound ($1.66 billion) athletes’ village for the 2012 Olympics after efforts to raise private financing failed.
The government plans to provide an extra 324 million pounds for the project, which will house around 17,000 athletes and coaches in east London.
“After careful assessment it is clear that investing in the Olympic Village now will save public money in the long term,” said Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, in an e-mailed statement. “A private-sector deal was available but because of the credit crunch it was not a good deal.”

Mrs R always wondered if the 2012 Olympics might be more of a millstone than a jewel. She hopes she is proved wrong.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Frank Field has an idea.

Mrs Rigby has got a lot of time for Frank Field, she thinks he talks a lot of sense.

This is what he has to say about MP's allowances
There is literally no obvious way out of the appalling mess in which MPs now find themselves over our allowances. The opportunities we have had - in deciding how to disclose information about our allowances - were squandered.
He suggests that Mr Brown should
... invite again the leaders of the other parties to join him in Downing Street. The purpose would be to agree an all party leadership recommendation to the Kelly Committee and they should not leave Downing Street until the outline of an agreement is made. If he doesn't, one of the other party leaders should take the lead.
They should then ask the Kelly Committee to speed up their enquiry. It should be asked to report on the second homes allowance within a month.

Mrs Rigby wonders if anybody will listen to his ideas.

Lord Foulkes misses the point.

Mrs Rigby was surprised to see Lord Foulkes ask television presenter Carrie Grace how much she earns during an interview about MPs' expenses. He seemed to think it was reasonable to compare her wages to that of MPs.

Now, Mrs Rigby grumpily forks out for a television license and often moans about how much presenters can earn, but she understands market forces. She understands that the BBC is paid for by taxpayers - because everybody in this country pays taxes, even if it's only VAT - so everybody who pays for a television license is a taxpayer, and that the BBC received government subsidies. But that's not the point.

The point is that BBC presenter's wages aren't
entirely paid directly out of the public purse, unlike the money that pays for government - which includes MPs' wages and allowances.

According to TheyWorkforYou Lord Foulkes was
MP for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley from 1975, he entered the House of Lords in 2005. He is also an MSP. Lord Foulkes made the news earlier in 2009 and, according to theTimes here

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock is paid £36,000 a year as a parliamentary consultant to Eversheds LLP for services that include introducing clients to select committee chairmen in the Lords and Commons.
In 2008 Lord Foulkes claimed £54,527 in House of Lords allowances. He takes a salary as a Lothians MSP. Mrs R reckons his tax free income, paid directly by the taxpayer, adds up to a bit more than Carrie Grace's taxable salary.

Mrs Rigby was not amused.

Mrs Rigby was not amused to see The Speaker wagging his finger at Kate Hoey when she asked a question about Police involvement in the expenses saga. It's the sort of thing she would expect an irate parent to do, when confronted with a petulant child.

It seemed that Mr Martin was a bit annoyed that the media have been publishing details of MPs expenses and allowances, something he's been trying rather desperately to avoid. He must have been in a very bad mood because he was also curt with Norman Baker and Patricia Hewitt.

The Speaker is meant to defend the Commons, and represent all Members of Parliament, not attack them if they say something he, personally, doesn't like, so it's a bit odd that a spokesman for Mr Brown later said he thought The Speaker was doing a good job.

It looks as if a few MPs thought the same as Mrs Rigby, because Douglas Carswell has tabled a cross party motion calling for Mr Martin to step down.

We'll have to wait and see what happens next.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Public Money, or the Government's money?

David Cameron made a speech that used words Mrs Rigby hasn't heard for a long time.

He said MPs should take personal responsibility for their actions, which should be reasonable in the eyes of the electorate. He mentioned things like scrutiny, accountability, ethics and also reminded MPs that the money they put into their pockets is public money.

It's nice to hear a politician reminding MPs where the money they are using comes from, and is so completely different from a comment left over at Old Holborn

You pay your taxes. It's the LAW. It's not your money, it's the Government's money.
Mrs Rigby knows which point of view she prefers!