Monday, 25 May 2009

Nadine Dorries - whatever happened to the right of free speech??

It appears that Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire has had her blog closed down at the behest of lawyers working on behalf of the Barclay brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph.

The millionaire Barclay brothers who own their own island, Brecqhou, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, C.I., made the news recently over their actions in Sark HERE

Ms. Dorries, who was herself the target of some Telegraph finger pointing, had been complaining that the way the Telegraph is 'dripping' their disclosures is 'torture' for MPs & subsequently she queried the motives of the Barclay brothers on her blog. At which point, apparently, lawyers leapt into action, contacted her ISP & had her blog closed down & removed from public perusal.

I say 'appears' & 'apparently' because, with her blog closed down, Ms. Dorries is unable to communicate exactly what has happened.

As a taxpayer & member of the public, my feelings towards the tender sensibilities of MPs fearful of exposure via the Telegraph, is to repeat their favourite mantra of 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' back at them.

However, also as a member of the public, I am very concerned that the words of an elected representative of the British people can be censored in this way by 'big business' - or by anybody, come to that.

Luckily, as I understand it, she can quote freely from her blog in Parliament, under Parliamentary privilege. That decision is up to her.

I may or may not agree with what Nadine Dorries has to say but I 100% support her right to say it. Isn't that what free speech is all about? Isn't that what democracy is all about?

Or has free speech & democracy become as dead as a dodo in Britain 2009? And if so, who is to blame?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Victory for Joanna & the Gurkhas

Congratulations to Joanna Lumley for her work on behalf of the Gurkhas & for winning a stunning victory. She has been a brilliant tactician & has out-manoeuvred the Government & its Ministers at every turn. Now all we need is for her to get involved in politics as an MP & to fight for electoral reform in the same way that she has fought for the Gurkhas.

Monday, 18 May 2009

There are some honest MPs out there....

Not my own MP, but an MP around my area, Annette Brooke (Lib Dem) does realise how appalled the general public is over the scandal of MPs expenses & has spoken out strongly in the local paper saying that MPs should not be above the law. She also talks about her own expenses in the same article.

Annette's stance is a welcome change from the attitudes of many at Westminster & proves that there are honest MPs about.

Mr Speaker shows himself up

I have just sent the following letter to my MP, Robert Syms, expressing my opinion of the Speaker & his recent performance in Parliament:

'I have just watched Speaker Martin on TV. Never mind his apologies - they are far too little & far too late. He fully demonstrated his incompetence by having to ask the Clerks for advice. He is so arrogant & out of touch that he never thought he could be brought to book. He may not be responsible for how the MPs filled in their expense forms, however, he has certainly creamed off his own expenses as much as he could & has tried at every turn to block transparency of MPs' expenses - using taxpayers' money to go to Court to prevent it. He is despicable & needs to be sacked - NOW'.

He should not be allowed to remain in his position any longer. He has brought the position of Speaker, usually a respected & honourable one (e.g Betty Boothroyd) - into disrepute. He has in fact brought the whole House of Commons into disrepute through his incompetence & his obdurate attitude. He should not be allowed to resign at his own convenience - he should be sacked - immediately.

I notice Gordon Brown was, as ever doing his McAvity role & remained away from any involvement in the proceedings.

David Cameron calls for a General Election - ASAP

I've just been listening to David Cameron launching his EU Election Campaign. I was pleased, though very surprised, to hear him calling for a General Election as soon as possible after June 4th.

In many ways he is following the wishes of at least some of the electorate (there are currently at least two petitions asking the Queen to dissolve Parliament), rather than being proactive. However, it shows that at least he is listening & reacting to the voters.

It is now up to all the Partys to show how receptive they are to voters' wishes to ensure that never again can there be a repeat of the thievery, cheating, venality & tax evasion that has been revealed in the pages of The Telegraph.

Human Rights for our Troops

I was very pleased to hear today that the High Court has decided that British servicemen & women do have the protection of the Human Rights Act when they are on active service. As I understand it, this judgment would mean that the MoD has a legal duty to supply proper equipment.

Surely Britain must be the only so-called democracy that sends its troops out to fight with sub-standard or non-existant equipment? Has the MoD no shame? Has the Government - who funds the MoD - no shame? Of course, none of them are going to be at risk of being killed or injured.

Millions (or is it trillions) of pounds available for banks & their directors who have behaved disgracefully. No money available, however, to provide necessary equipment for our troops.

Oh, and apparently, the MoD will be appealing against the judgement in the House of Lords!

So while criminals - terrorists, murderers, drug addicts, rapists & child molesters - can claim the protection of the HRA, the MoD want to deny this same protection to our troops. Fair? Just?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Payback Time

Of the three main Party Leaders David Cameron has, in my opinion, responded the swiftest to the concerns of the electorate. While Nick Clegg has tried to respond, he has been hampered by the fact that his MPs seem to want to argue the toss and therefore his proposals/orders haven't had the same 'grab appeal'.

As for Gordon, he's still wondering what his MPs have done wrong & hasn't yet realised that the majority of voters are white-hot with anger. He has taken some action, in suspending Elliot Morley - the MP claiming for a non-existant mortgage - but even that took until lunchtime, by which time Tory Andrew MacKay was dust. He and his MP partner, Julie Kirkbride had claimed expenses in a manner not dissimilar to Labour Ministers Balls & Cooper.

Meanwhile, MPs seem to be banding together against the Speaker. He has not filled the role of Speaker well. He has spent taxpayers' money trying to keep MPs' expenses secret. Why? Has he something to hide?

Confused? I know I am

Like most people, I suspect, I have been following the errors & omissions of our Elected Representatives with bated breath since the Telegraph first started covering MPs' Expenses last week. Newspapers, radio, TV & blogs, all being constantly updated as yet another example of MPs' creative accounting is exposed - usually each one worse than the last.

There have been so many disclosures & exposures that I'm actually getting confused as to which MP has been involved in which particular piece of troughery.

Maybe I've led a sheltered existence but I continue to be shocked by the sheer venality, greed, mean-mindedness & avarice of our MPs. Men & women who earn 3 or 4 times the salary that I ever achieved (and I considered myself as well-paid at the time) are claiming for packets of Hob Nobs & Mars bars, in addition to bath plugs, pornography, expensive repairs to their partner's house, non-existent mortgages & Council Tax that they never paid. Not to mention Capital Gains Tax avoided by 'flipping' between main & second (or third, fourth, fifth or sixth) homes.

Didn't their parents ever teach them about lying, cheating & thievery versus ordinary decent law abiding behaviour?

Workers in the private sector taking such liberties with their employer's money would pretty soon find themselves jobless and probably with a criminal record to boot. Why should MPs be treated differently? Sauce for the goose is still sauce for the gander.

For MPs the mantra appears to be 'it's not against the rules' even when some of their actions very obviously are.

These are the people who feel it's quite justifiable to snoop into every aspect of our personal lives. Strangely enough, they're very unhappy when we treat them as they treat us.

Complaints have already been lodged with Mr Plod & the Inland Revenue - I do hope these are pursued, without the whitewash provided for Cash for Honours & illegal donations.

Gone to Soldiers Every One

It was very moving yesterday to watch the people of Wootton Bassett standing in the rain to pay their respects to our latest four fallen soldiers as their bodies were taken through the town.

Whether or not one supports the Invasion of Iraq & the 'peacekeeping' in Afghanistan, it is impossible not to be saddened by the thought of all these young lives sacrificed, of parents left bereft, of widows & orphans.

The death of the Gurkha soldier, a young man with two small children, who had served in the British Army for - was it 12 or 13 years - emphasises - if there ever was any doubt, just how much we owe to & rely on the Gurkhas. It is poignant that a Gurkha has died fighting for Britain at a time when there is so much controversy over whether or not ex-service Gurkhas should be allowed to settle here.

From casual conversations I have had, it appears that the ordinary electorate would be quite happy to have them here, it is only the Government which remains obdurate.

Finally, wasn't it sad & disgraceful that with four dead soldiers returning, the Government couldn't be bothered to send a representative to pay their respects at RAF Lyneham?

Thank you to the people of Wootton Bassett.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Your Maj

Over the weekend I've been reading the articles in The Telegaph and other newspapers & on blogs - all on the same subject - how when the economic picture here in the UK is grim with many of us losing jobs, homes & families our MPs have continued to feather their own nests at our expense.

No wonder Gorbals Mick - Mr Speaker to give him his official title - has worked so hard & spent so much of OUR money trying to prevent MPs expenses coming into the public domain.

Let's be honest, MPs stuffing themselves at the trough is not just a Labour problem, it's a problem across all Partys. However, at least David Cameron says he will 'investigate' & 'take action'. We haven't yet heard what Nick Clegg will do - Lib Dems expenses & troughers are scheduled for tomorrow in The Telegraph, as far as I know.

Gordon Brown meanwhile just claims 'it's the System' - presumably his Moral Compass has never told him that ripping off the taxpayer is wrong? I think we should each send him a small donation towards getting his Moral Compass repaired as obviously it's very badly damaged. Only a small donation mind, as he'll probably claim the rest on expenses!

Where do we go from here? I hear that certain public minded citizens have reported MPs to the Benefit Fraud Hotline, Mr Plod at The Met & HMRC. It all takes time - remember how 'Cash for Honours' dragged on & no one ever paid any penalty? Remember how David Abrahams' various donations, although judged to be illegal, were never even returned?

And how, despite 56,509 (and still counting) requests for him to resign, Gordon Brown is still claiming to be 'the right man for the job' and clinging on to his position by his bitten fingernails?

However, one of the powers still available to the Queen is to dissolve Parliament, which means there would have to be a General Election.

Accordingly, I have set up a petition asking the Queen to do that very thing - dissolve Parliament. It's HERE

Please sign if you are fed up being ripped off. Even if all the same candidates stand again, we can just not vote for the ones who have been stuffing themselves at the trough.

Joanna Lumley 1 HMG 0

I've been really busy over the last few days, mainly reading about how our MPs have been fleecing us, the taxpayers. However, I had to comment on Joanna Lumley's audacious ambush of Phil Woolas the Immigration Minister on live TV. I don't think he knew what had hit him - which, presumably, was the intention.

I think, unfortunately, Ms Lumley has found that her comment 'I know I can trust my Prime Minister' has proven not to be the case.

Despite this, it looks as though Joanna & her campaign on behalf of the Gurkhas has gained so much publicity & so much public support that she will win through eventually. What a brave, determined & gutsy woman.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Jacqui Smith's at it again

I see the Daily Mail are running a story that Second Home Secretary & Minister for Porn, Jacqui Smith pays full Council Tax on her Reddich house, base for her & her family (h/t to Blogger Old Holborn). Apparently this means it is designated as her first/main home - despite claiming all those second home expenses for it & claiming that her sister's spare bedroom is her main home.

So all her carefully crafted 'economies with the truth' will now, hopefully come back to bite her.

This shows up her very patronising comments re the Censorship Index - 'shared values' etc - for the complete & utter hypocrisy they are.

Just can't keep her snout out of the trough can she? And can't seem to remember which set of lies she's told either.

We're counting, Gordon

Just checked the latest figures for the two petitions about Gordon's future, one asking him to stay, t'other telling him to go. The count for him to stay is 51 - (and I think some of the names are still dodgy), to go is 53,700+. Looks like the gap is widening Gordon!

In case you haven't voted yet but would like to, here's the links:



Sunday, 3 May 2009

A message from the Electorate?

I've just been checking the numbers on the two No 10 Petitions about Gordon Brown's Premiership.

One petition calls for him to resign immediately - the current count is 46,936 votes.

The other petition calls for him to continue to lead the nation - the current count is 33 votes.

Perhaps just the slightest little hint there of voters' perceptions of Gordon Brown as PM?

Hurrah for Joanna Lumley

Somewhat belatedly, I'd like to say a very loud 'Hurrah' for Joanna Lumley and her fight on behalf of the Gurkhas. As I understand it, she feels a sense of personal responsibility towards them because her father was a Gurkha officer. 'Personal responsibility' - now that's a novel phrase in Britain 2009. More often what you hear is 'It's my right, innit', usually in connection with expecting something for nothing.

Congratulations to MPs of all Parties for voting against the government's draconian proposals.

Ms Lumley takes her campaign to Parliament next week, where she has been asked to put her case to the House of Commons Home Affairs committee. I hope she is successful, the Gurkhas have served Britain well for many years and are much more deserving of British residency than many of the people the government appears to welcome with open arms.

One more time - hurrah for Joanna Lumley & hurrah for personal responsibility!