Sunday, 31 May 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
Thursday, 28 May 2009
29th May 2009
TIME TO CLEAN UP POLITICS IN SCOTLAND
So, what are you doing on Monday 1st? Come along and join in (or at least watch) the fun at the Parliament in Edinburgh.
Not one usually to get involved in politics, recently I have written a couple of posts with a political slant.
In my recent post entitled 'Exposing the Core' I talked about the massive 'shift' we are experiencing in all areas of society, and most certainly in government.
Using the apple as an analogy, it is as if the system has been cut in half, ezposing the core and seeds for all to see. What we have found, is something that many of us have always suspected, - that the core of the apple is rotton, contaminating any new and fresh seeds of thought.
I heard about the Jury Team a few months ago. On the surface Sir Paul Judge, its founder, might come across as 'pure establishment' someone who would appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution.
However, having known Paul since 1970 I can say that he is one of the most honourable people I know, and beneath his vaneer of wealth and success is a man with a brilliant mind and a desire to bring positive change in many areas of society. Over the years he has not been afraid to put his money where is mouth is, particularly in the area of education.
Today will see the first ever Party Election Broadcast being screened in every region of Britain promoting independent candidates standing under the Jury Team umbrella.
To see Sir Paul Judge and the Jury Team candidates outline their aims and ambitions for the European elections tune into see the Jury Team Party Election Broadcast at the following times today, Thursday 28th May.
BBC One (England, Wales, Scotland - 10.35 p.m.)
BBC Two (England, Wales, Scotland - 11.20 p.m.
ITV 10.30 p.m.
STV Scotland 11.00 p.m.
S4C Wales 11.00 p.m.
Every one of our votes do count....take the time to look at the Jury Team - they are definitely working towards being part of the solution rather than the problem.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
He was accused on the Today programme of signing the MEPs' register that declared he was attending meetings in the Belgian capital but then, one hour later, flying back to Scotland while still pocketing the 262 euros (roughly £180) per day expenses for meals and subsistence in Brussels.
Mr Stevenson said he had been traduced and that the allowance, which also covered his accommodation costs in Brussels, was claimed by everyone.
This answer, however, only begged further questions - the obvious one being that just because everyone else claimed it, did that make it right for Mr Stevenson to do it, too? And if he was legitimately claiming for his accommodation costs, why did he not pay back that part of the allowance that related to meals in Brussels that he didn't eat?
One MSP, who was not unsympathetic to Mr Stevenson's predicament, nevertheless asked whether the MEP would be happy to pay one of his farm labourers a full day's pay if that man turned up at 8am but then cleared off an hour later. Daily Telegraph
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
But don't sing too loudly near Ralph Buckle, Chairman of the University of York Conservatives. He might not appreciate it. See, he's just been expelled from the Conservative Party, out on his ear for suggesting that Euro-sceptic Tories might want to vote UKIP if they shared their values. (Why stop there - every thief and swindler in Britain has something in common with UKIP). Sunny D dropped the fluffy facade long enough to kick Ralph where it hurts. Y'see, Cameron is all for Free Speech and Open Democracy - that is to say, he's all for talking about it. You don't think for a moment that he means it do you?
Hell no. A Party man must NEVER voice an opinion that hasn't been approved by Central Office. A Party man must NEVER think for himself - not while the Party pays a lot of expensive suits to do the thinking for them.
Arbeit macht frei - but the Party doesn't, not any of them. A Party man is a beaten man, a whipped puppy, an opinion-less drone.
Your choice. On June 4th vote for the independent Jury Team candidate that is free to speak their mind, free to speak out against sleaze and corruption or vote for the Party man who puts his Party before you.
Asked why the party was not making a firm commitment to bring in fixed-term Parliaments, Shadow foreign secretary William Hague told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's the first time we have ever raised that proposal as a party of course we want to set the debate going about that.
But Mr Cameron rejects any change from the current system.
"Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites," he says.
Get stuffed Cameron. We won't be fooled by you and your like again.
Time to get some independents in to start really kicking up a racket in the political system. Independents aren't controlled by the men in grey suits. Independendents think independently.
Monday, 25 May 2009
But then the Party MEP goes off to Europe and joins another party - the Christian Democrats or the Socialist Alliance or something like that. Now his Party's 12 policies get mixed in with policies from representatives of up to 26 other countries - your one policy that you agree with so much and for which you voted, is now just one policy amongst maybe three hundred other policies.
Further, your Party MEP is now ordered how to vote by his European Party Whip, who takes precedence over his UK Party Whip, (this is why David Cameron wanted to pull the Tories out of the Christian Democrats - his orders were being over-ruled).
Basically, your Party MEP is now just voting fodder for some foreign party who you never voted for, who you know nothing about and over whom you have absolutely no control.
An Independent MEP doesn't have any of that. He works directly for the people who voted for him - not a French/German/Italian/Polish guy who can order him to vote this way or that way. This is precisely why the SNP vote against Scotland's interests nearly 50% of the time.
Alistair Darling is among nine cabinet members who used £11,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for personal accountancy advice, the Daily Telegraph has said.
Why the hell is he Chancellor of the Exchequer? Wouldn't it be a good idea to have someone in that post who can count to 12 without taking his shoes and socks off?
He's come up with a tax system so cumbersome, convoluted and unwieldy that he has to employ someone to explain it to him. What chance do the rest of us have? Unlike Darling and his colleagues, we can't just shove it on expenses along with everything else.
Saturday, 23 May 2009
He's just been caught boasting about how he's personally creamed off £2 million from his expenses and allowances.
The leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip), which wants to lead Britain out of the EU, has taken £2m of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary.
Nigel Farage, who is calling on voters to punish "greedy Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs" at the European elections on 4 June, boasted of his personal expenses haul at a meeting with foreign journalists in London last week.
During a debate about Europe at the Foreign Press Association - which was discreetly taped by the hosts - Farage was asked by former Europe minister Denis MacShane what he had received in non-salary expenses and allowances since becoming an MEP in 1999."It is a vast sum," Farage said. "I don't know what the total amount is but - oh lor - it must be pushing £2 million."
Give them enough rope, as the saying goes.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the "systematic humiliation" of MPs over their expenses is a threat to democracy in Britain.
Two things. Firstly, this is the House of Commons that was behind the systematic shaming of minor offenders by putting them in day-glo vests when they're doing their Community Service orders. The argument then was that shaming plays a part both in deterring others and cutting re-offending rates. I don't see many MPs wearing High Visibility Vests with "Community Payback" written on them. I don't see many people on Community Service orders being offered the option of getting away scot-free just by saying "Terribly sorry old chap".
But the bearded wonder goes on to somehow imply that democracy is at threat.
Dr Rowan Williams said the daily press revelations could erode people's confidence in the political system.
In the words of the legendary Watson "No shit Sherlock". Finding out what's been going on does tend to raise eyebrows. Would the blithering Bish prefer the press didn't report it? I rather think he would. But he misses the point.
We didn't go to war with Germany because the press said Herr Hitler was a bad guy, we did it because he bloody invaded Poland! We're not furious with politicians because the press write stories, we're furious because they've been stealing from us for years.
And the only reason they're feeling sorry for themselves and handing some back is because they were bloody well caught!
If it hadn't been leaked, they would have carried on regardless, getting duck houses and dog food, moats cleaned and wisteria pruned. They would have been shafting us daily and getting rich off our backs whilst all the while telling us sanctimoniously to tighten our belts in a recession. We lose our jobs. We lose our homes, marriages fail, crime goes up, people die as a direct result of their incompetence and all the time they're stuffing their faces in restaurants subsidised by us, getting rich on the property ladder subsidised by us. Whilst we live in fear of going to jail because this month the choice was between food for the kids and the TV licence, they're buying 50" Plasma TVs and having them delivered all over the country.
Democracy is at stake you bearded buffoon because people have found out that we don't have democracy. The stone has been lifted and as the worms squirm and the cockroaches scuttle, we're finding out about the profoundly sleazy nature of Westminster. Party Whips and blokes in tights fighting tooth and nail to fashion laws to suit the political classes. Politicians pass laws one day giving the State the power to read every e-mail in the country then the next day they try to exempt themselves from Freedom of Information. These buggers forced millions of smokers into the streets, made lepers of them all and delivered a mortal blow to the pub industry, but they exempted themselves. They puff away merrily in Commons Bars, sniggering at us bloody proles.
Archbishop of Canterbury I've got news for you. This is 2009, not 1009. We don't have an aristocracy with the power of life and death over the peasants. I know you and your lot did rather well out of the Feudal System, but we ain't going back.
We will have our pound of flesh and I suggest you shut your trap and keep your head down. Because once we've finished with this lot, we've got an eye on you and your chums in the House of Lords.
Friday, 22 May 2009
And the public don't get the luxury of being told "You're losing your job, but not for a year. Carry on stuffing your pockets until then - it's all within the rules and remember we'll give you a £30,000 farewell gift and a pension. You'll get to keep the plasma tellys, the laptops, the photocopiers, the furniture and the house that the taxpayer paid for too."
They just don't, can't, won't get it will they? They live like Royalty, insulated from the real world and they're trembling in terror at the thought of a newspaper headline?
Sod this letting them step down next year lark. If any of them are even suspected of breaching public trust, they should resign their seats immediately. We simply cannot afford to have thieves with their hands on the purse strings.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Here are two examples. The first was to the Royal College Of Nursing.
My colleague passed your e-mail and manifesto onto me. My name is Alan Wallace and I am the number one list candidate with Jury Team in Scotland.
My mother is a District Nurse and has been for over 30 years now. I grew up hearing of life as a nurse and I have seen first hand the difficulties that nurses face trying to deliver the patient care their training expects whilst coping with constantly changing management demands. I have seen my mother crying with frustration at times, so this is something that really does matter to me.
The EU does not have a direct remit for health at the moment, although there are moves in this direction. It is of vital importance that Nurses are adequately represented in Europe now, before legislation is passed. It'll be no good campaigning after the event. We can do much to influence policy over the next five years.
I feel that we cannot continue to fool ourselves with the faded mantra that the NHS is the "envy of the world". It isn't any more. A 200% increase in the money spent on quangos (over £700 million a year now) since Labour took power in 1997 has been money wasted. Politicians eager to make a splash in the media have meddled incessantly and all to the detriment of nurses.
I want to change that. I believe the answers to NHS reform are to be found with nurses and doctors, not with chairmen and directors.
I would be delighted to work hand in hand with the RCN to help heal the NHS and bring the best in European practice to Britain.
Most of all, I owe it to my mother.
This one was a quite detailed question list.
My Jury Team colleague Austin passed your questions on to me and I'd be happy to reply. My name is Alan Wallace
1) What do you consider should be the role for Scotland within Europe?
Scotland, whether part of the UK or as an Independent member brings a strong tradition of liberal democracy to the European Union. We should never forget that the Scottish Enlightenment has made Europe and indeed the world at large a safe place for democracy. The lead we have shown Europe and the lead we continue to show Europe when you look at the transparent and open nature of the Scottish Parliament is one that we need to shout about and hold up as an example. Scotland has an enviable record of integrating new arrivals whilst being tolerant of their beliefs and I think our experience here is something Europe can learn from. The fact that our politicians are arguably closer to their constituents than anywhere else in Europe is also something to be proud of. In environmental industry, charities and in our criminal justice system, Scotland is regarded as one of the leading nations in the world. So our role is to continue to lead by example.
2) How do you consider that the European Parliament should influence the rest of the world, particularly in relationship to issues such as development/ health and education funding in developing countries?
This is an area where we urgently need reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. We have import tariffs of over 200% on some goods from developing countries whilst the EU actively subsidises European farmers to produce the same goods. Sugar beet for example is subsidised to the tune of hundreds of millions of Euros a year whilst Third World producers of sugar cane face import tariffs. The best way to help developing nations in my opinion is to allow them to trade fairly, as full and equal partners. It is insane that we spend millions paying French farmers to produce sugar
when developing countries are desperate to sell it to us at a fair price. Reforming the CAP would be the single greatest act Europe could possibly do for developing countries.
3) How would you use the European Parliament to work towards better equality in life expectancy across Scotland?
We urgently need to look at why the NHS compares so badly with health care systems in Europe. We spend over £700m a year on quangos, up almost 200% since New labour came to power promising to cut quangos. In the NHS, someone contracts MRSA or C Diff every 10 minutes. 6500 people a year die unnecessarily from these hospital-acquired infections, that's 120 a week. In European countries, that figure is just 100 deaths
a year, less than 2 a week. We must stop patting ourselves on the back and telling each other that the NHS is the "envy of the world". It isn't and we can learn a lot from European healthcare.
4) What is the single most important issue to you in these elections?
Cleaning up the politics. We must bring MEPs and the European Parliament closer to ordinary people. We must be able to trust our politicians. As recent events have shown and the very reason Jury Team exists, our party political system is institutionally corrupt and undemocratic. We can't expect politicians who have spent their entire careers immersed in a culture of abusing power and money to suddenly change their spots.
If our politicians can't change, we must change the politicians.
5) What do you think should be done to ensure that MEP's expenses are probably and fairly administered?
The winds of change are blowing through Westminster right now, but the European Parliament is unaffected, despite being arguably the most corrupt and wasteful political organisation on the planet. The existing MEPs and the party candidates are serene and aloof from the furore in Westminster but they are complicit in a deeply corrupt institution. I intend to lead by example. I will publish all my expenses online every month. In addition, I will publish a schedule whereby people will see a month in advance what votes are coming up and who I am meeting with. Any member of the public will be able to post questions online for me to put to people I'm meeting with. They will be able to publicly indicate what votes are important. I will answer all posts. This is Open Democracy. This is real transparency. My hope is that other MEPs who are in marginal seats will see that what I do is popular and good for the
European Parliament. Being the people they are, they will be most attracted if they think it will get them votes.
My intention is to start a ripple. One man acting openly and honestly can influence those around him who will in turn influence others. This will in time become a wave backed by public opinion that will bring reform to the heart of the EU.
I hope this answers your questions Paula and thank you for going to the trouble of asking.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Bill Wiggin smiling broadly as he fills in his expenses claim form
A Tory whip claimed mortgage interest on his constituency home even though the house had never had a mortgage on it, the Daily Telegraph has reported.
Bill Wiggin said he made a mistake on the forms which was picked up in 2006. He said he should have been claiming for interest on his London second home. BBC
Oh I'm going to enjoy this one. I hate whips, the whole idea sets my teeth on edge. It's why I could never have stood for a party. What the hell gives a whip the right to force me to vote against the interests of the people who voted for me?
So come on Bill, how do you accidentally claim money for something you never had? It's like claiming petrol for a car you never owned, or child benefit when you're not a parent.
This is pure, unadulterated fraud. He's stolen money that could have been better spent elsewhere. In fact, I'd rather buy Hazel Blears a gimp mask than see my money go into your pocket. Will you resign now or wait until you're dragged off to a cell?
What do you mean Blears has already got one and wears it all the time?
But someone at Conservative HQ must have been digging a little deeper to find the Jury Team site because now they're jumping up and down about Open Primaries as if they're an innovation for the UK. Well they are, but only because Jury Team were the innovators. Here they are with Paxman, about 2:40 in - Newsnight
Just a reminder for our Conservative readers - an Open Primary means the public choose between candidates who put themselves forward, not from a list selected at Tory HQ. If you want to really embrace democracy, you can't do it with strings attached.
Mind you, if you really want democracy it'll mean disbanding the parties entirely and I rather think the vested interests at all the Party HQ's will fight tooth and nail to stay on the gravy train.
So don't expect democracy from the parties really. There's nothing in it for them.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
The SNP have launched their campaign for the Euro Elections. Alex Salmond told the BBC at the launch -
his was the only party offering a strong voice for Scotland in Europe.
Check out Vote Watch, an independent site that analyses all MEPs voting records.
Ian Hudghton voted loyally for the party 87.82% of the time, and showed loyalty to Scotland 57.42% of the time. Alyn Smith voted loyally for the party 88.63% of the time and showed loyalty to Scotland 55.12% of the time. There are 695 MEPs in Brussels more loyal to their home country than Smith, out of 777. That doesn't sound like a strong voice for Scotland in Europe to me at all. That sounds like a strong voice from the SNP for the SNP.
Party Politicians are in it for the Party. The only time you count is when they want your vote.
Tell you what, vote for the guy who's going to put Scotland's interests first 100% of the time, not 55.12% of the time.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Stonborough said Martin had repeatedly failed to confront the issue of expenses. In 2003, he said, Martin lost his temper at the suggestion that his decision to claim a second home allowance on his house in Glasgow while living in a grace and favour home in Westminster did not “look good”.
“He reacted extremely violently,” said Stonborough, who added that Commons officials were too scared to question his decisions.
Too scared to question his decisions? Too scared to do their jobs? I think it's about time MPs learnt just who they really work for and I don't care how many silly robes and pairs of tights they wear.
But all that is to miss the point rather. Our MPs are now going to turn around and blame everything on the Speaker. "Please Miss, that big boy in the tights made us do it". To hell with that.
I was at an open air market thing today, handing out leaflets and just chatting. The depth of anger and revulsion at politicians I heard was incredible. And of course it got worse when I explained why MPs think the way they do, that the Party system forces the good ones to keep quiet. At one point someone asked who was funding me. I laughed and replied "You, if you'll put your hand in your pocket. Come on, cough up a quid to get rid of the crooks." The reaction was astonishing. People pushed forward to put pound coins into my hands. I collected £108 in about ten minutes. People really are desperate to get the smug, self-satisfied, arrogant gits out.
The money will be well-spent. I have a Scottish marketing company who are so sold on the Jury Team concept that they're matching every pound I raise with a pound of their own to cover the cost of leaflets, posters, adverts and so on.
By the way, there's a shiny "Donate" button at the top of the page. Every pound you give will be doubled and will help get an Independent into Europe.
And I'll promise you this, there's no bugger in tights going to scare me into shutting up.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
I haven't blogged much this week, as I've been watching the expenses story continue to unfold. This week has givem us a rush of party leaders and dodgy MPs queuing up to say "sorry" on primetime TV. Let's be straight here -
SORRY FOLKS; TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
The evidence is clear - Jury Team Independent candidates base their position on principle and conviction - career politicians of all parties simply say what they think the public wants to hear, and even then, only when they are effectively backed into a corner.
I am particularly disgusted by the process of "flipping" properties, not only to maximise the allowances that can be claimed, but also to cynically avoid Capital Gains Tax. I don't particularly like stumping up my hard earned cash to the Revenue any more than the next man, however I accept that paying tax is an obligation and public duty - I want to live in a society which educates the young, looks after the sick and disabled, supports those in need, and gives the elderly dignity in their retirement. Schools, hospitals, pensions, social-security, defence - they all cost money, and that money has to be raised through taxes. In my book, manipulating the system to avoid paying tax that's due is morally repugnant. The sight of Hazel Blears and Greg Barker waving cheques around to apparently pay HMRC the money they supposedly "don't owe" (?) in unpaid Capital Gains Tax is truly bizarre. If they don't owe the tax, why are they paying it (especially as HMRC has a statutory duty to only take payment where it is due) - on the other hand if they do owe the tax, where is the interest and penalty charges? I'll be writing to the Revenue to ask them.....
Going down the lists, there's the usual suspects. Six of them are working the University-"Researcher"-MP/MEP route. A tried and tested method that makes sure that Party lickspittles keep beavering away in hopes of reward. Not having experienced a real job, little wonder that when the Party says "Jump" they don't even come back down until they get permission. There's a couple of bureacrats who no doubt know all the shady tricks of the EU and the usual mix of party workers and activists, mostly there to make up the numbers.
There are a couple of what I would call real people, people who have done a day's work and got their hands dirty. People for whom the receipt from Tescos doesn't automatically go into an envelope marked "Expenses", but they're both pretty far down the lists and have no chance of election. Probably there as the token "member of the proletariat" to be wheeled out in front of the cameras as somehow being evidence that the Party is linked to the real world.
It's depressing reading really. If we're going to change politics for the better, make it more accountable and relevant, then these just aren't the people to do it. They've all got a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
No doubt some will get elected then off they'll toddle to Brussels, never to be seen again until the next election. Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose, as our French chums would say.
Well stuff that. Let's send a rocket up the arses of the main parties and let them really know they've gone too far this time. If you're reading this and thinking "I'm a party man and I'll always support them", here's your chance to really get their attention.
The Parties don't really care about Europe, they don't care about MEPs. Can you name an MEP? Well done you if you can because the vast majority of the public can't. That's because the Parties use Europe as a dumping ground for their more embarassing but too-senior-to-be-sacked members. They use it as a reward for long-serving Party members & activists and as a training ground for students. Why do you think no Jack Straw's, Malcolm Rifkind's, John Sweeney's or Charles Kennedy's go for an MEP slot? They would undoubtedly get first place on the Party list and be guaranteed a slot. The answer is MEPs are effectively powerless Party functionaries who get ignored by the media. The six from Scotland are swallowed up by the mass of more than seven hundred other MEPs. All the bullshit being spouted about "A Stronger Voice for Scotland" is just that - bullshit. They pounce on any piece of EU legislation that benefits Scotland and promptly announce "I did that. That was me that was." Like hell it was. Do you think six MEPs can persuade the other seven hundred to do something for Scotland?
No, let's use this election to do something different. Let's show the Parties that we're serious about wanting them to change, we're seriously hacked off with the corruption and we're serious about wanting to be heard. Vote for an Independent. It's not being disloyal, it's not going to hurt your preferred Party in the slightest. But it will make them realise that reforming themselves is urgently necessary.
Friday, 15 May 2009
After all, the Green Book on claims says clearly
should be wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member's parliamentary duties
I can't see how trouser presses and hanging flower baskets fit in there. Never mind that some of them are paying them back. Never mind that some claims were refused.
What kind of idiot cannot understand -
wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member's parliamentary duties
Here's what Giuliano Amato said about the Lisbon Treaty in a speech to the Centre of European Reform on the 12th July 2007 -
They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the perception... Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum because it would mean that there was something new.
The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this (Lisbon) Treaty is to be unreadable... The constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.
So we're expected to believe that MPs who cannot comprehend 13 words guiding expense claims have managed to read, digest and understand 160,000 words of a treaty designed to be unreadable?
And then they decide not to let us have a say in a referendum. Just in case anyone did actually read the thing and understand it I suppose.
We simply cannot allow this to continue.
We have a simple solution.
Don't vote for anyone connected to the political machine that has been lying to us for so long. I'm prepared to take my chances with 72 total strangers on June 4th rather than those that have repeatedly demonstrated they can't be trusted.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of moats and troughs and stealing tax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings."
Apologies to Lewis Carrol
There are some who say the expenses row is a trivial distraction from the real issues. I disagree. Would you trust a child molester to do your babysitting? Would you give a pyromaniac a box of matches? Would you ask the Artful Dodger to mind your wallet? Our MPs are utterly discredited and we need a new broom. Yes good MPs will be swept away too, (the ones who notably kept their mouths shut and put Party before propriety), but are we seriously suggesting that in a country of over 60 million souls we can't find 645 honest replacements?
We need to deep clean Parliament. Out with the MPs who have failed us. Out with the civil servants who signed off the receipts. Out with anyone connected with this whole damn sorry mess.
And we can make a start at the European Elections.
Let's be perfectly frank here. The 72 MEPs we send to Europe are going to do damn all of consequence for
So if our MEPs can't make a meaningful difference to EU Policy, let's use them as a stepping stone to making a meaningful difference in
And there's good reason not to send Party MEPs to
And that's no exaggeration. David Craig and Matthew Elliott in their book "The Great European Rip-Off" showed in excruciating detail how MEPs can skim off 230,000 Euros a year from expenses and allowances - 1,150,000 Euros over a five year term. The way the pound is going, the Party MPs will be multimillionaires by 2014.
Jury Team Candidates have one thing in common. They differ in opinions about the environment, immigration, EU policies etc etc etc, but they are all wedded to the idea of transparency. If a significant number of them get into
And when the General Election comes you'll have something to compare the Parties to. You'll be able to see if Independent MPs really can make a difference.
I believe they can. And I also believe that, by setting an example they can drag the Parties along the road to reforming themselves and creating a new politics for
A vote for a Party on June 4th is a wasted vote and a wasted opportunity for real change.
Sing along, you know you want to. (The old Nat King Cole classic, The Party's Over)
The party's over it's time to call it day,
Oh can I claim for balloons or maybe the tunes my cleaner might play?
My moat is clear now, I've flipped my house,
The porns not mine dear it was my spouse.
The party's over cos two brain's light bulbs went dim.
It will be horribly missed the John Lewis list
And the puppy must slim.
Oh what a caper, some rotten hack,
We're in the paper and getting flak.
Maybe its time now to pay some back
The party's over, yes time to call it a day.
A soldier loses a limb, a pittance for him is all they will pay.
Pensioners' rise is 25p
Home repossessions, Child poverty.
The party's over, two million plus on the dole.
But lets not worry 'bout them those women and men but lets find the mole.
Why did we do it? We had no need,
The people see it as simply greed.
Oh yes its over indeed.
The party's over and our poor country is broke,
And none of them will confess that they all made this mess.
More pay - what a joke.
As for the children why can't they see?
A massive debt is their legacy.
The party's over no votes for red or for blues.
The commons now is so hushed
And sorrows are drowned in subsidised booze.
Keep your contrition shurely the end,
No rules were broken you made them bend.
So its over, really over my friend.
CM The Queen of Doggerel
I'm willing to bet not a word would have passed their lips about expenses.
Jury Team was founded on principles of transparency and the demand for MPs to be on the same pay scales as civil servants was penned a long time ago, even before the Speaker's arse started itching. I signed up to Jury Team and pledged to publish my expenses online before the Telegraph story broke. Unsurprising really as those that know me online and in life are well aware that I've always expressed my disgust at the sleaziness and corruption of some of our politicians.
Well here we go again. I wonder if the following pledge will be taken up by the party animals?
Jury Team is based on the premise that ordinary people can lead by example, as we'll prove every day upon election. In a small way, Scottish Charities will benefit directly from this Jury Team candidate being elected.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
My advice is, if you can find a candidate you know to be a good man, you should vote for him regardless of party.
So look at who your candidates are, not what party they belong to. Give special consideration to whether you have an Independent candidate worth supporting, including some of the Jury Team. Remember people are more important than labels.
Politics should always be about the people not about the party.
It seems others don't have the same opinion of the current expenses scandal that the majority of the population does. A thread was started today titled "Wouldn't you?".
Wouldn't you ... make the best of any expenses and allowances available if you were an MP. that is?
Some of the responses -
Yes, of course I would. And I'd invent some self-justification in my head if anyone challenged me on the morality of it as people do in these situations.
There's been a lot of talk about "pigs at the trough" and huffing and puffing about the outrageous singular immorality of MPs. Hogwash (no pun intended), anyone who knows anything about the general public will know that if they have the chance of getting something and making someone else shoulder the bill they'll do it.
Some of the expense claims are a bit dodgy but in the end, if they allow them to claim for a second home then that's mostly all that they have done as far as I can see.
Hazel Blears (noisome as she is) did exactly what I considered a couple of years back to avoid capital gains tax on a house sale. In that case I think you'd have been stupid not to do it given that it's within the law. Turned out it my case I'd no need but the potential hole in my finances from capital gains tax made me look into avoiding it quite heavily.
So yes, I'll say yes, I probably would.
Is it just me?
By the way, the full thread can be found here
Strange, strange people.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
There is a petition already running to get a General Election called.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to call a general election immediately.
The last two local elections have shown that the people are no longer prepared to tolerate Nu-Labour without a mandate. Gordon Brown is a spent force and MUST now immediately go to the country - anything less will be be outright political fraud and maintenance of their expensive troughing lifestyles at all cost.
It's only got 6 weeks or so to go so we need to get this circulated. E-mail it, blog it, twitter it, whatever. Get this passed on and let's really keep the pressure on. The media sometimes picks up on these things if the totals get high enough so...
A Guest post from fellow blogger Constantly Furious
Whenever CF hears of people committing frauds and other self-enriching crimes being punished, their punishment is not only jail or a fine: they usually have to pay back what they stole.
It strikes CF that this is a perfect opportunity for MP's to redeem themselves (well at least partially: we'll never really like you much). But, MP's, you're all a bit hard of hearing, apparently, so we're going to give you some loud, clear directions.
We're going to start a campaign - the PAY IT BACK campaign - you're going to do what we tell you to.
So here's what you're going to do, troughers. Go through all your paperwork; go through the shoeboxes full of receipts; go through what the Daily Telegraph has already published (or could yet publish) about you; gather it all together, and prepare for a long evening with a calculator. Or a spreadsheet. Bet we bought you a laptop recently.
Decide which claims you're completely comfortable with, and which now make you feel (or should make you feel) gut-churningly ashamed. Now add up the claims you now realise were not morally right (fuck whether they were "within the rules" or not - it seems everything is).
Now you've got a total - quite a large one, for some of you - of expenses you know in your heart you shouldn't have claimed. Even if "everyone else was"; even if it was "within the rules".
Make out a cheque for that amount, and pay it back.
Some of these cheques might be quite large. You'll have to do what the rest of us do when we suddenly need a large amount of money: you might have to get a loan; you might perhaps re-mortgage one of your houses, or even - oh dear - sell one. You might have to trade down to a smaller car. Your partner might have to get a job. Tough shit.
When the cheque has cleared (not before - we don't trust you that much), announce to your constituents and to your local press (national press for Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet) exactly how much you paid back, how much you kept and what your reasons were.
Then we'll all know exactly what kind of an MP and person you are, how we feel about you specifically (rather than the troughing class as a whole) and whether we'll let you keep your job. The 'Court of Public Opinion', if you will.
Feel free to pay nothing back at all, as long as you're prepared to stand up in public and announce why you - you personally, not your party, not MP's generally - are not going to give a penny back. Feel free to pay it all back just for good publicity even though you secretly don't think you should - at least we'll have our money back. Pay back as little, or as much, as you're willing to justify personally.
But for fucks sake, get on with it. We're watching you. We're going to Twitter you, and Facebook you, and MySpace you and Blog about you. If you don't know what any of that is, then we'll buy some stamps and fucking write to you. When this campaign gets some legs, you'd better to be one of the first on their hind legs waving a big cheque, not the last.
All together now: "PAY IT BACK ... PAY IT BACK ... PAY IT BACK ...."
UPDATE: its starting: according to Guido Fawkes, Margaret Moran is paying back 22.5 grand for her "dry rot". Come on the of rest you: PAY IT BACK
(Hat tip to Mark Thompson at Mark Reckons, who also suggests tagging Twitter tweets with "#Payitback".)
MPs' EXPENSES: Lord Tebbit defies Tories to tell voters: 'Don't vote for ANY party in European elections'Source - Daily Mail
Lord Tebbit is risking expulsion from the Conservatives after urging voters not to back the party in next month's European elections.
The former Tory chairman said the vote gave anyone outraged by MPs' abuse of expenses an 'ideal opportunity' to send a message to all three main parties by not voting for any of them.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, 78-year-old Lord Tebbit said it was clear that Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs had been behaving like 'welfare junkies' addicted to abusing their Commons allowances.
'Local elections, the great British public should treat just as normal,' he said. 'But at the European elections, in my judgment they should send a very sharp message to the leaders of the three national parties by not voting for any of the national party candidates.'
Just a reminder about Jury Team -
POLITICS WITHOUT PARTIES
Elected representatives should vote according to their view of what is best for the country and their constituents and not at the direction of a political party
Nice to see that the people who really know what is going on recognise that Jury Team is the only logical answer.
Hat Tip - Guido
Monday, 11 May 2009
From the BBC
Actor Stephen Fry has criticised the interest in MPs' expenses and said that: "It's not that important, it really isn't."He goes on to say that he has cheated on his own expenses.
I've cheated on expenses and fiddled things, YOU have, of course you have.
And I'm sure there are many others as outraged as I am at being called a thief by you.
My mother taught me right from wrong.
We're not talking about taking a few pens from the office here, we're talking about serious fraud running to hundreds of thousands of pounds. That may be a piffling amount to you, but it could be a lifetime's earnings for someone on minimum wage.
How the other half lives eh?
I've just submitted the following petition to the 10 Downing St Site:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Dissolve Parliament immediately and call a General Election
Submitted by Alan Wallace – Deadline to sign up by: 11 August 2009
Category: Government, politics and public administration
Members of Parliament have demonstrated by their actions, words and deeds that they do not represent the people of Great Britain any longer. Parliament must be dissolved immediately and a General Election called to allow the people a democratic voice.
Let's see if they put it up.
Update - Rejected
I'm sorry to inform you that your petition has been rejected.
Your petition was classed as being in the following categories:
* Duplicate - this is similar to and/or overlaps with an
existing petition or petitions
If you wish to edit and resubmit your petition, please follow
the following link:
You have four weeks in which to do this, after which your
petition will appear in the list of rejected petitions.
But the good thing is, there is actually a petition currently running. The search function at the site is bog-awful so I never spotted it.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Senior Labour figures say that the future privatisation of the Fees Office to process claims would exempt receipts from publication under Freedom of Information rules.
Do they not understand? Are they hard of thinking? They are public employees entrusted with public money. After the revelations of the last few days and particularly in a recession, what is so hard to comprehend about the public having a right to know where it goes and how it's spent?
As a Jury Team candidate, every penny of public money that passes through my hands will be published and made available for public scrutiny. For the last six years I've had an expense account in my job and every single claim has been accompanied by a receipt and an explanation. I haven't even claimed for bridge tolls because I couldn't supply a receipt.
As for allowances, don't they understand that a maximum figure is not a target?
I've seen it happen so many times that managers of departments are given a budget and they think they must spend it all. There's a golden rule in business - if you don't absolutely need it, you don't buy it or spend money on it.
But MPs know little of the real world obviously. They're not used to anyone saying "No" to them.
That's why Jury Team is different. We're drawn directly from the ranks of the public. Business people, charity workers, Public Sector employees, people from all walks of life who actually look like and talk like the public we represent. For us, it's not about who we know but what we know and the most important thing is we know what it's like to live under a political system where politicians just do not have a clue how we actually live.
In under four weeks, we have a chance to really shake up politics, to start a ripple that will spread and gather pace. Ordinary people working honestly and openly, with a passion to change things for the better. We're not careerists, we haven't spent years scratching backs and stockpiling favours to be paid back. Our loyalty is solely to our peers - the public.
On June 4th, do yourself a favour, you deserve it.
Parliament should be dissolved if the expenses scandal continues to rumble on, a former Commons deputy speaker said.
Tory Lord Naseby said the status of Parliament had been brought "right down into the pits" and Gordon Brown could be forced to call a general election as a result.
The peer said the public had lost confidence in their elected representatives, leaving a fresh vote the only option.
Spot on. We need to clear this shower out. However, Lord Naseby goes on to say:
The majority of members, I think, do a genuine job, work hard and try and look after their constituents' interest.
Let's have an Election, but let's send back people unconnected with the sleazy political circus. If they work for a Party, they stink just as much as the thieves at the top.
They're more open at Holyrood because they're forced to be, but given a sniff of the Westminster trough they're in like Flynn.
Take Alex Salmond -
- Expenses - The Honourable Solution
- Bin Laden Captured
- History In The Making
- Cleaning up Politics
- Labour & SNP almost on shagging terms
- Part Of The Solution
- Tories Want Scots To Vote For A Thief
- Sunny D's A Control Freak At Heart
- Sunny D - Waffle, Spin & Shite
- Monsters In Disguise
- Why A Party Vote Is A Wasted Vote
- Darling Can't Count
- UKIP - Thieves like the rest of them
- Community Payback
- The Absolute Hypocrisy of UKIP
- Suicide Watch? Get a grip?
- Letters to Voters
- Who's Whipping Who Now?
- Esther Rantzen Stands By Jury Team
- Thieving Tories See The Light
- My Personal Contract With The Voters
- SNP - Half Hearted Nationalists
- One Down, Over Six Hundred To Go
- Lining up the Scapegoat
- Too Little, Too Late
- Voting for Donkeys
- Queen speaks out about expenses
- Can We Trust the Incompetent?
- Clean Out The Cesspit
- All together now, sing!
- Supporting Scotland
- Who Do We Vote For?
- How the other half thinks.
- Sign the Warrant here!
- Pay it Back
- Does Norman Tebbit Support Jury Team?
- Stephen Fry Talks Out His Arse
- Petition To Dissolve Parliament
- A Question for UKIP
- They Just Don't Get It Do They?
- Joanna Lumley to lead Labour
- Help get the pigs out of the trough
- A Snap General Election
- The Truth About MPs Expenses
- No wonder he's laughing.
- The Party's Over
- Gordon Brown - The Dancing Clown
- So What Are You Going To Do About Our Corrupt Poli...
- Living a life of Fiction
- Take Away Their Houses
- Report the Pigs to the Taxman
- The Wisdom Of Crowds
- Squeal Piggies, Squeal
- Blind to Justice?
- They Dine, You Whine
- Does She Think We're Thick?
- What Does The EU Cost YOU?
- A bit like North Korea only less democratic
- Take Away The Trough
- Shame? They don't know the meaning of the word.
- ▼ May (60)