Thursday 9 April 2009

Brown snubs copper

One to savour over Easter.

The Tamils are still there, persistent blighters.

There’s only a small hardcore group left but it has been three days now.

Last night their mesmeric chanting was starting to send me off to sleep at the end of the day.

Even if they didn’t achieve their goal, at least they gave some company to the other 24/7 protest that’s on Parliament Square.

You know, the anti-war one – it includes that woman who harassed Alan Duncan and screams through a loud-hailer that we’re all baby killers.

Bob Quick has resigned!

Just heard it on the Today show.

Boris said it was "a matter of great sadness".

Quick does a Flint

Someone somewhere might be tempted to have sympathy for Bob Quick.

The country's top counter-terrorist cop revealed briefing papers to the press on the way in to Number 10 jeopardising a big operation.

They might feel it's an easy mistake to make when you don't think anyone is looking.

They would be wrong. The thing you never see in any of the photos of Number 10 is the army of photographers.

But the people who walk in can't miss them - they're the ones pointing flashing cameras at you.

Anyone who's been there, especially a top terrorism cop, should simply know better.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Osborne talks post-crash policymaking

George Osborne talks with RSA Chief Exec Matthew Taylor

Economy, economy, economy

A question was raised today about whether the Tories were focusing too strongly on the economy.

Cameron has made only one speech on health and education compared to 18 on the economy in the past nine months, the FT reported.

The focus is based on a judgement call – a shadow minister told Lobbydog that the feeling was that Labour had misjudged public opinion by continually hammering away on spending policy.

People know all parties will have to tighten spending, said the shadow minister. Meanwhile Labour has been seen to fritter money without enough in return - on the NHS over the last ten years and on a fiscal stimulus more recently.

Now, they argued, winning votes is about convincing people you can manage money.

That may be true but Cameron would be wise not to lose ground he has made on public services up until now.

Like Blair in 97, Cameron knows a big election win requires convincing voters from the other-side you’re a safe pair of hands for the things they care about too.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Lobbydoggies bite bank bosses

A couple of weeks back Lobbydog posted on the attack on Fred Goodwin’s house.

The post went on to rack up a massive 51 comments – the most ever on this blog – and I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at what readers said.

Of the comments 92% were in support of Bank Bosses Are Criminals’ action and 4% (two comments) were against.

Of the comments that supported the action 61% displayed high levels of anger and vitriol suggesting the depth of feeling i.e. one called for his execution.

They included:

If I rob an off license - I go to Jail. This guy robs millions off of us - And he gets government protection.
I agree with what the BBCA did - But they should have burnt his house down to the ground

And the revolutionary longing…

I couldn’t care less about his wife and kids she and they know what this scumbag has done they deserve all they get just like the French royal family in 1798, cut there heads off.

But many were also measured and thoughtful...

If it is proven they acted irresponsibly and in a manner that would lead to loss of share value or jobs. Then he and his board are all liable for prosecution. If proven, they are indeed criminals.

And the positively constructive…

Fred and his ilk didn't break the law. What they have done is perfectly legal. So change the law.

Against the action, but no less anger ridden was…

Has the whole world gone completely insane?!?!? What the hell is vandalism of his property going to achieve? ...Goodwin's is being paid by RBS for christ's sake, you morons are just aggrevating a situation that is far from ideal as it is. Just stop pointing the finger and get over it.

Bearing in mind this was before the G20, the post seemed to become a rally point for people going on the demonstration.

I love the way the web works like that. Plus you never know who's reading the blog at any given time, so very interesting to get snap shot.

Tamils stop me getting coffee - disrupting my entire life

When surrounded by demonstrations all day, every day a person tends to become numb to protests.

But I have to hand it to the Tamils, they are making themselves heard.

They arrived outside Parliament at about lunchtime yesterday and sat in the road in what was an illegal protest – it has never been violent, they just sat there and sang songs.

The police closed off the road and Westminster tube station when I was trying to go home last night. One chap also jumped into the Thames.

Then I was amazed to find them still there today, and slightly irritated that I couldn’t get to my usual cafĂ© for a caffeine hit.

But for their efforts I thought they deserved a mention, though I’m not sure what they hope to achieve.

Even if the British Government could do anything to bring about a ceasefire in Sri Lanka I doubt they would.

UPDATE: I think the police are now trying to move them by force, but they're refusing. A number are being led away in cuffs.

8.44 am: With a bit of argy-bargy the police have now pushed them off Westminster Bridge and on to Parliament Square where they began.

Monday 6 April 2009

Hoon's constituents speak out

EXPENSES: The 7 principles of public life

Harriet Harman told Lobbydog today he would have to wait for the Christopher Kelly review for any changes in the expenses system.

So I just thought I’d remind Sir Chris of his Standards in Public Life Committee's first report.

It sets out the seven principles of public life: Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Selflessness: Putting other people’s interests before your own. That means taxpayers too.

Integrity: Sticking to high moral principles. Not claiming on parliamentary allowances for watching Pleasure Island starring Long Dong Silver.

Objectivity: Means addressing the question in a fair way, not avoiding it.

Accountability: People taking responsibility for their actions, not implying that they were only following rules – as if they didn’t have a choice.

Openness: Not fighting a High Court battle to prevent the release of receipts claimed on expenses.

Honesty: More than just telling the truth when asked. It is about being open and forward in your truthfulness.

Leadership: Being brave enough to high-light publicly what everyone knows to be wrong and then make a strong decision to put it right. Doing so in a determined way, without relying on bureaucratic justification.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Hoon-gate is like a little worm eating my brain

I can’t get this Hoon business out of my head. Everything reminds of it.

I write to you, dear readers, from the home of my sister-in-law in Nottingham where I am marooned.

I missed the train to London I was meant to be getting and there wasn’t another for an hour and that service would’ve taken over three hours – I could fly to Portugal in that time.

Plus it would mean buying an entirely new ticket at an inflated price, when the original ticket was already ridiculous.

I can’t use the old ticket, or even pay the difference – it has to be a whole new ticket. What cretin made that rule up?

The trains from Nottingham to London are always shocking on Sunday because of “track improvements” that seem to have been going on for ever.

Who can I be angry at for that little issue – who other than Mr Hoon our Transport Secretary.

As a result of all this I have to catch a lift with my brother-in-law to London at 4am in the morning for work tomorrow.

He is a normal person who, when he needs to get to the capital for work, drives there.

He doesn’t buy another house in London and kit it out using taxpayers’ cash.

HOON - So much p*ss has been taken, there isn't any left

Geoff “three homes” Hoon ripped another toe-nail out of the torture victim that is MPs’ integrity today.

You’ve all read the story – the Notts MP lived rent free for three-and-a half years in Admiralty House while earning money from his main home in London by renting it to a private tenant.

At the same time he claimed £70,000 in allowances on his “constituency” home in Derbyshire – even though his Ashfield constituency is in Notts.

I could only get hold of someone close to the former Defence
Secretary today – “three homes” is probably busy mowing three lawns, cooking three Sunday roasts or taking three dogs for walks.

The spokeswoman inevitably said no rules had been broken and that Hoon would welcome the results of the review into expenses.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said this has to stop – screw the review I say. Scrap second home allowances now.

Build a block of rooms near Westminster where all MPs sleep, give them tokens so they can get a bus from there to Parliament.

Let those who live a specified long way away claim for travel to get home when PArliament isn't sitting and then provide each MP with a lump sum to run their office – job done.