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January 20, 2009

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John

So Paul Flynn (a.k.a. HuwOS?) won't confront the issue directly or correct the misleading impression that this was all about private disclosure of receipts.

Huw's point on materiality would be valid were this an isolated incident. When it comes after 10 years of a government responsible for a pervasive culture of political lying and a dismantling of traditional civil service checks and balances, don't you understand people's argument of principle, Huw? Especially when we hear about Margaret Beckett expensing £2000 on a pergola.

Let's see, what else? The announcement was buried by the Heathrow news (we have to assume, on previous Labour form, that this was deliberate). And the government was so keen to block publication that it was happy to waste the £1m already spent preparing receipts. Reasonable to object yet, Huw?

It's time to wake up guys. Spend a decade manipulating statistics, shooting the messenger, fabricating evidence, re-announcing spending increases and downright lying, and you've lost the right to get indignant about the public questioning your integrity.

"This site is a forum for intelligient [sic] people."

Classic.

Praguetory

http://www.birminghammail.net/birmingham-blogs-views/birmingham-mail-columnists/the-stirrer/2009/01/22/all-our-mps-should-reveal-their-expenses-97319-22753036/

Praguetory

I don't care if you stick your head in the sand, the actual public debate is passing you by. Check out this article from my paper where some excellent reporting reveals local MPs' attitude to revealing their expenses. It's almost as if I wrote it myself. ;-)

HuwOS

So Dominic
Your interest in MP expenses isn't about the numbers although you say they are not trivial.
I would not call you old fashioned at all,
old fashioned would be concerned with numbers, people with genuine concerns worry about numbers.
People who are simply playing silly political games while real issues ravage the world are not old fashioned, they are pointless, pusillanimous phonies.

Paul's disinterest in the bill to provide publication of mps expenses under headings rather than simply publishing any and all receipts regardless of how small is somehow obfuscation to you.

Paul's interest in Government's end run around Parliament to grant contracts worth billions while exposing taxpayers to unlimited liability in case of any accidents these companies might have, whether their fault or not, you dismiss because Paul opposes new nuclear power stations, primarily due to the hidden but excessive costs to the taxpayer that they bring.

There is obfuscation from someone here but it seems that it is you not Paul.

Praguetory

HuwOS - you'll find that I'm very interested in fraud and waste, but I don't need some old Lefty to tell me that the bunch of third-raters in government wastes public money - and in any case Paul's Sellafield campaign is just part of an obsolete attack by Paul on nuclear power.

My interest in MP expenses isn't about the numbers (although those aren't trivial), but the integrity of our representatives. Call me old-fashioned, but I see a commitment to openness and transparency as an entry requirement if you want to be a serious politician. Unlike Paul, I hate to invoke Obama, but his statements on transparency contrast starkly with Paul's obfuscation.

HuwOS

Praguetory still has no sense of priorities
while he is looking forward to checking
mps expenses with a "fine-toothed comb", my MP, Paul Flynn has taken a lead in trying to get accountability for £22 billion pounds of contracts.

Praguetory has apparently no interest in this, perhaps we could have some reason
why that expenditure of tax payers money
is of so much less interest to him.


Praguetory

I share the feelings of Labour MP Frank Field who recently wrote to one of his contituents that 'my blood boils at the thought that we shouldn't disclose our expenses'.

Before this latest Labour fiasco very few of the public seemed to care about standards in public life. Recent government action appeared to have changed that, as I find that I'm in the 97% of voters who in a very recent poll think that our MPs do have something to hide.

I may not be a constituent of Paul's (thank goodness) but my tax money certainly is spent on expenses by him and as a representative in Parliament he is there to serve the country. I expect full access to expenses claimed by people working for me in the same way as if I employed them.

Paul's suspicious smokescreen fantasising of embattled Labour MPs as victims of a witch-hunt is cobblers. Other politicians such as James Cleverly, Lorely Burt and Douglas Carswell have voluntarily disclosed their expenses on their website. Trust is to be earned. And yes - as with several other Labour MPs who have consistently voted against a transparent Parliament I will be going through Paul's expenses with a fine-toothed comb and disseminating into the media any unacceptable claims.

patrick

praguetoryisms

"Looking forward to running through your expenses with a fine-toothed comb. Ha."

"Which part of being an MP don't you understand?"

"This is a forum for intelligent people!!! You are, of course, far better than us."

"Huw OS - Putting a grocer's apostrophe into the MP's is a sign of illiteracy"

"None of my comments are dull, unintelligent and infantile, rude, obnoxious or ignorant."

PT
All of your comments are dull, unintelligent and infantile, rude, obnoxious and ignorant.

Graham Marlowe

The problem is, Patrick that in certain areas you get places where the voters always return a Labour or Tory M.P. Some of the examples of "Labour" MPs in the North and North East East (e.g. Hutton,Field, Purnell, Byers) are hardly "Labour" at all, yet people will vote for them because they are wearing a red rosette. Dittio with the tories Blue rosette - we vote for him or her. THus you can get lazy or arrogant, out of touch MPs who are there not because of personal qualities but because they are in the "right" party. If it had not been for all the other parties standing aside for Martin Bell as an independent, that dreadful Hamilton would probably have got back in and would no doubt still be there now: that is about the only way you would get a poor MP out - By the way, I'd make a bet with you that if, as I suspect, New Labour get a really bad thrashing at the next election, looking as if they will be out of office for at least a decade there are a few MPs I shouldn't be a bit surprised, qwho crossed the floor. For example, Field has got very pally with Nicholas Soames in their immigrant-bashing group. And Hutton in his youth was a Tory. as for Purnell, well, what has he got in common with labour voters, educated in France, he probably heard only at secondhand from pater how beastly those lazy working-class people were. A real true blue Tory there.

patrick

If a lackie is someone in receipt of taxpayers money then that discriptive term can be applied to half of the nation including Civil Servants, Politicians, Army, Police, Fire Service, DRS, Nurses etc etc ......
We are lucky in the UK. If we don't like a representative we have an election every 4/5 years. If we don't like a party we can remove them. If it's making us really angry we have the option of standing as a local Councillor or MP ourselves.

praguetory

Huw OS - Putting a grocer's apostrophe into the MP's is a sign of illiteracy. This isn't a minor book-keeping issue and no headlines will be caused or votes swayed by people using an expensive ink refill or non-environmentally friendly lightbulb. This issue (the publishing of expenses in full) has already been agreed in Parliament. I object most strongly to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party putting forward a motion to block this at the last moment after almost all the work has been done on gathering this detail. As far as I see it, it establishes that MPs have something to hide which makes the actual publication of the expenses all the more important.

None of my comments are dull, unintelligent and infantile, rude, obnoxious or ignorant.


Graham Marlowe

Huw, Though I wouldn't personally use the term "lackey" there is no doubt that some MPs on all sides of the house go along with what their leadership says, even if they don't agree with it, just in the hope of currying favour with the leadership or with eyes on promotion. There are many Labour MPs who don't agree with the rubbish Purnell comes out with, for example, who still held their noses and their tongues and thus allowed this little creep to get away with implementing policy that even Thatcher would never have dreamt of (the same thing happened in Major's government when many Tory MPs who disagreed violently with privatisation of the railways because they knew the mess it would be, just went along with it)

You cannot blame the public for seeing such gross hypocrisy in a very poor light. Most of us, I believe, would not vote for something we don't believe in - that so many MPs do, shows them in a poor light. No I wouldn't say lacvkey, but I WOULD say unprincipled, weak-kneed lobby fodder.

Paul Flynn

Brilliant Huw.

We must meet sometime. I am not after your vote but keen to buy you a pint.

Best

HuwOS

Chunters
Paul doesn't call "anybody who disagrees with him" unintelligent.
Both in posts and in email correspondence Paul has argued and disagreed with people, both sides holding very strong views without him once calling the other dull or infantile.

He does however call things as he sees them
and rather unsurprisingly the barrage of ill informed, ranting from the 2 or 3 of you
cannot realistically be viewed as anything else other than dull, unintelligent and infantile, although rude, obnoxious and ignorant could indeed, also be added.

I am an actual constituent of Paul's so he is in fact my representative to Parliament, although I did not vote for him.
As an individual MP I am quite happy to be represented by Paul, it is the hijacked labour party that I cannot vote for.

This issue of publishing expense receipts is of monumental unimportance.
It is important that there are rules, and there are.
It is important that they are enforced and that is getting better.
But my representative needs to be dealing with important issues, currently the ongoing wars, the credit crunch, taxation, health care , welfare etc.
It is nigh on impossible for me to have any idea of how far down the list of actual issues this minor book keeping is.

So on that issue, whether Paul votes for, against or doesn't vote at all is utterly unimportant to me as it should be to you.

There is no benefit to any of us, poring over expenses receipts, so we can cluck at them having bought more printer ink or the wrong kind of lightbulb.
If we are their employers, it would be micromanagement of a ludicrous scale.

If we were as you are, simply begrudgers so mired in your own inferiority complexes that you are absolutely convinced that everyone else is getting a free ride in every way while we aren't, then at least the NHS may be able to provide some help.
Until you seek it however, you will continue to be easily distracted from real and important issues by irrelevant minutiae
played up for your benefit for those who enjoy watching you fizz and pop pointlessly.

MP's are our representatives, in a sense we are indeed their employer's.
Total cost to the average individual tax payer of all MP's being at most £25 per year, that's 4p per mp per year.
What portion of that do you think the expenses are?

Lastly,
Employed to be our representatives, is by no means the same as being a lackey,
readers will judge the sense, worth and capability of the writer according to the
use of that term, and will also undoubtedly
hope fervently that no one has the misfortune of being employed by you.


Praguetory, John
multiple exclamation marks are generally considered signs of a deranged mind.

Chunters

Paul Flynn said "I feel like apologising to my regular readers and contributors because the site has been invaded by few dullards. They have strayed over from sites where exchanging infantile abuse is their way of communicating.

Should I delete their comments or suffer fools gladly? I have left most of them on because they are self-defeating.

This site is a forum for intelligient people. Let's keep it that way."

This is typical of where you and your party are going wrong.
We, the voters who keep you in a job and pay your wages with our tax contributions are far less deluded than yourself.
Calling anybody who disagrees with unitelligent is really the way to bring people over to your way of thinking.

Also being accused of being a dullard and infantile won't help either.

Get a grip and understand why you have been invaded. It is that we are so very very angry about how you as one of our lackies are tacking the pi** out of us.

praguetory

This is a forum for intelligent people!!! You are, of course, far better than us.

Graham Marlowe

I honestly don't think Paul (and to be fair, most of his colleagues) realise just how thoroughly detested the New Labour shower are - I suspect they are as generally disliked now just as John Major's shower were in 1997. A lot of the problem then was that people were reckoned to eb sick of the sexual excess of some Tory MPs (who can ever forget headlines like "The End Of the Piers Show", or the revolting notion of Mellor in football kit bedding a tart), but now, though NL is generally free of sexual transgressions, they see alleged "Labour" MPs behaving like Tories in other ways - the self interest, the money grubbing etc etc. They also see discredited figures from the past being bought back and held up as the passport for winning the next election (some hope now) It also looks very bad for Brown to be giving the bankers another £300 billion to rescue them from their own greed and stupidity. I read today that a Russian oligarch defaulted on a £12 billion loan that was "written off" - so in other words WE are paying for that ponce. The bankers know now of course, that they will always be bailed out no matter what, so they won't "learn any lessons" as the favourite cliche has it.

But Paul, be warned the public are getting very angry - and some of the angriest are former loyal Labour voters.

patrick

Old Holborn
If you ever have the bottle you might decide to stand at the next election yourself. That way you could contribute to your Constituency/Country. But why do I feel you would rather perpetually whinge whoever was in Government?

Graham Marlowe

Paul, I really don't think you should insult your readers. After all, if New Labour is decimated at the next election there are quite a few of you who will be on the scrapheap. You always mount your high horse when people dare to disagree with you.

My old dad always used to say be nice to people on the way up because you might meet them aghainon the way down

patrick

Paul
Whether I agree or not with your daily postings I always congratulate you for having the bottle to raise the issues. A lot of other MP'S are far too busy doing their other jobs than to blog to their constituents.
On the expenses front, if self employed people like myself failed to provide receipts for every transaction they would be liable for investigation.
The Civil Servants (that don't have to have receipts) will then invite me to the tax office and toothcombe and scrutinise every penny on my bank statements.
What I expect is equality.If I'm to be quizzed about buying a packet of polos then Iexpect the civil servant questioner whose wages i'm paying to be questioned likewise.

Let's have equality.

Paul Flynn

I feel like apologising to my regular readers and contributors because the site has been invaded by few dullards. They have strayed over from sites where exchanging infantile abuse is their way of communicating.

Should I delete their comments or suffer fools gladly? I have left most of them on because they are self-defeating.

This site is a forum for intelligent people. Let's keep it that way.

John

It seems that the wheels are coming off UK plc at the moment and we will be into a post war economy by the middle of 2010.

The frightneing thing is that both Labour and Tory are at a total loss and I fear for our country


GB has pulled the vote he now realises how this plays in the yes of the public.

Can I just stand up for Paul you may not agree with some of his views but he is one of the very few MP's who have some integrity left. I used to be a Labour voter but haven't voted for them since we went into Iraq plus my MP is Richard Caborn (exasperated sigh)

I would vote Labour again If Paul was my MP but won't vote for one of the major parties again its a wasted vote!!!

praguetory

Looking forward to running through your expenses with a fine-toothed comb. Ha.

Chunters

So Mr. Flynn your boss has bottled again.

No vote on Thursday.

I'd bet however you sneek it threw when it's a good time to bury bad news.

Matt

Sir

You have failed to understand the point in the FOIA and its play on public confidence.

An order under the FOIA to avoid compliance from a decision notice (and potentially a high court judgement in favour of the grounds) is a dangerous play on public confidence.

The FOIA only works because convention stops MPs, like you, using veto. Jack Straw's comments in his position as the Home Sec on NOT using the veto are important. The Phillis report literally demanded the Government give an undertaking not to use the veto.

If the FOIA veto is used once, it breaks the chain of trust between the public and the exec. It wipes out nearly 20 years of the Right to Know and the successive Open Government initiatives.

Quite simply put, we the public should be allowed to monitor the receipts those we elect. How else are we going to condemn corruption and misappropriation?

There is a clear cause of bias and impropriety notwithstanding a breach of the ministerial code. This whole saga will only come up again and again, but with a lot more publicity when the public seeks judicial review.

Vote with your responsible hat on Sir. If you have something to hide, I shall be happy to see you, party affiliation aside, in Private Eye.

Matt

John

Paul, I am hoping that you have misinterpreted the expenses plans: the paragraph below could be construed as misleading otherwise.

The effect of the order is to prevent MPs' expense receipts being made public. This debate is not about whether receipts must be produced in private to justify expense claims.

The fact that Labour is claiming that overall effect would be to improve transparency just shows how intoxicated the party has become by its own spin. Let's hope they choke on it soon.

"The belief is we may change the rules so that we do not have to produce receipts or make the information on spending available. This is simply not true. Receipts must still be produced and the proposal is to publish full details on the headings below."

Praguetory

"Two minutes into Obama's speech, the division bell rang and we were all dragged from the mesmerising television pictures to vote in the Commons Chamber"

Which part of being an MP don't you understand?

HuwOS

Old Holborn your psychopathic comments do nothing to commend you.
No doubt you find them funny rather than juvenile and pathetic.
Your comment gives us the impression of a spoilt brat who insists on inserting themselves into a conversation despite having nothing to contribute to it.
My suggestion to you would be to confine yourself to your blog rather than seeking to advertise it by posting to places that have more readers than you can ever hope to have.
Your period of reflection need not last forever, just until you have something to worthwhile to say, which admittedly could be quite some time.

Old Holborn

There are 646 Lamp posts within 1km of Westminster. I've checked. Rope has never been cheaper either.

I will be watching with interest on Thursday. More details at my blog or the LPUK

David Smith

You must think we are all blind, deaf, and dumb.

Do you not realise that the internet has changed the world? We do not have to rely on the well-managed traditional media. Although you have this blog, you do not seem to understand the implications.

You'll do as your whips tell you, as always.

And you'll pay for it at the next election.

Paul Flynn

The ;point of the posting on expenses was NOT to justify any claims without receipts of to excuseexcessive claims that have been made. The hope (probably misplaced) was to introduce a little balance and to put the alternative to the claims being made that MPs expenses will not be made public. They will, if Thursday's vote is passed. In some cases to a greater extent than before. The hornets' nest has been poked and it is difficult to conduct a rational argument. .

patrick

The overwhelming bias in favour of the public sector is now starting to implode.
On Radio 4 the other morning over 80 Civil Servants earning over 100K are to get a 34% increase in wages.This at a time when on planet layman jobs are being lost at a crazy rate.
The system will be reformed as the country cannot afford to pay for massive council offices, huge expenses, VAT exempt food and drink, regular foreign travel with 5stars,
guaranteed cast iron pensions etc etc ....

The money grabbing councils increase the council tax and business rates every year at the same rate as they line their own pockets.

It's bent!

Chunters

You will vote for your expences to be hidden because your unelected leader, Crash Gordon is telling you to in a three line whip.

You are a trougher just like the rest of them.

Now if you don't mind I have to go my taxes, with all expences revealed.

Graham Marlowe

I agree with Tom and Libbie: This government is only too keen to meddle in our affairs - even to the point of trying to read our emails and have a record of our telephone conversations (all in the name of "national security" of course), it is very grudging in paying for IB for the sick and disabled, and is forever broadcasting menacing advertisements etc., so it is not too onerous for MPs who rubber stamp these decisions for the rest of us, undergo extreme scrutiny themselves. I would hope, Paul, that you would vote on this issue - you say you may not do so, yet what do you think of people who do not bother to vote in elections?

Libbie Miller

If you have nothing to hide then you can tell me what my hard earned cash was spent on, can't you?

office equipment and supplies; New computer when you fancy?

fixtures, fittings and furnishings, What luxury items are put under this heading.

I have to account for everything I spend and it MY MONEY

You are spending taxpayers money and don't want to be held accountable. Who do you think you are?

Tom Paine

I have no problem with the rules on disclosure of MPs' expenses if the same are applied to taxpayers. The ability to claim £250 a day business expenses without having to rummage around for the receipts to show the taxman would liberate a lot of time for production, for example. Will you promote such fair and equal treatment?

Graham Marlowe

"Dennis Skinner tried to cool my ardour. He said 'Tony Blair once had an approval rating of 90%' That was after his People's Princess, quivering lower lip tribute."


Exactly, Paul, exactly: Then he was shown up as the crypto-Tory, greedy, warmongering liar that he really was. "Humankind cannot bear too much reality" as T S Eliot had it: in the end Blair contaminated not only his own reputation but that of his product "New Labour", so that today even under new management it stinks to high heaven.

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