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September 06, 2008


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Yes the barrage will cut the risk of floodding. But it's such a mammouth project te naysayers might stop it.


Splendid Patrick and Jolly.

We now have enough poets on this blog
to hold our own Eisteddfod.


Would a Severn Barrage help prevent the tidal surge and flooding?


It comes to my attention
Jollies party policy
I scratch my head and have to say
That I agree with all Three

Tax the rich more to help the poor
Bring the troops home and stuff the war
Decent pensions for the old
Subsidies to fight the cold

What remains a mystery
Only you jolly can tell
Why you take on a Labour MP
Who fights for the three as well?

Labour were infiltrated
With slimy lying toads
Step to the right and off to the war
Sadly the party erodes

It seems you have an issue
With public sector pay
And all the people with more than you
Are busy making hay

I run a little business
And pay money to the state
I end up with very little
But it doesn’t lead to hate

Jolly Roger.

Oh dear, what can the matter be?
It looks like Patrick wants me in purgatory.
Have I out-stayed those welcoming words?
Am I for consignment to the birds?
I'd always thought that here in this blog,
Comments were welcome, post prologue.
Maybe this blog is just here for you,
And not forgetting Paul's mate Huw, too.

You dislike my propensity for complaining,
Believe me Pat. it's all appertaining,
To life for many, out here in realty,
Who are sick to death of our enforced fealty,
Pensioned, disabled, double taxed.
There's not much here to keep us relaxed.
We're attacked by this Government as worthless shit.
Even when we've done our bit.

You ask me the things that I would vote for.
More tax for the rich, less for the poor.
Respect for the aged, except in your case.
As you seem to think that age is disgrace.
And at the risk of becoming a bore,
How's about a bit more peace and less war.
Road-tax relief for the lower earner.
And to keep these things on the front burner.

I'm sorry that I caused you a bit of a downer.
But here I'll defer to Paul, the blog owner.
If he thinks that I'm being a bit of a glutton.
He has the sanction of the Big Red Button.
It's been used once or twice before,
When I seem to have spoiled the tasteful decor,
So stick with it, Patrick, my old chum.
Keep your tongue in your cheek and away from Paul's bum.


PaulFlynn wrote
"While the debate from the cult of global-warming deniers rages on, it would be very suicidal folly to ignore this deadly risk."

Putting aside the debate, I commend you on your efforts on coastal erosion and the need for proper defences. Whatever the reasons this is a practical approach to local needs.

(it's a pity you use the word cult though)



Diary of Jolly Roger

The commenter Jolly Roger
Became a permanent lodger
In a blog by a Labour MP
But was never invited to tea

The MP whose name is Flynn
Blogs about most things
Whatever the topic one thing for sure
Jolly will dispute everything

As Paul starts a daily thread
Jolly waits in his spider’s web
On the attack He soon pounces in
Strange happenings inside his head

Jolly I’ve asked you before
Is there anything that you’d vote for?
Your constant complaining, nit-picking, and wailing
Is tedious and starting to bore

Cessation is surely a must
There are others whom you can cuss
As you must be aware it’s not Paul’s fault
It’s that Portmanmoor road red dust!


No Jolly Roger. You've got it wrong. The figures refer to Gwynneth Dunwoody who was a MP for a period stretching over 42 years. The average MP lasts for 9 years.

You must try to read more carefully, Jolly It will be good for your blood pressure. Yes Gwynneth was entitled to a very handsome pension for her accumulated pension as an MP, MEP and in previous employments, which she could could have taken nearly ten years ago but did not.


Jolly Roger.

Honestly, all this talk of pensions,
Is clearly disproportionate in its dimensions.
Paul says he'll lose 15 thou.
That still 45K pension, don't you know?
About double the 'average' wage for the rest.
If you want a good living, Parliament's the best
Talk about copper-bottomed, I should cocoa.
The rest of us must be somewhat loco.

I don't really see how Paul can avoid,
Making the money that MPs have enjoyed.
What with the exe's and jollies too,
Money avoidance you just cannot do.
And then after a couple of years in the envelop,
'Business Interests' begin to develop.
Ooops! Mustn't forget the second home,
Which has caused certain angry mouths to foam.

So all in all, please, just a little concern,
For these poor MPs who are forced to earn.
Vast sums that most are reluctant to get.
Why should they be forced to get this upset.
After all they're not there for the money,
They're turning our lives into milk and honey.
But, just before you start counting your chickens,
The soup in the kitchens just steadily thickens.


Sorry about that, Huw. I do not know what your circumstances are. It's all relative. I have also lived on low wages.

I was quoting a conversation with two MPs who had nearly 40 years in the House. They have built up large pensions by paying in 11% of their salaries. If they retired, a replacement MP would cost the country £60,000 plus the payment of the pension for the retiring MP.

One of the MPs in the conversation was Gwynneth Dunwoddy, who did not live to draw her full pension.
The worst MPs are those that are motivated by money. Happily there are not many of those.

Huw O'Sullivan

I wish you hadn't said only about 15 thousand Paul, I could use a spare 15k myself.

Huw O'Sullivan

Temporary respite for the occupation forces I'd say, rather than win in any meaning of the word. As far as I can tell the resistance is, at most, on hold at the moment.
A very real form of Al-Qaeda created in Iraq by the invasion became the most important threat for Iraqis to deal with.

Fredrik Eich

"Religion and democracy do not go well together"
I agree with you, Huw.


Thanks Sarah.

I have had many previous posts on Afghanistan. Perhaps you could could look some on them up.

Of course all MPs are well rewarded. But we would get our pay even if we never turned up at the Commons or in the constituency because they live abroad. That happenned with one Tory MP.

Some MPs of my age are virtual volunteers, because they pensions would be only £15,000 less than their wages. They are not doing it for the money. But working through weekends and during recesses is not essential. But virtually all MPs do it.

Fredrik Eich


"The British army have sensibly made it clear that they are not in Helmand in order to destroy the main source of income of the population"

I did not know that the army had said this and I am very glad to hear it.

This is a good thing.


What I find sickening is that at almost every PMQs the first thing the PM does is offer his condolences to the families of another soldier killed, it's seems to have become a regular theme now. But they're nothing but wesael words.

My sympathy & thoughts go out to the families of all those killed & injured.


I as ked Paul something about this an another thread, it should have been this. So I'll ask here.

I know some on here just think of me as an uninformed English Rose :) but where Afghanistan is concerned I'll admit to being uniformed. I've never been able to work out just why our troops are there, I've heard to impose democracy and to destroy the poppy fields.

I don't think that any country has the right to invade another to impose democracy, especially when their democracy at home leaves a lot to be desired.


Thanks, Political Umpire. That's very interesting. The comparison with the light brigade was to illustrate that the military lions are still being let down by the ministerial donkeys.
A study of our, and other, incursions into Afghanistan is instructive. Please have a look at past blogs. Victory is impossible in Afghanistan because of endemic corruption, tribal divisions between the warring Uzbeks, Baluchi, Tajiks, two groups of Pashtans and others, plus the impossibility of replacing feudal tribalism with a Swedish style democracy.

The Afghans will put up with us now we are spending £billions mostly in bribes, but they will eventually chase the Ferengi out as they have in the past.

What is alarming is that there are few voices in the Commons that are telling the truth and seeing the abject deepening failures. By the way, I was not the only one who opposed the incursion into Helmand. I was the only one who made a speech against. Peter Tapsell was also against.

On troop numbers, the Russians had 130,000, they killed a million Afghans, lost 16,000 of their own troops in ten years, spent billions and were chased out by 300,000 Mujaheddin. A lesson for us.

political umpire

Hello Paul, whilst I'm here I may as well give a few thoughts to this to entertain you all once more, with any luck.

It is certainly a tenable argument that: "the mission is an impossible one that will strengthen the Taliban, lead to more British deaths, the Columbia-isation of Central Asia and possibly deteriorate into a British Vietnam."

But not necessarily so. To defeat an insurgency requires (i) security, and (ii) economic development, which tends to pull the rug from under the insurgents as it were. To the extent that Petraeus has achieved the seeming impossible in parts of Iraq, it has been a combination of more troops, much more active troops, and economic development in the more pacified regions, though it's a long way from a successful country and the gains may disappear quick enough when American money and patience runs out.

Back to Afghanistan. Fact is that we never sent enough troops, and never gave them proper equipment, to get long term security in the disputed areas. We gain a town, hand it to the locals, a few months later the Taliban return in our absence. We do the whole thing again. So in those areas there isn't even the chance to start any economic progress and democracy is yet further off still.

There's no way that Britain has the political will to send enough troops, equipment and development money for long enough to secure a country as remote and hostile as the disputed parts of Afghanistan, so your doom and gloom, rather gloomily, seems the most realistic prospect (unless those slackers who are supposed to be our European NATO allies have a sudden and dramatic change of heart, fat chance there). I wish it hadn't been so. If the 160k odd troops sent to Iraq had gone to Afghanistan instead - or even half the number - the above strategy might have been implemented successfully.

Reid. Good god. Not on my list of MPs worth the penny. Nor was that Beckett - less qualified on foreign affairs than Sarah Palin, and they gave her the foreign secretary's job (ugh).

Side-note on the Light Brigade. In military terms extremely insignificant. Routine cock-up due to bad communication on the battlefield. (For strategic cock-up on a much grander scale I'd nominate the 'celebrated' Pickett's charge of a decade hence). Light Brigade gained fame due to Tennyson's masterpiece and the contemporary Times report. Far bigger scandal was the treatment of the Turkish allies in the same battle who were the real Thin Red Line. But that's for another day.


Huw, thanks. McCain believes that brute force won in Iraq. It did not. It was a change of tactics by one of the largest groups that ended the internal conflict.

Obama sadly still publicly backs the Afghan policy. But he is a far safer prospect for world peace than Bush-thinkalike McCain who is hellbent on a conflict with Iran.


Thanks Fredrik. The British army have sensibly made it clear that they are not in Helmand in order to destroy the main source of income of the population. The Americans are pressing for more spraying of the crops.

I was in the USA in July.



Huw O'Sullivan

Let's not limit the statement to merely Islam.
Religion and democracy do not go well together.
In normal circumstances religion is strongest when people have little hope of escape from repression and poverty, it feeds on misery and mistreatment.
Aggression, invasion and occupation therefore strengthen religion and move people further away from, not closer to democracy.
This is something we knew before invading Afghanistan and Iraq and before the US started making renewed threats to Iran.
But what a surprise it was when the actions and threats did not bring about democracy, liberalisation, peace and prosperity in any of those countries.

Fredrik Eich

I think you are right that democracy can not be forced upon people. I remember a Syrian Foreign Minister (I forget his name) saying a few years back that democracy and Islam do not go well together (although he was referring to Iraq not Helmand). As I said on an earlier thread the Poppy farming issue should not be pushed by the British Army and they would be wise to let these dogs sleep.

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