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March 24, 2009


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Paul Flynn

Thanks Kay Tie. You sound very well informed on these matters. the public would not have seen the funny side of a £20,000 bill.

Kay Tie

"You will be relived to hear Kay Tie that in the last month of the year I have spent just 37% of my incidental expenses allowance."

I wasn't criticising. I just wanted to save you from the possibility of spending £20k on 3G broadband while roaming (I'm sure you can guess how that would play out in the tabloids).

Paul Flynn

My WiFi connection cost a basis £20 a month. There are roaming charges but in most locations where I stay and work WiFi is available gratis.

You will be relived to hear Kay Tie that in the last month of the year I have spent just 37% of my incidental expenses allowance.

Paul Flynn

Graham, none of your posts have been censored and there are none in my Spam filter.

Graham Marlowe

Paul has seen fit to censor a couple of my posts.("Humankind cannot bear too much reality" as T S Eliot had it) Very well., Let's just say this. Where people like Butler, Smith, McNulty are concerned, as Brown doesn't have the guts to do anything about them, let's hope their constituents remember their greed at the coming general election and vote to remove them. Then they will have to live like the rest of us and pay their own way.

Kay Tie

"I tried 'Airport on. when I left Belgium today and it appeared to be on line"

You have an Apple Mac, yes?

" with a little train logo appearing in the spot where my 'wifi connected' icon appears."

Hmmn. That's interesting. Have no idea how it would do that. Did you install some software from the train company? Hmmn.

"I use a Mobile-T dongle. It works well almost everywhere. What am I on?"

T-Mobile offers a good 3G wireless broadband service. I used to use them before I got an iPhone, and was forced to leave for O2. I'd have preferred to have stayed with T-Mobile, but the Saintly Steve Jobs knows little of the mobile phone business outside the US and thinks that we Europeans - who invented the GSM system itself - will be bullied around like US mobile phone users. But I digress..

Your dongle will give you net access wherever there's T-mobile coverage, with 3G in London and major cities and towns, falling back to slower net speeds in more rural areas, falling back to nothing in remote rural areas. At the same time, your Airport (i.e. wifi) chip inside your laptop will give you wifi where there is an access point. Probably T-Mobile give you free access to their access points, yes? Some will be free anyway. When there's free wifi and you also have 3G then there will be a tussle inside your computer as to which provides the net access. I expect your Airport won, but that wifi network didn't work properly. Computers are too dumb to then switch over to 3G again.

But let me ask you a question: are you paying for your 3G wireless broadband (please don't say Parliament, please don't say Parliament!). Because if you roam abroad (e.g. Belgium) and use the internet you get socked by some eye watering charges. Like this poor chap, billed £22,000 (yes!) for watching a few TV programmes while on holiday:


If you use the net while abroad and Parliament is paying then you could easily end up running up a bill of £20,000. That's a third of a McNulty, you know. And if you're paying for it yourself you will soon understand why the EU Commission is going to give the mobile phone industry a good kicking on roaming:


I'm not a fan of stupid governmental regulation in general (because it's generally stupid) but when the market isn't actually a free market (i.e. when customers don't have an informed choice) then there is a need for some arse kicking.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Kevin Ward for your informative message.

I'll write about your comments on today's blog.


Graham, you are absolutely right. None of the London Lib-Dem MPs claim this allowance. No doubt there are some Labour MPs in London who aren't out for all they can get, as well. And in all honesty, if Paul Flynn was in London I doubt he'd claim it. But his own moral fibre aside, it is still a terrible indictement of the New Labour and Tory parties.

As Nick Clegg said just yesterday, he, Brown and Cameron could sit around a table and have it resolved in an hour. We don't need an inquiry THAT WILL TAKE UNTIL AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION.

What we need is quick, fair action against the sleazy abuses. Again, I point to the fact that Clegg suggested the three party leaders sit down and just do it.

Obviously, that was too much like "listening", for Gordon Brown.

Graham Marlowe

It doesn't matter whether they are Labour or Tory, Paul: it stinks - especially to people suffering from the effects of this recession. Butler's "defence" if you can call it that, on BBC London News last night was that the allowance had helped her buy her house in Wembley.

We are not and should not be in the business of buying second homes for people who don't need them - why did she not move from her original Stratford house, like anyone else?. An ordinary MPs salary is not exactly small - with her "assistant whip" duties she already gets £90,000. She is greedy, and, when you consider she wrote a letter praising herself purporting to be from Obama she looks none too fragrant.

I am glad that she is not M.P. - above all else, an MP should have integrity.

I understand that none of the London Lib-Dem MPs claim this allowance


Graham, I have added the full list on the posting of London MPs claiming second homes. You will note that there are five Tories. I have not heard much about them.

Why is that I wonder?

Graham Marlowe

What really p*sses me off about especially these New Labour crawlers - Purnell's lickspittle supporters, is they grudge people who are genuinely ill or disabled the miniscule benefits they get, and quite happily voted for the "reform" (or destruction) of the welfare state last week (only 30 Labour MPs had the backbone to vote against them) Purnell himself took £148,064 in the year 2006/7 compared to "only" £109 a couple of years earklier - no doubt he now takes more to pay for his Paul Smith suits.

What world are these idiots living in? They seem to think they are royalty.

These people are parasites and I sincerely hope quite a few of them lose their seats at the forthcoming election - there is going to be a bloodbath for Labour, lets hope it is the Blairite scum that suffer most. It would do people like Purnell and Butler good to have to try to survive in the real world.

I am sorry Paul chooses to say nothing about them.


I don't believe that MPS or other top civil servants hold the monopoly on greed and corruption.This sadly infests every profession and workplace and is a basic human condition.
The problem i have with corrupt people like MCNulty and Butler is that while they live in their parasitic bubble millions of British people cannot even afford one home yet alone two or three.
If i go out today and steal £32 let alone GRAND i will be arrested , what makes me think the PC brigade will defend Butler and nothing will happen yet again?

Kevin Ward

Actually, it's not 1,000 Daily Mail jobs going but 1,000 jobs in Northcliffe, the regional arm that produces papers like the Leicester Mercury, the Stoke Sentinel and the Swansea Evening Post.
Government intervention in terms of subsidies is not wanted by anyone. Giving a government of any political hue a financial interest in the media is a seriously bad idea.
We in the Society of Editors are asking government to help in the following ways:
1. Issue guidance to discourage local government publications and websites that compete directly with and undermine local papers.
2. Encourage local and national government, which recognise the effectiveness of local media editorially, to advertise jobs and services in local papers and their websites. This would be cost effective and recognise that supporting local media is very much in the public interest.
3. Remove the threat of relaxation of obligations to advertise public notices in local newspapers.
4. Recognising that news gathering, the collection of raw material for any media organisation, is especially expensive, ministers could look urgently for effective ways in which Google and others could be prevented from profiting from third party content without recompense to or consent from those who generated the material. This would also be of value to other parts of the media.
5. Investment of public funds for training directly with media companies and the industry's main training organisation, the NCTJ, would help local papers to maintain news gathering and encourage training for multi-platform news delivery.
6.Liberalisation of controls over regional and local newspaper mergers, transfers and cross-media ownership.

Graham Marlowe

Here is a link to the story about this plain and pricey woman:


Graham Marlowe

Nothing to say about fantasist and expenses grabber Butler, Paul? No?


Print is struggling all over, isn't it - very little to do with politics, either. The Seattle Post Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain News have just closed, the NY Times has monumental debts; The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News have effectively gone to part-time subscriptions and the Chicago Tribune's bankrupt.

I certainly read far more newspapers than I ever did before the internet - only problem is, I can't remember the last time I bought a paper. Sounds like a business model needs tinkering with urgently.

Say what you want about the scandal rags Paul, they keep politicians honest - and if not honest, at least hold people accountable. I seriously worry the only print publications still in existence in a few years are going to be 'Hello" and 'OK!'. And I somehow doubt they'll be that interested in Tony McNulty and pals....

Paul Flynn

Aidan, The facts on Chris Mullin's book are exactly as I believed them to be. He has a very similar arrangement to the disbursement of the money that caomes in as I had.

Graham Marlowe

This seems anm appropriate heading to highlight yet another NuLabourite caught with her snout in the trough: Following McNultygate we now have Brent South MP Dawn Butler, that hideous woman who doctored a letter from Barak Obama 9which she had in fact written herself) has claimed £37,245 in just 2 years for an extra home allowance. She lives in Stratford East (London) AND in Wembley, apparently - neither home would be more than 30 minutes from Westminster. Another example of a minimal talent, promoted beyond her competence onlhy been in Parliament since 2005 and on the make and on the take.

Honestly, Paul, New Labour is as sleaze-ridden as poor old Major's 1996 Tories!.

Paul Flynn

That's very interesting Kay Tie. I tried 'Airport on. when I left Belgium today and it appeared to be on line with a little train logo appearing in the spot where my 'wifi connected' icon appears. But I was told I was not connected.

I use a Mobile-T dongle. It works well almost everywhere. What am I on?

Paul Flynn

What a full life you have Graham.

I have been shielded from daily exposure to the paper. I knew nothing about Blunkett's tryst with a failed jazz singer. What else am I missing?

But be careful. Regularly contamination by the Mail can damage your brain.

Kay Tie

"Thanks KayTie.This post was even more garbled than usual at firt attempt. I did on a Eurostar. Wifi does not cope well with tunnels."

Technically speaking, that ought to make no difference at all (unless it's 3G you're talking about, not wifi). The train system has its own data network: "leaky line" cables laid in the track bed. They work through tunnels no problem (the network was designed to give train crew phones that work in tunnels to report incidents).

There's plenty of spare capacity so some train companies are giving access to that network via a wifi gateway. National Express in the UK, for example (they are giving it away for free too - very handy).

It's generally not fast enough to watch the iPlayer, but fast enough for email etc. My guess is that the Eurostar service is overloaded and just a bit flaky (the National Express service is like that, but since you're not paying for it, well.. beggars, choosers, etc.).

Paul Flynn

Thanks Aidan. Are papers like the Derniere Nouvelle Alsace subsidised? It's the only French regional paper I see regularly. It's politically inert. Labour MPs are being magnanimous after the caning most of them have had from the local press. 'Inert' in the Votingham Times would be a progressive advance.

Authors have very little to do with selling the serial rights. A contract is signed and a big chunk of newspaper rights goes to the publishers.

I sold the rights to one of my books to the Telegraph. No-one else offered. They did a very job of it. Another was sold to the Mail. I believe they bid for almost all political books. But I think they forgot they bought it. They published some of it as a 'leak'.

I was insured from any financia motive because I had decided that all income from my books would go to a charity account. But it is an interesting point.

Paul Flynn

Thanks KayTie.This post was even more garbled than usual at first attempt. I did it on a Eurostar. Wifi does not cope well with tunnels.

Only on Eurostar and in airports do I get to handle a copy of the Daily Mail. They are free there.

Graham Marlowe

I too am surprised when "Labour" (but then most of them who have been serialised in it are of the "New Labour" type) personalities rush to the Mail. Not long ago the M.P. for Glasgow South, Tom Harris, wrote a self-righteous sermon about "morality" in it's pages (perhaps he should have a chat in the vestry with Nigel Griffiths?.

There is quite a lot of good clean fun in it's pages: that ridiculous old bag, Melanie Phillips, who sees sin and doom in everything and everybody: she is Mary Whitehouse in a pantie-girdle.

Quite the funniest thing 9and I admit I bought it for the whole week) was when they serialised those ridiculous, self-pitying "diaries" of Blunkett a few years ago. It reminded you of Diary of A Nobody, but more risque': in one excerpt he told of meeting some young woman (they're always young) taking her out to dinner then repaired to his flat where she regailed him of her struggles - health and of trying to establish herself as a "jazz singer". I must confess I have never liked Blunkett, but i was laughing uproariously: then I remembered what a hypocrite he was: he had boasted elsewhere of being a Methodist lay-preacher. "Phyisician heal thyself" came to mind.....

Aidan Byrne

The French have a much more robust newspaper policy: they're all heavily subsidised, and more subsidies are on the way - to give every young person a free newspaper (brilliant: I polled my Media students recently and found that over 90% NEVER read a newspaper). The problem is that papers dependent on state support run the risk of becoming overly cautious.

I hate the Mail with a passion. This is why I'm always disappointed to find that every Labour memoir is serialised in that poisonous rag - I was really shocked that Chris Mullin took the shilling. Why (apart from the money) would you allow an hysterical rightwing paper to serialise your leftwing criticisms, knowing that it's going to be edited to further poison the debate.

My local paper is the Express and Star, known locally as the Depress and Scar or the Express and Swastika. It prints press releases (unedited) in between anonymous racist letters and Powellite columns by bitter old men.

Kay Tie

"The Evening Standard was sold for a £1 to an ex KGB spy. He was overcharged by 99p but the KGB is a step-up from the Standard's past record of bile and bias."

You missed an excellent opportunity for a bit of spin there: instead of "overcharged by 99p" you could have said "a hundred times what it was worth". Which, incidentally, is a factor very close to what I paid for my RBS shares (£2000 invested, worth £50 the last time I looked).

Still, I did laugh out loud at the 99p joke, so it hit the mark anyway.

I also take your Daily Mail point: you're pushing on an open door with your blog readership on that, I think. When I come across a story, if it's only been reported in the Daily Mail and not substantiated by some other source, I pass. Quite a useful service: a Snopes-style myth-buster if you like.

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