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May 31, 2009

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HuwOS

"an admirable thing, but so is keeping an allotment, or spending every waking minute with or thinking about your grandchildren, or being a totally sociable party-animal that lives every minute like it was your last."

Keeping an allotment may be admirable but doing so does not preclude being politically aware, thinking about one's grandchildren is also admirable, but unless someone has an awful lot of them, thinking about them every waking minute seems excessive although even that would not preclude oolitical awareness, some would argue it would necessitate it.
A totally sociable party animal that lives every minute like it was your last, probably needs an intervention, but once recovered there is nothing to stop him or her from political awareness.

"Uh-huh. Back in the real world - do you suggest that the family with both parents working shifts and trying to look after children and aging relatives take time away from the kids, the grandparents, each other, their friends or sleep in order to meet your high moral standards?"
All of those things relate to politics, so 1) yes, really busy people can easily fit in a bit of politics and 2) in as far as that goes it has very little to do with moral standards, simply desire to change things.

As far as main two parties encouraging people to believe that a vote for a 3rd party is a wasted vote allowing evil a or evil b in;
That is clearly a self serving argument on their behalf, so its a simple,
"they would say that wouldn't they"
Always bemuses me when people claim they don't believe a word politicians say but then carefully select what they choose not to believe.
"Improve healthcare?" - Pull the other one its got bells on.
"
"Iraqi WMD?" - Oh well you're the expert and have such a reputation for telling it like it is too.

DG

"It's not a matter of deciding who is going to win and then either voting for them or not voting at all."

That's not what I said. Let me try again - when the polls are saying that Greater Evil Party is narrowing the lead on Lesser Evil Party, people will get out and vote for Lesser Evil becuase they percieve (rightly or wrongly) that their vote matters in that case. Doesn't matter that they'd rather vote for the Awesome Party - the Awesome Party is trailing in third, fourth or fifth and all a vote for them will do is move them up to a better-looking third, and potentially let the Greater Evil party in. Both the main parties are guilty of saying that a vote for a third party is effectively a vote for the opposing main party.

"If something is important to someone they make time for it"

Uh-huh. Back in the real world - do you suggest that the family with both parents working shifts and trying to look after children and aging relatives take time away from the kids, the grandparents, each other, their friends or sleep in order to meet your high moral standards?

"You later followed up with
"some people, with the best will in the world, don't have the intellectual capacity to understand the more complex issues"

Here I was thinking I was the one not being nice"

That nicely illustrates the difference between you and me. Some people are brighter and more able to get their heads around the complex stuff - that's a fact. You sem to think that being one of those people who can't (like me, most of the time) is a bad thing to be terribly ashamed of. I don't agree - being politically aware and engaged in the issues is an admirable thing, but so is keeping an allotment, or spending every waking minute with or thinking about your grandchildren, or being a totally sociable party-animal that lives every minute like it was your last.

HuwOS

DG, you said
"If they think nobody with a reasonable chance of winning will represent their interests, ..... then why vote?"

It's not a matter of deciding who is going to win and then either voting for them or not voting at all. That is a true perversion of democracy but still a choice although the choice is simply to let other people decide.

In the last election Labour had around 35% of the votes out of those who actually voted, which gave them a majority of the seats.
Roughly 39% of those entitled to vote did not bother, imagine what could happen if they did.

"Not everybody has the time to get involved in politics in between juggling job and family commitments."

If something is important to someone they make time for it, in fact it tends to be people with lots of commitments who make time for more as the old saying goes, if you want something done ask a busy person to do it.

I said
"selfish, greedy, cowardly short termist constituents"
You said
"That's not very nice"
I agree, but then it was not meant to be nice.

You later followed up with
"some people, with the best will in the world, don't have the intellectual capacity to understand the more complex issues"

Here I was thinking I was the one not being nice, in a facetious vein I would point out
that George W Bush did not let a lack of intellectual capacity prevent him from being heavily involved in politics
(Although I will agree in his case it was a bad idea for everyone)

BTW I never said the electorate were entirely to blame for every MP they get, people can be duped, but that works as an excuse just once, to repeatedly allow the same geezers to represent you speaks more about the voters than it does about the geezers.

As GW failed to say,
"fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me"

Paul Flynn

Thank you, Huw. What a splendid defence of the points that I was tring to make. It's makes blogging worthwhile to know that the points are fully understood - even if not by all those who read them.

Paul Flynn

The two laptops I have are AppleMacs. They were both dearer that the 'Pink' one. Better to be colour blind on these issues.

Kay Tie

Oh, I don't want to undermine freedom of speech. I want politicians and the media to simply ignore loud morons instead of encouraging them. This Government doesn't do a proper job of explaining that immigrants-given-free-TVs-and-cars is a lie. It spends far more time trumpeting how beastly it is being on immigration than actually countering the ignorant opinions that created the pressure in the first place.

DG

" But there are plenty of people who don't have the intellectual capacity for understanding, or the necessary education, or the experience yet who as if their lazy ill-informed opinions are just as valid and then go on to loudly demand action."

I think that's called Freedom of Speech. I'd rather people did that than "knew their place" and kept quiet when concerned, no matter how irritating it may be to explain for the umpteenth time that illegal immigrants do not claim benefits.

Huw, I think it's unfair to blame electors entirely for the people they get. Each person has to make a judgement based on who they think will best represent their interests. If they think nobody with a reasonable chance of winning will represent their interests, and they aren't able to get out and form a political party themselves (through time, money or again, expertise) then why vote? And even if they feel they must vote, then if you listen to conventional wisdom, you only have a choice of the lesser of two evils because a vote for anyone else might allow the greater of two evils to win.

I don't pretend to know the answer to this (though I suspect the rapid uptake of internet services and the growth of sites such as www.theyworkforyou.com will sort it out in the long run - knowledge is power) but labelling your fellow citizens as a mindless horde of zombies is not it.

HuwOS

And still you continue Jolly, apparently you saw "a cheap laptop that happens to be pink. So what?" and read nothing else.
You were so keen to create more of your signature rhyme perhaps you simply couldn't concentrate on reading the post or taking the time to understand it.

Pauls post was primarily about Tory on Tory,
he mentioned 3 Torys who he felt were being pilloried over nothing and disparaged
Cameron's whiter than white stance which is most affecting his less wealthy colleagues unnecessarily and his zero tolerance stance which applies to all except for himself and his chosen few.
The only mentions of Labour MP's that he made was defense of Skinner, which seems reasonable and noting that coverage of Frank Cook's £5 claim got four times the coverage of the deaths of two british soldiers.
Paul's stance on Frank Cook's claim was
"If the claim is true, Frank’s attempt to recoup a church offertory donation of £5 is manically mean or certifiably stupid"
Two unnecessary deaths getting less coverage than an expenses claim for a fiver, surely even you think that is slightly out of whack.

What about that post do you determine to be spin?
What part of anything Paul said in this post was defending the indefensible?

Regarding your question at the end, I have no idea how many Labour MPs are millionaires never mind in the front benches so I cannot answer.
Given that it is New Labour you would expect there to be one or two millionaires at least.
I've seen reports that Bob Marshall-Andrews is a millionaire and we know Shaun Woodward is and it is worth mentioning that it is said that he is the only Labour MP with a butler.

Of course he is just an opportunistic Tory anyway who defected to be in power much as Tony B. managed to get most of the Labour party to defect from their policies and principles to become the leading party of the right and a welcome home to the likes of Shaun Woodward.


Kay Tie

"they're just people trying to get by as best they can."

For those that are, fine. But there are plenty of people who don't have the intellectual capacity for understanding, or the necessary education, or the experience yet who as if their lazy ill-informed opinions are just as valid and then go on to loudly demand action.

Put it down to post-modernism and cultural relativism if you like, but the loss of respect for authority has extended to loss of respect for expertise too. I don't comment on nuclear energy policy here on Paul's blog because I've made no study of it and read little about it (in fact, I've read only what Paul has written). I suppose I should just follow the herd and reach for a lazy opinion based on my ideological preconceptions..

DG

"selfish, greedy, cowardly short termist constituents"

That's not very nice. Not everybody has the time to get involved in politics in between juggling job and family commitments. And some people, with the best will in the world, don't have the intellectual capacity to understand the more complex issues. That doesn't make them selfish, greedy or short termist - they're just people trying to get by as best they can.

Jolly Roger

Come off it Huwey, chill out, have a laugh.
My point's contained in the last stanza and half.
My point was that Paul had said "so what",
An expression by Balls, or have you forgot.
This appeared to shown contempt,
For the expose of MPs both honest and bent,
So before I get deleted as so much spam.
One is hung for Sheep as well as Lamb.

As a member of the chattering classes,
It's comforting to see so many twitching a*ses.
As tales of greed and downright crookery,
Appear alongside frantic bookery cookery,
So that honest MPs shine like beacons,
Amongst those who job security steadily weakens.
Parliament will undergo it's biggest shake-up,
With this story that would have been hard to make up.

So in answer to Paul's original point,
Without wishing to put noses out of joint.
Paul will try his level best,
To defend his party when put to the test.
But the facts remain to grab our attention,
Of claims that should be in another dimension.
A creme egg or mortgage, it's just the same,
When claimed for outside the spirit of the game.

So here's a question for you or Paul,
Who frequently mentions the Bullingdon Hall,
Tory Toffs, Eton, Millionaires and stuff.
Well here's one to get you both in a huff.
Champagne Socialism is clearly the rage,
As you turn Telegraph page after Telegraph page.
This question, I hope, will invoke Buttock Clenches.
How Many Millionaires are there on the LABOUR front benches?

Kay Tie

"it is quite telling that you focused in on the £900 as opposed to the £100,000."

It's not about the amounts of money, it's about what they tell us about the people. I too can't see much to complain about with a laptop (is the problem that it's pink?).

Claiming £20,000 on a mortgage on a second home is no big deal either, provided it's a genuine second home (that's mortgage payments of £1600/month, which isn't much different to renting a non-subsidised flat in London).

I'm afraid I raise an arched eyebrow about a lot of these claims until I see the detail. I'm prepared to believe that there are genuine mistakes of honest people in amongst the rogues. For example, the Phil-Woolas-claims-tampons-on-expenses story turned out to be bogus when I got to see some facts behind the story.

One thing to come from this scandal: each MP needs a blog where they can put their side of the story unedited by TV or newspaper editors. When we read their own words we can easily see through spin ("all within the rules, approved by the fees office") and spot genuine honesty.

Ted Balls

Sensation: Paul Flynn praises The Mail......

The Telegraph's reporting does not suit Mr Flynn's tribal view of events

Suddenly he can only find solace in The Mail

Mr Flynn was subsequently interviewed under the Mental Health Act, and has been taken by ambulance to The Priory clinic

HuwOS

You can make any point you like as you see fit Jolly , I have yet to spot any consistent point from you, other than as they say in Irish "An Béal Bocht".

Paul in his post was comparing the fuss
about a laptop priced around £900 for Tory Tim Yeo as well as other issues ranging down to Labour Frank Cook's £5 claim and the coverage they get as compared to Tory David Cameron's claim for mortgage interest of 20k a year over 5 years, it is quite telling that you focused in on the £900 as opposed to the £100,000.

It seems you can fret and whine about any sum of money just as long as it isn't very much.

Did you agree or disagree with Paul's point?
Your response gave no indication whether you did or not.

I cannot help but wonder, how you can howl about expense claims for £900 and show no interest when vastly higher amounts are claimed, not to mention even greater government expenditure which ranges into the billions of pounds and have cost thousands and hundreds of thousands of lives.

The only conclusions I can reach Jolly is that you used up all your mental powers for your nonsense rhyme and and either chose to ignore the meaning of Paul's post or failed to understand it in the first place.

Jolly Roger

Do I "sicken" you still, Huw old chum,
Should I shut my mouth and just keep Mum,
Or make a point as I see fit,
Just like you and your sycophantic s*it.
My point's been made, read it and weep.
£900 for a laptop is certainly not "cheap".
Unless, of course, you're keenly spouting,
Support for profligate Trough Snouting.

Your sarcastic comments in your ill-writ bit,
Confirm your skills at the lowest form of wit.
Four paragraphs just about little ol' me,
You flatter me Sir, carry on , feel free.
Perhaps, in my ode, I should have said WE,
Instead of me who's paying the fee.
So to aid you in your obvious plight,
You may call my contribution the Widower's Mite.

DG, your measured words, to me, suggest,
That 'expenses' have become a pest,
When measured against the World's Affairs.
Nevertheless, it conveniently bares,
The dreadful quality of the current crew,
Who are tasked these World's Affairs to do.
Hopefully, elections will kick many ar*es,
And grant us all, Parliamentary Catharsis.

HuwOS

And what do you put the causes of bad politicians down to?

Could it possibly be, selfish, greedy, cowardly short termist constituents who rewarded those who supported waging illegal war, hands off approach to regulating the financial markets etc, with re-election.

Let's not forget the whiter than white, who took their right and responsibitity to vote and either simply ignored it or went to the trouble of deliberately wasting it, ensuring that the same people as before elected the same representatives with the same policies that they put in power before.

No criticism of our representatives in parliament especially when it comes to policies can be reasonable or rational without some sharp focus being brought to bear on those who selected these particular MPs to represent them and those who took no part in selecting any MPs, through apathy, laziness or sheer idiocy.

DG

I've come round to the view that laptops etc are more important that the wars and bank bailouts.

The expenses row focuses attention on the the root causes of bad policy - bad polititians.

Huw O'Sullivan

Honestly Paul, spinning for the tories now?
Have you no morals?

All of parliament is just one big conspiracy against Jolly, you might as well just admit it?
Perhaps you duly elected members of parliament sit around in Commons planning how to gouge Jolly or does that take place in special secretive meetings in 2nd homes?

Furthermore Paul how dare you suggest the colour of the laptop is an irrelevance, tv has been in colour now since the 70's ,
we all know what pink looks like now and it's quite ghastly.

On top of all that, it is something of a revelation to me that Jolly is paying for politicians and all their expenses; could some fairer way not be found than making one man carry the entire load?

I am sure some of the rest of the taxpayers would be willing to put at least a little something towards the cost of government.
I understand that if all income taxpayers contributed something we could easily take up the burden of supporting MPs for approximately £2.09/month from each of us.

Admittedly I am feeling a bit tapped out at the moment what with having already spent
£1bn a year on Iraq since 2003, currently spending £2.5 billion on Afghanistan
not to mention my current exposure to £1.5tn in bank liabilities.

But I guess I should get my priorities straight, laptops far more important than wars and bank bailouts because just one person is having to fund the cost of parliament while there's at least 3 or 4 of us co-funding wars and banks.

DG

Pink laptop at £905.95 from John Lewis = stupid rather than criminal.

It's pretty amusing seeing Cameron turn on his own party, though, it reminds of Tony Blair. No sympathy at all for his backbenchers, though - they chose the slippery SOB.

Jolly Roger

There you go, Paul, you're off again,
Spinning like a good 'un, but sadly in vain.
The price of the 'cheap' laptop in your spinning jive,
Was actually £909 and 95.
Your response to this was.....'SO WHAT'.
Oh dear, now you're really in a spot.
Now where did I here that before?
Was it from Ed Balls, waiting at the Chancellor's door?

Ah yes, it was Ed Balls' merry quip,
That you've repeated. A Freudian slip?
You may remember when it was spoke,
With attitude of contempt, as if it were a joke.
In answer to Cameron's Parliamentary attacks,
Regarding our historically highest Tax.
Any Laptop is 'cheap' is what you'd be saying for it.
Especially when it's ME that's paying for it.

Kay Tie

"They fear he is using the scandal as an excuse to clear out traditionalists who stand in the way of his modernizing project"

As they say, never let a good crisis go to waste..

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