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May 24, 2009


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Gareth Williams

My Nephew goes to High Cross Primary. It's an incredibly good school and he absolutely loves it there. I'm glad you were impressed by it! :)

Kay Tie

"Honestly Kay Tie, you are onto a complete loser trying to present the top banking execs as being some poor maligned underclass, and your ongoing defence of them is bizarre to say the least."

Quite how you get to that conclusion from things I never actually said is quite bizarre. I'm not defending Fred Goodwin: the man appears to be a complete arse, and undeserving of his money (just as many rich fools are). I am defending completely innocent people (MPs as well as bankers) from the invective hurled at them by the ignorant.

For every Fred Goodwin there are many diligent bankers who did a good job. For every Derek Conway there are diligent MPs who claim expenses parsimoniously. These people are traduced by the bad behaviour of others. You seem to understand this when it comes to Labour MPs like Paul, yet to concede it in the case of Tory MPs or bankers it seems it would require your jaws prised open with a car jack.


Our voting system makes it more difficult for any party or individual other than the big two to get elected, but that is not the same as pointless.
If the people vote for it, him or her, it him or her will be elected.
Unfortunately far too many people want to vote for the winners, so they limit themselves to the choice of two despite there being much more choice out there.
The situation suits Labour and the Tories so they have no incentive to change that.
The best way to encourage them to want to change it is to push one of them into third place especially if we can put the other one of them second, then we will begin to hear them being in favour of electoral reform and my preference would be PR and the STV.
I believe our electoral system didn't favour a third party when labour was first formed but it wasn't labour that got nowhere it was the liberals who lost.
FPTP and the systems we currently have are not particularly representative, but ultimately still allow the electorate to effect their will, if the electorate would just get off its collective backside and do so.

Kay Tie

"vote for the candidate closest to your voice, help form a new political party or indeed stand as an independant yourself."

Our voting system makes those things pointless.


JR , You have highlighted what i feel is the biggest problem with regard to modern day politics.

"Vote for what we give you, there is no choice.
What's on offer is 'Like it or Lump it',
That's not very democratic, however you bump it."

Criticise everything and contribute nothing!

Democracy, political parties and the political candidates themselves are mere products generated from the collective society they belong to.
If that society is largely interested in celebrity, obesity ,and big brother and has no interest in politics and voting then they have no one to blame except themselves.

If things are that bad then surely you would either-
vote for the candidate closest to your voice, help form a new political party or indeed stand as an independant yourself.

If you are not prepared to do any of the three options then i would suggest that things cannot possibly be as bad as you say.

But like most Brits it's easier to go to the pub, shops, golf course or watch tv and belly-ache for the rest of their lives.

NOTA is a bit like someone saying
"The air around here is not very clean so i'm not going to breathe"

Jolly Roger

So that's your answer to the dissenting voice.
Vote for what we give you, there is no choice.
What's on offer is 'Like it or Lump it',
That's not very democratic, however you bump it.
So let's stop to-ing and fro-ing like a couple of trolls.
Let's wait 'til the next round of expected polls.
And see how the main parties spin the line,
Of the low turn-out or amended votes like mine.


Yup I agree, plenty of fools.

And you name 3 places with the NOTA that you think is such a good idea.

Do you have any examples of where it has achieved anything.
I understand Nevada has a Republican governor
a Republican Lieutenant governor and its congress and senate representatives are a mix of Republicans and Democrats.
That isn't looking amazingly different from any other US state and is amazingly 2 party.
Assuming you see the Democrats and Republicans as really representing massively different viewpoints, which I don't. It's like new labour and tory here.

Jolly Roger

So fools such as I are spoiled for choice,
As long as we follow Tory/Lib/Lab voice.
There's little to choose between any of the three.
And BNP or UKIP'S not really for me.
But I'm happy to be in the company of FOOLS,
Who seek to amend the electoral 'rules'.
You may be surprised, Huw, that the NOTA,
Flourishes abroad and gets a fair quota.

It's used in Nevada, France and in Spain.
It's even used in the good old Ukraine.
There are plenty of FOOLS like me in the sticks,
Who are constantly let down by Politics.
You vote for one and get another,
Why do you think voters just don't bother?
Here's a good 'un, this'll crush ya.
NOTA's outlawed in Communist Russia.


Waste your vote whenever you like Jolly.
If your choice is to have no impact on an election then I cannot stop you, I merely point out that you are deluding yourself if you think that in spoiling your vote or if there was an option for none of the above officially wasting it will make any impact.

This is not Saddam's Iraq or Stalins Russia, there are plenty of candidates and many different platforms to vote for, you are not short on choice and if none of them suit you, nothing to stop you running yourself.

So like I said, spoil your vote, silence your own voice, no one can stop you doing so,
but do expect to be called a fool for doing so.

Jolly Roger

So Huw, am I to lose my voice?
If Party or Candidate are not of my choice.
Do you wish to deprive me of a right,
For which decent people are prepared to fight?
I'll vote as often as it's poss,
And frequently mark with a great big cross,
An extra box, drawn with love,
And boldly entitled: NONE OF THE ABOVE.


Many politicians are making gestures to the court of public opinion Kay Tie.

Many returning money that they claimed within the rules but because they are aware people don't like those rules.
Hundreds even thousands of pounds.
Some of course may have broken the rules and be paying back to avoid being found to have done so.

When Harman referred to the court of public opinion it was to do with a £650,000 pounds a year pension for steering a bank into disaster which required the government to bail the same bank out at a cost of roughly 20 billion pounds.
It was odd that in such a situation the board would choose to double his pension pot and also odd that a wealthy man should not only accept it but insist that he had some moral right to do so.

Ms Harman said Sir Fred should agree to waive some of the cash, saying this was the most "honourable" thing to do.
True mob rule there eh?

Honestly Kay Tie, you are onto a complete loser trying to present the top banking execs as being some poor maligned underclass, and your ongoing defence of them is bizarre to say the least.

Kay Tie


Shall we let Harriet's beloved court of public opinion decide that?


Oh by all means have a none of the above option.
Nothing like having a formalised and official way of making your vote count for nothing.
So much better than being too lazy or too petulant to actually vote for anything.

Jolly Roger

Here's a reform I'm sure that you'll love.
How about a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE?
This must, of course, accompany a rider,
Of compulsory voting, It spreads responsibility wider.
A majority in favour of the NOTA,
Simply increases the choice for the dissatisfied voter.
Candidates withdraw to revise their manifesto.
We get the choice, it's magic, Hey Presto.

Neil Yates

"The majority of dedicated MPs have little interest in money. We are too busy changing the world."

Ha ha ha ha! Oh, hang on. You're actually being serious, aren't you?


The Irish republic uses a decent form of PR
and have always eschewed the list system that tends to be preferred when PR is used in this country.
They have little record of instability in government and that brief period in the early 80's was before the largest party got its head around the notion of consensus and agreeing programmes for government with coalition partners.
PR puts appropriate power with the voters rather than with the parties and to my mind is considerably preferable and more democratic than the crude FPTP system.

Both the Scottish and Welsh assemblies seem to be handling coalition rule rather well.

For a brief overview of PR in the Republic of Ireland the following link may be helpful.



Grant, the arguments against PR are ludicrous
they are not all that different from arguments that can be made against democracy at all.
Strong unrepresentative government is not desirable and carries absolutely no weight as an argument against PR.

Kay Tie

"PR is not the answer it creates unstable and weak government led by coalitions"

Compared to a weak and unstable government led by Scotsmen? You're not selling FPTP to me so far. Try again.

Paul Flynn

kayTie, they are not above the law. THEY HAVE COMMITTED NO OFFENCE. Only three, so far, are likley gto have broken the law.

Kay Tie

"At the time John Bercow's head was probably filled with anxiety about his work for deaf children, his campaign to reduce global starvation or planning reforms of parliament."

And your constituents heads aren't filled with anxiety about losing their job or home? Their heads aren't filled with thoughts about projects at work?

I have a friend who is going through a redundancy consultation for the third time in two years. Last time he was put on beta blockers because of the stress. This time he probably is actually going to lose his job and then his house. Now tell me this: do you think that HMRC would be understanding about errors in his tax return and forgive penalties? No. So why should Bercow, Blears, Darling, Hoon et al be above the law? Why should their situation get treated favourably? Are they innocent because they are MPs?

Grant T

Good Blog as always Paul :)

As for electoral reform, PR is not the answer it creates unstable and weak government led by coalitions, the way forward is open primaries and keeping FPTP.

Mr Flynn, Have you either meet and spoke with Mrs Thatcher? If so, what did you say to her?


I think that Johnson may have something here - will full PR for elections (or STV) an MP would HAVE to work for their constituents (I know many do but lots don't seem to) and instead of a party we'd have an evolving coalition of like minded people so if you Paul were to vote against the war in Iraq then you would not be a rebel just someone who disagreed with the course of action

Then if a PM wanted a new policy they would need to convince people to support it - instead of whipping them in to line ..

Just a thought - I've off to work tomorrow to see if my boss will let me claim for an accountant to do my tax return - I'm not hopeful but its worth a try

It mattered not one whit if they are Labour ,Tory, Official Monster etc etc this is just winding people up and up - and the calls to release all the information sound like 'lets get this all out of the way in one go' - the drip drip of information will force a solution to this - as should have been done many years ago !!

Kay Tie

"Not a mention KayTie of how many Tories pay for advice on their income tax. Only the Telegraph knows."

I think Parliament knows too, yes? Why hasn't the speaker moved to take the wind out of the Telegraph's sails. Oh, right..

"But the damage has been done. Labour is smeareed and the Tories will get off lightly."

You might have noticed that it's doing no good saying "but look over there: they're nearly as sleazy as us!"

Paul Flynn

I hope you are wrong Chris. By mid-July probably 90% of MPs will have been attacked. Today's party political nonsense on paying for accountants probably effects a majority of MPs. I believe that all Welsh MPs employ the same accountant at a going rate of £150 a year.

The vote will be by secret ballot. Most MPs will see the Telegraph campaign has thoroughly discredited by then and most will feel unjustly smeared by it. they will be sympathy for Bercow that will show in the vote. High spending does not mean mis-spending. there does not seem to be a major problem with Bercow's claim except not paying capital gains tax. There are a lot of those (Not me).

There are, of course, far more Labour MPs than Tories. He is still riding high among Labour MPs.

Paul Flynn

Not a mention KayTie of how many Tories pay for advice on their income tax. Only the Telegraph knows. They have the stolen information for which they paid £100,000. There could more shadow cabinet members claiming than Cabinet members. later, they might tell us. But the damage has been done. Labour is smeareed and the Tories will get off lightly.

Chris Carter

In fairness, John Bercow looks like an excellent candidate for the post of the speaker.
However I've been conducting some research in my spare time and found that:

Bercow has consistently been one of the most expensive members of the House of Commons, in terms of claims on the additional costs allowance.

In the financial years 2007-8, 2006-7, 2004-5 and 2002-3 he had the distinction of occupying joint first position in a league table of most expensive members of the House of Commons, while in 2003-4 he was the joint third most expensive Member.

His work on children with speech difficulties is truly admirable, and deserves the respect of us all.

In spite of this, the expenses scandal would never in a million years permit him to become the speaker. A huge shame, I believe the country would be a much better place with him as the figurehead of parliament.

If he were to become the speaker it would be portrayed by the media as "The greediest MP of them all is ruling the house of commons," without a single reference to the amount of good he has brought to many families. This would further reduce the respect of the government lower even than rock bottom.



"Andrew also objected, is a remark of wanton size-ism, to Bercow because he is 'very small'. 'In stature, small but in authority a giant,.' They could easily make a smaller chair for him so that his feet can touch the ground."

I have been in touch with the dwarf protection society (DPS) and they will be pursuing a case against the long lanky streak Pierce for his outragous remarks.

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