Published for the Kindle via Amazon, a chance to remind yourself what Dave has been up to since 2010.



Horizon Scanning Programme

May 2014

We have learnt that the coalition's Horizon Scanning Programme is 12 months old. And the result of all their scanning efforts? Nothing, that is, nothing worth reporting.

The idea behind this so-called programme is to peer into the future in an effort to figure out what may happen by way of threats, risks and opportunities.

A Commons committee has been looking at the lack of output stemming from this programme and have concluded that it has "substantial weaknesses", is not using the expertise of external experts and that there was a "worrying lack of clarity" about what the programme was about.

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































Politics: rotten to the core...


Duplicity: Turning politics into a board game

George Osborne and banker bashing

Patrick Mercer, bought and paid for

Chris Huhne: Liar!

The Clinton School for liars

Unknown unknowns

The Walter Mitty Tendency among British politicians

The Spectre of Past Misdeeds: Rendition and Torture

MPs' Expenses

Silly Politicians

Who is wasting public money this week?

Consume Before Voting

Coalition Policy: making sense of




Duplicity, a board game for politicians

rotten appleCitizens' appear to be disenchanted with the political process and perhaps with politicians themselves. And when we view the behaviour of our politicians it is hard to argue that this disenchantment is not fully justified. Do you remember when Osborne and Cameron claimed to once have eaten a pasty and told us that tax avoiders were morally repugnant. Quizzical journalists asked if that applied to the tax dodging behaviour of their spiv buddy Sir Philip Green but all they wanted to talk about were distant memories of mythical pasties.

The failure of the Nation's political managers, chiefly their inability to inspire the public's trust, to act with integrity, to behave like leaders, to set high public standards corrodes the public consciousness. The fact is that our political class are liars. However, you'd expect them to lie in some instances, e.g. on our collusion with the US over rendition and torture but should we expect them to lie about the success of some of their silly policies, e.g. the 'troubled families initiative'. That initiative has helped no one and not met any of its own targets and yet the government claims that it has been a brilliant success.

The roots of social decay

What we have seen is our modern managers turning politics into a board game called Duplicity, where lying is deemed to be an acceptable part of continuing in the game for as long as you can, and when you get 'caught out', you don't leave the field of play, you lie some more.

Political commentators, seeking to claim some moral vantage point, some higher ground from which to declare their penetrative insight, will frequently cite a vague point in the past when the worm turned, when things changed for the worse, when we strayed from a now lost virtuous path. Some will be prepared to take us back as far as the Magna Carta or the Great Rebellion, time before the Great parted company with Britain.

The general populace have never been blithely ignorant of the maneuvering of the political/business class. They knew their betters were rotten self servers but life was nasty brutish and far too short to make a fuss. Those who did make a fuss on the fields of Peterlee were hacked down by the forces of law and order, upstarts who wanted to vote. Who's law, who's order?

In the public interest, it's simply not good for the masses to know too much. Even as late as 1960s and 70s we see the British and US governments colluding to remove a whole population from Diega Garcia, out of the public gaze. No questions were asked, those that were, in later years, met a stonewall.

However, technical innovations of recent times have added a new dimension to the game. Those old school types who guard the public interest in Whitehall are playing second fiddle to some long haired hippie hacker and the secrets are now public knowledge. New responses are called for now from the liars and deceivers, and the Murdochs' provided us with a virtuoso performance at the Leveson Inquiry, as did the skulking coward Jeremy Hunt, who allowed his permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens, to take the rap for his association with the Murdochs.

Lying is the new normal

When lying becomes the cultural norm, citizens can be forgiven for believing they are living in a banana republic and adjust expectations accordingly.

Everyone knows what a lie is, well perhaps they did but today looking up the word lie in a dictionary will not help. Lying has been refined by the players at the Duplicity board, where words mean what the player thinks they mean as they seek to persuade the rest of us that we misunderstand what words mean.

Straight answers, the truth doesn't intrude when the culprit denies all knowledge or simply refuses to explain their behaviour. Mr Cameron didn't know when he employed Andy Coulson that he'd been involved in the phone hacking saga. Coulson was at the News of the World when the paper's reporters increasingly resorted to illegal activities to get the dirt on people. Coulson was there when Clive Goodman was charged with conspiracy to intercept telephone calls. Coulson was there when the cheques were being signed for PI Glenn Mulcaire, Goodman's phone 'blagger'. Seeing Cameron portray himself as a dimwitted employer stretches credulity; almost as far as Liam Fox, who couldn't explain what Adam Werritty was doing following him all over the globe, business card in hand, endorsed by Fox.

On reflection, Mr Cameron's judgment as an employer leaves much to be desired. Spread-better, party fund-raiser, Peter Crudas, was captured by undercover reporters advertising that the Prime Minister would be open for business to anyone who wanted to join the ‘premier league’, by donating £250,000 to the Tory party.

And we may wonder if Mr Cameron asked any searching questions of Craig Oliver, his replacement for Andy Coulson. Oliver, who set up a 'legal' tax avoidance scheme to manage the £150,000-a-year earnings of his television presenter wife through a company called Paya Limited.

The sorry stories of Liam Fox, Oliver Letwin, Chris Huhne, Jeremy Hunt, David Laws, and Theresa May, make us realise that there's not much to be positive about when it comes to our political class.

Before Theresa May became our leader in 2016, we saw her as home secretary, getting her dates mixed up over the deadline for exporting Abu Qatada back to Jordan. We saw Mr Cameron saying:

"The European Court of Human Rights 'told' the Home Office that the time limit for the radical Islamist to appeal against deportation would expire last Monday (i.e. 16/04/12) at midnight."

The Home Office were surprised to hear that they had been told anything, in fact, they simply thought they had the deadline right but they were wrong, by a day. Ms May subsequently appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee and was asked six times whether any of her 61 lawyers had checked the deadline date and six times Ms May did not give a straight answer. Eventually, Qatada went home of his own accord, July 2013, or so we are led to believe; some think that money changed hands but we will never know the truth.

The Spectre of Past Misdeeds: Rendition and Torture

Not so long ago we frequently saw David Miliband, one time New Labour Foreign Secretary, asserting that Britain did not condone or participate in torture. And yet we now see a Libyan military commander is taking legal action against former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, claiming he was handed over to Colonel Gaddafi's forces in 2004 by MI6. Abdul Hakim Belhadj, who was believed at the time to have links to Al Qaeda, says he was tortured as a result. Back in 2004, Miliband was given a non-job in the Cabinet Office by Tony Blair, allowing some to argue that he would have known nothing about Jack Straw's CIA connections. However, having arrived at the Foreign Office you might think he would bring himself up to speed with the department's past misdeeds - but not asking allows you to lie honestly.


The Mercer saga



A by-election will be held in Newark on 5 June after disgraced MP Patrick Mercer finally faced up to the fact he's a disgrace.

“Friends of Fiji”

MP Patrick Mercer was approached to work for £2000 a month to promote Friends of Fiji.... to build British parliamentary and government support for Fiji's readmission to the Commonwealth following its suspension in 2009.

Mercer was reeled in by Alistair Andrews Communications, with its offices in Sydney and London, a front for a sting operation set up by journalists to see if MPs could still be “hired” for cash. Mercer supplied the evidence that they could.

Fiji became a dictatorship after the 2006 coup, run by Frank Bainimarama, he suspended the country’s constitution, sacked the judiciary and went on a human rights rampage. All that Mercer had to do for his coin was to ask a few questions and put forward a few motions, written for him by Alistair Andrews Communications.

On 26 March, he tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, stating:

“This House recognises that the government of Fiji is making all reasonable efforts to restore democracy, believes that in the light of on-going hardship being endured by its businesses, there is no justification for Fiji’s continued suspension from the Commonwealth, and, therefore, urges the Government to arrange a ministerial visit in order to help prepare for and assist its readmission.”

He also began setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fiji (he managed to sign up 20 MPs to his club) and asked Alistair Andrews to pay for a jolly boys outing all expenses-paid group trip to the islands, to see at first hand the progress they were making.

Having discovered he had been had, he resigned the Conservative whip and said he wouldn't stand at the next election. He even referred himself to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards like a naughty schoolboy.

Cameron's sloth on lobbying

Before the 2010 election Cameron promised he would shine “the light of transparency” on who was buying influence and power. Chloe Smith, the Cabinet Office minister in charge of future lobby industry legislation, has apparently not held any meetings with leading lobbyists since being given the job last year. The statutory register of lobbyists that was promised doesn't exist and legislation for a “right to recall” transgressing MPs has not even been mentioned and there's no news on a statutory code of conduct for MPs.

MPs do have Lord Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life; selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership but it seems clear the poor man wasted his time.

Also, All Party Parliamentary Groups, like Friends of Fiji are not required to publish minutes and accounts; or to provide details of the funding of APPG activities - although such action has been mooted.

Note: The entire lobbying industry in the UK, estimated to be worth more than £2 billion a year and which employs over 10,000 people, is unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary.

All Party Parliamentary Groups

APPGs are semi-official groups of MPs and lords, which can be started by any parliamentarian who can muster enough cross-party signatures from both houses. While many serve as focus points for hobbies or campaign causes of MPs, they serve a dual function as a notorious back door for lobbyists, who can use them to fund drinks parties, overseas trips and more for big businesses and governments.

APPGs social clubs: parliament's choir is established as a group, as is its rowing team. As a result, many serve as avenues for sponsorship to come into the house.

The aforementioned choir, for example, received £65,000 in sponsorship from BT, while the rowing team receives £16,000 from Siemens towards the cost of parliament's boat race. Other groups get money from organisations even more closely tied to their interests: the APPG on beer, for example, exists to "promote the wholesomeness and enjoyment of beer and the unique role of the pub in UK society", and received £65,000 for the drinks industry for their efforts.

In all, there are now almost 600 such groups, representing countries, illnesses, industry and more – with some MPs enjoying membership of dozens at a time. Last year, the Guardian calculated more than £1.8m in outside sponsorship came into parliament via such all-party groups.


Chris Huhne: Liar!

Gotcha... Starmer goes after Huhne

February 2012

It's only taken 8 years but at last the DPP has finally found the guts to go after alleged points flipper Huhne. Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said the Liberal Democrat MP and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce would both be charged with perverting the course of justice.

Perverting the course of justice is a pretty serious offence and could carry a hefty prison sentence, especially for someone who keeps claiming to be innocent. However, a better description of Huhne would be childlike rather than innocent. Since only a village idiot or a child would imagine that Keir Starmer would make a very public announcement about charging you if he wasn't two hundred percent certain of getting a conviction.

Huhne resigned as Energy Secretary, so that he could concentrate on his defense - time waster!

Chris HuhneHuhne was finally arrested 2012 for getting his ex-wife to take the rap for a speeding offence, so that he wouldn't get any more points on his licence.

He resigned as a cabinet member at the time of the arrest, saying "I'm innocent and I'll prove it". Silly man, he was guilty as sin, a liar, who deserved nothing more than some time behind bars.

They say that attempting to pervert the course of justice carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Which would provide Huhne with ample time to contemplate the....

.....Seven Principles of Public Life

It was Lord Nolan who established the Seven Principles of Public Life; selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership.

Lord Nolan was chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life between 1994 and 1997 set up under the Major Government in 1994. Nolan's obituary says of him:

"Lord Nolan .. made a profound mark on national life by substantially cleansing the Augean stable of corrupt politics as founding chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life."

The Standards Committee was set up in response to the cash-for-questions scandal. Not much was learnt however, during the Blair years we had the cash for honours scandal and later, revelations over cash for influence. The expenses fiddling of recent times showed clearly that MPs had not taken on-board the seven principles and the stable was still full of crap.


Vicky Pryce Jury Dismissed

The jury in the Vicky Pryce trial didn't know enough to come to a verdict and asked the judge some questions. Instead of answering the questions, the judge got uppity and told them all to get lost. Now, we need a re-trial, and this will no doubt cost another £5m. All because Mr Justice Sweeney let his arrogance and exasperation get in the way of good judgment.


Huhne and Pryce await derisory sentencing


After 8 years of time wasting, Huhne admitted his guilt over speeding and forcing his wife to take the points for him. Then, the jury at his ex-wife's trial were dismissed by an idiot judge, after £5m was wasted. At her re-trial, this past week, she too was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. This pair have made a complete mess of their lives, wasted everyone's time and cost the tax payer a fortune, and what can we expect now?

A couple of derisory sentences. Perverting the course of justice can, could, might, lead to life in prison but you can expect Vicky Pryce to get a six month suspended and Huhne to receive a maximum of 18 months, with two thirds off for good behaviour in an open prison - six months inside. That's not justice!

Derisory Sentencing for Huhne and Pryce


A policeman appeared outside the court case of Huhne and Pryce to tell us that perverting the course of justice was a very serious crime and that the sentences - 8 months each - reflected this seriousness. The policeman is just a very silly person.

Huhne and Pryce will serve 4 months or less. So how can anyone see this as a disincentive to get someone else to take your speeding points, especially when your whole career hinges on it.

The next time some liar appears in court accused of such a serious offence will they not expect the same sentence as Huhne and Pryce and not the life in prison, which the judge could have handed this daft pair.

And even less surprise: Huhne leaves Wandsworth for country club


Disgraced MP Chris Huhne may be sleeping a little easier tonight after he was moved into one of Britain's minimum security prisons.

After spending just seven days in tough Wandsworth prison, the former cabinet minister has now taken up residence at HMP Leyhill, Gloucester, where prisoners are not even locked in their cells.

Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, doesn't think the sentences for Huhne and ex-wife Vicky Pryce 'unduly lenient'. That's alright then.

No surprise: As Vicky Pryce is moved into a hotel


Price was moved from Holloway prison in north London to an Elizabethan manor in the Kent countryside. The manor is otherwise known as East Sutton Park prison. The prison service's own website describes it as "a pleasant mansion house overlooking the Weald of Kent"

Question: Who was it in the prison service who decided, just a few days after being sentenced, that Chris Huhne and Vicky Price should be moved from real prisons to country clubs?

Huhne and Pryce released


The time wasting pair only served two months of their eight month sentences. Now, they can focus on paying the court costs. Huhne owes £100,000 and the CPS wants £48,000 from Pryce. Typically, Huhne only wants to pay £25,000, a quarter of what he owes, just like his sentence.

Oct. 2013 Update

Vicky has written a book, no, not about her time with Huhne but the plight of women in prison.

Huhne is still licking his wounds but seems a trifle unremorseful.


Beyond meaning and misspoking

When it comes to duplicity, our politicians have learnt much from their US cousins.

Bill Clinton told a global television audience 'I did not have sexual relations with that women', responding to allegations from White House intern, Monica Lewinsky in 1998. Even when he was forced to come clean, he still wouldn't acknowledge that he had sex with Lewinsky, instead he called it an "inappropriate relationship", he said "...it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible."

He also said, "I never told any body to lie, not a single time, never." Clearly, he reserved that right to himself. At the time of this event, Clinton made much of what he understood by the term 'sexual relations', throughout the whole inquisition he sought to redefine the term, such that the word sexual had no sexual connotations. It was as if he and Monica just held hands, in Bill's mind anyway but he nearly managed to persuade the American nation as well. And as ever, the US model of political depravity leeched across the globe, stare straight at the camera, head up, deny all knowledge with total sincerity and when you get caught out, prostrate yourself to the court of human frailty.

Bill's wife, Hillary, to cover up her own lying, invented the word 'misspoke'. Saying I lied is harsh, saying I misspoke has connotations of acceptable error. Obviously, this was all too late to save Bill's career but she salvaged her own with it.

Talking about her visit to Bosnia in 1996, Hillary said:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Unfortunately for liar Hillary, CBS News showed footage of her walking calmly across the tarmac with her daughter, Chelsea, and being greeted by dignitaries and a child with flowers. In her memoir, “Living History,” she wrote about sniper fire in the hills but it didn't trouble her hand shaking activities.

No Intention to be Factual....

Arizona senator Jon Kyle falsely accused healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, of providing abortions to ‘well over 90 per cent of its customers.' In fact, only three per cent of its work involves abortion.

A spokesman for Kyle said: his remark ‘was not intended to be a factual statement’. One reporter described Kyle's lying as evidence of the current political zeitgeist. In essence, say what you like, some fool will believe it.

However, long before the Clintons and unremarkable senators like Kyle started lying for a living, Richard Nixon changed forever the way citizens looked at those holding high office. In a sense Nixon's persistent lying over Watergate did much to reshape the public's expectations towards their politicians.


Unknown unknowns

Blair and Bush finished things off with their dodgy dossier on weapons of mass destruction, supposedly held by Iraq. In this instance, we move away from the lie and lack of intention to be truthful to new territory, Donald Rumsfeld territory:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know." (2002)

Rumsfeld is an important character, he was there with Nixon, he was there with Reagan, he was there with Bush. The 'war on terror' was created in the Pentagon by Rumsfeld. There was nothing that Rumsfeld did not know. He created the Office for Special Plans at the Pentagon, purpose, to disseminate disinformation - their biggest piece of handy work, the 45 minute claim!

Unknown unknowns leave the door open for complete fantasy, for bigger and bigger lies - i.e. Tony Blair telling Parliament that Saddam Hussein had WMDs that could be launched in 45 minutes. Citizens were told time and again that this claim was based on credible 'intelligence'. And all those suspected of lying persist with the lie that they believed the 'intelligence'. The whole Cabinet and all the spin doctors absolving themselves by reference to some nebulous, no, nonexistent intelligence. There was no intelligence, no WMDs, and the 45 minute claim was simply ridiculous. The forty-five minutes claim actually redefined time, it meant probably never but Blair's spin doctors, chiefly, Tom Kelly and Alastair Campbell needed something emphatic and probably never didn't cover it.


The Walter Mitty Tendency among British politicians

Mitty is a well known fictional fantasist, his name has passed into the language to describe outrageous liars.

Jeffrey Archer, author and former politician whose political career ended with his conviction and subsequent imprisonment (2001–03) for perjury and perverting the course of justice, i.e. lying. Archer created, in his own mind, a persona out of sink with cognition and reality but the Tory Party were minded to make him their party chairman and a life peer, etc... He was one of the great and the good, someone for the plebs to look up to or so the public were led to believe.

But even Archer's fantasy world was outdone by John Stonehouse, MP, businessman, author, and soviet bloc spy. Stonehouse's mad world involved leaving a pile of clothes on a Miami beech, in an attempt to fake his suicide, while travelling the globe, faking identities and trying to reinvent himself as Joseph Markham. It didn't do him any good, he ended up on trial for 21 charges of fraud, theft, forgery, and conspiracy to defraud. Stonehouse was sent to prison for seven years. As a Privy Counsellor he was entitled to the style "The Right Honourable", which is quite funny when you think about it.

"Sometimes you become the prisoner of your own lie" Aitken 1999

MP Jonathan Aitken was imprisoned for his lying but like all his ilk, he had to try to make it seem as if he was being forced by the lie to be dishonest, as if the lie had taken on some kind of agency over which he had no control. Germlike, he even persuaded his young daughter to lie for him in an attempt to persuade others that he was an upstanding citizen. When investigative journalists from the Independent, Guardian and World in Action, in April 1995, lifted the lid on the Aitken can of worms they revealed that he was nothing more than a pimping tea boy for a bunch of Saudi princes, while posing as Cabinet member and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Mad Frankie Fraser sums up the public's perception of Aitken. In 2001 Fraser said, "He was worried about shaking my hand but I should have been worried about shaking the hand of a scapegrace".

Words don't have to mean anything

When Jonathan Ross asked David Cameron if he had masturbatory fantasies over Margaret Thatcher, BBC executives called Ross 'a great talent', rendering the words 'great' and 'talent' meaningless. Not that important perhaps, if you believe that words don't have to mean anything or that what you say doesn't have to accurately convey what you mean.

Gordon Brown described his Home Secretary's performance as 'Great'. In truth, the only thing Jacqui Smith had excelled at was milking her expenses. Gordon, when quizzed by the press about Smith's claim for porno movies said, "It's a private matter". Excuse us, Gordon, how can asking the taxpayer to fund her husband's viewing habits be private. Smith attempted to excuse herself with some nonsense about her and husband moving further apart. Her attempts to put marriage guidance on the agenda didn't fly. Tessa Jowell had already used that tactic when she was caught out over a mortgage scam.

Cabs for hire

Labour MP, Stephen Byers was filmed describing himself as "sort of like a cab for hire." Byers made claims of having influenced government policy in the past for money. He claimed to have spoken with Peter Mandelson and Lord Adonis in the past to influence outcomes for National Express and Tesco. Adonis admitted talking to Byers but nothing more and Mandelson said he remembered no such discussion or meeting. And then Byers said "I have not spoken to Andrew Adonis or Peter Mandelson about the matters I mentioned." When the story broke, National Express and Tesco also denied there was any truth in Byers' statements.

Well, why would you not expect deniability from all concerned but Mandelson's response is insightful. How could Mandelson remember not having a discussion or meeting. After all, if you were not there you'd be unlikely to remember it?

Mandelson, nothing to declare except his P45!

When Mandelson took a loan from fellow MP Geoffrey Robinson to buy a pad in Notting Hill he omitted to tell his mortgage company, therefore he lied by default. Mandelson also failed to declare the loan to the Register of Members Interests, he lied again by default. In his resignation letter he mangled the language to suit his lying personality, saying: "in all candour, I should not have entered into the arrangement" (Dec 1998) in other words, if he had been an honest person then he wouldn't have done it. Max Clifford commented: "The public views him as slimy and he only has himself to blame".

Tony Blair only waited a year before bringing Mandelson back into office, this time for Northern Ireland but it wasn't long before he was up to his old tricks - not doing anything wrong obviously. The Observer claimed (Jan 2001) that Mandelson had phoned Home Office minister Mike O'brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja, in order to promote the latter's bid for British citizenship. Mandelson had failed to mention his conversation with O'Brien to O'Brien's boss, Jack Straw. Blair gave Mandy his P45 again.

Ultimately Mandelson's dishonesty proved to be no bar to his political progress, by 2004 he was off to Euroland as Trade Commissioner and the five star time of his life. In 2008, Gordon Brown brought Mandelson back into the Cabinet as Trade Secretary and gave him a peerage. Post the death of New Labour, Mandelson has moved on in the world of business and has mighty ambitions, perhaps one day to head up the World Bank or perhaps become a slimy UN Secretary General.

Clearly Mandelson lied with impunity, perhaps his obliviousness was due to early onset Alzheimer's, whatever, his not remembering trick certainly set a trend around the Duplicity board.

Note, many of the self-serving, self-deceivers, in the foregoing account are not hiding in disgrace, they are prancing about on the public stage, heads held high and the Force preserve us, Tony Blair may yet make a return to British politics.


The Spectre of Past Misdeeds: Rendition and Torture

Not so long ago we frequently saw David Miliband, one time New Labour Foreign Secretary, asserting that Britain did not condone or participate in torture. And yet we now see a Libyan military commander is taking legal action against former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, claiming he was handed over to Colonel Gaddafi's forces in 2004 by MI6. Abdul Hakim Belhadj, who was believed at the time to have links to Al Qaeda, says he was tortured as a result. Back in 2004, Miliband was given a non-job in the Cabinet Office by Tony Blair, allowing some to argue that he would have known nothing about Jack Straw's CIA connections. However, having arrived at the Foreign Office you might think he would bring himself up to speed with the department's past misdeeds - but not asking allows you to lie honestly.

The First Payoff (Dec.2012)

The UK government has paid a Libyan dissident's family £2.3m over MI6-aided rendition. Sami al-Saadi, wife and four children were secretly flown from Hong Kong to Tripoli where he was tortured by Gaddafi police. The government paid the sum by way of compensation and without admitting any liability.

CIA correspondence with Libyan intelligence, found in the spy chief Moussa Koussa's office in Tripoli by Human Rights Watch, states:

"We are aware that your service had been co-operating with the British to effect [Saadi's] removal to Tripoli … the Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render [Saadi] and his family into your custody."

Saadi says he accepted the pay off because he didn't want to go through another 'secret trial' here in the UK. This means the government here can pay up and deny everything.

However, Abdul Hakim Belhadj is pushing on with his claim, he doesn't have the same family commitments as Saadi and will not be silenced by a payoff. And our man Jack Straw says he will tell everything he knows further down the road, yes, and it may snow on Christmas day this year.


MPs Expenses, a cheap affair

The revelations of the way MPs were abusing their expenses system began in May. A whistle blower passed a CD (for a small fee) containing all the unsavoury details to the Daily Telegraph. At year's end the saga continues, with some MPs refusing to pay back the money they have taken.

This affair revealed the vacuousness of much of the political class; small-minded, self-serving, untrustworthy and largely shameless.

And let's remind ourselves who was in the vanguard of the expenses cover up. Harriet Harman, announced that MPs would be able to vote on a new "statutory instrument" which will stipulate that they do not have to provide accounts of how they spend their personal allowances to the people who pay for them: the voters. And the now Lord of the Midges, Michael Martin was also up to his elbows in the scheme to keep the public in the dark.

Lords a leaping

December 2013

You'd be leaping too if you could get away with going to work for a few minutes, just long enough to give the time keeper a nod and claim your £300 for the day's 'work'.

According to Lord Hanningfield 50% of peers are working the same scam. The Daily Mirror says on 11 of 19 occasions he attended the Lords in July he spent less than 40 minutes there. He was paid over £5000 in attendance fees.

Hanningfield stupidly explained that he wasn't really making anything on his brief visits to the Lords, afterall he was spending half on expenses like food and electricity.

In case you need reminding, in 2011, Hanningfield served nine weeks of a nine-month sentence for parliamentary expenses fraud. He says it was a travesty, no, not the fact that he only served a quarter of his sentence, it was a travesty that all those other MPs and Lords got away with their fiddling.

There are currently 779 "eligible" members of the House of Lords.

MPs' Expenses: Another Cover Up

November 2014

Hands up! Who among you has ever heard of the Authorised Records Disposal Practice? Well, this so called practice allows the destruction of MPs expenses claims after three years. So everything that the Telegraph revealed about the fiddling antics of the political class is now in the shredder. So what, do I hear you say, well, it means that people like Maria Miller, with historically dubious claims will not be pursued. Indeed, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Mrs Hudson, has already declined to investigate second home switcher, allegidly, Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner. Mr Turner claimed £103,000 between 2004 and 2010 for his second home on the island, a five bedroom house and said his one bedroom London pad was his first home? Anyway, Mrs Hudson says there's not enough evidence now to pursue him. That's all good then, more evidence of democracy at work.


Silly politicians

Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, resigned following pressure about his 'working relationship' with friend and 'best man' Adam Werritty.

Werritty passed himself off as Fox's advisor during trips across the globe over the past few years. Fox also entertained Werritty at the MoD. People wanted to know if Werritty, and or Fox, benefitted financially from this strange relationship. Well, want all you like, some things they don't want the plebs to know.

Another Tory Minister, Oliver 'the bin man' Letwin, said to be very clever, apologised for disposing of parliamentary papers, including constituents' letters, in a litter bin near Downing Street. The Daily Mirror reported that he had thrown out more than 100 papers in St James's Park.

The very clever Mr Letwin did not resign. And everyone now knows that the Mirror has a reporter permanently hiding in the bushes in St James's Park.


Eric Joyce: drunken thug says he's ashamed

March 2012

MP Eric Joyce, who beat up four people in a Common's bar, says that he's reflecting on his drinking problem. He's also reflecting on his anger management issues.

Many people are asking why he wasn't kicked out of Parliament. The answer's simple, you can't sack an MP unless he steals the crown jewels or gets imprisoned for more than a year. Joyce's violence only got him a pathetic community order, a pub curfew, and a small fine.

Maria Miller and ignorance


Maria Miller, culture minister, is in the spotlight this week simply for misunderstanding how MPs' expenses work.

The poor woman bought a house in Wimbledon, London, for £234,000 in 1995 and when she became an MP, 2005, she designated it as her second home. Mortgage interest was paid by expenses but she didn't cut her claim when interest rates fell. Also, and most mysteriously, the mortgage on the house had increased substantially by 2007.

Also, mysteriously, Miller lived in the Wimbledon house with her family, not in her first home in Basingstoke, which it turns out is a rented property.

In total Miller claimed £90,000 in expenses on the property. Miller sold the property this year for £1.47 million, i.e. a profit of £1.2m. Miller will not be handing over the capital gain to the taxpayer.

Miller will be expected to pay back the princely sum of £5000 and apologise to Parliament for not co-operating in a ‘timely manner’ with the standards commissioner. I bet you didn't know MPs had a standards commissioner.

Miller's excuse? She didn't understand the rules. We do not expect Miller to lose her job just yet. She's one the of the few women in the Cabinet and she's state-educated, a rarity on the Tory front bench. But after the next election we expect her to be disappeared.

Fuel tanker drivers threaten strike action

Francis Maude told the nation in 2012, "a bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take" And his liege lord Call Me Dave added, it wouldn't hurt for motorists to top up their tanks. And so it came to pass that peasants throughout the land queued at garages to drain every last drop of petrol. And verily, prices rose and rose although no strike took place. And mysteriously, when everyone realised that there was no strike and therefore no shortage of fuel, the risen prices remained risen and simply refused to fall. Well, it took two years and more for prices to return to where they were before Maude and Cameron opened the mouths and did these two chumps ever apologise for their silliness?

Grant Shapps is just a charmless Alan B'stard


Following the budget last Wednesday, silly Tory Chairman, Grant Shapps, posted an advert on Twitter:

Before being reshuffled to the party chairman role Shapps was in charge of housing where he performed like a muppet. As party chairman, all he has to do is lead the singing at conference and take care of tea and biscuits when the Cabinet meets. There was nothing in his job description about pissing off half of the UK population with his patronising advert. And as an aside, one might add if you are as stupid as Grant, it might be best to conceal it.

However, Grant has always been a bit of a self-publicist and in the past, one name was not enough to cope with all his achievements. Under one of his alto-egos, Michael Green, he presented himself as a successful businessman with a personal fortune of £17 million, who could make customers "$20,000 in 20 days".

The customers in question would need to purchase Green's software for £200, or was it Sebastian Fox's software (another Shapps alto-egos); all we know for sure is that Google didn't think much of the trio's software and accused them of plagiarism. Also, the ASA was investigating their website, HowToCorp, following a complaint that the site was "implying" that Green and Fox were real people and not just figments of Shapps's imagination.

Well, back in 2009 Shapps passed the poison pill to his wife, so that the website/business would not appear in any of his names.


Dale Farm

September 2011

The siege of Dale Farm continued, the UN committee on racial discrimination accused poor old Basildon Council of being racist. Fact: the travellers had built without planning permission and the Council couldn't have that. Ban ki Moon's committee were big on slogans but clearly short on alternative accommodation for the travellers - who don't actually travel anywhere? Activists, however, do travel and they arrived at Dale Farm from across Europe to set up a protest camp. They to had a number of slogans but were short on action when the bulldozers arrived to move the travellers on.

Lest anyone forgets: it was New Labour and specifically, John Prescott, the travellers friend, who interfered in Basildon's business in 2002 and left the council years later to clear up the mess.

Who is wasting public money this week?

Austerity, our nutty chancellor tells us, is all we can hope for, until his marvelous policies free us from the spendthrift legacy of New Labour.

Acting Lessons

Someone needs to tell our misspending politicians and civil servants about this austerity business. Reports are circulating that £10,000 has been spent on acting lessons, provided by Rada, for some of our politicians. They apparently needed some help with their lamentable parliamentary delivery since they were not quite reaching the standard required by the ventriloquists' union.

Shameful portraits

Portraits of politicians including Iain Duncan Smith, Diane Abbott and Ken Clarke have cost the taxpayer £250,000. Paying an artist thousands of pounds to immortalise people who further down the road will not even rate a footnote in history is beyond a waste of money, it's a hanging offence. Take a look at the artist's efforts for Diane Abbott, this masterpiece is priced at £11,500.


Abbott's portrait is no more less awful than many others by the same pavement artist. However, it really is mocking the public to hang portraits of failed party leaders like T. Blair, P. Ashdown and C. Kennedy; a grasping liar, a philanderer, and a drunk.

HS2 Beanos on the taxpayer

HS2 Limited, the company running the high speed rail that few seem to want, have spent £300m over the past three years. All this spending has taken place before a shovel has been put in the ground and before parliamentary approval has been given for the scheme to go ahead.

Looking at an itemised list of HS2 Ltd's spending it looks like the children have been let lose in a sweetshop. Much of the spending has gone to propaganda and support for all and any parties allying themselves with the project, so, lots of spending on beanos, and consultants and lawyers. The waste of money here even extended to paying pollsters Ipsos Mori £500,000 to gather intelligence on the effects of the rail line on 'blighted' areas.

Computers and the MoD

Phillip Hammond, now in charge of the MoD, is currently presiding over yet another failed computer scheme. So far the MoD has managed to waste £15m on something called the Recruitment Partnering Project. This project is all to do with Hammond's scheme to make regular soldiers redundant and replace them with reservists. The computer project, if it ever gets completed will be run by Capita, over 10 years, at a cost of £10bn.

The consortium responsible for putting in the IT recruitment system made a mess of things, as did the civil servants who selected the cheapest bidder. Now Hammond plans to pay Capita to build the whole system, for a mere £50m. It's worth remembering that all this spending is only needed because some bright sparks decided to close down recruitment offices and sack the recruiters. (Does anyone at the MoD know what they are doing?)

Getting your head around what's going on at the MoD is not made easier when they invent silly names for things, like the Recruitment Partnering Project. Basically this project attempts to remove human administration from the recruitment process. All very interesting when you consider that the Army is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000. Clearly, we need some kind of system in place to manage such change but who are the Partners?

It certainly can't be the USA, they have now decided that our armed forces are too small to partner them in their foreign interventions.