“We want to have good people doing the job and they need to be paid fairly. Now, that’s not paid in excess but it’s not being paid a miserly amount either.”

– Marcial Boo, chief executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) trying his best to justify increasing the salary of an MP from £67,000 to £74,000.

Surely, his reasoning applies to everyone who works hard for a living and not just to the MPs whom he regards as being paid “a miserly amount”


Time to get real!

Google boss Eric Schmidt defended the way his company and others have paid so little tax on such very substantial profits by stating:

All of us are operating in a very, very longstanding tax regime which was set up for various reasons that don’t necessarily make sense to me or anyone else. But they are the way the global tax regime works.

However hard you try, it is difficult to disagree with his point.

It isn’t companies that make the tax laws; it’s the politicians. It therefore seems a little hypocritical for those politicians to be trying to demonise those who take maximum benefit.

Ex- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died today aged 87.

Like her, or loathe her, her legacy lives on:

> “I love argument. I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me – that’s not their job,”

Margaret Thatcher in 1980

Chris Huhne Speeding To A Prison Cell

Yesterday, ex-senior politician Chris Huhne and his charmingly vengeful ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, were finally sentenced to a term in prison; it seems very unlikely they will be sharing a cell.

What started off as a simple motoring offence, ten years ago, led to public humiliation, the further break up of a family, and a cost to the taxpayer of tens of thousands of pounds in court fees and a police investigation that led to the Huhnes eventually being charged with a more serious offence.

I find it hard to feel any sympathy for their plight.

As expected, their crime is being sanitised by friends, and certain parts of the media, who are trying to convince us that a custodial sentence is a harsh price to pay for just a speeding offence.

Huhne said himself, in an interview before sentencing: “I have to accept responsibility, and I should not have asked my ex-wife to take my speeding points, and I should not have lied on an official form, and I should not have tried to evade the consequences”

Both he, and they, omit to mention his sentence was handed down for the serious crime of perverting the course of justice; it was nothing to do with his speeding offence.

Huhne lied, denied, and then lied some more when he realised he was under threat from a vengeful ex-wife. She was determined to bring about his political downfall by revealing he had lied over who was driving his speeding car. However, she had failed to factor in the consequences to her own liberty.

At a time when public apathy towards politics is at an all time high, Huhne has demonstrated, once again, that many politicians are more concerned about protecting their privileged positions than about demonstrating honesty to the people who have trusted them with the management of their lives.

But, while he has taken a knock, it seems Huhne’s ego will be more bruised than his immediate financial future.

Most MPs who resign their seat (even after wrongdoing) receive a large financial allowance to help ease their way back into ‘everyday life’. Huhne’s friends have revealed he is already planning to write a book whilst serving his time, as a guest of Her Majesty. It seems unlikely, therefore, he will suffer the same financial hardships as those who voted for him to represent them.

Perhaps, he should remember the words of the judge at his sentencing, when penning the final chapters:

“Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault”

I wholeheartedly agree!

Obesity, Cheap Food And Lack Of Responsibility

You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to know that if you buy cheap food it’s unlikely to have much nutritional value and could lead to obesity.

Combined with a lack of exercise, some degree of obesity is almost guaranteed

Apparently, though, obesity is not our fault.

Over the last decade we have become one of the unhealthiest, and obese, of all the member states in the EU. The NHS is hugely overstretched by treating obesity related illnesses while the cost to us all both in financial terms and loss of life is probably too great to estimate.

But it’s not our fault. We don’t have any personal control over our desire to shovel crap into our mouths. We are just Lemmings falling into the abyss of temptation.

According to a report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges  it’s really all the fault of fizzy drink manufacturers and food producers who put too much sugar and saturated fats into the cheap meals that just happen to fall into our shopping trolleys. They say it’s time to tax those bottles of pop and to stop advertising tempting delights on TV until after the watershed.

While their logic may be well meaning, it is flawed.

For starters, are they naive enough to believe that a tax levied on fizzy drinks is going to be reinvested in health schemes?

As for the watershed – scenes of an ‘adult nature’ are already banned from being shown on TV before 9pm but our population is still increasing and we have one of the highest rates of juvenile pregnancies in Europe.

In reality, some people would prefer to nosh on a family sized packet of salt and vinegar than have sex – while others are just too obese to even try  (the latter one anyway!).

Bans and restrictions on personal choice will never work.; neither will placing the blame on food manufacturers while we continue to create the demand.

It is therefore logical that education and exercise, from an early age, are probably the key factors in reducing the trend towards bigger clothing sizes.

It’s too late to buy back the old school playing fields, sold to developers for a quick profit. It’s not too late to teach kids the difference between a carrot and a crispy pancake.

Professor Terence Stephenson, the chairman of the AMRC said:

“We didn’t hear from a single person who said they liked being overweight – everybody we met wanted help from the state and society.”

They didn’t however, seem to need much help from ‘state and society’ while in the process of emptying their food cupboards!

In his article Freedom Doesn’t Mean Let It All Hang Out columnist, Simon Jenkins, argues for more restraint from the media and advertisers.

The full article can be read by clicking here:


Pope’s Resignation – Was This A Freudian Slip?

journal.ieToday the Pope announced to the world he was to resign his position.

The Irish internet news publisher The Journal.ie seems to have suffered a bit of a mistype when reporting the Pope’s resignation statement. It was an error that was quickly rectified – after it had already made headlines of its own on Twitter!

Nice One!

Chris Huhne – A Fool And A Liar

‘Liar Liar your bum’s on fire’ might hopefully pass through the mind of disgraced politician Chris Huhne when he is finally introduced to his new cellmate.

After all, the judge at yesterday’s trial made it very clear that Huhne is looking at serving time, after he finally pleaded guilty to the serious charge of perverting the course of justice.

It has taken him over a year of straight faced denial, legal manipulation and a large and costly police investigation to make him see the light.

Huhne was originally only guilty of doing what many other couples have probably done. He was ‘flashed’ speeding on the M11 and instead of admitting he was the driver of the vehicle, he persuaded his then wife (at the time of the incident) to say it was her and to take the fine and the points on his behalf.

It took almost ten years before his deception hit the headlines and only because his, by now, ex-wife wanted her revenge. She was intent on ruining his meteoric rise in the world of politics; it was the classic case of a woman scorned by a husband who had left her for another woman.

Huhne chose to lie to the courts, the government, his constituents, and the electorate as a whole, by claiming it was all just a fabricated story with absolutely no merit. As his denials increased, so did the severity of the criminal charges.

The irony is: if he had ‘come clean’ at the start, he would likely have received just a meagre fine and a few more points on his driving licence. His ex-wife would not have had any ammunition to bring about his downfall.

Even while announcing his intention to resign as an MP, Huhne tried to trivialise what he had done by saying: “Having taken responsibility for something that happened 10 years ago, the only proper course of action for me is to resign my Eastleigh seat in Parliament, which I will do very shortly.”

It was almost as if he thought the passing of time meant he hadn’t done anything wrong and it was acceptable to lie his way out of trouble – he is/was after all an arrogant politician.

Personally, I am delighted that Chris Huhne is no longer a part of our political process. I am tired of listening to politicians and not knowing whether they are telling the truth, or promoting a dubious policy driven by self interest and outside forces. The recent child abuse revelations have helped to highlight the cover ups and misinformation tactics that have been used in politics for decades, to divert our attention away from the facts.

Ultimately, I hope that Chris Huhne’s fate becomes a solid reminder to all his ex-colleagues, that there are alternative publicly funded ‘bars’ to those they normally frequent at Westminster.


Today sees the supposedly devisive debate on allowing gay marriage in the UK. It has been compared to Leo Abse’s 1966 landmark Sexual Offences Bill.

During the presentation of the Bill to MPs in the Commons, Sir Cyril Osborne, who was regarded as its main opponent argued:

I claim that the sponsors of the bill have no mandate whatever for the measure. I hold in my hand the three party election manifestos. The Liberals, the Conservatives and the socialists did not put one word in their manifestos about this so-called homosexual reform. I therefore say that the sponsors have no mandate whatever for the bill. Why was there not a word in the party manifestos? We are all politicians and we have all sought votes. The framers of our manifestos knew full well that the ordinary people of Britain, to whom we go for our votes, would not have stomached this proposal.

Whether the electorate is now more accepting of gay marriage remains to be seen, but what is interesting is that nothing has changed in regard to Sir Cyril’s argument on manifestos.

We vote them in…..they do what they want!

Nick Robinson Headline

I am not sure much thought can have been given to this Nick Robinson headline on the BBC News website – but it made me laugh!

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