IPSA ‘luxury’ spending uncovered

7 03 2011

Haven’t really mentioned that I write pretty regularly for PoliticsHome now. Well I do and am really enjoying it.

Glad to see that my story on IPSA furniture spending  here has been picked up by my friends at the Standard here and the Telegraph here

Some Keith Vaz-style spending on furniture by the expenses-police really has had me and the office giggling. Hope you will too.


Government buys 9,000 2012 tickets to entertain dignitaries

18 02 2011

A bit of an exclusive by me in today’s Telegraph, showing that officials will plough at least £750,000 of public money into games tickets because they believe it “would be wrong” not to and will be for the “benefit of the whole of the UK”. These tickets will be used by politicians and Westminster mandarins to entertain international guests, foreign dignitaries like royalty, business leaders and people they claim have strong links with the Olympic movement and London 2012. BoJo also has a 2,000 allocation but is yet to decide what to do.

Please take a look here: LINK

Boris repeats his claims about “social cleansing”.

17 11 2010

So as I bravely battled  man-flu and watched MQT online I almost spat out my Lemsip this morning as Boris repeated his new favourite phrase, despite the problems it caused the first time.

Anyway, for anyone who wasn’t there, nor was I because I didn’t want to make the scores of children and TfL grad-schemers who always attend poorly, Boris was taken to task over the proposed cap on housing benefit.

This is what he said a few weeks back and it made loads of people, particularly the PM, very angry indeed:

Well, here, is what he said today:

“What I don’t want to see is anything like the social cleansing or whatever phrase it was I used and whatever war zone you wish to pick to animate this. I want to use this reform to drive down the rents in central London. I am absolutely determined to make sure this is done humanely.

“We are campaigning so vigorously to mitigate the impact of this housing benefit reform in London. It is common ground not just here but with most sensible ministers that what you don’t want to see in London is transformation into a city like Paris where only the affluent few can live in central areas and the rest are moved gradually, or not, into outer areas. This not what we want to see here.

“I have met Ian Duncan Smith as early as the 27th of September, Lord Freud earlier on and had many many conversations with Government ministers of all kinds on this matter and indeed with colleagues in the Liberal Democrats who share my concerns and who are proving allies on this matter and this is something that is great concern to Londoners.

“We are approaching agreement on a wide range of mitigating measures that we will put into effect to cushion the impact of this change on Londoners.

“What I want to get over is that we are going to minimise the impact on Londoners because it isn’t fair on a city that flourishes and is prosperous precisely because people on low incomes can afford to live in areas near their place of work and that’s vital for the prosperity and success of London.

“I don’t think it will happen and I am very confident that it won’t happen because of our arguments. We have had some very very constructive discussions with government about this subject and I’m confident they understand those points and London will be given time and money to absorb the changes. What I can’t say to anyone that there will be a changes as a result of the cap on housing benefit. That would be absurd.”

This is all very interesting as he is using his words very carefully. Particularly interesting that he used social cleansing again, and words like humanity to make his point.

Also,that he is also lobbying Lib Dems (the ones he slagged off for trying to steal money from London a few months back) and that he believes London will be made a special case. He is sticking his neck out on that one, and will be hung out to dry by opponents if London isn’t treated differently.

Most importantly, it shows that it is another very deliberate attempt to flex his muscles against his own party, and disproves, in my view, any argument that he did not think about what he was saying during that initial BBC interview.

But it doesn’t matter how he says it, I think this Kosovo-style social cleansing example he keeps using is extremely ill-judged.

Peace protestors should move on.

30 06 2010

“This is just the beginning,” said one campaigner, a 38-year-old known as Phoenix.

Square in happier times.

“Boris has bitten off more than he can chew. This is only going to get bigger. There will be loads more people coming to protest on the government’s doorstep until they listen to us.”

No Phoenix it is the end, hopefully.

For those who don’t know Boris has won the right to evict the people squatting on Parliament Square, after a nine-day hearing and £100,000 costs for the protestors. We can probably guess who’ll end up paying for that.

Since arriving demonstrators are said to be creating a tent’s worth of rubbish a day, forcing street wardens to pick up their faeces from their lawn and the flower beds close to Parliament.

This group has been on Parliament Square for more than two months, with no toilet facilities, and no running water. Anyone who has been by there recently as I have may say that it is a blooming eye-sore, and for some probably quite intimidating.

There is a famous Norwegian saying which has served me pretty well in life and sums up my view, roughly translated it says: “everyone has the right to protest until you crap on the grass or flower bed, and then even worse leave it for someone else to clear up. Then you must leave with head hanging.”