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  1. #31
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    I've been reading The Eye fairly regularly for about 20 years, since I was 16 or so. It was pretty instrumental in shaping my politics and inherent distrust for all politicians. I love it for making me laugh like a drain and for making my blood boil.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  2. #32
    the druthers Mordecai's Avatar
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    Dude in the cutoff jean shorts reminded me of a pikey David Cameron...



    http://gothamist.com/2011/09/05/obam...is.php#photo-5

    (Photo taken in flood ravaged Paterson, NJ. Stay classy, New Jersey!)

  3. #33
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    Great stuff from the ever excellent Ben Goldacre:

    What do you do when a minister - Bob Neill - cites a statistic as laughable as this?

    Here is an article I wrote about the Department for Communities and Local Government pushing a laughable, absurd claim that they could save 20% off all local government procurement. In reality, this was based on a flimsy pamphlet from a private management consultancy firm who'd told the government they could get them 20% off their mobile phone bill.

    I am absolutely, seriously and honestly not making this up:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...s-ben-goldacre

    Now that 20% figure has been cited in parliament by Bob Neill, DCLG Minister.

    http://www.publications.parliament.u...#1109054000019

    Now, I have two questions:

    1. what do you propose we do about this?

    2. what do you think we should be able to do about this?

    Misleading money-saving claims help no one

    Claiming you can get councils cheaper mobile phone deals does not equate to 20% off a Ł50bn spend



    Every now and then, the government will push a report that's so assinine, and so thin, you have to check it's not a spoof. The Daily Mail was clear in its coverage: "Council incompetence 'costs every household Ł452 a year'"; "Up to Ł10bn a year is wasted by clueless councils." And the Express agreed. Where will this money come from? "Up to Ł10bn a year could be saved … if councils better analysed spending from their Ł50bn procurement budgets."

    A 20% saving on the Ł50bn council procurement budget would be awesome. And this is a proper story, from a press release on the Department for Communities and Local Government website: 20% of the Ł50bn procurement spend could be saved by seeking better value.

    Government ministers have an army of intelligent, technical staff, with full access to every speck of data, ready to produce research. But these figures come from a "new, cutting-edge analysis of council spending data by procurement experts Opera Solutions".

    I downloaded the "Opera Solutions White Paper". I recommend reading it yourself, to understand what a minister considers a substantive piece of research.

    The "full report" is six pages long, not including the cover. The meat of it, the analysis, is presented in a single three-line table. Opera took the recently released local government spending data for three councils, and decided how much it reckoned could be saved by bulk purchasing.

    It did its estimates on three areas: for energy bills (a Ł7m spend), and solicitors fees (Ł6m), it thought councils could save just 10%. The third category – mobile phone bills – were tiny in comparison (just Ł600,000) but here, and here alone, Opera reckons councils can save 20%, by getting people on better tariffs.

    So, for mobile phones, an incompetently regulated sector well known for making money from deliberately confusing pricing schemes, where phone companies hope the trouble of checking your usage pattern will be more effort than it's worth, Opera reckons councils can save 20%. No problem.

    Then, even though for Ł13m out of Ł13.6m of their spend calculations, Opera could only find 10% of savings, it cheerfully applies this magic 20% from the tiny mobile phone spend to the entire local government procurement budget of Ł50bn, magicking up Ł10bn of savings, Ł452 a year for every one of us.

    And even before that astonishing, shameless bait and switch, these figures are all presented out of nowhere. There is no working at all for any single saving, no description of how 10% or even 20% was calculated: just that three-line table telling you how much Opera Solutions reckons councils can save. There's also no justification for choosing energy, solicitors, and mobile phone bills, out of all the things councils spend on. Were these where Opera thought they could get the biggest savings? Who knows.

    The document is six pages long. We've covered one. What's in the rest? All that follows is a four-page glossy brochure advert for Opera Solutions management consultancy services in local government. "Opera Solutions has successfully completed procurement optimisation projects for hundreds of organisations around the world." "Opera partners with clients to work as a catalyst." "Opera addresses these issues through Insight CubeTM technology, which creates deep visibility into spending information."

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, what do local governments actually procure? Well, the biggest thing, about a quarter of this Ł50bn budget, more than Ł10bn a year of local government procurement, is social care: mostly residential care, mostly for the elderly, and most through the independent sector.

    If you're going to save 20% off that, then I suggest you tell us how, in full and educative detail. In the meantime, saying you can get us a better deal on our mobile phone tariff, and then pretending that means you've taken 20% off the entire Ł50bn local government procurement spend, isn't just misleading: it's the reasoning of a 10-year-old.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  4. #34
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    LOLs on PMQs today.

    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  5. #35
    to the loneliest city in the world other pete's Avatar
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    LOL/ugh/eww

    Youtube also recommends:


  6. #36
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    ^ At least Dorries' abortion changes got squashed. Pity that the NHS is fucked.

    No longer content with using Polish Air Force Spitfires in campaign literature:

    BNP Picks Falklands Veteran As Mayoral Candidate – Sort Of

    The British National Party have named their candidate for next year’s London mayoral election (you’ll forgive us, we’re sure, if we don’t link to the announcement).

    And in what looks at first glance like a clever move they’ve chosen Carlos Cortiglia, a Uruguyan former party press officer of Spanish and Italian descent. Not only is Cortiglia rather more international than we’ve come to expect from the BNP, he’s also a great patriot – volunteered, it seems, to fight in the Falklands war.

    The only slight problem, if sources are to be believed, is that it was for Argentina.

    You can kind of see the logic in the party’s choice. The party’s many opponents are united around the idea that it’s just a bunch of racists, obsessed with protecting the “indigenous white race”, a meaningless notion that’s offensive to modern Britain and absolutely alien to modern London. By picking Cortiglia, they must have thought, they’d undermine all that at a stroke, despite the Uruguayan’s rather vexing commitment to creating “a British Britain”.

    But Cortiglia has been around long enough to shoot his mouth off a little. In 2004 he apparently told Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper:

    “Soy argentine oriental, o dicho de otro modo, uruguayo de nacimiento, y me siento muy ligado emocionalmente a la Republica Argentina. En 1982 me ofreci como voluntario par ir a las Islas Malvinas”

    That roughly translates to:

    “I am east Argentine, in other words, Uruguayan by birth, and I feel very emotionally linked to Argentina. In 1982 I volunteered to go to the Falkland Islands”

    In other words, the BNP have picked a mayoral candidate so dedicated to this country that, the last time he had the chance, he wanted to go to war against it, at least if the linked source is accurate. That should neatly upset the party’s supporters, without convincing anyone else to change their minds.

    A pity, perhaps, that Cortiglia is no longer in the BNP’s press team. They seem to need all the PR help they can get.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  7. #37
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    Badly judged theme songs of our time.

    Chumbawamba go Tubthumping crazy over Ukip's use of No1 hit

    Anarchist band react with 'total and absolute outrage and horror' after Nigel Farage appearance accompanied by song



    Anarchist pop band Chumbawamba expressed horror after their anthem to resilience, Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down), was used at the Ukip conference in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Band member Dunstan Bruce said his reaction to the news was one of "total and absolute outrage and horror".

    He suggested that the party must have been unaware of the band's background. "This song being used by Ukip is so wrong. I am absolutely appalled that this grubby little organisation are stealing our song to use for their own ends. It's beyond the pale and if they use it again we will consider legal action."

    The Burnley band – who have penned several songs protesting against war, supporting animal rights and miners' strikes – may not seem a natural fit for the right-wing party, but leader Nigel Farage arrived on stage at the conference to the band's best-known hit. The band complained to Ukip and threatened to take further action if the song was used again.

    Former singer Alice Nutter, quickly took to the offensive. "If ever there was gross misuse of a band's music this is it," she said. "As a former member of Chumbawamba, I would like it to go on record that we do not support either Nigel Farrage or Ukip. In fact we would go further and say that Nigel Farrage is an arse, his party is mainly made up of bigots and its policies are racist."

    The band, who were at vanguard of the 1980s anarcho-punk movement, are no strangers to upsetting politicians. In 1998, the pleasingly named Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon poured a jug of water over John Prescott, with the words: "this is for the Liverpool dockers".

    A spokesman for Ukip said if the band were unhappy with the use of the song, the party would not use it again.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  8. #38
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    BNP Candidate guilty of child pornography

    A leading East Midlands BNP official & candidate has pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography.

    Gavin Leist, the Charnwood BNP secretary appeared at Leicester Crown Court on September 7th following a discovery of a large quantity of child pornography.

    Leist who is believed to have been a life member of the BNP stood as their candidate in Leicestershire’s county council elections in 2009.

    He will return to Leicester Crown Court in October to hear his sentence.
    What a class act.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  9. #39
    twilight campfighter Alan's Avatar
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    So what does everyone think of this Dale Farm situation? I'll just come right out and say I think they should be evicted, I don't think this is to do with racism or cultural heritage, it's about not building shit when you don't have permission to.

  10. #40
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Ah, so Liam Fox's very special friend Andrew Werrity was allegedly paid to accompany Fox on multiple trips around the world to sit in on important defence meetings and pretend to be his special advisor by a group of conveniently anonymous donors.

    The BBC's Nick Robinson says the wealthy backers who paid Mr Werritty an annual retainer did so because they saw him as someone who, unlike civil servants, could be relied on to champion support for Eurosceptic, pro-American and pro-Israeli policies.
    I think sleaziness and grotesque underhandness of this situation is pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain. What should also be obvious by this point is that Cameron has appalling judgement in personnel. First Coulson, now a defence secretary who allows his very special chum, apparently sponsored by a shady cabal of Atlanticists, access to fuck knows what information. Oh, and we're supposed to believe this last is acceptable, as opposed to say, being funded by a defence contractor.

  11. #41
    to the loneliest city in the world other pete's Avatar
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    The blatant homophobia from the press towards Fox has clouded my judgement on this one. As that dissipates, the actual facts do look worse and worse. I wonder how many equivalents there are still holding cabinet posts, and what the consequences will be of them having to admit it is a resignation matter?

    Elsewhere, love this:


  12. #42
    Why is this happening to me? beanstew's Avatar
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    ^ nice.

    MPs who repaid expenses got money back in secret deal

    Dozens of MPs who repaid money amid public outrage at their expenses claims were quietly refunded under a secret deal with the Commons authorities, it has emerged.

    They include Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, who pocketed ÂŁ4.47 which she had voluntarily returned after The Daily Telegraph disclosed that she had billed the public purse for dog food.

    Sir John Butterfill, a former Conservative backbencher, received £15,000 back after previously announcing that he would return money which he had received to help run the servants’ quarters at his Surrey mansion.

    The MPs were offered the expenses deals following the Legg audit of claims dating back to 2004 which was ordered in the wake of the expenses scandal.

    Under the terms of the review’s remit – which was determined by the MPs themselves – the audit team could only ask for money back if claims were in breach of the notoriously lax rules at the time.

    As many MPs had voluntarily repaid sums in excess of the amounts identified by Sir Thomas Legg, head of the audit, they were secretly offered the opportunity to claim the money back.
    Figures released following a Freedom of Information request show that 26 MPs applied for the refunds.

    Evidence of the issues comes after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) announced it is "actively considering" giving MPs freer rein over budgets again, and checking their spending retrospectively.

    The Commons authorities had previously only published partial details of the mass payback that ensued when abuses became public two years ago.

    But they have now spelt out the sums returned by each politician, including travel and office expenses as well as notorious spending on second homes.

    The material released shows that Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, also benefited from a rebate.

    As the scandal broke he repaid ÂŁ3,618.42. That included ÂŁ1,757 claimed for a property purchase with his brother, and ÂŁ500 for phone bills and excess rent.

    He argued that MPs were "well paid" and had to take responsibility for errors by the Fees Office.

    However, according to the Commons, the member for Birmingham Hodge Hill later asked for ÂŁ1,349.41 back after Sir Thomas demanded just ÂŁ111.84 for mobile telephone costs.

    Other disclosure to come from today's documents include the fact that Tony Blair returned £388 in unspecified second home expenses last March – his only repayment.

    Mr Blair, who has made millions since leaving Downing Street, was criticised for claiming thousands of pounds for renovating his second home days before quitting as an MP.

    Liberal Democrat Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander repaid ÂŁ1,933.29 in mortgage interest in the run-up to the general election.
    Should we be surprised? I'm thinking no.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  13. #43
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Fucking hell. A plague on all their houses. Preferably Bubonic.

  14. #44
    A Midspring's Nightmare Rabih's Avatar
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    Sarkozy and Cameron stopped being BFFs.

    Just yesterday, the French president lashed out at Cameron over the Euro. So yeah, basically, you either love the Euro or you shut up.

    The Guardian reports the exchange
    The bust-up between Cameron and Sarkozy held up the conclusion of the EU-27 summit for almost two hours, with the French president expressing rage at the constant criticism and lectures from UK ministers.

    Sarkozy bluntly told Cameron: "You have lost a good opportunity to shut up." He added: "We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings."

  15. #45
    to the loneliest city in the world other pete's Avatar
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    The full version actually reads:

    Sarkozy bluntly told Cameron: "You have lost a good opportunity to shut up." He added: "We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings. WHY DO YOU EVEN POST HERE ANYWAY? WEREN'T YOU BANNED FROM THE GAGA THREAD??"
    He has a point though (how often does anyone say that of Sarko?), it's sooooooooooooooooo embarrassing the way British politicians try to strut round the world telling other countries how to behave, because they think it will look good on TV.

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