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Archive for May 13th, 2009

The hills are alive…

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So… what’s on the menu today…?

They are not all excessive claims

The Telegraph has set up a Booth of Shame to allow MPs to do a two minute video to explain their expense claims.  Full marks to Conswervative MP for Monmouth David Davies MP for explaining his position.  Good effort. Worth watching to get a balanced view of this business.

Meanwhile…. David Cameron, who wrote to me personally again last night, is making it very clear that there are to be no more shenanigans, no more ‘flipping’ second homes, and no more expenses for household goods, furniture, food and, presumably, moats. He added that a Scrutiny Panel will be set up and anyone who does not co-operate with the panel (I assume – who does not pay their excessive expenses back) will be cast into the wilderness and have to loll about as an Independent MP.

THE PRIVY COUNCIL

The Times had a very interesting piece today  entitled Does anyone understand what the Privy Council does?

I confess –  from information drilled into me all those years ago attending Constitutional Law lectures given by one of the world’s great narcolepsy experts –  I did have a vague idea what the PC does.  The article is well worth a read because it reveals a rather shadowy organ of state.  The Times noted  “The Council is a body of advisers to the Queen dating back to feudal times when the monarch ruled by divine right. Yet the Privy Council and its court are far from a relic of history…….More important, though, Privy Counsellors can make orders that bypass Parliament, while still having the same force as democratically passed laws. And their laws don’t have even have to carry a statement that they comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Serendipitously, John Flood, a Prof at Westminster,  commented on one of my posts today. It is worth digging out…

Did anyone listen to the R4 programme on the Privy Council last night? I wanted to puke when I listened to Jack Straw justify the decisions the Privy Council took to overturn the High Court’s decision to allow the Chagos Islanders to return to their home. Expediency pure and simple; no public scrutiny of decisions. I think we have now reached the point when many of our public institutions need overhauling. Government must be scrutinized and openly. This perhaps is what Fry was missing. We are now observing a very close examination of events that government has done its damndest to obscure and prevent. If we can’t bring this out into the open, then it’s unlikely we could properly examine the causes of illegitimate wars.

John Flood also has his own excellent blog and enjoys a bit of stand up comedy. He’s rather good at it – see video.

I’ll be back later… much to investigate.  Early next week I shall be doing a podcast with a leading and well regarded Labour MP.  I am looking forward to it.

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