Category Archives: Uncategorized

Evans was lobbied on Legal Aid just one week after first arrest

Nigel Evans

Observers were quick to question how well Nigel Evans’ complaints about the bill for his defence sat with his admission that he “might well” have voted for the government’s cuts to Legal Aid if he were not deputy speaker at the time.

Indeed. The former deputy speakers’ website reveals he was lobbied by a number of local legal professionals exactly one week after he was first arrested and bailed on 4 May 2013. They included QC Tony Cross, solicitor Simon Farnsworth and barrister Kend Hind CBE — who is also a Conservative councillor in Evans’ Ribble Valley constituency.

Evans did write to Chris Grayling but failed to elucidate his own position on the issue:

“I am sympathetic to their concerns and will be making sure that I raise them with the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. The concerns of the legal profession are based on knowledge and experience. It is important that they are duly considered during the consultation process.”

The legal profession’s entreaties were obviously less persuasive than that £130,000 legal bill.

Where’s Kate?

The Times letters page on Kate Middleton

Via: Tim Montgomerie

Tories go on warpath in sickening attack against food bank charity

  • DWP and Tories on attack after 50% rise in food bank use
  • Whitehall source: biggest food bank charity is “misleading” and “emotionally manipulative”
  • Thatcher minister Edwina Currie pens smear column in The Sun

Trussell Trust food bank is 'manipulative'

Iain Duncan Smith’s department has launched a sickening attack against the UK’s largest food bank charity after they revealed yesterday that food bank use had increased by more than 50% in just twelve months.

A “Whitehall source” — almost certainly from within DWP — briefed the following smears to the Daily Mail alongside a quote from an official spokesman:

“[The Trussell Trust is engaged in] fairly misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity seeking”

“It’s not entirely surprising given Chris Mould is effectively running a business.”

The hypocrisy of these statements is simply breathtaking — coming from a department which cites a lack of credible data linking food bank use to harsh welfare policies (while refusing to collect their own) and has been repeatedly censured for their misleading press releases and statistical abuse.

The appearance of an op-ed in The Sun (£) from Edwina Currie belies the level of co-ordination behind the rearguard action — but At least former Thatcher minister has the guts to put her confused thoughts under her own name.

After remarking “Are people going hungry? I don’t believe so”, Currie then parrots a claim made by millionaire minister Lord Freud that food bank parcels are an unrestricted free good — driving a spike in demand from anyone that fancies (in the Sun’s caption) “lining up for some free nosh”:

“Let’s remind ourselves of one basic fact — if something worth having is being handed out free, there will be many willing takers. There are more users because there are more food banks. It’s obvious.”

But she then contradicts herself in the, errr, next paragraph by admitting that you need to be referred to a food bank from a partner organisation such as a Jobcentre:

“They are a hand-out, not a hand-up and it’s no surprise claimants are queuing up as new ones open, vouchers in hand obtained from almost anyone in authority.”

The red top saves the worst until last, however, with this quote about obtaining “top brand” products and “restaurant tokens” with “no worry about cost”:

'Food bank user' in The Sun

The message: feckless food bank users are on the take.

Former Conservative Party treasurer in ‘male stripper video’

Michael Spencer stripping (Cameron inset)

Former Tory treasurer and top donor Michael Spencer has appeared in a cringe worthy ‘spoof’ video in which he unbuttons his shirt to the waist while singing a song about being a stripper.

The film, which was produced for a fundraiser for the Young Vic, is based on the premise of bankers agreeing to fund the theatre provided they produce a version of the Full Monty — but about globe-trotting bankers rather than unemployed Sheffield steel workers.

Spencer runs a broking firm which was recently fined £54m for manipulating the inter-bank lending rate — while one of their main shareholders features on Scrapbook’s list of Tory donors linked to tax havens.

Rather than prancing around in a fundraising video, perhaps Spencer should ensure his companies pay their fair share of tax. Problem solved.

Tory HQ Twitter on the government’s ‘anti-business’ adviser

Shadow business secretary tweets link to a Will Hutton interview with economist Thomas Piketty:

Tory HQ sees opportunity to accuse him of linking to an “anti-business” article:

They certainly didn’t think Will Hutton was anti-business when the government asked him to be an adviser on high pay and write an official report on the issue.

Tory councillor pointed gun at neighbour in row over pet cat

Nick Buckmaster cat

A Tory councillor’s political career lies in tatters after he pointed a gun at his next door neighbourin a row over damage caused by a pet cat. Armed police swooped on an address in Chingford, Essex after Cllr Nick Buckmaster aimed an airgun at his neighbour while yelling:

“I know who you are. I know what you do. I know everything about you”

He then put the weapon down and, errrr,  rugby tackled his victim on the front lawn. Buckmaster — who is still a Conservative councillor — pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

A colleague of local MP Iain Duncan Smith, the cabinet minister was previously forced to deny claims that the councillor was party to “intimidating” behaviour at a consultation event.

Bailed to appear for sentencing on 16 May, Buckmaster has been ordered to stay out of the postcode E4  – which will make campaigning slightly difficult.

50% food bank growth: Osborne introduced benefit delay last year

  • Largest food bank operator report 50% rise in users
  • Government claiming benefit claim processing has improved
  • But Osborne deliberately introduced seven-day delay

Osborne food bank

With the number of people using food banks rising 50% in the last year, the government are indignant at the suggestion that their policies have anything to do with it.

The BBC reports:

“There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms or benefit administration are linked to increased use of food banks,” said a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

She also maintained that the amount of time taken to process payments had improved.

Some 92% of payments were now made within the target time of 16 days, a 6% improvement on the time taken five years ago, she told the BBC.

So, errr … what about George Osborne’s announcement at the 2013 Spending Review that the newly unemployed would be forced to wait seven days before being elligible to claim benefits?

“We will also introduce a new seven-day wait before people can claim their benefits. Those first few days should be spent looking for work, not looking to sign on.”

And three months before that they scrapped crisis loans for desperate families.

The only people benefiting from these policies are payday lenders.

From duck islands to Tracey Island: Nigel Farage expenses car crash

Nigel Farage asked to explain why his office electricity bill is £3,000 per year:

Murnaghan: “What are you doing in there? What are you running in there?

Farage: “Running machines, running banks for computers. Doing things! Doing things! Doing things that use a lot more electricity than many household chores do”

Murhahan: “It sounds like Tracey Island. You’ve got banks of computers?!”

Nigel Farage shamelessly defended spending £60,000 in taxpayer-funded EU allowances on UKIP’s party offices.

Speaking on Sky News, he said claims he was using expenses improperly were “erroneous” and he could spend the £3,850-a-month he gets from Brussels “as I see fit” – without even having to produce receipts.

Since becoming an MEP in 2009, he has pocketed £60,000 in allowances from the EU, which he says he’s spent on running costs for the party’s offices in Lymington, West Sussex.

Despite the office being a rent-free “gift” from UKIP supporters, Farage says the office costs about £3,000 a year in electricity alone – and spends about £1,000 a month in other expenses.

Scrapbook rather likes the idea that UKIP could operate out of a hidden paradise peninsula filled with super-secret “machines.”

Well, he does look like a Thunderbirds puppet, after all…

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