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Can someone pay my grocery bills?


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Some of what has emerged is at first appearance quite

“disappointing”.  I see that the tax

payer has to pay for Gordon Brown to have a Sky Sports subscription (why can he

not pay for it himself ?).  And as for

Prescott’s grocery bill – well I guess there is a obvious comment there.

I can now appreciate why there was so much effort by some

politicians to keep their expenses outside the Freedom of Information act.  It does seem good that these things are

emerging as, although I’m sure we are only getting one side of the story (e.g.

not the side that says that Brown’s Sky Sports subscription if only for

visiting Heads of State or whatever), it probably will make MPs more careful

and thus maybe more aware that their role is to represent their electorate

rather than screw the system for every penny they can.


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Doesn't it also confirm what we, or at least I, have always thought, that most of them enter politics in order to get their snouts in the trough.  Those that become MPs fully intent on doing good for their constituents gradually become seduced by the unreal world in which they live in and become just as rotten as the rest of them.

Cynical?  Me?  Definitely, it comes with getting old and nothing that comes out from knowing quite how deeply their snouts are will surprise me.

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I think that what has irritated me most about this business is the way some of the MPs have reacted to being questioned.

I know many forum members have small businesses and are accustomed to having to produce very detailed expenses claims which are certified with receipts. What is more many have to do it without any ‘proper’ secretarial help.

If you get it wrong, either by accident or design, trouble will follow.

I can’t see why MPs shouldn’t do the same.

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And the only thing which discriminates one snout from another is the colour of the tie dangling in the trough..................[:-))]

To paraphrase Grouch Marks when he said "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member"

"Please disregard my application to become an MP, I understand that the very fact I wish to become one is sufficient grounds to disqualify me"

But it's nothing new though is it although this current bunch do seem to have refined it to a fine art................!

  • The difference between a Democracy and a Dictatorship is that

    in a Democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a Dictatorship

    you don't have to waste your time voting.--Charles Bukowski

  • Democracy means government by the uneducated, while

    aristocracy means government by the badly educated.--G. K. Chesterton

  • The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation

    with the average voter.--Winston Churchill

  • If the people be governors, who shall be governed?--John Cotton

  • A democracy is a government that must respond to the

    majority of the people, but the majority never rise above the

    level of adolescence in their mental processes.--George H. Douglas

  • Democracy is a condition of life in which people are set

    to worrying whether somebody somewhere is enjoying things that

    they are not, and take action to see that they don't. This is

    what Puritanism is also.--George H. Douglas

  • The people rule, but they rule in name only--much as the

    king may be said to rule in a modern constitutional

    monarchy.--George H. Douglas

  • A democracy is run by politicians who have mastered the

    art of manipulating the mob, of soothing it with mellifluous

    words while swindling it under the table.--George H. Douglas

  • The public will does not get expressed in a democracy,

    since the public is not fed the issues, but only the issues

    dressed up in a way that the politicians choose to dress

    them up.--George H. Douglas

  • Democracy used to be a good thing, but now it has

    gotten into the wrong hands.--Jesse Helms

  • Actually it appears that one of the things the corporations do that

    most irritates advocates of economic democracy is to cater to the

    demands of consumers. Despite all the rhetoric against the corporate

    elite and in favor of democratized, decentralized control over our own

    lives, and so on, most of these writers reveal a deeply ingrained bias

    against the actual tastes of the consuming public.--Don Lavoie

  • Democracy is a form of religion. It is the worship

    of jackals by jackasses.--H. L. Mencken

  • Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief

    energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit

    to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right.--H. L. Mencken

  • Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many

    for appointment by the corrupt few.--George Bernard Shaw

  • The words men fight and die for are the coins of

    politics, where by much usage they are soiled and by

    much manipulating debased. That has evidently been the

    fate of the word democracy. It has come to mean whatever

    anyone wants it to mean.--Bernard Smith

  • On democracy versus dictatorship: "I don't find

    gang rape any better than individual rape."--Walter Williams

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On a number of occasions, I have been in "The House", on the terrace taking tea with members etc and even with Cabinet Ministers in their ministries.

When the division bell rings they all rush off to vote.

Without having participated in the "Debate".

It is now virtually impossible for any MP to filibuster, as speeches have to be planned and permission granted, as with PM's Question Time.

It has all become a farce: a sort of showbiz representation of what central government ought to be.

MP's "Take the Queen's Shilling" yet almost all focus on their outside interests.

Personally I believe that ought not to be allowed to take outside jobs since this creates an instant confliction of interest.

How many employers would allow their staff to spend most of their paid time doing other work and hardly ever appearing in the office?

Not too many!

To call this exploitative and wholly self-interested process "Democracy", is to insult the intellect of the few citizens left who can actually think and reason.

What I'd like to know is how a young MP starts from nothing: and not too many years later owns a country estate: I know they now earn a reasonable screw, but with taxation at current levels not that much!

Portillo is a good example: he was working as an inwards claims clerk for a freight forwarder near Heathrow, earning peanuts.

He borrowed a DJ and finally attended a dinner at his old college (after many turn downs: he had no dinners suit and couldn't afford to attend) and by chance was swept onto the top table with the Dons. When they found out what he was doing for a living, they cranked into gear. A few weeks later he was appointed a research assistant in Westminster: and when a safe seat came up he was in!

Despite, of course what the local constituency committee might have wanted!

Not too many years later after a stint as Sec.of State for Defence he had a Knightsbridge pad (a very smooth one as a good friend of mine, a self-made multi millionaire lived immediately above him!) and a country pile too.




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Now see what Cathy has started.  Wat Tyler started in a small way back in 1381 when he jumped off his roof declaring "How much!" when told by his wife that his delivery of roofing tiles had just gone up to one groat per hundred.  So he decided to do something about it, that's democracy.

I met Geoffrey Johnson-Smith  once.  This was after he left his well paid television job to stick his snout in the Westminster trough.  When he introduced himself by telling me he was my MP he had a sense of humour failure when I told him I had a proper job[:-))]

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I agree with Hoddy - our accountant is scrupulous and unless we have the paperwork nothing gets through.

There is one other little point though - I understand Gordon Brown has claimed something around £2500 for groceries - if he can feed my family for that per annum I'd like him to do my shopping

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[quote user="Russethouse"]

I agree with Hoddy - our accountant is scrupulous and unless we have the paperwork nothing gets through.

There is one other little point though - I understand Gordon Brown has claimed something around £2500 for groceries - if he can feed my family for that per annum I'd like him to do my shopping


That was only for the daily deliveries of  his sour grapes before he became PM!

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[quote user="Russethouse"]

I agree with Hoddy - our accountant is scrupulous and unless we have the paperwork nothing gets through.


You need to change your accountant, Gay.

I am at a loss to understand how GB's Sky sub can be seen as "wholly, necessarily and exclusively" expenditure but it's obviously one rule for them in charge and another for them what pays their bills.

John - who used to be Certified

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Some years ago, I was at a dinner where the guest speaker was Sue Slipman OBE, then the Chair of the Gas Consumer's Council.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Sue for the dinner: what a charming and highly amusing lady.

It was an accountancy body (not mine).

When Sue started to speak, she opened with the old joke, viz, "I asked my accountant for some numbers and he said, sharpening his pencil, "What do you want the total to be!" "

Says it all, really.



(Who needs to be certified!)


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Great, isn't it Weedon, to throw a pebble in the pond to see how large the ripples will be...

John Prescott's food bill was £80 per week.  That's rather a lot for just Pauline and him, even if he was buying lobster and caviar.  By why does the tax payer have to pay?

I can understand that MPs do have to have two houses and so need help.  Why the disparity between the claims?  Why do some claim for a TV licence or Sky subscription (!!!) and others not?


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John Prescott's food bill was £80 per week.  That's rather a lot for just Pauline and him, even if he was buying lobster and caviar.  By why does the tax payer have to pay?

We are a family of 4 adults and I reckon that £40 pw per person is about right - that includes wine and cleaning stuff too though.

I see that both David Cameron and George Osborne have made their mortgage payments the main out going. I  wonder if the sums mentioned cover them especially given David Camerons constituency ?

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[quote user="Cathy"]


I can understand that MPs do have to have two houses and so need help. 



All us working stiffs have to stay in B & B's or rent a room if we work away from home!

And the Revenue are really tough on subsistance claims too!

Why should it be different for MPs?

They are not hosting visiting head of state!

It was not so very long ago, that many MPs were renting from Westminster Council: and then invoked the Right to Buy and made fortunes.

And in my book, all this is called taking the P!!


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Gluestick ...why indeed ....there should be a block of flats built for them all....when they get voted in they collect a set of keys issued to them like married quarters and thats your state provided  accomodation ...If they want to turn down whats offered and find their own... then fine by me provided they fund the cost of it themselves .... I could go on about the party conference in Bournemouth / Brighton each year  the massive cost of security from hoards of extra police  ...the hotel bills.... the restaurant meals  etc  why do they have to move out of London and disrupt a town and have their costs stuck on the council tax payers ..the vast majority of which are not hotel and restaurant owners so make nothing out of it .....They should hire a hall in London and after the days business go  home .
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[quote user="Gluestick"]

Started me off now!

Another aspect of modern government which really grinds me, are the "Conferences" on such items as poverty: which just happen to take place in Barbados, Bermuda, Monte Carlo etc...............



In my (very small business) business days I organised a days "conference" one summer Sunday for my 3 employees, wives and children and my family.  We had a great day out on Camber Sands, ate fish and chips for lunch, whelks, cockles and beer in the afternoon and then we drove home.  We never discussed work at all and my children were sick on the way home.[+o(]  Not much difference from the Tories at Brighton I suspect.

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When I was the prime mover in two start ups a few years ago (A software house and a Systems Integrator), I set up a three day conference at a local motel: OK, it wasn't the swishest place on earth, but it was used by business people since it was adjacent to a local airport with continental flights, here and there.

All directors and putative directors paid for their own accommodation: we picked up the tab for lunch and evening dinner, but not booze, apart from the founding paid buying various rounds as a gesture.

Including the hire of a large meeting room, with most normal failities and coffees tea and bickies, the final; bill was less than £2K.

Three years later I arranged for myself and the two other prime directors to share a "Think Tank" - "Brain Storm" session, for three days, at a wonderful old pub/hotel in Sevenoaks. They provided a basement room and again tea and coffee on demand and we set up a Client-Server network as the first step: and used Mindmanager to brainstorm. Even two of us staying over ( B & B) the cost was peanuts and the benefits huge.

I'm sure that all participants gained far more from these two events, than do the average politician, civil service or apparatchik from the glitzy conferences in far away climes.

Jollies that's all they are; anything to avoid actually working and achieving something meaningful!


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