Author Topic: Parliament  (Read 4100 times)

Offline ellie

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Parliament
« on: May 18, 2009, 05:36:49 PM »
I wondered what you Brits on here think about the goings on with our MPs?

We were watching parliament this afternoon (full house)..of the Speaker trying to defend his position, facing not only criticism from the oppostion benches  but from Labour too..
My son remarked, that it reminded him of the 'Rump' parliament of Oliver Cromwell's time..where they were handing out nice pensions and land to the MPs..until Cromwell stepped in..

Ive voted for all 3 main parties in my life time but do not feel inclined to vote for any of them at moment.
A recent poll showed that 40% of the population felt the same.

I have rather left wing views and here in the North East, on local news, there is an 'English Democrat 'party (who want an English parliament..which I would subscribe to..).....if there is an ED candidate they will get my vote....other than that I will vote for the Greens (they want to phase out royalty..which I also subscribe too..)
Its said that the older you get, the more right wing you become......in my case its the reverse ;D

(I come from a Tory voting family and my late Mother was not happy when I joined New Labour in '96)

But Ive felt let down by all main parties (though I do think Vince Cable a very apt & caring MP)....and Tony Blair turned out to be a Tory in New Labour clothes..........
The cure for boredom is curiosity.There is no cure for curiosity
Oscar Wilde
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twisted wheel

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 05:47:38 PM »
well i can heartily agree with most of your views there ellie. i'm bloody angry with most of them, especially in a climate where people are losing their jobs.

i haven't heard of a ed party but anyone wishing to get rid of royalty deserves to be voted in.

i can say that i have voted in conservatives 3 times and new labour 3 times, but my vote will be switching to UKIP this time. they all need a good kick up the arse >:(

Offline ma100

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 06:49:25 PM »
It is an utter disgrace.

Why should they have second homes paid for? They are paid a wage to do a job, and like any other person should make there way to work like the rest of us. Paying their own way.

If it is necessary they need be near parliament. Kit out a block of flats with basic needs and they can doss down there for the night. If their houses need improving, do what the rest of us do. Borrow or go without.

Ma sick of the whole shower. >:(

Offline Andrewf

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 05:53:34 AM »
You said it Ma... I'm with you on the block of flats idea. Nothing but the basics inside....

And near enough to the government offices so they walk to work to.

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Offline Conanthedoylarian

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 09:51:46 AM »
I'm as angry as anyone else about some of the stuff that's been claimed for and have long wondered why accommodation couldn't be provided (especially when the government took over the ideally placed GLC building across the water).

In terms of excessive expenses I'm very disappointed in some of them, but not surprised (as most of the people I've talked to seem to be).

In 1979 I started a new job, and for five of the years I worked there, I checked travel expenses for our staff who had to get about on business.  I cannot identify the (commercial) organisation, nor many of the practices I saw, due to confidentiality clauses. However, abuse of the these expenses (which were paid tax free) was rife.  Some, reasonably senior in the organisation, were simply chancers.  They would claim for something ridiculous on the off chance I would miss it when checking a huge volume of claims.  And this was, in the main, ordinary people in ordinary jobs - not high flyers (although our high flyers abused the system more due to their greater opportunities).  Senior management frequently overrode my attempts to correct the situation.  So much for the guy from fast food on "Question Time" last week who said this could never happen in the commercial world.

This job taught me that most people faced with an opportunity for easy (if morally questionable) profit, would take it.

Secondly, the banking crisis.  Need I say more?*  If it's there, people will take it.

Thirdly, parliament has been run this way for years.  And whilst we have not been privvy to the detail which has rightly enraged, anyone with half a brain and an eye on the news** could have made an educated guess as to what was going on.  Equally, when you talk to most people about politics they have at best a naive attitude to it, and at worst, they really have their heads completely in the sand.

Despite the fact that MPs have been less than honest in putting in these claims, some of the blame for the system allowing them to get away with it is down to public apathy about politics.  This apathy is often, rightly, justified by the lack of faith people have in the candidates.

But I would remind people in the UK that what the politicians do has a tremendous impact on our lives.  We ignore them at our peril.

 




*One of the factors in this crisis was the increased interdependence of economies, industries, and labour markets around the world.  In this globalised world I am wary of voting for parties that want to reduce our involvement in things like the EU as we'll be even more swept around in the gales if we try and hold onto the mast alone.

** Years ago, in Tory land, the poor dears were drawing up their moats, as everyone was accusing them of sleeze.  Then they had a brainwave.  Most of the country was administered by the Labour Party through their dominance of local government.  But the amount councilors could pay themselves was capped by central government.  Why not take away the cap, and watch the opposition start to "troff"?  So they did.  And sure enough, it wasn't long before Labour council after Labour council was increasing its pay (our local councilors doubled their pay every year for the next four years, for example).  So we can't really say there hasn't been plenty of warning.

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 10:03:24 AM »
I honestly feel very sorry for the Brits and the way things are turning out at the moment.  So far I havent noticed the recession here in Holland, but I suppose my personal cirucmstances make it that I am isolated from it all.

Each week the news that comes out of the UK is horrific!!  I think its all a case of turning a blind eye over the years.  My husband claims for our phone calls on his expenses which is an allowance.   Its so easy to claim for whatever is available.  No-one really bothers to check.  We stay within our guidelines, but I bet loads of people cant see they did anything wrong.

I think its only fair, as we are doing, i.e hubby and I, we have stopped claiming recently to help the company back on its feet - surely the  UK gov, should be doing that too by not claiming for things they were entitled to.  So yes I agree during a recession this is stupid they should be helping the country to get back on its feet.

We get our holiday money soon (the company save it for us each year out of the salary and we get it back in May) we can go on holiday and have a great time.  I think some of the British ways are not in tune with the rest of Europe.  They could be helping to put Britan back together again.

Lin

« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 10:10:06 AM by Orangutansaver »

Offline Conanthedoylarian

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 10:20:41 AM »
Quite right Lin.  The individual MPs should have had the integrity to know that claiming 2000 for a tv is neither necessary for their work, nor acceptable to their constituents.

That the public have been complicit (through apathy mainly) in so much of what has happened in government over the last 20 years or so, things that will eventually be regretted by most people in the country, does not in any way release MPs from the obligation to do the right thing.
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Offline ma100

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 10:51:52 AM »
Not only do the right thing, but the money reclaimed by all of them should be seen to be putting something right. The total also should be made public. Apathy you may well be right, but a lack of understanding when you are being bamboozled, more likely. Lack of trust definitely. What some of the mps got for home improvements was more than my husband earns in a year.

I don't profess to know anything about politics, however I know I have been shafted the best part of my working life.

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 11:06:34 AM »
The speaker resigned today.
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Lin

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 12:08:50 PM »
I still think Britain would be better off in the Euro zone.  I heard one lady say on the TV the other day in the Uk, "I hate the Euro"

I have been using the Euro since it was first minted!  I find its great. The impression I get is that the Brits are afraid of change.

It all goes back to being an island and the insular culture.  Change for the Brits is hard to grasp.  How can this person "hate the Euro"  its seems to me she doesnt understand what she said.  Did she mean she is scared of using it?  I think that's more likely.

Euros are fun.  I can visit all the European countries without having to change my money.  For me coming back to the UK presents me with all kinds of problems with exchange rates, although recently its been a heck of a lot cheaper for me to come over there.

Now Teesside has closed down the steel works.  Im glad we came over here at the right time.

Do you know that I can pay all my UK bills from Holland, but the British banks don't allow you to pay from the UK to Holland on internet banking.  How archaeic is that?

I find all kinds of silly litte things.  I am quite annoyed at the nanny state the UK has turned into since I left.  Someone told me they closed all the schools this year because the snow was on the ground and they dont like kids playing with snowballs in the playground as it is dangerous.

O.M.G !!!!!!

Lin x





Offline Conanthedoylarian

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 02:14:19 PM »
Not only do the right thing, but the money reclaimed by all of them should be seen to be putting something right. The total also should be made public. Apathy you may well be right, but a lack of understanding when you are being bamboozled, more likely. Lack of trust definitely. What some of the mps got for home improvements was more than my husband earns in a year.

I don't profess to know anything about politics, however I know I have been shafted the best part of my working life.

Sorry to cite your post like this, but it does sort of illustrate my point.  We are, if we choose, in a position to hold our MPs to account.  But we have to do it in numbers, as this last week has shown.  Until the information gets rammed down our throats, we just leave them to get on with it.  And it isn't just expenses we should be concerned about.

How many readers are aware that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" has now gone?  Yes gone.  I'm sure most MP's don't realise it either since they were banging on on the BBC's "Question Time" about how important a principle it was just a couple of weeks ago.  Earlier this year some new regulations* came into force which require the accused (in some types of cases) to prove they didn't do it.

Now I'm not suggesting we can scrutinise everything that goes on - that would be more than a full time job in itself.  But we can keep an eye open, and notice where things are heading, allowing us to put our views across to those supposedly representing us.  Why don't readers in the UK ask their MP about the regulations above and see if they even know about them?  Once such a change has been allowed in law, it's easier to advance the principle into other areas (remember the ASBO**, or retrospective legislation***, or even extending our juristiction world wide****).

This is why a proper constitution and proper protection of Human Rights (for all the folly that often comes with these measures) it is far better than being jailed because you have wandered within half a mile of where you've been seen feeding birds, for example (see footnotes).



*Regulations - used here in the parliamentary sense of orders made under an enabling act.  In practice this means that a designated minister can "lay before the house" a set of proposed regulations.  This means "put them on a table" outside the commons chamber so that MPs can look at them.  If no one does, and if no one objects to them, they come into force without being debated or voted on in the house.  They are still law though.

**Anti Social Behaviour Order.  A measure sold to us in the UK by showing countless clips from CCTV of young people breaking into cars etc. - footage released by the government to prove their point (funny how the CCTV didn't stop them since we were told that's why they installed?), and telling us we needed this measure (as if breaking into cars wasn't already illegal).  An ASBO is granted on civil standards of proof, not criminal (i.e. they only have to show it is more likely you did it than not), yet breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence carrying up to 5 years in jail. Remember, they only have to prove you broke the conditions of the order, not that you did what you were originally accused of. So ASBOs were essentially a means to jail people on lower standards of evidence.  ASBOs have been imposed on people for feeding the birds, amongst other things (RSPB members beware).

*** Making something illegal, and back dating the law so that people who acted lawfully at the time can now be prosecuted.  This was introduced in respect of WWII war criminals since we didn't have an obvious way to deal with someone who turned up here.  Whatever we think about war crimes, we should not allow laws to be backdated.  There are plenty of other ways to deal with the issue, rather than abandoning important principles.

****Meaning people can be prosecuted here for things they have done abroad, that are legal in that country.  Again, whatever we may think of the offence, is this the way to deal with it?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 02:17:38 PM by Conanthedoylarian »
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twisted wheel

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 05:57:20 PM »
http://msn.shoothill.com/

see what your mp is claiming

Offline Xerika

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2009, 09:43:18 PM »
Ellie, thank you for starting this thread, and I have to say that my mind is whirling with all the stuff I'd like to splurge out here. I'll restrain myself though or I could go on for pages and bore everyone to tears.

I could bang on about having been a lifelong Labour supporter until I saw Blair turning the Party (and therefore politics) into a plastic-wrapped carton of electability.

I could go on about the resulting absence of political ideology and quote endlessly from Orwell with particular emphasis on the ending of Animal Farm:

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

I could rattle out numerous examples of corrupt politicians in Greece (where I live) and how the Greek people have come to accept this as an inevitable status quo. (They roar with laughter when I tell them about the recent scandal about MPs' expense claims in the UK.)

I could bore for England on the subject of miscarriage of justice and how the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty' has been systematically eroded in recent years as exemplified by Conan above.

I could give my usual lecture about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Suffragettes, etc. to people who say they don't intend to vote.

I could also say that the reason why so many people -- and especially young people -- want to write Fantasy these days is perhaps because they don't want to engage with the reality of this world, the real world.

I could...

Okay, I think that's enough for now.

What I will say though, and in the context of what Conan has said about the erosion of justice (and I hope you will forgive me if I have misinterpreted, Conan) is that there is a man by the name of Troy Davis in the US who has spent almost 20 years on Death Row and may well be executed in the next few weeks for a crime he almost certainly did not commit.

If you think, as I do, that the recent furore about British MPs' expenses is scandalous, I'm sure you'll also agree that the death of an innocent man is indefensible. Here's a link to my thread about the case - http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=17137.0.

There's also an easy way to add your voice in protest against the execution of an innocent man at http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=12168. It's not too late to subvert the perversion of justice.
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Offline DC

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2009, 04:08:42 PM »
As a life-long Labour (as opposed to 'Nu-Labour) supporter myself, I know exactly where you're coming from, Xerika. But moving on to your later topic, one thing I will say in support of Parliament, all parties, is that they have continually voted against the re-instatement of the death penalty in GB. Your post is a good example of why this is a good thing.

A few weeks back I was reading of the case of a man convicted in 1982 of the murder of a Barmaid, I think in Plymouth. He was convicted on the evidence of his blood group; DNA testing wasn't available at the time.

To their credit, the Police had another look at the case, this time using DNA testing on the samples they still held. Within two days it had been shown that the guy could not possibly have committed the crime. The Crown Procecution Service didn't even think of a challenge. Within two weeks, he was released. After spending twenty-seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Murder is an emotive subject, I accept that; friends of mine have been murdered in the past. And OK, maybe those who are guilty do deserve the death penalty. But there can be a world of difference between those who are guilty, and those who are found guilty. Our judicial system is based on the judgement of 'Twelve good men and true'. Whilst being a good system, it is not infallible, as the above, and several other cases  in recent years have proved.

I've said this before on here, but I don't apologise fgor repeating myself. Apart from the original murder, if an innocent man is put to death, two further crimes have been committed. Not only has an innocent been killed, but the real killer has got away with it.

When a person's life is at stake. 'beyond reasonable doubt' is not good enough; until we have a system that proves beyond all doubt, in 100% of cases, then the death penalty is not acceptable.

If you disagree with this, just stop for a minute and imagine the innocent man was part of your family. Death penalty still acceptable?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2009, 04:12:30 PM by DC »
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - open throttle in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming : "Woo Hoo, what
a ride!"

Offline Xerika

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Re: Parliament
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2009, 05:32:00 PM »
Dave, I entirely agree with everything you say.

The guy you mention who served twenty-seven years for a murder he did not commit would of course not be alive today if the death penalty had been in force at the time of his trial. However, it also highlights a bizarre anomaly of the British legal system with regard to eligibility for parole.

If you're given a life sentence, you're usually eligible for parole after about twelve years but if you continue to protest your innocence, life imprisonment could well mean exactly that. So, the person who really does commit a murder is in a far better position than the person who is wrongfully convicted. Justice?

Ellie, sorry if I've slightly hijacked your thread here.
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