MEPs\’ Expenses Claims

Lovely story in the News of the World about MEPs\’ expenses.

Here for a right old bashing of Tom Wise (I\’m told by those in the know that at least one of the reasons he left UKIP was so that he might continue to avail himself of some of these possibilities).

Here for a look at some Tories and others.

I also hear from those in the know that the NOTW team couldn\’t find any UKIP MEPs abusing the system in the same way.  I know very well, for example, that the airline ticket scam is not allowed for those in the party.

Not that all of this is all that new of course. The Social Affairs Unit published a guide to how to work the system just after the last elections.

There is of course only one thing left of interest: who helped the NOTW girl to get that job in Brussels in the first place?

Beats me for sure.


Reasons Not To Vote Tory No. 3,670

Economic illiteracy over trade perhaps?

"I don’t want to leave the European Union and I\’ll tell you why. This is a trading nation. Yorkshire relies on traded goods and on businesses which can trade all over the world and particularly in Europe. We export more per head of the population than America, Japan or other countries. We are a trading nation and Europe is a very important market for us. If we are not in the European Union, we would not be able to have a say over what the rules of the single market are. That is the primary reason for being a member of the European Union."

He\’s committing the mercantilist fallacy, that exports are either the point of trade or that they make us rich. No, it is imports that make us rich, exports being merely the shite we ship abroad to pay for them. We don\’t actually care what the rules of the single market are, as long as we can buy what we wish from there. However, we do care very much about the fact that membership of that single market means that we are not allowed to buy what we wish from other countries around the world….something which makes us poorer.

Don\’t they teach economics at Eton? There\’s clearly not enough of it in a PPE from Oxford, anyway.

A Referendum, Eh?

My word, so we do indeed have referendums in the United Kingdom to decide matters of constitutional importance.

Wendy Alexander, the Scottish Labour leader, announced her backing for a "Yes or No" vote on independence.

The U-turn was a further blow to the authority of the embattled Prime Minister who was not informed of Ms Alexander\’s announcement.

It also caused ruptures in Labour north and south of the Border with Westminster sources aghast at her move.

Some things are not for the political classes to decide amongst themselves: some things are much too important for that, some things the people must be consulted directly upon.

Like, for example, changes in the constitutional settlement.

Puts the refusal to have one over the Lisbon Treaty in a different light, doesn\’t it?

Why not sign here?

Bob Spink and The Telegraph


Following our coverage (March 13) of the Conservative party’s withdrawal of the whip from Dr Robert Spink MP (Castle Point), Dr Spink maintains that he had, in fact, resigned from the party before the whip was withdrawn.

We now recognise that the there is no basis for the allegation that Dr Spink had had an affair and apologise to him for having suggested the contrary.

Who alleged that he was?


You\’ll like this.

The PR bods at Aviva sent a release to all MEPs about how Norwich Union, Commercial Union and Hibernian will all now be known as Aviva.

The text:

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

I wanted to let you know about an announcement we have made today, confirming our plan to move to a single global customer brand – Aviva. The press release that was released at lunchtime is attached below for your information.

Aviva is the world\’s fifth biggest insurer, and a leading provider of long term savings, protection and general insurance products to Europe, where it operates in 15 countries.

We want to continue to thrive as a business and compete effectively on the world stage alongside our international peers; creating a brand that is known across the globe will be an important step in being recognised as a worldwide force in financial services.

We will complete the transition to a global brand over the next two years, with Norwich Union in the UK, Commercial Union in Poland and Hibernian in Ireland becoming Aviva.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,
Pauliina Hakulinen

Senior Public Affairs Manager, Europe & International
Aviva plc

One recipient (well, one who actually read it) was Godfrey Bloom. His response, in full:

Dear Mrs Hakulinen

Thank you for your email, the contents of which I was already aware.  So you have thrown away 2 of the most well known brand names in the insurance world to replace it with what sounds like a Spanish Dance routine.  Clearly your company is run by morons.  I have sold my shares and will recommend all my clients and friends to do likewise.

Yours sincerely

Godfrey Bloom


Nice to have a politician who calls it as it is, isn\’t it?


Sack, Ferrets.

As Gawain keeps telling me, it\’s a political party, so of course there\’s politics in it.

That said, Roger Knappman\’s current internal party poll to ask whether UKIP should stand alone in the EU Parliament seems to be taking things a little too far.

Yes, there\’s a romanticism in "Ourselves, Alone" despite the origins of that phrase. But the way the EU system is set up you only get money for researchers and staff and the like, you in fact only get recognised as a political party, if you\’re part of a transnational group. So leaving InDep would indeed be ideologically pure, but it wouldn\’t perhaps be all that sensible.

Yes, we want to change the system, and while we may be progressive, radical and liberal, we\’re not in fact revolutionaries (attractive as the thought of burning brands and waving pitchforks at the Berlaymont might be) and this means we have to work within the system as it is in order to change it.*


* Yes, changing it does mean leaving: but we\’ve got to use whatever leverage we can get until we can reach that highly desirable stage.


Richard Corbett MEP.

Did you know he\’s just added a comments section to his blog?


Just been emailed by the Great Man himself. Apparently the blog I linked to is a fake!

Who knew?

The real one is here.

As he says:

Following a Google Alert I was very surprised to find a replica of my blog, that someone has bizarrely gone to a lot of trouble making.

Quite who is behind this hoax is a complete mystery but I thought I should make it quite clear I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it. The fake blog address is, and they appear to be simply be cutting pasting from my actual blog.

No, I seriously doubt that\’s how it is being done. There\’s a much easier way.

But I have to admit I prefer the new one. Exactly the same content, it\’s just that you get to make comments as well.