Saturday, May 16, 2009

Expenses on Account

I was amusing myself reading Thanet South MP, Dr Steven Ladyman's expenses, which he has published online today, in the spirit of transparency and being rather faster than the Daily Telegraph to share his information with the general public.

I can't find any reference of course to a very generous donation received by the Thanet South Labour party by one of our leading local businessmen, coincidentally, just in advance of the China Gateway planning application. Readers will have drawn their own conclusions on whether accepting such a remarkable sum in advance of a controversial planning application was either sensible or proper but I'm delighted to see that the hard-working Dr Ladyman, a former Transport Minister, doesn't share the same extravagent expenses or propensity for the lucrative Westminster sport of 'Flipping' as many of his colleagues in the Cabinet. Still, we can't all be Hazel Blears

Should you have an idle few minutes to spare, there's entertainment to be had, running through Dr Ladyman's list of top 50 achievements for this Labour Government with a marker pen and crossing out those which may have fallen by the wayside in the last six months.

I particularly liked "Employment is at its highest level ever.", "600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty" and "Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools."

Would anyone, I wonder, like to offer me odds on Dr Ladyman surviving the next General Election? I'm tempted to visit the bookmakers on Monday but fear that any bet won't prove be an attractive one

And finally:'The political system in Britain has reached a critical juncture. Confidence in the system has been on the wane for many years. Paradoxically, the expenses scandal provides the opportunity to take drastic and decisive action to restore that confidence. If MPs of all parties co-operate and take this chance, our democracy can be revived. But if the response is simply delays, with bluff and bluster taking the place of effective action, then confidence will continue to plunge. It still has a way to go before it hits the bottom.'


Anonymous said...

Simon Simon Simon

What have I tried to tell you about stats ?

Look if all the Chavs, who cannot read or write, mooch off school the result is higher levels of literacy and numeracy in the schools.

Anonymous said...

Dr Ladyman ?

Funny lad.

To him, it seems, Thor Chemicals very useful re myths about red mercury nuclear trigger devices, Saddam WMD and spinnning reasons to launch an unlawful invasion of Iraq.

But Thor and contamination of the Thanet aquifer he would wash his hands of but don't dare put his hands in the water.

I reckon support for Dr Ladyman is draining away faster than all that thinners Thanet folks are supposed to tip down their drains.

I would love to see Gorgeous George Galloway raise a Thor question in the house.

Anonymous said...

You might be better employed trying to get the same level of information from Roger Gale, Simon.

DrM. said...

Roger Gale was writing about the expenses problem a year ago in his "Gale's View'. If you 'Google' his name against expenses then you may find the summary information you may be looking for. It's been on the Web for some time now.

Anonymous said...

So, if Roger Gale has been open on the issue and Steve Ladyman hasn't claimed for anything outwith the most basic expenses, why the constant attack? Steve shares a small flat in London and is hardly given to the lavish life-style of the Tory squirearchy so why not turn your ire on the toffs and Labourites who have been fleecing the taxpayers? Both Gale and Ladyman have nothing to hide so please, move on to something else.

Anonymous said...

By Political Editor Paul Francis - Tuesday, January 20 2009

Thanet South Labour MP Dr Steve Ladyman is backing a controversial Government move to block the publication of detailed information about MPs’ expenses.

But at least three other Kent MPs disagree with him, arguing that there should be total transparency.

The Government is facing widespread criticism after announcing it intends to change the law to prevent the disclosure of detailed information and receipts from MPs’ expenditure.

The move follows a lengthy campaign by journalists and Freedom of Information groups which led to a ruling last year that all details of how money had been spent should be published.

Now the Government wants to bypass that ruling with a proposal that annual totals for MPs will be published, broken down into more categories than they have been.

It would mean that MPs would be able to withhold details of precisely how they had spent money on things like furnishings and other items for second homes.

Thanet South MP Dr Steve Ladyman said he did not object. "The proposal allows for the continued publication of expenses broken down into categorie. One of those categories is ‘fixtures, fittings and furnishings’. This seems reasonable to me - I don’t see that any public servant should have to go further."

But that view is not shared by a growing number of other MPs and there is a growing backlash against the Government’s proposal, due to be voted on this Thursday.

Dover MP Gywn Prosser (Lab) said: "I cannot see the justification for such exemptions and I will not be voting for any exemptions."

Ashford MP Damian Green (Con)echoed: "Under no circumstances will I be voting for this. I believe in transparency where public money is concerned and I will do whatever is required [to publish details]."

And Hugh Robertson, Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, said, "All our allowances are funded from public money so we should all be held fully accountable."

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Anonymous said...

Are we assuming that the information released by Ladyman will match up with the Telepgraph's information when they get round to him?

Anonymous said...

Oh such a hypocrite!!

"I can't find any reference of course to a very generous donation received by the Thanet South Labour party by one of our leading local businessmen, coincidentally, just in advance of the China Gateway planning application. Readers will have drawn their own conclusions on whether accepting such a remarkable sum in advance of a controversial planning application was either sensible or proper"

Let us not forget that the Tory party was offered a similar donation at the same time, which was going to be accepted by the Council leader until Roger Gale stepped in with an emphatic NO!

And that a similar donation was then accepted to 'sponsor' the Air Show; again just ahead of the planning application.

If your memory is so short Dr M, then I should seek medical advice..!

Or is it a matter of things being forgotten once you join the Cabinet?

DrM. said...

Being rather closer to the conversation thn you were 9.31pm I may know rather more about the circumstances than you.

I hardly think that one can be blamed for NOT accepting an offer, rather like not getting pregnant or not accepting gifts or hospitality to the same value!

In fact, I would expect you be applauding the common sense of Roger Gale, the NTCA, STCA and those councillors who were directly involved in the discussion!

Dr Ladyman chose a different course and I expect that decision may cost him his seat in the not too distant future.

The airshow was an entirely different matter and NOT a political donation. Mr Wills' company had previously sponsored the event as a local business and I recollect that the matter was properly referred to officers for scrutiny and found to be acceptable in the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Hang about a bit. Didn't you deny on Mark Nottingham's blog that there had been no offer of money to the Tory parties locally? Now it seems you know all about it.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Either you did or dodn't.

DrM. said...

No 6.59 that's not what I said. I quote:

"Quite correct. It went to S. Thanet Labour party. I'm not directly aware of any even momentary consideration of an equivalent donation being accepted by Laura Sandys or Roger Gale having discussed the matter with both."

In other words, they didn't consider accepting it because of the circumstances. If That isn't clear I apologise.

Anonymous said...

So Ladyman took the cash on offer and Gale did not. Seems clear enough. Bit strange someone offering money to both parties at once.