The limits of the Wilson doctrine
As with other areas, the constitution must evolve to deal with the devolution. It is not immediately obvious why, if members of the Parliament at Westminster are entitled to confidential dealings with constituents, members of the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly should be excluded. The same principle would, logically, extend to Stormont. That might mean, though, that surveillance of people attached to paramilitary organisations could be verboten.
Cameron: put up MPs' pay
It was a brief press conference, but Mr Cameron did some useful business. He made the obvious (though not to all politicians) point that "the House of Commons has got to see itself as others see it. There is a danger that we don't see ourselves and our arrangements as others see them." He put the Wintertons - and other MP couples - on the spot by arguing that MPs must be ready to defend "in the court of public opinion" the arrangements they enter into. "It's difficult to do that in this case." Ouch. He said there was a case for rolling some of the allowances MPs receive into their pay, in particular the additional costs allowance which helps MPs with the cost of running two homes.
Cameron's Conservatives Must Do More
Each of the two main parties are suffering from accusations of sleaze and sharp practice aimed at various of their parliamentary members. This, coupled with an increased focus on the new Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, best explains Sky's latest monthly average of opinion polls.
David Cameron shows Brown how to lead a party - Expenses
Once again David Cameron has taken the lead on the tough decisions. He hasn't waited for a fake inquiry to publish a nonsense report - he's got on and behaved in the way any decent party leader should - by acting decisively. From July, all frontbench MPs will register details of any Commons allowances spent - and any relatives they employ. This information will be published for public scrutiny each April from then on. All other Conservative MPs have been urged to follow suit. David told the press:
The left press in Britain
Can any explicitly socialist publication in Britain credibly claim a five-figure circulation anymore? And does it matter if they can’t? Let’s start from the premise that New Statesman doesn’t count for these purposes; it’s better described as left of centre rather than leftwing. Last time I checked, the Morning Star and Socialist Worker were officially insisting that they shift more than 10,000 but less than 20,000 copies, per day and per week respectively. Then again, I have heard sources close to both these fine organs frankly admit over a beer that quoted figures more accurately reflect print run than actual sales.
The debate about bugging hots up. Two speakers on the Today programme this morning revealed quite how much power The Authorities have to keep tabs on us. 600 organisations have the authority to put us under surveillance, and they don't have to go to a judge for a warrant. The Police - quite rightly - cannot search your home without a warrant, but they can intercept your email. When the current "RIP" legislation was being put forward it was all about counter-terrorism, but why would your local council need the power to watch over you if it was only about terrorism?
Is Caroline Flint thick?
She said on Today prog this morning how so many people in social housing were unemployed - yeh well divvy it’s because you carried on the Tories policy of allowing people to buy up council housing so reducing the stock. Thus only the unemployed etc have access to it. Oh my giddy aunt and this woman’s a Minister! She wouldn’t be pandering to the crowd would she?
Is there some merit in bits of what Labour are saying about making people work ?
I note today that Labour minister Caroline Flint has come in for some deserved criticism of labours announcement that they may wish to make people homeless if they fail to get jobs. This is a slightly odd situation as presumably when they become homeless the council would then be forced to find them a home, but that is not the point.
Attention Scotland: Salmond's threat
Given the choice between cheap stunts and issues of principle, it would appear that Scotland's Alex Salmond will always choose the former. The SNP First Minister's threat to resign and call an election north of the border if his budget is thrown out at Holyrood today is not some great issue of moment. At present the SNP has only one seat more than Labour but if there were to be another Scottish election, they would probably do very well, given the chaos that passes for leadership in the Scottish Labour Party and the fact that the Tories and Liberal Democrats are making no headway with the voters.