We challenge you to watch this without vomiting
The Huntsman has been delving into Babs Follett. Well, delving into her expenses anyway.
As you may recall, Babs is notorious for claiming £120,000 of MP's expenses, including the cost of a London pad- even though her Stevenage constituency is only 30 mins from London. The Huntsman has now discovered she is also getting a £100,000 pa subsidy from husband Ken, a £10,000 pa "communications" fee from him, a free £5 grand pa car park season ticket from BAA.
What's more, some of these seem to be illegal under that Labour political donations law.
Naughty Babs. And naughty Ken.
In an honest world, we would see a police probe. But even failing that, the voters of marginal Stevenage will doubtless be made aware.
Simple Shopper's Bungling Subcontractors
John Trenchard has been looking at the way the basket case HMRC has subcontracted many of its activities to a bunch of profit maximising bunglers. They include an offshore property company (Mapperley), and of course, our old friends Crapita. Excellent JT blogger Thomas Gordon says:
"Now the general public can sleep soundly knowing that an off shore company owns the HMRC buildings, an outsourcing firm (Capita) that may well be employing any old Joe from Somalia or Afghanistan and that the IT is being run from a French Company (Cap Gemini), and all this is taking place within our Tax Enforcement Agency. Christ knows what the rest of the Government is like."
For future reference, Gordon also provides this handy checklist of other major Capita contracts with the public sector:
London congestion charge
Education Maintenance Allowance
Criminal Records Bureau
Lambeth, and Blackburn with Darwen Council Tax
Blackburn with Darwen, Westminster, and Rossendale Housing and Council Tax Benefits.
As we've said many times, private sector subcontracting via the Simple Shopper is a surefire recipe for the worst of both worlds.
James Barlow has an excellent expose of the new Museum of Bristol. In essence, it's a rebranding of the existing Bristol Industrial Museum. But it's going to cost £25m, all of it underwritten by taxpayers.
Taxpayers are in for £11.2m upfront (via the lottery), but as James points out, the assumed £3.5m contribution from the private sector may not materialise, and the £10.5 million being borrowed from the bank will mean annual interest payments approx £900,000. Given that the assumed 250,000 pa visitors (a doubling of visitors to the existing museum) will almost certainly not materialise (cf the Dome etc), who will pay the banks? And all the other running costs?
As he says, answers on a postcard please.
Just be grateful you're not a Bristol Council Tax payer.
Oh, you are. Hard luck. But maybe you shouldn't have voted for the clowns who agreed this.
Tim A points out that the Olympics Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt was unable to promise MPs that the Games would not overrun their budget. He said: “If you say to me, do I guarantee absolutely that this is going to happen, no, I could not do that.” Translation: I guarantee that £2.7bn contingency reserve will all be spent (also see this blog).
Anonymity in the Blogosphere
A Tory is concerned about the erosion of anonymity in the blogosphere. A teacher has been arrested in Milwaukee after posting an anonymous comment on a Wisconson politics blog. The blog owner was ordered to hand over the poster's IP address to police. Yes, the comment was offensive, but it was clearly meant satirically.
Thank goodness we're never offensive or satirical on BOM.