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Speaker Martin’s had his day.

Many years ago, when I was a hack in the Westminster Lobby, a newly-elected woman MP came up to tell me of her surprise when, on her first day in parliament, she was taken aside by Michael Martin and friends and shown how to fill in her expenses. Had to get the priorities right after … Continue reading

Northern Rock – the bank that likes to say NO

It’s the bank that likes to say ‘No’. Newly nationalised Northern Rock has adopted a highly original marketing strategy . The bank of you and me has written to mortgage customers saying: ‘We are unable to offer you a competitive deal at this time, therefore we suggest you contact an independent financial adviser who will … Continue reading

The Electoral Commission washes whiter

Prison overcrowding? Too many offenders to know what to do with? Criminals clogging up the courts? Fear not, for help is at hand. Just call in the Electoral Commission – the people who make crime disappear. Charlie Gordon (his real name) was a serial offender, addicted to secret donations. He’d fallen in with a bad … Continue reading

Today Kosovo; tomorrow Berwick!

UN peacekeeping forces were moving into position last night as the inhabitants of Berwick declared their independence from England. Secessionists are insisting that opinion polls confirmed that the majority of the population wished to leave at the earliest opportunity and become part of recently independent Scotland. Amid scenes of jubilation in the Border town, there … Continue reading

Brown u-turn on tax powers for Holyrood. Maybe

Curious, in this week of confusion and acrimony in Labour ranks over the status of this commission-that-never-was, that it is Gordon Brown who is speaking about the constitutional “review” and not Wendy Alexander. She promised that this would be a radical initiative, led by her, which would move devolution on to the next phase, and … Continue reading

Triumph of the pill – the Beijing Olympics

Steven Spielberg, withdrew his “artistic services” from the Chinese last week because he didn’t want to become ‘the Reni Liefenstahl of the Beijing Olympics’. Leifenstahl, director of “Triumph of the Will”, glamorized the Nazi’s 1936 Berlin Olympics. Times change and today’s Games are no longer about master races but pharmaceutical ingenuity. “Triumph of the Pill” … Continue reading

United King- non-dom

They may not pay taxes here, but the non-doms seem to think they run the country. Last week, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, was forced to make a humiliating capitulation to the non-domiciled plutocrats who have been using London as a global tax-haven. Attempts to get them to open their books and pay a risible fee … Continue reading

Constitutional Commission is dead in the water

In the week following the May 3rd Holyrood election, this paper issued a challenge and a warning. We called on the political leaders of Scotland to look beyond their own narrow party interests and see what the Scottish people were telling them in that election: that they want a new kind of politics in which … Continue reading

The Wendy Commission is now the Gordon Commission

So the Wendy Commission is to become the Gordon Commission. It should come as no surprise that the PM has been trying to fix the suppposedly independent constitutional commission even before it has convened. Indeed, if he gets his way it wouldn’t be called a commission at all, but a “working party”. What the PM … Continue reading

Bugging the buggers.

It’s good to know that in an uncertain world, there are some things you really can still rely on. No matter who you are, where you are, some bugger is monitoring you. Yes, a thousand bugs at day are being applied for in Britain according to the commissioner for the interception of communications (George Orwell … Continue reading

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