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Look-at-me MPs is not the answer to sleaze

A national newspaper phoned me last week asking if I was planning to stand against any of the sleaze MPs caught in the expenses row. My first reaction was that I couldn’t imagine see myself sitting in parliament with Esther Rantzen and I don’t look good in white. But, look, you should never rule anything … Continue reading

The Duck House Parliament

“UK opposition leader dumps lawmaker over duck pond”, said the Taiwan News. It was the story that caught the imagination of the world. The duck island, charged to expenses by theTory MP Sir Peter Viggers, turned the great British parliament into an international laughing stock. Quackers…out for a duck…you silly ducker. The pond ornament was … Continue reading

MPs expenses: Electoral reform is the answer.

Why have members of parliament lost their sense of purpose and self-respect? Why do so many of them apparently see elected office as a means of enriching themselves rather than improving the lives of their constituents? The reason is that ordinary MPs in Westminster have very little power: they are in a very real sense … Continue reading

What about MSPs’ second homes?

The Scottish Parliament has, with some cause, been feeling rather smug about itself during the blazing row over MPs expenses. MSP well remember being laughed at by Westminster colleagues some years ago when Holyrood seemed mired in scandal over taxi chits, lobbying and second home allowances. The “bonsai scandals” of the Scottish Parliament, as they … Continue reading

Weimar Parliament.

What do you do when the entire political system is exposed as corrupt? When one side is as bad as the other? The point of democracy is for the people to throw out the bad guys and bring in a new broom. But what if the broom has already been smeared with muck even before … Continue reading

In Latvia even the opera is about nationhood

In Lativa even opera is about the national question. The magnificent Latvian National Opera next to the Pilsetas Kanals in central Riga was built when Latvia was under German occupation in 1865. It was built by and for Germans, with cameos of Goethe, Schiller, Wagner in the ornate plasterwork. Latvians would never go in the … Continue reading

Brown to go

   Last week, a jet lagged Gordon Brown headed for the exit after question time, forgetting he had a statement to make on his trip to Pakistan.  Oh how we laughed: ‘Brown to go…PM loses it… an.exit strategy at last”. He looked utterly exhausted, shattered. One hack said he was “like a drunk who can … Continue reading

Scrappage: it could catch on.

    Next week the government’s cunning plan to revive the motor trade gets underway.  It’s called scrappage: destroying things that are perfectly serviceable in order to keep people employed replacing them.  The government is effectively giving people £2000 to scrap their ten year old cars and buy a new one.  Banger prices have rocketed on … Continue reading

Pigs might fly

It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Can you get swine flu from sticking your snout in the trough? Should the snuffling pigs of parliament and the City be required to wear face masks while in the pursuit of self-enrichment. Snout to snout contact can only be a major transmitter of the deadly disease, which has … Continue reading

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