‘Popular’ ASB Area Committee Meeting

It’s a hard one to know where to start on relating tonight’s meeting. It was clear over the last couple of weeks that both Walsall Council and various partners were pulling into full force their social media power to turn out people to tonight’s event.

We can all question the ability of social media to engage with local people and personally I’ve always been an advocate but with the caveat that it isn’t the be all and end all that some might think or wish it to be so.

However, the end result and I’m happy for anyone to dispute my figures. Tonight I counted 7 members of the public – lost count of the people who were ‘Partners but there was the usual 8 councillors for Willenhall wards minus Val Woodruff who I’m screwed if I can remember the last time she bothered to turn up for a meeting plus an army or officiers from the council and partners like the police.

I noted that the official Walsall Council Media Unit bod only took photographs down the centre of meeting towards the Chair because if they’d gone to the left they would have been met with the rows of empty chairs or right then they’d be met with the backs of heads of numerous council officers and those from partner organisations.

As a local councillor I know how hard it is sometimes to engage with people, it’s certainly not a party political issue and I’m sure across all parties irrespective of their persuasion we would all agree that getting local residents involved and perhaps more importantly – informed is a shared desire.

However I do question the direction the current administration in Walsall is going in relation to Area Partnerships and (although in principle I am open to devolved budget decision making) how we really interact with residents and make those decisions especially when turnout even at these high profile public meetings is so low.

Walsall LibDems spurn Allen’s Rough

Tonight was the meeting of the Allen’s Rough Residents Association.

As a local councillor when I’ve known about any meeting I’ve attended because I believe it is vital to engage with local residents and if I can, deal with the issues that they raise.

That is why I was extremely disappointed that without any consultation with other members of the Community and Environment Scrutiny Committee on Walsall Council that Councillor Val Woodruff (the new Chair) without consultation with committee members chose to change the date to tonight.

We’ll excuse the fact England were playing but given that the scrutiny committee concerns community engagement, of which the Allen’s Rough Residents Association are a shining light in the Willenhall area, snubbing them is a disgrace.

I know Councillor Woodruff doesn’t attend their meetings but councillors such as myself who do find them invaluable with addressing local issues.

The excuse tonight from Councillor Woodruff seems to be that she has something else to do next week and other ward councillors can attend. (Myself and her were in the room so that leaves only one)

Ten minutes after this ascertion Councillor Ian Shires turned up late for the meeting meaning that no councillor for Willenhall North was attending the Allen’s Rough Resident’s Association meeting.

This can only be described as a shambles by the Walsall LibDems who by switching meeting dates have robbed the residents of Allen’s Rough of having their local councillors attending their meeting when there are very important and specific issues that need to be dealt with.

Willenhall North Labour & Co-operative Councillor Gareth Illmann-Walker raised this issue at the meeting and asked to be ensured that this shambles will not be repeated and that members of the committee will be consulted in future regarding any changes of dates so that they can be accommodated and such a cock-up not be repeated.

Ian Payne post

  1. David Hartley responded on 04 Jul 2007 at 6:20 pm #

    The good voters of Lichfield clearly had a lucky escape!

  2. Some Fool responded on 21 Oct 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    QUOTE: He’s one of those perennial letter writer types who has a view on absolutely everything and believes that everyone is truly interested in what he has to say.”

    He should write a blog!

  3. Political Penguin responded on 21 Oct 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    @Some Fool, who appears not brave enough to supply a real e-mail address so you’re very lucky for me to even bother to OK your comment.

    I did actually meet him once, he was hideously boring and I think just a bit miffed off that he didn’t get selected as a Parliamentary candidate somewhere because his great great whatever was mayor of West Bromwich.

    I’m sure he would do well at a blog that no one would read although I fear he would lack th technical skill to build one.

  4. Brownhills Senior Citizens Centre : The Tesco Chainstore Massacre continues « BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog responded on 02 Jul 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    […] page has been improving a tad of late. More often than not the soapbox for tedious blowhards like Ian Payne, just lately there has been some excellent correspondence on the subject of Brownhills Tesco […]

  5. IAN PAYNE responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    Is this the ANTI-IAN PAYNE CLUB ?

    At least i state who I am in my letters and my contact details folks when I cristicise and moan about people and organisations !!!!

    You lot try it you may grow to like it perhaps you have too much time on your hands moaning about me at present folks !!!

    Never mentioned Tesco’s at Brownhills at all Mister, so get facts right.

  6. Political Penguin responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Ian, have you looked at the date on this post? 4th July 2007. I suggest you get over the fact that not everyone agrees with you and some might consider your comments annoying. It’s part of the growing up process to be able to take criticism in the public domain.
    As for putting your name and contact details, this site is registered in my own name at my home address, a 20 second job to lookup if you know how to and there is a contact form for anyone wanting to e-mail me so I don’t see what your point is.
    I suggest going back to moaning about how horrible the Labour Party is because they had the sense not to select you as a Parliamentary candidate.

  7. IAN PAYNE responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    You know what I mean, I’m not getting into a debate with you. You know there are statements about me from other people from 2009 and 2010. I can see 2007 one, as I am able to read !!!!

    I am unaware that I ever wanted to be a political candidate in a Parliamentary election  I left Labour Party in 2003 thankfully. My politicing is done always via letters page of some newspaper or such !!!!

    Why did you allow someone to call me a nob-head in public domain ? That question is from my wife and I. Have you ever met me ? I know it has upset my wife and it certainly doesn’t please me.

  8. Political Penguin responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Ian, let’s deal with your points one at a time shall we.

    You know what I mean, I’m not getting into a debate with you. Excuse me if you’re the one turning up to make comments on a blog post from 3 years ago, not me. If you do not wish to enter into a debate then there is a simple solution; refrain from leaving comments.

    You know there are statements about me from other people from 2009 and 2010 Yes, and if other people wish to make comments on my blog as long as they do not fall outside of the law I’m happy for them to do so. In 4 years of having a website I’ve only blocked one person from commenting which I think is a very good record.

    I am able to read !!!! I might disagree with you on this one as you have clearly not read two things, at least properly anyway. Firstly, you stated in your previous comment Never mentioned Tesco’s at Brownhills at all Mister, so get facts right.  I’ve read BrownhillsBob’s post and at no point does he say you mentioned Tesco’s in Brownhills so perhaps you should get your facts straight. Secondly, I’ll deal with that further down.

    My politicing is done always via letters page of some newspaper or such !!!! Is this because the likelihood of someone taking you up on your comments is next to zero? Get with the times and get online although bear in mind, out here people talk back at you as well.

    Why did you allow someone to call me a nob-head in public domain ?” I didn’t allow someone to call you a nob-head in a public domain. I called you a nob-head. You can tell as it is in the title of the post. Quite frankly I’ve been called a lot worse in my time and if that upsets you then I suggest you’re not cut out for life in the public arena.

    Have you ever met me ? We’re back to the bit about you being able to read now. In this very thread I posted a reply which says this:

    I did actually meet him once, he was hideously boring and I think just a bit miffed off that he didn’t get selected as a Parliamentary candidate somewhere because his great great whatever was mayor of West Bromwich.

    So yes, I have met you and you were very tedious and boring to have to listen to for about an hour.

  9. IAN PAYNE responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Who are you then ? So you are allowed to know me but I can’t know who you are – and please don’t tell me to look your details up.

  10. Political Penguin responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    Sorry, I don’t do requests, have a look through my site, you don’t even need to look it up. My name’s actually on it. (Requires reading)

  11. BrownhillsBob responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Ian, if your wife is distressed that the big boys are ribbing you, she’d better hide your typewriter ribbon. You continually set yourself up as some kind of arbiter, make prejudicial, snide judgement on others and can’t write a single letter without mentioning any or all of Richard Wattis, John Stonehouse, The fact that you once were a member of the Labour party or indeed, that you seem to think you’re paying for the entirety of the underclass to sit on it’s arse and take the piss out of you.

    I’ve got news for you, mate. There’s a lot more than the underclass taking the piss. If you don’t want to be treated like a judgemental, boastful, name-dropping blowhard, then don’t behave like one.

    I daresay you’ve passed me at my leisure on occasion and tutted, little knowing how I earn my living and just how myself, and many other people view your tedious mission to condemn.

    You’re on t’internet now, Ian, this is where people enter into real debate, not one hidden behind the kindly knife of a newspaper editor who wants to make his readership so angry that they’re prepared to write half his paper for him.

    You see, I’m fully aware that my output is my opinion, can be taken or left, and it stands or falls on it’s own merit or lack thereof. Self awareness is the key, and you need some.

    Shape up or ship out.

    My sympathies are extended to your wife. She must have the hide of an ox.

    Best wishes

    Bob

  12. IAN PAYNE responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    If I irritated you so much, why didn’t you tell me to belt up when we met ? Why didn’t you tell me face to face that I was tedious/boring, etc when we, according to you, met ? Rather than state it on a blog !!!

    Get real PP “ People always take me up on what I say in the letters page of newspapers. Have you read the Walsall Chronicle of last week [two letters critical of me] “ or not ? Internet and blogging arena isn’t the be and end all of communicating !!!!

    Old fashioned letters pages still do it for many !!!!! Or are you on this site so much that you don’t know whether its day or night or what a newspaper looks like ?

    Anyway Labour are a defeated political force now, so who cares what they or people like them think anymore. New Labour failed, so what chance real Socialism !!!!

    Cameron rules OK as does New Tory !!!!

  13. IAN PAYNE responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Brownhills Bob “ real debate is not on internet or in letters. That is an illusion we all like to believe.

    Internet is man made and NOT REAL.

  14. BrownhillsBob responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    *sigh*

    Politics Penguin didn’t say that, I did. I suggest you come back when you’ve learned how this web thing works, Ian.

    Your last two sentences say more about your juvenile approach and lack of maturity than anything I could ever write about you. You don’t write in green ink, do you, by any chance?

    By the way, your keyboard appears to be broken, it’s scattering exclamation marks in a very teenage fashion.

    Best wishes

    Bob

  15. Political Penguin responded on 02 Aug 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Hey, we’re having fun tonight aren’t we? In order again so as not to confuse.

    If I irritated you so much, why didn’t you tell me to belt up when we met ? I met you in 2001. I either hadn’t noticed you or you weren’t writing continual stuff to the letters pages back then. I didn’t tell you because it was work related and I’m sure you’re aware that sometimes people have to grim and bear complete rubbish in the workplace.

    Get real PP “ People always take me up on what I say in the letters page of newspapers. Have you read the Walsall Chronicle of last week [two letters critical of me] – or not ? Internet and blogging arena isn’t the be and end all of communicating !!!! No I haven’t read them as indeed I haven’t read the Chronicle for the last 8 years since moving to an area where it isn’t delivered. I also stopped reading the Express & Star paper edition sometime around 2003 as the standard plummeted and there were far more avenues open to get news online. I’m well aware that the Internet and blogging are not the only arena for communicating and at no point did I say they were.

    Old fashioned letters pages still do it for many !!!!! Or are you on this site so much that you don’t know whether its day or night or what a newspaper looks like ? They may do it for you because newspaper editors love to stir up a good rant, sells their papers for them and they don’t even need to employ anyone to write them. Personally I find them boring. I’m well aware of the difference between day and night thank you and I also know what a newspaper looks like, I’ve written enough articles that have appeared in them. Have you looked at the regularity with which I write on this site? On this site so much, you must be kidding.

    Anyway Labour are a defeated political force now, so who cares what they or people like them think anymore. Didn’t see the by-election results for Bloxwich West did we? Or Bilston North last week? I take it psephology isn’t your strong point.

  16. IAN PAYNE responded on 03 Aug 2010 at 1:45 am #

    I was at Goscote Hospital in 2001.

    Anyway whatever..

    By the way thanks for the memory and thanks for putting up such a dedicated IAN PAYNE fansite “ I didn’t realise how much I was loved around these parts [or did I ?]

    Its time I went back to the bat cave now I won’t be returning !!!!

    Have fun !!!

  17. Political Penguin responded on 04 Aug 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    The whole of 2001? That’s a long time to be in hospital. At a push, could have been 2002 but certainly not 2003. Anyway, hope you enjoyed dipping your toe in the interwebs.
    As you can see, I didn’t OK your comment for a day or so because I’m not constantly on my website as you might think although the irony of someone suggesting I don’t know what day or night is because I’m always on the internet is not lost on me from someone who posts a comment on my site at 1.45am in the morning. Ta ta for now.

Pre-Budget Report 2008 LIVE (part two)

Right, we’re off. Has he had a haircut just for today?  Sky has a FTSE tracker running. Am I the only person that thinks that’s part of the problem? This is a time for the bread and butter of economics, no what a few sharp suited kids think they can swap shares for.

On to the real economics now.

Good to see we’re tackling not only economic problems but the causes of economic problems. More power to the FSA.

Fabricant told to shut up by the speaker, good show.

Thought of the day – the films lie

As I wait for whatever bit of software I have to re-install on this system tonight does it’s thing Sky News is on in the background.

I’m thinking that if the lighting that struck that American dude filling up his motor at the petrol station didn’t blow the place up then why do we still have rules banning mobile phones from the forecourt? I’m sure a bolt of lightning has a bit more oomph than the 3.7 volt battery on my handset.

EXCLUSIVE – Brown to face challenge from Walsall MP

I’ve just had it confirmed that Gordon Brown is to face a leadership challenge from my own neck of the woods.

Apparently the steps are already in motion. I missed the meeting last night but it was decided that our current MP David Winnick intends to step down during summer allowing a by-election to take place.

The meeting agreed that current Labour Group Leader in Walsall Cllr. Tim Oliver will stand to replace him and then will mount a challenge to Gordon Brown’s leadership.

Speaking, Cllr. Oliver said, “I’ve already secured enough support from members of th PLP to mount a challenge and I don’t think we’ll have any problem in winning a by-election in Walsall North.”

Should be reported on Sky News shortly.

*PS, for the hard of reading, this is satire. 😉

Uk Border Agency’s illegal worker

I might be missing something here and please don’t let it get in the way of any Tories popping up with the usual ‘shows the rank incompetence of the government’ line but there seems to be a glaring point that’s being missed and indeed with other cases of illegal immigrants working for various Governmental departments.

That of them cropping up as having worked for a contractor (cleaning agencies being popular). This isn’t as much as the Tories would like to portray it a failure of Government or even individual departments but is symptomatic of the failure of the private sector and the curiously fetishistic obsession we have in the UK of outsourcing our public services to private contractors who are obviously bloody useless at doing the proper checks.

One hopes that somewhere along the line someone thought to insert a bit in the contractual agreement that if said contractor screws up big time or employs someone who isn’t even supposed to be in the country then it’s tough chum, end of contract see you later, or not as the case may be. I think I’m probably hoping a bit too much there.

It’s the end of the world as we know it?

As I sit here, dutifully waiting for the four horsemen of the apocalypse to come charging over the Tividale hills ushering in the end of humanity and the subsequent reports in our staunchly independent mainstream media that it’s all Gordon brown’s fault. I thought I’d shy away from my usual in-depth approach and jot down a personal perspective on life as it stands at this current point in time.

I’ve learned from passing the news stands in the supermarket and corner shops around these parts over the past six months or so that our country is so over-crowded with immigrants that no one can get a doctor, dentist, delivery suite for giving birth or a place for said offspring when they reach school age.

On top of that the economy is tits up, our houses are going to be worth less than the price of a Pot Noodle by the end of the year which of course due to soaring inflation in the cost of food will stand at somewhere around £5,000 come the time the big red suited one descends for his annual distribution of Chinese manufactured toys – should said toys get here because oil will cost $10,000 a pint and the freight companies will have all gone bust.

OK, a little exaggeration there but you get my drift. Everything is getting worse and in case you didn’t know, it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault because he’s Scottish.

So for a little perspective here’s my rundown of various personal experiences of late which either means that 1, all this stuff in the media is rubbish, or 2, the little bit of the world I inhabit (Willenhall, little town in the Black Country) has broken with the old space time continuum and shuffled off to a different dimensional plane.

Getting an NHS dentist isn’t hard, I’m about to change mine, no hunting around, calling up numbers from the Yellow Pages like J.R Hartley only to be told sorry. There’s plenty of availability.

My GP surgery at least the last time I went there a few weeks ago had a sign up inviting new patients to sign up with them.

Last year I had a minor op, removal on ingrowing toenail. Waited 5 weeks to have it done. Bit of mild discomfort while I waited but nothing too bad that required anything like regularly taking pain-killers. Back in the early 1990’s my second-cousin-in-law waited nearly two years in agony for kidney stones to be removed which led to over dependence on pain killers and substantial time off work. Yep, health service has obviously got worse under Labour.

Apparently expectant mothers are being turned away from maternity wards because they’re full or understaffed. Well, I can highly recommend Wolverhampton New Cross hospital as a place to give birth. The wards were half empty, service was great and Mrs Penguin was well impressed by the food. Far better than anything you’d get in the pseudo-private-insurance funded system in Germany – which incidentally cost a damn site more to run than our own good old NHS. On a side note to that, the neo-natal facilities have all been done up since we had Little Penguin and are a darn sight better now than even two and a half years ago but shush, don’t tell anyone, things getting better in the health service, we can’t have that now can we?

When the little Penguin’s are due to start their academic career there’s plenty of school places knocking around. The most likely destination for them, the newly built (with lots of investment dosheroonies from the Labour Government) but admittedly built in the most stupid of places thanks to the local Tories and LibDems’ has, the last time I checked only about 70% of it’s capacity filled. Much like most of the schools across the borough to the extent that you can bet the newly wishy washy Cameroonian Tories will find a way of closing a few to save money. Not that they’re penny pinching bureaucratic minded micro-managerial types of course.

I’ve never quite understood the British obsession with house prices. I’m assuming it’s a British trait and perhaps would make a good question for one of those nationality/citizenship tests. “Will you worry constantly about the capital value of your house?” Answer yes, you’re in, answer no, well you’re not really British enough, please sod off.

For the last few years we’ve had a media banging on about how house prices are so high young people can’t get on the ladder. Not to mention it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault for letting in all those Polish people in the first place. Now prices aren’t rising at rates vastly above the rate of wage inflation and Ministers get spotted with papers indicating they might fall by between 5-10% by the end of the year which you never know, might actually make them a bit more affordable to first time buyers, and the world’s gone to pot.

My house is my home. I actually don’t care if my little two bedroom Victorian terrace is worth £50,000 or £100,000. It’s irrelevant if said other persons comparable property is worth the same and if the differential between property prices narrows it actually makes it easier and more affordable to upgrade, not that I’m planning to.

Apparently there’s a credit crunch going on, its impossible to get loans for mortgages or anything else and our whole economic system built on the procurement of debt is going to grind to a halt.

This is weird to me. I’ve been inundated with offers for loans and credit cards the last few months, far more than normal. Every time I go to the bank, building society or post office I get the question have you got a mortgage, would you like to switch to us or take out a loan?

As it happens, I am planning on switching my mortgage, have to sort out a few things but all told I should be shaving about 13% off my monthly payments which is nice. What was that about credit crisis again?

I’m torn but as far as I can tell, ably abetted by large swathes of the media we seem to be talking ourselves into a recession. Employment is higher than ever, unemployment continues to fall, the currency is pretty steady, interest rates are low. I may have missed something, and this is probably all Gordon Brown’s fault that he simply can’t do a recession properly but what happened to the good old days when the Tories were in.

They knew how to do a proper recession. Millions on the dole, interest rates at 15%, the pound collapsing in value overnight. Now that’s how to do a recession properly. Never mind, let’s hope the Tories get back in, after all they’ve got David Cameron who was an apprentice to Norman Lamont (the true master of buggering up economies) so I feel rest assured that when the Tories win the next general election we’ll have a proper recession and none of this wussy New Labour imitation stuff. Did I mention it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault, he can’t even get recession’s right.

So there we have it. This is not dismiss that there are real issues at the moment, many of which are hurting some of the most vulnerable in our society. Energy costs and as a direct consequence of them the cost of food. These are rising above the rate of inflation and those on fixed incomes like pensioners and people of benefits will be hit. Of course the rising cost of energy has nothing whatsoever with rip-off wholesalers like Centrico, conflict in the world, or the general inability to keep up with demand while supply gradually runs out. It is of course all Gordon Brown’s fault, I don’t understand why people don’t get that?

In fairness to Derek Conway

Take note, this doesn’t happen very often (hasn’t happened before and I don’t want to make a habit of it) but I’d like to, at least to some extent, stick up for a Tory.

First off though, we’ll get through the criticism. He’s been caught fairly and squarely misusing his Parliamentary allowance. There’s no excuse for what is nothing more than corruption and I’m sure if it was some single parent diddling the DWP out of a few grand those on the right would be calling for a prison sentence. As far as I’m concerned, just as fiddling benefits and evading tax are screwing the taxpayer out of money so is this, so he’s got off fairly lightly with paying back a few grand and being banned from the house for 10 days.

I’m even not going to go so far as make a party political critique of Cameron dithering over the issue then finally making up his mind because plenty of other people will.

I’ll also add that a few quid shy of forty grand for a secretary is taking the proverbial because no secretary is worth that, nor do I expect that any other MP’s secretary would quite believe that figure but there you go.

What I’m more concerned with is this article in the Daily Mail which ran as their front page headline today.

I originally picked it up online but, and dare I say it because it is a first, I actually went out and bought a copy to read it in full. I did of course hide it from public view, I do have a reputation to uphold after all.

So the headline is “Nice work if you can get it” with a nice little family portrait shot of Derek with his missus and two sons with the figure £1,535,716 stretched across the bottom.

The claim is quite simple in the second paragraph that “in the past six years the cost to the taxpayer Derek Conway and his family was an astonishing £1,535,401.73”.

I read this and thought, nah, that doesn’t sound right so I decided to have a little look myself with an inkling that I knew how they’d come to that figure but couldn’t quite believe that such a highly respected and quality newspaper like the Daily Mail could have made such an obvious error. After all these journos must earn more than me and be clever like.

Now I’ll add that Parliament only makes available MP’s expenses going back to the 2004/5 year but previous ones are available on request which is presumably what the Daily Mail did to knock up this article. I couldn’t be bothered to do that so I’m just using the last three years figures but as will become clear, that’s all we need to call into question this article.

We’re not disputing the salaries either of Derek Conway or his missus and the two nippers, we’re concerned primarily with the expenses section but we can see clearly that to end up with their headline figure the Daily Mail have added up in total his salary, his expenses, his missus’s salary and the two nipper’s pocket money.

So let’s have a look into the expenses for the last three years.

2004/5.

Cost of staying away from home: £20,902

For those not familiar with the terms I’ll do a few brief explanations. This is for staying near Westminster which in the case of MP’s from far-flung parts of our blessed isle is a fairly reasonable allowance that can cover either hotel accommodation, rent on a property in the capital or make up part of interest only payment towards a mortgage on a property up to a maximum of £22,110 at this year’s rates. He’s probably pushing this a bit given his constituency is about 30 miles from Westminster so why he can’t commute that distance is beyond me but there you go.

IEP: £19,251

Formerly known as the Incidental Expenditure Provision, this has now changed it’s name to give greater clarity and transparency but we’re talking office running costs, those annoying things like rent on the constituency office, leckie, gas, water, fire safety regulations, public liability insurance, maintenance, phone bills and odds and sods, not as sexy as champagne parties and ice sculptures but you never know.

Staffing: £77,608

We’ll come back to this one later.

Travel: £7,426

Again in the interests of transparency, how this is shown has changed but for this year in question that’s the overall figure for the member’s travel comprising of £6,273 in mileage for the motor and £87 on the train. Incidentally, not a good public transport user is Derek.

Staff travel: £5

Where you can get for £5 in the South East is beyond me but his staff spent a whopping £5 on getting somewhere in 2004/5.

Stationary: £972

I’m sure the Conway household must be awash with House of Commons headed notepaper to jot the weekly shopping list down for Tescos but again we’re talking rather boring stuff like needing paper to write to those annoying constituents about their latest problem.

Postage: £2,706

Letters need sending and all that boring constituent related stuff.

IT: £1,979

A little known fact (outside of MP’s staff circles) is that all MP’s IT equipment, as in desktops, laptops, printers and the like have to be centrally sourced through the House of Commons. Personally I think this is a bit daft, especially given that Dell currently has the contract to supply them which probably goes to show that Civil Servants know sod all about IT procurement and went for the cheap crap option but again not exactly a perk or gravy train moment, they are Dell’s after all.

Adding all that together I make that to £130,849 which by miraculous coincidence is the figure the Daily Mail give for Derek Conway’s expenses for that year and rather disingenuously lump it in as if it’s his own personal income. However we prove a point that we know where they’re getting these figures from.

Moving on to 2005/6.

We have:

Cost of staying away from home: £21,634
Office running costs (no longer called IEP): £23,495
Staffing: £80,578
Travel: £4,274 of which car £4,072, rail £202 (note, this was the year that the mileage allowance got hammered so it’s come down a fair bit)
Staff travel: £115
Stationary: £347
Postage: £1,025
IT: £1,029

I make that to be £132,497 which again is what’s quoted in the Daily Mail as his ‘expenses’.

Finally moving on to the year period 2006/7.

Cost of staying away from home: £22,060
Office running costs: £21,177
Staffing: 88,439
Travel: Note that this year the way this is recorded changed.
Car: £3,936
Rail: £239
European: £2,308 (this is specifically to cover costs incurred traveling to Brussels so things like travel, subsistence and accommodation).
Stationary: £432
Postage: £3,116
IT: £1,209

I make that to be £142,914 which isn’t what the Daily Mail quotes but not far off so one of us has probably added something up wrong but the difference isn’t important.

Now lets move backwards a little to the staffing element of the expenses. It’s for paying staff to do work, or offspring for not doing much work in the case of Derek Conway but the problem is that to reach their headline figure, the Daily Mail have totted up Derek Conway’s salary, added in his expenses, then on top of that added on the incomes for the missus and the sprogs.

Much as I hate to leap to the defense of a Tory, especially one that through who’s actions, once again everyone thinks all MP’s are dodgy corrupt geezers (or geezetts?) on the make, the bloke does deserve to be treated fairly and the Daily Mail’s headline figure of £1,535,716 is complete and utter crap.

Taking away all those annoying things that MP’s have to spend money on to do their jobs it’s just simply a case of double accounting. What’s also interesting is that the Daily Mail in it’s attempt to bump up the headline figure as far as possible misses not only this but one other glaringly obvious fact. There’s a discrepancy in the staffing budget figures.

Using their own figures, for 2006/7 the total monies paid to Derek’s missus and little Freddie when taking into account salary, one-off payments, overtime and bonuses is £64,096.83, in 2005/6 it was £57,901.70 and in 2004/5 it was £51,030.89 whereas his overall staffing costs were £88,439, £80,578 and £77,608 respectively meaning that outside of his immediate family again respectively £24,342.17, £22,676.3 and £26,577.11 was paid to some person or others who aren’t in the family.

Despite this we’re not just talking about double accounting, we’re into the territory of triple accounting as this money didn’t end up in the family, unless there’s some other relative knocking about that’s on the payroll. This of course further undermines the Daily Mail’s headline figure.

Much as I love seeing a Tory getting a good kicking as much as the next person of a Labour persuasion I do believe in fairness and that does even extend to Tories so on the basis of this article in the Daily Mail he’s been hard done by and misrepresented.

Might do more on this employing family members thing on another day but just to note in case anyone is wondering, no I’m not related (at least I don’t think so) to any Member of Parliament or indeed any other elected representative and on their payroll.