back to article Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Culture, media and sport Secretary of State Maria Miller - whose stuffed portfolio included overseeing the rollout of faster broadband networks to country bumpkins - has finally quit her Cabinet post over an expenses row. Miller handed in her resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron this morning - just hours before …

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  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    poacher/gamekeeper

    It strikes me that letting a committee of MPs decide whether another MP is bent is a bit like a burglar having a jury of twelve good burglars and true at their trial.

    Time for a truly independent system.

    1. Ted Treen
      Big Brother

      Re: poacher/gamekeeper

      "Time for a truly independent system."

      Of course - the time is well overdue:- but do you see the establishment ever permitting it?

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: poacher/gamekeeper

      How about trial by jury for MPs?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: poacher/gamekeeper

        >How about trial by jury for MPs?

        How about trial by combat?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: poacher/gamekeeper

          Or trial by ordeal?

        2. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: How about trial by combat?

          Two MPs enter!

          One MP leaves!

          1. Spleen

            Re: How about trial by combat?

            @Crisp

            You're right, trial by combat isn't a good idea. 50% failure rate.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: How about trial by combat?

              Would have worked for the last Conservative party leadership elections.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: poacher/gamekeeper

      Don't worry about it, if you do have an "independent" system, just shed the lorry load of evidence and all will be well.

    4. billse10

      Re: poacher/gamekeeper

      It is a ruthless inquisition, how can you question that?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tym0MObFpTI&feature=player_detailpage#t=14

      Possible correction: maybe for Fleet St it's more like a witch-hunt - well, this kind of witch hunt (with apologies to anyone who takes the "she's a witch" reference as a reference to gender)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g&feature=player_detailpage#t=27

      with the pleasant side-effect that it gets phone-tapping, bribing public officials etc out of the public's focus for a while ..

      1. Red Bren
        Holmes

        @billse10

        "It is a ruthless inquisition, how can you question that?"

        When it comes to keeping politicians accountable, I'll take ruthless inquisition over sweeping it under the carpet every time. She's not the first politician the press have gone for and she's done herself no favours by:

        Obstructing the enquiry into her expenses

        Threatening the press with regulations if they investigate her expenses

        Showing absolutely no remorse for her actions

        And most importantly, fiddling the tax payer in the first place!

        Had she cooperated with the enquiry, paid all the money back and said sorry, it would have all blown over. But she tried to brazen it out, even after her fellow MPs gave her an easy way out, paying back just a fraction of what she claimed (because they're all in it together)

        if this was a housing benefit claim, you can bet that she and her colleagues would be baying for an inquisition. She's lucky not to be facing prosecution for fraud!

    5. Andrew the Invertebrate

      Re: poacher/gamekeeper

      While I try to avoid being fair to MP's just out of principle, the system that let Millar off the hook has changed. I have no doubt that at some point in the future another Government Minister will end up in a similiar situation, but hopefully if won't be as easy for them to wriggle and squirm for so long before being forced to do the right thing

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: poacher/gamekeeper

        The fraudulent woman should be facing a trial and prison time, just like Dennis MacShane.

  2. Ian McLaughlin

    sigh

    Us "country bumpkins" with good broadband are the only hope for stemming the economically unhealthy gravitational pull of London

    1. NogginTheNog
      Flame

      Re: sigh

      Yes, 'cos there's only ONE major city in the whole of the UK, the rest is countryside.

      More southern-centric bollocks from the Home Counties eh?

      1. dogged

        Re: sigh

        Yes, 'cos major cities absolutely don't already benefit from FTTC or cable TV networks or 4G mobile networks.

        More urban-centric bollocks from the already-privileged, eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: sigh

          We (London) do? Could have fooled me with shite 4G/3G in what feels like everywhere busy, buildings which naturally screw with GPS and other wireless signals, cabinets and cable work that isn't permitted or is phenomenally expensive to arrange and all the problems that this brings.

          On the other hand, other cities and towns benefit from getting things rolled out a little more sensibly. Rolling out high speed anything to places that are remote will often be uneconomical therefore would have to be subsidised somehow and the money for this doesn't come from the remote economy. Just trying to be fair on this... I may currently work in London but I live in a village.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sigh

      As someone who is from northern England but now lives in the "economically unhealty gravitational pull of London", I have to disagree for so many reasons - the most relevant of which is that if even half of the nonsense I hear when going back north about London being to blame for everything were true (and it isn't, it's mostly nonsense) then I'd have no problem getting >2Mbit/s broadband at my London location - and I can't. "Economically unhealthy gravitational pull of financial services", now that's a different (more interesting and far more relevant) discussion.

      I can get a higher speed link in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in West Yorks, where maybe 0.01% of the population can actually make efficient use of it for anything other than downloading cat videos: the town in question seems to have taken the deliberate decision to rely on tourism for it's "future development" rather than pulling it's several fingers out and encouraging local people (never incomers, perish the thought, we can't have people who aren't from Yorkshire living here!!!) to create new opportunities. The biggest difference I notice when going between the two is the attitude to "outsiders": London - or at least, the parts of it I know - welcomes new people with open arms, almost no matter where they are from (and almost to a fault), whereas that particular corner of Yorks is populated by local "characters" who on occasion won't even talk to someone who doesn't have a local accent without blaming them for locally-caused economic malaise (unless they are obviously a tourist and so leaving soon).

      I remember having a conversation with a friend's parents who expressed the view that if "that London" would 'let them have' high-speed broadband, hundreds of jobs would be created for young and old alike - they had no idea what those jobs would be, or who would create them, or what the people in question would do, but they would mysteriously appear and "London" was preventing that. What is preventing that is (a) lack of willingness to pay for high speed broadband, but wanting it anyway, (b) a weird world-view in which meaningful jobs are created by waving a wand, (c) a parochial mindset that makes it clear "outsiders" are not welcome - try to create a business there, these two would quite happily take the jobs & accept the pay your business enables but then complain in the pub about a business in the area being owned by someone who wasn't born there - and (d) a need to blame others, rather than actually doing something about the situation in which they find themselves. High-speed broadband is not going to fix that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sigh

        Rural Norfolk is much the same, at least the area's not overpopulated by the latest wave of Portugese migrants opening cafe's that shun anyone who doesnt speak portugese (Like in Dereham)

        1. Psyx

          Re: sigh

          I guess they've picked up on the casual rural racism thing, then!

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: sigh

        @AC - So, a local shop for local people

      3. Irony Deficient

        The title is too long.

        and (d) a need to blame others, rather than actually doing something about the situation in which they find themselves.

        Anonymous Coward, at least all of us here in the El Reg commentard collective can take pride in never* having exhibited this corrosive behaviour.

        * — Apply appropriate tone of voice here.

  3. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

    Steal and con your way through your career. If you get caught, slapped wrist and promise to pay it back. No Police involvement.

    I can't quite get my head around the above line without thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with the entire system where our 'leaders' can brazenly flaunt their own elitist agenda in the faces of us minions and we just bow down, shut up then move along.

    However the history books tell us a different story when this has happened in the past.

    Et Tu Brute?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Yeah but at least MPs are better than those horrid benefit cheats right? After all, the government estimates that benefit fraud cost £1.2B and that's a really big number.

      Mind you, that is across something like 22 million people (ie about £55 each), whereas MPs had to pay back £1.2 million of falsely claimed expenses, an average of £1800 per MP.

      So MPs are less trustworthy than benefit claimants, who knew?

  4. Roger Varley

    " but it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around."

    So she's resigning for altruistic reasons rather than the fact she got caught fiddling 45K worth of expenses?

    1. d4rkside

      >So she's resigning for altruistic reasons rather than the fact she got caught fiddling 45K worth of expenses?

      First rule of politics never admit wrong doing even if the cookie jar snaps shut severing your hand from your wrist and your accusers are hitting you with it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah, that's what Camerons speech writer threw together, she was probably saying something like, 'So that's it, you fucktard, you're gonna let me take the fall?'

      I am very grateful to you for your personal support but it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around.

      Google translate:

      'Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, total and utter bullshit, unlucky, bitch! You should'a never got caught.'

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      The particularly upsetting thing about it all, is that if any of us (non MP) did something like this in business we'd be instantly fired (no bonus, golden handshake or anything) and then given a civil case for recovery.

      Whereas she can lie, cheat and steal and then attempt to cover it up, probably using more tax payer money, and then gets off with a limp apology and doubtless a cushy job somewhere else.

    4. Sarah Balfour

      It WASN'T £45k she nicked…

      That was simply the amount she was originally ordered to repay. The actual FRAUD was closer to £100k. She's actually been allowed to keep £49,200 but, with her £20k or so handshake, we actually GAVE her another £14,200 - it's WIN, WIN, WIN! Oh and let's not forget the profit she made on the sale of her 2nd home (the one we - well not ME, I'm a filthy workshy scrounger, me - paid her mortgage on). The property sold for £1.2m, I forget what she made on the deal, but it was quite substantial. She even transferred ownership of that property to avoid CGT.

      Osbourne is guilty of doing EXACTLY the same; he transferred the mortgage on his 2nd property to an outfit owned - or partially owned, at least - by an old chum, who gave him a stupidly-low rate of something like 1.5 or 2%. He's also defrauded the taxpayer of a similar amount but, in Gidiot's case, he can legitimately plead stupidity as he's never passed a maths exam in his LIFE!

      I actually favour Trial by Gunge; Graham Norton's tipping red chair, one of Edmonds's gunge tanks and a panel of taxpayers. MP forced into chair and obliged to disclose everything for which they want to claim. Selected taxpayer pushes a remote button, MP falls backwards into gunge tank. I figure that, once they've had a few Savile Row suits and Jermyn Street shirts ruined - or wherever the females get their togs (I bet you anything it won't be M&S!) it'll learn 'em…

      Of course the taxpayer probably paid for those in the first place - but at least it'll act as a deterrent to prevent claims for any MORE (same goes for under-crackers, IDS…).

      The new 'culture and equalities' incumbent is Sajid Javid; he thinks that ticket-touts are "opportunistic entrepreneurs" and he voted AGAINST the Equal Marriage Bill. He's also another Tory Boy, declaring himself a fan of The Maggot before he was out of primary school!

      In other news, Cameron now believes he's Jesus, claiming that his 'Big Society' BS was directly inspired by JC…

      All together now… "He's NOT the messiah, he's a VERY naughty boy!"

  5. Fink-Nottle

    > Now, Cameron has to make a snap judgment about who will replace the Conservative MP for Basingstoke at the Ministry of Fun.

    Please make it Claire Perry. Please make it Claire Perry. Please make it Claire Perry.

    We need someone that will stand up to those that sponsor hacking on broadband networks.

    1. dogged
      WTF?

      > We need someone that will stand up to those that sponsor hacking on broadband networks.

      I don't understand this reference. What has Claire Perry ever done except shout "THINK OF THE CHILDREN"?

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Claire Perry would be perfect!

        Who else would have the same level of technical competence that could prevent (even more) large-scale snooping. Even (especially) if she's in favor, it's bound to fail; given her displayed level of know-how in regards to internet filtering.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I don't understand this reference.

        In a since deleted series of shouty Twitter posts, the honourable member made it clear she didn't understand the difference between a web page and a screen grab ... high class humour.

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/staines-perry-porn-hack-sue-494355

  6. Creamy-G00dness

    The needle returns to the start of the song...........

    Just another example of the ability of this bent government to cover its own blatantly obvious shortcomings. You should really have known better you greedy bitch, was the pay rise we all disagreed with but you took anyways not enough?......................NEXT THIEF PLEASE!!

    Not a fan of UKIP at all, but if it breaks this cycle of toff's who think it is fine to ruin the country and steal from its people without accountability..............then Hobson's choice it is.

    As new generations come to voting age, who do this government think they are going to vote for? Could it be a public school boy with a disjointed view on the country, only out to line his own already full pockets? or possibly the common man who drinks pints and sounds like they do?

    It is entirely possible that the UK will become a very different place moving forwards.

    Its coming Tories/Labour/Lib Dems....................enjoy ripping us off while you can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

      UKIP are the only real option in the next elections, the 'big three' parties are just as corrupt and unreliable as each other... while I am sure UKIP don't smell of roses, their leader at least has the virtue of not always avoiding the questions...

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

        Perhaps; if it's a contest between dickheads and wankers which it increasingly seems to be.

        Most people are disenfranchised and have given up on the lot of them save for having it ingrained in us that we really should vote because that makes a democracy and a belief that there is no right to complain if one doesn't.

        It has always been a vote for the ones we dislike least and the only way to change things is to have "none of the above" on the ballot paper and for people to vote that way in droves. Only then will it become clear that what we call democracy and government is not fit for purpose. Which is why we will never be allowed that.

        1. boba1l0s2k9
          Joke

          Re: "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

          Vote Cthulhu For President!

          http://bookstoysgames.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/cthulhu4prez-preview1.png

          It's a two party system:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAT_BuJAI70

          1. Oldgroaner

            Re: "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

            Better than Farago and his fraudsters.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

              If I see a huge swing towards UKIP in the European elections, it will make it certain that I vote "yes" in the Scottish Independence referendum in September. At least the Scots Nationalists recognise that being a member of the EU is a very good thing.

        2. Graham Marsden
          Facepalm

          Re: "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"?? UKidding?

          UKIP are only an option if you want a party that's even further to the Right than Thatcher!

          And they have lots of gradiose plans, but no idea how to implement them (or even how much they will cost) for instance they want to massively increase defence spending whilst, at the same time, introducing a Flat Tax that will save money for those who fall below its level and those who earn large amounts whilst leaveing those in the middle stuck with the bill.

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/special-report-what-voters-should-know-about-ukip-8517997.html

          1. Psyx

            Re: "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"?? UKidding?

            "they want to massively increase defence spending whilst, at the same time, introducing a Flat Tax that will save money for those who fall below its level and those who earn large amounts whilst leaveing those in the middle stuck with the bill."

            So... kind of Nationalist AND Socialist, too.

            I wonder why that's never been tried before?

      2. Eponymous Cowherd
        WTF?

        Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

        "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

        You seriously need your bumps felt if you are thinking of voting for them.

        Oh, a protest vote is it? Be careful, if enough people do that, you may well end up with what you vote for.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

        UKIP are the only real option in the next elections

        Well the next elections are the European ones in May, and I certainly would ike to see UKIP sweep the board, if only to see the reaction in Brussels and Westminster.

        Heaven help us if they ever got elected to a position wiuth any power, though.

        I am sure UKIP don't smell of roses, their leader at least has the virtue of not always avoiding the questions

        Yes, but only because he takes the Salmond approach: "The answer is Independence. What was the question again?"

      4. Psyx

        Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

        "UKIP are the only real option in the next elections"

        Clearly you have no idea just how fucked this country's economy will be without the EU.

        I would rather drink a pint of spit than vote for those scum.

        1. fruitoftheloon
          Thumb Down

          Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

          Which country's would that be then?

          Other countries in the EU would presumably still want to buy stuff from the UK if we left the EU, with their Euros being exchanged for a given quantity of Pounds Sterling.

          We are a trading nation now, and would continue to be a trading nation after leaving the EU, which I personally hope we would....

          J.

          1. Andrew the Invertebrate

            Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

            And the UK would have to negotiate a trade agreement with EU, probably ones like those with Switzerland and Norway where they end up paying some EU dues and have to obey a great of EU law all while having absolutely no voice.

            That's not to say that the EU couldn't stand a little bit of house keeping but it's difficult to change the rules if you're sat in corner sulking and whining that it's not fair.

          2. Psyx

            Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

            "Other countries in the EU would presumably still want to buy stuff from the UK if we left the EU, with their Euros being exchanged for a given quantity of Pounds Sterling...."

            Plus all the additional taxes and levies for cross-border trading that would make us an expensive option. Being an EU member means that we get to trade with other EU nations without too much BS and tax. Certainly my own company would be boned if we left the EU and I'd be filling in a UB40. Still: I could always get one of those great minimum wage, factory shift work jobs that those nasty immigrants 'stole'. Y'know: the jobs that help boost our own economy. There's a reason why you don't hear properly wealthy people complaining about Poles and Romanians: Because we're profiting from them being here.

            Remember too all the corporations who set up factories in the UK in the confidence that they can freely trade good made there with the rest of Europe. There's no frikkin' way any more of those will get built if we leave the EU.

            Ultimately, the EU is good for us. It doesn't 'force' us to do anything because we have a veto. The reason why unpopular things sometimes get through to us is because our own politicians have agreed to them and not used a veto, not because Brussels made us. We are one of the big players in the EU, and that beats the hell out of being on our jack jones. It's not like the US wants to be our buddy any more now they don't need the extra runways.

            That 'Europe' is bad for us is a blatant lie, told by people who lie for a living, in the hope that you will vote for them and give them both a free meal ticket. It's not like they could actually disengage us from Europe anyway. More than a casual examination of the facts makes it quite obvious that we are better off in the EU than without it.

            I still don't like the French, but I'd rather be with them than without them.

      5. Andrew the Invertebrate

        Non-avoidance

        You when he's asked about various manifesto pledges his stock response is "Don't ask me about the last manifesto. I have no idea what was in it as I didn't read it."

      6. Oldgroaner

        Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

        Farage is a Tory reject -- repeatedly turned down as a candidate, now he's pissing into the tent in the hope of getting his hocks in the UK trough just as he's been plundering the MEP trough. And unlike Miller, who at least turned up in Westminster, Farage and his cronies are simply lining their pockets while not doing the job the sheeple sent them to do. UKIP are politicians like all the others, with just the same self-serving ends.

    2. Uffish

      Re: It's coming Tories/Labour/Lib Dems...............................

      ........................... ahem, some things are even more unfortunate than government by them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's coming Tories/Labour/Lib Dems...............................

        More unfortunate? I am curious what do you mean?

        With them we have increased surveillance and infringements of civil liberties, they brought in the gagging law, back door censorship of the internet, they have even proposed returning to us having national service! I know people who became British and renounced their citizenship to get out of national service!

        They are baby steps towards a police state, and I fear for my childrens future in this country if we keep going down the route we are going...

        There are two solutions to the mess,

        1) Kick out Labour/Tory/Lib Dem and get a euro skeptic party in power that cares about peoples rights..

        2) Dive into the EU head first so they can protect us...

        1. dogged

          Re: It's coming Tories/Labour/Lib Dems...............................

          > 2) Dive into the EU head first so they can protect us...

          Because swapping one bunch of corrupt bastards for a bigger bunch of corrupt bastards always works.

        2. Dr Stephen Jones

          Re: It's coming Tories/Labour/Lib Dems...............................

          The Guardian readers here won't like your comment - even though they know you are 100% correct

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      So many parties ...

      ... only one policy. You are free to vote for any party. It does not matter which because they all do exactly the same things.

      They keep saying the recession is ending, and now their important work is to 'turn this country around'. First time I beleived something a politician said for years. I am sure that if nothing distracts them, they can cause another recession.

    4. Santa from Exeter
      FAIL

      Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

      Epic Fail, falling for the politico's bullshit -

      'Not a fan of UKIP at all, but if it breaks this cycle of toff's...'

      ' common man who drinks pints and sounds like they do'

      I suggest you check out Farage's background if you really believe the crap that he touts.

      Educated at Dulwich College and an ex commodities trader is hardly 'the common man'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

        Actually whenever I see Farage's gurning mug I'm reminded of either Tory Boy or Tim Nice-but-dim!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

      I'd like to upvote for the use of the Del Amitri quote, but sorry the suggestion to vote UKIP was just too much for me! ;-)

    6. Andrew the Invertebrate

      Re: The needle returns to the start of the song...........

      "Not a fan of UKIP at all, but if it breaks this cycle of toff's who think it is fine to ruin the country and steal from its people without accountability"

      You mean that party that's led by a public school educated toff, who worked in the city and then after becoming an MEP has claimed millions of pounds in expenses?

      "a public school boy with a disjointed view on the country, only out to line his own already full pockets"

      Seems a pretty good way to sum Farage up

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She should have been sacked and forced to pay back the expenses she fraudulently claimed, the person who authorized the expenses should also be sacked or disciplined & retrained! the more I hear about MP's expenses, the more I wonder if there are any checks in place...

    I can understand & support when they hire their spouses as secretaries, who better than someone you already trust and rely on... but some of the expenses are just ridiculous, and there are things that should be shot down without a question... that they try shows they have no respect for the people of this country and should mean they are sacked, no 'resigning' allowed, fire them for gross misconduct!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      She should have been sacked and forced to pay back the expenses she fraudulently claimed, the person who authorized the expenses should also be sacked

      And the people responsible for not sacking the people mentioned above should be sacked, plus the ones they should have been sacking in the first place, and the lot should be replaced by llamas.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        For some reason I suddenly have a desire to watch Monty Python again... :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame

    Shame Cameron didnt leave with her. Waste of space of a man.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      Please let us know who should in PM then?

      just don't let it be Milli-bland with what bandwagon can I jump on today and the 'live on the never-never (wonga.com)' policies.

      1. dogged

        Re: Shame

        Me. I should be PM.

        First thing I'd do is end prohibition on drugs, saving the country 65% of all court and police costs and utterly destroying organized crime.

        Then I'd use the money to renationalize BT and the Post Office and re-merge them. Then I'd use the colossal wealth this can generate to renationalize the railways and rather subsidize wankers to give us a shit hugely expensive "service" with more cancellations than trains, I'd make passenger trains free. The figures support it - we'd spend no more than we now spend on subsidizing shitty rail companies and we'd save all the ticketing and profit-protection expense.

        There's a whole lot of other stuff too but I reckon just a manifesto with that stuff (backed up by the figures) would get me elected by everyone except criminals, corrupt businessmen and the police (because we'd need so many fewer of them).

        The fundamental tax reform that would follow would probably get me assassinated, though.

        1. Hollerith 1

          Re: Shame

          Sign me up to your party. I will even be a fund donor!

          1. dogged

            Re: Shame

            Actually, I think I'd be perfect because I absolutely don't want to do it (but somebody has to).

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: Shame

              Actually, I think I'd be perfect because I absolutely don't want to do it (but somebody has to).

              Where's that quote from? Something about the best politicians being the ones that don't want to be?

              1. dogged

                Re: Shame

                Douglas Adams.

            2. fruitoftheloon
              Pint

              Re: Shame

              Dogged,

              have a pint on me, IIRC Groucho said in his biography [paraphrasing somewhat] that he would refuse to join any club that would accept him as a member...

              J

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shame

          "Then I'd use the money to renationalize BT and the Post Office and re-merge them.....Then I'd use the colossal wealth this can generate.....to renationalize the railways ....."

          Bwahahahhahahahahahahahahaa! There speaks somebody who doesn't remember what am unresponsive empire of waste, incompetence and customer indifference that the GPO was! Remember "party lines"? Six month waits to install a line? Crummy little local exchanges with a few hundred lines and a full time engineer sitting around reading Razzle, and an operator polishing her nails?

          And national rail? Remember the failed 1955 Modernisation Plan, which was supposed to support British industry and improve the railways, cost £1.6bn at the time (around £20 billion in current prices) How much more money would you want the state to throw away when it clearly doesn't either know how to build railways, nor how to run them? Or remember the dismal customer-loathing service of BR through the 1970s and 80s? The antiquated and unreliable rolling stock despite the Modernisation Plan? And BR were responsible for all manner of rubbish ideas of their own accord regardless of government support, like the progressive near closure of Marylebone, the failed outsourcing of locomotive manufacturing to Romania in the 1970s.

          Nationalisation saw our domestic car industry go from world leading to woeful, left our aerospace industry as a single firm that no longer makes an entire aircraft in its own right, created basket case monopolists like BT, or customer haters like British Airways. And you want more?

          And just to be clear, BT profits are about £2.2bn, but the dividend (ie returns to the owner) are only about half of that, say £1.1bn. On indicative figures we might guess that Royal Mail make £600m, and dividends perhaps £400m tops. Now, because corporate taxes would already have snatched about 20%, and the Royal Mail is only a 60% stake that has been sold, the "colossal wealth" your idea raises is a grand total of £1.1bn. Now lets assume you renationalise Royal Mail at privatisation receipt value, and BT at net fixed asset value, so you've added £18.5bn to the national debt, at an annual cost of around 3% (for ten year gilts). So that's an additional outgoing of £550m, bringing your net "colossal wealth" down (rather curiously) to the same sum, of £550m. All of this ignores the infringement of property rights such a move would involve, the impact on overall government borrowing costs and solvency, or the inevitable drift downwards in operational performance, but lets drift along on your socialist breeze for a while yet:

          Given that there are around 36 billion passenger miles per year in the UK, and you've "found" a net £550m down the back of somebody else's sofa, how exactly is 1.5p per passenger mile going to make a difference to either the costs of or current performance of the national rail network?

          Why are socialists so economically illiterate?

          1. dogged

            Re: Shame

            > Why are socialists so economically illiterate?

            I don't know, but then I'm not a socialist. I certainly wouldn't restore the monopoly positions.

            Why do people who have a political leaning in one of the traditional directions always assume everyone else has the opposite leaning?

            Further, you talk about taxes on nationalized industries -

            Well. Why do government employees pay tax? Why aren't their salaries just paid at "less tax" rates and save all the paperwork? To take it to the actual level of absurdity, how much does HMRC spend on collecting tax from HMRC?

            Politicians always talk about cutting waste but they always see waste as "stuff we spend on the population" rather than "bullshit we use to keep civil servants in jobs".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Shame

              "I don't know, but then I'm not a socialist. I certainly wouldn't restore the monopoly positions."

              So you'd renationalise Royal Mail, BT, and the railways, and then pretend it's a free market and there's competition?

              "Why do people who have a political leaning in one of the traditional directions always assume everyone else has the opposite leaning?"

              You think renationalisation is a credible policy position for anybody who isn't left of centre?

              "Further, you talk about taxes on nationalized industries -...."

              Only to make the point that the benefits you think you will get from nationalising those businesses will be lower than the their reported profits.

              "Well. Why do government employees pay tax?"

              Don't ask me, sunshine, I wasn't taking any position on the matter, and the employees' tax position is in any event independent of the tax position of the organisation. As far as I'm concerned you've come up with some piff-paff distractions rather than address the point that your mooted renationalisations would raise no worthwhile income and have a fair few downsides.

              1. dogged

                Re: Shame

                > As far as I'm concerned you've come up with some piff-paff distractions rather than address the point that your mooted renationalisations would raise no worthwhile income and have a fair few downsides.

                Granted. Absolutely granted. They would raise no worthwhile income over what's generated now and would indeed have several downsides but I think they'd also have plenty of upsides. First is the national asset-balance and even the possibility of public bond ownership. Thatcher basically kept the country alive on oil revenue and flogging off assets while claiming an economic miracle, if you recall. Not sustainable in the long term.

                Second is the restoration of public trust, and that's a form of credit that's been absolutely despoiled.

                Then I'd have all the lobbyists rounded up and publicly pelted with stones. Maybe not, but certainly lobbying and SPADS would be driven out and anyone caught taking the banks' dirty money would never work in public service again.

                And then we move along to further activities like scrapping the ludicrous "50% of all children must get a degree" drivel Blair introduced and Brown and Cameron maintained was a good idea. The leaving of the EU as a "whole thing" and (re)joining of EFTA. The encouragement of Scottish independence, and also Welsh and Northern Irish independence while we're about it. The proposition of not just regional devolution but regional legal and tax powers - so for example, the North East needs investment and can offer inducements to that effect whereas the South West needs to be able to stop people owning second, third, fourth houses there so that their population stops getting priced out of their own homes. The regional economies vary and pretending Westminster can rule them all is a lie.

                Further, I'd want small regional government and miniscule national government. It's easier to control your cheating, scheming, bought-and-sold political servants when they're not hiding away somewhere. For that reason, I'd also end all police (and other) protection on politicians.

                Then I'd restore your right to protest and introduce rights of recall so if I suck, you can sack me without waiting for an election. Just do it. Then I'd hobble Terrorism powers and cut GCHQ's funding by about 80% because fuck them, they spied on the people they were supposed to be working for.

                Then I'd do something about pension ages. When the state pension was introduced, you were lucky if you got three years of it before you died. Now people live 25 years longer. Time for the pension age to reflect that, and all associated freebie benefits.

                And well, public service. It's meant to be about public service. That's what's gone. That's what needs to return.

                1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                  Re: Shame

                  dogged - where do I sign up? Most* of what you say is spot on the mark, and conservatives like Ledswinger are just afraid of change.

                  * Leaving the EU seems to be a bad idea, but, overall, you are on the right lines.

          2. Psyx

            Re: Shame

            "Remember "party lines"?"

            No, because I'm not 70.

            "Nationalisation saw our domestic car industry go from world leading to woeful, left our aerospace industry as a single firm that no longer makes an entire aircraft in its own right, created basket case monopolists like BT, or customer haters like British Airways. And you want more?"

            Those are all grossly misleading brush-strokes. 'Nationalisation' didn't cause the problems: Bad management, shit unions, an oil crisis and other factors caused those issues. There is no reason that a nationally owned organisation can't be as effective as a private one. You just have to staff it with the same calibre of people and make it accountable.

          3. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Shame

            Bwahahahhahahahahahahahahaa! There speaks somebody who doesn't remember what am unresponsive empire of waste, incompetence and customer indifference that the GPO was! Remember "party lines"? Six month waits to install a line? Crummy little local exchanges with a few hundred lines and a full time engineer sitting around reading Razzle, and an operator polishing her nails?

            I remember party lines, GPO were a little bit crap at some things.

            And national rail? Remember the failed 1955 Modernisation Plan, which was supposed to support British industry and improve the railways, cost £1.6bn at the time (around £20 billion in current prices) How much more money would you want the state to throw away when it clearly doesn't either know how to build railways, nor how to run them? Or remember the dismal customer-loathing service of BR through the 1970s and 80s? The antiquated and unreliable rolling stock despite the Modernisation Plan? And BR were responsible for all manner of rubbish ideas of their own accord regardless of government support, like the progressive near closure of Marylebone, the failed outsourcing of locomotive manufacturing to Romania in the 1970s.

            Started sensibly with trial batches, then they went stupid buying lots of crap just to oust newish build steam locos.

            Mistakes, buying NBL stuff, Using 12LDA28C in the 47s rather than 16CSVTs, not buying lots of DP2s, the Claytons rather than more 20s.

            Our railway industry is now a joke with only Brush left, and some remains of Paxman. If you want a British built and designed locomotive now, it would be Loughborough built, not sure on power units since Ruston Paxman were gutted.

            Shockingly the remains of the most well know British power unit are now German and called the MAN 28/33D, this engine started in the 1930s as the English Electric 6T and grew valves cylinders turbos and intercoolers up to the CSVT range, then the Ruston merge change the name again, bored out twice to 280mm MAN bought them in early 2000s and now made around the world but NOT in the UK.

            Nationalisation saw our domestic car industry go from world leading to woeful,

            BL was a complete and utter joke, some cars were good, most were woefull. There were a few excellent cars like the Dolomite Sprint and the P6, but so much shit like the Allegros and Marinas.

            left our aerospace industry as a single firm that no longer makes an entire aircraft in its own right,

            Same sort of disaster as the railway industry except we still have Rolls Royce.

            BTW my current car is British designed and made, but the owners were not, no idea who it was at the time. Also had the last in house designed engine.

        3. Alfie

          Re: Shame

          That's all well and good, but where do you stand on the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for the under-5s and the abolition of slavery?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Shame

        What was wrong with his opponent when Cameron was elected leader?

        Shows some backbone, and personal beliefs and like every other rebel gets told never a minister again.

        Can someone please tell me why all the politicians I would like to run the country are blocked by Cameron from being ministers?

  9. vmistery

    I do often wonder if a benefit claimant had claimed incorrectly / played the system if they would get off as lightly as only having to pay a small amount back.

    1. dogged

      We already know the answer to that one is "no". The first step is a removal of all benefits while the case is "reviewed".

      Assuming the perpetrator does not die from starvation and/or hypothermia in the meantime, a criminal trial will follow with mandatory jail time for a guilty verdict.

      1. Psyx

        Yup: Because clearly the ones stealing all the money *are the ones who are still poor and don't have accountants*. Definitely not the rich people who play bridge with judges.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @dogged

        "a criminal trial will follow with mandatory jail time for a guilty verdict."

        If you really believe that benefit fraudsters get mandatory jail terms then you clearly haven't followed either any recent cases, nor even government proposals to reform the system, which (in a move that will outrage you, I'm sure) plans to give additional rather weak powers for reclaiming benefits paid to fraudulent claimants.

        Do you get your facts from Socialist Worker?

        1. vmistery

          Re: @dogged

          And do you say 'Ledswinger' its ok to make mistakes or thieve if you are rich but not if your poor? As that was the argument I made initially. At the end of the day anyone who cheats should be treated equally, rich or poor, MP or benefit claimant, it does not seem to be the case at the moment. This guy for example had to repay everything (housing benefit fraud which is essentially what this MP was doing).

          http://www.basildonrecorder.co.uk/news/11125917.Swindler___s___16_000_benefit_scam_shame/?ref=var_0

        2. dogged

          Re: @dogged

          There are absolutely mandatory sentences for benefit fraud, if proven. Judges, however, can and do opt to suspend those sentences if they feel that's in the public interest.

        3. Psyx

          "Do you get your facts from Socialist Worker?"

          That's right, Ledswinger: Everyone who disagrees with you is a Communist.

          Not that there is anything wrong with reading newspapers and articles which are written from a perspective different from one's own. Quite the reverse: An intelligent man reads to challenge his conceptions and opinions, not to receive the soapy hand-job of having one's existing opinions propped up by the printed word.

          In short, if you really look down upon anyone because they have read the Socialist Worker (or indeed anything which you personally disagree with politically), then you're being remarkably ignorant. If you use it as an actual insult, then you are merely advertising that ignorance.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would never have voted for her if I knew my tax money was paying the mortgage on her parent's *sorry*, second, home and taking a very nice profit off the resale while dodging capital gains.

    MPs cannot berate corporations for avoiding tax if they are all at it themselves.

    1. dogged
      Holmes

      Here's an interesting one from Private Eye -

      Percentage of Buy-To-Let property owners in the UK - 2%

      Percentage of Buy-To-Let property owners in the House of Commons - 25%

      And look at all the tax-breaks that particular wheeze keeps getting! Remarkable.

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      guns don't kill people

      MPs cannot berate corporations for avoiding tax if they are all at it themselves.

      Humans, like corporations are obliged, by their natural greed and venality, to avail themselves of any or all legal tax breaks/strategies. The real blame lies not with MPs claiming expenses but with the legislature that frames the rules which govern them.

      Wait, wat?

  11. StarGazer

    about time

    At last she resigns, how she didn't see what she did was a problem beggars belief. Similar behaviour in any other organisation usually is instant dismissal, and full repayment of the amount defrauded.

  12. IanzThingz
    Flame

    Doomed!

    As soon as she had Camerons 'full support' it was only a matter of days, and yet she faces no criminal charges, George Osborne guilty of exactly the same thing and he is still there. One law for them and another... you get the picture.

    On a lighter note, something from Yes Minister 'never believe anything until its officially denied' :)

  13. Matthew 3

    Let their constituents judge them

    If each MP knew that their local electorate were approving every pay rise or expenses claim there'd be a lot more honesty in the system. And a big improvement in representation too.

    At the moment every MP can lie their way into power and then just sit tight for years. If you're lucky they might need to make a few more creative promises in time for the next election but for too many it's just a job for life. These types need constant reminding that their primary obligation is supposed to be towards the electorate who put them there.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's our fault.

    I blame us, the public. When they were all caught with their hands in the till, there should have been a proper, proportionate reaction from the public. Namely, there should have been a general uprising, and every single one of them should have been out on their arse. As it stands, even those who had been cheating us blind, got a token slap on the wrist, and then all the old ladies / former coal miners who blindly vote for whoever happens to be in their particular 'clan', returned them to their jobs at the election. Why should they change? People obviously weren't that arsed. Seriously, there should have been blood on the streets.

    And calls for an 'independent' body to look at this is a waste of time. All they need is someone who is independent yet 'sound'. T'was always thus, and always thus shall be.

    1. FlatSpot
      Facepalm

      Re: It's our fault.

      Yep but unfortunately the masses are also on the fiddle as they only vote for parties that bribe them, ie. child benefit, winter fuel payments, free bus passes, free tv licenses etc.

      The reality that they took the money out of your wallet in the first place, process it and then give it back to you as some kind of special favor seems to pass everyone by.

      1. dogged

        Re: It's our fault.

        > child benefit, winter fuel payments, free bus passes, free tv licenses etc.

        All but one of these have something important in common.

        > The reality that they took the money out of your wallet in the first place, process it and then give it back to you as some kind of special favor seems to pass everyone by.

        However, the recipients of all but one of those bribes no longer work or pay tax. But they do vote - they vote for the biggest bribes where the rest of us have pretty much given up in despair.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good

    Now treat her *EXACTLY* as someone on a low income struggling to survive. Fine her so much that she becomes homeless, has to live in a hostel and can't get a job. After all, if it's good enough for the long-suffering British public it must be good enough for MPs.

    Oh wait, I forget. MPs are "better then us" and utterly amoral. How many got jailed over the last cases of fraud - none, that's how many.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good

      "Oh wait, I forget. MPs are "better then us" and utterly amoral. How many got jailed over the last cases of fraud - none, that's how many."

      The continuing festering sore of MP's fiddling the system is bad enough if you stick to the facts, rather than posting rubbish. Five MP's were jailed for expenses fraud, and in addition Margaret Moran evaded conviction because of her mental ill health at the time of the trial (despite the fact that it didn't interfere with the committing of fraud or parliamentary duties). I'm sure somebody as honest as an MP wouldn't be making it up to avoid well deserved jail time.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £1.2M home purchase

    It's pretty disgusting that she can claim for whatever renovations she feels like, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds, and then profit from selling it.

  17. MJI Silver badge

    Another victim

    Fabricant sacked over his twatting about her,

    And wasn't he correct?

    Another interesting one sacked by Camoron.

    Look you berk, stop supporting the corrupt ones and the yes men and use your more interesting MPs

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