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AM Glass Box for Bank Holiday Monday

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Sequin | 08:30 UK time, Monday, 31 May 2010

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Good Morning. You may be having a little lie-in on this Bank Holiday morning - but if you think of anything you'd like to hear on tonight's programme, why not tell us so that we can discuss it at our meeting at 11am.

It's me today - for one day only! Look forward to hearing from you

sequin

Comments

  • 1. At 08:40am on 31 May 2010, JAlexW wrote:

    Israel once again displays a complete disregard for international law and attacks in international waters a civilian flotilla of ships carrying badly needed humanitarian supplies for Gaza.

    When will Israel stop and allow the Palestinian nation the peace and freedom they deserve.

    This war against the Palestinians has been going on since the end of the Second World War a time when the Israelis were committing acts of terror against the British. Israel should look at history and not behave towards the Palestinians as the Nazis and others treated them.

    Live in peace with your neighbours and give them back the occupied territories.

    This cycle of violence by Israelis and Palestinians is sickening and needs to end.

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  • 2. At 08:43am on 31 May 2010, DiY wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 08:51am on 31 May 2010, DiY wrote:

    Should we put up more and more warning notices for day trippers?

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  • 4. At 08:56am on 31 May 2010, Anne P wrote:

    Am I alone in finding the timing of the Daly Telegraph revelations about David Laws interesting? Did they not know about him when they gave us all their other findings about expenses? If they did, then making this a story three weeks into a new government and provoking a resignation looks very much as if it was designed to undermine the coalition.

    I might think this an unduly cynical interpretation of events had the Telegraph not followed it up with a non-story about Danny Alexander making use of provisions in the CGT regulations that were available to everyone and apparently legitimately applied by him. Are there those on the right wing of the Tory Party who are out to destroy the coalition and never mind what the consequences might be for the economy?

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  • 5. At 08:58am on 31 May 2010, Anne P wrote:

    3 - or should day trippers be more careful about checking out local conditions before venturing out?

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  • 6. At 09:07am on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    AnneP, the same thought had occurred to me. According to some reports, Mr. Laws' sexual orientation was well known in Westminster circles, but I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that the DT were 'unaware' of this until recently. Since hacks are usually very well informed of such situations but, by tacit agreement, chose not to disclose them, it does seem as if somebody is putting pressure on the coalition via the DT. Some of the Old Tory mandarins perhaps?

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  • 7. At 09:13am on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    The only problem with the DT conspiracy theory is that Laws is from the hard-right thatcherite wing of the LibDems. You'll be pushed to find a tory prepared to criticise Laws and tory right-wingers such as Douglas Carswell and John Redwood have been absolutely effusive in their praise.

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  • 8. At 09:27am on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Lucien, there are Tories who are very unhappy with Mr. Cameron, his inability to provide an outright victory, and don't like the whole coalition project. That has been reported by the Daily Telegraph, but few will openly criticise (for reasons that are, perhaps, understandable). By bringing down David Laws (something of a sop to the rightwingers) who was seen as one of the keystones to implementing the austerity measures, there will be those who are hoping they have dealt a mortal blow to the coalition.

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  • 9. At 09:31am on 31 May 2010, DiY wrote:

    Oh for goodeness sake!

    Dear BBC Blog contributor,

    Thank you for contributing to a BBC Blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your content below

    This decision has been made because it contains a broken link, a link to an unsuitable external website, or a link that initiates a download.


    The link I inserted is to the BBC News web site!.... Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship"

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  • 10. At 09:33am on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    8 BigSis

    The tory opponents of the coalition are on the right of the party, the wing of the party that had fallen in love with Laws. This (pre-resignation) story from The Times even suggests that he was aligning with the Conservative right against Cameron and other LibDems on the issue of capital gains tax.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7139777.ece

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  • 11. At 09:37am on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mm, interesting story, Lucien. I still think there are some loose cannons out there who are out to get Mr. Cameron and the coalition - and aren't fussed about how they do it.

    Of course, if it were any other newspaper than the DT, other parties would come under suspicion, but I don't think somehow that Ms Harman's party has any influence there ;o)

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  • 12. At 09:48am on 31 May 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    I must reiterate canutewatcher's comment (8)..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2010/05/win_hugh_skyes.shtml#comments

    Not enough comment or discussion has taken place around our trade deficit which is around £80 billion, which means we are haemorrhaging £80 billion of capital a year, in light of the fact that we have a deficit, it means we are borrowing £80 billion to see go abroad. Any fool can see you can't carry on doing that for very long. In the 1980's we were told we lived in a new economic order where having balanced trade wasn't important anymore, until the 87 crash came along. The same seems to have taken place in the 00's and its my view that the crash we have seen this time can also be tracked back to our trade deficit, or perhaps more correctly say our trade deficit is one of the key symptoms that indicates something is going seriously wrong in our economy, a symptom that was ignored in the 80's just as it has been in the 00's.

    In the more practical level not enough has been discussed about our trade deficit with China, unfortunately our media organisations like the BBC being arty cultural organisations prefer to spend time talking about a new play or some rubbishy modern art rather than the nuts and bolts of trade which bores them, so no time is spent properly debating the issue, this means China has been allowed to get away with fixing its exchange rate to the dollar and so hollow out our economy. China needs to be confronted and told if it wants to be a part of a global trading economy it has to either float its currency or have a tariff put on its exports to compensate for the advantageous currency rate it has fixed for itself, because if we don't deal with it then the next crash (or the continuation of this crash) isn't very far down the road, because it is not a stable economic order to have China hollowing out our economies, and then lending the money to us to buy its goods, and its no wonder the Banks cracked under the strain of this in 2008, and the whole system will go bust if we don't sort it out now.

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  • 13. At 10:09am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    4. Anne P

    • "Are there those on the right wing of the Tory Party who are out to destroy the coalition and never mind what the consequences might be for the economy?"

    Or, come to that, for the tory party, Need you ask?

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  • 14. At 10:17am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    Anyone in the market for Brass Necks, please apply to the spokes coprophiliac:

    • ""Unfortunately this group were dead-set on confrontation," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC."

    Plus ca change....

    An outrage to decency

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  • 15. At 10:20am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    7. lucien desgai

    • "tory right-wingers such as Douglas Carswell and John Redwood have been absolutely effusive in their praise."

    Well, they would. wouldn't they...

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  • 16. At 10:26am on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    15 Tartan Pimpernel
    I'm quite happy to take Redwood and his kind at their word on this one. They're very sorry to see David Laws go because he's one of their own.

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  • 17. At 10:33am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    16. lucien desgai

    • "I'm quite happy to take Redwood and his kind at their word on this one. "

    Selective credulosity, one wonders?

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  • 18. At 10:40am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    Let's suppose for a moment, that as suggested, there are elements who wish to destroy the coalition and thus precipitate another election. The net result would likely be the fragmentation of all three 'major' parties, a result a good number of people might find somewhat positive, but let us hope that such an outcome can be delayed until we have some semblance of electoral reform in place.

    Then bring it on!

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  • 19. At 10:41am on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    17 TP
    My credulity isn't the issue. Laws has a long record of support for small government and thatcherite free market policies. The Times story I linked to at 10 is just one example.

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  • 20. At 10:47am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    19. lucien desgai

    • "My credulity isn't the issue."

    ;-)

    "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see."
    --Benjamin Franklin

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  • 21. At 10:59am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    SPAIN DOWNGRADED TO GREECE

    REMINDER
    We can drill our way out of this mess.

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  • 22. At 11:00am on 31 May 2010, MoC wrote:

    At a guess, the D. Laws story is the first of, let's say, about 7 such tales concerning the ConDem Cabinet that will come out over the next 6-9 month or so.
    The main conclusion of which will be: "how come none of these 'chaps' were interrogated about their private lives during the election campaign?" After all, it is the normal done thing to ask 'did you inhale?' etc. Yet, somehow, there appeared to be a conspiracy of non-interest amongst the media this time.
    On top of that, how sad that we live in a society where D. Laws felt unable to be honest about his life.

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  • 23. At 11:04am on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    22. MadnessOfCrowds

    • "how sad that we live in a society where D. Laws felt unable to be honest about his life."

    Indeed.

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  • 24. At 11:27am on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    David Laws was a City financial whizzkid, VP of J.P. Morgan at 22 and retired a millionaire at 28. His personal wealth makes it all more more irksome that he should have exploited MPs expenses in the manner he did.

    I have to question the description I keep hearing of him as a "man of integrity". I'm surprised he can just resign from the Cabinet and become a back bencher - surely he should give up his seat altogether? Would his constituents have voted him in if they'd known of his misdemeanors?

    However, if he resigns his seat, I suppose he would be engaged as a consultant by the government and make yet more money from the public purse.

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  • 25. At 12:03pm on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Eeek! I've been modded! My comments were on David Laws and I'm yet to get an email from the mods telling me what I've said that is not accurate. Can't be done for Libel chaps, if what you say is true!

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  • 26. At 12:21pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Danny Alexander took advantage of a tax looophole on his own account.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/liberal-democrat-mps-expenses/7787519/Danny-Alexander-new-Treasury-chief-avoided-capital-gains-tax-on-house.html

    A loophole, a possibility unintended by the legislators and against the spirit of the law.

    The idea seems to have been that people don't sell their second homes in RL unless they're short of money and so were given three years to get straight.

    And three years of interest on a substantial capital gain.

    Danny Alexander wasn't in that position. He bought another second home straight away. He wasn't reducing expenditure because of hard times or retirement, he was increasing it.

    He exploited a loophole. Just like all the expenses loopholes that were exploited by MPs.

    Not illegal but immoral.

    He needs to explain himself.

    To the only PM that counts.

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  • 27. At 12:24pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    At first Laws was said to be saying that he'd decided his gay partner wasn't his partner.

    Loophole stuff again.

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  • 28. At 12:33pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    25. Lady Sue

    • "I'm yet to get an email from the mods telling me what I've said that is not accurate."

    They can leave you in the "referred" limbo indefinitely - they have God-like powers

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  • 29. At 12:34pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I swear they all come down from Oxbridge with degrees in loophole spotting.

    The system needs a Reformation.

    'The new MP for Twaddletown, grandson of a bankster, descended from peasant grinding Russian aristoswith a degree in Dishonesty and Exaggeration, tutored by Dr Con O'Scammer at the top Oxbridge college, St. Untruth's....'

    The main scam being of course that this crowd of posh sounding chancers is in any conceivable sense an elite.

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  • 30. At 12:34pm on 31 May 2010, Anne P wrote:

    EtE 26 My understanding is that you were allowed to own two houses and sell without CGT penalty if you had to buy another before selling the first, for example if your job moved to a different part of the country. As I understand it Mr Alexander didn't fail to pay CGT - he didn't have to.

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  • 31. At 12:38pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Call the Witchfinder General!

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  • 32. At 12:41pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Good advice from The Bible

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  • 33. At 12:45pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    30

    Think you'll find he sold before he bought.

    He said it was a loophole.

    It wasn't on your account. It was...

    Well, I'm going to avoid saying the word.

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  • 34. At 12:49pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-05/31/c_13325432.htm


    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-05/31/c_13325352.htm


    As a Labour Party member I don't want the Tories making capital out of 'events' whilst we have no elected Leader.

    Hague was scarcely vague in his condemnation of Israel this morning.

    Could PM give all our Leadership candidates the opportunity to condemn these murders.

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  • 35. At 12:57pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Meanwhile, on Olympus...

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  • 36. At 1:02pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    34. ExpectingtheEnd

    • "Hague was scarcely vague in his condemnation of Israel this morning."

    Actions speak louder than words!

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  • 37. At 1:05pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    30

    Given your point, this

    http://news.scotsman.com/uk/Danny-Alexander-answers-claims-he.6329709.jp

    looks like the usual rigmarole that they learn at Oxbridge and call education.

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  • 38. At 1:27pm on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Big Jim: thanks. Indeed yet to get email so will rethink and resend comment.

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  • 39. At 1:29pm on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    David Laws is known as a City financial whizzkid. He was VP of JP Morgan at 22 and retired a millionaire at 28. This makes his behaviour with regard to his expenses all the more irksome.

    I am surprised he is able to just resign from the Cabinet and retain a seat as a back bencher. Should he not resign his seat altogether?

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  • 40. At 1:32pm on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    So far, so good.

    Would his constituents have elected him had they known of his expenses claims?

    If he were to resign his seat, as he is such a whizzkid, I suppose he might be retained as a consultant to the government and receive funding from the public purse regardless of his recent history.

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  • 41. At 1:33pm on 31 May 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I keep hearing him referred to as a "man of integrity". Would a "man of integrity" have made the claims he did?

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  • 42. At 1:48pm on 31 May 2010, Serangoon wrote:

    David Laws is supposed to be an intelligent man, but as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the chap in charge of slashing public spending he must surely have been fully aware of the clear rules regarding claiming expenses from the public purse. So for him to dip into it to the tune of £40,000 and then say he had come to the conclusion that what he did was 'somehow wrong' beggars belief. It makes one wonder how much Alastair Campbell knew about all of this when neither David Laws, who was scheduled to appear, nor any other representative of the unholy alliance between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would sit on the Question Time panel with him.
    And as for multi-millionaire Mr Laws declining to accept the £19,000 Ministerial severance pay he could have received for less than three weeks work, well, that was big of him.

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  • 43. At 1:52pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    41 Lady Sue
    Clearly not. Nor would such a man have continued to pay rent to his partner following the 2006 rule change (he could easily switched to paying out of his own very deep former banker's pockets). Nor would he have thrown up the laughable smokescreen of homophobia to divert attention from his own misdeeds.
    The man has never faced discrimination at work, been abused or attacked in the street nor been treated as a second class citizen under the last government of his tory friends. He knows nothing of homophobia.

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  • 44. At 1:54pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    42. Serangoon

    • "as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the chap in charge of slashing public spending he must surely have been fully aware of the clear rules regarding claiming expenses from the public purse."

    He was not Chief Secretary at the time of the claims. To conflate the two is mistaken or malicious.

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  • 45. At 1:58pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    43. lucien desgai

    • "He knows nothing of homophobia."

    Yet another statement for which you can have no evidence.

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  • 46. At 1:59pm on 31 May 2010, Anne P wrote:

    I may have misunderstood, but is the issue, not that he claimed expenses he was entitled to (which as a millionnaire you might indeed think he need not have done) but that he had a relationship with the person to whom he paid rent. It may now seem to be sophistry to claim that this person was not his 'partner', but clearly the definition of partner needs clarification.

    I don't think one should underestimate the difficulties still faced by someone who is not heterosexual in advancing in various careers. It's not so long ago since a child at school with mine was taken away from violin lessons by his father who wanted him to take up boxing instead because music was too effeminate. There is a great deal of prejudice out there.

    And I still think we need to ask why the DT chose to run the story now.

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  • 47. At 2:08pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    45
    How can he have had the experiences of homophobia which I listed if he has never identified as gay?
    And how can I ever offer you evidence of anything if all you do is throw Benjamin Franklin quotes (post 20) at me to suggest that my evidence is false or invalid.

    I return to the point I made at the weekend; any housing benefit claimant caught paying rent to a partner would face prosecution and the real risk of imprisonment. David Laws, one of the wealthiest and most privileged members of our society, does not deserve to decide how the nation's finances are allocated.

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  • 48. At 2:14pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    45: Since he had never publicly 'come out', I suspect Lucien's comment is true.

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  • 49. At 2:16pm on 31 May 2010, Anne P wrote:

    lucien 47 - just because we did not know David Laws was gay does not mean others, perhaps at school or in his immediate family did not. Do we know for certain he has never been attacked verbally or physically - how would we know such things?

    I don't see why you should discount the possibility that experiences in his early life made him so wary of making his preferences public.

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  • 50. At 2:20pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    47. lucien desgai

    • "How can he have had the experiences of homophobia which I listed if he has never identified as gay?
      And how can I ever offer you evidence of anything if all you do is throw Benjamin Franklin quotes (post 20) at me to suggest that my evidence is false or invalid.
      "

    1. "if he has never identified as gay" How do you know he hasn't?
    2. "suggest that my evidence is false or invalid." I haven't seen any evidence - that was my point. You speak of things you cannot possibly know.

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  • 51. At 2:20pm on 31 May 2010, nikki noodle wrote:

    the bbc are going to have a tight-rope walk today trying to report the deaths on the boats:

    on the one hand, the blockade of gaza is illegal, and on the other, the night-time storming of humanitarian ships by crack commando teams kitted out with night-vision, live weapons, and the element of surprise is going to be quite an issue. What with the almost universal comdemnation from EU, Spain, Turkey Sweden etc....

    death toll has steadily risen from 10 this morning. now reported that 27 are also in two separate hospitals.

    Of course, the first thing an open and transparent regime would do would be to allow communication from the captains and passengers on all 6 ships to reassure loved ones that they, at least, are safe and well. And then allow international reporters (from BBC and others) to have access to each and every witness.

    What will the head-line writers say?

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  • 52. At 2:22pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    48. Big Sister

    • "45: Since he had never publicly 'come out', I suspect Lucien's comment is true. "

    Rather poor logic. Perhaps he never came out because he knew all too well about homophobia.

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  • 53. At 2:27pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    49 AnneP
    Actually I understood that the argument was that he stayed in the closet to 'protect' his devoutly catholic parents.
    My point generally is that he could have maintained his privacy without paying public money to his partner. His is a very wealthy man and if hiding his sexuality was so important to him then he should have paid the £900 per month rent out of his own pocket.

    It doesn't really matter what the Daily Telegraph's motives are, again we can only speculate. He took public money and paid it as rent to his partner; he did wrong and he's been caught.

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  • 54. At 2:30pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    51. nikki noodle

    • "Of course, the first thing an open and transparent regime would do would be to allow communication "

    But we're not dealing with such a regime. We're dealing with a regime with which to be associated in any way, should embarrass every decent human being.

    This is a repressive colonial regime, the like of which we haven't seen since the nineteenth century.

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  • 55. At 2:37pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    54. Tartan Pimpernel

    • "the like of which we haven't seen since the nineteenth century."

    With the possible exception of Apartheid South Africa - brought down in part by boycotts.

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  • 56. At 2:44pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    52: I think the poverty in logic is yours.

    It has been reported that David Laws has never come out, and that is what my comment was based upon. He also claimed that his present partner is his first and only. Given these statements, it is fair of me to assume that he hasn't experienced at first hand the problems of homophobia. Indeed, given his age (and I've commented on this elsewhere) he has not grown up in a period where homophobia has been rife. Since the early 1980s I've had a number of friends who were openly gay and who didn't experience any significant problems. Mr. Laws, on the contrary, has probably experienced a huge number of problems in his life, but based upon his decision to conceal his sexual identity, not least from his family. It has been claimed that he did not wish his parents to know that he is gay. That must be the hardest thing for anyone to do.

    I have absolutely no problem with his sexual orientation, but to use it as a defence for having broken parliamentary rules is a very different matter.

    Incidentally, I've heard people defending his behaviour on the grounds that he didn't himself personally benefit. But he did help his partner to benefit by enabling him to build up capital - for that, after all, is what the properties are that his partner is buying. Parliamentary expenses have been used to help somebody who is not a member of parliament to pay their mortgage.

    There is also the matter of the other expenses that Mr. Laws claimed. According to the Telegraph, he regularly claimed about £350 per month for utilities and service charges. Once the system changed and receipts were required, these claims dropped to about £100 per month.

    As someone else has said on the Blog today, I think the claim of integrity is very dubious.

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  • 57. At 2:52pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    56. Big Sister

    • "It has been reported that David Laws has never come out, and that is what my comment was based upon. He also claimed that his present partner is his first and only. Given these statements, it is fair of me to assume that he hasn't experienced at first hand the problems of homophobia. "

    No it isn't. Not at all.

    I have no problem with the facts of the expenses claim, but there are precious few facts about Mr Laws' personal motivations or experiences since childhood. It demeans us all to make such assumptions.

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  • 58. At 2:57pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    56. Big Sister

    • "it is fair of me to assume that he hasn't experienced at first hand the problems of homophobia. ... has probably experienced a huge number of problems in his life, but based upon his decision to conceal his sexual identity, not least from his family. "

    Therein is the poor logic. "He hasn't...he has."

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  • 59. At 3:06pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    I hear on the news, the Palestinian spokesman "on a poor telephone line", and I recall from the "Roadmap":

    • "The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum. "
      Israeli 'reservations' to the Roadmap


    What a generous offer!

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  • 60. At 3:38pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    'Laws went into investment banking, becoming a Vice President at JP Morgan from 1987 to 1992 and then Managing Director, being the Head of US Dollar and Sterling Treasuries at Barclays de Zoete Wedd'. (Wikipedia)


    Black Wednesday, September 1992..... Just in time at the Dollar-Sterling job, then****.

    Makes you wonder why Lamont defended the ERM rate for so long, doesn't it.....



    Now the Alexander thing is becoming clearer to an on-line news consumer like me.....

    You could claim the three year relief if you'd bought your second second home (sic) before selling the first?

    And Alexander? Held the first second home for a day or so did he? A loophole, as he said.

    Morally ethically, politcally dishonest, surely.

    Like the Laws cuts he has now been given the job of implementing.





    ****Another way of getting money for nowt is to be assured by the fund managers selling T-bills to the government for 200 billion of QE money, that they are going to buy Ftse stock with the money rather than invest it. That way you get 25 percent on you money over 18 months.
    The fat cats from thaty scam with public money (organised by the usual Oxbridge suspects at the BoE) will appear as Tory MPs soon now, no doubt.

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  • 61. At 3:39pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    politically dishonest as well

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  • 62. At 3:41pm on 31 May 2010, hamacting wrote:

    I loved the line on Today this morning from one of the organisers of the "Protest" ships taking aid to Gaza.

    "Nobody in their right mind would shoot when we had streaming video of an eight-month old baby" (paraphrased).

    Why would anyone in their right mind TAKE an eight month old baby on a boat trip that they were deliberately setting up to end in armed confrontation? Never mind ensure that it had constant live video streaming...

    Unless, of course, they were trying to set a trap for the Israelis to fall into. Pretty sick, to use an eight-month old baby as a prop in that way...

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  • 63. At 3:45pm on 31 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    60. ExpectingtheEnd

    • "buy Ftse stock with the money rather than invest it."

    Buying FTSE stock isn't investing?

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  • 64. At 3:51pm on 31 May 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Anne P and the Telegraph..

    Anne, David Laws wasn't in the original Telegraph list: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5297606/MPs-expenses-Full-list-of-MPs-investigated-by-the-Telegraph.html

    So clearly they hadn't done enough digging at that stage. His recent cabinet position obviously prompted more investigation and hence the revelation.

    Personally I think the 'Gay' thing has been used as a bit of a cover up!
    and

    According to the Telegraph, Laws claimed between £700 and £950 a month rent between 2004 and 2007, plus typically £100 to £200 a month for maintenance, to sub-let a room in a flat owned and lived in by his partner in Kennington, South London.

    -----------------

    So with maintenance around 1000 a Month in Kennington... Lets hope it was a large room then?

    As regards the Telegraph having to explain why they chose to run the story now...? Well why not. Tony Gallagher is only doing what any self respecting Editor would.

    Please lets not start picking on the press.

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  • 65. At 3:57pm on 31 May 2010, jonnie wrote:

    I should clarify the total expenses claim would have been around £1000 per Month

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  • 66. At 4:08pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    62. hamacting

    • "Unless, of course, they were trying to set a trap for the Israelis to fall into."

    Which the Israelis duly did.

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  • 67. At 4:11pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    64. jonnie

    • "Personally I think the 'Gay' thing has been used as a bit of a cover up!"

    Quite possibly, but it has exposed the ambiguity in the rules, besides hammering the man while he's obviously down and the whole business is essentially 'sub judice', being referred to the relevant authorities.

    Prurience.

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  • 68. At 4:36pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Tartan Pimpernel/Big Jim/Cash Hughes or whatever else you're calling yourself today (58)

    You appear to be deliberately misreading my 56. I was referring to his decision NOT to come out and the problems that will have caused him in trying to conceal his sexuality from his family and friends, and it is interesting that he has himself said that he has a sense of relief from no longer having to do this. What I have said is perfectly logical.

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  • 69. At 4:37pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    63

    Overall it makes no difference to the quantity of capital stock, plant, machinery, equipment, buildings etc, available for use in production in the economy.

    Thus from the economy's point of view it is not an investment but simply a transfer of ownership of financial assets.

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  • 70. At 4:40pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    67 TP
    There's no ambiguity in the rules - Laws paid public money to his partner. Since 2006 this has been against the rules.

    It's not sub-judice - he hasn't committed a criminal offence (unlike if he'd been a housing benefit claimant)

    Kicking a man when he's down - he can pull himself back up by his purse-strings; unlike the poor, the vulnerable, the housing benefit claimants who would have suffered the pain of his cuts.

    Prurience - No! He was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury who had been previously diverting public money to his parter in contravention of the rules. It's about money and rule breaking, not about sex or sexuality.
    Two of the country's leading gay campaigners, Ben Somerskill and the great Peter Tatchell have dismissed the claims of homophobia as have at least two gay posters on this blog, yet you persist in defending him on that basis.

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  • 71. At 4:42pm on 31 May 2010, hamacting wrote:

    @Big Jim: as you say, they did

    PS How does one "quote" a comment as you did? I tried searching but couldn't find the answer...

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  • 72. At 4:46pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 73. At 4:58pm on 31 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    69. ExpectingtheEnd

    • "Overall it makes no difference"

    So the distinction and your point are trivial.

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  • 74. At 5:07pm on 31 May 2010, jonnie wrote:

    70. At 4:40pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Two of the country's leading gay campaigners, Ben Somerskill and the great Peter Tatchell have dismissed the claims of homophobia as have at least two gay posters on this blog, yet you persist in defending him on that basis.

    Who dear? Me dear? Gay dear? NO dear.


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  • 75. At 5:09pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    This Danny boy is even smarter than Laws.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1282775/Chief-Secretary-Danny-Alexander-avoided-paying-capital-gains-tax-second-home-sale.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    They still haven't quite worked out what which particular "loophole" (which is what Danny described himself as using) and which the AED dictionary defines as

    Definition: A hole or aperture that gives a passage, or the means of escape or evasion.


    he was using.

    Who's making the law and the facts so difficult to get hold of for the Treasury, the journos, the House of Commons (etc) expenses authorities, the police, the tax authorities, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Danny boy himself apparently.

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  • 76. At 5:10pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    74: Oh Jonnie, you are a one!

    :oD

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  • 77. At 5:12pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    74 jonnie
    Good! There's not room on this blog for two of us.

    :o)

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  • 78. At 5:31pm on 31 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    The death toll ofd murder of Gaza relief workers is now at least 19.

    People are very angry.


    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896895,00.html


    Obama has been denied the opportunity ot confront the Israel PM directly


    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896880,00.html



    Protests at this latest Isaeli slaughter can be witten or phoned tp


    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

    Sadly, the Embassy's own street map of its location in London to deliver a letter by hand, is off line at the moment.

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  • 79. At 5:35pm on 31 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Thank you, EtE, for that information. I hope many will be moved to protest - I certainly shall.

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  • 80. At 5:42pm on 31 May 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Re; The expenses story.

    It seems the majority of the MP's have either misunderstood the rules or openly flouted them.

    I'd have been happy with an amnesty providing all the money was repaid over a period of time.

    I dare say we have all been guilty of claiming the extra mile here and there in the past.

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  • 81. At 7:09pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    68. Big Sister

    • "What I have said is perfectly logical."

    You said he probably hadn't suffered homophobia, and then said he probably had.

    ;-)

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  • 82. At 7:19pm on 31 May 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    71. hamacting

    • "How does one "quote" a comment as you did? "

    There is a very useful script here. It only works with Firefox browser, which happens to be much better than Internet Exploder - all totally FREE!

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  • 83. At 7:31pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    70. lucien desgai

    • "There's no ambiguity in the rules - Laws paid public money to his partner. Since 2006 this has been against the rules.

      It's not sub-judice - he hasn't committed a criminal offence (unlike if he'd been a housing benefit claimant)

      Kicking a man when he's down - he can pull himself back up by his purse-strings; unlike the poor, the vulnerable, the housing benefit claimants who would have suffered the pain of his cuts.
      ...
      yet you persist in defending him on that basis.
      "

    1. It is ambiguous what constitutes a 'partnership'
    2. 'sub judice' was in semi-quotation marks for a reason.
    3. So it's allright to kick a man when he's down, so long as he's a rich man.
    4. I have not been defending him, but simply arguing for understanding and factual statements which are pertinent and evidence-based

    Not unnecessary speculative slurs.

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  • 84. At 8:35pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    83 TP
    He's not being kicked when down because he's a rich man; he's having his tummy tickled.
    A poor man paying his housing benefit to a partner on the same basis would receive no sympathy, would almost certainly be prosecuted and possibly be imprisoned. The relationship would incontrovertibly be considered a partnership under benefit rules.

    Laws, a rich and privileged man who only last week was cutting state support for the poor has had sympathy and praise heaped upon him, keeps his MPs salary and will probably be soon back in the cabinet unleashing his 'classical liberal' thatcherite orange book ideology on the poor and the ordinary to punish them for the sins of the bankers, of which he was one.

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  • 85. At 10:01pm on 31 May 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    84. lucien desgai

    • "The relationship would incontrovertibly be considered a partnership under benefit rules."

    Again, a statement the truth of which you cannot be certain.

    Leave judgement.

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  • 86. At 10:26pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    85
    I can be very certain. Until recently I was claiming Housing Benefit, I had to declare - on the application form and in person - that I had no relationship of any sort with my landlord now or in the past.

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  • 87. At 11:24pm on 31 May 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Yes Lucien but did you have your rent paid directly to your landlord or did it go through your Cayman account?

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  • 88. At 11:36pm on 31 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    I left it under the pillow on his side of the bed.

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  • 89. At 01:50am on 01 Jun 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    ;-)

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  • 90. At 07:44am on 01 Jun 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Lucien, oooh your are awful - Lol.

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  • 91. At 08:41am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    81 - Er, no I didn't. Re read more carefully.

    And I see you are still suffering from multiple personality disorder.

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  • 92. At 08:47am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    There is a poster on this blog who is using more than one persona (three on this thread). Looking at the House Rules, they prohit:

    Using multiple accounts to disrupt boards, annoy users, or to avoid pre-moderation or restriction of your account

    One of my posts has been sent to the moderators for pointing out that this is happening. My own concern about the issue is that, as has happened before, these multiple personalities are confusing, particularly to people who don't use the Blog regularly, but also because the blogger using multiple personalities can use these to 'support' themselves in their arguments.

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  • 93. At 09:16am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 92: My apologies for confusing my post 72 (in mod limbo) with my post 68. I should put my glasses on, shouldn't I?

    The point about multiple personalities stands, however.

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  • 94. At 09:21am on 01 Jun 2010, hamacting wrote:

    @Big Jim (82) Thank you.

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  • 95. At 09:55am on 01 Jun 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Big Sis (92) I concur. I know this poster has been around for a long time, and usually contributes to keeping discussion flowing and debate civilised, but it's obvious given the style of the posts and the sites linked within them that three IDs are being used by the same person. So, I would ask the person in question to please refrain from this. If you want to reinforce your arguments, then you should be able to do it using just a single ID.

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  • 96. At 10:00am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Thanks, Fearless. I know of others who agree with us and I hope that this poster, whom I hold in high regard, will revert to a single ID.

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  • 97. At 10:19am on 01 Jun 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    91. Big Sister

    • "81 - Er, no I didn't. Re read more carefully."

    So you distinguish between homophobia as experienced within or without the family?

    ;-)

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  • 98. At 10:25am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Sis,

    1. No one I know referred your post.

    FFred,

    As a detached observer, I think you'll find that the (alleged) schizoid entities were neither supporting nor opposing each other, but were engaged in different sub-thread discussions.

    Once burned, thrice shy.

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  • 99. At 10:50am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    97: I doubt anyone would relish explaining to their family that they are gay, but that doesn't mean that they think their family were homophobic. I haven't seen any evidence of this - have you? I understand his parents are Catholic and that this was a factor in his reluctance to tell them, but to assume that they are homophobic ....

    Because Catholic doctrine regards homosexual acts as contrary to Divine Law, it is understandable that Mr. Laws would have been reluctant to divulge his sexuality to his parents, but it is for them to know how they have reacted.

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  • 100. At 10:52am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    98: No, I didn't think it was you in whatever incarnation ;)

    Please, though, stick to one persona at a time? It is confusing and, well, a little dishonest (something that I don't associate with you usually, btw).

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  • 101. At 10:57am on 01 Jun 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    99. Big Sister

    • "Because Catholic doctrine regards homosexual acts as contrary to Divine Law, it is understandable that Mr. Laws would have been reluctant to divulge his sexuality to his parents, but it is for them to know how they have reacted."

    I would classify such doctrine as homophobia, but your last phrase above neatly sums up the reason I became involved in this mini-row -- Only they can know.

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  • 102. At 11:04am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    101: Thank you for accepting the point. There is a vast chasm between many Catholics and the doctrine of their religion and it is unfair to assume homophobia on that account.

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  • 103. At 11:34am on 01 Jun 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    102. Big Sister

    • "101: Thank you for accepting the point. "

    I'm not sure I have. I consider Catholic doctrine to be homophobic.

    My entry into this particular 'barney' was to object to statements of the form, 'he hasn't experienced homophobia'. A statement the truth of which only he (or close associates) can know.

    I am of the persuasion that a reluctance to 'come out' is pretty strong evidence of a fear of homophobia, (homophobiaphobia?), and is likely to be founded in having at least witnessed it in practice or expression.

    Peace be among us,
    p

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  • 104. At 11:45am on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My actual words were "it is fair of me to assume that he hasn't experienced at first hand the problems of homophobia". I would not dream of making such a pedantic statement as you appear to be attributing to me. However, as you say, peace be among us - let's put it down to misunderstanding rather than war ;)

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  • 105. At 11:56am on 01 Jun 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Big Sis@92: hear, hear. I'm easily confused and would very much appreciate Jim/Tartan/Tufty/Cash sticking to the one persona.

    What news of David Laws? I suspect he is trying to play the homophobia card in attempt at sympathy bid. Mr. Laws, that is not going to work.

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  • 106. At 12:12pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Confusion makes life more interesting! I'm sure the Pimpernel would agree, as would Clark Kent...
    ;-)

    Even more fun, I suspect for those who can see through the ruses...?
    (vanishes in a puff of smoke!)

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  • 107. At 12:17pm on 01 Jun 2010, Tartan Pimpernel wrote:

    104. Big Sister

    • "My actual words were "it is fair of me to assume that he hasn't experienced at first hand the problems of homophobia". "

    And I must continue to disagree. It is not a fair assumption, especially if you admit he is likely to have experienced said problems in the bosom of his family.

    Peace and confusion (but only to our enemies!)

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  • 108. At 12:19pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    We must, therefore, agree to disagree.

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  • 109. At 12:25pm on 01 Jun 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Jim (106) No, it's NOT even more fun. It is misleading to all and in direct contravention to the House Rules. Please can you stop using three different IDs. Others manage to abide by this simple rule and still contribute to different topics.

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  • 110. At 12:32pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    109. Fearless Fred

    • "Others manage to abide by this simple rule and still contribute to different topics."

    "Others" may have not been unjustly terminated.

    This isn't Real Life, merely shadows on a virtual wall.

    ;-)
    • ""Like a man travelling in foggy weather,
      those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog,
      as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side,
      but near him all appears clear,
      though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them"

      -- Ben Franklin"

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  • 111. At 12:38pm on 01 Jun 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Jim (110) Whether you have had IDs terminated in the past is immaterial. The rules for the blog are clear. Please stop using multipe IDs. This is directly against the House Rules that you agreed to abide by when signing up for an ID here.

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  • 112. At 12:43pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    111. Fearless Fred

    • "Whether you have had IDs terminated in the past is immaterial."

    Not to the deceased.

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  • 113. At 12:45pm on 01 Jun 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Jim (112): Please let me ask this clearly: Will you stop using multiple accounts on the blog?

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  • 114. At 12:51pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 115. At 1:57pm on 01 Jun 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Jim@110: at least Ben Franklin stayed Ben Franklin, fog or not!

    Which of your personas do you want reinstated? You've so many, I've forgotten who you were when I first started blogging!

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  • 116. At 3:22pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 72 above was posted 23 hours ago. Somebody referred it for moderation at some point yesterday afternoon or early this morning.

    No messages from the moderators, no reappearance of posting .... Isn't it time for some action on it?

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  • 117. At 4:25pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    116. Big Sister

    • "No messages from the moderators, no reappearance of posting .... Isn't it time for some action on it?"

    And it's not as though they're not getting well paid for the job....

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 6:04pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay, a second attempt at my 72, which the mods finally decided was 'potentially defamatory'.

    David Laws mounted the defence of not sharing a bank account as evidence that his relationship with his partner was not that of a spouse. This I believe to be disingenuous.

    As to Tartan's comment about 'hammering the man while he is down', Mr. Laws has pretty well admitted that the problem is of his own making.

    The people I feel sorry for are his long term partner and his family, and all this could have been avoided if Mr. Laws either arranged his affairs in such a way as not to involve his partner or been sufficiently brave to admit openly to his homosexuality. Whichever he had done would have been fine by me.

    Incidentally, I live in a constituency which is staunchly conservative (big and small c) yet where the incumbent MP, Nick Herbert, is openly gay. He also happens to be a few years older than Mr. Laws.

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  • 119. At 8:16pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    For goodness sake! My post 118 contained nothing that is not already clearly open and not remotely libelous.

    This is utterly ridiculous.

    I will, when I've a bit more time, try reposting item by item to see what it is that somebody, somewhere finds issue with.

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  • 120. At 8:27pm on 01 Jun 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    119 BigSis
    In law it's no longer defamation to say that someone is gay ... and never was for someone who is openly so.
    It is, however, deeply offensive to say that it is potentially defamatory to describe an openly homosexual person as gay. I really hope that wasn't the reason for removing your posts.

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  • 121. At 8:54pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay, I'm going to post point by point, and where necessary with the 'proof' of what I am saying.

    Firstly, Mr. Laws used, as a defence, the argument that not sharing a bank account meant that he didn't regard the person with whom he lived as a 'spouse'.

    This referred, of course, to the Parliamentary rules which bars a 'spouse or partner' from receiving public money for accommodation.

    The evidence for Mr. Laws' defence can be found in this statement:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/politics/10188408.stm

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  • 122. At 8:56pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My second point:

    The blogger known as Tartan Pimpernel accused another blogger of 'hammering' Mr. Laws while he was down. I observed that Mr. Laws was the architect of his own problems.

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  • 123. At 8:59pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My third point was that the people I feel sorry for are his long term partner and his family. I also observed that all of this, in my opinion, could have been avoided if Mr. Laws had either not paid money to his partner or been sufficiently brave to admit openly to his homosexuality.

    Since we know he did pay money to his partner, and that he did not, by his own admission, admit openly to his homosexuality, there is nothing contentious here.

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  • 124. At 9:01pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My last point was regarding my own MP, Nick Herbert, who is openly gay. I also pointed out that his constituency is staunchly Conservative. Mr. Herbert makes no secret of his orientation, and it is frequently reported in the national papers, as here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/21/conservative-party-gay-eu-poland

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  • 125. At 9:02pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Now, perhaps instead of referring my posts, whoever has a problem with any of this would like to engage me in debate about the points?

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 9:22pm on 01 Jun 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    125 - Big Sis, I noticed during the election that posts referring to poiticians of a blue band tended to get referred quickly and assumed it was a shouty kind of man and I'm fairly sure there are lurkers who have not got the intellect or guts to argue intelligently hit the refer button before engaging in healthy debate.

    It's sad, but we live in a society that obeys thermodynamics.

    I'll be on the beach ...

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  • 127. At 10:41pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mm, Ellis, you may be right, but whoever it is should be prepared to defend their point of view, just as I am willing to do so myself.

    Enjoy yourself on The Beach!

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  • 128. At 10:42pm on 01 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    It wasnae me nor onybody I ken, but ye ken that a'ready.

    I'll just note that whether a man is the architect of his own downfall or not, once he's down, it isn't necessary to trample him (or his associates)

    xx
    BJ

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  • 129. At 08:52am on 02 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    New message for my 118:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration

    Whatever does that mean? (Don't tell me to click on the Explain button as it says nothing new)

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  • 130. At 09:28am on 02 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    129. Big Sister

    • "This comment has been referred for further consideration"

    perhaps it's been sent to the Blog Czar?
    (by foot courier, of course - the contractors have to be careful with licensepayers' money...)

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  • 131. At 09:50am on 02 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Jim, surely they can afford a pigeon? ;)

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  • 132. At 09:56am on 02 Jun 2010, Big Jim wrote:

    Aye, but there be peregrines aloft! Third class post will have to do.

    I understand it's not that far, but I can't reveal the location for security reasons...

    ;-)

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  • 133. At 10:34am on 02 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 118, after 'further consideration', has reappeared. Thank heavens for some sensible action at last!

    :o)

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  • 134. At 10:46am on 02 Jun 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Big Sis, I note your comments that had been in moderation limbo have been reinstated, as have mine. The Mods were obviously being particularly careful about comments made on David Laws. I presume he has now become invisible to the media as the story is "old news". That is as may be - but what is he up to now? Keeping his head down in the hope that everyone will just forget his misuse of expenses? I don't think so!

    Lucien@120: "It is, however, deeply offensive to say that it is potentially defamatory to describe an openly homosexual person as gay."

    I don't understand this part of your comment - please explain.

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