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Rations, what rations?

Betsan Powys | 12:59 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Every little helps - that seems to be the message from Tory leader David Cameron in his speech today. And while he dealt with the big picture of the ballooning budget deficit, also being addressed by the Chancellor just across town from here today, the focus was on the cost of politics - always a popular tub thumper.

He'd obviously had his staff out conducting research around Westminster.

"Walk into a bar in Parliament and you buy a pint of Foster's for just £2.10.

That's a little over half as much as in a normal London pub.

And in the restaurants on the Parliamentary estate, you can treat yourself to a 'Lean salad of lemon and lime marinated roasted tofu with baby spinach and rocket, home-roasted plum tomatoes and grilled ficelle crouton' for just £1.70.

That's all thanks to you - taxpayers' cash subsidising a politician's food and drink.

We all have to eat, we all sometimes want a drink, there's nothing about this job that forces us to eat or drink any more than if we did something else.

So with the Conservatives, the cost of food and drink in Parliament will be increased to match the prices normal people pay in cafes, restaurants and bars around the country."

Given that the Assembly made such a big deal of leading the way for Westminster with Sir Roger Jones' pay and expenses report (a report, which incidentally, many AMs are still hopping mad about) it's hard to see that the Assembly authorities could continue with the pretty generous food and drink subsidies in Ty Hywel.

What was that about living on rations...?

Meanwhile I'm off to pay for my own orange juice while we discuss the weeks and months of "political turmoil" to come. Not my words by the way, rather those of someone who's looking forward more than most to the battle to fill Rhodri Morgan's shoes.


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  • 1. At 2:22pm on 08 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    What was that about living on rations...?

    It was to start an discussion over the rate of pay for members of Parliament, and, how low the reimbursement rate is ....

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 2. At 3:14pm on 08 Sep 2009, John Henry wrote:

    I think boots is a better description of the Faerie Kings footwear, Morgan's that is, Seven-league boots. Boots having magical properties, the ability to sidestep the traps set by Labours friends at the Assembly would be handy, imparting sufficient talent to work with Westminster in the interests of the electorate might yield real fruit, and the capability to read the minds of those Greeks Bearing Gifts, don't forget, the last poison chalice is still with Labour.

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  • 3. At 3:41pm on 08 Sep 2009, rhywun-arall wrote:

    I always understood the subsidised refreshments in Westminster were there as a measure of hospitality afforded to the numerous guests, most of them members of the British public who don't necessarily enjoy an executive salary, but are none the less privileged to an invite to Her Majesty's House of Commons by their MP. (Although I appreciate it also benefits the many young, recently-graduated researchers, secretaries or on-site staff such as cooks, cleaners & janitors on modest salaries, while contending with the expense of life in the heart of the metropolis.)

    ...But there again, I'd never expect a Tory to care about accommodating the needs of those less off and I'm sure many Tory MPs can ably afford to extend to paying their own visitors' refreshment bills, whether they'd be prepared to dip into their own pockets for this or not.

    Why don't the Tories just stick to hair-shirt-wearing policies like paying for their own moats to be cleaned, instead of ransacking the hospitality subsidies at the Palace of Westminster, there for the pleasure of its guests, for many of whom it's a once in a lifetime treat. If it were anywhere else they'd be advocating opening up the Portcullis House canteen, or palace bars & restaurants to private tender, and end up with a franchised parliamentary pizza palace, admitting customers off the Thames, but this of course, really is in their back yard, and this is probably just a covert measure to keep the riff-raff out of their birthright gentleman's club anyway!

    Keep the the United Kingdom's parliamentry refreshment subsidies, I say - the British Union, and its imperial parliament won't be running for long, anyway! :o)

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  • 4. At 6:14pm on 08 Sep 2009, Returnee wrote:

    I went to a reception in the HoC earlier this year. Drinks and canapes on the Terrace and a fine session was enjoyed by all. What really struck me was the fact that as I made my (slightly unsteady) way back to the real world at about ten-ish, I passed a plethora of private dining rooms, each packed with people and trolleys bearing liquid gifts everywhere to be seen.

    Yesh, the qualitysh of the hic-debate that evening musht have been sphlendid.

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  • 5. At 6:32pm on 08 Sep 2009, nomorepowers wrote:

    What Cameron also said was he would do away with regional assemblies and reduce the number of MPs by 10%

    Currently, the MPs in Wales represent on average 75000 people each where as the Assembly Members ratio is 50000 / 1 yet they still are asking to lower it to a 35000 / 1 ratio. Despite this the Assembly is seen as the leading light when it comes to putting their house in order which is laughable. What the people who have been asked to tighten their belts want to see from the politicians is longer hours for ministers, less holidays for ministers and less AMs.

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  • 6. At 8:49pm on 08 Sep 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Cameron has made no promise to abolish the National Assembly for Wales, the English Regional Assemblies are being abolished by Labour this year. They are being replaced by development boards. Cameron seems keen to retain the National Assembly.

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  • 7. At 9:29pm on 08 Sep 2009, John Henry wrote:

    The make-up of the Assembly is easily adjusted, as you well know, a simple act of parliament.

    It's going to be difficult to justify the 1:35,000 ratio for the Assembly when Westminster is reduced to a ratio of 1:100,000.

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  • 8. At 9:54pm on 08 Sep 2009, penddu wrote:

    7 You know as well as I - that Cameron will not state any intention to abolish the assembly as it will destroy Tory chances in Wales. An he is not stupid enough to do so after the election either which would make them unelectable for a generation at least!

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  • 9. At 10:25pm on 08 Sep 2009, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

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

  • 10. At 01:37am on 09 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    Meanwhile I'm off to pay for my own orange juice while we discuss the weeks and months of "political turmoil" to come.

    I hope that you enjoyed your orange juice....

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 11. At 09:25am on 09 Sep 2009, Igotitallwrongsorry wrote:

    5. Quite right as we need more AM'S like an alcaholic needs more drink. We now have paid councillors/paid AM's/paid MP's/paid MEP's all basically dealing with same issues. Why is it that private business are seeking to reduce costs by rationalization etc whilst the public service is growing at a rate of knots,whilst services are actually going south in terms of productivity and basic stuff like grass cutting/litter etc etc. If the conservatives do win next general election then lets hope they take root and branch changes to public services which encourage self help rather than the hugely inefficient public bodies we've got at present. Get rid of S4C for one and WLB for another and let welsh speakers pay for minority interests.!!

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