Saturday, 31 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
writes a correspondent. Well, I am not a Guardian reader. However, a cursory search of their website turns up the following by Sir Michael White:
Reading West's Martin Salter, who commutes like so many constituents, tells me how long his day is – and says he couldn't have done it if Tony Blair or Gordon Brown had made him a minister: that would have meant getting into bed after midnight and on the 6.30am train the next day.
Aahh, poor love. He will leave politics a disappointed man. Too two-faced to be a minister. And it's the only thing he ever wanted. And his pledge to get back to Reading every night is worth exactly that much - would have been jettisoned for a ministerial job. As we all know, although he has never had a place in London, he claimed for one from 1997 to 2001. Well over 40K.
I strongly suspect that all Foreign Secretaries since (but not including) the late Robin Cook have knowingly or (what may be worse) unknowingly connived at the appeasement of the Islamic far right - as have many Labour MPs and councillors, going right back to Martin Salter marching for the burning of The Satanic Verses.
Shame on you all.
Shame on you all.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Huh? Now I know something about the life of central Reading after dark, because (a) I used to take part in some of it from time to time when I lived there and (b) for six years I lived on Minster Street in central Reading. Basher's post seems to indicate that he and the other street pastors (whom he calls "my team", the impertinence) were there to learn how the night-time economy works in central Reading. And there was me thinking they ought to know that already or they are not safe to be let out, and they ought to be there to help. I wish the initiative well, and I hope they find a way to stop it being hijacked for an election stunt, and that Basher, who is free with his fists both at home and when he is out, doesn't punch anybody - though there is a history of Park ward candidates getting punched, hmmm, though usually it is Labour's hired thugs doing the punching. Ah, I see, that is why they kicked out bog-brush-head Merriott as their candidate, not as I thought because she had outstayed her usefulness, but because she is not known for violent behaviour and they wanted someone who is. If Basher knocks your door, don't invite him in. It isn't safe.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Salter Represents UK at Stockholm Conference on Human Trafficking
no he doesn't. If he had he would have had to be sent there by the Queen.
Reading West MP, Martin Salter, last week flew to Stockholm in his capacity as a Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee to represent the British Parliament at the annual Inter-parliamentary Conference of Justice and Home Affairs Committees which was hosted by the Swedish EU Presidency.
Manage to find the terminal for Stockholm? Foreign travel not being your thing unless it is to Canada or India. Although come to think of it plenty of Swedish people go fishing, I went to Stockholm by sea in 2006 and I saw them doing it - pack your rod when you went?
The theme of the conference was “a balanced approach to legal security and combating organised crime, with a special focus on trafficking for sexual purposes”.
The conference heard presentations from the Head of the EU’s Organised Crime Unit, the Swedish Chancellor of Justice, the Head of the Swedish National Police and specialists in anti-trafficking work.
and what about the committees represented there, presumably from EU member state parliaments? What contribution did you make, Mr Salter, on behalf of the committee you were there to represent, or indeed on behalf of the country you have said you were there to represent?
Sweden has particularly tough laws which make it a criminal offence to seek sexual services from people who have been trafficked and which deliberately to set out to criminalise the customers as well as those working in the sex industry.
It does indeed, what UK perspective, or indeed Select Committee view, is there on these matters that you were able to share with the meeting? And in what language? To be fair, I imagine that English was one of the languages used by the meeting, and that interpretation services were available. Is your speech published on a website? Are translations available that I might share with my French colleagues who have an interest in these matters?
Martin Salter said:
“This was my first EU trip in nearly thirteen years in Parliament
Shame on you. For a number of years all back bench MPs have had the opportunity to visit other EU countries to inform themselves about how things are done there, to meet parliamentarians and government from those countries, and generally to learn. Was fishing in India more fun?
and I found it absolutely fascinating.
Jolly good. Tell us more. Johnny Foreigner friendly? You once referred to Latvia, which is a little to the south and east of Sweden, as "far-flung", even though British men go there for stag nights. They would go to Stockholm too if it were cheaper. Reindeer meatballs? IKEA? In what did this fascination lie?
The conference highlighted the very real differences in approach to complex and difficult issues such as prostitution and human trafficking with the tough line of Sweden being in marked contrast to the more relaxed attitude prevalent in countries such as Holland, Denmark and Luxembourg. Personally I found myself more inclined towards the Swedish position as it seems to me that if prostitution is to remain illegal then the customers cannot remain immune from prosecution.
OK, your personal view is what it is, but was the conference there to hear your personal views?
I also see the sense in trying to limit demand
Limit demand for sex workers' services? What? Bromide in the tea, government issue? Men to be placed under curfew? What nonsense!
reduce opportunities for criminal gangs to profit from the obscene trade in trafficking human beings for sexual purposes”
and the proposals you put forward for this on behalf of the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Select committee were what exactly? Do tell.
BTW, the late Stieg Larsson wrote a splendid trilogy with the above as a theme, and it is an unputdownable read in both the English and the French translations if you cannot read Swedish, find it here
Thursday, 22 October 2009
btw, the Reading East MP has set up an award for Lollipop Person of the Year, or something like that. I wonder if Basher has been nominated?
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
so are Servisair, who look after a number of airlines including easyjet and Air Maroc. French workers go on strike All The Time, though oddly they are the least unionised in Europe, and they do it with style. They kidnap the bosses sometimes, obviously they drive sheep along the Champs Elysees, that's old hat, but I was taken by Servisair. They arrived at the checkout desks at Orly airport on the baggage conveyor belt, dancing and singing, then they danced on the checkout desks, grabbed the luggage labels and tore them up and scattered them as confetti over the heads of the people trying to check in, some of whom were disarmed by the spectacle.
Their performance was clearly influenced by the video for the current Charlie Winston hit "In Your Hands", which is set in a dole office,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nOd5_Bdc8I (you'll have to paste this link to watch it, sorry)
and which in its turn was influenced by the 1997 British film "The Full Monty", which is about a group of unemployed male workers in Sheffield who turn to stripping:
now that's the kind of multiculturalism I like
Monday, 19 October 2009
Stuart Singleton-White, who chairs Reading Transport, said: “It is completely unacceptable that both the board of Reading Buses and the council have been deceived over the type of bio-ethanol fuel that has been used over the past year.”
Mr S S-W's "consultancy" work on behalf of various companies involved in "environmental" stuff is well known. Let us hope that he has removed the link to the company which supplied the fraudulent fuel to the bus company of which is he is chairman from his own company's website - or things would start to look a bit bad, wouldn't they?
Sunday, 18 October 2009
"In your case, having examined the records in the light of my interpretation of the rules and standards in force at the time, I have not identified any payments made to you under the ACA during the review period which I consider call for any repayment or further supporting evidence to be provided by you. Accordingly, my conclusion is that no action is required from you."
So there it is. Mr Salter misunderstood the review and has been bragging that he has not received a letter. He will have received one by now.
Friday, 16 October 2009
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Mr Salter said:-
“It was hardly surprising that Mr Legg found nothing untoward regarding my claims as I have never sought to bill the tax payer for a second home in London.
Oh yes he has.
Update 18th October: My attention has been drawn (thank you) to my own linguistic inexactitude and to the corresponding linguistic rigour displayed by Mr Salter. Indeed, his statements reproduced above is the unvarnished truth, and mine is a calumny. In fact of course he never has sought to bill the tax payer for a second home in London, because as he rightly says he has never had such a home. No, the 40K+ that the taxpayer did fork out paid not for a London home but for Mr Salter's fishing holidays and general lifestyle, not least the deposit on his large house in Tilehurst.
For four years, until in 2001 MPs were required to produce rental or mortgage agreements, which he could not do as he had been claiming for a property in London which did not exist. This is fraud. It is criminal. I watched him fill in the claim forms. I showed him how to fill them in at the beginning. More than 40K over those four years.
Criminal fraudster scumbag.
And rubbish politician. If he had kept quiet and not gone all over the media shouting about expenses no-one would have noticed the fraud. Even if he gets away with it because nobody can be bothered to subpoena the House of Commons' payroll records from 1997-2001 for Mr Salter, by his own venality he has helped to show up the Labour Party as a haven for fraudsters. Which outside Reading mostly it is not. Well done Mr Salter.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Let me first say to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly) that I think that he has just made representations. I am grateful to him for his point of order and for courteously giving me advance notice of it. A written question has indeed been tabled, as he said, by the hon. Gentleman himself. It is not sub judice under the House’s rules. It has already been published on the notices of questions, and it is also available on the Order Paper and, indeed, on the parliamentary website. There is no question of our own proceedings being in any way inhibited. If the hon. Gentleman wants to pursue this as a matter of privilege, there is of course, as he will doubtless know, an established procedure for raising it with me in writing. Furthermore, I now understand that an injunction is no longer being sought. I hope that that reply is helpful both to the hon. Gentleman and to the House.
so there Carter-Ruck
Yes I know this is wikipedia, but it was the best I could do on a busy morning.
The Streisand effect is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no censorship had been attempted. Examples of such attempts include censoring a photograph, a number, a file, or a website (for example via a cease-and-desist letter). Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet, or distributed on file-sharing networks.
3 See also
5 External links
Mike Masnick originally coined the term Streisand effect in reference to a 2003 incident in which Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photograph of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns. Adelman stated that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially and it became popular on the Internet, with more than 420,000 people visiting the site over the next month.
In April 2007, an attempt at blocking an AACS key from being published on Digg caused uproar when cease-and-desist letters demanded that the code be removed from several high-profile Web sites. This led to the key's proliferation across other web sites and chat rooms, in various formats, with one commentator describing it as having become "the most famous number on the Internet". Within a month, the key had been reprinted on over 280,000 pages, and had appeared in a song on YouTube which had been played over 45,000 times.
In April 2007, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, was portrayed with feet superimposed over his head, an act extremely offensive to many Thai people, in a video posted by a YouTube user named "Padidda". The Thai government banned the site for lèse majesté, and many other YouTube users responded by posting other clips even more offensive to Bhumibol, leading to tens of thousands of views.
In September 2006, video clips portraying paparazzi footage of Brazilian television personality Daniela Cicarelli having sex with her boyfriend on a beach in Spain were uploaded to YouTube. Court injunctions, which culminated in the temporary blocking of YouTube in Brazil, proved unsuccessful in preventing the spread of the video.
On December 5, 2008, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) added the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer to a child pornography blacklist, considering the album's cover art "a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18". The article quickly became one of the most popular pages on the site, and the publicity surrounding the censorship resulted in the image being spread across other sites. The IWF were later reported on the BBC News website to have said "IWF's overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the Internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect". This effect was also noted by the IWF in their statement about the removal of the URL from the black list.
In early April 2008, The Church of Scientology's unsuccessful attempts to get Internet websites to delete a video of Tom Cruise speaking about Scientology resulted in the creation of Project Chanology. Similarly, the church attempted to remove a series of Operating Thetan (OT) document leaks from Wikileaks. Wikileaks responded by vowing to "release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week".
In September 2009, the Photoshop Disasters blog posted an advertisement from Polo Ralph Lauren that contained a heavily manipulated image of a female model. The post was subsequently reprinted by BoingBoing. Ralph Lauren issued DMCA takedown notices to BoingBoing's ISP and Blogspot, which hosts Photoshop Disasters, claiming their use of the image infringed copyright. Blogspot complied, but BoingBoing's ISP consulted with BoingBoing and agreed that the image was fair use. As a result, BoingBoing issued a mocking rebuttal, using the same image again and posting the takedown notice. The rebuttal was widely reported, including on frequently viewed websites such as The Huffington Post and ABC News.
On 12 October 2009, Trafigura instructed Carter-Ruck solicitors to seek an injunction preventing The Guardian newspaper from publishing a parliamentary question relating to the 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump scandal. The Guardian published a brief story about the injunction which led bloggers and others to track down the story and it was widely republished across the internet, became the top trending topic on Twitter and led to further questions in Parliament
Martin Salter, a Labour backbencher, said there was "a lot of anxiety and anger" in the House of Commons, with some MPs considering legal action.
He told the BBC's World At One: "I think there are some MPs who will feel very aggrieved at having the rules reinterpreted five years down the line, who may mount a legal challenge. Any attempt to apply a retrospective value judgment is undoubtedly going to be subject to challenge.
Might he be worried about retrospective "value judgments" given his own fraudulent claims for four years from 1997 to 2001- what might happen if the "value judgments" went that far back and they wanted their 40K plus back?
Still waiting for my own letter from Sir Thomas Legg - my not being resident in the UK might add a day or two on to the delivery time - but I know of at least one former MP who left the House in 2005 as I did and who lives in the UK who is still waiting too. And both of us claimed Additional Costs Allowance. For a London home. Which we actually had.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.
Prevention of the reporting of parliament? Now I know that it is said that if you want to keep a secret you should tell it to the House of Commons on a slow Tuesday at about 7 pm, thus ensuring that no media of any kind will pick it up and that none of your colleagues, family or acquaintances will hear it. But can m'learned friends really stop Parliament being reported? And should they?
Hat-tip Guido Fawkes for apparently being the first to break the injunction and publish the question, I am happy to follow him in this, and also to Iain Dale and others for highlighting it. It's important.
Country going to the bloody bow-wows, that's what I say.
In the name of God, go.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
"The security of the review data is being treated with the utmost care as it is clearly sensitive. Consequently Sir Thomas has decided that it would not be prudent to send the provisional conclusions to private email addresses in all but exceptional cases, since there is a small risk that email communications can be intercepted. If you have provided an email address, this will be used to notify you that the conclusions have been posted. Please let me know if this will cause you any problems."
It causes me no problems at all. Imagine though, they think the conclusions might leak? Surely not!
My own representations following the letter I received have been to say that as far as I am concerned it is perfectly OK to inform me by email of whatever they want to inform me of, and that I request that the inquiry be extended to cover the years 1997-2004. During the first four of those years, as readers will recall, Mr Salter claimed something over 40K for housing costs in respect of a non-existent London property. When the BBC and other media who had been reading this blog and making their own enquiries started asking him questions he told them he was suing me, to shut them up on the subject. It worked. However, it was a lie. No legal letter has reached me. Nor, I suspect, is it likely to.
Because, er, it's true. And the House of Commons has records to show that it is.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Both ways at once.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
brewed in "the Holy Land" or under licence in Germany. Not, of course, available in Gaza. that would be disproportionate, would it not? This is A Good Thing. And the proprietor looks like an excellent bloke from his picture on the site. Seriously, I am not a beer drinker, but where can I get this stuff? Although they brew excellent beer around here (and Kronenbourg too) I would like to get some of this stuff to offer to friends and guests.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Monday, 5 October 2009
I am fifty-something and my name is Jane too.
I thank you.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
I'm not usually very personal on this blog, but I will just say here that following the death from cancer of a close friend on 9th September I have had two sessions of bereavement counselling (thanks, French health service!), and cannot recommend this more highly. Organisations like Cruse provide an excellent service in the UK as I know from people who have benefited from it. But I firmly believe now that professional bereavement counselling should be provided, within a month of a death, to those close to the person who died, whether they ask for it or not (I didn't). Productivity in personal and professional life plummets at a time of bereavement, and those two sessions gave me the opportunity to get it back and move on, which is fair to others close to me and lets me grieve (which everyone must do, whatever the circumstances of a death) without unnecessary baggage.
OK, back to the usual ramblings and musings now (Good, that last bit was dashed un-British. Ed.)
Friday, 2 October 2009
Oscar Wilde wrote: "He who lives more lives than one, more deaths than one must die." That was his fate, and it was the fate of most gay men in his time. You wouldn't think it would be today, would you. But it is. A gay friend of mine died last month, at the age of only 43, and while he was out to most if not all the people in his life, he too lived more lives than one, it emerges from his papers. Gay men very often die young, and not because of AIDS. Discuss.
Lily Allen sings: "You say it's not OK to be gay, well I think you're just evil." Also discuss.