Thursday, 17 June 2010

Watch them squeal


Oh my, the noise coming from the Old Guard over IPSA is deafening.

They are being asked to fill in forms. Online. And use computers. And account for public money that they want to spend on employing the party faithful in their offices. Pushing bits of paper around.

Tom is livid

Tom, you are not a minister. You do not need staff. Answer the letters from your constituents, attend the debates that will impact your constituents and vote on matters that will affect your constituents. Cut back a bit on the blogging and the tweeting and the late night drinking sessions in the Strangers bar, decline a few interviews for Radio 4 and all will be well again.

Welcome one and all of the 650 to our world.

I hereby request all readers to submit horror stories of Labour introduced bureaucracy and madness and I will add them to this post.

In the meantime, Tom's task for today is to accompany a woman signing on for the first time at a Glasgow South Job Centre.

25 comments:

Uncle Marvo said...

You're not saying they've got to do what WE, the proletariat, have to do?

How disgusting.

Old Holborn said...

It looks that way.

Mind you, plenty of jobs for MP staff on W4MP Site

Caron said...

Tom does need staff. The amount of correspondence and casework an MP gets can't possibly be dealt with by one person, not effectively, at least. In fact, he probably needs more staff than he currently has.

Government departments make mistakes all the time and are very reluctant to admit it. It takes MPs, researchers and caseworkers who a) care and b) don't give up to sort these things out.

Where Tom does have a point is that there's been a 10% cut in an already stretched staffing budget. MPs' staff generally work incredibly hard for well below market salary for the jobs that they do.

Old Holborn said...

sorry, don't buy it.

My MP, Brooks Newmark has been over to Boston to watch his son graduate from Harvard and was at England's game in South Africa last weekend with various visits to the ballet and fine restaurants in between.

Not bad for someone who should be at work and not bad at all for someone who takes home £3200 a month.

Gordon said...

I remember when I had to fill out expenses forms, argue over little amounts, run about like a blue arsed fly, like normal people. Then Labour took my job away so I don't have to do that any more. So stop whining and fuck off, we're enjoying the spectacle of you twats earning your living the same way we have or had to.

Caron said...

I was as shocked as everyone else by the MPs' expenses scandal and think it's awful how some used the system for blatant personal gain and those who flipped still haven't properly been brought to account.

I think there is a valid case for providing MPs with sufficient resources to do the job - they certainly shouldn't have to subisidise their office phone costs, for example.

Often an MP is the only person who can help resolve issues with tax credits, benefits, pensions, housing and many, many other issues. Without an MP and staff willing to put the work in, these people would suffer really big injustices.

As for your MP, I'm not sure how South Africa could possibly be on the way to or from Harvard - my geography's not that good, but I presume we weren't forking out for either trip.

Thing is for me the biggest cause of ineffective MPs is a system that gives them jobs for life. The way the electoral system works, Tom Harris has a seat in Parliament until he chooses to give it up. That shouldn't be right. This is why PR is such a good idea.

Pot Kettle Black said...

What Caron siad ... but also, whilst we're all pretty hacked off with the way things were/are - vindictiveness isn't the solution.

Some of the things Tom highlights about the IPSA are ridiculous. Maybe a brief period of living under a bloated, self-important, unqualified QUANGO will be a successful shock tactic for the MP's. However I'd rather no-one had to live under them. We're hardly likely to get better MP's as a result of it are we?

And sorry, it simply isn't realistic to expect an MP to deal with their workload without any staff. Hey, I even think they should be allowed to employ their family members (as long as they are employed to actually work). And what's wrong with wanting to see your children graduate?

You come across as a churlish, petulant teenager in posts like this.

Morlock said...

Caron quoth:
"Tom does need staff. The amount of correspondence and casework an MP gets can't possibly be dealt with by one person, not effectively, at least. In fact, he probably needs more staff than he currently has."

And herein lies the nub of the issue, and one which the politicos themselves are keen not to address -- what are they for?

If legislators, then I would agree entirely with those suggesting that they don't need staff (or just a dogsbody/researcher).

If glorified -- and fucking well paid -- social workers, then they probably need more support.

At the moment, each MP can decide themselves which category they choose to fall into, and end up assigning varying degrees of effort to each task.

My personal view is that we don't need social workers on 60k+ a year. But there remains this ambiguity.

Until the role of an MP is formally defined -- you know, like folks in the real world have job descriptions -- with the amount of effort that they are expected to put into their various activities spelt out in black and white, it'll be impossible to properly determine what support structures they truly require, what pay and expenses etc. are valid, and how good a job that they are really doing.

The current ambiguity suits MPs, but not us. Why aren't there strident calls to specify what an MPs job should be? I think that you all know why...

cornyborny said...

Can't comment on Tom Harris's blog, so I'll have to trust he reads OH (in a spare minute between vital MP-like tasks).

I've made the point before and I'll make it again: what is with the woe-is-me, moan first, act later bit from MPs? Have their roles been so diminished that they are powerless to change something they want to change? Or what? And what do they hope to achieve by moaning to the great unwashed on the internet?

Clue to any MPs reading: we don't get a say in stuff like this. You do.

Rodney said...

" 17 June 2010 10:12
Blogger Caron said...



Often an MP is the only person who can help resolve issues with tax credits, benefits, pensions, housing and many, many other issues. Without an MP and staff willing to put the work in, these people would suffer really big injustices."

What a load of rubbish. Presumably Caron is an MP.

Most of them are so far removed from the real world that their knowledge of most things is less than that of those of us who have to live in the world that their ignorance and deceit has created.

Old Holborn said...

Hang on

Phone bills?

I pay £10 a month and I can call anywhere in the world for free.

UK only and it's just £5.99

google Vonage

Scanners cost nothing, fax software exists, websites cost peanuts.

I'm sorry but I'm struggling to see exactly what costs an MP has other than travel or rent.

Old Holborn said...

My MP hires staff at my expense so that he can go to Boston and go to South Africa to watch the football.

dorks said...

Morlock said: "At the moment, each MP can decide themselves which category they choose to fall into, and end up assigning varying degrees of effort to each task."

They are encouraged to be glorified social workers by the Government. It means they spend less time holding the Government to account. This is partly due to there being less to hold to account in the first place - legislation that comes from Brussels is all but rubber stamped when it should not be. Other Parliaments scrutinise the legislation why won't ours?

Instead MPs have made work for themselves by muscling in on the job of local Government representatives and public services. To take an issue to your MP you will have either exhausted several other layers of officialdom and local Government or taken the shortcut. They want you to take the shortcut.

Old Holborn said...

I have to agree.

What's the point of local government if you have to green card your MP because the bins didn't get emptied?

I want to be able to go down the pub and shout at the elected mayor instead of writing my MP a letter that some useless Doris will read and perhaps pass on to my MP to sign when he gets back from drinking champagne in South Africa.

I confidently predict we will have no MPs 50 years from today. Press the red button on your remote if you think....

Anonymous said...

I remember the first and only time I submitted an expenses claim

I was called into my managers office

my claim was held up and I was asked what I thought I was playing at

I read through it and they were all things I had bought in order to perform my duties for the company

but I dutifully offered to knock the can of coke and the sandwich off as I could have taken a drink and a sandwich with me

this was met with a blank stare

I was told in no uncertain terms to go and find some more things to add to the bill as I was making everyone else look bad

I've never submitted an expenses claim since and I don't really see why anyone else should, unless it's an unavoidable and unforeseen expense like you turn up to an exhibition and it turns out to be a pay for entry job and no one knew beforehand so you couldn't be given the tickets to take with you

Ron Broxted said...

Out of interest what type of high paid job would the average labour MP be able or even adequately qualified to perform in the private sector?
Most of the ones that I have met are either ex-Council employees, ex- failed teachers, ex- failed lawyers or arseholes who worked their way up through the union from shop stewards.
The fact is most MPs are not there out of some noble wish to represent their constituents wishes, but to line their fucking pockets and have an easy life.

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

I've written to my current MP, who shall remain nameless, once.

I got a civil service answer and half page of his signature.

Clearly he or his little helper didn't have a clue about the issue and I couldn't be bothered to pursue it.

As my MP isn't interested on scrutinizing or even voting on legislation I don't know why I have an MP.

Catflap said...

Morlock:
Touching on the ambiguity issue.
We all know the big name MPs who always seem available to fuck around on TV.
Is their workload different somehow to other more obscure MPs?
An MPs job does appear to be a very open ended arrangement.
Not a satisfactory situation at all.

Get Smart said...

"My MP, Brooks Newmark has been over to Boston to watch his son graduate from Harvard and was at England's game in South Africa"
Has he taken unpaid leave, point is they are NOT answerable to anybody.
What job other then waste of space politicians could you just go on holidays and not turn up for work and get PAID.

Daed Parrot said...

That link of yours for jobs at Tower Hamlets council had this essential role which all tax payers must be proud to pay for.

The best phrase in this job description is:
"Labour Party membership is essential and proof of membership to be provided".

Enjoy:

Job Details:

Political Adviser to the Labour Group (FTC - till 31/5/2011)

Vacancy Ref No.
    CHE00027
Area
    Blackwall and Cubitt Town
Building
    Mulberry Place
Directorate
    Chief Executive's
Division
    Policy Performance and Delivery
Grade / Salary
    PO1 - £31,152 - £33,306
Section
    Democratic Services
Team
    Members Support
Contract Type
    Fixed Term Contract (FTC)
Working Arrangement
    Full time
Vacancy Hours
    35
Salary Pro-Rata
    Pro-rata
Closing date for applications
    27 June 2010

Role Purpose
============
To provide research, information, scrutiny and support services, as required, by the Labour Group on the Council.
...
To work creatively and sensitively in developing and supporting group policy and initiatives.

Responsibilities
================
To provide support for party group meetings and meetings of related bodies.
...
You will also act as a point of liaison between the political administration and council officers (including the Chief Executive, Directors and Service Heads) in order to facilitate the conduct of the Council’s business.


Labour Party membership is essential and proof of membership to be provided.
... awareness of the issues involved when working within a multi-racial community ... is essential.


Additional Information
======================
The majority Labour Group on Tower Hamlets Council is seeking to appoint a Political Adviser. Following the election in May 2010, the Labour Group holds 41 of 51 seats
...

Tower Hamlets is one of the UK's most culturally vibrant and diverse areas. ... with over 200,000 people living in eight square miles at the heart of London's East End. Some 49 per cent of residents are from black and minority ethnic communities. Local people are proud of their history of mutual respect and the borough is regarded as a beacon for community cohesion.

Central to our work is a commitment to build One Tower Hamlets, a borough where everyone can access the same opportunities.
...

We have Investors in People status, have achieved the highest level of the Equality Framework for Local Government ...

Challenges do still remain and deprivation and poverty is present in the area, providing a stark contrast to the wealth and prosperity that has grown around Canary Wharf ...

... You must be committed to the Labour Group’s political aims and have excellent communication skills
...
... will be moving to a Directly Elected Mayor in October 2010.

...
Labour Party membership is essential and proof of membership to be provided.

Anonymous said...

"Ron" 13.42 you lasted 5 minutes in the Metropolitan police before your administrative discharge for child porn. In the late 60s such things were hushed up. You know fuck all about anything Haslam, even the Torygraph are fed up of you.

Joe Public said...

"Rob Flello... will make three workers ...redundant......

After this month, his ...staff will be cut from four to three, as he is taking on two new employees."

So, he actually reduces his staff by only 1.

Michael Hewitt said...

I see the twat K McEgan is back posting as Anonymous 18.24, and John MacFarlane, who the fuck is Haslam, more to the point who fucking cares. Why don't these closet homo's and pretend left wing kiddie fidddlers like McEgan just fuck off to another site where people expect to be bored. Like the Shanghai7 live journal on the Indy.

banned said...

One of them was on Radio 2 the other day, claiming that the MPs Expenses Helpline was no good and should be called the 'Expenses Unhelpfuline' as though he was funny and not a cunt. Good, might give him an insight into the way some people spend their lives hanging on the phone for unhelpful helplines to Social Services and the Council.

Having said that, wot Caron said "...an MP is the only person who can help resolve issues with tax credits, benefits, pensions, housing and many, many other issues..." which should not be an MPs job. My own MP is well known and well liked for helping people with issues like these. I have heard dozens of people praising him for assisting them or their auntie against "Them"; sadly I could not vote for him as he was a Brownite socialist.

Anonymous said...

I called Gordon Brown's office yesterday and asked why he was being paid so much and was ot attending Parliament. I was asked for my address!!

Bollocks to that. Call yourself!!


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