MPs’ Expenses

Making you pay for their porn won’t stimulate the economy

In one sense, it is rank hypocrisy that any journalist should bash poor Jacqui Smith for inadvertently claiming her husband’s porn films on expenses. As anyone with any experience of Her Majesty’s Press can testify, the expenses claim is the genre where the reporter is expected to exercise whatever creative gifts he or she may possess. It seems to be a kind of sacred tradition of Fleet Street.

Shortly after arriving in the newsroom of the Times, more than two decades ago, an old and wily reporter invited me and another trainee out to lunch in order, as he put it, to “show us the ropes”. We had a doleful Japanese meal, in almost total silence, and all paid our way. I was wondering what kind of tutorial this was, when the reporter picked up the bill with a flourish. “See this?” he said. “This is a good bill,” he said, and trousered it.

“But who are these people?” I used to ask one distinguished leader-writer, when I read his restaurant claims, consisting of a series of chunky bills for “lunch with contact” or “dinner with contact”. Was there any way they could perhaps be identified, for the sake of verisimilitude? “I am afraid not,” he would sigh. “Security reasons.” Or there was the TV reporter I used to know in Brussels, who contrived to claim for a lawnmower in spite of living in a fourth-floor flat with no garden.

It is a fact of British journalism – the Telegraph excluded – that when you read an account of something of which you happen to have independent knowledge, you will often see how the facts have been slightly sandpapered to improve the story, or how the quotes have been artistically pruned of their vital saving clauses, and it is no surprise that this poetic licence finds its way into the composition of expenses. How many hacks have sat up late at night watching the porn film in the hotel bedroom? How many have then allowed it to appear as “media” or “extras” on their bill, and claimed back the cost? Hmm?

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Stanley Johnson Book Launch

Stanley I Presume

stanley-johnson3Boris was present at the book launch to mark the publication of his father’s autobiography (up to 40 years old) at Waterstones in Notting Hill Gate last night.  His glamorous sister, Rachel Johnson, interviewed Stanley and we were regaled with side-splittingly funny stories about the Johnson clan.  You have to read this awesome book to hear details about his population control initiative and ‘Pills Grim Progress’, his poetic prowess, solace he found in pollution control, the briefcase he lost off a landrover in a desert containing family passports and flight tickets, that was later found and handed to him with the words:  “Stanley, I presume?”, and many perfectly true and amazing stories from deep and darkest Devon. For more information about interesting books visit this Book First blog. Mossgreen Childrens Books can guide you to know the process of book launching.

This autobiography goes back to Boris’s grandfather, greatgrandfather and King George II.

Stanley *you rock* and now all we need is to read your sequel for 40 years + …

Available from all good bookshops and ISBN:  987-0-00-729672-9

G20 World Trade Talks

What do we want? The completion of the Doha Round of world trade talks! When do we want it? Now!

So here we go again, folks. It is now 10 years since the anti-capitalists attacked the City of London, and next week they intend to outdo themselves. In student bedsits and in terrace Kensington houses, the alienated children of the middle classes are planning to subvert the G20 summit. Across the desolate wastes of the Leftie internet, their wrathful campfires are already burning, and when April dawns they will surge like the orcs of Mordor in the general direction of the Bank of England. Continue reading G20 World Trade Talks

Boris in Any Questions, Radio 4, 20 March

Boris is taking part tonight in the Any Questions topical radio debate chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby at Kings College, London.   Regular listeners know this is usually a lively show and the line-up tonight includes not only Mayor of London Boris Johnson, but Minister of State for Employment and Minister for London Tony McNulty (educated in UK and US, former lecturer in organisational behaviour) , director of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and historian Professor Lisa Jardine and the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali.  It is on Radio 4 at 8pm  (FM only) and can be heard again tomorrow lunchtime on all Radio 4 channels at 1.10 pm.

POETRY: should be conserved and promoted

I am a kind of slightly wonky poetry jukebox

As anyone who loves poetry will testify, when you learn a good poem, you make a good friend.

I propose universal saying lessons in English poetry … this should involve learning two or three poems a term, off by heart


It is sometimes said of the modern Tory party that it has become a little bit vanilla. A vital and superhuman effort has been made over the past five years to persuade the press and the public that we have changed, that we have made various accommodations with reality, that we finally get the point that Britain in 2009 is not the same as Britain in 1959. Continue reading POETRY: should be conserved and promoted

Electric cars are fast, fun and environmentally-friendly

It must have been round about 7.30pm and the traffic on the M40 was not getting any better. Ahead of us stretched the lava flow of red tail lights, and in front of us was a fellow doing a quite unconscionable speed in a BMW 4×4. When I say it was unconscionable, I mean it was unconscionably slow. Come on, Grandma, I yelled at his rump. Some of us have places to go, people to see, columns to write.  If you are looking to ship your car to another city or country, you should look out for car shipping companies that are offering variety of services. It is obvious that each one of us looks out for most economical and cheapest way of shipping vehicles. International car shipping is a process of transporting a car from one place to another or over over a long distance. It requires a company to ship your car either via a vessel or a plane in a different method of shipping that ensures the safety of the car while in transit and upon arrival.

Bayshore Jeep Dodge Ram Dealership service center in Baytown is that the place to be. If you’re a resident of Pearland TX, Humble TX, Spring TX and Pasadena TX or Baytown, let Bayshore Chrysler Jeep Dodge’s trained technicians repair your vehicle with superior technical know-how and original manufacturer parts. One has to choose between a private party and a car dealership while buying a pre-owned vehicle. Some people believe that private parties sell used vehicles at a better price compared to a dealer. But there are several drawbacks of buying a vehicle from a private party. Buying a car privately can be a long and frustrating process. Moreover, the private parties will not provide warranty on the vehicle, so you can’t go back to them once you make the purchase. Also, shady pre-owned vehicle dealers often act as individuals. Many times, you may get bad cars. Whereas, buying a pre-owned vehicle from a dealership is hassle free and comes with several advantages. You may visit the Revology online page and see what kind of pre-owned cars are available.

Wide selection of models
At a pre-owned vehicle dealership, you can take a look at many cars at one place. Pre-owned vehicle dealers generally sell various models from different manufacturers. It saves your time, money and gasoline running across all the private parties in the town. You can find a good vehicle based on your budget and needs at one place.

Pre-owned vehicle dealers ensure the quality and safety standards on all the cars they sell. All the used cars will be checked by experienced mechanics and quality control managers at the dealership. They roll out a car from the dealership only after they are satisfied by all the controls of the car.

Saves time
Purchasing a vehicle like new RAM truck for sale from a dealership saves your time and you can buy quickly. Driving from one location to another and scheduling with everyone is time consuming and tests your patience.

Provides attractive finance
Almost all car dealerships provide finance options for used cars. You can easily get a loan for your used car through the dealership. Generally car dealerships have a good relation with lending institutions or banks. You may even be able to get better financing rates through a dealership.

Potential bargains
Individuals sell used vehicles at lower prices, but you should remember that there is still a room for bargaining at the car dealership. You can negotiate with the dealer and work out a cheaper price or get extra options included to your car.

Certified used cars
You can get a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership. Certified pre-owned vehicle is an affordable, attractive alternative to a new car of higher price. Simply, you can get a good quality car at lower price. It will be thoroughly inspected by professional mechanics and the original vehicle manufacture warranties the mechanical condition, quality and standard of the car.

A car is a luxurious material a person can buy that requires quality care when shipping. But shipping your car depends on the company you choose that will complete the service for you. Choosing a company that is reputable is a major responsibility for a car buyer. Typically, shipping of cars has different reasons why people want their car to be transport. Some use shipping companies to transport valuable vehicles, antique cars that can’t be driven over longer distances. But for some such as as company with car lot, buy here pay here company is as company with car lots service, shipping company is really important and at the same time advantageous. International Shipping of cars for sale is an advantageous transaction for a company who import cars and does buy and sell of car fleets. In this manner, they can absolutely save a vast amount of money and at the same time has the possibility to commercialize their business worldwide.

Continue reading Electric cars are fast, fun and environmentally-friendly

Sir Fred Goodwin and Harriet Harman – pensions and bonuses row

harman1I never thought that anyone would make me feel the tiniest batsqueak of sympathy for Sir Fred Goodwin. This is the fellow who brought a great bank to its knees. This is the man whose exuberant and uninhibited incompetence has contrived to land the Royal Bank of Scotland with the largest corporate losses ever – a bleed so colossal that the bank is being kept alive only with seemingly constant transfusions of taxpayers’ haemoglobin. Continue reading Sir Fred Goodwin and Harriet Harman – pensions and bonuses row

Roman Quiz Results

Congratulations to the winners!


First Prize: Peter Lythe.

Second Prize: Emma Clarke.

As several entrants all achieved full marks, the winners were chosen according to whoever had submitted the fullest entries.

A special mention to the following for their outstandingly high standard answers:   Glenda Profit and B. Stafford (full marks), Salvador Gossens, Stas Stankovic and Mandy Allen (only one answer not fully correct).




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