Latest Prime Ministers Questions podcast now online

To listen to all the action from PMQs today click the play button above.

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Iain Dale wrong on prisons

Well OK not completely. When he writes that there is one way prison works is that when someone is in jail they can no longer commit an offence he hits the nail on the head. That is what I want. To know that criminals can be taken out of action.

He mentions financial penalties. Having worked for a nationwide retailer I could shock you with the figures as to how much shoplifting costs. If you steal £1000 worth of goods and get a fixed penalty fine of say £60 as has been muted in the past it sounds like a sound financial cost for the criminal.

Now I agree there is more that can be done. I don’t want to hear how much prison places cost. Make them cost less. Make prisoners work to earn their keep. Make them clean motorways like they do in the states. Don’t allow a situation to exist whereby it is cheaper for prisoners to watch Sky TV than it is for patients in hospital.

Sorry but I don’t want to hear that prison doesn’t work. A lack of prison places is what is making the system not work.

Who would be a politician?

When my good friend Iain Dale decided he no longer wanted to pursue a parliamentary career I have to say that deep down I wasn’t surprised. Having stood for Parliament twice myself I know the financial (let alone personal) sacrifices that are made to fight an election.

Following the whole expenses saga I would say the whole political class has faced so much of a back lash that many capable people will just no longer want to pursue any kind of political career. Now I’m not asking for tears to be shed for the grubby expense grabbing MPs who deserve all they get, but at the same time I have seen some of the vitriol expressed towards new MPs who are actually doing their hardest to restore faith in politics.

But is it worth it? Would you be prepared to take  a pay cut to initially work for up to six weeks without office or staff. Would you then be willing to have to pay for the mere basics out of your own pocket because the new expense system seems to make it that hard to claim for things legitimately (I’m talking about staplers pens etc) that elected representatives are just buying stuff themselves.

Then when they get an office they find that it takes an age for them to get IT equipment so that they struggle to answer the hundreds of letters constituents write in , the majority of which I would suggest should really be dealt with by local councillors. But of course it gets worse. In many letters where the MP can’t really help as it may not be appropriate to intervene the correspondent feels the need to have a further dig about all MPs being on the take.

Is it that bad? Well I know of people who have worked for Members for over 2 decades who have worked weekend after weekend for no pay, who could earn more in the private sector who are finally thinking of leaving their role in Parliament working for an MP. Some may say that is just a sign that change is happening, but it is much more than that. The whole role of being a Member of Parliament seems to have been so tarnished in the eyes of the public that perhaps it has become little more than being a social worker and administrator passing constituents complaints to the relevant department. Why would you be an MP when you could be a County Councillor on a few committees and probably bring in more money for much less hassle and scrutiny?

Why would you be an MP when you could look after the Comms for the organisation that looks after MPs expenses and get paid more? Why would you be an MP when everyone things you are guilty and wants you to prove you are innocent.

Isn’t about time that we stopped slamming anyone involved in politics so that we can attempt to restore some faith in the political process?

Liberal Democrat support has tumbled sharply since the budget

According to a ComRes poll for the Independent Lib Dem support has tumbled sharply since the budget. Backing for Nick Clegg’s party is at a post-election low – and at its second worst level for six months.

The Conservatives have support of 40 per cent, a rise of four points since a ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday on June 20.

Labour is up one point at 31 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats are down five points at 18 per cent.

The other parties are unchanged on 11 per cent.

Post World Cup Seven Days Show with Iain Dale now online

The latest episode of  The Seven Days Show is now online (episode 30). In the Show this week we talk about The Budget; the rise in VAT; whether there is any dissent in the coalition; should further cuts be made to aid the deficit; is it right to have the NHS Budget ring fenced; should help be given to aid people to move to where the job are; should there be a cap on none EU immigration and finally what should be done about the England Football team!

To listen to the podcast click the play button above.

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ComRes poll analysis from Andrew Hawkins now online

In a podcast recorded yesterday Andrew Hawkins, ComRes pollster provides us with some really interesting analysis following their latest poll.

It is amazing to see that 49% think the emergency budget think it will be good for Britain (up from 18% for the last Labour budget). He also talks about evidence which suggest the Lib Dems need to asset their independence as part of the coalition.

To get the full analysis make sure you listen to the podcast by clicking the link above.

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Are tonor cartridges a sign of bigger Government waste?

Some time ago I bought a colour laser printer as it was half price. All well and good until I saw how much each of the 4 cartridges cost to fill the machine – more than the hardware itself.

Then I learn that new MPs have been given a Goliath of a printer that takes the same cartridges. Now more interesting than that is what Banner – the House of Commons stationery supplier is charging for the black toner cartridge. Apparently £121, yet on a well known website you can get an original un-reconditioned one for £52.

Hmmm… I hope the new MPs use of bit of initiative and don’t use the preferred supplier option. Me thinks, however, toner cartridges and their price are just the tip of the iceberg with regards money that could be save.

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