It's not just rural broadband that's an issue for BT

We pay for Sky. We have a BT landline as it hooks up to the burglar alarm. We have BT internet. We pay for “up to 20MB broadband”. We live on a housing estate in Newark with houses that are around 10 years old. We don’t live in the middle of  nowhere in an ancient farmhouse. We only have one phone line entering the house. We have a working filter on it. We have checked the front plate of the phone line. We have even paud £100 for an engineer to visit us in the past.

Why are we only getting half a MB speed when we are paying something like £22 a month?

It isn’t just rural areas that BT are letting down!

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Good things come to those who wait

The Member of Parliament for Witham, Priti Patel made her maiden speech today. And what a fine speech it was too. Click the play button above to listen. A true Conservative if ever there was one!

And on a lighter note…..

Don’t know why, but the lyrics just amused me.

Roger Helmer MEP on energy

To listen to Roger Helmer’s latest podcast click the play button above.

Why the Job Description of being an MP doesn't appeal as it currently stands

For many years I thought it would be a worthwhile job being a Member of Parliament. I know many aspects of it would still be very rewarding. For me, however I now know that I would not make a good MP. Why? I think firstly because I would want to tell people as it is, not necessarily what it is expedient for me to tell them.

So when a constituent writes in and demands that the local authority have to provide him a bigger house because he has one child and his partner have four from a previous marriage, and they can’t afford to do anything because they are both on incapacity benefit I would love to turn round and say that I too would like a nicer or indeed bigger house, and that is why I get up at 5:30am every week day and go to work. That is also why I have decided not to have 5 children.

For you see, MPs are now baring the brunt of the entitlement society. I am owed a living. I am owed a nice house. I don’t have to do anything to get it. I know my rights but take no responsibility.
MPs with big fat majorities can to an extent, say it as it is. MPs in marginal seats are less likely to say what actually may be good advice. They are forced to help – as by not doing so, they run the risk of losing their job. At a time when the country may need to take some nasty tasting medicine, I don’t think I could be that tolerant I’m afraid.

Then of course there is the assumption that as an MP you must all be on the take and screwing the system. Sorry, but why would I want to take a job where someone automatically thinks you are on a par with scum (possibly lower) and tells you so at the same time as demanding (not even politely asking for) your assistance. Again I think I would be forced to deliver a few home truths, which as an MP you just can’t do any more.

Of course the whole change to the system of office expenditure (no it isn’t ‘expenses) now means being an MP is easier if you are independently wealthy. I’m not sure that’s a completely healthy development. Would I be prepared to take a job for £60,000 when people look at you with disdain, where the papers are likely to rake over your private life, and where you are currently forced to pay out of your own pocket for legitimate office expenditure due to the actions of the previous incumbents? No.

Some will say, well there is always a big clamour of people wanting to be MPs. Yes I know, though I can say without fear of contradiction that for the more capable of the new intake the workings of Parliament has been more than an eye opener for many of them, and that some may well wonder why they spent all that time effort and money trying to get hear having seen how the place operates.

Then there is the powerlessness of it all. At the same time as not particularly liking the profession people think that as an MPs you are responsible for sorting out mould on the window of a private household , whilst at the same time think you can single handedly solve the financial crisis when they write to you. It is again the brave MP who tells a constituent that they may be better buying some Cillit Bang, and that frankly as a backbench MP there isn’t a huge amount that can be done on some issues.

Some will also say I am painting a cynical picture of a being a Member of Parliament, and that actually they have lots of power to help constituents. Perhaps that is true to some extent, however I maintain that there are so many cases when the best course of action would be to help people to help themselves and that sometimes the very role of being an MP precludes that course of action from being taken.

What can be done? For starters the public needs to be told what MPs can and can’t do. If it’s an issue for the local or County Council automatically just pass it on. Then cut the number of MPs. If the Isle of Wight MP can represent 106,000 people and provide an excellent service to his electorate so can every Member. Why not give them some more power so they can actually make a real difference. Finally fund their offices properly. Stop all this nonsense and expenditure and expenses. Give them a lump sum of say £250,000 for salary and all office costs. If they take it all as salary so be it. Everything is published. If the MP takes it all in salary and can’t employ any staff lets hope they are able to give their constituents a good service. The check and balance is that come an election those not doing their job will be out of work.

Clearly there is much more that needs to be addressed, but something really needs to be done if we are not only going to restore people’s faith in politics, but in politicians themselves.

Seven Days Show episode 33 now online @toryradio

The latest edition (episode 33) of the Seven Days Show is now online.

This week we spoke about whether comedy classes are a good idea in prison; what the primary aim of prison actually is; whether tough choices have to be made in all areas from prisons to the NHS; why David Davis made his Brokeback mountain comment; whether a merger between the Tories and Lib Dems is likely; whether the Palace was right to rescind Nick Griffins invite; whether we should be more ambitious in cutting the number of MPs, and if the MP for the Isle of Wight can represent over 100,000 constituents why can’t everyone; and finally whether Ed Balls should pull out of the leadership race.

To listen to the podcast click the play button above. Subscribe to Tory Radio on Itunes here.

Iain Dale is wrong again, and so is Crispin Blunt

Twice in a week I find myself disagreeing with good friend Iain Dale. So he thinks we should allow prisoners lovely fluffy courses in an attempt to help reduce recidivism, or to diffuse a potentially violent situation. In the words of Jim Royle, Comedy and Arts courses MY AR*E. I think this coalition love  in has gone to Iain’s head.

At a time when we are being told prisons cost too much and we may have to have less places we should not spend more money on fluffy courses for convicts. Would we encouraging more degree places in comedy in the current financial climate…. I doubt it.

And on the recidivism argument, I would suggest time and money would be better spent teaching the thousands of inmates who are currently illiterate to read or write first, as without those skills they will be unemployable and more likely to go back to a life of crime. So yes to some sort of education – but come on Iain, comedy courses…. you’re having a larf!

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