Tag Archives: paddock

Why is the field Starmer bought for his parent’s rescue donkeys a scandal, but Osborne’s paddock wasn’t?

Keir Starmer: at least this time he has reason to look relaxed – he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Let’s get one thing clear: Keir Starmer has been a disaster (so far) as leader of the Labour Party.

It comes as a relief, therefore, to learn that he is at least a good son.

Using his own money, Starmer bought a field near his parents’ home, so his mother could look after rescued donkeys. This was before he was a member of Parliament, when he was working in the legal profession.

Apparently the land is now worth “up to £10 million”, but he bought it in 1996 when it is likely to have been worth a considerable amount less.

And reporters in the Mail on Sunday want us to believe that Starmer is set to sell this Green Belt land to the local council – for housing:

The claim is false. Even the MoS article features a quote from a Labour spokesperson, saying that the field is not for sale – but a strip of land next to his late parents’ house is being sold, in accordance with his father’s will.

Contrast this with George Osborne and his paddock.

Remember that?

I wrote about it in 2012, as follows:

“Osborne – who is, let’s remember, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and therefore should know the rules extremely well – included the mortgage for a paddock in his taxpayer-funded expenses.

“He bought a farmhouse in Cheshire, along with the neighbouring land, for £455,000 in 2000, before he became an MP – but then, between 2003 and 2009, he claimed up to £100,000 in expenses to cover mortgage interest payments on both the land and the building. The mortgages were interest-only. After 2003, he never paid a penny himself.

“When he re-mortgaged in 2005, he increased the amount to £480,000 – again on an interest-only basis – to cover the intial purchase costs and £10,000 for repairs. He was using public money to claw back his outlay on the property, so from then on, none of the money paid on that building or land was paid by Mr Osborne. It all came from the taxpayer.

“During the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 we learned that he had “flipped” his second home allowance onto the property and increased the mortgage. What we didn’t know was that the expenses payments were not just for the house, but for the paddock as well; it is registered separately with the Land Registry.

“Osborne sold the house and the land – both of which are now firmly established as having been funded with your money, not his – last year, for £1 million. That’s more than double the original price. He has pocketed that money; the taxpayer won’t get any of it back.”

Osborne did not need this building or the adjoining land to discharge his Parliamentary duties, nor did he pay back anything like the amount he claimed, when he was found to have overclaimed for mortgage interest on the farmhouse (and only the farmhouse).

The difference is clear.

Osborne used public funds to pocket hundreds of thousands of pounds. Starmer used his own money to help his mother.

And the Mail on Sunday attacked Starmer!

Perhaps this is because Osborne is a Conservative and could therefore do no wrong, as far as the Tory rags are concerned. Starmer, on the other hand, despite being practically a Red Tory, is Labour and therefore a target.

Fortunately the Twitterati feel otherwise:

That’s the truth of it; this is just a prelude.

Who knows what they’ll throw at him after the Covid-19 crisis finally subsides?

That’s likely to be a long way off yet (because the Tories are busily turning coronavirus into the biggest massacre of UK citizens ever to happen in peacetime).

But Starmer’s record as Labour leader suggests that this merely means they will have plenty of ammunition by then.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Torygraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standards Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Painful though it is to agree with the Torygraph, the paper is absolutely right to go for Kathryn Hudson’s jugular in its editorial about her ruling on the Rifkind/Straw cases.

It seems that, rather than investigating MPs and uncovering wrongdoing, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is more interested in defending them against any investigation or criticism.

Where the Telegraph editorial questions whether she is fit to hold her post, This Writer would question whether that post should be dissolved altogether and potential wrongdoing by MPs referred to the police – preferably to be investigated by a force not directly connected to the Member in question or Parliament itself.

In her ruling, Kathryn Hudson, criticised the journalists who broke the story, commenting: “The distorted coverage of the actions and words of the Members concerned has itself been the main cause of the damage.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two Members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals.”

But the Telegraph retorted with its own scathing editorial this week, saying the “sorry tale” of both ex-MPs proved “beyond doubt” that those in the Commons could not be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying.

“Ms Hudson’s credulity towards MPs raises questions about whether she is fit to hold her post,” leader writers wrote, “yet her performance is laudable in comparison with the egregious work of the Standards Committee.

“Far from accepting any error by Sir Malcolm or Mr Straw, or any flaw in the rules they so nimbly stepped around, the committee suggests that the failing here lies with the public for not properly “understanding” the role of MPs.

It continued, saying: “That is bad enough. Worse are the committee’s words on the press. It is only because of investigative journalism that the conduct of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw became known to the voters they were supposed to serve.

“Yet the committee’s report amounts to a warning to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to ‘consider further the role of the press in furthering…understanding and detecting wrongdoing’.”

Source: Daily Telegraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standard Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Rifkind and Straw didn’t break lobbying rules – it seems they only offered

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Parliament’s standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, has let former MPs Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw off the hook after they were accused of corruption – but is this because they only offered to break the rules, rather than actually breaking them?

Rifkind and Straw were filmed secretly by Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary programme, speaking with an undercover reporter posing as a representative of a fake Hong Kong firm, ‘PMR’.

This representative asked Sir Malcolm if he would be able to provide advance information on HS3 – the mooted high-speed train route linking the northeast of England with the northwest.

He was recorded saying: “I could write to a minister… And I wouldn’t name who was asking… But I would say I’ve been asked to establish what your thinking is on X, Y, Z. Can you tell me what that is?”

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said on the programme: “It’s absolutely clear in the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament that they have to be open and frank in all communications and yet he was saying on that clip that he would be able to write to ministers, and he wouldn’t have to say who exactly he was representing.

“Well that would be a clear breach of the Code of Conduct and an example of, here, an experienced Member of Parliament rather using their privileged position as a public servant in trying to get access to information which would benefit individuals and this company in a way that I think the public would find totally unacceptable.”

But of course, he didn’t actually do it, because PMR was a fictitious company.

Jack Straw was filmed telling an undercover reporter how he managed to get Ukrainian law changed in order to allow another company to run its business more easily there – a perfectly legal and reasonable activity, according to Dispatches.

But then he said that EU regulations had been hampering the business so he “got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels” and got the regulations changed. He said: “The best way of doing things is under the radar.”

Sir Alistair Graham pointed out, on the programme: “That’s worrying because that’s saying ‘I can do these things without transparency’ – without the
openness and frankness that the MPs’ Code of Conduct is expecting is the normal behaviour from Members of Parliament.”

But, again, he didn’t actually do anything “under the radar” because PMR was a fictitious company.

So Ms Hudson cleared both former MPs of any wrong-doing – and gave both Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph (with whom the programme had run its investigation as a joint affair) a lashing.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals and those around them, and to the reputation of the House.”

This seems unreasonable as Dispatches actually filmed both these people making their claims, and measured them against the words of Sir Alistair Graham – and there was plenty of qualification in the voice-over, explaining what was permitted by the rules and what was not.

What was she really saying? That Rifkind and Straw had to carry out their suggestions before they could be accused of anything? Wouldn’t that be leaving things a little late? Fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted, to quote a well-known phrase?

Remember, this is the standards commissioner who was reluctant to examine the case of George Osborne, who paid mortgage interest on his paddock with taxpayers’ money before selling it off with a neighbouring farmhouse for around £1 million and pocketing the cash.

She refused to look into it, saying she had already investigated the case – but an examination of her report revealed no mention of the million-pound paddock at all.

Prime Minister David Cameron was said to have welcomed the commissioner’s whitewash, in a BBC report.

But Channel 4 is standing by its story and has asked broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to investigate the programme. Channel 4 says the programme raised legitimate questions and, in all honesty, this is true.

Let’s hope the result of this investigation takes Ms Hudson down a peg or two. She is long overdue for it.

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Miller resigns at last – now it is time to call in the police

Going (unpunished): Maria Miller has made a huge profit from her misuse of taxpayers' money while in public office. Now is the time for her to face a criminal investigation.

Going (unpunished): Maria Miller has made a huge profit from her misuse of taxpayers’ money while in public office. Now is the time for her to face a criminal investigation.

Maria Miller resigned as Culture Secretary today (Wednesday) – after nearly a week of hanging on by her fingernails in the hope that everyone would suddenly forget that she fraudulently claimed mortgage interest on a south London house that she wanted the authorities to believe was her second home (when in fact it was her parents’ first).

During that time she has managed to reignite public disgust at the many expenses scandals in which Parliamentarians have been revealed to have been involved since the Daily Telegraph first lifted the lid on them in 2009.

She has also managed to undermine public support for comedy Prime Minister David Cameron, whose continuing support for her has shown just how weak he must be. He needed Miller because she was a woman in a predominantly male Cabinet, state-educated in a mainly private-school Cabinet, and an avid supporter of Cameron himself in a government that is beginning to realise that he’s a dud. In supporting her, he showed just how precarious his hold on the leadership really is.

Of course, she also generated a huge amount of hatred towards herself. Remember, this is a person who used taxpayers’ money to pay for her parents’ house – a building which she subsequently sold for a profit of more than £1 million.

Miller is not the first Cabinet member to make a million with taxpayers’ cash either – stand up George Osborne, who formerly had us paying for a paddock, a house and other scraps of land in his Tatton constituency on which he falsely claimed expenses, saying they were vital for the performance of his duties as an MP. He later sold the lot for around £1 million, having spent not a single penny of his own on the property – it all came from the taxpayer.

Osborne was protected from prosecution by the Parliamentary Standards Authority – a body that appears not to be as independent as it claims.

Now is the time to report Miller to the police.

A Parliamentary inquiry is not the same as a criminal investigation and it is important for her case to be tested in a court of law. This woman was part of a government that has had no qualms about using the law to take taxpayers’ money away from people who needed state benefits in order to survive; now let us see how she fares when the law turns its attention to her.

Who’s up for it?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tory crime allegations: Why stop with Shapps?

Isn't this fraud? The man pictured is Grant Shapps, but his name tag claims he is Michael Green - the name he used to run How To Corp before and after he became an MP. Isn't that fraud - gaining a financial advantage under false pretences (in this case, the pretence that he wasn't Grant Shapps)?

Isn’t this fraud? The man pictured is Grant Shapps, but his name tag claims he is Michael Green – the name he used to run How To Corp before and after he became an MP. Isn’t that fraud – gaining a financial advantage by deception (in this case, the pretence that he wasn’t Grant Shapps)?

Picture David Cameron’s bemusement, as he stares around the Cabinet at its next meeting, wondering why Labour has asked him to order an investigation into criminal allegations against Grant Shapps – when George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith are in the room.

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher has written to Cameron, calling for Shapps to be suspended and an investigation launched under the ministerial code of conduct after the police said one of his companies may have committed “an offence of fraud”.

The official Conservative line is that the police have closed investigations into Shapps’s How To Corp, there is no case to answer, and any further allegations should be put to the Party (as Dugher has) or the police. The source added: “To suggest there are allegations left unchallenged is actionable”, implying a threat of legal action if Labour persists.

But this is to deny the result of the police inquiry. The Metropolitan Police stated in a letter that the company’s sales of TrafficPaymaster software, that ‘spins and scrapes’ content from other websites, “may constitute an offence of fraud, among others”, but that this would not be investigated further.

Why not? A crime is a crime and the police are specifically employed to prevent it.

It seems that Tory ministers really are above the law.

Look at how the Met brushed off Vox Political‘s attempt to have George Osborne investigated for fraud, after he paid mortgage interest on a paddock with taxpayers’ money, claiming it was an allowable expense on property he needed to perform his duties as an MP – and then sold it off in a package with other land and a neighbouring farmhouse for around £1 million and pocketed the cash.

Apparently it was already under investigation, according to the policewoman who called at the end of last year. Have you heard anything about it since?

Perhaps it was one of the fraud matters that got lost by computer error.

And what about Iain Duncan Smith’s habitual offence of lying to Parliament? He has done this so many times that nobody can say it is unintentional, and he has never apologised for the factual inaccuracies. This is an offence of Contempt of Parliament and according to convention he should have been ejected from the House of Commons months ago and a by-election called for his seat.

If the Conservatives can’t keep their own house clean, why isn’t Labour demanding action on these matters?

Flawed Coalition figures claim crime is down. What about fraud (George Osborne)?

Shock revelations: Police using iPads demonstrate to Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron  that they can't stop Vox Political publishing the facts about their so-called government.

Shock revelations: Police using iPads demonstrate to Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron that they can’t stop Vox Political publishing the facts about their so-called government.

It must be a brutal blow for the Coalition government, after announcing that crime has dropped by a respectable amount, to then have to admit that a large chunk of fraud has been omitted from the figures.

“Crimes recorded by police in England and Wales have fallen by 7 per cent in the year ending March 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics,” stated the BBC, proudly acting once again as the Coalition’s mouthpiece.

At around the same time Jeremy Browne, the Minister of State for Crime Prevention, was telling us about mistakes at Action Fraud, which now receives all reports of fraud on behalf of all police forces in England and Wales: “Between November 2012 and July 2013, 2,490 reports (of which 1,738 were reports of crime) were not processed correctly due to a fault in the IT system,” he reported.

Oh dear – another cock-up.

By now, the people of Britain should be used to this sort of behaviour from an administration that once promised to be the most open government in history. Fraud is up, they say? How unsurprising – it seems one is being perpetrated on us right now.

The report from the Office for National Statistics estimated that “there were 8.6 million crimes in England and Wales, based on interviews with a representative sample of households and resident adults in the year ending March 2013”. This represents a nine per cent decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981 – less than half its peak level, which was in 1995.

But there are several reasons we should treat this result with care. Firstly, we are told the survey began in 1981 – during the first Thatcher (Conservative) government – and the amount of crime it measured peaked 14 years later, in 1995 – during the Major (Conservative) government. In other words, during all those years of Conservative rule, crime just kept getting worse and worse.

Also, under the Labour governments of 1997-2010, crimes committed fell from around 17 million to around nine million – a drop of about 48 per cent. In the last year of that government alone, crime fell by nine per cent, according to the British Crime Survey. Today’s result could very well be building on Labour achievements and have nothing to do with the Coalition, which has been cutting police numbers (and logically police effectiveness).

Finally, recorded crime totalled 3.7 million offences in the year up to March 2013 – less than half the Crime Survey for England and Wales’ estimate of the total number of crimes. If they’re not recording crimes, they’re not investigating them – so this means more than half of the crimes committed in this country appear to be going unpunished.

That’s not a good record.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, was quick to claim responsibility for the apparent improvement. She said: “Our police reforms are continuing to deliver results across the country with falls in crime in every police force in England and Wales.

“Recorded crime is down by more than 10 per cent under this government, and the independent survey shows that the public’s experience of crime is at its lowest level since records began. This is a significant achievement.

“Police forces have shown an impressive ability to rise to the challenge of making savings while still cutting crime. This government has played its part by slashing red tape and scrapping targets to enable the police to focus on crime fighting.

“We have encouraged chief constables to make savings in back offices to give renewed focus on the frontline and we are seeing the benefits of those efficiencies. We have also set up a College of Policing to ensure the police are better equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to fight crime.

“England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades, but we will continue to improve our national crime fighting capability when the National Crime Agency is fully operational later this year.”

Another national agency? Let’s hope it does better than the one dealing with fraud. Back to Mr Browne: “This issue came to light too late to notify the Office for National Statistics for inclusion in Crime in England and Wales for the year ending March 2013, published today.

“As part of routine revisions to the data, any corrections will be included by the Office for National Statistics in next quarter’s crime publications.”

He said: “Action Fraud has taken immediate action to process the affected reports and will be writing to apologise to everyone who submitted a report and to make clear that their report is now being dealt with.”

Vox Political‘s complaint against George Osborne was submitted in December 2012 and is therefore likely to be among the complaints that were overlooked.

It is alleged that he committed fraud by falsely claiming mortgage interest on a farmhouse, a neighbouring paddock, and other land in his Tatton constituency as an allowable expense, stating that he needed the house to perform his duties as an MP. Taxpayers’ money paid the interest on the paddock and the other land, even though they were registered separately with the Land Registry and went unmentioned in his expenses claim.

The apology letter is awaited with great interest. In fact, a letter may soon by winging its way to Action Fraud, just to make sure the matter is not forgotten again!

Osborne’s ‘Disabled’ parking disgrace

osbornedisabledparking

How low can this man go?

He uses taxpayers’ money to make £1 million for himself by buying a farmhouse and associated land in Cheshire, using public funds to pay the mortgage interest, then selling it for around twice the original price and pocketing the cash.

He buys a standard train ticket, then is caught travelling in First Class.

Now this. After spending three years pummelling the sick and disabled people of the United Kingdom, this arrogant little brat steals one of their parking spaces.

Does this man have no shame at all?

Gideon was famously a member of Oxford University’s restaurant-smashing Bullingdon Club. He got into Oxford on a ‘demyship’ – a special kind of scholarship for “poor scholars of good morals and dispositions, fully equipped for study”.

Poor? He’s the millionaire son of Sir Peter Osborne, 17th Baronet, who co-founded the firm of fabric and wallpapers designers Osborne & Little.

His morals speak for themselves.

Part-time Chance(llo)r and towel-folder to explain how impoverishing people makes work pay.

Not fair at all: We love this shot of George Osborne because it clarifies perfectly that, as with Michael Howard before him, there is "something of the night" about him. Will YOU believe him when he says it is fair to punish the poor for an economic recession they never made, while rewarding the rich who did the damage?

Not fair at all: We love this shot of George Osborne because it clarifies perfectly that, as with Michael Howard before him, there is “something of the night” about him. Will YOU believe him when he says it is fair to punish the poor for an economic recession they never made, while rewarding the rich who did the damage?

You know the Tories are scraping the bottom of the barrel when they wheel out Gideon George Osborne to defend benefit changes as “fair”.

It’s hilarious (unintentionally, I’m sure) that they’re wheeling out a man whose appearance in last year’s Olympic Games prompted an international crowd in a full-to-capacity stadium to ‘boo’ him – in order to try to popularise their unjustifiable crimes against the poor.

This is a man whose only proper job was folding towels at a department store, if I recall correctly!

He’s due to make a speech at 12.30pm today (April 2, so it can’t even be defended as an April Fool) in which he is expected to say the Tory cuts mean “this month we will make work pay”, and nine out of 10 working households will be better-off.

They’ll be better of than the remaining one-tenth of households, maybe, but the Tories are never going to convince intelligent people that they’re making work pay by cutting anything! Common sense tells us that, in a country where wages are deeply depressed (such as the UK – oh yes they are) the only way to make work pay is to offer a living wage!

But what can we expect from a political organisation that is now focusing its efforts on redefining the dictionary?

The lexicon here at Vox Political gives multiple definitions for the word “fair”, so I’ll pick out those that may be applied, as follows:

“1. Reasonable or unbiased.” The changes include a below-inflation cap for people on working-age benefits and tax credits, meaning they will become worse-off, year-on-year, while the cap remains in place. Meanwhile, people in the top tax band – who therefore take home the most pay – are getting a £100,000 tax break. Reasonable? No. Unbiased? Not a chance in hell.

Let’s also remember that Osborne is the Chancellor who thought it was a good idea to promote tax avoidance schemes on the Daily Politics TV show, on January 9 this year.

“2. According to the rules.” The Tory-led Coalition is the government that changes the rules to suit itself. Let’s all remember that when Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions was found, by a court, to have been breaking the law by imposing sanctions against people who refused to take part in the ridiculous ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ schemes that take more than a billion pounds out of the economy every year (almost £900 million for companies offering placements, along with hundreds of millions more for ‘Work Placement Provider’ companies), this administration’s answer was to introduce retrospective legislation to wipe away its guilt.

“3. Describing light-coloured hair or skin, or somebody with this.” Let’s widen this definition a little; a person who is “fair to look at” would be deemed attractive, so let’s go with that. Are these changes attractive? Most definitely not. They are designed to make the claiming of benefits unattractive.

“4. Sizeable, as in ‘a fair number of responses’.” This is accurate – the changes will affect millions of homes, throwing many of them into abject poverty.

“5. Better than acceptable.” If they were acceptable, then we would not have seen thousands of people demonstrating against the new Bedroom Tax, in towns and cities across the UK. Nor would we have seen the huge amount of campaigning against the benefit changes online and via petitions. And there will be motions against implementing the tax in local authorities up and down the country. The people responsible for them don’t think these changes are acceptable; nor should you.

“6. No more than average.” It could be suggested that Grant Shapps has been saying the more stringent application of the Work Capability Assessment to applicants for Employment and Support Allowance has created a more representative average number of claims by ensuring 878,000 people dropped their claims when faced by those changes – but, wait a moment, this has been exposed as a lie, hasn’t it? In fact, the number of people dropping their claims has been revealed – by official DWP figures – to be the natural wastage you get from people getting better or finding work they can do while ill, and the number of people receiving the benefit has, in fact, risen.

“7. Not stormy or cloudy.” Clearly the storm of protest around these changes renders this definition irrelevant.

Osborne, who not only advocates tax avoidance but allegedly participates in it himself – he was the target of a campaign by 38 Degrees, early in the life of this Parliament – also seems a strange choice to talk about fairness and making work pay, because of his involvement in a ‘get rich quick’ scheme which was extremely unfair and had nothing to do with work.

Readers of this blog may remember that Osborne used taxpayers’ money to pay mortgage interest on a farmhouse and associated land that he claimed to use for Parliamentary purposes in his Tatton constituency (this has not been proved), and then sold the properties for around £1 million, pocketing the lot. He didn’t work for the money, and this exploitation of the taxpayer can hardly be considered fair – but he got away with it because his privileged position as an MP, apparently, allows it.

Fair? No.

Corrupt?

This seems more likely.

An e-petition to tackle corruption amongst MPs

hm_govIt wasn’t what I really wanted, but it’s a start – and it might help to identify some of the bad guys (and gals) in the House of Commons.

I am referring to my new e-petition, which calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party, gaining money. You can find it at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44971 – got it? Good, now sign it, please. Done that? Now read on. Thanks!

I do think this is a vital step to prevent corruption – if such a law had been in place before the current government came into power, Andrew Lansley would not have been able to speak in favour of his Health and Social Care Act before it was passed (he had received money from Care UK, as is well-documented on this blog and others).

But it is only a step. If this e-petition receives 10,000 signatures, then the government will post a response and I am dying to find out what it might be.

A Facebook friend of this blog sent me the response to an e-petition calling for the abolition of “work for your benefit/workfare” schemes in the UK, which seemed most keen to take issue with the use of the word “workfare”, even though it has been well-established in the British political scene for many years. It went on to describe the work-for-benefit schemes it does offer – in glowing terms. It makes me doubt whether the people responsible have taken the petition seriously.

Please support my petition. And please promote it by sharing the link with your friends – both online and in the real world, if possible. The Coalition Agreement of 2010 states that “the Government believes that we need to throw open the doors of public bodies, to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account” but we have seen no evidence of this happening. If anything, it seems the creatures who stalk the corridors of power are more corrupt than ever before.

Does anyone remember the scandal when it was revealed lobbyists could gain access to David Cameron in return for a £250,000 donation to the Conservative Party?

This kind of behaviour must be fought. First, I think we should try to banish it from the chamber of the House of Commons. If a debate does take place, it would be interesting to see who takes part and how many oppose the proposal – for obvious reasons.

If the e-petition gets that far, it might be possible to expand, considering the activities of lobbyists and whether former MPs should be allowed to take jobs with companies that benefit from government contracts.

For my next e-petition, I have been weighing up my chances of getting one published that would seek a debate on Gideon George Osborne’s misuse of taxpayers’ cash to fund his £1 million property moneyspinner – the paddock affair. I couldn’t get one published about the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards, who whitewashed the issue, and I doubt I could get one published seeking the dismissal of Osborne himself.

But a debate, using him as an example? That might be the way.

As ever, I am interested in your opinions.