The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

Meet the Professor

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Time well spent

From the Prof :

My time in the Members Library threw up some interesting quotes

"We are not the master now. The people are the masters. We are the servants of the people.
We will never forget that.”

Tony Blair, May '97

"Let the work of change begin."

Gordon Brown, June '07
(on succeeding Blair)

"Who guards the guards ?'
Adam Price MP Oct '07

"I'll consider anything that makes the political elite accountable to citizens.”
Gordon Brown, May '09

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brown movement

From the Prof :

With all the parties laying out their "vision for reform", we're pleased to note Brown has finally mooted the right to "recall"our MPs.

Encouraging. Perhaps.

Are we playing the sap again ? Some thoughts on this ;

1) When Brown ascended to the throne he promised constitutional reform, we were excited then. So far...  nada.

2) Given he's delivered nothing in the last 18 months, he doesn't have the time to implement anything - let alone constitutional reform on this scale.

3) This gov (and Parliament) has been responsible for more unenforceable, "message-based" legislation than I care to remember. They are masters of the art. Only last week, after PMQ's, Harriet Harman hailed the "end of self regulation" with the proposed Parliamentary Standards Authority. Her response to Adam Price MP's question illustrates the point ;

20 May 2009 : Hansard, Column 1518

Adam Price (Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr) (PC): My question to the right hon. and learned Lady is this: will the standard of honesty form part of the remit of the new parliamentary standards authority, so that members of the public can refer for independent investigation cases in which they believe there is evidence that Members of Parliament, including Ministers, have misled this House and misled the country?

Several hon. Members rose -

Mr. Speaker: Order. There are only a few hon. Members left, and I have given a lot of leeway, particularly in this matter, but it really should just be a supplementary question that is asked. I ask the remaining Members to do that.

Ms Harman: We are, of course, answerable to our constituents for the honesty and integrity with which we represent them and go about our work in the House, and to the Chair for not misleading other Members. I think that the regulation of our democracy is ultimately with those who elect us. We are currently considering regulating our pay and our allowances, having codes of conduct and making proposals for their enforcement; that does not cut across the basic fundamental principle of democracy.

Can anyone decipher that answer ? As far as I can tell it simply re-affirms the status quo with regard to Adam's question and states they are merely "considering" regulating pay and allowances via the proposed Parliamentary Standards Authority.
Now that all the parties are trying to outdo each other with measures for reform the goalposts moved on this week . Which means, once again, these guys aren't leading, aren't coming from the same direction as the public and have to be forced into concessions on accountability - as per the Freedom of Information Act.

4) The process of recall. Given it's tough enough deciding whether it's easier to pay a £50 parking ticket than go through the process of appealing - what does that mean for the process of recall ?

Generally, it's too early to say whether these guys are really serious this time but all the history points to fact that even if they were serious they'd come up with something that's unworkable and you'd have to give up your day job to get the thing done.

5) Possibly the question that puts the final nail in the coffin - do we trust them ?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What next ?

From the Prof ;

One thing is clear from the last 10 days in the Members Library.
  • Without the Freedom of Information Act we would be none the wiser re. expenses.
Pertinent to this is the following ;
  • The government has spent a considerable amount of our money opposing FOI requests (exactly how much will be the subject of an FOI request from ourselves)
  • Andrew Marr stated to the ex-Lord Chancellor that this government "shepharded" the FOI onto the statute books - this is not the case. A more accurate description would be, "the shephard was dragged kicking and screaming.".
As the press moves on from exposing the crooks to "what next ?", but a handful have actually announced they will be standing down. Others, for example the insufferable Hazel Blears, have announced they will be handing the stolen cash back. Blears warrants particular mention because she had the audacity to do it in a "here's-your-Lottery-cheque" style press call with a rictus grin smeared across her face and a stock "on-message" phrase to hand, "I acted completely within the rules".

Unacceptable from a government minister. Brown should have thrown her into the Thames. Perhaps his back's playing up again with lack of vertebrae.

All of which still leaves us with, "what next ?". All parties have remained silent on the one area that we know has worked, a statute that gives their employers the power to find out what they've been up to and offer up a method of dealing with it.

The FOI is enforced by the courts. They can overturn the governments objection and force publication of the information requested (Note : with the exception of Tony Blair's 2000-2001 expenses which were accidentally shredded).

In the current situation, the government's proposed "Parliamentary Standards Authority" would have responded to a complaint with, "there's no case here, they've acted within the rules". Harman and Ben Bradshaw (more on him tomorrow) have declared the proposal, "an end to self-regulation".

It is not.

All of the afore-mentioned point to the following ;

1) The FOI provides transparency. It needs to be emboldened.
2) The courts have a good record of protecting the public interest.

I'm off for a quick nap before some final research on Ben Bradshaw's voting record. On Questiontime last week he stated emphatically that hs voting record on transparency speaks for itself. Our researchers have questioned this. More tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another twilight despatch from the Prof

This just in, though we note it was sent at 4.47 this morning ;

Research going better than expected. Photo as promised.

Could barely work yesterday afternoon with racket coming from yesterday's PMQs...

More show-boating from Clegg and Cameron for a general election. If the media buys that line without seeing their proposals for change and ensuring they're on the election agenda we'll have been sold a pup.

The real action was in the hour after Brown had finished speaking...

Harman stated she's now in favour of external regulation.

An apparent u-turn since we fronted her with the Misrepresentation of the People Act - she said external regulation negates Parliamentary sovereignty (please dig out footage from archive for posting on-line). Is this a genuine change in thinking or will her proposed Parliamentary Standards Authority be yet another 'independent' committee that simply reports back to the body it's supposed to regulate ?

I'll see if I can collar her - have found her office and am contemplating greeting her as she walks in for work.

Still trawling through Hansard. Librarian's extremely knowledgable. Can we put her on payroll ?

Nearly done here. Please send change of clothing.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bound to happen

No sooner had the Professor landed than he disappeared. Only to resurface four days later in the early hours this morning at the centre of the current constitutional crisis, his favourite watering hole, the Members Library at the House of Commons.

His message was to the point. We relay it verbatim...
  1. Re : Martin resignation, expenses scandal + resolution a sideshow as suspected. Answers in Hansard, members voting records etc. It's all there, but barely decipherable from Parliamentary language, procedure etc. Am distilling now into digestible form.
  2. Question : Cameron call for dissolution, alongside Clegg's similar solution not much more than a power move. Do we believe a change of faces will solve the problem ?
  3. Renewed contact with Adam Price MP as promised. Much to report on this.
  4. Apologies, no time to post. Haven't forgotten the anonymous twat. No hurry to expose now. Will deal with him later. Let him sweat a little more.
No need to send help, librarian both charming and knowledgable. Will send photos.

Much Love

Friday, May 15, 2009

How sweet it is... be loved by you.

No sooner than the announcement of the Professor's return and there are strange goings-on at Ministry Towers.

1) The van above appeared outside our offices. Please note, in no way can we justify anything like £250k for after-dinner consular services (despite the Professor's astrological expense allowance)
2) A web domain request was made for confirmation of current address details
3) A comment appeared under the announcement post on the blog.

With regard to item 3)...

Let it be known that in exchange for this anonymous unpleasantry we intend to reciprocate. Had you the balls to identify yourself we'd have smiled and be done with it.

Sadly, this was not the case, and we know who you are, where you sit, which network you posted from etc. etc.

Given the current political climate we're not sure the taxpayer would appreciate you spending your time like this. If an explanation for your anonymity isn't forthcoming, next week we shall start by revealing your details in reverse order - beginning with city, then post-code, then network... get the picture ? Get in touch.

We await your response.

Meantime, classes start soon. Spread the good word - the Professor won't be satisfied until every name on the UK's electoral register has enrolled

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Professor is Back

It's been some time now since our last post. Much has changed - and yet not.

Though circumstances now allow The Professor to return from the wilderness and reveal his true role in the Ministry, it seems, regrettably he is needed more than ever as Parliament implodes. In private conversation he's let it be known the current expense scandals are no more than a dangerous distraction, a mere sideshow. We await his world-renowned insights.

Unshackled from the chains of a broadcaster's public remit, he's chosen to make his life-changing correspondence course available to us all via the interweb. He assures us that through it, we can change not only our lives but also the country we live in. We're doubly delighted with his return as he's promised to write for the blog (we'll be ensuring all utterances are run by lawyers) without recourse to substances that led to revelations like this.

However, he's keen to remind us that throughout the Ministry's original journey, there were signposts a-plenty in the blog - he quotes from as early as July 2007, "We googled Damien McBride – he’s a 'special advisor'. Little more is known." 

Much has changed.

Despite his self-confessed slovenly behaviour and poor time-keeping we remain quietly confident he'll deliver on his promise and begin posting - we've never seen him so fired up.

Naturally, we'll keep you posted