Non PC Tom Winsor

I have been away. I have been enjoying myself at the coast. I completely missed Tom Winsor’s latest antics until I got back last night.

tom-winsorIt seems that in my absence there has been a shitstorm over Tom Winsor’s decision to attend the National Police Memorial Day.

I was shocked, I was outraged, I was nigh on apoplectic.  What kind of man, who has been the catalyst for Camoron and Cruella’s deconstruction of the Police Service, would wear such a uniform to an event such as that.

I do do not deny him is right to be there, he is, after all, Head Fred of HMIC, but a Police Officer he most certainly is not.

I have read that the uniform shown above is NOT a Police Uniform but the ceremonial uniform of Head Fred HMIC, and that gives him the right to wear it, because his predecessors have previously enjoyed the same right to wear that regalia. His predecessors, may I point out, had ALL been Commissioners or Chief Constables and had served their time at the coalface so to speak.

Has he taken his Oath? Has he actually crept in under my radar and become a Police Officer without me noticing? I had begun, just begun mind, to forgive some of his excesses as I have been re-reading articles from last year and reminded myself how Independent his Independent Review had been. However, to turn up at the National Police Memorial Day in fancy dress, as one commentator put it, dressed for all the world as a Police officer, must have been like a slap round the face with a wet haddock to those officers, or bereaved relatives present.

I’ll be generous for a minute. It was not a Police Uniform, but is surely INTENDED to resemble one, and I thought that was a no-no. I have also seen another commentator ask the question “Does the Minister for Defence wear a military uniform?”  NO and quite right too.

Is HMIC a uniformed service?  Presumably not if a civvie can be Head Fred, so no need for a uniform of any kind for any occasion then. Smart grey suit will suffice thanks Tom.  I could have been less offended if he had turned up in full ceremonial Masonic regalia, finely pressed Apron and Compasses gleaming.

At the very, very least I think we are all due an apology and a reassurance that there will not be a repeat of this misguided act.

I wonder what the HM part of HMIC thinks of it?  But she’s too gracious to ever let us know.

PS

I’m not quite sure whose photo I’ve borrowed so if it’s yours and you’d like it taken down please let me know and I surely will.

Advertisements

How can Tom Winsor look at himself in the mirror?

Not the Daily Mail

Tom Winsor, responsible for reducing the starting wage for the Police to £19,000 pa, while at the same time increasing the entry qualifications; who decided that direct entry to the significant rank of Superintendent was a good idea as well as being able to make Police officers redundant; who increased the age at which Police officers can draw their pension; who decided that Police officers must have mandatory fitness tests, but not give them any time within work to keep their fitness levels to that standard (unlike Fire & Rescue and Ambulance HART), has decided that wearing this uniform to the National Police Memorial Day is appropriate.

Image

 

Apparently this is the ‘ceremonial uniform’ of the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, which Tom Winsor now is.  To me, and to many others, this is the uniform of a Chief Officer of a UK Police Force.  

How dare he.  How dare…

View original post 178 more words

Broken Britain, by David Camoron

People of Britain, (please note that I did not say Great Britain, because it’s long since stopped being Great), I have to report to you that Britain is Broken.

The Police Service is broken. Broken by Winsor 1 and 2, broken by Theresa May, my right hand man, broken by our new Police and Crime Commissioners with their 200 performance targets. Broken by the changes to their pensions, pay scales, Compulsory Severance, they are broken.  They spend all their working lives trying to lock people up, well, we just had to break that mould, can’t be having folk locked up now can we? In fact, they are so broken that we’ve had to ask our partners, G4$, $erco and the like, to step in and rescue them and bring huge chunks of them into profit.  The Police have got the hump with me anyway, and all because I described them as ‘Relatively Honest’.  Don’t they realise that was in comparison with Ghaddafi’s Police, why are they even bothered?

The Armed Forces are broken. The combined strength of the Armed Forces is now at its lowest level since World War II when we fought that other despot, Mr Hitler.  We’re going to lose some more in the near future, but fear not, because I have a cunning plan.  We’ll increase the numbers of the Territorial Army and hopefully no-one will notice the difference.  If that doesn’t work we’ll get Captain Mainwaring and his men out of retirement to bolster the numbers and protect our shores and assets.

The Fire Brigade is broken. Fire Engines have been sold off, Fire Stations are being closed. Privatisation/Outsourcing/Partnership is creeping in, Firefighters are going to have to work longer for less pension, so all is well and going to plan.

The National Health Service is broken. Waiting lists are on the rise again, we’re haemorrhaging  doctors and nurses, they don’t want to stay any more. Hospital budgets are buggered, waiting times in A&E are completely unacceptable. The Health Service is safe in our hands, but Broken.

Because the Hospitals are broken, that has broken the Ambulance Service, who can no longer deliver their patients to hospital in a timely manner and get back out there.  Instead they spend hours parked up on the A&E Ambulance ramp just waiting, before they can get back into service once again.  The upside of this though, is that they can claim compensation from the hospital for keeping them waiting, thus screwing the hospital’s budget just a little bit more.

The Coastguards are broken.  We’ve closed down nearly half the Coastguard Stations around the British coast, with nice new shiny Central Control Centres set up miles from the sea.  Coastguard numbers are down too, so we’re well on target to have smashed them anytime soon.  The Search and Rescue Service has been sold off to a foreign company, so no matter how efficient they are at finding folk, they’re working for profit and those profits will go abroad. That’s good right? I’d quite like to outsource the RNLI as well, but as that’s a charity it might take a bit more thinking about.

The Prison Service is broken.  We are now beginning to see prisons run by our partners G4$ and $erco etc. It will soon be a shadow of its former self, but at least it will be privately run.

The Probation Service is broken.  Once again our illustrious partners G4$ and $erco came riding to the rescue and took on parts of the Probation Service remit, and even though they’re facing ongoing fraud enquiries because they seemingly charged for services they did not provide, that’s OK, that nice Chris Grayling has said that it’s OK for them to bid for new contracts

Social Services are so broken that G4$ have had to take over the running of some Children’s Homes, and apply for Planning Permission etc under the name of a private individual.

The Legal System is broken.  We were going to award contracts to the lowest bidder, but Chris Grayling has U Turned on that.  We will however carry out the following

  • Legal aid fees will be cut by 17.5% across the board
  • Residency tests to be introduced for civil legal aid – only those who have lived in the UK for more than 12 months will be eligible
  • Cap on contracts for duty solicitor work at police stations
  • Income restrictions will be put in place – those with more than £3,000 per month after mortgage, tax and other “essential outgoings” will not be entitled to aid
  • 11,000 cases brought by prisoners will no longer be eligible
  • And on top of that you will no longer be eligible for Legal Aid to challenge any Government decision.  That’s fair, right?

The Penal System is broken along with Human Rights.  Too many people, mainly victims or people who might become victims,, bang on about the Human Rights of victims.  Don’t they know that criminals have Human Rights too?  We need LESS prisons, not more, and stop violating criminals’ rights by banging them up.  If I had my way I’d withdraw from the ECHR completely, nothing but aggravation.

Finally, our greatest success to date, and one of which I, personally, am immensely proud, the people of Britain are broken.  Their will has been drained and smashed.  They don’t know where to get help and advice any more and they certainly don’t have the means to challenge our wonderful reforms. they are smashed.

So, as you can see, Britain is comprehensively broken, and I broke it.  When I joined the scumbag party I made it my mission to become the most loathed British Prime Minister in modern times, and I think I have succeeded don’t you?  Even Maggie didn’t break anywhere near as much as I have succeeded in doing, but we couldn’t have achieved any of this without the help and support from our chums at PX, they really are the best Think Tankers ever.

Please remember this when you go to the polls in May 2015, but if for any reason, there happens to be a miserable turnout, that will still give us a mandate for further breaking, because we said so.

101 Things We Should Never Forget

Well maybe not quite 101, but I’m sure you get the idea.

When you reach my ripe old age the grey matter isn’t as sharp and efficient as it once was, so I find it helpfulo to write things down so I don’t forget.

Here’s my list of things I don’t want to forget, please feel free to add your own in the comments at the bottom if you feel I might benefit from them.

THE NHS IS SAFE IN OUR HANDS – funny that because I thought it seemed like it was being dismantled and sold off, but it must be true Camoron said so and I mustn’t forget.

Tom Winsor never got paid for his far-reaching reports – I must have missed something somewhere because people ALWAYS want to be paid for work they’ve done, don’t they?

Tom Winsor was appointed Chief Inspector HMIC despite having no previous (or current) policing experience. I’m sure there’s no connection between these two, it just seemed convenient to list them both together.

Andrew Mitchell MP never said ‘Pleb’ He refuses to tell us what he did say, but he never said ‘Pleb’. Although he did feel it prudent to resign his Cabinet post a month later.

Andrew Mitchell MP is offered the post of UK European Commissioner at a salary approximately TWICE that of his Cabinet post.  Well, that’s the most recent story I heard, and absolutely nothing to do with the above.

G4S made an absolute shambles of their commitment to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

G4S and Serco face a multi million pound fraud enquiry into alleged charging for non-existent services in relation to Electronic Tags.

G4S and Serco are both able to bid for new Government contracts despite being subject of an ongoing fraud enquiry.

The 6 day a week service of the Royal Mail is enshrined in law and is therefore protected.

Pension conditions for existing members are protected by law and therefore safe. That’s why the government changed the law, so that they could change the conditions, so must remember not to be taken in by promises that something is protected.

Coastguard Stations will remain open until at least 2015, said David Camoron. Apparently this was a drafting mistake in his letter and he didn’t really mean it.

The Police have only ONE Target and that is to cut crime, said Theresa May.  Police and Crime Commissioners think otherwise, have over-ruled Theresa May and set a whole raft of targets for Police Forces to meet.

There will be NO Frontline cuts. Damn good job too, my dog’s got fleas and needs dome Frontline, shame they won’t reduce the price though.

There will be no Tuition Fees – well we all know where that one went.

There will be no increase in VAT – not since they raised it to 20% anyway.  As an aside to this VAT in France is dual band, 19.6% for most things, and 5.5% for renovation works (i.e. building work on a property you have owned for more than 2 years), cafes, restaurants and numerous others. Certainly helped to kick-start the economy and get people back into restaurants and have work done to their houses.

We will provide 3,000 extra Police Officers – still waiting for them to turn up, late on Parade.

There will be no bonuses for Bank Directors – Bankers are even being given bonuses for making a loss, what chance do we stand with that one?

That’s about all my ageing brain can think of at the moment, if I think of any more howlers I’ll certainly add them, but as I said at the beginning, please feel free to add your own.

Hey You, Yes You – Loser!!

That’s right, you, you’re the biggest loser round here. And I don’t mind telling you why.  There’s tens of thousands of other folk who could tell you why, but they won’t because they’ve got their careers to think about, and that’s perfectly understandable, but before you get the hump with me, I’m a loser too. We’re all losers except for my 4 readers who happen to live abroad, lucky buggers.

Retired folk like me can tell you why you’re a loser and damn the consequences, cos Camoron hasn’t found a way to get to us yet.

Way back in 2006 David Camoron set out his proposals to reform the Police in a speech in East London. I won’t bore you with the details of that speech, the full text is available on the net if you want it.

More relevant is the very close resemblance to his views on Police Reform in recent years and the contents of the Winsor Review, Parts 1 and 2.  It’s almost as though Camoron told Cruella what he wanted and she told Uncle Tom what to write in his report, but surely it can’t be that simple, can it?

Then the very same Mr Winsor is appointed Chief Inspector of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, reward or coincidence?

Throw into the pot one Andrew Mitchell MP and his notorious alleged ‘Pleb’ comments. Apart from the very obvious furore this sparked off, the most immediate consequence of this was Mr Mitchell resigning his lucrative Cabinet post and returning to the back benches.  But not for long.  Mr Mitchell is no great loser in this farce.  I have to be honest, I don’t know who the hell to blame. Operation Alice rumbles slowly on, CCTV ‘evidence’ was shown on Channel 4 which appeared to cast doubt on the Police version of events, but that had so clearly been tampered with it was a not very funny joke. Now Mr Mitchell is set to become our next European Commissioner at a salary in the region of £250,000, much more than the Cabinet Minister’s salary that he ‘sacrificed’, so he’s certainly not a loser, any more than Chief Inspector Winsor is a loser.

So, where was I? Oh yes, Camoron and Cruella have engaged Winsor, and possibly others. to bring the Police to their knees. 20% cut in Police Budgets, Police numbers going down all over England and Wales, except for a couple of very minor exceptions.

Another ruse to divert everyone’s attention and help decimate the Police Services is, dare I say it, Privatisation, or Outsourcing/Procurement if you prefer.  It is well known that I’m against it, but I might be wrong. What you can’t deny is the timing. Winsor, Plebgate, Privatisation, Pension Reforms, Budget Cuts, Number Slashing and soon Compulsory Severance, all at the same time, more or less.  Is it any wonder that the Police, along with other Public Services, are crumbling.

Then came Police and Crime Commissioners last year, to further destabilise and confuse. Who are they? What do they do? Why couldn’t Police Authorities have remained? Have they been a force for good?

Plebgate must have come to Camoron like a gift from the gods. Something to reduce public sympathy in the Police. Well, I would venture to say, they don’t need your sympathy. What they need is understanding.

I was fortunate enough to spend my 30 years serving in the Met, a force that was pretty much self-contained. We had our own fleet of prison vans, driven by our own drivers. We had our own garages with our own mechanics (oops sorry, technicians these days).  Almost anything you need to run a police force the Met had somewhere under its umbrella, or should I say, there was a family member somewhere that had it.

Having met up with some of our Constabulary cousins I now realise how fortunate I, and the Met, were. But why couldn’t all Forces have been a scaled down version of the Met, self-contained in a smaller version, or groups of smaller Forces joining together, but keeping it in house?

Camoron didn’t get his way in 2006, but he obviously has a long memory. He also seems to be Hell-bent on being the most despised Prime Minister in British history. Well, he’s succeeding in that at least.

I haven’t the foggiest idea why Camoron despises the Police so, but most, if not all,  Prime Ministers before him have managed the Police but kept them well-resourced, and kept numbers where they need to be.  Camoron/Cruella’s policy of slash and burn, reduce the numbers, slash the budget has apparently now been responsible for a rise in the crime rate.

I have seen many conversations on Social Media about ‘fiddled’ crime stats, crimes that no longer get investigated, regular officers being replaced by PCSOs and/or Specials, Police Staff jobs going over to the private sector. I have sympathy with most, if not all, of these arguments, but surely, at the end of the day, they are just a distraction. A distraction which seems to be working, and preventing us, the great British Public, from realising that we are being conned. We have become losers.

We have lost Police Officers.

we have lost Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen.

We have lost Doctors and Nurses

We have lost Social Workers and Probation Officers

We have lost Coastguards

We have lost Teachers.

I don’t know if it’s too late to reverse this. Sometimes it’s too expensive to put things back the way they were. The way that worked!!

I don’t have a degree in Politics or Political Science, but this certainly isn’t what I understand by DEMOCRACY.

If every inhabitant of England and Wales of voting age was asked

Do you want to cut the Police/Army/NHS/Probation etc etc? What would their answer be?

Ask them Do you want the Public Services to suffer to get us out of this mess, or shall we get the banks and financial institutions to pay for it? What would their answer be?

That would be Democracy in my view.

At the same time as this is going on, MPs are getting a nice fat pay rise, their expenses rumble on seemingly unchecked. When did you last get a pay rise, never mind an above-inflation one?

So, if you’re still with me and made it to the end, who’s the loser here? The Public Services are certainly losers, but it’s US, the Public. We’re the biggest losers, and the government are trying to convince us that we should be grateful.

#AllInThisTogether or #SnoutsInTheTrough?

Meanwhile, if any of you has a couple of groats spare to buy me a new quill I’d be terribly grateful, this one’s getting all blunt and scratchy, I thank you.

MPs’ Expenses Part II

Hey Kev, What’s in the shed?  A Shed Load of Cash for your MP is what’s in the Shed, and make no mistake.

Yesterday’s post was more about the headline figures and big numbers, today I thought I’d have a look at the small numbers,  I find that you can tell almost as much about an MP by what they claim for, as well as how much they have claimed in total.

Before I get to that though, what about IPSA themselves. How transparent are they really?

Back in July I asked them the following under the Freedom of Information Act;

1. – Since 2008 what is the TOTAL number of MPs who have been investigated for mis-claiming Parliamentary Expenses?
2 – What is the TOTAL number that have been prosecuted?
3 – What is the TOTAL number of MPs who have been asked to pay back expenses previously claimed but not prosecuted?

The main thrust of their response was this;

We understand that no investigations conducted by the Compliance Officer for IPSA have resulted in prosecution
The remainder of their answer was a complete cop-out, don’t ask us, ask someone else.
So yesterday I hit them with this one;
Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act could you please supply me with the following information;How many of your staff are qualified in Accountancy?How many of your staff are qualified as Auditors?What level of proactive auditing is conducted by yourselves, or an external body, into matters which are the responsibility of IPSA, such as MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses?”
Quite simple, not much wriggle-room really. Can’t think of a single reason why they shouldn’t answer it, but I’m sure they’ll think of one.

While I’m waiting for their response I thought it would be good fun to look at the very latest data available for 2013/14 re MPs’ Expenses and examine some of the trivia.  As this is a public document I have absolutely no problem with Naming and Shaming.

The document contains 10,500 rows of data, a mere trifle really.

1,570 claims were for less than a fiver.  Nearly 15% of MPs’ Expenses claims are for less than a fiver! Does that tell us anything?

Sharon Hodgson MP claimed £4.44 for Maintaining Office Equipment, that’s official speak for Water Cooler Rental.

Nick Gibb MP had two consecutive claims of £2.25 for Computer Hardware Purchase (item not specified)

Nick Smith MP claimed 0.68p (yes, 68 pence) for his Vodafone usage March to April

Chuka Umunna MP claimed 40 pence for a pint of milk for a meeting.  He/She has also claimed for Coffee, Sugar and Water on separate occasions.

Nadine Dorries, the MP that keeps on giving, claimed £2.10 for an assortment of Highlighter pens.  Doesn’t the House of Commons have a stationery cupboard?

I’m sure you’re getting the picture.

David Cameron’s claims seem to consist mainly claiming back 25% contributions towards his Parliamentary Assistant’s mobile phone bill.

Gorgeous George Osborne has only made two claims, for rental of his Blackberry.

Our old friend Cruella doesn’t seem to claim expenses.

All pretty mundane really, and the full document is readily available from the IPSA website, my point is this;

What a greedy bunch they must be if they have to claim for pints of milk and highlighter pens etc.  There are loads more examples but I’m sure you don’t want to read all of them.  If they have spent the money then I presume that rules entitle them to claim the money back, although I’m sure in the case of milk, highlighter pens etc, other suitable alternatives were probably available.  I just have difficulty, from a personal point of view, understanding the mentality of someone on a hefty salary actually bothering to reclaim 40 pence, but I mustn’t criticise too heftily for following the rules.

Out of 10,500 claims for Expenses only ONE was unpaid, because it did not come under the Expenses Scheme, and that was by Harriett Baldwin MP, for £45 in relation to a  Bryansk delegation.  Bryansk is apparently a city in Russia, known for steel and machinery manufacture amongst other things.

Just like yesterday, if you want to know what YOUR MP is claiming for, ask me nicely and I might just tell you, or you can download the whole picture from the IPSA website.

I can’t help thinking though, that it’s time the whole system was overhauled again, with proper external, independent scrutiny and accountability.  Self-Regulation just doesn’t seem to be working. Parliament seem to think that they can change Terms and Conditions at will, let them have some of it please.

MPs’ Expenses Bill Soars To Almost £100m

Well, there’s a headline to start the week with.  If you’re feeling charitable please feel free to forward new quills to Angry Towers, this one’s getting worn out.

It took me quite a while to locate the document referred to in this article on Sky News, but I found it in the end.  IPSA may be ‘transparent’, but they certainly don’t believe in making it easy to find stuff, but while I was squirrelling I did find reference to a Freedom of Information Request which relates to MPs renting from other MPs.  I don’t know about you but I’d love to read that, trouble is that all their #FOI correspondence is published under a reference number, making it difficult to locate a specific enquiry, but as an infrequent betting man my money would be on “Refused to Answer” or “Information Not Held”.

Going back to the matter in hand, the Sky Headline is a tad misleading (no surprises there) but not too inaccurate.

It’s not just MPs Expenses which constitutes the £100 million but a shed load of other stuff as well.

You can choose from;

  • Constituency Office Spend
  • Accommodation Spend
  • TravelSubSpend
  • Staffing Spend
  • Winding Up Spend (I quite like that one)
  • Startup Spend
  • Misc Spend [sic]
  • StaffingPayroll

Then there’s a few really interesting columns where they have to declare things like

  • Connected Party
  • Connected Party Salary
  • Connected Party Job

Three of our illustrious MPs actually claim salaries for TWO members of their family etc, including the ever-present Nadine Dorries, who never seems to be out of our news.  She appears to have claimed for her two daughters, Philippa and Jennifer as her Office Manager and Senior Secretary respectively, but Philippa may have now left.  Mind you £40-£45,000 is not bad money for an Office Manager.

My own MP, up here in DeadBadgerShire seems to employ his wife as his Senior Parliamentary Assistant at a salary of £30-£35,000 in addition to his own salary of £100,000+.  When’s the next General Election? I might stand.

So, getting back to the £100,000,000.

This is made up of

Constituency Office – £10,400,00

Accommodation – £6,640,000

Travel – £4,215,000

Staffing – £2,425,000

Winding Up – £10,662

Start Up – £25,645

Miscellaneous – £56,000

Salaries – £74,000,000

TOTAL SPEND £97,644,635  and I believe that wives, girlfriends, sons, daughters etc cost extra to this figure.

So as you can see, it’s not all simple expenses, but a bloody lot of money nevertheless.

And whilst we’re on the subject of MPs expenses, I butted into someone else’s conversation this morning about MPs claiming Council Tax as an Expense.

It took me about 2 minutes to discover that in 2012 there were 990 claims for Council Tax totalling £255,550.

I also noted a bit of sneaking by IPSA.  They publish these figures in spreadsheets which you can easily (?) download.  Most people I know process spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel which has a physical limit of 65,536 rows of data, but the spreadsheet for 2012-2013 contains 99,069 rows of data, which means that most people will miss about 33,000 rows of data (claims), about one third of the total.

A cursory examination of the 99,069 claims for EXPENSES by MPs last year shows that they totalled £14,600,543 of which only £3,105 was unpaid for whatever reason.  I’m not quite sure what that tells me, but in olden times that would suggest that if a form had a signature on it the claim was paid. But I might be wrong, our MPs might just be very good at submitting Expenses claims and get them right almost every time.

But of the claims NOT paid I was particularly impressed by one North West MP who had one claim for £3 rejected on the basis that it was a Duplicate Claim.  Fair Enough. What was it for? I hear you ask. Window Cleaning at his office.  Send that Window Cleaner round here, I’ll pay £3 to get my windows cleaned.

How much is YOUR MP costing the country?  Ask me nicely and I might just tell you