About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I just ran the BBC Budget calculator and it gave me a slightly surprising result; the only problem is that this takes no account of the effect of the VAT rise. I think my VAT bill will rise by more than £87 thus I will pay more, c'est la vie.

The indications are that you will be £85.75 better off.

Breakdown of difference

2010/11 £ 2011/12 £Difference £
Income tax5975.005775.00£200.00
National insurance 3012.353126.60£-114.25

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, etc

Tonight I went with butcher boy and the tattooed drinker to see Spamalot at the kings in Glasgow - a great show - good acting, some cracking songs and good comedy laughs - some scripted, some not!

The show really needs you to gfo to enjoy it fully - but there are some great audio clips at http://www.spamalotontour.co.uk/media/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I was reading Tom Harris' blog and tweets yesterday - he's a nice guy it seems, though quite institutionalised into Westminister. http://www.tomharris.org.uk/2010/06/15/carry-on-ipsa/#comments set me thinking

One thing I do wonder about is why MPs do casework. Would the transfer of this to CAB style organisations, and MPs concentrate on passing laws, debates and select committees improve our level of scrutiny and accountability. We seem to have confused the role of being our representative in parliament with being our highest representative to the executive organs of the government.

I guess this started, as in councils etc, when an elected member had a word on behalf of one of their friends / family with a civil servant in a bid to sort out a difficult situation or area of maladministration. However it has now progressed to the regular advice surgeries, which are to sort out housing, benefits etc not a forum for discussion on policy. Thus MPs seem to spend more time dealing with the fall out from poor legislation that debating and scrutinising to prevent poor legislation being written.

Personally I am amazed that a bill can make the statute books when it has not been picked over by all MPs clause by clause. With fewer public meetings and such fora for the constituent to tell the MP what their views are, how can the MP represent constituents - the answer I feel comes down to manifesto & pressure groups.

Manifesto - you vote for a list of national pledges and policies put forward by that candidate / party. This tends to mitigate against people standing up for their constituency interest where it conflicts with national party policy unless they are a seasoned and strong willed MP, but as party machines tighten their hold on seat selection etc, this may be waning.

Pressure groups - he who shouts loudest gets to influence policy? The postcard campaigns, emails, Fb groups and petitions etc which are undertaken to push a particular issue are the ones more likely to get an MPs attention perhaps especially with their high profile media and lobbying - most have a parliamentary officer, whom I am sure is doing more than just monitoring hansard for relevant comments.

Ah well back to BBC parliament to watch the IPSA debate!


I have decided that to make my flat more homely for starting work, I need to move all my old Uni notes into stopre so that I can have the current ones in the cupboard and then clear stuff out the living room to where the current notes live.

Thus I have been today measuring up at my Safestore Unit, and providing butcher boy with a temporary storage facility for his stuff. packing stuff up however tends to lead to some values judgements about the worth of the item being packed - can it be binned? thus so far; 3 bin bags of rubbish as well as 5 boxes of stuff have been sorted - this I think is about 30% of the stuff sorted!

hopefully this will free my living area to be a living area now i will have less work to do!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Sorry for the radio silence, I was away this past weekend down in london, meeting good friends, and family and such like. It was generally sunny and such like (it rained on Monday) and quite warm though nothing like the awful humidity last august.

On Thursday, after arrival I checked in then went down to Oxford St to buy some new shoes - to replace the ones i bought there last August - somehow I only find time to buy shoes when in London! I then picked up some other essentials and an extra phone charging battery thing. Then wandered home via the amazing St pancras Station; on the way passing the National Homeopathy Hospital and other medical stuff .

Friday saw me visiting the Imperial War Museum, and the London Bridge area for some lunch before jumping a train out to see my cousin & family. I haven;t seen her for almost 2 years now, so it was good to catch up with her and her husband over a curry and some beer watching the football; and also meet her newest daughter and renew acquaintance with the older daughter. they have just moved into a new house, which is pretty big (IMO) for inner London - nice sized rooms and a good sized garden, and very close to a station, allowing a quick trip back to the hotel.

On Saturday I was due to meet school friends Anna, Rach and Pete at tate modern in Southwark at noon. This was interesting due to some strange combinations of tube lines being closed; but we all made it, except Pete who had life delays. So we went for a nice walk around the Tate, seeing modern, impressionist, abstract and pother art forms - some was very good, some was interesting and some was a bit 'Huh'; we then headed over to St Paul's for a nice lunch and met up with Pete before wandering along for some drinks in a nice Samuel Smith's pub with its own ales and ciders - very tasty. Rach had to leave us but Pete invited Anna and I back to his flat for some tea - sausage and mash, a Pete classic - by combination of Tube and bus we reached his enclave in North London - with a view (just) of Essex. The day roudned off heading back into London, me to my hotel and Anna onward to Slough

Sunday was my big adventure; at lunchtime I headed to paddington to get the train to Slough to meet Anna and we headed for Windsor, after commenting (like 2 old people) about the dress sense (or not) or the Slough teenagers. In Windsor we picked up some tasty lunch - a roast beef dinner no less, in the Carpenters arm - a nice eaterie bar with a great view of the 'Crooked house'. the afternoon was really warm, so we started with a walk into the the 'Long Walk' of Windsor Great Park, and then back to a park for ice cream and a walk along the River, passing what we dubbed 'the Queen's kebab shop'; for it is opposite the back door to the castle! An early departure for London saw me walking from Paddington back to my hotel - approx 3 miles, through touristy boits of London which were becoming quieter as evening fell, including the University College Hospital which looks more like a bank headquarters, the Guardian building, British library and such like.

Monday was a touristy day, I dropped my case at the station and went to the British Museum, out to the Olympic site at Stratford, back via London Bridge to Picadilly, and then up Regent Street to the BBC and up to Regents Park and the Zoo, before heading through the rain to the Wellcome collection and then the train home.