Friday, January 18, 2008

Barbados Report No 9

Up at 7.30. Breakfast in Horizons. 18 holes of golf and lunch in Reefs. Then out for a run - past the golf course, the tennis centre, the marina where the rich boys play, and then on past the dozen or so roadside stalls, where flying fish are gutted and sold. Offshore are a dozen or so little Barbadian fishing boats and circling above with indescribable grace are 7 frigate birds (I think). A dead monkey on the roadside - a surprise, because I have not seen a live one during the 10 dys I've been here. Its beautiful, but I'm starting to think about home. Bought the Telegraph today for the first time since arriving. It was Thursday's and it cost 18 Barbadian dollars. Checking out tomorrow. Should be home in Montgomeryshire in time to read the Sundays around teatime.

There seems to have been much discussion about what an MP is worth while I've been away. Its all rather distasteful. Its a 'free vote' at Westminster, so I don't think I will cause any bother by giving the Davies opinion on this one. I would vote for the salary increase as proposed by the SSRB. Its not sensible to have MPs deciding on their own pay, so it should be left to the Senior Salaries Review Board. What is the point of setting up an 'independent' assessment system - and then ignoring it. But I do think that those who express disquiet about MP's remuneration packages do so with good reason - except that its not the basic salary that they should be looking at.

This blog has consistently condemned the 'Communications Allowance' which I have previously described as a 'Sitting MP's Re-election Slush Fund'. Its a cool ten thousand per annum, and I've seen it used in the most disgraceful way - printing and posting glossy leaflets lauding the MP's acheivements just when a General Election is about to be called. And the biggest disgrace is that its entirely legal. I hope that the next Conservative Government will scrap this outrageous waste of taxpayer's money. I also reckon that the pension arrangements are too generous - especially since this is one area where most other people's pension plans have taken a big hit. And thirdly, I do not think there is any case for an increase in staffing allowance, which is already nigh on one hundred thousand per annum. MPs already have a tendency to become too involved in matters which should rightly be issues for local councils and devolved institutions. The sun is still shining here in Barbados, and I read that Peter Hain is still Secretary of State for Wales, although I understand that he has received the uusually fatal support of Lembit Opik. Won't be long now Peter. I recommend Barbados when you have a bit more time for holidays.


Prasit said...

Can you believe the tosh Glyn Davies is peddling?
Do you think the Bajan sun has got to him?
Can this man be up for the job as an MP?
We think not, you hear us cry!!
The Councillors are in the main not up to it!
Pack it in Glyn and behave your self.

Anonymous said...

Glyn - MPs have an overarching responsibility. Do you really think that they want to get involved in the drains and pavements stuff that councillors and AMs deal with?

If, however, a constituent wants them to do so they have a duty to get stuck in.

Get out of assembly mode and start thinking like an MP.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn, I believe Lembit Opik qualified his support for Hain by arguing that he was really speaking out in favour of a maintaining a strong democracy. The last time democracy was seriously compromised in Europe various pieces of art work were redacted, gold fillings collected, and lots of money deposited in Suisse banks. Extrapolating tongue-in-cheek from Lembit's fatal support for democracy, should swash-bucklers be buying stock in Swiss banks?

Anonymous said...

MPs are representatives of their constituents; they deal with what ever those people want. Even if it is just referring them on to better help. Anon you seem to suggest that AMs are inferior to MPs what a load of tosh. I think that politics needs a good shake up and politicians should have a job description and training in what their job is all about.

savonarola said...

Lets get to the important issue. What was your score?

alanindyfed said...

Shouldn't the Pensions Minister be pensioned off? But St Helena would be more appropriate than Barbados, IMO.

peredur said...

VM -

They obviously ARE inferior... don't understand your point.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn: are you managing to follow the US primaries? To recap, you predicted, "Hilary Clinton will be elected the first female President of the United States, beating Mike Huckabee in a close and bitter election. She will prove to be a disaster and will last only one term."

Of course hindsight reconstruction is a wonderful thing, but while the vast majority of delegates are yet to be grabbed, I think Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and Mitt Romney the Republican nomination unless something 'big happens'. If there's a huge terrorist incident on US soil then McCain could beat out Mitt Romney, but the event would have to occur before the vast majority of delegate votes are tied down.

I think there's a chance that Hillary Clinton's camp will screw up and make Obama's supporters very angry for "distorting Obama's record". Imho, Obama worries the GOP more than Hilliary, the GOP thinks Hilliary will galvanize Republican voters and bring out the GOP vote enmasse.

Glyn Davies said...

prasit - if you don't like it, don't read it - though I prefer it if you do and tell me what you disagree with. On the one point you do make, I know a lot of councillors who are very much 'up to' the responsibilities that they have. I posted about a good Berriew Councillor friend of mine, Sydney Pritchard CBE who died three weeks ago and was the best public representative that I ever worked with - at any level.

anon - Not all MPs are the same of course, but I think many do want to become too involved in the 'drains and pavements stuff' - and a lot of it is just camara chasing. Of course an MP must respond to all queries, as does an AM - but the right course is to involve the tier where responsibility lies.

christopher - Must admit that I didn't actually hear what he said.

VM - I think your approach is the same as mine. I just think that MPs and AMs have to be careful not to try to take over local authority issues.

Savonarola - I regret to say that I am a 28 handicap golfer (normally playing about 3 times a year) and invariably lose out to Mrs D who is very accurate - but I did par the last two holes we played, so you could say that I'm on a roll.

Alan - I've been a bit out of things - but I must say that I've very surprised that he has retained his position - and I don't think it will last.

Peredur - there are some very good and some poor MPs, AMs and almost everything else. I just don't agree with you when you say that AMs are inferior.

Christopher - I still think Clinton will win the nomination - but Huckabee has not moved on as I expected, and seems to be in 4th place at the moment. However, if Macain wins the nomination, I think he has a better chance of beating Clinton than anyone else. But of course Rudi has not showed his hand yet. I still think she would be a disastrous President.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I think you are right about Hillary Clinton; she will do "a Carter" and survive for only one term as President. I agree with you that McCain would be her stiffest opponent. I am wondering if Obama will run with Hillary as VP, if so, the Hillary-Obama ticket will beat even a McCain-x duo. Hillary has to be very careful to avoid doing Obama down, if Obama's supporters see Hillary's camp doing him down they will likely not come out and vote for Hillary-x duo come election day, but they would come out and vote for a Hillary-Obama ticket.

Obama has some issues back in Chicago to deal with - his name is linked to a Federal trial against Rezko, a former organizer and supporter of Obama. The same guy that put Libby on trial, the previous Illinois governor on trial, many of "Daley' Men" on trial (the Mayor of Chicago). By fluke I got my law degree from the same law school as Mayor Daley, and I was a lawyer in Chicago (I'm still an Illinois lawyer and had lawyer clients in Chicago that I did work for); I relocated to the Washington DC area to set up my own law firm (with a New York lawyer).

There's a lot more going on in the DC area, plenty of scope for making deals, probably on Manhattan offers more scope for making deals, but Manhattan office rates remain well out of my league. But my business partner is a New York lawyer, and we got offered office space across the Hudson in New Jersey - so we might open up a second office if the right deal comes along.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Opps ... an incomplete sentence or a badly typed one (I should but don't proof read what I type to your site, perhaps I should start to do that!) ... anyway,

"The same guy that put Libby on trial, the previous Illinois governor on trial, many of "Daley' Men" on trial (the Mayor of Chicago)."

Should have read,

"The same guy (prosecutor) that put Libby on trial, the previous Illinois governor on trial, many of the "Daley Men" on trial (Daley is the Mayor of Chicago) is the same prosecutor in charge of the prosecution team in the upcoming Rezko trial."