"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Sunday Round-up

Jacqui Smith lobbies to become Vice-President of the BBC Trust Two and a half days a week @ £77k pa and all the expenses she can trough.
British banks doing well   [Lloyds] is expected to report a pre-tax profit of £800m, which stands in stark contrast to its £4bn pre-tax first-half loss in 2009. It also remains on track to meet its targeted full-year 2 per cent net interest margin – a measure which banks use to gauge profitability. And with the share price closing on Friday at 69.26p, the Government and the UK taxpayer, which hold a 41 per cent stake, are sitting on a paper profit of around £1.9bn.
Cameron: changing British politics forever  The PM is drawing up secret plans to replace the old-style Conservative constituency chairmen with a new breed of expert campaign organisers. 
Left-wing Fawcett Society takes govt to court Papers filed on Friday claim that Treasury officials broke the law by failing to carry out an assessment of whether the plans for heavy spending cuts would hit women hardest.
Plans for new Iranian embassy cause consternation. Prince Charles has been asked to intervene to stop the development of the embassy and Islamic cultural centre, described as 'hideous', 'attention-seeking', 'catastrophic' and 'strident'.
al-Zadari's visit still on High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan said he had dissuaded members of the UK's one million-strong Pakistani community from staging their own impromptu protests on the streets of Britain.
Latest in Labour leadership battle The shadow foreign secretary raised fears that Labour could be in the wilderness for over a decade unless it got its act together.
New laws aimed at gypsies & travellers will affect us all Eric Pickles, the communities and local government minister, is drafting new laws to allow police more powers to evict and arrest people for trespass on public land.
Minority Report-style billboards being developed IBM claims that its technology will help prevent consumers from being subjected to a barrage of irritating advertising because they will only be shown adverts for products that are relevant to them. The system works by using the same kind of wireless technology tags found in Oyster Cards – the travel cards used on the London Underground.
More info gleaned from WikiLeaks - the "unwinnable" war It emerged last week that a British general told the Government in July 2006 that front-line commanders wanted better-protected vehicles so they could carry out missions "without unnecessary casualties". But an internal Ministry of Defence report shows that only weeks into the conflict, in 2003, members of the Royal Military Police (RMP) complained about the "risk" they had faced travelling in Snatch and the need for vehicles that offered better protection.
Whitehall's 'redeployment pools' 2,400 staff in "redeployment pools" are being paid but have no role. In January, the Ministry of Defence had 1,525 officials with no role, including about 60 who had, in effect, been jobless for at least two years.
MPs envious of civil servants' pay Backbench MPs were 'appalled' to learn their £65,738 salary is small beer for the parliamentary officials - including the famous ‘men in tights’ clerks. No fewer than 17 officials are on six-figure salaries, with some of the bureaucrats also sitting on huge pension pots all funded by the taxpayer.
UKBA overpaid asylum seekers' benefits Officials found that a system designed to stop payments as soon as a decision was made for asylum support to be ceased had not operated as intended, meaning the cash continued to be paid out. £9.6 million was overpaid in 2008/09 and £3.5 million in 2009/10.
GMB joins the fight against the Alternative Vote In a move that will put the union at odds with Ed Miliband, its preferred candidate for Labour leader, the union's general secretary, Paul Kenny, will play an active role in opposing the alternative vote in the referendum.
Welfare reforms under fire The National Housing Federation (NHF) claimed the plan to impose a cap on housing benefit payments amounted to an "onslaught on the vulnerable", which would cost more than 900,000 low-paid people an average of £624 a year – forcing them into debt or homelessness.
Tessa Munt in more hot water Already accused of making false council tax claims the LibDem MP was last night facing fresh questions about her conduct after the wife of a local GP claimed the politician had a secret affair with her husband - and lied about her living arrangements.
Cameron's nu-speak The civil service guide says that the emphasis is no longer on England being ‘the best place in the world to grow up’, but should be on Britain being ‘the most family-friendly place in Europe’.
The farce of the European Arrest Warrant  [Garry Mann] began a 24-month term in a prison in Portugal, after the authorities there changed their mind last year and decided he should be jailed after all and so issued an EAW: a fast-track, no-questions-asked extradition procedure introduced in 2002 to tackle terrorism cases.

Around the world:

Hitchens in Turkey ... a curious echo of warnings from European conservatives that a new continent called 'Eurabia' is taking shape around the shores of the Mediterranean, which will in the end mean the Islamisation of northern Europe.
"Pakistan is the true enemy"   "It is Pakistan that trains, funds and leads them. When we capture their fighters they confess that they are trained in Pakistan. The Pakistanis find religious boys, give them weapons, and send them across the border into Afghanistan to kill us, and to kill your British soldiers."
More trouble brewing in Greece "Tourists should learn that Greece is no longer a safe haven of capitalism. We intend to turn it into a war zone of revolutionary activity with arson, sabotage, violent demonstrations, bombings and assassinations, and not a country that is a destination for holidays and pleasure."
US govt has been targeting WikiLeaks for a long time Assange said he was undeterred by the attacks, and that traditional journalism had vacated a space into which WikiLeaks was stepping. "We are creating a space behind us that permits a form of journalism which lives up to the name that journalism has always tried to establish for itself."
Michelle Obama holidays in Marbella
Gillard could lose Australian election
'Slebs' withdraw support for Deepwater petition and link to the 1'40" video

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