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Some unconsidered trifles from Hansard.

That special relationship, which we all know about and the Americans have never heard of, much like the French will shrug in that way they have if told about 'the Auld Alliance':

"Asked by Lord Laird: To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the nature of the special relationship which they have with the United States; on what basis it occurred; and what are its current benefits.

Good question and worth a proper answer. Not that he got one:

"Lord Malloch-Brown: Our relationship with the US is our single most important bilateral relationship. It is based on shared values, working together to tackle threats to international security, advancing global stability and encouraging freedom and democracy. We are close partners in addressing a wide range of issues including the current economic downturn, counterterrorism, homeland security, nuclear non-proliferation and the Middle East peace process.

Elsewhere, Michael Moore (not that one) is concerned about the Caucasus:

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 25 March 2009, Official Report, columns 17-19WS, on conflict resources 2009-10, how much funding will be allocated to conflict prevention in the Caucasus in 2009-10; and if he will make a statement.

Caroline Flint: Approximately £4 million has been allocated to conflict prevention work and international secondments to peacekeeping missions in the Caucasus. This is in addition to the UK's assessed contributions to the UN Peacekeeping mission in Georgia (UNOMiG); and UK contributions to the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy budget and the costs of the Organisation Security and Co-operation in Europe field missions in the region.

Maybe we could arrange for a chalk circle...

And some totally non-partisan spending of public money:

"Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent on media training for each Minister in his Department in each of the last three years; how many sessions have been provided; and who provided such training. [268312]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) on 25 March 2009, Official Report, column 406W. Of the £1,285 total expenditure given in that previous answer, £1,035 was for media training.

Not very good value for money, was it? Eagle is an awful interviewee, and it would remiss of me not to point out that Myners is a Treasury bod.

The truly shocking lack of resiliency of the DoH's website:

"Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions his Department's website has been temporarily unavailable due to a technical problem in each year since 2001

Mr. Bradshaw [...]In March 2007, the Department's website transferred to a new managed service, shared with Directgov. Since then, the Department's website has been temporarily unavailable due to a technical problems as follows; five occasions between March 2007 and December 2007, 11 occasions between January 2008 and December 2008 and four occasions from January 2009 to date".

How many times do you suppose Amazon has fallen over in that time, eh?


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