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The Hansard Trawl, featuring 'miscellaneous plots', villainous OAPs and some rather good slap downs

Why am I never asked these things?:

"Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s most recent opinion poll data are on public opinion on the retention of the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 22 June 2009]: Questions on the retention of the UK’s nuclear deterrent were included in the public poll on perceptions of the Ministry of Defence and UK armed forces conducted in December 2003.

The following figures were collated for the public opinion poll on whether the UK should keep its nuclear weapons: 8 per cent. strongly agreed, 35 per cent. tended to agree, 25 per cent. tended to disagree,9 per cent. strongly disagreed"

So some 23% just cannot muster the effort to come up with an opinion. Tis a minor tragedy that there is not the fun of a French-style full demographic breakdown.

Sometimes I think that a great deal of Parliamentary time could be saved by honourable members acquainting themselves with basic reference works or letting loose the google monster:

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which parliamentary constituencies have airports wholly or partly within their boundaries.

See what I mean
? Mr Robertson represents Tewkesbury, an airportless constituency. Perhaps he needed his memory jogging ahead of a letter to his electorate.

I am indebted to Dominic Grieve for asking a question of Jack Straw that facilitated part of of my headline.

"Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how much surplus land (a) his Department and (b) its agencies had in each year since the Department was established"

The 'miscellaneous plots' are parcels of land, rather than the usual attempted backstabbings.

The place for septuagenarian, octogenarian and for all I know, nonagenarian and centenerian lags are Whatton, Littlehey, Wymott, Wandsworth, Hull and Albany nicks, all housing at least 20 prisoners of that description. I lack the motivation to calculate percentages and so forth, but instead will restrict myself to wondering whether Sunday evening is TV prime time at these places and there are frequent complaints about shivvings elsewhere interrupting afternoon snoozes.

Further detail shows that over 70% of these aged lags are not cuddly grandfather types, but are doing stir for sex offences. Perhaps we should be impressed that 22 out of the 525 are inside for drug offences and four for robbery.

Oh dear:

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will request the supermarkets to assist in dealing with the consequences of the failure of dairy farmers of Great Britain.

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 23 June 2009]: This is a commercial issue, and we have not specifically asked supermarkets to assist with the consequences of the closure of dairy farmers of Britain.

This would appear to be Ben Wallace, Tory MP for Lancaster. Perhaps he has not read Adam Smith etc lately.

The DCMS is failing to implement best practice on IT security:

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many breaches of information security there have been at (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in the last five years. [281071]

Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department has had nine security incidents over the past five years. Royal Parks, our one agency, has had nine security incidents in the same period.

Maybe hackers were trying to get root that they might get then print off annual passes for sundry attractions.

A bit of a slap down here:

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the merits of holding national elections to determine the UK’s European Commissioner. [281429]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: European Commissioners are required to be: “independent in the performance of their duties” not taking: “instructions from any Government or other institution, body, office or entity”. Any Commissioner put forward can have no given mandate from the UK.

I'm sure we can all think of lots of extraordinarily independent Commissars from these parts in recent times... Anyway, hands up anyone who can name our current Commissar. If the individual concerned had a chin job on expenses, the gaiety of the EU would be vastly increased.

And another slap down:

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on clothing for official visits overseas by members of the Royal Family in 2008-09.

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not pay clothing costs for members of the Royal Family on official overseas travel.

My republican tendencies are well known to regualars, but even I would think it grotesque for Her Maj et al to be sent off to Wagga Wagga, Moosejaw or wherever clad in outfits selected by Milliband's lot.

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Blogger Letters From A Tory said... 8:47 am

To be honest, I think it is grotesque for this country to send David Miliband anywhere.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:52 am

LFAT - I am in at least two minds about that. While Miliband can doubtless embarass the nation and wreck careful diplomacy in a heartbeat while beyond these shores, there is the plus point that he might be refused re-entry.  

Anonymous IanVisits said... 9:03 am

On the issue of OAPs serving time for sex offences, while accepting that there has been a recent upsurge in prosecutions of elderly people for actions carried out decades ago, and hence there should be a higher percentage of old people in jail for such offences...

...if people are also being kept in jail simply because they are deemed the threat to society, I have to wonder if it has occurred to the authorities that one of the sadder aspects of being an OAP is that desires of the flesh become about as likely as a hip hop dancing granny.

I wonder how many of them are in jail for punitive, rather than practical reasons?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:02 am

Ian - Seems highly likely. Doubtless the likes of Sidney Cooke, (82 and counting) are unlikely to ever be released, as they would probably be lynched if they were.  

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