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The Hansard trawl, featuring the prospect of manifest destiny for sheep, the govt messing with my pint and sick sailors

The demon drink:

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has to restrict the means by which business may promote alcohol consumption.

Mr. Alan Campbell :(blah) Ministers have not yet taken any final decisions on the content of the mandatory code but some of the measures we are consulting on include: banning offers like “all you can drink for £10”; outlawing pubs and bars offering promotions to certain groups, such as “women drink free” nights; banning staff dispensing alcohol directly into customers’ mouths; requiring that consumers are able to make informed choices when they buy alcohol; and requiring bars and pubs to offer smaller measures available for customers who want them.

The last one suggests much scope for mischief. Who fancies ordering a thimbleful of C18th Chateau Lafite at the Savoy? Also, informed choice - does this mean the bar staff will be hectoring the poor belaguered drinker. Incidentally, my local plays host to a gent who has been drinking there since 1940 - an example to us all.

Weird Hansard subbing of the day: 'Police Community Support Officers: Clothing'. That refers to this - 'Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers were assaulted while on duty in each of the last three years'. (Scratches head in bewilderment)

The Senior Servive makes its Jolly Jack Tars sick
, or at least sicker than does the RAF, with 12.8% of the former either Not fully fit for task or unfit for task. It is 11.9% for the Fly Boys.

Non-answer o' the day:

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many hours he spent on his ministerial duties in the seven-day period beginning Sunday 7 June 2009.

Dan Norris: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) had a full diary of official duties.

Naturally... I think we should make them fill out timesheets, the results would make Troughgate look like very small potatoes if completed honestly, and if the sheets included codes for 'plotting', 'anonymous briefings to do down colleagues', 'daydreaming about being PM' etc. Suggestions along the same lines would be welcome.

And the sheep will inherit if not the earth, than at least the following places: Devon, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland, as judging from the answer to this - 'what estimate has been made of the number of sheep in each county in England' they have clear cut sheep majorities. Mackems should be comparatively safe if the sheep rise up, as there are a mere 223 of them in the City of Sunderland.

Hackney is not a big enough problem for Diane Abbott:

"Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist women and girls in Africa whose employment and education is jeopardised by the recession".

And African men, and come to that, Latin American women can go to hell for all she cares, presumably.

Something very creepy has been happening to a child near you:

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the results of the National Child Measurement Programme for 2008-09 to be published.

Gillian Merron: The NHS Information Centre will publish the results of the National Child Measurement Programme for 2008-09 in December 2009


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