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The Hansard trawl, with added DPRK

From Hansard, obviously enough:

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether the plutonium production reactor at Yonbyong in North Korea was based on the published blueprints of the first generation Magnox reactors developed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority;

Bill Rammell: We do not know whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. The reactor at Yongbyon, while much smaller, has generic similarities to certain UK Magnox reactors, design information for which has been in the public domain for over 30 years.

There was I wondering whether Rammell would be puffed up with pride at the glories of our magnox reactors, guffawing at the DPRK for being so very trailing edge or something equally dramatic. Alas no.

Before pressing on, it is worth noting that ex ministers have an afterlife in the Hansard written answers pages, and La Flint (inter alia) was still dodging questions, engaging in flummery and so forth yesterday. Maybe even great horrors than the Spalding abattoir opening have been inflicted on Jane Kennedy. A nation waits.

The wretched Olympics:

Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent discussions she has had with representatives of local authorities on their involvement in sporting and cultural activities which embody the spirit of the London 2012 Olympics.

How does one embody the spirit of wild unpopularity and grotesque expense? Alas Tessa Jowell gave an answer too dull to merit inclusion.

A little bit of semi-local interest:

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of (a) purchasing and (b) installing the interim fencing at Kenley airfield is. [278585]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The cost of purchasing and delivering the pedestrian safety barriers to Kenley airfield was £11,250 excluding VAT. The labour costs associated with installation were £425 excluding VAT. RAF personnel also assisted with installation.

Airfields, generally speaking, are quite big, so should I ever need anything fencing I'm hiring those contractors - £425 to fence in an airfield seems like a major bargain.

MPs seem to have got bored with the 'how many mobile phones have been lost by department X' questions, so hats off to Liam Fox for coming up with a new line in 'lost' questions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) weapons and (b) rounds of ammunition for which (i) his Department has and (ii) the armed forces have responsibility have gone missing in the last 12 months; and what the cost was of the loss of such weapons and ammunition.

And the answer is five pistols, six rifles, one sub machine-gun and three machine guns, with a collective value of £22,000. No answer to the ammo question. From tales one hears of wars in Africa and elsewhere, I suspect the MoD are paying somewhat more than current street prices for weapons. I would think that any self-respecting guerilla leader could outfit at least a platoon, if armed with £22,000 in crumpled fivers.

Punchy response o' the day:

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will provide funding for travel and accommodation for stakeholders to attend the meeting on civil plutonium policy being held at Manchester Airport on 21 May 2009.

Mr. Mike O'Brien: No.

Good for Mo'B.

So much for Denis 'maximum wage' MacShane being a good European:

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to encourage local authorities to buy British-made cars for official use.

Mr. Khan: Subject to their legal duties, including European procurement law and the duty of best value, local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions.


St Helena is dying, albeit slowly:

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effects of not building an airport on St. Helena on the island’s population.

Mr. Michael Foster: Demographic studies, carried out as part of the 2005 Feasibility Study, suggest that in the absence of air access, the population of St. Helena will decline by around 1.5 per cent. a year.

Running the numbers suggests that by 2560 there will be 0.998 of a St Helenan left.

Head scratcher o' the day:

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to adapt to climate change in the last two years.

Mr. Wills: All Departments are actively involved in the cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme, which aims to help society adapt to climate change. The role of the programme is to develop and provide a comprehensive evidence base including adaptation tools, to raise awareness of the need to adapt, to measure success and to work across Government at all levels to embed adaptation.

Erm, is 'It's a fair a cop but climate change's to blame' going to be the standard response when a crook gets collared? Perhaps plans are more prosaic, and will involve lighter wigs for the judiciary.

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Blogger JuliaM said... 11:06 am

"How does one embody the spirit of wild unpopularity and grotesque expense? "

Surely, a Minister could just look round the benches to answer that question...?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:15 am

Once again a doff of the fedora for Julia's unfailing ability to nail things in one sentence.  

Blogger JuliaM said... 4:56 pm

You set me up for all the best lines, though... ;)  

Blogger Croydonian said... 7:03 pm

You are too kind.  

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