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A spot of Hansard filleting


"Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Cheadle of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 399W, on railways: mobility, for what reasons his Department has not advertised to promote rail services generically in support of the Government’s climate change and social exclusion objectives".

Fortunately Chris Mole (who he?) was in place to slap him down:

Chris Mole [holding answer 8 June 2009]: Advertising rail services is a matter primarily for the train operating companies. The Government provide information to consumers and businesses on the emissions impact of their journeys and ways that these can be mitigated. Our aim is to help people make informed choices, and whatever their chosen mode of transport, to make it safe, reliable and accessible and to reduce its environmental impact.

And I should think so too. I am intrigued by advertising trains as a way of social exclusion, and challenge interested parties to better this effort: "Trains. They are great - you can walk through first class, no stopping mind, and see how the other half live. In cattle class you can peer over the shoulder of your neighbour and read his or her newspaper, suffer a constant barrage of idiotic chatter on mobile phones and random noises from MP3 players. Tickets are available at your nearest Network Rail showroom or on that there interweb".

Someone, somewhere, has not been reading the papers:

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK-licensed plant protection products contain glyphosate as the active ingredient; and which adjuvants and other additives there are in each such product.

Huw Irranca-Davies: Excepting the identity and amount of active ingredient, and the type of formulation, the formulation details of plant protection products, including adjuvants and other co-formulants, are commercially confidentiality and cannot be released. At present there are 216 UK-licensed plant protection products which contain glyphosate as the active ingredient. The names of these are listed along with their registration numbers:

(long list of products)

Woolworths Path and Patio WeedKiller Spray

Where, pray, is one going to find that?

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will consider the merits of instructing Government Departments to use budget hotel accommodation for the purposes of overnight stays on official business by Ministers and civil servants. [277901]

Angela E. Smith: Ministers and civil servants are required under the “Ministerial Code” and the “Civil Service Management Code” to make the most efficient and cost effective travel arrangements.

So that's a 'no' then.

HM Treasury's website is not cheap, in terms of maintenance costs per visitor:

Seven pence per unique visitor this year, four pence last year and five pence in 2006-2007

The art of not answering the question:

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what date he next expects public sector debt to come below 40 per cent. of gross domestic product.

Mr. Byrne: In the current global environment of uncertainty, our focus is on ensuring that debt is on a downwards path in the medium term. And we have set out clear plans to do precisely that.

And wouldn't we all like to know.

Big ask of the day:

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it a requirement of the school curriculum that all children between school years 7 and 11 are taught British history from the period prior to the Roman Conquest to the end of the 20th century; and if he will make a statement.

Much though I approve of the teaching of history (YT got straight As at O and A. /Preening), I rather doubt that the average primary school child will acquire much in depth knowledge of a period of around 2000 years. A mere four centuries per academic year....

Meanwhile, the entire nation of Wales is in a rage:

"Hywel Williams: I thank the Under-Secretary of State for that answer. Does he share my outrage, and that of people throughout Wales, including my hon. Friend the Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd), at the treatment of a young Patagonian visitor, Miss Evelyn Calcabrini? She travelled for 35 hours to get to Heathrow, but was summarily ejected and sent back".


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