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The Hansard Trawl, featuring where not to get stabbed, plant life at the Exchequer and Denis MacShane saying something sensible

From Hansard.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reported incidents of (a) attempted murder, (b) wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and (c) wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent by use of a knife or sharp instrument there have been in each police force area in each year since 1997:

(Blah)

And the places with double figures for attempted murder are London (59), Gtr Manchester (20), the West Midlands (14), West Yorkshire (10) and Kent (10). Dorset, Lincs and South Wales all saw no attempted murders by knife. One was least likely to suffer knife-related GBH in Surrey, Norfolk, Cumbria, Gloucestershire, North Yorkshire and the City at 25 instances or fewer.

Elsewhere
, the grim business of child abuse prosecutions in 2007 shows that London was the worst (452), while Northamptonshire would look to the best place, relatively, to be a small person with 11 prosecutions.

'Our friends the Saudis'
:

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of UK-Saudi Arabia relations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Relations between the UK and Saudi Arabia are strong. Saudi Arabia is a key regional ally. Our long history of friendship, understanding and cooperation covers regional and international issues, counter terrorism, education, energy security, trade and investment. It is a broad-based and important relationship, which the Government are committed to maintaining and developing.

Characterised by kow-towing on our part and excusing it any and every excess. I'll just quote Menachem Begin here - 'Saudi Arabia isn't a country, it's a family'. Or words to that effect.

And back to the trivial:

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on pot plants in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury spent £12,812 in 2007-08 and £12,564 in 2008-09 on the provision, supply and maintenance of potted plants displayed in the common areas of 1 Horse Guards Road, including the external courtyards, the reception of the building and some office spaces.

I imagine the upas tree, as 'celebrated' in literature, must be the main plant in those parts.


Meanwhile, the fluoridation fanatics seem to have given up the ghost:

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many letters his Department received requesting fluoridation of the public water supply in each year since 2000. [282243]

Ann Keen: Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 made strategic health authorities responsible for responding to requests to fluoridate a water supply. We have no record of any letters requesting the Department to fluoridate a water supply since 2000.

And if that 'since 2000' don't fetch 'em, I don't know Arkansaw....

More bizarre subbing:

NHS: Stress

And what does this refer to?:

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether provision is made within the NHS for staff training in meditation techniques.

Gillian Merron: This information is not held centrally as any decision to provide staff training in meditation techniques, would be taken locally.

Erm...

The underappreciated PR peons at DFID:

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many press releases his Department has issued in the last 12 years.

Mr. Michael Foster: According to departmental records, the Department for International Development (DFID) has issued 633 press releases since January 2004.

DFID's press release archive does not go further back than this.

And there they were thinking that they were making at least a small dent in eternity.

Strange things are afoot at Turtle Bay:

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2009, Official Report, column 1W, on United Nations: females, what proposals his Department has put forward for the (a) remit and (b) leadership of a United Nations Agency for Women; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government are arguing for the creation of a single powerful agency for women, merging existing bodies, with a strong visible leader.

OK...

The EU has been a missing a trick, but not for much longer:

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information about the EU his Department provides to primary schools for teaching purposes.

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department does not provide information about the European Union to schools. The proposed new primary curriculum, which is being consulted on, will provide opportunities for children to learn about Europe and the European Union. For example pupils should be taught about links between local, British, European and world history.

Can't the poor wretches be left to their finger painting and so forth?

And in debates, Denis MacShane says something righteous:

Mr. Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab): As the Foreign Secretary correctly says, it is a matter for the people of Iran to choose their own Government, but it is also a matter for the rest of the world that President Ahmadinejad exports anti-Semitism, exports fundamentalist terrorism, that he may, if he gets nuclear weapons, export some of those, and that he also exports regional instability. We must be much firmer and actually call this gentleman for what he is.

Doubtless he will be back to his bad old ways presently.

And in the Lords, I have been robbed of the opportunity for some harmless amusement:

Lord Laird To ask Her Majesty's Government what countries they monitor for potential human rights abuses.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): I refer to the Answer given to the noble Lord on 15 June 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 182-83), which explains the Government's approach to reporting on international human rights and foreign policy. As such, the Government do not set or maintain a list of countries where it monitors human rights abuses, potential or actual.

Shame that.


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