A Licence To Print Money?
Posted Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 17:00
Just thinking aloud and dabbling with a calcualtor and I have just worked out that every home in Mid Bedfordshire pays its licence fee to fund the salary of Jonathan Ross.
It is reported that he is the BBC's most expensive presenter and is paid the equivalent of £16,000 per day.
This means is takes the Licence Fee of 114 housheolds a day to pay his salary, or over 41,000 households per year!
I wonder how many letters he gets a week, wanting to know how much he earns?
Licence To Thrill?
Posted Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 09:59
It's half term week and my house is full of teenagers. I have been very much alone in my stand on the Brand/Ross issue.
I had to pull the car over last night to give a radio interview whilst four of them glared at me in the rear view mirror. If looks could kill I would have croaked it before I got to the end of the first sentence.
I tried to justify my position as I started up the car and was accused of trying to dumb down creativity. I explained that I was all for freedom of speech, as long as I wasn't paying £140 per year for it to offend me.
Silence from those who have never bought a TV licence and until that moment, didn't know how much one costs.
All has changed this morning as I walked into the sleep-over bedroom, a gaggle of girls laid on the bed huddled around my daughters lap top looking up the transcript and the Brand/Ross interview.
Sophie was the first to crack, an unusual occurrence!
"You were right Nadine" she said to my back as I left the room (defeat is so much easier minus eye contact). "They have been really disgusting and awful and we shouldn't be paying for that."
The rest chimed in with support.
Looks like I'll live to cook another slap up breakfast then!
Mmm, who has won here exactly?
Sharks and Angels
Posted Wednesday, 29 October 2008 at 11:30
I was a little bit upset this morning to see how a short interview I had given, had been written up. It was smutty. For example, my answer to the question "What would you most like to be doing right now" I believe was something like "Having a meal with my girls and everyone I love round one table." That's not what was printed.
Although the interview had been light hearted, my answers had been taken out of context.
The next surprise came when I discovered that I've been quoted in the Mirror and the Guardian with regard to my disgust at the Brand & Ross fiasco and in fact although both left wing BBC supporting newspapers, they are reporting fairly.
Then came a BBC 5 Live interview and the interviewer completely challenged my assertion that you had to dig to find the story on the BBC website at 5pm yesterday. She said 'It led on the 6pm news, second item 5pm'....and so on.
I hadn't mentioned the news, I had specifically said the website, but of course, I wasn't given the chance to say that, and actually, the news coverage was slow to climb up the BBC agenda. I wasn't given the opportunity to say that either.
As politicians we are expected to be at the medias beck and call and yet I have to confess, no matter how many interviews you give - and I have given a huge number now - you can never tell sharks from angels, which makes each and every interview a risky affair.
All Change At Luton
Posted Wednesday, 29 October 2008 at 10:39
Yesterday we debated and voted on the Climate Change Bill. Global warming plays a big part in this debate.
As I sat in the Chamber my phone vibrated with a message from my PA.
It read 'It's snowing quite heavy, Luton covered, trains delayed'. Its October.
Was God having a laugh?
Aunty Beep Off (2)
Posted Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 17:07
Blog update! 5.00pm - Sky News is leading on the Brand and Ross story - however if you go to the BBC News website you have to delve into the Entertainment section to even find the story.
Aunty Beeb Off?
Posted Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 16:07
It should be all over for the BBC. Why do we expect people who are worried about whether or not they can afford their mortgage and Christmas, to pay £140 for a licence fee to hear the vulgar and lewd outpourings of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand?
Each are paid millions - Jonathan Ross reportedly £13 million - of our hard earned money and they use it to offend and disgust one of our most respected actors - their comments regarding his 23 year old granddaughter are just simply disgusting.
It was a pre-recorded programme and the BBC managers are procrastinating, regarding to what action they should take.
Whilst they do that, I hope every member of the British public thinks hard about what the BBC now stands for; and I hope people in my own party who support both the institution of the BBC and the licence fee will ask themselves, why?
Posted Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 12:37
Families, businesses and pensioners across Britain are grimly dealing with the consequences of the economic slow down and often used term, ‘the credit crunch.’ In these circumstances life is hard and is set to get harder - more businesses are failing, unemployment and prices are rising.
Faced with these pressures the government has a duty to act responsibly in the interests of those people who are facing the harsh realities of the economic squeeze. The Prime Minister believes that government borrowing should rise in an attempt to tackle the economic down turn. The problem is, levels of debt – both at a government and personal level – are already too high in this country, meaning we are inadequately prepared for the recession. The latest public debt figures for the last 3 months were £37.6 Billions – a figure higher than that for the whole of the previous year. Government borrowing levels are already out of control and are set to get significantly worse.
In a letter published in one of the national newspapers last Sunday, a group of leading economists criticised the government’s proposals to spend its way out of the recession as misguided. In particular they argued a large and expensive public works programme would be too risky, as it could lead to the state taking such a dominant position, that once the recession is over, the ability of businesses and commerce in the private sector to recover would be severely stunted. In the 1990s Japan attempted to spend its way out of recession, with the only outcome being massive levels of public debt. Instead this group of economists have argued that taxes should be cut and interest rates varied to help stimulate growth in the UK economy.
Gordon Brown is a man with an overdraft, not a man with a plan. It is important that we do not confuse higher borrowing as a strategy for economic recovery, when in reality it is an inevitable consequence of the dire state of the public finances after 11 years of a Labour government. Public borrowing in the UK is at its highest since 1946, when Britain started rebuilding its economy after the Second World War.
Astonishingly, there is also no clear plan from the Prime Minister as to how the public finances will ever be returned to balance. As a country we face increasingly difficult times ahead, but are faced with a government that only knows how to spend its way out of a crisis.
Not So Predictable?
Posted Monday, 27 October 2008 at 13:48
As a politician you always have to be careful what you say, just in case your words ever come back to bite you.
Only a few weeks ago I heard Irwin Stelzer on the BBC's Newsnight say something along the lines that there was nothing he had heard or seen that would make him think that the British economy was in trouble; this was about two weeks before the banking crisis.
Peter Cuthbertson on ConservativeHome has launched a new blog - Pundit Predictions - monitoring the accuracy of the pundits commentary output.
Noises off are being scrutinised, very clever, the tables have turned….
Posted Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 10:49
A Rite Of Passage (2)
Posted Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 17:29
A link to Iain Dale, who I can assure you does not give praise easily!
Thank you Iain.
A Rite Of Passage
Posted Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 10:12
Forgive me, but Polly Toynbee is ranting about me in today's Guardian and that does make me feel just a little smug.
I don’t even mind that she is misrepresenting my position. The fact that Polly Toynbee hates me is a badge of honour, and one I will wear with a smile, and a degree of pride all day long.
Her ire has been invoked by the fact that Harriet Harman is today tabling a motion which will prevent abortion being debated or voted on this Wednesday.
If a vote had been passed to liberalise abortion even further, allowing young girls to abort alone at home, does Polly Toynbee think the people would faint with relief and cry thank goodness for that, Parliament at its best?
If the MP dubbed by some of the media as “Dr Death”, Evan Harris had got his way, would the country have been a better place tomorrow?
I have to admire the way Harman’s smoke machine is working. A variety of journalists have all been briefed different reasons for abortion being dropped, some being told that there will be dedicated time for an abortion bill next year.
Of course, we all know it won't be in the up-coming Queen's Speech, and there will be no other vehicle on which to bring in a Bill, unless a Private Member's Bill falls to a strong minded campaigner.
Abortion has been slam dunked straight into the long grass.
And this afternoon, the pro-abortionists will march on Westminster.
Weather check anyone – is rain forecast today?
Posted Monday, 20 October 2008 at 10:05
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill returns to the Commons on Wednesday, amid ferocious arguments and backroom deals.
Neither the Department of Health, No 10, Harriet Harman or the Minister's Office know what is going to happen, or what meaningful discussion can take place in the short amount of time allocated for the 'debate'.
It really beggars belief that the Government ever allowed a Bill discussing such important issues as Embryology and medical research to include the massively emotive issue of abortion – but they did, and some believe deliberately so.
The Government was arrogant in its belief that by drafting the Bill in such a way, it would be able to push through amendments to liberalise our abortion laws.
They hadn’t accounted for a number of things, such as the success of the 20 week campaign and the way it captured the public's attention, or the rapid shift in public opinion towards wanting the upper limit to be reduced.
If we have learnt anything over the last two years, it is that this issue is huge and MPs require more detailed facts and information.
To this end, Frank Field and I have laid down an amendment to Wednesday's Bill calling for a balanced select committee to be established - made up from members of both the Lords and Commons - in order to fully investigate the issue surrounding abortion, and then to report its recommendations and findings back to Parliament.
It is the only logical way forward - if any amendment to abortion is selected and passed on Wednesday, it will be done with inappropriate haste and minimal debate.
It was encouraging on Sunday to see support for the amendment in the Editors' comment sections of the News of The World and the Sunday Telegraph.
What the Government have failed to understand, is that even though there may have been people who disagreed with the 20 week campaign, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those same people wish to see abortion liberalised further, one does not necessarily follow on from the other.
Let's hope common sense prevails and the Speaker calls our amendment for debate, at least this way there can be a full and proper investigation of the issues.
And to those who say there has already been a select committee report - I’ll blog on that later.
Posted Friday, 17 October 2008 at 12:05
ePolitix have run a story on the row between Brown and Harman regarding the debate taking place next Wednesday on the final stages of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Billl during which abortion will be debated, again.
Harman denies that any row has taken place, however, some think differently, and this is the reason why.
During the lead up to the time limit on abortion debate, the Crewe and Nantwich by-election was in full force and the political climate looked extremely encouraging for us.
Edward Timpson was a great candidate, Eric Pickles was the campaign chief and there was also the fall out over 10p tax.
Labour was desperate to avoid any more pitfalls that might push more Labour voters towards the Conservatives.
Barely a night went by when I didn’t get a text message at around 9pm from MPs canvassing in Crewe. Message usually read ‘Go for it Nadine.'
Many people in Crewe were aware of the abortion issue, due to the huge amount of media attention surrounding the forthcoming debate and the 20 week campaign.
Labour lost - what was until then - a 'safe' seat.
The debate comes back to the Commons for report stage and third reading next Wednesday - but off stage we have the Glenrothes by election in full swing.
No wonder Gordon is nervous. He knows that public opinion is sickened by the fact that we abort babies at 24 weeks and that we live in the abortion capital of Europe.
He knows that moves by Labour women MPs, supported by the majority of Lib-Dems to liberalise our abortion laws even further - when what the public want is fewer abortions not more - could have an impact on the result of the by-election.
However, there is another little twist and that is this.
The abortion vote which took place on time limits was whipped by Harman, as reported here.
Apparently the deal Harman had with Labour women MPs was that she would deliver a defeat to the 20 week campaign and liberalise our abortion laws even further, in order to guarantee her the vote of Labour women in any future leadership contest.
Now if you were Gordon Brown what would you do?
FSA..Man or Boy?
Posted Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 12:23
It doesn't matter who you listen to or what you read, it could be a mini debate on Newsnight as we were treated to on Monday; the Today programme; or the renowned Irwin Stelzer of The Times who if I'm not mistaken pronounced on Newsnight as little as a month ago, that there was nothing he heard or saw in the British economy that worried him. They are all saying the same thing - greater regulatory reform. This translates, or rather cascades down to the FSA recently described by one prestigious MP in a private meeting as the CSA of the financial world.
There is only one knowledgeable commentator whose opinion I have listened to and believed throughout all of this financial chaos, and that is Jon Moulson of Alchemy - I am always knocked out by John's pragmatism and common sense.
I'm not yet sure what he thinks of tighter regulatory reform in the hands of the FSA, but I do know this, before they become responsible for monitoring the financial markets they need to demonstrate that they are both able and fit enough to do so. The FSA needs teeth. We need legislation to beef up the FSA and guarantee that the culture within is one which is tough enough to get the job done - if indeed a regulatory agency with greater control is the right way to go. The City Sheriff is a man's job, we need to bear in mind that what we have in situ at the moment may be just a boy.
Posted Tuesday, 14 October 2008 at 14:30
Well, that was slow for Westminster. It's taken all that time to reach my ears!
You can leave it up :-) Nadine.
Posted Tuesday, 14 October 2008 at 12:49
Nadine is busy in meetings all day, and far away from a computer, hence the opportunity for covert blogging from her staff!
Nadine has been nominated for the Spectator's Readers' Representative Award, as part of their Parliamentarian Awards.
This is the first time this new Reader's Representative Award is being presented, and nominations must come from the public.
To find out more details, please click here: http://www.spectator.co.uk/parliamentarian/comp.thtml
Closing date for entries is Monday 27 October 2008, 5pm.
If you would like to add your support to Nadine's nomination and say a few words as to why she should get the award, then please feel free to so!
The Office of Nadine Dorries MP.
(PS - By the time she gets back this blog will be removed)
A Room with a View
Posted Monday, 13 October 2008 at 12:49
Having spent a blissful weekend in the lakes, I found it hard to let the news in the Sunday papers perturb me.
It may have been something to do with the fact that our room had a balcony, which looked straight out over Ullswater and its hills as the backdrop. A beautiful breathtaking view.
I thought about my first day in Primary school, the teacher handing every child a tin of coloured pencils. There was no possibility of any child owning their own.
On Friday, when we arrived at the Hotel and opened our balcony doors, I remembered my tin of coloured pencils. They were called Lakeland and on the lid was painted a similar view to the one from our room.
I was transported straight back to Mr Dolphin's class and the warm smell of chalk on blackboard, wooden parquet floors and the happy memories of drawing pictures in a class full of school friends.
Sprawled on the bed surrounded by Sunday news print, I only had to lift my head and avert my gaze through the open doors a few feet away, for calm to wash over me - the lake's mercurial view different from the last time I looked, a couple of minutes earlier.
That changed when I arrived home last night and saw again the picture of Sarah Palin's seven year old daughter yawning whilst her mother addressed a rally - it disgusted me. Seven year olds don't enjoy political meetings. How can they understand a word that's being said? Why would the woman who knocked me out with her ability to connect, misjudge a situation so wrongly; and make that poor, tired little girl sit through yet another political speech?
I had such high hopes for Palin. I still love her ability to reach out to people and say it as it is, but as Guido Fawkes once wisely said to me -" never put your daughter on the stage".
Take your daughter home Sarah, leave her at home. Stop using your children to accentuate your 'mom' profile. You carry on and fight for your party and your country, but for goodness sake give that little girl a tin of coloured pencils and let her do what seven year old kids do best. Let her draw and play and yawn whenever she wants without the rest of the world and people like me passing comment, because she doesn't deserve that either.
Cowboys & Indians
Posted Friday, 10 October 2008 at 13:58
Last night I led a torch lit procession in Lidlington of 300 people protesting against the proposed Eco towns. I was also meant to be speaking at a dinner later in the evening, and led the procession dressed slightly different to everyone else - torches and pearls, the must have accessories.
The kids absolutely loved it. Marching in the dark and shouting into loudhailers, beats going to bed and homework any day!
O and H - the developers behind the proposal - absolutely hated it. They were the cowboys. You can't say you have support, when the village hall in which you are presenting your proposal is empty. We were the Indians, we surrounded them on the outside and chanted a variety of chants which began as 'no eco town' and the kids very rapidly altered to 'stick your Eco town Gordon Brown'.
Party stalwarts - local Councillor Mike Gibson and his wife Carol - very kindly drove me to the dinner at the Swan Hotel in Bedford, where Greg Hands MP was speaking and I gave the vote of thanks.
Greg is one of the nicest men in Parliament and gave a great after dinner speech. He then got his train back to London and the tube home. His wife would have been long in bed and in order to speak to us he missed another night of seeing his children, the fourth in a row. And yet he didn't think twice when asked to speak. As I said, one of the nicest men in Parliament.
Just Another Manic Wednesday
Posted Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 16:59
A normal Wednesday...mad!
Started with a phone call to tell me I was in the London Evening Standard top 1000 most influential people in London – in the health section!
I was proud of that. Proud not to have been in the politics section. Proud that I was described as hated by feminists, but the voice of reason for middle England, because that’s what matters to me.
PMQs today should have been serious in tone; however, the MPs sitting behind the Prime Minister didn’t quite get that, as they screamed, hollered and waved their order papers.
I get it that if the discussion is inter party and point scoring then it’s ok to yell and shout – if that’s your thing; but I really think that on today of all days, the people on the outside of the 'hallowed bubble' deserved and expected better.
I certainly did.
The one liners, born of wit and intellect which is naturally imbued in many an MP, and yes, I don’t say that easily, borders on superb during PMQs.
I was sitting next to Stephen O'Brien MP for Eddisbury. As Gordon droned on in that way he has, every brain cell in the chamber is yelling a silent ‘STOP’.
Stephen groaned under his breath "God, he’s competing with Mogadon", and Gordon carried on ….
Nick Clegg spoke with his usual exciting gravitas. As he sat down and the speaker stood up another MP muttered "that’s the FTSE up then".
The odd noises off are funny, but at least on the Conservative side we know when to laugh out loud, and when not.
Just finished an interview with the Metro which will be in their 60 second interview spot.
The journalist began the interview by saying "you are the only MP I know who understands short selling. If only everyone explained it as a 10-1 bet we would all know what everyone was talking about". I hadn’t actually realised that was how I had explained it; however I replied – if all we politicians spoke in the same language that everyone else uses round their kitchen table at night, there would be far greater engagement with the political process.
Off to another interview.. more tea anyone?
Ground Hog Day
Posted Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 00:46
Apparently, a press photographer shot a picture tonight of dozens of cases of Moet Chandon Champagne being wheeled into the back of No11.
Not a good photo for the country to see when millions of people are literally sick with worry about their jobs, business, savings, homes.
Speculation in the corridors of power and despair are that Blair may be on his way back with a peerage and straight in as foreign secretary. Yes, that’s right, I kid you not. Why are you laughing? Alistair Campbell has clocked on, Mandy’s on his way over, Ma Beckett has just put the chocks back on the caravan, why not?
Posted Monday, 6 October 2008 at 15:06
On Saturday the following was written in the Financial Times:
City leaders welcomed the appointment of Paul Myners as City Minister in the Lords, bringing a heavy hitter from the financial services sector into the government at a time of great challenges for the industry.
The former chairman of Marks and Spencer has stood down as chairman of Guardian Media Group.....
This is what I said in the same article:
The Conservatives attacked the appointment, drawing attention to his role as an adviser to GLG Partners, a hedge fund group.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries said: "It beggars belief that Gordon Brown could appoint a man who is a director of the firm who took out the largest short position bet against Bradford and Bingley to be the minister responsible for regulating the short sellers. One day he criticises the practice of short selling, the next he appoints one of their high-priests to his Government."
Of course it's interesting that he's standing down as Chairman of the Guardian Group - no prizes for guessing where his political allegiances lie; some of us remember him as the other half of Stuart Rose, in the days when M&S failed in a way which can only be described as spectacular.
And, just who are these 'city leaders' because whoever they are, they should be blinking in the daylight and explaining to High Street UK exactly what they have been up to.
Not that I'm against selling short mind - it's an effective and quick way of realising the true value of a share when it's needed; however, like most instruments of good use in the City, its effectiveness has been corrupted by greed.
When trading short you have the ability to margin up, typically at 10 - 1.
An investor with £1000, can ' go short' for £10,000 by only spending 1k.
That margin is in fact a form of credit as the shares are actually borrowed . I think if we have learnt anything over the last few days, it's that it's credit, which is at the root of all evil.
If Paul Myners can be of any use, let's hope his first recommendation will be to cut the margin of greed in half to 5.
If the margin hadn't been so grossly large, the temptation to bail out on Bradford and Bingley may not have been so great.
The New Winston
Posted Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 11:29
David Cameron may inherit a set of circumstances which will challenge and test him to the limit. With terror on our doorsteps and financial chaos already in through the door, he will need to draw on every ounce of strength and ability that he has.
Yesterday, he portrayed to us all the hidden qualities he will draw upon when his day comes. He understands the importance of a strong and loyal team around him. He feels and understands the pain of every citizen who is suffering; and more importantly he is driven to do something about it.
He will be a great man, has all the qualities needed to become the next Churchill, my own personal political hero.
I looked at David yesterday whilst he delivered his speech and felt emotional with pride. No other party has anyone who comes anywhere near.
When he finished to rapturous applause the thought ‘your country needs you’ went through my mind, as I am sure it did many others.
Roll on that day.
Have Tories Got Talent?
Posted Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 10:17
Last night I judged a political talent show. Iain Dale was the host, Jonathan Isaby of the Daily Telegraph - and soon to be of ConservativeHome - and myself, were the judges.
Iain billed himself as Simon Cowell and me as Amanda Holden. If I were Amanda I'd sue.
In true Amanda style, I promised myself I wouldn't cry. That lasted about 30 seconds.
The time flew, before we knew it was 9.15pm and time to finish!
Rupert Matthews, Euro Candidate for the East Midlands was the outright winner. Clever, funny, polished, relevant and real.
Alex Deane may have won, however, I disqualified him as from the judges seats at the back of the stage I noticed he had the back of his jacket tucked into trousers.
Graeme Archer almost spoke as well as he writes, but said some horrible things about Sarah Palin and I wasn't having any of that.
The main revelation for me during this event was that Jonathan Isaby knows absolutely every single person at conference and has memorised their full CV .
The most disappointing aspect, there were only three women.
Politics is still dominated by men in suits.
A fun event and well done to Simon Clarke and everyone from the Freedom Zone for organising the event.