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Thursday, 24 September 2009

ELDC say fiddling taxpayer's money is 'personal'

Re my legitimate query about councillors claiming expenses already covered by benefit? Nothing 'personal' about it.
Here is the response from the Ch Ex. ELDC.
Nigel Howells

Dear Mr Peat

Thank you for your recent enquiry. I have no information on the personal circumstances of Councillors in relation to disability matters, as raised in your e-mail. This is a personal matter and entirely for them.

Yours sincerely

Sent on behalf of Nigel Howells

So am I just to cease asking? I don't thinks so. Why should these fiddles be allowed at our expense?

This is not personal or about specific councillors it is about the 40p Mileage allowance available to councillors already claiming upper rate mobility. Both come from the tax payer. So this is not a personal matter at all .

Why is this category of official able to claim the full mileage allowance from public funds? Was this ever considered? If not why not? And now it has been raised, what possible justification can there be to continue it?

This is a fair enquiry deserving of a good response; ideally along the lines of thanks for drawing this to our attention and yes something will be done to adjust allowances accordingly or else a detailed explanation as to why this is not deemed appropriate. Only that kind of response addresses this appalling discovery.

On the other hand I can draft a press release of this exchange if Mr Howells would prefer it that way.

Please re-consider the question.


Keith Peat.
Watch this space: Well we didn't have to wait long.
To paraphrase the response from Mr Howells: It starts with some waffle about the Inland Revenue rules on what tax should be paid. (Totally irrelevant) But he seems to imagine that it can be justified that these 'poor' disabled council officials have special needs, so it's OK if they get more from the council than other disabled people who are not council officials? He also assumes that these cars are being used by disabled councillors too. No not all of them. So yes there is an element of fraud too or obtaining a pecuniary advantage but that is not for Mr Howells to worry about. Keep Watching this space.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The BBC,Mail and the phantom ships.

'we can only conclude that these are phantom ships, failing to penetrate a previously impenetrable trade route, dropping off phantom cargo at phantom port towns.'

By Andrew Orlowski

One of Russia's commercial maritime trade routes for the past 70 years has been "re-opened" by a press hungry for dramatic Global Warming scare stories - but who failed to check the most basic facts.
I've traced this fascinating example of "eco-churnalism" - peddled by both BBC Radio and its website, the Daily Mail, The Independent, Reuters and many others - back to its origins, with a press release from a German shipping group. But first of all - what on Earth is the Northern Passage?
Also called the Northeast Passage or North Sea Passage, it's a trade route that in summer months links the North European and Siberian ports to Asia, around the Arctic Circle. Orient-bound traffic heads east, then South via the Bering Straight. Much of the Siberian North coast lies outside the Arctic Circle, and the route offered significant gains over the alternatives via Suez or the Cape. But until technological advances in the early 20th Century it was considered too hazardous for commercial operation.
Since the 1930s the route has seen major ports spring up, carrying over 200,000 tons of freight passing through each year, although this declined with the fall of the Soviet Union.
But none of this ever happened, we learned on Saturday. The Independent reported that the journey had been traversed for the very first time, proclaiming that two German ships had completed "the first commercial navigation of the fabled North-east Passage", proclaiming it "a triumph for man, a disaster for mankind". BBC Radio followed suit.
Others have followed the BBC.
Climate change: too good to be true It didn't take long to trace the origin of the story. On Wednesday, German shipping group Beluga claimed "the first non-Russian commercial vessels to make it through the Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe".
You can still read their press release, here. Journalists failed to challenge Beluga's claim that the Northeastern Passage was "formerly impenetrable", but bloggers had debunked it within seconds.
(See An Englishman's Castle here - and Richard D North's EU Referendum blog here and here.)
North unearthed a fascinating account of the past 80 years of this sea route (pdf, 17pg) by a retired mariner Jan Drent, who made the Europe to Asia Northeast Passage himself. Drent writes that the Soviet Union offered to open the route to global commerce in 1967, but with war in the Middle East closing the Suez, Russia didn't want to offend its Arab allies.
In their haste to bring us Thermageddon, journalists now simply manufacture the evidence. But wasn't the recent warming period - which started began in the mid-1970s and with temperatures peaking in the late-1990s - a contributory factor? Arctic Ice has recovered the past couple of years, but it's still down on 30 years ago.
As it happens, the thaw has helped, but isn't the primary reason, according to maritime historians.
"In the past ten years voyages between the northern coast and Japan and Canada have demonstrated how modern ice-strengthened vessels and contemporary ice forecasting have extended the navigation season."
Ignore all that, however. If the BBC is to remain trusted, we can only conclude that these are phantom ships, failing to penetrate a previously impenetrable trade route, dropping off phantom cargo at phantom port towns. Copyright 2009, The Register