Fabian Vs Satire

Long-time Weary Surfer, WonderboyInMonsterland, has been in touch to point out some pertinent Fab-Facts from the MP’s area on theyworkforyou.com

A “Who Woulda Thunk It?” comes in the form of the first item on Mr Hamilton’s voting record:

Who Woulda Thunk It?

But for irony-unadulterated, we need look no further than the “Committees and topics of interest”, and “Register of Member’s Interests” to find that:

Mortage EndowmentBook Keeper

That’s right, the same man wh0 in 2004,  according to the Daily Telegraph:

admitted over-claiming on his expenses by nearly £3,000, charging for the full cost of his mortgage as well as the interest-only element to which he was entitled

is also the Honorary President of the International Association of Bookkeepers, and, when in parliaments, ask most of his questions about “Finance”, and “Mortgage Endowment Policies”.

Wonderboy asks in his email: “Does Tiberius expect to be attending Satire’s funeral sometime soon?”

But, alas, Tiberius is too speechless to respond.

See also: Feed Your MP; From Gravy-Train To Bread-Line

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Because You’re Special

In these days of financial crisis and near-bankrupt governments, some may have been suprised by last month’s Guardian revelations of police officers offering environmental activists money for information; suprised, that is, that they can make so bold a promise as “UK plc can afford more than 20 quid” [Tiberius: “Perhaps – but only cos they are printing so many“].

Some readers may also have been worried that the deep pockets of the law did not extend to our own region, or that West Yorkshire’s finest were not making similar contributions to stimulate the local economy.

“Well fret no more, Weary Surfer!” exclaims Tiberius.

A local activist has recently got in contact, confirming that just such an incentive scheme is being proffered to people in Leeds. He shares his story here in full:

One morning earlier this year at about 8:15am I was woken by my housemate’s boyfriend calling for me. As I start to get up from bed, he shouts through again: “The police are here to talk to you: they said not to worry – you’re not in trouble or anything”.

I got out of bed –  obviously confused, put on my clothes and went downstairs; sure enough I opened the door to two men standing on my doorstep. They greeted me by name, quickly flashed their badges, and introduced themselves.

“Kev” was short and stocky with a thick Yorkshire accent, while the other guy, “Stu”, was taller,  probably younger despite greying hair, and didn’t sound like he was local (a more well-educated, Scotland Yard boy I guessed). I remember thinking the pair made a very odd couple.

They began by asking me if I wanted to “come and have a chat” with them.

My initial reaction was fear: the only reason I could think of for the police to be at my door at such an hour and asking for me by name was that something terrible had happened to somebody close to me. As I began to realise that they were not visiting me for anything so urgent my apprehension gave way to anger, but I tried not to let it show.

“Well, what is this about?” I asked.

I was told not to worry, and that “you’re not in trouble or anything we just want to talk”. They then asked again if they could take me somewhere for a coffee (“dont worry, it’s on us” I remember Kev adding with a smile).

I declined, saying that I didn’t feel comfortable going anywhere without legal representation, to which they responded: “No, no no: you don’t need any legal representation because you’re not in trouble – we need your help”.

“Either way”, I replied, “I’m not comfotable with having this conversation, let alone going somewhere else with you, and besides, what are you on about ‘help’?”

Kev carried on, telling me that “we want your help on something really important” and that “you might not know it but you are really special”, with the special really emphasised for my obvious benefit. He continued: “the reason we are here is that you’ve been handpicked because of your important to us and because of the information you can get access to…we can’t go into much now because obviously you’ve got people in the house…”

Kev then proceeded to demonstrate how much they knew about me personally: “we know that you’re hard up at the moment and, trust me, you wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore (he said with knowing look)….we’re talking” (leans in) “substantial amounts for your help…”

At this point I was pretty bewildered, and I remember uttering: “eh? say again?”

Kev, driving the point home to me, told me that they knew I was currently in education (and what I was studying), and the trouble I had been having getting work experience in industry; he then finished with a rhetorical “you don’t have a car at the moment do you? you don’t drive?”

Baffled, I shook my head.

Kev again: “Let’s put it this way, you won’t have to worry about that…we can help you out with all that…”

Dumbstruck, all I could seem to do was raise my eyebrows and turn to Stu, and say “You seem to think you know a lot about me, what’s all this about..?”

Stu – playing ‘authoritative teacher’ to Kev’s ‘affable chum’ – addressed me with a far more serious tone: “Look,” he began (adding my name again), “We know you’re not a criminal mate, we know you’re not one of the bad ones. You’ve not been in trouble at all, and we know that you’re a very intelligent person…”

I was thinking: If Kev is the briber, then that must make Stu the psych profiler.

Stu continued, telling me that he was “not like everyday police” and saying (bizarrely, I thought) that if he were driving down the road and saw somebody clip someone’s wing mirror off  he wouldn’t care –  “it’s got nothing to do with me: leave that to the black-rats” (a term I Googled later, to discover it’s a prejorative name for the MET traffic police).

“This is, in part, involving your trip down to Kent last summer…”

Queue them studying me closely and waiting for my reaction.

Which was: “Yeah, and?”

Stu again: “Mate, we’re here because a lot of us agree with you: we know global warming is happpening”, he said in an almost celebratory tone like he was trying to emphasise our unity and that we’re on the same team.

He continued: “We’ve all got families and we’re all concerned. What we’re trying to do is make sure we can all peacefully demonstrate and protest about it – there’s nothing wrong with that…but there are ways of doing things and it’s the criminal aspect that we’re bothered about – and it’s who you might’ve come across last summer that we want to talk to you about”.

After much time-wasting,  finally hearing them get to the the crux of the matter – that they wanted me to become an informant – I began to get angry:

“Right, for a start, I’ve just woken up – I haven’t even had a cup of tea, it’s bloody freezing, and this is about the most surreal conversation you could ever have on your own doorstep at 8am. If you do know anything about me, you’ll know that all I’m about is getting my head down and sorting my work out;  I’m really not comfortable with this. I’m really not sure why it is that you think I either can or would “help you out” – whatever that means – this all sounds well dodgy…”

Stu suddenly looked less chummy, and I remember his next question very clearly: “Is that morally?” (meaning, “is it on moral ground that you won’t help us out?”)

I answered: “Right, wrong, morality, whatever: it just sounds dodgy. I don’t know any criminals, or know of any criminals. I’m not talking about morals, I’m talking about pride for one: I don’t want owt from anyone, I don’t care how broke I am…”

At this point Kev broke in again to buddy up:  “Well, we could just make one really big donation to your favourite charity…”

But Stu seemed to want to keep the conversation on a more serious tone and continued with another quickfire list of rhetorical questions:  “and you spent some time in a cell last summer didn’t you…? what was it for again? and what was the outcome of that…?”

For the first time I felt threatened and I answered with a simple “N.F.A.” [No Further Action]

By this time Stu had got on his soapbox: “Cos if we’re talking morally: see Drax for example, if people had managed to get in there and shut it down then how many schools, hospitals, children’s homes, would be without power…?’

At this point I felt things were really getting out of hand and it was going on far too long. I was being profiled and led into an environmental/moral debate with two plain-clothes police officers when I was still in my slippers and half-asleep. I butted in: “Whatever man, I’m not having this conversation with you on my doorstep, at this time in the morning…”

Kev again was all smiles and agreement: “Well you need to have your cup of tea, or a strong coffee; it’s the last thing people want to be talking to the police on their doorstep after they’ve just got out of bed..”

To which I replied:  “Well, yeah” (and not adding: “And I guess that’s exactly why you do it”.)

Stu then asked that we meet the next day for a coffee, adding that “half an hour is all it would be initially, and we will discuss it further…”. I made my excuses and turned them down.

Kev began cajoling me to accept the invite (Kev: “You might even get to like us after you’ve worked with us for a while!” Me: “Who said i didn’t like you!?”)

Realising they weren’t going to get anywhere with me, Stu said that they “at least want you to think about it over the next few days” and added that: “To be honest, we would have been shocked if you’d have agreed straight away – it would have made us a bit suspicious…”

“Look,” I finally agreed, “If you give me your number I’ll think it over and give you a call.”

“No, no, we don’t work that way, we’ll have to call you..”

I refused. Cue some cat-and-mouse, and more time-wasting .  I eventually decided to give them my mobile phone number for no other reason than to get them off my step (I also figured that since they knew so much else about me they probably had it anyway) . They told me they would ring me the following week.

Stu: “Obviously we don’t want to really talk on the phone….so we’ll ring you and we’ll say that it’s a taxi company, and do you still want the taxi…and you can either say yes or no, and we’ll leave it at that…and you have my word that if you decline, we won’t bother you again….

We then said our pleasant goodbyes.

The next week, at the agreed time, I got the phonecall: “Hello mate, it’s Kev: you still want that taxi..?”

“No thanks mate, I’d rather walk…it’s better for the environment.”

—————————————————————————

The source told Tiberius that the whole experience had left him pretty paranoid, and with a feeling of being monitored for no reason. He confessed to being more than a little shook up by the whole thing. He says that he did not go to the press at that time because he wanted to wait and see if this was an isolated incident or part of a more coordinated operation and, in the latter case, wanted to give people in the activist community a heads-up.

But, as the story of Matilda Gifford and others broke last month, he felt like this was a good time to tell others his own tale of how Her Majesty’s finest made him feel special.

Tiberius thanks him for doing so.

See also: Provoking The Crisis; Policing The Crisis

Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Feed Your MP

Saintly

 A message from the Hungry, Hungry Hamilton Appeal Headquarters:

“Dear Generous Surfers,

We are so glad that, like Tiberius Leodis, you have been moved by the tragic tale of  Mr Fabian Hamilton MP.

As you know,  like so many other perished parliamentarians,  Mr Hamilton has spent the last few years scraping by on a meagre £400-a-month food allowance.  Not only this, but he has seen fit to share what little he has with us voters – such is the nature of this modern-day saint.

We’re chocked that you, the people, have shown a hunger to ensure this situation will change.

Blessed Surfer, like us, you must beleve that these two sad facts – the over-claiming and the starvation – are tragically yet inextricably linked: a well-nourished MP would simply never have made such basic mathematical errors that Mr Hamilton has recently been the victim of.

You too have realised that it is our responsibility as voters to make ensure that such treatment will never again be ladeled out in our so-called civilized society; we must step up to and fill the plate; in short, we must feed our MPs.

For this reason, newly-formed, power-pop quarter FABBA have composed a short song to inspire people to this task and they hope you are able to sing along to it as you empty your cupboards.

The Hungry-Hungry Hamilton Appeal has begun to gather momentum and a veritable banquet of delights have already been offered. However,  like our MP, we are still not satisfied.

Many hundreds of people have viewed this appeal in the last couple of days, yet only a small fraction of those hits have turned into potential parliamentary-calories.

We understand that there is a recession on and people are, perhaps, worrying about their own bare cupboard more than they usually might.  We  feel that if they only more people knew of Mr Hamilton and understood the true meaning of his story, they would be inspired and regain the appetite to contribute more to their over-worked and under-fed representatives. So please, help this song spread thickly around the country so it can touch the lives of others.

After all , what greater gift could a citizen in a democracy hope for than to see the smiling, well-fed face of their Member of Parliament?

And who can put a price on the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, when they next file their expenses claims, your representative will not be doing so on an empty stomach?

With a little luck, and lot of food, together we will ensure that Mr Hamilton will not starve until at least the end of this session of parliament. Not only this but, like a child with a well-stocked lunchbox, we also hope that he will be in a position to spread this bounty among his colleagues in Westminster.

Please continue to donate generously and share (“Hamiltonise”) the song with your family and friends. This important campaign is only just beginning and time is already against us: who know’s what these hunger-crazed MPs may do next?

The Hungry, Hungry Hamilton Appeal Team

Note: This campaign has been helped in no small part by the support of Guido Fawkes at Order-Order – a Samiratan of almost Hamiltonian proportions.”

See also: From Gravy-Train To Bread Line [Caution: Not to be viewed while eating]

From Gravy-Train To Bread-Line

A Hungry Man

A Hungry Man

On Tuesday, the Telegraph scandal of MPs’ expenses reached Leeds, or rather, reached one of the homes of Fabian Hamilton MP. You can read the report here:

In 2004, the MP admitted over-claiming on his expenses by nearly £3,000, charging for the full cost of his mortgage as well as the interest-only element to which he was entitled. The £300 a month error came to light only when the Commons fees office asked him to produce his mortgage statement.

And, if anyone is wondering “How do these people sleep at night?”, the answer in Mr Hamilton’s case is: “Probably quite well on his tax-payer-purchased £800 bed!”

“But let’s us not judge too quickly”, warns Tiberius, “There may have been extenuating circumstances…”

Yesterday, Hamilton posted his excuses explanations on his website, while the YEP reported that :

The MP told the YEP that he normally claims £400 a month for food, which he thinks is still less than is actually needed.

He said: “There are times when I have constituents down here and I take them out for a meal and it costs me £100. I bet it costs more than £400 a month to eat out in London and not to buy your own food and cook.”

Yes, you read that right – not only has Mr Hamilton been selflessly performing a (British tax-payers subsidised) ‘wining and dining’ of the plebs, he is experiencing difficultly in trying to run this Samaritan-like service on his meagre £400 a month food allowance!

Perhaps members of Mr Hamilton’s constituency of Leeds North East may now realise that their saintly MP, while generously  feeding the public on their own tab, has himself been going without. Tiberius therefore suggests that they consider clubbing together to send their MP a much-needed food-parcel.

For those outside the boundary, or just reluctant to contribute to this food-aid programme (though Tiberius is confident any donations will be tax-deductable) they may consider simply dropping off some food at Hamilton’s constituency office at 335 Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS8 4HT.  Take rice, flour, grain, whatever you can spare!

Please fill out the form below saying what you can contribute to this “Hungry, Hungry Hamilton Appeal”.

(Oh, and if anyone has a spare calculator or abacus that they could donate,  it would greatfully received.  Mr Hamilton has had a little trouble keeping track of his finances of late – no doubt due to starvation-induced exhaustion.)

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm  Comments (15)  
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When The Bubble Bursts

Millions wiped off landmark Leeds office:

Millions of pounds have been slashed from the sale value of a landmark Leeds office building.

No.1 Whitehall Riverside in Leeds has been sold for £37.62m, just two years after New Star Asset Management paid £60m for it.

The building’s new owners are AIM-listed group London & Stamford Property.

For all you stat-lovers out there, this represents just over a 37% drop in price over two years. But given the amount of empty offices space available in Leeds, Tiberius still thinks London & Stamford Property have overpaid.