Money for Old Rope

Public Duty Cost Allowance (for ex-PM’s)

The system was set up by John Major in 1991 to REWARD former Prime Ministers, (after they had left office) for completing duties directly related to their former post, including answering letters and attending public events. In the period 2006-2011, the three undernoted retired former number 10 incumbents charged the taxpayer a total in excess of £1.7m. Nice one

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The Labour Party and Raytheon and the billion pound failed e-Borders scheme- and who pays? the taxpayer

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2003: Tony Blair assured UK Public illegal immigration controls would be put in place establishing effective control of the countries borders

The e-Borders programme, launched by Labour in 2005 was a £1bn attempt to reform border controls.

In 2007 Raytheon, (the US defence corporation) won a nine-year contract to develop and operate the programme.

But three years into the deal,  and not long after her appointment to the post of Home Secretary, Theresa May, terminated the contract with the US defence corporation claiming it was failing.

She further stated the government had lost confidence in Raytheon’s ability to deliver the programme after it had fallen a year behind schedule.

Raytheon threatened to sue the Tory government for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for any failings, but both sides entered into binding arbitration to reach a settlement.

The UK government was ordered to pay £50m for terminating the contract without good cause. £126m a refund of asset costs already delivered to e-Borders.  £10m in settlement of contract changes introduced after it had been signed. £38m being interest charges accrued. Total £224m all written off against the public purse.!!!!!!!!

A jubilant Raytheon spokesman said: “The arbitration tribunal found that Mrs May unlawfully terminated the agreement in 2010 and in doing so she repudiated the e-borders contract. The Tribunal denied all Home Office claims for damages and claw-back of previous payments. The Tribunal’s ruling confirms that [Raytheon] delivered substantial capabilities to the UK Home Office under the e-borders program.” (BBC)

Note: the matter ping-ponged in the civil court until 2014 when the Tory government was ordered to settle the bill as charged. Mrs May walked away claiming it had nothing to do with her. I was all the Labour governments fault.

 

Heathrow

 

 

 

Dec 2015: Home Office censured over £830m “failed e-borders development

The scheme was supposed to collect, advanced passenger information (API), such as passport numbers and nationalities and was meant to allow officials to “export the border”  by preventing people from embarking on journeys to the UK where they were considered a threat.

The National Audit Office was highly critical of the Home Office for failing to complete the project to boost UK border security – despite spending at least £830 million.

The National Audit Office said checks remained “almost exclusively manual and wholly inefficient,”  and the supporting IT systems were hopelessly outdated.

But the scheme was dogged by problems from the time of its launch in 2003 by Tony Blair, until the end of 2014 when the head of the UK Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, said “full e-borders capability”, as originally envisaged, would not be achieved, and checks and screening would be incorporated into a new programme.

The e-borders contract was subsequently split in two with IBM and Serco given the job of getting a system in place at nine airports before the 2012 London Olympics. But this was not achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the Audit Office report’s key findings

  • £830m had been spent on the project between April 2006 and March 2015, with another £275m projected to be spent on the “successor” programme, by March 2019. Taking the overall spend to £1bn plus.
  • Among those costs was £230m on an out-of-court settlement paid after the original e-borders contract had been cancelled by Mrs May.
  • The project is not scheduled to be finished until 2019 – eight years late!!!!!
  • API was only collected from 86% of arrivals,2017, against a target of 100%.
  • API is not available for the bulk of incoming rail and ferry journeys.
  • Only 20% of booking data – more comprehensive than API – is being collected. Again, the target is 100%.
  • It is not possible to accurately assess cost in the period (2003-2006) because the records had been destroyed!!!!!!  The permanent secretary at the Home Office, said the missing records were due to a change in accounting procedures, but he would investigate.

The Audit Office gave warning that a failure to update a database, (designed to flag up known criminals or terrorists) known as the “Warning Index”  was still in use eight years after its scheduled closure and resulted in an average of two “high priority incidents a week”.

The “Warning Index” operates alongside another system called “semaphore,” but the failure to integrate them meant staff still had to check passports manually and consult printed A4 sheets when probing suspicious vehicle registrations. Some border checks were still being conducted using scraps of paper.

The breakdowns include situations where part of the system is not available or performing too slowly to function, or where it is inaccessible at 30% or more control points at a port or airport.

 

 

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e-borders scheme might be delivered 8 year’s late and cost in excess of £1Bn. Ten times over budget.

A Public Accounts Committee report has criticized the UK Home Office on the botched e-borders programme, saying that the project will end up costing £1bn and delivered eight years late.

In the report, the MPs Committee has also warned that the programme will not deliver the desired benefit.

The e-borders scheme was initially launched in 2003 to keep a track of all passengers transiting in and out of the UK within 10 years.

Primary intention of the programme was to improve border security by collecting data of passengers who enter the country by air, rail and sea by gathering and processing data on them before they reach the border.

The programme was dogged by controversies and problems before it was terminated in 2014, in its current form.

The Home Office initially entered into a contract with US-based technology and defence company Raytheon in 2007, but this was terminated in July 2010 citing that the company failed to reach milestones.

The committee said in its report: “It is now five years since the e-Borders contract was cancelled yet the capabilities delivered so far still fall short of what was originally envisaged. Since 2010 the Major Projects Authority has issued seven warnings about these programmes.

“The Department’s complacency about progress to date increases our concerns about whether the programme will be completed by 2019 as the Department now promises, and whether tangible benefits for border security, transport carriers and passengers will result.”

Major reasons for the delay is the cancellation of the deal with Raytheon under which the company was to deliver its own solution to meet the Department’s objectives to a fixed price and timescale which ‘turned out to be unrealistic’.

 

 

 

 

Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier said:

“This is an important Report, revealing a history of poor management and a worrying complacency about its impact on taxpayers. It is accepted that successful completion of this project is essential to the security of our international borders. Yet the original target date has long passed and we are still at least three years away from delivery. The stop, start approach has cost the taxpayer dear. I am careful to say “at least” three years from delivery because we are not convinced warnings about the progress of this project have been treated with sufficient gravity, nor that sufficient action has been taken to prevent a repeat of past problems.”

Following the cancellation of the deal with Raytheon, the Home Office  implemented successor programmes, including the Border Systems Programme and Digital Services at the Border, which has already cost £830m, as of March 2015.

The committee has concluded that the Home Office “does not have a clear picture of the management information it has or needs to manage the UK border” and frequent changes in management have added to the worry.

The PAC committee said that the officials are dismissive about the delay despite seven warnings issued by Major Projects Authority since 2010.

The Committee criticised the department saying : “It is difficult to understand where this confidence comes from, given the lengthy delays and continual warnings of ongoing management issues, which gives us cause for concern about the future prospects for this programme which is vital to national security.”

Since 2012, the Home Office’s Border Force directorate is responsible for operating the borders and previously it was being managed by UK Border Agency and the Home Office.

A UK Home Office spokesman was quoted saying that the programme was a “top priority” and “we are investing heavily in our systems to tackle the threat from terrorism, organized crime and illegal immigration. Every passenger crossing our control points into the UK is checked against a range of watch-lists and the UK passport is among the most secure in the world.”   (cbronline)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil & Gas The Rip Off That is Westminster

Oil & Gas The Rip Off That is Westminster

A 2014 UK government commissioned report stated there were around 24 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered from the North Sea. The wholesale value of the reserves was put at $2.4 trillion. The figure quoted encompassed recoverable oil in the North Sea block only. It did not include the North Atlantic, West Coast of Scotland or Rockall areas since these are largely unexplored.

Enter the spoiler, “The Clair Field”. First discovered and located in the, “Atlantic Sector” of the, “Continental Shelf” in 1977 it was declared, “off limits for discussion” by a UK government who, (faced with increasing voices of discontent within a Scotland that had finally wakened up to the massive amounts of finance being generated to the coffers of Westminster) broadcast widely and often, (making full use of the media and press, who it now accepted follow the government line without question) that the oil would run out in the 1990’s. Job done. Scotland, “back to sleep” it was thought by the Westminster con-men.

Many years later, in 2003 a license to explore the Clair field was finally granted to BP. Surprise, surprise, “sweet oil, in excellent quantities flowed freely, and this was only phase 1. In a recent conference in Houston Texas, not widely reported in the UK press. BP announced a major further major expansion of the, “Clair Field”. A brief outline of the field development, to date;

Phase 1. Has produced 90 million barrels of oil since operations began in 2005.

Phase 2. is expected to produce reach peak production capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day, after operations begin in 2016.

Phase 3. BP joined with Chevron, Conoco/Phillips and Shell and is moving forward with drilling operations. Preliminary results are exciting, indications are the field is many times larger than first thought.

And we are addressing only one field. But here we are again. “Blether Together” politico’s, (largely comprised of discredited time spent old men of Westminster) are now spreading the lie that oil will run-out in 15-20 year’s. This time however Scotland is wide awake and the lies are well exposed for what they are. Scotland will vote, “Yes” in the September referendum ensuring the benefits of oil & gas are accrued to the nation. Enough is Enough.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2013/05/10/Scotland-sees-major-potential-offshore/UPI-29921368180685/?st_rec=85431369909920

Misc Titbits

Kirsty-A Free Scotland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NclkfOjQle0#t=56 free scotland kirsty

Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Bigger is not better https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F541CSoc4cM#t=210

Oil and Lots of It
http://en.inforapid.org/index.php?search=North%20Sea%20oil

Scare Stories From Bitter Together
http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/forget-the-latest-scare-story-the-real-threat-to-our-health-service-is-a-no-vote.24735142

NHS England and Privatisation
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-tory-party-donors-handed-3123469 nhs rip off
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/child-depression-scandal-ill-kids-3129996 nhs rip off
http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/nhs-debt-hospitals-facing-combined-3099734 black hole
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-want-privatise-nhs-cuts-3102993 privatisation

Rise and Rise of Foodbanks
http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/below-the-breadline-the-relentless-rise-of-food-poverty-in-britain-317730

Nepotism in the Labour Party

Nepotism in the Labour Party

Labour MP’s and activists are furious that Paul Martin, son of Westminster MP and deputy speaker Michael Martin, is poised to be given the same constituency as his father, but in the Scottish parliament. They say Martin jnr, a middle-ranking Glasgow councillor for the past four years, has done little to earn his stripes and accuse him of “riding on his father’s coat tails”.

Senior Labour sources confirmed to Scotland on Sunday the 30- year-old councillor would almost certainly pass the party’s selection process. Martin snr wields such control in his constituency that activists say there would be little resistance to his son then being chosen as the candidate for Holyrood. A former trade union organiser for the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, the MP was elected to parliament in 1979 and served as private parliamentary secretary to Denis Healey.

A Jock Soldier in Afghanistan Reflects on His Lot – In Rhyme Of Sorts – Read It and Wonder

 

 

 

Musings of a Jock in Afghanistan, (A Kipling Parody)

 

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It’s not cool when you’re lying cold and wet in your Afghan bivvy,

knowing your life is dependent on an MOD civvy.

 

When your body armour’s a share, one set between three,

And the firefights are brutal not like those on TV.

 

You check with care, your pal, your weapon then look to your wit,

As you tread in the footprints of earlier Jocks deeper in the sh*t.

 

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When your machine gun has jammed and you’re down to one round,

then the faith that you’d lost is speedily re-found.

 

When the Taliban fighters are close to the fort,

And you pray that friendly shelling doesn’t fall a bit short.

 

Buddy up tae Jock Tamson, like he’s one of your brood,

And fight off the Taliban as you know all jocks should.

 

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Your pay just doesn’t cover your needs or your wants,

But you are required just to stand and absorb Taliban taunts.

 

Neither General’s or civvy’s can do nowt to amend,

Except to ensure you’re in a place you can’t spend.

 

Paid three fifty an hour for your time in the Afghani cage,

And you supposed to be happy it’s the minimum wage.

 

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And knowing your wife Mary is at home alone in your quarter

Walls running with damp and the roof leaking water

 

Your bairns miss the treasured warmth of their hero, their dad,

They’re foregoing the loving childhood that they should have had.

 

But you dream that one day it will change and as each day it goes by,

you just sit there, with wonder as you see the pigs fly.

 

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You’re treated just like the Jock’s of before a life in the mud, dust and ditch,

But you’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch.

 

No matter the war, Iraqi, Afghan, Zulu, Fritz or the Boer,

Jocks will fight on ‘til the battle is over.

 

Mistreated and judged no better than fodder, the Jock’s soldier on,

but ponder how long Scots will respond to the MOD con.

 

scottish-soldiers

David cameron Goofs

Foot in Mouth Mr Cameron ?

At a press conference, (attended by President Obama) Mr Cameron was asked about the ever changing nature of the, “special relationship” with the US. He replied, “I think it is important in life to speak as it is and the fact is that we are a very effective partner of the US but we are the junior partner,” he went on, “We were the junior partner in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis.”

After the conference Mr Cameron was reminded, by some, “press hacks” that the US only officially declared war on Germany on 11 December 1941, shortly after Hitler launched hostilities against the US and four days after the Pearl Harbor attacks which drew the US into conflict with Japan.

The President of the Association for Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Mr Cameron’s comments would alienate a lot of veterans who had been fighting the war a long time before Pearl Harbor.

A BBC political correspondent offered that, Mr Cameron had been trying to be realistic about Britain’s position in the world, but it his comments had backfired in this case

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10719739