Notes from a journalist in the margins
10 February 2014
Many thanks to all of you who sent me suggestions for how better to protect my privacy after what looked suspiciously like a hack of my computer by the Shin Bet. There are some suggestions that I will certainly be incorporating into my working practices, as best I can.
I have received far too many emails to be able to answer each of them, at least not in the short term (although I will do my best over the coming days if my workload eases). I thought in the meantime I would write a quick post as a way to address more generally some of the issues readers have raised, including a few misconceptions I may have encouraged with my original post on the hacking incident.
Re: Alistair Burt MP/ Dr Bashar Assad/ bayonet up backside
Dear Ms Garnett,
It will not do Ms Garnett. My own 'MP' refused to pass a letter from me to the FCO on a matter of international and national law. I can assume that he will be as inert now as he was 18 months ago.
I have read the sparse minutes (surprising in itself) of the Standards Committee and can assume that this responsibility Mr Cox is not too onerous. He might take the view that the reputation of the House is so low that he might wish to exert himself in this. Someone has to stand up so that our country is not pulled further down. It is interesting that 'rules' are always invoked in the seats of power but so many are broken in the same places. I note, in this respect, the 'deselection' of Mr Yeo. I was, incidentally, responsible for bringing Mr Simmonds MP for Boston and Skegness to book for not declaring a large financial interest in 'health' during the debate on the disastrous Health and Social Care Bill. A good example of the probity of current politicians of all colours was the promise before the election that there would be 'no top down reorganisation' of OUR NHS.
Ms Eve Samson
Secretary to the Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons
New Ref: Burt/Bashar/Bayonet
Dear Ms Samson,
I received your four sentences yesterday. Scanned and attached - for my web site since this is a very important matter of public importance. This is a brief and preliminary response. You need to know that I am a man who is not deflected
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/Mr%20Mark%20Simmonds%20MP.pdf re. an MP who was earning £1,250 per hour from Circle Health for 'strategic advice' on 'health'. 40 hours per annum. Failed to declare his 'pecuniary' interest twice. Resolved with an apology to the House but with no pecuniary loss or legal action.
20th January 2014
Sir Kevin Barron PC
Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee
House of Commons UK
Dear Sir Kevin,
I sent this letter below by e-mail to the Committee for Standards in Public Life. One of its clerical staff told me that Ms Hudson, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, should deal with it. Mr Prawer in that office says that Ms Hudson cannot deal with this and suggested I approach your committee. As a retired doctor, surgeon and senior citizen, I do not take easily to the game of 'pass the parcel'. I regard this as a most important matter and will be sticking with it.
Dear Mr Stride,
My friends and fellow analysts are aware that you would not forward my last letter to the FCO about Syria and the unlawful actions and words of the UK. But it is on my web site
I presume you will be in the house tomorrow.