The UK government is pushing through a bill to allow only English MPs to vote on English only matters as part of a pledge UK prime minister David Cameron made before this year’s general election.
Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, said the Tory party is a “passionate supporter of the Union” of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As there are 50-odd Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) members in the Commons, and sundry other MPs from the other two countries, the logistical matter of separating the Scottish, Welsh and Irish wolves from the English sheep is a bit of a problem.
The Tory party only has one MP in Scotland after the SNP staged a landslide victory which swept away nearly all Labout MPs as well as Liberal Democrats.
Currently, when MPs vote they file through two lobbies – one for yes and one for no – and are counted by human tellers.
But in a move which will propel MPs from Gladstone’s days into the 21st century, the Clerks have come up with a new system of telling using tablet computers to account for the differences in nationalities.
The tablets, said Grayling, will “give the Tellers an immediate tally of whether a measure has a majority of English MPs”.
He did not say which brand of tablets will be used, but the method won’t apply to the House of Lords because, well, it just won’t.
Grayling’s plans were picked up by Pete Wishart, the shadow SNP leader of the House of Commons.
He said: “What a lot of constitutional bilge and unworkable garbage!” He said the plans will create two classes of members of parliament. “We would do as well to stamp the foreheads of Scottish MPs before they go into the Lobby, and I thought that the Leader of the House was quite close to suggesting or proposing it.”
Grayling said: “The honourable Gentleman seems a tad on the exercised side”.
The government is taking a hands off approach to companies off-shoring IT jobs, as Chris Grayling confirms that the Universal Credit system will allow work to go to staff in India.
The employment minister said that though existing jobs would be kept in the UK, it would not stop contractors IBM and Accenture from creating jobs abroad.
“All off-shoring work for universal credit is new development and we are not moving existing UK based work to India,” Grayling said in a parliamentary written answer. “Off-shoring of work by our IT service providers is not a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions.”
He did not, however, state the number of roles which would be created abroad, though the Guardian has previously revealed the number to be in the “hundreds”.
Grayling said that firms were being forced to go abroad for IT work as the skill base on key technologies “resides overseas, and not necessarily in the UK”.
A spokesperson for the PCS union told TechEye that Grayling should be doing more to create more skilled jobs rather than shipping them abroad, particularly with unemployment levels rocketing.
While off-shoring continues to affect the IT industry, despite promises from the government to readdress its strategies, the situation with onshoring also continues to create problems.
The idea that there are not talented IT workers on a national or local level is just an idea. As TechEye has pointed out, firms are more than willing to employee foreign workers on the cheap at the expense of UK jobs, another area where the government has failed to act to protect domestic IT workers.
The UK minister for Work and Pensions has revealed what his department spends on computer consumables and cut sheet paper.
And it’s not a trivial amount.
Chris Grayling said that the department, which includes the child maintenance enforcement commission spent the following on stationery including computer consumables and cut sheet paper.
- May 2008 to March 2009 £14,139,461
- April 2009 to March 2010 £16,505,496
- April 2010 to June 2010 £3,080,678
Grayling said that before May 2008, it spent through a variety of commercial contracts and “details can be obtained only at disproportionate cost”.
It doesn’t end there, however, because Grayling also outlines stationery spend for non departmental public bodies and “arms length bodies” associated with the Department of Work and Pensions from 2009 to 2010. Here are some examples.
- HSE £292,820
- Remploy £715,765
- The Pensions Regulator £152,382
Good to know the paperless office is still just a penpusher’s worst nightmare.
* EyeSee In addition to being an alchemist and a mathematician, the very weird Isaac Newton (pictured) was also a top civil servant and Warden of the Mint. A forger was hung, drawn and quartered on his orders and didn’t even get to go on a tumbril or have the usual last tot, but was dragged through the streets of London to his doom. Perhaps that apocryphal apple falling on Newton’s noddle was what turned him so Doolally Taps.