Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hello again

Sorry about the fact that I’m blogging less often. I’ve got a lot of
work on at present, so for the next 2-3 months I might only be able
to post a blog every 2-3 weeks.

Our daughter L and her children are still with us, and will be so
for the coming week. Her partner J has just spent a long weekend with
us, so I’ve been busier than usual with all the household duties, food
shopping and child-minding, as well as socialising, of course.

In the past week, I’ve also been busy updating one of my websites, as
well as looking at various programs …

Google Chrome … it looks good if you wish to conceal a lot of your
browsing (adult sites, holidays for your partner, etc). However, I’ll
stay with what I’m familiar with: Internet Explorer, for the time being.

Irfanview … for free photo-editing and for viewing your photos and
videos (thanks, Kevin, for letting me know about this). However, for
viewing photos and vids, I prefer to use Windows Photo-Gallery and
Windows Media Player.

Gimp … free photo-editing. This looks very good, but it’s somewhat
different from Photoshop in its layout and use.
I’ve found some excellent videos on YouTube on how to use it.

Kompozer (a successor to Nvu) : a free website building program …
there are some good videos on how to use it (& Nvu), on YouTube.

(I'm doing all the above research for future IT teaching material, as
well as for my own personal use).


There’s been a lot of coverage in the UK media about the expense claims
submitted by MPs, alleging that some have been somewhat OTT or even
fraudulent. I have to say that I’m starting to feel bored by the
ongoing daily stream of revelations about these claims, and by some of
the lame excuses being given by some MPs. Most of them say that what
they claimed was “within the rules”. But then, we know it’s the MPs
themselves who make up the rules. The whole expense claims system
seems to be rotten to me, and appears to be easily open to abuse.

What is a fair claim, and who should decide on this matter? An
independent body, I think, independent of the MPs. Should we ditch the
present system and replace it by a daily attendance allowance on top
of an MP’s basic salary? (This is Gordon Brown’s solution to the

Most MPs will require somewhere to stay in London if they live some
distance away from it … perhaps a hostel / a two-star hotel where
they can put their feet up for a few nights each week? Let’s do away
with the allowance for a second home for MPs.


Blogger Keith said...

All the MP's should have just one hostel provided for them when they stay in London. Absolutely free of course, and it should be called "Jail".

11:03 PM  
Anonymous lom said...

I am with you on this one Justin, they are supposed to be working so really only need somewhere to sleep.

5:21 AM  
Blogger justin said...

Thanks for your comments, Keith and LOM. Thinking about an independent body to investigate MPs' expenses claims, I recall Ian Hislop saying on "Have I Got News For You", that such a body exists already ~ it's called "The Fraud Squad".

9:38 PM  

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