School’s out…

LAST day of term, so the Chief Whip is letting us all bring in games. I’ve brought a train set (obviously), Alistair Darling’s brought in Monopoly, Alan Johnson’s got Operation, David Miliband has Risk, Des Browne’s brought in an Action Man, etc, etc…

On the subject of the start of the recess, I was called by Radio 5 Live on the way to the airport this morning to ask if I would take part in Victoria Derbyshire’s phone-in on the subject of the recess and how much work MPs will be doing during it. Talk about a no-win scenario! Any MP with the courage to stand up for his or her right to a family holiday will be inundated by angry callers describing them as lazy jobsworths (with the phrase “snout in the trough” no doubt thrown in for good measure now and again). And then there will be the automatic assumption that the destination of said family holiday should be public knowledge. Well, it’s not and it won’t be.

Now where did I put that Hornby double-0…?


Filed under Department for Transport, Media, Parliament, Whimsy

23 responses to “School’s out…

  1. Auntie Flo'

    Any MP with the courage to stand up for his or her right to a family holiday will be inundated by angry callers (Tom)

    Am I correct in thinking that MPs are entitled to around 4 months paid holiday leave annually? If not, how much leave are MPs entitled to?

    My view is that MPs – who are not Gods, after all – just ordinary workers like the rest of us and prone to make as many cock ups – should receive no more than the statutory entitlement of less than 5 weeks per annum.

    MPs claim their special status and responsiblities justifies special treatment and they refuse to be properly accountable to the public in respect of their expenses and working hours -as the rest of us must be. Little wonder then that the public refer to MPs as snouts in the trough.

    If MPs were treated as ordinary workers, the self employed and directors of companies are in respect of their pay, their expenses and pension packages would be subject to minute scutiny by Inland Revenue and they’d receive hefty tax demands.

    As it is, there are two classes of worker, over privileged MPs and the rest of us.

  2. I’m trying to imagine what toys T.B. brought last time.

    Toy soldiers with real depleted uranium shells?

    Careful, he might make an appearance today and insert them into Herr Braun?

    Maybe you could all claim for Gulf War syndrome. Oh, no actually, you couldn’t. Depleted uranium doesn’t cause sickness or deformities at all, I forgot!

    Just make sure that whatever Gordon brings, he remembers to take home again. You know what kids are like.

    Remember in previous years he lost half our gold reserves, two-thirds of our freedoms and three-quarters of our sovereignty?

    Boys will be boys.

  3. There have been a couple of more similarly rabid comments on this subject (I don’t know why I still get surprised…) but I’ve deleted them because they contained personal attacks, not on me, but on colleagues. Check the “About Tom” page if you need reminding about the rules. And check Lost Property for your sense of humour while you’re at it (I’m talking to you, Flo).

  4. By the way, Flo – I’ve got to the bottom of the smiley inserted on your comment a while back – I’ve just noticed that WordPress sometimes substitutes a smiley face when you type a closing bracket for some reason).

  5. err, it’s Hornby Dublo, Tom. Nothing worse than politicians trying to show solidarity with the ordinary folk outside the Westminster village and getting it wrong. As per your former leader’s Wor Jackie reminiscence.

    Does this mean you will all be demob happy at tomorrow evening’s soiree? And will we be allowed to play on Ruth’s Scalextric?

  6. Alas, Roger, I will be again pounding the sunny streets of Glasgow East. But have one on me.

  7. wrinkled weasel

    I seem to have fallen foul of the rules.
    On reflection, I understand. But it was meant to be funny.

  8. Good for you – I hope this means you are off to the Maldives. Quite why politicians should be forced to go on miserable British seaside holidays is beyond me (although the weather has perked up this week). The last British PM who actually wanted to holiday in the UK was Macmillan, and that was so he could go grouse shooting in Scotland – what would be the reaction to that now, I wonder.

    And the idea that MPs should only get 5 weeks fills me with horror. What amount of damage could be done to the country if they all spent that much time in Parliament. I understand that American government has never recovered from the invention of air conditioning, which has allowed politicians to stay in DC throughout the hot summer months….

    If you haven’t seen the Daily Mash on the subject, I suggest you check it out…–200807171102/

  9. Great post…

    Enjoy the break and hopefully a few more MPs will take up blogging once you’re all back at ‘school’….

  10. DMEA

    I thought the Chief Whips would have let you bring in a DVD to watch. This is always what we did on the last day of term back in my school days (although back then it was VHS).

    I wonder what 2008 DVD releases Labour MPs would bring in to watch?

    Alistair Darling – “Mad Money”, or possible “Untraceable” (about the lost data discs)
    John Reid – “Jumper” (because he jumped before he was pushed)
    Jim Murphy – “In Bruges” (despite a Labour manifesto commitment for a referendum on the EU Constitution)
    Des Browne – “Diary of the Dead” (an account of the British soldiers killed in Iraq)
    Gordon Brown – “Paranoid Park” (about life in the Number 10 bunker)
    Ed Balls – “Chaos Theory” (about the marking of SAT exam papers)

    All the other Labour MPs want to watch “Be Kind Rewind”, so they can go back to last summer and pick anyone else but Gordon as their leader.

    I suspect by the end of next term next year they’ll all be watching “Meet Dave” (as in, meet your new Prime Minister).

    Mine are pretty rubbish. Can your readers think of any better examples?

  11. DMEA – I can’t help thinking that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not really funny. Still, you tried.

  12. James

    Our BBC local radio had a few local MPs on regarding the same subject (including Nadine Dorries), and all Conservative. Mike Penning was the only one who disagreed with the long ‘holidays’.
    All pointed out that they still had between 250- 1000 letters per week to write and still had to look after their constituents, bless’em. But all were going away for a couple of weeks with their kids. September diaries were full.
    Hornby trains- I’ve obviously missed something here. Two or three rail, Tom?

  13. Johnny Norfolk

    A few people in my area have had to cancell thier holiday plans as they need oil for their heating for the winter, Its more than twice the price of last year. So as you jet off to the sun please spare a thought for those at home who are finding things difficult and in Norfolk are still to proud to ask for help that they may be entitled thanks to the Labour government means testing everything.
    We will do all we can to help the people who we know have problems. I only wish the government would do the same.

  14. John

    Why are you so hostile about the general public?
    It is only natural that the GP hold you(MPs) in such low esteem when confronted by daily headlines as £700,000, the cost of Tony’s farewell ‘tour’, £5.5 million subsidy for Common’s bars, to say nothing about the expenses fiasco.
    I have only recently been educated on how hard an MPs job is by reading political blogs.
    It’s up to the politicians to demonstrate their worth otherwise nothing will change.

  15. Triffid

    Wow, Tom – you seem to be very quick to reply to comments on this subject.

    May we invite you to page back a bit and actually respond to the “Debate” you called for on why people are miserable ? Pretty certain you can remember – it was only a couple of months ago but you seem strangely silent on the subject.

    Tom ? Hello Tom … anybody there ? Echo, echo, echo ….

  16. Auntie Flo'

    I’ve just seen the cameo films BBC have of Frances Curran (SNP) and Margaret Curren (New Labour) and have made my choice.

    It has to be Frances Curran. Why? Because she took what she calls ‘a worker’s wage’, rejecting half her salary and all perks when an MSP.

    That’s what I call an MP.

    Go Frances, I’m rooting for you, girl!

  17. Auntie Flo'

    Woops! I to say meant Frances Curran is SSP….

  18. Auntie Flo'

    Don’t like the Conservative or the Lib Dem candidates in Glasgow East, they both look too pleased with themselves. Someone should tell them to stop saying ‘you should vote for me’, what a turn off.

  19. Martin Cullip

    I think you deserve a holiday Tom. I hope you are going somewhere nice. I’d like a holiday from the regular daily 7am ‘clampdown’, ‘new restrictions’, ‘health initiative’ or ‘behavioural punishment’ that is trumpeted by Labour every time I turn on the radio to go to work, but all I can afford this year is Great Yarmouth (I wonder why) so I suppose I shall have to listen to that nonsense all through it.

    Forgive me Father for I have sinned, my last visit to a pub where I can relax was 30th June 2007.

    So that’s the holiday banjaxed and the leisure time too. I know you’re one of the better Labour MPs but can you please explain why others in the PLP are so perplexed that they are so very unpopular when it is as clear as the nose on one’s face that kicking the electorate’s relaxation time in the nuts is a cast-iron vote loser?

    Or … as The Daily Mash reported:

  20. Tom,

    I think you can turn the auto-smillie off on the control panel … they do make some untimely appearances every now and then.

    Enjoy your hols 😉

    We’ll not be getting any this year … just like the last five then 😕

  21. Danus McKinlay

    Tom – loving the blog, loved the bit about the chief whip letting you bring in toys I can just imagine the cabinet in the commons all huddled round your train set!
    Looking forward to seeing you in Shettleston again very soon.


  22. DMEA

    Auntie Flo’, what are politicans supposed to say during a by-election? “Don’t vote for me”? That’s what David Icke did in Haltemprice and look where it got him.

  23. I’m sure Tom can fight his own battles, Triffid, but if you were so interested in the debate you’re so wittily going on about (a) you’d comment on the post – the last comment was July 3 and (b) you’d have noticed, when reading the post, that Tom responded.

    I don’t mind attacks usually, but when they’re as lazy as yours, I do.

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